Mike Loynd

March 29, 2011

According to the Gods: a 2011 Team-By-Team Preview

Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers won the American League pennant last year, and a rational prediction of their chances this year would have to take that recent success into account. But rational is not how things work here. Here the idea, based on nothing, is that the 2011 Rangers squad will resemble the thoughts that arise from the consideration of 1987 card of someone named Mike Loynd.

I got this Mike Loynd card last year in a pack that came with a copy of the book Mint Condition that the book’s author, Dave Jamieson, sent to me. Near the beginning of the book’s entertaining exploration of the history of baseball cards, Dave locates the center of his own personal connection to baseball cards in the 1987 set, his favorite from childhood. My own childhood came a little earlier, so my first look at the 1987 set occurred when I opened the pack that came with Dave’s book. The pack had a piece of ancient gum inside it. I had never opened a pack of baseball cards with gum inside and not chewed the gum, but since the gum in question was over twenty years old, I hesitated. Generally speaking, food that old doesn’t do wonders for the human body. The thought occurred to me, What if I eat this gum and it kills me? Paradoxically enough, this question is what prompted me finally to put the decrepit gum on my tongue. I figured if I was going to die, I might as well die from gum in a pack of baseball cards.

The gum crumbled instantly from the slightest chewing pressure, and then, instead of reforming from crumbles into a chewable wad, it just dissolved. The jolt of sugar from baseball card gum is to me the primal accompaniment to the stretched moment of discovery of leafing for the first time through a new pack of cards, but in this case the gum was gone but for a stale, pasty aftertaste before I’d looked at more than a couple cards. When I got to this Mike Loynd card, I was vaguely thankful that I wasn’t convulsing on the floor like a poisoned medieval courtesan, but I was also a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to blow one last baseball card gum bubble. This is life, right? Most of the time you have to admit you’d rather be alive than not, but even so there’s a powdery residue on your tongue of some idealization of long gone sweetness. There’s a taste of disappointment.

With that taste on my tongue, I wondered, Mike Loynd?


How to enjoy the 2011 baseball season, part of 20 of 30: Revel in cardboard by reading the aforementioned Mint Condition and by watching MLB Network’s celebration of baseball cards tonight (3/29 at 10 p.m. EST): Cardboard Treasure (I was interviewed for this special, so if MLB TV’s editors are miracle workers you might see shreds of my aimless mumblings from that interview)  


2011 previews so far: St. Louis Cardinals; New York Mets; Philadelphia Phillies; Washington Nationals; Pittsburgh Pirates; Arizona Diamondbacks; Colorado Rockies; New York Yankees; Cleveland Indians; Detroit Tigers; Milwaukee Brewers; Minnesota Twins; Atlanta Braves; Cincinnati Reds; Oakland A’s; Seattle Mariners; Chicago Cubs; Baltimore Orioles; [California] Angels


  1. Strangely, I had been thinking about this guy. I follow UCLA baseball and the Bruins have two stud pitchers, Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, but they don’t have a lot of wins because UCLA hasn’t hit all that well. However, I remembered that there was a guy who won 20 games in college and then washed out in the big leagues. And it was this guy: Mike Loynd.

  2. Yes, much is made of Mike Loynd’s college heroics on the back of this card.

  3. This guy’s nickname should have been Typo. Boy, that surname is hard to read!

  4. As happened not infrequently, Loynd was severely overworked the year he won 20 games.

  5. Shred indeed! What did you get, maybe 5 seconds? What a rip!

  6. I didn’t get a chance to see the special. Eh, less is probably more, in terms of on-screen time for me–I don’t remember being especially eloquent during the interview. I feel bad they flew a guy all the way out to Chicago to do the interview.

  7. I was involved in a lunchtime Strat-O-Matic league at work in 1988 (with cards from the 1987 season) and I have no recollection of Mike Loynd. Once I looked up his stats I understand why he would not have been on my radar, nor a player on any of our teams.

  8. The MLB Baseball Special about Topps baseball cards is schedule to air again on April 4th and 10th.

  9. It’s strange that they don’t put the player’s position on the card. Solely based on how he looks, I would have guessed he was a third baseman, a scrub not even good enough to beat out Steve Buechele.

    Looking at other Topps serieseses from this era, it looks like 86 was the last year they had the player’s position on the front. It came back in 91.

  10. I have one memory of Mike Loynd as a major leaguer. It was this quote, which I think I read in the Sporting News or Sports Illustrated (my Google Archives search found it in the 7/27/86–the day before my twelfth birthday–edition of the Boston Globe):

    …Ranger rookie Mike Loynd, a man with 31 pro innings, beat Phil Niekro, 7-3, Thursday. Loynd was Texas’ seventh-round draft pick last month and didn’t like Texas picking Kevin Brown in the first round. “He’s not a pitcher,” said the cocky Loynd. “I couldn’t believe they picked Kevin Brown so high. I was thinking of quitting baseball. That’s ridiculous.”…

    In this case, the scouts were correct…

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