#73 Andy Hassler
#74 Checklist Topps '78 Baseball Cards 1-121
#75 Dick Ruthven
#76 Steve Ontiveros
#76 Ed Kirkpatrick
#77 Pablo Torrealba
Let's focus on the checklist card since it's the first one we've seen so far in this set.
Good: I was pleasantly shocked to see the abbreviation '78 on the card instead of 1978 spelled out. Plus it actually notes that it's the baseball checklist, not football, basketball, or hockey, back at a time when people actually cared about cards from those sports. You also know how I love recursive cards, and there is the checklist #74 mentioned right on the back of the checklist #74.
Bad: The card number sure is weird, floating out there in a circle on the back of the card. They squeezed it in there next to a few short names. I'm wondering how it was done on other checklist cards. Guess we'll have to wait to find out.
I also note the red and blue color scheme on this card. It's quite nice. Why did they reserve it for a checklist? How about repalcing one of those hot pink and green color schemes with this one?
Good: Slim pickings in this set for a decent photo. Kirkpatrick is continuing the streak of nice Brewers cards, with a good photo and nice pose. I also love when the uniform numbers are easily visible.
Bad: With the exception of Andy Hassler, every other photograph is slanted in some way. The Ontiveros card has slanted stands in the background as does the Torrealba card. This makes no sense to me--weren't these guys standing straight up? The backgrounds of both the Ruthven and Kirkpatrick cards are also weirdly slanted. And, geez, is that Candlestick again on Ruthven's card? And Hassler has a seriously pointed knee. At least I hope that's his knee.
Andy Hassler was robbed. He finished his career with just about a league average ERA. However, his W/L record was 44-71 (.383.) When neutralizing, though, which can be done on his B-R.com page if you follow the link from his name at the top of this post, on average teams in average ballparks he would have had a 61-59 (.508) record, including an 11-win season in 1974. Like I said, he was robbed.
Ruthven was the very definition of a fairly effective but somewhat below-average pitcher. Over his career from 1973 to 1986, he tied for the most seasons with at least 120 IP but an ERA+ between 85 and 99.
Steve Ontiveros, not to be confused with a pitcher with the same exact name, once had 7 total bases in a game. That wasn't just any game, either.
Kirkpatrick is the 80th most-recent player to get exactly 100 hits in a season.
Torrealba gave up multiple homers to just one guy: Jim Rice. Both gave Boston the lead. He also gave up an inside-the-park homer to Lou Whitaker.
Hall of Famers: 12
Future managers: 7
Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 6
(+1 for Steve Torrealba, son of Pablo, who appeared in 15 games in 2001-2002.)
Loyalty counter: 8
Rookies of the Year: 8
Total all-star appearances: 220
(+2 for Ruthven)
Total MVP awards: 9
Total Cy Young awards: 4
Guess what? This poll site doesn't allow me to use the word "dick". Can you believe that? That's why I had to put his name in quotes in the poll. Don't let that discourage you from voting for him if you want, though!