2013 Topps Heritage – Jim Leyland
2013 Topps Heritage – Bruce Bochy
Tonight, Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers led his American League All-Stars to a 3-0 win over Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants and his National League All-Stars in New York. This leads us to a quick look back at 1987, the first time they appeared in a baseball card set together:
1987 Topps – Jim Leyland
1987 Topps – Bruce Bochy
Jim Leyland was only 74 years old in 1987, still had a dark mustache, and was just entering his second year of an 11-year tenure as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. This, of course, was before he moved to Florida (as all old men do), Colorado (remember that? No?) and Detroit (because he thought it was still booming like it was 1955. It is not.).
Bruce Bochy was entering his final season as a player in 1987. Over 358 games with three teams, Bochy retired with a .239 batting average, a hit in his only World Series at-bat, and an excellent mustache, which later became a very boring old man goatee… which you can do when you’ve just won two World Series in three years.
Obvious edge here: Leyland
1988 Topps – Jack Morris
With November 1 comes the start of Movember, when men everywhere grow mustaches in order to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. As an appreciator of fine mustaches, I thought I’d start November off right and join in on the fun by celebrating one of the all-time great mustaches in baseball. This one was grown by Mr. Jack Morris.
Morris was known as a fierce competitor with a dirty forkball, and had the most wins of any pitcher in the 1980’s. However, he also gave up the most hits, earned runs and home runs of any pitcher in the same decade, leading to some pretty heated debates (a good summary can be found at Getting Blanked) about whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame or not, Morris will always have Game 7 to hang his hat on, and a mustache to hang his four World Series rings on.
2011 Topps Heritage – Jim Leyland
Today, on the eve of game three of the 2012 ALCS, it is time we take a moment to appreciate Jim Leyland’s mustache. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves as one of the manliest of manly mustaches.
Jim Leyland’s mustache is the kind of mustache that your grandfather would have if he was the kind of grandfather that appreciated a good bottle of scotch. It’s the kind of mustache that has some serious stories about the war in Korea, or maybe the Cold War. It’s the kind of mustache that is equally at home falling asleep in front of a fireplace with a book on its chest, or going absolutely apeshit because it didn’t get its way.
Jim Leyland is doing a hell of a job managing all those fat guys in Detroit through that incredibly easy division, and I respect him for it. You’ve got to think, though, that the mustache is doing the lion’s share of the work.
1991 Donruss - Lloyd Moseby
I don’t like the Detroit Tigers. Like Sidney Crosby’s feelings about the Philadelphia Flyers, I just don’t like them. They have a great history, a fantastic ballpark, and a pretty good team this year (although they do get to beat up on some shitty teams a lot to inflate their record), but that doesn’t mean I have to like them.
Maybe that’s why Lloyd Moseby looks so strange to me in a Tigers uniform. It’s just not right. He should be rocking the baby blue and ruining his knees on the plastic carpeting they used to call Astroturf at Exhibition Stadium.
1985 Topps - Lloyd Moseby
See, isn’t that better?
1987 Donruss - Tom Brookens
Tom Brookens played in the Majors for 12 years, but the mark that his mustache left on professional baseball will last a lifetime.
Brookens’ mustache was thick and dark. It hooked around his mouth, teasing into the beginnings of a Fu Manchu, but then stopped there before things got too crazy.
The mustache wasn’t a showman, but was a show in itself without having to work too hard, kind of like Brookens himself. He played the majority of his games at third base, but also spent a decent amount of time at second and short, and even caught five innings once.
Now a First Base Coach for the Tigers, Brookens still has the mustache. Although the colour is now a shade of grey, the spirit remains.
1984 Topps - Johnny Wockenfuss
Not to be confused with those giant twins who claimed they invented Facebook, Johnny Wockenfuss had a pretty decent twelve-year career as a backup catcher, first baseman and outfielder – all three positions are listed on his 1984 Topps card. Talk about versatility, kids!
Wockenfuss also made MLive.com’s list of Sparky Anderson’s top 10 quotes with this beauty: “Problem with Wockenfuss getting on base is that it takes three doubles to score him.”
1989 Topps - Sparky Anderson
Thanks, Sparky, for all the great years.
And thanks also for looking like you were the same age for 40 years. I honestly believe Anderson’s birth year could have actually been 1823. He was timeless.
Cheers to one of the greats.