HAPPY BOXING DAY EVERYONE!
I guess Boxing Day is celebrated more often in Canada than in the United States, so I suppose it seemed appropriate to have a Canadian team on here.
I love the Toronto Blue Jays uniform design. I think it is as distinct as the Birds on a Bat uniform for the Cardinals, the English D of the Tigers and yes, the pinstripes of the Yankees.
There is little doubt what team you are looking at when you see that uni. And also remember, I started collecting cards in 1978 and following the game in 1979. So, in my baseball fandom, they were ALWAYS part of baseball.
This card represents in someway a moment of transition for the franchise. They were an expansion team in 1977. They were awful out of the gate. Manager Roy Hartsfield saw his club lose 107 times in their maiden voyage of 1977. In 1978, they dropped 100 games. Hartsfield’s final season was in 1979. The team on this card was the 1979 team. They lost 109 games that year.
They were pretty awful. That was the team that Danny Ainge played for before being a part of the Celtics. But two faces were on that team and in this picture that are worth remembering. Alfredo Griffin won the Rookie of the Year with Minnesota’s John Castino. And pitcher Dave Steib had his rookie year.
Both Griffin and Steib would be on the 1992 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays.
As the team made the transition from the 1970’s to the 1980’s, they developed players and a spectacular clip and aggressively signed players out of the Dominican Republic.
It didn’t happen right away. They lost 95 games in 1980 and didn’t have a winning record until 1983. But by then, the team that would win their first Division Title in 1985 was starting to take place.
The seeds were planted in that 1979 squad.
There is an odd thing about this card, taken at old Exhibition Stadium which had a unique seagull issue. Hartsfield was fired between the 1979 season, when this picture was taken, and the 1980 season, when the card was issued. Bobby Mattick replaced him as manager.
Topps would put a picture of the manager in the corner. Except where is he? Where the heck is the Bobby Mattick picture? Are you telling me they REALLY couldn’t find a single picture of Bobby Mattick to put in there? That is crazy.
Here, let me help you.
There. Glad to be of help.
Have a great Boxing Day.