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Card of the Week: 1982 Donruss #74 Carl Yastrzemski

Posted by Andy on May 29, 2010

(I grabbed these scans from but this post was inspired by Night Owl Cards.)

I am not a fan of this 1982 Donruss set but a lot of folks are. Like many sets by Topps from the 1970s and early 1980s, this set include some childish baseball imagery, specifically the baseball and bat that run across the bottom of each card. Of course, what I dislike is exactly what many other folks like.

There are some things I like about this set, though:

  • the prominent and retro Donruss logo (well, retro by today's standards)
  • the equally prominent year of '82, making it easy for kids to identify the set of origin
  • big photos that occupy most of the card with some border color variations, but the colors don't dominate the overall appearance of the card

Greg of Night Owl Cards made a lot of interesting observations about the photo used on this card. Click the link above to read it, but the summary is that the photo was probably taken in 1978. Greg used numerous clues about Yaz' uniform, including the pullover jersey, red helmet, and striped socks. Neat stuff.

There are a few other things I like about this specific photo:

  • Yaz is bunting. How cool is that?
  • He's got only one glove on. I can't find any other pictures of Yaz where he's got only one glove on.
  • Check out the people in the stands in the background. Still have any doubts that the photo was taken in the 1970s?

When I think about Yastrzemski's career, one of the first things that always comes to mind is his league-leading .301 batting average in 1968, a year of very low offense.

Here is that season for Yaz:

1968 157 664 539 90 162 32 2 23 74 119 90 .301 .426 .495 .922 170 267
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 5/28/2010.

He led the league in walks, BA, OBP, OPS, and OPS+.

Now 170 is a huge value for OPS+. To understand how this stat works, just look at Joe Mauer's stats from last year:

1 Joe Mauer 606 170 138 523 94 191 30 1 28 96 76 63 .365 .444 .587 1.031
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/28/2010.

Mauer is the only player to have an OPS+ of 170 in 2009. Whereas the 170 OPS+ was good for a .301 BA for Yaz in 1968, Mauer had to hit .365 to earn it last year. Yaz's raw OPS was .922 for a 170 OPS+ but Mauer's was 1.031.

This clearly illustrates why OPS+ is such a good stat. It bridges the gap across different seasons and conditions to demonstrate just how much above or below average a player was. Kids today who look at Yaz's BA in 1968 and see that .301 don't necessarily realize just how impressive it was that year. They just think he hit a lot less than Mauer did last year. Strictly this is true, but the real meaning goes beyond the raw numbers.

I'm looking for posts on card blogs to feature on the Card of the Week segment on the B-R blog. If you are an author or a fan of another card blog, please email me a link to the post you'd like me to consider. Ideally the post would include scans of the front and back of the card and contain some interesting or otherwise entertaining commentary.

My email address:

13 Responses to “Card of the Week: 1982 Donruss #74 Carl Yastrzemski”

  1. John Q Says:

    It's funny they used a photo that was at the time 3 or 4 years old.

    Back then that Donruss logo looked extremely modern.

    The photography/look on the '82 set was a big upgrade from the inaugural '81 set.

    Dunruss was still pretty hard to find in 1982, most of the candy shops/corner stores only carried Topps cards. I remember being pretty excited about fining and buying a couple of Donruss packs one time back in '82.

  2. Austyn Says:

    I look forward to the Card of the Week every Saturday since it started, so thanks for all the work!

  3. Teddy Says:

    I'll bite...what is it about the blurry people in the background that convinces you the photo was taken in the 70s?

  4. Andy Says:

    Almost everything about the way they are dressed. The jacket on the guy in the lower right. The black thick glasses on the guy in the upper left. The yellow shirt. The hats.

  5. Andy Says:

    Austyn, it's my pleasure. Glad you enjoy it and we appreciate your loyalty as a reader.

  6. Mr.Dave Says:

    Teddy, if you look at the person in the bottom right in the tannish jacket, the hairstyle would also give it away. Don't see too many people with that hairdo outside the 70's.

    Donruss made a number of improvements with the 1982 set in terms of quality. First, the card stock for the 1982 set was much thicker. The 1981 set felt as though it was printed on an index card. There were, by a great deal, fewer errors and variations of wording in the 1982 set. Also, 1982 was the debut of the Diamond Kings subset, which was always pretty cool.

  7. Roy Says:

    It's not the fans that show it's an old photo, it's the Red Sox uniform that Yaz is wearing. The Red Sox had those double-nit pull-over jerseys and pants from 1974-178 and wore the red caps/helmets with the blue brim from 1975-1978. In 1979, the Sox went back to the button down jerseys and the pants with belts.

  8. John Q Says:

    Roy is exactly right, the Red Sox only wore this Uniform combination from 1975-1978. It's not like fashion changed so drastically from 1978 to 1981.

    The Red Sox wore a left arm patch in 1976 to celebrate the Massachusetts bicentennial so it's not from 1976.

    It's not likely that this was a 1975 card, so that leaves you with 1977 or 1978.

    It's not against the Blue Jays, Mariners or Royals because those fields had turf back then and this photo shows grass on the field.

    It's not Fenway because Yaz is wearing an away jersey, it's not at Yankee stadium because you can tell by the dugout. And actually this is a park that has the Away team dugout on the first base side which Oakland has. So my guess is that it's in Oakland in either '77 or '78.

  9. Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive » Card of the Week: 1982 … | baseballcn Says:

    [...] Read more from the original &#115&#111&#117rce: Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive » Ca&#114&#100&#32of the Week: 1982 … [...]

  10. Pageup Says:

    in '68 I think Yaz had 39 win shares which is a huge number while Mauser had 27, I think

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Where do you find recent Win Shares totals? I know used to calculate them but they got rid of their stats pages I think. Anyway, one reason for that big discrepancy is probably the playing time. Win Shares has a replacement level of essentially zero, so as long as you play, no matter how poorly, you will accumulate WS. Mauer missed the 1st month and only played 138 games. B-R WAR has them relatively closer, 10.1 to 7.9.

  12. night owl Says:

    Thanks for showing the card and mentioning the blog, Andy. I enjoy the card of the week feature as well.

    I'm also with you on the look of '82 Donruss. Although Donruss made many improvements on the set after it's debut offering in '81, I find it much too childish, as I do many of the Donruss designs in the '80s.

  13. Pageup Says:

    I googled Mauer-win shares, I thought he'd have 35 at least, so 27 seemed extraordinarily low perhaps explained by the missing time...