Card thoughts: Topps issued lots of Turn Back the Clock subsets in the late 80s and early 90s, possibly taking advantage of the fact they held some very historic copyrights. Topps always tried to compete with the other card sets on "tradition," hence these subsets.
As for the card: This card was never issued. Valenzuela's base card that year was a "Dodgers Rookies" card, that also included #146 Jack Perconte and Mike Scioscia. His traded card looks like this. This card is obviously from the same photo session, but why do this mock up instead of using the real card?
Rear guard: 1981 might be termed "The Year of the Strike." That year's strike, which occurred during the middle of the season (when offense is usually paramount), no doubt skewed the stats that year. Major League teams allowed an average of 4 runs per nine innings that year. In contract, the 2013 season, which was also considered a low offense season, 4.17 runs per 9 were allowed.
All the players mentioned on the back, with the exception of Keith Drumright and Jerry Remy, have cards in this set. Remy retired in 1984, and Drumright only had 141 career at bats (although he hit .291 in 1981).
What happened on this day in 1981 (now 33 years ago)?
- I was singing "The Inventor Song" in Mrs. Wherli's kindergarten class.
- The 1981 Kosovo protests began at the University of Pristina. The initial complaint was bad cafeteria food, but morphed into a nationalist protest (Kosovo was then part of Yugoslavia)
- In baseball, Rube Foster and Johnny Mize were elected to the hall of fame
- The top rated TV show was Dallas; the top song that week was I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt; and the top movie was The Funhouse, a horror movie directed by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) which I bet nobody remembers.