It's official. I'm a Mike Piazza collector.
I never thought of myself as a Piazza collector. I don't really player-collect, per se. And Mike always had so many enthusiastic card fans that there was no way I could consider myself one of them. Not that it's a competition, of course.
Even as my Piazza collection grew and grew and grew, I resisted saying that "I collect Piazza." The phrase sounds weird anyway, like I'm going to pull up to his home with a dump truck, lower the dumper thing, roll Mike into the back and haul him off to the collection. (I'd never do that, Mike. Please don't sweat it).
If I collected anything player-wise, it was Cey or Kershaw or Koufax or Hershiser or Nomo. Yup, definitely, Nomo, because that's the player that appeared on the most cards in my collection.
However, as I lamented before, the number of Nomos isn't that far off from the number of Piazzas I have. They're dangerously, dangerously close, for someone who isn't a Piazza collector.
Then it happened.
Cards on Cards sent me nine Mike Piazza cards I didn't have. Totally out of the blue.
And now he's gone and done it.
I now have more Mike Piazza cards than I have cards of any other player.
Don't ask me the total, because I'm almost positive that it is wrong.
I just know that it's more than anything else. Mike's smiling face. Showing up more often than anything else in the house (gosh, that's another disturbing image).
Let's see some of those disturb ... er, lovely cards.
Here is Mike as a Star. A Topps Star.
Here is Mike on Pacific. Which automatically means he speaks Spanish.
This is Mike coming up Aces. Or Fours.
Mike as a Special FX gold highlight fancy boy.
Mike as a Gamer, which always gives me flashbacks to my high school baseball coach during tryouts when he'd proclaim someone a "gamer," which meant "good gosh that kid has no talent but he ran hard anyway."
A Finest Mike with a ball rising behind him. This reminds me of the Peanuts comic in which everything Charlie Brown sees is a baseball, including a baseball rising in the sky like the sun.
And this is the best Mike of all. This is what I missed by not collecting in the '90s. Apparently Sports Illustrated was handing out Best Hair ribbons. On the back, SI calls Piazza a "hair crazy player." I am now embarrassed for everyone who collected in 1998.
Add all those cards up and you come up with a number in the high 300s, almost 400. It's a number true Piazza collectors would spit upon, but it's still more cards than I have of any single player.
Which means, I guess, that I accumulate Piazza cards very well. Whether it's actively or passively.
I'm OK with this. I'm not going to fight it like I once did. Besides, I expect Kershaw to surpass everyone in two or three years anyway.
Does this mean you can see Piazza added to the "Players I Collect" page?
Too many cards to type.