You know it's a great day when an 800-count box arrives at your doorstep and you can't remember buying anything that large. That day happened recently when Eric from Minnesota felt the peer pressure that all of the cool kids were putting on him and traded me anything. Sure beats the heck out of smoking squares beneath the bleachers during football practice.
Giving: 2008 Topps U&H #UH71 Mariano Rivera Gold Foil Parallel
Getting: While it's impossible for me to show everything that came in the behemoth (shown above), I instead picked out my ten favorite cards from the box. All 700-plus cards are Brewers, with production dates falling anywhere in between 1978 and the present. In no particular order...
1. 2008 Topps Chrome Refractor #120 Prince Fielder (I have the feeling that I'll be collecting this set for the rest of my natural life.)
2. 1991 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes #25 Hank Aaron 1976: 755! (The back of this card has a well-told account of Aaron final home run, hit as a Milwaukee Brewer. Fans outside of Milwaukee may not know this, but the place where Aaron's 755th HR landed is specially marked in the parking lot outside of Miller Park, whose present location is the former centerfield parking lot of County Stadium.)
3. 1989 Upper Deck #788 La Vel Freeman (La Vel Maurice Freeman played a grand total of two Major League Baseball games in his career, got three at bats, striking out twice. However, he scored a run without walking and without getting hit by a pitch, which leads me to believe he grounded into a fielder's choice and scored later in the inning. That's his career. What's great about this is that it was enough to land him a card in one of the landmark sets of collecting history. He's got a card while many thousands of fresh-faced hopefuls with shattered dreams do not.) Note: As far as I can tell, his only other MLB card is a 1989 Topps Debut card.
4. 1993 Fleer Ultra #224 B.J. Surhoff (Favre looks right, calls an audible...there's a man in motion, the snap...looks like a blitz in on, Favre pump fakes, rolls right, he's under heavy pressure but finds Surhoff in the flat! Surhoff avoids two tacklers at the forty, spins and hurdles a linebacker, there's plenty of daylight in front of him now...just one man to beat, he's heading for the corner of the end zone, at the 20, 15, 10, 5...TOUCHDOWN!)
5. 1993 Score Select #87 Kevin Seitzer (More bomb-diggity photography makes this card an easy choice. On the front you've got Kevin hitting the deck after an inside pitch. I remember Seitzer being the victim of a gruesome ball-to-face injury during his Milwaukee days at a game I attended. I experienced a brief thrill thinking I might have been at the game from which this photo was taken, but a little research proved otherwise, the photo being taken two years before the event. Let me share an excerpt from Tim Kurkjan's book, Is This a Great Game, or What?:
In 1994, Seitzer was hit in the cheekbone by Melido Perez. Four bones in his face were broken, and he spent the night in the hospital. He wanted to play the next day - the next day! - but Brewers manager Phil Garner said no. The doctors warned him if he got hit in the same place, "My eyeball could drop into my cheek." ... "In the on-deck circle before my first at-bat, I've never been so scared. But when I got to the plate, I felt bulletproof, invincible. I felt I could straddle the plate. I walked on four pitches. I was pissed. I really wanted to hit."
That's true superhero talk there.
The book goes on to describe how Seitzer got hit in the face again in 1995, this time by Scott Erickson:
"That one hurt 10,000 time more than the first one. It was like my face was crushed by a bowling ball, a bowling ball going 90 mph."
Amazingly, Seitzer played two days later and went 11 for 19 in the next few games.
On the back of his card, he's jumping very high.
6. 2008 Upper Deck X #56 Ryan Braun (Ryan is shown having no reaction to being "X'd" on the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, just like every other person who was a victim of a prank on that show, confused because they have no idea who Jamie Kennedy is and why he would be pranking them.)
7. 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces #47 Prince Fielder (His first inside-the-park home run. Can he make it three years in a row in 2009?)
8. 2006 Bowman Heritage #36 Rickie Weeks (Great picture, interesting background color, somehow it all works.)
9. 2008 Allen & Ginter Mini #57 Ben Sheets (The horizontal cards from this set are always cool.)
10. (tie) 1990 CMC #9 Joe Redfield, 1990 Best Cards #271 Leon Glenn, and 1991 Impel #181 Craig Faulkner (Of the three, only Redfield got to the majors, playing in one game with the Angels in 1988 and eleven with the Pirates in 1991, earning a career batting average of .100.)
Sorry I can't report on more of these cards, but I'd like to display all of the cards in a creative fashion. So for all of you math nerds out there...