Thursday, February 26, 2015

#384 - Jody Davis

What a card: Jody Davis had just come off of a season in which he drove in a career-high 94 runs and finished 10th in the National League MVP voting when this card hit packs.

My observation on the front: That's an intense expression on Davis' face as he uses a blurry object to get another blurry object away from his crotch.

More opinion from me: Those jersey tops back then, they look like something we would have sold in the boyswear section of the department store I worked at in 1984.

Something you might know: Davis burst quickly on the scene for the Cubs and probably was at the peak of his popularity at the time of this card's arrival as he hit .389 with two home runs for Chicago in the NLCS loss to the Padres in 1984.

Something you might not know: Davis starred in a commercial for Toyota Trucks in 1986.

My observation on the back: According to wikipedia, the AL park with the shortest center field distance is now Angels Stadium at 396 feet.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#383 - Rick Lysander

What a card: This is the middle card of Rick Lysander's three-card stint with Topps in the mid-1980s. He debuted in the 1984 Topps set and closed things out in the 1986 Topps set.

My observation the front: That is some kind of close-up shot, and some kind of mustache.

More opinion from me: I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out the Twins' "Win Twins" logo. I like it, but there's a lot going on in that thing.

Something you might know: Lysander toiled for eight years in the Oakland A's minor league organization, before getting a shot with Minnesota. In his rookie season in 1983, he appeared in 61 games, which was tied for seventh most in the American League that year.

Something you might not know: Lysander was one of the Padres' replacement players during the MLB players' strike in the spring of 1995.

My observation on the back: Look at all those city names. I particularly enjoy how he went from Vancouver to Jersey City to Ogden in the span of about a year-and-a-half.

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

#382 - Denny Walling

What a card: Denny Walling was used in 1984 as he was the previous six seasons for the Astros, as a platoon outfielder/corner infielder and pinch-hitter against right-handed pitching.

My observation on the front: I'll never understand the "staring off camera" pose, but I do like the palm tree.

More opinion from me: How many times do you think he got called "Danny" during his career? Thousands?

Something you might know: Walling's ability to pinch-hit was one of the best in big league history. He's currently tied for 13th all-time with 108 career pinch hits. When he retired, he was in the top 10.

Something you might not know: In Mike Scott's 2-0 no-hitter against the Giants that clinched the NL West pennant for the Astros in 1986, Walling scored both runs.

My observation on the back: Two straight card backs with black blotches. I guess I won't be selling this set for millions.

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#381 - Roy Smith

What a card: This is Roy Smith's rookie card. He also appears in the 1985 Donruss and Fleer sets. Smith made his major league debut in June of 1984.

My observation on the front: Smith appears mildly interested in something. The veterans have probably left him out again.

More opinion from me: "Roy Smith" is a wonderfully generic name if you want to slip under the radar as a baseball player. I don't remember Smith during his playing career and when I returned to collecting the 1986 Topps set decades later, I looked at Smith's card like he was an impostor.

Something you might know: Smith won 10 games as a member of the Twins' starting rotation in 1989. He and Allan Anderson were forced to pick up the slack during a season when Minnesota's former ace, Frank Viola, was traded to the Mets.

Something you might not know: Smith, who has been an executive and scout in baseball for the last two decades, was a big supporter of the Mets obtaining Blue Jays pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in the deal for R.A. Dickey in 2012. Smith works with Paul DePodesta in the Mets' scouting department.

My observation the back: Jose Abreu just broke Kittle's White Sox rookie home run record last year when he hit 36.

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

Monday, February 16, 2015

#380 - Ken Griffey

What a card: Ken Griffey had another bout with injuries in 1984 and settled for 399 at-bats and a .273 batting average, which was his worst since his second year in the majors in 1974.

My observation on the front: Whoa, miscut card.

More opinion from me: Griffey never looked right to me as a Yankee. He looked beefy and slow and that was not his image with the Cincinnati Reds.

Something you might know: A starting member of the Big Red Machine teams of the mid-1970s, Griffey later became known as "Ken Griffey Jr.'s dad," and father and son played together on the same team with Seattle.

Something you might not know: Griffey said his first couple of years with the Yankees were rough because he was perceived by his teammates as a Cincinnati Red, the team that swept the Yankees in the 1976 World Series.

My observation on the back: The blurb needs an update: Ken, Ken Jr. and Stan Musial share the same hometown.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#379 - Charles Hudson

What a card: This card was issued after Charles Hudson's second year in the majors. He came down a bit from his rookie high of 1983 when he started two World Series games. Of course, losing both of those games doesn't exactly build momentum for the following year.

My observation on the front: Piping everywhere. That's how you know it's the '80s. Piping.

More opinion from me: I remember associating Hudson with a resurgence of black starting pitchers in the majors. I don't know how accurate that was, it was just my impression. Dwight Gooden was the biggest deal in baseball at the time. I knew Dave Stewart from the Dodgers. And there was Oil Can Boyd. For whatever reason it struck me and I rooted for Hudson.

Something you might know: Hudson was the losing pitcher in the final game of the 1983 World Series. The Phillies lost to the Orioles 5-0.

Something you might not know: Hudson nearly pitched a no-hitter his rookie year, coming within two outs against the Astros. But then he surrendered a bloop single by Craig Reynolds and almost lost it. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Denny Walling and Dickie Thon before striking out Kevin Bass for the final out and a 10-3 victory.

My observation on the back: I don't think I've ever associated a Baltimore Chop with being a grounder. I guess that's what it is, but it doesn't seem like one. It seems like a ... uh ... a chop.

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

#378 - Alan Wiggins

What a card: This is Alan Wiggins at the peak of his career. He set career highs in 1984 in virtually every category and would never match or exceed them. He also hit .364 with eight hits in five games in the World Series against the Tigers.

My observation on the front: I want to know what that sticker is on the bill of his helmet.

More opinion from me: That really is a nice-looking card, and I don't even like the Padres.

Something you might know: Wiggins had blazing speed and set San Diego's season record for stolen bases with 70 in 1984, but he was plagued by drug problems virtually from the start of his major league career. When this card came out he was suspended for cocaine use and dealt to the Orioles. He died at age 32 from complications due to AIDS, which are thought to be related to his drug dependence.

Something you might not know: Two former Dodgers -- Steve Garvey and Lee Lacy -- were the only major league players to attend Wiggins' funeral.

My observation on the back: I'm surprised Lasorda said that. He usually saved his outsized compliments for his own players.

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

Friday, February 6, 2015

#377 - Checklist, Cards 265-396

What a card: We've reached the halfway point on the checklists. This is the third of the six checklist cards in the set.

My observation on the front: In the previous checklist post, I noted that the the outline of the yellow background was either green or blue. But on this checklist the outline is black.

More opinion from me: This checklist has a stain on it, next to card #272. I dislike stains on cards more than almost any other kind of card defect.

Something you might know: There are at least four deceased people on the front of this checklist (Quisenberry, Welch, Niekro and Sparky Anderson).

Something you might not know: Topps gave Rod Carew the "double zero" card number treatment 10 times (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986).

My observation on the back: Look closely and you'll notice the next subset on the horizon. It's a pretty famous one.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated. Billy Martin got in another fight.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#376 - Jeff Newman

What a card: This is the final card of Jeff Newman issued during his career. He was released by the Red Sox on April 4, 1985.

My observation on the front: If you're a catcher, that's a pretty good card for your last one.

More opinion from me: I will always equate Jeff Newman with those horribly overmatched A's teams of the late '70s when Charlie Finley basically left his club for dead.

Something you might know: Newman was the A's All-Star representative in 1979 when Newman had his best season but the A's were atrocious (54-108 W-L mark). Newman didn't play in the game.

Something you might not know: Newman pitched an inning during a game against the Royals on Sept. 14, 1977. He hit batter Hal McRae and gave up a single to George Brett but was unscored upon. The game wasn't the blowout that you see these days when a position player takes the mound. The Royals led 6-0. (Of course, with offense more difficult to come by in the '70s, I guess that was considered an insurmountable lead).

My observation on the back: Cal Ripken Jr. is now the Hall of Famer who has played in the most consecutive games.

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

Monday, February 2, 2015

#375 - Jeff Reardon

What a card: Jeff Reardon was about to embark on his first 40-save season when this card was issued. He had saved at least 20 games for three straight seasons for the Expos between 1982-84.

My observation on the front: Is that an evergreen in the background?

More opinion from me: Expos home uniforms were so bright and clean-looking. No other team existing today seems to have uniforms as fresh and clean as Montreal's were.

Something you might know: Reardon was the all-time career saves leader for about a season in 1992 and is now eighth on the all-time list.

Something you might not know: Reardon's "Terminator" nickname was coined by longtime Montreal radio personality Mitch Melnick.

My observation on the back: Swimming with a beard doesn't seem fun.

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