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Fun Cards: Topps Now TBTC for April 12

Three straight days of posts? Um…quarantine much?


What’s a shutout? This was the first of Fred Toney‘s seven shutouts in 1917.


Tony Gonzalez enjoyed some minor success for the Phillies in the 1960s, but he started his career with the Reds.


Another day, another grand slam; this one came off the bat of Merv Rettenmund.


Dave Concepcion is our first repeated player as he walked off against the Mad Hungarian Al Hrabosky in 1980.


Bret Boone rounds out our highlights today with a grand slam against the Rockies in 1998.

Happy Easter friends! Just remember to stay six feet away from that wascally wabbit!

The weekend is made for fun

If you are a student (which I’m not), or if you work a “regular” job (which I don’t), then you probably look forward to each Friday. For me, as a 911 dispatcher that works 12 hour night shifts, it’s every other weekend that I look forward to. I actually love the schedule because of all the time off we get. When I don’t have any overtime, I only work half the days in a given month. One week I only work Wednesday and Thursday; the next week I only have off those two days.

In general, though, for most people, Friday is the goal each week. “If I can just make it to Friday, then I can have some fun.” Maybe that’s what Upper Deck had in mind in 1992 when they released “Fun Packs.”

Okay, probably not.

I picked up the Reds team set from the 1992 series from Matt of Red Cardboard a few weeks ago. He’s decluttering, jettisoning much of his non-vintage, non-Topps-flagship Reds collection. If you’re in the market for some Reds goodies, check out his list and shoot him a message.

Let’s take a quick look at the 1992 Fun Pack Reds cards.


Barry Larkin looks like he just got a base hit…maybe one of his 441 doubles. That’s fun.


Bret Boone in Spring Training. Trying to make the team. I hope he was having fun, but probably not. Rookies are under a lot of pressure. Plus, it looks like he wore #5? Johnny Bench‘s number was retired by the Reds shortly after his retirement. Maybe this was a minor league game instead of Spring Training. The uniform pants look a bit different, and the red helmet and jersey may be a little darker than what Cincinnati wore.


Willie Greene looks like he’s concentrating hard on a high bouncer. Concentrating is not necessarily fun.


Jose Rijo peers into Joe Oliver for the sign. Fastball? Curve? He doesn’t look like he’s not having fun, but doesn’t look like he is having fun either.


Finally…THIS is a picture of a ballplayer having FUN! Reggie Sanders yucking it up as he plays catch. Look at that smile. Sanders had a fine major league career with 305 home runs and 304 stolen bases. For a long time he was one of only four players in the 300/300 club, with Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Bobby Bonds. I’m sure that club has grown exponentially since I first learned that fact, but it’s still fun to think of Sanders in a club with a couple of Hall of Famers.

I’m off work this weekend. I got home early this morning, went to bed, and tonight I’m to catch Avengers: Endgame with my youngest son. We love going to the movies together. It’s fun. I am going to miss having a movie partner when he goes off to college in just over a year.

Happy Reds birthday, Bret Boone!


April 6, 1969

Baseball runs in the blood of the Boone family. Bret Boone, his brother Aaron Boone, his father Bob Boone, and his grandfather Ray Boone were all gifted ballplayers, with ten All-Star appearances to their credit. Bret was the first third-generation major leaguer in 1992; since he debuted, four other families have seen three generations make the major leagues.

Home Game: Big-League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family by Bret Book and Kevin Cook (2016)

Home Game

Home Game: Big-League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family
by Bret Book and Kevin Cook
Crown Archetype, 2016
272 pages

Being the son of a major leaguer must be daunting, with athletic expectations high. Being a third-generation ballplayer, especially when no one ever followed both their father and grandfather into the professional ranks before, the pressure had to be immense. But not for Bret Boone, who was not satisfied to have a famous last name. He wanted to prove that he belonged, and not just a feel-good story for the media.

In Home Game, Boone admits that he regrets the way he approached his big league debut. He should have given more credit to his grandfather, Ray Boone, and father, Bob Boone, both who had solid careers. Ray led the league in RBI and was an All-Star; Bob showed him up by becoming one of the greatest defensive catchers in the game and making multiple All-Star Games. Bret carried on the tradition of family excellence, leading the league in RBI like his grandfather and becoming a stalwart defensive second baseman and All-Star in his own right. And he was not alone; he was joined by his brother Aaron Boone at the top level of professional baseball.

Boone honors his heritage, showing respect to his late grandfather and his father, relating a handful of stories that were passed down to him. He tells about growing up in the Phillies clubhouse, getting batting tips from Mike Schmidt, and later, when his dad was with the Angels, playing catch with Reggie Jackson. He discusses his disappointment in being drafted so low out of high school, and in not being drafted until the fifth round after a few years at USC. He recalls his time in the minor leagues and his struggle to get to Seattle, where he butted heads with Lou Piniella at first. He also tells of the hazing he endured from Jay Buhner, and the friendship that developed as he handled it in stride.

Boone mentions the allegations made by Jose Canseco, denying that he ever took steroids and stating emphatically that their supposed conversation at second base never happened. In his denial, Boone does admit to using greenies, but says of those who claim ignorance when steroids are found in their system, “It’s your job to know what’s in your body. It’s your job to stay clean and test clean.”

There is some foul language throughout—not as much as some autobiographies contain, but it is present. Home Game: Big-League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family is a good behind-the-scenes look at the game, covering three generations of All-Star baseball. Aside from the Boones, there is mention of Ted Williams, Pete Rose, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Ken Griffey, and Barry Larkin, among others. It may be some time before we see another three-generational All-Star family, and this peek inside the family tradition of the Boones is well worth the read.

Learn more about Crown Archetype.

Purchase Home Game: Big-League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family by Bret Book and Kevin Cook.

Trade with The Phillies Room

Jim over at The Phillies Room makes some awesome custom cards, and has for several years now. He calls them “Chachi” sets, and I always look forward to seeing new customs on his site.

We recently agreed to a Phillies-for-Reds trade, and his package arrived in the mail today. My jaw almost hit the floor when I saw the goodies he picked out for me!

My collection of 1971 Topps Reds has increased a lot over the past few weeks, with great cards coming in from thoughtful bloggers. Pat Corrales is now the seventh Reds card I have from the 1971 set.

This 1979 Topps card commemorates Pete Rose‘s 44-game hitting streak, still a National League record.

Jim totally hooked me up with a ton of early 80s sweetness. Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, and Mario Soto were a few of the best Reds, or at least most popular, in the early 80s. Jim looked at my wantlists when he picked these cards out, because there was not a single double in the stack. Here’s the breakdown:

1981 Donruss: 3 cards
1981 Fleer: 10
1981 Topps: 2
1982 Donruss: 9
1982 Fleer: 8
1983 Donruss: 20!!!

But he also sent along a few modern cards also…

I don’t recall ever seeing a 1995 Topps Embossed card, so this Bret Boone was a very cool addition to my collection.

From the 2011 Topps set, I got both Johnny Cueto and Frank Robinson 60YOT backs, and a base card of Aaron Harang.

Thanks for the trade Jim. Awesome stuff!

This wonderful 1960 Topps Ray Boone card could be yours!

Ray Boone is the father of Bob Boone, grandfather of Aaron Boone and Bret Boone. If you’re into three generational baseball families, this would be a really nice card.

I’m not.

I’m just a Reds collector. So here’s the deal: Trade me any Reds card from the 1950s or 1960s (through 1965) that I don’t already own (which is most Reds cards) and this Ray Boone can be yours! Make an offer on before March 1, which is the order-your-cards-or-they-will-never-see-the-light-of-day-again day (if I’m reading the rules correctly).

Dayf, if you still have that ’67 Ellis, I’ll take it. If you don’t, I understand…my loss, and no hard feelings.

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