I had the interview all set up. Then the weather didn't cooperate. The entire Northeast had crappy early-season weather this weekend, cold and windy.
So we had to cancel, breaking my streak. Hopefully we'll catch up with them later in the season. For now, I thought it would be a good time to get to some cards recent interviewee Hugh Kemp sent along from his playing days.
They're actually cool cards. They're from a company called Hills. I'm not familiar with Hills, but according to each card back, in 1988, there were five locations in greater Nashville. Hills, according to the tagline, is also the place for kids.
There's also basic information on the back, name, height, weight, batting and throwing info, and where the players were from.
Kemp sent along a few of his cards to include in the interview posts. These are the three, note the photos all appear to be from the same photo shoot, second to the exact same photo. Also, the flag over his right shoulder.
The All-Star game one marks his entrance into that year's mid-summer AAA classic. It also includes mid-year stats on the back. Through June 28, 1988, Kemp was 8-4 with a 4.08 ERA.
There was also a good selection of other players. I'll get to some here, and hopefully the others in a future post.
Many of the players, including Kemp, stuck around in AAA for a couple more years, getting into the 1990 CMC set. Among them was Jeff Gray, up top. Kemp sent along two versions of 1988 Gray cards. Now, I don't generally comment on photos, but can anyone find the difference between the two Jeff Gray photos?
Gray got into the CMC set pitching at AAA Pawtucket in 1990. He was featured here in June. In 1991, Gray's third year with time in the majors, Gray was in the middle of a breakout season, when he was suffered a stroke. He survived, and tried a comeback, but his career was over.
Then there's the Doug Gwosdz card there. Gwosdz did not make the CMC set, retiring after the 1989 season. But he did make the majors for short parts of four seasons, from 1981 to 1984. In looking up that info on Baseball Reference, though, I couldn't help but notice the nickname included on his listing. Apparently, for some reason, Gwosdz had the nickname "Eyechart."
In addition to his major league time, Gwosdz had an impact on more recent seasons, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. It was Gwosdz who introduced Jesse Barfield to his future wife. Without Gwosdz, there would have been no Josh Barfield, something Josh Barfield later tried to repay by filling a request from Gwosdz for Padres tickets for Gwosdz' own daughter.
"He now has a daughter at San Diego State," Josh Barfield told The Union-Tribune of Gwosdz, "and asked me if I could get a few tickets to a game. I was happy to do it. I mean, I owe my existence to him. But that meant I had to spell his name for will-call. That was the hard part."
A couple more cards for now, here's Skeeter Barnes and Mike Jones. Both are members of the CMC set. Barnes I featured here back in February, Jones I have yet to feature.
Jones played parts of four seasons in the majors, his last coming in 1985. He hung on in the minors through 1990.
Barnes played in parts of nine major league seasons, but didn't get extended time in the majors until late in his career. Since his retirement, he's been a coach and coordinator, continuing in 2011 as an outfield and baserunning coordinator with the Rays.
Then here's the manager/coach/trainer card. I include it here because one of the three made it into the CMC set. That was John Young, the trainer. Young stuck around in Nashville through 1990, getting him into the CMC set. It also got him featured here in October.
- San Diego Union-Tribune, July 13, 2006: Born to The Show