Saturday, August 25, 2012
Unfamiliarity is key
My collection is like one big puzzle.
Each little thing is a piece that leads into something else. Then that leads you into another path into what I collect. And so on, and so on.
Sure, there's my (literally) hundreds of different player collections. Getting the "good" cards of the players I like was what initially sucked me into the hobby.
While my numerous player collections have been with me for what seems like forever, the dozens of little, themed "mini-collections" that I've built up over the years have been just as much fun to look for in bargain bins.
In that regard, my "short term stops" collection is responsible for everything else I've accumulated.
Ever since I can remember, I've always had a deep fascination for guys that only wore a certain uniform for a year or "half-year".
I've been in this hobby for about twelve years now. Although a lot has changed, my interest in those types of cards has stood the test of time.
I'll always get a kick out of Dale Murphy in a Rockies uniform. The same goes for Harmon Killebrew in a Royals uniform, as well as countless others.
Still, just because a guy wore a certain uniform for more than a year or so doesn't mean that he automatically looks "right" in that jersey.
One of my first big vintage pickups after my re-entry into the hobby was this '64 Topps Lou Brock.
Before he became part of the infamous "Brock for Broglio" swap, Lou Brock spent two-and-a-half full seasons with the Cubs organizations, as well as a brief call-up in 1961.
I wish that Lou Brock would've spent his prime days in the Windy City, although that's always easy to say in hindsight.
Instead, I'll always have a hard time picturing Brock in the famous Cubbie blue.
It's a shame.
Lou Brock is an exception to this rule.
In most cases, it's the end of a hallowed career that brings about some odd uniform changes.
The past has brought us examples like Babe Ruth as a Boston Brave, Willie Mays as a New York Met, and Hank Aaron as a Milwaukee Brewer.
I can't imagine how hard it would be for a once-great player to hang up their spikes for good. Through no fault of their own, some tend to hang around the game for a few years too long, often bouncing around from team to team.
Baseball history has given us tons of examples of these, and it doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon.
In that regard, Trevor Hoffman is a rarity.
He fits into both the "beginning" and "end" categories.
Before being dealt to the Padres in mid-season of 1993, Hoffman played the first 28 games with the neon-green Florida Marlins that year.
He'd go on to become arguably the most dominant closer the game had ever seen during the next fifteen years of his career in San Diego.
Then, he found himself in Milwaukee, where he'd play the final two years of his tenure in the big leagues.
Although he did have an All-Star season with them, I just can't get accustomed to seeing Hoffman in the navy blue Brew Crew jerseys.
Still, the words "Milwaukee, N.L. 2009-2010" will appear on his Hall of Fame plaque when that time comes.
I'm guessing it'll be in 2015.
While I'm probably a bit younger than most baseball fans and collectors out there, my age does still show in a few cases.
Younger fans probably know Mark Grace as an Arizona Diamondback. After all, he won his only World Series title with the franchise in 2001.
Not to mention that he's one of my favorite announcers in the game, as he currently does the color commentary down in the desert. (Editor's note: Looks like I haven't been paying close enough attention to the news lately, so disregard that last part of that sentence.)
Trouble is, I've never been able to get used to my cards of him as a D'Back. (Not to mention those odd pajama-like uniforms they used to wear.)
I'm old enough to remember Grace taking his position at first at Wrigley, day-in and day-out. He was a staple of the franchise.
He's probably the most iconic person of my lifetime to don a Chicago Cubs uniform, even though he spent three years of his illustrious career outside of the Windy City.
Although I don't blame him one bit for leaving, he'll always be a Cub to me.
Nothing could ever change that.