Friday, July 16, 2010
Me and Shoeless Joe
I have wanted to own a card of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson for a long time.
Who wouldn't? He is one of the great tragic figures in major league baseball history. He is a deserving Hall of Fame member forever banned from the place for which he was destined.
For years, the only Jackson card that I knew about was the famed Cracker Jack card that I will never own. I was totally unaware of the 1975 TCMA issue or even this 1992 Conlon Collection prototype card, which was issued at the Anaheim National Sports Collectors Convention in 1991.
It differs from the Jackson card in the '92 Conlon set because of the "prototype" stamped across the back. The card number is also different I believe. There's also a more popular color version of this card.
Even though this card can be had for a dollar or less, it isn't often that I come across a Shoeless Joe Jackson card. So when I was at my favorite garage sale last month, and I saw this card, I snapped it up quickly.
And that's because it's not only a card of a great player who is at the center of one of baseball's biggest scandals. It's also a card of the greatest baseball player to share my birthday.
Shoeless Joe and I are nothing alike. We were born in different centuries. He had Hall of Fame talent while I had schoolyard talent. He was a Southerner and I'm a Northerner. He grew up poor and uneducated. I was a little more fortunate.
But we both batted left-handed, and we were both born on July 16.
When you're a baseball fan, you take what you can get.
I'll talk to you all again when it's not my birthday.