John Elliott, 1994 Coke Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week No. 7)

Name: John "Jumbo" Elliott
Team: Boo York Giants
Position: Offensive tackle
Fright value of card: Two bare feet
Key 1994 splat: One tiny football crushed
Memorable moments in creativity: Another excellent job from the Coke costume designers in this remarkable set of cards. There's a lot to like here — the oversize square helmet with no facemask, the tiny, smashed football, the tattered overcoat with Jumbo Elliott's number on it. But you know what's not excellent? The effort from the writing staff. Jumbo? Really? No one knows who John Elliott is because, to football fans, he was known only as Jumbo Elliott. How is that a monster name? Why not just have Pat Swilling's monster name be Pat? I can see the writing crew sitting around a table at the end of a long night of looking at dozens of cards, shotgunning cans of Coke in an effort to avoid crashing from an hours-long sugar high, and deciding, "Screw it. We can't top 'Jumbo.' Let's go home."


Ronnie Lott, 1994 Coke Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week No. 6)

Name: Ronnie Lott, aka The Rattler
Team: Boo York Jets
Position: Safety
Fright value of card: Scale of 1 to 10, 2 scales
Key 1993 splat: 10 lady's fingernails
Knowing is half the rattle: Ronnie Lott had a Hall of Fame football career, but he had trouble coping with the void brought by retirement. He tried golf, volunteering and cribbage, but nothing could replace football. Then he was bit by a garter snake and he soon fell in with the wrong crowd. Over the course of a few months his skin began turning green. He started playing pick-up basketball games with Destro, a handsome guy who took bling to the next level. Lott started dating Ruth Baroness, a strong-minded, raven-haired woman with glasses and a 4-inch waist. Lott often found himself at the bar with unsavory characters such as Major Bludd and Doctor Mindbender. During this time, Lott's body was going through changes. he grew a tail, a long tongue and lady's hands. He talked with his new friends, and they told him he looked good. They said he should change his name to The Rattler, and Lott agreed. But when The Rattler asked to join his friends' beer league softball team, called the Cobras, he was told the team's manager, Cobra Commander, said there was no room. The team had a player just like him.



Eric Turner, 1994 Coke Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week No. 5)

Name: Eric Turner, aka Bad Bone
Team: Cleaverland Browns
Position: Safety
Fright value of card: Four Milk Bones
Key 1994 splat: Graduated from obedience school
Bow-wow-wow, yippee-yo, yippee-yay: Eric Turner loved his Coke Monsters of the Gridiron costume so much, he decided to keep it and wear it on game days. Members of Cleveland's notorious Dawg Pound were thrilled. The players on the field? Not so much. His teammates quickly grew tired of seeing him try to intercept passes with his mouth, and the constant ruffing-the-passer penalties didn't help. And it was just plain gross when Turner would lift his leg on the down marker and do his "business" on the 50-yard line. The last straw came when a brutally cold December game against Pittsburgh had to be stopped while Turner humped referee Ed Hochuli's leg. Coach Bill Belichick presented Turner with an ultimatum: Stop wearing the dog costume or get "fixed." Turner chose to leave the outfit at home, but was so heartbroken he died in 2000 at the age of 31 — or 217 in dog years.


Mike Greenwell, 1991 Fleer Pro-Visions (Halloween Week No. 4)

Name: Mike Greenwell, aka Green Monster Masher
Team: Boston Boo Sox
Position: Outfield
Fright value of card: Not a lot of green
Key 1990 splat: One golden belt buckle
Time for another pop quiz:

What's that behind Mike Greenwell?

(A) The Green Monster
(B) The collective envy felt by Red Sox fans over the Yankees' World Series rings
(C) David Ortiz after eating bad Indian food
(D) The future Mrs. Greenwell
(E) All of the above



Christian Okoye, 1992 Skybox (Halloween Week No. 3)

Name: Christian Okoye, aka The Nigerian Nightmare
Team: Kansas Scary Chiefs
Position: Running back
Fright value of card: More than 3 cents? In your dreams
Key 1991 splat: One foursome
We have a lot to cover before Halloween: So much is going on in this card it's liable to make someone's head spin like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist." First, let's address the blatant homoeroticism. It would seem Christian Okoye not only sleeps with men three at a time, but prefers his boy toys to dress as opposing teams' players. That's fine. To each their own. But why is the Chargers player praying for Okoye to return to bed? And why is the Broncos player under the covers, facing the wrong way and ogling the Nigerian Nightmare's rear end? And what about the Seahawks player sizing up that backside, framing it in his line of vision, as if he's about to grab it. But let's put the homoeroticism aside. Why are four pairs of cleats sitting at the bedside? Is there a Raiders player stuffed in the love nest? Let's not forget the biker shorts. Okoye's pelvic region looks like an angry raccoon stuck between two giant Cliffords. Gross. Then there's the hat. It's about four sizes too small and the exact color as his face. Two more quick questions: Why is the comforter being pierced by the bedpost? and Why is Okoye growling? Forget the questions, the glove has to be mentioned. We here at the Bust appreciate when a clever idea is beat into the ground; in this case, Skybox must be applauded for tying Okoye's nickname to a popular horror movie franchise. That's frighteningly smart thinking, outside the Skybox.



Pat Swilling, 1994 Coke Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week No. 2)

Name: Pat Swilling, aka Chillin'
Team: Deadtroit Lions
Position: Linebacker
Fright value of card: Two cubes
Key 1994 splat: None (frozen solid for entire season)
Allow us to break the ice: Quarterbacks were frozen in fear in 1993 when Pat Swilling stepped on the field. The outside linebacker had ice in his veins; a monster of his kind hadn't been seen since William "The Refrigerator" Perry. For running backs, it was the winter of their discontent, as Swilling was as relentless as he was cold-hearted. As the back of this card reads, Swilling possessed the power and speed to put opposing teams "in the deep freeze," and he never warmed to the possibility of defeat. In the heat of battle, Swilling wouldn't get cold feet. As he told coach Wayne Fontes in 1993, "It'll be a cold day in hell when 'Chillin'' doesn't make a quarterback shiver."



Sean Jones, 1994 Coke Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week No. 1)

Name: Sean Jones, aka Ghost
Team: Scream Bay Packers
Position: Defensive end
Fright value of card: Four soiled bandages
Key 1994 splat: One confused photographer
Welcome to Halloween Week: Run! It's a ... ghost? Or a mummy? It's all very confusing. Maybe not as confusing as having a 270-pound defensive lineman dress up as some sort of monster to begin with, but still. The poor Coke photographer had a totally scary see-through sheet with eyeholes for Sean Jones — except that Jones showed up in a homemade mummy outfit. "Uh, Mr. Jones," the photog said, "we've got your ghost costume all ready for you." Jones only scoffed. "Please," he said, "I think I know what a ghost looks like. I've been to Tulsa." Now completely bewildered, the photographer decided it best to just go ahead with the shoot. "OK, act like a ghost, Mr. Jones." Jones started stumbling slowly around the studio, knocking over lights and groaning. The photog then informed Jones that such behavior was more mummylike than ghostly. Jones, now enraged, began chasing the photographer around the studio, eventually catching him and tearing off one of his arms. Sean Jones retired from professional football in 1997.



Will Clark, 1989 Topps Cap'N Crunch insert

Name: Will Clark
Team: (It's a mystery)
Position: First base
Value of card: One crunch berry
Key 1988 stat: 10 pastimes
10 titles that apply to Will Clark, circa 1988:
10) Undercover agent
9) Captain of the Crunch
8) Matt Dillon body double
7) Repairman
6) Mustache repairman
5) First baseman, witness-protection softball team
4) Staring contest supervisor
2) Provider of free rides
1) Bear (yes, in that sense)



Bob James, 1986 Topps

Name: Bob James
Team: Chicago White Sox
Positions: Pitcher, captain of swarthiness
Value of card: 2 lbs. of nasty neck hair
Key 1985 stat: Zero beard washings
No winners in this competition: It was September 1985, and the race for several individual awards was heating up. Don Mattingly was separating himself from the AL MVP pack, while Willie McGee and Dave Parker battled it out in the NL. But the race that had the pundits the most excited was being held between Bob James, Rollie Fingers, John Kruk and Pete Vuckovich for the title of Major League Baseball's Swarthiest Player. The handlebar mustache-mullet performances from Brewers teammates Fingers and Vuckovich were legendary, but largely cancelled each other out. Kruk, who was still in the minors but officially swarthy enough for the award, jumped out to a late-season lead by showing up soil-yourself drunk to every game of a two-week home stand. But in the end, Bob James' outright refusal to wash from the neck up helped earn him baseball's scummiest honor. Writers contended it came down to the last day of the regular season, when a passed-out Kruk was given a cold shower by teammates, costing him valuable swarth. An already sweaty James, meanwhile, took the mound wearing a stained wife-beater, ripped cargo shorts, flip-flops and a mesh ballcap with a photo of a Dodge Charger on it.

Aaron Taylor, 1994 Skybox (Football Friday No. 18)

Name: Aaron "2Story" Taylor
Teams: Green Bay Packers, South Side Gangstarz
Positions: Offensive lineman, the muscle
Value of card: Break yo'self for that coin, son
Key 1993 stat: Two AR-15s, playa
From the hood to the tundra: Check yo'self, son. Aaron Taylor is a beast from da block. He been choppin' it up since he was knee-high to a butta'fly, and you know 'dis. This mo'fo ran with the South Side Gangstarz with his killa-cutteez, Ice Bone aka Sweet Toof and Lil' WetJesus. 2Story was the muscle for the South Side Gangstarz, and 'dis baby-faced brotha never hesitated to jack your chain or put some punk from 'round da way 6 feet deep. 'Den some suit with pretty teeth saw him in da hood and offered him a job north side, with Da Green Bay (Thumb) Packers, son. 2Story figured he could chop game with some straight green chronic in Da Green Bay, so he 'cepted the job and left the gat under the pilla at him momma's hout. He went up to Da Green Bay, brought some sticky-icky, and showed 'dem NFL playas what South Side be about, son.



Dave Winfield, 1992 Upper Deck

Name: Dave Winfield
Team: All
Positions: Outfield, designated hitter
Value of card: 400!
Key 1991 stat: 34 trades
Man on the move: In its 1992 set, Upper Deck paid tribute to a great moment in baseball history: Dave Winfield's 400th time being traded. Over his 22 seasons, Winfield played for all 28 major league teams in existence at that time, as well as 17 professional Japanese teams, 42 softball organizations and, for one memorable week, a youth tee-ball league. Winfield was dealt more times than the eight of hearts. He was involved in more transactions than a Wells Fargo bank teller. He was moved so many times, a U-Haul truck started following him at all hours. He was once actually traded for a meal. In fact, we at the Bust are putting this entire post on the auction block. Serious offers only, please.


Kirby Puckett, 1991 Upper Deck

Name: Kirby Puckett
Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Outfield
Value of card: 14 needle pricks
Key 1990 stat: One embarrassing tattoo
Time for another pop quiz:

What is that on Kirby Puckett's arm?

(A) A tattoo of his ridiculous puppy-dog name, "Kirby."
(B) The scrawling of a blind 6-year-old.
(C) An excuse to have a teammate roll up his sleeves.
(D) "It's a bulging biceps," Puckett tells photographer.
(E) All of the above.


Eddie Murray, 1991 Studio

Name: "Steady" Eddie Murray
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: First base
Value of card: It's laughable
Key 1990 stat: 12 seizures brought on by laughing fits
10 reasons Eddie Murray is laughing:
10) The little-kid's hat he's trying to squeeze over his Jheri curl is disrupting brain synapses.
9) The photographer is mocking his mock turtleneck.
8) He's not laughing; his giant mustache forces his mouth into that position.
6) He doesn't live up to his nickname after six Mickey's grenades.
5) He's tickling something with the bat.
4) The photographer told him to turn that frown upside down, before realizing the frown was his mustache.
3) When he sees someone's lips moving, he replies with laughter, because his minifro has shut off his ears from all earthly sounds.
2) The photographer nagged him into doing his Eddie Murphy laugh impression.
1) Mirror.


Gary Sheffield, 1989 Topps

Name: Gary Sheffield
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: Shortstop
Value of card: One diamond-studded set of braces
Key 1988 stat: 14 years old
Braces with bling: Before Gary Sheffield was a muscle-bound power hitter with a scorpion tattoo on his bulging biceps, he was a 14-year-old kid on the Brewers' big-league roster. Being young, he always was striving to fit in. He tried chewing tobacco, but he got it stuck in his nose. He tried talking about "women who were easy scores," but his stories knocking in a speedy seventh-grade girl during P.E. softball drew groans. Then he found a common interest with the older players: jewelry. Sheffield had spent part of his signing bonus to buy braces. With a newfound fascination for bling, he spent more of it on diamond-studded brackets. Then, at a few veterans' behest, he spent the rest on bling'd-out headgear that doubled as a thick gold necklace.



Victor Rosario, 1991 Fleer

Name: "Victor/Victoria" Rosario
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Shortstop
Value of card: Three mascara eye boogers
Key 1990 stat: One ripped-off movie plot
His story reads like a movie: Victor is a poverty-stricken shortstop trying to find work in Atlanta in the 1990s. With the help of a world-wise fielding instructor, he invents his alter-ego, Victoria, a male impersonator who is hired to play at fashionable Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. "You want me to be a man pretending to be a woman pretending to be a shortstop?" Interwoven throughout the comedy of errors and statistical numbers are some surprisingly astute observations about gender perceptions, discrimination and the value of a sure-handed middle-infielder.

* words in red substituted; text from IMDB.com



Kevin Roberson, 1994 Upper Deck Electric Diamond

Name: Kevin Roberson
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Two finger guns
Key 1993 stat: 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio
Here's looking at you, kid: Kevin Roberson is a hall-of-famer. I don't care that he hit .197 in four partial seasons in the majors. I don't care that he struck out more times than a nervous freshman at a homecoming dance. I don't even care that he once trotted out to left field wearing a replica Bulls jersey because he left his Cubs uniform in a cab on the way to Wrigley. That, my friends, is a hall-of-fame pose. Not only is Roberson giving us the two-gun salute, that smile could melt butter — and hearts.

Emmitt Smith, 1993 Skybox (Football Friday No. 17)

Name: Emmitt Smith
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Position: Running back
Value of card: 22 catches
Key 1992 stat: No shoulder pads
Great moments in sports card photography: Yeah, this card is a catch-22, alright. Here we have Emmitt Smith, emerging superstar, posing for a special edition football card, one of the true highlights of any professional athlete's career. Yet something is not quite right. Maybe it's the lighting, which seems to be hitting the Dallas skyline from the left and Emmitt from the right — meaning either Emmitt is posing in front of a photo or he's in some kind of physics-challenged universe. (Well, it is Dallas.) The sun is shining off those skyscrapers, yet Emmitt's F necklace isn't glinting at all! The most noticeable thing about Emmitt in this photo may be the bulge in his chest-high pants. It's possible he stuffed a live raccoon down his trousers. Thankfully, in this bizarro world, Emmitt is managing to keep his helmet from flying away by standing on it. Just terrible work all around by Skybox. We at the Bust give this card an F (necklace) for effort.


Robin Yount, 1992 Fleer Pro-Visions

Name: Robin Yount
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Positions: Outfield, hero
Value of card: Six giant baseballs
Key 1991 stat: One blockbuster
Movie trailer time: In a world where oversize baseballs have gained self-awareness and the ability to fly (cut to scene of said baseballs crashing with explosive force into buildings, cars and cleanup hitters), only one triple play can save the Earth. (Cut to scene of a pack of baseballs taking down a jetliner.) This summer, Robin Yount (cut to scene of Yount looking up and saying "Bottom of the ninth, you red-seamed bastards"), Robin Yount's mustache (cut to an intense scene of Yount eating a crumb-laden baguette) and Robin Yount's mullet (cut to a slow-motion CGI scene of Yount's mullet snaring a baseball in its golden strands) make a stand against rawhide. The balls may strike, but it's America that is ... "Ahead in the Yount."


Tom Selleck, 1992 Upper Deck

Name: Tom Selleck
Team: New York Yankees
Positions: First base, private investigator
Value of card: One tin of mustache wax
Key 1991 stat: One mediocre baseball movie
No platoon necessary: After missing the postseason for yet another season, the New York Yankees were ready for a shake-up. While general manager Gene Michael made a blockbuster trade sending Don Mattingly to the White Sox for Frank Thomas, owner George Steinbrenner clandestinely signed actor Tom Selleck to a one-year contract after seeing Selleck's latest movie, "Mr. Baseball." His employees tried their hardest to inform Steinbrenner that Selleck had never actually played professional baseball, but The Boss stuck to his guns. "With a mustache like that," Steinbrenner was heard to say, "this guy can't miss." Selleck proceeded to bat .112 over his first 20 games while Thomas sat stoically on the bench. Michael realized what he needed to do. Thomas and Mattingly were quietly moved back to their original teams, Mattingly was forced to wear a Hawaiian shirt, a la "Magnum, P.I.," and Michael abducted Selleck by offering him a ride to the set of the latest "Three Men and a Baby" sequel — only to lock him in an empty shipping container in Long Island. Steinbrenner never caught on.


Scott Pose, 1993 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Scott Pose
Team: Florida Marlins
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Cat crap
Key 1992 stat: Two ear flaps
Reaction from Topps Stadium Club photographer upon meeting Pose, 1993: "So, let me get this straight. It says here your last name is Pose. Pose? Really? Like your 'posing' in a horrendous uniform for a terrible baseball card? Hold on, hold on. I got to call my buddy. (silence as giant mobile phone rings) Hello, Dale? You'll never believe this. I'm taking a picture of some guy named Pose. Yeah, I know, ridiculous, huh? Yeah, you should see this guy's batting helmet. It's huge. Two ear flaps, the whole deal. (photographer extends index finger in Pose's direction, signaling for the player to hold on for a few moments) No, no. I'm serious. The guy hasn't moved a muscle since I got here. He's like a robot, just standing there, motionless, with this humongous helmet that nearly goes down to his shoulders. Yeah, Pose. (laughs) Pose hasn't changed his pose in 10 minutes. Total schmuck. (puts down phone) OK, Pose, just stand right there and don't move. Yeah, you're a natural, pal."



A. Bartlett Giamatti, 1990 Topps

Name: A. Bartlett "Bart" Giamatti
Team: Angels
Position: Dead commissioner
Value of card: $10 off FTD sympathy bouquet
Key 1989 stat: One massive heart attack
Weekend at Barty's: After baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti died suddenly in 1989, several baseball card companies planned a memorial card for him in their 1990 sets. Giamatti, who had made headlines for banning Pete Rose from baseball just days before his death, was never the most photogenic person. Knowing this, the crack photography team at Topps decided to one-up the competition. Rather than use an archived image for their card, the sick bastards at Topps broke into the morgue where Giamatti had been taken, stole his body, threw a clip-on tie and $50 suit from Mervyns on him and propped him up "Weekend At Bernie's"-style in the Shea Stadium visitors locker room for a photo shoot. Hilarity ensued when, rather than returning Giamatti's body to the morgue, they instead stuffed him into the Mr. Met costume and left him in the bullpen car.


Eduardo Perez, 1993 Fleer Pro Cards

Name: Eduardo Perez
Team: Vancouver Canadians
Positions: Infield, defenseman
Value of card: 3 cents, eh
Key 1992 stat: 234 penalty minutes
The Canadian Pastime: Eduardo Perez had wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Tony Perez, since he was a child. He dreamed of playing in the big leagues, winning a Most Valuable Player Award and getting a World Series ring. That dream was derailed, however, for a few seasons in the early 1990s, when Perez's contract was purchased by the Vancouver Canadians, a fledgling franchise north of the border that required its players to perform on the baseball field and in the hockey rink. Perez had never played hockey, and, for that matter, had never seen ice, so the transition was a bit rocky. He tried to bunt instead of pass. He tried to hit-and-run instead of cross-check. But his most embarrassing moment came when he tried to stuff the Stanley Cup in his jockstrap.


Bill Buckner, 1988 Topps

Name: Bill Buckner
Team: California Angels
Position: First base
Value of card: Two Ace combs in pockets, at all times
Key 1987 stat: Zero balls hit between his legs to lose a World Series
10 things you may not have known about Bill Buckner:
10) Hair covers 96 percent of his body.
9) He has to shave the bottoms of his feet three times a week.
8) Only player in 1987 whose hair helmet precluded requirement to wear batting helmet.
7) His eyebrows weigh 11 pounds each.
6) He uses a leash when he walks his chest hair.
5) A utility infielder once became lost in his part.
4) He is forced to use a comb with razor-blade teeth.
3) The mustache seen above is actually 3 o'clock shadow.
2) Within two years, his hair will have pushed down his ears onto his neck.
1) A barber once approached him, slowly, and asked if he wanted a haircut. Buckner agreed, but then, suddenly, the barber rolled between his legs, costing the Red Sox a World Series and Buckner a chance to look human.


Derrick Alexander, 1994 Upper Deck (Football Friday No. 16)

Name: Derrick Alexander
Team: Cleveland Browns
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: One night at the Ramada in Boca Raton
Key 1993 stat: 7,126 chest hairs
Time for another pop quiz:

What was Alexander doing when this photo was taken?

(A) Harvesting coffee beans with his great-uncle, Juan Valdez.
(B) Attending the "Fourth Annual Hunks with Bleached Goatees Convention" in Key West.
(C) Staring into the depths of a life filled with promise only to find disappointment and promises unkept.
(D) Just basking, baby. Just basking.
(E) Posing for a ridiculous football card, sans pants.



Marc Newfield, Rondell White, 1992 Upper Deck Top Prospect Checklist

Names: Marc Newfield, Rondell White
Teams: Seattle Mariners, Montreal Expos
Positions: Outfield, outfield
Value of card: $150,000 at the box office
Key 1991 stat: One parting of ways
For love of the game: Before Ang Lee released his ballyhooed 2005 film "Brokeback Mountain," he directed a prequel about the forbidden love of two minor-league baseball players, the long-forgotten "Brokeback Ground-Rule Double." In the climactic scene, co-stars Marc Newfield and Rondell White say their goodbyes before the start of another long season. "I wish I knew how to quit you," the stoic Newfield tells his special batsman while watching the Expos' team bus approach. "I know," White says, slipping a hand on his lover's shoulder. "But it's like Coach Runnels said. We're getting paid to hit the ball, not stem the rose." The film bombed at the box office but stands to this day as a landmark in chronicling homoeroticism in baseball.


Ken Griffey Sr. & Jr., 1991 Mothers Cookie insert

Names: Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr.
Team: Seattle Mariners
Positions: Left field, center field, respectively
Value of card: One adult magazine
Key 1990 stat: One family financial crisis
Dark days for the Griffey clan: Despite the cancellation of their TV sitcom, "Griffey and Son," the Griffey family seemed to be in good financial shape in 1990. But Junior's uncontrolled taxidermy purchases and growing collection of Russian nesting dolls soon tapped the household's resources. Father and son were forced into desperate measures, including a seedy photo shoot for Butt Fancy magazine. One of the few family-friendly pictures from the session is seen here. The photo spread, titled "King Domes," caused an uproar within the Seattle Mariners community. Team president Jeff Smulyan stepped in, loaning the pair money to live on — under the condition that Junior stop buying so many darned jackalopes.

Jim Leyland, 1986 Topps

Name: Ol' Smokey Jim Leyland, the Lovable Chimney Sweep
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Hal's Soot Locker
Positions: Manager-chimney sweep
Value of card: 1 kilo of soot
Key 1985 stat: Two failing lungs
Lighting a fire under this place: Jim Leyland liked only one thing more than baseball: smoking. He smoked before games, during games and after games. He smoked on pitcher's mounds, in dugouts and along foul lines. But when his doctor told him his lungs were failing and he would be dead by the all-star break if he didn't quit, Leyland laid down his first love and concentrated on his beloved Pirates ... for approximately 42 minutes. The only thing Leyland could think about was smoking. He knew he had to find a replacement for cigarettes if the Pirates were to win again. "C'mon, Jimmy: think, think, think," the manager said aloud. "There has to be a way to get my fix and manage this team." Then, an idea hit him like a Greg Luzinski home run. Leyland marched to the general manager's office and made a declaration. From that day on, his uniform, seen above, would be a mix of manager and chimney sweep, and after trying to strategize his team to victory, he would spend hours inhaling the sweet, sweet soot and stale smoke in the stacks around Three Rivers Stadium.



Fernando Valenzuela, 1991 Upper Deck

Name: Fernando Valenzuela
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Ace
Value of card: 3 pesos
Key 1990 stat: 248 pounds + 248 pounds + 248 pounds moving toward the plate
10 reasons this card is awesome:
10) It's a Fernando fiesta.
9) Math teacher glasses look radical on professional athletes.
8) That's 744 pounds of mighty Mexican on the mound.
7) Three times the bulge for the ladies.
6) It's always great to see a muscular, well-conditioned athlete plying his trade.
5) The only thing better than two Fernandos? That's right. Three Fernandos!
4) One Fernando is reaching for the dingus of another Fernando.
3) It's awesome because you're on acid.
2) He has butt handles (left Fernando), not love handles.
1) He's moving faster than the speed of salsa.


Cal Ripken Jr., 1993 Upper Deck Superhero Insert

Superhero name: The Raper
Alias: Cal Ripken Jr.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Positions: Shortstop, superhero
Value of card: He'll make sure you get 10 to 20
Key 1992 stat: 143 people "saved"
Extent of costume: Two swipes of eye black
Weapon: Strategically placed phallic baseball bat
Mission: To rid the streets of criminals, just not rapers.
Source of powers: Human growth hormone, mock turtlenecks
Inspiration for "helping" others: Family tradition of abuse
Mortal enemy: Mysterious fir tree-shaped mountain of clouds, always lurking behind him, just out of sight
Slogan cliche alert: In the battle for eternity.
Misplaced punctuation: Period at end of incomplete sentence slogan



Kevin Mitchell, 1987 Fleer Traded

Names: Kevin Mitchell, Kevin Mitchell
Teams: San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants
Positions: Third base, left field
Value of card: Top half, 3 cents; bottom half, lint
Key 1987 stat: Two Mitchells, one (Bust) cup
Clone wars: Kevin Mitchell started 1987 on the Padres roster. He had a smooth swing, a bad attitude and two gold teeth. He spoke in the third person and wore more jewelry than Mr. T. His attitude, by most accounts, was hurting the Padres' camaraderie and playoff chances. So what did he do? No, he didn't ask for a trade at midseason, he played for two teams at once under the guise that he had cloned himself. "I told them suits, 'Kevin Mitchell made me another Kevin Mitchell,'" Kevin Mitchell told Sports Illustrated in 1990. "I stood next to a mirror in my house and took a picture. I shows it to 'em, and say, ' Ya see. Two Kevin Mitchells. It's too good to be true.'" Mitchell proceeded to sign his second self, which was really his first and only self, to a contract with the Giants. For a while, he flew from one game to another, sometimes missing a few innings or the last game of a road trip. But when the Giants and Padres played each other late in the season, Mitchell had to resort to Plan B: buy two gold teeth and ship them to a doppelganger with a similar attitude and a bit more power, but not much of an arm.



Sterling Sharpe, 1990 Score (Football Friday No. 15)

Name: Sterling Sharpe
Team: Green Bay Packers
Positions: Wide receiver, Rocket man
Value of card: One background from an Atari football video game
Key 1989 stat: 134 times impersonating Elton John
Sterling Shatner sings: She packed my pads last night, preflight. Zero hour, nine a.m. And I'm gonna be high as Brett Favre by then.
I miss the Earth so much. I miss my wife. It's lonely out in Green Bay, on such a timeless flight. And I think it's gonna be a long, long time till a touchdown brings me round again to find I'm not the man they think I am at home. Oh no, no, no, I'm a rocket man.
Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone.
Lambeau ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it's cold as hell — and there's no one there to raise them if you did. And all this science, I don't understand. It's just my job one day a week. A rocket man, a rocket man. And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...