Saturday, May 30, 2015

Perhaps This Year is The Year?

Before King Bud decided to relive his childhood by forcing the Milwaukee Brewers to switch to the National League back in late 1997, I actually cheered for the Chicago Cubs as my National League team thanks to my aunt, my uncle, and my cousin from Chicago loving the Cubs.  I even attended a game there in 1984 and cheered for the Cubs. 

In those days before interleague play, Brewers fans really didn't mind the Cubs, I don't think. In fact, if you'd have asked me in, say, 1989 to name the three teams I hated the most, my answers would have been easy.  Number three would have been the St. Louis Cardinals. 1982 took a long time to get over.  Number two would have been the New York Yankees. 1981 also took a long time to get over.  Number one, though, would have easily been the Chicago White Sox. 

Going to a White Sox/Brewers game at either stadium was akin to taking your life in your own hands. I've seen mosh pits at concerts that weren't as physically intimidating or as harrowing as sitting in the bleachers at County Stadium for a Friday night game between those two teams. You mix a day of tailgating with full stands and throw in, perhaps, some heat and humidity if the game was in July or early August, and it was like a tinderbox. Dozens to sometime hundreds of arrests would occur.  Seriously, it was dangerous at times.

I know that the 17 years of being in the National League in the same division as the Cubs and not often playing the White Sox has changed the dynamic in Milwaukee.  Cubs fans are viewed as obnoxious -- which they can be, but so can every single fan base of every single team on the planet in some way.  I still carry that soft spot in my heart for the Cubs, though.

That's a long way of introducing Eddie Vedder's paean to being a Cubs fan to honor the envelope of incredible items from Tom at Waiting 'til Next Year.

In that video -- an excellent HD-quality video from the Pearl Jam show at Wrigley in July of 2013 -- Eddie Vedder explains that he wrote the song "All the Way" because Ernie Banks asked him to do it.  Eddie thought that the idea of writing a song to try to capture the feeling of being a Cubs fan was impossible, but since it was Ernie Banks asking, Eddie has to do it.

I view trying to thank Tom for the excellent cards he sent as being impossible, but I have to try.  Let's start with a card that I'm still trying to identify with a bit more specificity other than simply them being "Brewers cards."

So, I think these are cards from a Brewers yearbook or program. I based that on the fact that they are slightly oversized in a size similar to the Brewers yearbook cards from 1989 and 1990, and they are perforated on the edges again in a manner similar to the yearbook cards from 1989 and 1990.  For the obvious reason of this being the '82 Anniversary Collection, the cards must be from either 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, or 2012.  But, I don't know which year.  

If I had to guess, I'd imagine it was 1992 for a couple of reasons -- card stock quality isn't great, the close proximity in time to the previous yearbook cards, and the fact that the Brewer name is both so huge across the card and reflects the new home jersey look for that year, which is circled below:

But, as the Violent Femmes said, "This is only a guess."

Okay, back to the Brewers now. Not only did Tom find those cards for me, he also helped fill in some more recent gaps -- such as 2015 Bowman:

So, that's a base card of Jason Rogers, who's Adam Lind's platoon partner currently, a Yellow parallel of top prospect Orlando Arcia, a "Farm's Finest Mini" of last year's #1 pick Kodi Medeiros, and Taylor Williams (who hasn't pitched this year due to arm problems) on the Prospects Chrome parallel.

Another item from 2015 also arrived with this envelope, but it's not a card:

Of course, it was slot right into the Lucroy collection in my binders, but this is a schedule.  I love schedules that show real Brewers player photos on them!

If Tom had stopped there, it would have been an incredibly generous package.  But he didn't stop there. But, nope, there's more. 

Super-vintage Kellogg's! That's Bill Parsons on a 1972 Kellogg's card!  Parsons was a true prospect -- well, as much of a prospect as a pitcher can be -- for the Pilots (drafted in the 1968 draft in the 7th round).  He was tall and thin -- 6 feet, 6 inches tall but just 195 pounds. He tore through the system quickly. The Brewers jumped him from the Single-A Midwest League in 1969 to Triple-A Portland in 1970, which they had to do to keep promoting him since none of the new 1969 teams (the Royals, the Expos, the Padres, or the Pilots/Brewers) had Double-A teams that year. 

The thing is, Parsons only pitched in 4 games that year before missing the rest of the season.  Despite that, as a 22-year-old rookie in 1971, the Brewers put him on the mound for 36 games (35 starts) and 12 complete games over 244-2/3 innings.  He finished 13-17 with a 3.20 ERA, which was good enough to have him finish second behind Chris Chambliss for Rookie of the Year honors (and Parsons deserved to win it according to WAR).  And yet, two years later, the Brewers traded him to Oakland for Deron Johnson, and after the 1974 season -- at just 26 years old -- Parsons was done in the majors.

And yet, even a 1972 Kellogg's card is not the topper.  You see, a few months ago, I sent Tom a Ryne Sandberg Topps Tribute Blank Bank 1/1 that I bought last year on eBay for a price far below what I thought it should have sold for. Tom's a Ryno collector, so that card belongs in his collection.

In return, Tom asked me what he could possibly send me to repay me for that card in light of the fact that he would be going to a card show in Milwaukee in May.  I told him, well, if you really feel like you need to look for something there for me, look for non-Milwaukee-Police Police cards.  

When this package showed up from Tom, the first thing to pop out was a note apologizing -- saying that the card show was a huge bust.   But how could the show be a bust when you found these, Tom?

From the Wauwatosa Police Department and the Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Service, it's your 2007 Milwaukee Brewers!  Even though the full set came in a shrink wrapped package, I had to rip that package open immediately to flip through them.  These are excellent!

And yet, there is still one more item.  In his note, Tom said he went to a Brewers game and played Plinko at the stadium on one of the concourses and won something for me.  I didn't realize that the Brewers now feature parts of the set from the Price is Right, but I am not questioning this win:

It's a Ben Oglivie bobblehead from 2007 2014 (oops!)!  That is awesome!  

Tom, thank you so much for the incredible cards, the bobblehead, and all the thought that went into this box!

Tomorrow, it's back to war...hopefully, I will continue to play better against JBF than this former Auburn quarterback ever could:

In the season in which Gross played the most -- 1998 -- the Auburn Tigers went 3-8 and Coach Terry Bowden a/k/a Tater Tot was fired before Halloween.  Gross is lucky he was a far better baseball player than he was a quarterback.

Let's hope I don't get sacked.


  1. The powder blue uni on the Ben Oglivie bobblehead is just fantastic!
    I asked the vendor about the over-sized anniversary Brewers and he didn't have an answer. I also asked if had the Molitor or Yount and he said he sold the others long ago. Bummer.

    FYI, we saw a huge fight in the section over from us the first night we attended a game. (I guess it isn't just a Brewers/White Sox thing.) Two innings later a wedding proposal came out of the same section just two rows up. That was kind of neat. The next day our seats were in that section and they were covered in dried, sticky soda from the previous day's melee. Hehe. Fun at the ol' ballpark!

    1. Yeah, now I fear that it is a Milwaukee/Chicago thing. When the Bears and Packers play, there are always a bunch of arrests as well. I mean, I'm just happy that there isn't an NHL team in Milwaukee. Imagine hockey fights in the stands? That would get seriously ugly!

  2. That's a great group of cards right there. Tom went to town on those oddballs.

    (And I can get behind any post with a Violent Femmes mention.)