Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Best Customs Around

Today is both my birthday and a very special end of the year, not-on-the-normal-date card show. So, for me to write a post about something else take some doing. 

And yet, this post is well overdue. Many folks have been seeing the fantastic custom cards that Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown sprinkled around the blog world. Gavin sent a bunch of other cards -- including my very special Lamarr Hoyt serial numbered 1 of 12 Christmas ornament -- but the custom card is the only one I'm going to highlight today. I was one of the lucky recipients of a custom card:


If you haven't noticed, I changed my avatar both here on Blogger and on Twitter to this awesome photo of Robin Yount in the past month. I remember this day extremely well, in fact. 

On October 21, 1982 -- a Thursday (I had to look that up) -- the Brewers were welcomed back to Milwaukee on the day after losing the incredibly disappointing Game 7 on a Wednesday night in St. Louis. Yes, they played Game 7 on a Wednesday. Nearly 100,000 people lined Wisconsin Avenue to watch the Brewers ride in open-top antique convertibles from downtown to Milwaukee County Stadium.

Gorman Thomas shakes hands while smoking a big cigar
The parade ended at Milwaukee County Stadium. It was there that the cars drove the players into the stadium on the warning track. Yount disappeared into the dugout -- I don't remember seeing him leave the dais on the infield, but the Milwaukee Sentinel story from October 22 mentions it.

Yount then came out on of the same opening where all the card had entered and, to take the words from the Sentinel, "he emerged . . . looking like a model in an ad for men's cologne with his hair pushed back by the wind, a leather jacket on and sunglasses firmly in place."

I was a lucky 10-year-old kid. My mom let me skip school that day and drove me the 30 miles to Milwaukee County Stadium to join around 10,000 other fans at the stadium to see this. We got to see the players speak, to see Bud Selig hiding his tears of joy behind his sunglasses, and to see the usual politicians glomming on to any kind of winner they could. As the newspaper mentioned, Governor Lee Dreyfus, Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier, and Milwaukee County Executive William O'Donnell "were the only ones booed this day."

As a crowd, we chanted for Harvey Kuenn to speak. Harvey was our local hero still, and we wanted him to get his plaudits. He too was on the verge of tears, telling the assembled that "This is the most fantastic thing that has ever happened -- anywhere, anyplace. Yet, there is only one place this could happen. In Milwaukee."

Bud Selig promised that day that the team would be back to the World Series "again and again and again." That, obviously, didn't happen. The team hasn't been back to the World Series since 1982, and it won't be back for a number of years to come in all likelihood. 

But, it's not often that a card captures the spirit of a day -- one that makes a man now 44 years old today feel like a 10-year-old again.

It is a little sad to me that these photos are all in black and white. My world that day was full of color, and sound, and excitement, and these photos make it look a bit dreary.  Still, it was a day that I'll never forget.

Thank you, Gavin, for the trip down memory lane and for making me feel like a kid today.


  1. And this is why we collect baseball cards - to capture and savor memories like this one. Well done Gavin!

  2. What a card, and so cool that you've got that personal connection to the event. Awesome stuff!

  3. Happy birthday and my usual reminder that you live in a mystical magical card world with a card show 2 days after Christmas. Wow.

  4. Happy birthday, Tony! Gavin is sure getting a lot of deserved pub for these awesome customs. Looks like he hooked you up with the right one.

  5. Glad you like, Tony! When I saw that motorcycle photo, I knew it'd make a badass card. Making customs is a lot of fun for me, and it's a great feeling when I can whip up something that connects with somebody, and of course it's extra special when it's a trader buddy who really appreciates it.