Wednesday, January 18, 2012

1981 TOPPS ELLIS VALENTINE

THE EXPOS LOGO WAS ART.

NOTEWORTHY HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHT.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • When you see this card in the '81 album, it always merits a closer look.cSpeaking of look, that helmet looks like something a Canadian Football League kicker left behind at Olympic Stadium. Kidding aside, the partial face mask was needed because Ellis Valentine was recovering from a fractured cheekbone suffered after being hit by a pitch from  Cardinals righty Roy Thomas in May 1980. One pitch. One career. Altered forever.

THE BACK PAGE

  • As you can see by his stats, Valentine was headed for super stardom before the beaning. He had size, speed, power and cannon for an arm. Just your average multi-tool player for an organization that was developing some serious talent in the '70s.
  • The '80 Expos finished a game back of the eventual Series champ Phillies; Valentine missed 40 games. Do you think he could've made at least a two-game difference?

PHOTO PLAY

  • The helmet's the star but the green background and border give the card an ethereal feel. Plus, seeing the old-style doughnut always brightens my day.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • After getting off to a slow start in '81, Valentine was traded to the Mets almost a year to the day he was beaned. 
  • Jeff Reardon was the main player the Expos acquired. Valentine did little for the Mets and Reardon developed into a nasty closer for the Expos. Big advantage, Les Expos de Montreal.
  • The Valentine traded card is as blah as the regular issue is interesting.
  • Graduated from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, which was Darryl Strawberry's alma mater.


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.


THIS LOOKS FAMILIAR.

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