It seems like every time Valentine's Day rolls around, everyone wants to complain about it. They sneer about how it's a holiday created by corporations, meant only to market ridiculous sports cards. Well, you know what I think? I think everyone who complains is just bitter because they don't have a collection of baseball cards that are weird and stupid. No need to ruin everyone else's fun.
Boo to them. Let's get in the spirit of Valentine's Day and take a look back at some of the worst sports cards featuring guys named Valentine.
Harold "Corky" Valentine, 1955 Topps
Plagued by wilderness he learned control to become a Big Leaguer.
CORKY VALENTINE. Yeah, hi, Coach, listen. I can't play today. I'm sick.
COACH. Sick? Sick with what?
CORKY VALENTINE. I got the wilderness.
COACH. Damn it. We need you to start ... you been smoking? Doctors say it's good for your T-Zone.
CORKY VALENTINE. Yep. Smoked three packs today.
COACH. Try some whiskey. Doctors say it's good for your T-Zone.
CORKY VALENTINE. Already did.
COACH. Try some more whiskey.
CORKY VALENTINE. Already did.
COACH. Try even more whiskey.
CORKY VALENTINE. Did that.
COACH. Smoke more cigarettes.
CORKY VALENTINE. I hate this decade.
Even if you're a serious baseball fan, you may well have never heard of Ellis Valentine. You should know that he was good. Like, really, really good. In his first full-ish season in the league, he posted an OPS+ of 236, which is better than any OPS+ league leader since 2004. (UPDATE: I should have known to double-check a figure this ridiculous. A commenter has pointed out that the OPS+ stats on Baseball-Reference, where I found this stat, have been a little off as of late. Still: he was good.)
And then, midway through the 1980 season, he was beaned in the face. His career was further derailed by drug abuse, and by the age of 28, his baseball career was largely over. Rewind, though, to 1980, when he returned from his cheekbone-shattering injury. He took a face mask from a football helmet, broke it in half, mounted it to his batting helmet, and went back out there.
It belongs in this space, because it is sort of "insane." It is also one of my favorite baseball cards of all time. So phenomenally badass.
Darnell Valentine, 1991-92 Wild Card
Over the course of my monumentally important Valentine research today, I came across one of the crummiest card sets I've ever seen: 1991-92 Wild Card. The back inexplicably lists Darnell Valentine's college stats from 1978 to 1981. Why make this card in 1992? Why do it if you're going to have to show him playing for an Italian team? What's up with the arbitrarily-selected numbers whooshing around in the background? Why the anti-counterfeit, holographic sticker? WHO IS GOING TO TRY TO COUNTERFEIT THIS CARD? WHY DOES THIS CARD EXIST?!?!?
Joe Valentine, 2003 Studio Private Signings
I SIGNED THIS CARD. I PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED THIS CARD. THAT MEANS THAT YOU AND I HAVE TOUCHED THE SAME BASEBALL CARD. DON'T YOU THINK THAT IS GREAT? DON'T YOU THINK THAT MEANS WE ARE FOREVER INSEPARABLE?
WHERE ARE YOU GOING DO NOT WASH YOUR HANDS THE VALENTINE COMMANDS YOU
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, 1985 Topps
Whoa, is that Hacksaw Jim Duggan? God, I hate wrestling. What a bunch of tools. <------ JOKE
For real though, check out the back of this card:
Some "fun facts" that were left on the cutting room floor:
- Greg's favorite color is he will break your face.
- We would have listed his height, but his height cannot be measured. He exists only in the fourth dimension, which is the dimension of just breaking your face over and over forever.
- Some have wondered where "The Hammer" got his terrific nickname! None have survived.
- In his spare time, you will die.
John Valentin, 1995 Topps Embossed
I recently saw a post at The Platoon Advantage that despairs over the state of baseball cards in the year 2012. Among other things, it laments Topps' present-day monopoly over baseball cards, and the apparent indifference toward the quality of photos selected.
Cee Angi is completely on the money, but it is worth noting just how long Topps has dabbled in the fine art of just not giving a shit at all.
You have now seen that baseball card. Can't be undone. Nothing you can do about it. Happy Valentine's Day!
These cards were found via the indispensable website Check Out My Cards.