Thursday, April 30, 2009

What does a Yankee card have to do with the Mets bullpen?

The other day I posted this 2006 Bowman card featuring Melky Cabrera in Shea Stadium.

As the Yankees only play one day game there a year, it was easy enough to find out how he did. Turns out it was this game from May 20, 2006, when the Yankees entered the ninth inning down 4-0 and scored four runs in the ninth off of Billy Wagner to tie the game. Melky walked and scored the tying run in that ninth. The Yankees would win it in the eleventh on an Andy Phillips RBI single.

Then, as now, it is nice to know that as bad as the Yankee bullpen is, like giving up five runs in the ninth yesterday, the Mets is even worse, with JJ Putz doing his Billy Wagner impression.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Far away from the major leagues

For my 100th post, I am going to look at some minor league cards. Unlike their big league brethren, these players don't get photographed in fancy stadiums that hold 50,000 people. The settings for their baseball card photos are a lot more humble.

For example, here's Mariano Delos Santos, who looks more like he is on someone's deck rather than in a ballpark.

Check out the fence behind Larry Luebbers! I wonder what fell on it to create that major dent? You sure wouldn't see that in a major league park.

The funniest pictures are the ones of newly drafted high school players, yet to appear in a pro game. It looks like the Classic photographer got a shot of Joe Wagner in his backyard.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Inappropriate cards

A couple of the Yankee cards I got from I Heart Halos seemed to be just a bit . . . inappropriate.

Like this one of Whitey Ford, about to say "Check out my balls!"

Speaking of which, that seems to be what Bob Geren is doing to the Tiger batter approaching the plate.

"Hey handsome, what are you doing after the game?"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yankee oddities

Here are a couple of head-scratches from the Yankees I got from I Heart Halos.

If Jesse Barfield's Diamond Skill was his throwing arm, why do they show him in a batting pose?

What's with the psychedelic design here? I love how shiny the card is, but the graphic is really bizarre and random for a baseball card.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yankees from I Heart Halos

In reply to my recent challenge to the various Yankee-haters to put their money where their mouth is and send me their hated Yankee cards (in return for cards of their favorite team), Ryan of I Heart Halos sent me not one but two bubble mailers filled with Yankee cards. Ryan made a good point in the comments about why so many baseball fans outside of New York don't like New York teams - the constant oversaturation coverage by the media. I think native New Yorkers like myself don't realize how irritating it can be for the rest of the country. This probably doesn't just go for sports but for all kind of media coverage. For example, as a New Yorker I take it for granted that I will see the Times Square ball-drop on New Year's Eve, but I was kind of surprised to see it on TV the first time I was out of the NYC area on New Years. There I was in a suburb of Pittsburgh, seeing the New York new years celebration following the evening news from New York. I thought it was weird, and I imagine for the Pittsburgh natives it must have been irritating.

Most of the cards he sent were from the last five years, which is cool because most of my cards are in the 1986-94 range, so there were few duplicates.

Here's Melky Cabrera at Shea Stadium, with some Yankee fans in the background. On the back we learn that he got his unusual nickname from his sister. I'm sure John Sterling is grateful to her, considering how many puns he makes off of that name.

Here's a card I didn't have from Pink Hat Day at Yankee Stadium.

Getting a Don Mattingly card I did not have is always awesome!

Hmmm, an Angels card somehow slipped in . . .

I got my first Humberto Sanchez card on the day the Yankees released him. . .

Here's my favorite, because I was at this game!

I was impressed with how quickly and effectively he pitched that day. Next Sunday will be my first game at the New Yankee Stadium, where they will be playing Ryan's Halos.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Interview with Tim Flannery

Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, who played ten years in the major leagues, kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer a couple of my questions about his baseball cards.

Of course, I had to ask him about his famous 1988 Fleer card, which featured him posing with a surfboard. Was it his his idea or Fleer's?
"The photographers brother shaped those boards and wanted some promo, I needed a new was a good trade off."

I also asked him what his favorite card was. He answered:
"I like my bunting card the best because I am the bunting coach with the Giants. Whenever a guy needs some work, I put that card in his locker with an appointment time with the bunt doctor..."

Thanks, Coach Flannery! Considering that the Giants ranked 14th out of 16 NL teams in sacrifice hits last year, I think that card will be making a lot of appearances in the Giants clubhouse this year!

As the surfboard is a Sauritch, the photographer must be Lou Sauritch. You can find a bio of Sauritch with an unused Fleer photo here. Doing some research on Sauritch, I found a story about how he caught the error on another Tim Flannery card, 1981 Fleer. I also found Sauritch's explanation for why so many 1982 Fleer cards appear blurry. It's not the photographers fault. I even found a cool story by Sauritch on ESPNs website about Juan Berenguer. He was going through his slides and noticed that Berenguer had an obscenity written on the bill of his cap. Wonder if anyone has seen it on any of his cards? Too bad Sauritch wasn't editing Bill Ripken's card in 1989...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Small oddities

In going through my new cards, I noticed a couple of strange things.

One was the object on Gary Gaetti's hat. Looks like a pin with the state of Minnesota on it. Perhaps a commemorative pin for the Twins world championship the previous year? I assume he didn't wear it on the field.

Who is that on the billboard behind Don Aase? He is in a home uniform in spring training, which would mean the picture is very likely at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, which was shared by the Yankees and the Orioles. However, the player on the billboard isn't wearing a Yankee or Oriole jersey. It looks like a Mets jersey or maybe a Giants jersey from the early 1980s. Any ideas?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trade with Rick

Got some cards yesterday in a trade with Rick from Washington (the Evergreen State, not the nation's capital). Check out his wantlists here. I sent him some baseball, basketball and hockey dupes and got back a nice stack of cards to get me closer to completing some of my mid-80's Topps and Donruss sets.

I got plenty of 1986 and 1991 Topps and 1989 Donruss - it amazes me how much I still need to complete those sets!

However, I am very near completion of two sets.
This Mike Moore card leaves me just two shy of completing 1988 Donruss. I just need Al Leiter (43) and Mark McGwire (256).

And with four 1990 Topps cards, including the rookie card of this future Yankees World Series hero, I need just four more to complete that set - Fred Manrique (242), Bobby Thigpen (255), Gary Thurman (276) and Sammy Sosa (692).

These cards were so overproduced I am sure some of you have duplicates of those to trade. Anyone interested?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Interrupted while reading

At least twice in the 1982 Fleer set, the company's photographers caught pitchers in the not-very-classic "interrupted while reading shot."

Here Don Sutton is annoyed as someone interrupts his perusal of the racing form.

Joe Edelen is distracted from checking out his passport before the Reds' road trip to Montreal.

By the late 1990s, Fleer had learned to leave pitchers alone while they read. Here Jeff Shaw is allowed to go over his fantasy baseball team in peace.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Interview with Mike Easler

Mike Easler earned the nickname "Hit Man" during his fourteen year major league career, hitting .293 with 118 home runs. Since his retirement he has become a respected hitting coach. He kindly took the time recently to answer a few of my baseball-card related questions.

Bo Rosny: Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
Mike Easler: My dad use to receive baseball cards at our home in Cleveland. He used to keep them in a bag and make me sign all of them every time I came home to visit. He made sure I signed them all. My dad told me the fans are very important and he said to respect them always. They are the ones who help pay my salary. I still keep them in a bag,and I try to sign them all when I receive cards at my home. Truthfully I have slacked off a bit, but when I get quiet times at home I open them all and sign and send them off.
BR: Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
ME: My 2 favorite cards of myself are the card of me in a Pirates uniform with Louie Tiant in the backround. I had a black top and a yellow helmet on. The other card was of me in a Boston Red Sox uniform at first base with a firstbase glove on. The Hitman with a glove on my hand. Thats a joke.
BR: Do you collect baseball cards?
ME: don't collect cards, but from time to time I like to sort through them to see me in my hey day. I tell people that is my son, not me.

Judging from his favorite cards, it looks like Mike Easler is another fan of early 80's Fleer! In fact, on his blog he uses a picture of another Fleer card showing him as a Yankee - 1987 Fleer. Below are two more Fleer cards of Easler as a Yankee from my own collection.

Thanks, Coach Easler!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some more 1982 Fleer gems

A couple more great photos from 1982 Fleer.
Here is Ed Farmer contemplating a baseball. Is he doing a baseball Hamlet? "Alas, poor Dotson, I knew him well!" Or is he looking for juuuust the right spot to put his signature?

And here is Joe Pettini, pride of Wheeling, WV, sporting a wild, mountain man mustache and pose. He looks like he wishes the bat were an ax so he could go chop some wood.

Of course, the macho pose is a bit ruined by one of his teammates' big fat butt taking up most of the background.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1984 fleer

I think 1984 Fleer is one of the nicer looking sets of the eighties. It is a very clean, crisp look, and those blue stripes look great, especially with teams with red and blue uniforms.

Of course, it has that goofy photo style Fleer was famous for in that era. Here is Tony Bernazard trying to take a serious baseball card picture while a teammate goofs around playing baseball golf in the background.

And here is Dickie Thon at the All Star Game in Chicago. It appears that he brought his family with him; behind him is his proud grandma, straight from getting her hair done at the beauty parlor.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Marginal mysteries

A couple of the cards I got from Night Owl present some unsolved questions in the margins of their photographs.
Here is a 1982 Fleer Steve McCatty, being interviewed by an African American broadcaster. I checked Wikipedia (yes, you can actually look this stuff up there) and the A's broadcast team that year as well as the broadcasters for the two playoff series the A's were in were all white. It's not Bill White because he was only three inches shorter than McCatty and this announcer is significantly shorter than that. Any ideas?

Here is Lance Parrish's 1983 Fleer card, which appears to have been taken at the 1982 All-Star Game at Olympic Stadium. (That's why the man in the turquoise shirt behind him is wearing an Expos cap.) But who is that breathing into Parrish's face? Whoever it is appears to be an Atlanta Brave, but I could be getting the jersey wrong. Three Braves made the All-Star team that year: Phil Niekro, Bob Horner, and Dale Murphy. Any idea who it is? Or is it none of the above?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yankee Pride

Judging by the other baseball card blogs out there, I am not only the only Yankee fan with a baseball card blog, but the only baseball card blogger who doesn't hate the Yankees. I can understand Met and Red Sox fans hating the Yankees due to the natural rivalry. I can also understand it from Braves and Ranger fans because of the way the Yankees have dominated them in the playoffs (and Dodger fans too, for the historical rivalry). Conversely, I can't understand why fans of a team that dominate the Yankees in the playoffs (I am looking at you, "I ♥ Halos") would hate them so much. Don't tell me it's about the money unless you refuse to root for free agents that sign with your team. Is it really just jealousy over the titles and media attention?

Not that I need to prove myself as a "real" fan, but I grew up and still live on Long Island which is solid Met country, and I first became a fan in 1986, when the Mets were dominant. I was the only Met fan in my class, and the teacher made a bulletin board out of Mets baseball cards when they won the World Series. (I still think of it when I see a 1986 Topps card of a Met). My first five years of being a Yankee fan, I saw their record get worse every year, and it took a decade before I first saw the Yankees in the playoffs.

So here is a proud assortment of Yankees baseball cards. If the sight of them makes you retch, remember that I am happy to take the Yankee cards you have off your hands and send you some cards of your own favorite team.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kirk Dressendorfer's favorite card

Kirk Dressendorfer kindly answered some of my baseball card questions. Dressendorfer was a three-time All American at the University of Texas, made seven starts for the 1991 Oakland A's, and averaged a strikeout an inning over his eight year pro career.

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

I have copies of all of my baseball cards. I like the Gold Leaf Card a lot.

- Do you collect baseball cards?

My brother and I collected cards when we were little. He, being the wiser older brother claimed most of the baseball cards leaving me with the football cards. Me, being the younger brother decided to write my name on the back of MY baseball cards. Of course, there are no telling how many valuable cards we ruined putting them in our bicycle spokes.

Thanks, Kirk! Not many kids who grow up writing their own name on baseball cards actually end up with real ones with their name and picture! Although I don't have the Leaf Gold Rookie card, I do have several other of his cards, including this one from 1992 Pinnacle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Ed Glynn error card - or is it an error?

One of the cards I got in my trade with Night Owl was the 1983 Fleer 408, Ed Glynn, which is listed in Beckett as an error card because it had a picture of Bud Anderson on the front.

At first it seemed pretty straightforward to me. Fleer confused two Long Islanders with blonde mustaches. On the front was Bud Anderson, who pitched at Clarke High School in Westbury, and on the back is the clearly thinner mustache on Ed Glynn, who pitched at Francis Lewis High School in Flushing. (Hey, Queens is a part of Long Island.)

But look closer on the front of the card. Bud Anderson is not alone in the picture - standing behind him is #48. Who wore #48 on the Indians? Ed Glynn! So he is on the card after all! It's not an error at all - Fleer just chose a picture where Glynn was out of focus and his head was cropped off, and his teammate was in the foreground in focus. But remember, in the early 1980s Fleer's photo selection was not that stellar anyway.

Speaking of Long Island pitching stars, I also got this card of former Bethpage High School standout Joe Sambito gracing a young Dodger fan with his presence. The kid is so excited to meet a major league player that he can barely contain his yawn.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trade with Night Owl Cards

Greg from Night Owl Cards saw my post about wanting more early 80s Fleer and sent me this stack of 82s, 83s and 84s in exchange for some Dodgers and night cards he did not have.

It was fun going through my duplicates looking specifically for night cards - if anyone else has any out-of-the-box collections like that, let me know and I would love to help.

I'll post some more over the next few days but here are some highlights:
Mario Soto's 1982 Fleer shows that composition was not a great concern among Fleer photographers. The picture seems to be two-thirds sky, one-third Soto. Bad ratio. Of course, the next year they photographed him next to a trunk.

Here is the only Yankee I got in the stack - Shane Rawley's 1983 Fleer.

I took this picture of Tony Pena's 1984 Fleer, laughing and joking while balancing catching gear on his bats. Then I turned on YES and saw him laughing in the Yankee dugout as Nick Swisher pitched the eighth inning. Unfortunately, Swisher is probably the Yankees' best reliever right now.

Remember how awful Gaylord Perry's 1982 and 1983 Fleer cards were? Looks like this time he spotted the photographer first and is about to attack.