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 Pinnacle – John Burkett Sidelines
In 1992, Pinnacle had a subset called “Sidelines” which showcased some baseball players’ off-field hobbies and activities. In this case, they talked about pitcher John Burkett, then of the San Francisco Giants. As it turns out, Burkett was something of a bowler. The Boston Globe mentioned it in an article from the 2003-2004 offseason, when Burkett was still hoping to get a Major League pitching job (he didn’t) and was planning to enter some bowling events. (Side question: are they called matches? Tournaments? Bonspiels? Please advise.)
However, we can see that Burkett wasn’t much of a dresser with that pink golf shirt and acid washed jeans – like, not a little bit acid washed. We are talking about industrial grade, straight out of a 1987 Camaro acid washed. And are those even bowling shoes? Come on, John. Wear the clown shoes like the rest of the damn world. Good form, though.
1984 Topps - Bob Brenly
There is absolutely no way I would get into a collision at the plate with that dude. Well, at least there’s no way I’m going to get into a collision at the plate with that dude’s mustache. That thing could knock me to the ground without even trying.
SIDE NOTE: Did you know that Bob Brenly played 48 games for the 1989 AL East Champion Toronto Blue Jays? Me neither.
1988 Score - Atlee Hammaker
As a kid, I thought this name was hilarious. I imagined him spending his time away from the ballpark doing things like, you know, making ham. I was pretty smart as a kid, what can I say.
Turns out, while checking out his Baseball Reference page, Hammaker led the NL in ERA back in 1983. Sure, he pitched just enough innings to qualify, but still shows how much talent he had before injuries pushed his career off the rails.
1985 Topps All-Star - Jeff Leonard
For most of his career, I remember him as Jeffrey Leonard, but in 1985, it was just Jeff.
Yes, that’s a meshback cap on backwards – backwards!
Yes, he’s staring menacingly (seductively?) at the camera.
Yes, Wikipedia states that he was known for his “one flap down” home run trot, for taking too long to round the bases during the 1987 NLCS, and that he also acquired the nickname “Penitentiary Face.” Seriously, check it out.
1983 Topps - Champ Summers
This has got to be the ultimate baseball name. I mean, can you think of a hockey player or football player being named “Champ Summers?” No, it would have to be a ballplayer.
Champ wasn’t a regular player for most of his career, but in 1979 and 1980 he took advantage of some playing time with Detroit and put up a couple of decent seasons.
He is most famous for this absolutely fantastic brawl between the Padres and Braves, however. The video is worth a look.
His Wikipedia profile indicates that he now runs a summer camp called “Champ Summers’ Summer Camp for Champs,” which earns Champ the award for best name usage in a personal project. Ever.