Tommy Lasorda was a pitcher in the major leagues for three seasons, two with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and one with the Kansas City Athletics. He was used sparingly, only getting into 26 games in his three year Major League career. He did, however, eventually become manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was voted into the Baseball's Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee.
So what did the poor guy do to deserve this abomination of a card??!
The concept of the All-Time Fan Favorites series (2003-2005) was simple. First, it was an offshoot of the wildly popular Topps Archives set, which reprinted the first and last cards of very popular players from the last five decades (2001), reprinted cards from each player's best year (2002, this is an issue to deal with at another time). The ATFF sets incorporated Topps' vast photo library with its catalog of baseball card designs, thus creating cards with pictures never used before. Some of the cards in these sets look better than the original cards they intended to honor. However, there were some questionable choices that the editors of Topps baseball made. One that comes to mind was the 1995 Topps Kirk Gibson card (with a picture from the early 80's, not the early 90's, it just looked way too ridiculous). But this, THIS, this, I don't know how to describe it, card was included in the set as well.
Now Lasorda did have a card in the 1954 Topps set, with a picture of a rosy-cheeked headshot of Tommy along with a black & white "action" shot. That looked good. Couldn't any one find other pictures of him in his playing days buried in their archives (look, heh heh, he said archives)??? The pictures themselves would have been better used with an 80's or early 90's Topps design. But for 1954??? And to keep it consistant with the '54 design, they labeled him as a pitcher.
A PITCHER!!!Does he look like he's doing any pitching on this card??? NO!!! These pictures were taken way long after his pitching career ended. For those of you who actually have this card, please note the fantastic crop job on the "action" photo. Is it my imagination, or does he only have four fingers on his left hand? Where's his thumb??? Who in the Topps company thought this was a great way to honor one of the all-time greats?
He's one of the best managers I watched growing up and, being in LA, was a celebrity (remember those Slim Fast commercials???) in his own right. But Topps dropped the ball on this card, and could have done a whole lot better when thinking to include the man in the set.
Now, the 2004 and 2005 ATFF's were much better as they incorporated the right pictures with designs from the right decade. And this is not to say that the first set was poorly designed. By no means was it a bad looking set overall. But Topps, please tell me..."What were you thinking??!"
Ahhhh. That's better.