Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#247 - Wayne Tolleson


What a card: Wayne Tolleson was entering his final season with the Rangers as the 1985 season arrived. He hit just .213 in 116 games for Texas in 1984, but would hit 100 points better in '85.

My observation on the front: Tolleson appears to have checked his swing in time. "Didn't break his wrists," as the ex-ballplayer announcers say.

More opinion from me: Tolleson has that look that basically existed only in the 1980s. Large lenses and a mustache.

Something you might know: Tolleson was a good-field, no-hit infielder for the Rangers, Yankees and briefly with the White Sox. He was involved in a bench-clearing brawl with the Angels' Bobby Grich in 1983 when Grich didn't like the way Tolleson went back to second base on a pick-off attempt.

Something you might not know: As you'll see on the card back, Tolleson led all NCAA Division I schools in pass receptions while playing for Western Carolina in 1977. He caught 73 passes for 1,101 yards. But did you know he was also 6-for-6 in field goal attempts?


My observation on the back: I like that trivia question. I imagine the record is still standing.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Friday, December 27, 2013

#246 - Mike Norris


What a card: Mike Norris received a card in the 1985 Topps set despite spending the entire 1984 season on the disabled list. In fact, his MLB career was effectively over by this time. He would appear in only 14 more games and those would all be during his comeback season with the A's in 1990. This was the last Topps card issued of Norris during his career.

My observation on the front: Norris looks like he knows he's done.

More opinion from me: I knew about Norris from the very beginning, pulling his rookie card in 1976 and noting that he pitched in just four MLB games, which I thought was both odd (because Topps gave him a card anyway) and cool (because his career ERA was 0.00).

Something you might know: Norris enjoyed a tremendous 1980 season in which he went 22-9 with the A's. It is now known more for being overlooked by sportswriters, who voted Steve Stone as the AL Cy Young winner that year, and for possibly leading to Norris' descent into arm problems thanks to alleged overuse by manager Billy Martin.

Something you might not know: In a 1982 Sports Illustrated poll, Norris was voted one of the biggest hot dogs in the American League. Only teammate Rickey Henderson, the Mariners' Julio Cruz and Reggie Jackson finished ahead of him.


My observation on the back: Norris had surgery in 1983 to free a trapped nerve in his pitching shoulder and doctors told him not to pitch for the entire 1984 season.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#245 - Chili Davis


What a card: Chili Davis had returned to form at the time this card was issued. After a sophomore slump in 1983, he rebounded in 1984 to finish third in the National League with a .315 average.

My observation on the front: This is the third straight Giants card featuring a batter in action. And this photo was likely taken during the same game as this one.

More opinion from me: Davis always had a bad-ass way about him on his cards. He hardly ever smiles and he's featuring a downright glare on some cards.

Something you might know: A rookie sensation for the Giants in 1982, Davis fashioned a 19-year career, winning World Series with the Twins in 1991 and the Yankees in 1998 and 1999. He's one of those rare players that ended his career with a World Series title.

Something you might not know: Davis, who received his nickname "Chili" as a youngster after his dad gave him an unfortunate "chili bowl" haircut, wound up cutting other people's hair as it became an interest of his.


My observation on the back: Other Jamaican-born players that followed Davis were Devon White, Rolando Roomes and Justin Masterson.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music category is updated.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#244 - Mike Jones


What a card: This is Mike Jones' first Topps card since appearing on a three-person rookie card in the 1982 set. It's also just his second solo card, the first being in the 1982 Fleer set.

My observation on the front: Something just doesn't seem right about this image. It's almost as if Jones' head was inserted into a one of those carnival cutouts so it looks as if he's wearing a Royals cap and uniform.

More opinion from me: I don't know why Jones would be airbrushed. He played for the Royals exclusively up to this point. He could actually be wearing an Omaha Royals uniform I suppose since he split 1984 between Kansas City and Omaha.

Something you might know: Jones was a promising pitcher drafted in the first round who finished fourth in the A.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 1981. But his career was derailed by a car accident in December 1981 in which Jones suffered a broken neck.

Something you might not know: Jones missed all of the 1982 season after his accident and most of 1983. But in 1984, he pitched an eight-inning one-hitter against the Indians on my 19th birthday. Brett Butler was the only player to get a hit off of him.


My observation on the back: I suppose "injured" covers "broke neck in one-car crash after which he was charged with drunken driving").

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture category is updated with a topic near and dear to Dee Snider's heart.

Monday, December 16, 2013

#243 - Barbaro Garbey


What a card: This is Barbaro Garbey's first Topps base card. He makes appearances in the 1984 Topps Traded and Fleer Update sets. He would have only one other Topps card (1986).

My observation on the front: That's a rather pensive dugout shot.

More opinion from me: Garbey played in 110 games for the Tigers with 327 at-bats and even appeared in four games of the 1984 World Series, but I remember going through my 1985 set after I bought it complete that year and noting that this guy didn't ring a bell with me. I never knew he existed until I saw this card.

Something you might know: Garbey is the first member of the Cuban national team to defect to the United States. He opened the door for Orlando Hernandez, Rey Ordonez, Jose Contreras, Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig and many others.

Something you might not know: Garbey was suspended in 1983 after hitting a fan with a bat during a minor league game. Garbey, who was playing for Evansville, had been heckled by the fan. After the game, he grabbed a bat and waited outside for him, striking him in the shoulder.


My observation on the back: The Freedom Flotilla is more formally known as the Mariel boatlift.

The blog wants to speak now: The Movies category is updated.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

#242 - Greg Harris


What a card: Greg Harris finished out the 1984 season with the Padres after being traded by the Expos on July 20, 1984. He appeared in 18 games for San Diego.

My observation on the front: I'm struggling to determine whether Harris is airbrushed into a Padres uniform and cap. The Cap looks fairly good, although a little off. The uniform doesn't look right especially since it seems like Harris has a hanger in his back. But I'm not positive about the whole thing.

More opinion from me: It does appear that Topps definitely airbrushed the Marlboro sign behind Harris. You can practically see the white-out streaked through the billboard.

Something you might know: Harris was one of two pitchers named Greg Harris who played during the 1980s and until the mid-1990s (each of them finished his career in 1995). It was particularly confusing because both also played for the Padres, although the elder Harris -- this one -- played for San Diego only one year. Also, this Harris -- known as Greg A. Harris (the other was Greg W. Harris) -- was ambidextrous and eventually did pitch in a game left-handed at the end of his career.

Something you might not know: Harris' son, Greg Jr., was drafted in the 17th round of last June's amateur draft by the Dodgers and signed by L.A., who convinced him to turn down the University of Oregon and sign out of high school.


My observation on the back: Since Willie Wilson batted 705 times in a season, two other players have surpassed 700 at-bats in a year. They are Ichiro Suzuki (704 in 2004) and all-time at-bat leader Jimmy Rollins (716 in 2007).

Also the trivia question isn't quite right. Juan Samuel batted 701 times for the Phillies in 1984. Perhaps the trivia question was printed in advance and they could get it changed in time.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#241 - Jim Frey


What a card: This Jim Frey card was issued a mere few months after Frey led the Cubs to their first pennant since 1945.

My observation on the front: Frey has three Topps cards from his managing days with the Cubs. They are all remarkably similar.

More opinion from me: I am so glad I didn't wear glasses in the 1980s. The styles were not good.

Something you might know: Frey led both the Royals and the Cubs to first place in his first year with each team. That is still amazing to me.

Something you might not know: Frey has a distinctive nose, which his lifelong friend Don Zimmer claims got that way after he incited a brawl during a high school basketball game. The two were teammates and, Zimmer claims, when Frey came out on the court to defend him, a player from the opposing team clocked Frey in the nose.


My observation on the back: The card is slightly miscut. The box outlined in white isn't supposed to be at an angle like that.

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

#240 - Dave Stieb


What a card: Dave Stieb was on a roll when this card came out in 1985. He had won 50 games in the past three years and was about to sign a well-publicized 11-year contract with the Blue Jays, which was the longest playing contract ever at the time.

My observation on the front: That blurred-out arm motion was pretty commonplace on cards in the '70s and '80s. I didn't like it as a kid. It looked like the pitcher was missing a hand.

More opinion from me: Stieb has one of the best-looking rookie cards there is, in my humble opinion.

Something you might know: One of the most prolific winners of the 1980s, Stieb was known as a hard-luck pitcher when it came to no-hitters until he finally threw one on Sept. 2, 1990 against the Indians. It's still the only no-hitter by a Blue Jay.

Something you might not know: Bob Lamonte, the man who negotiated Stieb's record-breaking contract in 1985, was Stieb's history teacher in high school.


My observation on the back: Stieb played for Southern Illinois, but that's not the college referenced in the blurb. Stieb and Righetti played for San Jose Community College in 1977 before Stieb went to Southern Illinois.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#239 - Tim Teufel


What a card: This is Tim Teufel's first Topps card. He received cards in the 1984 Donruss and Fleer sets, as well as the '84 Topps Traded set. But Topps waited until Teufel finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in '84 to give him a card in its flagship '85 set.

My observation on the front: Teufel was noted for the "Teufel Shuffle" when he was in the batter's box, moving his butt back-and-forth while he waited for the pitch. I wonder if that's what he's doing in this photo?

More opinion from me: That stance is a little like Rod Carew's, from the other side, of course.

Something you might know: Teufel batted .444 in nine at-bats for the Mets against the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. He's also known for his at-bats against the Blue Jays' Jim Gott because Gott's last name in German means "God" and Teufel's last name in German means "devil." The first home run of Teufel's career came against Gott.

Something you might not know: Teufel was dealt from the Twins to the Mets for former top prospect Billy Beane, who would go on to Moneyball fame as GM for the Oakland A's.


My observation on the back: Other players on Clemson's 1980 team who went on to the majors were pitcher Jimmy Key and infielder Danny Sheaffer, who played for the Rockies and Cardinals.

The blog wants to speak now: First day back at work after vacation. I'm too tired to updated the tabs. Sorry.

Monday, December 2, 2013

#238 - Jose Rijo


What a card: This is Jose Rijo's first Topps base card. He's in the 1984 Topps Traded set, as well as the '84 Fleer Update set. He was also an Oakland A by the time this card arrived, dealt in December of '84 in the big Rickey Henderson trade.

My observation on the front: It's very odd to see Rijo in anything other than an A's or Reds uniform.

More opinion from me: I enjoy it when the Yankees lose players who go on to achieve great things.

Something you might know: Rijo was the MVP of the 1990 World Series, pitching two victories for the Reds, including a two-hitter in the decisive Game 4.

Something you might not know: Rijo was once married to Juan Marichal's daughter, Rosie, but the two divorced the winter after the Reds' World Series win.


My observation on the back: What that sentence is describing is illegal according to MLB rules. They state that prospects must be 16 when they sign with a big-league team.

The blog wants to speak now: A quick update to the Ballgames category, but there's no ball involved.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#237 - Julio Franco


What a card: Julio Franco was coming off his sophomore season when this card was released. He played in 160 games in 1984 and led the AL in at-bats with 658.

My observation on the front: My, that's a mouthful of teeth.

More opinion from me: I'm not crazy about that square "C" the Indians have on their caps. I know it's been around for quite awhile and it helps differentiate from the "C" that their state neighbor, the Cincinnati Reds, wears on their caps. But I grew up with the pointy "C" that the Indians wore in the '70s. I like that one.

Something you might know: Franco played until he was 49 and is the oldest position player to play in a major league game, outside of some gimmick at-bat.

Something you might not know: Because Franco lasted 23 years in the majors, he became known for his diet and workout regime. He was pretty dedicated. One of his beverages of choice was a mixture of beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, garlic, onions ... and an apple. Bleah.


My observation on the back: Jim  Palmer still holds the record for most complete games in LCS history. The best anyone else has been able to do is three (Catfish Hunter and Tommy John).

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated with the saddest news of all for a baseball fan.

Friday, November 22, 2013

#236 - Mark Thurmond


What a card: This is Mark Thurmond's card after the best year of his career. He went 14-8 with a 2.97 ERA for the Padres in 1984 and started the first game of the World Series for San Diego.

My observation on the front: Thurmond's jersey looks too tight. The button area is all wrinkled like it needs ironing.

More opinion from me: I wanted the Padres to lose the World Series so badly in '84 that Thurmond was my hero, losing Game 1 of the Series and then getting battered around in the decisive Game 5.

Something you might know: Thurmond was one member of the so-called "Pep Boys," which consisted of Thurmond and fellow starting pitchers Eric Show and David Dravecky. They would talk religion and, some would say, far right-wing politics.

Something you might not know: Thurmond worked every off-season of his major league career for his father's insurance business.


My observation on the back: I don't know how stains get on cards that I bought as a factory set and barely handled. Also, the trivia question, if asked now, would be 6 major league teams. Add the Rockies and Rays.

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#235 - Garry Maddox


What a card: This is the second-to-last Topps card of Garry Maddox issued during his career. He was entering his final full season of a 15-year big league career.

My observation on the front: Maddox has some great cards and was a favorite going back to childhood. This is a pretty cool close-up of Maddox taking some informal cuts (might want to take off that warm-up jacket, Garry) in the cage.

More opinion from me: The most famous quote about Maddox is the one that goes "two-thirds of the earth's surface is covered by water, the other third is covered by Garry Maddox." It's a terrific quote, and depending on what you're reading, it was either uttered by Harry Kalas or Ralph Kiner. This drives me crazy. SOMEONE had to say it first. Who was it? I want to say it was Kalas because he would've covered Maddox a lot more than Kiner. But yet Kiner is attributed everywhere as saying it. Perhaps Kiner said, "they say 'two-thirds of the earth's surface is covered by water, the other third is covered by Garry Maddox.'" I can hear him saying that, without attributing it, especially in his advanced state. But, dammit, this is a great line and it needs to be copyrighted or something. Etched in stone as either said first by Kalas or Kiner. Am I the only one who is annoyed by this?

Something you might know: Maddox was an eight-time Gold Glove winner, who nevertheless did not come up with Dusty Baker's fly ball or Bill Russell's single in the decisive Game 4 of the 1978 NLCS.

Something you might not know: When Maddox was first starting out in his baseball career, he told the Giants that he was quitting the game two months after signing a contract. He went into Army, served in Vietnam and only came back to the sport because his father had three heart attacks and his family needed him home.


My observation on the back: I wonder if that's the first time the Vietnam War was mentioned on a baseball card?

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#234 - Jerry Narron


What a card: This is Jerry Narron's return to Topps cards after being omitted from sets in 1983 and 1984. His last previous card was in the 1982 set when he was with the Mariners (he was actually released by Seattle in spring training of 1982).

My observation on the front: That's quite the grin by Narron. He was probably so pleased to be back in the major leagues and on a card.

More opinion from me: I first noticed Narron during his first big-league season in 1979. That was the year that Thurman Munson died in the plane crash. Narron worked behind the plate in the first game after Munson's death. I never liked Munson and although I didn't like the Yankees, I looked forward to Narron being somewhat more pleasant than Munson was.

Something you might know: Narron was the manager for the Texas Rangers for most of 2001 and all of the 2002 season.

Something you might not know: Narron is the father of five children. All of their names start with the letter "C." I can't confirm that it has anything to do with the abbreviation for "catcher" being "C."


My observation on the back: As you can see, this card is significantly miscut. The hazards of buying a factory set in 1985.

The blog wants to speak now: The "Other Cards" section is updated.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#233 - Ed Jurak


What a card: This is the middle card in Topps' Ed Jurak trifecta. His only Topps cards are in the 1984, 85 and 86 sets.

My observation on the front: I've said this before, but outside of palm trees nothing says spring training in a photo quite like a chain-link fence.

More opinion from me: My brother expected big things from Jurak. He was a shortstop and the shortstop for the Red Sox at the time was Glenn Hoffman with his .209 batting average. I gave my brother hell for Hoffman and he'd come back with something about Jurak and his future prowess. But we both kind of knew he wasn't the answer.

Something you might know: Jurak was mentioned in Oil Can Boyd's book, "They Call Me Oil Can: Baseball Drugs And Life On The Edge," as the best teammate he ever had. In the book, Boyd says that Jurak understood him, and he could tell that Jurak had no problem with race.

Something you might not know: Jurak removed a rat from the field with his glove during the middle of a game against the Indians in 1984. With runners on first and second in the third inning, a rat scurried across the first base line toward Bruce Hurst on the pitchers mound, then switched direction and headed to the third base line. Jurak, playing first base in the game, went over and scooped the rat up with his glove, throwing it in a trash can.


My observation on the back: Water polo in high school? California is so strange to us East Coasters.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#232 - Dave Beard


What a card: This is Dave Beard's first base card as a Seattle Mariner. It's also his final card.

My observation on the front: Lots of blue hues on that card. Hey, "blue hues" is fun to say!

More opinion from me: I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a tragedy that Dave Beard did not have a beard. He's also wearing that same grin on several of his cards. It's very Jason Giambi-like. I don't enjoy it.

Something you might know: Beard was mostly a relief pitcher for the Oakland A's between 1980-84. He first came to national attention when he finished off a sweep of the Royals in the 1981 AL Division Series with a 1 1/3-inning save in Game 3.

Something you might not know: Beard made his major league debut on my 15th birthday, July 16, 1980. I guarantee he had a better day than I did.


My observation on the back: There is another one of those lazy "is the home of what team?" trivia questions. I think there's been about 10 of them already. This one contains a massive hint. Just look at the uniform of the guy on the front!

The blog wants to speak now: Sorry, not tonight it doesn't. It's been a very unleisurely Veterans Day weekend. We'll perk up in a day or two.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

#231 - Dwayne Murphy


What a card: Dwyane Murphy was coming off the most powerful season of his career when this card was issued. He hit 33 home runs in 1984 with an OPS of .814, both career highs.

My observation on the front: I have no idea what Murphy is doing. Is he pushing a wheelbarrow?

More opinion from me: I learned at an early age that when a player was featured hatless on a card that it meant Topps thought the player was about to be traded or had heard that he would be traded. There's no way I can remember trade rumors from 1984, but Murphy did have two subpar years in '82 and '83, so maybe the A's were trying to swing a deal then.

Something you might know: Murphy was the center fielder in what was considered the best young outfield of the early '80s with Rickey Henderson in left and Tony Armas in right. Murphy was a Gold Glove fielder and the No. 2 hitter behind Henderson when he stole a record 130 bases in 1982.

Something you might not know: Murphy used to be the high school football coach for a school in the San Francisco suburb of San Ramon. The baseball coach at the high school at the same time was former Oakland A and Murphy's teammate, Mike Davis.


My observation about the back: I wonder how many Memorial Stadiums there are in the United States? Minus the one referred to on the back of this card, of course.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames category is updated with a significant day in baseball history.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#230 - Gary Carter


What a card: This is the last Topps card of Gary Carter as a Montreal Expo (issued during his career anyway). He was traded to the Mets on December 10, 1984.

My observation on the front: Carter has some tremendous cards. This one is pretty good. It just exudes Expos-ness. I love it.

More opinion from me: I always liked Carter, even when he was with the Mets, which was filled with many unlikable players at the time.

Something you might know: Hall of Famer Carter won the All-Star Game MVP twice, had his number retired by the Expos and was the backstop for the 1986 World Champion Mets. He was also a very happy guy.

Something you might not know: Carter is the only player to have hit two home runs in both a World Series game and an All-Star Game.


My observation on the back: This isn't the only card back that mentions that Carter collected baseball cards (there is one that mentions it in cartoon form). But it's still cool. It's also interesting that they're referred to as "baseball picture cards."

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Friday, November 1, 2013

#229 - Dave LaPoint


What a card: Dave LaPoint was already a San Francisco Giant by the time this card appeared in packs. He was one of the four players sent to the Giants on Feb. 1, 1985 for Jack Clark.

My observation on the front: Baseball was a whole lot brighter in the '80s, thanks to uniforms like this.

More opinion from me: LaPoint is from the Upstate New York town of Glens Falls, which isn't all that far from me. During my couple of visits to Glens Falls when LaPoint was pitching, it was clear what a big deal he was to the folks there.

Something you might know: LaPoint pitched in two games of the 1982 World Series for St. Louis against Milwaukee, the team that traded him less than two years prior. He pitched the eighth inning of Game 1 and then started Game 4, which the Cardinals lost 7-5 as his error helped open the door to a 6-run inning by the Brewers in the seventh.

Something you might not know: LaPoint signed a contract with the Brewers as a 17-year-old and began his career in Newark, N.Y. But the team found out that LaPoint hadn't graduated from high school yet and took him out of the game. LaPoint drove home and graduated a day later, then drove back to join the team.


My observation on the back: I'd love to figure out who the youngest pitcher was to win a game in both leagues, but it's proving to be more time-consuming than I thought.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music category is updated. Come on. I'm talking to you. Come on.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#228 - Dion James


What a card: Dion James was coming off his rookie season for the Brewers at the time this card was made and was named the team's top rookie for 1984. This is Topps' first card of James, although he appears in both Donruss and Fleer sets in 1984.

My observation on the front: You got to love when personalized gloves show up on baseball cards.

More opinion from me: Yellow caps don't look good unless the Pirates are wearing them.

Something you might know: The most-cited incident in James' career came when he was playing for Braves against the Mets in 1987. His fly ball killed a dove in flight. You can see video of it complete with a Tim McCarver exclamation.

Something you might not know: James was traded for exactly two players in his career. Both were former first-round draft picks. He was traded for Brad Komminsk ('79 Braves) in 1987 and for Oddibe McDowell ('84 Rangers) in 1989.


My observation on the back: I believe Larsen still holds the record for consecutive hitless innings in a World Series, although it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibilities for a pitcher to toss six hitless innings in back-to-back games.

The blog wants to speak now: The Sports and News categories are updated. Carlton Fisk did something very memorable on Aug. 2, 1985.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

#227 - Danny Darwin


What a card: Danny Darwin had been dealt to the Brewers by the time most collectors pulled this card out of packs. He was involved in the giant four-team trade on Jan. 18, 1985, involving the Rangers, Brewers, Royals and Mets in which Darwin, Jim Sundberg, Don Slaught, Tim Leary and Frank Wills switched teams.

My observation on the front: Dig the Rangers' red jersey tops. Do not dig the thick uniform piping that a lot of teams used at this time.

More opinion from me: Darwin is about as early 1980s as it gets with his long, feathered hair and mustache.

Something you might know: A member of eight teams over a 21-year major league career, Darwin won the 1990 National League earned-run average title while a member of the Astros even though he started only 17 of the 48 games that he pitched.

Something you might not know: When Darwin was pitching for the Brewers in 1986, outfielder Rick Manning got so tired of his teammates not giving Darwin any run support that he offered $20 per RBI the next time Darwin pitched. Manning shelled out $100 after Darwin's next game, which the Brewers won 5-3 against the Blue Jays.


My observation on the back: One of Danny's teenaged brothers was Jeff Darwin, who pitched for the Mariners and White Sox between 1994-97.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#226 - Juan Beniquez


What a card: Juan Beniquez had just finished what might be considered the best season of his 17-year major league career. He hit a career-high .336 in 354 at-bats for the Angels in 1984.

My observation on the front: That's a terrific in-game shot. Beniquez looks like a right-handed version of Rod Carew with the way he's holding his bat.

More opinion from me: Beniquez was one of those players that I lost track of during his career. His '75 Red Sox card was one of the first that I saw from that set and I pulled his cards consistently each year through the early '80s. But he seemed to disappear around then. Then in 1988, I bought one pack of Topps, pulled his card where he's featured with the Blue Jays and stared at it in amazement. "Juan Beniquez is still playing?"

Something you might know: Beniquez holds the record for playing for the most American League teams in a career. He played for eight (Boston, Texas, New York, Seattle, California, Baltimore, Kansas City and Toronto).

Something you might not know: During Boston's 1975 World Series season when it featured two heralded rookies in the outfield in Jim Rice and Fred Lynn, guess who forced either Rice or Lynn to sit the bench the first four games of the season? Yup, it was Beniquez.


My observation on the back: The tiny print is difficult to see, but Beniquez's career batting average at this point is .269. Thanks to a four-year period between 1983-86 when Beniquez hit above .300 each year, he went from a career average of .257 on his 1982 Topps card to .274 on his 1988 card.

The blog wants to speak now: The Movies category is updated.

Monday, October 21, 2013

#225 - Mike Boddicker


What a card: This is Mike Boddicker's card after his first-and-only 20-win season. It was a pretty awesome way to thwart the sophomore jinx.

My observation on the front: Hey, you! You guys in the stands! YOU'RE ON A BASEBALL CARD!

More opinion from me: I hold Boddicker partly responsible for one of the dullest World Series I've ever witnessed. He threw a three-hitter in the Orioles' 4-1 Game 2 win over the Phillies en route to a 4-1 Series win in 1983.

Something you might know: Boddicker's tremendous postseason performance in his rookie season of 1983 solidified himself in Orioles lore. His five-hit, 14-strikeout shutout of the White Sox -- he was the first AL rookie to throw a playoff shutout -- earned him ALCS MVP honors.

Something you might not know: Boddicker turned down an offer to sign with the Montreal Expos in 1975. He was making $4.50 working in a grain elevator at the time.


My observation on the back: I believe the write-up is incorrect. Boddicker's sister married his high school coach. Boddicker married the daughter of his American Legion coach.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

#224 - Al Cowens


What a card: Al Cowens was coming of yet another comeback season at the time of this card's creation. After an abysmal 1983 in which he hit .205, he bounced back in '84 to hit .277, driving in 78 runs.

My observation on the front: I know Cowens stopped playing for the Royals after the 1979 season, but it's weird to see him in any other uniform.

More opinion from me: Cowens seemed to hold on to his afro hairstyle longer than most '70s players. He has cards through 1986 and he has the wide hair in every one.

Something you might know: Cowens' most famous OMG moment came in 1980 with the Tigers when he charged the mound -- instead of going to first base after hitting a ground ball -- to attack White Sox pitcher Ed Farmer. Farmer had broken Cowens' jaw with a pitch the previous season when Cowens played for the Royals. Cowens believed that he was thrown at intentionally. A warrant for Cowens' arrest was issued in Illinois and the Tigers held Cowens out of games for the rest of their time in Chicago. Eventually, Farmer dropped the warrant and the two patched things up.

Something you might not know: Cowens was a high school teammate of former A's player Mitchell Page. Both of them died relatively young -- Page at age 59 and Cowens at age 50.


My observation on the back: I wonder if the Topps bio writer heard wrong. Cowens' nickname was "A.C.", which I suppose could be interpreted as "Ace" if someone misheard.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture category is updated.

Monday, October 14, 2013

#223 - Tom Hume


What a card: Tom Hume was coming off a miserable season entering 1985. Thirteen losses in 17 decisions and a plus-5 ERA had knocked him from consideration of regaining his closer status.

My observation on the front: Hume is displaying his very 1980s eyewear on this card -- and on all of his cards. He is wearing large, thick glasses on each one.

More opinion from me: I always considered Hume the National League version of Tom Henke and vice versa. They were both closer types who didn't look the part thanks to their glasses and each had the initials "T.H."

Something you might know: Hume tied with Rollie Fingers for the 1980 National League Fireman of the Year Award, a year after finishing second in the league in earned run average.

Something you might not know: Hume and fellow pitcher Bill Bonham were among the people rescued from the third-worst hotel fire in United States history. The MGM Grand fire in Las Vegas killed 85 people on Nov. 21, 1980. Hume and Bonham were staying at the hotel on their way to Tuscon, Ariz., for a charity golf tournament. Both pitchers and their wives were rescued off of a roof of the hotel.


My observation on the back: My guess is that either Joe Torre or Tony La Russa has obliterated Earl Weaver's record. But all the internet wants to tell me, in my limited attempts at research, is about World Series wins.

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