Results tagged ‘ baseball cards ’

Mall Ballers: The Spokane Indians’ Brief Run of Baseball Card Brilliance

It’s a very busy time of year for me, on a personal and professional level. It can be tough to keep track of everything that’s going on, and I often feel overwhelmed. But every so often something comes along that requires immediate attention, something so hilarious and bizarre that it trumps all else. This is one of those things:

For the ’87, ’88 and ’89 seasons, the Spokane Indians team card set featured players posing at the local NorthTown Mall. I can say, without hyperbole, that these are the greatest Minor League team card sets of all time. With perhaps a little hyperbole, I can say that these are the best baseball cards of all time.

cardsThis noteworthy bit of decades-old absurdity was brought to my attention via the Indians themselves, who recently posted an article on the team website about just how these card sets came to be. The whole thing is well worth reading, so click HERE to read it. A few notable excerpts:

Rather than having the players and coaches pose at Avista Stadium, [the team] took the players to the NorthTown Mall – who sponsored the set – and had them pose at various merchants throughout the mall.


Manager Steve Lubratich, the man responsible for creating a lineup and managing a bullpen, is posed next to a cardboard cutout of Whitney Houston, arm draped over her shoulder – perhaps not the best way to command respect from his players. Pitcher Jay Estrada is casually leaning on a shelf full of women’s clothes, outfielder Greg Smith is all smiles next to a display of aquatic shampoo, and future major leaguer Dave Hollins can be found hanging out in the food court next to a tub of popcorn.

Steve Lubratich

“At the time players were staying at the Gonzaga dorms and didn’t really have access to cars, so the chance to get out and explore the mall for the afternoon was well received,” said [former Indians general manager Tim] Leip in a recent interview. “All the merchants in the mall treated the players well and for some players it was their first time at a big mall.”

Bobby Sheridan

It was my first baseball card so I thought maybe that’s just how it was,” said 1988 outfielder Nikco Riesgo, who posed with a Spokane Indians pennant outside a sports store on his card. “It was a great way to meet the fans. We might have seen the whole city of Spokane that day, and we were treated like the Beatles. It was the perfect place for us to interact with people.”

Saul Soltero

Indians communications coordinator Bud Bareither was kind enough to send along the photos seen above, as well as those seen below. Please, continue to enjoy:

Kevin Higgins

Tony Lewis

brian cisarik

Mike Humphrey

Being made aware of the existence of these baseball cards certainly brightened my day. I hope that it brightened yours as well. And, in related news, I am now $3 poorer.



After Drinking Beer On the Mound, Rojo Gets Carded

rojo1.jpgOutside of the ascendance of Stephen Strasburg, no bigger story has emerged out of the Minor Leagues this season than what transpired in Texas on May 6.

As you’ll no doubt recall, a mustachoied, jewlery-wearing, beer-swilling pitcher by the name of Biilly Ray “Rojo” Johnson took the mound for the Round Rock Express. This mysterious individual precipitated a brawl with just one pitch, and then vanished from the scene just as quickly as he came.

Rojo, of course, was Will Ferrell. 

The comedian’s memorable foray into the Minors has been commemorated with what is destined to be one of the most sought-after cards of 2010. Behold:


The card is part of the Pacific Coast League’s “Top Prospects” set, which, in addition to Rojo, includes 35 of the circuit’s most promising players. 3892 of these cardboard beauties were produced; here’s the breakdown:

2892 complete
sets belonging to the 16 PCL teams/league office

500 individual
cards belonging to the Cancer for College charity

170 uncut press
sheets belonging to the 16 PCL teams/league office

The sets belonging to PCL clubs are currently available for sale at their respective team stores. Meanwhile,Thumbnail image for rojo2.jpg Cancer for College will be making available their 500 Rojo cards at a later date. 100 of these cards will be signed and numbered by Ferrell, and can only be obtained via a donation to the organization.

Who knows what will become of the cards belonging to Mr. Ferrell? Like the hair residing above Rojo’s upper lip, that’s his personal stash.

This has been Ben’s Biz Blog post #500. Thank you for your continued patronage.