Tuesday, July 31, 2018

1981 Topps Strikeout Leaders

The front: Second straight card with Steve Carlton. This time, he’s wearing his cap.
The back: Carlton struck out 286 batters, 99 more than AL leader Barker.

Monday, July 30, 2018

1981 Topps Victory Leaders

The front: Continuing the spring training scene, though with different kinds of photos. Steve Carlton had some big hair.
The back: The seven AL’ers with 16 wins were Mike Flanagan, Moose Haas, Matt Keough, Jerry Koosman, Jack Morris, Jim Palmer and Dan Spillner. The four NL’ers with 14 wins were Doyle Alexander, Vida Blue, Burt Hooton and Bob Welch.

Wallet Card at Yankee Stadium

It was a fun day at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees beat the Royals, 6-3. I don't think I was ever at a pitcher's debut game after being traded to the Yankees. Fortunately everything went Happ-ily for J.A. Aaron Hicks was the hitting hero with three hits including a two-run home run.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fabulous fifties

Once a year or so I do a trade with SpastikMooss of The Great Sports Name Hall of Fame. I trade him a big box of non-baseball cards (hard to trade with other bloggers) that he flips on COMC, and I pick out some COMC baseball cards that he sends me in return. Now that I'm a vintage man, this really worked out nicely for me. I was pleasantly surprised by what I could find for a buck or two each on that site, most of these were closer to $1.

Despite the title of this post I did pick up one card later than the '50s. Pretty awesome to get a playing-days Whitey Ford - my first one. Sure it's missing one corner but that barely detracts from this awesome card. I think 1967 is becoming my favorite vintage set.
 I got a nice boost to my 1959s. As you can see I went heavily on Yankees, but not exclusively. I was amazed at how cheaply you could get an Elston Howard card. I really liked the photo on the Duke Maas card. I also highlighted Sam Esposito as he just passed away earlier this month.
 Four Yankees from the '58 set.
 These are my first '57s. I really love the design with the emphasis on the photo.
 Finally, the three oldest cards in the set. Steady Eddie Lopat is another star I was surprised at how cheap his cards were. Cot Deal is my first '54. And getting a '53 Yankee for $1.25 is amazing. Ray Scarborough died 35 years ago but if he were still alive would have just turned 101.

Friday, July 27, 2018

1981 Topps Stolen Base Leaders

The front: Some spring training head shots. Check out the Marlboro ad on the scoreboard behind LeFlore.
The back: Nice to see Maury Wills’s son, Bump Wills, make the leaderboard. The sixth, seventh and eighth place speedsters in the AL totaled 98 stolen bases, two less than Rickey Henderson stole by himself.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

1981 Topps RBI Leaders

The front: Some more full-body shots than the previous cards. Continuing the theme of spring training.
The back: Seven American League players topped 110 RBIs; only Mike Schmidt did in the NL. I hadn’t realized George Hendrick ever had a 100+ RBI season. Three Brewers and three Cardinals in the top ten, yet neither team made the playoffs, which tells you the importance of pitching.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Baseball card stories from David Aardsma

David Aardsma pitched for eight teams in nine major league seasons. His best years were with the Mariners, when he saved 69 games in 2009 and 2010 as the team's closer. Now Coordinator of Player Development for the Toronto Blue Jays, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I loved collecting cards as a kid. My parents would go to the store and get me packs all the time when I was little so as I grew up I already had a collection. 1984 Topps was the set I had the most of because of my parents. My post prized card was the 1983 Ryne Sandberg rookie card, I saved up forever to buy it. I spent something like $100 in 91 or 93 for the card and I cherished the card. 
One of my personal favorite cards is the 2006 Upper Deck card, I was in the middle of doing the Captain Morgan pose. Haha."


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Jerry Bell on baseball cards

Jerry Bell pitched for the Brewers from 1971 to 1974. In 69 games he went 17-11 with a 3.28 ERA. Now the coach of the Tennessee Patriots American Legion team, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I don't collect cards myself but I have a few of Brewers players whom I played with, as well as a few that some collectors send me to keep.  I guess the only story I have is about my rookie card.  It also included Darrell Porter and Bob Reynolds but my name is under Porter's picture and vice versa. Topps did not recall it as a mistake card so a lot of folks who send it to me to sign, think that I signed in the wrong place.  I had a lot of cards in the early 60's,  but when I went away to college, I think my mom threw them out.  I wish I could sort through those again."


Monday, July 23, 2018

1981 Topps Home Run Leaders

The front: Some more spring training shots. Reggie looking cool in shades, while Oglivie and Schmidt both look like their photos were taken at the end of a long, hard day.
The back: Schmidt’s MVP season was overshadowed by George Brett’s monster year, but Schmidt’s Phillies knocked off Brett’s Royals in the World Series. The Panamanian Oglivie was the first foreign-born home run leader. The four AL players tied for ninth were George Brett, Lance Parrish, Jim Rice and Ken Singleton.

Sean Doty on baseball cards

Sean Doty pitched in the Reds organization from 1989 to 1992. In 137 games, all in relief, he went 14-12 with 29 saves and a 3.36 ERA. Now a caregiver at Step Forward Activities in Baker City, OR, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I only have 5 pro cards of myself. I don’t collect cards other than the cards we received of the teams I played for. The card I have of our rookie year that I favor the most is of Trevor Hoffman! He will be inducted into the Hall this year! Funny, he was drafted as a shortstop and ended up as one of the best closers in the game."


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Surprise street card

I saw Al the other day and he insisted he owed me a card. I didn't think he did but he said he was sure. He picked one out for me himself, he's got a bunch of cards from this set.
Here it is: Wil "The Thril" Myers. Nice looking card.

Friday, July 20, 2018

1981 Topps Batting Leaders

The front: A couple of spring training batting poses. Brett is on the road in the Royals’ powder blues, while Buckner is at the Cubs’ home facility in Mesa, AZ.
The back: 1980 was the year George Brett electrified the nation by flirting with .400 most of the summer, eventually cooling off at the end of the year to hit .390. Bill Buckner would have ranked just eighth in the American League, barely ahead of Dave Stapleton, probably the most surprising name on either list.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Blog-Within-a-Blog: 1981 Topps

A while back Night Owl posted about how no one has done a 1981 Topps blog, the only year from the mid-60s to mid-80s that does not have a blog. I've been looking for something new to do on this blog so I decided to take it on (hopefully that encourages him to do a 1993 Upper Deck blog when he is done with 1985 Topps!).

The 1993 Studio series was fun but didn't really seem to resonate with readers, so I was looking to shift gears. A few weeks ago I accidentally posted the same card twice within a week and nobody noticed. That's when I knew I had to do something different.

For each card I will comment on the front and the back. For player cards I will also discuss the playing career as well as something about them beyond their playing career. I will also look at what I cards I have for that player, and highlight at least one card I don't have that I would like to trade for. All posts will be tagged so people can find the 1981 Topps posts.

I have the full set (as well as the traded set) but rather than take new pictures of every card, I will use the scans from the fantastic Trading Card Data Base.

Hopefully you will enjoy this journey through the 1981 Topps set!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1993 Studio Craig Shipley

Hobby is weight lifting: Shipley and Padres teammate Ken Caminiti were early users of creatine.

Favorite sports announcer is Mel Allen: As an Australian, Shipley may have been familiar with Allen from This Week in Baseball, but he also may have chosen Allen as both were alumni of the University of Alabama.

Favorite player as a kid was Pete Rose: Rose presumably had great international appeal.

Might have been a coach if he hadn’t been an athlete: Shipley coached in Australia during and after his career.

Pet peeve is Florida drivers: Spring training must have been a frustrating time for Shipley.

Where he is now: Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Diamondbacks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

1993 Studio Harold Reynolds

Hobbies are reading, guest speaking and watching movies: You’ve sure got a great hobby if you get paid $10-20,000 each time you do it, as is Reynolds’s fee for a guest speaking appearance.
Favorite sports announcer is Howard Cosell: Reynolds would later follow in Cosell’s footsteps as a World Series announcer.
Favorite player as a kid was Garry Templeton: Templeton was a star shortstop when Reynolds was in high school and college.
Most prized possession is his bible: During his playing career Reynolds travelled around the world speaking about baseball and the gospel.
Might have been a history teacher if he hadn’t been an athlete: Reynolds did not go into teaching after his playing career.
Where he is now: An analyst for the MLB Network.

Monday, July 16, 2018

1993 Studio Howard Johnson

Hobby is golf: Yet another golfing baseball player.
Favorite sports announcer is Harry Kalas: Johnson grew up in Florida and never played for the Phillies; not sure how Kalas became his favorite.
Favorite player as a kid was Reggie Jackson: Not having a big league team nearby, a charismatic slugger like Reggie makes sense.
Might have been an astronaut if he hadn’t been an athlete: This seems like one of the bigger stretch answers to this question.
Where he is now: A minor league manager in the Rangers organization.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1993 Studio Benito Santiago

Hobby is cars: Santiago has had some issues with his cars, getting injured crashing his Ferrari in 1998, and arrested for smoking marijuana in his Mercedes in 2012.

Favorite sports announcer is Chris Berman: Berman called him Benito “Il Duce” Santiago.

Favorite player as a kid was Johnny Bench: Great role model for a young player.

Might have been a race car driver if he hadn’t been a baseball player: He certainly liked expensive cars. Don’t know if that would have translated to actually racing them successfully.

Pet peeve is taxes: While Santiago has had various legal troubles he seems to have at least always paid his taxes.

Where he is now: He is involved in various community activities in San Francisco and Puerto Rico.