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Birthday Cards: Two former Padres closers celebrate birthdays today

Last Friday I got an unexpected slew of awesome cards in the mail. I read on my pal Marcus's blog that he was planning on sending me a copy of Jedd Gyorko's 2014 Bowman card, so I was expecting a plain white envelope at some point. What I got instead was a padded mailer containing, among other things, 27 autographed cards. Lucky me! Luckier still, today is the birthday of two of the 27, giving me an excuse to show off a couple of my new additions.

Craig Lefferts is pictured here on his 1985 Donruss card, during his first stint with the team. A middle reliever at the time, Lefferts left in the trade that netted Mark Grant, but came back as a free agent before the 1990 season. His second time around, Lefferts served as the team's closer, bridging the gap from Cy Young Award winner Mark Davis in 1989 to former Nasty Boy Randy Myers in 1992.

Much as Lefferts began his Padres career setting up for Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, Bell's days in San Diego began as an apprentice to a legend. After Trevor Hoffman headed to Milwaukee for the 2009 season, Bell stepped into the closer role and was chosen for the All-Star game three straight years. He's shown here on his 2011 Topps card, which is my least-favorite Heath Bell card. It would probably be my favorite if he were wearing anything else on his head other than that stupid, MLB-mandated, ice-cream-man-lookin', "patriotic" white cashgrab clownhat. Gaw, I hate those.

Happy birthday to both Lefferts, who turns 57, and Bell, 20 years his junior. Thanks for vicariously signing for me.