30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Cards, The Gambler, and Mom

Daily routines are a part of our lives.  Well... at least mine.  One of the first things I do every morning is check my email and today was no exception.  

That's when I saw this:

I immediately thought of my mom.  She loved listening to Kenny Rogers.  When I was a kid, we'd listen to his Greatest Hits cassette tape all of the time... which explains why I know the lyrics to a lot of his songs.

Today, I figured I'd pull a Night Owl and write a Match The Song Title post in honor of Kenny.  If you're not familiar with Night Owl's very popular series, I encourage you to clear your schedule and click here, because you won't be disappointed.

In short, he matches up a song title (not necessarily the meaning of the song) to a baseball card.  I'm going to attempt to do the same with three songs that remind me of my childhood and more importantly... my mother.

#1The Gambler (1978)

1982 Donruss #1

Kenny has a lot of popular songs, but according to Billboard... The Gambler is #1.  And the first person that pops into my head when I think "baseball" and "gambler" is Pete Rose.

#2Blaze of Glory (1981)

2018 Topps Storybook Endings #SE-4

According to the Collins online dictionary, if you go out in a blaze of glory, you do something very dramatic at the very end of your career or your life that makes you famous.  Obviously Ted Williams is famous for way more things than what he did at the end of his career.

However I think the way he ended his career is pretty famous.  On September 28th, 1960 he smacked a home run in the bottom of the 8th against the Baltimore Orioles in what would be his final MLB at-bat.

A quick look at the 1960 Boston Red Sox schedule over on Baseball Reference reveals that they played three more games against the Yankees in New YorkWilliams didn't play in any of those game.  I'm guessing the corporate brass wanted his final game to be played at Fenway instead of at Old Yankee Stadium.

#3Through the Years (1981)

1993 Topps Magazine (Fall) #TM 109, TM 110, TM 111, and TM 112

Through the Years is one of my favorite songs from Kenny and it's the song I chose for my mom's memorial service last year.  It will always remind me of her.  But she doesn't have her very own baseball card, so I decided to go with this sheet of cards featuring Nolan Ryan.

His career spanned four decades and this sheet captures all of themTopps did a great job summarizing his career highlights and statistics through the years of his career on this uncut sheet of cards.

Well that wraps up another post written during this time of social distancingThanks for the memories Mr. Rogers.  May you rest in peace.

Oh... and before I go, here are the three songs from above:

As well as... your question of the day:

Are you fan of Kenny Roger's music?  Do you have a favorite song?

I look forward to reading and responding to your comments.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!


  1. Through The Years was my parents theme song. My dad had made a slideshow of he and my mom and set it to that song. We played at family events, and at both of their funeral services. I think of them, and cry, anytime I hear it. I love that song.

    And oh-my that Nolan Ryan sheet is FANTASTIC!

  2. my parents had his greatest hits cassette, and it would get a lot of play on our family vacations in our rv. i once saw rogers perform a song in person - it was before a twins game (maybe even an opening day) at the metrodome and he performed a then-new song with a baseball theme. i had hoped he would play "the gambler", but it was one song and done.

  3. Well, I'm glad you did this because there's no way I'll ever be doing a Kenny Rogers Match The Song title post. I spent three months between November 1980 and January 1981 cursing my radio station every time they played Kenny Rogers' Lady. And almost none of his songs appeal to me. The Gambler is the exception.

  4. Can't say I'm a huge Kenny Rogers fan, but I can certainly appreciate the impact the guy had on the music industry (RIP). Love that Topps Magazine sheet of Ryans.

  5. Growing up in Wyoming, Kenny was an icon. RIP for sure!

  6. I love posts where cards are connected to song titles or movies or the like.

    I however hate hearing of people passing away. RIP Kenny.

  7. Around that time in my house on Sunday mornings I remember my sister playing his album regularly. I always think of her when I hear any of Kenny's songs. Do I like the songs? I'm not sure because I like the memories so much.

  8. My mother loved "Through The Years" as well. Always got her really emotional. I suppose my favorite Kenny Rogers songs would be two of his late ones: the adorable baseball song "The Greatest" (if you haven't heard it, even if you're not a fan, it's worth hearing once just for the story) and the very sappy "Buy Me A Rose" which always brings a tear to my eye. From the other end of his career I do enjoy his first hit, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)", which sounds nothing like any of his other hits.

    I can see why you wouldn't try to find a match for, say "You Decorated My Life" or "Lucille", but "Every Time Two Fools Collide" should be a good match for a double play card or something like that. For "The Gambler", I was expecting a card of Kenny Rogers, the pitcher, who got tagged with that nickname for obvious reasons, but certainly Pete Rose makes more sense.

  9. Great post Fuji! I remember listening to that same greatest hits cassette whenever we went on trips to see family. It was one of several that my dad had on regular rotation. Several of those songs have taken up permanent residence on my various playlists as an adult too. RIP 'Gambler'.

  10. I immediately thought of Pete Rose when "the Gambler" came up. I was pleasantly surprised you chose Ted for "Blaze of Glory", and Nolan Ryan was a great choice as well.

  11. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),he sung lead on that when he was with a group in the 60's called The First Edition.

  12. Kenny’s songs told such great stories. One of my favorites I’d Coward if the County. RIP Mr Rogers

  13. Such a legend to lose. So much going on already and then we lose Kenny.

  14. the angels in order - it's definitely a song for the ages... and i can't hear it without thinking of my mom. as for that sheet... i'm pretty sure it came out of the final issue of topps magazine. there was also a jumbo nolan ryan rookie card reprint included

    gcrl - it was our family vacation music as well. never had the opportunity to see him live, but my mom might have seen him. i'll have to ask my dad... although i doubt he'd remember

    night owl - lol. i actually like lady. but not card popped into my head when i thought of the title

    nick - yeah, i'm not sure if his music would be my thing either if it hadn't been for my mom listening to it all of the time

    sumomenkoman - didn't know you had some country roots in ya homie. we'll have to listen to some kenny the next time we hit a card show together ;)

    collecting cutch - yeah. seems like a lot of famous people have passed away in 2020 and it's still early in the year

    runforekelloggs - i definitely like the memories associated to the songs, than the songs themselves.

    bret alan - i'll definitely check out those songs. i didn't really listen to any of his later stuff... mainly because i was out of touch. as for every time two fools collide... i actually had it schedule and was going to use the 71 munson... but scrapped it at the end. and i considered digging out a card of the pitcher... but i had already invest over an hour for this post, so i passed. great minds think alike though ;)

    tim b - i probably need to create a kenny/alabama/restless heart playlist on spotify

    chris - i almost used jeter for blaze of glory... but ultimately went with ted

    sg488 - never heard of that song. but i just watched him perform it on youtube. great song. definitely a different sound than what i'm used to hearing him sing

    baltmoss68 - he was quite the story teller. and i really like that song too. considered using it for this post, but couldn't find my rob manfred card ;)

    sport card collectors - very true. crazy times.

  15. Kenny played at my house as a kid so while it isn't something that I listen to I know all the words. My favorite is either the Gambler or Coward of the County.

    Speaking of WIlliams final at bat... You have probably read John Updike's version but if not:
    If you don't read the whole thing at least skip down to the description of him running the bases after his final at bat. It is one of the most well written paragraphs in the history of literature.

  16. Not a country music person, so for favorite Kenny Rogers song, I will go with "The Gambler" remake he did with Wyclef.

  17. adame - i hadn't read it, but wow. that was a fantastic read. i was blown away that this piece was written back in 1960 less than a month after his final game. thank you for sharing that article.

    the snorting bull - i like wyclef and kenny... but that collaboration wasn't my thing. guess music is like cards... different strokes for different folks.

  18. I like "We've Got Tonight", but mostly because I was/am a Sheena Easton fan. (Before I discovered long haired humans doing guitar solos).