A blurb is, by nature, filler copy, an afterthought usually full of boring, useless statistics to validate a player’s credentials. Very rarely is it great, dare I say even good copy. But like any other part of a baseball card, the back-of-card blurb can make or break a card. For example, cards of the middle-of-the-road Brewers starter Moose Haas were never middle of the road, simply because enterprising (and most likely bored out of their minds) copywriters jumped on the opportunity to tell the world that Haas had an abundance of eccentric extra-curricular activities. His being an amateur locksmith, magician and holding a belt in tae kwon do were reiterated time and again on the back of his cards.
So then it’s with great pride (as a budding copywriter myself) to give exposure to one of the best blurbs I’ve ever read. If ever there was a true baseball card hall of fame (and no, I don’t count the one put together by Beckett, as it’s filled with obvious, famous choices), I would elect this card as part of the Blurb Annex. The copywriter utilized everything at his or her disposal, creating a biography that is at once humorous and accurate, conveying both the hope and disappointment associated with the game. It’s an achievement in short-form prose.
“‘I’m always drawn to shiny objects,’ Hideki has said when discussing his favorite things. A scalpel is probably not what he had in mind. Last May, he went under the knife to repair his knee, missing six early weeks in the new phase of his career as an Expo. The injury took him away from the game he came to love as a child in Japan. His father worshipped the game, and most days would – as dads do in America – take his son to a park to play catch. It paid off, as Irabu eventually became credited with being the first Japanese pitcher to throw 95 mph in a professional game.”
-Hideki Irabu, 2001 Topps #234