Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the 3-part series. Images can be clicked for full-size view.

This is a continuation of a few cards amongst thousands which I sifted through that managed to strike a chord. You’ve heard that insane story from the seventies when Yankees Fritz Fred Peterson and Mike Kekick swapped families. Well, in the eighties I think Jamie Easterly and Dave Collins swapped eyeglasses.

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(UNRELATED FUN FACT: Easterly surrendered Willie McCovey’s 500th homerun.)

 

What’s the statute of limitations on reporting an error? Because as a Cardinals fan, I know for certain that we didn’t win two World Series titles with Tommy Herr in the 80s. This has to be the work of some troll Royals fan who worked for Donruss, I just know it.

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No single card has ever told you how well a team did in a particular season as well as this one. Tough luck, Tribe. (Still love you, Greg!)

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The best cards are often when the manufacturer didn’t seem to care whether the player knew his picture was being taken or not. This seemed to afflict the more average players than your all-stars. Honestly, I could make an entire 700-card series of these.

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Whoa.

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Don’t worry, Drew, I’m on it.

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I found a a lot of these generic cards, the type not affiliated with any of the major brands. The Mark Grace card is especially notable for the scribbles back when I guess I was running numbers in my neighborhood.

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Rest in peace.

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These one-time immortals – especially when you’re ten – are usually reduced to being shoved away in closets and storage spaces and almost forgotten about; that is, if you’re lucky and your mom didn’t throw them away. Twenty-five years later, it’s shocking how many of these men are gone. It took me less than an hour – and one half of a shoebox – to find the players pictured above. Had I gone through my entire collection I’m sure this list would have multiplied by ten. Some of these men, like Ken Caminiti and Donnie Moore, died from tragic circumstances which a few have linked directly to their playing days. And some of the others just fell to the normalcy and sometimes inequities of life, things like cancer and heart attacks, which we are all candidates for no matter how high your WAR was in 1975. On October 28, 2011, I was in attendance at Busch Stadium when Bob Forsch threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. He obviously looked older, larger around the waste, but he was still that big, intimidating guy, unmistakable to Cardinal fans who came of age in the eighties. Six days later he was gone – the victim of a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

And that’s one of the reasons I hold onto all of these cards. They help capture a fun moment in time, and yes, I hope to eventually pass them down to the next generation. But it’s also a way to honor these guys. From first ballot Hall of Famers to guys with just a few plate appearances in the majors, being captured on a 2 ½ x 3 1/2 piece of cardboard put you in a special club and it meant you were worth holding onto.

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3 Responses to “Time Capsule: Cards from the ’80s & ’90s (Part 3)”

  1. Alex Crisafulli

    Another very good salute to Sy Berger:

    “One of Berger’s innovations, when he designed the landmark 1952 Topps set, was to include a facsimile of the player’s signature on the front of his card. This continued, off and on, for many years, and was thankfully part of the 1982 set, the first I collected in earnest. The signatures didn’t count as real autographs, but they gave each player a chance to share something personal: Pascual Perez signed in print, not script; Ned Yost signed his first name as Ed, Tito Landrum as Terry Lee. Rick Peters called himself Ricky and underlined his first and last names. That’s style.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/sports/a-salute-to-sy-berger-from-a-card-carrying-fan.html?ref=sports&_r=1&smid%3D=tw-nytsports

    Reply

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