July Returns

I sent a ton of stuff out at the end of June because summer activities were starting to fill up and as a result July and August were likely going to be zero-request months. Always nice to fill the hopper and see what happens and returns did continue to come in.

A lot of the requests were 1987 Topps duplicates and sure enough the first return of the month was one of them. Marvell Wynne is one of those guys who I definitely remember seeing a Candlestick with multiple visiting teams back in the late 1980s. As a Giants fan, thankfully his back-to-back-to-back game was in San Diego. He signed this pair in 8 days.

A 7 day return from Steve Farr brought both another 1987 Topps and another 1991 Studio. Something about those 1987s with powder blue uniforms really hits the nostalgia button for me. And it’s always nice to add another 1991 Studio. I’m not trying to build a signed set but this takes me to over the 10% mark (aka 27).

An 11-day return from Pat Pacillo was not on a 1987 card but a 1988 duplicate. Pacillo was part of the 1984 Olympic team and has a USA card in the 1985 set. Unfortunately I didn’t have one of those handy but he played for a couple years with Reds and ended up in all the 1988 releases as a result.

I got a bunch of Dennis Leonard cards back in 8 days. Sometimes you just have a bunch of duplicates. I made a joke on Twitter about how he barely aged from 1976 to 1987 then someone pointed out that the photo on his 1987 card has to be from 1982 because the Royals switched to the script Royals in 1983. This is now the second card I know of in 1987 Topps which uses a year-old photo as the Giants team card features Jim Barr in a photo from 1983.*

*Has to be 1983 because of the uniforms. TCDB claims it’s Jim Gott but Gott wore number 51 and the pitcher in the photo is wearing a number in the 30s. Also Barr has signed the 1987 card TTM.

An 11-day return from Bill Krueger brought another 1987 Topps card back. Krueger had a 13-year career in which he played for 8 different teams. His longest stint was with the A’s at 5 years and then he pitched no more than 2 years with anyone else. His seasons with the Brewers though did result in a net-positive WAR and his second-highest number of innings pitched.

Continuing on the 1987 theme is a return from John Stefero in 8 days. Stefero was a backup catcher who played in parts of three seasons but managed to get into 52 games in 1986. The most noteworthy moment in his career seems to be his game-winning hit in a game that the Orioles scored six runs in the 8th inning to turn an early 7–0 deficit into a 9–7 lead only to blow it in the 9th inning  and need a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th for a 10–9 win.

Mike Boddicker is the kind of pitcher we just don’t see anymore. A right handed junkballer whose stuff Rod Carew famously called “Little League slop,” he had a very-respectable 14-year career including a big part in the 1983 Orioles World Series championship as well as winning 20 games and leading the league in ERA in 1984. He signed this pair in 10 days.

Mike Smithson was another 10-day return with a trio of cards. While he was part of the 1987 Twins team he didn’t feature in the postseason and only played there once Boston started running into those late-80s A’s teams.

While I pulled a 1987 duplicate of Jose Cruz from my pile I decided that I preferred to send this pair of 1981 cards. Cruz is one of those all-time underrated guys who resonates with anyone who saw him play but has kind of been forgotten by everyone else. A shame since he had a great career with a run of consistently good and occasionally excellent seasons from 1975 to 1986. Very happy to add him to the binder in a quick 12 days.

An 11-day return from Mike Vail brought one of those players who I didn’t realize played for the Giants. His only Giants card is in the 1983 Mothers Cookies set so there’s a reason I missed him. Vail put together a 10-year career by playing for 7 different teams. He had a 23-game hitting streak as a rookie but never rally found that form again.

And finally a 15-day return from Steve Fireovid to wrap up a 1987-heavy month. He was in the majors for 6 years but aside from a 1992 Bowman card just featured in the 1987 sets. He’s probably most notable for keeping a journal of his minor league experiences in 1990 which he then turned into a book. I’ve not read it but it seems like a lot of people were expecting something like Ball Four and got something a lot less silly. Probably an interesting read now though given the amount of action going on with regard to finally fixing the situation for minor league players.

And that’s about it for the month. Very 1987 heavy but that’s a good thing. I’ve been avoiding this set for a while because it gets used way too often but it does make me happy to see them signed. It was my first real set from my first real season as a fan and even though Topps has been trying to ruin the design through constant reuse the actual cards themselves still bring me right back to being in elementary school.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

4 thoughts on “July Returns”

  1. A. Didn’t realize Pacillo even played at the MLB level, but I can still picture him on that 1985 Topps card (because he looks exactly like my old roommate).

    B. 1987 Topps looks awesome signed. It’s right up there with the 1986 Topps design (IMHO).

  2. Dennis Leonard and Mike Vail are the highlights for me here, although I think of Vail purely as a Met, thanks to watching him with my grandfather back in the late ’70s.

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