February 02, 2011

A Rush of Gold to the Beard

Jeff Reardon, 1994 Score "Gold Rush" series

Last year we got drawn-in by a series on TV called “America: The Story of Us.” One part involved the California gold rush of the mid-1800s. Men left their families behind in hopes of striking it rich, crossing dangerous terrain and encountering wild beasts and risking death all the way, an end that many realized. Some survived but abandoned their families anyway. Few actually struck it rich. It was a seminal event in American history, and a testament to this nation’s courage and fortitude, and to its perpetual fantasy of greener pastures.

As I sat there watching, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Ya’ know, a company should pay homage to this event in our nation’s history, not through any exploration of the event itself, but by using it to sell small pictures of baseball players, thereby which the company can exploit the desired wealth of a new generation of growing men, as did the very historical event it now markets.” Those were literally the exact words that ran through my head. I cannot believe I remembered them all.

Anyway, silly me didn’t even realize that this already happened! And I was a sucker active participant!

Yes, Score was the first to capitalize on the marketability of a strange event that took place over a hundred years prior by introducing the Gold Rush series. Every child worth his salt would rush to the nearest store, flea market, or card show—encountering wild beasts—and dig deep into his pockets so as to become rich, albeit at a later date, as a result of purchasing these gold-plated cards, which weren’t so much gold-plated as they were made to look gold-plated.

Unfortunately, as you can deduce from this scintillating question-and-answer session, this series, like the gold rush itself, did not reap the desired rewards. Oh well! No biggie. Let’s look at it anyway.

For the first time in his 15-year major league career, Jeff trudged to the mound minus his trademark beard in 1993.

In assuming that every man who trekked to California in search of gold did, in fact, have a beard, I find it somewhat ironic that the famously bearded Jeff Reardon shaved his off just prior to being featured in the Gold Rush series. I suspect Score was disappointed, and this may have been an important factor in dooming the card series overall.

Anyhoo, this has been my valiant attempt to avoid the awkward topic and sad story of Reardon himself, which can be read here. Hope he’s doing okay, and that he found greener pastures.

But hey, doesn’t it seem like he’s throwing a snowball on this card and not a baseball? Ha, ha, lol, lmao, and what not.


82Redbirds said...

Is that a snowball? I thought the photographer caught a white hot meteor that was about to hit Jeff in the back.

Anonymous said...

You really should put the little "tm" next to every mention of Reardon's beard, since it is trademarked.
And perhaps that trademark paid off for Reardon before the release of the card - its easy to imagine all the wonderful ways he could profit off his trademarked beard (creating, in no ironic way, a veritable gold rush).
*this snarky comment is patent pending.