Saturday, March 15, 2008

#252 Bob Brower

Why this card is awesome: Beacuse, boys and girls, when your back leg is parallel to the ground, you are not going to hit the ball very far. And there's a woman with her hands neatly folded in her lap. How nice.

Cool stat: Brower hit 14 homers in 1987, and they were pretty interesting. Two off Steve Carlton (the only guy he ever hit more than 1 against), one leading off a game, and another that was inside-the-park. That inside-the-parker was a grand slam, no less.

#251 Tom Foley

Why this card is awesome: Because of somebody's fat, lumpy ass in the background.

Cool stat: Foley had one two-homer game in his career. He tried like hell, but the Expos still lost to the Braves, despite him homering to help them come back from a 2-0 deficit, and then hitting a 2-run bomb of Bruce Sutter in the bottom of the 9th to tie it. The Braves won in the 15th on a homer by Ron Gant.

Friday, March 14, 2008

88 Topps Cards Giveaway #7

Whew, it's been a long time since we had a giveaway.

This time, we're giving away cards 151 to 250 from the 1988 Topps set. That includes cards for Bruce Sutter, Willie McGee, Robin Yount, Rich Gossage, Dave Cone, Rafael Palmeiro, Devon White, Dan Quisenberry, Wade Boggs, Paul O'Neill, Willie Randolph, Tom Henke, Mike Scioscia, Lee Smith, and Nolan Ryan.

Heck, there are a lot of awesome closers in that bunch!

And, you get the David Cone Topps All-Time Fan Favorites card I showed a while back!

To win, here's what you need to do. Pick a number from the Brick Smith page at and post it in a comment below. I've picked a number. Closest guess wins. For rules on how I do this sort of contest, check my earlier giveaways.

You've got to enter by Wednesday March 19th, 5PM EDT to get in the contest.

Why Brick Smith you ask? I have my reasons.

#250 Nolan Ryan

Why this card is awesome: Because I love the fact that despite all those many stat lines already on the card, he was led the league in ERA and would add 6 more years to his stat line after this.

Cool stat: While Ryan is overrated in some ways (he didn't have a very good W/L record despite pitching for decent teams throughout his career, and his neutralized stats actually give him fewer wins, though with a higher winning percentage) we can't forget that he could be enormously dominant. Check out the career leaders for CGs with 2 or fewer hits. He had 37, more than the next two guys on the list combined.

Hall of Fame count: 21

#249 Mike Marshall

Why this card is awesome: Because it sure looks like Marhsall's hitting off his front foot--not the best way to do things. I can't understand why Marshall didn't get a better card number. Sure, he was not a superstar, but he did have a good solid career.

Cool stat: I need some help here, folks. I distinctly remember a game in which Mike Marshall made all three outs in an inning, I believe by a strikeout and a GIDP. But I cannot find it on, meaning that my memory is probably a bit off. Can anybody help?

Anyway, here is your Marshall stat. He makes the top 10 for fewest career walks among players with at least 800 Ks. Bo knows strikeouts.

Auto-matic for the 1988 Topps People - Jamie Moyer

With apologies to dayf for ripping off one of his blogs in the title, here's a little gem I got in the mail yesterday. Yes, I realize this is an 87 Topps card, not an 88. But it's a signed Moyer rookie, folks, so suck it up and deal.

I sent Moyer two copies of this card and invited him to keep one if he wanted. He sent both back, with one unsigned.

Anyway, there ya go. We now resume our 88 Topps review.

#248 Storm Davis

Why this card is awesome: Because of a good trade by the Athletics to get Davis, who would be an important member of their playoffs teams in the late 1980s. The two guys they gave up didn't do much in MLB after the trade.

Cool stat: Davis' 1989 qualifies as the 7th-highest WHIP for a pitcher with at least 19 wins. His season is the only recent one among the top 19, except for Aaron Sele in 1998.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

#247 Thad Bosley

Why this card is awesome: Because it's all so amazingly blue! Bosley is in blue from head to toe, the team name is blue, the banner is blue, and the stands behind him are blue. I love unity.

Cool stat: Bosley had just 20 career homers, but he hit THREE, count 'em, THREE off Jeff Reardon. (He didn't hit as many as 2 against anybody else.) Two out of the three were big ones, putting his team ahead late in games. Overall, Bosley was 4-for-8 against Reardon with 5 RBI. tasty 2.125 OPS.

Ugly 1988 Topps

The Ugly Baseball Card Blog has some more 1988 Topps action, again for a card we haven't seen yet on this site. It's worth the read, both funny and insightful.

#246 Mike Campbell

Why this card is awesome: Because it's the second Future Stars card (Kevin Elster was the first) but a future star Campbell was not.

Cool stat: HOFers hit Campbell well, especially Robin Yount, to the tune of 7 RBI in 10 ABs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

#245 Rich Gedman

Why this card is awesome: Because he was signed as an undrafted free agent. Good call, Mr. Enos.

Cool stat: Guess all day about who Gedman hit the most homers off of. You'll never get it.

#244 Jeff Robinson

Why this card is awesome: Because with just that hint of a smirk, you know Robinson is a wise guy (and he was.)

Cool stat: Robinson didn't start all that many games (he was mainly a reliever) but his very best start was one of his first ML appearances: a 5-hit shuout against the Pirates, before joining them in a trade for Rick Reuschel.

Not to be confused with the other, and mainly contemporaneous, Jeff Robinson.

#243 Mark Ryal

Why this card is awesome: Because there's so much orange and blue on this card, it really seems that Ryal should be playing for the Metropolitans.

Cool stat: Ryal had one multi-homer game, and he came in as a pinch-hitter! He smacked 2-run homers in the 8th and 9th innings, although the Angels lost. Actually, 48 guys have had 2 or more homers in a game when coming in as a sub. See more about this here.

#242 Tom Niedenfuer

Why this card is awesome: Because aside from the ridiculous pose Niedenfuer (can we call him "Needy" for short?) is in, I again find it amazing how many fans' faces we can make out in the background. I would love to hear from one of those fans who saw themselves on this card.

Cool stat: Wow, what a 1983 Neidenfuer had. In fact, since 1970s, he had the 7th most IP for a season with a WHIP under 0.890. Neidenfuer had only 1 or 2 other good seasons, though.

Side note: That Pedro year in 2000 really sticks out, though. How in the hell did he not win MVP?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

#241 Damaso Garcia

Why this card is awesome: Because somebody needs to tell Garcia that the hat is supposed to on the head, not falling off the back of the head.

Cool stat: Garcia wasn't a particularly good player but was often cited as the Blue Jays' all-star during the 1980s. Why? Check out how few .300 seasons the Jays had by regulars in the 1980s. (Minimum 500 PAs.) Only Garcia, Jorge Bell, and Tony Fernandez had as many as 2 such seasons.

#240 Lee Smith

Why this card is awesome: Because this is the photo where Smith officially took over from Terry Forster as The Fat Tub of Goo.

Cool stat: I thought for sure that Lee Smith would have had the highest K/9IP for all pitchers appearing in 1000 games. But he doesn't. Firstly, how many of the 13 pitchers to appear in 1000 games can you name? And then can you get the guy ahead of Lee Smith. I bet not. (I couldn't.) Anyway, here is the list.

Smith is not in the Hall of Fame but might be one day.

#239 Roy Smalley

Why this card is awesome: Because of the serious body armor on his shin, well before it became so common in the game.

Cool stat: Check out Smalley's career transactions. He was drafted 5 times until he finally signed with Texas as the first overall pick in 1974. I am guessing his dad had something to do with that. Then, he got traded for some interesting players, including Bert Blyleven, Doug Drabek, Greg Gagne, and Randy Johnson. (But not that Randy Johnson.) Since 1930, among players with at least 150 career HR, Smalley has the 12th-most sac hits. Almost all of the leaders are 2Bs or SSs.

#238 Luis Polonia

Why this card is awesome: Because I have never been able to figure out if this is an actual action shot of Little Luis, or some kind of very weird pose. Unless the photographer used a serious zoom lens, he or she would have to be basically inside the batting cage, suggesting a posed shot.

Cool stat: Polonia had a very colorful, if not wonderful, career. He was well-known for poor outfield defense. And he was once sentenced to jail time for pleading no-contest to statutory rape. Polonia was fast, but he wasn't a great base-stealer. For guys with 300 to 350 career stolen bases, he has the most caught-stealings of all time. Luis Castillo, Steve Finley, and Reggie Sanders all have a chance to catch him, but probably won't.

#237 Mike Heath

Why this card is awesome: Because of the funny optical illusion at the bottom of the card. Heath's left foot is right above the little black shadow from the green banner behind his name, and make it look like Heath is stepping right out of the card.

Cool stat: Heath was involved in trades for 3 different all-stars: Dave Righetti, Joaquin Andujar, and Ken Hill. Heath had one game-winning plate appearance: an extra-inning homer off Mike Witt.

Monday, March 10, 2008

#236 Ted Power

Why this card is awesome: Because of bad trends. 1987 marked the second consecutive year that Power's ERA rose the better part of a full run.

Cool stat: Power has the most recent season by a reliever with at least 90 IP and an ERA+ of 150 at age 37 or older.

#235 Gary Ward

Why this card is awesome: Because it's yet another card of an Expos players doing something weird in the background. Seems like an awful lot of Expos on these cards.

Cool stat: Ward hit 9 of his 130 career homers off two guys: Bruce Hurst and Ron Guidry. Maybe if he hadn't have joined the Yankees, he would have hit a lot more off Gator.

#234 Ken Dayley

Why this card is awesome: Because it's Kenny Daly, radio station manager from the sitcom Frasier! OK, actually it's not even spelled correctly for that.

Cool stat: From 1985 to 1989, Dayley had the 18th-best ERA+ for relief pitchers with at least 200 total innings. Maybe that doesn't sound so impressive, but look at the names ahead of him and realize the class he was in: Doug Jones, Plesac, Henke, Franco, Murphy, plus Worrell, Eichhorn, Henneman, Thigpen, Righetti, Quisenberry, and Lee Smith.

88 Topps pack war

There's a 1988 Topps wax pack war going on at A Pack a Day right now. Check it out.

Also remember not to do drugs, courtesy of 88 Topps and Cardboard Junkie.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Training photos [Part 2]

As promised, here are a few more spring training photos from the same game, just taken with a real camera.

That's a shot of some of the Cardinals taking BP. The only player I know is Josh Phelps, there on the left.

Here's a better shot of the name.

That's Anthony Reyes warming up, and somebody playing baseball golf in the background.

There's Dave Duncan, watching Reyes warm up.

And there's Juan Gonzalez stepping into the box. Ramon Hernandez catches. I don't know who the umpire is, but I noticed that all the umpires looked quite young.

This ends our diversion to present day. We'll resume with 1988 Topps tomorrow.

#233 Rafael Santana

Why this card is awesome: Because it's yet another card with strange people in the background. Two folks there just hanging out in blue jeans on the playing field, one wearing a huge hat. Ho hum. We've also had a run on Rafaels lately, with Belliard recently and Palmeiro a little while ago.

Cool stat: Santana was involved in 14 game-ending plate appearances. They were all losses, except for the first one for the Cardinals, in which the winning run scored on an error.