Tuesday, January 31, 2017

a day early and some dodgers short

stopped by a target store this afternoon and found some 2017 topps.  the blaster and value box that i picked up were short on dodgers - this is what i pulled in terms of the boys in blue:

chase utley, jose deleon, and corey seager
two of which are no longer dodgers.

i did also get this scott van slyke card (it's nice to see svs out of update and in to the regular set for a change)
 that looks different and is numbered to 50 on the back
i guess that is called a 'powder blue father's day' parallel according to cardboard connection.

i'm pretty sick of 1987 topps, but it's back to celebrate its 30th anniversary. i did get a joc pederson card from the insert set
so it's not all bad, i guess.

also found a couple of cards for my other collections, such as this michael wacha card featuring dodger stadium as a backdrop
 and the david ortiz final tribute card
that i was disappointed to see only had five years of stats on the back because, hey, we need to know what his twitter and instagram handles are.
 i did pull a 1954 topps hank aaron card!
too bad it's just an advertisement for topps - here's the back
not much more of note came from these packs.  i did pull quite a few of the award inserts, but none of corey seager or dave roberts, unfortunately.

get thee to your big box stores - 2017 topps just might be waiting for you!

Monday, January 30, 2017

i didn't take my own advice but recovered nicely for some great 1978 topps ttm successes

just about six years ago, i encouraged autograph seekers to study team cards, as i had missed out on getting former dodger coach roy hartsfield, a great ttm signer who signed two versions of his 1978 managerial card for me, to sign a couple of dodger team cards on which he appeared before he passed away in 2011.

just recently, i was going through my 1978 topps autograph collection, and decided to try to add some signed team cards to my collection.  i don't have any aspiration of having a complete autographed 1978 topps set, but i figured i could add some team cards to the mix (i had only the dodger team card signed by coaches mark cresse and the late red adams in the autographed binder).  i thought it would be great if i could get autographs on these team cards from players who were in the team photo on these cards, but did not have their own card in the set.  now, i was a student of the team cards from the 1978 topps set, and did well previously to seek out autographs from the likes of cresse, adams, boog powell, and john hale, all of whom appear on the dodger team card but not on individual cards, as part of my modest 1978 topps dodger autograph project (and had cresse and adams sign another copy of the card for my partial autographed set). what i did not do, however, was transfer this approach to other team cards back then, much to my present day disappointment.

for example, did you know that pat zachry appears on the reds team card, even though he has his own card in the set featuring him as a met?  well, he does, thanks to the reds and topps using a team photo from early enough in the 1977 season to pre-date the trade that sent him to the mets.  as for zachry, he signed a total of six cards through the mail for me back in 2009, including that mets card.  however, i did not send him the reds card until last month, and i am not sure if i will be getting that one back.

alvin dark signed his 1978 topps padres manager card for me through the mail in 2009, which was great.  he was 87 then, and passed away in 2014 at the age of 92.  i failed to ask him to sign the 1978 topps cubs team card, however, and missed a great opportunity to add another 1978 topps autographed card to my collection.

instead, i sent the cubs team card to paul reuschel, whose individual card i already have a signed copy of.
that's alvin dark, by the way, in the upper left corner.  paul reuschel is the second from the left in the row under dark, with the glasses.  his brother rick, who also signed his solo card for me through the mail, is to paul's left.

i didn't see anyone on the a's team card that was a better known signer than manager bob winkles who has signed his managerial card for me in the past, so i asked him to sign the team card, too
it's too bad that dick allen isn't on that card, but getting his autograph is a pipe dream anyway.

for the twins, tony oliva was a coach in 1977 and so appears on the 1978 topps team card.  he signs some through the mail so we'll see.  for now, i got former twin (and dodger) dave goltz to sign the card.
goltz (number 30) is up there in the top row.  goltz is a great signer that i have sent cards to a couple of times before.

mickey klutts does have a card in the 1978 topps set, but he shares it with paul molitor and i'm holding my dupe of that card for molly, so i got him to sign the yankee team card instead
klutts is in the second row from the top, in between sparky lyle and mike torrez.

the next few examples are returns that i am really happy about. these are guys that have signed for me in the past, and whose only appearance in the 1978 topps set is on team cards.

such as, former dodger ken mcmullen, who finished his career with the brewers in 1977.  he's on the team card, but not in the set, and he signed the brewers team card for me.
that's him in the second row from the top behind the balding guy with sunglasses.  mcmullen has signed a few cards for me in the past, including a 1978 topps card that should have been.

how about claude osteen? yep, he was a coach on vern rapp's staff in 1977 and so he's on the cardinals team card.
gomer is number 18, behind one of the batboys. this is the first non-dodger card osteen has signed for me, as evidenced by my previous success with him.

bob lillis is another former dodger who has signed for me through the mail a couple of times in the past, and as a member of bill virdon's coaching staff, he is on the 1978 topps astros team card
he is sitting to manager virdon's right, with the long, dark sleeves.

stan williams is a former dodger who has signed for me in the past, although now both williams autographs i have are on non-dodger cards.  first, his 1963 topps card on which he is identified as a yankee, and now this 1978 topps white sox team card
on which he identifies himself as the pitching coach.  williams is sitting to larry doby's left.  i really regret not having minnie minoso (a great ttm signer who passed away a few years ago) sign this card - he's to bob lemon's right.

next up are the mets.  so, pat zachry is on this team card, too, but so is former dodger and mets coach joe pignatano
for that matter, jerry grote is there, too, to the right of joe torre.  pignatano is in front of ed kranepool, sitting in the front row. pignatano, who is 87, signed three dodger cards for me in 2009.

another joe with ties to the dodgers who has signed for me before is featured on the padres team card.  that would be joe amalfitano
amalfitano is in the front row, wearing number 5.  roger craig is to his left, and to the left of craig is the aforementioned manager, alvin dark.  the cards amalfitano has signed for me in the past have all been cards in which he's a lurker - 1985 topps traded mariano duncan and 1990 fleer update dave hansen - although he also included a signed dodger coca-cola postcard of his own when he returned my request from late 2015.

former dodger dick tracewski was a coach for the tigers, and he signed their team card for me
just as he has signed other cards before. tracewski is third from the left in the front row.

now we are moving on to folks who have signed through the mail for me for the first time, such as former expos coach billy gardner
who is sitting in the front row to ellis valentine's left.  to gardner's left is former dodger jim brewer, who passed away in 1987, and to his left is another former dodger, dick williams, who managed the expos from 1977 into 1981.

herm starrette was a coach for joe altobelli's giants
and he signed the nocal's team card.  starrette is number 23 standing in front of one of the cable car windows. on the other side of altobelli is tom haller, who also played for the dodgers.

jackie moore was on the inaugural coaching staff of roy hartsfield's blue jays, and he was kind enough to sign the card
moore is seated to hartsfield's right, with the dark collars peeking out from under his jersey.

the 1978 topps orioles team card might be best known for rudy may's floating head or brooks robinson making another appearance in the set, but it also features coach jim frey
frey is in the front row to the left of dave skaggs, second from the right of earl weaver.

the indians team card features rocky colavito (in the front row between the traveling secretary in the light blue suit and the trainer in the red short sleeve shirt), 
but his auto is a bit harder to come by, so i sent the card to another coach - joe nossek.  that's nossek to the right of the general manager phil seghi in the tan suit.

i've always been torn about which card i would have frank robinson sign if i had the opportunity - his 1972 topps high number card that actually shows him as a dodger, his 1973 topps card that shows him as a dodger in all but team name, or this 1978 topps angels team card that shows him as a part of dave garcia's staff (robinson is sitting between garcia and jimmie reese).  i've not yet had to answer that question, however, instead having del crandall sign the angels team card for his fee of $5.
crandall is sitting to garcia's right, and he signed his name across himself, which is cool.  this is the only card in this post, by the way, for which i paid for the autograph.

the last team card i have to show, in this post anyway, is that of the royals.  galen cisco was one of whitey herzog's coaches, and he signed the royals team card for me
cisco is sitting in the front row, third from the left.

i am holding out hope for the rest of the team cards as i sent them to folks who have signed through the mail in the past (at least for others), but we will see.

the other cards in the set that i had ignored during my heavier ttm days are the checklists.  i know someone out there (sorry - can't recall who) has sent these cards to umpires which is not a bad idea, but i decided to send them out to folks (preferably dodgers) who appear on the checklist, and who have signed through the mail for me previously.  first up, mike garman, the 1978 topps dodger whose card number 417 appears on checklist four
checklist five features a couple of dodgers on the front, but they are the late johnny oates and hard to track down vic davalillo, so i went with oakland a's infielder rob picciolo instead (he's listed as card number 518)
i saved the best for last. checklist 6 was signed by the penguin himself, ron cey,
and he even marked the checklist for me at his number 630! i thought that was an awesome addition on his part.

i've been pretty happy about this recent ttm foray, but i don't think it will spark a return to sending out a flurry of requests in the future.  i'm glad to have done it when i did, however, as there is no time like the present for sending out ttm requests, except for the past.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

new hall of famer final tributes

i am happy to see jeff bagwell and tim raines finally get the votes they needed to make the hall of fame.  i am also pleased that ivan rodriguez didn't have to wait, but disappointed that vladimir guerrero will have to sit patiently for at least one more year.

as some of you know, one of my mini collections is 'final tributes' - cards that show a player's final career stats on the back, issued the year following their final season.  i don't count cards issued well after the player's career ended that happen to show the career stats on the back (think 1962 topps babe ruth story 'babe coaches for the dodgers' card for example), although i have made one exception - that being the 2012 topps archives jim hunter card, since that card used the 1980 topps design which is the appropriate design for a catfish final tribute and a great example of a card that should have been finally being.

i digress.  i was able to find one card that fit the criteria for tim raines - this 2003 donruss card - front
 and back
that shows raines finished out his career with the marlins in 2002.  fitting that his last career stolen base came with the expos in 2001.  i believe this is the only marlins card for raines, and i am glad donruss went with 'tim' instead of 'rock'.

there are more jeff bagwell cards that serve as final tributes, most likely because he wasn't planning to retire going into the 2006 season.  even with his arthritic shoulder, bags showed up to spring training, but wound up on the disabled list for the entire season.  he formally retired near the end of 2006.  here are two cards that i have in my collection - his 2006 topps - front
 and back
and 2006 upper deck - front
and back
152 runs scored in 2000 is very, very impressive.  and, did you recall that bags went 30/30 - twice?

finally, ivan rodriguez retired in april of 2012 after some thought he would try to play one more year in order to get closer to 3000 hits. instead, he called it quits following the 2011 season, and (partially because he was ignored by topps) i am counting this 2012 panini prizm card as a final tribute - front
and back
yes, i know that 2012 prizm was released in april of 2013 and it has just his career totals on the back - not the year-by-year stats - but it's close enough.  it is worth noting that he is listed as a ranger even though he finished his career with the nationals, but again, i am letting this slide because he did sign one of those dumb one-day contracts so that he could retire as a ranger.

congrats to these guys, and i'm glad that there is at least one final tribute for each. next year's class may not be so lucky as the only 2013 card that would count for chipper jones is an sp in topps update, and there are no jim thome cards that meet the criteria anywhere.  at least trevor hoffman has a 2011 topps card, assuming he gets 1% more votes in 2018.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

a couple of giant memorial patches

the san francisco giants wore two memorial patches during the 2016 season - one for former player monte irvin and one for former player, manager, and coach jim davenport.  the patches ("monte 20" and "davvy 12") were worn side-by-side on the right sleeve during the giants' short playoff run, as seen on this 2016 topps now kris bryant card
(yes, i bought a topps now card specifically for the giants' patches - at least it's not a giants card).  however, i later found this hunter pence card
in a pack of 2017 topps opening day, so i'll use him instead of the bryant card to represent the memorials.

they also wore the patches side-by-side during their fourth of july game
and the all-star game
all because of additional patches added to the sleeve.  during the regular season, the patches were worn stacked, with irvin's patch on top as shown on this 2016 topps chrome joe panik future stars insert
however, the patches are a bit easier to see on this 2017 topps opening day buster posey card (it was a giants hot pack!)
irvin was a hall-of-famer who spent several years in the negro leagues before debuting for the giants in 1949.   he was a member of the giants' 1951 and 1954 national league championship teams, and won a ring thanks to their defeat of cleveland in the '54 world series.  his number was retired by the team in 2010.

davenport was a member of the original san francisco giants team, and drove in their first run thanks to a sacrifice fly off of don drysdale. he is still their all-time leader in games played as a third baseman, and following his retirement he became a manager in their minor league system, and later the manager of the big league team.  later in his career he served as a scout and coach, teaching young players in the giants' system how to win world series championships in even years, apparently.

irvin was 96 when he died in january of 2016, and davenport passed away at the age of 82 in february of 2016.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

a memorial patch for joe garagiola

my first introduction to joe garagiola came courtesy of nbc's saturday telecasts of the 'game of the week'.  i later came to know him as the guy behind the bubble gum bubble blowing contest featured on the iconic 1976 topps card and as an advocate against the use of chewing tobacco.

i believe one of garagiola's last gigs at nbc was the 1988 world series where he was matched up (as he had been for many years) with vin scully.  ten years later, he joined the arizona diamondbacks as a part time announcer, and served in that capacity until 2013.

following garagiola's death in march of 2016, the team added a memorial patch to their uniforms.  you can see it on the right sleeve of brandon drury's jersey on this 2016 topps stadium club card
as is often the case with sleeve patches, it was moved to the chest during the all-star game, as evidenced by this 2016 topps update paul goldschmidt card
i believe that this is the first memorial patch that the diamondbacks have worn for a team affiliated person.  in addition to the newton patch worn by every team on opening day of the 2013 season, they've previously worn a patch to honor 19 firefighters killed battling the yarnell hill fire in 2013, and in spring training of 2015, they wore a patch to honor kayla mueller,
an arizona native killed by the islamic state in syria following 18 months of captivity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

when topps now was really topps then (a memorial patch for jacob wetterling)

contrary to many of you, i checked out the topps now site every day during the season, and wound up collecting the entire dodger set (minus the auto and relic parallels).  i was holding out hope for a vin scully card at some point and was ultimately disappointed on that front, but topps now to me turned out to be what upper deck documentary failed at - providing actual game photos for the game/event that the card represented.  that is not to say that the cards all used iconic photos from their game or event, but a quick getty search could verify that the photo was indeed from the game topps said it was from.

that was not the case, however, with this particular card
that purports to show the indians celebrating their first american league central title since 2007 on september 26th.  the indians were in detroit that night, but the photo topps used comes from their september 9th game in minneapolis against the twins.  i know this, not only because my getty search confirms it, but also because of the jacob wetterling number 11 patch that the clevelend player is wearing on his chest.

jacob wetterling, who wore the number 11 in youth hockey, was an 11-year old boy from a town near st. cloud, minnesota who was kidnapped in 1989 after riding his bike with some friends to a store to rent a video.  his fate was unknown for almost 27 years until september 2016, when his abductor confessed to assaulting and killing jacob that same night that he was abducted.  following the confirmation of the confession, the twins, as evidenced by this getty images photo of joe mauer
along with the visiting indians, wore a number 11 patch with jacob's name beneath the number in jacob's honor.  jacob's parents, who like all minnesotans hoped for a different end to the story, had started the jacob wetterling resource center in 1990 to assist other families in similar missing children situations, and to help end child exploitation of any kind.  following the game against the indians, the twins auctioned off many of the jerseys worn by the players that night, and donated the proceeds to the foundation.

[edit: topps featured a photo of byron buxton wearing the patch on this 2017 topps triple threads relic card
that i was able to add to my collection.]

i have to say that was a pretty crappy week here in minnesota.