Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Repack Haiku #172 (Eric Chavez)

Never an All-Star
Played thirteen years in Oakland
One less than Rickey

1999 Pacific #308 Eric Chavez (RC)

Henderson's 14 years as an Athletic were non-consecutive, while Chavez played for the team from 1998 - 2010.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

MLB Playoff Rankings 2020


This shortened  season has thrown me off. Even though I knew the season was in it's final week, I never even thought about getting my annual playoff ranking post done. Next thing you know, I'm reading about teams clinching and the light bulb goes off. I'm starting this post 6 days before the craziest postseason in baseball history begins, and there is still so much left unsettled. Even heading into the final day of the season, there was so much left undecided that I had little choice but to finish this at the last possible second! Yikes. Let's get on with it.

Who I'll Be Rooting For:

The Red Sox were awful this year, and will not be participating in the postseason. Outside of my team, I usually will root for whichever team has gone the longest without a Championship. There are, of course, exceptions based on current rosters, special circumstances and my own gut feelings. 

1. Cleveland Indians (AL Wild Card/4th seed -  71 year drought)

1967 Laughlin World Series #45 1948 Braves vs Indians
Coming from a fandom that had to wait 86 year between championships, I tend to put a little extra weight based on how long the team has gone without a title. The Indians top the list with their last Championship happening in 1948. Their Top 3 starters are very good, and in those early short series that may be enough to take them on an extended run.
Prediction: Lose to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Series

2. San Diego Padres (NL West 2nd Place Team/4th Seed - 51 year drought)

2020 Topps #15 Manny Being Manny

The Padres are one of 3 postseason teams, along with the Brewers and Rays, who have never won a World Series. They have an exciting young team led by a pair of MVP candidates in Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado. These guys are my official "Cinderella story" pick and I think they'll go deep.
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the World Series

3. Milwaukee Brewers (NL Wild Card/8th Seed - 51 year drought)

2020 Topps #27 Milwaukee Brewers (TC)
Like their expansion year partners in San Diego, it's been a long 51 years without a title in Milwaukee. I don't think they'll get past the Dodgers, but if a 3-game Wild Card Series is going to produce any crazy upsets, this might be the match-up to watch.
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card Series

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champions/1st Seed - 31 year drought)

1989 Fleer - World Series #12 Dodger Blue World Champs

I'm not going to lie: I'm not ready to see Mookie lead the Dodgers to a World Series yet. It would sting, like an ex-girlfriend getting married to a guy you genuinely liked. The Dodgers have been so good for so long, and they absolutely deserve a title. I just can't watch it happen this soon after the breakup.
Prediction: Lose to the Padres in the NL Division Series

5. Minnesota Twins (AL Central Champions/3rd Seed - 28 year drought)

1988 Fleer World Series #8 Kirby Puckett

I want to like the Twins, I really do. The problem is that they always seem to face the Yankees in the postseason, and the Yankees own them. I'd have an easier time rooting for them if I knew they weren't going to let New York just waltz through to the next round. 
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the AL Championship Series

6. Atlanta Braves (NL East Champions/2nd Seed - 24 year drought)

1996 Collector's Choice
#395 Tom Glavine (WS)

Given all the trouble they've had this year with their rotation, I'm honestly surprised to see them as the No. 2 seed in the National League. I have a feeling that if the Braves make a deep run, it'll be because  Freddie Freeman will have the kind of postseason that will significantly boost his case for the Hall of Fame.
Prediction: Lose to the Reds in the NL Wild Card Series

7. Oakland Athletics (AL West Champions/2nd Seed - 30 year drought)

1990 Score #708 World Series Game 4 (WS)

The Astros left the AL West wide open after losing their heavyweight 1-2 punch of Cole and Verlander, and the Athletics took full advantage of it. They will need their bullpen to dominate if they want to have a chance.
Prediction: Lose to the Twins in the AL Division Series

8. Cincinnati Reds (NL Wild Card/ 7th Seed - 29 year drought)

1991 Score
#795 Barry Larkin/Chris Sabo (WS)
There must be something about Ohio pitching, because the Reds' Top 3 starters are almost as good as Cleveland's. Heck, just Bauer and Castillo might be enough to take them all the way. This may be Joey Votto's best chance to add a ring to his amazing career.
Prediction: Lose to the Padres in the NL Championship Series

9. Chicago Cubs (NL Central Champions/3rd Seed - 3 year drought)

2017 Topps Mini On Demand #206 Chicago Cubs (WS)
I could probably swap the two Chicago teams here, but I'm giving the edge to the Cubs because of my fondness for Jon Lester and David Ross. 
Prediction: Lose to the Marlins in the NL Wild Card Series

10. Chicago White Sox (AL 2nd Place Team/7th Seed - 14 year drought)

2005 Topps Updates & Highlights
#UH134 White Sox Sweep (WS)
The AL equivalent to the Padres, I think they are maybe a year or two away from being a powerhouse. Lots of young talent here, and they'll be fun to watch for years to come.
Prediction: Lose to the Athletics in the AL Wild Card Series

11. "Buffalo" Blue Jays (AL Wild Card/ 8th Seed - 26 year drought)

1993 Score #521 Dave Winfield (WS)

The Yankees and Rays will still be competitive for awhile, and that was hard enough for the Red Sox in the division. Having yet another team to deal with isn't ideal. That being said...If this postseason wasn't being played in a bubble and there was a chance of watching playoff baseball in Buffalo, I'd be rooting for the  Blue Jays hard core. 
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the AL Wild Card Series.

12. St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central 2nd Place Team/5th Seed - 8 year drought)

2012 Topps Heritage
#148 St. Louis Cardinals (WS, HL)

This is the last team on the list that I have no legitimate reason to root against. They've won already in the past decade, so they can sit towards the bottom of my list.
Prediction: Lose to the Padres in the NL Wild Card Series

13. Tampa Bay Rays (AL East Champions/1st Seed - 22 year drought)

2020 Topps #501 Tampa Bay Rays (TC)
The Rays just flat out annoy me. It annoys me that they have no obvious strengths or weaknesses, but consistently compete to a point where you can't say they're playing over their heads. It annoys me that they never seem to make bad moves. They are the mosquitoes of Major League Baseball. You swat at them and they just keep buzzing in your ear. The way this postseason is set up, I think that they're going to annoy me with a World Series Championship too.
Prediction: Win the World Series

14. Houston Astros (AL West 2nd Place Team/6th Seed - 2 year drought)

2018 Topps Heritage
#169 Astros Celebrate Their Victory (WS)

There's still a few players on the team I like, but outside of that they sure have lost a lot of their luster haven't they? Not having Cole or Verlander makes them a lot less of a threat.
Prediction: Lose to the Twins in the AL Wild Card Series.

15. Miami Marlins (NL East 2nd Place Team/6th Seed - 16 year drought)

2004 Topps
#732 World Series Game 6 (WS)
Rooting for the Marlins is rooting for Derek Jeter. As a Red Sox fan, that's not allowed. 
Prediction: Lose to the Reds in the NL Division Series

16. New York Yankees (AL East 2nd Place Team/5th Seed - not a long enough drought)

2010 Topps - History of the World Series
#HWS25 Yankees

This team was built to mash at Yankee Stadium. That reason alone is enough for me to support the isolated bubble destinations for the playoffs. Here's hoping for a quick exit!
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the AL Division Series
Just to recap my predictions:

Wild Card Series

AL match-ups
Rays over Blue Jays
Athletics over White Sox
Twins over Astros
Yankees over Indians

NL match-ups
Dodgers over Brewers
Reds over Braves
Marlins over Cubs
Padres over Cardinals

Division Series

AL match-ups
Rays over Yankees
Twins over Athletics
NL match-ups
Padres over Dodgers
Reds over Marlins 

Championship Series

AL match-up
Rays over Twins

NL match-up
Padres over Reds

World Series
Rays over Padres

Want to make your own predictions and wins some cards in the process? Collector's Crack is holding his 10th Annual Almost The Easiest World Series Contest! All you have to do is predict who wins, and you could end up with some great cards!


Friday, September 25, 2020

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Atlanta, GA

Have you ever tried to complete a set, not so much because you're a fan of that set, but more because you had so much of it you figured you might as well just do it?

That's where I'm at with 1989 Fleer.

Mind you, I don't hate the set. I don't loathe the gray pinstripes to the level that many collectors do. It's just an OK set for me. Yet, in my youth I ended up opening boxes of the stuff. I was probably trying to get my hands on a Griffey rookie like everyone else. When it was all said and done, it was one of those sets I had most of, but never fought to complete.

When got back into collecting and entering my cards in the TCDB, '89 Fleer stood among the sets listed as "almost complete". Over the years a few stray cards found their way into my collection, and eventually the cards left grew smaller and smaller.

I was on the TCDB looking to make some trades, and came across Rencher from Atlanta. As I was looking for what I wanted in return, I checked my So Close page and saw I only needed 18 more cards from this set. Rencher had 10 of them:

I'm now 8 cards away from completing the set. I might actually get around to completing this before the year is out. Of course, I would need two of the more famous cards from the set - a Randy Johnson rookie card and a Billy Ripken. (Honestly, for set completion purposes, I don't care which of the multiple variations each card has that I end up with. I will admit I'd like to acquire an unedited version of the Ripken somewhere down the line, but again, not necessarily for the set.)

Favorite Card: Probably Wallach, since he's the only action shot here. Plus those red Expos jerseys are might fine!

Thanks for the trade Rencher!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Repack Haiku #171 (Bob Tewksbury)

A mental skills coach
Helps players reach potential
Earned Masters in Psych
 1992 Topps #623 Bob Tewksbury

In addition to his roll of Mental Skill coach, he's also written a book, Ninety Percent Mental.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Time Travel Trading Update #45

What can I say, some months are just better than others! I usually consider myself lucky if I complete 1 or 2 Time Travel trades each month. There are days I hope for something, anything, to keep this project slogging along. I don't know what stars aligned since last time, but today I have a whopping 5 trades to show off! Granted, all but one were of the single card variety, but I'm ecstatic to have this much to show off! Let's get to it!

Trade #1 - On the TCDB, I have these cards as a separate collection from my personal, and all are marked as For Trade. Other collectors can search through my cards for trade, and make offers if they see something they need. One minor issue with the TCDB is that the Trade list combines by Time Travel cards and my regular collection "For Trade" cards together. What this means if that often I'll get a proposal for a Time Travel card, but the collector doesn't realize the card is part of a special project. I'll usually email the other person and explain things, and if they happen to have an older card on their For Trade list, make a counter-proposal. Such was the case with Timothy from Clover, SC. He proposed a trade for a 1956 Topps card I had (Joe Collins) and offered up some newer Red Sox cards I had on my want list. In what may be a first, I declined Red Sox cards in favor of a Yankee card instead! Timothy had one older card available for trade, and was gracious enough to send it my way:

A little beat up, as cards from the 50's tend to get, but a welcome addition to the trade stack! 

Trade #2 - The longer cards sit in the trade stack, the less likely they are to get claimed and traded for. These are especially true of cards from the overproduction era of the 80's and 90's. I was wondering what card in the stack has been with me the longest. That honor belonged to a 1990-91 Hoops basketball card of Glen Rice, which has been sitting in the Time Travel box since March 2018.* Feeling sorry for Mr. Rice, and not being a collector of basketball cards, I took the initiative and sought out a collector on the TCDB that had this particular card on his want list. The Rice rookie card, along with a few other non-project cards, are now in the hands of Terry from Eagle, MI. I targeted an 80's card in return, and settled on the card below.

*Technically the card that's been stuck in the stack the longest would be the 1954 Bowman Jim Wilson, which I originally acquired in February 2018. However, in November of that year I retired it and put in in my personal collection, only to un-retire it roughly 10 months later and put it back in my stack. That short time in my collection gave Glen Rice the honor.

Trade #3 - This trade comes courtesy of Jeff from Wax Pack Wonder. Jeff was musing on the beautiful  1955 Bowman set recently, and managed to find a few to send me as well.

The write-ups on the back of this set are some of the best ever written. Keriazakos' account of a Larry Doby catch is amazing, and I would love to see a modern take of players talking about the "Best Whatever" they have ever seen. In addition to these, Jeff included some other goodies as well.

I don't think I'll ever get used to Ron Santo in ChiSox red...

Trade #4 - Next up we have a trade from Tom at The Angels In Order. Being a team collector has no shortage of problems, one of which are multi-team cards like league leader cards. Tom recently discovered a missing Angel from his collection that I was more than happy to send his way.


First Santo in red, now May in blue. Has any team switched colors as much as the White Sox?

Trade #5 - Finally, we have a card sent to me by Eric from Old Red Sox Cards. (Eric has recently transitioned over to YouTube over normal blog posts - you should check out his channel The Card Closet!) Eric claimed a 1970 Topps card, and sent back this great card from 1966:

Thanks to all of you guys for these great trades! Hopefully this will jump start a few more! All you have to do is send me an offer in the comments or through the TCDB! Let's trade!

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#502 Xander Bogaerts

2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#128 Tim Thomas

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen
#74 Mark McLemore

1994 Sportflics
#113 Pete Harnisch

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer

1992 Fleer Ultra
#594 Dave Righetti

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti

1990 Fleer
#629 Jose Canseco (POD)

1990 Upper Deck
#626 Frank Viola

1990 Pro Set - Theme Art (football)
#10 Super Bowl X Pittsburgh Steelers / Dallas Cowboys 

1989 Fleer
#29 Bob Welch

1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish
1987 Donruss
#34 Terry Steinbach (RC, RR)
#458T Jim Ray
#496T Tom Murphy

1974 Wonder Bread (football)
#8 Bob Griese 

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#29 Tony Taylor 
#30 Tug McGraw
#68 1972 Leading Firemen (Carroll/Lyle)
#75 Vada Pinson
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#80 Tony Oliva
#102 Rudy May
#116 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#145 Bobby Bonds
#215 Dusty Baker
#225 Albert Oliver
#230 Joe Morgan
#232 Ken Singleton
#240 Bobby Murcer
#258 Tommy John
#325 Boog Powell
#329 Ed Kranepool
#365 Rico Petrocelli
#368 Bill Buckner

1972 Topps
#33 Billy Martin (MGR)
#43 Rick Wise
#163 Tug McGraw
#197 Johnny Briggs
#225 World Series Game 3 - Manny Sanguillen
#231 Casey Cox
#239 Tom Timmermann
#266 Bobby Bolin
#363 Ron Klimkowski
#373 John Mayberry
#438 Maury Wills (IA)
#451 Tony LaRussa

1972 Topps (football)
#111 Jim Tyrer
#114 Bob James (RC)

1971 Topps
#16 Ken Singleton (RC)
#63 AL 1970 RBI Leaders (Howard/Conigliaro/Powell)
#575 Earl Wilson

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Topps
#17 Johnny Romano
#27 Dick Bertell
#86 Les Narum
#87 Nelson Mathews
#108 Don Mincher
#111 Lee Thomas
#178 Dalton Jones
#307 Barry Latman
#352 Alex Johnson (RC)

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1964 Topps
#18 Billy O'Dell
#45 Milt Pappas
#92 Steve Ridzik
#341 Jim Roland 

1964 Topps - Coins 
#7 Frank Malzone

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#98 2nd Series Checklist 89-176 (CL, VAR)
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern
#399 Cliff Cook (RC) 

1960 Topps
#138 Art Mahaffey (RC, RS)
#289 Willie Jones
#414 Don Williams (RC)

1959 Topps
#298 Tex Clevenger
#424 Ken Aspromonte
#424 Ken Aspromonte 

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#212 Rocky Colavito (RC)
#249 Dave Pope
#406 Bob Hale

1956 Topps 
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Bowman
#14 Gus Keriazakos (RC)
#34 Clint Courtney
#173 Chico Carrasquel 
#208 Ed Fitzgerald

1955 Topps
#45 Hank Sauer

1954 Bowman
#16 Jim Wilson
#73 Don Mueller

1954 Bowman Power For Peace (non-sport)
#91 USS Coral Sea (CVB43)
1953 Topps
#35 Irv Noren 

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

1922 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Third Series (J7) (non-sport) 
#7 Prothonotary Warbler

1915 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America First Series (J5)  (non-sport)
#1 Quail

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 62
Unique trading partners: 36

Number of cards mailed out: 199
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 423
Year of oldest card received: 1915