Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1987 Fleer Baseball's Game Winners

1987 Fleer Baseball's Game Winners box.
I am really nearly out of boxed sets to feature here in my Sunday series, but I have a couple more weeks to go.  This week we have the 1987 Fleer (Limited Edition!) Baseball's Game Winners.  There's no clear retail partner identified, so I don't know if this was sold somewhere in particular, and I certainly don't remember anymore where I picked it up.

The box front declares that this is a limited edition, and like all such things, I suppose it's true in the sense that there are a limited number of molecules in the universe.  They can't actually produce infinitely many of these sets, so the production is limited.  I've said before that I prefer boxed sets that have more logic to them (such as a Baseball Highlights set or a League Leaders set) instead of concepts so vague as to be meaningless (such as Team Leaders or Baseball MVP).  This set, Game Winners, strikes me as the vague/meaningless variety.  Every player that might make sense to include in a set like this helps to win at least one game, so they're all game winners.
Mike Schmidt and Fernando Valenzuela.
The cards list the players' contributions to game winning at the top, under the names.  Mike Schmidt had 13 Game Winning RBI and 37 home runs; Fernando Valenzuela had 21 wins and 3 shutouts. 
Ken Phelps and Ernest Riles.
Seattle seemed very far away to me back in the 80s; the Mariners were both very far away literally, and also in baseball terms, as they played in the AL and never made the playoffs.  But I do remember Ken Phelps as a moderately successful power hitter; he's featured here for 6 Game Winning RBI.  I don't remember Ernest Riles, unfortunately, but he had 12 GWRBI in 1986.  Riles played from 1985-1993 for the Brewers, Giants, A's, Astros, and Red Sox.
Von Hayes and Jim Morrison.
Von Hayes was popular in Philadelphia, and did well for several seasons.  In 1986, he led the NL in runs and doubles, and was an All-Star in 1989.  He's in this set for his 14 GWRBI and his league-leading 107 runs scored.  On the other side of Pennsylvania we have the Pirates' Jim Morrison, featured for 9 GWRBI.  There wasn't too much to celebrate for the Pirates that season, with their 64-98 record.  But they were starting to put things in place for their early 90s postseason run, which Morrison wouldn't be part of (he was traded to Detroit for Darnell Coles in 1987).
Mark Eichhorn and Hubie Brooks.
In Canada, we have Mark Eichhorn winning games for the Blue Jays (14 wins, 10 saves, and a 1.72 ERA), and Hubie Brooks winning games for the Expos (10 GWRBI).
Don Baylor and Tony Bernazard.
In 1986, Don Baylor had 13 GWBRI for the Red Sox.  According to the book I read about the 1986 Mets World Series win (which I've mentioned several times), John McNamara was a bad manager.  He was going to put Don Baylor in to pinch hit for Bill Buckner, but he let Buckner talk him out of it.  Then the ball rolled through Buckner's legs later that game.  Elsewhere in the AL, Tony Bernazard had 11 GWRBI for the Indians.

It seems silly to build a set even partially around the concept of GWRBI.  I'm glad they don't report the stat anymore, as it never seemed to make sense.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Oversized in My Collection: 1990 Phillies Team-Issued Photo Cards

Continuing my Saturday series on oversized cards, today I'm featuring some from the 1990 Phillies team-issued set.  In a later post I'll show some of the cards of active players, but right now, I'm showing some others.  To start, we have cards commemorating the 4 retired numbers at that time.
Robin Roberts.
Richie Ashburn.
Robin Roberts was in the Hall of Fame already, and the local sentiment was definitely that Richie Ashburn belonged in the Hall, too.  When Dad and I started going to Phillies games, those were the only retired numbers.  Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein are honored in a similar way, but didn't have numbers per se to retire.
Steve Carlton.
Mike Schmidt.
Then, of course, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt both retired.  And of course the Phils retired their numbers.  Dad and I went to both number retirement games; we could only get nosebleed seats for both games, but we were there.  The number retirement commemorative programs for each of them are gems of my memorabilia collection.
The Phillie Phanatic.
As I said once before, it's great to have a couple cards of the Phanatic.  Maybe I'll try to get a regular-sized card of him to go in the binder, since these oversized ones are all I have of him.
Schmidt and Maddox as broadcasters, with some other broadcaster in the middle.
The Phillies team-issued set also includes cards of the broadcasters.  This card has the Prism broadcasters; Prism was a cable pay station (like HBO), but local to Philly.  In addition to showing movies like HBO did, they also covered local events like Phillies games, and whatever might be going on at the local arena, the Spectrum.  We never subscribed to Prism, so I never saw this broadcasting team.  Of course, the reason this card is of interest is that 2/3 of the broadcasting team are Phillies greats, Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox.  Not sure who the guy in the middle is, but I could find out by looking at the back of the card.
Chris Wheeler, Andy Musser, the great Harry Kalas, and Richie Ashburn.
Since we watched Phillies games broadcast over the air, this card shows our usual broadcasters, Chris Wheeler, Andy Musser, Harry Kalas, and Richie Ashburn himself.  The greatest of these is Harry Kalas, who locally was the voice of the Phillies (enshrined at Cooperstown as winner of the Ford C. Frick award), and known all over as the voice of NFL films.  After Kalas died, when I was riding the train into Philly for work one day, I spotted a bit of graffiti on a highway overpass, "Harry Kalas lives forever."  Indeed.

Friday, December 29, 2017

From My Collection: 1987 Topps Mini League Leaders

1987 Topps Glossy Mini League Leaders Checklist, with cards checked off.
I posted before, in one of the early posts of this blog, about an unopened box of 1986 Topps Glossy Mini League Leaders.  I must have bought two or three boxes of those from 1986, because I have many of the cards opened as well.  For 1987, I only have a couple dozen cards, and I'm featuring a few of them here today.

1987 was the year that I started seriously collecting baseball cards, and the catalysts for this were probably a lot of unsupervised time in the neighborhood, with which I could ride my bike (or walk) to the local 7-Eleven and buy, for a few cents, packs of 1987 Topps, and also the fact that there were other kids in the neighborhood interested in doing the same.  There was a local card shop, Stale Gum, in town, and I got my parents to take me there sometimes.  I also was on the lookout at any store we entered for baseball cards, and back then, there were many to be found.  So I don't know where exactly I picked up these minis, but opportunities abounded.
Dave Kingman.
Dave Kingman card back.
The condition on these -- you can see that I marked the checklist, and you can see that this Dave Kingman has a big crease down the middle -- indicates that I got these early on in my serious collecting days.  It took me a little while to figure out how to take care of my cards, and these cards paid the price.

Enough reminiscing about becoming a collector -- on to the cards themselves.  Kingman here is at the end of his career, but still placed #2 in the AL home run race in 1986, with 35.  The lifetime stats at the bottom of the card are his career totals.
John Cangelosi.
In his first year in the majors, John Cangelosi earned entrance to this set by tying for second in the AL in stolen bases with 50.  Cangelosi was traded to the Pirates and spent 1987-1990 with them, in the Pirates drive to the postseason which resulted in the first of three straight NL East titles in 1990.  He later played for a number of teams, including winning the World Series with the 1997 Marlins.
Donnie Moore.
Donnie Moore placed fifth in the AL in saves in 1986 with 21.  Moore pitched in the majors from 1975 through 1988 with the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Braves, and Angels, compiling a career record of 43-40 with 89 saves.
Rick Rhoden.
Rick Rhoden was the ace of the Pirates staff in some of their fallow years, inbetween the 1979 World Series win and the 1990 NL East title.  For 1986, for example, he led the Pirates' pitching staff with a 15-12 record, while the other starters went 9-16 (Rick Reuschel), 6-11 (Mike Bielecki), and 6-8 (Bob Kipper).  Larry McWilliams and Bob Walk also started 15 games each that season, with records of 3-11 and 7-8, respectively.  Rhoden is included in this set for tying for 2nd in complete games with 12 and for placing 4th in the NL in ERA with 2.84.  At the end of the 1986 season, he was traded to the Yankees in the deal that brought future NL Cy Young winner Doug Drabek to Pittsburgh, a deal that worked nicely for the Bucs.
Kirk Gibson.
Here we have Kirk Gibson a few years before his World Series heroics.  The slugger is included here for tying for 4th in the AL in stolen bases, with 34.  He hit 28 home runs and had 86 RBI in 1986, and was also 9th in the AL in slugging percentage.
Dave Righetti.
Dave Righetti is unsurprisingly here for leading the AL in saves in 1986.  That is, if you're familiar with the 1987 Topps set, it should be unsurprising, because his 1987 Topps Record Breaker card shows that he set the major league record for saves in a season with 46.  He also placed second in the AL in games pitched with 74.
Dwight Gooden.
To close out this post, we have Dwight Gooden, who doing well enough in 1986 as the Mets won the World Series.  The card back shows that he tied for second in the NL in complete games with 12, tied for 4th in the NL in strikeouts with 200, placed fifth in ERA with 2.84, tied for 5th in wins with 17 and tied for 5th in shutouts with 2.  Gooden's decline after this point is well-documented.

It turns out that I have a small number of 1988 Glossy Mini League Leaders, and a small number from 1989, and a whole opened box from 1990.  I'll feature some from those years in future posts.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Recent Acquisitions for My Player Collections: Rickey Henderson

Last month, I bought a bunch of cards for my Rickey Henderson player collection.  I only really collect through 1994, and I'm really especially interested in about through 1991 or so. This means that I have, thus far at least, only focused on the first three periods of Henderson's career: his first run with the A's, his time with the Yankees, and his second run with the A's.
1982 Fleer Rickey Henderson.
I mainly am not looking for base set cards for my expanded players collections, but I've made an exception for early Rickey Henderson cards.  I do have a 1980 Topps Henderson rookie card (blogged about here), but otherwise my early Henderson collection has some gaps.  So, I acquired this 1982 Fleer card to help fill in the early years.
1982 Topps A's Batting and Pitching Leaders.
Also from 1982, we have this A's Team Leaders card, featuring Rickey for his .318 batting average and Steve McCatty for a 2.32 ERA.  McCatty spent his whole career with the A's, from 1977 through 1985, compiling a 63-63 record with 5 saves.
1982 Topps Stolen Base Leaders.
I also picked up this 1982 Topps card featuring two of baseball's best baserunners of all time, Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson.  Raines had 71 stolen bases and Henderson had 56, in the strike-shortened 1981 season.
1983 Topps A's Batting and Pitching Leaders.
Henderson again led the A's in batting in 1982, but this time with only a .267 average.  Rick Langford led the A's pitchers with a 4.21 ERA.  In case these numbers don't make it clear, the 1982 A's were not a good team, finishing 68-94, placing 5th (out of 7 teams) in the AL West, 25 games in back of the Angels.
1985 Topps All-Time Record Holders and 1987 Fleer Baseballs Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers of Rickey Henderson.
The main focus of my player collection acquisitions is oddballs, and here we have two boxed set cards from the 80s, from boxed sets I don't own.  The 1985 All-Time Record Holders set had Henderson as the single-season steals leader.  I don't have any of the Fleer Pitchers vs. Sluggers sets, and instead have just a few cards here and there.  This 1987 card is after his move to the Yankees.
1989 and 1990 Topps Bazooka Shining Star Rickey Henderson.
When I organized my collection for storage earlier this summer, I was a little surprised to find that I didn't have any Bazooka cards at all.  I though my family bought some packages of Bazooka at BJ's, the local warehouse club, and I assumed that we would have done that to get baseball cards that came with the Bazooka.  But I guess not.  So now, with this 1989 and this 1990 card, I now have those Bazooka sets represented in my collection.  These cards, from 1989 and 1990, show his move back to Oakland.
1986 Topps Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and 1987 Fleer Headline Rickey Henderson.
I featured a Quaker Chewy Granola Bars card of Mike Schmidt which I picked up recently on an earlier post; this Henderson is my second such card, then.  I only have one or two other Fleer Headliner cards, and none (until now) from the 1987 set.  These 6 cards featured Henderson, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Jose Canseco, Dwight Gooden, and Keith Hernandez.
1989 Sportflics and 1990 Topps K-Mart Super Stars Rickey Henderson.
I've said before that I had a few 1986 Sportflics, a few more 1987 Sportflics, the complete set plus many more 1988 Sportflics, and a bunch of 1990 Sportflics, but no 1989 Sportflics in my collection.  This probably reflects financial difficulties related to Dad's job around 1989.  So, I've picked up a few select 1989 Sportflics (such as a Candelaria blogged about previously) to get them represented in my collection, and this Henderson is one such card.  Finally, we have this 1990 K-Mart card, which indeed looks very 1990 to me.  I have the 1982, 1987, and 1988 K-Mart boxed sets, which I've blogged about before, but I believe this is my first card from the 1990 K-Mart set.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

From My Collection: 1983 Topps Super Veterans

I like these 1983 Topps Super Veterans cards, and I have a bunch of them, in two varieties: at least one is extremely beat up, and the rest are nice, clean, and sharp.  This indicates when I acquired them -- if I got them in 1983 when I was 7 years old, then they lived on my bedroom floor and got beat up.  If I got them post-1987 when I paid attention to my cards, then they're more-or-less in the shape they were when acquired.
Dave Kingman.
Dave LaRoche.
They all look so young in the black-and-white picture on the left.  Dave Kingman debuted with the Giants in 1971, and by 1983 was with the Mets.  He was part of an effort to rebuild the Mets into a contender, but he didn't pan out and other players (like Gary Carter) provided power for the 1986 champion Mets instead.  He went to end his career with the A's from 1984-1986, for a career spanning 16 seasons.

You can clearly see the creases in this Dave LaRoche card.  LaRoche debuted with the Angels in 1970, and played with a number of teams until retiring with the Yankees after the 1983 season, for a career spanning 14 seasons.  His career record is 65-58 with 126 saves.  Wikipedia says he's best known for throwing an "eephus" pitch, a lobbing slow pitch, his variant of which he called "LaLob."
Phil Niekro.
Joe Morgan.
Here we have two Hall-of-Famers, Phil Niekro and Joe Morgan.  For these super veterans cards, some of the players have significantly more longevity than others, and here we see Phil Niekro (debuting in 1964) and Joe Morgan (debuting in 1963) being quite senior as compared to Dave Kingman and Dave LaRoche above.  I remember always thinking how old Niekro looked, and you can see that here in his 1983 picture.  He probably was about the age I am now (although I'm not checking that).  I wasn't seriously watching baseball yet in 1983, when the Phillies and Morgan won the pennant, being dubbed the "Wheeze Kids" to reflect the seniority of some of the players as well as referencing the Whiz Kids of 1950.
Steve Carlton.
Tom Seaver.
Another two Hall-of-Famers are Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver, and they are also from the 60s, with Carlton debuting in 1965 and Seaver in 1967.  It's fitting to pair them here as Carlton always said that Seaver was his greatest competition as a pitcher, although Carlton was always compared more to Nolan Ryan in the press.  Carlton was also on the Wheeze Kids team, although he was certainly still doing well at that point, competing for the career strikeout record with Ryan and Gaylord Perry.  Seaver was about to have one last run at the World Series, as part of the 1986 Red Sox team, although he was sidelined with an injury for the actual World Series.
Tony Perez.
Bruce Sutter.
Here we have another two Hall-of-Famers and a marked contrast in seniority, with another Wheeze Kid, Tony Perez, who debuted in the majors in 1964, and Bruce Sutter, who debuted in 1976.  I don't know on what planet a career spanning 1976-1983 could qualify someone as a Super Veteran, but I guess whoever designed the subset needed Sutter to fill out the set; maybe they needed a relief pitcher, or a Cardinal, or maybe they were just a fan of Sutter. 

In any case, I think these are nice cards showing the players who had (generally) been around for a long time at two different points in their careers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

1987 and 1988 Fleer Star Sticker Box Bottom Cut-Outs

Looking through my box bottom cut-out cards, I see that I have four each from both 1987 and 1988 Fleer Star Stickers.  It looks like I opened the entire box of the 1988 stickers, and kept a fair number of packs of the 1987 unopened (as featured in a recent post).
Jose Cruz.
Bob Horner.
For the 1987 box bottoms, we start with Jose Cruz and Bob Horner.  I guess you would call them minor stars.  I featured Jose Cruz once before in one of my boxed set posts; he was a star with the Astros in their division-winning teams of the 80s, and retired just as I started seriously watching baseball.  Bob Horner I remember a little from the Braves in the 80s; he played with them 1978-1986, then spent a year in Japan, and then was with the Cardinals in 1988.  His move to Japan is yet another story of the owners colluding against the players.
Glenn Davis.
Detroit Tigers logo.
For the other two cards from the 1987 box bottom, we have another Astro, Glenn Davis, and the Tigers team logo.  I liked Davis back in the day; he was a power hitter who mostly didn't play for good teams, with the 1986 Astros being the exception.  I guess I don't have much comment on the logo, except that I do like the intensity of the tiger's eyes.
San Francisco Giants logo.
Ron Guidry.
Moving to 1988, I don't have any comment on the Giants logo.  Back in the 80s, I would have thought Ron Guidry would be in the Hall of Fame.  A 170-91 career record may not show a huge number of wins, but it's certainly a high winning percentage, and it comes with a 3.29 ERA, which isn't bad at all.  Add to that 5 Gold Gloves, a Cy Young award, and two World Series wins, among other accomplishments.  But his career wasn't that long, and he didn't rack up huge numbers.
Gary Carter.
Don Baylor.
I've written about Gary Carter several times, especially in a post dedicated to some of his early cards, but also here and here, so I don't have much else to say.  I've mentioned Don Baylor a couple of times as well (see here and here), but I guess I like him more, so I'll say a little more.  The book The Bad Guys Won!, about the Mets winning the 1986 series, puts the blame on the Red Sox in several places, including John McNamara, Bill Buckner, and Jim Rice, at least.  With Bill Buckner, it says that at a critical moment, he talked McNamara into leaving him in the game, when Baylor could have pinch hit.  After that, Buckner flied out, and had his infamous moment with the ball through the legs.  Baylor is pictured here with the Twins, though, and he did win the World Series with them in 1987.  Baylor batted .385 in 5 games in the 1987 World Series.  Interestingly, he was in the World Series for a third consecutive year with a third different team in 1988, losing along with the A's.  He retired after that 1988 season.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to us all!

Let me start this post by wishing you a Merry Christmas, if you're someone who celebrates this day.

I'll feature my Christmas present here, which is my first card from the 1940s.  It's a 1940 Play Ball Jimmie Foxx PSA 5.  This becomes my oldest card by a good 11 years (I have posted my two 1951 cards before, a Topps Red Back of Ray Boone and a Bowman Richie Ashburn).
1940 Play Ball Jimmie Foxx.
I've read that Jimmie Foxx was underappreciated in his day; Babe Ruth had the career home run record, and Foxx was second and far behind Ruth.  He may not have been Babe Ruth, but Foxx was awesome.  And, while he may have been underrated, it's not like he was unnoticed -- he was a three-time MVP and nine-time All-Star, and made the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
1940 Play Ball Jimmie Foxx card back.

Foxx is from my neck of the woods in a general sense, being from the Delmarva Peninsula.  He specifically is from Sudlersville, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, about 40 miles from my hometown of Newark, DE.  While the card features him with the Red Sox, he is best known, I think, for his time in Philadelphia, playing for Connie Mack and the A's.  Other than the A's and the Red Sox, he took a brief turn in the NL with the Cubs and then the Phillies at the end of his career.  One thing I appreciate about the Phillies is that they uphold some of the A's history as a Philadelphia team; they have the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame, honoring both Phillies and A's, and naturally Foxx was the second of the A's so honored, after Mack.

I'm glad to have this card added to my collection.  I might consider getting some more 1940 Play Ball, which, incidentally, are also from Philadelphia, as the back of the card shows. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1988 Topps Toys'R'Us Rookies

For the majority of the boxed sets in my collection, I have the box, and store the cards in it.  For a handful of them the box was destroyed long ago.  In 1988, when this set came out, I was 12 years old, and even though I was trying to take care of my cards at that point, there were some casualties, including the box for the set.  So, I'll just show a handful of the cards.

Most of the 80s boxed sets feature, more or less, the same usual star players.  This being a set of rookies, instead there are many more players that I don't remember, with a few that did make a genuine mark on the game at the time.  I have chosen 7 cards at random to feature, rather than think too much on who to write about from the set.
Devon White.
First up, Devon White.  He was one of what felt like a thousand who had a rookie card in the 1987 Topps set.  He had a long career, playing until 2001, and winning three World Series (two with the Blue Jays and one with the Marlins).
Mike Stanley.
Mike Stanley is someone I don't think I've ever heard of, although since he played back then, I surely have many of his cards.  Like White, he had a reasonably long career, playing until 2000, with a number of teams.  He was once an All-Star and once won a Silver Slugger.
Billy Ripken.
Billy Ripken is famous for two things: being a Ripken, and his 1989 Fleer card.  Looking him up now, I'm shocked to see that he lasted as long as he did in the majors, playing until 1998.  He finished with a career .247 average and 229 career RBI.
John Marzano.
John Marzano is, again, someone I've never heard of.  He was in the majors 1987-1998, with the Red Sox, Rangers, and Mariners.  He compiled a career .241 average with 72 career RBI.  He's a Philadelphian, attended Temple University, and was on the 1984 Olympic team.
Randy Myers.
Like Devon White and Billy Ripken, Randy Myers is someone I remember!  And like Devon White (and unlike Billy Ripken), it's for his playing.  He was a star relief pitcher, and won the World Series with the Reds in 1990.  Between 1985 and 1998, he saved 347 games.
Mike Greenwell.
Mike Greenwell I remember too, for his 1987 Topps rookie card.  I didn't follow the Red Sox, though, so I don't remember much about how he turned out.  He spent his whole MLB career with the Sox, from 1985-1996, and then played briefly in Japan.  He compiled a career average of .303.
David Cone.
Finally we have David Cone, who again, I of course remember.  Cone ended up winning 5 World Series, with the Blue Jays and Yankees.

Summing up, I'm surprised that selecting these 7 cards at random only yielded 2 that I don't remember at all, and 4 that I remember for being star players.