Greg Minton

September 24, 2007

Yesterday I saw a guy on a bicycle get hit by a car. Squealing brakes, the metal-laced thump of car on bike and body, the clatter-thud of bike and body on pavement. The bicyclist bounded up to his feet and pogoed around in an extreme version of a toe-stub dance, rotating the shoulder that had taken the brunt of the hit from the pavement. This is always the first instinct. Nothing has changed. I’m OK. I’m OK.

I have spent all morning looking at this baseball card from my long gone youth. I spent parts of the past weekend, too, and even several sessions of varying lengths over the past year. My life is absurd. Again and again I have returned to this card, which appears to have been rendered by the general employment of the crude techniques of card doctoring usually reserved for uniform and cap. The whole world is doctored, from the strangely lifeless flesh to the impossibly white buck teeth to the lifeless taxonomy eyes to the hazy green and brown beyond. The days come and go. The blank canvas beneath it all, the silence, abides.



  1. 1.  According to philosophers, there is a 20% chance that the universe we live in is a computer simulation. I imagine the odds are higher if you’re Greg Minton.

  2. 2.  Multiple choice: choose the best answer:
    The above post is:
    a) philosophic
    b) poetic
    c) both a & b
    d) none of the above

  3. 3.  What an odd card. The cap and card says Giants, yet, the colors and uniform suggest Angels. But, the Angels didn’t go button jerseys until 1989. But Minton was traded there in 1987.

  4. 4.  Could this have been a touch-up of Minton in his AAA attire? He might have spent some time in Phoenix (PCL champs in 1977) and SF when the “photo” was taken:

    Still fully unsettling. I guess even the Cardboard Gods had to have an anti-Aphrodite…? Just to keep the pantheon humble and what not.

  5. 5.  It looks like the Alex Katz portrait of Greg Minton. Could be worth a lot of money.

    Either that, or Greg Minton was really created as a sort of comic book character, intended to exist only in two dimensions. Eventually, when people began to believe that Greg Minton was real, they hired an actor to play him in “real life.”

  6. 6.  5 : “Eventually, when people began to believe that Greg Minton was real, they hired an actor to play him in ‘real life.'”


    “It looks like the Alex Katz portrait of Greg Minton.”

    I was thinking more that the painting might have been the work of the great chronicler of buckteethed bespectacled mouthbreathers (among other types), Daniel Clowes…

  7. 7.  He did have the nickname of Moon Man.

  8. 8.  6 It could definitely be Daniel Clowes, and that fits with the comic book character idea as well. After all, they did hire actors to portray the characters in “Ghost World.”

  9. 9.  Here’s the deal with this card of Minton, along with the 1978 card of Mike Paxton (Red Sox) and the ’77 card of Rick Jones (Mariners). Topps only had black and white photographs available of these players. Not wanting to issue black and white cards, Topps essentially colorized the photographs, which gives the effect of making it look the pictures of the players have actually been drawn by hand.

  10. 10.  Damn, Bruce. I was just about to post that.

  11. 11.  9 So much for mystery.

    Actually, that’s great info. Now if only you can explain Jack Clark’s hand on his 1989 Topps card.

  12. 12.  9 : Thanks a lot for the info, Bruce. That Mike Paxton card has stood out in my memory over the years, even before my obsessive full-scale return to my collection. I don’t have the Rick Jones card, though. I didn’t even know there was a ballplayer named Rick Jones. In the Marvel universe, Rick Jones was the Hulk’s “li’l buddy” until he came upon some thick metal bracelets in the desert, put them on, smacked them together, and became the “even gayer than the usual superhero” superhero known as Captain Marvel (not to be confused with the “Shazam” Captain Marvel of the cornier, old-timey DC Universe).

  13. 13.  I couldn’t for the life of me remember the names Mike Paxton or Rick Jones but I had both of those cards and they still haunt my nightmares. Them and the Cubs team cards that looked like a fraternity composite.

  14. 14.  http://klayman.mlblogs.com/photos/uncategorized/jones.jpg


  15. 15.  9 That’s just what they’d like you to believe.

  16. 16.  14 : That image of Rick Jones the Mariner does seem to be of an older, hardened version of the Rick Jones always willing to caddy for muscular, misunderstood behemoths:

    And here’s Rick Jones’s alter ego thrusting his cosmic-powered pelvis:

    15 : “That’s just what they’d like you to believe.”

    Duly warned. And on that note:

    11 : “So much for mystery.”

    The mystery endures.

  17. 17.  Below is a trivia question first posed by joejoejoe in the comments section of the Goose Gossage post. I’m re-asking it now because I’m planning to feature one half of the two-person answer in the next post on Cardboard Gods (probably due out later today or early tomorrow). It’s a toughie; maybe I’ll feed some clues if nobody comes up with it (first vague clue already implied in the fact it must somehow involve fellows from the Cardboard God era of 1975-1980):

    “[There are t]wo players with the same first and middle name. One started his career with the Dodgers, one ended his career with the Dodgers. As a rookie, the younger man was managed by the older man. As a rookie, the older man was a teammate of the man who managed the younger man’s last season. Who are the two men?”

    Also, updating the Billy Joel/Ramblin’ Pete saga: the latest song on my answering machine was an extremely long version of “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” that crescendoed in a prolonged falsetto screech that intrigued and troubled my cats.

  18. 18.  Trivia question = uncle. I’ve spent way too much time on baseball reference this morning.

    I’m teaching “Into the Wild” this semester (I made the decision before I knew there was a movie coming out). When the kids ask me what Chris McCandless looked like at the end, I’ll show them your Greg Minton card.

  19. 19.  18 : “I’m teaching ‘Into the Wild’ this semester”

    I love that book.

    “Trivia question = uncle.”

    OK, a clue:

    There is an A to Z element to the question. In other words, the first and middle names of the two players are identical, but their last names could not be much farther apart in the alltime alphabetical registry of baseball names.

  20. 20.  The clue (along with bb-r) makes it pretty easy to find: Donald William Zimmer and Aase, with Lasorda being the third guy.

    What other “interesting” paired names are there? Aaron and Gehrig. Bonds and Beane. (Cust and Hannahan?)

  21. 21.  I tried the Walt Alston road on the trivia question earlier. I found a player whose given name was Colonel Buster Mills. His most similar batters from bb-r also have names I enjoy.
    Buzz Boyle
    Moose McCormick
    Estel Crabtree
    Algie McBride

  22. 22.  9, 12: I actually do vividly remember that “Rick Jones” card – and I recall that, yes, there was something very, very wrong – surreal? – with the visage on the card.

    I would never (ever) have any recollection, whatsoever, of “Rick Jones” appearing on a baseball diamond, or in a box-score, but he WAS the “little buddy” of not only The Hulk and Captain Mar-vell, but Captain America as well.

    A “little buddy” for hire, as it were. Sort of like Desi Relaford…

  23. 23.  Ironically (actually, it’s probably just more unfortunate than ironic), I traded my entire baseball card collection, including a bag of coin like metal discs with players on them, in the late 70’s for a collection of Hulk comic books, just as baseball cards from the 60’s and 70’s were starting to skyrocket in value, and the value of Hulk comic books were beginning to tumble. Probably one of the worst decisions of my young life.

    But thanks for stirring up that painful memory from the sediment of my unconscious mind.

  24. 24.  Christ! . . . Minton looks like the progeny of an unintelligent metalic alien and a beaver! That’s scary.

  25. 25.  24 : Ha!

    Glad to see your moniker in the comments once again, Catfish326.

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