Assuming, as our market research suggests, that you are a card-carrying member of the bourgeois, you most likely spent at least some of your time during the holiday season tasting the fruits of capitalism. The pinnacle of such a lifestyle is that faint glint of reflection that arises as you surround yourself with your new physical possessions, struggling to appreciate how much happier they make you in the few moments before you adapt to your new standard of living. Eggnog is optional during this process, but pleasant.
As a member of the faux riche, I too am not immune; even as age and responsibility have replaced shiny, unassembled toys with gift cards and unsolicited career advice. So it was fortunate that my dear, sweet mother, in the process of unironically buying me white socks at the local Target, made the impulse purchase of one of those blister packs of old baseball cards near the registers. As sort of a belated Boxing Day, it’s my turn to re-gift my own new-found wealth to you, in the form of vaguely diverting content. Think of it as the trickle-down economics of Christmas.
On the back of Steve’s card, an anonymous source at Topps added the following factoid: “Logged his 1st big league Stolen Base: 9-12-85.” What this person could not have known, though he could perhaps have guessed, is that despite eight more years in the majors, it would also be his last.
An aside, for those readers who were not alive during the 1980s: the 1980s were terrible. They featured the threat of nuclear war, Qaddafi puns, shoulder pads, Friday the 13th movies, Datsuns, untelevised baseball, apartheid, after-school specials, about nine hundred plane crashes, Richard Marx, and a lack of avocados. They also were a time in which a catcher, say someone like Steve Lake, could hit .237/.268/.331 with defense that did not include the power of flight and still be above replacement level. Times were tough.
To be fair, the nineties had their own issues, most notably their struggle with the wearing of hats.
One of the tragedies of computer graphics is that they have devalued the sense of wonder provided by visual information. What we see has become, essentially, meaningless; we have gone from Harold Lloyd hanging from the side of an actual building to the sharknado. This 1998 Pacific baseball card is also partially to blame, since there is no way that the name or face of Henry Rodriguez could naturally convey this level of excitement.
That’s… actually a nice card. A Randy Johnson rookie card. Neat.
The first sentence in John’s bio reads: “John, a big righthander, holds a Giants record that should last for awhile [sic]: as a rookie in ’90, he left 137 tickets for family and friends in his first appearance in Pittsburgh.” Further research, in the form of a random newspaper article, has indicated that the previous record was held by Jeffrey Leonard, who only managed 79 saved seats. This seems like a strange record to hold, and a fairly simple one to break. Questions abound. Did all 137 tickets get claimed? Did John Burkett have the most friends of any baseball player? If you hold a record and people stop paying attention to whether it gets broken, do you hold it forever?
Even Braden Looper seems somewhat confused that someone would want him to autograph a Braden Looper card. If we imagine fame as a spectrum, there is a breaking point in which any person’s signature becomes valuable. As to where Braden Looper lies on this spectrum, I cannot say. I guess if nothing else, we can describe the style of the signature as “appropriate”.
This is the facial expression I visualize whenever I read any of Jeff Sullivan’s tweets.
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