Friday, November 14, 2008

Farewell from 88 Topps Cards

That's all, folks!

We've reached the end of the line with this blog. Having gone through all 792 cards in the regular-issue set as well as all 132 cards in the traded set, we're done. We hit 1,090 posts starting with the Vince Coleman RB back on January 9th. I expect this to be my last post ever for this blog.

This has been an immensely fun experience for me, mostly because of all the support and great comments this blog has received. Among many others, I want to thank dayf from Cardboard Junkie, Ben Henry from The Baseball Card Blog, Steve from White Sox Cards, Kevin at Orioles Card "O" the Day, Scott from the 83 Fleer Project (from whom I got the idea for this blog), Blake at, and numerous other bloggers out there who supported the site. I also want to thank some of the great readers and bloggers who commented here often, including Luke, --David, thewritersjourney, indefenseofabsurdity, Johngy, Cliff (capewood), night owl, fogus, Matt S, Mike S, Jason C, Jamin, Chris D, Spike, Jeffrey W, Timberhill, Extra Innings, Splint, MMayes, Toronto Mike, ESchmut, Bo R, Uglee Card, jacobmrley, and of course Gary Thurman's entire family. If I haven't mentioned you specifically, it's not because I don't appreciate you.

Two notes going forward:
  • The fun continues over at 78 Topps Cards, so please bookmark or track the new blog.
  • I will continue to see any new comments made on this blog, and will respond if appropriate, so feel free to peruse all the back posts. This blog will stand for (hopefully) a long time as a testament to the 1988 Topps set.
One last big THANK YOU from me.

And just like that...'s over.

#750 Bo Jackson: The best card of 1988 Topps

#750 Bo Jackson is the best card of 1988 Topps, as voted on by you, the readers.

The card won every poll quite easily. Nothing more to say about it, except thanks for all the voting!

#132T: Checklist 1T-132T

IMPACT FACTOR N/A: It's a bit anti-climactic, but the very last card of this blog is...a checklist. However, I'll note one interesting thing. This is the only card I can think of (although there are probably more examples) which mentions itself in its own title. The checklist cards from the regular 1988 set (as well as this one from Kevin's Great 1965 Topps Project) mention themselves somewhere on the card, but this one actually mentions card #132T right in the title.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

#131T Don Zimmer

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Zimmer led the Cubs to a rare post-season appearance in 1989, although they got beaten in the NLCS by the Giants. Before then, they made the NLCS in 1984, which was their first post-season appearance since 1945. By comparison, they've made the playoffs 3 out of the last 6 seasons, including the last 2.

Zimmer has been involved in baseball for a long time and has been involved in many memorable moments, not the least of which was getting tackled by Pedro Martinez during a brawl between the Red Sox and the Yankees.

#130T Ted Wood

IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Wood had just a couple cups of coffee with the Giants in the majors.

#129T Glenn Wilson

IMPACT FACTOR 3/10: Wilson, picked up in the trade mention on the back of the card, was unproductive for half a season in Seattle, but they then traded him to Pittsburgh for Darnell Coles, who was a little better. Coles himself was eventually traded for Tracey Jones, who was decent for parts of 2 seasons.

Still trying to trade...

I didn't find any decent trades out there for parts of the Tiffany 1988 Topps Traded set. At this point, I'd settle for a batch of 1971 Topps cards if anybody is interested in that. Email me at 88topps at gmail dot com to discuss that or any other trade propositions you might have.

Otherwise I'm packing it up and putting it away!

#128T David Wells

Here's the irony of this card:

Those of you who aren't familiar with David Wells will look at the above photo and think, "Gee, that guy is a little chubby," while those of us who are familiar with Wells look at the same photo and think, "Gee, I can't believe he was ever that skinny!"

This is another fantastic rookie card from the 88 Topps Traded set.

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Wells, along with Duane Ward, were the two unheralded members of the Blue Jays bullpen that led them to success in 1992 (and in Ward's case also in 1993.) Wells was a great reliever for the team and pitched wonderfully in the 1992 post-season.

Wells went on to have a very good career, winning more than 60% of his decisions, including a 20-win season in 2000 with Toronto during his second stint with the team. He appeared in a whopping 17 post-season series with the Blue Jays, Reds, Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, and Padres. Sure, he was in the right place at the right time quite often, but in many cases, it was his own presence that made it the right place.

Wells was a colorful and often obnoxious player, but he was a damn tough competitor and made the most of his talent.

#127T Bob Welch

IMPACT FACTOR 7/10: Welch came to the Athletics after many years with the Dodgers and did not disappoint. Although his W-L stats were inflated beyond what he deserved thanks to a great Oakland offense, he nevertheless pitched mostly very well in 7 seasons with Oakland, including his Cy Young winning season of 1990 with a 27-6 record. He also pitched quite well in numerous post-season starts for the A's, with the lone exception of a 1988 start against Boston.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

#126T Walt Weiss

IMPACT FACTOR 3/10: Weiss won the 1988 AL Rookie of the Year award, but was the best of a pretty weak pool of candidates. Although he was a capable shortstop, he was pretty poor on the offensive side of the ball and hit terribly in 5 out of 6 post-season series he appeared in with Oakland. In his entire career, Weiss ended up playing in 13 post-season series with Oakland, Colorado, and Atlanta and hit .190 with a .270 OBP. Oops.

#125T Ron Washington

Wow, Wash has some serious bed-head in this photo.

IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Washington played one partial season with the Indians toward the end of his playing career before beginning a successful coaching career in the majors. He's now the manager of the Texas Rangers.

#124T Robin Ventura

Here's one of the other top rookie cards in this traded set. Overall, the Olympic players in this set did quite well for themselves.

IMPACT FACTOR 7/10: Ventura played 9 full seasons with the White Sox (plus a cup of coffee in 1989) and was one of the most important players in that franchise's return to excellence. Thanks to Wade Boggs, Ventura didn't make many all-star games, but Robin was one of the top power-hitting 3Bs in the game for a long stretch.

FINAL POLL: The best card of 1988 Topps

Well, folks, it's been a long journey to get here.

We had 33 cards nominated by the readers. From our initial round of polls, we narrowed that down to 16 entrants into the tournament. After regionals, quarterfinals, and semifinals, we're down to just two cards.

Would you believe that to get to this point, the polls have had a total of 1,423 votes? That's not too shabby.

Personally, I'm sad that #300 Don Mattingly didn't make it here, but I can't argue with the readers.

Without further adieu, I present to you the final poll of the 88 Topps Cards blog. This one will find the best card of the 1988 Topps set, as determined by the readers of this blog.

This vote stays open only through Friday morning. During the day on Friday, I will post the final results along with the very last post for this blog.

#123T Willie Upshaw

IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Upshaw played one year, the last of his career and only not with Toronto, with the Cleveland Indians.

Upshaw is the cousin of the late Gene Upshaw, Hall of Fame NFL player and head of the NFL Players Association until his sudden death earlier this year.

#122T Jeff Treadway

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: Treadway was a league-average 2B for the Reds for one season in 1988 plus his cup of coffee in 1987.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

#121T Dickie Thon

IMPACT FACTOR 3/10: Thon played just one year with the Padres, but he was about league average, which was pretty impressive considering that he was still recovering from the horrible beaning he suffered in 1984. Thon's return to productivity was an inspiration for many people.

#120T Mickey Tettleton

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Tettleton was good in three years with the Orioles. In his last year in Baltimore, 1990, he batted only .223 but managed an OPS+ of 116, damned impressive for a guy with such a low batting average. For his entire career, he stuck out a ton, but also walked a lot, and hit for a lot of power. In fact, check this out. For players with a career BA of no more than .250 (minimum 3000 PA) Tettleton has the 6th highest OPS+ of all time.

#119T Scott Terry

Terry's just about in Jay Baller territory with that chest hair. I like cards like this that show handwritten name and number, though, as on his glove with "TERRY 37."

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Terry pitched 5 mostly very good seasons with the Cardinals. I'm not sure why he didn't pitch again after 1991 but I can only assume it was due to injury. He was also well-known for two booming home runs he hit in 1989.

#118T Pat Tabler

Tabler's got his lunch under his cap.

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Tabler was decent in parts of 3 years with Kansas City. They didn't get great value in trading away Bud Black, but when they traded Tabler, they got Archie Corbin. Corbin appeared in just 2 games for the Royals, and was traded with Sean Berry for Bill Sampen and Chris Haney. Berry ended up being a stud for the Expos, while Sampen didn't do much for Kansas City. But Chris Haney was a starter for the Royals for parts of 7 years, and although he missed a lot of time with injury, he pitched pretty well. Haney was eventually sold to the Cubs.

#117T Bill Swift

I can't understand why Topps produced this card. They gave Swift a regular-issue 1986 card, as well as a regular-issue 1987 card. On both cards, he was with the Mariners. Then, despite not appearing in the big leagues in 1987 or changing teams, they produced this 1988 traded card. Hmm. Odd.

IMPACT FACTOR 5/10 Swift was a below average pitcher for the Mariners over his first four seasons until blossoming as a reliever in 1990 and 1991. Then, they traded him with Dave Burba and Mike Jackson for Kevin Mitchell and Mike Remlinger. That was a lot to give up: Swift, Burba, and Jackson all had productive careers after the trade. Remlinger never appeared in the majors for Seattle, leaving as a free agent and being productive elsewhere. Mitchell had one pretty poor year in Seattle, but they traded him straight up to Cincinnati for Norm Charlton, who gave them one great year before leaving as a free agent. (Charlton came back to Seattle later and was effective for a number of years afterward.)

78 Topps is up and running!

78 Topps Cards is officially online with the first few posts already up.

Read the welcome message here.

Read about how to win cards here.

And start reading the first post with cards here.

Starting next week, you can expect about 1 post per day. Please load in your RSS feeders now!

#116T Todd Stottlemyre

IMPACT FACTOR 5/10: Stottlemyre, son of Mel and brother of Mel, was a fairly average pitcher over his 7 years with Toronto, pitching well in the 1992 playoffs and poorly in the 1993 playoffs. He ended up being significantly better in the second half of his career, although he had a lot of injury problems.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Semifinals: Best card of 1988 Topps

We're down to the final four!

Vote on BOTH of the semifinal matchups in this post below. Voting lasts only until 9AM EST on Wednesday, so vote now.

First off, we have #1 seed Bo Jackson (card #750) taking on #7 seed Nolan Ryan (card #250.)

And in the other semifinal, we have #2 seed Wade Boggs (card #200) taking on #6 seed Don Mattingly (#300.)

All four of these cards are fantastic and a great case can be made for any one of them to win. But first, let's decide which two will make it to the finals.

#115T Kurt Stillwell

Even after being traded to the Royals, Kurt still, well, sucked. (HA HA, SEE WHAT I DID THERE? 'still well sucked'?)

IMPACT FACTOR 3/10: Stillwell was a decent shortstop for the Royals for 4 years although he came over in that expensive trade.

#114T Pete Stanicek

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: Stanicek played parts of two seasons with the Orioles with mediocre results. His brother Steve was even less successful as a player in the big leagues.

#113T Ed Sprague

A little while ago, on Doug Robbins' card, we noted that Sprague's dad is mentioned on the back of the card.

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Sprague was a decent 3B for the Blue Jays and played on both the 1992 and 1993 championship teams. He hit well in those post-seasons except for the 1993 World Series.

#112T Jim Snyder

IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Snyder took over the 1988 Mariners in-season from Dick Williams and kept them right where they were--last place.

#111T Pete Smith

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Smith was a part of the bad Braves teams of the late 80s and the good Braves teams of the early 90s. Considering how weak the team was for most of those years, his overall numbers are pretty good. He was great in 1992, going 7-0 with a 180 ERA+ and pitching very well in the post-season. There are two knocks against Smith's value to the Braves: he came to Atlanta in a pretty lopsided trade (see the back of the card below) and he was injured a lot.

#110T Lee Smith

IMPACT FACTOR 5/10: Smith was great for the Red Sox in his first two years, and then phenomenal in his third year, when they traded him away for Tom Brunansky. It probably wasn't a great trade for the Red Sox, although Brunansky did play pretty well for the BoSox.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

#109T Joe Slusarski

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: Slusarski pitched 3 ineffective seasons with Oakland.