David Clyde

September 30, 2006

In this 1980 card, David Clyde’s last, the former nationwide high school sensation displays his league-leading thousand-yard stare in front of what appears to be a painted backdrop. Maybe the fake blue sky was wheeled in to cover the mildewed bricks of the windowless room, deep within the Indians’ spring training barracks, where the oft-disabled former number 1 draft pick preferred to endure his daylight hours. Maybe Topps purchased the backdrop at the going-out-of-business sale of a photographer who, until the word statutory started getting flung around, made his living creating portraits of high school seniors. Or maybe the picture was actually taken by said photographer, who had moved to Florida with a U-Haul full of backdrops to try to start anew and had picked up freelance work involving the subjects the pensioned Topps photographers preferred to avoid. Maybe after “the shoot” the photographer and David Clyde went for beers at the topless joint out by the abandoned A&W and neither one asked any questions about the past.


  1. 1.  This can’t possibly be the first Cardboard God, ever, just plunging in in media res. It must be that you’re bogged down somewhere transferring posts from your old site to the Toaster, either in backwards or random order?

    It would be nice to see the original one that started it all off. Is it posted under Team Archives? I doubt it, or it should show up here too. “The Cardboard God” is (estimated?) your 100th, so you’re keeping track.

    Can you put up the first one?

  2. 2.  2. Sorry, I now see that “The Cardboard God” is actually called “The Cardboard God All-Stars”, from 2007-03. The Toaster hasn’t figured out how to indent sidebar listing continuation titles on the second line…

  3. 3.  1 : You can get to the first post, in September 2006, by clicking on “09” under the “2006” in the “Archives” sidebar, then scrolling to the bottom. Actually, the post at the very bottom of that page is an “author notes” page that I wrote later and backdated so it wouldn’t be in the midst of the flow of the other posts. The first post is just above that author notes post. It’s about Mark Fidrych, and it’s about as in media res as this David Clyde post.

  4. 4.  It’s amazing how much baseball changed between Clyde’s first heroic burst on to the scene in ’73 and this last card from 1980. It was a different world. He was one of the most hyped prospects ever, and I see his moustache as a last ditch foray to be taken seriously as someone who belongs with the big boys.

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