Dead Parrot FrankenSet: Shoebox Lengends Edition, Part 1

Thanks to a pair of PWEs from Shoebox Legends, I was able to make some progress with a relatively new project of mine: the “Dead Parrot” Frankenset, a project featuring NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch).

I’ll run through the challengers in Chronological order…

The challenger for card # 138, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1972-73 Topps… Ron Harris (in an airbrushed Red Wings sweater).

Currently in slot #138, from 1976-77 Topps… The Kansas City Scouts’ team card

The verdict: Sorry, Ron Harris, but an airbrushed Flame doesn’t stand up to a team full of Scouts.


The challenger for Card #148, representing The Quebec Nordiques and 1992-93 Pro Set… Valeri Kamensky!

I wasn’t much of a hockey collector in the 1990’s, so this is the first 1992-93 Pro Set card I’ve ever held in my hand. It’s pretty nice, too bad things didn’t end well for Pro Set.

Currently in slot #148, representing the Hartford Whalers and 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee… Doug Sulliman

The verdict: This is a tough one; new card set vs. a Whaler shown wearing full-length hockey pants. Even though Whalers would normally defeat the Nords, all things being equal, I think I have to go with the Pro Set card for now, and revisit this down the road.


The challenger for card #359, representing the Hartford Whalers and 1993-94 Parkhurst… Andrew Cassels!

Like with the previous challenger, this is the first card from this set I’ve ever owned… and it’s a nice set, from what I can see. Just a side note, the Whalers should never strayed from green as their primary color.

Slot #359 is currently unoccupied, so Cassels enters the FrankenSet unopposed.

The challenger for card #437…

Hold on, there’s a whistle from one of the linesmen, we’re going to have a stoppage of play…

Unfortunately my Dead Parrot Frankenset currently goes only to 396, so Claude Lapointe and this great goal celebration shot will have to wait and see if I ever expand the Dead Parrot binder.

In the meantime, this card will go into my general Hockey binder;  given that the goal was against the rival Canadiens, I can just hear the roar echoing around Le Colisee…

The final card for today, challenging for slot #187, representing 2010-11 Pinnacle and…

…drum roll please…

THE ATLANTA THRASHERS, a team which is not represented in my Dead Parrot binder!  The Thrashers played from 1999 to 2011, well after I stopped collecting hockey cards.

The challenger is Tobias “Toby” Enstrom, who played with the Thrashers/Jets franchise until last season, and went home to play in Sweden for this season.

Currently in slot #187, representing 1974-75 Topps and the Kansas City Scouts… Simon Nolet!

The Verdict: I was tempted to “Let the wookiee win” and replace an airbrushed Flyer with the first Thrasher to come my way… but there was another Thrasher card in the PWEs (and it’s numbered #188 so it would be this card’s “neighbor”), so for now I’m going to keep Nolet in the spot and revisit this later if the second Thrasher card doesn’t make it.


Thank you, Shane! This is the first of three posts on cards sent by the owner/operator of Shoebox Legends, and I will thank Shane each and every time.


Assorted Cards From A Show To Celebrate A Box Of Cards From COMC

Last night I went to my mailbox and found my latest shipment from COMC.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to scan any of the cool cards I got.

Fortunately, I still have plenty of cards from my last card show.

Even if I weren’t a Mets fan, I couldn’t pass up this First Pitch card of 50 Cent.

Hard to believe that was 4 years ago.  For those of you who want to relive that moment again, here’s a video.

Speaking of cards capturing unfortunate moments, check out this 1973/74 Topps Hockey card; you just gotta love the New York Ranger shown about to sprawl out on the ice.

In the Stanly Cup Semi-Final series depicted, the Chicago Black Hawks beat the Rangers in 5 games, but would lose the Finals to the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games.

Back 10 years ago, Upper Deck had an insert set that “paid tribute to 1969 O-Pee-Chee baseball”.  UD owns the copyright to “O-Pee-Chee”, and of course, 1969 O-Pee-Chee was based on 1969 Topps.  At the time, I saw images of these cards and said “Dude, that is so lame”.  I never actually held one in my hand until I ran across this card in a nickel box (The card has a major ding in one corner, plus David Wright futures have recently taken a dive)

Much to my surprise, this is a pretty nice card, and the player’s name in silver foil looks better in person than in scans.

The back is pretty unimpressive, though.

I couldn’t walk away from this 2016 Donruss card of the San Diego Chicken.

I’m not even 100% sure that I understand why I’m drawn to The Chicken… I guess I watched a little too much of “The Baseball Bunch” on TV (even though I was in my teens at the time).  I do appreciate that recent Donruss sets have included cards of The Chicken just like they did in the early 1980’s.

I may be drawn to The Chicken, but like any child of the 1970’s, I’m nuts for The Bird.

I never like to play the “Ya had to be there” card, but to appreciate what Mark Fidrych meant to baseball you had to have been around in 1976. The guy was just a national phenomenon in ways that I can’t properly describe.  At any rate, it’s nice to be able to add this 1977 Kellogg’s card to my collection, it’s been missing for too long.

I’m not chasing the 1967 Topps set, nor Oakland A’s nor Alvin Dark, but I grabbed this card just because it so prominently features the white cap that the Athletics manager and coaches wore during the day.

Back then the idea was to point out that “These guys in uniform are coaches, not players”. These days, with so many coaches and managers wearing hoodies and such, we’d almost need something to indicate “These guys are coaches, not random guys out of the stands”. If it’s not apparent enough by now, I don’t like the coaching staff going the hoodie route. I want to be able to distinguish the manager from the pitching coach while sitting in the stands, and the best way for that to happen is for the manager and coaches to have numbers on their backs.


OK, I’m running out of time before I run off to work, so I’ll feature one last card… Let’s see… Hmmmm…

Let’s go with the hockey card of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Ken Schinkel. I got this because it provided such a good shot of a Penguins sweater which I really like, even if it came before my time.

I’m old enough to remember the Penguins before they went Pittsburgh black and gold, but not old enough to remember these unis. These would be cool for a throwback game… And maybe that’s already happened, I may have missed it because I’m no longer on speaking terms with the NHL.

As for Ken Schinkel, he played 12 seasons split evenly between the Rangers and Penguins… he was taken by the Penguins in the 1967 expansion draft.  Schinkel can proudly say that he finished higher in the Calder (rookie of the year) voting than did HOFer Stan Mikita. Of course, Schinkel was 27 years old and Mikita 19, but that’s all academic. The winner of the Calder Trophy was Mikita’s teammate Bill Hay.

Is There Such A Thing As Vintage Head Coach Cards?

I couldn’t tell you what made me think of this the other day, but it got me wondering…

As a kid in the 1970’s, I mainly collected baseball cards, and to this day I remember many of the managers who worked back in the day because they got their own baseball cards…

…or because they got a little thumbnail photo on a team card…

I may not be a fan of the teams in question, but I know that in the 1970’s Bobby Winkles managed the Angels and the A’s, and Jim Marshall managed the Cubs (when he wasn’t playing for the Vikings… what’s that?  Different Jim Marshall?  OK).

But do fans of other sports have the same kind of associations?  I thought about it, and although I collected hockey for a number of years, the only hockey set I could think of with coaches is the 1974/75 set (with exhibit A being Bep Guidolin and his very 1970’s jacket)

Having collected NASCAR cards in the 1990’s, I know that everybody from the Crew Chief on down to the Front Tire Changer and Gas Man got a card… but other sports?

But I don’t recall ever seeing Chuck Noll on a football card, even if he did guide the Steelers to four Super Bowls.  I don’t know if Tommy Heinsohn got cardboard recognition for his two NBA championships with the Celtics.

Maybe one of you know better than I do… were head coaches ever on football, hockey or basketball cards? How is anybody supposed to remember who coached the Sixers, Bengals or Canucks back in the day?

Since I don’t have answers for you, I’ll share some cards I got of the managers of my youth, but as players instead of managers.

I know I’ve shared cards of Del Crandall before. I knew him as the Brewers’ manager…

But I’ve since found out that Crandall was a damn fine player in his time. As a 19-year old in 1949, he finished second to Don Newcombe in Rookie Of The Year voting… Sure, it was a distant second, but nobody but Newcombe and Crandall got votes. Crandall was an 8-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner.

If nothing else, I love his 1957 Topps card for a different look at the Milwaukee Braves uniform of the day.

Check out the piping on the belt loops and back pocket, not to mention the very large sleeve patch (or is it chain stitching?). It’s also interesting to compare the fit of the flannels to anything that came afterwards.

His 1961 Post card points out he’d set a Braves team record for RBI’s by a catcher (72).

I couldn’t find anything that limited the RBI’s to those made while the player was catching, but I can see that the list of Braves who were predominately catchers and who have blown past Del Crandall include Eddie Williams, Brian McCann, Joe Torre and Javy Lopez.

Like Del Crandall, Dick Howser was an All-Star as a player and finished second in Rookie Of The Year voting (to the Red Sox’ Don Schwall who won 15 games in a career year).  Howser would manage the Yankees and Royals in the 1980’s.  Here’s his 1962 Post card:

Howser didn’t maintain his accolades past his rookie season, although he did have a fine season with 101 runs scored in 1964.

Darrell Johnson was the Red Sox manager in 1975 when the Bosox won the A.L. Pennant but lost the World Series in 7 games to the Cincinnati Reds.  He was also the first manager of the Seattle Mariners and was at the helm of the Rangers for half a season.

As a catcher, Johnson never played in more than 51 games in a season, but he did suit up for seven different teams (if you count the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Browns as two teams rather than one franchise).

“Dead Parrot” Face-Off #2

I’ve written a couple of times about a new project of mine, the “Dead Parrot” Frankenset: a hockey Frankenset made of cards featuring NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). When I started the project, I’d filled as many slots as I could with cards I already owned, and then added a few cards I got from Shoebox Legends.

In July I was at a card show and one of the goals I set for myself was to get as many potential “Dead Parrot” cards as I could. It wasn’t quite as many as I had hoped for… Although the show I was at was a fairly large regional show, the vintage card dealers at this show generally don’t do hockey and the hockey card dealers generally don’t do vintage.

All was not lost, as some of the dealers who carried vintage cards of multiple sports came through for me… It wasn’t the mother lode I was hoping for, but it will do.

So here are the groundrules, such as they are. Since it’s a “Frankenset”, there’s one and only one slot for each potential card number from 1 to 396. Certain teams and players will generally get preference over others, although photo quality certainly plays a part. As with assembling a roster for a real sports team, there are always the “intangibles” to be considered.

And now, on with the face-offs!

The first one is unusual in that I don’t already have a card in slot #84, but I have two new cards which are both #84, so the two Challengers will battle for the empty slot.

The first challenger, representing the California Golden Seals (NHL, 1967 to 1976) as well as 1973-74 Topps… Reg Leach!

The second challenger, also representing the Seals (but in the earlier Oakland Seals incarnation), and representing 1969/70 Topps… Bill Hicke!

The Judgement: It’s Seal vs. Seal here, but this is going to come down to the uniform. There seems to be much less cardboard representation of the green & blue older uniform than the green and gold 1970’s uniform, plus the older uniform has a much cooler logo.


Before we move on, let’s check out the back of Bill Hicke’s card.  The bright colors and cartoon make it worthwhile.

Next… Currently in slot #62 and representing the Colorado Rockies (NHL, 1974 to 1982) as well as 1980/81 Topps…Lanny McDonald!

..and the challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames (NHL, 1972 to 1980) as well as 1975/76 Topps… Hilliard Graves!

The Judgement: This is a one-sided competition.  Rockies beat Flames, on-ice shots beat posed shots, Lanny McDonald played nearly twice as many NHL games as Hilliard Graves, and Lanny has that awesome mustache.


And now, in slot #29, representing the New England Whalers (WHA, 1972 to 1979; NHL, 1979 to 1997) and 1977/78 O-Pee-Chee WHA… Tom Webster!

..and the Challenger, representing the Minnesota North Stars (NHL, 1967 to 1993) and 1971/72 Topps… Bill Goldsworthy!

The Judgement: Again, this isn’t much of a competition. I’ve already got plenty of North Stars in the Frankenset and the Webster features a much more interesting photo.


Moving on to slot #93, representing the Minnesota North Stars and 1979/80 Topps… Glen Sharpley!

And the challenger, representing the California Golden Seals as well as 1971/72 Topps… Gary Jarrett!

The Judgement: I love 1979/80 Topps, and I would normally go with an action shot over a posed shot…  But that’s the Washington Capitals’ Dennis Maruk in the background, so I’ll gladly move the Glen Sharpley card over to my “Photobombing Capitals” project and award slot #93 to Gary Jarrett.


The remaining three new cards don’t face any competition and go straight into the binder.

This 1974/75 Topps card of Butch Deadmarsh goes into slot #73 and is a double-dead parrot. The 1974/75 season was the first for the Kansas City Scouts, and Deadmarsh was drafted from the Atlanta Flames in the 2nd round of the expansion draft.

After 20 games with the Scouts, his contract was sold to the WHA’s Vancouver Blazers and he played a number of years with several WHA teams. Butch’s 25-year-younger cousin Adam Deadmarsh played in the NHL in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

This Minnesota North Stars team card is from 1975/76 Topps and stands a pretty good chance of fighting off any upcoming challengers for slot #89.

Finally, going into slot #79 is this 1971/72 Topps card of the North Stars’ Danny Grant.

Grant won the Calder Trophy in 1968/69 as the NHL Rookie of the Year. He arguably had his best season in 1974/75 with Detroit, scoring 87 points and making the all-star team.

Current “Dead Parrot” Frankenset status:
I added 4 new cards to the binder but completed no pages, so the update is…
Completion percentage: 60.8% (241/396)
# of complete pages: 5 out of 44

For no real reason I had decided that each Dead Parrot post would feature a favorite song by a Canadian artist.  This time around, the song is “Don Quixote” by Gordon Lightfoot.

One quick addendum… I noticed the other day that my local Target suddenly has hockey repacks, the 20 packs for $20 kind. I was very tempted to get one, partly for the fun of opening it, partly to let the card aisle vendor know that someone in my area would buy hockey repacks… but also for potential Dead Parrot cards.

Here’s the catch, though: Any packs after 2011 would be worthless for this project as those packs would contain nothing but teams which still exist (the last team to relocate was the Atlanta Thrashers; they moved to Winnipeg in 2011). Because of this, I would be counting on the fact that this hockey repack would have a lot of junk wax and largley be from the 1990’s and earlier. Has anyone bought one of these repacks for hockey?  Is there a lot of the 1990’s junk wax that I seek?  Disregarding the value that is generally lacking from repacks, would you think one of these 20-pack repacks might work out for me?

CARDS I GOT FROM COMC………….. over a year ago…

There’s probably some unwritten rule of blogging along the lines of “Don’t admit when you screwed up”, but I had a post in mind for today… and it’s not ready… so I’m going to do a quick run through five cards which I love but never quite made it into a post before now.

Dave Kingman, a 1970’s and 1980’s power hitter known for his all-or-nothing approach, had a career-worst 156 strikeouts in 1981. Focus on that bit: a guy known in the day for striking out a lot had maxed out at 156 K’s.

This season, right now, in mid August, Yoan Moncada *and* Joey Gallo *AND* Giancarlo Stanton all have more K’s than Kong did at his absolute worst. The Orioles’ Chris Davis is two bad days away from passing Kingman.

That’s just so sad… I need something to make me feel better.

How about this 1955 Topps Spook Jacobs card? I got this card partly because it was vintage and relatively cheap, but I just like it. Nothing in particular jumps out, it’s just a nice-looking card.

One thing which intrigues me about this card is the cap that Jacobs is shown wearing. I really like the “KC” logo, but I’ve never seen a photo of a Kansas City Athletics player wearing a cap like this. Every card from 1955 (the first year that the A’s spent in KC, I should add) have this cap logo, but they’re all paintings, and I just figured it was a prototype logo that was given to Topps and added in by the artists, but never actually used by the A’s.

…But then…

I searched on “Kansas City Athletics hat” and found a commercially-available hat just like this. The fact that it’s for sale now doesn’t necessarily mean it existed then, however.  It could be that 1955 Topps cards stoked enough interest that these caps were made.

So does anybody have an idea of whether the Athletics actually wore this hat? Every photo I’ve seen of the early days in Kansas City have a cap with an “A” on it.

Moving along…

This 1967/68 O-Pee-Chee card of the New York Rangers’ Camille Henry was an impulse buy, mainly because I didn’t previously have any hockey cards from that year.

“Camille The Eel” won the Calder Trophy in 1954 as the NHL rookie of the year, and was an all-star several times. He also played in two Stanley Cup finals, but was on the losing side both times.

I got this 1971 rookie card for Chuck Brinkman and Dick Moloney, and I’ll briefly revive my “Are We Not Stars?” theme from the earlier days of this blog…

Chuck Brinkman is the brother of long-time starter and one-time All Star Eddie Brinkman. Chuck was a catcher who played 149 games over six sesaons, mostly with the White Sox. He batted .172 and hit one home run.

Dick Moloney, who’s listed as Richie Moloney in, pitched one inning in 1970.  As a 20-year-old he gave up two hits, no runs and got a strikeout… but that was the extent of his career.  He pitched in AA and AAA in 1971 and then his professional career was over.  It makes you want to know more about that story…

Wrapping up with a card of Mets outfielder Michael Conforto from his days with the Oregon State U. Beavers

This 2015 Panini Contenders set has some fun photos of current and legendary players in their college uniforms, but I wish more of the photos were in color (especially of the legends).  I do realize that much of it is because of the source material… usable color photos of Bob Gibson with the Creighton U. Blue Jays frankly may not exist.

“Dead Parrot” Frankenset: Face-Off #1

I’ve written a couple of times about a new project of mine, the “Dead Parrot” Frankenset: a hockey Frankenset made of cards featuring NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). When I started the project, I’d filled as many slots as I could with cards I already owned, and then added a few cards I got from Shoebox Legends.

A few weeks ago I was at a card show and one of the goals I set for myself was to get as many potential “Dead Parrot” cards as I could. It wasn’t quite as many as I had hoped for since the hockey card dealers in this show had only recent cards, while the most recent cards which could possibly make this binder would be those featuring the Atlanta Thrashers in their final season of 2010/11.

All was not lost, as some of the dealers who carried vintage cards of multiple sports came through for me… plus I found a small number of 1980’s O-Pee-Chee in a dimebox. It wasn’t the mother lode I was hoping for, but it will do.

So here are the groundrules, such as they are. Since it’s a “Frankenset”, there’s one and only one slot for each potential card number (from 1 to 396 in this case). Certain teams and players will generally get preference over others, although photo quality certainly plays a part. You’ll see an example of that in this post. As with assembling a roster for a real sports team, there are always the “intangibles” to be considered.

And now, on with the face-offs!

Currently in slot #13, Representing the Cincinnati Stingers (WHA, 1975 to 1979) as well as 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA… Rich Leduc!

…And the Challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames (NHL, 1972 to 1980) as well as 1973/74 Topps… Keith McCreary!

The Judgement:  Even though you get a better look at the logo on McCreary’s card, the Cincinnati Stingers are at the pinnacle of my “Dead Parrot” pyramid, so it would take an exceptional challenger (or an exceptionally bad Stingers card) to bump one of the Stingers from the set.  This McCreary card isn’t exceptional, and I’ve already got McCreary cards in slots #25 and #27, so I’m not sure he deserves more representation.


Next… Currently in slot #14 and representing the Kansas City Scouts (NHL, 1974 to 1976) as well as 1975/76 O-Pee-Chee…Jim McElmury!

..and the challenger, representing the Minnesota North Stars (NHL, 1967 to 1993) as well as 1973/74 Topps… Ted Harris!

Doing a mock introduction of an athlete named Harris reminds me of another Monty Python reference:  In the red corner, all the way from Reigate in Cuba… Colin “Bomber” Harris!

The Judgement: There’s a lot going on in the Kansas City Scouts uniforms, but I just love the combination of the three primary colors.  Also, the Ted Harris card is a little bit “blah”.


And now, in slot #29, representing the Cincinnati Stingers and 1976/77 O-Pee-Chee WHA… Dennis Sobchuk!

..and the Challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1973/74 Topps… Rey Comeau!

The Judgement: Both the Stingers and Flames logos are among my favorites, but the Stingers get a slight edge, plus with the Sobchuk card we have a a non-posed arena shot (I won’t go as far as to say “game action”).


There is no current card in slot #33, so the new occupant, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1974/75 Topps… Curt Bennett!

As posed shots go, this is a pretty good one. Curt Bennett was born in Saskatchewan but raised in Rhode Island, and was the first U.S.-raised player to break the 30 goal mark.

Fake Curt Bennett fact:  He gave Justin Bieber his hairstyle.

Real (according to Wikipedia, anyway) Curt Bennett fact:  His ex-wife Susan Bennett was the original voice of “Siri”.

Moving on to slot #36, representing the Hartford Whalers (WHA, 1972 to 1979;  NHL, 1979 to 1997) and the 1994 Cardz “Muppets Take The Ice” set… The Great Gonzo!

And the challenger, representing both the Kansas City Scouts (the card) and the California Golden Seals (the photo), as well as 1974/75 Topps… Gary Croteau!

The Judgement: As much as I love The Muppets as well as Gonzo, this card was always meant as something of a placeholder; I mean you don’t even see the Whalers’ logo on the card. On the other had, the Croteau card is a bit odd. The 1974/75 season was the first for the Kansas City Scouts, and Croteau is shown in a California Golden Seals sweater (the team from which that the Scouts drafted him). I suppose that makes this card double dead parrot-y.


Moving on to slot #51;  Representing the Kansas City Scouts and 1975/76 O-Pee-Chee… Dennis Patterson!

..and the challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1976/77 Topps Hockey… Eric Vail!

The Judgement: This one was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be.  An action shot of someone with the Scouts would almost always beat a posed shot of anyone from any other team, but that Eric Vail card is so colorful, and like many other people I like that 1976/77 design (although I didn’t collect it back in the day).  Even so, I’m going to have to go with the Patterson card (although you may feel free to change my mind on this).


And finally… in slot #52, technically representing the not-at-all-dead Edmonton Oilers, but wearing the uniform of the San Diego Mariners (WHA, 1974 to 1977), and also representing 1977/78 O-Pee Chee WHA… Norm Ferguson!

…and the challenger, representing the California Golden Seals and 1973/74 Topps… Craig Patrick!

The Judgement: I generally don’t let who the player is affect who I pick, and that’s not usually a problem because teams like these don’t often have notable players. In truth, Craig Patrick was far from a notable player, but he was the assistant GM and assistant coach of the 1980 U.S. “Miracle On Ice” hockey team, the coach and GM of both the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, so after all the times I’ve seen him in a suit at a press conference, it amuses me to see him in the gaudy uniforms of the Seals… and a very colorful card it is.

But that Ferguson card… if it were a better photo this wouldn’t even be discussed. Ferguson is wearing a San Diego Mariners uniform, *and* there’s a New England Whaler in the background. The photo is so dull and dimly-lit, however, to take some of that appeal out of it.

Another decision which may be revisited, but I have to go with Craig Patrick.


So that addresses this batch of cards. I’m planning on making this something of a series, but that depends on how often I can get new cards in this “hockey desert” I live in. Didn’t there used to be hockey repacks in retail stores?

Current “Dead Parrot” Frankenset status:
Completion percentage: 59.8% (237/396)
# of complete pages: 5 out of 44

Because the following song came up on my phone while I was thinking about this post, I’ve decided that with each Dead Parrot post I would feature a favorite song by a Canadian artist, for the thoroughly tenuous reason that hockey is Canada’s national sport… and, um, I like a fair number of Canadian artists, so…

“Lovers In A Dangerous Time” is a song that Barenaked Ladies recorded for a Bruce Cockburn tribute album.  It was their first hit in Canada and even though it didn’t appear on a Barenaked Ladies album before their Greatest Hits compilation, it’s one of my favorite BNL songs. Gotta love the harmonies (and the goofy turn the video takes after a while)

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).