I was bummed to see a few of my favorite players in uniforms they didn't belong in. Confused? Keep reading and I'll explain. But first... some background history on my purchase.
I'm a sucker for oddball issues that end up never catching on with other collectors. Remember the super-sized 5x7 cards issued by Topps in the mid 80's? I bought them. And that miniature Fleer sets from 1986 and 1987? I had those too. What about the talking sports cards LJN & Topps teamed up for in 1989? Well... I never had one (at least I don't think I did), but I definitely want one now. Phone cards... holograms... acetates... dog tags... pogs... cereal inserts... you name it... I collected it.
So when Leaf produced Leaf Preferred Steel in 1996... it caught my eye. I never built the set myself... but I recently picked one up on eBay after reading a review on Too Many Grandersons last week. I'm not going to double dip since his review is awesome and there's nothing left to be said. So if you're interested in the set... I encourage you to head over to his blog.
Instead... Today, I wanted to discuss something I noticed while flipping through my new purchase. It actually has nothing to do with this particular set... but it's the first time the issue stood out to me.
I kept noticing players in uniforms of teams I don't normally connect them with. Obviously this probably pops up with every set I own.
I remember the first time I strolled across Reggie Jackson's 1988 Score card of him pictured as an Oriole... I was like WTF! I'm a huge A's fan, so I knew he played with them. He became known as "Mr. October" as a member of the Yankees... so of course people pair him with the Yankees. And I can even picture him as an Angel... since he spent five of his last six seasons with them. But... I'm not sure if I was too young... or maybe I just blocked it out... but it's hard for me to picture Reggie as an Oriole.
The fact is... without even realizing it... I tend to associate certain players with a particular team. Here's just a few examples:
Willie Mays - New York/San Francisco Giants (he finished his career as a NY Met)
Ozzie Smith - St. Louis Cardinals (he started his career with the San Diego Padres)
Babe Ruth - New York Yankees (started career with the Boston Red Sox & ended it as a Boston Brave)
Pete Rose - Cincinnati Reds/Philadelphia Phillies (played part of the 1994 season with the Expos)
Fernando Valenzuela - Los Angeles Dodgers (played with 5 other teams during his career)
The list could go on and on and on... but I'll get to my point instead.
After checking out this all metal baseball card set, 15 years after it was produced... I was amazed at how many players were pictured in uniforms I normally don't connect them with.
Will Clark (Texas Rangers)
Yes... he played five seasons in Texas and even made the all-star team with them. But to me... The Thrill will always be a San Francisco Giant. Maybe it's because I'm a Bay Area boy. Speaking of Bay Area teams... the next three players will always be Oakland Athletics to me.
Rickey Henderson (San Diego Padres)
As a Padres fan... I was pumped to see Rickey sign with them in the mid 90's and again in the early 2000's... but let's get real. 95% of sports fans view him as either a Yankee or an Athletic. I'm going with the later.
Dennis Eckersley (St. Louis Cardinals)
Like Rickey... Eck is one of those guys who can be connected with a couple of teams... but unless you're a St. Louis fan, how many will remember him as a Cardinal? My guess is that most fans will remember him for his service with the Red Sox or Athletics. In Boston he was Cy Young contender as a starter. Then in 1987 he was traded to Oakland where La Russa converted him into a reliever... and the rest is history.
Jose Canseco (Boston Red Sox)
Some people love Canseco... while others hate him. And then there's me... I used to love him... but now he's just there... no love... and no hate. But the fact is... at one time he was a centerpiece of my collection and for good reason. He was one of the best in baseball and a member of my favorite team: The Oakland Athletics. And that's how I will always remember him.
Paul Molitor (Minnesota Twins)
Molitor spent three seasons for his hometown Minnesota Twins and won a Silver Slugger award with them. He also won a Silver Slugger award during his three year tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays. Plus he helped Toronto win the World Series in 1993. But if you grew up in the 80's like me... it's almost impossible to not picture him in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. Molitor spent fifteen of his twenty-one year career with the Brewers.
Wade Boggs (New York Yankees)
Finally... there's Wade Boggs. I'm sure Yankee fans are going to disagree with me... but when I picture Mr. Boggs, I picture him as a Red Sox player. Like Molitor... I think it's because he spent all of the 80's with the Red Sox... and I collected cards heavily during those years. In fact... his 1983 Topps rookie card is a classic and one of my personal favorites. What uniform is he wearing? Yep... a Red Sox uniform.
Now don't get the wrong idea... I appreciate the fact that most players play on more than one team in their career. I'm just saying that when certain players come to mind... I associate them with certain teams. Does that make me weird?
Do you ever look at cards and trip out that a player is pictured on a different team you're used to?
Well... it's a beautiful Thursday for several reasons:
#1: I'm on spring break!
#2: The Sharks are playing tonight and I intend on watching the whole game this time.
#3: It's sunny here in the Bay Area... so I'll definitely be hitting the golf course a few times over the next 10 days.
#4: The annual TriStar Cow Palace card show is coming in eight days.
#5: Today was a minimum day and did I mention that I'm on spring break?
I hope everyone else is having a great day. Go Sharks & sayonara!