Portraits of the Modern Dead-Ball Era: Five Fingers of Ball Death

Sooo, the Golden Boy has inherited another card collection; this time, from my brother-in-law.  There’s a little bit of overlap between our collections; mine spans mainly 1981-1983, and his spans mostly 1983-1986.  Three years is about as much baseball as the average elementary school-age male can take; it’s just too goddamn boring a game, even with steroids.

Oh, and there’s a bunch of 1981 Donruss cards in that box.  I love to grumble about 1981 Donruss cards.

One trip to the well too many?  THE HELL YOU SAY.

Oh, you have got to be kidding.  ‘Strain?’  Lookit him grit his teeth, like he’s kneeling in the on-deck circle, laboring mightily to hold his guts in.  And the face full of blotchy freckles just adds to his look of haplessness.  I think this a practical joke on the part of the Topps art department, that they had to be restrained from naming this obviously fictional player ‘Joe Stain.’  Subtlety: it’s what sells a stretcher.

I’ve never seen any other picture of Gorman Thomas except the one I posted a few weeks back.  I have to say, he’s hideous.  I mean, he’s ugly even by the standards of out-of-town goons visiting Hazzard County on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Rick Camp looks an awful lot like a secondary character in Daniel Clowes screed against ‘traditional’ manhood, in a mid-90’s issue of Eightball.  Or someone from the ‘Bum Gauntlet’ on ‘Flowerpot Lane’ from Rick Altergott’s Doofus, from that same era.  Daniel Clowes kept his older brother’s and baseball cards, asserting in an Eightball  story about baseball that one of the Don Mossis terrified him.  Conceivably, Clowes could have picked this card up while still a student at Cooper Union, and just decided he’d draw all of his shitheads to look just like Rick Camp.  It’s plausible.

Look, I feel real bad about making all  you readers — the guy from the Barn, the guy from school,  Ralph Agresta’s DUI monitor — look at this collection of plug uglies.  So may I present…




Welp, that was embarrasking.  Lemme make it up to you with some of ‘The Claw’ from ‘The Alabama Wild Man,’ he is ‘East Bound And Down,’ he is ‘Texas Bound and Flyin,” here to tell ‘Amos Moses’ about a ‘Thing Called Love’ and to ask you ‘Are You From Dixie?’  You know him, you love him, he’s the ‘Guitar Man,’ the ‘U.S. Male,’ the ‘Redneck in a Rock’n’Roll Bar’ who’s just a ‘Lightning Rod’ for the ‘Gator,’ ‘The Man With The Golden Thumb’ himself…

You’re kidding me, right?  Is this, like, his ‘Burt Reynolds’ disguise from Smokey and the Bandit III?  Cos’ Burt didn’t do ‘oily forearms’ until Striptease.

Here Rick Sutcliffe models Don Stroud’s hairpiece from Licence to Kill.

What, not funny enough?  Lemme take a mulligan.

Take Two: “Our TMZ cameras followed Ronnie Brooks to baseball fantasy camp.  Whaddya know, the man behind mediocrities such as ‘Boot Scootin’ Boogie,’ ‘Hard Workin’ Man,’ and yet another cover of B.W. Stephenson’s ‘My Maria,’ has mediocre daydreams. You’ll never grasp that ring, Ronnie Brooks.”

Before Big Eddie Fickus talked me out of my ’81 Donrusses, one of the few Orioles I could get was this guy.  We got Donruss cards from the ice cream man, who must have stored his wax packs of cards in a Dutch oven before throwing them in his truck’s freezer, causing the gum to stick and freeze to the top card in the pack.  Which, twice, was this guy.  By the way, the blurry, hypersaturated look was common to all Donruss ’81 cards. Most of the white guys in baseball looked like they’d had hastily applied spray tans.  Which in 1981 was just shoe polish, and a punchline to a Zonker Harris storyline set at the ‘George Hamilton Tanning Invitational’ in a collection of 1979 Doonesbury strips.

Ok, so I guess Dennis Leonard’s ‘look’ was from those episodes of Happy Days when Richie Cunningham comes back from wherever the hell it was they said he went, and he’s had it up to HERE with the Fonz and his small-town bigshot bullshit.  Meaning, he comes back home with a massive chip on his shoulder… AND A MUSTACHE.


About rockiebee

Husband. Dad. Carpenter. Troubadour. Creative Director for an action figure theater troupe. Video director. Critic. Comics fan.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Portraits of the Modern Dead-Ball Era: Five Fingers of Ball Death

  1. Ha! I love this post rockiebee. We have been going through a lot of stuff we have stored at my parent’s house, finding all our great old toys and stuff. My older brother’s cards surfaced, but due to mold they were thrown out. However ever the hoarder and garbage picker, I went out to the bins and looked through the cards, selecting a few that featured the…well let’s just say, least sophisticated looking ball players of the bunch. I was definitely struck at just how low class these 80s and 90s players looked, with their mullets and huge mustaches. We’re on the same wavelength here, because I was going to write a post about these cards soon, and then happened upon you blog thanks to your kind “like” and follow. I know the Clowes illustration you mentioned, and I always thought it was hilarious that the card “horrified” him as a child, as that type of overblown, overwrought concern and revulsion at things that are revealed as fairly routine as an adult is a very apt observation. My favorite of the cards I recovered from the garbage are a couple of cards of this ginger guy Ron Robinson, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds who’s curly red afro, big red nose, dark eyes and lack of eyelashes and eyebrows make resemble a slightly rounder Beaker from the Muppets. Anyways, thanks for checking my blog out, and I’ll try to do my post about the cards soon, now knowing that I have at least one fan who will be interested in it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s