Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Junior and Buhner: a Friendship on Cardboard

1996 Score #323

There's a ton of cardboard featuring both Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jay Buhner in the same shot, and for good reason.  Since 1989, they have been field mates, neighbors and good friends. 

Jay "Bone" Buhner, right-fielder #19, played in Seattle for 14 years.  He batted .259 lifetime with 310 dingers, and an OBP of .359.  He is also a Gold Glove recipient with a solid lifetime fielding percentage of .983.  His unique look helped make him a fan favorite in Seattle, and he was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2004. 

1993 Upper Deck #55

When Griffey arrived in Seattle in '89, Buhner had already been there for more than a season.  Jay is a bit older, so at the time he was already a family man while Griffey was just entering stardom.  They differed greatly.

I don't remember Kevin Mitchell ever playing with the Mariners, but there you go.  It happened, but not for long.  Nothing against K-Mitch, but this card would have been so much cooler with a long-time Mariner like Randy Johnson or either Martinez.

1993 Upper Deck #224

By coincidence they ended up living two doors down from one another in a cul de sac outside Seattle.  Eventually they would carpool to games, probably in the pimpest cars the 90's had to offer.  

1994 Ultra #120

Lou Piniella put the two together all day long.  Griffey in center field, Buhner in right, and both in the heart of the batting order.  Then, of course, they would drive home to the same street.  The two couldn't help but become buds.  Between games and in the off-season they would hang out and go on vacations. 

1995 Fun Pack #216

Fun Pack noted the pair in their "What's the Call?" subset of animation cards featuring Stumpy the Ump......

1996 Fun Pack #88

....and they did it two years in a row.  I think they just wanted to re-use that Buhner illustration.

Just from collecting their cards it was apparent to me that the two were close.  I remember thinking that was pretty cool.

1998 Pinnacle Inside #4, front and back.

This is like a Seattle Mariners heyday megacard featuring Griffey, Buhner, Johnson, and A-Rod.  I really need the other piece!  That's Buhner's glove next to Griffey.

1995 Pacific Seattle Mariners Set #1

Of course '95 was their big year as teammates with Griffey bouncing back from his worst injury to date and helping lift the team to the franchise's first-ever post-season appearance.  Sharing something like that should make friends for life.

1996 Collector's Choice #333

And so they remain friends to this day.  Buhner seems to praise Griffey to the sky in every interview I come across; and I read that they continue to hang out, call and text each other.  How awesome is that?

There are not many co-workers I can remember who I stay in touch with.  Then again, none of my co-workers is Ken Griffey, Jr.  Or a millionaire.

Shake and Bake!

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