Saturday, September 28, 2013

Who would have thought Jose Molina would have his own post?

Yes, my whining the other day actually got me going.  I've started to clean up the Blue Jays box and get a few of the cards into pages/binders.

It's going to take me quite a while to get it all done, but I'm sure that once the process is completed I'll be a happy camper.

I should rephrase that.  With new sets and new cards always being released, the process will never be complete, so I guess I should say "when the disaster has been reduced to a minor mess".

Going through the binders this evening I actually found a card I had forgotten that I owned.   I had to make sure that I had cataloged it correctly in my Jays spreadsheet (I did), so I figure why not show it off?

Crappy scan....

2011 Topps #414 Jose Molina, old school Topps logo.  What's funny is I didn't notice the card because of the front, I noticed it because of the back...

Man is that dark!  Lighten it up just a bit, and I would be happy if Topps brought the old style back to their base sets.

While looking for the regular base card of Jose for comparison, I found this...

#1!  Funny how I'd forgotten about this as well. I actually had acquired this card a while back after I already had the Javier Vazquez card for the SNI set.  I had decided that this card wasn't going to replace the Vazquez because I was happy with what I had.  Amazing how that thought process changed when a yellow printing plate came my way...

Why not show the front...
I'm pretty sure that I only own one old school Topps logo card that features a Jays player.  I'm also pretty sure that I only own one Blue Jay parallel that has a serial number of 1.

Interesting that they are both Jose Molina.

Well at least I thought it was.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Disorganized crime

You gotta stick with what works.  I've said many times on the blog that I really don't care for my organizational skills.  The piles of cards on my desk (which have decreased), the 3 row shoe box of Blue Jays cards that are still to be put in pages, etc etc. 

So while spending some time looking through the binders of Jays cards that are actually somewhat organized, I actually found one team set that is complete and together in the binder. 

Behold the completed '85 Donruss Blue Jays team set.

1985, what a great season for the Jays.  It was the first time that they made the playoffs, finishing with a 99-62 record.  They accomplished this without a 30 HR guy, nobody had 100 RBI's, and none of their regulars hit at least .300 (only Garth Iorg finished with a .300 average, but he had only  288 ABs).  Dave Collins & Alfredo Griffin didn't appear for the Jays in '85, they were in Oakland as part of the trade that brought closer Bill Caudill to the Jays. 

The pitching staff was the team's backbone, with a combined ERA of 3.31, four different pitchers with more than 10 wins, and 3 relievers with more than 10 saves (Henke, Caudill and Acker).  With all the stops that  Doyle Alexander had during his 19 year career, he won more games for the Blue Jays (46) than any other team. 

It's very weird to look at the Jim Clancy card, because I can't recall if I have ever seen another card (or any picture for that matter) where big Jim doesn't have a mustache. 

Jim Gott didn't even throw a pitch for the Jays in 1985, he played for the Giants.  Roy Lee Jackson also didn't throw a pitch for the Jays that year, he played in San Diego.  There were other semi-famous players that the Jays used during the '85 season that didn't appear here, such as Al Oliver, Buck Martinez and Cecil Fielder.

The crime in all this?  I don't have my Jays collection organized well enough to show off more team sets such as this. 

Maybe with the wife out of town for the next couple of days I may get some time to work on that little problem.....maybe

Thanks for reading, Robert 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Serial Insanity cards 971-975

The march to 1500 goes on, these 5 cards bring the completion rate to an even 65%.  The pile on the desk is starting to shrink...

Card # 971:  Jon Rauch


Serial Number:  830
Team:  New York Mets, card # 38/50

Of all the players that I've written about for the SNI, I don't recall a pitcher that has appeared in 80+ games in a season two years in a row.  Rauch did that for the Nats in '06 & '07, pitching in 85 and 88 games those seasons.   Pitcher got a rubber arm...

Card # 972:  Jed Lowrie

Serial Number: 761
Team:  Houston Astros, card # 22/50

65% into the set, and Houston is still one of 3 teams that is not at least 50% complete (Baltimore and Colorado are the others).  Jed has finally received a chance to play every day this year, and has responded quite well for the A's.  168 hits, 71 RBI's and a .288 average.

Card  # 973:  Jorge Cantu

Serial Number:  944
Team:  Texas Rangers, card # 42/50

Seems to have found his power stroke again in the Mexican League this season, hitting 31 HR.  I had wondered what happened to him, because I remember quite a few decent seasons in the mid to late '00s, and then he just kind of fell off the map.  Who knows, at 31 he may find another MLB job yet...

Card # 974:  Josh Tomlin

Serial Number:  879
Team:  Cleveland Indians, card # 32/50

Pitched his first major league game on 9/12 after coming back from Tommy John surgery.  We'll see if his Indians can hang on to the wild card spot, they're currently 1.5 games ahead of Texas in a great race in the AL.

Card # 975:  Bronson Arroyo

Serial Number:  1325
Team:  Cincinnati Reds, card # 33/50

Durable would be the word to describe Bronson, has pitched 200+ innings in every season but one since 2005.  The one that he missed?  2011, he pitched 199 innings.  It also looks as if he'll be in the postseason again this year, this will be his 6th time going after a World Series ring (he has one, 2004, Boston). 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, September 23, 2013

The pages just keep coming

Yes, this has been a little bit of overkill with the completed insanity set pages lately, but this is what happens when a lazy blogger starts getting his crap together and putting things away.

For your viewing pleasure (hopefully), the 11th complete page of the set, page # 26

I'm not responsible for one single card on this page.  Every card has been sent to me by a fellow blogger.


226:  Damian Miller from Josh at Royals and Randoms
227:  Dmitri Young from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders
228:  Chris George from Max at Starting Nine
229:  Carl Crawford from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders
230:  Kurt Suzuki from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders (anyone sensing a theme here?)
231:  Andrew Carpenter from Greg at Night Owl Cards
232:  Vicente Padilla  from Greg at Night Owl Cards
233:  Carlos Zambrano from Ted at Crinkly Wrappers
234:  Carlos Lee from Jim at GCRL

Only one team duplicated on this page (Cubs).  My favorite card on the page?  I'm a bit torn here, since I've professed my admiration for Carlos Lee, but I have to give the nod to the sliding Carl Crawford card from Stadium Club.

Keep them coming guys!!  Your help is really appreciated...

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Decisions, decisions

Last Monday, I received an email from Brian over at Play at the Plate.  It was as simple as this:

"I have a better #1 for you if you want to switch it out."

Brian was referring to the Serial Numbered Insanity set of course.   I was curious, because the #1 card I already had was one that I traded for, and kind of liked...

I don't have too many "rare" cards, so this Javier Vazquez #'d 1/50 from the 2007 Bowman Chrome set was a great card to have as #1. 

Now my curiosity was piqued.  I followed up with Brian with an email saying "Dare I ask?"  Brian replied back that he would just send me the card and let me decide.

Hmmmm....maybe the front will help me to decide

Who am I kidding?  There's no decision necessary.

Any White Sox fans out there looking for a 2007 Bowman Chrome Gold parallel of Javier Vazquez that's up for trade?

Gotta love those holy shit moments when you open an envelope.   Thank you very much Brian!!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, September 21, 2013

OK, so it wasn't too long

This is what happens when you start getting your shit together.  Pages get completed, and people get to see more cards.

Behold, the 10th completed page in the set, page # 24, cards 208-216

Unlike this morning's page, 7 out of the 9 cards featured here are from the great peeps in the blogosphere:

Starting from the upper left corner:

208:  Herbert Perry via Jeff at 2x3 Heroes
209:  Aaron Hill via Ted from the Crinkly Wrappers blog (currently in retirement)
210:  Carlos Quentin via ...Joe from the Sandlot
211:  Francisco Cordero via Mark at the Chronicles of Fuji
212:  Darin Mastroianni via Dennis at Too Many Detroit Players Grandersons Verlanders
213:  Carlos Santana via Tom at Waiting til Next year
214:  Tony Batista via Max at Starting Nine

Yes, this page suffers from Blue Jay overkill with 3 players on it.  It's random though, which is what I'm starting to appreciate more.  You never know what other bloggers are going to send, and not knowing what's headed my way is a big part of why I am enjoying this project.

My favorite card on this page?  The 2013 Opening Day blue of Carlos Santana.  I love those blues...

Thanks for reading, Robert

The joy of a completed insanity page...finally!

It's been a very long time since I've been able to show off a completed page for the insanity set.  I have quite a few pages currently that have 7 or 8 cards in them, just waiting for the final piece of the puzzle.

Take a look at page 31, the ninth completed page to date:

The Elvis Andrus in the lower right was the final card for this page.  This is also going to be one of the few pages that hasn't been primarily obtained from the blogosphere.  Only 3 of these cards came from outside sources, the rest I either picked up off of eBay, or at the National back in 2012. 

My favorite card on the page?  # 273, the Gerardo Parra sliding catch. 

Hopefully it won't be as long before I'm able to show off another completed page or 2...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I could never narrow it down

Now that I've taken a couple of days off after the Monday marathon of insanity, it's time to get back to the real world, or so to speak.

Over the 2+ years I've been blogging, I have taken the time to read a lot of blogs, and to get to know some of the best people the hobby has to offer.  What's great about a lot of collectors that write is that you get to know them.  What they like.  What they don't like. 

It's like you become a part of their world when they write. 

You get to know the collectors with specific player collections.

One blogger who collects this guy is a self professed "Junkie"
You get to know those who collect specific teams:

Original 6 uniforms still are the best...IMO
You even get to know people that stick with specific eras:

Don't see these in a PWE everyday.   Thank you Pat!!
But what a lot of bloggers have out there that I don't, and probably never will, is a very specific want list.

Card lists of around 10 specific cards that these bloggers really want.  Team or player specific lists that bring their world into extreme focus. 

I have a want list.  It's bloody huge.  I could never narrow it down, and an attempt to do so would probably take me a month.  I'm surprised that I can narrow down the number of sets that I want to complete to 5. 

I can see it now.   My list of cards probably would be 1000 cards long.  Maybe one day when I've finished up a lot of the older sets that I want to complete I'll be able to put together a top ten list of singles.

Who am I kidding?  It'll probably be a top 10 list of top 10 lists...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, September 16, 2013

Serial Insanity cards 966-970

We come to the final post in the Monday SNI marathon.  The 40 cards today leave only 530 remaining to complete the 1500 card insanity set.  Keep em coming!!

Card # 966:  J.J. Putz

Serial Number:  801
Team:  Arizona Diamondbacks, card # 31/50

J.J. was a roommate of some guy named Tom Brady in college.  I guess you could call his 2007 season in Seattle a "lights out" season.  J.J. finished 65 of 68 games that year, saved 40, and had a WHIP of 0.698. 

Card # 967:  David Aardsma

Serial Number:  1042
Team:  Seattle Mariners, card # 27/50

I'm sure that if I sorted all the players last names that I've featured in these posts, Aardsma would probably end up first.  The current NL batting average leader, Michael Cuddyer, is 0 for 8 against him lifetime.   

Card # 968:  Alex Presley

Serial Number:  1060
Team:  Pittsburgh Pirates, card # 32/50

Looks as if Alex is going to miss the postseason again this year, since he was recently traded for Justin Morneau.  The biggest knock on Presley was that he didn't use his speed to get on base enough.  Add that in with a guy who doesn't take a lot of walks, and that makes it tough to stick in a town that has a deep outfield.

Card # 969:  Sam Fuld

Serial Number:  1081
Team:  Tampa Bay Rays, card # 35/50

You know you're reaching for something to write about a player when you discover that the players 6 career home runs have come on 6 different counts. (0-0, 1-1, 2-0, 2-2, 3-1, 3-2)

Card # 970:  Drew Stubbs

Serial Number:  507
Team:  Cincinnati Reds, card # 32/50

Likes to hit in Petco Park, has a career .306 average there.  Drive a little bit up the coast to Dodger Stadium, and he hits a whopping .129.  Maybe the pitching is responsible for some of those numbers?

thanks for reading, Robert

Serial Insanity cards 961-965

This is the 2nd to last post for the SNI marathon.

Card # 961:  Ryan Raburn

Serial Number:  759
Team:  Detroit Tigers, card # 25/50

Raburn is the 2nd position player during today's marathon that has pitched during a major league game.  He actually fared quite well, 13 pitches, 8 of them for strikes, struck out one during a clean 9th inning.  Yes, Cleveland lost the game 10-3 to Detroit.

Card # 962:  Rafael Soriano

Serial Number:  725
Team:  Tampa Bay Rays, card # 34/50

Soriano is all or nothing against Ryan Howard.  Howard is 2 for 8 lifetime against Rafael, with both of those hits being home runs.  Only one player has 3 career HR's against Soriano, and that is Dan Uggla.

Card # 963:  Daniel Murphy

Serial Number:  817
Team:  New York Mets, card # 37/50

Daniel Murphy must really believe in making a great first impression.  Murphy is currently 1 for 1 against 30 different pitchers in his career.

Card # 964:  Aaron Hill

Serial Number:  824
Team:  Toronto Blue Jays, card # 42/50

I hated to see Hill leave Toronto, but the trade at the time looked like something that both Aaron and Kelly Johnson needed.  Unfortunately for the Jays, Johnson only played one year for them and didn't perform all that well, while Hill is averaging a little over .300 in the desert heat.  Oh, and he's hit for the cycle twice since the trade...

Card # 965:  Ubaldo Jimenez

Serial Number:  1470
Team:  Colorado Rockies, card # 24/50

After struggling last year in Cleveland, Jimenez has quietly helped the Indians try to chase down the Tigers this season.  His numbers this year are a lot more normal for him, ERA in the mid 3's, less than a hit an inning and just a bit more than 1 K per inning.

thanks for reading, Robert

Serial Insanity cards 956-960

The set is now up to 64% complete.  I hope you're enjoying the crazy amount of insanity today...

Card # 956:  John Buck

Serial Number:  1382
Team:  New York Mets, card # 36/50

I was glad that the Pirates made the deal for Buck and Byrd, but I hated to see that Vic Black went the other way to the Mets.  Black might be the 8th inning man for the Mets in 2004.  Buck has had some of the best designs on his goalie style masks, and I was kind of disappointed that nothing fancy was painted on his mask when he came to Pittsburgh.  I guess he's thinking that Pitt is a short term stop for him anyhow...

Card # 957:  Lance Berkman

Serial Number:  1275
Team:  St. Louis Cardinals, card # 37/50

I would love to see his body hold up for one more solid season.  Lance is just 95 hits away from 2000 for his career.  Maybe not HOF numbers, but the Big Puma was one of the best clutch hitters in the game for the Astros during the 00's.

Card # 958:  Alfredo Aceves

Serial Number:  309
Team:  Boston Red Sox, card # 33/50

Aceves needs a home right now, he isn't on the 40 man roster for the Red Sox.  "Ace" struggled for the Sox in both 2012 and 2013, and we'll have to see where his future lies in 2014.  Maybe a return to the Mexican League?

Card # 959:  Michael Saunders

Serial Number:  1469
Team:  Seattle Mariners, card # 26/50

"The Condor" was born in Victoria, BC, and has played in all 3 outfield spots for the M's in 2013.  Needs to get on base more (his average is currently at .234) and strike out less to ensure a spot in the every day lineup.  

Card # 960:  Michael Young

Serial Number:  1083
Team:  Texas Rangers, card # 41/50

Wherever Young lands next year (I have a feeling it will be back in the AL as a DH), he should hit the 2000 game mark for his career.  2500 hits is also a possibility, he stands currently at 2367.  It's too bad that he never played for the Jays, he probably would have had a great career north of the border.

thanks for reading, Robert

Serial insanity cards 951-955

5 more:

Card # 951:  Bobby Parnell

Serial Number:  1106
Team:  New York Mets, card # 35/50

The promotion to closer seems to have been good to Parnell.   He's posting career bests in ERA, WHIP and HR allowed (only 1 so far this year).  The Mets still need a couple of more pieces in the field to go along with Wright and EY to get back into the pennant chase in 2014.

Card # 952:  John Danks

Serial Number:  286
Team:  Chicago White Sox, card # 28/50

A former first rounder of the Rangers in 2003, Danks signed a pretty good deal after the 2011 season (5/$65 million).  Missed a good portion of 2012 with injuries, and the home run ball has hurt him this year (28 allowed).  Seeing this guy turn it around will start to help the south siders back from mediocrity...

Card # 953:  Kyle Seager

Serial Number:  593
Team:  Seattle Mariners, card # 25/50

Kyle is posting career bests in HR, batting average and BB for so far in 2013,  and at age 25 it looks as if he could man the hot corner for the M's for a long time.  I just noticed that this was his rookie card, I'm going to have to check and see how many RC's I have in the SNI set...

Card # 954:  Brayan Pena

Serial Number:  720
Team:  Kansas City Royals, card # 30/50

Having a great season as the #2 catcher in Detroit.  The Tigers look as if they are going to hold off the Royals this year, which makes me a little sad, because it has been good to see the resurgence of the Royals.  2014 should be very interesting again in the AL Central...

Card # 955:  Rafael Soriano

Serial Number:  622
Team:  New York Yankees, card # 43/50

The Yankees become the first team to reach the 43 card level, and looking up Soriano's stats, I see now that he has saved 40+ games for three different teams.   Anyone know if he's the first to accomplish that?

Thanks for reading, Robert

Serial Insanity cards 946-950

Another 5 more cards in the insanity marathon. 

Card # 946:  Geovany Soto

Serial Number:  952
Team:  Texas Rangers, card # 40/50

5 years ago he looked like the catcher of the future for the Cubs.  Rookie of the Year, 28 HR's, average in the .280s, everyone thought he was going to have a great career.  How the mighty have fallen.  Soto hit .198 in 2012, and is now the backup catcher in Texas.   

Card # 947:  Mark Kotsay

Serial Number:  1179
Team:  San Diego Padres, card # 35/50

As of this writing Mark needs 96 more games to reach the 2000 mark for his career.  Not sure if he'll get another contract though, hitting .191 at the age of 37 usually doesn't have GM's knocking on your door. 

Card # 948:  Wilson Valdez

Serial Number:  887
Team:  Philadelphia Phillies, card # 30/50

Valdez's card says 2nd base, but he's a little more versatile than that.  He pitched one inning in relief in 2011, and got credit for the win.  Wilson spent the majority of the 2013 playing for the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League.  

Card # 949:  Javier Lopez

Serial Number:  1079
Team:  San Francisco Giants, card # 29/50

Lopez is like a fine wine, getting better with age.   Since 2010, his season ERAs have decreased each year, and is throwing in at least 70 games each year (should hit 70 this year, he's at 64 as of this writing).  Has never averaged an inning per appearance in those 4 seasons, so the term LOOGY is a term that was reserved for him. 

Card # 950:  Dustin Moseley

Serial Number:  1196
Team:  San Diego Padres, card # 36/50

Anyone feel like watching a WWE match right now?  Now that is one helluva vertical jump.  Moseley pitched one game in 2012, giving up 5 runs in 5 IP.  The Padres released him after that and he's currently not in baseball.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Serial Insanity cards 941-945

These 5 cards bring the set to 63% complete.  I'll be adding another percentage point during the marathon.   Here's some more insanity for you...

Card # 941:  Jonathan Papelbon

Serial Number:  869
Team:  Boston Red Sox, card # 32/50

Numbers don't lie with this guy, how about a career ERA of 2.63 and WHIP of 1.023.  This might be the first full season of his career where he doesn't achieve the 30 save mark.  He needs 4 more as of this writing...

Card # 942:  Brandon Webb

Serial Number:  1445
Team:  Arizona Diamondbacks, card # 30/50

One could only imagine how many wins that this guy would have earned had shoulder problems not derailed his career.  Over a 4 year period, his win totals went from 14-16-18-22.  

Card # 943:  Don Kelly

Serial Number:  1116
Team:  Detroit Tigers, card # 24/50

Don could legally change his name to Super Utility Man, and everyone would completely understand.  Has played 6 different positions + DH in at least one game each of the last two seasons.  Hard to believe that the only position he hasn't played during his 5 years in Detroit is shortstop.   Huh?

Card # 944:  Carlos Lee

Serial Number:  234
Team:  Texas Rangers, card # 39/50

I liked this guy.  Carlos was never on a team that I liked, or even followed, but for some reason I could find a reason to cheer for this guy.  Probably because everywhere he went, he hit.  .285 career average, 358 career home runs.  He spent only 59 games in Texas in 2006, but hit .322 with 9 homers.

Maybe the nickname "El Caballo" had something to do with it as well...

Card # 945:  Ryan Howard

Serial Number:  1220
Team:  Philadelphia Phillies, card # 29/50

This is the 4th card of Ryan Howard in the SNI set.  Also, there are 15 total players with the first name of Ryan featured so far ( Adams, Anderson, Braun, Church, Dempster, Doumit, Drese, Franklin, Howard, Kalish, Ludwick, Madson, Raburn, Spilborghs, Zimmerman).  Did anyone get tired just reading that list?

Thanks for reading, Robert