Saturday, March 31, 2018

Starting Lineup Talking Baseball: AL All-Stars

Last Saturday, I showed the NL All-Stars from my 1988 Starting Lineup Talking Baseball game; the game was a gift I got for my 13th birthday.  This week we have their opponents in the game, the AL All-Stars.
Dave Winfield.
Robin Yount.
Starting off, two members of the 3000-hit club, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount; this will be a theme throughout this set.  I always liked Dave Winfield a lot as a player.  I remember him with the Yankees, Angels, and Blue Jays, but we never saw AL games very often.  With the Yankees, I remember him feuding with George Steinbrenner; that's a mark in Winfield's favor in my book.  With the Blue Jays, I remember him winning the World Series with them in 1992.  I don't have much knowledge of Yount beyond his cards, since he was in the AL and since he didn't make the postseason while I was watching baseball.
Bret Saberhagen.
Don Mattingly.
I've been entering my collection into Trading Card Database, and so far, Don Mattingly is one of the players I have the most cards of.  I think that's because most of the little boxed sets at the time included him, and most base sets at that time probably found multiple ways to include him.  It's too bad his production dropped off after a few peak years.  Bret Saberhagen was a two-time Cy Young winner in the AL with the Royals, but when switched to the NL with the Mets, he mostly wasn't as effective.  He did have the occasional good year towards the end of his career, though, such as going 14-4 with the Mets in 1994 and going 15-8 with the Red Sox in 1998.
Willie Randolph.
Lou Whitaker.
I posted before that I picked up Willie Randolph's 1976 Topps Traded card; that was a nice by-product of my search for the iconic Oscar Gamble card.  I've said before, too, that it's nice that the 1984 Tigers finally have some Hall-of-Famers, but it would be even better if Lou Whitaker got his due as well.
George Brett.
Kirby Puckett.
Here we have who I consider to be "the other third baseman," George Brett.  When the Phillies retired Mike Schmidt's number, Dad and I were at the game.  I remember that they played a video message from Brett on the big screen.  Brett is the third member of the 3000-hit club pictured here so far.  I became a fan of Kirby Puckett during the 1987 World Series, and was glad to see them win again in 1991.  I'm glad to have a couple of his rookie cards in my main binder.
Dave Righetti.
George Bell.
I always remember Dave Righetti for his 1987 Topps record breaker card.  That's not a record which has held up.  I was glad to see him on TV more recently, when the Pirates played the Giants.  Apparently he's in the Giants front office now, and not on the field anymore.  I'm sorry to say that I barely remember George Bell, other than that he was one of many talented players to go through Toronto in their build-up to their back-to-back World Series wins.  It's too bad that he was no longer with Toronto by that point.
Eddie Murray.
Rickey Henderson.
Here are two of my all-time favorites, Eddie Murray and Rickey Henderson.  I really admire Murray's consistency; it's as if he decided in the beginning to hit 500 home runs in his career by hitting 25 per year for 20 years.  Rickey Henderson was slammed in the media for saying that he was the greatest, but I think that was ridiculous -- he absolutely was the greatest, so I think it was fair for him to say so.  Murray and Henderson are the fourth and fifth 3000-hit members represented here.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Dan Quisenberry.
Cal Ripken, the Iron Man, is a local guy around here.  Maybe I'll make it to Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen sometime with my family, to catch a minor league game.  Cal is the sixth 3000-hit club member here.  Dan Quisenberry is one of many baseball players (including several Royals and several Phillies) to have died of brain cancer.  Quisenberry led the AL in saves five times, on his way to a career total of 244.
Wade Boggs.
Alan Trammell.
Wade Boggs is our seventh and final member of the 3000-hit club in this set of 20 AL All-Stars.  The corresponding NL set didn't have any, although they could have had Tony Gwynn.  When the game came out in 1988, the 1984 Tigers championship was a recent memory, and including the MVP of that World Series makes sense, especially since he had an even better year in 1987 than he did in 1984, batting .343 with 105 RBI.
Jack Morris.
Terry Kennedy.
The third member of that 1984 Tigers team in this set, and second recent Hall-of-Famer, is Jack Morris.  The upside of Morris' case for the Hall is being the winningest pitcher of the 80s and being a three-time World Series champ.  The case against has to do with his high ERA and sabermetrics.  Popular sentiment was on his side, I suppose.  Then we have Terry Kennedy, who made significant contributions to a few different teams over the years; he was an All-Star with the Padres and the Orioles, and was on the losing side of that 1984 World Series with the Padres.
Roger Clemens.
Carlton Fisk.
Through 1988, Roger Clemens had led the AL in wins twice, ERA once, shutouts twice, and strikeouts once, winning two Cy Young awards and the AL MVP, and he probably hadn't started using steroids yet.  And finally, we have Carlton Fisk, who was quite popular at the end of his career, as people appreciated his longevity.

That wraps up this go-round.  I have more of these Starting Lineup Talking Baseball cards I'll feature for the next three Saturdays.  Next week: the Pirates team set.

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