Saturday, April 13, 2024

1981 Topps Mario Soto

 RIP former Yankees pitcher Fritz Peterson. He shared his thoughts on baseball cards with this blog in 2014.

The front: Ironically for a card with a cap in it's design, Soto isn't wearing one. Almost looks like he took his cap off and is holding it in front of him. Looks like Shea Stadium in the background.

The back: Soto pitched two scoreless innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.

The player: Mario Soto was one of the NL's best pitchers in the 1980s. From 1980 to 1985 he won at least 10 games each year, topped by an 18-7 mark in 1984. He had low ERAs for most of those years, and topped 200 strikeouts three times, including 274 in 1982. Injuries, perhaps due to a heavy workload, quickly reduced his effectiveness, and he retired after the 1988 season at the age of 31. He had been traded to the Dodgers late in the season but never appeared for them, despite his 1989 Score card appearing to show him pitching for them. Overall in 297 games, all for the Reds, he went 100-92 with a 3.47 ERA.

The man: The temperamental Soto was involved in several brawls during his career, earning two suspensions during the 1984 season. He had no incidents after his playing career, and has had a long and successful career as a coach. He opened a baseball school in the Dominican Republic in 1991, and he has spent many years in the Reds organization working with their pitchers.

My collection: I have 40 of his cards, from 1978 to 1989. I would be interested in trading for 1978 SSPC #117.

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