Friday, April 30, 2010

1985 jim gott

jim gott was traded by the blue jays to the giants for gary lavelle in early 1985. here is his 1985 o-pee-chee card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
let me start by saying that these are the types of variations i enjoy the most - the ones with the most color clash. awesome. gott had been used primarily as a starter in his days in toronto, and the giants used him in that role exclusively in 1985. however, a couple seasons later, the giants converted gott into a reliever and he spent the rest of his career setting up and closing out games. gott made his national league debut against the dodgers in 1985, singling in his second career at bat and earning the win over jerry reuss. later that same season, he hit two home runs in a game off of bob forsch of the cardinals.

i appreciate how topps points out gott's karate hobby before mentioning ballet and opera interests.  i am sure this saved many a person from a hapikido beatdown.

voici à vous, 1985 jim gott!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

1984 dave beard

dave beard was traded by the oakland a's to the seattle mariners in november of 1983. here's his 1984 o-pee-chee variation card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
beard was the sometimes closer for billy martin's early 80's teams in oakland. he did make 2 starts for them in 1982, and somewhat surprisingly, he didn't complete either one. in the a's 1981 postseason, beard appeared twice - once in the alds against the royals where he pitched 1.1 perfect innings to earn the save in the game 3 clincher, and once in the alcs against the yankees where he gave up 3 runs in two-thirds of an inning in game 2. beard finished his oakland career with an even 16-16 record. in seattle, he won 3 games and saved 5 before moving on to the white sox for the 1985 season.

voici à vous, 1984 dave beard!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1983 steve mura

steve mura went from the 1982 world champion cardinals to the 1983 al west champion white sox when chicago selected him as a free agent compensation pick in january. here is his 1983 o-pee-chee card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
mura didn't appear in the postseason for the cardinals in 1982 despite having won 12 games for them during the regular season. he didn't appear for the white sox in the 1983 postseason either, as he was sent to the minor leagues after just 6 appearances for the big club. mura would resurface as a major leaguer in 1985 with oakland where he earned a save in his final big league appearance.

voici à vous, 1983 steve mura!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1982 danny ainge

danny ainge decided he would rather play basketball than baseball, and retired from baseball and the blue jays after the 1981 season. here is his 1982 o-pee-chee card.
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
ainge was still in college when he played for the blue jays, starting in 1979. he had 3 hits in his debut, and it appeared that the high school phenom could do no wrong. however, the blue jays struggled to find ainge a permanent position (he played everywhere but pitcher, catcher and first base), and ainge had his own struggles at the plate while starring for byu in basketball.

in june of 1981, halfway through the baseball season, ainge was drafted by the boston celtics and although he would finish the season with the blue jays, his decision to play basketball instead of baseball was made. i like how o-pee-chee noted that his retirement from baseball was 'voluntary'.  as a casual laker fan during the 'showtime' years, ainge was a guy i couldn't stand. kind of like theo fleury or alex rodriguez.

voici à vous, 1982 danny ainge!

Monday, April 26, 2010

1981 roy howell

when roy howell signed with the brewers as a free agent prior to the 1981 season, he went from being an everyday player in toronto to part time status in milwaukee. here is his 1981 o-pee-chee card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
at the time, howell was the blue jays' franchise leader in hits, rbi and total bases. during his three years in toronto, howell averaged 140 games played, but once in milwaukee he averaged less than 80. there was a trade off, however, as howell made it to the postseason with the brewers in both 1981 and 1982, the only times he did so in his career.

voici à vous, 1981 roy howell!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1980 bill atkinson

here's an honest to goodness canadian, bill atkinson, whose 1980 o-pee-chee card tells us that he went from the expos to the white sox in the 1979 postseason
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
just like pete broberg, though, atkinson never appeared in the major leagues for his new team.  unlike broberg, however, he wasn't released, just relegated to the minor leagues for the next 4 seasons. atkinson was a reliever who had pitched pretty well for the expos in 1979, posting a sub-2.00 era in 10 games with 1 save, although his worst outing of the year was also his last - 2 earned runs without recording an out.  his career numbers weren't bad - 11 wins against just 4 losses, an era just under 3.50 and a handful of saves.  i'm not sure what happened that atkinson didn't get a shot with the white sox who had ed farmer a not much else in their 1980 bullpen.

voici à vous, 1980 bill atkinson!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

1979 pete broberg

i have to believe that this 1979 pete broberg team and text variation just beat the o-pee-chee printing deadline seeing as how it wasn't until march 1 that he signed with the dodgers.  here is the 1979 o-pee-chee pete broberg card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
unfortunately for pete, the dodgers released him barely a month later just before the start of the season, meaning he never really was a dodger.  or, he was a dodger the same way jose canseco was a dodger, or brian giles for that matter.  it turns out that the final appearance of broberg's major league career came with the a's on october 1, 1978.  he pitched 4.2 innings in relief against the brewers.  the final strikeout of his career came in the 8th inning, and the victim was hall of famer paul molitor.  not a bad way to end things.

voici à vous, 1979 pete broberg!

Friday, April 23, 2010

1978 jon matlack

jon matlack was part of that crazy december 1977 trade between the mets, rangers, pirates and braves that saw al oliver, bert blyleven, tom grieve and a host of others change teams. when the dust settled, matlack was in texas. here's his 1978 o-pee-chee card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
with the rangers in 1978, matlack promptly won 15 games and posted career bests in era (2.27) and complete games (18). he even saved a game for the first time in his career. matlack was the nl roy in 1972 and co-mvp (with bill madlock) of the 1975 all star game. most impressive, however, may be his 1973 season when he returned to action 11 days after having his skull fractured by a line drive in may to finish the season with 205 strikeouts, a shutout against the reds in the nlcs, and a win against the a's in the world series. after 7 years with the mets, matlack pitched 6 for the rangers before he was released after the 1983 season, effectively ending his career.

voici à vous, 1978 jon matlack!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

1977 tom bruno

tom bruno was selected by the blue jays from the royals in the 1976 expansion draft. here's his 1977 o-pee-chee card
bruno was not included in the topps set, not even on one of the 4-player rookie cards, so there is no topps equivalent to display. so, here's the o-pee-chee back:
bruno had appeared in 12 games for the royals in 1976, all in relief. for the jays in 1977, he also appeared in 12 games, all as a reliever, losing his only decision. after the season, he was traded to the cardinals for rick bosetti. he had by far his best season for the redbirds in 1978, winning 4 games and saving 1 with an era of 1.99 in 18 games.

voici à vous, 1977 tom bruno!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1974 george theodore

george theodore was one of the three cards to be renumbered thanks to hank aaron's special subset in the 1974 o-pee-chee set.  here's the front of his card
same as the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
theodore went from 8 in the topps set to 99 in the o-pee-chee version.  sadly, this means that del crandall and his milwaukee brewer coaching staff was deleted from the set.  here's their topps card, front
and back
theodore played for the mets in 1973 and 1974, his only years in the majors.  he managed to hit two home runs in his career, one in each of his seasons.  while it would have been nice for the brewers leaders to be featured in the o-pee-chee set, i am glad that theodore's card was saved, if for the sole reason that we know that 'marshmallow' is 'guimave' and that there is no french translation for 'milk shake'.

voici à vous, 1974 george theodore!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1971 george brunet

george brunet was traded from the pirates to the cardinals in late january 1971.  here is his 1971 o-pee-chee card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
he was traded with matty alou for nelson briles and vic davalillo.  brunet bounced around a lot in his 15 seasons, playing for a bunch of minor league teams and 8 major league teams meaning he wore a lot of different uniforms and uniform numbers.  this would be his last big league stop, however, as the cardinals released him in may 1971 after appearing in only 7 games for them.  he would continue his professional career though, pitching in the minors and then the mexican league all the way until 1985 (or so).  he apparently holds the minor league strikeout record at over 3100 k's.  a veritable crash davis of sorts.

voici à vous, 1971 george brunet!

Monday, April 19, 2010

a word from our sponsor...

i want this blog to become a definitive resource in all o-pee-chee variations from 1965 through 1992, but i figured i should mention the sources i have used to determine the number of variations in o-pee-chee sets from those years in order to allow for the possibility of incompleteness..

i own complete o-pee-chee sets for 1977, 1978, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1992.  i should say that i used to own the 1986 set, as i removed all the team and text variations, dodgers and a couple other cards and have been sending the rest out in team trades.  but i digress.

for those 9 years, i am completely confident that i have identified all of the team and text variations.  for the other types of variations, and for the other years, i have relied on multiple sources to identify the photo, autograph placement, checklist, and award variations.

they include:

the 22nd annual beckett baseball card price guide
the 2009 standard catalog of baseball cards, don fluckinger editor
o-pee-chee central

in going through my collection and scanning cards, i have found a few cards that were missed by some, or all, of those sources.  like the 1978 jim slaton and the 1992 eric davis and all of the 1989 cards except for roger mcdowell.  or cards that were listed as variations but in reality are not.  that stinks.  like this 1991 kenny rogers o-pee-chee card
(yes, that's the o-pee-chee version)  the books show it as a text variation, even though rogers didn't leave the rangers until after the 1995 season.

eventually i will post a list of all of the variations, by year, and would ask you to let me know if you are aware of others, particularly for the later years.  captain, tony - i'm looking at you guys.

thanks and hope you enjoy as we get ready for the fifth go around through the years of variations.

1992 gary carter tribute (expos 1974-1984)

the 1992 o-pee-chee set included a 5 card tribute subset to gary carter, the guy who would become the first expo hall of famer.  each card was a tribute to a different team/stage of his career, and the first one i'll show is his 1974-1984 expos tribute card
there's no similar card in the topps set, but here's the front of the topps card that was deleted from the o-pee-chee set:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the displaced topps back:
carter had some great years for the expos during his first stint with the club.  he was a durable catcher who also played a little bit of outfield and first base.  his first expo tenure ended on a high in 1984 by leading the league in rbi and winning the all star game mvp award, for the second time i might add.  he joined steve garvey as the only player to accomplish that semi-impressive feat.  carter was a big reason the expos made the 1981 postseason, and he pretty much destroyed the phillies in the first round to get to the nlcs that year.  he played well against the dodgers, but didn't do a lot of damage, and never got close to the world series again, with the expos, that is.

voici à vous, 1992 gary carter tribute (expos 1974-1984)!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

1991 darren lewis

the berkeley native, darren lewis, was traded from his 'hometown' a's across the bay to his 'hometown' giants, although i don't know if the crazies in ber-zerkely even follow baseball.  here's his 1991 o-pee-chee card
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
so, darren is a golden bear.  how obvious.  anyway, having posted gary pettis yesterday, today it's a comparable player (so says baseballreference).  lewis was originally drafted in 1991 by the dodgers, but did not sign.  must be a nocal/socal thing.  later in his career, he did play for the dodgers for a short time, so it must have been fate.  i don't know of any cards that show him in dodger blue, now that i think of it. 

it was with the giants that lewis got his break and even won his only gold glove award.  he responded by walking and scoring a run in his first plate appearance, and later doubled to tie the score in his first game as a giant.  he was traded a few seasons later to the reds in the deal that sent deion sanders to the giants, and i would argue that lewis was the better of the two players.  after starting the 1991 season in the minors, lewis made it to the show in july, and was immediately inserted into the leadoff spot. 

voici à vous, 1991 darren lewis!