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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Player Profile: Bruce Bochte

I have 21 cards of Bruce Bochte. This one is from 1985 Topps. 

Playing career: First baseman Bruce Bochte was a high-average, low-power first baseman for the Angels and Mariners in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His best season was 1979, when he was an AL All-Star for Seattle, hitting .316 with 16 HR and 100 RBI. He quit baseball after the 1982 season in disgust with what he saw as the increasing influence of money in the game of baseball. He did return in 1984 to spend three seasons with the Oakland A’s. You can learn more about his playing career at the 1975, 1976, 1980, 1983 and 1986 Topps blogs. One thing I learned from the 1975 Topps blog that I hadn’t noticed before is that he signs his name all in lowercase. You can see this on the facsimile signature on his 1980 and 1982 cards as well.

Where he is now: During and after his playing career Bochte has been a staunch environmental advocate. Since 1990 he has been Executive Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe, which was founded by Bochte’s college classmate, world-famous cosmologist Brian Swimme. Bochte and Swimme’s cosmology is based on the belief that plants, stars and humans all consist of the same elements and are all deeply connected. In a 2001 interview, Bochte explained, "In traditional religion, the understanding is that God put the human on Earth and that the human is here to glorify God. I don't think that way anymore. We know that the human came out of the Earth and the universe. We're the descendants of a long, long journey of life on the planet. We came into the planet out of the planet itself. I don't think we were imported here. How do we fit in in a way that does not lead to destruction of ourselves? If you see yourself as coming out of the natural world, your perspective changes. I want to enhance the world while I'm here. We need to put ourselves in a position to have a chance to flourish in the future. The human species needs to come up with a 5,000- or 500,000- or 5 million-year survival plan on Earth." Bochte worked with the Adopt-A-Stream organization in Whidbey Island, WA to restore a coho run.  "I consider that my crowning achievement, the fish coming back," Bochte said.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Bruce Boc, between Bruce Bochy, manager of the Giants, and Bruce Bocina, owner of Bocina Homes. There do not appear to be any other prominent Bruce Bochtes.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Doug Bochtler.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Player Profile: Hiram Bocachica

I have four cards of Hiram Bocachica. This one is from 1996 Best.

Playing career: Outfielder Hiram Bocachica played eight years in the major leagues for the Dodgers, Tigers, Mariners, A’s and Padres. In 272 games he hit .215 with 15 HR and 37 RBI. He also spent time in Japan.

Blog synchronicity: This is the 2003rd post on this blog. In 2003 Bocachica spent most of the season in the minors but did appear in six games for the Detroit Tigers in April, getting one hit in 22 at-bats.

Where he is now: A player agent at The Legacy Agency.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when  you type Hiram Bo, ahead of Hiram Bonner, former executive administrator for NYC Mayor Dinkins. There do not appear to be any other prominent Hiram Bocachicas.

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Contest winnings from Red Cardboard

Got a ton of cool cards in contest winnings from Red Cardboard. I picked the "overage" mostly because of two cards that were included.

This is one of them. I've seen the new Donrusses on other blogs, but this is my first one. I really like a retro look for a set that is not Topps. I especially like the rainbow D logo.
The other was this card - I have most of the Topps All-Star cards from this era, but didn't have any of the '91's, with the Topps 40 anniversary logo.
 He included a few dozen extra cards, which was a nice surprise. Here is another cool retro-style card from a non-Topps set.
 This may be the most interesting card in the set - my first 1/1, hand-signed by the Diamond King himself, Adam Dunn.
Thanks Matt!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Player Profile: Elgin Bobo

I have one card of Elgin Bobo, from 1992 Classic Best.

Playing career: Catcher Elgin Bobo played in the Angels organization from 1990 to 1992. In 161 games he hit .276 with 4 HR and 71 RBI.

Where he is now: Works for Couch Distributing, a beer distributor in California.

My memories: Only know him from his card. Great name, though.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Elgin Bob, ahead of Bob Elgin, a musician. There do not appear to be any other prominent Elgin Bobos.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Hiram Bocachica.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Player Profile: Jay Bobel

I have one card of Jay Bobel, from 1987 ProCards.

Playing career: Jay Bobel was drafted by the Angels in 1987 and pitched for their Salem team that year, going 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA in thirteen games. The following season he pitched for Reno in the independent California league, going 1-4 with a 7.17 ERA in fourteen games. Eighteen years later, he attempted a comeback as a knuckleballer for Calgary of the Northern league. In six games he went 0-2 with a 9.97 ERA.

Where he is now: A self-described “serial entrepreneur” who currently owns the financial services firm Spartan Equities and the baseball camp Michigan College Connect. He is also a scout for the Rockies.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is ninth when you type Jay Bob, between Jay Bob Strike Back, referring to a movie, and Jay Bobbin Tribune, a writer. There do not appear to be any other prominent Jay Bobels.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Elgin Bobo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Player Profile: Bert Blyleven

I have 72 cards of Bert Blyleven. This one is from 1985 Topps.

Playing career: Bert Blyleven pitched 22 years in the major leagues, winning 287 games and striking out 3,701 batters. He was an ace pitcher for some mediocre Twins and Rangers teams in the early and mid-1970s, putting up stellar numbers everywhere but the W-L record due to poor run support. In 1977, following a tumultuous September with the Rangers in which he both threw a no-hitter and flipped the bird at the camera in another, nationally-televised game, Blyleven was traded to the Pirates, where he helped the team win the world series in 1979. The next season, however, Blyleven quit on the team, leaving the club for two weeks in the middle of the season and demanding a trade. After the season he was dealt to Cleveland where he returned to putting up excellent numbers for bad clubs. In 1985 he was dealt to the Twins in August for young shortstop prospect Jay Bell. That season, pitching for two teams that would finish a combined 50 games below .500, Blyleven lead the AL in strikeouts, complete games and shutouts. He helped the Twins win the World Series in 1987, and as late as 1989, at the age of 38, Blyleven finished third in the Cy Young voting after a great season with the Angels.

My memories: I started following baseball in 1986, and that was the year Blyleven gave up a then-record 50 home runs, so I had in my mind an image of him as being not very good. However, a look at his full career indicates that he was one of the best pitchers of his era, albeit cursed to play with mostly bad and small-market teams which hurt his national visibility. Although I didn’t have a strong opinion about his Hall-of-Fame candidacy, I had no problem with his being voted into the Hall in 2011.

Where he is now: An announcer for the Twins.

Interesting facts: Blyleven was known as a prankster during his career. He gave so many “hot-foot’s” to his teammates that he was known as the “Frying Dutchman.” The “Dutchmen” part of the nickname refers to the fact that Blyleven was born in the Netherlands. His family moved to Canada when he was two and then to California, where they stayed, when he was five. He grew up thinking his name was Rikaalbert Blyleven. It was only when he was getting married that he found out his real name was Rik Aalbert Blijleven.

In 1982, while rehabbing from an arm injury, Blyleven coached a little league team. In order to make the kids look more like real big leaguers, Blyleven gave the children chewing tobacco.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Bert B, between Bert Berns, a record producer, and Bert Brodsky, a businessman swindled by Bernard Madoff.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jay Bobel.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Player Profile: Jaime Bluma

I have five cards of Jaime Bluma. This one is from 1995 Bowman.

Playing career: Jaime Bluma pitched in the Royals organization from 1994 to 2000, going 19-18 with a 3.94 ERA and 76 saves. In 1996 he appeared in seventeen games in the major leagues, going 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA and five saves.

Blog synchronicity: This is the blog's 1998th post. In 1998 Bluma split the season between AA Wichita and AAA Omaha, going 1-3 with 2 saves and a 5.54 ERA in 53 games.

Where he is now: He teaches the baseball camps at 68 InsideSports in Overland Park, KS.

Interesting facts: In 2013 Bluma assisted a family, including two babies, whose car flipped over in an accident in front of where he was driving. Bluma immediately pulled over and helped pull the family out of the car. In the rescue Bluma ruptured his patella tendon, which ended up being the worst injury suffered in the accident.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google autocomplete results: He is seventh when you type Jaime Bl, between Jamie Blais, Associate Director, Global Medical Affairs at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, and Jaime Blanch, an actor. There do not appear to be any other prominent Jaime Blumas.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bert Blyleven.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Player Profile: Geoff Blum

I have thirteen cards of Geoff Blum. This one is from 2000 Metal.

Playing career: Utility infielder Geoff Blum played fourteen seasons in the major leagues for six different teams, mostly the Expos and Astros, and hit .250 with 99 HR and 479 RBI. Though he played in just 31 regular seasons for the White Sox, the fewest of any of his six teams, that is the team he is best remembered for, after his fourteenth-inning home run won Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, the longest World Series ever played.

Blog synchronicity: This is the 1997th post on this blog. In 1997 Blum played in 118 games at AAA Ottawa, hitting .248 with 3 HR, 35 RBI and 14 SB.

Where he is now: An announcer for the Astros.

My memories: I remember going to a Yankees-Expos game and getting the brilliant idea to shout “Blum, you’re a bum!” every time he came up. I still think of that every time I come across that name.

Google Autocomplete results: He is tenth when you type Geoff B, behind Geoff Beattie, former president of the Woodbridge Company. There do not appear to be any other prominent Geoff Blums.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jaime Bluma.