Skip to main content

My 1989 Topps cello pack fantasy team

Well, my dreams of competing against the 2010 Heritage blaster fantasy league members by using a cello pack of 1989 Topps cards was dealt an immediate and crushing blow when I realized I am just too darn lazy.

My intent was to pick my fantasy team of 1989 players, find a comparable 2010 player, and then use those comparable players on my team. Well, finding comparable players is a long and excruciating task. I got through all of one-and-a-half players and gave up, beating myself up for the 45 minutes that I had wasted.

So, Dan Plesac, you will never find out how you would do as Matt Capps. And Alejandro Pena, you will never know whether your most comparable 2010 pitcher is Rafael Soriano, because I quit in disgust while going through the Minnesota Twins roster.

That means all you're going to see is what kind of a fantasy team I could form out of the 39 cards from the cello pack that madding sent me. And that's good enough, really. Say it is. You'll make me feel better.

All right, according to the rules, I needed to find two catchers, an entire infield and an outfield, a corner dude and a middle dude, an extra outfielder, a utility guy and seven pitchers. Twenty players.

I did pretty well in some areas, and not so well in others.

I'll start with the pitchers. A whopping 23 of the 39 cards were pitchers, by the way.

The starting staff features a Dodger and an ex-Dodger:

Two of my favorites, Orel Hershiser and Bob Welch. Awfully good pitchers, even if both seem to be ignoring my autograph requests.

I'm adding Doyle Alexander as my No. 3 guy, someone who seemed like he would pitch forever back in the late '80s. He started his career with the Dodgers.

And here's another guy who was determined to play forever. He played for the Dodgers, too.

My bullpen includes another Dodger, Mr. Pena, who can start, too.

Here is Plesac, who most likely would be the closer, although he'd have trouble finishing games from the MLB studio desk.

ANOTHER former Dodger, Charlie Hough is the final member of the pitching staff. He can start or relieve, too. Perhaps Tim Wakefield would be the guy to play him in the 2010 Heritage version. I don't really like the idea of having Wakefield on my fantasy team.

That is a damn fine pitching staff. But it's not as good as my infield.

First base. The Big Cat is the power supply on this team. He looks so cool in a Montreal uniform. Much better than in a Colorado purple thing.

Second base: Future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar at the start of his career. Finding a comparable player to him today might've been tough. There were no rookie stars at second base last year.

Shortstop: Current Hall of Famer, Ozzie the Wizard. You can't get better than that. The back of his card says "Ozzie performs a somersault upon taking the field." Really? I never knew.

Third base: More Hall of Fame power. Will this team ever lose?

Oh, yes it will. Here come the weak links.

First the outfield.

The first guy is pretty good. Chili Davis had a coveted rookie card back in the days of "Ebony and Ivory." Fortunately, he got out of that awful Giants orange (but then donned pinstripes. Yick). He'll make for a nice center of the lineup.

Here is where things take a dark turn. Gross was decent back in the mid-1970s, but by 1989 he was at the end of his career and strictly a role player.

Because pitchers took up so much of my pack, Ken Williams is my other starting outfielder despite a .232 career batting average at the time and a trip to Triple A Vancouver in 1988. Maybe given his present-day GM duties, he can work on finding some outfielders for my team.

The two catchers are miserable. First is the starter, Ed Hearn, who was never a regular starter as far as I know. I believe Hearn made an appearance in Topps' Fan Favorites series, which I find puzzling.

Here is the other catcher ...

Yes, Rafael Belliard. I know he never played catcher. He's all I've got.

OK, onto less depressing areas. The bench. It's respectable.

The corner infielder is the whatever-happened-to-Kelly Gruber. He had a break-out year in 1988, so he's a nice fit.

At middle infielder I've got Jeff Blauser. He was just getting started at this point. But he helped the Braves to a World Series -- although I sometimes wondered how -- so I'm suiting him up.

The extra outfielder is a guy that is a complete mystery to me. Scott Lusader? I have no idea what he can offer. Not much, I suspect.

The utility guy is third base/shorstop of the '88 Series champions, Dave Anderson. Hopefully he can play the outfield, too.

My manager is Tom Trebelhorn, only because the other option was Doc Edwards.

So this is the starting lineup. Very top-heavy:

2B Roberto Alomar
SS Ozzie Smith
3B George Brett
1B Andres Galarraga
RF Chili Davis
LF Greg Gross
CF Ken Williams
C Ed Hearn

And the pitchers:

Starters: Orel Hershiser, Bob Welch, Doyle Alexander, Terry Mulholland
Relievers: Charlie Hough, Dan Plesac, Alejandro Pena

The bench:

Kelly Gruber, Jeff Blauser, Dave Anderson, Scott Lusader, Rafael Belliard

Perhaps at the end of the summer, I'll total up the team's 1989 stats in each of the fantasy team categories and see how it would have done in the 2010 Heritage blaster league. But I'm not totaling it now because I'd have to calculate on-base percentage and earned-run average and it's a holiday weekend and I've got relatives coming in and they'd be wondering why I'm calculating OBP -- OK, they'd be wondering what OBP is -- when I should be paying attention to them.

So later. Much later.

That's the team. I won't tell it to win like it's 1989, because they're not going to be competing for anything.

And that means I can ask:

Is there anyone left on earth that needs some 1989 cards?


  1. Don't figure them by hand, just go to

  2. Believe me, I'll be using baseball-reference when the time comes. My days of mathematics by hand disappeared when I took my last required math course in college.

  3. Oops? I think I might have sent you some '89 cards the other day.

  4. Great infield, good pitching staff, bleh outfield, absolutely painful catching. It would be fun for a bunch of us to pick up one of these types of packs and see what we can come up with for a "fantasy team"


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Addressing the elephant in the room

A few people have noticed: I changed the way the blog looked with zero fanfare earlier this week.

I've changed my blog appearance, I think, six times now, although one was just a header swap. Just about all of those came with a bit of a warning or explanation.

I didn't think that was necessary this time, mostly because I've been doing this for over a decade, am pretty established, and don't think I need to justify my decisions here.

But also I thought that people were familiar with the general changes in web sites over the last two, three, four years and wouldn't be that affected by it. For the most part that seems to be true -- or, no one cares and they're all looking at pretty instagram pictures.

I've received a couple of questions though and just because I hate the feeling that some readers are lost, I'll explain what I can.

The changes, like many web site changes, are related to mobile phone use.

I've been irked by the way my blog looks on my p…

Mind explosion: a different way to sort

This may have been one of the most tedious blog posts to put together in the history of this blog, but I think it's for a good cause.

The reason I'm not entirely sure is because I didn't have time to carry it out for a few more attempts, got to shovel that 7 inches of heavy wet snow plopped on my estate on Nov. 12th.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, Colbey from Cardboard Collections was sorting his Topps Holiday set by card number and asked a very common question that I've seen come up many times during my blogging career:

 This is always a satisfying question because this is how I organize my sets when I'm organizing by card number. At the top of the post I showed cards from the 2019 Topps flagship set being sorted in that manner -- stacks separated by hundreds first, then you create separate stacks by 10s within each hundreds stack, then finally order each of the 10s by card number.

I've done this since I was a kid and first knew the card numbers on the back me…

Looking at cards with Johnny B.

Over the weekend, I got a chance to express my inner Mike Oz and share some baseball cards with a former major league player.

I'm working on a story for my paper that involves ex-player Johnny Wockenfuss, who is almost a cult figure with fans of a certain age (I am one) and especially fans of the Detroit Tigers during the '70s and '80s.

I won't go into much detail -- at least not now -- because I'm still in the middle of working on it, have more gathering to go, and I get very protective of my stories while I'm in the middle of the process. Got to retain that exclusive, you know.

But I will say that I was able to sit in the home of Wockenfuss, give him the cards that I have of him in my collection, and ask his opinion on them.

Yeah, cool. Way cool.

I have 17 cards of Wockenfuss ("you have a lot of them," my wife said, and I thought "if that's a lot, what is my Hideo Nomo collection?"). Wockenfuss remembered the cards -- "every bit …