I’ll Take… uh…….. Potpourri For $400, Alex

No, it’s not a Jeopardy post, but one along the lines of the Jeopardy “Potpourri” category; just a bunch of scattered, largely unrelated cards. We’ll see how many cards I can write about on the fly before I need to go to work.


At a show I went to recently, one dealer had these hand-made repacks that were 98% junk wax, but had a cheap price plus a card or two on top to entice the buyers. I bought a bunch of these, and easily the best of the “go on, buy me!” cards was this 1978 Kellogg’s Willie McCovey.

If you divide the price I paid for the repacks by the number cards I kept, I still paid under a quarter for this beauty. 1978 is not a Kellogg’s set I’m currently working on, but it’s on my “theoretically working on it sometime in my lifetime” list.


Speaking of repacks, I bought one of those “10 packs for however much money” repacks at Target, and an unopened pack of 2013 Pinnacle got me this acetate beauty:

Because the acetate-iness of the card isn’t completely apparent in a scan like this, I scanned it again with my red cellphone case behind it:

This card wouldn’t normally be one that I’d seek out, and it doesn’t fit into any kind of collection of mine, but I’m keeping it just because it’s cool.

I’m thinking I should start a “Just because it’s cool” binder. I know I’ve got a bunch of scattered cards which would fit into that category.


I almost never run across Hostess cards when I go to card shows, not even Twinkie-stained cards like this Jim Hughes.

After seeing other people posting about Hostess cards *they* get at shows, it’s got me wondering if it’s something about the show I go to, or if it’s something about how I look for cards at shows.

Hmmmm….

BTW, as a 23-year old rookie in 1975, Jim Hughes won 16 games for a mediocre Twins team and went 6-0 with 2 shutouts in May of that year.  Arm troubles kept him from approaching that kind of success again.


I’ve lately become mildly fascinated with badly-miscut cards from 1975 Topps. A few years ago I got this card from a dime box:

And recently when trying to fill out wants for a trading partner, I found this in my doubles box, and that re-ignited my fascination with these miscut “beauties”:

Normally cards that are this poorly miscut are only appealing to me when they feature a HOFer I couldn’t otherwise afford , but for some reason I find these 1975 cards very appealing… I suppose it’s the color borders which make it more interesting. Whose sandy-topped Padres card is that under Larvell Blanks? Randy Jones? Glenn Beckert? I’m sure I could find out if I tried. And the Darold Knowles card with the edge-of-printing-sheet markings just gives a little “behind the scenes” tease, just a hint of what an uncut sheet would look like.

I would never go so far as to try to collect a set of badly-miscut 1975 cards, but at my last card show I admit that I spent a minute quickly shuffling through my favorite dealer’s lesser-condition 1975’s. One thing about trying to find this type of card is that it’s extremely easy to thumb through a stack and look for them.


As many of you know, I have a long-running project of accumulating 1972 Topps cards without actually having set completion in mind; I’ve just given in to the idea that I’m too cheap to shell out for the 5th Series Nolan Ryan, among others.

I had been trying to complete each series in the set, but my metaphorical ship kept getting washed up on the same metaphorical rocks in the form of six 3rd, 4th and 5th series HOFers that I can’t find at a budget-friendly price… and quite honestly, outside of working towards a complete set, I would be just as happy to add Rico Carty to my collection as I would Nolan Ryan.

But if I’m going to take a different approach to this, then what should it be?

Then as I was organizing my cards the other day, I had an idea…

“In Action” cards are sort of like a team set in that they’re easy to visually differentiate them when going through a box of 1972’s… and once I complete that “team set”, I can easily ignore any “In Action” cards when going through a box of 1972’s. There’s also the benefit of being relatively non-harmful to my budget, even for the HOFers.

Along with that, I can also figure out which actual teams I’m close to completing and see if finishing them off is achievable (i.e only commons high #’s left).

Has anybody collected sets using this kind of approach?


OK, I’m out of time… if I want to find parking near work and not get scolded by my team lead, anyway…

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“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.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


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”.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


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”).

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


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.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!


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).

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


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.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!


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)

2018 TSR: Traded Players, All Stars And The Like

I thought this week’s virtual pack of custom cards would be bursting at the seams with just-traded players, but a lot of the intended subjects haven’t appeared with their new team yet, or I just couldn’t find many good photos.  There are some traded players in this post, but there’ll likely (hopefully) be more next week.  The biggest trades may be the ones yet to come!

With the disappointing (to say the least) season the Mets are enduring, it wasn’t surprising to see them trading off some of their potential free agents.  Mets closer Jeurys Familia was traded to Oakland, and having the Athletics as deadline buyers was a surprise all in itself.  With the A’s, Familia is the setup guy for closer Blake Treinen (who was acquired from the Nats *last* July)

In 3 appearances (5 innings) with the A’s, Familia has 2 wins, gave up 2 hits, 1 unearned run, 4 K’s, 0 BB’s and hitters are managing just .118 against him.

The Orioles, meanwhile, traded Zach Britton to the Yankees where the player who once converted 60 straight save opportunities is just another reliever in the Yankee bullpen.

Normally I’d wish a former Oriole or Met well with his new team… but it’s the Yankees, Zach, so too bad, so sad.

Speaking of former Orioles, I decided to make a 1988-themed custom of Manny Machado in his new Dodger uniform.  Under other circumstances it would be odd to see someone whose done so much for the O’s wearing Dodger Blue, but I resigned myself to Manny’s exit months ago.

I also had enough fun with my 1988 All-Star template that I made a few more, including another A.L. All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor.

The Angels’ Francisco Arcia would’ve been a feel-good story just by stepping on the field.  Arcia spent 12 seasons in the minors with the Yankees, Marlins and Angels organizations before playing in his first Major League game.

…But then it got better, because in his first 2 Major League games, Arcia has two homers and 10 RBI.

Mets custom of the week

Jeff McNeil was never one of the Mets’ top prospects, but he’s been hitting the ball in AAA Las Vegas and the Mets traded Asdrubal Cabrera to the Phillies, so McNeil is apparently going to get a long look at 2nd base.

Manager custom of the week

As a Mets fan, there is a significant amount of schadenfreude directed towards the Nationals this year.  At the beginning of the season they were regarded as (if you’ll forgive the Chris Berman references) a team which COULD!  GO!  ALL!  THE!  WAY!, but instead ended up stumbling, bumbling to a 52-52 record (as of this morning).  Dave Martinez is muttering to himself “Dream job, my ass…”

I wonder if Dusty Baker gets some kind of bitter satisfaction out of the Nationals’ struggles after his firing.

Orioles custom of the week

Renato Nunez is only 24 and was once a prospect for the Athletics, having appeared in the 2014 and 2015 Futures Games.

Orioles fans will likely focus on the fact that the new guy fighting with Danny Valencia and Jace Peterson for time at third base was claimed on waivers twice this year.

BTW, I didn’t set out to include so many “high five” themed cards, it’s just the best photos I could find of each player.

I’ll wrap things up with another Faux Set Sports Of The World Card

While making this weeks’ customs I found out that the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup is currently going on.  Now I should point out that what North Americans call “Hockey” is “Ice Hockey” to the rest of the world, and what the world calls “Hockey” is “Field Hockey” to us unworldly Americans.

SPOILER WARNING:  I’m going to make a brief reference to what’s going on with the USA team;  stop reading if you care and aren’t up to date

Team USA has lost to Ireland and drawn with England and needs to beat India today to make the playoffs.

Kathleen Sharkey has played for Team USA in the Olympics and in the World Cup. She also somehow seemed to lead Team USA in “number of good photos I could find”, so she represents the United States in my virtual set.

Sharkey is from Moosic, PA, which is also the home to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, AAA team of the Yankees. I was in PNC Field during a previous baseball life when the team was the Red Barons. At the time it was my favorite minor league ballpark, but that was 20 years ago, I don’t know how it would hold up now. Has anybody been there recently?

1976 SSPC: Mike Torrez, Bob Montgomery, Fernando Arroyo

Here’s another in the sporadic series about the 1976 SSPC set…

Mike Torrez had 20 wins in 1975 while also leading the league with 133 walks. According to his baseball-reference.com bio, he’s the last pitcher to win 20 games while walking more batters than he struck out.

Despite the fact that all of his 1976 cards show him with the O’s, he pitched for the A’s in 1976, swapping teams in the famous Reggie Jackson / Don Baylor deal. Torrez spent only one season with Baltimore, having come from Montreal in a trade for Dave McNally.


Before I get into this card, I want to point something out:  Right by Bob Montgomery’s hands you can see a Yankees logo on the Shea Stadium scoreboard. This was the matter of some discussion on a recent Night Owl blog post which briefly discussed the Yankees taking up residence in Shea Stadium in 1974 and 1975.

Montgomery was such a mainstay with the Red Sox that I was a bit surprised to find that he never played more than 88 games in a season… but that’s largely because he played behind Carlton Fisk for most of his career.  In some circles he’s best known as the last player to bat without a helmet.


Fernando Arroyo pitched for 3 different teams over 121 appearances and 8 seasons, but the only season where he had a winning record was his 2-1 rookie season of 1975.  Despite this, he had 12 complete games and 2 shutouts.  For some reason his SSPC card refers to him as “Fred”, even where other players have their full name listed.

Arroyo would spend all of 1976 in AAA Evansville.  Evansville, IN had a AAA team through the 1970’s, but have been out of affiliated baseball since 1984.  Since 1995 the city has been represented by the independent Frontier League’s Evansville Otters.


Shea-o-meter:
Montgomery is definitely at Shea;  Arroyo goes under “pretty sure”;  Torrez falls in the “Can’t tell” category.
Shea: 82
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 15
Can’t tell: 23
Not Shea: 9

1970’s Census: Keeping track of all the instances of 1970’s trends
None of these three are excessively Seventies-looking.  I’m going to file Arroyo under “Long Hair”.
Total Cards: 128
1970’s Sideburns: 73
Fu Manchu: 5
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 40
Afro: 2
Perm: 3
Aviators: 8
Long Hair: 32

Why, You Son Of A…

Topps Pro Debut is a set that doesn’t seem to get much attention in the sportscards blogosphere, so I decided to share a few I got recently.

At what has sadly become my annual card show outing, there was a guy who had 2018 Topps Pro Debut base cards for 20 cents each… well, except for guys like Tim Tebow and Vladimir Guerrero Jr – those guys were $5 each.  Too rich for my blood.

Since I rarely run across Pro Debut commons in person, I decided to go beyond just my team and player wants, and to shoot for 50 cards ($10 worth).  I noticed that there are a fair number of players in Pro Debut whose father had played in the Majors, so I partially filled out my 50 with sons of Major Leaguers (with the exception, of course, of Vlad Jr.).

Bo Bichette is the son of Dante Bichette, a top Blue Jays prospect and has played in two straight Futures Games.  I was a bit surprised to see him regarded as a common, but I’m not complaining.

Fernando Tatis Jr is the son of… well… Fernando Tatis.  Junior is a Padres prospect and also appeared in the recently-played Futures Game.  He’s also somewhat surprising to find in the commons, given the hype surrounding him.  Unfortunately he’s out for the rest of the season after an injury.

The Twins’ Nick Gordon is the brother of Dee Gordon and the son of Tom “Flash” Gordon.  He was in last year’s Futures Game.

Diamondbacks prospect Daulton Varsho is the son of former outfielder Gary Varsho.  He’s not quite as hyped as the other prospects, but he’s named after former Phillie Darren Daulton, so that counts for something… certainly for this Darren Daulton collector.

I thought Justus Sheffield also fell into this category; I could’ve sworn I heard that he was Gary Sheffield’s son, but apparently that’s a common misconception. It’s all good, because when I was filling out my 50 cards he would still fall into the secondary category of “Prospects I’ve heard of”.

I’ve yet to determine if Justus Sheffield is related to the 1996 Monkees album “Justus”.

Similarly, the Twins’ Zack Littell doesn’t appear to be related to former Royal and Cardinal Mark Littell, but if nothing else I love how his eyes are a little bugged out and kind of go with the “Lookout Eyes” on his cap.

As someone who owns a few Jethro Tull albums and saw them in concert back in the late 1980’s (or was it the early 1990’s?), I couldn’t resist getting a card of Braves pitching prospect Ian Anderson. I’m going to take it as given that *this* Ian Anderson doesn’t play the flute while standing on one leg.

Am I the only one out there who likes Jethro Tull but isn’t a huge fan of “Aqualung”? Or is that just sheer blasphemy? Part of it for me is overexposure to the title track, “Cross-Eyed Mary” and “Locomotive Breath”. Nobody asked, but for the heck of it I’ll list my three favorite Jethro Tull albums as  (in chronological order) “Stand Up”, “Thick As A Brick” and “Songs From The Wood”.

Along with players who are sons of Major Leaguers, I also picked up Mets and Orioles prospects.

For some reason, Mets prospect Peter Alonso is listed here as “Pete”. I don’t recall ever hearing of him being referred to as “Pete”, but who knows.

Speaking of the Monkees as I had before, I had a brief mental video of the card listed as “Pete” with a shot of a disappointed/annoyed Peter Alonso, then cut over to Peter Tork making a “Aw, man, screwed up again!” face, and then back to the card with the name as “Peter” and Peter Alonso looking happy about it.  Because, you realize, we’re too busy singing to put anybody down.

The Orioles’ D.J. Stewart was the team’s first round pick in 2015.  Back then, that meant the 25th pick.  I think the O’s are going to draft a *tiny bit* higher in 2019.

“D.J.” stands for Demetrius Jerome.  That’s the kind of name we were expecting when a college friend flat-out refused – REFUSED! – to tell us what his middle initial of “C” stood for.  Much to our disappointment, it turned out to be “Craig”.

One last-minute addition;  if the Orioles trade off Adam Jones as part of their burgeoning fire sale (not a given, since he has 5/10 no-trade protection), we might see Cedric Mullins in Baltimore before the September call-ups.
2018 Topps Pro Debut Cedric Mullins

2018 TSR: The Best Laid Plans…

I had all kinds of things in mind for this post.

I was going to make an All-Star version of my original custom set, but nothing I did looked as good on my laptop screen as it looked in my head.

“That’s OK”, said I, “I will feature all of the players who’ve been traded, like Manny Machado!”

…But I couldn’t find any good photos of Manny as a Dodger, it’s too soon to feature recent Mets closer Jeurys Familia with the A’s, and I couldn’t find any photos at all of Brad “Aloha Mister” Hand with the Indians.

Dismayed, I decided that I’d do one of my 1988 throwback customs – because Topps didn’t give us a 1988 throwback insert this year – of an All-Star player I liked… Nick Markakis, perhaps, or All-Star Game MVP Alex Bregman.

Just as I was pondering whether to substitute “ALL-STAR” for the team name at the top of a standard 1988 card, I had a realization and did a facepalm at my own foolishness… There was, of course, an All-Star subset in 1988 Topps, complete with its own similar, but distinct design.

I set about spending more time than I really should making a new template, so I hope you’ll appreciate this:

If you’re wondering what’s with the funky bat, well that’s the All-Star Game MVP trophy, which is a crystal bat. It’s dark at the ends because the background was relatively dark.

So anyway, that turned out OK. For my second and third custom in this virtual pack, you’ll have to forgive me while I go on a small rant.

2018 Topps Allen & Ginter came out this week, and while some of the inserts look pretty cool (especially “Flags Of Lost Nations”), they dropped the ball with their “Exotic Sports” insert set. I have no quarrel with Sumo wrestling or Sepak Takraw, which are genuine sports and are truly exotic… but Cornhole? Speed Stacking? C’mon, Topps, this is a tremendous missed opportunity.

Case in point… Netball.

I’m vaguely aware of Netball through my friend Amanda. She grew up in South Africa and when we were newly acquainted she’d mentioned in conversation that she played tennis and netball in school. Me, being a lifelong resident of the United States said “Netball? What the heck is Netball?” Apparently, the answer is “a sport invented by someone who decided that basketball was far too rough and tumble for young ladies to be playing”.

I couldn’t decide between the two customs I made, so I figured I’d post them both.

Quick Netball rundown from what I can remember: It’s like basketball in that players are trying to throw a ball through a basket which is over their heads; it’s unlike basketball in that the net is lower, there’s no backboard, there’s no running more than a couple of steps while one has possession of the ball, and players are assigned to certain zones of the court.

I’ve probably bollocksed that description up, but it’s close enough for amateur blogwork.

From videos I’ve watched it’s an interesting yet odd sport. It moves fast – Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! Pass! – and then everything slows down while the player with the ball shoots at the basket.

This video for England’s shocking Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games gives a little taste.  If you watch it, stick around until the end for celebratory gymnastics which put Ozzie Smith to shame.

So, yeah… instead of truly exotic sports like Netball or Kabbadi or Australian Rules Football, Allen & Ginter give us “Quidditch”.  Yay.


I spent much too much time on the prior customs, so I’m going to quickly run through the “base cards” in my little virtual card set.

I’ve got nothing in particular to say about Justin Verlander, but I made this custom early on and it just came out well..

Same for this Curtis Granderson.

Each week I feature a manager on a card – because Topps doesn’t – and this week it’s Clint Hurdle, whose Pirates have won 8 straight games.

Back in Spring Training, when it wasn’t unreasonable to expect both the Mets and Orioles to contend for at least a wild card slot, I committed to featuring one custom of both teams each week. Here are this week’s… again, not a whole lot to say this time around.

Amed Rosario has been a top Mets prospect who’s starting at short this year.

Like pretty much anything involving the Orioles this year, the catching situation hasn’t played out quite as hoped… but Caleb Joseph has been hitting .333 in July, so we’ll take what we can get.

That’s all for this virtual pack; now, I’d better get on with my weekend to-do list.

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.