Greg Minton 1978 Topps and 1987 Topps Traded Series – Sully Baseball Cards of the Day for August 25, 2017

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I will not do this often, but I feel like I need to do two cards today.

One card is one of the most famous and recognizable bad cards in history. The other is also wonderfully loopy and yet forgotten.

If these cards were Scorsese films then the first one is the one everyone knows. It would be GoodFellas or Raging Bull or The Departed or Taxi Driver.

The second card would be the ones known by the true fans, like Mean Streets, The King of Comedy or After Hours.

If these cards were Coen Brothers films, the first one would be Fargo, The Big Lebowski and No Country for Old Men. The second one would be Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink or Inside Llewyn Davis.

I really don’t think I can be any clearer with my analogy.

The one on the left, the 1978 card, is a classic image of Topps airbrushing gone horrifically wrong. I remember seeing it as a 6 year old kid and thinking “What the fuck?”

I didn’t say that, because I was 6 and I wasn’t supposed to swear. But man I thought it.

Now I never saw Minton pitch or if I did I have no memory of him. I lived in New England. We didn’t see many Giants games in 1978. So here was a guy who basically looked like a painting. Even his glasses, his uniform and face looked fake.

Remember that I was accustomed to seeing poorly painted hats. It was the 1970’s. There were a lot of messed up stuff I thought was normal back then. But this was too far. In an era where KISS was being marketed to kids and leisure suits were prevalent, this picture of Moon Man Minton was over the line.

Even his God Damn Teeth looked fake!

But as the years go by, the card becomes even stranger. Usually a card is doctored like this because they were traded and they want to have the cap on the head to be up to date. However, Minton wasn’t traded. If the 1978 card is supposed to represent Greg Minton in 1977, then keep in mind he played 1977 as a San Francisco Giant.

OK, he was only in 2 games with the 1977 Giants, but it wasn’t like he was with another team.

And if nobody took a pic of him with the Giants in 1977, he also pitched for them in 1976 and 1975. So they had 3 years to take a snapshot of Moonman instead of, evidently, turning to Bob Ross to make this freaky painting.

Minton would pitch for the Giants over 13 different seasons and become an All Star reliever. In 1982, as the Giants made a surprising run for the NL West, he saved 30 while winning 10 and posting a 1.83 ERA over 123 innings, all in relief.

In 1987, the Giants released Minton. He wasn’t pitching badly but the front office had other plans. They worked because, after an overhaul of their pitching staff, the Giants won the NL West for the first time since 1971.

Minton found his way onto the Angels. And thus was born the Traded Series card of 1987. Now when players changed teams, Topps would include them in the Traded Series at the end of the season. These would be like an airlock between two seasons. While we crazy collectors waited for the next year’s cards to come out, we had these updates.

So clearly the card on the right was taken at the Giants spring training. And the artist needed to portray him as an Angel. So thankfully there was no need to paint his teeth.

But the Angels hat remained sloppy and other worldly. And he could not be seen wearing a button down jersey the way San Francisco wore them in 1987. The Angels had pullover uniforms. So the entire shirt needed to be repainted.

This created a different sort of bizarre image for Minton. Instead of the whole image looking phony, only the hat and uniform look surreal. In a way it is more jarring. At least with the 1978 image, EVERYTHING looks weird. The 1987 pic shows the contrast between airbrushing and a clear photograph in a more conflicting manner.

It is a fantastic bookend of Topps cards in Greg Minton’s life.

While the 1978 card was written about in places like Cardboard Gods, Baseball Card Bust,  Topps Baseball Card Fanatic and Number 5 Type Collection, the 1987 Traded Topps card should not be neglected.

It is the forgotten masterpiece of a celebrated artist.

A Correction and Honoring The Moon Man

In the off season between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, I wrote my blogging Opus… The Home Grown Vs. Acquired Series.

I made 62 twenty five man rosters (with bios) for each team’s best All Time Team made of only Home Grown players and another one for only players acquired from other organizations.

That’s 1,550 bios written.
And forgive me, I was bound to make a mistake or two.

My rules for what makes someone acquired is simple:

If they played a single game in another organization before joining the team, he must be considered acquired.

Roberto Clemente was in the Dodgers organization before joining the Pirates.
Carl Hubbell played a handful of games in the Tigers organization before becoming a Giant. They are on the acquired club. I had to be a tight ass.

Why? I wrote 1,550 bios.

Well an anonymous reader pointed out that the great Christy Mathewson, who I had in the Home Grown Giants team, was originally a part of the Reds organization and acquired in a trade involving future Hall of Famer Amos Rusie.

The reader was right.
So I made the correction and moved Mathewson to the Acquired Team.

Now that was good news for Gary Lavelle who I put into the Home Grown bullpen… but bad news for Greg “Moon Man” Minton. I moved Johnny Antonelli to the bullpen (he DID clinch the 1954 World Series as a reliever) and put Mathewson in the Acquired Rotation.

And that left Minton as the odd man out.

So while I feel the roster is more accurate, I felt the need to honor the Moon Man here.

This is the bio that originally was in the Home Grown Roster for Minton…


GREG MINTON

The Moon-Man was an All Star in 1982 when he went 10-4 with 30 saves while posting a 1.83 ERA over 123 innings, all in relief.

He threw 270 1/3 innings without allowing a home run before hanging a pitch to John Stearns in 1982.
I bet Stearns was due.

He had 5 solid seasons before wearing down and had the bad luck of being cut just before the Giants would finally win a division title in 1987.

And here is the UPDATED AND CORRECTED ROSTER.

Enjoy… and if you have any other corrections, let me know.

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