30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Biggest Thrill of His Life

Every morning, I listen to 95.7 FM The Game or KNBR 680 to jump start my day and listen to some quality sports talk.  Both stations are entertaining... but I've got to tell you... the past couple of months have sucked.

The Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants are both struggling which makes it difficult for the radio personalities to get excited about talking baseball.  Pair that with the Golden State Warriors dominating and on the verge of bringing home a second NBA Title in three years and you've at least one listener who isn't amused.

Don't get me wrong.  I think Warriors fans deserve the spotlight... as well as Cavaliers fans.  But as a guy who could care less about who wins this title, I can't wait for the NBA Finals to be over, so we can get back to focusing on baseball.

In the meantime, since 90% of Bay Area sports fans are focusing on basketball, I figured I'd try to meet them in the middle and target a player who played both sports today.

Tony's Day 13 Challenge asks us for one of our favorite cards from the 1990's:

1995 Upper Deck #200

If you were collecting baseball cards or basketball cards in the mid 90's, then there's a good chance you remember this card or at least one of the many Michael Jordan baseball cards produced when he retired from basketball and made the transition to the diamond.

I decided to use this card for Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge because it captures a cool piece of history with two Chicago legends.  In the interview, Harry Caray actually says that seeing MJ in a baseball uniform was "the biggest thrill of his life".

Michael had a few other baseball cards produced in the 90's.  Here are a few of the highlights from my collection:

1991 Upper Deck #SP1

This 1991 Upper Deck baseball card of Jordan is another card that probably stands out to guys who collected cards in the early 90's.  Upper Deck was way ahead of themselves when they created this special short print card more than two years before he announced his plans to retire from basketball and try out for the White Sox.

1993-94 Upper Deck Special Edition #MJR1

Technically this isn't a baseball card, but it does mention Jordan reporting to Spring Training and playing for the White Sox organization.

1994 Fleer Pro Cards #633

As a big fan of minor league issues, I was really excited to finally pick up an official Birmingham Barons baseball card of His Airness.

1994 SP Holoview FX #16

Hands down... my favorite Michael Jordan baseball card.  Ever since Upper Deck started producing the SP Holoview inserts in the mid 90's, they have been one of my favorite insert sets.  They're absolutely gorgeous!

1995 Upper Deck Steal of a Deal #SD15

Twenty years ago, this card was a pretty hot commodity that sold in the $20 to $30 range.  These days collectors can find these in dollar bins at card shows and online for under $5.  Talk about a steal of a deal.

2001 UD Prospect Premieres Heroes of Baseball Jersey Duos #J-JJ

I'll wrap things up with the only Michael Jordan memorabilia card in the collection.  It features two jersey swatches.  One from his Spring Training stint with the Chicago White Sox and the other when he was with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.  I'm not a big fan of the card's design, but that's probably what made this card so affordable.

By the way... thank you to all of those who left kind comments in regards to my back.  It's still tender, but at least I'm not sleeping on the floor anymore.  Have a great week everyone!

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sports Card Therapy

This school year five of my friends at work were pregnant... and it cracked me up how emotional some of them would get.  I'm used to the typical husband bashing at the lunch room table, but some of these mood swings were stuff you only see on television shows.

I think I might be pregnant.  I've gained 12 pounds this school year... and this week I myself have had some serious mood swings.

Normally I'd be super excited that there are only nine days left in the school year, but like I mentioned in a previous post... one of my closest friends is moving to another state next weekend, which kinda sucks.

But one of my former students stopped by after school on Monday and gave me a very thoughtful thank you letter that I'll treasure forever.

The following day, I heard about the tragic news about Seattle Seahawks legend Cortez Kennedy.

Things continued to spiral downwards on Wednesday.  During 2nd period, I threw out my back while loading paper into the copier, which forced me to walk around campus like Yoda for the rest of the day.

Not sure what sucked more... the excruciating pain or constantly having to explain my hunched over waddle to curious middle schoolers.

I spent the rest of the week trying to recoup and today I turn to sports card therapy for help.  Rickey didn't disappoint:

1982 Topps #610

This was one of the first cards to pop into my head when I noticed that Tony's Day 12 Challenge asked us for one of our favorite cards from the 1980's.

Topps has blessed Rickey Henderson fans with some pretty awesome base cards and this one is no exception.  This well cropped and centered photo captures him on the base paths, which is where he did most of his damage in the 80's.

I'm also very fond of the overall design of this set.  I can't imagine collectors confusing the "hockey sticks" or the Tron-like lines that race down the sides with any other Topps baseball card set out there.  I will admit, that I probably wasn't a big fan of the pink on this card (or any other Oakland A's card) when I was a kid, but thirty-five years later... I've grown to appreciate it.

Thank you Rickey.  It's cards like this one that mentally makes things a little easier when times are tough.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Consistent Bright Spot

I apologize for the lack of posts, but this past week was pretty rough.  If I have some time later on, I'll fill you in on some of the more entertaining details.  But for now, I want to honor one of greatest Seattle Seahawks in franchise history who passed away at the age of forty-eight this past Tuesday.

1995 Pro Line Autographs #72

The 90's were rough for Seattle Seahawk fans.  The team had two winning seasons and only made the playoffs once during the decade.  But Cortez Kennedy was a consistent bright spot for fans to focus on during that period.

Drafted with the third pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, he his entire eleven season career with the Seahawks.  His strength and quickness always seems to put him in the right place at the right time, which earned him eight trips to Honolulu.

In 1992, he won the Defensive Player of the Year Award.  Twenty years later, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and had his jersey number retired by the franchise he stood by.

Thank you Cortez for all of the wonderful memories May you rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Living in the Past

As an Oakland A's fan, there haven't been a lot of exciting baseball memories in recent years regarding my beloved team.  Ever since they fell flat on their face in 2014, they've traded away most of their big names and have gone on to have back to back losing seasons.  And by the looks of it, this year won't be any different.

But that's okay.  It just makes me appreciate the happier times.  One of those eras was in the late 80's when Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were smashing balls and bashing forearms in celebration.

Were they using PED's?  Sure.  But let's not ruin the mood.  We can always travel down that road another day.  Let's just bask in the beauty of these 2016 Topps Legacies of Baseball on-card autographs that I added to my collection a while back.

Last Friday marked the 30th Anniversary of The Bash Brothers hitting home runs in the same game for the first time.  On May 19th, 1987... Jose Canseco hit a home run off of Dennis Rasmussen in the bottom of the first inning.  Two innings later, Mark McGwire hit one too.  They'd go on to accomplish this feat forty more times as teammates and once more as opponents.

Six weeks later on America's 211th birthday, The Bash Brothers hit back to back home runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off of Bruce Hurst for the first time ever.  They would go on to accomplish this feat ten more times during their careers.  Athletics fans wouldn't need to wait long... as the duo would do it again the next day off of Dennis Oil Can Boyd in the bottom of the fourth.

It's been almost twenty years since The Bash Brothers were teammates.  Since then, a lot has happened and these days they have little to do with each other.  Maybe one day McGwire will find it in his heart to forgive Canseco for opening his mouth.

Heck... Paul patched things up with Yoko.  Anything can happen, right?  In the meantime... as long as the Athletics continue to fight for last place, I guess I'll have to be content with living in the past.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fell On Black Days

This morning I woke up, opened my laptop, and started catching up on everyone's blog posts.  Two or three blogs in... I read the tragic news of Chris Cornell's death on Cardboard Jones' blog: Collating Cards.

Like millions of other people across the country, I jumped on the bandwagon and filled my CD collection with Seattle Sound bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Cornell's Sound Garden.  And just like sports cards play a big role on my personal timeline... so does music.

The "Grunge" Era was during the heart of my college years which means there are many great memories tied to it.  Hearing about Cornell instantly saddened me.

I think part of it has to do with things going on in my personal life.  In a few weeks, my 8th graders will be graduating and moving on to high school.  Plus... one of my closest friends will be moving to Oregon with her family... which means I won't get to see my two nieces on a weekly basis anymore.

Anyways... one of the best ways to get myself out of a funk is to dive into my favorite hobby.  And wouldn't you know it... I had a generous care package sent by Kin over at Bean's Ballcard Blog and I Feel Like A Collector Again that has been sitting on my desk for almost two weeks waiting to be opened.

Inside he sent me a nice selection of Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres for my collection, along with some San Francisco Giants for my students.

The card that immediately stood out was this beautiful black parallel of Matt Holliday:

2009 Topps Walmart Black #446

Seriously... these parallels were made for the Oakland Athletics and I couldn't wait to scan this card, then add it to my A's insert binder.

And within a fifteen to twenty second period, I remembered the Holliday trades.  The one where the Athletics gave up Carlos Gonzalez to acquire him from the Colorado Rockies.  And the other trade where they shipped him off to St. Louis (where he'd go on and win a World Series title in 2011) for practically nothing.

No worries.  Kin sent me plenty of other awesome cards to cheer me up... like this Yoenis Cespedes rookie card:

2012 Topps Update #US42

Wait.  This card reminds me of the epic collapse that many A's fans believe occurred after the trade that sent Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester.  Lester wasn't terrible for the A's, but he didn't help them get to the Promised Land either.  What's worse is he left them at the end of the season where he'd sign with the Chicago Cubs and win a World Series.

Maybe I'll move on to the Padres cards he sent me.  Here's a shiny card of The Crime Dog:

1992 Upper Deck Team MVP #35

Now that's what I'm talking about.  I miss the days of Upper Deck and their holograms.  And McGriff was a beast for the Padres for a few seasons.  I wonder why he didn't stick around longer.  Oh that's right.  The Padres traded him to the Atlanta Braves for three guys many fans have never heard of.  And guess what... he went on to win a World Series title with the Braves in 1995.

Let's move along to this shiny refractor of Ryan Ludwick:

2011 Topps Chrome Refractor #119

Few things can brighten this collector's day more than some refractor shine.  The good news is I don't remember when or how the Padres acquired Ludwick or what they may have gotten in return for him when he left.

Maybe we received a top pick in the draft for him?  Let's find out on Baseball Reference.

Nope.  Not a top pick.  Just cash money.  It gets worse.  Ludwick was part of that three team trade where the Padres sent Corey Kluber to the Cleveland Indians.

At least Kluber hasn't won a World Series title yet.

In all seriousness... I kinda chuckled at all of these terrible trades my beloved Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres have made over the years.  And on this somber Saturday, I'll honestly take whatever I can get.

1998 Flair Showcase Row 2 #36

Thank you very much for these awesome cards Kin.  My students will appreciate the Giants you sent their way... although there's a chance the Barry will stay with me.  It's just too cool of a card.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!