1980’s “Desert Island” Binder, Part 13: There A Rage In The Cage!

While writing the prior 1980’s “Desert Island” Binder post, I mentioned how much I enjoy cards where the players are shown in a batting cage, which gave me the idea of doing an entire virtual page of batting cage shots.  I’d already been thinking of doing thematic posts in this series, so it didn’t take me a whole lot of coaxing to do this.

While I’d already featured a few cards which fit this batting cage theme, I found 9 more cards – a full sheet’s worth – in my folder of “scans of cards I plan on featuring sooner or later”.

Quick recap for new readers: Because I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of THE POWERS THAT BE, all I’m able to bring with me are the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

Because this post as a theme, and because I’m short on time, I’m sharing the cards without any comments on each one.

And now it’s time for the quick summary of where the fictional binder stands… I’m adding nine standard-sized cards, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 10 sheets (86 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (3 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (2 cards)

Today’s playlist song is, appropriately enough, “Rage In The Cage” by the J. Geils Band. Not a lot to say about this song other than to mention that the “Freeze Frame” album by The J. Geils Band got a lot of play by me and my friends.

1980’s “Desert Island” Binder, Part 12: Sunset Now!

Quick recap of the premise of these posts: Because I’m fleeing to an uncharted desert island to evade the reach of The Powers That Be, all I’m able to bring with me are the bare essentials plus one binder worth of 1980’s baseball cards.

So let’s get back to it, shall we?

I’m no fan of 1989 Fleer, but I really like how Lenny Dykstra’s batting stance kinda matches the angle of the border. Lean into it, Lenny!

When I was a kid, all of the players were larger than life. Even when I briefly met Jim Wynn, “The Toy Cannon”, in person as an 11-year-old, he seemed like a big guy. I wasn’t entirely over this idea when I got this “N.L. West Sluggers” card out of a pack of 1986 Fleer:

“Can former MVP and 10-time All-Star Steve Garvey really be that short?” I thought. And the answer is “Yes… when standing next to Dale Murphy and Dave Parker!” For the record, Garvey is 5′ 10″, Murphy is 6′ 4″ and Parker is 6′ 5″

Now, of course, the Braves, Padres and Reds are all in different divisions. I guess I should be happy that they’re all still in the National League.

As long as I’m featuring combo cards with height differentials, here’s the 1988 Score “Speed And Power” card featuring Eric Davis (6′ 2″) and Tim Raines (5′ 8″).

I really miss posed combo cards.  The best they can do these days is feature two players talking to each other on the field.  I also sometimes think about creating a “Batting cage photos” binder, but given my excess of projects I’m going to leave that for someone else.

…But you know what?  I can easily make a page or two of 1980’s batting cage cards, and I’ve just decided that this will be the theme of my next Desert Island Binder post… So there ya go.  Coming Attractions.

This isn’t a combo card, but it features an Eric Davis cameo.  1986 Topps doesn’t get a lot of love, and it’s not a classic set, but I like it… apparently more than a lot of people do.

According to my database, I’m pretty close to finishing the 1986 set, but before I do anything about that, I need to do a physical inventory to see if reality matches database.

And speaking of cameos, here’s one for all the 1970’s Mets fans out there.  Tim Foli came up with the Mets in 1970 and shortly before the 1972 season he was sent to the Expos (along with Ken Singleton and Mike Jorgensen) in the trade that brought Rusty Staub coming to New York.

The sliding player is the Mets’ Joel Youngblood.  Because his 1977 rookie card shows him with the Reds and because he came to the Mets on June 15,1977, I often confuse him for one of the players who came from Cincinnati in the Tom Seaver trade.  What I need to hammer into my skull is that Youngblood spent the first part of the season with the Cardinals and was obtained from St. Louis for infielder Mike Phillips.

When people think of Don Mattingly baseball cards, they tend to think of his rookie cards, but not me.  I always think of his 1985 Topps card.  To me, this is iconic “Donnie Baseball”, even if he doesn’t have a mustache here.

Just out of curiosity, does anybody else feel that way?

I really liked the “Super Veteran” subset in 1983 Topps, and sometimes I think that Topps should do something like this again.

I tend to worry that it would have too many guys who I’ve seen enough of over the past 10-20 years, like Albert Pujols… but then I think of other guys I like who I would appreciate on a card like this… Curtis Granderson, Nick Markakis, Justin Verlander… or guys who have traveled around a lot and it would be fun to see them from their rookie year – I know Bartolo Colon is all but officially retired, but he’d be the poster child for a subset like this.  People talk about ways to make Topps Archives more fun, this would be an excellent way to do that.

And now it’s time for the quick summary of where the fictional binder stands…  I’m adding seven standard-sized cards, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 9 sheets (77 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (3 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (2 cards)

This post’s 1980’s playlist song is “Sunset Now” from Heaven 17’s 1984 album How Men Are… Other than mentioning that the band’s name comes from Anthony Burgess’ novel “A Clockwork Orange”, I don’t have a lot to say about Heaven 17 because I don’t know much about Heaven 17… But I have a somewhat amusing story related to this song, a story which seems ridiculous in these days of Google, SoundHound and Shazam.

So I was a DJ on my college’s radio station, a media powerhouse which had a signal which reached clear across the street. In 1984, “Sunset Now” was in what could be considered “heavy rotation” on the station, and it was a song that I enjoyed playing.

Fast forward past graduation, and something reminded me of the song and I thought “Now that I have disposable income, I want to get the album that song is from”… but I couldn’t remember the band name. I asked my friends, they didn’t know the song. I asked in record stores, they were no help either. I had to go with a plan which is just ludicrous in this day and age: I wrote a letter to Victor, the guy who was the station manager when I was there, and asked him if he could tell me who did the song. He responded, also via snail mail, and I went out and got the album.

Looking back on it now makes me think of a line from Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home… “How Quaint!”

So here’s “Sunset Now”, which reached #24 on the UK singles chart and #39 on the U.S. Dance/Club charts.

1980’s “Desert Island” Binder: Part 11, Just Mind Your Ass When The Buck Gets Passed

I didn’t mean for so much time to pass between 1980’s Desert Island posts, but I also didn’t want to phone it in when I wasn’t feeling it.

Since it’s been a couple of months since I did one of these, I’ll recap 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 Big Oil suppressing a technological breakthrough which could power an entire city using the energy contained in a small bag of circus peanuts.

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.

So let’s get back to it, shall we?

When I was going through my 1987 Fleer Update cards, I ran across this one and tried to remember what the deal was… why does the card show Kevin Mitchell with the Padres *and* the Giants?  Well…

The “regular” 1987 Kevin Mitchell card by Fleer (and Topps and Donruss…) shows him with the Mets.

In December 1986, Mitchell was part of an eight-player trade that brought Kevin McReynolds to Queens. However, Mitchell only played a couple of months for the Padres before he was sent to San Francisco in a seven-player trade that also saw Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts going to the Giants and Mark Davis, Mark Grant and two others heading to San Diego.

It’s pretty cool that Fleer did the Update card like this, because there aren’t many cards which show Mitchell with the Padres. After three minutes of research, all I could find was a 1987 Sportflics “Team Preview” card, a 1987 Donruss Opening Day card and two cards from the 1989 Star Kevin Mitchell set.

This 1980 Topps “Super” card of Nolan Ryan was my first clue that the Topps airbrush artists worked in something akin to “actual size” when they worked their craft.

You can tell it’s airbrushing because the colors are a bit off, but look at it… It’s light years ahead of some of the crappy jobs done before and after. They even painted the seams on his cap.  That, my friends, is an airbrush artist flexing his or her muscles.

An excellent action shot makes this 1988 Topps Big Baseball card of Shawon Dunston… I like it despite the cameo by Juan Samuel (the 1980’s Mets equivalent of Robinson Cano).

I’d like to see Topps give another try to something like Big Baseball, but maybe without the designs which were dated a week after they came out.

Somebody somewhere… on the blogs, on Twitter, someplace I can’t recall… named this 1980 Topps Gorman Thomas as one of the best cards of the 1980’s.

Well, who am I to argue with… um… somebody.  Into the binder it goes.

I like Jim Abbott and I semi-collect him – I don’t always seek out his cards, but I gladly hang on to any new cards of his which come my way.  I was going to feature this card anyway, but since this Draft Pick card shows him in his University of Michigan uniform, and Michigan recently made it into the College World Series finals, I figured I’d share it now.

A couple of friends in my bowling league are Michigan alums and were very excited about the Wolverines’ progress in the CWS.  I better understood their excitement when I learned that the last time the Wolverines were in the CWS, their shortstop was a kid named Barry Larkin.  That was 1984, and Jim Abbott started playing for Michigan in 1985.  Anyway, I was rooting for Michigan and was disappointed that they lost the best-of-three final to Vanderbilt, but that team certainly can hold their heads up high this summer.

With the All-Star Game coming up next week, I have a small request of the photographers covering it –  can someone get some posed photos like this so that Topps can buy it and use it as a combo card or something?

As you can tell from the slight gap in the middle, this is actually two cards from 1984 Fleer.  As much fun as it is to have a photo split across cards like this, I’d be happy with a nice posed photo on a single card.

Hey, Topps, here’s an idea… Let the players pass around someone’s phone and have a selfie subset.  …Or maybe that’s too complicated when it comes time to pay the photographer.

I’m a sucker for the “guy hanging around the batting cage” shot.

Back in 1984, I didn’t like that year’s Donruss set.

There, I’ve gotten that out of the way…. And to be fair, there wasn’t a lot of 1984 Donruss in the stores I frequented, so it wasn’t really an issue.  I have a lot more appreciation for it now than I did then; partly because it’s relatively rare by early-to-mid 1980’s standards, but also because I realized that the design is very nice but unforgiving. I’ve come to put 1984 Donruss in the same category of 1957 Topps. When it doesn’t work, it’s a mess, but when it *does* work…. Like with this Steve Henderson card…


And now it’s time for the quick summary of where the fictional binder stands…

I’m adding seven standard-sized cards, one eight-pocket sized and one two-pocket sized, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 8 sheets (70 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (3 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (2 cards)

This post’s 1980’s playlist song is “As A Matter Of Fact” by General Public, which was a band that came out of the split of The English Beat. I found out just a few years ago that The English Beat is called “The English Beat” only in the US and Canada; in the UK, they’re just “The Beat”. Anyway, I really liked General Public’s 1984 Album “All The Rage” and listened to it quite a bit.

A Deep Dive Into The 1982 Fleer Pete Falcone: A “1980’s Desert Island Binder” Special Edition

There’s so much going on in this 1982 Fleer card of Pete Falcone…

…That I decided to build an entire post around it.  Fair warning, I also wander off on some tangents along the way.

Let’s start with the main focus of the card: Mets pitcher Pete Falcone is sitting in front of a locker – presumably his – and showing us that he opened a couple of packs of 1981 Fleer and pulled his own card.

Here’s the 1981 Fleer card that Falcone is showing us:

Having been in the hobby for over 40 years, my brain is awash with countless jumbled facts and I sometimes get things confused…. But I’m almost positive that this was the first baseball card to feature a photograph of someone holding a baseball card… fairly mundane in 2019 but eyebrow-raising in 1981.

There’s a lot more going on in this photograph, however. Next to Falcone is a stool with a small stack of 1981 Fleer and a couple of torn wax wrappers.

When I first got this card in 1982 I was a lot more familiar with the 1981 Fleer set, and even then I don’t think I was able to tell which card is on the top of the other stack.

For the record, here’s an image of a 1981 Fleer pack. Jaded current-day me says “Wow, 17 cards in a wax pack?”

Behind the stool with the opened packs is another stool with a glove and a couple of nameplates from a jersey.

I clearly remember these nameplates, because the cheap-ass Mets of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s wouldn’t sew the player’s names directly on the jersey, but instead would sew the names on a nameplate and put that on the jersey. The white nameplates on a pinstriped jersey looked like poop.  You can catch a small glimpse of the poopiness on this 1981 Topps “Home Team” Super of Frank Taveras:

Anyway, getting back to the nameplate…

What we can see of the name is what looks like a “W” followed by “EET”… this must be for catcher Rick Sweet, who had played for the Padres before joining the Mets organization in 1981 and part of 1982. There isn’t a baseball card which shows Sweet with the Mets, but I do have one from the 1981 TCMA Tidewater Tides team set; the Tides were the Mets’ top affiliate from 1969 to 2006 (and have been the Orioles’ AAA team since then).

Sweet spent the entire 1981 season with the Tides, and if he had a Mets jersey to put a nameplate on, it would likely have been in Spring Training… Although it’s not out of the question that he was called up to the Mets and then sent back down to Tidewater before appearing in a game.

Solely because many of you have never seen a 1981 TCMA card, here’s what the back looks like.

Sweet was sold to the Mariners early in the 1982 season and would appear on Major League Baseball cards again in 1983; here’s his 1983 Donruss card which I’d scanned before remembering I had the TCMA card (but since I went to the trouble of scanning this card I’m going to show it here even though it’s not really needed).

Before we leave Rick Sweet, I’ll mention that he’s currently the manager of the Brewers’ top farm club in San Antonio.

OK, let’s get back to that Falcone card…

On the other side of Pete, there’s a shirtless teammate, which nicely serves to underline the idea that THIS IS A LOCKER ROOM. The shirtlessness of the teammate is interesting… I have a feeling that if this photo had been used by Topps, they would’ve airbrushed a jersey on him, and then we’d be sitting here wondering “Why is there a guy in the Mets clubhouse who’s been airbrushed into a Mets jersey?”

One last detail which caught my attention: Lurking in the shadows behind Pete Falcone is this guy.

With the dark shades, he looks like he could be from the movie “Men In Black”, which brings to mind that part of the movie takes place at the site of the 1964 World’s Fair… and Shea Stadium was just a hop, skip and jump away. Coincidence?

Tying this back to the 1980’s Desert Island binder… I wouldn’t be adding all of these cards to the binder, but the 1982 Falcone and TCMA Sweet would definitely go in, so I’ll add those into the totals:

Nine-pocket (standard sized): 8 sheets (65 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (1 card)

For these Desert Island Binder posts, I normally quote a 1980’s song in the title, and share the video of that song at the end.  Well, I didn’t quote lyrics in the title of this post, so it seemed appropriate to share a favorite 1980’s song which doesn’t have any lyrics.

I first got into electronic music when I was in high school… Later on, when I was in college, I was talking to a classmate about Kraftwerk and he suggested I give a listen to Jean-Michel Jarre and Yellow Magic Orchestra. YMO never clicked with me, but I ended up with six Jarre albums, including the album known in English-speaking countries as Magnetic Fields. What I love about this album – and didn’t realize until many years later – is that the original French title, Les Chants Magnétiques, is not a literal translation of “Magnetic Fields, but rather a play on words. “Chants”, French for “songs”, sounds the same as “Champs”, French for “Fields” (like in Champs Elysees)… So in France the album is called “Magnetic Songs”, but spoken aloud it sounds like “Magnetic Fields”.

So here’s a video for my favorite track off the album.  I’d never seen this video before I wrote this post, but it’s exactly what you’d expect a video from 1981 to look like.

1980’s Desert Island Binder Part 10… ten… Ten… TEN for EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING!

The 1980’s song that inspired the subject line is from an album which was very popular in my college dorm. I’ll get back to that at the end of this post.

John Denny was acquired by the Phillies late in the 1982 season, with Jerry Reed, Roy Smith and Wil Culmer going to Cleveland in exchange. Denny pitched four games for the Phils in the last couple of weeks of September, which apparently was not enough time for Topps to get a useable photo.

Denny was clearly so inspired by the airbrushing that in 1983 he went 19-6, 2.37 and won the Cy Young award.

It’s worth noting that Denny’s 1983 Fleer card has a head-shot of him with the Phillies, but Denny’s 1983 Donruss card shows him with the Indians and lists him with the Indians on the front, but with the trade to Philadelphia listed in the “How Acquired” line and a note about how he “figured to be part of the Phillies rotation in ’83”.

Speaking of transactions, one of the things I wish to do with this 1980’s binder is to highlight what Nick over at Dime Boxes would call a “Short Term Stop”.  The sight of Pete Rose with the Expos is jarring enough that it deserves inclusion.

Rose, who would turn 43 in the early part of the 1984 season, had signed as a free agent with the Expos.  After batting a paltry-for-Pete .259 over 95 games, he was dealt to the Reds for infielder Tom Lawless (who himself would play only 11 regular season games for Montreal before getting traded to St. Louis at the end of Spring Training in 1985).  When this deal went through, the Reds fired manager Vern Rapp and named Rose their player/manager.

I’m not as big of a fan of 1987 Topps as many others are, but cards like this one give me a bit of insight as to why the set is loved by so many.

Ruppert Jones would wrap up his MLB career in 1987 with the Angels, but he’d play with the Rangers’ AAA team in 1988 and 1989. Jones was the first player selected in the 1976 Expansion Draft to populate the rosters of the Mariners and Blue Jays (the Jays selected Bob Bailor with their first pick).

When Ruppert Jones was a 21-year-old rookie with the Royals, one of his teammates was the 37-year-old Tommy Davis, who was wrapping up his playing career which saw him win two batting titles and get over 2100 hits. In 1981 Davis was named the hitting coach of the Mariners (who were managed by another former Dodger, Maury Wills); this was not Davis’s first go-round in Seattle, as he was one of the top players on the one-year-wonder Seattle Pilots.

I guess it’s pointless to say “I wish coaches were on baseball cards” when we don’t even get managers on baseball cards.

One of the more famous corrected errors of the 1980’s was the 1988 Topps rookie card for Al Leiter.  I’m including both the correct version (showing Leiter, on the left) and the original error card (on the right, showing Steve George).  Although I don’t collect Leiter, he still maintains a “favored” status from his seven years with the Mets.

In a sense, Steve George got  his 15 minutes of fame through his card;  he spent most of his career in A-ball, peaked at AAA and according to TradingCardDB has only three TCMA minor league cards with his name on it.  I hadn’t realized it, but George’s last season was 1987, which he split between A, AA and AAA.

The 1989 Upper Deck set is a bit inconsistent, which I guess is to be expected for a startup company.  The photo on the front of the Doug Sisk card may not be the best in terms of composition, but I really like the shot of Sisk staring in while the batter waits.

1982 Fleer was a mess and a huge disappointment to me (I loved 1981 Fleer), but there were some good cards in it. I particularly like this shot of pitcher Steve Stone in front of a number of batting helmets – none of which were likely his, being an American League pitcher in the days before interleague.

Stone’s last MLB plate appearance came in 1976 with the Cubs, and judging by his .100 career average it would’ve been just as well that he didn’t have an Orioles batting helmet. He was just a bit better on the mound, peaking with his 1980 Cy Young winning season where he won 25 games – a full quarter of the O’s wins that year, a year where the O’s won 100 games and finished 3 games behind the freakin’ Yankees.

Almost forgot the quick summary of where the fictional binder stands…

I’m adding eight standard-sized cards, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 7 sheets (63 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (1 card)

Getting back to that song… When I was in college, the debut album by the band Violent Femmes was in heavy rotation in my dorm. My original reaction was “What the hell is this?” but I grew to love the album, particularly songs like “Blister In The Sun”, “Add It Up” and this song, “Kiss Off”.  It doesn’t hurt that there’s an acoustic bass involved;  I’m a sucker for an acoustic bass.

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record!

1980’s Desert Island Binder, Part 9: Of All The Stupid Things I Could Have Thought

I was a Fleer guy in the 1980’s.

I guess part of it was that I was ready for something different after collecting only Topps for seven years, and part of it is that I’ve always had a tendency to march to the beat of a different drummer, but when Fleer first came out in 1981, during my teen years, I fell in with the Fleer crowd.  Sure, I collected Topps, but I stuck with Fleer through most of the 1980’s until they got outdone by Score at the end of the decade.

It was the “State Penitentiary” design of 1989 Fleer that broke the chain, but I’ve long thought of 1988 as the year where Fleer became “meh” for me. Before that – excluding the mess that is 1982 Fleer – I would defend the 1980’s Fleer output, and I got a little offended when anyone derided 1987 as being sub-standard.  Hey, it’s Fleer, ya gotta love Fleer!


When I was flipping through one of my Fleer binders looking for cards for this series, I got to the 1987 Fleer and found myself flipping through pages… and flipping… and flipping… and not pulling anything out.

At that point I realized that my fondness for 1987 Fleer might be misplaced. I have a complete regular and Update set, and I still like the design, but even I have to admit that the photography is fairly well uninteresting through most of the set.

My immediate reaction was whether if the set should even be in a binder…

And then I had a “Marie Kondo moment”:  If I’m removing the cards from a binder, should I just go the extra step and remove them from my collection?

I’m putting the final decision off until after I finish some other collection decluttering projects, but I have to say that it’s not looking good for 1987 Fleer as anything but material for my team and player collections.

I *did* find a couple of cards worth scanning….

I’ve always liked this Cory Snyder card…

I love the attitude being flashed by Rey Quinones in this card.  He seems almost resentful at having his photo taken.

That about does it for 1987 Fleer, unless I come up with some cards which are interesting for other reasons…

I can’t very well leave the post at “Here are my fave two from an admittedly uninteresting set”, so here are a few other cards for the 1980’s Desert Island Binder…

When the clubhouse guy was washing Mike Laga’s airbrushed jersey, he mistakenly mixed whites and colors.

Laga is airbrushed because he’d been acquired from the Tigers in September, 1986.  I guess he didn’t get his picture taken during the 16 games he played for the Cards in 1986.

I love a good autograph shot, but this card might have added appeal to Twins and Tigers fans who are more familiar with Ron Gardenhire as a white-haired manager.

As a former New Yorker, I also love the big old Sports Channel logo on the back of the program or yearbook he’s signing.

I really enjoyed these “Super Veteran” cards from the 1983 Topps set, and part of me wishes they’d revisit it, but it got me thinking… Back in 1983 most of the long-term vets had careers that spanned back to before I followed baseball and the unfamiliar “Before” photos made these cards cool.

If Topps were to do a set like that today and feature guys like Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia, would I enjoy them or would it just be “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt”?

Just to give Donruss a little equal time – I did love me some Donruss, especially in 1982, 1983 and 1989 – here’s a fun 1982 Donruss action shot of the Astros Craig Reynolds with a ‘cameo appearance’ by Mets shortstop Frank Taveras.

Quick summary of where the fictional binder stands… I’m adding six standard-sized cards, which brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 7 sheets (55 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (1 card)

Have you ever had a situation where some new music makes you suddenly appreciate the older songs by the same artist? That’s what happened to me in 1986 when I started hearing songs from Joe Jackson’s Big World album on the radio. I really liked what I heard, and as radio stations tend to do when an artist has new music out, his older songs got played and that’s when I started to put all the pieces together. “Wait a minute… ‘You Can’t Get What You Want’, ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him’ are all by *the same guy*????”

That was when I became a Joe Jackson fan and started buying up his catalog to make up for lost time. This song, “Home Town”, comes from Big World, which remains one of my favorite JJ albums.

1980’s “Desert Island Binder, Part 8: Who Needs To Think When Your Feet Just Go?

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 William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States, having secretly been an alien from a planet somewhere in the Crab Nebula.

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.

By the way, if it seems like I’m sort of meandering through 1980’s cards… that’s because I *am* meandering through 1980’s cards. I started this series with almost no advance prep work, and I’m still in the process of going through my binders and scanning cards.

Let’s fill some more sheets in this binder!

There are a lot of people who have harsh words about 1989 Bowman.  A lot of people don’t like cards which are larger than standard size, plus the cards are often just head shots and feature a design which is either “minimalist” or “boring” (or both).

Me, I kinda like it. I still have the hand-collated set I bought in 1989, and besides, a set that has this card in it can’t be *all* bad…

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a recurring theme of ‘cameo appearances’ like Ryne Sandberg on this card.

Ryno also appeared on Reggie Smith’s 1983 Topps card…

…and on I think he was also on someone’s 1988 Score card (but I don’t remember whose). Any other 1980’s cameos I could be featuring here?

Speaking of Ryno cameos… He’s probably on this 989 Score card highlighting the first-ever night game at Wrigley Field, but it’s not like you can tell for sure that one of those little white blogs is Sandberg.

Wrigley Field was, of course, the last ballpark to get lights. The first night game was originally scheduled for August 8th, 1988 – making the numerical date and easily-remembered 8-8-88 – and the game against the Phillies started but got rained out in the 4th inning. The next evening’s game against the Mets ended up being the first official night game at Wrigley.

No binder of 1980’s cards would be complete without the infamous Rod Carew cards from 1982 Topps and 1982 Fleer. This was a big scandal back in the day.

Apparently – and I’ve never heard specifics on this situation – a photographer sold the same photo to the two different companies.

And both companies used the photo.

And, had Homer Simpson existed in 1982, both companies would have said “D’oh!

If there was any fallout from this, I never heard about it… but I’m thinking that Topps and Fleer thought twice before buying any more photos from this photographer.

Here’s a pairing of 1983 cards, just for fun…

1983 Donruss Chicken

1983 Topps Chicken Man

In the mid-1980’s there was an ownership group which was trying to position Denver as a MLB-ready city (this was, of course, before the Rockies). I’m a little sketchy on the details these days, I can’t remember if they already owned the AAA Denver Bears and were trying to position themselves for MLB, or if they started out with MLB designs and bought the Bears as a step towards their final goal.

Whichever way it worked out, the Bears got rebranded as the Denver Zephyrs – named after a well-known passenger train which ran between Chicago and the Mile High City – and it was clear that their intent was to demonstrate that they’ve got the big league branding (relative to other minor league teams of the day), they’ve got big league uniforms, they had the big league facility with Mile High Stadium, all they needed was the big league franchise.

(This Paul Mirabella card is from the 1988 CMC Denver Zephyrs team set)

Even though this East Coast guy never say the Z’s play in person or on TV, I’d always liked the logo and uniforms.  I even got a t-shirt (now long gone) and an authentic game cap like the one Mirabella’s wearing (still have it, but it’s a tight fit now).  When the expansion process started to heat up, it was my sincere hope that the two new National League teams would be the Denver Zephyrs and the Buffalo Bisons.  The Denver franchise went to a different ownership group and Buffalo… Well, Buffalo was just another small market, while Miami…!!  Oh, Miami would become an international gateway to all those baseball fans in the Caribbean, Central and South America.  Right?  Just go ahead and tell me that Buffalo would’ve been so much worse than how Miami has worked out for MLB.  BAH!

Yeah, 25+ years later I’m still a little bitter about that…

After the 1992 season, with the Rockies coming in to Mile High Stadium, the Zephyrs moved to New Orleans and kept the Zephyrs name.  Two years ago they rebranded as (insert eye roll here) the New Orleans Baby Cakes. The upcoming season might be the last for AAA baseball in NOLA as the team will be moving to Wichita, KS after a new ballpark is completed, possibly for the 2020 season.

I feel like we need a goofy Fleer card here, so I’m wrapping things up with this 1986 Fleer card of Mickey Hatcher with a giant glove. The giant glove theme would be repeated on and off over the years.  Just last year there was a giant glove on Dustin Pedroia’s card in 2018 Stadium Club.

Bringing it back around to the binder theme, let’s see where we stand. We’re adding 8 standard-sized cards and one “1950’s sized” card to the binder. That brings the totals to…
Nine-pocket (standard sized): 6 sheets (49 cards)
Eight-pocket (1950’s sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Four-pocket (postcard sized): 1 sheet (2 cards)
Two-pocket (5″ x 7″): 1 sheet (1 card)

Now we come to the “1980’s Playlist” part of this series, and today it’s “Genius Of Love” by Tom Tom Club.

Tom Tom Club formed in the early 1980’s as a Talking Heads side project. Talking Heads ceased to be a long time ago while Tom Tom Club remains something of an active band;  I guess as long as core members and rhythm section Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth remain married and continue to make music.

1980’s “Desert Island Binder, Part 7: Swept Away For A Moment By Chance

For those who are new to this series – and I only just realized that I left this bit out of Part 6 – 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 government records showing no indication that anyone named “Cap’n Crunch” had ever served in any branch of the military.

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 got this next card from a nickel box this past weekend… And you’ll be seeing a bunch more from this nickel box in the near future.

You know how current sets say they have “combo cards”?  In my book, a card that features two guys who happened to be standing near each isn’t a combo card.

THIS is a combo card.

This card is from 1981 Donruss, and I’m going to hold firm in my new-found resolve to not chase after the set, despite some of the surprisingly nice cards in it.

In another tease of an upcoming post based on the card show I went to this past weekend, I made a significant purchase where Tony Perez factors in.

I’ve also been meaning to feature 1980’s cards which feature well-known players who spent a season or less with a particular team.

Combine the two, with a little bit of oddball, and you get this 1984 Donruss Champions card featuring Tony Perez with the Phillies!

Just one season out of Tony’s 23 Major League seasons was spent with the Phillies.  BTW, this card is the same size as the Action All-Star sets.

If you were to collect a player for cardboard reasons rather than on-field reasons, you could do worse than to collect former infielder Lenny Randle. He had great cards in 1975 and 1978, and his 1982 Donruss card isn’t too shabby either.

Wouldn’t you love to see a game where the A’s & M’s threw back to these uniforms?  FYI, that’s infielder Wayne Gross sliding into second

In a prior post I featured a 1986 Turn Back The Clock card which featured a non-existant 1962 Topps Maury Wills card. Discussion turned to the infamous 1982 K-Mart MVP’s set, so I figured I’d feature a different card from that set…

Fred Lynn was both the MVP and Rookie Of The Year in 1975, and his 1975 card featured this same photo, but tightly cropped on a “1975 Rookie Outfielders” card.  I’ve had the K-Mart set since I bought it in 1982 (amazingly enough, in a K-Mart), but I’ve broken the set up and this card is going into my 1975 binder.

I feel like we’re suffering a Topps deficiency in this post, so I’ll add in this 1984 Topps card of Billy Martin, who — wait a minute!  Who’s this smiling guy?  Can that really be Billy?

Given the cards featuring him yelling, kicking dust or surreptitiously giving the finger to a Topps photographer, it’s a little odd to see him happy.

OK, let’s run some totals…  We’re adding 4 standard-sized cards to bring the total up to 41… so that’s five 9-pocket pages (one of which has 5 cards in it).  I also added an oversized card, bringing the total to four, which are different sizes so they go in three different sheets.  Grand total of 8 sheets, four of which are partially filled.

The latest song in my 1980’s playlist is “And We Danced” by The Hooters

Back in the early 1980’s I went to a concert in a college gymnasium, and one of the bands that I saw was The Hooters.  This was a couple of years before they had a national record deal.  The acoustics were horrendous in that gym, but the show was pretty good.  It was one of the first concerts I’d been to, so I guess I was kinda predisposed to liking it.  This didn’t lead to me becoming a Hooters “Super Fan”, but I’m certainly an “Above-Average Fan”;  I’ve got their first four albums, including a vinyl copy of their independently-released first album.

BONUS TRACK:  Also on the card for that gymnasium show was Robert Hazard and the Heroes. Robert Hazard’s biggest claim to fame was writing the song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” which would become a huge hit for Cyndi Lauper.  Trivia fact:  Lauper’s band on that album featured two members of The Hooters, Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman… in fact, Rob Hyman co-wrote “Time After Time” with Lauper.

Getting back to Robert Hazard… His second biggest claim to fame was the song “Escalator Of Life”, which was in the Hot 100 for a number of weeks and, as the video below shows, got him on American Bandstand.  It’s an OK song; I wouldn’t say I like it… not exactly… but I do enjoy singing along and imitating Hazard’s vocals as he runs through some ridiculous lyrics.

Hey, girrrrrrrl!  I’m a personal friend of Gloria Vaaanderbilllllllt!

1980’s “Desert Island Binder, Part 6: Computer Für Das Eigene Heim

Don’t worry about the German in the title, that’s just referencing the “Shlabotnik’s 1980’s Playlist” part that comes at the end.  If I have the phrasing (and translation) correct, it means “Computer for your own home”, which gets a Whatevs in 2019, but was pretty forward-thinking in 1981 (hint, hint)

Speaking of 1981… Sometimes I look at 1981 Donruss cards like this Dick Tidrow…

…and I start to think like Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas: “I never thought it was such a bad little set. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love”.

…And you know, people, sometimes I start to think that I’d completed the two other 1981 sets 38 years ago, and I’ve got a little over half of the 1981 Donruss set… Maybe, just maybe I should work to complete it!

At times like that, when my thoughts get a little ahead of myself, I need cards like this one to remind me why completing 1981 Donruss shouldn’t be a priority:

Yeah, maybe having two complete flagship sets from the same year should be enough for me…

Back in 1988, if someone had pointed out to me that Topps “Big” Baseball had cards like this, I would’ve been a lot more receptive to the idea.

As it was, I largely ignored the cards until years later.  These sets are still nowhere near a priority, but I like to add to my team and player collections.

I normally like my card designs to be colorful and fun, but I have to admit, I think that 1986 Topps works best for the Yankees, partially because Topps used only black and white for that team…

…But when you combine that with the Yankees’ home pinstripes, it really just works for me.  It’s not that I don’t like the rest of 1986 – I do like it, and I suspect I like it more than many – but it’s unusual for a particular color combination within a set to make me nod appreciatively and say “Yeah… yeah, that’s it…”

I don’t know that I can have a post which doesn’t include a 1980’s Fleer card which doesn’t have a fun/goofy photo.  This 1983 Duane Kuiper fits the bill for this post.

I came across this card while going through my various 1980’s binders, and I thought it interesting that it was the rookie card for two future managers.

Terry Francona, of course, is the current manager of the Cleveland Indians, and has mananged the Phillies and Red Sox.  Brad Mills managed the Astros from 2010 to 2012.  Bryn Smith never managed, but he was a minor league pitching coach, played in 13 seasons in the Majors and was the first Colorado Rockies pitcher to ever get a win… funnily enough, against the Expos with whom he had pitched the majority of his career.

Frank Robinson had an oversized card in the 1984 Donruss Champions set, and even if he never played in the 1980’s I feel the need to include this card in the Desert Island Binder. Of course, the artwork is by Dick Perez.

This post seems a little light, and I don’t have time to write a whole lot, so I’ll include this 1983 Topps Chris Speier simply for the action shot.  That’s the Dodgers’ Derrel Thomas trying to elude the tag.

I’ve been totalling up how much is the binder after each post. We’re adding 6 standard-sized cards to bring the total up to 37… so that’s five 9-pocket pages (one of which has only 1 card in it) plus three oversized cards which are, of course, three different sizes so they go in three different sheets.

For this week’s 1980’s track I’m going to go full-on Techno-nerd. In High School I started to seek out my own music; It’s a bit of a long story, but one of the bands I got into was Kraftwerk, and I got so much into them that by the time their new album “Computer World” came out in 1981, I wasn’t satisfied with the domestic version… No, I had to get the imported German version – “Computerwelt”. I prefer German version as the mix is different and the lyrics to certain songs are more meaningful and quite a bit darker… plus it just sounds cooler in German.

1980’s “Desert Island Binder, Part 5: …And Don’t It Feel Good?

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.