2018 TSR: Now With Football!

It’s been a long baseball season, and a fairly poopy one on many fronts. The Mets were 15-9 in April and are 10-4 this month, but they stunk in May and absolutely cratered in June. The Orioles… well, the only month where the O’s had a non-awful record was March when they went 1-1. Even on the minor league level, the weather kept me from going to anywhere near as many games as I usually attend, and the teams I did see were not particularly good nor promising.

So maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me when I watched a football game last weekend and actually got into it. I normally pay little attention to football until at least October (and hopefully November if I have a strong rooting interest in the MLB Postseason), but here I was on September 9th enjoying a Steelers/Browns matchup.

Well, maybe “enjoying” isn’t entirely the right word. It was entertaining, but due to rain and other factors, it wasn’t the best-played game you’ll see all year… and it ended in a tie (which, as far as I’m concerned, was a victory for the Browns).

But it inspired me to make some football customs, which may or may not end up being a series. This year has been filled with custom sets I started and never took as far as I’d originally intended.

I wanted to pay homage to a vintage football set, and after much deliberating I decided to be “Heritage-y” and observe the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Topps set.

With Le’Veon Bell holding out, Steelers’ running back James Conner got nearly as many carries (32) and yards (144) as he did all of last season, plus he scored two touchdowns and caught five passes.

Conner is a local guy who’s from Erie, PA and went to the University of Pittsburgh. Le’Veon is still sitting at home, so I would guess that Conner’s the guy again against the Chiefs this afternoon.

As for the Browns… Much to my surprise they didn’t suck. I have to admit, I liked seeing excited fans in the stands in Cleveland. I wasn’t sure who to feature on a Browns custom, so I let the availability of images dictate my choice to a large degree and I went with new QB Tyrod Taylor.

The Browns acquired Taylor from the Buffalo Bills for a 3rd round draft pick this past Spring.

OK, that’s it for football this week. I guess we’ll see how inspired I am to make more customs after today’s games… There are probably at least some more coming, if only to justify the time I spent on the 1968 template.

Moving on to baseball… Even though they went on a tear a bit too late for playoff contention (barring an epic collapse by the Yankees or Athletics), I’ve been rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays. They’re 27-13 since the beginning of August, and staff ace Blake Snell has broken out in a big way and deserves some serious Cy Young consideration.

Snell has a 19-5 record and a 2.03 ERA and leads the league in wins and ERA. He’s also third with a 0.982 WHIP.

A note to the Atlanta Braves: It doesn’t matter how many former Orioles and Mets you acquire, I will never root for the Braves.

…OK, well perhaps grudgingly if they’re facing the Yankees, but in that case I will not watch.

MLB announced recently that there wiil be an all-star team touring Japan this fall, and Marlins manager Don Mattingly will be in charge of that touring team.

I’m sure he’s looking for a distraction for what’s going on in Miami these days.

The Orioles recently called up their 2015 1st round draft pick, outfielder DJ Stewart.

After 10 plate appearances, he’s still looking for his first MLB hit.

Just for funsies, I’ll “reprint” the custom I made for him in 2015.

I have to admit, I was uninspired as to who to feature for the Mets, given that all of their best players have already appeared on one of my customs, so I just went with an action shot I like.

Gavin Cecchini is on the Mets 40-man roster but has played sparingly and has not appeared with the Mets this season.

Just to wrap things up with another sport… Congratulations to the Seattle Storm who recently swept the Washington Mystics to win the WNBA championship. Breanna Stewart was named the MVP of the finals.

I only saw a few minute of the final game, but I heard that the WNBA playoffs were very exciting this year. Did anybody watch any of it?

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Because I’m An Impulsive Idiot: Four Different Packs Of 2018 Football Cards

Long story short: I’m in a local Dollar Tree store just about once a week, and have had fun buying the repacks they have there. The enjoyable Prestine baseball repacks haven’t been seen in months in my neck of the woods, but I still enjoy the CardsOne Multi-Sport repacks (which had probably been sitting there for a couple of years until I came along).

Last week I cleaned out the last of their repacks.

This week I found the same empty gravity feeders I’d left behind… but I already had a $5 bill in my hand, so I settled for two 2018 football packs as a consolation prize. I’ll be frank, the cards stunned me… and in a good way.

Especially the 2018 Panini Football pack. The first card I pulled out of the pack was this card of the Dallas Cowboys’ Zack Martin

I think it looks a bit better in-hand than in this scan, but the photo shows up really well and I like the very minimalist design: It’ gives you the basic information and then gets the hell out of the way. My one complaint is that the team name is very small and hard to read (but that’s OK because the back has a big honkin’ team logo on it).

For those people who like the O-Pee-Chee-esque “Traded” text lines on their cards, Panini does that in this set.

It’s hard to see in this scan, but above the “P” Panini logo is a little text line which reads “SIGNED BY BILLS ON 3/15/18”.

I had a less positive reaction to the second pack… at first, anyway.  My initial reaction to 2018 Prestige was that it was a typical Panini design with way too much going on, but the more I look at these, the more I like them.

It’s not a bad design, it’s just not *my* type of design.  I don’t think I would buy more of these, not even from the dollar store, but I also won’t trash it. FYI, the text and logos on the card front are done in silver foil.

I will say one nice thing about 2018 Prestige…

These cards have the nicest backs I’ve seen on a Panini card (which isn’t a huge competition, I’ll admit)

It’s got sort of a 2013 Pinnacle thing going for it (that’s good in my book, I like 2013 Pinnacle enough to wish it were licensed).

Before I get off of the Dollar Tree packs, I want to point out that these packs are a dollar each because they are strictly base cards, not an insert to be found. I personally don’t have a problem with that, but I thought I should mention it.

Oh, and I should also mention that Panini has an exclusive license with the NFL, so all of these packs are made by Panini America.

I was so surprised by these two Panini packs that later that night, when I was in Target, I bought a couple of other packs (which were a bit more expensive than a buck each).

One of the packs was for 2018 Classics football, which I’d been seeking out ever since I received a Classics Franco Harris card from CommishBob over at The Five Tool Collector.

I was hoping to pull more cards for my team, the Steelers… but I did pull a very cool card of Dick LeBeau, who used to be the Steelers’ defensive coordinator.

I like these cards because they’re appealingly retro without going overboard. As I’ve mentioned before, Panini has a track record of going too far with their design elements, but they were nice and retrained on these.

The backs of the Classics cards are also pretty good in a throwback-y way

The one thing which threw me off with the backs was what I thought was a cartoon in the lower left. This one shows a unicycle and says “Dick’s secret skills include playing guitar and writing songs”. Another one showed a pizza and said something about the player liking shrimp. What the WHAT? Turns out that they’re not so much cartoons as much as icons representing categories. Once I realized what they were doing I came down from Red Alert and went back to enjoying the cards.

The last pack I bought, 2018 Donruss Football, was sort of an “in for a penny, in for a pound” purchase… I just wanted to see if a Donruss design was better when it’s licensed.

The answer is yes… but not much. The Donruss logo and player name up top is in silver foil, which is hard to read against a dark background (which is why I scanned a light-background card).

I liked this card of the Patriots’ first round pick Sony Michel… more for the photo than anything else.

Looks like Michel is going to make his NFL debut this Sunday.

So that’s the four packs. I may buy more of the 2018 Panini Football from Dollar Tree, and I’m definitely working on wantlists for that set and 2018 Classics… All in all I was fairly well pleased with these packs.

Run For the (East) Hills!

My summer has been so upside-down that I still haven’t written about most of what I got at a July card show where I spent 5 or 6 hours wandering the floor.  I’m still working at getting my hobby time amid all my responsibilities, so today’s post features several unrelated cards from the 1960’s.

At the July show there was a dealer who had a couple of commons from the 1966 East Hills Shopping Center Pirates cards for $2 a shot. These cards don’t really fit into my collection, but I felt drawn to these oversized oddballs so I quickly added three to my purchase and moved on. When I got home I found that the cards were in beautiful shape… probably a bit *too* nice for 52 year old cards bought for $2 a pop. I’m mentally labeling these as “reprints”, but they’re still fun to have. One will be featured in a later post, but the other two are…

Don Cardwell, who would be traded to the Mets after the 1966 season and become a “Miracle Met” (even if he pitched only one inning in the World Series, an inning which came in relief of Tom Seaver in the Mets Game 1 loss to the O’s)…

Gene Michael was a Yankee during that narrow window of childhood naivety when I liked the Yankees. In my head he’s so completely associated with the Bronx Bombers that I get weirded out when I see him in another team’s uniform. This can be considered his rookie card, as he wouldn’t appear in a Topps set until 1967.

I’ve been a Steelers fan since the 1980’s.  Not being much of a football collector, I’d originally intended to collect only those Steelers teams I’d watched, and then I’d later set 1972 as a good starting point for my Steelers collection…  However, I keep finding myself picking up 1960’s cards here and there, like this 1968 Topps card of linebacker Andy Russell.

Russell won 2 Super Bowls with the Steelers and appeared in 7 Pro Bowls.  An organization called the Professional Football Researchers Association named Russell to their “Hall Of The Very Good” in 2011.  I’ve heard people joke about a “Hall Of The Very Good”, but I had no idea that any group had established a formal list.

One interesting thing about this card, and something that I didn’t notice until I got it home, was that the card is a puzzle back.

Football collectors would need to wait until 1969 to find out that Russell is 6′ 2″ and went to Missouri.  Anybody know whose shin that is on the card back? UPDATE: Jeb Reid has identified the “Mystery Shin” as belonging to HOF Chiefs QB Len Dawson (see his comment on this post). Thanks, Jeb!

I filled in a gap in my Fritz Peterson collection by adding his second-year card.

I’d probably bypassed this card a number of times thinking I already had it, because the photo used would also be used on Peterson’s 1969 Topps card, which I’ve had for a number of years.

One last card, a 1963 Fleer featuring pitcher Tom Cheney.  I’ve long been fascinated by 1963 Fleer, and could see myself trying to complete the 66-card set someday.  For now, I just casually pick up cheap commons as I find them.

Tom Cheney’s career was ended abruptly by an elbow injury, but in a game against the Orioles in 1962 he struck out 21 batters in a 16-inning complete game.  16 innings, 10 hits, 1 earned run, 21 K’s and just four walks as the Senators beat the O’s 2-1.  The Orioles Dick Hall took the loss in pitching 8.1 innings in relief.

Saved By The Bob

One thing I’ve been tremendously lacking in this summer is focus. My attention span has been eroding over the years, and lately it seems like it’s come to a head. I get an idea for a post and start working on it, but then halfway through I get another idea and I abandon the first one – “temporarily”, I tell myself – to start on the new one… and then I get distracted by something else and start looking into that.

I had meant for today’s post to be one which returned to a popular post I did last year, but guess what? I haven’t finished it because I had other ideas. I also don’t have anything else ready because the drafts I have all require further research or thought or something else I wouldn’t be able to finish on time.

What’s a sportscard blogger to do?

Just when the skies were growing dark and despair spread throughout the land, it was CommishBob to the rescue! (For those who aren’t familiar with Bob, he writes The Five Tool Collector)

I got a padded envelope which contained two cards I’d expected, and a number of others which were very pleasant surprises.

One of my current projects… or to be exact, one of my many current projects, but one which is actually getting attention… is a 1960 Orioles teams set, and Bob sent two additions to the team set.

I’m guessing Barry Shetrone was something of a fan favorite, as he was the first Baltimore-born player to suit up for the O’s. He played only 58 games for the O’s and 2 for the Senators from 1959 to 1963.

I have a confession to make… My collecting the 1960 Orioles team set is largely a “crime of opportunity” because I already have the key card of the team set – Brooks Robinson. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of the 1960 design. It’s a nice enough set when it works (and it works pretty well on the Shetrone), but when there are too many bright, clashing colors (as sometimes happens) or when half of the player’s name disappears because the text doesn’t stand out enough from the background, these cards can be a trainwreck.

The funny thing is that I like the manager card design much better. Go figure.

…ESPECIALLY the backs:

Archives Snapshots is an small online set that Topps had done in 2016 and 2017… if there’s a 2018 set, I haven’t heard about it. I had intended to chase down a couple of cards from the 2017 set, but got distracted and forgot about it… but here’s one of the main cards I’d intended to chase after.

Cleon Jones is best known for his role in the 1969 Miracle Mets, a team which caused Bob some personal pain and suffering, so I thank him for this card.

The 1969 Orioles get equal time in this package.

I’ve been exposed to 1969 World Series facts and figures for all of my baseball life, but it never really occurred to me that for both of those inaugural League Championship Series, the team from the West division got swept in 3 games. In some alternate universe the 1969 World Series was between the Twins and Braves, and everybody went “Ho-hum”.

Two days ago I wrote a post that was largely about my indifference to retired players mixed in to current baseball card sets. That afternoon, what do I get from Bob? A retired *football* player from a current set (2018 Panini Classics).

In light of that post I feel kinda stupid for saying this but… I like this card. I’m a long-time Steelers fan – and loyally suffered through a number of crap-tastic seasons, so give me no grief about bandwagons – but it’s more that I like the fauxback design. When Panini can pull in the reins on their “Too many design elements is never enough” mindset, they are capable of making some nice-looking cards.

I’ve seen packs of this in Target, and I haven’t bought a pack of anything football in years, but if the price point is low enough I might buy a pack or two of this, just for grins.

Oh, just to feature the two expected cards… Bob is actively working on the 1979 Topps set, while I have been leisurely working on the same set for… Oh, let me think… 39 years. It’s gotten a bit of priority over the past couple of years because once it’s finished I will be able to say I have a complete Topps run from 1973 to 1981. Anyway, Bob had some doubles from his own in-progress set build, and these two cards were the overlap between his excess inventory and my needs.

Ross “Crazy Eyes” Grimsley is a guy that I have an odd affinity for… not even sure why. Ross won 20 games with the Expos in 1978, and 18 games with the O’s in 1974.

Jose Morales was a pinch-hitter extraordinaire, but put in time behind the plate as well.

Thanks again, Bob!  I greatly appreciate these cards!

…and for those of you needing a little Focus, there’s always this:

Cheap Packs Of 1992 World League Football Lead To Yet Another Side Project

I recently made an impulse buy of four cheap packs of 1992 Wild Card World League Of American Football.

I feel like that one line – “1992 Wild Card World League Of American Football” – requires lots of explanation.

The World League Of American Football (WLAF) was a league started by the NFL in 1991. It was an attempt to create a Spring developmental league, as well as to promote American Football in Europe. It lasted for two seasons, went on hiatus, came back as a Europe-only league and later rebranded as “NFL Europe”, then “NFL Europa” before the NFL pulled the plug on it after the 2007 season.

They called it American Football to allow the European teams to differentiate it from Association Football (“Football” in most of the world, “Soccer” in the US and Canada).

Wild Card was a card manufacturer in the early 1990’s whose gimmick was having cards in different denominations. Just like a $100 bill can be exchanged for 100 $1 bills and vice versa, a “100” card of John Doe could be exchanged for 100 regular cards of John Doe, and vice versa.

1992” was a calendar year in the latter part of the 20th century and — What’s that? That part doesn’t need explanation? OK.

While going through these packs I got the idea of setting up a new section in my Football binder and devoting a couple of pages to non-NFL football teams. For these pages, it would be less important to feature particular players and more important to have a good photo that give an idea of what the uniforms looked like.

What follows are the cards I ended up putting in my binder, ordered by team:

LONDON MONARCHS

The Monarchs started out playing at Wembley, but would later move to other soccer pitches.  I kinda like how they made a crown out of the “M” in the logo.

Here’s the back of this card…  I want to say that those red and yellow card numbers (up top after the words “Wild Card”) are difficult to read in person.

I want to “zoom in” on the photo, because the hat that William Kirksey is wearing made me smile:

I’d seen this style of hat countless times in the day, but never for the London Monarchs.

I actually kept two cards from the Monarchs because I liked both cards…

On both of these cards, the Monarchs are playing against the…

NEW YORK / NEW JERSEY KNIGHTS

It’s not clear from this photo, but their color scheme was silver, gold and black.  I didn’t feel like it worked that well back in the day, but I guess I’ve softened on it.  The chess piece logo isn’t bad.

Not surprisingly, the Knights played in Giants Stadium.  I wonder how much the NY/NJ part was for appealing to New Jersey fans, and how much was because the name “New York Knights” was likely copyrighted through the baseball movie “The Natural”.  Just a guess, I may be completely wrong on that.

FRANKFURT GALAXY

According to Wikipedia, the Galaxy was the only team to remain in existence and in the same city throughout the entire WLAF/NFL Europe run.  I like the logo as a helmet logo, but not so much on the sleeves.

Just to be clear, this is Frankfurt, Germany and not the capital of Kentucky (which is spelled “Frankfort” anyway).

MONTREAL MACHINE

At the time of the WLAF, there wasn’t a Canadian Football League team in Montreal.  I’m not a fan of the team name or logo.

SACRAMENTO SURGE

Another team where everything about the branding leaves me cold.  The Surge won the 1992 World Bowl and were the only American team to win the WLAF/NFL Europe championship.

OHIO GLORY

I paid a little bit of attention to the WLAF back in the day, but I did not remember the Glory at all.  They were a one-year franchise that had previously been the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks (a team I *do* remember).  The two teams combined for one win in twenty games.

SAN ANTONIO RIDERS

In researching how many pro football teams have played in San Antonio, I found out that there’s a new spring football league starting next year, the Alliance Of American Football.  San Antonio is one of eight teams in the AAF.  Time will tell if the AAF will even take the field.

To answer my original question, San Antonio was in the World Football League of the mid-1970’s, the USFL and the CFL’s brief US expansion.

ORLANDO THUNDER

Back in the early 1990’s I absolutely despised the Orlando Thunder’s “fluorescent snot” jerseys. Obviously, this was before the Seahawks adopted fluorescent snot as one of their colors (and yes, I hate those as well).

BIRMINGHAM FIRE

There was later a German team called the Rhein Fire, but apparently that team only shared the name and logos with this team… there was no direct connection between franchises.

BARCELONA DRAGONS

The Dragons played in four different World Bowls, and won it all in 1997.

“Dragons” is such a cool name for a team, but the only teams I can think of with that name are this one, the Japanese baseball Chunichi Dragons and the A-ball Dayton Dragons.  I wonder why that is… especially with everybody crazy about Game Of Thrones, you’d think *someone* would use “Dragons”… particularly in Major League Soccer, where they really should give us a break from all the FC’s and Uniteds.


So that’s the beginning of this little project.  I don’t know when I’ll come back to this, I’ve got so many projects that take higher priority, so this project will probably fall into the “as the opportunity presents itself” category.

Talking about the NFL Europa reminded me of this song…

My Favorite Athletes By The Numbers; Part 2, from 34 to 99

Just like Part 1, this post features my favorite athletes who were associated with numbers from 34 to 99 (I say “associated” because NASCAR drivers don’t really “wear” their numbers).

Unlike Part 1, these are consecutive up to a point… Once we get above #59 it starts to skip around a bit.

After a couple of comments on the last post, I feel like I need to point out that I’m not any kind of numerical genius. Although I did the initial draft from memory, it was basically “Who wore this number for the Mets, Yankees, Steelers and Capitals and do I still like them?” After that, I leaned heavily on the All-Time Uniform Number listings on baseball-reference.com and hockey-reference.com (where it’s “Sweater Numbers“), and I also flipped through my “player collection” binder to remind myself who wore which number.

OK, with out of the way let’s get back to the numbers!

34 – Noah Syndergaard

35 – Brandon Crawford

Crawford is one of my “He caught my attention in the minors” guys.  I gave serious thought towards going with Mike Mussina, but I’m frankly still kinda pissed that Moose left the Orioles for the Yankees.

36 – Jerry Koosman

37 – Casey Stengel

Casey was with the Mets from the start and his numbered was retired, so he goes down in history as the one and only #37 with the Mets.

38 – Skip Lockwood

39 – Erik Hanson

Hanson is from the same small town in New Jersey that a very good friend of mine is from (but she doesn’t know Hanson)

40 – Bartolo Colon

41 – Tom Seaver, New York Mets

42 – Ron Hodges

43 – Troy Polamalu

44 – Jason Isringhausen

45 – Tug McGraw

46 – Jeremy Guthrie

47 – Jesse Orosco

48 – Jacob deGrom

49 – Charlie Hough

I’ve got a thing for knuckleballers

50 – Sid Fernandez

…I strongly considered fellow Hawaiian Benny Agbayani

51 – Jamie Moyer

Moyer was the last of his kind – a Major Leaguer who was older than I was. Bless you, Jamie Moyer.

52 – Yoenis Cespedes

53 – Chad Bradford

Just like I have a thing for knuckleballers, I also have a thing for submariners.

…and for those of you who have been with me long enough to remember my original header…

…the basis for that header was this 2008 custom I made of Chad Bradford

54 – John Habyan

Like me, he’s a Long Island guy; At the time Habyan broke through, a friend of mine got very excited because he’d played against Habyan in high school ball. I got excited as well.

55 – Kelly Johnson

I chose a 2015 custom card rather than an actual card just because it shows his uniform number (and because I like the card design I’d made for 2015)

56 – Jim Bouton

I love anything to do with the Pilots.  Because of “Ball Four”, Jim Bouton is at the center of the Pilot-verse.

57 – Johan Santana

58 – Doug Fister

Fister was a godsend one year I won my Fantasy Baseball league.

59 – Jack Ham

This is bit of a cheat because Ham’s career and my Steeler fandom overlap by just one season… but there are damn few #59’s to choose from.

62 – Tunch Ilkin

My college roommate got me into the Steelers, and at first we both liked Tunch Ilkin’s name… and liked him even better when he became an All-Pro.

66 – Munenori Kawasaki

C’mon, who doesn’t love Muni?

72 – Phillip Evans

Just for the heck of it, and because I got one of these sent to me in a recent package from “Dime Boxes Nick

77 – Greg Sacks, NASCAR driver

I was sort of a Greg Sacks fan; he’s from Mattituck, NY, way the heck out on Long Island. Every NASCAR fan I knew at the time pulled for him (sometimes grudgingly) because he was “The one local guy”. He raced under other numbers, but this is one of the few cards of his I have, so…

If you’ve seen the Tom Cruise movie “Days Of Thunder”, you’ve seen Greg Sacks in action; some of the footage from the movie came from actual races with “movie cars” in the field, and Sacks was one of those drivers. I’m pretty sure he drove as “Cole Trickle” in at least some of the scenes. Sacks was also a “Technical consultant” on the film.

83 – Heath Miller

86 – Hines Ward

99 – Turk Wendell
You were expecting Wayne Gretzky here, admit it.

Favorite Athletes By The Numbers; Part 1, from 0 to 33

Not long ago there was a post at The Five Tool Collector which featured 9 players who wore #9. I started thinking about my own list of players who wore #9.  Soon,  my mind started wandering to other numbers and I thought it would be fun to see how far I could go making a list of my favorite athletes associated with each number (at least at some point in their career).

Just to emphasize, this is a list of MY FAVORITES for each number.  It’s not the all-time greatest.  Honestly, for me Bill Almon would get #2 over Derek Jeter …but to be fair, I *do* like Bill Almon… and, at any rate, Almon is not the guy I chose for #2.

For those who are new here, I’m a fan of the Mets, Orioles and Steelers, and I used to be a fan of the Capitals and of NASCAR (back in the 1990’s when the top level was still the Winston Cup).  Naturally, most of the choices come from these teams;  I’ll offer explanations only for cards which don’t fall into one of those categories.

0 – Rey Ordonez

1 – Mookie Wilson (Don’t tell my wife I didn’t pick Brian Roberts)

2 – J.J. Hardy

3 – Bud Harrelson

4 – Rusty Staub

5 – Rod Langway

6 – Melvin Mora

7 – Alan Kulwicki

It’s been 25 years since Kulwicki’s tragic death in a plane crash and looking at his cards still makes me wonder what might have been.  I continued following NASCAR for another 7 or 8 years, but for me it was never the same without Alan Kulwicki

 

8 – Cal Ripken

 

9 – Todd Hundley

FYI, the next two cards are from the 1995 Donruss Top Of The Order collectible card game.  One of these days I’m going to learn how to play this game.

10 – Darren Daulton

I collect Dutch because he’s the first player I saw in the minors who went on to establish himself as a Major League player

11 – Mike Gartner

12 – John Stearns… could’ve gone with Ron Darling, but I thought of Stearns first.

13 – Edgardo Alfonzo

14 – Nolan Reimold

I latched on to Reimold when he was an up-and-comer.

15 – Kirk McCaskill

My friend Billy went to the University of Vermont at the same time that McCaskill was the star and captain of the school’s hockey team;  I followed the exploits of “Captain Kirk” through Billy and became a fan.  Had he stuck with hockey rather than baseball I would’ve still collected him.

16 – Doc Gooden.

17 – B.J. Surhoff

18 – Daryl Strawberry

19 – Fritz Peterson

I collect Fritz for reasons too involved to get into here… and if you have to ask, yes, it’s for baseball reasons.

20 – Howard Johnson

21 – Dennis Maruk

22 – Doug Flutie

As someone who’s not particularly tall, I like guys like Flutie, Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues.

 

23 – Luke Walker

When I was a kid, I mistakenly thought that Walker was a big name player;  I still collect him because of that.

24 – Rick Dempsey

To be clear, this 2004 card from the Maryland Lottery features the card number on the front, so don’t get confused by the “34” up top – Demper is #24 in the hearts of all Orioles fans (except maybe not for fans of Eric Davis or Arnie Portocarrero)

25 – Jim Abbott

26 – Rod Woodson

27 – Frank Catalanotto

I saw Frank in the minors and discovered that, like me, he’s from Suffolk County, Long Island.

28 – Daniel Murphy

29 – Dave Magadan

30 – Michael Conforto

31 – John Franco

Some of you are saying “What about Mike Piazza?”  Sorry, always felt a closer bond to Franco.

32 – Steven Matz

33 – Eddie Murray

I’ll be back in a couple of days with my favorite athletes from #34 to #99 (although I skip around a lot once I get past #59).