Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Favorite

I recently re-entered the baseball card collecting game, after an absence of over 15 years. I have discovered some outstanding websites dedicated to the hobby, most notably the wonderful Cardboard Gods (featuring the mind-blowing prose of Josh Wilker). However, the purpose of this blog is to relive the joy of my youth.

Inspired by the card-by-card review of both the 1988 Topps and 1978 Topps blogs, I decided that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, I could not decide which set to review. That is, until I was going through some old photos and discovered a photo of Christmas 1986.

There I am, all of 11 years old, wearing some classic 1980s-style short shorts, opening what was without a doubt my most prized holiday gift, a box of 1987 Donruss cards. That, folks, is what we call a sign.

I do plan to review every single card of this set, all 660 of them. However, I don't want to fall into the formulaic trap of going in numerical order. Sometimes I will pick cards at random, sometimes I will pick cards based on newsworthy items or whatever happens to be spinning inside my head at the time.

For the initial card review, I had to choose my all-time favorite player: Eddie Clarence Murray, card #48. Back in 1987, Eddie wasn't yet my favorite player. It was probably Fernando Valenzuela or Pedro Guerrero, maybe even Orel Hershiser. Because, you see, I am a Dodger fan. I always appreciated Murray from afar, but didn't fully embrace his greatness until 1989 when he donned an LA cap.

The design of the 1987 Donruss card is a classic design, kind of a grown-up version of their previous six sets. There is simple design with an understated trim/background of baseballs. The front of this card is great, too, as it captures Murray in a smile. Murray wasn't exactly known, at least by reporters, as a joyous fellow, so it's always nice to see a smile, or at least a grin.

One thing I love about the back of the 1987 Donruss cards is that each player's contract status was displayed. Salary wasn't disclosed of course, but this was a wonderful piece of information anyway. Thanks to Sports Illustrated in April 1987, I learned that Murray was the highest paid player in MLB in 1987, at $2.46m. That April 20, 1987 issue was amazing, as the salary of every major leaguer was displayed. In the pre-internet era (we didn't have access to the outstanding Cot's Baseball Contracts for almost two decades).

Another staple of Donruss cards of the 1980s was only displaying the previous 5 years of stats, instead of the entire careers shown on Topps and Fleer. I'll talk about this in future posts, but I kind of liked this because the stats were more readable. I have never had vision problems, but some Topps cards required a magnifying glass. Anyway, in the 1982-1986 period covered on the back of this card, Murray had the 4th best OPS+ (151) in baseball, and was also 4th in HR (142) and 3rd in RBI (539).

Let's get a count going, that will appear on each post going forward:

The Set: 1 of 660 (0.2%)

HOF Count: 1

Former Dodgers: 0

Future Dodgers: 1


Andy said...

Sweet! Keep this going for a little while and I'll mention it on 78 Topps Cards.

James B. Anama said...

Welcome to the Hobby Blogosphere. Your site has now been added to the Sports Card Blogroll.


JayBee Anama