Tuesday, April 30, 2019

and it's all over now, 2007 topps chrome blue

it was just over four years ago that i posted about completing the 2011 topps chrome atomic refractor dodger team set and was turning my attention to completing the 2007 topps chrome blue refractor dodger team set.  at that time, i needed just four more dodger cards, and, for the last two years and three months, i have needed only one.  it has sat at the top of my 'nefarious 9' list of most wanted cards on the sidebar of my blogs for pretty much that entire time. last week, it arrived.

2007 topps chrome takashi saito blue refractor
i had multiple ebay saved searches for this card, with no luck, although i did recently see someone selling a lot of 151 blue refractors, and was considering asking them to pull this card out of the lot for me.  i would also periodically check comc and the beckett marketplace.  more frequently, i would search on sportlots which is where i ultimately found the card.  it had been listed for no more than a week, i would say.  it is strange to many i am sure, but there is so much joy in finding a card that has been so elusive. 

i've received some other blue cards recently:

2005 upper deck jayson werth blue parallel
jon of penny sleeves fame sent the werth with a few other cards. i had to do a little bit of research to figure out exactly what this was, which was good because i learned that the blue parallels were only part of series 2 that year. this fact that helped me understand that the card i have of milton bradley and thought was a blue parallel is really a retro parallel. so thanks jon!

1998 leaf rookies & stars raul mondesi true blue parallel
this one came from nick at dime boxes.  i did not know that these true blue parallels existed, but they fall right in line for dodger collectors such as myself.  they are not numbered, but are marked as "1 of 500" on the back.

nick sent some other colorful and chromy stuff:

2002 topps chrome dodgers team refractor
the 2002 topps chrome refractors are very nice. this one will go in my dodger stadium binder. it has a nice shot of the right field corner there behind the team with the stadium club restaurant in the upper right part of the card.

2005 topps chrome hee-seop choi red refractor
this is the first red refractor i've seen from 2005 topps chrome. it's cool and numbered to 25.  the thick borders of 2005 chrome lend themselves nicely to color parallels, but alas, there were no blue parallels that year.

i mentioned that the saito card at the top of the post was a-number 1 on my list of most wanted cards.  nick also knocked a card off of that same list with this 2018 topps big league corey seager card
and i picked up another in this 1997 fleer ultra darren dreifort card
little d looks strong! i appreciate the no batting gloves look, too.

so, with the 2007 blue refractor team set now complete, what's next?  well, i had already noted that i was going to target 2003 topps chrome in 2019, and i've finished the base set.  now, my primary team set focus will be on the 2003 topps chrome refractors, which just happen to come in blue, as dave roberts can attest:
hideo nomo's card in the set has been added to the most wanted list, but i also need a few more:

19 hideo nomo
91 adrian beltre
202 franklin gutierrez fy rc

and that doesn't include the chrome traded refractors:

t7 todd hundley
t73 rickey henderson
t99 fred mcgriff
t125 chin-feng chen
t162 james loney oros
t187 thomari story-harden fy rc
t205 eric riggs
t242 shane victorino fy rc

can you help a blogger out? this may take another 4 years...

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

a walk around the park

it's that time of year when i start to think about being at a baseball game.  normally, i would like to think about myself in dodger stadium, but that hasn't happened for a few years now.  in fact, if all goes well, i will be in cincinnati watching a game there for the first time when this post is published.

i was pretty pleased when cardboard connection posted the 2019 topps checklist and revealed that there would be stadium cards in the base set.  the dodger stadium card was the first card i picked up when the flagship set was released.
awesome card.

of course, there are parallels:

rainbow foil
purple (from meijer's)
independence day
father's day blue
mother's day pink
along with one that i don't have - walgreen's yellow (if that ever really happens).

[update - it happened!]
some of those cards shown above are only in my dodger collection - i don't have dupes of all the parallels (yet) to put in my dodger stadium binder.

while i am holding out hope that dodger stadium will be included in series 2 as part of the stadium relic set, there was also a series one insert featuring both ebbets field and dodger stadium.  here's the back of the card:
kudos to topps for using a different photo for dodger stadium, but the photo from ebbets field is the star. it's great!  take a look:
there's campy behind the plate and jackie at third.  plus, look at how pee wee (i assume that is pee wee at short) has wings!

anyway, i will have to get back to chavez ravine someday.  in the meantime, here's a virtual tour of dodger stadium featuring cards that i've added to my dodger stadium binder over the last few months.

1998 fleer ultra ismael valdes
this image shows the home plate area near ismael's right shoulder. it looks like izzy is standing in the third base camera well or thereabouts.

1988 classic update blue joe magrane
this card shows the old dugout level seating that existed in the area behind the plate between the dugouts.  you can see the beginning of the broadcast booths under the 'classic' text.  i found this card in a repack, which was nice.

2018 topps gypsy queen nicky delmonico
this card gives us a glimpse at the new (thanks to frank mccourt's remodeling) seating near the dodger dugout, on the home plate side.

2019 topps opening day jonathan schoop

schoop was a milwaukee brewer when this photo was taken. it features an almost identical background as the delmonico card above.

2019 topps heritage clayton kershaw nlcs
there's not as much personality behind the plate since the remodel was done. the dugout level seating (where jorge brito used to stand with his panama hat, cigar, and radar gun) are gone and replaced by advertising.

2019 topps heritage world series game 5 red sox celebrate
you have to take the good with the bad, i suppose.  this is the second year in a row that the american league has celebrated in dodger stadium.  this card give us a slight view of the visitor's dugout along the first base line.

1987 fleer record setters kevin mitchell
here's a look down the first base line, past the visitor's dugout, with the photographer's camera well and the first part of the old field level scoreboard in the background.  these cards make me think of murph and the unocal commercials that ran during dodger broadcasts.  i'm glad they brought back the 76 logos after the mccourt remodeling, even if they are in the outfield now.  there will be more from this set a bit later, by the way.

1998 pacific crown collection todd worrell 
this card shows the area between the first base dugout/camera well and half of the same field level scoreboard that is on the mitchell card.  i'm pretty sure that is davey lopes in the first base coach's box, by the way.

1990 donruss calvin schiraldi
here's a look at the other half of the scoreboard. i found this card in a repack. fortuitous.

just slightly further down the first base line we find todd pratt on his 2000 skybox card
the other part of the field level scoreboard is over pratt's right shoulder.  thanks to julie at a cracked bat for turning me on to the existence of this card!

2019 topps heritage cody bellinger nlcs
2019 topps heritage max muncy world series
now, that area down the line is filled with advertising - in the case of these cards for playball.org, mlb network, and youtube tv instead of unocal or budweiser or coca-cola.

1987 fleer baseballs best mike scott
this card was a bonus card from a sportlots seller.  it features the end of the field level seating and the visitor's bullpen out in right field.

1999 fleer ultra carl everett gold medallion parallel
ah, the murals.  here, carl everett is on the warning track in right field, just to the center field side of the visitor bullpen. he's in between the kirk gibson/1988 world champions image and the tommy lasorda retired number image.

2019 topps 150 years greatest moments sandy koufax insert
here we have sandy being mobbed by teammates (hello, wes parker and ron fairly) while heading back towards the dodger dugout after pitching a perfect game against the cubs in 1965.  the scoreboard that sat over the right field pavilion is over sandy's left shoulder, complete with the orange 76 ball that sat atop it before it was replaced by a mercedes logo or some such.

2019 topps online 150 years of baseball
topps used that same photo of koufax on the second card of their online only 150 years of baseball release. technically, this card is in my dodger collection and not my dodger stadium collection, since i only bought one (on the secondary market, of course).

2001 upper deck tribute to 51 ichiro
more murals! on this card, ichiro is patrolling right-center field at dodger stadium during a game in july of 2001.  part of duke snider's retired number mural is behind him, and as far as i can figure, that mural was below the scoreboard, center field side.

1990 baseball card magazine tim raines
this oddball tim raines card features the right field pavilion in the background, where it is clear of the scoreboard.  it also features a great synchronicity of color! thanks to fuji for featuring this card on a post and making me aware of its awesomeness!

1992 upper deck all-star fanfest steve avery
now we're in center field with the end of the right field pavilion behind avery.

2019 topps heritage red sox world series champions
here's a zoomed out view of the pavilions and both scoreboards, with center field pretty much in the middle of the background.  you can see the big speaker that sits in front of the batter's eye there in the background, along with the scoreborads and some advertising.  the rectangular diamondvision screen was replaced a few years ago with a screen whose shape matches that of the right field scoreboard. this card shows both screens, and if you look closely, both pavilion roofs.  2018 was the second year in a row that the american league celebrated in dodger stadium.

1987 fleer baseball mvp tony gwynn
we are moving on to the left field pavilion (and there is the original rectangular diamondvision!) behind gwynn.  thanks to gavin at baseball card breakdown for featuring this card in a post so that i could add it to a sportlots order. side note: i was featured on diamondvision in its inaugural season at a game against the reds.

2019 topps lorenzo cain (photo variation)
cain (with enrique hernandez) has the left-center wall behind him, not too far from the dodger bullpen.  cain's regular version 2019 topps card has also been added to the binder as it shows him standing up shortly after the umpire granted his request for time out. both cards show the aforementioned unocal 76 logo, which is always, to me, a nice sight to see on baseball cards.

2019 topps opening day lorenzo cain
well, here's that photo of cain i was speaking of just now.  

2019 topps clayton kershaw
kershaw, being a lefty, means we get lots of cards with the left field corner in the background. here you can see the field level seats and just a bit of the bullpen wall with the new-ish overlook area above.  also, kershaw forgot to zip up.

2019 topps justin turner (photo variation)
redturn receiving the gatorade shower makes for a great card. the photo shows the left field foul pole, and you can faintly see some of the palm trees (the "three sisters") that tower over the bullpen area as well.

2004 upper deck legends dusty baker gold autograph parallel (back)
you can see the entirety of left field from foul pole to center on the backs of the dodger cards from this set.  this one, numbered to 5, is in my 2004 dodgers binder.

1987 fleer record setters bill gullickson
1987 fleer record setters orel hershiser
here's a look at the third base side of the field. that's the old field level scoreboard that was just beyond the dugout and camera well near which ismael is standing in the card up top.  that means we've made it around the park!  it is worth noting that i recently purchased the mitchell and gullickson cards from sportlots, but salvaged the hershiser card from my own sportlots inventory. i must have overlooked it or thought it already resided in my dodger stadium binder, so thanks to night owl for showing this set on his blog and inspiring me to make sure those cards were represented in my mini-collection.

i'll finish with the ballparks insert from 2019 topps opening day

as you can see, dodger stadium always looks great on cardboard, and 2019 is shaping up to be a great year in terms of cards featuring dodger stadium. and, as far as the 2019 season goes, i'm hoping that the dodgers can win a third pennant in a row and finish with a world series title this time.  with the all-star game already scheduled for the ravine in july of 2020, it would make for good cardboard next year, as well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

at least there is one final tribute, finally

both joe mauer and adrian beltre announced their retirements before any 2019 baseball cards hit the shelves.  i dutifully reviewed the checklists for series 1 when it was published, hoping for a final tribute card for each of these personal favorites. i was disappointed when i saw their names only in insert sets.  beltre, at least, received a 1984 style insert (among many other inserts) with total career stats on the back (but only line-by-line starting with 2004).  mauer had nothing but relics, manu-relics, and the uniform evolution insert to his name.

then 2019 donruss came along with its checklist and lo and behold adrian beltre was included among the common base card receiving folk.  i finally snagged a copy:

the stats on the back are complete, but not presented yearly

i'll take it though.  

i bought in to beltre very early on as a dodger fan who had tired of the revolving door that existed at third base since the penguin's departure.  beltre was solid, but waited until his walk year to really showcase his premier offensive talent, putting the dodgers in a tough position. four years previously, the dodgers had gambled on potential with darren dreifort, re-signing him to a huge 5-year, 55-million dollar contract after a few underachieving seasons, and they lost. beltre had shown more than potential, but the dodgers chose to not beat seattle's 5-year, 64-million dollar offer, and so the revolving door continued for another decade or so.  thank goodness for justin turner today, but it was tough watching beltre continue to play great defense and hit home runs from one knee while wearing american league uniforms those past 14 years.

panini even gave beltre the variant treatment, and here is the blue jersey version now
it takes me back to the davey johnson dodger era a bit.

heritage has come and gone with no beltre or mauer, so now it's up to series 2 (unlikely) to right this wrong.  i suppose a veteran sp card in update (as was done with chipper jones in 2013) could happen. more likely, however, are cards in 2019 archives.  no matter what, i'll be checking checklists to see.