1989 Upper Deck – Walt Terrell
His name is Walt, like your father might be named. It was a middle name, following Charles, like your grandfather’s name might have been. He had an everyman mustache, like your coach or your teacher might have had. As evidenced by this baseball card, he tried really, really hard to achieve success, like anyone’s role model might have done.
He is from Jeffersonville, Indiana, the kind of made up town name they use in Disney movies and coming of age dramas on TV. He went to college in Morehead, Kentucky, a place recognized as a fourth class city within its own state.
And you just know he tells all his buddies that he was the guy who gave up Mark McGwire’s first ever Major League home run, even if the damn thing would’ve stayed in the park if it wasn’t for the steroids back then.
Walt Terrell, everybody, an Everyday Normal Guy who had a pretty good career playing baseball for money.
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
1992 Topps – Craig Lefferts
By 1992, the mustache was becoming more and more a thing of the past in Major League Baseball. Players everywhere were becoming significantly less masculine by shaving their facial hair and chopping off mullets left, right and centre.
However, clearly, Craig Lefferts would have none of it. Instead of going Full Monty and removing the mustache completely, he went for a short-cropped haircut along with a perfectly manicured mustache – the kind of mustache you might possibly see on a highway patrolman, or maybe someone who spends a lot of time in front of the camera.
Interesting Craig Lefferts fact: He started five games in his rookie season, 1983. Then, he pitched in 526 Major League Baseball games as a reliever, including an NL-leading 83 in 1986, before oddly starting all 32 games he appeared in during the 1992 campaign. In 1993 and 1994, he was primarily back in the bullpen.
Craig Lefferts, we salute you for fighting the good fight when many had already accepted defeat and moved on.
1991 Donruss - Greg A. Harris
1991 Donruss - Greg W. Harris
Two Greg Harrises pitched in the Majors in 1990: Greg Allen Harris, who played for Boston that year, and Gregory Wade Harris, who played for San Diego.
How we know they’re different people:
Greg Allen Harris was known not only for being both a mediocre starter and a mediocre reliever, he also wore a funny-looking glove that could be worn on either hand, because he had the ability to throw with either hand. He even demonstrated this ability on 1991 Score.
Gregory Wade Harris, meanwhile, posted some pretty decent numbers as a reliever before being converted into a mediocre starter himself. He threw with his right hand only.
How we’re not sure they’re different people because we’ve never seen them in the same room together:
They both pitched, and for the most part they pitched in opposite leagues. Back before interleague play and the Internet, who really knew what was going on in the other league? There’s almost no way to tell that these alleged Greg Harrises were not just one person going back and forth from league to league, being average.
1991 Bowman - Robbie Beckett
1991 Bowman - Steve Martin
I know the Padres changed colours in 1991 from the old brown and orange to blue, orange and white… but was this hideous display really necessary from ’91 Bowman? I’m not sure this is a better alternative to just using photos in the old uniforms.
This was about the very tail end of the bad airbrushing years, so I guess they needed to get it out of their system before moving on.
1988 Fleer - Tim Flannery
So, Tim Flannery is sharing equal amounts of card space here with a Sauritch surfboard. In fact, the surfboard might be the primary focus of the photo. Upon looking at the back of the card, I discovered that Tim Flannery was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The surfing connection did not make sense unless Tulsa has an ocean shoreline I’m unaware of.
So, I looked into it further, and with the help of trusty Wikipedia, and also MLB.com, it turns out he is a legend in San Diego. He stands fourth all time on the Padres games played list, behind only Tony Gwynn, Garry Templeton, and Dave Winfield. Therefore, it is fully possible that upon becoming a local legend, Flannery also became involved in local activities like surfing.
However, it is still ridiculous that this card exists – it’s a fucking surfboard.
1982 Fleer - Danny Boone
1991 Score - Dan Boone
There are two reasons that Danny Boone’s name should be famous:
1. He is a descendant of Daniel Boone, famous American pioneer and folk hero.
2. He pitched in the majors in 1981, 1982, and then after a lengthy absence from any level of the game, again in 1990.
Boone looked pretty happy on his 1982 Fleer card. He was coming off his rookie season in 1981, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1-0 record in 37 relief appearances with San Diego. Things looked good. By 1983, however, he was out of the majors, and out of baseball altogether by the end of the 1984 season.
While away from the game, he learned how to throw a knuckleball, and by 1990 he got back to the big leagues with Baltimore. Known by Dan by that time, he was featured in 1991 Score as a “Rookie Prospect,” ten years after his Major League debut.
Unfortunately, he never made it back to the big leagues, but it’s a great story. What I’d like to know is whether there has ever been another prospect card released so long after a rookie card?
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.
Today, we are reliving the December 5, 1990 trade that brought Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar to the Toronto Blue Jays from San Diego in exchange for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff. On paper it looks pretty fair, but I’d say the Jays got the better end of this one.
Now, the before and after shots from 1991 Upper Deck:
1991 Upper Deck - Fred McGriff (Before)
1991 Upper Deck - Fred McGriff (After)
1991 Upper Deck - Joe Carter (Before)
1991 Upper Deck - Joe Carter (After)
1991 Upper Deck - Tony Fernandez (Before)
1991 Upper Deck - Tony Fernandez (After)
1991 Upper Deck - Roberto Alomar (Before)
1991 Upper Deck - Roberto Alomar (After)
There you go.
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.