Saturday, December 12, 2009

#55 - Bobby Bonds

Card fact: This is the card that breaks up the team pattern in the set. If you have been paying extra close attention, the team pattern from the start of the set is this:

Red Sox, Braves, Expos, White Sox, Rangers, Padres, Indians, Cubs, Angels, Reds, Tigers, Mets, Yankees, A's, Phillies, Dodgers, Royals, Astros, Orioles, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Twins, Giants

This is the end of the second rotation through the pattern, but instead of featuring a Giant, card No. 55 is a Yankee. That is because Bonds was traded from the Giants to the Yankees during the offseason in the deal for Bobby Murcer, and Topps was forced to hastily airbrush Bonds into a Yankees cap. (Wait 'til you see what they did to Murcer).

Topps resumes the team rotation a third time with no incident before things start to go haywire around card No. 85.

What I thought about this card then: Had no knowledge of it or Bonds. That's surprising, because I'm sure Bonds' trade to the Yankees was notable news to my classmates, since the Yankees' thought police had infiltrated our school. I liked the 1976 Bonds card a lot. But by the time I was aware of him, he was bouncing from team to team.

What I think about this card now: Not a horrible airbrushing job, by 1970s standards. You'll see some beauties later in the set.

Other stuff: To me, Bonds marked the arrival of the modern ballplayer -- someone who could both hit for power and run like the wind, but also strike out a ton. He was not exactly unique, but the frequency of this kind of player increased rapidly after he came into the league.

Other than that, my other thought -- and it's a constant one -- is, what the heck did he do to Barry to make him turn out that way? I know that's an unkind thing to say, and I don't mean to suggest that Barry's behavior is entirely papa's fault. But damn, I'd like to think Bobby took his son aside early on and say, "You're acting like a fool. Be good." Maybe he did, I don't know. Barry did an awful lot to make a dad proud, but he also did an awful lot to make a dad wince, or at least this dad wince.

Back facts: The date of the trade is interesting for two reasons. First, Topps had to have its set just about ready to go by the end of October since it was forced to airbrush Bonds' cap. Secondly, when was the last time you saw a significant trade pulled off in October? That's because in 1974, the World Series was done by October 22.

Final thought about the trade: both Bonds and Murcer are deceased. That will make you feel old.

Other blog stuff: I scanned in Nolan Ryan's card the other day. That means 500 cards in the set are on file. Just 160 to go!


Anonymous said...

I like your note on the trade date. I've noticed in my '83 set that a number of players that are on the wrong team, were traded in October or November. It really makes me wonder how slow their printing process was that they would need Nov-Feb to print up all these cards to get them ready for the start of the next season. Seems insane to do it that way, when you KNOW there will be:

1. significant changes to team personel as late as the December winter meetings

2. cards being sold all spring, summer, and into autumn.

...which has started making me wonder... did Topps print like mad during the offseason and then NOT print cards during the season?

Anonymous said...

correction: I meant to say '82 not '83

gcrl said...

therein is the beauty of o-pee-chee. a later print date allowed them to create the team variations that i love so much. speaking of which, i would guess that bobby bonds has the highest number of o-pee-chee variations since he was such a vagabond from 1977 until he retired.

Play at the Plate said...

Your scanner must be tired. Nolan got the mention in "other blog stuff" and on the Bonds cartoon back. Coincedence, I don't think so.