Archive for The Pope is Taking Batting Practice

Notable Facts from Pope John Paul II’s Various Topps Cards

John Paul II’s card from a 1988 Topps set released only in Europe.

The Topps Company has long made a practice of publishing notable facts about players on the reverse sides of their baseball cards. It’s by way of these brief, but revealing, sentences that collectors (ardent or otherwise) have been able to gain some insight into who their heroes are as men, and not merely as athletes — by learning, for example, how right-hander Jim Slaton spent most of his time (on a boat) and for whose construction firm, specifically, Rob Deer worked (his father’s).

With the revelation recently of long-forgotten video from 1987 of Pope John Paul II taking purposeful cuts at a California-area indoor batting cage, we are reminded that he was once among the Italian baseball league’s top players. As such, Topps issued cards for the Pope annually as part of Italian card sets aimed at European consumers.

The present author has located a number of such cards. Here are notable facts from five of them:

• John was influential in the production of Vatican II, the long-awaited sequel to the original Vatican.

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The Pope Is Taking Batting Practice

The boulevards of the world are awash in possible jokes, all of them tiresome even before they depart one’s lips or typing fingers. Why? Because the Pope is taking batting practice …

When I told you the Pope was taking batting practice it turns out I was not lying. This surprised even me. I just resisted a joke. And another. And then another. The Pope is taking batting practice.

I am scooting and clicking around my shitty home like an addled crab because the Pope is taking batting practice. What else am I to do? Stare mutely in the mirror at my mongrel’s visage? Ask my dog sincere questions?

Besides hiding from leering Heaven in my sump pit, I shall create a NotGraphs category called “The Pope is Taking Batting Practice.”

What else am I to do? Murder an urchin?

The Pope is taking batting practice, and he has a reasonable left-handed swing.

Push me down the stairs, ghosts about me.

Ed. Note: Dayn Perry would like to credit the editor’s friend Ross for finding this evergreen video.