Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1982 Detroit Tigers

Why I Think MLB Is In Trouble
Why am I writing the above title with this seemingly average 1982 Detroit Tigers team? I was 9 years old in 1982 and growing up in suburban Detroit, the Tigers were my favorite team.

It is my opinion that sports fandom is something you acquire interest in at roughly the 7 - 12 year old range. I played baseball from the age of five until I graduated high school. I am still a big fan of MLB to this day. I think baseball cards were a huge reason for this. They allowed me to know every key player on every team. In 1982, there may have been about 20 Tiger games over the course of the season on local TV and then you had the NBC game of the week. Then, much as now, the Yankees were shown probably more than any other team on the nationally televised games. I didn't have access to very many National League games. But baseball cards allowed me to know every key player on every team in both leagues, allowing me to know who was on teams as remote as the Seattle Mariners, Oakland A's, and Houston Astros, teams I probably never saw play on TV. They gave me a picture of the players whose stats were shown in the newspaper every Sunday morning. They gave trivia and interesting stats about every player. Cards also taught me many other skills; such as reading, math, organization, and basic economics (saving money to buy cards, trading value of objects).

The NFL to a lesser extent also had an impact on me at that age for many of the same reasons as above...there were little league football teams, so I got to play, games were on TV every week, and of course there were cards. I have zero interest in the NBA and the NHL as an adult because I never played the games, had limited access to them on TV at an impressionable age, and most of all never had the cards.

I now have 3 children, my daughter now being the same age that I was in 1982. My son is 6. I also have an infant son. The older two have zero interest in collecting cards or professional sports in general. There may be an issue with price and how to acquire cards in 2010 that plays a part in all of this and the fact that my daughter is, well, a girl, but I think the bigger picture is how MLB is largely irrelevant to their generation. It is easy to blame the younger generation for being lazy and zombies of canned entertainment, but I find at least in my household this isn't true at all. Both of the older kids participate in sports and are quite good at them for their age. Not to sound like a bragging parent, but my son just finished 3rd in the state for his age in wrestling and my daughter was by far the leading scorer on her co-ed soccer team. They just don't consume sports the same way I did.

I've noticed since I started this blog that there is no one under the age of 35 (actually it may be under the age of 40, other than myself) with a blog regarding baseball cards. There seems to be a ton of blogs devoted to card sets and players and teams that all played from 1960s until the mid-80s. There is a lot of passion and love of the game in just about every blog I've come across. But, there is no one waxing nostalgic about the 1997 Upper Deck set, for example. Baseball cards in 1997 didn't have the same allure that they did in 1982. By then, the kids were priced out and cards weren't available in the candy aisle at the local supermarket, very much the same as in 2010. In my lifetime I have seen the popularity of baseball get passed by football and maybe even NASCAR.

I suspect that Generation Y or Millenials or whatever generation my children are called, are going to have much less interest in professional sports, especially baseball, than I ever did. I suspect the professional sports landscape is going to be much different in 2025 than it is now. I don't think the millennial generation cares as much about being a fan and are going to do greater things as a whole than Generation X.

If MLB was smart they would start marketing cards to the 6-12 year olds, and not jokey cartoonish cards, but real affordable cards and stop worrying about the collectors who want patches of jerseys and super rare cards. They may not have a choice in 20 years.

Anyway, onto the 1982 Detroit Tigers...and if you want to see more Detroit Tigers cards, check out Grand Cards.

As much as I surprised by this, I am giving this award to Larry Herndon. He led the team in runs, hits, RBIs and batting average. Honorable mention goes to Lance Parrish who led the team in home runs and Lou Whitaker who led the team in OBP.

Cy Young
It is either Jack Morris or Dan Petry. I am going with Dan Petry because although he didn't lead the team in wins, he led the team in winning percentage. He also led in ERA and was only 3 K's behind Jack Morris for the team lead.

Rookie Card of the Year
Not much to choose from, this era of the Tigers wasn't known for promoting rookies, which is why they were god awful in the 1990s. Rick Leach was a former quarterback for the University of Michigan. After having some success with Kirk Gibson, who was also college football player turned professional baseball player, the Tigers must've picked up Rick Leach for the similar reasons. I suspect the scouts for the Tigers at this time must've been looking for pure athletes, but can't find an example other than these two of players who played in other sports.

Most Interesting Non-Topps Card
I'll use the only other rookie card here. Marty Castillo was a back up catcher for the 1984 Tigers. After 1985 and having a career batting average of .190 up to that point, actually wanted to go to arbitration. Now that is some balls. Predictably, he was cut loose.

__ TO 535 C Lance Parrish DET
__ TT 15 1B Enos Cabell DET
__ TO 39 2B Lou Whitaker DET
__ TO 753 3B Tom Brookens DET
__ TO 475 SS Alan Trammell DET
__ TT 43 LF Larry Herndon DET

CF Glenn Wilson
__ TT 62 RF Chet Lemon DET
__ TT 45 DH Mike Ivie DET
__ TO 105 CF Kirk Gibson DET
__ TO 266 1B Rick Leach DET

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 450 SP Jack Morris DET
__ TO 211 SP Dan Petry DET
__ TO 784 SP Milt Wilcox DET

SP Jerry Ujdur

Relief Pitchers
__ TO 391 CL Dave Tobik DET

RP Larry Pashnick

RP Dave Rucker
__ TT 112 RP Elias Sosa DET
__ TO 133 RP Pat Underwood DET

Other Players
__ TT 121 DH Jerry Turner DET
__ TO 629 UT John Wockenfuss DET
__ TO 603 UT Richie Hebner DET

3B Howard Johnson
__ TO 64 RF Lynn Jones DET

UT Mike Laga
__ TO 286 C Bill Fahey DET
__ TO 451 UT Eddie Miller ATL

IF Mark DeJohn
__ TO 184 IF Mick Kelleher DET
__ FL 265 C Marty Castillo DET
__ TO 728 RP Aurelio Lopez DET
__ TO 238 RP Kevin Saucier DET
__ TO 319 RP Dave Rozema DET

RP Bob James

RP Howard Bailey
__ TO 437 SP Juan Berenguer TOR

RP Larry Rothschild

RP Dave Gumpert

Minor Leaguers
__ TO 504 MN Rick Peters DET

__ DO 29 MG Sparky Anderson DET


  1. I think you're right, to a degree. It seems as though kids today don't collect cards the way that I did when I was younger. Still, I know some young kids who collected heavily for 2-3 years, which corresponds closely with my prime of collecting, and my dad's prime etc...

    As for me, I have a card blog at the ripe old age of 25, after taking a collecting break from about 1994-2006.

    I'm not so sure that MLB is in trouble, per se. But rather that MLB is attracting kids through things other than cards. There is also a big difference between consuming sport and playing sport, and that the wrestlers and soccer players now, my grow into the baseball watchers of the future.

    My sense is that everybody needs a catalyst--a passionate parent, a great experience, a memory, or even a really cool baseball card. Before you know it they'll be fans for life.

  2. I just love this series you're doin for the teams.

    Anyway, yeah, I'm a pretty young card blogger, being 36. I realized that a few months ago, that everybody doin' this is either my age or older. I collected from '82-'85, and about half the '86 set, so I quit when I was 12.

    When I began, the cards could still be bought down at my local convient store and at gas stations and other places... for just 36 cents! (which is about 85 cents in 2010 according to the inflation calculator)

    BTW, you just made me feel fortunate to have grown up in the Yankees/Mets market... so I got to see both leagues on any given day of the week.

  3. There are quite a few card bloggers who are around 30 years of age and younger. I've read a lot of them reminiscing about 1997 Pinnacle, the Metal Universe cards, mid-1990s Finest, you name it. It surprised me, but I was quite pleased because they have the same affection for those cards as I do '70s and '80s cards.

    Kids today may not consume baseball the way we did, but they do consume baseball. I see young baseball fans all the time. But they're not necessarily card collectors.

  4. Some good points by all...I am probably generalizing a bit based on a small sample size of the two kids in my house.

    My day job is as an architect and community planner and the author of the 1982 Topps Blog (sorry, not sure of your name) hit something on the head here that is never mentioned when these conversations come up about baseball card collecting. These local corner grocery stores just no longer exist in 2010. These have all been replaced by larger Supermarkets of the Wal-Mart variety, and because they are only accessible by automobile, kids probably don't have access to buy packs at a store they walk by on the way to school.