Friday, February 28, 2020

cora the exploiter

not too long ago, i completed my 2002 topps chrome dodger team set with an order on sportlots.  this was the final card i needed
cheater? embattled? once a dodger, anyway.

a short time later, i received a package from johnny's trading spot in which i found this card:
more chrome cora - this one from 2004 topps chrome - and a double play turn to boot.  this card was also a need, and an appreciated one as my focus as far as team sets go is currently 2001 and 2004 topps chrome.  thankfully, john sent another couple of needs from one of those sets:
i don't know for sure, but i don't think either of these guys were ever fired from their jobs due to involvement in a cheating scandal.

it used to be that when i thought of alex cora, i first thought of his 18-pitch at bat in 2004 that ended in a home run for the dodgers. now, i think of his involvement in the astros' sign stealing shenanigans during the 2017 season and his subsequent management of the 2018 red sox who also beat the dodgers in the world series.  personally, i am fine with him losing his job over it, and i would also be ok with the astros' championship being vacated based on my understanding of the scheme and its impact. as my painter friend donald said, it ain't never gonna happen.

the best thing to come out of this for me, in my narrow fan-view, is that dusty baker is back and i am really hoping that he sticks around long enough to get to 2000 wins (he has 1863 coming in to the 2020 season). i'm also really hoping that he is around long enough for topps to bring back the manager cards and feature him on one - i am thinking 2022 heritage would be a great set to have the manager/coaches cards back in play.

enough about all of that. john sent some more cards - here's one featuring a different cheater
2003 topps has become this century's 1971 topps. those blue borders chip and the cards stick together in a way that makes preservation outside of sleeves or sheets very difficult.  anyway, slammin' sammy cheated, and another performance enhancer should have been on the card, but didn't sign with topps for a couple of years
anyway, nice to see shawn green hanging out.  here's another shawn green card that john sent
that's a 2004 upper deck super sluggers insert, which completed my team set.

here's a 1981 o-pee-chee dave lopes card!
rough cut and offset like opc should be, but not a variation in my eyes even though there is french on the front. for those of you who may not know, i've been collecting o-pee-chee since 1978 and am such a fan that i dedicated a blog to the differences between it and topps.  check it out if you have not!

a few more from john, including a 2018 topps kenta maeda 1983 insert
a 2018 topps holiday chris taylor card
a 2016 panini donruss the rookies julio urias card

and, probably my favorite card of the package, a 2018 sport kings don drysdale card
not much new in the hobby in the way of don drysdale cards, at least from topps. would have been nice to have seen him in the 'greatest seasons' inserts last year, but it could be that topps isn't allowed to use his name or image.

thanks john.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

tris speaker is in my hall of famer collection

tris speaker is in my hall of famer collection not only because he was one of the hall of famers who attended the opening of the hall of fame in 1939, but also because he was a big part of my early baseball card collection.  spending part of summer vacations in canada in the late 1970's and early 1980's meant an opportunity to buy packs of o-pee-chee cards, but one year, i obtained three baseball cards from a saskatchewanian antique fair.  all were from 1960 fleer - one of which was tris speaker. it was, for a while (along with the other two '60 fleer cards (mel ott and cy young)), the oldest card in my collection.

here's a newer card of speaker, which represents him in my hall of famer collection:
that's a 2011 topps tribute dual relic green parallel 53/75. here's the back:
it is appropriate that speaker's card is a dual relic as when i think of him i think of doubles. speaker holds the career record for doubles with 792, and he holds the record for most seasons with 50 or more doubles - a feat he accomplished five times. pete rose finished with 746 doubles (good for second place all-time), but nobody else has even come close. speaker is also fifth all-time in hits with 3,514, and his .345 lifetime batting average is sixth all-time; just a tick ahead of ted williams'.

speaker was also a force on defense.  a center fielder by trade, he played shallow and used his speed to make up for it. his career total of 449 outfield assists is also a major league record. he played for the red sox from 1907-1915, the indians from 1916-1926, and then finished his career with one season apiece with the senators and the athletics.  a three-time world series champion, speaker was a player-manager for part of his tenure in cleveland, including their 1920 championship campaign.

a couple of years ago, i finally parted with the 1960 fleer cards that joined my collection in its earliest stages, including the speaker. i'm happy to have him back in this latest part of my collection.

here's my hall of famer collection as its been documented so far:

babe ruth - 2003 topps tribute world series edition world series tribute relic 351/425

honus wagner - 2001 topps tribute relic

tris speaker - 2011 topps tribute dual relics green parallel 53/75

george sisler - 2004 topps tribute hall of fame tribute relic

dizzy dean - 2001 topps tribute relic

bob feller - 2001 topps archives

jackie robinson - 2004 topps clubhouse collection clubhouse relic

roberto clemente - 2005 donruss greats hall of fame souvenirs relic

warren spahn - 1999 upper deck century legends epic signatures

mickey mantle - 2000 upper deck legends legendary game jerseys relic

willie mays - 1997 topps willie mays reprints autograph

al kaline - 2001 fleer greats of the game autographs

duke snider - 2003 upper deck sp authentic chirography hall of famers 144/250

bob gibson - 2001 fleer greats of the game autographs

hank aaron - 2004 topps originals 1979 topps all-time record holders rbi 03/32

frank robinson - 1995 upper deck autographs

harmon killebrew - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

pee wee reese - 2001 topps tribute relics

jim hunter - 1998 donruss signature series significant signatures 0736/2000

willie stargell - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

gaylord perry - 2003 topps finest finest moments autographs

rollie fingers - 2018 topps archives signature series 1978 topps buyback 1/3

reggie jackson - 2018 topps tier one tier one talent autographs 19/60

steve carlton - 2018 topps five star career year autographs

mike schmidt - 2002 topps archives autoproof 1980 topps buyback 048/147

don sutton - 2001 fleer greats of the game

tony perez - 2004 fleer national pastime 2002 fleer greats authentic autograph buyback 30/59

dave winfield - 2003 upper deck sp authentic chirography hall of famers 121/350

gary carter - 1999 fleer sports illustrated greats of the game autograph collection

dennis eckersley - 2017 topps archives signature series 1984 topps buyback 47/99

paul molitor - 2016 topps museum collection archival autographs 021/125

bruce sutter - 2003 topps all-time fan favorites

jim rice - 2005 upper deck past time pennants past time signatures

andre dawson - 2000 fleer greats of the game autographs

alan trammell - 2001 fleer greats of the game autographs

pete rose* - 2018 panini flawless legendary signatures 15/25

barry bonds* - 2001 bowman heritage autographs
you can find the full list of hall of famers (and some not - yet) that i aim to include in this collection at my want list site.

*not currently a member of the hall of fame