Friday, November 7, 2014

It's 1978...or 1981...and it's the Best Infield in Baseball

Whenever I hear the names Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey, my thoughts go immediately to one of two years: 1978 and 1981. Both of those years featured World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. But 1978 is what first stoked my dislike for the New York Yankees and Reggie Jackson in particular because of this play:

To this day, I cannot understand why the double play was not given due to Reggie Jackson's interference in that play. Well, I also can't understand why Bill Russell did not tag Thurman Munson at second base rather than throw the ball to first after he dropped the line drive, but still -- how was interference not given?

In 1981, the Dodgers won the World Series against the Yankees, and I was very happy... except for one thing: Steve Garvey taking credit for being Steve Yeager. Yeager was the co-World Series MVP with Ron Cey and Pedro Guerrero, yet there's Garvey at the MVP ceremony:

In any case, the Dodgers of my childhood were actually among my favorite teams because they were able to overcome the Yankees. The backbone of those teams was the fantastic infield quartet of Garvey, Cey, Russell, and Lopes. 

That same quartet is the base for a fantastic blog these days, named appropriately enough "Garvey Cey Russell Lopes." Jim and I agreed to a blind trade (God, I hope I've sent him a package!) a few weeks ago, and he sent me some great items.

The first card out of the box was this Cecil Cooper card -- a 3x5 photo at that. It took me a second to realize that Jim or someone before him had split up the "Career Batting Average Leaders" folio from the 1983 Topps Foldouts set. I always liked that set because every single folio features Ben Oglivie on its front.

Jim also sent me some of my first cards from the 2014 Topps Update series -- particularly this Carlos Gomez card that went directly into my player collection for him...

...and my very first -- and to date only 2014 Topps Sticker. And this one is my main man Robin. I have to admit -- I'd rather that the stickers not include any retired players, but that's my bias.

Moving forward from Yount we have a Rickie Weeks gold parallel from Bowman picturing Rickie in a throwback uniform of sorts (Negro Leagues?). I have the regular, and now I have gold.
This Nilsson card is a little annoying due to the lazy inset photo being a reiteration of Nilsson's imitation of a slack-jawed yokel. 

A Princely rookie sensation from Fleer.

See -- you can be repetitive but still be interesting. I rather like the little drawn outline of Jenkins's batting stance in the corner of the card. It may be a little too much information to have his number there as well, but at least this was a bit more interesting than a blue-man version of Jenkins.

I am not a fan of the color orange. I went to Vanderbilt for college and Georgia for law school. At each school, our main rivals wear orange. For Vanderbilt, it's all about that jail-jumpsuit-orange at the University of Tennessee being one of the ugliest colors in the history of mankind. For Georgia, it's the fact that both Florida (f--k you Gators for ruining my Halloween weekend) and Auburn (dear God please let us beat them so I don't have to apologize for or to my wife) wear blue and orange.

It's not looking any better on these Chrome parallels, to be honest.

And now, a confession.

So, when I first got back into collecting, I was on eBay looking for a Braun rookie card. I came across one of these Blue Sapphire reprints that had been graded reasonably highly and decided to buy it -- but I was thinking that it was (a) actually signed by Braun (it's not) and (b) actually the original and not the reprint. 

I entirely overpaid for the card as a result.

Commence self-flagellation sequence in 5, 4, 3... beating myself up. I have a raw card of that Sapphire reprint now, and I'm happy about it. Now I just need the original version.

These next cards fall into that same category with the Nilsson above. I needed them for player collections, but the blue face look is not flattering.

For some reason, the blue names with gold foil makes it worse.

Lately, I've gotten a lot more cards from the late 1990s. I've started really liking the Fleer Ultra from that time frame. This red script name is a bit too busy for me, but it's at least something outside of ordinary.

More orange parallel. Yes, I need it. 

As these last two cards show, there is nothing new in the world these days. Jean Segura's determined face while running the bases and leaning in to turn the corner around second and third is a blatant rip-off of Jeff Cirillo's baserunning in the late 1990s.

God, Segura. Try something original for once, would you? 

The rest of these cards do not fall into player collections, and so they are provided with little attempt at being funny, snarky, or entertaining. I'm not saying that any of the above writing was funny or entertaining (though the snark-level was pretty high in places). I'm just saying that I'm not going to try to comment. 

 mean, hell, like Harry Doyle said:

So, here those cards are.

I miss team photo cards, though I could do without the superimposed wall.

One final card, and it comes with a question.

This card is labeled as an "Aramis Ramirez" Superstar Celebration. It has a Carlos Gomez cameo. How many of you guys who are player collectors would put it into a Carlos Gomez collection?

I mean, on the Nyjer Morgan 2011 Topps card, both Fielder and Braun appear. Should I include a copy of that card in their player collections?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Jim, thank you very much for these cards -- I greatly appreciate all of them and I really hope that I sent you something in return already. If I haven't or if you don't get something soon, please let me know!


  1. There were some blue sapphire autographs but I'm not sure if Braun was one of them.

  2. Jim always sends great packages. I'm pretty sure that throwback on Mr. Weeks is indeed a Negro League uniform.

    Oh, and whoever at Topps decided to put a superimposed wall on that Brewers team card should be fired.

  3. If I really like a cameo card, I might go ahead and put it in the "wrong" PC, but not always.

    And hey, I like orange even though it was the color of my rival high school. It took me a while to come around until I stopped feeling a tinge of guilt whenever I wore an orange shirt.