Mail Call: 75s in the 90s

I like seeing how players from the 1975 Topps set show up in other years. And that’s what you’ll find in this post.

I need to start with a classic Bill Buckner card. In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Mookie Wilson hit a ball that slipped past Buckner’s legs. The Red Sox eventually lost the series and he was blamed (but nobody really knows the outcome even if he made the play). The whole thing was over in 40 seconds. But four years later, Upper Deck didn’t forget and they poked fun of it in the 1990 set.

Even today the first thing a search for Bill Buckner World Series pops up is a YouTube video of the event. As time passed and the Red Sox won multiple World Series, most everyone including Bill got over it. He even appeared in a 2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode that joked about the incident.

So yeah, the card’s an oddball equivalent of a stand-up joke, but it also reminds me of perseverance and that’s why I like it. Winning is great but dealing with adversity really tests a person. How many people could’ve dealt with making a similar public mistake?

Cards and baseball are sometimes about more than just cards and baseball.

1990 UD 252 1975 244
Buckner’s oddball vs. the real Buckner in 1975

There are other Upper Deck oddballs. Some are a bit mysterious. Why are those footballs there, Jim? What’s Frank doing with the Laundry detergent bucket?

1989 UD 331b 1989 UD 391

Some players don’t make it past a year in the majors. And 15 years is impressive for any line of work, let alone playing in the majors. Players from 1975 with the stamina to play into the 90s (like Buckner) quickly dwindle. In 1988, only 35 were still playing and 3 years later there were less than half – Dave Winfield was one of those still in the game:

1975 61 1992 UD 222

I like how these cards contrast

A lot of junk wax era cards are just junk. I didn’t collect back then and missed most of it so Bru’s cards were an eye opener. Many of these Upper Deck cards are examples of when photography and design are both excellent. The results can be spectacular even if the cards were overproduced. They include great action shots:

1990 UD 777b

Fans are much closer to the action

But just because you can take stop-action photos doesn’t mean you should use them all. Like bad family photos, we just don’t need to see 1989 Upper Deck Charlie Hough’s weird facial expression. I had to pull 1975 Topps Charlie to make it better…

1989 UD 437 1975 071

I haven’t owned a single DonRuss card and wasn’t seeking them out. Bru sent some and I won’t turn down any card with 1975 players. The photos in the 1990 DonRuss set are mostly mediocre. But I really like this Griffey – the photo’s good and the color fits in with his uniform. Even the cheesy paint speckles seem to work. So this is my favorite DonRuss card so far:

1990 DR 469

Crackerjack Reads: a rookie in the majors, what’s it like?

Some good reads to get your week started…

Mail Call: Astros Uniforms 75 vs. 89

I’m always interested in any cards with players from the 1975 Topps set, and Bru from Remember the Astrodome delivered with a stack of cards. That motivated me to organize my cards and find some Astros he could use. It took a while (in between other projects), which explains the month long hiatus here.

I’ll break this mail call into two posts, starting with Astros uniforms. I really liked them growing up. They fit right in with clothes we wore those days (like Ocean Pacific t-shirts). Even today their iconic outfits from the mid-70s and 80s takes me back to those days.

The Astros had tame-looking uniforms in the 75 Topps cards:

1975 541

They didn’t match my reality of what the Astros wore. It’d take another year to highlight their new threads on cardboard. 1976 SSPC Roger Metzger and 1976 Topps Joe Niekro look like they’re still getting used to their new outfits:

1976 sspc 0571976 273

What started me on this path was one of the cards Bru sent. Buddy Bell was an Astro for a year but he was wearing a different outfit than I remembered. After digging into it, turns out there were four incarnations of what are dubbed Tequila Sunrise uniforms. These lasted until 1993 and the 89 Upper Deck card shows him in the third version:

1989 UD 112 1989 UD 112b

The 1975 Buddy I knew played for the Indians (so he’ll always seem out of place in an Astros uniform):

1975 038

There’s also a cool page I found on mlb.com with a slideshow of Astros uniforms throughout the years (starting with them as the Colts in 1962). I wasn’t planning a post about uniforms, so thanks for the inspiration and for sending the cards Bru!