If I may, I would like to take you Behind The Game for a moment. While the packs that we open on Let’s Remember Some Guys come from various sources—readers and friends of the program send some our way, most notably with The Big Goofy Treasure Trove Box full of commons that was mailed to us by an anonymous benefactor—most of them are purchased at a bulk candy store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Baseball cards from two or three decades ago are, like rolls of Smarties and those ostensibly fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls, commodity goods that are effectively without expiration date and which probably should not be eaten. Our producers grab whatever packs strike their fancy, bring them back to the studio, and we do what we do. For the most part, this works out fine. For the most part.
Recently, though, Kiran and Jorge returned with a pack of 1991 Classic Sports The Minors In A Major Way cards. We’ve been over the broader goofiness of Classic Sports products before—they’re the company that made the appallingly photographed and weirdly un-collated WrestleMania cards from some episodes back—and obviously Let’s Remember Some Guys is a goofiness-positive space, but all of us instantly understood that this was probably a bridge too far. I remembered this product (there’s a fairly cool Pedro Martinez rookie in this set, which is definitely something you should mention at a party to someone you’re trying to impress), and probably there are a few dozen of them somewhere in my childhood bedroom covered in an inch of light gray dust and dog hair. But we have plenty of indication that Classic Sports cannot be counted on to pick reasonable subjects for its minor-league set, and no one on earth can or should really be counted on to remember bush-league doofs who played during George H.W. Bush’s presidential administration. So you’re goddamn right that Lauren and I opened that pack on camera.
It included some players who went on to play in the majors, or at least came close enough to stick in my obsessive tweenage memory back in the day, and that was nice. It’s fun to think about Reggie Sanders and Arthur Rhodes, and if you have any time in your day, I can’t recommend it highly enough. But this is also Classic Sports, which means that many of the players in the set were absolute randos. It was when I saw Mike DeKneef—you know, Mike fucking DeKneef, the 20th-round pick who slashed a cool .235/.293/.300 over parts of four minor league seasons and spent all of six games above Double-A—that I knew that I would surely not Remember a lot of these Guys and likely would end the video with a great deal of gum in my mouth. Astonishingly, DeKneef might not even have been the most inexplicable player in the pack; that’s either undrafted four-year college performer Jason Klonoski or 43rd-round pick Elliott Gray, depending on your taste.
So: This was a long day at the Remembering factory for me, but while astute viewers will likely be able to detect some frustration on my part, I remember it fondly. I knew going in that this would be something like The Ultimate Remembering Challenge, and it was indeed that. Whether I passed or not is for you to decide, ultimately, but I’ll chalk up any opportunity to remember Dave Zancanaro as a victory, and a day well spent.