Thursday, April 1, 2021

Finding a Triple Crown Winner

Today is Opening Day.

It's been a while since I've been able to say that in the month of April. In both 2018 and 2019, the season began in the last few days of March, and 2020 was scheduled to do the same until, uh, events happened. Instead we got an Opening Day in late July.

But while much remains wrong with the world, far more than I have the heart to discuss here, at least Opening Day 2021 is in April.

To me, that's normal.

As you may have discovered by now, I and many of my fellow bloggers are participating in a coordinated Scavenger Hunt today, really more for an April Fools' Day prank than for Opening Day, but the two happen to coincide this year.

Last year, Matt at Diamond Jesters had us all write about Phil Niekro's 1988 Score card in honor of Knucksie's 81st birthday, which would sadly turn out to be his last. Niekro was one of far too many Hall-of-Famers that left us in that awful year of 2020, and while I doubt he ever knew about our little activity, it's comforting to know that at least he could have.

This year, things are a little different. Participants from last year's one-day Blog Bat Around were offered the chance to participate in this year's iteration, a complete look at the checklist of a particular 22-card insert set.

1984 Topps Glossy All-Stars #11 Carl Yastrzemski

With that, you can now check Carl Yastrzemski's card #11 off your list of 1984 Topps Glossy All-Stars.

I own none of the cards in this set, so Matt graciously supplied the above image. Consequently, I didn't have much of a claim to write about any one particular card, so by luck of the draw, I was assigned this very famous Hall of Famer. You've seen him on Infield Fly Rule before in vintage form. Many of us know that his grandson Mike plays for the San Francisco Giants, but in my research, I learned that Carl is second all-time in games played, trailing only Pete Rose.

As is usual with the nature of cards predating the existence of Topps Now, this set documents the prior season. In this case, that's the '83 All-Star Game. It was held in Chicago's Comiskey Park, and it was the last of eighteen that Yaz participated in. He looks weathered here at 43, and is listed as an "Honorable Mention" on the front, and an "Honorary Member" on the card back. Those have the same initials of "HM", but it seems that either Topps or MLB were a little indecisive about what that actually stood for. 

Presumably, he didn't get in via balloting, but was granted a spot anyway as part of a farewell tour. His only at bat resulted in a strikeout in the 7th inning.

As has happened throughout much of my baseball fandom, the American League was the victor in this one. As the home team, they won by a score of 13-3, thanks in part to the only grand slam in All-Star Game history. Whoever ended up with Fred Lynn's card #7 will surely tell you all about that.

I'm glad I have the chance to participate in this scavenger hunt. It's also a good reminder that there is such a thing as the All-Star Game, because that is one of many events that did not occur in 2020. At this point, it's still on for 2021, although where it will be held is perhaps up in the air. It was supposed to happen at Dodger Stadium last year, but we'll have to wait for 2022 for L.A. to get that chance again.

If you didn't already know this Blog Bat Around was happening, I hope you're pleasantly surprised. And if you've just now discovered Infield Fly Rule while hunting for #11, welcome!


  1. I always felt that the All-Star Game should have honorary members, especially when it's been announced a great player would be retiring after the season. Give the stage one last time to these guys.

  2. I was always confused when I had there Catfish Hunter honorary member card.

  3. That 1983 All Star game was the first I really remember. I was so excited!

  4. Things aren't as bad as all that, well, at least not unless you're looking for things to be bad. Cheer up!

  5. "Hon. Mention" is one of the stranger uncorrected errors in cards. Yaz was actually the honorary *captain* of the team. "Hon. Mention" makes it sound like he was a runner-up for a spot on the team.

  6. I picked a bad time to take a break from blogging :D