Category Archives: Kent Tekulve

1988 Topps Revco League Leaders

 1988 Revco Tekulve1988 Revco Tekulve Back

Set Type: Primary
Card dimensions: 2½” x 3½”
Additional Information/14,000 Phillies Commentary: One of the many 33-card box sets produced by Topps throughout the mid-to-late ’80s. Topps produced this set for the Revco drug store retail chain. SCD’s 2011 Standard Catalog simply lists the set as “1988 Revco,” which is interesting because Fleer also produced a boxed set for Revco that year.

Some day, when my son is old enough, I will explain to him that when I was his age, the major card companies each only produced one set per year, and that finding these box sets was the closest we came to “chase” cards. In fact, I didn’t properly acquire all the Phillies from the various Topps and Fleer box sets until sometime during the late ’90s. Thanks to eBay, I know now how overproduced they really were — especially given the overwhelmingly regional distribution of so many of the sets — and that most of them can still be had for the same price it cost to buy them when they were new. Frequently, you can get them for less.

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Juan Samuel
Kent Tekulve
Steve Bedrosian
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Penmanship and the Modern Ballplayer, Part I

Featured Cards: 2008 Upper Deck Heroes Autographs Beige #138, Mike Schmidt; 2003 Topps Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-RR, Robin Roberts; 1999 Fleer Greats of the Game Autographs (no #), Curt Simmons; 2007 Topps Heritage Real Ones Autographs #ROA-JL; Joe Lonnett; 2003 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #RO-EM, Eddie Mayo; 2004 Topps Originals Signatures (no #), 1987 Topps Kent Tekulve

As we all get older, it gets progressively easier to assume the role of the grumpy old man who keeps yelling at kids for playing their music too loud or for cutting across his lawn. For sports fans, the equivalent is talking about how players from the previous generations were better and/or respected the game more than today’s breed of athlete. That’s why I was somewhat surprised many years ago when Mike Schmidt made his comments about the Steroid Era. Rather than make the easy (grumpy old man) statement epitomized by players such as Bob Feller, Schmidt admitted he likely would have used steroids, given the money players could earn and the pressure to produce the best numbers possible. It was the reasoned, deeply considered realization of a former player who, while acknowledging the emotional aspect of the controversy, was honest with himself about the choice he might have made if he played during the late ’90s.

His honesty regarding steroids gives him some leeway in regards to his comments this past October regarding the signatures of today’s ballplayers. Yes, it’s easy to say that he sounded like a grumpy old man when he asked, “Since when did the signatures of today’s celebrity athletes become worse than your local physician’s scrawl on a prescription slip?” But, he had a point. Today’s autographs are an absolute mess, and while I’ll almost certainly continue to collect Phillies autographs, I have grown frustrated with the degradation in the quality of player’s signatures, in particular, over the past 10 years.

Schmidt, while discussing the specifics surrounding his question, mentioned the signatures of the athletes of his childhood, noted, “I was 12 years old in 1962. I’m looking at these cards now… I was given the autographs 50 years ago of these famous golfers and I still have them. I can read them. You could read them.” The same is true of the Phillies of the time — take a look at the following autographs.

I’d like to note, based on the year these certified autograph cards were issued, that these men were still impressively signing in a legible manner well into their senior citizen years. Roberts was 76 when he signed that card; Simmons, 70, Lonnett, 79; and Mayo, 89. Please take the time to remember this as you see some of the autographs later in this series of posts. Also note that Simmons’s signature is unusually “sloppy” for players of this period, but it’s still recognizable.

Thankfully, players from that era all the way through the the ’90s were, for the most part, just as conscientious when it came to signing their names. As players up through that time started taking part in certified autograph releases, it was obvious that many of them continued to take a certain amount of pride in their penmanship. Somewhat paradoxically, however, many of them actually started signing after the rise of the certified autograph issue in the mid ’90s, which was when the noticeable decline in the quality of signatures of today’s ballplayers really began to take place.

Later this week, the 1996 Leaf Signature Series sets: a harbringer of what was to come.

1987 Fleer Baseball’s Exciting Stars

Set Type: Primary
Card dimensions: 2½” x 3½”
Additional Information: One of the many 44-card box sets produced by Fleer throughout the mid ’80s. Fleer produced this set for the Cumberland Farms chain. This is the only such set produced by Fleer in ’87 that does not include Mike Schmidt.

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Von Hayes
Kent Tekulve