Thursday, November 17, 2011

Topps Diamond Giveaway Haul: 1979

My 1979 Topps stack got seven cards taller through the Topps Diamond Giveaway (which is STILL down, as of the moment I'm typing this). Again, people were all-too-happy to trade me some hilarious '79s for my boring, unwanted '78s.

1979
#119 Don Stanhouse
The first '78-for-'79 trade I pulled off was for this beauty of a card. With hair by way of Art Garfunkel, Stanhouse was known in Baltimore circles as the "Latin Lover." Women would line up to pay Don seventy-five cents for the opportunity to run their hands through his full head of hair. During these sensory stroke-ins, manager Earl Weaver would select one young virgin from the line to hold his cigarettes until the eighth inning.

#509 Mario Mendoza
Best known for his supreme fielding skills and low batting average, Mendoza also had the awful habit of removing his batting donut, setting his bat down in the on-deck circle, then approaching the plate swinging the donut. Umpires allowed this tactic in the hopes that Mendoza would strike out faster by not hitting any foul balls, thereby speeding up the game.

#45 Al Hrabosky
Amazingly, Al was at a disadvantage when he won my 1981 Topps tournament back in 2007. Without the full beard, Hrabosky allowed his competitors' odds to win the contest to expand to an average 500:1, with Al coming in at 99:100.

#531 Fernando Gonzalez
What a 'stache! This guy smiles too wide, and he ends up pleasuring two women at once. I'm guessing he had that thing since he was seven. His first grade teacher probably kept a special "Fernando Rag" for daily post-mid-morning milk cleanup. The rag was written into his IEP, and it followed him from classroom to classroom without becoming a stigma. Other kids were told that when Fernando would leave for a few minutes every day, he was just taking insulin.

#685 Sixto Lezcano
Sees-toe is still a fan favorite in these parts. There are some morning DJ's in town who, when pressed to fill time, used to play a game called "Eric's Thinking of a Brewer." Listeners could call in and guess a random Brewer. This had the potential to go on for hours, but it would generally chew up 4-5 minutes between segments. Sixto was almost always one of the first players guessed, but it became a running joke that, no, Eric was never going to pick Sixto Lezcano as the Brewer he was thinking of.

#672 Ed Halicki
This card is a natural, and I held onto it more for Ed's collar than his dirtbike 'stache. If Ed had lived in my town when I was little, he would have fit in perfectly with the adult children of my next-door neighbors. They had scuzzy mustaches, chain smoked Kools, and accumulated large stacks of parking tickets.

#726 Giants 1979 Prospects
This last one was another natural, and I turned down several reasonable trade offers to hold onto it. I'm sure I've read about this card on another blog before, but I've got my own take. From left to right:
Greg Johnston: This is the guy that the girls you liked in high school would date instead of you. They were attracted to the dirtbag element of danger, and they stuck around because of the hidden pregnancy. (Seriously, Johnston might hold a record of some sort. All three of his only Topps card appearances were as part of a trio: This 1979 card, the 1980 Giants Future Stars card, and the 1981 Twins Future Stars card. It's more looking than I want to do, but has someone equaled or surpassed this feat?)
Joe Strain: When it came time to choose a post-baseball career, Joe took a look at the brochures. When it came down to a choice between serial killer and pedophile, he asked himself, "Why not both?" I mean, come on, who wears eyeliner to play second base? (I just remembered that Strain also took part in the 1981 Topps Tournament, but got smoked in the first round by Dennis Eckersley.)
John Tamargo: He was Frank DiPino before there was a Frank DiPino.

2 comments:

gcrl said...

mike garman was on a dual rc in 1971 and then 3-player cards in '72 and '73. topps dropped him from the checklist in 1974, but he returned in '75, solo.

PunkRockPaint said...

A couple of links for you, including some pre-blog artwork by yours truly:

http://cardboardgods.net/2007/05/09/joe-strain/

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x156/tpeterson19/bookcover-DOA.jpg

The greatest story ever told...


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