Monday, July 28, 2014

Steve D. D-Livers

This is just a reminder that Blog Post Title Writer is still an unpaid position.

Fellow blog reader and Listia member (Listian?) Steve D. just exchanged PWEs with me after he was one of the last to grab some cards from my soon-to-be-retired trade bait page. For my part, I received a few Cardinals, some of which I am sharing with you this evening.

It's easy to forget that the Walmart blue-ish parallels that we all know and love(-ish) started out as these murky black things. They wound easily and attract all sorts of fingerprints, and I remember the days of the blasters that were full of them, with an ink smell so putrid it reminded me of my days as a temp working at a printer plant where I was hand collating leaflets all day. Seriously, that was a job.

It's also easy to forget The Sporting News as a print magazine. I never quite figured out why, since I'm pretty sure I never saw the man read more than a sentence or two in his life, but my grandfather used to be a Sporting News subscriber in the '80s. Those things were chock full of stats and fine print in a way that the local paper could never hope to be. It helped bridge the gap for my stat-hungry mind between the very first box scores I read and the USA Today Baseball Weekly paper that first came around in the early '90s. I loved that stuff. Now we have the internet and I can barely find the time to check up on players that play for my own favorite team, let alone keep tabs on the rest of the league.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2014 Topps #431

Why do baseball players wear those miniature jumpropes around their necks, anyway?

Who is he? Brett Anderson is a former second round draft pick with the Diamondbacks who was involved in the massive Dan Haren/Carlos Gonzalez trade back in 2007. The former Olympian hurler broke into the bigs in 2009 with Oakland and spent his entire career there until a trade this past offseason.

How did he get here? Anderson had a rough 2013 season and had battled injuries throughout much of his career. Oakland sent him to the Rockies for Drew Pomeranz and a minor leaguer. Anderson will make just his 6th start of the season tonight with Colorado as they face the Pirates.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but you could probably search Getty Images to find the original photo before it was Photoshopped.

Airbrushed Score: 5

Comments: At one point, didn't Series 2 mean players who swapped teams in their new uniforms? Now it just seems to be mean players Photoshopped into their new uniforms and some guys who were intentionally held out of Series 1 so that the whole set isn't relievers, utility infielders and organizational roster filler.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Don't Know... Hee Seop Choi?

Welcome to efficiency.

I guess this is what happens when I finally catch up with trade posts. While I was once so young and full of things to write about, I pretty much have leaned on trade posts as a crutch to fuel content for this blog for quite awhile. Trade posts are a double-edged sword, as they can often be incredibly mundane to read about if you weren't in any way involved in the transaction, but they're absolutely vital to both validate the transaction and give the sender the warm and fuzzy feelings. They're also important to the whole concept of trading and the community as a whole, as you can build yourself up a pretty solid reputation on the words of others and your cardboard-giving generosity.

I'm working on a care package or two and trying to figure out how to get more cards off my desk. I also feel a big need to get some basketball cards off of my plate as well. I plan to revisit the Guilt-Free Basketball Card Club soon. If you're curious at all (and like free-ish stuff), join in early and tell me what you like. I also have about a million baseball cards I really don't have room for, so there's that. Also, Hee Seop Choi.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 1976 Topps Traded #74T

It's time for one of the most famous airbrushed cards of all as we get ready for the second half of the 2014 season.

Who is he? Reduced to a goofy image these days, Oscar Gamble was at first a ballplayer and an outfielder who logged an impressive 17 seasons in the majors, including multiple stints with Chicago teams and the Yankees. He also must have been a headline writer's dream, as his last named provides all sorts of opportunities when connected to a game that at least partially involves risk and chance.

How did he get here? Gamble was playing for Cleveland in 1975 when they sent him to New York for the first time in exchange for a guy who was both an All-Star and a league leader in pitching losses in the same season (Pat Dobson, 1972, Baltimore.)

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: Yes, but this card puts everything else to shame, so why would you want to look at it?

Airbrushed Score: 10

Comments: With apologies to 1987 Topps Mike Laga, this is simply the best. Two caps would have had trouble containing Oscar's hair, and the poor attempt at a complicated Yankees logo just seals the deal. His pinstripes were painted in watercolor. And the whole thing has a heavenly glow about it that makes this card one of the biggest must-own cards of the 20th century.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Boatload of Licensed Non-Topps Cards

And they're just Swell.

P-Town Tom gets himself another mention here as he recently hosted one of the cheapest group breaks known to humankind. A mere four dollars got me a health stack of cards from various late '80s/early '90s Legends sets, the type of thing you can't even pull off these days unless you're going to go around altering classic photography, which I really don't recommend. All in all, I received complete Cardinals team sets from three Swell Greats sets (1989 through 1991), plus all of the 1990 Pacific Legends Cardinals and some surprise bonuses.

Even though the years in play were at the height of my childhood collecting years, I used to shy away from the "legends" type sets (eww, old-timers!) because I guess I didn't appreciate anything old as a good-for-nothing troublemaker. For shame. The 1989 Swell set featured players both legendary and some that are lesser known, which seems to be a theme for all of their sets. I don't remember this design at all.

This one is a bit more familiar to me, as some generous traders have probably sent me one or two of these over the years. The 1990 design feels a lot more Fleer-y, but in an '80s way.

I don't have many Joe Garagiola cards that feature him as a member of the Cardinals, but these Swell sets really changed that. He was in St. Louis for a total of six seasons, but I really know him best as Vin Scully's broadcast partner on the NBC Game of the Week throughout much of the '80s.

This design isn't familiar to me at all. The 1991 set feels a bit thinner than the previous set, but one of the colors present seems to recall another set that was released in 1991 - Fleer again.

Is that the most positions that you've seen spelled out on a baseball card? Because it is for me.

I'm a little more familiar with the Pacific Legends sets than I am the Swell sets, but that could be because I grew up in the Northwest and Pacific originated in the Northwest. I never managed to visit, but they used to just be a big (I assume?) card shop that happened to print their own cards, which I used to think was pretty cool. I think I subscribed to their catalog at one point, but I probably never bought anything directly from them.

The super surprise bonus was that Tom threw in some 1975 SSPC cards that, y'know, might(?) be licensed. The cards have always given off a bit of a bootleg vibe to me, but I still like putting them in my binders.

Haha, Mike Tyson! Always a classic.

Well, I'd have to say, one of the best things about this break was that the cards were all pretty much in pristine shape. That's not something you'd necessarily expect from cards this old, nor a break this cheap. I'll take it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

All-Star Eve Trade Post

Hopefully, no one will be pitching though a cloud of "cognac".

Chunter of the Chipp 'n' Dale blog sent me a wonderful bunch of baseball and basketball cards that I'd like to show off as we get ready for tomorrow night's All-Star Game.

I've been coveting this insert card for a long time from last year's set, so I'm really happy to get a copy of my own. Topps really knocked it out of the park (GET IT?!) with these inserts, which really make me wish they'd take a quality-over-quantity approach with some of their inserts in the future.

These '89-style die cut minis, on the other hand, are not so great. It is great seeing cards of Lee Smith in a Cardinals uniform in 2014, though.

I'm sure there are plenty of disgruntled Dodgers fans who think they got robbed with Wainwright getting the starting nod tomorrow over Clayton Kershaw. I can't say I blame them, but I also find it nearly impossible to argue against Wainwright deserving it. After a number of near-misses in past seasons with major awards, Waino gets a little bit of the spotlight tomorrow to reward a stellar first half. As for Kershaw, well, it seems like it would help his cause a bit if his team... say... went ahead and won the pennant sometime. Interestingly enough, the last Cardinals starter to star the All-Star Game was Chris Carpenter in 2005. Before that, I believe you might have to go back to Bob Gibson if I'm not mistaken.

Well, now that I've managed to get that image out of my mind (although I'd be happy for Don Mattingly), let's look at a fantastic relic card of Erin fave Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo has been one of the best players in the game in the first half, so it was cool to see him named captain of one of the Home Run Derby teams. The only problem is that I seem to be growing really tired of the Home Run Derby. Maybe it's too much Chris Berman or maybe it really is just a tired event?

Chunter collects some basketball and he dug up a few jersey cards that were right up my alley. Jerryd Bayless didn't have the biggest run as a Blazer, but he's established himself as a solid combo guard and bench option in the league. D.J. Augustin has bounced around a bit, but he's also an established vet at this point.

This one is right up my alley, as we have both a (former) Blazer and a former Oregon Duck. Ridnour was a fantastic player in college and is about to enter his 12th season in the NBA, this time as a member of the newly rechristened Charlotte Hornets. I was a little confused about the color of Ridnour's jersey swatch, and when I read the back it turns out that while Webster's is supposedly from an NBA game, Ridnour's is from a Rookie Challenge. He was in his 5th season when this card came out, so that tells you that Upper Deck was probably sitting on piles of musty old barely "worn" Ridnour jerseys at this point. Still, it's a great card for my collection for multiple reasons.

Finally, here's a more clearly identified Rookie Challenge jersey, from current Blazer Wesley Matthews. Wes wasn't about to give up his #2 when the Blazers signed Steve Blake last week, never mind that Blake is joining the team for the third time and has worn that number for both of his previous terms with the team.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2014 Topps #446

The last man standing of Oakland's Big Three.

Who is he? Tim Hudson has been one of baseball's most solid starting pitchers over the last decade and a half. Alongside Barry Zito and Mark Mulder, Oakland's starting pitching staff was one of the most feared in the game. The current A's team has become very mighty once again, though they've been assembled in a much different way. After Oakland, Hudson spent eight seasons with Atlanta where he continued to pitch at a high level.

How did he get here? Hudson left to sign as a free agent with the Giants, who are trying to continue their even year dominance and get back to the World Series again. Oddly enough, they may have to take down Oakland if they want to win their 3rd title in 5 years, and they've struggled mightily of late. It's also not even the All-Star break just yet.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 6

Comments: Very closely cropped, so you have to imagine he has legs.