Tuesday, July 22, 2014

1980 TCMA Wisconsin Rapids Baseball #5, Manuel Lunar

Hunting for vintage minor league singles is tricky for modern collectors. No man is an island, and as with Manuel Lunar, it's the guys around you that make the difference.

The story of Manuel Lunar the Pitcher is straight-forward: he spent 3 years in Rookie League and single-A ball, walking more guys than he struck out and compiling a 8.78 ERA in 82 innings (career stats). In any 1980s major league set, he'd be easy to find for a nickel.

The story of Manuel Lunar the #5 Baseball Card is complicated by being teammates with these guys.

Almost any Twins fan would love to add the Olivo / Gaetti / Hrbek trio to their collection. Demand remains high enough for this team set that finding Manuel Lunar would mean ponying up $70+ for all 27 Rapids pictured by TCMA that year.
  1. Sam Arrington
  2. Luis Santos
  3. Robert Mulligan
  4. Larry May
  5. Manuel Lunar
  6. William Lamkey
  7. Bob Konopa
  8. Hal Jackson
  9. Ken Francingues
  10. Conrad Everett
  11. Chris Thomas
  12. Paul Voight
  13. Richard Ray Austin
  14. Glenn Ballard
  15. James Christensen
  16. Manuel Colletti
  17. Gary Gaetti
  18. Kent Hrbek
  19. Kevin Miller
  20. Norberto Molina
  21. Brad Carlson
  22. Matt Henderson
  23. Joe Kubit
  24. Bruce Stocker
  25. Ray Stein
  26. Rich Stelmaszek
  27. Tony Oliva

It stands out (in bold) that Gary Gaetti and Kent Hrbek were the only two from 1980's squad to reach the majors. Gaetti went on play for 20 years and Kent posted a 128 career OPS+. There was also this play:

It's been 20+ years, so I'll just say "LOL" and stop there.

Value: Singles could cost a few dollars, but rarely separate from their pricier team; as of this post, there's a set on eBay for $75.

Fakes / reprints: TCMA reprinted several teams with stars (which might've included Gaetti and Hrbek) as "Collectors Kits" in the late 1980s. Those have black ink backs and originals have blue ink backs.

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