Wednesday, January 29, 2014

692nd Place - Greg Brock

Card #212

This is truly one of the strangest cards in the set!  To start with, we have what will probably be the best gratuitous product placement in this countdown.  Not only is that Pepsi can placed perfectly behind Greg, but the can is turned just the right way to get the full label.  The greater question, though, is what professional athlete is cracking open carbonated beverages in the middle of a ball game!?! 

The Pepsi can is so distracting you might miss what's going on with Greg's mouth.  My guess is that black and yellow substance between his lips are sunflower seeds.  Whatever it is, Brock looks pretty disgusted with what he's witnessing before him. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

693rd Place - Glenn Wilson

Card #626

Batting glove in the back pocket...bare-handed swing of the bat.  Interesting.

As a kid I had a strange fascination with Glenn Wilson.  He was an outfielder who tended to play every day despite not appearing to be particularly memorable in any facet of the game.  I mean that as no disrespect to Mr. Wilson, who is obviously an accomplished athlete.  He just seems to have the pedigree of a fourth outfielder type. 

It looks like he popped out to right field in this shot.  I'm guessing it's a spring training game at the Expos' ballpark based on the background.

Does anyone know if his gas station is still around?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

694th Place - Mike Loynd

Card #319

This could have been a fun, candid shot of a young pitcher experiencing the joy of playing the hardest sport at the highest level.  It could have been, except he's...

...obviously been shrunken to miniature size and is standing in front of an orange?

...about to be incinerated by a nuclear explosion?

...laughing maniacally at the forest fire he started behind him?

Seriously, what is the orange color, and why is he so excited about it?

Monday, January 20, 2014

695th Place - Mark Thurmond

Card # 552

Thurmond has a bit of evil eyebrow going on here.  What schemes lie in the hearts of situational lefties?

My primary memory of Thurmond is as one of the starters for the 1984 World Series losing San Diego Padres.  That was by far his best year.  Amazingly, he only struck out 57 batters in 178 innings that season.  Pitching to contact!

Mark is a Texan through and through, and played his college ball at A&M, where he was actually recruited as a football player first and baseball player second.  He seems to be in the insurance business now in Katy, TX.  I actually found his home address, which makes me feel creepy.  Sorry Mark.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

696th Place - Cecilio Guante

Card #84

I just noticed something that has me reconsidering Gaunte's  lower ranking on this countdown.  Check out the "G" inked into the webbing of his glove!  Is that cool, or dumb?  Many of you are aware of the cult-like following Guante enjoys:  http://legendofcecilioguante.com/

This card is a bit disturbing.  I'm assuming Guante is in the middle of some warm up pitches.  Otherwise, the umpire and shortstop are in prime position take a line drive right off the back of their heads. 

I think Topps made a bizarre color scheme choice for the Yankees in this set.  The red/purple/yellow combo doesn't make a lot of sense.  It's not you, Cecilio, it's them.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

697th Place - Bob Rodgers

Card #504

What a bunch of bolagna!  Bob "Buck" Rodgers has one of the all-time great baseball nicknames, and Topps refuses to slip it in here.  The same company who for years kept printing "Rock" Raines cards.  For shame!

When this card was printed, Rodgers was coming off his NL Manager of the Year award for his work with the 1987 Expos.  Rodgers is infamous for being injured in a bad bus accident when he coached for the Angels.  Here's a more recent article catching up with him...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

698th Place - Keith Atherton

Card #451

Ladies and gentleman, the first Minnesota Twin on our countdown.

Keith Atherton.

I forgot Atherton was even on the Twins, he's an Oakland Athletic in my memory. 

I couldn't find much on Atherton's post baseball life, but check out the unusual team somebody added to his wiki page.  That is a well burried joke.  At least I hope it is...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

699th Place - Mike Birkbeck

Card #692

I can't stop looking at it.  The way it's peeking at us.  What does it want?  Where did it come from?  Is it trying to escape???

Mike, tuck that undershirt back in, buddy.  It's freaking me out.

Birkbeck has a "Sully" patch on his sleeve, and if my Google detective skills are accurate, that patch was worn in honor of their late equipment manager, Bob Sullivan.  I think those were worn in 1986, meaning this photo of Mike was two years old at the time of its printing.  That would have blown my mind in 1988 - how could a baseball card photo not be more recent than that?

It looks like Birkbeck has been coaching at the collegiate level in recent years.  He didn't have any real sustained success in the majors, minus a fluky four starts in his last cup of coffee.  This is a nice card, all things considered, except for that shirt under the jersey.  It's evil.

Happy New Year, everyone, let's have a great 2014.