Archive for Pedro Martinez

My first Topps Now card of 2019… and it’s a Walk Off Winner from my birthday

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a kid, my parents always asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I was never a party kind of person. All I needed was family and baseball, so in my teens I started asking my mother and father if we could go to an A’s game.

We didn’t go every year, but one of my favorite baseball birthday memories was when I was about to turn 19. My father took me and two friends to a May 1, 1999, contest between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A’s. As it turned out, Pedro Martinez was on the mound for the BoSox and he wound up dominating Oakland to the tune of 13 strikeouts over just 7 innings en route to his career 89th career victory. Needless to say I, being a Red Sox fan, was happy. And in the context of baseball history, that dominating start really summed up 1999 Pedro, damn near untouchable.

I’ve gone to many other games around my birthday, and as it turned out, this year, my 39th birthday, wound up probably being my second favorite, even eclipsing that one from a half a lifetime ago. (My top favorite is still this trip to Fenway in 2010.)

This year my son’s Little League participated in three different “Youth Sports League” days/night in the area. The league participated in San Francisco Giants and San Jose Giants events, as well as one of the several hosted by the Oakland A’s. This year, the League chose the night that happened to be Friday Fireworks Night, which just so happened to be my birthday.

We tailgated with the League President and other families. The kids played Wiffle Ball, I played catch with my kids, and I tweeted out a picture of my son wearing my personal Mark McGwire jersey, the one I wore during my high school days.

The tweet received a lot of attention, including an epic comment from the Oakland A’s organization itself. The response from the team was a gif of McGwire bashing elbows at home plate following a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the 1988 World Series — the gif really hit home because I remember staying up late to watch that game with my mom, who lovingly bashed elbows with be after the homer.

As for this day, my kids, their mother, and I sat in the left field bleachers, which is not a typical spot for me. I sat here on this day because I didn’t want the sun to be in anyone’s face. As it turned out, it was fate.

My daughter wore a Matt Chapman jersey I got as a stadium giveaway last year, just as she has done every time we’ve gone to a game since I acquired the garment. And every time he comes to the plate or makes a play in the field, I point him out so that she and my son can draw a connection to Chapman, who is the face of the franchise.

On this night we watched Chapman smash a single into left field past shortstop Francisco Lindor’s glove, and later make it to second base on a following play. This turned out to be significant for me because I managed to purchase the ball that Chapman struck for the single, and later photo-matched it thanks to a bobble by Jose Ramirez, which was captured by a photograph. In the photo you can see the mud that exists on the ball which was authenticated and sold by the ball club.

And then several innings and hours later, as fans who were there for fireworks grew restless, sat Chapman in the 12th inning slugged his first career walk-off homerun, which happened to land in the general area where we were sitting. If you look closely at the television broadcast you can see my family just a few rows away,

The walk-off homer wound of being chronicled by Topps the very next day on a Topps Now card, which of course I had to purchase. And that card of course just arrived this week to act as a keepsake for what has to be one of my top best baseball-related birthday memories I have had to date.

Collecting Cooperstown:  Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Posted in Collecting Cooperstown, Hall of Famers with tags , , , , , , on July 24, 2015 by Cardboard Icons


Card of the Day: 2000 Topps Gallery Masters of the Game Greg Maddux

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

madduxtgIt appears that one of the greatest pitchers of this generation has rode off into the sunset. Word broke this week that Greg Maddux is leaning toward retirement rather than return for a 24th season. If this is in fact the end, it truly is a sad event for baseball. Maddux has had a stellar career, one that kind of gets lost in the shadows of his peers who threw faster, struck out more batters and had their names in the news more often. Continue reading

Card of the Day: 2001 Fleer Tradition Oakland Athletics Checklist

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

I love team checklist cards. Some collectors hate them, but I enjoy them, especially when I find they possess information that I did not know or realize before. The Oakland Athletics were American League West Champions in 2000, featuring a fearsome trio of young, up-and-coming pitchers. There was Tim Hudson, the 20 game winner; Barry Zito, a rookie of the year contender; and Mark Mulder, the supposed clone of Tom Glavine.

But believe it or not, none of those three aces led the team in ERA, not even Mr. Hudson, the runner up for the Cy Young award that year. Continue reading

Card of the Day: 1995 Upper Deck Checklists Montreal Expos

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

Pop quiz: What team won the National League Eastern Division before the Atlanta Braves went on its epic run of 11 straight titles? You guessed it, the Montreal Expos. The Expos have been an interesting franchise in the decade before it was owned and operated by Major League Baseball and then ultimately moved and renamed. But in the one season of glory during the 1990s, the Expos seemed destined for the World Series. Unfortunately it came in 1994, the season that was cut short due to a work stoppage. There were no playoffs that year, and the Expos never got to find out how good they were. Continue reading