Friday, July 30, 2021

More Random Musings

Two rambling posts in one month...I must be struggling for content....
 
Topps recently released the design for next year's base set
 
 
My first thing I thought of was a wrench, so I think I'm going to refer this as "the wrench set". Feel free to use that term and help it catch on. ;)
 
 
 
Other than that, it's not horrible. Borders are always good, readable names are very good, and a baseball on a baseball card is just as the sports card gods intended.  It's not the best design they've done recently, but easily the best in a few years.
 
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If you aren't signed up to the Baseball Hall Of Fame mailing list, you're missing out on some cool stuff. Recently I learned of one the most improbable individual games in history. Who else but Rickey Henderson could score 4 runs and steal 5 bases in a game, all without getting an official at-bat? 
 
 
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As someone who roots for a team named after colorful footwear, I really can't have a strong opinion about what other teams want to call themselves. I'll admit I first thought Guardians was an odd choice for Cleveland's new name, but that was before I read about the landmarks the name is based on. I'm cool with it, but I can't help but think the team almost has to be built on pitching and defense now.
 
 
I also can't help but think Disney/Marvel had a hand in this. Besides the obvious Guardians Of The Galaxy tie-in (Applause to those who have suggested Rocket and Groot as team mascots by the way), that logo reminds me of Thor's helmet. Personally, I will be disappointed if they don't play this clip on the giant scoreboard every time someone makes a leaping grab:
 

 
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Blog Bat-A-Round idea: Rename every team. It's harder than you'd think. I tried and here's what I came up with:

AL EAST
Baltimore Chops
Boston Splinters
New York Babes
Tampa Bay Beaches
Toronto Buffaloes

AL CENTRAL
Chicago Deep Dish
Cleveland Rocks
Detroit Motors
Kansas City Ribs
Minnesota Pucketts

AL WEST
Houston Bangers (couldn't resist!)
Los Angeles Trouts
Oakland Redwoods
Seattle Frappachinos
Texas Texans

NL EAST
Atlanta Hammers
Miami Sound Machine
New York Cabbies
Philadelphia Cheesesteaks
Washington Monuments
 
NL CENTRAL
Chicago Banks
Cincinati Roses
Milwaukee Fonzies
Pittsburgh Yinzers
St Louis Arches

NL WEST
Arizona Cacti
Colorado Oysters
Los Angeles Jackies
San Diego Admirals
San Francisco Trolleys

Yeah, lots of bad puns and nicknames based off of team legends. Give it a go, if nothing else it should be good for some laughs. Honestly, I think if Atlanta ever feels like they have to change the Braves name, Hammers would be an awesome choice.

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Last minute edit! - Kyle Schwarber, welcome to the Red Sox! Not sure where he's going to play, but it's a good start and I hope there will be more deals before today's deadline!

Have a good weekend everyone! Mine will be busy. I have my parents coming in for my daughter's First Communion, and then I've taken next week off from work so I can do a bunch of maintenance projects around the house.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Repack Haiku #215 (Tim Jones)

 Citadel alum
Groomed as Ozzie's replacement 
That never happened
 
 
1989 Donruss The Rookies # 28 Tim Jones

Hall of Famer Smith's reign lasted well after Jones' career ended. It couldn't have been an easy time being a shortstop in the Cardinals system back in the 80's...

Monday, July 26, 2021

Insert Madness Haul

I had an opportunity to participate in a fun group break. Bill from Death Stare Cards had purchased a lot of 1700 insert cards, and was offering up teams for $15 each. I figured most of those inserts would be from before 2016, when I really started to get back into collecting. Therefore it was likely that I wouldn't have most of those cards in my collection already. Turns out I was right - out of the 59 cards I received, only 8 were cards I already had. Not a bad ratio!
 

 
This stack contains cards from 36 different insert sets. Rather than show off every card, I picked my 10 favorite insert sets and list them here.

10. 2012 Topps - Golden Moments


Simple in design and concept, this set seems like it was designed to be autographed. Lots of open space for a signature!

9. 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights - Legends Of The Game


I was ready to have this set listed higher up on the list, but then I looked at the set as a whole - a 25 cards set featuring legends of the game, and multiple people are listed twice. You can't come up with 25 Legends? The final straw was seeing Wade Boggs listed twice, but neither as a Red Sox player! I like the look of the card, but the checklist is weak.

8. 2010 Topps - Peak Performance


I'm not a fan of the generic background, but red ribbons work well. I like the write up on the back more.

7. 2013 Topps Opening Day - Ballpark Fun


I always enjoy cards that show the fun of the game outside of the game itself. 

6. 2003 Fleer Tradition - Milestones


 Career milestones are always cool, and how could I not appreciate another Rickey with the Red Sox?

5. 2008 Topps - Dick Perez Wal-Mart


I'm pretty sure this is what Topps Gallery wishes it was. Who would have thought Dick Perez's Donruss Diamond Kings would have such a lasting impact on the hobby?

4. 2009 Topps - Ring Of Honor


Any set focused on the World Series is going to be Yankee-heavy, but this insert set at least spreads the wealth a little. It could have focused more on more than just 18 franchises, but with 15 Red Sox cards in the set, I can't complain.

3. 2006 Topps - Trading Places


This is a fun and interesting way to show players who have switched teams.

2. 2014 Topps Opening Day - Fired Up


You want your team to have guys who are passionate about the game and not afraid to display emotion on the field. This insert set thankfully doesn't overdo it on the fire graphics (although I completely missed the words in the flames upon first viewing).

1. 1991 Fleer - Pro-Visions


I've always loved these Fleer inserts, and this Greenwell card in particular is one of my all-time favorites. I have a few copies of it, and yet I don't mind at all getting one more. They are fun and artistic - basically Topps70 without the variety of artists. Nothing makes opposing left fielders run quite like the Green Monster!

Thanks for the cards, Bill!

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.