Sunday, May 30, 2010
Before I get going on this post, I need to give a HUGE thanks to Jim who runs a couple of blogs linked on the side of my blog, Oh My O-Pee-Chee!, which is devoted entirely to O-Pee-Chee cards and Garvey Cey Russell Lopes, a blog devoted to Los Angeles Dodgers cards. Lots of very good information on both blogs. Anyway, he gave me a list of O-Pee-Chee cards from 1981-1992 that showed a change in teams. This may actually help complete some of our sets. I am going back to revisit 1981 today and from this point forward try to add the O-Pee-Chee variations into the overall checklists.
O-Pee-Chee were odd cards. They seemed really cool in that they were largely the same as the regular Topps cards, except they had the French language written on them. I had a few of these in my collection, and I really have no idea where they came from, but they were always interesting. A few of them had something else their Topps cousins didn't, a line on the front of the card stating if the player had changed teams over the winter. In 1981, they actually changed the hat associated with the 1981 Topps cards as well.
Doing a little research, there are four cards that could fit into the 1981 Ultimate Baseball Card Set checklist. John D'Acquisto and Bob Davis both played for the Angels in 1981, and had no cards in the Topps Traded set showing that they were members of the Angels. When I put together the Angels checklist for 1981, I moved their Topps cards showing them on other teams onto the Angels checklist. I am updating the 1981 Angels checklists to show both the Topps cards with other teams and the O-Pee-Chee variations. Why do this? Because I may never find these O-Pee-Chee variations, but if I do, I will move the Topps cards onto the players on new teams checklist.
The other two are interesting in that they have no cards in the Topps Traded set because both players retired after switching to new teams. Dave Rader signed as a free agent with the Angels, but was released prior to the end of spring training and never played in another major league game again. Elliott Maddox last played with the Mets in 1980 and was released in February of 1981 (must've been the bad January he had that year). He signed as a free agent with the Phillies in June and played a handful of game with their AAA team in Oklahoma City, but never played another major league game after 1980. I can't find a record of him playing with the Yankees in 1981 anywhere, even though it is shown on this O-Pee-Chee card that he was associated with the Yankees. I will add both cards to the 1981 retired players checklist.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Before steroids, and the non-stop chatter about the use of them, baseball had another drug scandal in the early 1980s. The drug scandal centered around the use of cocaine, and many of the players on this Pirates roster were involved in that scandal. Dave Parker, Dale Berra, Rod Scurry, Lee Lacy, and John Milner were all involved in the Pittsburgh drug trials in 1985 that may have been the biggest baseball scandal since the 1919 Chicago White Sox.
I think this scandal has been mostly forgotten about because outside of a handful of players derailing their own careers, this didn't really ruin the history or integrity of the game the way the steroid scandal that would come along in just a decade or so did. It also wasn't reportedly to be as wide spread as the steroid scandal. I think the perception of recreational drug use has changed quite a bit since then as well. I can't imagine a player would be suspended for an entire year as some of these players were if this happened in 2010. In fact Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted to using them as recently as last year, and nothing really became of it.
Bill Madlock led the team in batting average and runs scored. He was second in home runs and RBIs. I will give him the award for this Pirates squad, but he narrowly beats out Jason Thompson, who led the team in home runs, RBIs, and OBP. Johnny Ray led the team in hits.
Similar to the batters in that there was really no one who stood out and several who deserved consideration as best pitcher on this team. I am going to give it to Kent Tekulve. He led the team in saves, was 2nd in ERA and 3rd overall in wins. Honorable mention goes to fellow bullpen member Rod Scurry and starter John Candelaria.
Rookie Card of the Year
Tony Pena had his first cards solo in 1982, having a card in each of the three major regular sets. But he had was on the multi-player Pirates prospects card in 1981. I may have given it to him anyway, because he would go on to be the face of the Pirates until Barry Bonds came along in the later half of the 1980s. I will give this instead to second baseman Johnny Ray. He would have an all-star career through 1990 with the Pirates and Angels. He led this 1982 team in games played and hits. He also was 2nd overall in National League rookie of the year voting. He had cards in the Donruss and Fleer sets, and was on the multi-player prospect card for the Pirates in the 1982 Topps set, but I am using his 1982 Topps Traded card in this checklist.
Most Interesting Non-Topps card
In the 1982 Donruss set, they included a handful of coaches. This is the only set outside of a team issued set that was released after 1980 (at least) that included coaches. Harvey Haddix was the pitching coach for the 1982 Pirates. He had a 14 season career from 1952-1965 pitching for the Cardinals, Phillies, Reds, Pirates, and wrapping it up with the Orioles. His claim to fame may be taking a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Milwaukee Braves in 1959 while pitching for the Pirates. He ultimately lost the game in the 13th inning as he received no offensive support for this effort.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
My vote for MVP for this team goes not to the two hall-of-fame members on this roster (Gary Carter, Andre Dawson) or the other who should be in the hall-of-fame (Tim Raines), but veteran Al Oliver. He led the team in RBIs, batting average, and hits. And for those who like newer age stats, he led this team in OBP.
It comes down to Steve Rogers or relief ace Jeff Reardon. Steve Rogers had 19 wins and a 2.40 ERA while pitching more than twice as many innings as Reardon, so he gets the nod here.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
I have to take a detour to rant for a second. According to this blog, Steve Rogers may be the 31st best pitcher of all time not in the Hall-of-Fame. He is ranked ahead of Jimmy Key, Mickey Lolich, Jack Morris, and Ron Guidry. This asinine argument is based on a stat called Wins Above Replacement (WAR), meaning that over a career they were worth a number of wins for the team compared to an average pitcher. Sorry, this is why I hate these new stats derived from everybody owning a home computer that has proliferated baseball writing in the last 20 years. Can you really make this argument with a straight face? For Rogers, not to take away from his career by comparing him to the above listed players, but this '82 season was his best, and he was decent in a few other seasons. Would you pick him ahead of the players I listed above in a ranking of all-time pitchers? Really?
Rookie Card of the Year
Future 5-time all-star third baseman Tim Wallach gets the nod here. He had his first card in the 1982 sets, even though this was his 3rd season in the major leagues.
Most Interesting Non-Topps card
Another Expo rookie card in 1982 belonged to future Red Sox manager Terry Francona. He was on the Expos multi-player prospect card, but has his own card in both the Donruss and Fleer sets.
On another note for another Donruss card in this set, Felipe Alou is shown as a coach for the Expos, which he actually was in 1981, but he actually managed the AA team in Wichita in 1982.
|__||DO||627||LF||Terry Francona (or FL 188)||MON|
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This team actually finished 3rd in the NL West in 1982, but was only 2 games behind the division winning Atlanta Braves. This was a down to the wire pennant race between the Braves, Dodgers, and Giants. The Dodgers and Giants knocked each other out playing head to head on the final weekend of the season. The Padres were also in contention for a good part of the year as well. But it seems as if this division race is largely forgotten now, probably because it didn't involve the Red Sox, Yankees, or Mets (OK, that's a little opinion).
Couple of other things...how come I've never heard of this...according to this wikipedia page, Willie Mays retired after being trade to the Dodgers. I can't find any other record of this happening. Maybe a Giant or Dodger fan can fill in the details. Maybe this is a good example of not believing everything you see on wikipedia.
Also, if you are interested in seeing more 1982 Topps cards of the San Francisco Giants..check out A Giant Blog. Every 1982 Giants card is posted there.
Jack Clark led this team in home runs and RBIs by a mile in both categories. He also led in runs scored. Although he was in the middle with a .274 batting average, he was second on the team in OBP. Who beat him in that category? A 38-year old Joe Morgan, playing probably the last good season of his career.
Greg Minton, with 30 saves and a 1.83 ERA gets the nod...there were really no stand out pitchers other than him on this team.
Rookie Card of the Year
Chili Davis, who played a solid 19 season career with the Giants, Angels, Twins, and Royals, before wrapping it up in 1999 with the New York Yankees gets the nod here. He is on the Giants multi player prospects card in the regular '82 Topps set, but got his own card in the Traded set.
Most Interesting Non-Topps card
Bob Brenly, who was also on the Giants prospects card in the '82 Topps set, got his own card in the 1982 Donruss set. He was a solid catcher through the 1980's for the Giants and eventually became the manager of the Diamondbacks in 2001 when they won the World Series.
Checking out Brenly's managerial record for this blog entry, how has he not got another opportunity to manage? He led the Diamondbacks to first place, with the above mentioned World Series title, in his first two years. Remember the D'backs were only in their 4th season when they won the whole thing. He led them to another winning record his 3rd year. Granted he did poorly his 4th season, but this is certainly a better managerial record than Phil Garner. And Garner is a candidate for the Orioles possibly (at least what I read on the internet). Trust me, as a Tiger fan, I don't get how any team would hire him ever. Granted Randy Smith, the Matt Millen of baseball GMs, was running the Tigers when he was manager, but its not like he was that convincing that he could be a great manager, despite this fact.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
A good young team with a young pitching staff that never seemed to put it together. They would make the playoffs the following year.
This was a tough choice as there were several players with very similar numbers, but I will give the nod to Harold Baines. He led the team in home runs and RBIs, and was 2 runs behind the team leader in runs scored. His batting average and OBP were in the middle though. Others that get mention are Steve Kemp and Greg Luzinski.
This is a no brainer selection, as Lamarr Hoyt gets the teams pitching triple crown. He led the team with 19 wins, a 3.53 ERA, and 124 K's. He would win the real AL Cy Young in 1983.
Rookie Card of the Year/Most Interesting Non-Topps Card
There wasn't a lot to choose from in either category, so the only two rookie cards (not counting multi player rookie cards) on this roster are Kevin Hickey and Vance Law. The only non-Topps cards are Vance Law (shown on the Pirates) and Tony LaRussa.
Kevin Hickey had an odd career in that he pitched for the White Sox from 1981-1983, with a decent season out of the bullpen in 1982. Then he disappeared until 1989 with the Orioles. He pitched for the Orioles from 1989-1991. He actually had a decent season in 1989. Where did he go in those 5 missing years? He pitched in the Phillies, Yankees, Giants, and White Sox organizations before signing with the Orioles in 1988.
Vance Law appeared on the Pirates multi-player rookie cards in both 1981 and 1982 Topps sets, but never was put on his own card until the 1982 Donruss and Fleer sets came out. Prior to the 1982 season, he was traded to the White Sox from the Pirates in a trade that seemed to exchange no one in particular. He didn't get a card in the Topps Traded set in 1982, despite actually being traded. So I will put his Donruss card in this checklist since he played the whole season with the White Sox.
|__||DO||582||IF||Vance Law (or FL 484) ||PIT|