Alvin Davis, 1989 Topps

Name: Alvin Davis
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: First base
Value of card: Keep looking into my eyes and I'll tell ya
Key 1988 stat: One of three chipmunks
Alvin Davis' conversation with Topps photographer, 1989: "What are you doing all the way over there, baby? Come a little bit closer. No, a bit closer. C'mon, girl, I won't bite. Look into these doe eyes; all you're going to see is love, baby. That's right. Good. Good. Let me put on this giant batting helmet so I look even sexier. Ah, now I'm feeling all right. I'm in the mood for love, and these baby browns are seeing you are, too. C'mere, girl. Just a bit closer so the kids can see what a real baseball player looks like. Give them the opportunity to witness my luxurious wraparound mustache in all its glory. Now, snap the picture. Closer, closer. Snap that picture. There you go, sweetcheeks; just like a woman, a baseball card can never be too close."



William Suero, 1993 Topps

Name: William Suero
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: Utility infielder
Value of card: Three sticks of butter
Key 1992 stat: One groin injury
That's gotta hurt: You think you're having a bad day? At least you didn't take a Paul Sorrento to the crotch. You can see the grimace starting to form on the infielder's face. Kudos to William Suero for turning the double play despite getting No. 11ed. Hats off, William Suero — see, even Sorrento agrees. Way to take one for the team, even at the cost of infertility.


Tim Wallach, 1992 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Tim Wallach
Team: Montreal Expos
Position: Third base
Value of card: One deep thought
Key 1991 stat: Six space-age gadgets
Inspector Gadget: Tim Wallach loves technology. Let's count all the then-modern marvels that Mr. Wallach has on display in this 1992 card. There's the baseball cell phone he's talking on, a lightweight miracle from a time when phones were so heavy, players had assistants hold them while they carried on conversations. His uniform is made out of a space-age material resistant to both wrinkles and dirt, so no matter how many grounders Wallach dives for, he'll always come up cleaner than Craig Counsell's steroid test results. His nifty armband doubles as a Nintendo controller. His hat is actually a Flowbee. He's wearing a mask that makes him look like movie stars from the future — in this case, Luke Wilson.
What about those bats in the background? Those aren't actually there — they're holograms produced by a chip Wallach had implanted in his brain.



Frank Thomas, 1992 Score Dream Team

Name: Frank Thomas
Team: Chicago White Sox
Positions: First base, designated hitter
Value of card: $20 credit at Big 5 Sporting Goods
Key 1991 stat: Zero size-appropriate items in this photo
Something doesn't quite fit: What the hell is going on here? The size of Frank Thomas' bat makes even the most secure of men squirm a little. Big Hurt's ballcap appears to be hovering about 7 inches above his head. His batting gloves resemble medieval gauntlets and his belt is cinched directly over his belly button. But the most disturbing thing is the tightness of Thomas' pants. They may be made of Lycra. Look at the way they gather around his knobby little knees. One good thing about these pants: They stop so high, they likely won't get wet in a flood. Those pinstripes are stretched so tight, they're turning into Morse code. And, of course, Thomas is wearing eye black in a photo studio. It only makes sense. Sorry, Score. The Big Hurt may be on your dream team, but this card is one big nightmare.



Nolan Ryan, 1991 Pacific Trading Cards

Name: Nolan Ryan
Team: Texas Rangers
Positions: Ace, benevolent leader
Value of card: The truth
Key 1990 stat: 34 people recruited
Tragedy in Texas: Sure, everyone knows Nolan Ryan was a stud on the mound and an all-around badass everywhere else. But few ever heard about the government standoff he was involved in during the 1990 season. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms received word that Ryan had started a cult, luring in young boys who wore replica Rangers uniforms and young women in baggy dresses and off-center haircuts. The feds swooped in, surrounding Arlington Stadium and urging the fireballer to release his followers. Ryan ignored their requests, instead sending out a pallet of Rangers road unis, all No. 34. A three-day impasse ensued, ending when ATF agents stormed the stadium, tackling anyone in cleats. Ryan and his believers had escaped, however, and the government ended up only pressing charges against Julio Franco, who was caught having inappropriate relations with his bat.


Keith Hernandez, 1986 Topps Record Breaker

Name: Keith Hernandez (I'm Keith Hernandez)
Team: New York Mets
Positions: First base, within a funnel cloud
Value of card: $3.50, or a VHS tape of "Twister"
Key 1985 stat: One game-winning RBI in the midst of a natural disaster
A mustache in the wind: It was Sept. 16, 1985, and a Texas twister was spinning a mile from the Houston Astrodome. Umpires conferred with meteorologists, and the decision was made to continue the game. The Astros were leading, 5-4, going into the ninth inning, when the winds started swirling directly outside the stadium. Fans began to panic as noise from the cyclone built. Then, suddenly, the twister ripped a hole in the dome. Fans ran for exits, but the players stayed on the field. Astros starter Mike Scott looked up at the twister, spit twice and started his windup. Keith Hernandez stood at the plate. As the fastball rushed toward Hernandez, the tornado's winds pulled his batting helmet from his head and lifted the pitcher into the air. But what the Astros and Mother Nature hadn't counted on was the gravitational pull of Hernandez's mustache. The hair above his upper lip was so lush and dense, it counterbalanced the pull of the twister and kept Hernandez on the ground, allowing him to hit a single into right field and win the game, which was immediately called. This feat of manhood broke a long-held major league record: Hernandez and his mustache now had the most game-winning RBIs in the midst of a natural disaster, two. His first game during the natural disaster that was the Mets' 1983 season.



Gary Sheffield, 1994 Upper Deck

Name: Gary Sheffield
Team: Florida Marlins
Positions: Third base, badass
Value of card: 100 pounds of awesome
Key 1993 stat: 1,834 sneers
Holy crap: Look at Gary Sheffield's scorpion tattoo. It's obvious that the sleeves of his shirt tore themselves off and ran away when they saw that thing coming. Even his color-coordinated wristbands freaking rule. Plus, you can tell by the look on his face that he's about to hit a baseball approximately 12,000 feet. This got us here at the Bust wondering what things are more badass than Gary Sheffield in this photo. Here they are, in reverse order:

10) Robot motorcycles
9) Dogs that shoot bees from their mouths
8) The A-Team
7) People juggling chain saws
6) Lions riding horses
5) Guitars made of lightning
4) Gun-wielding, shark-surfing bears
3) Thunderstorms made by volcanoes
2) Gary Sheffield in this exact pose with an actual scorpion on his arm
1) America


Joe Klecko, 1986 Topps (Football Friday No. 14)

Name: Joe Klecko
Team: New York Jets
Positions: Nose tackle, monster
Value of card: One $5 gift card to Barnes & Noble
Key 1985 stat: One fivehead
It's alive: Jets coach Joe Walton needed a nose tackle in 1985, but no one on his roster fit the bill. An abundance of linebackers, ends and copies of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" left the coach with but one choice: building his own runstopper. He surreptitiously signed a handful of undrafted rookie free agents and harvested their best features, including three foreheads, to create the best nose tackle in the league. Kleckostein, despite having eyes without pupils, dominated the league, recording 7 1/2 sacks and frightening everyone around him. But upon discovering the horrific truth at the end of the season, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle ordered Walton to destroy his inhuman creation. Walton refused, instead fleeing with Kleckostein one night to the wilds of northern Canada. The two live there to this day, tackling moose, bears and caribou to make ends meet.


Tom Glavine, 1991 Studio

Name: Tom Glavine
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Ace
Value of card: $14.95 GlamourShots gift certificate
Key 1990 stat: One mullet, many names
Business up front, party in the back: Tom Glavine liked his hockey cut so much in 1991, he decided to have it forever emblazoned on a baseball card. "Make sure you get my neck feathers in the shot," he told the photographer. "The kids love my Camaro cut." But Glavine's mud flap didn't impress everyone. "I always thought his Kentucky waterfall was a little childish," future teammate Greg Maddux told a reporter in 1989. Despite the critics, women swooned. "I want to feel your beaver paddle brush against my cheek in the throes of passion," a female fan screamed at a game in 1990. Interactions like that made Glavine grow conceited. In fact, the moment the above photo was taken Glavine yelled at the photographer, "Don't you dare stare at my Long Island ice tease."



Jerry Reuss, 1990 Topps

Name: Jerry Reuss
Team: Milwaukee Brewers, kind of
Position: N/A
Value of card: A lifetime of smiles
Key 1989 stat: One dugout sat in
A dad's dream: It was mid-September 1989 and Brewers prospect Bobby Reuss had recently been called up from Triple-A Denver. The Brewers, long out of the playoff race, decided to treat their young call-ups by inviting their fathers to each sit in the dugout — decked out in full uniform — for one game. For Bobby's father, Jerry, it was a dream come true. Jerry spent the entire game regaling the Brew Crew with Army stories, including the time in basic that he and his buddies got wicked drunk off a bottle of cherry-flavored vodka and ended up puking on the drill sergeant's doorstep. He cornered Robin Yount in the third inning, telling him all about the Ford Mustang he bought on the cheap back in '71 and how he used to race it on the outskirts of Phoenix. Of course, the crack photography crew at Topps confused Jerry for an actual player, snapping a photo and asking about his hobbies for notes on the back of the card. The proud papa went on for the next 30 minutes about his love for pinochle and cribbage, and how he still loved to take the missus out to a movie show every now and again. Reuss then fell asleep for innings five through seven. Eventually, manager Tom Trebelhorn was forced to ask the elder Reuss to leave when, after waking up, he wandered onto the field and asked the home plate umpire if they still used those ball-strike counters like when he played in high school.



Jack McKeon, 1989 Topps

Name: Jack McKeon
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Player-manager
Value of card: Huh? What's that, sonny? Speak up. These ol' ears ain't what they used to be.
Key 1988 stat: 77 years old, 77 games played
Taking matters into his old hands: The San Diego Padres stunk in 1988. They stunk so bad, 77-year-old manager Jack McKeon had two heart attacks and a hip replacement by the all-star break. With his health and patience waning, the former mediocre minor league player decided it was time he step in — into the batter's box.
A geezer playing a kids' game: In the first game after the break, McKeon penciled himself into the seventh spot in the order. "I may be 77 and a chain-smoker," McKeon told the media, "but I'm still a better hitter than that damned Dickie Thon." McKeon went 1-for-4 in his first game, and proceeded to hit .314 in 77 games while leading the league in infield hits beat out with a walker and/or wheelchair.


Charlie O'Brien, 1992 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Charlie O'Brien
Team: New York Mets
Position: Catcher
Value of card: One run
Key 1991 stat: 2 passed balls
Nice catch, butterfingers: Poor Charlie O'Brien. It's bad enough that he hit .185 while platooning behind the plate in 1991, but imagine his embarassment when his kids brought home a pack of Topps Stadium Club cards the next year. A lot of other players had awesome photos on their cards that obviously had a lot of thought go into them. "Ooh, look at Ruben Sierra," the young'uns would say. "He's got such an awesome medallion! Oh, wow, Tim Wallach looks like he's from the future. George Bell's hair is so shiny! And Bill Wegman, um ... Dad, why did they put his name placard there?" Picture Charlie O'Brien sitting with his kids, laughing and poking fun at his major league colleagues — until they find his card. "Dad," the kids say, "why does your photo show you dropping a throw home?" Charlie just sits there, silent, his face turning eight shades of red. Since the Bust in no way endorses child abuse, we'll leave out what happened next, but suffice to say that the children knew to never bring baseball cards home again.


Gene Larkin, 1989 Donruss

Name: Gene Larkin
Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Designated hitter
Value of card: One jar of Nads
Key 1988 stat: 161 lives changed
A selfless slugger: Sure, the smaller-minded among us might laugh at this card. "Check out Larkin's monobrow," we might say. "It looks like his forehead is wearing a toupee," we might snicker. "How did his moustache get above his eyes?" we might ask. The truth is, Gene Larkin was a selfless man. At a time when most ballplayers were overly concerned with grooming and style, Larkin stepped up to the plate and became an eyebrow donor. Every year, thousands of young people across this country drunkenly fall asleep on a friend's couch only to wake up sans eyebrows. To some, it's a practical joke, but many victims don't know where to turn. Larkin and fellow major leaguer Mike Harkey provided an invaluable service to these unfortunate few, being able to harvest half of their forehead carpets to donate to the browless. We here at the Bust salute you, Gene Larkin, and your bushy benefaction.
However: Squatting is always funny.


Willie Greene, 1992 Bowman

Name: Willie Greene
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position: Third base
Value of card: $19.99 coupon to JCPenney
Key 1991 stat: 13 pastel vertical stripes
The best-dressed team of 1991: Willie Greene had style in 1991, and so did his teammates. That's because the Double-A Carolina Mudcats were sponsored by JCPenney that year. Each player wore a classy ensemble from the young men's department; which outfit was chosen depended on a particular week's sales. In the photo above, Greene is sporting the Izod quad-stripe Easter polo, one of the season's hottest sellers. The photo was taken shortly before Greene's third at-bat. He struck out, but his style didn't.



Harry Carson, 1986 Topps (Football Friday No. 13)

Name: Harry Carson
Team: New York Giants
Position: Linebacker
Value of card: No idea. Too scared to ask Mr. Carson
Key 1985 stat: 14 pounds of chin
Time for another pop quiz:

Why is Harry Carson's chin so big?

(A) It has to be huge to hold up that handlebar mustache.
(B) Despite being named "Carson," he's a fan of Leno.
(C) Carson's nickname: The Black Spartacus.
(D) He wanted to tell teammates he had a bigger "Chin population" than China.



Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell, The Dynamic Duo, 1990 Fleer

Names: Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell
Team: San Francisco Giants
Positions: First base, outfield
Value of card: Three feet apart
Key 1989 stat: 73 goofy faces
Awkward team photos: The Dynamic Duo, indeed. Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark were so dynamic in 1989, they repelled each other like magnets. Here, the powerful pair have been asked to pose for a photo together by the crack Fleer photography team. "Get a little closer, guys," the photog asked them. "We can't," Clark informed him. "Watch." Clark and Mitchell then tried to bump chests, jumping in the air, only to be forced apart and come tumbling down on their backs. Stunned, the photographer asked, "Well, what's the closest you can get? Can you at least put your arms around each other?" "Well, kind of," Mitchell said. The photog readied his camera and captured this image. As you can see, the force of the Dynamic Duo's repulsion was so strong, the slightest touch forced Clark to make a creepy bedroom-eyes face and Mitchell's head to appear pasted in.



Ken Griffey Jr., 1989 BaseBall Caramels

Name: Young Archibald Griffey the Kid
Team: Seattle Palestockings
Position: Second fielder
Value of card: Three shillings from the Old Country, good sir
Key 1989 stat: 'Twasn't statistics that were kept in a gentleman's game, 'twas feelings of good cheer
Griffey, circa 1886: In 2009, Ken Griffey Jr. returned to the Seattle Mariners for what could be his last season. This affords an opportunity to look back at "The Kid's" first year as a professional, 1886. Griffey was known as Young Archibald Griffey the Kid before changing his name to "Ken" before the start of the 1891 season. In 1886, Griffey played for the Seattle Palestockings of the Louisiana Purchase League. He hit two home runs, which led the league. As part of Major League Baseball rules in the 19th century, he always had a sandwich in his pants. Young Griffey was known to feast on delightful liverwurst while playing second fielder, one of the era's most important positions. Young Griffey had exceptional seasons in 1886 and 1887, but he lost the Most Valuable Gentleman award both years to his father, Sir Ken of the Griffey Clan, who first won the award in 1779.


Ted Power, 1990 Topps

Name: Ted Power
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: The power of Ted
Key 1989 stat: Ten potential endings
Choose your own adventure: You are Ted Power, private detective by day, major league starter by night. When you're not tracking down criminals, you're throwing nasty splitters and change-ups. It's August 1989 and you're pitching the best game of your season. It's the top of the ninth and your team is up 2-0 thanks to a two-run jack from Pedro Guerrero. You're trying for the complete-game shutout, but suddenly the umpire has tightened the strike zone. You walk R.J. Reynolds and give up a bloop single to Mike "Spanky" Lavalliere, but bounce back to strike out the next two. Barry Bonds is striding to the plate and you see manager Whitey Herzog waddling out of the dugout. "This is it," you think, "he's gonna pull me. I was so freaking close!" But ol' Whitey just says, "Strike him out, kid." Re-energized, you look to the stands, where your wife, Helen, always sits. But something's wrong. Her face is pale and someone is standing too close to her. It's Knuckles Brannigan, the man you put away for a series of burglaries in 1981. You see a glint of steel near Helen's neck, but it's not her necklace — it's a knife. You look this deranged lunatic in the face and see him mouth two words: "Blow it." You realize this degenerate, who has likely bet on the Pirates, is going to kill your wife if you don't serve up a go-ahead home run. A flurry of choices runs through your head.

To throw an 85-mph fastball down the heart of the plate, allowing Bonds to win the game, click here.
To alert stadium security to the situation, click here.
To try and knock the blade out of Knuckles' hand with a heater, click here.
To realize your wife is a constant nag and that you haven't really loved her since she cheated on you four years ago, and therefore complete the shutout, click here.


Candy Maldonado, 1991 Upper Deck

Name: Candy Maldonado
Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: Outfield
Value of card: 200
Key 1990 stat: One injury caused
Ready for some football: For good baseball teams, early September means playoff chases, jockeying for home-field advantage and giving your stars a little extra rest. But for bad teams, such as the hapless Cleveland Indians, September means looking forward to the start of football season. After a dispirited batting practice session, Candy Maldonado, Sandy Alomar and a handful of Tribe teammates would fire up a game of tag football or 500. Of course, footballs were hard to come by at Cleveland Stadium, so the hardballers were forced to improvise, using batting helmets instead of pigskins. Manager John McNamara was never thrilled with the pick-up games, but in an effort to maintain morale, he let them slide. In 1990, tragedy was waiting. Maldonado, who often served as all-time quarterback, was tossing a game of 500 and decided to throw a potential game-winner. "Five-hundred!" he shouted, and launched the helmet as far as he could, over the heads of his group of receivers. Speedster Alex Cole, who had yet to catch a pass that day, took off, trying to track down the missile in the outfield, where McNamara was taking the bullpen car for a joyride. Cole never saw him coming. A pair of compound fractures later, helmetball was banned.

Jose "Chico" Lind, 1992 Pinnacle Shades

Name: Jose "Chico" Lind
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Second base
Value of card: There's no price on being rad
Key 1991 stat: He's too cool for stats
Time for another pop quiz:

Why is Chico Lind wearing bad-ass shades?

(A) He's a big Corey Hart fan.
(B) He's stoned out of his mind.
(C) He's not wearing sunglasses; those are miniature TVs with looping Chico Lind footage.
(D) A mustached man wearing a gold necklace on the field in the early 1990s was required to do so.
(E) He figured, hell, his nickname was "Chico."



Matt Williams, 1993 Upper Deck

Name: Matt Williams
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Third base
Value of card: One bat knob
Key 1992 stat: 701 games of grabass
What a joker: That Matt Williams sure was a prankster in his day. Among the stunts he pulled during the 1992 season: He once played three innings in the field with no glove, bare-handing every ball hit his way; he didn't wear a cup the entire month of July; he once covered his sunglasses with eye black and still grabbed a hot shot heading down the line; for one August at-bat, he tied his own leg to Kevin Mitchell's and then ran three-legged to first after grounding one back up the middle. In the photo on this card, Williams has accepted a challenge to swing the wrong end of the bat. The fans, and even the Cubs bench, got a kick out of the joke — until Williams made contact. What should have been a harmless pop-up ended up with Williams' shattered bat handle lodged in Mike Harkey's calf. Williams, horrified and shaken, never laughed again.


Sam Adams, 1994 Upper Deck Heavyweights (Football Friday No. 12)

Name: Sam Adams
Teams: Seattle Seahawks; D Team, Seattle YMCA Beach Volleyball League
Positions: Defensive tackle, middle blocker
Value of card: 11 grains of sand and three beads of sweat
Key 1993 stat: Zero pounds lost
A heavy weight on his shoulders: It was the mid-1990s, and body image was a growing concern. But paralyzing self-consciousness wasn't relegated to teenage girls. It could hit the biggest of gridiron behemoths, too. Case in point: Sam Adams. Everywhere the first-round pick went, his weight was repeated out loud. At the combine: 292 pounds. At training camp: 292 pounds. While getting berated by a coach: 292 (expletive) pounds. At the ice-cream parlor: "You sure you don't want another scoop, sir? You're, like, 292 pounds." This rattled the gentle giant to his core. He went to the Seahawks offensive line coach, whose advice was, well, offensive. "Take your fat (expletive) out of my office and into the sandbox with the other cry-baby girls," he said. Adams listened. He drove straight to a beach and joined a YMCA beach volleyball league. Even there, he couldn't escape the heckling. "Get a load of this fat boy wearing the neon-pink Morey Boogie visor," a child in the crowd yelled. Adams crumbled, and took his fat ass back to the locker room.



Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray, 1982 Topps League Leaders

Names: Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles
Positions: Third base, first base
Value of card: 20 ounces of facial hair
Key 1981 stat: One strike-shortened season
Top 10 categories at least one of these two led their leagues in:
10) RBIs
9) Ill-fitting batting helmets
8) Nose hair
7) Gap teeth
6) Removing vowels from "LEADERS"
5) Squinting
4) Amount of hair per square inch
3) Hot dogs eaten
2) Mutton chops
1) Awesomeness


Cecil Fielder, 1991 Post Cereal Collector Series

Name: Cecil Fielder
Team: Detroit Tigers
Positions: First base, designated hitter
Value of card: Three buttons
Key 1990 stat: 275 lbs.
Mmm, Honey Comb: Most people, when first viewing this fine card that came in a box of Honey Comb, think that Post had to remove the team name and logos off Cecil Fielder's hat and uniform. This is not the case. No, you see, this photo from May 12, 1990, was taken at the heftiest of Big Daddy's playing days that season. Upon reporting to the visiting clubhouse in Kansas City before the game that day, Fielder realized his uniform top no longer fit his massive frame. Instead, manager Sparky Anderson had to call Camp Menowannodonuts, the nearest fat camp, and arrange to have a counselor rush over a size XXXL uniform — which, it turned out, was still a little form-fitting on the husky Fielder. A clubhouse attendant hurriedly unstitched the camp logo from the jersey, and an irate Anderson ordered him to remove the "D" from Fielder's cap, as well. "And make sure he doesn't eat the thread!" Anderson barked. But Fielder's embarrassment didn't end there that day. During a fifth-inning at-bat, the slugger took a monster cut at a Bret Saberhagen fastball. The ball went flying — and so did three of the buttons on Fielder's tent-size uniform. As seen on this card, Big Daddy was forced to play the rest of the game using just one button and a safety pin.

Larry Parish, 1986 Topps; Vance Law, 1989 Topps

Names: Larry Parrish
Alias: Vance Law
Teams: Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs
Positions: Outfield, third base
Value of cards: Secrets contained within could cost you your life
Key 1988 stat: One new identity
The reborn identity: Larry Parrish could hit. Larry Parrish could throw. Larry Parrish could field. But he wouldn't put on the correct uniform. First his teammates, then his manager, then Major League Baseball's commissioner told him to change his look, to shed the mesh jersey and the hat with the bent-in sides. He wouldn't listen. He felt comfortable in the breathable garment and the squished cap. His rejection of baseball's rules landed him on the bench, then out of the game. Parrish was lost without the game he held dear. He spoke with a private investigator, who pointed him in the direction of dingy Chinese food restaurant with an alley entrance. There, a man with three thumbs and one eye supplied Parrish with a new identity, a former mercenary named Vance Law. Parrish became the Law, as he would say, and worked his way back to the big leagues in 1989, earning a spot on the Chicago Cubs. Parrish's team changed. Parrish's name change. But how he wore his uniform would never change.



Nolan Ryan, 1992 Fleer Pro-Visions

Name: Nolan Ryan
Team: Texas Rangers
Position: Ace
Value of card: 300 score marks on a prison wall
Key 1991 stat: Six months served
Don't mess with Nolan: In 1991, Nolan Ryan was framed for a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to two years in a Texas prison. (Yes, we realize you've never heard of this, but trust us — we're the Bust.) Ryan knew one thing: He had to kill someone on his first night in the slammer. He smuggled in a case of baseballs — don't ask how — picked out a target and nailed a convicted car thief in the head with a 102-mph heater. This killing did not have the intended effect. Ryan's victim, Billy "Chuckles" Belding, was well-liked among the inmates and had a lot of friends. As a result, Ryan found himself constantly fending off attackers, stuffing baseballs down their throats, cracking their skulls with fastballs or strangling them with twine from inside the tools of his trade. In all, Ryan killed more than 300 inmates, guards and visitors during his time in the big house. Ryan eventually realized it was either escape or face certain death. With the same rock hammer he used to keep score of all his kills, he dug through the wall of his cell and floated down the Rio Grande to freedom on a raft made of baseballs. He soon met up with four friends he had met inside. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire the Ryan Express.



Nigel Wilson, 1994 Pinnacle Rookie Prospects

Name: Nigel Wilson
Team: Florida Marlins
Position: Outfield
Value of card: One cupcake
Key 1993 stat: 247 times having the Heimlich maneuver performed on him
Short and sweet: Nigel Wilson's career may have been short-lived, but oh was it memorable. He hustled every play, no matter the situation. Weak grounder to first? He'd still fly down the line so fast that various parts of his uniform would come ripping off. He once ran so hard legging out a triple that by the time he got to third, he was wearing only a wifebeater and a jockstrap. But to keep up this boundless energy, Wilson — a sucker for sweets — was constantly snacking. He was known to jam a whole cupcake in his mouth before crucial at-bats. In the photo on this card, he had packed an entire Danish into his left cheek before knocking a hard single. The result is obvious: That helmet never stood a chance. But in the end, it was Wilson's sweet tooth that cut short his playing days. In a 1995 game against San Diego, Wilson was on his way to an infield double when the bearclaw he had stuffed in his maw got stuck in his throat. Nigel Wilson died that day doing what he loved: eating and hustling.


Mark McGwire, 1992 Studio

Name: Mark McGwire
Teams: Oakland A's, Jefferson Davis Middle School Eagles
Positions: First base, Closer, P.E. coach
Value of card: $10 tab at Sha-BOOMs
Key 1991 stat: Three people thrown from Jet-Skis
Westbound & Down: HBO had a hit on its hands in 2009 with "Eastbound & Down." The six-episode comedy series following Kenny Powers, a once-great major league closer forced to return to his alma-mater middle school to coach P.E. after being shamed into leaving the game he loved. Fans of the show number in thousands, but few know creator and star Danny McBride patterned his character after an early 1990s Mark McGwire. The greasy mullet, the creepy facial hair, the cutoff sleeves and the unmeasurable ego all were McGwire's before they were Powers'. McBride even integrated a few circa 1991 McGwire quotes into his scripts: "I'm a bulletproof tiger"; "Fundamentals are the crutch of the talentless"; "Undaunted, I knew the game was mine to win. Just like in life, all of successes depend on me. I'm the man who has the bat (ball); I'm the man who can swing (throw) it faster than (expletive). So that is why I am better than everyone in the world. Kiss my (expletive) and suck my (expletive), everyone."



O.J. Simpson, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Football Friday No. 11)

Name: O.J. Simpson
Team: Buffalo Bills
Positions: Running back, actor
Value of card: Crime doesn't pay
Key 1991 stat: Two thumbs tucked into pockets
Remembering O.J.: Sure, O.J. Simpson is a convicted robber, burglar and kidnapper, and very likely got away with murder. But that's not the Juice I like to think about. When I think about O.J., two things come to mind.
1) The windbreaker he's wearing on this card. I'm pretty sure I got this same jacket by mailing in 20 General Mills cereal box tops in 1989. It was made of papier mache and did nothing to stop the wind.
2) One word: Nordberg.


Turk Wendell, 1993 Upper Deck Diamond Debuts

Name: Turk Wendell
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 13 toothbrush bristles
Key 1992 stat: 795 debilitating superstitions
Turk the jerk: When Turk Wendell was brought up to the big leagues, he made an immediate impression. It wasn't for his fastball, curveball or impressive bulge; it was for his ridiculous, dramatic and embarrassing superstitions. He didn't last long with the Cubs, which, hmm, let's see, partly could have been a product of his having to brush his teeth — yes, brush his teeth, for chris'sakes — between each inning.
10 more of Turk's crippling on-field superstitions:
10) Used a rosin bag as baby powder on his crotch during Saturday afternoon games.
9) Forced grounds crews to trim mullet before starts against National League West teams.
8) Took a whiz in water fountain every time he gave up a go-ahead triple in the 10th inning.
7) Snorted baseline chalk when balk was called with two outs in an inning on a cloudy day.
6) Spit chewing tobacco into his jock strap — which was stuffed with Kitty Litter — when home plate umpire with a moustache was hit with a foul tip by a left-handed hitter.
5) Made sweet love to a catcher's mitt after walking three batters in one-run game during a four-game series.
4) Bit the head off a seagull every time a batter hit a line drive that hit a seagull, dropping the bird to the ground on the infield ... during a twinight doubleheader ... in August.
3) Covered his arm in canola oil before wrapping it with three towels when brushing his teeth after throwing a scoreless inning against a team whose name started with the letter "R."
2) Wore blue socks.
1) Spit toothpaste into an ugly trophy after reading a lackluster blog post about his superstitions.