Monday, April 12, 2010
1981 Donruss, Willie Aikens
#220 Willie Aikens
I know that I was supposed to start my 2002 cards today, but I had another SASE stuffed into my mailbox today. So, here is Willie Mays Aikens.
Aikens had a an eight year Major League career and he played for the Angels, Royals, and Blue Jays. He hit over 20 home runs three times and had a career high of 98 RBI in 1980, his first season in Kansas City. His claim to fame is being the first player to have two two-homer games in a World Series when he accomplished the feat during the 1980 Series. He was the only person to ever do that until Chase Utley duplicated the feat last year. I guess that having two multi-homer games in the World Series is a good way to lose since both the 1980 Royals and 2009 Phillies lost.
Unfortunately, Willie is probably more famous for his off the field issues than what he did on the field. In 1983, he was one of four Royals that were suspended (and then un-suspended) for attempting to purchase cocaine. Then, in 1994, he was sentenced to prison for over 20 years for selling an undercover police officer 50 grams of crack. He got released in the spring of 2008.
Shortly after his release, I saw Willie at a Royals game. The Rockies were in town and this guy came over by the dugout where I was getting cards signed. He was talking to Jamie Quirk and Clint Hurdle, both former Royals. I had no idea who he was until that fall when the Kansas City Star ran an article on him. Luckily, they had a picture of him or else I would never had known who I had seen.
It seems like the Royals and the community have taken Willie back. He was even on the field for Opening Day in Kansas City. I hope that continues and that Willie can get his life back on track.
I sent Willie two cards and he signed them both for me. This card would probably look better with a black Sharpie, but beggars can't be choosers. Unfortunately, both cards came back with creasing starting in the middle of the bottom edge extending more than half way up the left edge.
I'll post the second Aikens card tomorrow and I might start my 2002s tomorrow night, as well. Also, like Bill Virdon, Willie added his return address to the envelope.
It took ten days to get the cards back.
'81 Donruss Tracker: 59/100