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 — I’m here to tell you that The Facts Of Life are NOT all about you, and never were.
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.
Let’s fill some more sheets in this binder!
I’ve had this card since 1987 and it still weirds me out.
This card is from the 1987 Topps Woolworth’s “Baseball Highlights” box set, and it commemorates Steve Carlton getting his 4,000th strikeout; that happened during his six-game stint with the Giants. You’d think that some Topps photographer would’ve taken a picture of this epic moment, but we have to make do with an airbrushed cap.
Carlton started against the Reds but gave up 7 hits and 7 runs in 3.2 innings…. but he *did* get three K’s and that’s all that matters.
He also got something else – his release. The Giants cut him loose, and Carlton hooked up with the White Sox, where he finished the 1986 season.
The next card weirds me out in a similar way, but I would guess that the weirding out is not a universal thing. Pretty much all of Brady Anderson’s accomplishments as a player came as an Oriole, including his 3 All-Star appearances and his “Did that really happen” 50 homer season (which is more than twice his second-highest total).
Young outfielder Brady and minor leaguer Curt Schilling were traded to the Orioles for Mike Boddicker. Years down the road, Orioles’ VP of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson still has an office in the B&O Warehouse after many others got shown the door in this winter’s restructuring.
There are all kinds of arguments that can be made about 1981 Topps vs. 1981 Fleer, but you know what Fleer had that Topps didn’t? A Maury Wills card.
Wills may not be a Hall of Famer, but he stole 104 bases in 1962, was a 7-time All-Star and… Well, you know what? Allow me to include another card, even though it’s status as a card for this 1980’s binder can be debated:
…Yes, Maury Wills was the 1962 National League MVP, but he wasn’t under contract to Topps at the time so he didn’t have a 1962 Topps card… So Topps made one after the fact; first for the 1975 MVP’s subset, then for the 1982 K-Mart MVP Boxed set, and then for this card. I love this sort of “official custom”, and when I was scanning cards for this project I happened to come upon the 1987 Topps card before I came across the 1982 K-Mart card, so this card gets in the binder. I probably will have one of those K-Mart cards in the binder at some point.
I was going to introduce this next card as my favorite rookie card from 1989 Upper Deck (take THAT, Junior!)… but then I remembered that Jim Abbott’s rookie card came as a Team USA Player in 1988 Topps. Oh, well. It’s still a cool card.
The card would be a bit nicer if UD had rotated the team logo and player’s position to match the horizontal photo, but I guess they were new at this and can be forgiven.
Back in the late 1980’s I flew out to visit a friend in San Jose, and I couldn’t fly out to the west coast without checking out a Giants game.
My three most vivid memories of the night game were: 1) Candlestick wasn’t quite the dump I was expecting it to be; 2) It was pretty damn cold that night; 3) The fans’ call & answer cheer for Jose Uribe (“OOO!” “REEBAY!”) stuck with me and he ended up being a player I semi-collected just because I’d smile whenever I saw one of his cards.
To this day, Mother’s Cookies cards – this one is from 1988 – remain an exotic collectible for this east coast guy.
Let’s wrap things up with a famous card that doesn’t feature who it says it features. This 1985 Gary Pettis card actually features Pettis’ kid brother Lynn.
If you’re not familiar with the story… well, there’s not a whole lot more to it than that. Gary Pettis won’t sign the card, that’s the only thing I have to add.
…But it’s an essential 1980’s card in my book… err… binder.
Before I close out, I’ll total up how much is in the binder. We’re adding 7 standard-sized cards to bring the total up to 31… so that’s four 9-pocket pages (one of which has only 4 cards in it) plus a single 5×7 card in a 2-pocket page.
And now it’s time for the Eighties song of the week: “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Make note of this occasion, because there aren’t going to be a lot of songs in my “playlist” that got any kind of mention on American Top 40.
I had a crush on Katrina Leskanich at the time, but that didn’t quite translate to fandom for me; I love half of the songs on Katrina & The Waves’ debut album, and pretty much nothing they did after that.