Wait til Next Year . . . is making a come back.

I am going to mix a bit of the philosophy of my life into this blog as I continue to highlight some of my baseball card collection. (hoping the card collectors of this world welcome me back)

Its been a tough 18 months for me . . . the Chicago Cubs have had it rough as well.

This site will be devoted to all those who need to define what "wait til next year" means.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

when colors work

there have been several recent posts about color combinations on cards and what works and what does not work. I am learning how to look at cards differently because of some insight I have taken from numerous experienced bloggers and I thank you all for that.

For me, I am still an "old-timer", a traditionalist, preferring the simplicity of the "vintage" cards photography and as a numbers guy (former high school math teacher coming out in me) I tend to notice things on the back of the cards more readily. Check out my irregular special feature termed "Clemente-ism" for some of my discoveries. When it comes to the modern and action photography and use of colors on the front, I am still rather raw.

Since I started this blog in late December 2008, my collection has taken a drastic turn . . . I now have over 1000 Chicago Cubs cards from 1990 thru 2009 (now that may not seem like alot but prior to December I had only 28 post 1990 cards). So I am learning to expand my horizons, appreciate "modern" cards in a different light and starting to look at cards from a new angle.

In getting back to what this post is about "when colors work", I found this Donruss Studio 2002 Moises Alou. There is just something about the Cubs colors and the American Flag that work. I also like the film strip with sights from the Chicago skyline as a black and white contrast. The posed photo of Alou has a rather corny smile but the chest logo is completely visible and the old cubby bear logo on the sleeve is also half way showing.

Red, white and blue . . . the Cubs logo . . . the American Flag . . . colors that work !

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Original" Frank Thomas

for those of you to new to baseball to know, there was indeed a Frank Thomas who hit homeruns before the Frank Thomas you are thinking of. This Frank Thomas burst on the scene full time in Pittsburgh, in 1953, blasting 30 round trippers with 102 rbi's while finishing in the top twenty in MVP voting.

A solid power hitter, this Frank Thomas took over the reigns from HOF'er and legendary Ralph Kiner in 1953 and played the next six years with the Pirates, hitting 163 homeruns. 1958 was Thomas' best year blasting 35 HR's and driving in 109 (both ranked 2nd in the NL behind Cub great and HOF'er Ernie Banks) and finishing fourth in MVP voting. For his efforts, Thomas actually appeared on the cover of sports illustrated on July 28, 1958.

This Frank Thomas was a Chicago Cub in 1960 (coming over from the Cincinnati Reds in 1959, note his uniform) and part of 1961. One of the nicest guys in baseball, always smiling (note his slight smile in this 1960 Topps card # 95) and one of the most feared power hitters of his day.

His career spanned sixteen years, with seven teams ending up in Chicago once again in 1966 before calling it quits. His fianl numbers of 1671 hits a .266 BA to go along with his 286 HR's and 962 RBI's are not too shabby. If you are interested in learning more about this "original" Frank Thomas I highly recommend you check this out: the Original Frank Thomas .

Thomas did play for the "original" New York Mets in 1962 leading the team in HR's (34) and RBI's (94). This Frank Thomas was the "original" . . . . twice !

a Sandberg grimace

I am not sure if I like seeing cards of players with a grimace on their face (especially a HOF'r or great Chicago Cub) but nonetheless this Ryne Sandberg 1997 Topps Stadium Club card certainly does.

Sandberg is obviously sliding into second base and that look on his face pains me just to imagine what actually hurts.

A second thing I am not sure of is whether Sandberg is safe or out (I would like to think he beat the throw and tag) and am also curious who that "other" player is on the card.

I much prefer seeing Sandberg with the "my head is too big for my body" look . . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

my first relic

in a trade that was completed a couple of weeks back, Matt from heartbreaking cards of staggering genius sent me (4) 1970 Topps cards I needed from my want list - I had previously sent him (4) 1971 Topps from his list. However, that was not enough as Matt included a post-it note stating "here are some bonus Cubs for you".

The words "some" and "bonus" do not adequately describe what he sent: about 50 cards from some early eighties (1981 Fleer Jim Tracey; 1983 Donruss Gary Woods and Dave Henderson, and 1985 Donruss Leaf Jody Davis and Keith Moreland) to "modern" cards of today including: 2009 Topps Heritage (a new favorite of mine since they correspond to the Topps 1960's set, my birth year - this set is also on my birthday wish list given to my wife and daughter, birthday being in May). Hopefully they read my blog . . .

and my first A & G Relic bat card: Derrek Lee ! This mini card is in a single screw plastic holder which adds thickness to the scan so that is why it is a little blurry. I like this card, especially the colorful palm tree leaves in the corners (reminds me of my life in Florida especially while I am indoors writing and reading blogs).

All of the other cards Matt sent have now been added to my team sets, year by year binders and greatly appreciated.

Thank you Matt for adding a new definition to the words "some"and "bonus" ! And especially for my first relic card !

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rickey's 3000

for so many Rickey Henderson will be remembered as the "greatest" base stealer of all time, the "greatest" leadoff hitter of all time and as being flamboyant and arrogant. Henderson holds many all-time records and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer after appearing on 94.8 % of ballots.

Of his 297 career homeruns; 81 were leadoff homers a major league record. His 1406 stolen bases will never be threatened - ever. He ranks first all time in runs scored with 2295 and 2nd all time in walks with 2190. A ten time all-star, 3 time silver slugger awardee and the 1990 MVP is all rather commonly known.

I like to think of Henderson is terms of one stat many times over looked; he did have 3055 hits, ranking 20th all time (as of writing this post).

Thanks to Jim at gcrl Rickey's 2002 Topps card arrived a few days ago amoungst all those Cubs cards. The front has him swinging for the fences though the back of his card indicates exactly 3000 hits at seasons end (something I have termed as a clemente-ism). This card will be proudly put right next to Clemente's 1973 card - backs facing front !

So for whatever reason you want to remember and think of Rickey Henderson, he is someone who knew how to get on base. Here is to him reaching over 3000 hits and having it highlighted on his card!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Born in 1960: Dave Valle

since I have not written a post in a couple of days (no good reason or excuse plugged in here) I have been reading plenty and thought I would revert back to an "irregular special feature" of mine I have neglected: players born in the year I was born - 1960.

Today I present Dave Valle (pronounced "valley"); a 1978 2nd round draft choice held onto a thirteen year big league career who played the majority of his games in Seattle (1984-1993) and had short stays with the Red Sox, Brewers and Rangers until he called it quits in 1996.

Primarily a catcher though Valle did play a bit at first base. He caught over 100 games in only four big league seasons having played catcher in only 902 career games. Valle hit 77 HR's, drove in 350 runs had a career BA of .237 and would you believe also had 5 stolen bases (ok he got caught stealing seven times too).

Valle's biggest "claim to fame" might have been in 1993 when he led the league in being hit by a pitch with 17. Another story I read about Valle that in Seattle in the early 90's bars around Seattle would price beer based on his batting average - today that sounds like a great deal.

When Valle left baseball he became a color commentator for the Mariners and probably most importantly in 1995 he founded a non-profit organization called Espernza. Valle and his wife have strong ties to the Christian community (Valle is a strong student of the bible as well) and helps families in severe need in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Valle organizes golf outings, fund raisers and makes numerous trips to this area every year.

A not-so-spectacular major league career has brought Valle into a rather super-spectacular after baseball career.

Congratulations to Dave Valle . . . for being born in the same year as me and giving back more than baseball gave him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Congratulations to Sheffield ? !

Gary Sheffield hit home run # 500, on April 17, 2009 in a NY Met pinch hitting role; becoming just the 25th player to join that once exclusive club. Sheffield hit his first home run on September 9, 1988 as a Milwaukee Brewer.

It was twenty one years ago that Sheffield appeared in a major league uniform, with a gold chain, silver braces and a label of a "future star". Since then he has been mired in controversy and played in an era (steroids) that will be forever tainted. However, he has reached this "milestone" and should be given his due (for at least one day).

A career .292 batting average, over 2600 hits, 1600 RBI's and 450 doubles; 5 silver slugger awards, 9 time all-star, one world series ring (1997 Marlins), a batting title (1992) and now membership in the 500 HR club.

From his little league days to today . . . congratulations are in order for Gary Sheffield . . .Uncle Dwight is proud of you . . . your granddad is smiling and you finally made "the club" . . . now what ? !

Topps 1970: card # 14 Hank Allen

Harold Andrew Allen will be most remembered as Dick (Richie) Allen's older brother. Hank did play seven years in the big leagues; with the Washington Senators (1966-70), Milwaukee Brewers (1970) and the Chicago White Sox (1972-73).

Hank played third base, second base, first base, outfield and even appeared in one game as a catcher. His best year was in 1969 as a Senator, playing in 109 games and reaching career highs in batting average (.277), hits (75), runs (42) and RBI's (17).

Having hit six home runs in his career he ranks second in the family; behind Richie's 351 and youngest brother Ron who hit one. This trio of brothers ranks 11th in most home runs by a brother combination with 358; albeit Richie holds the torch.

I found a quote by Hank from the Baseball Almanac that I thought was right on. "I enjoyed it (being a major league ball player & Washington Senator) but remember . . . baseball is what I did. It is not who I am".

sidebar for an editorial comment: maybe more sports and or entertainment stars should think more like Hank and understand that is "what they do" not who they are. We should all be defined by who we are and not by what we do professionally. Thanks Hank for reminding me of that.

Hank Allen . . . card # 14 in 1970 . . . Richie's older brother.

Friday, April 17, 2009

a "vintage" trade that is "birth-year" good

when Adam of Thoughts and Sox offered some 1960 Cubs cards for trade, our email communication started. It was easy for me as being the Cub fan I am, preferring "vintage" cards from my youth and being born in 1960 this was a no brainer.

I sent Adam a couple of dozen Red Sox cards from 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1971 . . . and I got nineteen of the 1960 Chicago Cubs (yes the real old ones actually from 1960 not the Heritage version - although those are nice too). I am now only a few cards shy of completing the Cubs Team set from 1960.

here are just a few of "my birth year" cards: don't you just love that cute little cub bear face in the bottom left corner. I find it rather creative (for the year) in the use of different color backgrounds for the black and white player photos. I also like the horizontal look, though the manager cards were vertical, and the Rookie Star card with the red, white and blue stripe. I will scan more of these soon.

Adam was also kind enough to send a few "modern" Cubs cards "just because" he is a nice guy and I greatly appreciated them as well.

Thank you Adam for making this "vintage" trade Birth-year good !

Thursday, April 16, 2009

1993 Upper Deck All Time Heroes

It has taken some time but I finally have completed sorting, storing and logging in all the Cubs Cards that Jim at gcrl sent me and I found these three unusual (shaped) cards (at least they were to me).

A little bit of digging found these are from the 1993 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes set. This set includes 165 cards (130 regular and 35 in what is called "classic combinations"), measure 2 1/4" x 5 1/4" and feature a three panel look. These cards are patterned after the T-202 Hassan Triple Folder cards of 1912.

The regular set of cards have a candid or action shot of the player in the larger middle pane with a portrait style photo on the left. The right panel has the B A T (Baseball Assistance Team) logo.

The backs have a nice bio of the player, a nickname and career highlights to go along with a description of the BAT cause (an organization to help baseball families in need).
Ferguson Jenkins # 74: Mr Durability

Ron Santo # 113: Hot Corner Hero

The classic combination cards have center panels featuring artwork or photographs of the "all time great" and the side panels have portrait style photos as well. The backs have the side panels with the bio's and the middle panel describing the players association with each other.
Tinker - Evers # 147: Hall of Fame Infield

These are quite unusual cards in many ways and I think I like them. Thank you Jim, for introducing these cards to me. That is one of the great things about this blogosphere we participate in . . . learning, exploring new ground and enjoying new cards.

If anyone has these cards and have tips on storing them, please help me. If anyone has any of these cards and does not want to store them . . . I will find them a good clean safe home.

These 1993 Upper Deck All-Time Great (BAT) cards are now on my "look for" list.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4 reasons to celebrate today

April 15th is designated as Jackie Robinson Day - the day baseball changed forever and is forever grateful for the courage, sportsmanship and athletic ability of # 42. The barriers of color were removed from the major leagues in 1947 and we do celebrate that !

Twenty five years later another barrier was broken - that of facial hair with Reggie Jackson appearing in a game on this date in 1972 with a mustache. Nowhere equal in its significance as Jackie Robinson but certainly worth celebrating.

Here are my latest mustache finds . . . thanks to Reggie.

April 15th also marks "tax day" - a reason to celebrate if you know any or are an accountant (I am not but do have friends that celebrate the end today)

And lastly today, April 15th, we celebrate a birthday; Woodie Fryman. A two time all-star (1968, 1976) Fryman played for 18 seasons; most notably with the Pirates, Phillies, Tigers and Expos. A career record of 141-155 with 1587 strikeouts, Fryman had a very solid career.
Fryman also played one season with the Chicago Cubs, 1978, going 2 - 4 and appearing in only 13 games. Fryman had four one hitters in his career and is my fourth reason to celebrate today.

April 15th . . . a day to celebrate for many reasons.

Topps 1970: card #13 Jack Hiatt

a backup catcher who played nine seasons with six different teams having his only multi-year stay as a San Francisco Giant (1965-69). A career .251 hitter, limited power (22 career home runs) and had more strikeouts than hits in his career (295K's to 287 hits).
Hiatt did play for the Chicago Cubs, briefly as it was, in 1970; appearing in 66 games and belting 2 home runs.

Hiatt's "career day" was on April 24, 1969 when he hit two home runs and drove in seven; with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 13th inning.

Jack Hiatt, card # 13 from 1970 . . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

an ebay find

as a 1970's set collector (as in the "boring gray border" set from 1970) I could not pass up the opportunity to purchase the 1992 Baseball Card Magazine full panel cards portraying the 1970 design.

Finding these cards is difficult, let alone finding the panels in tact. I found a guy selling six of the eleven panels (the set has 8 cards per panel and is only an 88 card set) and I could not resist. I am still not sure if I am going to cut them (carefully) and store them as singles of keep the panels in tact.

For now I have cards numbered 25 thru 30, 39 thru 64, 73 thru 80 and 81 to 88 (uncut).

Here is my favorite panel because it showcases the only two Chicago Cubs in the set; Andre Dawson # 44 and Ryne Sandberg# 47. Pretty nice to have 7 HOF'rs and two future candidates on one panel.
The backs are equally interesting with "The Investment Advisor" (remember these were printed in 1992, back in the glut of the marketplace).

I like these cards and would like to complete the set if anyone knows of anyone with any of these cards . . . . I will keep on looking on ebay . . . because you never know what you may find there.

Ten Days Ago . . .

was the official start of Major League Baseball for 2009; as the Braves beat the Phillies on Opening Night. Just ten days ago . . .

While there have been many surprises (both good and bad) on the field, it is the off field shockers that have been the center of our thoughts.

The most untimely and tragic death of Nick Adenhart to the most recent deaths of Harry Kalas and Mark "the Bird" Fidyrich. Each of these three individuals brought a unique flavor to the game we all love.

Adenhart with his youthful drive, strength and courage to work "harder than most his age" to become a top prospect and leave this world all too early, pitching a masterpiece in his last game on the mound.

Kalas, the "voice of the Phillies", sudden death after he collapses in the announcers booth prior to Mondays game - leaving the game he devoted his life to, a city, friends and fans all around baseball. It was only fitting that the Phillies played and won that day in his honor.

And Fidyrich, who played the game "like a kid", wacky,and quirky, a one year wonder thirty three years ago. He lived and now died in his quiet and simple (after baseball) life as he preferred.

All three of these men, so different as they are, will all be remembered for their accomplishments and long lasting images within the baseball world.

Just ten days ago the season started . . . so much is missing already. I just hope that there are no more off the field shocks like we have just had.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Opening Day at Wrigley

Monday April 13, will mark the 73rd Opening Day baseball game at Wrigley Field as the Cubs will play host to the Colorado Rockies.

While I will not be able to be there, being as I live in Sarasota Florida . . . . I thought I would share a photo and recap of the very first Opening Day.

The Cubs won 4 -2 against the Cincinnati Reds. I find it interesting to see that the box score has the visiting team listed below the home team and that rbi's were not part of the box score, instead they highlighted the defensive moments of putouts and assists.
The article also says the Cubs "celebrated in grand fashion with a 4 - 2 thrashing" and that 33,000 were in attendance and the time of the game was 1:37. A fast paced game though the final score surely does not indicate a "thrashing".

The Cubs would end the season in fourth place with a 82-72 record, seven games behind the World Champion St Louis Cardinals.

I hope that Opening Day 2009 results are the same - with a Cubs win !

Happy Easter, Luke

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and what better day of the year to honor former Negro League and Cleveland Indian "star" named Luke Easter.

While I never saw him play or even had heard of him prior to doing some Easter "research", it seemed only appropriate to do a post today on him.
Standing 6'4" tall and weighing in at 240 lbs, Easter was a powerful man who led the Negro League in HR and RBI's in 1948 and led the Homestead Grays to victory in the last Negro League World Series ever held. From there he was signed by Bill Veeck, the then owner of the Cleveland Indians.

Having a strong performance in the minors in 1949, Easter was called up briefly that year and then won the regular first baseman's "job" in 1950, prompting a trade of All-Star Mickey Vernon.

The next three years in Cleveland (1950, 51 and 52) Easter would hit a combined 86 HR's and drive in 307 runs. In 1952 Easter would finish 13th in MVP voting. Knee and ankle troubles allowed Easter to only play briefly in '53 and '54, eventually calling his playing days over in 1954.
Easter was known for his tape measure homeruns and according to Bill James in his Historical Baseball Abstract; Easter is ranked as the second best first baseman in the history of the Negro Leagues. James also goes on to say "if you could clone him and bring him back, you'd have the greatest power hitter in baseball today, if not ever."

Luke Easter died in 1979, but I find no other player worthy of today's post. So . . . Happy Easter, Luke and Happy Easter everyone !

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Three different views from 1979

the decade of the seventies made several strides in card photography; from the stand, squat, swing, throw or just pose from the 1970's set (note the framed Cubs team set on the top right of my blog or my card by card chronicling of the 1970's set) to the emergence of "action" shots (real game photos) in the mid-late seventies.

Here are the three different views I found from the 1979 Cubs:

the typical pose for the camera during spring training; Bobby Murcer #135

to an "action" shot of the day, as 6'6" Dave "Kong" Kingman # 370, approaches the plate ready to either strikeout or blast the ball into orbit (in 1979 Kingman led the league in both, striking out 131 times and hitting 48 HR's).
or a very interesting angle that produces a "solid blue background" of Steve Ontiveros # 299

There you go . . . three different camera views from 1979 . . . we certainly have come a long way . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today in Baseball history

. . . the year was 1989, April 10th, and Ken Griffey Jr hit his first major league homerun as Seattle beat the Chicago White Sox 6 - 5. Nicknamed "the Kid", "the Natural" and "the Franchise" Griffey Jr has not disappointed.

Today is also Ken Griffey Sr's birthday - born in 1950 !

So Congratulations are in order to both ! The Griffey family certainly should celebrate "today in baseball history".

Shock and Reality

The death of Nick Adenhart was a shock but it is also today's reality. My heart goes out to his family, and the Angels organization; I feel sad for so many of his friends and fans. I never knew anything about Adenhart, do not own his cards nor even knew of him before Thursday, but that does not change anything.

I want mention right here that no one should forget the other three persons in this car; two of whom perished and one who is in serious condition. Their situations are no less important or tragic than what we are all focused on. This accident is affecting so many families and so many people inside and outside of baseball.

And maybe that is what bothers me most; outside of baseball circles you hear very little if nothing of this accident. That is the reality of such an accident - we as a society have become very hardened and this sort of accident happens all too often. We are all too willing to accept bad behavior and give second chances. The driver of the minivan was n his second chance.

Maybe it is time for Major League Baseball to take a stand across our nation. What better way to make a long lasting memory for the Adenharts, Angels and the other families than for MLB to send a message to the over 60 million fans who attend games every year and the hundreds of millions who watch and/or listen to games on tv and radio.

Make a stand Major League Baseball - send the message ! It is time we change this reality !

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where and how do I start ?

Three and a half months ago I started this blog and had no idea what, where, how or anything about the blogosphere, bloggers or the "new" hobby I had so loved way back when. Today I can honestly say I still have no idea of so many things but one thing is for sure - baseball card bloggers are some of the most generous people around !

Opening Day 2009 (yes April 6th) was a day to remember. The Cubs won and I received a "small" box of cards from Jim at gcrl . A say "small" as sarcastically as I can - it was a 400 count box filled with CUBS cards ! On the day the Cubs win I won too !

From Sandberg to Dawson to Wood, Sosa and Grace- so many swings and smiles to make my heart go beat beat beat. Did you notice the Sandberg and Dawson 1988 Leaf pop ups ? Upper left corner in photos (The ones with the outline around their torso).
Check out Sosa running so fast in his powerful stride that his helmet flies off (1997 Topps # 305) and Kerry Wood showing off his "secret" grip on the ball (2008 UD # 327).
Jim also sent some "vintage", heritage, tradition, archives and cards of stars from yesteryear. A batting champ (Madlock) a Hall of Famer (Jenkins) and half an all-star infield (Santo - Kessinger) plus a few Cubs that could have been somethings.

Did I mention that Jim sent a few cards . . .

So many more Cubs cards and so many 1991's from Fleer, Stadium Club, Topps, Leaf, and Studio 91; all for my daughters binder and did I mention some Cubs cards ? !

Something only a Rangers fan may find interesting; in the Fleer 1991 set, there is a pitcher named Jeff Russell and a catcher named John Russell - did they ever appear together as battery mates making a Russell Russell battery ?

Jim also sent a stack of O-Pee-Chee 1986 Cubs cards and several 1988 Pacific Trading (series 1) to get me closer to completing that set.

All in all, Jim sent me so many cards that as soon as I though I was getting organized, I have more to log in and store.

For me Opening Day 2009 will be remembered for the generosity of a blogger named Jim of gcrl the Dodger fan from Minnesota. Thank you !

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

1970 Topps: #12 John Hiller

(because of Opening Night and Opening Day, I have been remiss in posting my card by card chronicle of the 1970 set, but now that the season is in "full" swing, I am going to resume and try to get caught up again)

John Frederick Hiller, a 15 year veteran pitcher who spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers. His career began in September of 1965, though he only pitched in six innings that year and 2 IP in 1966; but saw considerable action as a relief pitcher in years to follow. In 1968, he had a 9 - 6 record with 2 saves and a 2.39 ERA for the World Series Champs earning Hiller a ring.

In January of 1971, Hiller suffered a heart attack which would sideline him for the entire '71 season. His recovery was long (remember it was 1971 and medical rehab was much much different) but the Tigers did invite him to spring training for 1972. He was left off the roster and asked to remain as the batting practice pitcher "coach". He did that and eventually in July of '72 was to rejoin the 25 man roster and remain on it for nine more years.

In 1973, marking Hillers full recovery and return to the Tigers, he lead the league in games (65) and broke the AL record for saves with 38. 1973 would award Hiller with the Hutch award and AL Comeback Player of the Year.

John Hiller currently holds the Tiger franchise record for games appeared in with 545; a Tiger for "life", for his career in Detroit and his toughness to comeback.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Opening Day

April 6, 2009, (yesterday) marked the day that "real" baseball started and as usual there was a mixed bag of everything.

There was a snow-out, cold, rain, empty seats, errors, strikeouts, poor individual performances and teams that have disappointed their fans already BUT . . . there was also a lead off first inning homerun, many pitching gems, shadows (from the sun) creeping onto fields, a first-at-bat HR and plenty of teams that have showed early (albeit one game) promise.

While weather always is an issue for the midwest and northeast, April games usually provide a good look into what we have in store for many months to come. Playoff contending teams can not win the pennant in April, nor can a struggling team count themselves out too early. The season is long for a reason . . .for all of us to enjoy our favorite team or player and "fantasize" and dream of games in October that matter.

For me . . . the Cubs won ! I am happy ! I will be very happy if they are the last team to lose a game (just for kicks, who do you think will go undefeated the longest ?), stay in first place throughout the year, win 100 + games and break all of the "curses" of 101 years.

But today is another day, as tomorrow and the next will bring . . . daily wins or losses create hope that the season continues again for another day . . . win or lose "real" baseball is here . . . for six more months !

On a different yet equally upbeat note; yesterday also brought the mailman to my home . . . a most generous 400 count box of cards straight from my "want" list and a few surprises all from Dodger Jim gcrl who lives in Minnesota. It may take me a few posts to share all that Jim has sent so please stay tuned.

Thanks to the Cubs and to Jim . . . Opening Day 2009 was a double winner !

Monday, April 6, 2009

more from the show

this being my second (and last) post "showing off" my finds at the card show this past Saturday I want to remind everyone that I did remember my promise to stick to my budget etc . . . and most of my "to do" promises for the wife . . .

For starters, I did pick up several 1970 Topps cards (mostly mid-high numbers) in addition to the ever elusive Al Oliver # 166 (gold trophy topps all-star rookie card). Since I am chronicling this set card by card I will not post any scans . . . yet. I am now at 683 of 720 or 95 % complete; soon I will have to splurge on the Reggie Jackson (#140), Henry Aaron (#500) and the Nolan Ryan (#712). Those are my only missing big ticket cards. Getting closer I am . . .

At the last show I went to I was introduced to the 1995 Flair set with my the one only card, Sammy Sosa #334 - I really like this card / set and added them to my "look for" list. I found a small handful, actually 13 of these heavy card stock cards, in a bargain basket.

These three show off the fronts of my new favorite "modern" set. I really like the horizontal look, double photo, and scripted initials of the players (the scans may not be so clear for that ). Finding a future HOF'er (possibly two in Larkin and Johnson) as well as a Mark Grace was nice.

I also scanned a back for you to see. The backs show a third (different) photo of each player, is the traditional up/down orientation but only shows five or six years of stats (the only down side to these cards). I liked this Ryan Klesko photo . . . each hand holding a batting glove as he seems to be leading off of first base.

I also could not pass up on a few (actually found five) Ken Griffey Jr cards . . .

including two 1991's for my daughters binder and one for me with Griffey Sr and his two sons.

My real "splurge" came from the 1976 Topps set . . . The Sporting News All-Time All Stars !

This small (10 card) sub-set is a real classic. I added these three cards to bring me only one short of completion (missing Babe Ruth # 345). Who can resist these classic black and white photos of when baseball was so different.

I also picked up a few random Cubs cards to fill some gaps; including these two; a 1968 Lee Elia # 561, though more famous for his managerial days / tirade he did appear as a pinch hitting infielder for the Cubs (though appeared in only 15 games) and a 1968 NL Pitching Leaders #5 with Fergie Jenkins.

And I could not pass up three great mustache cards !

So, all in all, I kept all (most) of my promises, had a blast looking around, added cards to several parts of my collection and now Opening Day is here !

Thanks for allowing me to share my limited yet fun additions.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opening Night

Baseball has officially started !

Last years World Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies lose to the Atlanta Braves 4 to 1 !

The Braves pitching shut down the powerful Phillie lineup allowing only four hits and one meaningless run in the ninth. Last year the Braves ranked 14th out of 16 NL teams in homeruns - tonight they hit three within two innings.

So what does this all mean ? Not much excpet that BASEBALL has started ! !

The Phillies will bounce back and be a force to be reckoned with, the Braves may outperform their expectations. Tomorrow is another day . . . that is why each team plays 162 games.

Opening Day is tomorrow across our country and games will be won or lost . . . dont get too excited about the W or the L . . . they will all play 162 games and come October we will know who is best.

We do have 2429 more games to enjoy . . . Baseball has officially started !

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just a quick tease

I kept all of my promises . . . in regards to the card show I attended earlier today; most importantly the budget side of things. While the show was a bit of a disappointment, with only ten dealers, and way too many basketball, football, hockey and golf cards to go along with the usual over priced fake walnut framed cards; I was able to find some goodies and here is just a sample.

To satisfy my Chicago Cub sweet tooth:
three Mark Graces': swinging, squatting and snipping (the leather with his teeth I presume)

and a couple of Andre Dawson's: his sweet swing and one in an Expo uniform but it is Wrigley Field in the background right ? !
and from my "want" list three 1969 Topps All-Star Rookies (I like those gold trophies) ; there are two World Series champions (Koosman 1969 Mets and Unser with the 1980 Phillies) to go along with the "error" gold trophy printed on Boswell's card.

So there you go . . just a bit of a tease from my card show adventure today. More later . . . I have a wifeless Saturday night to enjoy . . .

I promise . . .

. . . to stick to my budget, to only buy what I "need", to not be influenced by the "new", to be a prudent shopper, be friendly to all and look around first, but most of all have fun.

Yes I am attending a card show this afternoon in Osprey Florida (about ten minutes from my home in Sarasota) and will try to keep all of my promises. I will shake hands on that.

I am equipped with my updated "wants" list, my limited budget and will promise to "show off"my findings later.

My wife has gone to Ft Lauderdale to visit some girl friends so time is not an issue . . . I have promised her many things also (ie the "to do" list while she is away) . . . and will do my best to keep those as well.

Wish me luck . . .

Friday, April 3, 2009

Reds' Heavy Artillery

In my last post I mentioned that the Cincinnati Red played their last spring training game in Sarasota and for those of us living in Sarasota it is front page news.

Now I really need to confess that while it upsets me that the Reds are leaving to go to Arizona and Sarasota will be void of spring baseball for the first time since 1924, I have never really been a fan of the Reds or attended enough games to complain. It is just a sad commentary of the times.

That being said, I went looking through my binders for a Cincinnati Red card that would make me happy and I found this one: this 1961 Topps # 25 titled "Reds' Heavy Artillery" !

Vada Pinson, Gus Bell and Frank Robinson; showing off their lumber, each with smiles on their faces. For the record, the combined numbers for these three "stars" were rather modest in 1960 but did produce excitement for the Reds for many years.

1960 numbers were:
Pinson (a hitting machine) batted .287 with 20 Hr's and 187 hits (sandwiched between his rookie year in 1959 where he had 205 hits and 1961 with his career high of 208)
Bell (the oldest of the three) batted .262 with 12 Hr's and 135 hits (though in 1959 had 115 RBI's) and then there is . . .
Robinson (the future HOF'er) who led the team in BA and HR with .297 / 31 while scattering 138 hits (and in 1961 would win the MVP)

Even though neither of these players ever hit a spring-time ball in Sarasota, their combined career numbers made me smile; collecting 7523 hits, 3924 RBI's and blasting 1048 homeruns; certainly heavy artillery back in the day.