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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Favorite '90s Insert

Editor's note - I have absolutely no interest in writing about baseball cards right now. NONE WHATSOEVER. I just want to drink, listen to bleep bloop music, watch Angry Video Game Nerd, play Pokemon and draw ponies. That's it. I have no interest in anything else. I especially and specifically have no interest in writing about baseball cards. HOWEVER. I want one of Fuji's Kitteh Cards desperately, so he will be the de facto driver of this Blog's content until I get mah Kitteh. If you enjoy any of this writing, thank Fuji because otherwise I'd be asleep right now instead of staying up late writing this silly stuff.  

I have a lot of cards from the '90s. I mean I have a LOT of freaking cards from the '90s. More cards from the '90s than I know what to do with. I probably flat out lost more cards from the '90s than you have in your entire collection. To this day I do not know where the hell my 1995 Topps set is. All sports too, baseball, football, basketball and hockey dominate, but there's soccer and racing and WNBA and olympics and golf and Canadian football and rugby and even cricket in there somewhere. I have TOO MANY goldang cards from the '90s. I wish most of them would go away quite frankly. If all my '90s cards were just to evaporate or spontaneously combust or be eaten by centipedes I wouldn't mind too much. I'd miss a few of 'em, but the extra space would be nice. The one card I would be truly be upset about would be this one right here.

This is a 1992 Donruss diamond Kings card of David Justice. Everyone remembers how awful 1991 Donruss was. Most people remember how awful 1992 Donruss was too. But they're wrong! 1992 Donruss was one of the most beautiful card set to ever be printed! At least in December 1991 it was. It hasn't aged very well quite frankly. But Christmas 1991, that sucker dropped on us like a Sonic Rainnuke and blew us all away. If you just can't wrap your mind around the fact that '92 Donruss was beloved, just put a '91 and '92 card side by side and look at them carefully. It's like putting an '85 Yugo next to an '00 Chevy Impala. That Chevy looks DAMN good doesn't it? Forget the base cards, the Diamond Kings are what gave us collectors raging card boners back in the day.

I remember the frenzy at the card shop when '92 Donruss dropped. People just kept opening pack after pack of Donruss until the hit a Diamond King. After oohing over the base cards in the first pack and commenting on how much better these were than anything Donruss ever put out, the base cards got completely ignored after that unless the John Vander Wal with its inexplicable use of lower case in the name on the front got pulled. Everyone who pulled that card had to comment on it, even if two other guys had already made the comment before them. The most sought after Diamond King was Jeff Bagwell by far. Everyone wanted that Bagwell. Any Diamond King would do, but pulling a Bags was something otherworldly 20 years ago. I never actually saw one getting pulled until I pulled one myself a few years later out of a deeply discounted box of '92 Donruss I picked up from K-Mart. The Bagwell wasn't the one I wanted though, I coveted the David Justice Diamond King.

Actually, I coveted them all and spent a couple years building a set. I'm sure you can get a half dozen sets for a buck now, but they were serious business back then. I found four cards I needed at a flea market once. When I asked how much they were, the dealer quoted a dollar fifty a card for the likes of Tony Phillips among others. I agreed and when I pulled out my money to pay, he told me eight bucks total. When I asked how the cards went from $1.50 to $2.00 a pop in the space of a couple minutes he had the nerve to say the fifty cents covered the toploaders they cards were in. That was the first time I ever set cards down at a table and walked away without saying a word. That nonsense was over Tony Phillips. Dave Justice? In Atlanta? In 1992? Hoo boy. That's something else entirely.

The Justice was expensive if you could find it. These were the days when I thought long and hard about buying a card for five bucks. I could buy 10 whole packs for that! Justice DK was more than five bucks. I remember seeing it for $25 at one place, never less than $15. The summer after my freshman year in college I worked at a grocery store and across the street was a mom & pop butcher shop. The owner was a card fan and had a table full of wax boxes and a small case of cards in the front of the store. He had the Justice. Ten bucks! That was over a couple hours of work for me at the time stocking shelves but I wanted that card. I also wanted to party on the weekends and I had to save a little money for the new school year so I passed on the Justice many times.

Here's something you may not know about me. I got big time into born-again Christian stuff my freshman year in college. Like, Campus Crusade and bible studies and actually going to church on days that wasn't even Sunday big time. Don't worry, I snapped out of it. Don't get me wrong, I still believe in Jesus and God and all that ridiculous stuff, I just stopped buying into a lot of the.. *ahem* let's call it marketing that's so prevalent in that crowd. When you're a Christian you need a bible. Sure I had one of those little green Gideon Bibles that were passed out like candy on campus, but I didn't have a fancy proper hardcover ones like the cool kids had. And in high school I was a rotten little bastard who bought Black Sabbath and Motley Crue and Metallica albums to prove to my friends that I was more eviler than them. One guy won the evil crown when he suddenly decided to stop saying "Jesus" when something surprised or annoyed him and instead said "Satan". But I digress. What I'm trying to say is that I was suddenly a Christian who had previously had absolutely no use for a bible.

To rectify this situation I scrounged around my grandparents' house until I found a bible. It was some updated version with modern language or some such thing. It came from one of my grandmother's Lutheran relatives if I remember correctly. The scripture snobs in my bible studies sneered at it for not having the proper NIV language in it but at least it wasn't a Gideon. I got my NIV from my grandmother for my birthday later that year so I eventually became acceptable to the snobs. Man, the look on my ex-hippie mother's face that day was priceless. I'm digressing again. So I now had my bible and it it worked well enough, the thing practically looked new other than being a little dusty from sitting untouched on a bookshelf for over a decade. I snagged it and actually read most of it.

That summer I had been drooling over the cards in the case at the butcher shop but still didn't pull the trigger on the Justice. I was dejected that I couldn't afford the Diamond King but not quite bright enough to comprehend that I had spent enough money that summer on packs, music and late night shenanigans to buy a dozen Justices easily. As was my practice at the time, I read some of that bible daily. I had gotten completely through the New Testament and was trying to slog though the Old Testament. Leviticus is tedious, folks. At some point I got bored reading about which king begat which other king and idly flipped through the pages. I'm not making this up - right in the middle of some obscure book that no one ever reads, a ten dollar bill fell out right into my lap. For serious! Ten bucks! It's miracle! Had to be a miracle, I was reading the bloody bible at the time. Ok, all you skeptics, let's look at this rationally. The possibilities of what could have happened that day are:

1) it was a miracle.
2) it was a FREAKIN' miracle.
3) That relative of my grandmother gave a bible to my uncle back in 1980 and slipped him a ten dollar bill right in the middle of it which he never saw because 12 years of Catholic School turned him into an atheist and I just happened to find the thing years later because I was the only person to ever open the thing up to actually read it.
4) I'm not sayin' it was a miracle... BUT MIRACLE

Ok, fine, so there was an inscription to my uncle in the front of the bible. At the bare minimum it was a miracle my uncle never found the dough. Now, miracles from The Lord are not things to trifle with. That money was placed in my lap for a reason. There are many useful things that can be done with ten bucks. Donate it to charity. Give it to the Church. Buy a book by Josh McDowell. So many wonderful spiritual things could be done!

Nah, I bought the Justice. C'mon, it was ten bucks... ten bucks fell in my lap... There's a reason I call myself a cardboard junkie. what else was I going to do?


Matt F. said...

You can't go wrong with some gold foil stamping!

Matt F. said...

It just took me two times to prove I'm not a robot in the word verification. I was getting a little worried.

SpastikMooss said...

Great story! My fiance is a "lapsed Catholic" who has a Library Master's and she has always wanted to read the Bible all the way through. Similar issues with Leviticus stopped her in her tracks.

Tom said...

Thank you, Fuji!

Fuji said...

Holy smokes... this post blew my mind.

A. I'm giving you extra credit points, because you went above and beyond with the effort I'd expect a blogger to put forth on my contest.

B. Damn... you weren't joking when you said that you wanted these packs of kitty cards. I'd go out and grab you some just for the sake of letting you go back to your AVGN videos... but the place I purchased them from are all sold out.

C. Lol... I've been down a similar path in terms of religion... but I won't even travel down that road and bore you.

Anonymous said...

This should be required blog reading (and I'm probably one of those NIV snobs that you mentioned).