Thursday, December 5, 2013

C.A.: 1981 Fleer John Wathan

(What's new in my life? The former boss who tormented me for 6 years is trying to be my friend on Facebook. WHAT HAVE I DONE???? Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 193rd in a series):

Perhaps you have heard. Major League Baseball is looking into altering the home plate collision as we know it.

I am conflicted about this idea. While I think something might have to be done about what appears to be more violent collisions caused by increasingly bigger and faster people, I also don't want to see the end to the knock-down, drag-out, two-people-writhing-on-the-ground drama of the play at the plate.

I am no different then others who are drawn to sports. I like home plate collisions. I like quarterback sacks. I like hockey fights. Barbaric? Maybe. But it wouldn't be sport without conflict -- physical conflict. And I don't want to see it wiped away and the sport sanitized.

Here is another reason:

A change could mean the end of cards like the '81 Wathan card above (by the way, that's Wathan tagging out Disco Dan Ford on a throw from center to second to home on May 25, 1980).

Or, even tragically, it could mean the end of cards like this:

I don't want that to happen.

Topps has made some pretty impressive cards based on home plate collisions. It seemed to be especially good at it in last year's sets.

It's also continued the trend in this year's set:

The question is, if there is a change to the rules on plays at the plate, will the word come down from MLB to its lone card liscensee, Topps, to end depictions of plays at the plate on cards?

That would be ugly.

It seems that if MLB does act on plays at the plate that it will focus on the type of rolling block mayhem that we've seen recently. Stuff like this probably:

(Hmmm, Carlos Quentin. Imagine my surprise).

That means runners won't be able to act like fullbacks and catchers won't be able to protect the plate like its their newborn child. I guess I don't have a problem with that.

While watching baseball in the '70s, '80s and '90s, I don't remember runners and catchers behaving quite that way or collisions being quite that violent. There's a reason Pete Rose's destruction of Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game stood out. It didn't happen that often -- or at least I don't remember it happening it that often.

If runners have to do more sliding and less rolling into home, that's OK. But I hope people don't get nervous and all PC and we have to scrub our cards clean of play-at-the-plate chaos. I hope we can still have plays at the plate that create cards that are at least as interesting as the Wathan card.

And part of me hopes that we can still have '73 Corrales cards in our future, too.


  1. Greatest Night Owl post ever! I don't ever want to see a catcher get hurt, but the play at the plate is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. I don't see how you legislate it out of the game. When my son was playing Little League baseball, they had a rule that you had to slide into home and not "run into" the catcher. Would that even work in MLB? I think you'd get people like Quentin who knew they were going to be out who would run into the catcher just because they were jerks. Luckily for me, there are so many good patp cards out there. The Corrales is one of the great ones.

  2. We don't wish for others unwell but 'criminalizing' the plate collisions is taking out a very characteristic part of baseball.
    And all those great cards...We would miss it a lot!

  3. Ah, you forgot something.

    Please go ahead and add the '71 Munson. Until then this post is being marked and "incomplete" and you'll be getting no credit.

    1. That card is overplayed (as all Yankees card are). I've shown it enough.