1989 Upper Deck – Ron Washington
2013 Topps Heritage – Ron Washington
Back then, in 1989, Ron Washington was just a young, old-looking guy staring off into an uncertain future as his playing career wound down, not really sure what was next for him. Well, I’ll tell you, Wash from 1989: some cocaine, and being one of the “old school” guys with Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s (see around the 0:58 mark). Then, you’ll come close to winning the World Series, and nobody will be sure whether to credit you for getting the Texas Rangers there, or blame you for them losing.
Now, in 2013, Ron Washington is an old, young-ish-looking guy staring out at the bullpen, looking completely unsure about how to use it (probably because he is completely unsure – that’s where the pitchers sit, right?) But hey, he’s cool, he’s unique, and people like him. Sometimes, a lot.
1984 Topps – Rick Langford
Green and yellow and green and yellow and green and yellow and mustache.
That’s Rick Langford, everybody. He of the 28 (twenty-eight!) complete games and 290 innings pitched in 1980, along with a whopping 102 strikeouts.
But that mustache – well, it just doesn’t really want to be defined. I’d call it a Chevron XL, based on this delightful and educational information resource from the American Mustache Institute.
1984 Topps – Jeff Burroughs
Late in his career, after joining the Oakland Athletics, Jeff Burroughs sported a beard. It was a thick, full beard, which, thanks to Jon Dyer’s blog (very educational), we know was called the “Short Boxed” version. It was a classic beard perfectly fit for sporting life, including the baseball field.
If Jeff Burroughs’ beard could talk, it would tell you how great it was, and that it simply didn’t respect you, with your clean-shaven-ness. You could never lead the league in RBI in 1974. You could never hit 41 home runs in 1977. You could never make it to the postseason in your final season, with the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays. It would also tell you that Jeff Burroughs was Bryce Harper in Washington 40 years before Bryce Harper – cool story at the DC Baseball History website.
Baseball. Beard. Burroughs. Three words that start with B.
1992 Topps - Gene Nelson
If I had a mustache like that, I’d be smiling too. Gene Nelson was one of those relievers that don’t exist anymore. You know, the ones that would pitch in 50-60 games and rack up 100-120 innings. Nelson achieved a reasonable amount of success, helping Oakland to a World Series sweep over San Francisco in 1989. Well, I’m not sure he really helped that much – his ERA was 54.00 and he allowed two homers in a total of one inning of work, but I’ll bet with a ‘stache like that and the hockey-style flow that he was still able to par-tay after the A’s won.
Speaking of that, if I ever stole the DeLorean from Doc Brown and Marty McFly, and I was only allowed to take it back in time to a World Series party from the 1980’s, the 1989 A’s party would be the one I’d go to. Just think about all those egos, all those steroids, all that beer, all those Camaros and probably all that cocaine (well, maybe that was a bit earlier, who knows…) combining into one perfect storm of victory and douchebaggery. Tell me you wouldn’t sit in the corner with a Miller High Life and enjoy that one.
1991 Upper Deck - Rickey Henderson
You’d think this card would have been more effective had they used some frames of Rickey Henderson running the basepaths, as opposed to stopping on them.
After all, he was the greatest of all time.
1988 Score - Moose Haas
It’s really too bad ballplayers don’t have names like “Moose” anymore. But then, Bryan Haas wouldn’t have made this section of Sorting by Teams. This, of course, is such an impressive honour that he must consider himself fortunate that he once ran into a moose on vacation.
In addition, it is also noted that Haas is an amateur magician and a certified locksmith while also maintaining a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Is there anything he can’t do? I’m blown away by this information.
1990 Fleer - Storm Davis
Coming into your card from way, way outside the borders in the land of terrible photography, it is a phenomenon known only as Storm Davis!
Two things I learned about Storm Davis from the interwebs:
1. He’s pissed at Tony LaRussa for going back to his top two starters after the earthquake delay in the 1989 World Series. Tony LaRussa was right.
2. Bill James thinks his 1989 season is a great example of stats, specifically a win-loss record, not telling the whole story. Bill James is right.
Either way, terrible card. And I like 1990 Fleer.
1990 Upper Deck - Dennis Eckersley
When I see this haircut, the glorious, dark flowing mane they call The Eck, it makes me think of the following things:
-A heightened level of intensity on the mound.
-That one-eyed, sidearm delivery, frozen on so many baseball cards.
-The accompanying mustache.
-The days when the Oakland A’s were the big, bad guys and the Yankees were average.
-Robbie Alomar hitting a home run to turn the 1992 ALCS around.
-Hating Dennis Eckersley. Not because he was such a good pitcher on a team I couldn’t stand, but because he pulled off the same great flow for his entire career.
Today, here is a look at two pitchers with names that you wouldn’t want to have as pitchers, compliments of 1988 Donruss.
1988 Donruss - Eric Plunk
First, Eric Plunk – as in, got plunked, see here – who put together a pretty decent career, primarily as a reliever, including some playoff appearances with the strong Cleveland teams (strong… Cleveland… teams… try saying that without smirking) of the mid-1990’s. Plunk didn’t end up being a great playoff performer, but at least he got there.
1988 Donruss - Bob Walk
Next up, Bob Walk. For a guy with a name like that, he too had a solid career. He won the World Series with the Phillies as a rookie in 1980, won the NL East with the Braves in 1982, and also with the Pirates in 1990, 1991 and 1992. He posted a career record of 105-81 and now works as a broadcaster in Pittsburgh. The Pirates even did a bobblehead night for him at PNC Park. Not bad, I say.
So, Plunk and Walk, I salute your efforts to become pitchers in the first place, and for getting to be pretty good at it. Well played.
1983 Topps - Mike Norris
Anyone this cool must be Chuck’s brother. How does nobody know about this?
Mike actually won 22 games for the 1980 Oakland Athletics, and won the Gold Glove in both 1980 and 1981. However, he was burned out and out of the majors by the end of the 1983 season. Impressively, seven years later he made a comeback with the A’s and posted a 3.00 ERA in 27 innings.
Now you know.