Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The best Dodger cards ever made countdown: 70-61

Happy trick-or-treatings, all. At this present time I am hoping that someone else answers the door.

It's nonstop around here between 5:30-8 p.m.

But I realize there are some of you whose neighborhood isn't prime trick-or-treating territory. Where you live is not so desirable that they bus in tiny sugar addicts from the country to ring your doorbell. You're sitting there with your three Snickers bars wondering when someone is going to entertain you.

I'm here to help. It's time for another segment of "The Best Dodger Cards Ever Made" Countdown.

So take off that mask and those bunny ears, pour yourself some apple cider, and feast your eyes not on caramel apples (blech), but on some pretty terrific Dodgers cards.

Enter at your own risk:

70. Don Sutton, 1978 Topps

I have gone on record as not particularly liking this card, which is still true. However, it remains a momentous card in the life of a Dodger fan who grew up in the 1970s. Sutton was the first Dodger pitcher to start an All-Star Game during my baseball consciousness (I just missed the Andy Messersmith start in 1974). Seeing Sutton on the mound to begin the 1977 All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium was so exciting to me, mostly because I knew that because Sutton was the starting pitcher Topps would give him an All-Star card in the 1978 set. So, that's what I think of when I see this card. And I try not to think about how he looks like Big Bird.

69. Orel Hershiser, 2004 Topps jersey relic

One of the few relics to make the countdown. This one is special because it's a jersey card of Orel Hershiser, one of my all-time favorite players. And since it took me so long to find a relic card of Mr. Hershiser, it deserves to be here.

68. Wally Moon, 1963 Topps

There is no question that a card of Wally Moon's needs to be here. But which Moon? I went back and forth about this before settling on the '63 card. It displays his unibrow with such prominence and pride that I'm confident I made the right pick. Then you add the insert photo of mini Moon and the unibrow is no less apparent. It simply cracks me up.

67. Billy Ashley, 1993 Upper Deck

No, Ashley never turned out to be a star. But his card did. One of the most-often cited cards of the mid-1990s because of Eric Karros' scene-stealing cameo. This item is Upper Deck at its strangely amusing best. And I'm just now noticing that Karros has sunglasses propped up on his head. With all that magnificent hair, it's hard to tell.

66. Rickey Henderson, 2003 Topps Traded

Anytime a superstar arrives on my team, my next thought is "what's his first card going to look like?" Sure Henderson was at the end of the line by this point (while in full-on denial). But I get a kick out of every "Rickey Henderson card as a Dodger" that I have. This one is my favorite.

65. Maury Wills, 1970 Topps

Dodger fans waited a long, long time for Wills to show up as a Dodger in a Topps set. Sure, you could find him in 1963 Fleer, if you could find 1963 Fleer. But the only Topps cards of Wills showed him as a Pirate. Who wanted that? Wills spent the first eight years of his career with the Dodgers, and because of a dispute with Topps, the company didn't issue a single card of him. Until 1970. This had to be a big moment for Dodger collectors.

64. Maury Wills, 1993 Ted Williams Company, Memories

My favorite Wills card. Seeing a color action photo from this time period is exciting. You don't see it much. And the picture captures what Wills did best. Run the basepaths.

63. Ron Cey, 1976 Topps

My favorite player appears a few times in this countdown. Here is the first one. Normally, photos of hatless baseball players on cards are evil. But this card is so ingrained in my childhood memory that all I can think of is the appreciation I felt for this card back in '76. Cey looks so tough -- angry even -- that there was no doubt in my mind that he was about to crush the ball, helmet or not. And that bright yellow star just confirmed it for me.

62. Clayton Kershaw, 2006 Bowman Heritage Prospects

Clayton Kershaw's rookie card must appear somewhere on this countdown. By this time, which card was a player's rookie card was a muddled mess that continues today. There are other, earlier cards of Kershaw, some where he's wearing a Dodger cap. But I'm saying this is Kershaw's rookie card. And that it's the 62nd greatest Dodger card ever made.

61. Hideo Nomo, 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase insert

The V.J. Lovero insert series is one of my favorite insert series of all-time. This card captures Hideo Nomo's unique pitching motion in a way that no one had before. It's true photo art, and probably deserves to be higher on this list. In fact, if I keep staring at it, it'll end up in the Top 10.

So there you are. 40 cards down. 60 cards to go.

But you better go now.

I hear the doorbell ringing.



  1. More great selections!

    That Maury Wills "Memories" insert is awesome, I'd never seen that card before tonight.

    And I agree with you about the V.J. Lovero series. The cream of the crop in cardboard photography, if that Nomo is any indication.

  2. Rickey loves that gold chain around Rickey's neck. That makes Rickey's card extra special to Rickey.

  3. Zounds! That is some serious unibrow action on that Wally Moon card.

  4. That's the second awesome Ted Williams card I've seen on your blog.

    Sorry to say, but the Nomo card, was cool - until I realized it looks like a human swastika. I really don't like the fact that popped into my mind. Maybe the Piazza Karros card from that set will be higher on the list and I'll forget that thought.

  5. That is one of the greatest Nomo cards ever. It will probably get moved up in your countdown as part of some sort of gimmicky re-scoring due to angry Nomo fans hassling you about it.

    Topps needs to use more old school photos like that Wills card. That card is top notch. Do you have an extra?

  6. Ted Williams Maury card - awesome.

    76 Topps Cey - classic. (And a nice reminder that Schmidt DIDN'T have an all-star star that year.)

    96 UD Nomo - A for effort, but it doesn't quite get it done.

    06 Bowman Kershaw - I guess you have to be a pitcher fan. My childhood view of "pitchers are the enemy of batters" has carried over to adulthood. Even my fantasy leagues blow off pitchers.

    03 Topps Henderson - jacobmrley's comments made me laugh. Any reference to Rickey's obsession with third person reminds me of the character Jimmy in the movie "The Ringer."

    63 Topps Moon - I seriously thought someone had taken a magic marker to that card. Wow.

    04 Hershiser - Um, what?

  7. 70. Big Bird? I don't see it. He does however look like he could have been the oldest All Star ever.

    69. That plate onthe left just doesn't work for me. It would work if they hadn't cut off part of the team logo.

    68. I knew this card was going to appear somewhere in the countdown I just wasn't sure where. Myself I think you could have waited a few posts for it.

    67. I don't konw how Ashley made your list. It looks like they are about to hold hands.

    66. The blue borders really pop with the Dodgers uniforms. I think all of the 2003 Topps Dodgers could have made your list.

    65. Evidently Wills was still disputing with Topps in 1970 because that isn't him. That is a wax figure if him that Topps took a picture of. He looks to plastic to be real.

    64. Either he runs funny or he is about to go in for a dive. Much better card than that last one was.

    63. That sure is alot of hair. Oh yeah, that was the 70s.

    62. Kerwhaw looks about 9 in that picture.

    61. I have never seen that Nomo card before and I am in awe. It also kind of screwed up your whole countdown because you may have posted it about 60 spots to soon. There must be 60 damn awesome Dodger cards that I can't think of at the moment you are about to post.