I'm sure there are a lot of popular movie quotes traveling through your brain at any given time. In fact, I know that there is. I've run into a number of people, most of them significantly younger than me, who can barely put together a complete thought without underlining it with a movie quote.
The quotes that I know usually stay in my head. And one that revolves through my brain's rotation at least as often as any other is the line from "Broadcast News," when the Albert Brooks character, in the midst of feeding lines over the phone to the William Hurt character (through Holly Hunter), who is on broadcasting on the air, says, "I say it here, it comes out there."
This quote comes in handy a lot in my profession. But it also comes in handy a lot -- and in a much more pleasant way -- on this blog. There have been countless times in which I have merely mentioned a card on a blog in a slightly complimentary way and it shows up in my mailbox.
It happened again recently, but in periodical form, after I fondly recalled the 1979 Padres' yearbook. A few weeks later, it appeared on the doorstep as Commish Bob apparently is breaking up his yearbook collection.
I had a great time reliving the pages of that yearbook as I hadn't looked through it since probably 1980.
But then I thought about my main purpose in obtaining that Padres yearbook all those years ago -- to see how the underlings lived. And through many sessions of "my team's yearbook can beat up your team's yearbook," my 1979 great big blue Dodgers yearbook was easily a better read than the Padres' flimsy piece of yellow and gold.
But was it really? In the light of 35 subsequent years and the wisdom of age, was the Dodgers yearbook that more superior than the Padres' yearbook in '79?
It was time to find out.
THE GREAT 1979 SO-CAL YEARBOOK THROWDOWN!!!!!!
(I have obviously run out of blog material)
It's time to obsessively analyze a pair of yearbooks long forgotten by the people featured in them and the people who made them.
Here we go:
The Dodgers' cover has been manhandled (I unfortunately creased the right corner mere months after receiving it in the mail), but you can't beat the 3-person painting of Tom Lasorda. The Padres yearbook would fair better if the photo of Dave Winfield wasn't the size of a bookmark.
Number of Pages
The Padres are so embarrassed about their total that they don't even number the pages. I had to count them.
You were paying just over 2 cents per page for the Dodgers and a little over 5 cents a page for the Padres. Obviously, as we'll see in a minute, Padres fans were paying for full-color photography.
The Dodgers' ad is delightfully regional and nostalgic, but I can't relate to it way out here on the east coast. What I can relate to are late '70s national beer commercials featuring bumbling former ballplayers.
This is a big one. The Dodgers' yearbook is packed with content.
That's still wonderful (except for the Yankee part).
But there was also this:
(There's a second page of more front office people including Campanella and Newcombe).
The Dodgers also devoted a page to the memory of Junior Gilliam.
The Padres have this:
We're not even going to tell you who that guy is. Guess!
The Dodgers feature color for their starters and other key players, but the second photo is always black-and-white. And there is nothing but black-and-white for prospects or fringe players:
Players who you can't find on a baseball card wearing that uniform
This was one of the best parts of yearbooks, especially during the days when you couldn't get every game on television.
Andy Messersmith came back to the Dodgers for 11 games in 1979, but according to his baseball cards, he last played for the Dodgers in 1975. His last Topps card is with the Yankees in 1979.
Mike Hargrove was traded from the Rangers to the Padres in the 1978 offseason. He was then sent from the Padres to the Indians in a June 1979 deadline deal. So there is no Topps card of Hargrove as a Padre. And I was probably stunned when I saw him in a Padre uniform in this yearbook.
As awesome (and painful) as the Dodgers collision photo is, the individual player photos are pretty boring. The Padres do a much better job and the D'Acquisto photo might be the coolest individual yearbook photo of all-time. As for the Chicken crowd-surfing, there is too much to dig, right down to the boy's very '70s red, white and blue tube socks.
As colorful as the Padres prospects are, the best of the lot is either Flannery or Juan Eichelberger (not pictured). The Dodgers have Pedro Guerrero and Mike Scioscia on this page and Dave Stewart and Rick Sutcliffe on the opposite page (not shown).
I know Padres fans get gooey over Jerry Coleman, but that Dave Campbell picture is freaking me out. Besides ... Vin Scully. And Japanese.
I'm a fan of keeping things brief (although you could never tell by this post). But the Padres back cover has OLD BASEBALL CARDS!
OK, let's tally:
That was a lot closer than I thought. Probably a lot closer than I would have made it in 1979, too. That's what nostalgia for chocolate and mustard uniforms will do to you.
In short, the Dodgers yearbook is more like Aaron Altman, and the Padres yearbook is more like Tom Grunick.