24 April 2014

Just the Commons, Ma'am 4: I Walk the Line

I used my recent order from the JustCommons website to get a jump start on a new players collection. This is one of the most famous players in baseball so you'd think his cards would be pretty expensive, but they are priced like any old scrub commons you might find in a checklist.

The player in question is Mario Mendoza, of the infamous 'Mendoza Line.' The term is used to describe someone who is batting at or around .200, which is where Mendoza spent much of his career. The phrase was coined by some combination of Bruce Bochte, Tom Paciorek, George Brett, and announcer Chris Berman.

I thought it might be nice to collect a guy with such a famous bit of baseball lore surrounding his career, even if it's not exactly the type of fame someone dreams about when they are a kid.

I grabbed three cards from Mendoza's time as a Pirate, including a 1975 Topps, a nice shot of him sporting the double-brim look in his 1978 issue, and a photo of him dressed as a banana on his 1979 card. The 1979 card also features an error, listing his career batting average at .278, when he had never hit higher than .221 in any prior year. Rumor has it that Topps divided his hits by games played rather than at-bats when calculating the career number.

I got four cards from his time with the Mariners. His 1980 Topps card is horribly off-center. Usually it's my poor cropping that makes the cards look like this, but in this case it was just that the card is off-center so much. I may look for an upgrade for it. I also got three Mariners cards from 1981, the year I was born, picking up his Fleer, Topps, and Donruss issues.

And finally, a quadfecta of cards from his time as a Ranger. The 1981 card is from Topps Traded, while I also have 1982 cards from Fleer, Topps, and Donruss. Again, his Topps card is way off-center. Boo!

I have a few more Mendoza cards coming in from a couple of other sources. He doesn't have a lot of stuff out there unless you want to chase down obscure team-issued stuff and the like, and even then there really isn't that much to get. This will be a fun little nearly-vintage collection to fill out without spending the big bucks.

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