Saturday, August 16, 2008

Life Before The Strike #3

Today I woke up at the crack of dawn...well, it was around 8am. I was on a mission today. I had recently read about a top baseball card shop in Seattle, and I was determined to make it there for the unlocking of the door at 11am to begin scouring the stacks.

If you're not familiar with the Seattle/Puget Sound area, here's a quick summary: lots of water. I live on the west side of Puget Sound, Seattle lies on the east side of the sound. That means a 1-hour ferry ride to review the list of cards I'm looking for today, and a chance to put the iPod on shuffle and enjoy the tunes. Not only that, a great opportunity for "people watching". I'm a fan. I enjoy human behavior, and the special dynamic of diverse social groups in a small setting. Today in Seattle, by the way, was the 2008 Hemp Fest...needless to say, the crowd on the ferry this morning was very interesting.

3 hours and 25 minutes after leaving my house, I finally arrived at the card shop. My adventure began. 4 hours, and countless boxes and stacks and rows of cards later, I departed the shop, jumped on the bus, and headed back to the ferry terminal. I grabbed a beer while waiting for the ferry, it was 92 degrees in Seattle today and I was damn thirsty.

I was able to cross off a good number of cards on my list, as well as picking up some rather odd finds and sentimental additions to my collection. Here's a smattering of the day's plunder.

1961 Post #57 Harvey Kuenn
This is a special card for two reasons. First and foremost, Harvey Kuenn was the manager of the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, the first and only playoff team in franchise history. "Harvey's Wallbangers" as they were known lost the World Series in 7 games to St. Louis that year. This card shows Kuenn in 1960, the only year he played for the Cleveland Indians (he was traded to the Giants during that season).

1982 Donruss #531 San Diego Chicken
Yesteryear mascot of the Padres, the San Diego Chicken was beloved by fans in Southern California for years. The back of the card is the best, listing career stats for the Chicken:
-Career Batting Average: .000 ('goose eggs')
-Signed in 1974 for an undisclosed amount of chickenfeed
-has been 'farmed' out on several occasions
-better than all in baseball today in hitting fowl balls, scratch hits, and calling bawks
-1982 season goal of being named M.V.P. (Most Valuable Poultry)
Thanks, Donruss.1991 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #91 Don Majikowski
The "Majik" Man was a huge hit in the state of Wisconsin during the first part of the 1990's. He showed poise, ability, and sex appeal. I had a poster of Don growing up, he was seated on a motorcycle (a Milwaukee-made Harley Davidson) on a dark, street corner wearing a leather jacket and a face decorated with his signature eye black. He was injured during the 1992 season, and we all know the rest...backup QB Brett Favre came in, and took the reigns for the next 16 years.

1990 Topps #214 Terry Francona
Now most widely known as the manager to break the "Curse of the Bambino" and lead the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years, few remember him as a player...and far fewer remember him as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. In fact, he only played in 3 games for the Brewers that season.
1977 Topps #439 Gorman Thomas
"Stormin' Gorman" was a member of Harvey's Wallbangers, and key player in the lore I was raised on as a kid. He ended up stiking out to Bruce Sutter for the final out of the World Series in '82. Here's an earlier card showing him without his wonderful face fur he sported for the rest of his career.
This card also features some great illustration that has been lost in recent years with regard to baseball cards. They just don't make 'em like they used to.

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