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Friday, December 31, 2010

1986 Topps: Learning from Ted

In some ways, Dave Engle's youth was a typical one. His family would pile into a trailer for the summer and see the United States.

In other ways, Engle's youth wasn't a typical youth wasn't so typical. Engles' father grew up in San Diego with one Ted Williams. The family's ultimate destination on those yearly trips was Massachusetts and Ted Williams' baseball school, The Toledo Blade wrote in 1984.

"Ted was there the whole summer when I was younger," Engle, in his fourth big-league season, told The Blade. "I learned a lot from Ted. I'm still learning from him. He's like a second father."

Engle went on to play nine seasons in the majors for the Twins, Tigers, Expos and Brewers. His 1986 Topps card, which came in my third 1986 Topps Christmas pack, was his final card for the Twins. He was traded to the Tigers that January.

This third 1986 Topps pack yielded no Hall of Famers. But, more importantly, it yielded two CMC set members. It also yielded another two future major league managers and another Pirate to have his autograph examined.

The first CMC set member in the pack was Darryl Motley. In 1986, Motley was fresh off the Royals' win in the 1985 World Series. Motley hit a home run in Game 7 to set the Royals off to victory. He also caught the final out. I covered Motley back in August.

I have yet to cover Bob Shirley, pitching coach for the 1990 Syracuse Chiefs. Shirley, a first-round pick in 1976, was in his 10th of 11 seasons in 1986. After 1987, Shirley went on to a brief coaching career, managing at short-season St. Catherines, moving on to coach at Syracuse in 1990.

The two future managers were Clint Hurdle and Mike Hargrove. Hurdle played 1986 with the Cardinals and had only three more games after that. Hurdle went on to manage eight seasons with the Rockies. He took over the Pirates in November, taking over for CMC set member John Russell.

Hargrove had played his final game by the time his 1986 Topps card went out. He played 12 seasons in the majors, 1985 was his last. I remember having his 1985 Topps card as a kid, one of the only 1985 cards I had for the longest time. Hargrove managed for 16 seasons in the majors, for the Indians, Orioles and Mariners.

This is the Pirates Leaders card, with Rick Rhoden on the front. I've always found the 1986 Topps leaders cards a little odd, like a dream cloud. Rhoden was the dean of the Pirates, the back reads, with continuous service since June 10, 1980. He played with the Pirates through 1986, after which he was traded to the Yankees.

Rhoden was among the Pirates whose autographs were examined by The Pittsburgh Press in May 1986, by a handwriting examiner.

Rhoden's signature signaled he had a sense of humor and was refined, analyzer Louis Ciancio told The Press.

"Rick shows some indecision in his life," Ciancio told The Press. "He's not as settled as he'd like to be. He has a lot of pride. If you touch that man's pride, you're in a lot of trouble."
1986 Topps Pack 3
22 Duane Walker
43 Dave Engle
116 Brook Jacoby
136 Mike Hargrove
213 Bob Shirley
259 Dan Pasqua
332 Darryl Motley
428 Max Venable
438 Clint Hurdle
447 Jerry Don Gleaton
559 Tommy Dunbar
588 Steve Lake
664 Tim Corcoran
756 Pirates Leaders
757 Darrell Porter

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