12.31.2010

Geronimo Pena, 1992 Topps

Name: Geronimo Pena
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Second base
Value of card: Carpal tunnel syndrome
Key 1991 stat: Nobody knew what he looked like
Misadventures in Photoshop: Two years had passed since Topps' much-criticized Photoshop series involving Twins pine-rider Al Newman. The staffers at Topps, of course, had learned nothing. Late one night, drunk on peppermint schnapps and cherry-flavored vodka, the photo editors decided to 'shop out the face of Cardinals utility infielder Geronimo Pena and replace it with random people. Above we see Topps janitor Felipe Jimenez. Most of the faces that made it to print were more well-known, including Bruce Springsteen, "Ghost" co-stars Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, Abraham Lincoln and Santa Claus. Controversy erupted, and "Road House" star Swayze went so far as to sue Topps, saying, "If I were a baseball player, you'd better damn well believe I'd hit more than five home runs."
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12.30.2010

Johnnie Morton, 1994 Upper Deck Star Rookie (Football Friday No. 66)

Name: Johnnie Morton
Team: Detroit Lions
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: Two feet of soiled terrycloth
Key 1994 stat: Three Power stickers
Detroit Lions' scouting report on first-round draft pick Johnnie Morton: "This kid has it all: speed, hands, an earring and a flat-top that'll drive all the 16-year-olds crazy. ... Says he hasn't taken off his shoulder pads since 1989. They appear to have actually grown into his skin in places. ... Once ate his weight in pizza at a Pizza Hut lunch buffet. ... Needs a jersey, but has enough wristbands to last until the new millennium. ... Appears to be always crying on the inside. And on the outside. ... Ran the 40 in 4.3 seconds. Drank a 40 in 7.1 minutes. ... Doesn't seem to know how to spell Johnny right. ... Without a doubt, this kid is the player who will put the Detroit Lions in the Super Bowl! Hey, stop laughing!"
Not making this up: After his playing career, Morton tried his hand at mixed martial arts fighting. In his debut, he was knocked out 38 seconds into the first round, carried out on a stretcher and then denied his purse when he refused to take a post-fight drug test. He later tested positive for anabolic steroids. Apparently, he should have taken more of them.
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12.29.2010

Bobby Bonilla, Barry Larkin, 1991 Fleer Superstars Special

Names: Bobby Bonilla, Barry Larkin
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds
Positions: Outfield, shortstop
Value of card: 8 pounds of awkwardness
Key 1990 stats: Zero words actually exchanged
It's a 1990 NLCS retro Matchup:

Round 1: Mustache that looks like eyebrows (Winner: Bonilla)
Round 2: Dumbest look on face (Winner: Tie)
Round 3: Inability to realize where the camera is (Winner: Larkin)
Round 4: Potential for ruining career by moving to New York (Winner: Bonilla)
Round 5: Alliterative name (Winner: Bonilla)
Round 6: Inability to get out of that net they're trapped in (Winner: Tie)
Round 7: Secretly sad on the inside (Winner: Bonilla)
Round 8: Fake gold jewelry (Winner: Larkin)
Round 9: Who does the card itself resemble? (Winner: Bonilla)

Final score: Bonilla 5, Larkin 2 (Ties: 2)

Synopsis: The Killer B's got swatted by the Reds in the 1990 NLCS, but Bonilla brings the Bucs an entirely meaningless win in this Matchup.
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12.28.2010

Kimera Bartee, 1996 Fleer Ultra

Name: Kimera Bartee, if you can believe it
Team: Detroit Tigers
Positions: Outfield; on one knee
Value of card: $5 in advertising for whoever owns that gigantic tower beyond center field
Key 1995 stat: No paper trail
Man of mystery: We don't know much about Kimera Bartee. He was obviously using a false name when this picture was taken, and the Tigers organization denies any knowledge that he ever actually existed. Here's what we do know about this enigma of a question mark:
  • He wore a fake mustache.
  • He believed having his photo taken would steal his soul. Or get him killed. One of those.
  • He refused to be outside when other people were around.
  • He loved raisins.
  • He never really learned how to hold a bat.
  • After this photo was taken, he changed his name to the only moniker more ridiculous than the one he had already chosen: Wonderful Monds.

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12.27.2010

Chad Curtis, 1993 Fleer Ultra

Name: Chad Curtis
Team: California Angels
Position: Outfield
Value card: Two shards from broken Oakley Blades lenses
Key 1992 stat: 276 fly balls missed
Make the catch: Chad Curtis was terrible in the outfield. He made so many mistakes, Fleer Corp. had no choice but to run a photo of him misplaying a fly ball. As you can see above, the ball is directed at an angle away from his glove's position. To make the catch, he'd need to drop his glove at least a foot. We understand the ball was hit hard — just look at the fire trail — but he's a big leaguer; he has to make that play. (What's that? Oh, the ball we're talking about is an illustration. Um. OK. Yeah, this is a bit embarrassing. So, that's not a real ball? Gotcha.) Folks, we've just been informed that Curtis isn't as bad of a fielder as we might have implied. Apologies to him and our readers.

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12.26.2010

Dave Winfield, 1989 Topps

Name: Dave Winfield
Team: New York Yankees
Position: Outfield
Value of card: It ain't worth a crap
Key 1988 stat: 125 times defecated in dugout
A new feature: "The Caption" is new to The Bust (probably for good reason). We'll include the caption that would have appeared if the photo had run in a newspaper. Only the worst baseball card photos will get The Caption treatment. Feel free to leave your own caption as a comment to show everyone how much funnier you are than the dimwits at The Bust.
The Caption: "Dave Winfield, above, takes a crap in the New York dugout Wednesday during the Yankees' 4-2 loss to the California Angels in Anaheim, Calif. Winfield went 0-for-4. "He stunk today," Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly said of Winfield after the game."

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12.25.2010

Dr. Dre, Ed Lover, 1991 ProSet MusiCards (Alternative Sports Week No. 7)

Names: Dr. Dre, Ed Lover
Team: Team Yo! MTV Raps
Positions: Players
Value of card: One torn strand of tinsel
Key 1990 stat: One badass turntable
Clearing up some rumors about these two rap maestros:
  • They didn't play a sport, but they did play The Game.
  • While they may have hated The Game, they never hated the player.
  • Ed Lover is, in fact, wearing a Lakers Santa cap. This is unrelated, however, to the "special delivery" Kobe Bryant made in a Colorado hotel room in 2003.
  • Dr. Dre is, in fact, wearing a shirt that says "SKIDZ" on it. It remains unclear, however, whether there were SKIDZ in his shorts.
  • The animal prints on the top and bottom borders of this card are not from actual animals. Unless Zubaz is an animal.
  • Ed Lover is actually holding a basketball. It was Ice Cube, however, who last week messed around and got a triple-double.
  • MTV did, in fact, used to play music videos.

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12.24.2010

Trevor Kidd, 1992-93 Upper Deck (Alternative Sports Week No. 6)

Name: Trevor Kidd
Teams: Team Canada, Calgary Flames
Position: Goalie
Value of card: Socialized medicine
Key 1992 stat: 814 pounds of padding
How Canadian was Trevor Kidd? Trevor Kidd was so Canadian that he bled maple syrup. He was so Canadian, he out-Mountied the Mounties. Kidd was so Canadian, he began, interrupted and ended every sentence with an "Eh." He was so Canadian, he called French-Canadians "Extra Canadians" because he didn't want to mention another nationality. He was so Canadian, he refused to eat "regular" bacon because it wasn't frigging Canadian enough. Trevor Kidd was so damn Canadian, he built a house made of ice, shaped like the Stanley Cup, and skated from room to room with his dog sled team while eating nothing but poutine. O Canada!
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12.23.2010

Joe & Brian Sakic, 1993 Upper Deck Bloodlines (Alternative Sports Week No. 5)

Names: Joe and Brian Sakic
Teams: Quebec Nordiques, Erie Panthers, respectively
Positions: Centers
Value of card: A pint of blood, on the ice
Key 1993 stat: One photo shoot on top of a parking garage
It's brother against brother in The Matchup:

Round 1: Mullet, of course (Winner: Brian, by a hair)
Round 2: Talent (Winnter: Joe, by a lot more than a hair)
Round 3: Classy white pocket square (Winner: Brian)
Round 4: Having an actual reason to ever wear a tuxedo (Winner: Neither)
Round 5: Bigger stick (Winner: Brian)
Round 6: Square-headedness (Winner: Brian)
Round 7: Most noogies given to the other brother (Winner: Joe)
Round 8: Clip-on bow tie (Winner: Tie)
Round 9: Firmer grasp on his shaft (Winner: Joe)

Final score: Brian 4, Joe 3 (Ties: 2)

Synopsis: The extra time Brian took to grease his mullet the morning of the shoot paid off. He escapes with a narrow win over his brother, leaving Joe to weep on his Stanley Cup rings, Olympic gold medal, all-star jerseys and millions of dollars.
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12.22.2010

John Davis, 1991 U.S. Olympic Cards (Alternative Sports Week No. 4)


Name: John Davis
Team: Team America (1948 and 1952)
Position: Weightlifter
Value of card: 400 lbs.
Key 1952 stat: 400 wedgies
Clearing up some rumors about Olympic weightlifting champion John Davis:
  • John Davis may have been able to lift nearly a quarter-ton, but he couldn't carry a tune.
  • John Davis wore only the finest tube socks and Chuck Taylors
  • John Davis actually had no idea the guy behind him the stands was imitating him.
  • John Davis was not related to Jim Davis, creator of that delightful "Garfield" comic strip.
  • John Davis picked up a lot of heavy things on stage, but never lifted a finger around the house.
  • John Davis actually hated weightlifting. He just really liked the little outfits he got to wear.

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12.21.2010

Dan Gable, 1991 U.S. Olympic Cards (Alternative Sports Week No. 3)

Name: Dan Gable
Team: The US of A
Position: None quite as homoerotic as this
Value of card: Three pieces of used ear tape
Key 1976 stats: One gold medal; one passionate love affair
10 names for Gable's signature move, seen above:
10) Half-Nelson, Full-Sexy
9) Third Base
8) Slightly Homosexual Pile-Driver
7) 'Taint the Move You Want to Be In
6) Crotchlock
5) Reverse Spandex Smut
4) True Love
3) The Smell This
2) Greco-Roman Romance
1) The Gay-ble

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12.20.2010

Bob McGill, 1992 Upper Deck (Alternative Sports Week No. 2)

Name: Bob McGill
Team: San Jose Sharks
Position: Defense (except with the ladies)
Value of card: One tourist trap store's shark tooth necklace
Key 1991 stat: 12 fake teeth

Bob McGill's dating profile, circa 1991:

Screen name: sharkbob187
Age: You'll have to ask ;)
Height: Two hockey sticks
Weight: 195 pounds of man
Hair color: Mullet
Hair Style: Shark fin
Ethnicity: Canadian, eh!
Want children?: My pucks are my kids
Past relationships: I've had sex with dozens of women in bar bathrooms.
Best feature: Pearly white smile, which I can take out and show you
Smoke?: Opponents
Drink?: Every morning; usually Molson; before haircuts

Seeking: Women, lots of them
Location: Within 3,000 miles of the Shark Tank
Her height: ALL
Her body type: ALL
Her ethnicity: Groupie

About me: Hello, ladies. Shark Bob here. I like to score, and not just on the ice. But you and me and a couple of Molsons could melt some ice, baby. I like to have fun and party. I once drank 52 beers in one sitting and jumped off a two-story house. I landed on my teeth. Not a scratch. I take pride in my appearance, which is obvious if you've seen my profile pic. I get my hair cut once a week by a marine biologist in the shape of a shark fin. I did this for three years before getting traded to the Sharks. I can imagine you and me, naked as two peaks in Saskatchewan, riding a Zamboni into the moonlight, drunk as hell. I'm the stick; you're the puck. Now let's (word deleted by dating service). C'mon and ride the shark fin, baby.

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12.19.2010

John McNally 1992 U.S. OlympiCards (Alternative Sports Week No. 1)

Name: John McNally
Team: The Team with the Goddamn Guns, That's Who
Position: Shooter
Value of card: All the money in the bank McNally just robbed
Key 1991 stat: 25 killed, hundreds wounded
Welcome to Alternative Sports Week: The world of terrible sports cards goes far beyond baseball, football and basketball. Through Christmas, the Bust will bring you wrestlers, hockey players, weight lifters and this guy, John "Shooter" McNally. Happy frickin' holidays.
Don't mess with McNally: "What's that, waitress, you don't have Dr. Pepper? Do you have it when a gun is in your grill?" "Oh, excuse me, barber, you think this mustache should be trimmed a bit? Why don't you recommend that to Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson?" That's right, John McNally was a hard-ass. He carried a gun at all times, pulled it out whenever he felt like it and used it at a moment's notice. His Olympic sport? Bustin' caps in fools' asses. The 5-foot-2, 145-pound accountant from Wichita, Kan., was the most feared man at the Barcelona Games in 1992. He robbed the Dream Team of their gold medals and their bling. With two bullets, he made the nations of the former Soviet Union compete as the Unified team. He pointed his trusty piece at Dick Ebersol while standing at a urinal and made "skeet shooting" NBC's prime-time event for eight straight days. In 1992, John McNally took aim at greatness, and with a fire in his belly and a firearm in his grip, he shot and scored.
One more thing: That gun is pointed at you, punk. Keep reading.

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12.18.2010

Joey Cora, 1995 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Joey Cora
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Second base
Value of card: 350 days of rain
Key 1994 stat: Zero power to the people
Pop quiz time:

What's Joey Cora up to here?

A) Pretending he's a modern-day Black Panther
B) Pretending he's an NFL official signalling fourth down
C) Pretending he's on "Jersey Shore"
D) Pretending he's not in Seattle and raising his fist in jubilation
E) Threatening to punch Randy Johnson in the junk — Joey Cora was really short
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12.17.2010

Chris Chambliss, 2003 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic

Name: Chris Chambliss
Team: New York Yankees
Position: First base
Value of card: Wouldn't you like to know?
Key 2002 stat: Hadn't played in 15 years
Nothing to see here, folks: We know what you're wondering. You want to know what's behind the shield, right? Go ahead, you can admit it. You want to know what Chris Chambliss' bulge looks like. It's OK! There's nothing to be ashamed of. Truth is, we were wondering the same thing. So, we did a little research. It turns out, almost no one knows what Chambliss' "sweet spot" looks like. In 1969, after an unfortunate incident at a children's library, a federal judge ordered him to wear a loin cloth on top of his clothing whenever in public. So far as we can tell, only three people have seen this particular bulge since: Chris Chambliss, Mrs. Chris Chambliss and Billy Martin. And, yes, they all saw it on the same night.
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12.16.2010

David Fulcher, 1991 Score Dream Team (Football Friday No. 65)

Name: David Fulcher
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Position: Strong safety
Value of card: Seven hangnails
Key 1990 stat: Zero untended cuticles
Script from Lee Press-On Nails for Men TV commercial, circa 1991: "Guys, I know you want to look your best, but you want to look tough, too. I'm David Fulcher, a hard-hitting strong safety in the National Football League. (Cut to shot of Fulcher slamming into an opposing player.) But just because I nail my opponents at work doesn't mean my nails have to look bad at home. (Cut to shot of Fulcher's nails, glistening.) That's why I choose Lee Press-On Nails for Men. They're smooth, sexy — and a steal, at only $1.99 for a box of 12. (Cut to shot of female backup singers.) 'One ninety-nine, are you out of your mind?' We're not out of our minds, sports fans. So listen to me, David Fulcher, a tough guy with a soft side. (Cut to shot of Fulcher bench-pressing a bed full of bunnies.) When you want to put your best foot forward, let Lee Press-On Nails for Men give you a hand. I do. (Cut to shot of Fulcher fluttering his glistening nails.)"

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12.15.2010

Dennis Martinez, 1996 Upper Deck

Name: Dennis "El Presidente" Martinez
Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Chewing gum residue in your hair
Key 1995 stat: 17 more wrinkles than mustache hairs
Clearing up some rumors about "El Presidente":
  • Martinez didn't have wrinkles. He had folds of skin that allowed him to store pieces of gum.
  • Martinez wasn't really a president. He had a mustache that was presidential.
  • Martinez wasn't the only one blowing bubbles in the dugout. He said to ask your sister.
  • Martinez didn't chew gum for the flavor. In his native Nicaragua, blowing a big bubble is similar to "flipping the bird" in the United States.
  • Martinez doesn't chew gum with sugar. He's sweet enough.

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12.14.2010

Jay Bell, 1994 Upper Deck

Name: Jay Bell
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Second base
Value of card: Your favorite shirt, now with eye-black stains
Key 1993 stat: Zero properly performed slides
It's time for a head-first pop quiz:

What was Jay Bell thinking at this moment?

(A) "I shouldn't have had that last whiskey sour."
(B) "Ouch. This'll teach me not to wear the other team's uniform."
(C) "Must ... keep ... junk ... off ... ground ..."
(D) "Who put this damn helmet in my way?"
(E) "Yeah! My hair is so 'Jason Priestley.'"
(F) "The crowd loves The Worm."
(G) None of the above.

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12.13.2010

Corey Lee and Robert Stratton, 1997 Topps Draft Picks

Names: Corey Lee, Robert Stratton
Teams: Texas Rangers, New York Mets
Positions: Pitcher, Outfield
Value of card: 3 inches of dyed, dried snake skin (see card border)
Key 1996 stat: Two unfulfilled big-league dreams
It's time for a mid-1990s Matchup:

Round 1: Ability to bend hat brim like a normal human being (Winner: Lee)
Round 2: Hat within three sizes of fitting correctly (Winner: Stratton)
Round 3: Arm hair, in pounds (Winner: Lee)
Round 4: Batting accessories, in pounds (Winner: Stratton)
Round 5: Face fit for a circus clown (Winner: Lee)
Round 6: Face fit for a police lineup (Winner: Stratton)
Round 7: Ability to grow eyebrows (Winner: Lee)
Round 8: Propensity for a phallic pose (Winner: Stratton)
Round 9: Tacky uniform number necklace (Winner: Stratton)

Score: Stratton 5, Lee 4, Ties 0

Synopsis: In a back-and-forth Matchup of two ragtag never-weres, Stratton's embarrassing jewelry choice earns him what has to be the biggest honor of his baseball career.

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12.12.2010

Dave Parker, 1991 Topps Traded

Name: Dave Parker
Team: California Angels
Position: Designated hitter
Value of card: One vending-machine comb
Key 1990 stat: 402 bowel movements
Dave Parker's train of thought from 5:21 to 5:22 p.m., May 3, 1991: "Crap! I can't believe I got lost coming back from the bathroom. I mean, sure, I took my time, smoking cigarettes and reading my new issue of American Beard Enthusiast, but I'm the DH, dammit. I don't need to be in the dugout every inning. But here I am, the game is over, and I couldn't even find the hot dog man. This is more embarrassing than that time in Pittsburgh when I had to wear a football helmet. I hate California."
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12.11.2010

Leon Durham, 1981 Topps

Name: Leon Durham
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Outfield
Value of card: A bag of rusty razor blades
Key 1980 stat: Average body temperature of 82.4 degrees Farenheit
What does Leon Durham stand for?

Licking his teeth, always attractive
Error in 1984 NLCS was his most famous play
Open mouth caught a lot of flies
Nine pounds of glasses

Deep in thought about how delicious mustard is
Unnecessarily huge collar kept the back of his head warm
Rape stare makes us feel nervous
Helmet hair nothing new to Leon
Above-average ability to wear a jacket
Mustache-goatee combo much better than his fielding skills
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12.10.2010

Zane Smith, 1991 Topps

Name: Zane Smith
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: A toothache
Key 1990 stat: Constantly made this face
Top 10 things in Zane Smith's mouth in this photo:
10) Marbles
9) Dentures
8) A tumor
7) A Pittsburgh Pirates officially licensed tongue piercing
6) A pound of chew
5) An entire McRib
4) Two shots of Andy Van Slyke's cherry-flavored vodka
3) One of Bobby Bonilla's socks
2) Mullet juice
1) Another clipboard
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12.09.2010

Greg Hill, 1994 Upper Deck Heavyweights (Football Friday No. 64)

Name: Greg Hill
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Position: Running back
Value of card: One sand flea
Key 1994 stat: Constantly picked on
Greg Hill's train of thought from 12:20 to 12:22 p.m., June 25, 1994: "Hey, where'd they go? My teammates were right here just a minute ago, but now they're gone! I hope they didn't drown! Dang it, I never should have run to the bathroom to reshave my chest. And legs. Now they're probably dead, all because I wasn't here to save them. I can't believe this! Coach Schottenheimer's gonna kill me. Hey, what's this note here in the sand? Maybe they've been kidnapped, and this is the ransom note! 'Dear Greg. Have fun walking back to Kansas City. Get bent. Sincerely, Steve Bono.' Oh no, not again!"
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12.08.2010

Jorge Fabregas, 1992 Bowman

Name: Jorge Fabregas
Team: Some California Angels minor league affiliate or other
Position: Catcher
Value of card: One stained shirt
Key 1991 stat: 25 stripes
Jorge Fabregas, from A to Z:

A: Appears to have some sort of odd neck rash
B: Backup backstop
C: Collar should definitely be popped to complete this look
D: Despite being a catcher, he never really caught on, if you know what we mean
E: Eight teams in eight pro seasons. That's what we mean
F: "Fabregas" is Spanish for mediocre
G: Got this polo shirt for 25 percent off at Ross!
H: Horizontal stripes not nearly as slimming as pinstripes
I: In case you were wondering, Jorge Fabregas is an anagram of Garage Job Serf
J: "Jorge" is Spanish for "Batting ninth"
K: Knocked in all of 211 runs in his career
L: Lock up your daughters; this guy's a looker
M: Made playoffs with Atlanta in 1999 — and managed to go 0-for-3
N: Never could hit a curveball. Or a fastball. Or a Wiffle Ball
O: Overcame case of bed sores
P: Pink and purple look good on this guy
Q: Quilted Charmin not softer than Jorge's cheeks
R: Ray Romano sure looks young in this photo
S: Should probably button up a couple more of those buttons
T: Thousands of dollars in orthodontic work helped create that grin
U: Uniforms are for suckers
V: Voted "Cutest Dimples" during rookie year
W: Winning smile. Talent was not so winning
X: Xylophone — one of the hobbies he took up during his endless hours in the dugout
Y: Yearbook photo on a baseball card?
Z: Zack Morris would be proud of this attire
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12.07.2010

Donnie Moore, 1988 Topps

Name: Donnie Moore
Team: California Angels
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Two ounces of broken cinderblock
Key 1987 stat: Zero jackets removed
Time for a ponderous pop quiz:

Where is Donnie Moore sitting in this photo?

A) That Turkish prison the pilot in "Airplane" was talking about
B) Some sort of makeshift sauna, only instead of sweating from steam, everyone just wears heavy jackets
C) The Fortress of Solitude
D) Big Dave's Cinderblock Supercenter
E) Fashion prsion
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12.06.2010

Eric Rasmussen, 1980 Topps

Name: Eric Rasmussen
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Three ear hairs
Key 1979 stat: One mistaken identity
Clean-cut character: Eric Rasmussen always kept his hair clean and short. He shaved twice a day and brushed his teeth after every meal. He wore sharp suits and kept his shoes polished. He never tried drugs or alcohol and spent much of his free time volunteering and helping kids. He never let his hair get scraggly during monthlong drug binges. He never grew a stringy, food-filled mustache that, paired with his chew-stained teeth, matched the color scheme of his baseball uniform. He never looked like he spent the hours before and after baseball games dropping acid and drinking whiskey. Wait, what? Oh, that Eric Rasmussen. We thought you meant Eric Rasmussen, chairman of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Apologies.

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12.05.2010

Greg Pirkl, 1992 Bowman

Name: Greg Pirkl
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: First base
Value of card: Moth dung from an old jacket's pocket
Key 1991 stat: 14 fluid ounces of hair gel
10 captions for this photo:
10) Does Greg Pirkl shop at The Men's Wearhouse? I guarantee it.
9) In handwriting: "Thanks, Mom. I love my senior portrait!"
8) Greg Pirkl, above, sports the latest fashion trend, a sport coat from your father's closet.
7) Hi, I'm Greg Pirkl. I like baseball and snuggling, and I'm looking for that special someone.
6) Pirkl: In need of a vowel or two since 1992.
5) What team do I play for? Doesn't matter. Let's talk positions, sweetheart.
4) From community newspaper: Greg Pirkl has been named Freedom Ford's salesman of the year. "I want to thank my girlfriend, my homies and the Lord almighty above," he said. "And, of course, this honor wouldn't have been possible without my two-home run game in the homecoming game senior year. Go Eagles! Wooo!"
3) More zits than RBIs, two years running.
2) "Beverly Hills, 90210" extra head shot, circa 1991
1) Never cool. Not even in '92.

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12.04.2010

Anthony Young, 1994 Upper Deck

Name: Anthony Young
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: One 1993 newspaper
Key 1993 stat: Zero questions correctly answered
Excerpt from the 1994 spring training media session pictured above:

Q: Anthony, you posted a 1-16 record last year with the Mets. How happy are you to have a fresh start?
A: Hey, man, do you have any more shirts or jackets? I've only got four layers on right now, and I usually go for five or six.

Q: Anthony, you're projected as the fifth starter this season, but would you be OK with a move to the bullpen?
A: I love peanut butter sandwiches!

Q: What's your response to some of your former teammates' claims that you're not very bright?
A: Look at the hat this guy behind me is wearing! Is that really a hat? It looks like a peanut butter sandwich! Give it here, Mr. Reporter Guy!

Q: Anthony, do you think the Cubbies can win their first World Series in nearly 90 years?
A: (Chewing the reporter's hat) Do you guys watch "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"? That show is hilarious. Will Smith is my cousin!

Q: Anthony, how does that hat taste?
A: I'm so happy to be in Chicago, part of such a great tradition. I really think this year is going to be special, and I hope the fans get behind us from Day 1. I've spent the whole offseason working on my delivery mechanics, and my fastball's up in the mid-90s now. So, let's go White Sox!
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12.03.2010

Will Clark, 1990 Bowman Sweepstakes

Name: Will Clark
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: First base
Value of card: Not redeemable with any proof of purchase
Key 1989 stat: 4,852 sweepstakes entered, zero won
Enter to win a pop quiz:

Fans were encouraged to enter a sweepstakes on the back of this card. What was the prize?

(A) The opportunity to draw the next year's sweepstakes card, and to do it better.
(B) A Giants jersey with the "SF" 6 inches lower than it should be.
(C) The same worthless Will Clark illustration card.
(D) The hair ripped from Clark's arm.
(E) A cheap "Thrill."
(F) None of the above.

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12.02.2010

Charles Mann, 1991 Topps (Football Friday No. 63)

Name: Charles Mann
Team: Washington Redskins
Position: Defensive end
Value of card: A scoop of moldy cat food
Key 1990 stat: Every primary color put on this card, plus a few secondary ones
Clearing up a few rumors about Charles Mann:
  • In this photo, he can not actually see the little football in the lower right of the card. If he could, he would, actually, probably want to eat it.
  • His hair was not intentionally sculpted to make him look like one of those giant heads on Easter Island.
  • He hated being called "Chuck."
  • He was not, in fact, constantly angry. He was just constipated.
  • To this day, he could still sack the hell out of you.
  • He was, in fact, the man.

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12.01.2010

Quinton McCracken, 1996 Upper Deck Avis Arizona Fall League

Name: Quinton McCracken
Teams: Colorado Rockies, The Scorpions
Position: Outfield
Value of card: The pus from the wound of a scorpion sting
Key 1995 stat: One priceless pun
Sometimes, everything works out: Wow. Now this is something special. Rarely does such a ridiculous concept work out so well. First, the card series subset is for the Arizona "Fall" League, and it appears McCracken is falling. Second, the logo makes it look like McCracken is playing in the Arizona "Fail" League, which, really, would be more appropriate with this card. Third, the background is an arid landscape and McCracken plays for The Scorpions. No winds of change here. Last but, oh lord, definitely not least, this guy's last name is "McCracken" and the background — well, congratulations, Upper Deck.

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11.30.2010

Henry Cruz, 1975 SSPC

Name: Henry Cruz
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Whatever wearing long sleeves in L.A. is worth
Key 1974 stat: 20-pound glasses
Time for a pop quiz, '70s style:

What's that stuff coming out of Henry Cruz's nose?

A) I don't know, but it's getting bigger! Run!
B) An evil caterpillar
C) Motor oil
D) The world's grooviest mustache
E) The stuff they make Magic Markers from
F) The stuff they make corrective sunglasses from
G) All of the above
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11.29.2010

Marty Cordova, 1996 Fleer Ultra

Name: Marty Cordova
Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Outfield
Value of card: A bag of broken glass
Key 1995 stat: 111 strikeouts
Ten things, aside from his power, that were raw about Marty Cordova:

10) His stench
9) The wrestling show he liked to watch
8) The ground beef he ate in the locker room
7) His prowess with the ladies
6) His right palm, thanks to his prowess with the ladies
5) His ability to spell
4) His favorite Eddie Murphy standup movie
3) His feet, after his teammates hid his shoes before a game as part of rookie hazing
2) His emotions
1) His bulge
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11.28.2010

Ron Darling, 1993 Upper Deck

Name: Ron Darling
Team: Oakland A's
Positions: Pitcher, all fours
Value of card: Humiliation
Key 1992 stat: One concussion
In the doghouse: Poor Ron Darling. He got on Tony LaRussa's bad side during an April start after giving up 10 runs and walking five batters in an inning. But, instead of just pulling his struggling starter, LaRussa decided to further humiliate him, moving Darling to first base and letting Mark McGwire pitch in the blowout. Darling, who hadn't played a defensive position since high school, had no idea what to do at the bag. Upset and flustered, the only thing Darling could think of was Bill Buckner's error in the 1986 World Series. Determined not to let that misfortune happen to him, Darling got down on all fours and prayed for a strikeout. Instead, McGwire's first pitch was laced for a one-hopper down the first-base line, striking Darling squarely in the forehead. In the dugout, LaRussa could be heard cackling.

The moral of this story: Tony LaRussa was one heartless son of a gun.
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11.27.2010

Erik Pappas, 1994 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Erik Pappas
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Positions: Catcher, outfield
Value of card: One melon rind
Key 1993 stat: 47 pounds gained
Hunger, just not for the game: Erik Pappas wasn't very good at baseball. He spent a lot of time in the dugout, bored, watching his teammates play the game he loved while he pined for any sort of attention from manager Joe Torre. Then he began eating. At first it was just sunflower seeds or a little beef jerky. Then he moved on to heartier fare, bringing in a whole pizza or a bowl of cut-up cheddar cheese, as seen on this card. By the end of the 1993 season, Pappas carried a George Foreman Grill with him wherever he went, had grease stains on all of his uniform pants and smelled vaguely of turkey burgers. On the plus side, he finally looked like a catcher.
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11.26.2010

Todd Noel and John Oliver, 1997 Topps Draft Picks

Names: Todd Noel, John Oliver
Teams: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds
Positions: Pitcher, Outfield
Value of card: Phlegm
Key 1996 stats: Two dudes, one cup (shared)
The Matchup takes on the youngsters:

Round 1: Mr. T-size gold necklace (Winner: Noel)
Round 2: Freakishly large hands (Winner: Oliver)
Round 3: A name perfect for the holidays (Winner: Noel)
Round 4: Posing in a way that gets the ladies hot (Winner: Oliver)
Round 5: Penchant for throwing like a girl (Winner: Noel)
Round 6: Transparent mesh jersey (Winner: Tie)
Round 7: Ears the size of pancakes (Winner: Oliver)
Round 8: Dreams of big leagues vanquished (Winner: Tie)
Round 9: Taking-a-dump look (Winner: Noel)

Score: Noel 4, Oliver 3, Ties 2

Synopsis: It's like Christmastime for Noel, who scored the most points, but no one really wins because both of these chaps never reached the big leagues.

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11.25.2010

Don Beebe, 1990 Pro Set (Football Friday No. 62)

Name: Don Beebe
Team: Buffalo Bills
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: Two BBs
Key 1989 stat: One bounce-back (see below)
It's time for another pop quiz:

What happened approximately two seconds after this photo was taken?

(A) Beebe landed on his knees and was ruled down.
(B) Beebe landed on his feet and ran out of bounds.
(C) Beebe and Browns safety Felix Wright fell to the ground in a heap.
(D) Beebe stripped off his uniform and ran around the field naked.
(E) Excruciating neck pain: click here.

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11.24.2010

Rolando Arrojo, 1998 Fleer Ultra

Name: Rolando Arrojo
Team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: This much (see above)
Key 1995 stat: 10 fingers (he'll show ya)
It's time for a hands-free pop quiz:

Why is Rolando Arrojo holding up his hands?

(A) He's being arrested for obscene use of a mock turtleneck.
(B) He's waving to both of his fans.
(C) He was asked how many wins the Devil Rays would have that year.
(D) He's shoving the camera lens after the photographer made a crack about his ears.
(E) None of the above.

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11.23.2010

Carlos Perez, 1996 Donruss Rated Rookie

Name: Carlos Perez
Team: Montreal Expos
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Three bullets, for a finger gun
Key 1995 stat: Four 1990s fashion necessities (backward hat, Oakley Blades, mock turtleneck, ridiculous bulge)
Conversation between Donruss photographer and Donruss editor, March 14, 1996:
Donruss photographer: "So, what do you think of this shot?"
Donruss editor: "Well, where do I start ..."
DP: "So you like it?"
Editor: "No, I don't like it. I don't like the shot and I don't like the guy."
DP: "Carlos Perez is one of the hottest rookies this season."
Editor: "I don't care. This guy is breaking every rule in the book."
DP: "Like what?"
Editor: "Like his backward hat. This isn't a home run derby. This is the national pastime."
DP: "C'mon, he's just having fun."
Editor: "Fun? You call those late-1980s Oakley Blades fun? This guy's a pitcher for chris'sakes."
DP: "He's a character. We should embrace him."
Editor: "Embrace him? He's pointing a finger gun at the camera. Who is this guy?"
DP: "He's the youngest brother in the Perez family. You remember Pascual and Melido, right?"
Editor: "That's exactly my point. He's a fool, just like his brothers. He's wearing a mock turtleneck on a hot day. He's all style, no substance."
DP: "That's part of what makes this shot so memorable."
Editor: "The only thing anyone is going to remember about this shot is the snake-like bulge twisting down to his knee."
DP: "Well, this is the only shot of him I got."
Editor: "Just cover up most of his junk with a big square and print this piece of crap."
DP: "Will do, boss."
Editor: (shakes head, takes shot of whiskey)

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11.22.2010

Jeff Nelson, 1994 Upper Deck

Name: Jeff Nelson, aka Kenny Powers
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Closer
Value of card: "Not worth as much as these nuts," Powers said.
Key 1993 stat: "Numbers are for people who don't have talent. If there's two things I have it's talent, balls and talent," Powers said.
Northbound and down: Kenny Powers had been run out of Atlanta, New York and San Francisco. He was in Seattle, his career in decline. He had poisoned the media and the fans had abandoned him. His velocity was gone and he was spending money on hookers, cocaine and Budweiser at a staggering rate. Kenny Powers needed a change, and he'd tell you: "When my (expletive) was 19 years old, I changed the face of professional baseball. I was handed the keys to the kingdom, multimillion-dollar deals, endorsements. Everyone wanted a piece of my (expletive). Just a man with a mind for victory and an arm like a (expletive) cannon. But sometimes when you bring the thunder you get lost in the storm." But Kenny Powers didn't give up. He struck out on a new road, with glory in mind. He had a vision of paradise on the diamond and he knew only the heart of a champion and the mind of a scientist would get him there. So he stole a few credit cards and an ID from some guy named Jeff Nelson, and his career, for a short time, was reborn in Seattle.

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11.21.2010

Mitch Williams, 1990 Score Dream Team

Name: Mitch Williams
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Whatever the hell "LRP" is
Value of card: An empty bottle of Ambien
Key 1989 stat: More mullet than collar — barely
At the count of 10, you will wake from this quiz:

What makes Mitch Williams so dreamy?

A) The family of small birds nesting in his mullet
B) The way he suggestively leaves that elastic-laden warmup jacket slightly unzipped
C) The half-gallon of cologne he applies every morning
D) The fact that he just downed a fifth of Beam, passed out and began dreaming
E) None of the above
F) All of the above
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11.20.2010

Brian Hunter, 1993 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Brian Hunter
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: First base
Value of card: The creeps
Key 1992 stat: One 4-inch stick
Brian Hunter's train of thought from 10:42 to 10:44 a.m. Feb. 7, 1992: "Man, I am so ready for this photo shoot. Let's see, tight black T-shirt: check. Tousled mustache: check. Suggestive stare: check. Bat that emphasizes my 'Big Stick': check. Oh yeah. All right, Mr. Photographer, make sure you zoom in on my wide-set eyes and my bat. Oops, almost had the writing on the bat turned the wrong way. Hold on, let me get it centered in the light ... yeah, there we go. I hope the ladies notice the 'Big Stick' part. Ladies buy baseball cards, right? I'm pretty sure. I know that, between my bedroom eyes, suggestive bat and perfectly round face, they'll be beating down my door once this photo hits the shelves."
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11.19.2010

Tripp Cromer, 1994 Topps Future Star

Name: Tripp Cromer, allegedly
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Middle infielder
Value of card: One brick cell phone
Key 1993 stat: One run
St. Louis Cardinals scouting report on "future star" Tripp Cromer: "Has some sort of weird reptile scales running down his back. We're checking into it. ... He's squinty. ... Claims he once ate a 32-pack of individually wrapped American cheese in one sitting. ... Swings the bat better than some people. Like the drummer from Def Leppard. Barely. ... Has an unsettling fascination with the boy band Menudo. ... Could be a future star. But only if he dies and comes back as a zombie with super strength and speed. ... Calls his mother by her given name, and that's just strange. ... We're still not sure what his name is, but apparently he has a genuine dislike for someone named Cromer. ... Keeps calling our manager, Joe Torre, 'grandpa.' Torre seems to get a kick out of it."
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11.18.2010

Raghib Ismail, 1991 All World CFL (Football Friday No. 61)

Name: Raghib Ismail
Team: Toronto Argonauts
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: Less than a loonie
Key 1990 stat: Screw the NFL
Run for the border: Yes, Raghib Ismail played in the Canadian Football League. Yes, there is a Canadian Football League. Yes, half of the teams are named the Roughriders. Here's the thing: There are only eight teams in the CFL! Eight! Didn't the NHL add eight more teams just last year? It's time for some CFL expansion, dammit. Here are 10 teams we'd like to see added to the Canadian Football League:

10) Whitehorse Snowflakes
9) Northwest Territories Gangrene
8) Victoria Victors
7) Iqaluit Random Letters
6) Yellowknife Socialists
5) Vancouver Grizzlies (because it worked so well the first time)
4) St. John's Sissies
3) Medicine Hat Naughty Nurses
2) Red Deer Medicine Hats
1) Halifax Machines
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11.17.2010

Bill Spiers, 1992 Leaf

Name: Bill Spiers
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: Shortstop
Value of card: One botched tongue piercing
Key 1991 stat: 219 warnings from his mother that his face would stick like that
Some fun facts about Bill Spiers:
  • He was rubber, but you were not actually glue, so whatever you said bounced off him but did not stick to you.
  • He knows you are, but what is he?
  • Though he pretended a pitch hit him a couple times, his pants did not catch on fire.
  • Rarely did he choose which base to throw to by playing Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo.
  • He was once placed on the 15-day DL with cooties.
  • Could blow a raspberry with the best of them.
  • Accepted a double-dog dare to lick the flagpole outside Milwaukee County Stadium in January 1993. It did not end well.

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11.16.2010

Bobby Bonilla, 1994 Upper Deck

Name: Bobby Bonilla
Team: New York Mets
Position: Outfield
Value of card: One plastic Cracker Jack watch
Key 1993 stat: 2.3 million reflections
Script from Oakley Blades sunglasses commercial, circa 1994: "Yo, Bobby Bo here with Oakley, America's favorite shades. You know what I hate? I hate the sun, man. It's all bright and yellow, up in your business. That's why I grab a blade for this battle. Or Blades, that is. (Zoom to cartoon picture of Blades, being worked on by tiny construction workers.) Take it from a big leaguer who cares more about looking cool than playing well: There has never been a better combination of style and craftsmanship in the history of sunglasses. (Pan to Bonilla sitting in the locker room, holding a pair of Blades, in a towel.) These Blades go with your mullet, they go with your mustache, they go with your fine-lined flat top. (Zoom to Bonilla running hand over his flat top.) You can hold these up and use the reflection when you're shaving. You can blow coke off them in a crowded party. (Cut to shot of Bonilla smiling at camera and pushing Blades down his nose.) And most important, you can use these Blades as a shank in your battle against life's biggest opponent, the sun. "

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11.15.2010

Todd Greene, 1996 Upper Deck Top Prospect

Name: Todd Greene
Team: California Angels
Positions: Catcher, outfield
Value of card: Sorry, Greene, no green
Key 1995 stat: 412 awkward half-swings in front of a photographer
Angels' scouting report on top prospect Todd Greene: "This guy has all the tools we're looking for – to build a shelf. ... Wears red batting gloves even though navy blue would have been the obvious choice. ... One thing's for sure: He doesn't mind putting his bulge right in your face. ... Prefers to swing a square bat, which isn't good. ... Plus: He likes to wear mock turtlenecks. ... Minus: His mother never taught him how to properly tuck in a jersey. ... Man, this whole bulge thing is a little much. ... We need to get this guy some mustache practice."

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11.14.2010

Jeromy Burnitz, 1994 Topps Stadium Club ML Debut

Name: Jeromy Burnitz
Team: New York Mets
Position: Right field
Value of card: Two pieces of used finger tape
Key 1993 stat: Countless hours waiting for a shot at the big time
Sadness debuts: Jeromy Burnitz was ecstatic when he was called up to the big leagues June 21, 1993. He got his mullet trimmed. He double-wrapped athletic tape around his fingers for no reason. He made sure his bulge was in place and put on his best pair of Pony high-tops. But manager Dallas Green didn't pencil Burnitz into the starting lineup. With tears streaming down his face he left the dugout and plopped himself down on the dirt in front of a local TV station sign. He thought about his mother at home in California watching the game, her "Little Mooky" nowhere in sight. He thought about his college buddies in Oklahoma, drinking beers and screaming at the TV, "I think I saw him! No. Wait, there he is! No." He sat and he cried, taking comfort in grabbing his junk, thinking about the people he loved and wondering who this "JerEmy Burnitz" guy was on the lineup card and why he got a shot in right field for the Mets.

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11.13.2010

Nolan Ryan, 1990 Bowman Sweepstakes insert

Name: Nolan Ryan
Team: Texas Rangers
Position: Ace
Value of card: Three scraps of dried paint
Key 1989 stat: Four hairs in bangs
10 titles for this fabulous work of art:
10) "Staring into Senility"
9) "Norman Rockwell's The Geezer"
8) "Below the Waist, Chaps Only, No. 5"
7) "No Lips in Blue"
6) "Profile of a Profile of a Pitcher"
5) "A Texas Ranger, But Not Chuck Norris"
4) "Portrait of the Artist's Grandfather"
3) "Mrs. Coverdale's Fourth-Grade Art Assignment, By Tommy Fitzsimmons"
2) "Old on Canvas"
1) "The Bald Ranger"

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11.12.2010

Ron Gardenhire, Terry Leach, Tim Leary, 1983 Topps

Names: Ron Gardenhire, Terry Leach, Tim Leary
Team: New York Mets
Positions: Shortstop, pitcher, pitcher
Value of card: One broken stink bomb
Key 1982 stat: Zero team haircuts
A Matchup of "future stars":

Round 1: Presentability (Winner: Nobody)
Round 2: Dumbest look on face (Winner: Leary, barely)
Round 3: Worst attempt at a mustache (Winner: Gardenhire)
Round 4: Handlebars (Winner: Leach)
Round 5: Resemblance to a caveman (Winner: Leary)
Round 6: Worst haircut (Winner: Tie, all three)
Round 7: Future in baseball (Winner: Gardenhire, as a manager)
Round 8: Future as an actor (Winner: Timothy Leary)
Round 9: Monobrow (Winner: Leary)
Round 10: Biggest joke on the card (Winner: The idea of the 1983 Mets having "stars")

Score: Leary 4, Gardenhire 2, Leach 1 (Ties: 2)

Synopsis: These dudes are ugly.
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