Skip to main content

Awesome night card, pt. 165

Continuing with the theme of "subconscious collecting," or what someone so crassly described as "hoarding,"  are the players I accumulate who have the most tenuous of connections to me.

One of those players is Tim Wakefield.

Wakefield rose to fame as a knuckleball pitcher for the Red Sox, and previous to that for the Pirates. Many people also know that Wakefield started out as a hitter. He was a first baseman before realizing he had a better shot at the majors if he took the mound with his baffling new pitch.

The embarrassingly suspect connection to me is that Wakefield played his first season of professional baseball -- as a first baseman -- for the New York-Penn League Class A Watertown Pirates, who played their home games a few traffic lights from where I now live.

I didn't even live in Watertown when he played in the minors. I was still in school. And, although my newspaper often interviewed former Watertown Pirates and Indians who moved on to bigger things, I don't believe we ever talked to Wakefield. I know I didn't.

Yet, when Wakefield was doing his thing for the Red Sox, extending his career year after year with that pitch that seems to emerge directly out of the Fountain of Youth, I would burst with provincial pride. "Wakefield used to play in Watertown," I'd say periodically, pausing for effect. "As a first baseman."

I would root for Wakefield, of course, and the Red Sox. And I hold Aaron Boone in special contempt, over and above the usual death stares I aim at Yankees, for the home run he hit off of Wakefield. I also find myself holding onto Wakefield cards like this one. I don't seek out his cards. But when I stumble across one in my collection, I glow with pride all over again.

It's ridiculous really. I'm not from Watertown. I have no family connection to the place. I never saw Wakefield play in person ever. Neither the Pirates nor the Red Sox -- although teams I always enjoy -- are my favorite team. The whole thing is pointless.

Yet, this is what baseball does. It draws us in, in whatever fashion possible. And we attach ourselves to the sport in tangible and intangible ways.

And we -- or at least I -- collect cards of some players without even realizing it.

Could be worse I suppose.

I could be collecting "21 Jump Street" cards. Richard Grieco is from Watertown.


Night Card Binder candidate: Tim Wakefield, 1996 Collector's Choice, #474
Does it make the binder?: Always room for a knuckler.


Roy-Z said…
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on NY minor league teams, but even I didn't know about the Watertown Pirates.
AdamE said…
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Wakefield is your best subconscious collection. (I have to admit though that Lynn is pretty good too)

Popular posts from this blog

G.O.A.T, the '80s: 30-21

  I often call this current period of the television sports calendar the black hole of sports programming. The time between the end of the Super Bowl and the beginning of televised Spring Training baseball games is an empty void when I'm looking for something to watch on traditional television. I don't watch the NBA and the NHL on TV holds my interest for maybe a period. College basketball I can't watch until the tournament. This didn't used to be as much of a problem back when I could turn instead to my favorite sitcoms in February. Do you remember when February was "sweeps month"? (Maybe it still is, I don't know). Networks would make sure that every top show aired original episodes that month, no reruns. So you'd always have something to view during the week even when the sports scene was boring. (I know, people have multiple streaming viewing options now. But I find myself going weeks sometimes before I see something I want to view on Netflix or Am

The return of COMC and a ridiculous collecting quest

  For the first time in exactly a year, I received a shipment of cards from COMC last week. I wouldn't say COMC is truly back back. I did pay extra for the express shipping so I wouldn't have to wait however long we're waiting for COMC shipments these days. But the cards arrived in short fashion and it was nice to see something in the mailbox from my preferred online card site for over a decade until last year. I had waited a year to order what was in my cart. I didn't want to be one of those people who paid and then waited nine months for shipment. I mean, what if I ordered them and COMC went under? Those were the kind of questions that were floating in my head last year.   That meant that I did lose a couple of items out of my cart, but no big deal. Nothing in there was anything highly sought-after and I merely replaced whatever I lost with a new version or something else I liked. Many of my collecting interests are not high on anyone's radar, especially 2020 fli

Say hey, you guys

  One of the most significant cards in my collecting history arrived at my door today. The 1956 Topps Willie Mays card ties my formative collecting days to my current collecting existence, confirms what I believe in in this hobby, and realizes dreams from long ago I never thought possible. It also sets a couple of personal records. It is the most I've ever spent on a single card. Yet it didn't hurt my wallet nor cause any regret. In terms of a cardboard acquisition it is about as perfect as it gets. No guilt. All power and beauty. It removes a considerable road block in my quest to complete the 1956 Topps set. It was one of the Big Three that I fretted over for years. "How would I ever obtain that card?" And now it's here. I don't have to remind you that baseball legends from the 1950s (and '60s and '70s) are departing at a rapid pace. That wasn't a top consideration in landing this card. But with Willie's age (he will be 90 in May) and the way