Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seth McClung on baseball cards

Seth McClung pitched for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Milwaukee Brewers from 2003 to 2009, winning 26 games. Now the owner of the Seth McClung Baseball Academy and the head coach for the Pinellas Park High School girls basketball team, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
I always found the posed pictures cheesy. One of those is my 2003 Topps Total card. The guy shot up my nose for the picture and then made me lean back.
Now, I am not a little guy but at this time in my life I wasn't as large as I currently am and from this angle it made me look pregnant. If you look on ebay or where ever you find these cards autographed, I always signed over my stomach because of how freaking huge I thought it looked.

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
Ken Griffey Jr Upper Deck Rookie Card is my personal favorite. My brother gave it to me for Christmas and its always been special. He is also one of my Favorite players. (Nolan Ryan and Bo Jackson are the others.)

My favorite card is my 2008 Allen & Ginter card.
A close second is my 2010 Upper Deck.

- Do you collect baseball cards?
Yeah, I have a collection. Every now and then I break out the box of cards and look for my former coaches!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Nicknames on jackets

Sometimes on a baseball card you will see a player wearing a jacket, and on that jacket is not the player's given name, but his nickname.

Some names are cool - "Joe Table" is "Jose Mesa" in English.

Others are weird and kind of creepy - like Jeff Russell, who was apparently known in the Rangers clubhouse as "Rubbs".

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dennis Liborio

I was looking at the back of Mike Scott's 1991 Studio card that I am in the process of trading (still got a couple more of these if anyone's interested) and was curious to know who Scott's hero, Dennis Liborio was, as I had never heard of him before.

Was he a family member, a pitching coach, an artist for Scott's favorite show, Rocky & Bullwinkle? Nope, turns out he is the Astros clubhouse manager. Actually, since November 14, their clubhouse manager emeritus, as he is semi-retiring. It's nice to be able to look that up in the internet, but that wasn't an option in 1991. You would think Studio would have been able to say who he was, instead of just leaving it a mystery.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Faces of Studio

There sure are some strange faces in those old Studio cards.

Marty Cordova's eyes are open way too wide.

Don Mattingly's eyes are barely open at all.

Marquis Grissom is trying a little to hard to look tough.

David Cone just looks crazy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Some early 90s stuff

Last week I picked up a small stack of early-90s star cards for $5 at a garage sale. The guy selling them had a few Griffeys and Thomas's in hard sleeves and the rest were just loose, so I acted as though the loose cards were not as good, even though there were some very good cards in there, like this Nolan Ryan:

Most of it was middling early-90s sets like 94 Donruss and 91 Leaf. There were a lot of cool Studio cards, like this one with Robin Ventura showing off his No Fear gear.

I did ask for one of the cards in a hard case, this Hideki Matsui card, which is my first 2009 World Series card. Ah, the good old days!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nate Cromwell's favorite card

Nate Cromwell pitched for nine years in the Blue Jays and Padres organizations. Now the owner of Fantasy Scapes, a landscape design company in Las Vegas. He kindly shared with me the following story about baseball cards.

"My favorite card is my autographed Dave Stieb no hitter card. His locker was next to mine in Major League spring training in 1991. He received the box in his locker he opened it and within it was his cards from his no no."

Thanks! Here is a card of Cromwell from 1991 Classic Best.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chris Bushing on baseball cards

Chris Bushing pitched ten years of professional baseball, making the major leagues in 1993 with Cincinnati. Currently a law enforcement officer and the President and Owner of REEL Pressure Cleaning & Painting, a pressure washing company in Pembroke Pines, Florida, he kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"Not many stories on any cards! There are so many, from rookie teams, and a few from ML. I actually like a couple White Sox ones! I have a HUGE selection of cards & memorabilia collected for my son Shaun. It is a wide variety of items from various sports. We have known SO many athletes through my career & lifetime, that I always thought to get that signature, for someday it may be worth something for my kids!"

Thanks! The only picture of a card of him I could find online was this one with the Expos.

I believe his only White Sox card is 1994 Fleer/ProCards #1244. However, here is a picture of an autographed photo of him in a White Sox uniform.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stupid tattoos

These both came from SpastikMooss.

Mo Vaughn is explaining to his cousin Greg how he got stepped on by a horse, and then got stepped on again in almost the same place.

Hey, Gary, I think you've got something crawling on your arm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baseball card stories from Bill Curtis

Bill Curtis played in the Anaheim Angels organization in 1999 and 2000, hitting .306 in 82 minor league games. The brother of former major-leaguer Chad Curtis, who hit a walk-off home run for the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1999 World Series, he is now the baseball coach at Forest Hills Eastern High School in Michigan and a scout at Inside Edge. He kindly shared with me some great baseball card stories.
Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
I started collecting baseball cards when I was 8 years old in the summer of 1986. My older brother gave me some cards he had collected. They were 1975, 1980, and 1983 Topps. I still remember leafing through them and studying them. I loved the colorfulness of those 1975 Topps cards. That sparked my habit and I started buying packs and boxes of 1986 Topps cards. That 1986 Topps set was the first set I ever collected and completed. I remember my parents taking me to a card shop in Tucson, Arizona so I could buy the last few cards I needed to complete the set. I felt so accomplished! For the next 6 years I think I spent every penny I got on cards. I even branched out into football, basketball, and hockey cards. I was completely hooked. I remember figuring out sequences for packs of 1989 Fleer and Donruss baseball cards and searching every Walmart, K-Mart, grocery store in Tucson. I must have had 100 of each of the Ken Griffey Jr rookie cards. Of course I also had 100 Todd Zeile and Jerome Walton cards – oops! In 1991 I opened a pack of Donruss baseball cards and pulled out an Elite Nolan Ryan insert card that was valued at $500! I had no personal attachment to the card so I took it to a huge card show in Phoenix hoping to trade it for a Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky rookie card both of which were valued at around $275 at the time if I recall. After showing my Ryan card to a few dealers I found one who was interested. He said he would take my Ryan card plus a 1989 Upperdeck Griffey RC (which was like gold at the time) that I had for his 1986-87 Fleer Jordan RC. I told him I would do it, but he had to throw in an unopened pack of 1989 Upperdeck just to give me a shot at getting the Griffey card back. I probably had 5 or 6 of the UD Griffey’s, but just felt better about the deal. Guess what? I opened the pack right there and pulled out another Griffey! Anyway I was pumped because I had the Jordan card which my 13 year old mind thought was completely unattainable for my entire life! I still have that Jordan card to this day!

Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
I would say I probably have 4 favorite cards. In chronological order…
The first is the 1986 Topps Darryl Strawberry card. I loved the Mets that year because I had read a book from school about Dwight Gooden. I remember being mesmerized by the musculature in Strawberry’s forearm on that card. It was just so cool looking.
The second would be the Jordan Rookie that I told about above.

The third would be my brother Chad’s first Major League card which was the
1992 Leaf Gold Rookie. It was so much fun to buy packs and pull out my brother’s card since I had been collecting for like 6 years at that time.
The fourth and most meaningful to me was my first card in the 1999 Butte Copper Kings team set by Grand Slam. The experience was very surreal. I don’t think it was as big of a deal to guys who didn’t grow up collecting cards, but for me it was like Christmas! I had my own baseball card. On top of that, there were two versions of it. The original card had all of my information on it but a picture of another player. The company corrected the mistake and put my picture on my card. The result was while most players received about 20 of their own cards, I received a box of 400 of mine! Cool stuff! Ironically it was my only licensed card as the next couple years I missed being in the team sets because I was bounced around between levels.

Do you collect baseball cards?
Not anymore. I stopped around the time I started high school, but still have
great memories of collecting them as a youngster!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

SpastikMooss's Giant Lot O' Cards Part Six: NL West

Beautiful card. Check out the bat.

Hope the Yankees catching prospect named Montero does better this one.

Nice story from Ramon Martinez.

1988 Fleer is such a nice set.

You never hear about Collectors Choice, but no other set had such consistently great photography.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SpastikMooss's Giant Lot O' Cards Part Five: NL Central

Check out the second half stats for the 1988 Rookie of the Year. I remember the Sabo-mania that year - I didn't remember his apparently brutal second half.

Rheal Cormier - badminton star.

Ben McDonald, noted crocodile wrestler, making a domination to the Baltimore Zoo for the care of crocodiles.

Sammy Sosa is one of those players whose cards usually look good.

Rumor has it that there are a couple of other teams in this division, but they don't make much of an impression.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tarrik Brock on baseball cards

Tarrik Brock played twelve seasons of professional baseball, making the major leagues with the Cubs in 2000. Currently the minor league outfield coordinator for the Florida Marlins, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My favorite card story is from the '92 or '93 season. They didn't do action shots then, so I took it upon myself to attempt to do one. I tried to make it look like I was sliding into third base but it was actually first. I had this huge smile while I was doing it.

I do have a card collection and when i was a kid. We used baseball cards and put them in the spokes of our bikes to make them sound like motorcycles."

Thanks! Unfortunately I couldn't find a picture of that card, but here is one from 1992 Upper Deck Minors that also seems to be a posed action shot.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interview with Andre King

Andre King was drafted in the second round in 1993 by the Atlanta Braves as an outfielder, and played five seasons of professional baseball. After his baseball career ended, he went to the University of Miami, where he played football. Drafted in the seventh round in 2001 by the Cleveland Browns as a wide receiver, he played four seasons for Cleveland. Currently the Athletic Director at Loganville Christian Academy in Georgia, he kindly answered my questions about his baseball card experiences.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
I have better stories of the players I have met that have signed footballs and baseballs. All great men.
- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?

No I do not have a favorite card.

- Do you collect baseball cards?

I collected cards as a kid, not so much anymore.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

R.J. Swindle on baseball cards

R.J. Swindle, who pitched in the major leagues for Philadelphia in 2008 and Milwaukee in 2009, pitched at AAA Durham of the Rays organization in 2010, going 2-4 with a 2.45 ERA, and striking out 55 batters in 55 innings. Yesterday he kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"I grew up collecting cards with my dad and it kind of stuck. I still like to collect from now and then. Actually i just moved back to Charleston and have a nice card shop called "Hooked on Cards" here that I visited just the other day to catch up with the owner. I am going to their monthly "pack wars" tomorrow night.

Being a collector, I always wanted to have a real card of myself in Topps or Bowman, but I never could quite make the cut till this past year. I finally got in the Topps Pro Debut series because I was a Triple A All Star and they had an insert set with me in it. I was very proud of that and finally felt like I had "made it".
I would have to say that Topps card is my favorite because it is the most special to me."

Thanks! If anyone who reads this blog lives in Charleston, you may want to check out "pack wars" tonight!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SpastikMooss's Giant Lot O' Cards Part Four: NL East

NL East:

Here is a very nice shot of Darren Daulton getting congratulations as he comes back to the dugout.

A minor league card of Tim Laker. You don't usually see an Expos card in all red.

Only got two Mets - Bret Saberhagen and John Franco. I always disliked Franco. Saberhagen never made much of an impression on me.

This is a very fancy card with a shiny gold surface and a translucent background on the inset picture. Very nice.

Roberto Kelly played only for the Yankees for his first six years in the major leagues. After being traded for Paul O'Neill, he played for seven teams in six years. Looking at his baseball-reference page, I completely forgot that he played ten games for the Yankees in 2000.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Joe Mikulik on baseball cards

Joe Mikulik played in the Astros organization for eleven seasons. His walk-off hit won the 1992 Pacific Coast League Championship for the Tucson Toros. Currently the manager of the Asheville Tourists, Class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, he kindly shared with me his thoughts on baseball cards.

"My favorite card of myself would have to be the '92 Fleer Pro Card (minor league) when I was in Tucson, AAA for Houston. If you see the bat, on it was written 1000th, marking my 1000 career minor league hits.

My very 1st pro card in '86 w/the Columbus Astros (although I signed in '84 no cards were made in '84 and '85) is one that I am very proud of, that marked a beginning of a very cool career.

Growing up, I was an avid card collector. Still remember going to the 5 and dime store in Schulenburgh Tx. and couldn't wait to open them up, chew the bubble gum and sort out teams. That is a great memory during my childhood days. I stopped collecting when the market just got to big. Too many different companies killed the love of the hobby. Collect cards for the love of the game, not the value of the card."

Thanks! I don't have either of those cards, but here is one I do have, from 1991 Line Drive.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SpastikMooss's Giant Lot O' Cards Part Three: AL West

The Molina brothers really are a unique and cool phenomenon. I'm glad that one of these three World Series-winning catching brothers did it with the Yankees.

Topps UK is a weird set. Here the inquiring Brit gets a lesson on what a retouch is, but a cliffhanger to find out what a fly ball is. No wonder baseball never caught on there!

Those angel-wing hats have to be one of the ugliest uniform choices of recent years.

No Rangers, which is fine because I'm really not in the mood for any Rangers card right now anyway.

I just wrote this whole post and realized I did the Angels twice and did not do the Mariners. Well, that's fine, I'm still mad about 1995 anyway.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More great stories from Brent Knackert

Brent Knackert shared with me some more great stories today. Though not really baseball card related, they're still quite interesting.

"One favorite experience...Was in Boston during batting practice, Randy Johnson was talking about his Karate training. I called B.S. on him saying "No way your big ass could be all Bruce Lee", 2 seconds later I had a size 14 foot on my chest & I flew back about 5 feet lol.

Oh and my 2nd favorite was the fight Seattle got in with the Brewers in 1990, Dave Parker straight armed me & I again flew 5+ feet :) ...Memories."

There seems to be a common theme here!

Since the Johnson event occurred in Boston, that means this 1991 Score photo was taken around the same time Randy Johnson kicked Knackert's butt.

The Seattle-Milwaukee brawl of 1990 was actually a really big deal. Here are a couple of good descriptions from the Seattle Times and the Tracy Jones Fan Club (scroll down to the end of that second link). One of the "highlights" of that brawl was one of my previous interview subjects, Jeff Schaefer, bodyslamming another one, Tom Trebelhorn.