Month: November 2017

Truth and the 1976 Topps Pepe Frias Baseball Card

(Check out our other player card posts here.) At first glance, the 1976 Pepe Frias baseball card appears to show the Montreal Expos infielder standing off-balance with his hands thrust into the air, together, at the left side of his head. They hold nothing except a round hunk of wood or maybe a miniature baseball. And if you were a baseball fan in the 1970s or 1980s, or if you remember Pepe Frias at all, this seems about right.     Good-Field, No-Hit? Before Cal Ripken came along to make it OK for shortstops to be not short and to...

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1981 Topps Traded Bill Fahey — Tough Times for the Cardboard King

(Check out our other player card posts here.) A company’s products are often a reflection of what’s happening within its industry and within its own walls at any given time. Consider the 1981 Bill Fahey Topps Traded baseball card as a case in point. As you might remember, Topps lost its monopoly on the card market when Fleer won an antitrust suit — for a cool $1 — against the Old Gum Company in 1980. That same year, Bill Fahey was wrapping up his second season as Gene Tenace‘s backup at catcher for the San Diego Padres. As the 1981 season...

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The Lies Told by the 1977 Topps Jim Umbarger Baseball Card

(Check out our other player card posts here.) Take one look at the 1977 Topps Jim Umbarger card, and you know exactly who you’re dealing with. Here is a compact, intense hurler who will stare you down and emblazon a scar across your soul with with his fiery gaze and molten will. He’s down in the grass, scrapping for every competitive advantage and won’t let you get past him, no matter what weapons you bring to the plate. Crouching, mustachioed, guttural confrontation awaits if you dare challenge him. Except it’s all a lie. Or, at least it seems that way...

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Brian Allard and His Briefly Consequential Baseball (Card) Career

(Check out our other player card posts here.) If you were Brian Allard in the spring of 1980, life must have been pretty sweet. Consider … The Texas Rangers had selected you in the fourth round of the 1976 MLB amateur draft out of Henry Senachwine High School in Henry, Illinois, when you were just 18 years old. Over the next three years, the Rangers went from bouncing around the bottom of the AL West to competing for the division title each year. At the same time, you — Brian Allard — steadily climbed the Texas minor league ladder....

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A Tale of Two Doc Medich Baseball Cards … in One!

(Check out our other player card posts here.) Every baseball card tells at least one story, and the cardboard tales vary in import and length as widely as the tomes on the shelves of your local library. Take the 1976 Topps Traded George “Doc” Medich card, for instance. A quick look reveals a gaudy swath of cardboard with a cheesy headline. But look deeper, and you’ll find that this card really is a Dickensian masterpiece, a cardboard version of the Tale of Two Cities. The Best of Times … For the second time in the three years since they...

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