Friday, January 29, 2016
What a card: This is Donnie Scott's rookie card. He played in a career-high 81 games for the Rangers in 1984, batting .221.
My observation on the front: Scott is looking longingly at his batting doughnut. Must be hungry.
More opinion from me: I miss the days when I had obscure big-leaguers like Donnie Scott on instant recall.
Something you might know: Scott was a backup catcher for the Rangers, Mariners and Reds who played in the majors from 1983-85 and then didn't return to the big leagues until 1990.
Something you might not know: Scott recently returned to manage the Madison Mallards for a fourth season. The Mallards are a team in the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate league that has featured players like Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist and Jordan Zimmermann.
My observation on the back: Henderson's stolen base record occurred a mere three years before this card was issued. It was pretty big news. These trivia questions aren't impressing me.
The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames category is updated.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
What a card: Mario Soto was coming off a season in which he won a career-high 18 games when this card was issued.
My observation on the front: Soto is smiling broadly because he just completed one of the best five-year spans for a pitcher from that period.
More opinion from me: Soto was one of the more despised pitchers during my initial Dodgers rooting phase. He seemed to own the Dodgers, although I couldn't prove it in this post.
Something you might know: Soto was the ace of the Reds squad during the early 1980s, particularly in 1983 and 1984. He finished in the top 10 in Cy Young Award voting three times between 1980-84 and was annually among the leaders in strikeouts.
Something you might not know: Soto is one of 29 major league pitchers to have allowed four home runs in one inning. He did it in 1986 against the Expos (Andre Dawson, Hubie Brooks, Tim Wallach, Mike Fitzgerald).
My observation on the back: Hey, it's a trivia question about Tony Gywnn. I think there's a blogger or two who collects his cards. Just a couple.
The blog wants to speak now: The TV tab is updated.
Monday, January 25, 2016
What a card: Rich Dauer was entering his final season in the majors when this card hit packs. He'd bat a meager .202 in his last year with the O's.
My observation on the front: Dauer might be on the bases easing into third. Or he might be hopping around after fouling one off his foot. It's tough to tell what's going on.
More opinion from me: The Orioles weren't my team, but I liked Bobby Grich. Rich Dauer was a big come down from Grich for me.
Something you might know: Dauer spent his entire career with the Orioles and set an AL record for most consecutive errorless games with 86 in 1978.
Something you might not know: Dauer set the Division I record for hits in a season while playing for USC. He totaled 108 in 1974. The record is now 142, set in 1985 (in 15 more games than USC played in '74).
My observation on the back: I so want to see a Philly Mule mascot.
The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab is updated.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
What a card: You're looking at another one of the major rookie cards in the 1985 Topps set. Orel Hershiser was coming off a season in which he finished third in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting, behind Dwight Gooden and Juan Samuel.
My observation on the front: I just love this card. It is very Orel. He's rail thin, looks nothing like an athlete, yet is in complete command.
More opinion from me: There is a moment in time that I remember vividly. I am in my parents' house, bent over a sports section that's on the kitchen table. I'm looking at the Dodgers' write-up and I'm looking at this name: "Orel Hershiser? Orel? Hershiser? Where'd they get this guy?" That's the thought going through my head.
Something you might know: Hershiser won 19 games in his second season (against 3 losses), then in 1988 set a record for consecutive scoreless innings and carried the Dodgers to the World Series title, winning MVP honors.
Something you might not know: After Hershiser's 1988 season, he signed a new 3-year contract that was the richest deal ever at the time. When he reported to spring training and went to his locker, which featured his uniform number 55 on it, someone had put slashes through the 5s to make them look like dollar signs.
My observation on the back: Hershiser was born in the same town as I was. I'm very proud of that.
The blog wants to speak now: The Music category is updated.
Monday, January 18, 2016
What a card: This is Davey Johnson's first flagship card as a manager. Although he did appear in Topps' 1984 Traded set as the Mets' manager, too.
My observation on the front: Nothing says "manager card" like leaning on the dugout railing.
More opinion from me: I've never called Davey Johnson "Dave" in my life, but yet that's what Topps was doing all throughout his playing and manager career.
Something you might know: Less than two years after this card came out, Johnson was leading the Mets to their first World Series title since 1969.
Something you might not know: Johnson played in Japan in 1976 and was a teammate of Sadaharu Oh, the same year that Oh hit career home run No. 715 to pass Babe Ruth the year after Hank Aaron passed the Babe.
My observation the back: Those 90 wins would be surpassed by 98, 108, 92 and 100 in the next four years.
The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
What a card: Rick Camp was entering his final major league season when this card was issued. He appeared in 66 games in 1985, the second highest total of his career, but was released by Atlanta just before the 1986 season.
My observation on the front: Camp looks like a mountain man who just came out of the cabin in the woods he had lived in for the last 30 years.
More opinion from me: Just a little while ago, I mentioned Camp's hairy progression on the other blog.
Something you might know: Camp was a closer for the Braves in 1980 and 1981, leading the team in saves each year. But he's most often cited for the home run he hit in the 18th inning of a game between the Braves and Mets that took two days to complete in 1985. Camp's homer tied the game, but he ended up losing the game in the 19th inning.
Something you might not know: Camp was sentenced to three years in prison in 2005 as part of a group who attempted to steal $2 million from a mental health facility in Georgia. Camp, who claimed the people conspired without his knowledge, served 21 months and was released.
My observation on the back: Camp died in April 2013 of apparent natural causes with differing reports on whether he was 59 or 60. Baseball-reference.com says Camp was 59. The born date on this card also says he was 59.
The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab is updated.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
What a card: Jason Thompson was entering the last full season of his 11-year career when this card was issued.
My observation on the front: Thompson was known as a fine fielder, but this is the only time that Topps showed him fielding (Donruss showed Thompson fielding in back-to-back sets in 1983 and 1984).
More opinion from me: I've told this story a few times already, but it's the first thing I think of when I hear the name Jason Thompson. The Tigers, for whom Thompson was expected to be a big star, were playing in the Game Of The Week on NBC in 1980. It wasn't the main featured game, it was the backup game, which meant the backup announcing crew. Instead of Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek, we had Merle Harmon and Ron Luciano. Luciano, the former umpire, was in his first season as a color man for NBC. He was awful. The worst. Think of the worst broadcaster you've ever heard; he was that. He had no clue what he was doing, and he was forever trying to be a comedian and all of his jokes bombed. So, anyway, Thompson was at the plate. He wasn't doing well and everyone was wondering what became of the man who was supposed to be a mainstay in Detroit for years. Luciano decided it was because Thompson didn't have "the killer instinct." I'm pretty sure he came up with that idea right on the spot. But he worked it for all it was worth. Thompson just doesn't have it. He doesn't have that killer instinct. Luciano said it five or six times. Well, it might have been the next pitch or not, but it was pretty soon after Luciano uttered "killer instinct" for the last time and Thompson nailed a pitch that traveled faster than any home run out of the ballpark that I had seen to that date. So much for "killer instinct." I never knew whether Luciano and Harmon backtracked in embarrassment because my brother and I were too busy hooting over Luciano. By the way, Luciano is from the same town as I am. So, yeah.
Something you might know: Thompson emerged quickly as a slugger for the Tigers, and he hit 31 home runs and drove in 105 batters as a 22-year-old in 1977. He was known for hitting titanic blasts over the roofs of stadiums.
Something you might not know: Thompson was traded to the Yankees, but he never played for them. The Angels traded Thompson to the Pirates, who turned around and shipped him to the Yankees. But the commissioner voided the trade to the Yankees because too much money was involved in the deal, and Thompson was returned to the team that didn't even want him.
My observation on the back: Cal State Northridge picked a good year to induct Thompson. 1982 was perhaps his best season.
The blog wants to speak now: The Movies category is updated.
Friday, January 8, 2016
What a card: This is the last card of Bryan Clark in a flagship set. He'll appear in Topps' Traded set when I get to that point of the blog.
My observation on the front: Clark appears saddened that such a boring photo is being used for his card.
More opinion from me: Every time I see photos like this in the 1985 set, I wonder what the hell happened to the excitement that Topps established with its 1983 and 1984 sets.
Something you might know: Clark was a sporadically used relief pitcher who spent most of his time with the Mariners and has one of the more cited baseball cards when people are listing the most comical cards of the 1980s.
Something you might not know: Clark made his major league debut as a pinch-runner on April 11, 1981. He pinch-ran for Mariners designated hitter Richie Zisk in the seventh inning with the Mariners behind 6-3 to the Angels.
My observation on the back: Such a good nickname wasted on such an annoying player.
The blog wants to speak now: The TV category is updated.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
What a card: This is Joel Skinner's first Topps solo card. But he also appears in a card in the set with his father.
My observation on the front: Skinner has been in baseball a long time now with his managerial career, so I've seen him around for awhile. He looks so young here.
More opinion from me: Skinner was a topic of a Brush With Greatness post on Night Owl Cards. I covered his team during his first season as a manager in 1995. He comes off pretty well in that post -- as well as a manager can in a write-up by a sports reporter.
Something you might know: Skinner was mostly a backup catcher for the White Sox, Yankees and Indians. He was named starting catcher for the White Sox in 1986, supplanting Carlton Fisk. But he didn't hit well and Fisk was returned to the starter's role.
Something you might not know: Skinner, the manager of the Triple A Charlotte Knights, celebrated his 250th victory for Charlotte this past season and the club gave away a Skinner bobblehead on Aug. 4th.
My observation on the back: Bob Skinner was the hitting coach for the 1984 Pirates.
The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.
Monday, January 4, 2016
What a card: This is Frank Williams' first flagship card. He appears in the 1984 Topps Traded and Fleer Update sets.
My observation on the front: Williams looks like a rookie in this photo.
More opinion from me: I love blue sky backgrounds on cards.
Something you might know: A potent set-up reliever who pitched in 85 games for the Reds in 1987, Williams is one of those tragic figures of the 1985 set. He ended up living on the streets after his career and died at age 50 in 2009.
Something you might not know: When he was homeless, Williams would often hang out at M.V.P. Sports Collectibles, a sports cards shop in Victoria, British Columbia. An alcoholic, he would often lose his identification on the streets and regularly pick up a trading card of himself at the store to use as ID.
My observation on the back: Topps is channeling its inner O-Pee-Chee with this trivia question.
Something you might know: A very painful addition to the Ballgames category has been made.