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Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Pitchers

Sweet Music

Sweet Music

“Sweet Music” Frank Viola was 14-2 at the All-Star break in 1988, making him the easy choice to start the game for the American League. He pitched two innings and earned the victory.

Clemens

Clemens

“The Rocket” Roger Clemens was next up for the AL, and retired all three batters he faced.

Gubicza

Gubicza

Mark Gubicza was the first American League pitcher to enter the game that didn’t have a cool nickname. He was also the first (and only) to let the National League score; Vince Coleman came home on a wild pitch in the 4th.

Stieb

Stieb

Should Dave Stieb be in the Hall of Fame? I think not, but there are a lot of Stieb stumpers out there. He appeared in seven ASGs in his career, but only tallied 176 victories over 16 seasons.

Russell

Russell

Jeff Russell was the “player to be named later” in the 1985 Reds-Rangers trade that saw Buddy Bell come to Cincinnati.

Cleveland Jones

Cleveland Jones

Doug Jones had a breakout season in 1988; it was the first of five seasons in which he saved at least 30 games, and his first of five All-Star Games.

Plesac

Plesac

When I started collecting baseball cards, Dan Plesac seemed to be in every discount store box set. He had a solid 18-year career, but nothing that would have warranted his inclusion in so many “Young Superstar” and “Hottest Players”-type sets.

Eckersley

Eckersley

Dennis Eckersley was the only Hall of Fame pitcher on the American League roster. Of course, Clemens would have been enshrined long ago if he hadn’t derailed his chances by getting caught using performance enhancers.

Reardon

Reardon

Two pitchers were on the American League roster but didn’t get into the game. The first is the manager’s own closer, Jeff Reardon. I wonder if players get mad when they don’t get to play, or if the experience of being there is enough.

Alexander

Alexander

Doyle Alexander started his big league career in 1971 and was named an All-Star for the first time in 1988. He did not get an opportunity to take the mound.

Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Outfielders

Henderson

Henderson

The top three vote-getters among American League outfielders were Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, and Jose Canseco.

Winfield

Winfield

Canseco went on to win the AL MVP Award on the strength of the first-ever 40 home run/40 stolen base season.

Canseco

Canseco

Coming in second for the MVP Award was Mike Greenwell, who believes he should be retroactively honored due to Canseco’s admitted steroid use.

Greenwell

Greenwell

Kirby Puckett rounds out (no pun intended) the AL outfield in 1988.

Was anyone snubbed? The players would have added Cleveland outfielder Joe Carter to the roster ahead of Henderson, but since the fans get to select the starters, Carter stayed home.

Puckett

Puckett

Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Third Basemen

Boggs

Boggs

Wade Boggs was the starting third baseman for the American League, with Carney Lansford and Gary Gaetti on the bench. I posted the Lansford and Gaetti cards a couple of years ago when they were initially made, but I had not yet decided to make new versions of the All-Stars who had cards in the actual Topps set. After I finished everything else earlier this year, I decided to go back and update the actual All-Stars as well.

Lansford

Lansford

How did the actual roster compare with the players’ opinions? See for yourself; here are the players’ picks:

I find the inclusion of Bell on the list amusing since he didn’t even play in the American League in 1988. He lost his starting job to Chris Sabo during spring training and was traded to Houston in June. In 1988, the Astros were still a National League team (as they should be still).

Gaetti

Gaetti

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Tony Perez

Perez

Another guy who never should have been traded, especially for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. I mean, seriously? Tony Perez wasn’t flashy like Pete Rose or an all-time great at his position like Johnny Bench, but he was a key part of the Big Red Machine. Okay, so he was on the decline and Dan Driessen showed some promise, but I don’t know if the fans will ever forgive the front office for letting the Doggie get away in 1976. After seven years in the wind, Perez came back to Cincinnati to finish out his career.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Lee Smith

Smith

It took far too long for Lee Smith to receive the honor of baseball immortality. After fifteen unsuccessful years on the BBWAA ballot and reaching 50% of the vote only once, the Veterans Committee finally recognized the greatness of the dominant reliever. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer with Harold Baines, Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and the late Roy Halladay.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Rollie Fingers

Fingers

Rollie Fingers played for the Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, and Milwaukee Brewers. But he was also a member of two other organizations for a grand total of seven days, though he never played a game for either team. The A’s sold him tot he Red Sox in 1976, but three days after the deal the dictator commissioner of baseball Bowie Kuhn voided it and ordered the reliever back to Oakland. He ended up leaving Charlie Finley for San Diego that off-season.

In December 1980, the Padres traded Fingers to the Cardinals, who then traded him four days later to the Brewers. He would finish his career in Milwaukee…but might not have, had Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott lifted the facial hair ban on her players. Fingers considered signing with the Reds, but opted to retire when he was told he would have to shave his famous handlebar mustache.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Luis Aparicio

Aparicio

Luis Aparicio was so good…

“How good was he?”

Luis Aparicio was so good he was selected to 13 All-Star teams in just 10 seasons! From 1959-1962, there were two All-Star Games each year. How glorious! Man, I wish they would bring back that tradition.

I love the All-Star Game. The 2019 Midsummer Classic will be held on July 9 in Cleveland, which is a mere four-ish hours from me…

I probably won’t go. I can’t go. It would be fiscally irresponsible. But man, how much fun would it be? We went to Cleveland for a regular season game last year, and despite the weather had a good time.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Wade Boggs

Boggs

Wade Boggs finished his illustrious career in Tampa Bay, collecting his 3000th hit while wearing one of the ugliest uniforms in MLB history.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Juan Marichal

Marichal

Juan Marichal is most remembered for his 14 seasons with the Giants, winning all but five of his big league victories with San Francisco. As his career wound down, however, he found himself pitching for Boston and then Los Angeles in 1974 and 1975. He debuted on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1981 with 58.1% of the vote; in 1982 he was a mere seven votes away from immortality. Finally, Marichal was elected in 1983 with 83.7% and was inducted with Baltimore legend Brooks Robinson.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Tom Seaver

Seaver

The trade of Tom Seaver to Cincinnati in 1977 caused riots in New York. Shea Stadium was nearly destroyed. Marshall Law was in effect in the Big Apple. The persons responsible for the trade were more despised than the Son of Sam.

After a handful of seasons with the Reds, Tom returned to the Mets in 1983, then moved on to the American League to finish out a terrific career.

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