John is right up there with Wes/JBF in my book -- both of them are incredibly generous fellow SEC fans who go above and beyond and seemingly ask for very little in return generally. John recently (within the past two months) sent me yet another excellent package. To thank John, I did a little research and found some of his favorite bands from his past. That means I read his blog, by the way.
Anyway, let's get to the music and the cards!
One of the first things I found on John's blog was a post where he showed off a TON of cards from a set all about Kiss from the late 1970s. I think it's a Donruss set based off a search on Trading Card Database. Every time I see a set like that, I think, "Man, I need to look more at non-sports cards and collect some."
Then that feeling passes as I look at my mounting want lists for the Brewers. I have chipped away at those in terms of organization, though -- I'm all the way up to 2014 in terms of getting all the Topps parallels, inserts, and autographs into binders!
Speaking of parallels and inserts...here are four parallels that I needed. It's always interesting to get a Yuniesky Betancourt card. How he started in 152 games at shortstop for a 2011 team that won 96 games and won the NL Central is one of sabermetrics biggest questions. Betancourt "hit" for an OPS of .652 and tallied -0.5 WAR. And the Brewers paid him $4.3 million for that "production." Wow.
For whatever reason, it makes me chuckle to look at that team page on Baseball Reference and see the photos of the top 12 players from that team -- nearly everyone is shown on a team other than Milwaukee! The list goes Ryan Braun (MIL), Prince Fielder (TEX), Shaun Marcum (CLE), Corey Hart (PIT), Nyjer Morgan (CLE), Yovani Gallardo (SEA), Rickie Weeks Jr. (TAM), Randy Wolf (DET), John Axford (OAK) Carlos Gomez (TEX), Zack Greinke (ARI), and Jerry Hairston Jr. (BAL).
By the way, that Surhoff #1 pick is one of my favorite cards. I loved that subset in the 1985 Topps, and I was disappointed that it came out too early in 1985 for B.J. to be included.
Now, when I saw John was a CDB fan, I knew damn well that he is a true Southerner despite his questionable choice of being a Florida Gator. Charlie Daniels comes from that late 1970s pop-country music time when country was really still country, but, as always, certain pop sensibilities had invaded. You have your Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelsons, of course, but folks like Eddie Rabbitt and Ronnie Milsap and Barbara Mandrell were their generation's versions of Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, and Miranda Lambert.
By the way, be sure to watch this video at least from the 3:30 mark on to see what happens when someone learns a new special kaleidoscope camera effect.
Let's get on the Upper Deck here. Two Prince Fielder inserts to go with a card from Carlos Lee to commemorate his short-lived Milwaukee stay and a Mat Gamel "Signature Star." Man, if Mat Gamel could have stayed healthy. All I got here, though, is that he went to the same Jacksonville High School as the daughter of two good friends of mine in Jacksonville (she's there as a senior now), and that his brother Ben is off to a pretty good start in Seattle this year.
I'm just not a huge fan of the song "Freebird," but I've listened to "Sweet Home Alabama" literally hundreds or thousands of times. I do hope that Neil Young will remember that a southern man don't need him around anyhow.
Of course, this is a big song for the University of Alabama, as you might expect.
Man, I miss college football about this time of year.
Bowman seems to go well with the collegiate feel here for me. The whole "Bowman is about prospects" thing works in this regard.
So, who is Cody Scarpetta and how did he end up on a Bowman Platinum card? Scarpetta was an 11th round draft pick in 2007 out of high school in Rockford, Illinois. His dad Dan was a third-round pick of the Brewers in 1982 who made it all the way to Triple-A before crashing out at the age of 25. Cody worked his way up the system all the way to Double-A Huntsville (Sweet Home Alabama) in 2011 and, in addition, made five appearances in the Arizona Fall League that year at the age of 22. He got shelled, and it was an indication that something was wrong -- as in, yup, Tommy John surgery. That really killed his career, though he continued to pitch in independent league baseball last year.
There are literally dozens of better songs from Steve Miller Band that I could have posted. But, I'm a child of the 1980s, and this song from 1982 is the one I most remember personally. Yes, "The Joker" is a thousand times better in my opinion, even if Billboard put this song at #70 on its list of Greatest Songs of all time.
I bet my list would vary greatly from theirs.
Here's "the rest". Seth Lintz in the 2010 Pro Debut set as a blue parallel got into that set because he was a second round draft pick in 2008 out of high school. He barely made it to the Midwest League with the Brewers -- total of 14 appearances as a reliever in 2011 and 2012 with Wisconsin -- before he was cut loose. He made the independent league rounds some as well for a while, but it doesn't look like he has pitched since 2015.
Jed Bradley -- from Huntsville -- recently retired from baseball. He made it to the major leagues briefly last September with the Braves and appeared in 6 games in the same city where he went to college (he's a Tech kid). His card mate, Taylor Jungmann, was sent down to Double-A Biloxi earlier this year to be stretched out as a starter. Jungman and Bradley were both first round picks in 2011, but neither has really panned out. Jungmann's been passed not only Josh Hader, but also by Luis Ortiz and Brandon Woodruff and maybe even journeyman Paolo Espino.
My thanks go out to John as always for a great package of baseball cards. I would have played Molly Hatchet, but there's no damn way I'm putting any song called "Gator Country" on this blog!