Goodbye, Red Schoendienst


Former Cardinals player, coach, and manager Red Schoendienst passed away on Wednesday at the age of 95. He was a popular figure in St. Louis sports and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.


Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Keith Brown

Keith Brown Cincinnati Reds 1988 Topps

Keith Brown was a late-round draft pick in 1986 but quickly rose through the Reds’ minor league system after posting ERAs of 1.96, 1.59, and 1.68 from 1986-1988. He started three games and compiled a 2-2 record with a 2.76 ERA in 1988 for the Reds.

A foot injury kept him out of the bigs in 1989, and after a few more ups and downs, other health problems presented themselves in the 1990s. “The 21 Greatest Days” posted an insightful two-part article about Brown in 2016: “Part 1: His Abilities” / “Part 2, Life Changed.”

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Jeff Reed


A first-round draft pick for the Minnesota Twins in 1980, Jeff Reed spent most of his career as a backup catcher. He was a dependable backstop, though, playing 17 years in the big leagues. While in Cincinnati, Reed caught Tom Browning‘s perfect game in 1988 on Bo Diaz‘s day off.


Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Jeff Gray

Jeff Gray Cincinnati Reds 1988 Topps

Jeff Gray appeared in just five games in relief for the Reds in 1988, and didn’t make it back to the majors until 1990 with the Red Sox.

Tracking down a usable color photo of Gray wearing a Cincinnati uniform proved to be impossible. His B-R page shows him wearing a Reds cap, and many of their mugshots come from baseball cards, but I can’t trace the origin of this particular photo. I ended up doing a very poor Photoshop job on his 1986 Vermont Reds card, replacing the logos.

I voted…did you?


The MLB All-Star ballots are live! This seems later than normal, but I think that is better as the players have had time to settle into their routines and fans can make informed decisions.

Unless, like me, you vote a straight-team ballot. That’s right, I voted all Reds in the National League, even though only one (Scooter Gennett) should be a starter, and maybe one or two (Eugenio Suarez and maybe Joey Votto) should be reserves. But I’m a Reds fan through-and-through, and they all get my support at All-Star time.

NL AllStars Reds

In the American League, however, I took a closer look at the stats. Here’s how my starting lineup looks in the AL:

AL AllStars

Sure, Zack Cozart is a homer pick. I want him to get another donkey. And I avoided Yankees because they’re Yankees. Other than that, I think it’s a pretty solid lineup. Shoehei Ohtani needs to be used as both a DH and a pitcher somehow.

What do your ballots look like?

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Tracy Jones (Expos)

Tracy Jones Montreal Expos 1988 Topps

Tracy Jones was supposed to form one of the greatest outfields in the history of baseball with Kal Daniels and Eric Davis and usher in the era of the New Red Machine. That didn’t happen. Instead, Jones was sent to Montreal in 1988, then was traded to the Giants, then the Tigers, then the Mariners, and was out of the major leagues after the 1991 season.

Jones found new life on radio in the 21st century, but was let go from Cincinnati’s 700 WLW in 2017 after ten years as on-air host. His son, Hunter, is currently in the Nationals’ minor league system.


Comparing these cards side-by-side, I see that I messed up on the nameplate by not stretching the player name. I’m not overly concerned with it, though.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Herm Winningham

1988 Topps Herm Winningham

A card that should have been in the Traded set in 1988, Herm Winningham came to the Reds with Jeff Reed and Randy St. Claire from the Expos in exchange for Tracy Jones and Pat Pacillo. Winningham was the only one to get an updated card in 1988, appearing in the 1988 Score Rookie/Traded series. All the others would have to wait until the 1989 releases to receive cards in their new uniforms, except for Pacillo, who would never again pitch in the majors.

side-by-side Winningham

I like what Night Owl is doing on the 1985 Topps blog, showing both the flagship and Traded cards in recent posts. I will do the same as long as I don’t forget.

P.S. — Holy cow, I didn’t realize the 1985 Topps blog has been going since 2012.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Dave Collins

Dave Collins 1988 Topps Cincinnati Reds

“Dave’s not here, man.” That was Topps’ response when asked where Dave Collins was after 1987. He had appeared in every flagship issue 1976-1987, as well as the 1985 and 1986 Traded sets, but after his return to Cincinnati in 1987, Topps (as well as Donruss and Fleer) decided he was no longer worthy of cardboard. Collins was featured in the Reds Kahn’s stadium giveaway set and the inaugural Score release in 1988.

Collins was a respectable base stealer for much of his career, swiping 395 bags in 16 seasons and ranking in the top ten four times. When he rejoined the Reds in 1987 after five seasons in the American League, he had slowed down considerably, and only stole 26 bases from 1987-1990.

Photos were hard to come by for Collins’ second tour of the Queen City. Other than a couple of black-and-white shots, I was unable to locate anything featuring #22. So I yanked the picture from the 1989 Score card. I love the All-Star Game patch on his sleeve. It is, in my very biased opinion, one of the greatest All-Star logos ever.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Candy Sierra

In 1988, Topps included 30 Reds cards in the flagship set, and another five in the Traded series (plus Olympian Jeff Branson, who was drafted by the Reds). However, there were another 18 players that suited up for the Reds in 1988 that were ignored by Topps that year. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to rectify those oversights.

Candy Sierra 1988 Topps Cincinnati Reds

We start today with Candy Sierra, who appeared in only one game for the Reds, pitching four innings of relief on June 10, 1988. It would be his last major league appearance. He struck out four Giants batters: Matt Williams, Robby Thompson, Kirt Manwaring, and Rick Reuschel.

The Reds sent Dennis Rasmussen to the Padres for Sierra. His arrival allowed Cincinnati to move a stellar Jose Rijo from the bullpen into the starting rotation, despite Rijo’s objections. Despite Sierra’s short stay, Rijo remained on the starting staff the rest of the season.

Sierra was featured on the blog, “The Greatest 21 Days”, showcasing the minor leaguers of 1990.

Ranking the Star Wars movies

Star Wars logo

I had the extreme pleasure of watching Solo: A Star Wars Story on Friday with my boys. I avoided all spoilers and did not read any articles ahead of time, and I was floored by the movie. I thought Alden Ehrenreich played the lead role brilliantly, and Donald Glover was everything I expected Lando to be. I realize there are others who were not as impressed, even in my own house. But this is my blog, so only my opinion counts here.


Now that we have ten full-length theater-released Star Wars films, why don’t we rank them? I’m omitting the < ahref=”; target=”resource window”>Clone Wars cartoon movie because it has been quite a while since I have seen it, and I have not watched any of the Clone Wars or series (though I really want to watch Rebels soon). I’m also ignoring the old Droids and Ewoks cartoons, and the Ewok television movies and infamous Holiday Special. We’re sticking to the trilogies and the two theatrical spin-offs.

This is my ranking as I sit here; tomorrow I might shift some things around if you were to ask me again. (I know, you didn’t ask to begin with. Don’t get technical with me, you scruffy-looking nerf herder!)

1. Empire Strikes Back
2. Star Wars
3. Return of the Jedi
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. Rogue One
6. Revenge of the Sith
7. The Force Awakens
8. The Phantom Menace
9. The Last Jedi
10. Attack of the Clones

That’s right, Solo slides in right below the original trilogy in my present state of mind. Maybe tomorrow it would switch places with Rogue One. The top three will probably always remain the same, because how can you top the best trilogy ever made? Revenge and TFA may occasionally flip-flop (I loved them both), and the bottom three may struggle for the cellar (they are so difficult to watch sometimes, despite having some epic moments).

Darth Maul

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