Monday, November 19, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #26: Storm Davis

Last time we looked in on the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, we finished out the Yankees with Don Mattingly and Steve Sax.  Now we're on to the next AL location alphabetically, Oakland.
Storm Davis
And we start in Oakland with starting pitcher Storm Davis.  Back in the day, statistics like wins meant something, and Davis had some good years with those Oakland pennant winners.  You don't need me to tell you, though, that those winning years of his have become known as being emblematic of being lucky/overperforming, as sabermetrics have come to the fore.  In any case, I prefer to think well of Davis for his years in Oakland.
Storm Davis card back.
Davis made his way into this league leaders set with that one particular statistic, tying for #3 in the league with 19 wins.  The photo on the back is great for really highlighting his mullet.

We continue with more Oakland A's, since the near-dynasty of course had many league leaders.  Next up are Eckersley and then Henderson.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #25: Steve Sax

We march on through the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, looking today at card #25, Steve Sax.  Sax was on the Yankees in the AL by then, having left the Dodgers after the 1988 World Series win, his second with them.
#26, Steve Sax.
Steve Sax today is known for defensive struggles, but I don't remember any of that from back then.  Those problems may have largely been in the past by the time I started paying attention.  I remember having his 1982 Topps rookie card, which also featured Mike Marshall and Ron Roenicke.  Ron Roenicke played with the Phillies for a couple of years, and I probably saw him play in person at the Vet.  Like Sax, Marshall hung around long enough to be on the 1988 champion Dodgers.
Steve Sax card back.
Sax has just under 2000 career hits, and made his way into this league leaders set by tying for second in the AL with 205 hits.  So, he had more than 10% of his career total in 1989.  He also tied for fourth in steals with 43, tied for 6th in runs, and placed 7th in batting average.  This was probably his second-best season, after 1986.

Thanks for reading!  The next installment in this series takes us to the then-champions Oakland and Storm Davis.

Monday, October 29, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #24: Don Mattingly

We're just over 1/4 of the way through the complete 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, which puts us about halfway through the AL.  Today we have card #24 Don Mattingly, so we've started New York (AL).  These are organized alphabetically by the geographic signifier in the team name, so we're also halfway through the AL as far as the alphabet goes.
#24, Don Mattingly.
I've posted a number of Don Mattingly cards.  He was an absolutely dominant hitter for a few years, and those years happen to be some of my most formative baseball-watching years.  I started entering my collection into Trading Card Database and stopped, but I did get about 16,000 cards in.  And their stats show that of the cards I entered, Mattingly is the 6th most frequent player I have.  If I entered all the rest of my cards I suspect his rank would increase.
Don Mattingly card back.
Mattingly earned his way into this league leader set by finishing second in the AL in RBI with 113.  He also was #6 in doubles, #7 in at-bats, #7 in slugging, and #8 in hits.  It turns out that 1989 was his last All-Star season and his last 100-RBI season.  He did have some decent years after but it just wasn't the same.

Thanks for reading!  Next up in the series is a fellow Yankee, Steve Sax.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Three 1990 Post Cereal Cards

A few posts ago, I showed my 3 1991 Post Cereal cards.  They did this for a few years, and they came in 3-card packs in boxes of cereal.  So most years back then I got at least 3 cards.  Today I'll show my 3 1990 Post Cereal cards; this was the first year they resumed issuing cards.  I would have pulled all of these from actual boxes of cereal, back in the day.
Jim Abbott.
First up we have Jim Abbott.  I don't know much about Abbott, aside from the main fact most baseball fans know about him.  Looking him up now, I see that he went 87-108 in his 10-year career, with a 4.25 ERA.  His most notable achievement looks like it was pitching a no-hitter in September, 1993.  That was soon after I first arrived at college.  We college kids back then hardly had any access to TV, and the internet barely existed, so I found it hard to keep up with baseball.  Then the strike happened, and I stopped trying to follow baseball at all, for about 20 years.
Pedro Guerrero.
I posted a card of Pedro Guerrero with the Dodgers yesterday.  In his first full year with the Cards in 1989, Guerrero had a career year.  He led the NL in doubles with 42, had a career-high 117 RBI, and made his final of five All-Star appearances.
Mike Scott.
Finally, we have Mike Scott.  I've shown a number of his cards on this blog, and I always say the same thing.  He seemingly miraculously improved from a thoroughly mediocre pitcher to an unhittable pitcher, earning a Cy Young award, an NLCS MVP award, and three All-Star selections.  He was suspected of scuffing the ball at the time, and many years later he admitted it.  There was a lot of scuffing in the majors for a few years, and Mike Scott shows that sometimes cheaters do prosper.

Thanks for reading!  I'll get the other few years of my Post Cereal cards up in the next few weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Some Fleer Sets Not in My Collection

Today I'll feature a few cards from my collection which are from small Fleer sets of the 80s, in cases in which I don't actually have the whole set.
Two of Charlie Leibrandt.
Early in my collecting days I liked the small boxed sets from Topps and Fleer.  I guess I got more sophisticated and viewed them as being a bit silly, as they all featured the same players and there were so many similar sets.  But even when I liked buying these sets, I never went for the Fleer Baseball's Best: Sluggers vs. Pitchers.  A big part of my dislike of the set is it's visual design -- it looks to me like it's for little kids.  Another part is the conception of baseball as sluggers vs. pitchers -- I think it leaves out the team aspects, and the role of defense and baserunning, for example.  In any case I ended up somehow with a handful of the cards, including these two of Royals starter Charlie Leibrandt.  Leibrandt was in the majors 1979 through 1993 with the Reds, Royals, Braves, and Rangers, and won the World Series with Kansas City in 1985.  He's apparently well known for generally having a rough time in the postseason in several appearances.
Pedro Guerrero.
Tim Raines.
I have two more of the Slugger vs. Pitchers cards, one more from 1986 and one from 1987.  The 1986 is Pedro Guerrero, and the 1987 is Tim Raines.  It's great to see Raines in the light blue road uniform of those Expos.  Guerrero would just miss a second World Series with the Dodgers a couple of years later; he won with them in 1981, but was traded in August of 1988 to the Cardinals for John Tudor.
Kevin McReynolds.
Greg Maddux.
Another boxed set I don't have is the 1989 Fleer Heroes of Baseball.  The one card I have is of Met Kevin McReynolds, who joined the Mets in 1987 from the Padres.  Those post-1986 Mets challenged a few times, but didn't win another pennant.  Then I have this 1989 Fleer For the Record of Greg Maddux.  For the Record doesn't really fit with the other sets here, since it wasn't a Fleer 44-card boxed set.  For the Record was instead a 6-card set, and I'm not sure exactly how they were found.  I don't know that they were inserts like the Fleer All-Stars, but maybe they were.  Or maybe they were included with factory sets.  It's not even clear to me what the point of the set is -- are they record setters?  Are they just notable players Fleer wanted to issue an extra card of?  In earlier years I think these were Fleer Headliners.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #23: Kirby Puckett

Today we again feature a card from the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, #23, Kirby Puckett.
#23, Kirby Puckett.
I started watching baseball seriously in 1987, just in time to see Kirby Puckett lead the Twins to their first World Series.  I kept watching seriously a few more years, in time to see them repeat the feat in 1991.  I went looking through my cards in 1987 and was happy to discover that I did have his 1985 Topps rookie card, and then at some point I picked up a second one. They're not in the best condition but those Puckett rookie cards have always meant a lot to me.
Kirby Puckett card back.
Kirby made his way into this league leaders set through several related paths, leading the AL in batting average and in hits in 1989, and coming in second in doubles.  He also was fifth in at-bats and tied for eighth in games played.  Another great year for a great player.

Thanks for reading!  Posts are infrequent these days, as work is incredibly busy, and raising a three-year-old also takes some effort. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #22: Robin Yount

We continue our march through the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set today, with a look at card #22, Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Robin Yount.
Robin Yount wasn't someone that I knew much of as a kid, since he was with Milwaukee.  Living near Philadelphia, AL teams from the Midwest that didn't make the playoffs weren't much of a factor in my baseball world.  But of course when I started seriously collecting cards I got to know more about him since his cards had some value back then.  As a member of the 3000 hit club, Yount made the Hall on the first ballot, although not overwhelmingly -- he made 77.5%, which was enough but wasn't one of these 98% results like fellow 1999 inductees Nolan Ryan and George Brett.
Robin Yount card back.
Robin Yount, superstar that he was, had many paths into this set of card.  He tied for 3rd in runs, placed 4th in batting average with .318 (an average which would have placed him 4th in the majors this year), 4th in hits, tied for fourth in triples, and fifth in doubles with 38. 

Having had a stellar year, it looks like Yount's 1989 AL MVP award, his second, was very well deserved (although runner-up Ruben Sierra had just about as strong a case).

Next up in this series is card #23, Kirby Puckett.  Thanks for reading!