Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No Longer Unopened in My Collection: Three Packs of 1982 Fleer (Part 2 of 2)

I recently decided to open three packs of 1982 Fleer that were in the unopened part of my collection.  I showed Part 1 last week, in which I featured Phillies or Phillies-related players, with all the cards being related to either the 1980 or 1983 Phillies postseason runs.  In this post, I'll feature the rest of the cards that I found interesting.
Kirk Gibson and Bill Buckner.
Here we have Kirk Gibson and Bill Buckner.  They wouldn't have known it in 1982, but they would both feature in legendary World Series moments later in the decade.  No one will ever forget Gibson's Roy Hobbs-esque walkoff home run.  No one will ever forget that ball rolling through Bill Buckner's legs.  For both of these guys, those are the defining moments of their careers at least in public memory.
Bill Robinson and Gary Alexander.
I didn't get many Pirates, but here we have Bill Robinson and Gary Alexander.  Bill Robinson was part of the Pirates' 1979 World Championship team, and was one of their many reliable bats, with a .504 slugging average during the regular season (third among their starters after Stargell and Parker).  He went on to be the hitting coach for the 1986 Mets and for the 2003 Marlins, both of which won the World Series.  Gary Alexander had the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy on his 1978 card, but he exited the majors after playing 21 games with the Pirates in 1981.
Willie Randolph, Rich Dauer, and Charlie Moore.
I remember Willie Randolph as being a long-time Yankee, especially during the Yankees' futile period in the 80s.  It wasn't all futility, though, since Randolph was part of the team when winning their two 1970s World Series.  I also remember him as being a frequent candidate for managerial positions, before he finally got the nod to manage the Mets in 2005.  Rich Dauer was an infielder playing his whole career with the Orioles.  He was on the 1979 team which lost the World Series to the Pirates, and on the 1983 team which beat the Phillies.  He's in the Orioles Hall of Fame.  Charlie Moore I highlighted yesterday, since for some reason, I have three 1978 cards of the longtime Brewer.
Mookie Wilson, Dave Stieb, and Joe Niekro.
In reading The Bad Guys Won!, the story of the 1986 Mets, you learn that the Mets were really terrible people.  The biggest exception is Mookie Wilson, who was a good person and was not corrupted by the others.  The Blue Jays had any number of great players in their long run-up to their two World Series-winning teams of 1992 and 1993.  One of those is Dave Stieb, the second-winningest pitcher of the 1980s after Jack Morris.  Stieb was released during the 1992 season, so he didn't participate in that postseason; he's on the Blue Jays "Level of Excellence," reflecting the several team records he set.  Joe Niekro, of course, is Phil Niekro's brother, and as such, is part of some pitching records for brothers, such as wins by brothers (539 together -- 221 by Joe).  Niekro had a fatal brain aneurysm in 2006.
Orioles stickers.
Finally, I thought I'd highlight some of the stickers I got from these Fleer packs.  Not sure what I'll do with them, but I got Orioles stickers from two of the three packs.  The third sticker was of the Braves; I'll probably just throw that one away.

Monday, October 30, 2017

From My Collection: Some Odd Doubles and Triples

Other than the stars I intentionally acquired, I don't have a lot of pre-1978 cards in my collection.  So, I think it's funny that I ended up with doubles of a couple of players.  Even for 1978-1980, I don't have so many cards, but I still have triples of a couple of players.
Two 1973 Chuck Taylor cards.
According to the front of the card, Chuck Taylor was a pitcher for the Brewers.  Other than seeing this card, I never heard of him.  Looking him up, I see that he pitched 1969-1976, with the Cardinals, Mets, Brewers (briefly!) and Expos.  He pitched almost exclusively in relief; of his 305 career games, only 21 were starts.  His career record is 28-20 with 31 saves and a 3.07 ERA in 607.0 career innings.  He was with the Brewers only at the end of the 1972 season, pitching 5 games with them. 
Two 1974 Mario Guerrero cards.
In addition to these two Mario Guerrero cards, I know I've seen him elsewhere in my collection.  Apart from a few cards, though, I don't know anything about him.  Let me look him up.... He played 1973-1980, but this isn't his rookie card since he appeared on a 1973 Rookie Shortstops card.  After two years with the Red Sox, he spent time with the Cardinals, Angels, and A's.  His career average was .257, with 7 home runs in the majors, 170 RBI, and 578 hits. 
Three 1978 Charlie Moore cards.
Charlie Moore was a long-time Brewers' catcher, playing with them from 1973-1986.  He also played with the Blue Jays in 1987 before retiring.  He played a variety of other positions with the Brewers, and finished well in some defensive categories as a right fielder some years.  His career batting stats are a .261 average, with 1052 hits, 36 home runs, and 408 RBI.
Three 1980 Richie Zisk cards.
I already had two of these 1980 Richie Zisk cards, and then when I recently opened two packs of 1980 Topps, I got a third one.  In this picture, they're arranged in order of condition, with my oldest version with many creases on the left, and the fresh-from-the-pack version on the right.  Zisk first appeared in the majors in 1971 with the Pirates, but wasn't on their postseason roster as their championship year.  He stayed with the Pirates through 1976.  He was traded to the White Sox in part for Goose Gossage, and in his one year with the White Sox, hit 30 home runs with 101 RBI and made the AL All-Star team.  He signed with the Rangers and was an AL All-Star again in 1978.  He was traded to the Mariners in 1981, winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year award, before retiring in 1983.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1987 Fleer Record Setters (Eckerd)

Continuing my Sunday series on boxed sets, mostly from the 80s, today we have the 1987 Fleer Record Setters.  My box didn't survive -- it must have fallen apart over the years and I got rid of it.  The only indication that these were sold at Eckerd, a now-defunct drugstore chain, was a few words on the box.  I probably did pick the set up at an Eckerd, as we used to go there all the time.

I've remarked before that I like sets that have a logic to them, rather than nonsensical ones.  This "record setter" set is of the nonsense variety, since they don't explain what record anyone has set, and there mostly isn't any such record.  Instead, we get the usual stars plus a few other players.
Joe Orsulak, Mike Schmidt, and Willie Wilson.
The standards followed for these sets seem to require including at least one player per team.  Not much worthwhile happened on the 1986 Pirates, and Joe Orsulak was tapped to represent the team among the Record Setters.  Orsulak played in the majors from 1983-1997, with a batting average of .273 and 405 career RBI.  He appears to have been a good outfielder, leading the AL in outfield assists in 1991.

The set isn't all players of Orsulak's caliber, as we also have here Mike Schmidt and Willie Wilson.  Schmidt had a good 1986, earning his third NL MVP award.  Wilson did ok in 1986, getting 170 hits, but his best year was clearly 1980, when his Royals lost to Schmidt's Phillies in the World Series.  In 1980, Wilson led the AL in at-bats, runs, hits, and triples; other good years were 1982, when he led the AL with a .332 batting average, and 1985 when the Royals defeated the Cardinals in the World Series.  Wilson ended his career in 1994 with a .285 career average and 2,207 hits.

Craig Lefferts, Eddie Murray, and Ben Oglivie.
Craig Lefferts pitched in the majors from 1983-1994, with a career 58-72 record and 101 saves.  In 1986, he led the NL with appearances in 83 games; according to Wikipedia, that is a Padres team record.

As I've remarked before, growing up in Delaware, Schmidt was the local hero, but Eddie Murray was the other local slugger (we were a little closer to Philly than Baltimore, but Newark, DE is almost halfway inbetween the two cities).  I remember Ben Oglivie from a league leader card, since he led the AL in home runs in 1980 with 41.  He played in the majors from 1971 through 1986.
Alvin Davis, Dwight Gooden, and Chris Brown.
I've said many times that I mainly didn't watch the AL, so Alvin Davis mostly escaped my notice.  His career lasted from 1984 to 1992, almost entirely with Seattle, and he was the 1984 AL Rookie of the Year.  Dwight Gooden helped the Mets to win the 1986 World Series, but according to my friend the Mets fan, he already wasn't the same pitcher who so dominated the league in 1984 and 1985.  Chris Brown I don't remember at all; he played 1984-1989, and was an All-Star in 1986.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Oversized in My Collection: 1984 Donruss All-Stars

I've decided to start a new series for the next several Saturdays, featuring oversized cards from my collection.  It should only last a few weeks.  To start, though, we're looking at the 1984 Donruss All-Stars.   I only have 5 of these in my collection, so I'll show them all.
1984 Donruss All-Star Eddie Murray.
My understanding is that Eddie Murray was recognized as the Orioles' next great slugger early in his career.  Boog Powell left the Orioles after the 1974 season, and Lee May was near the end of his career when Murray started, so they needed a young power hitter.  In the 1979 World Series, Lee May only had one at-bat, while Eddie Murray played the whole series.  Murray's career-high was 33 homers in a season, but he hit them so consistently over so many years, he ended with 504, joining only Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as members of the 3000-hit/500-home run club at the time.
1984 Donruss All-Star Harold Baines.
Harold Baines and Eddie Murray are both two of the players I'm working on deeper player collections for.  I'm not sure if these cards really count, since I consider those collections to live in a binder, and these won't fit.  Baines was doing well in 1983 with 20 home runs and 99 RBI, following his 1982 season of 25 home runs and 105 RBI.  He didn't make the All-Star team until 1985 (the first of 6 times), though, despite this being an All-Stars set.  Most of the All-Star sets aren't too literal about it, I guess.
Back of 1984 Donruss All-Stars Eddie Murray.
Back of 1984 Donruss All-Stars Harold Baines.
Sportflics and Score both get a lot of credit for having full-color pictures on the backs of the cards.  These 1984 Donruss All-Star cards did it before them, though.
1984 Donruss All-Stars Buddy Bell.
I have a number of cards of Buddy Bell from sets like this.  I'll post the similar 1981 Topps Super of him in a few weeks.  I started paying close attention to baseball in 1987, when Bell was near the end of his career -- he last played in 1989; so, I didn't have much opportunity to actually see him play.  But I remember him as a frequent All-Star and a good hitter.  He finished his career with 2,514 hits.  I also remember they always talked about how his dad was former major-leaguer Gus Bell, who played 1950-1964.
1984 Donruss All-Stars Gary Redus.
I remember Gary Redus for being a Pirate during their early-1990s postseason run.  Redus was never an All-Star; in 1983, he finished 4th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.  I guess that's why they included him?  He batted .247 with 51 RBI in 1983.
1984 Donruss All-Stars Andre Thornton.
I don't remember Andre Thornton, but he was an All-Star with the Indians in 1982 and 1984, and won a Silver Slugger in 1984.  Thornton played in the majors from 1973-1987 with the Cubs, Expos, and Indians, hitting a total of 253 home runs.  He once won the Roberto Clemente Award, is in the Indians Hall of Fame, and is in the Reading Phillies Hall of Fame.  I caught a game at Reading earlier this year and had a great time -- I'll try to go back next year and see if I find his name in a Hall of Fame display.

Friday, October 27, 2017

From My Collection: Frank Howard

I mentioned before that I don't consider certain cards "real," if they aren't contemporaneous with the player's playing time.  I don't have any "real" cards of Frank Howard, but wanted to post these anyway.  Here are the two cards of him I can find in my collection. 
1988 Pacific Legends Frank Howard.
The first is a Pacific card, from the 1988 Baseball Legends set.  Howard hit 382 career home runs between 1958 and 1973, so he surely fits in with the Legends set.
1985 Topps Circle K Home Run Kings card of Frank Howard.
The 1985 Topps Circle K Home Run Kings set, which I posted about recently, is naturally based on the career home run list as of the end of 1984.  At that time, Howard was 23rd on the all-time list, surrounded by players like Norm Cash, Rocky Colavito, Al Kaline, and Johnny Bench, among others.

I don't know much about Howard otherwise, since he is well before my time, and since he played with teams I don't follow closely, the Dodgers, the Senators/Rangers, and, briefly, the Tigers.  His time with the Senators was from 1965-1971, so the picture on the Circle K card must be from those years.  In 1970, he led the league with 44 HR, 126 RBI, and 132 walks.  What strikes me about the Circle K card, though, is how Howard looks like an old man.  He would only have been 35 the last time he played with Washington, and he was hitting for some serious power his whole time there, but he looks much older in the picture.

Howard went on to have an undistinguished career as a manager, with the Padres in 1981 and the Mets in 1983.  His managerial record was 93-133, for a .412 winning percentage.  That year with the Mets is part of what I'm reading about now in The Bad Guys Won, about the Mets 1986 championship season.  I'm still in the early part of the book, where the author is explaining how Frank Cashen rebuilt the Mets over several years in the early 80s, starting from a truly terrible club.  Howard was replaced as manager by Davey Johnson in 1984, who went on to win that 1986 World Series.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Trip to the Dollar Store: 2016, 2017 Donruss

My collection really ends at 1994.  Sometime around 1991, I switched to primarily collecting comic books, so the 1992-1994 part of my collection is much thinner than the 1987-1991 part.  Until I made a recent trip to the dollar store, I had exactly one post-1994 card in my collection, as I wrote about in a post about my first trade in many years.  At the dollar store, I bought four packs with four cards each in them, so I guess I now own exactly 17 post-1994 cards.  Those packs were 3 packs of 2017 Donruss cards, and 1 pack of 2016 Donruss cards.  I'm posting here my 6 favorite of these 16 Donruss cards; I'll say that I was skeptical that I would like Donruss cards without the team logos, but I do think these are nice cards.
2016 Donruss Mike Trout.
I hear this Mike Trout guy is a big deal.  I really only watch the Pirates lately, so I don't know much about other teams.  It's not like 1987, when I knew who all the league leaders were all the time.  I see, looking him up now, that he's a six-time All-Star, a two-time AL MVP, and was AL Rookie of the Year.
2017 Donruss Duke Snider.
Duke Snider I know about.  I have one good card of Duke Snider, which I'll post soon.  I have a handful of cards like this of Snider, printed long after his career.
2017 Donruss Anthony Rizzo.
This year wasn't as bad, but last year, the Cubs completely dominated the Pirates.  I remember the names of some of the Cubs from this hard-to-watch experience which culminated in the Cubs as champions.
2017 Donruss Paul Goldschmidt.
Paul Goldschmidt I have also heard of, and I know he's a slugger.  The best thing about this card is that I learned from it the Goldschmidt is a Delawarean!  Like me, he was born in Wilmington, DE.  I looked him up and learned that he was actually raised in Texas, but I don't care -- I will add him to the list of famous Delawareans I'm aware of.
2017 Donruss Bryce Harper.
Bryce Harper I mainly know of from his T-Mobile commercials.  I guess my favorite Washington National is Jayson Werth, whom I remember from the Phillies' 2008 World Championship team.
2017 Donruss Buster Posey.
Buster Posey I've heard of, but mainly from the Buster Posey rule about catchers and baserunners and blocking the plate.

These are 6 of the 16 cards from the 4 packs I bought at the dollar store; it's entirely possible that some of the other 10 cards have important, excellent players, but I know so little about modern baseball that I didn't recognize them.  I know that I didn't get any Pirates.  Despite my feeble knowledge these days, and despite the lack of logos, like I said, I thought these are nice cards.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Autographs back from PSA (Brooks Robinson, Granny Hamner, and more)

When I sent a few important cards to PSA to be protected/slabbed (and graded, but protecting them was more important to me), I also sent most of my autographed cards.  PSA takes longer with the autographs, so they came back a few weeks later.  Here they are now, six autographed cards newly authenticated and slabbed.
Autographed 1976 Topps Brooks Robinson.
All of these cards were autographed in front of me, at card shows that my dad took me to.  This Brooks Robinson was from our first show.  I can search online for some parameters of the show, and of course there aren't a lot of internet records of 1980s baseball card shows, but I believe I found a newspaper advertisement for the correct show.  Brooks Robinson was signing autographs at a show at Concordville Inn on November 5, 1988, and this must be that first show that Dad and I attended, and where we bought my all-time favorite card, my 1973 Roberto Clemente.  PSA gave this card a NM 7 grade, and the autograph a 6.  This makes some sense to me -- I put the card in a toploader and tacked that to my bulletin board in my room, where it was exposed to the sun over many years.  The card should be in decent condition, but the autograph surely faded.  I remember that we bought one autograph ticket, and bought both an 8x10 photo of Robinson and this card.  I decided at the last moment that it was the card I wanted autographed, not the photo.  I have a binder of some autographed photos, and the un-autographed Robinson photo is in there, too.
Autographed 1954 Bowman Granny Hamner.
At another show, Granny Hamner was signing.  I don't remember if that was also at Concordville Inn, but that was our main venue for shows.  Hamner was one of the Whiz Kids, the 1950 Phillies team that won the NL pennant, and that Dad was a fan of as a kid.  We bought a Bowman card of Hamner for him to sign; the card just got a grade of Good 2 from PSA.  It's possible that it was in better shape when we bought it -- the slightly larger size as compared to the modern standard made it difficult for me to store, and it may have gotten a bit roughed up in my possession.  The autograph is in good shape, I guess, receiving a grade of 8.
Autographed 1981 Donruss Larry Bowa.
Larry Bowa was signing one day, and I must have gotten two cards of him signed, this 1981 Donruss and also a 1978 Topps which I didn't originally send to PSA.  The 1978 Topps is actually at PSA right now, sent with a second batch of cards.  Here we got a grade of NM 7 for the card and 8 for the autograph.
Autographed 1989 Donruss Gregg Olson.
While the Phillies were our local team in Newark, DE, the Orioles weren't much further away.  Gregg Olson came to one of the shows to sign, and I had him sign his 1989 Donruss Rated Rookie card.  You can see that his autograph, really, just says "GOL."  PSA grades the card EX-MT 6 and the autograph as a 7.
Autographed 1990 Topps Len Dykstra.
For the handful of cards I've sent to PSA, my only grade of 10 comes on this Lenny Dykstra autograph.  The 1990 Topps card it's attached to was rated NM-MT 8.  I won't get into what I think of Dykstra as a person, but I'll just say that he was an important part of the Phillies 1993 pennant-winning team.
Autographed 1991 Score Mickey Morandini.
Finally, we have this 1991 Score Mickey Morandini, in which he is leaping in the air and marked as a Rookie Prospect.  Adam at Wax Pack Gods had a post not too long ago about this card, Morandini, and the unassisted triple play.  I commented that I had it out for grading, and there was no population report at PSA for the card, indicating that I am the first to submit it to them.  Now that it's back, the population is 1.  The card was graded MINT 9 (my highest grade for a card of the handful I've submitted), and the autograph is graded 8.

The actual grades don't matter much to me -- I wanted these authenticated and protected.  The Robinson is really the only one that's very important to me, since it's a good card I got at the first show Dad and I attended.  All of these are part of my childhood, though, and good time spent with Dad.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

No Longer Unopened in My Collection: 3 Packs of 1982 Fleer (Part 1 of 2)

Last month, I opened up two packs of 1980 Topps that I had in my collection.  This month, I decided to open up the three packs of 1982 Fleer I was holding.  I'm only posting some of the cards, the ones I find most interesting, and there's a bunch of them, so I'm breaking this up into two posts.
Dave Winfield, Dennis Eckersley, and Gaylord Perry.
When I opened up the two packs of 1980 Topps, I got two Hall-of-Famers, Carl Yastrzemski and Mike Schmidt.  When I opened these three packs of 1982 Fleer, I got three Hall-of-Famers, Dave Winfield, Dennis Eckersley, and Gaylord Perry.  Perhaps we can conclude that on average, one gets one Hall-of-Famer per pack from cards of that era.  Anyway, I added the Winfield and the Eckersley to my binder.  I already had the Perry in my binder, although my old one was in rough condition. 
Gary Matthews, John Denny, and Ivan DeJesus.
Other than the Hall-of-Famers, the cards I am highlighting in this post are mostly of interest because of connections to the Phillies.  Gary Matthews, John Denny, and Ivan DeJesus were all part of their 1983 pennant-winning team.  Denny even won the Cy Young that year.
Randy Lerch, Dick Ruthven, and George Vukovich.
Going a little further back in Phillies history, we have Randy Lerch, Dick Ruthven, and George Vukovich, who were all with the 1980 World Series-winning Phillies.  Vukovich played in 4 games in the NLCS in 1980, but didn't appear in the World Series. Ruthven was in the starting rotation in 1980, making 33 starts and going 17-10 with a 3.55 ERA.  Lerch pitched in 30 games with the Phils, making 22 starts, with an impressively bad record for a World Champion, going 4-14 with a 5.16 ERA.  Lerch didn't appear in the postseason in 1980.
Rich Gale of the Royals.
Finally, I include this card of Rich Gale, pitcher for the Royals.  Gale was on the other side in the 1980 World Series against the Phillies, being the losing pitcher for Game 6, when the Phillies clinched the championship.  He was no longer with them for the Royals' 1985 World Series win -- he was playing in Japan by then.  In addition to the connection to the 1980 World Series, I am also highlighting this card because I like the view of the Coca-Cola billboard in the outfield.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Recent Acquisition: Reggie Jackson with the A's

I talk a lot on this blog about Mike Schmidt; we lived just outside Philly, about 30 minutes from Veterans Stadium, and he was the local hero.  I was born in 1975, and from the time I have any memories of baseball, around 1980, Schmidt still had several good years left in him.  While Schmidt garnered most of the attention locally, there were other great sluggers of the day; I have some Reggie Jackson cards in my collection, but not enough, I would say.
1972 Topps AL Home Run Leaders; not a recent acquisition.
The only card I've had of him in his original run with the A's is this 1972 Topps AL Home Run Leaders card.  He finished tied for second in 1971 with Norm Cash with 32 homers, behind Bill Melton who had 33.  I don't think I've even heard of Melton otherwise.  While this is a nice card -- I am fond of the 1972 design when it works, and I think it works here -- it's a poor representation of Jackson's early greatness for my collection.
1979 and 1981 Topps Reggie Jackson cards; not recent acquisitions.
The first good card I have of Reggie Jackson is his 1979 Topps card; he's already halfway through his career, and this is after he has won all of his five World Series.  My 1981 Topps is slightly beat up, indicating that I've probably owned it since 1981 when I was a little kid.
1983 Fleer and 1984 Topps Reggie Jackson cards; not recent acquisitions.
I have a variety of cards of him with the Angels, like this 1983 Fleer and 1984 Topps card.  The Angels had amassed some good talent, even if some were slightly past their prime; it's no wonder they won the division in 1986.
A Score tribute card and an Upper Deck tribute card; not recent acquisitions.
Then, at the very end, Score and Upper Deck both produced tribute series.  I have very many 1988 Score cards, so I have all 5 of the Reggie Jackson cards.  I hardly have any Upper Deck cards, though, so this is the only one of that series I have.  This Score card also helps represent Jackson's original run with the A's in my collection, but it really isn't very satisfying in that regard.
Recently acquired 1973 Topps Reggie Jackson, graded PSA 7.
So, in recently writing out my wantlist, I added "Reggie Jackson with the A's, from the 60s or 70s."  I left it a little vague as to whether I only wanted one card or not.  I also have given myself a monthly budget with regards to acquiring new cards, and can't just get everything at once.  So, I recently picked up a less expensive card of Jackson which meets my criteria: this 1973 Topps with a grade of PSA 7.  I like the card, although I have to say in my opinion it doesn't look much like Jackson.  I guess that's partially because he's so young and partially because of the in-action nature of it.  I've decided more definitely what I want for my wantlist, and in addition to this, I'll be looking to add his 1969 Topps rookie card and his 1970 Topps, also both in PSA slabs, graded 6.5 or better.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1987 Fleer Award Winners (7-Eleven)

When I posted about the 1987 Topps Woolworth Baseball Highlights set, I said it was one of at least three sets I had recounting the goings-on of the 1986 season.  Here we have the Fleer version, the 1987 Fleer Award Winner set.  I don't have the box anymore for this -- it must have fallen apart over the years.  I seem to recall getting it at the 7-Eleven in the neighborhood that we kids could walk to or ride our bikes to; I verified online that people say this is from 7-Eleven.
Lance Parrish, Bob Knepper, and John Candelaria.
Here we see Lance Parrish.  This is at least the fifth time I've featured Lance Parrish in the two months I've been writing this blog.  This has become something of a joke to me -- I remember Parrish as an unpopular catcher for a couple of years with the Phillies, and he really isn't significant to my collection.  But I posted about his 1987 Topps Traded card, the 1987 Topps Mail-In All-Star set, two packs of 1980 Topps that I opened, some 1984 Topps Rub-Downs, and you can see his name on one of the Angels Wall of Fame pictures I posted.  Here he is featured as a winner of "Sports Writers Batting Award," which I'm pretty sure means he won a Silver Slugger in 1986.

We also have Bob Knepper here (who is someone I have absolutely no memory of whatsoever) being recognized for being the 1986 shutout leader.  Knepper pitched from 1976 through 1990, with the Giants, Astros, and Giants again.  He went 146-155 with 1 save in his career.  In 1978, he led the NL with 6 shutouts, and in 1986 he led the NL with 5 shutouts.

Also in 1986, John Candelaria was Comeback Player of the Year.  I've featured Candelaria several times since he's one of my favorite players.  He had some rough times in the 80s, especially following the death of his son.  He had some good years here and there towards the end of his career, and in 1986, starting fresh with the Angels after having spent 10+ years with the Pirates, he went 10-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 16 starts.
Bob Boone, Marty Barrett, and George Bell.
Bob Boone was also with the Angels in 1986, and won a "Sports Writers Fielding Award," which must be a Gold Glove.  I remember Boone fondly as an important member of the 1980 Phillies championship team, and he's of course also well-known for being part of a multi-generational major league baseball family.  They say he was on the Angels because the Phillies traded him as punishment for being a labor leader in the 1981 players' strike; I don't know if that's true, but if it is, it's in line with how terribly the owners behaved in the long lead-up to the 1994 strike.

Marty Barrett is also someone I have just about no memory of.  He appears to have been the 1986 ALCS MVP.  When I originally bought this set, I didn't know what ALCS stood for.  With no internet back then, it took me a while to find out -- almost always, people you talked to or things you read just talked about the playoffs, and didn't call it the American League Championship Series.

I also have little memory of George Bell.  He was the 1987 AL MVP, so I think he should register a little better to me, but I really didn't pay so much attention to the AL.  Bell was with Toronto before they really challenged for the World Series, and when Toronto won, he was with the White Sox.  He continued to be good for a few years, finishing 4th in MVP voting in 1989 and appearing on the All-Star team in 1990 and 1991.  He's in the set for leading the league in Game-Winning RBI, a stat which never seemed to make sense to me, at least the way it was defined.
Candy Maldonado, Frank White, and "Mike" Webster.
This says that Candy Maldonado was the NL Pinch Hitter of the Year in 1986.  Is that a thing?  Other than this card, I've never heard of this award.

I do remember Frank White; although I barely watched the AL, I appreciate the talent on the 1980 Royals team which played against the Phillies in the World Series.  While they lost in 1980, several of them, including White, were part of the Royals championship team in 1985.  White was a mainstay of the Royals infield, being their second baseman from 1973-1990.  Like I said, I appreciate the talent the Royals had, and White was one of the best.

The final player I've chosen to highlight from the set is "Mike" Webster, who led the NL in triples in 1986 with 13.  I put "Mike" in quotes because his name appears to actually be Mitch Webster.  The back of the card says Mitch Webster, Wikipedia says his first name is Mitchell, and Baseball Reference agrees his name is Mitch.  I don't remember Webster, but he played from 1983 through 1995 with a variety of teams, never otherwise leading the league in anything.

I know these many boxed sets of the late 80s are looked down upon, but these at least did help me when I was a kid learning what was going on in the baseball world at the time.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

1981 Coca-Cola Phillies

Yesterday we featured the 1980 Burger King Phillies, which are one of at least three ways the 1980 Phillies team is commemorated in my collection.  Today we have the 1981 Coca-Cola Phillies team set, which is a second way the '80 Phils are in my collection.
1981 Phillies Team Set offer card.
Topps and Coca-Cola put out sets like this for several teams.  I might consider getting the Royals, to further commemorate the 1980 World Series; I do appreciate the talent on that Royals team, with George Brett, Willie Wilson, Amos Otis, Hal McRae, and others.
Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, and Steve Carlton.
These are in alphabetical order, starting with Boone, Bowa, and Carlton.  The pictures are the same as on the regular 1981 Topps cards.  One difference in the Carlton card is that he had a banner declaring him an "N.L. All-Star" on the regular card, but I guess it interfered with the Coca-Cola logo.
Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride, Tug McGraw, Pete Rose, and Mike Schmidt.
A story related to the origin of this blog: when I got the idea to write a blog about baseball cards, the first idea I had was to name the blog "Baseball Card Bust."  Well, there was already a blog called that, although it is defunct (with the last post made in February, 2015).  Baseball Card Bust appears to have devoted itself to cards "worthy of skewering," and features, in that final post, Greg Luzinski.

This seems like a good time to mention that the book I'm reading, The Bad Guys Won!, mentions the Phillies briefly, early on.  To show how badly behaved the Mets are, it says they're worse than the Phillies teams that had Larry Bowa and Greg Luzinski on them.  I don't know what went on off the field with the Phillies, but I could try reading The Team That Wouldn't Die, the book about the 1980 Phillies season, and see if it says anything about Bowa and Luzinski after the games.
Lonnie Smith and Manny Trillo.
Lonnie Smith was involved in the Pittsburgh Drug Trials, along with Dave Parker, Keith Hernandez, and others.  I wonder how much drug use impacted his career.  He had a great rookie season with the Phillies in 1980, batting .339 with 33 steals.  In 1982, he actually finished 2nd in MVP voting.  He was on three World Series winners; other than the Phillies, he won with the Cardinals in 1982 and the Royals in 1985.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Burger King Cards -- Part 2 of 2

Following up on yesterday's post on Burger King cards, I am highlighting today the 1980 Burger King Phillies set.  This set had a big impact on me growing up -- I remember getting a bunch of these in 1980 despite being only 4 years old, and I remember the Phillies winning the World Series, at least vaguely.  Many of these were legendary guys for the Phillies -- you have to understand that the Phillies existed 97 years without a championship, and 77 years if you count since the World Series started. These were the guys that did the impossible and ended that drought.  Boone, Trillo, Bowa, Maddox, McGraw, Rose, Schmidt, and Carlton were all named to the Phillies Centennial Team in 1983. 

The set is imperfect in commemorating that World Championship team, mainly because 1980 cards reflect the reality of 1979, and the 1979 Phillies had some differences.  Some players are left out -- if you had a similar set in 1981, you would want to feature Bob Walk, for example, who was a reliable starter for the Phils as a rookie in 1980.
1980 Burger King Phillies checklist card, and Dallas Green and Bob Boone.
I already had a set of these in my collection, but I couldn't resist ordering more from ebay recently.  I got a box of 49 unopened packs (3 cards per pack) for about $30.  I opened 15 packs before I got a complete set, leaving me with 34 unopened.  These are thin cello packs, and each pack has one player and the checklist visible.  My unopened packs show 20 of the 22 players (missing Greg Gross and Lonnie Smith).  The new complete set is in great condition, whereas the condition of my old set is varied, with some of them being quite beat up.
34 unopened packs of 1980 Burger King Phillies.
While I had a complete set of the 22 cards, I didn't have the checklist, pictured here with "The King" of Burger King himself.  I remember the checklist card clearly, though, from my childhood -- since you get one checklist per pack, we had several of them around when I was little.  It's great to have it again, and since I opened 15 packs, I have 15 of them.

I won't comment on all of the players, but I am showing them all.

Dallas Green managed a few other teams over the years, but never had the same success as with the Phillies.  I like to point out MLB figures who are Delawareans, and Dallas Green is one.  His time with the Phillies got him the much-coveted honor of being in the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.
Keith Moreland, Pete Rose, Manny Trillo, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, and John Vukovich.
What is there to say about Pete Rose?  I didn't know in the 80s about the things he had done/would do that would disgrace him.  All we knew back then was that no one played baseball harder.  When the Phillies signed him, they had lost the playoffs for three years in a row, 1976-1978.  They meant business, and with Rose added to the team, they won the 1980 World Series, played in a divisional series in 1981, and won the pennant in 1983.

Manny Trillo was a great second baseman.  He was only with the Phillies from 1979 through 1982, but in those years he won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers.  He was the NLCS MVP in 1980.

What is there to say about Mike Schmidt?  He's the greatest.  I sent one of my spare Schmidt cards from this set to PSA for grading.

As far as I can tell, John Vukovich isn't related to former Phillie George Vukovich, or to the pitcher Pete Vukovich.  I always assumed they were brothers or something, but I guess not.  John Vukovich became a coach, interim manager, and front-office executive for the Phillies later.  He was a fixture with the team until his death from brain cancer.
Bake McBride, Garry Maddox, Greg Luzinski, Greg Gross, Del Unser, and Lonnie Smith.
Bake McBride was the 1974 NL Rookie of the Year with the Cardinals.  He had a lot of injuries over the years, but managed to produce some solid years for the Phillies.

I don't like to miss an opportunity to repeat Harry Kalas' line about Garry Maddox, "Two thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one third is covered by Garry Maddox."  Secretary of Defense, indeed.  The Phillies were lucky to have him.

Greg Gross and Del Unser both seemed to specialize in pinch hitting.  Unser tied the record for pinch home runs in consecutive at-bats with 3 in 1979.  Gross is fifth on the all-time pinch hits list, with 143.
Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson, and Nino Espinosa.
The set is in order by position; it starts with the manager, then catchers, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, infield, outfield, then starting pitchers, then relief pitchers.  Within each category, it's alphabetical -- Boone then Moreland as catchers, for example.  So, for starting pitchers, we have Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson, Nino Espinosa, Randy Lerch, and Dick Ruthven.

Even though the Phillies won the 1980 World Series and the NL East in 1976, 1977, and 1978, they really had an off year in 1979.  The team finished 4th with a 84-78 record.  Carlton, naturally, was the ace, and had an 18-10 record.  Espinosa was 14-12, Lerch was 10-13, Ruthven was 7-5, and Christenson was 5-10.  Not included in the set is Dickie Noles, who had 14 starts with a 3-4 record.
Randy Lerch, Dick Ruthven, and Tug McGraw.
Tug McGraw was much beloved in Philadelphia, as a result of his time as a closer with the Phillies from 1975-1984.  McGraw also was a fixture in Philadelphia, like Vukovich, until McGraw also died of brain cancer.
Ron Reed and Kevin Saucier.
The last two cards are of Ron Reed and Kevin Saucier.  Reed pitched from 1966 through 1984, both starting and relieving, with a record of 146-140, an ERA of 3.46, and 103 saves.  Reed was a two-sport guy, and also played two seasons in the NBA with the Pistons, playing in 119 games from 1965-1967, averaging 8.0 points per game.  Saucier was in the majors 1978-1982, retiring when he had control problems, and then became a scout.