Thursday, July 5, 2012

C.A.: 1980 Kellogg's Pete Rose

(Hi, and welcome to Cardboard Appreciation Week, again. You'll be happy to know that today is "Work-A-Holics Day." If you're working and you're spending time reading this, then shame on you. You're not honoring the spirit of the day. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 150th in a series):

One of the most entertaining elements of the old Kellogg's cards has nothing to do with the front of the card. It is on the back of the card.

Listed among the vital statistics -- height, weight, hometown, etc. -- is the mention of the player's hobbies. This is fantastic. Forget that 3-D action, I used to immediately turn the card over to see what the player did for a hobby.

Most of the time, I was disappointed. Hunting was a big hobby. I've never hunted in my life, and the only kid I knew who hunted at the time when I was scrounging for Kellogg's cards was kind of a jerk.

A lot of the time, the player would just phone it in when listing a hobby and write "sports." Oh, really? "Sports"? You mean the thing you do for a living? Thanks for getting in the spirit of the exercise, sir.

But Pete Rose had to go one step beyond the uninspired "sports."

Rose listed as his hobby "ALL sports."

That's right, peons. Rose doesn't play some generic "sports." He wants everyone to know he plays ALL SPORTS. That's how much he loves sports. He plays them all. I envisioned Rose attempting to bowl, golf, swim and play polo all at the same time.

But part of me thought it was a little sad. That sports was the only existence for Rose. That when he got done playing baseball -- which is a sport, obviously -- all he did was play more sports. No time for anything else, just sports, sports, sports (reminds me of some families I know who shuttle kids back-and-forth from sport to sport season after season).

And then there's the hidden hobby contained within "All Sports," which is "Gambling On All Sports."

Do you think that's what Rose intended to write? Or what he was implying? He gambled on a wide variety of sports. And gambling was certainly a hobby of his. I think this is what Rose meant.

But before I dwell too much on Rose's obsessions, how about a look at some of the players who provided less boring hobbies than "sports"?

Ken Griffey's hobby, or rather George Kenneth Griffey's hobby, was Drawing Cartoons. That's pretty interesting. I think I remember hearing something about Ken Griffey Jr. drawing.

Griffey should have tried to sell some of his cartoons. I bet he could've made a little money. Not that the family needs cash. At least I hope they don't.

Terry Puhl's hobby was Crossword Puzzles.

That's a nice, introspective hobby that you don't associate with baseball players. They certainly have a lot of down time for crossword puzzles. But this hobby is also maybe a little dated. I don't imagine with the arrival of personal phones and apps and all that stuff, that crossword puzzles is big pastime on the road with the modern ballplayer.

Gary Matthews' hobby was Dancing.

I am sure when I saw this as a kid, I started laughing. There was no "Dancing With the Stars" back then. Dancing was not cool. Dancing was not a way to get the girls. Dancing was lame.

I think as a kid, I called Gary Matthews lame.

By the way, today is Matthews' 62nd birthday. Happy birthday, Gary! You're not lame.

Ted Simmons' hobby was Motorcycles.

Now that is definitely not lame. I wonder what management thought of Simmons' hobby?

Gorman Thomas' hobby was Drag Racing, Rock Music.

I have mentioned Thomas' hobbies before. This listing is the pinnacle of hobby listings. There is nothing better. Let's examine how great this listing is:

1. It is specific.
2. It is multiple.
3. It is two crazy, loud activities.

No "sports" for James Gorman Thomas.

He played to win.


  1. Dancing is still lame.
    Unless there is a pole involved. Then, maybe.

  2. I think we all would think much different of Gorman Thomas if his hobbies were Drag Music and Rock Racing. I now have this image of him listening to RuPaul scream at a stone to hurry up. I shouldn't drink in the afternoons.

  3. Mike Mussina was featured in the documentary, "Wordplay", which showed him doing the NY Times crossword puzzle in the Yankee dugout (not during a game, though). He mentioned that he had been doing crosswords for many years.

    Puzzling is not dead among the pro athletes yet! :-)

  4. Gorman Thomas was ALL, FREAKING, 101% Badass!!! Even when I hated the Brewers, I loved Gorman Thomas.

  5. Pete Rose is going to be signing at the National...tempting.

  6. Love the Kellogs Cards!!! I loved it when my mom would buy Frosted Flakes, which wasn't often. After playing wiffle ball all summer morning with my buddies I'd shove my grimy hand and arm down the box for that gem of a card. I feel sorry for my family now having to eat them after that. Oh well!!! Keep the Kellogs cards coming!!!

  7. Those are great. I think Rose DID say gambling on All Sports, but they had to edit it for space.