Friday, February 12, 2016

Base(ball) Oddity #42: Smokey and the Brave

Two things held my interest as a second grader in the year of our Lord, 1977: sports and cars. I really don't have any early recollections of not liking either of them, but that year my interest seemed to skyrocket. I attribute that surging interest to two things: I began collecting cards and I saw the Burt Reynolds classic Smokey and the Bandit. Johnny Bench may have been the best player in the planet (at least to my seven or eight-year old self)- but he was no Bandit. I just couldn't imagine him driving a black and gold Trans Am. He seemed more like an old pick-up type of guy. Or maybe even a Cadillac man.

I don't remember many of the cards I got during that 1977 season (either through packs or trading with friends) but I often wonder if a certain rookie card was one of them. I'm talking about the Dale Murphy rookie card, of course. This would have been about three years before I remember hearing about the guy who would one day become my favorite player, so it's very possible that he could have been among them and I just don't remember.

Fast forwarding ten years later... that Murphy guy was my favorite player but I no longer cared about trading cards. I had long forgot about Topps, Donruss and Fleer, and I sure as heck didn't know about the set of cards that were created to help educate the public about the danger of forest fires. This set, the 1987 U.S. Forestry Service set, featured a card with a different Smokey- one who was even more famous than the character portrayed by Jackie Gleason- and Mr. Dale Murphy, looking somewhat unprofessional with his shirttail hanging out. Come to think of it, it almost seems a bit 'Junior-ish'- as in, Junior Justice.

Son, you're looking at a legend

I picked up this variation last summer after finding it on, using some of the points I had built up from my credit card. The other version of the card features a picture of the two standing next to each other- Smokey with a mitt and Dale with a bat on his shoulder. The back of the cards are the same.

The same tips could be used in reporting the illegal transportation of contraband beer or other nefarious activities.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pick up a Diablo sandwich and a Dr. Pepper and put the medal to the petal and the thing to the floor. I've got a long way to go and a short time to get there: 28 hours to haul 400 cases of 1987 Topps from Texarkana to Atlanta, Ga., where, I hear, the boys are thirsty for some of that intoxicating junkwax.

1 comment:

  1. Great trip back to my childhood. Smokey and the Bandit was one of my favorites. I'm sure this is an exaggeration... but it felt like we watched this movie (and Porky's) at every sleepover my buddies and I had.