Saturday, January 28, 2012

#10 - Record Breaker, Don Sutton

What a card: This card recognizes Don Sutton's 19th season with 100-or-more strikeouts. The record is now held by Nolan Ryan, who recorded 24 seasons of a 100-or-more strikeouts. Greg Maddux had 21 such seasons.

My observation on the front: We've already reached one of my least favorite cards in the set. What a ghastly picture. It's too close, Sutton looks like he's in mid-sentence, and his refusal to use Brylcreem is off-putting in this photo. Where is the action shot of Don?

More opinion from me: Thank goodness, this is the last record-breaker card in the subset. Ten record-breaker cards is too many.

Something you might know: Sutton is now a radio broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. He used to be a regular member of the TBS television broadcasting crew for Atlanta through the '90s.

Something you might not know: Sutton has the most at-bats (1,354) without a home run out of anyone who has played major league baseball.

My observation on the back: For the second time in this subset, Steve Carlton just misses making a record breaker card. Ten cards and they couldn't get Carlton in.

The blog wants to speak now: I've updated the Music, Movie and Pop Culture tabs. A little preview: "Daytime, nighttime, anytime, things go better with rock."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

#9 - Record Breaker, Bruce Sutter

What a card: This card notes Bruce Sutter setting the National League record for saves in a season. He saved 45 games for the Cardinals in 1984. That total tied the major league record, which was initially set in 1983 by the Royals' Dan Quisenberry.

The record is positively quaint when you look up how many times it has been broken since 1985. Sutter is now tied for 33rd place overall with his 45 saves in a season. Francisco Rodriguez holds the record of 62 set four years ago. Eric Gagne holds the N.L. record with 55.

My observation on the front: I never thought I would get nostalgic for powder blue uniforms, but obviously I -- and a lot of baseball fans -- have, because current teams keep trotting out throwback powder blue uniforms.

More opinion from me: This isn't a night card. It looks kind of like a dusk card or a "stormy" card.

Something you might know: Dave Righetti was the first person to break the record by Sutter and Quisenberry. He saved 46 games in 1986.

Something you might not know: Sutter was originally drafted by the Washington Senators. He didn't sign.

My observation on the back: Topps mentions in the headline that Sutter tied the major league record, but doesn't mention who he tied.

The blog wants to speak now: I've updated the Ballgames tab with a little basketball. That'll do for tonight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#8 - Record Breaker, Juan Samuel

What a card: This card recognizes Juan Samuel for setting the record -- by a single stolen base -- for the most stolen bases in a rookie season. Samuel stole 72 in 1984, one better than Tim Raines' 71 in 1981. Samuel's record lasted one whole year as Vince Coleman of the Cardinals decimated the mark with 110 in his rookie year of 1985.

My observation on the front: This is the first non-action shot in the Record Breaker subset. Kind of disappointing as I love base-running photos. Not a flattering posed shot, either.

More opinion from me: Lordy, this Record Breaker subset just goes on and on, doesn't it? I'm used to the record breaker series being anywhere from 4 to 6 cards. I'd have to do some research, but this might be the biggest record-breaker set ever.

Something you might know: Samuel played and played and PLAYED during his rookie year. He set a record for most at-bats by a right-handed hitter with 701 in 1984. He also led the league in triples with 19, one of the largest totals for a rookie ever. And he struck out more than anyone that year with 168. It's safe to say that if not for Dwight Gooden, Samuel would've won the N.L. Rookie of the Year award (not for the strikeout reason, of course).

Something you might not know: Samuel's record-breaking stolen base came on Sept. 26 in a 7-1 loss to the Mets. Samuel stole second base off of pitcher Sid Fernandez (and catcher John Gibbons) in the fifth inning with the Phillies behind 2-0.

My observation on the back: This is a pet peeve of mine with the set. Instead of finding the exact date when Samuel broke the record, as I did, Topps just says Samuel ended the season with the record. Of course, there was no at the time, so I probably should give Topps some slack.

The blog wants to speak now: I've updated the TV, Pop Culture and News tabs. Pretty depressing events for the most part. I'll try to find some happier stuff next time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

#7 - Record Breaker, Nolan Ryan

What a card: This card recognizes Nolan Ryan finishing the 1984 season with the most career strikeouts. Of course, Ryan holds the all-time strikeout lead by 800-plus Ks now, but at the time he was in a back-and-forth race with Steve Carlton for two seasons.

My observation on the front: In the mid-1980s, the Astros were moving away from the rainbow look of their late '70s/early '80s uniforms to a more sedate appearance, including this softball uniform thing. I'd rather have the rainbows.

More opinion from me: We're really taking a tour through MLB heavyweights with these record-breaker cards. Cliff Johnson is a little out-of-place so far.

Something you might know: Ryan took the career strikeout lead for good in September of 1984 and finished the year with 3,874 for his career. He was the first to break Walter Johnson's mark of 3,508, followed soon after by Carlton and Gaylord Perry. Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, Bert Blyleven and Don Sutton have all passed The Big Train, too.

Something you might not know: Ryan finished the '84 season just two career strikeouts ahead of Carlton. It could very well have been Carlton on this record-breaker card.

My observation on the back: Someone asked earlier if they were the only one who was bothered by Topps' arbitrary capitalization of words. They're not the only one. I mentioned it many times on my '75 Topps blog, and "Whiffs" really stands out here.

The blog wants to speak now: I've updated the music, movie and news tabs. After a recent illness, I hope to get back in the swing of updating those.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#6 - Record Breaker, Pete Rose

What a card: This card recognizes Pete Rose achieving the record for most singles in a career. Rose still holds the all-time mark with 3,215.

My observation on the front: Looks like a game against the Padres. I have no idea which team surrendered Rose's record-setting single, but my guess is the Padres were responsible for providing several players with record-setting achievements.

More opinion from me: Rose is all over this set with at least three cards. But that would be nothing compared to the Rose-palooza that opens the 1986 Topps set.

Something you might know: Rose holds the record for most outs made in a career with 10,328. No one is even close to it.

Something you might not know: Pete Rose was the first ballplayer I ever learned to hate. Surprised it wasn't a Yankee? Yeah, me, too.

My observation on the back: I'm not sure why Topps chose to recognize Rose with a card for most career singles but not a card for most career games.

The blog wants to speak now: The 1985 (and 1971) Topps blog will remain open over the next 24 hours, but I do invite you to read up on the SOPA and PIPA initiatives in the U.S. Senate and do the right thing. You want to continue to read this blog, don't you?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

#5 - Record Breaker, Joe Morgan

What a card: This card recognizes Joe Morgan surpassing Rogers Hornsby for the most home runs for a second baseman for a career. Morgan finished with 268 lifetime, a record that was surpassed by Ryne Sandberg. Jeff Kent now holds the record with 351.

My observation on the front: Green-and-gold is what makes the A's unique in baseball. But at other times they look like the million high school teams that feature green-and-gold as their colors. This is one of those times.

More opinion from me: Morgan has both a record-breaker card and a regular base card in this set, but he didn't play a game past 1984. That's not exactly unusual, but there are a lot of players that were left out of the set that immediately followed a player's final year. I suppose it was all in the timing of Morgan's retirement announcement.

Something you might know: Morgan began his broadcasting career in 1985 for the Cincinnati Reds. It continued (and continued and continued) through 2010, when it mercifully ended.

Something you might not know: The player who suggested that Joe Morgan flap his back arm like a chicken, as a reminder to keep his elbow up, was Nellie Fox.

My observation on the back: Morgan's home run came off the Rangers' Frank Tanana in the first inning.

The blog wants to speak now: Takin' it easy with only a tiny update of a birthday in the pop culture section.

Monday, January 9, 2012

#4 - Record Breaker, Cliff Johnson

What a card: This card commemorates Cliff Johnson's 19th career pinch-hit home run, which broke the record of 18 career pinch homers set by Jerry Lynch, who played in the '50s and '60s. Matt Stairs now holds the record with 23 career pinch homers, set in 2010. Unfortunately, there have been few record-breaker cards recently, so Stairs' achievement isn't celebrated on cardboard, as far as I know.

My observation the front: Johnson has a lot of classic cards. And although this isn't one of them -- wait until you see his base card in this set -- it's still pretty nice. Johnson often looked like he was going to lose his helmet while on the field. I don't know if it's because he wore his hat high on his head or he just has a large head.

More opinion from me: I went through a bunch of Johnson's cards and, holy crap, there are a bunch I must own, specifically anything from Fleer in the early-to-mid '80s. Great photos.

Something you might know: Johnson began his career as a catcher and first baseman in the National League. But when he came over to the American League in 1977, he became a designated hitter. Except for a year with the Cubs in 1980, he was exclusively an A.L. guy from 1977-86.

Something you might not know: Johnson, who finished with 20 career pinch-hit homers, hit five pinch-hit home runs for the Astros in 1974. But he doesn't hold the record for the most in a season. That record is held by a Dodger, Dave Hansen, and a Pirate, Craig Wilson. They each hit seven in back-to-back seasons, 2000 and 2001, respectively.

My observation on the back: Johnson's record-breaking home run not only won the game but came as the first at-bat in the eighth inning. Tippy Martinez gave up the homer.

The blog wants to speak now: I've been busy adding a few more items to the tabs, specifically the ballgames entry, the news entry, and the pop culture entry. The first segment of "Cereals of '85" is in the books!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

#3 - Record Breaker, Dwight Gooden

What a card: This card recognizes Dwight Gooden's record-setting 276 strikeouts in his rookie season, a record he still holds. I am assuming that if a rookie ever breaks Gooden's record, it will be absolute hysteria. The card-collecting world may hyperventilate itself out of business.

My observation on the front: Personally, I like this card a lot better than Gooden's base card in this set. I'll take action over a sour-looking face any time.

More opinion from me: I am guessing that this was one of the more sought-after cards in '85, as it's one of Gooden's first cards in a mainstream set. He appears in the '84 Topps Traded set and the '84 Fleer Update set, but those weren't as actively collected as the base set was back then.

Something you might know: Gooden passed Herb Score for the rookie record by whiffing the Pirates' Marvell Wynne in the sixth inning of a 2-0 victory on Sept. 12, 1984. It was his 246th strikeout of the season. It was also the first of back-to-back, 16-strikeout starts. Amazing.

Something you might not know: Gooden holds the major league and N.L. record for strikeouts as a rookie with 276, and Score holds the A.L. record for rookie-year strikeouts with 245. But Baltimore's Matt Kilroy holds the American Association rookie record with 513 in 1886.

My observation on the back: Ah, I see we have mention of a "new record" for rookies. Nobody sets an "old record." So let's just get rid of that "new" and call it a "record for rookies," shall we?

The blog wants to speak now: I've updated the music and ballgames tabs. Some stuff about Prince and Michael Jordan. They were kind of a big deal in '85.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

#2 - Record Breaker, Steve Garvey

What a card: This card commemorates Steve Garvey's errorless streak at first base. Garvey finished the 1984 season with 188 straight errorless games, a record for first basemen. He would extend the streak in 1985 to 193 straight games. Kevin Youkilis now holds the record with 238 straight errorless games from 2006-08.

My observation on the front: Speaking as a Dodger fan, Garvey always looked completely out of place in a Padre uniform. Also, I'm dying to know what that weird sunburst is behind him. Is it a team logo? Is it the biggest beach ball ever?

More opinion from me: You won't notice this until you see the back of the card, but the point at which Topps decided to mention this mark -- at the end of the season -- is odd to me. He actually set the record with his 179th straight errorless game, since the previous record was 178 straight by Mike Hegan. Garvey's 179th game without an error was on Sept. 20, 1984, a 5-4 victory over the Giants in San Diego. Garvey played in only one inning of that game before being replaced by Kurt Bevacqua to start the second inning.

Something you might know: The "RAK" that appears on Garvey's left uniform sleeve is in memory of former Padres owner and the man who built the McDonald's franchise, Raymond Albert Kroc. He died in January 1984 and the Padres wore his initials on their uniforms for three seasons.

Something you might not know: The error that ended Garvey's streak came in the ninth inning of an 8-3 loss to the Giants on April 15, 1985. With just two outs left in the game, he dropped a foul pop up by Bob Brenly. Brenly made sure Garvey didn't feel too bad about it by proceeding to strike out.

My observation on the back: "Initial Sack"? Is that when multiple defenders tackle the quarterback? The first guy in gets the "initial sack"?

The blog wants to speak now: I've updated the tabs for "TV," "News" and "Pop Culture." So far, pop culture is a lot of births and sports stuff. I hope to expand it to other things as I add more dates and other stuff. But, meanwhile, I hope finding things like "Street Hawk" is as much a rush for you as it is for me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#1 - Record Breaker, Carlton Fisk

What a card: This card commemorates Carlton Fisk catching all 25 innings of a game on May 9, 1984 against the Milwaukee Brewers. That is a record he still holds and one that is absolutely incredible. Fisk is well-deserved in receiving card No. 1 in this set.

My observation on the front: Fisk's best look is his pissed-off look. It's featured on a number of his cards, including this one. I'm sure he's an excellent father, but you don't want to see that look coming at you from a son/daughter vantage point.

More opinion from me: I do not like the record breaker subset in 1985 Topps. The purple makes it look like it belongs in another set, and the yellow-red "record breaker" design puts me in the mind of a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast.

Something you might know: The White Sox wore their uniform numbers atrociously close to their crotch for seven painful years, from 1982-88.

Something you might not know: Fisk threw out four runners in this 25-inning game. He threw out two in the ninth (Ben Oglivie and Bobby Clark), one in the 10th (Dion James) and one in the 20th (Mark Brouhard).

My observation on the back: That is the largest thumbtack ever.

The blog wants to speak now: Take a look at the tabs at the top of the blog. I will be updating them regularly in an attempt to immerse you into 1985 as much as possible. I was 19 years old in '85 and anyone who is 19 has a love affair with whatever year it happens to be. So you're going to know all about St. Elmo's Fire and Tears for Fears and Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Get ready.