Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The best Dodger cards ever made countdown: 80-71
The best thing about this countdown series is I get to write about the Dodgers even though they're not in the postseason.
Topical posts are always good, but writing about other teams sometimes gets me in trouble, mostly because I try to be honest. Some would call it "uncivilized." While that's not going to stop me from writing what I feel, conflict does wear me out. So a post in which I do nothing but praise cards is a nice breather.
What follows are the next group of 10 cards in the list of the 100 best Dodger cards ever made -- which, of course, are Dodger cards that I own.
If you don't see your favorite Dodger card here, don't panic. There are still 70 cards to go. If you still don't see it after 70 cards, then there's only one thing to do -- send it to me.
And if you don't have a favorite Dodger card, then that's your problem. Because your team sucks.
Oops. There I go being uncivilized.
On with the countdown:
80. Steve Garvey, 2002 Topps Traded, Who Would Have Thought subset
The "Who Would Have Thought" subset in the '02 Traded set is a great idea for a subset. Too many subsets today are filler, but this is not. What puts this card in the Dodger countdown is that the trade was epic in the annals of Dodger blue fandom. I have come across two people in my life who actually stopped becoming Dodger fans and transformed into Dodger haters just because the Dodgers let Garvey go. Although I find that reaction bizarre and borderline insane, that just shows you what a big deal this decision was in Dodger history.
79. Orel Hershiser, 2005 Topps Pristine
You can't go the entire countdown without showing a shiny modern card. And this one is probably my most favorite just because it juxtaposes Hershiser's nerdiness with the very coolest in card technology at the time. The glasses he's wearing are actual refractors! The card is so gorgeous and comical at the same time that I marvel at it even three years after I received it.
78. Eric Davis & Darryl Strawberry, Boyhood Friends, 1993 Upper Deck
If things had worked out with these two guys in the Dodger outfield, this card would be a lot higher on the countdown. Instead, Davis and Strawberry had an abysmal first season together in '92 as both players were injured and the Dodger finished last. Still, UD pressed on and made a card. And speaking as a Dodger fan, I was thrilled to obtain it. Because I still believed. Yeah, I was a sucker. Aren't we all?
77. Dave Stewart, 1982 Topps
The single meanest looking man on the mound possibly ever, and he began as a Dodger. I knew about Stewart long before he appeared on his rookie card here -- announcing his presence with his name on his glove -- having seen his glare in Dodger yearbooks in years prior. Stewart never achieved with L.A., but he sure did with Oakland and Toronto, which makes this card something special.
76. Jim Gilliam, 1993 Ted Williams, Barrier Breakers subset
This card captures old-style baseball excitement as well as anything I've seen on a card. The name placement on the card kind of detracts from the whole scene, but it's still a fantastic shot. And look at all those empty seats -- and all that foul territory!
75. Adrian Beltre, 1997 Bowman's Best
OK, it's more shiny. But it's a shiny rookie card of one of the best prospects to ever be signed by the Dodgers. This card was bananas, as the kids used to say, back in the day, as the kids also used to say. Beltre is still a premier player all these years later and I don't think he gets quite the attention that he deserves. Unless he collapses quickly, he'll be one of the all-time greats.
74. Eric Karros, 1992 Upper Deck, Walter Iooss Collection insert
You know you're living right if you're a rookie, in a Dodger uniform, and Walter Iooss wants to take your picture for a baseball card set. According to the card back, Karros got a lot of flack from his teammates for this photo shoot, but what a tremendous card -- especially considering what Karros would go on and do for the Dodgers.
73. Pedro Martinez, 1991 Upper Deck, Minor League Diamond Skills insert
I have no idea how much a Martinez rookie card was worth back when he was at his peak. I wasn't collecting then. I have to imagine it went for a decent amount. That's not the case now -- unless you're into graded cards. But it's still cool to have the rookie card of Pedro -- with that monstrously large cap.
72. Carl Erskine, 1956 Topps
Stacked with other 1956 Topps cards, the Erskine is nothing special. But then you remember that this is the set that came out after the Dodgers finally won the title in 1955. And you remember how much of a big deal Erskine was to the team then. And then you look again at his pitching follow through on the card, full of effort and power, and you know -- or at least I do -- that it belongs here. This has always been one of my top five favorite '56 cards.
71. Tom Lasorda, 1988 Topps
Manager cards can be pretty dull. Not a lot of excitement going on with the guy sitting in the dugout. But Lasorda changed all that. He was so animated, photographers found a way to get that across in photos. Seeing someone on a golf cart might have been pretty standard on baseball cards in the '90s, but it wasn't all that common in 1988 -- especially for Topps. This photo captures Tommy perfectly.
And a quarter of the countdown is in the books -- or the blogs, rather.
So that's a lot of nice talk about cards. I hope you enjoyed it.
Because you never know. I might be back saying something nasty later.
But if you think I'm bad, you should go on Twitter.
This is nothing.