Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another gem from ebay

First days back at work after vacation are rough, and that's exactly where I find myself this Wednesday afternoon. So what have I decided to do to ease my way back? Searched ebay for Darryl Strawberry stuff, of course! Here's what I found:

Very nice: a worthless card officially graded as worthless! I'm guessing the seller of this card is banking on the relative popularity of 1989 Upper Deck, the inaugural release of this brand, to bring in a little bit of money. Unfortunately, this auction takes place in 2009, 20 years after this card's heyday. Nobody really cares much about this set, at least not nearly as much as even 10 years ago.

Now, had it been graded a perfect 10, maybe there'd be a little interest from Strawberry collectors. It'd be a cheap way to own a "perfect" card. But that "PSA NM 7"?

No thanks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1986 Fleer #96

From the back of the card: Did you know? After missing 7 weeks and 49 games of '85 season, came back with 50-game stretch to hit .320, 15 HR, 45 RBI and scored 30 runs... Was 4th Met ever to hit 3 HR in one game, vs. Cubs in '85, and also had 7 RBI vs. Braves in July game... Led NL in homers in August with 9.

First off, I did not know all of that! Useless trivia, to be sure. Actually, I'm not even sure it qualifies as trivia - It's just a bunch of randomly pulled facts and stats.

The front of the card is a shot clearly taken at the Mets spring training facility, as you can see a practice field in the background. Darryl's forearms are bulging, which makes me wonder: When did steroids enter the game? Not saying he did or didn't use them, and I certainly don't feel like talking about the subject any more than this random thought, but I can't help but wonder. One thing about this picture is certain - Strawberry wasn't thrilled with having his photo taken. Usually he's all smiles on his cards, but not here. Must've been the end of practice on a hot Florida day.

I only have one of these cards, so I didn't scan the back, but it's fairly boring. It has the standard minor/major league stats, has a black border on the top and bottom, and is yellow in between. Not visually appealing.

Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, this is the only '86 Fleer Darryl Strawberry that I own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strawberry pens tell-all

Jose Canseco has blown the cover off the steroids era in a couple of books, "Juiced" and the sequel "Vindicated".

Joe Torre has exposed the Yankees and all of the organization's problems in his book, "Yankee Years."

And now, Darryl Strawberry is cashing in on his years with the Mets of the 1980's with his upcoming book, "Straw: Finding My Way".

A couple of excerpts:

We were the boys of summer. The drunk, speed-freak, sneaking-a-smoke boys of summer," Strawberry writes. "(An) infamous rolling frat party . . . drinking, drugs, fights, gambling, groupies.

On beer:
...was the foundation of our alcoholic lifestyle. We hauled around more Bud than the Clydesdales. The beer was just to get the party started and maybe take the edge off the speed and coke.

On the team's mantra:
...tear up your best bars and nightclubs and take your finest women . . . The only hard part for us was choosing which hottie to take back to your hotel room. Lots of times you . . . picked two or three.

My thoughts? Bleh. I can't see this book being any good. Didn't David Wells already write a book on this topic? Half of the stories in these tell-alls seem to be entirely fictional, if not absurdly exaggerated. I find it a bit ironic, too, that he already wrote a book, "Recovering Life", that talks about how he's recovered from this period of his life.

These books inevitably turn into a bunch of barroom stories bragging about how crazy their younger years used to be and usually aren't worth the time required to read them. Though they don't usually take a ton of time to read, because the writers/players often have the intelligence of a ten year old. If you've read either of Canseco's books, or John Daly's "My Life In and Out of the Rough," you know what I'm talking about.

But let's be honest, I'll probably buy it when it hits bookstores in April, if for no other reason than it'll add to my Darryl Strawberry collection. Read more about the book here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1986 Topps #80

Next up comes from the 1986 Topps set. Nothing too special here: a simple (in a good way, I think) front with the team name across the top, player name on the bottom, and position in the lower left corner. It's a good thing there weren't any truly valuable rookie cards released in this set, because the black upper border on cheap card stock has been nearly impossible to keep pristine through the years.

If I were a professional sports photographer, I'd do the exact same thing the guy who captured this particular shot did, which is take all my pictures during batting practice and warm ups, and then watch the rest of the game from the field. A bit lazy, and I find it hard to believe this was the best Strawberry picture Topps had on file.

On to the back:

While not the prettiest card back I've ever see, the red is definitely better looking than the green backs Topps had been using in previous years. It's got the personal biography, it's got the stats, and best of all... Talkin' Baseball!!!

I'd never, ever heard of Harry Chiti before this card. Traded for himself? Very nice. I find it strange, however, that he was listed as only the first player in Mets history... not all of baseball history, just Mets history. Did this happen all the time before 1986? It certainly doesn't happen now, unless you count a player being traded at the deadline and being resigned by his original team in the off-season.

I own eight of these cards.