Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#548 - Larry Parrish

What a card: Larry Parrish, although known as a slugger for most of his career, was coming off his first 100-RBI season in 10 years in the majors when this card was issued.

My observation on the front: This is the eighth card of Rangers red jersey in the set so far. Love every one.

More opinion from me: Parrish featured one of the great mustache/long hair combos of the late '70s/early '80s. It's sad to see him clean-shaven like this.

Something you might know: Parrish is the only player in Montreal Expos history to hit at least three home runs in a game. He did it three times.

Something you might not know: Parrish tied a major league record in 1982 when he hit three grand slams in one week. All 3 came against relief pitchers, the first against Oakland's Fernando Arroyo, the second against Boston's Mark Clear, and the third against Detroit's Milt Wilcox.

My observation on the back: Larry and I do not see eye to eye when it comes to music.

The blog wants to speak now: The internet is being uncooperative this evening. So I'm skipping this part.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#547 - Pete Rose

What a card: This is the second of three Pete Rose cards in the set. Rose was named the Reds' player-manager in August 1984 and Topps took the opportunity to issue both a card of Rose as a player and as a manager. This is the manager card.

My observation on the front: I like how "Rose with his hat off" signifies "the manager card."

More opinion from me: Topps did issue multiple cards for player-managers of the 1970s, Frank Robinson and Joe Torre, but in a different way. Managers were shown as small inset head shots on the team checklist card at the time, so Robinson and Torre appeared on the team checklist and had their own solo card.

Something you might know: Rose is the most recent player-manager in MLB history. He both played and managed for the Reds until 1986.

Something you might not know: The Reds retired Rose's number 14 on Sunday. The first player to have his number retired by the Reds was Johnny Bench, whose number was retired in 1984, about one week before the Reds reaquired Bench's former teammate, Rose, and named him player-manager, and 32 years before Rose's number was retired.

My observation on the back: According to my research, Rose actually was acquired by the Reds on Aug. 16, 1984. Cincinnati sent infielder Tom Lawless to the Expos in the deal.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

#546 - Brent Gaff

What a card: This is Brent Gaff's first card appearance since first showing up in the 1983 Donruss set.

My observation on the front: That is a very Mets card. Orange and blue everywhere. Even the backdrop is orange and blue-ish.

More opinion from me: Brent Gaff's name reminds me of Todd Gack.

Something you might know: Gaff toiled in the Mets minor league system for six years before breaking out during the Mets' emergence during the 1984 season. He appeared in 47 games out of the bullpen.

Something you might not know: Gaff appeared in the 1986 Topps set despite not pitching a single game in 1985. He managed just one minor league appearance that year because of a torn rotator cuff that ended his career. His last MLB appearance was in 1984.

My observation on the back: I don't know how anyone relaxes ice fishing. You're on a sheet of ice in the middle of a lake. There is nothing around except frozen water. I'd be silently screaming in my head the whole time.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#545 - Lloyd Moseby

What a card: Lloyd Moseby was pretty much at the peak of his career when this card came out. His 1984 season wasn't quite as good as his '83 season, but he led the league in triples and stole a career high 39 bases.

My observation on the front: Opposite field double down the line!

More opinion from me: Why is Lloyd spelled with a double L?

Something you might know: Moseby was the center fielder in a highly praised outfield that included original "Killer Bees" George Bell and Jesse Barfield.

Something you might not know: Moseby featured a notoriously weak throwing arm, and in a 1989 Sports Illustrated poll of third base coaches who were asked which outfielders they would advance runners against the most often, Moseby was mentioned along with Chili Davis and Willie Wilson.

My observation on the back: The write-up there is a little presumptuous. It's entirely possible that if Moseby stuck with catching he would have still made it to the majors.

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

#544 - Bruce Kison

What a card: Bruce Kison was entering the final season of his 15-year major league career when this card was released. He had already signed with the Red Sox by the time most pulled this card out of packs.

My observation on the front: Kison appears lost in thought.

More opinion from me: This should be a party game: One person yells out a baseball player's name, and the other person yells out the first card they think of with that player on it. Oh, I don't know who wins the game, but the first card I think of for Kison is his 1975 Topps card (P.S.: '75 would be my answer for a lot of cards).

Something you might know: Kison pitched in two World Series for the Pirates in 1971 and 1979. He won the first World Series night game in 1971.

Something you might not know: During the same Series night game that Kison won, he also set the World Series record for most hit batters in a Series game when he hit Davey Johnson, Frank Robinson and Andy Etchebarren. (P.S.: Just a phenomenal story about Kison in SI by Pat Jordan the following spring after that Series).

My observation on the back: "Awkward hop" ... a likely story.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#543 - Mike Squires

What a card: This is the final Topps card issued of Mike Squires during his career. He would play in just two games for the White Sox in 1985, after being re-signed by Chicago in September. They had released him in March.

My observation on the front: Squires was known for his fielding, so it's appropriate that he's in the field on his final card.

More opinion from me: Not sure about that facial expression. Blowing a bubble, I hope?

Something you might know: Squires won a Gold Glove in 1981 and was used primarily as a defensive replacement, particularly later in his career. He was one of the few left-handed throwing catchers in modern times, appearing behind the plate on May 4, 1980. He also played third base several times, another rarity for lefties.

Something you might know: After his career, Squires would officiate high school basketball games regularly in his native Kalamazoo, Mich.

My observation on the back: The days of 70,000-plus baseball stadiums are long gone. The largest capacity baseball stadium now is Dodger Stadium at 56,000.

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

Monday, June 13, 2016

#542 - Don Slaught

What a card: This is Don Slaught's first card immediately after his first season as the starting catcher for the Royals. But it would be his last card with the Royals as he was traded to Texas in January 1985.

My observation on the front: If this doesn't make you wish that Topps still used posed shots at spring training in their flagship set then I don't know what will. Just fantastic.

More opinion from me: Love the yellow advertising banners with this card. And the trees!

Something you might know: A solid contact hitter who once set a Rangers record for most homers by a catcher in a season (16), Slaught became known as one-half of the catching platoon (with Mike LaValliere) for the early '90s Pirates. It was the Sluggo and Spanky Show.

Something you might not know: Slaught's .345 batting average in 1992 was the best average for a catcher with more than 250 at-bats (Slaught had 285) since Elston Howard hit .348 in 1961.

My observation on the back: I know the term "quarterback" is sometimes used in other sports to describe someone who directs the play, but I believe football is the only sport where "quarterback" is an actual position. So "football quarterback" is like saying "baseball shortstop."

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

#541 - Mark Davis

What a card: Mark Davis struggled through a 17-loss season for the last-place Giants in 1984. But he was entering a season in which he would be converted to a full-time reliever, and his whole career would change.

My observation on the front: Davis is featuring a button on his cap. I don't know what it says. The Giants hosted the All-Star Game in 1984 so perhaps it is related to that.

More opinion from me: I admit I'm one of those fans who tended to think someone else deserved the Cy Young Award in 1989 other than Davis. But unlike many who point to Mike Scott, who finished second in the voting, I was thinking Orel Hershiser (who was 4th) or Greg Maddux (3rd).

Something you might know: Davis is one of nine relief pitchers to receive the Cy Young Award. He was the seventh (after Mike Marshall, Sparky Lyle, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Willie Hernandez and Steve Bedrosian) to win it.

Something you might not know: When the Royals signed Davis as a free agent after the 1989 season, they were the first team to feature both reigning Cy Young Award winners. Bret Saberhagen had won the AL Cy Young in '89.

My observation on the back: I'm intrigued by Davis working in the Phillies' sales office but can find no mention of it elsewhere.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

#540 - Claudell Washington

What a card: Claudell Washington was coming off his first All-Star season since he was a 20-year-old All-Star in 1975 when this card was issued. But he was entering a difficult 1985 in which he'd be named in the Pittsburgh drug trials.

My observation on the front: There are no less than four people dressed in '80s road blue in this photo.

More opinion from me: I was continually surprised during Washington's career that he was still around. With the number of times he jumped from team to team I expected him to fade out, but he lasted 17 years.

Something you might know: Washington burst onto the baseball scene in 1975 when he batted .308 in 148 games at age 20 for the Oakland A's.

Something you might not know: According to an account in the Los Angeles Daily News when Washington was playing for the Angels in 1990, several witnessed said they saw Washington strike his wife in the parking lot after a loss to the A's. The article said Washington's wife called the police and filed a report. The two later got divorced. It's interesting there was nothing else on this that I could find. Different times.

My observation on the back: Regarding the bio write-up, Washington was quoted during the 1974 World Series as saying, "the summer I was 15, I didn't play any baseball at all. I just didn't feel like it."

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated with an earlier entry from Oct. 26.

Friday, June 3, 2016

#539 - Aurelio Lopez

What a card: Aurelio Lopez was coming off his most famous season as a major leaguer when this card was issued. The 11-year MLB veteran was the Tigers' set-up man for closer Willie Hernandez en route to the World Series title.

My observation on the front: I've said this multiple times, but I love the photos of Tiger Stadium in this set.

More opinion from me: I remember Senor Smoke as being much rounder. Must be some trick photography here.

Something you might know: Well, you've got to know that trivia question. There are three major league players with the first name Aurelio (Lopez, Rodriguez and Monteagudo). What else do they have in common? They all died in automobile accidents.

Something you might not know: Lopez was the first player in major league history to receive a salary cut in arbitration. Lopez earned $285,000 in 1982 and asked for $315,000. He received $250,000.

My observation on the back: Three of the Pirates' five starters in 1984 had ERAs under 3 (John Candelaria, Rick Rhoden and Larry McWilliams). Three relievers also recorded ERAs between 2 and 3 (Rod Scurry, Cecilio Guante and Kent Tekulve). But the Pirates finished dead last in the NL East.

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#538 - Keith Moreland

What a card: Keith Moreland was entering what many consider his most productive major league season when this card was issued. He would compile 180 hits and knock in 106 in a career-high 161 games in 1985.

My observation on the front: I like this card. Back then, you didn't see the full back of a player's uniform very often. Now, it's kind of a Topps cliche. But it was different then.

More opinion from me: Moreland appears mildly irked by something.

Something you might know: Moreland was a versatile player who batted .333 in the 1980 World Series for the Phillies as a rookie and then batted the same for the Cubs in the 1984 NLCS against the Padres.

Something you might not know: Moreland's nickname "Zonk" began when he was playing Class A ball in Spartansburg, S.C. Moreland and some of his teammates would play "water football" in the shallow end of a swimming pool. Moreland was tough to tackle so his fellow players would compare him to former Dolphins fullback Larry Csonka.

My observation on the back: Gooden remains the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game. Bryce Harper was 19 when he debuted in the 2012 All-Star Game, but Gooden was younger by a little more than a month.

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