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.
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.
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.
I recently sent GCRL a few Dodgers and double play cards, and he sent back a few Reds cards. Three I needed, and one I could never have enough off. The latter first…
1987 Topps Eric Davis. A classic card, a card every kid in Cincinnati owned and wanted more of. Of course, since 1987 Topps was so abundant, it wasn’t difficult to stock up on these puppies. I can just imagine Kal Daniels standing next to Eric the Red, with #44 explaining, “This is a baseball, Kalvoski. If you hit it, they pay you lots of money and the people love you. If you go into a slump, Cincinnati will hate you and demand that you be traded.”
We go next to 1970, and another card crossed off my wantlist…
1970 Topps Al Jackson. The famous (infamous?) 1970 set with all the hatless and black-hatted dudes and hideous gray borders. Seriously, who thought this was a nice design? Jackson didn’t play in 1970; his career ended in 1969 after appearing in 33 games for the Redlegs. He also played for the Pirates, Mets, and Cardinals.
The third card looks like 1972, but is actually 2003…
2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Joe Morgan. These things are getting more and more difficult to keep up with. You can’t just look at the last year of stats on the back anymore; now you have to get out your magnifying glass and find the copyright date. I love retro cards, but maybe Heritage is enough? I don’t know.
Finally, speaking of retro…
2013 Topps Archives Mat Latos (1990 style). I’m a 1990 Topps apologist. I think it is the best looking set of that year (not that the competitors were very good). Sure, it could have been better (check out Uncle Doc’s Redefine the Design post), but I liked it back then and I still like it today. I like the color coordination on Latos’ card with the red border. That was probably the thing that bugged me the most. Chris Sabo shouldn’t be on a purple-bordered card. He just shouldn’t.
All in all great selection of cards. Thanks Jim!
Earlier this week, the Cards That Never Were blog posted a custom 1953 Topps Ted Williams card with a twist…the card was horizontal. There were no horizontal cards in the 1953 set, nor were there in the 1990 set, but I thought I would turn the under-appreciated set on its side anyway. Here is a 1990 Topps Joey Votto “fun card”…sideways.