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Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star Second Basemen

Sandberg

Sandberg

Ryne Sandberg was elected to start at second base for the National League, which was really no surprise. Robby Thompson of the San Francisco Giants was chosen to back him up, but did not get into the game (although Ryno didn’t play the full game).

Thompson

Thompson

The fans and players agreed on the starter here, as the future Hall of Famer was the clear choice for both. Here are the results of USA Today’s players poll:

Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star First Basemen

Will the Thrill

Will the Thrill

Will Clark was the starting first baseman for the National League in 1987, with Andres Galarraga and Gerald Perry backing him up.

The Big Cat

The Big Cat

The players would have started The Big Cat by a slight margin over Will The Thrill. Perry was fifth in the players’ poll; he was the lone Atlanta representative on the NL roster.

Perry

Perry

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Joe Morgan

Morgan

Joe Morgan only went to two All-Star Games during his first stint with Houston in the 1960s and early 1970s. Once he arrived in Cincinnati, though, he never missed the mid-season appointment. From 1972 to 1978, “The Little General” started at second base for the National League, and in 1979 he was named as a reserve. After leaving the Reds in 1980, he never made another All-Star team. Coincidence?

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Gaylord Perry

Perry

Gaylord Perry was a much better pitcher than people remember. Yes, he used the spitball, but does anyone really care about that? 300 wins, 3500 strikeouts, and the 13th highest career WAR for pitchers. If my math is correct, at the time of his retirement, he was 8th all-time. Since then, he has been passed by Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Phil Niekro, and Bert Blyleven.

P.S. The Mariners really need to bring back the trident as their primary logo. So much more character and charm than the current borefest they wear.

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 Frank Robinson

Robinson

Frank Robinson was one of the greatest players to ever wear the Cincinnati Reds uniform. And the Baltimore Orioles uniform. And the Dodgers, Angels, and Indians uniforms. Though he never played for them, Robinson was one of the greatest to pull the Giants, Expos, and Nationals jerseys over his head. Ok, so the Expos and Nationals were button-ups, not pullovers, but you get the point. The guy was a legend.

One of his nicknames was “Pencils” due to his unusually scrawny knees. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1956, NL MVP in 1961, and AL MVP in 1966. He also took home the World Series MVP in 1966 when his Orioles swept the Dodgers. He was selected to the All-Star team in twelve seasons. In 1975, the Indians named Robby the first black manager in big league history. He managed all or part of 16 seasons for four franchises (five teams, if you want to separate the Expos from the Nationals). He was named the AL Manager of the Year in 1989 on the strength of the Orioles’ second-place finish.

Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 along with Hank Aaron, Happy Chandler, and Travis Jackson.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Orlando Cepeda

Cepeda

The support for Orlando Cepeda was small in 1980, as only 12.5% of the BBWAA included him on their ballots in his initial year. That support swelled, however, and in 1994 he missed induction by a mere seven votes. While he was shy of the “magic numbers,” he was dominant during his career. The 1967 MVP was a seven-time All-Star and received the first-ever Outstanding Designated Hitter Award in 1973. The Veterans Committee bestowed upon Cepeda the long-overdue honor of Cooperstown in 1999.

Baseball cards from Orlando

packs

I have been sitting on this post for absolutely no reason other than laziness. I bought a handful of fifty-cent packs when I was in Orlando at the beginning of the month, and scanned a handful of them, even uploaded the scans, but just haven’t been motivated to post them. I have nothing else planned for today, so let’s see what I got…

Davis

First up is Eric Davis from the 1987 Fleer Star Stickers set. These cards are very similar to the 1986 set, but with a green border instead of maroon. Either way, the border clashes with the red jersey.

Mattingly

The 1988 Fleer Star Stickers went with a gray border sprinkled with colorful stars. This Don Mattingly is the best card I pulled from that pack.

Davis mini

Franco mini

Back to 1987, and a pair of Reds in a pack: the best centerfielder and the best relief pitcher of the second half of the decade. John Franco is criminally underrated.

Benzinger

Benzinger

Clark

Clark

I bought a couple of packs of 1990 Donruss. Don’t look at me like that. I did not have any Grand Slammers cards, and I wanted a couple. I pulled the Todd Benzinger from one pack, and Will Clark from another. If I had found another pack with Bo Jackson on top, I would have bought that one too.

Big Hurt

I did not know the 1992 Fleer “The Performer” cards came in packs of their own. I assumed they were inserts. In a five-card pack, I pulled Nolan Ryan and Frank Thomas. And probably some ‘roiders, I can’t remember now.

Griffey All-Star

Henke

Art cards will always be my weakness. I’m not sure why I picked up a pack of 1992 Score, but I was happy to pull these bad boys.

Ryan

Henderson

Also from the same 1992 Score pack.

Thome

There it is. I knew there had to be something cool showing on the top of a 1992 Score pack for me to buy it, even at only fifty cents. Jim Thome is the man.

Dennys

Kirby Puckett from 1996 Pinnacle Denny’s. Not sure why I bought this one-card pack. Oh well, at least it’s a Hall of Famer.

Double Headers

Double Header

I have always wanted some Double Headers, but have never seen them in person. Vince Coleman is from 1990, while Wade Boggs and Andre Dawson are from 1989.

Brett

candy

Think this candy is still good from 1991?

buttons

Finally, a couple of 1990 Baseball Buttons. I already have several of these, so I probably shouldn’t have bought them, but it was only fifty cents.

Legends of Giants Baseball by Mike Shannon, illustrated by Chris Felix, Scott Hannig, and Donnie Pollard (2016)

Giants

Legends of Giants Baseball
by Mike Shannon
illustrated by Chris Felix, Scott Hannig, and Donnie Pollard
Black Squirrel Books (an imprint of the Kent State University Press), 2016
104 pages

Name the top five Giants players—New York or San Francisco—in baseball history. Most can easily rattle off a handful of names: Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, and of course Willie Mays. And while these Hall of Famers are profiled in Mike Shannon’s new book, Legends of Giants Baseball, the author is not content to stop there. Forty players are presented, ten each from 1883-1925, 1926-1950, 1951-1975, and 1976-2015. Baseball fans can dig deep with Tim Keefe, Sal Maglie, Jim Davenport, and even recent players such as Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner.

Of course, Barry Bonds is included as well, but Shannon does not gloss over the slugger’s sins. He writes, “It is truly a shame that his is not a simple story of baseball greatness but a cautionary tale of jealousy, arrogance, unbridled ambition, and dishonesty.” All can certainly agree that the numbers are astounding, but the path to his final career totals was fraught with controversy.

As with Shannon’s Cincinnati Reds Legends from last year, Legends of Giants Baseball is infinitely enhanced by the artistic talents of Chris Felix, Scott Hannig, and Donnie Pollard. My favorite portraits are Hannig’s depictions of Ott and Jack Clark, each done in a different style.

The names on any list of legends will change depending on the writer and the time the list was created, but the artwork on Legends of Giants Baseball makes this a must-have not only for Giants fans, but for all baseball fans.

Learn more about Black Squirrel Books (an imprint of the Kent State University Press).

Purchase Legends of Giants Baseball by Mike Shannon, illustrated by Chris Felix, Scott Hannig, and Donnie Pollard.

Goodbye, Dave Henderson

(July 21, 1958 – December 27, 2015)

Fourteen-year MLB veteran Dave Henderson, nicknamed “Hendu,” suffered a heart attack and passed away today. Henderson played for the Mariners, Red Sox, Giants, A’s, and Royals, and was an All-Star in 1991. He played in four World Series for the Red Sox (1986) and A’s (1988-1990) and hit a dramatic home run in the fifth game of the 1986 ALCS against the Angels (video of the home run is above, or watch the full game here).

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