Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cards Cards From Tribe Cards: Vintage Edition

Recently, tribecards.blogspot.com celebrated the dog days of summer by putting on a 1993 Triple Play scratchcard tournament that was epic in both length and generosity. Each participant got some sort of relic/auto/serial numbered card per round, win or lose, and there were all sorts of trivia questions and bonus things. I wasn't nearly as scratch-lucky as my girlfriend, but I still came away with some cool stuff. And perhaps best of all, Mr. Indians himself sent each participant a box of random cards of their favorite team along with the winnings. You can see the prizes I won and how the whole tournament played out on his blog. Here I will, in part one of a two part series, talk about show off some of the Cardinals cards I got. They were far cooler than anything I could have expected.

1951 Bowman Al Brazle - This was a jawdropper, right off the bat. I kept examining the card to check to make sure it wasn't some sort of reprint card that they like to do these days. Of course, the card is "authentically worn" so that should have been an easy indicator of its vintageness. I am fairly certain I didn't have any cards that were made prior to 1960 in my collection.

Al's Wikipedia entry is a fascinating read. He looks to have been a quality reliever and spot starter who held a career ERA under 4.00 with a World Series ring from 1946.

1957 Topps Joe Cunningham - This was one of two cards from the '57 set, and apparently is Cunningham's first major issue card.

Cunningham finished second to Hank Aaron for the 1959 NL batting crown, as documented on the back of the card. He went on to play for the White Sox and Senators.

1957 Topps Don Blasingame

Blasingame ended up playing for 5 major league teams and wound up his career as a player (and later a manager) in Japan.

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Stan Musial - Not "real" vintage, but a nice looking card of an amazing player nonetheless.

1995 Comic Images Phil Rizzuto's Baseball Sportsman Park - I can't really explain this card any better than I could get a decent image of it. Apparently someone must have decided to make liberal use of what was probably brand new chrome-y technology by chroming up everything they could think of. So it looks rather out of place to have this photo of a very old baseball park all chromified and glossed over.

1993 Ted Williams Joe Torre - Another card I can't fully explain. This was from a set from the "Ted Williams Card Company (Established 1993)". All I know is that I like the action shot of Torre, complete with the requisite high socks.

Part two of the bounty will be coming up soon. In the meantime, check out The Fleer Sticker Project, which I used to research the Cardinals sticker card that I got along with the rest of the goodies. I am fairly certain that it's from 1978, though it could be 1979 as well.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Are You Ready For Some Football?

All I really remember is that I was 9 years old, ESPN was covering the game (they were rolling their cameras back and forth in front of us and I could actually see the game action on nearby monitors) and at the end of the game I dropped my transistor radio over the railing and onto the ground below. I think I got the radio back, but it was never the same. (?) At least, that's how I've chosen to remember it.

Marcus Dupree was their biggest star, but he was already injured by the time I saw them play.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Good Luck Ducks, Week 5

The Ducks are off to Pullman, WA, hoping not to Coug It after last week's tough loss. Washington State sends out its 3rd string QB after Portland State took out its first two strings with a back injury and a spine injury. Ouch. Meanwhile, Oregon sends out any or all of 3 QBs, none of which are their first two strings, with one dealing with a concussion after a cheap shot by some Boise State chucklehead and another surviving a street racing auto wreck. Yikes.

I chose to send out Ricky Whittle this week, as the Ducks will likely need a Whittle-like effort from their ground game in order to win up at the Palouse. It never seems to matter how bad the Cougars are or how formidable of a team the opposition is, because it always seems to be an adventure at WSU. Thankfully, today's game ends the run of 7-out-of-9 road games for the Ducks in this series, now that the Pac-10 has a balanced schedule where everyone plays each other each season.

By the way, you'd better not even try to buy these cards from me or Smokey will kick my ass.

Card Show Reunion

A couple of weekends ago I went to a sports cards show for the first time in 15 years. Rather than form coherent sentences and thoughts here, I'll just break things down into positives and negatives:

  • Not every table was full of slabs of graded cards
  • Bargain boxes of singles and junk labelled by price (10 cent box, 50 cent box, $1 box, etc.)
  • The ability to see what you're buying, which is rare these days when retail packs and eBay are my main options
  • A good mix of baseball, football and basketball (though apparently hockey was poorly represented)
  • The smell of desperation in the air
  • A serious lack of packs - seriously, only like two tables out of 30+ had any packs at all. Some had boxes for sale, but one of my favorite things about going to shows back in the proverbial day was coming home with a big bag full of random packs. Instead, I ended up with a rather pedestrian Allen & Ginter hobby pack just for something to open. (This did prompt me to visit 4 big box stores later that day before finally finding an Allen & Ginter blaster, the most recent one I posted about here.)
  • Dealers packing up for the day at like 1:30 PM when the show is scheduled to go until 4:00 or 5:00 or something. These guys sit there looking all forlorn and desperate for your hard earned cash and then can't even stick it out for the full show for some reason.

From a 50 cent box, I picked up a couple of Albert Pujols Chrome insert cards, the Rick Ankiel 2001 Fleer Tradition card from above, a couple of Lou Brock cards from the late '70s (one I already had a copy of, but I decided to rescue it), plus the next few cards below.

One guy was selling loose Starting Lineup figures out of a tub for 50 cents each, including the cards (or any cards really) as a throw-in. I ended up with a Gregg Jefferies figure that may or may not match the card (the figure has Jefferies in a navy blue batting practice jersey that I'm fairly certain was only used in the early-to-mid 90's while the card has him in a home uni.) I also ended up with a Jim Edmonds card and another figure that is going to be a surprise gift for a friend.

1972 Topps Red Schoendienst - This one has a slight crease near the top, but I don't care.

1974 Topps Jim Hunter / Rick Wise All-Stars - This was a nice find. I was somewhat oblivious to the fact that Rick Wise was ever a Cardinal. He threw 20 CGs in 1972, yet somehow did not make the All-Star team that year. Times were different, man!

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Chris Carpenter Mini A&G Back - I'm not sure how much I paid for this, but I know it wasn't much. Ditto for a Chris Duncan 2008 Goudey. I need the rest of the Cardinals from the 2008 Goudey set so I can convince myself that I do not need to buy any packs.

10 Cent cards! I ended up with 25 in total, but I easily could have spent another hour or two digging through boxes and buying more. These all ended up being from the mid-to-late 90s and in nearly every case the card designs were gaudy, awful and mostly unfamiliar to me, which made it all the more fun.

1996 Topps John Frascatore - This must have been the year Topps discovered Photoshop. Here they take a perfectly simple and clean design and ruin it by cropping a section of the player's face, taking most of the color out of it and then stretching it to make it look "extreme." It just looks awful.

1997 Pinnacle Alan Benes - Agh! The gold foil! It blinds!

1996 Zenith Brian Jordan - A very serious Jordan in front of a row of 9 or 10 golden glowing bats.
1997 Select Ron Gant - The red foil Cardinals logo is not so hot.

1996 Pinnacle Summit Gary Gaetti - Gaetti looks like he's busting out of Baseball Card Jail and is happy about it. Gaetti and Gant were the sluggers on the '96 team that got its collective throats ripped out by the Braves in the NLCS in the year that brought me back to baseball after two strike-affected seasons where I completely stopped caring.

1998 Circa Thunder Matt Morris - This is what happens when you let a small child and a pro wrestling fan design a card. Actually, it's really not so bad, except for the random scribble design. What I want to know is, what made all these companies go and design cards without natural backgrounds? Man, 1990-91 Skybox basketball was cool, but it wasn't THAT cool.

1997 Circa Dmitri Young - There is a battle going on here, between the cartoonish, almost comic book style print of 'Da Meat Hook's last name and his physical likeness itself. To the victor goes the space on the card. Somehow they had to compromise to find room for both.

Friday, September 26, 2008

One of These Dudes is Not Like the Other

Ryan Howard
Adam Dunn
Carlos Delgado
Ryan Braun
Adrian Gonzalez
Ryan Ludwick
Albert Pujols
Prince Fielder
Pat Burrell
Hanley Ramirez
Chase Utley
David Wright

Just sayin', is all...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trading with Chris from VA

Reader [Edit: Blogger] Chris and I agreed on a Nats-for-Cards exchange awhile back and I got a very nice stack of Redbirds to add to my other stacks of unsorted cards that need to find their way to the binders soon. As with previous posts of awesome stuff I've received, I'll try and whittle this down to 10 or so images. First up, we have a classic 1981 Keith Hernandez. Before the Just For Men commercials, the Seinfeld appearances and the '86 World Series, Keith was just a stellar first basemen wearing the powder blue Birds on the Bat. Unfortunately, he was part of the Mets trilogy of 80's superstars (see also: Gooden, Dwight and Strawberry, Darryl) who had their run-ins with the fashionable party drug of the era. Still, a nice card from a set I have fond memories of.

2006 Fleer Tradition Adam Wainwright RC - On December 13, 2003, Wainwright was traded along with Ray King and Jason Marquis for one season of J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. Granted, it was Drew's best season and the only one where he even came close to living up to his potential (and only one where he reached 500 ABs.) Granted, Jason Marquis inflicted nearly as much harm on the Cardinals in his final season with the Cards in 2006 as he did good in 2004-05. I still love the trade immensely, though, and with Chris Carpenter's health still very suspect at this point Wainwright could be the ace of the staff for some time to come. (Side note: I am finally starting to feel bad for Marquis. In his 9th season in the majors, he has made the playoffs each year, but only made the playoff roster 3 times. And it's up in the air as to whether he will make it this year.)

2008 UD Baseball Heroes "A Quartet of Clutch Hitters" - This card is just silly. I am really not a fan of tiny pictures on cards. It looks like it's saving lots of room for jersey swatches or something, but this is just a base card. I also got a Pujols and Troy Glaus from this set, which is nice.

1992 O-Pee-Chee Joe Magrane - Magrane was a great pitcher for a spell. This is also, I believe, my first ever 1992 O-Pee-Chee card. I need lots of O-Pee-Chee cards for my Cardinals collection, so if anyone out there has any to spare, let me know. (And I don't mean O-Pee-Chee Premiere - those aren't so special to me.)

1995 Fleer Gregg Jefferies - This is a very busy card. I guess this is the base set for Fleer? I have no idea. Jefferies was like Joba Chamberlain and Jay Bruce all wrapped up into one mega-prospect back when I was in middle school. By the time he wound up on the Cardinals, he was as popular as Kevin Seitzer. Still, he put together some extremely good numbers for some lousy Joe Torre-led Cardinals teams.

1978 Topps Hector Cruz - Aw, Hector, what happened to your face? Oh, that's a printing defect? Yeesh. Better have that checked out...

1993 Bowman Ozzie Canseco - I'm speechless.

2005 Topps !!! - Lots of cards here... too many to even list. I may have received the whole team set. There's a great Edmonds picture of him diving for the ball, a classic Pujols "props to the higher-ups" moment, Yadi still a newbie wearing #41, Taguchi wearing the high socks, and the 2004 NL Champs photo. Plus, many nice cards not even pictured here...

2007 Upper Deck First Edition Momentum Swing Albert Pujols - Get it?

2005 Topps Chrome Jason Motte - Motte is a good reason to feel positive about 2009 after narrowly missing the playoffs in 2008. Motte hit .188 as a catcher before converting to pitcher in 2006. Since then, all he's done is strike out 110 batters in 66 2/3 innings at AAA Memphis this year and sport a 0.00 ERA in 8 appearances with the Cards. Sure, he only has one pitch, but it's really fast and scary!

2008 Topps Chrome Albert Pujols - This card is much nicer than his blurry 2008 Topps base card, and the facsimile autograph on the front is even nicer as it looks more Sharpie and less Papermate.

Thanks again to Chris, who hopefully will see some more Nats cards in his hands before the week is out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trading with Brian from PA

Reader Brian responded to my post about Post Cereal cards on A Pack A Day a couple of weeks back. It turned out that the three cards I got in the pack I posted about were the only three he needed to complete a set. He responded to my vague trade request with these cards. First off was a 2008 Upper Deck A Piece of History Chris Carpenter. This is one of many sets where there's virtually no chance of me ever buying packs unless they end up in the $1.59 bargain bin at Target or somewhere similar, so it was nice to get this one.

1994 Flair Bob Tewksbury - Flair, if I'm not mistaken, was Fleer's answer to Topps Finest, both of which first came out around the time that I stopped caring. At least this set doesn't have those silly UV coating protective layers that you can peel away if you're daring enough. Tewksbury was a favorite of mine as he was also a Yankee when I was even younger and he's posted some pretty remarkable stats and never got the accolades for it. Maybe it was his dismal K:BB ratio (or maybe it was the lousy teams he played for...)

1993 Select Ozzie Smith - I always liked this set, but I can't really say why exactly. I already have this one in my Ozzie collection, and I feel like I should post my list of Ozzie extras at some point in case anyone out there collects him or is just interested in some dirt cheap cards of a nifty Hall of Famer.

2007 Topps Cardinals Team Card - Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 MLB Champions. You can't go wrong with that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Master Blaster

This is the second blaster of A&G that I've bought so far. Suffice it to say, it's an addicting set. I snagged this one a week ago, finally finding some on my 4th attempt that day. Earlier in the day, I also picked up some interesting stuff at a monthly card show in the area, but I'll talk about that another time. This here is all about the blaster. There are 6 cards per retail pack and 8 packs in the box, although you get 7 cards in every pack that comes with a flag card (every other pack, basically.)

Pack 1:
174 - Jose Valverde (bleh, I have so many Astros cards. way too many.)
88 - Troy Glaus (okay, that's better)
61 - Adam Dunn
150 - Johan Santana Mini
232 - Davy Crockett

103 - Kerri Strug (I'm not going to lie and say that it make a lot of sense to have non-baseball players in a baseball set, but I think that has definitely helped this set's widespread appeal. I think more people seem to like getting Kerri Strug cards than, say, Jack Wilson or something.)

Pack 2:
260 - Mark Teixeira (I have a hard time spelling his name even if it's right in front of me)
230 - Carlos Beltran (I like to call him Beltr0n as if he's some sort of robotic machine)
232 - Davy Crockett Mini A&G Back (I didn't get any of the ad back minis in the first blaster and packs that I got)
338 - Placido Polanco (SP)

US43 - Adam Dunn US Flag
- Checklist 4 of 4
73 - Tadahito Iguchi
178 - Jose Vidro

Pack 3:
58 - Johnny Damon (tonight was the last game at Yankee Stadium. I don't really think of Damon as a Yankee, though.)
13 - Mike Lowell
30 - Miguel Cabrera Mini

295 - Chone Figgins (I almost took a picture of "Rampage" Jackson, but his face was too scary. instead, you get non-threatening Figgy here instead.)
189 - "Rampage" Jackson
182 - Nate McClouth

Pack 4:
181 - Moises Alou
136 - Javier Vazquez
346 - Brandon Boggs RC (SP)
128 - Golden Gate Bridge Mini A&G Back

AGA-JC - Joba Chamberlain (wow. I never get cards that are good. this would qualify as good in some circles, I think.)
197 - Bigfoot
172 - Pablo Picasso (not sure what happened in this pack, but I guess I got 7 cards and the auto replaced the flag card?)

Pack 5:
269 - Gary Sheffield (such... anger... with this guy)
231 - Huston Street
213 - Brendan Harris

WL44 - Jakaya Kikwete World's Leaders (Tanzania)
279 - Jim Edmonds (it's a little easier to stomach seeing him in a Padres uniform, but not enough to take a picture)
276 - Oscar Wilde

Pack 6:
121 - Yovani Gallardo
199 - Daric Barton RC
349 - Frank Morris (SP - this reminds me of some kids that were messing with a Rubik's Cube on the bus ride home from work the other night)

A2 - Marduk Mini Ancient Icons
US9 - Lastings Milledge US Flag
15 - 2004 ALCS World's Greatest Victories (this completely nullifies the pro-Yankees vibe that was going on)
- Checklist 1 of 4

227 - Frederick Douglass
268 - Dean Karnazes ("Ultramarathon Champion" - ULTRAmarathon? I didn't even know there was such a thing. a marathon sounds grueling enough as it is. this pack had 8 cards in it for some reason and 9 if you count the checklist, which you shouldn't.)

Pack 7:
229 - Joe Blanton
23 - A.J. Burnett

17 - Brown v. Board of Education World's Greatest Victories (take that, racist jerks!)

6 - Brian Barton RC Mini A&G Back (Barton has a lot of potential and I wish he'd gotten more playing time this season, especially knowing now that the Cards will miss the playoffs)
82 - Jayson Nix RC
296 - Hideki Okajima

Pack 8:
115 - Alex Rios
170 - Jake Peavy
331 - Luis Castillo (SP)
244 - Mark Teahen Mini
US13 - Curtis Granderson US Flag
114 - Trevor Hoffman
92 - Dan Jansen

Now I get to decide what to do with the Joba card. It's the first certified autograph I've ever pulled, but it doesn't need to stay in my collection.