Sunday, July 31, 2016

Awesome night card, pt. 263: another night card pioneer

I can't believe I haven't featured this card yet on Awesome Night Card. How was I able to resist? Brett's quizzical stare aimed at the ump, the pine tar halfway up the bat five years after the freakout, the Dick Howser memorial patch, this card coming two years after this card. Just so much to admire, review, question and get into that Night Card Binder already!

But here is another reason:

I've considered 1989 Upper Deck a significant night-card pioneer, the set that distributed night cards into the mainstream, turning night scenes from an occasional quirk into a regular part of the set.

Perhaps I've been a bit hasty.

The 1988 Fleer set, which I enjoy more than '89 Upper Deck by the way, seems to have more than its share of night cards. I don't know the full story as I own just 60 or so '88 Fleer cards, but I've already featured one 1988 Fleer night card on ANC. And there's the Brett card. And then there's these three:

That has to be more than a coincidence. That's 1988 Fleer being a night card pioneer!

This is good to know.

1989 Upper Deck gets entirely too much credit already.


Night Card Binder candidate: George Brett, 1988 Fleer, #254
Does it make the binder?: Yes!

AND ...

Night Card Binder candidate: Danny Tartabull, 1988 Fleer, #271; Rick Cerone, 1988 Fleer, #203, Mike Stanley, 1988 Fleer, #480
Do they make the binder?: Yes!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

What were the '90s like?

That's probably a silly question coming from someone who lived through the entire decade. But I don't feel like I have a good handle on what the 1990s were like in terms of the spirit of the decade.

The 1970s I know. Sunhats and flowers. Green, orange and gold everything. Wood paneled walls. Head scarves and giant sunglasses. Disco balls. Yellow smiley faces. Open-collared shirts and mustaches. Sideburns. Split-level homes. Funkiness. Platform shoes. Bubble letters. Monty Python. The Electric Company. Singers and songwriters. Arena rock. The Brady Bunch. Economy cars. Herbie the Love Bug. Bell-bottoms. Star Wars. Cigarette ads in your sports magazine. I could go on for hours.

The 1980s I know. New wave. Devo. Pastel colors. Miami Vice. Teen movies. Day-glo orange and green. Synthesized music/soundtracks/commercials/everything. Shoulder pads. Wine coolers. Moonlighting. Cable television. MTV. Videos. Aerobics. Pac-Man. Donkey Kong. Video game arcades. Purple stuff. Cabbage patch kids. E.T. The compact disc. Sports news shows on your TV. I could go on for hours.

All of that stuff, put together, and combined with the news events of the time, create and sum up the feelings I have for those decades. I think you call it "zeitgeist." I never got a handle on that.

But for the '90s, I run out of things quickly. After Seinfeld, Friends, grunge music and flannel, I'd have to start looking things up. And even after finding elements of that decade, I still don't know if I'd have a good feeling for what it was all about, like the '70s and '80s. I guess that's what happens when you get older. I have no idea how to sum up the 2000s and it won't get any easier in the future.

There is one thing I do know about the '90s and that is the decade produced maybe more cards than any other decade. When it comes to cards, yup, I know what the '90s were about: more and as varied as possible.

As an example, I'll show some cards that I won in a contest from P-town Tom at Waiting 'til Next Year. Naturally, most of the cards that I needed came from the '90s. Because that's how many cards there were.

Cards of players in retro uniforms. Yup, that happened in the '90s.

Pitchers from the Far East. That happened in the '90s, too.

Pitchers from the Far East throwing on an electric grid with the sun exploding in the distance. Yes, definitely '90s.

Cards with raised borders. Yeah, that was pretty much a '90s thing that's still around today.

Foil. Without a doubt, that came from the '90s. It's probably the '90s baseball card's greatest contribution to the culture of the decade, other than the "we're all going to get rich!" mentality.

Speaking of which:

Please don't pay 8 dollars for one of the nearly two dozen different Hideo Nomo rookie cards.

Cards that show a player with two different teams? Yes. That is a '90s thing that drives us team collectors nuts.

P-town Tom did send a few cards from beyond the '90s that I needed, too:

You're going to have to ask someone younger what the 2000s and 2010s were like (although I could give a pretty good rundown on the card situation).

I definitely have a better feel for the '90s that the decades that came afterward.

Maybe you remember those shows that VH1 aired a decade or so ago -- I Love the '70s/'80s/'90s. I looked forward to the '90s show just so I could figure out what went into that decade. It was pretty interesting, but I still didn't get the idea that the participants had as good a handle on what the '90s were about than I did with the '70s and '80s shows.

What can I say? I may never figure it out. I was just one of those striped-shirt '70s kids who became a skinny-tie '80s teenager. It's all a blur after that.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I was at the dentist earlier this month. I look forward to/enjoy the dental visit about as much as you can imagine. But I still go because I keep hearing about what happens if you don't.

The last couple of visits have been slightly more enjoyable because I have a new dental assistant. The office features three different dentists and several more assistants. I couldn't tell you how many. It seems like about 50. They seem to try to keep certain assistants with certain patients, which I appreciate. And I think I like Rachel quite a bit.

She's one of those people who talks about interesting, relatable topics, and even though I'm at least 20 years older than her, I felt -- right there in that dentist chair -- that she could be a long, lost friend. She also didn't talk to me when my mouth was full of water/instruments. Major bonus.

So, there we'd be, talking about high school experiences or parents' unfamiliarity with technology when suddenly Rachel would change gears and inform me about my teeth and start talking about teeth things in the most knowledgeable way possible.

And I thought, "oh, yeah, she does teeth stuff for a living," and then I thought how unusual that was. Focusing on teeth. Just teeth. Just those hard things inside your mouth. And that's it. And knowing all about them, far more than anyone else. Going to school for that. Teeth.

I hope that's not offensive to those in dentistry. I don't mean it to be. I'm simply approaching it from an outsider. I'm sure Rachel would consider my obsession with the spacing between stories in a newspaper strange if I started talking about it in great detail.

But the teeth topic got me thinking and it didn't take long for it to come to baseball cards. There are certain baseball cards that I like a lot -- that we all like a lot -- and it comes down to teeth. Well, actually it comes down to smiles, but wouldn't it look strange if the players smiled and there were no teeth inside? So, yes, it comes down to teeth.

I thought I'd put together my All-Teeth Team. Maybe a reader or two will get a smile out of it.

You remember Dinged Corners and their appreciation for players smiling? This post is for them.

The manager for this team is Sparky Anderson. I believe Anderson is the happiest manager this side of Chuck Tanner that I will ever experience. He smiled a lot. He'll get this team to smile a lot.

The catcher is Bob Tillman. Have you ever seen a catcher so gleeful in all his life? He's probably elated that he isn't wearing that mask.

Nate Colbert is the first baseman, displaying one of the widest grins ever to appear on a baseball card. I don't know what someone said to make Colbert smile like that. But Colbert seems to be an easy smiler.

There he is with much more facial hair, but that same sparkling grin.

Second base was the most difficult position to find someone showing their pearly whites. It must be an intense position, filled with intense people. I thank Ed Romero for bringing a little levity to the keystone sack.

Another noted toothy smiler, Ozzie Guillen, fills the shortstop position. He can smile -- and talk -- for days.

Still smilin'.

I noticed while going through my cards that some noted tough guys were also generous smilers. Bill Madlock is one example. He could be ornery on the field, but you'd never know it here. He's the All-Teeth team third baseman.

The largest smilers at any position are in the outfield, hands-down. The responsibilities just aren't as taxing as they are in the field or on the mound. I squeezed Dave Henderson into the left field position because Hendu displayed the most famous example of diastema that wasn't Michael Strahan or Dave Letterman. (Oooh, look at that, Rachel, I can get technical about teeth, too!).

Center field is patrolled by Willie Davis. Willie featured a smile that allowed him to appear in Bewitched, Mr. Ed, The Flying Nun and other shows. Of course he did all that stuff as a Dodger, not a Padre.

Speaking of Dodgers, Jimmy Wynn is our beaming right fielder. The Toy Cannon had quite a bat to go with quite a smile. Perhaps I should have swapped corner infielders Henderson and Wynn. My excuse is I was blinded by their smiles.

The little guy on the card says "outfield," but Hal McRae is the designated hitter because he became known for his DHing. He was also known to become very, very angry. But you cannot deny this smile.

He did like to smile, I promise.

Those are the team's pitchers. You can assemble them in any order you like. Starting staff, bullpen, a little of both. Do you think they'll mind? Look at how happy they are!

These guys fill out the bench. I think this adds up to only a 21-man roster, but Billy Sample is such a terrific smiler that he can do the work of three or four guys easily.

I admit, I do like cards of players smiling over cards of players frowning or grimacing (certain exceptions noted -- Dave Lopes, Eddie Murray). With the way modern cards are, with all the action and the zooming in on faces, there is a lot more grimacing than smiling.

That's not a happy trend.

And I'm sure dental assistant Rachel would be much more interested in the smilers, even if it's just from a clinical perspective.

Maybe we'll talk about that the next time I'm there.

Not that I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If I applied myself

First, this:

That's right! Just as Bo promised in the comments, the Rob Picciolo card that I discovered missing has arrived direct from Baseball Cards Come To Life, and the 1982 Topps set is complete again!

The ceremonial registering and placing of the Picciolo card in the '82 Topps binder will take place tonight. There will be cake and punch. You're all invited. Also, the first person to arrive gets a free 1982 Topps John Verhoeven card.

OK, that's out of the way.

Now, this:

This outstanding tribute to the 1975 Hostess set, my favorite current player and my childhood was created by Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown, of course. It's a very faithful re-creation of that first Hostess set (I appreciate the lack of pseudo cake stains). In fact, here is a card from that set to compare:

How about that, huh? Just some slight alterations, on par with what Topps does with its Archives set. Gavin, because he's always complete, carried out the re-creation to the back, too:

That's the way they looked in '75!

Of course, whenever I see homemade cards such as these, I think the same thing I always do: "I could do that ... if I had the time."

What I actually mean is: "I could do that ... if I applied myself."

If you want to do it, you'll do it, right?

Custom baseball card-making is something I know I could do. I did plenty of it when I was a kid. But the desire to purchase the items necessary and squeeze it into my schedule just isn't there. Priorities, you know.

So, custom-card making falls into a pile of those other activities that I know I could do well ... if I applied myself. Activities like:

Game-show contestant
Travel guide
Writer for Sports Illustrated/New York Times
Tennis player
Card dealer

Sadly, I am unlikely to apply myself in any of those things (except, maybe, author) in the future. I'm not 20 anymore and the ability to apply isn't as strong as it once was.

So, instead, lets take a look at more cards Gavin sent, because I can apply myself when it comes to scanning and commenting on cards.

The Dodgers found out what this former part-time Mets player could do once he applied himself. He's now on pace to have his greatest season and has downright carried the Dodgers through a few games recently.

Frankie Montas is showing you the ball in both silver and gold accents. He hasn't shown you the ball on the field this year though. He (along with Zach Lee) is merely the Dodgers' rookie card logo for 2016 that Topps wedges into every product. I wish they'd stop doing this. They know Bowman exists, right?

Nobody really needs a J.D. Drew card numbered to /25 (don't get excited, it's not a Christmas card). But we team collectors have modest standards.

This is kind of amazing. I own four Dodgers cards from 2014 Panini Classics. I have no want list for the set, because who would put up a want list for this stuff? Gavin sends six cards and I need all six. Spooky.

(P.S.: It's too bad the design is so off-putting because that Robinson photo is fantastic).

Back to Stadium Club and the set from last year. I'll have a post about this set real soon so nothing more to see here.

This is an '82 Topps sticker, and I'm trying to remember whether I sent this to Gavin and he sent it back. It seems like something I'd do (but I don't know if it's something Gavin would do). I'm also extra suspicious because of my Padres page in my '82 sticker book:

It is complete. The Padres are one of just two teams for which I have all of the stickers (the Pirates are the other). So I have absolutely no use for Luis Salazar. And we don't stick Padres on random objects around here. I don't need anybody getting ideas.

Who wants it?

All of the cards were wrapped in a Japanese newspaper featuring a photo of Kenta Maeda. Pretty cool. I have no idea what anything else is on the page.

I could apply myself and learn Japanese.

But learning foreign languages is nothing I could ever do well.

I think I'll just apply myself to card-sorting tonight.