I'm 'usually' fairly okay with keeping up with thank-you posts to fellow trading partners out there. I didn't say timely mind you... I said "keeping up with", meaning I'm good about not missing any and staying in relative order. I try my best to say more than, "here's the cards I got! Thanks!"
Well, this particular package from John over at Johnny's Trading Spot has been sitting on my scanner bed since November because my brain wasn't being creative. Don't get me wrong, the package had plenty of goodies that fit into my collection!
One of the first black bordered minis to hit my frankenset...
...and plenty of fun Braves cards, but I was struggling to come up with more than "YAY! CARDZ! The End."
The other day I sat down and rifled through the package again to try and spark an idea, and I saw this card.
A card I had already owned so I initially glossed over it as being part of the trade package and didn't even bother to scan it. Clearly, its scanned now, and that's because there's a story behind this card.
My dad comes from a family of five children (all boys), all of which played baseball constantly. Naturally, they had baseball cards, but the vast majority ended up with not my father. I have no idea how old I was (probably 6 or 7?) when my dad gave me what was left of his baseball collection.
It was a small cardboard box of not a whole lot of cards (at least by today's standards)... maybe 200-400? A hog-podge of assorted singles from the mid-80's to early 90's. I got the impression that he simply picked up a random pack every year or so, looked at them and then tossed them into this box.
The above card was included in that box I received and it instantly became my favorite card. I was a burgeoning Little League pitcher who had just won my town's award for 'Most Accurate Pitcher' (yes, I still have the trophy), and these guys were my idols. At the time, I simply knew that they were good pitchers and they all played for my favorite team. Looking back now makes me realize how dominant they really were as a unit.
NL Cy Young Winner
1993 - Maddux
1994 - Maddux
1995 - Maddux
1996 - Smoltz
1997 - Pedro
1998 - Glavine
That's skipping Maddux's '92 CY with the gross Cubbies as well.
By far my favorite player coming out of that group of four was John Smoltz. I've mentioned my fandom of his before, and a lot of it has to do with that fact that he played longer than Maddux, and didn't go over to the Mets like Glavine, but he also had the spirit of a competitor hard-wired into him...and it showed.
World Magazine did an article on Smoltz, focusing on his time of baseball inactivity (2000-2001) and what he did to help his kids and a school board survive turmoil and power struggles. It also touches on the Smoltz contract offer from the evil empire (NYY) and how he declined it in order to stay in Atlanta.
To this day, Smoltzy remains one of the baseball players I respect the most, simply for his attitude towards the game, and his clear respect for other. The fact that he's now a baseball broadcasting mainstay just puts icing on the cake.
John hooked me up with plenty of the Smoltzy's and I appreciate all of them. Yes, even the ugly orange border ones too. Thanks John!