For a brief while, I collected baseball cards. TOPPS baseball cards. That was an important distinction. They were the ones with the faux wood paneling that somehow made them even more legitimate.
I loved learning players’ names, like Chet Lemon and Nick Esasky. I poured over the stats*. And I even enjoyed chewing the chalky gum with its faintly chemical residue**.
But there was a snake in the grass. A traitor in the midst of all the glory. A turncoat lurking behind every rectangle. The dreaded “Leaders” card.
Take this 1987 “Brewers Leaders” card. Who’s that on the front? If you guessed pitcher Jaime Cocanower in the last year of his professional career and back-up catcher, Charlie Moore, you’re right.
Were either of them Brewers Leaders in 1986? A quick look at the back says, “no”***.
Inaccurate photo. Dream effects around edges. And stats you can get from the actual player cards.
Ugh. Swing and a miss. Yer out!
*.277 and .238, respectively
**Fun fact: baseball cards were started by chewing gum manufacturers to increase gum sales
***Nice work by 20-game winner, Ted Hiquera, and Rob Deer with his 33 homeruns though