23 July 2014

the 1978 topps dodgers in 1992

no members of the 1978 topps dodgers returned to the topps set in 1992, but then again, nobody dropped out, either.  tom lasorda was still the dodgers' manager, and he came away with one of the best cards in the set
a nice jog with gary carter, kevin gross, john candelaria, orel hershiser, and bob ojeda is a good way to start the day, i think.  unfortunately for lasorda and his players, 1992 was a year we would all like to forget.  the team fell from 93 wins in 1991 to 99 losses in 1992 - the worst performance by a dodger team since moving to los angeles, and the worst record in terms of winning percentage for the franchise since 1912.  lasorda had signed an extension with the dodgers in 1992 that would keep him as the team's manager through the 1993 season, but there was speculation that he would leave the team anyway.  i recall reading about rumors of bobby valentine taking over, with lasorda going somewhere else where he could be a general manager, or that lasorda would move into the dodger front office with bill russell the heir apparent to the job (a more accurate scenario although not realized for a few years and under more dire circumstances).  but no, lasorda remained at the helm, hoping to right the ship that had almost lost 100 games for the first time since 1908.

charlie hough
hough was still chucking knuckleballs for the white sox in 1992.  he went 7-12 with an era under 4, and earned his 200th big league win with a victory against the twins in august.  it's too bad that ron karkovice was the designated catcher for hough in '92 - had carlton fisk been his catcher, the battery would have consisted of a couple of 44-year olds playing catch.

johnny oates
oates, only two years older than hough, was back for his first full season as the orioles' manager in 1992.  he helped turn the team around, going from a 95-loss season to an 89-win campaign.  although the orioles finished third in the al east, seven games behind the blue jays, it was a good showing for oates, and he finished third in the al manager of the year voting.

here is the yearly tally of appearances to date:

baker 17 (1971-1987)
burke 2 (1978-1979)
cey 16 (1972-1987)
davalillo 14 (1963-1974, 1978-1979)
forster 16 (1972-1987)
garman 8 (1971-1973, 1975-1979)
garvey 17 (1971-1987)
goodson 6 (1973-1978)
grote 15 (1964-1976, 1978-1979)
hooton 15 (1972-1986)
hough 21 (1972-1992)
john 26 (1964-1989)
lacy 16 (1973-1988)
lasorda 18 (1954, 1973-1974, 1977-1981, 1983-1992)
lopes 16 (1973-1988)
martinez 9 (1971-1976, 1978-1980)
monday 18 (1967-1984)
mota 18 (1963-1980)
oates 12 (1972-1981, 1991-1992)
rau 9 (1973-1981)
rautzhan 2 (1978-1979)
rhoden 16 (1975-1990)
russell 18 (1970-1987)
smith 17 (1967-1983)
sosa 10 (1974-1984)
sutton 23 (1966-1988)
yeager 15 (1973-1987)

teams represented so far: 23 (dodgers, indians, colt .45's, pirates, white sox, astros, mets, a's, red sox, angels, expos, cardinals, braves, cubs, orioles, giants, phillies, yankees, rangers, tigers, padres, brewers, mariners)

22 July 2014

now that's buckner

i was flipping through a binder a couple of weeks ago when i noticed this 2002 topps gold label card
that is, of course, a bill buckner uniform relic card from the mlb awards ceremony insert set.  it's a cubbie card all the way, with the logo, relic, photo, and 1980 topps card in the background all coming from billy buck's time with the cubs.  still, i haven't parted with it because, of all the dodger players that didn't quite make it to the 1977 or 1978 teams, buckner is the one i was the most disappointed with.

i recall seeing the footage of hank aaron's 715th home run with buckner climbing the fence in left - what a great effort, i thought.  that guy is awesome!  then, when he led the league with a .324 average in 1980 (the reason he is featured on the card above), i was really disappointed that he wasn't still a dodger.  it was pointed out to me that there was really nowhere for buckner to play on those dodger teams, unless i was willing to not have steve garvey at first or dusty baker in left, and it was due to the trade of buckner that the dodgers acquired rick monday, so i accepted the fact that buckner was not a dodger.

still, i was happy to see that topps brought him back to the blue in this year's set, giving us dodger fans a certified sticker auto in the trajectory insert set
they used the same photo (rotated) that upper deck used in the 2004 legends timeless teams set, which offered an on-card auto of the former dodger
which was the first card of buckner as a dodger i had seen since, well, 2003 in upper deck's sp authentic chirography dodger stars set.  but before that, you have to go all the way to 1977 i am pretty sure.

i actually did pick up a buckner card from his days as a dodger recently.  it was also a nefarious 9 want, and it completes a team set for me.  it is his high numbered 1971 o-pee-chee card
on which he shares space with future dodger enzo hernandez and the braves' marty perez who is really wearing an angels' uniform.  here's the yellow back
buckner has been featured in a few topps releases over the past couple of years, but last year's tier one release was the only one that had him in dodger blue as far as i could tell.  this year marks the first time they've put him in a dodger uniform on a non-auto card since '77 with the release of allen & ginter.  that base card is on the nefarious 9, and i am looking forward to adding it to my buckner as a dodger collection.

21 July 2014

a black armband for ken boyer

ken boyer spent the vast majority of his big league career with the saint louis cardinals.  he won the 1964 nl mvp award while with the cards, and helped them win the world series that year as well.  he also spent time with the mets, white sox, and dodgers, but returned to the cardinals following his retirement as a player to become a minor league manager, big league coach and eventually, in 1978, the team's manager.  although he fired from that position just 51 games into the 1980 season, boyer was planning to return to the organization as a minor league manager for the 1981 season before being sidetracked by a diagnosis of cancer.

boyer passed away on september 7, 1982, just as the cardinals were making a push for the national league east title.  the team added a black armband to their left sleeves for the remainder of the season and the postseason, as they were able to win the east, the national league pennant, and the world series.  the armband is visible on this 1983 donruss action all-stars card of bruce sutter
the 1982 cardinal uniform is sometimes used for turn back the clock nights in saint louis, and with the uniform comes the armband.  here's a 2013 topps daniel descalso walmart blue border card
that shows the now 30-plus year old uniform and the armband.  so, boyer is memorialized every so often.  not that he has been forgotten - the team has also retired boyer's number 14 and inducted him into their hall of fame.

a pirates' memorial patch for pops

willie stargell wrapped up his hall of fame career for the pirates in 1982.  his performance had declined rather swiftly following the team's championship 1979 season, in which stargell shared league mvp honors with the cardinals' keith hernandez.  stargell was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter in 1982, appearing in just 74 games and hitting only 3 home runs that year.

topps decided not to issue a card of the pirate great in 1983, but donruss did
as did fleer
i appreciate the full career stats on the back of the fleer card, and i also like the text on the back of the donruss card that acknowledges stargell's retirement.  not a bad pair of final tributes.

sadly, stargell passed away in 2001 on april 9, putting a damper on the pirates' home opener and debut of pnc park.  in response to his death, the pirates added a memorial patch to their jerseys for the remainder of the season.  it recalled the 'stargell stars' that were handed out to players by pops in recognition of a great play.  you can see the patch on tony mcknight's 2002 fleer tradition card
and on aramis ramirez's 2002 topps total card
here's a closer look at the patch
which shows up again on ramirez's 2002 upper deck pros & prospects card
that's the one in my memorials binder.  the pirates brought the stargell stars back for the playoffs last year, but were quickly told by the powers that be that they were uniform violations.  i'm glad bowie kuhn didn't care about that back in 1979 - i can't imagine the pirates' hats without the stars.  or the pirates without stargell for that matter.

20 July 2014

john 'jack' cronin, dodger franchise double dipper

i have never understood how someone named 'john' is sometimes called 'jack'.  people named 'jack' aren't called 'john' as far as i know.  here we have john cronin according to his 1990 target dodger card, 
but he was known as jack cronin during his playing days.  those days spanned a decade from 1895 until 1904, and included two stints with the brooklyn nine.  jack cronin was a dodger franchise double dipper.

[this is the seventyseventh installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grotedon suttonralph branca, todd hundley, elmer dessensguillermo motajoe beckwithjamie hoffmannbabe hermanjoe medwickjuan castroron perranoskiclyde kingpaul wanerhughie jenningsron negray, broadway aleck smithgeorge smith, johnny cooney, jim faireyfrenchy bordagaraydoc casey, waite hoytluis olmoclyde sukeforthwillie keeler,  harry howellgermany smithjohnny allenmarv rackleybobo newsom, maury wills, dazzy vance, ray hayworth, and zack taylor.]

cronin began his career in 1895 with the brooklyn grooms, appearing as a reliever in two games and earning what we would today call saves in each of his appearances, despite a 10.80 era.  he wouldn't make it back to the big leagues until 1898, and this time he was a member of the pittsburgh pirates.  from there, he went to the reds for the 1899 season and then on to detroit where he pitched for the minor league tigers in 1900 and stayed with them as they became a major league team a year later.

in 1901, he won a career high 13 games for the tigers, although he lost 16.  cronin split his 1902 season between the tigers, baltimore orioles, and new york giants, pitching well enough for john mcgraw's team that he returned to the club for the 1903 season.  that year cronin enjoyed his only winning season, going 6-4, but was rewarded by being traded to the brooklyn superbas after the season ended.

back in brooklyn, cronin won 12 games but lost 23 despite a 2.70 era for what was just a horrible team. still, he had become one of the first players to meet my double dipping criteria.  there are actually only a couple more of these guys to post about, and you can bet i am keeping my fingers crossed for a jamey wright card in this year's update set!

sunday morning target dodgers - from allen to zimmer

another sunday, another 14 cards from a sheet of the 1990 target dodger set.  let's get right to it.

frank allen
allen pitched for the dodgers, superbas, and robins - in that order.  he broke into the majors in 1912 as a dodger (the franchise used that name in 1911 and 1912) and went 3-9 in 20 games.  in 1913, the team went back to being knows as the superbas, and allen was 4-18 despite a 2.83 era in 37 appearances.  wilbert robinson took over the managing duties in 1914, and the team became known as the robins as a result.  allen's results were about the same - he was 8-14 with a 3.10 era in 36 appearances before moving to the federal league to finish out the season.  he returned to the national league a couple years later, but with the boston braves, not the robins.

ralph bryant
bryant played in a total of 79 games for the dodgers from 1985-1987.  he hit .253 with 8 home runs, and found greater success in japan.

roger craig
craig made his big league debut as a dodger in their championship season of 1955.  he started and won game 5 of the world series that year, earning the first of his three championship rings (he also won titles with the dodgers in 1959 and the cardinals in 1964).  after seven seasons with the dodgers, craig was selected by the mets in the expansion draft, and became the first starting pitcher in the franchise's history, losing their inaugural game 11-4 to the cardinals.  sadly for dodger fans, craig later became a successful manager for the giants of all teams.

brad havens
havens came to the dodgers in the 1987 trade that also brought john shelby to the club in exchange for tom niedenfuer.  he had no record in 31 games that season for the dodgers, recording one save and making a start as well.  he posted a 4.66 era in 9 appearances to start his 1988 season, and was released by the dodgers in may of that year.

dutch henry
henry debuted as a 19-year old for the saint louis browns.  after two seasons with the browns, he was traded to the robins.  in his two seasons with brooklyn, henry was 5-8 in 33 games, 13 of which were starts.  he threw two shutouts as a robin, and also hit .236 for the team.  following his stint with brooklyn, henry pitched for the giants and the white sox.

willard hunter
hunter pitched in exactly one game for the dodgers.  it came in april of 1962 at candlestick park.  he allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base, with the third giant being willie mays who hit a 3-run homer off of him.  he retired the next three batters, but was roughed up in the following inning, his last as a dodger.  in all, hunter allowed 10 runs (9 earned) in two innings of work.  he was soon thereafter traded to the mets as the player to be named later in the charley neal/lee walls deal.

tom hutton
hutton came up with the dodgers as a first base prospect, getting a cup of coffee with the team in 1966.  he returned in 1969, playing in 16 games and hitting .271.  stuck in the minors behind wes parker, bill buckner, and steve garvey, hutton was traded to the phillies following the 1971 season for larry hisle, who himself got stuck in the dodger minor leagues for his lone season with the organization as well.

hal lee
lee spent the 1930 season, his first in the majors, with the robins.  he hit .162 in 22 games, many of which he appeared in as a pinch-hitter.  in fact, he hit his first big league home run while pinch-hitting for the robins that year.  lee is better known as the player on the 1935 boston braves who replaced babe ruth in the bambino's final big league game.

morrie martin
martin had a 10-year big league career, the first of which was spent with the dodgers in 1949.  he was 1-3 with a 7.04 era in 10 games that year, and spent the entire 1950 season back in saint paul with the dodgers' affiliate.  he was lost in the rule v draft following the season to the philadelphia a's.

otho nitcholas
i would have guessed that target misspelled 'otto nicholas', but no - this guy really was named otho nitcholas.  he appeared in 7 major league games, all for the 1945 brooklyn dodgers.  he was 1-0 with a 5.30 era, but found far greater success both before and after his time with the dodgers in the minor leagues, where he won over 250 games over the course of his career.

derrel (not derrell) thomas
thomas was a member of the 1981 world championship dodger team who was best known for his ability to play all around the diamond.  i, in fact, was in attendance at one of the four games in which thomas started as the dodgers' catcher during the 1980 season (i was at the april 18 game - the one that saw thomas hit his lone home run of the season).  thomas was a dodger for 5 of his 15 seasons in the majors.

jeff torborg
torborg spent 7 seasons with the dodgers, from 1964 through 1970.  he began as the backup catcher to john roseboro, and remained a backup even after roseboro was dealt to the twins following the 1967 season.  even so, torborg caught sandy koufax's perfect game in 1965 and bill singer's no-hitter in 1970.  torborg joined the angels prior to the 1971 season and stayed with them through 1973, catching nolan ryan's first no-hitter in 1973 to become one of two catchers to catch a no-no in each league, and the only person to catch a no-hitter thrown by koufax and ryan.  torborg later became a manager, and won the 1990 american league manager of the year award for his work leading the chicago white sox.

john ward
ward, known as 'monte' thanks to his middle name being 'montgomery', was a brooklyn groom in 1891 and 1892.  he led the league with 88 steals in his second year with the team, but that was less than the 111 steals he had with the giants to lead the league in 1887.  earlier in his career, ward had been a pitcher, but was converted to a fielder by the giants.  he finished his hall of fame career with a second stint with the giants in 1893 and 1894.

don zimmer
the late zimmer had two separate stints with the dodgers.  he began his career with the brooklyn dodgers in 1954 and moved to los angeles with the team in 1958.  following the 1959 season, he was traded to the cubs and later became an original met, becoming their first third baseman.  in fact, along with craig and zimmer, the mets had former dodgers charley neal and gil hodges in their inaugural game lineup.  zimmer returned to the dodgers in 1963, but had his contract purchased by the senators later in that season.  zimmer passed away earlier this year, and was remembered as a baseball lifer - his affiliation with the league lasted 60-plus years.

19 July 2014

sometimes card backs give more than the stats

i thought it was weird when i first saw a photo on the back of a baseball card.  i was used to stats and text, with the occasional cartoon or game (like 1978 topps).   so, some of the early kellogg's releases and 1983 fleer with their small player portraits did nothing for me.  even 1988 score, with their color portraits on the back, was wasting space as far as i was concerned.  then came upper deck.

they sacrificed stats to give us bigger photos on the back, and a lot of times, the photos on the back were more interesting than the ones on the front.  i recently went through a 1991 upper deck set and pulled a few cards.  i found a trio of reds' cards that tell a story.  here's the back of tom browning's card
he's obviously giving the ball up to manager lou piniella at dodger stadium.  that's alfredo griffin lurking in the background.  the guy standing to browning's left is barry larkin.  i know this because this is the back of larkin's 1991 upper deck card
put them together, and you get somewhat of a panoramic shot, although they are two different photos taken at slightly different moments.
and, if you look at piniella's foot, you can see the top of the catcher's cleat and the bottom of his shinguard.  that's joe oliver, because i know that those two photos came from the june 3, 1990 game between the reds and dodgers, and oliver was the catcher.  the reds were leading 2-0 in the bottom of the 8th when mike scioscia chased browning with a double that moved griffin to third with no one out.  randy myers came in and shut the dodgers down, getting the final 6 outs.

he shows up on the back of oliver's 1991 upper deck card, getting the postgame handshake.
we are back in dodger stadium on the back of jim presley's 1991 upper deck card,
with half of joe amalfitano's rear and a dodger whom i believe to be kal daniels thrown out trying to steal third on july 29, 1990.

the back of andre dawson's 1991 upper deck card shows what i believe to be a double play turn
i think the photo comes from august 1, 1990 in which dawson was forced at second on a 4-6 play based on the fact that jay bell was the shortstop that day, and bell wore pony cleats.  dwight clark was safe at first, but i will assume that bell tried to complete the dp.

i am not convinced that the back of junior felix's 1991 upper deck card shows a double play, however.
looks more like a steal to me.

sometimes, the backs tell a different story, like the back of this 2002 donruss originals adrian beltre card
it's a sample!  most likely from a beckett mag if i recall correctly.  good thing i looked at the back - otherwise i would have put it with my doubles.  here's the front, by the way.
there's one more 1991 upper deck card back i want to show, and it is this one
whether staged or opportunistic, this is a nice photo.  it fits in nicely with a new mini-collection that i am pretty sure i am starting up.

so, the message here is: don't forget to look at the card backs!