I've never once regretted starting my blog about the hobby and immersing myself in this fantastic blogosphere. There are legitimately countless quality blogs occupying our special little corner of the internet.
One of my favorites is The Infinite Baseball Card Set, written by the fascinating Gary Cieradkowski (God, I hope I spelled that right).
If you're not familiar, Gary is a graphic designer and illustrator with a passion for baseball and it's days of yore. No matter how old or obscure the player or event, it seems that Gary has not only heard about it, but has written about it as well.
He shows off this vast knowledge by way of his Infinite Baseball Card Set (hence the blog title). He produces his own never-ending baseball card series featuring subjects from off the beaten path. Each one becomes the subject of it's own blog post and the world wide web is a better place for it.
Past cards have included John Dillinger's semi-pro baseball career and the real life "Moonlight" Graham. You won't see these in Topps!
The best part about the set is that he draws all of the artwork by hand - talk about a labor of love!
When I saw that he was selling many of these unique cards, I couldn't resist adding a few to my collection. After all, his wide-ranging checklist features many players who've never received a card elsewhere; that proved to be very helpful to my CATRC.
Without further ado, allow me to show off the cards that Gary put together:
See; that ain't no Microsoft Paint job!
Now, I won't get into too much detail about the background of good ol' Oscar here (Gary already did a fine job of that with his own post here, which you should read). But, I will tell you that he was the starting rightfielder for the Cubs during the first season of the National League.
So, if the uniform wasn't already a dead giveaway, Oscar goes back a few years. Bonus points for being the first Major Leaguer of Polish descent.
Gary chose to depict him on this card as a member of the 1874 Baltimore Canaries of the old National Association, precursor to the NL. They sure don't make uniforms like that anymore, do they?
Once I saw that the physical cards lived up to the reputation cast by the blog, I knew that I had to have at least one more; one that depicted a player in an actual Cubs uniform:
Paul was a war-time replacement on the North Side of Chicago and spent most of his time in the bigs as the backup to Mickey Livingston in 1945. This is the stint during which Gillespie is depicted on Gary's card.
As every good Cubs fan knows, that team is significant as being the last squad to win the NL pennant and earn a berth in the World Series. Yes, we know that's a long time ago. Believe me.
You can read Gary's full write up here to find out the story behind that eye-catching gold patch on Paul's sleeve and what rare feat he accomplished to leave his mark in Major League history. I'll give you a hint - it involves his first and final at-bats.
These are the only two I've pulled the trigger on so far, but the book is definitely open for more.
Although his blog posts have slowed down in recent months, it is for good reason: Gary has been working on getting a full-scale book printed based on his illustrations! How cool is that?
From what I understand, he has finished "The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball's Forgotten Heroes" and it is already available on Amazon for pre-order. You can find it on shelves, courtesy of Simon & Schuster on March 24, 2015.
In the meantime, you have plenty of time to catch up on The Infinite Baseball Card Set and all it's glory.
If the blog is any indication, the book will certainly be a page-turner!