Sunday, November 1, 2020

From the Favorites Box: Charlie Moore, 1986 Topps #137

A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here. 

Here's an example of excellent timing:

On that day at the ballpark, a Topps photographer had the camera aimed at Charlie Moore and clicked the shutter at just the right moment. 

The veteran catcher is about to unleash a throw toward what looks like third base. His cage is already off (note the soft baseball capold school). Dirt is being kicked up around home plate. The runner must be scurrying to the bag in a panic, knowing a laser beam will be headed toward the third baseman's open glove in an instant.

And for those of you who like a classic powder-blue uniform, you've got that here as well.

As for the man on the card, Charlie Moore was a utility guy of sorts: catcher, outfield, designated hitter. Over his 15-year career he even played a few innings at second and third base, with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage (three chances, three assists).

His best year came in 1983, when playing mostly the outfield he set highs in games played (151), plate appearances (605), and a whole bunch of offensive categories: 150 H, 27 2B, 49 RBI, 11 SB, 55 BB.

But since this particular card features him as a catcher in action, here's one more stat: For his career, Mr. Moore would throw out a total of 272 base runners at a clip of 36%. That total of 272 puts him ahead of names like Todd Hundley, Ron Hassey, and Ozzie Virgil. The percentage puts him ahead of names like Brad Ausmus, Mike Scioscia, and Tony Pena.

Let's get back to that card now. Look at the image once again, but try this:

Take the baseball out of his right hand and replace it with a spear. Take the mitt off his left hand and replace it with a shield. 

You'd practically be in ancient Greece. 

And there you'd surely see Charlie Moore's pose painted on pottery and set in sculpture.

It's something, isn't it? The field of battle might be different, but Moore is a still a warrior on that card. And if you're the kind of sports fan who keeps a personal Mount Olympus of athletes, then Charlie Moore could be an Olympian in the original sense of the word.

For a timeless pose that reminds us of the feeling of excitement that sport has brought—and will always continue to bring—1986 Topps #137 has a spot in my box of favorite cards.


  1. I don't hate this card design at all. I know a lot of people complain about the junk wax era, but this stuff is pure gold to me.

    1. Same for me, Sumo. Last year I even posted a blog entry about the 1986 set and all its charm.

  2. Excellent imagination and write up! I'd like this design more if the team font was a bit smaller with less black border. It messes with my eyes, taking away from the photo area. Thank you Niner, for the excellent Coke panel. I have a complete set of separated cards, a couple still 'sealed' but this is the first opened 'flat' in my collection. It looks great!

    1. That big, colorful team font against the black border does hit you hard, I agree. But you can't blame Topps -- it was 1986, after all!

      And you're very welcome for the Tigers/Coke panel. Glad it has a place in your collection!

  3. Awesome card. I can totally picture him with the spear and shield. There are a lot of cool actions shots in 1986 Topps. My favorite is another catcher... Tony Pena.

    1. Thanks Fuji! The catchers in general got a lot of love in the '86 set. Randy Hunt and Glenn Brummer are just two other examples.

  4. Great post as always with this series! Really is a fantastic photograph, and I love the job you did of imagining Charlie as an ancient warrior. I will certainly think of this post whenever I encounter this card in the future, awesome stuff!