Saturday, January 3, 2009

#11 - Indians Leaders

Here is the first of the individual team cards. We'll start with Cleveland, who had a pretty decent year in '86, finished at 84-78, which was a lot better than most of their seasons in the '80s. I never understood the whole white fog thing that's going on with the team cards. Why? To make them seem like some sort of wonderful dream? OK, I can buy that, but who the hell is dreaming of an Indians mound conference? At least we get a shot of HOFer Phil Niekro, who is clearly older than the pitching coach.

On the back of these cards Topps listed the team leaders for a few relevant categories. On this particular one, I learned that Joe Carter had 200 hits in 1986! I actually didn't believe it, so I looked it up, only to find it was true. I'm still in disbelief about that. Joe Carter was a tremendously overrated hitter who struck out a ton, never walked, and ended his career with a .259 batting average and OPS+ of 105. He built his reputation on a few big hits and some decent power numbers. But you have to hand it to the guy, he did have a good '86. .302 with 29 homers, 121 RBI and a 130 OPS+. I won't mention that aside from that one season, he never had one when he reached even 175 hits.


  1. This is one of my favorite cards. For some reason, I remember Niekro primarily as an Indians pitcher. I guess it was just my age. Anyway, he was my FAVORITE player, and still remains my all time fave pitcher. There are only about 9 cards of him in a Cleveland uniform. I forgot about this one until I saw it here. Niekro is a classy guy, and despite the warnings that he will not sign by mail, I crossed my fingers and sent my fave card to him - 87 Fleer. He signed it with a nice signature and even included a note about not seeing many Cleveland cards come across his desk. Thanks for reminding me about this Niekro Cleveland card! Please keep the blog going. It's quite incredible!

  2. What are the names of the three players on the card?