Friday, June 3, 2011

Card Spotlight: 6-3-11

1987 Baseball's All-Time Greats - Jim Kaat

I first encountered these cards in a baseball kit that I bought through my elementary school. The kit had a bunch of these green cards and a few tobacco reprint cards. It was a good way to further my knowledge of baseball cards.

These came at a time before the internet was part of our daily lives. My only experience at a computer was playing Oregon Trail on an Apple II. We had to carefully insert a gigantic soft floppy disc in order to play it. Interestingly enough, my first knowledge of the internet would be through the Atari 2600. My parents wouldn't allow me to play video games over the phone line, but that company would eventually morph into AOL, which ironically would tie up my phone line nearly fifteen years later, primarily with games. Ahh, the circle of life.

I saw this photo as an adolescent and had no idea that this was a White Sox uniform. The hat logo was cropped out and the uniform was wrinkled enough to obscure the lettering. The powder blues went out of style right around the time I was born. I was familiar with the collared pajama tops of the late seventies, the fan designed uniforms of the mid-eighties, and the cursive C uniforms of the late eighties. I was even familiar with the 1959 uniforms, because that was the most successful Chicago baseball team for most people's lives, at that point. My parents weren't born until after the Cubs last World Series appearance against the Tigers, but they were certainly both alive when the White Sox went to the World Series against the Dodgers.

I saw the red on the uniform and assumed it was a Twins jersey, since Jim Kaat had been with them the longest and all the highlights on the back mentioned Minnesota. All I really knew was that the uniform wasn't part of his New York stint. As I explored the history of the White Sox more, the uniform slapped me in the face. It could only be the powder blues of the seventies White Sox teams.

These cards were a great history lesson for any kids lucky enough to spend their allowance on school functioned shopping days. They really don't make them like this anymore. Today, it seems that every player or player's estate want a piece of the action for using that player's likeness. Every team seems to want money for use of their logos and color scheme. While it is in their rights to pursue things like this, it actually detracts from teaching kids the history of the game. I went into baseball with wide eyes as a child. I'm not sure if that would be the case if I were an impressionable kid today. This card reminds me of simpler times in collecting and that's something I will always remember fondly.

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