30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cardboard Mixtape: The B Sides

Last week I let you guys peek into My Awkward Years.  Today the saga continues as the geeky high school freshman (don't you love it when people think they're cool enough to speak in the third person?) evolves into a flannel wearing, Pearl Jam listening, college student who still collects baseball cards.

The first step in the transition is to burn my copy of Peter Cetera's Glory of Love and invest in some "gangsta rap"...

NWA:  Straight Outta Compton  (1988)

Picture a sixteen year old version of the Fresh Off The Boat kid bumping NWA in his mom's Ford LTD... and you have me back in 1988.  It sounds ridiculous... but it's true.  I've been a big fan of NWA for a long, long time.

Growing up in a middle class neighborhood in Northern California, I can't really relate to what life in Compton was like...

1978 Topps #36

But I know Eddie "Mother F'n" Murray can.

MetallicaEye of the Beholder (1988)

In high school, I wasn't only listening to "gangsta rap", I was also rocking out to Metallica.

...And Justice for All was the first album of theirs I ever purchased, but not the last.  It paved the way to my Metallica fandom.  It wasn't easy choosing a favorite song on this album, because they're all good.  So I decided to pick a song with a title that fit one of my all-time favorite insert sets...

1999 Topps Gallery Gallery of Heroes #GH5
2000 Topps Gallery Gallery of Heroes #GH2

We all have our own definition of beauty.  When it comes to insert sets, there are few that match the beauty of the Gallery of Heroes cards inserted into Topps Gallery packs in the late 90's and early 2000's.  Well... at least in my eyes.

The D.O.C.: It's Funky Enough (1989)

A year later... I have my first real job scooping ice cream at Thrifty's, and I'm still bumpin' in my mom's LTD.  This song is a classic and like the D.O.C. says,  "no crowd can avoid, the D O to the C".

1985 Donruss Box Bottom #PC1

Back in the 80's, baseball fans from all over the country wanted a chance to see the other DOC pitch.

Public Enemy:  Fight the Power (1989)

Do The Right Thing is my favorite Spike Lee movie.  I've probably watched it twenty-plus times... and every time... I'm treated to Rosie Perez dancing to Public Enemy's Fight the Power in the opening sequence.

It's a beautiful way to kick off a beautiful movie... and here's a beautiful card related to this beautiful song:

2015 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Auto #FFA-SH

The 2002 Oakland Athletics and their third lowest payroll in baseball were the David's in a league filled with Goliath's... yet they found a way to fight the power and have one of the best records in baseball.  Along the way, the Athletics set the American League record with 20 consecutive wins.

Hatteberg's home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Kansas City Royals on September 4th, 2002 gave the A's their 20th consecutive win and the record.

They Might Be Giants: Ana Ng (1990)

1990 was a big year for me.  I found myself working at a baseball card shop called National Pastime and living the dream.

That's also the year I made the transition from high school to college.  I was accepted to San Jose State University, but my dream college (UC Davis) turned me down, so I decided to attend De Anza Community College in hopes of one day transferring.

At De Anza...  I met a guy who always wore They Might Be Giants shirts to class.  I don't remember his name, but I definitely remember the music.

The first album I bought was Lincoln (in 1990... even though it was released in 1988) which features the song Ana Ng.  I heard that they came up with that name after seeing a lot of Ng's in the phone book.  That got me thinking... what's the most common last name in baseball?

1998 Donruss Significant Signatures #R2
2000 Revolution MLB Game Ball Signatures #1
1998 Bowman's Best Autographs #5

According to some quizzes I took online... Smith, Johnson, and Jones are the three most popular names all-time.

A Tribe Called Quest:  Check the Rhime (1991)

My students think it's cool that I grew up listening to Run DMC, NWA, Tupac, and Biggie.  But whenever I mention A Tribe Called Quest, the response is always the same.  Who?  It cracks me up, because almost everyone who listened to hip hop in the early 90's can appreciate some Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

1977 Topps Cloth #8

Check the Rhime is an all-time classic and one of my favorite parts is when Q-Tip compares himself to the legendary Lou Brock.

Anthrax:  Bring the Noise  (1991)

Next up is another Public Enemy song... but this time around they've teamed up with Anthrax to Bring the Noise

1987 Topps #320
1987 Topps #184

I've always enjoyed seeing musicians (especially from different genres) collaborate to produce something special.  The title of this album along with an article from an old issue of Topps Magazine reminded me of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and how these two guys with completely different personalities came together to produce something special in the early 90's.

Temple of the Dog:  Hunger Strike (1991)

Let's slow things down a little and close out this post with a change of clothing styles, a different hobby, and enter new era of music for this nineteen year old college student.

In the early 90's, I wasn't only collecting cards anymore.  I started wearing flannels and Doc Martens, hanging out at record stores and listening to music, and building my collection of CD's.  I still have a section devoted to the whole Seattle Sound comprised of groups like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Guys from both of these groups teamed together to form Temple of the Dog, which produced an iconic gem from that era:  Hunger Strike.

Sadly... I can't actually say I've ever fasted in protest.

1983 O-Pee-Chee #143
1985 O-Pee-Chee #10

And I'm guessing that two of my favorite players from the early 90's probably didn't either.

Well that wraps up my teenage years... which is a shame, because 1992 would be a big year for me both hobby wise and in terms of music.  But I'll save that for another day in another post.

In the meantime...

What are some of your favorite songs and groups from the late 80's and early 90's?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. I still have mixed feelings for the early 90s - the Seattle sound destroyed the 'hair metal' scene that consumed me and ProSet/Score/Bowman gave birth to the 'junk wax' error of hockey cards (temporarily destroying my hobby). It would be a few more years before Oasis hit the scene - so I consider 1990-1993 to be the 'dark ages'.

  2. My 7th graders have no idea who A Tribe Called Quest is either! I try to bring them up a lot, especially since a bunch of their music is pretty tame compared to modern day rap. So I can play them for the kids. I once did a music lesson at a behavior school I worked at using "Can I kick it?" They loved it.

  3. I'm out but those are some great autos and the Gallery of Heroes carda re very pretty.

  4. Late 1980s favorites would have to be Living Colour (wore out Vivid in middle school), GNR, Depeche Mode, The Pixies, Faith No More, Beastie Boys, Social D,

    Early-Mid 1990s probably added Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, First two Pearl Jams, De La Soul, Rollins Band, Wu Tang Clan, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Pavement....too many bands to name once I got to HS.

  5. for me, it is the replacements and it will always be the replacements. plus, rem, u2, echo and the bunnymen, the smiths, the alarm, husker du, aztec camera, wire train, the jesus and mary chain, stuff like that.

  6. Itsoweezee was my jam back in the 8th grade, back when MTV played music video along with BET & the Box.
    Can-I-bus and Nas when I was teenager before I matured into Sublime and
    Tom Waits amongst a slew of others.
    Your post covered all the bases, from the nostalgia of my youth to cards 🃏 I drool over (sweet freakin' Murray!)
    This blog, Dimebox Nick & Acrackedbat are the post I anticipate the most, I appreciate your opening a window into your soul.

  7. Plus, I think I need to tighten up my box-bottom game because I'm beginning to recognize that there are quite a few gems to be found in the the rough of the junk-wax era ala that choice photo of the good Doctor with his Big Apple 🍎 digs as the backdrop.

  8. I loved all those early Seattle bands, but find myself listening to Alice in Chains the most these days.

  9. I agree with earlier posters that grunge killed my genre. But second the motion for Living Colour, Rage, and Alice In Chains.

    I saw LC open for the Stones at RFK. It was still daylight and most of the seats were still empty. People were milling around and not really paying attention to LC while they were playing. I was there for them more than the Stones really.

  10. Fresh off the Boat is awesome! I didn't get into music until the mid to late '90's, but I enjoy PfR, Out of the Grey, and REM stuff from that era. I like the Gallery of Heroes cards. I'll have to put them on my list of cards to get on my next COMC order.

  11. You've seen a lot of my music from the late 80s and early 90s. Lots of hair metal, then got into Anthrax, Megadeth, and Metallica for a while, then got deep into REM, dabbled in The Smiths, hit rap some, then I heard Nirvana and I thought, "holy crap, there's the band I have been waiting for."

    Still love Pearl Jam today, still listen to Nirvana a lot, dig Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots, Blues Traveler (their first album is still great)...I love too much music for my own good, I suppose!

  12. NWA all the Way=straight outta the Burbs yo

  13. Anonymous - In terms of music... the Dark Ages were from 1985 to 1987. It was hard finding songs that fit my personality from those years. If I continue this Mix Tape series... I'm sure Oasis will make an appearance.

    SpastikMooss - That's awesome! Love that song. Totally imagining you with some kids and you asking them... Can I kick it? And them yelling back... yes you can!

    Hackenbush - Thanks. GOH are pretty high on my list.

    Snorting Bull - Love me some Social Distortion. That should have been on this post. If I continue this series... Pearl Jam and Rage will make an appearance.

    gcrl - Great bands. Some of them would be on my early to mid 80's mix tape... like U2 and The Smiths. Don't know who Aztec Camera, Wire Train, and The Jesus and Mary Chain are though. I'll have to look into them.

    xavier higgins - I totally miss old school music videos. Nas and Sublime are awesome! And thanks for the kind words. Feel honored to be mentioned in the same comment as Nick and Julie. They're awesome! As for the Gooden box bottom... that's my favorite box bottom of all-time. I like it more than his regular, pack pulled rookie card.

    Matthew Scott - Love Alice in Chains! I have a playlist with all of those bands. If I had to pick one I played the most though... it'd be Pearl Jam.

    GCA - I'd rather watch LC too. I've never been a huge Stones fan. They were a little before my time I guess.

    Jeremya1um - Yeah... great show. Keep thinking I was born about 10 years too early though to be that kid. Oh well... great music. Those GOH cards fall all over the price spectrum. I have picked them up in dime boxes before... but have also seen vendors treat them like plastic gold.

    Tony Lehman - I'm with you Tony. That's why I love Spotify. I have playlists for a bunch of my moods.

    B Man - Tru dat playa!