The 1985 Topps not-really-All-Stars

5 05 2010

Night Owl and gcrl were both correct, for those of you wondering.  Those Dodgers fans really know their 1985 Topps All Stars.  The card belongs to Bob Knepper, who, at the time of this set’s release, was last an All Star in 1981.  A spot in the 1982 Topps set?  Justifiable.  In 1985, Topps was just making things up.

The Astros actual All Star representative in 1984 was Jerry Mumphrey, so I can understand why Topps would pass him over for the sake of someone else.  But there were fifty-eight All Stars that year and Topps only gave a card to twenty-two of them, so it’s not like they didn’t have options.   Well, actually, Topps only gave cards to eighteen.

Yep.  There were three other All Star cards from the 1985 Topps set that featured players who weren’t actually All Stars in 1984.   Topps, for the sake of doing whatever it is they were trying to do, included them in the subset anyway.

First, the American League’s only entry:

Would Frank had been a good pick back in 1984?  Sure.  Was he actually selected?  No.

The actual Twins representative from that year?  Catcher Dave Engle.  Engle was hitting a mighty .310 when the first half of the season came to a close.  He never entered the midsummer classic, and I’m sure his depression because of it led him to a second half average of .192.  He was never the same again.

The National League side features two more “All Stars” that never were:

Leonard played well in 1984, but he wouldn’t be an actual All Star until 1987, two years after this card was produced.  And while Sutcliffe would win a Cy Young in 1984, he was no All Star thanks to a horrible early season run with the Indians.

The Giants actual All Star representative?  They had two in 1985 – Bob Brenly and Chili Davis, neither of whom would bring a young kid a smile when they pulled them from a pack.  But I don’t recall being excited seeing Jeff Leonard, either, to be honest.  The Cubs were represented by Ryne Sandberg in real life, and he was featured by Topps as well.

Skipped over for All Star cards in the face of these imposters were the fifth and sixth pitchers to strike out the side in an All Star inning, Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela.  Darryl Strawberry, Steve Garvey, Rod Carew, and Reggie Jackson were also ignored by Topps in favor of the All Stars that never were.  At least not in 1984.

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One response

5 05 2010
Matthew Glidden

Wow, nice detective work. It never occurred to me that Topps would pick the wrong guys for All-Star cards. Wonder if anyone’s done a player-to-card comparison for each year?

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