...cards, that is! Today pitchers and catchers report to Marvale Park baseball complex down in Phoenix, AZ for Brewers spring training. Tomorrow is weigh-ins and eye checks, and Sunday is their first official workout with new head coach Ken Macha.
Last week Spiff over at Texas Rangers Cards sent me a tightly-packed box full of Brew Crew players. He wisely did NOT include an Eric Gagne card, but did include several Molitor cards I didn't have, and even a Yount card not yet found in my collection. Thanks much, Spiff. Your cards went out in the mail this afternoon. Of the many cards he sent, I had a hard time narrowing down the field to the lucky few I'd share with you. Here are the winners...
2008 UD Goudey #109 Yovanni Gallardo, #106 J.J. Hardy
I officially have some competition now. For as long as my wife has known me, she has known how much of a baseball geek I am. Before we were married she was in college down in Charleston, SC and I was stationed out here in Seattle and she'd hear me speak all about how Corey, Brauny, J.J. and Cammy did in the previous game, never really asking too much about the team. Finally, as I was going through this box from Spiff she stopped at the J.J. Hardy card above and said, "Who is THAT?" Damn. Now I have to compete with J.J. Hardy? The guy is a stud. If you caught the article in Sports Illustrated last February when they followed the Brewers around at Spring Training, they showed a picture of him and Corey Hart playing ping pong down in the Arizona sun, w/ Bob Uecker in some short shorts watching the action (and likely calling the play-by-play with the bartender over a couple tall, cool Miller Lites). At any rate, he's quite "sculpted", a bit moreso than myself.
Yovanni is finally healthy again, and should he stay that way he can easily be a 20-game winner for the Crew. We're going to need it this year.
2005 Fleer #316 'Trio Prospects' Ben Hendrickson, Corey Hart, Dave Krynzel
The fine right fielder in the middle is the object of my sister-in-law's affection. I myself can't for the life of me figure out what she finds so appealing about Corey (besides his ridiculous speed). I hope the Brewers figure out what they are doing with him, and soon. They need to lock him into a long-term deal this spring or they are going to lose an amazing baseball player.
2005 Fleer #71 Ben Sheets
2004 Upper Deck Power Up #82 Ben Sheets
Sheets had surgery on his right elbow Tuesday, and hopes to be ready following the All-Star break. As you know, he's not under contract with ANYONE right now, so time will tell what happens with him. Brewers management says nothing is under discussion right now with Sheets' agent. At over $11 million last year for only 12 wins, not worth it. On the other hand, without him and CC we never would have made the playoffs. Milwaukee fans have a lot to thank Ben for, he was with us for many years, but I think we need to move on. I wish him luck, and really hope he's able to sign with somebody this year.
1984 Fleer #204 Pete Ladd, #203 Roy Howell, #212 Ed Romero, #194 Jerry Augustine
Spiff sent me a number of these cards from '84 Fleer (almost the whole team set) but I picked these four due to the large mammals that seem to be sitting on their faces, resting neatly just above the lip. You can't tell due to the color, but Howell is sporting some very respectable handlebar action. Wisconsin native Jerry Augustine, however, was busy keeping the book. He only pitched 6 innings in '84, as you can see he made himself pretty comfortable in the meantime. He played his entire 10-year career for his hometown Brewers, and later would coach the UW-Milwaukee mens baseball team, to much success.
2008 UD Goudey SP #268 Ryan Braun
I love Brauny, and to me he is THE "Hebrew Hammer". No disrespect for Gabe Kapler, he had a helluva season last year with the Crew. But Brauny is my boy. If you haven't seen his interview on Jim Rome's show "Rome is Burning", check it out on YouTube. Adam Carolla is the guest host, and he and Brauny put on a great show. Great card here.
1992 Donruss Triple Play #254 Paul Molitor
1992 Bowman #375 Paul Molitor
Love me some Molitor cards, truly do. It was a sad day when he left Milwaukee for Toronto and the money (and the World Series hardware), but I guess he was smart enough to leave "The Good Land" before the uniforms went to shit in the mid 90's.
1990 Best Cards Stockton Ports #61 Cal Eldred
Back when the Brewers had a minor league team in California (now an Oakland A's affiliate) they saw a number of soon-t0-be big names pass through their gates, including Gary Sheffield, Dan Plesac, Ben Sheets, Geoff Jenkins, Jeff Cirillo, and a one Cal Eldred. This is my new favorite Cal Eldred card, and currently in the mail for some sharpie action.
1993 Score #485 Pat Listach ROTY
1992 Leaf Phenoms #BC-7 Pat Listach
In '92, Listach (also a former Stockton Ports player) beat out Kenny Lofton to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, the first Brewer to do so (until Ryan Braun in '07). His '92 UD card is my favorite, I had that baby in a hard plastic case when I was a kid, 4-screws and all. That case was previously occupied by the 1991 Studio David Justice card, and before that the '88 Topps Jose Canseco 40/40 card. Quite a throne of achievement.
2006 UD All-Time Legends #ATL-12 Robin Yount
No Brewers lot would be complete without a Robin Yount card, and this time it's a nice one. Thanks again, Spiff.