Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ralph Kiner Bat Card


Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Letter

It was both a sad and happy day in Idaville. It seems that Mark had won a Hall of Fame Relic Card in an ebay auction but there was something wrong.

Mark called the famous boy detective, Encyclopedia Brown.

"What seems to be the problem?" Encyclopedia asked, when they met for peanuts and crackerjack.

"Well, I received the package a few weeks ago. The price was right and the shipping was good."

"What were they?"

"$2.00 for the card and $3.25 for the shipping."

"That's over your usual threshold, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Mark. "But it is Ralph Kiner. From Pittsburgh."

"And the Cubs and the Indians. You know, although he played in the outfield for the majority of his career he also played the number 3 position for almost 60 games in 1951."

The kid knew his stuff.

"He also lead the National League in Home Runs for his first seven seasons. And he retired over 50 years ago."

Mark nodded.

"So, what's the problem?"

Mark slipped the card out of the bubble wrapper and showed it to Encyclopedia.

The young lad took card from the toploader and examined it. "It is a nice example of a 2001 Donruss Classics, Legendary Lumber." He turned it over. "LL17. A nice card. So, what is the problem? You still haven't told me."

"Look at the front again. The jersey. It says 'PRATES'."

Encyclopedia turned it over once again. He hadn't noticed it before. The second letter of the team was missing. He thought who could have done this. There was only one person that would even consider being this cruel.

"Mark, I'll be back. I think I know who did, but I don't know if I can get the letter back."

Mark watched Encyclopedia walk towards his friend Sally. They put their heads together and spoke in hushed tones.

Soon, Bugs Meany came by. He was tossing a baseball up in the air, oblivious to what was about to happen.

"Bugs. Over here."

Bugs looked up, startled that Sally would call to him. He crossed the street.

Encyclopedia wasted no time. "Bugs, did you take the I from Mark's Ralph Kiner card?"

"I, uh, well, I, uh... Yes, I did. How did you know?"

"Why I know that you're the leader of the Tigers gang, named after the Detroit team. Ralph Kiner did not play against them until 1955 when he was with Cleveland. It could only be your dislike of anyone who played on a team that beat them in the standings. The Indians finished in second place, while the Tigers were in fifth that year."

Bugs nodded.

"And, it is well known that Mark collects Hall of Fame relic cards. I think that you watched ebay listings, saw that he won the Kiner card and hung out at the post office, waiting for it to arrive. Then, you conned the post master into giving you the package. You ran home and photoshopped the letter out, just to spite him. Is that about right?"

Bugs nodded again. He knew that he'd been caught. "It is just, well, Detroit. We can't catch a break. Look at us now."

"Detroit is leading the AL Central by 12 and a half games, Bugs."

"Oh, yeah. I forgot. Well, back in 1955 we couldn't catch a break. That's why I did it."

Encyclopedia turned to Mark. "I don't think that Bugs can undo what he did."

"I don't think that I want him to. I like the card as it is."

Bugs tossed the ball in the air again, and wandered away. Encyclopedia was glad that he was able to solve another case. Sally wondered if Encyclopedia would ever kiss her. Later that evening she would find out.

The day was success after all.

NOTE: This post was originally written on September 19, 2009.  In light of Ralph Kiner's passing I'm reposting it.


  1. dude, I loved Encyclopedia Brown... and the Three Investigators too...Jupiter Jones... good times

  2. Awesome! I still have some of these books on my classroom bookshelf.