O Broder, What Art Thou?

So I was in Target during lunch yesterday, stocking up my “work pantry”, and I decided to check out the 100-card repacks on the way out. I know these repacks aren’t worth the money I’m putting into them, but they can be a fun diversion… or a Junk Wax Festival. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

My attention was caught by one repack which had this card on the back:
1990 Shanks Rookies Gary Sheffield

I thought “What the devil is that?”

Yeah, right. I really thought “What the @#%&*! is that?”, but I like writing “What the devil…” because it makes me sound like a scientist from a low-budget 1960’s science fiction movie. And there are worse things to be.

“I was a mathematician before I became a bad actor… That number is pi!”
(Let’s see if anyone gets THAT extremely obscure reference)

I kinda like the card, even if it is book-value worthless… as opposed to any other 1990 base card which has a book value only because Beckett has to give it SOME value.  The card sort of has a 1966 Topps bottom and a 1969 Topps circle.

Here’s the back to the esteemed Mr. Sheffield’s card:
1990 Shanks Rookies Sheffield back

“The Shanks Collection”, eh?  All right, if you say so.  I did some Googling on “1990 Shanks Collection” and all I got were some eBay listings.  I think this can be safely classified as a Broder.  You know, it’s been many years that I’ve been using the term “Broder” for an unlicensed-by-anybody card, but I’ve never seen an actual Broder.  Maybe someday…

UpdateBy “actual Broder”, I mean the original Broders, as opposed to cards which fall under the generic term “Broders”.

Wait a second, I hear a truck… Crap, I’ve got to put the recycling out by the curb.  I’ll be right back…

OK, sorry about that.

Well, you’re here and I’m here… Did you want to see what else I got in the repack?

I figure that, on the whole I got 10 dime-b0x needs for my $4, but I did well in terms of cards I actually want.  Here, let me show you…

I got this lovely George Foster Diamond King that’s been on my want list for… Oh, thirty years.

1983 Donruss George Foster DK

George Foster is one of a line of big-name players that the Mets brought in past their prime and who did just fine for the Mets but not anywhere close to the expectations of the fans who foolishly thought the Mets were acquiring a star player in his prime.

Moving right along…

Ahh… The elusive 1984 Donruss!  And it’s Shlabotnik favorite Benny Ayala!

1984 Donruss Benny Ayala

In 1974, Benny hit a homer in his first Major League at bat for the Mets.  This young Mets fan’s expectations of Benny were based on that random occurrence.  Silly me.  Anyway,  Benny had a 10-year career as a 4th outfielder, mainly with the  Orioles.

Jerry Willard!  A player I collect!  Wooooooooo!

1986 Donruss Jerry Willard

I saw Jerry play in the minor leagues, just in case you were wondering why someone would collect Jerry Willard cards.  I saw Jerry when he was in the Phillies system, but he traded to the Indians before he made it to the Majors.  This is why you shouldn’t get hung up on the fact that your local minor league team isn’t affiliated with a team you like… There’s always a decent chance that the guys you’re watching will make it with some other team.

Moving along… “Captain Kirk” McCaskill!  Another player I collect, even if it’s from the tremendously drab 1989 Fleer.

1989 Fleer Kirk McCaskill

I know we were meant to think “pinstripes”, but I’ve always thought “jail cell”.

Attica!  Attica!

Finally, I got this interesting TCMA “Baseball History” card of Jim DePalo.

1979 TCMA Baseball History Jim Depalo

Who is Jim DePalo?  If Baseball America had existed in the 1950’s, he might’ve been on the Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects list.  He peaked at AAA in 1956, going 13-5 for the Denver Bears.  I’m guessing that the TCMA guys found this photo and said “Hey, let’s add it to the set!”

1979 TCMA Baseball History Jim Depalo back

Aw, hell, look at the time!  I spent too much time on this, I’ve got to go shower.

…And thus ends my early morning free-form blog odyssey…  “On the bass:  Derek Smalls, he wrote this…”


More on Big Baseball, plus “Captain Kirk” McCaskill

For someone who ignored Big Baseball when it was released, I certainly have a lot to say on the subject…

On my last post – which some of you might have missed because I accidentally posted it with a date from last January,  instantly making it my ‘oldest’ post and all the way near the bottom of the Sports Card Blogroll – I was replying to a comment from Paul at Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff, and I started to say that I probably ignored Big Baseball because there were so many sets I collected that year… I really liked the new set from Score, the Topps set was one of their best from the 1980’s, and I bought plenty of Fleer and Donruss even though they weren’t anything all that great.

Then I looked at what I wrote… Oh my, I collected FOUR SETS that year?  How ever could I have afforded it?  I was going to argue that a niche set might do better now, being that there’s a monopoly, but I forgot how different things were then… There were four manufacturers, but for most collectors that meant there were four sets.

It also occurred to me that the size of the Big Baseball cards couldn’t have been an issue, because the following year I collected the re-introduced Bowman set, which was the same size.  I think it really came down to the fact that I didn’t like these cards  much at the time, but I can’t help but look back at them now and think “What if they were better looking…?”

Moving on to today’s cards, I recently got them from COMC and they were originally going to be the second installment of my “Players I Collect” series.

Back in the early 1980’s, I had a friend who went to the University of Vermont.  Given that he and I both enjoyed hockey, I would hear about the Catamounts star player, a guy by the name of Kirk McCaskill.  He was the captain of the hockey team, which lead to him getting the fairly obvious nickname of “Captain Kirk”.  Although I never saw him play, I thought it would be cool if I got to see him play in the NHL some day.   He was drafted by the original Winnipeg Jets and played a year in the minor league AHL, but it was as a pitcher that he would reach the top level of pro sports.

He played from 1985 to 1996 with the Angels and White Sox.  In 1986, he was 17-10 with a 3.36 ERA and 202 strikeouts, and started two games in the ALCS.  Unfortunately, he was 0-2 in those games.

Elbow problems would cut short his potential, but he ended up with 106 career wins and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  He has the second-most wins of any Canadian, second only to Fergie Jenkins.

The above two images are from the 1989 Big Baseball set, which I’d mentioned in yesterday’s post.. not quite as ugly as I remembered it, but still not great.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Kirk’s father, Ted McCaskill, played 4 games for the Minnesota North Stars and a couple of seasons for the WHA’s Los Angeles Sharks (no relation to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks).

In 1991, Kirk was named by People Magazine as one of that year’s most beautiful people.  How often do you see People mentioned in a Sports Card blog?

Nit-picking:  The cartoon should abbreviate the school’s name as “UVM”, which is the official abbreviation and stands for “Universitas Viridis Montis” (University of the Green Mountains), the Latin name for the school.

Kirk was the first UVM player to appear in the Majors since Jack Lamabe in 1968.  There hasn’t been a Catamount in the Majors since Kirk.

Among the UVM alumni who appeared in the NHL are Martin Saint Louis, Patrick Sharp and Tim Thomas.

UVM’s Centennial Field is the home of the NY-Penn League’s Vermont Lake Monsters.