Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Iconic Series: 1973 Topps Johnny Bench

This was a tough call as his 1972 Topps cards and his 1976 Topps Card (in the classic catcher gear and dirt all around) could probably be considered more iconic cards than this one. However, it is the uniqueness of the photo that makes this card something special. The ball just about to land in his glove by the Giants dark shadow dugout is such a unique shot that it stands out more than 40 years later. Sports Card Companies since the early 1990s have been trying to capture odd shots/poses of players. Think of 1991 Topps Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens. Heck, every Topps card in the 2012 set is trying to capture some sort of personalty of the game (to the extent that makes me like good old fashioned posed shots as Heritage more). But this photo has been hard to top.

Mike Heath #413

We are talking about some green and yellow here. I mean wow, look at that helmut. Back Facts: Caught one game for the Yankees in the '78 World Series. He was a small guy for a catcher - listed at 5'11 and 175lbs

Tony Armas #365

He was the AL home run champ from 1981 (though he tied with a few others). This is kind of a blurry and shadowy picture of Armas and does not do justice to the A's uniform. This photo appears to be taken at an A's home game (or spring training home game) because of a lot of yellow the fans were wearing in the stands.

The real Mike Tyson #435

This is an awesome picture of Mike Tyson on the field at Wrigley. I wonder if this is a pregame warmup or an actual play from a game. Just look at the Ivy. He was another of your typical middle infielder of that time. No power and No speed and a good glove.

Barry Big Foote #83

Barry was big, he was 6'3 and 215lbs as a catcher. He would become a Yankee in April of 1981. He was traded for someone named Tom Flier and Cash by the Cubs. I think this photo is from Comisky Park.

Mickey Hatcher #480

A 1960ish looking pose to this card. Bat on the shoulder, eyes looking to something from above. Mickey was a hero of the 1988 World Series in which the Dodgers beat the A's 4 games to 1.

Chet Lemon #291 (Shorts)

Chet is wearing the soft ball uniform of the CHicago White Sox. I still have a Baseball Digest wear Chet is on the cover batting for the White Sox wearing shorts in the late 1970s. I don't know how many games the White Sox played in shorts but I know it was not many. I don't think Topps at the time was able to capture one player on the White Sox wearing shorts. Here we have Chet taking a lead off first against the Twins at Comisky Park.

Al Cowens #207

I don't know how to explain it but to me this is one of the most boring cards in the set and a boring card in any set. The only thing that is redeeming is the glasses. Maybe there is too much shadow on his face but this card strikes me as boredom. Back Facts
: ...finished second to Rod Carew in the AL MVP balloting.

Bob Bailor #308

What We have here is a matchup between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. This photo appears to be taken at SHea Stadium. It looks like Bob hit the ball. Bob was the number one draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft.

Steve Crawford #564

Here we got a nice shot of Crawford on the mound holding a 2 seamer at what appears to be Fenway Park. We have a sighting of a blurry umpire in the back ground. Steve was 0-5 with a 4.99 ERA in 1981, I wonder if Topps today would give a card to a player with those stats.

Bill Russell #453

I think it kind of confused me for a while as a little kind when I heard there was a former basketball great named Bill Russell, I could not figure out why he had the same name of the Dodgers shortstop. The 33 year old Russell would be the starting shortstop on the 1981 World CHampion Dodgers. He appears here to be sticking on some sort of bench next to others at a spring training game.

Jerry Dybzinski #647

This is the beginning of an on slot of posts over the next few hours. I am hoping to get out thirty posts this weekend in honor of baseball season opening. First up is Jerry Dybzinski, love all of letters in his name. From this picture Jerry is a real skinny guy. Back Facts: Hobby is TV an radio repair work.

Elliot Taylor Willis #289 (Bump)

Not a flattering card but it gives you a nice shot of the Texas Rangers logo. Bump's most famous card is probably his 1980 Topps Blue Jay error card. As of 1981 he owned club Ranger records for steals (52) and runs scored (102).

Russell Earl Dent #209 (Bucky)

Bucky looks very Italian in this photo. Just like the last post, Bucky is known for one big moment in baseball history. He hit one of the most famous home runs of all time in the 1978 playoff game against the Red Sox. One of the real value players were stats did not show his great effect. He hit between 1977 to 1981 - .247, .243, .230, .262 and .238 but he was on a team that played in 3 World Series.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Harvey Haddix

Just an awesome looking card. Yellow rules this set. It was May 12, 1959 when Harvey threw 12 perfect inninigs against the Milwaukee Braves. In the 13th inninigs, he lost his perfect game when Joe Adcock got on base on an error and the no-hitter when Hank Aaron hit a home run. Aaron was called out when he passed Adcock on the bases. Milwaukee beat the Pirates 1-0.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Kansas City Scouts

A very cool looking logo card of the Kansas City Scouts. The Scouts lasted only a few years in the NHL. I think they moved to Cleveland and then became the Cleveland Barons. The Barons disbanded with most of their players going to the Minnesota North Stars

Monday, March 26, 2012

Unger vs. Goldsworthy Part 2

In 1971-72 The Blues and North Stars would meet for the 3rd straight year in the 1st round of the Eastern Division playoffs. Both teams were led by their Super Stars. Bill Goldsworthy who had 31 goals and 31 assist for the season but was held to 5 points in an epic 7 game battle with Gary Unger's Blues. Garry Unger scored 36 goals in the regular season to lead the Blues who had only 67 regular points to the 4-3 game
upset of the North Stars who has 86 points

Unger vs. Goldsworthy Part 1

During the 1970-71 season the St. Louis Blues would aquire someone who would be there best player for the next 5-6 years. Garry Unger. But the Minnesota North Stars led by Bill Goldsworthy (who had 34 goals and 31 assist) would beat the Blues 4 games to 2 in the first round of the playoffs.

Blues vs. North Stars

Over a 3 year period in the late 1960s and early 70s, the St Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars met each other in the first round of the playoffs. In 1969-70, the Blues won 4 games to 2.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Junior Kennedy and Cal Ripken Senior

The back of Junior's card is interesting because it states that he took over for Joe Morgan in 1980 and was batting .292 at the All Star Break. Well he finished with a .261 average and the back states" relegated to backup duty in '81 and may remain there because of his infield versatility. This is a decent spring training photo and I like how you can see the third base bag between his arms
Cal Ripken Sr. is famous for his son. This is an awesome photo of him flipping the ball in the air. Another great coaches card from this set. The back of his card has a lot of white

Jeff Leonard #438

Do not mess with this Dude. He has that do not mess with me look on his face. From the mean streets of Philadelphia Jeff was one big dude at 6'4 220lbs. He would develop into a decent player in a few years. This photo was taken at Wrigley Field.

Oscar Gamble #360 (Disco Duck)

Minus the huge afro but looking dapper in a Yankee Uniform. Oscar did not make a Yankee cap more famous than A Yankee can but he did make the 1970s cooler looking. BACK FACTS:
OWNS HIS OWN DISCO in Montgomery, Ala.

Jorge Orta #211

What the heck is Jorge looking at. I wonder why he posed with looking up into the sky. I think that the staduim he is in was old Cleveland Staduim. Back Facts: Tribe gave him a $1.5 million contract to sign with them 12/19/79 after he playe out his option with Chisox and became a free agent.

Mark Littell

A nice looking head shot of Mark. The St. Louis Cardinal colors really stick out here. This photo appears to be taken in spring training as you can see the buildings in the background.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lenny Randle #307

Probably the best action photo in the 1982 Donruss set. Here it comes the angle on this card gives you the view of being the first baseman as Wayne Gross of Oakland tries to break up the play. I think Lenny was the Milton Bradley of his day.

Joe Niekro #167

Famous for being caught on camera throwing down an emery board when an Umpire came out to the mound to check his glove in 1987. Here Joe is wearing the rarely seen (on cards) Astro Warm up jacket. Joe looked very old for 37 years old back then.

Rich Gedman #512

Before there was Jason Veritek there was Rich Gedman. Rich looks like an out of shape catcher in this photo. However, this is a nice clear photo that really stands out. I bet this was taken on a Saturday afternoon at Fenway.

Ron Leflore #165 (Geordi Laforge)

This is a really up close shot of Ron in his batting stance. It is an in your face picture. Le Var Burton starred in the TV movie called Break Out about Ron Leflore's life. The movie chronicled Ron's time in prison before he became a major league star. Back Facts: signed a multi year $2.4 million free agent contract with the White Sox prior to '81 season after playing out his option with Expos.

Ron Reed #399

Ron Reed was a NBA player for the Detroit Piston from 1965 to 1967. Ron is 6 feet 6 inches tall. He played basketball at Notre Dame. Not sure what staduim this was taken. Reed was the winning pitcher in the game Hank Aaron hit 715.

Randy Martz #126

This shot of Martz is definitely from Wrigley Field. I wonder if this was some sort of pregame warm up as there are not any people in the stands

Dick Ruthven #525

My first of three post of right handed pitchers caught in the act of pitching from the third base side. Not sure what staduim that is but it appears to be grass. There is too much shadow on this card.

Mike Squires #39

I always think of left handed, when I think of Mike Squires and the back of his card confirm this. Became the first left handed player to catch a game behind the plate in'80 since Dale Long of Cubs in 1958.

Mike Lacoss #440

Mike looks like one of those real skinny (pre weight lifting) early 1980s players. He was listed here as 6'4 and 190lbs. This photo is kind of cool because they caught the ball in his hand.

Bob Knepper #41

The K is silent. Knepper is in his full wind up here. He is the perfection of a .500 pitcher. His record at the end of 1981 was 56-55. His face is covered by shadow in the Wrigley Field shot

Paul Householder #314

Paul was a 24 year old prospect in 1982. He is very youthful looking hear. He had 114 career at bats by the end of 1981

Bobby Molinaro #417

There are not too many people named Bobby today. It is a first name from the past. The thing I notice most about this picture (and sorry Bobby) is his nose. Bobby had a big nose. Back Facts: Labored 10 years in the minors and considered quitting baseball in '75 when the was working as a black jack dealer in Las Vegas that winter

Friday, March 23, 2012

Johnny Bench #400

Bench to the Bench. Johnny your Bench. They were sayings a lot of kids in the early 1970s were saying. There was a lot of fun made with his last name. However, he was extremely dominating from 1970 to 1976 with the big red machine. Here it looks like Johnny just connected at the plate. Back Facts: Convinced the Reds he needed a switch from the day to day catching chores last year and spent most of his time playing at First Base. MVP of the ’76 World Series.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Iconic Series: 1982 Topps Jack Lambert

This is the first card I believe that caught a photo of Jack with Those missing teeth
The 1982 Topps set was the first time Topps could put logos on its cards since 1969 and Topps made good use of it. Look at the intensity on that guys face, he woul make a good vampire

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Iconic Series: 1972 Topps Carl Yastrzemski

Carl was an opitcal illusion. I always will remeber him for those crazy batting stances where he held his bat up high. But that was the illusion. You see that Carl is only like five foot eleven. However, on this card he look about six foot three. That batting stance just made him look larger. Also, a great thing about this card is all of that green in the background.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nolan Ryan #13

think Perez missed it a little on this one. It does not look 100% like Nolan but it does resemble him. I like the Astros hat in this picture. Perez did capture the Astro colors of a few years ago on the background stripes.

Tom Seaver #16

Another near miss, this picture resembles Seaver somewhat but if you did not have his name hear, I would not be sure. There is a strange blue and red background on this card.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Original Pujols

When I first heard about this super rookie early in the 2001 season, Albert Pujols, I knew that I had heard of that last name in major league baseball before. It was this guy Luis Pujols. The funny thing prior to Albert, I always associated the name Pujols with weak light hitting catcher. At the end of 1981, Luis in 581 career at bats had a .189 batting average with 2 HR. Oh, yeah this is a weak dark shadowy looking card.

John Littlefield #145

Not the famous error Littlefield. That was in the 1981 Fleer set (or 1982 Fleer set). The error card is still worth about $100 today. Here is John throwing at Wrigley Field in the brown shirted Padre uniform.

Steve Yeager #201

Steve Yeager always wore some strange looking glasses. Here you can see it on this in action picture. Steve looks to be in pretty good shape as you can almost see the veins in his neck.

Rick Dempsey #77

This card features a classic after swing pose of a game action shot. Back Facts: A hard nosed competitor who is regarded to be the toughest catcher to steal on in the AL. ….Is signed to a five-year contract that expires in 1983.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Is it my imagination or is 2012 Topps Heritage cards just a tad thinner than the 2010 and 2011 Heritage cards.

Maybe it was just the cards I got but I put 50 cards side by side for each of the Heritage sets in the last three years and the pile for 2012 Heritage seems only comes up to 49 cards to the other years. This is not as obvious as the card stock change from the 2008 to 2009 Bowman sets. Beginning in 2009, Bowman went to a much thinner less sturdy card stock.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pete Rose #168

A very tight well centered shot of Pete awaiting a throw from the pitcher. You can see that the runner made it back safely as his foot is on the bag and Pete does not have the ball. Back Facts: Has three batting titles, seven hit titles (including ’81), five doubles crowns and four runs scored titles to his credit

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jeff Newman #517 (Baseballs 1st Fantasy Draft)

A nice looking vibrant card. The A's uniform really stands out. I remember Newman as being one of those A's that got a chance to play because all the A's stars left during free agency in 1977. I believe that all of this Fantasy Sports really derived from the Free Agent Draft that took place in November of 1976. When the top stars such as Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Sal Bando became free agents at the end of the 1976 season, Baseball set up a free agent draft. It worked this way, I believe. Each Team could pick a free agent player to negotiated with. Any team could pick any player in the draft, however once 14 teams picked a player in a draft no other teams could pick that player. I remember the Pittsburgh Pirates picking Reggie Jackson with their first pick I believe (obviously 13 other teams including the Yankees picked Jackson). I think a team could only sign 2 or 3 of the free agents they picked (or they could only pick 2 or 3 free agents or something like that). I remember seeing in the papers the next day after the draft and seeing the names of the players and what 14 teams that picked them. It was kind of unusual. I think the papers may have listed the teams and what players they picked. In essence it was a fantasy draft as you could imagine if your team acquired all the players they drafted. I think that was the only year the baseball free agent draft worked that way.

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012 Topps Heritage rookie checklist variation

Addison Reed was initially check listed to appear on card #253 with Michael Taylor, Michael Taylor, ALex Liddi and Antoan Richardson but he know appears with Yankee Prospect Dellin Betances who was not on the initial checklist. Also, Dee Gordon who was secheduled to appear on card #53 now is a shortprint at #427.

2012 Topps Heritage rookie checklist variation

Addison Reed was initially check listed to appear on card #253 with Michael Taylor, Michael Taylor, ALex Liddi and Antoan Richardson but he know appears with Yankee Prospect Dellin Betances who was not on the initial check

2012 Topps Heritage short prints live on Ebay

Here goes on of the first images of short printed Topps Heritage cards. This one is Troy Tulowitzki.