30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Not Quite As Easy As 123

The Diamond King has kicked off another A→Z Challenge. The original was created by The Collector last month when he asked his readers to make a list of favorite musicians from A to Z. The Diamond King is looking for bloggers to step into the batter's box and list their favorite baseball players based the first letter in their last name.

Although half of the letters were "no brainers" for me... I spent over an hour sifting through scans and binders coming up with my responses for the other letters.

Here are my favorites...

A - Jose Altuve

2011 Topps Update #US132

Before the trash can incident... Altuve was one of my favorite players in baseball.  I don't think I've purchased a single card of his since... but I am rooting for him to prove his doubters that he can win batting titles without buzzers.

B - Barry Bonds

1987 Topps #320

I refuse to apologize for being a fan of Barry.  He was one of the most entertaining players in the game for well over a decade.

Nothing like kicking off a Blog Bat-Around with back to back controversial picks.

C - Steve Carlton

1965 Topps #477

One of my favorite pitchers of all-time.

D - Yu Darvish

2012 Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #YD

The D's were challengingDoug DeCinces, Ron Darling, Dave Dravecky, and Josh Donaldson were all players I considered... but if I were going to build a PC around any of these guys... it'd be Darvish.

E - Dennis Eckersley

2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #SPS-EC

Eck was an obvious pick... but only because there just weren't many options to choose from.

F - Freddie Freeman

2007 Bowman Chrome #BDPP12

I came close to choosing Mark Fidrych... but decided to go with Freeman.  There are only about ten MLB players outside of Oakland and San Diego that I actively root for and he's one of them.

G - Tony Gwynn

1982 TCMA Hawaii Islanders #10

The biggest no-brainer in this challenge.

H - Rickey Henderson

1979 TCMA Ogden A's #9

The second biggest no-brainer in this challenge.

I - Travis Ishikawa

2003 Bowman Chrome #341

One thing I learned from this challenge is that there are a lot of Japanese guys with last names that begin with IIwakuma, Ishii, Igawa, IrabuIwamura, and IshikawaIshikawa is sort of a fan favorite in the Bay Area, so I went with him.

J - Derek Jeter

1997 Topps Rookie of the Year Autograph #NNO

Reggie Jackson was the first guy who popped into my head... but then I remembered Jeter.  And even though Reggie played ten seasons in Oakland... and Jeter broke the hearts of A's fans... I like the latter more.   He's just more of a likable guy.

K - Clayton Kershaw

2015 Strata Clearly Authentic Autographed Relic #CAAR-CKW

Yup.  I'm one of those fans who root for players even when they play on teams I'm not a fan of. 

L - Ramon Laureano

2019 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph Refractor #RA-RL

Laureano has the honor of being my current favorite player on my favorite team.

M - Greg Maddux

1997 Leaf #36

The third biggest no-brainer in this challenge.

N - Hideo Nomo

1995 SP Die-cut #14

C'mon... admit it.  Nomo-mania was awesome!  If you were a baseball fan in the mid 90's...  there's a pretty good chance you were a fan of Nomo

O - Shohei Ohtani

2018 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor #150

I originally had David Ortiz in this spot, but at this moment in time... it's hard not to enjoy Ohtani's game.

P - Kirby Puckett

1984 Fleer Update #U-93

Puckett was one of my favorite players not named Gwynn, Henderson, or Maddux during the 80's and 90's.

Q - Dan Quisenberry

1981 Fleer #31

The only other guy whose last name begins with a Q that comes to mind is Jamie Quirk.  But that's not the only reason Quisenberry made this list.  I was a huge fan of his submarine delivery back in the day.

R - Jackie Robinson

1956 Topps #30

I tried my best to limit my selections to players I watched during their career... but I just couldn't ignore Jackie Robinson's legacy and contributions to the game of baseball.  Plus... this is my favorite card in my collection and I love showing it off.

S - Ichiro Suzuki

1993 BBM #239

This was the hardest decision of this challenge, because there are two Suzuki's I love, love, love collecting.  I ended up choosing Ichiro... because of his legacySorry Kurt.

T - Fernando Tatis Jr.

2016 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP17

Tatis is one of the most exciting players in baseball... and he happens to be on my second favorite team.  Had I attempted this challenge two years ago, The Big Hurt would represent the T's.

U - Bob Uecker

1963 Topps #126

Never saw Uecker play... but always enjoyed his Miller Lite commercials.  Plus Julio Urias, Jose Uribe, and Willie Upshaw were the only other guys who came to mind, so his competition was limited.

V - Fernando Valenzuela

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #FV

There's just something about the Dodgers and foreign pitchers who have the ability to entertain an entire sports' fans.  I'm glad I witnessed first-hand Fernando-mania.

W - Ted Williams

1956 Topps #5

I've always admired guys who could hit for average.  Rumor has it that Teddy fits the bill.

Y - Carl Yastrzemski

2001 Topps Team Legends Autographs #550

I've never claimed to be a Yastrzemski fan... but the Y's are limited.  Originally... I was going to make this a multi-sport post and use Kristi Yamaguchi as my athlete.  But after re-reading The Diamond King's challenge... I stuck to baseball and Yaz is my Y pick.  He narrowly beat out Jordan Yamamoto, Michael Young, and Christian Yelich.

Z - Barry Zito

2000 Topps Chrome #451

I almost copied The Diamond King's selection of Gus Zernial... because I love his 1952 Topps card.  However I never saw him play... but I did watch Zito play several times in Oakland and across the bay in San Francisco.

I'm sure as soon as I start reading some of your posts and picks... I'll make some revisions to my selections.  For now... I'm happy with my choices... even if it meant leaving off favorites like Dwight Gooden, Masanori Murakami, Kurt Suzuki, and Frank Thomas.

Feel free to comment down below people you like or dislike from my list.  And thank you Kevin and Chris for inspiring these challenges.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Here's my response to The Collector's A→Z Music Challenge:

Alan Parsons Project
Beastie Boys
The Cure
Def Leppard
The Eagles
Fleetwood Mac
Peter Gabriel/Genesis
Bruce Hornsby & The Range
Ice Cube
Cyndi Lauper
Notorious BIG
The Outfield
The Police
Tupac Shakur
They Might Be Giants/Tribe Called Quest
Van Halen
Stevie Wonder
ZZ Top

***Don't actually own CD's or albums of these artists


  1. Wow, we had 9 picks in common! That's more than I thought anyone would match me, and you are the first A-Z post I have read! Some really great cards shown too, thanks for doing this!!

  2. I kind of expected you to pick Sadaharu Oh.

  3. Four Dodgers on your list. There's hope for you yet.

  4. There would definitely be some similarities between our lists. I'll see about putting a post together

  5. Ditto on Freeman, even though he is in my favorite team's division.

  6. so so many to choose from, this is hard so I will have to be biased.

  7. Good list on the baseball side but on the music side Cindy Lauper over Led Zeppelin?

  8. You have some really nice cards of these guys!

  9. OK, I'm gonna have to do this.

  10. the diamond king - i'm interested in seeing the players most bloggers have in common as well as the most unique. thanks in advance for taking the time to organize all of the data

    elliptical man - i knew there'd be at least one revision... and oh definitely trumps ohtani

    the lost collector - thanks. it was fun putting this thing together

    night owl - lol. in hindsight... i'm shocked that there are more dodgers than a's or padres. i probably should have used an a's card for rickey

    gcrl - i wonder if nomo, kershaw, valenzuela, and jackie robinson will make your list ;D

    big tone - i understand. altuve and ohtani both play in the al west against my a's.

    johnny's trading spot - the number of options definitely made this a time consuming post. if i had to guess... i'd say i spent 3, maybe 4 hours into it. well worth it though. it was a lot of fun

    sg488 - yup. i know most people would scoff at that choice, but i really like her music. plus i've got a small crush on her

    jeff b - thanks. gotta admit... i tried to hand pick my nicest cards of each o these guys. figured if i'm gonna talk favorite players... i might as well go with favorite cards as well.

    john sharp - looking forward to seeing your list.

  11. Good job. These are tough to do. Fun post.

  12. This was a fun post to read. I might need to try this out.

  13. Always love seeing Travis Ishikawa get a mention on the blogs!

  14. bulldog - it was a challenge indeed. i already had one player pointed out to me that should have made the list

    jongudmund - definitely one of my favorite gwynns in the collection

    the snorting bull - it was a lot of fun putting this list together. challenging, but fun

    nick - it's nice seeing ishikawa get a mention in the comments ;D