I claimed one card that Wes posted -- I'd like to think that it was posted with me in mind:
That's a 2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Disco Diffractor serial numbered to 50. I jumped all over that card as fast as I could.
Wes being Wes, he couldn't just send that single card. No sir. Instead, a bubble mailer arrived filled with great cards for my collection and even an oddball set.
This 1986 Topps Baseball Champion Superstars set was produced specifically for Woolworth's. Wes made sure that this set was 100% complete. In fact, here's the first thing I pulled out of it.
I did not make any effort to chew that 31-year-old gum. No thanks. I remember being in high school in 1988 or 1989 and I spent some money I had made at my summer job on getting an unopened box of 1984 Topps. I actually chewed some of that then 4-to-5-year-old gum, and it was pretty terrible. I can't imagine what gum older than Clayton Kershaw would taste like, nor would I want to.
That said, the gum did give me an idea for a little music accompaniment. Of course: bubblegum pop music straight out of the late 1960s.
Let's start with the Lemon Pipers and their song "Green Tambourine." This song was a massive hit -- reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1968 and being certified gold. It's a song about busking, at its core -- the singer asks people to drop money in his hat and he'll play his green tambourine in return.
Sounds like a bad deal to me, since the sound of a tambourine by itself is as musically interesting as the sound of a triangle.
The band itself never achieved as great of success as they did with this song. Reading their Wikipedia entry makes it easy to understand why: this song was written for them by their label and caused them to get forced into the bubblegum genre contrary to what they wanted to do -- which was more 60s-oriented blues, hard rock, and folk rock akin to Byrds and The Who.
I usually make the card scans bigger than this, but this turned out so well on its own in the shape of a Christmas tree that I just had to leave it.
Let's talk about George Iskenderian. George (so I don't have to type his last name over again) grew up in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and attended Don Bosco Prep. His first stop from there was to attend the University of South Carolina, where he spent his freshman year before he decided he had had enough of the Palmetto State and left.
He told people publicly that he wanted to be closer to New Jersey, but he transferred instead to Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Florida. In fairness, that is closer to South Jersey (a/k/a South Florida) than South Carolina is. He got his wish to get closer to home after that and attended the University of Miami for his final year of college before the Brewers drafted him in the 7th round in 2015 and signed him.
He hit well in 2015 at Rookie Level Helena. He made his full-season debut in 2016 at Brevard County, but struggled with injuries some and played only 90 games. This year, he started at Biloxi poorly -- 3-for-38 with 2 BB and 16 Ks. He hit the DL, came off it, and then "was moved to Helena" in mid-May. Thing is, though, that he has not played since that time and his MILB.com biography lists his current status as "Suspended # days." I have not been able to find the reason for the suspension anywhere -- even the usually comprehensive Brewerfan.net message boards.
But, if I read between the lines through his Instagram account, he may simply have quit and gone back to school.
If so, good luck to him.
Now, back to the music and the cards.
Here's a song I used to listen to regularly on a 45 RPM single as an 8-year-old -- "Yummy Yummy Yummy" by Ohio Express. Reading about Ohio Express and its history is pretty interesting.
Basically, the group name was used by two producers -- Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz -- to market music recorded by a whole host of different artists. In fact, this song was recorded by studio musicians in New York. If I were to try to provide a story of its history here, it would eat this entry. I mean, the Wikipedia entry for the band's career starts with this sentence: The question of who is the "real" Ohio Express is difficult to answer.
So, take a read of that article rather than having me rewrite it here.
Wes likes to send me great Georgia cards fairly regularly. This package featured the best basketball player ever to attend UGA -- Dominique Wilkins, whose leaving North Carolina and attending UGA became the subject of one of those "SEC Storied" shows on ESPN.
The other two cards highlight the most disappointing season in UGA football history to me -- the 2007 season. It had everything: two typical Mark Richt losses -- one painful one against South Carolina (which I attended, final score of 16-12) and one "the team didn't show up" game against Tennessee (35-14 loss), which I watched at a local sports bar for about the first half of the first quarter and decided it would be rather better to forget the game and started drinking double Jack Daniels & Diet Cokes. That had the desired effect, as I have no recollection of anything of that game.
It had the fruitless scoreboard watching, hoping that that Tennessee team would get upended by either Vanderbilt (Vandy blew a 24-9 lead, giving up 16 unanswered 4th quarter points) or Kentucky (Tennessee blew a 17-point lead but, Lazarus-like, was able to block a 35-yard field goal that would have beaten them in the second overtime and then stuff a 2-point conversion in the fourth overtime to win).
On the positive side, 2007 had the "dancing on Urban Meyer" game against Florida. the blackout against Auburn, the Britney Spears win in overtime against Alabama, and the absolute annihilation of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. Yet, it's what could have been that season in those losses and the start of seeing the cracks in Mark Richt's coaching that really marked that season.
This song was written for the animated series called "The Archie Show" about Archie, Jughead, Reggie, Betty, Veronica, and the rest of Archie's gang in Riverdale. The song was a massive hit -- finishing as the number one hit for the entire year in 1969 ahead of such (much better) songs as "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," "Honky Tonk Women," "Sweet Caroline," "Come Together," and "Proud Mary."
This is another song that I had on a 45 record that I probably wore out as an 8-year-old. I loved reading the Archie comics as a kid too, so that probably had something to do with my enjoying the song.
Sweet candy to me is getting a new card or two for some of my player collections. To be honest, I'm not sure if these went into the player collections or not -- well, other than that Jonathan Lucroy Platinum Bunt card serial numbered to 99, which certainly did. But, these are all great cards for either the player or team collections. Especially that Yount prism, which looks really awesome in this scan.
Bubblegum pop music was huge in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was so huge that it literally led to a number of television shows, including The Partridge Family. Singer/actor David Cassidy was one of the heartthrobs to emerge from the show. Only Cassidy and Shirley Jones sang on this song; the rest of the musicians are from the now-famous Wrecking Crew group of studio musicians.
As was the case with The Archies in 1969, this song was massive in 1970. It hit number 1 in Australia, Canada, and on the Billboard and Cash Box charts in the US, though it oddly did not hit the year-end chart for Billboard. Weird.
Not weird are the five Warren Spahn cards that Wes sent to me to finish off this envelope. I have yet to finish my checklist of cards that I need for the Braves, a failure due mainly to my own lack of time to do the work and my own lack of effort into getting it done.
That happens when you don't make it home on weekends.
Wes, thank you very much for the great package. You are truly a generous gentleman whom we in the blogworld are lucky to have with us.