Just got back from the store where I bought a few discounted cards. I haven't opened any of them yet, so you're getting this post from someone high on the buzz of What Might Be.
Realistically, the chances of them being anything worth showing here are remote. And given that this is a post of the Greatest Dodger Cards Ever, I don't know why I'm even bringing it up. I've just got to clue you in on the latest lowdown, I guess.
Today's group of 10 great cards will bring us to the halfway point of the countdown. I've seen what cards are left remaining and they're all fantastic. I'm sure by the time you see all of them, I will have converted at least some of you into Dodger fans.
But the Dodgers don't need any PR from me. The cards speak for themselves. Time for cards 60 through 51:
60. Hideo Nomo, 1995 Stadium Club
Nomo has close to 20 different rookie cards. Selecting the best out of that many cards is difficult, especially since they're all basically the same. But a card of Nomo at the height of Nomomania is a must, so I settled on his Stadium Club card. It's one that's cited a lot when Nomo's rookie cards are the subject. I like it for its simplicity.
59. Matt Kemp, 2011 Topps Triple Threads
Traditionalists will scoff at this card being in the countdown, and it's true, it's not exactly in the spirit of this whole exercise. However, it's a fantastic card. As Triple Threads cards go, it's understated (if that's possible). Plus I like it because it features Kemp's nickname in all its glory and, good gosh, the card is pretty. And exclusive, too. It's also the last relic card you'll see in this countdown.
58. Steve Garvey, 1978 Topps
There are Garvey cards that I like more and that are ranked higher on this countdown. But I can't deny that this card probably sums up Garvey better than any other. From the All-Star shield, to the memorable batting stance, to Garvey at his clean-cut best, right down to the politician's smile, this card oozes everything that No. 6 was all about.
57. Frank Howard, 1960 Topps
"Hondo" doesn't get enough notice for the looming shadow he cast over the game in the 1960s. He was one of the single most intimidating hitters in the history of baseball, a 6-foot-8 beast that probably would have been even more successful if he didn't play in a pitcher's park for the first half of his career. The Dodgers haven't had a lot of players like that, especially in the '60s. So his rookie card is here, thanks to one unique individual.
56. Duke Snider, 1961 Topps
The most recent addition to the countdown. This card arrived unexpectedly in the mail a couple of months ago. It's one of Snider's best cards, and the last card issued during his career (save for the inset of the '63 Topps card) in which he's wielding a bat. Every card of Snider should show him wielding a bat.
55. Russ Martin, 2008 Stadium Club
2008 was the year of Russell Martin, at least according to cards. He appeared on three of the greatest cards to be issued that year. Depending on your tastes, any of the three could be consider the best card of 2008. I'm sure some would rate this card higher, but his Yankiness is getting in the way. By the way, if you're tuning in late, we determined that Nady was safe on this play.
54. Orel Hershiser, 1989 Donruss (59 and Counting)
Baseball milestones and achievements don't get recognized enough in baseball cards. I miss the days of eight record-breaker cards starting off a set. Now, records are often diminished on some sort of checklist or flat-out ignored. Moment-in-time cards are the best. And if you can get a photo of the record-breaker juggling baseballs in the process? Well, your card has just made the countdown.
53. Kirk Gibson, 1988 Topps Traded
Never has the collective screw-up of a group of baseball owners benefited a team like the Dodgers benefited in 1988. The Tigers tried to trade Gibson to the Dodgers during the winter meetings in 1987. That didn't work out. But a month later, owners were punished for their collusion ways during the previous offseason signing periods and a bunch of players were made free agents. One of them was Gibson, who was signed by the Dodgers. A year later, the Dodgers were World Series champions, thanks in part to their MVP and an epic home run.
This is Gibson's first Dodger card. I really like it.
52. Dodgers Prospects, 1979 Topps
Pay no attention to the grainy, black-and-white photos. Pay attention to the subjects. Guerrero was probably the greatest player to play for the Dodgers in the '80s. Law was briefly brilliant before flaming out. Simpson didn't make his mark much as a player but is known across North America for his broadcasting. It's not often you get a prospects card with three guys that most baseball fans know.
51. Walt Alston, 1962 Topps
There are manager cards, and then there are NOW THAT'S A MANAGER card. Alston is obviously in control here. He'll let you have a bat if you ask nicely. But he'll tell you which one to use. I also love the very '60s background. The whole world featured an olive-green backdrop back then. One of my most favorite manager cards.
All of those cards make me happy.
I'm off to determine whether the ones I bought make me happy, too.
Maybe I'll even let you know what happens.