Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Hip Bloggers Are Doing It, Why Shouldn't I? A to Z Challenge

 I'll be honest, I'm out of the loop on a lot of blog posts.  Since I got burnt out I don't devote much if any time to reading blogs, and usually unless by random chance I'm on blogger looking at my reading list, I usually only find out about new posts from those I follow on Twitter.  Even then I don't always read them, but that's besides the point.  The other day I was looking at my reading list and came across Dime Boxes post, which referenced The Diamond King's post, which referenced The Pedestrian Collector's post, which was created in mid April.  For those who didn't click the links or even know what I'm talking about, what started as an A to Z challenge on Pedestrian Collector's blog about his music collection (which looks really fun), turned into a baseball challenge which Diamond King is keeping a tally among the bloggers who participate.  Dime Boxes turned me onto it, so he gets the credit from me as what turned into a fun dive into my collection and a chance to show some cards.  The concept is everybody posts their favorite baseball player for each letter of the alphabet, and some have used different methodologies for their decisions.  I'll explain mine in the next paragraph.  The timing of this is kind of cool because on a movie site I visit quite often, I join in on monthly movie challenges where the goal among the members is watching at least 10 movies a month, but the average benchmark is 30, with some getting as high as for and a couple once hit 88 or so movies.  Last month I watched 32 movies, but didn't include binge watching 4 or 6 seasons of a TV show (which 2 hour long episodes count as 1 movie).  Anyway each month has a different theme, and the theme for June is???? A TO Z Challenge!  Before going on deeper, I might save that for a future post.  People want to see cards, so let's do that, though I think a music challenge sounds like a future blog post too.

My methodology for coming up with my favorite player may seem a bit complex to some.  When I considered my favorite players, I thought of a few right off the bat.  None overlapped, so those letters are crossed off.  For the letters that didn't get crossed off, I did it with a combination of players I remember watching or having cards of growing up that excited me and made me love the game, or whoever I had the most cards of.  No player with the letter X fit the criteria for me, so instead of pretending to like or know a player, I doubled up on one letter, which is the letter Z.  Z because it was the last one and I didn't have to go back to see who I could have picked.

Most of the players I picked I got to see in some form play in my lifetime.  A couple exceptions, but only because, well, I'll explain when I get to them.  This is by no means my way of saying my picks are the best players ever, some are players I forgot about. I will explain each pick as I show the card, so it will be wordy, but I do have more fun on these type of posts.  When deciding on the card, 95% of them were by digging through my collection and finding a card I really liked.  A couple were handy so I used them.  I didn't use the same design twice, and tried to mix up the variety as best as I could.  Turns out not a lot of players from the early 2000's became my favorite.  Some did, but not a lot of designs from those years.  I also tried to not use the most obvious cards of the players either, because I've read a few other blogs and have seen those cards already, so I hoped the ones I picked either bring back memories or are cards you've never seen and might want to get one day.  Almost all the cards are my scans, but a couple I grabbed from Trading Card Database because I got lazy at the end (though one of those scans I actually uploaded to the site, so that counts for something). Also before I begin, I'm writing this at 4 AM and so I might get tired and stop at some point, if I do, the rest will be finished at a later date and usually you can tell by a rush job at the end, so be on the lookout if you think the writing is uneven.

Also so I don't spoil the first card with the thumbnail, here's a photo of a car my sister wanted a picture of last time I went on a trip with her to a neighboring town.

Nothing more to add, so let's begin the A TO Z CHALLENGE!

At last count 7 people picked Hank Aaron as their A player and 3 more picked Jim Abbott.  Both fine choices, and I understand why both are picked.  In fact Abbott would be very close to being my 2nd or 3rd pick, but I had to choose Kevin Appier.  Hank is pick for historical reasons, and rightly so, and the same can be said for Abbott, as well as his adversity (which I guess also explains Aaron).  However going into this I didn't want the obvious choice for every letter, one's everyone else would pick.  I needed a criteria.  My criteria for selecting Kevin Appier was simple.  In the 1990's I became a fan of baseball, I loved everything about it, and I loved the Kansas City Royals.  I was too young to remember their 1985 championship, but my dad and uncles loved the Royals, and they got me into collecting, so I loved them too.  When I started collecting in 1991, I wanted every card, but mostly I wanted Royals.  I was fortunate enough to live in an area where the Cardinals would have games on TV, and on the radio I could hear them as well, but also got to hear Denny Matthew call Royals games.  Its somewhat why I still prefer hearing games on the radio, that's how I was introduced to baseball.  TV can call the games, but radio announcers paint the picture like your there.

So how does Kevin Appier fit into this picture.  Well George Brett retired.  Ewing Kauffman passed away. The Royals were trying to save costs but still field a team.  They weren't in pure farm team mode yet, but they also wasn't winning.  The mid 90s had a ton of players for the Royals, but Kevin Appier was a constant.  He was also consistent.  He also never got run support, but you knew he had talent.  For many years I said if he was on another team, he'd be a star.  His ERA was good, but his W-L record wasn't.  It was Kevin Appier made me love baseball, and keep pulling for the Royals in the lean years.  That is the criteria.  What makes me love baseball, who does?  Does Jim Abbott?  Sure, I really liked hearing how well he pitched, including the no-hitter and the time he showed up on Boy Meets World.  It didn't make me fall in love or stay in love with baseball.  Does Hank Aaron make me love baseball?  I don't know if I ever said it, but I was never a big fan of Hank Aaron.  I'm no way saying he's not one of the greatest ever, but I guess I'm still bitter about how he treated Barry Bonds, so that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Having said that, if I was alive to see him hit HR 714 or 755, I'd probably change my tune.  He rightly deserves to be on most peoples favorite list, but for me, it wasn't until later when I heard about Aaron (maybe his 1994 Topps card) and by then I was already in love with the game.  Though an older player or two does appear later in the list, I'll explain why later.

So let's move on to the letter B, if I have people reading still (I'm sure my Aaron revelation turned off some readers, sorry).

The list currently had George Brett 2nd on the favorite players tied with Barry Bonds, and behind Ernie Banks.  While Banks and Bonds are both deserving, Brett was the first "lock" I had and nobody could change that.  Barry Bonds would have been my second pick just because I was a big fan.  George Brett was the name most connected to the Royals.  Name a Royal? George Brett.  Even by the time I got into collecting in 1991 I knew George Brett.  He was like a hero in my family.  A funny story (at least to me) was one time George Brett was on TV, and it had to been the first time I ever saw him on TV.  Remember I grew up listening to games, I didn't see what they looked like.  This was before 1991 because I wasn't collecting yet, so at most I was 9 years old probably 7-8.  Anyways I saw him on TV and I blurted out "That's George Brett? I thought he was black!"  My family got a chuckle out of that for a while.  Even if I wasn't a Royals fan, I'm not sure I could have picked anyone else, he spent his entire career with one team, and was a consistent hitter. He made me fall in love with baseball even if I only got to hear him hit on the radio.  I chose this card because I'm sure others showed his rookie card so I wanted a different one.  A few years ago I was so happy to finally get my hands on his rookie card (back when COMC didn't take months to ship), and I don't think I could ever find a card I'd want more (though a few more recent COMC purchases were amazing finds, which I hope to one day show).  I chose this 1981 Donruss card because I wanted an earlier card of Brett and this was one of the first ones I found that I liked.  I need to start finding more of his 70s cards though, so maybe that will be my next challenge.

I chose the Appier card because I had thought I already scanned one (a late 90's Police set card), but I didn't so this was the first one I found that I liked.  I tried to pick cards that had meaning or was a rookie or something, but not all of them.  I don't see too many of the rookies set on the blogs, so I'm happy with this choice.

Right now, Roberto Clemente is the most picked player for the letter C.  Its understandable, but to some they may wonder why I would pick him but not Hank Aaron.  Well, there is a reason, and I'll explain.  By the time computers and internet came around in the late 90's (not sure when I got home internet, but it was the mid 90's when we got our first home computer), I would search for anything and everything on the internet.  Music and wrestling was my first topics I'd look at, but then I would dive into sports and baseball.  I'll be honest, it was probably well after that when I really looked into Roberto Clemente.  Probably the mid 2000's and by that time I was out of collecting.  I was still a baseball fan, but for whatever foolish reason I sold my cards.  Anyways, I would read sites wikipedia and read about baseball players, and one day I read about Roberto Clemente.  I read how he was hated by sportswriters for no real reason, how they and other people including Topps would refer to him as Bob, as some sort of joke, and it really left a bad taste in my mouth.  In all my years I've never read a negative thing about Clemente, yet all these people just were against him.  Then I read about how he died.  Roberto Clemente was a humanitarian that exceeded the levels of baseball, but in all forms of life.  Reading about all the trials and tribulations he went through and how he still was such a nice guy made me fall in love with the game more than I thought I could.  I think I read it around the time writers were not in love with Bonds, so that made me like him more.  To be fair, Bonds was the reason most writers didn't like him, so unlike Clemente, he sabotaged himself.  I think if I read more about Hank Aaron I would probably feel the same way as I do about Clemente, but like I mentioned, Aaron seemed to shun Bonds when his record was being close to being broken, so I never cared to read more about him.  

The reason I chose this card was just because it was handy.  I recently won it on Listia along with another one of his cards, and since I don't have any from when he played, I figured it didn't make a difference which card I picked, so I picked a 2021 card so I'd be somewhat current.

The letter D starts getting a little congested when it comes to the list.  Andre Dawson leads with 6 picks, and Dave Drevecky has 3 and Yu Darvish has two, with quite a few having 1 pick.  One of those names is Johnny Damon (now tying him with Darvish).  As I mentioned the mid to late 90s weren't the greatest time for Royals fans.  No Brett, no owner, no hope.  Well, there was hope, but it didn't quite turn out like we'd have hoped.  The Royals had talent, lots of talent.  The problem was, they couldn't afford to keep the talent.  If they could, they'd maybe have 2-3 more championships right now.  Johnny Damon was one of those names that you'd hear has a bright future, one that was can't miss.  He kept getting better and better.  Then he got to be too good.  Too good for the Royals to keep, so he was shipped off to Oakland where he could taste the playoffs.  Then he was too good for the Athletics to keep, and he signed with Boston (maybe if Scott Boras wasn't his agent the Royals or A's could have kept him).  Then he because a savior to Red Sox nation.  Then he became a Judas to Red Sox nation.  Then he wore pinstripes (which might be the only time I rooted for 5-6 players on the Yankees, I still wanted them to lose though).  Then he finished his career on a few other teams before falling short of 3000 hits and keeping him out of the Hall of Fame.  Early readers of my blog know how much I love Johnny Damon and it didn't hurt when I would say my other favorite teams in the late 90s and early 2000's were the... Athletics and the Red Sox.  It doesn't hurt that the first person you see in the movie Moneyball is Johnny Damon in archival footage on the Athletics.  He made me love the game because I got to see talent grow up and become a star.  Much like Jermaine Dye who had similar success in KC before being sent away and winning a ring (though he wasn't home grown), seeing the stars of tomorrow was what kept me enjoying baseball.  In 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series, it was perfect because not only did I see him get a ring, but I got to see him beat the Cardinals and end 86 years of misery for Red Sox fans.  I remember the night they won the series because I was working.  I live in almost Cardinal country but my boss and I were rooting for Boston.  He had a radio on in the office and he was so happy when they got the final out.  Needless to say we were the only two that were happy.  He had a bigger reason to be happy, he was from Boston (or he lived there, I can't remember anymore).

I still say he should be in the Hall of Fame, and even if others don't agree, he should have at least been on the ballot for a few years so he could be vetted better.  250 hits shy of 3000 as well as the 2004 season should be enough for a consideration at least.  I did a blog on that a few years ago, so I'll stop.  As for the reason for this card.  I have over 100 Damon cards, and I wanted a Royals card.  None really stand out to me, so I chose one with his time on the Wilmington Blue Rocks and it is an Action Packed card so its not like many are scanning them.

Dennis Eckerley was the most picked name for the letter E, and it makes sense.  Anybody growing up in the 90s knew how good he was.  It didn't hurt that as I said Oakland was another favorite team of mine at the time, so it was almost too obvious.  Nobody else I really thought about to be honest, and whenever I thought of him I thought of a comedian.  Mike Birbiglia tells a story in his stand up explaining how he met Eck once.  I was going to write it out, but I think him telling the story is much better.

Today when I think of Eckersley, I think of that story, but I will say since first hearing it, I have probably doubled my collection of him, so it made me like him more.

As for the reason I picked this card, I really wanted a card of his that showed off the mustache and you could see a good shot of his face.  Most cards show him throwing or his back to the camera, so this one was perfect.


I should speed this up a bit.  I picked Cecil because only two names came to mind- Cecil Fielder and Prince Fielder.  Cecil got me excited as a kid because being on the Tigers I got to hear him play a lot and he hit a lot of home runs. I picked him over his son because I think Cecil is overlooked and wanted to throw his name out there in case new fans of baseball wasn't aware of him.  Despite never being a fan of the Tigers, I think they had more players than any other team of guys I liked.  Mainly because the Royals played them so much.  I picked this card because Pinnacle isn't a brand you see featured on blogs much.

What is the difference between Cecil Fielder and Ken Griffey Jr.?  I'd say marketability, consistancy, youth, and excitement.  All of these things Griffey had and Fielder really didn't.  But they both hit home runs and both got me really excited to watch baseball.  By the mid 90's I no longer lived in the country and was able to get cable.  So ESPN was something I watched a lot, and they loved showing The Kid.  I was still listening to Royals games on the radio, but a few times a weeks I got to see baseball on TV that wasn't the Cardinals, so I got to see new teams and players, and Griffey was one I was most excited to see play.

I chose this card because I liked the uniform, and I don't think too many Red Foley cards show up on blogs.

Everyone likes Rickey Henderson, but to be honest, I never was a big fan.  Not taking away from his talent, but I always felt he was too cocky and just never a fan.  I considered Ryan Howard because he went to Missouri State and I have a lot of his cards, but I realized while I like him, he didn't keep me interested in games.  Eric Hosmer kept me rooting for the Royals and loving the game more than ever when he won a ring in 2015.  Nobody could compare.  In the 2010's the Royals were rebuilding for years.  In the early part of the decade they just sent Zach Greinke to Milwaukee and I hated it.  So much so that I considered finding a new team.  This wasn't because I was such a fan of his, it was because I'd seen it before with Damon.  Whenever a player is on the cusp of greatness, he's shipped away so the get some value for him.  Not the worst plan, but at some point you want to win.  When they shipped him off it was around the same time (give or take a year) that the Chiefs were unbearable to watch.  The Chiefs had no direction and I was in the SAVE OUR CHIEFS camp.  I was ready to abandon ship and find a new team.  Luckily the Chiefs eventually hired the right people and things started to get better.  Meanwhile the Royals shipped off Greinke for 4 guys I know nothing about.  In hindsight it worked out pretty well.  It meant another rebuilding process, but little did I know some guys named Hosmer, Moustakas, and Perez were waiting in the wings and about to help the Royals.  At first I didn't know what to think of Hosmer because I liked Billy Butler and didn't want Butler to lose 1st bast.  However it became clear Eric was ready to take over and "Country Breakfast" was done in Kansas City.  It was around this time Sports Illustrated predicted the Royals would win a World Series a few years down the line (a year or so before they made the same prediction about Houston).  I had high hopes and got to see them unfold.  I even got to see the Royals play a game in person (the first time in almost 20 years), but on this date, Hosmer was hurt, so I missed seeing him.

I picked this card because more modern cards don't have the same appeal as 90s cards, and a lot of them look the same.  I don't have a lot of Hosmer insert cards, but I forgot I had a minor league card of him, so I thought this one was nice.  Plus I do like the design.

Monte Irvin tops the I list, but I don't know much about him, so I didn't pick him.  What I do remember is how much I liked seeing Raul Ibanez play for the Royals.  So much so that at the end of his career I really wanted to see him play for them again (much like I wanted to see Carlos Beltran finish his career as a Royal, and Damon too). Unlike those others, I did get to see Ibanez play for the Royals to end his career, and I was happy.  This card is from the 2003 Police set, and while I'm not a fan of oversized cards, I like that the Police ones are.  I'd like to get a few more of the sets, and hope on my next trip to Kansas City, I can find a few more.

The letter J has many great names to choose from, but in a unique twist, I had to pick Derek Jeter.  I was always a fan of his, but this pick is solely based on this card.  When I got back into collecting I wanted to collect everything, but I know realistically it isn't possible.  I bought a lot of these cards, and usually these were in repacks I found at Walmart (back when that was a thing).  This was around 2011 or later, so a few years old by this time.  Anyways, I pulled this from a pack and I remember thinking "cool they got a shot with George W. Bush in the crowd".  I didn't pay a lot of attention to it, but later I realized that he was photoshopped in, along with Mickey Mantle in the dugout. At one time this wansn't a common card, so finding it made me quite happy.  It was when I was getting back into collecting and it made me love it more.  Sometimes its not just the players that make you love the game, its the cards of the players that make you love the game.  This card was featured in one of my first blogs I did, as a member of my Card Hall of Fame, a feature I should revisit one day.

Nobody has picked Ian Kinsler, and its understandable.  So many other great names to choose from, but for me,  I couldn't NOT pick him.  Kinsler went to school at Mizzou, and while I never saw him play on the team, it made me realize that some people I have a chance at seeing in high school or college could someday be big stars.  I missed my chance with him, but being a Mizzou alum, I tried to collect a lot of his cards (same with Max Scherzer).  By this time I already knew of local players, but he probably at the time was the biggest name (to be clear he's not local, just played in college locally).  It was around this time I would watch Mizzou football games in person so seeing other sports have players make it to the big time got me excited.  I chose this card because I like minor league cards and this one has a unique look and not as plan as another minor league card I have of him.

Growing up it seemed I preferred American League players over National League.  Probably because this was before interleague play and I knew of more AL players.  However a couple NL players I knew and Barry Larkin was on of them.  Even though I knew nothing of the Reds, I always liked Barry.  I don't get to show many gold cards on here so a Topps Black Gold card on my blog is ultra rare.  

I mentioned in the mid 90's I got cable and got to see more baseball.  Besides ESPN I got WGN and TBS, both of which showed MLB games almost daily.  I miss those days where TBS showed Atlanta Braves games and WGN showed Cubs and White Sox games.  While I missed out on Greg Maddux's stint with the Cubs on WGN, I got to see plenty of his games on TBS while on the Braves.  While many player made me fall in love with hitting, Maddux made me fall in love with pitching.  He'd throw a complete game shut out in under 2 hours.  If pitching counts were a thing back then, it wouldn't matter, he'd throw 84 pitches to get the shutout.  He made me respect pitching as much as hitting.  In fact by the time McGwire and Sosa came around in 98, I didn't card about the homers.  I've said many times, I'd rather see a 1-0 pitchers duel than a 9-8 slugfest.  I have Greg Maddux to thank for that.  I chose this card because I wanted an oddball card and this one fit the funky 90s style.

I'm rushing at this point because its getting hot and I don't feel that great.  Plus the computer plug in is where I need to plug in the air conditioner, so the faster I finish this, I can turn it on.

This one is an out there pick, but Jon Nunnally makes my list.  Sure you could name 20 guys with the letter N that are better, but as I said, Nunnally was on the Royals when the thought that they could be contenders on the cheap was a possibility.  He was on the late 90's teams with Johnny Damon, and I always thought he could be a star.  It wasn't meant to be, but I can say that I have his autograph on a baseball that a friend got me, so there's that (that probably sealed it to begin with on the pick).  I chose this card because I didn't have a lot of options but I liked this one best.  As a reminder, every cards I show I have (even if I had to use a scan for the database).

Ohtani, Amos Otis, David Ortiz, Buck O'Neill... all names that would be better picks than.... Jose Offerman?  In hindsight maybe I should have thought this out more (especially the Buck O'Neill part), but I'm sticking with it.  Buck and Amos I don't remember playing (but Buck will always be legendary to me), Ohtani I really like and hope he is a hall of famer, but its too early to call him my favorite, and Ortiz I just forgot, but also he didn't excite me.  All have reasons that I could have picked them or passed, but then I remembered how I always was excited to hear Jose Offerman in the lineup, not just for the Royals, but any team that he played for.  You didn't have to be a big star in the 90s to get me excited about a game or a player, I think that's why some of these names are even being considered.  They elicit memories that you can't quite explain.  Offerman is one of many that I just think back and am so glad I got to see play on TV even if they aren't household names.  I chose this card because I didn't have many Royals cards of him, or many in general, so this was my favorite of the bunch.

By the 2000's I was starting to get burnt out on sports a bit, and I sold my collection.  That didn't mean I stopped watching.  By this time TBS and WGN had less games on, so my main team I could watch was once again the Cardinals.  At least by this time McGwire was gone and some younger players were developing.  As much as I love to see guys play forever, I equally love seeing young guys get a shot.  Albert Pujols didn't excite me at first, because I wasn't watching Cardinals games.  I'm not sure when I even started becoming a fan, but it was because of his talent.  At some point I thought he really could break the all time home run record, and everybody would be happy Bonds no longer had it.  It is now 2021, and it looks like Pujols won't do that, but he's still a hall of famer, and I'm glad I got to see so many of his games.  This card I chose because I liked the Fox Sports logo on the card and how its Cardinal red.

I mentioned at the start that a few letters had names I already knew I'd pick- Brett, Clemente, Maddux, and Dan Quisenberry.  Its not like a lot of Q players to start with but aside from Jamie Quirk, nobody comes close to how much I like Dan Quisenberry.  While he is another player I never got to see play (maybe a glimpse of him as a Cardinal), reading about his career and death really made me like the guy.  As much as I want Johnny Damon in the Hall of Fame, I think its a bigger injustice that Dan Quisenberry isn't in there.  He won reliever of the year award 3 times and I think if he played for a larger market team, he'd have been in already.  As for picking this card, I like food issue sets, and I'm almost finished building this Coca-Cola set, and I think its a good card (plus his Topps base version I have autographed).

Jackie Robinson was an obvious choice, but I never saw him play.  Nolan Ryan might be the best pitcher ever but he didn't excite me.  Maybe if I got to remember 2 or 3 of his no hitters I'd change my mind.  Cal Ripken Jr. was the Iron Man.  As exciting as that sounds, it just means he never got hurt.  That record will never be broken and he rightly deserves kudos for such an amazing feat, but it doesn't excite me.  Alex Rodriguez through all his faults, excites me. He excited me in Seattle, he excited me in Texas, he even excited me in New York.  I once did an old blog (long before this blog) about how he was A-FRAUD.  Even then he still excited me.  I don't know what turned it around for me, but at some point I didn't hate him and even started to like him.  I was even hoping he get one last hurrah and turn a few heads doing it, but he went out with a whimper.  Even still, watching him in the 90s and early 2000's the man excited me.  Much like Bonds, I don't think he was always on a substance and even if he was, why should guys like Sosa and McGwire get a pass for making the game exciting but A-Rod can't? I should point out, nobody picked McGwire or Sosa, but my points remains the same.  If the kept you excited about baseball, that can't be all bad.  I am happy he didn't break some all time records, but I'd wish he'd had the chance to get a little closer to a few of them.  I chose this card because I always liked this design, even when I was still undecided on foil cards.  I still prefer non glossed cardboard looking cards over anything produced today, but these still hold a place in my heart.

As much as George Brett has been instrumental in my love of baseball, Ozzie Smith has been just as much.  The Cardinals had a fine roster when I was just getting into collecting and baseball in the early 90's, but they weren't making the playoffs.  Much like Brett was the face of the Royals, Ozzie was the face of the Cardinals.  The Wizard of Oz, I still have a life size poster of Ozzie that I want to hang, but need to find a spot. I chose this card because I'm dying for Post cereal to make more cards, and to make some just like this.  The back could be redesigned, but the front is perfect.  Except maybe this time try to get the license from MLB so it won't be airbrushed.

As I said, the Tigers had so many players I liked and a few more I couldn't add.  I really wanted to include Kirk Gibson and Lou Whitaker, but Trammell is the one I was able to include.  I could have gone with Trout, but much like many of the newer players, I was already in love with the game by this point, so my focus was on guys that got me to love the game or collecting.  I always wish I was about 10 years younger so I could have seen guys like Trammell play more, but I'm glad I got to see him play at all.  I chose this card because its another oddball and I liked it.  I wish the signature wasn't in the middle of the card though.

The letter U was a bit harder than I thought.  My gut was thinking Chase Utley like a few others, but then I realized I didn't have any standout cards of his.  Even looking at other U players none stood out.  I thought of Ugueth Urbina, but was reminded of his 14 year prison sentence for murder, so back to the drawing board.  I wish I had Bob Uecker cards, but I don't.  That left very few people, and Jose Uribe popped up.  I had to laugh because I have maybe 5-10 cards, and I realized I could be sitting on millions of dollars.  For years many people have speculated his cards are somehow involved in an Ebay money laundering scam, and for that reason I felt that should be why I should pick him.  Why would a random Uribe card on Ebay be worth tens of thousands of dollars or more?  That's what many wonder.  I never looked into it, but if that was before the new interest in card collecting I wonder how much they are worth now?  As for this card, this isn't one that is usually listed at that price ( I think its the 1989 Fleer), but I liked this card better, and its the name I think of, not the card, so that's how he makes the list.

Verlander was another name I thought of immediately and others were considered for a second, none compared to Justin Verlander.  He has always reminded me of Nolan Ryan, the difference being I've seen Verlander pitch a few no hitters and I've seen most of his career.  By the time JV pitched for Detroit, they didn't have as many players as I liked back in the day.  Though his final years aren't as strong as Ryan's but it still a fun ride to see.  I chose this card because I got this card in between the years of selling my collection and getting really back into the hobby.  I got this from a Tuff Stuff, probably shortly after my dad passed and I inherited his so I was curious if any had value.

I really considered Lou Whitaker, but I thought about while I didn't see Frank White play much, I got to hear him on the radio for a few years and I got to see him as an ambassador for the Royals.  That made me decide of him as my pick.  I picked this card because I did want to show off some 70's cards and I think having a few key players from the 1975 set already out of the way, I could really build this team set one day.

As soon as I knew George Brett was my letter B, I knew Robin Yount was my letter Y.  George Brett was to the Royals what Robin Yount was to the Brewers.  I think some overlook him but to me Brett and Yount was almost one in the same.  Brett made have a bit more awards, but if they switched teams, I wouldn't have been too upset seeing Robin Yount in the Royals lineup for nearly two decades.  I chose this card because I am lacking in good cards of Yount, and I still liked the Fun Pack set.  One day I hope to get his rookie, and if I do, maybe I might build the 75 set all the way.  I'd think at that point the Nolan Ryan would be the only other tough card to get.

Since I skipped letter X, I decided to pick two letter Z players.  It's a tossup which one I would pick, but for the sake of the list, the first player will be the player I choose to be on the list.

Todd Zeile was a player I got to see play a lot on TV.  Living in Cardinals Country, the games were on quite often during the summer even if they weren't my preferred team.  I could probably name more Cardinals players from 1990-93 than Royals, but that might also be because the Cardinals had a team set and didn't need new players every year.  That said, I liked most if not all of them, but besides Ozzie, Todd Zeile and Tom Pagnozzi were my favorites.  I chose the Triple Play card because I loved the 1992 and 1994 sets, and really wish they had made more.  When they brought the name back in the 2010's it was a joke.  These are the only true Triple Play cards.

Possibly the reason I picked Zeile first was because I really like Zobrist, but I don't have any cards of him in a Royals uniform. I think Update might be the only set he has any.  Ben Zobrist didn't really mean much to me until he became a Royals player and helped give the 2015 team a bit of oomph they needed to win the Championship.  While I was sad to see him go to the Cubs the next year, I was happy to see him win there too.  I loved hearing how he rode his bike to the park that one day.  He seemed to have a good life, but whatever happened between him and his wife really hurt him, and he wasn't the same.  That won't take away how much I liked him.  I chose this card because in a way, this was what the 2010's Triple Play cards should have looked like, a very basic yet good design.  I need to get a few more Zobrist cards but for now I'm happy having this one.  I might have a few from his Tampa days too.

So that is my A to Z challenge.  I did rush a bit at the end because I need to turn on the air and I need the outlet I'm using, plus its a few hours later and I'm getting tired (I did sleep a bit in between). Before I go I'll show some recent cards I got, including the other Clemente.

I got the Marcus Allen card because it was cheap on Listia, nobody else was bidding so for a few points, I figured why not.  The Clemente cards were a gamble.  It was from a new seller and I don't think was in the usual catagory but it was cheap so I figured I'd take a chance.  Turns out they were well worth the risk, and  I didn't even know they were 2021 until I got them.  The only know was the cards slid out of the holder in the mail and scotch tape stuck to the cards.  No big deal, but I did inform the seller so next time he could figure out a way to fix it (I suggested painters tape or to flip the penny sleeve so if it slid out it'd stick to the that).

The bottom cards I got on Listia too, and I might have even showed them last time.  The top row was one sale, and the Rangers card I guess was a bonus.  I really only needed the Bowman, but it was cheap enough that having a double of Brett isn't a bad thing.  The Dennis Martinez I got cheap too (slowly draining my points).  I do collect his cards but I also really like the credit card design, so it was a no brainer.

So that wraps things up today, I had fun writing this albeit a bit long.  Now I can get some sleep and cool off.  A string of 90 degree days are not fun especially in June.  Hope everyone stays safe and cool, and thanks for reading.  Have a great day!


  1. Wonderful! This might be my favorite entry in the challenge so far, you put a lot into it. And how did I not know about your blog before!?!? You are added to my reading list.

    Great picks and justifications. Like you mentioned, not everyone will agree with every thing you have to say, but it is all from the heart, and I respect every pick you made. Never apologize for who you love!

    Shocking to me that you are the first to pick both Arod and Ozzie Smith!!

    1. Thank you, that means a lot. I think this is an awesome blog topic, and while I don't do a lot of them, I knew I had to do this one. Thanks for the follow, I somehow missed yours until recently as well.

      I was also shocked about Ozzie and A-Rod not being on the list already.

  2. Blogger doesn't pick the first image any more. Not sure why.

    Some really different choices. Nice

    1. Luckily it still does for me, or at least what I see, so I'm happy about that. Blogger keeps making changes I like less and less.

  3. Jetes over Bo? Hopefully the Royals fan police don't revoke your card! :)

    1. I'd hope I'd have enough clout for them to overlook it. I did consider him, but I felt Jeter's body over work over his career put him over the top.

  4. I think I might have overlooked Ozzie Smith completely. He wouldn't beat out Ichiro or Kurt Suzuki... but I feel bad that I didn't at least consider him since he was a guy I loved rooting for as a kid.

    The other guy from your team that stood out was Jose Uribe. He was part of that young SF Giants infield from the mid to late 80's that I enjoyed watching. I wasn't a Giants fan, but it was hard not to like Clark, Thompson, Uribe, and Brown/Mitchell/Williams.

    1. If I wasn't so quick to include Clemente, Will Clark would get a long look. Matt Williams should have got a closer look from me as well. Those Giants teams I remember a little bit and what little I saw of them I did enjoy. As for Kurt Suzuki, I didn't consider him much, but Ichiro would would probably be one of my other top choices.

  5. You picked some great players, for sure, but my favorite piece of your incredible write up was the Mike Birbiglia video. I don't watch or listen to much stand up, but when I do it's almost always Birbiglia. There's just something about his delivery and story stilling that just captivates me. His bit about the jackal in the bedroom is one of my favorites. I hadn't seen the Eckersley bit... thanks for sharing!

    1. I haven't watched much of new comedians, so Birbiglia was about the last crop of new guys I watched. I love thinking of funny bits and finding them on Youtube. The Eckersley one I usually check out a couple times a year.

  6. Great to see this challenge is still going. Nothing wrong with picking your personal faves; it would be boring if everyone picked the same players.

    I used to be a big Johnny Damon fan when he was in Boston but.. not anymore.

    If you decide to do an A to Z movie challenge I'd be interested to read your choices.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. In the last couple years Damon has done some things that I don't really talk about, but as a player I really enjoyed him. As for the movie challenge, I might do a wrap up at the end of the month. Those won't be my favorite movies, just movies I watched during the month by letter. I'm not sure if I'll get to all of them at this point as I have a few other things to do and movies are taking a backseat.