30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Mustache Gang

Every November millions of men (and women?) around the world grow mustaches to support the Movember movement, which is an annual event to help raise awareness of men's health issues.  I've tried to grow a mustache a few times, but never followed through.  This year, I forgot about it until we were two weeks into the month.

The goal is to participate next year regardless of how silly I look.  Until then I decide to help by making a donation to the cause and thought it'd be fun to look back at some of the most famous mustaches in baseball history:  The Mustache Gang.

1972 Topps #435

In March of 1972, Reggie Jackson showed up to Spring Training with a mustache.  Back then baseball was pretty conservative and being clean shaven was one of their unwritten rules.  Up until that time, only a handful of players were documented wearing a mustache during the regular season.  There were even a few teams that had policies written into their contracts against facial hair.

But Reggie was a rebel and when he arrived to Spring Training he had a full grown 'stache that he started growing in the 1971 ALCS.  According to teammates, his goal was to have a beard by Opening Day.

1972 Topps #632
1972 Topps #137

Charlie Finley, the colorful and controversial owner of the Oakland Athletics was originally not amused.  According to Mike Hegan, Finley told A's manager Dick Williams to tell him to shave it off.  Simply put... Reggie refused.

1972 Topps #241

Although there are conflicting stories of how The Mustache Gang actually came to be, I figured I'd share Rollie Finger's version since he arguably has one of the most famous 'staches in baseball history.

In the book 100 Things A's Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die by Susan Slusser, Fingers says that many of Reggie's teammates originally hated the mustache.

1972 Topps #330
1972 Topps #583

So one day while sitting in the bullpen Fingers, Catfish Hunter, and Darold Knowles came up with the idea to grow mustaches to annoy Williams and Finley to the point of making everyone (including Reggie) shave it off.

1972 Topps #454

The plan obviously didn't work.  Eventually Finley embraced the idea of his players wearing them.  He even challenged his team to grow mustaches and offered $300 to any player who could grow one by Father's Day.  All twenty-five guys on the roster got paid.  Williams did too.

And that's how The Mustache Gang was born.

Okay peeps... it's your turn:

Have you ever grown a mustache?  Would you consider growing one next year to support Movember?

Maybe if there are enough of us, we could start our very own Mustache Gang.  Until then...

Happy Movember and sayonara!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Keep It Simple

I love my life, but it's not perfect.  I love my job, but it's not perfect.  I love this hobby, but it's not perfect.

When I was building my Sports Card Trifecta of Jose Altuve, I struggled to determine his rookie card.  Should I have bought his 2011 Topps Update, because it has the official rookie card logo?  Or should I have purchased his 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects card, because it's his earliest card featuring him in an Astros jersey?

2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP137

I decided to go with the latter, because when I was a kid I was taught that a player's first pack pulled, nationally distributed card produced by one of the major card manufacturers was his rookie card.

I realize that based on the current eBay sales between the two cards, I'm in the minority.  At least he doesn't have any Team USA cards featuring him as a 15 year old.  Or worse... he could have had four different rookie card logo cards in Update like Cody Bellinger has in this year's set.

Don't worry.  I'm not going to be a disgruntled collector or blogger who goes on an epic rant.  I just wish card companies would go back to the days when collectors could open a pack of cards and easily identify an athlete's rookie card.

For example... if someone gave you a pack of 1980 Topps baseball cards and you pulled this:

1980 Topps #482

You'd instantly know that you hit the jackpot and pulled Rickey Henderson's lone rookie card.

If you tore into a pack of 1983 Fleer baseball and discovered this:

1983 Fleer #360

You'd know that you pulled a Tony Gwynn rookie card.

And if you tore into a pack of 1989 Upper Deck baseball and saw this:

1989 Upper Deck #1

You'd know immediately that you were holding a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.

1981 Topps #302
1981 Topps Traded #850

Even when Donruss Rookies, Fleer Update, and Topps Traded box sets added a layer of confusion to the mix, collectors were still able to decipher a player's true rookie card from his really cool Traded set card.

C'mon COMC... don't collectors already have enough on their plate with current rookie cards?  Stop the shenanigans and drop the RC tag.  80's rookie cards are suppose to be simpler to define.  Back then it felt like most of us were at least on the same page when it came to defining what a rookie card was.

These days... I'm not so sure.  Maybe you can help me.  

Do you have a simple way to define a rookie card?

I feel like things would be so much better if we (collectors, card manufactures, grading companies, card shop owners, price guide websites, and everyone else involved in our hobby) could stand on common ground.

At the very least... it'd be less annoying.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, November 17, 2017

I'm Free

I've had Kenny Loggins' I'm Free in the back of my mind since yesterday afternoon when I read Collecting Cutch's comment on my Kevin Bacon post earlier in the week.  He mentioned one of his favorite Bacon movies was Footloose, which made me immediately think of the song.

Not familiar with it?  Here ya go...

Lol.  Sorry.  The Kids Incorporated version was the only one I could find that would work on my blog.  Anyways... from the moment I arrived at work this morning, I began counting down the minutes until 2:00 when I'd be free to...

1.  Binge watch Stranger Things.

2.  Sleep in.

3.  Cruise.

4.  Scan, sort, and sleeve some sports cards.

5.  Build my Lego Star Wars Droid Escape Pod.

6.  Open up a few blogger packages

7.  Golf at least once... maybe twice.

8.  Head over the hill at least once.

9.  Keep up with your blog posts.

10.  And hopefully write at least three or four blog posts during my nine days off.

What about you?

Anyone have any cool plans for their Thanksgiving break?

Whatever you guys and gals do, I hope you stay safe, eat well, hang with your loved ones, and spend at least a little bit of time enjoying the hobby.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Refreshing My Memory

Being a product of the 70's, I never had the opportunity to watch guys like Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, or Stan Musial.  But I had heard and read stories about them even before I started collecting baseball cards in the early 80's.  These guys were baseball legends.

Bobby Doerr is a baseball legend too.  But since he wasn't a first ballot hall of famer, or baseball's Ironman, or the all-time wins leader... I wasn't familiar with his accomplishments until a few years later.  It didn't help that I grew up 3,000 miles away from Fenway.

My best guess is I started learning about him around the same time he was inducted into Cooperstown by the Veterans Committee back in 1986.

Every now and then, card companies would include him in a set which was a nice way of paying tribute to the "silent captain of the Boston Red Sox".

Then towards the end of last year, I read somewhere that he had become the oldest living former MLBer, which I thought was interesting.  It also gave me an opportunity to refresh my memory of his career achievements.

Not long after that, his 2007 UD Masterpieces Box Topper Signature card popped up on eBay.  This is one of my favorite autograph sets and it was like a sign or something.  So I entered a last second bid and was stoked to add an on-card autograph of Red Sox legend to my collection.

Fast forward to last night when I read the news of his passing over on Baseball Card Breakdown.   My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, and Red Sox and baseball fans around the world.  I never had the opportunity to watch him play, but thanks to sites like Baseball Reference and the numerous tributes I've read since last night, his legacy will live on forever.

Rest in peace Mr. Doerr.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Blog Bat Around: Super Awesome Bacon!

2010 Archie McPhee #37

Seriously.  If I had to list my favorite things to eat, bacon would be right up there with rib-eye, fried rice, watermelon, saimin, and twice baked potatoes.

But my Archie McPhee bacon rookie card was purely used as clickbait.  Today's post is obviously in response to the current Blog Bat Around inspired by Collecting Cutch, which is to connect one of our favorite players to Kevin Bacon.

Laziness delayed my response, but last night I read Night Owl's submission which got me wondering if Rickey Henderson ever made a cameo in a movie.  I couldn't find his name listed in any movies on IMDB, but I saw his name listed in a music video.

And so the journey begins...

1st Degree: Rickey Henderson

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Autographs #GQA-RH

Rickey Henderson made a cameo in MC Hammer's music video 2 Legit 2 Quit with David Faustino.  I really could not stand this song back in the day, so it doesn't surprise me that I didn't know Rickey was in this video.

I did however watch it last night in its entirety... and was kinda impressed with all of the different athletes who made cameos in it.  Due to copyright issues, I wasn't able to embed the video, but here are screenshots of Rickey and David:

2nd Degree:  David Faustino

COMC Image

Faustino was in 12 Bucks (1998) with Ming-Na Wen.

I've never heard of this movie.  But seeing a younger Wen might be worth checking out.  Sadly, I couldn't find this movie online anywhere and I'm not curious enough to dish out $14.85 on Amazon.

3rd Degree:  Ming-Na Wen

 2015 Rittenhouse Agents of Shield Season 2 Costumes #CC3

Wen was in The Darkness (2016) with Kevin Bacon.

This is another movie I had never heard of, but I did manage to find it on HBO.  I watched the trailer, but couldn't get into it and ended up watching part of The Lego Batman Movie instead.  Maybe I'll give Bacon and Wen a chance over Thanksgiving break, but it's more likely I'll go back and watch Mystic River (2003) or Apollo 13 (1995).  These are my two favorite Kevin Bacon movies.  I also enjoyed watching him in The Following (2013-2015), which was a television series I saw on Netflix.  All three are worth re-watching again at some point.

Well that's it for now.  Until my next post...

What's your favorite Kevin Bacon movie or television show?

Happy Monday and sayonara!