Saturday, May 3, 2008
Why this card is awesome: Because of the old-school shot of James wearing the batting helmet over his cap. You don't see that at all anymore these days, nor do I recall seeing it on any card in this set so far.
Cool stat: James was a bad base-stealer. Since 1970, he's up on the leaderboard for most seasons with at least 7 CS with no more than 10 SB. He finished with more BB than K in his career, though.
Why this card is awesome: Because what a terrible choice!! Sure Rawley had 17 wins in 1987, but he also had a 1.463 WHIP and a below-average ERA. Any other guy named on the back of the card (even Zane Smith) would have been a better choice. And the idea of throwing the Phillies a bone is out the window, too, since Juan Samuel already had a card and Bedrock is coming right up.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Why this card is awesome: Because Raines hit .330 in 1987 but was buried 40 points behind Tony Gwynn. If not for Gwynn, Raines might have gotten the recognition he deserved.
Raines didn't do so well on the HOF ballot last year (his first year of eligibility) but he will make it in around 2013. Mark it down. He's one of my all-time favorite players.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Why this card is awesome: Because, although I criticzed the GW-RBI card for having Dawson at the top, I don't criticize him for being first on this one. 137 RBI for a last-place team and winning the RBI title by such a large margin are two impressive feats for Dawson.
Why this card is awesome: Because, stupidly, this is card #400. Because Topps chose to place the All-Star cards right in the middle of the set, they lost the chance to assign card #400 as a regular card to a star player. Now, granted, Ozzie Smith is a great choice for an even-hundred card, but I would much rather have seen his regular card there instead of his All-Star card. It makes that Glenn Hubbard selection even worse, too.
Hall of Fame count: 28
Why this card is awesome: Because this card is another nice demonstration of how stupid the game-winning RBI stat was. Andre Dawson, who famously won the 1987 NL MVP despite the Cubs being a last-place team, managed to tie for first place in GW RBI. This could happen only if Dawson had a simply incredible, probability-defying season, or if the stat was not really a very good measure of much anything. Dawson had a great year, no doubt, but I'm still going with the second explanation.
I also like the shot of Wallach wearing the batting helmet. It's a nice card for a somewhat underrated player.
Why this card is awesome: Because of that neat stat on the back. You can tell from this list that Samuel is still the only player to achieve it. (The Play Index, of course, counts even cups of coffee as first seasons, which is why it's hard to look up "the first four seasons" per se.)
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Why this card is awesome: Because this is one of the ugliest all-time cards. Henke's got those terrible aviator specs going, plus the photographer caught a ridge of fat running from ear to ear. If we didn't know that Henke was a trim guy, you might think from this photo that he was chubby.
Why this card is awesome: Because Nokes doesn't appear on the back of this card. As commenter Jim mentioned, it would have made more sense to put this HR list on the back of the George Bell card, and put the GW RBI list on Nokes' card, although Nokes doesn't appear on that one either.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Why this card is awesome: Because it took 392 cards, but Topps finally did it! They got an entire player's head completely engulfed in shadows! Good thing Winfield's million-dollar smile still lights up the card.
I think this is the first All-Star card we've seen so far where the player on the front doesn't make the leaderboard on the back. Winfield was such a big guy that we often forget that he was a great baserunner and actually stole 15 or more bases in a season 8 different times.
Hall of Fame count: 27
Why this card is awesome: Because do you notice in the very bottom right of the back of the card the letter "C"? I just noticed that some of these All-Star cards have a "C" and others have an "E." Who knows what they mean?
Deceased players and managers: 12
Hall of Fame count: 26
Why this card is awesome: Because as stupid a stat as game-winning RBI was, the list is still kind of interesting, especially to see Tartabull so far out in the lead. Kansas City was mediocre in 1987 but I guess with Seitzer hitting ahead of him, Tartabull got a lot of chances.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Why this card is awesome: Because it's so weird to see a card from 1988 that notes on-base percentage! I don't think any card manufacturers regularly listed OBP on the backs of cards back in 1988, so to me this list seems very strange.
Why this card is awesome: Because although the yellow color is a bit of an odd choice, I really like how Topps made the All-Star cards special this year. In most of the other seasons in the 1980s, the All-Star cards were so similar-looking to the regular cards that they were tough to distinguish. This is one of the first times I can remember a card manufacturer making special subset cards that, while part of the normal run, were so vastly differently to the design of the main set. The fonts are all different, the layout of the names, etc.
Cool stat: I'm skipping the cool stats for the all-star cards. Look at the card backs for your stats fun :)