Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Original Rayhawk and Friends

I have seen several Cubs fans this week who were excited at the prospect of seeing some of Joe Maddon's fun themed filled road trips and clubhouse antics when he starts working on the north side of Chicago.  There was that hippie weekend, James Bond formal, the white trip to Miami (Don Johnson suits), football uniforms, letterman jackets, and that press conference when he wore a Buccaneers helmet.

One of the earliest "fun" Maddon events took place during the team's World Series run during the 2008 season.  The Rays adopted a "Rayshawk".  They were really Mohawks, but people really seemed to latch on to the fact that all of the Rays players were walking around during the Postseason with mohawks.

The "Rayhawks" were actually adopted from Rays second baseman Akinora Iwamura.  The team's second baseman styled his hair into a mohawk and the "Rayshawk" was inspired by Imamura's unique hair do.  It looked something like this......

Besides inspiring one of the first cool Joe Maddon themed events, I actually had the opportunity to see Iwamura play a few games for the Durham Bulls during an injury rehab and also saw him him play for the Pirates Triple A team towards the end of his North American career.  I always liked Iwamura and have a few of his cards in my collection.  This past week I was able to flip around a few Cardinals cards, including a Marp autograph, to land a nice autograph of the Rays former second baseman.

This card of Aki Iwamura come from the 2007 UD Black set.  One of my favorites from the late 90s. Tons of really cool autographs and loads of cool patches.  This card is just an autograph, but I love the silver signature on top of the black background.  I know that lots of sets use this look now, but seven years ago this was one of the first sets to put this look together.  The card is also limited to just 10 copies.  Really cool card.  

I also picked up a copy of the Chris Archer jersey card from the Gypsy Queen set in the trade and also landed a nice looking black framed Rod Carew jersey card in the trade.  Also picked up a few nice single cards of some Rays players including a Joe Maddon, a sweet David Price Gypsy Queen insert, and a very nice James Shields Bowman refractor.  

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