Wednesday, February 28, 2018

If you can't laugh at yourself...

I'm my own worst critic.  I try hard to keep my collection in order, make sure that my want lists are up to date, and yet sometimes I find some glaring errors on my pages.

Case in point:

My latest COMC order spanned about 4 months, going back to the Black Friday sale and concluding a couple of weeks ago when I hit 100 cards.

Well, a lot of things seem to have happened in that time.  I'm guessing that keeping 100% accurate track of the cards I've bought from my want lists isn't one of them.

I try to make it a habit to bold numbers on my want list when I buy them so I will not buy them again.

Well my recent COMC order came with some dupes. 

Now obviously this isn't a bad thing having a pair of 83-84 OPC League Leader cards of Wayne Gretzky (each of which I paid less than $2 for BTW), but my point here is that the $2 I spent on one of these could have been spent on anywhere from 2-5 cards from another want list.

See, I'm my own worst critic....LOL

Anybody need an extra Gretzky?  #22 from the 83-84 set.  Drop a line in the comments if you do...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

58 days

While this post automatically pops up on the blog, I will be watching the Maple Leafs live and in person down here in S. Florida as they take on the Panthers.   I figured that I would keep the run of posts I've been on going and do another post on the '85 Topps cards stack that is starting to dwindle.

No team cards, just manager cards in this group.  I only bothered to scan one of them, but it's a good one.

For you vintage collectors, doesn't Sparky's card remind you of manager cards from the 60's?  If he were to put a hand to his mouth and start yelling it would easily fit in to one of those 60's sets.

I decided to look up Anderson managerial record, and I see that he won manager of the year twice with the Tigers.   Did MLB not give out the award while he was managing in Cincinnati?  He was there 9 years, only had one losing season and in the other 8 finished either 1st or 2nd.  2194 wins ranks him 6th all time for managers, and the only active manager that's close to 2000 is Bruce Bochy with 1853 (Dusty Baker has 1863, but is not currently employed as a manager).

Had a helluva time when I was younger getting the spelling right on these guys names.  Pete Vuckovich shares a birthday with yours truly (he's 15 years older), and after his solid season in Toronto in 1977, he moved on to St. Louis and Milwaukee and won 70 games over 5 seasons, capping it off with a Cy Young for the Brewers in 1982.

I like these cards, part of a subset of 12 #1 overall picks.  Al Chambers didn't have quite the career that he would have wanted, only lasting parts of 3 seasons in Seattle before moving off to play in Mexico for a few seasons.  Still don't know how Harold Baines didn't get more votes for the HOF, 2839 hits is nothing to sneeze at.   Don't give me the DH crap, Edgar Martinez has over 1400 games out of his 1900 at DH and got 70% this year.

A trio of solid starting pitchers.  Does anyone see the warm up jackets with the players name on it like Steve Rogers is sporting? Hard to believe that with 16 wins and 5 shutouts, Mike Boddicker didn't win AL ROY in 1983, finishing 3rd behind Ron Kittle and Julio Franco.  This would be Tudor's only Topps card featuring him as a Pirate, as he would end up on the Cardinals in '85, winning 21 games with 10 (yes 10!) shutouts.  He also had a 1.93 ERA and a WHIP below 1, but didn't win the Cy Young! The Mets had some kid named Dwight Gooden with 24 games with a lower ERA and almost 100 more Ks, so I guess that's all right.

Had no remembrance that Howe was a Cardinal, I always remembered him as an Astro.  I also was surprised to read that he was a computer programmer back in 1971 when a friend encouraged him to attend a tryout camp.  Who knew that they had computers back in '71?

Here's Harold Baines again, along with his outfield partner Rudy Law.  Rudy was the speed merchant in that Sox outfield, stealing 77 bases one year.   1985 would be Dan Ford's last season in MLB, appearing in just 28 games with 1 homer.  Disco Dan sure did look cool in those shades though.

Dan's last season lasted just 51 days, which is 7 days less than the current streak I've got going.  

Still haven't purchased any packs of new product.  32 days to get me to the end of March and knocking off one of my year opening goals. 

Having giant stacks of cards from the early 80's come my way has made this a lot easier...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, February 26, 2018

Resurrecting the old and starting the new

Just a quick post tonight, I'm working on day 3 of a head cold that has sapped a fair bit of my energy.  I've been thinking off and on lately about adding a couple of more player PCs, and with a bit of extra time today to think about it I decided to pull the trigger.

Quite a while ago I started putting together a nice little collection of Mats Sundin cards.  I always enjoyed watching him as a Leaf, he really was the center of the team for better than a decade and was well deserving of having his #13 sent to the rafters a couple years ago.

I don't have a great deal of cards featuring Sundin (just over 60), and this 97-98 Black Diamond triple diamond Premium Cut is probably one of the "tougher" pulls I have in the collection.  I don't have a lot of parallels  that were rampant in the later part of the 90's and into the 2000's, so it will be fun picking those up here and there when I find them. 

Anybody who has read my blog over the years knows that John Olerud is one my favorites.  I pulled these two out of a big stack of Jays that I still have to go through from Adam, and I'm sure once I get through the entire collection and have it sorted I'll have enough doubles to get a good collection of Olerud going.  I doubt if I have any Mets or Mariners cards that feature him, so if you are inclined to send any Olerud cards my way, those would be the best bet.

It'll be nice to add a couple more of my hometown heroes to my player PC collections; I probably should have done it sooner.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It's not all about the 80's

Last week I got the bug to start picking away at my '59 Topps want list while surfing on ebay.  One of my favorite sellers there is The Battersbox; they have a great selection of vintage cards, and I've always found their prices reasonable.

I decided to try and find a few cards that would add up in price to what a regular blaster box would cost, around $21 (with tax).  By the time I picked up 9 cards, I had spent just under $23 and picked up a couple of higher numbered needs that made the transaction great for me.

I'm starting to run a bit low on lower #'d commons, so this purchase I decided to focus on higher numbered cards (300 and up).  Nabbed 6 of them for just over $10

All of them are in really nice shape, the color is good on the front, the backs look good, and I just realized that I should have got a better deal because three of the players in this group are named Bob.  Volume discounts...right?

I saw this Harvey Haddix card, yes it's off center but for just $2.55 I thought it was a worthwhile pickup.  The black background has always been one of my favorites in this set, plus adding a famous pitcher for cheap was worth it for me.

The All Star cards (Mays, Mantle, etc.) are what is going to destroy my budget in the long run.  How I approach buying those cards will be similar to how I went about buying the high numbers in the '64 set.  Patient, slow, looking for the best deal that I can find.    The Gus Triandos card you see here was just under $4, and it has a crease in the top left corner.   Still good enough for me to get one of those high numbers off the board.

As I'm going through dozens upon dozens of pages of auctions that the Battersbox has on ebay, I decided to jump up a bit in price and try and find something in the $5-$6 range that I thought was a bargain.  The Duke of Flatbush's baseball thrills card jumped out after a minute or two of searching.  For $5.53, this is a splendid card to add to the '59 set build.

The 9 cards that I picked up reduced my want list to just below 200 cards, another milestone for me.  I have a bunch due in from COMC that should take me to almost 400 cards in hand.  There's still a lot of big names left, but I've got lots of time to finish this one up.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Tools of Ignorance & the Human Rain Delay

I went through the next block of 50 cards of 1980 Topps and saw a couple of cards that made me think.  It didn't take long to prove myself wrong, but I'll make my point anyway as this post goes along.

As I've done on previous posts, I fished out one team card to show, this time it's the Baltimore Orioles.

Warm up clothes are another aspect of cards that I get a kick out of.  Sometimes you find some funny looking cards, like these two...

Claudell Washington's duds look like something you might wear on a night on the town instead of a baseball fields.  Larry Parrish?  Not sure what that jacket is made of, it kind of looks like velvet to me.  If it wasn't for the Expos logo on the pocket(?) I would have said it didn't belong anywhere near a diamond.

Now here we have a little more normalcy.  Three solid players from the 80's; Armas actually had a good HR tear for a few seasons between 80-84, hitting 164 long balls in just over 700 games.  I had mentioned last week about Cooper and Oglivie from the Brewers being Blue Jay killers, Lou Whitaker was another one that always seemed to come up with big hits in big games against the Jays.  Don't know if he should have lasted only one year on the HOF ballot, I think he deserved a bit better fate than that.

Yoga before it was cool?  Don't know if I threw a ball such as Odell Jones did that I would end up still standing after each pitch. 

You know, I always forget Dennis Eckersley's time in Boston.  I remember his early years with the Indians, and of course the phenomenal run he had with the A's between 1988-1992, with a combined ERA of 1.90 and 220 saves.  Dodger fans still love him for the HR he gave up to Kirk Gibson in the World Series (which btw is still one of my favorite clips to watch, just for Vin Scully's call).

Is there a better nickname ever than the Human Rain Delay?   I've linked a YouTube video in Mike's nickname to let everyone have a little bit of fun (it's just under a minute) as someone pieced together Mike's routine in a couple of different jerseys.  I wasn't aware that Mike was the rookie of the year in 1974 for the Rangers, hitting .323 while playing first and left in Arlington.

You know, I loved these two cards because they show Essian and Davis in their catchers gear.  I thought to myself that I don't remember a lot of more recent cards showing catchers in their equipment.  I quickly proved myself wrong as I had a pile of 2016 Topps nearby and instantly found 3 catchers cards where the catchers gear was prominent.

Catcher is one position I never even thought of playing when I played baseball as a kid.  Just never appealed to me.  Watching guys take foul tips off the mask, the legs, arms and various other body parts during a game always reminds me that I made a good decision.

Not like I would have ever been good enough to play professionally anyhow...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, February 23, 2018

Knocking some '84s off the want list

The tallest pile of all of the stacks, '84 Topps is up next for the 50 card treatment.  This 50 card group didn't feature a great deal of star power, but there is some interesting cards (at least for me) in this fifty.

Pat Corrales' tenure with the Indians lasted 3 full seasons plus parts of the 83 and 87 campaigns, the longest of any of the three teams he managed.   Pat managed 280 wins during that time.

I knew that Frank Robinson had managed in a few places, but I didn't know that he was a manager for 16 years in the big leagues.  Frank didn't win a division title, but did earn a couple of 2nd place finishes and won the AL Manager of the Year in 1989 with the Orioles.

It appears that in 1983 you had to be a 3rd baseman to win a batting title. I remember LaMarr Hoyt's big season in 1983, winning 24 games.  Rich Dotson was 2nd in the AL with 22, also with the White Sox.  I sure don't remember John Denny winning 19 games in 1983, along with the Cy Young award.

How about the 3 shades of Pittsburgh? Full white, black top/gold pants and gold top/black pants.  If I had to rank them I would go gold top first, all white uni 2nd and the black top 3rd.  Those gold pants just don't do it for me.

This is the first card that I remember from these sets that features a player as strictly a DH.  Ken Singleton's last 2 seasons in baseball were exclusively as a DH, including 151 games in 1983.  Even better, Ken's only WS ring was earned during the '83 season, as the O's beat the Phils in 5 games.  John Denny won the first and only game for the Phillies in the series.

After an 11 year run with the Giants, the Blue Jays picked up Gary Lavelle hoping he'd make a 1-2 punch in the pen with Bill Caudill.  By the end of the year, the Jays had Tom Henke as their closer and won the AL East title.  Gary would not pitch the 1986 season at all, and played with Toronto and Oakland to finish his career.

Easily one of the best names in baseball in the 80's.  I don't have anything to say about Mr. Wockenfuss, except that his name is fun to say.

Now try and say this one...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A little nervous

I've had these stacks of cards on my desk for a couple of weeks now and my posting schedule  (which has been lax lately) has gotten me nervous.  The taller stacks of 84 and 85 Topps are especially making me nervous, because I've vowed to show a bunch of cards on the blog and not just put them away to be forgotten.

So, in order to reduce the piles, we need to show some more cards.   1985 Topps is the choice tonight; knocking 50 more cards off of that want list will put that set at more than 25% complete.

Yogi looking trim in the pinstripes.  You hear all the names over the years; Mantle, DiMaggio, Ruth, Gehrig and Berra is right up there with all the legendary names when you think of the Yankees.  Is there anyone in the past 40 years outside of Derek Jeter that would be considered a legendary Yankee player?   Would love to hear thoughts on that...

The father and son cards in my opinion are a great idea.  I almost put the fathers in chronological order by accident, just reverse the Bell and Boone cards and I would have been all set.  Love the square haircut on Francona, that just screams the 50's and early 60's. 

A deep group of outfielders in this scan.  Was there ever any kind of look that George Foster had that didn't scream "don't mess with me".   Is there a centerfielder among these 6?  I wasn't sure about Ruppert Jones so I had to look up his stats on baseball reference, and it turns out he played CF for several years in Seattle, NY and San Diego.

This group of infielders would probably be better known for their bats and not their defense.  1985 would be the last full season in the bigs for Al Oliver, but he wouldn't see any time in Philly as he played for both the Dodgers and the Jays that year.  I always thought that Doug DeCinces was more of a big time power hitter, but he managed 237 homers during his career of 15 seasons.  Tom Herr would have a career year in 1985, finishing 5th in MVP voting and driving in 110 runs while hitting only 8 homers.  That St. Louis team was fast, Herr's 31 steals was tied for 4th on the team. 

I spoke too soon about Reynolds, upon looking at his stats he was more of a defensive stalwart, playing multiple positions while playing just over a decade in Houston.

Kudos to you if you can remember Lance Parrish finishing his career playing 70 games for Toronto in 1995.  Kudos to you if you remember Steve Yeager finishing his career playing 50 games for Seattle in 1986.  I'll always remember these 2 guys in the uniforms you see them in here.

Not a whole lot of star power among the half dozen pitchers you see here, but there are a few names that those of you who followed baseball in the 80's will recognize.  Honestly, just seeing all the classic uniforms (even the spring training duds on Al Holland) is just cool. 

Yea, I can see why the Night Owl devoted a whole blog to these cards....

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Trying to field a team

I figured that I would have some fun with this next group of 50 cards from 1980 Topps and try and field a team of starting players.

This team is fairly good, a bit weak in the infield and has only one decent reliever, but I'm sure that the strength of the starting staff and the bench probably could get this team a few wins.

Before we start with the team, let's show the one team photo first....for you Dodger fans out there.

How about a double play photo for those who prefer them...

Sorry Joel, it looks as if you're out on the play.

I didn't count the league leader cards as part of my team, but the pitchers on these two cards could certainly make a great staff.

OK trivia geeks out there, can anyone remember if a pair of brothers ever led a league (or placed 1-2) in victories other than the Niekro brothers in '79?   If anyone knows this let me know in the comments.

Now for the team.   The outfield is strong with 2/3 of the Expos outfield in the starting lineup

3 pretty good bats there, and no doubt probably 70 homers combined over a full season. 

Backups?  Don Baylor and Ralph Garr could fill in in a pinch. 

The infield isn't the strongest, but has a couple of solid players.

Mike Edwards only lasted 4 years in the bigs and hit .250 for his career.  If Tim Foli had been listed as a 2nd basemen he would have been in this spot.   Paul Dade was a light hitting 3rd baseman whose career ended in 1980 with the Padres. 

The other two guys you know all too well, Dave Kingman being the all power tons of strikeouts hitter that made it cool in the 70's, and Dave Concepcion the anchor of the Big Red Machine's infield.

You need some good catchers to catch this starting staff, and I'm sure that these two fit the bill.

 McCarver had a long career catching the staff ace...

Carlton would be the ace of a super starting staff comprised of 4 lefties...

Imagine getting a day off from a lefty, only to face knuckleballer Phil Niekro.  I could see Alan Ashby being the designated catcher for Phil. 

The closer Ron Davis had his good seasons in the early 80's after he left the Bronx for Minnesota.   Ron would compile 106 saves over 4 seasons between 82-85 and then after that something happened as his career went sideways and he was never really effective after that (his ERA in Minnesota in '86 was over 9.00)

I have just over 200 more cards to go through from the group of 1980 Topps that Adam sent, so I'll try and make up 3 more teams and see how they would compare to this group.

The starting staff is going to be hard to beat...

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, February 18, 2018

50 cards from one of my favorite sets--1980 Topps

I grabbed a pile of 50 cards from the top of the 1980 Topps stack that Adam sent, and I just started flipping through them.

Boy, did a lot of memories come back quickly.  I was 12 years old when that set was released, and was I ever into baseball then!!

I think that might be why I'm really enjoying the run of sets between 1978-1985 so much.   That seems to be my golden era for baseball.

A Dave Stieb RC in the bunch, a good way to get things started for me.  This is definitely when things started to turn for the good for the Blue Jays.  The #37 needs to go to the rafters of the SkyDome in my opinion.

Can you imagine today's superstars wearing uniforms with collars?  If this picture doesn't scream 70's, I'm not sure what does....

"Yep, you better be ready with the bat son, because my plan is to strike you out."  Take a look at Tanana's stats between 1975-77, he was as good as any other pitcher in baseball.  50 wins, averaged 245 K's per season, WHIP of 1.056 combined for those 3 years and 14 shutouts.  

Can someone at Topps please bring these back?  How great is the A's photo with all 3 types of uniform tops represented!!

As a Jays fan, I truly hated facing the Brewers in the late 70's into the early 80's, because if there were runners on base, these two were going to drive them in.  No doubt about it.  Blue Jay killers they were.  Love the sideburns on Cecil Cooper...would love to see those come back in style again.

Sluggers?  Yeah, there were a few in there.  I certainly had forgotten that Bob Horner was drafted in June of '78 and was playing for Atlanta almost immediately.  I also didn't know that the #2 player picked in the draft by the Jays was Lloyd Moseby.  I had no idea he was drafted that high.  Maybe it's time I dig a little deeper into the Jays history books...

I see these, I immediately think of Jim from GCRL.   Great photo!

Now, the absolute scariness of this photo is offset (for me anyhow) by the old style powder blue pinstripe Cubs uniforms, which is something else that I had forgotten about.   There are a couple of other Cubs in the '80T stack that have these on as well, which is very cool.

Nothing like a little trip down nostalgia lane, right? 

Looking forward to seeing more cardboard goodness in these stacks.

Thanks for reading, Robert