Monday, September 23, 2013
Here's to Fukudome
I never thought I'd say this, but I owe Kosuke Fukudome a huge amount of thanks.
No, not because of his complete bust of a much-hyped career with my beloved Cubbies. I've tried to block that out of my memory, but thanks for reminding me.
My recent appreciation for Mr. Fukudome actually has to do with cardboard. He helped me win a contest here in the blogosphere.
You see, Tom of the great blog "Waiting 'til Next Year" put a little trivia question out to his readers.
"Which ironically named individual was the visiting manager in MLB's first Sunday night game?"
He wanted both the manager and the year the contest took place. I knew from the "ironically" part that the manager had to be former Giants skipper Alvin Dark. ("Take a hike, kid, take a hike.")
I frantically researched for the year, yet came up empty. From the screenshot on Tom's blog, though, I could tell it was a trivia question from the back of a 2009 Finest issue. And, since Tom (a fellow Cub fan) had just acquired Fukudome's card from the checklist, I figured that'd be a good start.
My suspicions proved correct. Thanks to that otherwise unspectacular piece, I now know that Alvin Dark was the visiting manager in MLB's first Sunday night game in 1963. And, more importantly, I got some cards out of it.
My winnings coincidentally included a few 2009 Finest issues, including the Stephen Drew you see above. As far as the Finest brand goes, it's really not that bad of a set.
I'm not sure how much that's actually saying, though.
All in all, Tom put together quite a nice contest haul for me.
Shots like these should tell you why Pete Rose earned the nickname "Charlie Hustle". The guy always went all-out.
Although I initially scoffed at the idea, I'm slowly starting to realize that Leaf's "The Living Legend" checklist is actually a nice effort on their part. I'm still not big on the idea of devoting an entire checklist to a single player, but Leaf did a nice job with this concept.
I especially enjoy the fact that each shot can be traced to a specific moment in time. This one, for instance, features Rose scoring the winning run in an April 19th, 1985 contest against the Giants.
It's "Charlie Hustle" at his finest.
As his little trade package notes indicated, Tom included the Schmidt for the 'stache, and the Trout for the specs.
Topps actually committed a slight faux paus in their "Rookie of the Week" insert of Michael Jack Schmidt. As his actual '73 rookie indicates, he didn't yet have his famous facial hair as a bright-eyed youngster. Still a fantastic card nonetheless, though.
And, hey, the world of baseball could sure use more names like Dizzy Trout among its ranks these days.
If you read Tom's blog, you probably already know about his massive Kerry Wood collection.
In what I assume were duplicates, he sent over a few new additions to my meager grouping of Wood cards.
You can't go wrong with late '90s inserts and minor league issues.
If the name of his blog is any indication, though, Tom is a devout Cubs fan.
People of our kind can take a bit of heat from other baseball fanatics (somewhat deservedly so), but it's nice to know I have at least a few fellow Cubbie allies here in the blogosphere.
I don't often show autographed cards on this blog, but that Wells is a special one. I mean, how often do you see an in-person auto of a minor league pitcher at the plate?
It's awesome to finally have the gold sparkle edition of Jeff Baker's 2012 Topps issue in my collection.
I still think it's one of the better Flagship cards of the decade thus far.
Probably the biggest highlight of these contest winnings, however, was Doug Dascenzo's 1992 Upper Deck issue.
On the surface, it doesn't look like anything special. Sure, a nice in-motion shot of the former Cub does earn it some merit. But that's not what made it the best part of my winnings.
What did, you ask?
As Tom so kindly noted, the back of this Dascenzo card features a shot of him on the mound. The former outfielder pitched in three games (for a total of four innings) for the Cubs in 1991.
Surprisingly, I don't yet have a copy of his more famous "on the mound" card from 1991 Score, one that features him during his lone one-inning pitching stint in 1990.
Thanks to Tom and his gracious contest, I now own one of the greatest "flip side" shots in cardboard history.
And, believe it or not, it's all thanks to Kosuke Fukudome.
That still doesn't sound right to me.