Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#1 Robin Yount

About the Front: This is our first look at the base card design in 1993 Topps. First things first: branding. The Topps logo made its debut on the front of the card in 1979, and has appeared in some form or another every year since, except for 1980. At least here it's relatively small and unobtrusive, appearing in a top corner in either white or black for contrast. The entire design is pretty clean, with a thin white border and the player name in a team-colored bar at the bottom, stacked on top of the team name, which floats in white space. The two bottom corners feature matching diagonal bars that bring to mind the pockets of an old photo album. These corner bars match the color of the team name, though a few teams' are two-toned; I'll touch upon these when we get to them. Naturally, some color schemes were a better fit for their respective teams than others. The Brewers, wearing their classic royal blue and gold threads for the final time in 1993, have some of the better-looking cards in this set.

Topps starts the set off right with a great action photo of a future Hall of Famer. We see Robin Yount, who collected his 3,000th career hit late in the 1992 season, following through on a swing that seems to have found its target. He's watching the flight of the ball (with eyes shielded with eye black), and you can see both the grimace on his face and the name and number 19 on his back.

About the Back: Robin gets the hero's treatment with the first card in the set. Again, the design particulars: the red card number in the upper-left corner is a bold stroke, and the three-dimensional name-and-position banner underneath is reminiscent of 1990 Fleer. For the first time since 1971, Topps includes a player portrait on the back, and this time it's in full color! To the right of the photo is all of the standard biographical information: height, weight, handedness, the player's draft stats, how and when he was acquired by his current team, birthdate and place, and current place of residence...though they stop short of divulging the street address. Complete major league stats for everyone, and minor league stats where space permits. As Yount was an 18-year veteran, only his big league stats appear. (All we're missing out on is his 64-game stint in the New York-Penn League as a 17-year-old in 1973, actually.) Usually you'll see a short bit of trivia below the stats, like some notable single-game performances or hitting streaks. Maybe you'll get to learn about the player's favorite hobbies or some other personal details...what fun! Again, Robin's longevity deprives us of such frivolity. But we do get to see a mess of red ink: one season as the league's foremost hitmaker and top slugging percentage fellow, and two seasons each atop the doubles and triples leaderboards. It's not hard to see why he was the American League MVP in 1982.

Triple Play:

1. Robin famously debuted with the Brewers when he was 18, and hit his first home run on April 13, 1974 against Ross Grimsley of the Orioles. It was just his sixth career game. To date, he is the last 18-year-old to homer in a major league game.

2. Yount's older brother Larry holds an unfortunate big league record. On September 15, 1971, he was summoned from the Astros' bullpen to make his debut in relief against the Braves. The rookie experienced stiffness and pain in his elbow while taking his warmup pitches, and had to be removed from the game before facing a batter. Since he was announced as having entered the game, it counted as an official appearance. Larry Yount continued to pitch in the minors through the 1975 season, but never saw action in the majors. Thus he is the only pitcher in MLB history to make a credited appearance without ever facing a batter. You can see his major league stat line (or lack thereof) here.

3.Robin has plenty of other interests, including golf, motocross, charitable beverages, and hunting. If you don't feel like clicking links, I feel obligated to mention that Yount accidentally shot former teammate and current Cubs manager Dale Sveum in the ear with pellets while the pair were hunting quail this past winter.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Until I heard mention of him on TV, I thought his last name was pronounced "YOONT". I can also guarantee you that I didn't have the proper appreciation for Robin's trophy mullet when I was kid. Heck, thanks to Billy Ray Cyrus, that much-maligned hairstyle was still all the rage in 1993.

Bill James Said: "At this writing, it is expected that he will continue to play." Whoops! Yount retired prior to the 1994 season. In 1993, he hit .258/.326/.379 with an OPS+ of 90, his worst overall season since 1979.

On This Date in 1993: May 14. Actress Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly, School of Rock, Despicable Me) was born. I just had to ask, didn't I?


  1. This is an underrated set - looking forward to the blog! I've also got a newer 1988 blog right now too, ranking the cards 1 through 792:


  2. Thanks Rob! I've added you to the blogroll.

  3. I refuse to comment on Barry Bonds' post, so I'm here saying: "cool blog!"

    Also, I'm plugging away on the '71 Topps set if you'd like to add it to the very thorough list:


  4. Thanks, night owl! I am not at all sure how I missed adding your 1971 blog, especially since I pulled most of the links from the blogroll on your 1985 blog. How embarrassing! Consider yourself added.

  5. I'm just starting my reads through your blog since I didn't collect back in 1993. I was a college student at the time, busier with beer and attempting to meet women than with baseball.

    I like this set, though. Any set that starts with Robin Yount is a good one!