Wednesday, December 10, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #133 through #138

THE PLAYERS

#133 Jerry Augustine
#134 Steve Henderson
#135 Ron Guidry
#136 Ted Sizemore
#137 Craig Kusick
#138 Larry Demery




THE DESIGN

Good: Larry Demery had some good moments in his carer but overall wasn't that special. Topps went way above and beyond writing all sorts of good things about him on the back of his card, including mentioning that he pitched in 2 post-seasons. They left out how he had an ERA of 36.00 the first year and 18.00 the second year. Way to make lemonade from lemons, Topps!

Bad: The comment on the back of Sizemore's card is just crap. The best thing they can say about the guy is that he had a 3-hit game and "played a flawless 2nd base"? Just what does that mean? Were they at the game? I'm sure he wasn't credited with any errors, but playing a flawless 2nd base takes more than that. I'm not saying he didn't do it, I just don't know what Topps expects us to take away from that comment. I call laziness on their part.


THE PHOTOS

Good: The Guidry photo is remarkably similar to Sparky Lyle's photo. Other than that, the only other half decent photo here is Augustine's, yet another nice Brewer shot.

There's something quite odd on Demery's card, though. In the background, there is a player running, and he's not part of a play captured in the photograph. He's just running. Can anybody think of another such example?

Bad: Pick any card from the right column. I'm sure all three of these guys are quite handsome, but you'd never know it from these photos. Kusick, who died from lukemia, also deserved better than a sideways shot where you can't see his face at all.



THE STATS


Not terribly surprisingly, HOFers hit very well off Jerry Augustine, especially Reggie Jackson.

Ron Guidry has the most recent, and probably last ever, season with at least 25 wins and a WHIP below 1.00.

Ted Sizemore made his 23 career homers count. Of the 23 HRs, 5 tied the game and 10 put his team ahead. One was a walkoff shot against Tug McGraw, and 5 came in the 8th, 9th, or extra innings. Truly amazingly, not a single one of his homers came with more than 1 runner on base.

The late Craig Kusick also did a lot with his 46 career homers, tying 4 games, giving his team the lead in 16 others, and hitting 3 walk-off jobs, including the last homer of his career in this game.

Larry Demery started 139 games in his career, and his top game score came in a complete-game loss.

THE COUNTERS

Hall of Famers: 15
(none)

Deceased: 5
(+1 for Cusick)

Future managers: 11
(none)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 8
(none)

Loyalty counter: 16
(+1 for Augustine, +1 for Guidry, +1 for Demery)

Rookies of the Year: 10
(+1 for Sizemore)

Total all-star appearances: 295
(+4 for Guidry)

Total MVP awards: 12
(none)

Total Cy Young awards: 7
(+1 for Guidry)

13 comments:

fogus said...

That Augustine photo bothers me for one very simple reason: I hate fake wind-up shots. It's a nicely balanced card otherwise. :p

-m

gcrl said...

the kusick card is a lot like dan ford's, minus the jewelry.
the guidry card is one of my top ten favorites of this set. well balanced, with appendages towards each corner of the card. nicely done.
sizemore is one of the least celebrated dodgers rookies of the year hitting a career high 4 hr in 1969. he had a second stint with the dodgers in 1976 (no 1977 topps dodger card, though) before heading to philly. i wonder how he felt losing to the dodgers two years in a row in the nlcs.

Kevin said...

I actually like that Steve Henderson card. Nice closeup of the Mets logo patch, and a pretty good smile. I'm not a fan of hatless photos when they're used to fudge a last-minute team change (I've been seeing that a lot with the 1965 Topps set I'm building), but it's okay when you can see the full jersey.

When I was collecting as a kid, I thought it was amazing that Rickey Henderson was teammates with Dave Henderson and Steve Henderson at different times in Oakland. It's not THAT common of a name. Steve is now the hitting coach of the Tampa Bay Rays...I'd say he acquitted himself well in the 2008 season!

Kevin said...

Of course, having fact-checked AFTER posting my comment, I see that Steve Henderson was with the A's from 1985-1987...smack dab in the middle of Rickey's four and a half seasons in the Bronx. Well, that's a bummer.

MMayes said...

What struck me about the Kusick card is how he's relaxing his grip with the pinky of his bottom hand on the bat waiting for the pitch to come. That's a lot more prevalent now than it was back then. I also saw on his B-R page that Kusick pitched 3.2 innings in a 24-2 loss (he only gave up 2 runs). (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR197908250.shtml) What struck me was that he had the most innings pitched for the Jays in that game. Is this the most recent instance of a non-pitcher getting more outs than any other pitcher on his team in a game?

I hadn't realized Kusick died of leukemia. I remember Danny Thompson of the Twins dying of leukemia and more recently Earl Battey (60's era catcher) died of leukemia. I've kind of got a soft spot for that.

Ted Sizemore was a great #2 hole hitter behind Lou Brock, being patient to take pitches for Brock to steal on and hit behind him on hit-and-run.

night owl said...

Ted Sizemore did have a 1977 Dodger card. He's in a batting stance, kind of full body shot, in front of a batting cage. I secretly hoped that when the Dodgers reobtained Sizemore they would move him to shortstop and he would take over for Russell (I didn't like Russell's fielding, even as a youngster).

The comment on Sizemore's back reminds me of when soccer coaches call in their results at our newspaper. They'll say, "and Suzy, Katy, Cindy and Mindy all did well on defense." Did well? What's that mean? They looked cute in their soccer uniforms? You're leaving me hanging coach.

I don't mind Kusick's shot that much. It is like Dan Ford's photo, which I love. There are a handful of Twins with this pose in this set. Butch Wynegar is another one (I like that card, too). When Kusick died, I said to my friend, "I bet you and I and his family and friends are the only ones that know he died." I'm glad that wasn't true.

gcrl said...

augh. night owl, you are right. i could have sworn that sizemore's 77 card was a phillies airbrush job. stupid lack of a memory.

jacobmrley said...

close to greatness: my friend once dated a girl named gerry augustine.

never great: steve henderson. he epitomizes the late 70's mets. him and ellis valentine. looked like they could play, sometimes even played well, but never ever came close to living up to their potential...

too much greatness: ron guidry in 1978 is easily one of the most mind-blowing of the modern era. dominant doesn't do it justice. like gooden in '85 or blue in '71, he was in way over his head, but way too young to know any better. we really haven't seen a season like it since 1985; nomo, willis, volquez - they all tried. but a young stud pitching like he invented it? it has been a while...

great stuff: i don't know what demery smoked before this picture was taken, but i hope he brought enough for everybody...

Bay Rat North West said...

I just acquired a lot of about 900 78's and was wondering if you might want to start a blog were we have a nine inning game based on cards people pick out for us.
I don't have a full set but will list the cards I do have so they can choose. Let me know what you think. Might even be able to start a league of teams for the season and have a champ.

Andy said...

Bay Rat--I've been thinking of a similar idea. One way to do it is if we could come up with a random list of numbers...like stock prices or something...that can be retrieved from the internet, those numbers could be used to select card, and a game could be played out.

I would be amenable to giving away cards this way in a contest, if I could just come up with a good way of doing it.

White Sox Cards said...

It's been bugging me all day, then it hit me. Sizemore has a Donald Sutherland thing going on in his photo!

ajnrules said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ajnrules said...

You know, that running player in the Demery card reminds me of the 1979 Topps Doyle Alexander, which features a teammate doing crunches. I always like it when posed photos feature other people going about on their own business. :p

And as bad as the Craig Kusick card is, I feel like it can't be worse than his 1979 Topps card, in which he had a goofy grin, dark glasses, and a double chin. Now that was bad. Didn't realize he passed away, though. May he rest in peace.