Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Marking a Milestone: Post #500

I know I sort of did a "state of the blog" post back when I hit my two-year anniversary of blogging. Doing another retrospective so soon after that for post #500 would be a bit lazy, I think. Heck, I even did a bit of a look ahead in that post to try to set some goals.

Nope. Can't do another retrospective.

Also, it would be a little anticlimactic to do a straightforward trade post. I have a bunch to get through thanks to the generosity of SuperTraders and non-SuperTraders alike, but I feel like I need something a little bit more than just that. 

So, what to do? What to do?

I'm actually going to try to do something I have never done before: identify my five favorite oddball Brewers cards or sets. After all, I love oddballs. I love the Brewers. Add them together, and you have what I love in baseball cards!

One rule: the set can only be composed of Brewers players. So, no Kellogg's, Hostess, or Jays Potato Chips discs, even though I do love those cards.

One more thing: it has to have music, right? Yes. It must.

#5: 1985 Gardner's Bakery/Topps Milwaukee Brewers

The colors pop. The design reminds me of a 1980s version of the 1955 Bowman set. All of the cards are horizontal. The only letdown is that the 1985 team was not all that good. 

Still, 1985 was a pretty good year generally. It was the year that saw the team welcome a Mexican lefty to the fold in Ted Higuera. It was Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers's final year in the major leagues, and it was a year that I got to attend a pretty good number of Brewers games thanks to the "Brewers Pepsi Fan Club" and the still reasonably priced tickets.

It was a year that I paid attention to music a lot too, especially this classic by Dire Straits:

#4: 1982 Milwaukee Brewers Police

The first Brewers Police set, which got me to convince my mother that we had to go to that game in May of 1982. Buck Rodgers was still the manager of the team at that time.  It was a team that was playing listlessly, underperforming and playing tightly. It was a team that needed to loosen up, because it was a veteran team. 

It took Harvey Kuenn taking over the reins and basically saying, "let's just have fun and play ball, boys" for the team to start performing the way people expected. I went to several more games that season, including Game 3 of the ALCS and Game 5 of the World Series. We felt utterly over our station financially because we had to pay the king's ransom of $10 (the equivalent today of $25.16) for a Standing Room ticket for that World Series game. 

1982 was also the year that I first won something in a radio call-in contest. Well, to be fair, it was the first luck-based contest that I'd ever won. I was caller #7 one Saturday morning, and my prize was the full 33-1/3 RPM album Rio by Duran Duran. So, I remember the song "Hungry Like The Wolf" with happiness.

#3 2000 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Brewers All-Decades Teams

This is a set that I've caught up with after getting back into collecting. In 2000, the local Milwaukee paper -- the Journal Sentinel -- used internet voting to allow fans to vote on their teams of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. It is a well-designed set with good, contemporaneous photograph (meaning that 1970s Robin Yount is a teenager and 1990s Robin Yount is a middle-aged man) and even a little gold foil too. 

I quite like them.

The year 2000 saw me having a great job with a good law firm and having more money than I had ever had in my life. As any mid-to-late-20s man who is single and has too much money would do, I blew a lot of it on liquor. 

That differs from today because I'm married and I don't have too much money because I'm married.

Going back to 2000, though, the song Kryptonite brings back a very specific memory for me. I was on a business trip with a young partner at my law firm whom I drank a lot with and hung out with. He and I were in New Orleans for a document review, so we had to have some fun. So, what I recall specifically was a very cute stripper dancing to this song doing a dance for me purchased for me by the partner (he had his own dancer). Seriously, I can't think of this song without thinking of being in a strip club in New Orleans. That same night, we randomly happened to run into Steve McNair in our hotel as he was in town for Essence Festival or something like that.

Strange days indeed.

#2 1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers

Yes, these last two may seem a bit predictable. But I love the 1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers for being the very first set of the MILWAUKEE team in the American League and not the Seattle Pilots. Some of the drawings look more like the result of a courtroom sketch artist rather than someone actually trying to draw the players -- like this Tommy Harper.

This song doesn't really have any memory from 1970 for me, since I wasn't born until the end of 1971. But, it reminds me of college a lot. I had a good friend in college (he's still a friend, and he lives in Atlanta as I do, but life gets in the way for us and we don't see each other much) who really liked CCR and a lot of other random music. For whatever reason, it allowed me the freedom to like the music without caring if it is "cool" -- it seemed cool because my friend and I both liked it. So, I still like it, though I don't listen all that frequently to it.

#1 1994-1995 Miller Milwaukee Brewers

This was an easy selection as number 1, at least until the Brewers do a complete 50th anniversary or commemorative set in 2020 to mirror the one that came out in the 1994/1995 season to commemorate 25 seasons in Milwaukee for the Brewers. I, for one, would welcome that comprehensive 2020 commemorative set because it will be the only way for me to ever get cards of probably 30% of the Brewers that played for the team in the past 20 years.

"Snoop Doggy Dogg needs to get himself a jobby job."

I love that line, and this song is a classic from 1994's charts to go with it. Snoop had his real fastball in this song. He's been working as a junkballer for so long that it's sometimes tough to remember these 98 MPH zingers.

Special bonus #1: Favorite Custom Card

Again, this is probably no surprise if you can recall the emotions that this custom card from Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown stirred in me -- once again taking me back to 1982 in a way that only a photo of a specific event that I remember well could possibly do.

No music for this one though -- only the warm feeling of it being 45 degrees, sunny, and the future looking fantastically bright for my favorite team.

Special Bonus #2: Favorite Card Since Returning to Collecting

Maybe this is a surprise, and maybe it is not. I love the celebration on Jonathan Lucroy's 2014 Topps card -- so much so that I have 17 different versions of it including the pink bordered version serial numbered 49 of 50 in that lower right hand corner. As you can see, though, there are plenty of other variations that I am still trying to find.

What do I need?

Well, Lucroy was not in the Opening Day set that year, so what I need are:

Mini Gold, Mini Pink, Mini Black, Mini Printing Plates, Mini Platinum 

Chrome Blue Refractor, Black Refractor, Gold Refractor, Red Refractor, Atomic Refractor, SuperFractor, Printing Plates

Base Parallels: Yellow, Black, Clear, Platinum, and Printing Plates

That's an awful lot of 1/1 cards, certainly, so I know I'll never completely Luc out. 

And music to go with this?

I like the song, and, well, if "Team" doesn't express what that Lucroy card is all about, I don't know what does.

Thanks for putting up with my often self-indulgent writing for 500 posts. Here's to many more trades, many more posts, and a lot more fun. Once it's not fun, I'm done. But it's a lot of fun for me to write these, to look up music, and to be creative.

It entertains me. And, if it entertains you even once every 10 posts, well, that makes me feel good too.



  1. Congrats on 500 posts, Tony! Let's call the envelope I just dropped in the mail for you today a congratulatory PWE. :)

  2. Man those Top 2 are great. Gavin's custom is top notch as usual.

  3. Man those Top 2 are great. Gavin's custom is top notch as usual.

  4. Kudos on the 500!
    "so I know I'll never completely Luc out" Very nice word play on that one!

  5. Congratulations on the milestone post!

  6. Congrats on numbah 500, buddy!
    A most excellent solution to what to post about. Great reading and great songs. Back in the days, I could not get enough of Money for nothing and Kryptonite.
    I did however, hear way too much of Rio.

  7. Congratulations on your 500th post

  8. Congratulations on 500!

    I've always liked the Topps/Gardner's sets, just because they're so "Topps-y" without being regular Topps sets.

  9. Congrats my friend! Thanks to you I have a very nice oddball collection myself.

  10. Wowsers Congrats on 500 and love the Lucroy set (?). Keep going on that Hope you find 'em all (Pokémon?/ Lucroy-emon?).

  11. WOW 500 all ready??!!! I have to agree as a fellow cheesehead that all those sets are pretty great. The Miller Lite set is one I've been looking to hunt down. So huge and so many cards with the players only card as a Brewer. Perhaps Miller and the Brewers will make a part 2 and continue where they left off in 1994. And that's a great Lucbow you got going on there hopefully he sticks around this year.

  12. Congrats on 500 posts! Nice to see that Yount custom make an appearance. That really is an awesome photo.

  13. I don't find your posts self-indulgent at all! I enjoy your stories. I also want Fingers and Molitor for my collection. Esp Pauly, such a youthful image! Congrats on 500. Let's see, that should take me about another 6-7 years. Yikers!

  14. Congrats on #500 Tony!! I'll see you at 1000