Monday, February 28, 2022

Team MVPs

This is the 50th post here at The 1993 and likely the last. It has been fun looking back at a transitional year in my adolescence but I'm starting a new job this week and I won't have much time for one blog, let alone two. This particular post has been sitting in my drafts folder since I received my order from nearly two months ago.

The plan was to publish it the week before the Super Bowl, then maybe the weekend of the Super Bowl. The fact that it's taken so long to complete has led me to question the viability of this blog.

I've got other topics to discuss if time allows, and I haven't decided if I will start another blog or post everything at The Collector. Until then, let's take one more trip back in time...

This Team MVP insert from 1993 Upper Deck was one of a handful of 1993-adjacent inserts I found on the site. It's tough to find inserts for a nickel, unless they're non-stars like Neal Anderson here. This is card #1 in the set; the cards are alphabetical by team name (not city name.)

Upper Deck chose these players based on their performance during the 1992 NFL season:

Bears - RB Neal Anderson
4-time Pro Bowler had 582 rushing yards, 5 TDs in '92.
Bengals - RB Harold Green 8th in the NFL with 1,170 rushing yards, made Pro Bowl.
Bills - RB Thurman Thomas HOFer was 3rd in NFL with 1,487 rush yards, 4.8 yards per carry.
Broncos - QB John Elway '92 was a lousy year for Elway; All-Pro Steve Atwater should have been picked.
Browns - RB Eric Metcalf Receiver/returner was 9th in NFL with 1,501 all-purpose yards.
Buccaneers - RB Reggie Cobb Tied for 5th in NFL with 9 rush TDs, 7th with 1,171 yards.
Cardinals - RB/KR Johnny Bailey Special teams Pro Bowler, led NFL in yards per punt return.
Chargers - LB Junior Seau HOFer anchored NFL's 4th-ranked defense in '92, named All-Pro.
Chiefs - LB Derrick Thomas Led NFL with 8 forced fumbles, tied for 6th with 14.5 sacks.
Colts - DL Steve Emtman Upper Deck must have added '92 top pick to this set based on potential.
Cowboys - QB Troy Aikman Ranked 3rd in NFL with 23 pass TDs, 89.5 rating. But Emmitt Smith led the NFL in rushing yards, rushing yards per game, and total TDs. Tough call here.

Dolphins - QB Dan Marino Led NFL in passing yards, attempts, and completions. 2nd in TD passes.
Eagles - DE Clyde Simmons 2-time All-Pro (in 1991 and 1992) led NFL with 19 sacks.
Falcons - WR Andre Rison NFL's 2nd-leading receiver in '92 had 11 TD catches, 1,119 yards.
49ers - QB Steve Young NFL MVP in 1992 led league in passer rating, TD passes, overall value.
Giants - RB Rodney Hampton 2nd in NFL with 14 rushing touchdowns, 3rd in total TDs.
Jets - WR Rob Moore Team's leader in receiving yards with 726. LB Mo Lewis would have been a better choice.
Lions - RB Barry Sanders Finished 4th in NFL with 1,352 yards despite a career-low average per carry (4.3).
Oilers - QB Warren Moon '92 was not a good year for the HOFer though his 89.3 passer rating was 4th in NFL. Lorenzo White and Ray Childress deserve a mention here.
Packers - WR Sterling Sharpe All-Pro led NFL with 108 catches, 1,461 receiving yards, 13 TD grabs.
Patriots - RB Jon Vaughn Former Michigan star has recently spoken out about a long history of abusive conduct by the school's former athletic doctor.

Raiders - WR Tim Brown Hadn't yet reached his HOF peak in '92, though his 7 TDs led the team.
Rams - QB Jim Everett Top-5 passer in completions, attempts, TDs. 6th in yards with 3,323.
Reskins - WR Gary Clark Was Upper Deck avoiding defensive stars? LB Wilber Marshall was named All-Pro. Clark finished 13th in the NFL with 912 receiving yards.
Saints - DE Wayne Martin 15.5 sacks for the NFL's #1-ranked defense got Upper Deck's attention.
Seahawks - DT Cortez Kennedy Defensive player of the year forced four fumbles and recorded 14 sacks.
Steelers - RB Barry Foster All-Pro led league with 390 carries and finished second in NFL MVP voting after a tremendous breakout year (1,690 yards, 11 TDs)
Vikings - RB Terry Allen 3rd in NFL with 13 TDs, 6th with 1,201 rushing yards. Didn't make Pro Bowl.

But what about the 1993 Team MVPs? Upper Deck didn't make MVP inserts in their 1994 football set (in fact there were only three insert sets in 1994 Upper Deck vs. six in the '93 set) so I'll list my picks here:

Bears - DE Richard Dent Hall of Famer had 12.5 sacks in 1993, made his fourth Pro Bowl.
Bengals - WR Carl Pickens Caught 43 passes for 565 yards, 6 TDs in his second season.
Bills - DE Bruce Smith All-Pro was second in NFL with 14 sacks in 1993.
Broncos - QB John Elway Bounced back in '93, leading the league in passing yards (4,030).
Browns - RB Eric Metcalf Led league with 1,932 all-purpose yards, earning All-Pro honors.
Buccaneers - LB Hardy Nickerson NFL's leading tackler in '93 earned his first All-Pro nod in his first season with Tampa.
Cardinals - RB Ronald Moore Rushed for 1,018 yards, 9 TD's as a rookie in 1993.
Chargers - LB Junior Seau Team leader in approximate value for nine consecutive seasons. 
Chiefs - DE Neil Smith Topped the NFL with 15 sacks, earning the only All-Pro selection of his Hall of Fame career.

Colts - KR Clarence Verdin Led league with 1,050 kick return yards. Not much else to choose from.
Cowboys - RB Emmitt Smith MVP of the entire NFL should probably be MVP of his own team, wouldn't you say?
Dolphins - LB Bryan Cox Led team with 122 tackles, 4 forced fumbles. Pro Bowler in '92, '94, '95.
Eagles - CB Eric Allen Pro Bowler led league with four pick-sixes (before that was a 'thing').
Falcons - CB Deion Sanders All-Pro in his final year with the Falcons, 7 INTs tied for fourth in NFL.
49ers - WR Jerry Rice NFL's leader in receiving yards (1,503) co-leader in TD catches (15).
Giants - RB Rodney Hampton 7th-leading rusher in 1993 (1,077 yards), earned second Pro Bowl nod.
Jets - RB Johnny Johnson Led Jets in rushing yards and receptions. 1,492 scrimmage yards ranked 6th in NFL.
Lions - RB Barry Sanders Had his worst season in '93 - 1,115 rushing yards and just 3 TDs in 11 games. But who else would be the Lions' MVP?
Oilers - S Marcus Robertson
All-Pro picked off seven passes and recovered three fumbles (in 13 games).

Packers - WR Sterling Sharpe/DE Reggie White This was the first season I truly followed the Pack and I can't decide between a) the NFL's leading receiver and a second-time All-Pro or) a franchise-changing free agent who tied for forth in the NFL with 13 sacks. Gaah!
Patriots - RB Leonard Russell Toted the rock 300 times (2nd in NFL) for 1,088 yards (6th-most) and 7 TDs.
Raiders - WR Tim Brown HOFer finished the 1993 season in fifth place with 1,180 receiving yards.
Rams - RB Jerome Bettis "The Bus" earned All-Pro honors as a rookie by finishing second to Emmitt Smith in rushing yards (1,429) and 3rd in yards per carry (4.9).
Reskins - RB Reggie Brooks Another stellar rookie rusher, Brooks was 4th in yards per carry (4.8) and 9th in rushing yards (1,063).
Saints - LB Renaldo Turnbull Earned All-Pro honors in his first year as a starter with 13 sacks and an NFC-leading 5 forced fumbles.
Seahawks - DT Cortez Kennedy Hall of Famer earned the second of three straight All-Pro nods in '93.
Steelers - CB Rod Woodson All-Pro finished third in NFL with 8 interceptions. Also recorded two sacks.
Vikings - DT John Randle/DE Chris Doleman Pick your poison: both Hall of Famers registered 12.5 sacks, forced three fumbles, and earned Pro Bowl invites in '93.

What do you think of Upper Deck's Team MVP picks? Who is your favorite team's current MVP?

Thanks for reading, and thank you for supporting The 1993 blog!


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Three More Days

It was 1 A.M. in my dream. We were all sleeping in our cramped quarters, a wooden building surrounding an open square. A boisterous bald man knocked on the apartment doors shouting "Up All Night! Let's goooo!"

I swung open the door to the men's room. Both the urinal and the stall were occupied. I stood inside the door and waited.

Outside, the boisterous guy was holding a microphone. Co-eds were gathered around the square. Four people - three guys and a girl - were standing in a straight line ahead of him. "Who's up all night? Let me hear youuuu!" The host shouted.

I'm not sure how I was able to see all of this while waiting in line inside a men's room. The stall opened.

Back at the square, our boisterous bald host introduced the four participants. "We got Danny!" He pointed to the first guy, who was nearly as bald and excited as the host himself. "We got Todd!" A shorter, but equally excitable man raised his fist in the air. "We got Brian!" he said of the third man. "And we got.. Crystal!" The crowd cheered.

The lone female in the square wore a black sweatsuit and had an exhausted look on her face. Her long, unbrushed dark hair stuck out in all directions. The host could sense her lack of enthusiasm so he placed his hands around her shoulders to jostle her awake. Then he reached down lower, helping himself to second base.

I watched in horror from the bathroom stall. I banged my open palm on the translucent glass window. "Hey!" I shouted at the host. "Leave her alone!!"

I don't know what this means, other than the fact that my subconscious misses the days when I could help her and look out for her. When I could make the slightest difference in her life. When she needed me.

Days like this are always trouble. My manager G left for her vacation last night; yesterday was the last day I will ever work for her. It will likely be the last day I ever see her. Bossman, the owner of the company, is still out on his vacation. He will be back tomorrow. I have no supervisor, three days left, and the weather outside is another Spring preview: 64F and sunny.

An inspector's meeting is scheduled for Noon today. I wonder where the meeting will take place. The former inspector's room is now Dok and Office Girl's domain. It's far too small for ten people.

At about 11:30 a.m. Office Girl wanders into my back office room. "Do you know where G keeps the food card, the one she uses to pay for food?" She's looking for the company credit card that we use for Free Lunch Friday. I open the drawer and drop a gold American Express card in front of her. She thanks me.

A minute later she returns, informing me that Mick is ordering pizza for the meeting. "I'm not having any." She adds. "I'm tired of that pizza." I'm expecting to have Big Apple Pizza for lunch on Friday, and so I'd planned to walk down the street for two slices of buffalo chicken at Pizza Stop. Big Apple is better in general, but Pizza Stop's buffalo pie is king. And this is the last time I'll be able to order it.

Office Girl proceeds to tell me that Mick allowed her to order whatever she wants but "I don't know what to get. I'm worried it will be too small, or too much." I try to remind her that permission has been granted. "It's their money." I reply. "If he said you can order what you want.. order what you want."

Around 12:20 p.m. I return from the Pizza Stop with my slices and soda, only to find my desk is occupied and the back room is filled. So that's where they're holding the inspector's meeting. I head up to the front office and take a seat. As I chew my first slice it occurs to me that Office Girl is by herself - and everyone else is in the meeting. I could have lunch with her if the incident had not occurred. Alas.

It's now 12:40 p.m. I watch out the window as a car tries to pull into the overcrowded parking lot. The driver double-parks while Office Girl wordlessly enters the front office. She meets the delivery person in the foyer and takes a white bag with a "thank you" then heads back to her office without saying a word to me. I anxiously watch the clock, expecting the meeting to end at 1 p.m. I've barely touched my second slice, and I know I won't get another opportunity to sit and talk to her. Finish eating, you fat fuck. I growl silently to myself.

I know I should be savoring this last slice but I'm shoveling it through my throat hole so that I can clean myself up and stop at her desk before the meeting ends. I'm two bites and one sip away from finishing my lunch when a truck pulls up to our garage door. I hear Office Girl step outside her office and call for her man.

It wasn't him. But she asked the guy if her man was with him. I finish my meal just as my appetite dissipates. The clock crawls toward 1 p.m. OG's favorite inspector June walks by. She calls to June "Look what I'm eating! Bread and butter. And a couple cookies." I don't hear her reply. 

Here I am, convincing Office Girl to order what she wants, then wondering if I should ask her what she ordered, and then rushing through my meal so that I could sit with her. At no point did she offer this information to me. But someone more interesting walks by and she's all "Hey! Look at my sorry-ass lunch!"

Until last night I was content to run out the clock. I'd decided to be cordial with her as it relates to office duties, but I wouldn't attempt to initiate any friendly conversation with her. She couldn't be bothered to follow up with me after the incident and I really wanted to hold that against her. But I couldn't allow myself to have an icy disposition as our time together comes to a close. I have to shrug it off and be nice.

Before my bizarre dream, while I was fully awake, I reflected on a conversation I'd had with Office Girl on the first day after Young Guy left our company. I'd ventured up front to purchase a candy bar and she asked me how I was doing. I told her that Young Guy leaving was hard; he was the only friend I had in the office. This didn't make sense to her. I explained that everyone up front and in the warehouse are younger than I am and know each other well, and that I didn't fit in. This didn't make sense to her, either.

"Of course you fit in!" She insisted. "You fit in with me!" Those words meant so much to me at the time. Five months later they ring hollow. Where? Where do I fit in? Am I the platonic male co-worker you're excited to see and talk to? Nope, that's Young Guy. Am I the older co-worker friend that you confide in? Nope, that's June. Am I the co-worker guy that you call for, care about, and makes sure your needs are met? Nope, that's your man.

After I broke my post-Christmas silence and confronted her about the rumors G was spreading, I explained to Office Girl that one reason I stopped talking to her was because I didn't feel like she needed me anymore. This didn't make sense to her. "Why would you say that?"

"Because I can't be June and I can't be [him]." She refuted that, stating she would never tell me that I don't need to be her friend just because I have G and Young Guy and Baldy [this was before the incident.] To underscore her intentions, and to make sure there were no more misunderstandings, she suggested that we talk every day. That... did not happen.

It's past 1 p.m. The meeting is not over. I wander around the side of the building before deciding to sit on the front steps. "I don't want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else." I sing to myself.

I reflect on another conversation I'd had with Office Girl, as if this is the flashback episode of a long-running drama series. The day she quit was the day we all hung out at the bar. I'd decided to go that night primarily to ask her what happened. "You and I need to talk." I'd said to her as I clocked out that day.

Three weeks later, after she returned from her vacation in Salem, we talked in what is now her office. I'd placed two slices of Big Apple pizza on a plate but didn't eat them; I was too focused on my conversation with her. She was going over her options for income and employment in case she did decide to follow through on leaving the company. I asked her questions and gave her the best advice I could.

I was there for her when she quit. She texted me when she decided to stay. I replied to her immediately. She did not extend the same courtesy to me when I quit. And I am definitely not staying.

It's now 1:30. I'm back at my desk. The meeting is over but many of the inspectors are milling about. Some of them are enjoying a slice of Big Apple pizza. June resists, stating that she has to "sweat out her middle" or something. [I tend not to note exact words unless they're spoken by Office Girl.] Bobby gets a call. It's OG's boyfriend. And that's when it occurs to me. I didn't quit this job because my feelings for her reached a boiling point. I didn't quit because Baldy burst in on us chatting and ordered me to clock out and leave. I quit the best job I have ever had - and left behind the best manager I have ever worked for - because of a man I have never spoken to and do not personally know.

The crowd of inspectors disperse and I'm settled back into my work duties. Office Girl calls me regarding some stacks of paperwork our newest inspector handed her. He'd sent her emailed photos of each but now that we have hard copies she doesn't know what to do with them. Dok instructed her to ask me, as I am the keeper of the documents. (And, as a lifelong sports card collector, you know I've got those documents in plastic sheets and the binders are organized.)

She's not sure if she should re-upload each document, and insists she can't delete the photo copies. It sounds like she's being ditzy and/or making excuses. I don't care. I see an opportunity to help her and I seize it. "I'll do it for you. I'm still here." Hint hint. She still has not acknowledged my impending departure.

When she brings me the pile of papers I explain to her what I do with them. I indicate the row of binders: "These are paid, organized by month. These are not paid, sorted alphabetically by the customer's last name." She bristles at this. I wave a hand at the binders. "You shouldn't have to worry about it."

Before she leaves I take a moment to note her appearance. Her long dark hair is wrapped in a bun. She's wearing black leggings and a stretchy black top, accentuating her curvy figure. I can't help but recall the creepy party host fondling her in my dream.

I feel grateful for the chance to be helpful and kind to her - and relieved that I wasn't in her office when Dok ended the meeting and allowed me to return to my desk.

Just before 2:30 Baldy informs me that he's going to the bank. He asks me if I want anything while he's out. Yeah, a guilt-free conversation with our receptionist. I'm on my third soda of the day so there's nothing I need from the store, but I appreciate the ask.

Office Girl and I are the only two people in the office. This is how trouble starts. I'm on the cusp of calling her desk phone to share this sentiment with her when a customer calls. A second call follows, from an insurance adjuster whom I dealt with. For the second time in two hours I had prepared to reach out to OG and the universe intervened. I don't like being controlled by such perceived forces because she only knows that I'm not talking to her. It doesn't matter why. But the timing just seems too.. timely to ignore. 

As proof that messing with the universe is (or isn't) legit I decide to go to her anyway.

Her door is closed. I retreat to my desk. An instant after I sit down, Baldy returns. "It's beautiful outside." He remarks. It's beautiful inside, too.. haha.  

Unprompted, he offers me the opportunity to go for a walk. Guess he's still feeling guilty about the incident. I take him up on the offer. On my way out I knock on OG's door. She calls me to "come in".

I tell her Baldy let me go for a walk. "Oh, that's cool." She replies. "I wish you could come with me." I whisper to her. "I know, its so nice out." I barely get to tell her I'll be back in 15 minutes when the phone rings. The universe does not fuck around.

It is during this walk that I remind myself I might not get another chance to talk to her before I leave the company, and I need to try. Perhaps I'll avoid talking about myself and ask her if there's anything she wants to talk about or ask me, with the pretense that this will almost certainly be the last chance to do so. The decision to talk to her on or about 4:30 p.m. makes the remaining minutes crawl by at a snail's pace. It is 3:05 when I return to the office. A half hour later... it's 3:06.

Of course, if I do get to sit with OG, the last half hour of the day will fly by in a blink.

My stomach is in knots by 3:45. What if I don't get to talk to her again? What if I go in there and she has nothing to say to me? What if she's busy with work? What if she's on a personal call?

At a few minutes after 4 p.m. OG calls my desk phone. She asks me if Dok said anything to me about training our remote employee, as he will be taking over some of my duties. He didn't mention anything today, and I had been displaced by the meeting and fell behind anyhow. She asks if he still needs collections training. I reply that I'll have some things for him tomorrow. 

Then, before she hangs up, I tell her that I plan to stop at her office and talk to her one last time on my way out. "Okay but just to warn you, we're being watched." She replies quickly. A little too quickly.

Does she not understand that Bossman is on a flight back from Florida and that Baldy won't dare come after me again? Does she not understand that I'm leaving here forever in less than 50 hours and that no one will have a farewell happy hour at the local watering hole for me on Friday night? Does she not know that this is, for all intents and purposes, my goodbye? Does she care?

Office Girl never replies to texts. She admitted months ago that she's bad at texting and much better at talking on the phone. But in the wake of the incident I'd texted her to ask if she would be available to talk on the phone that weekend. I'd revealed my biggest secret to her, been interrupted by a power-tripping jackass, defended her against said jackass, and stormed out of the office after daring him to fire me. Then I quit my job the next work day. And she never reached out to me about it at all.

I hate what this woman does to me. March 1st can't come soon enough.

As 4:30 approaches the front office repopulates. K-Dub is back, along with New Girl. And a boisterous bald man (a tech named Amadu) stands outside OG's office, loudly talking to her for more than five minutes. When I pack up and say goodbye to Baldy at 4:50 the four of them are conversing up front.

"Cameras. Boss is watching. Cameras. Boss is watching." I say to Office Girl as I pass. 

"I know." She replies. But she does not move. She does not stop talking to them.

Fuck this feeling. 

Two more days.





Sunday, December 12, 2021

Best. Episode. Ever.

custom card by Gavin

The Simpsons, much like guest star Ken Griffey, Jr., debuted in 1989. Both were at the top of their game in the early 1990s, declined in the next decade, and probably stuck around a little too long.

Unlike Ken Griffey, Jr. The Simpsons is still active and returns next Sunday with episode #716! While the quality of episodes and the ratings have declined, it is incredible that any television series can last for 33 seasons across five decades. Of course it would be impossible for any pro athlete to continue a high level of play in a top pro sports league for that length of time. That could never happen.

Oh... hi, Gordie (yep, he's been in a Simpsons episode, too.)

"Bart The Lover" and "Homer At The Bat" aired in consecutive weeks back in February of 1992, just out of our jurisdiction here at The 1993. The first episode to air in calendar year '93 is considered by many to be the greatest Simpsons episode of all time : Marge vs. The Monorail.

This was one of three episodes written by Conan O'Brien, who would go on to host his own late-night talk show starting in September of 1993.

Following this masterpiece, these ten Simpsons episodes round out Season 4:

"Selma's Choice"

"Brother from the Same Planet"

 "I Love Lisa"


"Last Exit to Springfield"

"So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show"

"The Front"

"Whacking Day"

"Marge in Chains"

"Krusty Gets Kancelled"

Season 5  of The Simpsons kicked off on September 30, 1993 with "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"

Following that, nine more episodes aired in 1993:

"Cape Feare"

"Homer Goes to College"


"Treehouse of Horror IV"

"Marge on the Lam"

"Bart's Inner Child"

"Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood"

"The Last Temptation of Homer"

"$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)"



Do you agree that "Marge vs. The Monorail" is the best Simpsons episode ever?

What's your favorite Simpsons episode of all-time? Do you still watch The Simpsons?

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Teenage angst has paid off well. Now I'm bored and old.

Nirvana released In Utero in September of 1993. It was their third - and final - studio album.

Unplugged In New York was recorded two months later. The album was released posthumously, as lead singer Kurt Cobain committed suicide in April 1994 - more than six months before Unplugged debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. 

This card was part of a TCDB trade with Scrubeenie that arrived earlier this week. I sent him six Topps Heritage singles including a Mike Trout league leader card and an Eddie Murray single from 2000 Upper Deck legends in exchange for some 2018 Topps Chrome set fillers, two 1991-92 Upper deck basketball commons, and two cards from 2011 Topps American Pie. It's the only Kurt Cobain trading card aside from the requisite parallels and a couple playing card releases. It's also one of the more expensive American Pie singles on COMC; the cheapest copy is currently listed at nearly $10.

It's easy to look back on a grunge band that lasted five years and call them "overrated'. If you're talking about hype and airplay relative to other bands of the era then, yes, Nirvana were overrated. You can pick apart the substance of the music, but there's no denying the cultural impact of the band and its iconic frontman. Once Kurt Cobain was gone alternative rock slowly faded from the top of the charts, ceding ground to pop and hip-hop. 

While you're unlikely to see a current alternative act bump elbows with Beyonce and Taylor Swift you will see plenty of young adults, teens, and even children wearing Nirvana t-shirts today.

30 years after the release of Nevermind it's become increasingly clear that there will never be another Nirvana. Dave Grohl has carried the legacy of the band (and in some ways rock itself) over to Foo Fighters - a legendary act in their own right. Personally I think Foo Fighters are underrated - though I acknowledge their cultural impact falls far short of Nirvana's. Let me know when "Best of You" or "My Hero" hits 1.3 billion views on YouTube. 

Here's a rough sketch of my essential Nirvana mix CD/playlist
excluding "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as the band did in the Unplugged set list.

  1. "Serve The Servants" (from In Utero)
  2. "Scentless Apprentice" (from In Utero)
  3. "About A Girl"(acoustic) (from Unplugged In New York)
  4. "Come As You Are" (from Nevermind)
  5. "Sappy" (from No Alternative)
  6. "Love Buzz" (From Bleach)
  7. "I Hate Myself And Want To Die" (From The Beavis and Butt-head Experience)
  8. "In Bloom" (from (Nevermind)
  9. "Pennyroyal Tea" (from In Utero)
  10. "Dive" (from Incesticide)
  11. "Breed" (from (Nevermind)
  12. "Lithium" (from (Nevermind)
  13. "You Know You're Right" (from Nirvana greatest hits)
  14. "School" (From Bleach)
  15. "All Apologies" (acoustic) (from Unplugged In New York)
  16. "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" (from In Utero)
  17. "Aneurysm" (from Incesticide)
  18. "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?(acoustic) (from Unplugged In New York)

By the way, here's the other American Pie single from that TCDB trade with Scrubeenie:

I've always been fascinated with the atomic era and the Cold War. In case you're wondering, the Doomsday Clock is currently set at ... oh shit.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Uno.. Dos.. Tres.. Catorce

I've been spending my hobby time attempting to fill sets through TCDB trades - primarily the starter sets Bo sent me in the summer. After several PWE swaps (and a box of series 1) I've got 826 of the 840 cards in the 1993 Upper Deck baseball set. Here's a look at the fourteen cards I'm missing, along with a fact (or opinion) about each player depicted.

#4 Willie Greene

Willie Greene was a first-round pick of the Pirates in 1989. As such, he was included in 1990 Bowman and Score sets - the latter of which misspelled his name on the back. I seemed to recall him having two or three good seasons in the late '90s, but baseball-reference tells me he had one - in 1997.

#70 Derek Lilliquist

Derek Lilliquist was a left-handed reliever for both the AL's Native American-named franchise and the NL's Native American-named team. He is not the only guy named Derek I'm missing from this set. Also, if I'm being precise, he was a starter in Atlanta. And apparently he pitched for the Red Sox in 1995. His only legit trading card that year - and his "sunset card" - was in the 1995 Topps set, before he signed with the Sox.

#102 B.J. Surhoff

B.J. Surhoff was one of the top rookies in 1987 trading card sets. I remember seeing his name pop up in price guides as a kid, long before "prospecting" was a thing. I remember his tenure as an Orioles third baseman - before Cal Ripken moved to the "hot corner". I did not know that he retired as an Oriole in 2005 - at age 41. I also did not know that Surhoff was the 1st overall pick in the 1985 draft because my memory of #1 overall picks starts in '87 with that Griffey kid.

#138 Ken Hill

Ken Hill was the ace of the 1994 Expos team that boasted baseball's best record before the strike ended the season in August. The Cy Young runner-up had 16 wins that season and could have easily reached 20 if the season had been completed. Montreal traded Hill to the Cardinals the following April. He was dealt to the Indians at the '95 trade deadline, and pitched in two World Series contests against Atlanta.

#169 Orel Hershiser

One of my earliest memories as a baseball fan was watching Orel (whose last name was pronounced He-sher-hi-zer by eight-year old me) drag the Dodgers to the World Series and then baffle Oakland's Bash Brothers in the Fall Classic. You probably know all about that, so here's a story from ESPN's Tim Kurkjian:

Many years later, I asked Hershiser about that magical postseason, and wondered if he deviated his schedule or habits from that of the regular season. He said the biggest difference was that in the postseason "I never told anyone publicly where I was going out to dinner because it might end up in the newspaper. I didn't want anyone to know where I might eat. The chef might poison me."

He added that there were times, on the road, where he and his wife would order dinner, but when the meals arrived, they would switch: His wife would eat what he ordered, and he would eat what she ordered. He said he did that just in case the chef had, indeed, tried to poison him.

But that meant your wife would then be poisoned?

Hershiser smiled and said, jokingly, and without malice, "Well, we're divorced now."

#247 John Kruk

The 1993 Phillies were a fun team to watch at the time. It's harder to look back fondly at players like Lenny Dykstra and Curt Schilling, but John Kruk seems to have maintained his affable reputation. The career .300 hitter made his third (and most memorable) All-Star Game appearance in '93 - a moment that Topps featured as a Legends variation 20 years later. This card is actually on its way to me but I'm including it here just in case it doesn't arrive safely from Canada.

#255 Sandy Alomar, Jr.

As someone who collected way too many Topps and Donruss cards in 1989 I certainly remember Sandy's rookie cards. (I was not aware of all the stupid variations at the time.) He kinda-sorta appeared in a Starting Lineup issue before making his big league debut - but his younger brother Roberto was pictured on the card. Sandy was named to six All-Star teams despite playing 100+ games in just four seasons; the fans voted him a starter in 1991 despite non-existent production - even for a catcher.

#260 Joe Orsulak

This is arguably the best photo on a 1993 Upper Deck card I don't have. Joe Orsulak played five seasons in the Orioles' outfield before signing with the Mets in the winter of 1992. He finished his career with the Expos in 1997. I'm assuming Mets fans consider him a free agent bust, though he certainly didn't make Bobby Bonilla money.

#345 George Bell

You might remember George Bell for hitting 47 home runs in his MVP season of 1987, or the 1992 trade that sent him to the south side of Chicago in exchange for some guy named Sosa. I remember George Bell for his 1986 Topps card (which referred to him as Jorge) and the fact that he was the only Blue Jay with his own Starting Lineup figure in 1988 and 1989. Every US-based baseball team had at least four figures.

#352 Roberto Hernandez

Throwback uniform! Roberto Hernandez is pictured wearing the hat (and jersey?) of the Negro League's Chicago American Giants. A first-round pick of the Angels in 1986, he was part of the White Sox' shocking fire sale at the 1997 trade deadline (the Pale Hose were just three games back of Cleveland for the division lead at the time.) Hernandez signed as a free agent with the expansion Devil Rays that winter.

#449 Derek Jeter

This is the only 'top prospect' card I need, though I'd like to upgrade my off-center Derek Wallace card. This Derek didn't quite pan out like Wallace did. The Houston Astros considered drafting Jeter #1 overall in 1992. Hall of Fame pitcher Hal Newhouser scouted the kid from Kalamazoo and campaigned for the club to draft him over Phil Nevin. Imagine an infield with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and this guy?

#486 Barry Bonds

I think Barry is smiling here because he'd just signed a record-breaking contract with the Giants. Bonds was an insufferable asshole long before he began mainlining PEDs. His arrogance in the 1992 NLCS probably cost Pittsburgh the pennant - though it didn't cost him any free agent dollars.

According to Sports Illustrated, “Van Slyke told MLB Network that on the Francisco Cabrera game-winning hit, he motioned to Barry Bonds to move in. Bonds responded by giving him the finger, and the ball ended up landing exactly where Van Slyke said to play.”

Here is the actual footage; it is clear that if Bonds had made the adjustment Van Slyke suggested (moving just a few steps to his left) Bream would’ve been out by a few steps.

#487 Dennis Eckersley

Mariano Rivera is regarded as the greatest closer of all-time - but he never won a Cy Young or MVP Award. Dennis Eckersley won both awards in the same season. He also won more games than Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw have (to date), struck out more batters than Sandy Koufax, and had a higher WAR than CC Sabathia and Juan Marichal. Oh, and he was the subject of a Mike Birbiglia joke. Eck >>> Mo.

#648 Jim Deshaies

No one started more games in the abbreviated 1994 season than Jim Deshaies, who took the mound for the Twins 25 times. This is interesting to me because he also led the league in earned runs (107) and home runs allowed (30). Oh, and his ERA was a whopping 7.39 that season. Why did Tom Kelly keep sending him out there? Also, I never got Chris Berman's "two silhouettes on.." reference. What song is that from?

I'm running out of stamps to ship PWEs and running out of trade matches on TCDB, so I might have to purchase these cards from or Sportlots. Unless anyone reading this has any of these?

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Blog Anniversary Box Break

1993 was twenty eight years ago, but The 1993 began one year ago today. And to celebrate, I saved my box break of 1993 Upper Deck baseball for the occasion. This was purchased a couple weeks ago and arrived at the end of August. After Bo sent me a big chunk of series 2 I decided to go for the whole set.

I found a sealed box on eBay for $24.99 + $10 shipping, for a total price of about $1 per pack. My 9 year old daughter helped me open these. She grabbed a stack without even asking and eventually ripped open more than half the packs. After nearly three decades I was expecting to see some bricking or 'snow.' That wasn't really an issue; the main problem with these cards was collation.

170 of the 540 cards were duplicates, including four extra cards (or more) of Bernie Williams, John Smoltz, Travis Fryman, Jose Canseco, and David Justice. Paul Molitor appeared ten times, including seven copies of his base card and three copies of the Brewers combo card.

My daughter ripped open the packs so fast that I didn't get to explain which cards were inserts (or "special") and which cards were merely subset singles (or "not special") such as these:

Dave Stewart is pictured with Oakland here but not long after this card was released he helped the Blue Jays win The 1993 World Series. My ex-girlfriend was a reporter in Toronto at the time and told me a story about Stewart frequently appearing at food banks and soup kitchens in the area. He told the press that if they reported on his appearances he would stop donating because he wasn't doing it for publicity.

These sure look special among all the white-bordered base cards. Once she finished opening her half of the box I showed my daughter the actual insert cards. Nearly all of them were in my stack:

The best pull was this Then & Now Nolan Ryan hologram, which popped out of the second pack.

I even got a duplicate insert! Kind of a bummer that one of the three Iooss inserts was the header card. Even more of a bummer: my daughter was afraid that she didn't pull a single "special" card, until I found Delino DeShields hidden in her stack.

Among the collation quirks in this box was the absence of any card from #61 to 72 and #95 to 110. (I'd already acquired this Tim Wakefield.) I'm missing 97 Series 1 cards and 105 overall.

These series 2 singles arrived today after some TCDB trading. More 1993 Upper Deck cards are on the way, mostly from series 1.

NBA Week inspired me to pick up more Gheorghe Muresan and Reggie Lewis cards. The All-Division insert cost 18 cents (plus shipping) on Sportlots. I now have 15 of the 20 cards in the set.

Before I wrap this up, I was looking through some of the Angels cards in The 1993 Upper Deck set (for a potential blog post) and the back of Gary DiSarcina's card jumped out at me. Does anyone know what this is referring to?

The '90s were weird, man.

Thanks for reading!