This was quite apparent a couple of days ago when I stopped in the local Goodwill to drop off a few donations; the girlfriend was able to part with some clothing, which is no small feat!
So, I decided to peruse the isles a little bit, since I was already there and had nowhere to be. I did not find any baseball cards ( I never do), but I was able to come away with some sweet baseball merchandise anyway.
Yes - I located a t-shirt of the Yokohama (DeNA) BayStars of Japan's Central League on a rack in a Joliet thrift shop. The world never ceases to amaze me!
I was initially disappointed when I saw the size as XL because I'm usually a medium. However, when I tried it on, it fit perfectly. So, now I know what t-shirt size I am in Japan! For $3, this was definitely coming home with me.
Now, as a Cubs fan, it's sort of fitting that I should find a shirt for this team. Turns out that the BayStars were formerly known as the Whales and were believed to have been cursed by the spirits of the dead animals. Their former parent company, Maruha Corp., was heavily involved in the whaling industry. It wasn't until after they changed the name that the franchise won their first Japanese series title in their 38 year existence in 1998.
I think the curse of the whales sounds much more intimidating than the curse of the goat, but what do I know?
Also, in the course of my research, I discovered that the BayStars currently have one former Cub and one almost-Cub currently on their roster:
What the chrome nameplate is keeping you from reading is Hisanori Takahashi. The Cubs brought the former high-profile Japanese import to camp with them in 2013 upon signing another high-profile import in Kyuji Fujikawa,
He made the team because the bullpen was so thin and probably to serve as a buddy for Fuji. When Fuji was lost to Tommy John surgery nearly right away, Hisanori was gone with the wind. having only appeared in 3 games. He was back in Japan by the next season.
This 2010 Bowman that dates from his initial crossing of the Pacific represents him in my CATRC.
Mr. Moscoso was part of the roster jenga from which this blogs takes its name. He was one of many waiver claims made by TheoJed in the course of the past few seasons. Like Hisanori, he came to camp in 2013. Unlike, Hisanori, he did not make the team and was sent to Iowa as rotation depth.
Guilermo went unneeded in Chicago, but his performance (7-5, 3.93 ERA in 17 starts) did not go unnoticed. That summer, he was sold to San Francisco, where he was immediately inserted in their bullpen as a long-man and spot-starter.
Moscoso did not capitalize on the opportunity with an ERA over 5, which lead to his signing with Yokohama for 2014.
This 2014 Iowa Cubs team-issued card comes from the annual set printed by Brandt. Since Guilermo never made it up to the MLB Cubs, it currently sits in my miscellaneous minor-leaguers collection (which reminds me, I need to organize that).
So, there are some Cubs connections to go along with my super cool new t-shirt. In fact, over the course of both franchises histories, several players have been shared by their rosters.
In their Whales days, men such as Pete LaCock, Jim Tracy & Mike Lum played for each franchise. More recent luminaries include:
A couple of forgotten (justifiably so) middle-relievers. Regardless, that shiny Chiasson from 2002 Bowman Chrome is awfully pretty. So it was worth bringing these guys up just to show that off.
In researching this post, I think I've decided to start a new mini-collection - Japanese cards of Cubs players who have played in Japan. I already have a few to start with that will probably get spotlighted in an upcoming post.
But there are a lot of names that I have an irrational fondness for that would keep my interest in this project: "Mighty Matt" Murton, Julio Zuleta, Micah Hoffpauir, Bryan LaHair... where can I find some cheap BBM/Calbee singles?
But, back to the thrift shop - I've wandered way off-topic!
I was able to dig up another interesting, baseball-related t-shirt off of the same rack:
What seemed like a run-of-the-mill White Sox throwback first turned out to be a pretty nifty concert shirt. I like me some 311 and I love the "Winning Ugly" era White Sox imagery. This was a perfect match for me, I only wish I could have gone to that show!
*Note* The concert was actually at Northerly Island, not at US Cellular Field, as one might think.
I may be a Cubs fan, but I grew up on the South Side, so I definitely have an appreciation for that other team in town.
So, I might have been able to convince my girlfriend to let go of some of her under-used clothing; unfortunately, I think I undermined that process by taking in more unnecessary garb for my side of the closet. Oopsy.
It's probably a good thing that I didn't buy this one then:
He who pees on his own hands was the first player not named Sammy Sosa that I declared my favorite, upon my re-discovery of baseball in junior high. So, despite the fact that he had an up-and-down Cubs tenure, it would have been a sentimental purchase more than anything else.
Plus, $6 for an authentic Cubs jersey is hard to turn down, unless it's a Milton Bradley or Todd Hundley top.
Alas, it was an XL and, unlike the BayStar shirt, I was pretty much swimming in it. C'est la vie.
That's the beauty of the thrift store though, you just never know what you'll find. It's truly a shopping adventure!
Has anybody else made any interesting expenditures at the local secondhand store lately? Perhaps a KBO Samsung Lions jacket? A tank top that blends Sublime with the Dodgers? A Moises jersey for one of the million other teams he played for?
Ok, six other teams - I exaggerate.