Ron Cey played for the Chicago Cubs and was one of the greatest power hitters in baseball.

That first part is undeniably true, as the Penguin manned third base for on the northside of Chicago from 1983 through 1985, and for a good chunk of 1986, too.

That second part — the bit about Cey being one of baseball’s great power hitters — well, that’s more debatable. He did hit 316 home runs in his career but reached 30 (and barely) in a season just once (1977) … though he did smack 20 or more bombs on ten occasions.

It’s a back-and-forth battle on his power prowess — certainly hitting so many home runs while playing half his games in Dodger Stadium through the 1970s argues that Cey’s power was something special.

But one of the game’s greatest? Hard to put him in the same wattage class as, say, Mike Schmidt or Reggie Jackson, contemporaries who finished with more than 500 home runs each, and who always factor into any big-power discussion.

The thing is, though, if you were a kid just starting to follow the game in 1983, and especially if you were a collector using your baseball cards to help sort out the superstars from the stars from the commons, chances are you might have come to the same conclusion I did, namely …

Ron Cey played for the Chicago Cubs and was one of the greatest power hitters in baseball.

That’s because Topps issued a series of “Baseball Foldouts” that summer, running down the active career leaders in each of five big baseball stats. And, can you guess who appears there in the 17th slot … with 228 home runs … wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform?

Yeah, it was Ron Cey. It made an impression.

But the record shows that Penguin made most of his Cey hay with the Dodgers, and the game’s oral and written tradition backs that up.

He was a key part of those division- and pennant-winning Los Angeles teams of the 1970s, after all, and a co-co-co-MVP of the 1981 World Series, where L.A. downed their historical archrival New York Yankees.

Cey was part of that vaunted Dodgers infield during those years, teaming with shortstop Bill Russell, second baseman Davey Lopes, and first baseman Steve Garvey to form a leather-clad curtain that looked like it might go on scrunching down their pitchers’ ERAs forever.

Of course, nothing lasts forever.

And, just a year after Lopes was sent packing to the Oakland A’s for the 1982 season, the Dodgers shipped Cey to the Cubbies for Vance Lovelace.

But the record also shows that Cey didn’t finish his career with the Cubs.

No … because, in January of 1987, Chicago traded their masher to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Luis Quinones.

That summer, Cey made it into 45 games for the A’s, mostly as a DH, where he mustered a meager .221 batting average with four home runs and 11 RBI.

And then … the A’s released him on July 15th.

Cey was done on the diamond at that point, but by then, Topps had bought into the notion of Penguin in an Oakland uniform.

Late that fall, then, months after Cey last trod the Oakland dirt, we found him in green and gold on card #22T in the 1987 Topps Traded set:

Find Ron Cey cards on eBay (affiliate link)

Find Ron Cey cards on Amazon (affiliate link)

And so, somewhere out there, you just know there is a group of collectors who picked up the hobby late in 1987 who always think “A’s” whenever the topic of Ron Cey comes up.

Someday, they’ll come realize, though, that Ron Cey was an all-time great slugger … for the Chicago Cubs.

Hobby Wow!

One of the highlights of Cey’s career was undoubtedly the 1981 World Series, where he shared MVP honors with Dodgers teammates Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager.

This lot on eBay commemorates that victory over the Yankees:

That’s an autographed photo of Dodger Stadium, signed by a host of members of that 1981 team, including Tommy Lasorda, Fernando Valenzuela, Vin Scully … and, of course, Ron Cey.

Check out the full listing on eBay right here (affiliate link).

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