Darren Daulton

I’m not normally one to write tributes, but I thought I’d give it a go in this case…

I got my first exposure to minor league ball back in the early 1980’s when I was a teenager and went to a Reading Phillies game with friends who lived in the area. Growing up in the New York metropolitan area, any team which wasn’t at the top professional level of its sport – except for St. John’s University basketball – got ignored.  Going to a AA baseball game was a novel concept for me.  Much like seeing an up-and-coming band in a club, I loved the idea of seeing players who would someday fall into the category of “I saw them when…”

The first player I saw in the minors who would go on to have a notable Major League career was the Phillies’ Darren Daulton, who I saw in 1983.

“Dutch” would make his Major League debut late that September but due to knee issues and a struggling bat, wouldn’t make his mark until 1990.  In the 1990’s he’d make 3 All-Star teams and twice get 100+ RBI while playing as a catcher.  He also played a major part in getting the Phillies into the 1993 World Series.

In 1997, at what would prove to be the end of his career, he was traded to the Marlins in order to give him another shot at the postseason.  He went out on top in the 1997 World Series by going 7 for 18 with 7 runs scored, a homer, 2 doubles and 2 RBI.

“Dutch” was never my favorite player – after all, I’m a lifetime Mets fan and it was hard enough rooting for a guy with the PHILLIES, for cryin’ out loud. But I always enjoyed watching him play, pulling one of his cards out of a pack, and keeping an eye out for his cards while I was at shows.

There have been a number of players I’ve seen play “before they was who they was”, but as with so many things, you never forget your first.

I don’t have any great personal stories to share about Darren Daulton (not like over at The Phillies Room), but I do have a bunch of cards I’d been intending to share… and this seems as good a time to put them out there.

Rest in peace, Dutch.

Check Out My… Bookmarks???

My never-ending quest to find new oddballs during my COMC shopping sprees turned up these little beauties… Well, not-so-little beauties…  What you see below are technically not baseball cards, they’re bookmarks.  To be specific, 1993 Diamond Marks.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks Darren Daulton
These cards are roughly 2.5″ x 5″, just a little taller than “Tall Boys”.  They were originally sold in packs of 10 – doesn’t everybody buy their bookmarks in foil packs? – and there are 120 unnumbered bookmarks in the set.

The front has a nice glossy coating on them;  here’s what the back looks like.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks Darren Daulton back
Just to dip my toe into the water, I bought two cheap bookmarks for my player collections.  I like these enough that I’m going to go back (at some point) and pick up the Mets and Orioles, plus a few more for my other PC’s.

As part of my “investigative reporting”, I just went and tried these two out in one of my 6-pocket sheets, and they fit quite nicely… So they can get stored with your Tall Boys and other standard-width-but-taller cards.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks BJ Surhoff

As you may have noticed, the small print on the back says that these are from “The Colla Collection”.  Barry Colla is a noted sports photographer who is known in collecting circles as having issued a number of postcard sets in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
1993 Colla Collection DiamondMarks BJ Surhoff back

One thing I found interesting about these… I’ve seen these referred to as a “test issue”, but if you go out to eBay or wherever and look at images of the packs, it actually says “1993 TEST ISSUE” across the top of the pack.  I don’t recall having seen anything that promoted itself as a test issue before.

This looks like a fun, relatively cheap set.  I got my cards for $0.45 each, but from a quick look at COMC and eBay, the HOFers will set you back a couple of bucks.

Sending Positive Thoughts Towards Darren Daulton

I was very sad to read that Darren Daulton has been diagnosed as having two brain tumors, and is scheduled to undergo surgery next week.  Even though I’m a Mets fan, I’ve been a fan of “Dutch” since the days when he was an up-and-coming minor league catcher.

1993 Studio Darren Daulton

Growing up on Long Island, I’d never been to a minor league baseball game until I was older and able to make trips out of state on my own.  Darren Daulton was the first player I saw in the minors to make a significant impact in the Majors.  Being able to think “I saw him when…” was a new and exciting experience for me, and because of that he’s been one of “my guys” ever since.

1993 Triple Play Darren Daulton

Daulton had a 14-year career spent mostly with the Phillies, although he finished the 1997 season with the Marlins before retiring. He was an All-Star three times and won a Silver Slugger. In 1993, he lead the league with 109 RBI, only the 4th catcher to lead the NL in that category (the others were Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench and Gary Carter).

1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Darren Daulton

Darren played in the World Series in 1993 and 1997, and in 13 World Series games he batted .293 with 4 doubles, 2 homers and 6 RBI.

1994 Ultra Phillies Finest #2 Darren Daulton

My thoughts and prayers are with Darren and his family.

Don’t Panic

Did you ever lose something and no matter how hard you look, you can’t for the life of you figure out where it got to?  Everybody’s had that happen at some time, right?

…But let me ask you this:  Have you ever lost an entire set of 600+ cards?

How about five sets?

It all started this past weekend… I decided to do more purging from my collection, and at the top of my hit list was my accumulation of Bowman cards and much of the 1990 Donruss set.  Bowman took up a good part of my “card time” this weekend because the cards were stored all over the place and I didn’t want to purge all of them, just the Wes Swackhamers and other such players who have no significance to me and don’t look like they ever will… no offense intended, Wes.

1990 Donruss Darren DaultonWhen I was done with the Bowman I figured 90D wouldn’t take much time to go through, so I made a quick search for it, couldn’t find it, and decided to leave it for later.

So after work on Monday I started going through the various boxes in my man cave as well as the stack of 5000 count boxes in another part of the house, and couldn’t find 1990 Donruss.

By this point, I’m starting to get preoccupied with it.  If 90D isn’t in my boxes, then where the ***** is it?  And if I’m missing 1990 Donruss, what else might I be missing?  I started looking anyplace I could think of where entire boxes of cards could be hiding.  In the guest room closet, under the couch in the living room,  inside a disused entertainment center, buried under debris on my man cave table…

The more I searched and failed, the more it bugged crap out of me… and what bugged me wasn’t so much that I couldn’t find 1990 Donruss; after all, I was looking for it so I can get rid of it.  What bothered me was that it was a sizable amount of cards that I couldn’t lay hands on and I had no idea of where they went to.  I think part of me also was thinking that if I found 90D, I’d find some of the other long lost items in my collection.

After taking a quick inventory, I figured out two things:  First, that all 13 of my 3000 – 5000 count boxes are accounted for;  second, I also didn’t know where 1987 and 1989 Topps, 1989 Score and 1987 Fleer were.  It was a relief to know that if they’re truly lost and if I wanted to replace them all, it would cost me, what?  $50?

But it still kept eating at me, even though dinner.  My wife said something to me, but I was so preoccupied that all I heard were Charlie Brown muted trumpet noises.  Wah wah wah waaaahhhhh.  All the while, I’m mentally exploring the house, trying to think of places I hadn’t looked yet.

I remembered I had boxes of doubles in the attic, or at least I thought they were doubles.  I opened one large moving box and inside I found a few smaller boxes and found a note to myself:  “I think that these are all doubles”.

Hmmm.

So I brought the box downstairs and started pulling stuff out.

NASCAR doubles.  *sigh*… I thought I’d gotten rid of all my racing cards.

Topps Hockey stickers.  A couple of hundred hockey stickers.  I have hockey stickers?  When did I buy hockey stickers?

Donruss Action All-Star doubles… Yep, gotta recycle those bad boys!   …Once I confirm that they are actually doubles.

1990 Donruss Jesse Orosco And then I found the elusive 90D.  Praise the Lord and pass the recycling bin!

…but there’s still no sign of the Topps and Fleer sets.  Damn.  The saga continues…

So I’ve got to ask… Has anyone else ever lost multiple large sets of cards?  Let me know, and make me feel better about my cardboard equivalent of an EPA “Superfund” site.