Thursday, October 24, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1983 Topps #556 Willie Upshaw

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, October 24, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1983 Topps #556.
  • Player Name, position, team: Willie Upshaw, first baseman, Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Major League Debut: April 9, 1978.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1982 stats (Blue Jays): 160 G, 580 AB, 77 R, 155 H, 25 2B, 7 3B, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB, .443 SLG, 52 BB, 90 SO, .267 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Yankees #5th, June 1975. Drafted by the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 Draft, 12/05/1977. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 10. This is his third Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Willie collected 3 Hits including a Home Run in Blue Jays' 11-inning,5-3 win at Seattle, 6-23-82."
  • Commentary: As of the end of the 2013 season, there have been only 54 baseball players in the major leagues whose last name began with the letter "U." Until guys like Uggla and the Upton brothers did it in the last couple of years, Willie Clay Upshaw was the all-time home run leader for a guy whose last name started with "U," (and with that, our Sesame Street moment is over). Upshaw's best season in the majors would be in 1983, when he hit what would be career highs in many of the hitting numbers (.306 average, 27 homers, 104 rbi's - becoming the first player in Blue Jays' history to reach the century mark in this category), .809 OPS, 11th on the MVP voting). He would be a steady presence in the Jays lineup at first base throughout the mid 80's. By the time he left Toronto (they had some guy named McGriff waiting in the wings as their future first baseman) for Cleveland, Upshaw finished his run with Toronto with a cumulative .265 average, 112 home runs, 528 runs driven in, percentages of .336/.426/.762, and 88 stolen bases in 1,115 games played. After a year in Cleveland, Upshaw took his talents to Japan, playing for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 1989-90 (hitting 33 home runs in '89) before retiring as an active player. He has gone on to be a first base coach of both the Indians (2000-2005) and the Giants from 2006-2007 (was the first person to congratulate Barry Bonds on his 756th home run) and minor league manager. He recently finished his fourth season (seventh overall) as manager of the independent league (Atlantic) Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.05-$0.15.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 10.

Tomorrow's card will be: 1989 Topps Traded #124T. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.


JayBee Anama

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