In the two-and-a-half centuries since Edmund Hoyle lived, his name has become synonymous with card games and gambling -- so much so that Hoyle is a trademarked name of the U.S. Playing Card Company. You know -- the folks who put out those playing cards with baseball players on them back in the early 1990s.
In our online world of baseball card collecting, the name Hoyle has become synonymous with generosity and vintage cards and items thanks to Red Sox supercollector Mark Hoyle. Mark has gotten active on Twitter (follow him @Markhoyle4) and has begun posting photo after photo of some of the incredible items in his Red Sox collection -- everything from a 1955 Topps Doubleheader Ted Williams to a World Series Program from 1967 to the 1964 Tony Conigliaro Topps Rookie All-Star Banquet card (of which only 6 have been graded; Mark has one).
Like I said -- the man is a Red Sox supercollector.
The most recent package I got from Mark actually combined both baseball and playing cards, so I had to go with the cliché.
Let's start with cards that would make Edmund Hoyle pleased -- but which might make his name's trademark holder upset. There is this site called "Hero Decks" which probably violates a number of trademark laws but which feature original drawings/caricatures of baseball heroes from a number of cities. They also have football, college football/sports, hockey, non-sport, and a few other oddities. Each one is full playing card deck.
This box carries the disclaimer that it is "Not affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers." Being the lawyer here, I don't think that's good enough to avoid potential liability.
At any rate, enough talk about work. It appears that Mark needed the Warren Spahn, the Cecil Cooper, and the George Scott from the Milwaukee Hero Deck, but he was kind enough to share the rest of that deck with me. Here are a few cards I've dealt off the bottom of the deck:
The suits were set up to have spades represent the current players in 2007, diamonds represented the 1982 era team, hearts picked up players from the 1987 run through the 1990s, and, then, clubs were the Milwaukee Braves players. In addition to the full 52-card deck, the two extras -- jokers? -- were Bob Uecker and Bud Selig.
In looking at the list of players included in the set, I don't have too many complaints. Maybe I cut out Carlos Lee and include Ryan Braun instead if these cards were produced late enough in 2007 to make that switch. How George Scott got included while Sixto Lezcano and Don Money were left out is interesting as well. Finally, the real Braves head scratcher was including Bob "Hurricane" Hazle over a player like Joe Torre or Wes Covington -- who both spent a good amount of time in Milwaukee as Braves (though not on the 1957 team).
About half the deck are cards I need for player collections (no surprise there, of course) so I'll probably buy another one or even two of these for the sake of completeness.
Those cards were sent to accompany a great addition to my oddball collection that actually finishes off an oddball team set.
This 1971 Topps Coin of Danny Walton was the last one I needed for my collection after I went to my local card show a couple of weeks ago. Mark immediately piped up that he had this and would send it to me.
Let's give Mark a bit of thanks musically with his favorite band:
Coincidentally enough, this song reminds me of Massachusetts. I had a summer job in 1993 traveling around with a guy and installing furniture in renovated dorms and the like. He picked up a cassette tape of driving songs at some truck stop we stopped at, and this great song by The Allman Brothers Band was on it.
Thank you very much, Mark, for the great cards and the awesome coin!