Monday, December 15, 2008

1978 Topps #151 to #156

THE PLAYERS

#151 Milt Wilcox
#152 Ivan DeJesus
#153 Steve Stone
#154 Cecil Cooper
#155 Butch Hobson
#156 Andy Messersmith



THE DESIGN

Good: This speaks more to the photograph, but check out Cooper's card. The white part of the background looks like a nice frame for the baseball and looks like an enhanced design for the card.

Bad: It's nice to know from the back of Stone's card that he not only set a career high with 12 strikeouts on 9/30/1973 but he set a career high for himself. You mean he didn't set someone else's career high with that performance?

I also need to point out that the commentary on the back of Hobson's card is terribly written. It makes it sound like Hobson is the second player ever to get 100 RBI in a season for Boston.

THE PHOTOS

Good: Although the Wilcox photo is clearly posed, it's pretty damn cool if you ask me. The Tigers cards have some of the best coloring of this set, and that's a really cool card.

Also we need to give some special praise to Steve Stone's double chain action.

Bad: Two bad photos here. First. Ivan DeJesus looks absolutely like a cardboard cutout. I wonder if he appreciated being asked to pose in a bunting stance. Also, Topps managed to get almost all of Cooper's body in the shadows. Just about all of his face, his entire torso, and his entire right leg.




THE STATS


Among the 74 pitchers to throw at least 70 complete games since 1970, Wilcox is tied for the fewest career shutouts.

DeJesus has the 5th most-recent season with a sub-.200 batting average in a year with at least 400 AB. On that list, you have to go all the way back to Bob Lillis in 1963 to find a lower OPS than DeJesus in 1981.

A guy has won 25 games in a season 19 times since 1953, and Steve Stone had one of the lowest strikeout totals of those.

Guys have hit 30 homers in a season 1,103 times through 2008. Only 23 times, though, has a guy hit 30 HRs and walked fewer than 3o times.

Messersmith had the second most RBI among pitchers from 1974 to 1976.

THE COUNTERS

Hall of Famers: 16
(none)

Deceased: 6
(none)

Future managers: 14
(+1 for Cooper, current manager of the Astros, +1 for Hobson)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 9
(none)

Loyalty counter: 16
(none)

Rookies of the Year: 11
(none)

Total all-star appearances: 326
(+1 for Stone, +5 for Cooper)

Total MVP awards: 14
(none)

Total Cy Young awards: 9
(+1 for Stone)

9 comments:

Johngy said...

This was a great battle. Stone's card is just so 70's. Cooper's picture would have been great with a little better lighting. (See, I am learning from you guys).
Messersmith is interesting just because of his free agency and basic flop with the Braves.
DeJesus is interesting because they picture him with a foreign object...a bat! I am not sure he knew how to use one of those.

Kevin said...

Stoney had a fascinating end to his career. He basically ruined his arm by overloading on curveballs in 1980, but did it willingly. According to the B-R bullpen, he said that "One year of 25-7 is worth five of 15-15." As a numbers nut, I also think it's neat that his switch from #21 to #32 in honor of Sandy Koufax helped mark his turnaround.

I see Andy Messersmith in a Braves uni, and I think of Ted Turner using him as his personal billboard before Bowie Kuhn intervened.

Ben said...

Ya know, I think the shadows on Cooper's card look pretty cool. In fact, it's the card I vote for here.

A lot can be said for Topps' poor choice of photographs and poor lighting on posed shots, but in this case it really adds something to the card I think.

night owl said...

The Stone card represents the '70s so well it has to be right up there with the '75 Gamble card.

Messersmith hit .240 for the Dodgers in 1974. L.A. always had pitchers who could hit. Well, as far as pitchers go anyway.

Luke said...

That is not Ivan DeJesus.
That is Derek Bell. He must of stole the Delorean!

MMayes said...

Steve Stone's '78 card is so different than the buttoned down straight-man image he cultivated on the air with Harry Caray. Makes you wonder if you were looking at someone else.....

I liked Cooper's card, too. The shadows didn't bother me too much here, because in an action shot you're not necessarily trying to see facial details, etc., but the action is tops.

I remember Messersmith really exploding for the Dodgers after he got the afro. Based on what he did for the Angels, you really didn't see that coming. That was a trade I'm sure the Angels thought they were getting the better of (Bobby Valentine and Billy Grabarkewitz were supposed to be up and comers, Bill Singer was a quality starter and they thought Frank Robinson would bounce back by coming back to the AL). As it was, Messersmith helped pitch the Dodgers to a World Series. The Angels got a 20 game season and Jim Spencer from Singer, 1 good season and Ken Suarez out of Robinson, and medical bills out of Bobby Valentine.

gcrl said...

ivan dejesus just misses the father/sons tag - his son is in the dodger organization and may see some big league time this year, especially if furcal doesn't sign.
messersmith did pitch well for the angels - his era in 72 was lower than in 71, so he must have run into some bad luck, decision wise. messersmith, of course, helped usher in free agency by challenging the reserve clause during the 1975 season. after the 1975 season, the braves gave him a 3 year deal, of which he completed two before being sent to the yankees for the 1978 season. the dodgers took him back in 1979, but he was nowhere near the same.

kevinb said...

7th '84 Tiger in Wilcox who was the 3rd starter that year.

If I was still counting ex-Tigers, I think many people forget DeJesus finished his career as a Tiger...he was called up in '89 when Trammell went on the 15 day DL and sent down and never heard from again when he came back.

jacobmrley said...

we all forgot that ivan dejesus was the main cog in the ryne sandberg trade in 1982. how'd that work out for the phillies?

cecil cooper is one of he few people i have sent away for an autograph from. i was told that he is polite and quick, so i tested it, just to test it. i wrote a simple polite letter and sent a card and a SASE and he wrote a nice little note back and sent the card personally autographed to me (max - not jacob for those who are curious) and the turn around was less than 10 days - during the baseball season. i was impressed.

my enduring image of butch hobson in the field bring up the thought "that is why they invented the DH" anyone who saw him play the hot corner has had the same exact thought. i consider it a shared experience...

andy messersmith always makes me think of the WWII daffy duck propaganda film where he screams "messerschmidts! a whole mess of messerschmidts!" my brother and i would yell that at the screen when he came in to pitch...