Monday, July 6, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 48 - 1985 Topps Terry Pendleton

There are a lot of Cardinals fans who have mixed feelings about Terry Pendleton.  He was a really good defensive player while he was in St. Louis, but he had some offensive limitations.  While he was the starting third baseman on two National League Championship teams, his best years were spent with the Braves.  

I think this was his biggest moment as a Cardinal.  This home run to sunk the Mets at the end of the 1987 season.  Kudos to whoever added the explosion noise to this video clip.  

Pendleton's last year in St. Louis was brutal.  He hit .230 and spent most of September sitting on the bench while Todd Zeile learned to play third base in season. He followed that effort up by winning the National League batting title and MVP with the Braves in 1991.  Pretty hard pill to swallow.  Pendleton actually only had two really good seasons in Atlanta.  He ended up reverting back to the same .250 hitter with a great glove that he was with the Cardinals, but those seasons still sting with some around St. Louis.    

I know a Cardinals collector or two who skip over a lot of his modern cards.  Cardinals, Braves, whatever.  I am happy to collect his modern stuff.  Send it my way.  

I actually do not go out of my way to collect cards of Terry Pendleton, but I have a fair share of them in my collection.  I was looking through some of my 1980s Cardinals cards last week, and decided that this card needed to have a 1980s Card post.  

I do not have any mid 1980s baseball card magazines or personal memories to support my case, but I am pretty sure that this was a pretty popular card when the 1985 Topps set was released.  Pendleton did not have a 1984 card outside of one with the Louisville Redbirds. He actually hit really well when the Cardinals first called him up in 1984.  His average was over .320, and he managed to somehow steal 20 bases in just 67 games.  Not really one of the Cardinals I associate with stealing bases.  

Pendleton actually ended up seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1984, which really does not sound impressive until you consider the six players who finished in front of him were all long running starter/star quality players in the Majors.  Dwight Gooden, Juan Samuel (set the rookie stolen base record), Orel Hershiser, Dan Gladden, Ron Darling, and Carmelo Martinez were the players with more votes than Pendleton.  

Pendleton had some potential when this card first came out, and we all know how much people like to speculate about rookie cards.  

I also like this card because it's the last year that you can find the Cardinals wearing the powder blue road uniforms.  I know they brought them back last year, but they are not the same.  Not even close.  A bunch of the Cardinals cards in the 1985 Topps set have pictures of the players wearing the powder blues.  

The Traded set had the player photos taken on the road in the gray uniforms they switched to for the 1985 season.  

There is not going to be a post on the 1985 Topps Traded Bill Campbell card.  I thought this would be a safe one to use as an example.  

Back of the Pendleton card.  

The center is just a little bit off on this card side to side.  

Looking at everything on the back, the thing that stood out the most for me was how few games Pendleton played in the Minors.  Just guesstimating the games, it looks like he played in less than 200 Minor League games.  I can't remember too many modern Cardinals players who made it to the Majors really quickly.  J.D. Drew was one of them, he made it in just 45 games, but he also played an independent league the summer before getting drafted by the Cardinals.  

I also like the trivia question at the bottom of the card.  Topps needs to bring those back.  


  1. If it wasn't for his 1985 rookie cards, I probably wouldn't even remember Pendleton for being a Cardinal. The first team I think of when I hear his name is the Braves.

  2. My favorite Pendleton card would be his 1987 Topps because it features Gary Carter in the background. My least favorite Pendleton moment would be that piss-missile that he hit off of McDowel in that video clip. I remember watching that live.