Thursday, May 17, 2018

One-card wonders, update 7

The year 1986 overflowed with wonderful one-hit wonder pop records.

"Rumors," by the Timex Social Club. ""Hanging on a Heart Attack, by Device. "I Wanna Be a Cowboy," by Boys Don't Cry. "The Rain," by Oran "Juice" Jones. And "Out of Mind Out of Sight," by the Models.

Then there's "The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)," by Timbuk 3, a one-off hit that became so confused as an optimistic eye to the future that it was used as graduation music fodder, as nobody bothered to notice the obvious references to nuclear annihilation.

One-hit wonders from Regina's "Baby Love" to Billy Crystal's "You Look Marvelous" to Yello's "Oh Yeah," took our minds off the growing arms race of the '80s. And if you were a card collector, you had tiny pieces of cardboard to forget about the cold war.

Even though there were three companies making cards in 1986, there are a fair amount of one-card wonders -- players who received only one card in a major set and no other. With the help of a list that Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life! provided me a few years back, I was able to determine eight players as '86 one-card wonders.

Donruss has five of them.

The above Carlos Ponce card is the first 1986 Donruss card I ever owned. That's how prominent one-hit wonders were in 1986. One pulled one in one's very first pack.

I knew nothing about Carlos Ponce then nor did I know anything about '86 Donruss. I didn't buy anything but a few handfuls of Topps in 1986. And by the time I got to '86 Donruss I was recoiling from the disorienting horizontal lines. My distaste for '86 Donruss is well-established, despite its Max Headroom nickname.

Here are the '86 Donruss one-card wonders:

32 - Johnny Abrego, Cubs (Rated Rookie)
42 - Rick Surhoff, Rangers (Rated Rookie)
461 - Dave Leeper, Royals
510 - Steve Engel, Cubs
595 - Carlos Ponce, Brewers

Topps features three one-card wonders in its 1986 set.

#451 - Mark Brown, Twins
#502 - Glen Cook, Rangers
#567 - Jeff Barkley, Indians

All pitchers, which is not a surprise considering how disposable pitchers can be.

Fleer, interestingly, does not contain a one-card wonder in 1986. (There is a player on a two-player rookie card that appeared in just the '86 set but I don't count those). One of the close-but-no-cigar players is White Sox pitcher Bruce Tanner, who also appears in the 1985 Fleer Traded set as his only other showing.

So here is the updated list of what I've done so far:

1967 Topps

#344 - Ossie Chavarria, A's
#388 - Arnold Earley, Cubs
#489 - Doug Clemens, Phillies
#497 - Ron Campbell, Cubs

1974 Topps:

#8 - George Theodore, Mets
#33 - Don Newhauser, Red Sox
#37 - Dave Sells, Angels
#77 - Rich Troedson, Padres
#421 - Dan Fife, Twins
#457 - Chuck Goggin, Braves
#573 - Mike Adams, Twins 

1975 Topps

#288 - Bruce Ellingsen, Indians
#407 - Herb Washington, A's
#508 - Bob Hansen, Brewers
#524 - John Doherty, Angels
#587 - Chris Ward, Cubs
#651 - John Morlan, Pirates 

1977 Topps

#118 - Rick Jones, Mariners
#132 - Chip Lang, Expos
#137 - Jeff Terpko, Rangers
#616 - Tommy Sandt, A's
#641 - Dan Larson, Astros 

1978 Topps:

#224 - Jerry Tabb, A's
#303 - Sam Hinds, Brewers
#311 - Jose Baez, Mariners
#386 - Bob Gorinski, Twins
#502 - Pat Rockett, Braves
#516 - Gary Beare, Brewers
#521 - Steve Staggs, Blue Jays
#591 - George Zeber, Yankees
#667 - Jeff Byrd, Blue Jays
#719 - Randy Elliott, Giants

1980 Topps:

#59 - Eddy Putman, Tigers
#72 - Fred Howard, White Sox
#156 - Tony Brizzolara, Braves
#221 - Joe Cannon, Blue Jays
#233 - LaRue Washington, Rangers
#291 - Randy Scarberry, White Sox
#347 - Harry Chappas, White Sox

1981 Topps:

 #491 - Gordy Pladson, Astros

1982 Topps:

#356 - Denny Lewallyn, Indians

1984 Topps:

#116 - George Bjorkman, Astros
#159 - Darryl Cias, A's
#163 - Lorenzo Gray, White Sox
#337 - Kevin Hagen, Cardinals
#382 - Chris Nyman, White Sox
#474 - Greg Bargar, Expos

1986 Topps:

#451 - Mark Brown, Twins
#502 - Glen Cook, Rangers
#567 - Jeff Barkley, Indians

1994 Topps:

#491 - John Hope, Pirates

1986 Donruss:

#32 - Johnny Abrego, Cubs
#42 - Rick Surhoff, Rangers
#461 - Dave Leeper, Royals
#510 - Steve Engel, Cubs
#595 - Carlos Ponce, Brewers

I had planned to tackle 1979 Topps next, but I'll save that for the next time. I just happened to hear "The Future's So Bright" on the radio today at about the same time I popped on my sunglasses in the car and I took that as a sign.


  1. Are there any years where there weren't any 1 card wonder boys?

  2. My guess is there are some years post-1990. Bowman confuses things quite a bit.

  3. It's a shame that Timex Social Club only had one major hit. It's a great band name... and Rumors was the jam back in the day.

  4. These one-card-wonders are why I wish that companies would make cards of everyone who got into the Majors the past season. I’m sure the number of one-card-wonders would double if everyone got a card.

  5. That Johnny Abrego card from '86 Donruss haunted me for a long time - darn one-card wonder!

  6. I love Timbuk 3! I was only four in 1986, but in later years I nearly wore out my mom's cassette.

  7. I only know this because of the way i collect cards...i collect the toops set and then whoever else wasnt in the topps set from other sets that year...bob long, pitcher for the mariners, has his only card in the 1986 fleer set

  8. Bob Long did have a Topps rookie card on the Pirates in 1982.

    1. That's correct. Long appears on a 3-player rookie card in '82 which disqualifies him from one-card wonder status.

    2. I stand corrected...i just list that as pirates future stars on my excel checklist