Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bring on the Minor Leagues

I think I have finally caught up on all the mail I've received recently. This was somewhat of a surprise package from TribeCards. David had mentioned that he had a bunch of minor league cards to give away, and I contacted him about the possibility of getting some Cardinals-affiliated cards if it was easy enough to do. I guess that means it wasn't a complete surprise, but for some reason I lost his e-mail requesting a list of the Cardinals minor league affiliates somewhere in the murky depths of my Inbox and had nearly forgotten about it all.

Among the other things that I didn't know until this showed up, I had no idea that Jay Witasick was ever in the Cardinals organization. Apparently he was a Cardinals draft pick, but was sent to Oakland in the Todd Stottlemyre trade and eventually made his major league debut with the A's. I only really remember him as the guy that gave up about 45 runs in the playoffs when he was with the Yankees.

This is a fairly interesting looking card of Alan Benes, someone I definitely do remember. This picture looks totally posed, though. The A-Travs definitely don't have the uniformed look of a AA team. I'm thinking more along the lines of a high school team, a small college or perhaps someone's rec league where the team manager has a lot of cash to blow (but not that much.)

Jeff Fassero... a Cardinal draft pick? I had no idea about this, either. It goes to show how little I've ever followed the MLB draft. Fassero eventually made his way to the Cards as the quintessential soft-tossing lefty, even starting a few games for the disaster-prone 2003 pitching staff. If he had hung around Louisville a couple more years he could have been Jamie Moyer's teammate. That would have been hilarious for some reason.

I have no idea who Andy Beasley is, but he must be important because I was sent three of this card. Apparently he never made it past single-A. Poor guy. He doesn't get his own Wikipedia page, unless he led a double professional sporting life.

And then there's Billy Wagner. Wait... what?? Billy Wagner was a Cardinal? Nah. Here's where my laziness kicks in. The Quad City River Bandits team became a Cardinal affiliate in 2005, but of course I never sent David that list of team affiliates. I'm sure it would have been extensive and every bit as annoying as it sounds. I'll file this card with the unclaimed Astros minor league cards that I tried to give away late last year and save them for a rainy day.

Thanks again to TribeCards, a blog that is always working hard to give you free cards.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spirit of '76

In a flurry of eBay bidding awhile back, I ended up with a small pile of 1976 Cardinals cards. My pre-1979 Cardinals collection is severely lacking, so I knew I probably needed every single card in the lot. If anyone has any old vintage junk that they don't want, let me know. I can send you some shiny new stuff that's probably not worth the "cardboard" it's printed on, or maybe some old random things. Who knows?

Don Kessinger's card has to go into the Airbrush Hall of Fame. I've thought about doing an airbrushed card of the week type of feature here, but I know I don't have nearly the pool of great cards to choose from like others probably do (because of the pre-1979 thing that I mentioned.) Kessinger was a former All-Star who was near the end of his career when he came to the Cardinals. You'd think that the Cubs would have never dealt with the Cards again after the whole Brock-for-Broglio deal, but this ended up being a fairly insignificant trade.

If you look at John Denny's career stat line, it's a wonder he didn't get a lot more respect. He played on some pretty sub-par late '70s Cardinals teams, though, and he didn't have the longevity of guys like Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer.

Bob Forsch is the lone player here from my era. He was around until the late '80s - even later if you're 1989 Score, a set where he was included as a Cardinal even though he had moved onto Houston.

I almost titled this post "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson".

Being in the Seattle Mariners' local market, I only knew of Ron Fairly as an M's team broadcaster. I had no idea he ever played for the Cards. I really need more vintage cards.

I'm not sure what more I can add to this photo. doesn't think he exists, and he has no Wikipedia entry (not that that means anything really.)

After further review, this is actually Eric Rasmussen. He apparently changed his name. I just lost 10 minutes of my life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Memorabilia from Ryan's Memorabilia

The mail keeps on rolling in! Not that I discourage it, of course. If anyone is interested in working out a trade, please contact me. I have much work to do on my general wantlist, still, as there's probably at least 759,000 more Cardinal cards that I'd like to add to my collection. And that doesn't count the crazy black 2009 Topps cards that have infected everyone with stealth parallel fever.

This package came from M. Ryan of Ryan's Memorabilia Blog. He agreed to send over an Adam Kennedy jersey card, a few more of the pesky Allen & Ginter cards that I need and threw in a few bonus Cardinals cards for good measure. As much as I like the minis in the A&G, I have to say that I like the framed relic and autographed cards even more. I might have to chase down more of these cards (at least the Cardinals ones) even though I usually try to avoid investing time and money on autos and relics.

James Shields is another guy to watch out for as fantasy baseball draft times start to draw near. I barely had heard of "Big Game James" when my girlfriend smartly grabbed him last season. Somehow I managed to win one of the four leagues I was involved in last season, though, so I guess I'm not completely oblivious. Or perhaps I just get lucky...

I got to see Jack Cust play a bit as a member of the Portland Beavers, the current AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres. He was a really interesting player: twice as likely to walk as strikeout, and if he put his bat to the ball it was almost always crushed. Yet he struck out so much that his plate discipline was constantly questioned, even with the ridiculous amount of walks that he took. Couple that with his limited defensive skill set and he seemed to be destined to be another Bernardo Brito and never get a true shot at the majors. But then, of course, Mr. Moneyball came calling and Cust has been a major leaguer ever since.

Here's one of the extra Cardinals cards that were thrown in. Fleer's Rookie Sensations were about the best thing ever as far as early '90s inserts went. It seemed like these were much more sought after in basketball products (Glen Rice! Tim Hardaway!), but I do remember this card being expensive enough to be out of my price range at the time. I know I spent a fair amount of cash and trades on funky Lankford cards like this back in high school, but this is the first time I've owned this card.

Make sure you check out Ryan's Memorabilia Blog... when you're done drooling over the new black Topps cards, of course.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Swiped from Hand Collated & Group Break Results

Hand Collated broke open a box of 1999 Bowman Series 1 awhile back and I swooped in to pick up some extras that were left on the floor. I've got some cards going out in return soon because that's the way these things work. Adam Kennedy got a light blue border here, while the other two have red borders. I'm guessing this is because of Kennedy's status as a rookie/young prospect while the others were cagey veterans, but it could be totally random as I haven't seen many of these cards.

I wonder what Ray Lankford is up to these days. He was such a popular player for many years, so it would be nice to see him working in the organization or something.

McGwire had an open invitation to come back to the team in some capacity at one point. I'm sure that offer is always around as long as La Russa and Duncan are around. It's doubtful that it'll ever happen, of course. McGwire's continued desire to stay out of the spotlight these days is pretty well known.


I also participated in a group break done by Saints of the Cheap Seats recently. A group break, essentially, is set up so that the "breaker" purchases a group of unopened packs of cards - typically higher end type of stuff (fancier cards than I normally go after) and pools money together with other interested parties to fund the endeavor. People pay for a team slot (or multiple teams, depending on the setup) and receive all of the cards that come out of the "break" for that particular team. Usually teams are assigned randomly, but in this case we were able to choose our own teams which is why it appealed to me. I normally don't participate in these, but it is fun to do every once in a blue moon and I could see myself doing it again if I could choose the team again.

I ended up getting two stunning looking cards, an Ozzie Smith jersey card and a lowly old base card of Albert Pujols, which actually blows away most inserts and parallels that I've ever seen. Seriously, the scans from my cheap scanner do not do them justice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Totally the Same Guy


Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I'm not holding my breath in anticipation that Topps Heritage is coming out tomorrow. I'm not seeing any evidence of live cards on eBay, and I did overhear these guys at the local hobby shop saying that it had been pushed back until at least the first week of March. If any actual cards hit the blogs/auction sites/whatever, I'll then consider making the trek to a store. Until then, I'm not spending another dime on cards.

Unless, of course, Heritage doesn't come out before the next card show comes to town...

Or, er, if I run across some of last year's Heritage in the $1.59 section like a certain someone found...

Heritage Grande

Late last week I received another package, this time from the blog Nachos Grande, containing a supersized portion of tasty Topps Heritage treats with a side of cards from my general want list. In exchange, I sent am sending over a stack of Stadium Club cards.

I can't believe how many players are gone from the 2006 Cardinals championship club already. Guys like Taguchi, who is on a minor league deal with the Cubs now, have been gone for awhile. A lot of guys that were significant contributors to that team such as Tyler Johnson and Randy Flores have seen their departures fly under the radar, by and large. The Cardinals renewed focus on building their team from within their own system is very interesting, at least.

Brian Fuentes was one of a number of players the Cards have seemed to covet in recent times, but ultimately passed on (or were passed on by.) I never saw the sense in throwing a lot of dollars at a guy who couldn't even keep hold of his own closing role at Colorado, though, so I wasn't disappointed when trades never materialized.

Seeing Shane Victorino reminds me that it's almost fantasy baseball time. Victorino has been on one or more of my times for the past couple of seasons, providing just enough on the basepaths to be tantalizing yet not enough anywhere else to really justify keeping him in a constant starting slot. There are so many players who tread this line. At least he's not Corey Patterson.

I may try and do a regular fantasy update on the blog, complete with baseball cards, of course. I haven't fully committed to that idea, though.

One of the cards I received was the disembodied head version of the Albert Pujols Upper Deck Timeline card. After initially thinking this set was awful, I've really come to appreciate some of the designs and am still working towards hopefully completing the Cardinals team set, SPs and all.

This is the very last 2008 Baseball Heroes card I needed to complete the Cardinals team set. I had several opportunities to buy this card cheaply at a card show I attended in January, but I couldn't remember if I needed it or another Cardinal legend. Ultimately I ended up passing on both. I'm still interested in getting some of the rainbow of parallel cards that are rampant in this set.

Finally, here's ex-Cardinal Dmitri Young and the state flag of Mississippi in all of their respective glories. This is the last flag card that I needed from the A&G set. Finally, a sense of completeness!

Monday, February 23, 2009

More DAV Cards From Tony

I got another package the other day from Tony, who does the blog Ike's Cards (check it out if you haven't already.) He was kind enough to send along another stadium giveaway team set, this time from 2008, to a poor soul who lives nowhere near Cardinal country. The DAV (Disabled American Veterans) set has a very '90s-ish design to it - lots more color than the previous year. I don't have many cards of Mitchell Boggs, so it was nice to see him included in the set. Boggs is competing for the role of sixth starter (i.e. first in line to join the rotation if someone goes down) though it's not clear if a sixth starter would automatically have a spot on the roster if there are no significant injuries.

Here is my first, and quite possibly only Felipe Lopez card of Lopez in a Cards uniform. I don't think he made it into the Topps or Upper Deck base sets and I can't really see why he'd appear in any other sets. If anyone can disprove this, I'd love to know.

Kyle McClellan may also be in the mix to be a backup starter, but it seems like the team is more comfortable with him in the late innings right now. He excelled there for most of his rookie season, but I do think that he deserves a shot at the rotation at some point.

Ho hum. Just your garden variety reigning NL MVP here.

Skip Schumaker is working out with the Cardinals infielders in spring training with the hopes that he can convert to a role as a second baseman now that the team has unceremoniously dumped it's starting 2Ber and failed to re-sign Aaron Miles or Lopez. Should be interesting.

Like the 2007 set, all of the backs of the DAV cards look the same.

Tony also sent along some other Cardinals card goodies including this Yadier Molina card from Christian Family Day. There were a few of these and they all looked pretty classy for this type of card.

I may have featured this card on the blog before, but it still cracks me up. Go Carinals!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Token Weekly Blazers Post: Rejuvenation

The Blazers came away refreshed and rejuvenated after the All-Star break, and responded with a short 2-0 week with wins over Memphis and Atlanta. The Memphis game marked Darius Miles' return to the Rose Garden for the first time since his Blazers exodus. It probably would have been hyped a great deal more, but the Miles story is already becoming old news. Hopefully Miles can regain some of what he was building towards with Portland before his knee injury and subsequent microfracture surgery.

Steve Blake returned to the team this week and seemed to step right back into the offense like he was never gone, which is a good thing. However, with Blake return came the news that Greg Oden would miss a few games with a chip fracture in his "other" knee - not the one that had the microfracture surgery. Supposedly it's not a serious injury, but with the Blazers luck with injuries this year, I've been a bit concerned. Martell Webster, last year's starting small forward, is now lost for the season after playing 1 preseason game and 5 minutes of a regular season game.

About the cards:
  • The heavenly Clyde Drexler card is from a subset called ProVisions in the 1992-93 set. I thought this set worked a lot better in baseball as an insert set.
  • Damon Stoudamire joined the Grizzlies coaching staff as an assistant this month. I've never been a huge fan of his, going back to his high school days, but it's nice to see ex-Blazers in the coaching ranks.

Bonus: Here's a Jarrett Jack Bowman card I picked up yesterday in a 10 cent box at a local hobby shop. I've heard some complaints about this design, but I kinda like it. As for Jarrett, he's started in about half of the games this season for Indiana and his numbers have been pretty much in line with his career marks.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baseball Cards + Bubble Gum

My girlfriend gave me the sweetest present for Valentine's Day this year - baseball cards! Even better, it was a blaster of 2008 Topps Heritage (original style). This box boasts of Wal-Mart exclusives instead of the usual Target minis that I've been collecting. I had completely forgotten (or never knew?) that there were Wal-Mart exclusives in this set, so this was a bit of a surprise to me.

Since I have no patience when it comes to baseball cards, it's time to go right to the fun...


HDP4 - David Ortiz Dick Perez (So that's what we have... a Dick Perez art card in the Topps '59 style. Not bad.)

HDP9 - Ichiro Suzuki Dick Perez

HDP5 - Tim Lincecum Dick Perez (I like Lincecum and all, but this is probably my least favorite of the 4 cards that I got. The logo on his hat looks weird and so does everything else about it.)

HDP10 - Prince Fielder Dick Perez (Now I'm going to have to add these cards to my want list.)

Alright, onto the real stuff.

Pack 1:
307 - Kelly Johnson
162 - Garrett Atkins
311 - Jeff Suppan
424 - Juan Uribe
13 - Billy Wagner

C72 - Derek Jeter Chrome 0754 / 1959 (First pack and I get a shiny card. Pretty good start.)
65 - Jason Giambi Black Back
35 - Adam LaRoche Black Back

Pack 2:
10 - Alex Rodriguez (Ahhh! Leper! This seems to be a Yankee-heavy box.)
242 - Huston Street
236 - Mark Grudzielanek
112 - Corey Hart
17 - Jimmy's All-Stars Freddy Sanchez / Jason Bay / Jack Wilson (Who exactly is Jimmy?)
39 - Joe Mauer
344 - Michael Bourn

NAP8 - John Lackey

Pack 3:
268 - Jim Thome
275 - Anibal Sanchez
385 - Geoff Jenkins
417 - Nate Robertson
129 - Luke Hochevar (RC)
334 - Matt Holliday

485 - Miguel Cabrera All-Star (SP) (I don't have many of these all-star cards, since the stupid things are all short-printed. Unfortunately, I already have this.)
13 - Billy Wagner Black Back

Pack 4:
132 - Joe Koshansky (RC) (First card of a guy I've never heard of.)
188 - Adrian Gonzalez
366 - Alex Rodriguez Baseball Thrills (So sick of this guy right now.)
223 - St. Louis Cardinals (Nice! But I think I have three of this card already.)
88 - Clay Buchholz (RC)

TN7 - Early Wynn / Josh Beckett Then & Now
129 - Luke Hochevar (RC) Black Back
334 - Matt Holliday Black Back

Pack 5:
300 - Chase Utley
191 - James Shields
125 - Harvey Garcia (RC) (Second rookie I've never heard of.)
208 - Billy Butler
396 - Joe Blanton
358 - Hideki Okajima
84 - Brad Penny

BF4 - Bill Mazeroski Baseball Flashbacks

Pack 6:
290 - Nate McLouth
104 - Adam Jones

367 - Troy Tulowitzki Baseball Thrills
394 - Ryan Spilborghs (Back-to-back Rocks)
353 - Jeremy Hermida
285 - Chad Billingsley
465 - Augie Ojeda (SP) (Only my second short print and I already have it, too.)
84 - Brad Penny Black Back

Pack 7:
142 - Rich Thompson (RC)
271 - Andy Phillips
251 - Alex Gonzalez
403 - Scott Baker
187 - Carlos Silva
116 - Wladimir Balentien (RC)

NF2 - Buddy Holly News Flashbacks (Does The Big Bopper ever get any baseball cards?)
285 - Chad Billingsley Black Back

I ended up with slightly more doubles than not, though only one of the black backs was a double. Still, I got "good value" out of the box and I didn't have any of the inserts. I've updated my want / trade list for 2008 Topps Heritage, so let me know if you're interested in a trade.