George Bell, 1992 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Jorge "George" Bell
Team: Chicago White Sox
Position: Outfield
Value of card: $19.95! Wait! If you act now, two bottles for $12.95!
Key 1991 stat: 144 ounces of jheri curl juice
Just let your sooooooul glow, baby: Jorge "George" Bell was good-looking and he knew it. He had women in every American League town and at every port in his native Dominican Republic. But when he lost his swagger on the diamond after the 1990 season, he lost his swagger with the ladies, as well. Enter: Soul Glo. Bell first heard of the classic hair product in 1988's Eddie Murphy vehicle, "Coming to America." At first, he thought it was a fictitious product. Then he saw a bottle of Soul Glo on a drug-store shelf. It spoke to him, "Comprame, Jorge, comprame." ("Buy me, Jorge, buy me.") Bell did, and his life changed. His afro had a glistening sheen, dripping with sensuality. Women complimented him and street children followed him with paper cups, catching the dribbling Soul Glo juice so they could sell it to back-alley doctors who administered it as a fertility drug. Thanks to Soul Glo, Bell was dripping with sensuality.


Don Aase, 1990 Topps

Name: Huh-huh
Team: New York Butts, er, Mets
Position: Huh-huh
Value of card: It ain't worth a crap
Key 1989 stat: 211,752 witty heckles
What's in a name?: Don Aase was the butt of a lot of jokes. Many fans called him a bum. Sometimes, when he was feeling sad, he sat in the team bus' rear. After a few beers in the back, Aase was known to respond to teammates' jibes with tush, or contempt. He wore a fanny pack to the ballpark, which led to more heckling. Philadelphia fans erupted into laughter when he questioned something said by Mets trainer Tommy Oxenbol. Aase only sputtered out, "But, Ox ..." before the crowd's laughter echoed through the stadium. When it came to pitching, it seemed like Aase was always behind. So he started pacing across the backside of the mound. This didn't help. At times, he would cry himself to sleep after his wife made him his favorite meal: french fries and a few slices of rump roast.



Lawrence Taylor, 1991 Pro Set (Football Friday No. 6)

Name: Lawrence Taylor
Team: New York Giants
Position: Linebacker
Value of card: One 10-foot wingspan
Key 1990 stat: Six team sacks
Group effort: Having terrorized the NFL for several years, sackmaster Lawrence Taylor was getting bored with his dominance. So, in 1990, he began keeping track of a new statistic: team sacks. To record a team sack, Taylor had to not only tackle the opposing quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, but also bring down another offensive player with him. In this photo, Taylor is about to pulverize Lions QB legend Bob Gagliano along with left guard Erik Andolsek. In an amazing Week 2 performance, he brought down five Dallas Cowboys with one tackle, including Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Mark Stepnoski, Tommie Agee and Mark Tuinei. The play caused a Cowboys cheerleader to faint, so Taylor counted her, as well. An irate Jimmy Johnson stormed the field, only to trip over the mass of humanity and bring the total count to seven people sacked on one play, an NFL record that still stands.


Joe Carter and Mark McGwire, 1993 Upper Deck (Teammates Checklist)

Names: Joe Carter, Mark McGwire
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland A's
Positions: First base (McGwire); Outfield, team mom (Carter)
Value of card: One sippy cup
Key 1992 stat: 1,302 boogers wiped off (Carter only)
I do and do and do for you kids: Joe Carter is a World Series hero and a five-time All-Star, but in 1992, his biological clock was ticking. Much to the chagrin of his teammates and to the hilarity of the sports media, Carter began mothering the rest of the Blue Jays. Starting in spring training, the Jays would walk into their clubhouse and find packed lunches in their lockers. Carter would pace the room, wiping off dirt from David Wells' face with a saliva-moistened Kleenex, yelling at Jack Morris to pick up after himself and encouraging wildman Tom Henke to find himself a nice girl and settle down already. He grounded Roberto Alomar for missing curfew the night before a big series against the Yankees. He even acted as clubhouse matron during the All-Star Game. In this photo, Carter is seen wiping a stray booger off All-Star teammate Mark McGwire's nose while handing him a cup of homemade lemonade. Annoyed by the man's unconditional love, the Blue Jays could come up with one solution: They pooled together enough money to buy a black-market Salvadorian orphan named Enrique and left him on Carter's doorstep one August night. And while they were happy to no longer have the man they had come to call "Joe Mama" on their case all the time, the locker room seemed a little emptier without Carter's peanut butter cookies.


Ryne Sandberg, 1990 Wonder Bread Stars

Name: Ryne Sandberg
Team: That's of no consequence to you
Positions: Second base, Fourth outfielder
Value of card: ?
Key 1989 stat: FBI case No. 621953
A season in hiding: In 1989, Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg witnessed a mafia hit in the Windy City. Fearing for his life, he went to the police and was placed in the witness-protection program. He pleaded for the opportunity to remain a major leaguer, but the FBI deemed it too risky. The federal government bought Sandberg's contract from the Cubs and sent him to Fargo, N.D., where he began work as a Home Depot garden department stock boy. But "Rhino" became despondent; he missed baseball. He knew he couldn't return to the big leagues, so he joined the FBI's witness-protection traveling softball team, the Unknown Wonder Stars. The team wanted to stay under the radar, so they wore no insignias on their jerseys or hats, and went by alternate names. Sandberg became "Rusty Slowenpop," batted third and left his beloved second base to become the all-important fourth outfielder. After Sandberg hit 102 home runs and drove in 234 runs in the 1989 season, the Wonder Stars started receiving attention. Mobsters in Chicago read newspaper stories about the exploits of "Rusty Slowenpop," and immediately recognized "The Fargo Thrasher" as Sandberg. Hitmen were sent to North Dakota, but federal agents ensnared them at the Wonder Series, law enforcement softball's version of the World Series. The Wonder Stars went on to win the Wonder Series thanks to "Slowenpop's" hitting, fielding and leadership. The mobsters were sentenced to jail, and Sandberg was able to return to the Cubs. Sadly, being on the longest-suffering franchise in professional sports, Sandberg yearned for the success he enjoyed with the Wonder Stars in the summer of 1989.

Card submitted by Nate Tabak



Pete Harnisch, 1989 Donruss

Name: Pete "Goose" Harnisch
Teams: Baltimore Orioles, one-half of a sweaty, studly volleyball team
Positions: Ace, Wingman
Value of card: Two Righteous Brothers cassettes
Key 1988 stat: 4(g) inverted dive with a MiG28 (yes, inverted, at 2 meters — make that 1 ½)
"Top Gun" on the mound: Pete "Goose" Harnisch was obsessed with speed. Everything he did was fast. He threw fast, his work on the mound was fast, his lovemaking was fast. Pro scouts said this need, this need for speed, was something with which he was born. They couldn't have been more wrong. (The chorus of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" starts blaring at 160 decibels.) Before baseball, Harnisch was a hotshot Navy pilot. Though not as reckless as his "partner," Maverick, he was known as a rebel of the skies with a taste for danger and whiskey. He sang love songs in bars, smirked when angry commanders berated his flying, and mastered a wicked serve for matches on the beach volleyball court. (Loggins' "Playing with the Boys" plays in its entirety during a slow-motion scene of Maverick and Goose frolicking in the sand with Iceman and Slider, two Brewers relievers.) Harnisch romanced women from coast to coast, including Meg Ryan. (Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" plays softly in background.) He wore his fighter-pilot mustache with pride and always had a smart-aleck remark for his naysayers. ("The defense department regrets to inform you that you sons are dead because they were stupid.") Harnisch defined his life in two ways: (1) speed, and (2) having a raging fire in his heart tonight, growing higher and higher in his soul, moving that raging fire into the sky tonight, then riding on the silver dove, far into the night. Harnisch lived a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. He partied hard, flew and threw fast, and played his Miami Sound Machine cassettes loud. For Harnisch, the music never stopped, because he was bad at pressing eject.



Oscar Gamble, 1976 Topps Traded

Name: Oscar Gamble
Team: New York Yankees
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Priceless
Key 1975 stat: Innumerable imitators
Hair today, hair tomorrow: Oscar Gamble is a legend. He's known as The Big O, The Gamble and The Afro Wonder. He hit for power and for average, but was best known for his 'fro. He inspired imitators on the field and in dorm rooms across the nation. He changed pop culture and inspired trends among the most surprising of followers. Kids across the world copied his style. Weather patterns changed to adhere to the trend he began. The fashion world has never been the same. Plain and simple, The Big O is the pre-eminent afro-American.



Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr., 1989 Bowman

Names: Ken Griffey Jr., Ken Griffey Sr.
Teams: Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds
Positions: Outfield, actors
Value of card: Two easy payments of $19.95
Key 1988 stat: Three catch phrases
Previously on "Griffey and Son": While cleaning the house, which doubles as a junk store, Ken Sr. knocks over Jr.'s glass figurine collection. Trying to cover up the fact that he broke them, Sr. makes up a story about how the house was robbed and how he fought off the would-be criminals. In the process, Sr. is labeled a hero, but soon is forced to admit his fib. Ken Jr. threatens to quit baseball, causing Sr. to exclaim, "This one's for real, 'Lizabeth! I'm coming to ya!" A shamed Sr. begins making plans to close the family business and sell the house — until Jr. has a change of heart. "I can't let you give up this place, you old fool," Jr. tells his father. Senior replies, "You darn right you can't, you big dummy," makes a racist comment and hugs his son. Fade to black.


Steve Trout, 1986 Topps

Name: Steve Trout
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: One trout
Key 1985 stat: 103 cutoff windbreakers owned
Glitz and glamor: Steve "Rainbow" Trout — crafty veteran southpaw, slave to fashion. Whether on the red carpet or the hill, the man was dressed to kill. Look at him. The blond afro-mullet stuns, reminiscent of a young Larry Bird or Toby Keith. Those sunglasses may look like ones you'd find on a plastic spindle at Target, but oh no, my friend. These custom-made shades might turn away UV rays, but never the ladies. The blue velour windbreaker on top of the long-sleeve blue flannel T-shirt is a daring combo — one that only Rainbow could pull off. The man even makes baseball pants look sexy.
Not making this up: Trout wrote a book about his life and that of his father, Paul "Dizzy" Trout, called "Home Plate: The Journey of the Most Flamboyant Father and Son Pitching Combination in Major League History."



Rod Woodson, 1991 Score Dream Team (Football Friday No. 5)

Name: Rod Woodson
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Team Glamour
Position: Defensive back
Value of card: $24.98 for (1) 8x10, (2) 5x7s, (12) wallet-sized
Key 1990 stat: 2 ounces of blush
Glamour on the goal line: Rod Woodson was feeling down. He was coming off a Pro Bowl season, but his love life was in shambles. He tried blind dates, speed dating, church groups — nothing worked. His first step: grow a handsome mustache. Though he started drawing more looks from hard-working, steel-industry women, nothing came of it. Feeling depressed and queasy from eating a gallon of rocky road ice cream, Woodson made a cry for help. That cry? A call to 1-888-GLAMOUR. Sixty-four-year-old Betty Hendrickson answered the call, and changed the Hall of Famer's love life forever. "Come on down to the Three Rivers Strip Mall and we'll make you pretty," Betty said. Through tears and a mouthful of rocky road, Woodson thanked her. The next day, Woodson showed up, albeit a bit hesitant. But the silver-haired girls at Glamour Shots made him feel at home. They got him into a robe and trimmed his hairline into the patented "RazorBladeCut." They took cuticle scissors to his mustache and applied brushful after brushful of blush. They waxed his eyebrows and applied as subtle layer of lipstick. After the primping, complimenting and a glass of Korbel, in walked Mr. Pittsburgh Glamour Shots himself, The Amazing Manolito. Canon in hand, Manolito flattered Woodson until he blushed. The 5-foot-3 photographer took shot after shot, moving about the room with the grace of a ballerina. "Show me sensual," Manolito said. "Show me rugged. Show me steadfast." Woodson complied, and left the studio with a dozen wallet-sized shots and a swagger long absent.



Danny Tartabull and Bobby Bonilla, 1992 Rembrandt Ultra Pro

Names: Danny Tartabull and Bobby Bonilla
Teams: New York Yankess, New York Mets
Positions: Vegas headliners (offseason only)
Value of card: Two cumberbunds
Key 1991 stat: Two shows a night, except holidays
Dinner and a show: Las Vegas was abuzz in the fall of 1991 when baseball sluggers Danny Tartabull and Bobby Bonilla announced they would spend their offseason putting on a Rat Pack-style show at the recently opened Mirage hotel and casino. But the excitement wore off quickly on opening night, when a drunken Tartabull staggered onto the stage and asked, "What are all you people doing in my room?" Many thought he was stealing Dean Martin's old opening line — until he vomited into the orchestra pit. Tartabull then staggered offstage and Bonilla, wearing a bow tie that looked like it had been stolen off a clown's corpse, took over and told dead baby jokes for the next 20 minutes. Most of the crowd left, demanding a refund; the rest began heckling Bonilla mercilessly. At this point, Tartabull re-emerged, an Old-Fashioned in his hand, and started berating the audience, asking how many of them had ever homered twice, banged a Scores girl and downed a fifth of Tanqueray in one night. Bonilla raised his hand, the pair high-fived and then broke into the finale, a slurred, off-key duet of "New York, New York." The show was cancelled the next morning, but the undeterred duo opted to keep performing, moving the act to a bum-ridden alley near the Pioneer in downtown Vegas.

Card contributed by Clay Deas



Tim McIntosh, 1991 Upper Deck

Name: Tim "Mylanta" McIntosh
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: Catcher
Value of card: Two Tums
Key 1990 stat: 147 belches in one game
Mylanta's worst niche-marketing radio ad of 1991: "Being a catcher is tough. You spend nine innings squatting, night after night. Foul tips ricochet off your arms, legs, chest and neck. You get spiked on slides into home and have an umpire's junk rubbing on your shoulder for months. If that weren't enough, catchers get indigestion. (A burp is heard, then Mylanta theme music plays for eight seconds.) You're a catcher. You waddle to first base. You eat liverwurst sandwiches. Your thighs are squished like a pack of hot dogs between your shinguards. But that doesn't mean you can't feel good when you're on the diamond. The next time you're feeling bloated behind the plate, put down the sign for Mylanta, your best bet to find relief from heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach or gas."

Card submitted by Kate Berezich



Jose Canseco, 1986 Star

Name: Jose Canseco
Team: Oakland A's
Position: Jose
Value of card: One off-center photo
Key 1985 stat: Top-ranked Jose in American League
That's entertainment: Before the days of sausage races, dancing chickens and "Kiss Cams," baseball fans were often left to amuse themselves. But in 1985, the lucky followers of the Oakland A's looked forward to the third-inning stretch, when young star Jose Canseco would challenge the opposing team's best player to several feats of strength — a contest that came to be known as The Jose. Here during a spring training game, Canseco and Giants slugger Will Clark prepare to place their heads together over the Bat of Fortitude, spin around 20 times and see who can run the bases fastest. Other contests included seeing who could take the most pitching machine balls to the torso, ballboy tossing, a chicken wing eating contest, power lifting the opposing manager and shirtless home run derby. Canseco ended the season with an 80-1 record (home games only), with his only loss coming to Dave Winfield, who won The Jose 4-3 after pinning a bear during a bout of Grizzly-Roman wrestling.


Jose Rijo, 1994 Fleer Ultra Strikeout King

Name: Joses Rijo
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position: Ace
Value of card: Three anythings
Key 1993 stat: 3-D
Three of a kind: Joses Rijo had an impressive 1994. Why, you ask? Well, because he brought two of his clones to the mound with him every game. Rijo was known for his above-average fastball. Clone No. 1 had a dominating slider. Clone No. 2's specialty was a knuckler. Rijo was from the Dominican Republic and spoke Spanish. Clone No. 1 spoke Japanese. Clone No. 2 spoke no harm of anyone. Rijo spent his nights reading and hanging out with his family. Clone No. 1 spent his nights curled up by a warm fire, wearing only his emotions. Clone No. 2 spent his nights snorting cocaine and mingling with common street scum. Despite their differences, Joses were a force on the mound, sometimes getting three strikes on a single swing. This pitching prowess earned Joses the obvious nickname "Cy-clones." No one thought it was funny.



Geronimo Berroa, 1995 Fleer Emotion

Name: Geronimo Berroa
Team: Oakland A's
Position: Outfield
Value of card: It'll surprise you
Key 1994 stat: 14,012 stupid looks on his face
10 reasons Geronimo Berroa is surprised:
10) He didn't expect to be caught dancing with a ballboy.
9) He looked at his god-awful career numbers.
8) Someone told him the cup goes in the front.
7) He learned former reliever Jason Grimsley accused him of taking steroids.
6) Someone in the crowd yelled "Geronimo" before jumping off the third deck.
5) No one else on the field had their collar popped around a turtleneck.
4) The mesh behind him is not a batting cage; it's a 40-foot net being shot from a giant net-gun by a hunter capturing mediocre Major League Baseball players for his collection of taxidermied animals.
3) His mustache just opted out of its contract.
2) Being in Oakland, he just witnessed three people get shot to death.
1) The word "loose" is written in giant block letters across his rear end.


Pete Rose, 1984 Topps Purina Dog Chow Insert

Names: Pete Rose, Charlie Hustle
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: First base
Value of card: Over/under 75 cents
Key 1983 stat: Zero haircuts
A peek into the mind of a legend: The staff psychic here at Baseball Card Bust is at times able to determine the thoughts going through the minds of our subjects. Here's what Pete Rose was thinking at this moment in 1983: "That $3,000 on the Orioles at 15-to-1 this year is looking pretty solid. ... Remember when I nearly killed that bum Ray Fosse at the All-Star Game? That was awesome. ... I think it might be time to switch shampoos. ... If Rick Rhoden comes in tight on me one more time, I'm gonna bust his jaw so hard he'll be spittin' teeth for a week. ... What was that broad's name at the strip club the other night? Candy? Sandy? Mandy? Crap, I think she stole my pager. ... These Jockeys are a little tight. ... Screw Philly, I'm going into the Hall of Fame as a Red."


Aaron Glenn, 1994 Fleer NFL Prospects (Football Friday No. 4)

Name: Aaron Glenn
Team: Texas A&M
Position: Cornerback
Value of card: One ring (to rule them all)
Key 1993 stat: 72 orcs slain
He's no hobbit: Gather 'round and hear the tale of Aaron "Frodo" Glenn, a simple cornerback who faced an incredible task. Walking through the wooded land of College Station, Texas, Aaron noticed a football partially buried in the ground. He unearthed the ball, picked it up and immediately felt a sense of destiny flow through him. This was the Football of Power, stitched in the fires of Mordor. The ball had long ago been stolen from the sport's evil king and lost in the pages of time. Aaron's find set forth a legendary series of events, teaming him with elves, dwarves and a gray wizard, and pitting him against ogres, demons and tackling dummies. The young defensive back's chore: Return the ball to the land of darkness and cast it into the furnace from whence it came. Aaron, seen here at the gates of the fiery kingdom, overcame the many obstacles set before him, spiked the cursed object into the flames and did the Ickey Shuffle. The dark lord's power was broken, and little Aaron Glenn became a Saint.


Alan Trammell, 1993 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Alan Trammell
Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: Shortstop
Value of card: One punch to the neck
Key 1992 stat: 113 kung fu movies starred in
Back off, buddy: You don't want to mess with Alan Trammell. Oh, what's that, St. Louis Cardinals infielder Jose Oquendo? You think you're going to come in hard, trying to break up Mr. Trammell's double-play ball? I don't think so. POW! You just got judo chopped in the duodenum! Oh, what, now you're going to cry about it? Maybe you should have kept those cleats a little lower. Start any more static, and Alan will call in his boy Sweet-Lou Whitaker to hyphenate your ass. If they can intimidate Tom Selleck in an episode of "Magnum, P.I.," imagine what they can do to you. So do yourself a favor, smart guy, and just stay down.


Mike Brown, 1986 Topps

Name: Mike Brown
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Outfield
Value of card: $10 gift certificate to Sunglass Hut
Key 1985 stat: 98 percent polarized
His glasses are half full: Before he retired from baseball and started a career as a stand-up comic and an actor on "Homicide: Life on the Street," Mike Brown was a sneaky-fast outfielder with a great eye. His eye was so good, in fact, he averaged two walks every three plate appearances, helping propel the Pirates to dozens of victories. This ability to draw a walk led Pirates manager Jim Leyland to instruct him to protect his eyes with sunglasses most human beings couldn't see through. Brown first wore customized Blue Blockers, renamed Brown Blockers for him, which were tested with gamma rays on babies to ensure their protective powers would hold up. Brown wore these a few weeks until an opposing pitcher realized Brown's eye could be neutralized with a well-placed fastball off a lens. Broken glasses and all, Brown was not deterred. He next tried what he called "camouflage eyes," but quickly dispensed of them because he couldn't see out of them and the coils often wrapped together, tripping him when he was rounding first. His next selection was a pair of custom aviators, but a trademark spat with Reggie Jackson doomed this choice. Finally, Brown looked into the future for a pair of glasses that could protect his eyes, thereby protecting his baseball career. He wore these until his retirement, when he took to wearing a trendy pair that made him look like stock-trading schmuck.



Will Clark, 1990 Stadium News

Name: Will Clark
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: First base
Value of card: 75 cents at newsstands
Key 1989 stat: Will Clark Homers Twice
This guy makes headlines: The newspaper industry is in a tailspin. The New York Times sold part of its Manhattan headquarters to raise funds. USA Today's parent company, Gannett, has seen its stock plummet. Every daily newspaper in the greater Bay Area has shed jobs faster than a cheetah falls down a flight of stairs. But one paper has survived the recession and the shift of readers and advertising dollars to the Internet. That paper, in all its glory, is the Stadium News. How does the Stadium News remain profitable? For one: bold news judgment. The day after Nelson Mandela was released from a South African prison, every major newspaper led with the anti-apartheid activist's story. Every major newspaper but one, that is. The Stadium News led with a crisp, telling headline: "Will Clark Homers Twice." Did he hit two home runs in a season or in a game? It doesn't matter. Did his first name have to be used directly above a six-column-wide, 42-inch-long photo of him? Obviously, yes. Did readers suffer because the Mandela story was relegated to a 4-inch brief on Page 14? Not unless they hate America. All these questions aside, it wasn't only news judgment that put the Stadium News in the upper echelons of the industry. The paper's design broke down barriers and forged new boundaries of creativity. It was straightforward, sure, but it was breathtaking. There's no questioning that news judgment and creative design helped the Stadium News grow its readership. But what put the paper over the top? Media critics from the nation's most prestigious journalism schools agree: The postmodern shift to eliminating the rigid confines of a story speaks to today's news consumer in a way a bunch of silly words simply can't.


Don Sutton, 1988 Topps

Name: Don Sutton
Team: California Angels
Position: Ace
Value of card: One vat of Bengay
Key 1987 stat: Considered retiring 317 times
Flash forward: The year was 1989 and Don Sutton was in the twilight of his career. Sutton, a lock for the Hall of Fame with more than 300 wins to his credit, signed on with the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe was under new ownership and had brought in a number of washed-up veterans, rookies with questionable backgrounds and a manager who had most recently run a tire store. Sutton, whose arm was all but used up, had resorted to putting Crisco on his chest and K-Y along his waistband to help get more movement on his curveball. It was a rough start to the year, as Sutton feuded with a slugger who practiced Voodoo and struggled to make it past five innings in most starts. But a late-season surge pushed the Tribe into a first-place tie with the Yankees in the AL East. Thanks to his experience, Sutton was given the nod to start the one-game playoff over a rookie whose wild haircut and even wilder pitching had endeared him to the Tribe's fan base. Improbably, the 65-year-old Sutton pitched 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball before leaving the game with the bases loaded. He ended up with a no decision as the Indians won in dramatic fashion on an RBI bunt single with two out in the bottom of the ninth. That same night, Charlie Sheen set a world record for number of lines blown in a baseball dugout.
Fun fact: Baseball Card Bust favorite Pete Vuckovich played Yankees slugger Clu Haywood in "Major League."


Bill Wegman, 1992 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Bill Wegman
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Positions: Pitcher, pitchman
Value of card: The cost of a postage stamp
Key 1991 stat: 3 inches "grown"
Mr. Wegman makes his pitch: After winning 15 games with a 2.84 ERA in 1991, Bill Wegman signed on to promote a fledgling pharmaceutical company he knew little about. When he first heard ExtenZe could enhance that certain part of a male body, he was skeptical, but thought, "This could be fun." After six months of swallowing little blue pills, Wegman had become the cock of the walk.
Script from Wegman's TV commerical: "Male enhancement. Two years ago, scientists had no idea the power contained in this little blue pill. Before I started taking ExtenZe, I could barely bring myself to walk in the clubhouse shower. Women flocked to my more manly teammates, like Rob Deer, Robin Yount and Ron Robinson, but the word was out that my cup wasn't exactly running over. Now, I have to keep this black 'Topps Stadium Club' sign with my name on it in front of my groin at all times to avoid tarnishing a child's innocence. ExtenZe will work for you, too, or we'll send you your money back. If it didn't work, could we afford to do this? Call now. You've got nothing to lose, but a lot to gain."



Ken Griffey Jr., 1992 Donruss Triple Play

Name: Ken Griffey Jr.
Team: Seattle Mariners
Positions: Outfield, Magician
Value of card: The coin behind your ear
Key 1991 stat: 24 assistants sawed in half
The Great Griffey: At the tender age of 21, Ken Griffey Jr. was already becoming a superstar with the Seattle Mariners. His raw talent was spectacular, but a large part of his success came from magic. As shown on this card, when Griffey would get tired of swinging the bat, he could still knock the ball 550 feet by levitating the lumber. His teammate father would at times chide The Kid for linking batting doughnuts together and turning Jay "Bone" Buhner into a sea lion. As Griffey grew older and more powerful on the field, his wizardry also gained strength. In 1996, he outdueled David Copperfield for the right to spend a night with the beautiful Claudia Schiffer. When an up-and-coming illusionist named Teller accused Griffey of using his powers irresponsibly, Junior stole the man's voice and gave it to a mute orphan from Vancouver. Griffey began putting on elaborate stage shows involving pumas and flamethrowers, and started a raging love affair with his mysterious gypsy assistant. But when the slugger was traded to Cincinnati prior to the 2000 season, the scorned woman cursed her lover from the waist down, turning his knees and hamstrings into egg shells and taking the pop out of his "bat." In 2009, Griffey returned to Seattle in an attempt to reverse the jinx, only to learn the gypsy had been mauled to death by a blood-thirsty sea lion with a goatee.

Card contributed by Miranda Everitt Stenger



Roger Craig, 1986 Topps (Football Friday No. 3)

Name: Roger Craig
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Position: Running back
Value of card: $1,000 (Camel Cash)
Key 1985 stat: Five packs a day
His play will take your breath away: Roger Craig may look ridiculous in the above photograph, but the story behind the card is no laughing matter. Craig was a nicotine addict. He didn't smoke socially; he smoked constantly. John Wayne once told him he smelled like ashtray. Craig named his second child "Joe Camel Craig." The 49ers running back would buy a pack of Virginia Slims, bundle 10 of them with duct tape, and light up what he called "a Virginia Fats." He once woke up dazed and naked on a North Carolina tobacco farm, shivering, wrapped in tobacco leaves. When Craig was in a movie theater, airplane or another place where smoking was prohibited, he ate his cigarettes, filter and all. Craig's only automobile? A Marlboro race car. His favorite ice-cream flavor? Benson and Hedges. All the smoking didn't stop Craig's on-field exploits. He ran, legs churning, knees to his chest, around and over defenders. But there was a catch: After every play, Craig had to return to the sideline, affix a mask, and inhale a special concoction formulated by the 49ers training staff. The concoction: 25 percent oxygen, 25 percent carbon dioxide, 50 percent Lucky Strike refry smoke.



Terry Bradshaw, John Frascatore, 1995 Topps

Names: Terry "The Blond Bomber" Bradshaw, Some Schmuck
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Fox
Position: Quarterback
Value of card: 1 cent for each player
Key 1994 stat: 11 interceptions
Rocket arm on deck: Terry Bradshaw was a two-time Super Bowl MVP. He won the NFL MVP in 1978. He led his Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles and was named to the Pro Bowl three times. But "The Blond Bomber's" proudest achievement may have been his lone year of professional baseball, 1994, during which he batted .189 with three home runs, 26 RBIs and 11 interceptions in Double-A. He had a youthful glow about him that year. Although it's covered by a hat in the above photograph, Bradshaw's blond locks regrew atop his shiny head. His jumbled ramblings through a Southern accent disappeared; his diction was exquisite and he enunciated each word for the first time in his life. He grew a pencil-thin mustache and wooed women 40 years his junior. But of all the changes and accomplishments in 1994, Bradshaw was most proud of his tan.



Willie McGee, 1986 Topps

Name: Willie "Machismo" McGee
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Chippendales
Position: Outfield
Value of card: $150 an hour
Key 1985 stat: 44 pairs of edible underwear
People magazine's Sexiest Man of 1985: It was an honor the nation knew was coming. June, July and August 1985 collectively became known as the Summer of Sexy Willie. Women filled Busch Stadium to catch a glimpse of Willie McGee, known for his slap hitting and his butt slapping. He played with pizazz and often blew kisses to the crowd. The world was his oyster, but in one night, the oyster clammed up.
The fall of Lothario: The sweat was beading down his chicken chest when the SWAT team busted through the door. Within a fraction of a second, McGee, America's sexy son, went from an adored, dashing professional athlete to a defamed professional gigolo. The women scattered into closets and through windows. When police officers coralled them all, they were nude and numbered 22. McGee had started the night on a side job as a Chippendale dancer whose good looks drove women wild. He ended the night a felon, a felon who was always a hit with the ladies.



Lou Johnson, 1968 Topps

Name: "Sweet" Lou Johnson
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Outfield
Value of card: 1/10,000th of Johnson's $26,000 1968 salary
Key 1967 stat: 140,000 "oohs"
Things that make you go "Ooh": What could have made "Sweet" Lou Johnson exclaim, "Ooh," before a game in 1968? He was a pious man, so it wasn't a buxom bombshell in the stands. He wasn't a man shackled to an enormous ego, so he wasn't looking at his doe eyes in a mirror. He wasn't a spiteful man, so he wasn't watching a teammate take a back swing to the face. But "Sweet" Lou Johnson was a celebrated crooner, whose 1967 hit, "Ooh, Ooh, Baby, Ooh," made it to No. 435 on the Billboard charts. In the above photo, the crack Topps photography staff caught "Sweet" Lou belting out a version of "Ooh, Ooh, Baby, Ooh," to his manager, Leo Durocher, whose tears puddled on the dugout ground.

Card submitted by Chris Treadway


Paul Coleman, 1990 Topps

Name: Paul Coleman
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Tacoma Falls Middle School Fightin' Otters
Position: First base
Value of card: Three gold stars
Key 1989 stat: 2.37 GPA
A childhood lost: With the sixth overall pick in the 1989 amateur draft, the St. Louis Cardinals made waves by selecting 14-year-old Paul Coleman, a boy of prodigious size whose potential seemed limitless. But the photo on this card, taken outside the nurse's office at Tacoma Falls Middle School, was one of Paul's last happy baseball moments. The youngster's childhood spirit was broken upon reporting to rookie ball in Johnson City, Tenn., in 1990. Manager Mark DeJohn let the young man know there would be no shenanigans on his team and proceeded to burn Paul's Mad Magazines and crush the teen's GameBoy beneath his heel. Paul was then handed Vince Coleman's old jersey, which hadn't been washed since 1983, an oversize jock strap and two cans of chaw. His teammates mocked him relentlessly the first time he hit the showers while wearing a bathing suit. He wept at night, wishing only to be home with his mother and his beagle, Mr. Blueberry. Coleman played three mediocre years of minor league ball, but retired from the sport before even bedding his first woman.



Rod Beck, 1994 Topps Gold

Name: Rod Beck
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Closer
Value of card: Free spittoon with five Skoal proofs of purchase
Key 1993 stat: One mouth cancer diagnosis
Script from Skoal television commercial, circa 1994: "Hi, kids. This is Rod Beck, closer for the San Francisco Giants. You practice every day in the hopes of becoming a big-leaguer like me. (Tosses back and seductively shakes mullet.) You shag ground balls, hit off a tee, and play catch with your pa. But if you really want to play in the major leagues, I have some advice for you: Get yourself a can of Skoal. (Holds up can of chewing tobacco; camera zooms in for close-up view; Skoal theme song plays for eight seconds.) Lots of kids dream of playing with the best, but to be the best you have to chew with the best, and the best, like me (feathers fingers through mullet), chew Skoal. (Camera pans to scantily-clad models wearing Giants jerseys, mouths full of chewing tobacco; Skoal theme song plays for five seconds.) You know me; I never lob one up to the plate. (Cut to Beck throwing baseball with flames trailing it.) But I'm lobbing you some advice. (Close-up shot of Beck's handlebar mustache; Beck's tooth glimmers in the sun.) If you want to be a pro, you have to look like a pro, and a pro is always packing a Skoal. (Beck turns backside toward camera; Skoal can's silhouette is showing; Beck slaps backside and spits; Skoal theme songs plays for nine seconds; camera pans to models; models spit and show tobacco-filled teeth; song fades out.) So, remember, kids: Skoal is a home run every time."

Card submitted by Kate Berezich


Barry Jones, 1987 Topps

Name: Barry "14 Across" Jones
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Middle relief
Value of card: (four letters) Spanish for "nothing"
Key 1986 stat: 2,874 crossword puzzles nearly completed
A puzzling pitcher: Barry Jones made his living playing baseball, but it was his hobby turned passion turned addiction that dominated his life. His obsession for the grid alienated friends, family and the game he once held dear. Jones would try to solve the Friday New York Times puzzle between innings, sometimes needing a slap upside the head from chain-smoking manager Jim Leyland to remind him to return to the mound. Jones took to hiding puzzles in his jeans' fifth pocket and tucked them inside his tighty-whities. He was caught many times shirtless, sweating in a clubhouse bathroom stall with a pen clenched between his teeth and a crumbled crossword gripped in his trembling hands. He spent thousands of dollars on crossword books, how-to videos and psychic readings. He savagely beat anyone he suspected of enjoying word searches and would ramble on for hours about the clue that got away. He incessantly scratched at his arms and face and developed a nervous tic, which made him curse Will Shortz while sawing down a pencil to the lead with his incisors. Jones would lurk in the shadows of alleys behind dictionary factories. He would play crossword roulette with four-fingered scoundrels in the back of seedy Chinese restaurants. He would walk across and down, but never diagonal or up. He dressed like a junkie. Crossword puzzles had overtaken Jones' life. Luckily, he met someone who saved him.



Marshall Faulk, 1994 Classic NFL Draft (Football Friday, No. 2)

Name: Marshall Faulk
Team: San Diego State
Position: Running back
Value of card: 1,400 space bucks
Key 1993 stat: 14 corrective surgeries on his left hand
Sensory overload: We at Baseball Card Bust aren't certain what's most amazing about this illustration. Sure, we knew Marshall Faulk repeatedly dodged exploding football missiles while on the gridiron. We suspected that his speed alone could affect the orbits of planets from other solar systems. But we didn't know he could rip through the fabric of time and space, or whatever is going on immediately behind him. And we never noticed that his left hand was so deformed it looked like some giant claw with footlong fingers. Look at that thing! Faulkenstein couldn't just palm a basketball, he could crush one, if he so chose. Getting stiff-armed by him would be like running into a bony wall. We'd like to see Stallone arm wrestle this guy, though. Over the top, indeed.



Sandy Alomar, 1992 Donruss Triple Play

Name: Sandy Alomar
Team: Cleveland Indians
Positions: Catcher, father
Value of card: One father-son moment
Key 1991 stat: 158 pounds of eye black used
Danger lurks at every corner: What a cute photo. Sandy Alomar and his son Marcus getting in a little Wiffle Ball batting practice before the game. The little guy's even wearing eye black like his dad. And look at his batting helmet! They could probably use that thing the next time they give him a haircut. My stars, what a precious momen — OH MY GOD, WHAT IS EVIL GRIMACE DOING BACK THERE ON THE LEFT?!! Run, you fools! Don't you know the secret ingredient in the Filet-O-Fish is children's souls!? For the love of all things good and holy, run! Hide the children and save yourselves!