Yours truly turns 29 years young today.
I share my birthday with a handful of ballplayers I like and collect -- Josh Reddick, Miguel Batista, and Daniel Mengden, to name a few -- and a few non-baseball notables as well (Smokey Robinson, Carson McCullers, and Nicholas Copernicus are an eclectic February 19th trio). But whether within the sport or not, I think the person I'm most proud to share a birthday with is Dave Stewart, who turns 64 today.
I had a bit of a DUH moment recently when I realized I didn't have a ton of Stewart's cards, and had never really made much of an effort to chase them down despite our close personal relationship (or at least that's how it feels when you share a birthday with someone). Over the past few months, I've catapulted him higher on my player-collection hierarchy, and bought up as many of his cards as I could find.
I've finally gotten to the point where I feel like I can piece together a viable Top Five list of Stewart's cards -- so, in honor of our birthday, here's my five favorites.
#5 -- 1995 Collector's Choice #151 Dave Stewart
When I think of Dave Stewart, I think of fear.
Three people ended up in the hospital just looking at this card.
#4 -- 1994 Pinnacle #374 Dave Stewart
While it seems to be a general consensus that Stewart was one of the scariest dudes to ever step on to a pitcher's mound, and despite what the last card might suggest, a lot of companies chose to show his lighter side during his career.
Example: here he is in a cowboy hat, for some reason.
#3 -- 1993 Upper Deck #546 Dave Stewart
You'd be hard-pressed to find a set that features players having more pure, candid fun than 1993 Upper Deck, so it makes sense that they captured the normally intense Dave Stewart in a lighter moment with his teammates here.
#2 -- 1980 TCMA Minor Leagues #174 Dave Stewart
I remember seeing this one on a couple different Dodger blogs during my time here -- namely Night Owl's -- and thinking to myself now THERE'S a great card I'll probably never own.
Imagine my surprise when it fell out of a random 50-cent bin at a card show a couple years ago, which I suppose means I owe those fickle cardboard gods a giant favor.
#1 -- 1991 Topps #580 Dave Stewart
Unlike a lot of the Dave Stewart cards in my collection, I've actually had this one for a long time, and there's never been any question about its beauty.
Photography like this is why '91 Topps seems to be one of the more universally appreciated sets around -- there's something for everyone here. But even the most fantastic sets have a handful of cards that still manage to stand out against the general greatness, and to me, that's exactly what Stewart does in 1991 Topps (I feel sorry for that fuzzy hitter every time I look at this card). No matter how long I keep accumulating more and more cards of fellow birthday dude Dave Stewart, I can't imagine anything topping this one.
So, here on February 19th, I say happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Dave Stewart, and happy birthday to everyone else who came into this world on this otherwise ordinary winter's day.