24 December 2013

remembering johnny oates

this is how i remember johnny oates
as a dodger.  that's his 1978 sspc card.  unfortunately, oates has only a handful of cards showing him as a dodger.  heck, he has only a handful of cards, period.  here's his 1975 sspc card, showing him as a phillie
i have recently expanded my collection of cards for players from the 1978 topps dodger team beyond their topps flagship issues, and that oates card was one of the first i added to the burgeoning collection.  oates played his last season in 1981, just as the proliferation of card sets was beginning.  donruss never made a card for him, while fleer gave him a spot in their set in both 1981 and 1982 - creating his lone 'final tribute'.

oates is about to start reappearing in my 'evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers' series, as he returned to the big leagues in 1991 as the manager of the orioles.  he had his greatest managerial successes at the helm of the texas rangers, however, and after oates passed away on christmas eve 2004 - 9 years ago today - the team decided to wear a memorial patch in his honor during the 2005 season.

this 2006 upper deck rod barajas card is a good example - you can see the patch (a black rectangle with oates' number 26 inside) there on his sleeve.
this 2006 topps mark teixeira walmart exclusive insert is another good example.
however, the two cards that will represent this memorial patch in my collection are a couple of michael young cards.  here's his 2006 fleer card with the patch on the sleeve
and here's his 2006 fleer ultra gold medallion edition card, which shows the patch on the vest jerseys.
oates had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1991 and given a short time to live.  he managed to live well beyond that timeframe, and was able to attend a ceremony in 2004 in which he was inducted into the rangers' hall of fame.  his number 26 was retired by the team after his death, however, and he was also posthumously inducted into the orioles' hall of fame.

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