Name: David "D.J." Johnson
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Value of card: One broken "DJ Hero" turntable
Key 1991 stat: 365 times reflecting on the day
D.J. Johnson's train of thought from 7:02 to 7:04 p.m., Aug. 3, 1991: "Wow, what a beautiful sunset. I bet it'll make my biceps look awesome. Wait, are my sleeves still rolled up? Yep, good. Lookin' good. ... I wonder how well my mullet will show up in this light. I mean, it'll be clear that I'm all business up front, but the ladies need to know about the party in the back. ... Too bad picture day is today. Another month, and this mustache would totally be filled in. Oh well, I'm sure my wrist brace will draw attention away from it. ... Is this guy done taking my photo yet? It was a lot of work spraying myself with all that water in order to look sweaty. I need a shower."
Name: Brett Butler
Team: Cleveland Indians
Value of card: Disgust
Key 1985 stat: Constantly disgusted
Wake up, Nancy: Oh, what's that? You've been having nightmares all week because of these dream-haunting Diamond Kings? Well, Brett Butler doesn't want to hear it. He thinks you need to get your act together and quit whining. He doesn't care about how frightening some of these illustrations are, and he doesn't give one crap about how you sometimes wake up screaming. You want to know fear? You want to know bone-chilling terror? Try being a Major League Baseball player with the same name as a Hollywood actress. You might never sleep again.
Name: Jose Cruz
Team: Houston Astros
Value of card: A shot of Jose (not Cuervo)
Key 1984 stat: 512 bones in face, apparently
A real looker: The fear struck into the hearts of men (and women) by Jose Cruz has been previously documented on this site. Even Dick Perez was so horrified that all he could come up with for a background was a purple square. Let's review: There's the soullessness of Jose's eyes, which can bore through any skull and see the deepest fears therein. There's the rapey gaze that makes people of all genders clench their legs shut even more quickly than when they hear the word "prolapse." And then there's the monobrow, which
Name: Charlie Hough
Team: Texas Rangers
Position: Old pitcher
Value of card: A huff and a puff
Key 1996 stat: 52 bottles of Just For Men purchased
Hinting at retirement: What's so scary about this Diamond King? Well, as usual, you've got your faceless tiny man in the corner
Team: Chicago White Sox
Value of card: 3 months of bird crap found inside a sparrow nest
Key 1983 stat: 20/80 vision
Grab your mace: "Hey baby. Come to this parking lot often? Huh-ha. (snort) Huh-ha. No, no, don't back away. I'm not trying to be creepy. I'm not a serial killer or anything. Huh-ha. (snort) Huh-ha. Do you like my panel van over here? It's really nice inside. You should see it some time. Why are you dialing on your phone? I'm not trying to scare you out of your clothes or anything. Huh-ha. (snort) Huh-ha. Do you like my glasses? All the better to see you with, my dear. Wait, why are you running away? I can be the man of your dreams. Don't you want me haunting your dreams? Wait, come back! (Puts rope, large plastic bag and shovel into the back of van.)"
Name: Willie McGee
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Value of card: 2 ounces of hardened Play-Doh
Key 1985 stat: 14 children frightened
Man of mystery: What, what, what is it? What is that thing pictured above? It can't be Willie McGee. For all his faults, he was at least human. The shards of skin and turkey neck don't make a man. It's like a mismatched selection of body parts, crammed together without care for the poor souls whose eyes must view it. This, this, this thing is the stuff nightmares are made of. Those lazy eyes, weak chin, upturned nose and jagged lips; that's not Willie. Could there be a worse illustration of this former MVP? Yes, yes there absolutely can.
Name: Mark McGwire
Team: Oakland A's
Position: First base
Value of card: You know those plastic paint palettes that were handed out in first grade? One of those, dried up and broken into three pieces
Key 1995 stat: 74 hours looking directly at you
Don't look away: "Hey you! Yeah, you. It's me, Mark McGwire, and I'm staring you down. I'm here to do one thing: scare you straight. My icy-cold glare is peering deep into your frightened, fraudulent soul. You're a craven, and you need to stand up and be a man. You're terrified of me just as you're terrified of waking up every morning and looking in the mirror. Stare into my dead, baby-blue eyes. Here's the message you need to internalize, the words you must never forget, the simple instructions that will turn you from a quivering coward into a fearless alpha male: Grow a mullet, you spineless jellyfish, and become a man, like McGwire."
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Value of card: 11 flakes of cigarette ash
Key 1983 stat: Zero minutes hanging in a museum
Welcome to Dream-Haunting Diamond Kings Week: Once again, we'd like to apologize. We've brought you Atrocious Diamond Kings, God-Awful Diamond Kings, Dreadful Diamond Kings, Horrendous Diamond Kings, Disturbing Diamond Kings and Diamond Kings we just had to apologize for. But now, our
Don't fall asleep: You may be getting tired, but we'd stay away from bed. You never know when "Crazy Eyes" Concepcion might be lurking in the shadows, ready to render you unconscious with the chloroform-soaked rag tucked into his batting helmet. Concepcion might have been slick in the field, but he was slicker when covered in the blood of his victims, especially after he wore the "Texas Chainsaw"-style flesh mask pictured above. Consider yourself forewarned: Don't sleep on this Diamond King.
Name: Junior Seau
Team: San Diego Chargers
Value of card: One drawstring
Key 1991 stat: Turtlenecks, turtlenecks everywhere!
Put this pop quiz in lights: What does it say on the scoreboard behind Junior Seau?
(A) PLEASE DON'T SIT ON THE CROSSBAR
(B) TEACH US HOW TO SHINE IN ZUBAZ
(C) LEAGUE LEADER IN TROUSER-RELATED BLINDNESS
(D) PREACH THAT MUSTACHE, HELL YEAH!
(E) NONE OF
Name: Kent Tekulve
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Value of card: 6 ounces of the part of a pirate's peg leg that touches the stump
Key 1980 stat: 20 stars on his Little League hat
It's time for The Caption, which we're sure did not run in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the early 1980s: "Kent Tekulve, center, does a funky chicken dance on the mound while wearing aviator shades, one of the best baseball caps of all time and a uniform that blinded 12 fans who were already blind after throwing a sidearm slurve for the Pirates against the New York Mets at Three Rivers Stadium on a sweltering June day with 98 percent humidity made hotter by Tekulve's school-bus-yellow jersey and pants in Pittsburgh on Wednesday."
Name: Roy Gerela
Team: Houston Oilers
Value of card: 6 drops of oil
Key 1970 stat: 12 nights spent in the basement of the Alamo (behind him)
Here's what Roy Gerela stands for:
Rascally haircut for a rascally kicker
Oil covered his body on many nights spent alone
Younger than most players by looking at that hairdo
Gazing into the far beyond, he saw his future on a terrible sports card
Eyes strangely the same blinding color of his uniform and the sky
Rarely found time to comb his bangs between kicks
Everyman who most men would avoid
Little illustrated kicker in the corner was a much tougher dude
Adam's apple could serve as a shiv in a streetfight
Name: Al Holland
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Pitcher (possibly a belly-itcher)
Value of card: 2 cat hairballs
Key 1980 stat: $12,876 annual salary as South San Francisco garbage collector
Gaze upon him: Here we have style maven Al Holland. The talented pitcher set out each day to redefine fashion on the diamond. He eschewed baseball caps, saying men who always wore hair helmets didn't need them. He sewed his own jacket from a tarp that spent two winters covering a wood pile. Why? Because he could. He grew a mustache that frowned for him when reporters questioned his fashion choices. His mutton chops? Epic. They were as thick as most lumberjacks' beards — but who needs a beard with a chin that manly? We salute you, Al Holland. A true style Giant.
Name: Gah! We mean, Willie McGee
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Value of card: 40 shudders
Key 1988 stat: Even he seemed appalled by himself
Come on, Topps: Look, we understand the point of the Topps Big set was to get both an action shot and an up-close mug of the same player on one card. But maybe you could have just gone with two action shots of Willie? We mean, good lord, nobody needs to see that homely face smiling (is he smiling?) right back at them. Imagine the poor kids who saw this card! Nightmares for weeks, and probably a bout of bed-wetting, too (that was our excuse, at least). It's bad enough that these cards won't fit in our standard-issue card pages, you don't need to torment us with a full-on view of the Chinless Wonder as well. Now, if you'll excuse us, we need to go wash our sheets.
Name: Sean Lowe
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Value of card: A bag of clouds
Key 1992 stat: 26 red birds killed with a pellet gun
St. Louis Cardinals' scouting report on first-round pick Sean Lowe: "Well, it's pretty obvious, but the sky is the limit with this kid — and it looks like he has reached his limit. ... Can't pitch worth a lick, but his vertical leap is 122,816 feet. ... His baseball IQ isn't that high; his head seems to be in the clouds. ... If that trampoline rule change comes to pass, this kid will be a star. ... His apparent ability to fly bodes well for a team with a bird for a mascot."
Card submitted by Douglas Corti
Name: Mike Piazza
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Value of card: 11 pieces of burnt pepperoni
Key 1997 stat: 51 Italian food dinners with Tommy Lasorda
Here's how Mike Piazza spent spring training:
- Sculpting his mustache with tweezers.
- Shopping at the Oakley store for only-awesome-in-the-1990s shades.
- Running laps ... around the Vero Beach, Fla., nightclub scene
- Catching more flak than baseballs.
- Spring potty training.