Sunday, September 30, 2018

1981 Topps Gary Roenicke

The front: Roenicke was hit in the face by a Lerrin LaGrow pitch in 1979, and wore the mask through the 1981 season. I learned from the 1985 Topps blog that the Orioles created the mask using part of Baltimore Colts’ quarterback Bert Jones’s helmet. Roenicke played in only one day game in Yankee Stadium in 1980, going 2-3 with 2 RBI on August 10 in the Orioles’ 6-5 victory.

The back: Gary’s brother Ron and son Josh both played in the majors.
The player: Roenicke was an Earl Weaver classic, a platoon outfielder known primarily for his power. Though he never had 400 at-bats in a season, he topped 15 HR four times, including 25 in 376 at-bats in 1979, his rookie season. He played for the Orioles through the 1985 season, then had brief stints with the Yankees and Braves.

The man: Roenicke has been a coach and scout for many years, and now lives on a ranch in Rough and Ready, CA.

My collection: I have 27 of his cards, from 1980 to 1988. I would be interested in trading for 1976 SSPC #338.

Friday, September 28, 2018

1981 Topps Ed Farmer

The front: Classic spring training pose. The big question is – is there a ball in Farmer’s glove, or just his empty hand?
The back: Farmer’s three seasons with the White Sox were his only three seasons with double-digit save totals.
The player: A journeyman reliever, Farmer pitched for eight teams in 11 seasons. In 370 games, mostly in relief, he went 30-43 with 75 saves and a 4.28 ERA.
The man: Farmer, who has been a White Sox announcer for the last 26 years, has had a lifelong battle with kidney disease, almost dying on multiple occasions.
My collection: I have 14 of his cards, from 1972 to 1983. I would be interested in trading for 1973 Topps #272.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

1981 Topps Mitchell Page

The front: Nice spring training in-game shot; provides some variety from the typical set. Lots going on in the background, including a coach or trainer in an all-white getup, including the white hat A’s coaches used to wear.
The back: At age 92 Dick Cole is one of the oldest living major leaguers. He was still scouting for the Giants as recently as 2013, at the age of 87!
The player: Injuries, ineffectiveness and clashes with management hindered Page’s performance after his 1977 rookie season, where he was runner-up to Eddie Murray in the Rookie of the Year voting. In fact, 1980 was his last season with significant playing time in the majors. He had relatively brief call-ups with the A’s from 1981 to 1983 and for the Pirates in 1984.
The man: Page was considered an excellent hitting coach for many teams, most notably the Cardinals. His struggled with alcoholism hindered his coaching career; he checked into rehab after the 2004 season. Page died in 2011.
My collection: I have nine of his cards, from 1978 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1978 Kellogg’s #47.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

1981 Topps Aurelio Rodriguez

The front: Bunting at Yankee Stadium. He had eleven sacrifice hits in 1980.
The back: Seems like they could have made the print a little bigger, considering the amount of blank space above and below the stats.
The player: In over 2,000 games Rodriguez put up only fair offensive numbers (.237, 124 HR, 648 RBI) but was considered the best fielding third baseman in the American League not named Brooks Robinson. He was particularly known for a cannon arm.
The man: Rodriguez was beloved in his native Mexico. When he was killed by a driver with a suspended license in Detroit in 2000, thousands attended his funeral, including Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo.
My collection: I have 14 of his cards, from 1974 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1969 Topps #653 (the famous batboy card); 1970 Topps #228; 1971 Topps #464, 1972 Topps #319, 1973 Topps #218, 1976 Topps #267, and 1977 Topps #574.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Steve Delabar on baseball cards

Steve Delabar pitched for the Mariners, Blue Jays and Reds from 2011 to 2016. In 190 games, all in relief, he went 15-9 with a 4.07 ERA. Now a high school baseball coach in Kentucky, he replied to my inquiry about baseball cards with this brief note:

"I’ve been mistaken for other guys but I never signed their cards."


Monday, September 24, 2018

1981 Topps Rick Honeycutt

The front: A spring training shot. The outfield fence appears to be made of plywood. At this time the Mariners trained at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The back: Honeycutt hit .404 in 1976 to lead the Southeastern Conference. His .376 career average is fifth all time in the Tennessee record book.
The player: In 1980 Honeycutt made the All Star team in July, but in September he was suspended and fined when he was caught with a thumbtack on his glove. After the season he was traded to Texas, where he made the All Star team in July of 1983, and was traded to the Dodgers in August. In 1987 the Dodgers traded him to the A’s, who converted him to a reliever. Honeycutt won three pennants and a World Series as Dennis Eckersley’s set-up man in Oakland.
The man: Honeycutt returned to the Dodgers a year after his 1997 retirement, and is currently the team’s pitching coach.
My collection: I have 65 of his cards, from 1979 to 1994. I would be interested in trading for 1997 Pacific Prisms Gems of the Diamond #199.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

1981 Topps Ken Oberkfell

The front: Looks like he just hit a pop-up. Not sure where this is. Might not be Shea this time. Wrigley Field?

The back: 1980 was Oberkfell’s last season at second base; Tommy Herr’s emergence would push him to third, where he would help the Cardinals win a World Series in 1982.

The player: Oberkfell, though never a star, was a useful 3B-2B for the Cardinals and Braves from 1977 to 1988. He then played for four teams in four years as a pinch hitter-bench player, ending his career with the Angels in 1992.

The man: Oberkfell has coached since his retirement. He is currently the hitting coach for the independent Gateway Grizzlies.

My collection: I have 48 of his cards, from 1980 to 1991. I would be interested in trading for 1984 O-Pee-Chee #102.