Saturday, September 20, 2014

Player Profile: Greg Booker

I have thirteen cards of Greg Booker. This one is from 1985 Topps. 

Playing career: Greg Booker pitched eight years in the major leagues, almost entirely with the Padres. In 161 games he went 5-7 with a 3.89 ERA. His best season was 1984, when he was a key part of the bullpen for the NL pennant winners, going 1-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 games. A fuller account of his career can be found at the Greatest 21 Days and the 1985 Topps blogs.

Interesting facts: Booker and Kristi McKeon, daughter of Padres’ general manager Jack McKeon, were high school sweethearts who got married after Booker was drafted by the Padres. Claims of nepotism dogged him throughout his Padres’ career, especially in 1989, when he was one of many Padres struggling mightily. A 1989 LA Times article by Bill Plaschke highighted these struggles. One aspect of the article that caught my eye was that Tony Gwynn was interviewed by Plaschke and given the chance to defend Booker, which Gwynn did not do, weaseling out with,  “The bottom line with Book is, it's hard to verify that he hasn't had special treatment, or that he has had special treatment.” I remember reading after Gwynn’s death how he had difficulties with Mike Pagliarulo when the Yankees traded him to the Padres in 1989 and Pags claimed Gwynn was a bad teammate. Most articles now portray Pagliarulo negatively but this seems to be an example of where Gwynn had a chance to stick up for one of his teammates but did not do so. Booker himself had a great line in the article – “Do they really think I went through the National League Green Book looking for general managers with daughters?”

One of Booker’s sons, Zach, played five seasons in the minor leagues. Another son, Avery, has sold some of his father’s memorabilia on the “Game Used Universe” forum.

Where he is now: A scout for the Dodgers.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is sixth when you type Greg Boo, between Greg Boozer, President of Gibbs Diversified, and Greg Boosin, a brand manager at MasterCard. Another prominent Greg Booker is CIO at RACQ.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Rod Booker.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Player Profile: Eric Booker

I have two cards of Eric Booker. This one is from 1991 Classic Best. 

Playing career: Outfielder Eric Booker played in the A’s organization from 1990 to 1992. In 267 games he hit .273 with 15 HR and 150 RBI. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Eric Booker is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Eric Boo, between Eric Booth, an art teacher, and Eric Boorstyn, Associate Commissioner at the NYC Department of Design and Construction. There are no mentions of the ballplayer on the first page of Google results; the first is for a competitive eater.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Greg Booker.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Player Profile: Chris Booker

I have one card of Chris Booker, from 2003 Topps Total. 

Playing career: Chris Booker pitched for the Reds, Royals and Nationals from 2005 to 2007. In seventeen games he went 0-1 with a 14.29 ERA.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Chris Booker is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Chris Boo, ahead of Chris Boot, executive director of Aperture Foundation. The first entry when you google Chris Booker is not the ballplayer but a radio host.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Eric Booker.

This probably wasn't the best time to buy 40,000 baseball cards, but a great deal is a great deal...

So I have a two-week-old, a three-year-old, am moving at the end of the month (hopefully), then moving again within the next few months. Probably not the best time to buy 40,000 cards off a guy from Craigslist,, but at better than six cards for a penny, or less than $10 per 5,000 count box, I couldn't resist.  And I am very happy with what I found, even if it will take many months to assimilate into my collection.

Here is a box-by-box review of a collection that had surprisingly little junk wax, and a ton of mid-to-late nineties goodness. Mind you I haven't even looked at most of the cards yet, just browsed the boxes to see what's in them. For the most part the boxes are organized by set, making it fairly easy to see what sets are represented and in roughly what quantities.

The first box I am showing was actually just a throw in. But it gives a good example of what sets were featured the most in this collection. There were several thousand 93 Upper Decks - hopefully I can finish this set, and I know it is popular among a lot of bloggers. Also very highly represented was 93 Pinnacle. Both of these sets appeared in just about every box. Other sets featured in this box are 95 Donruss,  95 Stadium Club, 95 Ultra. The bottom row is all football, mostly early 90s Pro Set and early 80s Topps. I don't "actively" collect football but I do hang on to the ones I get.
 This box is big on '93s and '94s. Got some 93 Triple Play, 93 Triple Play Action Baseball, 94 Score Rookie Traded, 96 Topps, 94 Score, 94 Collectors Choice, 94 Ultra, 94 Leaf Signature, 94 Bowmans Best, 94 Leaf, 94 Pinnacle, 94 Stadium Club, 94 Upper Deck. Cool to see some high-end brands here.
 These appear to be mostly 95s. I see 93 Select, 94 Fleer, 95? Metal, 95 Collectors Choice, something that looks like Sportflix but is actually Topps HD, 94 Studio, 95 Emotion, 95 Select, 95 Zenith, 95 Stadium Club, 93 Fleer, 93 Flair, and something called Donruss Signature.
 Here is some 93 Donruss, 96 Upper Deck, 95? Sportflix, a few other 93-95 era brands.
 Some high end stuff here like SP and Finest. Very cool to get bulk amounts of these. Lots of 95 staples like Score, Donruss, Stadium Club, UD, Select, and that Studio set that looks like credit cards.
 This was the first box I opened and was afraid this was what most of the boxes were like, but actually this was easily the worst box in the set. Lots of junk wax staples like 92 Donruss, 91 Score, 91 Upper Deck. But also some post-junk-wax sets, most notably 96 Score. I saw at least three cards of the 96 Score Bip Roberts card where he is wearing a sombrero.
 Sorry this one is blurry but it is late and I am tired. This was the best box in the lot. Those oversized cards on the right are 98 Topps Super Chrome. There is a box of 87 Fleer Update that looks a bit picked over (it seems to be missing the Maddux) but it has the checklist card which I am pretty sure is the only one I needed in the set. This box had the most variety, most high end sets, and most recent cards.
 One more box. This one had a fair amount of basketball and hockey. Unlike football I don't collect those sports at all, so anything from those sports is up for trade. Some good baseball stuff here though like Finest, Topps Gallery and Summit. A lot like this is supposed to have crap like 88 Donruss, but instead has a chunk of cards from 88 Donruss Baseball's Best, which I rarely see. Finally, in the front right of the box are some pocket schedules for the 2014 Brooklyn Cyclones. They are not interesting to me but maybe someone out there wants them.
 Well there you have it. If you have mid-to-late 90s needs let me know because I will have a ton to trade from this monstrosity when I am able to sort it out in my brief spare time over the next few months...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Player Profile: Boof Bonser

I have eight cards of Boof Bonser. This one is from 2002 Topps. 

Playing career: Boof Bonser pitched for the Twins, Red Sox and A’s from 2006 to 2010. In 111 games he went 19-25 with a 5.18 ERA.

Where he is now: He started the season in Taiwan, pitching for the 7-Eleven Lions, but recently returned to the US to pitch for the Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish.

Interesting facts: He was born John Bonser, but was known as Boof since he was a baby. He later legally changed his name to Boof.

My memories: I remember him because of his unusual name, but nothing really specific.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Boof, between Boof, a slang word for dumb or messed up, and Boofle, an online-gaming company. There do not appear to be any other prominent Boof Bonsers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Chris Booker.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Player Profile: Kyle Bono

I have two cards of Kyle Bono. This one is from 2004 SP Prospects. 

Playing career: Kyle Bono pitched in the Red Sox and Diamondbacks organizations from 2004 to 2006. In 37 games he went 3-3 with a 4.63 ERA.

Where he is now: Owner of Landscapes of Florida and Director of Player Development for the Central Florida Suns, a youth baseball program.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Kyle Bono, ahead of Kyle Bono Kaplan, a photographer. Another prominent Kyle Bono is a 97E Interrogator for the US Army.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Boof Bonser.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Player Profile: Jim Bonnici

I have two cards of Jim Bonnici. This one is from 1997 Topps. 

Playing career: First baseman Jim Bonnici was drafted in the 58th round of the 1990 draft by the Mariners and slowly worked his way through the system, putting up solid numbers but not looking like a real prospect. In spring of 1995 he decided to report to spring training as a replacement player. That year, in his first season at AA, he suddenly discovered how to hit for power, hitting .283 with 20 HR and 91 RBI. He put up even better numbers in 1996 at AAA Tacoma, hitting .292 with 26 HR and 74 RBI. However, due to the Mariner players’ dislike of the former replacement player, Seattle refused to call him up to the majors, and instead he went to Japan for two years before coming back to the US for a brief time in 1999 in the Tigers system.

Where he is now: A scout for the Rays.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is ninth when you type Jim Bonn, between Jim Bonnette Advisory Board and Jim Bonnette Oliver Wyman, both of which refer to a consultant. Another prominent Jim Bonnici is a photographer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Kyle Bono.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Player Profile: Jeff Bonner

I have one card of Jeff Bonner, from 1991 Classic Best. 

Playing career: Outfielder Jeff Bonner played in the Giants organization from 1989 to 1991. In 278 games he hit .224 with 1 HR, 73 RBI and 43 SB.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Jeff Bonner is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is seventh when you type Jeff Bon, between Jeff Bonna, founder of Jacklight Productions, and Jeff Bonnett Street Outlaws, a reality show star. There are no references to the ballplayer on the first page of Google results; the first entry is for the owner of a luxury aircraft furnishings company.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jeff Bonnici.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Player Profile: Bobby Bonner

I have three cards of Bobby Bonner. This one is from 1982 Topps. 

Playing career: Shortstop Bobby Bonner played for the Orioles from 1980 to 1983. In 61 games he hit .194 with 0 HR and 8 RBI.

Where he is now: After his playing career he became a missionary, living in the African country of Zambia. He recently moved back to the US and runs International African Missions.

My memories: In 2009 he shared his favorite baseball card (guess which one!) with this blog.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Bobby Bonn, ahead of Bobby Bonilla, the former Mets outfielder. Another prominent Bobby Bonner is a Senior Buyer at Partsmaster.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jeff Bonner.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baseball card stories from Scott Compton

The son of former major leaguer Mike Compton, outfielder Scott Compton played in the Dodgers organization in 1993. He is now a patent attorney who is Of Counsel at Buche & Associates in San Diego. He is assisted many baseball inventors with their patents, including former Royals pitcher Steve Stemle's Lokator System and former minor leaguer Cesar Mejia's MP Balancer. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My favorite card is my father’s 1971 Topps card #77 – the card photo was taken at Shea Stadium sometime in the summer of 1970.
I don’t really have any stories about my own cards other than I remember the photographer being a distant cousin of people I knew back in my home town of Odessa, Texas.  I have two cards that I am aware of, one card photograph was taken in Yakima, Washington and the other card photograph was taken in Spokane, Washington when on the road playing the Spokane Indians.
I have collected cards off and on my entire life.  I have collected cards of certain players (typically those of dad’s teammates and family friends down through the years) and I have also slowly been putting together various sets when I get the chance to visit card shows.  I collect Topps 1964 cards based on my having first seen the 1964 Lou Brock card, which I like.  I also like the appearance of 1967 Topps cards.   
My earliest recollection of baseball cards is 1973 Topps cards.  My father was still playing at that time and he would bring home the cards from the ballpark.  As he explains, there were boxes of cards in the clubhouse and the players would open the packs to get the bubble gum and then throw the cards in the trash or on top of their wire mesh lockers.  

I don’t focus on collecting cards at this time.  I focus more on taking photos of ball players.  My father still works for the Phillies and I usually go to spring training and walk around on the fields at Carpenter Complex, Clearwater, FL and take my own photos.  A photo of me and father from a few years ago at spring training is attached here. "