Thursday, July 31, 2014

Baseball card stories from Rick Asadoorian

Rick Asadoorian was drafted as an outfielder in the first round of the 1999 draft by Boston. After seven years in the Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers and Reds organizations he switched to pitching, last appearing for the Can-Am League Worcester Tornadoes in 2010. Now the Men's Baseball Recruiting Director at SportsForce, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I do not really collect cards myself. Although I do have at least one of each that has been given to me over the years. I had fans who were very generous and gave me a few cards at times when I signed for them. I signed as many cards as possible for fans and continue to do so when asked. My favorite card of mine is the card where I am jumping up the wall to catch a ball. While that wasn't in a game it was in fact a real catch. The ball was thrown from about 100 feet away and i went up and caught it. It was very fun.
The best story I have for you is from when I was in Augusta playing for the Greenjackets in the South Atlantic league in the Red Sox System. There was a fan at the game early and had about 40 cards of mine in a well kept book. Since he was the only one there I signed about half of his cards. I only signed half because of what he said to me. While signing the cards, he asked if I would like to have any of the cards. That was common for fans to offer a card or 2 for me taking the time to sign for them so I said "sure, that would be great. My dad will love them." after I said that he said he would trade some cards for a pair of Batting Gloves. Here I am signing a bunch of cards for this random guy and he asks me that. After that I said I was done signing for him and said seriously?. That still bothers me to this day. I always take care of those who take care of me."

Thanks! Here is a card of him from my collection.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Player Profile: Mike Boddicker

I have 61 cards of Mike Boddicker. This one is from 1986 Sportflics. 

Playing career: Mike Boddicker pitched fourteen seasons in the major leagues. His first two seasons were dominant – 16-8, 2.77 as a rookie for the 1983 World Champion Orioles (and two complete game victories in the postseason in which he did not allow an earned run); followed by leading the AL in wins (20) and ERA (2.79) in in 1984. However, in that 1984 season he struck out only 128 batters in 261.1 innings. Pitchers with that kind of ratio are usually unable to maintain a high level of performance, and Boddicker was no exception. However, he was able achieve double-figures in wins through the 1991 season, maintaining a respectable ERA most years. For his career he finished 134-116 with a 3.80 ERA. Those numbers are inflated by those first two seasons, though. From 1985, when the league started figuring him out, through his 1993 retirement he was 97-96 with a 4.09 ERA.

Where he is now: He does some youth coaching near his home in Iowa.

My memories: I rememer being on a family vacation in Massachusetts in 1988 and reading a local newspaper. It was a treat in those pre-internet days to read a newspaper from a different state. The big news in the paper was the Red Sox acquiring Boddicker in a trade with the Orioles.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Mike Bod, between Mike Bodge, a web designer, and Mike Bodson, CEO of the DTCC. Another prominent Mike Boddicker is a film composer who did the soundtracks for several famous movies. The two Mike Boddickers are distant cousins.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brian Boehringer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Player Profile: Brian Bocock

I have two cards of Brian Bocock. This one is from 2008 SP Authentic Rookie Exclusives.

Playing career: Shortstop Brian Bocock was the Giants’ ninth round draft pick in 2006, and two years later he was in the major leagues, hitting .143 in 32 games with San Francisco. He reemerged in the majors with the Phillies for six games in 2010, and has since then played in the Pirates, Blue Jays, Nationals and now Royals organizations.

Blog synchronicity: This is the 2012th post on this blog. In 2012 Bocock played in 93 games in the Blue Jays organization, splitting between AA New Hampshire and AAA Las Vegas, hitting .237 with 2 HR, 34 RBI and 18 SB.

Where he is now: He is now in the Royals organization. In 79 games, splitting between AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha, he is hitting .269 with 1 HR, 16 RBI and 4 SB.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Brian Boc, ahead of Brian Bockrath, Director of Scripted Programming at AMC. There do not appear to be any other prominent Brian Bococks.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Mike Boddicker.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Player Profile: Jose Arredondo

I have one card of Jose Arredondo, from 2010 Upper Deck.

Playing career: Jose Arredondo pitched for the Angels and Reds from 2008 to 2012, putting up very good numbers in his 214 games – 22-11 record, 3.27 ERA. However, he pitched poorly in the minors in 2013 and also was suspended for disciplinary reasons, and appears to have quickly worked his way out of baseball.

Blog synchronicity: This is the 2011th post on this blog. In 2011 Arredondo pitched in 53 games for the Reds, all in relief, going 4-4 with a 3.23 ERA.

Where he is now: He does not appear to be pitching this year. Anyone know where Jose Arredondo is now?

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fourth when you type Jose Ar, between Jose Arcadio Buendia, a character in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, and Jose Ardon, an Organo Gold salesman. Another prominent Jose Arredondo is an investment banker at Blackstone.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brian Bocock.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trade with Scott Crawford

Got a bunch of awesome cards in a trade with Scott Crawford.

I'm really enjoying the new Donruss set.
 Got a bunch of 2009 Topps in this trade. It's interesting to look at the photography here, and see how much more interesting it was a few years ago when Topps still had to compete with Upper Deck.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tim Harkrider on baseball cards

Shortstop Tim Harkrider played in the Angels organization from 1993 to 1997. In 362 games he hit .280 with 4 HR, 127 RBI and 24 SB. Now the Superintendent for the Willis Independent School District in Texas, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I found my first card in a pack at Wal-Mart. You could see through the packaging on the back, and the first pack I picked up I saw my card. My first card was my favorite - Bowman set 1993. I do not collect baseball cards."
 Thanks! I don't have that card, but here is one from my collection.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Baseball card stories from Jeff Barton

Outfielder Jeff Barton played in the Padres organization in 1989 and 1990. In 152 games he hit .251 with 6 HR and 86 RBI. Now Vice President & Regional General Manager at MobilexUSA, a mobile laboratory service, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"Ever since I can remember, my Dad and I have collected baseball cards.  Growing up in the cold winters of Boston, we would look forward to finding the first pack of Topps that would come out that year, as it meant baseball season was getting closer.  To this day, we still miss the hard gum stick that used to be included.  Even now, some 40 years later, my Dad and I will still find packs of baseball cards and won’t open them until we’re together.

When I was probably seven or eight years old, I still remember trading a card that had Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays on it for 25 “random cards”.  It was my first negotiation and my first lesson that quantity is not necessarily better than quality.  I grew up opening packs of cards hoping for a Rico Petrocelli, George Scott, Fred Lynn or Jim Rice.  The first ball I was ever given at Fenway Park was by Al Zarilla…my Dad found his baseball card and I still have it.

I remember when Donruss first came out with their baseball cards and you would open a pack and there were always doubles of the some of the cards. 

When I was drafted by the San Diego Padres, our first baseball cards were taken in front of stores in the local Spokane, WA mall.  Later our team held a card signing in the mall and the signing went on for two hours…I’m still amazed that I had a baseball card and even more surprised that someone actually wanted my autograph. 

My manager that year was Bruce Bochy and I knew how he felt about being confused with Bruce Bochte.  I told that story to my Dad while I was playing and he went into our attic back home in Boston and found a Bruce Bochte card and mailed it to me in Spokane.  As a joke, I walked into Boch’s office one day and asked if he would autograph one of his cards and he said sure.  I gave him the Bochte card and within seconds the card was ripped up and put in the trash.  By the way, there is no better leader of men than Bruce Bochy.  He is one of the best managers in the game and an even better person.  To this day, he taught me lessons that carried well beyond the playing field. 

As a young boy, collecting baseball cards with my Dad was something I looked forward to every weekend.  He would go out early Saturday and Sunday morning to get the paper and would always bring home packs of cards.  We still have all of them in the house where I grew up.  While we don’t really collect them anymore, if we ever see a pack of cards, we’ll usually buy 2 packs and then open them when we’re together.  I actually have two unopened packs in a drawer waiting for his next visit.  Baseball cards are a right of passage, though they were more fun when there was a stick of gum inside."


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Player Profile: Randy Bockus

I have five cards of Randy Bockus. This one is from 1989 Bowman.

Playing career: Randy Bockus pitched for the Giants and Tigers from 1986 to 1989. In 39 games he went 2-1 with a 4.23 ERA.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Randy Bockus is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is sixth when you type Randy Boc, between Randy Boczkowski, an event manager, and Randy Bochino, a personal trainer. There do not appear to be any other prominent Randy Bockuses.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brian Bocock.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Player Profile: Bruce Bochy

First off, check out my second baseball card retrospective of this year's Hall of Very Good inductees. Today's inductee is Tony Oliva.
I have fifteen cards of Bruce Bochy. This one is from 1987 Fleer.

Playing career: Bruce Bochy played nine seasons as a backup catcher for the Astros, Mets and Padres. In 358 games he hit .239 with 26 HR and 93 RBI. A fuller account of his career can be found at the 1980 Topps Blog.

Interesting facts: On the 1980 Topps blog I learned that Bochy’s right eyelashes were dyed permanently blonde in an accident at the furniture refining shop he worked at as a teenager. You can see the eyelashes on that and several other of Bochy’s cards.

In 2011 Bochy ended a 40-year habit of using chewing tobacco through the use of a hypnotist.

Where he is now: Bochy has been a major league manager for the past twenty years. After twelve years and one pennant with the Padres, he moved to San Francisco in 2007, and has already won two world championships with the Giants, in 2010 and 2012. Will 2014 make it three even years in a row? Right now the Giants are 56-44 after last night's 9-6 win in Philadelphia. They are one game up on the Dodgers and have the best record in the National League.

Blog synchronicity: This is the 2006th post on this blog. In 2006 Bochy led the Padres to the NL West title and was NL Manager of the Year, yet after the season the Padres let him interview with the Giants and he took that job, and has not looked back.

My memories: I remember him managing the Padres against the Yankees in the 1998 World Series. I remember he made some tactical error in the first game and he was getting grilled about it by the media afterwards, and thinking that he already looked so defeated. I am glad he ended up having greater success later on in San Francisco. His overall won-loss record is still a little light but he is on the trajectory for a potential Hall-of-Fame-worthy career as a manager.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fourth when you type Bruce Bo, between Bruce Bozzi, owner of the Palm Steakhouse in New York, and Bruce Boudreau, Head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Randy Bockus.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Player Profile: Doug Bochtler

First off, a note that the Hall of Very Good is announcing it's 2014 enshrinees. The first is Luis Tiant. Head on over to see my baseball card retrospective on Tiant, and Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods has a great piece on Tiant as well.
I have one card of Doug Bochtler, from 1993 Topps.

Playing career: Doug Bochtler pitched for the Padres, Tigers, Dodgers and Royals from 1995 to 2000. In 220 games he went 9-18 with 6 saves and a 4.57 ERA. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

Where he is now: A pitching coach for the South Bend Silver Hawks, Single-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks, and owner of the Cherokee Baseball instructional facility in Knoxville, TN.

My memories: He shared his thoughts on baseball cards with this blog in 2012.

Interesting facts: He was a bit of a jokester in his playing days. Here is video of him stealing the drink of a fan sitting next to the Padres dugout.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Doug Boc, between Doug Bocchino, an Associate at Casimir Capital, and Doug Boccia, VP, Network Strategy at There do not appear to be any other prominent Doug Bochtlers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bruce Bochy.