Friday, April 24, 2009

Card Spotlight: 4-24-09

1996 Upper Deck #490U - Harold Baines

What better way to finish up this green week by displaying a White Sox favorite in a green uniform. Originally, these green uniforms were only worn in Spring Training on St. Patrick's Day. More recently, the White Sox marketing department created a promotion called "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day" that is celebrated in September.

I found out something really important with this card. 1996 Upper Deck scans horribly! It looks passable as a smaller picture, but the initial scan had me cringing. It's the foil.

This card signifies Harold's first homecoming. He was traded in 1989 to Texas. He bounced over to Oakland, then settled near his home with the Orioles. Even when Harold was away, I have never heard any booing towards him when he came to Chicago with the visiting team.

Harold had an unheard of luxury in Chicago. He could do anything as a member of the opposing team and he would get thunderous applause. He could homer against the White Sox and still get a standing ovation. The White Sox and their fans appreciated his accomplishments for the team. It didn't matter who he played for, the fans still loved him.

Harold's number has been retired by the White Sox since 1989. He last played in 2001. That shows how much he was loved in this town, even though he rarely spoke up for himself. Sure, the initial trade of Harold brought infinity master, Wilson Alvarez and strikeout king, Sammy Sosa. It also brought Chicago mainstay, Scott Fletcher back to the South Side.

That admiration and pure love for Harold, by the fans, was something that I've never witnessed before and I doubt I'll see it again. The only player that I would have predicted to pull off such a feat in Chicago would be Frank Thomas. The fans even turned on the Big Hurt. They never turned on Harold.

Gordon Beckham may not have known who Harold was, when he joined the team for Spring Training this year, but anyone who was a fan of the White Sox in the eighties surely knows who Harold is. The last three decades have been dominated by Harold Baines. First as an outfielder. Then as a visitor. Then as a premier DH. Finally, as a coach. The team will continue to be shaped with Harold's help for the foreseeable future.

I'm happy that there is at least one card out there that captures Harold in the green uniform, while he was a player. My favorite team, one of my favorite players and my favorite color all combine to make me smile.


Johngy said...

I don't remember Baines in the greenies. Thanks for the history lesson.

Matthew Glidden said...

Nice outfit on Mr. Baines. It's a good visual tonic for the way-too-bright red unis the Red Sox sported tonight against the Yankees. I think they used up all the red toner in my TV.

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