Ah, it feels good to get back into the Four Topps swing of things. This feature, as you may know, is dedicated to my four favorite Topps sets from my childhood (1987-1990). And, today's random number is 143, which is text-messaging code for "I love you." [Ed. Note: Oh the things you learn from working at a high school!]
So let's have a look at what No. 143 brings us...
If I'm not mistaken, this is the first manager card we've stumbled upon since the dawn of this exercise. Steve Boros logged seven big league seasons as a player and three more as a skipper. His tenure at the helm of the Padres lasted all of one season (1986) and saw him guide the Friars to a 74-88 record and a fourth-place finish in the NL West. Still, he wore his uniform the right way. Look at those stirrups! Hey, Stat Man: Socked 16 homers as a third baseman for the Tigers in 1962.
This would be Mickey Tettleton's final Topps card as a member of the Athletics. The Oklahoma native signed with Baltimore as a FA right before the start of the '88 season, which is why it's not so shameful of Topps for including him in the Oakland checklist. He would be featured in his proper Baltimore attire in the '88 traded set. Hey, Stat Man: Batted below the Mendoza line for the A's in 1987 with a .194 BA in 211 ABs.
In 1988, Topps included Mike Campbell in its "Future Stars" subset, while Donruss knighted him a "Rated Rookie." To say the least, his '89 Topps issue was a pretty bland followup. I suppose his less-than-stellar '89 campaign played a part. Then again, it was also pretty routine for even the biggest of stars to have a boring portrait shot gracing their cards in the '80s. Unlike today, when even the .238 hitters get super-action photos on the front of their cards. Hey, Stat Man: Went 6-10 with an ERA just south of six in 20 starts for the M's in 1988.
When I was a kid, I always assumed Rafael Belliard was, like, the youngest player in the league. I mean, judging by the pictures on his cards, could you blame me? He's four feet tall (okay, 5'6") and looks like he'd have a hard time even buying cigarettes. Meanwhile, Belliard was 27 when the photo on his '90 Topps card was taken. Hey, Stat Man: Appeared in just 67 games for the Pirates in '89, batting .214 in 154 ABs.
And the Winner Is: A pretty motley crew to pick from, but Mickey Tettleton is a winner in my book any day of the week. The child-like Belliard gets the silver medal.