Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Topps Million Card Giveaway

I'm a hardcore hockey card collector.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't dabble in other sports. I often grab a pack of basketball, football, baseball, UFC, non-sport, etc.

The other day at the local card store, I decided to purchase a few packs (7) of 2010 Topps Series 2 Baseball. Not only was there a chance for a Stephen Strasburg RC (need'em) or a Jason Heyward RC (got'em), but there was a chance for a Topps Million Card Giveaway redemption card.

In my seven packs, I was lucky enough to get two redemption cards. Intrigued by the program, I immediately went to the computer and learned that I was now the proud owner of a 1958 Topps Dick Gray card and a 1976 Cesar Geronimo card.

Two old cards. Two players I've never heard of.

Although he only played for a few seasons, Dick Gray is an interesting character. On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first home game in Los Angeles against the San Francisco Giants. In this game, Dick became the first Dodger player to hit a home run in the city of Los Angeles. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Dodgers were on top 5-3. With one out, Gray smacked the first home run off of Johnny Antonelli to put the Dodgers ahead 6-3. His home run in the 7th held off the Giants enough for the Dodgers to win their first game in Los Angeles, 6-5.

A winner of four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1974-77, Cesar Geronimo was an outstanding defensive center fielder. In his fifteen seasons, GerĂ³nimo batted .258, with 51 home runs, 392 RBI, 977 hits, and 82 stolen bases. He also held the dubious distinction of being the 3,000th strikeout victim of both Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan. "I was just in the right place at the right time," he joked.

Nicknamed "The Rifle", Geronimo was known for his powerful throwing arm. Once after catching a fly out on the center field warning track, he threw the ball home to keep a runner at third base from scoring and the ball went so far on a fly that it went over catcher Johnny Bench’s head. In July 2008 he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

A history lesson thanks to Topps and the Million Card Giveaway.