As most of you know, today is Tuesday in what the Christian world refers to as "Holy Week" - the week-long period of time from Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. As Christians we're called to be especially meditative this week, spending more time in prayer and contemplation over what historically occurred "this week" nearly 2,000 years ago - chiefly, the suffering and death of Jesus. I know, I know - "Get down from the pulpit, Dubbs!"; or, "Dammit! Here goes another crazy Jesus freak talkin about some crap I don't care about. Who does he think he is? What with baseball season just opening, so many spring goings on, and this guy wants to talk about Church? Bosh!"
Well, I share this in hopes that most (if not both) of the readers of this blog understand it's rather "thin" showing as of late. It's just that time of year for me, and this year especially brings with it an added challenge and joy. My wife is converting to Catholicism, and at Easter Vigil Mass (the rather lengthy one the night before Easter) she'll be confirmed. To mark and celebrate the occasion, my mother is flying out here from Wisconsin to Seattle to share the moment, as it were - and to share bathroom for a week as well. And the sofa. And the computer. I am quite sure though, that my Paul Molitor binder is in order, many additions to said binder since my mother last visited. And she is a huge Paul Molitor fan. Well, the Milwaukee years, anyhow. I think she still does does that Italian "spit" thing whenever you mention the Blue Jays. I tried explaining to her that the Brewers pretty much let him walk, that it wasn't Toronto's fault. Oh well.
So her flight arrives in just over 6 hours, and I find myself wide awake at 2:30am. On a week - wait, what day is this? Anyhow, in cleaning up the house for the upcoming visit, I was forced to sit down and catalogue a couple of recent trades that my way came, namely from nightowlcards at present, and a couple others who, in hopes that should I not mention their names, perhaps will permit me to postpone yet even more appreciation posts for the time being, shall remain nameless.
It's in this light that I share some cards with you that the gracious and, perhaps, "time-to-kill" friendly neighborhood late-night card junkie over at Night Owl Cards. A while ago, his wife had tipped him off to some bags of old baseball cards at the dollar store - his booty was about 10 bags of early to mid 80's fleer cards, some basketball, like, and such as. I sent him a check for 10 bags of my own, and some change to cover shipping (which I'm sure he foot the bill for, and so the Dodger pile has already started growing again) and a few weeks later in two installments, I myself became the proud owner of roughly 450 or so early and mid 80's fleer, some pesky '91 Nolan Ryan pacific cards, as well as some carefully inserted hoops cards from the era when white guys could jump. Here are some of the highlights from the lot.
1985 Fleer #588 Paul Molitor
Not a member of my binder -and so this card immediately found a new 3-ring home within a matter of seconds. Just look at that spry, young third baseman. You can tell he's not wasting his time, dreaming of days when his Brewers would be playing the only "Opening Day" game scheduled after opening day. Geez.
1985 Topps Glossy All-Star #5 Robin Yount
This one was also on my list of "not-yet-purchased" Yount cards, so I gave this one too a welcome home in a binder. By this time in his career, he was already a seasoned veteran. But he still had 10 years to play, yet, and a 3,000 hits milestone to reach. As my father would say "You know Phil, they just don't make 'em like him anymore". Indeed.
Cecil Cooper - 1983, 1984, 1985 Fleer
Coop was a Milwaukee fan's staple, meat-and-potatoes player for many years. Maybe I like him because he began losing his hair around the same age I did. Or maybe it's because he's a great man.
1983 Fleer #48 Gorman Thomas
Here we see "Stormin Gorman" doing his best Charles Manson impression. I never knew that he was from Charleston, SC - my wife's hometown. Perhaps, also, the birthplace of Helter Skelter. This card totally creeps me out.
1985 Fleer #28 Bobby Brown, #16 Aurelio Lopez
Yes, THE Bobby Brown. Not of Whitney and Bobby fame, though, but of San Diego Padres fame.
As for the Lopez card. Here's how I approached this one. Imagine yourself staring through the glass at a police lineup of say, 10 people. I ask you to pick out the one who is NOT a baseball player. I don't care if there are 10, or 5, hell even 2 guys standing in the lineup. Aurelio is the one you're going to pick every time. What about this guy says baseball to you?
1983 Fleer #566 Bucky Dent, #544 Brian Giles
Yes, THE Bucky Dent. And yes, THE Brian Giles. I love the Rangers cards from this set - this was before my card-colleting days, so the old "TR" Rangers logo was something I'd never seen before. I like it! Let's get back to that, folks! Better than the "T" logo, and better than the star logo. And I bet you didn't know Giles has been in the league as long as he has, did you?! He now calls San Diego home, but he can still crush the ball - you hangie, he bangie.
1985 Fleer #70 Steve Trout, #44 Eric Show
I don't know what I like better about the Trout card: his hair, his glasses, or his name. I could get behind a guy named Trout, for sure! "Come on, Trout! Hit it outta here!" or "Give 'em hell, Trout!". The hair. The glasses. The poly. Man, who says the 80's weren't about excess.
I know you've heard of the Randy Johnson Marlboro card, but what about the Eric Show Marlboro card? Now you have!
1991 Pacific Nolan Ryan #200 "Don't Mess With Texas"
I still don't understand this card set, to be truly honest with you. I mean, I have a whole bunch, I remember them being something or a rarity when I was a kid collecting cards, but really? Did he help subsidize this project, or did Pacific Trading bring it to him? Kinda weird to me. Nothing weird about this card, though. This card SCREAMS "Badassness". I mean, come on people! You don't mess with Texas! When I hear that, I always think of Will Ferrel's impression of President Bush, saying that. That's all I got.
Hope you enjoyed these cards, I sure did. It's always nice to dive into the early 80's cards, and for me, it was fun. I never had any of these older fleer cards when I was a kid, it was strictly Topps and Donruss for us (and the occasional Score pack). So thanks to our late night friend in New York for these great cards, and for going through the trouble of picking them up and shipping them out to me.
Last but not least, Opening Day. Or Opening Day Part Two. Before yesteday's PPD games in Chicago and Boston, my Brewers' opening day game in San Francisco was to be the only game (except for Sunday's Braves/Phils game) NOT to be played on Opening Day. WTF? I looked into it a little bit. Aparently, the fine folks in San Fran wanted to play the game not on the league-scheduled day (Monday), but on Tuesday, to allow for the Giants to play one more exhibition game at AT&T before the season started. So, the Brewers and Giants waste a beautiful, sunny Monday afternoon. Today's San Francisco weather forecast instead? Rain. You know folks, the league schedules Monday as opening day to create a built-in makeup day. Tuesday. Just in case of rain or cold. So way to go, guys at the league office. Forcing the Brewers to work out for two days, after a 36-game spring, just to stay busy before the opener. Then it's 3 games against the Giants, a 3am flight back to Milwaukee (5am CDT) for a Friday night home opener in Milwaukee. I hope we destroy the crap outta Lincecum today. Opening Day!
That's about it for me, folks. I should be back after Easter some time, so see you in a week! Go Crew, and welcome back baseball!