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Sunday, October 26, 2008

1981 Fleer Team by Team Tribute: Dodgers

The 1980 Dodgers,led by Garvey, Cey, Dusty, and an aged Reggie Smith, were a year away from their first World Series since 1965. LA is all about style. Here are a few examples:

Steve HoweSteve is wearing a grey and blue ensemble. Notice the handsome belt and matching jacket and hat. He is ready for a day at the ballpark or a night on the town.

Like many fashion models, Howe struggled with addiction. He was banned from baseball for substance abuse in 1992. Like Fergie before him, he was reinstated. His career was an up and down trainwreck until he retired in 1996. Not so much with baseball, but with his off the field demons. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1980.
Robert CastilloRobert is so cool, he can balance a baseball on his finger. Or Jay Johnstone pranked him with he old superglue-on-the-baseball trick. Either way, Castillo doesn't stop at putting his batting gloves in his back pocket, he stores his entire warmup jacket there. Talk about progressive style!

Not much true stuff to say about Castillo. He went 4-9 with 2 double in 1981. And his back pocket is like a clown car.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

1981 Fleer Team by Team Tribute: Yankees

It's hard to remember when the Yankees were not good. In 1980 they won the AL East. In 1982, they won the AL Pennant. Then they failed to make the playoffs for 12 years in a row before 14 straight in the positive direction. Will 2008 mean another streak for the Yankees? Probably not. Here are a few Yankees from 1980.

Ron Davis
Ron doesn't look comfortable with that bat in his hands. In fact, he was 0-6 in his career. Never got on base. The odd thing is, he probably raked in High School and College. It amazing how major league pitchers look so bad hitting when most were great hitters when they were younger.
Despite his batting stats and stance, Davis enjoyed a really nice and unusual rookie season. His record was 14-2 in 1979. He never started a game yet won 14 decisions. The Yankees picked him up from the Cubs as a player to be named later for pitcher Ken Holtzman. Davis owns too interesting records: Yankee team record for Most Consecutive K's in a game (8) and Major League record Most Blown Saves in a season (14).

Before New Edition and before Whitney:
Bobby BrownBobby wonders how bad-hitting, Ron Davis got his hands on his bat. He knew then and there that his career in baseball was coming to an end. He would have to get younger, join a boy band, and marry a diva.

Like Davis, Bobby Brown was also a player to be named later. His name is not actually Bobby. It's Rogers Lee Brown.

Mike Griffin
You know those Topps factory sets you can buy at Target that contain bits of Mickey Mantle's wardrobe. You can see the plaid shirt worn by the Mick in the background of this Mike Griffin card. I wonder what Mantle was doing at the park that day.

Mike Griffin makes it a perfect 3 for 3 in players to be named later. He was the player named later 3 times in 2 years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

1981 Fleer Team by Team Tribute: Astros

Hey Astros! What do you think of those sunshiny uniforms?

Joe Niekro"Errrrrr... I don't think I'm supposed to answer that. I mean, we are the Astros, right? And not the Candy Corns? Nolan doesn't seem to mind wearing it so why should I complain? I did have a better year than Ryan in 1980. What was the question?"
Niekro won 221 games in his knuckle-filled career. He is best known for the nail file incident and for being the brother of fellow knuckler, Phil niekro. Joe hit his only career homerun off of his brother in 1976.

Hey Jeff Leonard! Same question. What about those unis?

Jeff Leonard

"I'm gonna tell you a little secret. Lean in close. I really don't care because in 9 years, I'm going to hit 24 homeruns and each time run the bases with "one flap down." Little leaguers and wiffle ballers everywhere will hold one arm still in honor of me...and Bob Dole!"

Leonard was Kevin Bass with a little more style.

Factoid: The Astros owner named the Dome, then the team. Therefore their new name should be the Juice Boxes!

Monday, October 20, 2008

1981 Fleer Team by Team Tribute: Royals

The Royals lost to the Phils in the 1980 World Series. They would win it all in 1985 and then return to expansion team status, where they remain today.

Hal McRae

McRae's position is listed as "Double Threat." The card back tells us that he played OF and DH. Actually he only played 9 games in left in 1980 so there must be some other reason for the moniker. Maybe it foreshadowed his ability to manage as well as play baseball. He once bloodied a reporter during an office phone-throwing tirade. I would be angry too if my only chance to manage was with the Royals and the early Tampa Bay Rays. Whatever they meant, McRae was a good player for a lot of years.

Jeff Twitty

Twitty only played 1 season in the Major Leagues. He was unremarkable. I noticed that there were stands beyond the outfield wall and I wondered in what stadium Twitty was posing. Luckily Rich Gale was included in the 1981 Fleer set.

Rich Gale

Exhibition Stadium! Thanks Fleer, for answering my question. Exhibition Stadium, known as "The Mistake by the Lake," was originally the home of the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. It has since been demolished and replaced with a soccer facility. Gale pitched in the Major Leagues, in Japan, and in the Senior Pro Baseball League. His last baseball job was AAA Isotopes Pitching Coach.

Little Known 1980 Royals Trivia: Ken Phelps, slugger extroidinaire, made his Major League debut for the Royals in 1980. He went 0-4 in 3 games. He would hit 123 career HRs while never amassing 400 ABs in a single season.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

1981 Fleer Team by Team Tribute: Phillies

1981 Fleer was my oldest complete set until a few years ago. Lately, I have gotten rid of most of my 80's and 90's sets. 1981 may be the next to go. Fleer made a comeback in 1981 with their first baseball card product since the 60's. Cards were arranged by team, in order of record. So without further ado, here are the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Bake McBride

Bake had the cool nickname, "Shake 'n' Bake", and the skill to get that tiny Phillies batting helmet on his afro-puffed head. McBride was the ROY in 1974.
Fleer chose to show off the almost meaningless stat of Batting Average in the circle in the top right corner. Bake batted .300 in 1980. He had a pretty good 11 seasons, batting .299 and stealing more than a few bases per year.

Greg Gross
Check out the crowd in the Padres dugout. Those must be Topps photographers, worried that the new kids,Donruss and Fleer, would get all the good action shots of a young Padres' shortstop named Ozzie!

Greg Gross actually finished 2nd behind McBride in ROY voting in 1974 while playing for the Stros. Does anybody remember when Greg Gross and Glenn Wilson were the same bearded, aviator glasses-wearing people? Completely indistinguishable.

Next Up: 1980 Runner-Up KC Royals

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dave Gallagher

Who says the Mets aren't tough enough to get into the playoffs?

Well . . . me.

But they would be tough enough if they brought back
Why do they call it a forearm shiver? Ask that catcher who shakes every time a player rounds third base.

Dave was arguably the best AL Rookie in 1988 with the Chicago White Sox but was beat out by Walt Weiss, who won the award with a HOT end-of-1987 and a below average 1988. Gallagher was never better than he was in 1988. Nowadays, he runs Dave Gallagher's All-American Baseball Academy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Best Dual Player Card EVER.

Their first names are STEVE & CARLTON. (Steve Carlton is on the left.)


Their last names are CARLTON & FISK. (Carlton Fisk is on the right.)
How cool is that?

The answer is VERY. And check out the the unis. Steve is workin' the powder blues while Carlton is stylin' with the sweet collared jersey. Could this be the epitome of the dual player card?

This post is brought to you by my 1981 Fleer set. which I bought instead of the 1982 set way back when.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some Mets Positivity

There is nothing like more Mookie to make you feel better about the Mets.Isn't he playing a little deep?

As a Met, Mookie respects the other team's players and their abilities.

This message has been brought to you by the 2008 Don't Hate the Mets Campaign.