Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1980 TOPPS GEORGE BRETT

GETTING HIS AUTOGRAPH REMAINS
A COLLECTING GOAL OF MINE. 
THE YANKEES USUALLY BROUGHT OUT BRETT'S BEST.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • Seems like a logical card to examine during All-Star week, right, especially because the game was played in K.C.? But where to begin?
  • George Brett is one of the rare players who left his mark as much by his memorable moments as his raw numbers.
  • He hit, of course, played above average defense at third, but who could forget his tirade in '83 in the Pine Tar Game against the Yankees? His hemorrhoid flare up in the '80 World Series, when he famously said, "My problems are all behind me''? The way he played the game, the right way, never dogging it and running out routine grounders like he was being chased by flesh-eating zombies? 

THE BACK PAGE

  • Concerning the cartoon, pitcher Ken Brett was the most famous of those brothers and the only one to make it to the majors.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Not the most exciting photo, but the All-Star banner looks perfectly perfect on this and any of his cards.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Brett hit .390 in '80, flirting with the hallowed .400 number that hasn't been reached since Ted Williams in '41. Brett's '80 AL MVP season was one to remember as he took the game for a joy ride that didn't end until Game 6 of the World Series. But it wasn't a storybook ending as the Phillies emerged as world champions, led by their own superstar MVP third baseman, Mike Schmidt.
  • Some numbers/accomplishments for Brett (deep breath): 13-time All-Star, only player to win batting titles in three decades ('76, '80, '90), 3,154 hits, sixth all-time in doubles (665) and one of four players to have 3,000+ hits, 300+ homers, .300+ career average. The others are three nobodies named Musial, Aaron and Mays. 
  • Brett's maturation as a hitter is traced to his work with hitting coach Charlie Lau. After initially struggling as a rookie in the first half of '74, Lau and Brett worked over the All-Star break and he finished the season at .282. He wouldn't bat below that number until '91 (.255).
  • In '76, on the way to his first batting crown, Brett set a major-league record by getting three or more hits in six consecutive games.
  • My lasting image of Brett was in Game 3 of the '80 ALCS against the Royals' tormentors, the Yankees, who had eliminated them from the playoffs in '76, '77 and '78: He took Goose Gossage deep into the third deck of Yankee Stadium to finish off a sweep

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