Author Archives: JT

Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Pitchers

Sweet Music

Sweet Music

“Sweet Music” Frank Viola was 14-2 at the All-Star break in 1988, making him the easy choice to start the game for the American League. He pitched two innings and earned the victory.

Clemens

Clemens

“The Rocket” Roger Clemens was next up for the AL, and retired all three batters he faced.

Gubicza

Gubicza

Mark Gubicza was the first American League pitcher to enter the game that didn’t have a cool nickname. He was also the first (and only) to let the National League score; Vince Coleman came home on a wild pitch in the 4th.

Stieb

Stieb

Should Dave Stieb be in the Hall of Fame? I think not, but there are a lot of Stieb stumpers out there. He appeared in seven ASGs in his career, but only tallied 176 victories over 16 seasons.

Russell

Russell

Jeff Russell was the “player to be named later” in the 1985 Reds-Rangers trade that saw Buddy Bell come to Cincinnati.

Cleveland Jones

Cleveland Jones

Doug Jones had a breakout season in 1988; it was the first of five seasons in which he saved at least 30 games, and his first of five All-Star Games.

Plesac

Plesac

When I started collecting baseball cards, Dan Plesac seemed to be in every discount store box set. He had a solid 18-year career, but nothing that would have warranted his inclusion in so many “Young Superstar” and “Hottest Players”-type sets.

Eckersley

Eckersley

Dennis Eckersley was the only Hall of Fame pitcher on the American League roster. Of course, Clemens would have been enshrined long ago if he hadn’t derailed his chances by getting caught using performance enhancers.

Reardon

Reardon

Two pitchers were on the American League roster but didn’t get into the game. The first is the manager’s own closer, Jeff Reardon. I wonder if players get mad when they don’t get to play, or if the experience of being there is enough.

Alexander

Alexander

Doyle Alexander started his big league career in 1971 and was named an All-Star for the first time in 1988. He did not get an opportunity to take the mound.

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Random Awesomeness (part 2019.12)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase Let’s Rock by the Black Keys!
 

Twenty Years Ago Today: “Weird Al” encourages dangerous exercise

Weird Al Yankovic Running With ScissorsRunning With Scissors, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s tenth studio album, was released on June 29, 1999. Not as strong as 1996’s Bad Hair Day, but infinitely better than 2003’s Poodle Hat, Running With Scissors features parodies of The Offspring, Barenaked Ladies, Puff Daddy, and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and a polka medley that pokes fun at the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Beastie Boys, Hanson, Matchbox Twenty, and more.

The most enduring song from the album, however, is a parody of Don McLean’s 1971 hit, “American Pie.” Yankovic took the song and transformed it into an ode to George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

In addition to all the parodies, Yankovic shows his chops as a songwriter with six original compositions in various styles. My personal favorite of these is the 11-minute opus “Albuquerque” that closes the album.

I have loved “Weird Al” since I first discovered his music in elementary school, though he has currently stopped performing in concert a couple of the songs that drew me to his brilliance—“Eat It” and “Fat,” both parodies of Michael Jackson hits. He has not decided whether he will retire them permanently or not, but with the renewed scrutiny of Jackson’s alleged indiscretions, Yankovic has decided to remove them from his current repertoire.

Beyond Smallville

Smallville

One of my favorite television shows of all-time is Smallville, which follows a young Clark Kent in high school discovering his superhuman abilities. It aired for ten seasons on The WB/CW networks. The final episode aired in May 2011, but I still go back and watch episodes from time to time on DVD or Hulu.

Michael Rosenbaum recently wrapped up “Smallville Week” on his podcast, “Inside of You.” His guests during the four episodes were the creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, Kristin Kreuk, John Glover, and Tom Welling. While the language and subject matter gets a little saucy, it was fun to listen to these old friends reminisce about their days on the show and catch up with what is going on at this point in their lives.

I got to thinking about what the actors are involved with today. Rosenbaum seemed to take offense at this question, thinking that sites are just looking for clicks when asking these questions. And perhaps some of them are, especially when the articles mislead readers or give false information. However, I’m asking from a point of interest in that I might like to check into some of their current projects, and perhaps other Smallville fans would like to do the same. So if you will indulge me, let’s look at some of the leading actors and actresses from Smallville, what role they played on that program, and what they’re doing now.
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  1. TOM WELLING played Clark Kent on Smallville and was perfect in the role. Others who auditioned for the role include Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki of Supernatural fame. Welling has appeared in three movies since the end of Smallville: Parkland, Draft Day, and The Choice. Most recently he could be seen in the role of Marcus Pierce in the third season of Lucifer and is currently involved in a production called The Professionals as Vincent Corbo, starring opposite Brendan Fraser. Per , ten episodes of The Professionals are planned to air on Scandinavian outlet Viaplay.
  2. MICHAEL ROSENBAUM played a brilliant Lex Luthor. Others considered for the role were Zachary Levi and Anson Mount. As with Welling, I think the casting of Rosenbaum was genius and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. He graduated from my alma mater Western Kentucky University about the time I started there. There is a very slim chance I met him as I spent about a week as a theatre major, although as a lowly freshman I doubt he would have paid me any mind. As already mentioned, Rosenbaum has a podcast called “Inside of You” in which he interviews other celebrities. Besides his Smallville mates, past guests include Kristen Bell, Colin Hanks, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dax Shepard, Henry Winkler, Zachary Levi, and Jon Cryer. More than sixty episodes have aired so far, and the podcast shows no signs of slowing down. Other than his podcast, Rosenbaum has stayed busy since leaving Smallville in 2008. His most prominent role on the small screen was as the main character on TV Land’s Impastor. He also appeared in Breaking In and was the narrator for Hunted, and wrote and directed a movie called Back In The Day. He has voiced The Flash on a couple of video games, a role he started in Justice League in 2001. He also appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Martinex, one of the Ravagers.
  3. KRISTIN KREUK played Lana Lang was the first main character cast for Smallville. Her role as Lana ended in 2009. In 2010, she appeared as Hannah in four episodes on the brilliant Chuck with Zachary Levi, and as Tirzah on the Ben-Hur miniseries that aired on CBC in Canada and ABC in the States. She then starred in The CW’s Beauty and the Beast for five years as Catherine Chandler, and can currently be seen on Burden of Truth as Joanna Hanley.
  4. ALLISON MACK was Clark’s best friend Chloe Sullivan, an inquisitive journalist and later “Watchtower” who ran the operations of the mini-Justice League. After Smallville, Mack starred in the Canadian film Marilyn, appeared in nine episodes of Wilfred and four episodes of American Odyssey. Her last credit was in 2015. She is currently facing legal trouble due to her association in Keith Raniere’s Nxivm cult.
  5. SAM JONES III played Clark’s other best friend, Pete Ross. Jones also faced some legal trouble following his departure in 2004, but did not let it derail his career. He appeared as Chaz Pratt in 16 episodes of ER, Craig Shilo in 13 episodes of Blue Mountain State in 2010 and the movie in 2016, and most recently Adam in All Light Will End, the 2018 horror film.
  6. JOHN SCHNEIDER was the reason I started watching Smallville. I was flipping through the channels and saw the actor who played Bo Duke on Dukes of Hazzard, and immediately stopped channel surfing. The pilot episode hooked me. On Smallville, Schneider played Clark’s adoptive dad, Jonathan Kent. He was the heart and soul of the show for several seasons until his character’s death, and his influence was felt even after he left. He has appeared in dozens of movies since leaving Smallville, and is a series regular on Tyler Perry‘s The Haves and the Have Nots on the Oprah Winfrey Network. IMDB also shows several other titles currently in post-production and pre-production. In addition to his acting career, Schneider is also a musician with several country albums to his name. In 2018, he released 52 brand new songs over five albums. They are called The Odyssey: Vagabond, The Odyssey: Awakening, The Odyssey: Crossroads, The Odyssey: Wanderlust, and The Odyssey: Beginnings. He also released a new collection of older material, Greatest Hits: Still, and a holiday album, Merry Christmas Baby. Dude was busy!
  7. ANNETTE O’TOOLE played Lana Lang on the big screen in Superman III back in 1983; on Smallville she appears as Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother. Her role on the show became less regular the older Clark became, only appearing in a few episodes the last few seasons. In recent years, O’Toole can be seen on Halt and Catch Fire, The Punisher, The Incoherents, and Blow the Man Down.
  8. JOHN GLOVER was Lionel Luthor, Lex’s father. Though Lex left the show after the seventh season, Lionel kept popping up from time to time, and Glover is brilliant in the role. Since Smallville has ended, Glover has guest starred on several television programs, including The Blacklist and Agent Carter. Earlier this year he was on the big screen in Shazam!, and has been active on stage as well according to his recent interview on Rosenbaum’s podcast.
  9. ERICA DURANCE was introduced as Lois Lane at the beginning of season four of Smallville. It took a long time for me to warm up to her, mainly because I wanted Clark to end up with Lana, even though I knew that went against the comic’s storyline. After the show ended, Durance could be seen on the lead character on Saving Hope, Dr. Alex Reid from 2012-2017. Several other actors who appeared on Smallville appeared on Saving Hope, including Eric Johnson, Michael Shanks, and Benjamin Ayres. Durance returned to the DC Universe in the third season of The CW’s Supergirl in 2017 as Alura Zor-El.
  10. JUSTIN HARTLEY played Green Arrow on Smallville, and was one of the best side characters on the show. I have never watched The CW’s Arrow, partly because I simply can’t imagine anyone but Hartley in the role. He has appeared in several shows since Smallville, including Emily Owens M.D., Revenge, Mistresses, and The Young and the Restless. You most likely know him as the adult Kevin Pearson on This Is Us, one of NBC’s top-rated shows.
  11. I miss Smallville, but I’m glad most of these actors and actresses have found continuing success beyond the show.

    Smallville

Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star Catchers

Carter

Carter

Being associated with the 1986 World Champion New York Mets was like a golden ticket for many players. The National League fans’ 1988 All-Star selection of Gary Carter was not as egregious as Terry Steinbach, but he still was not the best choice. Lance Parrish of the Phillies would have been a better fit to start according to the players.

Parrish

Parrish

The results of the USA Today players poll for NL catchers follows:

The year after they were the best in baseball…

Best in Baseball

Remnants of the Machine. Johnny Bench, George Foster, Dave Concepcion, and Ken Griffey played for the best team in baseball in 1981. That team, though, never appeared in the playoffs. Because of the strike, playoff teams were determined by first-half standings and second-half standings, not overall records. The Reds finished second in each half and were excluded from competing in the postseason despite winning more games than any other team in the majors.

The Reds made a special banner for the players to trot out in 1982, and the 1982 Reds Yearbook captured that moment in baseball card form. It appears that 1982 was the first year for “Reds Yearbook” baseball cards. I just discovered this a couple of weeks ago, and thanks to eBay I was able to add them to my collection.

page 1

page 2

Two players in the Hall of Fame and another who should be. A young fireballer. A future manager. They were the best team in 1981 with more wins than any other team in baseball. They were one game from the worst in 1982, winning just one more than the Minnesota Twins.

Hurdle

Here’s the future manager. Clint Hurdle was a first-round draft pick for the Royals in 1975 and made his big league debut as a September call-up in 1977. He never lived up to the expectations of a first-rounder, only playing in more than 60 games in a season twice. As for his Reds career, he appeared in only 19 games in 1982. The Mariners signed him as a free agent before the 1983 season but released him the day before the season started. He signed with the Mets a few days later, went to St. Louis in 1986, and back to the Mets in 1987 for three final games.

His major league managerial career began in 2002 with the Rockies and won a pennant with them in 2007. In 2011 he took over managing the Pirates and has taken them to the postseason three times. Like the Reds, it doesn’t look like the Pirates will be playing in October again anytime soon.

Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Catchers

Steinbach

Steinbach

To say Terry Steinbach was a controversial pick to start at catcher would be an understatement, and even he knew it. “There were a lot of mixed emotions. In 1987, I had a decent year as a rookie, but in ’88, I had missed a month with an injury and wasn’t hitting worth crap.” His home run off NL starter Dwight Gooden and MVP win briefly quieted opponents. Looking back historically, however, it’s clear that he was a poor choice.

Laudner

Laudner

Tim Laudner of Minnesota was selected as the backup. The players would have made him the starter and Steinbach’s teammate Ron Hassey the backup, though B.J. Surhoff and Andy Allanson had their apologists as well.

Here’s a penny…don’t spend it all in one place!

A couple weeks ago, Ivan (@WatchTheBreaks) posted an eBay coupon. $3 off any card purchase of $3.01 or more. In other words, if you found a card with free shipping that was listed for $3.01, you could get it for a penny!

I didn’t spend it all in one place. I found one seller that had this bad boy for $2:

1940 World Series

This is my first 1970 Fleer Laughlin World Series card, featuring the slugging Frank McCormick. “Buck” won the NL MVP in 1940, leading the league in hits and doubles while driving home 127 runs. The Redlegs topped the Tigers in the World Series, 4 games to 3. The back of the card shows a 1968 copyright date, but they are listed as a 1970 issue.

1940 World Series

In addition to this vintage goodness, I also picked up my first 2018 Stadium Club card, a Tyler Mahle rookie card for $1.01. I actually missed adding Stadium Club to my wantlist until I found this card.

Mahle rookie card

Two card purchases 48 years apart, and all it cost was a measley penny.

Penny

Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star Outfielders

Straw

Straw

The National League took six outfielders from four teams to the midsummer classic in 1988: starters Darryl Strawberry, Vince Coleman, and Andre Dawson, and backups Willie McGee, Rafael Palmeiro, and Andy Van Slyke.

Vincent Van Go

Coleman

I love the nicknames of the 1980s. The Straw, Vincent Van Go, The Hawk…the nicknames of players today just don’t have the same panache.

Dawson

Dawson

Not everyone liked their nickname, though. Case in point, Willie McGee hated the name “E.T.” He hated it so much, it became a national news story. The New York Times reported in 1982, “Willie McGee won’t elaborate on his dislike for the nickname. Perhaps he thinks that it’s a racial slur since E.T. is dark-skinned. Perhaps he’s embarrassed because he has the hooded eyes and pinched nose similar to that of the little creature; he also wobbles when he walks, as E.T. does in the movie. Whatever the reason, Willie McGee is entitled to prefer his name to that nickname, even though he has virtually landed in the World Series from another planet.”

McGee

McGee

If Palmeiro had a nickname, what would it be? “Finger-pointer”?

Palmeiro

Palmeiro

Kirk Gibson is the only difference between the players’ top six and the actual roster. Gibby was the eventual National League MVP and had one of the most dramatic home runs in World Series history, but his invite to the 1988 All-Star Game was evidently lost in the mail.

Van Slyke

Van Slyke

When a rookie card isn’t a rookie card (and technically isn’t even a card)

Davis 1984

Eric Davis rookie cards were hot ticket items in the Cincinnati area in the mid-1980s. It didn’t matter which 1985 issue you were talking about—Topps, Donruss, or Fleer—if you had a Davis rookie, you were a king on the playground.

But what if you had a 1984 Eric Davis? No, not a minor league card. A 1984 Eric Davis Reds card.

That’s what we have here. Not really a card, but still considered a card by most. Like the Fleer stamps and the Topps stickers, we have here a 1984 Borden sticker of Eric Davis. This regional issue is more difficult to obtain than Topps, Donruss, or Fleer, but it’s not all that much more expensive. It was issued on a perforated sheet with Mario Soto, Dave Parker, and Ron Oester, and featured coupons for Borden dairy products on the reverse.

1984 Reds Borden Davis Parker Oester Soto

Two different sheets were produced, the other displaying Tony Perez, Jeff Russell, Eddie Milner, and Gary Redus.

1984 Reds Borden Perez Russell Milner Redus

I have no idea how these were distributed back in the day. Stadium giveaway? Mail-in offer? Free at checkout with the purchase of a half-gallon of Lady Borden Ice Cream? Now, thirty-five years later, you have to wait until they pop up on eBay for a reasonable price.

The coupons don’t have an expiration date. I wonder if I can still redeem them at Kroger…

Borden coupon

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