Tom Lampkin – 1990 Topps

September 7, 2010

“There Were Way Too Many Cards Per Set In The Junk Wax Era, Vol. 2″

Until Upper Deck went for broke and issued gazillion card sets (a card issued for every game in the season? Really?) Topps’ 792 card sets of the junk era were the symbols of largesse.

So how did they fill so many cards in a set? By giving cards to guys like Tom Lampkin.

Again, I love the scrubs and subs that make up the commons. And I know it’s common to give a card for a hot rookie prospect who didn’t see time in the majors the year before.

But this is not that kind of card.

Lampkin had a very long career as a backup catcher. He could catch, throw, spit sunflower seeds, and not grumble about seeing Dan Wilson get all of the playing time. Lampkin did have turns as the semi-regular catcher for a horrible Giants team, some bleah Cards teams, and he ended his career with a Padres team that resembled their early 70’s brethren.

Lampkin got the most starts of his career at age 38 for that Padres team that also featured Ron Gant, Bubba Trammell, Phil Nevin, and Ray Lankford. That would have been a great team in 1997 or so, but not 2003!

So it’s not like Lampkin wasn’t a major league catcher. He was. But not in 1989. He spent that entire year at Colorado Springs in AAA for the Indians, alongside other catching greats as Mark Salas, Danny Sheaffer and Ron Tingley. He did get 5 plate appearances for the Tribe in 1988, but nothing in 1989.

In 1989, Cleveland’s catchers were Andy Allanson and Joel Skinner. Salas caught a few innings in a cameo, and Tom Magrann bounded up from Akron to go 0-10. So it wasn’t like Bench, Berra or Piazza were in front of Lampkin. I would have thought that perhaps the AAA catchers for that squad weren’t going to be considered for the bigs by Cleveland.

Maybe Topps was swayed by the .321 average at Colorado Springs? Yet, that is a notorious hitters park in a hitters league.

Maybe Topps just needed someone, anyone, who had a picture in a major league uniform to fill out the set.

He did have those red batting gloves, though. That’s the ticket!


One Response to “Tom Lampkin – 1990 Topps”

  1. […] Way Too Many Cards Per Set In The Junk Wax Era“, highlighting cards given to guys that played few or no games in the given year, or even never appeared in the big […]

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