Friday, February 23, 2018

Knocking some '84s off the want list

The tallest pile of all of the stacks, '84 Topps is up next for the 50 card treatment.  This 50 card group didn't feature a great deal of star power, but there is some interesting cards (at least for me) in this fifty.

Pat Corrales' tenure with the Indians lasted 3 full seasons plus parts of the 83 and 87 campaigns, the longest of any of the three teams he managed.   Pat managed 280 wins during that time.

I knew that Frank Robinson had managed in a few places, but I didn't know that he was a manager for 16 years in the big leagues.  Frank didn't win a division title, but did earn a couple of 2nd place finishes and won the AL Manager of the Year in 1989 with the Orioles.

It appears that in 1983 you had to be a 3rd baseman to win a batting title. I remember LaMarr Hoyt's big season in 1983, winning 24 games.  Rich Dotson was 2nd in the AL with 22, also with the White Sox.  I sure don't remember John Denny winning 19 games in 1983, along with the Cy Young award.

How about the 3 shades of Pittsburgh? Full white, black top/gold pants and gold top/black pants.  If I had to rank them I would go gold top first, all white uni 2nd and the black top 3rd.  Those gold pants just don't do it for me.

This is the first card that I remember from these sets that features a player as strictly a DH.  Ken Singleton's last 2 seasons in baseball were exclusively as a DH, including 151 games in 1983.  Even better, Ken's only WS ring was earned during the '83 season, as the O's beat the Phils in 5 games.  John Denny won the first and only game for the Phillies in the series.

After an 11 year run with the Giants, the Blue Jays picked up Gary Lavelle hoping he'd make a 1-2 punch in the pen with Bill Caudill.  By the end of the year, the Jays had Tom Henke as their closer and won the AL East title.  Gary would not pitch the 1986 season at all, and played with Toronto and Oakland to finish his career.

Easily one of the best names in baseball in the 80's.  I don't have anything to say about Mr. Wockenfuss, except that his name is fun to say.

Now try and say this one...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A little nervous

I've had these stacks of cards on my desk for a couple of weeks now and my posting schedule  (which has been lax lately) has gotten me nervous.  The taller stacks of 84 and 85 Topps are especially making me nervous, because I've vowed to show a bunch of cards on the blog and not just put them away to be forgotten.

So, in order to reduce the piles, we need to show some more cards.   1985 Topps is the choice tonight; knocking 50 more cards off of that want list will put that set at more than 25% complete.

Yogi looking trim in the pinstripes.  You hear all the names over the years; Mantle, DiMaggio, Ruth, Gehrig and Berra is right up there with all the legendary names when you think of the Yankees.  Is there anyone in the past 40 years outside of Derek Jeter that would be considered a legendary Yankee player?   Would love to hear thoughts on that...

The father and son cards in my opinion are a great idea.  I almost put the fathers in chronological order by accident, just reverse the Bell and Boone cards and I would have been all set.  Love the square haircut on Francona, that just screams the 50's and early 60's. 

A deep group of outfielders in this scan.  Was there ever any kind of look that George Foster had that didn't scream "don't mess with me".   Is there a centerfielder among these 6?  I wasn't sure about Ruppert Jones so I had to look up his stats on baseball reference, and it turns out he played CF for several years in Seattle, NY and San Diego.

This group of infielders would probably be better known for their bats and not their defense.  1985 would be the last full season in the bigs for Al Oliver, but he wouldn't see any time in Philly as he played for both the Dodgers and the Jays that year.  I always thought that Doug DeCinces was more of a big time power hitter, but he managed 237 homers during his career of 15 seasons.  Tom Herr would have a career year in 1985, finishing 5th in MVP voting and driving in 110 runs while hitting only 8 homers.  That St. Louis team was fast, Herr's 31 steals was tied for 4th on the team. 

I spoke too soon about Reynolds, upon looking at his stats he was more of a defensive stalwart, playing multiple positions while playing just over a decade in Houston.

Kudos to you if you can remember Lance Parrish finishing his career playing 70 games for Toronto in 1995.  Kudos to you if you remember Steve Yeager finishing his career playing 50 games for Seattle in 1986.  I'll always remember these 2 guys in the uniforms you see them in here.

Not a whole lot of star power among the half dozen pitchers you see here, but there are a few names that those of you who followed baseball in the 80's will recognize.  Honestly, just seeing all the classic uniforms (even the spring training duds on Al Holland) is just cool. 

Yea, I can see why the Night Owl devoted a whole blog to these cards....

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Trying to field a team

I figured that I would have some fun with this next group of 50 cards from 1980 Topps and try and field a team of starting players.

This team is fairly good, a bit weak in the infield and has only one decent reliever, but I'm sure that the strength of the starting staff and the bench probably could get this team a few wins.

Before we start with the team, let's show the one team photo first....for you Dodger fans out there.

How about a double play photo for those who prefer them...

Sorry Joel, it looks as if you're out on the play.

I didn't count the league leader cards as part of my team, but the pitchers on these two cards could certainly make a great staff.

OK trivia geeks out there, can anyone remember if a pair of brothers ever led a league (or placed 1-2) in victories other than the Niekro brothers in '79?   If anyone knows this let me know in the comments.

Now for the team.   The outfield is strong with 2/3 of the Expos outfield in the starting lineup

3 pretty good bats there, and no doubt probably 70 homers combined over a full season. 

Backups?  Don Baylor and Ralph Garr could fill in in a pinch. 

The infield isn't the strongest, but has a couple of solid players.

Mike Edwards only lasted 4 years in the bigs and hit .250 for his career.  If Tim Foli had been listed as a 2nd basemen he would have been in this spot.   Paul Dade was a light hitting 3rd baseman whose career ended in 1980 with the Padres. 

The other two guys you know all too well, Dave Kingman being the all power tons of strikeouts hitter that made it cool in the 70's, and Dave Concepcion the anchor of the Big Red Machine's infield.

You need some good catchers to catch this starting staff, and I'm sure that these two fit the bill.

 McCarver had a long career catching the staff ace...

Carlton would be the ace of a super starting staff comprised of 4 lefties...

Imagine getting a day off from a lefty, only to face knuckleballer Phil Niekro.  I could see Alan Ashby being the designated catcher for Phil. 

The closer Ron Davis had his good seasons in the early 80's after he left the Bronx for Minnesota.   Ron would compile 106 saves over 4 seasons between 82-85 and then after that something happened as his career went sideways and he was never really effective after that (his ERA in Minnesota in '86 was over 9.00)

I have just over 200 more cards to go through from the group of 1980 Topps that Adam sent, so I'll try and make up 3 more teams and see how they would compare to this group.

The starting staff is going to be hard to beat...

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, February 18, 2018

50 cards from one of my favorite sets--1980 Topps

I grabbed a pile of 50 cards from the top of the 1980 Topps stack that Adam sent, and I just started flipping through them.

Boy, did a lot of memories come back quickly.  I was 12 years old when that set was released, and was I ever into baseball then!!

I think that might be why I'm really enjoying the run of sets between 1978-1985 so much.   That seems to be my golden era for baseball.

A Dave Stieb RC in the bunch, a good way to get things started for me.  This is definitely when things started to turn for the good for the Blue Jays.  The #37 needs to go to the rafters of the SkyDome in my opinion.

Can you imagine today's superstars wearing uniforms with collars?  If this picture doesn't scream 70's, I'm not sure what does....

"Yep, you better be ready with the bat son, because my plan is to strike you out."  Take a look at Tanana's stats between 1975-77, he was as good as any other pitcher in baseball.  50 wins, averaged 245 K's per season, WHIP of 1.056 combined for those 3 years and 14 shutouts.  

Can someone at Topps please bring these back?  How great is the A's photo with all 3 types of uniform tops represented!!

As a Jays fan, I truly hated facing the Brewers in the late 70's into the early 80's, because if there were runners on base, these two were going to drive them in.  No doubt about it.  Blue Jay killers they were.  Love the sideburns on Cecil Cooper...would love to see those come back in style again.

Sluggers?  Yeah, there were a few in there.  I certainly had forgotten that Bob Horner was drafted in June of '78 and was playing for Atlanta almost immediately.  I also didn't know that the #2 player picked in the draft by the Jays was Lloyd Moseby.  I had no idea he was drafted that high.  Maybe it's time I dig a little deeper into the Jays history books...

I see these, I immediately think of Jim from GCRL.   Great photo!

Now, the absolute scariness of this photo is offset (for me anyhow) by the old style powder blue pinstripe Cubs uniforms, which is something else that I had forgotten about.   There are a couple of other Cubs in the '80T stack that have these on as well, which is very cool.

Nothing like a little trip down nostalgia lane, right? 

Looking forward to seeing more cardboard goodness in these stacks.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Some basic math skills were in order

There's 185 cards left on my 1974 Topps want list.  If I thought of that before I sat down last night to put the cards I had into pages, I wouldn't have expected to have more complete pages when I started.

Here's where the basic math skills come into play.

660 cards divided by 9 (cards per page) equals 73 pages + 3 cards on a 74th page.

With 185 cards to go, basic math of 185/73 pages equals almost 2.5 cards per page that aren't in hand yet.  That's a lot of chances for a page to be missing cards; and very few chances for any of the pages to be completed.

I think by the end of the paging, I had 5 complete pages.   Not bad...

Also running through the cards I have, there were some big names that I didn't see.   Pete Rose.  Nolan Ryan.  Dave Winfield (his 2nd year card).  Dave Parker's RC. 

After a while when you have a boat load of numbers on a blog that form some kind of want list, you forget to sit down and dig into what players are needed to get rid of those numbers.  It's the same for the majority of the sets I'm putting together right now.

Rickey Henderson RC.   Ken Griffey Jr RC.  Bob Gibson RC.  Nolan Ryan RC.  I could go on for a while.   It looks and sounds like a daunting task.    So far in 2018, I haven't thought of it that way.


It's because I'm happy that I'm following one of my New Years resolutions.

For 45 days, I haven't hit Wal Mart or Target at all.  No trips to the card aisle.  Not one pack of new product.  Not one thought about new product.   I haven't even got the shakes yet....

Just 45 days to go to take care of one resolution.

Thanks for reading, Robert