Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cardboard appreciation: 1983 George Cappuzzello

(A very frantic day today. Still lots to do and I haven't even looked at the 150 or so blogs that I read every day. I have 15 minutes to pound out a blog post. I am appreciative of that. Although who knows how it's going to read. It's Cardboard Appreciation time. This is No. 63 in a series):

I have mentioned many times that I once knew almost every single major league player who was currently wearing an MLB uniform. I had more time, there were less teams, it was easier.

I have also mentioned that back then I received a majority of my baseball-player-knowing knowledge from my baseball cards. We didn't live near an MLB park. Televised games arrived only on the weekends. Cards were a valuable source.

So, I studied my cards religiously and I knew everyone. Kiko Garcia. Mick Kelleher, Mike Cosgrove, Rick Auerbach. Knew them all.

But I never had money to complete an entire set. My first completed sets (excluding small-scale regional sets) were the 1984 and 1985 Topps sets, which I purchased. (They were 15 dollars at the time). Since I couldn't complete sets, that means a few players slipped through the cracks and escaped my brain's vast card catalog. I didn't see them in person, I didn't see them on TV, I didn't see them on cards.

Today, these unknown players are true links to my childhood. When I discover a player on a card who I had never known, it takes me instantly to that year when I was collecting cards. Not only is the look of the card new to me, but the player on the card is new to me. That's a rush for me. Other people have to skydive or drive 180 miles an hour. I go looking for players I never knew as a kid. I'm rather low-key.

So, a year or two ago when I was completing the 1983 Topps set, I came across George Cappuzzello. I recalled seeing the name listed in a price guide. For some reason, I thought he was a catcher. Obviously, he wasn't.

Cappuzzello played just two years in the majors, one year for the Tigers and one year for the Astros. He pitched in 35 games. But to me, he is a find. A discovery. He is the Lou Thornton affect.

Cappuzzello also has a 1982 Topps card. Somehow, even though I collected avidly in both 1982 and 1983, this guy managed to avoid being pulled out of a pack. And then his career ended and I never knew he existed.

So, I'm trying to get Cappuzzello's 1982 Topps card, too.

I have offered three super-lame cards for it on the Million Card Giveaway site. If the trade goes off, I'll be as thrilled as if I landed something nice and vintagy.

This is how I am using the Million Card Giveaway site these days. I don't have codes to redeem and the cards in my account are almost worthless, so I'm trying to get cards that have personal meaning for me and no one else.

The other day I landed a 1987 Hubie Brooks card. You may ask why I'd want that thing. Well, first you're asking, "how is it possible that you don't have 45 copies of that card already?" And I do have a copy of the card already. It's just that it looks like someone took a bite out of it on the top left corner. I didn't bite it. I think it came out of the pack like that.

Then, a few days ago, I decided to find a player that I never knew when I was a kid. I opened to the 1979 Topps portion of my Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards and looked for a card I didn't have that featured a name I never knew. I found it at card No. 427. Andy Replogle.

I was excited to learn Replogle's team. I purposely didn't look him up on to find out. Instead I typed in Replogle's name on the MCG site and up popped the card:

He was a Brewer. Cool. So, I made my offer and went on my way. A couple days later, the offer was accepted and now Replogle is in my account. I looked up some information about him. There's not much to report. He's a former Kansas State All-American who went 9-5 for the Brewers in 1978, then pitched three games in 1979 and that was it.

But Replogle is now added to my card catalog of Players That I Know and perhaps someday he'll be added to the list of Cards That I Own.

That's good enough for me.

EDIT: The trade went through! I got my 1982 George Cappuzzello!


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