Monday, January 5, 2015

Baseball Artifacts For Winter Dreaming

Now that the new year has begun, I can start dreaming about baseball again.  I just picked up a used copy of a baseball game for my PS3, and have started to internally assess how the White Sox and Mets will do this season.  As if that wasn't enough, when my friend Brian came to visit this weekend he brought the gift of a box of assorted old baseball cards.  Even though they are commons, I love that I have cards from the 1960s in my possession, and enjoy comparing styles and designs.

I've said this before, but I have become inordinately attached to baseball in my middle age.  Its coming heralds the spring, and the hope I am allowed to feel before the season starts is a feeling I rarely allow myself in other aspects of my life.  I've been immersing myself in baseball ephemera now that the holidays are over and there's little else to look forward to during these coming, cruel months.  With that in mind, here are some baseball related things you might enjoy, too.

1975 Topps Dave Kingman
I found this card in the box my friend gave me, and it struck me immediately.  In the first place, I love the 1975 Topps design, with its bold colors, raised letters, and signatures on the photo.  This card strikes me especially because of Kingman's laconic expression, which seems to be saying "Do I really have to do this?"  It's particularly fitting for a player with a well-known difficult streak that he appears bored as he is being immortalized on cardboard.

The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast

I have become a big podcast fan, and I started listened to this particular podcast after seeing the moving video Sully put together over the All-Star break honoring major league players who'd died in the last year.  Sully talks baseball each day for about twenty or thirty minutes, and does so from a unique perspective.  He talks not as a journalist, researcher, or player, but as an articulate fan of the game.  During the season it was my preferred way to keep up on what was going on in the game, but in the off season it has been great to hear him talk about all kinds of aspects of the game, especially its history.  I found his podcast on New Year's Eve, when he called on baseball to take drastic action against fan drunkenness at games, to be particularly interesting.  How many other baseball commentators reference The Wire?

1984 Fleer Glenn Hubbard

Well, that's one way to make your baseball card more spirited.

Game 6 of the 1986 World Series Rendered In An Old Nintendo Game

This is one of the most brilliant things the internet has ever given to us.  Somebody recreated the famous game 6 of the 1986 World Series, and did so using the old RBI Baseball game for the original Nintendo.  The whole thing is synced up with Vin Scully's original call and is sublime in the kind of way that only people born between 1973 and 1977 can appreciate.

1988 Topps Record Breakers Eddie Murray

I loved the double vision effect of this card, especially since it commemorated Murray's unique feat of hitting home runs from both sides of the plate two games in a row.  Steady Eddie was always an underrated player who somehow managed to amass 500 homers and 3000 hits with as little fanfare as possible.  This striking card is a fitting tribute.

Wilford Brimley in The Natural

Wilford Brimley was born a grumpy old man, since he looks like he's already gone full codger in this film, even though he was still only in his forties.  This is one of my favorite baseball movies, not least because of Brimley's performance as the manager.  I can only aspire to be this crotchety.

1987 Topps Darryl Motley

I still remember seeing this card in one of the wax packs I bought with my lawn mowing money, and being weirded out by the "Now With Braves" on the photo.  Evidently he was traded so late in the season that Topps couldn't get a photo of him in the right uniform.

Chris Chambliss's Walk-Off Homer in the 1976 ALCS

When Chambliss hit this dramatic homer to put the Yankees in the Series, the fans stormed the field and made it impossible for him to touch home plate.  This giddy chaos could never happen today, and is one of the best examples of New York City's epic anarchy in the 1970s.  I hate the Yankees, but this clip still makes me happy.

1 comment:

Brian I said...

The look on Kingman's face on that 1975 card (which I have had since the early 1990s) has always looked to me like what I would call "posed intensity."