Friday, December 12, 2008

1978 Topps Cards #145 through #150


#145 Rick Monday
#146 Doyle Alexander
#147 Lee Mazzilli
#148 Andre Thornton
#149 Dale Murray
#150 Bobby Bonds


Good: I had absolutely no idea that Andre Thornton was known as "Andy" until I read the back of his card. Let's here it for Andys everywhere!

Bad: This isn't exactly bad, but the comment on the back of Alexander's card is interesting. It says he was one of the leading hurlers of the Rangers' staff in 1977. While it's true that he led that staff in wins, he had the worst ERA among the top 4 starters. Incidentally, those 3 other guys weren't so bad: Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven, and Dock Ellis.


Good: There is nothing to like in this set except for the unusual photo for Bobby Bonds. I'm not sure I even like it, but it's certainly interesting to see such a closeup.

Bad: Where do I start? Why did they show such a lazy, strange photo of Monday? Lee Mazzilli's got a terrible shadow on his face. Murray's photo is another lame shot of a Cincinnati pitcher. Ho hum.


Rick Monday is one of 23 guys with between 240 and 250 career homers. He had the 3rd fewest RBI of that group.

There are 17 pitchers to finish with a career ERA+ between 99.9 and 100.1--extremely average. Murray was in the middle of the pack in terms of career IP. (Actually one guy, Sean Marshall, is still active.)

Before 1980, Bobby Bonds was the power-speed king of baseball. He had by far the most seasons of 30 HR and 20 SB up to that point. After 1980, only one player beats Bobby Bonds anyway. Who? Well, uhh, Bonds.


Hall of Famers: 16

Deceased: 6
(+1 for Bonds)

Future managers: 12
(+1 for Mazzilli)

Fathers and sons of major leaguers: 9
(+1 for Barry Bonds, son of Bobby)

Loyalty counter: 16

Rookies of the Year: 11

Total all-star appearances: 320
(+2 for Monday, +1 for Alexander, +1 for Mazzilli, +2 for Thornton, +3 for Bonds)

Total MVP awards: 14

Total Cy Young awards: 8


jacobmrley said...

hey if i type fast, i get to be first...that never happens...

they obviously lined up the poor reds pitchers two by two, cuz i know the 78 seaver is taken in the same spot with the same blue filter. ick.

maz is the recovering mets poster boy of the late 70's. you can guarantee that when the mets suck badly, they will glorify a thrid tier player as a 'star' (my favorite was rico brogna in the mid 90's - rico. brogna.). but maz had a fighting chance to pan out into something, he just never did. the mets did turn him into ron darling and walt terrell (who turned into howard johnson), so maz was useful for something...

in fact, this group of 6 is a perfect example of second tier stars. bobby bonds at one time could be considered top tier, but really, this is half a dozen useful ballplayers. you actually in in baseball with the best useful players. lets hear it for the replacement level!

doyle alexander is still connected to today because he was traded for john smoltz...i think that worked out ok for the braves.

rick monday is famous on the field for something far different than balls and strikes. while i defend the concept of burning the flag, i like to think we all would react the way he did, since i also believe there is a time and place for everything, as well.

and when i was young, i thought there were 2 players, andy thornton and andre thornton. i was well into my teens before i figured out they were the same person. in the 90's the mets had edgardo alfonso, who had a brother edgar...that would have confused the hell out of me too, in the opposite way...luckily edgar never made it to the show.

gcrl said...

yeah, monday must have had some ketchup on his chin from eating one too many dodger dogs.
i will always remember monday from his 1981 playoff heroics - the home run off of steve rogers. i was at school, huddled around a transistor radio with about 10 other kids. pure joy and pandemonium on the playground when mo went deep.
i believe he was also part of the dodger foursome that appeared on solid gold. jay johnstone was part of that group - he and monday were born on the same day/same year.
now monday is a dodger broadcaster who regularly neglects to tell you the score or how many outs there are.

MMayes said...

Monday looks more like a coach than a player.

I always respected Andre Thornton as an all-around good guy who could hit the heck out of a ball. Too bad he was stuck on the Cubs/Indians teams.

Dale Murray's card may be a snoozer, but check out his rookie season. He was an amazing reliever his first few years and then had a few good ones later on. He was forgotten because he was stuck in Montreal.

Bobby Bonds had everything going for him, but in the 70's you just weren't supposed to strike out 150 times a year. If he'd not gotten that label and had settled down some (his suitcase got well used after the trade to New York for Bobby Murcer) he could have settled in and developed a HOF reputation.

night owl said...

My brother used to hassle me about the Rick Monday card, knowing I was a Dodger fan, saying he was "picking his chin"

The Dodgers didn't really come out on top in that Monday trade, giving up Bill Buckner, even if Monday did hit that key HR (I had just gotten home from school and watched the glorious moment on my black-and-white TV in the "rec room." You can't do ANY of that today -- no day playoff games, no black-and-white TVs, no "rec rooms").

Lee Mazzilli always bugged me, ever since the Mets shipped him to the Rangers, and he whined that he hoped this was the worst trade the Mets ever made. He acted like he was being sent to Siberia. He works the pre-and post-game shows for the Mets on SNY, and I'm not thrilled with him there either.

The Dale Murray card is interesting only in that it breaks up the series of cards that Topps issued on Murray. If you look at the 1976 Murray card, you can see this light pole in the background. If you look at the 1977 Murray card, you see the pole again (must've been from the same photo session). Then after Murray left to play for the Reds and Mets, he returned to the Expos. You look at his 1980 card with the Expos, and THERE'S THAT POLE AGAIN! They trotted out the same photo session. It's unreal.

Kevin said...

Ah, Lee Mazzilli. I recall hearing that he used to wear his uniform pants extra-tight. He apparently thought he was God's gift to somebody. I'm as Yankee-hating as anyone, but I thought some of the fan backlash when the O's hired Lee away from the Yanks' coaching staff to be their manager was comical.

Much like Doyle Alexander, Dale Murray was involved in a trade that was very lospided in hindsight - December 9, 1982: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Tom Dodd to the New York Yankees for Dave Collins, Fred McGriff, Mike Morgan, and cash.

And you wonder why the Yankees sucked in the 80s and early 90s.

kevinb said...

I would still make that Smoltz-Alexander trade if I was GM in 1987 and knew what I knew now. Doyle was lights out in '87 down the stretch and a huge reason why the Tigers made it to the post season that year. But for whatever reason they couldn't get by the Twins. But when you are that close, you got to take that risk.

Yeah, the Braves got 20+ years out of Smoltz, but would he have really made a difference on some of the horrible Tiger teams in the mid 90s to mid 2000s. They weren't going to the playoffs with or without him.

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

One thing that I think is cool is seeing how young these guys look in the '78 set. Thorton and Alexander were old bums by the time I started collecting in '87 but here they look like rookies! The Bobby Bonds card is a classic. Looks like a candid Sports Illustrated portrait.

CubanXSenators said...

You just had to get a shot like this one of Bonds every year if you were Topps -- he might be traded two times before his card came out; his shots had to be easy to airbrush.

Johngy said...

Monday was very gracious when I interviewed him in LA this summer. He was late for the booth, but he gave me a few minutes of his time to answer my questions. He was a very good player for a lot of years. Never great, but very good.