Name: Sparky Lyle
Teams: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox
Value of card: 1983 - 1967 = 16 cents
Key 1982 stat: 17 times he took an O-Pee-Chee in the dugout corner
It's time for a Super Veteran version of The Matchup:
Round 1: Hideous, pseudo-space-age uniform (Winner: 1983 Sparky)
Round 2: 3-inch-deep butt chin (Winner: 1967 Sparky)
Round 3: Honorable mention, Name Hall of Fame (Winner: Tie)
Round 4: Sideburns Dylan McKay would covet (Winner: Tie)
Round 5: Thickness around the midsection (Winner: 1983 Sparky)
Round 6: Fathered 1983 Sparky (Winner: 1967 Sparky)
Round 7: Mustache that just won't stop, just won't quit (Winner: 1983 Sparky)
Score: 1983 Sparky 3, 1967 Sparky 2, Ties 2
Synopsis: In the battle of Sparky vs. Sparky, the older, hairier version grabs the victory with a mustache for the ages.
Name: Kent Tekulve
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Value of card: One submarine sandwich
Key 1985 stat: 10, maybe 12 die-hard fans
Let's meet Kent Tekulve's biggest fans:
- That guy sitting way up there in Section 323 in center field, who loves Tekulve's Aviator sunglasses.
- That woman sitting way up there in Section 346 in right field, who raises sidewinder snakes and has fantasies about Tekulve's sidewinder delivery.
- That kid sitting up there in Section 242 in left-center field, who will forever consider Tekulve the standard against which all other tall, gangly athletes will be measured.
- That bullpen catcher sitting down there in center field, who Tekulve once saved in a knife fight in the back of a shady Chinese restaurant after a life-or-death game of backgammon.
- That Topps photographer standing in front of Tekulve, who considers the closer one of the greatest 1980s baseball card subjects of all-time. Of all-time.
Name: Ed Figueroa
Team: Texas Rangers
Value of card: Nada, deep in the heart of Texas
Key 1980 stat: 365 days, zero haircuts
It's time for a Texas-size pop quiz:
Just how rough-and-tumble was Ed Figueroa's life?
(A) He once shot dead eight desperados with a six-shooter.
(B) He once drank three bottles of XXX whiskey, and then peed into a bottle, and then drank from that bottle of what had become XXXX whiskey.
(C) He once smoked a thick cigar, chewed a can of tobacco and smoked a pack of nonfiltered cigarettes — and then he woke up.
(D) He once rode the meanest bucking bull in three states for eight minutes; they were later married.
(E) All of the above.
Name: Detroit Lions (some of them, at least)
Team: See above
Position: Live, in action!
Value of card: Being stuck outside in Detroit in December
Key 1982 stat: Not very many wins
Changing history: "Setting Up the Screen Pass" is a perfectly fine title for the above card. Here are a few options Fleer decided against.
- Setting Up for Failure
- Another Losing Season
- It Kind of Looks Like 44 is Touching 70's Butt
- Eric Hipple's Longest Pass of the Year
- At Least the Field Appears to Be in Good Shape ... Oh, Wait
- Maybe this Series Wasn't Such a Good Idea
Name: Kirt Manwaring
Team: San Francisco Giants
Value of card: An 8-ounce glass of San Francisco street puddle water
Key 1990 stat: 716 times opponents made snide comments about his last name
It's time for The Caption, which most likely never ran in The San Francisco Chronicle in the early 1990s: "Kirt Manwaring, left, of the San Francisco Giants, engages in a knock-down, drag-out fight with Chicago Cubs first baseman Mark Grace, right, after a violent game of Twister that started when Grace barreled into Manwaring at home and challenged the catcher to a best-hair contest to decide whether the run would count despite the basic rules of baseball, which, obviously, disallow such childish behavior by two grown men with spectacular coifs, on Wednesday at Candlestick Park in San Francisco."
Name: Jim Moore
Team: Fort Myers Royals
Position: Traveling secretary (not just some fat guy who was at the ballpark, OK?)
Value of card: An old boarding pass from two years ago
Key 1984 stat: Jokingly mispronounced Fort Myers as "Fart Myers" 71 times
A career journeyman: Jim Moore bounced around the minors for years, never quite able to get over the hump and earn a call-up to the show. His was an up-and-down career coming into 1984. It seemed like every time he would score a huge discount on a four-star hotel, he'd follow it up by sitting along the roadside after the team bus broke down, unable to secure a replacement for hours on end. But Moore's big breakthrough finally came that same year with the Fort Myers Royals. Using his rugged good looks and sharp sense of style, Moore sweet-talked his way into the heart of one of Tampa's richest female executives, persuading her to sell her Learjet to the team for just pennies on the dollar. The decision-makers in Kansas City took notice, and Jim Moore was soon on his way to the bigs, saying goodbye to the minors forever and leaving yet another woman brokenhearted.
Card submitted by Douglas Corti
Names: Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow
Teams: Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs
Positions: Second base, pitcher
Value of cards: As many cents as Kuiper's career home run total (combined)
Key 1980 stat: 14 times dreaming of sitting next to each other doing play-by-play (combined)
It's time for a San Francisco edition of The Matchup, which features current Giants TV broadcast partners Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow:
Round 1: Carefree attitude seen in unkempt hairstyle (Winner: Tie)
Round 2: Choice of cummerbund instead of baseball belt (Winner: Tie)
Round 3: Lack of buttons on Little League-quality jersey (Winner: Tie)
Round 4: Sensational staring technique (Winner: Tie)
Round 5: Animal magnetism — mad animal magnetism (Winner: Tie)
Round 6: Admiration for sleeves cut off with kindergarten safety scissors (Winner: Tie)
Round 7: Career home runs (Winner: Krukow)
Score: Krukow 1, Kuiper 0, Ties 6
Synopsis: When you have a Matchup that features two professionals who are so linked, you know it's going to be close. Indeed, this edition's margin of victory was razor-thin, but when the dust had settled, Krukow told Kuiper, "Grab some pine, meat."
Name: Jose Canseco
Team: Oakland A's
Value of card: 40/40 = 1 cent
Key 1988 stat: 40 (yup, just 40)
Some of the 40/40 clubs that Jose Canseco belonged to:
- 40 home runs / 40 stolen bases
- 40 ounces of mullet / 40 hats to cover mullet
- 40 yellow jerseys / 40 A's fans blinded by yellow jerseys
- 40 pieces of jewelry / 40 cents spent on vending machine jewelry
- 40 times mistaken for Ozzie Canseco / 40 times mistaken for a decent human being
- 40 holes in 5 square inches of mesh jersey / 40 holes in many of his drugs-in-baseball stories
Name: Steve Sharts (yes!)
Team: Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barrons
Value of card: Half the discs from a DVD set of Season 8 of "The Office"
Key 1989 stat: Stood 5' 11" (6' 7" with hair)
Don't strain too hard over this
(A) He tried to force it on the mound.
(B) His numbers stunk to high heaven.
(C) As much talent as scouts thought he had, only a little came out.
(D) He was a stain on the Red Barons' franchise.
(E) All of the above
Card submitted by Al Filipczak
Name: Charlie Hayes
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Third base
Value of card: A roll of film, exposed to sunlight
Key 1995 stat: Traded (again)
Hot corner focus: When he wasn't playing baseball or being traded, Charlie Hayes liked to snap a few photos with his 3-foot telephoto lens. Here are some of the more candid shots he got while with the Pirates.
- Jim Leyland chain smoking
- Carlos Garcia being sewn together from body parts
- Al Martin wearing a leather jersey
- Zane Smith chewing on a clipboard
- Jay Bell dressing like an actual pirate
Name: Gary Carter
Team: New York Mets
Value of card: Abject terror
Key 1988 stat: 138 runners tagged out after petrifying them with the above glare
Holy jeebus: Dear lord, run away, Ryne Sandberg! Who cares if you go out of the baseline
Card submitted by Walt Lindberg
Name: Ted Simmons
Team: Milwaukee Brewers, Team Hot Dog on a Stick
Value of card: Ink stains on your new shirt
Key 1982 stat: Won 719 staring contests
Rewriting history: Ted Simmons played for the Milwaukee Brewers in the early 1980s, a team that never, not even once, sported a cap that looked like the one above. Ah, the miracle of airbrushing. However, this particular artist, employed by the nation's premiere board-game maker, didn't stop at the hat. Here are some other ways in which this airbrusher went too far:
- Ted Simmons' jersey had a yellow stripe on the collar, not a red one.
- Ted Simmons' mullet has been mysteriously chopped down to size.
- Only through the magic of airbrushing could Ted Simmons' five-o'clock shadow be removed.
- The real Ted Simmons wore glasses.
- Ted Simmons was actually black.
Name: Tim Stoddard
Team: West Palm Beach Tropics
Value of card: One arthritic hip
Key 1989-90 stat: Zero autographs actually requested from this guy
Top 10 possible explanations for this bizarre card:
10) It's promotional material for "Weekend at Bernie's 3: Dead on the Diamond."
9) It's an actual dead man being propped up for entertainment purposes.
8) It's one of those things that you stand behind and place your head in the cutout for photos.
7) Considering his hands are as big as his head, it must be George "The Animal" Steele in disguise.
6) It's concept art for the unwanted sequel to "Semi-Pro."
5) Topps was just putting its surplus of wood-grain framing to good use.
4) Oh, like you don't have glossy photos of Tim Stoddard that you're just dying to have autographed.
3) It's entirely possible that this is a photo of Tim Stoddard burping while sleepwalking.
2) It's just a cheap rip-off of this Al Hrabosky card.
1) Clearly, this was the liveliest photo from the entire Senior Professional Baseball Association season.
Card submitted by Sean Griffin
Name: Eugene "Motoroboat" Jones
Team: Chatanooga Lookouts
Value of card: A fish hook stuck in your finger
Key 1993 stat: Did not own a motor boat
This pop quiz is taking on water: How did Motorboat Jones get his name?
(A) Constant flatulence
(B) He carried an aroma of fish guts and sea captains
(C) A series of sexual harassment suits involving his face and women's cleavage
(D) Teams that purchased his contract always regretted it within a few months and rarely used him
(E) All of the above
Card submitted by Andrew Boggs
Name: Trevor Mallory
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Position: Draft pick, pitcher
Value of card: Humor value: high; monetary value: nonexistent
Key 1991 stat: Only season at any pro level with more wins than losses (2-1)
Welcome to Fan Appreciation Week: We here at the Bust like to joke around that only six people read our site, but the truth is that our fan base is easily double that number. (Hi, Mom!) And those loyal fans of ours, from time to time, send us some pretty amazing cards to mock. We work them in from time to time, but this week we've decided to give them a special place of honor, running seven of them back to back. This one's for the fans!
Blue Jays scouting report, circa 1991, on second-round draft pick Trevor Mallory: "If this kid's fastball ever catches up to his fade, look out! ... Needs to work on slider, curveball, ability to button his clothes. ... In his high school yearbook, he was voted most likely to join Bell Biv Devoe, and those guys rule, so that's gotta be worth something. ... Says his favorite food is those little vienna sausages that come in a can. Worrisome. ... Once struck out 10 batters and struck out with 10 girls all in the same day. ... Says he has no problem with removing his earring since it's made of plastic anyway. ... We project that he, much like his shirt, will be a front-line starter for many years to come."
Card submitted by Douglas Corti