1988 Topps

40 Episodes

By: Matt Kuzma and David McEllis

Every card has a story to tell. In this 700+ episode series, Matt Kuzma and David McEllis discuss a different 1988 Topps baseball card every week. Send your questions and suggestions to 1988ToppsPodcast@gmail.com.

Jack Lazorko (#601)

“There’s never been a player who has gone to Italy and come back to make it in the majors. I’d like to be the first.” Did he do it? 

Card on Beckett Jack on This Week in Baseball!  Profile of Jack in the NY Times Lazorko Enterprises

Benito Santiago (#7/404/693/699)

This catcher, known best for his record-breaking hitting streak, hustled to make it 20 years in the majors. Plus, Al Pacino as an English instructor?   

Card 7 Card 404 Card 693 Card 699 SABR Bio by Thomas Brown Jr. Ray Kroc, calling the Padres' play "stupid" over the PA Benito throwing out runners from his knees

Mike Smithson (#554)

Player's family recommendation episode! Plus, find out which town in New England you're pronouncing incorrectly (SPOILER ALERT: It's all of them.) 

Card 554 on Beckett Twins Trivia Interview with Mike in 2011 "Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game" on Bookshop Minnie Pearl Chicken Wire Statue May 2017 Employee of the Month: Mike!

Jack McDowell (#68T)

1 Cy Young, 0 Grammys. But Black Jack showed everyone on Chicago's south side that grunge music and baseball do mix. 

Card on Beckett V.I.E.W.: various songs and profile Stickfigure: "Care" The Baseball Project: "The Yankee Flipper" Jack's Pinnacle card making him look like Michael W. Smith

Ty Griffin (#44T)

It's like that one Gwyneth Paltrow movie, but instead of Gwyneth on a train platform, it's the Cubs GM on Draft Day 1988. 

Thank you to guest Beau from the One Million Cubs Project! Send him your Cubs cards! 

Card on Beckett Ty's switch-hit homer heroics against Cuba The Ty Pivot Pro RIP Mascot Samurai Tamabe

Dan Quisenberry (#195)

In this episode of the 1988 Topps Literary Magazine, our hosts encounter a submarine-throwing poet who had control of every pitch—and every word.

Card on Beckett Harvesters Community Food Network, member of Feeding America SABR Bio by Steve Wulf Quisenberry's Poetry "Favorite Players" by Joe Posnanski TechStars Climate Tech Podcast

Tom Glavine (#779)

Historian Clayton Trutor introduces us to “the least imposing future Hall of Famer in the history of baseball cards.”

Link to card on Beckett Preorder Clayton’s book: Loserville: How Professional Sports Remade Atlanta—And How Atlanta Remade Professional Sports SABR Bio Glavine's hockey draft Hall of Famer Glavine showing off his grips

Tom Niedenfuer (#242)

Is there a German word for an athlete who has won a championship, but is better known for a moment of epic failure? Find out! 

Card 242 on Beckett King of Kong on Amazon Prime Jack Buck, Game 5, 1985 NLCS, "Go Crazy, Folks!" Tom's comments on the 2020 baseball owner/labor negotiations

John Tudor (#792)

What to buy for the pitcher in your life who already has it all, including a World Series ring? A king's crown? Scuba gear? Or a cherry red 1988 Pontiac Firebird?

Card on Beckett Mailbag: Andrew Chafin's new car John Tudor SABR Bio by Rory Costello

Ron Robinson (#81/517)

He is a winner, watch him glimmer
Like the sunset from a ship's mast!
He's really red, but he's not dead
Ron Robinson's on the podcast! The podcast!

Card 81 and 517  1988 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championships Intro and Full Video Alan Thicke, "Sweaty and Hot" Key and Peele parody  Ron Robinson's near-perfect game Lost in the Ninth Ron Freakin' Robinson T-Shirt

Joey Meyer (#312)

So many questions: 1) Can a 26-year-old rookie really be a "Future Star?" 2) Did that homer really go 582 feet? 3) Where is Joey's chair? Your intrepid hosts travel the globe to find answers, as well as some thirst-quenching Molson beer. 

Card 312 on Beckett Follow-up: Fulton County Stadium fire SABR bio on Joey by Rory Costello Famous alumni of Punahou School The home run. Watch this! Dr. Alan Nathan on baseball behavior at high altitude

Fred McGriff (#463/729)

Andy from High Heat Stats returns to help the 1988 Topps Podcast take a bite out of crime. 

Card #463 on Beckett Card #729 Blue Jays Leaders on Beckett SABR Bio of McGriff by Peter Gordon 1988 Topps Blog on McGriff Tom Emanski Defensive Drills on ESPN High Heat Stats Website and Twitter

Ron Kittle (#259, 58T)

When this bomber steps to the plate, rooftops, 2x4s, steel beams, and nacho plates all cower in fear. White Sox fans, this is one you've been waiting for. 

Card 259 on Beckett  Card 58T on Beckett RonKittle.com Ron's Rooftop History by Soxnerd Ball 9 Article about Ron's 50-homer season by Kevin Czerwinski The Great Ones Cheers for Ron at the 1983 All-Star Game

Neil Allen (#384)

Season 2! 

Matt and David learn that when, at age 8, you meet your favorite player at a card show, you feel like a kid in a candy store. Joined by guest Mark Simon (Sports Info Solutions and formerly of ESPN Baseball Tonight!)


Card on Beckett 1980 Topps #94 2019 Interview with Howie Rose Neil Allen on SABR by Thomas J. Brown Jr. Allen's alcoholism in the Chicago Tribune Coaching career in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune The Yankees Index by Mark Simon "Neil Allen was a good Met, too" by Mark Simon "Best Games I Know" by Mark...

Tom Nieto (#317)

Join guest Andrew from @PaintedCap on a tour of Taiwan, an epic painted cap card, and the awkwardly-named Chinese Professional Baseball League. Will Ultraman join the Uni-Lions cheerleaders in a victory dance? Find out!  


Card on Beckett Nazo No Sakana Mystery Fish Glove Andrew's book, Colonial Project, National Game: A History of Baseball in Taiwan (ZLibrary) Tim Melville and Ultraman celebrate Tim's no-hitter Sababoy, the Milkfish 1987 Topps Tom Nieto Painted Cap Tom's card with Dr. Dirt

Steve Sax (#305)

In 1991, The Simpsons made this All-Star 2B an offer he couldn't refuse. But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Saxy boy? Also, Barney was right: Britain's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston. 


Card on Beckett Peak Sax The Simpsons Episode 3.17: "Homer at the Bat" Talkin' Softball Dystonia on Mayo Clinic

Mike Dunne (#619)

This week's episode of 1988 Topps Ghost Hunters has it all: an All-Star Rookie pitcher, a pioneering woman who founded Bradley University, a scary story about an insane asylum, and an Italian restaurant chain. Spooky! 

Link to 1988 Topps Card on Beckett Mike Dunne 1985 Topps Team USA Card 1988 Topps Mike Dunne babyface Big Card The "Best Trade in Pirates History" "The Wailing Elm of Peoria State Hospital"

Mark Grace (#42T)

In the 1990s, you could count on two things with this player: he'd get a hit during the day game, and he'd be a hit during the night game. Plus, a visit with lifelong Cubs fan and Matt's Father-in-Law, Bill!

Link to Card on Beckett Mark Grace in "Taking Care of Business" Grace serving up David Ross' first HR RIP Grant Jackson

Kent Tekulve (#543)

A lanky, awkward-looking submarine-thrower from Ohio ends up as the star reliever for a famous Pittsburgh Family. Trust us, you're gonna lose control when the Rubberband Man starts to jam. 

Card on Beckett "Rubberband Man" on YouTube and Spotify The Look of Teke 1979 World Series, Bottom 8 and Bottom 9 and Locker Room Celebration Stargell Stars  Kent Tekulve and Lynn Swann on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Ken Phelps (#182)

Yankee fans remember the trade, Seinfeld fans remember the reference, but when comes to this guy's power hitting abilities and moustache—they're real, and they're spectacular. 

Main card and big card on Beckett The look, and the evolution Nazo No Sakana's new smash hit Seinfeld clip Ken, Jay Buhner, and Jerry Stiller discuss the show and the trade Ken homering to break up a 26-out perfect game

Jim Walewander (#106)

While it's true that Jim Walewander would be viewed as "norm-core" by today's alternative standards, the 1998 Topps Podcast does feel that unironically listening to Dead Milkmen in 2021 classifies one as "weird."

Link to Card on Beckett  1988 MLB Video (cued up to the important part!) Interview with Jim by chinmusic.com Jim's autographed card art! Article on Defector Jim's Wikipedia page Punk Rock Girl by Dead Milkmen (top listens on Spotify)  Big Lizard by Dead Milkmen (played in the show)

Pascual Perez #647

The most entertaining Expo ever lit a fire that burned bright, but was snuffed out far too soon.

Card 647 on Beckett Display of all of Pascual's cards The Perez brothers in SI Poster of Perimeter Perez Video: Throwing into the Cubs dugout and Don Zimmer losing his shit Video: Andre Dawson taking a softball cut at the Pascual Ball Video: Truly epic brawl with the Padres Video: Expos highlights of Pascual in French Video: Pascual highlights set to "Eye of the Tiger" Pascual's obituary in Grantland

Steve Lombardozzi #697

A World Series hero gets dissed, and The Cradle of Quarterbacks is avenged.

Card on Beckett West Bromwich Albion Boiler Man Perdue Pete v Gene Keady Do you need a hero? 1987 World Series Twins highlight reel "Gainesville, Rock City" by Less than Jake, which Matt vetoed Fight on Dan Gladden's front lawn

Gary Thurman (#89)

The Topps standardized test makers unleash a logic puzzle for the ages. Luckily, Andy from High Heat Stats joins the show to save the day!

Card on Beckett High Heat Stats on Twitter Andy's post about this card on the 88 Topps Blog Interview at 21 Greatest Days Interview at Clubhouse Conversation Hal McRae's tirade


Gerald Perry (#39/549)

After a case of mistaken identity, we jerry-rigged this Perry show as a herald of maximum Gerald.  

We took Satan to court, and the verdict rang out: Theft...of 42 bases!

Card 39 and 549 on Beckett 88Topps blog post on Braves leaders card Mookie Betts Project 70 Jackie Robinson Project 70 Gerald vs. Satan? Bill Lucas The Strange Career of Gerald Perry

Rick Reuschel (#660)

If you believe the stats, this Big Daddy belongs in the Hall. And no, we don't mean Blanche Deveraux's father. 

Special Guest: Adam Darowski of Hall of Stats! 

Card on Beckett Follow-up: McGwire/McDowell 1984 Team USA pic Big League Brothers! 1977 Topps #634 Hall of Stats Stathead search of pitchers with positive ERA+, but a losing record SI Cover Model Rick Reuschel: A True Giant Bo Knows Rick

Oddibe McDowell (#617)

The star of the 1984 Olympic team finds Major League left-handers—and a butter knife—too much to handle. 

Card on Beckett Follow-Up: Jennie Garth wins big on the Wheel Maybe the best jersey in collegiate baseball history?  The 1984 baseball Dream Team MCDOWELL CUTS FINGER An Oral History of Oddibe McDowell's Water Bill Coach McDowell with star student

Don Carman (#415)

What happens when you drive across the country to meet your childhood hero, and it turns out he's—gasp—a human being?!

With special guest, Dr. Brad Balukjian, author of The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball's Afterlife. 


Card on Beckett Book excerpt from the chapter about Don (The Athletic $) 89 Phillies Post-Mortem  Don's list of canned answers to boring news reporter questions Don answers his fan mail, 15 years later The Wax Pack Book on Twitter Pandemic Baseball Book Club ...

Floyd Youmans (#365)

A contemporary of Doc Gooden doesn't match Gooden's success—or fall from grace. And that's...maybe ok? 

Come on, Papa! Make yourself pretty and put on your hat. We'll eat fries and chocolate and listen to podcasts!

Card on Beckett Les Expos sont là Floyd's statistical domination of July 1987 2015 interview as an Uber driver Jimmie C Gardner's story

Find the 1988 Topps Spotify playlist here!

Tony Bernazard #122

A second baseman has a good run in the majors and in Japan, but things backfire in the Mets front office when he tries out some unusual motivational techniques. 

At the 1988 Topps Podcast, it's as easy as ABC: Always. Be. Collecting.

Follow-up: Don Sutton threatens lawsuit Bernazard Card on Beckett Tony vs. Hall of Fame pitching Ridiculous Omar Minaya press conference Chiba Lotte Marines mascot signs record deal --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/1988topps/message

Don Sutton (#575)

While this Hall of Famer's pitches lacked heat, he compensated for it with his command and cool curls. 

Plus, a tribute to Hank Aaron, the greatest home run hitter of all time.  

Card on Beckett Don Sutton's Hall of Fame Speech SABR Bio Project  PERM / NO PERM Mike Brady with his perm Match Game with Don, Betty White, and Charles Nelson Reilly --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/1988topps/message

Dickie Noles (#768)

A hard-throwing pitcher finds success by playing chin music, but ultimately finds redemption through sobriety. And, what happens when the podcast you're listening to is also the podcast to be named later? Bar fights and recursion abound. NOW WITH TIGERS.

Card on Beckett YouTube of The Pitch Dickie describes The Pitch Baseball HOF article on Dickie --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/1988topps/message

Jody Reed (#152)

Robbed of AL Rookie of the Year honors, this versatile infielder was also robbed of $5 million by poor negotiating. 

Ain't no sense in goin' home!  1988 Topps got your girl and gone.


Card on Beckett What's up with his hat Johnny Taylor "Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone" YouTube and Spotify Dwayne Schintzius' mullet Jody Reed profile at Florida State University Jody and Morgan Magic

--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/1988topps/message

Joe and Phil Niekro (#5/#473)

Take everything you thought you knew about knuckleballers and throw it right out the window. 


Record Breakers card on Beckett Joe's card on Beckett Joe in the classic Astros jersey MUST WATCH: The Ejection of Joe Niekro Joe on David Letterman: "Do I look like a doctor?" Phil Niekro on David Letterman The Defenestrations of Prague  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/1988topps/message

Paul Noce (#542)

A journeyman in the minors finally makes it to The Show, then ends up in an exclusive society: The Jamie Quirk Club.

Thanks for listening in 2020! We put a pretty big dent in the set of 792 cards. Requests and feedback welcomed on Twitter @Topps1988 or our Facebook Page, just search 1988 Topps. 


Card on Beckett About Paul on Greatest 21 Days and another excellent card! The Brawl with the Padres Article on SABR Coaching Tip of the Day by Paul Noce

--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/1988...

Dennis Eckersley (#72)

One of the best pitchers of his generation battles fear, the bottle, and family tragedy on his way to the Hall of Fame. Cheese for the kitchen and a yakker for the kudo.  


Card on Beckett Peter Gammons, "One Eck of a guy" OMG that #look  Eck talking on-air about his ex-wife and ex-friend Richard Marx "Take This Heart" For the stats-heads: check out Eck's 1988-1992 stats  SABR: "The last 1000-100 man" Eck pitches to Gibson, 30 years later

Garth Iorg (#273)

Pop Quiz: 

1) Without looking it up, pronounce "IORG"

2) Name your Top 5 Garths.


Card on Beckett What is up with this stance Pronunciation of "Iorg" comes from The New York Times so you know it's right Of Gareths and Garths  Garth Brooks playing "Callin Baton Rouge" on the Ellen Show Garth Cale Iorg, Son of Garth "OK Blue Jays," an OK Canadian song "Tom Sawyer," an excellent one

Tony Peña (#410/351)

How a poor kid from the Dominican Republic kept a knee on the ground and kept reaching for the stars. 


Tony Peña Card 410 on Beckett St. Louis Cardinals Team Leaders Card 351 on Beckett The Tony Peña Story by Joe Posnanski The Stance Tony wearing some nice glasses The life of Red Schoendienst

Rey Quiñones (#358)

What do you get when you cross a flameout shortstop prospect with 1850's American Literature? Tune in and find out on the 1988 Topps Podcast! 


Card on Beckett   Dorktown Writeup of Rey on SABR Nintendo Power, no longer a magazine, but of course in 2020 is a podcast Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville Quotes by Henry David Thoreau on Goodreads

Steve Jeltz (#126)

A beloved Phillies shortstop who couldn't hit, but he sure did shine. 


Card on Beckett Phillies fans LOVE Steve Jeltz 1988 Donruss Steve Jeltz (ft. Juan Samuel) Coming to America and Coming 2 America (IMDB) Steve Jeltz should be in the French Baseball Hall of Fame (Bleacher Report) Hidden Ball Trick in action Steve Jeltz Power Surge