Category Archives: football cards

Goodbye, Eddie Van Halen

I can’t believe I just typed those words. This one is going to take some time to digest.

January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020

1979 Topps baseball Eddie Van Halen

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, the greatest rock guitarist of my lifetime, passed away today from throat cancer. He was an innovator, a magician on six strings. He was the guy everybody wanted to play like. And no one could. Not even close.

Eddie recorded music with his brother Alex (drums on all Van Halen releases), his father Jan (who played clarinet on “Big Bad Bill” from Diver Down), and his son Wolfgang (bass on A Different Kind of Truth and Tokyo Dome Live in Concert. He recorded with Michael Jackson (playing the guitar solo on Thriller‘s “Beat It”), Brian May of Queen (1983’s Strar Fleet Project), and LL Cool J (“We’re The Greatest” from Authentic). He

He was not just a master of his craft. He was the master of his craft.

1979 Topps football Eddie Van Halen

Fun Cards: 1977, 1983, 1986, and 1988 Topps Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali passed away on Thursday last week after battling pancreatic cancer. Banali joined the group in 1982 and made his recording debut with DuBrow and the boys on 1983’s Metal Health. I love making “fun cards” of musicians using classic baseball card designs, and his passing reminded me that I had not created cards for Quiet Riot yet. So, without further ado, the classic 1983 Metal Health lineup of Quiet Riot: Kevin DuBrow, Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo, and Rudy Sarzo

Kevin DuBrow Quiet Riot singer 1983 Topps

Frankie Banali Quiet Riot drummer 1983 Topps

Carlos Cavazo Quiet Riot guitarist 1983 Topps

Rudy Sarzo Quiet Riot bass guitar 1983 Topps

Metal Health was the first heavy metal album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts on the strength of their cover of the Slade song, “Cum On Feel the Noize.”

Unfortunately, the follow-up Critical Condition did not fare as well, and subsequent releases failed to recapture that spark from 1983. On 1986’s QR III, bassist Sarzo was replaced with Chuck Wright.

Chuck Wright Quiet Riot bass guitar 1986 Topps

By 1988 DuBrow was out of the band in favor of Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino (as was Wright, replaced by Sean McNabb). Shortino only appeared on one album and the group disbanded in 1989 (only to be resurrected a couple of years later by DuBrow and Cavazo, with Kenny Hillery on bass and Pat Ashby on drums).

Paul Shortino Quiet Riot vocalist 1988 Topps

Sean McNabb Quiet Riot bass guitar 1988 Topps

Membership in the band was a revolving door, regardless of your role in the band. Eight singers, seven guitarists, eight bass players, and four drummers spent time with the group. Banali was the most consistent, appearing on every studio recording except for the first two (which were released in Japan only) and the underrated 1993 compilation that featured some of the best of those records and outtakes.

Speaking of the first two records…it was 1978’s Quiet Riot II that featured the first Quiet Riot “fun cards” on the back cover, styled after 1978 Topps football cards…

Quiet Riot II 1978 Topps Randy Rhoads Kevin DuBrow Rudy Sarzo, Drew Forsyth

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Reggie White (NFL, baseball-style)

Reggie Knows Football Cards

Reggie White should never have worn any uniform other than a Philadelphia Eagles uniform.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Herschel Walker (NFL, baseball-style)

Rod Knows Football Cards

The Dallas Cowboys trade of Herschel Walker to the Vikings was one of the first non-Bengals NFL stories I recall. It was a big deal, but it paid off in the end for America’s Team.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Rod Woodson (NFL, baseball-style)

Rod Knows Football Cards

Rod Woodson was the 10th overall pick in the 1987 Draft. Drafted ahead of the Hall of Famer were such NFL luminaries as Mike Junkin, Kelly Stouffer, and Reggie Rogers.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Roy Green (NFL, baseball-style)

Roy Green

Roy Green was a 2-time Pro Bowler for the St. Louis Cardinals and was the 16th member inducted into the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor in 2016.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Neil Lomax (NFL, baseball-style)

Neil Knows Football Cards

The Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Phoenix in 1988, and 2-time Pro Bowler Neil Lomax played his last season in the NFL.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Kellen Winslow (NFL, baseball-style)

Flipper Knows Football Cards

Another career-capper, Kellen Winslow retired in 1987. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Flipper Anderson (NFL, baseball-style)

Flipper Knows Football Cards

Flipper Anderson was a very good receiver. I’m not sure why he was never given a Pro Bowl nod.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Neal Anderson (NFL, baseball-style)

Neal Knows Football Cards

Neal Anderson took over for Walter Payton, and although no one could fill Sweetness’ cleats, he had a good run. Anderson was named to the Pro Bowl four straight seasons, starting in 1988.

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