Monday, July 20, 2015

Cards from the Water City

According to the Collections of the Minneapolis Historical Society from way back in 1910 (as linked on Wikipedia, but at least this source is still online to read it), the city of Minneapolis got its name as a bit of a compromise. Originally, the Hennepin County Commissioners wanted to call the city Albion (a word of questionable origin but probably meaning "white" and eventually latinized to "Albany"). A certain Colonel John H. Stevens suggested compounding "Minnehaha" with "Polis" somehow.  

The assembled worked their way through the permutations before settling on "Minneapolis". The "Mni" part that we say as "mini" came is a Dakota (Sioux) word meaning water with, of course, the Greek "polis" that shows up in a number of different city names.  Thus, these cards arrived from said "Water City" when Brian from Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary sent these cards my way.

"Why yes, I'll take tortured introductions for $1000, Alex!"

Brian was kind enough to wander his way through my want lists -- which are getting closer and closer to being complete! -- and fill some holes and, at the same time, send me some oddballs.  Oddballs make me very happy. I am an oddball, so that makes sense.

So, let's start with the want-list fillers first:


Pitching in the bullpen appears to take its toll on a man.  Apparently, though, bullpen pitchers need not cut their hair.  That is one wicked mullet on the 2013 version of the Ax.

Due to the random nature in which I got back into the hobby last year -- ripping repacked wax like it was going out of style, which led to a lot of random Opening Day packs -- I did not realize that I needed that Segura or that Fielder until I went about putting my want lists together. The want lists focus on base cards, but base cards weren't the only thing that Brian sent my way:

That's the Dave Nilsson silver signature Collector's Choice, the Silver Braun Chipz, and two of those foily things from this year's flagship set.  

And if Brian had stopped with those cards, it would have been a great, fruitful, well-worth-it, awesome envelope.  But then, he took it up a few levels:

It starts with the "First Home Run" Manu-Relic from this year's Topps Flagship. This is a very cool embedded coin card, though I'll admit it -- I'd rather that Topps took the time to go 2 players deeper in the base flagship set than include stuff like this in packs and blasters. But man, it's a gorgeous looking manu-relic.

Odd.  Larry Hisle spent five years in Milwaukee and five years in Minnesota after four in Philadelphia. But, one would think that TCMA might have tried harder to find a photo of Hisle as a Twin for its All-Time Twins set. I mean, I know they didn't have Google Image search available to them back in the 1980s, but come on -- there are plenty Hisle photos from his Twins days.

That said, Larry Hisle is a guy that any one of us should want to be when we grow up. Back about four years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a long-form story about Hisle's work with disadvantaged boys in the Milwaukee area -- how Hisle -- having grown up poor himself, having lost his father to a brain hemorrhage as a young boy, and then losing his mother to a kidney infection at the age of ten -- plowed his feelings of loss into working harder and harder on the baseball field. When a rotator cuff injury destroyed his career in 1979, he felt cheated out of what might have been with his career. But now, he spends his time mentoring literally hundreds of kids in Milwaukee, and he does it because he wants to help. Not for headlines. Not for money. Because he wants to help.

The man is incredible -- more than words can describe.

After that little interlude, it feels a little weird to talk about a card that came with pizzas. I've always loved Tombstone Pizza, though -- it's from Medford, Wisconsin, and it just tastes better than most frozen pizzas. 

But I never got a Kevin Seitzer card with one.

Going from pizza to a guy that a couple of folks on the MLB Network called one of the greatest players in the post-1970 baseball world -- one put him as the best centerfielder, the other as the best shortstop -- we have this "Cartwrights Magazine" insert called Future Hall of Famers. Cartwrights Magazine called itself the "Journal of Baseball Collectibles."  

Was that peer reviewed?

Trust me, though, this is a very welcome addition.  But, it's not the greatest thing that Brian sent to me.

This is:

This is a porcelain card from some time between 1993 and 2003 from R&N China Co., Inc. in Carrollton, Ohio. It's hand-numbered and everything! I wonder if that is a "52546 out of 100000" type thing, or what.  

Frankly, despite a couple of helpful blog posts from the wayback machine -- a 2010 post from Clyde's Stale Cards, a 2010 post from Collecting the Cubs, and a 2012 post from the Lifetime Topps Project -- I can't seem to find any reference to a porcelain version of this 1979 Topps Paul Molitor card. Yes, he appears in the Danbury Mint's "Hall Bound" Porcelain set from 1998, but that is not this card.  To be fair, none of the bloggers I've linked to above claimed to be comprehensive, but it seems just weird to find something like this.

Still, it does put a song into my head:

Man, I really liked Better Than Ezra in the late 1990s. Saw them at the 40 Watt in Athens for like $8, and it was the first time I went to a show and was so impressed with a band's new songs that I went out and bought the CD the next day.  Considering I was not a rich man -- I was a poor law student living on loans -- that's saying something.

Brian, thank you very much for the fantastic package of cards and for the great head scratcher that the Molitor card is!


  1. Love that porcelain card and the tombstone

  2. You went and dropped an Alice Cooper-like intro (you know, his appearance in Wayne's World when he was telling the boys about...Milwaukee). Great cards!

  3. Minneapolitans refer to Minneapolis as the "City of Lakes" There was a big hub-bub at the city council earlier this year when the city's logo was streamlined from two sailboats to just one...

  4. I remember an old Weekend Update when Norm Mcdonald was on SNL. "Better than Ezra takes over the Billboard number 1 spot from.......Ezra.

    Great stuff from Brian.

  5. Great stuff. Whenever I see a Larry Hisle card I want to start talking in the Snoop Dogg Izzle speak. Hisle my bizzle tizzle grizzle contizzle, forrizzle!