Classic card of the week

Jay Buhner, 1989 Topps

During the heyday of my card-collecting, few things set off the alarm of excitement in my heart more than seeing a distinguished logo on a baseball card—a “Rated Rookie” insignia, a “The More You Know”-type colorful “Future Stars” banner bursting across the center of the card, or, as in this case, a Rookie All-Star trophy goblet logo. To see one of these things meant that you might have something special on your hands. “Something special” being a card that may, in a few decades or so, be worth enough money to cash in and pay off a tiny fraction of a bloated student loan so the creditors will get off your back for two seconds. Or to like, pass down to your son or some crap like that.

Anyway, as you can see here, Jay Buhner drank his beverage of choice—Buhner Juice: a potent long-standing family recipe of orange juice mixed with pretzel stand and school play intermission refreshment-famed “orange drink,” and vodka—from the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy goblet, a luxury he was afforded after blasting 10 ding-dongs in only 192 at-bats with the Mariners in 1988. Jay Buhner as a baseball revelation was cause for great joy in Seattle; great lament in New York.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Sure, Jay Buhner liked to play baseball. But what I really want to know is—what sports did Jay Buhner enjoy watching, so that I can be like Jay Buhner and watch similar sports?

Jay’s favorite spectator sports are pro basketball and baseball.

Jay Buhner
: I’ll watch a pro basketball game or two. None of that college crap! With the two-handed bounce pass … pfftt. Gimmie a break. Long live the Supersonics!

Jay Buhner’s wife’s friend’s husband, Jim, who Jay Buhner just met: I have a basketball in my garage. Wanna shoot around?

Buhner: Dammit, Jim—I said I’ll watch a game or two. I gotta play stupid baseball 162 times a season all over the freakin’ place and I’m sick of it! Can I be a spectator here for like two seconds?! Sheesh. Now put on the game and hand me my Buhner Juice.

Jim: Sure, here. What else do you like to watch?

Buhner: I like to watch baseball. And "Saved by the Bell: The College Years." That's all the college entertainment I need.

Players who had the greatest influence on his career were Willie Stargell and Bucky Dent.

I have no comment here, other than to say that, while thinking of a comment, I Wiki’d Bucky Dent to see if he like, coached Jay Buhner or something, because, ya’ know: why else would someone name Bucky Dent as an influence other than because of his famous home run, which wasn’t so much an influence as it was a thing that happened? And I came across this. See if you can follow:

Dent was born 25 November 1951, in Savannah, Georgia, to Dennis O'Dey and Russell "Shorty" Stanford.

Bucky Dent was born to two dudes. Got it.

He went home from the hospital with his mother's brother and his wife, James Earl and Sarah Dent. He and his half-brother were raised by the Dents, and they changed his last name to theirs, but his mother would not allow them to legally adopt him.

Recommended easier way to say this: "Aunt and uncle." Also, is his mother “Dennis” or “Shorty?”

He and his half-brother thought of the Dents as their parents, and until he was ten years old, Dent believed his biological mother was his aunt. Later in life, she mentioned the name of his father, whom Dent tracked down and developed a relationship with.

Happy 10th birthday, Bucky! Hope you like the cake. Also, I am not your actual mother. No biggie. For your 18th birthday I may “mention” the name of man you might be interested in developing a relationship with. Okay, make a wish!

Sorry for the tangent there. Probably more apropos for a Bucky Dent card, but what can I say—he is a great influence on my blogging. As is Wikipedia.

Anyhoo, Jay Buhner went on to have a very nice career, hitting over 300 home runs and having the marketability of a shaved head and goatee that garnered him immense popularity in and around Seattle. Scientists believe that had the Yankees never traded him, they—the Yankees, not the scientists—would have won 12 consecutive World Series. So there’s that. Jay Buhner remains in Washington, a most intimidating spectator.