About a month and a half ago I received an email out of the blue from Rod over at Padrographs, asking for my mailing address as he'd recently put together some Brewers to send my way. I emailed him back from my work account (which ends in @navy.mil) which started up a nice exchange. Turns out, the heart and soul of Padrographs is himself a Navy veteran as well. Thanks for your service to our country,Rod, and thanks for the Brewers!
2008 Topps Heritage Chrome #C228 Manny Parra (#1340/1959)
My favorite Brewers pitcher, Manny is off to a rough start this year. He's off to an 0-4 start, and his ERA is at 5.33 Not exactly the start he was looking for, but he is still a young guy. His problem (besides hanging up way too many curveballs) is the total lack of run support the Brewers are offering him. In his 5 starts this year, the Crew have only managed to plate 10 runs for him. That's 2 runs/game, and few pitchers in the league would have a winning record with that kind of offense behind them. His most recent 2 starts have given the Brewers a good sign, as he's allowed only 2 earned runs over 11 innings. The second factor is his 0-4 record? The Milwaukee bullpen. Some games they are on, and some they're off. Keep your chin up, Manny. It'll come around.
1992 Donruss Studio (#198 Greg Vaughn, #196 Franklin Stubbs)
These are great cards, and two Brewers featuring my all-time favorite Brewers uniforms - those from the early 90's, right before we switched to the crappy navy blue/green/gold Notre Dame logo and colors. Nothing against Notre Dame, but it's a rough switch for folks used to the whole blue and yellow thing for years. Some day I pray we'll go back to these jerseys. Not even the ones the Crew wear nowadays for Retro Fridays, but this one. It's the best.
By the way, take a gook at Vaughn's hair. Lovin it, Arsenio style.
Mat Gamel (2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects #BDPP83, 2008 Donruss Threads #98)
Now that Matt LaPorta is playing for the Cleveland Indians, Mat Gamel is the face of the Brewers future. He's a hard-hitting third baseman, and if he came up to the big league club he'd either be converted to an outfield position, or moved to 1B following a Prince Fielder trade (I'd prefer the later). I'm looking forward to seeing this kid play. Lolve the Threads card, according to which "...Gamel absolutely abused Southern League pitching." Ouch.
1994 Extra Bases #98 Ricky Bones
These came out right after I stopped collecting baseball cards in my youth - during the strike-ruined season of 1994. Ricky Bones was a great pitcher that year, making his only All-Star team. He came to Milwaukee with a couple other guys in the trade that sent long-time Brewers farm system product Gary Sheffield to the Padres. He was known most famously for his great hair.
Why any card company would produce a non-standard sized card just baffles me. It's like a new kid coming to your school - he looks kind of like you, but just a bit odd. You don't know if he's good at kickball or not, so you don't pick him. These cards were doomed from the start. Nice hair, though.
Prince Fielder ('09 UD #215, '09 Topps Attax Code Card, '08 UD Timeline #19)
Three words: On Base Percentage. So far this season, Fielder's OBP is at .405! He is among league leaders in walks with 21 free passes, and is on pace to become the first player in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history to draw 100 walks in a single season. I'm not complaining about his lack of power, because he's getting on base. The guy just never seems to get a hit when there are men on base. Solo homers are his thing so far this year, but I guess that's alright too. I'm just glad to see him walking a while lot more instead of striking out like a bastard.
If anyone wants to see if the code on this Topps Attax card is still good, and wants to use it, feel free.
Paul Molitor (1985 Topps #522, 1991 Donruss Studio #73)
Love me some Molitor. It must have been a huge kick in the pants for Twins fans when the Brewers drafted him. He grew up in St. Paul, MN, just like current Twins hometown favorite Joe Mauer, and they both actually hail from the same prep school, Cretin Derham Hall. It'd be as if the Brewers had drafted Joe Mauer instead of the Twins. Man, that'd have pissed them off! Glad he played for us, although he would have really helped out the Twinkies during their championships in '87 and '91. Turns out they were just fine without him.
1997 Donrus Signature Kevin Wickander, 1994 UD Prospect #173 Kelly Wunsch
This is a no-kidding autograph card of Kevin Wickander. I haven't heard his name in quite a while, not since he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for a combination of petty theft, and other things related to Meth possession, burglary, and other crimes. Yes, Meth. Turns out that was Kevin's favorite "beverage of choice". You've heard Rick James on the Chappelle show, right? Talking about the white stuff? Well here's Wickander's take on Meth: "I ain't gonna bullsh*t you, man, it's an awesome drug." Well alright, Kevin. That stuff is scary, and it ruined a great career of one of the games most lights-out situational guys. Take a lesson from Kevin's book, kids. Just say no to drugs.
The Wunsch card is here only because it's a sky shot...man, there's nothing better than a minor ball player with nothing but a sky full of blue behind him. Beautiful photograph. It also includes the old "Beloit Brewers" logo. Beloit was the former single-A affiliate for the Brewers. They still own the logo, although the team is now a Twins farm club. I say they bring back the Wisconsin/Ball-and-glove logo as a sleeve patch for the Brewers. That'd be great.
1996 Topps #279 Steve Sparks RC
Three different elements make this an outstanding baseball card. First of all, it's another sky shot. You can't lose with a sky shot. Secondly, it's a wide-angle shot. Those always win, whether or not there are fans present. Finally, it features old Milwaukee County Stadium. I'm a fan. In fact, here's another card that Rod sent me featuring the old place, .
Finally, a card featuring "The Kid".
2002 UD Piece of History #51 Robin Yount
The baseball cards weren't even the best part of this package from Portland, Oregon. The little extras really made it a great package to come home to that day. Greeting me inside was a postcard featuring the not-so-well-known "Wild Mountain Boys" of the now defunct Fonotone Records. Perhaps there's some connection here that I'm missing...or else it's just a postcard he had handy. In any event, I listened to some of their stuff online, and it's not half bad. I recommended it to my father.
Along with a stick of the new generation of baseball card bubble gum, I found this little dandy that immediately became my favorite pen. That's right, a baseball bat pen. Word.
Thanks again Rod for the great cards, and the thoughtful gifts. Whenever work quiets down, I should finally be able to get this huge stack of Friars cards in the mail.