John Randle, 1994 Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week 2013 No. 4)

Name: John Randle, aka "Runaway Train"
Team: Minnesota Spikings
Positions: Defensive line, locomotive
Value of card: A lump of coal in the caboose
Key 1994 splat: Went around making "choo-choo" noises even when not wearing the costume
The first two verses of Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train," tailored in honor of this absurd card and the great John Randle:

Call me up in the middle of the night / Want me to wear a helmet with a light
I got there with my anger burning / There's some fools who could use a little learning

So much makeup that I couldn't even see / What the hell are they putting on me?
Iron pads with rivets in the seams / A metal boot that's shooting out some steam

It seems no one can help me now / Can't turn my head / There's no way out
I really want to punch someone in the face

Runaway Train, gonna make a sack / Gonna break this makeup artist's back
Seems like I should be better than this / Instead my hat is spewing out some mist

Now this guy is telling me to smile / He's telling me I should relax for a while
He can't hear me through this facemask / I'm telling him I'm gonna kick his ass

Oh no! Tin gloves that are yellow! / I know my temper's gonna blow
Here I come just to dole out some pain / How dare you laugh at this Runaway Train

Metal shavings in my eye / I hate this day / I want to die
Gears glued on my head? I just can't believe it

Runaway Train, gonna make a sack / Gonna break this photographer's back
Seems like I should be better than this / Instead my hat is spewing out some mist


Hardy Nickerson, 1994 Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week 2013 No. 3)

Name: Hardy Nickerson, aka "Hyena"
Team: Tampa Slay Buccaneers
Position: Linebacker
Value of card: Fleas
Key 1994 splat: Watched "The Lion King" 32 times in preparation for this shoot
Fun facts about Hardy "Hyena" Nickerson and real hyenas:
  • Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals, but may leave their lairs in the early morning. Nickerson was also primarily nocturnal, though he rarely left his "lair," also known as his parents' basement.
  • Hyenas have a reputation for scavenging food that has been killed by other animals. Nickerson had a reputation for stealing his teammates' lunches from the fridge.
  • Some hyena traits are similar to those of dogs, while others are more cat-like. Nickerson definitely looks more like a puss in this photo.
  • Hyenas groom themselves often and have a cat-like way of licking their genitals. Nickerson rarely groomed himself, but did try repeatedly to accomplish the other thing.
  • Hyenas are known for their calls that sound like human laughter. Nickerson heard plenty of laughter from many humans after this card came out.



Junior Seau, 1994 Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week 2013 No. 2)

Name: Junior Seau, aka "Stealth"
Team: San Diego Charred-gers
Position: Linebacker
Value of card: One picture of a stealth bomber, torn in two
Key 1994 splat: 19-pound belt buckle
Ways in which Junior "Stealth" Seau was not very stealthy:
  • All that metal plate clanged a lot when he moved.
  • That blue face paint may have been stealthy, but his biceps weren't camouflaged at all!
  • Those shiny gold arm guards could be seen from miles away.
  • His number was clearly visible. It's like he wasn't even trying!
  • That pointy helmet would likely just end up poking somebody as he walked by.
  • He was too proud of his flatulence to ever really enter stealth mode.



Ray Childress, 1994 Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron (Halloween Week 2013 No. 1)

Name: Ray Childress, aka "Scarecrow"
Team: Boo-ston Oilers
Positions: Defensive line, out standing in his field
Value of card: Burned straw
Key 1994 splat: First time holding a pitchfork
Don't be scared: Welcome back, fright fans, to the greatest Bust tradition      no, not running the same old jokes into the ground, that's just our oldest tradition. Our greatest tradition is our annual Halloween Week, in which we feature seven of the spookiest sports cards ever printed and then run the same old jokes into the ground. Fair warning, though: This week will feature the last of the 1994 Monsters of the Gridiron cards, meaning Halloween Week may soon be in its grave. Now that's a scary thought.

Ray Childress's train of thought (if he only had a brain) from 4:10 to 4:12 p.m., June 4, 1994: "God, this is dumb. I mean, sure, the mask nearly made me soil myself the first time I saw it, but the rest of this outfit is terrible! Why are there birds on me? I thought scarecrows were supposed to keep birds away from the crops! Ugh, great, now this straw is starting to itch. Maybe if I use this fake pitchfork to scratch myself      NOPE! THAT'S A REAL PITCHFORK! OWWW! Lord, I need a cigarette." (Pulls out cigarette and lights a match) "Aaannnd I'm on fire. What did you do, Ray? OK, stop, drop and roll, baby, stop, drop and roll. There, it's out, thank God. The only thing dumber than lighting that match was agreeing to this stupid photo shoot in the first place."


Sean Landeta, 1991 Pro Line Portrait Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 30)

Name: Sean Landeta
Team: New York Giants
Position: Punter
Value of card: The opposite of "giant" value
Key 1990 stat: Zero everything but punts
Sean Landeta, By the Numbers:

4: Balls on the ground
2: Balls it took to wear that parka

2: Football helmets on the ground
1: Hair helmets on the head

3,981: New York kids who had this parka
18: New York Giants who had this parka
3,981: New York firefighters who had this mustache

18: Minutes spent in a photo session in the middle of the road
212: Photos that ended up on the cutting-room floor
18: Body parts that ended up cut up when a tractor-trailer came down the middle of the road


Carlos Hernandez, 1993 Leaf

Name: Carlos Hernandez
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Catcher
Value of card: One dead leaf
Key 1992 stat: 14 fights broken up
Time for The Caption, which may have run in a Los Angeles-area paper in 1992, probably: "Dodgers catcher Carlos Hernandez attempts to hold back home plate umpire Jerry Layne after Layne spotted Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda eating Layne's dinner in the dugout. Lasorda reportedly broke into the umpiring crew's dressing room after overhearing Layne describe the carne asada super burrito he had picked up at a local taqueria and then put in the fridge. Lasorda refused to apologize for the culinary theft, saying, 'If he wanted it so bad, he should have pounded it before the game. That's what I did with my platter of ziti!' "


John Hadl, 1976 Topps (Football Friday No. 177)

Name: John Hadl's dad
Team: Dressed as a member of the Green Bay Packers
Position: Fake quarterback
Value of card: Getting your dad his own football card? Priceless
Key 1975 stat: One dream lived vicariously through his son
What a gift: John Hadl was a good son. He cared about his family and was always looking to repay his parents for all they did for him growing up. For holidays and birthdays, he always gave them the best gifts. But he outdid himself in 1976. You see, that's not John Hadl in the photo above. That's Mr. Hadl, John Hadl's dad. John, then the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, gave his dad the gift of a lifetime: a day acting like he was the quarterback for his favorite team, his son's Packers. Mr. Hadl got to dress in the green-and-yellow, throw passes to real (much younger) players, and even participate in a football card photo shoot. For one day, he could leave the cheesehead at home and rock the bald head at practice.


Calvin Reese, 1992 Bowman

Name: Calvin Reese
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position: Second base
Value of card: 48 hairs on the ground after making a flat top line
Key 1991 stat: 287,971 times called "Pokey" in his career; one time called "Calvin"
It's time for a kid-friendly pop quiz:

What was Calvin "Pokey" Reese doing 20 minutes before this photo was taken?

(A) Watching Saturday morning cartoons
(B) Eating cereal with marshmallow monsters in it
(C) Changing out of his Little League uniform
(D) Convincing his mom he was really going to a baseball card photo shoot
(E) All of the above


Mike Mussina, 1995 Fleer Pro-Visions

Name: Mike Mussina
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Ace
Value of card: Three blood-stained feathers
Key 1994 stat: 12 drugs taken before painting a portrait
WARNING! A few warnings about this card:
  • WARNING: Lava in the shape of a stoned crow will threaten Mike Mussina.
  • WARNING: Skin will start to fall off all Orioles pitchers' arms.
  • WARNING: A sea of water and baseballs opens up below the pitcher's mound.
  • WARNING: An athletic pitcher will develop a massive beer gut in this illustration.
  • WARNING: Baseball field has morphed into a national park.
  • WARNING: Giant alien's leg has mysteriously entered the card.
  • WARNING: Stenciled street signs depict giant flaming baseballs hitting black-and-orange birds.



Mitch Williams, 1992 Score Select

Name: Mitch Williams
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Closer
Value of card: All the holes in that mesh jersey, combined
Key 1991 stat: Needed to work on his forkball grip
Mitch Williams' train of thought from 12:11 to 12:13 p.m., March 2, 1992: "God, how long is this photo shoot going to take? I've been staring at this baseball for, like, 20 minutes. At this point, I'm more intimate with it than I was with the last girl who got this grip. ... Ugh, why did I go with my tightest headband? The top of my head is numb, and I think the my upper ears are starting to chafe. ... Ah well, at least my hair looks good. No, wait. At least my hair looks great! It's pitched forward farther than I was the last time Kruk and I split a case of Schlitz. ... Thank Christ, he finally got the shot. Ah crap, I can't move my fingers!"


Bruce Hurst, 1987 Topps

Name: Bruce Hurst
Team: Boston Red Sox
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Frostbite
Key 1986 stat: NA
Here's what Bruce Hurst stands for:

Bundled up against the cold?
Right, Brucie, we all know you're just hiding a hickey
Unless that's your favorite blankey that your gam-gam made you
Cold weather never made Roger Clemens look like such a wuss
Eh, the steroids probably had something to do with that, though

Hmm, maybe that's some sort of knock-off ascot?
Unfashionable, but warm
Rookie hazing doesn't make people look this silly
Sure, we know it's chilly, but that doesn't change this fact:
Towels as scarves aren't nearly as fun as chicken and beer

Card suggested by Tyler Kepner


Michael Irvin, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 29)

Name: Michael Irvin
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Position: Wide receiver
Value of card: 11 pairs of used practice Spandex
Key 1990 stat: Zero milliseconds being humble
More than a staircase: Michael Irvin is one of the greatest wide receivers of the past 25 years, but he was known to have experienced drug addiction. He's now clean, and we would bet that's thanks to a 12-step program. We'd also bet it's no coincidence that Irvin was pictured on a set of steps in a card. So, because of the absurdity above, we here at The Bust devised Irvin's early 1990s 12-step program:

Step 1: Admitted he was powerless over posing for ridiculous football cards — that his life had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe a power greater than himself had restored him to fashion sanity.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn his will and his life over to the care of forgoing wristbands as he understood it.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of his closets.
Step 5: Admitted to God, himself and another human being (Emmitt Smith) the exact nature of his Spandex wrongs.
Step 6: Was entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of dressing himself.
Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove his short-shorts shortcomings.
Step 8: Made a list of all the people he had harmed, and became willing to provide his fake jewelry to them all.
Step 9: Made a direct amends to such people whenever possible, even if they had broke out into uncontrollable laughter upon seeing how he dressed.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, and when he was wrong, he promptly changed his clothes.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve his conscious contact with the Barney's saleswoman, praying only for knowledge of her will and the power to carry it out.
Step 12: Having had a fashion awakening as a result of these steps, he tried to carry the message to other early 1990s style addicts, and to practice the principles in all his affairs.

Jake Peavy, 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter's

Name: Jake Peavy
Team: Chicago White Sox
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: 15 little flags
Key 2010 stat: Not actually as chubby as he looks in this photo
Walking with legends: As noted above, Jake Peavy hails from Mobile, Ala. Here are some other notable folks from that city.
  • Some guy named Aaron, who never could outshine his big brother
  • Some guy named Holly, who was so hardcore he wore Spandex shorts
  • Some guy named Turnipseed, who has accomplished a lot despite being named Turnipseed
  • Some banker named Fail, who was too big to do so
  • Some guy named Guy, who was a guy on "Big Brother," guy
  • Some gal named Maybrick, who was the daughter of a baroness and later killed her husband ... wait, that's neither funny nor heroic. Sorry.



Yasiel Puig, 2013 Topps Update

Name: Yasiel Puig
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Outfield
Value of card: More than a Fernando Valenzuela rookie card
Key 2013 stat: One forgettable season-ending game
It's a current-events pop quiz: What's Yasiel Puig up to in this photo?

A) Stepping up his defense after last night's Game 6
B) Borrowing Mickey Hatcher's glove
C) Taking a break from flipping his bat
D) Not playing the game the right way      there's no way that's legal equipment
E) All of the above



Charles Assmann, 1998 Jogo CFL (Football Friday No. 176)

Name: Charles Assmann (despite what it says on the card)
Team: Edmonton Eskimos
Position: Linebacker
Value of card: Says "ASSMAN" on it, so there's that
Key 1998 stat: Jokes about his name still weren't old
Four things about this card:

1) Yes, it's real.
2) Charles Assmann was an actual football player who spelled his name with two n's. And, frankly, that's even funnier than the misprint on the card.
3) On its top-of-the-line website, Jogo proudly hails its status as the second-longest running North American sports card producer behind Topps      and, apparently, it has inherited some of Topps' quality control people, as well.
4) Hee hee, Assman.

Card submitted by Douglas Corti


Joey Hamilton, 1997 Fleer Ultra

Name: Joey Hamilton
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: Lice
Key 1996 stat: Second-grade reading level
Which Dr. Seuss book does Joey Hamilton think he's part of?

A) One Arm, Two Arm, Red Arm, Dead Arm
B) How the Grinch Stole Second
C) Oh, the Games You'll Lose
D) Hamilton Hears a "Boo"
E) The Prat in the Hat


Jose Canseco, 1991 Fleer Pro-Visions

Name: Jose Canseco
Team: Oakland A's
Position: Outfield
Value of card: A lump of ear wax
Key 1990 stat: Never actually struck by lightning
Fun facts about slugger Jose Canseco and lightning:
  • Lightning is seen as a bright flash, often coming down toward Earth. Canseco is neither bright nor down-to-earth.
  • Worldwide, lightning occurs about 40 to 50 times a second. Canseco turns the light switch on and off 40 to 50 times a minute for his own entertainment.
  • Fear of lightning is called "astraphobia." Change "tra" to "swipe" and you have the word for the fear of Jose Canseco.
  • Lightning strikes can cause, among other things, burns to humans. Jose Canseco has burned most of the people he's known.
  • Lightning creates ozone, which carries a distinct, metallic smell. Canseco also carries a distinct smell, similar to hair gel mixed with Chef Boyardee-brand ravioli.



Brian Jordan, 1998 Topps

Name: Brian Jordan
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Outfield
Value of card: One loss in fantasy football
Key 1997 stat: Many losses in fantasy football
We'll take a pass: Brian Jordan was a two-sport athlete for several years, playing defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons while climbing the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system. He even led the Falcons in tackles in 1991 and was a Pro Bowl alternate. But he signed a contract with the Cardinals in 1992 that required him  to quit football (except for ridiculous baseball card photo shoots, apparently). Here are a few of the Bust's other favorite two-sport stars.



Tim Salmon, 1995 Fleer Pro-Visions

Name: Tim Salmon
Team: California Angels
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Fish guts
Key 1994 stat: Zero eggs fertilized
It's time for another Wiki Entry: Salmon is the common name for several species of fish one player in the family Salmonidae Angels. Several other fish Another player in the same family are is called Trout; the difference is often said to be that Salmon migrate is retired and Trout are resident is a phenom, but this distinction does not strictly hold true did not help the Angels this past season. Salmon are intensively produced in aquaculture backseats of cars in many a few parts of the world. Typically, Salmon are anadromous injured: they are born in fresh water healthy, migrate to the ocean baseball, then return to fresh water to reproduce the hospital for surgery. Folklore has it that the fish Salmon returns to the exact spot where they were he was born to spawn; tracking studies have shown this to be true, and this homing behavior has been shown to depend on olfactory memory, which is pretty disgusting.



Tony Mandarich, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 28)

Name: Tony Mandarich
Team: Green Bay Packers
Position: Offensive (really offensive) tackle
Value of card: Two Gatorade bottles of sweat
Key 1990 stat: 2,984 hours worked as a packer (a UPS warehouse packer, post-NFL)
It's time for a bust-on-the-Bust pop quiz:

What's that tattoo on Mandarich's left arm?

(A) It's a dagger with a sweaty, sleeveless shirt wrapped around it.
(B) It's a sword with a ribbon cascading down, symbolizing the trajectory of a career that started when he was chosen No. 2 in a draft in which four of the first five picks were elected to the Hall of Fame.
(C) It's, ahem, a syringe symbolizing, well, you know, c'mon.
(D) It's a 1980s-era homage to Guns 'n Roses.
(E) All of the ... er, it's actually D. (He also had a dog named Axl, apparently.)


Brandon Phillips, 2009 Upper Deck Award Winners

Name: Brandon Phillips
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position: Second base
Value of card: One beaten-to-hell baseball glove, spray-painted gold
Key 2008 stat: Zero magic spells cast
Let's hand out some awards: As noted on this card, Brandon Phillips won a Gold Glove in 2008. Here are some other honors he's received.
  • National League All-Hula Team, 2008
  • Worst camouflage, Field and Stream magazine
  • Participation ribbon, 2008 Hamilton County Fair Pie Eating Contest
  • Elected vice president of the Greater Ohio Shiny Red Belt Society
  • Customer of the month, June 2008, Big Jim's Wristband Emporium



Joe Lavender, 1981 Topps (Football Friday No. 175)

Name: Joe Lavender
Team: Washington Redskins
Position: Cornerback
Value of card: If we told you, you'd be blue
Key 1980 stat: 28 times taking the field dressed like this
We heard it through the lavender vine: Man, Joe Lavender was a cool dude. Check out those glasses. And that headband. And that beard. But what you might not know — despite the radical blue microphone on this card — is that Joe Lavender was the lead singer of an early 1980s funk-soul group, The Head Band. All the members wore sunglasses and football jerseys and, of course, headbands. They were, so to speak, a colorful group. Put your hands together for the members of The Head Band:
  • Tony Turquoise
  • Ron Burgundy
  • Ferdinand Goldenrod
  • Penny Peach
  • Hugo Silver
  • Black Jack
  • George Washington Redskin



Cal Ripken Jr., 1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice

Name: Cal Ripken Jr.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Shortstop
Value of card: 3 cents a minute
Key 1993 stat: $14,921 monthly phone bill
10 things that Cal Ripken Jr. heard on the phone during this conversation:
10) "We've been talking for 30 seconds. Your arm must be getting tired."
9) "Cal, it's your brother Billy. I wrote something about you on my bat's knob."
8) "Hurry up and miss a game already; you're making everybody look bad."
7) "Please enter a credit card number for 15 more minutes of hot, steamy, unadulterated pillow talk."
6) "Did you buy the phone because it matches your hair color, which matches your cold, gray eyes?"
5) "Cal, it's me, Brian. You talk to Gary or Joe?"
4) "This is Mr. T, foo. Gimme back my necklace."
3) "Sir, is your refrigerator running?"
2) "When you're done with this call, just use the phone as a bat."
1) "Hey, Cal. You just answered the toaster."


George Brett and Gaylord Perry, 1984 Fleer Superstar Special

Names: George Brett and Gaylord Perry
Team: Kansas City Royals
Positions: Third base and old pitcher
Value of card: One pine tar-covered shaft
Key 1983 stat: One of them got really angry
What are George Brett and Gaylord Perry re-enacting?

A) George Brett's famous pine tar incident
B) The incident that earned Perry his first name
C) A scene from the film "Bi-Curious George"
D) A time when it was acceptable for grown men to wear baby blue from head to toe
E) All of the above


Brad Ausmus, 2006 Upper Deck

Name: Brad Ausmus
Team: Houston Astros
Positions: Catcher, movie star
Value of card: Two ripped-up ticket stubs
Key 2005 stat: One firm rejection from Universal Pictures
Dino D-N-nay: Unfulfilled by his life as a Major League Baseball player, Brad Ausmus in 2005 decided to move from behind the plate to behind the camera. A longtime fan of the "Jurassic Park" film series (yes, even the third one), Ausmus wrote, directed and starred in "Jurassic Park IV: Backstop's Bounty," in which his character heads to Isla Sorna in an attempt to round up and cage the free-roaming dinosaurs still living there. Unfortunately, the film ran into budget constraints after Ausmus signed over his entire year's salary to Sam Neill so that the franchise stalwart would make a cameo appearance. Without any money for special effects or CGI, Ausmus was forced to cast Rockies mascot Dinger and a transient in a stained Barney Halloween costume to chase him around various ballparks, and had to wear his catcher's gear whenever doing his own stunt work. The film, not surprisingly, was laughed out of town by every Hollywood studio, Ausmus' teammates, and his wife. Transient Barney died two years later.

Card submitted by Douglas Corti


Frank Thomas, 1993 Donruss Studio

Name: Frank Thomas
Teams: Chicago White Sox, Thunder From Down Under
Position: Half-dressed first baseman
Value of card: An ounce of baby oil
Key 1992 stat: 183 portrait photos of him not looking at the camera
Kids, avert your eyes: Frank Thomas was king of Chicago in the early 1990s, bashing home runs, stealing the hearts of women and even disarming explosives. But the Big Hurt had a secret: During the offseason, he worked as a, ahem, dancer just for the thrill of it. Working under the pseudonym Thomas Frank, the slugger would put on a mask and then proceed to take off everything else for the ladies (and gents) who ventured into a dark and seedy Chicago club called The City of Big Shoulders and Bigger Other Things. His secret got out in early 1993, though, and his teammates decided action must be taken. Ozzie Guillen, George Bell and Ron Karkovice barged into the club one night while Thomas was on stage. Guillen started cursing at the slugger while Bell slung the half-bare basher over his shoulder and carried him to the car. Karkovice, however, took a seat and stayed behind.


Vaughan Johnson, 1991 Pro Line Portraits (Shameful Sunday Portraits No. 27)

Name: Vaughan Johnson
Team: New Orleans Saints
Positions: Linebacker, perched on a jug
Value of card: 11 grains of powder Gatorade mix
Key 1990 stat: 126 inches of socks, combined
10 things that could be in that Gatorade jug:
10) Gatorade (the diet light purple kind that tastes like rust)
9) Lots of, um, stuff from "bathroom time" that's earmarked for Saints rookie hazing
8) 42 of fellow Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson's hats
7) Liquid the Saints would never get a chance to pour on coach Jim Mora in the playoffs
6) A shadow that looks like a schlong (oh, wait, that's outside the jug)
5) A scrunched-up Vaughn Dunbar, because he spells his first name wrong, sucka
4) 22 more pairs of short-shorts (he's wearing three more under the two you can see)
3) Powerade®: The complete sports drink for athletes everywhere
2) Sweat —gallons and gallons and gallons of it
1) Vaughan's johnson

Jay Buhner, 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase (V.J. Lovero Showcase Week No. 7)

Name: Jay Buhner
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Outfield
Value of card: One frightened child
Key 1995 stat: Chewed through 22 bats
Fun facts about Jay Buhner and the North American beaver:
  • The beaver has been extensively hunted for its fur. Buhner has extensively hunted for ways to grow hair.
  • The beaver can be regularly found at its home in various bodies of water. Buhner spends lots of time at various watering holes.
  • The beaver's young are primarily taken care of by their mother. Buhner's young, as seen above, is wishing desperately for his mother.
  • Female beavers are often larger than their male counterparts of the same age. Buhner also liked his women larger than him.
  • The beaver is known to eat the water lily, which bears a resemblance to a cabbage stalk. The last time Buhner ate cabbage, it was in sauerkraut and served on top of a 5-foot-long frankfurter at an eating competition.
  • When alarmed, the beaver will slap the surface of the water with its broad tail. Buhner has alarmed many broads by slapping them below the tailbone.



Randy Johnson, 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase (V.J. Lovero Showcase Week No. 6)

Name: Randy Johnson
Team: Seattle Mariners
Positions: Ace, drummer
Value of card: One dropped beat
Key 1995 stat: Looked ridiculous not once but twice on this card
Hit singles you may have heard from Randy Johnson and his Seattle grunge band, Mother Love Dome: 
  • "Man in the Batter's Box"
  • "Hunger Strike Three"
  • "No Rain Delay"
  • "Cherub Walk"
  • "Jeromy (Burnitz)"
  • "Black Home Run"
  • "Smells Like Team's Jock Straps"



Eric Karros and Mike Piazza, 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase (V.J. Lovero Showcase Week No. 5)

Names: Eric Karros, Tommy Lasorda and Mike Piazza
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Positions: First base, manager and catcher, respectively
Value of card: The jelly inside one of those donuts
Key 1995 stat: Two L.A. sleazebags living in one house
Conversation between Eric Karros and Mike Piazza around the time this photo was taken:
Mike Piazza: "Hey, Eric. You ever feel like someone is watching you?"
Eric Karros: "Hold on, sweetheart. ... What's that, Mike?"
MP: "I said, Do you ever feel like someone is watching you?"
EK: "Yeah, actually, sometimes I do." (hangs up phone)
MP: "It's weird, ya know. Like, I'm pouring this bowl of fake cereal and I feel like someone is judging me, saying I should be eating Wheaties or something."
EK: "I know what you mean. It's like someone is looking at me, telling me how I should do this, how I should do that."
MP: "It's crazy. It's like someone is saying, 'Hey, Mike, shave that stupid mustache and trim those tacky sideburns.'"
EK: "I can't get over this feeling that someone is managing my minutes. Like, 'Hey, Karros, you moron, hang up that 12-pound phone. It costs $4.50 a minute.'"
MP: "Yeah, 'manage.' That's the right word. I feel like someone, I don't know who, is managing my every move, even here at our perfectly arranged pseudo-breakfast table."
EK: "I feel like someone is telling me to wipe my greasy hair with a towel. Weird."
MP: "Weird for sure. ... Hey, wait a sec. Who ate all those donuts? They disappeared."
EK: "I don't know, Mike. I don't know."


Roger Clemens, 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase (V.J. Lovero Showcase Week No. 4)

Name: Roger Clemens
Team: Boston Red Sox
Position: Ace
Value of card: 11 teeth broken with a hammer
Key 1995 stat: 54 threats to photographer demanding this card be ripped to shreds
10 reasons Roger Clemens is a jerk:
10) Just look at this guy.
9) He worked at a soda stand.
8) He's not; the turtleneck is squeezing his neck so tight it's just making him look like one.
7) He ate the photographer shortly after this picture was taken.
6) He looked at your sister that way.
5) Ask Mike Piazza.
4) He stole that turtleneck from Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn.
3) He strangled that poor ball to death.
2) He chewed out his dentist — with his teeth!
1) He was asked to smile politely before this photo was taken.


Will Clark and Mark McGwire, 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Shwocase (V.J. Lovero Showcase Week No. 3)

Names: Will Clark and Mark McGwire
Teams: San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's, respectively
Positions: First base, squared
Value of card: 2 ounces of plaque
Key 1995 stat: Zero Battles of the Bay
It's time for a Bay Area-themed edition of The Matchup:

Round 1: Giant bulge (Winner: Clark)
Round 2: Giant gums (Winner: McGwire)
Round 3: Giant (Winner: Clark)
Round 4: Busting out of his belt (Winner: Clark)
Round 5: Busting veins out of his skin (Winner: McGwire)
Round 6: Need for a dentist visit (Winner: Tie)
Round 7: Lovers lost in the clouds (Winner: Tie)

Score: Clark 3, McGwire 2, Ties 2

Synopsis: No earthquakes broke up this Battle of the Bay, but, in the end, the two participants shook off society's conventions, embraced each other with their heads in the clouds and didn't let The Thrill's win come between them.


Tony Gwynn, 1996 Upper Deck (V.J. Lovero Showcase Week No. 2)

Name: Tony Gwynn
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Half off tuition at Lasorda University (Actual value: $0)
Key 1995 stat: One grading scandal
Pencils out, it's time for an educational pop quiz: What collegiate class did Tony Gwynn teach?

A) Religion and Art 212
B) Sewing Cargo Pockets onto Jeans 302 (Lab)
C) Chili Dog Consumption 440 (Colloquium)
D) Collar Popping in Modern America 110
E) None of the above, though he did school a few pitchers in his day