Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gavin, Here's Your Long-Distance Dedication

Everyone knows Gavin. If you don't know Gavin -- the owner/operator/magician in charge of Baseball Card Breakdown -- well, you should start reading his blog before mine. Gavin is inventive, imaginative, and excellent with using his computer's Photoshop abilities to create some of the best, most desired custom cards around. Sure, Bob Lemke has his, and he does a great job. But, he also charges like $15 a card to get them. Gavin is such a good dude that he just gives them away.

Like this one:

Gavin wrote on the back of this card-that-never-was of the late Lyman Bostock -- shot dead in Gary, Indiana, in 1978 in September of his age 27 season. Bostock might not have been a future Hall of Famer, but he was a very good player. The 6-year-old me didn't understand how a baseball player could be killed, though I knew what that meant by that point in my life. So, it was really weird to see a Bostock 1981 Topps cards. Very weird.

But, on the back, Gavin said he hoped that I needed some cards he sent. And, honestly for the first time, I've gotten a suggestion as to the artists I should use for these cards. 

Well, Gavin, here's your long-distance dedication:

You might not want to listen to that at work. Casey gets a little bit frosty on that dedication.

So, let's take a look at what Gavin sent, with a few songs per Gavin's requests thrown in!

Caribbean Queen

There's a lot of unsettling stuff in that video. First, Billy Ocean looks like way too much like Darryl Jenks, Eddie Murphy's foil and competition for love in the movie Coming to America.

Second, that girl Billy's singing about in the video looks 14 years old at the beginning. Finally, what is with all the crappy sound effects in that song? The lasers, the breaking glass, a laugh at the beginning that sounds like Vincent Price -- I mean, all it's missing is one of those little "bomb" sound key chains that were fun for about 12 minutes in 1988.

What fits this song? Please don't throw things at me...

K-Rod's from Venezuela (Caracas), and I'm very happy he's no longer a Brewer. K-Rod should learn from this song and learn to treat the women in his life like queens rather than hitting and kicking the 23-year-old mother of his child (as he did in 2012, which he got out of by shipping her back to their native Venezuela).

Let's move on to something happier.


I am an admitted Anglophile. This song was a huge favorite of mine in 1985. I was a huge Chris Adams fan back then, and this song got used for a montage on World Class Championship Wrestling for WCCW:

Wow, now that brings back some weird memories.  My guy Adams is shown completely whiffing -- but getting the benefit of a great sell -- on a superkick at the 1:12 mark. I think he hit the guy's mullet, maybe. Adams shows up again at 1:32 against the Great Kabuki. The fact that I remember the Great Kabuki scares me.  Let's look at cards...

Jeromy Burnitz isn't exactly Chris Adams, and Nori Aoki isn't the Great Kabuki, either. But the two Gold Label are pretty awesome, and I'm instinctively drawn to red cards, I think...even Panini Prizm.

Everybody Wants to Rule The World

One thing I've noticed from these first three videos is how oddly...normal Billy Ocean and Tears for Fears dressed for their videos. I mean, it's just a salmon-colored polo shirt there. Sure, he's got a wicked rat-tail driving in that little convertible in that weird black and white jacket, but otherwise, it's just normal.

In the interest of normal, I present Bowman. Sure, any group of cards that includes a guy named Callix Crabbe can't be all normal, but these cards are pretty straight forward.


Yeah, damned if I know what some post-apocalyptic Star Wars rip off has to do with either Billy Ocean or the song "Lover Boy." I mean, I found this ridiculousness by Googling "Weirdest Billy Ocean Song." A person called Olivia Collette named this "The most weird-ass music video of the '80s." As she says on that blog, "I'm still not sure why George Lucas didn't sue."

Cards to go with this?

So, there's an Eddie Mathews Diamond King, which could easily be claimed to show him playing softball in Milwaukee with that black hat. Next, there's a 4x6 photo of Robin Yount. But, it's not just any photo of Robin Yount.  Thanks to Google Images, I can confirm that:

It is the photo of Robin's 3000th hit complete with a facsimile autograph. Jumping to the bottom, we have the first two ever cards found of the secret 1990 Donruss Confidential set. Sorry, gents, this set is rarer than those "Aqueous Test" set. As best we can tell, Brock and Spiers -- who went by Billy for about as long as it took him to hit puberty -- are the only two cards in the set.  Going back to the middle, now, there is an awesome Monte Harrison Bowman Mini serial numbered to 250.

And, one of the highlights of the package is the awesome Hank Aaron Jacksonville Braves custom -- which is also based on a real photo of the Hammer:

Sowing the Seeds of Love

I sort of stopped listening to Tears for Fears around this time. It came out in 1989, and by that time I had cast my lot for a while with a weird melange of metal, some dance stuff, and rap. When I was in high school, that all made sense. Sure, Tone Loc followed by Guns N Roses into Soul II Soul. Why not?

To be fair, this is a pretty good song -- even with the rare sighting of a trumpet/bugle solo in a pop song. And, there's only so much Billy Ocean that I can handle before I turn back to that Lover Boy video and scream in dismay and misunderstanding.

So, there are two more cards that Gavin sent:

The Sexson 2003 Bowman confuses me. Did it come in this casing originally? If so, why? It's serial numbered to 250, which is still reasonably plentiful to be cased in Topps-provided plastic. Any help there?

Finally, there's a Stadium Club Gold Parallel of Jonathan Lucroy. Luc is quickly becoming the player whose cards I'm chasing most these days -- I guess because he's still with the team, he's a catcher, he's a good player, and he's one of about three guys on the team whose name I recognize. 

Gavin, thank you very much for the great cards! And, since you asked for songs from both artists, here's one last Billy Ocean song to keep you going.


  1. I like that Yount hopped into his 3000th hit

  2. I've often called for card companies to produce more Lyman Bostock's good to know that Gavin is on it.

  3. I like the song selection.. Being in Canada I never saw WCCW. Where I was we had WWF, WCW, AWA (briefly), and Stampede (again, briefly)

  4. I loved 'Gentleman' Chris Adams and the VonErichs! As for the encapsulated Bowman, Topps inserted codes to be redeemed for 'uncirculated' cards back in the early 2000's. I think it's one of those.

  5. Exquisite!

    My next post will be my Lyman Bostock post. Stay tuned! That card I gave you isn't really a card, though.. let's call it a "prototype."

    Glad to see "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" made it into the post. I've got a memory of hearing that song play while skating in a rollerrink as a kid and it was like my first experience of like "wow.. music!"

    As for the encased Sexson.. Bowman cards in 2003 and thereabouts came with one encased/numbered card per hobby box. I bought a box a few months ago and pulled that one myself.

    Next tradepost, we need to work in "Get Out of My Dreams (And Into My Car)" somewhere.

    Thanks again for the trade, Tony!

    1. It came down to "Get Out of My Dreams" and "When the Going Gets Tough" for that last spot. I couldn't turn down a chance to showcase Danny DeVito's dance moves.

      Just send me a cool, needed Chuck Carr Brewers card, though, and your wish is my command. :-)

  6. As the operator of the 1985 Topps blog I'd like to thank you for taking me back to 1985. It was nothing but Billy Ocean and Tears for Fears that year (Loverboy was played so often I wanted to knife someone).

    Also, fun fact: the now retired but legendary college hockey coach in my area, known for his profane tirades, once had "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" as his ring tone.

  7. I miss watching Richie Sexson pulverize baseballs. He was one of the better batting practice heroes I've ever seen. Guy could flat out mash.