Thursday, December 4, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #103 through #108

THE PLAYERS

#103 Tom Murphy
#104 Lee Lacy
#105 Reggie Cleveland
#106 Bill Plummer
#107 Ed Halicki
#108 Von Joshua




THE DESIGN

Good: Topps did me one better here. I wrote the "STATS" section below before writing this section and I noted that Plummer's best offensive game was a 2-HR job against Steve Carlton. They found a better one, as noted on the back of his card. In fact, holy crap, he never had 4, 5, or 6 RBI's in a game.

Bad: Really? What was so "superb" about this game? I'm not sure I like the copy on the back of Cleveland's card.


THE PHOTOS

Good: First, a little contest. One of these 6 photos immediately struck me as very oddly reminiscent of a certain TV show. Five points to whomever can guess it in the comments. (No random guesses please, just solid theories.)

Three of these photos (Lacy, Plummer, and Halicki) show the player's uniform number, with Joshua giving up just half of his. I love that.

Cleveland joins the shadow club, and Halicki joins the Candlestick park "375 sign" club.

Bad: No horrible photos in this bunch, except maybe for Murphy with a nasty shadow right across his face. I'm not crazy about the glare on Plummer's helmet either.



THE STATS


In 1974, Tom Murphy had one of the best ERA+ figures for a guy with at least 120 IP who finished with a W-L record no better than .500.

Lee Lacy is far and away the leader in most seasons with 3 or 4 triples.

Reggie Cleveland has the 2nd most-recent season with 10 complete games and also 10 games finished.

Another stat from 1974 is this game, Plummer's best on offense where he hit 2 homers off Steve Carlton.

Since 1901, only 11 times has a pitcher qualified for the ERA title with a WHIP of 1.06 or less and not gotten at least 10 wins. Halicki had such a year in 1978, only the 3rd such year since 1917. Curt Schilling makes his second appearance in this post.

Not too often does a guy hit 10 triples but then have as many as 10 caught stealings with as few as 20 stolen bases. Von Joshua did it in 1975.

THE COUNTERS

Hall of Famers: 13
(none)

Deceased: 4
(none)

Future managers: 10
(+1 for Plummer)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 7
(none)

Loyalty counter: 12
(none)

Rookies of the Year: 9
(none)

Total all-star appearances: 248
(none)

Total MVP awards: 10
(none)

Total Cy Young awards: 5
(none)

17 comments:

indefenseofabsurdity said...

I'm thinking that Bill Plummer reminds you of Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap

fogus said...

Lee Lacy in that photo kinda reminds me of Demond Wilson from Sanford and Son.
-m

Johngy said...

I don't think I missed it in your notes this time. Is that Rob Andrews in Halicki's background?

I am not sure why, but as a kid, I was a big fan of Tom Murphy and Reggie Cleveland.

Finally, Bill Plummer is a lock 1st ballot Backup Catcher Hall of Famer!

Andy said...

Wow, I am shocked that somebody guessed Quantum Leap so quickly. I was not a big fan of that show, but nevertheless, it does look like Scott Bakula was sent back in time to be Bill Plummer for a day.

Johngy, I didn't think I could tell who that was behind Halicki, but back on Jim Barr's card I did note that Andrews was playing behind him, and it sure looks like the same guy on Halicki's card. That might mean that Andrews appears on more cards than any other player in this set, since he's got his own card, the SF Giants team card, and at least 2 appearances on other cards.

Kevin said...

Personally, I always thought that Lee Lacy bore an uncanny resemblance to Martin Lawrence.

ESPN's Bill Simmons created the "Reggie Cleveland All-Stars", for white guys with racially confusing names. He was apparently shocked when he learned that Reggie was white. Other team members include Khalil Greene, Grady Little, Jarrod Washburn, Darius Songaila, Marcus Giles and Lew Ford.

jacobmrley said...

if any of you read bill simmons (a polarizing figure amongst sport fans), he has the 'reggie cleveland all-stars' for players who have names that sound like they should be one race, and turn out to be another. we have two of them here - of course, the original - and von joshua, who sounds like he should be white as the driven snow, and yet he obviously is not.

donovan mcnabb is still my absolute favorite sports figure in this particular category. all of us are very used to donovan mcnabb, of course, but if you were to be introduced to 'donovan mcnabb' and you didn't see a redheaded irishman in front of you, you'd be very confused and bewildered. he should look like, say tom murphy...

if any of you watch quantum leap, the pilot episode is sam leaping into a minor league baseball player...

Andy said...

Wow, Kevin, those are some big balls you've got. You link to Lacy's 88 Topps card, but not on my 88 Topps blog!!

:)

jacobmrley said...

^^^it appears kevin and i had the same thoughts at the same time...^^^

Andy said...

I'd say the two of you are sharing one brain.

jacobmrley said...

lee lacy looks like martin lawrence if he wasn't jerked up on coke and amphetamines all the time...

White Sox Cards said...

Quantum Leap leapt out at me, but my first thought for Plummer was the original Battlestar Galactica.

Eric Stephen said...

I misread the back of the Reggie Cleveland card to read "He fanned 4 batters in a game." I was wondering what was so special about that "milestone," especially for a starter.

Then again, fanning 4 in this superb game wasn't so hot either.

Cleveland (the pitcher, not the team) had 6 starts with a higher game score than the 9/19/77 game.

http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/uaWz

I guess this game was chosen because it was a pennant race (the Sox were 3½ games out after the superb outing).

Eric Stephen said...

The quote on Murphy's card, "Was A.L.'s 2nd leading fireman, 1974," is much more heroic than, "finished 2nd in the AL in saves."

gcrl said...

i like seeing the red uni number on lacy's card. even if it is fernando's number. lacy hit 3 consecutive pinch-hit homers in 1978.
the von joshua card is kind of a reverse of the don baylor card we saw earlier. interesting that he did not play in 1978.

Timberhill said...

And the theme of making the Brewers look cool continues with Von Joshua. Which is one of the sweeter names in baseball.

Mike Mayes said...

Tim Foli played the 9th inning at 2B on 8/26/77 while John Curtis mopped up. Otherwise, the only white guy to play 2B for the Giants in 1977 was Rob Andrews (Johnny Disaster didn't play second that year). I think we'll be seeing him a lot.

I like the pose Lacy and Joshua took starting their swing, rather than Plummer with the "swing and a miss" pose. Actually, if they wanted to capture the essence of Plummer's career, they would have got him in a mask, shin guards and glove after warming the pitcher while Bench got his gear on.

I'd also love to spend some time captioning Reggie Cleveland's picture. I'm not a big fan of the posed "I'm finishing my delivery" shot, but with the smile, it makes you think he's just thrown a booger-laced ball at Reggie Jackson's head.

Splint Chesthair said...

I don't like how Plummer's card makes it look like he bats lefty but goofy-handed. Obviously he's followed through on his righty swing but since it's posed, it looks stupid.