Since I spent all day wrapped up in the tension of NFL playoff cliffhangers (the results of which were most pleasing to me, of course), now is as good a time as any to use my blog to answer a few questions posed by Patricia and Lucy of Dinged Corners. Enjoy!
1. If I didn't collect baseball cards, I'd collect...hmm. Tough question. I briefly dabbled in football cards in middle school, but it never stuck. I had plenty of action figures from one of my interests or another as a kid. Maybe WWF/WWE action figures. I'm still proud to own a fairly scarce Andre the Giant Hasbro figure.
2. My baseball heroes include one you probably wouldn't know from my blog or comments, and that person is Chris Hoiles. I haven't talked much about him, but when I look back at the guys I rooted for growing up, he seems like one of the most authentic. No steroid questions, no ego issues, and he was probably the best all-around catcher the O's ever had. Just a down-to-earth guy who sacrificed his body for baseball. Besides, I have a bit of a soft spot for catchers.
3. Every New Years, I resolve to build on my collection. Specifically, I'd like to complete a few more of my nearly-there sets in 2009.
4. If I could spend a day with one person from baseball history it would be Babe Ruth. I recently read a biography, and he was a guy who knew how to have a good time and was apparently very generous and big-hearted. As a fellow Baltimorean, I imagine we'd have some things to talk about.
1. My favorite kind of dog is a beagle. Snoopy was a beagle, after all.
2. My favorite baseball player (currently) is Brian Roberts. He flies under the radar, because there's usually a bigger star on the team (Miguel Tejada, Nick Markakis) or at his position in the American League (Placido Polanco, Dustin Pedroia). But he gets on base, hits tons of doubles, and is always a threat to steal. He's also been a great philanthropist in the Baltimore area.
3. My favorite team is obviously the Baltimore Orioles. Members of my family have been rooting for the Birds for three generations, ever since the team moved from St. Louis in 1954. I was born into it, but I didn't become a baseball fan until I was ten years old. Fifteen years later, I'm still hanging in there!
4. My favorite baseball movie is A League of Their Own. For my money, it's the best thing that Tom Hanks has ever done. It's funny and tugs at the heart strings, so there's something for everyone.
5. My favorite baseball book is Lords of the Realm by John Helyar. It's a thorough history of the owners of major league baseball teams, many of whom are fascinating and colorful characters like Charley Finley, Ted Turner, and Bill Veeck. It's a deep look at labor relations in baseball, and shows how the greed and backstabbing among the richest of the rich backfired and led to the current runaway player salaries. The owners seriously have no one to blame but themselves.
6. My favorite card is surprisingly not an Oriole. It's Bill "Swish" Nicholson's 1952 Topps card, #185. It's the oldest card that I own, and it features the last MLB player to graduate from my alma mater, Washington College in Chestertown, MD. He was one of the best power hitters of the World War II era. I picked up the card from eBay in October 2007 for 10 bucks, and didn't realize until it was in my possession that the card back made mention of Washington College!