But, in between monsters arriving in Georgia, I received a stuffed envelope from Mark filled with Brewers. Mark was kind enough to send these cards my way -- perhaps partially in thanks for my research skills in chasing down his Mike Piazza 1999 Fleer Tradition kite. Mark sent me a number of cards that I needed for player collections along with a couple of minor league cards too.
Let's start with those minor leaguers:
Matt LaPorta might be a familiar name to baseball fans for being part of the trade that brought CC Sabathia to Milwaukee just prior to his free agency. The Brewers pretty much knew that Sabathia wasn't signing with them, so they abused the living hell out of his arm -- and why not? No need to worry about the future if the future for the pitcher did not include the Brewers. LaPorta is pictured here with the Helena (Montana) Brewers.
Mike Farrell was an undrafted free agent out of Indiana State University who made it all the way to Triple-A New Orleans in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996. He never struck out enough guys to make it past Triple-A, though. After his playing career, the Brewers signed him on as a scout as soon as his playing career ended in 1998, and he is credited with signing two players who made it to the major leagues -- Eric Fryer (who played 28 games with Minnesota last year) and Mitch Stetter (who last pitched in the major leagues in 2011 with Milwaukee).
Beyond the minor leaguers, Mark also sent me three Ryan Braun cards that I did not have. For whatever reason, 2009 seems to be a dead zone for me. I never find cards from 2009 at the card shows -- 2010 to the present, sure...2008 and before, yup, those too...but not 2009. So all three of these were greatly appreciated:
Some guys seem to have the same photo on every card. Like the Braun "puffed out cheeks in his swing follow-through" photos above, it seems like Dave Nilsson is always looking up at something:
Unless, of course, he's looking down to try to block the plate.
Apropos for Nilsson being an Aussie, here's a photo of some kangaroos from, yes, 2009.
|Yes, I took this photo.|
Anyway, Mark Kaz didn't send me to Australia, but these cards took me there.
Back to the USA for a few more cards that scream "1990s".
Why do these cards scream, "1990s"? Vaughn with the hat backwards, for example, reminds me of the joke we had about the Vanderbilt frat boy uniform in 1990: blue shirt, khaki pants, navy blazer, yellow tie, and backward dirty white hat with a Milwaukee's Best Light in his hand. Of course, Vaughn would not have fit in that well with that frat boy look because, well, Vanderbilt was 92% white at that time.
B.J. Surhoff would have fit in at Vanderbilt, other than not having a name that sounds like two last names. You know, like Walker Buehler or Dansby Swanson or Carson Fulmer -- all first round MLB Draft picks from Vanderbilt this year.
And, to close out, nothing says the 1990s quite like 1995 Fleer or a Pinnacle card of any kind. Yes, I realize Panini resurrects 1990s brands from time to time like a lurching middle-aged man revisiting his Vanderbilt 1990s frat days -- and it usually comes off similarly. It starts kind of fun -- everyone's having a good time, people overlook the flaws for a little while...then it starts going wrong. No logos for Panini or too much Scotch for Vandy Frat Guy starts wearing on the folks around them. Panini throws in 84 different parallels, Vandy Frat Guy starts thinking he can pick up like his 19 again -- and it all goes off the rails.
And, wow, where the hell did that stream of consciousness come from.
Mark -- please ignore my vacant stares and accept my sincerest thanks for these great cards and all the other cards you sent to me. I have your address now, and I have the URL for your Zistle Wantlist, so I will be returning the favor soon.