Friday, July 23, 2021

Not To Brag, But I Also Won The Home Run Derby

The Polar Bear ain't got nothing on me!

Sure, it was an impressive display of power as Pete Alonso went on to win this year's Home Run Derby. I guess I have to tip my hat in appreciation of his back-to-back wins. I'm not saying he didn't do great things, because he did.

But could Alonso have predicted that he would win? (Probably, those athletes are a rather confident lot.)

OK, but could he have guessed the exact number of home runs he would hit during the event? (Yeah, neither could I. But I came close!)

So close in fact that I was named the winner of a small little game played over at the TCDB. One of the members, Chris (aka Speks) gave away some cards to whoever came closest to predicting the winner and number of home runs hit. I was one of a few to correctly state Alonso would win, and my guess of 65 taters was just 9 off of his actual total of 74. 

My prize was a set of cards depicting each of this year's Derby participants:

Favorite Card: Ironically, most of these cards show the player post-swing tracking a ball! It's a tough call, but I'll go with Ohtani and Stadium Club's photographic excellence.

Thanks for the cards and the fun contest Chris!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Repack Haiku #214 (Bill Madlock)

Only guy to win
Multiple batting titles
With more than one team
1987 Topps Traded #71T Bill Madlock
He led the league in batting average twice with the Cubs and another two times with the Pirates.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Time Travel Trading Update #55

2021 has bee a good year so far for the Time Travel Trading Project. Since January's update, I've made 24 trades, an average of 4.8 trades a month. This past month was no different - I have 7 more trades to show off today. That's a lot of trades, and a lot of cards! Let's see what new additions have joined us:
Batting lead-off, we have our monthly Time Travel Trade from  Bo (Baseball Cards Come To Life).  He snagged a few nice cards, and in return a got a trio of Canadian goodies plus a vintage All-Star!

Next up comes Ben, who became my 100th trade on the TCDB! He found some cards he liked, and sent some awesome cards in return, including a few cards from one of the greatest TV shows from the 80s! (Extra kudos for including a time travel themed card - I'm not that far from 1885 either!)

Another new trade partner, blog reader Alan, is working on the 1974 set and picked up some cards he needed. These 70's cards are what he sent back:

Batting clean-up, we have another great trade from Brendan (The View From The Third Floor). He took a couple of Hall of Fame pitchers, and sent back three times as many cards:

(Unless someone takes these basketball cards off my hands, I'm convinced Brendan will eventually send me half of the set...)
My next trade comes courtesy of Jim (Cards As I See Them). It's a rare 50's card for 50's card swap! Gotta love that cartoon, even if the quiz question is pretty easy!

Daniel (It's Like Having My Own Card Shop) recently celebrated his 12th anniversary of blogging, and mentioned how close he was to completing the 1971 Topps set. I noticed that one of the remaining cards he needed was in the trade stack, and let him know that it was available. Daniel sent a fantastic card in return:

Finally, we have the esteemed Greg (Night Owl Cards), who found a few cards to his liking.  (Greg, did you notice even more 80's O-Pee-Chee in this post? Just thought I'd mention...) Here are the cards Greg sent back:

27 new cards for your trading pleasure! As always, any card in the stack is available for an older card. Just comment below or contact me on the TCDB (Member ID: Kep75

Thanks for the trade, guys!


The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2020 Sage Hit - Rookie Autographs Black (football)
#A17 Harrison Bryant (AU)

2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner
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
2009-10 Panini Season Update - Christmas Cards Materials
#22 Jeff Pendergraph (MEM, SN499)

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen

1993 Leaf
#271 Jay Buhner

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer
1991 Stadium Club

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti
1991 Pacific (football)
#97 Michael Irvin
#166 Sterling Sharpe 

1990 Fleer
#271 Roger Clemens
1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish
1989 Topps Back to the Future Part II (non-sport)
#79 Next Stop ... 1885! 
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
#312 Jorge Orta
#342 Tim Foli  
1984 Topps
#728 Tug McGraw

1983 Topps
#70 Steve Carlton
1983 Topps (football)

1983 Topps The A-Team (non-sport)
#20 Pretty as a Picture!
#49 Heavy Traffic!
#50 Crashing the Gates!
#54 Mad Man!

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653

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

1982 Topps
#125 Danny Ainge
1982 Topps (football) 
1979 Topps (football)
#168 Super Bowl XIII 

1978-79 Topps (basketball)
#21 Steve Hawes
#52 Aaron James 
#54 Garfield Heard  
#55 George Johnson
#62 Anthony Roberts
#105 Jim Chones 
#118 Kevin Porter 
#129 Ray Williams (RC)

1978 Topps
#148 Andre Thorton
#373 Jim Willoughby
#385 Tito Fuentes
#424 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#482 Rick Miller
#706 Rookie 1st Baseman (Cage/Cox/Putnam/Revering)
1977 Topps
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)
#567 George Stone 

1975 Topps
#41 Cesar Geronimo
#445 Felix Milan 
1974 Visual Panographics US Presidents (non-sport)

1973 Topps
#102 Rudy May
#485 Norm Cash 

1972 Topps
#22 Rob Gardner
#113 Rogelio Moret 
#12 John Hiller 
#257 Dennis Higgins
#390 Willie Davis
#457 Rico Petrocelli (AS)
#266 Pitt Power (Stargell/Clendenon)
#272 Dick Lines (RC)

1966 Topps
#46 Howie Koplitz
1964 Topps - Coins
#7 Frank Malzone
1963 Topps

1962 Topps
#474 Frank Lary (AS) 

1961 Fleer Baseball Greats
#56 Dolf Luque

1961 Topps
#21 Zoilo Versalles (RC, RS, UER)
#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
#124 Marion Fricano  

1954 Bowman
#73 Don Mueller

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

1953 Topps
#101 Ted Wilks (VAR)

1947-66 Exhibits W461 
#NNO Ferris Fain 
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

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: 108
Unique trading partners: 52

Number of cards mailed out: 411
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1910-11

Number of cards received: 661
Year of oldest card received: 1890

Friday, July 16, 2021

Stadium Club Pack War

When I was lucky enough to find Stadium Club at my local Wally World recently, I splurged and bought two boxes. I showed off the first box already, giving my first impressions of the set.  Since each box contained 8 packs of cards, I thought it'd be fun to use the 2nd box and have a pack war!

Stadium Club is all about the photography, so that's what I'm basing my decisions on. Parallels don't get any more sway over the base set. For each pack, I'll select the card that I feel is the best overall, and pit the 8 selections against each other in a bracketed elimination.
Pack 1
#231 Jo Adell (RC)
#117 Max Muncy
#189 Bob Gibson
#167 Jacob deGrom (black parallel)
#120 Eddie Murray
Pack 2
#22 Willson Contreras
#296 Lucas Giolito
#248 Jose Ramirez
#165 Thurman Munson (red parallel)
#216 Brady Singer (RC)
In both packs, it was pretty easy to pick a winner.  Gibson's card is a flashback to an honor bestowed upon a select few. Ramirez's card is just insane. Despite being such a closely cropped card, there's four other people along the outskirts.

#189 Bob Gibson vs #248 Jose Ramirez

You couldn't ask for two more different cards. Black and white vs color. Action vs. stillness. Past vs present. It's a tough call. In the end, I think seeing Gibson mainly in profile was enough of a nit-pick for me to choose Ramirez.

Winner: Jose Ramirez

Pack 3
#15 Jeff McNeil
#238 Isaac Paredes (RC)
#203 Ian Anderson (Stadium Club Chrome Refractor)
#17 Nolan Ryan(red parallel)
#148 Alex Kirilloff (RC)
Pack 4
#227 Reggie Jackson
#135 David Wright
#24 Tony Gwynn
#52 Rafael marchan (RC) (Sepia parallel)
#229 William Contreras (RC)
Is McNeil making a sliding catch or just casually catching a ball as he lies out on the grass? One could make an argument for either. The best thing about Reggie's card (other than the fact he's not a Yankee on it) is that you can clearly see the grip he uses to throw the ball.

#15 Jeff McNeil vs #227 Reggie Jackson

Heh. Side by side, these two cards almost look like they're playing catch. I have to advance Jackson, you can almost picture the ball rocketing from his hand.

Winner: Reggie Jackson

Pack 5 
#153 Freddie Freeman
#218 Jesus Aguilar
#240 Dinelson Lamet
#VR-13 Corey Seager (Virtual Reality red insert/parallel)
#235 Rickey Henderson
Pack 6
#168 Daulton Varsho (RC)
#80 Walker Buehler
#160 George Springer
#12 Didi Gregorious (red parallel)
#222 DJ LeMahieu
Freeman's card was a contender here, but I just had to pick Rickey sliding up a dust storm. Varsho seems to have a rather pained look on his face, but that's the price you got to pay to get such a great rookie card!

#235 Rickey Henderson vs #168 Daulton Varsho

Rickey is making some unidentified Yankee look bad. Rickey joins Reggie to stack this pack war with Hall of Fame Athletics! 
Winner: Rickey Henderson
Pack 7
#8 Rafael Devers
#139 Drew Rasmussen (RC)
#65 Bryan Reynolds
#42 Jack Flajherty (red parallel)
#3 Mike Clevinger
Pack 8
#10 Salvador Perez
#23 Tim Anderson
#276 Mark McGwire
#SCG-13 Randy Johnson (Stadium Club Greats insert)
#72 Barry Larkin
I'm not being biased, but Raffy really does have the best card in this pack. You can sense the impending collision on Perez's card, and yet you can't help but think the poor runner is just going to bounce off the immovable catcher.

#8 Rafael Devers vs #10 Salvador Perez

OK, so maybe I am being a little biased... (and can someone explain what is on his thumb?)
Winner: Rafael Devers
Our final four is set with two All-Star third basemen and two Hall of Famers donning the green and gold.

Semifinal Round


#248 Jose Ramirez vs #227 Reggie Jackson

We can't see it, but Jose can - the base, so close, if he can only reach it. The look of a man determined to reach his destination. That glove is close, but will it tag him? There's a tenseness in this photo, an uncertainty of what is transpiring before our eyes. Reggie's rocket throw will not overtake him.
Winner: Jose Ramirez

#235 Rickey Henderson vs #8 Rafael Devers

Like ghosts dancing on the edges of your peripheral vision, you see them. The crowd, blended in the shadows of a bygone era, stand and cheer as their champion wins another race. No man can catch Rickey. The standings do not lie - Devers sits and wonders how can he and his team crawl from the depths and salvage their pride. Today, there is one more tally in the loss column for Boston. 

Winner: Rickey Henderson

The Finals


#248 Jose Ramirez vs #235 Rickey Henderson

The goal is simple: Touch each base by any means necessary. Steal that next base if you must, but fight for it always. Only then can you come back around from where you started. Only then can you come home. Success is never guaranteed, but for those who give it their all, the crowd's admiration is certain.
This is a tough choice between two strong contenders. When all is said and done, it was the little details on Ramirez's card that won me over.

Pack War Champion

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your opinion in the comments.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Repack Haiku #213 (Barry Lyons)

The toughest hitter
That Tom Seaver ever faced
Ended Tom's comeback
1988 Donruss #619 Barry Lyons
During his retirement press conference, Seaver was asked who was the toughest hitter he had ever faced. He named Lyons, who a few weeks earlier went 6-6 against him in a simulated game. That game led to Seaver deciding to end his comeback attempt.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Random Thoughts And Musings - All-Star Edition

I try to map out my posts well in advance. It helps keep me organized and I find I can finish posts and have them scheduled days and sometimes weeks in advance. Usually I'll plan on my Time Travel Trading posts for the 2nd or 3rd Monday of the month. When planning out some July posts, I created my Time Travel placeholder post set to go live on July 19th. Somewhere in the past week, my brain convinced myself that this post was suppose to air on the 12th, and it needed to get finished sooner rather than later. Even though I still had 2 trades open, I worked tirelessly to finish the latest Time Travel Trading Update. I figured those two last trades would just have to wait until August's update, and wrapped everything up Friday morning.

You're not getting a Time Travel Trading Update today.

Why? Lo and behold, both pending PWE came in over the weekend. I decided rather than try to squeeze these cards into the post during a busy weekend, I'd just push it back to its original 7/19 date and properly update the post. That left me with no post for today however. Fortunately, it's the All-Star break, so I have lots of thoughts in my head to share. 

Apologies in advance, since this post is more wordy and less about baseball cards. We'll return to our normally scheduled programming after the break.

- The Red Sox enter the All-Star break leading the AL East with an AL-best 55 wins. There is still a lot of baseball to play, but regardless on how the second half plays out, no Red Sox fan can view the season as anything other than a huge positive. 
- That being said, I like their chances to win the division. The Rays will always be scrappy, but without their ace Glasnow I think they're fighting for a wild card. The Yankees will always be the Yankees and can't be dismissed, but to see their lackluster performance so far brings me joy. The Blue Jays are the real wild card in all this. They can match anyone offensively and their pitching is going to be the reason they fail or succeed. 
- I've followed the draft more closely this year than any other year, mainly because the Red Sox have the highest pick they've ever had in my lifetime. There were a lot of good players at the top, and it looks like the Red Sox were going to get an impact player regardless. Most of the mock drafts by analysts had the Sox likely getting either C Henry Davis (who went first overall) or P Jack Leiter (who went 2nd). Nobody, and I mean nobody, had Marcelo Mayer falling down to the Red Sox. He was the topped ranked player on MLB, and almost unanimously pegged to go 1st or 2nd. I couldn't believe it when I looked at my phone and saw the notification that he landed with the Red Sox!
- Best comp I've read about our shortstop of the future: offensively Corey Seager, defensively Brandon Crawford. This is a potential franchise cornerstone here.

- I mentioned that I got the draft selection via a phone notification. Despite my increased interest in the draft, I didn't watch it on TV. I was busy watching a baseball game for the first time in 2 years. The Valley League (the local collegiate summer league) had their All-Star game, so I went with my newly retired father-in-law. It was a beautiful night for baseball, and other than abruptly ending in the middle of the 8th due to some weird issue with the pitcher's mound, it was enjoyable.

- The Valley Baseball League inducted new members into its Hall of Fame, including 5 who played in the Major Leagues - Erik Kratz, Tom Browning, Brett Gardner, Reggie Sanders, and Steve Findley. If I ever have time to properly research them, I think a series of posts on Valley League alumni would be fun.

- I also got to see the Black Widow movie this weekend with my oldest daughter. I really enjoyed it, and thought it was worth the wait. As far as Marvel movies go, it's one of their better action films, with enough of that light-hearted Marvel comedy to keep things fun.

- Tonight's Home Run Derby should be fun. In my official MLB bracket, I picked Pete Alonso to repeat. In my heart, I'm rooting for cancer-survivor Mancini. In my gut, I feel it'll be another highlight in the "Summer of Ohtani". 

- I've often thought MLB should have a second home run derby featuring former players from the host city.  It might be fun to see Gallaraga, Castillo, Helton, Bichette, Holliday and Hall of Famer Walker take a few more swings in that Colorado air.

- I'll probably watch at least the beginning of the All-Star game. I admit I start losing interest once they start swapping out guys every inning to get as many people in as possible. I miss the days when the starters actually played for awhile. Give me at least one full turn though the lineup for the starting pitchers, and at least 2 at bats for the starting hitters.

- I predict the AL will win, and they'll give the MVP to Ohtani for no other reason than he'll both hit and pitch.

- If you're a baseball fan, Ronald Acuna Jr's injury is crushing. He's so much fun to watch, and here's hoping next year he's back to full health and better than ever!

- Just because I don't like the idea of this post being all text and no baseball card related content, here's a sneak preview of next Monday's post:

Have a good week!