Sunday, April 28, 2024

This Is 40

In my previous post, I mentioned the occasion of reaching my 10th blog anniversary. What I didn't point out is that I had not quite turned thirty when I clicked "Publish" for the very first time. A glance at the yearly archives list and a simple bit of math will lead you to the conclusion that I recently hit the big 4-0.

Another trip around the sun means my mom checked my Eight Men Out list again, and a few more cards found their way to me.

1996 Zenith Mozaics #12 AndréGalarraga / Dante Bichette / Larry Walker

Leading off today is a shiny (Dufex, in fact) card of a trio of Blake Street Bombers. Arranged in a vaguely stained-glass collage style, the 25-card Mozaics insert set from 1996 Zenith combined three teammates per card. Featured for the Rockies, and referred to only by first name on the card back, were Andrés Galarraga, Dante Bichette, and Larry Walker. I'm pretty sure that's Eric Young, Sr. making a cameo in the Galarraga frame, and the design is embellished with a few assorted baseball equipment items, and lots and lots of gold capital letters.

It's a busy card. It looks like the smallest-ever scrapbook page. Note that "Mozaics" is deliberately misspelled with a "z" for "Zenith", because we did things like that in the '90s.

I'm not sure where I first saw this set. It might have been on one of Nachos Grande's group breaks, which is my primary connection to the hobby these days. But I knew it would be a great collectible right from the jump. (Update: it was this post from Mario.)

1994 Topps Gold #396 Jeff Bronkey

Continuing my ongoing quest to complete the Topps Gold checklist replacement cards printed from 1992-1994, here's the third such card to enter my collection from the 1994 Gold set. It features the only MLB player born in Afghanistan, Jeff Bronkey. This fact was mentioned on the card back, and remains true today. He briefly played in three seasons for the Rangers and Brewers, earning two saves in his short career.

Topps managed to shrink the typeface enough in 1994 to get the checklists onto only two cards per series, down from three each series in 1993. That means I only need one more to complete the 1994 run of these rarely-seen parallels.

2020 Topps National Baseball Card Day #10 Nolan Arenado

As the seasons continue on, the memory of Nolan Arenado as a Rockie feels more and more distant. While his time in St. Louis hasn't been as strong as hoped, his absence from 20th and Blake is striking. 

Occupying the same #10 in the checklist as he did in 2019, this card celebrating National Baseball Card Day 2020 featured Nolan and his fifth straight season with 35 home runs and 110 RBIs. That sustained performance was an "unprecedented" feat for a third baseman, a word that got far too much usage in 2020.

Though it's a 2020 card, the photo itself dates from 2019, as we can tell from two pieces of evidence. First, the MLB 150 patch on Arenado's right sleeve, worn league-wide throughout the 2019 season. Second, actual fans are in the seats.

Of the three cards Mom gave me for my birthday, this one was all her doing, and she picked well. She always does.

1984 Topps #750 Jim Palmer (AU)

The birthday festivities don't end there, though.

My new father-in-law is another guy I can count on, as he's been giving me autographs for years. My in-laws took us out to lunch at a nearby pizza spot, and there he added to my collection with this autograph of Jim Palmer on a 1984 Topps card. The card itself is a new addition, as is Palmer's autograph to my much more limited autograph collection. 

I always like how Hall of Famers sign with their year of induction, in Palmer's case 1990. He and Joe Morgan were the two inductees that year, both on their first ballot.

In 1984, Palmer was fresh off his third and final World Series championship, appearing in a few games before seeing his long and storied career reach an end. No one printed a card for him in 1985, so this is the closest he came to getting a true sunset card.

2024 Topps NOW #39 Ryan McMahon /888

My birthday doesn't quite stretch out to Opening Day, but spring training is always well underway by the time I blow out the candles. It's a fun time of year. Only a few weeks later, we were together again at the Rockies home opener, thanks to his longtime coworker Dianna.

It's a fun tradition, especially when the beers are flowing long before first pitch. And despite an extremely disappointing top of the 9th, I was there to see Ryan McMahon win it for the Rockies with a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of that same frame, and 888 buyers, myself included, decided they wanted to see this moment on a Topps Now baseball card.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the card back doesn't have a paragraph, just a photo of Charlie Blackmon pouring out the sports drink cooler all over McMahon. RyMac, as he's known, has been one of the few bright spots of what has thus far been a pretty dismal Rockies season.

In the past decade, while there have been tears, loss, frustration, and grief, more often than not I've been the beneficiary of great strokes of luck and good fortune, and this little baseball card blog is just the tiniest part of it. My collection has grown, yes, but my life has grown in immeasurable ways. The simple fact that people in my life continue to show their appreciation in ways ranging from these little rectangular pieces of cardboard to acts of unforgettable generosity must mean that I've been doing something right these past 40 years.



  1. Happy blogversary and birthday!!

    Now I need to hunt down some of those mosaics!

  2. Happy belated birthday, Adam!

  3. Wow 10 yrs and I'm just finding your blog now. Happy birthday!

  4. Happy belated! Hope you enjoyed your 30s and have an even better 40s!

  5. Wishing you a (belated) happy 40 & ten-year blogoversary, my friend! Hadn't seen what 2024 Topps Now looked like before this post.