Thursday, October 11, 2012

Into the Sunset, Pt. 7: Nomar Garciaparra

It's official.

I have jumped on the Oakland A's bandwagon.

I've been rooting for them all year. They've got that "underdog" factor that I've come to like so much.

Their ninth-inning comeback against "Papa Grande" and the Tigers last night easily took its place among the best finishes I've ever seen. (The Tigers already have a bad taste in my mouth, given that they knocked the hometown White Sox out of contention.)

I literally jumped out of my seat when I saw Coco Crisp knock home the winning run. Even I was surprised that I was showing such emotion for a team like the A's, one who I never paid much attention to before this year. (Save for the whole "Moneyball" thing.)

So, yes, I'll admit it. You can call me a "bandwagon" A's fan, if you want.

Given everything I've seen from them lately, though, I have a feeling this postseason is going to transform me into a true A's fan in the years to come.

Only time will tell.

Out of my newfound "pledge" to the A's, I thought I'd devote this "sunset" installment to a recent fan favorite who finished up his career in Oakland.

The great Nomar Garciaparra.

Most fans probably remember him as a Boston icon. Perhaps some others associate him with his later Cub and Dodger years.

Few, if any, baseball fans remember his time with the A's. I'd bet that the fact that he played in Oakland comes as news to a few people reading this post.

He finished up his illustrious career with the A's in 2009, hitting .281 over the course of 65 games that year.

I've never specifically set out to collect Garciaparra. He's never been that high on my radar.

Still, I'd rate the above Fleer Tradition issue as his "peak year" of cardboard. To date, it's the only card I have that depicts a Red Sox player sporting a "throwback", a rare sight. (It's a former dime box find as well.)

There's probably quite a few people out there who have Nomar-based player collections. I'd have to guess that the "meat" of those come from Nomar's days in Boston, where he had thousands upon thousands of cards issued each year.

I'm almost the polar opposite.

I get the most pleasure out of seeing Garciaparra in an A's jersey.

SP Authentic kicks off Nomar's "sunset" countdown.

A perfect example of a set that I neither like nor dislike. In most cases, it merits a general "meh" from me.

This one is no exception.


Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee is easily one of my favorite recent sets.

The all-time greatest "one and done" issue, in my view. Relatively cheap packs, simple designs, just an overall great effort.

Still, this Nomar is one of OPC's rare misses.

Looks like the photographer caught him a bit off-guard there.

Another "meh" set for me has always been Sweet Spot.

They've had some decent offerings, but nothing I've ever gotten exorbitantly excited about.

This one would definitely rank on the higher end of the Sweet Spot spectrum. I actually kind of like this design. The bottom of the card does actually feel a bit like an actual seam on a baseball.

Couple that with a great in-action shot of Nomar in Oakland and you've got one fine piece of cardboard.

Well done, Sweet Spot.

Well done.

I have no idea how or when I acquired this card.

To my knowledge, these "Update" cards out of '09 Upper Deck only came from those combo "fat packs" that UD used to sell.

I never bought one of those. Surely I must've traded for it, although I have no recollection of that happening.

It's odd how some cards can just "sneak" into your collection like that.

I'm sure glad this one did, though.

Until I pulled and scanned Nomar's "sunset" cards for this post, I'd never noticed that he wore #1 during his time in Oakland.

A little detective work shows that he actually wore numbers 1 and 5 with the A's. That can be explained by the mid-season Matt Holliday trade, as he wore #5 during his brief tenure in Oakland.

Although I'm a huge fan of horizontal cards, this one is the runner-up in this countdown.

There's a good reason for that, though.

How could a mini not take the top slot?

Although my first "sunset" post stated that inserts and parallels wouldn't be considered "official" contenders in this theme, this Nomar is a rare breed.

It's the rare case of a mini that's actually part of the base set.

I still have no clue what "extended" minis are, but they apparently found their way into packs of 2009 Goodwin Champions. The Nomar is one of those.

Unlike A&G and Gypsy Queen minis, these don't exist in full-size form. The mini is all you get.

I can't decide if I like that tactic or not.

Either way, I'll admit that this is one cool card. Clouds in the background make everything better, especially when it comes to cardboard.

Perhaps it could've been better with a sunset backdrop on a "sunset" card.

Now that would be cool.


P-town Tom said...

My theory is that 14 out 15 baseball fans all become "band wagoners" by the time the World Series come around. If you're a true fan of the sport, it's hard not to find yourself pulling for one team or another once yours has been eliminated. Just my two cents.

beefman said...

Can't believe I own a total of ZERO Nomar cards with him in an A's uni! Not counting Multi-Player cards, there's 93 in my collection. That's just pathetic! I'll have purchased one by the end of today :-)

Also, thanks for the entertainment, Nick. I've just spent the last 4-5 hours reading your various posts from my desk at work here in Wollongong, Australia. You have fans everywhere!

Nick J