Friday, August 31, 2012

#88 - Bryn Smith

What a card: You've got to love it. Bryn Smith signing a baseball card for a fan.

Smith was about to embark on the most successful season of his 13-year major league career. He would go 18-5 for the Expos in 1985.

My observation on the front: I wish I could tell what kind of card Smith is signing. If I had to guess, I'd say it looks like the back of a 1983 Topps card. Smith was card #447 in that set.

More opinion from me: At last, an Expos player who isn't airbrushed!

Something you might know: Smith was the winning pitcher in the first victory in Colorado Rockies history, an 11-4 win over his former team, the Montreal Expos, on April 9, 1993.

Something you might not know: Smith's mother, Meg, dated former manager Ralph Houk and actor Cary Grant.

My observation on the back: Smith's wife got Bryn into a little bit of trouble when she was quoted in a story in Sports Illustrated about the difference players and their families face living in Montreal. She said they would have to drive an hour across the border to Plattsburgh, N.Y., for "important staples like Doritos." That drew a fair amount of teasing.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture and Movies categories have been updated. Time for a new No. 1 movie. Title rhymes with "Burt Reynolds flick."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#87 - David Green

What a card: David Green was coming off what would be his last decent major league season when this card was issued. OK, so he only had two decent seasons.

My observation on the front: What a great swing. He looks like he just mashed the ball 500 feet.

More opinion from me: As a young fan, I liked to pick out up-and-coming players as favorites with the belief that no one knew about them but me. While people were flipping out about Darryl Strawberry in the mid-'80s, I was quietly hoping that Green would become a big star.

Something you might know: Pegged as "the future of the Cardinals organization," Green played in all seven games of the 1982 World Series for the Cardinals, going 2-for-10.

Something you might not know: Green's problems with alcohol derailed his career. It also followed him into his post-career life. In 1995, he was convicted of driving while intoxicated after an accident in which a woman in another car suffered a broken pelvis and died of a heart attack two hours later.

My observation on the back: I never knew Green was Nicaraguan. I thought he was Dominican.

The blog wants to speak now: Some updates to the News and Pop Culture categories. Shame, shame, Denny McLain.

Friday, August 24, 2012

#86 - Don Aase

What a card: This card marked the return to baseball card sets for Don Aase, who was omitted out of all 1984 releases after missing the entire 1983 season due to elbow surgery.

My observation on the front: The Angels might have the most glaring colors in the 1985 set. They look like Play-Doh colors.

More opinion from me: Look at that Angels logo, trying to co-opt all of California. Now the Angels just try to do that with L.A.

Something you might know: Don Aase is the fourth name from the top in the alphabetical listing of anyone who has played in the major leagues. He's right after David Aardsma and Hank and Tommie Aaron.

Something you might not know: Aase's last name is pronounced AW-see. Now don't you feel like an ass?

My observation on the back: That's quite a comeback from elbow surgery, throwing up a 1.62 ERA in your first year back.

The blog wants to speak now: The TV tab has been updated with the final results of the 1984-85 prime time season. The Pop Culture tab has been updated with what some call the worst marketing decision ever.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#85 - Mike Marshall

What a card: Mike Marshall was coming off the only All-Star Game appearance of his career when this card arrived. Marshall didn't end up playing in the game at Candlestick Park in 1984, which the National League won, 3-1.

My observation on the front: Looks like the Dodgers are facing the Expos.

More opinion from me: Marshall was a constant source of frustration for me during his Dodger career. A highly-touted prospect with historic Triple A numbers, he could never fill fans' expectations, and he was endlessly injury-prone.

Something you might know: Marshall is often confused with former Dodger pitcher Mike Marshall. Between 1967-1991 there was always someone named Mike Marshall playing in the major leagues. But before 1967 and since 1991? There has never been anyone named Mike Marshall in the majors.

Something you might not know: Marshall dated Go-Go's lead singer Belinda Carlisle in 1983 for about a year. The movie, "The Slugger's Wife," which came out in 1985, was reportedly inspired by their relationship.

My observation on the back: Size 14? That's nothing. Josh Hamilton wears a size 18 shoe.

The blog wants to speak now: The News, Pop Culture and TV categories have been updated. And thank you for your support.

Monday, August 20, 2012

#84 - Spike Owen

What a card: Spike Owen's 1985 card came out after Owen had played in 152 games for the Mariners in 1984. It would be the most games he would play for a single team in a season during his 13-year career.

My observation on the front: Owen appears to have just slapped the ball to the opposite field.

More opinion from me: I have a certain amount of nostalgia for the baby blue uniforms of the '70s and '80s. But not the Mariners' unis. Those things are UG-LEE.

Something you might know: Spike Owen's real first name is actually "Spike." It's not a nickname.

Something you might not know: Owen shares the record with several players for scoring the most runs in a single game. He scored six runs on Aug. 21, 1986, a 24-5 Red Sox annihilation of the Indians. Fourteen other players have scored six runs in a game.

My observation on the back: Owen was captain of the 1982 University of Texas baseball team. One of his teammates was Roger Clemens.

The blog wants to speak now: Just minor updates to the Music and News categories.

Friday, August 17, 2012

#83 - Charlie Moore

What a card: This is Charlie Moore's second straight card with only the outfield position designation. Moore started out as a catcher, then interchanged between catcher and outfielder, then became solely an outfielder, before returning to catcher late in his career. On only his 1984 and 1985 Topps cards is he listed strictly as an outfielder.

My observation on the front: I always wondered what it was like to wear one of those plastic-looking sweat suits, or whatever that thing is. Sure is shiny.

More opinion from me: The catcher-outfield combo isn't exactly unusual, but Moore was the first player that I knew who switched from starting at catcher to starting in the outfield. When he did this in 1982 with the A.L. champion Brewers, I was fascinated.

Something you might know: Moore wore out both the Angels and the Cardinals in the 1982 postseason. He hit .462 in five games of the ALCS against the Angels, and then hit .346 in seven games of the World Series against St. Louis.

Something you might not know: Hank Aaron drove in 2,297 runners during his career. The 2,297th runner was Charlie Moore, who scored on a single by Aaron in the sixth inning on Oct. 3, 1976 against the Tigers.

My observation on the back: It's always comforting when I see a long list of stats all with the same team. Unfortunately, Moore had to ruin the consistency by playing for the Blue Jays the final season of his career in 1987.

The blog wants to speak now: The TV and News categories are updated. Whatever happened to Lorenzo Lamas?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#82 - Joe Price

What a card: This card was issued after the second of Joe Price's seasons as starting pitcher for the Reds. He spent only 1983 and 1984 as a full-time starter. In his 9 other major league seasons, he pitched mostly in relief.

My observation on the front: Cards featuring photos of pitchers with high leg kicks rule.

More opinion from me: The Reds' uniforms of the '70s and '80s give me terrible flashbacks. I automatically think the Reds are in the National League West and dread their meeting with the Dodgers on NBC's Saturday Game of the Week.

Something you might know: Price won Game 5 of the National League Championship Series in 1987 while pitching for the Giants against the Cardinals. He threw five shutout innings in relief of Rick Reuschel who was removed for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning.

Something you might not know: Price holds the record -- along with several other pitchers -- for the most consecutive strikeouts in a relief appearance. He struck out six straight Phillies in the eighth and ninth innings to end an 8-2 Reds win on May 8, 1985.

My observation on the back: Price pitched two years for Oklahoma State, then one year for Oklahoma.

The blog wants to speak now: The News and Movie categories have been updated. And I've added a lyric entry for the Music category. No need to ask. He's a smooth operator.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#81 - Lenn Sakata

What a card: Lenn Sakata had just finished hitting .191 for the Orioles in 1984, the fourth time in his career that he hit below .200 for a season. The 1985 season would be his last of six seasons with the Orioles.

My observation on the front: Sakata appears to be in bunting mode. It seems like that's all I ever saw Sakata do when he came to the plate -- attempt to bunt.

More opinion from me: We were not nice to Sakata growing up. Because my youngest brother was a fan of the Orioles, we had to find someone on the team to rip, and Sakata was an easy target. Asian ballplayers were a rarity at the time, and his unique look to our way of thinking was worth noting. He wore those round glasses, and he was short, and he barely hit. All worthy of derision.

Something you might know: Sakata was the second Asian-American to play in the major leagues when he came up with the Brewers in 1977. The first was pitcher Ryan Kurosaki with the Cardinals in 1975.

Something you might not know: The Brewers gave Sakata the starting second base job out of spring training in 1978. Robin Yount was deciding whether he wanted to continue playing baseball or take up golf. So rookie Paul Molitor started at shortstop. When Yount decided baseball was still for him, Molitor was red-hot and he took over for Sakata at second. Sakata barely played another game for the Brewers.

My observation on the front: The answer to the trivia question remains correct.

The blog wants to speak now: A quick update of the News and Pop Culture  pages.

Friday, August 3, 2012

#80 - Keith Hernandez

What a card: Keith Hernandez was just coming off a season in which he finished second to Ryne Sandberg in the National League MVP voting. It was Hernandez's first full season with the Mets, and he was in full-on "Take That, Whitey Herzog" mode.

My observation the front: Hernandez seems like the perfectionist sort. I wonder what his opinion of his stride out of the batter's box would be?

More opinion from me: There is no more entertaining baseball TV broadcaster working in the game today than Hernandez. His 2008 story about his panicked reaction to an approaching tornado when he was a minor leaguer should have won an Emmy.

Something you might know: Known as perhaps the best-fielding first baseman of all-time, Hernandez won 11 straight Gold Gloves.

Something you might not know: Hernandez had a cocaine habit that is well-known now. But before it came to light in the Pittsburgh drug trials, Hernandez quit the drug because he saw what it was doing to his Cardinals teammate Lonnie Smith.

My observation on the back: 300, huh? I wonder what that total is now?

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, Pop Culture and News categories are updated. Topics include race, war and sex. What else do you want on your Friday?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#79 - Rick Mahler

What a card: Rick Mahler was about to pile up the innings as he never had before in 1985. He would pitch a career high 266 2/3 innings, give up a league high 272 hits, and receive 32 decisions, going 17-15.

My observation on the front: Mahler spent most of the 1983 season in the minors and therefore didn't have a card in the 1984 Topps set. When he returned to Topps with this card, the scraggly beard that he wore on his 1982 and 1983 cards was gone. Suddenly, Mahler was ready for the corporate board room!

More opinion from me: I don't know what that top is supposed to be that Mahler is wearing, but it sure isn't a baseball jersey.

Something you might know: Mahler and his brother, Mickey, each pitched in the majors at the same time, although Mickey's career didn't last as long. Rick and Mickey were teammates on the 1979 Braves.

Something you might not know: The very last thing Rick Mahler did in a major league game was hit Kevin Mitchell with a pitch as a starter for the Braves on Aug. 6, 1991. Mahler was removed before the next batter. Or maybe Mitchell removed him. Dude was scary.

My observation on the back: Now, that is a fascinating player tidbit. How would anyone end up playing Little League in England? From the little research that I did, Mahler's family apparently was stationed by the military in England before moving to San Antonio, Texas.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames and Music categories have been updated. "We Are The World" has taken over the pop charts.