As I was looking over the various posts I've done in the past few weeks, I was reminded how heavily slanted my collection is. I'd say that it's probably over 90% Padre cards, though my '91 Fleer complete set might lower that number just a little bit.
There was a time, however (when I started this blog), that I wasn't such an exclusive team collector. One thing that I really loved that diversified my collection were my binders of catcher cards. Heck, I even named the blog "Backstop Cards".
I've often thought about changing the name of the blog to something more Padre-themed, but it's a fleeting thought and something I don't think will ever happen. Don't care that much about it.
Anyways, while I don't apologize for the overwhelming amount of Padre related posts, here's one that features zero Padre cards (though there are a trio of former Friars in here), while hearkening back to the "backstop" days of the blog.
If you collected in the 90's you'll remember the Collector's Choice brand, put out by Upper Deck. Though the design was usually a little plainer than the regular UD brand, the checklists were pretty big and the price tag was pretty low. I didn't always love it, but I could usually afford it, which was big.
Well, included in the set is a page worth of cards devoted to catchers, the "Masked Marauders". While I'm not sure that this is a term or nickname that has ever really been used in baseball circles, I appreciate the alliteration. More importantly, I appreciate the design and look of these cards.
Featuring catchers in their gear is a pretty easy way to make a cool card. Having cards that are dedicated to the craft of catching is even better. Raul Casanova's card here (former Padre prospect) is the best looking of the bunch, looking cool in the black background. The rest of the cards didn't get similar treatment, though I think Casanova might've been standing in front of something dark?
I've always loved baseball, and as a kid, I was pretty much obsessed with it. Strange thing I realized looking back: I never really liked hitting.
This was partially due to the fact that I wasn't very good, but was furthered because I was a pretty good fielder. I was one of the few on my teams that could make the throw from 3rd to 1st without hopping, and I especially loved strapping on the gear and getting behind the plate. Felt more comfortable behind it than in the batters box.
It might've been a little selfish on my part, as well. As the catcher, you get to call the shots and run the game. I was pretty into that, once I figured it out. The only one who touches the ball more than you is the pitcher. Catchers have been known to make it as managers (Bruce Bochy, Mike Matheny) as evidenced by current Tigers manager and former Padre Brad Ausmus.
While there have been plenty of card sets that glamorize ace pitchers or dominant sluggers, there haven't been nearly as much of the star backstops. The Gypsy Queen "Collisions at the Plate" inserts were pretty cool (though I only saw them on blogs - I don't buy GQ), but I have to say that I prefer these 90's beauties.
This is also a ploy on my part. There are nine of these cards in the set, and I have six of them. If you've got the remaining three laying around and you don't need 'em, shoot me an email and let's see if we can work something out. Who even collects Javy Lopez, Mike Piazza, and Ivan Rodriguez, right?