|RALPHIE, GET YOUR GLASSES.|
|WHAT WAS I THINKING?|
THE FRONT PAGE
- Color, color and more color. But that's not why I'm featuring this card.
THE BACK PAGE
- Not a lot of numbers to get excited about, huh? Somebody saw something there, however.
- Strangely enough, this wasn't Mike Davis' first Topps card; his rookie card was in the '81 set. He had an '82 card, but not one in the main '83 set; hence, an appearance in the Traded set. I have no idea why Topps skipped him in its regular set. But that's not why I'm featuring this card.
- Color, color and more ... never mind. Read on.
- When I began collecting in '87, I selected a player whose cards I thought were undervalued and had the chance to be the next big thing. Mike Davis was that player.
- I remember buying his '81, '82, '84, '85 and '86 Topps cards from a dealer at a flea market. (This '83 card, part of the "Strawberry Traded Set,'' was too expensive to obtain.) The dealer looked up the prices of the cards, looked at me, looked back at the prices and basically said, "Who is this guy and why are you buying his cards?'' I smugly said, "I like his potential.'' He chuckled. I did not, figuring it was only a matter of time before Davis would be on the cover of Beckett Monthly.
- Of course, we all know who had the last laugh. Had I looked more closely at Davis' numbers to that point I would've seen through '86 he had struck out more than twice as many times as he had walked, a clear sign he wasn't headed to Cooperstown. But his home run totals of 24 in '85 and 19 in '86 blinded me. He added 22 more in '87. He would hit seven more in the next two years and retired. I stopped speculating after that.
- But then came his shining moment in the '88 World Series. In Game 1, he drew a two-out walk off Dennis Eckersley in the ninth inning, bringing up surprise pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson. The Eck pitched around Davis because he and Manager Tony La Russa knew of Davis' power potential. Well, that and decoy Dave Anderson swinging a bat in the on-deck circle. My belief in Davis had been justified. "High fly ball hit into right field. She is ... gone! In a year that was so improbable, the impossible has happened!''
- Actually, the impossible would've been that walk increasing the demand for Davis' cards. It did not. He did, however, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning in the decisive Game 5.