Sunday, September 25, 2011

Every Dodger collector should own some Hershiser cards

There are few players' cards I enjoy collecting more than Orel Hershiser's.

I know I'm very into collecting Clayton Kershaw's cards right now because there's a chance that he could become my most favorite player of all-time. I enjoy tracking down Matt Kemp cards, too, although so many people have finally discovered him, that pursuing them lately has become a little frustrating.

But Hershiser has that certain something that I can only find in Hideo Nomo's cards. Like Nomo, Hershiser has a back story that makes his cards more interesting than the average baseball athlete. A slight, bookish-looking player (his parents' names are Orel and Mildred, for crying out loud), Hershiser used intelligence and competitiveness to carve up batters. Many of his cards are comical looking because of his sometimes unathletic appearance.

Add the fact that most of his success occurred during the junk wax period when they were churning out cards as if they were a staple of life, and there are plenty of wonderful cards from which to choose. I really think that every Dodger fan who collects cards should have at least a few Hershisers to admire.

These days, I often wait until I am in the middle of a trade with fellow Hershiser collector, Mark, to do some more Bulldog card accumulating. Most recently, I found a few extra Hershisers that he needed and then set off on a mission to find a few more for both of us.

I usually like to wait until Mark features the cards on his blog before launching into my "this is what I got when I was pretending to shop for you" post. But as usual, he's stringing me along with one card every time he feels like it while he tends to incidental things like "life." I can't wait any longer. These are junk wax Orels, man! They can't be kept under wraps forever.

So I'm putting them all out there.

Let's go:

The mid-1980s mini-cards are the bottom rung of the mini cards ladder. Not as enjoyable as '75 minis, or A&G minis, they receive a grudging nod of respect and that's all.

This '86 version, however, features Hershiser's amazing 1985 season, so I'll even extend a warm handshake to this mini.

More '86 greatness, this time in sticker form. The back commands me to "bend and peel." I most certainly will not.

I believe I also obtained this card for Mark. If both of us are in need of the card, I try to get two of them. Sorry I spoiled the surprise by showing mine first. It's not a competitive thing, really. I just had the things scanned already.

Classic Green. Another set from the early '90s that I refuse to fully grasp, because I do not want to know the horror that is the number of variations of these cards. Perhaps I'm only getting it confused with those Star cards. But I prefer the whole thing left in a dark, nebulous void for now.

I am smitten by the late '80s Fleer oddball issues. That Kaybee card is probably my favorite one of the group. Hershiser seems at home on an oddball issue. I'm sure he was overlooked plenty early in his career.

We are programmed to love everything about 1992 Bowman. Except those awful street clothes poses. I'm still scarred horribly by Hershiser's foray into fashion.

Another item obtained for both Mark and I. This is from the 1989 Topps glossy set. The second-to-last year of the "send-in-for-the-glossies" era for Topps. Gold foil was to glossy cards what grunge was to hair metal.

The only post-career Hershiser that I nabbed. These were nicely numbered to 1988, one of the best years in history. This card is 192/1988. Hershiser's playing weight just happened to be 192. Really, look it up. A lot of cards round his weight to 190. But the more specific ones say 192.

OK, you don't believe me?

Look ...

That's living right. And, no, I didn't photoshop it. I really have a life, you know.

My favorite Hershiser card is an unlicensed Hershiser card. Unlicensed stuff really works with Orel. If you never saw him play, it's not like you'd really believe that he ever wore an actual major league uniform anyway.

This card was already fantastic without it being a Museum Collection parallel -- thereby enhancing the "wow" factor of Hershiser's epic warm-up stretches. My favorite part, other than the hair, glasses, grin and sweat pants, is the fact that it appears that Orel is playing for the "Lagers."

And those are all the Hershisers I obtained this time around.

Really, you Dodger collectors better start stocking up on some yourself. It won't be long before Mark and I corner the market on Hershisers.

(P.S.: Saw "Moneyball." If you're a baseball fan, you'll like it. Well done.)


  1. These remind me of my Thome collection. I'm working on a post about him.I have a big stack of Hershiser cards and I'll see what I can find for Kemp.

  2. Nice post.. Hershiser is indeed unappreciated.

  3. Haha, I just commented about the Bulldog on your later post. After going back through the 80's Topps cards and seasons - I have a lot more appreciation for him. And the end of his '88 season. I didn't realize how ridiculous it was - Danny Jackson must have been leading the Cy Young race in mid-August, then Hershiser just decided to stop giving up runs for a month and a half.