I am sad to say I never grew up knowing the Washington Senators.
My father did. And his father. They tell me stories of the old days of RFK and the legendary Hondo and his moonshots to the upper deck (where one landed in the empty seat in front of my father’s, but sadly he was up to use the bathroom when it landed). There are, I am sure, others who remember before that even. But me? I will never know what those old days of the Washington Senators felt like as much as I would like to. That is why I think it is important to hear the stories from the old timers– or at least collect their relics.
I was going through my father’s old baseball collection recently (I’m trying to restore and preserve it. It is one of the most precious items I own) and I came across these little “booklets” from Topps. I think they came in card packs, I’m not totally sure, but there are 24 mini-comics, corny little comics turning ballplayers into larger than life characters. I know little about them at this time or if they are worth anything, but my father managed to collect eight of the twenty-four comics. Imagine my surprise when I uncovered Washington Senator Mike “SuperJew” Epstein’s comic.
If you don’t remember or know the “SuperJew”, from Mike Epstein’s Wiki:
The first baseman was noted as a strong power hitter who did not hit for a high batting average, though he walked (and was hit by pitches) so often that he finished with a respectable career .359 on base percentage…
He had arguably his best season in 1969 with the Senators, when in only 403 at bats he hit 30 home runs (9th in the American League), had 85 Runs Batted In, and hit for a respectable .278 batting average (and .347 with runners in scoring position) with an excellent .414 on base percentage and .551 slugging percentage. He was 4th in the league in hbp (10), and hit a home run every 13.4 at bats. He was 25th in voting for the American League MVP. This was also the only year in which the reconstituted Senators finished above .500.
So that is the SuperJew. And here is his comic in full. (Thanks, Dad.)
It must have been great being a baseball player back in the day. You sprung from plants like some sort of super mutant and got comic books made out of you. Man-Jesus, what a life!
The Topps 2012 baseball cards were released Wednesday and the NQ got our grubby little hands on three of them. Pictured:
- Topps 2012 Jordan Zimmermann
- Topps 2012 Stephen Lombardozzi Rookie Card
- Topps 2012 Michael Morse
Nothing overly odd or wild about them except if you scratch them and then take a sniff they give off a unique and pungent odor.
It smells like playoffs.
I call it the “cupcake of my baseball card collection.”
Can you believe I scored this beauty for just 50 cents? Yeah, I know. I splurged a bit and probably overpaid. But a 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Matts Stairs card is the apple of any sports card collection– an apple cupake. This whole card is done all glittery. Pardon my bad photography but you can see the glitter effect on the bottom right. Just look at it and imagine it covering the whole card.
God, that guy was such a brute. It is a strange mix this glitter and that mug. It is like owning a diamond studded codpiece or something. But the chicks totally dig it. The card I mean, not my diamond studded codpiece. I might keep this one in my wallet. When I am at the bar and I feel like I’ve reached a point with a lucky lady I’ll go in for the kill and try to seal the deal by pulling out the Matt Stairs card.
“Hey baby, check out what I got…”
The NQ is on a bit of R&R in Pataskala, Ohio this weekend trying to collect death threats and avoid everything baseball including the rumor mill that is spinning hot, but producing nothing. I personally hate this time of year.
Actually, I lie. I might do one baseball related activity this weekend and that is maybe go see the Columbus Clippers (former Nats Triple-A). Not necessarily just for the baseball, but WWF legend Ted Dibiase “The Million Dollar Man” will be there signing autographs and the temptation might be too much for me to bare. Dibiase was a legend and perhaps the greatest heel to ever enter the squared circle. Period. Not debate. This is my blog and I say so.
The closest I’ve been to baseball the past 36 hours is I stopped by Target and picked up a couple packs of Bowmans who just happened to have this guy on the wrapper.
Unfortunately this is the closest to getting a Nationals or Harper card I got.
The Topps 2011 Team Set Baseball Cards are out for sale. They had the Nats packs at Space Coast Stadium so I picked one up for $10. The set includes 17 cards whose roster is:
- Jayson Werth
- Ryan Zimmerman
- Jordan Zimmermann
- Ivan Rodriguez
- John Lannon (I did not misspell that. That is how it is spelled on the back of the pack, fortunately not on the card.)
- Tyler Clippard
- Roger Bernadina
- Ian Desmond
- Livan Hernandez
- Stephen Strasburg
- Danny Espinosa
- Jason Marquis
- Adam LaRoche
- Nyjer Morgan
- Michael Morse
- Drew Storen
- Nationals Park
The card front and center is Jayson Werth in Nationals home whites. Everyone who buys the pack will see Werth first which is understandable because he was the biggest acquisition of the off season (and it is a selling point to the masses who are in love with Jayson Werth no matter what team he is on).
But taking a closer glance at the card you start to see some inconsistencies. First, he isn’t at a Spring Training stadium so how he played in Nationals uniform in that situation is unknown. Then you notice a blurred out Atlanta Braves player sitting in the dugout to his left in his home whites. Teams would not be playing each other in home colors. Then you look at Werth’s Nats uniform itself and it is really there you notice it is a complete Photoshop job. The logos look a little off, the Curly W on the helmet is way too big, the “white” is actually grey, Werth’s gloves have that craptastic Phillies wine color as does his shoes and if this was really the Nationals new home jersey, then where are the two red lines going down the front of the jersey shoulder to belt?
Nice try, Topps. The card is a fraud. Some searching online and you can easily find the same card as it originally was– Werth as a Phillies player.
This isn’t the first time Topps has cashed in on a player that gave them the slip and signed with another team or they just couldn’t get a picture in time and nor is it the only example in the 2011 Nationals team set. They did a fantastically bad job on the Adam LaRoche card who is obviously still in a Arizona Diamondbacks uniform, but with Washington Photoshopped across his chest.
Every one of the cards except for the Werth card, Espinosa and Storen cards have the players in their road uniforms. Espinosa and Storen are the only two that were taken sometime during some Spring as you can see they are at Space Coast Stadium– unless they Photoshopped that too.
Who knows anymore. The Internet is so confusing.
The battle that every Nationals fan boy rushes home to their mother’s basement with a box of tissues about has finally come. Phenom verus phenom. The 18-year old Scottsdale Scorpion, Nationals prospect Bryce Harper sends his power and ego against the speed and ice-cold demeanor of Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. An epic confrontation. Batter versus pitcher, the deadliest of enemies– but slaves under the Nationals power. Natstown might be devastated when these two collide.
Not really. But someone’s wallet will be.
We are still probably a year or two away before we ever see Strasburg throw a baseball towards Bryce Harper in practice, but these two Goliaths have already faced off in another realm: sports memorabilia. Bryce Harper’s 2010 superfractor Bowman rookie card labeled 1/1 has already been found and was placed on auction. Sports card nuts were hoping Harper’s card would shatter the previous final sales price record that was held by Stephen Strasburg’s superfractor rookie card.
Harper’s card fetched $12,500 at auction. Stephen Strasburg’s card brought in a whopping $16.403 (which was sold, later again for an astronomical $21,000.)
Strasburg wins! FATALITY!
To tell you the truth, I would love to have either one of these cards. I don’t know why I am never invited to these auctions. I’d make a bid. Seriously. The bid might be only $20 or $50 if I had a good week, but still I would bid. I would definitely, probably lose, but I doubt many people can they say they bid on an epic Nationals baseball card. Screw what Yoda said. At least I tried.
I would be a rare breed indeed.
I took a visit to our local, seedy sports memorabilia dive yesterday and picked up some contraband. It is amazing what you can get on the cheap when your team isn’t that good. Take these classics:
- 2007 Upper Deck Goudey Felipe Lopez
- 2007 Upper Deck Goudey Austin Kearns
- 2007 Upper Deck Goudey Nick Johnson
Goudey cards are so cute. They are like the teddy bears or garden gnomes of the baseball card collecting world.
I’ve been on a quest to pull one of the many, but few Stephen Strasburg rookie cards out of a pack of Topps baseball cards lately, but my luck with that hasn’t been as hot as my luck at pulling Nats out of decks of Upper Deck cards which, even though they are not “officially” MLB licensed cards, continue to be some of the best quality cards out there on the market. Here are three recent finds:
- 2010 Upper Deck Ross Detwiler
- 2010 Upper Deck Tape Measure Shots Josh Willingham
- 2010 Upper Deck Willie Harris
Someone berated me for buying baseball cards in a time of recession. I then offered them the one Strasburg rookie card I do have and when they reached out to take it I quickly snatched it away and kicked them in the balls.
That one is for you, Bernie Madoff.
I hit up one of my usual card dealers today and found this little-bitty sitting in one of his glass cases. We came in close to each other, looking both ways to make sure the Five-O wasn’t around and worked out a deal in whispers. He slipped me the goods, I slipped him the cash.
- 2010 Bowman Stephen Strasburg 1st Bowman Card
Stephen Strasburg on a baseball card… it is a beautiful thing. It is like God putting his commandments in stone and letting Moses take them down from Mount Sinai.
Although, unlike Moses I’m not smashing this. Build all the golden cows you want, I’m not doing it.
There is nothing more relaxing in my opinion than going through, sorting, fondling and organizing the baseball cards in your collection. Those who read this blog know I am an avid Washington Nationals card collector, but I also have thousands of other cards that are sitting in boxes waiting to be put in sleeves.
The other day, while relaxing, I came upon this Upper Deck 1993 jewel of former National Vinny Castilla.
Seriously, is there someone that looks at these things before mass printing them? If they are going to let something as hilarious as this pass the censors you might as well use the player’s embarrassing High School yearbook pictures.