Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monster Package Post #5: A Cracked Bat

I'm not quite sure how I came across the new-ish blog "A Cracked Bat." I know I was reading a post on someone's blog and, as I tend to do, I looked at their blogroll to see what blogs they read that I might not have on my list.  

Somehow, somewhere, though, a link to Julie's blog was floating on the right-hand side of a page. I clicked through, read a little bit, and realized that Julie was collecting for much of the time that I was not collecting, and that I had backfilled my collection for the period that Julie needed cards.  I sent her an e-mail and we swapped packages of cards.  

To what I was saying, Julie collected during the 1990s, which was exactly the time that I spent 7 years in college/law school/stretching loan money out to live and pay rent. So, she sent me a bunch of great 1990s cards and even one or two Brewers of recent vintage.  Let's start with the recent stuff:

That some Prizmatic action from Panini there. I have been slow to buy any of the unlicensed cards, but I've been lucky enough to trade with folks who have dived into that pool of cards and want to get rid of their Brewers.  I'm especially happy to add the Carlos Gomez to my player collection of him.

As opposed to past posts, this time it makes sense to group the cards by the issuer and year. So, here goes.

The Lone 1999 Topps
I think it's the lone one I scanned, and not the only one I got.  I just have the rest.

1994 Triple Play (Donruss)
There is something about this set's design that I really like. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's that thing that happens to guys -- at some point in our lives, we stop trying to be "fashionable" and basically end up buying golf/polo shirts and khakis for the rest of our lives in our effort to appear at least "relaxed" and "business casual." So, perhaps my "style" for cards is locked in solidly in the year I graduated from college. 

Or, maybe, I just like them.

1994 Select

See, these are from the same year, they echo some of the same design elements, but these cards are too busy on their fronts for my taste.

Weird, huh?

I forgot that Jody Reed was a Brewer, by the way. I think the early 1990s were spent trying to sign every second baseman who had anything remotely close to a decent year in the 1980s. So, Brewers fans were treated to the musical stylings of Jody Reed, Willie Randolph, and Bill Doran, among others, and to Phil Garner as the manager. What -- was Johnny Ray unavailable?

1994 Pinnacle
I didn't scan all of the Pinnacle cards that Julie sent to me. I mean, we've already seen Jody Reed and Mark Kiefer, and I've used up my Johnny Ray joke.  And, I couldn't bear to see a Brian Harper card on my blog. Not yet, anyway. I'm sure I'll get there at some point when I'm looking for blog post #34,501 when I'm the last blogger standing.

Anyway, I'm starting to think, though, that I'm just a sucker for full-bleed photos. I don't like the name placards, but these cards are pretty well done.

1994 Bowman
Again, I didn't scan all of the 1994 Bowman that Julie sent.  The lost promise of the man who shares my birthday (though he's younger than me by a little) -- Jeff D'Amico (the big dude who was 6'7" tall and not the one who pitched for the Royals) -- and of the toolsy non-baseball player Duane Singleton were too much for me to scan and show at this point.  So, I went with two guys from my PCs:

1995 SP Championship Series

Julie sent pretty much the whole team set from this card maker. Full-bleed photo fatigue is starting to set in, though. All you collectors who dislike the full-bleed photos and love cards with borders must have collected in the mid-90s.  It gets difficult to tell these apart after a while.

1996 Fleer
Yet another full-bleed photo. But, these have grown on me too. I actually like and appreciate the fact that they are not high gloss cards. And, I guess the thing I most like about full-bleed photos is that it accentuates photography and minimalistic design -- the full-bleed forces the issuer to be a little less over the top. 

As long as your name isn't "Pacific."

David "The Incredible" Hulse. Perhaps the biggest misnomer in Chris Berman's long (now obnoxiously so) career of giving nicknames to players.  Some of his nicknames were truly inspired; others less so. This one stuck, but there was absolutely nothing incredible about Hulse, unless you consider keeping a job in the majors as a putative leadoff man with a .285 OBP incredible.  Irrational, perhaps -- but not incredible.

The final randoms:

That Brian Mallette card is numbered 91 of 100.  Mallette pitched a little bit of 2002 with the Brewers and pitched in Japan as well.  He was born in Dublin, Georgia -- a city of about 15,000 or so that is located about 45 minutes to an hour from Macon along Interstate 16. Dublin is a speed trap of some renown in Georgia, and, appropriately, Mallette's career came to an end after a season during which he was suspended for failing a drug test. "But officer, you were hiding behind that billboard!"

The Bobby Hughes card is interesting as well -- it is a 1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars card for a rookie who was 27 already. The Brewers system after Sal Bando became the GM turned into a massive maelstrom of total crap. Wasted high draft pick after wasted high draft pick became the norm. That was what led to the decade-plus of terrible baseball in Milwaukee that mercifully came to an end in the past decade.

Julie is new to the blogging scene, so all of y'all should check out her blog and trade with her. As she put it herself in her note to me:

Julie, I definitely enjoyed these cards. If you enjoy sharing, I'm sure that some other bloggers will share more Tigers with you too!


  1. Always glad to see some '96 Fleer pop up around the blogs. Very underrated set, I think.

    1. I really like it -- especially for the non-glossy finish. It's why oddballs appeal to me too -- they are different from what everyone else is doing.

  2. The Panini Prizm cards were the first unlicensed product I've purchased. Can you say "shiny things" - I was completely distracted by them. I'll be sharing the cards you sent in my next post. Thank you Tony, and thanks for sharing my blog. Julie

    1. Thank you, Julie, for the great cards. I'll admit that I was distracted by shiny non-licensed things when I bought my first cards after ending my hibernation. Mine were worse though -- the Elite Extra Edition. I found myself wondering why a guy who hit .236/.298/.321 in Single-A deserved a card at all. At least the Prizms are major leaguers, generally.

  3. I had a bunch of those 94 Select cards!

    1. Did you need them to keep warm one night? :-)