Sunday, August 31, 2014

A couple days off

During my hiatus from the daily grind of blogging, I kept thinking back to the 80's and the Huey Lewis song "A Couple Days Off".   One of the lyrics described how I felt to a T. 

I am only human, I am no machine...
With that in mind, I stepped away from any thoughts of cards and blogging for a few days.  Once I returned from my trip to the Great White North, I decided to clean the blog up a bit.  The banner is gone.  The font has been made easier to read.  My pages are on the sidebar now rather than up top.   I removed a couple of widgets that I felt weren't serving any purpose.

I also decided to torture everyone with a mini marathon of by the page posts, in an attempt to get some of the Jays cards off of my desk.   Mission accomplished.

I also put the "what's next?" tournament on hiatus for a week.  It will return this weekend with the start of the semi finals.

I also have to thank a trio of bloggers who sent me cards out of the blue while I was on hiatus.

A big thanks to Doug who sent me a massive stack of Blue Jays, along with some Joe Sakic PC items and three cards to knock off the SNI want list.

A much smaller envelope also arrived a couple of weeks back from Matt, who sent me what probably will be the thickest card ever for my Jim Thome PC.

A great card, #'d out of 25!!  Matt also sent a couple of nice pieces for the Blue Jays collection, an Adam Lind auto and a numbered Roy Halladay card.   Great stuff, thank you Matt.

Finally, a very thick PWE made its way east courtesy of Jeff who sent me a nice stack of Blue Jays, including a 2008 Topps Blue Jays team set, and a handful of '84 Donruss for the collection as well.

Each time I get an envelope filled with Jays from the 80's and 90's, I end up looking at the cards and saying "don't I have this already??"  Then I look at the want list and the answer always is the same.

Nope.   Jeff, thank you for the PWE, it is greatly appreciated (Keep on writing btw!!)

So, for those of you that are still interested in reading my slice of insanity, thank you.

To those of you who endured all 10 by the page posts today, you're a better man than I am, and thank you!

I hope that all of you are enjoying your Labor (Labour) Day weekend, and having fun.   Whatever you do, drive safely and watch out for the crazy people!!

thanks for reading, Robert

By the page: 1983 Fleer

1983 Fleer for me epitomizes the phrase "less is more".  Simple design on the front, no frills.   The back has complete career stats, a bio and a "Did you know" section with tidbits on each player's career.

Top row:  Corner infielders

Did you know?  Neither Iorg or Mulliniks started their careers as 3rd basemen.  Iorg was a 2nd baseman, Mulliniks was drafted as a shortstop.
Did you know?  Willie Upshaw was a cousin of NFL players Marvin and Gene Upshaw.

Middle row:  the pitchers

Did you know?  that Joey McLaughlin was acquired by Toronto as part of the deal that sent Chris Chambliss to the Braves.
Did you know?  that Jim Clancy was credited with a win because the Baltimore Orioles deliberately walked off the field during a game in September of 1977.
Did you know?  that Roy Lee Jackson once sang the national anthem before a game (this was depicted on his '84 Fleer card)

Bottom row:   left, right, left

Did you know?  that Lloyd Moseby got his nickname "shaker" for his ability to elude defenders on the basketball court.
Did you know?  that Wayne Nordhagen was traded 3 times in 10 days during the '82 season, leaving the Jays and returning 10 days later.
Did you know?  that Ernie Whitt had 3 of the 10 HRs the Blue Jays hit against the Orioles in September of '87.

Did you know that I had to rescan the full page a 2nd time because I accidentally transposed the McLaughlin and Jackson cards?

Of course not, but you would have caught it if I hadn't...

193 cards out of the box.  Progress is being made, slowly but surely.

thanks for reading (if you still are), Robert

By the page: 2002 Topps

Think for a moment.  When was the last time you saw a post about 2002 Topps anywhere in the blogosphere?

Don't think too long, because it's probably been quite a long time.  Outside of the gold parallels that define my SNI project, I don't remember another set released by any of the major card companies that have the gold borders like 2002 Topps.

Top row:  the infield

Brad Fullmer had a very short lived but productive career in the bigs.  His 2000 season saw him hit 32 HR and drive in 104 for the Jays.  Homer Bush was part of the deal that saw Roger Clemens go to the Yankees, and in his first season in Toronto, he hit .320 with 32 steals, and looked to be a solid addition to the club.   He didn't make it through the 2002 season, being released on the 10th of May that year. 

Middle row:  Buck and a couple of starters

Not too often you'll see managers cards posted anywhere as well.  Buck only lasted 1 and 1/3 seasons as the skipper, before being replaced by Carlos Tosca.  2002 was a disaster for Loaiza, with an ERA of almost 6.  I think I would have rather had Michael Young and his bat for over a decade instead of the mess that was the 3 years Loaiza pitched in Toronto.  The Jays experimented with Kelvim Escobar as the closer in 2002.   38 saves was a good number, but 5-7 with an ERA over 4 led to him being put back into the rotation in 2003.

Bottom row:  the stars

Jose Cruz Jr came into 2002 on quite a roll, he had hit 65 HRs the past two seasons with the Jays. Cruz would only hit 18 homers in '02 and wound up signing in the off season with the Giants.  The 2002 season in Toronto would also mark the debut of a player who later on in the decade would become a big man in Philly, Jayson Werth.

I actually like how this page looks, not because of how I situated the cards, but because of the way the gold borders look together.  The only thing I believe that Topps could have done better was not use a ribbon for the players names, a regular rectangle would have done the job a lot better.

184 cards out of the box now....a couple of posts away from 200.

thanks for reading, Robert

By the page: Juan Guzman

There's a few stories over the history of the Jays franchise of players that come out of nowhere and make a big splash in their first season.  Juan Guzman was one of those stories.  Juan was acquired from the Dodgers in 1987 in a trade for Mike Sharperson, and 4 seasons later earned the runner up for Rookie of the Year (Chuck Knoblauch earned 26 of 28 1st place votes).

His claim to fame in Toronto was the strikeout; he finished in the top 10 in SO/9 innings five times as a Blue Jay. 

Top row:  the early years

I always loved the SP releases from Upper Deck in the early to mid 90's. Don't ask me why, I just did.

Middle row:  93-95

The only horizontal card on this page is dead center, from the '94 Score Select set.  At least they used two different photos on the front, not like other sets later on in the decade that had the same photo twice on the card.

Bottom row:  later on...

I've always enjoyed any card depicting a player signing for the fans.  The Collectors Choice SE card is a fine example.  The '96 SP on the right with the woodgrain border is probably my least favorite of the SP releases.

One knock on Guzman during his time as a Jay was his lack of durability.  He only had one season of his 8 in Toronto where he had over 30 starts.  His performance during the postseason made up for it.  His 8 starts led to a 5-1 record with a 2.44 ERA, and two rings.

I'd take that any day....

175 cards removed from the box now.   Closing in on 200...

thanks for reading, Robert

By the page: 1977 Topps

It still mystifies me as to why I didn't buy extra Blue Jay cards for my team set while I was putting together the '77 Topps set.

An easy task, yes, if you're thinking about it at the time.   Apparently it never did dawn on me.

Here's a page for your viewing pleasure, in all its airbrushed goodness.

Top row:  It's me, Dave

It's OK, there wasn't a great deal of confusion in the clubhouse when the name Dave was called out, because Dave Hilton never played a game in the Blue Jays system.  He actually never played a game in the majors after 1975, and was one of 2 #1 overall picks by the Padres (Dave Roberts being the other....there's that Dave name again) to be sold to the Blue Jays after the '76 season.  The other Dave's lasted 3 seasons in Toronto before moving on during the 1980 season (McKay as a free agent, Lemanczyk was traded to the Angels).

Middle row:  ABC

How desperate were the Jays for players in that first year?  Chuck Hartenstein hadn't pitched in the majors since 1970.  Both he and Bill Singer would see their last major league action during the 1977 season.  Alan Ashby had a solid career after he left the Blue Jays, moving on to Houston where he caught 3 no-hitters by 3 different pitchers (K. Forsch, Ryan, Scott).

Bottom row:  Great scrabble scoring names

Jim Mason didn't do much during his time with the Jays in '77, but he was traded that season for Roy Howell, who would have some success with the Jays during the next few seasons.  Jesse Jefferson was one of the few players from the '77 roster that made it as far as 1980 with the club.  His results weren't that great, but he was a regular starter the first two years, and then a steady swing man in 79-80.   Otto Velez enjoyed most of his major league success in Toronto, hitting 72 HRs over a 6 season period between 77-82.

How happy were the fans of Toronto to have a MLB team?  Even though the Jays only won 54 games that year, they still were 4th in the AL in attendance, with just over 1.7 million fans turning out.

This page brings the total to 166 cards out of the box....what's sad is that there's about 200 on the desk to my right that have to be cataloged to go into the box. 

Just like a never ending story....

thanks for reading, Robert