Pack Animal: 2005 BBM Touch The Game (Japanese Baseball)

I recently stumbled across a pack of Japanese baseball cards which I’d acquired a number of years ago, but which had been misplaced and temporarily forgotten… Since there’s nothing good in the stores and I felt like opening a pack, I decided to tear this bad boy open.

This is a pack of 2005 BBM Touch The Game, which the wrapper declares is a “Premium” set.

Here’s the wrapper (it’s a hanger pack, if you couldn’t tell)

First card is of Shugo Fujii, about whom I know nothing. Wikipedia says he pitched 14 seasons for four teams and was an All-Star twice.

I should point out that the entire border is silver foil; the textured foil turns up as silver in this scan, but the smooth foil shows up as black. In the middle of the photo, also in silver foil, it says this:

bbm baseball cards premium
2005 Touch The Game

followed by this printed in black ink (also right over the player photo):

one of the great players has ever owned.
he will be remembered by supporters for long years to come.

I cannot emphasize enough that I was very careful to type this exactly as it appears on each card.

As for the image at the middle of the card, the player image is glossy and the background is matte, kind of like recent Pro Debut sets.

Next card… Gaijin Alert! It’s John Bale, who I kinda sorta remember pitching for the Orioles. In December, 2000 the O’s traded a minor league catcher – one who had been drafted in the first round in 1997 – to Toronto for John Bale. Any guesses as to who that catching prospect was? The answer comes after the images of this card.

Here’s the back… a bit more traditional

Answer:  Jayson Werth, who would go through a couple of organizations before blossoming as an outfielder.

Masahide Kobayashi may be familiar to MLB fans; he pitched in relief for the Indians in 2008 and 2009. Before that he was a top closer in Japan and was on the Silver medal-winning Japanese Olympic baseball team.

Those Chiba Lotte Marines uniforms are really… something. I was about to say that they’d never fly in MLB, but then I remembered the uniforms the Diamondbacks are wearing, and I back away from any such statements.

“Impressive Scene” insert featuring another American, Marc Kroon… Kroon appeared on a few MLB cards in the 1990’s. In Japan, he was a closer and became the first pitcher to hit 100 mph in a game.

Last card, and this is one of those rare instances where a checklist is the best card in the pack.

If you can’t read the text at the top of the card, it says “They also enjoyed interleague game”.  BBM clearly needed a better translator.

I had to do some detective work to figure out who the mascots are. The one on the right has a Chiba Lotte Marines hat, and when I googled on Chiba Lotte Marines mascots, I found that the two in the middle are also Marines mascots (I think the three of them are meant to be sea gulls). The one on the left looked familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it/him/her. Since the card references interleague games and the Marines are in the Pacific League, I guessed that the mystery mascot is from the Central League, and a little more research came up with Doala the Koala, a mascot for the Chunichi Dragons.

The checklist is on heavier cardboard than the rest of the pack, as if they’re trying to fool pack feelers. Do they have pack feelers in Japan?

I’d never seen a Japanese checklist before, and I’m guessing most of you haven’t either, so I’ll show you the checklist side.

One other thing came in the pack;  this was on top of the back, printed on thick-ish paper. It looks like it could be a contest entry, but I have no clue (not being able to read any of it).

Thoughts on the pack as a whole: I guess I can’t complain about a Japanese pack where I’m familiar with three of the four players included, but I’m not a fan of sets where the cards are more about the design than the photos. If I had an opportunity to get more packs like this I would probably say “No thanks, I’m OK”. But they’re still Japanese cards, so they’ll go into my Japanese binder (but would likely be the first to get bumped if space becomes a issue).


1980’s “Desert Island” Binder, Part 4: It’s Good, Good, Good… Like Brigitte Bardot!

For those who are new to this series, here’s the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH about extraterrestrials living among us disguised as smoke detectors.

All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

After three posts, I’m one card short of having two full 9 pocket sheets (17 total cards), plus I’ve got a half-filled 2 pocket sheet (which has a 5″x7″ card in it).

Let’s fill some more sheets!

What follows is a bit of a comparison of two 1981 oddballs and how my attitude towards them have changed over the past 38 years.

1981 Kelloggs
What I thought then:  “I don’t understand the appeal of this gimmick-y piece of plastic.”

What I think now:  These are fun, I can’t believe I turned my nose up at them before!

1981 Permagraphics
What I thought then:  I don’t understand the appeal of this gimmick-y piece of plastic.

What I think now:  I still don’t understand the appeal of this gimmick-y piece of plastic…. but I have to have at least one just because.

This next card comes with a bit of a story…

I started following baseball in 1974, but I lived on Long Island and couldn’t have even told you where the nearest minor league baseball team was (Probably the Connecticut-based West Haven Yankees, whose ballpark was a good two hour drive away).

In 1982 I was in Reading, PA with friends and had the opportunity to see my first minor league baseball game, as the Reading Phillies took on the Buffalo Bisons (odd as it seems, Buffalo was a AA city from 1979 to 1984).  The two  most vivid memories I have of that game was walking up to the box office an hour before the game and getting front row seats by first base (attendance in Reading back then was – *ahem* – modest),  and also going to get a hot dog and seeing one of the Buffalo players on line at the concession stands.  That just blew my teenaged mind.

Anyway, later that summer I bought a TCMA team set of the Reading Phillies, in all it’s black and white glory.

Even by 1982 standards, this was a somewhat low-budget minor league set.  The Bisons team set (which I really should get one of these days) is in color.

Steve Jeltz was the first player I ever pulled from a pack after seeing him play in the minors, and because of that I have a modest player collection of him.

In 2018 I saw a card from the 1985 Hostess Atlanta Braves set on someone’s blog – I’d give a link if I could only remember whose blog it was – and I just loved the card design. I’m telling you, I would’ve bought a lot of packs of a flagship set that looked like this.

I poked through the checklist for the set and decided on Chris Chambliss, since he was a player I liked in the 1970’s.

Fleer sets of the 1980’s tended to have some goofy cards, but their sense of fun was sometimes more subtle, like with this “Prospects” card from the 1986 Fleer set.

Billy Jo Robidoux is one of my favorite all-time baseball names, and Mark Funderburk is fun to say as well. You can’t tell me that these two guys just arbitrarily ended up on the same card.

There’s nothing special about this card, but I like it. It’s colorful, it’s action-y, it’s full of primary colors.

You know what?  I didn’t realize (or more to the point, remember) until I was writing this post, but there*is* something special about this card:  Mario Soto never pitched for the Dodgers. He pitched one 1988 game for the Bakersfield Dodgers and that was it for his Dodgers (and pitching) career.

I’m trying to think of ways to work Hall-of-Famers into this binder. Regardless of how that shakes out, I can’t help but include this 1981 Fleer card of HOFer Rod Carew with a mountainous backdrop.

I’ve seen a few Angels cards with mountains in them… I’m guessing they were taken in Palm Springs, CA – that was the Angels spring training home from their start in 1961 to the early 1980’s. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

I’m going to wrap up with that because I have to get myself to that annoying and time-consuming work thingie… But in adding these cards to the binder it brings us to 2 full 9-pocket pages, a third page with 6 cards, and a 2-pocket page with one 5×7 card.

Starting with this post I decided to extend the 1980’s theme and make something of an Eighties playlist… But just like the binder contains only cards I actually own, the playlist is going to consist of songs I have copies of, which means that you’ll find no Madonna, U2 or Whitney Houston here.

Just because the line about Brigitte Bardot popped in my head when I first started pondering a 1980’s playlist, I’m going to start with “Message Of Love”, a 1981 track from The Pretenders. I would’ve liked to have included the original video, but the ones I could find were lacking in audio quality, so I went with the one official remastered-audio version out there on YouTube.

The Pretenders are a mixed bag for me… I have the “Learning To Crawl” album but the tracks on their other albums are either “Love it!” or “meh” with little middle ground… and I hadn’t realized that one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Cuban Slide” was a B-side.

Dead Parrot FrankenSet: Shoebox Legends Edition, Part 2

This is the second post about the contributions that Shoebox Legends has made to my “Dead Parrot” Frankenset, a project featuring NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch).

My most profound apologies to “Shoebox Legends Shane” on this;  the prior post was over two months ago, and I got sidetracked by the holidays and other things… but mainly by my own lack of planning and poor time management skills (both of which I’m working on improving in 2019).

I’m going to run through the challengers in Chronological order…

The challenger for card # 36, representing the Indianapolis Racers (logo) and the New England Whalers (photo), as well as 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA Hockey… Rosaire Paiement

This card is from one of my favorite WHA sets, and is an excellent “Double Parrot”, as Paiement is listed as being with the Racers, but shown with the Whalers.

Currently in slot #36, another “Double Parrot” representing 1974-75 Topps, the Kansas City Scouts (logo) and the California Golden Seals (photo)… Gary Croteau

The verdict: Croteau was once a challenger, beating one of the “Muppets Take The Ice” cards… but an NHL headshot simply cannot beat a WHA action shot.


Next… The challenger for card #71, representing the original Winnepeg Jets and 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee… Pat Elynuik.

Currently in slot #71, representing the original Winnepeg Jets and 1990-91 Topps… Hey, wait a minute!

The Verdict: Yep, the challenger and the current card are identical cards from Topps and O-Pee-Chee.  While it’s somewhat neat to have a bi-lingual OPC card in the binder, it’s not cool enough to unseat its twin and I like the placement of the “Topps” logo better than the placement of the “O-Pee-Chee” logo.


Third… the challenger for card #438… representing the Quebec Nordiques and 1993-94 Parkhurst… Valeri Kamensky!

There’s a whistle on the play!

This card would be an excellent addition, but right now the FrankenSet goes only up to card #396, so there’s no place for a card numbered 438. This one will get revisited if the Dead Parrot binder is ever expanded.

The fourth challenger, going for card #87, representing the Hartford Whalers and 1994-95 Fleer Ultra… Sean Burke!

There is no card in slot #87, so Burke goes in unopposed.

Quick note before I leave this card… This is the first card I have from this set, and every time I look at it, I think that the horizontal front looks like it should be the back. Just my two cents.

Today’s final challenger, going for slot #188 and representing 2010-11 Pinnacle and the Atlanta Thrashers… Ondrej Pavelec!

There current is no card in slot #188, so the Thrashers are now represented in my Dead Parrot binder! In case you didn’t know, the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and are the current Jets.

I now have every “Dead Parrot” NHL team from the 1960’s forward represented. The WHA is an entirely different story, but I hope to get as many of those represented as I can.

Once again, a big thank you to Shoebox Legends for providing today’s challengers! Because I live in “The Land That Hockey Forgot”, I don’t get to add to my binder as often as I’d like… as a result, I appreciate the heck out of these cards.

1980’s “Desert Island” Binder: Part 3, Nerds In Paradise

For those who are new to this series, here’s the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH about how a 1966 car crash actually killed three Beatles – John, George and Ringo – and the “Paul Is Dead” rumors were a more elaborate red herring than anybody had imagined.

All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

Shall we begin?

Just about everybody doing a “Top cards of the 1980’s” list would have this next card in there somewhere. In my case, I came upon it through a different route.

I didn’t approach this card as “The Mark McGwire rookie card”; while flipping through my 1985 Topps binder I came upon the Team USA subset, thought “That’s a cool subset, I really need to include that”, but when I was trying to pick out a card to single out… well… If I picked Oddibe McDowell or Cory Snyder instead, that would almost be chosing their cards to spite the McGwire rookie, so I decided not to battle against the current.

Regardless of how one feels about McGwire, Team USA cards are cool, and I say that as someone who isn’t necessarily a “Sports Patriot” (I tend to root for Sweden when Olympic hockey rolls around). Now that I think about it, I’m mildly surprised that O-Pee-Chee didn’t do a Team Canada subset, even if it was just a couple of players.

I’ve featured this first card before.  It’s is one of my favorites from 1981 Topps, because I watched the Mets in 1980, I saw John Pacella pitch, and he really did lose his cap with pretty much every pitch.

Pacella, who was born in Brooklyn and went to high school on Long Island, had already pitched his last Mets game by the time this card came out.  He’d been traded to the Padres in December, 1980, then traded to the Yankees at the end of 1981 Spring Training, and would pitch for the Yankees’ AAA team in Columbus that season.  He’d go on to pitch for the Yankees, Twins, Orioles and Tigers.

I was recently reminded of this 1984 Milton Bradley Ted Simmons card, which is a favorite because the airbrush artist went above and beyond when he did his job.

The artist wasn’t satisfied with removing the “M” from Simmons’ Brewers cap, they also inexplicably added red to the uniform, making the uniform an odd mix of the Brewers and Expos.  They actually did a pretty good job of doing this, and to be honest, Panini cards could be a lot more interesting if they added colors rather than just subtracting them.

One of the best recurring subsets of the 1980’s was the Donruss Diamond Kings. I hope that Donruss gave a raise to the person who had the idea of giving artist Dick Perez his own subset.

I generally don’t have a lot of Donruss on my wantlists outside of team and player collections… OK, and I wouldn’t mind completing the 1982 and 1989 sets some day… but I’m thinking that maybe I should make a point of collecting all of the original run of Diamond Kings.

This next card, if it had come a year earlier or a year later, would’ve been a 1980’s classic. C’mon… “Steve & Carlton / Carlton & Fisk”? That’s gold right there.

Unfortunately, this pairing happened to come in the 1982 Fleer set, which suffered in execution. I’ll write more about the disappointment of 1982 Fleer in a future post.

I’ll wrap up with a card that makes me feel warm and Spring Training-y on a cold winter’s day.

It’s making me feel better to imagine myself among that sparse pre-game crowd, sitting under those blue skies, soaking up the sun and watching the shades-wearing Joey McLaughlin (who would pitch for Toronto in 1980) pose for a Topps photographer.


Custom Sunday: 1969-Style Stamps And The Last “Giant”

Inspiration struck me late this past week and I spent most of my custom-making time on a new template which… well, I’ll come to that.

Let’s start off with a couple of customs using my 1962 Post-inspired “Hot Stove” design. After extensive negotiations with the Marlins over J.T. Realmuto, the Mets ended up going the free agent route and signing catcher Wilson Ramos, who was with the Phillies and Rays this past season. Would I have preferred Realmuto? Of course, but not at the price the Marlins were apparently demanding.

BTW, my kneejerk reaction when I first saw this picture was that Ramos had gone “old school” and worn a windbreaker under his Mets jersey. I quickly realized that wasn’t the case, and he just happened to be wearing a blue collared shirt at the press conference. This is one of the few times when I don’t mind the collared shirt under the jersey.

Next up is a custom in my new series featuring prospects with great names. Today we feature Diamondbacks prospect Jazz Chisholm.

No mere great name is Chisholm, since he’s regarded as the D-Backs’ top prospect, a shortstop who combines power and speed. He’s still a bit away from the Majors, however.

While I enjoy making customs using this Post-ish template, they’re time-consuming to make because I have to change the weight, height, birthplace, etc. plus researching and writing a paragraph – and yes, those are written by me, I’m not just stealing text from somewhere else. There are some players where I find an image on Twitter or can easily “photoshop” a new logo on their photo, but I don’t really want to go through all the research and writing.

Enter the 1969 Topps baseball stamps design. Last year I used the 1974 Topps baseball stamps as the basis for a non-sports set, but I thought I’d create a 1969 design for 2019… it’s the 50th anniversary after all. Besides, sometimes I just enjoy creating a new template.

I honestly wouldn’t have made a full custom for these four players (all of whom signed as free agents), but now that I’ve got the stamps set up and ready to go, you’ll be seeing more of these… as well as the other Hot Stove sets I’ve started.

Since last May I’ve been making a tribute to the 1964 Topps Giant-sized All-star set, and after I finished off my series of posts I had a few special requests for players I’d left out. Joey Votto is the last of those requests… unless I forgot someone, in which case don’t be shy about leaving a comment.

I’ll make the offer one last time… If there’s anybody you’d like to see in the 1964 Giants design, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Show And Tell For January 10th, 2019

Today’s post continues in a “modular” theme I’ve been working with lately; in other words, it’s a series of small posts put together with no attempt to tie them together. I’m making some decent progress in attacking my collection’s disorganization, but that takes “hobby time” away from blogging so it’s either “go modular or go home”.

And with that, let’s launch into some cards.

I’ve been meaning to feature this card for over a year. It’s from the 1992 Studio “Heritage Series” insert, which highlighted 1992 star players in throwback uniforms… in this case, they threw waaaaay back to the St. Louis Browns, a team which pulled up its tent stakes in 1953 to become the Baltimore Orioles.

I’ve got a lot of Cal Ripken cards, but this is one of my favorites.  I’ve actually got a beaten-up replica St. Louis Browns cap somewhere… I wore it a fair amount in college just because it was cool and retro.  The funny thing was, I wasn’t an Orioles fan until 15 years later.

Back in November I shared a few Bowling cards I’d picked up on COMC.  I wasn’t necessarily looking to add more bowling cards, but I found out about these Japanese sets put out by BBM called “Fairies On The Lanes” and I just had to get one.  This card, for Miki Nishimura, is from the 2014 “Fairies” set and… well, OK, it was the most appealing card among the the cheapest ones out on COMC. No offense intended, Miki.

There are videos on YouTube of Nishimura bowling, and she’s notable in that she has a very large backswing.

Here’s the back; about all I can make of it was that one happy moment involved a DVD somehow.

So… Um, I don’t know what else to say about this card. Fun addition.

I finished the 1968 Topps “Game” set a year or two ago, but I ran across this errant scan of HOFer Al Kaline and I figured I’d throw it in because… Well, because Al Kaline. And HOFer.

If anybody is currently considering chasing after this set, I’d encourage you to go for it. The cards are affordable – even this cheapskate found Mantle, Clemente, Mays and Aaron cards that didn’t make me wince – and it’s just a fun set to chase after.

I recently acquired a bunch of commons online, and one of the cards I got was a 2012 Topps Opening Day card of Nick Markakis… by itself not terribly interesting to anyone who’s not an Orioles or Mar-Kick-Ass fan…. but check it out when compared to the corresponding card from Series 2:

Opening Day shows the O’s cap that the team wore in 2011, while the Series 2 card has been “photoshopped” to reflect the new-for-2012 caps with the updated “Cartoon Bird”.  I understand why it happened, but it seems an odd little change to make.  And is it me, or does the photoshopped cap make his face look fat?

One of these days I’m going to do a post ranking the color combinations of 1960 Topps. I find that many of the combinations work nicely, like the colors on this Hobie Landrith card, while other combinations are a disaster.

Hobie Landrith was the first player taken by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft, causing Mets manager Casey Stengel to famously say “You have to have a catcher or you’ll have a lot of passed balls.” What’s interesting about this quote is that you’ll find a lot of differently-worded versions of this quote out there, so I’m not sure which is entirely accurate. I got this quote from Casey’s SABR Bio page, so I’ll put a bit of faith in it.

Here’s the cartoon from the back of Landrith’s card, which I include because it’s by Jack Davis and he is a god among cartoonists.

So last night I was in our local Target buying shampoo and light bulbs and other essentials of suburban life, and I stopped at the card aisle just to see if they had anything repack-y of interest. I was caught off-guard because they had a 10-packs-for-$12 hockey repack there.

Now to understand how much this threw me, you have to know that hockey cards rarely show up in stores here in Shlabotsylvania. NASCAR and soccer get a lot more play around here than hockey does. I’m not a fan of the current NHL but I do collect hockey cards and I would love to have the chance to pick up cards for my “Dead Parrot” project which features hockey teams which no longer exist… but that’s the catch right there. For a hockey pack to feature a team which no longer exists, it has to be at least eight years old (the Atlanta Thrashers left for Winnipeg in 2011). That means that, in Dead Parrot terms, I would *want* this repack to feature a bunch of “junky” packs from the 1990’s, which is largely the opposite of what people normally want from repacks, but is what people often get.

I hemmed and hawed and ultimately bought the repack, if only to tell the fine people with the card distributors that hockey cards will sell in these parts. Of course, seven of the ten packs were recent Upper Deck packs, but I did get 3 packs from the early 1990’s… and the one pack I opened featured two second-year cards of Auston Matthews, so we’re off to a decent start. You’ll be hearing more about this repack in the future, I’m sure.

And that’s all I have time for today. Stay safe out there.

1980’s “Desert Island” Binder: Part 2, Electric Boogaloo

I’d like to start out by thanking everybody for the positive feedback to the first post in this series. I was just looking for a fun subject to write about, but it seems I tapped into something here.

…Now I just have to keep from freaking out under the self-made pressure of trying to maintain everybody’s interest.

For those who missed the first post, here’s the premise: I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, those who wish to silence me because I know THE TRUTH about the direct link between Green Bean Casserole and Male Pattern Baldness. All I’m able to bring with me to the desert island is the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

Two additional clarifications here… First off, the cards are selected from ones I own; The 1984 Fleer Update Dwight Gooden, Kirby Puckett and Roger Clemens cards will not be featured here because I was an idiot in 1984 and didn’t pre-order the Update set when I had the chance.

Second, card value only factors in when I spent enough on a card that I wouldn’t want to leave it behind. After all, I’m going to be on a desert island and once I’m there the cards will have no real value. It’s not like I could run over to the “Desert Island Card Shop” and sell the cards to pay for food or shelter.

OK, let’s get rolling.

Every now and then I run across an oddball set that doesn’t really fit into my collection, but I have to have at least one card from it just because I like it so much.  That was the case with this 1986 Provigo card of Hubie Brooks.  The design is simple, but appealing… and I’ve gotten to the point where anything with the Expos on it has a certain je ne sais quoi about it.

Provigo is apparently a Quebec supermarket chain, and from what I’ve seen on eBay these cards were issued in perforated 3-card panels (although the rightmost “card” in each panel looks to have been a coupon or some other bit of advertising).

Here’s the back… Bilingual, as you’d expect, while maintaining the simple appeal of the front.

I’m currently working on upgrading my collection’s organization from “horrifying” to “mildly depressing”.  One of the things I’m doing as part of this reorg is to create a binder that will be labeled something like “Oddballs, Autographs and Cool Cards”.  This card is destined for that binder.

…In real life, that is. The Desert Island Binder I talk about in these posts is just a sort of “plot device”.

If I were trying to convince you that Barenaked Ladies is an underrated band – underrated in the United States, anyway, I know they’re not underrated in Canada – I wouldn’t hand you a “Greatest Hits” CD and tell you to give it a listen. I would make you a “mix tape” CD of songs which best represent the band, rather than the songs which are best known. I might leave out “Pinch Me” in favor of a great album track like “The Great Provider”. I’d definitely leave out the theme from “The Big Bang Theory” and replace it with a personal favorite like “Off The Hook”.

Similarly, I’m trying to make this Desert Island Binder be something that represents 1980’s baseball cards as a whole. Some “Top Cards of the 1980’s” lists might include a 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco because it was a huge card at the time and still maintains value, but let’s be real – it’s on those “Top Cards” lists because of what it represents, not because it’s a great card in any aesthetic way.

Some of the cards I appreciated most during the 1980’s were from subsets which get overlooked these days.

When I was a kid in the 1970’s I used to love the 1974 “Hank Aaron Special” subset and the 1975 “Most Valuable Players” subset because they showed vintage Topps cards and I would spend a lot of time daydreaming about the day when I was older and could afford all of these cards. I was in my twenties when the Pete Rose subset rolled around in 1986 Topps so it didn’t have the same “dream value”, but I’m sure these cards had a lot of kids thinking “One day I’ll own that Pete Rose rookie card”….

This subset isn’t quite as dream-worthy as it once was, thanks to Pete Rose’s “shenanigans”, but it’s still a fun way to kinda-sorta own cards you don’t already own.

Another subset that I’ll be regularly dipping into for this series is Fleer’s annual “Super Star Specials” subset, cards which featured honest-to-God combo cards of players standing next to each other, rather than just being on a field during a game at the same time or – even worse – photoshopped together.

I was a big fan of Fleer in the 1980’s… I wouldn’t make any arguments that the sets were better than Topps sets, but they were often more fun than Topps.

By the way, George Brett is listed as “Hero” on this card because, as the back explains, he was Wade Boggs’ hero. We’ll ignore the fact that George Brett is only five years older than Wade Boggs.

This 1981 Topps Ellis Valentine card is here because of the football facemask bolted on to his helmet. He wasn’t the first to have protection like this, but with the “C-Flap” helmets gaining popularity now, it’s interesting to see an old-school improvisation along the same lines.

Ellis Valentine was an exciting young outfielder in the 1970’s, but he got hit in the face with a pitch during the 1980 season and was never quite the same after that. The facemask was part of the aftermath of that beaning.

I’m not a fan of the Phillies, but I’ve always loved Tug McGraw, so I like this card which captures the moment just after Tug struck out the Royals’ Willie Wilson to win the 1980 World Series.

I don’t have time to research this, but it seems to me that featuring a particular moment from the World Series, rather that just generic action shots from the games, was a pretty unusual thing in 1981. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

While you’re thinking, here’s video footage of that final strikeout.


OK, that wraps things up for this post. In going back and reviewing these, I realize I’m going a bit Expos crazy with the two post so far… I’ll rein that in a bit next time around.