Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Was An Owl Once

Pretty much everyone in the baseball card blog world knows Night Owl. He's been around a long time -- since 2008, in fact -- and is a prolific poster as well.  It must be all that quiet time he gets being a Night Owl that allows him to be that prolific. 

But it brings me to a confession of sorts: I was an Owl for a long time -- at least 13 years, in fact. My school mascot all the way through elementary, middle, and high school was and still is an Owl. The Slinger Owls.

We've never had anyone remotely famous attend Slinger High School, as far as either I or Wikipedia can tell. I mean, we've had a couple of NCAA Division I athletes, a few college professors here and there, and a few attorneys as well. But, no one truly famous.  

I lettered in high school baseball three years at Slinger, but I wasn't really good enough to do much after high school with it. Perhaps I could have gone to a small NAIA school and tried out, but even then I'm pretty sure that I was not all that good at the sport. I mean, I was good in the "better than people at my school" sense of the word, but not in the "better than other players my age" sense of the word. 

But at least someone now has come up with a great logo and a booster club now for the team:

So, my Owl-history aside, it's time to show off the cards that Night Owl sent my way.

I think that this 1982 Topps Ted Simmons sticker started the festivities off for this envelope coming my way:

While that alone would have been great to add to my collection -- I'm quite deficient in 1980s Topps Stickers because I insisted on putting them into an album all the time -- Night Owl didn't stop there.  

He hit two player collections with some parallel majesty:

The 2012 Gallardo refractor is followed up by a 2015 Stadium Club Gold Parallel of Jonathan Lucroy.  So, now all I need are the base cards for nearly all of the Stadium Club set.  Man, I need to get cracking on that.

Night Owl also sent a great variety of cards from other years that I needed.  First off, he sent me a tough-to-find 1972 high numbered card:

This is Mike Ferraro. I could have sworn that he managed a lot longer than parts of two seasons in the 1980s -- 1983 in Cleveland and 1986 in Kansas City.  He played one season of 124 games in Milwaukee in 1972 (and 5 games in Seattle in 1969) and 33 total games with the Yankees in 1966 and 1968 and was done as a player. He went into minor league management shortly after that, and then worked his way up to being a major league coach. In 1980, he waved Willie Randolph around third to try to score him in Game 2 of the ALCS. Randolph was out, and George Steinbrenner went ape$hit on him.  Steinbrenner cleaned house after the season ended, and manager Dick Howser led Ferraro out the door.  That 1986 season in Kansas City was the year Howser died. Ferraro took over, then was let go at the end of that season.

Night Owl then sent another great early 80s oddball:

The 1983 Fleer Stamp of Pete Vuckovich (I think it's '83, at least).  Fleer stamps were so exotic to me that I don't recall ever seeing them for sale in 1983.  I may have been too busy buying stickers and putting them in albums, though.

Leaping to the 1990s:

The Listach Leaf card from 1993 means that I am a Greg Vaughn away from a complete team set.  Someday soon, I'll have to highlight some complete team sets -- perhaps as a foil to falling back on "Meet the Brewers," though I will have to do one of those soon, I think. The Seitzer card is as 1994 as a card can get. It seriously looks like the Topps card designers borrowed from Pearl Jam's liner notes for Vitalogy...

...which also came out in 1994.

So, let's leave my enjoyed youth behind, as I slowly teeter toward my mid-40s, and go back to the cards again.

Night Owl sent me some great Upper Deck efforts from the Aughties too.  Those top cards -- 2007 Upper Deck Johnny Estrada and the 2008 Baseball Heroes Bill Hill -- are nice.  The Jeff Suppan O-Pee-Chee from 2009 with its black border would be much more beautiful if it weren't Jeff Suppan, of course (I covered my Jeff Suppan dislike here before and won't repeat it).  

But let's talk just for a sec about the 2008 Documentary set. What a great concept done incredibly poorly by Upper Deck. You know the set make up -- it's basically the same photos of the same players done over and over again ad nauseum without any reference as to whether the player on the card had anything to do with the game itself.  

Wouldn't this be a great set to revive today, though, in a limited release style? As in, release a set of 200 to 250 cards, for each major league team, perhaps in box set form or online only, that chronicles each game from the previous season with a player photo tied to the actual game action.  If the team got no-hit in the game, show the player who struck out to end the game, or the starter who didn't get any support.  Then, include photos for each player who made an appearance during the season (or, to simplify matters, the top 25 players) and the manager and coaching staffs.  I'd buy a Brewers set like that.  And who among us team collectors wouldn't buy our team's offering?

But I digress, because Night Owl sent me one final shiny card:

That's a Shaun Marcum refractor from 2012 Topps Chrome with a painted-on Brewers outfit. It reminds me of the paean to the airbrushers of the 1977 Topps set that Night Owl wrote recently.

Finally.... Duran Duran's weird "Thank You" album. Thanks, Night Owl, for the great cards and the randomness embodied in this blog post.


  1. I couldn't get five seconds into this post without laughing after reading the title and immediately thinking of

    1. Now I'm going to say "We're owl exterminators" all day.

  2. I must find a way to incorporate that owl logo into my blog/business cards/life.

    1. So, N.B.: it appears that my alma mater stole that wonderful Owl logo from the Orem Owls, a Pioneer League affiliate of the California Angels!

  3. The Pirates only had Jeff Suppan for half a season, but it was probably the best half of his career.