Sunday, October 31, 2010

The windswept look

Those long-haired 70s hairdos are a bit of a problem when your baseball card photo is taken on a windy day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Benny Colvard on baseball cards

Benny Colvard played six years in the Reds and Royals organizations. He is now a high school baseball coach and an instructor at the Red River Ballyard in Sherman, TX. He kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"My favorites are my 92 Classic Best and 92 Fleer. The only cards I collect or have are team sets of the teams I played for and friends and teammates that made the bigs."

Thanks! I have the Classic Best card but couldn't find a picture of the Fleer ProCards one.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Orange Crush

Yesterday I got my contest winnings from I Don't Know...3rd Base! I knew I was getting this Atlee Hammaker autograph card, and it's interesting to see how tiny he managed to make his 13-letter name.

I was surprised to get a bunch of other bonus Giants as well! The most interesting was probably this card, which must be an error card, because whoever this short-haired pitcher is, it's certainly not Tim Lincecum - everyone knows he has a long mane.

What an appropriate day to get these cards, as the Giants won Game 2 of the World Series. I was originally going to use one of the football Giants nicknames for this post, but given the baseball Giants colors and the way they've stomped on Texas so far, (20 runs in two games - the Yankees only managed 20 runs in the entire 6-game ALCS! This World Series is making the Yankees look even worse.), I decided that the Denver Broncos old nickname was more appropriate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pat Combs on baseball cards

Pat Combs pitched four seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, going 17-17 with a 4.22 ERA. He currently is a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, working in offices at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Also a youth baseball coach in Southlake, TX, he kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"I began collecting cards in 1976, when I bought my first gum pack of Topps cards at the local 7-11. I know for sure that I enjoyed the gum more than the cards that year. My uncle, Chet Tata, who is a huge baseball fan and fellow collector/dealer, really got me started in collecting sets. I have every Topps set from 1978-1995, and many other complete sets from other card companies, primarily from '85-'95. At some point in the future, I will probably give the cards to my boys. I have enjoyed the collection, but not had much time to share them or do much with them, since I left the game. My free time is now devoted to coaching and working with youth baseball."

Thanks!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interview with Jack Perconte

Jack Perconte played seven seasons in the major leagues for the Dodgers, Indians, Mariners and White Sox. In 1984 and 1985 he was the regular second baseman for the Mariners. After his retirement, he has become a successful hitting coach and author. Excerpts from his books, a hitting guide called The Making of a Hitter and a guide on positive coaching, Raising an Athlete, can be found on his website, BaseballHittingLessons.com. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
Of course, my rookie card where I appear with Fernando and Scioscia is pretty cool, but my faves are any card that I was with Mariners.


- Do you collect baseball cards?
I don't collect - my kids did way back before the big strike of 1994 but then got away from it like many others did at that time.


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

There is a Fleer card of me with the Indians that has a short story about a crazy incident I was involved with in the "Did you know" section of the card.


Thanks! I recently posted about that card, and the incident where he and his wife helped bring down a gun-wielding thug.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Interview with Scott Jordan

Scott Jordan played five years in the Indians and Astros organizations, making the major leagues with Cleveland in 1988. Since his retirement from playing, he has embarked on a successful career in the baseball card industry. The former president of Just Minors, he is currently Vice President, Licensing at Leaf Trading Cards. He kindly answered my questions about his baseball card experiences.

- How did you come to the decision to transition from being a professional baseball player to becoming a card industry executive?
There really wasn't a "decision" to transition from playing baseball to being a card company executive. Having decided that a sustained baseball career was unlikely, I was in the position of having to decide what to do. It was 1989 and the card industry was experiencing a huge explosion as you know so I decided to make a go of it. During the next few years I obtained experience as a show dealer, store owner and sub-distributor. Then an opportunity presented itself to work with a company that was manufacturing Minor League cards and that led me to where I am today.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
The only interesting story on my cards was not too flattering. I ran across a breaker at one of the shows shortly after I quit who handed me about 2000 of my card from his 1989 Donruss break along with the comment "I don't think I'll be able to sell these any more. Here you can have them." My family and friends are appreciative to this day - I am still honored to get cards through the mail to sign.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
My favorite card of me would be from the Collegiate Collection Ga Tech set.

- Do you personally collect baseball cards?
These days I don't collect cards, but I do collect investment type autographs. I have a couple of Ty Cobb pieces, Walt Disney, Bear Bryant, etc. My favorite is a nice Bobby Jones letter, since he is one of the more famous Ga Tech alumni.

Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Congratulations, Pennant Winning 1990 New York Yankees

In 1990, the Yankees finished a mere 21 games behind Boston in the American League East. If just three weeks worth of games had gone the Yankees way then they, and not Boston, would have been division champions, and surely would have made quick work of Oakland and Cincinnati.

Now I'll be rooting for three of those Yankees to have a chance to recapture that lost opportunity, as Giants manager Bruce Bochy has filled his coaching staff with members of that could-have-been-legendary team. They are:

Dave Righetti, pitching coach

Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens, hitting coach

Roberto Kelly, first base coach

In addition, the third base coach is Tim Flannery, a former interview subject on this blog. Whenever you see a successful bunt by the Giants this Series, think of the "bunt doctor" and the bunting baseball card he uses.

Just as Bengie Molina will get a World Series ring no matter the outcome of the series (he was traded from San Francisco to Texas mid-season), so too will at least one 1990 New York Yankee: the Texas bullpen coach is none other than former no-hitter loser Andy Hawkins.

The Rangers also have one of my interview subjects on staff: defensive coordinator Spike Owen, who played for a real near-miss Yankee squad, the 1993 team.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

John Sneed on baseball cards

John Sneed pitched in the Blue Jays, Phillies and Twins organizations from 1997 to 2002. He went 52-28 with 735 strikeouts in 717 innings. He kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"It was a great honor to have a card done of myself. I was a huge baseball collector as a kid so finally getting my own card was unbelievable. I don't think I really appreciated at the actual time of the photo shoot, but now having a son who's 3yrs old and knowing one day (hopefully) he'll be into collecting cards himself I fully understand...what a cool thing. As far as favorite cards of myself...I really think the Topps Tek Series are really cool looking. I still have all my childhood cards, but I really haven't bought any new cards other than myself off of Ebay. Isn't that crazy...I actually pay for my cards now off of Ebay??? I've got to keep the market alive right?"

Thanks! I don't have that card, but here is one I do have, from 2000 Bowman.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why the Yankees lost, and why it won't get better

Why did the Yankees lose? Because their manager has got the wrong attitude.

Seriously, how does he make his pitching decisions? Magic 8 Ball?

Unfortunately, this is probably the end of the Yankees' amazing 15 year run. They're more likely to lose 90 then win 90 next year, and not just because Baltimore and especially Toronto will be much improved in 2011. (If Toronto does hire John Farrell and he can get their pitchers to the next level, they'll be next year's Rangers).

Age is the biggest factor, and the biggest reason why the Yankees just seemed tired in the playoffs. Jeter (whom the Yankees will almost certainly overpay for soon) and Posada are toast. Alex Rodriguez is far from the superstar he once was, and Cano is not going to have a career year every year. The pitching, outside of Sabathia and Rivera, is extremely suspect. If Cashman is smart, he'll trade Joba Chamberlain while he still has some value. Of course, anybody who thought Lance Berkman, Nick Johnson or Javier Vazquez would be useful probably isn't that smart.

Live it up, Yankee haters. You will have plenty to gloat over for a long time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baseball card story from Troy Dovey

Troy Dovey pitched for five years in the Astros and Braves organizations, winning 18 games and striking out 305 batters in 326 innings. Since his baseball career ended, he has had a successful career in the entertainment industry with his independent production company Cruxstar. His credits include editing videos for Nine Inch Nails and Guns N Roses, producing remixes for Jay Z and Tommy Lee, as well as directing, producing and editing numerous small films and commercials. He has also acted in movies like Donnie Brasco and Miami Vice. He kindly shared with me this great baseball card story.

"The most unique card story of myself would be the one I took the night after a big party, I was a little hung over and I decided to put on a lefty glove, the photographer didn't catch onto the joke, so when the card came out, there I was unshaven with a lefty glove on, meanwhile the card reads Troy Dovey - Right Handed Pitcher :) "

Thanks! Unfortunately I couldn't find a picture of that card, but here is a more standard baseball card pose from 1989 Star.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unexpected

I thought I would be writing today about how the Yankee season ended. Looks like I'll have to wait a couple of days to write that post. Only CC Sabathia could allow 11 hits in six innings and escape with only two runs allowed. If Hughes also allows 11 hits on Friday, the Yankees will lose 9-2 or something.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sympathy for Teixeira

What do you do when your teammate pulls his hamstring in the ALCS, ensuring that if you make it to the World Series he won't be able to play?

Apparently, you decide that if he can't play in the World Series, none of you will. Outscored 8-0 after Teixeira's injury. Yikes. Still, if you have to lose a playoff series, much less painful to do it this way, a clean beating, than have certain victory ripped away like in 1995, 2001 and 2004.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lame showing

The Yankees sure didn't put up much of a fight last night. I assume by the way Girardi let Robertson stay in the game to get pummeled that he was giving up the game. At this rate the Yankees will be fortunate to send the series back to Texas - they have been completely dominated in this series, except for two innings.

What could make things worse? Cliff Lee probably won't sign with the Yankees, and Jesus Montero, who the Yankees could have traded to get Lee this year, will probably turn out to be a bust.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interview with Josh Rabe

Josh Rabe played for seven seasons in the Twins organization, playing in the major leagues in 2006 and 2007. Now the head baseball coach at Quincy University, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

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

- I believe my Triple A baseball card in 2005 was one of me sac bunting
to 3rd base against Toledo. The funny part of this card is the fact that I sac bunted about once a year and that is the picture that they took of me to put on my baseball card. Of all the pictures they decided to put on the card, that was the one. I got quite of bit of harassment from my teammates.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
- My 2001 Quad City RiverBandit card is my favorite. Only because it
was my first baseball card. We should have had a team set in 2000 Elizabethton, but I believe our trainer forgot to turn in our roster to someone on time and it didn't happen.

My favorite 3 cards of all time - The Michael Jordan Upper Deck card when he took batting practice in the old Comiskey. The Bo Jackson black and white, where he had the shoulder pads on, while holding a bat over them. And the Rickey Henderson rookie card, that I found in a set of cards that my Aunt gave me.

- Do you collect baseball cards?
I used to collect baseball cards, but I have not done so in some time.
I collected all of my own, even the ones that were hard to find. I have to thank Pat Neshek for helping me find two of them!!!!

Thanks!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not good

Boy, that was some lousy pitching by Phil Hughes, and some lousy hitting by the supposedly dominant Yankee lineup.

Thanks for the jinx, Michael Kay. Far from being the dominant team, the Yankees have been outscored 12-3 in 17 of the 18 innings played so far in this series. If they don't turn it around quick, they'll be watching the World Series on TV this year.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thanks, Texas!

Thanks, Texas! Thank you bullpen, for blowing that five run lead! And thank you Ian Kinsler, for making sure Kerry Wood didn't squander that gift!

That was the Yankees' biggest playoff comeback since the Jim Leyritz game in the 1996 World Series. Hard to believe that was fourteen years ago!

I was so mad when after the game on YES Michael Kay said that the series is over. Not really - Games 2, 5, and 6 are must-wins for the Yankees, because there is little chance they can win games 3 (Cliff Lee), 4 (A.J. Burnett) or 7 (Cliff Lee). Michael Kay is the one Yankee announcer I can't stand.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interview with Lonnie Maclin

Lonnie Maclin played for seven years in the Cardinals organization, reaching the major leagues in 1993. Now a youth baseball instructor in the St. Louis area, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
My story about baseball cards is I was mistaken all the time for other players and no matter who kids thought I was I would sign it anyway. I wouldn't sign my name, I would sign theirs. I've been Ray Lankford, Ozzie, etc.....

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

My favorite card was my fake wall catch card in Louisville!!! I think it was '92.


- Do you collect baseball cards?
I do not and never will collect cards!!!!!

Thanks!

Well, that was emphatic! No cards for Lonnie Maclin. And I guess you better look at your Ray Lankford and Ozzie Smith autographs a little more closely...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blurry Ranger

Had this blurry picture in my photo folder and didn't know what to do with it until now. I'll post it as a symbol of disrespect to the Rangers. Do their pitchers still throw footballs around for arm strength and wacky baseball card shots? I hope the Yankees are able to see the ball well when they face Nolan Ryan's current pitching staff.

If nothing else, this series will give the Yankees a good scouting report on free agent pitcher Cliff Lee.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not bad for a buck

Picked up over a thousand cards for a buck yesterday from a guy in the East Village. The cards were almost all from 1978-1981 Topps, with a few 1982s and 1984s as well. There were also a couple of 1988 Donruss, I guess because no collection is complete without a representative from that set. All the cards are in fair-to-poor condition, but I don't care because I'm no condition snob. If you're not either and have needs in those sets let me know, I will have lots of doubles. The cards in the best condition were about 50 89-90 NBAHoops basketball cards. These are more like near mint. I don't collect basketball cards so if anyone wants to trade some baseball cards for them let me know.

The most striking cards to me as I was thumbing through them were the team shot cards. Like this one of the Indians in front of the gritty Cleveland skyline. . .

. . . and this one of the Padres on a beautiful San Diego beach.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hitting the big time

This humble blog has been getting a bit more attention recently.

- According to the stats, all week people have been searching for Dennis Mannion and coming up with my "Dr. Dirt and Mr. Clean" post. Turns out Mannion was fired by the Dodgers this week.

- Bob Tufts linked to my interview of him in his San Francisco Examiner article congratulating the Giants on their ALDS win. I agree with him - the Braves logo is offensive, but not as offensive as Brian Wilson's beard.

- Eric Hillman commented on my post about his 1994 Topps card and his "Posh Puppy" business. It's a long comment with some interesting tidbits about pet products and the environment. Best line: "Pure Puppy is 100% biodegradable and as safe on the environment as the tears Mets fan shed every time I took the mound." Check it out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jerry Browne for Guv'nor

What is Jerry Browne's nickname? The former infielder, who has a similar name to the former (and possibly future) California chief executive, has his nickname listed as "Guv'nor" on one of his first baseball cards, 1987 Topps Traded.

The SABR Bio Project and the Baseball Libary also list Browne's nickname as Guv'nor, which is actually British slang for "boss". However, according to the popular reference sites Baseball Reference and Wikipedia, his nickname is actually the more formal "Governor." So who is right?

According to his glove on this 1991 Donruss card, they're both wrong. The correct answer is "Gov".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweep!

Once again the Twinkies turned into cream puffs to the benefit of the Yankees. Nice job of pitching by Phil Hughes.

The Yankees will have to wait until Tuesday to find out their opponent. Obnoxious as Joe Maddon is, I'd still probably rather face Tampa Bay then Texas's dominant top two pitchers. Of course, if there is one thing the Yankees have learned the last few years, is that previous matchups mean little in the postseason. Either way, the Yankees are going to have to step up their game, because neither team will be the pushover that Minnesota is.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kevin Garner on baseball cards

Kevin Garner played seven seasons of professional baseball, hitting 92 home runs, including 23 in 310 at-bats in AAA. He kindly shared with me some of his baseball card stories.
"When I was younger I used to collect cards but wouldn't consider myself an avid collector. I remember having drawers full of cards but never paid too much attention to the values at the time. They may be worth something today, I think my younger brother ended up doing something with them. It seemed like I would always get the same mediocre players in every package.

I actually do have a pretty good story about one of my baseball cards. I think it was '92 or '93, I was with the Chatanooga Lookouts. Long story short, the card company put Terry McDaniel's picture on my card. My dad never cared much for baseball cards but he carries that one around in his wallet to this day."


Thanks! I couldn't find a picture of the error card (1992 Fleer Procards 3285), but here is a card with a correct picture of Garner. . .

. . . and here is a card of McDaniel. As you can see they don't look much alike.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I always knew Berkman could do that

Not really, of course. I thought he looks washed-up and that the trade was a lousy one. I sure hope he keeps proving me wrong.

The big controversy of the night was that it looked like he should have been called out on strikes the pitch before his game-winning double. However, a look at all the called strikes in the game shows that Andy Pettitte was actually squeezed more than Carl Pavano. Unlike Pavano, though, Pettitte doesn't crumble in front of adversity. Instead, as this Metal Universe card shows, adversity and stone walls crumble in front of Pettitte.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One and hopefully not done

In what was clearly the biggest event in baseball yesterday*, Mark Teixeira saved the Yankees season with a clutch two-run homer in the seventh inning. Being down 0-1 with a shaky Pettitte and Hughes for games two and three would have been devastating.

Still, I can't get to excited over winning Game 1, as that hasn't always been as big a boon for the Yankees as it has for other teams. In the last four years, only one team has blown a 1-0 lead in the division series - the 2006 Yankees. And the last team to win Game 1 on the road and still lose the series? The 2005 Yankees. Win tonight and maybe I'll get a little more optimistic.


*That Halladay guy in Philadelphia? Meh. By percentage, he allowed infinitely more baserunners last night than he did on May 29 against Florida. Infinite! You can't get worse than that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My new least favorite team

I guess all the small-minded baseball fans everywhere will be rooting for this "underdog" because they're jealous that the Yankees care more about winning than their team does.

Interesting (if irrelevant) fact: the Twins are the only MLB team whose location was picked because their owner was racist:
"I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don't go to ballgames, but they'll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it'll scare you to death. We came here because you've got good, hardworking white people here."

Let's hope the Yankees have a "Good Ol' Time" in Minnesota like they did in '03, '04 and '09.


(Astute readers will remember that this is the exact same post I made last year on the eve of Yankees-Twins. Hey, it worked once...)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One sexy trade

Just finished a massive trade with Jeffrey of One Sexy Engineer - over a thousand cards went in each direction. Though not a blogger, he has a great baseball card site with detailed trade and want lists. He's especially trying to finish up 1981 Topps, 1988 Score, 1993 Topps, 1998 EX-2001, and either of the Donruss Throwback Threads of 2004-2005, and possibly the 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites. Go check out his website, which seems to have nothing to do with engineering or sexiness.

Joy of a completed set - I got the last card I needed to finish my 1990 Topps set!


I am now very close to finishing 1989 Donruss and 1991 Topps as well.

Jeffrey sent me this great McGwire, but I still need some big names from 1989 Donruss.

33 Ken Griffey Jr.
53 Gary Carter
86 John Kruk
154 Nolan Ryan
199 Kent Hrbek
208 Bo Jackson

The opposite is true for 1991 Topps. This Orel Hershiser he sent me was probably the biggest star I had needed in the set.

The rest of the cards I need are all commons, except for arguably the Canseco. I always hear bloggers complaining about having too many of these cards - maybe someone has these?

67 Rick Honeycutt
194 Xavier Hernandez
213 Frank Wills
390 Jose Canseco All Star
542 Rob Murphy
748 Al Newman
785 Scott Fletcher
788 Bob Milacki

There was a lot more than just junk wax filler. Here is just a small sample of the great cards that, if not exactly sexy, sure aren't hard to look at.

I'll be posting a lot more of these over the next few days/weeks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ken Vining's favorite baseball cards

Ken Vining pitched seven years of professional baseball, making the major leagues in 2001 with the White Sox. He is now Assistant General Manager & Pitching Coach at the On Deck Baseball/Softball Skill Development Academy in Pineville,NC. He kindly shared with me his thoughts on his favorite cards.

"I did collect cards when I was a kid. I was able to save most of the cards that I had collected. I am sure I will pass them along to my son when he gets a little older. There are a few cards that stick out in my mind as favorites. Obviously, my major league card is a favorite. I also had a minor league card where I posed as a left-handed catcher...haha! I got fined in kangaroo court for that one.

The card of Glenn Hubbard holding a snake was a card I had for a short time, but traded it. I was never able to get it back.
Some of Roger McDowell's cards were pretty funny. I had him as a pitching coach in Double-A...he was hilarious! My favorite card of all time was unique. It too was a card I traded away, but I found the card on Ebay years later and outbid everyone for it. It was Dale Murphy's rookie card in metal....or aluminum...or something."

Thanks! I couldn't find a picture of that minor league card - maybe one of you has it?