Saturday, July 31, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1988 Topps #264 Les Straker

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, July 31, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1988 Topps #264.
  • Player Name, position, team: Les Straker, pitcher, Minnesota Twins.
  • Major League Debut: April 11, 1987.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1987 stats (Twins): 31 G, 154.1 IP, 8-10, 79 R, 75 ER, 76 SO, 59 BB, 26 GS, 1 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 4.37 ERA.
  • Any special information about players: Signed with the Reds as a Free Agent 02/10/1977. Signed with the Twins as a Free Agent 01/10/1985. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Straker's second regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). The 1988 Topps set was so iconic that there was a blog totally dedicated to it. In fact, when the blog finished spotlighting all 792 cards in the regular set plus all 132 cards in the traded set, and there was nothing left to write about the set, it became the first blog to be added to the Hall-of-Fame Hobby blogs in the Sports Card Blogroll. Les Straker is lucky to have been playing during this time in Topps' history. Why? Because a player like him, unless he was a Yankee or Red Sox player, would not appear in a set today. This was the time where Topps managed to fit every player on a 25-man roster onto their 792-card behemoth. But not anymore. If he was lucky, he'd probably appear in the Update set after being snubbed in the regular 660-card product. Okay, rant over. As this was Straker's first year in the bigs, and with Topps' rule of showing minor league stats, you can see where Les played before hitting the big time with the twins. He kicked off his professional career in 1977 in Eugene, then Billings, Greensboro, Cedar Rapids, Waterbury, Tampa, back to Waterbury, then to Albany, Orlando, and Toledo. He spent one season in each city, not moving up or down the ladder during the year. The back of his card also mentions that Les earned his first MLB win on April 21, and his first complete game as a big leaguer was on June 29. What the card doesn't tell you is that the complete game in question was a rain shortened affair, with Straker pitching only 4.1 innings. However, the Twins starter, with a 2-0 lead against the Royals, allowed 3 runs to score before the rain became too much for the umpires to bear. And since the Royals were the home team, and now had the lead, it was called a complete game. He did start two games in the 1987 World Series, not earning a decision in either game played. I was hoping to find more information on Straker to write about, Somehow, Andy, the guy that created the 88 Topps Blog, really couldn't find much to write about Straker either.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.01-$0.05.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 4 cards.
Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1963 Topps #291. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.


JayBee Anama

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