July 18, 2007

Reader Pack Blogging: The Joys of Bait-n-Switch

When it gets hot in New York City, I get clumsy. It's like my muscles forget how to move in the correct fashion. I bump into things, I get sloppy at my job and I can pretty much forget about typing a sentence, let alone an essay. So while I wanted to write about the hobby's recent lack of iconic cards, I just couldn't muster the strength. Lucky for me, I received this in email yesterday. Reader Andrew learns to find baseball card love as he takes us through a shitty bait-n-switch eBay buy. Enjoy.

I saw an auction on ebay where someone was selling a bunch of old wax packs from anywhere from the late 70's to early 90's. The seller had testimonials posted of people getting good rookies in these packs (Mattingly, Boggs, Ripken, Griffey Jr, etc) and they received good overall feedback. I bought two lots for 15 bucks each and hoped for the best.

Well, they came and I was pretty unimpressed. A bunch of 1988 topps, 1990 score, 1988-1990 donruss, one pack of 1992 stadium club, one 1990 fleer ultra, some 1990-1991 fleer was mostly what I got. I don't want to say I felt cheated...but yeah.

Thought I'd go back and recap some of the cards I got live blogging style. Hope you enjoy.

1990 Fleer Larry Walker- Looks like an albino in this picture. I'm assuming this was a rookie card for Larry, as the stats on the back of him are from a limited stint in 1989.

1990 Fleer Craig Biggio- Pretty cool, just got his 3,000th hit. I often wonder what the percentage of active players would be if you were to go back to a set from 1990 or so. I can think of 5 that'd be active from 1990 Fleer: Biggio, Clemens, Griffey Jr, Bonds, Sosa...am I missing anyone?

1990 Fleer Steve Balboni- This guy always cracked me up. Looks like the Yankees found him hanging outside of the corner Italian restaurant on the way to the Stadium and told him to suit up. On this card, it looks like he's looking into the dugout trying to see if anyones stealing his leftovers.

1990 Score Bo Jackson ASG MVP- Great card. The front has pic of Bo just crushing that pitch to lead off the game, the back has a nice pic of Bo with the MVP trophy. it's simple, the pictures are great and it hearkens back to a time where Bo was on top of the sports world. Never seen this card before, but it's already one of my favorites. How can you not like Bo Jackson?

1990 Score Dave Dravecky- This is a nice card with Dravecky tipping his hat to the crowd, his arm in a sling. The back is pretty cool, its just one line of career totals and it reads like a newspaper column with GIANT COURAGE as the headline and goes on to talk about his battle with cancer. Instead of a face pic, its him throwing in the pen and has a caption in tiny tiny print. It's like a common tribute card. I kind of like 1990 Score for some reason.

1988 Fleer Slugging Sophomores Joyner & Snyder- Man, I bet this was a hot card. "Wally World" was in full effect and um...Cory Snyder had that 1987 SI baseball preview cover and was kick ass on a Nintendo game. Snyder looks like he should be trying to pick up underage chicks at a drive in movie theatre instead of being a big leaguer. Thats what the pic reminds me of anyway.

1988 Fleer Barry Bonds- Skinny arms and a skinny head. Pre-roids Bonds.

1989 Fleer Candy Sierra- Who the fuck is Candy Sierra? That's a porn star name if there ever was one.

1992 Stadium Club John Kruk- Krukkie looks like he's booking it towards the buffet line at Sizzler. Big shocker. Stadium Club cards always smelled like ass, did anyone else ever notice that? Other than that, I liked this set, good photos and a simplistic, borderless design.

1989 Donruss Kirby Puckett- I could go on, but I'll end this live blog here. I know I wasn't initially thrilled with the years of packs I got, but I pulled some good cards. I was hoping I'd get some more packs from the early 1980's but whatever.

The 1989 Donruss Puckett card was on top of the pack that I opened and...I was 8 years old in 1989, collecting cards like a fiend. Puckett was in his 5th year or so...and now he's a dead Hall of Famer, gone way, way before his time. I haven't looked at my old cards in awhile and maybe I will here shortly, but one of the things I felt when ripping through these packs was a sense of nostalgia, not just for opening packs but for baseball and the players that were on the cards.

Here's Puckett in what looks to be a spring training game in the late 80's and he has no idea what lays ahead of him for the rest of his career. I liken this feeling I have to how Ray Kinsella talked about his father when he saw him as a younger man at the end of "Field of Dreams"... "He's got his whole life in front of him, and I'm not even a glint in his eye." Makes sense in my head.

I thought about how I was opening these packs and pulled a Bo Jackson, a Roger Clemens, Puckett, Bonds, Strawberry, Brett, Biggio...and even to a lesser extent other players like Gregg Olson, who was the 1989 Rookie of the Year and one of my favorite Orioles. It's like I flashed back to how I felt as a kid when I pulled one of these guys in a pack and felt a little thrill, I still felt that thrill...then that moment was gone as I realized I'm 25 and now know the outcomes of these guys that no one could have predicted 16, 17 years ago, not even them. I felt that thrill when I pulled a 1990 Score Darryl Strawberry and saw his sweet follow through and then realized he wasted his career. I felt that thrill when I pulled a 1989 Donruss MVP George Brett with his trademark intense look and felt satisfied that he saw his career all the way through to Cooperstown. I felt that thrill when I pulled a Barry Bonds, smiling at me...and realized that this guy cheated, took steroids and is a few days away from breaking a cherished record. I felt that thrill when I pulled a Cal Ripken and remembered how I felt when I was at those games where he tied and broke the Streak. I felt that thrill when I pulled a Gregg Olson rookie and realized that only die hard Orioles fans probably remember who he was and his amazing 12-6 curveball.

And I felt that thrill when I pulled that Kirby Puckett, young and brimming with potential, still in the first half of his Hall of Fame career that would be cut short, standing in the batters box in a spring training game, captured in such a simplistic moment and realized that he's no longer with us.

And I realized why I love baseball cards and why they still mean so much and somehow, some way they can still have an effect and tug at your heart.

Do you have a baseball card experience you'd like to share? Email me and I may post it on The Blog!


Joey said...

This is what it is all about. Certain players and cards invoking memories and emotions of a bygone era. I love to get a great pull of a young star in the making. But what keeps me coming back are those cards I can take out of the box and relive moments in my life of being a fan.

Thanks for this great post from your reader.

Anonymous said...

Players who have a 1990 card that weren't on your list of active players: Omar Vizquel, Kenny Rogers, Tom Gordon, Julio Franco and Gary Sheffield.