22. Andy Marte – 2007 Topps
Cleveland somehow convinced itself that Marte was going to be the answer at 3rd base. Marte had other ideas. He has pretty much been bashing us over the head with ineptitude for the last 2 seasons. I’m fairly sure we’ve seen the last of Marte in a Cleveland uniform. It’s time for him to move on to another team for no compensation and turn into David Wright.
Thinking back on it, I have no earthly idea what made us think that he was supposed to be good to begin with. I mean, we traded Coco Crisp for him. No disrespect to Coco. He’s a fine player. But he isn’t exactly the kind of guy you give up the farm for, is he? So why did we think that we were getting the next Mike Schmidt? Oh well, at least we got Kelly Shoppach out of that deal.
23. Manny Ramirez – 2001 Topps HD
I can’t remember seeing one of these HD cards before. I don’t think I knew they existed. They’re exactly what you think they would be. The photo is so clear it looks like it’s in HD. It’s a really cool card. I don’t know if they stopped making them, and if they did, I’m not sure why.
Ahh…1986 Topps. The first set I really got into. Looking at the cards, I’m not sure why that was the year. The cards are far from impressive. I think I was just at the right age in 1986 for some reason. A lot of my friends started at the same time, so that helped as well.
And there he is. The human rain delay. I don’t recall ever hearing that nickname until much later, after Hargrove was retired and managing the Tribe, nor do I remember watching him and thinking he took a particularly long time either. What I do remember is thinking that Hargrove was an alltime great, HOF type of player. In Cleveland, I think, we tended to heap giant piles of praise on mediocrity. This makes sense. In Cleveland, for the longest time, mediocre meant you were standing on top of the heap.
By all accounts Hargrove was a good player. He must have been doing something right to have such a long career. I just wonder what we would think of a first baseman who averaged about 7 HR and 57 RBIs (as of the printing of this card) in todays game.
25. C.C. Sabathia – 2002 Bowman Chrome
My god that’s a shiny card! If I ever decide to go mountain climbing in a blizzard, I’m taking this card with me. If I get lost, and fall over an edge, or get my arm pinned I can use it’s reflective surface to signal for help. If that fails, I may be able to use it’s sharp edge to saw through the trapped limb like that guy did a few years back. If I don’t have the stomach to saw off my limb, I can eat the card and use it’s nourishment to buy myself another few hours or a day. I suspect that if you had to pick a player to eat to stay alive in the wild, C.C. would be on the short list. Mostly I’d want the card for uses that I haven’t even thought of yet. There seems to be an unlimited amount of things you can use a Sabathia Chrome card for.
I guess it would be hard to come up with some kind of managerial accomplishment to put on the back of Corrales’ card. So Topps came up with this gem: “Pat had the distinction of managing both Phillies and Indians in 1983” I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a compliment. Somehow I think getting fired from one job and hired by the Indians is not something you highlight on the old resume. I can’t say too much, though, it’s 2 more teams than I’ve ever managed.
The back of the card is a checklist for that years Indians. I’ve always considered myself somewhat intelligent. I always got good grades and did well in school. At least I don’t think I’m a dummy (all evidence to the contrary). But, when I look at that roster, and think that I somehow convinced myself that it was a team that had a chance to win it all…well…doubt does creep in.
27. Grady Sizemore and Aaron Boone – 2006 Topps
This is the famous Cleveland Rocks card. OK, maybe not famous. I didn’t know it existed until I got it. Why did they pick Sizemore and Boone to represent Cleveland and it’s rockitude? I guess you’d have to ask Topps. My guess is because of Boone’s masterful .677 OPS in 2005. Has there ever been a player, more than Boone, who made his entire career with one post season HR? Oh yeah, Joe Carter.
And, by the way Boone, tuck in your shirt. You look like a schmuck.
I’m not sure any cards make me happier than sportflics. I just love these things. When I think about Belle one of the first stories that pops into my head is the Halloween story. The story goes that some punks were egging his house on Halloween. Instead of calling the cops, or just yelling at the kids from the stoop and getting out the hose like any normal human being, Albert got in his car and chased them down. I’m pretty sure he even hit one of the kids, although I don’t think anyone was seriously injured. The crazy thing is that nobody was surprised in the least that this had happened. It got the same sort of reception as when Clay Aiken came out of the closet a few weeks ago (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Can anyone really say they weren’t expecting it?
Albert Belle almost rose to the level of Mike Tyson. Nothing shocked you. It was like: “Albert Belle chased down some kids with his car on Halloween? Huh…yeah, that makes sense. I can see that.” There’s a million stories about that guy, but I’ll save some of those for later. This one was always one of my favorites.
29. John O’Donoghue – 1966 Topps
I’ve never heard of this guy. He played for Cleveland for a few years starting in 1966. In 1965 he was named to the AL All Star team. In 1965 John O’Donoghue went 9-18 striking out 82 and walking 66 in 178 innings of work. I’m way too lazy to look it up but these may be the worst numbers ever for an all star. My theory involves Bowie Kuhn, a prostitute, and photographs.
When I think of classic combos on the Indians I think of Hafner and Michaels, don’t you? Seriously, who the heck thinks of these things? My guess is it’s someone like Brendan Frasier’s character in Blast From The Past. Oh well. There you have it. The Tribe’s “Classic Combo 2007”. Michaels and Hafner. There’s no explanation of the back to justify this. Probably because there’s no explanation.
Unfortunately for baseball fans everywhere, the Indians broke up the vaunted combo in june 2008 when they traded Michaels to “every team everywhere” in exchange for “not having him on our team”. Michael’s numbers in Pittsburgh suggest that the Tribe got the better of that deal.
Coming in 2009 Topps: Classic Combo Jason Michaels and Freddie Sanchez.
31. Kenny Lofton – 1993 Triple Play
The first thing I want to point out about this card is the nice action shot on the front. Nice job Leaf. Let’s see what it says on the back: “Many players have become quite adept at sliding head first into a base instead of the traditional feet-first slide, believing it gives them an extra second or two.”
While the data is (as far as I know) inconclusive, I was always taught, until recently, that sliding head first saves you no time at all. But that is neither here nor there. No, the issue I have with this is the “gives them an extra second or two.” Really? An extra second or two? C’mon Leaf. That’s just stupid. Sliding head first may save a small fraction of a second at best, and certainly not two. If that was the case ALL runners would ALWAYS slide head first and NONE would ever be thrown out. If you’re not even going to try to be reasonable with this stuff, you might as well leave the back blank. At the very least you could have airbrushed Paul Sorrento into the background and called it another Classic Combo.
What a fun card to look at. It looks like he’s playing in a Tron game. All you kids out there who haven’t heard of Tron…you don’t know what you're missing. Speaking of Tron, I could never decide if that movie was good or not. I think the fact that I continue to think about it is a strong argument that I think it’s good. I’m just going to throw this out there, even though I’m usually against this sort of thing…how about maybe a remake of Tron? As long as Ashton Kutcher isnt’ involved, I think it would have a good chance of being decent. I think most people out there haven’t seen it so a remake wouldn’t be blasphemous.
The Karate Kid, on the other hand…well, those people should be ashamed of themselves. What a freakin’ disaster. Wait, how the heck did I start talking about this? Let’s just move on.
33. Addie Joss 2003-7 Helmar
This is some sort of miniature card made by Helmar Brewing. The redemption of this card is good toward $5 worth of goods, which I assume means beer. Anyway, it’s a pretty nice looking thick card. I have no idea where David may have run across it. It features one of the alltime greats.
Addie Joss played from 1902-1910. His career ERA was 1.89. Not too shabby. He also won 160 games in 9 seasons. Then, at the age of 31, he was gone.
I think that’s about all I can say about David’s cards. This is already ridiculously long. I just start talking about things and I can’t seem to shut up about them, whether anyone is listening or not. Usually not.
I’ll just say, thank you again. And, to all of the people that have sent me cards lately and also many who have not, I’m working on packages for all of you. The plan is to get them all out before Christmas, so make sure you're watching your mailboxes closely in April.