Monday, August 31, 2009


I noticed something odd on Jack McDowell's 1994 Donruss card yesterday. . .

Look at his foot!

Now take a look at his 1994 Studio card:

Yep, there's a whole bunch of them!

Apparently, Black Jack is a smiley-face collector, or at least was in his playing days. Kind of ironic since he is most famous in New York for giving Yankee fans the middle finger and now writes a blog where he regularly rips the White Sox.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Game-winning squeeze

I got Mike Felder's 1992 Upper Deck card recently, and it looked familiar.

Specifically, it looks almost exactly like his 1992 Topps card!

When I saw this, I just thought the card companies were getting lazy. However, I looked up the Giants Turn Back the Clock Day from 1991, and it turns out it was no ordinary bunt. The day was June 23, 1991, and Felder won the game with a pinch-hit squeeze bunt in the bottom of the ninth! That was one of the season highlights for the Giants that year, and that must have been a fun card for Giant fans to get in 1992.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hey, Yankee fans!

Over the last year or so I have gotten a whole bunch of packages of Yankee cards from various bloggers. As a result I have more dupes of Yankee cards than any other team by far. If anyone out there has some specific Yankee needs or just want to do a Yankees-for-Yankees (or Yankees-for something else, I'm a pretty omnivorous collector), let me know!

My most recent package was an 800-count box from GCRL, about half of which were dupes. Many are from the late 90s and early 00s. For example there were two unopened packages of a 13-card Collectors Choice Yankees Team set from 1997. I opened one for myself but have the other unopened for a trade if anyone is interested.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Trade with GSNHOF

I got a fun package of random cards from the proprietor of the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame, SpastikMooss (who should probably be in the Great Blog Name Hall of Fame). In exchange for some Fred McGriffs, funny names, and Red Sox, he sent me some cards with funny picture and errors.

One such funny picture is this 1988 Kurt Stillwell. SpastikMooss says its a laser coming out of his arm. I say it is a searchlight. Either way it seems like an unsporting way to distract the batter.

Here's an error card of Mike Greenwell. I remember when Terry Pendleton first came up Donruss mistakenly called him Jeff on his card. Weird, but he was an unknown so it was somewhat understandable. But why did Score, in 1996, call him "Jeff Greenwell"? He had been an established star for almost a decade at that point. No excuse for this error.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Martinez Knoblauch Jeter Brosius

Got an awesome package of Yankees from Garvey Cey Russell Lopes this week - 800 cards of Yankee awesomeness. Most were in the Martinez-Knoblauch-Jeter-Brosius era, which was great for me since I wasn't collecting much in those days. Come October we'll see if Teixeira-Cano-Jeter-Rodriguez can match them.

A couple of highlights:
A Gary Sheffield bat card. My first every Yankee bat card - cool!

Shiny! I sure am a sucker for those Upper Deck holograms. Or any shiny card for that matter.

This is a pretty awesome card. In O'Neill's first couple of years as a Yankee, before Yankee Stadium was routinely sold out every night, you really did have fans holding those target signs for him. Maybe, given the smaller dimensions at the new Yankee Stadium, we can get fans in the first row with signs like damOn or pOsada. Maybe an arOd sign in left.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paul Olden on baseball cards

In 2009, Paul Olden replaced the legendary Bob Sheppard as the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium. Yankee fans like me remember him from his time announcing alongside Phil Rizzuto on WPIX in 1995 and 1996. He was also an announcer for the Indians, Devil Rays, and 12 Super Bowls. He is also a photographer, and you can see his photography on his blog, Taking Shots. He kindly took the time to share some of his stories about baseball cards.

"I don't collect cards anymore and haven't for a long, long time. I did collect from 1964 to 1968. And I still have all of those cards - many in mint condition. The Nolan Ryan rookie card and the Sandy Koufax are among my favorites. And I did make it a point to buy many of the Cal Ripken Jr. cards including his actual rookie cards. But when companies started putting out 12 to 15 different cards of the same guy - as in Ripken's case - I stopped buying.

I have my own baseball card. It's in the Spokane Indians set of cards by Pacific Trading Cards (I think) and I think the year was 1981 or 1982. It was a hot day in Albuquerque and I was wearing an orange and brown sweater when I posed for my card."

Thanks! I couldn't find a picture of the Spokane Indians (actually a TCMA card, not Pacific), but here is a picture of Olden at Yankee Stadium earlier this year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brian O'Connor on baseball cards

Brian O'Connor pitched eleven years of professional baseball, including six games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000. He is now a baseball coach in Ohio. He kindly responded to my questions about baseball cards.

"I don't really have any stories about cards. Like most I collected them as a kid.
I had every set from 1977-1995 I have sold some of them on ebay. I do collect my own cards and jerseys. I have 3 boys so I collect stuff for them now. They are into card collecting as well. My favorite card of myself is the 2000 Pacific Omega rookies card. On the back of that card it has that I pitched 2 perfect innings against Houston in relief and only threw 14 pitches. It was my best outing in my short big league career."

Thanks! I couldn't find a picture of the Pacific Omega card, so here is the only card I have of him, from 2000 Fleer Tradition Update.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mike Bordick error card

Here is a 1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier Mike Bordick card. Any A's or Yankees fan should spot the error immediately.

Yep, that's World Series hero Scott Brosius, not Bordick, on the card. Brosius is now pretty well known, so the mistake is obvious, but at the time they were both pretty much unknown Oakland infield prospects with B names and similar uniform numbers (45 for Brosius, 46 for Bordick per Baseball Almanac).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Best socks ever on a baseball card

Any Cubs fans out there know who the Cubs radio announcers were in 1991? Because one of them was caught wearing some pretty fantastic socks on Dave Smith's Upper Deck card.

There's some yellow and some purple stripes in there - quite a combination. I wonder if he was thinking, "these are my last clean socks, really should have done the laundry sooner. Oh well, who will see?"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

CJ Nitkowski on baseball cards

CJ Nitkowski pitched ten years in the major leagues for eight teams. He now pitches for the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization. He blogs, tweets, and writes articles at his website, He kindly took the time to answer my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
I don't like most of my cards but I do like the NYY one I have. Growing up in NY as a Yankee fan makes that pretty cool.
- Do you collect baseball cards?
Just my own. I did as a kid, but I wasn't an avid collector. I was more into flipping cards as a kid.
Thanks, CJ! I believe the only Yankee card of CJ Nitkowski is his 2004 APBA card. I couldn't find a picture of it online - anyone have it? Here is a picture of him with the Yankees as well as a card of him I have with the Detroit Tigers.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The crawling hand

It's hard to figure out what that disembodied glove and hand is doing on Mike Torrez's card. If someone is leaning on the dugout wall next to him, it would seem to be an awkward angle, one that might even do damage to one's wrist. And there isn't enough room in the dugout (appears to be Tiger Stadium's, which was very small) for someone to be sitting above Torrez.

Perhaps it really is a disembodied hand crawling along the dugout wall, which would explain Torrez's look of horror.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Some more pink hat day cards

I have written about the plethora of 1992 cards that were taken at Pink Hat Day at Yankee Stadium in 1991. I recently got two more, both from 1992 Leaf.

Both Greg Gagne and Scott Leius were 0-4 in this game, so it is safe to say that the at-bats pictured here were not succesful.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tradelist updated

Finally finished updating my tradelist with all the dupes I got from my massive Craigslist deal (several thousand from that alone) as well as my various packages from Tribe Cards.

Go get your want lists and check it out, especially for:
89 Bowman
87-93 Donruss
88-92 Fleer
92 O-Pee-Chee Premier
88-92 Score
91 Studio
79-93 Topps
89-93 Upper Deck

But there are plenty of representatives from oddball sets too, like this here "Rembrandt Ultra Pro" card of Danny Tartabull. Affiliated with neither the painter nor the toothpaste, this Ultra Pro features the Yankees' big free agent acquisition of 1992 dressed for a barbecue, not a ballgame.

You know you want it.

For all you hoops fans, I've also got quite a few basketball cards I'd love to exchange for baseball cards. 92-93 Fleer, 94-95 NBA Hoops, 92-93 Stadium Club, 92-93 Topps and 92-93 Ultra are particularly well represented. They're at the bottom of the tradelist, along with a few football and hockey and a very few soccer, wrestling and NASCAR cards.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Skybox Thunder - not even trying

Remember those Skybox Thunder cards I wrote about a while back, with the bad rap lyrics? I got another one in my pack o' Brewers from David at Tribe Cards. It is of Milwaukee pitcher Steve Woodard, shown posing with a bat on the back as well as this uninspired bit of verse:

"Milwaukee's finest . . . You led the team in K's and tied for the lead in wins. How 'bout some more of that next year?"

Pretty uninspired compared to some of the gems on the other cards. I wonder if they had different writers for different cards?

Monday, August 17, 2009

1994 Score Rookie/Traded

Score was to me a very conservative baseball card brand in terms of design. The 1994 set, with its simple blue borders, is a perfect example of the generic-looking cards the company produced.

Until recently, I didn't even realize Score made a Rookie/Traded set that year. I got some of the cards from that set recently, and I was amazed by how different they are from the regular set, with bright colors and a completely different design. It looks much more interesting than the base set!

There was even a Gold Rush version of this set, which is if anything even more colorful than the regular version!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Interview with Brian Gump

Brian Gump is an outfielder for the rookie-ball Gulf Coast League Phillies in Clearwater, Florida. He is off to a great start to his professional career, hitting .325 with three homers and 16 RBI through August 15th. He is also writing a very interesting blog chronicling his first season of professional baseball. He kindly responded to my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?

As a child I never had one of those little league baseball cards made of me when picture day came around so as far as I can remember I have only had one baseball card printed of me so far and that was last summer in the Northwoods League. My team, the Rochester Honkers, sold team sets of cards that had a baseball card for each guy on the team. I was pretty happy with how my card turned out, they did a great job and they are pretty legit.

When we first arrived here in Clearwater, the Topps guy came and sat down with each of us to discuss and have us sign a contract with Topps so that if they decide to make a card of us they have your permission. You sign two checks that they issue you right there on the spot which add up to a whopping ten dollars! haha. None the less though, I hope I hear from them sometime soon about the possibility of me having a card made.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?

I guess my favorite card of myself has to be the only card I have of myself that I discussed above. It's a really nice card and I think I look pretty good on it so that helps. I know that while I was growing up, I have two or three cards that immediately come to mind as my favorites. I think they were my favorites mostly because of how rare they were and how cool they looked. I don't remember the exact make, but I had a Chipper Jones card that was made out of leather that was super cool looking that I really liked, I also had a Blue Chip Prospect (it was a very rare card I think, wasn't the normal rectangle shape and was plastic with clear parts on it) of Bobby Abreu. Finally, my brothers and I traded this one around a bit so we all had possession of it at one point or another I think, it was an all gold card of Nolan Ryan, it was literally made of pure gold foil. I think my brother got it at a show or something because I don't think it was one you could get in packs. This was essentially the holy grail of baseball cards in the Gump household while I was growing up and I think my oldest brother, John, was the final owner.

- Do you collect baseball cards?

Unfortunately I no longer collect baseball cards, but I was an extremely avid collector when I was younger. My two older brothers and I were all very into it and would constantly be trading cards back and forth and buying packs and sometimes even boxes if we saved up enough money. I have boxes and boxes in my room back home of old cards. I should really take a look at them sometime and see if I have anything that has accumulated value over time! I loved collecting cards, there really is nothing like the suspense of opening a new pack and getting a card of one of your favorite players.

Thanks, Brian! I couldn't find a picture online of his Rochester Honkers card or the Abreu card (1997 Upper Deck Blue Chip Prospects #12) but here are my best guesses as to which Jones and Ryan cards he is referring to.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm back . . . did you know I was gone?

I spent the last week on vacation, so I had automated posts going for the previous week to make it look like I was still here. Sorry if they were kind of lame. I figured I did not want to advertise that I was on vacation to people who know my address. Maybe it's a bit paranoid, but it suprises me that so many other baseball card bloggers talk about when they are on vacation to people who they have given their address to but know next to nothing about.

Anyway, I got a nice treat in the mail when I got back - some great random Rangers and Brewers from David at Tribe Cards!

Here's one of the Brewers, a 1992 Score Bill Swift. But wait, Bill Swift was never a Brewer, you say?

You're right, which puts you ahead of Score's editors. I love error cards.

Here's my favorite of the Ranger cards, my newest favorite Yankee, Mark Teixeira.

Tex is a guy who plays baseball the right way, hustling on every play. He won a game for the Yankees by running hard on a two-out popout by A-Rod that should have lost the game but the Mets' Luis Castillo dropped the ball. Most players would just have jogged and ended up on third, but Tex hustled from the get-go and scored the season's most improbable run.

Also, a Teixeira at-bat has more crotch grabs than Michael Jackson's entire video collection. All players have to adjust themselves occasionally, but Tex does it after almost every pitch. Watch for it the next time you watch a Yankee game.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A good buy?

Here a fan offers a dollar for Melido Perez's autograph.

Considering that currently range from $4-12 on ebay, I guess that's a good deal.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The odd couple

John Cangelosi wasn't happy unless his uniform was more brown than white.

On the other hand, Mark Knudson used a towel to prevent getting any dirt on the butt of his uniform.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A question of autograph etiquette

You are at the ballpark. You hand Rockies pitcher Steve Reed a baseball card to sign and a pen to sign it with. The pen cap is on, so Reed takes it off and puts it in his mouth while using one hand to hold the card and the other to sign it. He then takes the cap back out of his mouth, recaps the pen, and gives you both back.

Do you
A) Refuse to take either, calling him disgusting for putting your pen in his mouth.
B) Sell the pen cap on ebay with a certificate of authenticity of traces of "saliva of a genuine major leaguer"
C) Keep the pen as a collectible, treasuring the "saliva of a genuine major leaguer"
D) Have the saliva on the pen tested for steroids and HGH
E) No reaction, just use as a normal pen cap

(To be fair to Reed, it may well be his own pen that he is using)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indians tricks - one successful, one not.

Kenny Lofton can juggle three Gatorade cups at once.

Sandy Alomar, however, fails in his bet that he can catch a popup with his eyes closed.

I wonder what goes through his mind when people give him this card to autograph? It would be really funny if someone wrote him for one saying "I really love this card because it shows your Gold Glove-winning form as a catcher."

Monday, August 10, 2009


Dan Pasqua slides past Toronto catcher Greg Myers and pitcher Jim Acker.

Is he safe, as he claims?

Yes! Scoring the final run in Chicago's 7-1 drubbing of the Blue Jays, beating Joe Carter's throw on a Lance Johnson sac fly. Pasqua was 1-3 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs. Acker pitched three scoreless innings (Pasqua was inherited from Todd Stottlemyre). Myers went 0-3.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mets Fashion Stars

On this 1992 Upper Deck card, Mets star Dwight Gooden and future Met Gary Sheffield show off some of the hot fashions of 1992. Somehow I have the feeling that the X hat is the only thing either would admit to ever wearing today.

Upper Deck loved that ocean background so much that they had Gooden change into his Mets uniform to stand in front of it for his base card in the set.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Great running catch in the outfield

What makes a great running catch in the outfield?

Not smacking yourself into the wall. Ouch!