i left the 30-day baseball challenge at day 15 last time i posted an entry, so it's time to move on to day 16. the topic for that day is "a card of a player whom you appreciate by don't like". for me, this is like led zeppelin. i respect the talent, but it's not really my cup of tea. while there are a few players i could think of that fit the bill for this topic, i'll go with sammy sosa.
partially because of how much exposure he received as a cub thanks to the fact that wgn was broadcasting cubs' games every night, and also because i was more of a mark mcgwire fan at that time. i knew a lot about mcgwire because mcgwire was from southern california, played in california, and burst on the scene while i was a very rabid follower of daily boxscores and sportscenter highlights. sosa came along a couple of years later when i was not paying such close attention to baseball, so i didn't know much about him. when 1998 rolled around, i was impressed but not endeared. both players ultimately disappointed me as a fan. had sosa remained with the white sox (or the rangers, for that matter), i might have been more open to his success at the plate which would not have come at the expense of dodger pitchers as often as it did with him playing on the north side of chicago. not really relevant to this topic, i nonetheless remember what vin scully once said during a dodgers-cubs broadcast: "the white sox thought he was so-so, but it turns out he was sosa".
day 17 was a day to show a card from the first set you put together by hand. for me, that's 1978 topps. i spent the summer and early fall of '78 buying packs, trading, and chasing down singles at the local card & comic shop to finish that set. one of the cards in the set was joe torre's first managerial card
that torre card would also work for the day 18 entry, a card of a player who went on to manage your favorite team, but you know that i need to show a billy russell card for that topic. so, here's russell's 1979 dodger blue card
russell had the unfortunate task of replacing tommy lasorda as manager before tommy wanted to go, and also during an ownership change. a recipe for a short-term gig, as it turns out.
sticking with the infield of my youth, here's ron cey's 1978 o-pee-chee card
that would serve as a day 19 card - a favorite card from a country other than the united states. that cey card is one that i pulled from a pack in the summer of 1978 in southern saskatchewan, and it wound up pinned to my wall in my bedroom when i returned home. you can see the pinholes and the rounded corners and know that this card was well loved. it has since been signed by the penguin and now rests in one of my non-certified auto binders. while that is certainly a sentimental favorite foreign card, i would be remiss to not showcase rick monday's 1977 o-pee-chee card as a favorite in a different way.
monday's canadian variation blew my mind the first time i saw it, having thought up until that point that the 1978 set was mo's debut in blue. this card spawned a deep interest in o-pee-chee cards, and many years later led to my oh my o-pee-chee blog. voici à vous, rick monday!
day 20's topic was a your favorite parallel based on the parallel, not the player. that is a tough one, as there are parallels that i particularly like, such as the 2007 topps chrome blue refractors and the 2011 topps chrome atomic refractors, but the parallels i first recall trying to seek out were the 2001 leaf certified materials jersey number relic parallels. i have one of steve garvey's
and it is one of my favorite cards, period. i've said before that i am a numbers guy, and jersey numbers are a big deal to me. this set, with the die-cut jersey numbers over what is typically a prime piece of jersey, are really nice in my opinion. the problem is the scarcity which kept me from even trying to obtain anything close to a complete set. still, i have a couple others - adrian beltre and don drysdale - and will occasionally take a peek at ebay to see if there are others available (there's a willie mac up for sale right now for $40). leaf included jersey number die-cuts in subsequent certified materials releases, but none lived up to the original in my book.