Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tony & Bernie's "Big Apple" Stash - March 2010

In an effort to avoid being bested by their pal Leela, Tony and Bernie (the lovable twins from Mike DeNero’s Neighborhood) allow me to present Tony and Bernie’s “Big Apple” Stash. As the lads are twins, and are usually forced to share, why stop at toys, snacks, and sportscards? They will also take turns authoring this column, a monthly ode to their favorite vintage sportscards picturing New York legends. This month, Tony takes a stab at waxing poetic about one of his all-time favorite players. Unlike Bernie, Tony’s spelling skills are well honed, especially for a 5-year-old. Enjoy!

The Good Ol’ Days

You heard from my twin brother, Bernie, in last month’s e-Newsletter. Bernie wrote (and I use that term loosely) about one of his favorite cards depicting Phil "the Scooter" Rizzuto; to be specific, the Scooter's 1949 Bowman example. Today, I'll tell you a story about one of my favorites. By the way, in the coming months (if not sooner, such as after reading this introductory paragraph), you will notice that I write more eloquently (and spell better) than my brother Bernie.

My tale begins in my house one morning -- one typical of any weekend day. I rise during the 5 o'clock hour and give my stuffed Tigger, Pooh, and Handy Manny a collective huge hug. As my twin brother, Bernie, continues to snore, I tear off into my mommy and daddy's room, arrive at my daddy's side of the bed, and put my smiley little face right up to his. Just before he finishes the waning seconds of his weekend slumber, I grab his cheeks to wake him up and blurt "say cock-a-doodle-dooo!" He obliges and within minutes, I drag him from under the covers and into the basement where he, as always, plays me an episode of my favorite cartoon, Kipper, that we've previously recorded and stored on our DirecTV HD DVR and hands over the powdered doughnut and cup of orange juice he poured me during our brief pit stop to the kitchen. As soon as Kipper begins, I realize that it is one I have seen once too often and blurt to my daddy, “Wanna skip it?,” in my typical half-request, half-demand manner. After daddy obliges by choosing another Kipper for me to watch, lays out a couple of the dozens of boxes of graded vintage sportscards he's collected over the years (many of which he purchased at our local shop, Mike DeNero's), and props himself onto the couch, I look at him with a smile and say, "Faaan-tastic!"

As the Kipper theme plays in the background, I grab the box thinking that it held my daddy's 1950 Bowman football cards. But, as I open it, I quickly notice that there are no '50 Bowmans as I'd expected, but 1966 Topps football cards instead! "Boo-hoo-hoo," I whine to my daddy as he laughs and replies, "Take a look at 'em; some of 'em are kinda cool."

Sure enough, my daddy is correct. As I thumb through the box, I stumble onto the 1966 Topps #96 Joe Namath, "Broadway Joe's" second year card. I love Joe Namath! This card is particularly cool because Joe looks as if he’s looking at me through an old television set. I then ask my daddy why the back of the card is white, pink, and black, and he responds that the “King of Rock ‘n Roll,” Elvis Presley designed the card backs and that pink was Elvis’ favorite color. While I suspect that my daddy is trying to pull the wool over my eyes, I feign my understanding and belief of his statement and move on to inspecting the rest of the card.

The cartoon on the back has a cool drawing of Joe lugging his 1965 Orange Bowl MVP Trophy toward an old convertible with an admiring girl (what else?) sitting in the passenger seat. That was back in the good ol’ days when cars were cool, football players were the good guys, Alabama was coached by a legend named “Bear,” and the Orange Bowl didn’t have the ridiculous “FedEx” in front of its name.

Ah, the good ol’ days …

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