17 October 2014

bear with me as i wind through a post about a couple of 1998 final tributes that ends with a 1996 card and in total confusion

brett butler finished his playing career in 1997 with the dodgers - his second go-around with the club.  he's currently a coach with the marlins, but that is neither here nor there (although this post does end with a very confusing marlins card).  a few card companies were kind to butler (and to collectors like me who look for 'final tribute' cards) in 1998, like score
who gave us a nice photo of butler on the bases in san diego.

fleer ultra went the more traditional route with a photo of butler discarding his bat following what i assume was a bunt attempt
he's usually bunting on his cards.  i didn't scan the back of the score card, but here's the back of the ultra card, with complete career stats
butler was featured in the 1998 upper deck set, too, complete with a bunting photo
but without the 'final tribute' shield.  which is curious, because upper deck put it there on his 1998 ud collector's choice card
which actually showed him swinging the bat!  no worries, though, as upper deck put a bunting photo on the back along with his career stats.
butler had overcome cancer to return to the dodgers in 1996, and i will never forget his first game back. in a 1-1 game against the pirates, butler (already 1 for 3 in the game) led off the bottom of the 8th with a walk.  he stole second and took third on the catcher's throwing error, and then scored what proved to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly.  it was a fun and actually moving game to watch knowing what he had been through.

butler wasn't the only dodger to retire following the 1997 season, however.  this 1998 fleer sports illustrated card shows us that eddie murray also hung up his spikes at that time.
although it still shows murray in his angels' gear.  remember, murray re-joined the dodgers late in the 1997 season after beginning the campaign with the halos.  here's the back of the card
murray is still an angel, while butler took off his helmet to show off that gray shock of hair, reminiscent of john henson, the guy who replaced greg kinnear on talk soup, although his gray patch was on the side of his head.

anyway, steady eddie also got a final tribute (with the shield!) from upper deck as an angel.  i do not know why since he was a dodger at the end of the season, but i am sure there are some angel collectors who were pleased.  here's the card i am referring to
with his complete career stats on the back
murray also received a card in the second series of 1998 upper deck as a dodger so i'm not too bitter.  in fact, one of murray's angel cards - this 1997 fleer card
is a favorite of mine.  he looks strange in the disney uniform, but he's got the classic swing follow through and the jackie robinson patch on display.

murray also looks strange in an indians' uniform, but that's what he was wearing on his 1996 upper deck collector's choice card
i did a double take when i saw this card becuase of the 'tribute' label.  murray obviously did not retire following the 1995 season, so i was confused.  the back gives some information that led me to believe that this was not intended as a final tribute, but rather just a nod to him reaching a couple of big milestones, including his 3000th hit
so.  what then are we to make of andre dawson's 1996 ud collector's choice card?  it, too, has the 'tribute' banner for the first hall of famer to suit up for the florida marlins.
but, like murray, dawson was still playing beyond the 1995 season. so what milestone did the hawk achieve in 1995?  let's look at the back
according to upper deck, dawson cracked the top ten in home runs, all-time, with his last home run of the season - the 436th of his career - and he tied dodger great duke snider in doing so.  say what?  at the end of the 1995 season, the all-time career home run leader board looked like this:

1. hank aaron - 755
2. babe ruth - 714
3. willie mays - 660
4. frank robinson - 586
5. harmon killebrew - 573
6. reggie jackson - 563
7. mike schmidt - 548
8. mickey mantle - 536
9. jimmie foxx - 534
10. ted williams/willie mccovey - 521
12. ernie banks/eddie mathews - 512
14. mel ott - 511
15. lou gehrig - 493
16. eddie murray - 479
17. stan musial/willie stargell - 475
19. dave winfield - 465
20. carl yastrzemski - 452
21. dave kingman - 442
22. andre dawson - 436
23. billy williams - 426
24. duke snider - 407

dawson was 22nd on the list, and snider 24th.  dawson had actually passed snider on the list a couple of seasons earlier.  i am just totally perplexed by what the text on the back of the dawson card, and the tribute banner on the front, was all about.  but, i'll still probably keep the card in my tributes binder.


Bo said...

Looks like he was tenth in National League home runs.

Matthew Scott said...

Great post! I went back and looked at Butler's stats. He was a lot better than I remember. He had a couple of monster years.

Nick said...

Murray never looked right to me in those Angel uniforms either.

gcrl said...

way to go bo! that makes some sense - dawson had 407 nl homers. thanks for figuring it out for me.