Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1982 Topps Traded #108T Lonnie Smith

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, November 5, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1982 Topps Traded #108T.
  • Player Name, position, team: Lonnie Smith, outfielder, New York Yankees.
  • Major League Debut: September 2, 1978.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1981 stats (Phillies): 62 G, 176 AB, 40 R, 57 H, 14 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 21 SB, .472 SLG, 18 BB, 14 SO, .324 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Phillies #1st, June 1974. Traded by the Phillies to the Cardinals 11/20/1981. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 15. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Lonnie batted .600 (3-for-5) with 2 Runs and one Stolen Base vs. Astros in the 1980 N.L. Playoffs."
  • Commentary: I don't remember who said it. I don't remember where I was when it was said. For that matter, I'm not sure if it was actually said the way I remember it. What I do remember is that somebody on the radio said (something to the effect of), "Every team Lonnie Smith has played for has been a winner." Now I know that can't be literally true. I am sure he played for a few teams that were closer to the bottom to the standings than the World Series. But then I started to look. Up until that time (this had to be around 1989-1990), Lonnie Smith played for the Phillies, Cardinals, and Royals. All three of those teams won a World Series title with Smith on the roster (the 1980 Phils, the 1982 Cardinals, and 1985 Royals). At the time this was pointed out, Smith was a member of the Braves, For those around during the mid-late 80's, you'll remember the Braves not as the perennial NL Division Champions (whether it be the West or East), but as the NL West doormats. The team finished in last place in 1990, and from 1985-1990, the team finished no higher than fifth. Further back, from the time the Braves lost the NLCS in 1969 to the Mets, to the time they lost to the Cardinals in 1982, the team finished fifth or last eight times, including four straight years in the basement. This team couldn't win, and here was Lonnie Smith, patrolling left field at Fulton County Stadium. He held his own though, hitting .302 with 33 home runs and 130 rbi's from 1988 to 1990, with percentages of .390/.480/.870. This could have been the first team that he plays for that fails to make it to the playoffs during his tenure. But then 1991 happened. You know the rest. The Braves won the division, and made it to the World Series, ensuring Smith's continuing legacy. No, the Braves lost in 1991, but it didn't matter. The foundation was there, and Smith was along for the ride. But this is not about Smith during the 1991 campaign. After playing for parts of four seasons with the Phillies, Smith was involved in a three-team, five-player deal that saw him wind up in St. Louis after the 1981 season ended. In his first season in a Cardinals' uniform, Smith adjusted rather well to the team's philosophy of speed and defense. In 1982, he hit for a .307 average, scored a league leading 120 runs, belted 8 home runs, drove in 69 rbi's, and stole 68 bases. His contributions helped lead the Cardinals to the playoffs. During the 1982 World Series against the Brewers, Smith hit .321 with score six runs, and help the Cards win their first title since 1967. He truly was a winner on the field. 
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.20-$0.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 26 cards.

Tomorrow's card will be: 1996 Topps #403. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1996 here on the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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