For someone who ignored Big Baseball when it was released, I certainly have a lot to say on the subject…
On my last post – which some of you might have missed because I accidentally posted it with a date from last January, instantly making it my ‘oldest’ post and all the way near the bottom of the Sports Card Blogroll – I was replying to a comment from Paul at Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff, and I started to say that I probably ignored Big Baseball because there were so many sets I collected that year… I really liked the new set from Score, the Topps set was one of their best from the 1980′s, and I bought plenty of Fleer and Donruss even though they weren’t anything all that great.
Then I looked at what I wrote… Oh my, I collected FOUR SETS that year? How ever could I have afforded it? I was going to argue that a niche set might do better now, being that there’s a monopoly, but I forgot how different things were then… There were four manufacturers, but for most collectors that meant there were four sets.
It also occurred to me that the size of the Big Baseball cards couldn’t have been an issue, because the following year I collected the re-introduced Bowman set, which was the same size. I think it really came down to the fact that I didn’t like these cards much at the time, but I can’t help but look back at them now and think “What if they were better looking…?”
Moving on to today’s cards, I recently got them from COMC and they were originally going to be the second installment of my “Players I Collect” series.
Back in the early 1980′s, I had a friend who went to the University of Vermont. Given that he and I both enjoyed hockey, I would hear about the Catamounts star player, a guy by the name of Kirk McCaskill. He was the captain of the hockey team, which lead to him getting the fairly obvious nickname of “Captain Kirk”. Although I never saw him play, I thought it would be cool if I got to see him play in the NHL some day. He was drafted by the original Winnipeg Jets and played a year in the minor league AHL, but it was as a pitcher that he would reach the top level of pro sports.
He played from 1985 to 1996 with the Angels and White Sox. In 1986, he was 17-10 with a 3.36 ERA and 202 strikeouts, and started two games in the ALCS. Unfortunately, he was 0-2 in those games.
Elbow problems would cut short his potential, but he ended up with 106 career wins and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He has the second-most wins of any Canadian, second only to Fergie Jenkins.
The above two images are from the 1989 Big Baseball set, which I’d mentioned in yesterday’s post.. not quite as ugly as I remembered it, but still not great.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Kirk’s father, Ted McCaskill, played 4 games for the Minnesota North Stars and a couple of seasons for the WHA’s Los Angeles Sharks (no relation to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks).
In 1991, Kirk was named by People Magazine as one of that year’s most beautiful people. How often do you see People mentioned in a Sports Card blog?
Nit-picking: The cartoon should abbreviate the school’s name as “UVM”, which is the official abbreviation and stands for “Universitas Viridis Montis” (University of the Green Mountains), the Latin name for the school.
Kirk was the first UVM player to appear in the Majors since Jack Lamabe in 1968. There hasn’t been a Catamount in the Majors since Kirk.
Among the UVM alumni who appeared in the NHL are Martin Saint Louis, Patrick Sharp and Tim Thomas.
UVM’s Centennial Field is the home of the NY-Penn League’s Vermont Lake Monsters.