Patrick Ewing, 1997 Sports Illustrated for Kids (Halloween Special 2014)

Name: Patrick Ewing
Team: New York Ticks
Positions: Center, monster
Value of card: One bolt in the neck
Key 1997-98 splat: 26 games played
Happy Halloween from the Bust. Here are a few things that Patrick Ewing and the Knicks have in common with Frankenstein:
  • Frankenstein's monster shuffled around slowly when walking. Sounds like Patrick Ewing in the late '90s to us.
  • Frankenstein's monster was sewn together using parts from stolen from corpses. We're pretty sure Ewing's knees have a similar story.
  • "Young Frankenstein" is pretty funny, but not as funny as New York Knicks basketball.
  • "Frankenstein" is a horror story, but if you want to scare a Knicks fan, just tell them Isaiah Thomas is taking over as GM again.



Phil Niekro, 1979 Topps

Name: Phil Niekro
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 6 pounds of wilted lettuce
Key 1978 stat: 1 big-league brother
Here's how Phil Niekro introduced himself in 1979:
  • "Hi, I'm Phil Niekro, and I'm your garbageman."
  • "Hi, I'm Phil Niekro, and I frighten children when I look at them."
  • "Hi, I'm Phil Niekro, and I founded Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory."
  • "Hi, I'm Phil Niekro, and you'll see me in your nightmares."
  • "Hi, I'm Phil Niekro, and all that hair is actually coming from my ears."
  • "Hi, I'm Phil Niekro, and I like to knuckle things."



Bill Wegman, 1989 Upper Deck

Name: Bill Wegman
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 3 pieces of gum stuck under a stadium seat
Key 1988 stat: Zero games viewed from the dugout
It's time for another exciting pop quiz:

Why was Bill Wegman sitting in the stands?

(A) He had a smart, smart manager.
(B) Brewers management would try anything to increase attendance.
(C) He figured, "What the hell? I won't be pitching anyway."
(D) He'd do anything for an $8 beer.
(E) All of the above.


Bill Swift, 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice

Name: Bill Swift
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 2 home movies from the Swift family collection
Key 1994 stat: 601 hours of out-of-focus video shot
Bill Swift was quite the documentarian; here are some of the movies he made:
  • "Giant Disappointment: The Bill Swift Story"
  • "Balls and the Runs: A Sport from Below the Waist"
  • "Being Swift: How One Pitcher Overcame a Lack of Speed"
  • "Turtlenecks for Him: A 1996 Appreciation"
  • "How to Fail at Two Things at Once Without Really Trying"
Card submitted by Fat Shawn Kemp


Jim Lyttle, 1979 TCMA Japanese Pro Baseball

Name: Jim Lyttle
Team: Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Carp crap
Key 1978 stat: Kept telling his buddies he had signed with the Reds and had the helmet to prove it
Fun facts about Jim Lyttle and actual carp:

  • Carp are an oily freshwater fish native to Europe and Asia. Lyttle was an oily ballplayer who moved to Asia to get fresh with the ladies.
  • Some carp species have a large hump along their backs. With a sweet mustache like his, you know Lyttle did a lot of humping back in his day.
  • Types of carp include goldfish and koi. Lyttle's glasses resemble an aquarium.
  • Many families eat carp in some parts of the world. Lyttle's play was so poor, he had a hard time feeding his family.
  • Several species of carp are considered invasive species, and millions of dollars are spent trying to control them. Lyttle's body odor was considered invasive, and dozens of teammates tried to make him shower more often.



Dan McGwire, 1992 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 56)

Name: Zubaz      er, Dan McGwire
Team: Seattle Seahawks
Position: Quarterback
Value of card: Two stripes
Key 1992 stat: Refused to be photographed from the waist up
Clairvoyance: Don't get us wrong, this Pro Line Portrait definitely is shameful. Ol' Danny boy here has more shoes than a Foot Locker and pants loud enough to make Marlee Matlin wince, after all. But what's more amazing is the prescience of the photographer who took this shot. He clearly knew that 20 years later, Dan McGwire would be a faceless figure, forgotten about and relegated to lists of biggest draft busts in NFL history, but that Zubaz pants would live forever. All hail the Zubaz!


Jay Baller, 1990 CMC

Name: Jay Baller
Team: Omaha Royals
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: If you cut out that imperfection smudge on the left side of this card and offered it to someone on the street for a dollar, this card is worth the spit that would wind up on your face.
Key 1989 stat: 77 strikes (not strikeouts; just strikes)
Royals' scouting report on minor league prospect Jay Baller: "Says here this guy is a Baller. We have no indications of that. ... Might want to bring him to Kansas City if Omaha throws in a couple of steaks. ... Pitching skills aside, he has a real chance to make the Name Hall of Fame. ... Mustache? Baller. Mullet? Baller. Baseball skills? Not baller. ... Baller? I barely knew her! Ha! Wait, we're supposed to be evaluating this guy?"

Card submitted by Al Filipczak


Golden Richards, 1977 Topps (Football Friday No. 215)

Name: Golden Richards
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: It's worth its weight in gold, divided by zero
Key 1977 stat: Punched anyone who called him by his given name, John
A real golden boy: Mr. Richards here preferred to go by his middle name, Golden. Here are a few other nicknames bestowed upon him by his teammates.
  • The Towheaded Towel Boy
  • Butterfingers
  • Nancy
  • The Blond Benchwarmer
  • Goldenbangs



Vicente Romo, 1974 Topps

Name: Vicente Romo
Team: San Diego Padres Washington "Nat'l Lea."
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Three soggy cardboard boxes
Key 1973 stat: Spilled mustard on his jersey 142 times without anyone noticing
Jumping the gun: In 1974, it appeared that the San Diego Padres were about to be sold and moved to Washington, D.C. Topps, with its high standards of quality (*cough*) decided it would print its set on the assumption the sale would go through, replacing the city and team name, even though the latter wasn't yet known (hence the ever-so-helpful "Nat'l Lea."). However, McDonald's owner Ray Kroc stepped in at the last minute and purchased the Padres, keeping them in town with no changes      not even in their terrible play or bodily function-colored uniforms.
And now, a quiz: How can we tell Vicente Romo is expecting to relocate, based on his above photo?
(A) He's pointing up toward the air, either at a plane or the home run ball he just surrendered.
(B) His sideburns distinctly resemble an aircraft's landing gear.
(C) His uncut hair appears to be flying away from his body.
(D) He's wearing a parachute as an undershirt.
(E) All of the above


Greg Gross, 1989 Fleer

Name: Greg Gross
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Outfield
Value of card: 11 dead frogs being eaten by maggots
Key 1988 stat: 9 straight hours locked in a construction site portable toilet
Let's see what Greg Gross stands for:

Grody dude
Rank undershirt
Elephant Man: also gross
Grimy glasses

Grungy look
Repugnant uniform color
Offensive odor
Scuzzy 'stache
Sickening resemblance to another Gross


Reggie Jackson, 1973 Topps

Name: Reggie Jackson
Team: Oakland A's
Position: Outfield
Value of card: It's clear it's worth nothing
Key 1972 stat: 2,216 photos of Jackson in 1972 better than this one
It's time for The Caption, which we know didn't run in the Oakland Tribune in the early 1970s: "Reggie Jackson, center, might be throwing a ball from the outfield at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in a game against the Chicago White Sox, but because the photo is so blurry we're not even sure this was against the White Sox, or even that it was taken during a baseball game, or, for that matter, whether it's really Jackson, on Tuesday in Oakland, maybe."


Rich Batchelor, 1991 Classic Best

Name: Rich Batchelor
Team: Fort Lauderdale Yankees
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 6 square inches of tarp
Key 1990 stat: Zero runs allowed during rain delays
Yankees' scouting report on pitching prospect Rich Batchelor: "From our research, he does well in an empty stadium with no other players on the field. ... Despite being a Batchelor, we don't need to worry about him getting sidetracked with the ladies. ... If he doesn't work out, we could deal him to the 'Revenge of the Nerds' production team. ... We can foresee a future on the New York Yankees, as the assistant to the traveling secretary. ... Rich Batchelor, poor pitcher."

Card submitted by Al Filipczak


Earnest Byner, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 55)

Name: Earnest Byner
Team: Washington Redskins
Position: Running back
Value of card: Earnestly ... nothing
Key 1990 stat: 761,964 stretches
Some of the sounds and words Earnest Byner uttered during this stretching session:
  • Ooooh
  • Ahhhhh
  • Feel it. Feel it. Feel it.
  • Oooooh, yeah.
  • Thigh power. Thigh power, baby.
  • Hey, who are you and why are you taking my picture?
  • I've been really trying, baby. Trying to hold back these feelings for so long. And if you feel, like I feel baby. Come on, oh come on. Let's get it on.
  • Ya-ouch! Groin pull!



Rusty Kuntz, 1982 Topps

Name: Rusty Kuntz
Team: Chicago White Sox
Position: Outfield
Value of card: One Rusty Kuntz autograph with the last name misspelled
Key 1981 stat: 162 unusually long autograph lines after games
It's autograph time with Bust favorite Rusty Kuntz:
  • "Dear Charlie, yes, that's my real name. Ha ha, you're pretty funny."
  • "To Sean: No, I've never met Dick Pole. Why do you ask?"
  • "For Nick: Yep, it's my real name, honest. Thanks for asking."
  • "To Chris: No, I don't have any sisters. But if I did, yes, I'm sure they'd be real Kuntzes."
  • "Dear Isaac, yes, my name is really Rusty Kuntz. You people are so original."
  • "Richie, this is a pretty nice glove. Maybe I'll just keep it."
  • "For Gordon: Yep, that's my real name. Is that your real face, jerkwad?"



Sterling Sharpe, 1995 Fleer Pro Visions (Football Friday No. 214)

Name: Sterling Sharpe
Team: Green Bay Packers
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: 7 shards of glass
Key 1994 stat: 116 cuts
Some explanations for this high-concept (cough, cough) illustration:
  • Sharpe is breaking through the glass ceiling after men named Sterling had been held back for decades by people with normal names.
  • Sharpe is jumping from space and shattering the sky because, you know, that makes sense.
  • Sharpe is on a wicked-awesome trip after mistakenly eating the wrong kind of brownies at a music festival.
  • Sharpe is a pawn of an unimaginative artist playing off his last name as an illustrated pun that really doesn't make sense (kind of like the Bust).



Mark Clear, 1981 Donruss

Name: Mark Clear
Team: Los Angeles Angels
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 7 shards of broken, cloudy glass
Key 1980 stat: 114 times heckled with the name "Crystal"
A translucent view: We've seen awful, out-of-focus, early 1980s baseball cards before, but we've never seen one quite this good. Yes, this card is awesome because the subject is wearing an umpire's shirt with an Angels logo ironed on. And, yes, his boiler is folded over his cummerbund. But as ridiculous as the mustache and mullet look, there's no getting past that name — that seemingly impossibly perfect name — that's emblazoned at the bottom of a card featuring an awful, out-of-focus, early 1980s baseball card. Is this one of Donruss' worst cards ever? Clearly, it is.


John Jaha, 1998 Donruss

Name: John Jaha
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: First base
Value of card: 4 dirty diapers
Key 1997 stat: 4 dirty diapers changed
It's time for a baby-vs.-baseball player edition of The Matchup:

Round 1: Often threw up when burped (Winner: Tie)
Round 2: Sometimes dressed by others in ridiculous outfits (Winner: Tie)
Round 3: Usually spoke in unintelligible sounds (Winner: Tie)
Round 4: Known to fill a diaper with something nauseating (Winner: Tie)
Round 5: Had adorable, pinchable thighs (Winner: Tie)
Round 6: Failure to field his position (Winner: Tie)
Round 7: A fan favorite (Winner: Baby)

Score: Baby 1, Jaha 0, Ties 6

Synopsis: In a contest between baby and beer-bellied baseball player, the pudgy, cooing, often stinky entrant couldn't pull out the victory.


Mike Laga, 1986 Topps

Name: Mike Laga
Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: First base
Value of card: One busted cinder block
Key 1985 stat: 14 dog turds picked up before taking this photo
Here's what Mike Laga stands for:

Made his name in the Detroit backyard baseball circuit
Isn't actually wearing Tigers team gear, just a hat and jacket he bought at Kmart
Knifed by the homeowner whose property he trespassed on for this photo
Exposed pipes and broken cinder blocks      welcome to Detroit!

Lifetime .199 batting average might help explain this photo
After hitting a ball over that fence, Laga made the photographer go and ask for it back
Garbage: Describes both what's on that lawn and Laga's major-league career
At least he's not wearing pink. Yet.


Tommy John, 1989 Upper Deck

Name: Tommy John
Team: New York Yankees
Position: Old pitcher
Value of card: An ounce of Vitalis hair tonic
Key 1988 stat: 82 kids yelled at for being on lawn
Here's a Caption that, as far as we know, ran in the New York Daily News circa 1988: "Yankees pitcher Tommy John, left, and fellow Alhambra Senior Apartments resident and pitching coach Art Fowler discuss removing John from his start against the Baltimore Orioles so that both can still make the early-bird special at Furr's and be back at the team hotel in time to watch 'Matlock' on Tuesday at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Md."


Anthony Munoz, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 54)

Name: Anthony Munoz
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Position: Offensive tackle
Value of card: See that elastic waistline twist tie? Yeah, that.
Key 1990 stat: 416 pancakes (not blocks; the breakfast food)
Transcript from Cincinnati-area TV commercial for NFL-brand Zubaz: "Howdy, Bengals fans. I'm Anthony Munoz and I'm here to tell you about NFL-brand Zubaz. If you're like me, you've always wanted to wear an understated pair of pants that look good without being outrageous. Well, your search is over, because NFL-brand Zubaz is being sold at a store near you. These are pants that put substance over style. They aren't meant to scare your elderly relatives or blind the children in your neighborhood. Oh no. They're made to match with just about any clothing combination you have in your closet. Need trousers for a formal occasion? Grab a pair of NFL-brand Zubaz. Need something plain to go with a trendy striped shirt at the club? Grab a pair of NFL-brand Zubaz. Need pants that absolutely, positively don't have giant tiger heads on them? Get your hands on a pair of NFL-brand Zubaz. With NFL-brand Zubaz, you'll earn your stripes without ever selling out to a ridiculous fad."


Fernando Valenzuela, 1989 Upper Deck

Name: Fernando Valenzuela
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 6 pesos
Key 1988 stat: 2,197 instances of "Fernandomania" (in his own home)
"Fernandomania" spiced up L.A. in the mid-1980s; here are examples of "Fernandomania" in the late 1980s:
  • A chicken-legged pitcher performed a one-man line dance on a baseball field.
  • The one pair of blue cleats in Los Angeles sold out.
  • Nearly eight people in the United States and Mexico started wearing headbands and old-man glasses.
  • The Latino Elvis Impersonators gained a member — and two fans. 
  • A man in a blue jacket and tight white pants was arrested for leering at women at Dodger Stadium.



Neil O'Donnell, 1996 Score (Football Friday No. 213)

Name: Neil O'Donnell
Team: New York Jets
Position: Quarterback
Value of card: 6 ounces of real pig skin
Key 1995 stat: 365 days spent in an anger-filled rage
Top 10 reasons Neil O'Donnell is so mad:
10) His arm hair is all knotted up.
9) A teammate made a joke about "Neiling" for opponents.
8) He just remembered he was playing for the New York Jets.
7) He realized he had to throw that ball during practice.
6) He's not mad; the photographer said, "Show me confused and awkward."
5) Someone disparaged mid-1990s "90210" haircuts.
4) Typical Irish temper.
3) Two hairs in his bangs are out of place.
2) He said, "I want to score," and they put him on a Score card.
1) One of his balls is being crushed.

Card submitted by Fat Shawn Kemp


Colin Charland, 1988 TCMA

Name: Colin Charland
Team: Palm Springs Angels
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Six ounces of those little charred bits you have to scrape off the barbecue
Key 1987 stat: Made his own hat
California Angels scouting report on prospect Colin Charland: "Needs to work on curve, changeup, growing eyebrows. ... If baseball doesn't work out, he can always go back to middle school. ...  Geez, we really need to pitch in for some new uniforms down in Palm Springs. ... Says his favorite food is pizza. Fitting, since that's what his face looks like, too. ... His fastball sits in the low 90s. He, himself, usually sits alone in the cafeteria at lunch. ... The sky's the limit for this kid      especially once he starts his second career as a flight attendant."

Card submitted by Zach Jones



David Palmer, 1989 Upper Deck

Name: David Palmer
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: One VHS cassette from 2001 with a couple episodes of "24" on it
Key 1988 stat: 29 lips chewed
Conversation between Phillies announcer Harry Kalas and pitcher David Palmer on June 21, 1988:

HK: "We're back, and we're talking to today's winning pitcher, David Palmer who held the Cubs to one run over seven innings today. David, thanks for joining us."
DP: "Dad? Is that you?"
HK: "No, David, this is Harry Kalas, the play-by-play announcer. Now, you looked great out there today, and it was perhaps your best start of the season. What was working for you today?"
DP: "It was great, Dad! I got a hit and they hardly got any! Plus, in between innings, Coach let me go in the clubhouse and play 'Space Invaders.'"
HK: "I see. Well, that's just about all the time we have to    "
DP: "Oh, wow, somebody stuck a lime on the end of the microphone. I'm gonna eat it!"
HK (over the sounds of Palmer chewing on the headset): "No, David! Dad says no! OK, we've got to go. See you tomorrow for more Phillies baseball."


Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson, 1991 Upper Deck

Names: Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland A's
Positions: Outfield
Value of card: Two soiled clip-on bow ties and matching pocket squares
Key 1991 stat: One fake fight

Brock and Henderson, by the numbers:

938: Career stolen bases by Lou Brock, a record until May 1, 1991
939: New stolen-base mark, set by Rickey Henderson on May 1, 1991
940: Times Rickey referred to himself in the third person on May 1, 1991

335: Times Rickey Henderson was caught stealing, an MLB record
307: Times Lou Brock was caught stealing, second all-time
302: Times Rickey was caught checking himself out in the mirror before this photo shoot

2: Rented tuxedos in the above photo
2: Bow ties and pocket squares from a high school drama department in the above photo
1: Record-setting thief who would "forget" to return his outfit after the shoot. Hey, Rickey be Rickey.


Al Holland, 1985 Fleer Superstar Special

Name: Al Holland
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: The same card, cut in half
Key 1984 stat: Zero wooden shoes worn
A piece of the puzzle: For its 1985 set, Fleer added a handful of  Superstar Specials, including this one of "superstar" Al Holland, which is actually supposed to be paired with another card from the set. Can you guess who is on the other card?

(A) Johnny Oates
(B) Joe "Oats" DeMaestri
(C) The Quaker Oats guy
(D) Lee Tunnell
(E) Wait, it actually is Lee Tunnell? Fleer went with a reference to an underground thoroughfare that touches neither Philly nor Pittsburgh instead of a solid Hall and Oates reference? Gee, it's hard to imagine why they eventually went out of business.



Burt Grossman, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 53)

Name: Burt Grossman
Team: San Diego Chargers
Position: Defensive end
Value of card: Bupkis
Key 1991 stat: Four pairs of lightning-bolt shorts owned
Burt Grossman's online dating profile circa 1991: 

Screen name: NotSoGrossMan1
Age: 24
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 270 lbs.
Hair color: San Diego Padre brown
Hairstyle: Behatted
Facial hair: Waxed
Ethnicity: Beach bro
Marital status: Married      to the gridiron
Want children? I would love a little Grossman
Smoke? And ruin this babyface? No way.
Drink? I've done a keg stand before.
Best feature: Thighs

Seeking: Hey laaaaaadies!
Her body type: San Diego
Her ethnicity: Tanned
Her interests: Shorts, smooth skin, not making fun of people's names

About me: Look, ladies, despite my name, I'm the cleanest man you'll ever meet. I don't tolerate a mess in my house      or on my body. Except for what's on top of my head, I'm completely hairless. I feel that this gives me a competitive advantage, both on the field and off. It makes me harder to block, but it also accentuates my muscular legs and the fact that my neck is wider than my forehead. So drop me a line and let's show each other some skin.



Craig Smajstrla, 1990 CMC

Name: Craig Smajstrla
Team: Tucson Toros
Position: Infield
Value of card: 2 ounces of pigeon poop
Key 1989 stat: 11 bunt attempts missed
Houston Astros' scouting report on minor-leaguer Craig Smajstrla: "Some of our players need a math tutor, so this kid might work out. ... This guy's a clutch hitter for the Toros? That's a bunch of bull. ... Four-tool player: calculator, protractor, compass and pocket protector. ... Forget this guy, let's call up that batting helmet. ... Chin is big league, but we'll need to work on the rest of that face. ... Smaj, Smajst, Smajstr — hell, we don't need a player whose name sounds like toothpaste being sucked through a vacuum cleaner."

Card submitted by Fat Shawn Kemp


Rickey Jackson, 1989 Topps (Football Friday No. 212)

Name: Rickey Jackson
Team: New Orleans Saints
Position: Linebacker
Value of card: One paper bag, worn over the head
Key 1989 stat: 74 tackles (of his barber)
Here's a Caption that likely didn't run in the New Orleans Times-Picayune circa 1989: "Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson shows off his new haircut during Sunday's game in Chicago, claiming its design gives him an aerodynamic advantage on the field. However, when asked how that advantage worked once his helmet was on, Jackson stuttered and then broke down in tears, admitting to losing a bet over how many pimento loaf sandwiches he could eat in one sitting after coming up three short of the wagered mark of 60."



Scott Pose, 1992 SkyBox AA

Name: Scott Pose
Team: Chattanooga Lookouts
Position: Outfield
Value of card: A box full of nothing but sky (that is, air)
Key 1991 stat: Never convinced anybody of anything
Get your story straight: This Scott Pose card is as confusing as it is worthless. Here are just some of its contradictions:
  • The guy's name is Pose, but this is clearly a live-action shot of him crashing into the wall      right?
  • He plays for the Lookouts, but he clearly wasn't looking out for his own dignity when agreeing to this shot.
  • This photo was purportedly taken in Chattanooga, but, given the exposed wiring and crumbling masonry, that sure looks like the Oakland Coliseum to us.
  • The card says he's a "pre-rookie," but we all know that's not actually a thing.
Card submitted by Al Filipczak



Enrique Romo, 1981 Fleer

Name: Enrique Romo
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 11 pounds of compost
Key 1980 stat: 3 months spent as a compost collector
It's time for a disheveled pop quiz:

What does Enrique Romo have a problem with?

(A) Uniforms
(B) Razors and haircuts
(C) One itty-bitty earlobe sticking out
(D) Sub-par baseball cards
(E) Fake pirates
(F) You, punk
(G) All of the above