Friday, August 22, 2014
#322 - Dave Stapleton
What a card: Dave Stapleton suffered a knee injury early in the 1984 season and played just 13 games that year. But Topps was good to him and gave him a card anyway.
My observation on the front: The old style Boston road uniforms, which the Red Sox wore in the '80s after not wearing them since the late 1960s, are as basic as you can get. Normally, I would find that boring. But I like these.
More opinion from me: Every time I think of Stapleton now, I think of the letter he wrote to Seth Swirsky that was featured in Swirsky's book "Baseball Letters" in 1996. When Swirsky asked Stapleton if he was surprised when Red Sox manager John McNamara did not use him to replace Bill Buckner at first base in the late stages of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (and we know how that ended), Stapleton responded thusly:
"Yes, I was surprised because I had already loosened up my legs and arm to go into the game in the 7th inning. I had usually gone in at this time in all other play-off games if we were ahead. The reason he left Buckner in was to be on the field when we won the game so he could celebrate with the others. As you well know, nobody got to celebrate because of this bad decision. Mr. McNamara never did have my respect as a manager or a person but that doesn't matter. It does no good to beat a dead dog. he has to live with his decision the rest of his life. And great Red Sox fans all over the country have to continue to suffer on as a result of it. And I feel sometimes that I got released after the "86" season because he didn't want me there to remind him of his mistake."
After all these years after reading that, I still say "wow".
Something you might know: Stapleton started his major league season with a bang, batting .321 in 106 games in 1980 and finishing second to Joe Charboneau in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Something you might not know: Stapleton's batting average declined every single year of his career. From 1980 to 1986 it went: .321, .285, .264, .247, .231, .227 and .128. I have no idea if that's a record. But he has to be in a very small group.
My observation on the back: Tom Seaver holds the record for opening day starts with 16. The record he tied, I believe was Steve Carlton's. There is a Sporcle quiz that you can take related to this. It's only through 2011, but you get the idea. And I already gave you two answers!
The blog wants to speak now: I'm trying to stave off a cold, so I'm going to sit this part out. Time for bed.