Thursday, July 31, 2014

#315 - Doug Sisk

What a card: Doug Sisk was coming off his best season when this card came out in 1985. He wouldn't come close to a season like 1984 for the rest of his career.

My observation on the front: I kind of remember Sisk as a big boy. He looks flat-out skinny here.

More opinion from me: Oh, if only Twitter was around when this guy was pitching. You think bagging on relief pitchers began with Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell? Mets fans used to wait for Sisk in the parking lot. And it wasn't to get autographs.

Something you might know: Sisk began his career as an unhittable sinker baller, one of the best. But after enduring bone chips in his elbow during the 1985 season, he lost his control, became very hittable and was one of the most vilified players in Mets history.

Something you might not know: Sisk holds the record for the fewest home runs surrendered per 9 innings for a career. He allowed 15 in 523 1/3 innings or .26 per nine innings.

My observation on the back: I tried and tried to find some reference to Sisk and his Olympic-like ability to fire a rifle, but came up with nothing. I am now wondering if Sisk pulled a fast one on Topps.

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#314 - Ron Oester

What a card: Ron Oester's stats dipped in the 1984 season, which he had just completed when this card came out. Although Oester would recover in 1985, it was actually the beginning of his decline as Cincinnati's starting second baseman. A broken leg suffered in a collision with the Mets' Mookie Wilson in 1987 wouldn't help matters.

My observation on the front: Oester was well-known for not wearing batting gloves, and you can see he's barehanded here.

More opinion from me: I've never worn batting gloves, so I don't know what the big deal is. But, then again, I've never played 162 games in a season.

Something you might know: Oester was a solid-fielding infielder who took over the second base position from the Reds' Joe Morgan, although he had to fight off Junior Kennedy for the job during the 1980 season.

Something you might not know: Oester's favorite player when he was a kid was Pete Rose. Rose got his 3,000th career hit on Oester's birthday, May 5, 1978.

My observation on the back: Several former major league players attended Withrow High School, including Tony Scott, who played for the Cardinals, Expos and Astros.

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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#313 - Dave Schmidt

What a card: Dave Schmidt had completed his fourth season with the Rangers when this card was issued. He led the Rangers in saves with a whopping 12. Texas recorded just 21 saves for the whole 1984 season.

My observation on the front: This photo was taken in about the same spot as the photo for this card. Possibly during the same photo session. Too bad I can't spot the same fans in the stands on both cards.

More opinion from me: This is the second cap-less card in the last four cards. I don't like that. I think Schmidt could've at least put that cap in his back pocket on his head. At least I think that's a cap.

Something you might know: Schmidt was mostly a relief pitcher for the Rangers and White Sox before he became a starter with the Orioles. He was leading the American League in ERA in June of 1987 for Baltimore before bone spur problems sidelined him for the year.

Something you might not know: Schmidt went 8-1 for the Class A Asheville Tourists in 1980. He blamed his one loss on getting rattled by Max Patkin, known as the "Clown Prince of Baseball," who was doing his routine on the field that evening. When Patkin came up to Schmidt after the game to apologize, Schmidt told him, "Hey Max, I don't need this stuff. I'm down here trying to get out of the minor leagues and you're making a joke of this thing."

My observation on the back: That might be the best write-up on the back of any card I've featured here.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#312 - Marc Hill

What a card: Marc Hill had completed another season as the White Sox's backup behind the plate in 1984, playing in 76 games in support of starting catcher Carlton Fisk.

My observation on the front: Those seat railings at old Comiskey Park -- sometimes yellow, sometimes white -- always make for pleasing backgrounds.

More opinion from me: I am used to the clean-shaven Hill from his days with the Giants. He looks like a different guy here.

Something you might know: A good-field, no-hit catcher, Hill was a starter for the Giants in the late 1970s, but spent the rest of his career as a backup, mostly with the White Sox.

Something you might not know: The White Sox carried three catchers on their team in 1981: starter Fisk, backup Jim Essian and Hill. Hill played in just 16 games and managed just 6 at-bats and no hits. But he received a $5,000 raise for the 1982 season. "If they gave me a raise for going 0-for-6, what would they have done if had been 0-for-20?" Hill said.

My observation on the back: Hill's nickname "Booter" was created by Willie McCovey when the two played for the Giants. It was a combination of "Boot Hill" and "Bunker Hill".

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

#311 - Jim Gott

What a card: Jim Gott was already a San Francisco Giant when this card was pulled out of packs. He was dealt by the Blue Jays in a deal for reliever Gary Lavelle in January 1985.

My observation on the front: I wouldn't say Gott is looking nervously behind him -- he is 6-foot-4 after all -- but it does make you curious what he sees.

More opinion from me: I remember Gott from his early '90s days with the Dodgers. He was pretty effective, until 1994, when I couldn't wait for him to get released.

Something you might know: All together now: Gott's last name means "God" in German and when he pitched against Tim Teufel, whose last name means "devil" in German, it was "God" vs. the devil.

Something you might not know: Two of Gott's six children have autism, one he had with his ex-wife, Clenice, and the other with his second wife, Cathy.

My observation on the back: Gott's hobby was famously featured on a Pinnacle baseball card in 1992.

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#310 - Manny Trillo

What a card: Manny Trillo had just completed his first season with the Giants after signing as a free agent in December, 1983.

My observation on the front: Trillo has a lot of cards in which he is serious-faced and squinty-eyed. There are some smiles on his later cards, like this one, but it's still odd to see.

More opinion from me: This is one of the weaker choices for a card that ends with a zero number. There is nothing about Trillo's 1984 season that says he should have landed a card ending in a zero.

Something you might know: Trillo was a Gold Glove second baseman who won MVP honors in the NLCS in 1980 en route to helping the Phillies win the World Series that year.

Something you might not know: When A's second baseman Mike Andrews made two errors in the 12th inning of Game 2 of the 1973 World Series and A's owner Charlie Finley attempted to waive him in the middle of the Series, the player he wanted to activate in Andrews' place was Trillo. But Commissioner Bowie Kuhn nixed that.

My observation on the back: I don't know, maybe it's just that I didn't grow up around guns, but that bio reads a little disturbing to me. A lot of stuff about Trillo's family life and then, oh by the way, he likes to shoot pistols.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music category is updated. There's a new No. 1. It's connected to the following quote: "Love is an illusion created by lawyer types like yourself to perpetuate another illusion called marriage to create the reality of divorce and then the illusionary need for divorce lawyers."

Monday, July 14, 2014

#309 - Mike Witt

What a card: Mike Witt was rounding into form as the Angels' ace as this card arrived. After spending much of 1983 in the bullpen, Witt won 15 games in 34 starts for California in 1984.

My observation on the front: The whole look of this photo appears suspicious as if Witt was wearing a different uniform when the photo was taken. He is cap-less and the jacket almost looks airbrushed with a nondescript T-shirt underneath. However, Witt had spent his entire career with the Angels up to this point.

More opinion from me: I am also trying to determine if Witt is rocking a perm or if he just had naturally curly hair.

Something you might know: Witt's last performance in a major league game before this card came out was to throw a perfect game on the final day of the 1984 season against the Texas Rangers.

Something you might not know: Witt made a cameo appearance on the sitcom "The Jeffersons" in January 1985. Teammates Reggie Jackson and Brian Downing also appeared in the episode.

My observation on the back: Witt's wife worked in the Angels' marketing department when he met her.

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#308 - John Wathan

What a card: John Wathan was entering his final season as a major league player when this card appeared in packs. His career-low .181 batting average in 1984 was probably the writing on the wall but at least he stayed around one more year so he could get a World Series ring.

My observation on the front: Wathan appears to have hit the ball a long way to the opposite field.

More opinion from me: I remember being surprised at how quickly Wathan became manager of the Royals after playing so recently for the team. His last Topps card as a player is in the 1986 set. And then in the 1988 Topps set he appears as a manager.

Something you might know: Wathan broke a 66-year-old record when he set the mark for stolen bases by a catcher in one season in 1982. Wathan stole 36 -- a record he still holds -- to break Ray Schalk's 1916 mark of 30.

Something you might not know: Wathan's mother was stabbed to death by his step-brother in 1979 in a headline-making case. Two weeks prior, the step-brother, an actor, had taken his mother to see "Orestes, Orestes," a Greek tragedy in which a son fatally stabs his mother. The case grew even larger when the step-brother was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

 My observation on the back: More stunningly simple trivia.

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

#307 - Sparky Anderson

What a card: Sparky Anderson's Tigers were the reigning World Series champs as this card was released. The Tigers won it all in Anderson's fifth season with Detroit.

My observation on the front: Another miserably miscut card right out of the box.

More opinion from me: Anderson is one of those guys who I could never place as a young man. He seemed like he was always the old, crusty type. That 1959 Topps card of Anderson as a player seems like an entirely different person.

Something you might know: When the Tigers won the World Series in 1984, Anderson became the first manager to win a World Series title with an American League and a National League team.

Something you might not know: Anderson was a coach for the 1969 expansion San Diego Padres. Three of the four coaches for that team -- Anderson, Roger Craig and Wally Moon -- played in the Dodgers' organization.

My observation on the back: Anderson's 12 straight postseason wins came as follows:

1 - vs. Red Sox, Game 7, 1975 World Series
3 - vs. Phillies, Games 1-3, 1976 NLCS
4 - vs. Yankees, Games 1-4, 1976 World Series
3 - vs. Royals, Games 1-3, 1984 ALCS
1 - vs. Padres, Game 1, 1984 World Series

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#306 - Rick Reuschel

What a card: Rick Reuschel was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates by the time this card arrived in most kids' collections. He signed as a free agent in late February, 1985.

My observation on the front: This is Reuschel's first trading card since 1982. He was recovering from rotator cuff surgery that cost him the entire 1982 season, and I'm sure I thought he had already retired when I saw this card.

More opinion from: Reuschel's weight was always a topic -- his nickname is "Big Daddy" -- and I went through his cards to see how his weight progressed. On his first solo card, in the 1974 set, he's listed as 215 pounds. The following year he is listed at 230. He stays at 230 for every card until the 1988 set, when he is bumped up to 240, which is where he stayed at through the remainder of his card listings. I did notice Reuschel as being a lot bigger on the Giants than I remembered him with the Cubs and Yankees.

Something you might know: Reuschel, whose brother Paul also pitched for the Cubs in the '70s, effectively had two careers, one as a reliable starter and 20-game winner with the Cubs in the '70s and early '80s and then another as a very effective starter with the Giants in the late '80s/early '90s. The guy also could field like no big man should.

Something you might not know: Reuschel married former Cubs teammate Scot Thompson's sister.

My observation on the back: I hate it when the Dodgers are on the regretful end of history.

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