Thursday, June 27, 2013

#189 - Warren Brusstar

What a card: Warren Brusstar was coming off his second season with the Cubs when this card hit shelves. He appeared in three games for the Cubs during their NLCS with the Padres in 1984.

My observation on the front: Brusstar has some epic staredowns on his baseball cards. His first two cards -- from the 1978 and 1979 Topps sets -- are classic, with the thick mustache and curly 'do under his cap (he does some more staring on his '81 Topps and '82 Fleer cards).

More opinion from me: There ain't no ball in that glove.

Something you might know: Brusstar was a middle reliever and didn't start any of the 340 games he appeared in during his nine years in the majors.

Something you might not know: Brusstar's wife, Jennifer, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tug McGraw Foundation. She helped care for McGraw while he was battling brain cancer.

My observation on the back: Brusstar did not receive a 1983 card from Topps. He was purchased from the Phillies by the White Sox in August of 1982. Perhaps Topps couldn't find a way to airbrush Brusstar into a White Sox uniform (it would have been out of date anyway as the White Sox traded Brusstar to the Cubs in late January, 1983).

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

#188 - Greg Pryor

What a card: Greg Pryor was coming off his most successful season since his days with the White Sox in 1979 and 1980 when this card was issued. Pryor played in 123 games for the Royals as a part-time player in '84.

My observation on the front: It appears that Pryor has hit a scorcher to the opposite field. Or maybe it's a harmless grounder to the opposite field.

More opinion from me: I love the "3B-SS-2B" designation! It turns out Pryor played only two games at short in 1984.

Something you might know: Pryor served as George Brett's backup for much of his time with the Royals and actually received more playing time in 1984 because Brett was injured that year.

Something you might not know: Pryor was dealt to the Yankees along with future Dodger-killer Brian Doyle, by the Rangers in 1977. But Pryor would never play for the Yankees, playing for Triple A Syracuse in '77.

My observation on the back: Isn't that nice of the trivia question? You're asked to only name three of the classifications.

The blog wants to speak now: Still stuck on July 13th and the Music category, but this time it's to update the top songs for the second week of July in 1985.

Friday, June 21, 2013

#187 - Mike Walters

What a card: This is the final card issued of Mike Walters during his career. But he had only two. The other was 1984 Topps.

My observation on the front: Check out that finishing pose. I totally remember Walters having some funky delivery that made it look like he was trying to skip rocks. But I can't find any mention of it.

More opinion from me: Someone confirm my memory of his funky delivery!

Something you might know: Walters came to the Twins, along with Tom Brunansky, in a trade with the Angels that sent reliever Doug Corbett and infielder Rob Wilfong to California. The trade at the time was ridiculed in Minnesota as Corbett was a recently successful reliever and Brunansky an unknown. But it turns out the Twins knew what they were doing.

Something you might not know: Walters' first game in the majors was in a mop-up roll after Frank Viola got lit up by the Indians on July 8, 1983. Viola surrendered 10 hits and 9 runs (only three earned) in 3 1/3 innings. But Walters came in, pitched four innings and allowed only two hits and no runs.

My observation on the back: Among the five times that Walters was drafted, two of those times were by the Dodgers. Walters didn't sign either time.

The blog wants to speak now: Even more Live Aid. The Music category is updated with every song played at the Philadelphia portion of Live Aid. Add both concerts together and you get 152 songs (I'll try to rearrange the lists into something more manageable when I get the time).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

#186 - Bob Lillis

What a card: This is Bob Lillis' third Topps card as Astros manager. The Astros finished 80-82 in in 1984, which was Lillis' second full season managing Houston.

My observation on the front: Lillis strikes shockingly similar poses in each of his first three Topps cards as Astros manager. Tight head shots of Lillis looking to his left in each one.

More opinion from me: I can't imagine any kid being excited by pulling this card.

Something you might know: Lillis finished second in the National League Manager of the Year voting in 1983, falling just behind the Dodgers' Tommy Lasorda.

Something you might not know: Lillis, while a coach with the Astros, directed players on the field during the filming of game sequences in the made-for-TV movie "Murder at the World Series," which aired in 1977. The movie, which starred Bruce Boxleitner, was panned by Astros players. "I hope no one saw it," Lillis told Sports Illustrated. "That would be the end of my directing career."

My observation on the back: The brief write-up isn't exactly complimentary if you divide the total number of wins by 3 years. It amounts to 64 wins a year. But Lillis didn't coach the full 1982 season, managing only 51 games.

The blog wants to speak now: Sorry, not tonight. Too tired.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

#185 - Al Holland

What a card: Al Holland was on his last legs with the Phillies when this card was created. He'd be traded to the Pirates in April of 1985 (and then traded to the Angels in August of that year).

My observation on the front: A pretty cool card. I like the look Holland is giving the phantom batter. He wasn't nicknamed "Mr. T." for nothing.

More opinion from me: I really enjoy it when pitchers color coordinate their gloves to their team colors. It's showing some flash without being too flashy.

Something you might know: Holland was the "Rolaids Relief Man of the Year" in 1983, which honored the best reliever of the season. He was a key figure in the Phillies' trip to the World Series that year.

Something you might not know: Holland was signed three times and released three times by the Yankees all within a one-and-a-half-year span.

My observation on the back: Another major softball question on the trivia quiz. How dumb were card collectors supposed to be in 1985?

The blog wants to speak now: More Live Aid (because it was kind of a big deal in '85). The Music category is updated with every song from the Wembley concert in London.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

#184 - Carmen Castillo

What a card: This is Carmen Castillo's rookie card. He played in 70 games for the Indians over the 1982 and 1983 seasons, but didn't get a card.

My observation on the front: This is a nice photo. Castillo is appearing to have a good time in front of a chain-link fence.

More opinion from me: He looks like a bruiser.

Something you might know: Castillo is referred to today as "Carmelo Castillo," but Topps mentioned him almost exclusively as "Carmen Castillo" during his six years on baseball cards (only his 1990 Topps Traded card lists his name as "Carmelo"). The other card companies also listed him as "Carmen" for the most part, although 1986 Fleer listed him as "Carmello," with two Ls. For the record, Castillo's full name is Monte Carmelo Castillo.

Something you might not know: In 1987, Castillo hit .302 in night games and .141 in day games. That was the biggest difference in the American League that year.

My observation on the front: I've heard so much about San Pedro de Macoris during my life that I didn't even know there was a San Francisco de Macoris. I thought Topps made an error. The two cities are about 100 miles apart in the Dominican Republic.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture category is updated with a modest little event called "Live Aid."

Friday, June 7, 2013

#183 - Larry McWilliams

What a card: Larry McWilliams was still enjoying life as a Pirate at the time this card came out, winning in double figures for a second straight year after his trade from the Braves.

My observation on the front: An excellent look at McWilliams' whip-like pitching delivery.

More opinion from me: I don't know how pitchers throw like that. If I was out there, I'd probably forget and start throwing overhand.

Something you might know: McWilliams was the winning pitcher for the Braves in the game in which Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak ended.

Something you might not know: When McWilliams played in Pittsburgh, he worked with Family House, an organization that helps people with serious illnesses. He befriended a 17-year-old girl who was from his hometown in Fort Worth, Texas, and needed the third-ever liver/heart transplant. Unfortunately, the girl died after surgery.

My observation on the back: A trivia question for the geography challenged?

The blog wants to speak now: A brief update to the News category (and President Reagan's colon).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

#182 - Tim Flannery

What a card: Tim Flannery was a backup infielder for the National League champion San Diego Padres when this card made it to store shelves. He had just achieved perhaps his greatest fame on a baseball field, hitting the grounder that went through the legs of Cubs first baseman Leon Durham and scored the tying run in Game 5 of the 1984 NLCS.

My observation on the front: A nice anticipatory moment as Flannery prepares to field in his McDonald's inspired uniform.

More opinion from me: Flannery has made a living working for two baseball organizations I do not like. He played his entire career with the Padres. He is now an overanimated third base coach for the Giants.

Something you might know: Flannery is a very successful musician. He's made 12 albums and has toured with a number of famed musicians. His style of music is "Americana," which is not exactly my taste, but I appreciate some of his inspirations, namely the Allman Brothers Band and Graham Parsons.

Something you might not know: Flannery's uncle -- his mother's brother -- is Hal Smith, a catcher for the Cardinals in the late 1950s.

My observation the back: Bob Horner apparently recognized Flannery's musical skills.

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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

#181 - Roger Clemens

What a card: Roger Clemens' rookie card needs no introduction. Aside from maybe one other card, it is the most coveted card in the set ... as much as a 1985 Topps card can be coveted.

My observation on the front: The card is off-center two different ways -- side-to-side and top-to-bottom.

More opinion from me: The off-centeredness used to drive me bonkers. Out of all of the cards in the set, this is the one that had to come out of my complete factory set the most off-center? But I've gotten over it. Now it's almost a point of pride with me.

Something you might know: Goodness, there's a lot you might know about Clemens. Let's go with the fact that he's third all-time in career strikeouts with 4,672.

Something you might not know: What was going through his head when he threw that piece of broken bat in Mike Piazza's direction during the 2000 World Series. At least speaking for myself, I don't think I'll ever be able to figure that one out.

My observation on the back: I like the choice of the word "refused" in the write-up. Given Clemens' surly reputation, it sounds appropriate.

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