Out of the blue I received an email from a fellow named Randall in New York state who came across my blog. Apparently he is in the process of moving and was looking to unload some of his cards. Randall was looking for people working on sets to donate them to. He asked if I could take some '92 and '93 Fleer off his hands and he sent me two packages worth! Thanks for your generosity, Randall and for getting me very close to my '92 Fleer set. Here's my want list for 1992 Fleer baseball: 12,29,98,257,386,416,518,531,590,625,626,636
Made a trade with Chris from Nachos Grande and got a bunch of Heritage high numbers I needed. Thanks Chris! You can view my half of the trade here.Here's my want list for 2009 Topps Heritage High Number Series: 505,507,513,515,516,518,525,528,531,537,538,543,544,545, 547,555,557,560,565,570,571,575,577,586,587,595,596,603, 605,613,614,616,618,620,622,635,636,639,640,641,643,652, 654,656,657,659,664,671,674,675,676,680,685
Short Prints: 686,688,689,690,691,692,693,694,695,696,698,699,700,701, 702,706,707,708,710,713,714,715,717,718,720
#6 Dennis Eckersley Random Thoughts: The first Hall of Famer we have come across in this set, Dennis Eckersley is one of a handful of pitchers who defined what the term "closer" has come to mean in modern baseball. If there were a Mount Rushmore of closers, Eck would most certainly be included and one can make a strong case that he might be the most important one in history. Ironically, but not unlike many accidental closers of his era, Eckersley began his career as starter and a former 20 game winner at that. In fact, he and John Smoltz are the only two pitchers in history with both 20 win and 50 save seasons to their credit. Despite all this, Eck is perhaps best remembered for the home run he yielded to Kirk Gibson and the Dodgers during game one of the 1988 World Series, one of the most dramatic walk offs in baseball history.
Drafted by the Indians, Eckersley was the 1975 AL Rookie of the Year going 13-7 with a 2.60 ERA. He pitched a no-hitter against the Angels in '77. After winning 40 games in his first three seasons Eck was abruptly traded to Boston. According to Terry Pluto's The Curse of Rocky Colavito the trade was necessitated by the awkward situation of Eckersley's wife leaving him for teammate Rick Manning. Joining a winning team helped Eck's numbers as he went 20-8 and 17-10. By 1980 Eckersley began experiencing what was then called a "dead arm" but what we now realize was likely a torn rotator cuff, tendons or ligaments. Pitching through the pain forced Eck to develop a slider, which later would become his signature "out pitch." Injuries caused his statistics deteriorate to the point that the Red Sox would trade Eckersley to the Cubs midway through the '84 season for Bill Buckner. Ironically, Eck was one of several key pickups that would catapult Chicago to their first postseason appearance since 1945. And Buckner, apart from being a great player, committed the most famous fielding error in baseball history, perpetuating The Curse of the Bambino for two more decades. Eckersley would lose his only start in the '84 NLCS to the Padres. Eck turned in a more than respectable '85 season, going 11-7 with 6 complete games and two shutouts. By 1986 however, he would hit rock bottom as the Cubs tumbled back down the standings. Following the season, Eck would check himself into a alcholism rehab clinic.
Eckersley was traded to Oakland before the '87 season and manager Tony LaRussa was using him as a veteran swingman until fate intervened. A's closer Jay Howell got injured, Eck Wally Pipped him and the rest was history. He would lead the AL in saves in '88 with 45 and '92 with 51. Eckersley was the AL MVP and Cy Young winner in 1992, a feat accomplished by only two other relievers (Rollie Fingers in '81 and Willie Hernandez in '84). Eck may have had the best season ever for a closer in 1990 when he saved 48 games while allowing five runs the entire year for a microscopic 0.61 ERA and became the only relief pitcher in baseball history to have more saves than base runners allowed (48 SV, 41 H, 4 BB, 0 HBP). In '96 Eckersley followed LaRussa to St. Louis where he would spend two seasons as the Cardinals stopper. In nine of ten seasons from 1988-97, Eck would post at least 29 saves. He made a brief return to Boston, retiring after the 1998 season.
Eckersley was inducted into the Hall on his first ballot receiving over 83% of the vote. LaRussa and Eck's specialization and impact on the modern bullpen cannot be overestimated. He is on the short list of relievers with perhaps Elroy Face, Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith and others who created a new position, the concept of a ninth inning specialist. Because of pitchers like Eckersley, the complete game is now more rare than the save, which was not the case 50 years ago.
The Card Itself: This is the first really nice photo in the set. We see Eck right in the middle of his classic sweeping delivery with his trademark stink eye. When he was in his prime, Eckersley was as intimating a pitcher as any batter on a team hopelessly trailing the A's in the ninth inning could face. Game over.
Did You Know?: Eck notched 15 postseason saves.
Where Are They Now?: He currently works as a studio analyst for the Red Sox on NESN. '90 Fleer Counters: HALL OF FAME: 1 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 2 CY YOUNG: 1 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 2 ALL-STAR: 2 GOLD GLOVE: 0 SILVER SLUGGER: 1
So it seems everybody and their mom is showing off what dumb 2000's commons they "won" with their precious little Million Card Giveaway codes. You gotta admit, Topps struck gold with this one. They have the entire web burning up with this. It has to be the best thing Topps has come out with since Heritage. Starting right now I'm officially raising the stakes, Card Junkie style. Watch me as I enter a Topps Million Card Giveaway Code LIVE. What card will I get!!!??? That's right. I'm gonna make you watch a lousy video just to see what stupid common I get. I'm an evil genius just like Topps. *evil laughter*
So I've been snowed in just like the rest of the east coast. Fortunately I've got plenty of stuff for you to pass the time with including the apropos 1990 Fleer card number 5 Storm Davis. And I also picked up an illegal blaster of Upper Deck before Snowmageddon hit. So sit back, relax, and enjoy, you can't go anywhere anyway.
#5 Storm Davis Random Thoughts: While at times a quality right-handed starter, Storm Davis is probably best remembered for pitching on three American League pennant winning clubs, two of them World Champions.
After being drafted by Baltimore in 1979, Davis made his big league splash in '82, fashioning an 8-4 record while promising to be a big part of the Orioles rotation. He went 13-7 the following year playing a key role in Baltimore's championship run, pitching six shutout innings in a no decision in the ALCS against the White Sox and winning his only start during the World Series. Davis showed no signs of slowing down in '84 going 14-9 with 10 complete games, 2 shutouts and allowing only 7 homers in 35 starts. But by 1985 his ERA lingered near 5.00 and it would signal a gradual decline in Davis' career. He was traded during the off season in '86 to San Diego but the change of leagues made little difference. After going 2-7 with a 6.18 ERA for the Padres, Davis was traded again, this time to Oakland where a brief stay in the bullpen late in the year seemed to remedy his problems.
In 1988 Davis rebounded nicely pitching for the American League champs going 16-7 and received AL comeback player of the year honors. He pitched six shutout innings in a no decision against Boston in the ALCS but lost both of his starts versus the Dodgers in the World Series. Next season proved even better as Davis went 19-7. After losing the only game the A's lost to Toronto in the ALCS, Davis was slated to pitch game four of the World Series in San Francisco when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. Game three would end up being postponed ten days. When play resumed rather than start Davis in game four, manager Tony LaRussa opted to reuse game one and two starters Dave Stewart and Mike Moore. Davis would have started game six if it was necessary. LaRussa's strategy worked as Oakland won the series but Davis was publicly upset, opting to leave for Kansas City as a free agent. Pitching for the losing Royals did little to help Davis' stats and he sank back into mediocrity. Traded back to Baltimore, Davis found a home in middle relief and turned in a respectable '92 campaign going 7-3 with 4 saves. After a brief return to Oakland, Davis finished his career in Detroit's bullpen in '94.
The Card Itself: Even when I pulled this card as a kid I thought the cropping of the photo was a bit odd. Although I have to admit it does give the cool appearance of Davis jumping out of the card.
Did You Know?: According to his 1987 Topps baseball card, Davis' nickname came from a character in a book his mother was reading while she was pregnant. His proper given name is George Earl Davis. Also, the day I posted this the east coast got slammed with a snow storm. No joke.
Where Are They Now?: Davis was named head baseball coach at The Bolles School in August 2008. '90 Fleer Counters: MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 1 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1 ALL-STAR: 1 GOLD GLOVE: 0 SILVER SLUGGER: 1
#4 Jim Corsi Random Thoughts: Although Corsi's career in and of itself was rather inconsequential, he was one of those "witness to history" types who often found himself at the right place at the right time. To get an idea of what I mean, watch the video at the end of this post for a tour of some of Corsi's career memorabilia.
Cosri was actually drafted by the Yankees in the 25th round of the '82 draft. I know what your thinking, but no, he was not traded with other good prospects for some established star the Yanks needed. In fact, he was cut by New York in '84 before being signed and released by the Red Sox on two separate occasions from '85-'87 without catching a whiff of the bigs. Corsi's first big break occurred when Oakland picked him up in the spring of '87. A year later he finally got called up to the show and appeared in eleven games. In '89 Corsi finished 14 games for the A's (none of them saves) while posting an impressive 1.88 ERA. He spent all of 1990 in the A's farm system before being cut during the winter. Signing with Houston in '91, Corsi went 0-5 before being dumped again, only to re-sign with Oakland the following spring. There he had his best season going 4-2 with a 1.43 ERA in middle relief. Nevertheless he was left unprotected in the '92 expansion draft where he was selected with the 49th pick by the Marlins. His ERA ballooned over 6.00 and he was released only to re-sign with, you guessed it, the A's. He spent a couple decent years coming out of the A's pen, even vulture-ing his way to a 6-0 mark in '96. In '97 he signed with Boston, pitching a few more seasons before finishing his major league career with Baltimore in '99.
The Card Itself: Standard card pose but the place looks packed. Must have been a big game. I wonder if Corsi pitched that day?
Did You Know?: Corsi appeared in a total of five post season games during the '92 ALCS with Oakland and the '98 ALDS with Boston.
Where Are They Now?: Not sure what Corsi is up to but I did manage to find a few recent pics and video clips on the net.
'90 Fleer Counters: MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 1 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1 ALL-STAR: 1 SILVER SLUGGER: 1
#3 Jose Canseco Random Thoughts: In the grand old days before super gloss, sticker autos, patches, serial numbered parallels, inserts and yes, steroids, Jose Canseco was about as hot a card as you could pull out of a 1990 wax pack as a kid. The Oakland A's were in the midst of three straight AL pennants. As one half of the Bash Brothers, Canseco was coming off of the first 40 homer/40 stolen base season in history. Despite being limited to less than half a season in '89 due to a broken wrist, Canseco still managed to put up better numbers than most guys did in a full year.
A native of Havana, Cuba, Canseco and his family moved to Miami while he was still an infant. By the time he was in high school, Canseco was already showing amazing strength and power in sports and was eyed by many scouts. Forgoing college, he signed his first pro contract with Oakland in 1982 and quickly moved up the Athletics' farm system showing immense power at each stop. By the time he made it to AA Huntsville in '85, Canseco was already being dubbed "Parkway Jose" for his prodigious blasts that often ended up near a highway that ran past the stadium. Later that year he got called up to the bigs for a brief audition and hit .302 in 29 games. As a full time starter in '86, he ran away with the AL Rookie of the Year award, hitting 33 homers and 117 RBI while batting only .240 with 175 strikeouts. This would establish a career trend of monster home run and RBI stats with high strikeouts totals and a low batting average. After a similar '87 season, Canseco broke out with his MVP 40/40 year and it would be the last time he would hit over .300 during a season. Canseco would bounce back from a injury marred '89 to post back to back big years in '90 and '91, leading the AL in homers with 44 during the latter. Unfortunately a recurring back problem which began to manifest itself in 1990 would haunt him the rest of his career and rob him of what could have been historic numbers. One of my more vivid memories of Canseco was in 1992. Every day when I would get ready to catch the bus for school, I would have NBC News at Sunrise on the TV as background noise. I'll never forget the day they said Canseco had been traded to Texas. I thought it was a joke. How could a team that had so much success trade their best player? I thought to myself "well, that's it for the A's" and it was.
The only two memories I have of Canseco in Texas were when a fly ball bounced off his head for a home run in old Cleveland Stadium and three days later when he convinced his manager to let him pitch in a blowout and hurt himself so badly he required Tommy John surgery. To add insult to injury, Canseco was headed to a second AL MVP award when the '94 strike hit. He would have a few more decent years bouncing around the AL as a DH with Boston, a brief return to Oakland, Toronto and as a member of the Hit Parade with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays (back when they were still called that.)
With his numbers and health petering out, Canseco would latch on briefly with the Yankees and the White Sox, but refusing to retire, he made several comeback attempts. In 2002 Canseco was cut by Montreal in spring training. In 2004 he was declined a roster spot with the Dodgers after a brief spring tryout. In 2006 Canseco would be found playing in the Golden Baseball League.
Canseco has also recently participated in a number of celebrity boxing matches of varying credibility including a loss to former Eagles return man Vai Sikahema (a man five inches shorter to Canseco in stature) and a draw to former Partridge Family star and current radio personality Danny Bonaduce. Canseco has also participated in professional mixed martial arts.
Canseco has often found himself getting into trouble off the diamond as well. In 1989, his first wife, Esther Haddad, whom he married in October 1988, accused him of domestic violence after he allegedly ran his car into hers. They divorced in 1991. In August 1996, he married Jessica Sekely, whom he met while she was working as a Hooters waitress. He was arrested in November 1997 for allegedly hitting her. In January 1998, he was sentenced to probation and required to have counseling. The couple divorced in 1999. They have a daughter, Josiphene Marie, nicknamed "Josie". In October 2001, he and his brother got into a fight with two California tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub that left one man with a broken nose and another needing 20 stitches in his lip. Canseco was charged with two counts of aggravated battery. In May 2008, Canseco revealed that he had lost his house in Encino, California to foreclosure, saying his two divorces had cost him $7 to $8 million each. On October 10, 2008, Canseco was detained by immigration officials at a San Diego border crossing as he tried to bring a fertility drug from Mexico. He stated the drug was to help with his hormone replacement therapy, needed due to his use of steroids. On November 4, 2008, Canseco pled guilty in federal court to the misdemeanor offense of trying to bring a fertility drug into the USA from Mexico. He was sentenced to 12 months’ unsupervised probation by U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks. Canseco told the judge he had gone to Tijuana looking for a substance to restore his testosterone levels in an attempt to reverse damage done by his admitted steroids use. He was detained at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing in October 2008 after agents searched his vehicle and said they found human chorionic gonadotropin, which is illegal without a prescription.
It's sad that Canseco's lasting legacy will that of a poster child for the Steroid Era rather than the prolific home run hitter he once was.
The Card Itself: Kind of a disappointing photo for a big star of the day. Hard to say what Canseco's laughing about. Did someone say something funny. Did he see something funny? We may never know.
Did You Know?: His identical twin brother Ozzie played briefly with the A's and Cardinals. Where Are They Now?:Just days after posting this, Jose out-Cansecoed me. He has challenged Herschel Walker to an MMA fight, tweeting, "I guess I may have to show Walker who the real bad boy of the sports industry is," to which Walker responded, "He thinks it's going to be a circus, I will hurt him." Love it.
'90 Fleer Counters: MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 1 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1 ALL-STAR: 1 SILVER SLUGGER: 1