Tuesday, March 30, 2010

1981 Pittsburgh Pirates

Card Design
I really like the 1981 Topps card design. The hats are probably the most effective way to show the team on the card on any Topps design going back to maybe the '50s sets that had team logos on them. They've matched the colors that every team wore in 1981. We've seen teams like the Expos and Orioles with multiple colors and even those show up on the hat design. On the Pirates card, the hat is even shaped like the old painter hats that they wore during this era.

Losing Franchise
The Pirates in 2010 are currently on a 17 season below .500 streak, dating back to 1993. Seeing that this 1981 version finished in the bottom third of all of baseball, it makes you realize how bad Pirate baseball has been for well over a quarter of a century now. If the Barry Bonds/Bobby Bonilla led era of the Pirates from 1988-1992 hadn't existed, that streak could be even uglier. The Pirates had won the World Series in 1979, were a two games over .500 in 1980, had a pretty lousy season in 1981, then picked up to go 84-78 in both 1982 and 1983, then fell off a cliff in 1984, bottoming out in 1985 with a 104 loss team. The Barry Bonds era Pirates put it together in 1988 to have an 85 win team, then the Pirates went to three playoffs in a row from 1990-1992. And then we are where we are now with the Pirates. Hard to believe they haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds was on their roster...that puts the streak in perspective.

Willie Montanez
In 1981, Willie Montanez played 26 games with the Expos and 29 games with the Pirates. He is shown on his regular 1981 Topps card in one of those awful airbrushed cards of the era with the Expos. In the 1981 Fleer set he is shown as a Padre. There are no cards of him in the Topps Traded set. He played for the Padres and Expos in 1980, but his 1980 Topps card shows him with the Rangers, the team he played with the year before. He was traded from the Padres to the Expos on August 31, 1980 for Tony Phillips. So the Padres card in the Fleer set is the only card ever showing him as a member of the Padres (unless there is a regional set or some retro set I am not aware of).

Since I am keeping all players who are in different uniforms from the various sets, I will place that Padre card of Willie Montanez in this Pirates checklist and I placed the card of him in an Expo uniform on the Expos checklist.

Starting Players

C Tony Pena
__ TT 843 1B Jason Thompson PIT
__ TO 573 2B Phil Garner PIT
__ TO 715 3B Bill Madlock PIT
__ TO 501 SS Tim Foli PIT
__ TO 92 LF Mike Easler PIT
__ TO 535 CF Omar Moreno PIT
__ TO 640 RF Dave Parker PIT
__ TO 147 IF Dale Berra PIT
__ TO 332 OF Lee Lacy PIT
__ TO 212 C Steve Nicosia PIT

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 298 SP Eddie Solomon PIT
__ TO 430 SP Jim Bibby PIT
__ TO 312 SP Rick Rhoden PIT
__ TO 627 SP Luis Tiant NYY

SP Pascual Perez

Relief Pitchers
__ TO 28 CL Enrique Romo PIT
__ TO 695 RP Kent Tekulve PIT
__ TO 194 RP Rod Scurry PIT

SP Odell Jones
__ TT 751 RP Victor Cruz PIT
__ TO 518 RP Grant Jackson PIT
__ TO 265 SP John Candelaria PIT
__ TO 168 RP Don Robinson PIT

Other Players

2B Johnny Ray
__ TO 51 UT Bill Robinson PIT

MI Vance Law
__ TO 380 1B Willie Stargell PIT
__ TO 618 UT John Milner PIT
__ TT 729 UT Gary Alexander PIT
__ FL 506 1B Willie Montanez SDP
__ TO 118 IF Kurt Bevacqua PIT
__ TO 68 OF Matt Alexander PIT

PH Doe Boyland

RP Ernie Camacho

RP Mark Lee

SP Bob Long

__ FL 367 MG Chuck Tanner (or DO 257)

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