Monday, August 31, 2020

a classic turn of events

i was tuned in to the mlb network in mid-march and was surprised to find 'the natural' or 'bull durham' not being shown. actually, i was just looking for some background noise while i did some other stuff which is why i did not quickly change the channel when i saw that they were replaying a giants game.

specifically, it was game 3 of the 2003 nlds, and it was touted as a 'classic game'.  i am pretty sure i did not watch this game when it was originally played, so i wasn't sure why it was thought to be a classic (spoiler alert - the marlins won on an extra-inning walk-off). i do know i watched game 4 of the series when the marlins knocked off the giants to head to the nlcs on a game-ending play at the plate. that was a classic ending, at least.

anyway, while i was occasionally looking up, i was reminded that the giants were wearing memorial patches for bobby bonds who had passed away in late august.  this prompted me to take a look at the 2004 topps postseason cards again to see if the patch was visible on any of them. i had done this back in 2015 when i was trying to fill out my armbands and memorial patch collection, but i struck out on this particular patch.

it was a no go on the postseason cards, but a quick run through 2004 upper deck giants cards on comc made me aware of this card of former dodger marquis grissom:
there's the patch! the site must have been sold out of these back in 2015, or maybe i just missed it. i am happy to now have this in my collection representing the elder bonds - a guy who i once met as a kid and who always seemed to be on a new team every year.

i was also able to find and add another card to my lurker collection as a result of all this - a card of bobby's son barry from the same set:
i grabbed this card and considered putting it in my dusty baker post-dodger collection, but put it with the lurkers instead. in addition to baker, there's gary carter plus some cardinals - jim edmonds and albert pujols and i believe that's edgar renteria behind bonds.

two nice adds to my collection, thanks to someone at the mlb network thinking game 3 of the 2003 nlds is a classic.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

a card that brought a smile to my face

times are tough. i don't know anyone who isn't suffering at some level - financially, socially, mentally, professionally, and the list goes on. i include myself in that group, so it was great to see an email from friend of the blogosphere mr. haverkamp show up a few weeks ago.

he asked if i had any information on this card
a card which comc's inventory calls a "1978 los angeles dodgers dental health" card. i had no idea and was of no help. i've searched comc for non-dodger dusty baker cards, but i figured i had all (or at least knew of ) all of the dodger issues i needed. this was a new one to me.

a week or so later, an envelope shows up with that card inside! awesome!  here's the back:
it's pretty flimsy, and i can't find any additional information on it. i assume that the inset cartoon is showing "sugar" striking out.  it's a glorious oddball, whatever it is.

johnnie b didn't travel alone, either.  there were a few 1982 fleer stamps that i needed as well
including a couple of fernandos. there's some good footage out there of tommy lasorda standing in as fernando's interpreter in some interviews wherein tommy seems to generously expand on some of fernando's responses. good times.

the pwe also included some 2003 topps 205 mini cards of brian jordan and shawn green
the jordan and one of the greens were "brooklyn" backs, and the other green was a piedmont back:
not sure which is more rare, but all were needed and welcome in my collection.

thanks jim! this brought a smile to my face!

Friday, August 28, 2020

42 today

i just read last night that mlb would be celebrating jackie robinson day today, which marks the 75th anniversary of his signing by the brooklyn dodgers. this is due to the fact that there were no games played on april 15th, the anniversary of jackie's mlb debut and the day that is usually reserved for the celebration, due to the pandemic. as one of the dodgers who followed in jackie's footsteps, tommy davis, said, jackie "has to be remembered every year".  this year it is especially important, i think, as there is so much yet to be done to eliminate racial injustice in our society.

i have no idea what it means to be anything other than what i am, but i try to understand. i recognize that i was born on third base (white, male, american), but i am blessed with parents and friends who have taught me empathy and prevented me from having a ego or false sense of entitlement. i read and research and don't knee-jerk reactions to events but it is hard these days to not lose hope that there can be justice for all. i will proudly vote for joe biden in november after proudly voting for hillary in 2016. this shit has got to stop, and i believe it will only get worse with four more years of the jackass currently at 1600 west pennsylvania avenue and his band of assholes. not that these issues will magically go away or be fixed, but at least there would be some acknowledgement from leadership that they exist and must be addressed.

in card related news, i've been adding some cards to my '42' collection. at least to the part of the collection that features jackie's retired number in the background. but first, i came across a duplicate of this 2004 upper deck sweet spot classic card
that commemorates the retirement of 42 across major league baseball. i decided to use this card as a 'header' for my 42 collection. the other cards i've found to add include this 1998 upper deck mark wohlers card (card back, actually)
as it shows the retired number in the background. not sure what stadium wohlers is pitching in there, but i don't think it is busch  as much as i want the photo to match the caption text.

here's a 2000 upper deck mvp card of derek jeter
with a photo from the oakland coliseum showing number 42. the a's have done well displaying their retired numbers as they show up on a number of cards.

it's harder to find the retired number 42 on these next two cards from 2009 upper deck o-pee-chee
but it is there out in centerfield on a banner next to the two world championship banners. i really liked how jackie was honored in the metrodome - it was good to see dodger blue everytime i attended a game there.

moving to target field, the twins placed their retired numbers on the facade in foul territory down the left field line. this 2019 topps stadium club eddie rosario card
gives a good look at them, with 42 being the one on the far left.  and, this 2020 topps opening day insert of tc bear
also shows the number 42, along with the newly added number 7 for joe mauer.

i've taken time today to think about jackie's legacy and what i can do to positively impact the lives of others. i invite you to do the same.
thank you, jackie robinson.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

giving 2020 topps archives a go

i overpaid for a box of 2020 topps archives last week in a moment of weakness.  it arrived on monday, and i wasted little time getting in to it. 
for the record, i had made a guess as to my boxtopper mini-poster (i assumed it would be blake snell) and my two autographs (i figured i'd get andy ashby and, in an attempt to put some good mojo out there, shawn green).  i was wrong on all three guesses.

here's what greeted me when i opened the box:
hank aaron box topper!
that's not bad. interesting that hank is wearing a milwaukee hat but the poster affiliates him with the atlanta braves.

back to the box.
i started with the upper right stack of packs. it quickly became obvious that the collation in each pack was coordinated such that there were 2 1974 cards, followed by 3 2002 cards, an insert, and 2 1955 cards. get ready for a bunch of images.

here's pack number 1:
that's carlos correa, roberto alomar, chris sale, robel garcia, anthony santander, mike trout/shohei ohtani (1960 topps combos), nomar garciaparra, nolan ryan

i scanned the back of the correa card to show that topps went with a generic script font instead of a facsimile autograph. 

probably would have been better served leaving it off altogether.

pack 2:

sandy koufax
that looks pretty great. hello and a very pleasant good evening to jim gilliam lurking there in the background, too!

kerry wood
rollie fingers
lou gehrig
david wright
eloy jimenez (1960 all-star rookie)
goose gossage
isan diaz

here's the back of koufax's card
not quite full career stats there (no 1955 row) even though there was room. still hard to read as well. maybe topps will go the o-pee-chee route for 2023 heritage and give us yellow backs.

pack 3:

roberto clemente
trent grisham
marco gonzales
adrian morejon
christian yelich
cc sabathia (1976 traded), 
vladimir guerrero jr
jt realmuto

not sure what happened to the colors on the clemente card. 1974 topps used yellow letters for the pirates, not red.  still, it is cool to see clemente on a different card design.  and someone alert thorzul that there are new cc brewer cards to chase!

pack 4:

ketel marte
eric hosmer
jose ramirez
ryan mcmahon
jose abreu
adbert alzolay (1955 bowman archives)
bryan reynolds
ralph kiner
there was no ralph kiner card in 1955 topps (he was bowman exclusive that year), so this is welcome. however, he would have been shown as a cub or indian in that set.

topps gives the diamondbacks the cincinnati reds coloring for the 1974 cards, and i think that's ok.  here's the back of the alzolay card.
topps treated it and the other '55 bowmans like an online tbt card with that poor attempt.

pack 5:

hunter dozier
jon lester
dj lemahieu
wil myers
yu chang
pete alonso (nickname poster)
rickey henderson
charlie morton

dozier is sporting the david glass memorial patch.

pack 6:

abraham toro
jacob degrom
craig biggio
edgar martinez
andre dawson
aristedes aquino (1955 bowman) 
trevor bauer
tim anderson, 

when i saw that degrom was going to be in the 1974 subset, i hoped for a horizontal shot a la tom seaver. alas, it is a portrait card with black name and team text instead of white.

on to the lower right stack.  pack number 1:

john smoltz
daniel vogelbach
ryan howard
carlton fisk
barry larkin
bo bichette/vladimir guerrero jr (1960 combo)
sam hilliard
brusdar graterol
topps anointed graterol as one of the dodger rookies they were going to feature in every product, and so far it looks like a much better choice than their previous years of tim locastro, rob segedin, and the like.

pack 2:

mike moustakas
andrew benintendi
ryan braun
rafael devers
johnny cueto
vladimir guerrero jr (1960 all-star rookie)
mike mussina
harmon killebrew
killebrew was in the 1955 set as a senator. here's a look at the back of his card
it's pretty solid. the active players have the additional "year" row of stats.

pack 3:

luis robert
mo vaughn
mike clevinger
randy arozarena
michael conforto
randy johnson (1976 traded)
lou boudreau
alex bregman

big rookie mojo in this pack, plus a couple of randys.

pack 4:

trevor story
dansby swanson
dennis eckersley
rod carew
roger clemens
aristedes aquino (1990 rookies) 
marcus stroman
aaron hicks

that carew is fantastic. a contender for favorite non-dodger card of the year, although it has stiff competition in the big league javy baez card.

pack 5:

nelson cruz
dave winfield
sandy alcantara
brendan mckay
freddie freeman
david ortiz (nickname poster) 
raisel iglesias
pete alonso

it's strange seeing winfield on a 1974 card as a yankee given that his rookie card is so iconic. my checklist would have had winfield on a 1955 or 2002 card instead.

pack 6:

ted williams
cal ripken jr
joe morgan
that front photo suffers from the lack of gloss on these cards. the photo on the back
might have been a better choice. note that there are a few early years of morgan's career missing from the back as well.

rougned odor
bryce harper
shun yamaguchi (1955 bowman)
jose altuve
amed rosario

the team text color is off for the ripken (and other 1974 orioles). it's not a variation either.

upper left stack. pack number 1:

duke snider
sammy sosa
tim hudson
brandon woodruff
vladimir guerrero
christian yelich/keston hiura (1960 combo) 
paul dejong
francisco lindor

the snider is nice, and they even got his entire career stats on the back
which makes me scratch my head at the koufax up above even more.  always good to see a new vladdy sr card, but i already have one of him in the 2002 design (and 1955 design thanks to 2004 heritage). 1974 would have made more sense to me.

pack 2:

david ortiz
shun yamaguchi
noah syndergaard
brad keller
kenley jansen
ryan o'hearn (1960 all-star rookie)
shohei ohtani
luis aparicio

that kenley is nice. seeing aparacio on a 1955 design is cool, too. kind of a pre-rookie vibe as his first card was in 1956. i probably should have scanned that card.

pack 3:

eloy jimenez

walker buehler
victor robles
jose urquidy
willie mays
miguel cabrera (1976 traded) 

robin yount
aj puk

i, for one, am ok with topps using the padres colors for the 1974 nationals. the willie mays card, while it looks good, is the biggest disappointment for me in the set. i was hoping topps would use the 1974 design and feature willie as a met so we could get a sort of final tribute.  oh well. in other news, topps did a good job with the '76 traded cards, i think.  here's the back of miggy's card:
not sure where the numbering comes from. cabrera's regular card in this set is 279.

pack 4:

matthew boyd
zack collins
justin turner 
jorge alfaro 
miguel cabrera
miguel andujar (1960 all-star rookie black parallel)
brooke burke
charlie blackmon

back-to-back dodger stadium shots with the turner and alfaro cards. turner's card has the added bonus of tommy lasorda seated in the background.  the andujar is numbered to 99 as you can see on the back:

pack 5:

thurman munson
ken griffey jr
paul molitor
yu darvish
aaron judge
ernie banks (nickname poster)
keston hiura
will smith

the munson is a sort of 'action variation' of his original 1974 card, and i don't mind it too much. the mariners were given the brewers' color scheme for the 1974 cards and i think it works. the other thought i have with this pack is that my understanding was ernie banks' nickname was 'mr. cub'. was he also known as 'mr. sunshine'?

pack 6:

mauricio dubon
justin dunn
justin verlander
stephen strasburg
manny machado
pete harnisch (fan favorites autograph)
jackie robinson
ramon laureano

well, he's not andy ashby, but pete harnisch doesn't do much for me. hopefully bru is up for another trade!  and seeing jackie on the 1955 design will beg for a critique against his real 1955 topps card. this one is lacking the color of the original by using a blue 'b' logo rather than the diamond red logo of the original. the blue bar at the bottom is also different. not sure i ever thought i would say this, but there might just be too much blue on that dodger card!

lower left stack. pack number 1:

ty cobb
willie mccovey 
aaron nola
kyle seager
ronald acuna jr
rhys hoskins/bryce harper (1960 combo) 
albert pujols
monte irvin

perhaps topps had thought about using a photo of mccovey from his short term stop with the a's? that's the only thing i can think of to justify the coloring. also, that card is similar to the winfield in that it is strange to see stretch on a 1974 card as something other than a padre.

pack 2:

hyun-jin ryu
corey kluber
kole calhoun
carter kieboom
anthony kay
ronald acuna jr (1960 all-star rookie)
deion sanders
bo bichette

this may have been my least favorite pack of the box.

pack 3:

gleyber torres
tony gonsolin
clayton kershaw
anthony rendon
chipper jones
john smoltz (1976 traded)
sean murphy
whit merrifield

a strong batch of 1974 cards here with a double play turn and a couple of dodgers. however, those shots of gonsolin and kershaw are studio shots photoshopped on to a sunset background. the rendon is a great looking card.

pack 4:

mike piazza
frank robinson
randy johnson
ralph kiner
cody bellinger
abraham toro (red parallel), 
dj lamehieu
jorge soler

so someone at topps screwed up and approved a checklist with two ralph kiner cards. should have given him a 1974 card, too, just to be complete about it. and the toro card here provides more fodder for that trade with bru.

pack 5:

zac gallen
giancarlo stanton
brooks robinson
elvis andrus
yuli gurriel
duke snider (nickname poster)
shin-soo choo
zack greinke

does anyone know why the marlins traded zac gallen? the brooks card is another 'action variation' of his actual 1974 topps card, and the duke snider card is decent. topps used duke's image from his fantastic 1957 card and superimposed it on to an intersection in the flatbush neighborhood of brooklyn.

pack 6:

christian walker
danny jansen
jonathan villar
starling marte
alan trammell
lloyd mcclendon (fan favorites autograph purple parallel)
which is numbered to 150 on the back:
nolan arenado
mike trout
not a bad way to end things. the mcclendon will likely walk the plank shortly. finding the second auto card in this pack supports my long standing opinion/approach of always picking the bottom couple of packs from the lower left stack of a newly opened box. not sure if dealers let you pick your own packs anymore, however.

to summarize, i enjoyed this break, and i really like the 1974 cards. the 2002 cards were surprisingly good, but the 1955s left me a bit cold. it just seems like there is wasted space on them or something. something is off, and it may just be that the gradient background coloring is not as noticeable here as it is on the real deal '55s.

let's check this box against the odds...

base parallel (red) 1:89 packs - beat the odds!
nickname poster card 1:6 - 4 cards; met the odds.
topps traded 1:6 - 4 cards; met the odds.
1990 topps rookies 1:24 - 1 card; met the odds.
1960 topps all-star rookies 1:6 - 4 cards; met the odds.
1960 topps all-star rookies (black) 1:1,112 - beat the odds!
1960 topps combo 1:6 - 4 cards; met the odds.
1955 bowman archives 1:8 - 3 cards; met the odds.
fan favorites autograph 1:19 - 1 card; met the odds.
fan favorites autograph parallel (purple) 1:128 - 1 card; beat the odds!

also, there were no doubles - good job topps!