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!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sets in My Collection: 1987 TCMA 1957 Milwaukee Braves

TCMA is spoken of with reverence in the card blogs, I think.  I never knew anything about them, but it turns out I did have some of their cards, this 1987 set of Baseball's Greatest Teams.  They made several such sets of great teams, and this one is of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

This is another of those things that I have no idea how it turned up in my collection.  My best guess, which I mentioned for some other odd thing in my collection the other day, revolves around Toys 'R Us.  I remembered, when they were going out of business, that back in the 80s I would sometimes buy a repack at Toys 'R Us.  Maybe at other places too?  But it's definitely something Toys 'R Us carried and that I bought there.  Probably not too many times, but sometimes.  And there would be random stuff in those packs.  Maybe that's why I have this nice set.  When I put it into my collection on Trading Card Database, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the 9 cards I have comprise the whole set.
Hank Aaron.
Hank Aaron card back.
So of course you want to start off with Hank Aaron, the greatest of all time.  Still the greatest of all time, to me.  The card back starts off "Baseball's Greatest Players," which is unusual, because the other 8 card backs all say "Baseball's Greatest Teams" instead.  I just looked up the 1987 TCMA 1960 Pirates set, and none of the card backs (Roberto Clemente!) say Greatest Players.  Same goes for the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson, the Yankees and Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, and the Red Sox and Ted Williams.  They really singled out Aaron.
Eddie Mathews.
Bob Hazle.
What a lineup, with Aaron and Mathews in it.  I've said before, Mathews was important to me as a kid because Mike Schmidt was.  While we all regarded Schmitty as the best third baseman ever, I still was interested in those other best third basemen, Eddie Mathews, Brooks Robinson, and George Brett.

Outfielder Bob Hazle only played in 41 games for the 1957 Braves, but batted .403 in his 134 at-bats, with 27 RBI.  According to Wikipedia, Hazle was put in after one of my favorites, Bill Bruton, had a season-ending injury.  Hurricane Hazle, they called him, referencing Hurricane Hazel which hit in 1954.
Johnny Logan.
Red Schoendienst.
Here we have the middle infield of those 1957 Braves, who won the only Braves championship in Milwaukee.  Logan was a four-time All-Star and is on the Braves' Walk of Fame.  Red Schoendienst, whose 1974 Topps card as manager I once showed, is more associated with the Cardinals than the Braves, but spent 1956-1960 with the Braves.  Long enough to win a World Series in Milwaukee and make an All-Star team.
Wes Covington.
Lew Burdette.
Wes Covington was a rookie in 1956, spent the first half of 1957 back in the minors, but was called back to Milwaukee for the second half of 1957.  Wikipedia credits him with great defensive plays in the World Series to preserve wins for Lew Burdette.  Burdette was the World Series MVP, earning three of the Braves' four wins.
Warren Spahn.
Bob Buhl.
Another of the Hall-of-Famers on that team was Warren Spahn.  I don't actually know that much about Warren Spahn, with him being so much before my time.  But what I do remember is that Steve Carlton tried to hang around in the majors long enough to beat Spahn's win record for left-handed pitchers.  When Carlton was done, Spahn had 363 wins to Carlton's 329.  Carlton, of course, did have the left-handed strikeout record at the time.  Pitcher Bob Buhl was with the Braves, Cubs, and Phillies between 1953 and 1967.  He went 18-7 in the regular season and 0-1 in two starts in the World Series.  I love the spring training setting for some of these photos, especially how Buhl's picture captures the palm trees and what look like wooden bleachers.

I'll just close out by mentioning that of these great players, Hank Aaron is the only one still alive.  He's almost 85 years old at this point; may he be well for many more.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 8, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #21: Dan Plesac

We have another installment of the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set today, with Dan Plesac of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Dan Plesac.
Plesac was one of the many rookies appearing in the 1987 Topps set.  He was solid reliever from the start, recording 14 saves in 198623 in 1987, and 30 in 1988.  He made the AL All-Star team in 1987, 1988, and 1989, and even got some MVP votes in 1988.  He had a relatively long career, pitching through 2003, ending with the Phils.
Dan Plesac card back.
He continued to save a lot of games, tying for 3rd in the AL with 33 in 1989, and thus earning his way into this league leaders set.  As the card back says, he also finished 9th in games pitched with 51.

Thanks for reading!  Next up is teammate Robin Yount.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Three 1991 Post Cereal Cards

I have a bunch of old Post cards.  Not so old, though -- I only got any 1960's Post in the past year.  The ones I'm talking about now, I pulled from cereal boxes in the 1990s.  I'll make a few quick posts of these to show what I have, starting with these, my 1991's. I think these came in 3-card packs, and I have 3 cards, so I must have gotten one pack.  I'm not sure that we bought many Post cereals back then; I remember a lot of Kellogg's and General Mills, instead.  I sure don't think these cards had anything to do with Fleer, but the 1991 Fleer were even more yellow than these; maybe yellow ink was on special that year.
Rickey Henderson.
I chose to start with this batch since I have one of my favorite players, Rickey Henderson.  Rickey was back with the A's by this point, having returned to help establish that near-dynasty.  Three straight pennants is good, but of course there was only one win in the World Series.  He soon moved on to help Toronto repeat as champions.  It's an unpopular opinion, but I've always been a fan of runs scored as a statistic.  Scoring runs seems to me to be helpful to your team.  Rickey was the greatest ever at scoring runs.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Some of these airbrushed caps and logos do a better of job of hiding that they're airbrushed.  The Rickey Henderson above looked ok, with the green and yellow clearly indicating that he's on the A's.  This Cal Ripken, Jr. is terrible -- it looks like he's fielding some balls in his undershirt.  Cal was a huge deal back then; everyone was talking about the Iron Man record, which he broke in 1995.
Vince Coleman.
I liked Vince Coleman well enough back in the day.  He was the NL's answer to Rickey Henderson, not as great, but certainly a formidable baserunner.  I didn't know back then about the incident where he threw a lit firecracker at some kids at Dodger Stadium.  Wikipedia tells me that Coleman was the last player to steal 100 bases in a season.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #20: Paul Molitor

We have another installment today of our look at the entire 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set.  The cards are organized alphabetically by geographic location, first within the AL and then the NL.  So we're about halfway through the AL at this point, with the second of four Milwaukee cards.
Paul Molitor.
Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor got a lot of notice with his 39-game hitting streak in 1987.  I'm not sure I would have heard much of him otherwise, since he was with the Brewers.  We didn't really follow the AL, and the Brewers never contended for the postseason in the years I was watching.  Of course, it was much harder to make the postseason back then.  In 1987, the year of the streak, the Brewers had a 91-71 record and only finished third.  In current events, Molitor was just fired/promoted; he won't be the manager of the Twins anymore, but might stay in the front office.
Paul Molitor card back.
Molitor, ever the prolific hitter, earned his way into this league leaders set by tying for fifth in the AL in hits in 1989, with 194.  The card back goes on to say that he was in the top ten in batting average, doubles, steals, and at-bats as well.  A fairly typical season, I think, for #10 on the all-time hits list.

Thanks for reading!  Next up is Dan Plesac, and then Robin Yount.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I bought a few modern cards

I have very few post-1994 cards; I've said this before.  The count is probably about 40, with most of those being 8 4-card packs of recent Donruss from the dollar store.  My collection is probably about 35,000 cards, so the 40 or so modern cards make up a bit more than a tenth of a percent.  I'm winding down this renewed period of collecting, so the total isn't likely to increase much.

So, here are three modern cards that were in my recent COMC box.  They're all Pirates, and this post could be viewed as being in honor of the Bucs scratching out a winning season, with their 82-79 record.  I'm fortunate that my time away from baseball just about completely coincided with their 20 consecutive losing seasons, so I didn't have to see any of that.
Josh Harrison.
I have some specific goals for the modern cards I am picking up.  I've enjoyed watching Josh Harrison play the past couple of years.  He goes out there and really gives his all.  He's probably not going to be a Pirate much longer, so I wanted a card of him in my binder.
Andy Van Slyke.
Andy Van Slyke, Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla made up the offensive core of those late 80s/early 90s Bucco teams I watched so faithfully in middle school and high school.  I wanted to get a few autographed cards to help fill up the box my PSA-graded cards go in; the autographs will go in magnetic holders and not be PSA-graded, but these can help to fill up the box.  I'm not interested in any more Bonds cards, and COMC doesn't show any Bonilla autographs.  So I have this Van Slyke to commemorate those teams amongst my autographed cards.
Andrew McCutchen.
When I started posting some of my old food-issued cards, people mentioned the Marketside pizza promotion.  I wasn't collecting then, and didn't even know what Marketside was, but I'm always up for adding a food-issued card to my collection.  I also still appreciate McCutchen's time with the Bucs, and am happy to add another card of him.  Of my about 40 modern cards, three are of Cutch. 

I have a few more modern cards (all autographs) now in my COMC account, which will ship with my Black Friday haul.  I'll show them when the time comes.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 1, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #19: Chris Bosio

Today we continue our view of the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, moving now to card #19 and the Milwaukee Brewers.  There are several Brewers in the set, and the first of them is pitcher Chris Bosio.
Chris Bosio.
The Brewers had some talent back then, but as we all know, having some talent isn't quite enough.  The 1989 Brewers finished in 4th place in the AL East with an 81-81 record, with Chris Bosio as their ace.  Bosio pitched in the majors 1986 through 1996 with the Brewers and Mariners, finishing with a 94-93 record, a 3.96 ERA, and 1059 strikeouts.  His best years look like they were 1989, 1990, and 1992, so this card captures his prime.  He has a World Series title under his belt now, as pitching coach with the recent Cubs.  He then became the Tigers coach briefly before being fired for "insensitive comments that violated Club policy and his Uniform Employee Contract," which was reportedly a racial slur directed at a clubhouse attendant, according to Sports Illustrated.
Chris Bosio card back.
Bosio earned his way into this league leaders set by placing tied for 4th in strikeouts in 1989, with 173.  The back goes on to say that he tied for fourth in complete games with 8.  The most complete games anyone has this year, and most years anymore, I think, is 2.  He was #6 in ERA with 2.95, tied for 7th in shutouts with 2, and 9th in innings pitched and 10th in games started.

Thanks for reading!  Next installment, we stick with the Brewers, but on to Paul Molitor.