Updated: Jun 25
The greatest sentence I ever saw in my life was penned for a "restaurant" review section in our high school newspaper. You see, my high school was up on a hill and at the bottom of the hill, since the New York City subway stop was there as well, there was a group of places to eat, hang out or do other things.
The most popular of these places was the then new Burger King but there was a pizza place, a coffee shop (not like today's coffee shops but more like a little dive), and a couple of other places. The coffee shop, or luncheonette as they called themselves always seemed to have some seedy people hanging out in the dining area. These people were not evil per se, more like they were degenerate gamblers who used the area to place their bets. So this luncheonette served food, and I have to admit I never eat there but one of my classmates did and this was part of his review.
"I could have sworn I saw a man extinguish his cigar in a bowl of baked beans and keep on eating." No, this was not really true but that was the appearance of the place and the people who ate there. As I noted, this may be the greatest line in the history of of high school journalism. Now obviously this has nothing to do with sports cards except in creating text for all these cards over the years, some classic lines make appearances.
I touched on one of them when Dr. Jim Beckett and myself talked about the 1964 and 65 Topps Sets for a recent podcast
On this one I mentioned the great line on the back of the Archie Skeen rookie card:
Yes the Archie Skeen investing club sure was going to have a great year in 1964
But there was an even better grouping of words for a card in the final series
Now read the Dave Bennett line
Nice to know Topps invented time travel way back in 1964. Paroxysms of laughter probably invaded the proof reader as he was going through that sentence and just said the kids of America needed a break from dry, boring words.
And one can only imagine what effect this writing had on the kids in America.
No, not Kim Wilde's great American debut single from 1981-82 (Depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean you lived in)
Yes, in 1979 Topps was happy to tell everyone a future pro football Hall of Famer enjoyed alcoholic beverages. Try to get away with that today
The first time I ever heard of someone making fun of text on sports card writing was while reading that great testament to collecting cards in the 1950's written by Boyd and Harris. The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading And Bubblegum Book.
They have fun in the book with the blurb written about Sammy Esposito. "It's Tough to Bunt when he's playing third." and yes today we could say it's tough to bury a news story with a late Friday Afternoon release as the internet will pick said story up ASAP anyway
And sometime Topps "journalism" efforts were kind of lacking. Here is a classic line from a 1959 Billy Harrell card
We did not have baseball reference or other good internet resources so sending poor Billy to a triple A team is like sending a person to Siberia. We'd never find him or her after this card was released. You sure you could not have provided more information.
And to make this the final one, we'll end with the inglorious end of Jim Lemon's baseball card career. Nothing like being shown the door to make your exit official.
Rich Klein loves hearing from readers and you can reach out to him with some of your favorite card back stories at Sabrgeek@aol.com