Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thinking Deeply With 1990 Donruss & A Shout Out To The Dimwit

I made some self deprecating comments about my recent purchase of an album bound INCOMPLETE set of 1990 Donruss that I "won" at one of Cleve’s auctions a few weeks ago.  I felt it was a justifiable purchase for $2 because it also came with several back issue Beckett magazines, but mostly because the pages were in good shape and I could remove the pointless Donruss cards and use the pages for later.  It did amount to 83 pages after all.  I finally finished pulling out all of the cards the other day, and a few things occurred to me:
1)       I am never doing this again.  Do you know what a pain it is to pull 700+ boring cards out of 80+ pages? 
2)     Despite the hassle, there is always something of value in any base set if you look hard enough.  Not necessarily of monetary value, but something worth pausing over and thinking about.  For example:

Even though he was commissioner of baseball for a very brief period of time, I have grown to become an admirer of Bart Giamatti.  Some newer baseball fans may not be familiar with Giamatti and his place in baseball history.  But rather than giving an overview of his biography, I’ll partner with Wikipedia just like Topps has done recently with their Allen & Ginter cards. 
My admiration is mostly unrelated to his ruling on Pete Rose (I don’t intend to get into that here), but more due to my perception of him as a thoughtful, literate asset to the game of baseball.  If you’ve never read any of his books or essays on baseball, I highly recommend doing so.
I wonder what the landscape of baseball would look like had he not passed away and remained commisioner?  Would the steroid plague played out the same way?  Would we still have the Wild-Cards and Interleague play?  Would baseball be better or worse than it is now?  I would vote for Giamatti over Selig as commissioner, but that doesn’t mean he would have done a better job than Selig over the past 15 years.   As much as people like Colin Cowherd give Selig grief for being beholden to baseball traditions, would Giamatti been even LESS likely to make changes to the game than Selig?   I am interested in the thoughts out in blogger land. 

Also, if you don't know about it already, the one and only Daily Dimwit is having a really nice giveway, with signups ending this Friday.   Get over and check out a great blog!


hiflew said...

The thing I have wondered about is would the strike of 1994 have happened had a strong commissioner like Giamatti been in charge, instead of a pushover like Fay Vincent. The strike is what turned me off of baseball completely for about four years, basically until McGwire/Sosa reignited my love of the game (steroids be damned that was an entertaining season).

I admit growing up as a child and grandchild of a huge Reds fans, I didn't like Giamatti because of the whole Rose thing. Mostly because I was 14 and didn't fully understand the problem. As I have gotten older I appreciate his impact on the game more than ever now.

I don't think the Selig comparison is really warranted, because of the Fay Vincent buffer. There is a good chance that Giamatti would have stepped down prior to 1997-ish when Selig took over, and there is no way he would have still been around. It's sort of like asking if Babe Ruth would have been a good hitter against the strong pitching of the 1960s. Different eras apply to ownership as well.

The Lost Collector said...

Giamatti's performance in Sideways was excellent.

Do you think Bart is short for "Bartolo"?

My personal opinion is that the landscape of the game wouldn't have change much if he was able to remain at the helm. Steroids were already being used during part of his regime. Would it have played out the same way over the longhaul? I dunno.

Anonymous said...

I will have to get my hands on some of his baseball literary work - thanks for the recommendation.

I can remember bitter feelings as a kid when Giamatti made his Pete Rose ruling. While I still don't agree with the whole Rose situation, I can see now that Bartolo (?) was only doing what he felt was right and, these days, you don't find that too much at his level of executive leadership. Instead, you tend to see decisions that are made based off of public opinion. So I have to give him credit for that!

Giamatti was also hysterical as "pig vomit" in Howard Stern: Private Parts, Aj! Although, I laughed pretty hard in "Sideways"...especially in one scene where he sensed a 'hint of asparagus' in one of his wines. Ha!

On another related note - Napkin Doon - are you going to hang on to those terrible Donruss? For my (hang on, doing math) 10th birthday, I received not one but TWO boxes of '90 Donruss! I know, early retirement gone awry, AGAIN. Anyways, I can remember collating towards a set and being relatively close (I can still see my scratch sheet with #'s).

I am scheduled to reclaim my childhood collection later this year, probably around Thanksgiving, when visiting my parents. I plan to 'bring my cards home' and begin a quest of exploring the two plastic bins that contain my childhood fortune. When I do, I might hit you up for some of those majestic '90 Donruss cards!

I guess even bad ideas must be brought to completion, in my mind!



Spiff said...

If I recall correctly Giamatti's first initial was A and his middle name was Bartlett. Thus the Bart. Not sure what the first name was.