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Sometimes, a baseball card jolts you to the core and makes you question what’s real and what’s a dream.

That 1984 Topps Traded card showing Pete Rose as a member of the Montreal Expos, for example.

Or the 1982 Topps Steve Carlton highlight card that shows Lefty apparently delivering a pitch but also apparently missing the bottom half of his left arm.

After a while, though, the shock of these now classic cards wears off, and you hardly even notice the dissonance that bends the space-time continuum whenever one of them sees the light of day.

But then …

Well, there are always dagger shots to the heart just waiting in a dark and forgotten monster box, or stashed in some forgotten corner of the web to knock you loopy again.

Like …

Well, let’s just get it out of the way:

Find Howard Johnson cards on eBay (affiliate link)

Find Howard Johnson cards on Amazon (affiliate link)

That’s a 1995 Upper Deck Howard Johnson card.

It shows him with the, um, Chicago Cubs.

Let that sink in — HoJo played for the Chicago Cubs. And I know it’s true, because I looked it up on Baseball Reference.

But that’s not the way I remember it.

The way I remember it is that Johnson came up with the Detroit Tigers, even played for that stellar 1984 team, then got shipped to the New York Mets before the new season.

In Flushing, HoJo developed into an All-Star, one of the biggest (and seemingly unlikeliest) power hitters in the game.

After a few years, he slow faded and then maybe, maybe caught on with another team.

Turns out, that was the Colorado Rockies, for whom Johnson hit ten homers before the players’ strike in 1994.

And then, that was it.

But it wasn’t

Because the aging slugger signed a free agent deal with the Cubbies in April of 1995.

And then … he mugged for that Upper Deck card, knowing full well the impact it would have on collectors.

“Look who’s a Chicago Cub,” he’s cooing. “Didn’t expect that, did you?”

No, no we didn’t.

And, even though there are other 1995 cards showing Johnson with the Cubs, and even though UD issued a HoJo-Cubs pasteboard in their 1996 Collector’s Choice set, it was the 1995 Upper Deck Johnson that shook my world.

And now, it’s shaken yours, too.


Hobby Wow!

That 1984 Detroit Tigers juggernaut was an amazing team whose influence is still felt in the game and the hobby today. Occasionally, you find really plum collectibles from that club, like this one …

It’s an autographed bat featuring 35 sigs from the 1984 team … an incredible display piece!

Check out the full listing on eBay (affiliate link).