Wednesday, January 9, 2013

#132 - Father/Son: Yogi & Dale Berra

What a card: The second card in the Father-Son subset, Dale Berra had already been traded to his father's team, the Yankees, when this card arrived in packs. Yogi Berra was the Yankees manager when Berra was dealt along with Jay Buhner to New York in exchange for Steve Kemp and Tim Foli in December, 1984.

My observation on the front: This card came out during a year of upheaval for Dale Berra. Not only was he traded and played for his father, but he got off to a terrific start, hitting .343. Then his father was fired 16 games into the season, Billy Martin took over, and Dale Berra sat the bench for the rest of the year. Finally, in September of '85, he testified during the Pittsburgh drug trials, admitting to cocaine use with his Pirates teammates while he was injured in 1984.

More opinion from me: Do you think Topps picked the 1959 Yogi Berra card to have matching puffy-cloud pictures?

Something you might know: Berra was suspended for a year, along with 10 other players, after his admission of drug use. The suspensions were scrapped in exchange for community service and donating a portion of the players' salary to drug programs. Berra struggled to regain his playing form afterward and played only parts of seasons in 1986 and 1987 before ending his career in 1988.

Something you might not know: The Berras were the first father-son/manager-player duo since Connie and Earle Mack for the Philadelphia A's in the late 1930s. But the Berras kicked off a series of similar father-son scenarios in the following years with Cal Jr. and Billy playing for Cal Ripken Sr.; Brian McRae playing for Hal McRae; Moises Alou playing for Felipe Alou; and Aaron Boone playing for Bob Boone.

My observation on the back: Yogi Berra's stat -- that he has appeared on Topps cards 19 years from 1951 through 1985 is a little deceiving. There's a gap in there. I don't recall him appearing on cards between 1966-72.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab is updated. 1985 produces another supermodel.

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