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Fun Cards: 1988 and 1990 Topps Billy Martin

1988 Topps Billy Martin New York Yankees manager

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.

1990 Topps Billy Martin New York Yankees manager

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Doug Dascenzo (“Secret Weapon”)

1990 Topps Doug Dascenzo

Who was the best pitcher in Cubs history? Greg Maddux you say? Fergie Jenkins? Mordecai Brown? Rick Reuschel?

You’re wrong.

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.)

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps All-Star Jack Armstrong

Armstrong

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.

Armstrong

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.

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Trixter “Record Makers” & Steve Brown

Combining my love for baseball cards and hair metal music…

Trixter

Trixter is one of those oft-forgotten hair metal bands. Their debut album was not released until 1990, in the waning hours of the genre’s supremacy on MTV and FM airwaves. The group experienced moderate success with the debut single, “Give It To Me Good,” peaking at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. The next two songs, “Surrender” and “One In A Million,” did not perform quite as well.

The band recorded “One Mo’ Time” for the 1991 Richard Greco film, If Looks Could Kill. Trixter’s self-titled debut went Gold, but 1992’s Hear! stalled at around 100,000 copies and the group was dropped from MCA.

Steve Brown Trixter

Guitarist Steve Brown was your typical ’80s hard rock guitarist with some killer riffs and fancy fretwork, but he didn’t really stand out above the crowd. Even if he did, though, the musical landscape changed and nearly everyone who could shred became a pariah.

Trixter recorded one more studio album in the 1990s, Undercovers, on the independent label Backstreet Records, then went silent…until 2008. The band reunited, went on tour, and in 2012 Frontiers Records released the first new studio material from Trixter—New Audio Machine—in nearly two decades. Another album, Human Era, came in 2015.

I’m not sure if Trixter is still together; their website has no information whatsoever and the full band has not performed together since March of last year. Guitarist Steve and bassist PJ Farley are members of Eric Martin’s (the voice of Mr. Big) touring band.

You can follow Trixter on Twitter:
Trixter at @trixterrocks
Vocalist Pete Loran at @PeteLoran
Guitarist Steve Brown at @STEVEBROWNROCKS
Bass guitarist PJ Farley at @Pjfarley1
Drummer Mark Gus Scott at @MarkGusScott

Fun Cards Submission: 1990 Topps Debut Tim Adleman

Adleman

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!

Fun Cards Submission: 1990 Topps Debut Lauren Hill

1990 Topps Lauren Hill

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.

Horror Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Pennywise

Pennywise the Clown Stephen King It 1990 Topps Custom Card

Purchase Stephen King’s It!

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan 1990 Topps hall of fame happy birthday

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.

Fun Cards Submission: 1990 Topps MLB Debut Greg Reynolds

Reynolds MLB Debut

Greg Reynolds took the mound for the Cincinnati Reds today, giving up five hits and two runs in six innings in his second start for the club. His debut came back in July against San Francisco, another losing effort when he gave up eight hits and five runs in just five innings. Reynolds is a former Colorado Rockies pitcher, with 16 starts and 27 games under his belt before this season in 2008 and 2011. He did not pitch in the majors 2009, 2010, or 2012.

TWJ contributor Patrick went oddball on us again…but that’s okay with me! I love this set! I picked it up on eBay a few years ago for a buck with free shipping…one of my better baseball card purchases on the site.

Don’t get a big head

The Junior Junkie just posted a 1990 Topps “Heads Up” he received featuring Ken Griffey Jr. I have a few as well, and they’re actually hanging on the wall in my basement…

Topps Heads Up

That is, from left to right, Craig Biggio, Tony Gwynn, John Franco (the only Red in the set), Bo Jackson, and Junior. I also had Dennis Eckersley and Mark McGwire at one point, but they weren’t worthy of inclusion on my Wall of Awesomeness.

This was a neat little set, and I wouldn’t mind picking up a few more for my wall if I found them on the cheap at a card show. Looking at the checklist the Junkie posted, I probably also wanted Gregg Olson and Jerome Walton back in the day. But alas, I never got them.

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