Tom Seaver – 1987 Topps

February 25, 2011

This Just Doesn’t Look Right

First, props to Nachos Grande (one for me, please, with taco meat) for helping me almost complete my 2010 A & G set of base cards and got me within double digits of 1991 Topps.

And mad, bad, and dangerous to know props to Cards On Cards for a big ol’ box helping me hugely on several sets, completing one for me (1990 Fleer) and jump starting me on three sets that I’m about ready to roll out on my want list page (as soon as I consolidate my holdings, as it were). My want list is updated for the damage he did on my spreadsheets.

So now on to the main feature…

I’ve noticed since I’ve gotten back into collecting (one year this coming May) that I have forgotten where some players wound up in their career. I mentioned Vince Coleman as one example, since I totally whiffed on his time with the Mariners even though he was on the 1995 team that beat the Yankees in the ALDS.

Icons, though, like Tom Seaver, seeing him in a uniform other than the Mets or the Reds is weird (and even the Reds is a bit odd because Seaver is so identified with the Mets).

Just something is just jarring about it – seeing a player like Seaver in irregular colors.

This is why we have cardboard like this, though, to provide a lasting document of the game and the players’ movements within the game.

There has been some talk on other blogs around regarding players changing teams. My thoughts are these:

1. People remember the stars like Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle all staying in one place. But the non-star regulars weren’t really afforded the luxury.

2. Teams on good financial footing throughout history kept their stars. But teams like the Browns, Senators, Phillies and A’s had a revolving door. It was all about the $$ even then.

3. Don’t be fooled by the ‘old fogeyism’ where today’s players were ‘all about the money’ and ‘we would play the game for free’. I read something in a historical tome where they documented such talk in the 1860’s! The 1860’s!! And each generation of players after that thought they were the ‘glory days’ and the current players are just greedy bastards.

4. Also don’t be fooled about the ‘loyalty’ card thrown out there by players of the past. It was known that before the reserve clause, players went where they got paid. The reserve clause was put in place to control salaries. So don’t give me that bullpuckey about the loyalty of players. If the reserve clause wasn’t in play – they’d be all playing for the next contract for the highest bidder.

5. Some players are loyal, yes. But loyalty has a price. Joe Mauer wanted to stay with the Twins, but if they didn’t give him a good contract he wouldn’t be up here.

6. And while it may be easier not to have to remember a new second baseman every year or two, if that second baseman is sub-standard then fans would be complaining about not doing anything to become competitive.

So yeah, Seaver looks weird as a Red Sox pitcher. But Harmon Killebrew looked very strange in Royals blue, and Ty Cobb looked very odd in the whites of the Philadelphia A’s.

And if anyone has an old shot of Honus Wagner as a Louisville Colonel, then that would be the oddest of them all.


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