February 09, 2011

The Moose Whisperer (Psst -- You're Dead, Moose)

Moose Haas, 1981 Fleer

This card predates the prime of my baseball card-collecting years, and I honestly do not know where it came from or why I have it. It’s likely I traded for it, enticed by the allure of owning a small card featuring a man named “Moose.” One of my dad’s good friends is nicknamed Goose, so I may have been under the impression that Moose Haas was also one of my dad’s friends. He is not. Although he should be. I feel like they would get along.

Here’s the thing though—if you’re going to make a baseball card of a guy named Moose, who has a mustache and doesn’t wear a hat and plays baseball in Milwaukee, I’m going to need more of an explanation than simple baseball statistics. Luckily, there are other sources of information:

“Moose” earned his nickname after an unfortunate weekend run-in with a full-grown moose while on vacation in the Appalachian mountains.

I suspect this “run-in” was unfortunate for the moose only. Also, no kidding—you ran into a moose in the Appalachian mountains? Who would have figured?! A full-grown moose, too! Not one of those baby moose(s?) that you see all the time. Crazy. What five-star hotel were you staying at in the Appalachian mountains, Moose, that this moose so callously invaded?

Quick aside: please no more discussion about how nicknames aren’t like they used to be. Sure, A-Rod and CarGo aren’t entirely original, but neither is:

"Heh, heh. You killed a moose. We’re gonna call you … Moose."

The confrontation

What weapon was the moose using during this confrontation? A sword? Can you tell I’m a vegetarian?

resulted in the 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) moose

I swear he was 12-feet tall if he was a foot! -- George Costanza

felled at the hands of Mr. Haas.

I don’t like to throw the word hero around very often, so I won’t, but Moose Haas is a better person and American than Davey Crockett. And Daniel Boone. And Dan Boone.

If I may, allow me to reword this legendary baseball tale in layman’s terms. Ahem …

One time Bryan Haas, a professional baseball player, went moose-hunting and he shot a moose. After that, everyone called him Moose. The end. (applause)

The head of the moose (who Mr. Haas later named “Wallace”) was hung in his dining room as a memento of that infamous meeting and remains on display to this day.

Cute. I like when people name the things they kill. Am I crazy or this the plot to every Disney movie? Also, a giant moose head is a good conversation-starter, and goes well with any Pottery Barn-inspired d├ęcor. What else?

On Moose’s 1987 Topps Baseball Card,

That Wikipedia is going to the back of baseball cards for its information makes me worried.

Moose is also a locksmith, a magician, and a black belt in taekwondo.

I mean, obviously. Does anybody here know a moose-hunter that can’t pick a lock or karate-chop through wood? Didn’t think so. But the way that sentence is worded makes it sound as though Moose is actually pictured doing all three things on the back of that card. I am certain that is not the case, but if I’m wrong, somebody please send me that card immediately.

Also—and I am being completely serious—my dad is black belt in taekwondo. I told you those two would get along!


Dan Glass said...

Great blog - very insightful, humorous, and well-researched.

I too have a lot of cards from this era, but unfortunately, the over production of said years and diminished value of many of their statistics took out the value of a lot of them (well, that and the steroids era as a whole).

Keep up the good work.

Ryan said...

My favorite from '82 Fleer is #149 Don Money, 3rd Basemen for the Brewers. One of the best names I've ever seen on a card.

Dan Glass said...

I always liked Sixto Lezcano (the name just rolls off the tongue).