Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dennis Martinez, 1981 Topps #367

That's right, he's Dennis. Not "Denny". Have you ever heard anyone call him "Denny"? This guy is Denny. So is he. I'll even include this Denny. But #30 up there is now, and has always been, Dennis Martinez. Well, either Dennis or "El Presidente". This has been one of my greatest pet peeves as a card collector. Year after year, the Powers That Be at Topps arbitrarily shortened Dennis Martinez to "Denny" Martinez. Every other card company got it right, so why couldn't the original?

It wasn't just Dennis that Topps worked their perverse magic on. Take Benito Santiago, the All-Star catcher with the cannon arm. His name was downright lyrical; it rolled off the tongue. But not for Topps, who soiled his good name, making him the comical and childlike "Benny" Santiago. At least in his case, Topps eventually saw the error of their ways, conferring Benito status upon him near the end of his career.

Most egregious was the case of former Red Sox pitcher Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. Here was a charismatic player with a great nickname - In Boyd's native Mississippi, beer was known as "oil", and he apparently had a reputation as quite a drinker. As we've seen, Topps is fond of bestowing nicknames upon players, so surely they'd acknowledge this one, right? After all, Donruss did. Nope, no dice. Say hello to (yawn) Dennis Boyd. Gee, I wonder why they didn't just call him "Denny" Boyd?

So welcome to Orioles Card "O" the Day, Dennis Martinez. Don't worry; you'll always be "Dennis" here.


Anonymous said...


I grew up just outside Baltimore in the late 70's and early 80's, and I always referred to him as Denny Martinez, but looking back, I think that must have been Topps fault. Old Orioles team photos say Dennis, all the autographs I have say Dennis (including one on the 1981 card you have pictured), and I even have the program from 1983 where I watched Dennis (as listed in the program) picked up the win against the A's - yet I still thought he went by Denny.

Who knew how much power Topps wielded, especially with their card monopoly back in the days before the internet and cable/satellite TV.

Tim in NOLA

Kinky Paprika said...

Still not as egregious as all those '60s cards featuring "Bob Clemente."

I imagine that, had Jose Canseco come along in the '50s or '60s, his Topps cards would have called him "Joey Canseco."

For what it's (not) worth, 1981 Topps was the first set I can remember collecting a lot of, and to this day it's a favorite design of mine.