Friday, June 5, 2009

Awesome night card, pt. 37

One of the drawbacks of growing older is the increasing tendency for memories to blend together so they are no longer distinguishable. A memory of a moment in 1984 is sharp, clear and as vivid as yesterday. But the entire year of 1999 is one muddled mess. It takes real concentration to figure out what I was doing that year.

The same goes for my memories of different World Series. With many, you could name a World Series and I could tell you where I was. I could tell you the other people in the room and even some of the emotions I was feeling at the time. A few examples:

1979: In the basement rec room of my parents' house rooting for the Pirates with my brother, while my other brother desperately rooted for his favorite team, the Orioles.
1984: Sneaking off to the "Home Entertainment" section of the department store where I worked to join some of my co-workers in taking quick glances at the Tigers' beatdown of the Padres while we pretended to dust merchandise.
1986: Sitting in an exhausted heap in my uncle's living room while trying to absorb the incomprehensible, that the Mets had somehow beaten the Red Sox in Game 6.
1988: Leaping and embracing my girlfriend after just arriving home and watching Kirk Gibson hit his epic pinch-hit home run.

And then there is 1989, which is featured on the 1990 Score night card here. I was working in my first year as a young sportswriter in Niagara Falls. The sports department had a small black-and-white television propped up on a file cabinet for emergency situations like the NCAA basketball tournament and the World Series.

I remember standing transfixed as we tried to understand that an earthquake had hit the San Francisco area just prior to Game 3 of the World Series. I was new to this breaking news business, but the veterans on the sports staff -- there were two pleasant, helpful men in their 50s working in the department at the time -- also sat there at their desks with their mouths open over what they were seeing.

That World Series didn't mean much to me before the earthquake. I hated the Giants and the A's were World Series rivals of the Dodgers. But after the earthquake it meant even less. I hardly paid attention after it resumed.

That World Series was a turning point for me. After that, I became immersed in adult life. I got married, dedicated myself to a career, and I had less time for the World Series. And, with the exception of 1993, almost all of the teams that made the World Series in the '90s were on my sh%t list, so it was hard for me to care as much as I once did.

Fortunately, the last decade has been a bit more enjoyable. I'm into baseball much more and the teams making the fall classic are more my speed. That doesn't mean I can remember a lot about each World Series. 2003? I remember snippets here and there. 2000? I remember Clemens going psycho. But remembering how each at-bat went down in the seventh inning? Sorry. That's reserved for the 1981 World Series.

That was when I walked into my high school the day after the Dodgers clinched the series over the Yankees, and yelled, "Dodgers Number 1!" while the vast multitude of Yankees fans stopped and stared at me.

What I actually wanted to say was, "the Yankees can suck it!" But that's not a bright thing to say when you're 15 and living in New York, so I didn't. Of course, I just said it now, didn't I?

But I can just blame that on getting older. I don't know what I'm saying. I'm practically an old man! Hell, I can't even remember two plays from the 2007 World Series. The Rockies? Did they actually play in that thing? Don't pull a fast one on the old man now.


  1. that card would look so much better with the umpire photoshopped out, though!

  2. A few World Series memories for me:

    1975 - The first series I ever paid attention to. It was amazing that my father let me stay up to watch all of game 6. I liked baseball before, but this series started my love affair with the game.

    1977 - The smell of Captain Black pipe tobacco and the soldering iron as I watched the series in my dad's workroom as he made a new Heathkit color TV. REGGIE! REGGIE! REGGIE! (sorry -- I rooted for the Giants and whatever team Pete Rose played for during that time)

    1986 - Watching it in my dorm room and hearing all of the drunk cretins through the walls screaming for joy when the Mets won it.

    1988 - I was at another guy's house playing some games in my APBA league while game 1 played in the background. The guys in the league kept calling each other saying things like, "Holy ****! Did you see THAT????"

    2001 - Randy and Curt carry the Diamondbacks to an improbable series victory (the first real major sports championship ever for the state of Arizona). I was home by myself watching the game but my dad and I kind of watched the last inning together since we were talking to each other on the phone.

  3. I had just started practicing law in the fall of 1989 and was helping a couple of partners get ready for a jury trial on a Friday night (I think). I had just called the state bar association and found out I passed the bar exam and then went to turn on the TV in the library to prepare and let the World Series play in the background.


    I also have specific World Series memories in 1971 (wait for that when we get to the Game 6 card of the World Series subset on the 1972 Topps blog), 1972 Game 1 (Gene Tenace homers), 1973 Game 6 (my uncle telling me there was no way the Mets would win, even if they had Willie Mays), 1975 Game 6, etc. There were some great World Series from 1971-1987.

  4. Dude, 1989 was classic. I LIVE in the Bay Area and watching the Giants and A's head toward destiny that year was amazing. I was in grade school at the time and even the teachers were into it. But the day of that earthquake is something I'll never forget; and because of that, the 1990 Score series has always been special to me.

    The card you show here, and the "Candlestick, Lights out" special card are two of my all-time favorites because they memorialize what was perhaps one of the greatest years in sports history in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Lest we forget that the 1990 Score set also features that Bo Jackson football/baseball card.