I'm happy to say that the two shoeboxes full of cards sold at the yard sale earlier today. The mailman, making his usual stop, spotted the boxes and said he knew a family with a kid who liked baseball.
The mailman then called the family and went on his way. Sure enough, a little while later, a van pulled up, someone got out, and bought both boxes of cards.
I hope the kid likes 1990 Topps.
OK, there was other stuff in there, too, pretty much the whole gamut from 2017 Topps to 10-year-old cards, to even a couple of beat-up items from 1972 and 1973. I think the kid is going to have a ball.
One person I know was not in those boxes of cards is Kirt Manwaring. Because you don't just give away a Kirt Manwaring card. Manwaring's birthday is today, so it's an appropriate time to honor his contribution to cardboard.
Manwaring may be a little too well-known for the Legend of Cardboard series, but really he had only one solid season at the plate, 1993 when the Giants challenged the Braves for the NL West title. Overall, he was an exceptional defensive catcher who struggled to get into the lineup regularly. He made up for it, though, by matching up his career with the 1990s, a decade particularly kind to catchers.
Out of all the fantastic cards of catchers from the '90s, I don't know if any can match Manwaring's. And if they do, it's only because they were Piazza or Ivan Rodriguez with an embarrassment of riches as far as cardboard. Manwaring enjoyed far fewer cards. But, he really did make the most of them.
This is his most well-known card, with good reason. Manwaring has just been bowled over by the Cubs' Mark Grace in a home plate collision (remember those?), but he's still got that ball ... and the shit-eating grin. Mr. Grace, I think you may be out (I didn't do the research, I don't care about the research right now).
But this is just the start of Manwaring's legend.
Grace isn't the only player to appear on Manwaring's cards.
There's the Expos' Freddie Benavides.
There's the Dodgers' Brett Butler.
There's fellow Legend of Cardboard Alex Cole.
There's some Cincinnati Red.
There's the Braves' Jeff Blauser.
There's another Cincinnati Red (I think).
And, heck, is that the Mets' Frank Viola?
That makes for some great cardboard.
But it's not just the cameos, and it's not just the fact that he's a catcher.
It's two other things.
One, he appears to be always in motion. If card companies wanted to make you believe that Manwaring never stopped, even for a second, that he was a whirling dervish, with an abnormal obsession for tracking down foul pop ups, then they did an excellent job.
I've never seen one person chase down so many foul pop ups on cardboard.
Two, Manwaring was very expressive out there on the field.
Action is action. It's exciting. But the only thing that makes it more exciting is the expressions of the players. If the player goes about his business in a grim-faced fashion, it's not going to make for the best of the best cards.
Manwaring didn't do that. Just about every play that he made on cardboard appeared to be the most shocking surprise to him: "WHAT???? I HAVE THE BALL????? WHAT???? ANOTHER POP UP????"
That is why he's a legend of cardboard.
A couple of more quick examples and then I'll get out of here.
I threw in that last one just for giggles.
Just recently, the blog Bob Walk The Plank surmised that Jason Kendall, also a catcher, possessed some of the greatest cards. And, it's true, he does. Kendall even gets in some doozies on offense, which is Manwaring's weak point, partly because he didn't produce on offense like Kendall did.
Again, Kendall was more well-known and successful than Manwaring, so he could never contend for this series.
I mean just consider this for a moment:
Manwaring's career ended almost 20 years ago and his cardboard is still making an impression.
Also, he spent most of his career as a Giant, and here I am a Dodger blue patriot through and through, paying tribute to him.
That says something.
He's a Legend of Cardboard.