Monday, July 3, 2017

A good day for baseball cards

Every day is a good day for baseball cards, but there are some that are better than others. This is one of them.

I don't know if it's the sudden arrival of summer here in the Northeast or just that July has always been the most spectacular month out of the year, but I can't help but notice how many players with cool baseball cards were born this very day.

Let's take Moises Alou, for instance. This 1992 Stadium Club card of his has always been a favorite, one of my go-to cards from the entire set. Alou is a '90s player so you can always find something notable on a card for him, but this one is clearly the best: Montreal Expos uniform. Red Montreal Expos uniform. Montreal Expos helmet. The bluest sky ever. The chain link fence. Get me to a baseball game, stat!

How about another '90s guy? Greg Vaughn was also born today.

Again, we're' fishing in the 1992 pond, a terrible year in many ways, but for baseball cards the hobby was starting to dig out of the doldrums of '90 and '91. This is Vaughn at his Baddest. The vacant stare at no one, because no one else matters. The double Brewers logos fighting for supremacy.

Vaughn is a '90s player, too, so there's a lot of choice here. And since Vaughn played for some teams with major uniform issues in the 1990s (Brewers, Padres, Devil Rays), there is also a lot of ewww.

But, go on, how about this?

I know I've shown this before but Vaughn robbing some very 1990s Oakland A's fans of a souvenir is worth a double shot. Serves the one kid right for his zubaz wearin'. Get on your skateboards and ride.

But maybe the 1990s aren't for you. I hear ya.

Danny Heep was born today and he played in the '80s.

You cannot BE more casual in a dugout setting than Heep is right here. I'd prefer he orient himself in a different fashion, but it makes for a memorable card, especially for someone who wasn't exactly a regular.

Heep's debut card with the Mets is also memorable.

That is an advertisement for the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald displayed prominently behind Heep. As a newspaper guy, I can't help but admire that. The ad means that Heep is playing in McKechnie Field, the longtime spring training site of the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. (It has some other sponsored name now but I'm ignoring that).

Let's move on to Matt Keough, also born today. They really grew pitchers scrawny in the early 1980s, din they? I am going to assume that these are warm-up pitches because Kelvin Moore or Shooty Babitt or whoever that may be is NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

This is one of just two cards in the entire 1979 Topps set that shows a baseball in flight (I know, I looked). And for that, Keough creates a memorable card.

John Verhoeven was also born today. And you're saying, "Come on, who the hell is John Verhoeven?"

Obviously you have not looked at Mr. Verhoeven's baseball cap.

The White Sox debuted the very wordy, very wide "SOX" on their caps in 1976. Verhoeven played for the Angels in 1977 and then was traded in a June deal to the White Sox. Topps, clearly flummoxed by the White Sox logo, made Verhoeven's cap as wide and as tall as possible and then painted SOX as firmly, brightly and widely as possible. It might be the widest writing on a baseball cap on a baseball card ever.

But if that doesn't float your boat, here:

Verhoeven hanging out next to a phone with a cord four years later. I dare you to say that's not delightfully retro.

Frank Tanana was born today. This is what the got the ball rolling for me this afternoon. My admiration for this card and this player is well-known. It is one of the greatest cards of the 1970s. And it allows me to make this announcement:

This card will appear in my countdown of the greatest cards of the '70s and that countdown will appear sometime this summer. I've made progress on a little more research and I'll be working on it some more in the next few days. So head to the store and buy some snacks. It's coming for sure. Soon.

Advertisement over.

This was one of the first 1971 Topps cards that I ever owned. I thought it was glorious. I still think it's glorious. It may have been the card that sold me on the greatness of '71 Topps way back when. And, yes, Casey Cox was born today.

You know who else was born today?

Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame voting runner-up Jose "Coco" Laboy. You can't get a more pleasing baseball card than this one. Again, it all goes back to the Expos.

Finally, I submit, Ed Roebuck, another birthday boy and 86 years young, too.

This card had to make 1963 kids smile. It's not the greatest card, but it's everything that you'd want in a baseball card. A baseball player smiling because he has a ball, a glove, and is standing in a ballpark. (You can tell by the bunting that it might be World Series time).

I don't know if today is the greatest day for baseball cards or the day with the most great baseball cards by players born on one day. Maybe it's just a random day.

It's probably just because I'm in a good mood, baseball is on the TV and all I have to do today is think about baseball.

What can I say? It's a good day.


  1. In reference to the Ed Roebuck card, I was one of those 1963 kids and every card (except for those ridiculous 4 headed rookie cards) made me smile and they still do today, because I still have them. As perfect as the Ed Roebuck card is, it is missing bats. The Jose LaBoy card fills that bill nicely.

  2. Lets get it on - A 1970s Countdown - Don't miss 1972 Cleon Jones.

  3. I am eagerly awaiting the countdown!

  4. I don't think I've looked at... or at least thought about that 81F Matt Keough in years. But seeing it today sure brought back fond memories. 81F was the first complete set I ever owned. And even though I went to A's and Giants games in the 70's, the early 80's A's with Keough, Armas, Murphy, Rickey, Heath, Gross, McKay, Norris, and McCatty were the guys on the field in my earliest baseball memories.