Gift Ideas for 2011

By The Common Man

Today, as Aaron Gleeman points out, is friend of the blog Craig Calcaterra’s eleventy-millionth birthday. So a big congratulations to Craig. As an important reminder, The Common Man wants to remind you that you have just six shopping days left until his very own birthday. And, of course, you’ll be wanting to show TCM just how much you appreciate all the writing he’s done for you over the past 365 days. As he did last year, The Common Man is happy to provide you with gift ideas, based on what is available on Ebay. As always, how much you spend on The Common Man will be interpreted to be a direct reflection on how much you love him.

1888 Jack Glasscock baseball card, $60,000.00

Pebbly Jack Glasscock, of the Wheeling Glasscocks, was one of the best players in 19th century baseball. In his prime, he was a terrific hitter for Indianapolis and New York in the early National League, an excellent fielder. TCM rated him the 16th best shortstop of all time back in November. Dude also had a killer mustache.

Look, TCM gets this is an expensive item, but can’t you just appreciate how wonderful it would be to display a Glasscock card? This would be the focal point of any room.

19997 Twins Mariners Lineup Card, $63.99

OK, so that’s pretty expensive. It might be out of your price range. What about these official lineup cards from September 4, 1997 (not 1999, as the seller maintains) from the Twins’ loss to the Mariners? It’s a reminder for TCM in this disappointing Twins season, of how bad things used to be for the Twins and that things could always be worse. LaTroy Hawkins started and lost this contest, giving up 3 homers and 6 runs in five innings to drop his record to 5-10 and raise his ERA to 5.98. Ken Griffey homered twice in this one, raising his season total to 48, and Paul Molitor hit one for the Twins. Also prominently featured in the lineup is the immortal Brent Brede, who batted second and had four hits in the losing effort, Scott Stahoviak, who went 0-for-3 with a walk, and Rich Becker, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Ron Coomer, of course, batted cleanup. The price has already been reduced once, so snap it up before some other enterprising Dan Serafini fan gets it.

Harmon Killebrew Statue, $479.99

But if you want to indulge The Common Man’s inner Twins fan, you could get him this Hartland Baseball Statue of the recently deceased Harmon Killebrew. Frankly, that looks kind of awesome. The Hartland statues are pretty big collectors’ items that you can find at most baseball card shows. They were produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and were much more realistic looking than the Starting Lineup figures of the late 1980s or even many of today’s promotional bobbleheads. You may as well also chip in for this Duke Snider figure for $450.

1969 Unopened Jim Beam China Baseball, $250.00

As TCM mentioned before, it’s also Craig Calcaterra’s birthday. And what better way to torture the Atlantis-hating jerk than with this unopened bottle of Jim Beam bourbon from 1969, designed to commemorate the MLB’s 100th anniversary and made of fine china. Imagine me taking pictures with it, and sending them to Craig, like a serial killer taunting his victim’s family. Think of his fury, knowing that The Common Man has it, and that he never will. You would be a fool not to buy this for TCM.

Antique Baseball Beer Stein, $2,450.00

However, if you’re less vindictive and/or more spendy, TCM would also welcome this beer stein from the late 19th century. You know The Common Man likes 19th century baseball, and you know he loves beer. Why not combine the two. TCM promises that this stein will not simply be some museum piece kept behind glass. It will immediately replace his royal pint glasses that TCM nicked from pubs across Britain back in college.

Henry Chadwick’s 1867 Base Ball Reference, $3,000.00

Henry Chadwick is the true father and Johnny Appleseed of baseball, being among the first to write down the game’s actual rules, inventor of the boxscore, and its first sportswriter. This book contains early diagrams of the field, illustrations of how to properly hold a bat, a glossary of important baseball terms, and important reminders, such as “You are forced to leave a base either when all are occupied and you stand on any one of the bases when the striker hits a fair ball, or when you are on the first base and a fair ball is struck.”

Base Ball: 1845-1871 by Seymour Church, $2,000.00

If you have your heart set on a book for The Common Man, but need a less pricey option, there is also this history of the game’s early days on the West Coast from 1902 by Seymour Church, which includes color plates of some of baseball’s early stars, including George Wright and Rube Waddell. Church self-published this short book, intending to write at least one more volume.  However, according to Brian McKenna’s Baseball History Blog, a fire destroyed his business and the baseball memorabilia museum he owned and operated, leaving him more than $300,000 in debt.  He died in 1905 without completing the second volume.

Life-size Wooden Baseball Players-Chainsaw Art circa 1920, $10,000.00

And who doesn’t need chainsaw art? Nobody, that’s who. The Common Man would love to have these five life-sized carvings of a pitcher, batter, umpire, catcher, and random little girl who’s probably going to get hurt that date back from the 1920s. And really, $10,000 is a small price to pay for freaking out The Uncommon Wife when these show up in the mail.

2009 Derek Jeter Topps Sketch Art, $2,000,000

With Jeter’s 3000th hit last week, this very special baseball card takes on some added significance. TCM could never adequately express just how special Derek Jeter is, and how important, therefore, this card is. So TCM will let the seller explain: “It is an Exquisite Luis Diaz Commemoration of Derek Jeter’s Greatness. Masterfully, Luis Diaz captures the depth, the breadth, and the height of what is and has become known to all who have watched Derek Jeter Inhabit the game of his dreams, the heart and soul, the very breath of his concentration level and his pure respect for this game that has been surpassed by no one. He reminds us all of what Sportsmanship is and how it should never be far from us in any walk of life. Both on and off the field, Derek Jeter has led by his natural example. He has gained the respect of the World by walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Derek Jeter, Shortstop, Captain of the New York Yankees, Man of Our Times, will some day pass from being an active player and go by way of his many celebrated predecessors into the Halls of not only Cooperstown, but forever into the Halls of hearts and minds of endearing fans. But Derek Jeter’s Legacy may not be fully recognized by all immediately. As the years pass, and as the chronicles of baseball live on to experience more change, witness more greatness, whole glimpses of what Derek Jeter has meant to baseball and what he achieved in life will come to light gradually, most significantly, and lastingly.”

Kaz Matsui Game Used Bat and Batting Gloves, $499.99

Or, if Jeter’s incredible success is not worth that much to you, remember that failure is still apparently worth $500 on Ebay.

TCM also feels compelled to point out that several of last year’s items are also apparently still up for sale, including the alleged Joe DiMaggio home run ball from the 1938 World Series, the Ban Johnson letter to Frank Navin telling Ty Cobb to knock it off, and the alleged first known baseball cards of the crooked Unions of Lansingberg.