Friday, October 01, 2010

Ranking Topps 1980's Baseball Card Sets: #6 - 1985

Let's celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1985 season, an exciting one for several reasons. New York fans were able to enjoy a pair of young players cementing their status as superstars. Dwight Gooden won the Cy Young and put up the most dominating pitching season I ever saw (24-4, 1.53 ERA, 268 Ks). And Don Mattingly locked down the AL MVP with a ridiculous .324/35/145 season (an award he should have won three years in a row - look at his 1984-86 stats here and try to make the case for Willie Hernandez in '84 and Clemens in '86. I dare you.). Fans across the country were able to enjoy Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals, who had an incredibly exciting team. As a Yankee fan in New Jersey, I thoroughly enjoyed watching them play against the Mets on the black and white TV I got from my folks that year (Note to self: add "black and white TVs" to the list of things I'll explain to my kids that will make them look at me like I grew up a million years ago.). The Cardinals team was just awesome - Vince Coleman stole 110 bases, four others stole over 30, only one player hit over 13 HRs and Tommy Herr had one of my favorite stat lines from the whole decade, with 8 HRs and 110 RBIs. And don't forget Willie McGee. And his face. The Cards lost a tough World Series to the underdog Royals that year, who had a Brett (George) and a Bret (Saberhagen) leading them.

I'm gonna dwell on the season a bit more, because it was really a tough one for New York baseball fans. The Mets got to celebrate Gooden's monster year and see Strawberry continue to develop, but they failed to keep pace with the mighty Cardinals in a brutal NL East race. The Mets won 98 games that year, 3rd best in all of baseball, but failed to make the post-season. Brutal juice for Mets fans. And things weren't much better in the Bronx. A solid Yankee team, on the back of Ron Guidry's second-best season ever, won 97 games and almost edged out the Blue Jays for the division title. I vividly remember this race for two reasons. First, the Yankees ended the season with a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto. They were two games down heading in and needed a sweep to win the series. They won the first game, but lost the second to end their season. Also, this series would decide the AL batting champ, as Mattingly and everybody's favorite alleged VD-carrying right-fielder, Dave Winfield, went down to the wire. Mattingly ended up winning, possibly due to racist Yankee fans who turned on Winfield and threw out racist comments to him while rooting for Mattingly. You stay classy, Bronx. My Yankees narrowly missed the post-season, my favorite Yankee narrowly missed the batting title and the team's best pitcher narrowly missed the Cy Young, as Bret Saberhagen edged out Guidry. Bad times all the way around.

Back to the cards. To recap, here are the rankings to date:

#10 - 1986
#9 - 1988
#8 - 1982
#7 - 1980
#6 - 1985

Pros & Cons
I know you are all asking yourselves - why are the pros and cons together!? They've always been separate!? Well, sports fans, the items that make this year's set so intriguing are what make them so tragic. I'll just list some rookies and you can wince on your own: Roger Clemens, Eric Davis and Kirby Puckett. Orel Hershiser was also in this set. But he was so damn boring and inconsistent, that we'll ignore him. I'm not sure why he couldn't pull it together over his career. Maybe he had a Garvey-esque dark side. And, last but not least, Mark McGwire, the biggest rookie card of them all, appeared that year. He showed up courtesy of his presence on the 1984 Olympic Baseball Team. An interesting brain fart by Topps that year was to only include the 16 US Olympians who had been drafted in that year's card set. Players who made the cut with McGwire included luminaries such as Cory Snyder, Odibie McDowell, John Marzano and Scott Bankhead. Omitted from the set were Randy Johnson, Will Clark, BJ Surhoff and Bobby Witt. Inconvenience for you, I'm sorry. Wrong set of Olympians altogether. (first to source this borrowed movie quote gets a french kiss from our bashful The Teej)

But back to the rookies. We had the B-12 Rocket, Captain Andro and little Kirby Puckett, who was so well loved that he undeservedly made the Hall of Fame even though he was a tremendous dirtbag. If you're too lazy to click through on the Puckett story, read these quotes from Frank Deford's riveting article several years ago: "Over the years, (his) ex-wife told SI, Puckett had also tried to strangle her with an electrical cord, locked her in the basement and used a power saw to cut through a door after she had locked herself in a room. Once, she said, he even put a cocked gun to her head while she was holding their young daughter. Puckett’s upcoming trial stems from charges that he pulled a woman into the men’s room of a restaurant in Eden Prairie, Minn., on Sept. 5, 2002, and fondled her."

But even the late Mr. Puckett is not the most tragic figure in this rambling post. The most tragic figure is Eric Davis. Of all the promising rookies to start their baseball careers in the 80's, I'm not sure if there was one who made fans salivate with anticipation about a player's potential more than Eric Davis (Pedro Guerrero may have made some female fans salivate, but that is a story unfit for this family blog). A Gold Glove defender with prodigious power and blazing speed, he was touted as a legitimate 50-50 Club candidate. In 1986, he hit 27 HRs and stole 80 bases in 132 games. The next year, he hit 37 HRs and stole 50 bases in only 129 games. Sadly, injuries decimated his career. And, most tragically, they decimated the worth of his 1985 rookie card, which I owned.

Unfortunately, the degenerate and ill-fated rookies and the mistakes involving the Olympians overshadowed most of the good things about this set, namely the great season and some good looking cards. Topps finally realized that the colors in the cards should pertain to the team's colors. Although the colors wasn't perfect, they were better. But sometimes good colors, or 98 wins, just ain't enough.

154 comments:

mayhugh said...

I can hear Chris Farley saying it, but having trouble placing it. Coneheads?

d-train said...

sorry but, just have to. us team's rain gear not performing as it should. (sun mountain is the gear) all has to be replaced. how does that happen?

mayhugh said...

Wow, I thought about it 10 minutes later, and boy my movie memory has taken a hit...

TR said...

Much to your surprise and chagrin, Mr. Mayhugh, I am not fluent in Coneheads movie lines.

Marls said...

Wrong Mr. Pickford altogether.

Anybody who spent any time in Unit M Spring 1994 would have a tough time not picking up on a D&C line.

TR said...

Hey these things happen, Ben.

Mark said...

The '85 Cardinal team cemented me as a young baseball fanatic (oh how times have changed). I was already a huge Cardinal fan but watching that exciting a team pushed me over the top. Especially since their style of play was one that spoke to the light hitting, speedy, good fielding little leaguer in me. On top of that, they were picked to finish last in the NL East. Vince Coleman was awesome and came out of nowhere (only called up b/c Lonnie Smith broke his leg), Willie McGee won the MVP and Jauqin Andujar and John Tudor were studs on the mound. Just a great season. Made even better by Ozzie Smith's game winning home in Game 5 of the NLCS. Sadly, they got screwed by Don Denkinger in Game 6 of the WS. And I cried like a little bitch all night

T.J. said...

'85 season is also the basis for all the lineups in RBI Baseball, one of the greatest video games ever created.

TR said...

Their line-up reminds me of picking players for Nintendo Ice Hockey - where you could pick fast and skinny, medium or fat guys ("Fatty Verbeeks," as my friends used to call them). The Cardinals had a team full of fast and skinny guys and Jack Clark as the lone fat guy.

This post didn't reflect my true hatred of the Royals. I hated Saberhagen for edging Guidry, and I hated Brett with a passion since the pine tar incident, even though he was a bad-ass.

T.J. said...

Survivor pool pick time again...who you liking this week? I already have used the Giants, Packers and Patriots.

Mark said...

RBI baseball was very awesome.

And, the Cards wouldve won the WS had Coleman not broken his leg attempting to jump over the automatic tarp at Busch Stadium before Game 1 of the NLCS. Bummer, and a harbinger of bad decisions to come from Vince. Outta my way, I'm throwing firecrackers!!

Mark said...

I too hated the Royals for many years after 1985. Not nearly as much as I hate Orel Hershiser though. Fuck that guy.

TR said...

What's the etiquette when you get stone cold busted picking your nose at your desk? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Michael said...

Teej, go with the Saints.

T.J. said...

That's who I have currently...

Mark said...

Eat it, TR. Eat it.

T.J. said...

"Fifty bucks more says TR eats it..."

T.J. said...

Your Pic of the Day: http://bit.ly/bRYwHZ

zman said...

I just want to dance.

zman said...

Time Warner Cable just called to let me know that they're "running a little late" for my repair scheduled between 8 am and 11 am today "because of the weather." I may just forego television altogether just to spite these jackals.

d-train said...

that'll show 'em.

rob said...

colon status: clean as a whistle. i will now commence gorging.

T.J. said...

So Lemmiwinks was able to finally escape and breathe the fresh air of freedom?

Squeaky said...

zman, just get a roku, boxee or appleTV device and forgo the cable tv contract. All you need is an internet connection for those devices.

Plus side - if you have netflix all three will stream that content.

Igor said...

And when the wind's blowing right, Rob's colon does whistle. Damnedest thing.

Mark said...

Lemmiwinks, awl.

zman said...

Cool. So I can get tv shows with AppleTV?

Igor said...

Workplace candy bowl, someone ate half of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, wrapped the other half back up and put it back in the bowl? On what planet is this acceptable etiquette?

Squeaky said...

Yes with appleTV but you got to pay by the episode or series pass. The other two might give them to you free.

TR said...

Second on the Lemmiwinks awl. I spontaneously said "Lemmiwinks!" out loud at my desk when I read that, and I'm pretty sure a couple folks heard it. Should distract from the booger-picking rumormongering.

rob said...

lemmiwinks got me, too. the teej wins g:tb today.

Mark said...

TR sounds like he's really impressing people at the workplace today. Might be time to just crack that train beer early and finish the job.

T.J. said...

http://bit.ly/9KOTXQ

zman said...

I think that's a bastardization of the theme song from the Hobbit cartoon.

Still no cable guy. It stopped raining an hour ago.

Dave said...

holy shit! g:tb is a "family blog"! i take back all my posts and comments.

great post TR, taking us down memory lane here in the english office.

Dave said...

i hope the booger picker wasn't the one who put back the "peanut butter" cup.

rob said...

figjam realizes this isn't a practice round, right?

Mark said...

Dave's tone is all wrong.

zman said...

Time Warner confirms that someone will be here "in a few hours."

Igor said...

zman's tone is perfect. Bitter.

d-train said...

bubba just missed a 3 footer to go 4 up....
purty day out. nice surf. just ate a big ass lunch. ryder cup on the telly. gotta get these tps reports out

zman said...

Cable guy came. Looked at the diagnostic channel (996, inversely fratty). Unplugged the cable box. Waited 5 seconds. Plugged it back in. Now it works. He left.

So the cable guy diddled my box for a few seconds and then he left.

No one at TWC's help desk could tell me to do that?

Igor said...

It's Colon Day at Gheorghe!

FOGTB's KQ and Shlara are running in a Colon Cancer Awareness run in DC on Sunday . . . in their underwear. The Undy 5000. They promised us an autographed action photo if we contribute to the cause. Check it out.

d-train said...

i think figjam is longing for another helping of bangers 'n mash...

wonder what zman has done to encounter so many telly problems.

d-train said...

but he's starting to make some putts...
do you like it when someone asks: "IS IT BEERTHIRTY YET?"
i do. i love it.

d-train said...

mickelson...clutch!

rob said...

figgy telling g:tb where to get off

TR said...

I won a bottle of wine at a luncheon today for best 3Q10 stock pick. I found out the department head was busy and sent a 22 year-old dude out to get a bottle of red. I now have a bottle of "The Prisoner" on my desk. It is red in color and the back says "Napa Valley Red Wine." Not a blend percentage, not a "table red" classification. Just "Red Wine." Good times.

zman said...

If this were a different blog we'd analyze the symbolism of winning an award from your employer titled "The Prisoner."

T.J. said...

If Swint would ever stop gambling he might have some fun with that wine comment...

Igor said...

TR, here's the write-up of the 2008 vintage:

"Tasting notes:

Blackberry, cherry, and spice on the nose

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Dark berries, chocolate, and spice with some alcohol burn

Here's a Zinfandel blend from Napa Valley that has garnered quite a bit recent acclaim. The 2007 was highly rated and the 2008 reviewed here just hit the shelves recently.

This wine is 47% Zinfandel with five other grapes in the blend such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It's big and bold, with a bit of alcohol burn on the finish. I paid $61 recently at a restaurant, which isn't bad for a wine that goes for $35 retail. Raise a glass!"

Geoff said...

Swint uses that wine to polish his shoes.

d-train said...

or perhaps:
is it theprisonerthirty yet?
that's good funny stuff right there heh? hmmm? hmmm?

Igor said...

Then there's the very similarly bodied Mogen-David "P.O.W."...

"Tasting notes:

Banana, prune, and cumin on the epiglottis -- exquisite

Full bodied like a Lebanese stripper, and 40-grade sandpaper texture on the palate

Alcohol burn akin to stage 3 gonorrhea . . . fuck, man

Here's a Pink Zinfandel / Rosé blend from Rochester that has garnered quite a bit of class action lawsuits. The 2007 was completely abandoned and the 2008 reviewed here just hit the shelves recently.

This wine is 69% Pink Zinfandel with five other grapes in the blend such as Goober and Sun-Maid. It's big and bold like Pedro Guerrero, with a bit of alcohol burn on the finish (translation: you pay for this one coming and going). It's much like swallowing sand burrs marinated in turpentine, and the buzz makes you want to lift heavy objects and hurl them from lofty venues so as to incite brawling and/or riots. I paid $6 recently at a restaurant bathroom, which isn't bad for a wine that goes for $3.99 retail. Raise a mug!"

TR said...

I'd rather drink The Prisoner than The Shawshank or The Midnight Express.

rob said...

thanks for sharing the stock tip, tr.

T.J. said...

Hey Lemmiwinks, Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel.

zman said...

Is the P.O.W. wine imported from Chile?

zman said...

Swint rubs wine on his Pumas? Doubtful.

TR said...

TR likes Teldar Paper.

Igor said...

Almost worth going to see the new Wall Street movie, y'know, to see how those Teldar, Anacott, and Blue Star Airlines stocks are doing these days.

I bet not so good, y'know?

Igor said...

Reports emanating from Queens that Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel will be ousted within a few days. End this sad chapter, start the next dreary subplot.

Squeaky said...

Wait, the gay community is outing the owner and manager of the Mets?

Igor said...

Dude, you haven't stretched that much since I left your Zima on the kitchen counter.

Squeaky said...

Yee-haw! Zima rocks! It is so refreshing.

rob said...

that whole going independent thing's working out great for byu, eh?

also, in what surely serves as a cry for help, i've been reading g:tb comments from early april. gentlemen, we were bringing the funny with some authority for a few shining weeks.

rob said...

for the record, i'll be taking the kids to a they might be giants concert tomorrow. won't be home until 9:00 or so - tide/gators game on dvr. please to be not calling/texting me about the game.

Geoff said...

I've been watching the Ryder since 530ish. My takeaways: Steve Stricker is the best player on the golf course this weekend, for either team. Tiger looks shaky as hell. Ricky Fowler, after one really bad hiccup, has been surprisingly composed. I owe Jeff Overton an apology. Bubba Watson is worthless. I hate the Molinari brothers a lot.

d-train said...

just turning it on...tivo'd so many hours behind...shocked that we won the first matches....and overton/watson aren't slowing down. looks like borey's a genius...

d-train said...

about caught up now...wow. sergio thought his boys mcilroy and graeme had it in the bag...sorry serg. homo.
and it's rainin like a cow pee'in on a flat rock here in f-l-a...no chance of me having to go outside anytime soon.

mayhugh said...

Woods and Stricker are being taken to the woodshed.

Squeaky said...

Ever wonder what the land speed record for a lawnmower is?

http://tbz.me/uQ7lo

mayhugh said...

Shhh... Tribe up 14-0 on NOVA. Paulus starting, has looked rock solid. Grimes with the two scores.

mayhugh said...

Tribe offense looks sensational. Up 28-3.

Marls said...

Don't jinx it Jamboni.

mayhugh said...

Mike Paulus doesn't believe in jinxes.

Mark said...

I hope everybody gets to see the last 30 seconds of the LSU-Tennessee game. Worst combined coaching I've ever seen to end an SEC game. Shameful and embarrassing. Les Miles should be fired, immediately.

d-train said...

gtb and the twitter machine going nutty over lsu finish...wtf happened? awaiting anxiously to see...

d-train said...

the nation awaits nd vs bc. who else plays tonight?

Mark said...

Nobody, D-train.

And I can't even begin to describe everything that happened in the final minute of the LSU-UT game. You will enjoy the replays.

d-train said...

just saw it.

d-train said...

tracy wolfson = sneaky hot

d-train said...

it took me 2 yrs to realize i could watch 2nd tv located in guest bdr from tv room.

mayhugh said...

This is an impressive Florida drive.

d-train said...

concur. makes me nervous. stanford 7-3

d-train said...

u can't do tebow bitch

d-train said...

stanford recovers fumble on kickoff..

d-train said...

stanford 14-3

d-train said...

i know it's early but stanford looks like a big boy fball team

TR said...

Nice of Papelbon to give the Yanks the game on the 10th. Bama-Florida has been great so far.

d-train said...

gators...thanks for the 14-point swing turnover...that might come in handy

oregon...same to ya...

mayhugh said...

BC is a putrid football team.

TR said...

Arsenal-Chelsea at 11 AM on FSC tomorrow. Should be a good one.

d-train said...

does bc suck this bad?
21-0 nd.

TR said...

I wonder how much Mike Pouncey crushed his draft stock by turning into Steve Sax hiking the ball. He should ask Urban for reps at guard.

d-train said...

t.r. you do know the ryder cup is on tomorrow...last day...usa vs non-usa?

mayhugh said...

I just called my local chinese food delivery place, and before I said a word the person on the other end greeted me with "Hello, Mark." Probably time to start watching what I eat again...

mayhugh said...

USA is in quite a predicament in the Ryder. Hopefully they'll pull it together to save these alternate ball matches.

TR said...

Huskies leading USC may be biggest upset in the making today.

d-train said...

nd's true colors...just keep pickin on the db's...you'll score eventually, and often.

mayhugh said...

Wow, that was quite a call by Oregon doing the onside kick. And the freaking kicker got to recover it. This game feels like it's going to be very exciting.

d-train said...

mayhugh - i'd agree completely if it weren't for the matches being called for the night. this break can't hurt.

TR said...

Bank of America shouldn't brag about it's check deposit method at its ATMs when Chase beat them to the punch with it's technology by two years.

d-train said...

i got too much shit going on...didn't even see it.
i need a drink too

rob said...

hello, friends

rob said...

and hello, trent

TR said...

Not strong use of "its" courtesy of autocorrrect. Fuck you, Steve Jobs.

d-train said...

oregon scores, bama scores...again
big boy tv now gets stanford game.

TR said...

Gators need a TD or else this game is over.

d-train said...

i think it's over

TR said...

INT won't cut it. This game may get really ugly quickly.

rob said...

that's a pretty touchdown for the good guys

TR said...

Saban has his boys locked in. Very impressive performance thus far.

d-train said...

stanford...td...impressive after getting punched in the kisser two straight times

d-train said...

he's working as a bank teller.
where verne?
in a bank.
no shit?

d-train said...

so far, gators punter gets their game ball

Mark said...

Pouncey is a guard. His twin brother played C and he started playing C for the 1st time this year.

Florida had a shot to make this a game if they capitalized on early opportunities. They didn't, they got shook and that was all she wrote.

Can somebody find Tyrone Prothro and break his leg for me? You know, for old times sake?

d-train said...

nd is stanford, but way shitter at the moment. it's eery if you're watched both games at same time

d-train said...

shittier

mayhugh said...

I hope you all placed bets on the over for this Stanford-Oregon extravaganza.

rob said...

alabama's defensive backs are having an impressive evening

Mark said...

This is the final Gator game I'm watching at my friend Vitas' house. He's moving next weekend. He, our friend Sink and I have watched nearly every Gator game over the last years in this house. This place deserves better than this.

Marls said...

Several months ago igor suggested an app for the iPhone called wunderadio. While being able to grab random radio stations from around the globe is cool, the real usefulness is bring able to listen to out of market college football when you are away from a computer. Got to hear Jay Colley call the 4th quarter of the tribe win today and I am now listening to the crimson tide radio network.

mayhugh said...

I think I'd pony up a few hundred dollars to have a beer with Musberger.

mayhugh said...

About 12 minutes into the Tribe game, my Tv suddenly went dark and after 10 seconds or so a message popped up that said something like "This channel is not available under you current plan. contact your area provider." I had a sudden flash of terror thinking I was going to have to spend my saturday like the Zman seems to spend most of his - warring with the cable conglomerates. But it came back on without incident after I changed channels, then changed back.

rob said...

hard to believe i didn't run into geoff at the one nation rally today.

d-train said...

erin is looking strong to very strong this evening.

she just samba'd off the sideline

can the vp of productivity put up a new post? who is gtb's vpp?

rob said...

the schedule for the next few days is jam-packed, trainimal

TR said...

The Padres are showing a bit of heart down the stretch. Braves...not so much. Would be a fitting ending for Cox to choke his final playoff race after choking in the playoffs for the better part of two decades.

TR said...

D-Train - there will be a new post for NFL Sunday. And a new post on Monday. I am the inspiration behind them, so expect self-absorbed drivel.

TR said...

And I can't believe the stupid Rays are choking their way down the stretch as well. If the Yanks end up against Cliff Lee in the first round, they may not survive. They've lost their last 9 games against lefty starters.

d-train said...

sorry...wasn't looking for a real, legit post...just a faux post to reduce my scrolling time. it's all about me.

TR said...

Please tell me McElroy's sister is 18, because there may have been some impure thoughts.

TR said...

And does Bama have a Jewish punter?

TR said...

Here is Blair McElroy, looking healthy:

http://tinyurl.com/27qkusg

TR said...

And one more link, before I stop being creepy:

http://twitter.com/BlairMcElroy

rob said...

i don't like the vibe of this game right now

rob said...

i like it better now

TR said...

and that's the game...

rob said...

also, i don't like the fact that i haven't won the lottery

d-train said...

tr...the mom was ok to very ok also...for an older lady

d-train said...

tie game oregon

d-train said...

fuck. fuck. fuck

rob said...

explain please, d

d-train said...

rootin for stanford....
they're about to be on the ropes

rob said...

georgia lost to colorado? guh.

d-train said...

what am i missin here? colorado storms field after beating.....georgia?

rob said...

ingram's still in the game. don't likey.

d-train said...

luck looking like brantley

rob said...

hmmm, oregon's gotta start being part of the national championship conversation.

rob said...

sarkisian pretty much knows he's a fuckton smarter than kiffin, right?

d-train said...

tough games left...they're losing one if not two. just not sold on 'em.

rob said...

suck it, kiffin, you douche

Mark said...

I'm amazed by how much better I handle Florida losses in my 30s. It's an amazing combination of rationalization and perspective.