Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One more test run

After some comments from last night's post, I decided to try another post in preparation for the '59 set build.

This time, I decided to grab a rookie cup card from the '62 Topps set to feature.

1962 Topps #154  Lee Thomas

Career beginnings:

Signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees in 1954, the Angels acquired Thomas in a five player trade on 5/8/61 (according to baseball reference).  The back of Thomas' card states that the trade was a 6 player trade.

Awards/League Leaders/Titles:

  • finished 3rd in rookie of the year voting in 1961
  • was an All Star in 1962; also received MVP votes in both '61 and '62
  • did not lead in any offensive statistical category during his 8 year career
  • Thomas was director of player development for the Cardinals during their success in the 80's, and was part of their World Series championship management team in 1987.
  • Voted Sporting News executive of the year in '93 as a member of the Phillies organization.

Military service:  None that I could find.

Career Line:  .255 average, 847 hits, 106 HR, 428 RBI in 8 seasons

Loved to face:  Ralph Terry (20/48, .417 average, 4HR, 11 RBI)
Hated to face:  Jim Kaat  (6/45, .133 average, 14 Ks)

How did he do in 1962

  • .290 average, 26 HR, 104 RBI.   All 3 categories were career highs for a season.  The Angels were 86-76 that year, 76-70 in games that he started.
  • Had a 5 hit game on 5/6/62, driving in 4 runs and scoring twice during a 15-7 win over the Orioles.
  • His longest hitting streak was 13 games, and his longest on base streak was 34 games.
  • Had a home batting average of .330
Lee had the nickname "Mad Dog", because of his temper.  He was the GM of the Phillies during their '93 World Series loss to the Blue Jays (yes, I had to get that in), but this story that I found shows that he could foresee the future.  During game 6 of the Series, the Phillies were up 6-5, and Lee Thomas turned to his wife and told her he wanted to leave.   She was confused as to why.  Lee knew what was coming, and couldn't bear to watch as Joe Carter hit a 3 run HR to win the series. 

To be honest, I had no idea who Lee Thomas was before today.   A little bit of research, and a baseball card, and I learned quite a bit.

I think I'm going to enjoy this....

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, September 29, 2014

A practice run

In an attempt to start getting ready for my '59 Topps set build, I decided to do a test run today.   But instead of using a card from the '59 set, I decided to take a quick look at one of the '72 Topps cards I received today from Marcus at the all the way to the backstop blog.   The '72 set is something I want to put together, but right now is behind a few other sets that I am working on.

I plan on using this post as a way to generate ideas for the '59 Topps posts.  A practice run if you will.

Let's see how this goes....

1972 Topps Clay Kirby # 173

Career beginnings:  Drafted in the 3rd round of the 1966 amateur draft.  The Padres made him their 12th pick in the 1968 expansion draft.

Awards/League Leader/Titles
  • Clay won no individual awards during his 7 year career.  
  • He led the NL with 20 losses in 1969.   
  • Clay was also one of 6 starters on the 1975 Cincinnati Reds team that won the World Series; however he did not appear in either the NLCS against the Pirates, or the World Series against the Red Sox.

Clay Kirby passed away in 1991 at the age of 43 from a heart attack.

The Padres lost his no hitter in the 9th, and the game, 3-1.

Career Line:  75-104, 3.84 ERA, 1.384 WHIP

Loved to face (career, min 20PA):  Garry Maddox--2 for 26 with 7 K's (.077)
Hated to face (career, min 20PA):  Davey Lopes--12 for 26 (.462)

How did he fare in 1972?  
  • 12-14 with a 3.13 ERA for a Padres team that went 58-95.  
  • On June 7th, Clay pitched the 2nd game of a doubleheader against the Pirates, going 13 innings (imagine that happening in today's game!!), and lost 1-0. That start was one of 4 (!) times that he pitched 10 innings or more during the '72 season.  My arm started to hurt just thinking about that. 

I found this auction on eBay; the cheapest card up for sale was $1.25 including shipping.

After previewing this post, I can see that some tweaks need to be made.  I'm pretty sure that the length of these posts will also vary, based on the player (star players like Mantle will have longer posts, while guys that didn't play as much will likely be a much quicker read...).

I welcome suggestions from anyone out there.  I'm sure that others may want to see things that I may not have thought about here, and those who have experience writing about sets likely will have thoughts that will be beneficial to me.

Marcus, thank you for the PWE that you sent today, the cards were really appreciated!

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, September 28, 2014

By the page: Roberto Alomar

Today is the final day of the regular season (scheduled anyhow), and I thought that I would do a page of one of the greatest Blue Jays, Roberto Alomar.

Robbie is going to be one of those players that will end up with multiple pages over time; playing for the Jays in the early 90's will do that for a lot of players.

With a lot to choose from, I decided on these 9 cards to start off the Alomar pages...

Top row:  Bunting

Alomar is probably the one Jays player that I could put an entire page of bunting photos together.  Robbie was a very skilled bunter and it shows, the Donruss card on the left shows him using the drag bunt for a base hit, while the Collectors Choice card in the middle appears to have captured Robbie in the middle of a sacrifice.

Middle row:  Shots you don't see every day.

Close up shots like the '93 Upper Deck #125 on the left are great.  Safe or out?  Hard to tell.  I don't have a lot of batting cage cards in my collection, but the '94 UD #455 in the center is a favorite of mine.  Not sure if the white portion on the sweet spot of the bat is tape, or if the bat is just sanded down....

The '94 SP #ER1 on the far right sent me off to check on baseball reference to see if Alomar had ever pitched in a ball game (he didn't).  It looked like a pitching pose to me, so I thought it kind of fit in this group of 3.

Bottom row:  Nothing but the blues

I've said it before and I'll say it again.   The Blue Jays dark blue jerseys are my favorite.  So much so that the Jays jersey that I own is of the dark blue variety (13  Lawrie, just in case you're wondering who is on the back). 

Not a bad effort for the first Alomar page.  I'll certainly have plenty of opportunities to create better pages for Mr. Alomar.   That brings the total # of cards out of the box to 220.   I'm going to have to start churning out a bunch of pages here very soon, due to the great number of cards that came in recently from my fellow Blue Jays bloggers.

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fifty Nine

Today's post is brought to you by the number 11.

The "What's next?" tournament has concluded, and the winning set earned 11 votes in each of its 4 wins. 

This set won by scores of 11-9, 11-10, 11-5, and finally this week defeated the Cinderella story that was 1974 Topps by a very close 11-10 margin.

1959 Topps, in all its circular multicolored splendor, is the winner. It will be the next vintage set that I will put together and display for everyone in the blogosphere (at least those who read my blog anyhow) to see.

10 cards down, 562 left to go.  I'm sure that the '59 posts that I generate won't be to the level of the Commish, but I hope at least that I can learn a thing or two along the way. 

Let the journey begin.   Thank you everyone for your votes!

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The forgotten

I'm going to turn the tables a bit tonight.  I got another unexpected (but most certainly welcome) box of Blue Jays cards in the mail today, this time from another fellow Jays card blogger, Richard, who writes at the Toronto Blue Jays Collection.

You've seen me write over and over about all the great players that the Jays have had during their existence.   Carter, Alomar, Halladay, Stieb, Delgado, the list goes on and on.   Going through this box I saw players that I barely remembered were Blue Jays.  I'm guessing that most of these cards that I'm going to show off tonight are of players that played one season in Toronto, two at the most.

These guys are the forgotten...

Darrin Jackson had a 12 year major league career, playing for 7 different teams.  The Jays acquired him just before the start of the '93 season for Derek Bell.  Darrin didn't even make it through the entire '93 campaign before being traded to the Mets in June for Tony Fernandez.  Back in the early 90's, 1/2 a season with a team enabled you to get a card pictured in their uniform, as this '93 Fleer Ultra #642 proves.

I took one look at this card and did a double take.   I remembered the name Dave Geisel, but probably haven't heard it in 30 years.  It had been so long that I didn't think that Geisel lasted very long in Toronto.  He actually pitched for two seasons (82-83) before moving to Seattle in the Rule 5 draft.  Geisel has a grand total of 12 cards in the Trading Card Database, with no cards of him being released in 83, even though he pitched in 16 games for the Jays in 82.

Another name I hadn't heard in quite a long time, Randy Moffitt played in Toronto during the '83 season.  He actually fared quite well, winning 6 games and saving 10 others in 46 appearances.  Alas, this '84 Donruss card would be a sunset card as Moffitt didn't make it back to the major leagues after the '83 season.  You may know his older sister, Billie Jean King.  I did not know before today that they were related....you do learn something new every day!

Wow, another name that I barely remembered.   Paul Kilgus pitched in a total of 11 games for Toronto during the '90 season, earning him this 1990 Bowman card.  I found a blog post on The Greatest 21 days that features Kilgus on a card during his time with the Syracuse Chiefs, then the AAA affiliate for the Jays. 

Tom Lawless rounds out the list.  Tom played for the Jays for a season and a half; he was released by the Jays in 1990.  Tom is currently the interim manager of the Houston Astros, a job I'd love to see him retain, if only so he can teach his players how to do a bat flip during the World Series.

At least these 6 players I'd heard of, there were other cards in the box of guys I didn't even know (Jerry Schunk, 1991 Bowman!). 

See, it's not always about the stars, the headliners, the guys at the top.

Just like these guys filled out rosters at one point, they also filled out the box I received today.

Thank you Richard for the cards, they will not be forgotten...

thanks for reading, Robert