Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Cards: 3rd day (The Nutcracker)

Welcome to the 3rd of 12 posts in this holiday extravaganza! I explained it in more detail in the prologue, but essentially I'm celebrating my twelve favorite Christmas Cards (cards that are serial numbered 12/25), one a day till Christmas. Sweet!

Jim Piersall 2004 Topps Retired Signature Edition #'d 12/25

 Christmas Card :

 Holiday Music :
(A Christmas carol / holiday song for each card.)

The Nutcracker Suite - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Ok, I couldn't really think up a clever song for Piersall, so settled for this. He was known for being a "nut" and he "cracked" a bunch of hits in his prime.. so it might be a stretch, but there's that.

 Wrapping Paper :
(This is the section where I wrap up the card itself: the design, the photo, etc.)

My scanner doesn't do these justice. There's not much refraction going on, and the thick case makes the cards look blurry.
This is the first 2004 Topps Retired card on this list, but it won't be the last! I absolutely love these certified autos more than my own children. Just kidding, I don't have kids. But if I did, it would be a tough call. Good thing I don't have kids, because my decision to collect this high-end set would conflict with my ability to put them through college.

These certified autos come in packs with an "uncirculated" hard case from Topps, which is nice because I don't want no greasy slob laying fingers on such an exquisite card, LOL. The "base" autos vary in print runs, and are not serial numbered. But each of the 76 autos have refractor parallels that are /25. I suppose this is where I first got into the whole "Christmas Card" collecting idea.

Nice, shiny Chrome refractor front, and an excellent back with another small photo, vitals, full career stats, and a sentence about how cool the player is. The serial number isn't too prominent, down in the lower right corner, but that's fine.. don't need to hit you over the head with it. I broke down this set in the first real post on this blog back in June, and have mentioned it several times since, with updates on my goal to collect all 76 autos.

Sorry again for the bad scan.
 Naughty or Nice :
(This is the section where I check my list twice on the subject of the card.)

I gotta admit Jim Piersall was one of the few names in the 2004 Topps Retired checklist that I wasn't really familiar with when I first got into the set. He's more often known by Jimmy, but this card calls him Jim.

A quick glance at his lifetime numbers won't blow you away, but where he really made his mark in the game was by being such a zany character. I mean, he had a few quality years, garnering a smattering of MVP votes for 5 different seasons, but not enough to compile HOF-worthy stats. He was also one of the best fielders of the 50s and early 60s, frequently leading AL outfielders in fielding percentage and range.

He was prone to getting in fights, being ejected, and exhibiting eccentric behavior on the ballfield. In his day, it was known as "being a nutjob" but now in our more delicate and educated society, his particular brand of crazy has been diagnosed as bi-polar disorder.

Some of his greatest hits of wackiness:
  • Gave himself the nickname "the Waterbury Wizard" after his hometown, but it didn't really catch on.
  • Sprayed a squirt gun on home plate after a teammate hit a home run, and later heckled the umpire from the grandstand roof.
  • Once stepped up to bat wearing a Beatles wig and played air guitar on his bat. Another time up, he wore a little league helmet.
  • Sometimes led cheers for himself in the outfield during breaks in play.
  • Pretended to talk to Babe Ruth behind the center field monuments at Yankee Stadium.
  • Once got ejected for running back and forth in the outfield while Ted Williams was at bat.
  • When he hit his 100th home run, he ran the bases while turned backwards.
Seems like he must've been a fun guy to watch back in the day. The game needs an occasional loon to spice things up. Jimmy makes the "nice" list.

 Yuletide Stat :
(Here's where I dig around for a Christmas-y stat.)

With the Red Sox in '56, he led the league with 12 sacrifice flies. The prior year, he hit 25 doubles. Sorry, that's all I got.

 Spreading the Christmas Spirit :
(Here's where I photoshop the card to make it even more Christmas-y than it already is.)

 Singalong :
(Here's where we keep a running tab of the 12 Days of Christmas Cards so far... in song.)

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Two thousand four Topps Retired Jim Piersall
Two thousand eleven Santonio Holmes Prime Signatures
And a Jody Gerut two thousand four Leaf

Happy Holidays, and see you tomorrow for the next Christmas Card!

 Stocking Stuffer :
(A bit of bonus content)

Don't forget the Contest of Christmas Past is currently visiting us. The most clever comment over the duration of the 12 Days of Christmas Cards wins a prize. Hardly any comments right now.. wide open field. So don't be shy, let your voice be heard below!


  1. I know Pearsall from the movie Fear Strikes Out which I saw in my high school psychology class twenty years ago. He was played by Anthony Perkins, so this link seems relevant:

    1. Ha, cool card!
      I'll have to throw that movie into my Netflix queue and check it out.

  2. Your "Spreading the Christmas Spirit" section should be where you send your Red Sox cards to ThoughtsandSox...