Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Repack Haiku #17 (Scott Bailes)

Nineteen-ninety Fleer's
Vital Signs attempt to try
advanced statistics

1990 Fleer #484 Scott Bailes

I belong to the generation where the most complex baseball stat was ERA. I knew how to figure out a player's batting average, but that was about it. When different stats started showing up, it took a little thought to figure out.

Like when Fleer introduced a trio of new ways to evaluate players:

1990 Fleer #484 Scott Bailes (back)

Walk and Strikeout Ratios were new concepts to me. 15 year old me understood what these ratios represented, but didn't have enough context to know what was considered average, what was considered All-Star level, and what was downright historic. Was a .269 OBA good? (No, not really) Today, stats have gotten so complex that you need a mathematics degree to figure out how to calculate them. On one hand, it's fun, and great if you want to debate the merits of player X over player Y, but a part of me will still wish for simpler stats like we found on the back of our cards.

Monday, September 18, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #2

Extra! Banks takes down Guillen!

An easy win for Ernie. I almost want to label him as the favorite to win it all.It's hard to bet against a playable record card, but who knows! Next up, we have two former MVPs squaring off for your votes.

1985 Leaf/Donruss #99 Roger Clemens
2015 Topps Pittsburgh Pirates #PIP-1 Andrew McCutchen

Roger Clemens
Bracket Round: defeated Jose Berrios (3-2)
Fun Fact: Canadian company Leaf had to modify its original logo because too many people confused the maple leaf with a pot leaf.

Andrew McCutchen
Bracket Round: defeated Dustin Pedroia (3-1)
Fun Fact: Andrew's recent haircut was the result of losing a cage match to former wrestler Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.

Your votes decide the winner! Comment below and let me know who is the real MVP!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Payday Pack - Head Strong

OK, Before I proceed with this week's Payday Pack, I need to make a small request: My Single Elimination Challenge has entered the next round, and I need voters! Just go to my latest SEC blog post and comment on the card you like best. It's that easy! Please take a second and check it out. Thanks!

I recently found myself at the local Kmart, and decided to check out what cards they had. There wasn't much, although they did have some discounted packs from last year. I decided to take advantage of a cheap 20 card double-pack of last year's Heritage set. I like the 1967 design more than this year's 1968 design.

Here are my 3 Favorites from the pack:

3rd Place

2016 Topps Heritage #342 Boston Red Sox (CL)
The packaging on this pack was flimsy enough that I was able to make out the top cards on the pack. I clearly saw the words "Red Sox", and knew this was the pack I was going to buy. Here we see the 3 outfielders tipping their hats. They would later develop a dance routine that has become quite popular among Boston fans.

2nd Place

2016 Topps Heritage #177a 2016 AL Rookie Stars
I guess you can't really go wrong with a rookie card of young masher Sanchez...

1st Place

2016 Topps Heritage #134 Bartolo Colon
Since Heritage mimics the 1967 design, most of the player cards are simple head shots. I get it, it's how a lot of vintage cards were set up, but it's boring. It was refreshing to see Bartolo tossing a ball by contrast.

The Others:
#207 Brett Lawrie
#102 Scott Kazmir
#33 Jason Grilli
#196 Jorge De La Rosa
#340 Mark Teixeira
#161 2016 Cubs Rookie Stars (Schwarber/Edwards)
#NF-JH Jimmy Hoffa (1967 Flashbacks)
#372 Cody Allen
#248 A.J. Ramos
#355 Texas Rangers (CL)
#46 Marcus Semien
#66 Eddie Rosario
#49 Yonder Alonso
#295 Avisail Garcia
#68 Welington Castillo
#395 Jordy Mercer
#376 Neil Walker

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Repack Hiaku #16 (Storm Davis)

Legend says Storm name
 came from mom's favorite book;
His real name is George.

1994 Topps #682 Storm Davis

Monday, September 11, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #1

Read all about it! Final match up of round set!

And with that, the introductory round of the Single Elimination Challenge is complete! I'd like to thank everyone who voted! 10 different visitors cast a total of 39 votes, with 3 tiebreakers and 8 shutouts! I especially want to thank Kin, who voted in every single match up - 5 times he single handedly decided a bracket by casting the lone vote! Let's see if I can get more voters moving forward!

On to the "Sweet 16" round of the competition!

Made with printyourbrackets.com

Our opening match up features two of the more colorful characters in baseball history:

1962 Auravision Records Ernie Banks
1990 Donruss #15 Ozzie Guillen DK

Ernie Banks
Bracket Round: defeated Tim Wallach (4-1)
Fun Fact: If you play this record backwards, you'll hear Eddie Vedder's "Bryzzo" jingle from the MLB commercial.

Ozzie Guillen
Bracket Round: defeated 2004 ALCS Game 7 Boston Red Sox (1-1 Tiebreaker)
Fun Fact: The original prints of every Dick Perez Diamond King are currently housed in a private wing at the Lourve.

Same rules as always - all you need to do to vote is comment on this post! Let me know which card is your favorite!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Repack Haiku #15 (Cliff Floyd)

Before the Expos
Cliff Floyd made himself a name
Thornwood High legend

1991 Classic Draft Picks #11 Cliff Floyd

You don't often see cards of established major leaguers when they were in high school. The 1991 Illinois Player of the Year certainly caught the Expos' attention.

Monday, September 4, 2017

SEC - Bracket Match Up #16

Extra! Extra! Griffey Gets One By Scherzer!

Happy Labor Day! I hope you're one of the lucky ones that have today off, and that today is nice and relaxing.

Well, this is it! The final match-up of the opening round! We'll start the "Sweet 16" next week, but before we do, our last contestant must be chosen. It's the greatest Red Sox player of all time against the greatest Red Sox manager of all time!

1985 Topps #578 Terry Francona
1992 Upper Deck - Ted Williams Heroes  #30 Ted Williams

The Case For Terry Francona: Who doesn't love the Expos? Tito went from a promising but short baseball career to a almost certain Hall of Fame manager. Topps 1985 was an underrated design.

The Case For Ted Williams: Recently, Joey Votto almost broke Ted's record of consecutive multi-hit games. Ted keeps the record at 21 straight games with at least two hits. That's insane! This is a great sepia-toned photograph of the Hall of Famer doing what he did best.

As always, your votes decide the winner! Comment below and let me know which card you like best!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Hit And A Miss

Recently I bought one of those Fairfield repacks. The repacks provide a chance at an autographed card, and up to now I've never gotten a hit. This time I did:

2011 Bowman - Prospect Autographs #BPA-JS Josh Sale

Obviously not a high demand autograph, but it's always cool to get one. I was completely unfamiliar with the player, although I was certain he never became a Major League regular. I decided to do some research on him, and what I found was a sad and disappointing tale.

This guy was talented. You'd have to be in order to go 17th overall in the 2010 draft. Tampa Bay gave him multiple opportunities to succeed. Instead, he threw it away by making bad choices.  In 2012, he got caught using PEDs and suspended 50 games. Not even a year later, the Tampa organization suspended him again, basically for boasting on Facebook about how lousy he treated a girl at a strip club. Another year, another suspension - this time for recreational drug use. In 2015, the Rays released him. In five years with the team, he was suspended 3 times and never advanced past A-ball.

Seeing stuff like this just makes me want to shake my head. A lot of people would love to have the natural ability he had, and he took it for granted. Obviously, no one but him knows why he made the decisions he made, what or who influenced those decisions, and  where he's going to go from here. He's young enough to still turn it around, if not on a ball-field then with life in general. I hope he does...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Repack Haiku #14 (Luis Polonia)

Speedy like Rickey
Later played for Yankees
Also like Rickey

1989 Topps #424 Luis Polonia

Oakland sure did like their speedy lead-off hitters, didn't they? For that matter, the Yankees sure liked Oakland's speedy lead-off hitters too...

Monday, August 28, 2017

SEC - Bracket Match Up #15

Extra! Rookie Class Takes Little Professor To School!

One vote decided the last match! If you disagreed with the choice you have no one to blame but yourself! This week, we're feature two great players. If they faced each other in their respective primes, it would have been must watch TV!

2016 Topps Archives #50 Max Scherzer
1989 Donruss #33 Ken Griffey Jr. (RC, RR)

The Case For Max Scherzer: Despite the 20 strikeout game, two no-hitters, and 2 (potentially a 3rd this year) Cy Young awards, he's remains underappreciated. He'll be a first ballot Hall of Famer when the time comes.

The Case For Ken Griffey Jr: Another rookie card of a upper level Hall of Famer. Do I really need to make an argument here?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Payday Pack - Bubble-licious!

For this week's Payday Pack, I grabbed just a simple basic pack of Series 2. Truth be told, I'll probably buy more of Series 1 while I can, at least until I get the Benintendi and Moncada rookie cards. But it's nice to see some new stuff too. As always, I'll pick my 3 favorites from the pack.

3rd Place

2017 Topps #440 Eduardo Rodriguez
It's always good to add another Red Sox card to my collection. Team loyalty aside, this card got selected because of the folds in his jersey. It looks like a a hurricane pattern, doesn't it? I keep fixating on it, it's so weird.

2nd Place

2017 Topps #667 Alex Cobb
Given the lengths pitchers often go to hide what they are throwing, this photo shows a good look at what Cobb has lined up. Four-seam fastball, coming up!

1st Place

2017 Topps #473 Eugenio Suarez
One of the blogs I read recently had the topic of cards showing players chewing bubblegum. I wish I could remember where I read it, but I believe one of the points was that this fun side of the game is making a comeback on cardboard. Eugenio has quite a sizable bubble going here, and makes this a fun card to have!

The Others:

#580 Matt Holliday
#572 Atlanta Braves
#426 New York Mets
#567 Devon Travis (Gold Parallel)
#ATAS-46 Miguel Cabrera
#588 Kirk Nieuwenhuis
#351 German Marquez
#550 Mike Mahtook
#507 Matt Garza

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Repack Haiku #13 (Jose Lind)

Great action on front
Though I think the back photo
would have been better

1995 Upper Deck #183 Jose Lind

Don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic photo. Jose laying the tag down on the underappreciated speedster Kenny Lofton. Is is safe? Is he out? It's great. However, for some unjustifiable reason, I think the back photo has more personality:

1995 Upper Deck #183 Jose Lind (back)

Photos of attempted steals are commonplace. Pictures where a guy is so cold he has to cover himself up like a rejected Cobra soldier - now that you don't see on card fronts much. Either way, two good photos on one card.

Monday, August 21, 2017

SEC - Bracket Match Up #14

Read all about it!  Bell eclipses Alomar!

Not that I'm taking sides here, but I'm happy Bell won. Now both Kahn's oddballs are set to face off next round. Hot dog!

On to this week's match up - It's a 4-vs-1 rumble!

1978 Topps #707 Rookie Shortstops
1941 Play Ball #63 Dom DiMaggio

The Case for Mickey Klutts Paul Molitor: Hall of Famer's rookie card! Rookie card of a guy who should be a Hall of Famer! Unfortunately named Yankee shortstop! Give me a U! Give me an L!

The Case for Dom DiMaggio: 1941 Play Ball is just a beautiful set. Dom has the cool nickname "The Little Professor".  You just have to love those glasses!

Comment to vote! Two cards enter, one card leaves!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Repack Haiku #12 (Joe Grahe)

It looks like Joe Grahe
is about to deliver
jumping Kung-Fu kick

1991 Score #367 Joe Grahe (RC, RP)

I actually had to look up how his name was pronounced to be sure I had my syllables correct...

Monday, August 14, 2017

SEC - Bracket Match Up #13

Extra! Team beats up manager!

The Red Sox win the vote, and will advance! I'll admit, I thought Billy would have won this one!

This week's match up features two oddball cards of Hall of Famers. Maybe it's me, but these cards couldn't look more different!

1992 Score Proctor and Gamble #3 Roberto Alomar
1989 Kahn's Cooperstown Collection "Cool Papa" Bell

The Case for Roberto Alomar: Do you like your oddball sets bold and exciting? Are you Canadian? Do you prefer your Gold Glove winner to be depicted in an action fielding pose? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Alomar is your man!

The Case for "Cool Papa" Bell: Do you prefer a more stylish, elegant oddball card? Do you have a deep respect for baseball history? Is "Cool Papa" hands down one of the all time great baseball nicknames? If you answered yes, then ring that Bell!

Comment to vote! Who's your oddball?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Beyond Yaz and Teddy

2017 Stadium Club #260 Ted Williams

Since I've restarted my interest in baseball cards, two sets stick out as favorites: Topps Archives and Stadium Club. I love how Archives take me back to my youth with the older designs, and Stadium Club has photographs that belong in art galleries. They also share the trait of mixing in retired stars from baseball's past.

When Stadium Club came out recently, I checked to see what Red Sox were in the set. The retired stars this year: Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, Carl Yastremski, and Ted Williams. (Oh, and David Ortiz technically, only he just retired this past season.)

I was happy see former captain Varitek and fan favorite Damon in the set, but Yaz and Williams - well, they seem to always be in these sets don't they? Maybe it's just me, but I decided to dig a little deeper and find out.

Here's the Red Sox retired stars for each set:

2017 Stadium Club (5): Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Ted Williams, Carl Yastremski
2017 Archives (7): Damon, Bobby Doerr, Nomar Garciaparra, Perdro Martinez, Ortiz, Williams, Yaz

2016 Stadium Club (5): Wade Boggs, Nomar, Curt Schilling, Williams, Yaz
2016 Archives (6): Doerr, Nomar, Jim Rice, Babe Ruth, Willams, Yaz

2017 Topps Archives #34 Carl Yastrzemski

See what I mean? 4 sets, and Williams and Yaz have been in all of them! In fairness, my familiarity with these sets end here. I decided to continue back even further:

2015 Stadium Club (2): Roger Clemens, Rice
2015 Archives (8): Boggs, Doerr, Dennis Eckersley, Rick Farrell, Carlton Fisk, Nomar, Rice, Williams

2014 Stadium Club (4): Boggs, Clemens, Pedro, Williams
2014 Archives (4): Nomar, Pedro, Manny Ramierez, Williams

2013 Archives (6): Boggs, Ellis Burks, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell, Fred Lynne, Williams

2012 Archives (3): Boggs, Rice, Luis Tiant

Breaking it down by player, with total appearances in parenthesis:
Ted Williams (8)
Wade Boggs (5)
Nomar Garciaparra (5)
Jim Rice (4)
Carl Yastremski (4)
Bobby Doerr (3)
Pedro Martinez (3)
Roger Clemens (2)
Johnny Damon (2)
David Ortiz (2)
Ellis Burks (1)
Dennis Eckersley (1)
Dwight Evans (1)
Rick Farrell (1)
Carlton Fisk (1)
Mike Greenwell (1)
Fred Lynne (1)
Manny Ramierez (1)
Babe Ruth (1)
Curt Schilling (1)
Luis Tiant (1)
Jason Varitek (1)

2016 Topps Archives #101 Babe Ruth

So out of 10 sets, Teddy Ballgame has appeared in all but 2 of them.  Yaz surprisingly was never included before last year, and it looks like Topps is making up for lost time here. Nomar and Boggs are the only other players featured in at least half the sets.

Aside from being a little top-heavy, Topps seems to be doing a decent job of getting in other players from the team's history. I loved the inclusion of a Babe Ruth card last year, and I'm happy to see other old time Hall of Famers like Doerr and Farrell too. My one complaint really is the high number of cards from players during the "junk wax" years like Boggs and Rice. I have over a hundred of their cards already, and their not expensive. I really don't need more. I'd like to see more players from before I was born, or at least a few more modern fan favorites.

I'll end things with a list of 5 players I'd like to see make an appearance in future sets. (Are you listening, Topps? )

1952 Topps  #15 Johnny Pesky
Johnny Pesky - The only non-Hall of Famer (besides the recently retired David Ortiz) to have his number retired by the Red Sox. From his playing days up until his death in 2012, he was a beloved favorite at Fenway Park.

1997 Upper Deck #25 Mo Vaughn
Mo Vaughn - OK, so he also falls into that "junk wax" era, but Big Mo won the MVP award in 1995 and was a fan favorite as well.

1978 Topps #295 Bill Lee
Bill Lee - You just have to include the Spaceman at some point! I'd love to see a card capturing his sense of humor.

1934 Goudey #19 Lefty Grove
Lefty Grove - One of the greatest pitchers of All-Time.

1937 O-Pee-Chee Batter Ups (V300) #106 Jimmy Foxx
Jimmie Foxx - Jimmie is actually in this year's Archives set, but depicted with his original team, the Athletics. I would love to see him in a Red Sox uniform too.

Come on Topps, lets add some new faces next year, OK?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Repack Haiku #11 (Rafael Soriano)

Third best Santana
behind Johan and singer?
Oye Como Va!

1989 Donruss #309 Rafael Santana

Monday, August 7, 2017

SEC - Bracket Match Up #12

Read all about it! Johnson defeats Parker!

Only one voter this past week - makes tallying easy! This week's competitors have a 32 year gap between them. By my count, that's the 3rd pairing of at least 30 years. Sometimes random pairing doesn't seem so random. Still a far cry off from the 47 year gap between the 1968 Luis Tiant and the 2015 Mo Rivera .

2004 Topps World Champions Boston Red Sox #54 Team Celebration WS
1972 Topps #33 Billy Martin (MGR)

The Case For The Boston Red Sox: The Billy Martin may be old, but it has nothing on the 86 year drought the 2004 team broke. Is there anything better than a celebration photo?

The Case For Billy Martin: This is one of the iconic cards from this set. There is no design that captures a decade quite like this. Billy Martin doesn't care if you vote for him or not, he'll flip you off just because he can.

As always, you can vote just by leaving a comment with your pick! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Random Thoughts

Just a few random thoughts and observations today:

*Apparently, it's Blue Tape and Pull Tap Awareness Week! I'll refer you to the excellent post from Baseball Card Breakdown for the particulars. I had no idea this was a thing. When I received my prize pack from Collecting Cutch, I noticed the blue tape and pull tab, and now I know the reason behind this. As a new blogger, I haven't mailed out many cards (yet). In fact, I've only sent out one envelope so far. In retrospect, while I feel the cards arrived in good shape, I now know I could do better. Thanks for making this collector aware!

*Also coming up next week is National Baseball Card Day! If you're near one of the participating stores, you can score some free cards! Sadly, there are only 6 stores listed in Virginia, and none of them are close by. Oh well, you can't miss what you don't have.

*Finally, Topps also released a preview of next year's design:

If baseball logos made a sound, this one would go "Wheeeee!"

I hereby dub this the "Slip-N-Slide" set! While I like the look better than the past two years, it still overall pretty bland. Please bring back a border design soon, Topps. Also, thanks for not featuring an overexposed Yankee rookie...oh, wait, never mind...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Payday Pack: Welcome To The Club

This is probably the only pack of Stadium Club I'll buy this year, unless I find some on clearance later on. I love the photography, but the cost is a bit much. Still, I wanted to get my hands on some of this year's product, and it didn't disappoint.

3rd Place

2017 Stadium Club #45 Kyle Seager

I love celebration photos. All I can think of here is "White Man Can't Jump!"

2nd Place

2017 Stadium Club #39 Bryce Harper

Not the best picture of Bryce, but you have to love this moment when he was asked to hold all of  Olympic Champion Katie Ledecky's medals!

1st Place

2017 Stadium Club #213 Jonathan Lucroy

Wow, what a gorgeous sky! It makes you genuinely pity the ballplayers that have to play in domed stadiums.

The Others:
#175 Mark McGwire
#177 Robinson Cano
#227 Jose Canseco
#SS-MF Michael Fulmer Scoreless Streak
#240 Andrelton Simmons (Gold Parallel)
#100 Brian Dozier (Black Parallel)
#210 Garrett Richards
#250 Dee Gordon
#92 Alex Gordon