Thursday, December 14, 2017

#735 - Garry Templeton


What a card: Garry Templeton completed his third of 10 seasons with the Padres in 1984. He appeared in 148 games, batting .258, but he hit .324 in the NLCS and the World Series in the only postseason appearance of his career.

My observation on the front: I like many of Templeton's cards, but they are all his early ones with the Cardinals. His Padres cards are pretty boring.

More opinion from me: I just completed the Greatest 100 Cards of the '70s countdown on my main blog and I have no idea how the 1977 Templeton card didn't make the list.

Something you might know: Templeton is the guy the Cardinals traded to San Diego to get Ozzie Smith. (The Padres also received Sixto Lezcano and Steve Mura).

Something you might not know: Templeton is known as the first major league to collect 100 hits from each side of the plate, which was recorded in 1979. But he probably didn't actually achieve it. To this day, Templeton says he should have remained a right-handed hitter. He said he was converted to switch-hitting but was never interested in doing it.


My observation on the back: The Orioles held the ALCS games-won lead 18 to 12 over the Yankees as of 1984. Since that point, the Orioles have won just three more ALCS games and the Yankees have won 36. The new totals:

Yankees: 48
Red Sox: 26
Athletics: 23
Orioles: 21
Royals: 20
Tigers: 18
Indians: 17
Blue Jays: 16
Angels: 13
Twins: 9
Rangers: 8
White Sox: 7
Mariners: 5
Astros: 4
Rays: 4
Brewers: 3

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#734 - John Henry Johnson


What a card: John Henry Johnson appeared in 30 games, all but three of them in relief, in his second year with the Red Sox in 1984. He was released in April of 1985 and spent all of '85 in the minors before re-emerging with the Brewers.

My observation on the front: Another one of those backgrounds where it looks like the pitcher is the only one in the ballpark.

More opinion from me: I will always associate John Henry Johnson (such a great name) with the bad, old Oakland A's of the late 1970s.

Something you might know: Johnson, a top pitching prospect, was one of the seven players the Giants traded to the A's in March 1978 for all-star pitcher Vida Blue.

Something you might not know: Johnson surrendered the first hit of Rickey Henderson's career, a leadoff double.


My observation on the back: Another trivia topic that features the team shown on the front.

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

#733 - Tony Scott


What a card: Tony Scott split the 1984 season between the Astros and Expos. He was released by Houston in June after batting .190 for the club. The Expos signed Scott a week later.

My observation on the front: This is the fourth Expos player in this set to be airbrushed. Topps must've had a heck of a time finding photographers to shoot new Expos. Maybe problems getting through customs?

More opinion from me: Scott, like Dan Driessen, seems very happy to be airbrushed.

Something you might know: Unable to find his mark in the majors until coming to the Cardinals, he did well enough for St. Louis that the team traded him to the Astros in exchange for pitcher Joaquin Andujar.

Something you might not know: Check out this classic image of Scott with good buddy Garry Templeton in the Dodger dugout.


My observation on the back: That's a lot of info to digest in the write-up! Race cars! Clothing store! The Hammer!

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#732 - John McNamara


What a card: John McNamara managed the Angels to an 81-81 mark in his second season with the club in 1984. That was good for a tie for second place in the dismal AL West.

My observation on the front: I remember McNamara as kind of crusty, but he positively beams on many of his baseball cards.

More opinion from me: Out of all of the things McNamara is accused of doing/not doing as manager of the Red Sox during the latter stages of Game 6 of the World Series in 1986, I can say the only thing that bothered me as it was happening was Calvin Schiraldi showing up in the ballgame.

Something you might know: McNamara managed six major league teams but he is far and away most associated with the Red Sox and their ill-fated World Series pursuit in 1986.

Something you might not know: McNamara once was assessed a $25 fine by the Red Sox's kangaroo court leader, Don Baylor, for using Right Guard aerosol deodorant as hairspray.


My observation on the back: There is one retired number there, Rod Carew's 29.

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

#731 - Neil Allen

What a card: Neil Allen had completed his first full season with the Cardinals when this card was issued. But he was in the middle of a terrible 1985 when his card was being pulled and was dealt to the Yankees in mid-season.

My observation on the front: It looks cold there.

More opinion from me: The Cardinals cards really look nice in this set with the coordinating red and yellow. Have I mentioned this already? I probably have.

Something you might know: Allen is known as the guy who was traded from the Mets to the Cardinals in exchange for Keith Hernandez (but don't forget the Cards got Rick Ownby, too!).

Something you might not know: Allen was taught to throw a curve ball by his father, Bob, who was blind.


My observation on the back: The internet is really disinterested in League Championship Series records. I don't know if Reggie still holds the record. My guess is Derek Jeter has played in the most now. But I'm not counting them.

The blog wants to speak now: Not today. After work I am ticked off and spent. No more researching for me.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

#730 - Dave Kingman


What a card: Dave Kingman enjoyed his first season as a designated hitter in 1984. He hit 35 home runs in 147 games, 139 as a DH, and was named the American League's Comeback Player of the Year.

My observation on the front: The background is somewhat similar to Kingman's memorable 1974 Topps card.

More opinion from me: I have no memory of Kingman's Oakland A's days.

Something you might know: Kingman played for four teams -- the Mets, Padres, Angels and Yankees -- in one season in 1977. He is the only player to play for one team in each of the four divisions that MLB featured at the time in a single year.

Something you might not know: When a newspaper in Chicago printed a Cubs "best and worst" list in which teammates named Kingman the worst dressed player on the team, Kingman was so furious -- he said the clothes he wore to the park were from salmon fishing -- that he refused to talk to any reporter who didn't have a video or tape recorder.


My observation on the back: Kingman worked for United Airlines in the offseason as his dad worked for the company. Kingman said he did "mostly publicity."

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#729 - Don Sutton


What a card: Don Sutton had wrapped up his third and final season with the Brewers when this card was issued. He was traded to Oakland in the offseason and initially balked about going to the A's.

My observation on the front: This card is miscut two different ways.

More opinion from me: It is still a nicer card than the first time Sutton makes an appearance in the set.

Something you might know: Sutton was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998 and some people have been complaining about his election ever since.

Something you might not know: Sutton appeared as "guest star" on several episodes of the game show "Match Game". Here's one in which he is the first person you see.


 My observation on the back: This is the first time since 1971 that Sutton's Topps base card has a card number that doesn't end in 0 or 5.

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

#728 - Bob Bailor


What a card: Bob Bailor had completed his first season with the Dodgers as a utility player when this card was issued. He appeared in just 65 games, which was his lowest total as full-time player to that point (strike year excluded).

My observation on the front: Love the "3B-SS-2B" notation squeezed in there.

More opinion from me: As someone who was captivated by the expansion Blue Jays in their first year, I was very pleased when Bailor eventually arrived with the Dodgers. Bailor was one of the Blue Jays' best hitters in 1977 and I wanted L.A. to trade for him (my continued mission to jettison Bill Russell). Of course, by the time Bailor arrived with the Dodgers he hadn't had a season like 1977 since ... 1977.

Something you might know: Bailor was the first player selected by the Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft.

Something you might not know: Bailor played in the Venezuelan Winter League in 1974. On New Year's Day, his roommate, pitcher Mark Weems, went out for a swim, was swept out to sea and drowned. Bailor, pitcher Don Hood and player-coach Ray Miller spent three days searching for the body.


My observation on the back: Bailor was discovered by a scout while playing American Legion baseball. Bailor's high school didn't have a baseball team.

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#727 - Frank Pastore


What a card: Frank Pastore was in his seventh and final season with the Reds when this card was issued. He struggled in 1984 after being struck in the elbow by a batted ball. He missed time and finished with a 6.50 ERA.

My observation on the front: Is that a shadow on Pastore's right shoulder or a giant, expanding stain?

More opinion from me: That hat is really high.

Something you might know: Pastore went back to school and became a popular Christian radio broadcaster after his career, He hosted one of the largest Christian talk shows in the country. He died in 2012 from pneumonia a month after a motorcycle accident in which he suffered head injuries.

Something you might not know: Pastore once held the record for consuming the 72-ounce steak dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. Those who could eat the steak in less than an hour ate for free. Pastore beat the hour mark seven times and held the record by sucking down the steak in 9 1/2 minutes in 1987. The record was broken by famed hot dog-eating champion Joey Chestnut in 2008, who downed the monster steak in 8:52.


My observation on the back: If SHO stands for shutouts, then what's the abbreviation for shutout?

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

#726 - Al Bumbry


What a card: This is Al Bumbry's final Topps card as a Baltimore Oriole. He signed with the Padres in March 1985.

My observation on the front: You have to love the batting cage shots, but it sure seems cold there.

More opinion from me: Bumbry is one of those players that syncs up perfectly with my first collecting period. His first solo card is in the 1974 Topps set, the first cards I ever owned, and his last card is in 1986, when I gave up active collecting.

Something you might know: Bumbry was the American League's Rookie of the Year in 1973 after hitting .337 in 356 at-bats.

Something you might not know: Bumbry is one of 21 people to hold the AL record for most triples in a game with three. The players to match that mark since Bumbry are Ken Landreaux, Lance Johnson and Denard Span (the NL record is also three and the most recent entrant was Yasiel Puig in 2014).


My observation on the back: I'm not certain but I think the only Vietnam vet to last longer in major league baseball than Al Bumbry is Garry Maddox.

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

#725 - Floyd Bannister


What a card: Floyd Bannister's 1984 season was not as successful as his first year with the White Sox in '83. He still managed 14 wins, but his ERA soared.

My observation on the front: Bannister appears to be toiling in the heat. I can see the sweat-soaked hair.

More opinion from me: What number is Bannister? ... Oh, let me look at his crotch!

Something you might know: Bannister was MLB's No. 1 draft pick by the Astros in 1976. His son, Brian, pitched for five years in the majors.

Something you might not know: Bannister now manages his son's photography studios in Phoenix, Loft 19 Studios, where they do shoots for famous athletes and celebrities.


My observation on the back: The trivia question answer appeared on the back of a card featured seven cards ago.

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

#724 - Oscar Gamble


What a card: Oscar Gamble played in just 54 games for the Yankees in 1984, batting a mere .184. He moved on to the White Sox after the season but this is his final Topps flagship card.

My observation on the front: Gamble's afro steadily decreased in size through the '80s but it's noticeably smaller here.

More opinion from me: Another severely off-center card right out of the box. This couldn't have happened with, oh, say, Bob Kearney or someone a little less prominent?

Something you might know: Gamble was part of the "Southside Hitmen" that ruled the White Sox during the 1977 season. He set career highs in home runs (31) and RBIs (83) that year.

Something you might not know: Gamble opened a disco in 1976. His brothers ran the club.


My observation on the back: Juanita's afro was just as large as Oscar's and hers was first.

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

#723 - Dave Stewart


What a card: Dave Stewart was coming off his first full season with the Rangers when this card was issued. He set career highs for losses (14) and home runs allowed (26) in 1984.

My observation on the front: Stewart always looks bad-ass on his cards, even when he was lousy.

More opinion from me: The mid-80s Stewart cards remind me of how sad I was that the Dodgers traded him.

Something you might know: Stewart won 20 games four straight seasons from 1987-90.

Something you might not know: Stewart once threw a wild pitch that scored three runs while pitching for the Dodgers in 1983. During a July 11 game against the Cardinals, Stewart replaced starter Fernando Valenzuela in the sixth inning after Valenzuela walked opposing pitcher Bob Forsch to load the bases with the Dodgers ahead 3-2. Stewart walked the first batter he faced, Tom Herr, but his fourth ball went wild past catcher Steve Yeager. The runner on third, David Green, scored. The runner on second, Glenn Brummer, scored. And Forsch scored when Yeager's throw to Stewart, who was covering the plate, went past Stewart and backups Bill Russell and Pedro Guerrero. The Cardinals scored five runs in the inning to go ahead 5-3. But the Dodgers won in the 9th, 7-6, on a home run by Dusty Baker.


My observation on the back: Stewart didn't become an accountant, but he did become an agent and a general manager. So he was still dealing with people's money.

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

#722 - Bruce Sutter All-Star


What a card: Bruce Sutter finished a league-high 63 games in 1984.

My observation on the front: Sutter is obviously on the road, judging by his beautiful '80s baby blue uniform. San Francisco I'm guessing?

More opinion from me: I just looked at Sutter's baseball-reference page and mentally rolled my eyes at the mug shot of Sutter in a Braves hat. I'm no Cubs or Cardinals fan, but get a picture of Sutter when he did his finest work, please.

All-Star Game performance: Sutter was selected as a National League pitcher for the 1984 All-Star Game, but when the time came to close out the NL's 3-1 victory, Rich Gossage got the job of finishing out the ninth. Sutter didn't play.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Fake. My first tip-off that Topps was going off book with the All-Star cards came in 1981 when Sutter and Gossage received All-Star banners, previously reserved for just ASG starters. Obviously, relievers weren't starters.


My observation on the back: It's interesting that Clay Carroll held the record for so long as I barely heard of him while learning about baseball from 1975-85. That's possibly because save number didn't seem to get much attention until the '80s.

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

#721 - Bob Knepper All-Star


What a card: Bob Knepper finished sixth in the National League in innings pitched with 233 2/3 in 1984.

My observation on the front: Knepper appears to be warming up in the bullpen here.

More opinion from me: I was never really down with the stripes on the shoulders the Astros moved toward in the '80s. I think they should have kept the rainbows on the players' mid-sections.

All-Star Game performance: No All-Star Game appearance for Knepper in 1984. He was named an All-Star only in 1981 and 1988.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Once again, it's a fake. Instead of selecting the NL's 1984 All-Star starter, Charlie Lea, Topps chose two pitchers who didn't appear in the game, Rick Sutcliffe and Bob Knepper. If it really wanted a lefty represented, Topps could've selected all-stars Fernando Valenzuela or Al Holland.


My observation on the back: All three of Knepper's 1984 shutouts are mentioned in the blurb on the left.

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

#720 - Rick Sutcliffe All-Star


What a card: Rick Sutcliffe led the league in winning percentage in 1984 once he was traded from the Indians to the Cubs and went 16-1 for Chicago.

My observation on the front: How long do you think it took the photographer to set up and shoot this photo? I say 5 minutes, tops.

More opinion from me: This is the second All-Star card in the subset in which the team isn't mentioned anywhere on the card front. This and the Jeff Leonard card would fit right in with all those non-licensed sets.

All-Star Game performance: Sutcliffe didn't play in the 1984 All-Star Game. He had just arrived with the Cubs a month prior and his won-loss record for the season at that point was 8-6. His ERA was probably still over 4.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Fake. Another dude who wasn't named an All-Star during the season.


My observation on the back: Add the four wins that Sutcliffe won with the Indians that year and he was one of just 3 pitchers to 20 wins that year. Joaquin Andujar and Mike Boddicker were the others.

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#719 - Gary Carter All-Star


What a card: Gary Carter knocked in a National League-leading 106 runs in 1984.

My observation on the front: Off in the distance you can see fans hanging over the wall just hoping some big leaguer will fall into their trap.

More opinion from me: It wouldn't be a Gary Carter card without a smile.

All-Star Game performance: Carter went 1-for-2 in the 1984 All-Star Game and his solo home run off of Dave Stieb in the bottom of the second inning gave the National League a 2-1 lead, which as they say, it would not relinquish.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Couldn't be more legitimate. Not only was Carter a perennial All-Star starter at this stage but he won his second NL MVP award in the '84 game.


My observation on the back: Game-Winning RBI leaders!!! We're living in the '80s!!! I kept waiting for someone to credit Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes with the game-winning RBI in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday and not a single person said a thing.

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

#718 - Jeff Leonard All-Star


What a card: Jeff Leonard finished 10th in the National League in batting average at .302 in 1984. In the field, he was second in the league in double plays turned by an outfielder with two.

My observation on the front: Before Ken Griffey Jr. delighted collectors with his backward-turned cap, Jeff Leonard scared the bejesus out of them.

More opinion from me: As a guy who doesn't like the Giants, I enjoy that there is no visible sign that Leonard is a member of the Giants on the front of this card.

All-Star Game performance: There was no All-Star Game performance because Leonard was not an All-Star in 1984! He didn't play in an All-Star Game until 1987.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Fake by a mile. Darryl Strawberry should have gotten this card and I'm surprised Topps didn't include Straw in this subset. The only reason Leonard is here is because they wanted to use this photo, right?.


My observation on the back: Leonard's numbers in 1984, although solid, weren't noteworthy. Tied for ninth with Mike Marshall, woo!

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#717 - Tony Gwynn All-Star


What a card: Tony Gywnn led the league in hits and batting average, each for the first time in his career, in 1984.

My observation on the front: A fine-looking card. Love the sky background.

More opinion from me: Skinny Gwynn does not compute.

All-Star Game performance: Gwynn went 1-for-3 with a fifth-inning single in the 1984 All-Star Game, his first all-star appearance. He also stole a base.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: It's legit. Gwynn started in left field for the NL and was the leadoff hitter.


My observation on the back: Gwynn just dominated the field in the batting average category. Also, second place, Lee Lacy?

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

#716 - Dale Murphy All-Star


What a card: Dale Murphy was coming off another season in which he played 162 games when this card was issued. He led the NL in home runs, slugging percentage and total bases.

My observation on the front: That's definitely spring training. A chain-link fence and what appears to be a ranch home are tell-tale signs.

More opinion from me: Murphy is sweaty. Ew.

All-Star Game performance: Murphy went 2-for-3 and drove in a run for the National League in the 1984 All-Star Game. His hits accounted for the NL's first and last runs in a 3-1 victory.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: It's legitimate. He played the whole game.


My observation on the back: Oof. Ron Cey in the league leaders as a Cub. That hurts.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

#715 - Ozzie Smith All-Star


What a card: Ozzie Smith won his fifth of 13 straight gold gloves in 1984.

My observation on the front: That jacket Ozzie is wearing is so very '80s, but it was all we knew through the '70s and '80s.

More opinion from me: Smith seems to have aged quite a bit from his rookie card in 1979 to this photo.

All-Star Game performance: Smith went 0-for-3 in the 1984 All-Star Game batting from the No. 8 spot. He did steal second base after reaching on a force out.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: It's legit. Smith was making his second straight All-Star start.


My observation on the back: Ozzie just sneaks into the top 10!

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#714 - Mike Schmidt All-Star


What a card: Mike Schmidt was coming off his seventh season of leading the league in home runs, socking 36 in 1984.

My observation on the front: Hey, we're back at spring training. Very nice.

More opinion from me: That's a good look at the Phillies' 100th anniversary patch. However, the Phillies' 100th anniversary was 1983, so this appears to be a picture of Schmidt that's more than a year old.

All-Star Game performance: Schmidt went 0-for-3 in the 1984 All-Star Game, striking out twice.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: It's legit. If it was the '80s, Schmidt was starting.


My observation on the back: Schmidt leads the league in home runs and RBIs so Topps goes with ... runs?

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

#713 - Ryne Sandberg All-Star


What a card: Ryne Sandberg hit a league-best and career-high 19 triples in 1984. His next-highest total during his career was eight.

My observation on the front: This is one of Sandberg's better baseball cards.

More opinion from me: Sandberg looks very young here, maybe the youngest he's looked on a major league card.

All-Star Game performance: Sandberg went 1-for-4 in the 1984 All-Star Game, reaching first on an infield single and stealing second base.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Legitimate. Sandberg started the '84 game and played until the end.


My observation on the back: The two players tied with 173 hits are Dave Parker of the Reds and Johnny Ray of the Pirates.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

#712 - Keith Hernandez All-Star


What a card: Keith Hernandez led the National League in double plays turned by a first baseman in 1984. It was the sixth and final season that he would top that category.

My observation on the front: Unlike the American League All-Stars, which I believe all feature photos from spring training, Hernandez is shown at a big-league park, Shea Stadium.

More opinion from me: This starts the National League portion of the All-Star Cards and there is no design or color differentiation between the AL and NL all-star cards, which actually irks me. Previous sets have noted the difference between the leagues.

All-Star Game performance: Keith Hernandez struck out in his only at-bat in the 1984 All-Star Game.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Fake. Steve Garvey started at first base for the National League. Steve Garvey was deprived of an All-Star card.


My observation on the back: Quite the race for the On-Base Percentage King.

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

#711 - Dan Quisenberry All-Star


What a card: Dan Quisenberry led the league in saves for the third straight season in 1984 and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting for the second straight year.

My observation on the front: This is from the same photo shoot as Quisenberry's base card, probably just a few camera clicks away.

More opinion from me: The advertising signs in the background scream 1980s spring training.

All-Star Game performance: Quisenberry was selected to the AL All-Star team for the 1984 game but didn't play, probably because the AL trailed for the entire game and a closer wasn't needed.

Legitimate All-Star card or fake All-Star card: Fake. Relievers are never All-Star starters.


My observation on the back: A year after setting the record for most saves in a season, Quisenberry finished one save short of that mark in 1984.

The blog wants to speak now: I'm not here to start no trouble, but the Pop Culture tab is updated.