Recently, I did a trade with Dan over at Saints of the Cheap Seats, sending him a modest amount of the Jim Thome, Grady Sizemore, and Omar Vizquel cards in my collection (along with the lone Denard Span card I had). Apparently his son collects himself some Denard Span, but alas, the only one I had was from the '08 Topps set. Regardless, his father is doing him one of the solidest solids a father could do for his son - not only teaching him to love the greatest game of all, but planting a seed from the plant of baseball card collecting. One day, this little seed will grow into a full-fledged addiction that short of a twelve-step program, will certainly force this boy into a world of ridicule, isolation, and interweb blogosphere. Good luck, young lad.
To fulfill his end of the trade, Dan send me a flat rate BOX, postal service style, inside housing two boxes packed full of cards. All totalled, he sent me more than 460 cards, all of which were ideally suited to my needs. Dan took the liberty of sending me, as he originally put it in his email, a "bunch of cards from your wantlists". You sir, are a man among men. Keep up the great job you're doing in sharing baseball with your son. You are truly doing the Lord's work.
Here are some of the cards Dan sent me...a smattering, if you will, of the cardboard goodness.
1987 Topps#472 Bill Doran - I don't remember this guy from my childhood (yes, my childhood. I may not have any hair left on my head, but I was still a child during the late 80's). I do, however, vividly recall the third baseman from the fictional Cleveland Indians' team that won the ALCS and went on to the World Series in the movie "Major League"...Roger Dorn. For some reason, every time I see a Doran card, I think of Dorn. And his hot wife. Mmmm....
#558 Greg Gagne - I grew up in Wisconsin, but unfortunately my hometown was in the Minneapolis/St. Paul media market. As a result, the only games we were able to watch on TV were the Twins games. That's right - thanks Dad for not giving us the gift of Cable TV. My cousins with a huge 20-ft dish in their backyard were able to watch the Brewers games. The hidden gift, though, was that it gave my father a reason to take us to the Metrodome more often, every time the Brewers were in town. At any rate, Gagne was a player I was quite familiar with as a child. Added bonus? My 3rd grade penpal was from our sister city of Somerset, Mass...hometown of Greg Gagne. See, if you're patient enough, it comes back full circle folks. Like a freakin merry-go-round.
From the 150 or so '88 Topps cards that Dan sent me, these are a couple of the best. I love this set - great colors (which actually match the teams' colors), bold text, and a solid and simple presentation. Here we see two great baseball dads - Ken Griffey, and Cal Ripken. This was the year before Junior came onto the secene, so you see no suffix included on his card. He looks more like Jr in this photo, though, than he did back on the '76 Topps card of his. Weird.
Aww, the art of airbrushing. Perhaps a lost art, thanks to the great folks at Adobe and their demon of a product, PhotoShop. Gone are the days of cards that in no way looked like a photo, with the exception of the middle of their face. Dave and Tito here represent the two best airbrushed cards in the '88 Topps set. Note to you: check out the wantlist and help me finish! And say hi to your brother Tito for me...
I now officially make my entry into Motherscratcher's Subhelmet Hat Alliance. Here are two fine examples, in Danny Tartabull and Al Newman. Danny shows us the subhelmet in action, whereas Al is showing us how it can keep you warm during Spring Training, while still being functional and fashionable. I hope these two make it onto the list. Those f*cks down at the league office better be reading this...
#244 Alex Cole - I swear I've written about an Alex Cole card before. Or maybe I read someone else talk about him and so I subconsiously was looking for one of his cards. Well, here it is. The guy, never an All-Star or MVP ballot topper, sure had a way with the ladies. It was probably the fact that he was a lefty. Those southpaws never quite throwing it down. Or maybe it was those glasses. Probably the southpaw action.
#510 Keith Comstock - Keith also had a way with the ladies, but it wasn't because of his glasses. I'll give you two guesses. The first guess doesn't count, and the second guess answers this question: Who wants a mustache ride??? Not to mention the fact that the Comstock Lode had absolutely NOTHING to do with silver ore. Thanks, Dan, for helping me feed my addiction to horribly ugly baseball card sets.
1993 Upper Deck
Now we're talking. This is, officially, by far, in no uncertain terms, ad nauseum, pro bono, E pluribus unum, my favorite baseball card set of all time. At times, it's professional. At others, it's fun. It shows you both sides of the game - the serious, diving for a could-be fair ball over third base side of baseball, as well as the fun behind the scenes side of baseball. Goofing around in the dugout. Shooting scenes from spring training with your handheld camcorder. Putting a pie in somebody's face while they are doing an interview. The "TWIB" side of baseball. That's the stuff I love to see, that side that only the players know about, and few share with the rest of us civilians. Anyhow, I'll let you decide for yourself. Dan sent me a ton of cards from this set, so I'll share a few with you.
#222 Gary Sheffield
I love this card, I love the photo on the back too. It shows an Arsenio Hall-esque flatop with a line cut into it at an angle. You know the type. Then we come back to the front again, and Sheff still isn't done diving for this grounder toward the bag. Best part is, this isn't the only card like this in the set. Oh Joy!
#123 Ivan Rodriquez, #575 Darryl Strawberry
Here we see the serious, photo-conscious side of this set. I haven't seen two better photos on baseball cards since the last time I pulled out this set - well, I guess the cards speak for themselves. Absolutely great pictures, along with a not-quite-so-widespread-just-yet glossy finish. What a bitchin set of cards. Please forgive my great mood, the Christmas episode of Family Guy is on TBS right now. Friggin sweet.
#538 Alex Cole, #224 Jay Buhner
Back again we come to the lighter side of sports. We meet our friend Alex Cole, again, and he is talking to the ladies. So maybe it was the glasses after all. Note to self: go to TJ Maxx and buy some Alex Cole glasses. Next we see Jay Buhner, disrupting a photo shoot or interview that Ken Griffey Jr is involved in. Ken's face, though, is kinda giving this "joke" away. Looks staged to me. Junior's got his "Fresh Prince" hat going on as well. Ah, the early 90's.
Thanks again to Dan for the absolutely great cards. If you haven't taken the time yet to check out his blog, give it a read. It's well worth the stop.