A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kurt Bevacqua

Every once in a while, I get a hankering to buy baseball cards again. I'll look for them on e-Bay in hopes that there will be something cool and cheap. The two don't often go together. I do have a Pedro Martinez and Bob Gibson jersey card that I got for under $10 with shipping. I don't care about the real value. I just like that two of my favorite pitchers of all time are memorialized on one card with their jerseys fashioned into the card itself.
Cards like this are what makes collecting nowadays special. I never pulled a card like that from a real pack, but I did get some cards that were above and beyond the sets themselves. That said, other than ones of Mark McGwire's numbered home runs (especially #55), I really don't think much of any of them.
Baseball card companies today had to go back to the concept of something special to set them apart. For example, there's a 2007 Topps Derek Jeter card that also features George W. Bush and Mickey Mantle. That's a cool card. Really.
However, it's not the 1976 card that features Kurt Bevacqua of the Milwaukee Brewers blowing a huge ass bubble to win the Joe Garagiola / Bazooka Bubble Gum Blowing Championship. Things like that don't happen nowadays.
That said, it took a whole different era to respect Garagiola since he was the guy who spiked Jackie Robinson back in the day. A large part of his life was spent explaining away how he wasn't a racist until he eventually turned into a voice of the good things in baseball.
But that's not why this card is so cool. Kurt played from 1971-1985 for 7 teams. He finished with a .236 average and 27 homeruns. He stayed around as a bench player for that time. He did have a 3 hit game in the 82 World Series that saw him hit a homerun, but he wasn't anything great.
That said, he was a bubblegum blowing champion, and frankly, that goes a long way towards something great.
Baseball cards today are still nice. My wife bought me a pack of 2011 Topps, which didn't really feature anyone special, but the anticipation that I'll get someone life altering in that 5 cards for $1 pack is still like playing the lottery and seeing if I can get more than 2 numbers.
However, going to shows is more about seeing the names and the faces than being able to plunk down big bucks for the Golden Era of collecting (1950s and 1960s). There's the Platinum Era, too, but I can't afford tobacco cards. Nevertheless, I'm always amazed by what cards go for - even in 1 and sub 1 condition.
All the same, it's still fun to wander around the Convention Center in Valley Forge and think about what I could get.

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