Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Even when it's not about Bryce, it's about Bryce

There was some bit of nonsense about a Topps Heritage High Numbers checklist bubbling on the twitters earlier today. I didn't pay much attention, because the thing is still 100 bucks for 100 cards.

Topps decided to show one of the autographs from the set. As you know each box of 100 cards comes with an autograph. This particular autograph that Topps showed was Bryce Harper. Of course. You were expecting Edinson Volquez?

I promptly turned my attention to the stacks of baseball cards on my card desk and picked up some cards I received from Brian at Cardnomics. He had opened a bunch of Update, was just as unimpressed as I was, and sent some Dodgers my way.

The Jerry Hairston card interested me in particular because I simply had to figure out what play was on the card. I thought it'd be pretty easy to do. I didn't have a lot of time on my hands and sometimes this photo detective work gets tedious and time-consuming.

For some reason, I thought this game was against the Giants. The jersey the catcher is wearing looks like one of those awful pumpkin-colored things the Giants like to foist on people. It seems unlikely that the Giants wear those jerseys in road games -- this game is obviously at Dodger Stadium -- but I was assuming that for starters.

But then I checked the uniform numbers for the Giants catchers. None of them wear a single-digit number, which the catcher in the picture is wearing.

Ugh. This is going to take longer than I thought.

Well, obviously, the Dodgers aren't playing the Orioles. They didn't play each other during the 2012 season. I turned next to the Marlins, who also liked wearing orange tops this past year.

A catcher by the name of Brett Hayes -- no, I don't know who that is -- wears No. 9. So I thought I had something there. But I couldn't find a Dodger home game against the Marlins in which Hayes and Hairston played in the same game.

Also, when I found photos of the Marlins' visit to Dodger Stadium in 2012, the Marlins are wearing black jerseys in every game.


I started to think that this was some Topps trickery. That Topps had photoshopped a Dodger Stadium scene behind the play at the plate for amusement purposes (by the way, I think that is Clayton Kershaw front-and-center at the top step of the dugout, like he always is).

But then I scanned the card and you see stuff on scans that you never see in person. The logo on the back of the catcher's helmet popped right out at me.

That's a Nationals helmet!

That's a RED jersey, not orange.

I think the red on Hairston's number 6, which is darker than the red in the catcher's jersey, threw me off.

OK, so once I knew it was the Nationals, things got easier. Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos wears No. 3, and you can sort of see "Ramos" on the catcher's jersey.

So I went looking for games including Hairston and Ramos (thank you, baseball reference, once again). I found one quickly.

April 28, 2012 at Dodger Stadium. It was a Saturday, 6:10 p.m. start.

The play pictured is Hairston scoring in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 1-1. Hairston gets hit by a pitch by one Stephen Strasburg. Hairston then goes to second as James Loney reaches first on an error. Juan Uribe strikes out (of course). But A.J. Ellis singles to left field, scoring Hairston!

The Dodgers won the game in the 10th inning on a walk-off home run by Matt Kemp.

In fact, here is another Update card I received from Brian:

Could that be a photo of Kemp celebrating his winning home run on April 28th, 2012?

"Move Over, Rookie"? What's that mean?

Let's turn the card over.

April 28, 2012 was the Major League Debut of Bryce Harper. Of course!!!

There must have been a zillion photos taken at that game (here are just some). And, of course, Topps had to get their hands on photos of a game that included both Bryce Harper AND Stephen Strasburg.

So that photo of Hairston scoring against Ramos and the Nationals was just a happy incidental. Fodder for a common card.

Because the reason the photographers -- and Topps -- were really there was because of Harper.

When will I learn?

It's always about Bryce.

Even when he's not in the photo.

It's still about Bryce.

A few other cards from Brian to get me off of my one-track obsession with Topps' one-track obsession with Bryce Harper:

Good stuff. By Update standards anyway.

My guess is Bryce Harper is lurking somewhere in all of those photos. Even the Manny one. Somehow. He's there.

I mean, look at me. I just showed a bunch of cards -- none of them featuring Bryce Harper, yet I mentioned his name nine times in this post.

I don't know how he does it, man.


  1. Bryce who?

    Nice detective work on the PATP.

  2. That was one of the best Dodger games of the year.

  3. Forget Kevin Bacon, that's "7 degrees of Bryce Harper".

    We should make that a thing. It's a thing now.