Tuesday, December 29, 2009

#63 - Fred Toliver

Our string of mediocrity continues. Here we have Fred Toliver, who doesn't look happy. Maybe his undershirt is itchy. I'm not sure why, but he sorta looks exactly how a guy named Fred should look. Good for him. Or his parents.

Toliver is another guy with a career that didn't last. So let's take a look at his homer log. He gave up 21 career homers, and there are some big names on the list, including Craig Biggio, Gary Carter, Eddie Murray, Dave Parker, Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson. Hey, if you're gunna get beat, it might as well be by guys like that.

#62 - Bobby Meacham

Hey, it's Bernie Williams without his glasses! Oh wait, it's Bobby Meacham. Nothing too notable about this photo, other than the armband Meacham is wearing on his left sleeve. I had to look it up, but Yankees players wore that band in 1986 in memory of Roger Maris, who passed away in December, 1985. By the way, check this out. It's a great resource for information regarding patches and armbands in baseball history.

Meacham had a short career and didn't play much during that time. He was a lousy hitter and not good enough defensively to make up for it, so NY was constantly trying to find guys to replace him. Talking to a Yankee fan, he commented, "I used to think Meacham was the definition of a good shortstop in my jaded, terrible Yankee teams of the late '80s kind of way." I think that sums it up.

#61 - Bobby Thigpen

Aside from Thigpen looking like a giant dork in this photo, it's not a terrible card. We have the cap-logo-next-to-the-card-logo thing, which I love, a nice clear shot of a somewhat broken-in Rawlings glove, and a background that looks almost fake. I seem to remember seeing it on other Chi-Sox cards in this set.

Thigpen is best known for his ridiculous 1990 season, when he notched 57 saves with a 1.83 ERA for a White Sox team that won 94 games. Unfortunately they played in the same division as the As back then, so they didn't have much shot at the pre-wild card era postseason. Due mostly to back injuries, Thigpen was done by the time he was 30.

#60 - Tony Pena

Great card. Nice action shot of one of the best defensive catchers of his time taking a throw to the plate. You even see his eyes concentrating on receiving the throw, the Rawlings logo on his mask and "All-Star" on his chest protector.

A below average offensive player with occasional pop, Pena more than made up for it with his play behind the dish. He won 4 gold gloves (3 in Pittsburgh, 1 in Boston) and handled a staff as well as anyone. When he came to Boston, he was one of my favorite players from the first time he lowered himself into that one-legged crouch. Hopefully the guy gets a chance to manage again someday. He did an amazing job with the '03 Royals, guiding them to 83 wins, despite the fact that they had a staff of immortals like Darrell May, Chris George and Runelvys Hernandez.

#59 - Ken Dayley

If you've been reading this blog at all, you know that I love equipment and shoes. And I HATE WHEN THEY'RE CUT OFF IN THE PHOTO. Seriously, why crop his foot out here? Just scale back a little, and you get Dayley's entire body, and as a bonus, more of the correctional facility in the background.

Once Dayley was moved to the pen for good, he was a pretty effective reliever. From '85-'89 He never had an ERA+ below 113 and was very stingy with the hits. He walked too many guys, but he was a very useful part of the staff for the Cards in the latter part of the '80s.

#58 - Thad Bosley

Now we're talking. This a much more interesting card than the Scott Nielsen one. There's tons of red, blue and white in the photo with Bosley's '80's Cubs uni, the matching logo in the upper left corner, the red nameplate...it's all great. Bosley is also standing almost straight up after his swing, which is pretty rare. Plus, you have a few Mets in the dugout watching the action. Anyone know who those guys guys are?

I'm not too keen that Bosley's left foot is cut off, or that it's clear he popped out, but hey, you can't have everything.

Bosley wasn't a great hitter, and was exclusively a part-timer during his career. He had almost zero pop, something that doesn't happen much anymore for an outfielder, so let's move on. The fact at the bottom of the card reads, "Thad has recorded a gospel contemporary album 'Pick Up The Pieces.' He enjoys writing poetry." Why do I bring this up? Well, I searched the iTunes store for "Thad Bosley" and found one track. I listened, and, well, let's just say Thad was just as good a hitter as he was a lyricist. In the 30-second clip (I refuse to pay for the whole song), you can hear:

Where are the answers?
Who really knows?
It can't be religion
Because no one agrees
And it's not in the movies
Or late night TV

Deep stuff, Thad.

#57 - Scott Nielsen

'87 Topps is back! For good this time. And what better way to revive the dormant blog with...a really boring card. It's too bad the shadows didn't completely overwhelm Nielsen's face (instead of just mostly), because then we might have been spared the sight of his terrible teeth. But aside from that, I like the cap logo right next to that other "Yankees" logo Topps decided to use. I always hated that stupid top hat in that illustration.

Scott had an unremarkable career. He pitched parts of 4 seasons, sometimes as a starter, never very successfully. He did give up a large % of his homers to Red Sox and former Red Sox, which makes sense considering he played the bulk of his short career for the Yanks. Of the 26 homers he gave up, here are the one-time Sox:

Bill Buckner
Tom Brunanski
Jose Canseco
Dave Henderson
Gary Gaetti
Rob Deer