Saturday, December 31, 2016

some year end garvey gets

i was busy looking for steve garvey cards to add to my collection in 2016, and i found quite a few.  here are some that recently arrived.

2013 panini extra edition bloodlines dual auto #/25
this one was on comc with a reasonable price that i put an offer on to make even more reasonable.  it features garvey and his son ryan, who was in the rockie organization at the time, on the other side of the card.  sticker autos for both!

here are a couple of cards that i found on the beckett marketplace just a couple of weeks ago. they are from 2005 playoff absolute memorabilia, and are the padres' team quad cards from the set
rickey henderson, tony gwynn, willie mccovey, and garvey.

here's the spectrum version
i have three of the different game used versions of this card, but never picked up the base.  in fact, i hadn't seen either of these cards for years.

this is the zip code parallel from 2013 panini hometown heroes that was part of my comc order
i had the state version already, but not this one.  i would have preferred garvey to have been featured under the 90012 zip code.

that's enough padres stuff - here's a dodger card (sort of) of the garv that was undervalued on comc in my opinion.  it's a 2015 topps original 1975 topps nlcs card
comc did not identify this as a garvey card, and the seller had a pretty low price on it.  i was very happy to stumble upon it.

you'll notice that none of these are from 2016, but don't worry - i've picked up quite a few garvey cards from this year's releases.  i'll be showing many of them, including my favorite, in a future post.

happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

secret santa still a secret

the few times that i've participated in secret santa gift exchanges (in an office or familial setting), the identity of the secret santa was revealed at the time gifts were exchanged.  i joined bob walk the plank's secret santa this year, and sent out cards to my assigned collector with no pretense of remaining anonymous once he received the cards.  i can't tell whether he recognized my package as a secret santa gift or not - i'm pretty sure it was clear on the packaging - as he's posted part of the group of cards i sent.  i'll wait and see if he mentions it in a future post.

in the meantime, i received my gift - this 2013 topps johnny podres chasing history autographed insert
however, i do not know who sent it. i didn't recognize the address, and there was no note inside.  maybe it's better this way, but if you want to 'fess up, please do so in the comments.

it's weird seeing johnny podres autographed cards show up in card releases these past few years since he passed away almost 8 years ago.  that's stickers for you.

anyway, i had fun looking for cards for my assigned collector, and hope that the secret santa project returns in 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

classic thorzul

i didn't 'trade him anything' this year as i have done in the past, but i did take advantage of thorzul breaking up a 1991 classic iii set to snag a dodger team set.  i sent off a sase (with a lone brewer just because it was here on my desk), and soon thereafter received the five dodger cards i had requested.  the team set consists of juan samuel
eddie murray
orel hershiser
tom goodwin
and pedro martinez
classic had to remove the 'b' from the hats of goodwin and pedro who spent time with the bakersfield dodgers in the high-a league.  i suppose their hats also could have had the interlocking 'gf' of the great falls dodgers of the rookie league, as well.  no matter, these are dodger cards regardless of what is or what is not on their hats.

the best thing about these cards, other than having an instant dodger team set added to my collection, are seeing the personalized wristbands/forearm bands that eddie murray is wearing.  seeing them reminds me of those baseball patches from the late 1970's
imagine if steve garvey had run around wearing that on his forearm.  although, he did wear the mcdonald's logo on his wristbands at some point, so maybe a self-portrait wouldn't be so bad.

thanks thorzul.  maybe i'll trade you anything next year...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

i guessed mota and got mota, even though 11 is not divisible by the number 5

matthew from the number 5 type collection (and fellow steve garvey collector) held a contest during the world series, asking folks to guess the total number of runs scored in games 4 and 5.  i guessed 11 (or as i put it "mota"), and came in third.  matthew was kind enough to send cards to all who participated, and one of the cards i received was this nice 1978 topps manny mota card
manny, of course, wore number 11 for the dodgers for over 40 years.  josh reddick wore it for a couple of months last season.  doesn't seem quite right.

here's a dave bancroft card from the 1977-1984 tcma renata galasso set that i needed
bancroft spent two years with the robins in the late 1930's following several seasons with the phillies,  giants, and braves.  he somehow was voted into the hall of fame by the veteran's committee in 1971.

matthew also threw in some 1971 o-pee-chee!  all that matters with those cards are the backs, so here are claude osteen and joe moeller
some writing on claude's card and some paper loss on moeller's, but that's ok with those bright yellow backs.

no cards numbered 5 - that osteen is as close at it gets at 10 - but still a good lot of dodgers!  thanks matthew!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

battery pack from 2x3 heroes

i have not kept up with trade posts since retiring the garvey cey russell lopes site a year and a half ago. since then, i've continued to trade and figured now that i've started this outlet, i should share some of the cards i've received.

here are some that came my way from jeff at 2x3 heroes.  he's been one of my most steady trade partners, and i have another team bag chock full of white sox, miscuts, and other stuff he collects ready to go.

2016 topps bunt kenta maeda
and julio urias
and a 2015 topps update relic card of their catcher, yasmani grandal
the dodgers have kept their battery intact going into 2017 by resigning kenley jansen and rich hill.  they seem ok with grandal's inconsistent offense because he is a plus defender behind the plate.  i guess the dodgers used to win with steve yeager, so why not grandal.

jeff recently held his annual year end clearance card lot claim, so i should be getting more 2x3 heroes soon...

thanks jeff!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

still accepting autographs through the mail (and even unsigned returns, too)

it's been a while since i've sent out a autograph request through the mail - five months, to be exact - and even then it was just four requests. i am certainly not sending them out at the clip i was back in 2009 or 2010, that's for sure.  of the four that i sent out this past july, i've received two back. those would be andruw jones and a guy i'll show a little further down in the post.  i have, however, received  in the past few months some returns for which requests were sent well before july of 2016.

here is my latest return, and i'm calling it a qualified success.  that's because even though clayton kershaw did not sign the 2015 topps card that i mailed his way on february 15, 2015, earlier today i found that unsigned card and this card in my return envelope
that's not a regular ol' 2016 topps card.  turn it over, and you'll see what i mean:
it's a special card topps made for kershaw to highlight his kershaw's challenge charity.  go ahead and check out the website. i'll wait.  i have some kershaw ttm returns already in the collection, plus a few certified autos (including the one i pulled recently, which is not as some may suspect my favorite card of the year - stay tuned for that p-town tom inspired post), so i am actually pretty happy with having received this card instead of the one i sent.  the front is slightly embossed, too.  it's a fantastic oddball item, even if it's the same photo as his topps flagship card.

here's the other request from july that has been fulfilled - jose cruz jr on his 2006 topps card
it made its way back to me earlier this month, which is fairly quick compared to some other returns i've got back this calendar year.  for example, i received a 1978 topps card signed by steve swisher this past april. it was a card that i mailed to him in august of 2011 - 4 years and 8 months earlier!  brandon league signed and returned a 2013 topps card 3 years and 7 months after i first mailed it, and grady little returned a 2006 upper deck and 2007 topps card signed in february - almost two years after they were mailed to him.  bill north took 2 years and 8 months to return his 1979 topps card unsigned with a note telling me how to arrange for an autograph through a website, so it's safe to say that alfredo griffin came through with a quick turnaround on my request for him to sign his 1988 topps traded card
it came back to me in september, almost exactly one year after i mailed it out.

and then there is this pete mackanin 1978 topps card
that took 5.5 years! i sent it out in may of 2011 and got it back just last month.

that gives me hope for the shawn green request i sent back in 2003!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

you've got to fall in love with preparation.

that was bill mueller's advice to an aspiring ballplayer, and it's true.  i've known a couple of professional athletes, and the practice and meetings and workouts wear on them.  it is ok with me, then, that preparation has no place in this post.

so, what happens when one of the ingredients of luck (at least according to the roman philosopher seneca who is credited with the quote i used as the title of this post) is missing?  i still call it luck, even if it only required opportunity.

you see, i was at target last night picking up a couple of necessities when i decided to double back and check the card aisle. i have not purchased much in the way of packs this year - maybe a blaster or two and some random packs - when i saw a bunch of the 2016 topps update/chrome update mega boxes.  $14.99 for 5 packs of update and 2 packs of chrome update.
i still had a few dodgers on my update want list, and i only have the maeda chrome update card, thanks to a recent online purchase, so i picked up a box (but not the box in front).  i opened the regular update packs first (in the parking lot, of course), and was treated to one of the corey seager cards that i needed, plus kenley jansen, which was also on my want list. there were also a few inserts that i might try to flip given that they were not mariner or marlins cards.

i then opened the first of the two chrome update packs and immediately saw this.
to clarify - i just saw the "congratulations" and "clayton kershaw" text. i knew it was an all-star workout jersey relic card, and i moved on to the other pack without bothering to remove the card and inspect it in all of its glory.  or, as much glory as there could be with a card featuring the greatest pitcher in the game wearing padre brown.

it wasn't until i got home that i realized this was an autographed version, numbered to 25.
i once pulled a steve garvey jersey card (back when jersey cards were a big deal) from a pack of topps archives which was quite serendipitous and, i thought, an example of collecting karma. this, however, is beyond serendipity or karma.  it is fortuitous and lucky and pretty awesome, and it is easily in the top 5 pack pulls of my collecting experience.  others in that category would include a bill dickey cut auto from a legendary cuts release, a 1/1 mickey mantle printing plate from topps chrome, a 2001 topps tribute eddie mathews patch, a mickey mantle jersey card (with pinstripe!), and two babe ruth bat cards from two different topps tribute sets.  however, given that this card is of a dodger and that it is in particular clayton kershaw, this might be the best pack pull i've experienced.

it's not my first kershaw auto, but it is the first one that i've pulled myself and it made me pretty darn happy.

ps - whomever wound up with me for the bob walk the plank secret santa, don't worry about getting me a kershaw relic auto. i'm good for now.

Monday, November 14, 2016

giving up 5

i'm a numbers guy. math has always been my thing, and numbers speak to me. i like numbers and the absolute certainty of things associated with numbers.  i'm also a baseball guy, which makes sense given all of the numbers associated with the sport through statistics and uniforms.  

i used to remember my high school locker combination by using dodger players (dusty baker - fernando valenzuela - pedro guerrero). that's 12 - 34 - 28.  i would remember license plates using dodger players. the number portion of my first car's license was pee wee reese - davey lopes - steve sax.  most of the dodger players i referenced for these tasks were players from the team of my youth (the 1977 and 1978 dodgers), although some like pee wee and duke snider and jackie robinson came from before my time, and some others, like fernando and petey and saxy came after that and earned their place in my numerical lexicon.

one number, however, that never belonged to johnny oates (who was on those dodger pennant winning teams) was 5.  that belonged to my dad's favorite player (and the 1965 national league rookie of the year), jim lefebvre.

i recently picked up his 1971 ticketron dodgers card, which displays the red numeral nicely.  

for almost 40 years, number 5 has been, to me, lefebvre.  never mike marshall or dave hansen or even nomar garciaparra, who was for a while my favorite dodger.  today, however, i think i am making a change.

meet the new number 5, who is coincidentally the 2016 national league rookie of the year.  that would be corey seager.
long may he reign.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

gold glove, rainbow jersey, perfect fit

sometimes a card doesn't fit into any part of your collection, but you buy it anyway and keep it, never questioning its existence among the rest of your cards. it's

one such card in my collection is this 2001 upper deck gold glove jersey relic card featuring former astro (and dodger) cesar cedeno.
it's like a sherbet neopolitan explosion!

i stumbled across this card that i picked up from a bargain bin at a local card shop about 14 years ago while i was going through one of my monster boxes recently. i hadn't forgotten about it, but wasn't completely sure where it was at the moment.  now, it is officially the first card in my 'cards that i like but don't fit into any of my mini-collections' collection, and is housed more fittingly in a binder page.

if you don't have some cards in your collection that are there just because you like them, i think you might be missing the point.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

it's the wrong edwin, but it's still a dodger card

i recently looked at edwin/eddie/ed mathews' 1956 topps card for the first time.  i mean, really looked at it.
it's a tatooine card - a card that features only the infield dirt - and i did not know that mathews' given name was edwin (just like the duke of flatbush, edwin donald snider), but that's not why i was so intrigued.  no, it was the presence of a brooklyn dodger on the card that made me stop and take notice.  given the circumstance, i can only assume that it is pee wee reese who has suffered the wrath of mathews' slide.

i decided to add this mathews card to my collection (first copy goes in the 'dodger lurker' mini collection), and was looking for one at a recent card show where i met up with brian from highly subjective, completely arbitrary.  he made some good progress on his 1956 topps set at that show, but i came away without a mathews.  a few days later, i pulled the trigger on a very low priced version which, as you can see, has some damage.  that's no problem for me or my budget. having this card in my collection now, i see that it pairs well with my 1956 topps roy mcmillan card, which features jim gilliam in an uncredited supporting role.

mathews grew up and lived (and is buried) in santa barbara, which was not far from where i grew up.  i played against his alma mater in high school ball a couple of times.  howver, he was well before my time, and so the santa barbara guy my friends and i were more familiar with was jesse orosco, who doesn't have any cards that feature pee wee reese.

Monday, October 24, 2016

moving on...line

it's no secret that topps has moved much of their business online this year, through their anthology, topps now, and thursday throwback brands (all three of which i have purchased cards from, although mostly via the secondary market).  i did not pay attention to the online only stuff prior to this year, and i don't know that i will pay it much mind next year.  however, i was intrigued enough by topps now to buy into it this year, and my main man steve garvey was featured in the anthology and thursday throwback sets, so i sought out those cards.

the garv most recently made an appearance in the online exclusive 2016 topps archives snapshots set, and here is his card to prove it.
there's a black and white parallel, plus an auto (i have the b&w, but not the auto).  this is a decent idea as far as using some of the discarded photos topps photographers amassed back in the 70's and 80's that have been peddled on ebay through the topps vault.  however, it looks to me like this is the same photo topps used for garvey's 1976 card.

the anthology cards i purchased were essentially reprints of garvey's 1971 topps card, and the throwback thursday card he was featured on was a 1975 topps style card featuring his 1974 and 1978 topps cards (he was the mvp of the all-star game both of those years).  while this archives card is new, it is also recycled, and so i don't really know why i bother anymore.

as an aside, i had meant to post this last saturday, as a way of bringing garvey to the internet around the time that the dodgers and cubs were playing game 6, since garvey has had a way of disrupting the hopes and dreams of cubs fans in potential nlcs clinchers.  unfortunately, i didn't post it, and the cubs won, and i suppose it's my fault.  i will admit that i caught cubs fever in 1984 (i was a ryno fan, too, and even started collecting cubs topps team sets from 1970 on) right up until they faced off against the padres and garvey in the nlcs. then i was rooting for the padres, and was pleased as punch when the garv hit his game 4 walk-off to force a 5th game.

i was somewhat down on sunday due to the premature end to the dodgers' season, but i've already moved on, as i didn't have high hopes this postseason anyway.  there is some serious work to do by the dodger front office, but i won't presume to lay out a plan that they could follow.  i just know i will be disappointed if kenley jansen is a giant in 2017. just like i'm sure i'll be disappointed in topps' online offerings.

Monday, October 17, 2016

one step closer, yet still far away

andre ethier is the current 'dean of the dodgers' (he's been with the big club since early in the 2006 season), and he's starting to get close to being the top 10 in some dodger career categories such as home runs (he is eleven behind pedro guerrero, who is currently in the 10-spot).

those aren't the only lists he's on, as one of his cards was among my top 10 most wanted (well, top nine, actually) that are  posted as the 'nefarious nine' at garveyceyrusselllopes.  it was his 2007 topps chrome blue refractor parallel, to be exact.

yes, that's the card.

i bought it as part of a beckett marketplace transaction.  it doesn't seem like too many bloggers use beckett; certainly not as often as ebay, just commons, sportlots, or check out my cards, anyway.  i've made a few purchases there over the years, and when you are looking for something in particular and relatively obscure, all avenues are worth perusing.

i'm down to needing only takashi saito and greg maddux to complete my team set of these beauties, but i haven't seen either of their cards pop up in the 18 months that i have been tracking them (april 2015 is when i completed my 2011 topps chrome atomic refractor team set and decided to turn my attention to 2007 topps chrome blue refractors). these things were retail only inserts which may explain the scarcity on the secondary market, although i wasn't paying too close attention back in 2007 when they were first released, and there could have been hundreds of them then.  but, that was then and this is now.  i think those other two cards from this set will be on that nefarious nine list for a while...

Friday, October 7, 2016

looking for 7

the dodgers - combining the brooklyn and los angeles versions - have 6 world series titles to their credit.  tonight, they begin their latest postseason quest for number 7.  the nice people at topps recently included this insert in their physical 2016 topps bunt release around the concept that the dodgers have won a number of titles.
it's numbered to 75 and is fairly difficult to come by, so i just have the one and it will go in my steve garvey collection.  duke snider and sandy koufax are just along for the ride.  here's the back.
i won't be scratching off for the code. i don't even know what the code does.

anyway, of the six titles owned by the franchise, only the 1988 championship came about without input from one of the three players shown (it would have been nice for topps to have added orel hershiser to the card to address that title, but i suppose four dodgers would get somewhat crowded).  in fact, the dodgers franchise has only appeared in four world series in seasons that the rosters didn't include one of these guys.  you have the 1916 and 1920 world series that the brooklyn robins lost, and the 1941 world series that the brooklyn dodgers lost to go along with the 1988 improbable/impossible season and title (side note in case you are about to question it - the dodgers made the series in 1947, snider's rookie season, although duke did not play in the fall classic that year).

now, here is a (sad) list of non-championship dodger postseason appearances since garvey left the fold.

1983 - lost nlcs to phillies 3 to 1.  steve carlton was pretty good.
1985 - lost nlcs to cardinals 4 to 2.  first base was open!
1995 - lost nlds to reds 3 to 0.  none of the games were close.
1996 - lost nlds to braves 3 to 0.  dodgers had a lead for a total of four out of 28 innings.
2004 - lost nlds to cardinals 3 to 1. thank goodness for lima time that year.
2006 - lost nlds to mets 3 to 0.  back to getting swept in the postseason.
2008 - won nlds against cubs 3 to 0; lost nlcs to phillies 4 to 1.  mannywood!
2009 - won nlds against cardinals 3 to 0; lost nlcs to phillies 4 to 1.  payback for '77 and '78 nlcs.
2013 - won nlds against braves 3 to 1; lost nlcs to cardinals 4 to 2.  no kemp and hanley hbp hurt.
2014 - lost nlds to cardinals 3 to 1.  this is why i don't like matt adams.
2015 - lost nlds to mets 3 to 2.  this is why i don't like daniel murphy either.

at any rate, i'm hoping that any cards or conversations about dodger championships going forward will have to include clayton kershaw and the franchise's seventh title.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

still watching for patches and armbands

as the death of jose fernandez has reminded us, baseball is not immune to the realities of life.  some may see it as morbid, but i appreciate teams that recognize the passing of people important to the franchise, the fans, or the sport itself.  i've got a running list of such memorials at my want list, along with links to most of the cards that i've come across displaying the armbands or patches that i keep in my collection.

for the record, i had planned this post prior to the news of fernandez's death thanks to the fact that i pulled this austin jackson card
from the 20-card pack of 2016 topps heritage and high numbers i purchased recently.  jackson, who was new to the chisox this season, is wearing the 'eddie' memorial patch on his right sleeve. the white sox added this patch to their uniforms this year to honor co-owner eddie einhorn who passed away this past february from complications due to a stroke. he was 80 years old.

here's another view of the patch, as it was worn during the all-star game,
courtesy of chris sale's 2016 topps update card.

there were a few teams that wore memorials this past season, and i'll try to show them all (as well as some from last season that i didn't post at garveyceyrusselllopes) as cards become available.

Monday, October 3, 2016

a very pleasant goodbye to you, wherever you may be

my childhood is officially over.  vin scully, who was the soundtrack to my summer nights, has retired.
this comes from a post over at garveyceyrusselllopes from almost 8 years ago, but it bears rebroadcasting in light of the retirement of scully.  back in 2005, eric neel from espn was writing a piece on the dodger announcer, and asked some of us who posted at jon weisman's 'dodger thoughts' site to weigh in on the man and our 'relationship' with him (weisman, by the way, is now the dodgers' director of digital and print content).  anyway, here's what i sent to eric:



Glad to be able to share and help. I apologize in advance for the verbosity.

Answering your first question - I don't know if his voice inspires thoughts for me separate from baseball, but it is certainly a catalyst for non-baseball related memories and reflections through the baseball related memories it conjures. Vin's voice is absolutely a connection between my present and my past (and hopefully, my future), all of which are much (although sometimes not too much) more than baseball. It takes me back to my youth in Santa Barbara county, and my college years in southern California. It reminds me of so many things, but, as I mentioned in my Dodger Thoughts post, the first things I think of when I hear his voice are the late (for a 8 or 9 year old) nights, spent sitting at the dining room table with my dad and his transistor radio, watching him finish some paperwork while Vin and Ross and Jerry told their tales. It also reminds me of my late grandmother, who didn't know much about baseball, but knew who Vin Scully was, and would always say "that must be ol' Vin Scully" when she would hear the radio broadcasts we were listening to. Of course, I am also reminded of the trips we made as a family to see the Dodgers play, and how we would always take the radio into Dodger Stadium with us (just like everyone else, it seemed). So, I suppose that his voice is a gateway to thoughts and memories for me beyond just the game of baseball itself. 

Because of the connection I have with him and my past, there is definitely a safety and comfort factor that cannot be denied. Baseball is a sort of escape for me, I suppose, and hearing him call a game is about as safe and comfortable as I can imagine being for 3 or so hours. After moving from Orange County to Minneapolis (an American League town, for goodness sake) in 1997, I decided to road trip to see the Dodgers once a year. In 1998, I went to Wrigley for the first time, and I was more excited about seeing Vin again (even though I couldn't hear him) than I was about seeing the actual game. Last year, I went to Fenway, and was thrilled that he made the trip. He threw out the first pitch one night, and I got one of my favorite souvenirs from the trip - a picture of me, Sandy Koufax, and Vin. Granted, they are on the field in the background, and I am behind the dugout up in the stands, but still, we were in the frame together. Anyway, this is the first year since I moved here that I have purchased the indemand baseball package, and so have had the ability to hear him regularly, and the memories have been overwhelming at times. It has also given me the opportunity to introduce him to my 5 year old. I cannot tell you how stoked I was the other night to be sitting on the couch with my son at my side, watching Dodger baseball, and listening to Vin Scully. 

Your second question is a great one. There are many things I enjoy, among them the daily greeting: "hello, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be." this holds more meaning for me now that I am in Minnesota. There is also the way he (and the camera crews) find and describe the children in the stands. He always has kind words, and often something creative to say about the "tow headed youth" or the kid that lost his ice cream cone. It makes me wonder if I were one of those kids that he saw 28 years ago, and what did he have to say about me in my Steve Garvey shirt? I have also come to enjoy his mid game reminiscences of "this day in Dodger history", not just for the information he provides, but the way he smiles, sometimes winking, and says "let's get back to this one" when he's done. It's like we went to the kitchen to get a beer together, had a little conversation, and then realized the next inning was upon us. And then there are the stories he tells each night, the history lessons. 

These are probably my favorite things that he provides. One reason I love the Dodgers is that it is easy to trace back from the team of my youth to the teams my dad followed, and even back to Brooklyn, in very few steps. For example, you could essentially go backwards from Russell to Wills (ignoring the time he spent with other teams in the late 60s) to Reese at shortstop. To get to Russell from Izturis would take a few more steps, to be sure. In the booth, however, there has been Vin Scully. He is the direct link that I have to the history of the team, and really, the game, that I love. 

I have to add that I also love him for his ability to watch and call the game (fairly, I might add - no homers here), and tell his stories while at the same time being very attentive to the TV feed that the rest of us are watching. It's quite frustrating when the announcers are oblivious to what is appearing on TV, and Vin is able to incorporate what is being shown into whatever else he is describing. I am sure it is harder than it seems, given the fact that he is the only one I have seen who does this.


i would be remiss if i did not also post that vin is directly responsible for the greatest mail day ever, as he signed and returned a card to me.
just one more reason to say thank you, vin.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

the twins' greatest mistake?

what comes close to the twins releasing david ortiz in terms of bad decisions? ownership alienating rod carew to the point that he wanted out in 1979? drafting travis lee second overall in 1996 but losing the chance to sign him due to a clerical error? drafting (but not signing) tim belcher with the number one pick in the 1983 draft (and passing over roger clemens - as did the dodgers - in the process)? giving up on luis tiant in 1971?

the tiant thing probably comes closest, but there has been no worse decision in my opinion than the one tom kelly and terry ryan made to give up on ortiz and keep matt lecroy as the team's dh.  sure, the twins had some success at the division level following the release of ortiz, but big papi and the red sox have the rings.  and, as great as it was to have jim thome in the twin cities hitting bombs all over target field in 2010, it might have been even better with ortiz.

i recently came across a bunch of ortiz cards from the bowels of my collection. i actually had a bit of a pc going in the late 90's since i was here and he was hyped locally.  this 1998 bowman's best card
is one of a dozen or so cards i have of him as a twin.

it's unfortunate for the franchise that there weren't more.

Monday, September 26, 2016

not what i was hoping for, but it still helps

readers of one of my other blogs - frankendodger - might recall that i was hoping for topps heritage high numbers to have a dodger at number 718 on the checklist. this would have allowed me to remove from the frankenset the 1992 fleer checklist that currently holds that spot.  unfortunately, topps did not cooperate.

instead, ross stripling will replace mike sharperson's 1990 target card at number 720.  the target cards were my last defense against empty spots in the frankenset, and i am happy to reduce the number of cards from that set in the monster.

i bought a 20-pack of the high number cards at target last wednesday (using my $1 off coupon found in a blaster of series 2), and actually pulled a black border version of the stripling card.
now i just need one more of those or two of the regular stripling card to make the update to the frankenset.  help would be appreciated, and as always, you will be rewarded.

as for the other dodgers in the set, let's compare them against the frankendodger cards.

528 scott kazmir vs. 1993 topps stadium club eric karros
529 enrique hernandez vs. 1994 fleer steve wilson
553 joe blanton vs. 2007 topps ramon martinez
560 charlie culberson vs. 1980 topps dave lopes
574 bud norris vs. 2009 topps heritage national convention roy campanella
575 howie kendrick vs. 1974 topps steve garvey
600 julio urias vs. 1988 score fernando valenzuela
701 kenta maeda vs. 1990 upper deck jim gott

i see a bunch of draws and at least three or four spots where there is no question that the heritage card falls short.  so, it looks like only the stripling card will make the frankenset.  look for an updated post over there at some point.

Friday, September 23, 2016

who edits these things?

the cons of topps now have been well documented - price, subject selection, mailing method, etc. there was even a lawsuit filed due to erroneous text on the proof being corrected in production.  i've purchased all of the dodger cards offered so far, most at a discount from the $9.99 price so not from topps directly, and i have no substantial complaints, as it is my choice to purchase these things.  as such, part of my afternoon ritual has become checking their website to see if a dodger card was produced, and as a result i have seen all of the cards offered this year.

while there have been a few topps now cards that have given me the itch to compose a post, one recent card finally tipped the scales. it was this one, one of many gary sanchez cards that have been produced since the yankee catcher was called up
as you can see, sanchez is being feted for being the second fastest of all-time to reach 16 home runs.  ok. now, whether or not you feel that this is an achievement worthy of a topps now card is not the point. the card is made.  being a fan of the history of the game, i was intrigued enough to find out who the fastest to 16 home runs was.  so, i took a look at the back of the card.
the good folks at topps feel that it is more important for me to know that sanchez hit his home run in a nationally televised game than which immortal slugger owns the record.  they also fail to tell me by what measure sanchez became the seond fastest to this arbitraty plateau.  they mention it was his second at-bat of the game, and that it came in the third inning, but that's it.  so, i am left to my own devices to find this information.

now, i remember seeing a note earlier in sanchez's run that only george scott and trevor story had reached the 10 home run mark faster than sanchez. so, perhaps one of them got to 16 quicker.  a check of baseball reference tells me that it is not so, as scott hit his 16th in his 57th game, and story hit his in his 55th game. sanchez has only played in 47 games.  this, of course, assumes that it is games played that is the measure being used.  and it could be, or it could be at bats, as the guy who hit 16 home runs in fewer at bats than sanchez (who took 156 at bats to get there) was wally berger. berger took somewhere between 145 and 148 at bats and 41 games to get to 16 for the 1930 boston braves, so he has sanchez beat on both counts.

i am left to ask, would it have been so tough to at least mention berger? the reason topps gives for creating this card begs for the rest of the story, but topps didn't bother.  if they didn't want to mention berger, why not just say that sanchez reached 16 home runs faster than any other yankee.

this past wednesday, there were four topps now cards related to milestone sort of accomplishments (plus one walk-off card), and on two of the four cards, topps does mention either the person whose record was eclipsed (dave kingman used to hold the record for most home runs in a final season - now it's david ortiz - and ichiro was the last guy to have 200 or more hits in 3 straight season before jose altuve accomplished that feat during this season). good job, topps. one of the other cards features mookie betts and nomar garciaparra, and notes that nomar is the only other player to reach 200 hits, 30 homers, 40 doubles, and 20 steals in an age-23 or younger season.  that is an acceptable amount of information, even though the card mentions that there are five other players to achieve the feat regardless of age, but does not name them.  the fourth card, however, falls short, as it tells me that trey mancini is the second orioles player to homer in his debut in the last 50 years. great. who is the other oriole to do that, topps?  well, to quote dough boy, "they either don't know, don't show, or don't care" to provide that information.  thanks to the interwebs, i have learned that it was jonathan schoop in 2013, so mancini was the first oriole to do it in three years. wow.

i mentioned up above that there were some other cards that got me thinking about posting, and one of them was joe mauer's recent card celebrating a walk-off hit of his over the indians.  here's the back
i had thought that topps would have fixed this, but it looks like they've kept mauer as a catcher even though he hasn't played behind the plate since 2013.

the season is almost over, and i will continue to buy the dodger topps now cards (including their special postseason set that will go live as soon as they clinch the division), but i am really looking forward to/hoping for a vin scully card.  it really needs to happen, and i hope that he grants the use of his likeness to make it happen. then, it will just be up to topps to get the text right.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

who was i and why am i here?

jeff at 2x3 heroes (one of my favorite trading partners) is holding a contest that requires entrants to make custom cards of themselves using a topps template. however, the photo used must be of the subject, less than 16 years of age and playing baseball.  luckily, i have many such photos.  and, to make jeff's life easier, i am posting my entry on this brand spanking new blog of mine.
i used the 1986 topps all-star subset design first since the photo i used comes from 1986. i was on the travelling babe ruth all-star team that year. i played mostly second base, but was also used as a closer from time to time which is weird when you think about it as second basemen usually don't have an arm.  i could throw strikes, though, and i had an ok spinner as my coach called it. anyway, i wound up pitching the final inning of one of our games and kept the score tied. then, in the bottom of the frame, i hit a walk-off double.

while the card above shows me leaving the batter's box on my way to second, i used the 1985 topps all-star subset design for another card showing me on the mound in the top of the inning.
not pictured is the 1984 nlcs steve garvey fist raise as i rounded first, as my dad was enjoying the moment rather than taking a bunch of pictures.

now, with the completion of frankendodger, i figured i might as well have a place to write about cards when the mood strikes (and it has struck once or twice), so here we are.  i'll post infrequently, or frequently if i choose, and i'll write about whatever card inspires me to write. it might be a card i see online or one that i come across from my collection or maybe even one that comes to me as part of a trade package.

that's a not very subtle hint.

thanks in advance for reading these posts, such as they will be.