Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wrestling with a Trade Box from Jaybarkerfan

In late November and early December, Josh Willingham Supercollector Jaybarkerfan 
opened up his sizeable trade vault for a tradeathon. People could claim up to five cards from the dozens that JBF posted. I saw one Warren Spahn card that struck my fancy and put a claim in on it.

JBF never leaves a trade package at just one card, though. Of course the envelope I got was packed to the top with incredible cards. Since JBF is a big wrestling fan, he'll agree when I say that these cards need their own entrance music.

I always loved the Macho Man's use of "Pomp and Circumstance" for his entry music. It made it much more enjoyable for me to play that song over and over and over again when we had to play it for graduation ceremonies at my high school. 

Speaking of a time long, long ago, let's start with a card that made the smile on my face grow larger and larger. My first year of law school in Athens was in 1995. It was Ray Goff's last year. That was Hines's sophomore year -- he stayed all four years at UGA.

Thanks to some injuries (Mike Bobo tore up his ACL, and Brian Smith got hurt for some games too) Hines ended up being our starting QB for several games. In a couple of other games, he was our starting RB. He was the slot receiver normally, though -- with WRs Juan Daniels and Brice Hunter getting most of the catches. Hines finished his career 82 passing yards shy of 1000 passing yards -- which would have been pretty cool to get since he gained 1,066 yards rushing and 1,965 yards receiving. 

I still don't know how that 1997 Georgia team did not do better than it did. That was Hines's senior year. Mike Bobo had a very good year. Robert Edwards did not do badly either (though he was hurt for the Tennessee game). And Champ Bailey was doing everything that Charles Woodson had done the year prior at Michigan, only better. Of course, the team leader in interceptions that season was none other than current Georgia head coach Kirby Smart -- who had 6. Those were, however, great days.

Okay, I have to move along more quickly than this if I am going to get this post done before midnight.

I've have a post in the past composed entirely of Ric Flair, so it should be no surprise to anyone that the 14-year-old Tony loved Ric Flair's ego, arrogance, and results. 

Going from a guy who might be the G.O.A.T. to a bunch of guys who may never even get a chance -- or who did get a chance and never did anything with it. The first six guys -- Carlos Corporan, Jose Mieses, Mike Kinkade, Dennis Sarfate, Ken Holmberg, and Nick Neugebauer -- never became stars of any kind. 

Corporan just signed on as a free agent with the Cubs after spending last year bounding from the Yankees to the Rays to the Marlins -- all in the minors or spring training. Holmberg and Mieses never made it to the majors. Neugebauer played for Milwaukee at the ages of 20 and 21 (14 total appearances) before his shoulder basically fell apart. Kinkade played 222 games in the majors -- none for Milwaukee -- and got 491 plate appearances as a utility guy (though he did bring Bill Pulsipher to Milwaukee in a trade). Finally, Sarfate appeared in 92 games for the Brewers, Astros, and mostly, for the 2008 Orioles.

The last four cards -- and yes, there were two Josh Hader autographs -- are all guys for whom there is still hope. Nathan Kirby was a first round compensation pick in 2015 out of UVA. He got into 5 games in the Midwest League in 2015, then did not pick in 2016 after Tommy John surgery. 

Hader, of course, is one of the Brewers top prospects who struggled some in his first exposure to the thin air in Colorado Springs. He may make his Brewers debut this coming year so long as things go okay for him. 

Trent Clark just turned 20 years old. He was the 15th pick overall in the first round of the 2015 draft for Milwaukee. He struggled last year with some injuries and the step up to the Midwest league. He'll repeat there this year in all likelihood.

The Ultimate Warrior was one of those guys in the 1980s who was a huge fan favorite. I tended to like the bad guys more than the fan favorites -- I was always something of a contrarian. He died in 2014 just after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. 

Again, being something of a contrarian, I rather like Ryan Braun. Would I have preferred that he do what he did in baseball without taking steroids? Absolutely. But has he put his mark on the Brewers organization and franchise history? Again, absolutely. It's tough to say what he would have done without steroids, but if this past season is any indication, he still would have been great.

So, for all y'all that hate Braun for being a steroid guy, feel free to get rid of your Braun cards by sending them to me. I'll take them.

Speaking of steroids, don't we have to think that Vince McMahon took steroids during his life? I mean looking at photos on Google, I think he had a bigger physique in the 1980s than I recalled, but dude got huge.

That said, his entrance music is pretty good. I never liked him generally -- whether being the good-guy announcer in the 1980s as the foil to Bobby Heenan or being the heel commissioner from the 1990s onward.

Going a bit old school here -- or as old school as reprinted chrome cards and Paul Molitor Blue Jay cards might allow. Speaking of guys getting bigger, I recall a story about Robin Yount after the 1979 season buying a Nautilus machine and putting on 20 pounds of muscle -- thereby turning himself from the stringbean kid we saw from 1974 to about 1979 into the man that he became when the clock struck 1980. 

That, or perhaps it was because when the 1980 season started, he was 24 years old and finally had become a man bodywise. I mean, his MVP season in 1982 was his age 26 season (he deserved it too...10.5 WAR that year, 1.8 WAR defensively putting him 7th overall, 9.8 WAR on offense was #1 as well). Think about that. It's too bad that half his career was wasted with teams that flailed around trying to figure out how to compete.

I had to put Bill Goldberg in here. He played defensive tackle for the University of Georgia (and he also shares my birthday). According to his appearance on Jim Ross's podcast back in 2014, Goldberg chose UGA because he was standing on a bar on his recruiting trip and someone handled him a big bottle of Wild Turkey. He had such an incredible time that he was sold on Athens.

I have also stood on a bar in Athens while drunk. Nobody handed me a bottle of Wild Turkey, but I did get a t-shirt for my troubles that, except for being white, looked like this one:

I wore it until it fell apart. I loved that shirt.

Let me be clear -- there were many more cards than this. But these player collection additions -- all of which were serial numbered -- were a great capper to yet another fantastic package from JBF. 

Thanks go out to Wes for a fantastic giveaway. Now, I need to find some Willinghams to send to you!


  1. That Spahn Topps Archives Reserve card looks and feels magical.

  2. The Topps sterling Spahn is a beauty

  3. I thought I recognized Corporan's name. I also didn't realize the Ultimate Warrior passed a couple of years ago. I'm not sure how I missed that.
    Great stuff from Wes as always!

  4. I send cards to Tony just to see the posts he scribes about them. A blog artist!