Thursday, December 29, 2016

#612 - Mike Armstrong

What a card: This is the last Topps card of Mike Armstrong issued during his career. He'd spend fractions of each of the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons in the majors, but didn't receive a card after any of those seasons.

My observation on the front: Armstrong is known in the baseball card world for his classic glasses-and-mustache combo. There is not a major league card of him in which he is not featuring that combo.

More opinion from me: This card is not nearly as classic as this card.

Something you might know: A reliever with a three-quarters arm delivery, Armstrong worked the Royals bullpen with a more well-known sidearmer, Dan Quisenberry. Armstrong would often set up Quisenberry.

Something you might not know: Armstrong was the winning pitcher in the "pine tar game". He came on the seventh inning with the Royals trailing the Yankees 4-3. He held New York scoreless for the seventh and eighth and then George Brett hit his home run in the ninth to put the Royals ahead, making Armstrong the pitcher of record.

My observation on the back: This is why sometimes personal information on baseball cards can be tricky. Armstrong remarried. His wife's name -- as of 2006 anyway -- is Monica.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

#611 - Ozzie Virgil

What a card: Ozzie Virgil was coming off his first season as a starter. After four seasons in the majors, Virgil played in 141 games in 1984 with 456 at-bats as the Phillies' main catcher.

My observation on the front: I really like the Phillies' bubble-letter logos from the '70s and '80s.

More opinion from me: Dirty uniform sighting. I wonder if he got that on the bases or diving for a foul ball.

Something you might know: Virgil is part of a baseball family with a third-base-playing father with the same name. Virgil hit 27 home runs for the Braves in 1987.

Something you might not know: Virgil and his father built radio-controlled model airplanes when Virgil was playing and his dad was a coach in the majors. They'd fly them during spring training, and Virgil Jr. once lost a plane in the Gulf of Mexico.

My observation on the back: You don't hear that much about the league leaders in singles, particularly now. The 2016 leaders in singles were Dustin Pedroia (149) for the AL and D.J. LeMahieu (141) for the NL.

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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

#610 - Jack Morris

What a card: Jack Morris was on top of the world when this card was issued. He pitched two complete-game victories in the 1984 World Series as the Tigers won the title and started the year off with a no-hitter against the White Sox on the first weekend of the season.

My observation on the front: Another pleasing shot in old Tiger Stadium.

More opinion from me: As someone who has made a living as a reporter, Morris was never a favorite of mine. His rude quote to a female reporter who tried to interview him in 1990 sealed the deal.

Something you might know: Morris played on four World Series championship teams, the 1984 Tigers, 1991 Twins and 1992 and 1993 Blue Jays. His 10-inning victory in Game 7 of the '91 World Series is one of the most famous pitching performances in Series history.

Something you might not know: Morris nearly pitched for the Yankees when they were on the brink of winning four World Series in five years. They had an agreement in place in July of 1996, but the Yankees wanted Morris to start in the minors and Morris refused. Talks broke down after that.

My observation on the back: Those 20 complete games in 1983 look crazy in light of today's complete-game totals. But Morris didn't even lead the league in the category that year. Ron Guidry completed 21 games in '83.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

#609 - Broderick Perkins

What a card: Broderick Perkins appeared in just 58 games in 1984, managing a career-low .197 average. The Indians released him after the season and he never appeared in another major league game. This is his final card.

My observation on the front: Perkins seems enormously happy about that tiny bat in his hands.

More opinion from me: Perkins spent most of his career playing for bad Padres teams. And then the Padres go and trade him to the Indians after the 1982 season and what do they do? They make the World Series two years later. Poor Broderick.

Something you might know: Perkins best season was in 1982, when he played in 125 games and served as the Padres' starting first baseman.

Something you might know: Perkins was a pall bearer at Tony Gwynn's funeral.

My observation on the back: The key word there is "enjoys." Look at Perkins' baseball cards. He seemed to do "enjoy" very well.

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

#608 - Craig Lefferts

What a card: Craig Lefferts was coming off his first season with the Padres when this card was issued. After being acquired from the Cubs in a three-team deal with the Expos, Lefferts tied Rich Gossage for most appearances on the Padres (62) in 1984.

My observation on the front: Totally unrelated, but I haven't had a butterscotch sundae in a long time.

More opinion from me: Lefferts played most of his career with teams that I don't like (Padres, Giants). I don't have any bad memories of him though.

Something you might know: Lefferts was an effective and well-used reliever from 1983-91, who appeared in the playoffs and World Series for the Padres and Giants in 1984, 1987 and 1989. His postseason ERA is 1.15 in 14 games.

Something you might not know: We recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of Lefferts' walk-off home run against the Giants on April 25, 1986. The Padres won 9-8 on Lefferts' homer in the 12th inning. He used Tony Gwynn's bat. No pitcher has hit a walk-off home run since.

My observation on the back: Hey, a little French and it isn't even an O-Pee-Chee card!

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#607 - Bill Almon

What a card: This is Bill Almon's second card in the set. He's also in the draft picks subset. He is one of six players in that subset that has another card in the set. The others are Harold Baines, Jeff Burroughs, Tim Foli, Bob Horner and Darryl Strawberry.

My observation on the front: Love the dangling sunglasses.

More opinion from me: That's an optimistic-looking baseball card. Almon seems very happy to be a ballplayer on this day.

Something you might know: Almon's best statistical season by a decent margin was the 1981 season when he played for the White Sox. He batted .301 and finished 19th in the AL MVP voting. But since the strike wiped out a third of the season, there was an element of "what could have been."

Something you might not know: Almon is the only Ivy League player to be drafted first in any one of the four major professional sports. He played baseball at Brown University.

My observation on the back: Almon's bio on the Brown athletic site says that the family business is furniture products.

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

#606 - Rich Gale

What a card: This is the final Topps card issued during Rich Gale's career. 1984 was his last big-league season and he was pitching in Japan by the time most collectors pulled this card out of packs.

My observation on the front: Gale is 6-foot-7. He doesn't look it on all of his cards, but he definitely does here.

More opinion from me: Gale without a mustache makes me sad. I associated Gale with the late 1970s Royals and he had a red, wispy mustache, dammit.

Something you might know: Gale enjoyed a terrific rookie season for the 1978 AL West champion Royals, winning 14 games in 30 starts and finishing fourth in the rookie of the year voting.

Something you might not know: Gale was arrested on a charge of indecent conduct for allegedly exposing himself to an undercover state trooper at a rest stop in Maine in September 2000. The charge was dropped in a plea deal on a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

My observation on the back: It is a well-told story that Gale was a bartender at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel when two walkways collapsed into the lobby, killing 114 people on July 17, 1981. Gale said he was less than 60 feet away from the collapse.

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#605 - Ozzie Smith

What a card: Ozzie Smith was entering his "Go Crazy" year when this card was issued. His game-winning home run in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS was the capper to what was then a career-best season, and he would maintain that level for most of the rest of his career.

My observation on the front: It almost appears as if there's a picnic going on in the background with the people standing around.

More opinion from me: Since the tail end of his career, Smith has been upset with manager Tony La Russa for the way La Russa tried to replace Smith with Royce Clayton as the starting shortstop. While I think it's time to let it go, I fully understand if it's not easy to forgive La Russa for some of the stuff he does.

Something you might know: A first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2002, Smith won the Gold Glove 13 straight years and had his No. 1 retired by the Cardinals.

Something you might not know: During a 1980 contract holdout in spring training, Smith's agent Ed Gottlieb told the Padres that Smith was going to enter that summer's Tour de France instead of playing for San Diego. Smith says he had no idea what the Tour de France was at the time.

My observation on the back: It seems odd that you'd have to tell someone that Smith is known as "The Wizard of Oz," but I suppose it had to start somewhere.

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#604 - Daryl Sconiers

What a card: Daryl Sconiers was admitting he had a "substance problem" during spring training when this card was appearing in packs. It was part of the explanation for his sophomore slump in 1984 after a promising 1983.

My observation on the front: This photo was likely taken during spring training of '84 when Sconiers had a lot to look forward to after his first 100-game season.

More opinion from me: I like Sconiers' 1983 Topps Traded card a lot.

Something you might know: Sconiers put up several Pacific Coast League seasons with high .300 averages and was regarded as one of the top young hitting prospects in the game until injuries and drug and alcohol abuse got in the way. The Angels released him after the 1985 season and he never reached the majors again.

Something you might not know: Sconiers' son, Daryl Jr., was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year after being convicted along with another man in the first-degree killing of a man in Sherman Oaks, Calif., in 2009.

My observation on the back: There are so many baseball abbreviations that mean something else depending on your interests or line of work that it's nice that baseball has "GIDP" all to itself.

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

#603 - Rick Manning

What a card: Rick Manning had completed what would be his final season of playing at least 100 games when this card was issued. From 1985 to the end of his career in 1987, it was part-time duty.

My observation on the front: Love the color-coded glove.

More opinion from me: Rick Manning could have been the first (former) major league player ever interviewed by me. I was on the field with only a couple of other people between me and him during the opening ceremonies for the new minor league baseball team in Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Niagara Falls Rapids. But Manning was so well-known in the area and gabbing with so many people that little ol' me, covering his first pro game, felt intimidated. It turns out the first MLB player I'd interview would be U.L. Washington, who I talked to after the Rapids' first game.

Something you might know: Manning was a sure-handed, speedy outfielder for the Indians and Brewers. The baseball gossip fans like pointing out that Dennis Eckersley's first wife, Denise, left Eckersley for Manning while the two ballplayers were on the same team and good friends.

Something you might not know: Manning grew up playing shortstop and played it all through the minors. His first game in the outfield was in the major leagues, and he won a Gold Glove in his second year in 1976.

My observation on the back: The Duffy Cup was given out by Biship Duffy High School's Men's Club. The school merged with another Catholic school in the city in 1975 and is now Niagara Catholic Junior and Senior High.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#602 - Jeff Dedmon

What a card: This is Jeff Dedmon's first card in Topps flagship. His initial appearance in a major set is in the 1984 Topps Traded set.

My observation on the front: The Diamondbacks with their weird all-gray uniforms, should take a look at this. That's how it's done if you're going to do that "color rush" thing.

More opinion from me: Dedmon is an outstanding Wild West name.

Something you might know: Dedmon was a well-used reliever for the Braves from 1984-87 who gave up the first of Matt Williams' 378 career home runs, on April 19, 1987.

Something you might not know: Dedmon's daughter, Kristen, played softball for UCLA. Her claim to fame is driving in the winning run with a two-run, pinch-hit single in the fifth inning of the deciding game against California to win the Bruins the 2004 College Women's World Series.

My observation on the back: I bet Felipe and Matty never let him forget it, too.

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

#601 - Tom Lasorda

What a card: Tom Lasorda was entering what would be his fifth NL West-winning season when this card was created. After the Dodgers finished fourth in 1984, Lasorda would place third in manager of the year voting for 1985.

My observation on the front: I can't quite read the uniform name on the back of the person behind Lasorda. That's disappointing.

More opinion from me: That looks like a forced smile from Lasorda. He has much better cards as a manager.

Something you might know: The man who bleeds Dodger Blue and led the team to World Series titles in 1981 and 1988 was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Something you might not know: Lasorda's name is on a concession stand at Dodger Stadium, called "Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria". It's a typically Italian restaurant and Lasorda chose some of the dishes. It's his second venture into the restaurant business. His first was "Tommy Lasorda's Ribs and Pasta" in South Pasadena in the late 1980s. It was shut down by the health department in late 1988 after reports of rat sightings and 43 code violations. The restaurant reopened but Lasorda later sued a pest control company for failing to get rid of the rat problem.

My observation on the back: The listing of a manager's height and weight has always amused me. I charted Lasorda's listings during his managerial career. On his first manager card, in the 1978 Topps set, he's listed at 175 pounds. It remains that way until the 1983 Topps set when it jumps to 195 pounds. Lasorda's weight remains at 195 pounds until the 1992 Topps set (the card where he's shown jogging with his pitchers) when his weight drops to 180. His Mother's Cookies card from 1995 lists his weight at 185.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#600 - Pete Rose

What a card: This is the third and final card of Pete Rose in the set and the second of his non-subset cards (the first was just 53 cards ago).

My observation on the front: Rose's other non-subset card was considered his manager card, so I don't know why "manager" is denoted on this card.

More opinion from me: In 1985, seeing more than one card of the same player was a bit of a rarity, especially if he wasn't an All-Star. Today players get four cards in the Update set alone just to drive player-collectors crazy.

Something you might know: Rose enjoyed a grand return to Cincinnati during the 1984 season, being installed as player-manager and hitting .365 in 26 games. In 1985, he'd play in 119 games, produce 107 hits, set the all-time hits record, and appear in the All-Star Game.

Something you might not know:  Rose threw out the first pitch of the 1985 All-Star Game with Nolan Ryan, who were both playing in that game and being saluted for their longevity. Rose threw his pitch to the Blue Jays' Ernie Whitt and Ryan threw to the Phillies' Ozzie Virgil.

My observation on the back: That one portion of a year with the Expos will never not be weird.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

#599 - Storm Davis

What a card: Storm Davis was coming off his best season with the Orioles when this card was issued. He won 14 games with a 3.12 ERA and surrendered home runs at the lowest rate in the American League.

My observation on the front: After seeing so many posed "looking in for the sign" shots it's nice to see a real, live one.

More opinion from me: "Storm" was a very odd name in 1982 when Davis first hit the majors. My brother and I gave my youngest brother, an Orioles fan, all kinds of garbage for having a pitcher on his team named "Storm".

Something you might know: Davis won 19 games for the Oakland A's in 1989, receiving a big contract from the Royals in the following offseason. But Davis' ERA was 4.36 despite the 19 wins, and he was cited by Bill James as the perfect example of why wins were overvalued. Davis struggled with Kansas City.

Something you might not know: Davis married his wife, Angie, at age 18. They have a blog.

My observation on the back: Storm's mother was a talk show host for a radio station in Jacksonville, Fla. Even though Storm's actual first name is George, the name "Storm" came from his mother, who read a book titled "Doctors on Trial" while pregnant with Storm. There was a character in the book called "Dr. Storm" whose personality his mother admired.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

#598 - Jose Oquendo

What a card: Jose Oquendo played in 81 games in his second season in the majors in 1984. He struggled at the plate again, and the Mets traded him to the Cardinals in early April 1985, before many collectors even pulled this card.

My observation on the front: Nice shot of Oquendo's entire name on the back of his jersey. It caused me to look up the most recent No. 2 in Mets history. It was Juan Uribe in 2015.

More opinion from me: I think the Mets shortstops in the 1980s collectively had to hit around .230. Oquendo, Rafael Santana, Ron Gardenhire, Frank Taveras, Kevin Elster. They were not high-average guys.

Something you might know: Oquendo thrived as the ultimate utility player for the Cardinals. He was dubbed "The Secret Weapon" and was utilized by manager Whitey Herzog as both a catcher and pitcher, along with more customary positions.

Something you might not know: Oquendo is one of two major leaguers whose last name starts with "Oqu". The other is 1990s relief pitcher Mike Oquist.

My observation the back: Stan Musial still holds the record for most career All-Star Game home runs and no one has come close in a long, long time. Ted Williams is second with four. After that it's a lengthy list of three apiece: Ralph Kiner, Willie Mays, Rocky Colavito, Harmon Killebrew, Johnny Bench, Fred Lynn, Gary Carter and Alfonso Soriano.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#597 - Brad Lesley

What a card: This the only Topps card of Brad Lesley, who appeared in 16 games for the Reds in 1984. He appears in just one other major release, in the 1983 Donruss set.

My observation the front: Lesley became known as a much hairier individual after his major league career. I'm sure the Reds' policy against facial hair was just killing him.

More opinion from me: Lesley played in just 49 games for the Reds, but I remember him well because of his histrionics on the mound after getting a strikeout. It's a shame Twitter wasn't around for this guy.

Something you might know: Lesley was nicknamed "The Animal" because of his theatrics. But he was done in the majors by 1985 and became even more well-known to a younger generation by appearing in sports movies throughout the 1990s. He was the cranky pitcher in "Little Big League" and Alan Niven in "Mr. Baseball". He was in a nursing home at the end of his life and died of a heart attack in 2013.

Something you might not know: Lesley was enormously popular in Japan, where he played for two years. He started in acting there and appeared on many Japanese game show challenges. He also starred in a samurai film titled "The Animal Goes To Japan".

My observation on the back: Antics! That's exactly what they were.

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

#596 - Jerry Hairston

What a card: Jerry Hairston had come off his second straight season as a productive role player and pinch-hitter with the White Sox when this card was released. He recorded 227 at-bats, which is the most for a single season in his 14-year major league career.

My observation on the front: I haven't done any research but you don't often see a baseball card photo of a player with his hands in his pockets. That's usually a pose reserved for the manager.

More opinion from me: Also, it looks cold there.

Something you might know: Hairston is part of a three-generation major league family, one of just five in big-league history.

Something you might not know: Hairston met his wife, Esperanza, who was a professor, while playing in the Mexican League from 1978-80. Wikipedia says his wife's name is "Calabaza." A calabaza is a tropical squash that looks like a pumpkin.

My observation on the back: Jerry's father and brother combined accounted for 7 major league games and 9 major league at-bats.

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#595 - Larry Gura

What a card: Larry Gura won 12 games in 1984 for his seventh straight season of double-figure wins, but he allowed more than 5 runs a game and was released by the Royals in May 1985. This is the last card of his career.

My observation on the front: Photos take on different meaning when you know it's a player's last card. Gura seems to be posing for his final closeup.

More opinion from me: As someone who rooted vigorously for the Royals against the Yankees in the late '70s/early '80s, Gura's reputation as a Yankee killer was always comforting.

Something you might know: Gura is one of the winningest pitchers in Royals history, ranking fifth all-time in Kansas City history with 111 victories. He won Game 1 of the 1980 ALCS for the Royals against the Yankees.

Something you might not know: Gura once brought a pair of peacocks for his farm on the way back to Kansas City from a road series in Boston. Gura was attracted to the birds while golfing near a farm in Hamilton, Mass., which is north of Boston. He said he bought them for "the same reason someone might want to buy a painting. They're beautiful."

My observation on the back: Baseball was played as a demonstration sport in the 1968 Olympics. There apparently was a riot during the U.S.'s final game against Cuba, but information on the entire series is difficult to find.

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

#594 - Curt Wilkerson

What a card: This is Curt Wilkerson's first Topps flagship card. He first appeared in the 1984 Donruss set, as well as the '84 Topps Traded set.

My observation on the front: Can't get a happier card than that, smiling hitter in the batting cage.

More opinion from me: It's refreshing to see a bare arm on display. Not a tattoo in sight.

Something you might know: Wilkerson broke on the scene with a desperate Rangers team. He was the starting shortstop for last-place Texas in 1984, appearing in 153 games. He'd never come close to that playing total again, even though he stayed in the majors for 10 more years.

Something you might not know: Wilkerson was part of what's known as one of the worst trades in Cubs history. The Cubs acquired Wilkerson and Mitch Williams, Steve Wilson, Paul Kilgus, Pablo Delgado and Luis Benitez from the Rangers in exchange for Rafael Palmeiro, Drew Hall and Jamie Moyer.

My observation on the back: The trivia question interests me. According to, the Phillies logo that the question references actually was their alternate logo at the time (the large, curved "P"). The main logo contained the city name and team name. If the same trivia question was asked for the NL teams today, the Diamondbacks, Pirates and Padres would be correct as none of the primary logos give the full city name or team name.

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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

#593 - Rick Leach

What a card: This is Rick Leach's first flagship card with the Blue Jays. After three years with the Tigers, he signed as a free agent with Toronto in April 1984.

My observation on the front: I am noticing a stain of some sort on Leach's hat for the first time. I don't know if it's actually on the cap or a printing flaw, but it's on every one of his '85 Topps cards. Seems like something Topps would take care of before it made it to packs. It's a big stain.

More opinion from me: It annoys me how much is made of Leach's time as University of Michigan quarterback. I know he was really good there, much better than he was as a major league baseball player, but college football means next to nothing to me, and MLB everything.

Something you might know: Leach was the first-round draft choice of the Tigers in 1979 (13th pick overall).

Something you might not know: Leach disappeared from the Blue Jays in August 1987 while the team was in Seattle. It was the first sign that Leach had a drug problem, but nobody knew it at the time. Leach was penciled in to start against the Mariners and never showed up. At first a team PR guy passed it off as Leach getting food poisoning, but reporters noticed the concern of the players, one even saying they didn't know whether he was even alive. Leach showed up the next day, but disappeared again while with the Rangers in 1989. He was eventually suspended while with the Giants in 1990 and got treatment.

My observation on the back: Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens now share the ALCS single-game strikeout record with 15 each.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#592 - Jeff Robinson

What a card: This is Jeff Robinson's first card in a Topps flagship set. He appears in the 1984 Topps Traded set.

My observation on the front: I can tell this photo was taken in Candlestick Park. The entire background has that hazy orange glow.

More opinion from me: The Giants logo seems redundant next to the Giants name plate. I'm sure that has occurred with a number of other cards in this set. But it jumped out at me just now.

Something you might know: Robinson was one of two tall hurlers named "Jeff Robinson" to pitch in the majors during the 1980s. This Robinson was an abundantly used reliever (except for his rookie season when he was a starter), while the other Jeff Robinson was usually a starter, mostly with the Tigers. Both Robinsons wound up playing for the Pirates.

Something you might not know: The Giants' Robinson was acquired by the Pirates in a deal for starter Rick Reuschel in 1987. After the 1988 season, the Pirates were in the market for a starting infielder. They discussed with the Cubs obtaining shortstop Shawon Dunston for Robinson, but the deal never became serious.

My observation on the back: Handyman, weather forecaster and baseball player? You ever get the feeling that some ballplayers just play ball because they do a lot of things well and baseball is one of them?

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

#591 - Larry Herndon

What a card: Larry Herndon fell off from his career-best period of 1982 and 1983 by struggling at the start of 1984 and appearing in just 125 games. His postseason, though, would make up for it.

My observation on the front: Herndon appears to be waiting his turn on-deck.

More opinion from me: As a fan of the baseball bat donut, I've never known the name for this kind of batting weight. I'm guessing it's the precursor to the "batting wrap," but I don't know if that's what it was called then.

Something you might know: Herndon hit a two-run home run in Game 1 of the 1984 World Series, eliminating a Padres' 2-1 lead and giving Jack Morris the advantage he needed to put away San Diego. Herndon also caught the last out of the World Series on a fly ball from Tony Gwynn.

Something you might know: Herndon was a minor league roommate of Cardinals prospect Randy Poffo, who went on to become popular 1980s wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage.

 My observation on the back: "Sunflower" is one of those great town names in Mississippi (it's not far from "Money," "Rising Sun," and "Longshot"). But Herndon grew up mostly in Memphis, Tenn.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#590 - Ray Knight

What a card: This is Ray Knight's first Topps card as a New York Met. Topps had to work quickly as Knight was traded from the Astros on Aug. 28, 1984 and played just 27 games for New York. Fortunately, Topps has New York connections and nabbed a photo of Knight at Shea.

My observation on the front: Knight is subliminally urging you to drink Coca-Cola.

More opinion from me: I liked Knight when he first came up with the Reds (even though I didn't like the Reds). It was during that time when I was a budding teenager and liked all the up-and-coming players because they were young like me, dammit. I didn't like him as much when he was with the Mets.

Something you might know: Knight was initially known as the player who replaced Pete Rose at third base for the Reds after Rose departed for the Phillies before the 1979 season. He later became better known as the player who scored the winning run on Mookie Wilson's grounder that traveled through Bill Buckner's legs to end Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (which happened, by the way, 30 years ago yesterday).

Something you might not know: Knight endured so many injuries during his first full season with the Reds in '79 that his teammates called him "Battlescar Gallactica".

My observation on the back: A night game trivia question! The Reds beat the Phillies 2-1 in that first night game on May 24, 1935. Cincinnati was the host of the first game mostly because the team was having financial problems, and this -- and subsequent night games there -- was a bid to boost attendance.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

#589 - Bob Dernier

What a card: This is Bob Dernier's first flagship card as a Chicago Cub. He first appeared with the Cubs in the 1984 Topps Traded and Fleer Update sets.

My observation on the front: I really don't like the softball tops, but I'd almost pay to see the Cubs wear these in the World Series in a couple days.

More opinion from me: To show that my annoyance with the Cubs is not a recent development, I recall being disappointed that Dernier was traded from the Phillies to the Cubs. I respected the Phillies much more, even after they beat the Dodgers in the 1983 NLCS.

Something you might know: Dernier enjoyed his finest season in his first year with the Cubs, batting leadoff for the pennant-winning team and getting the faithful's hopes up with a home run in the first inning to start off Game 1 of the '84 NLCS against the Padres.

Something you might not know: Dernier managed just 23 home runs during his 10-year career, but one was a game-winning, inside-the-park home run against the Giants while playing for the Phillies in 1989.

My observation on the back: Sure, the trivia question is lame, but you know what we have here? Yup. It's a card of a Chicago Cub with a trivia question about the Cleveland Indians. A day before the two long-suffering teams begin playing each other in the World Series. Kinda spooky.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

#588 - Bobby Castillo

What a card: Bobby Castillo had re-signed with the Dodgers as a free agent by the time this card arrived in packs. He appeared in just 10 games for the Twins in 1984.

My observation on the front: Castillo is displaying his famed thick mustache.

More opinion from me: Castillo first appeared on his own Topps card with the Dodgers in the 1979 set. I remember being annoyed when he didn't get a card in the 1980 set despite appearing in 19 games the previous year.

Something you might know: Castillo gained immortality when he taught teammate Fernando Valenzuela how to throw a screwball.

Something you might not know: Castillo injured his leg during spring training in 1979 when he drove his car into a bridge railing at 5 in the morning.

My observation on the back: I am assuming from this question that it is asking who has the highest average among just the three players mentioned. The Cardinals' Pepper Martin hit .418 over three World Series. Paul Molitor has since equaled Martin's average.

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