Today’s card is a classic from the 1988 Topps collection. Rick Honeycutt had a solid career, making the All Star team with the 1980 Seattle Mariners and 1983 Texas Rangers, the same year he led the league in ERA.
The Rangers sent him packing to the Dodgers (in exchange for future teammate Dave Stewart) and played for a few division winners in LA. At the tail end of the 1987 season, the A’s and Dodgers did the first in what seemed like a thousand swaps over the next 12 months.
Minor leaguer Tim Belcher went to the Dodgers and Honeycutt went to the A’s. Honeycutt was still a starter when they acquired him. In 1988, Oakland manager Tony LaRussa put Honeycutt in the bullpen along with another former All Star starter, Dennis Eckersley.
What resulted was a devastating 1-2 punch in the bullpen and the birth of the modern day relief roles. Honeycutt was the 8th inning man, occasionally picking up a save or two (including the 1990 AL pennant clincher.)
He would be a mainstay in Oakland and after bouncing around to the Rangers, A’s and Yankees, would be reunited with LaRussa in St. Louis.
He has been the Dodgers pitching coach since 2007, managing with four different managers.
This card fascinates me because it is clearly an airbrush job, and not a great one at that. The A’s hat looks a little too high and the attempts to paint the buttons on the jersey do not quite work.
OK, so our airbrushing techniques are better now. But this relic of imperfect painting is worth saluting today.