About a month or so ago, Mr. Swing and a Pop-Up (Boston) wrote a post about how he only needed two cards to complete the 2008 Goudey set -- Alex Gordon and Max Scherzer. I seem to be a magnet for Max Scherzer cards -- even short prints like the one I sold to Brent and Becca on eBay earlier this year -- so of course I had the Scherzer. I also had a bunch of cards from his want lists from the the late 70s or early 80s, so I shipped those off to New Hampshire.
In return, he sent me a very nice return package of granite from the Granite State. I love rocks, so it was a great trade.
Of course he didn't do that. Since all I ever ask for from people is basically to send me Brewers, I got an envelope embossed with LIVE FREE OR DIE filled with Brewers.
Since I'm kind of digging the New Hampshire theme to this post, y'all are stuck with it now. Let me stress up front that some of these posts will stretch to fit the cards I received. That's part of the fun with themes.
In fact, let's begin with one of the stretches:
The Franklin Pierce
The only U.S. President to hail from New Hampshire is also known these days as one of the worst presidents in history -- Franklin Pierce. During his time in office, he strongly supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, a law proposed by Stephen Douglas of the Lincoln-Douglas debates fame. This act created Kansas and Nebraska as states, and it provided that each of these states would have the right to vote on whether slavery would be allowed in each state. An unintended consequence of this Act was the influx of both pro- and anti-slavery factions who fought with one another, leading to death and mayhem generally in Kansas and helping to lead the United States down the path to the Civil War. As an aside, the anti-slavery faction were known as "Jayhawkers"; it is unknown whether these original Jayhawkers in fact Rocked Chalk.
That's a long introduction to led to a card of a player whom may be one of the worst free agent signings in Major League Baseball history: Jeffrey Hammonds. Exactly why Bud Selig and his cronies believed that Hammonds would be a great signing for 3 years and $21.75 million before the 2001 season -- which, keep in mind, was by far the largest contract that the Brewers had given at that time...for a guy who, to that point in his career, had never played more than 125 games in any season and was turning 30 years old...I mean, you explain that type of move.
Anyway, TL;DR: Jeffrey Hammonds was a bad free agent signing. But, this is a cool card!
The Adam Sandler
While Sandler was born in Brooklyn, he moved to Manchester, New Hampshire and spent the time from the age of five through high school there. That's good enough for him to count here for me. Sandler is a very funny man -- sometimes through childish humor, sometimes sappy, and not always for everyone. I liked him on SNL a lot, and, while a bit stupid, his early movies are those that I have watched and enjoyed.
Like Sandler, then, I liked and enjoyed Dan Plesac's early career as a Brewer. Once he left and joined other teams like the Cubs and hung on and hung on -- and then went "sappy" with the MLB Network -- he's been less entertaining to me. But this Fleer Ultra card of Sac is right in my wheelhouse:
The H. H. Holmes
Herman Webster Mudgett a/k/a Dr. Henry Howard Holmes was, as Wikipedia puts it, "one of the first documented American serial killers in the modern sense of the term." Holmes/Mudgett was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, but he achieved his notoriety in Chicago in the early 1890s. If you're interested in finding out more about him, you should check out the "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast about him. It's fascinating and frightening all at once.
Holmes achieved a medical degree from the University of Michigan, and, from all appearances, was a bright, successful man who had a great future in front of him. In reality, he was a depraved psychopath whose abilities were channeled toward newer, greater, more psychotic conquests.
Now, I'm not saying that the player on this card is any of those things other than being a bright, successful talent who had a great future in front of him. In reality, he was a horrible bust -- like many of the Brewers draft picks during the 1990s. It's none other than Tyrone Hill:
The Robert Frost
Frost attended Dartmouth College in Concord, New Hampshire, and later settled there for several years in and around Plymouth, New Hampshire, and, later, in Franconia. Indeed, the first of Frost's four Pulitzer Prizes came for a book called New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes.
While he's hardly Robert Frost, and, to be fair, his career is nowhere near done nor as prolific as Frost's was, but Ryan Braun is still approaching being one of the more highly decorated Milwaukee Brewers. The fact that I really like this card helps push me toward saying that this card deserves the designation named for one of America's finest poets ever:
The Dan Brown
Look, I've got nothing against Dan Brown generally. I read The Da Vinci Code, and it is a page turner. I just fear that a lot of people are fooled by the book's undertones related to the Priory of Scion and think all that stuff about Jesus having a daughter are somehow historical fact. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. People can argue all day about it and whether it has any value to be discussed in our society.
A similar discussion goes on these days among Brewers fans as to whether Rickie Weeks has any value to the Brewers organization these days. We look to his past, what he was capable of, and we wonder whether that was true or not, or if there is some secret reason why he is failing other than the injuries catching up to him. Yes, this analogy is a major stretch, but this is such an excellent card that it needed to be shared:
SAAPU sent a number of other cards as well -- many of which I needed for my Brewers collection, some of which were condition upgrades.
I fear I've stretched my analogies here so far that the rubber band has broken, so I'll close by saying "Thank you" earnestly to Swing and a Pop Up for the trade.