Saturday, June 14, 2008

Still no winner

There is still no winner for 88 AUTO FEST #7.

Keep working on it...I won't post any more autograph snippets until we have a winner.

#497 Kevin Mitchell

Why this card is awesome: Because Mitchell's face appears to be the only thing on this card that wasn't airbrushed. Even the trees in the background look airbrushed.

Cool stat: Mitchell's 1994 was one of the quirkier 30-HR seasons. For example, Mitchell scored the 3rd-fewest runs for a 30-HR season that year.

Friday, June 13, 2008

#496 Guy Hoffman

Why this card is awesome: Because the card notes his first major-league complete game in 1986, but does not note that that was his only major-league complete game.

Cool stat: In fact, that complete game didn't even earn Hoffman his best career game score.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

#495 Eddie Murray

Why this card is awesome: Because this is one of the most beautiful cards in the set. It's a nice action shot of Murray, and using the orange font and orange border for the Orioles cards is great. But best of all is how Murray's front leg, back leg, and bat are all at the same angle as his name banner, giving the card a real sense of motion. Major kudos to the photographer and the person who chose this photo for the card.

Cool stat: Murray has the 3rd-most seasons all time with at least 17 HR. The only guys ahead of him are Aaron and Bonds.

Hall of Fame count: 33

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reminder - Auto Fest #7

I can see from page views that people are working hard to try to figure out the five snippets in the latest autograph contest. But nobody has made a correct submission yet, so it's still wide open.

Check it out here and try to win these autographed cards!

#494 Wally Ritchie

Why this card is awesome: Because, hey look, it's another Cincinnati Reds logo front and center where it doesn't belong! If I recall, Veterans Stadium had really large instances of other teams' logos, so that may have made it really tough to avoid getting them in the shot.

Cool stat: From 1988 to 1992, Ritchie is one of 36 pitchers to have at least 4 seasons with 26 IP and an ERA+ of 113 or better. And he did that despite pitching only 4 of those seasons. He wasn't in the majors in 1989 and 1990. And he met those criteria every single year of his career!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

#493 Mike Greenwell

Why this card is awesome: Because this is a pretty neat card, completing the duo of Red Sox All-Star Rookies along with Ellis Burks.

Cool stat: Mike Greenwell thinks he deserves the 1988 AL MVP since Jose Canseco admitted to being juiced and Greenwell came in second. His 1988 OPS was just the 29th best of the decade, but that sounds worse than it is. Going by numbers only, he did deserve to be second behind Canseco.

Monday, June 9, 2008


In this mini-contest, you can win 5 autographed 1988 Topps cards!

Here's how it works. Below are 5 snippets from 88 Topps cards that have already been posted to this blog. They are regular-issue 1988 cards.






Your job is to identify the 5 cards that the snippets came from, and then determine what these 5 individuals have in common. My only hint about the commonality is that it has to do with their careers, not with their cards or other minutia.

To enter, email me at 88topps at gmail dot com. Give me a numbered list (1 through 5) identifying the card from each snippet above. Then, tell me what the five individuals have in common. The first person to email me the correct 5 cards and correct commonality wins the autographed cards.

Now, I'm sure that these 5 people have a lot in common. For example, they are all still living. But I'm looking for one particular thing that I discovered about their careers that I found interesting.

A few comments/rules about the contest:

1. You can enter as many times as you like, but I am going to be pissed off if you keep emailing me over and over. You should probably try to limit it to 5 or 10 entries. Each entry must have the correct list 1 through 5 or I will ignore it.

2. The commonality is the one that I picked. I don't care if yours is true or not. If it isn't the one I picked, then it's not right.

3. The winner of this mini-contest wins all 5 cards, but it counts only as 1 win in the over-arching contest for cards 451 to 550 from the main Topps set.

4. I will likely post clues here as we go along, especially if there is trouble identifying any of the cards or the final commonality. So check back on this post. The clues will be posted as edits to the main text on this post. Comments have been disabled.

5. The winner will be announced on Friday 6/12 unless nobody has gotten it yet.

#492 Doyle Alexander

Why this card is awesome: Because if you're like me, this card of Alexander wearing a Tigers uniform makes you think not of him, but of a totally different player. Most of the 1988 Topps card photos were taken in the spring of 1987, but this one wasn't. That's because Alexander was playing for the Braves in the first part of 1987, until August 12 of that year when they traded him to the Tigers. Alexander was incredible for the Tigers in late 1987, going 9-0 over 11 starts, with a 1.53 ERA. Unfortunately, he blew up in the ALCS against the Twins and the Tigers were eliminated.

So, who was he traded for? None other than John Andrew Smoltz.

Cool stat: For pitchers who amassed at least 3000 IP since 1940, Alexander had the 3rd-lowest strikeout rate. He also had the 9th-best walk rate.

#491 B.J. Surhoff

Why this card is awesome: Because of late bloomers. Surhoff was a Future Star in the 1987 Topps set. Here:

And Surhoff certainly was a future star, but it took him quite a few years to get there. Other than in 1987, he didn't slug over .400 until 1994.

Cool stat: Surhoff is one of 28 guys since 1980 to amass at least 1000 runs, 1100 RBI, 150 HR, and 125 SB. He put together a pretty damn good career. Some other surprising names on that list include Dale Murphy, Ruben Sierra, and Julio Franco.

#490 Larry Parrish

Why this card is awesome: Because of a love/hate relationship I have with this card. On the one hand, I love being able to read a player's name on his jersey. On the other hand, you can't see his face!!

Cool stat: Just 10 guys had double-digit homers at least 13 years from 1975 to 1988. You could guess most of the names on here, except maybe Gary Carter and Parrish.

#489 Dodgers Leaders

Why this card is awesome: Because as cool as it is to see two of the biggest stars for the 80s Dodgers (Guerrero and Valenzuela, for you newbs), this card is ruined through the grand irony of showing a Braves logo in the background.

Cool stat: Because can you believe that a team won the World Series having just 2 guys with more than 64 RBIs and just 1 guy with more than 76? The Dodgers were one of 14 teams that year to have zero or 1 guy with 77 or more RBI. (That list does not show the 6 teams that had zero.)