Friday, March 24, 2023

How long gone?

 My mind was wandering as it tends to do and I had an interesting long ago was it in my three main sports where nobody I saw active was competing? 

I'll go in order of when I got into them, which starts with NASCAR. I started watching in 1993, and the last season where no one I saw compete was 1958! Some NASCAR drivers have exceptionally long careers, and Buddy Baker began his career in 1959 and ended it in 1994. (Although he actually failed to qualify in 1993 and 1994, I did see him on track in a competition setting). Now...this only counts the Cup series. If I was counting ALL series, the last year I didn't see anyone compete in was 1949, since Hershel McGriff raced from 1950 to 2018! While I did see him race, it was not on the Cup level. 

Obviously NASCAR cards from the 1950s are not available so here's a post-career card of Buddy Baker from 2003 Press Pass VIP, this is actually the Explosive parallel. The photo is from 1983, his final career win.

Now, moving to NBA, I began watching in the middle of the 1996-97 season. To get back to where I didn't see anyone, you would have to go back to 1975-76! Robert Parish entered the NBA in 1976-77 and played until 1996-97 so I saw the very tail end of his career, which culminated in his 4th NBA Championship. 

Here is Robert Parish's card from 1977-78 Topps, his first card.

I only started watching the NHL in 2016-17 and now it's a part of every day of my life, even surpassing the NBA in time spent watching and thinking about. The last year I didn't see anyone active from was 1989-90, thanks to the ageless and still going Jaromir Jagr, who joined the NHL in 1990-91.

Although Jaromir Jagr entered the NHL in 1990, he has been playing professionally since 1988 and is still going strong at age 51 playing for the team he owns in his hometown of Kladno, Czech Republic. This card, from 1990-91, was the first NHL card my Mom bought me as a single card and was part of my birthday present in 2017, my first birthday after becoming an NHL fan. 


  1. Oh man... this would be challenging to figure out. I'm assuming you mean watching on TV (in person would be different depending on the sport).

    A. NASCAR - No idea since I've never sat down and watched an entire race.

    B. NBA - I can't remember the exact year I started watching basketball, but it was the early 80's. Also can't remember which veterans I saw and didn't see. However I watched a lot of Lakers highlights and all of their playoff games, so although this might not be 100% accurate... the safe bet is with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who started in 1969-70.

    C. NHL - Let's see... I really became a hockey fan in 1991 when the Sharks arrived in San Jose and their oldest player that year was Doug Wilson who started during the 1977-78 season.

    Like I said... these are safe bets. I'm sure I watched basketball games and maybe even a hockey game before these dates which might alter some of my responses. But no way I could tell you specifics.

    Great topic Billy! Definitely gave my brain a chance to work its magic early on a Saturday morning. By the way... that Jagr is a really cool 1st hockey card to own. Can't remember my first, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was from the same product as that Jagr. I do remember opening up packs of Score and UD that year.

    1. Oh yeah, I mean on TV. You got to see some cool stuff I wish I had, like Kareem playing! Thank you for sharing.