Friday, June 29, 2012

#69 - Jim Winn

What a card: This is Jim Winn's rookie card. He was fortunate to even have a card in the 1985 set. He pitched just nine games in 1984.

My observation on the front: The Pirates' uniforms in the 1980s were the most natural thing in the world, but looking at them in hindsight -- they look pretty out there.

More opinion from me: I was entranced with Winn's name for three reasons:

1. He's a pitcher and his name is "Winn."
2. His first name and last name rhyme.
3. His name sounds the same as one of my favorite Dodgers, "Jim Wynn."

Something you might know: Winn was the Pirates' No. 1 draft choice in 1981. He worked as a regular reliever for the Pirates in 1985 and 1986 and the White Sox in 1987.

Something you might not know: Winn is a graduate of John Brown University, a small Christian college in Arkansas. The university's two most famous baseball connections are Winn, and their former athletic director and coach, Wally Moon. However, it doesn't appear that John Brown University even offers baseball anymore.

My observation on the back: "Which team won the 1984 World Series"? That's your trivia question on a 1985 card? Weak, Topps. Weak.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music, "Pop Culture" and "News" categories are updated.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

#68 - Von Hayes

What a card: Von Hayes had just completed his second season with the Phillies when this card arrived in packs. Hayes was one of those phenoms that made up the beginnings of the rookie card craze during the early 1980s.

My observation on the front: It appears that Hayes is taking a warm-up swing outside the batter's box.

More opinion from me: I thought the Indians were kind of stupid for trading away Hayes to the Phillies after the 1982 season. But Hayes didn't turn out to be the star that a lot of people thought he would be. The Indians landed Julio Franco in the one-for-five deal. The other four guys didn't amount to much.

Something you might know: Hayes was the Phillies' de facto slugger after Mike Schmidt. In 1989, Schmidt's final season in which he had just 172 at-bats, Hayes hit a team-high 26 home runs for a horrid Phillies team that finished in last. Hayes also was the first player to hit two home runs in the first inning of a game. It was during a 26-7 pasting of the Mets on June 11, 1985. He hit a solo home run and then a grand slam.

Something you might not know: Hayes essentially blames former Reds pitcher Tom Browning for intentionally throwing at him and ending his career. Browning broke Hayes' arm with a pitch during the 1991 season. Hayes played just one more season.

My observation on the back: The answer to the trivia question surprised me. Reggie wasn't exactly known for his fielding skills.

The blog wants to speak now: No tab updating tonight. Got to get up early. You know how much night owls hate that.

Monday, June 25, 2012

#67 - Rafael Santana

What a card: This is Rafael Santana's rookie card. He had played in 30 games for the Cardinals in 1983 but didn't get a card.

My observation on the front: I can practically sense the fans in the stands thinking, "Do something for once Santana. The pitcher's up next."

More opinion from me: I remember thinking just about the entire 1986 season, "How the hell are the Mets winning -- they've got Santana at shortstop!"

Something you might know: Long before Johan, Carlos and Ervin, Rafael was the first Santana in the major leagues. He was known as the quiet member of the '86 Mets, a wild and boisterous team. He didn't hit much, but he could field.

Something you might not know: While managing the White Sox Double A team in Birmingham in 2007, Santana banned alcohol in the clubhouse.

My observation on the back: I can't think of anything other than the word "during" should be "in". ... Sorry, just got off of work.

The blog wants to speak now: Just a couple quick tab updates in the "TV" and "News" categories. I never knew "The Jeffersons" was still around in 1985. Weezie!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

#66 - Dick Williams

What a card: This the third of four cards that feature Dick Williams as the Padres' manager. 1985 would be his final year with the Padres though.

My observation on the front: That is Steve Garvey in the background.

More opinion from me: I believe this is the only card of Williams in which he's rocking the neck jewelry. In some ways it makes the notorious hard-line, hard-ass manager look even more capable of busting heads.

Something you might know: Williams managed six different major league teams, and is one of only seven managers to win pennants in both the American and National leagues.

Something you might not know: Prior to his first season as the Red Sox manager in 1967, Williams appeared on the original Hollywood Squares. He became the game show's first grand champion, winning $2,500, a motorcycle, a stereo, a movie camera, a silver fox cape, and trips to Paris and Las Vegas.

My observation on the back: I'm noticing the players' uniform numbers for the first time on these checklists. They're kind of haphazardly placed there.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames and Pop Culture tabs are updated. A historic upset and a famous magazine hoax.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#65 - Bill Buckner

What a card: This is Topps' first base card of Bill Buckner as a Red Sox. He appears with the Red Sox in the 1984 Topps Traded (and '84 Fleer Update) set.

My observation on the front: Man, what a mustache. I've seen Buckner's mustache on so many different cards, at many stages of his career, and it still impresses.

More opinion from me: I've always considered the road uniforms that the Red Sox wore during this time period as mind-numbingly boring. They're probably a tribute to uniforms of the Red Sox's past, but they looked so ... zzzzzzzz.

Something you might know: What do you want me to talk about? The Game 6 error? Geez, aren't we done with that yet? I'd rather focus on Buckner's ability. He was a terrific hitter, decent base stealer, and he rarely struck out.

Something you might not know: Former Cubs manager Herman Franks went off -- and I mean WENT OFF -- on Buckner the day after he was fired in 1979. In a diatribe in which he called all his former players whiners, he saved most of his criticism for Buckner, and I quote:

"There haven't been many people in baseball who have fooled me, but I have to admit that Buckner was one of them. I thought he was the All-American boy. I thought he was the kind of guy who'd dive in the dirt to save ballgames for you. What I found out, after being around him for awhile, is that he's nuts. He doesn't care about anything but getting a hit. He doesn't care about the team. All he cares about is Bill Buckner."

My observation about the back: A Hall of Famer as a wide receiver. I'm telling ya, the "cripple" could fly.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames tab has been updated with two big NCAA basketball games. The Music tab has been updated with a new No. 1 song. And the Pop Culture tab has been updated with an event that would change entertainment forever -- well, not for me, but for some people.

Monday, June 18, 2012

#64 - Mark Bailey

What a card: This is Mark Bailey's first Topps card. He appears in the 1984 Fleer Update set.

My observation on the front: Shea Stadium? I'm looking for Mets caps in the crowd but don't see any.

More opinion from me: These Astros road uniforms just didn't do it for me with the rainbow stripe along the shoulders. Then Houston went and made these the home uniforms, too.

Something you might know: Bailey served as the Astros' starting catcher in the mid-80s, wresting time away from Alan Ashby. But Ashby took over again in 1986, just in time for the Astros to make the NLCS, and Bailey was kind of forgotten.

Something you might not know: Bailey has been a coach in the Astros organization for 14 years. He is in his second season as the hitting coach for the Tri-City Valley Cats in the short-season New York-Penn League. Bailey works for manager Stubby Clapp.

My observation on the back: Another graduate of Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo., is former Montreal Expos pitcher Steve Rogers.

The blog wants to speak now: The Movies category has been updated. Lots of sequels were out at the end of March 1985. And one bad baseball movie.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

#63 - Steve McCatty

What a card: Steve McCatty was still trying to come back from a rotator cuff injury in 1985. The ailment first cropped up in 1982 and eventually led to the end of his career. McCatty's final season in the majors would be in '85.

My observation on the front: I count at least five shades of green on this card.

More opinion from me: McCatty was one of my favorite young pitchers of the early '80s, one of those guys that I wanted to see do well for no apparent reason other than that he wore a mustache.

Something you might know: McCatty, along with Mike Norris, Rick Langford, Matt Keough and Brian Kingman, formed a formidable starting pitching rotation for the A's under Billy Martin in 1980. Although all are cited as examples of what pitching a lot of innings can do to a career, McCatty is often singled out. He finished second in the American League Cy Young voting in 1981 and was out of the majors less than five years later.

Something you might not know: McCatty is now the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals, which means he's the pitching coach for Stephen Strasburg. That must be quite the responsibility. McCatty was just featured Wednesday afternoon having a "discussion" with Strasburg after the sixth inning of a game against the Blue Jays. Strasburg had suffered a minor cut to his finger and wanted to continue to pitch, but McCatty was explaining to him that they were taking him out of the game, much to Strasburg's displeasure.

Said McCatty in an earlier interview a couple years ago, "It's like telling Secretariat not to run very often."

My observation on the back: I don't have the time to do an exhaustive search on whether Dave McNally still holds the record of consecutive hitless innings in a championship series. I think he still might, although I'm surprised that Mariano Rivera wouldn't have broken it by now.

The blog wants to speak now:  The Ballgames and News tabs are updated.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#62 - Mike Ramsey

What a card: This is the second airbrushed card in the set and also the second Expo in the set! Damn, the Expos are getting screwed.

My observation on the front: With the blurred-out background that looks almost like a painting, the only thing that appears real in the photo is Mike Ramsey's face.

More opinion from me: Ramsey was airbrushed into an Expos uniform because he was traded from the Cardinals to the Expos on July 1, 1984 for Chris Speier. But by April of 1985, he had signed with the Dodgers, making the Expo airbrushing pointless.

This is also Ramsey's final card. He was released by the Dodgers in June, and signed by the Orioles, but wouldn't return to the majors.

Something you might know: Ramsey was known for his versatility, as you can see by the 3B-SS-2B notation on the card. He played a variety of positions for the 1982 Cardinals, who won the World Series.

Something you might not know: The Dodgers had two players named Mike Ramsey in their organization in 1985. Ramsey, the infielder, and Ramsey, the outfielder. Ramsey, the outfielder, was African-American and playing in Double A in 1985. He'd play briefly with the Dodgers in 1987.

My observation on the back: As the first player to hit a home run in a night game, Floyd Herman is my hero. But Floyd  is better known as Babe Herman, a standout outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers -- who drove in 130 runs in 1930 -- and for the Chicago Cubs.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture and News categories are updated. A point-shaving scandal breaks and one of the beautiful people is born.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

#61 - Curt Kaufman

What a card: This is the only Topps card issued of Curt Kaufman. He also received a Donruss and Fleer card in 1985, but that was it as far as major card brands go.

My observation on the front: This is the most off-center, drastically miscut card in my '85 set. I remember pulling it out of the complete set that I bought and being disgusted by how miscut it was.

More opinion from me: Kaufman didn't distinguish himself as a major league pitcher, so my lasting thought of him is his off-center card. I suppose I should find a replacement for it so I'm not burdening him with this anymore.

Something you might know: Kaufman started out in the Yankees organization and was traded to the Angels in exchange for shortstop Tim Foli.

Something you might not know: Kaufman led the International League in saves in 1983 with 25, which was a league record. The International League record is now 43, set by another former Yankees farmhand, Jonathan Albaladejo in 2010.

My observation on the back: That is Kaufman's entire major league career on the back of this card. He would play in the Angels' minor league system in 1985 and the Orioles' minor league system in 1987, but elbow surgery contributed to the demise of his career.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music, Pop Culture and News tabs are updated.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

#60 - George Hendrick

What a card: This card is one of George Hendrick's final ones as a Cardinal, a team with whom he's most identified. He was traded to the Pirates in August of 1985 and missed out on St. Louis' World Series appearance that year.

My observation on the front: It appears that Hendrick's helmet has no logo on it. That is very distracting. The most distracting examples of this, though, are the 1979 Topps George Foster and Junior Kennedy cards, each of which feature Reds helmets with no logos.

More opinion from me: Hendrick compiled some great cards in his career. Some of my favorites are his 1973, 1976, 1980 and 1981 cards. The '85 Traded card, which we'll see here eventually, is also pretty good.

Something you might know: Aside from Hendrick's long career as a successful hitter, he is probably most known these days as being the father of modern baseball pants. Hendrick wore his pants very low, down to his shoes, and that has been the fashion trend among many players for a number of years now.

Something you might not know: George Hendrick was dissatisfied with his time in Oakland early in his career. The A's wanted him to start the 1973 season in the minors. He asked to be traded. One of the teams he asked to be traded to was ... Cleveland. Very bizarre for a native of Los Angeles to ask to be traded to a team that was known for being horrid in the 1970s.

Hendrick was traded to Cleveland.

My observation on the back: Hendrick was known by many as the best amateur player in the country when he was drafted by the A's in the late 1960s.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture and Movie categories have been updated.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

#59 - Rick Waits

What a card: Rick Waits was primarily a starter during his career, but by this point he was mainly relieving. In 1984, he saved three games, which was a career high for him.

My observation on the front: Waits appears to be working in old Tiger Stadium.

More opinion from me: The old powder blue uniforms seem to be loved by a great many nostalgic baseball fans these days. But back when they were everywhere, I don't remember anybody liking them. I certainly didn't. Especially those Cubs jammies things.

Something you might know: Waits will forever be known as the Indians pitcher who beat the Yankees the final day of the 1978 season to force a one-game playoff between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The scoreboard at Fenway Park thanked Waits publicly for beating New York, but I'm sure nobody at Fenway was a happy camper after the playoff game.

Something you might not know: Waits was considered the best singer in baseball among his peers and sang the National Anthem before games many times.

My observation on the back: A singer AND a writer. I understand this man.

The blog wants to speak now: No, it doesn't. It's tired and wants to go to sleep.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

#58 - Orlando Mercado

What a card: Orlando Mercado had closed out his career with the Mariners by the time the 1985 season had begun. Seattle dealt him to Texas on April 4 of that year.

My observation on the front: A pretty cool photo of a throw down to second base, even if it's almost positively just during pitcher warm-ups.

More opinion from me: Seattle always seemed to produce players like this during its first 10 years, fringe guys who could barely hit or pitch.

Something you might know: Mercado played for eight different teams as a career backup catcher, finishing with a .199 batting average. He has been a coach in the Angels organization the last 10 years.

Something you might not know: Mercado is one of four players who hit a grand slam for his first major league hit. It came Sept. 19, 1982 against the Rangers. As part of an eight-run fifth inning, Mercado launched one out against Texas pitcher Steve Comer.

My observation on the back: I think it's appropriate that the trivia question is about the lowest leading batting average with all of those .118, .227 and .215s sitting just above it.

The blog wants to speak now: Just a quick update of the Pop Culture tab with some big Hollywood news. If you're into that kind of thing.