Skip to main content

Awesome night card, pt. 236 (feet first)

I'm fairly certain that I have never slid head-first in a baseball game in my entire life.

When I was learning to play baseball, the head-first slide wasn't a thought. Almost nobody but Pete Rose did it back then. It wasn't taught in youth baseball or by any coaches. It was considered "hot-dogging it" by just about everyone.

Obviously, that was a long time ago. Head-first sliding -- although it seems a lot more jarring and messy than feet-first sliding -- is now as common as any 100-year-old baseball activity. And it makes for very dramatic baseball cards and video highlights, meaning it's never going away.

Head-first sliding means business. It gives the perception of urgency, of someone willing to do anything to get that base. But I don't know if it's any more successful than a feet-first slide. It seems like a lot of show.

Imagine, if you would, Heath Bell charging in from the bullpen during the 2011 All-Star Game and instead of sliding feet first into the mound, he slid head-first with a belly flop that reverberated through the stadium. That is something that people would be talking about four years later. The feet-first slide into the mound was comical, worthy of a chuckle, but a head-first slide into the mound would land its own Twitter account.

As an "old-timer," I appreciate that Bell slid feet-first into the mound. I also appreciate that he did it on a night card. It's got to be the only card of a player sliding into the mound.

Here are some cards of players sliding feet-first into other stopping points on a baseball diamond:

Home plate.

Of course. I could show nothing but home-plate slide cards for every day of the next year and still have cards to go into a second year. They make some of the best cards.

Second base.

Probably the most frequent place for sliding baseball players on baseball cards. But the vast majority of these slides are captured on the fielder's card, not on the base-runner's card. This is bias against the base-runner I tell you!

Third base.

Some of the most pleasing cards you will see is a player sliding into third. It's unexpected and I like the unexpected.

First base.

I would imagine there aren't many cards of players sliding into first, mostly because sliding into first is usually stupid. I'm kind of guessing that this is a slide into first because Russell Branyan is a first baseman.


Yeah, I know there are no stopping points in the outfield. I just wanted to show that outfielders can do the feet-first slide, too.

I'll let you decide who's in left, center and right.

The head-first slide is commonplace for outfielders, too, although it's more accurately called a head-first dive. That's the head-first activity that I know, as I probably enjoyed a head-first backhand catch more than anything when I was playing.

That was a long time ago. ... When I was much more agile. ... And not afraid of getting a face full of dirt.

Carry on, baseball players. Do what you gotta do.


Night Card Binder candidate: Heath Bell, 2011 Topps Updates & Highlights, #60
Does it make the binder?: It slides right in.


Anonymous said…
I'm not crazy about head-first slides, but when they slide into FIRST BASE, that just sets me off.

Popular posts from this blog

Stuck in traffic with Series 2

In the whirlwind that has been my life this month, I found myself going absolutely nowhere for a portion of Thursday afternoon. I was in the middle of yet another road trip, the third one this week. This one was for work, and because it was job-related, it became quickly apparent that it would be a waste of time. The only thing that could save it was a side visit to the nearby Walmart to see if I could spot some Topps Series 2. I found it right away, which was shocking as I was pretty much in the middle of the country, where SUVs share the road with tractors and buggies. Who knew that the Amish wanted Series 2, too? The problem was getting back into civilization to open the contents of the 72-card hanger box I bought. The neighboring village is undergoing a summer construction project smack in the middle of downtown. It's not much of a downtown, but the main road happens to be the main artery in the entire county. Everyone -- and by everyone I mean every tractor trailer ha

Heading upstate

  Back in 1999, Sports Illustrated published an edition at the end of the year rating the top 50 athletes of the century for every state.   As a lifelong Upstate New Yorker, I braced for a list of New York State athletes that consisted almost entirely of downstate natives, that is, folks from the greater NYC area and Long Island.   We Upstaters are used to New York City trampling all over the rest of the state. They have the most people, the loudest voices. It happens all the time. It's a phenomenon unique to this state. Heck, there are still people out there who, when you tell them you're from New York, automatically think you're from NYC. They don't think of cows and chickens when they think of New York. But trust me, there are a lot of cows and chickens in New York State. Especially cows.   So, anyway, when I counted up the baseball players that SI listed as the greatest from New York State, six of the nine were from New York City or Long Island. I was surprised all

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