once again, topps did not include managers in their flagship set in 1996, so i was once again shut out. 18 years later, here are the 1996 topps cards that should have been.
note that national league teams have the green shading of the inset photo/name boxes, while american league teams use red. topps would take this color scheme to a whole new level in 1997, in which there were no managerial cards either.
anyway, back to tommy - he did receive a card from someone in 1996 (other than mother's cookies, whose image i used to create the topps card up top). upper deck gave lasorda a checklist as a managerial salute
recognizing that 1996 would be his 20th season managing the dodgers. it also turned out to be his last. with the dodgers at 41-35 and two games up in the national league west after beating the astros on june 23, 1996, tommy had a heart attack the following day. it was an off day, of course, and tommy drove himself to the hospital. he underwent surgery a couple of days later, and officially retired from managing in july. we'll get to who took over in a bit.
over in the american league west, the rangers won their first division title in 1996. yes, they were in first place when the 1994 players' strike began, but this was the first time they actually advanced to the postseason. oates had the team at 90-72, their second best win total in franchise history, and 4.5 games ahead of second place seattle. unfortunately, the rangers lost in the division series to the yankees, three games to one. oates was voted a co-manager of the year for the american league in 1996, sharing the award with joe torre whose team defeated oates' rangers in the playoffs.
there was no traded set in 1996, and even if there were, there wouldn't have been managerial cards included i am sure. still, the man who took over for tom lasorda in 1996 deserves at least a 1996 topps card that should have been.