Saturday, March 22, 2008

Got any 1988 Topps autographed cards for trade?

The subject line says it all. I'm looking for cards from this set (non-stars and stars alike) that have been autographed. If you've got any, email me at 88topps at gmailDOT com. I'll try to work out a trade with you.

#271 Ken Gerhart

Why this card is awesome: Because I like the shot of the stadium in the background. Is that Memorial Stadium? I spent a lot of time in Baltimore but never saw a game there before they closed it. (But I did see a lot at Camden Yards.)

Cool stat: Gerhart's total career numbers aren't so terribly bad. He wasn't a good hitter (career 78 OPS+) but in 615 ABs he did have 24 HR, 16 SB, and also 128 K's. Players with similar seasons are here and include Grady Sizemore, Carlos Beltran, Shawn Green, Devon White, and Tommie Agee.

#270 Mike Witt

Why this card is awesome: Because for some reason, this particular card has had the crap beat out of it. Whoever wins this card in the next giveaway, be warned that it's scratched to hell. Oh, and it's another nice shot with half of his face in the shadows, ala Albert Hall. And if Witt didn't have such a big chin, then maybe 75% of his face would be in the shadows.

Cool stat: From 1986 to 1988, Witt had the 4th-most complete games in MLB. And sometimes, he writes his name as "My Quit."

Friday, March 21, 2008

#269 Ellis Burks

Why this card is awesome: Because it's just a damn beautiful card. A nice spring training shot (as if the guy in the first row wearing the red tank top didn't already give that away) and the Topps All-Star Rookie cup looks great and quite deserving for Ellis Burks.

Cool stat: Burks' 1999 season gave him the 19th-highest slugging percentage in a season with at least 400 PAs by a player 35 years old or older. That might not sound so impressive until you look at who else is on the list. And you might think he did that in Coors Field, but he was already with the Giants by that time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Out of the Mill

Reader Rich has started his own card blog, Out of the Mill. It's pretty damn awesome.

Start right here and watch the video. If you like that, you'll love the site. Steve at White Sox Cards wrote a thorough review of the site here.

#268 Bruce Ruffin

Why this card is awesome: Because the scout who signed Ruffin is the inventor of Pepcid AC. (Might take a little effort for you to get that joke.)

Cool stat: Ruffin had an incredible 1993. Check out his splits that year. Pitching at home in Coors Field, he got a 3.81 ERA over 80.1 innings, when league-wide ERA was 4.77. Wowsers.

#267 Billy Bean

Why this card is awesome: Because although you might think so, this is not Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland Athletics and "star" of Moneyball. This card is of the Billy Bean who publicly disclosed in 1999 that he is gay. Personally, I strongly applaud the guy for making the major leagues as a gay man. Given the massive excess of "macho" in sports and jackasses like Jeremy Shockey, John Rocker, and Todd Jones, it must be incredibly difficult to feel any sort of comfort at all as a gay professional athlete.

Cool stat: Bean hit 5 homers, all in 1993. The pitchers he hit them off were a good bunch: John Wetteland, Willie Blair, Steve Reed, Larry Andersen, and Darryl Kile.

#266 Paul Assenmacher

Why this card is awesome: Because he was signed as an undrafted free agent....nice. He had a good career, especially for an undrafted player.

Cool stat: Personally, I think Assenmacher is underrated. Check out the best ERA+ for players between ages 33 and 37, minimum 150 IP. Assenmacher is 15th, ahead of a lot of great pitchers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

#265 Bo Diaz

Why this card is awesome: Because if you've been reading this blog for a while, you should have already spotted what's awesome about this card. Another freakin' Expo in the dugout! I swear like 30% of this set features either an Expos player or Tiger Stadium.

Cool stat: Diaz had 77 career homers but 5 games with 2 homers, which is a high ratio. His team won 4 out of 5 of those.

Deceased players and managers: 9

Weird how the deceased players seem to come in bunches. Diaz passed away in 1990 while working on a satellite dish. This card comes just a few after Jose Uribe made an appearance.

#264 Les Straker

Why this card is awesome: Because with that low strikeout rate in his 1987 debut, he should have changed his last name so that we could have called him "Les Striker" since he throws less strikes. OK, to be grammatically correct, he'd also had to have changed his first name to "Fewer." Hmm.

Cool stat: Straker did an unusual thing in 1988. As a starter, he had an ERA better than league average but issued more walks than strikeouts. Here's a list of guys to do that since 1980.

RESULTS: Giveaway #7


The number I picked for Brick Smith was 225, his listed weight in pounds. At first, I assumed that he got the nickname "Brick" from being such a big guy. But then I noticed that Brick is his actual given name, oddly.

The winner is Mets Guy in Michigan, which is cool since there's a special David Cone card in this giveaway. Capewood would've won with a guess of 28, but his entry came too late. I also wasn't sure how to count mmayes' guess of 9/13/1987 since that's not exactly a number, but any way you look at it, it's not the winner. (Side note: remember that averages are counted as decimals, so zman40's guess was not actually that close.)

Mets Guy, drop me a note about how to contact you and I'll make arrangements to get you your loot.

#263 Glenn Braggs

Why this card is awesome: Because check out the last names of the two scouts to sign him. Clearly made up. I think Braggs might be an alien. How much do we really know about Glenn Braggs anyway?

Cool stat: Braggs had one walk-off game-winning plate appearance, coming against Jesse Orosco in the bottom of the 10th of a 1989 game. I seem to recall that Braggs also broke a few bats on his own shoulder on the follow-through (when swinging and missing.)

#262 Drew Hall

Why this card is awesome: Because of an ill-spent first-round draft pick. Tsk tsk tsk, Cubbies.

Cool stat: Hall gave up 20 homers in his career. More than 1 to just one guy, Five-for-One. Look at the names of the guys he gave them up to, though. The worst player is probably Tim Teufel, which is saying something because Teufel wasn't garbage. He gave up homers to Barry Bonds, Don Mattingly, Kevin McReynolds, Danny Tartabull, Darryl Strawberry, Andy Van Jackass, Howard Johnson, and lots of other good-to-decent players. Seems like the Mets hit a lot. Career numbers against the Mets: 25.1 IP (most against any opponent), 9.24 ERA, 38 hits including 6 homers. Ouch.

#261 Giants Leaders

Why this card is awesome: Because a bonus shot of Will Clark is always a welcome thing. Especially when his mouth is shut.

Cool stat: 1988 was a sandwich year for the Giants, in between two appearances in the playoffs. Looking at the NL batting summaries, the Giants scored the second most runs in the NL despite having league-average hitting.

Deceased players and managers: 8

Sadly, Jose Uribe died in a car accident in 2006. He's just ahead of Will Clark in line in the photo.

Reminder: Giveaway #7

Just a reminder that somebody is going to win over 100 cards today. Enter here if you want a shot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

#260 Vince Coleman

Why this card is awesome: Because, for some reason, I always thought Coleman looked like Michael Jackson in this photo. (Not Michael Jackson the baseball player, I mean Michael Jackson the pedo "entertainer".)

Cool stat: Add Coleman to the list of players who hit more of their own HRs off Jim Deshaies than anybody else. Bonus stat: Coleman had 10 games with 4 stolen bases. But his team won just 7 of those 10.

#259 Ron Kittle

Why this card is awesome: Because of those sweet aviator glasses. Maybe he borrowed a pair from Donnie Hill?

Cool stat: From 1983 to 1986, nobody hit 100 or more HR in fewer at bats than Kittle. He also led the league in HR frequency (per AB) in 1983 and 1984. I find #16 on that list interesting too. Mr. Overrated.

#258 Ed Nunez

Why this card is awesome: Because if that jersey were just a little bit lighter, Nunez would look like a floating head against that blue-sky background.

Cool stat: Remember when I said Frank DiPino was a mop up guy? Well Nunez was even better. Go check out the stat on DiPino's page, and note that Nunez is even higher on the same list.

Monday, March 17, 2008

#257 Jerry Royster

Why this card is awesome: Because of the very unusual 1974 statline. No at-bats, but 2 runs scored. Also I like the runner, who I assume is an Oriole leading off second.

Cool stat: Royster is one of 32 players to get at least 2 runs scored in a season with no at-bats. The 1973-1974 Oakland A's craziness leads the list.

CMW Thanks

Just wanted to shout out a quick thanks to dayf, Rich, Jason, and Luke for the CMW cards. (I didn't get Luke's yet, but I'm sure they're coming!)

Hopefully I'll get to post some of those with autos on them.

#256 Ken Schrom

Why this card is awesome: Because this card is like seeing Mother Theresa in a sticky bun in Tennessee. There's a manifestation of a large cross on the outfield wall!

Cool stat: This was Schrom's last card. Here's a statistical oddity. In 1983, Schrom had 80 walks and 80 strikeouts. I was sure he must be the guy with the most IP to have a K/BB ratio of exactly 1.00. But I was way wrong. Here's the list. Schrom is just 42nd!

2004 Topps All-time Fan Favorites #53 Mookie WIlson

Here's another special card, this one for M-M-M-MOOKIE!

At first, it appeared to me as if this photo might have been taken from the same at-bat as his main 88 Topps card. But no--he's wearing white batting gloves here and black gloves in the other shot.

#255 Mookie Wilson

Why this card is awesome: Because of the great action shot, and the guy in the dugout making a rude gesture. (Mind you, not a rude gesture you see these days, the hand-under-the-chin F.U., but it was common back in 1988.)

Cool stat: I know the story behind it, but I still always find it hilarious when I see that Wilson is both the stepfather and uncle of Preston Wilson. (See here.) Mookie's 1983 is one of just 21 seasons with at least 100 Ks but fewer than 20 walks. Oops.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

#254 Lee Elia

Why this card is awesome: Because it's easy to imagine why Elia has such a grumpy look on his face. Aside from those crazy tirades, look at the pitiful roster of players he had on the back. Beyond an over-the-hill Michael Jack Schmidt, it's slim pickings.

Cool stat: Wow, the 1988 Phillies were awful. Nobody had more than 19 homers or 67 RBI. Among regulars, Milt Thompson hit the highest at .288. Geez.

#253 Checklist 133-264

Why this card is awesome: Because of #186, #221, and #233. One card, three Rafaels!

Cool stat: This is card #253, and no fewer than 5 players have exactly 253 career homers. One, Carlos Lee, will fall off that list this year. The rest of the list is neat: Todd Zeile, Andre Thornton, Larry Doby, and Joe Gordon.