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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stanley, Bailey, Bilardello and McGaffigan

I was expecting to break out this card for a second Bob Shirley feature, focusing on his playing days. His coaching days would have been covered by his CMC card. As it turned out, though, Shirley's coaching career was a brief one, over by spring 1991, not enough to sustain separate features.

But I figured I would break out this Bob Shirley card I had waiting in the wings, and some other cards I've had around of CMC set members on other cards.

This Shirley card is his 1985 Fleer offering. I picked it up recently on a trip to my local card shop. Shirley was going into his ninth season in the majors and his third with the Yankees.

The card back includes notes that Shirley appeared in 66 games for the Yankees in his two seasons with the team. Fleer also notes he peaked his rookie season in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts.

There are three other 1985 cards of CMC set members I picked up. Two of the players I've interviewed.

I interviewed Mark Bailey last August in Troy, NY. Bailey was in his first year as hitting coach for the Tri-City Valley Cats in the New York-Penn League. He is returning to the Valley Cats for 2012.

Bailey appeared in the CMC set as a member of the AAA Phoenix Firebirds. In 1985, he was coming off his rookie campaign, one where he got into 108 games for the Astros, hitting .214. He improved both those numbers in 1985, his best year. He got into 114 games that year, while hitting .265.

Topps notes that Bailey attended Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo. and Southwest Missouri State College.

The other player I've interviewed is another one from the NY-Penn League. Dann Bilardello was actually my first interview for this blog, Bilardello serving as manager of the Batavia Muckdogs. He is also returning to the Muckdogs for 2012.

Bilardello made the CMC set as a member of the AAA Buffalo, seven years after Bilardello debuted in the majors. In all, Bilardello played in eight major league seasons. In 1985, he was going into his third major league season. His best year, though, was his first, 109 games with a .238 average.

Topps included his entire record, dating back to 1978, when he played at rookie Lethbridge. But Topps didn't include any written information about Bilardello.

There is the baseball trivia quiz, though: Which American League reliever holds the record for the most wins in a single championship series. In 1985, that record was held by Sparky Lyle.

Topps doesn't say, but, according to Baseball Reference, Lyle got two wins in the 1977 American League Championship Series. Though it was a seven-game series, that record would be tied that very year in 1985, when Blue Jays reliever Tom Henke picked up the win in two of the first four games.

This 1985 Topps player was also in the CMC set, but I have yet to feature him here. Andy McGaffigan was going into his sixth season with time in the majors in 1985. He went on to play in 11 major league seasons. He made the CMC set as a member of the Omaha Royals.

Topps notes that McGaffigan was a baseball star at Twin Lakes High School in Florida. He and his wife ere married Jan. 10, 1981.

According to the trivia on the back, the Blue Jays' home stadium was Exhibition Stadium.

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