Friday, December 5, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #109 through #114

THE PLAYERS

#109 Joe Torre
#110 Richie Zisk
#111 Mike Tyson
#112 Houston Astros
#113 Don Carrithers
#114 Paul Blair




Candlestick Marlboro sign sighting #4 on Tyson's card. Zisk is blocking the BRUT sign.

THE DESIGN

Good: There's nice attention to detail on the back of Torre's card. Instead of saying that he "THROWS: RIGHT" it says he "THREW: RIGHT." I'm sure that in 1978, Torre was still capable of throwing, but Topps is subtly noting that he was no longer a player in 1978, just a manager.

Bad: The Zisk card contains a horrible error in design. Do you know what it is? If not, click here and read about halfway down the page. I wonder how much this oversight hurt Zisk's reputation. Had Topps not made the error, lots of kids might have thought of him as a better player.


THE PHOTOS

Good: Well, hmm, this is another pretty unimpressive group. The Astros team photo is my favorite, just to see all those rainbow jerseys line up into one huge rainbow. They should have hired a guy to dress up like a leprachaun or big pot of gold or something.

Bad: Where do I start with the suck? The Zisk photo is a halfways decent airbrush, except that I would have airbrushed out that ridiculous gold chain in the process. Torre's mouth is hanging open in both photos on his card. Mike Tyson needs so badly to brush his hair. And I know that Paul Blair was black, but his face, hair, and cap are ridiculously dark in this photo. You can barely see anything. Don Carrithers, you get a pass.




THE STATS


I don't understand how Joe Torre won the MVP in 1971. He had a great year, sure, but Willie Stargell and especially Hank Aaron had much better years. Incidentally, his MVP doesn't count below since it's his manager card here. Torre was a player/manager in 1977 but not in 1978.

Zisk is one of just 10 guys to have double-digit homers every season from 1973 to 1983.

Tyson owned John Candelaria, hitting 3 of his 27 career homers against him. First came a go-ahead 2-run homer in May 1976. A few months later came an inside-the-park 3-run homer. Then in July 1977 came a grand slam off the Candy Man. Nice.

Carrithers should have been used exclusively as a reliever. Checking out his splits by role, his ERA was nearly a run and a half better as a reliever. He actually walked more guys than he struck out as a starter and allowed more hits than innings pitched, too.

Blair has one of the most recent seasons with at least 12 triples but no more than 8 stolen bases. I sort of discount Jim Rice's appearances on that list since the Red Sox didn't really run much.

THE COUNTERS

Hall of Famers: 13
(none)

Deceased: 4
(none)

Future managers: 10
(none)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 7
(none)

Loyalty counter: 12
(none)

Rookies of the Year: 9
(none)

Total all-star appearances: 252
(+2 for Zisk, +2 for Blair)

Total MVP awards: 10
(none)

Total Cy Young awards: 5
(none)

12 comments:

gcrl said...

well, at least zisk is smiling. that's about all i can nicely say about this group.
i actually like the astros card the best. the horizontal uni stripes give the team some unity across the card.
it's nice that 7 appearances were enough to get don carrithers a card in this set. it's a final tribute, of sorts.

Johngy said...

I think Tyson looked somber because he knew he would eventually be joining the Cubs along with St. Louis infield mate Ken Reitz. I shudder at that Cubs infield.

Was Torre officially retired as a player at the time of this set? I guess if he had no player card, he probably was.

Paul Blair with the Yankees just doesn't look right, airbrushing or not.

Kevin said...

I agree with Johngy - Motormouth in pinstripes doesn't sit right with me. As far as I can tell, his legacy as a Yankee was replacing Reggie Jackson in RF when Billy Martin yanked him from the game for a lackadaisical effort, and Reggie and Billy came to blows in the dugout.

night owl said...

Any Astros team card from the mid-to-late '70s gets my vote.

That is an injustice done to Richie Zisk! No all-star shield?! I would have definitely valued that card a lot more if it featured the shield.

I have interviewed Zisk:

(http://nightowlcards.blogspot.com/2008/11/brush-with-greatness-richie-zisk.html)

Seems like a nice guy.

White Sox Cards said...

Torre looks ghoulish in his player photo and like a guilty serial killer in his manager photo. Neither are very appealing.

Zisk appears to be the the most appealing in this lot.

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

Had to vote for Zisk just for getting slighted on the shield. I wonder why Topps did that or if it was an honest oversight.
Mike Tyson holds a special place in my heart as it was the first '77 Topps card I aquired, from a blister repack when I was a youngster and I loved that card.

MMayes said...

I absolutely loved those Astro uniforms when I was growing up. I remember getting one in the early 80's, but it was the old scratchy doubleknit. Not only was it scratchy, but it didn't breathe so it was too hot to wear in the summer. But I looked cool when I wore it to the Hall of Fame in 1981.

I verily disliked this Mike Tyson as a player. I think he must have symbolized all of my despair over the descent of my Cardinals from a good team in 1971-72 to being absolutely putrid in the mid-late 1970's. The fact that Bing Devine couldn't get anybody better than Mike Tyson for Red Schoendienst (and then Vern Rapp and Kenny Boyer) to run out there every day just made me dislike him. Sorry, Mike.

Joe Torre (one of those early 70's Cardinals I liked because he carried the 1971 team to within a whisker of the East with his .363 batting average and 137 RBI, which were huge numbers in a definite pitchers' park) has a look on his face like, "How am I supposed to win with Roy Staiger, Steve Henderson and Doug Flynn?"

kevinb said...

You ever wonder what this Mike Tyson thinks when he hears news about the more well known Mike Tyson. I mean, any time you get a card of his you automatically think of the boxer and all of his craziness. Nobody ever thinks of Mike Tyson and some good things he may have done on the field, he is just the other Mike Tyson in sports.

zman40 said...

I love the Joe Torre reference in Jim Bouton's "Ball Four".
"It's hard to say exactly what she looked like. She was kind of a Joe Torre with tits."
That's scary.

jacobmrley said...

been working all day. very sleepy. torre smash. zisk robbed. tyson bite. astros hurt eyes. carrithers and blair indifferent. wait, no, blair slick in field. involved in favorite reggie jackson moment. too sleepy to explain. google and wiki help. so very sleepy. at least kevin not steal post ideas this time. i can see my pillow from here. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Johngy said...

MMayes-
Then after the years Tyson had in St. Louis, Cubs' mgt. somehow thought he could be the answer at 2nd base here!

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