Saturday, December 6, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #115 through #120

THE PLAYERS

#115 Gary Nolan
#116 Tucker Ashford
#117 John Montague
#118 Terry Harmon
#119 Denny Martinez
#120 Gary Carter




THE DESIGN

Good: That's a pretty interesting stat they came up with on the back of Martinez's card. 1977 was his rookie year, although it was his second year in the bigs. A search for all pitchers who recorded at least 4 saves and 5 complete games in either their first or second year reveals that Martinez wasn't even the only guy to do it in 1977.

Bad: The commentary on the back of Montague's card is a bit more suspect. It says he saw action as both a starter and reliever in 1977 (translation: he sucked) and points out that he led the AA in shutouts in 1976. I wonder why he wasn't in the majors in 1976? (answer: he sucked.)


THE PHOTOS

Good: The Carter photo here is the iconic one that everyone identifies with. I like it because it's iconic, but I hate most everything else about it. For one, nearly all the red on the Expos uniform is washed out, making him look more like he's wearing a Blue Jays uniform. For two, Carter looks like he's making a lude gesture with his tongue.

Bad: There is a lot to dislike about these photos. Nolan, Ashford, Montague, and Harmon all have shadows across their faces. And Montague is looking so far off to the side....why? They could easily face photographed him more from the front. Harmon looks about 48 years old, by the way, thanks in large part to the shadows. Martinez (who looks so fresh-faced I can hardly believe that this is the same guy) looks like the Yankee Stadium foul pole is coming out of his pants (no jokes, please.)



THE STATS


Gary Nolan hit one homer in his career, a 3-run job in a tie game in the 7th. He pitched a 4-hit shutout that day.

Of Tucker Ashford's 6 career homers, one was a game-ending shot off Mr. Pajamas himself. He also hit one off Oatmeal Ruthven.

From 1975 to 1980, Montague had one of the worst WHIPs in baseball, minimum 400 IP. (For noobs, that's Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched.)

Harmon had 3 career 4-hit games.

El Presidente was one of just 3 pitchers to have at least 2 RBIs as a batter each season from 1986 to 1993.

THE COUNTERS

Hall of Famers: 14
(+1 for Carter)

Deceased: 4
(none)

Future managers: 10
(none)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 7
(none)

Loyalty counter: 12
(+1 for Terry Harmon)

Rookies of the Year: 9
(none)

Total all-star appearances: 267
(+1 for Nolan, +4 for Martinez, +11 for Carter)

Total MVP awards: 10
(none)

Total Cy Young awards: 5
(none)

12 comments:

Chris said...

i think weve come to the conclusion that catcher cards are the best, although i cant not vote for a young el presidente

one of my favorite cards ever is dennis martinez from a mid 1990s topps set i believe, i could be wrong, but it has the first four guys in the indians rotation i think, dennis martinez, orel hershiser,jack mcdowell, and someone else

Johngy said...

I had to go with Gary Carter's card as my favorite. I am not even a huge Carter fan. I don't dislike Carter, but I am bitter that he is in the HOF and Ted Simmons is not. The inevitable comparisons between the 2 leave me annoyed at the exclusion of Simmons. Plus, Carter beat out Barry Foote, a favorite of mine as a youngster. I should be angrier that Carter beating out Foote ultimately lead Foote to my Cubs, where he is one of the revolving doors of bad catchers we had in that era.

jacobmrley said...

guys with my birthday: #1 Gary Nolan - the only one in this whole set. this is his last topps card.

Gary Carter has been my favorite since before he was with the mets - imagine how thrilled i was when he got traded there. i was the only one big enough to fit in the catchers gear in tee-ball, so i was a catcher. and i picked the best catcher to be my favorite - and i couldn't have chosen much better. Kid was all pollyanna off the field but he was a serial killer on it. he blocked the plate with abandon, threw runners out with the trash, knocked the crap out of the ball, and knew how to rise to the occasion (a euphemism, for those of you who don't believe in 'clutch').

I can remember the day I got my 1978 carter, i traded a bunch of matchbox cards for him and a '78 johnny bench. i was 8 and i am sure my friend jared still thinks he got the better end of the deal. i still have both cards 25 years later - i doubt he still has any of those matchbox cars.

Danny said...

I've got about 100 or so 73 Topps cards. Please email me with your address so that I can send them off to you this week.

mrscratch said...

I love the Dennis Martinez card, it looks like he just threw the "P" baseball right at the cameraman!

gcrl said...

wow, back to back cards with the collard windbreaker as an undershirt. nice.
terry harmon is another guy who has a card in this set but didn't play in 78.
tucker ashford would go on to appear in 3 games for the 81 al champ yankees but did not appear in the post season. i wonder if he was voted a playoff share?

Luke said...

Harmon's card reminds me of 2 people: Sonny Corleone, and my sophmore year History teacher.

night owl said...

What a collection of lousy photos: Tucker, John, Terry, look at the camera!

The Carter photo alarmed me as a kid because on the first three cards Topps issued of Carter ('75, '76, '77) he looks so jolly. On the '78 card he looks like he's cranky and sloppy.

I liked Nolan a lot as a kid, even though by the time I started following baseball, he was too injured to play. But to this day if I'm working on completing a set from the early '70s, I'll instinctively pick up a Nolan card.

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

I can't get over how young El Presidente looks. I'll always remember him spitting tobabco juice on the ball for the Spos, winning 15 games every year in the process.

MMayes said...

I liked Gary Nolan, too. He was one of those gritty guys that Sparky did well with, throwing out there all the time. Too bad injuries shut him down.

I never really noticed John Montague sucking so much, but I noticed Terry Harmon and Tucker Ashford sucking. I remember reading how good Ashford hit in AAA and wondered why he never got called up (he sucked). Terry Harmon was one of those backup infielders that wasn't a good hitter and didn't have much range, so you never knew why he was on the team (he sucked).

Gary Carter -- he's a great guy off the field and I admire him for what he does with the Leukemia Society. However, I couldn't stand him as a player (probably goes back to the All-Star Game interview in a 3 piece suit....not very "baseball"-- it sucked). I'm just glad this photo didn't show us his perm.

Kevin said...

Haha, glad to see "Oatmeal" work its way into your lexicon, Andy.

Looking at the first four cards, the song "Dirty White Boy" is playing in my head.

Eric Stephen said...

Terry Harmon was likely only 33 years old when his windbreaker-aided photo was taken, yet he looks like a man in his 50s. The collared windbreaker is not a young man's look.