It's basically summertime, which means a lot of things, but one of the things I think about often at this time is going to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Since I live relatively close to Cooperstown, I've been there a lot. Five times. Almost all of them when I was young. It's been great every time.
I've never gone during the induction ceremonies. Cooperstown is a small town and I hate crowds. Combine the parking nightmare, any situation that involves shuttle buses, and ... ugh ... not being able to MOVE ... and induction weekend is not a place for me. I enjoy myself just as much when I visit in May or August.
But I really need to get back there. I haven't been in almost two decades.
Back when I was a kid, I became so familiar with the place that I had the gift shop memorized. There wasn't much that I wanted there -- or nothing I could afford anyway -- but I thought the postcards that featured pictures of Hall of Famers plaques were pretty cool. They were the closest thing I could find to cards that you could buy at the shop (I'm wondering if that's changed).
I decided to buy as many postcards I could find of players who had spent one point of their career with the Dodgers. The first time, I bought about 10 or so. Then we went a couple of years later and I bought a few more.
At the time, I thought I had grabbed all of the Hall players with Dodger connections. It turns out I had missed some. How was I to know that Tony Lazzeri, Juan Marichal and Lloyd Waner played for the Dodgers? Also, I did this so long ago that players like Pee Wee Reese and Don Sutton hadn't been inducted yet. And, I totally missed players like Duke Snider.
Here are the cards that I did find:
Jackie Robinson. But, of course! I wouldn't be surprised if this was the first one I found.
Branch Rickey. You can't have Jackie without Rickey.
Ducky Medwick. Better known as a Cardinal, but he was a notable Dodger. Did people really call him "Ducky Wucky"?
Roy Campanella. I bought this postcard the second time around. I remember being surprised that the look of some of the cards had changed. I wasn't happy that my collection was no longer consistent.
Billy Herman. Featured as a Cub, but I don't care. He had an awfully good 1943 for the Dodgers.
Casey Stengel. Both a player and a manager for Brooklyn. His first World Series appearance was not with the Yankees, or even the New York Giants, but with Brooklyn in 1916.
Max Carey. I'm sure if his plaque didn't mention that he was with Brooklyn for five years, I would have skipped over this postcard. I totally associate him with the Pirates.
Dazzy Vance. The greatest Dodger pitcher until the 1960s.
Wilbert Robinson. He was so beloved, and managed Brooklyn for so long, that the team was known as the Robins during his tenure. Can you imagine a team now being called the Milwaukee Roenickes?
Zach Wheat. He may have played in the early part of the 20th century, but his name is still all over the Dodger record books. I need more cards of Zach Wheat.
Joe Kelley. He's more known for his time with the old Baltimore Orioles, but he spent the turn of the century with the Superbas, otherwise known as the Dodgers.
Willie Keeler. Another Baltimore legend. He spent basically the same period with the Superbas that Kelley did.
Sandy Koufax. OK, I didn't get this one from the Hall of Fame. This came from the Troll. Somehow I had missed Sandy! (More likely, the gift shop was out of Koufax postcards).
That may seem like a lot of postcards, but I'm way behind on this collection. Among the notable Dodgers that I'm missing are Reese, Sutton, Snider, Don Drysdale, Burleigh Grimes, Leo Durocher, Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda.
Also, according to this site, there are about 30 other postcards I need to pick up.
I have no plans to order these online. That's no fun.
Not when Cooperstown is a few hours away.
Plus there are about 95 places there that sell cards.