When I was six years old... I started playing little league baseball and for nearly a decade it was one of my biggest passions. It was the one sport where my size didn't matter as much... and in some cases it helped (I walked a lot, because I had a tiny strike zone). Like most kids, I loved hitting... but my strength was unquestionably fielding. I primarily played first base in my Japanese league and second base in my local league (yep... a lefty playing second base)... but I dabbled here and there on the mound and third base.
Sometime around the fifth or sixth grade, when I was finally developing into a decent ball player, one of my coaches wanted to convert me into a catcher. He tried to explain the importance of the position, but I wasn't the least bit interested. Honestly... the position wasn't "sexy" enough. Well... at least that's how I felt as a kid. Plus it was taking away my greatest strength as a ball player: fielding ground balls.
These days, I recognize the significance of the man behind home plate. Catchers are often the captains on the team... who usually determine which pitches are thrown and help set up their teammates defensively. They have one of the most physically demanding jobs on the diamond... blocking the plate against runners and wild pitches, accidentally getting hit by foul balls and the occasional bat, and of course the everyday wear & tear of putting on all of the gear and assuming the squatting position.
So today... in honor of Ivan Rodriguez's 40th birthday (which is either November 27th or November 30th, depending where you look)... I decided to show off one of my recent cardboard pickups.
It's a 1996 Emotion-XL "D-Fense" insert of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. Awesome right? It's amazing these cards don't get the credit they deserve... probably because they were part of the junk wax era... but damn it sure is pretty. It features a portrait shot of Pudge in sort of a sepia tone background and has a matted border that includes a colored action shot.
Best of all.. I just built the 10 card set, which features players like Ripken, Maddux, Griffey, and Bonds over at COMC for under $4. That's the beauty of overproduction.
Of course it almost an act of sacrilege to have a Pudge post without featuring the original, himself... Carlton Fisk. Here's the pair of Pudges and their "Captured on Canvas" jersey cards. Ivan is part of the 2008 set and can be purchased for around $2 (I have no idea what I paid for mine). Last week, I picked up the 2007 UD Masterpieces "Captured on Canvas" of Mr. Fisk for $1.50 (free shipping). Both swatches are guaranteed to have been used in an official MLB game, but whether or not they were worn by Rodriguez or Fisk is another question.
Speaking of questions... here's your question of of the day:
What's your favorite nickname in baseball?
There are literally hundreds to choose from... but the one that currently stands out for me is The Mad Hungarian: Al Hrabosky. Of course... I learned this little tidbit of trivia from a piece of cardboard (pulled from COMC).
I hope everyone is enjoying their week... it seems to be flying by. Happy Hump day & sayonara!
NaBlo WriMo Daily Total: 548 Words
November Total: 8,116 Words