Saturday, July 13, 2019

Angels No-Hit Tribute to Tyler Skaggs

Two days in a row, I'm creating tribute cards. Yesterday was Jim Bouton who was 80 years old.  A genuine loss to all baseball fans.  Last night the Angels paid tribute to Tyler Skaggs.  Today would have been his 28th birthday.

The tribute wouldn't have been believed if it were scripted.  The entire team wore his uniform, name and number. His mother, a former softball player, threw out the first pitch.  From the mound.  A perfect strike. 

Taylor Cole opened the game by striking out the first batter. Normally a relief pitcher, he only went two innings.  Both of them perfect.  In the Angels first, Fletcher led off with a double, then Mike Trout launched the first pitch 454 feet to put the Angels up 2-0.  Trout would also get a double in that 7 run first inning.

Felix Pena came in and pitch 7 near-perfect innings. He allowed one walk in the 5th before retiring the next 14 in a row.  After celebrating the 13-0 no-hitter, the players all laid their #45 jerseys on the  mound. 

There was so much going on that there is no way to capture it all on one card.  Instead, I made a card in the style of the 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills crediting all three pitchers. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

1965 Alt-Topps Jim Bouton


There is not much to say about Jim Bouton that he hasn't already written.  If you are reading this blog, you are obviously an avid baseball fan.  If you haven't read "Ball Four" you are doing yourself a disservice.  This week baseball lost a great voice.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

1989 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Carl Yastrzemski & Don Drysdale

The 1989 ASG was played under the "Big A" in Anaheim. Once again neither Honorary Captain had ties to the host team.

The AL Captain was newly minted Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.  The 1989 class consisted of two first-ballot superstars, Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski. The veteran's committee also selected Red Schoendienst and umpire Al Barlik. Yaz's stats read the way you would expect of a first-ballot HOFer; Triple Crown winner, AL MVP, All Star Game MVP, 18 All Star Games, 7 Gold Gloves.  But there was controversy too.  Yaz was accused of a lack of hustle when he thought the play or game wasn't important.  This led to a much publicized rift that may or may not have caused the Sox to trade Tony Conigliaro to the Angels.

The NL Captain was Dodgers great Don Drysdale. Had he not been forced into early retirement (age 32) due to shoulder soreness, Drysdale might have been a first-ballot HOFer, too.  He was an imposing pitcher at 6'5" and he had a 2 for 1 rule: "If one of my teammates got knocked down, then I knocked down two on the other team”.  His stats bore that out. In his 14 season career, he was in the top-ten of Hit-By-Pitch 12 times. If you are wondering if this was intentional or not, he also finished in the top-ten for strikeout to walk ratio 10 times in 14 years.

Here are the Topps versions of the Captains Cards that appeared as inserts in the 1990 set.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1988 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Bobby Doerr & Willie Stargell

Continuing with my revived All Star Break Tradition, the Honorary Captains.  Spoiler alert: this is in no way as exciting as last night's duel between Guerrero and Pederson. 

In 1988 the game was played in Cincinnati. Often there's one or more players with ties to the host team.  If there's a connection here, I'm missing it. 

The AL Captain was Bobby Doerr. He spent his entire MLB career with the Red Sox. Missing only the 1945 season to serve in the Army, he played from 1937-1951Doerr was a 9 time All Star who played in the shadow of  Teddy Ballgame in his prime.  It took the Veteran's Committee to induct him in 1986.

In the NL was first-ballot 1988 inductee, Willie Stargell.  Pops was a seven time All Star. In 1979 he won the NL MVP, the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP.

Again, the honorary captains appeared on the All Star Glossy inserts in 1989 Topps rack packs.

Monday, July 8, 2019

1987 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Catfish Hunter & Billy Williams

Its been 3 years since I've made Honorary Captain cards for the All Star break.  Part of the reason is my extended break from blogging.  The other part is that I'm just not that into the design of the cards in these years.  The last card I did, 1986 Topps All Stars were really a mash-up of the base cards and the All Star cards because I disliked the 1986 All Star design so much.

The best of the group is the 1987 All Star Cards. Subjectively, it is also the best pair of Honorary Captains.  The 1987 All Star Game was played in Oakland and both Honorary Captains played for the A's and both entered the Hall of Fame in 1987.  Yet neither of these player's plaques featured caps with  A's logos.

Representing the AL is Jim "Catfish" Hunter.  Unable to choose between the A's and the Yankees, Hunter opted for no logo on his cap at all. The nickname we all know, and the fake story behind it all came from Charlie Finley.  Topps always referred to him as Jim Hunter.  It wasn't until long after his playing years that Topps finally used the nickname on the front of a card. It was the 2001 "American Pie" release.

The NL was represented by Billy Williams.  "Sweet Swinging" Billy was, of course, enshrined as a Cub. After 16 seasons in the "Friendly Confines", Williams finished out his career as a DH in Oakland.

Unlike my earlier Honorary Captain cards, these captains actually were featured on 1987 All Star cards.  They were on the Glossy All Star cards inserted into 1988 Topps rack packs.

These Glossy All Star cards were inserted into rack packs from 1984-1991. For the most part they were extremely similar year to year.  They really had no design similarities to the base cards of those series.

Other than the lack of the league logo in 1986 and he 40th anniversary badge on the 1991, there is virtually no difference between the sets.