I was just able to crank out my contest before needing to take some time off. What's been going on, you ask? Actually, you probably don't, but you're going to find out.
I defended my dissertation, successfully, which was the final stage in a very long process, and now I'm officially a doctor. That is, a doctor of philosophy in English, which means don't come to me needing heart surgery or a broken leg or even the sniffles. All I can fix is your story. But I'm pretty damn good at that.
To celebrate my newest accomplishment, meet my oldest card:
That's some genuine tobacco right there. 1911 T205, the gold borders set. I'd been trying to snag a Tigers tobacco card for a good deal for a long time, almost as long as I've been trying to become a doctor. I ended up getting this one shipped for right around $7, which I consider an awesome deal, even with the creases and hole punched near the bottom right corner.
The 1911 T205 set is said to be the first baseball card to include player bios and stats. That's quite a piece of history to own, the genesis of stats on the back. And how cool to see Piedmont and know that this card was actually in a pack of Piedmont cigarettes. Wondering what those looked like? Me too.
Unfortunately, I could not find a picture of an actual cigarette from 1911. Nobody is slabbing those? By the way, I just passed my six month anniversary of quitting smoking myself. Big stuff this year: quit smoking, new baby, became a Dr. Vealtone. Yikes.
But I'm getting off track. Who was this Charles O'Leary? I'm just going to go and pick up a random Tiger from the turn of the century and not even know who he was? Well, yeah, um, I would probably do that.
A little spin over to Baseball Reference will fix my tobacco-era O'Leary ignorance. He was primarily a shortstop who played nine of his eleven MLB seasons with the Tigers. Nothing too impressive in his stats. Oh wait. What's this? He debuted in 1904 and played until 1913, but then, he also seems to have played one game with one at bat and one hit in 1934 for the St. Louis Browns. The story is he was a coach for many years after his playing career, and played one game at the age of 58, making him the second oldest man in baseball history, only surpassed in agedness by the great Mr. Paige. I cannot figure out, however, why he got called up to pinch hit at the age of 58. I did find out that he had a vaudeville act during the off-season with another one of his teammates.
Wild stuff. Have to love that history. I actually legally am required to love history now that I have my degree, as well as having to wear elbow patches on my tweed blazers.
Thanks for reading, and thanks, all of you, for keeping me sane during this process, whether you knew about it or not. Cardboard made all the stress of earning the Ph.D. a little easier.