Sunday, January 29, 2012

1982 Topps Traded: A Change of Scenery

1982 Topps Traded is primarily known for the Cal Ripken, Jr. card. But why was Cal in this set anyhow? He was already in the 1982 Regular Issue and he wasn't traded. Cal was considered a "promising rookie" so why not double down a card for him.

Ozzie Smith on the other hand was traded. A change of scenery and managers landed him in Cooperstown. That smile on Ozzie's face is legitimate. Ozzie had been in contract dispute with San Diego since he signed. The problem reached absurd heights when his agent, Ed Gottlieb, placed an ad in the San Diego Union, it read "Padre Baseball Player wants part-time employment to supplement income. College education, willing to work, prefer PR-type employment. Needs hours tailored to baseball schedule, but would quit baseball for right opportunity."

The truly disturbing part is that apparently Ozzie had blown most his money and his wanting a raise had nothing to do feeling underpaid. [1]

Anyway you look at it, he wasn't getting a raise. And regardless of his out of the world defense the way he hit he didn't deserve a raise. Ozzie Smith was the leadoff hitter for the Padres leading the league in plate appearances with a .294 OBA. The reason I think manager Frank Howard never noticed Ozzie was an out machine is because the entire team couldn't hit. Regardless, once Ozzie got to St. Louis he improved his hitting enough that you could live with it.

In 1982, major league baseball had two other Hall of Fame shortstops playing who could rake and play defense. Robin Yount in Milwaukee & the aforementioned Cal Ripken. The very next year all three would be playing in the All-Star game.

About the Card
1982 Topps borrows a lot of its design style from Activision, an at the time, wildly popular video game maker. I like the design but it does resemble a hockey stick a little too much for my liking.
[1] Scorecard, Sports Illustrated, Kirshenbaum, Jerry, May 5, 1980

1 comment:

  1. I liked this post. You gave some cool insight about Ozzie Smith. I didn't know about that newspaper add that his agent put out. Funny move from his agent.