Classic card of the week

Pride of the Reds, 1982 Donruss

The Pride of the Reds are two white men. They stand solemnly but proudly amidst the hilly countryside of the French Alps. If you find them, they will let you take a picture. In that respect, they are not like the elusive Sasquatch. Where they are going, they do not know, but they have their uniforms on, so just in case a game breaks out they will be prepared. Except one-half of the Pride of the Reds forgot his hat. But that is okay -- hats are just for show. The Pride of the Reds are interchangeable. They are the same in physical stature and in whiteness. Ask them for an autograph and each will sign it, “To Billy: Believe in the stars. Sincerely, Pride of the Reds.” They remain nameless. Yet prideful. And Redly. But what will the historians say?

When the historians look back at baseball years from now and try to decide who were the dominant players in the game during the 1970s, they need not go much further than Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver.

The year is 3026. The President of the United States is named Hazlack Orff. Our country is in three galactic wars, and money is tight. Regardless, Mr. Orff has decided -- against the best interests of the nation -- to use the remaining surplus from our takeover of Montreal to commission a group of historians. Their mission: to decide who the dominant baseball players were during the 1970s.

These historians work day and night for 30 consecutive days, sequestered in a conference room somewhere in Parsippany, which is now the nation’s capitol. They argue, they scratch their heads, they scour Wikipedia, which is now the only means of biographical and historical data. One of the historians, drunk on moonshine, mistakenly utters the name “Rod Carew.” He is murdered. After 30 days, the historians, satisfied with their discoveries, go immediately to President Orff:

President Hazlack Orff: And what are your findings on the dominant baseball players of the 1970s?

Historian (Frank): Well, sir…ahem: Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver.

Orff: Ah, yes. I somewhat recall my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather regaling stories of the accomplishments of those fine fellows. Do continue.

Frank: Ummm, well…that is all sir.

Orff: That is all? How is that possible? There were like, hundreds and hundreds of baseball players around during the 1970s. Surely more than two of them could be described as dominant. I spent 800 trillion galactabucks on this commission! Explain yourselves!

Frank: Well, sir, we collectively decided that, after examining all of the statistics of Mr. Bench and Mr. Seaver as they related to baseball in the 1970s, that we need not look much further.

Orff: Hmmm, I must say I admire your chutzpah. And those two men were amazingly dominant. They were considered the Pride of the Reds, were they not?

Frank: Yes sir, they were.

Orff: Tell me, what does Ted make of all this?

Frank: Ted is dead, sir.

Orff: That is unfortunate. But these things happen. Gentlemen, I accept your findings. You will all be rewarded orange stars of bravery! Afterwards there will be punch. Suzanne, show these men out of here.

Did you know?
Tom Seaver once pitched 7 2/3 innings of two-hit ball while wearing a tophat he borrowed from a local magician.