It was a different time, you understand — 1987, or ’88. A time when men like Billy Jo Robidoux and Mark Funderburk were the flying buttresses in the architecture of baseball — beautiful appendages that distract from the innermost works of the structure. Or something.
It was also a time when baseball cards like this were possible:
The random pairing of players, the dissimilar orientation of the photos, the misspelling of Billy Jo‘s name, the prospect emblem in Johnny Rocket’s font — all of these were only possible in the 1980s, when anything went
up one’s nose.
These men’s names are also things of the past, though arguably of different pasts. The name Mark Funderburk, like the man it’s attached to here, seems at home in the ’80s; it suggests excess, awkwardness, crispy hair, strange smells, orifices of all sorts torn asunder. Cheeseburgers were probably in their prime in the 1980s, as they were finally no longer seen solely as a treat, but rather now considered nutritiously American. The above card suggests as much.
Billy Jo Robidoux, both the name and the man, also belongs in the ’80s — the 1880s.
This is a man who, in another time, would have boxed you — meaning that he would have engaged you in a boxing match for nothing more than looking askance at his dog’s bollocks, but also meaning that were you to engage him in return, he would have put you in a casket. Bro.
Had he not been so misplaced, he could have been burying opponents on the reg’ and getting his name in periodicals of note. But alas, time travel was not kind to Billy Jo Robidoux, Never-Was Bare-Knuckle Champion of the Five Points.
During time travel, his hat’s font got all jumbled, his face got all weary, dozens of moustachio locks fell from his lip. Forced to play a confusing sport-of-the-future for the rest of his athletic prime, he hit but five homeruns.
There was a time, you understand, when Billy Jo Robidoux would have kicked your ass. But now?