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.
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
In 1993, there was a not particularly young pitcher (27 at the time) named Tim Wakefield.
1994 Topps - Tim Wakefield
Wakefield had burst onto the National League scene in 1992, but struggled mightily with the Pirates after that, to the point where he spent 1994 in Triple-A Buffalo. He wasn’t very good there, either.
In April of 1995, the Pirates released the by then 28-year-old Wakefield, and he signed a deal with Boston. He went on to pitch 17 pretty successful seasons with the Red Sox before finally retiring just a couple of days ago at the age of 45.
2011 Topps - Tim Wakefield
You can now find Wakefield somewhere in Florida with his grandkids, teaching them the ancient art of the knuckleball, something that he demonstrates for the young folk, above, on 2011 Topps.
Once, he wore a really bad hat and modeled the new Capitals jerseys on a hockey card:
1995-96 Topps - Dale Hunter
Now, he is their head coach and they are wearing red, white and blue again:
Dale Hunter, ladies and gentlemen. Pretty tough dude, unless you ask Pierre Turgeon.