In the craziness of the "Day Before Christmas" shopping, I was out and about grabbing some goodies to stuff into stockings. At the Dollar Tree (which is the king of all dollar stores, if that is saying anything), I found some plastic wrapped cards that were labeled "Multi-Sport". This is usually enough to deter me from buying, because the odds of getting Padres are so much smaller when you include basketball and football into the equation.
Still, I knew that there wouldn't be any cards under the tree for me this year, so I plopped down two bucks and got two 25 card packs. To be honest, there was a lot of crap. However, there were some gems in there as well. Well, "gems" might be stretching it, but there's room for a little "ugly" in the binder now and then.
This may be one of my favorite baseball card images of all time. The ad for Shoney's Restaurant on the outfield wall and the scoreboard with Gill's info on it give it character enough. But the crazy eyes and psycho smile to go along with the fielding stance are what puts this card over the top. And, in case you've been wondering why no major league teams have purple and green colors, well, now you know.
I found out that there were two Chris Gill's on baseball-reference.com. The one pictured above is a San Diego-born second baseman who was in the Reds farm system for four years ('89-'91, '93). This card is from 1990, his second year in the minors, when he batted .251. He topped out at AA Chattanooga, where he played one game, going 0 for 2 with a hit by pitch. For some reason, he doesn't have any stats for 1992 or 1994, not sure why. It looks like after he was cut from the Reds, he tried to make a comeback in an independent league, but he only played four games in two years. Not sure about the story behind that, but sounds like it could be interesting. Still, a great piece of cardboard.
Also in the repacks were a few Padres that haven't made their way into my binders yet (well, Kruk is a newcomer, due to a trade that I posted yesterday). It's not for lack of obtaining the cards. I've gotten plenty of Klesko's and Kruk's in trade packages before, but I'm just not a fan of either of them, and they go into the box of cards that I pass out to my students.
Maybe it was Klesko's dorky sideburns or the fact that he looks like "Biff" from Back to the Future. Maybe Tony Gwynn has already laid claim to the only spot in my heart for "large and in charge outfielders".
Whatever it is, these cards won me over. Ryan's sideburns are too much for me, but I like the orange and blue backdrop, even though I realize it's a little harsh on the eyes. The Kruk card looks blurry, but it's not my camera's fault - it's got a hazy photo of Randy Johnson's biggest fan on this 2005 Donruss Greats. Not sure why, but the sepia tone photo and the light blue border really work for me.
There were also a few other cards that I decided to keep, while the rest ended up in the trade box/trash. Oddball Nolan Ryan cards are always cool in my book. And Brian Harper cards are a random part of my collection that I really enjoy. This is a pretty good one. Not a huge fan of 1991 Bowman, but I like the minimalistic approach, focusing on the picture. Baseball cards are supposed to be pictures anyways, right?