Monday, February 13, 2017

Championship corralled

History is made today as I enshrine another card into the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame.

It's been more than three years since a card first entered those hallowed, cardboard halls. The '71 Vida Blue card was the last one at the end of August, 2013.

Card #542 of the 1973 Topps set will now join the few honored to be elected. By the closest championship vote since Cardboard Appreciation Hall selection began, Pat Corrales of the San Diego Padres is the C.A. The Review 4 champion.

The final votes:

1973 Topps Pat Corrales, 37 votes
1970 Topps Jose Laboy, 35 votes

For a little while there I thought I was going to have to cast the deciding vote. The two cards were even for the first few days of voting before the Corrales card eventually pulled away. Then Laboy made a brief rally near the end but it wasn't enough. Corrales in the champion.

If I was required to cast the tiebreaker, I would have chosen the Corrales card. Although the Laboy is special for its vibrant beauty and quirkiness (there aren't many baseball cards with a red shopping cart featured), there are many bat-selection photos in 1970 Topps alone. The Corrales card is unique for the painful aftermath of a home plate collision. Sure, it's not cropped very well, but that's part of its charm.

To demonstrate how much this Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Famer stands out, I am taking a tour through Pat Corrales' other cards. They're no pushovers, but there is nothing like his '73 Topps card.

Let's begin:

Pat Corrales' rookie card may very well set the record for the most extreme neck crane for the benefit of a baseball card photographer. It's quite possible that ball has never come down.

This card is classic for its unintended commentary. Corrales was named Topps' top rookie catcher for the 1965 season even though he batted just .224 and struck out 42 times in 174 at-bats! Why Corrales is rolling his eyes at the very thought of receiving that Topps trophy!

The 1967 through 1971 Pat Corrales cards (he didn't appear in the '68 Topps set) chronicle a backup catcher's journey through his unheralded tasks of daily baseball. Corrales became a backup for young superstar Johnny Bench. The '71 Red Chest Protector card is a personal favorite.

In 1972, Corrales shockingly received two cards, a base card and an "in action" card. They are both super high numbers and not the easiest to acquire (please note my miscut gem). The "in action" card foreshadows Corrales' card greatness the very next year.

Fergie Jenkins runs over Corrales at the plate and is called out on June 14, 1972. A Hall of Fame card is born.

Corrales' final playing card isn't nearly as exciting as the previous year's edition. But you do get a nice look at the Padres' full-body gold uniforms from that time. I also believe this photo was taken at Wrigley Field, the site for the collision on his '73 card. Could this have been taken before his famous tag-out?

Corrales wouldn't appear in major sets again until he took a manager gig for the Texas Rangers. Topps wasn't issuing manager cards at the time, so you had to settle for a tiny mug shot on the team card.

This card is interesting to me because it also features the Rangers manager who was fired to make way for Corrales. Billy Hunter is in the center of the first row, sixth guy from the left.

Corrales' first individual card as a manager is in 1981 Fleer. This is probably the first visual confirmation I received that, yes, Pat Corrales is a manager for the Texas Rangers.

He bounced around managing jobs during the 1980s and became the only manager to be fired while his team was in first place when the Phillies let him go in 1983.

Then there were those days in Cleveland, particularly 1987 when Sports Illustrated announced the Indians as the team to beat heading into the spring. By June, the Indians were in last place and Corrales was on his way out of his last major league managing job.

(I thought it was interesting that Corrales went from the Phillies to the Indians while a later Phillies/Indians manager, Charlie Manuel, went from the Indians to the Phillies).

But Corrales was a lifer and took jobs in the minors and as a coach for decades.

He's now forever immortalized in the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame, thanks to his violent play on cardboard.

Thanks everyone for voting and participating. I will add the Corrales card into the Hall of Fame tab when I get a moment, and then resume regular Cardboard Appreciation posts, no matter how infrequently they are read.

In fact, while the vote-off was taking place over these several weeks, I lined up my next four Cardboard Appreciation topics. And I'm pretty happy about that.


  1. I think in the second card he still may be waiting for that pop fly from the year before to come back down!

  2. You have 1974 listed as Corrales card instead of 1973.

    1. I'm also sick and barely able to type a coherent thought, but it's fixed. Thanks.

  3. He didn't have a card but you forgot to mention him being on the coaching staff for Atlanta under Bobby Cox. Where is the love?

  4. I voted 15 times in several states.

    1. Tommy Davis won, if you deduct the millions of illegal aliens who voted!


  5. I'll always admire Corrales for his toughness. Still remember him standing up to Dave Stewart back in the mid 80's. He got popped pretty hard, but that's another story.

  6. I'm glad Corrales won the popular vote.....