It’s like a periodic table of Italians

Pope Pius IX
Bats Left, Throws Right
Height 5′ 11″, Weight 182 lb.
Career BA .285
OBP .379
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We were following the link (via World O’Crap – where we are compelled to “Visualize Whirled Craps“) to a story about the nice lady in Ohio who is selling “Just Say Merry Christmas” bracelets because the Lord so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son (remember, this was way long before George Bush was born) who was born to wash away our sins and if we can make a few bucks off of him too, well, all the better.

Anyway, through the magic of the internets we discovered that Jennifer Giroux is also selling “The Pope Chart” which is a :

Poster-sized, 28 x 40 illustration of papal history showing on one page the “unique direct link” Catholics have to Jesus. This full color chart features a medallion-sized image and a short biography of every pope; Peter and his 263 successors. Helps people see the continuity of the Catholic Church amid the over 26,000 Christian denominations in the world. An exciting visual aid for churches, schools, and personal use. A great gift.

Which made us think about the money that could be made (which will be given to charity, of course) in Pope trading cards, but then we found out that someone beat us to the Pope punch and it wasn’t such a big success:

The sports trading card generating the most buzz among collectors doesn’t feature a baseball, basketball or football player. This captivating athlete was a soccer goalie who also liked skiing, swimming, hiking and kayaking.

His name: Pope John Paul II .

A one-of-a-kind card featuring the pontiff’s autograph was released earlier this year by Topps. When the pope died last month, collectors wondered whether anyone had found the card and what it might fetch in a suddenly sizzling marketplace for all things John Paul.

A collector in Stockton, Calif., beat 1-in-135,475 odds and plucked the rarity out of a $1.50 pack of otherwise ordinary baseball cards about two weeks before the pontiff died. The day before the pope’s funeral, he sold the card to Jeff Hoekstra , manager of a collectibles store in Modesto, Calif.

Hoekstra paid more than four figures for the card, then immediately took it to eBay seeking a hefty profit. His first auction closed at $8,100 but the sale fell through, so he offered it again for $6,999 but got no takers. His third try began Sunday and expires next Sunday. Like the first time, he started bidding at a penny and will take whatever he can get.

“My thinking is, day by day, this card is getting less and less valuable,” said Hoekstra, who is 32 and not Catholic.

We assume that Peggy Noonan picked that one up using the money she made from trading in her Grey Goose empties… but we could be wrong.

Anyway, now I’m thinking about a line of Pope throwback jerseys starting with Pope John Paul I featuring the number 33, which is how many days he spent under the big hat before God called him home because the street lights were coming on.

They should be ready in time for next Christmas…providing we have a next Christmas.

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