Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What to do when a favorite player reads your blog ...

You may have read that Jerry Reuss commented on my previous post. If you haven't read it, I'll let you take a moment to go back and read it now. And I won't lecture you about how your world should revolve around this blog by now.

Kidding. You people are so serious.

All right, done reading? Now, isn't that the most awesome thing ever? I really hate that I sound 14 years old at the moment, but it's mind-blowing. Mr. Reuss, thanks for making my day.

So aside from becoming president of the Jerry Reuss Fan Club, I wondered what I could do to celebrate one of my favorite players reading my blog. Matt of the Project Baseball 1976 blog had the answer. Find out which Jerry Reuss card is the best!

That's right, it's the first poll of 2010. You knew I couldn't go long without taking a poll. I just needed an opportunity.

A couple of changes, though. Normally, I stick with the 1970s cards of a player. But because Reuss played a good chunk of his career with the Dodgers in the 1980s, and because he reads my blog, I'm throwing in all of the cards of his career.

But that gets me into some murky territory. The 1980s get messy. There's Fleer and Donruss and Upper Deck. There are traded sets and oddballs and stickers.

So I'm going to stay with just the Topps cards (excluding the Fleer card up top that he signed for me). If you want to review all of his cards, go to, like the man said. All of his cards are there.

As always, I prefer to show just the cards in my collection. But I don't have all of Reuss' Topps cards. I didn't feel right about swiping them from his site -- what an ungrateful thing to do -- so I swiped elsewhere. If the image is small or has advertising on it, it's not my card.

OK, here's a tribute to the 20-year MLB veteran and card blog reader Jerry Reuss. Poll is up on the sidebar:

1971 Topps: Reuss appeared on a 1970 Topps rookie card with Leron Lee, but I think we should vote just on his solo cards. This photo may have been taken at Dodger Stadium. I'm not sure.

1972 Topps: I thought I had this card already. Oh, well. Here, Reuss poses at Busch Stadium.

1973 Topps: Reuss was traded to the Astros for Lance Clemons and Scipio Spinks. The Cardinals had real problems in the 1970s. Trades like this didn't help.

1974 Topps: Good golly. This is like one of those kids magazine exercises where they ask you to figure out 7 things that are different between two pictures. Look at this card compared to the previous card. Obviously, the photos for these two cards were taken at the same time, as the people in the stands are the same. Topps took a photo of Reuss without his cap (good thing he combed his hair) for just this instance. Reuss was traded from the Astros to the Pirates on Halloween of 1973. Also, Topps airbrushed Reuss' Astros jacket.

1975 Topps: Topps liked sticking the Pirates with green. I don't know why. Also, you can't go wrong with a hands-on-knees pose, although it makes a bit more sense with an infielder than a pitcher.

1976 Topps: This card should definitely win. If it doesn't, I'm shutting the blog down and writing about macrame.

1977 Topps: Ah, the square caps. A Pittsburgh fashion trend was born.

1978 Topps: Perhaps Mr. Reuss could explain how the Pirates were coerced into wearing these get-ups. This is one of at least seven uniform combinations (there were probably more) worn by the Pirates between 1977-84. I went through the gory details once before.

1979 Topps: More YELLOW! I wonder how far you would have to be before you couldn't see the color of the jersey anymore.

1980 Topps: Yay, Dodger time! I like this card because Reuss is smiling, and also the facsimile signature resembles how he signs today, taking care not to cover the image.

1981 Topps: Uh-oh, more hatless-ness. This card made me nervous, because usually hatless players meant a guy had just been traded or Topps thought he was about to be traded. Reuss went 18-6 in 1980 and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting -- why the Dodgers would want to trade him was beyond me. But you can't argue with the hatless photo.

Look, even the 1981 sticker featured Reuss hatless. Topps really had confidence in its sources. Fortunately, they gave Topps bad information.

1982 Topps: I like this card because it has a definite spring training vibe. Reuss had a terrific 1981 season but it was interrupted by the strike. Fortunately, he continued it in the World Series and the Dodgers won a championship.

1983 Topps: It's been a long time between action shots. I like the intensity on Reuss' face. It shows you just how difficult pitching is.

1984 Topps: This is Reuss' familiar pitching delivery. He's 6-foot-5, so there's a lot going on before the ball heads to the plate.

1985 Topps: There's that sunny disposition. A rough 1984 season, but Reuss didn't let that dampen his mood.

1986 Topps: More smiling. But two head-and-shoulders shots in a row gets a little boring.

1987 Topps: Reuss signed this card for me as well. This is his last card as a Dodger.

1988 Topps: He almost looks wary, like he doesn't trust his surroundings. It's always uncomfortable when you're no longer with the Dodgers.

1989 Topps: Another nice action shot, which is somewhat unexpected for 1989 Topps. 1988 was Reuss' last good season, going 13-9 with the White Sox.

1990 Topps: I don't know why this image is cut off. I don't remember Reuss playing for the Brewers at all. But that's because he played just seven games for them at the end of 1989. Another hatless photo makes me suspicious. Is he airbrushed into that Brewers jersey? If I had the card, I'd know.

That's a long career for you, but Reuss had a lot of success.

He is also one of my 100 favorite players ever, so I will add him to the list. I had planned to do a "100 favorite players" post on someone else this week, but between the bipping and the arrival of 2010 Topps and now this, I've pretty much scrapped everything else.

But I ain't complaining.


  1. Very nice retrospective. Suck up. I don't blame you. I'd do it, too.

    Now, if Jerry could get Orel to peek at my blog...

  2. The previous posts comments were pretty neat. I'm looking forward to see how this voting turns out. That's a lot of cards to choose from.

  3. Wowwww.

    My jaw literally dropped. Awesome dude, just too awesome.

  4. These last two posts (& comments!) have been really great.

    I'm going to head over to Mr. Reuss' website for a look.

  5. 1976 gets my vote, with 1983 a close second.

  6. I really wanted to vote for '82, but man, that '76 card is awesome. I like the '83 & '84 ones too.

    And hey, congrats... you actually have one of your cards reading your blog LOL

  7. Sorry N.O. but I'm going with the 84 Topps...leg kicks are uber and that shot is epic!

    These last two articles have been excellent, early contenders for entries of the year...and it's only January!

    Thomas aka Dodgers88

  8. I have to go with 83 because the image is practically what opposing batters saw when facing Reuss.

    Does anyone know if he threw a screwball because that hand action is moving out, compared to a curveball where the hand would be turned in. If a screwball, I wonder if that was in his repertoire prior to being with the Dodgers or if he learned it there (i.e., Ferndando!)

  9. Hey Night Owl! I created a custom Topps Card that Never Was for Mr. Reuss' 1990 Pirates season.

    Thanks for making my day, Night Owl and Mr. Reuss!

  10. Nice work!

    I gotta go with the 1983 tough guy shot.

  11. Looks like 1978/1979 and 1985/1986 were same-day shoots also.

    I can't believe I'm going with a card from the 80s, but I've got to go with 1983 ... uncluttered background, pure action. And the 83 design was pretty cool too.

    Honorable mention to 1974 for the hair.

    I can't believe I'm not going with 1976, which is the best Topps set of the 70s. Especially with the All-Star designation. That's a great card, but I just thought I'd mix it up a bit. We can't let it just run away with it.

  12. Congrats, that's a really great achievement. I hope one day an Oriole will check out my site.

  13. 1990 Topps, because well no one else will vote for it, not the most flattering picture or design but I am going to pick it because it's the only Reuss card off the list that I own (seriously) and he is pictures as a member of the Brewers one of my favorite teams.

  14. I've read this post 4 or 5 times now and I'm still a litte giddy that one of your favorites is actually aware of your blog. That is very, very cool. It was nice of him to comment personally and let you know that too.

  15. Jerry was one of the best things about the late 80s White Sox teams.

    Despite those great memories, I voted for 1978 Topps. There's something about seeing the full Pittsburgh uniform in a posed action shot that's mesmerizing!