Saturday, May 31, 2008

88 Topps anagrams

This is just for fun. These are some anagrams of players featured on cards 1 to 100. Feel free to post the answers in the comments.

1 A damaged van
2 A drunken axle
3 A hung martyr
4 A shy renewal
5 A tongue icicle
6 Angry benders
7 Barb nose
8 Blondish area
9 Chief clunky
10 Chubby core
11 Cleaner dolls
12 Clone mergers
13 Drama tools
14 Eerier snail
15 Enlarge zones
16 Fazed dinners
17 Gyrates tip
18 Help rabidly
19 Hernial craps
20 Hit maker
21 Honest dramas
22 Hurl daemon
23 Husbandry
24 Huskier boob
25 I will mismatch
26 Inborn snood
27 Inky handsaw
28 Jeer actor
29 Lewd nigglers (please do not misread this one.)
30 Licked codfish
31 Main kinetic
32 Making more
33 Mean klutzes
34 Nerviest elk
35 Pedantry
36 Random skunk
37 Real tile
38 Red robe
39 Redhead
40 Redo more
41 Regard reply
42 Residency honker
43 Retro eons
44 Rumpled hay
45 Screened skyline
46 Ski governs
47 Snaky pardoners
48 Their twine
49 Tricky honor
50 Tyrannized men
51 Unlock writers

#478 Sid Bream

Why this card is awesome: Because that gold stripe around Bream's waist is remarkably unflattering. Also, the guy in the dugout in the background appears to be wearing a tuxedo.

Bream was a decent player, most associated with the Pirates, but is best-remembered for a play he made with the Braves:

In case you were living under a rock in 1992, this was the final moment of the NLCS that year.

Cool stat: From 1986 to 1992, Bream was one of 8 1st baseman to have double-digit homers at least 6 of those years. By no means was he one of the top 1Bs during that time, but he was solid.

Friday, May 30, 2008

#477 Jamie Quirk

Why this card is awesome:
Because I find this photo hugely ironic. Those of you who were baseball fans in the mid-90s and early 00s will recall that Jamie Quirk was so often referred to as a future major-league manager. I understand that he was really into the mechanics of the game and, as a catcher, had a strong knowledge of how to call games and manage pitchers. But he never did become a manager (at least not yet, although he is currently bench coach for the Rockies.) I can't tell you how many times I heard or read a comment about Quirk becoming a manager.

So, what makes this card ironic? He looks like a manager. Since this is a posed shot, he's not wearing his batting helmet despite holding a bat. It's usually managers or coaches who look like this when they are hitting infield practice.

Cool stat: Over the years he played, Quirk has by far the most seasons with 221 or fewer at-bats. He was truly a back-up.

2004 Topps All-time Fan Favorites #54 Dave Stewart

Why this card is awesome: Because it sure has got a lot of bright colors on it, especially that blue sky. I wonder why, though, they chose to make the card border pea green instead of a more regular green as on the Athletics cards from the original set.

#476 Dave Stewart

It's another 3AM feeding post!

Why this card is awesome: Because that all-yellow warmup jacket is awesome. Also, again, I am surprised by the very obvious Budweiser ad in the background. I would have thought Topps would airbrush that out.

Cool stat: Stats-wise, Dave Stewart enjoyed one of the greatest peaks of any pitcher, getting 8 more wins than any other pitcher from over the period 1987-1990 and winning at least 20 each year. Although Stewart was very good, he was helped a lot by the Bash Brothers' offense. His actual record over that time was 84-45 (.651) but his neutralized record was 67-49 (.578) with no 20-win seasons.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


OK here we go with #4:

This is damn tricky. I'll also tell you that once you figure out what this is, there are at least 3 cards I saw that might fit the bill, but only one that is correct. So be careful before you guess.

Also please remember that only your first guess counts. If you post a second guess, I'm going to ignore it, even if it's correct.

#475 Pete Rose

Why this card is awesome: Because it's pretty sweet that they gave Rose card #475, one of the 31 best numbers in the set. (Of course, they also gave Glenn Hubbard one of them.) It's not often you see a manager on such a nice card number.

Cool stat: Since 1956, Rose has the 3rd-most games with at least 3 hits and 3 runs scored. Amazingly, #1 is A-rod, who presumably will add a bunch to his total before he retires.

Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame...hmmm. We could have a pretty long discussion about that one, I think. The only thing I'll say is this: he clearly belongs in the HOF based on his on-field accomplishments, and clearly belongs out of the HOF for breaking one of the most well-known rules in baseball. If over the last 15 years he had shown any sort of contrition at all--such as actually apologizing--he'd either be in already, or have a clear path to getting in. But instead, he lied and lied for years about it, and when he finally admitted it, he sold autographed baseballs and books to make cash instead of apologizing. What a monumental ass.

#474 Tom Brookens

Why this card is awesome: Because of the cool reflections in Brookens' glasses. It's common these days to see baseball card photos with reflections in mirror-type sunglasses, but I don't recall seeing stadium reflected in regular eyeglasses.

Cool stat: Brookens is one of 8 players to get at least 3000 AB in the 1980s and have an OBP under .300.

#473 Joe Niekro

Why this card is awesome: Because I love cards with so many years of stats that there's no room for anything else.

Cool stat: Of the 31 pitchers to throw at least 3500 innings since 1950, Niekro's got the 3rd-lowest K/9 rate, beating out only Tommy John and Bob Friend. Niekro also benefited greatly from playing on good teams. Actual W-L, W-L%: 221-204, .520. Neutralized: 189-198, .488.

Deceased players and managers: 15

Geez, that's two deceased guys in the last 3 cards :(

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gem Mint Ten

I just discovered Gem Mint Ten. It is an awesome and hilarious card blog. Check it out.

Reminder: 88 AUTO FEST #3

Card #3 still has not been solved. Figure out which 88 Topps card the snippet is from and win an autographed copy of that card!

#472 Robby Thompson

Why this card is awesome: Because that, my friends, is now to choke up on a bat. If he had three hands, he'd have enough room for #3 on the end.

Cool stat: Folks, you may not realize it, but Robby Thompson was not a good player. Since 1901, among players who finished with at least 900 career K's, he had the 13th-fewest total bases.

#471 Donnie Moore

I'm skipping why this card is awesome, because it's the most heartbreaking card in the set. Everybody remembers how the Mets got past the Red Sox to win the World Series in 1986, but few remember how the Red Sox themselves got past the Angels in the 1986 ALCS in similar fashion. Moore needed one more strike to clinch the series for the Angels, instead giving up a homer to Dave Henderson. It's eerily similar to Bill Buckner's fate. Buckner's error in Game 6 of that year's World Series didn't even cost Boston that GAME and yet Buckner was blamed for losing the entire series. While it's true that Buckner's error was a significant contributing factor, numerous other Red Sox played badly after that error to lose both Games 6 and 7. Moore's gopher ball to Henderson lost the lead for the Angels in Game 5, but that game wasn't lost officially until extra innings. And then as a team, the Angels lost Games 6 and 7. And yet, Moore was nearly single-handedly blamed for the series loss.

The media often reported that Moore suffered from depression even before 1986, but that these events placed a terrible burden on Moore and eventually led to the attempted homicide of his wife, followed by his own suicide in 1989. The Wikipedia page for Moore describes much of his career and these later events in detail.

The photo of Moore on this card seems to tell the entire story of the 1986 playoffs and Moore's burden. I only wish that Moore had lived long enough to see the Angels win the World Series in 2002. In the same way that Buckner received much-overdue forgiveness and embrace from Boston, I'd like to think that Moore would have received the same.

Fortunately, the 1988 Topps set doesn't have too many cards that remind us of sad happenings. This card, though, is definitely the most heartbreaking one, serving as a reminder of the tragedy of Donnie Moore.

Cool stat: Moore's 1985 is one of just 7 seasons in history where a pitcher had 100 IP, ERA+ of 200, and 30 saves.

Deceased players and managers: 14

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Here's the next one...probably the last one for a few days. Be sure to comment on the regular cards to keep the blog moving along. :)

First correct comment wins it.


OK, Kevin picked himself up a Jim Gott autographed card pretty easily from snippet #1.

Here's #2, and I think it's a bit harder. Best of luck. (For rules, click on the link to snipper #1 above.)

First correct comment wins the autographed version of this card.

#470 Dwight Evans

Why this card is awesome: Because Dewey has some serious junk in that trunk! Seriously, he was the king of putting his ass into his swing. Good for him.

Cool stat: Evans is the only player to have double-digit homers every year from 1973 to 1990. In part, that's a statistical oddity due to the exact years of his career. (For example, Dave Winfield didn't get going until 1974, and Mike Schmidt and Reggie Jackson finished up a little before 1990.) Evans was a very good player who might have been truly great if A) he developed his power a little earlier [he didn't hit 30 HR until age 30] and B) if he wasn't always surrounded by better power hitters such as Yaztrzemski and Rice, which would have given him more RBI opportunities.


OK--new contest. First, here is a description and some rules. The first part of the contest is below.

I'm going to be showing small snippets of cards (see the test post for an example.) Your job is simply to identify which card from the 1988 Topps set the snippet comes from. Each snippet I am showing comes from an autographed copy of that card in my possession. If you are the first commenter to post the correct answer, you win that autographed card!

In this contest, I have about 20 autographed cards I'll be giving away. They will all be posted before we reach card #550 on the regular card postings. Whoever wins the most autographed cards during that time also wins regular cards #451 to #550, plus at least one bonus card. I'll be keeping a running tally of who has won what, and everybody will get their winnings in the mail at the end of the contest.

Here are some rules and some helpful hints, and then see below for 88 AUTO FEST snippet #1.

1. All snippets are taken from the regular 1988 Topps set. (Not the traded set, not the fan favorites cards, or any other special set produced in 1988 or any other time.)

2. For any snippet, the card it's from has already been posted to this blog. So you can use back posts from this blog to help you find the answer.

3. I won't be showing photos of the autographed cards. They are kinda neat, but not worth extra posts in my opinion. So if you win a card, you'll have to wait until you get it to see it!

4. It's possible that some snippets I post may accidentally be applicable to more than one card. If that happens, tough noogies. There will be only one correct answer, and it's the name on the card in my possession.

5. For any given AUTO FEST post, only your first guess will count.

6. You can enter each AUTO FEST post regardless of whether you entered and/or won previous ones or not. If somebody out there is a major hotshot and wins every single card, so be it.

7. Some snippets will be easy and some will be really hard.

Without any further ado, here is snippet #1:

First correct guess wins it!

#469 Jeff Dedmon

Why this card is awesome: Because isn't it amazing how Topps can airbrush entire caps on some guys, and yet couldn't do Dedmon the simple favor of covering up a few blemishes? Those don't even look like birthmarks but rather pimples. I'm sure Dedmon loves this card.

Also, I always though Dedmon should look like a skull with dreadlocks. As in, "He's dead, mon!"

Cool stat: I couldn't find much of interest stat-wise about Dedmon. But here is the list of all 30 intentional walks he issued. Here's a cool thing, though! Check out this game, bottom of the 8th. Dedmon issued three intentional walks in that inning, each one coming with runners on 2nd and 3rd. That has got to be a record. And, oh, the humiliation, after he loaded the bases for the 3rd time, pitcher Joaquin Andujar hit a granny off him.

Monday, May 26, 2008

dayf was right

dayf said I'd have time to make posts during 3AM feedings, and he was right!

Also I wanted to give a quick thanks to all of you who are currently serving or who have previously served in the military. I realize Memorial Day is intended for those died during military service, but it doesn't hurt to take a moment to recognize you folks too.

In all the debate over the Iraq war, and whether it's proper, too long, etc, we sometimes forget all the people who, while we sit here and talk, are putting their asses on the line every day for us.

#468 Darren Daulton

Why this card is awesome: Because I believe Daulton is peeking way off to the side at what I would guess is the Mayan calendar.

Cool stat: From an offensive standpoint, Daulton was the top catcher in the game for 1992-1993. Each year, he had 20+ HR and 100+ RBI, while only one other catcher had a season like that in either year (Mike Piazza in 1993.) He was even better in 1994 until his season ended early due to injury.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

#467 Don Aase

Why this card is awesome: Because this card leaves little doubt as to which player the Orioles would send to the local hospital dressed like a clown to cheer up sick kids. Aase wouldn't even need a wig.

For those who don't know, his last name is pronounced "AH-see", rhyming with "posse" for example.

Cool stat: Since saves have been recorded as a stat, Aase is one of 22 players to have just 1 season with at least 34 saves. In other words, he's one of 22 guys to get a season with that many saves, and no other seasons with that many again. Aase didn't have more than 14 saves in any other season, primarily because he wasn't used a lot as a closer.