Baltimore Orioles Team Picture 1980 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for November 30, 2017


Earl Weaver only won one World Series as a manager. Isn’t that amazing? That stat almost makes me do a double take. He was such a dominant and influential manager and the Orioles had so many wonderful teams and so many trips to the post season.

And yet he is tied with Bob Brenly for World Series victories.

That isn’t a swipe at Earl Weaver. Many great managers only have won it all once. Leo Durocher has one to his name. Bobby Cox, while a rancid and disgusting human being, was a great manager and just had one title to his name.

Hell, Al Lopez is in the Hall of Fame as a manager and he never won the World Series. So it isn’t like winning multiple titles is a prerequisite for being considered to be an All Time great.

It just seems like Earl won more. The Orioles have won 3 World Series titles in their history. Each one had a different manager. Hank Bauer won in 1966. Mr. Weaver won in 1970. Joe Altobelli won in 1983.

OK, now hold on. Joe Altobelli is a fine baseball man. He had a long and distinguished career and his managing the 1983 Orioles to the World Series title over the Philadelphia Phillies was a fabulous capper.

BUT COME ON! That was a team developed and formed by Earl Weaver! Can’t Earl be given credit for 1/2 a World Series title for it? Earl was in the booth with Al Michaels and Howard Cosell when the Orioles won that title. He was gracious towards Joe Altobelli, not taking any of the credit away from him.

But you know deep down, he knew he should have had that title. Earl Weaver came back after his retirement to manage a few other seasons in the 1980’s but didn’t come close to another title.

This picture shows the team from 1979, who participated in the first World Series I remembered watching. They lost to the Pirates despite having the best record in the regular season and running up a 3-1 lead in the series.

Weaver’s Orioles lost to some classic teams, like the 1971 Clemente Pirates and the We Are Family Bucs of 1979. They also fell to the Charlie Finley A’s in 1973 and 1974. They also beat the Big Red Machine in 1970 and arguably the best A’s team of the 1970’s, the 1971 squad.

Earl Weaver was considered to be one of the best managers of his day and would even be MORE respected today. The sabermetric crowd would love how he hated bunts and sacrificing. Teams should study how he broke in young pitchers, like Jim Palmer, through the bullpen and built up their strength.

He kept winning with a .583 lifetime winning percentage and some of the best arguments in baseball history.

He won a lot. It seemed like he even won more. Earl Weaver was one of the best ever and he didn’t need multiple titles to prove that.

Now let’s enjoy his greatest argument ever.

New York Mets Team Picture 1978 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for November 29, 2017


Ever see a family picture or some image of a friend after a brutal divorce? Maybe it is the first Christmas with a spouse no longer in the picture. Or perhaps a Facebook post of the first time one of the parents has the kids for the weekend.

Everyone is smiling. Everyone is putting on their best face. But there is an underlying bit of sadness mixed with the happiness and no small amount of resolve.

“Yeah, we know this happened. Yeah, we know the picture is different. But we are still here. We are still going to do the same things we used to do. There just won’t be the one face you were used to seeing.”

That is THIS team picture with the Mets. Because it is the 1978 series, the team picture is of the 1977 Mets. And Tom Seaver, for the first time since before the 1967 season, is not there.

And it was not an amicable divorce. It was not a “Hey, it has been wonderful. Maybe we should leave on good terms and start a new life.” It was a War of the Roses all out knock down drag out break up played through the press, the front office and ultimately the wife of Tom Seaver.

In a turbulent year in New York, including the Son of Sam, a bonkers Mayor election and George, Billy, Thurman and Reggie turning the Yankees into the Bronx Zoo, the lowly Mets only made headlines with the single worst decision in team history.

Contract disputes and clashing egos put Tom Seaver, by far the biggest figure in Mets history and still one of the elite pitchers in the National League, in conflict with the Mets front office and powerful sports writers.

Manager Joe Frazier was dumped 45 games into the season and Joe Torre, who was a player on the team, walked into the managerial office, not realizing it was a buzzsaw.

Eventually, the Mets cut off their nose to spite their face and traded Seaver to the two time defending World Champion Cincinnati Reds. They did get back Rookie of the Year Pat Zachary and other talented players. But it devastated the team and the fanbase.

To make matters worse, on that same day, June 15, the Mets also dumped popular slugger Dave Kingman to the Padres.

The Mets spiraled right afterwards. Between June 17 and July 7, the Mets lost 16 of 20 games. They went on a 6 game losing streak and a 9 game losing streak in that time.

Things didn’t get much better later. They lost 12 of 14 games in late August and finished the season narrowly avoiding 100 losses, 37 games out of first place.

Joe Torre’s first season as manager was a catastrophe. Perhaps this is why people labeled Joe “Clueless Joe” when he took over the Yankees in 1996. First impressions are tough to shake.

But they sat for the picture and smiled. They know that WE know what happened. Everyone knows that beloved Tom is not in the picture. But life goes on.

Arizona Diamondbacks Team Picture 2002 Topps Chrome – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for November 28, 2017


This picture shows the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. They were the quickest expansion team ever to win a title, doing so in only their 4th year of existence.

It was a club that had an eventual Hall of Famer (Randy Johnson) and maybe an eventual one (Curt Schilling.)

One thing they also had was a signature franchise moment. Think about that for a second. When I say “Arizona Diamondbacks”, chances are the thing you think of is Luis Gonzalez jumping up and down and Arizona winning one of the greatest and most emotional World Series in the history of baseball.

The Arizona Diamondbacks participated and won a moment that transcended sport. It became a touchstone of American history. It became an event that lifted the spirits of a nation that emotionally had their guts ripped out.

There’s not a lot of reason to rehash the drama of the 2001 World Series and what it meant culturally. I fought those emotions initially. I was living in New York City, volunteered for the Red Cross and was in Manhattan on the day the planes hit. I was emotionally wrapped up in it. But I could not root for the Yankees. The whole notion of rooting for the Yankees, even in the wake of what happened, went against my thinking.

I rooted for the A’s in the Division Series, the 116 win Mariners in the ALCS and the Diamondbacks in the World Series while living in New York.

In retrospect, I was kind of a dick about it. For some people who DIDN’T have decades of pent up Red Sox fandom frustration, a Yankees win DID have added significance. I realized that in the wake of the 2013 Boston Strong title. I apologize to anyone I was a dick to back in 2001.

But right there lies one of the strange issues regarding the Diamondbacks and the 2001 World Series. They won the World Series. It was a classic. If the games played out exactly the way they did without any context of September 11th, it would still be an All Time World Series.

But the Diamondbacks were never the story. Hell, they weren’t the reason I was rooting for them. I would have rooted for a team of my ex girlfriends against the Yankees. They happened to be the team that the Yankees, symbolizing the heart of New Yorkers, happened to have played.

Would the 2001 World Series be as monumental an event had the Diamondbacks played the 116 win Seattle Mariners? Would the distance of the two western regions of Arizona and Washington state, physically so far from New York, have made the World Series an anti climax?

And do people think of the Diamondbacks as the team that won the 2001 World Series or do people mainly think of how the Yankees came so close to winning and fell 2 outs short.

I suppose we will never know. But that World Series was the moment for this franchise. There are many franchises that don’t have that moment. What is the Brewers’ signature moment? The Padres? Do the White Sox have one? Other than Field of Dreams?

Arizona does. Part of it was timing, but isn’t that true in so many aspects of life?