1992 Triple Play – Ben McDonald (Front)
1992 Triple Play – Ben McDonald (Back)
“Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer won the Cy Young Award three times. Did you know that he never gave up a grand slam home run in his career?”
That certainly is impressive, especially since Palmer pitched over 300 innings in a season several times – so there must have been some bases loaded opportunities in there somewhere. He also routinely gave up over 20 home runs a season. Maybe he was super intense with the bases loaded. Or maybe he was just lucky. Of course, all of this would have been during the times when Palmer wasn’t busy modeling underwear. Seriously, look it up. The photos now look like someone who’s trying to make fun of a 1970’s underwear model.
However, there is another perfectly good fact to learn here, but on the front of the card – Donruss has no idea how to fit an entire baseball player on a baseball card. Sure, Ben McDonald is 6’7”, but really, that photo is kind of terrible. It makes him look like a flamingo with bad stirrups.
I hope you’ve learned as much today as I have.
1990-91 Pro Set - Alexander Mogilny (Front)
1990-91 Pro Set - Alexander Mogilny (Back)
I learned a hell of a lot about Alexander Mogilny from the back of his 1990-91 Pro Set card.
- His nickname was “Magic.” I never heard this one again.
- He had a roller-coaster rookie season in Buffalo after scoring on his first shift.
- He had to miss several games because of a fear of flying. You might have picked the wrong business, kid.
- He won a gold medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
- He loves the North American lifestyle, especially fast cars. Shocking.
That’s a lot to digest all at once. I could have completely skipped school that year and just read hockey cards. Well done, Pro Set.
This remains one of my all-time favourite, albeit completely worthless, sets.
1992 Triple Play - Doug Drabek
1992 Triple Play - Doug Drabek (back)
“Pirate pitcher Harvey Haddix pitched a perfect game (no hits, walks or errors) for 12 innings in 1959 but lost the game in the 13th.”
Wow, that is impressive. That’s a long way to go to be perfect and lose. That would not feel good… I’ll bet it would feel kind of like being 9 games up in the AL Wild Card race on September 2, but then putting up a 7-20 record the rest of the way to miss the playoffs on the last day of the season by losing to Baltimore. Baltimore! Nope, actually, that would be way worse. Imagine being a fan of a team like that! But wait… could that possibly happen? Seems impossible…
Yes, I have taken this almost completely unrelated moment to shamelessly rip on the Red Sox. I have enjoyed this. Thank you and good night.
1988 Topps - Dickie Noles
Here is the delightful tidbit that Topps provided us with on the back of Dickie Noles’ 1988 card: “Was traded by Cubs to Tigers for player to be named later, 9-21-87, as this card was going to press.” The fact that the transaction had taken place is indicated on the card FRONT as well – crazy.
1988 Topps - Dickie Noles (back)
I learned a lot from this little piece of card back splendor. First of all, 1988 Topps was actually going to press DURING the 1987 season. That genuinely surprised me. I figured they waited at least until after the season ended. Or maybe that’s only for sets that have World Series subsets. Or maybe in the late 80’s they needed a few months to print the billions of extra cards they needed.
Reading up on this card led me to the outstanding 1988 Topps Blog where I then also learned that Dickie Noles actually returned to the Cubs in October 1987 – his third go-round with the club. However, he never played for them again. Baseball Reference tells me that he only ended up pitching in 3 more games in his career, 2 for Baltimore and 1 for Philadelphia.
Read those card backs. Enlightenment will surely follow.
1985 Topps - Al Oliver (Back)
“Has largest collection of men’s cologne in baseball. Plays racquetball every day during the off-season.”
1985 Topps - Al Oliver (Front)
I have four things to say/ask:
- How the hell do they know who has the largest collection of men’s cologne? Seriously, that question comes up somewhere?
- Does the racquetball thing make the first part less weird? No, it does not.
- I am not surprised that someone with a huge cologne collection would have a mustache like that and a big gold chain. Kind of makes it more believable.
- It seems like 1985 Topps is a hotbed for awesome card back facts, which is weird because they’re one of the harder colour schemes to read that Topps ever gave us.
1985 Topps - Kurt Bevacqua (Back)
“On 8-31-82 Kurt caught 5 balls dropped from top of Imperial Tower Building (San Diego), a distance of 325 feet.”
What? Was this some kind of publicity stunt? Probably.
However, I would prefer to think that Kurt Bevacqua is some kind of baseball-playing superhero for saving innocent bystanders from an evil arch-enemy known for standing on top of downtown buildings throwing baseballs at people. Since he played for the Padres in the 80’s, maybe he even had a brown and yellow cape with bubble lettering.
1985 Topps - Kurt Bevacqua (Front)
Who knows? Bevacquaman knows.
1985 Topps - Jim Gott (Front)
1985 Topps - Jim Gott (Back)
“Jim’s hobbies include Hapikido Karate. He also enjoys ballet and opera. Wife’s name is Clenice.”
If I hadn’t seen such a strange mix of hobbies and interests on the back of this card, I never would have done a Google search for Jim and found out a few things.
First, he helped teach Dennis Quaid how to pitch for the movie The Rookie.
Second, Jim and his wife Cathy (not Clenice…) spend a lot of time working with children with autism, including two of their own children.
Respect level way up, Jim Gott. We can all learn from 1985 Topps.
1990 Topps - Mel Hall
So, in the late 1980’s, Mel Hall became “interested in the art of barbering,” to the point where he gave haircuts to teammates before games. I wonder if they let the tiger watch.
And then, in 2009, this happened.
Maybe they need more barbers in prison.
Not everything on a card back deserves to be on a card back.
1988 Topps – Mark Grant. Let’s go through this line by line:
1988 Topps - Mark Grant (Back)
“Mark’s uncle, Richard Ramos, pitched in White Sox chain, 1953-1958.” – Ok, fine. Interesting enough. I like learning about those kinds of connections.
“A cousin, Rick Ramos, pitched in Expo chain, 1978-1983.” – Still interested.
“Mark is a clothing salesman.” – Really? Actually, I think he was a Major League Baseball pitcher. These days, Mark is a broadcaster, and a pretty popular one in San Diego, from what a quick Google search can track down. No mention of a clothing sales career anywhere. I think we could have stopped after the family connections.
Either way, I learned something today. Thanks, 1988 Topps, for making me a better person.