This post was going to be a “Contrast And Compare” post where I would share several Topps-created 1980 Burger King cards along with the corresponding flagship Topps card from the same year… But then I realized that, for three of the players involved, they did not appear on any other cards in 1980, and I figured that was as good an angle as any.
I had to look up John Vukovich because I was curious as to why someone who had not been on a Topps card since 1975 made the cut for the 1980 Burger King Phillies set. I was further intrigued when I found out that he played for 10 years in the majors despite never having batted higher than .211 or played in more than 74 games in a single season.
He was an excellent fielder, but to call him a “good clubhouse guy” would seem to sell him short to a great degree. “Vuk” was beloved by teammates, fans and everyone around him and would later become the longest-term coach in Phillies history, coaching with the team for 17 seasons. I’m sure there must be Phillies fans out there who can give a better insight than I as to what he meant to the Phillies.
Keith Moreland played in 1,306 games over the course of 12 seasons, so I was a bit surprised that his sole 1980 card came in the Burger King set… but I forgot that, going into 1980, he’d only played 15 games for the Phillies. This is his “pre-rookie” card.
Moreland would get more playing time in 1980, and would go 4-for-12 in the 1980 World Series, but he’s better known to fans of 1980’s baseball as a Cubs outfielder who regularly hit double-digits in home runs and had 106 RBI in 1987.
Like Keith Moreland, Lonnie Smith was a young Phillie who would get a major increase in playing time in 1980 and would achieve (arguably) more fame with other teams.
In 1980 Lonnie Smith played in 100 regular season games and batted .339, which got him enough votes to finish 3rd in N.L. Rookie Of The Year Voting (behind winner Steve Howe and runner-up Bill Gullickson). Two years later with the Cardinals, Lonnie was an All-Star who lead the league with 120 runs. Over his career he played in five different World Series for four teams (Phillies, Cardinals, Royals and Braves).