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Friday, July 31, 2020

One Dozen Local Basketball Cards Part 7

 Here is the backstory behind these cards.

Errors from last week:  Bill Wennington did not go to McGill University, he went to St. John's.  However, he is Canadian.  

Today's dozen features players from the Denver Nuggets and the Detroit Pistons.  

The first half dozen for this week.  These are cards 73-78 in the 1990-1991 Skybox set.




The second half dozen.  These are cards 79 - 84 in the 1990-1991 Skybox set.



Here are some questions.  I know more about college basketball than the NBA, feel free to debate the answer to these questions in the space below.  I am not doing research for a basketball card post. 

Best player in this dozen: My father-in-law is a Pistons fans, so I feel like I actually know something about that team.  My answer is Joe Dumars.  

Without looking (pinky swear) who went to what college.  

Last week I knew 4 out of 12.  So far, 39 out of the 72 players in the set.  

Walter Davis - UNC 
Dan Schayes - Syracuse 
Todd Lichti - Stanford 
Joe Dumars - McNeese State 
Mark Aguirre - Marquette 


Best Card Front: I have no idea who Bill Hanzik is, but that is a great card.  He's wearing the short shorts, you got the giant star in the background, and there are some cool flames or something shooting out of the basketball.  Cool 80s mustache too.  I am going to go learn more about Bill after I hit publish on this post.  

Best Card Back: I want to say Joe Dumars with the Olan Mills studio photo, but then I looked at the Bill Hanzik card again.  Look at how confident he looks.  Bill is scoring 7 points per game, wearing short shorts, and I am pretty certain from the way he looks that Michael Jordan would have a bad shooting night against him.  

Best Cameo:  Whatever Knicks player is getting trampled by Tim Kempton.   

Fun Fact: It's hard to come up with a fun fact when I don't do any research for the posts.  Fun fact: I might drop this for the next post, or re-work it somehow.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Set Appreciation Post #6 - 1983 Topps

This was the first year that I collected cards, but I opened more packs of Fleer than Topps.  I went back and collected this set later on in life, and it is an absolute favorite.  This is the largest set that I have featured on one of these posts, so I have picked out more than one card for some of the categories.  

Design 

One of my favorite Topps designs of all-time, and in my opinion, the best from the 1980s.  I know a lot of people rave and rant about 1987's wood borders, but this is much better.  Maybe I am biased towards the sets from my childhood, but no matter where I am as a collector or what I am interested in collecting, the cards in the 1983 Topps set have always had a strong appeal to me.  


I like the two photographs on the front of the card and the color schemes that Topps used around the edges of the card.  I know there are some similarities to the 1963 set, but I like this version better.  Every team has their own color scheme, which often has nothing to do with the actually team colors, but still looks good.  

The back of the cards are nice too.




This might also be one of my favorite card backs.  The stat lines are the same old same old, but the contrast between the orange and gray background and black print is easy on the eyes.  It makes things easy to read.  I also like that the highlights and facts on the back of the card focus on that player and their performance on the field, not something random which is the case with other Topps sets.  Nothing like, "Tony Armas set a record for total bases in a Major League game", which is on the 1982 Topps Gene Richards card.   

The silhouettes are a nice touch too.  

Overall, I give this base set high marks.  Again, personal favorite, and I know that there are plenty of other collectors who have differing opinions of this set ranging from indifferent to dislike.  

The Super Veteran Bulls 

One of the most recognizable subsets in the 1983 Topps set are the Super Veteran cards.  The subset also has a strong connection to the early 1960s Durham Bulls, who were the Carolina League affiliate of the expansion Houston Colt .45s.  Two notable Major Leaguers rolled through the Durham Athletic Park during the 1962 and 1963 seasons.  




Rusty Staub appeared on the 1962 Bulls, winning the Carolina League MVP that season.  He was in the Majors with the Colts the following year.  During the 1983 season Staub was playing with the Mets, which was his second stint with that franchise. He was a good player for a long time, and not one that I place with just one team.  Staub was a bench player at this point during his career, so especially neat that Topps gave him this card.  Don't get many fourth outfielders and left-handed bats off the bench with subset cards.  I love the old photo with the Colts.  


Joe Morgan was on the Bulls in 1963, and for a long time was their only former player who was in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Oddly enough, the Durham Bulls had a former player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1940s quarterback Ace Parker, before they had one in the Baseball Hall.  The old photo of Morgan is fantastic.  You get to see the front of his Colts jersey too.  Morgan played for a bunch of teams at the end of his career, but was still a decent player.  My interest in baseball and Morgan's career barely interested, so he's a player a mostly know about through others, reading, videos, etc.  It's weird not seeing him on the Reds.  No, I don't remember watching him play at all.  

Topps re-did the Super Veteran subset in the 2014 Topps set.  It was as disappointing as you can imagine.  That old fashioned photo of Matt Holliday feels really inauthentic.  


Just makes me sad.  

This is really the only thing not to like about the 1983 Topps set.  I am not sure how many times Topps has used the card designs from this set over the past decade, but I know it has at a minimum appeared in Topps Archives and as an insert set in a Topps base set.  They are never as good as the original.  

Best Cardinals Cards 

I have two favorite Cardinals cards in this set.  I have picked one in each of the other sets that I have featured in one of these posts, but none of those sets were almost 800 cards.  One was a no-brainer, so let's talk about that one first.  

There are three rookie cards that most collectors know in the 1983 Topps set, those are Sandberg, Gwynn, and Boggs.  However, there is also a rookie card of Willie McGee.  




He won more batting titles than Ryne Sandberg.  He won more World Series rings than Sandberg and Gwynn.  He won more MVP Awards than Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn combined.  Also, all three of those players might be in the Hall of Fame, but none of them won a batting title for the National League while playing in the American League.  

Seriously, Willie was a good player.  There is some weird contingent of Cardinals fans who thinks he should be in the Hall of Fame (no), and that the team should retire his number (no).  If I made a list of really important must-own Cardinals rookie cards from the 1980s, this 1983 Topps Willie McGee card would definitely be on the list.  

Second Cardinals card.  



This was not my first Ozzie Smith card, that was likely a 1983 Fleer, but I still owned this card.  Ozzie was easily the most likable player on the Cardinals when I first started collecting cards and following baseball.  His cards were important to me as a six year old, and since he did not retire until I was in college, they have always remained important.  

I like the action shot on the card.  Not sure if this is a hit or not, but it looks like Ozzie has at least a chance to make it a close play.  I like that there is another player talking to a fan in the background.  

Favorite Former Durham Bulls 

There were quite a few to choose from in this set, but I went with two members of the Bulls teams from the 1960s.  First up, I will go with my second Rusty Staub card of the post.  



I really like the action shots in the 1983 Topps set.  I feel like many have a story to tell.  The photo on this card shows Staub dropping his bat and heading to first base, but I have always thought that this was likely a routine fly ball.  He looks a little disappointed in his expression with his eyes are up.  Maybe I am wrong, but Rusty's face is saying flying out to right field.  If you have this set, or even just a few cards, it's worth your time to flip through and look at the action shots.  

Next up.  



I had to go with the Greg Luzinski card.  

He was on the 1969 Raleigh-Durham Phillies, which is what the Bulls changed their name to after they were forced to merge with the bankrupt Raleigh Pirates.  They were also a Phillies affiliate, so there is that part of the name.

Raleigh is a city.  Durham is a city.  Raleigh-Durham is an airport.  


Back to the Luzinski card.  

"The Bull" was a feared power hitter who was paired with Mike Schmidt for the majority of his career, but his last few years were spent as a designated hitter with the White Sox.  Greg Luzinski was out of shape, and did not really look like a professional athlete when this card was made.  He could still hit though.  Love the action shot of him wearing the softball style White Sox uniform.  Not sure what happened in this at-bat, hard to tell, definitely a fly ball though.  

He does look really annoyed in the portrait photo though.  

Best Non-Cardinal/Non-Durham Bulls Card 

I will just go ahead and tell that this card is my favorite in the set.  It's even better than the Willie McGee card, which hurts a little to say out loud in public.  

Simply put, this is one of the best rookie cards from the 1980s.  

The spots are on my scanner.  Little people were playing with it while I was working.  



The picture is a little bit odd, but I think that's one of the reasons I like this card.  This is clearly a Spring Training picture with Gwynn wearing the 53, which he never wore in a Major League game.  Always love those pictures of great players and they're wearing some odd number. Albert Pujols is wearing jersey number 68 in several of his rookie cards.  Same idea here.  
 
I also miss those brown and yellow Padres uniforms.  I am glad the team is switching back to this color scheme for the 2020 season.  

Back of the card.  



Gwynn was not in the Minors for very long, but did hit in all three stops.  This is the one card where I would have actually liked the random fact box, so they could squeeze in that he played college basketball and was drafted by an NBA team.  I am sure it is on another Topps Tony Gwynn card.  

How Does It Compare?  

You should already know.   

Not sure we need a lot of discussion here.  If I were just doing the Topps sets from my life time, this might be first overall.  Really not much to think about, this is the best set I have written up on these posts.  

1. 1983 Topps  


Monday, July 27, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 50 - 1988 Topps Stan Musial

A little bit different 1980s Cardinals post for this week with my feature card being a "Turn Back The Clock" card from the 1988 Topps set.  I actually really liked these cards as a kid.  There was zero chance my parents were going to let me drop a couple hundred dollars for a nice vintage card of a Hall of Fame player from the 1950s or 1960s, but these cards at least gave those players a presence in my collection.  

At least, that's the way I felt at the time.  

Here is the Musial card.  




It's even got a picture of his 1963 Topps card on the front, which is the year the back of the card will talk about when we get there.  

Now, if you have never seen one of these before, you might be a little disappointed looking at the back of the card.  I generally ignored the back as a kid, choosing to focus on the fact that I had a Stan Musial card.  As an adult, I am tremendously disappointed at the back.  The card has Stan Musial on the front, surely the back will be all about Stan Musial, and showcase him as one of the greats of the game.  

Well, not so much.  



Let's work our way down the card.  Again, you have the 1963 year at the top, along with the "Twenty Five Years Ago" heading at the top.  

The various facts from the season featured on these cards were always more of odd occurrences variety than actual highlights.  Never any mention of who won the World Series or MVP, someone who reached a career milestone, or things that might have been truly historic that season.  If they made these cards today, they would have things like, "Junior Lake wears wrong Cubs road jersey in a game against the Pirates" 



or "Edwin Jackson has not pitched for all the teams in the league, but he's getting pretty close"  




In 1963, Sandy Koufax won the pitching Triple Crown and Willie Mays hit his 400th home run.  Pete Rose won the Rookie of the Year Award.  Might have been a nice touch to mention some of those highlights, especially since these cards were made when kids were actually still collecting cards.  

The Musial section of the card is roughly the bottom third.  I guess it's decent, but I think it would have been nice to give some of those numbers a little more context.  When he retired he was the National League leader in almost all the counting number stats outside of home runs.  Saying he had 3,630 hits and more than 700 doubles is nice, but giving the ranking makes his place in history stand out a little more.  

While it was nice to say, "Of course I own a Musial card" when this card rolled around, Topps really could have done better with this subset by focusing more on the player shown on the front.  I have some good Cardinals cards the next couple of weeks.  Going with some of the bigger names and more important cards for the last few months of these posts.  

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Yes, 2020 Cards.

I have not been posting many cards from current releases, mainly because I am not doing anything to collect them this year.  I have not bought many packs or boxes of cards, and I think I am not even really touching current single cards either.  I was actually going to buy a pack of Topps Series 2 at the store a few days back, but I found out that there are none because everyone has gone crazy about finding a Luis Robert rookie card.



I have been buying Luis Robert cards ever since the Cardinals went cheap on trying to sign him.  They had plenty of money for Dexter Fowler though. 

Back to baseball cards. 

I have collected so few single 2020 cards, really there were all sorts of different places I could have started.  I feel like one thing that is really dampening my enthusiasm for current year cards is the fact that there is not going to be any Minor League Baseball this summer.  No new Bulls players to collect with many of the players on last year's team stuck in limbo with either being a pool player, or many not even getting that far. 

So, I decided a few Minor Leaguers would be a good place to start. 

First up is a pair of autographs from Topps Pro Debut. 



I have posted a few other Brock Deatherage cards last year, and I am really surprised that he made it back into a set this year.  The Tigers drafted him out of NC State.  I get the feeling he might be on baseball cards because of his name.  He's not on any Tigers prospect list, and he hit in the .220s last season with almost 150 strikeouts and not a lot of power. 

Still like him since he went to NC State. 

Next. 



I have been working on Elehuris Montero cards the last several years too.  Last year was a lost year with injuries for him, but he hit for average and power the prior year while he was in A Ball.  The Cardinals included him in their group of pool players.  Maybe a summer with Jose Oquendo, who is running the Minor League camp for the Cardinals, will help him bounce back next year.  The scan is not crooked, the sticker autograph is though.  

Last card that I actually bought in this post.  



Will Wilson is another NC State player, but definitely a prospect worth watching.  The Angels traded him to the Giants last year, and he is in their group of pool players.  He's a shortstop who can hit.  In college, he hit a fair number of home runs, but I could see him being more of a doubles and triples hitter in the Majors.  Trea Turner without the speed.  

Which brings me to the last two cards I received in this package.  I bought all three cards from the same buyer.  Love that combined shipping.  I also love free cards.  My feedback involved the acronym "GDTBATH", which stands for "Great Day To Be A Tar Heel", so it figures that this was one of my free cards....




I fully support Andrew Miller having a good year.  The Cardinals excel at spending money on relievers who are washed up.  Andrew Miller seems washed up.  I actually saw him pitch while he was at UNC, very good in college.  

Second freebie, which I don't get coming from a UNC person.  



Stroman is a better pitcher than Andrew Miller, and a far more interesting person.  I certain he grates on UNC fans nerves at times too, so added bonus.  I actually wish I could find a card of Stroman as an infielder, which is actually where he started when he first got to Duke. 

Anyway, happy with the three new cards, and the two freebie cards in the package.  

Thursday, July 23, 2020

One Dozen Local Basketball Cards Part #6

I found the basketball cards.  They were in a linen closet.  My three year old doesn't know how they got there.  Here is the backstory behind these cards.

Last month, I did a dozen that mainly featured the Cleveland Cavaliers with a few Mavericks mixed into the group.  I got all the colleges correct, but apparently Rolando Blackman was the best player in the group.  I defer to my readers, especially ones that know the NBA.  

The first half dozen for this week.  These are cards 61-66 in the 1990-1991 Skybox set.



The second half dozen.  These are cards 67 - 72 in the 1990-1991 Skybox set.




Here are some questions.  I know more about college basketball than the NBA, feel free to debate the answer to these questions in the space below.  I am not doing research for a basketball card post. 

Best player in this dozen: I feel like this is a tricky group.  A part of me wants to pick Sam Perkins, but maybe that's just because he's popular locally.  I also know Harper was a very good player.  However, I am almost positive that Adrian Dantley won multiple scoring titles at some point during his career.  Final answer, Adrian Dantley.  Go ahead and blast me in the comments if it was really Sam Perkins.    

Without looking (pinky swear) who went to what college.  

Last week I knew 8 out of 12.  So far, 35 out of the 60 players in the set.  This is a harder group.  

Sam Perkins - UNC
Adrian Dantley - Notre Dame 
Derek Harper - Illinois 
Roy Tarpley - Michigan 
Bill Wennington - McGill University?  Isn't Bill Canadian?  


Best Card Front: Bill Wennington.  He's a center, he's jumping, but the rim is not on the card.  

Best Card Back: Derek Harper just getting out of the shower.    

Best Cameo:  Charles Oakley on the Herb Williams card.  

Fun Fact: I feel lucky that I knew four colleges out of this group of players.  I do not know anything fun or interesting about any of them.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

Love That Instagram Account

Do I have social media accounts that I use in conjunction with my blog? 

Yes.  

Am I good at using social media accounts to promote your blog?  

No.  

It really boils down to a matter of consistency.  Blogging is not super high on the priority list of my life, so it usually happens late at night when I am trying to wind down, or early in the morning before other people in my house are up for the day. Don't get me wrong, I like doing this, but life has its priorities. I guess if I had more time for blogging, I would probably do a little better with posting links and picture are social media.  I am not much for self-promotion.  

I actually do a decent job of using Twitter.  I am there frequently, which is not true of other social media.  I talk about baseball cards on there, but I also know that I do not stay in my lane all the time.  Beyond baseball and baseball cards, I have also tweeted this past week about school calendars, people getting thrown out of my local grocery store, the number of miles I walked on Wednesday (it was 9), and how King George is the best character in Hamilton.  

Not always on brand.  I am also fine drifting onto other topics.    

This is the best King George song, if you want music for the rest of the post.  



On Facebook, I spend no time promoting my page.  I am almost sure I have been on the same number of likes for the past five or six years. The page is there. I will post links to whatever I write on here, but it does not go much beyond that.  I am not begging people to look at my page.  

I also have an Instagram page too, the feed is on the side of this blog, but I am not really good about posting pictures consistently.  Sounds like a theme of sorts.  I know a lot of collectors hang out there.  I try.  

Which reminds me, once I won an award for my Instagram account.  



Long ago, when I first started blogging, there were organized awards amongst card bloggers.  I got tagged in a tweet at some point saying that I got nominated for having "The Best Instagram Account".  I was a little surprised, and I am not sure what I did to even be considered.  I voted for myself.  Being me, I spent approximately zero tweets promoting people to vote for my account.  That's what I do, or what I don't do.  

The results?  



I am glad that every liked the 2014 version of my Instagram account and took time to vote for me.  I was more consistent about posting at that point, but still not great.  I was surprised to win to say the least.  

My social media accounts have won other things along the way beyond awards.  

A few years back I won a Joe Montana autographed 8x10.  Apparently, I just followed an account who was giving away an item that was pulled out of a Heroes of Sport box.  I did not even know what I had won until it showed up in my mailbox.  



In fact, I did not even know I followed this account.  I do not follow very many breakers, the ones I do are usually very deliberately picked.  Again, a little surprised to win something.  Especially because I did not retweet, favorite, or tag two friends.  None of that.  I am not a "retweet to win" type of person.  

Well....



Unless its basketball tickets.  I will retweet to win those.  

Which brings me to this past week.  

The last time I time I posted on Instagram was a roughly a month ago.  The post was a picture of a 1994 Upper Deck Bernard Gilkey card.  I also got a DM around the same time from some one offering to sell me an Austin Meadows autograph.  There are no Austin Meadows posts in the works.  




I had a notification on my Instagram account the other day.  I was half way debating whether or not it was worth my time to even look.  I eventually went and checked it out fully expecting it to be someone who looked at all my cards from five years ago and alternated the comments "want", "fs?", or "trade?"  Apparently, I followed some case breaker and won a baseball card.  It felt similar to the situation from above with Twitter.  I can be a little skeptical about dealing with people on Instagram.  Not my favorite place to buy, sell, and trade.  Free card sounded pretty low risk though.  

Here is what I got.....



I am not collecting Project 2020 Trout cards, but I do not turn down free.  In fact, now that we have finely reached the point where people aren't flipping the cards for huge amounts of money, or trading them for other really expensive cards (I regret nothing), these are a little bit more enjoyable to talk about with other collectors.  

Beyond not collecting Trout, I have also not done anything with the artist of this card, Jacob Rochester.  It looks like he does all types of art, but also makes music.  He describes himself as an artist's artists on the back of the card.  




I have never heard the term "artist's artist", but sure.  I am more a rapper's favorite rapper type of person.  

I am sure that I will enjoy the new card, and love that Instagram account.  

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Set Appreciation Post #5 - 1979 Kellogg's

I am glad to be out of the 2000s cards for this week's post.  I figured a 1970s set would be fun for this week, so I am going with the 1979 Kellogg's set.  It's a smaller set, like all of the Kellogg's sets, but there is still plenty of to talk about. 

Here are my highlights:

Design 

Two posts in a row with a Bruce Sutter card.  Totally on accident, I always scan the first card in the set for this section of my post.  It's pretty typical of the Kellogg's cards from the 1970s and 1980s. 




It's got the lenticular front with a Kellogg's logo at the top.  It's not my favorite Kellogg's set design (1970).  It's not the worst Kellogg's design (1978).  It's sort of in the middle, maybe the bottom of the middle.  A lot of the design elements on the Kellogg's cards reappear frequently, but I still love them.  There is something about the arch way thing at the top that I don't love.  I think the arch is supposed to be 3-D, but the Kellogg's script on the front of it is 2-D and crosses lines.  That's really picky. 


THE BELL CURVE OF KELLOGG'S CARDS 



I went ahead and put this set on a bell curve of Kellogg's cards.  I will do more Kellogg's sets in the future.  We can revisit the Kellogg's bell curve when I get to the other sets.  The 1970 Kellogg's Johnny Bench might need to be further to the right.  


The card backs of the Kellogg's sets are always really busy.  The small dissertation is a common element, although they feel shorter on the 1979 cards.  Still, there is some good information in the blurb.  I like how this card describes Bruce Sutter's "forkball", which he calls a "split-fingered fastball".  Those are two different pitches nowadays, but I guess not back in the late 1970s.

The Busch Stadium Cards 

You know, there are not a ton of cards that have photographs taken in Busch Stadium.  The Kellogg's cards always seem to have cookie cutter stadium backgrounds though.  We all know the best cookie cutter stadium was Busch Stadium, so it was inevitable that the two ended up together. 

Not all of the photos were taken at Busch for the 1979 Kellogg's set, plenty of Three Rivers and Veterans in there too, but there are a few cards in the set that are obviously in Busch Stadium.   

Pete Rose. 



Red seats and arches, definitely Busch Stadium.  I think the Stadium Club, which was a restaurant in left field, is over his left shoulder. 


Lee Mazzilli.  Busch Stadium. 

I only picked out two cards, but I know there are a few others.  If my life had a few less things going on, I would have spent the time to examine and scan each card taken at Busch Stadium.  I would like to think that the inclusion of Busch Stadium in this set will help it in the rankings when we get to the bottom of the post. 

The R. Jackson Cards 

I had not been around for very long in 1979, so I don't know that this is a fact, but I am guessing the average baseball fan was aware of Reggie Jackson at this time.  When I was a kid, he was an old guy on the Angels and A's. 

He also tried to kill the Queen of England in the Naked Gun movie. 


If you saw Reggie Jackson on a baseball card wearing a Yankees uniform, would you need a first or middle initial to be able to tell him apart from another baseball player?  Would you confuse him for someone, say an Angels infielder? 

Well, the good people at Kellogg's decided to make sure you did not confuse Reggie Jackson and Ron Jackson in this set.  No relation by the way.  Reggie Jackson is identified as R.M. Jackson on his card...



and Ron Jackson has R.D. Jackson on his card.  





What does the M stand for? 


Martinez.  

Now that I have a second card back in the post, I like how these have the player's favorite hobby listed along side their height and weight.  Bruce Sutter liked hunting.  Reggie Jackson likes automobiles.  I cannot find anything about Bruce Sutter hunting, but apparently Reggie Jackson fixes up old cars, and is really good at it.  



I don't know what kind of card Reggie is driving here, but the tail fins on the back are making me think something from the 1950s or 1960s. 

Best Cardinals Card 

I only had two Cardinals to choose from in the 1979 Kellogg's set.  There is a card of long-time pitcher Bob Forsch, along with catcher Ted Simmons.  I went with the Simba card.  There was not a lot of separation between the two in terms of quality, but I kind of like the background on the Simmons card. 

It's a blue blur for some reason, rather than the cookie cutter stadium mentioned earlier.  I am not sure it would make for a great set, but this card it works.  Fits in nicely with the powder blue Cardinals uniform, which you guys know I always like to see on cards. 



The back of Simmons Kellogg's card.  Check out that hobby.  




Not sure that would fly anymore with modern baseball contracts.  

Favorite Former Durham Bulls Player 

I had to flip through the stack two or three times to make sure this was the right answer.  The right answer, because there is only one former Durham Bulls player in this set.  No Joe Morgan, Greg Luzinski, Ken Singleton, or Rusty Staub.  Those are the go-to names when looking for the 1970s Durham Bulls players in stacks of cards.  

Those were good players too.  They were in all the 1970s sets.  

None of them are in here.  I was really genuinely surprised that none of them are here.  I had to go find out what happened to these players in 1978.  Craig Reynolds in this set. Craig Reynolds.  

Joe Morgan - He had the worst season of his career.  I will give you that Kellogg's.  It's still Joe Morgan though.  Everyone loves Hall of Famers, even when they have down seasons.  

Rusty Staub - Hit 24 home runs and drove in 121 runs.  Could be a bit of an omission.  Possibly.  

Greg Luzinski - Hit 35 home runs, drove in 101 runs, and made the National League All-Star team.  That home run total, 35 home runs, was better than Mike Schmidt by 14. Schmidt got a card, because he's Mike Schmidt.  I want to point you back up to Joe Morgan, but let's keep going.  

Ken Singleton - He only hit 21 home runs, drove in 81 runs, walked more than he struck out, and batted .293.  

None of that gets you into the 1978 Kellogg's set?   

The lone Durham Bulls player was a solid Major League pitcher, and 1978 was his best season in the Majors.  I am not arguing that he shouldn't be here.  Just surprised that the other players listed above were not on the checklist.  

The answer is Jon Matlack.  



He was in the top 10 for a bunch of important stats during the 1978 season including ERA and Strikeouts.  Matlack's back of the baseball card numbers sometimes did not look the best, but the Sabermetrics really have helped show how good he was at times during his career.  

Here is the back of his card. 


First, I love that his hobby is listed as "sports", and he's a professional athlete.  

Good job Kellogg's.  

According to his baseball card, he won 15 games and had an ERA just below 3.  Looks like a good enough season.  However,  go over to Baseball-Reference, and he had the second highest WAR for a pitcher in 1978, along with the second highest Adjusted ERA+ and FIP.  Basically, he was better than every pitcher in the American League in 1978 who wasn't named Ron Guidry.  

Nolan Ryan isn't even in the top 10 for some of those categories, but he did strikeout a bunch of people.    

Best Non-Cardinal/Non-Durham Bulls Card 

You watched baseball in the 1970s?  

Yes?  Then you know Vida Blue.  

No?  Then you might not know Vida Blue.  

I started watching baseball in the 1980s.  Vida Blue was an old guy who was a mediocre pitcher on the Giants.  I likely did not bother to turn his card over to see that he won a ton of games for the A's in the early 1970s.  If I did turn it over to give it a glance, Topps included facts about him throwing touchdowns in high school.  

Thanks a lot 1987 Topps.  



A Cy Young Award and three World Series rings weren't good enough to be a fact?  

Beyond appearing mediocre to the 10 year old me, Vida Blue always seemed like the happiest guy on all of his baseball cards.  He is always smiling on his cards, not just on one, but seemingly all of them.  It's one of the things I look for when I find a stack of 1970s or early 1980s cards.  

He actually was not happy on all them, but there is a high percentage where he is smiling.  



The 1979 Kellogg's is no different.  Vida Blue seems genuinely happy to be on this baseball card.  It wouldn't surprise me that he ate a bunch of Kellogg's cereal in an attempt to find this card.  

I will do more research on the number of cards where Vida Blue appears happy and report back a different day.  

How Does It Compare?  

Not sure we need a lot of discussion here.  

2.1979 Kellogg's 

I am putting it second.  This isn't even my favorite Kellogg's set.  I will do an 80s set next week.  Super Teams might be in trouble.