Friday, December 12, 2008

1991 Classic/Best, Damion Easley

#121 Damion Easely

I got this card signed through the mail in either 1992 or 1993. That was the cool thing about minor league cards back then. First, remember that this was the time before the internet and before Topps started putting out First Year Cards. So, what I would do was watch the transactions in the newspaper when I could. Most of the big name players wouldn't sign through the mail and it was damn near impossible to find addresses to all of the minor league teams back then. So, this was the next logical step- buy minor league cards and wait. Then when that player gets called up, you could send them a card to sign that week and maybe beat the rush. This is how I got this card signed. Sure, he wasn't the next Ernie Banks or Cal Ripken Jr., but, he deffinitley lasted much longer than most people thought that he would.

I forgot all about Easley after his 2002 season. Four years after hitting 27 home runs, he only hit 8 in '02 to go along with a .224 average. Then I saw him in 2004 pinch hitting for the Marlins against the Braves and thought "he still plays?". Then I saw him pinch hit this past season for the Mets in Denver and again thought "wow, he still plays?"

For his career, he seems to have been one of the longer lasting super-utility players. He was a full-timer for four seasons in Detroit, but since then, he has seemed to adapt to any roll that would keep him in the Big Leagues. Throughout his career, he has played every position except pitcher and catcher. This past season with the Mets, he started at second base 60 times. It takes a certain type of player to go from part time player (at the age of 38) to starting everyday to fill in for injuries. Plus, overall, he hit .269 this past season. I guess what I am trying to say is that this card means much more to me now than it did in 1992 (or 1999).

Also, I have a couple of thanks to put out tonight. The first one goes to Mark at Stats On the Back. He was threatening to throw away a bunch of cards, but luckily I was able to save about 300 Royals cards (maybe more). I got tons of cards of many Royal greats, including Bo Jackson, Willie Wilson, Frank White, Dan Quisenberry, Dick Howser, Amos Otis, Kevin Appier, Wally Joyner, Joe Randa, Kevin Seitzer, Brian and Hal McRea, Dennis Leaonard and Tom Gordon. He even included some Brett's and a 1987 Donruss Bo Jackson rookie. If you have never been there, this might be a good time to check it out. You might even be able to save some cards from eventual destruction.

The second thanks goes out to Dave at Goose Joak for linking to this blog. If you have never been to his site, you should check it out as well. He makes his own original cards that usually consist of current players on older style cards and occaisonally older players on current cards. His latest concoction is of Carlos Pena on a 1990 Fleer Soaring Stars insert that he found here. This is the first card that he has ever done of a card style that he has neve seen in person and he did a Hell of a job.


Dave said...

Awesome commentary on Damion Easley. Realizing that he was still kicking around the Majors is surprising to me too.

The Mets kind of had that going for them in 2008, with both Easley and Tatis (and to a lesser extent Moises Alou, who we all know still plays, but has been seemingly been around forever).

Another thing that struck me about your post was the card itself. In the picture, Easley has a very young looking face. But I seem to recall from 2008 that it really hasn't changed much -- he still has a young looking face! Which makes it all the more weird to see him still playing. And like you said, to still put up respectable stats -- is as if he were stuck in a time capsule or something.

Thanks for the nice words and link to Goose Joak as well. I really enjoy your blog and have found that along with Card Junkie and Fantasy Baseball 365, it's probably on the short list of my favorite blogs. I have probably said this but I marvel at the way you put stories to these cards, such as how you got the autograph or how your appreciation of the cards has increased or lessened over time. It adds a lot of character to the cards, and it makes your collection really come to life.

Here's hoping you have thousands more cards to go! (please don't stop anytime soon!)

zman40 said...

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad that somebody enjoys this blog. You should email me some time. I'd like to get up to Lincoln this summer and check out Haymarket Park. Maybe we could meet up.

As for Easley, maybe he is the next Julio Franco.

Dave said...

That'd be awesome. Have you ever been here? It's a pretty nice park. The Saltdogs games (and Husker games) are fun but are very promotion intensive between innings, so it can wear on me. But I guess that's Minor League Baseball (or baseball in general these days). On that note, I was really disappointed by the new Busch Stadium. I went in July of last year. We had seats on the third base side, up a ways but not quite nosebleed. For some unthinkable reason we weren't even faced towards home plate, and all my eyes could focus on was a stupid text messaging scrawl that people could write into for $3.95 or something. ARGH! "dani thx for the tix :)" "pujols4mvp" "happy birthday justin" ...over and over and over.

And I just wanted to watch some baseball!

On that note, I have never been to Wrigley, but I hear they don't really bombard you with advertising or music between innings. If that is really true then I have to go there before I die, or before they change it.

Also I don't think I'm the only one who enjoys your blog! Can't be. I get lots of foot traffic from you, probably more than I get total from everywhere else combined!

zman40 said...

No, I have never been to Haymarket. I usually spend a lot of time during the summer visiting various parks that I haven't been to. So far, I've been to games in 55 different parks, and Haymarket is the closest park that I haven't been to. As for the advertising, that is pretty much the norm any more. Grand Prairie was one exceptiont to that, though.

I went to Busch in '07 and I thought it was alright. It wasn't anything special, but I enjoyed it. I sat in left field, so facing the plate wasn't an issue. I didn't even notice the baord that you were talking about. As for Wrigley, it is a must! I've been there three times and cannot get enough of it. It's just a great place to see a game.

I'm glad that I could send some people your way. I'm looking forward to seeing the reader request cards.