Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Repack Haiku #113 (Mike Boddicker)

Rare feat: Led league in
Wins and earned run average,
Didn't win Cy Young

1987 Donruss #125 Mike Boddicker

Only Boddicker (1984) and Clayton Kershaw (2017) have led the league in both categories and failed to take home the hardware.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Greatest Card Ever Made (A Contest Entry)

Created at

We bloggers love talking about great cards. We'll pick the best from any set, any decade, any player or team.  What makes it fun is that "greatest" is really subjective. We all have our own definition of what makes a card great.

When coming up with the greatest card of all time, I had to devote some serious mental processing time to figure out what I feel signifies true greatness, and which card personifies those measures.

What makes a card great?

I came to the conclusion is that what makes a card great is how that card makes us feel. A truly great card will make us smile no matter how many times we've seen it. If you were going through a stack of random cards and came upon it, you would pause and appreciate it - every single time.

Photography is key. Although the backs of cards are important and often contain aspects that make the card better over all, the front is where you focus. A good card has a good image on the front. A great card is a work of art that would be a centerpiece in any photographer's portfolio. Any borders or graphical overlays shouldn't really distract from the main image. The set it comes from shouldn't be the main thing that catches your eye.
So what can I tell you about the greatest card ever made?

There's a halfway decent chance you may already own it. As I alluded to above, the card I chose comes from the height of the overproduction era. The funny thing is, that's part of what makes this card great too - if the ability to create happiness is part of what makes a card great, then the fact that happiness isn't rare or exclusive is part of the charm. Everyone can own it, and you may still have the chance to experience the joy of pulling one out of a repack or a dime box at the local flea market.

It's not a star player. The guy isn't exactly a nobody - he made multiple All-Star teams actually. Yet, if you were to compile a list of the greatest players to play for any given team, or greatest players of a particular position, I would bet he wouldn't ever make your Top 10. Heck, he wouldn't even make your Top 10 greatest baseball mustaches list (although he does have a pretty awesome cookie duster!) The fact he isn't a household name proves my point that photography is key - There have been hundred of ballplayers better than him in the decades since he retired, and none of them have had a card as amazing as he does.

It really is amazing too. The image on the front grabs you and holds on to your retinas. It fills you with a sense of awe and wonder. In your mind you just know the original photograph is in a museum somewhere. It's magic captured on cardboard.

I must be crazy. I just stated that a good (not great) player has a card from an overproduced and forgettable set, and it is the greatest card ever made.

1991 Score #884 Doug Jones (DT)

Admit it. This one made you smile. Isn't that what truly makes a card great?


This is my third and probably last entry for a contest hosted by Daniel at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop. Interested in winning some awesome cards? There's still time to enter! Check out his post here!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Payday Pack - A Walk In The Park

Series 2 sure does get overshadowed by Stadium Club pretty quickly doesn't it? I still like the base set, and picked up some of the latest as my Payday Pack. There's some real hidden gems here, and I found some worth highlighting:

3rd Place

2019 Topps #441 Oriole Park At Camden Yards

I've been lucky enough to see a few games at Camden Yards, and it is without a doubt one of the best ballparks in all of baseball. Absolutely beautiful! Even though the team itself isn't doing much these days, it's worth your time to see a game here. Trust me, it's worth it.

2nd Place

2019 Topps - 1984 Topps Baseball All-Star
#84AS-DW Dave Winfield

I miss the days when All-Star cards looked like All-Star cards. You could tell what they where a mile away. Winfield's new look All-Star card looks better than his 1984 original!

1st Place

2019 Topps - Mookie Betts Star Player
Highlights #MB-11 Mookie Betts

Well played Topps, well played. I've been against these Star Player Highlights for a number of reasons. (Seriously - another 30 card insert set devoted to Aaron Judge?) Even Mookie's turn doesn't excuse a lot of the core issues with these sets, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't happy to pull this card. A silly look by Mookie on the front is made be even better by highlighting a great game against the Yankees on the back.  I might even chase this insert set...

Other Contestants Not Appearing On Stage:
#473 Kyle Wright (RC)
#547 Trevor Richards (RC)
#525 Ian Kinsler
#519 Julio Urias
#654 Kurt Suzuki
#689 Jose Briceno (RC)
#659 Aramis Garcia (RC)
#581 Travis Jankowski
#605 Jeffrey Springs (RC)
#456 Austin Barnes
#444 Powerful Pair (CL)
#470 Peter O'Brien
#410 Fenando Tatis Jr. (RC)
#526 Sandy Alcantara (Gold parallel)
#FF-16 Robin Yount (Franchise Feats insert)
#571 Bobby Poyner (RC)
#622 Troy Tulowitzki
#373 Christian Vazquez
#468 Anthony DeSclafani
#378 Brandon Workman
#505 Dellin Betances
#518 Steven Wright
#513 Brett Gardner
#467 A.J. Minter (ASR)
#381 Juan Lagares
#375 Cody Reed
#358 Leonys Martin
#522 Brian Johnson
#481 J.A. Happ
#577 Nicky Delmonico
#630 Dustin Fowler

I have to note that this was a weird pack - I pulled 6 Red Sox and 6 Yankees cards!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Repack Haiku #112 (Kevin Youkilis)

"The Greek God Of Walks"
Married Tom Brady's sister
Now owns brewery

 2013 Topps #20 Kevin Youkilis


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Top 5 Hall Of Fame: Lee Smith

Tomorrow, the Hall of Fame will induct 6 new members into its hallowed halls. In honor of this event, I'm going to do a daily series this week showing off my 5 favorite cards in my collection for each player.

We wrap up this week of celebration by paying tribute to the only former Boston Red Sox player elected this year. Lee Smith was the king of saves before saves were cool. When you retire as the all-time leader in a statistic, you usually don't have to worry about being overtaken in that stat before you reach the end of your time on the Hall of Fame ballot. Not only did Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Riva leapfrog him, they blew far past him - becoming the only two relievers with 500 then 600 saves. I think the great divide between Hoffman's 601 saves and Lee's 478 made Smith's accomplishments seem minuscule by comparison. Perhaps that is why he only got in by the grace of the Veteran's Committee. On last time, I present these in chronological order:

1990 Bowman #263 Lee Smith

Smith had a reputation for being an intimidating pitcher on the mound. I don't think many opposing batters ever got to see this smile from him.

1991 Topps #660 Lee Smith

Horizontal cards always seem to work better with pitching over hitting. This is a great well framed shot of Smith in action.

1991 Upper Deck #348 Lee Smith

Going back to the intimidation factor, I'm pretty sure the sight of an angry Lee Smith was enough to shake the bravest of hitters.

1992 Score #781 Lee Smith (AS)

I have always liked these caricatures that Score did in 1992. 

1992 Topps #565 Lee Smith

Tell me I'm wrong, but this photo right here deserves to be reincarnated as a Stadium Club card. It's such a great angle. Topps gave Lee Smith some great cards in the early 90's!

Congratulations to Lee Smith! Welcome to the Hall of Fame!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Top 5 Hall Of Fame: Mariano Rivera

Next Sunday, the Hall of Fame will induct 6 new members into its hallowed halls. In honor of this event, I'm going to do a daily series this week showing off my 5 favorite cards in my collection for each player.

It's finally time to pay tribute to the first unanimously elected Hall Of Famer, Mariano Rivera. Picking 5 cards from a collection is easy when you only have 6 to choose from. Oh well. As I have been doing all week, these are presented in chronological order:

1997 Upper Deck #69 Mariano Rivera (SF)

I apologize for the poor scan, but trust me when I say this card looks much better in hand!  Even today I'm amazed how he was bale to miss so many bats with only two real pitches. Batters knew what was coming and they still couldn't hit it!

2012 Panini Prizm #32 Mariano Rivera

As a Red Sox fan, I can't really say I miss the lack of the Yankees logo on this unlicensed Panini offering. At least the 42 is still prevalent. Rivera is the last player to wear that number regularly, after the "grandfather clause" allowed him to continue wearing it after it was retired by the league for Jackie Robinson.

2014 Donruss #184 Mariano Rivera

I actually appreciate the recent attempts to pay tribute to the Donruss borders of the past, but this one ended up being a miss. At least with this card you get a good shot of Mariano's cut fastball grip.

2015 Topps - Eclipsing History 

#EH-6 Whitey Ford/Mariano Rivera

Here's a cool little insert featuring two of the Yankee's greatest pitchers. This celebrates Mo passing Whitey in Pitching WAR, 56.6 to 53.9!

2019 Stadium Club - Emperors Of The Zone 

#EZ-22 Mariano Rivera

Another insert, from this year's Stadium Club set. Strangely enough, it's the only card listed here where you can see either "New York" or "Yankees" on his uniform. Not really a Red Sox fan's commentary, just an odd observation.

I join the Hall in welcoming the all-time saves leader! Congrats Mo!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Top 5 Hall Of Fame: Mike Mussina

Next Sunday, the Hall of Fame will induct 6 new members into its hallowed halls. In honor of this event, I'm going to do a daily series this week showing off my 5 favorite cards in my collection for each player.

Today's Hall Of Famer is someone I readily admit I underestimated. He never struck me as a Hall  level player, just as a very good player who played on some very good teams. Once again, I present these in chronological order:

1991 Bowman 

#97 Mike Mussina (RC)

I could have gone with his uglier Score Draft Pick card, but this rookie card is just so much nicer - blue cloudy sky, orange jersey and black cap make this a winner!

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premiere 

#87 Mike Mussina

Just a heads up to any Yankee fans reading this: As I was going through my Mussina collection, it turns out all the cards I have from him are from his Baltimore days. Sorry/Not sorry. Mussina will go into the Hall with a blank hat, having split his career almost exactly in half between the two teams.

1992 Upper Deck #675 Mike Mussina

Mussina was a 5-time All-Star, all with the Orioles. He also won 7 Gold Gloves and finished in the Top 6 for Cy Young 9 times, finishing as high as second. (losing unanimously to Pedro in 1999 I might add!)

1997 Upper Deck #22 Mike Mussina

Fun Fact: Moose was the starting/winning pitcher when Cal Ripken Jr record braking 2,131st consecutive game!

1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond 

#14 Mike Mussina

This is officially my favorite Mike Mussina card in my collection. The Black Diamond cards look much cooler in person than this scan justifies.

Congrats, Moose! Welcome to the Hall!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Repack Haiku #111 (Scott Kamieniecki)

Yankees did him wrong
Did he ever get his ring?
Can't imagine so

1992 Topps #102 Scott Kamieniecki

Granted he only pitched in 7 games for the World Champions, but the Evil Empire should have treated one of their own better:

Top 5 Hall Of Fame: Edgar Martinez

Next Sunday, the Hall of Fame will induct 6 new members into its hallowed halls. In honor of this event, I'm going to do a daily series this week showing off my 5 favorite cards in my collection for each player.

Today, I celebrate arguably the greatest Designated Hitter of all-time, Edgar Martinez (Only David Ortiz can really challenge that, and that's basically a counting stats vs rate stats argument.) Martinez was the definition of a professional hitter, and one of only a handful of players to finish with a batting average over .300, an on-base percentage over .400, and a slugging percentage over .500 - insane! Once again, I present these in chronological order:

1988 Fleer #378 Edgar Martinez (RC)

Edgar's Fleer rookie card is not anything spectacular, but it's simple and the photograph works well with the border. It took Edgar a couple years to really get consistent  playing time, even getting sent back down to the minors for a bit in 1989. He didn't really play a full season until he was 32 - talk about your late bloomers!

1991 Donruss #16 Edgar Martinez (DK)

I've always loved the Diamond Kings subset Donruss would put out, and this is another great Perez-Steele work of art.

1994 Ultra #422 Edgar Martinez

Edgar wasn't necessarily a slouch as a third baseman. His move off the diamond came after a couple of unfortunate injuries. For some reason, I keep focusing on that doughnut-shaped shadow his glove makes on this card. Mmmmm.....doughnuts....

1997 Upper Deck #179 Edgar Martinez

Teal is an underrated color, and I've always liked how Seattle uses it in their uniforms. This card stands out to me because of 6 nearly perfect parallel lines on the bottom half, starting with the teal dugout lining. It's like a baseball card parfait!

2012 Topps - Golden Momemnets 

#GM-11 Edgar Martinez

Of course, Edgar's signature moment is "The Double". It was a beautiful clutch hit that took down every one's favorite nemesis, the Yankees.

Congrats Edgar! Welcome to the Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top 5 Hall Of Fame: Roy Halladay

Next Sunday, the Hall of Fame will induct 6 new members into its hallowed halls. In honor of this event, I'm going to do a daily series this week showing off my 5 favorite cards in my collection for each player.

Today, I take bittersweet look at one of baseball's greatest pitchers, Roy Halladay. Two years ago, I did a Top 3 Tribute upon his passing, and I remarked then how I hoped my meager collection would grow enough to do a proper Top 5. I have, technically, but I would have liked to have had one more card better than the League Leaders card I'm about to show. Once again, I present these in chronological order:

2010 Topps #200 Roy Halladay

2010 Topps Philadelphia Phillies 

#PHI7 Roy Halladay

I'll lump these two together since they are essentially the same card showing him with two different teams. Halladay joined the Phillies for the 2010 season - too soon to be updated in the base set, but photoshopped for the team set release. The Blue Jays card is a former Repack Haiku subject, while the Phillies card was a Goodwill find.

2011 Topps Heritage #56 NL ERA Leaders

My prior tribute had me picking a Triple Play card over this one, but I just couldn't do that to Roy again. He may not be the "big head" here, but he accumulated over 25 more WAR than any of these other guys!

2014 Topps #565

2014 Topps #565 Roy Halladay (back)

Doc's sunset card. I said it before, and I'll say it again - If Topps wants to know why incomplete career stats are a bad thing, all they have to do is look at the sunset card of an All-time great. Just look at all that red!

2017 Topps Update - Untouchables #U-5

Even though I hated watching my Red Sox flail against Halladay in Toronto, this would have to be my favorite Doc card. Twenty career shutouts, including two no-hitters - yeah, that's the definition of untouchable.

Welcome to the Hall, Roy. It's a shame we won't hear you give an induction speech.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Top 5 Hall Of Fame: Harold Baines

Next Sunday, the Hall of Fame will induct (for the second straight year) an amazing 6 new members into its hallowed halls. In honor of this event, I'm going to do a daily series this week showing off my 5 favorite cards in my collection for each player.

We'll start the series with a player that many people don't think deserves the honor, Harold Baines. Personally, I have no issue with his induction. I remember him for his consistency and ability to get the big hit. In my youth, I would have probably bet that he'd make the Hall, not because of any real stretch of dominance, but because I was certain he'd compile stats and reach some lofty numbers. I'm presenting these in chronological order.

1981 Topps #347 Harold Baines (RC)

Along with his 1981 Fleer card, I can now say I have two more Hall of Famers' rookie cards in my collection. The 1981 Topps set is one of my favorites, and I'm pleased that the two premiere rookies from that set (Tim Raines being the other) are now enshrined.

1985 Topps #275 Harold Baines (FRDP)

This card gets in solely because of those beautiful wide shirt collars the White Sox wore in the 70's! Baines becomes the 3rd #1 Draft Pick to be elected (joining Ken Griffey Jr and Chipper Jones).

1988 Topps #321 White Sox Leaders

This card went from being a good card to an awesome multi-Hall of Famer card just like that! Ironically, neither of these guys were listed among the White Sox's 1987 team leaders.

1993 Select #257 Harold Baines

Who doesn't love shots of ballplayers with big smiles on their faces! I much prefer this over the stoic professional glare he often had in the batter's box.

1997 Upper Deck #37 Harold Baines

The clear winner of the best Baines photo in my collection. This is such a cool angle shot of him sliding into third base!

Congratulations Harold Baines!  Welcome to the Hall!

Friday, July 12, 2019

First Impressions: 2019 Stadium Club

A couple weeks ago, I picked up my first pack of this year's Stadium Club set. Although this set has been blogged many times over by writers better than me, I'm still giving my first initial impression of the pack as I opened it.

#16 Fred McGriff

The underrated Fred McGriff gets the honor of being the top card. As always, Stadium Club's signature is full bleed photos with minimal graphics on front. I absolutely love the script they use here! It reminds me of a font you would find on a 70's rock album cover. The band Yes comes to mind for some reason. Stadium Club also likes to give us photos we're not used to seeing before. I never thought of it before I saw this card, but has a true knee-buckling line drive catch ever been shown on a card before?

#21 Charlie Blackmon
#146 Cody Bellinger
#161 Clayton Kershaw

I repeat myself here - Stadium Club shows you baseball in ways you've never seen. To be honest, I could have shown off every card in this pack. The photography is exactly what you would expect from this set. This Kershaw is easily the best of the pack. Absolutely incredible!

#44 Alex Bregman
#6 Kyle Wright (RC)
#247 Austin Meadows

Here's a look at the backs. Standard Stadium Club back - truncated stats, well-spaced, fairly nice background photo.

#170 Jose Altuve
#EZ-22 Mariano Rivera (Emperors Of The Zone insert)

Here's the one insert I got in the pack. Meh - not really digging the use of space here, although I appreciate the SO/BB ratio concept.

#119 Luis Severino
#218 Marcus Stroman

Another great shot as Stroman receives his Gold Glove award!

#182 Robin Yount

Last card revealed is another great photo of Brewers legend Robin Yount. Love those powdered blue uniforms!

All in all, a great entry into the Stadium Club series!

Oh, and this is officially my 400th post on this blog! Whoo-hoo!