I haven't written a "Legends of Cardboard" post in almost three years.
That's because it's taken me that long to get this card. Who knew a card of someone who barely registered on a major league roster, from 1993, would be so elusive?
Yet, every time I searched for the famed Oscar Azocar "bat-hugging" Stadium Club card on COMC, it would be sold out. A few times (such as now), it's available on that site for almost 6 bucks. No thanks.
I ended up finding it on Sportlots for 18 cents. And, how about this for a development? It arrived today from someone who lives in my town. Heck, he could have driven over and dropped it in my mailbox.
Finally, it's mine. I wanted to hug it like Azocar is doing to his bat.
Azocar is the latest Legend of Cardboard -- keep in mind Legends of Cardboard are those players who didn't necessarily excel on the field but certainly excelled on cardboard.
He is a Legend of Cardboard because he not only produced the above photo, something that has never been shown on a card before or since ...
... but he also produced this photo, something that definitely has never been shown on another player's card before or since.
I'm not even sure how Azocar was able to manage the above feat. It looks almost impossible.
He appeared on these two cards even though his major league career lasted just 202 games and three years, 1990-92. That is definitely a legendary feat.
Azocar is pretty much forgotten by anyone who isn't a card collector. Oh, sure, some Yankee fan will pipe up about how Azocar signed a baseball for them back in 1991 and they will never forget him, but the vast majority has moved on from remembering Azocar, who sadly died of a heart attack at age 45 a whole 10 years ago.
Azocar was a free-swinging free spirit, who could never quite win a starting role because he had no restraint when it came to waiting for his pitch. A classic bad ball hitter, he is quoted on the back of his 1991 Score card as saying, "I try to be selective, but I don't know how. I see the ball, I swing."
Azocar was also a fun-loving soul as evidenced by those two cards above. He even duplicated the bat-and-ball feat for a Mother's Cookies card in 1992.
Seriously. How does he do it?
Azocar does feature a few run-of-the-mill cards but even some of the more average cards are pretty good.
I love a good base-running shot.
Azocar appears to be waiting out a rain delay here as there's tarp on the field. I think the player behind him is pitcher Ricky Bones.
The best part of Azocar's 1992 Topps card (and his 1991 Topps card, too), is the back:
He spent the first three years of his pro career as a pitcher. He did quite well, too. It's pretty weird, though, that Topps doesn't consider pitching as "playing."
A couple more fun ones that aren't in my collection.
You can tell, just from a simple look at his cards, that Azocar was personable, playful and enjoyed the game. His personality was so strong that it leaps out of his cards.
And even though his career didn't last long (he did enjoy a successful career in the Mexican League during the 1990s) and he isn't around anymore, his legacy continues among those who collect baseball cards.
And that's why he's the latest Legend of Cardboard.