Thursday, May 30, 2013

#180 - Dave Winfield

What a card: Dave Winfield had just finished a pretty decent 1984 in which he set career highs for batting average (.340) and base hits (193). But his home run total dropped from 32 in 1983 to 19 in 1984, which was definitely noted by the New York media.

My observation on the front: This is the fifth of seven straight Topps cards showing Winfield in action at the plate. From 1981-87, he's got a bat in his hands.

More opinion from me: There's that sweeping swing for which Winfield was known. It looks like he hit something almost one-handed.

Something you might know: Winfield became the highest-paid player in history on Dec. 15, 1980 when he signed a 10-year, $23.3 million contract with the Yankees.

Something you might not know: Here's some pretty neat early '70s footage of Winfield pitching and hitting as a member of the Alaska Goldpanners.

My observation on the back: Winfield's stolen base totals fell way off in New York, but he did bounce back to steal 19 bases in '85 after his six in 1984.

The blog wants to speak now: The Sports and News categories have been updated.

Friday, May 24, 2013

#179 - Tommy John

What a card: Tommy John was entering his fourth year with the Angels when this card was created, but he'd be released by California in June of 1985. He'd be picked up by the A's a month later.

My observation on the front: John's getting up there. He's graying at the temples.

More opinion from me: For a 1980s card, it's a bit of an usual photo for a player at this stage of his career, established with a team. Usually, Topps would go with an action shot here.

Something you might know: I hope you know that this is the first guy to undergo "Tommy John surgery," also known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. John has encountered plenty of people who think that he's the doctor who performs the surgery.

Something you might not know: Chicago Bears long-snapper Patrick Mannelly is married to John's daughter, Tamara.

My observation on the back: Arrrgh! I missed posting this on John's 70th birthday by two days!

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

#178 - Miguel Dilone

What a card: This is the last card of Miguel Dilone issued during his career. He was released by the Expos in July of 1985. The Padres picked him up and he finished out the season with San Diego, but didn't play in the majors after that.

My observation on the front: Dilone's choking up in batting practice! I have my doubts that this ever happens anymore.

More opinion from me: There is nothing quite so pleasing as the Expos' red batting practice jerseys.

Something you might know: Dilone had one of the great "where'd that come from?" seasons of the 1980s. With Cleveland in 1980, he delivered 180 hits and finished third in the AL with a .341 batting average, completely out of character with the rest of his career.

Something you might not know: Dilone lost an eye in 2009 during baseball practice in the Dominican Republic. He was hit in the face by a foul ball that ricocheted off a protective screen.

My observation on the back: Dilone's stat line for his stay with the Pirates in 1983 is interesting. Seven games, 0 at-bats, 1 run, two stolen bases and the "--" line for batting average that always threw me as a kid. I didn't know about pinch-runners.

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

#177 - Dave Von Ohlen

What a card: This is Dave Von Ohlen's sophomore card, but he was released by the Cardinals by the time the card was issued. The Indians signed him as a free agent in January 1985.

My observation on the front: I'm just now realizing how much the old powder blue uniforms look like surgical scrubs. Minus the script and piping, of course.

More opinion from me: I feel guilty saying this as the operator of the 1985 Topps blog, but the design is not my favorite. The jumble of geometric objects at the bottom often makes me think I'm missing out on something in the bottom part of the photo. This is one of those times.

Something you might know: Von Ohlen, a native of Flushing, N.Y., was drafted by his hometown Mets and pitched for the organization for seven years in the minors, never hitting the bigs at Shea Stadium.

Something you might not know: Von Ohlen played in the Men's Senior Baseball League, a national organization for players of all ages, more than 10 years after his retirement from the major leagues. In a New York Times article, he admitted the fields weren't in great shape, so he brought a bottle of water with him and raked the field. That drew some ribbing from teammates who knew he was an ex-MLBer.

My observation on the back: I like it when I read about major league players bowling.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#176 - Bill Schroeder

What a card: This is Bill Schroeder's second Topps card. He had completed his rookie season with 14 home runs in just 61 games for the Brewers in 1984.

My observation on the front: I don't have a way of measuring this, but a candid profile shot of an equipment-less catcher seems rare on a card.

More opinion from me: Schroeder is featured in a fielding position for his first three Topps cards, during a period when he struggled as a hitter. Then in 1987, the same year that he hit .332, he is shown with a bat. Coincidence?

Something you might know: Schroeder is a veteran color man for Brewers TV broadcasts.

Something you might not know: In the sixth inning of a game against the Royals in 1987, Schroeder bunted for a base hit to break up a no-hit bid by the Royals' Charlie Leibrandt. The Royals were winning 6-0 at the time. That doesn't seem too cool.

My observation on the back: According to wikipedia, the trivia question answer is incorrect as it lists Ron Guidry as striking out three batters on nine pitches on Aug. 7, 1984.

The blog wants to speak now: The TV and News tabs are updated. I've been a bit remiss in adding images to the News category. I'll try to fix that soon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

#175 - Dave Parker

What a card: This is the first base card of Dave Parker as a Cincinnati Red (he was with Cincinnati for update sets for both Topps and Fleer). He signed as a free agent in December of 1983.

My observation on the front: Parker looks as powerful as ever with that swing.

More opinion from me: It was very, very strange at the time to see Parker in anything other than a Pirates uniform. And I think a lot of people today don't remember what big rivals the Reds and Pirates were during the 1970s and into the early '80s. Of all teams for him to go to -- the Reds! (But Parker is also a Cincinnati native).

Something you might know: Parker was a fixture of the "We Are Family" Pirates, the first player to get a million-dollar-a-year contract, a man with an unbelievable throwing arm, and someone who paid for his involvement with cocaine during the Pittsburgh drug trials (Parker claimed that it was the reason he finished second in the '85 MVP voting instead of first).

Something you might not know: When Dave Parker made this commercial, little did he know that he would be the only one of the three not in the Hall of Fame, even though many were predicting a Hall career for him at the time.

My observation on the back: Courter Tech is now Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

The blog wants to speak now: A small update to the News tab. I'm going to have to cut back these updates a little bit if I want to continue to make tab updates for the remainder of this blog.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

#174 - Rick Honeycutt

What a card: This is the first card of Rick Honeycutt after his first full season as a Dodger. He pitched in nine games for the Dodgers in 1983 after being acquired in a deadline deal that year.

My observation on the front: I've always liked this card. I looked forward to Honeycutt's first Dodger card in the 1984 set and was disappointed by what Topps offered. But this is a nice pitching shot.

More opinion from me: Honeycutt is the Dodgers' pitching coach and I often wonder how much he is to blame for the weird pitching moves made by Don Mattingly.

Something you might know: Honeycutt was famously busted for using a thumb tack to cut baseballs during a start in September 1980. He was suspended for 10 games.

Something you might not know: The Pirates drafted Honeycutt as a pitcher and a first baseman. In his first pro start, he started on the mound and batted clean-up. He hit a home run in his first at-bat.

My observation on the back: At least 14 other franchises have since exceeded 8,000 all-time wins, and the Cubs are no longer the leaders. Teams like the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals and Red Sox have surpassed them.

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#173 - Mike Young

What a card: This is Mike Young's first Topps card. It was issued after he played in 123 games for the Orioles in 1984 and finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

My observation on the front: That looks like Yankee Stadium to me. I'm probably wrong as I am about 80 percent of the time on stadium guesses.

More opinion from me: Before there was Michael Young, there was Mike Young. But you'd never know it by searching the internet. It really, really thinks you meant to search for Michael Young. (P.S. Mike Young's full first name is "Michael.")

Something you might know: Young was considered a significant prospect when he was drafted by the Orioles, someone who had speed and power from both sides of the plate. But except for a 1985 season in which he hit 28 home runs, he never reached his potential.

Something you might not know: Young became an orange belt in the martial art of kung fu while he was a player. Orange belt is three steps up from beginner, but quite appropriate given his team's colors.

My observation on the back: That write-up isn't anything you couldn't say about a bunch of people who never played in the majors.

The blog wants to speak now: The Sports tab is updated with the Wimbledon champs of '85, both historic victories.

Friday, May 3, 2013

#172 - Jack Perconte

What a card: This is Jack Perconte's first Topps card since the 1983 set when he was with the Indians. Perconte had just come off his most productive season when this card was released, playing in 155 games and hitting .294 as Seattle's starting second baseman in 1984.

My observation on the front: Perconte's picture looks very much like this photo from when he was with the Dodgers. I almost thought this photo was airbrushed for a second.

More opinion from me: Perconte was another one of those Dodgers late '70s prospects that I thought was going to be a future superstar. I was sad when the Dodgers traded him (and Rick Sutcliffe) to the Indians in 1981.

Something you might know: Perconte is "the other guy" on the 1981 Topps Dodgers Future Stars card that also features Mike Scioscia and Fernando Valenzuela.

Something you might not know: Perconte's uncle was Frank Perconte, a famed non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was portrayed in the HBO series "Band Of Brothers."

My observation on the back: Ugh. The trivia question brings up terrible memories. I hated that dome.

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