Friday, May 29, 2020

Payday Pack - Can You Smell What The Betts Is Cooking?

Slim pickings at the local Wally World. I did scratch my pack-opening itch by picking up some of last year's Diamond King set.

3rd Place

2019 Panini Diamond Kings #6 Mel Ott

Without a proper MLB license, old-timers like Ott here should be Panini's bread and butter. Seriously, Panini should just do an entire set to guys that played in the time before there were baseball cards. No one would mind.

2nd Place

2019 Panini Diamond Kings #17 Yogi Berra
Catchers also fare well with the lack of logos. This is a great looking photo of Yogi with his chest plate and shin protectors on.

1st Place

2019 Panini Diamond Kings
- Masters Of The Game #MG1 Mookie Betts

Reasons why this card is awesome: (1) It's Mookie Betts. (2) Mookie is doing that Elvis-lip-snarl thing that he does. (3) The discoloration of the background looks like fumes behind him. (4) Put it all together and you basically have Betts getting a whiff of something unpleasant! Ha! Fart jokes!

Other Contestants Not Appearing On Stage:
#59 Andrew Benintendi
#74 Al Kaline
#31 Enyel De Los Santos (RC)
#88 Justin Verlander
#46 Khris Davis
#4 Roger Maris
#S7 Jack Flaherty (Squires insert)
#TH-23 Adrian Beltre (Team Heroes insert)
#JJ4 Joe Jackson (Joe Jackson Collection insert)
#TH-8 Jose Ramirez (Team Heroes insert)
#115 Albert Pujols (Framed Red SP parallel)
#60 Alex Bregman (SP)
#64 Ryan O'Hearn (RC)
#22 Ted WIlliams
#79 Jacob Nix (RC)
#36 Chipper Jones
#93 Freddie Freeman

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Repack Haiku #154 (Jose Silva)

Rio's Pan-Am Games
Mexico shared bronze medal
Due to cancelled game

1994 Upper Deck #526 Jose Silva (TP, RC)

In 2007, Silva was a member of the Mexican team at the Pan-American Games. The third place game between Mexico and Nicaragua was rained out, so both teams were awarded the bronze medal.

Monday, May 25, 2020

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Quakertown, PA

Happy Memorial Day!

I haven't been trading on the TCDB as often as I had been. With all the social distancing fun I've been trying to limit my post office stops to once a month. However, when a TCDB member named Ron offered up a 5-for-1 trade, I couldn't accept fast enough! (Especially when two of those cards are short printed!)

Favorite Card: Players busting through a newspaper is one of the best All-Star card designs Topps has ever done, so the Heritage Mookie All-Star gets the title this go-around.

Thanks for the cards, Ron!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pick A Pocket Full Of Players

When it comes to giving out free cards, no one does it quite like Julie over at A Cracked Bat. Her Pick Pockets page is usually chock full of an amazing assortment of cards, and it's darn near impossible to scroll through and not find something that'll fit your collection. As I have done before, as many have done, I went and picked Julie's pocket and came up with these:

Favorite Card: Despite the usual Red Sox selections, that Elston Howard is just fantastic!

Thanks for the cards, Julie!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Repack Haiku #153 (David Justice)

Post-season constant
He played in six World Series
Won with Braves and Yanks 
1990 Score #650 Dave Justice (RC)

From 1991 to 2002, Justice missed the post-season twice: 1994 (strike) and 1996 (injury).

Monday, May 18, 2020

This Former ERA Champ Did Something Amazing!

With the suspension of sports during this pandemic, a lot of professional athletes have extra time on their hands. Apparently some of them are using that free time to answer a backlog of fan mail.

In March of 2017, I bought a pack of Topps Series 1 and decided that I would send off every card in it to the player and ask for an autograph. I quickly got a response from Brewers pitcher Junior Guerra, as well as a "Return To Sender" from another player. A promising young outfielder responded during the off season, as well as a former award winner the following Spring. I figured that was all I could reasonably expect to get back.

3 years, 2 months, and 6 days after I mailed out those card, I received a PWE addressed to me in my own handwriting. Inside, tucked between some index cards, was my fourth successful return:

Kyle Hendricks had a magical 2016 season. Not only did he lead the National League in ERA (and ERA+ for you advanced stat-heads), he was a key contributor to the Cubs' epic World Championship. He finished behind winner Max Scherzer and teammate Jon Lester for the Cy Young that year.

I must say it was quite thrilling to get this after so long. It's good to see some players are still bringing joy to us fans, even if some patience is needed!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Blog Trade: Mostly Free Cards From Cards As I See Them

The influx of free (kinda) cards continues! Yet another blogger, Jim from Cards As I See Them, listed a bunch of cards available first come, first serve. Rather than make this a free give-away, he did add the caveat that any number of cards could be claimed in exchange for at least one card off his want list. I managed to find one I could send him (so far - I'm still digging through my collection!), and therefore I was able to claim these in return:

The top three cards came are from a GM insert set from a larger set produced by Upper Deck for the Ken Burns documentary "Baseball: The American Epic". I had no idea this set existed, and I loved these card the moment I saw them. That photography is beautiful! I also claimed a couple of Panini's Cooperstown cards, while the Steve Kemp was a bonus card that gets me to exactly 92% complete on the 1981 Topps set!

Favorite Card: That Satchel Page card! Something about his face, and that uniform, just oozes baseball history!

Thanks for the cards, Jim!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Repack Haiku #152 (J.J. Putz)

Long forgotten fact:
Won Rolaids Relief Award
As a Mariner

2013 Topps Opening Day #158 J.J. Putz

It's true! In 2007, his 6 wins and 40 saves were enough to be crowned as the American League's best closer!

Monday, May 11, 2020

An All-Time PWE From The Collector

Blogger generosity seems to be at an all-time high lately. Many collectors have been giving away free cards, and Chris aka The Collector has been one of them. I recently received a PWE from Chris containing some great cards:

Chris has been killing it with his posts lately, and his All-Time Teams series is easily better than that farce MLB bracket. These cards were offered up to a select few of us at the conclusion, and I was more than happy to take a few cards off his hands!

Favorite Card: It's hard to beat the legendary Pedro signing autographs for fans!

Thanks for the cards Chris!

Friday, May 8, 2020

You Broke My Heart, But I Still Can't Quit You

They say you never quite get over your first love. The same also applies to your sports heroes apparently.

The year was 1986. I was in middle school, and rediscovering the game of baseball. I didn't really have a team then. Growing up in Western New York, there were of course Yankee fans, but geographically we were closer to Cleveland and Pittsburgh than "The City" so there were a healthy dose of Indians and Pirates fans as well.

A part of me wanted to be different. As it just so happens, a young fireballer was having a season for the ages. 14 straight wins, a mind boggling 20 strikeouts in one game - Roger Clemens was on his way to both a Cy Young and MVP season. He was the guy I latched onto, and because of him the Red Sox became my team.

His posters graced my wall. The only Starting Lineup I ever had was The Rocket. (Still have it too! A little yellowed in the uniform, but still in one piece!) One of the great accomplishments in my young collecting days was owning not one, not two, but three different versions of rookie card! (Topps, Fleer, and Leaf if you're curious.) I even got to see him pitch - my dad took me to a game in Cleveland in 1990. He won his 20th game that day, the last time he won 20 with the Red Sox.

Those last four years in Boston were not at the same level as the seven before them. The number of wins, the strikeouts - everything was down. Still, he was my guy. In his free agent year, he bounced back again to lead the league in strikeouts and even struck out 20 guys again. In my naivety I thought maybe the Red Sox would still bring him back. He went to Toronto instead. I was disappointed, and tried to justify Boston's decision by looking at those last few years, but disappointed nonetheless.

He had moved on, and I tried to be happy for him. He bounced back and won the Cy Young award again the next two years as a Blue Jay. part of me was ecstatic the old Roger was back, but also saddened it was with another team.

Then came the ultimate heart rip. Roger moved on again, and he ended up with the worst possible team. The Rocket became a Yankee. What really hurt was not only was he a Yankee, but he thrived in New York. He won another Cy Young, and helped those damn Yankees to 2 more insufferable World Championships.

That wasn't even the low point. The Mitchell Report came out and basically stated that Roger's post-Boston career was chemically enhanced. Other shady stuff has surfaced as well, bringing his whole character into question.

Roger stopped being "my guy" a long time ago. The roller coaster he put me through as a fan still reverberates today. Even now, I have trouble labeling any current Red Sox player as "my favorite" for fear of disappointment down the road. I'll even admit I'm mildly jealous of guys like Fuji, whose Tony Gwynn fandom has no scars of another team or questionable ethics.

And yet, seeing a card of Clemens with the Red Sox still pulls at me. That was the case recently as Rod from Padrographs was giving away cards like it was Christmas. The moment I saw it, it called to me. Sitting there, oh so pretty, ready to break my heart again:

Damn you, Roger. I just can't quit you.

Thanks for the card as always Rod! Your generosity is beyond parallel!

*****Who Wants Free Cards?*****

It's Friday, which means it time for another one of Johnny's BFG! (i get to play this week!) He still needs 7 more people to play later this month! Surely there are 7 readers who want to spend a little bit of their Friday night to score free cards, right? Sign up now!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Repack Haiku #151 (Blake Snell)

His All-Star Game snub
Got everybody riled
Then Kluber got hurt

2016 Topps Bunt #19 Blake Snell (RC)

When the 2018 AL All-Stars were announced, Snell was 12-4 with a league leading 2.09 ERA. He didn't make the team. It took an injury to Corey Kluber to get him in as a replacement.

**********New Blog Alert!**********

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Baseball Movies Featuring Darth Vader

Happy Star Wars Day! ("May the 4th Be With You" - Still an all time great play on words!)

Although I am a Star Wars fan, I'm not nearly as much anymore as my reputation among family and friends lends itself to be. I'm a big fan of the original trilogy, the prequels were so-so, the sequels better than the prequels, and I enjoyed The Mandolorian a lot. I haven't watched any of the Clone Wars cartoons, although I'm secretly hoping the 80's Droids and Ewoks series make their was to Disney +.

Anyway, I figured I should whip up something for today in celebration. Being primarily a baseball themed blog, I tried to do a tie-in somehow and discovered the great James Earl Jones officially has credits in 5 baseball themed movies!

2015 Panini Americana #61 James Earl Jones
I only found one other instance of a prominent Star Wars actor (at least from the classic trilogy) that appeared in a baseball movie, but Mr. Jones seems to make his mark everywhere! Here are his 5 baseball movies in chronological order.

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)

Not only does this underappreciated classic  star Darth Vader, but Lando Calrissian as well. Throw in the comedy of Richard Pryor and you have one great baseball comedy!

Field Of Dreams (1989)

The baseball roll James Earl Jones is best known for. His speech on baseball marking the time will echo throughout history. One of the baseball tragedies of this Covid-19 pandemic is the loss of the first official MLB game to be played in the Field of Dreams location. I was looking forward to that, even though the Yankees were one of the teams.

The Sandlot (1993)

Another well-known baseball role for Jones, as the blind dog-owning former ballplayer Mr. Mertle.

The Sandlot 2 (2005)

I'll be honest, I didn't even know they made sequel.

The Benchwarmers (2006)

Ironically, James Earl Jones isn't "technically" in this movie. But he officially has a vocal credit as....Darth Vader! I'll admit, I liked this movie. It's one of those "turn off your brain" and laugh at the stupidity that an Adam Sandler production is known for.

Since I just did a post dedicated to James Earl Jones, I'll leave you with one of my all time favorite TV moments:

Friday, May 1, 2020

Roberto Osuna Did WHAT?

It's one of the unwritten laws of sports card collecting. If the card has a cartoon on the back, you read it. Recently I picked up a pack of 2019 Heritage on clearance. As I was leafing through the pack, I did my duty and checked out each and every wondrous card. One particular card caught my attention:

2019 Topps Heritage #15 Roberto Osuna (back)

I'll save you eyes the trouble of focusing and enlarge the cartoon.


He normed?

Does that sound weird to anyone else? I've only heard of the word norm as a noun. Things are always "the norm". But as a verb? It bothered me enough that I had to look it up.


OK, I can see normed being used as an adjective, but no mention of it being a verb. Maybe it's some slang that the youth of today are saying. When it comes to slang definitions, there's only one place to go!


Wow, that escalated quickly! Given his recent domestic issues, it's probably a good thing if he's getting rebuked by the ladies.

So there you have it! Topps is just making up words. Is it weird that despite all this I still get the gist of what they were trying to convey? I think someone thought average and norm were interchangable, and thus "averaged" became "normed".

Now if only Osuna's card was one of the french O-Pee-Chee parallels...that would have been worth translating!


Johnny from Johnny's Trading Spot  is starting up another month of BFG tonight! He still needs more players for the Fridays toward the end of the month! What are you waiting for? Sign up already!