Card of the Day: 1992 Topps Jim Leyland

Today’s Card of the Day subject has nothing to do with the history from this date, though I’m sure you could find a connection if you went through boxscores from the 1986-96 seasons.

This is the first appearance here for manager Jim Leyland. He led the Pirates to an 851-863 record over his 11 seasons. He took over a 100-loss club and helped turn them into a team that won three straight National League East division titles. Through little fault of his own, he was there for the start of the 20-year losing streak. He would go to win a World Series title with the 1997 Florida Marlins, followed by two World Series appearances with the Detroit Tigers.

Leyland is appearing here on his 1992 Topps card. With it being his first appearance in this series, I obviously had plenty of choices. I think I picked a very good one based on the photo and design. Here’s a look at card #141 from the 1992 Topps set.

Here’s the front of the card:

I’ve mentioned numerous times that I really like horizontal layouts in sets where a large majority of the cards are the standard vertical look. That is definitely part of the reason I chose this card, but horizontal layouts tend to lead to better action shots. What could be better than an “in action” card for a manager. There aren’t a lot of cards with managers swinging bats, except back in the day when player-managers happened somewhat often. This photo is outstanding, with the baseball right there, Leyland focused on the ball, about to smoke a double down the line, getting by the outstretched glove of John Wehner.

The 1992 Topps set uses some team colors in the design. You have to love the look of “Pirates” here in the bottom right corner. All of the Pirates players have that yellow/gold band for the name with red letters.

The only thing odd here is that the background is all black. That’s something to remember for when we get to the pricing section…

Here’s the back of the card:

Topps did something interesting here, though it was more specifically for managers. The back here is clearly presented different than the front. That’s not true on all of the 1992 Topps cards. All of the position players have a back presented horizontal, but the managers all have this layout. While the photo quality isn’t great, the look at Three Rivers Stadium is a nice touch.

You can see Leyland’s first two NL East titles with the Pirates, as well as his rough start with the team, as 1985 spilled over some into 1986. You can also see that he played some years in the minors, but never made it to the majors as a player.

As for the pricing here, the most expensive one is $23 (with a best offer option) for an autographed card. Remember what I said about the black background? Yeah, it makes for awful autographs for this card. I would suggest if you want an autographed Leyland card, you get a different card. There’s a gold version of this card, with the “gold” part being the section with his name and the Pirates name on the front of the card. Sometimes I like the gold versions, but not when they take away one of the better aspects of the card design. The gold version and the regular base version can both be had for $2 delivered from multiple sellers.