Sunday, October 22, 2017

Disastro

When Andy Pettitte shocked the Yankees by signing with the Astros after the 2003 season, the headline in the New York Post (or was it the Daily News?) said DISASTRO. For some reason that headline always stuck with me when I thought about the Astros. Since that time the Yankees were no-hit by the Astros, lost the Wild Card Game to them in 2015 and now were defeated by them in the 2017 ALCS. Still, it was a good season, as the Yankees really overachieved to get this far. Hopefully the good seasons the young players had this  year are building-blocks for the future and not one-time flukes. Good luck to the Astros - those Dodgers sure look tough to beat.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Gil Velazquez on baseball cards

Infielder Gil Velazquez played parts of five seasons in the major leagues for the Red Sox, Angels and Marlins. In 33 games he hit .233 with 0 HR and 4 RBI. Now the minor league infield coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.


"My favorite card of mine is my very first one. I was in the Appalachian League as an 18 year old and had no idea they made baseball cards of us. I never had one of the big leagues even though I had parts of 5 seasons or else I feel that would have been my favorite. I used to collect baseball card as a kid growing up. We would play marbles to win each other’s cards. I still remember losing a Jose Canseco rookie card and went home crying. Not because he was a favorite player of mine but because it was valuable at the time. My favorite card of another player was my Cal Ripken Jr. card. He was my favorite player. The Iron man!! I never kept my cards due to us moving around so much and I never knew what happened to them. But I still cherish those memories of getting out of school walking home with 50 cents to purchase a pack of cards. I’d buy my cards and walk home crushing the bubble gum in the pack. Great memories."


Thanks! I couldn't find a picture of that card (1999 Multi-Ad Appalachian League All Stars), but here is one from later in his career.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Baby Bombers do it again

Wow, I did not expect that kind of success against Keuchel. It seems like these young Yankees may not have the experience to know when they are supposed to be overmatched. Now they go back to Houston in prime position to win this series, needing to just win one out of two. Sitting pretty . . . just like in Seattle in 1995, or Arizona in 2001. Good reminders not to get overconfident.


Could easily highlight Judge and Sanchez again but there are some many good young players on the team right now.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Baby Bombers growing up

It's amazing the Yankees had gotten as far as they had with very little from their two biggest bats, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Fortunately that changed in a big way yesterday, as they came back from being down 4-0 in the seventh and 4-2 in the eight with some big clutch hits from both of them. The Yankees still have a lot of work ahead of them if they want a pennant but this was a great game.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A lucky package

Yesterday was a great day for the Yankees. Some serious two-out thunder - all eight runs scored with two outs. And CC continues to be ageless, pitching six shutout innings, looking like the Cy Young CC pictured on this card, which arrived in the mail yesterday as part of a trade package from an Astros fan. Talk about timing!
(More to come on the awesome package in a future post)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Caught a Trout

A few weeks ago I won a contest from Collecting Cutch, winning this awesome jersey card of one of the best players in baseball.
 He also threw in some extras which are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

1993 Studio Barry Larkin

Hobby is hunting: Larkin has a reputation as one of the most avid hunters in sports.

Favorite sports announcer is Al Michaels: Larkin is from Cincinnati; Michaels was originally a Reds announcer.

Favorite players as a kid were Dave Concepcion and Ozzie Smith: Larkin ended up playing with his idol, Concepcion, with the Reds.

Most prized possessions are his ’90 World Series ring and his ’88 Olympic medal: It must be a pretty select group that has won both a World Series and an Olympics, I know Tino Martinez was on that team as well.

Might have been a financial advisor if he hadn’t been an athlete: Larkin has now done just that, starting a firm called Dugout Ventures with Torii Hunter, David Ortiz, Nolan Ryan and Vernon Wells.

Where he is now: In addition to Dugout Ventures Larkin also does work for the Reds.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

In Houston we had a problem

Well, it took the Yankees less than 24 hours to fall behind 2-0 in this series. Unlike the Division Series its unlikely the Yankees will get enough lucky breaks to come back. As the Yankees break all kinds of postseason records for strikeouts, it's clear no one on the team has heard of having a two-strike approach to hitting. Hopefully there will be a new hitting coach next year.

Still, the pitching has been good - nice to see Tanaka in particular overcoming a disappointing season to be great in the playoffs.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mike Glavine on baseball cards

First baseman Mike Glavine played nine seasons of professional baseball, reaching the major leagues with the Mets in 2003. The brother of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine, he hit 108 career home runs in the minor leagues. Now the Head Coach at Northeastern University, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.


- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?  For one of my cards I took a posed picture with my brother's bat in my hands. A lot of people noticed it and commented on it. I tried to get him to use one of my bats in one of his cards but I don't think he wanted his card value to go down. 


 - Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player? My first professional card is still my favorite. My mom always liked it because I was smiling and I liked it because it was my first card. The card also had my favorite glove in it before it was stolen that season

- Do you collect baseball cards? I have started helping my 5 year old son collect cards. We have been having a lot of fun with it and trying to collect all the players from his favorite team the Red Sox. 



Thanks! His first card was in 1996 Fleer Excel. I could not find a picture online. Any of you readers have it? Here is a card of him from my collection.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Double Didi!

Two home runs for Didi Gregorius! A double DD if you will. And I was going to make that joke even before I saw Collecting Clutch's contest this morning, which ties in perfectly with the theme. Still hard to believe the Yankees knocked off the Indians - they played just well enough to win against a very tough team. Those Astros sure look tough, but the Yankees can certainly hold their heads up high with how they have played this postseason.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Baseball card story from Dustin Glant

Dustin Glant pitched in the Diamondbacks organization from 2003 to 2008. In 264 games he went 21-23 with 51 saves and a 5.19 ERA. Now the pitching coach at Ball State, he kindly answered the questions I sent him after his card was mentioned by Chris Kinsey in my recent interview with him.


"I believe the one Kinsey is thinking of was in Lancaster CA for the Jethawks.  It was taken early in the season and I wanted to see if anyone realized I was in catchers gear for it.  So I goofed around and had on full gear and posed as if I was catching a pop up.  We had a good laugh from it.  Great memories from that season, loved our manager Bill Plummer and pitching coach Jeff Pico, both guys I was fortunate enough to be coached by for several of my seasons.  We made the playoffs if I remember correctly on that last day of the season--huge thrill!  That was Miguel Montero's big breakout season as well."
Thanks!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hitting and pitching

That was cool - for the first time this season the Yankees hit well and pitched well in the same game. They will need everything to go right tomorrow though. The Yankees have been much better at home then on the road this season, which makes me pessimistic for tomorrow's game, as does the patterns of runs scored for the Yankees so far this postseason - 8,0,9,1,7. A big game for CC is a must because odds are the Yankees won't score much. Still, just to push the Indians to a Game 5 is a nice accomplishment for this very young team. Happy to see Severino bounce back - he is probably the most important of the Yankees' "Baby Bombers".

Monday, October 9, 2017

Stay of execution

Nice job of Tanaka and Chapman making the Yankees one measly run hold up yesterday. They will need a lot more runs today when Severino pitches. Nice to avoid getting swept considering they are playing the best team in baseball.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

1993 Studio Mark Grace

Hobby is golf: The Mark Grace foundation has an annual golf tournament in Scottsdale.

Favorite sports announcer is Chick Hearn: Another vote for the longtime basketball announcer.

Favorite player as a kid was Keith Hernandez: Grace wore Hernandez’s #17 as a player.

Most prized possession is a Pebble Beach photo with Bill Murray: Grace and Murray were regular golfing buddies in the 1990s.

Might have been a businessman if he hadn’t been an athlete: Grace does not appear to have gone into business after his baseball career.

Pet peeve is losing: Grace’s teams did plenty of losing in his time with the Cubs.

Where he is now: Grace was a national TV announcer before DUI problems, including driving without a court-ordered interlock device, landed him in jail. He is now out of jail and back on TV with the Diamondbacks.

Not the bullpen you thought it was

All week everyone kept talking about how great the Yankees bullpen was. Remember though, if you read my little playoff preview, it really isn't as good as some of the numbers would suggest, as the Yankees were among the leaders all year in blown saves. Too often the big guys would come up small in a big spot. So I wasn't really surprised, though very disappointed, to see Green and Robertson blow a five run lead like that. This doesn't hurt like 1995, 2001 or 2004, but it still sucks. Well, it'll all be over tomorrow.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A hit? What's that?

You know your team is outclassed when the only suspense in the game is whether you will be no-hit. Closest thing the Yankees had to a highlight was Aaron Hicks breaking up a no-hitter in the sixth inning.
What are the chances that Corey Kluber no-hits the Yankees tonight? I imagine they're pretty high.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Baseball card stories from Chris Kinsey

Chris Kinsey pitched six seasons in the Diamondbacks organization. In 169 games he went 27-40 with a 5.00 ERA. Now a paralysis recovery specialist in California, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My childhood best friend and I collected cards our whole childhood. We would trade sometimes but always touted our best cards which were usually encased in glass or plastic of some sort. My favorite cards were of the Giants of course being born and raised so close to them in Sacramento. Kevin Mitchell, Matt Williams, Will Clark, Barry Bonds whom I had cards of when he was in a Pirates uniform so I was on the fence about him at first, amongst many others. I had rookies of Ken Griffey jr and Canseco in my collection as well as many others. At some point I moved and lost my complete collection due to oversight I think. I never really knew what happened to all my cards. When I lost my original collection I had worked my childhood and some teen years on I never restarted my collection. 

Now having been on a baseball card, I do have a funny story from when I was in A ball. I believe one of our pitchers (right-handed reliever) allowed himself the opportunity to take pictures as a back up catcher. I think for the most part it went under the radar until the baseball cards came out and the whole team got to have a look at our full team set. It was some of the best laughs as a whole team that I can remember having inside the clubhouse."
 
Thanks! Here is a card of Kinsey from my collection.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wild!

That sure was some game last night. No matter what happens in the ALDS this Wild Card game will be a nice highlight to the Yankees season. I turned on the game last night and they were losing 3-0 in the first inning, and I thought that they were done for sure. Instead Didi Gregorius came through with a huge home run and the Yankees were on their way. Judge and Sanchez may be bigger stars but with the game on the line Didi is the guy most Yankees want up there, and in this case that clutch moment came in the first inning, as Didi's three-run home run bailed out Luis Severino and shifted momentum back to the Yankees.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wild Card Preview

First off - check out the baseball card retrospectives I wrote on the newest members of the Hall of Very Good:
Roger Maris
Dave Parker


Playoff time! I haven't gotten to do these much the last few years. For all the reflexive mentions of the Yankees as a playoff powerhouse, they have only played one postseason game in the last five years, and haven't won a playoff series in seven years. My expectations are not high for this game. The Yankees hitting has been spotty at times, and they do not do particularly well in close games. Ervin Santana is having a career year and the Twins have led the league in runs scored in the second half, so the Yankees have their hands full. These aren't Ron Gardenhire's Twins who regularly let the Yankees steamroll over them. The Yankees hopes rest on the young arm of Luis Severino and some young bats. Let's see what happens!

Monday, October 2, 2017

1993 Studio Jerald Clark

Hobbies are golf, fishing and listening to jazz music: Nice eclectic mix of relaxing pursuits.
 
Might have been an engineer if he hadn’t been an athlete: After his baseball career Clark earned a BS in Computer Science at National University and worked as a network engineer for several technology companies.
 
Where he is now: Clark moved into the real estate field in 2003, joining RE/MAX in San Diego, where he still works today.