Skip to main content

Legend of cardboard in the making

I've decided that indeed I have another series on this blog. "Legends of Cardboard" will one day soon take up residence in the tabs up top. This is going to make for some uncomfortable and unpopular decisions in the near future as I'll have to remove something that's already up there. But I'm ready for it. Besides, my blog, my rules.

As you might recall by the first Legend of Cardboard post, I am trying to reclaim the phrase "legend of cardboard" and define it properly. A "legend of cardboard" is not that all-star you looked up to when you were a kid, leafing through your bubblegum cards. That is a "legend of the game." A true "legend of cardboard" is a player who 10-to-15 years after they stopped playing would be totally forgotten by fans if not for their very memorable pictures on baseball cards.

These pictures rise above the average photo of their cardboard peers so much so that it's obvious that they have the talent for showcasing themselves on cardboard.

The first person honored as being a Legend of Cardboard was Carlos Hernandez, 1990s backup catcher for the Dodgers (and starting catcher for one shining moment with the '98 Padres).

I'm not ready to nominate another LOC yet. But I would like to take a look at someone who has the potential for LOC-dom.

It's David Murphy, a current outfielder for the Rangers.

When I saw his 2013 Allen & Ginter card that you see above (this is a pilfered scan, I don't have this card, I'm too poor for new cards, remember?), it just added to what could be his cardboard legend.

Sure, if this image had appeared on another card other than A&G, it would have looked a lot better. We all know how horribly A&G's design works with horizontal cards. Getting the complete look at Murphy's sprawling self would have given this photo a better chance.

But if you consider Murphy's 2013 Topps base card in conjunction with the A&G card, there is potential there.

That's one of the better cards of 2013, although I don't think Murphy is entirely successful here. The ball appears to be ricocheting somewhere off stage. Still, when you're showing effort in front of a giant scoreboard -- regardless of the fact that the Diamondbacks won -- you are moving toward Legend of Cardboard status.

Now combine those two cards with my favorite card of 2009:

The foil refuses to tell you, but that is indeed David Murphy exchanging low-fives with Josh Hamilton in front of the very spacious and way-too-majestic Rangers Ballpark at Arlington (it looks like a place where they stage gladiator battles).

Now those last two are two terrific cards of someone who isn't known a whole lot outside of the AL West.

I admit I'm not familiar with Murphy outside of seeing him in the playoffs periodically. I make a conscious effort not to follow American League baseball and will jump at the chance to see the Cubs play the Padres if the other choices are AL teams. Bud Selig is working very hard to eliminate that bias in me, but until the entire major leagues is one homogenized mess and we're playing the World Series in Singapore, I will continue to have limited knowledge of AL players.

That was a tangent. But, really, how many of us are going to remember Murphy 10 years after he's retired?

So with that, and those two great pieces of cardboard -- and one decent A&G card -- I think we definitely have something in the making.

Let's take a look at a few other Murphy cards:

This is a young Red Sox Murphy, back during the days when curtains on baseball cards were acceptable. I'm so glad this was a phase.

Not a bad card, but really nothing notable, especially when there was drapery everywhere in 2007.

Ugh. 2008. I'll tell you what should make Legend of Cardboard status -- a player who actually produced a decent card in 2008 Topps. (I know there are some, but there aren't many). This is not one of Murphy's finer cardboard moments.

Coming off of the stellar 2009 Topps card, this doesn't match up. But it's actually pretty good. Murphy seems to be an animated fellow and you can't argue with dust on a card. Not a characteristic shot and that's always a plus.

Murphy's 2011 and 2012 Topps base cards are sort of similar. Both show him pursuing a ball in the outfield (in the 2011 card, he's about to catch what appears to be a soft liner). This is another plus for Murphy because fielding action shots make for great cards.

I wouldn't call either 2011 or 2012 great cards for Murphy, but I'm talking body of work here and I think he has a chance.

I'll continue to review his cards and who knows? Maybe you'll see him added to the Legend of Cardboard in a couple of years.

Or longer. You know how slow things work around here.


Marcus said…
You forgot Murphy's best card, 2007 Upper Deck. Rookie card, plus he's not wearing shoes.
night owl said…
That's a good one. I can't stand UD's 2007 design though.
So, what I'm hearing is that you want to watch the Cubs. That makes lots of us happy.
Potch said…
The only question I have about all of this is "Did the Reds win?" I could probably look it up and cross reference and stuff, 'cept I'm lazy.
steelehere said…
If you're taking a vote from your readers on what comes down when you make "Legend of Cardboard" a tab, I'm for pulling the "Match The Song Title".
I've been wanting to do this very post so thanks for saving me the trouble! Those are great cards. I feel the same way about the National League, but it's mostly due to that fact that I don't have time to watch other games. Murph is having a down year, which is too bad for him because he could really be carving out a long term spot in Texas with Cruz out.
night owl said…
No polls on that. You guys are tough to figure. I've got people telling me "Match the Song Title" is their favorite thing ever.
Dave said…
The 2010 Topps Murphy... is that a night card?
BaseSetCalling said…
I noticed a possible nominee today, probably 'cuz of the Murhpy warning track card - Greg Dobs. Dobbs? The legend isn't sticking just yet. But the only reason I catch myself listening for bits of Greg Dobbs news when I check a Marlin broadcast for an inning or two once in a while, are his cards. Not necessarily good ones - the clubhouse lights card - but legends can be bad as well as good. I do love his "Get Down" card, or whatever the heck he is doing on that one.

Popular posts from this blog

This guy was everywhere

It's interesting how athletes from the past are remembered and whether they remain in the public conscious or not.

Hall of Fame players usually survive in baseball conversations long after they've played because they've been immortalized in Cooperstown. Then there are players who didn't reach the Hall but were still very good and somehow, some way, are still remembered.

Players like Dick Allen, Rusty Staub, Vida Blue and Mickey Rivers live on decades later as younger generations pick up on their legacies. Then there are all-stars like Bert Campaneris, who almost never get discussed anymore.

There is just one memory of Campaneris that younger fans most assuredly know. I don't even need to mention it. You know what's coming, even if Lerrin LaGrow didn't.

But there was much more to Campaneris than one momentary loss of reason.

A couple of months ago, when watching old baseball games on youtube hadn't gotten old yet, I was watching a World Series game from…

Some of you have wandered into a giveaway

Thanks to all who voted in the comments for their favorite 1970s Topps card of Bert Campaneris.

I didn't know how this little project would go, since I wasn't installing a poll and, let's face it, the whole theme of the post is how Campaneris these days doesn't get the respect he once did. (Also, I was stunned by the amount of folks who never heard about the bat-throwing moment. Where am I hanging out that I see that mentioned at least every other month?)

A surprising 31 people voted for their favorite Campy and the one with the most votes was the one I saw first, the '75 Topps Campy card above.

The voting totals:

'75 Campy - 11 votes
'70 Campy - 4
'72 Campy - 4
'73 Campy - 4
'76 Campy - 4
'74 Campy - 3
'78 Campy - 1

My thanks to the readers who indulged me with their votes, or even if they didn't vote, their comments on that post. To show my appreciation -- for reading, for commenting, for joining in my card talk even if it might …

Return of the king

(If you haven't voted for your favorite Bert Campaneris '70s card in the last post, I invite you to do so).

So you've been away for a few years and want everyone to know that you're back.

How do you do that?

Do what The Diamond King did when he returned to card blogging last month: Bombard readers with contests and giveaways! Well, you've certainly gotten MY attention, sir!

I'll start with the giveaways first. Since he returned, the Diamond King has issued multiple "Diamond King 9" giveaways, straight out of the chute and rapid fire in the last month-plus. As I've said before, I am very slow to get to these "first come, first serve" giveaways. I used to think "I spend too much time on the computer" and now I realize "I don't spend enough time on the computer at all!"

But I was able to nab two cards out of the many giveaways.

I won this key 1981 Fleer Star Sticker of The Hawk. I have since acquired several more &#…