I’ve been fascinated by jai alai since I saw the scene in the opening montage of Miami Vice. Compared to the other sports that I had grown up watching, it was kind of exotic. And in the 80’s and 90’s there was no where to get information about the sport, unless you lived in one of the few cities with a fronton in the United States. It seemed a bit futuristic, in the way of Rollerball, but without the stark 70’s sci-fi cynicism.
In the last few years, jai alai has had a resurgence in Miami, with Casino Miami, Dania, & Magic City Casinos hosting daily jai alai. The later putting out almost a half a million dollars in 2018 to scout, recruit and train a crop of local athletes to become their first roster of players. I’ve been learning the game, and following the action through the Jai-Alai Channel, which streams from both Dania and Magic City. Plaay Games has also released a fun looking card and dice game about Jai Alai called…shockingly enough Jai Alai.
I picked up three sets of jai alai cards on eBay. They are a bit awkwardly sized, almost square, and a bit larger than typical trading cards all the way around. All three sets are from the Hartford fronton and were released from 1979 to 1981. All three are black and white photos on the front, with a bit of information on the back, as well as sponsor branding.
I also started my Darren Daulton personal collection. Daulton may be on a short list for the Phillies’ Mount Rushmore. He was the team captain through one of the club’s most iconic eras, and he was a lifelong Phillie. It’s appalling to me that Dutch hasn’t gotten any honor from the Phillies, even posthumously. I truly believe that the team should retire the number 10. Larry Bowa first wore the number 10 in 1982, Daulton took over the number full time in 1985 with only Dave Roberts and Mike LaValliere interrupting the continuity. J.T. Realmuto wears the 10 now. Three generational players have carried that number onto the field, and at some point it will have to get added to the wall with 1, 14, 15, 20, 32 & 36.
The Daulton cards I picked up were all from the late 80s and early 90s. A lot of those awful 90’s Fleer designs. But I realized the other day that I don’t remember having many Daulton cards when I was young. I thought I should correct that.