Sunday, October 21, 2018
558th Place - Astros Leaders
New card type alert!!!
Yes, this is the first "team leaders" card featured on the countdown. Generally speaking, I like these kind of cards. Modern Topps sets use these kind of shots for checklist cards instead of season reviews like the 1988 set. The cheesy smokey frame technique felt high tech in the 80's.
On the front you have outfielders Kevin Bass and Billy Hatcher. There's some cool symmetry happening here with the mirrored ear flaps on the helmets and the bats resting on opposite shoulders. Bass had one of the best mustache-smile combos of the decade while Hatcher is keeping it cool.
I just don't think they were the Astros "leaders", though I guess it depends on what you define as a leader. The back of the card features the statistical leaders on both offense and the mound. Hatcher is listed three times (runs, stolen bases, and average) while Bass is listed just once (triples). But if you like stats, Bass and Hatcher were just sixth and seventh on the team in WAR according to Baseball-Reference. The top two leaders were Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan. Though Ryan only had an 8-16 record, he led the league in strikeouts and ERA. Bill Doran was the top hitter on the team, Glenn Davis the top slugger, and all-time Houston great Jose Cruz was still on the team.
None of this is meant as a knock on Bass and Hatcher, who both had solid campaigns in 1987. But wouldn't a pic of Ryan and Cruz look so much cooler?