Beckett Baseball Card Monthly used to (maybe they still do) use a term to price baseball cards: semistar.
Semistars were never explicitly defined, and a roster of semistars was never listed, but we all kind of knew what that meant. Perhaps a semistar was a once-good player whose injuries had robbed him of most of his a talent, or a guy who threw a no-hitter last year, or a guy who hit 23 home runs, once.
The poster child for semistardom is B.J. Surhoff, who was world-famous for hitting .320 one time and hitting 28 home runs one time. He was a solid baseball player for a long time. So were a lot of guys, though. We didn't know their names, but for reasons beyond my grasp, we all knew who B.J. Surhoff was. (Note: Surhoff is certainly not the most obscure player of his era to hit .320; until you and I have an opportunity to debate this point within these pages, the champion by default is Dave Magadan.)
Surhoff's cards were worth approximately two quarters of a s*** in real-world currency, which translates to approximately 30 cents in Beckett's imaginary artificial price guide moon-world that orbits around a planet which is also imaginary. Surhoff was the purveyor of a very specific sort of flair, however. The man, as he appeared on a baseball card, had style.
Finally, the question that shall spark Wednesday's Imperative Baseball Debate:
What Is The Most B.J. Surhoff Baseball Card?
I submit these three guys for consideration:
1991 Topps Stadium Club No. 206
Relevant answering-machine message: hey guys, this uh, this is b.j. surhoff. i can't come to the phone right now 'cause i'm busy reacting to a ball hit to right-center field with nobody on base at the speed of light. also it is dark behind me because i am playing baseball in space. just leave your, uhh, name and number and i'll call you back when i get back from playing hyper-baseball in space. thanks.
1993 Donruss No. 545
Relevant answering-machine message: oh gorsh hey guys this is b.j. surhoff, i can't come to the phone right now 'cause i'm caught in a pickle, please leave a message and i'll call y'back OK GOTTA GO BYE
Relevant message left on answering machine: Hi, this is Bob from Donruss. We're just going to go ahead and take this picture of you getting caught in a pickle and making a wonky unflattering "Oh no, I'm about to be tagged out!" face and put it on a baseball card because we don't care about our jobs. Good luck with the pickle. Thanks!
2000 Pacific Revolution, No. 23
Relevant answering-machine message: hi guys this is b.j. surhoff, i can't come to the phone right now because i'm trapped in andy warhol's existentialist 1990s-themed fever dream. i'm pretty sure i'm playing baseball against a bunch of scribbles and possibly an array of polka dots. anyway leave me a message, or don't, because who cares, because meaning itself is rendered meaningless and all actions are equivalent and on principle doomed to failure. bye you guys
Relevant message left on answering machine: Hey dude, this is Andy Warhol. Sorry.
So! Is one of these three baseball cards the most B.J. Surhoff baseball card? Is there a card floating out there that is even more B.J. Surhoff? Please, friend, help me find an answer. Make your voice heard in the comments below, or tweet me at @jon_bois. I'll meet you again this afternoon to sort through the answers and determine a winner.
Thanks in advance. I have faith that, as always, you and I will arrive at the correct answer.