Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baseball Cards and Rock & Roll

I remember back in 1989 when the very first set of Upper Deck baseball cards came out. These were what would be known as “premium” baseball cards, at least back in ’89 they were. These cards were link nothing that preceded them. They were more like fancy playing cards then the traditional cardboard picture cards we all came to know and love through the years.

The other two cards I’m picturing here at two Cardinals rookie cards. The first is #8, Cris Carpenter, not the same Chris Carpenter from the current Cardinals; this Cris Carpenter was a highly regarded pitcher in 1989. Unfortunately, his career would not amount to much.

The third and final card shown is from the “high number” set, #754 Todd Zeile. I remember that Zeile’s 89 Upper Deck card was one, hot tamale. Zeile had good years with the Redbirds, but his career never reached the expectations the media and the fans put on him.

The entire set was expensive for its day and I recall not being able to justify paying $100+ for a complete set. So, I made a deal with a collector friend who was getting married the next summer. I would disc jockey Willie and Ann’s reception and for payment, I’d get a factory box of 1989 Upper Deck baseball cards. Hey I couldn’t turn that down. I got to play music for a bunch of friends, a lot of Oldies at that reception; these folks were like me and really enjoyed the old Rock & Roll.

The not so good news is the Upper Deck set did not sky rocket in value over the years. But I never collected baseball cards for the money. It was the joy of collecting the cards that drove me. It still does to this day; although I don’t buy too many of the new product.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February 3rd, 1959

I remember hearing the news of the plane crash that took The Big Bopper, Richie Valens, and Buddy Holly from us. I was nine years old and listening to Rock & Roll on a daily basis. We had “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper and “Come On Let’s Go” by Richie Valens on 45’s. However, we had no records by Buddy Holly & the Crickets in our modest collection. Come to think of it, I would not get any Buddy Holly songs in my collection until the early 70’s when I bought the Decca release, “Buddy Holly, A Rock & Roll Collection.” At the time of the accident, I had no idea that Dion & the Belmonts were even on the tour. It could have been mentioned on some newscast, but I don’t recall it.

I wouldn’t become aware of just how significant of a contribution Buddy Holly would leave on American popular music until the British Invasion. I knew most of his hits; but it didn’t occur to me that Holly was as important to the history Rock & Roll as he would turn out to be. I had no idea how good Richie Valens was either, not to mention the talent of one Jiles Perry “J.P.” Richardson aka The Big Bopper. All of this would change as I grew older and wiser.
Don McLean would call February 3rd, 1959, “the day the music died.” I’m not going to dispute that here. In fact, I just might add to the mystique of this fateful day when these three stars fell from the sky outside of Mason City Iowa. I will say this, Charles Hardin Holley, may be the most underrated Rock & Roll performer of all time. Buddy Holly had talent. Buddy Holly could play the guitar and he could write songs and better yet, he was starting to become quite a producer. I often wonder what the Rock & Roll music scene would look like today had Holly not lost his life that night. Just how far would he have gone in the business. I wonder if the events following his death would have happened in the way they did, especially the British invasion. Many British acts, including The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, and The Rolling Stones were heavily influenced by Buddy’s music.

So I guess I could go on and on about the great loss on February 3rd, 1959. Sufficient to say, the music world lost a potential rising star in Valens, a fine entertainer in the Big Bopper, and a major Rock & Roller in Buddy Holly. Let their music live on, and on, and on.
I envite you all to check out The Mystery Train Wreck; there's a link in the blogs I follow section to the right of this page. Ed has assembled some nice videos of these stars.
Way to go Chief!