Player: DeWayne Buice
Card: 1988 Donruss #58
Errors: Player could only afford half a sweatshirt. In lieu of belt, player given multi-colored elastic band. Background of card borrowed from Tron.
Comments: DeWayne stared at the letter. He allowed each word to burn. He let the hurt simmer and overflow. He was beyond pain.
"Dear Mr. Buice: Thank you for submitting your gold necklaces. While you show great talent, we regret to inform you that we are not hiring additional artisans at the present time. We will keep your letter on file. We have returned your work, as requested. Thank you and best of luck with your job search. Sincerely, Newton Designs, Inc."
DeWayne could only shrug. He had given up so much for his craft. He walked away from his parents during the rainy season, leaving them without his bamboo expertise. For three years, he had eaten only Ramen and corn flakes, saving up for his carving tools. He had stripped his own car to get metal for the DeWayne "UnDeNiable" collection. And Sharon. Poor Sharon.
What was the point?
Maybe even Sharon's death in the horrible smelting accident - it was an accident, dammit! - might mean something if a gallery would just give him a chance.
Instead, the rejection letters piled up like broken dreams printed on 8-1/2 by 11 pink slips. Bracelets would never find wrists; earrings would never dangle; necklaces would never highlight a nape.
"I have talent and desire," DeWayne thought to himself. "I need marketing. I need exposure."
Suddenly, DeWayne remembered that he could throw a fastball 93 miles per hour. Why hadn't he thought of it sooner?
DeWayne would play baseball.
There, in stadiums filled with thousands of people with expendable incomes, he would showcase his true love: jewelry.
Over the next 10 years, DeWayne underwent intense physical and psychological training.
In each game, he'd pitch his heart out - necklaces prominently displayed.
In Great Falls and Cedar Rapids, DeWayne dazzled. Fresno, West Haven. He always requested V-neck jerseys.
Of course, there were still nights when DeWayne would hold his necklaces and cry out Sharon's name. Why hadn't he checked the pressurization valve?!
DeWayne trudged on: Tacoma. Nuevo Laredo. Midland. Edmonton.
Then, finally, the big show. On April 25, 1987, Willie Fraser was struggling. Gene Mauch looked down his bench and his eye caught the glimmer of a 18K gold necklace, byzantine in style with a clasp in the back.
"Buice! Warm up!"
DeWayne took the mound against the Minnesota Twins, with 51,717 potential customers in the stands.
He pitched 2-2/3 innings that day, giving up just one run. Although the Twins would win when Gary Gaetti singled in the ninth, it was a short-term defeat for DeWayne. Later that night, he'd discover that his answering machine contained 16 new orders for the UnDeNiable necklace, all from people who were at the game.
But even that was secondary to what happened when DeWayne walked out of the Metrodome.
"Hey, nice necklace," a woman shouted from the sidewalk.
DeWayne looked over. It was Sharon's identical sister - the one who hadn't been killed in a horrible smelting accident. Things were beginning to look up for DeWayne Buice.