Tuesday, December 1, 2015

1996 Topps Mike LaValliere

Mike LaValliere is probably best known for his role in the 1992 NLCS when Atlanta Braves first baseman Sid Bream beat Barry Bonds' throw to LaValliere, winning the game and the series for the Braves. I did a '93 Topps Postseason Highlights card of the play here. So, technically, this isn't the first card of LaValliere I've done on my blog.
Mike, or "Spanky" as his nickname is, was a good field, no hit catcher, who came up in 1984 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals in '85 and '86, and then went to the Pittsburgh Pirates from '87- midway of '93. He finished his career with the Chicago White Sox from '93-'95. His '85 Cardinals team made it to the World Series, and if not for a bad call, would've won it, and his '90-'92 Pirates made it to the NLCS in all 3 years. Then, in '93, he threw out 75% of runners trying to steal on him.
Mike's last Topps card was in '94. He didn't get Topps cards in his final 2 seasons, although he appeared on cards in '95 with a few different sets.
I've been finding that the '96 Topps set is pretty easy to make cards with, although '94 Topps is probably right behind it in difficulty. This card of Spanky was pretty easy to make, with the most difficult part being making the small photo. I've been working with some of the more difficult sets like '95 Topps lately, and those sets will start to become easier to deal with once I get the letters from the sets cut out so they won't have to be cut out each and every time I use the design, and I'll be able to crank out cards like crazy pretty soon.
I only have 1 more regular season softball game left. Yesterday I went 0-2 with an RBI at the plate (I've been in a pretty bad slump the past 4 games), but I made 2 difficult catches in RF. The first kept sinking, and I somehow caught up to it and caught it, but as my glove hit the ball, the force made the ball pop out of my glove. It was all in slow motion after that. I was picturing dropping the ball and making an error in my head as all of this was happening, but somehow dropped to my knees and the ball came back in my glove, and bounced again, but I grabbed it with my bare hand and held on for the out. 2 innings later, the same guy that hit the first one was up again, and he hit it to me again. I thought the ball would land right where I was standing, but at the last second it curved to the left, and I reached out to the left as far as I could, and caught the ball. I spun around as I caught it, and hurled the ball back to the infield. I kind of wish I would've wore a hat because I'm sure it would've fell off and kind of looked like a catch Willie Mays would've made. If I can just get a hit in next Monday's game, I will have a .300 batting average for the season. I really hope that happens, and  a win would be nice too as we have only won 1 game this year (against the team we will be playing).
My next card will be one that one of my readers has requested, and I'll give the reason why Topps didn't produce it as well. Thanks for checking out my blog.


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