Father's Day is not my favorite greeting card holiday. Last year, I was feeling sort of morose and gave the five cent version of why and then was pretty negative to the cards I featured. Well, this year, I have decided to accentuate the positive. It is quite an exciting time in my family because my brother and his wife are expecting their first child in about six weeks. Not only will this be the start of the next generation, it will be the first time someone will be happily referred to as "Dad" in this family in decades. Needless to say, I am very excited for my brother and he is, well, he is scared shitless. In honor of his impending paternal status, I have decided to highlight my player collection of his favorite player, Keith Hernandez.
Let's start off with the nine pocket pages:
These are the faux vintage reprint cards. For such a popular player, it sure seems like there is not a ton of these out there like some other players of similar stature.
There in the middle you see some great before and after shots of Keith's mustache. It was quite a big deal last year when he shaved it off. In fact, his upper lip is still naked and it still looks weird.
See what I mean about not a lot of the new stuff featuring him? I have a rare empty spot.
Let's get to the section with his playing days. First off, a page of him on the Indians, a stage of his career that he and all of us would like to pretend never happened.
The less said about him in a Cleveland uniform, the better.
Here we go, he's in the blue and orange of the boys from Flushing, much better.
The second 1989 Topps card here is a box bottom card, which is baby blue and alas, did not scan well. Those cards really looked sharp.
The 1959 style card on this next page is from Baseball Cards magazine. He looks pretty panicked that they picked pink for the border, I think he has a point.
If it seems Keith has a lot of cards showing him fielding, you're right...and he should. He won 11 straight gold gloves and it is one of the rare cases where a player deserved every single one of them. He was an artist at first base who practically redefined the way the position is played.
Keith was named the first team captain of the Mets back in 1987. If you look closely, you will notice that on the 1988 Score card he has a 'C' on his jersey. While I have seen it a few times since, I hadn't seen that in baseball before.
Hey look! A decent scan of a Sportflix card, you can almost see an actual picture there.
If you check out this picture, you'll see his 1986 Topps All Star card in the background along with former Mets teammate and fellow Met broadcaster Bobby Ojeda. I know if I had a baseball card, I would keep them around like that too.
It kind of makes sense to have Keith Hernandez featured on Father's Day for me. My father was a dude with a mustache who could kind of be a dick and Keith is, well...he's had his moments. My mom liked dudes with mustaches and intimated to me when I was a kid that she also liked Keith's butt. That would theoretically make that 1984 Topps card a favorite of hers.
Keith was traded from the Cardinals to the Mets in 1983 for two stiffs because of his love of the nose candy. It was one of the rare cases cocaine did something good for the Mets.
I have no idea where I got that 1981 OPC card, but I am glad I own it. You can see on the 1978 Topps card there that he is not 100% sold on the mustache.
I remember buying this 1987 Star set from a kiosk in the Paramus Park mall when I was 12 years old. Why do I remember that so vividly yet I cannot recall important events of my life? Or even where 90% of the other cards in this collection came from...sigh.
So those are the pages, but since I am on a roll, let's go into the shoe boxes to see what other goodies I have.
Right off the bat, I have his rookie and the mini. That mini is really well centered, considering I have seen that card in all sorts of alignment disarray.
I also have a nice big bat piece and a very handsome autograph. Not only is it on card, but it looks splendid; you can make out every letter in his name. That is a quality signature.
Wow, I have a lot of bat cards but no jersey cards. I should pick one up eventually so I can fill out the quad.
That Team Tribute card with Gary Carter and Lenny Dykstra is all sorts of shiny. Sadly, the scan does not do it justice. The quote they used for the Bazooka card is very amusing. Keith is, of course, famous for his love of the night life to the point where he dated Elaine on Seinfeld. I hope I don't have to explain that to you. If I do, you might be reading the wrong blog.
Some nice low numbered shiny here:
Those Pristine cards look fantastic, too bad Topps felt the need to hide them in gigantic sealed special holders. I usually bust those out; I have no idea why I left this in its uncirculated prison.
A couple of inserts of him on the wrong team again:
That is his 1983 Topps Traded card, which was featured in the pages, so I guess I have two of them. Anyone want to trade for that one?
Finally, a few more nice inserts:
Those Topps Super Teams refractors are pretty much the ultimate in shiny cards ever. Damn, I adore that set. The Dynasty Card there has Gary Carter and Dwight Gooden on the front. I remember having endless arguments in my youth with Yankees fans over who was the better first baseman, Keith Hernandez or Don Mattingly and who would make it into the hall of fame first. Sadly, the unfortunate answer to that particular question is: neither.
That's my Keith Hernandez player collection. There are some cards I'd like to add to it, but I think it is pretty comprehensive. I now leave you with the immortal words of Ralph Kiner - "It's Father's Day today at Shea, so to all you fathers out there, Happy Birthday."