I was looking through cards recently when something drew my attention and I thought, "that's a post." Maybe it wasn't a great post, but it was something a little bit interesting to me, and those are all the qualifications here.
Through my many years of being a Dodgers fan, my favorite catcher to wear Dodger blue during that time is not Mike Piazza. It is Mike Scioscia.
Scioscia was not the hitter that Piazza was, few catchers are. But he arrived during a more impressionable time in my rooting history -- my only experience with Dodger catchers up until that time was the light-hitting Steve Yeager. Plus Scioscia, unlike Piazza, can say he contributed some key hits to a Dodgers' World Series championship cause.
But Scioscia's most apparent skill was on defense, calling pitches and particularly the lost art of blocking the plate from oncoming runners. I was gaining an appreciation for the defensive side of the game during those early '80s, so Scioscia was noted.
Also, I think I was convinced by cardboard.
I don't think I ever realized until a couple weeks ago that Mike Scioscia's first five solo Topps cards are all catching shots.
Take a look at these beauties:
That is 1982 through 1986. How's that for your first five cards? Topps wants you to know that HE. IS. A. CATCHER.
I'm sure I noticed this subconsciously and it may have translated to me deeming him my favorite catcher. I do have a history of letting cards dictate my favorites, you know. And cardboard is not alone in this. I'm sure fans have chosen favorite players during their childhood based on posters or video games or TV shows.
Topps' habit of showing Scioscia in catching gear ended in 1987.
This would've been a shock to my system, if I was even collecting in 1987.
In 1988, it was another batting shot. Maybe this was his power source against the Mets that year! But from here on out, there were no streaks for Scioscia and Topps, just a mix of offense and defense.
Quite the way to go out.
I feel like I'm ignoring the other card companies that were around during Scioscia's playing days, so here's a selection of more Scioscia = Catcher cards.
Lots of good stuff there, maybe the best example of Scioscia's cardboard power is that his '91 Fleer card is one of the few times I've praised '91 Fleer.
I like this one, too. The black gold version, of course, not that boring silver thing Leaf kept putting out in the early '90s.
Another nice one.
If I take into account all of the Dodgers catchers in history, Roy Campanella is my favorite. But I never saw him play, so I can't say that with 100 percent certainty. It will probably always be Scioscia. I've moved past the period where I can select new favorite players I think.
Oh, it helps that the team he managed beat the Giants in the World Series.
There is a new post up on the Upper Deck blog.
Also in other updating news, 1970 Nolan Ryan is free!