I promise -- really, I do.
Everyone's favorite Cleveland Browns collector -- likely because he is the only Cleveland Browns collector -- is Angus from Dawg Day Cards. Angus has been sending me cards regularly for nearly the past year now. I've sent him a few Cleveland Browns cards here and there, but it has been nowhere near an equal flow back to his post office box in New York.
And yet, the guy keeps on giving.
In the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, this card popped up in my mailbox:
You're right, Angus -- I know it wasn't that you were late. It's that you were thinking of me and cushioning the blow of another year on the odometer.
To be fair, the cards that accompanied this card were well worth it.
Angus knows my love of oddballs, so these cards hit the spot.
It's so yellow. It appears that this card from 1981 -- showcasing the veteran of 7 full major league seasons at the age of 25 going into that year -- shows Yount with a big ole wad of chaw in his cheek. That wouldn't surprise me -- a lot of guys in the early 1980s chewed tobacco. But, I don't know that I can recall any more than one or two other photos tops that had him with the massive wad in his cheek. He might have put a pinch between his cheek and gums, but not a huge slab of Red Man. Not usually.
Angus also sent two oddballs from a few years earlier -- this excellent Gary Carter Hostess card from 1977:
Before this, I already owned the Twinkies version of this card -- stained by Twinkies 39 years ago. Now, I own a clean, not yellowed or greased up version.
The other Hostess card is a nice condition upgrade over my previous copy of this card:
My previous copy was itself a condition upgrade, but it had a crease on it. This one is trimmed well and is in generally perfect condition.
The final card, well, it's just a pretty piece of cardboard that I think was printed at some point in the mid-1950s:
A Del Crandall Exhibits card! Crandall today is barely remembered, but in his day he was considered one of the best catchers in the game. On his debut, he was the youngest starting catcher in baseball history -- see, SABR said that is true so it must be -- when he caught for the Boston Braves in 1949 at the age of 19 years and 3+ months. He was the runner up in the 1949 Rookie of the Year race behind Don Newcombe...but let's be honest: the three votes that Crandall got were probably from some racist sportswriters because Crandall played in only 67 games that season and hit .263/.291/.368 with 4 HRs, 2 SB, and just 9 BB in 239 plate appearances.
Crandall lost his age 21 and 22 seasons to his service in the military during the Korean War, likely depriving him of two additional excellent seasons.
He was an 11-time All-Star and a 4-time Gold Glove winner who then was traded by the Braves after the 1963 season because Crandall had been supplanted by Joe Torre.
Crandall went on to become a manager, taking over as the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1972 through 1975. Perhaps it was his own experience as a 19-year-old rookie that led him to agree in 1974 to start the season with an 18-year-old barely out of A-ball named Robin Yount at shortstop.
Angus, thank you for the birthday cheers once more!