Saturday, November 18, 2017

Send them to me

It's been a banner year for autographed Ron Cey cards in 2017. Topps' Archives line has made Cey one of the recurring figures in its never-ending run of products.

A Cey autograph is in the main Archives set and I landed the peach parallel a few months ago. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that a Cey signature is also in the Archives Snapshot series (as well as the base card, which I need to get).

Then I discovered he was in something called "Topps Archives Signature Series Postseason Edition," which was released just last week. I didn't like how I discovered it, though.

This Archives Signature Series Postseason set is the type of product that I avoid like the plague, and therefore know very little about. From what I gather it is released as a box of just one, encased card. You plop down 30 or 40 or 70 bucks (I'm just going by what I see on ebay) and you get one signed card.

It's a straight gamble. The checklist is all over the place. You could pull Hank Aaron or Sandy Koufax. You could pull Jeff Conine or David Eckstein.

I knew nothing about these until I saw a few references to people opening them online. There wasn't much pleasant said about them, and a few helpful types advised collectors to stay away.

Then there were a couple snide, snickering references to the checklist.

Stuff like "Enjoy all the Ron Ceys!"

My ears perked up.

"There are Ron Ceys, plural, in this set????????"

Then a pause.

"Hey ....

"What's wrong with Ron Cey????"

Obviously, if there are Ron Ceys, plural, this could be the greatest set of all-time.

These critical dudes clearly have no idea of the greatness of what they're pulling out of their one-card box. But then they're buying a one-card box, so ...

I saw on Dodgers Blue Heaven all of the signed Ron Cey cards available in the Archives Signature Series Postseason set (these long set names have got to go). He found 10 of them.

I decided to investigate on ebay myself. Here are the signed Cey Dodger cards that I found:

That's six and there were also three other kinds that had been sold, an American Pie Cey from 2001, a 1975 mini Cey and a 1983 Cey that's actually an O-Pee-Chee card that shows him in his '83 Topps pose but with a Cubs listing.

Dodgers Blue Heaven also showed two others that I couldn't find, the 1978 Topps Cey and another OPC card, Cey's 1982 base card.

So that's 11 different signed Ron Cey cards that are in the Topps Archives Signature Series Postseason Can We Add A Few More Describers To This.

This is a Cey Bonanza!

However, even though Cey is my favorite player of all-time, there is no way I'm buying a box of this. I have never been about the autograph. I make a bit of an exception for Cey, but I won't buy a product just because I'm guaranteed an autograph.

I do want all of these though, even the cards that Cey has already signed for me through the mail, which means I would be collecting just the silly stamp Topps places on the Archives cards.

So, please, all of you disgusted collectors who pulled Cey cards, send them to me. I will gladly take them over pulling a number of the stars on this checklist. I would rather pull the Cey card than a signed Ripken or Sandberg or Thome or Chipper Jones.

And, I would like to say, things could be much, much, much worse. Instead of pulling a fine card of an upstanding MLB veteran of well-known, long-running success like Cey, you could fork over 60 dollars and pull Tony Womack. Yikes.

Or, heavens, you could pull this:

There are lots of signed Cubs Cey cards in this set, too. They're all terribly pedestrian, lacking Cey's trademark "10" that he places inside the R on each of his signed Dodger cards. (And, yes, Fuji, there's that one dopey '87 Topps card of him in an A's uniform, too).

So, yeah, I can see how this set would disappoint immensely.

But not if you're pulling a Dodger Cey autographed card.

Just think of the grateful owl who would gladly accept it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The "ugly" duckling of the golden era of Kellogg's 3-D cards

The glory days of Kellogg's 3-D cards took place from 1970-83. That was when Kellogg's was issuing a new set each year, usually available off the side or the back of a cereal box and often with a single card from that set swimming in cereal inside the box.

My period of collecting Kellogg's 3-D cards is much shorter than that. The first 3-D cards I remember seeing are from 1974, but I don't recall fishing any out of a box of Frosted Flakes until 1977. The peak years for me and Kellogg's cards was 1977-80 -- that was when my brothers and I ordered an entire set off of the box and then divided the cards among ourselves.

I hold great affection for Kellogg's cards from that 77-80 era. I also am enamored with the 3-D cards from 1974-76. And I hold much respect for the early Kellogg's cards from 1970-73, even the 2-D set from '73.

That leaves 1981-83, a period when I left Kellogg's cards behind (no doubt the arrival of Donruss and Fleer had something to do with that).

The '81 set is the only one as large as a regulation-size baseball card. But it's bright yellow as all get-out and you can't mistake it for anything but Kellogg's. The '82 set, as well, looks much like something that would arrive in the mid-1970s, blue borders with stars floating around the player's image.

And that leaves 1983.

Let's count the reasons why collectors turn up their nose at 1983 Kellogg's:

1. The cards are extremely narrow. Only the 1980 set features the same dimensions and at 1 7/8 inches-by-3 1/4 inches, the '80s and '83 sets are the narrowest of the Kellogg's sets. (On the positive side, the narrow dimension seems to shield the cards somewhat from cracking).

2. The design is not fun. It is practically utilitarian with lines and corners and nothing else. There is no color, which was a hallmark of past Kellogg's sets -- no blue, yellow, orange or red. There are no stars, which were featured on several sets (when I was a kid, part of the fun of the 3-D cards was seeing the stars "move" along the borders when you tilted the card).

3. The backs are overwhelming.

This is the only Kellogg's set from this era -- aside from the '72 All-Time Greats set -- that offers a vertical back. The write-up grows depending on the number of years accumulated by the player and the cards for younger players like Johnny Ray and Dave Stieb feature walls of text that dare you to read it.

I'd bet if you conducted a survey of Kellogg's cards enthusiasts that the '83 set would rank near the bottom. The '73 and '81 sets would get some votes for sure, but I think collectors were pretty much over 3-D action by 1983.

It's too bad. I think the '83 set should get more credit.

I'll never say it's my favorite Kellogg's set, but it still features much of what I love about the Kellogg's sets.

It still exhibits the classic "xograph" "3-D" "technology" that Kellogg's was known for since 1970 (once again, excluding that bizarre 2-D decision). It still features all of the players from my childhood and teenage years. And it still could be dug out of a box of cereal.

That's all I need from my Kellogg's cards. They're still pretty to me.

Recently, Steve of Collating Cards sent a bunch of '83 Kellogg's cards that he had sitting around. I am much closer to having a complete set after getting that package.

That is just glorious.

Even better, not a crack or even really any discoloration that you often see from Kellogg's cards.

This could be enough for me to put up a want list.

But I do admit to a bit of a bias against 1983 Kellogg's. I would rather complete the '76 Kellogg's set or the '78 set or the '80 set first. I like those better (and the '77 and the '75 and the '79 ones, too).

I'm going to stop feeling that way though and go ahead and put up that want list in the next couple of days.

The '83 set may have signaled the end of the golden era of Kellogg's 3-D cards. But it was still a part of that era.

And just like all the other sets, They're greeeeat!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

G.O.A.T., the '70s, 40-30

My apologies for a slight delay in uploading a new episode of the Greatest 100 Cards of the '70s Countdown. My busy schedule of late has delayed a variety of fun activities, and for me, there is nothing quite as fun as reviewing the most memorable cards of the '70s.

I'm finding that the deeper I go into the countdown, the easier it is for me to select which cards belong where. To me that means maybe a countdown of the greatest 50 cards would improve my accuracy, but if Kasey Kaseem could do 100 songs at the end of the year then I can categorize 100 cards.

Believe me, there are lot more than 100 great cards from the '70s. "Greatness" measures in the thousands when we're talking 1970-79.

So, let's get right to it. Slip Meco's Star Wars Theme onto your phonograph player, cook up a Swanson Salisbury Steak TV dinner and wriggle into some hot pants.

It's the greatest cards from the '70s, numbers 40-31:


Ron Pruitt, 1979 Topps, #226

The smaller the numbers get in this countdown the more well-known the people on the cards. Yet, no one would ever mistake Ron Pruitt for a superstar.

Pruitt was a utility player who carried around the delightful position designation of "outfield/catcher". But even if he spent a majority of time in the outfield (baseball-reference says 162 games in the outfield and 89 at catcher) is there any other card that screams CATCHER more than this card?

The close up of baseball's masked man is intriguing on any card, but the crop is so tight on this one that it stands out like no other "man-behind-the-mask." You get a real feel for what it must have been like to be a catcher in the 1970s. The cushioned, iron mask. The hand-drawn eye black. The heavy chest protector.

The 1979 set doesn't get a lot of credit for its innovative photos, but it really outdid itself here.


Ralph Garr, 1974 Topps, #570

I've told this story before.

I'm 10 or 11 years old. I'm in the museum portion of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Downstairs in the basement.

It's my first trip to Cooperstown and everything is fascinating. But the displays in the basement are my style. The displays are geared toward "today's game," with a focus on the current teams and players in Major League Baseball.

By far, the most interesting display appears on a series of free-standing boards in the middle of the room. All of the cards from the 1975 Topps set are featured in order by number. I follow the cards from board to board. I am very familiar with the '75 set by this time but had not seen many of the cards. There, in Cooperstown, for the first time I see Vida Blue and Rusty Staub and others. Mesmerized.

Then I spot it.

To that date, it was the greatest card I had ever seen in my life.

I was entranced by the action, by Garr bolting out of the box, casting his bat to the side and ridding himself of his helmet. I had no idea who this Ralph Garr was, but I even loved his name. "Garr". What a fabulous-sounding name. To do what Garr was doing on this card was "To Garr".

Little did I know that essentially that same photo of Garr had appeared on his card the previous year.

For my money, the '74 card is not as great as the '75 one. It's not as colorful, the image is farther away and the photo isn't as clear.

However, the '74 card arrived first and that means everything.

I've been to Cooperstown several more times in my life. But nothing can beat the memories of that first trip.


Len Randle, 1978 Topps, #544

This card has energy. It has mystery. Taken together, you have the 38th greatest card of the '70s.

I've addressed this card at least a couple of times on the blog. For years I had no idea what was going on in the photo. Was Lenny Randle laughing? Was he in pain? But even now that I know -- Randle is diving back to first base after a wild pick-off attempt and is looking up to see where the ball went before advancing all the way to third base -- I still come back to it with wonder.

Why in the world was Gene Richards playing first base for the Padres?

Exactly how bad was attendance at Shea Stadium in the late 1970s?

What is a ballclub's laundry bill like in an average year?

So many questions, brought on by a photograph you seldom see on baseball cards, taken from an interesting angle.

Action shots were not as prevalent in the 1970s as they would come to be and that's why they stand out so much to this day.


Ozzie Smith, 1979 Topps, #116

When you know what Ozzie Smith became, a well-manicured, acrobatic, smooth-sailing All-Star for the St. Louis Cardinals, his rookie card seems to come from another time.

Smith is young, showing off '70s-style scruff and dressed in the outrageous chocolate/mustard uniforms of the San Diego Padres. The card back shows some significant promise -- 159 games in his rookie year with 152 hits -- but all I noticed at the time was that there was a place called "Walla Walla".

Yet Smith seems to know what he is about to do. He looks cool, confident. Nobody can see his right arm, but it appears as if it's resting casually on something high as if he's just chilling, enjoying the beginning of a memorable career.

Whenever I see Smith's rookie card in my mind, I see an image of the card miscut, because so many of them are. But this one isn't all that bad.

I did have another version of the card that was drastically miscut. I laminated it to a binder with a bunch of other dupes from 1978 and 1979.


Jim Palmer, 1978 Topps, #160

I am saying this as a proudly heterosexual man: this card works because Jim Palmer is so damn handsome.

Palmer posed for his first Jockey underwear ad in 1977. He and several other athletes, like Pete Rose and Steve Carlton, showed off Jockey's underthings with an advertising tagline that said, "Take away their uniforms and who are they?"

I remember that ad. I can't recall my thoughts other than I regarded it as "adult advertising," like cigarette or automobile ads. But 1977 was the year when Palmer's good looks really came to the front.

That's what makes this card appropriate. Palmer, who appeared on back-to-back action cards in 1976 and 1977, at a distance, is shown for all he is worth in '78. You can hear the women squealing off camera as Palmer bats his baby blues.

It's the classic All-American matinee idol shot, with an All-Star shield to boot, with just a bit of a comical twist as the cartoon Oriole is propped on his head and the Brut advertising sign shines the background.

Too bad it doesn't say "Jockey".


Hal McRae, 1976 Topps, #72

Hal McRae was on my TV a lot in the late 1970s. The Royals were very good. They made the playoffs every year. McRae was also very good and I cheered for him.

But I didn't really know him. As I grew older and McRae progressed in his career and then became a manager, I realized that McRae must have a big personality. He threw famous tirades. He bowled over second basemen mercilessly. And he laughed heartily on this card.

It's too bad that McRae doesn't sound like James Earl Jones because that's the voice I imagine coming from his mouth when I see this card, a big, booming, vigorous, substantial laugh. It must have shook the photographer as he snapped the picture.

You can count almost all of McRae's teeth. How often can you say that about a card?

But the best part of it is the mutton chops. This wouldn't be half the card it is without McRae's beard choice.


Johnny Bench, 1975 Topps, #260

Give me this one.

I've tried very hard to eliminate my own biases in this countdown, which is very difficult since I collected as a child in the '70s. But there is no '75 Ron Cey in this countdown. No '75 Rollie Fingers. I've kept my overflowing love for everything '75 shut tight for this exercise.

But the Johnny Bench card, I cannot hold it in for this card.

I've mentioned before that this card was so big in my brain as a kid, such a presence among other kids I knew who collected at the time, that when I finally had it in my possession -- pulled out of a pack on a red-hot day as I walked home from the drug store -- that I almost wished I didn't have it. I thought someone would snatch it out of my grasp or a gust of wind would whisk it away from this undeserving collector.

What made this card so huge in my mind?

Well, it was Johnny Bench. Nobody was bigger in baseball at the time. I'm pretty sure that was the year when I figured out who he was.

Plus, the treatment of All-Star players by Topps in '75 was so wonderfully over the top that you couldn't help but be awed by the player pictured. Not only was there a giant star, but the entire freakin' border was made specially for the all-star dude.

And then there is Bench's squat and grin. He knows he's good. He just knows it.

And he knows you're lucky to have this card.


Carl Yastrzemski, 1976 Topps, #230

We hold cards so high in our minds as kids that the players look like conquering kings.

None more so than this card.

To me as a youngster, Yaz on this card appeared to be on the top of the mountain. He has just hit a mammoth home run from atop the highest peak in the land. Even though I know that's not true now, that's still how I think of the picture on this card. Yaz has hit an absolute moon shot, which actually isn't that far away because HE'S ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN!

But when I was scanning this card, I was noticing the helmet. Suddenly it looked too bright. Has anyone mentioned this already? How am I just noticing this? It appears as if it was airbrushed. Considering that the Red Sox had just changed its look from the old blue hats to red ones, this is very possible that it was altered, meaning that this is an old photo!

I'm still making new discoveries 40 years later.


Lindy McDaniel, 1971 Topps, #303

OK, so maybe Yaz wasn't on a mountain, but dammit, Lindy McDaniel here IS on a mountain, right?

This card is a Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Famer with good reason. McDaniel is lost in his craft while on stage before thousands of people in old Yankee Stadium.

The portion of the stadium presented and they way the photo is featured makes it seem to me that McDaniel is standing on a mound inside a giant gymnasium.

The fans in the distance almost appear to be looking up at McDaniel, making him on display even more than ever.

And the tension is there. What's the count? Who is the batter? Who is on base? What's the score? And what is McDaniel about to throw?

Non-card collectors, this is why I collect cards.


Bump Wills, 1979 Topps, #369 (Blue Jays variation)

Possibly the most coveted card of the late '70s for me.

I remember reading about the Blue Jays variation card of Bump Wills. He was rumored to be traded from the Rangers but then the trade fell through or there was no trade at all or something. Yet, Topps supposedly panicked and produced a card of Wills in a Rangers uniform but with a Blue Jays designation.

It was a weird thing to do because Topps wasn't doing stuff like that in 1979. At the time, if players changed teams before Topps could do anything about it, it would airbrush the player wildly into his new uniform. But something like the Wills, that was going back to 1974 with Glenn Beckert and Jerry Morales.

I wanted this card so much.

But I couldn't find it. Instead I had the regular old boring Wills card.

The Wills Blue Jay card was much more valuable to me, even though I think at some point the Rangers Wills was considered rarer? (all of the cardboard shenanigans are blurring together over the years).

It took decades for me to obtain the Blue Jays version of the card. I treasure it as if I am 13 and seeing it for the first time. It still looks weird and cool to me.

It is like no other card in the 1979 set. And like very few other cards in any Topps set from the 70s. I'd also say it's the inspiration for all the weird things that Fleer would do in the 1980s.


George Brett and Al "Cowans", 1976 SSPC, #589

I never saw this card when I was a kid. I know I would have loved it.

Many times I've mentioned that fun didn't really come to baseball cards until the 1990s. The game was treated as much more serious business during the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s. There would be no foolishness, no players making wacky faces, even though, heck, that's all players do.

This card is real. No fake news here. Sure, it should be Al "Cowens," but that's not going to keep the card off the countdown.

One other thing:

This is a checklist card.

It might be the greatest checklist card of all-time.

All right, that brings the latest episode to a close. I hope you enjoyed. And I hope you didn't regret that decision to consume a TV dinner and squeeze into hot pants.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

... Now back to our programs

When I first started attending college in Buffalo in the mid-1980s, I was charmed by a number of Buffalo-centric pastimes, one of which was watching television the way only someone from Buffalo can.

Buffalo is close to Canada so there was plenty of Canadian programming available. But Buffalo also featured an independent station called WUTV-29.

This station aired a variety of entertainment programming that mostly included cartoons, old television show reruns and old movies and science fiction shows. It was both wonderfully off the beaten path and comfortably familiar.

Later in the '80s, WUTV became affiliated with Fox programming and, then, UPN. It's a Fox affiliate now, I believe. I haven't watched the channel since I moved away from Buffalo, but I think, while the station still offers some charm, it is not the independent wonder it once was.

It was the little things on that channel that brought me back to watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s. The fact that it would preface a return to a show with a bumper that said "now back to our program," was all it took to keep me coming back to the channel.

Today, I watch very little television and most of my nostalgia is now wrapped up in baseball cards and other paper media. Lately, I've been on a World Series programs kick, brought on by the Dodgers' appearance in the 2017 World Series.

I wrote a post about World Series programs involving the Dodgers last month. I mentioned that I was trying to obtain the programs for Series that involved the Dodgers since I started following baseball.

Getting the 2017 program was job one. And, yesterday, that job was completed.

This beast barely fit into the mailbox. It was sent by Steve of Collating Cards. His boss is a Dodger fan (excellent taste there) and traveled to Dodger Stadium where he picked up some programs. One of the bad boys was sent to me!

These days they are making World Series programs that are 256 pages large! Holy smokes. Actually, it's bigger than that because there is a special 16-page section each for the Astros and Dodgers that is numbered separately. So 288 pages!

Fortunately, there is plenty of time before baseball starts up again, so I have reading material that will come in handy when basketball -- bleah -- is my only sports viewing option. I'm still not ready to relive the disappoint of the Series, but I'm at least at the stage where I know I will want to one day.

To avoid those still raw memories, the mailbox took care of me once again:

This is the 1974 World Series program, which was issued to commemorate the Series involving the Dodgers and A's.

I mentioned back on that WS program post that it was the only Dodger-related WS program that I didn't own since the time I started following baseball. But the always perceptive mr. haverkamp answered my call with a beautiful verson of the program that arrived the day after the World Series ended. It looks almost brand new!

The WS programs back in '74 were a mere 64 pages. I'll have no problem tackling that.

Just for comparison, I'll give a rundown of the index for the '74 program and the '17 program:


4 - The World Series
9 - Commissioner's Message, League Officials
12 - Henry Aaron
14 - NBC and the World Series
16 - Manager - Genius or Goat
18 - National League All-Star Team
19 - Pirates highlights
24 - Dodgers highlights
28 - Dizzy Dean: Legend in his own time
29 - National League statistics, rosters
31 - Lou Brock
33-35 - Scorecards
36 - American League statistics, rosters
38 - A's highlights
42 - Most Valuable Player awards/Cy Young awards
43 - Orioles highlights
47 - American League All-Star team
49 - Hall of Fame
50 - The All-Star Game
52 - Wonderful World of Professional Baseball, National League
58 - American League
64 - World Series umpires


5 - Welcome from Commissioner
7 - Major League Baseball executives
10 - Top of the Order
47 - 2017 Season in Review
65 - Opportunity Knocks (front office-WS teams)
76 - Sudden Impact (Cody Bellinger)
81 - From Rookies to Kings
91 - Legends of the Fall
99 - What's in a (Nick)Name?
107 - Expect the Unexpected (2016 WS review through stats WE and WPA)
119 - In Command (strikeout pitchers)
127 - Scorecard section
129 - World Series roster section
130 - Astros roster
134 - Postseason 2017 (ALCS)
138 - Dodgers roster
142 - Postseason 2017 (NLCS)
(01-16): Astros special local section
(01-16): Dodgers special local section
146 - Starting Pictures (look at best photos of 2017 season)
166 - Good ... Better ... Betts (Mookie Betts)
173 - Call of Duty (baseball during wartime)
180 - Let's Play Ball (youth, scholastic, minor league baseball)
191 - Fantasy baseball drafting for 2018
200 - Eminent Domain (home field advantage in WS)
209 - Velocity (top players in speed categories)
219 - September Sprints
226 - It Takes a Village (Cooperstown)
232 - Best Seats in the House (ballpark vantage points)
244 - World Series Memories and WS matchups each year
256 - Teeing Off

A whole bunch more reading in 2017! And less time to do it! (No wonder nobody wants to read about me writing about programs).

Anyway, I'm thrilled to add these to the collection and now I can show all the programs for Dodgers World Series from 1974 to 2017:

I'm going to try to rededicate this offseason to reading all of the books and periodicals that I have been neglecting for so many years. I'll start with these programs and then hit the bookshelf.

The internet is a huge distraction these days, but I think I can conquer it.

Fortunately, I don't have WUTV-29 around to distract me even more.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Blog bat around: Bacon goes with everything

By my count, this is the third Blog Bat Around of the year, or at least the third one in which I've participated. The Blog Bat Around is undergoing a revival! It's been at least six or seven years since I was churning out BBA's at this rate.

This version of the Blog Bat Around is a fun, frivolous one. Not a lot of thought involved, just a bit of research and filching some images.

Collecting Cutch wondered whether we could attach our favorite player to actor Kevin Bacon, using the always popular six degrees of separation parlor game. Would our favorite players have a connection to Bacon like every actor in the world?

Well, I was pretty confident with my favorite player.

Ron Cey played in Los Angeles for a dozen seasons. He was a popular player, and in L.A., any popular player finds his way into Hollywood in some way or another.

Cey made an uncredited appearance as a "member of the house band" in "Murder She Wrote" in 1987, after his Dodger career had ended. He also apparently appeared as himself in a rebooted version of "Columbo" in 1990 after his career was over.

But I'm going to go to when Cey's Dodger career was thriving. Cey appeared in the 1982 movie "Q - The Winged Serpent," playing a cop named Detective Hoberman.

There is Cey shooting at the big, bad serpent.

So, to connect Cey with Kevin Bacon, I will start with one of the film's stars, Michael Moriarty, who played a crook in "Q".

Moriarty appeared in many movies and TV shows and his grandfather, George, played in the majors from 1903-16. One of the movies starring Moriarty was another unforgettable creature flick.

"Troll," which was released in 1986, became a cult classic and is sometimes cited as the source of the Harry Potter books (the main character in "Troll" is named Harry Potter Jr.).

There's Michael and Harry now.

Also in "Troll" was Harry Potter Jr.'s mother, Anne Potter, played by former Charlie's Angel, Shelley Hack.

Hack appeared in the 1983 movie "The King of Comedy".

Hack played aggressive TV executive Cindy Long.

Here, she's dealing with Rupert Pupkin, the deranged wannabe stand-up comedian, played by Robert DeNiro.

Robert DeNiro played a priest named "Father Bobby" in the 1996 movie "Sleepers".

Also in "Sleepers" was a sadistic prison guard, played by Kevin Bacon.

There is Bacon as Sean Nokes just before getting his comeuppance.

And that is how Ron Cey is connected to Kevin Bacon. Kind of grim, huh?

I believe that is a Bacon number of 4, which is not the most efficient way of connecting Cey to Bacon. But I wanted to trace it myself and not use The Oracle of Bacon. If I did use The Oracle, I could see that I could connect Cey and Bacon with a number of 2 (Ron Cey--Q--Mary Louise Weller--Animal House--Kevin Bacon).

To make up for my inefficiency, let's see if I can connect myself to Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less (I bet I can).

I will start with "A Few Good Men," in which Kevin Bacon plays prosecutor Captain Jack Ross.

Also in "A Few Good Men," was actor J.T. Walsh, also known for appearing in several notable movies with several notable actors. Walsh played suicidal lieutenant colonel Matthew Markinson.

Walsh appeared in the 1994 movie "Blue Chips" as Happy Kuykendall.

Walsh plays an unscrupulous college booster in a movie that might have one of largest cast of cameos ever. There are a ton of famous basketball figures in this movie. Jim Boeheim is in this movie. (I'm sure Boeheim disgustedly batted down a question of mine during a postgame interview a long time ago, but I don't remember it, so we're pressing onward).

Also in "Blue Chips" is Robert Wuhl, who played Marty. Having not seen the movie, I'm not sure who Marty is -- possibly an assistant coach?

Anyway, one of Wuhl's most famous ventures is the HBO series "Arliss," a sitcom that ran from 1996-2002 and documented the story of Arliss Michaels, president of sports agency.

One of the episodes from that show is called "The American Game". It includes an appearance by Tony La Russa, who was manager of the Cardinals at the time.

A year before La Russa appeared in that "Arliss," episode, he sat in the manager's office in the visiting clubhouse at Olympic Stadium in Montreal and stared darts at me before I got him to open up about the late, great George Kissell during an interview session.

By my count, that is a Bacon number of 3.

Wow, that was a lot more work than I thought it would be.

But now you know Bacon goes with everything, or everyone.