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Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star Outfielders

Straw

Straw

The National League took six outfielders from four teams to the midsummer classic in 1988: starters Darryl Strawberry, Vince Coleman, and Andre Dawson, and backups Willie McGee, Rafael Palmeiro, and Andy Van Slyke.

Vincent Van Go

Coleman

I love the nicknames of the 1980s. The Straw, Vincent Van Go, The Hawk…the nicknames of players today just don’t have the same panache.

Dawson

Dawson

Not everyone liked their nickname, though. Case in point, Willie McGee hated the name “E.T.” He hated it so much, it became a national news story. The New York Times reported in 1982, “Willie McGee won’t elaborate on his dislike for the nickname. Perhaps he thinks that it’s a racial slur since E.T. is dark-skinned. Perhaps he’s embarrassed because he has the hooded eyes and pinched nose similar to that of the little creature; he also wobbles when he walks, as E.T. does in the movie. Whatever the reason, Willie McGee is entitled to prefer his name to that nickname, even though he has virtually landed in the World Series from another planet.”

McGee

McGee

If Palmeiro had a nickname, what would it be? “Finger-pointer”?

Palmeiro

Palmeiro

Kirk Gibson is the only difference between the players’ top six and the actual roster. Gibby was the eventual National League MVP and had one of the most dramatic home runs in World Series history, but his invite to the 1988 All-Star Game was evidently lost in the mail.

Van Slyke

Van Slyke

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Cards #1-9

In 1986 Topps teamed up with Quaker to issue a 33-card set full of superstars, including a nice handful of future Hall of Famers. Over the next few days, we’re going to look at the cards in the set, beginning with the first nine cards today…

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars 1-9

In 1986, these guys were enormously popular, perhaps none more than Dwight Gooden. The man had just won the Cy Young Award in 1985 with 24 wins and a minuscule 1.53 ERA…at the age of 20. Willie McGee was the NL MVP, leading the league with 216 hits and a .353 average, and teammate Vince Coleman had just come of an outstanding rookie campaign setting the record for most stolen bases by a first-year player. He won the Rookie of the Year award unanimously, shutting out the game’s first 20-game winning rookie pitcher since the 1960s.

There are currently only two Hall of Famers among these first nine players: Gary Carter and Tony Gwynn, but reasonable cases can be made for Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, and Steve Garvey. If I had to choose only one of the three for Cooperstown, Murphy would get my vote. While Parker and Garvey dominated the 1970s, Murphy was one of the biggest stars in the 1980s. Say what you will about his short peak, that five-year period between 1982 and 1986 was a fantastic run. Perhaps his chances would have been better if he had retired after the 1991 season, but I will not hold it against him for trying to stick around for a few extra years. When you love something, you want to keep doing it.

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