1976 SSPC #315 – Don Kessinger (Cubs)

1976 SSPC #315 Don Kessinger

Don Kessinger… was a 6-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glove winner who played 16 years in the majors, mainly for the Cubs.  He was known for his excellent range and strong throwing arm.

Several of his Topps cards point out that he went 6-for-6 against the Cards in a game on June 17th, 1971.  That game was a 10-inning walk-off 7-6 win for the Cubs where Kessinger scored the winning run on a single by Ron Santo.

Kessinger was the last player/manager in the American League;  he managed and played short for the White Sox in 1979.  He did not last in either role;  he was replaced as manager by Tony LaRussa before the season ended, and he would not play after 1979.

In 1976, Don Kessinger… was the starting shortstop for the Cardinals.  He filled in the gap between Mike Tyson and up-and-comer Garry Templeton.

Shea-o-meter:  The scoreboard with the Mets logo in the background is a bit of a giveaway;  here are the current counts for where photos in this set were taken:
Shea:  27
Pretty sure it’s Shea:  5
Can’t tell:  5
Not Shea:  5

Betcha didn’t know… Kessinger was an All-American basketball player for the University of Mississippi.

SSPC vs. Topps: Kessinger’s 1976 Topps card has him airbrushed into what ended up looking like a velour Cardinals cap.

1976 SSPC #315 Don Kessinger back

Loria Purchases Mets, Holds Fire Sale, Moves Team To Sacramento

What would it take for me to stop being a Mets fan?

I started thinking about that after two other blogs made me think “If I weren’t a Mets fan, I could definitely see myself as a fan of the blanks“.

Wrigley Wax showed off 60 years of Cubs programs that got me thinking about the North Siders…

…and Tru School Sports got me thinking about the Rays.

Before I get into the teams I might get behind if I were no longer a fan of the Mets (or Orioles), I’m going to speculate what it would take to get me to stop being a Mets fan.

Some people would stop being a fan if their team left town, but I left town first and I live several hundred miles away, so that’s not really a factor.  I suppose if they moved out to the West Coast then games would start late at night for this East Coast boy, and I’d also have fewer chances to see them as the road team.  Sacramento is the largest west coast market without an MLB team, so I’ll pick on them for this exercise.

The Wilpons are not the greatest owners on the face of this Earth, but there’s always the “At least the Mets aren’t owned by Jeffrey Loria” factor… especially if the team holds a Marlins-style fire sale as part of the process.  Barring a clone of the late George Steinbrenner, this would be my greatest ownership fear.

Another nail in the coffin would be to get the uniforms designed by whomever it is at Nike who comes up with those constantly changing but unerringly fugly Oregon Ducks football uniforms.  I’m thinking black, silver, midnight green and blood red uniforms with chrome helmets.

Finally, to really drive me away, they’d have to pick some gimmicky name for the team like the SacTown RivvaHawkzz Of Sacramento.

OK, that was a lot of setup, let’s get to the main point… Which teams could I see myself being a fan of?

1)  Chicago Cubs
I gravitate towards underdogs, and from an underdog standpoint, are the Cubs really that much different from the Mets?

However, that’s not what makes me think it would be fun to be a Cubs fan.  It seems like the Cubs have always had a good relationship with their dedicated fanbase… Even if the on-field product is weak, they know how to treat the people who ultimately pay the bills.

1972 Topps Don Kessinger

There’s also those abso-freakin’-lutely beautiful program covers the Cubs had for three decades.

Not to mention Wrigley Field, known here as “Cadaco All-Star Baseball Field”.
Cadaco All Star Baseball

2)  Tampa Bay Rays

1979 Joe Maddon

I’ve mentioned that I like underdogs… So tell me what other team can, within the past 5 years,  have 5 straight winning seasons, play in a World Series, win the division twice and despite all that, still be underdogs?  Besides that, I just like the way they do business… They play the game right, run the team right, treat their few fans well.  What’s not to like?

3)  Minnesota Twins
1980 Topps Geoff Zahn

I’ve never been to Minnesota, but over the years it seems like a lot of players have taken less money to sign with the Twins, and that makes me think it must be a nice place to play… Plus I love the “TC” caps.

4)  Pittsburgh Pirates
1972 Topps Milt May
I’ve mentioned here numerous times before that I have a sort of mini-crush on the Pirates going back to childhood… And since I’m a Steelers fan, it wouldn’t be a stretch to switch to another Pittsburgh team… and unlike Minnesota, I’ve been to Pittsburgh.  Well, OK, fine… I drove through Pittsburgh.  Squirrel Hill Tunnel, baby!

5)  San Francisco Giants
1973 Topps Chris Speier

When I lived on Long Island, people would sometimes ask me what team I would’ve been a fan of had the Dodgers and Giants not left for the West Coast.  My answer has always been the Giants, mainly because my mother had been a Giants fan back in the day, and I just couldn’t picture myself as a Yankees or Dodgers fan.  It’s probably academic, because if the Dodgers & Giants hadn’t left town together, it was pretty likely that the Giants would’ve left by themselves, maybe to Minneapolis where their top farm team was in the 1950’s.  At any rate, I feel a tiny, tiny little connection to the Giants.

Honorable Mention:  I have friends who are fans of these teams, and through those friends I’ve seen the appeal of following these teams (in order by city):  Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays

So, what about you?  What would it take for you to stop cheering for your current team? If your team were to suddenly become the SacTown RivvaHawkzz or the Buffalo Snow, what would you do?

1975 Hostess Don Kessinger; Weigh-in #24

Don Kessinger was best-known as a Cubs shortstop from 1964 to 1975.  He was well-regarded as a defensive shortstop, winning two Gold Gloves and being selected for 6 All-Star teams.

He also played for the Cardinals and White Sox… I can just imagine the heartbreak for a Cubs/Kessinger fan when your favorite player goes to the two teams that a Cubs fan holds in the highest disdain.

I’d forgotten that Kessinger was also a manager; he managed the White Sox in 1979, the last player-manager in the AL. He had a 46-60 record as a manager and was replaced by some schlub named Tony LaRussa.

1994 Pinnacle #251 - Keith Kessinger - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1994 Pinnacle #251 – Keith Kessinger – Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

Don’s the father of shortstop Keith Kessinger, who had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 1993 and was immortalized in the 1994 Pinnacle and Score sets.

Don is the President of Kessinger Real Estate in Mississippi, and Keith is a realtor there.

Numbers for this (slow) week:

Cards coming into the house: 0

Cards leaving the house: 26 (Unwanted junk wax which got tossed)

Cards entering the collection: 3

Cards leaving the collection: 0

Cards moving from inbound to outbound without entering the collection: 0

To date:

Net change in the collection: -537

Net change to the # of cards in the house: -2716