1976 SSPC #233 – Kurt Bevacqua (Brewers)

1976 SSPC #233 Kurt Bevacqua

Kurt Bevacqua… Was a long-time utility player and pinch h itter who is best known in baseball card circles for having that card in the 1976 set that shows him as the Bubble Gum Blowing Champ. He’s also known for catching baseballs dropped from the top of the 24 story Imperial Bank tower in San Diego. He did a dead-on impersonation of manager Dick Williams, married a Playboy Bunny… Summarize it all, he’s an interesting guy that one could write many posts about.

Even though Kurt hit just .200 during the 1984 regular season, he was such a good pinch-hitter that Padres manager Dick Williams put him in as a DH in the World Series against the Tigers.  Bevacqua responded by going 7 for 17 with two doubles and two homers, including what would prove to be the game-winning three-run homer in Game #2.

In 1976, Kurt… appeared in just 12 games with the Brewers, spending most of his time with AAA Spokane where he hit .337 with 70 runs and 49 RBI. That October he was sold to the expansion Seattle Mariners and was among the earliest players on their roster.

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

That distinctive scoreboard… The red Shaefer Beer ad… the Longines clock.  No doubt it’s Shea.
Shea: 50
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 12
Not Shea: 7

Pack yer bags: On paper, Bevacqua played for 6 teams over his 15 year career, but that doesn’t do justice to his travels. He was drafted by the Reds, traded to the Indians where he made his MLB debut, traded to the Royals, traded to the Pirates, traded back to the Royals, sold to the Brewers, sold to the Mariners, released by the Mariners and signed by the Rangers, traded to the Padres, traded to the Pirates, released by the Pirates and ended his career with the Padres.

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

Kurt’s got long hair and a mustache.  He looks like he might have the sideburns going, but without being able to clearly see it, I’m not going to give him credit.
Total Cards: 77
1970’s Sideburns: 38
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 24
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 17

Baseball Card History: His rookie card came in 1972 with the Indians.  He appeared as a Pirate in the 1974 Traded set, but only played 18 games for Pittsburgh before being traded back to Kansas City that July. He’s airbrushed into a Mariners cap in the 1977 set, but was released near the end of spring training and never appeared in an official game with the M’s. On his 1978 card, the Topps copy writer was reaching when he declared Kurt to have the highest batting average on the Rangers… Yep,and he did it in just 96 at bats!
1976 SSPC #233 Kurt Bevacqua back


In The Blogroll Penalty Box
A little over a week ago I angered the Blogroll Gods by absent-mindedly using a 3.3MB Jpeg as my “primary image”. Blogger could be heard muttering “…and the horse you rode in on” and since then my blog has been taking many hours to appear on blogrolls.

I’ve been posting every day since this happened, so if you think I’ve been quiet lately, you might want to scroll through the recent posts and see if you’d missed anything.

Contrast And Compare: 1977 OPC/Topps George Scott And Cecil Cooper

Of all the photo differences between 1977 Topps and O-Pee-Chee baseball, this is one of my favorites just because of the attention to detail by the airbrush artist.

First we have the Topps George Scott.  “Boomer” came up with the Red Sox but was part of a 10-player trade after the 1971 season.  Scott would play with the Brewers from 1972 to 1976
1977 Topps George Scott

In December, 1976, George Scott and Bernie Carbo were traded to the Red Sox for Cecil Cooper. I think everybody should take a moment to appreciate this impressive airbrush job.
1977 OPC George Scott
Not only does the Red Sox logo actually look like a Red Sox logo, but the artist attempted to duplicate the glare on the helmet and – this is the part that really gets me – also the reflection of the logo on the brim of the helmet. That is the kind of detail you don’t often see on Topps airbrushings.

I should also mention that a powder-blue Brewers road jersey was converted to a white Red Sox home jersey. Despite everything going on, it doesn’t scream “AIRBRUSHING!!!!”

..and as long as I’m pointing out every little detail, the signature on the Brewers card is laid out vertically (first over last name), while the Red Sox card signature is horizontal.

Ah, the heck with it, as long as I’m at it, I may as well share the other end of this deal. Here’s Cecil Cooper with the Red Sox…
1977 Topps Cecil Cooper

…and here he is airbrushed as a Brewer. Not as good of a job, but still nothing to be ashamed of.
1977 OPC Cecil Cooper

This trade worked out better for the Brewers, as Cecil Cooper would play 11 years for the Brew Crew, make the All-Star team five times, win three Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves, and twice lead the AL in RBI.

What 1970’s Caps, Jerseys Or Logos Would You Revive?

I’ve got this theory about baseball uniforms.

More so than other sports, over the past 10-20 years, baseball uniforms have gotten more “traditional”, and I put “traditional” in quotes because tradition often means whatever you grew up with… Just like the best year there ever was for music was whatever year it was when you were twelve.

A lot of the current bunch of owners grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and when they think of what a baseball uniform should look like, that era is what they go to.

If I’m right about this, then it won’t be long before another group of owners come in, owners who grew up in the 1970’s, the decade of polyknits and powder blue road unis and elastic waistbands.

Throwing back to the Seventies may not be an entirely bad thing.  Baseball uniforms have gotten overly conservative in color and design, and it might be time to bring back a little “Seventies” in the same way that the current Blue Jays uniforms are updates of their original 1977 unis.

1978 Topps Rick Cerone

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to run through some of the 1970’s hats, jerseys, or logos that I’d like to see brought back, even if just as an alternate.

…and don’t worry, I won’t suggest anything to do with these leisure suit monstrosities:

1978 Topps Kevin Bell

I’ve so much disdain for those White Sox uniforms that I didn’t even go back and correct the scan.

…But here is what I would like to see…

The red Red Sox cap (1975 – 1978)

I’ve never been a fan of the Red Sox, but I’ve always liked the 1970’s red and navy cap.  I liked the cap so much in my younger days that I even owned one… and looking back on that, wearing a Red Sox cap on Long Island may not have been one of my better ideas… not that anyone ever gave me grief over it, but still…

1976 Topps Cecil Cooper

By the way, the Red Sox have tweaked their road jerseys for 2014, and the lettering will be basically the same what Cecil Cooper is wearing — something I see as a definite improvement.

The angular Cleveland Indians cap logo (1973 – 1977)

I’m going to suggest this Cleveland Indians cap logo as an improvement not because it’s an inspired design, but simply because it’s the best Indians cap logo from the past 50 years… at least it is to me, but it’s what they wore the first four years I followed baseball, so I’m biased.

1976 Topps Buddy Bell

From a purely visual standpoint, it may not be as good as Chief Wahoo, but even if you take the stance that naming a team “Indians” is meant to honor Native Americans, you can’t say the same about Chief Wahoo.  Chief Wahoo is just flat-out mean spirited, and I wouldn’t suggest that as an option.

the Brewers’ Yellow Panel Road Cap (1974 – 1977)

What the Brewers have now… it’s  not bad, but it’s… I don’t know.  It leaves me cold.  If you’re going to be blue and gold, be BLUE and GOLD.  I like the yellow-panel cap, and I’m partial to the the “typeface M” cap, but I know the “M-B Glove” logo is popular and would definitely be an improvement over what they have now.

1978 Topps Charlie Moore

The Tigers’ road Jersey (1972 – 1993)

Road jerseys that have solid navy or black lettering with no trim to offset the darkness are just “blah”…  Too “Dark Knight”.  I want to see something else.  Hell, even the Yankees have white trim to offset the navy, and that makes it “pop” a little bit.  The Tigers could do a lot worse than going with something like this:

1977 Topps Ben Oglivie

I won’t ask for the road cap as well…  It’s not bad, but the standard Tigers cap is a classic you don’t mess with.

Padres

I was going to gather together some Padres caps and jerseys that I like, but I quickly realized that it would probably be a post of its own.  I’ll summarize my take on the Padres uniforms in two words:

Brown.

Gold.

“Fauxback” alternates I’d like to see:  The Nationals wearing pseudo-Expo uniforms

Honorable Mention:  I know the Nats downplay their Montreal roots, but how cool would it be if they did Expos throwbacks, complete with tri-color cap?  They could swap the curly W for the Expos logo, but go with everything else.

1976 Topps Larry Parrish

WhICH uniform elements from the 1970’s would you like to see teams bring back?

Do you think I’m totally off-base on these?  Would you rather see the Astros’ “rainbow” jerseys or the return of powder-blue road jerseys?

…or would you leave the Seventies dead and buried?

1976 SSPC #247 – Bobby Darwin (Brewers)

1976 SSPC #247 Bobby Darwin

Bobby Darwin… made his Major League debut as a 19-year-old Angels pitcher in 1962, got another cup off coffee with the Dodgers in 1969, but didn’t establish himself in the Majors until he was a 29-year-old outfielder in 1972.  He had three seasons as a starting outfielder for the Twins before his numbers began to tail off.  During those three seasons he had at least 80 RBI, but also lead the AL in strikeouts each year.  From 1975 to 1977 he played for the Twins, Brewers, Red Sox and Cubs.

In 1976, Bobby Darwin… would appear in 25 games for the Brew Crew before being traded to the Red Sox.  He batted just .179 for the Sox, setting the stage for 1977 when he would appear in only 15 Major League games before being released to end his career.

Betcha didn’t know… According to his 1977 Topps card, he was converted to an outfielder by Tommy Lasorda.  If that’s true, then it’s pretty telling when a former pitcher says “Kid, I think you should give the outfield a try…”

SSPC vs. Topps: Topps showed Darwin with the Brewers, but it was an airbrushed photo.  This might be the only baseball card which shows Bobby Darwin in an actual Brewers uniform.

I don’t know what it is about this card, but something about the up-close-and personal flash photography and the dark background just make it cool.

1976 SSPC #247 Bobby Darwin back

Laugh If You Want, But It’ll Happen To You Some Day

The other day I was watching a Mets game and after Eric Young had stolen second, they said that Young has however-many stolen bases and the Brewers’ Jean Segura leads the league.

1971 Topps Tommy Harper

Without really engaging my brain, I spoke back to the TV and said “Yeah, but that’s Milwaukee… what about the National League?”

1972 Topps Billy Conigliaro

[…pause…]

“Oh, yeah”.

1980 Topps Robin Yount

For you young’uns, just remember that some day you’ll be watching a football game and saying “Every time I hear ‘Jaguars’, I still think Jacksonville, not Los Angeles”.


FWIW, all three of these cards were picked up in the past few months.

O Broder, What Art Thou?

So I was in Target during lunch yesterday, stocking up my “work pantry”, and I decided to check out the 100-card repacks on the way out. I know these repacks aren’t worth the money I’m putting into them, but they can be a fun diversion… or a Junk Wax Festival. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

My attention was caught by one repack which had this card on the back:
1990 Shanks Rookies Gary Sheffield

I thought “What the devil is that?”

Yeah, right. I really thought “What the @#%&*! is that?”, but I like writing “What the devil…” because it makes me sound like a scientist from a low-budget 1960’s science fiction movie. And there are worse things to be.

“I was a mathematician before I became a bad actor… That number is pi!”
(Let’s see if anyone gets THAT extremely obscure reference)

I kinda like the card, even if it is book-value worthless… as opposed to any other 1990 base card which has a book value only because Beckett has to give it SOME value.  The card sort of has a 1966 Topps bottom and a 1969 Topps circle.

Here’s the back to the esteemed Mr. Sheffield’s card:
1990 Shanks Rookies Sheffield back

“The Shanks Collection”, eh?  All right, if you say so.  I did some Googling on “1990 Shanks Collection” and all I got were some eBay listings.  I think this can be safely classified as a Broder.  You know, it’s been many years that I’ve been using the term “Broder” for an unlicensed-by-anybody card, but I’ve never seen an actual Broder.  Maybe someday…

UpdateBy “actual Broder”, I mean the original Broders, as opposed to cards which fall under the generic term “Broders”.

Wait a second, I hear a truck… Crap, I’ve got to put the recycling out by the curb.  I’ll be right back…

OK, sorry about that.

Well, you’re here and I’m here… Did you want to see what else I got in the repack?

I figure that, on the whole I got 10 dime-b0x needs for my $4, but I did well in terms of cards I actually want.  Here, let me show you…

I got this lovely George Foster Diamond King that’s been on my want list for… Oh, thirty years.

1983 Donruss George Foster DK

George Foster is one of a line of big-name players that the Mets brought in past their prime and who did just fine for the Mets but not anywhere close to the expectations of the fans who foolishly thought the Mets were acquiring a star player in his prime.

Moving right along…

Ahh… The elusive 1984 Donruss!  And it’s Shlabotnik favorite Benny Ayala!

1984 Donruss Benny Ayala

In 1974, Benny hit a homer in his first Major League at bat for the Mets.  This young Mets fan’s expectations of Benny were based on that random occurrence.  Silly me.  Anyway,  Benny had a 10-year career as a 4th outfielder, mainly with the  Orioles.

Jerry Willard!  A player I collect!  Wooooooooo!

1986 Donruss Jerry Willard

I saw Jerry play in the minor leagues, just in case you were wondering why someone would collect Jerry Willard cards.  I saw Jerry when he was in the Phillies system, but he traded to the Indians before he made it to the Majors.  This is why you shouldn’t get hung up on the fact that your local minor league team isn’t affiliated with a team you like… There’s always a decent chance that the guys you’re watching will make it with some other team.

Moving along… “Captain Kirk” McCaskill!  Another player I collect, even if it’s from the tremendously drab 1989 Fleer.

1989 Fleer Kirk McCaskill

I know we were meant to think “pinstripes”, but I’ve always thought “jail cell”.

Attica!  Attica!

Finally, I got this interesting TCMA “Baseball History” card of Jim DePalo.

1979 TCMA Baseball History Jim Depalo

Who is Jim DePalo?  If Baseball America had existed in the 1950’s, he might’ve been on the Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects list.  He peaked at AAA in 1956, going 13-5 for the Denver Bears.  I’m guessing that the TCMA guys found this photo and said “Hey, let’s add it to the set!”

1979 TCMA Baseball History Jim Depalo back

Aw, hell, look at the time!  I spent too much time on this, I’ve got to go shower.

…And thus ends my early morning free-form blog odyssey…  “On the bass:  Derek Smalls, he wrote this…”

Later…

More Backs Of 1993 Leaf Cards

Over the past week or two I’ve been focusing my purging/organizing efforts on my Leaf cards. In the process, I found more 1993 Leaf cards, and I’ve got a better idea of where I stand with my new goal of collecting one of each cityscape found on the backs of the cards. We’ve got 4 more cities today…

Chicago

1993 Leaf back Greg Hibbard

Toronto

I’ve been to Toronto, so I know this is City Hall.
1993 Leaf back Juan Guzman

Milwaukee

1993 Leaf back Cal Eldred

Baltimore

This is part of the National Aquarium in Baltimore… Doesn’t look like an aquarium, does it? If you’re in Baltimore, the Aquarium is definitely worth checking out. If you’re going to check it out, it’s definitely worth buying tickets in advance, even if it’s just a matter of buying tickets for later in the day… The wait can get pretty long on weekends.
1993 Leaf back Glenn Davis

1976 SSPC: #243 Gorman Thomas (And Three Pitchers I Wish Gorman Thomas Had Faced)

1976 SSPC #243 Gorman ThomasHi, I’m Gorman Thomas!  You may remember me from… A 13-year Major League career that included twice leading the AL in homers, playing in the 1982 World Series and being named to the A.L. All-Star team in 1981.

‘Round here, folks call me:  Stormin’ Gorman.

In 1976, Gorman Thomas… played himself into spending 1977 in Spokane.  Perhaps his limited playing time kept him from getting into a groove, but in 267 plate appearances he batted .198 with 6 homers and 36 RBI.  Fortunately for him, he’d later turn it around.

So… take your time… and tell me… Is it Shea?  As cool of a portrait as this is, there’s no way to know where it was taken.
1976 SSPC #243 Gorman Thomas back

I can’t believe it never occurred to me that… had things gone a little differently, Gorman Thomas could’ve batted against Thomas Gorman. How cool would that have been?

During the 1980’s, the Mets had a pitcher named Tom Gorman… but since Tom Gorman never pitched in the A.L. and Gorman Thomas never played in the N.L., we never got that matchup. Pity… It would’ve made an excellent 1980’s Fleer combo card.

What’s even more interesting is that there have been three Major League pitchers named Thomas Gorman.

The first Tom Gorman pitched in 4 games for the 1939 New York Giants. He’d never pitch in the majors again, but would later switch to umpiring and was an N.L. Umpire from 1951 to 1977.

1984 Fifth National Convention #1 - Tom Gorman UMP - Courtesy of COMC.com

1984 Fifth National Convention #1 – Tom Gorman UMP – Courtesy of COMC.com

The second Tom Gorman pitched from 1952 to 1959, first with the Yankees and later with the Athletics. He pitched in the 1952 and 1953 World Series.

1956 Topps #246 - Tom Gorman - Courtesy of COMC.com

1956 Topps #246 – Tom Gorman – Courtesy of COMC.com

Finally, the third Tom Gorman pitched from 1981 to 1987, mainly with the Mets but also with the Expos, Phillies and Padres.

1985 Topps Tom Gorman
When I started writing this particular entry, I didn’t expect it to be more about Tom Gorman(s) than Gorman Thomas, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Custom Jean Segura – So Far This Guy’s Been Fantasy Gold

2013 TSR #139 - Jean SeguraI’ve got Jean Segura on my Fantasy team and the guy has been putting up crazypants numbers for a shortstop.  I’m in a points league, and even though he’s cooled off a bit over the past week or so, he currently has the 12th most points among hitters this season, just ahead of Robinson Cano.

He’s hitting .347 with 66 hits, 28 runs scored, 21 RBI, 5 triples and 14 stolen bases, which puts him in the top 5 in the Majors in batting average, triples and stolen bases, and in the  top 10 in  hits.

Segura is one of the three prospects the Brewers got from the Angels for Zach Greinke.  I’d thought he was a candidate for Rookie Of The Year, but he burned through his eligibility last year.

In Honor Of ‘The Office’, Here’s Dwight Bernard!

Many of you are aware that tonight is the series finale of The Office…. but instead of Dwight Schrute or Andy Bernard, I’ve got Dwight Bernard.

1983 Topps Gardner's Dwight BernardBefore I get into The Office, I should say something about Dwight Bernard and this card. Dwight Bernard pitched out of the Mets bullpen in 1978 and 1979. After the 1979 season he was traded to Milwaukee, he pitched for the Brew Crew in 1981 and 1982, and got to pitch an inning in the 1982 World Series. He’s currently the pitching coach for the Mariners’ AAA team in Tacoma.

The card itself, which is about as oddball as oddball gets, is from the 1983 Gardner’s set, a regional issue from Topps. I believe that Gardner’s is a bakery in the Midwest; I’m sure someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

The front of the card is… um… colorful. The back is pretty much identical to 1983 Topps.

Getting back to The Office, I’ll definitely be watching tonight… possibly even something approximating real time so I don’t get spoiled. Will Steve Carell make an appearance? I don’t really care, but then again I never liked Michael Scott all that much… he doesn’t hold a candle to Ricky Gervais’ David Brent.  Brent was an idiot and completely misguided, but he was likeable at some level and you couldn’t help but hope that he’d see the error of his ways and be a decent person.  Michael Scott is more of an ass.  Dammit, he made Pam cry in the first episode!  Pam! America’s sweetheart! That bastard.

At any rate, I’ve always seen the show as being about Pam and Jim and Dwight…

…and Creed and Meredith and Angela and Stanley and Erin and Phyllis and so on. It took the show a while to find its footing after Carrell left, but I think that this season’s been pretty good and I’m looking forward to seeing if there are any twists left for them to twist.

So congrats to The Office… it was sometimes great, sometimes crap, but always kept me watching.