Saturday, July 31, 2021

angels of death (stare cards)

thorzul at death stare cards recently hosted a group break of an insert collection he had obtained. by the time i saw the post, the dodgers were already claimed, so i went with the angels, hoping to find some cards for my vladimir guerrero collection while hoping against hope to see some shohei ohtani or mike trout cards mixed in as well.

it turned out that there were no ohtani cards in the lot, but i did find some keepers, one of which featured the aforementioned trout:
that is a 2013 topps opening day superstar celebrations card that only names albert pujols. as a result, i put this card in my "lurker" collection. the only other card to feature trout was this card from 2019 topps opening day:
fire and (brim)stone seems to support the angels of death title i gave this post.

as for vladdy sr, there were a couple cards i needed - from 2010 topps and 2009 topps ticket to stardom:
as well as 2009 topps update, 2018 topps, and 2010 topps:
among the fifty or so other cards, there was this 2011 topps reggie jackson 60 years of topps insert celebrating the franchise's single season home run leaders:
as you can see on the back, reggie took over the title in 1982 after leon wagner had claimed it in 1962.
nice to see names like don baylor and bobby bonds there. i believe that troy glaus still holds the record, but a couple of guys named pujols, trout, and ohtani would be listed on the back today.

thanks thorzul for another fun break!

Friday, July 30, 2021

passing the torch

i was a little disappointed to learn that matt kemp did not make the usa olympic baseball team. he was one of the last players cut from the roster, which does include former dodgers tim federowicz, scott kazmir, and edwin jackson, along with mike scioscia as the team's skipper. their first game is tonight against israel!

the olympics would have been a nice way for kemp to leave the game, assuming he is ready to do so. he's not signed with anyone since he finished the 2020 season with the rockies, so i am assuming his big league career has ended.  if that is, in fact, the case, this 2021 topps heritage card
marks a final tribute to the bison.  here's the back:
not a bad career. i added this card to my final tribute collection, but would have been happy not to had he signed with a team. i am guessing that the lack of a universal dh in 2021 was the final straw.

kemp was my reigning favorite non-dodger, and i figured before the season began that joc pederson would take over that title. i was wrong. once the season got going, i found that i was much more interested in the exploits of fernando tatis jr.

yes, he plays for the padres, but he's also been on my fantasy team since the start of the 2019 season, and there is no denying his talent and love for the game. i don't mind that he swings 3-0 and i don't mind that he flips his bat and i don't mind that he does other things that might be frowned upon by more old-school players. it all comes down to the fact that he is having fun being one of the most talented players on the field.  now, when manny machado does it, it seems like he is just being a dick. hypocritical, i know.

anyway, i have this 2021 topps 52 redux tatis jr card in my favorite non-dodgers of the year collection
and i also put this 2021 topps flagship card 
in my mini-collection featuring representative cards from each year of flagship from 1952 on. i suppose i should maybe switch it out for a shohei ohtani card, but i probably won't.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

350 is a magic number - check your 6s

a few weeks ago i noted that i was pondering the idea of adding a number type mini-collection to my collection. of the options i considered - 190, 272, 350, or none at all - i decided to go with 350. i am posting the cards by ten-year increments, and so far i've done the 8s and 7s. today, i think i'll move on to the 6s.

1966 topps #350
mel stottlemyre had the good fortune to be a part of the 1964 yankee pennant winning team, contributing to their success and, as the card back says, starting three games in the fall classic. he also had the poor fortune of being a part of the yankees after that, as they failed to return to the postseason for the remainder of stottlemyre's pitching career, which lasted into the 1974 season. his 1965 season was one of his best, although he posted similar numbers in a couple of other seasons down the line. he was second in wins in the american league in '65, falling one behind the twins' mudcat grant.

1976 topps #350 
lefty grove represents the first subset we've seen representing number 350. part of the 10-card all-time greats subset, grove represents the team in the left-handed pitcher category. even by today's advanced metrics, grove ranks as the best lhp in baseball history, ahead of randy johnson and warren spahn and all the others. because of this card, i think of him as an "old-timey" player, which he sort of was, but he lived almost up to the point when this card was produced unlike most of the other players included in this subset.

1986 topps #350
jack clark hit a big home run for the cardinals in the 1985 nlcs against the dodgers even though first base was open at the time. it was the first time that i completely abandoned the national league and cheered for the american league champion to win the world series. thank you, don denkinger.

1996 topps #350
jay payton was, to me, the oddibe mcdowell of number 350. i mentioned in a previous 350 post that i would always look at the checklists as i pulled them from packs to see who was given the hero numbers. this is before i could look up checklists online before the product was released. in 1985, i saw oddibe mcdowell's name at card 400 and was completely confused. only later did i find that the olympic team subset was placed in and around that part of the checklist. here, payton was given the number as a "now appearing" prospect who didn't actually appear in the majors until the end of the 1998 season, and he didn't become a regular until 2000.

2006 topps #350
joe nathan was acquired by the twins in one of the greatest trades in their history. they sent a.j. pierzynski to the giants for nathan, boof bonser, and francisco liriano. the trade opened up a position for joe mauer and also brought them a potential hall of fame closer in nathan. when this card was released, he was coming of back-to-back seasons of more than 40 saves, and he would go on to post 159 more saves in the next four seasons. had he not missed the 2010 season due to injury, he may have reached 400 saves for his career. as it is, he amassed 370, which is the 8th highest total all-time. his 43 saves in 2005 tied him with mariano rivera for the third highest total in the american league, behind francisco rodriguez and bob wickman. 

2016 topps #350
kris bryant was the reigning nl rookie of the year in 2015, and i've added that to the list of things i am tracking below. as good as his 2015 season was, his 2016 was better as he was voted the league's mvp and became a world champion as well. 

i am tracking a few things in an effort to find any consistency with number 350, although there really isn't any. still, i am keeping track of the following occurrences, now through two posts:

number of reigning rookies of the year: 1 (kris bryant)

number of reigning mvps: 0

number of reigning cy young winners: 0

number of reigning world series champions: 1 (keith hernandez)

number of reigning pennant winners: 4 (steve garvey, jack clark, keith hernandez, clayton kershaw)

number of reigning league leaders: 6 (mel stottlemyre - complete games; keith hernandez - walks; kenny lofton - sb; chase utley - runs; david ortiz - doubles, rbi; clayton kershaw - wins, era)

subset types: 1 (all-time all-stars)

number of repeat players: 0

number of dodgers: 2 (steve garvey, clayton kershaw)

frequency of teams: cardinals (3), dodgers (2), astros (2), braves (2), mets (2), white sox, giants, indians, phillies, red sox, yankees, a's, twins, cubs 

i will have another post with another run of cards soon - stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

my favorite cards of the year - 1984 edition

i recently introduced my mini collection focusing on my favorite cards from each year that i've been a collector. the basic gist is that i wanted to create a space for the cards that i most appreciated having in my collection in the year that they were released. these were cards that i acquired in the year that they were issued, and that i considered to be my favorites at the time. i have disallowed (most) cards that are already in other mini collections in order to avoid having a mini collection consisting of more steve garvey, double plays, and dodger stadium cards.

my friends and i were more excited about the donruss set in 1984 than the fleer or topps sets for the first time ever. all three sets had the hottest rookies - mattingly and strawberry - but donruss had the rated rookies. of course, they had included rated rookies in their 1983 set, but put the designations on the back where noone paid it any mind. in 1984, they put the designation on the front with a nice design and had those cards at the front of the set. as excitied as we were about those cards, however, my favorites from back then were not rated rookies, although they both come from the "postmark" set.

favorite non-dodger card: donruss living legends a (carl yastrzemski and johnny bench)
i think i've mentioned before that when my dad and i would open packs together, he made me put the cards in number order as we went along, or at least in stacks of cards by number - one stack for cards numbered 1-99, another for cards 100-199, and so on. i remember finding this card in a pack and turning it over to see where it belonged and being dumbstruck by the "a" numbering. the card didn't show up on the checklist and we were confused. we later found the other living legends card of gaylord perry and rollie fingers and saw it was numbered "b" and so we kept looking for "c". well, there was no card "c" but i was happy to have this card that featured two all-time greats who ended their careers with the 1983 season. i was disappointed that they didn't get regular final tribute cards in the set, but that disappointment was offset by the new concept of "inserts".

favorite dodger card: donruss duke snider

the first donruss puzzle was from their 1982 set, and featured babe ruth. the next year, it was ty cobb. i wasn't sure who to expect in 1984, but i sure wasn't thinking of duke snider! i thought it was great that a dodger would be the third subject chosen, and so i immediately hoped for a double of this card so i could have one for the team collection (we were set builders then, first and foremost). luckily, i found a duplicate and not even sid fernandez's rated rookie designation could knock this duke snider card off of my favorite dodger card pedestal. of course, it helped that fernandez was a met by the time i saw his rated rookie card, but still.

up next, 2005. stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

rafael palmeiro is in my hall of famer collection

at this point, i only have a couple more actual hall of famers to post about, and i am going to wait on them for a bit. in the meantime, i am going to continue these weekly posts with some more players who aren't enshrined in cooperstown (yet?) but who are in my hall of famer collection. rafael palmeiro is one of those players, and i have this card serving as his entry:
that's a 2016 topps tribute rightful recognition autograph, numbered 98/99. here's the back:
there is a reason why palmeiro isn't enshrined in cooperstown, and it has to do with his adamant denial of using performance enhancing drugs in front of congress that was followed a couple of months later by a positive test for a banned substance. to me, the plausibility of palmeiro using steroids (aside from one positive test) comes from his tenure with the texas rangers during the same time that jose canseco was there. however, palmeiro's record suggests (again, this is just my opinion) that he did not use them regularly if at all. 

one thing that stands out to me is that palmeiro rarely missed a game. in fact, as a regular, palmeiro appeared in fewer than 152 games in a season only in his final year when he was 40, and the strike-impacted years of 1994 and 1995. in those latter years, he still only missed a handful of games, and in 2005 he played in 110 of a possible 131 games prior to his suspension for the aforementioned positive test. there are only 19 people who have appeared in more major league games or had more at bats or plate apperances than palmeiro.

the other thing that makes me wonder about palmeiro is that he was fairly consistent over the course of his career. his home run totals increased after he and canseco became teammates, yes, but his ops in 1991 (two years prior to canseco joining the rangers) was .922, while in 1993 (his first year with canseco as a teammate) was .926. 

regardless, the guy could hit. in hindsight, it sure seems like he was allowed to continue playing in 2005 until he reached the 3,000 hit plateau, which he did on july 15. he finished with 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, 585 doubles, and 1,835 rbi. he is 8th all-time in extra base hits and is one of just six players to reach both the 3,000 hit and 500 home run milestone. the others are hank aaron, willie mays, eddie murray, alex rodriguez, and albert pujols.

palmeiro's hall of fame fate will ultimately be decided by one of the veteran committees, and i think that his case will be helped or hindered by what happens with barry bonds, roger clemens, and alex rodriguez in the near future. there is no discounting the positive test, and palmeiro's explanation of it being due to a contaminated b-12 shot from miguel tejada doesn't seem too believable to me, but there is a body of work that in my mind should count for more than the lone test result. 

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

nap lajoie - 2002 topps tribute milestone materials relic

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

eddie collins - 2002 topps tribute milestone materials relic

george sisler - 2004 topps tribute hall of fame tribute relic

lou gehrig - 2010 topps tribute relic 96/99

rogers hornsby - 2004 topps tribute hall of fame tribute relic

jimmie foxx - 2013 topps tribute retired remnants relic 91/99

mel ott - 2011 topps tribute quad relic 15/99

paul waner - 2002 topps tribute milestone materials relic

dizzy dean - 2001 topps tribute relic

hank greenberg - 2004 topps tribute hall of fame tribute relic

zack wheat - 2002 topps tribute milestone materials relic 

bob feller - 2001 topps archives certified autograph

jackie robinson - 2004 topps clubhouse collection clubhouse relic

ted williams - 1992 upper deck baseball heroes autograph 1067/2000

roy campanella - 2001 topps tribute relic

stan musial - 2002 topps team topps legends autograph

yogi berra - 1998 donruss signatures significant signatures 1640/2000

sandy koufax - 1998 donruss signatures significant signatures 1707/2000

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

ralph kiner - 2000 fleer greats of the game autograph

ernie banks - 1999 upper deck century legends epic signatures

eddie mathews - 1999 fleer sports illustrated greats of the game autograph

willie mays - 1997 topps willie mays reprints certified autograph

al kaline - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

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

bob gibson - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

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

frank robinson - 1995 upper deck autograph

juan marichal - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

brooks robinson - 2001 topps golden anniversary great autograph

don drysdale - 1993 nabisco all-star autographs

harmon killebrew - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

pee wee reese - 2001 topps tribute relic

lou brock - 2018 topps archives signature series 1989 buyback 53/61

willie mccovey - 
2004 upper deck sp legendary cuts legendary sigs 46/50

ray dandridge - 2006 upper deck sp legendary cuts a place in history cut autograph 31/43

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

billy williams - 2013 topps museum collection autograph 054/199

willie stargell - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures 

johnny bench - 2019 topps definitive collection legendary autograph 09/25

red schoendienst - 2012 panini cooperstown signatures 038/549

carl yastrzemski - 2000 fleer greats of the game autograph

joe morgan - 2001 upper deck hall of famers cooperstown collection signature jersey

jim palmer - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

rod carew - 2004 topps retired signature autograph

fergie jenkins - 2013 topps five star baseball autograph 154/333

gaylord perry - 2003 topps finest finest moments autograph

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

hal newhouser - 1993 front row premium all-time greats autograph

tom seaver - 2013 topps five star baseball autograph 44/50

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

steve carlton - 2018 topps five star career year autograph 43/45

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

nellie fox - 2002 topps tribute milestone materials relic

phil niekro - 2017 panini donruss recollection collection 1983 donruss buyback autograph 13/33

larry doby - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

don sutton - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

george brett - 2001 topps finest finest moments autograph

nolan ryan - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

robin yount - 2001 upper deck ultimate collection ultimate signatures 112/150

carlton fisk - 1999 upper deck century legends epic signatures

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

kirby puckett - 1998 upper deck retro sign of the times autograph

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

ozzie smith - 2019 topps finest finest origins autograph

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

eddie murray - 2004 upper deck sp legendary cuts legendary sigs 45/50 

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

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

wade boggs - 2005 upper deck baseball heroes autograph red parallel 30/49

ryne sandberg - 2016 topps five star autographs gold parallel 17/50

bruce sutter - 2003 topps all-time fan favorites certified autograph

tony gwynn - 1997 donruss signature series millennium marks autograph 0702/1000

cal ripken jr - 2018 topps high tek portraitek autograph 32/75

goose gossage - 2003 topps finest finest moments autograph

rickey henderson - 2016 topps tribute certified foundations of greatness autograph 49/50

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

andre dawson - 2000 fleer greats of the game autograph

roberto alomar - 2015 topps high tek pattern 1 grass/waves gold rainbow autograph 50/50

bert blyleven - 2004 upper deck legends timeless teams autograph

ron santo - 2004 topps retired signature autograph

tom glavine - 2019 topps tribute autograph 18/90

greg maddux - 2018 topps luminaries masters of the mound autograph 13/15

frank thomas - 2019 topps tier one autographs 42/70

craig biggio - 2013 topps five star baseball autograph 019/333

randy johnson - 2019 topps tek high tek autograph

pedro martinez - 2018 topps high tek portraitek autograph 09/60

ken griffey jr - 2003 upper deck game face autograph

mike piazza - 2014 topps five star autograph 35/50

tim raines - 2018 topps tribute tribute autograph green parallel 26/95

vladimir guerrero - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

chipper jones - 2018 topps tier one tier one talent autograph 11/60

jim thome - 2020 topps archives signature series 2012 topps mini 1/1

jack morris - 2004 donruss timelines recollection collection 1986 buyback autograph 23/45

alan trammell - 2001 fleer greats of the game autograph

roy halladay - 2017 topps archives signature series 2004 topps buyback 15/23

edgar martinez - 2017 topps tribute walk off autograph 17/50

ted simmons - 2013 panini golden age historic signatures

larry walker - 1997 donruss signature series authentic signature

joe jackson* - 2001 upper deck sp legendary cuts sp legendary debut bat card

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

barry bonds* - 2001 bowman heritage autographs

roger clemens* - 1995 upper deck autograph

rafael palmeiro* - 2016 topps tribute rightful recognition autograph 98/99

alex rodriguez* - 1998 upper deck sp authentic chirography autograph

*not currently in the national baseball hall of fame

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.