Saturday, February 4, 2012

#12 - Dave Lopes

What a card: Topps is trying to catch up for the second card in a row. First it featured a manager who was no longer a manager. Now it features a player no longer with the team shown in the photo and in the graphic. Dave Lopes was sent from the A's to the Cubs on Aug. 31, 1984 to complete an earlier deal. So Lopes actually played for the Cubs in 1984 and Topps either couldn't find a photo of Lopes as a Cub or wouldn't airbrush a photo of Lopes into a Cubs uniform.

My observation on the front: The "Now With Cubs" notation was very unusual for Topps at this time and might be the first time I ever saw such a thing on a baseball card (I do remember the '89 Topps Jody Davis "Now With Braves" listing very well). Of course, the "Now With ..." was very common in O-Pee-Chee sets during this time, which is probably where Topps borrowed the idea.

Also, this is the first time that Lopes is listed as an outfielder on the front of his card. Lopes did start out as an outfielder, but by the time he was included in baseball cards he was a second baseman.

More opinion from me: This was a dark period for a Dodger fan who grew up with the Dodgers teams of the '70s. Seeing any veteran Dodger -- Cey, Garvey, Lopes, Yeager, John, Sutton, Baker, Smith, Rau, etc. -- in anything other than a Dodger uniform was unsettling.

Something you might know: Lopes set a record for stealing 38 straight bases without getting caught in 1975, breaking a 53-year-old record. Vince Coleman broke Lopes' record in 1989.

Something you might not know: Lopes is listed as growing up in East Providence, R.I., but the recreation center that features his name, the "Davey Lopes Center," is in South Providence, R.I., and insists that Lopes grew up in South Providence.

My observation on the back: Here we get our first glimpse of some of the personal facts that '85 Topps put on the back of its cards. Ever wanted to know the exact name of Lopes' wife and when they were married? Now you know.

The blog wants to speak now: In honor of the Super Bowl, I have updated the Ballgames, TV, Pop Culture and News categories, all with Super Bowl references. Of course, this is Super Bowl XIX we're talking about here, not Super Bowl XLVI.


John Bateman said...

What is even odder was the Cubs made the post season that year? Right They had six weeks to get him in a uniform

Jeff said...

And Doug DeCinces had the "Now with" on his 1988 card. When it showed up, it always stood out.

MCT said...

The reason the "Now with" was so more common with O-Pee-Chee was that O-Pee-Chee used it for players who had changed teams during the offseason. By the end of the '70s, Topps had abandoned any attempt to show team changes that took place after the previous season ended (those moves would ultimately be covered in the annual traded sets that began in 1981). The only time Topps needed to use it was when a player changed teams late in the season and they were unable to get/airbrush a photo of him with his new team. That didn't happen very often.

I can think of one player like this who didn't get a "Now with", possibly becuase Topps hadn't begun using it yet at the time: Dock Ellis in 1980 (finished '79 season with the Pirates but shown in 1980 set with his previous team, the Mets).

MCT said...

FWIW, East Providence is a separate city from Providence, complete with its own school system and its own neighborhoods. It is separated from Providence itself by a river, and has never at any time in its history been part of Providence. South Providence is just a neighborhood of Providence, immediately south of downtown.

Play at the Plate said...

Come on, you know lots of 38 year old 2b move to the outfield.