OK, work and other commitments have pushed the beginning of this “project” back a couple of weeks. But I’ll choose to look at this in a positive light – I’m now starting my trek to collect the Topps sets on an appropriate day. Opening Night 2010! This is one of the more exciting days of the year for me – I’m an accountant, so it signifies the ending of my busy season and back to more normal working hours. Even before I was working, though, Opening Day was still special. It means (for the most part) that winter is over, spring is here, and baseball is in the air! OK, that’s a little cliché, and I probably just jinxed myself and ensured that it will be snowing next weekend. But once the first Monday of April hits, that has always meant the start of the best time of year.
When I was a kid, this meant Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall calling my hometown Reds – and often me hiding a Walkman from my parents to hear the end of the game, and hopefully Marty’s signature call line “This one belongs to the Reds”. Joe’s no longer with us, but Marty is still calling games the same as he has been since 1974. Now, he’s alongside a number of guys, most frequently the Cowboy Jeff Brantley or his son Thom. I really like Jeff, and Thom’s not so bad either, but something about me misses the combination of Marty and Joe. Here’s to you Joe!
Side note – here’s some interesting trivia: Who did Marty replace in the Reds radio booth? Answer to come in a future post!
In honor of opening night, my wife and I cooked a “dish” we saw on one of the food network shows. It comes from the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, IL. Which apparently is just outside of St. Louis (BOOOO Cardinals). So we sautéed up some “Philadelphia cheese steak nachos”. Goes excellent alongside an old slugger ale brewed in Cooperstown NY. I had one saved from my trip there last summer. Actually, it was just at the back of the fridge, but tasty nonetheless!
So as I watch the Yankees pound Josh Beckett, on to the point of this blog! 1980 Topps Box, purchased from Baseball Card Exchange for a price I won’t mention on this blog (this is the one box that will actually cost me some decent cash). BBXC was more expensive than eBay, but since this one is pretty expensive, I’d rather ensure I’m getting a box that hasn’t been tampered with or replaced with a bunch of packs once someone found a Rickey Henderson rookie in theirs. I found out Terry Puhl of the Astros is the cover man for the box. An interesting choice by Topps – he was a decent major leaguer who typically hit around .280 (.287 in the year before, 1979) and made one All-Star team (not 1979). Topps has some advertising “NOW 15 CARDS IN EVERY PACK”, which was an increase from 12 previously.
It was difficult opening the first pack – I felt like I was ruining a bit of history with something packaged 30 years ago, up to and including the 30-year-old stick of gum (probably not as tasty as the old slugger)! But eventually I got through that and ripped the first pack. And the first card staring at me was a………
Poorly centered Jerry White!!!! Card #724!!! I have, until now, never heard of Jerry, but he played for the Expos, and according to the back of his card, he did pretty well in the American Association in 1977. And the Expos traded him to the Cubs, and then traded back for him. Maybe this is foreshadowing why MLB doesn’t have a team in Montreal any more?
Well, the rest of the first pack mirrors the makeup of this set. I pulled 2 HOF-ers (Carlton Fist and Don Sutton), and more than a few recognizable players. Bob Boone prior to his days ruining the Reds’ rotation, Doug DeCines, and Jose Cardenal. From the back of the card, I learned that Cardenal is the cousin to another pretty good major leaguer – Bert Campaneris. Also found a Don Zimmer manager card with the Red Sox team picture. Didn’t know Zim managed the Red Sox. Maybe Pedro should have thought about that when he threw the old coach to the ground 4 or 5 years ago in the bench-clearing brawl. Also got a Reds future stars card – apparently the Reds’ future looks bright with Are DeFreites, Frank Pastore and Harry Spilman waiting in the wings!
I’m only opening 9 packs today. Later packs included some other interesting names. So far, I’ve pulled 3 of the Big Red Machine – Johnny Bench, Cesar Geronimo, Ken Griffey. My favorite two cards thus far are a close up of Andre Dawson and Reggie Jackson. It’s also hilarious to see some of the hairdo from 30 years ago. Scans to follow tomorrow…