Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An argumentative card

On both the front and back of his 1995 Collectors Choice SE card, Wilson Alvarez is in a heated argument with umpire Rocky Roe.

What is the argument about? I believe it is from this game, July 24, 1994 in Cleveland. In the fifth inning of Chicago's eventual 4-2 victory, Paul Sorrento scored from first on an error by right fielder Warren Newson. According to the snippet of a pay-per-view Chicago Tribune article I can see through Google, "Fernandez snatched the rebound and held the runners at second and third, but umpire Rocky Roe ruled the ball had gone out of play and waved Sorrento around." This would seem to be what the argument was about.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Derrick Gibson on baseball cards, briefly

I asked Derrick Gibson, who played 14 years of professional baseball, including two years with the Rockies, about baseball cards, and got this brief response:

"I have a favorite card and a favorite card of amother player. I only collect cards of people I know and of myself."

Glad that he collects, but who are is favorites? I asked again, we'll see if he answers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A "ghetto" card

Rafael Novoa "credits baseball for helping him escape the ghetto, saying he played so much he was 'too tired to go out' and get in trouble."

The "ghetto" Novoa escaped was the Bronx, in part due to New York City's Youth Service League, for whom he captained their first World Series team in 1986.

The YSL has had several major leaguers in its ranks, most notably Manny Ramirez, who fortunately for the Yankees will miss this weekend's series due to the Dodgers dragging their heels on the White Sox deal. Ramirez is pictured in a YSL uniform on his 1992 Topps rookie card.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The innocent 1990s

Remember the innocent 1990s, when card companies had no problem posting pictures of a player's locker, complete with mysterious pill bottles. . .

. . . and the text on the back would talk about how they trained with bodybuilders who were on record as saying steroids were only dangerous if "misused."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Charlie Hayes football

Would baseball players look more bad-ass if they wore football helmets? Maybe.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don Stanhouse on baseball cards

Don Stanhouse pitched for ten seasons in the major leagues, winning 38 games and saving 64. His best season was 1979, when he went 7-3 with 21 saves as he made the AL All-Star team and led the Orioles to the pennant. He was known as "Fullpack" for pitching into and out of trouble, causing manager Earl Weaver to smoke a full pack of cigarettes out of nervousness. Since his retirement he has been active in the energy industry, and is the Principal Owner of Pro Players Power and Gas, an energy broker which helps businesses and homeowners find the lowest rates possible for their electricity. He kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"We used to joke about the cards, the card pictures and the guys that shot the pictures. Where it is shaving cream in the face these days, we made taking the baseball card pictures a NEW adventure in picture taking!

Each card has a special meaning, that I know they do. At the time, it
was kind of corny to do the pose of pitching so I have always liked each card and feel honored to have as many as I do.

I never have collected baseball cards although I have all of the card books. Used to go through them when the kids were younger but I think the adults have just as much fun ... At least you can TELL the stories to the adults!!"


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Terry Adams on baseball cards

Terry Adams pitched for eleven seasons in the major leagues, winning 51 games and saving 42. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
My first professional card was in Huntington with the Cubs. My left eye was shut due to sun in my eyes! I only got a few cards my first year and can't recall even if I have one. I never got a card when I was with the Red Sox in 2004. I really wish I had had one taken to remember that special year (maybe there is one, haven't seen one ever).

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
I have a couple cards I really like. One was a prodigy card and the other was one with a batting helmet on (weird for a relief pitcher). I think the rarest card I have is a Kevin Tapani card when he was with the White Sox but it has my name at the top. I played with Kevin for the Cubs.

- Do you collect baseball cards?I used to collect cards when I was a kid. I have sets of cards at my parents. I would take my money and buy the cards with the gum inside. I love that gum. It was like Christmas getting a Tim Raines, Reggie Jackson, Nolan Ryan or any Cubs card back in the day.

Thanks! As far as I can tell, Adams didn't have any cards with the Red Sox. I also couldn't find any Tapani cards with Adams's name on it, and I'm not sure what a prodigy card is (I'll ask). Any help from you readers would be great.

While I don't have any of the cards he mentioned, I do have this card from 1997 Fleer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The doctor is in...sane

Hector Carrasco grimaces in terror as Dr. Rijo holds him down and shoves a stethoscope into his neck. I don't think that's a proper dugout-side manner.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A creative way to relax

Who says there's no place to take a rest on a baseball field? As Jose Valentin shows, just turn the batting practice pitcher's net over onto its side and you have a nice little hammock to chew sunflower seeds while watching the rookies do wind sprints.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Which Donovan?

According to his 1994 Topps card, Donovan Osborne, "received his given name from his father, who enjoyed John Wayne's 1963 movie 'Donovan's Reef.'"

According to Wikipedia, which apparently got it from the Cardinals Encyclopedia, he was named after the "late-1960s flower-child singer Donovan."

So was he named after a tough-guy John Wayne character, as Topps claims, or a hippie flower child, as Wikipedia indicates?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Foreheads from Collectors Choice SE

Dinged Corners issued a challenge to find some "fierce foreheads". I went through my recently-acquired Collectors Choice SE cards because I knew it had some great photography.

Here's a classic "grrr" face from Grrrreg Maddux. He looks a bit like Mark Teixeira in this picture.

Darren Lewis grits his forehead, or just tries to avoid getting sand in his eye.

While scouting for foreheads, I saw some interesting writing on the bill of LaTroy Hawkins's cap. If you look closely (you may have to click on the picture) it says "Hawk Top Dawg 13".

Friday, August 20, 2010

John O'Donoghue on baseball cards

John O'Donoghue pitched seven years of professional baseball, reaching the major leagues with Baltimore in 1993. The son of a former all-star pitcher also named John O'Donoghue, he kindly shared with me his stories about baseball cards.

"I collected cards for about a year, I think it was around 1979. Other than that year I was never a big collector.

I don't have a particular favorite card of myself. I like most all of them because it was always such a surprise to see myself on one. Being an undrafted free agent, the odds were not exactly in my favor of having my own card.

I always pitched with one of my Dad's baseball cards in my back pocket. While in college I had one of his cards in my locker and put it in my back pocket prior to warming up. I had a good game and continued to keep one with me when I pitched. I ruined a few of them before our clubhouse manager gave me a card keeper to protect it."


Thursday, August 19, 2010

1993 Topps expansion shots

One of the interesting things in 1993 Topps Series 2 is the weird backgrounds used for shots of players for the expansion Rockies and Marlins.

Eric Young posing with a cactus.

Pay no attention to the pitcher behind the curtain.

Fortunately for Roger Bailey, he pitched three years in the major leagues and got baseball cards on which he actually looked like a baseball player.

Finally, here's Jamie McAndrew gripping a tree in a somewhat suggestive pose...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baseball card stories from Ryan Hancock

Ryan Hancock pitched seven years of professional baseball, making the major leagues with the Angels in 1996. A two-sport star at BYU, he quarterbacked the football team to a 7-1 record in 1992. Currently, he works full-time in medical sales and is also a private pitching instructor. He kindly shared some great stories about baseball cards.

"As far as collecting cards, I have held on to a few select cards from my childhood, but I am far from an active collector. One interesting fact you may not have realized: income from card deals is often one of the few sources of income for minor league prospects if they didn't get large signing bonuses. So if a player wasn't an early round pick, and they can become a prospect, the card deals can be a big help to support a minor league career, especially because of the ridiculously low minor league salaries. I was lucky enough to be an early rounder and got some card deals that my agent helped set up. Agents can play a key role in finding good card deals as well. I remember signing about 10 thousand of my "Best" brand card if I remember right. At least I was allowed to do it on my own rather than fly to some location and do it over a couple days with someone watching you sign them like many players had to.

My best story would be getting Nolan Ryan to sign one of his cards for me. I played with his son Reid in the Alaska Summer College league and had my mom send me the card when I heard he was going to visit. Great family of course.

My favorite card is a toss up between my Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (Sadaharu Oh was my manager) Japan League card or the Upper Deck with me tossing an orange. I really wish I would've tracked down one of his cards and gotten his signature on it. A lot of collectors send the Upper Deck to sign and say it's one they like a lot for it's uniqueness. Cards almost always are done during spring training and that one was taken at the Angels' minor league spring camp in Mesa, AZ.

I took a peek at your blog and couldn't turn away. It's always amazing to me how many players you cross paths with when you play for a few years. In that first page I've played with or against: Juan Gonzalez, Chili Davis, Phil Leftwich, Doug Jennings, Rick Greene, I was traded for Rickey in '97(one of my favorites, he signed his rookie card for me at a show as a kid and we got him to do his stance in his suit for us), Earl Cunningham, (he was still wearing that necklace in '94 with me in the Cal league, but his money was long gone, probably gave half of it away he was so nice), Mark McGwire, A-Rod, Mike DeJean, etc.... And I only played 7 years with 2 months in the bigs."


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Here I go again...

When people talk about funny hair on baseball cards, they usually refer to some of the shaggy manes of the 1970s and 1980s. However, I think you would have to include Chuck Finley's frosted hair on this 2000 Topps card. I guess he was trying to look prettier than his wife?

Monday, August 16, 2010

How do you pitch when you feel good?

Unfortunately, because Topps cut off the last line of Turk Wendell's quote, we will never know.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mr. October vs. Juan Gone

Here is what is probably the coolest card in 1995 Collectors Choice SE - a Yankee Stadium dugout staredown between Juan Gonzalez and Reggie Jackson.

This is very likely Opening Day 1994 - the only time Texas came to New York in '94 was the first two games of the season, and Reggie was probably on the field for Opening Day festivities. Gonzalez was held to a single in four at bats as the Yankees cruised to a 5-3 win.

Baseball card story from Ken Grundt

Ken Grundt pitched eight years in the Giants, Rockies, Red Sox and Marlins organizations, reaching the major leagues with Boston in 1996 and 1997. He now works as a controller for an accounting firm and is a private baseball instructor. He kindly shared with me this baseball card story.

"I used to collect, and still have a lot from the mid 80's, but none that have much more then sentimental value.

The best story I could share would be one of a former pitching coach I had in extended spring training one year with the Giants. His name is Keith Comstock. The card "appears" to be an action shot, but was really staged by him. He is a very funny individual, and asked the photographer if he could set up his own shot. When the photog said yes, he thought it would never make it to print. The actual photo is of him in his follow through, and he glued a baseball to his uniform, near his groin. He appeared to be getting hit by a comebacker, when in reality, the ball was there all along. Very funny card."


Friday, August 13, 2010

A fishy Studio error

Check out the bottom of Wade Boggs's 1992 Studio card.

HEROES: General Schwarzkopf and Eric Hetzel
"When growing up, I wanted to fish like him."

I do believe that something is missing in between those lines. When Wade Boggs was growing up, Eric Hetzel was five years younger than him and living in a different state, and Norman Schwarzkopf was a military officer who was rising steadily through the Army ranks but was not known nationally for either his military experience or any fishing prowess.

And who, growing up, has a fishing idol anyway?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mr. Perfect not-so-perfect

Jim Palmer was famous for being "too perfect". That makes this card, where his hair is seriously messed up, all the more cool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

See through logo

On this 1993 Leaf card of Jeff Montgomery, most of the gold foil logo has been scratched off, and you can see what is underneath. It's interesting that they did draw the ribbons all the way up, even though they would be mostly covered by the gold medal.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some towering shots

Here are a couple of photos with interesting backgrounds that also make the players look 600 feet tall.

Giant Chili Davis uses the stadium lights as a foot warmer as he enjoys a beautiful sunset.

Giant Rich Amaral strolls through the skyline of Seattle, as the Space Needle glows behind him.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Garage sale goodies

Went to another garage sale yesterday and picked up a long box with about 4000 cards in it for twenty bucks. There were a lot of junk wax goodies to keep me entertained for a long time but, needless to say with a box that size, there were a lot of duplicates as well, so let me know if you have any wants in the following sets:

1993 Topps Series 2. I would say I got about 1500 cards from this set, all from series two, so I have a LOT to trade here.

1994 Topps Series 2.

1993 Donruss Series 2.

1986 Topps.

1995 Collectors Choice SE.

1990 Donruss.

1990 Score.

1991 Fleer.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Baseball card stories from Chris Clapinski

Chris Clapinski played fourteen years of major league baseball, making the major leagues in 1999 and 2000 with Florida. Now a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, he kindly shared with me some baseball card stories.

"My favorite card story was as a kid I was at a card show and found a Pete Rose Topps rookie four player card in a 10 cent bin. When I told the vendor it probably didn't belong there he laughed and thanked me and gave me a thank you for my effort.

I collect anything baseball, particularly anything related to the history of baseball.

The only story I have about cards is when I went over to the royals in 05' my picture was put on a Mark Teahen card."

Thanks! I couldn't figure out which Teahen card he was referring to - any readers know? Here is a card of Clapinski from his time with Florida.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Baseball card stories from Rick Greene

Rick Greene was the Detroit Tigers' number one draft choice in 1992, and pitched ten years of professional baseball, reaching the major leagues in 1999 with the Cincinnati Reds. He kindly shared with me his stories about baseball cards.

"My attitude toward signing was always this: I enjoyed it because you never know when people will stop asking. They ask a lot less these days but some still do, so I feel blessed and honored.

One of my favorite cards was an Upper Deck card set where the photog took a pic of me dancing during stretching and that was my card. That set had a lot of good shots, posed stuff, etc.

My favorite cards are any and all of my Olympic cards...very proud of those.

I collected cards back since they were 25 cents a pack from the ice cream man. I still have a lot but don't collect like I used to."


Friday, August 6, 2010

Interview with Jeff Bajenaru

Jeff Bajenaru pitched in the White Sox and Diamondbacks organizations from 2000 through 2006, making the major leagues for both teams, including four games for the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. He is now the Male Leadership & Development Pastor at Second Mile Church in Tucson, Arizona. He kindly shared with me some great stories about baseball cards.

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

I don't have too many Major League cards but I had a 2005 Topps that I split with Luis Vizcaino. I remember being so excited for the card but then when I saw it for the first time I thought it looked pretty bootleg. We are both wearing turf shoes right outside the locker room in a mock pitching follow through and Luis has his eyes closed because the sun was in his eyes. It's pretty funny as I think about it but a little disappointing as well.

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

My favorite card of myself would have to be my '04 Ultimate Upper Deck Platinum #1 of 10. There was a gold and silver version as well but my wife saw it on ebay for $50 during Spring Training of that same year, lost in the bidding to someone else, wrote the winner of the card an email explaining that it was her husband and that she would pay him for it...and the man actually sent us the card for FREE that he paid for in exchange for me writing his son a letter encouraging him in his school work! No joke! The guy was awesome. My family actually went up to visit him and his family and remain friends to this day because of a baseball card!
My favorite card as a kid would have to be my 1980 Rickey Henderson Topps rookie card.
I traded a kid down the street 5 Matchbox cars for the Rickey along w/a 1980 Topps Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Dave Winfield, Gary Carter, Reggie Jackson, and a few others. Good trade if I do say so myself...especially considering I was only 8 years old.
I also love my 1987 Topps McGwire rookie card that is signed. I know the card itself is worth about a dime but he was my favorite player as a kid and my Dad played racquetball with this lady that was the sister of Mike Gallego (played for the A's in '87). She took a handful of my A's cards that I had, gave them to her brother and he went around the locker room and had McGwire, Canseco, Carney Lansford, Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, etc. sign them and gave them back to me. Having played MLB for a very short time and thinking about that story now...it's amazing I ever got my cards back let alone signed!
My favorite set ever was the blue '87 Fleer set just because they looked so different and the '86 Fleer set because I would buy a pack from the ice cream man for 50 cents every day.
- Do you collect baseball cards?
Currently, I do not collect cards any more.