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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Recent Card Shop Pickup - 1981 Topps Perconte-Scioscia-Valenzuela RC

Ok, I'm guilty of something.  I bought this card several weeks ago and completely forgot about it.  I found it when I cleaned off my desk on Sunday.  That's not the only thing I'm guilty of.  I bought this card several weeks ago because I saw it as a Fernando Valenzuela RC.  I just realized not even a minute ago that this was also a Mike Scioscia RC.  It took me that long to even notice the other guys on the card.  Weird.  Anyway, yes, the real reason I bought this card was because it is a Fernando Valenzuela RC.

I got it at the Kinston card shop for a deal (the price sticker on the back says 2/$5 but I think he had a $1.00 each deal on those).  I feel like I got a steal on it.  I hardly ever hear anything about the 1981 set.  I mean, really.  When I was putting together the sets from the late 70s/early 80s, I flat out bought the 1981 set for $25.  It came in a binder and is still the only set (aside from my 52 card set of 1951 Topps Red Back) that resides in a binder.

You see, 1979 had the big RC of Ozzie Smith; 1980 had Rickey Henderson and 1982 had Cal Ripken.  1981 had Kirk Gibson and Valenzuela.  Great players in their time, but not Hall of Famers.  The 1981 design was actually really nice.  The hat with the team name and matching color.  I once bought a pack of 1981 Topps at a LCS in Winston-Salem in the mid 1990s because to me, it was an 'old' pack.  Inside that pack, I pulled a Kirk Gibson RC.  That card was lost over the years, but I replaced it not too long ago from another bargain bin.  However, I always had a soft spot for 1981 Topps.  I have even considered building that set, even though I already own a complete set.  Just for the thrill of piecing it together.  I don't know.  Maybe one day I will.

Valenzuela burst onto the scene in 1981 after appearing in 10 games in 1980.  He went 13-7 with a 2.48 ERA in '81 capturing the Rookie of the Year and NL Cy Young Awards.  Somehow, he also won the Silver Slugger award that year.  He wound up finishing 5th in the NL MVP balloting that year, too.  He won 21 games in 1986 (and also had 20 complete games!) and finished second in the NL Cy Young voting to Mike Scott.  Valenzuela finished his career in 1997 after playing 17 seasons in the majors.  He retired with a record of 173-153 with a 3.54 ERA and 2,074 strikeouts.  He was a member of the World Series Champion Dodgers in 1981 and 1988 (although he did not pitch in the 1988 postseason).

Speaking of postseason, Fernando went 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 9 postseason games (6 series).  That's pretty good!
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