Friday, November 30, 2012

#119 - Pat Corrales

What a card: Pat Corrales was embarking on his third season of his third MLB managing job entering the 1985 season. The Indians finished sixth under Corrales in 1984 and would finish seventh in 1985.

My observation on the front: Corrales looks like he has spotted something he doesn't like.

More opinion from me: We've gone through four manager cards so far, and they've all been as exciting as dirt.

Something you might know: Corrales was the first MLB manager of Mexican-American descent.

Something you might not know: Corrales was called "a sissy and a coward" by pitcher Dave Stewart after Corrales went to the mound and kicked Stewart, touching of a bench-clearing brawl during a game in 1986. Corrales was complaining after what he thought was a retaliation pitch Stewart threw at Julio Franco. After exchanging some words, Corrales kicked Stewart, who knocked Corrales down with a punch, setting off the brawl.

My observation on the back: "Pat had distinction of managing both Phillies and Indians in 1983."

"Distinction," to me, implies excellence or superiority. But Corrales managed both because he became the first manager ever to be fired off a first-place team, when the Phillies axed him in June of 1983. The Indians picked him up in July of that year and finished last. Thus, Corrales is the only manager to manage both a first-place and last-place team in the same season.

Hey, I guess that IS pretty "distinct," huh?

The blog wants to speak now: The TV category has been updated.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#118 - Eric Show

What a card: Eric Show was in his third season as one of the Padres' top pitchers when this card was created. He had just helped San Diego into the World Series, although he didn't fare very well in his postseason starts.

My observation on the front: Here I go guessing stadiums again. Candlestick Park?

More opinion from me: Show has a tragic story that a lot of baseball fans know. Even during the time when his association with the John Birch Society was being publicized and criticized in the mid-1980s, I thought he was getting a bad rap. Show was definitely eccentric, but I think people jumped to conclusions with him a lot.

Something you might know: The very year this card came out, Show would give up hit No. 4,192 to Pete Rose, which broke Ty Cobb's all-time record. Show famously sat on the mound during the celebration after the hit.

Something you might not know: Another well-chronicled player with lots of well-known stories. You might know that Show was a musician. But did you know, he put out a record called "The Padres Win Again" during the 1984 pennant-winning season?

My observation on the back: Show's wife -- Cara Mia (that's her first name) -- stayed with Show through a lot. Show's abusive father, baseball ups-and-downs, a World Series loss, a major on-field and media flare-up when Show hit Andre Dawson in the face with a pitch, and countless battles with methamphetamine and cocaine. The two eventually got divorced during the final stages of Show's life, and the drugs finally killed Show at 37.

The blog wants to speak now: Just a quick update to the Ballgames tab.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

#117 - Greg Gross

What a card: Greg Gross was coming off his last great pinch-hitting season when this card arrived, batting .322 with a .393 on-base percentage on 202 at-bats in 112 games in 1984.

My observation on the front: Gross embraced the '80s-nerd ballplayer look as well as anyone. What horned-rim glasses were to '60s ballplayers, oversized, wire-rim glasses were to '80s baseball dudes.

More opinion from me: Gross is not related to former Oakland A's infielder Wayne Gross, nor former Expos, Phillies and Dodgers pitcher Kevin Gross. In fact, he's not related to any MLB-playing Gross ever. The one that threw me the most was Wayne Gross. I thought for sure Greg and Wayne were brothers.

Something you might know: Gross was an all-star rookie starting outfielder for the 1974 Houston Astros, but his career lasted 17 years because of his pinch-hitting ability. He is fifth all-time in career pinch-hits with 143.

Something you might not know: Gross was caught stealing 20 times during his rookie year in '74. Only Lou Brock was caught stealing more often in the National League that year with 33. But while Brock stole 118 bases in 1974, Gross stole ... 12.

My observation on the back: Greg and Debbie's kids names are Megan and Michael. Just adding the info Topps would've added if it didn't have to throw in the copyright line.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab has been updated.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#116 - Dennis Boyd

What a card: This is the first Topps card for Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. He appeared in both the 1984 Fleer and Donruss sets.

My observation on the front: It's difficult to tell whether Boyd is wearing one of the gold chains that he enjoyed wearing -- and that got himself into trouble with Yankees manager Billy Martin -- or if it's just a printing flaw.

More opinion from me: Topps can't escape mention for never using Boyd's nickname on the front of his cards. I know Topps was a stickler for avoiding nicknames in most cases (until the Rock Raines saga came along). But nobody knew Boyd as "Dennis." As for the other card companies at the time, Score also stuck to "Dennis." Fleer interchanged between "Dennis" and "Oil Can." Donruss embraced "Oil Can" from the very beginning. And Upper Deck went with "Oil Can" when it came along in '89, because they had to be trendy.

Something you might know: Boyd was nicknamed "Oil Can" because of his fondness for beer, which is sometimes called "oil" in his native Mississippi. Beer, according to his manager and pitching coach in 1986, also was what cost him the Game 7 start in the '86 World Series. John McNamara and Bill Fischer said he was drunk and couldn't pitch.

Something you might not know: This is the second straight card in the set in which the player featured is known for referring to himself in the third person. Total coincidence, but well-done just the same.

My observation on the back: 23 feet? So what? The 37-foot-high Green Monster is not impressed.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab has been updated.

Friday, November 16, 2012

#115 - Rickey Henderson

What a card: For the second card in a row, we have someone who was with a different team by the time his card arrived in stores. Henderson was dealt to the Yankees on Dec. 5, 1984 in a deal that brought, among other players, Jay Howell and Jose Rijo to the A's.

My observation on the front: I like almost every card of Rickey Henderson, but this one is just OK. I prefer the cards where he's on the bases.

More opinion from me: I think Henderson is the single most fascinating ballplayer of my lifetime. And probably the best player I've ever seen.

Something you might know: Rickey refers to Rickey in the third person a lot. But he claims that this is blown out of proportion. He says he calls himself "Rickey" mostly when he's scolding himself.

Something you might not know: It's difficult to find something unknown about someone so well-documented. So, I'll just go with this: Henderson's best friend in baseball was Dave Stewart. That's quite a pair right there.

My observation on the back: The word "swimming" is set off from the rest of the sentence, like it was used to replace some other word.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, Music and News categories are updated. Hey, hey, hey, HEY!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

#114 - Bob James

What a card: Bob James was already a member of the White Sox by the time this card made it to stores. He was traded by the Expos on Dec. 7, 1984 in exchange for Vance Law.

My observation on the front: This is the first time on this blog that we've seen a real, live Expos uniform. The first two Expos were airbrushed and the third was wearing a warm-up jacket.

More opinion from me: I miss the Expos.

Something you might know: After kicking around between the minors and majors for a few years, James emerged in 1984, and then became the closer for the White Sox in 1985, enjoying a career year and saving 32 games.

Something you might not know: James tore a muscle in his pitching arm while facing Don Baylor in the ninth inning of a 1-0 White Sox victory over the Red Sox on Aug. 4, 1986. James grabbed his right arm, and Dave Schmidt had to come in and replace James for the final two outs of the game. James didn't pitch again until the 1987 season. He wasn't the same and '87 would be his last year in the majors.

My observation on the back: Ah, I remember the three home runs Palmer gave up well. Joe Morgan, Greg Luzinski and Steve Garvey. A happy moment.

The blog wants to speak now: The News, Pop Culture and Movies categories are updated. Pilots go on strike, "Matty Ice" is born, and an epic movie of the '80s hits No. 1.

Monday, November 12, 2012

#113 - Tom Herr

What a card: Tom Herr was a steady performer on the runnin' Redbirds and about to embark on the best season of his career in 1985.

My observation on the front: I love "bats in mid-air" photos. If I was one of those collectors who collected cards of "players doing something," I think it would be "bats in mid-air" cards. In fact, I think this is a future post on my other blog.

More opinion from me: A lot of golf-type caps in the crowd. Makes me think it's spring training. And the kid in knee socks needs to learn how to sit right.

Something you might know: Herr is the last National Leaguer to drive in more than 100 runs while hitting less than 10 home runs in a season. It happened in 1985, when he finished fifth in the MVP voting.

Something you might not know: After his career, Herr opened a sports memorabilia shop in the Philadelphia area. But it didn't last long and he went into managing, both in pro and independent leagues.

My observation on the back: What's it like to have your birthdate posted on a baseball card for everyone to see? Aaron Herr went on to play pro ball, making it all the way to Triple A in the Reds organization.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, News and Pop Culture categories have been updated. I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

#112 - Tom Tellmann

What a card: Tom Tellman wasn't even with the Brewers by the time most folks were opening packs of 1985 Topps. He was released by Milwaukee at the end of March of that year and picked up as a free agent by Oakland in April.

My observation on the front: Tellman is holding on to the late '70s something fierce. 1978 wants its gold chain back.

More opinion from me: There aren't enough Brewers logos on this card.

Something you might know: Tellman won 15 games for the Brewers in 1983 and 1984 as an effective, under-3 ERA middle reliever.

Something you might not know: Tellman returned to his alma mater in Warren, Pa., to coach the high school team during the 1990s. As recently as 2008, he worked as a pitching coach for an under-16 all-star baseball team in Jamestown, N.Y.

My observation on the back: Grand Canyon University's baseball coach at the moment is Andy Stankiewicz, the former major leaguer for the Yankees, Expos and a few other teams.

The blog wants to speak now: I've started listing where I've received some of the information that I've mentioned in these posts over on the sidebar, under "bibliography." I hope to go back through older posts and add to the list, as it's time I give credit where it's due.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#111 - Doug DeCinces

What a card: Doug DeCinces was the Angels' regular third baseman for a third straight year at the time of this card, after coming over from the Orioles in a trade in 1982 that made way for Cal Ripken Jr. in Baltimore.

My observation on the front: That's an interesting photo there. By the look on his face and the way he's holding his bat, DeCinces appears to be returning to the dugout after striking out. But Topps wouldn't do such a thing, would they?

More opinion from me: Yes they would.

Something you might know: DeCinces was known for many years as the man who replaced Brooks Robinson at third base for the Orioles.

Something you might not know: DeCinces' aunt was Gloria Winters, an actress on the popular children's radio and television show "Sky King" in the 1940s and 1950s. Winters also wrote an etiquette book, which inspired some of the lyrics in the 1990s alternative hit song "Popular" by Nada Surf.

My observation on the back: These people who are professional baseball prospects and also serve in the armed forces always astound me. I can barely do one thing well.

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

Friday, November 2, 2012

#110 - Alejandro Pena

What a card: Alejandro Pena was at the height of his career when this card was produced. He led the National League in earned-run average and shutouts in 1984. But he suffered such a severe rotator cuff injury that he missed almost the entire 1985 season, and it was initially feared that he would never pitch again.

My observation on the front: Pena had those crazy fat eyebrows that made it look like he painted them on before every game.

More opinion from me: I was pretty out of the loop as far as following baseball in 1984, so I don't think fully appreciated the season Pena was having. I feel cheated.

Something you might know: Pena was on the mound for the Braves when Gene Larkin's single drove in Dan Gladden with the game's only run in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Something you might not know: Only five pitchers know the feeling of giving up the Series-winning hit in Game 7 of the World Series. Pena is one of them. The other four are the New York Giants' Jack Bentley (1924), the New York Yankees' Ralph Terry (1960), the Cleveland Indians' Charles Nagy (1997) and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (2001).

My observation on the back: Ichiro Suzuki now holds the record for singles in a season with 225 in 2004.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture and News categories are updated. Stewart gets busted, MacTavish gets sprung, and The Boss gets hitched.