In his 8-year career, LaMarr Hoyt was a dominating pitcher in the early 80's. After posting identical 9-3 records in 1980-1981 (helps that he was the key relief pitcher in 1981 with 30 games finished), Hoyt joined the starting rotation and promptly broke out the following year, leading the American League with 19 wins and striking out 124 batters. Not a bad year I'd say...but how do you improve on that? Easy. Hoyt lead the 1983 White Sox to their first division title since 1959, on the strength of his 24-10 record. He was the example of what a workhorse pitcher is in baseball. He pitched a lot of innings (a little more than 500 innings in 1982-1983 alone), and completed a staggering 25 games.
During the 1983 ALCS, he pitched a complete game, and only gave up one run. The White Sox scored twice to give him the win. Sadly, the White Sox went on to lose the next three games, getting bounced from the playoffs without giving Hoyt a chance to pitch again. The next year saw his record drop to a disastrous 13-18, even though his numbers were on par with the last two years. At the end of the season, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for four players. One of which brought a young Venezuelan shortstop named Ozzie Guillen to Chicago. It was a trade that worked out for both teams as Hoyt became an All-Star for the first time (why he was never one with the Sox is beyond me) with a 16-8 record and Guillen became the American League Rookie of the Year.
Enough with the history, let's go to the cards. Here is Hoyt's 1983 Topps card #618:
I love these 1983 cards. I noticed that a number of players in the set wore full beards and mustaches in their head shot picture, but the big picture showed an almost clean shavened player. Maybe it's just a Chicago thing as there were a couple of Cubs players who were pictured the same way (Bill Campbell, Scot Thompson). Gotta love those 80's White Sox jerseys. Shame you don't see those anymore. Well, here's card number 2:
Hey...it's the same card...or is it??? This one has some words on the top left corner reading "AL-19 Victories." Is this the precursor to the modern day gimmick card? Was this card a short printed variant card? This can't be a league leader card (those were horizontally oriented, and he shared his LL card with Steve Carlton). So the question remains...
If you have the card, you'll know exactly where it came from. We'll see. The correct answer (possibly provided by someone leaving comments) announced soon. Good luck.
UPDATE: Saturday, January 3, 2009.
Reader jacobmrley not only left a comment stating where this card came from, but even showed two eBay auctions. This card indeed is from the 1983 Topps '82 Leaders sheet. The most unique card on the sheet belongs to Reggie Jackson and Gorman Thomas, who share a card because they both led the AL in Home Runs that year (they tied with 39 HR's a piece).
I actually have one extra sheet of this. So if there is anyone out there who wants one??? jba