1988 Topps #212 - Greg Brock
We lead off today's proceedings with a dugout shot of first baseman Greg Brock. I love the can of Pepsi that's visible over his shoulder, something I highly doubt you'd ever see in a Major League dugout in the modern era. I don't have a whole lot to say about Brock, but I can confirm that this card fills a previously unoccupied slot in the binder. Off to a good start!
1988 Topps #380 - Joe Magrane
Joe Magrane pitched in the Majors from the late '80s through the mid-'90s. These days he does color commentary work for the MLB Network. This card is a unique addition to the set because Joe actually led the NL in ERA in 1988! I love adding statistical leaders like this to the franken-set, so I was very happy to see that slot 380 had yet to be filled. Two for two!
1987 Topps #443 - John Felske
John Felske is a name that's completely foreign to me. He had a couple of cups of coffee as a player in MLB but was never very successful (or in a lineup for very long). Later in life he managed the Phillies from 1985 through 1987. This one makes the set uncontested as well, though I recently acquired another #443 buyback that should easily supplant this one once it arrives.
1968 Topps #197 - Larry Brown
Chris was also kind enough to send me one of the two '68 box-topper buybacks that he ended up with, shortstop Larry Brown of the Phillies. Larry had a good eye at the plate and was decent in the field at short, but getting his batting average even close to .250 was a struggle for him year in and year out. He's got some competition when it comes to the franken-set:
1990 Topps #551 - Tim Crews
Here's one that I was really excited about, believe it or not. 1990 Topps was the first set that I really heavily collected, baseball-wise at least, so it's awesome to see some of them start flowing into my collection in buyback format. Tim Crews' story is a sad one though, as he was killed in a boating accident just before the start of the 1993 season (along with teammate Steve Olin). Will this one make the franken-set? Well, a pretty significant buyback stands in its way:
1985 Topps #608 - Craig Lefferts
Craig Lefferts' MLB career lasted from 1983 through 1994, and man did he see a lot of action during that time (696 games!). These days he's still involved in the game as a pitching coach for a short-season A-ball team up in Vermont. If Wikipedia can be believed, his walk-off home run in April of 1986 is still the last walk-off homer hit by a pitcher. You'd think with a number as high as 608 this card would be safe, but you'd be wrong:
1993 Topps #702 - Tim Pugh
Tim Pugh's career was largely unremarkable. The most interesting fact I could find about him was that he bounced back and forth on waivers four times between the Reds and Royals during the 1996 season alone. This is a great buyback for my project though because prior to this year it was tough to find buybacks in the 700+ number range. At #702 this one makes the set, and will probably stay in the binder for some time.
1987 Topps #708 - Scott McGregor
Here's another one along those same lines. Scott pitched some big games for the O's en route to their 1983 championship, and is a member of the Orioles HOF. I'm more interested in that mysterious black figure along the left edge of the card. Maybe it's a treetop or something but it certainly looks ominous! This one makes the binder uncontested as well.
1986 Topps #784 - Alan Bannister
The last one for today is Alan Bannister's '86 release. Alan lasted a little over a decade in the Majors, mostly as a utility player. At #784 this one is a super-high number! Right now it's actually the only card on the very last page of the franken-set (#'s 784-792). I have only a couple of pages left now that don't have so much as a single card on them, though amazingly I've completed just a single page to date.
Chris, thanks very much for thinking of my little project here as a destination for these. They were a huge help, and even the two that got rejected are much appreciated and sitting safely inside the reject box with the others. I'll try to scrounge up some more cardboard to send back your way soon here!
Franken-set Progress: 334/792 (42%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 120
Total Buybacks in Collection: 454