Saturday, March 29, 2014

Don't Want to Know Bo Any Mo'

The abomination you see below sparked a Twitter rant in me yesterday. I enjoy ranting on Twitter, but 140 characters aren't enough. I'm a diehard Royals fans as you know. The problem is, nobody at Topps cares about Royals fans. If they did, they'd quit shoving Bo Jackson cards down my throat.

Durrrrr Hai gais me BO!

You know the story of Bo Jackson already. He was an icon in the 80's, you could argue that he paved the way for MJ by becoming Nike's first commercial megastar. He was the best all-around athlete ever, excelling at football and baseball at the same time, something not done since Wa-Tho-Huk aka Jim Thorpe in 20's. He was on top of the world until a 1990 hip injury that he incurred in the NFL Playoffs, which he never fully returned from.

Now listen to the story from the eyes of a Royals fan.

The year is 1986. We're coming off our first World Series win and are known as one of the top five elite American League franchises. The core of our lineup is aging with Willie Wilson, Hal McRae, Frank White and George Brett all on the wrong side of 30. We're an elite destination for a young superstar, so we took a gamble on drafting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers #1 Overall Pick in the 4th Round of the MLB Draft.

It was a forgone conclusion that he'd sign with the miserable Bucs... but damn it we were the Royals. The ROYALS! Who wouldn't want to play for our elite team? Bo Jackson shocked the world and agreed.

We were set. We had the cornerstone of our franchise for the rest of the 20th Century. Bo displayed power and speed like we had never seen! Better yet, Bo Jackson let it be known that he was a baseball player through and through. No more football. That held true for a few short months until Bo received a phone call saying that Al Davis and the Raiders had selected him in the 7th Round. 


If you have followed sports for more than 10 years, you know that Kansas City hates Oakland. Davis and Lamar Hunt founded two successful AFL teams that beat the living hell out of each other for decades. In 1968, Charlie O. Finley took our baseball team and moved them to Oakland. Kansas City hates Oakland and Oakland hates Kansas City. The Sport Gods decided it'd be funny if these two cities had to share their chosen son.

Whatever though. We dealt with it. Bo's progress in baseball was pretty awesome to watch. He flew around the OF, smacked balls over the fence, ran up walls and fired baseballs like bullets. In 1989 America's collective jaw dropped when Bo Jackson made the National League look like punks in the All Star Game. Things were a little less sunny in KC, but with Bo at the helm it was reasonable to think the 90's would be as good as the 80's had been. 

No, your hips aren't supposed to move like that.
Our world came crashing down in January of 1991. While playing football for the city we despised, Al Davis let Bo Jackson get hurt... bad. His hip was destroyed. He'd probably never play football or baseball again. So there we were, the man we had hitched our wagon to had a broken axle and we're 200 miles from the next trading post. Dysentery claimed 80% of our fan base. Our beloved owner, Ewing Kauffman passed away in 1993 and the franchise was left without leadership. We were no longer a proud club, we were losers. 

Somewhere Freddie Patek slowly wept. 
Flash forward to 2014. Guess what? We're still stuck in that rut. It can all be traced back to January of 1990 when the man they called Bo went down. Of course it's not Jackson's fault, we know that. He's still quietly admired around here, but his name is never spoken in the confines of Kauffman Stadium. Not out of anger, but out of sadness.

When you think of Bo Jackson, you think of a likable guy with amazing athleticism who unfortunately lost his career from a freak injury. When we Royals fans think of Bo Jackson, we think of the man who was our everything. With Bo we had a future, a bright future. Now when we think about Bo, we can only think about what could have been for us and what actually happened for us. The less we can be reminded of Bo Jackson, the better, and the Royals organization seems to understand that. 


Good Lord! You'd think he was still an active player! These are just a fraction of the cards that Topps has produced over the last 12 months with Bo Jackson in his Royals uniform. What's worse is that's all we get! If we're lucky there will be a George Brett card in the set as well, but otherwise it's BO BO BO!!! 

I respect the guy, but please Topps, enough is enough! I understand that he's collectible for 29 of the 30 teams and even some Royals fans who don't know any better, but for most of us this is just painful. I'm not asking you to not include Bo Jackson. The problem is that without Bo, there are often no noteworthy Royals cards included. Give us somebody else too. I can't buy into group breaks because the prices are jacked up because of Bo. I can't buy team sets because the prices are jacked up due to Bo. I don't want to chase Royals parallels because half of them are of Bo. 

Leaving Bo out of products is bad business, I get it! But if you're going to put him in our uniform, don't do it as a gift to us. Torture us, that's fine, but please give us something to make up for it. Whether that's more George Brett or one of our other great but not HOF-worthy players such as Amos Otis, Paul Splittorff, Hal McRae, Dennis Leonard, Dan Quisenberry (so collectable), John Mayberry, Frank White, Bret Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza, or even Mike Sweeney. Just give us something so it's not Bo or nothing. Please? I don't want to know Bo any mo' than I have to.


  1. Wow. As a collector of one of the other 29 teams, I love the Bo cards, but I never thought about it from a true Royals fan's perspective. A much different slant and one I can certainly commiserate with.

    I don't know who guys like Paul Splittorff are, but I would certainly enjoy a few more cards of Quissenbery!

    1. That has me wondering if any other teams have similar players? Ones that are loved as a whole, but less-than-loved by their primary team's fanbase?

    2. The Cubs have their core Hall of Famers that make most sets. Sandberg and Banks are in almost everything. Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams to a lesser extent but still pretty prominent. Andre Dawson and Greg Maddux seem to be split between Cubs/Expos and Cubs Braves. I'd love to see more Ron Santo, Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace and Rick Sutcliffe among others. In a few years, I'd like to see some Kerry Wood stuff start popping up again.

      Oh, and sorry for the Bo's I threw in that last package. I didn't know!

  2. Interesting - I've never heard that perspective.

    Here's one from a Cincinnati fan - The curse of Bo Jackson. That 1990 Bengals team beat the Oilers the game in the first round of the playoffs, the game before they played the Raiders. Bo got knocked out on that tackle - and the last Bengals playoff victory is still that win over the Oilers.

    1. In Kansas City, we have the Curse of the Shuttlecock for similar reasons.

  3. Man..I loved Bo the baseball me that much more reason to despise the Raiders.

    Great point of view.

    1. As if anyone needed another reason to despise the Raiders! Thanks bud.

  4. My wife loves Bo because she and Bo both went to Auburn. I gave her a Bo Jackson card to use as a lucky charm during this past football season. She lost the card around Christmas.

    The problem for me is that I gave her a lucky charm BEFORE her Tigers played my Georgia Bulldogs.

    Then this crap happened:

    I now hate Bo Jackson too.

  5. I understand. I'm an A's fan and Bo Jackson fan. I'm visiting an old friend in KC and I am going to see a game at the K. I knew better than to bring A's gear, but considered a Royals Bo Jackson shirt I have...think i'll just bypass baseball themed attire. Glad i found this post.

  6. bo was something but enough with the cards. I think that if anybody else deserves a card its frank white. an undrafted free agent and being the best second basemen in franchise history he is undervalued.