Tuesday, August 29, 2017

1987 Fleer, Steve Carlton

#635 Steve Carlton

Here is a fun card of Steve Carlton that I got signed at the College World Series in 2014. This is the third and final card that I got signed that day. The first one, his '81 Donruss, can bee seen here and the second one here.

On August 5th, 1986, Steve struck out Eric Davis to record his 4,000th career strikeout. In my opinion, that is quite a milestone. At that point, he was just the second pitcher to ever record 4,000 strikeouts. Yet, for some reason, this is the only base card of Steve commemorating that feat. While Donruss never really had a subset for milestones or record breakers, Topps did at that time and this one went unrecognized by them. I think it is funny that Steve broke the record while with the Giants, but us shown with the White Sox on this card, though.

In case you are wondering, Steve is now fourth on the all-time strikeout leaderboard with 4,136 K's. Nolan Ryan is first, followed by Randy Johnson and then Roger Clemens.

It is so strange seeing Steve with the White Sox. It is about as strange as seeing Tom Seaver with them.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

1987 Fleer, Dennis Eckersley

#563 Dennis Eckersley

Here is the second of three cards that I got signed by Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley, at the College World Series in 2014. Those were the good days when they brought in former players to sign autographs. I got a lot of great signatures over the years while they were doing that. But, on the other hand, it is kind of nice that they don't do it anymore. The signings were kind of a distraction and made it hard to watch baseball. I would leave games early to get in line or hang out in line while the people I was with went into the game to get a seat. Now I just get to relax and watch competitive college baseball. And not get autographs from Hall of Famers.

My wife actually got this particular card signed for me. In fact, she got two signed. I gave her this one and an A's card and told her to pick one out. Being indecisive, she was unable to do that, so Eck went ahead and signed both for her. Since he signed two, he did not add the Hall of Fame inscription like he did with the '81 Donruss he signed for me.

Dennis pitched for the Cubs for two and a half seasons. He was dealt to Chicago for Bill Buckner during the '84 season. After starting the season 4-4 with the Red Sox, he went 10-8 with the Cubbies and posted a 3.03 ERA. The next season, he was 11-7 with a 3.08 ERA. In 1986, he went 6-11 with a 4.57 ERA. The Cubs traded him to Oakland right before the start of the '87 season for three minor leaguers that would never play in the Majors. Eckersley would never start a game again and would go on to punch his ticket to Cooperstown as the A's closer.

Friday, August 25, 2017

1987 Fleer, Dale Sveum

#358 Dale Sveum

Dale Sveum has been the Royals hitting coach since 2014 and this is the only autograph that I have gotten from him. I was lucky enough to catch him outside The K before a game late last season and he was nice enough to sign one of three for me.

Dale played in the Majors for twelve seasons with the Brewers, Phillies, White Sox, A's, Mariners, Pirates, and Yankees. Over that time, he was a .236 hitter with 69 home runs and 340 RBI. He had one monster season with the Brew Crew in 1987. That year, he hit a robust .252 with 25 dingers and 95 RBI. It was only one of two seasons that he hit double digit home runs and the only one where he hit more than 15.

Dale spent his first five seasons in Milwaukee and then bounced around a ton after that. Even though he played with seven different teams, good luck finding a card of him not with the Brewers. From what I have seen, he only has a couple of Phillies and A's cards, one Yankee card, and not a single card of him with the White Sox, Mariners, or Pirates. The lack of a Pirates card surprises me since he got 306 at-bats with them in 1997. That was the most he had in a single season since 1988.

I find it funny that Dale has 59 more strikeouts than hits as a Major Leaguer. That is funny to me because he is the hitting coach for a team that won a World Series two years ago by not striking out. How does that work?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

1987 Fleer, Bob Melvin

#281 Bob Melvin

Here is the third and final card of Bob Melvin that I got signed at Spring Training in 2014. Bob and his A's were visiting the White Sox that day and I did pretty well with the A's coaches. I only got a few players to sign that day since the bigger named A's did not make the road trip. Along with Bob, I also got Chili Davis, Curt Young, Ariel Prieto, and Mike Gallego.

With this card, I have signed cards from Bob as a Giant, Oriole, and Tiger, the first three teams he played with. He also played for the Royals, Red Sox, Yankees, and Red Sox over the final three seasons of his career. Of those four teams, I don't think he has a Yankee or White Sox card and he only has a couple of Royal and Red Sox cards. When I went and saw the A's this past Spring Training, the three cards I took with me to get signed by him were all managers cards. I took one of each team he managed, the Mariners, Diamondbacks, and A's. I did not get him this year, so I still have some work to do to get a card signed for each team he was with.

Bob played for the Giants for three seasons. Over that time, he played in 265 games and hit .220 with 24 home runs and 83 RBI. His only postseason action came with the club in 1987. That fall, he got into three games of the NLCS and was 3-7.

Monday, August 21, 2017

1987 Donruss Opening Day, Mariano Duncan

#84 Mariano Duncan

Here is the second card of Mariano Duncan to be posted on here. The first one was posted in 2014 and it can be seen here. The two cards were signed at the same time, during a Cubs minor league Spring Training workout in 2014. Mariano was the hitting coach for the Daytona Cubs at the time. The Daytona Cubs are no more and Mariano has moved up to AAA to fill the same role for the Iowa Cubs.

Mariano played for the Dodgers for parts of four seasons before being dealt to the Reds for Lenny Harris and Kal Daniels. Over that time, he hit just .234 with 20 home runs and 95 RBI. More impressively, he stole 100 bases for the Dodgers, including a career high of 48 in 1986. The most bases he would steal in a season with any other organization was 23 with the Phillies in 1992.

Mariano did not do as well as Franklin Stubbs did on Opening Day in 1987. While Franklin went 3-4, Mariano went hitless in four at-bats while striking out three times.

Friday, August 18, 2017

1987 Donruss Opening Day, Franklin Stubbs

#83 Franklin Stubbs

Here is the third and final card of Franklin Stubbs that I have to post on here. The first two were posted in 2014, shortly after I got them signed at a Dodger minor league Spring Training workout. You can see his Astros card here and Brewers card here.

Franklin spent parts of six seasons with the Dodgers, his longest tenure with any club. Over that time, he would play fist base and outfield and hit .227 with 59 home runs and 178 RBI. His best season with them was in 1986 when he clubbed 23 homers and drove in 58. He was a member of the '88 World Championship team and hit .294 with two doubles and two RBI in the Series.

If you are not familiar of the '87 Donruss Opening Day set, let me tell you about it. It was only available as a set and it only featured players that started on opening day in 1987. I wish Topps Opening Day set was like that. The back of the card even tells how opening day went for the player. On the back of this card, we learn that Franklin went 3-4 with a double and a run in a 4-3 loss to the Astros.

One of my local card shops in 1987 broke up a few sets of these and sold team sets and grab bags. Because of that I have a few cards from the set, but not many. I have only posted one other card from this set and it can be seen here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1987 Donruss, Ray Hayward

#632 Ray Hayward

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Ray Hayward at the College World Series in 2014. Ray is the pitching coach for Texas Tech and was nice enough, and a little surprised, to sign for me before the Red Raiders opening game of the series.

This is the only Padres card of Ray that is out there. He made three starts for San Diego in 1986 and did not fare too well. He only lasted 10 innings and went 0-2 with an ERA of 9.00. He gave up 16 hits, walked 4, struck out 6, threw 5 wild pitches, and even balked once.

Two of those three starts were really bad. But, he did have one quality start in there against the Dodgers where he pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out six. The Padres were down 3-1 when he came out, but he got the no-decision when they rallied for a 7-6 victory.

Ray made four relief appearances with San Diego in 1987 and posted a 16.50 ERA in 6 innings of work.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1986 Topps, Milt Thompson

#112T Milt Thompson

It has been a nice run with the '86 Topps set, but this is the final one this time around. I already got a new '86T that is ready to go whenever I make it back to this set.

Here is the second card of Milt Thompson that I got signed at Spring Training this year. The first one was his '86 Fleer card and it can be seen here. I originally wanted both of his '86 Topps cards signed, but the base card that I had was not in the best of shape. So, I settled with the Fleer just to have a card of him as a Brave.

Milt was traded to the Philliies after the '85 season. The Phils sent over Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil and got got back Milt and 1987 Cy Young Award winner, Steve Bedrosian. I think the Phillies got the better deal in that trade.

Milt stayed in Philly for just three seasons before heading to St. Louis, only to end up back in Philly four years later. Thanks to the two stints with the team, that was the club that he played for the most. Over his years as a Phillie, Milt hit .279 with 22 home runs and 173 RBI. His best season was with them, too, when he had career-highs in hits (159), home runs (7), and stolen bases (46) during the 1987 season.

Milt's lone postseason exposure was with the Phils in 1993. In the Fall Classic, Milt had a very respectable series, hitting .294 with a home run and 6 RBI in the six games.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

1986 Topps, Bob McClure

#71T Bob McClure

This is the fourth card of Bob McClure that I have posted on here. Ten years ago, Bob was the pitching coach for the Royals and I got three cards signed by him one day at The K. Those three cards were posted on here back in the early years of this blog. When I posted Bob's '81 Donruss card on here, it was just the eleventh '81D to be posted. I have now posted 223 cards from the set.

Bob was the pitching coach for the Phillies in 2015 and I got him to sign three more cards for me at a Giants game I attended that year. To my dismay, those were the only autographs that I got that day. But, at least I didn't come home empty handed.

With the first three posts of Bob, I had two Brewers cards and a Cardinals card. With these new additions, I added this Expos card and a Mets and Angels card. I only need a Royals card and a Marlins card signed by him to have all of his teams covered. The only problem is that I do not own a Royals or Marlins card of him and I have no plans on seeing the Phillies play anytime soon.

Bob pitched for the Expos for one full season and two partial seasons. Over that time, he went 9-9 with 13 saves and a 3.63 ERA.

That is a fantastic airbrush job on this card. Just look at the size of the top button on the jersey.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1986 Topps, John Kruk

#56T John Kruk

Here is the first John Kruk card that I have posted on here in three years. I posted three Phillies cards of him the last time around and now I finally have a Padre card to show off. This card, like the previous three, was signed at the College World Series in 2014. That was during the good old days when corporate sponsors brought in former players to sign autographs.

Unlike Pete Incaviglia in the previous post, John played some minor league ball before making his Major League debut. And I am sure that there was much less hype around his debut than Inky had. Nevertheless, John had a solid, yet unspectacular, rookie campaign with the Padres in 1986. He got into 122 games that year, but only started 68 of those. The rest of them he entered as a pinch hitter. He only had 4 home runs and 38 RBI, but he did hit .309. Surprisingly, John received a vote for Rookie of the Year while Pete did not.

On a side note, I recently chose to become unemployed. So, I am hoping that this downtime will allow me to do some catching up on this blog and get a card a day posted until I find a new job. But, I am so far behind on here that, even if I go forty days without finding work, I will only be posting cards from the early '90s at that point.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

1986 Topps, Pete Incaviglia

#48T Pete Incaviglia

In some cases, this card is almost like a draft pick card. Pete was taken eighth overall by the Expos in the 1985 draft. But, he refused to play in the minor leagues and never played a game with the Expos. Montreal ended up trading him to the Rangers after the '85 season and Pete spent the entire '86 season with the big league club. Because of that fiasco, there are no stats on the back of this card.

For never playing a pro game before his Major League debut, Pete did not do too bad. He hit .250 and had a career high of 30 home runs. It's pretty bad when you max out your dingers during your rookie season. The one drawback was that he lead the league in strikeouts with 185.

Pete ended up playing five seasons with the Rangers before getting released. He hit .248 during the tenure and he had at least 21 home runs each season.

For the record, Pete would eventually play in the minors. It wasn't until 1997 that it first occurred, though.

I got this card signed by Pete at a Wichita Wingnuts game 2014. Pete was the manager of the Laredo Lemurs.

Friday, August 4, 2017

1986 Topps, Mike Heath

#46T Mike Heath

Here is the second card that I got signed by Mike Heath through the mail in 2014. The other card was his '81 Donruss card and that one can be seen here.

After spending seven seasons with Oakland, Mike got traded to the Cardinals after the 1984 season concluded. It was Mike's first foray into the National League and it did not go as well as he would have hoped. Through 65 games with the Cardinals, Mike hit just .205. He was doing so bad for them that they traded him to Detroit in August. Because of that, I feel like this card should feature Mike as a Tiger instead of a Cardinal.

Mike did better, though, back in the American League. He got into 30 games with the Tigers and managed to hit .265 to raise his season average up to .226. That was the lowest single season average Mike ever posted until his final season, which happened to be with another National League team (Braves).

I love the photo on this card. If that picture does not scream action shot, than nothing does. Plus, this kind of shot is rare in this traded set. If you do not believe me, just wait for the next three or four posts.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1986 Topps, Darnell Coles

#26T Darnell Coles

Here is the first of three cards of Darnell Coles that my oldest boy got signed for me at Spring Training this year. Darnell is the hitting coach for the Brewers and he was nice enough to sign before a game against the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.

We were supposed to go to three Spring Training games this year, but ended up skipping the third one. But, in all three games, the Brewers just happened to be the visiting team. So, I made a deal with my boy and I put him in charge of 'graphing the Brewers for me. For every card that he got signed, I would give him a dollar.

I gave him a fat stack of Brewers cards and he thought he was going to really cash in. The only problem was that 'graphing is not his thing. I tried to set him up with some 'graphers to help him out and a father/son duo at the Reds games helped him get more than he would have otherwise, like this card. But, in the end, over the two games he made $14. He was a little bummed, but I certainly appreciated the effort. I ended up getting him a cheap $20 skateboard from Wal-Mart and I think everyone was happy.

Darnell had a career year for the Tigers in 1986. After being sent there from the Mariners in the offseason, he would end up playing in 142 games and hit .273 with 30 doubles, 20 home runs, and 86 RBI, all career highs. The following season did not go as well, though. Darnell was hitting .181 through 53 games before being shipped off to Pittsburgh for Jim Morrison.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1986 Topps, Mark Salas

#537 Mark Salas

Here is the second of three cards that Mark Salas signed for me from the visiting team's bullpen at Kauffman Stadium in 2014. I posted the first card three years ago and it can be seen here. I had posted two cards prior to that and those two can be linked to from the last Salas card I posted.

For those of you that are unaware, Mark is the bullpen catcher for the Chicago White Sox. Not the bullpen coach, but the bullpen catcher. That still amazes me every time I say it, think it, or type it. The reason for that is that Mark is fifty-six years old. I have no idea how his knees are still able to squat down like that still.

Mark played for the Cardinals, Twins, Yankees, White Sox, Indians, and Tigers during his career. Yet, for whatever reason, I only have Twins and Tigers cards signed by him. While he doesn't appear to have a single Indians card, he does have one Cardinal card, three Yankees cards, and a handful of White Sox cards. Considering that the Sox come to Kansas City pretty regularly, it looks like I need to grab a Cardinal and Yankee card of him.

The White Sox website points out that Mark is one of five players to have a last name that is a palindrome. Any ideas who the other four are?