26 Dec

simple pleasures

Baseball card aficionados of a certain age will appreciate this: Pulled from five random Topps wax packs from the late 1980s, cards of three Jackson natives, each from a different year, each of whom enjoyed a fair amount of success in the big leagues. There was a 1986 Chris Brown (in a San Francisco uniform), a 1987 Chet Lemon (Detroit) and a 1989 Curt Ford (St. Louis). What are the odds of such a thing? How is it that such a small thing still brings such a thrill? That’s baseball. It’ll grab you and hold you and never let you go. Also found among the cards in these five packs were other players of local interest: Reggie Williams (current Alcorn State coach), Jay Tibbs (former Jackson Mets pitcher), Jim Pankovits (ex-Jackson Generals manager) and Mark Bailey (ex-Gens hitting coach). Bust open the memory bank, ’cause there’s a lot more: Joe Torre (as Atlanta’s manager), John Smoltz, Tony Perez, Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Ron Guidry, Dan Quisenberry, Don Baylor, Willie Randolph (two, from different years, actually), Shawon Dunston, Doug Drabek, Mike Easler and a rookie Kevin Seitzer. Simple pleasures from a thoughtful Christmas gift. P.S. Ole Miss alum and big league vet Mike Mayers signed a minor league contract with Kansas City last week. Mayers, 31, posted a 5.68 ERA in 50 2/3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels last season, when he also spent time in the minors. The right-hander has had his ups and downs but was an effective reliever for the Angels in ’20 and ’21.

24 Apr

topps of heap

Anybody remember – or still have — the 1972 Topps Billy Cowan card? To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, mlb.com asked readers/fans to send in their favorites, and one of the submissions recently highlighted was the ’72 Cowan. It shows the Calhoun City native posed in a batting stance with the iconic Big A at the California Angels’ stadium looming in the background. The halo that circles the A lurks just above Cowan’s head. It’s artsy and kinda cool.
Other submissions of local significance: a 1974 Topps Dave Parker from the Grenada native’s early days with Pittsburgh and a 2003 Topps Cliff Lee, a rookie card of the Meridian Community College product when he came up with Cleveland. If you like baseball, you have to like baseball cards, especially old ones. Personal favorite: 1965 Topps Willie Mays. First year of collecting. Great player. Regal pose. Great card design. Can still smell the bubble gum.