Contrast & Compare: 1979 Burger King Beniquez & Tiant

I thought it might be good to share some real cards after two straight days of customs.

1979 and 1980 Burger King cards are among my recent obsessions…  Well, I’ve come to obsess over any baseball card from the 1970’s, it’s just a matter of degree…  But anyway…

Just like with 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball, I only collect the cards that have different images and aren’t just the original Topps card with a different number.  Today I’m sharing two cards like that from the 1979 Burger King Yankees set, starting with Juan Beniquez:
1979 BK Juan Beniquez

Juan Beniquez came to the Yankees in a blockbuster deal with the Rangers on November 10, 1978:  Beniquez, Dave Righetti (I always forget he started in the Rangers organization), Paul Mirabella, Mike Griffin and Greg Jemison for Sparky Lyle, Mike Heath, Dave Rajsich, Domingo Ramos, Larry McCall and cash.

Just under a year later, the Yankees traded Beniquez to the Mariners.

Here’s the Topps Beniquez:
1979 Topps Juan Beniquez

Luis Tiant came to the Yankees as – how else? – a free agent.
1979 BK Luis Tiant

Although he was 38 in his first season with the Yankees, he went 13-8 with a 3.91 ERA. Here’s the Topps equivalent:
1979 Topps Luis Tiant
I was in the New York area at the time, so I don’t remember hearing about any Boston backlash towards El Tiante going from the Sox to the “freakin’ Yankees”, but I’m sure there must’ve been some.

Tiant spent two years in pinstripes and had an interesting career path. He won 20 games 4 times, twice lead the league in ERA and shutouts, but in 1969 he went 9-20 and lead the league in homers and walks. Most people think of the 8 years he spent with the Red Sox or the 6 with the Indians, but he also spent a year with the Twins and spent the end of his career hopping around between AAA and the Mexican League while making brief appearances with the Pirates and Angels. In between pitching for the Twins and Red Sox he sent a month at the beginning of 1971 pitching for the Braves AAA team. The Braves released him, the Bosox picked him up, he went 1-7, 4.91 in 1971 but turned it around in 1972 and lead the majors with a 1.91 ERA.

1976 SSPC: #424 Luis Tiant (Red Sox)

1976 SSPC #424 Luis Tiant
Luis Tiant is known for having more career wins than any other Cuban in the 20th century, being named to three All-Star games, having two wins in the 1975 World Series, leading the league in ERA and shutouts multiple times, having four 20 win seasons, three 200 strikeout seasons and winning the 1972 AL Comeback Player Of The Year award.

In 1976, Luis Tiant… went 21-12, was an All-Star and finished 5th in Cy Young voting (although he didn’t get any first-place votes).

So… take your time… and tell me… Is it Shea?  No, it’s not.  I think it’s Original Yankee Stadium.

Betcha didn’t know… Luis lead the AL with 20 losses in 1969, just one season after winning 21 games.

1976 Joe says… This card is cool!

2013 Joe says… Tiant had a lot of cool cards, I think it was the mustache and the “You know, I killed a man once” expression.

1976 SSPC #424 Luis Tiant back

Sadly, this is what I think of when I see Luis Tiant

1980 Topps #35 - Luis Tiant - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1980 Topps #35 – Luis Tiant – Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

“El Tiante” was a four-time 20 game winner and twice led the league in ERA.  So what leaps to mind when I see a picture of him?  A very cheesy 1970’s commercial for “Yankee Franks”, a regional brand of hot dog at the time.  After Tiant signed with the Yankees as a free agent, he appeared in this commercial which ends with Tiant looking into the camera and saying, in his thick Cuban accent, “Eet’s great to be weeth a wiener”… because he could be saying ‘winner’ or ‘wiener’, get it?  …Yeah, well I said it was cheesy.

I’d include a link to this commercial, but it doesn’t appear to be out there anywhere.  Most online references I’ve seen don’t even get the brand of hot dog right.

So, I apologize, Luis… Lo siento… But this commercial’s catchphrase is what immediately jumps to mind when I see one of your baseball cards.