Classic card of the week
1988 Topps Phillies Leaders
Here is one of my all-time favorite “team leaders” cards, because it shows two Phillies’ stalwarts - Mike Schmidt and Kevin Costner - doing just that...leading. Of course, these two guys weren’t leaders in the “rah-rah” sense, or even the statistical sense (if so, Juan Samuel would have certainly replaced Costner). They led more by example. Or, just by squatting. “This is how you squat, rookies! Now get me some sunflower seeds!” Schmidt was overheard saying shortly after this photo was taken. (To which Costner replied, “Yeah, listen to Schmidtty!”)
It is only appropriate that Topps sampled the “dream sequence” borders for this series, because when I was young, I used to see this card in my sleep, mainly because there were at least four in every pack. It remains uncertain as to how, exactly, Costner got his hands on a Phillies uniform, although this was around the time of “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams,” when Costner had convinced himself that he actually was a Major League Baseball player. (Kind of like how Sly Stallone still thinks he’s a real boxer.) There are still conflicting reports as to what incident these two guys are in the process of leading the Phillies through. Some say it’s a pitching change. Others say a squirrel was on the field. I say it was during “God Bless America,” and Schmidt was pulling a Carlos Delgado. That unpatriotic son of a bitch. Some leader. At least Costner took his hat off.
Did you know?
Mike Schmidt's retirement speech is often aired on the Lifetime Network. It's true!