Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2021 World Series Tale Of The Tape

 
The World Series starts tonight, and I'm dubbing this one the "Battle Of The Villains!" Now I know what you're thinking: The villainous Astros narrative is pretty well established, but the Braves? How are they villains?  Well, they're not to us baseball fans, but the MLB definitely considers the state of Georgia evil. Regardless of who wins, it's going to be an awkward trophy presentation for Rob Manfred. Now, for most baseball fans like me, chances are your team isn't one of the two left standing. Who do you vote for when your team isn't playing? Personally, I base it on a few different factors. Let's see how the two teams stack up:
 

Former Red Sox Players

Astros: Marwin Gonzalez
Braves: Jonathan Lucroy, Pablo Sandoval
 
If I can't root for my team, I can at least root for guys who used to be on my team. Unfortunately, there's not much to go on here. Gonzalez started the year with the Red Sox, didn't hit at all, and eventually got released. He's not on the Astros' postseason roster.  Lucroy and Sandoval had their tenure with the Braves end before the season did. (In fact, Sandoval was sent to Cleveland in exchange for NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario!) No former Red Sox on the great stage this year!

Advantage: None!
 

Shenandoah Valley Baseball League Alumni

Astros: none
Braves: none
 
For the first time since I started doing these, we don't have any former players from my local summer league involved. Oh well, maybe next year.

Advantage: None!
 

University of Virginia Cavaliers Alumni

Astros: none
Braves: none
 
Go Wa-hoos! Living a short drive from Charlottesville, I've gone to a few UVa baseball games. Once again, neither team earns an advantage because they don't employ any past Cavaliers. (However, a special shout out to Chris Taylor and his 3-HR game in the NLCS!)

Advantage: None!
 

Championship Drought

Astros: 3 years
Braves: 25 years

Finally! Someone earns a point!

 
Advantage: Braves
 

Personal Connection

My dad isn't a big baseball fan, but he has said he's always liked the Braves. I can probably chalk that up to TBS being the only real source for MLB games growing up. Also, I have a picture of my dad and I standing at Hank Aaron's locker from our only trip to the Hall of Fame.

Advantage: Braves
 

Spring Training Adventures

I've seen both teams play during my trips to Spring Training, but the Astros are the only team that I got a signed ball from.



Advantage: Astros

Bias Against The Team That Eliminated The Red Sox From The Postseason

What? I'm not bitter, but it's a little soon to be turning around and rooting for the Astros...

Advantage: Braves

Final Talley: Braves 3, Astros 1
 
Not going to lie, there isn't a whole lot for me to get excited about this year. I'll probably listen to it in the background while I'm doing other things, but then again, baseball does have that way of pulling you into the excitement.
 

See what I did there? ;)

Go Braves!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Starting 9: Cards From The Basball Card Store

These past few month, I haven't been blogging as much as I usually do - 11 posts each in August and September, the lowest total for any month since 2018. A big part of that is that I haven't been getting many new cards. The retail well has pretty much dried up locally, and when I find cards I'm finding that I'd rather not spend my money on sets I don't really want, like Bowman or Chrome. (The jacked up prices make it much easier to say "no"!) 

Locally, things are weak, but the amount of cards coming in has picked up a lot. Thanks to some online shopping and some incredibly generous packages from some bloggers, I have a ton of cards that I'm going through and cataloging. With various things going on between work and home, it's taken me forever to do so. 

Fortunately, I'm getting caught up. I'm ready to show off my most recent order from the Baseball Card Store. I picked up a nice round 100 cards, a healthy mix of set needs, Red Sox cards, and cards I just felt were worthwhile. Showing all 100 cards would make for too long a post, so I'm just going show off my 9 favorites. Why 9? To paraphrase from the MLB Network Show "Prime 9" - 9 innings, 9 players on the field! 


9. 2007 Topps 

#116 Tim Wakefield


 
I don't know why, but the red background cracks me up. It just screams Senior Class portrait.

8. 2010 Topps Update - Peak Performance 

#PP-124 Daniel Nava


 
I've always been a big fan of Nava's journey to the Majors. This card highlights his historic first hit.

7. 1992 Conlon TSN 

#559 Al Schacht (NN)


 
Speaking of great stories,  "The Clown Prince Of Baseball" would make an excellent movie.

6. 2012 Topps - 1987 Topps Minis 

#TM-23 Dustin Pedroia


 
I know a lot of people think the design is overused, and it is, but I still love the 1987 Topps wood-grain in all of its forms.

5. 2005 Upper Deck ESPN 

#13 Davis Ortiz


 
This was a cool find. I never heard of this set before, and jumped at a chance to have a card of Big Papi wearing an All-Star game uniform.

4. 2001 Fleer Boston Red Sox 100th Anniversary 

#92 Luis Tiant (BB)


 
One of these days I'll complete this set. I'm a long ways off, but for now I have another great card of Luis Tiant!

3. 2019 Topps Big League 

#331 Brock Holt

 

One of my favorite cards from 2019, the photograph is amazing on many levels.

2. 2013 Panini Prizm - USA Baseball 

#USA1 Dustin Pedroia


 
Panini Prizm packs a punch with a pre-professional Pedey!

1. 2008 Upper Deck #433 Jason Varitek


 
This card has been on my radar for awhile now, and when Night Owl featured it over the summer, I knew I had to finally track down a copy. 
 
As always, baseballcardstore.ca is an excellent place to get cheap cards! 



Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Repack Haiku #227 (Lance Parrish)

Could make argument:
One of eighties best catchers?
More awards than Fisk
 
1992 Fleer #66 Lance Parrish

 
Parrish is an interesting study of stats vs. awards. Compared to his contemporaries Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter, he fell well short of their statistical achievements. However, he was an 8-time all star who won 3 Gold Gloves (more than Fisk, same as Carter) and 6 Silver Slugger awards (more than both Fisk and Carter). Even on the statistical side, he ended his career with the exact same number of home runs as Carter did. He was also the cleanup hitter for one of the most dominate teams of the era, the World Champion 1984 Tigers. Yet while Fisk and Carter are immortalized in the Hall of Fame, Parrish got only 9 votes in his one and only appearance on the 2001 ballot. I'm not saying he was snubbed for the Hall, but he should have easily reached the 5% minimum.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Time Travel Trading Update #58


 
There are some cards that I feel confident will go quickly. One of those cards was a 1968 Topps AL RBI Leaders card featuring 3 Hall of Famers. I received that card 3 years ago and needless to say it wasn't the fast mover I thought it would be. Since the card featured Carl Yastrzemski, I was tempted many times to pull it and add it to my collection. But I kept it here, in Time Travel Trading purgatory,  and it was finally one of a half dozen cards snagged by Jeff (Wax Pack Wonders).  In return, we get another vintage Hall Of Famer and the first rub off tattoo in the trade.

Consistency, thy name is Brendan (The View From The Third Floor). Brendan made his first trade with me in January and has claimed cards on every update. He officially becomes the second member of the 10-trade club, and Brendan's generosity is in full force with this one. In exchange for a single card, he sent all this as a return package:

Anyone like minis?

The other member of the 10-Trade Club is obviously Bo (Baseball Cards Come To Life), who broke new ground this time by becoming the inaugural member of the 20-Trade club! In addition to the swap, we both ended up sending along a little extra kindness (Thanks for knocking another card off my So Close page Bo!)

That Wayne Gross is an 1978 O-Pee-Chee, if you couldn't tell from the back!

I do have one more trade pending, but that will have to wait until next month's update. As always, these cards are all available in exchange for an older card! You can claim your cards below, or through the TCDB (Kep75). Let's make some trades!

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

 
2020 Topps Allen & Ginter - Mini Behemoths Beneath
#MGB-17 Giant Clam
 
2020 Sage Hit - Rookie Autographs Black (football)
#A17 Harrison Bryant (AU)
 
2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner
 
2015-16 Upper Deck (hockey)
#185 Alex Ovechkin
 
2014 Topps - 1963 Mini (football)
#213 Jimmy Garoppolo
#226 Zach Mettenberger

2014 Topps Chrome Mini (football)
#203 C.J. Mosley

2014 Topps Valor - Strength (football)
#52 Richard Sherman (SN499)  
 
2012 Topps - 1987 Topps Minis
#TM-38 Chase Utley

2012 Topps Update - 1987 Topps Minis
#TM-149 Giancarlo Stanton
  
2010 Bowman - Prospects Black
#BP51 Chase D'Arnaud
#BP56 Rolando Gomez

2010 Bowman Chrome
#13 Brian Roberts
#122 Hanley Ramirez

2010 Bowman Chrome - Prospects
#BCP178 Nathan Adcock
#BCP186 Jhan Marinez
 
2010 Topps (football)
#341 Peyton Manning (AP)
 
2009-10 Panini Season Update - Christmas Cards Materials
#22 Jeff Pendergraph (MEM, SN499) 
 
2001 Fleer Greats Of The Game
#77 Lester Lockett 
 
2000 Pacific Crown Royale (football)
#40 Marvin Harrison

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen
 
1997 Fleer Goudey (football)
#91 Rashaan Salaam
#114 Jim Everett
#123 Jason Dunn 
 
1996 Fleer Update
#U238 Tim Salmon (ENC) 

1993 Leaf
#271 Jay Buhner

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer
 
1992 Score - 90's Impact Players
#46 Ruben Sierra
#63 Marquis Grissom
#65 Ron Gant 
 
1992 Pro Line Portraits (football)
#414 Bill Cowher (CO, RC) 
 
1991 Stadium Club

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti
 

1990 Fleer
#271 Roger Clemens
 
1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish
 
 
 
 
1986 Topps - Glossy All-Stars
#9 Carlton Fisk #21 LaMarr Hoyt 

1986 Topps Major League Leaders Minis
#65 Tony Gwynn
 
 
 
1984 Donruss

1984 Fleer
 
1984 O-Pee-Chee
#83 Richie Zisk

1983 Topps
#70 Steve Carlton
 
1983 Topps (football)

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653
 
1982 O-Pee-Chee
#254 Jorge Bell (RC)
#275 Bob Watson 

1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extraterrestrial (non-sport)
#15 Among Elliott's Toys

1982 Topps
#125 Danny Ainge
 
1982 Topps (football) 
 
#118 Kevin Porter 
#129 Ray Williams (RC)
 
1978 O-Pee-Chee
 
1977 Topps
 
1977 Topps (football)
#350 Bill Bergey (AP)
 
1976 Funky Sales Corp Funky Facts Baseball
#2 In A Trance
#3 Fans Vs Players
#5 Baseballeese

1976 Topps
#70 Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley Jr. (FS)
 
 
 
1973 Topps
#102 Rudy May
#52 Harmon Killebrew (IA)
#53 Bud Harrelson
#237 Cesar Cedeno (RC) 

1970 Brooke Bond North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1970 Topps
#3 Darrell Chaney
#390 Willie Davis  
#457 Rico Petrocelli (AS)

1969 Topps
#66 Orioles Rookies
 

1966 Topps
#46 Howie Koplitz
#47 J.C. Martin 
#260 Bob Shaw
#575 Earl Wilson
 
1966 Topps - Rub Offs
#NNO Jimmie Hall 
 
 
1964 Topps - Coins
#7 Frank Malzone
 
1963 Topps

1962 Topps

1961 Fleer Baseball Greats
#56 Dolf Luque

1961 Topps
 
1960 Topps
#61 Eddie Kasko 
 
1960 Topps (football)
#28 Jim Ray Smith 
#380 Charley Maxwell  

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

1957 Topps
#68 Ray Crone
#284 Ike Delock

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

1955 Topps
#45 Hank Sauer
 
1954 Topps
#238 Al Aber

1954 Bowman
#73 Don Mueller

1954 Bowman Power For Peace (non-sport)
#91 USS Coral Sea (CVB43)

1953 Topps

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

1937-38  Diamond Matchbooks Tan 6 (hockey)
#NNO Glenn Brydson
 
1935 Church & Dwight Useful Birds of America Eighth Series (J9-4) (non-sport)
#10 California Jay

1933 Church & Dwight Useful Birds of America Fifth Series (J9-1) (non-sport)
#5 Indigo Bunting 

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
 
1890 N245 Sweet Caporal Actors & Actresses (non-sport)
#NNO Frankie Raymond

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: 122 (1 pending!)
Unique trading partners: 53

Number of cards mailed out: 456
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1910-11

Number of cards received: 733
Year of oldest card received: 1890

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Repack Haiku #226 (Mark Grace)

Nineties hit leader
Won ring in Arizona
Ex wed "Shoeless Joe" 
 
1990 Score #150 Mark Grace

The man who had more hits (and doubles) than anyone else in the 1990's got the Diamondbacks' Game 7 comeback going with his lead-off single against Mariano Rivera. As far as the last line goes, well, his ex-wife ended up marrying none other than Ray Liotta!

Friday, October 8, 2021

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Rahway, NJ

It took awhile to get this trade completed, but I'm happy to show off 9 new cards for the collection. My trade partner, Stephen, unfortunately had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and couldn't mail out his end of the trade in a timely matter. We stayed in contact, I was happy to wait, and eventually, the cards arrived. 
 
 
As per usual, there are Red Sox needs, including a pair of Pedros. The rest of the trade was a selection of cards from the 1993 Ted Williams set. This is another one of those sets I'm not actively working on, but I like enough to pick up cards when I can.
 
Favorite card: Cards of Negro League players are always cool, so Rube gets today's "award".

Thanks for the trade Stephen!

**********

Contest alert! Head over to Collector's Crack for his 11th Annual Almost The Easiest World Series Contest On The Web! Just pick who you think is going to win the World Series (plus a few tiebreakers) and you could win a prize tailored to your collection!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Repack Haiku #225 (Mark Davis)

Good trade for White Sox:
Sent Davis to the Angels
For All-Star closer
 
1989 Fleer Update #U-18 Mark Davis (XRC)

 
The White Sox got 161 saves from Roberto Hernandez. The Angels got 2 at-bats in 3 games from Davis.

Also, joke was on me: I saw the name Mark Davis, thought of the Cy Young winning reliever for the Padres, and crafted a haiku. Only upon grabbing the card image did I realize there was another Mark Davis...

Monday, October 4, 2021

MLB Playoff Rankings 2021

 

 
The dust has settled. After an insane weekend where 4 AL teams were fighting for the 2 Wild Card spots, and 2 100-win teams fought to see who was division champ and who has to play a one game Wild Card, we finally have our 10 playoff participants. After a unusual 2020, this year did not disappoint. Who will I be rooting for? The first and last place teams are obvious, but everyone else is up for grabs! As I've mentioned before, there are a lot of factors that influence my ranking, but I usually start with a list of teams who have suffered the longest Championship droughts and adjust accordingly. Once again, I present my personal 2021 Playoff rankings!
 

1. Boston Red Sox (AL Wild Card - 2 year drought)

2019 Topps #549 Sweet Victory (WS)
 
Before the season began, you'd have a hard time finding anyone willing to consider the Red Sox as a playoff team. The fact that they are here is an amazing story, especially when you consider the insane talent level in the AL East and the teams they needed to beat to get here.. They are good enough to win it all, but their defense is a big weakness. Unfortunately, I think that will be their undoing. I hope I'm wrong though!
Prediction: Lose to the Rays in the ALDS

Milwaukee Brewers (NL Central Champions - 52 year drought) 

2021 Topps #59 Milwaukee Brewers (TC)
 
Watch out! The Brewers have one of the best rotations among the postseason teams. If they can score runs, they'll be hard to beat. It's been far too long since there has been a World Series in Milwaukee.
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the NLCS

Atlanta Braves (NL East Champions - 25 year drought)

1996 Collector's Choice
#395 Tom Glavine (WS)
 
The dynasty is officially a quarter of a century old! That still seems weird to me. You have to give the Braves a lot of credit. Losing one of the biggest young stars of the game would give any team an excuse to give up, but the Braves loaded up with outfielders and used every ounce of moxie to make it to October.
Prediction: Lose to the Brewers in the NLDS
 

Chicago White Sox (AL Central Champions - 15 year drought)

2005 Topps Updates & Highlights
#UH134 White Sox Sweep (WS)
 
When a team loses not one, but two young stars for most of the season, it's usually not a good sign for their playoff aspirations. Not only did the White Sox continue to win, they became the first AL team to clinch a playoff berth. I think this team will be the surprise team of the postseason!
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the World Series
 

St. Louis Cardinals (NL Wild Card - 9 year drought)

2012 Topps Heritage
#148 St. Louis Cardinals (WS, HL)
 
No team ended the season hotter than the Cardinals. Will the momentum be enough to beat their juggernaut wild card opponent? Anything is possible, especially when you have the ageless tandem of Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina to lead the way.
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card game
 

San Francisco Giants (NL West Champions - 6 year - drought)

2015 Topps #227 Madison Bumgarner (WS)
 
For a team expected to fall way behind both of their California counterparts, it was fun to watch this team defy all expectations and stand toe to toe with the nearly unstoppable Dodgers. Aside from Cardinals fans, can anyone say they wouldn't love to see one final postseason clash between the Dodgers and Giants?
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the NLDS
 

Los Angeles Dodgers (NL Wild Card - defending Champions)

2021 Topps Heritage #1 Los Angeles Dodgers (WS)
 
I don't have anything against this team (well, maybe Trevor Bauer), but I'm not ready for back-to-back champs yet. (Although if they do win, I'll no longer have to hear that the Yankees were the last team to do it...) I can't deny the sheer talent of this team though.
Prediction: World Series Champions (again!)

Houston Astros (AL West Champions - 3 year drought)

2018 Topps Heritage
#169 Astros Celebrate Their Victory (WS)
 
There will come a day when Bregman, Correa, Altuve,and the rest will move on from their days in Houston. For now, I dread an Astros AL Championship only because everyone on the TV will be talking about the scandal. I really don't want to listen to that anymore.
Prediction: Lose to the White Sox in the ALDS

Tampa Bay Rays (AL East Champions - 23 year drought)

2021 Topps #222 Tampa Bay Rays (TC)
 
Pesky mosquitos. That's what they are. I thought when their ace Tyler Glasnow went down for the season, it'd at least make them Wild Card contenders at best. Nope. Despite the lack of superstars, they just keep winning. I have a fear in my gut the world will know the name Wander Franco before this postseason is over.
Prediction: Lose to the White Sox in the ALCS

10. New York Yankees (AL Wild Card - Not a long enough drought)

2010 Topps - History of the World Series
#HWS25 Yankees
 
My youngest daughter turns 10 this November. She's never lived during a time when the Yankee have called themselves Champions. It's a beautiful thing, and I hope her childhood remains pure like that.
Prediction: Lose to the Red Sox in the AL wild card game
 
To summarize my predictions: 

AL Wild Card 
Red Sox over Yankees
 
NL Wild Card
Dodgers over Cardinals

ALDS
White Sox over Astros
Rays over Red Sox
 
NLDS
Brewers over Braves
Dodgers over Giants
 
ALCS
White Sox over Rays

NLCS
Dodgers over Brewers

World Series
Dodgers over White Sox

Who do got?