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Card of the Week: 1980 Topps #129 Craig Reynolds

Posted by Andy on August 23, 2011

Oh wow--I love this card.

The Astros' uniforms from this era have been the subject of plenty of ridicule. I happen to really like the rainbow colors, especially when they are used on a card like this. In addition to the red, orange, yellow, and dark blue on the uniforms, we have light blue and green on the card. I wonder if the person who designed the unis realized that the rainbow would be completed by two of the most common baseball colors--blue sky and green grass.

I also love the photo with miles and miles of sky and clouds visible, and the unusual placement of Craig Reynolds' signature up in the air.

Reynolds wore #12 for his entire major-league career, but based on the snippets we see on the end of the bat and on his uniform pants, it looks like he's got #15 here. It's possible that he had #15 in spring training before getting his customary #12 when the season started. (That makes sense since the 1980 Topps photos are mostly from spring training 1979, which was Reynolds' first with the team.)

In 1981, Reynolds had an unusual season. He led the league in triples, but managed to hit more triples than doubles. Here are the last 10 guys to have more triples than doubles in a season, minimum 10 triples:

1 Lance Johnson 1994 14 11 30 CHW 106 443 412 56 114 3 54 26 23 26 6 .277 .321 .393 .714 *8/D
2 David Hulse 1993 10 9 25 TEX 114 441 407 71 118 1 29 26 57 29 9 .290 .333 .369 .701 *8/D
3 Luis Alicea 1992 11 9 26 STL 85 302 265 26 65 2 32 27 40 2 5 .245 .320 .385 .705 *4/6
4 Deion Sanders 1992 14 6 24 ATL 97 325 303 54 92 8 28 18 52 26 9 .304 .346 .495 .841 *87/9
5 Craig Reynolds 1981 12 10 28 HOU 87 354 323 43 84 4 31 12 31 3 3 .260 .286 .402 .688 *6
6 Roger Metzger 1973 14 11 25 HOU 154 637 580 67 145 1 35 39 70 10 4 .250 .299 .322 .622 *6
7 Jorge Orta 1973 10 9 22 CHW 128 469 425 46 113 6 40 37 87 8 8 .266 .323 .376 .699 *4/6
8 Larry Bowa 1972 13 11 26 PHI 152 633 579 67 145 1 31 32 51 17 9 .250 .291 .320 .611 *6
9 Dale Mitchell 1949 23 16 27 CLE 149 685 640 81 203 3 56 43 11 10 3 .317 .360 .428 .788 *7
10 Sid Gordon 1943 11 9 25 NYG 131 528 474 50 119 9 63 43 32 2 0 .251 .315 .373 .688 537/4
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/22/2011.

Six out 10 of these guys led their league in triples and I guess most of them were very fast. It would seem that most of them didn't hit a ton of line drives, otherwise they would have hit a lot more doubles to go with the three-baggers.



38 Responses to “Card of the Week: 1980 Topps #129 Craig Reynolds”

  1. Austyn Says:

    Deion even had more homers than triples.

  2. Austyn Says:

    Sorry about that, he had more homers (8) and triples (14) than doubles (6).

  3. Scott V. Says:

    Over his career, Craig had more triples than stolen bases!

  4. Andy Says:

    Nice find there, Scott. Here are players since 1950 with more career triples than stolen bases, ranked by most triples. (Note a few of these guys had careers extending before 1950 as well):

    Rk Player 3B SB From To Tm
    1 Roberto Clemente 166 83 1955 1972 PIT
    2 Nellie Fox 110 73 1950 1965 CHW-HOU
    3 Ernie Banks 90 50 1953 1971 CHC
    4 Johnny Callison 89 74 1958 1973 CHW-PHI-CHC-NYY
    5 Bill Virdon 81 47 1955 1968 STL-TOT-PIT
    6 Jim Rice 79 58 1974 1989 BOS
    7 Tony Perez 79 49 1964 1986 CIN-MON-BOS-PHI
    8 Jim Fregosi 78 76 1961 1978 LAA-CAL-NYM-TOT-TEX-PIT
    9 Eddie Mathews 72 68 1952 1968 BSN-MLN-ATL-TOT-DET
    10 Dick McAuliffe 71 63 1960 1975 DET-BOS
    11 Stan Musial 69 34 1950 1963 STL
    12 Brooks Robinson 68 28 1955 1977 BAL
    13 Ron Santo 67 35 1960 1974 CHC-CHW
    14 Dick Groat 67 14 1952 1967 PIT-STL-PHI-TOT
    15 Gus Bell 66 30 1950 1964 PIT-CIN-TOT-MLN
    16 Craig Reynolds 65 58 1975 1989 PIT-SEA-HOU
    17 Pete Runnels 64 37 1951 1964 WSH-BOS-HOU
    18 Bill Mazeroski 62 27 1956 1972 PIT
    19 Neifi Perez 61 57 1996 2007 COL-TOT-KCR-SFG-CHC-DET
    20 Bobby Bonilla 61 45 1986 2001 TOT-PIT-NYM-BAL-FLA-ATL-STL
    Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 8/23/2011.
  5. Raphy Says:

    Reynolds is also in fourth place for most sacrifice bunts in a season since 1940 (when the current sh rules were structured.)

    1 Bert Campaneris 40 1977 35 TEX AL 150 648 552 77 140 19 7 5 46 47 1 86 4 5 7 27 20 .254 .314 .341 .655 *6
    2 Jay Bell 39 1990 24 PIT NL 159 696 583 93 148 28 7 7 52 65 0 109 3 6 14 10 6 .254 .329 .362 .691 *6
    3 Harry Walker 36 1943 26 STL NL 148 640 564 76 166 28 6 2 53 40 0 24 0 0 5 5 0 .294 .341 .376 .717 *8/49
    4 Craig Reynolds 34 1979 26 HOU NL 146 616 555 63 147 20 9 0 39 21 0 49 2 4 2 12 6 .265 .292 .333 .625 *6
    5 Felix Fermin 32 1989 25 CLE AL 156 562 484 50 115 9 1 0 21 41 0 27 4 1 15 6 4 .238 .302 .260 .562 *6/4
    6 Johnny Logan 31 1956 29 MLN NL 148 631 545 69 153 27 5 15 46 46 2 49 5 4 13 3 0 .281 .340 .431 .771 *6
    7 Roy McMillan 31 1954 24 CIN NL 154 677 588 86 147 21 2 4 42 47 0 54 5 6 9 4 2 .250 .308 .313 .621 *6
    8 Jay Bell 30 1991 25 PIT NL 157 697 608 96 164 32 8 16 67 52 1 99 4 3 15 10 6 .270 .330 .428 .757 *6
    Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 8/23/2011.
  6. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Here's a list of guys who had a career ratio of 2/3 triples to doubles, Minimum 50 triples

    Chief Wilson_________ 114-157
    Mike Mitchell_________ 104-130
    Danny Hoffman_______ 52-71
    Greasy Neale________ 50-71
    Roger Metzger________ 71-101

  7. Hub Kid Says:

    @ Andy- thanks for another Card of the Week, after the awesome Tony Phillips one! It's the blog feature that got me into the site, although I didn't stop coming during its hiatus... Card of the Month, or some other lower frequency is just as cool by me, as long as it gets to stay an occasional feature and not disappear totally.

    Is this the famous 'Tequila Sunrise' jersey, or was that a bit earlier?

    Dan Epstein's nifty 'Big Hair and Plastic Grass' on 70s baseball has a great chapter on 70s jerseys and Houston's jerseys are practically the star- nice to see they remained, ... 'exciting' into the 80s. This one does make for a brilliant card photo.

    Not sure i've seen a card photo this perfectly composed before: tough guy with bat (and crazy-colored uniform) + pretty blue sky.

  8. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Carlos Beltran had a pretty weird season, in regards to doubles and triples in '03. In 02 he has 44 doubles, then in '03 he has 14 doubles, 30 less, while hitting 10 triples and 26 homers, which was about his average for KC.
    Then the next year his doubles went right back up to 38. His legs seemed fine, stealing 41 bases in 45 tries.
    Just an anomaly.

  9. steven Says:

    It would be nice to see all the teams go back to having just one style each of home and road uniforms, and do away with all the "alternate" and "throwback" nonsense, especially those generic black jerseys that a lot of teams use.

  10. tomXVI Says:

    Watch where you point that bat, sir--it might go off.

  11. Jbird Says:

    mitchell 16/203 third fewest doubles of any 200 hit season in the modern. only daubert and wills fewer in so many or more. wills lowest % doubles to hits of all 200 hit seasons in the modern with 13/208 with keeler taking it all time at 7/216 in '98. lowest modern and all time % doubles to at bats in a 200 hit season are again those same morning and wee years, with 13/695 and 7/561. special mention to the burkett season of 1900.

  12. Jbird Says:

    love what you wrote about that reynolds baseball card. you're so right, andy.

  13. nightfly Says:

    Andy - great list. A lot of guys there with a poor reputation for speed. Bell, Fox, Banks, Virdon, Santo, Groat, and Runnels all have more career CS than SB; as does Dale Mitchell from your first list in the main post (despite his 10 sb, 3 cs in the season you listed).

  14. Jbird Says:

    and insert ", respectively" between the 7/561 and the period

  15. Andy Says:

    #9, totally agree. All these bizarre alternate-home-Sunday retro uniforms drive me crazy. It is, of course, just another attempt to make more money by giving fans another style of jersey to buy. I guess MLB execs don't understand that money that people spend on this sort of thing is generally quite fixed--that has been long understood by economists--and that by having fans buy another jersey, it probably means they buy three fewer caps or attend one fewer game that season.
    Special jerseys really used to be something special--particularly for something like breast cancer awareness. Now like so many other things in baseball (*cough* interleague play *cough*) it's watered down and meaningless.

  16. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    Looking at the possibility of a #15 on the bat, in 1979 you had no #15...but there was Jose Cruz at 25, Joe Sambito at 35 and Frank Riccelli at 45. Going back to 1978, though, you have the same three on the roster along with...and this would be my bet if it is a #15 bat...the GREAT Keith Drumright. I say he's our man and that's his bat...

  17. donburgh Says:

    Four members of the 1960 Pirates on the career triple vs. steals list. Forbes effect combined with a low era for steal attempts, possibly?

    Also, Andy, yes the blue sky and green grass combined with the uniform is beautiful, but isn't ironic that the only time the effect could seen was when the Astros were on the road?

  18. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @1, @2 - In 1992 Deion Sanders led the NL in triples with only 325 plate appearances. Is this the fewest PA (in a non-strike year, in the modern era) leading in a counting offensive category?

    I've always wondered what Sanders could have done if he played MLB exclusively. What he _actually_ did, while also playing NFL football fulltime, is rather remarkable. While Bo Jackson had more impressive raw skills, what Deion did as a two-sport player was much more impressive, in both sports.

    The all-time leader in triples, Sam Crawford, had more triples than doubles five times in his career. It wasn't as if he had weak doubles totals; he had at least 20 2Bs all but one full year, and was in the Top-10 in 2Bs ten times.

    Other useless trivia: I believe that Roger Metzger is the only player to lead the league in triples (twice!) with a lifetime slugging average under .300.

  19. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Six out 10 of these guys led their league in triples and I guess most of them were very fast.

    Not Sid Gordon, though! I ran a PI search for batters with 10+ triples, 20+ GIDP, and more triples than doubles. Gordon's 1943 season is the only one meeting the criteria. Balata ball?

  20. Steve Says:

    Speed is only part of the equation for a good basestealer(not even the most important maybe).

  21. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Career triples equal to career OPS+:

    Lu Blue, 109
    Ski Melillo, 64
    Bill Bergen, 21
    Dutch Leonard, 4
    . . . and 7 different players (all pitchers) tied with one triple and a career OPS+ of 1: Ralph Branca, Doug Brocail, Don Leppert, Grover Lowdermilk, Duster Mails, Ron Reed, and Hank Wyse.

  22. Tmckelv Says:

    "I wonder if the person who designed the unis realized that the rainbow would be completed by two of the most common baseball colors--blue sky and green grass."

    This would be ironic considering during the season these uniforms would never see natural grass OR sky. Only the greenish-gray artificial turf and dark gray roof of the Astrodome.

    I like the 1980 set (the last where it was topps only, as 1981 introduced Fleer and donruss). There is a good mix of action and non-action photos. Usually I prefer it when the team name (banner in this case) is shown in team colors, but for this set it is OK.

    I love the uniforms of the late 1970s early 1980's and this version of the Astros Uniform is their King (with the White Sox unis of the same era being the Jester).

    Whenever I see these Astros uniforms it reminds me of the Bad News Bears in Breaking Training - "Just let the kids play!"

  23. James S Says:

    When I was a kid, 1980 was the only year I got the whole set. I accomplished this by buying packs of cards, trading and flipping cards. I traded something like 50 cards (all doubles) for the final card, Claudell Washington. Good Times.

  24. Rocky Calhoun Says:

    I remember a Yogi Berra quote about the Mid-1980's Astros uniforms when he was their bench coach - something to the effect that the rainbow stripes gave the umpire an optical allusion/physical reference for calling high strikes against the Astros.

    "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."

  25. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 20 Steve,

    In regards to speed and stolen bases. I remember when Devon White first came up, everyone said he was much faster than Henderson, and he was gonna swipe 65-80 a year. He topped out at 44. A good base stealer, but Rickey could read a move, new the pitch, and had the quickest first step I've ever saw.
    The same for Bernie Williams and Ray Lankford, both very agile and fast, especially Lankford. He also was touted as a 50+ stolen base guy, but he nver could get a decent read.
    And for a guy with alot of triples and SBs and not too many doubles, Brett Butler got thrown out way to much to justify his 500 SBs. JMO

  26. Phil Haberkorn in Indiana Says:

    Re: UNI NUMBER - NUMBER ON BAT. In a blow-up of the picture, I used the most modern and up to date photo enhancement program available here at the library, and re-processed the result through a digital analog analysis algorithm, focusing on his uniform number down at the bottom on his right thigh. The numbers on his pants, to a degree of probability that is significantly higher than that attributable to random chance, appear to have a slight curvaturve/bulge in the second digit, indicating it's a 2 instead of a 5.

    Either that, or the photographer was a really cute blonde and Craig was, um, well, excited to pose for her!

    Since the picture was obviously taken in spring training, he probably just grabbed the nearest bat to pose for the photographer. I watched a photo session one time at the Royals' camp south of Orlando years ago, and the players just passed the bat down the line as they each posed for the snapshot.

  27. statboy Says:

    I wonder why there's a number on THAT end of the bat. Rather unusual, isn't it?

    Reynolds is 1 of 29 players to hit 3 triples in a game, since 1919.

  28. Andy Says:

    Excellent point, Statboy.

  29. zuke Says:

    Fine analysis Phil!

    For what it's worth, the weekly card feature is what first drew me too the site as well.

  30. John McKinstra Says:


    Great post of the 1980 Craig Reynolds card. On the bottom of the handle of the Majority of bats in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, measured the length of the bat in inches. My Guess it was a 35" bat, with the (3) not visisble. I'm not sure if the bats used today still indicate this or not. Rico Carty in the 60's and 70's used a 32" bat, and Willie Mays thoughout his career used a 34" bat.

  31. Andy Says:

    Good thought, John.

  32. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Does anyone remember the Billy Ripken F**KFACE card.,r:2,s:0

  33. Andy Says:

    I remember it well. I was in the prime of my own collecting at that time.

    I remember it being just absurd. I have never believed that Fleer wasn't aware of the original "error" since it was obviously visible. Then, the parade of correction variations was simply preposterous. They obviously were trying to create a furor and jack up prices, and they succeeded. I just didn't care at all, except to figure out how the words got there in the first place.

  34. JDV Says:

    Great to see another card feature. As #22 mentioned, this was the last year that Topps had their (first) monopoly. I liked this set because it was not only released all at once, but it was released pretty early. One of the benefits of that (in my opinion) is the lack of air-brushing new uniforms on traded players. That makes the set an excellent chronicle of the season just-completed, instead of trying (and always failing) to be up-to-date for the new season. 1979 was the first set that tried it this way, and I wish they had stuck with that plan.

  35. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    As for the 1989 Billy Ripken card, I was a full time dealer at that point (1975-1994) and had an upcoming show at the Green Tree Marriott in Pittsburgh the weekend after the cards came out. Not having my dealership papers filed with Fleer at that point I was "on my own" in trying to pick some up. My family and I were in Clarksburg, WV and decided to hit the local candy distributors. The "big one" had one case left and we got it. We decided to drive across town and try the "rinky dink" wholesaler where we never liked to go because they usually never had anything. We pulled up in the parking lot and I started to get out of the car and my Dad's arm came over and held me back as he said, "Let your mother go in". Since Dad had been a 1000 game-winning high school coach I figured he knew what he was doing. She came back out and said, "Let's go around and pick 'em up". Of course Dad and I immediately asked her how many cases she got and she said "Six". That show at Green Tree that weekend was one of the two highest grossing shows we ever did in nineteen years. THANK YOU, BILLY RIPKEN!

  36. Andy Says:

    One can only imagine what your mother did to seal the deal.

    Was Upper Deck out with its premier set yet at the time of the show? If so, that could also have something to do with why you did so well.

  37. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    If Upper Deck was out, I did not have any. Mine came from Steve Myland and I only ordered complete sets, which meant that they did not come out in later in the year. The show's gross was strictly from being the dealer with the most '89 Fleer boxes on hand. Ripken single "FF" card: $30. Full unsearched box: $55.

    Funny how this ties in: I also remember having the money for my Upper Deck order in hand when the opportunity to buy a 1980 Nolan Ryan game used jersey for $800. I knew that that money had to be part of my UD order and didn't pull the trigger on the uni. I had to weigh business options before personal pleasure! I was collecting game used #34's at the time. My "baseball hero" has always been Nellie Briles so I tried to get as many clubs' 34's as I could. I had the Twins (Jim Fairey), Giants (Mark Grant), Mets (Bob Apodaca) and of course the Briles (Pirates '73, Rangers '77 which I would say Dave Stewart wore in the minors because "Stewart" was written in the collar in Sharpie and Orioles '78). I also had Steve Christmas' Reds uni (he TORE UP our Statis-Pro league for me), a Kent Hrbek warm-up (he and I were born on the exact same day) and a BUNCH (for some reason) of Oakland warm-ups which I bought to re-sell (Mike Edwards, Rob Picciolo, Mitchell Page...all the stars).

  38. Phil Haberkorn in Indiana Says:

    I would like to see the Card of the Week get back to being a regular feature. I'm still waiting for you to post Doug Dascenxo's pitching card...