Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #73 through #78


#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

Deceased: 3

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!


Kevin said...


You should absolutely come up with a code word for "Dick" on your polls. I suggest "Oatmeal".

White Sox Cards said...

Ed Kirkpatrick looks like a man possessed! Could this card have been Jack Nicholson's inspiration for his potrayal of Jack Torrance?

gcrl said...

oddly enough, the checklist wins out of this crop of cards.
so yorvit was no relation to pablo?
at least the andy hassler card features an in game photo. and what are the odds that his nickname was "the hassler". pretty good, i would think.

MMayes said...

Just wait until Mariner pitcher Pole comes up. I'm sure the filth blocker on your poll will have every bell and whistle blaring.

I think Steve Ontiveros is a level person, but I also think the stands in Torrealba's photo are the only level thing. Check out his hair and especially his mustache. There's a lot out of symmetry with Pablo.

I remember cringing when the Royals acquired Hassler. If I remember right he had a 3-12 season with the Angels. Once he was put in the bullpen, his stats started getting better. I did not remember him being on the '85 Cards.

Kirkpatrick's card may narrow down when the photo was taken. Doesn't look like an airbrush, so it would have to be taken after the Brewers acquired him on 8/20/77 (for Gorman Thomas). It kind of looks like Yankee Stadium, where Charlie Moore's picture was taken, but the Brewers didn't play there after that. Any ideas?

RoofGod said...

It's really a sad set of six cards when the checklist is not only the most desireable card of the lot but also is the neatest card. I like the number being in the middle, it messes up the symetry of the card just enough, now a whole set like this would drive me nuts but a card or six is ust fine with me.

jacobmrley said...


(this is a boring group of cards, so that's really all i have to say...)

Matt said...

Steve Ontiveros kind of looks like Richard Pryor in his photo. Must be the 'stache.

night owl said...

Hassler played for some lousy Angels teams, that's why his W-L record is messed up. Also, playing for the '79 Mets didn't help.

Johngy said...

There is a Chicago connection (although not a great one) on 3 of these 5 players.
Steve O. was the epitome of the 70's Cubs. He wasn't horrible, but he wasn't very good.
Pablo T. was forgettable in his 2 seasons with the Sox.
Dick R. finished his career with the Cubs. He wasn't great, but he played a bigger role in the 1984 playoff season than his stats would indicate.

Love the Hassler card.

Why did I think Kirkpatrick and Torreabla were dead?

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

It seems to me a lot of Topps photographers liked to slant the backgrounds on purpose especially in the '75 set. I don't know why but I think it makes the cards look cool. Any time I see a photo like that I think 70's bubble gum card.

Ben said...

Back in the day I was a pretty big Doom player and spent a lot of time on the Doom forums. One forum in particular had a "swear filter" that was a bit over the top. It was so bad that if any cobination of letters could possibly spell a nasty word, it would sensor it.

For example, if you were talking about a fish and said: "This is a pretty fish. It has stripes on its dorsal fin." Your sentence would be translated to: "This is a pretty fipo. Op..."

But my favorite was shells. Shotgun shells are an integral part of Doom, but this forum's software didn't like it. If you tried to talk about shotgun shells, it came out "shotgun shecks."

Splint Chesthair said...

Even Pablo's mustache is crooked.

dayf said...

So I can't make a poll including the underrated Dead Milkmen album "Not Richard, But Dick"? What kind of communist society are we living in anyway?

I actually voted for Dick, but now I regret it and wish I had voted for the checklist. Heh, I voted for Dick. I mean Oatmeal.

kevinb said...

What a bunch this is...no fros, no connections to any of these players probably for the vast majority of fans and a checklist, which was the worst card to get as a kid when you opened a pack...whoever wins this lot should be seeded number 64 (or whatever the worse seed is) in your tournament of cards

My vote goes to Torrealba because I think I saw him in a porn movie once

jacobmrley said...

to expand on my thoughts on the world's most boring cards:

how on earth is Pablo Torrealba not related to Yorvit Torrealba. are there a million people named Torrealba i am just not privy to?

and furthermore, how are Steve Ontiveros and Steve Ontiveros not related. two dudes in the history of mankind named Steve Ontiveros and they both played major league baseball. what are the odds of that?

night owl said...

Referring to Johngy's comment on thinking Kirkpatrick and Torrealba were dead: Kirkpatrick was paralyzed in an auto accident in the 1980s, but he's still alive as far as I know.

mab said...

I really liked the checklist in this set. Topps did nearly the same thing in the FB set that year.

Great memories of carefully filling in the boxes as I got additional cards. I am tempted to get a few of these and start using the checklist as I begin collecting again.