Friday, March 30, 2012

1984 TOPPS ALL-STAR GLOSSY DAVE STIEB

A GRITTY COMPETITOR,
I'LL GIVE HIM THAT
.
BETTER THAN A BLANK BACK, I GUESS.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • These were inserted for the first time in '84 rack packs. I pretty much ignored them until recently. As inserts go, they hardly knock your socks off.

THE BACK PAGE

  • Especially the backs. That's about as spartan as it gets. Some stats or a few sentences about the player would've been nice.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Hey, I haven't written anything about hard-ass Dave Stieb, whom as an Oriole fan in the '80s pretty much hated this creep. He always looked like he had a problem, just like in this pose.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • This card marks a historic occasion for Stieb, the Blue Jays and the American League: He became the franchise's first pitcher to start an All-Star Game; he got the win, too, going three scoreless and striking out four as the AL ended an 11-game losing streak.
  • Stieb was a seven-time All-Star who won 176 games in 16 years. He won 140 games in the '80s, second to Jack Morris, another hard-ass. 
  • Stieb is probably most known for flirting with three no-hitters during the '88 and '89 seasons. 
  • In '88, he pitched no-hit ball for 8 2/3 innings and was down to the last strike in consecutive starts. I particularly enjoyed Oriole Jim Traber breaking up that second one. 
  • In '89, he had a potential perfect game broken up with two outs in the ninth. "If I haven't gotten a no-hitter after three times, I doubt I ever will,'' he said. 
  • He finally got that elusive career highlight next season, no-hitting the Indians. 
  • Dude pitched inside a lot and wasn't afraid to plunk batters. His slider was devastating when he was spotting it. 
  • When he wasn't arguing with himself on the mound, he was sweating profusely. 
  • After going 18-6 in '90, his career fell off a cliff. He would win only nine more games in the next three seasons. He joined the White Sox in '93, going 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA. He retired, but like a boxer, he wasn't finished.
  • In '98, at age 40, he came back to the Jays and went 1-2 with a 4.83 ERA and made three starts. And with that, he retired for good with five career one-hitters.

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