Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The perfect baseball card

By Dan | @dgood73
The perfect baseball card isn't shiny or rookie-driven. It doesn't carry autographs or memorabilia. It's not valuable in a monetary sense.
1992 Topps #261, a manager card depicting longtime Dodgers skipper Tom Lasorda.
The card, which books for a dime, shows Lasorda jogging alongside players Orel Hershiser, Gary Carter, John Candelaria and Kevin Gross.
I recently pulled the card from a pack of 1992 Topps, with Tommy and his minions sharing pack space with Greg Swindell and Mike Scioscia, Willie McGee and Danny Tartabull. The set is simple and basic and pure. Prospects. Stars. Commons. Managers.
792 in all. The backs of the cards show stadiums.
The card fronts capture moments of baseball life. In Lasorda's case, the manager's work as a Slim-Fast spokesman provides humorous undertones for the photo. But the card's true impact involves baseball history, with the joggers' successes spanning half a century, from the days of Jackie Robinson to the days of Jim Thome:

Tommy Lasorda pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers and later managed the team in LA for 22 seasons, winning World Series titles in 1955, 1981 and 1988. He was elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997.

Gary Carter (R.I.P.) was the best backstop of the 1980s, an 11-time All-Star - and one of the game's classiest stars. He won a World Series with the Amazin' Mets in 1986, and "The Kid" punched his own ticket to the HOF in 2003.

Orel "Bulldog" Hershiser authored one of the finest pitching seasons in recent history in 1988, hurling 59 consecutive scoreless innings on his way to the the Cy Young - and a Dodgers World Series title.

John Candelaria out-dueled Jim Palmer in Game Six of the 1979 World Series, contributing to his "We Are Family" Pirates' championship run. The "Candy Man" won 177 games during his 19-year career.

Kevin Gross was an All-Star for the 1988 Philadelphia Phillies, and pitched for five teams during his 15-year career. He was famously busted with sandpaper in his glove in 1987.

And those five all appear on 1992 Topps #261, a timeless card showing Jackie Robinson's teammate and Jim Thome's teammate jogging together, the finest cardboard representation of baseball's history - and Slim-Fast's spokesman getting his friends in shape.

1 comment:

  1. That's an awesome card. Props to the underrated Candelaria.