30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Heel to Hero

Nostalgia will always be a large part of why I collect trading cards.  It also explains my love for almost everything related to that galaxy far, far away.

That's why when I woke up on Tuesday morning and saw a text message from my buddy Mike that David Prowse passed away... I was totally bummed.  With Star Wars being a huge part of my childhood, I needed to write a post about him.

This led me down a path involving his character, Darth Vader, who goes from being a bad guy into somewhat of a hero.  I started thinking about baseball players who might have done something similar.  It didn't take long for me to realize I was in over my head.

1962 Post #6

The closest thing I could come up with was Roger Maris during the 1961 season when he was chasing Babe Ruth's single season home run record.

1962 Topps #53

Okay.  Maris didn't slaughter Jedi younglings and probably wasn't exactly a "heel" in New York.  However if I remember correctly... the media and many fans were rooting against him, while supporting his teammate.  Eventually... things changed and he became a hero to baseball fans.

Yeah, I know it's a stretch...

If you have a better example of a baseball player going from "heel" to "hero", please leave their name in the comment section below.

Getting back to Mr. Prowse... 

1977 Topps Star Wars #254

There's a pretty good chance that the first pack I ever opened was not of the baseball variety, but was 1977 Topps Star Wars.  Even if that isn't true... they're the first cards I remember collecting and asking my parents to buy.

And like millions of other kids in 1977, this five year old was hoping Santa Claus would deliver Star Wars toys to him on ChristmasForty-three years later, I still enjoy picking up a new Star Wars toy every now and then.  Usually it involves a Lego set, but recently I purchased this six inch Black Series figure of Darth Vader:

If you've never seen these Black Series figures, the level of detail that goes into them is pretty insane.  Plus the design of the packaging took me back to my youth.

Mr. Prowse... thank you for being a huge part of my childhood and helping me stay young at heartRest in peace and may the force be with you.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. I've got a few 77 Star Wars cards. Need anyone special? I also need to send you a package of cards but misplaced your address. Please email me at thebestbubble6884 at gmail dot com

  2. Shoeless Joe went from hero to heel and back to hero. Sort of.

  3. I also had a bunch of 77 star wars cards that I collected with my brother. I can think of some baseball goat to hero transformations (sometimes in the same game) but the only heel to heroes I can think of are literary characters (like scrooge)

  4. It's a more condensed heel-to-hero tale, but if I'm remembering right Bob Brenly once made four errors in a game...and then hit a game-winning home run in that same game.

  5. Maris is a pretty example. He should be in the HOF.

  6. Like you, my first collection was not baseball cards. Wacky packages stickers for me. I do have you by a few years. :)

  7. The joy of buying a new Star Wars figure never diminishes! Hasbro are releasing the original 70s/80s figures again now. Six for each movie.

  8. No one's mentioned it yet, but the baseball commissioner at the time, Ford Frick, was against Maris breaking Ruth's record too. Of course old Ford at other interests, of the conflicting variety, influencing his very public opinion on the matter, but no one seemed to care about that at the time... especially the media!

  9. Sad to say, but I think Jackie Robinson might be baseball's ultimate Heel To Hero, although his "Heel" was more a reflection of the era than of him.

  10. Good chance those were my first card packs too. RIP David Prowse.

  11. friend11 - i actually have the entire set (might need some stickers, but i forgot which ones and didn't seem to write them down). i emailed you my address this morning. thanks in advance.

    elliptical man - yeah. i feel bad that he was lumped in with those bums

    gcrl - yeah, i was able to think of fictional characters. like snape in harry potter, but mind went blank when it came to baseball. btw... scrooge is a great example.

    nick - wow. that's a great example. i'll have to look that game up

    the lost collector - definitely a legend

    sumomenkoman - dang. i actually meant to text you about that.

    johnnys trading spot - i'm glad you post about wacky packages, because it gives me a chance to see what i missed out on

    jongudmund - oh... i'll be all over them. i love my vintage looking figures

    jon - nice history lesson. i'm not sure if i knew that. most of my knowledge of the story came from the movie

    matt - great call. very true. although to some people he was a hero the entire time.

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - man, i'd love to one day own an unopened pack from each series.

    sport card collectors - thanks! i don't own a lot of vader, but i have a ton of boba fett and yoda stuff.

  12. I always felt bad for Maris. For the longest time, as a person who grew up in St. Louis, I always had a really favorable view of him. In my world, he was the home run record holder who came over to the Cardinals for his last few years and helped them win the World Series in 1967 and the National League in 1968. I think I did not fully understand the animosity that Yankees fans held towards him until I watched the Billy Crystal film. I like the connection to Darth Vader. Maybe the Cardinals years could be where he throws Palpatine into the reactor of the Death Star.

    1. the snorting bull - yeah, since i wasn't around when him and mantle were chasing ruth... the movie really opened my eyes what he went through. glad that cardinals fans appreciated him. i remember reading that he might not have tried to break the record if he was to do it all over again. that's almost heartbreaking to hear.