Fun Cards: 1990 Topps All-Stars – Bill Murray, Don Zimmer, Roger Craig, Cecil Fielder, Rob Dibble, and MVP Julio Franco
I made a bunch of “fun cards” last night. I don’t devote much time to the hobby much anymore, but every once in a while I get on a roll.
I think I miss the All-Star Game more than anything else about baseball. The brightest stars, the unexpected breakout sensations, the hometown favorites. It’s a special time in the sport that was taken from us this year. The season itself simply isn’t that interesting to me, and has made me reevaluate my interest in the hobby. There is a good chance I will be getting rid of a lot of baseball cards once we get moved and start unpacking. But I still love the history of the game, and I look back on the 1980s and the 1990 season fondly.
Here is a bunch of “fun cards” commemorating the 1990 MLB All-Star Game. I present to you Cubs superfan Bill Murray, coach Don Zimmer, NL manager Roger Craig, 1990 breakout star Cecil Fielder, Reds “Nasty Boy” Rob Dibble, and 1990 All-Star Game MVP Julio Franco.
Today is the late Dan Quisenberry‘s birthday. Quisenberry was one of the premier relievers of the 1980s, leading the American League in saves five times from 1980 through 1985. Kansas City released the submariner on Independence Day in 1988 and he signed ten days later with the Cardinals. After a year and a half in St. Louis, Quisenberry signed with San Francisco in January 1990. He pitched five games for the Giants before retiring.
In addition to his unique pitching style, Quiz was known for his poetic talents. A collection of poems was published in April 1998 under the title On Days Like This. It’s a nice collection and copies can be found relatively inexpensive on Amazon. I picked up a copy several years ago (to be more precise, seven years ago according to Amazon!).
Quisenberry passed away September 30, 1998, from brain cancer. He was only 45 years old.
I’m no Yankees fan, but I loved Billy Martin‘s fiery attitude as a manager. He was the skipper for the Yankees five different times: 1975-1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, and 1988. He took over for Lou Piniella after the 1987 season, but was fired after 68 games and Piniella was re-hired to finish out 1988. There is speculation Martin would be hired for another round of abuse from George Steinbrenner in 1990, but he died in an auto accident on Christmas day in 1989.
The greatest pitcher in Cubs history is none other than Doug Dascenzo, the scrappy 5’7 centerfielder who made four relief appearances over two seasons and never gave up an earned run. He stared down eighteen batters, and only three got a hit. He struck out two (Willie Fraser and Joe Redfield) and walked two in five innings.
Sadly, Dascenzo declined to pitch any more at the major league level after the 1991 season. “Any time I go out and touch the mound, we’re getting beat by 10 or 15 runs and we’re losing a game in the standings,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1992. “I don’t want any part of that. I want us to be beating someone else’s brains in.”
For the record, the Cubs were outscored 59-23 in the four games Dascenzo took the mound, but he was not responsible for any of those runs.
He did toe the rubber two more times—in the minor leagues. In 1995 for the Marlins’ AAA Charlotte Knights and in 1997 for the Padres’ AAA Las Vegas Stars. It was in his last appearance that the opponent finally crossed the plate on him, but I have been unable to locate the name of the hitters he faced in that game.
Tip of the hat to @onemillioncubs who dug up that awesome photo and posted it on Twitter a few days ago. The picture is actually from 1991, so it is a bit anachronistic, but I like the 1990 Topps design. (I’m not being facetious.)
I love the All-Star Game. To see the game’s brightest stars and the surprising stars and the soon-to-be has-beens all together on the field, it is one of the greatest spectacles in all of baseball.
My beloved Cincinnati Reds (who are absolutely killing me this year and I refuse to even wear my Reds hat until they get back to at least .500) have two All-Stars on the roster this year, pitchers Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray. I am of the opinion that Castillo should be starting the game, but that honor is going to Dodgers hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu tomorrow night. I hope that Castillo and Gray see some time on the mound, especially since the game is again simply an exhibition and not the decider of home-field advantage for the World Series.
The Reds have had a number of pitchers on All-Star rosters through the years, but it has been 29 years since a Reds pitcher started the game. Not Jose Rijo or Tom Browning or Danny Jackson, but Jack Armstrong was the starting pitcher for the 1990 National League All-Stars at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Armstrong had an insane first half with 11 victories and a 2.28 ERA.
He finished the year with 12 wins.
You read that right. In the second half of 1990, the All-Star starter won only one more game.
1990 was Armstrong’s only winning season, and his only full season with an ERA lower than 4.00. He finished his career with only 40 wins and a 4.58 ERA. But in the first half of 1990, he was one of the baseball’s top pitchers.
For more 1990 Topps All-Star goodness (or nonsense, if that is your opinion of the design), check out the latest post on The List of Fisk.
Rookie Tim Adleman made his major league debut on Sunday against the Pirates, pitching six innings while giving up two runs on three hits. A pretty impressive start, striking out six batters including Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison, and Starling Marte. Bryan “Fisher” Price decided Adleman was pitching too well, so he brought in the bullpen to give the Pirates a chance. Amazingly, the Reds’ offense powered through and Cincinnati ended up winning 6-5 when Scott Schebler doubled home Eugenio Suarez in the top of the ninth and Blake Wood (who?) got three scalawags to ground out in the home half to end the game.
I apologize for the delay in posting this. TWJ contributor Patrick sent it shortly after the game, but I was out of town and did not have my computer with me. I didn’t get in until late last night (thanks, Atlanta airport!), and have been trying to rest ever since. I’ve got some cool stuff to show off from Saturday’s Rays game, and some new baseball cards, but I need to rest a bit more first. Thanks for the “fun card” Patrick!
TWJ contributor Patrick scored big with three awesome “fun cards” of Lauren Hill. Here is the first, in the style of the 1990 Topps MLB Debut set. If you’re not familiar with Hill’s story, then you haven’t turned on a television or logged onto Facebook in the past couple of days. Click here for the story.
Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Joe Morgan! The second baseman was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. Ten times an All-Star, twice the NL MVP, and a major part of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, Morgan also played for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A’s. He finished his career with 268 home runs, the most by any second baseman in history at the time. That record has since been broken by Ryne Sandberg and Jeff Kent.