Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Questions from Dinged Corners

Since I've been away with computer troubles for the past three weeks, I've been doing a lot of catching up over the weekend. I missed more than I thought I would. So when I was looking around Dinged Corners I came across their "New Year's baseball card questions," and thought I'd have a go at it. I posted my quick answers there, but decided to have some fun with it and go more indepth here.

The questions are, in round one:

1-If I didn't collect baseball cards, I'd collect _________.

Knives. In fact I do collect knives. My interest arose out of carrying a knife for utility and realized that too many things over the course of a day need a knife. Opening the mail, opening baseball cards, cutting loose strings, peeling an orange. Long before my interest in baseball cards returned I'd been feeding my need for things sharp, shiny and pointy. My collection includes 60+ pieces. Nothing of great value, but a lot of sentimental value. My collection includes my great grandfather's small three bladed Imperial stockman that my grandmother (who will be 91 this year) remembers he father carrying when she was young. A knife my grandfather carried as a college student in the 1930s and a fixed blade that my father had when he was a scout in the late 50s.

Pictured below is the focal point of my collection, my Bucks.

2-My baseball heroes include one you probably wouldn't know from my blog or comments, and that person is __________.

Lou Gherig. I hate the Yankees, always have. But I have unending respect for the likes of Ruth, DiMaggio and especially Gherig. He carried himself so professionally on the field and off. Everything he did was for the team and his team mates. He played until he was physically unable to take another at bat or take another throw from second.

Gherig's unfortunate end has a deeper meaning to me though as one of my cousins was taken from us by ALS several years back.

3-Every New Years I resolve to __________ my collection.

Organize. Not just my collection but my house, my life, everything. I can't ever seem to do it. My house is clean, but cluttered. I try to clean and set aside a weekend every now and then to clean and what happens? I can't find anything. My clutter is like a perfect filing system. To an outsider it looks like a small tornado has struck my house, but if you ask me to find one thing I can within seconds.

4-If I could spend a day with one person from baseball history, it would be ________.

Hank Aaron. I don't feel the need to explain this one. I've been a fan of Hammerin' Hank since I started reading baseball history. He was a great player and is a great man that accomplished something amazing. Barry Bonds isn't half the man Henry Aaron is.

Now on to round two, Lucy's questions.

1-What is your favorite kind of dog?

Dachshund. In 1976 my parents brought home a dachshund puppy. He was their child until I came along five years later. He lived to the ripe old age of 14 and died in 1990. I never cried so long and so hard in my life. For some strange reason I remember the night he died, after we buried him, the Braves were playing the Dodgers on TBS and someone turned a triple play. I don't remember who it was, but I remember where I was sitting on the couch and I remember not being very interested in the baseball game.

2-Who is your favorite baseball player?

My favorite player of all time is Cal Ripken Jr. I got to see him play once, on my 16th birthday in 1997 in Baltimore. He didn't disappoint. Cal played every day and he played the game the right way.

My favorite current player is Chipper Jones. I've been a fan of his since his rookie season and saw him play in 97 and again in 98 (Maddux pitched both games).

3-What is your favorite team?

Since the late 80s I've been a Braves fan. Before that, and still today, I was a Dodgers fan. The last few years have been frustrating for us Braves fan, but I liked them when they were the bottom feeders of the NL West, I enjoyed fifteen years of being the best, so I'll stick it out until they're on top again.

4-What is your favorite baseball movie?

Major League. It's not serious like some of them and it doesn't have a deeper cultural meaning, but it's funny and it's a good movie.

5-What is your favorite baseball book?

Back in the early 90s I used to buy the Sporting News guide every year before the season started. It was like having a media guide for every team in one book. The previous years statistics were included, schedules, rosters and I believe draft picks. I assume they still publish this book every year?

6-What is your favorite card?

This one.

I followed his career very closely from the beginning. He got of to a great start and things looked so hopeful for him. Between his rookie year of 1990 and 1993 he was 50-36. His best season came in 1993 where he went 18 and 6, and his 2.94 ERA was second on the staff to Maddux's 2.36.

But after an injury late in 1993 he was never the same pitcher. He pitched three more relatively unproductive years in Atlanta before being signed as a free agent by the Red Sox in 1996. Despite his troubles in his last three seasons with the Braves, I was sad to see him go. Fortunately by '96 we had the internet and I was able to keep up with his career as he threw for two seasons in Boston where he was able to post a record of two games over .500 in two seasons. Then he was off to the Reds where he pitched until an injury ended his season in July 99.

That injury was pretty much the end of his career. He resigned with the Braves in 2000 and again in 2001 but was released in March 2001 and was out of baseball until a brief comeback attempt in 2003 with the Tigers where he went 2-0 in 16 innings of relief.

So why is this my favorite card? Because Steve Avery was supposed to be the next great pitcher. He was young and he was good. He pitched with the best of the best in the early 90s and held his own. His career never panned out the way any of us hoped it would, but I can't look at this card and not think about how excited I was about him. I know it's not worth the paper it's printed on, but it's been in that top loader since 1990 and it's not coming out.

I was never able to get my hands on his 1989 Topps draft pick card, but this 1990 Donruss will forever be my favorite card, for the fond memories I have of Steve Avery.


Nachos Grande said...

You left a comment on my blog about a possible trade involving some 1987 Topps cards. I am interested (but couldn't find your email address).
(my want list is posted at http://fanofreds.blogspot.com) Let me know which cards you have and we'll work something out! Thanks.

Jason said...

This is from:

It's the only triple play I could find that the Braves were involved in in 1990. I know it's not the best of memories for you, but thought you might like some more info about it anyway...


9/21/1990 NL Houston Astros at NL Atlanta Braves Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Bot 4 Inning Score V-H 0 - 1 PLAY SEQUENCE: 5*-4*-3* Source: Retrosheet Event Files; SN Box Scores
Event: 5(2)54(1)43/GTP/G5 # Men On: 2 [ 1-2 ] HOU at ATL
Batter: Francisco Cabrera First Jim Presley Second David Justice Third
Batter: 3 F 1 Runner 1: 2 F 2 Runner 2: 1 F 3 Runner 3: 0
Out# Type Loc: Out# Type Loc: Out# Type Loc: Out# Type Loc:
{Out Type: D=Doubled-Off F=Forced G=Gloved T=Tagged X=Strike-Out; Out Loc: Retrosheet Field
Francisco Cabrera (ATL) is the batter with a 2-0 count. He hits a ground ball fielded by the 3B (Ken Caminiti) who steps on the bag to force the
runner from second, David Justice (OUT 1)
3B throws to the 2B (Dave Rohde) who forces the runner from first, Jim Presley (OUT 2)
2B throws to the 1B (Mike Simms) who retires the batter, Francisco Cabrera (OUT 3

Ben said...

Maybe it was Houston. The date seems right. Maybe we were watching a Dodger game before or after the Braves. I was 9.

Jason said...

That was actually my first year of high school and I remembered distinctly seeing the game with that triple play - just couldn't remember anything else about it. When you mentioned it, I had to go try and fill in the blanks in my rapidly-aging brain. :-)

Unknown said...

I have a Steve Avery # 1 Draft Pick Topps # 784 if you want it . . . let me know. Steve