The great Night Owl changed his header recently, and that reminded me that I, too, have the skills to make a decent graphic that could contain more than one image. So I churned out this monstrosity:
So, Mr. Night Owl, I'm sorry I stole your layout! But, it must be good if it left such an impression on me. To my credit, I have grass in my letters and baseballs behind my cards!
Let's look at each of the ten cards and why they're in my graphic, shall we? (Sure, Ryan! There's nothing really important happening in trading cards this week anyway!)
Geena Davis, A League of Their Own - The first card represents the first sports card collection I started when I returned to the hobby. Yes, my Women In Sports set goes back a couple years before my return to baseball cards. It started with some cheap WNBA and Wrestling cards. The Geena Davis card isn't part of the Women in Sports set, though - it's one of my favorite This Card Is Cool sets! And there are no other cards on the list that represent that collection. Go figure.
Barry Zito, Upper Deck Baseball Heroes - This was one of my favorite series. Back in the 1990s, the cards were hot, though entire Aaron and Williams sets can be found for a dollar each (or less) now. I still haven't completed the run. (Here's the list.) Now that Upper Deck isn't making baseball cards, you'd think I could attack the list and finish it off, but it doesn't come cheap, and the cards aren't terribly easy to come by! I wonder if I'm the only person going for a master set of Heroes. Zito's there because I had the scan. An Ichiro would have been a better choice, in retrospect. Though I am a Giants fan, so it's not all bad. Except, it's Zito. Yeahhhhhh.
Ivan Rodriguez, Diamond Kings - The only series better than Baseball Heroes is the Diamond Kings run, and it's a much larger series, at that. This card could represent all the great art series out there, as well. Pudge is an amazing player, so he deserves a place up there. As far as my Diamond Kings collection goes, I'm still working on many of the sets from 1995-2005. It doesn't help that I'm chasing anything Diamond Kings-related, except for parallels, relics, and autographs.
Steve Stone, 1981 Donruss Cy Young - Mr. Stone has only one place in my collection. I would love to have the focus and ability to knock out most of the Awards and Leaders collection before Christmas, as I keep promising myself I'll do, but I'm not really doing anything about it.
Unknown Menko Card - One thing that I will do by Christmas is order myself a copy of the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist and Price Guide. It's a lot of money for a guide that covers only 5% of the number of sets the SCD and Beckett big books catalog, but I believe it's the only source of information on the topic. It's already three years out of date, though. When you talk oddball cards, Japanese issues are about as oddball as they get - other than those Korean and Taiwanese issues, I suppose. The card also represents my hopes and dreams of living in Japan.
Nolan Ryan, 1994 Topps - The greatest pitcher of all time's final real flagship Topps issue, and the first card I placed into my header design. Nolan Ryan was my first baseball hero and I still have a few shoeboxes (the baseball card ones, not the ones shoes are sold in) full of Nolan Ryan cards in storage.
Tony Gwynn, A Piece of the Game Bat Relic - Who cares about the year. Tony Gwynn is one of only two players I collect because of something I read about in a book (Pujols being the other). Both of them have an amazing approach to hitting but Gwynn was my other "childhood" hero and the other player who has a ton of cards sitting in storage.
Joe Medwick, 1943 MP & Co. - The printing quality and artistic value are quite low in this set. Most (all?) of the players are indistinguishable without names, and most of the images were reused (for other players) in a future issue. But it's a fun set, and it's one of many oddballs in my massive type collection labor of love, the Cardboard Zoo. At the time of this writing (Monday evening) I need just 56 cards to reach 20% overall completion, with about 100 cards sitting in my COMC account to go towards this collection. Granted, I need to make sure the list is up to date - I'm missing some 2011 stuff for sure. Plus, I know there are virtually no minor league sets in my lists after 2006 (Beckett's fault, not mine!), so it isn't official yet, but I've basically met my 20% goal for the year! Will I be able to reach 25% by next year? That's a real tough call to make.
Kirsten Dunst, Small Soldiers Autograph - I *had* to put Kiki in my header. That's the card that restarted my card collection. Have I told this story yet? I'll have to check, because it's a great one that deserves it's own post. (No, no I have not!) It's my most treasured card. I had to put her in the middle, where she'd get noticed.
Geoff Geary - Pro Sigs Autograph - Last, but not least, the forgotten reliever. I believe I am the Geoff Geary supercollector. Even though I don't have all his cards. I don't have any printing plates. I have no souvenirs from his playing days - no balls, bats, jerseys, or gloves. But is there anyone out there other than his mom collecting his stuff? I could be the only one!
And that's my new header. Any thoughts? Other than "I hate the Giants! Where's the Dodgers cards?" I'll tell you what. You give me an oddball 1940s or earlier Dodgers card, and I'll replace Joe Medwick up there.
I'd like to close with a very special thanks to John over at Donruss 1982 for considering this one of the 20 greatest sports card blogs of all time (at least, in his experience). It's a great honor to be thought of in this light, and I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers out there who deserve it more than I do. If you don't read his blog, you should, because I love the posts, even if I was too young to collect the set. And no, the blog isn't just about Donruss 1982, though that is the focus. He's announced #20 (which was a tie between this little place and trade buddy Ted's blog Crinkly Wrappers) and #19 (The Mojo Beard) already! I'm hoping to pick up a couple new blogs through his posts.
Okay, I must end with a video.