Monday, April 29, 2013

747th Place - Shawn Hillegas

Card #455

Shawn looks exactly how most of us would if we were asked to make cheesy, non-action baseball card poses for the first time:  thrilled!

I guess the Topps photographer couldn't be bothered to find a real pitcher's mound...or a half decent background.  Hillegas must have got some work in before the shoot judging by the dirt on the knee, though.  The crazy perspective of the outstretched arm almost makes the card appear three-dimensional.

Hillegas bounced around the majors for seven years as a spot starter and unreliable reliever.  But he made it, and managed to hang on for a while...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

748th Place - Bill Landrum

Card #42

The Jackie Robinson card!

Anyway, this Landrum card has a weird, blurry photo.  Is it a printing mistake?  Do all of the Landrum cards appear like this?  It looks like an image from one of the old 3-D glasses activity books I used to get as a kid in the 80's. 

The first scary movie my parents ever let me go to was Jaws 3-D.  I was only seven years old at the time and the summer camp I attended was taking a trip to the theater.  Our choices were Jaws and Bambi.  I begged my parents to let me see Jaws, that none of the "guys" were going to be caught dead in Bambi.  Miraculously, my parents caved.

I'm pretty sure I spent most of the movie with my eyes closed tight, but I still remember the (spoiler alert!) 3-D explosion of the shark at the end of the movie, with the jaw bone shooting straight at me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

749th Place - Butch Wynegar

Card #737

Did you remember Butch as an Angel?  I didn't either.  I always think of him as a Yankee, but that's only because I was in diapers when he debuted for the Twins.  That was quite a splash, too, as he was an all-star, second place in rookie of the year voting, and even snagged some MVP votes. 

Butch is currently a hitting coach for the Yankees AAA farm team.  I love that they still have him listed as a switch hitter.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

750th Place - Jim Gott

Card #127

This is a curious decision, we've gott a relief pitcher (see what I did there!) posing with two batting gloves on.  According to the back of the card, Jimbo hit two homers in the same game once.  He would end up with two more homers in his career, which isn't too shabby for a pitcher who spent most of his career as a reliever.

We've gott (I did it again!) some gratuitous product placement behind Jim, but I'm having a hard time making out what the actual billboards say.  The sign above the right field wall says "hardball," but I can't make out the words of the advertising around the second deck.  Any Pittsburgh fans recognize the logos?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

751st Place - Jim Fregosi

Card #714

I've already established my intolerance for scrubby manager cards (maybe that's not fair, Fregosi had a long career as a player and has stayed active in the game in a variety of roles...), but I'm absolutely in love with that Sox jacket.  That's got hipster written all over it. 

Seriously, I want that jacket.

We haven't mentioned the bizarre color scheme of the White Sox borders yet.  The green is fine enough, but what's up with that magenta?  Egad, that was a bizarre choice.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

752nd Place - Greg Minton

Card #129

Hello friends, I apologize for the lack of posts this week.  I have a confession.  Instead of dedicating my time to 25 year old baseball cards, my wife and I got sucked into the first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix.  IT'S SO GOOD!

Perhaps you are as horrified by that news as Greg Minton here.

If you looked up the word "befuddled" in the dictionary you might see this baseball card.  I don't know what has Minton so concerned.  Perhaps it's the fact for the first time in his 13 year professional big league career he wasn't wearing a Giants jersey?  Minton had a long, impressive tenure as a reliable reliever, but I'm sure this card isn't how he would like to be remembered. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

753rd Place - Jim Dwyer

Card #521

The 1988 set came out after the 1987 season, and as many remember, '87 was the year of the juiced baseball.  There are a few theories out there on how that happened, but everybody acknowledges something was up.

Jim Dwyer could be the poster boy for the unusual power spike of 1987.  A career pinch hitter type, Dwyer put 15 balls over the fence in just 247 at bats.  That's nearly twice as many as he ever hit as an Oriole.  I'm sure he was enjoying it, considering he was already 37 years old at the time.

As for this's pretty boring.  The palm tree in the background confirms this is a spring training shot.  I'd love to know what the wall advertisements are behind him, but alas, they're too obscured.

Monday, April 8, 2013

754th Place - Andy Hawkins

Card #9

Huh, that's funny.  I just saw that Hawkins was born in the city in which I'm currently residing.  Small world.

Anyway, let's play trivia.  Why does Andy Hawkins have such a disgusted look on his face?

A.  He's looking into a mirror and just caught sight of that nasty mustache.

B.  He's looking into a mirror and just caught sight of the ugly brown UPS Padres uniforms. 

C.  He's looking at the terrible black line I left while editing this baseball card scan.

Hawkins is known for losing a game when he threw a no-hitter and then having the no-hitter erased from the record book when they changed the requirements.  So much for your typical grandfather clause!  Hawkins currently serves as the Texas Rangers bullpen coach.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

755th Place - Jeff Ballard

Card #782

This is Jeff Ballard's rookie card.  I think an interesting blog story might be to track down the least likely candidates to ever be featured on Topps' factory set all-star cards.  Ballard might be the winner.  He is featured in the 1990 set after going 18-8 in 1989 with a 3.43 ERA.  He finished sixth in Cy Young voting, but his 1.09 strikeout-to-walk rate demonstrates it was a fluky campaign and he would never again come close to his '89 season.

There's something about the lighting and sweat on Ballard's face that makes me think of this alien dude from Deep Space Nine.  It freaks me out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

756th Place - Doug Jones

Card #293

I distinctly remember watching games as a kid and how broadcasters would go on and on about how Doug Jones had spent so many years bouncing around the minors until finally getting a real chance in the pros.  Sure enough, he didn't really stick until 1987, when he was thirty years old.  1988 would be his breakout year.  He saved 37 games and recorded a 2.27 E.R.A. while doing it.

If I'm not mistaken, this is Jones' rookie card.  If I'm not mistaken, it looks terrible.  I will not, however, blame that on a lack of charisma.  Jones had one of the coolest cards I remember collecting as a kid:

Take a long, hard look at this Score pic, Topps.  Shame on you for your laziness. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

757th Place - Steve Crawford

Card #299

I didn't catch it the first time I looked at this card, but there is some extreme patriotism going on here.  Squint your eyes and look to the right and you'll see Old Glory billowing in the wind.

Crawford was a career bullpen guy who I always remembered for his poofy, curly hair squirting out from under his hat.  He rocked that moustache with confidence too.  Crawford logged one of the Red Sox wins in the ill-fated 1986 World Series even though his ERA for the series was above six

I'm going to throw in a "gratuitious product placement" for this card too.  That Starter zipper tag almost looks like a blinging chain. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

758th Place - Damaso Garcia

Card #241

Here we have another player in a uniform that just doesn't look right.  Damaso Garcia came to the Braves in 1987 from the Blue Jays but never saw action that season due to a knee injury in spring training.  Odd uniform or not, Damaso has a history of letting that cap ride high on his head, but this shot blows all others out of the water.  It's practically hovering above his noggin! 

Garcia struggled in 1988 before getting released by Atlanta.  He played one more season in Montreal but that was the quick and sudden end for Garcia's career.

This card does boast two "gratuitous product placements" for the price of one, though.  The executives at Sharp and Marlboro must have been giving themselves high-fives when they saw this card.  Assuming, uh, they ever saw this card...

Monday, April 1, 2013

759th Place - Todd Frohwirth

Card #378

Todd Frohwirth had an impressive cup-of-coffee debut for the Phillies in 1987.  In 10 games and 11 innings, he didn't allow a run while striking out nine.  His first Topps card, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

Let's be honest - Todd is looking dorky here.  He has a confused look on his face, as if he just asked, "Am I posing correctly for this picture?"  His eyes are darting off to the side, possibly seeking a way to escape the Topps photographer.  The only thing saving this card is the "Fro" nickname on his glove, which is kind of cool.

Frohwirth was a submarine-style hurler, too bad Topps couldn't find an action shot.  Everybody loves a good underhanded throwing pic...