Thursday, October 15, 2009

Classic card of the week


Ray Durham, 1996 Topps Laser series

This card is part of the Topps’ “Laser series,” in which Topps printed a set of baseball cards and then had a laser come through and destroy about 35% of each card. Pretty cool, huh? Said Topps executive Bart Swingleman in 1995: “We wanted to draw attention away from the player featured on the card, so that kids could focus on the awesomeness of our lasers. And I think we accomplished that.”

Indeed they did. I am having trouble focusing on Ray Durham boringly crossing home plate, as I am distracted by the nondescript, yet very red and very lasery ballplayer to the right, who is jogging out of the card! Amazing. But I need to refocus here. What about Ray Durham? Let’s check some “spotlight stats” on the back:



.640: Winning pct. by 1995 White Sox when Durham scored

Now, the naysayer might say: “Nay. I am unimpressed by the fact that the White Sox won 64% of the time when Ray Durham scored, as runs scored invariably increases a teams’ chances of winning, and so that stat is less a reflection on Durham himself, but more on the effect of scoring runs in general.” However, what the naysayer -- in this case, author and question-mark suit wearer Matthew Lesko, who actually said that –- did not know was that when Ozzie Guillen scored a run, the 1995 White Sox lost 89% of the time. So obviously Ray Durham’s runs had a more positive effect.

But what more about Mr. Durham? Wikipedia?

Ray Durham (born November 30, 1971 in Charlotte, North Carolina), nicknamed The Sugarman

Never in my entire life have I ever heard anybody refer to Ray Durham as “The Sugarman.” If I were at a fantasy baseball draft in 1996, and somebody said, “I’ll take the Sugarman,” I would not know what to write down on my sheet, because I would have no idea what that person was talking about. Since Wikipedia declines to expand on this, I am left to wonder about the origins of this nickname. I will simply read on:

He was a bit of a womanizer because of his amazing looks.

Ray Durham has/had amazing looks? I am beginning to feel as though I know little to nothing about Ray Durham. I can only assume that this reputed womanizing earned him The Sugarman nickname. I may not know a lot about Ray Durham, but I know that women = sugar. And Ray Durham had a lot of sugar. Because of the sex he had with women. May I also suggest that a “spotlight stat” involving the amount of sugar attained by Ray Durham would be more interesting -– to me -– than a stat about runs scored. Unless by runs, they mean women.

Ray Durham has also gained fame and popularity through his nickname: “Ray-Ray.”

First of all…what? I thought his nickname was “The Sugarman?” Secondly, I was also unaware of the “Ray-Ray” nickname, so the fame and popularity he gained through it was, once again, lost on me. It should also be mentioned that Ray-Ray is not to be confused with Ray-J, who is also known as The Sugarman.

Did you know?
Ray Durham also played baseball.

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