1. Styx - Cornerstone
Why this album: This album changed my musical tastes. Prior to buying Cornerstone, I listened to the worst of 1970s pop music, like The Village People and KC and the Sunshine Band. The song Babe was what drew me in, but it was the rock power anthems on the record that converted me over to rock music.
Why this card: Well, I am nothing if unoriginal. Babe is the song that introduced me to Styx. And what other baseball player to show? Sure, there were many ballplayers with the nickname babe. 32, according to Baseball Reference. But, none are greater than Babe Ruth
2. AC/DC - Back in Black
Why this album: This album, bought at the KMart in Chili Center, NY really led me into the hard rock world and away from the (sometimes forced) theatrics of Styx. A lot of Styx music sounds dated now. Back in Black, at 37 years old, still fits into the modern music landscape. Plus, I remember driving to Buffalo in a blizzard to see AC/DC as a college freshman.
Why this card: What Do You Do For Money, Honey? Don Money? Like I said, I don't pretend to orginality.
3. Sammy Hagar - Standing Hampton
Why this album: The first concert I ever attended was Sammy Hagar (with Aldo Nova opening) at the Rochester Auditorium Theater in my junior year in high school.
Why this card: Well, standing hampton is a NSFW slang. Look it up and you'll understand.
4. Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood
Why this album: I remember hearing a cut from this album, SRV's debut, on the radio during my senior year in high school and being completely blown away by it. The cassette tape was pretty much on loop for me the summer between high school and college.
Why this card: Well it is Curt *Flood* and he was born in Houston, Texas.
5. R.E.M. - Reckoning
Why this album: I first heard this playing on the store sound system as I wandered about The Record Archive in Rochester during college. It blew me away and I bought it immediately. It was my entrée into alternative rock. The video is a bit of a stretch. I really spent some time thinking about this and never got anywhere. I finally googled "R.E.M. " and "baseball" and found out two members of the band formed a group called The Baseball Project and released two baseball themed albums. So, I went in that direction instead of beating my head on a wall trying to tie Harborcoat to baseball.
Why this card: Well, the song is called Harvey Haddix.
Why this album: This brought me back to heavy metal after a long time away. I don't have an extensive metal library, but I do appreciate watching people that are really good at what they do. And Metallica is that.
Why this card: I defy anyone to come up with a different player. Enter Sandman played whenever Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen at Yankee Stadium and Metallica played at his final game.
7. Pine Valley Cosmonauts - The Majesty of Bob Wills
Why this album: I came across this album in the music section of the late, lamented Borders Bookstore. They had headphones along the rows of CDs that would allow you to listen to selected albums. This album was one such selection. It introduced me to Western Swing music, an amalgam of country and jazz most popular in the 1930s and 1940s. It is still around, most notably by the Austin band Asleep at the Wheel. Bob Wills is in both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame.
Why this card: Well the song above is about the Alamo, which is in San Antonio. Cliff Johnson, a player on the Yankees teams of my youth is from San Antonio.
8. Social Distortion - Social Distortion
Why this album: I really like the SoCal punk sound here. And, when I found out that there was a fair amount of crossover between the SoCal punk scene and the classic country and Bakersfield sounds (typified most recently by Dwight Yoakam), I was hooked.
Why this card: Well, Casey Stengel wrote a book titled "Casey at the Bat: The Story of My Life in Baseball."
9. Slaid Cleaves - Broke Down
Why this album: I don't rightly recall if this was my introduction to Americana music, since that is a fairly broad label that encompasses a number of other genres, like folk and alt-country. I will say that, after hearing this song on a locally produced radio show, I did go right out and get the CD and it did contribute to a new direction in my music listening.
Why this card: Well, what else is the baseball equivalent of one good year other than the one year wonder. And Joe Charboneau falls into that category
10. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson
Why this album: Sturgill Simpson is the man. Along with Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell, he is saving country music. Much to the chagrin of Nashville's Music Row. But screw them. They are peddling crappy pop and bro country. If you haven't seen his performance on Saturday Night Live recently, you should. Go here and here. While I expect that Beyonce's "Lemonade" will win, I'd love Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" to win the Record of the Year Grammy.
Why this card: Okay, this is a stretch. I admit it. But, I do need to show some faint glimmer of originality. Turtles all the way down is a colloquial expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology. It is also considered an example of the Anavastha concept in Indian philosophy. So, here is a card of two Indian natives who joined the Pirates minor league organization in 2009 as part of the reality show, Million Dollar Arm. Dinesh Patel only hung on for two years, both in Rookie ball. Rinku Singh made it 4 years, getting as high as A ball. He resigned with the Pirates in November 2015 and managed to pitch one scoreless inning in rookie ball during the 2016 season.