What follows is just some of my usual, long winded ramblings on things, often not having very much to do with the cards at all. What can I say. I’m very strange, as it turns out, and I’ve decided I’m getting too old and tired to fight it. If a lot of this doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.
So here they are. My hard earned cards from Tribecards. They are spectacular. I apologize in advance for my inevitable failed attempt to do them justice.
1. Jim Thome – 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones 125/150
This card commemorates Thome entering the 500 HR club. I’m not sure what 22 on the front means. I guess maybe it means that he is 22nd on the HR list, or possibly this card shows him getting his 22nd homer. That would explain why he is in a Tribe uniform on the front. Anyway, it’s a sweet card. 125/150. I still get excited about any numbered card. And, since it’s the ONLY 125/150 it can safely (according to the Ebay rules, unless I’m misinterpreting them) be considered a 1/1. Kick ass.
This is the card that I got for answering a trivia question during the contest. In an incredible display of brainpower seldom seen outside the oval office, I was able to name the Indians players with 3000 hits. I would, at this time, like to clarify that I did this WITHOUT looking it up on baseball reference. I think it’s important that you know these things. David Kelton, as far as I can tell is out of baseball after amassing an incredible OPS+ of -8. I’m not exactly sure, but I’m going to say that this means I have had a more successful big league career than David Kelton as my career OPS+ is 0. David did have 3 more hits than me though.
I’ll start by saying that I can’t remember seeing a Pacific card that I didn’t like. This is a really great looking card. Yoshii broke into the league with the Mets in 1998 at the age of 33. He pitched for 5 years, even winning 12 games in 1999. He pocketed over $6 mil. Not too shabby for a guy I’d never heard of.
I love Finest. They’re so damn shiney. Probably more than any other player, I’m pulling for Hafner next year to regain some of his old magic. It hasn’t been too long since he would go on these incredible streaks for a week or two where every time he stepped to the plate you expected him to absolutely murder the ball. It’s an incredible feeling for a fan and Hafner gave it too me more than any other player. But not recently. I want that feeling again. Hafner deserves it and Cleveland deserves it. Damn it, I deserve it.
5. Omar Vizquel – 2004 Fleer Inscribed
I may have already written about it but that won’t stop me now. I love Vizquel. Clevelanders will fight to the death anyone who dares utter that omar isn’t the best defensive shortstop EVER. (We’re kind of like Cincinattians and Skyline chili that way. The only difference is Vizquel is good. Skyline is shit on a hot dog.) I know there are stats and metrics (which I am a big believer in) that suggest that Omar really wasn’t all that great. Those stats didn’t watch him play every day for a decade from seats in Jacobs Field of in front of our TVs.
It reminds me of a joke I heard on Weekend Update a long time ago. I think it was David Spade. I’ll paraphrase how it went because I don’t remember it exactly. It was the mid 90s and Jacob Dylan had improbably and temporarily surpassed, for the briefest of moments, the popularity of his genius father with the Wallflower’s hit song “One Headlight”. Not long after this it was discovered that Bob had been “banging” Cheryl Tiegs (to use to parlance of our time), star of a generation of male adolescent fantasy. So the joke went like this: “While Jacob may be a popular rock star, Daddy’s an artist.” Well, that’s how Cleveland feels about Omar. Ozzie Smith et al. may be great shortstops, but Omar’s an artist.
I always thought that Bando was good. Why? He was on the Indians. I’m not sure if I knew about the tremendous unibrow or if it would have changed my opinion one way or the other.
The back of the card states that “Chris enjoys golf, aerobics, and reading the Bible”. At this point I’m 43.72% sure that they just make this shit up. Or, maybe the athletes say these things to screw with people and have a good laugh when the cards come out. Seriously, aerobics? Is there any chance that aerobics is in the top 3 things that Chris Bando enjoys? Maybe it happened like this:
Phone rings in the clubhouse. Ernie Camacho answers.
Ernie Camacho: Yeah?
Artimus McGuillicutty: Hello, this is Artimus McGuillicutty from Topps. Could I speak to Chris Bando please?
EC: Sure, this is Chris. How can I help you Mr. McGuillicutty?
AM: Oh, call me Art please. Mr. McGuillicutty is my father. HaHaHaHaHa.
EC: Sure thing Art. What can I do you for?
AM: Well Chris, I’m calling because…
EC: Mr Bando.
AM: Excuse me?
EC: Call me Mr. Bando.
AM: Oh yes, of course, sorry. The reason I’m calling…ah…Mr. Bando…um…we’re…
EC: Call me sir goddamn it!
AM: Oh…I’m terribly sorry Mr. Bando sir.
EC: That’s better. Now, what the hell do you want Art?
AM: Yes…well…as I was saying, Mr. Bando, sir…I work for Topps, and …
EC: Spit it out Art. I haven’t got all day. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a very busy man. I’m a big league ballplayer. I’m a big deal so stop wasting my time Art.
AM: OK Mr. Bando sir. I’d like to know a few things that you enjoy so we can…
EC: Say, Art, have you ever heard that poem?
EC: You know, that poem that Bobcat Goldthwait tells in that Police Academy movie?
AM: The Police Acad…
EC: Yeah sure, Police Academy. Funny friggin’ movie. That Guttenberg guy is going to be a star.
AM: I’m not sure I follow …
EC: Well Bobcat tells this poem. Goes like this:
Gene Gene made a machine
Joe Joe made it go
Art Art blew a fart and blew the whole damn thing apart
Is that you Art? Did you fart on Gene’s machine?
AM: Look Mr. Bando, maybe I should…
EC: Call me sir. Look Art, we’ve already been over this. I’m a big deal remember? I’m not sure why I’m wasting my time if you aren’t going to pay attention.
AM: Maybe there would be a better time to…uh…reach you…uh…
EC: What’s wrong with now?
AM: Now? Oh…uh…It’s just…
EC: Will you get to the damn point Art?
AM: We’d like to know a few things you enjoy for the back of your baseball card.
EC: Oh…OK. I like getting drunk, getting laid and putting one in Balboni’s ear when he steps to the plate. That man’s a major asshole.
AM: Mr. Bando sir, we can’t put that on a baseball card.
EC: Why not?
AM: Well because we just can’t. We sell those things to kids.’
EC: OK OK. You’re a real drag Art, you know that? OK, just say golf and Creadence Clearwater Revival.
AM: Did you say golf and reading the Bible?
AM: OK, we just need one more thing.
EC: Jesus Art, you’re relentless. How about aerobics.
AM: Aerobics? Really?
EC: Hell yeah. I’m a regular aerobics fiend. I’ve got all the jazzercise tapes with Richard Simmons. It’s how I warm up.
AM: Sure thing. Thanks a lot Mr. Bando.
EC: You’re kind of a jerk, Art.
AM: Have a terrific day.
Chris Bando walks in from the shower.
CB: Who was that?
CB: OK, just let me know if anyone calls. I’m expecting a call from Topps. I’ve got some things that they can put on my card this year that will make me look really cool.
EC: Sure thing boss.
Brett Butler laughs his ass off.
Whew…I was beginning to doubt that I was going to bring that one around. I was just as excited as you guys to find out where that one was going.
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah. Baseball cards.
7. Jake Westbrook – 2006 Topps Turkey Red
I freakin’ love Turkey Red. I like Masterpieces too, but Turkey Red really…I don’t know…does it for me. Says here that Jake pitched 6 no hitters in high school. Not bad. On a similar note, John Perusek threw 2 no hitters his senior year – both against the same team. He was a hell of an athlete. I believe he played football at Mount Union from ’92-’96. If you haven’t heard of them, look ‘em up. They’ve been mildly successful.
Well, there it is. The overlong and ridiculously nonsensical first installment of The cards that Indians Baseball Cards Always sent me for doing nothing more than losing a scratch off contest. It seems like the less I do, the more good things come to me. It's about time, to tell you the truth. I've been faithfully following that creed my whole life and it looks like it's starting to pay off.
More to come.