Monday, January 31, 2011


Continuing a theme for the month, I received a large unexpected package from a fellow blogger in the mail. Rod of Padrographs sent over a bunch of Cardinals cards, including no less than 8 on-card autographs. If you haven't checked out Padrographs yet, you must hate baseball. And autographs. And autographed baseball cards. The site is a virtual gallery of autographed Padres cards of players both famous and totally obscure.

Some of the Fleer Tradition designs make sense, while others... what exactly were they going for, here? Is this continuing the tradition of gold foil on baseball cards that seemed to crop up first in the early '90s? Blooper just recently signed a minor league deal with the Cubs after taking a year off.

I like to show off this card at every chance I get. (As an extra benefit, it really freaks my girlfriend out.) Now I have an autographed version of it!

I'm a fan of a lot of the Fleer Ultra designs over the years, but this is one that just doesn't work for me.

It's amazing, but there are actually 1987 Fleer Cardinal cards that I do not own. I'm down to missing just one for the team set now, thanks to this Terry Pendleton pickup. I'm really curious about the towel there. It looks like someone made the effort to write 'ST. LOUIS' on it in permanent marker. I wonder if there were some unruly Pirates clubhouse employees that were up to no good with the visiting squad's towels, or if poor Terry easily forgets which team he plays for.

This looks like one of those things you'd find at the mall circa 1994, where some photo studio would put you on a stage, or in front of the Eiffel Tower, or in this case - on your very own baseball card. You know, it was the pre-Photoshop days. I really, really have no idea who this is, although apparently he had a tidy 33.75 ERA with the Cardinals the year I graduated from high school.

Shelby Miller is really, really young. And he looks it, too.

More blue shiny stuff (it's been the month of blue shiny stuff in my mailbox.) With as many Bryan Anderson cards as I've been accumulating, lately, I really hope he gets some playing time this season. Er... just, uh, not too much... only when Yadi needs to rest.

I have no idea where this came from, but it looks amazing. It's some sort of joint venture between Upper Deck and Kodak to commemorate a certain achievement. This took the Sportflics idea to the next level, using something like 20-25 frames to illustrate a Big Mac swing instead of the usual 2 or 3.

And finally, here's a gem of a card of my all-time favorite player. Sure, it's a "manu-patch", but it's a good looking one of The Wizard. Topps, are you taking notes? If you absolutely have to do something like this, think about doing it this way.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Million Card Giveaway Last Ditch Effort

I made a last ditch grab for some 2010 Topps Update packs in an attempt to get some of those pesky codes that expire very, very soon. After the second code I entered turned into a special autographed card of a Hall of Famer, I knew it could only be downhill from there. And it was. I traded my way into a couple of late '60s Cardinals cards that I will probably have shipped, even though it's not really worth it. Other than that, I'm stuck with cards from 1979, 1980 and a 1985 Berra Father-and-Son card. Yikes. Steve Kemp here was my first redemption of the day, with a Thurman Munson code that came from a hobby pack. One of the local shops has hobby packs for $1.75, which seems to be fairly reasonable. I actually pulled a Black parallel from one of the packs today, which I'm going to send on to a Red Sox collector.

My second code of the day resulted in this. Nice. This was an Ichiro code in one of those 7.99 blister packs at Target that includes a bonus code card. Either I was hax0red!$$!!111 as the kids say (do they say that anymore?) or someone figured out how to read the code card through the blister pack. Or... shenanigans.

Code 3, courtesy of Mickey Mantle, came from one of the retail packs in the blister pack itself. I guess I'd be pleased if I was a Tigers fan, but there's no way I'd get these puppies shipped. If anyone out there has any interesting Cardinals cards sitting in their queue that you don't plan on claiming, please let me know.

Also, I do have some ToppsTown codes if anyone is into that. Let me know and I'll scan them for you.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1988 Topps #660

Is half of the '88 Topps set actually airbrushed? It's not like this set is exactly new to me, but I don't seem to remember how lousy a lot of these cards were. And here I just thought they were extremely cheap.

Rick Reuschel was a largely unheralded MLB lifer, logging 20 seasons in the bigs as #2 type starting right-hander. He was a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover and won 20 games for the Cubs back in 1977. Overall, he went on to rack up more than 2000 strikeouts and held down a stylish 3.37 career ERA. Not bad, Mr. Reuschel. Had he spent more time with the Yankees and less time with, say, the Pirates and Cubs, Rick Reuschel might have one day found himself in the Hall of Fame.

Why did Topps airbrush Rick's photo? Reuschel had only started 8 games (in 9 appearances) with the Giants at the time this set was produced after he came over in a late August trade with Pittsburgh.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? The extreme close-up look of this photo unfortunately does little to hide the doctoring on his cap, particularly the all-telling intricate SF logo. Intricate cap logos are just hard to freehand, guys.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making Us Look Bad (or Me, At Least)

You don't have to click on my links in my sidebar, or links on sidebars of links on mine, to run into a trade post or two involving Smed's Baseball Card Blog. You've heard about him. You probably have found an obstruction or two in your mailbox as a result of his trading. And before I could get my severely delayed box of cards out the door and on the way to his residence, I found another box of cards in my own mailbox with his name on the return address.

I really need to catch up on this trading/mailing thing. Eight out of nine floating heads agree with this statement. (Albert Pujols is the lone dissenter. He's still looking for his $$$.)

This is my first Fernando Salas card, who was a very effective reliever in relatively low leverage relief situations last season. With few veteran bullpen acquisitions this season and some departures, I think Salas should have a pretty good shot at a regular spot this season. Man, it feels good to say "this season" and talk about 2011, since pitchers and catchers should be reporting in just a little over two weeks from now.

I have to admit that I don't know who Samuel Freeman is, but I have a number of his cards. This is the first colored parallel I've picked up of his. Any blue bordered card is good in my book.

Where did the purple refractors come from all of a sudden? These aren't serial-numbered, so I have to assume that they're fairly common. If you say Zack Cox outloud, it kind of sounds like something is stuck in your through.

Strangely enough, this garden variety base Topps Chrome card proved to be very elusive to me. It finally finishes off the base team set for me. I have a bunch of the refractor version of this card, but this is my first non-rainbowy shiny Glaus.

More blue goodness. I hope Bryan Anderson gets a fair shot at making the 25-man this year, but something tells me "Gerald Laird" + "Tony La Russa" = No Dice.

I love this set. You don't see a ton of Roger Maris Cardinals cards as he was well past his prime at that stage of his career.

Smed's has been extremely helpful in the Allen & Ginter department, and this box proved to be no exception. Here's the obligatory Jason Heyward card. Would anyone hate me if I thought that Jason Heyward was a prime target for the dreaded sophomore slump? Yes, I'm sure they would. Just don't come crying to me if he ends up with a .210 average next season.

As the back of the mini card explains, the Stegosaurus was basically the brussels sprout of the dinosaur kingdom.

I first read this as HOT DESSERT. I guess if you squint, that could be a pie crust...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

30 Teams in 30 Posts: #24

The Giants primarily conjure up two thoughts in my head, and neither of them are all that great. One is the rivalry shared between a high school friend of mine and I, where he was Will Clark Fan Number One and I had my Cardinals thing going on. Had it not been the early '90s, this could have been an awesome thing, but the Giants had most recently been in the World Series and the Cards were just kicking off the Joe Torre era.

The second thing, of course, is the Big Asterisk himself - Barry Bonds. I can't count myself among the original Bonds haters or anything. He always seemed like a jerk, but I had no more of an issue with him than I did with any other self-aggrandizing athlete of the era. But then the guy had the nerve to do two of the following things: break Mark McGwire's single season home run record just a few years after McGwire so monumentally broke it himself, and two - entrench himself as a perennial MVP candidate when Albert Pujols so clearly was the most amazing player in the game at such a young age. I may have had my suspicions about the legitimacy of McGwire's performance, but he was such a solid guy. He was diplomatic, he was kind to the media, and he seemed to take the whole spotlight thing in stride. Nobody ever truly wanted to see Barry Bonds interviewed, did they? I'm glad that Pujols finally got his deserved recognition.

Anyway... steroids. Yeah.

Favorite current Giants player: Alex Hinshaw. World Series MVP Edgar Renteria is no longer on the roster, and I have no specific feelings one way or another about most of the current team, save for a few players that I absolutely despise. I picked Hinshaw because he shares my birthday. He spent all of 2010 in AAA.

Least favorite current Giants player: Brian Wilson. I don't like to judge on looks necessarily, but Brian Wilson is the single most obnoxious looking player in the game today. It doesn't help his cause that he's also an effective closer, which means you get to see plenty of close-ups of his face in close games that your team trails in late.

Favorite Giants player of all-time: Willie Mays. I suppose this pick is kind of a cop out, but it shows that the Giants weren't always this unlikeable. You just have to go back a few... okay... a lot of years.

Least favorite Giants player of all-time: Jeffrey Leonard. One Flap Down. I'm still completely burned that he was the 1987 NLCS MVP even though the Cardinals beat the Giants.

The San Francisco Giants enter the countdown at #24 in my reverse-ranking of favorite teams as of the moment I picked them on October 4th, 2010. All of these cards are very much up for trade, so please contact me if you're interested.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cardboard Junkie Care Package: Cardinals and the Rest

Before I begin, I have a number of trade/gift/contest packages I'm working on right now and I've set a final deadline of February 1st to get them all out the door. If you're expecting something from me or merely just hoping for something, I would think that checking your mailbox sometime around late next week would be a good idea. (If I have no idea who you are, then you should probably worry about yourself if you're expecting something from me. Send me an email and we'll talk?)

Here are some more cards from the package I got from Cardboard Junkie. Along with some assorted prized from the fantasy baseball contest, there was a more than sufficient stack of extra Cardinals cards. Hey, I like the Cardinals! Who knew?

This is practically straight out of the pages of the Cardboard Junkie blog itself. This is so awfully hilarious and yet fits a void I didn't know existed in my Ozzie collection. Nice! I should buy a box of 1993 Upper Deck Fun Pack just for kicks someday.

Shiny cards don't really shine in my scanner, but I got a few of them just the same. For all of the delusional Cards fans who might have dared to dream that Ludwick would end up coming back to the Cardinals after last season's trade... well... the Berkman signing sealed that fate. It doesn't seem like the Padres were too willing to roll out the red carpet to Ludwick, but he's still under team control at this time and ended up signing a one year deal for about a million dollars less than Berkman. One million dollars? Man, I'd do that job for rent + utilities and a meal here and there.

Another shiny refractor, this time of last season's rookie surprise Jon Jay. I have no idea what number Topps is attempting to make him wear, but it's not his real number.


Mark Mulder unfortunately spent a lot more time in this warm-up uniform than he did in a real uniform in the last few years of his Cardinals contract.

Much to my surprise, there was some honest-to-goodness vintage Cardinals stuff in here. By looking at the back of this card, it seems like it probably spent time glued to some kid's bedroom wall, but this is my first Ed Bauta card nonetheless.

If I drank 9 beers and squinted my eyes a certain way, I could probably convince myself that I just scored a Bob Gibson rookie card. Hey, Gibby! (Nevermind that you're supposed to be a 1959 card by yourself and not a 1968 card shared with some other dude.)

And on to other things... one final note here. Dennis Dixon was my only reason to root for the Steelers. He's been on Injured Reserve for most of the season, though. Since there's absolutely no chance of Dixon playing in the Super Bowl (unlike my slim hopes with Kellen Clemens and the Jets), I will reluctantly throw my full support behind the Green Bay Packers in a couple of weeks.

Ugh. I should just bust out some old baseball DVDs instead.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Put in Kellen Clemens!

Put him in! Playing the 3rd string QB is the only true path to victory. C'mon, Jets! It worked for the Bears... almost.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 2006 Topps #163

Although there signs of it here and there in earlier issues, Topps took the full Photoshop plunge in 2006 when it by and large dropped the campy studio photos of some of its recently traded players and draft picks. This, coincidentally, was the first year I returned to buying base Topps packs in earnest (after a 12+ year layoff) and this particular card was extremely confusing to me at the time.

Tom "Flash" Gordon was a hard throwing right handed starting pitcher who gained some notoriety later in his career as a reliever, even inspiring a Stephen King novel to be named after him. He was also one of the subjects of one of the first articles I ever read on the dangers of what card collectors tend to refer to as "prospecting". In the article, he was not-so-kindly referred to as "Flash in the Pan" Gordon. I should mention that the article was written in the late '80s, probably in either one of the Krause Publications magazines or Beckett itself.

Why did Topps airbrush Tom's photo? Topps has adjusted its release schedule a number of times, at times even releasing Series 1 in time for the holidays of the closing year, but they never press their flagship set after live baseball has begun in the new year. Gordon was signed by the Phillies in December of 2005 after a successful two year run setting up for Mariano Rivera.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? They got the team right - even though the photo is clearly altered (the Nike swoosh is threatening to leave his right shoe altogether.) The background is a blurry mess, so I'm not sure if they did anything to it but it definitely doesn't fit the scheme of Yankee Stadium. For once, the most messed up thing of all is the fact that they clearly altered Gordon's card to make him a Phillie, took care of the back of the card with the new logo and cartoon, yet completely forgot to change his team name in the foil lettering at the top. Nice.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2003 Topps Series 2: Retail Box 2

Cards! I've got 'em. You like to read about 'em, apparently. I mean, that's why you're here, right? This post is about the second box of 2003 Topps Series 2 that I more or less mistakenly purchased. I opted to open it anyway because I can't stand not opening things, and I knew that I would probably still be short 50 to 100 cards from this series anyway. Hopefully this helped the cause a bit.

This is the latest Big Contract Yankees Man. Actually, for once the Yankees really didn't successfully get in on signing much of anyone this offseason, so I think the logical thing to do would be to back off of them and their whole "sign the whole league if we have to" mentality. In my opinion, Soriano has been one of the best relievers in baseball for years and he ends up going to New York to not close. Okay.

Just retire! Or play! The one thing I hate is the whole "not retired, not active" thing that some players have chosen lately. They probably think they could polish off a hefty plate of nachos and jump off the couch at any moment and start dominating fools on the field again at a moment's notice if called upon. Foolish.

Did anyone remember that Eric Karros played for the Cubs at one time? I certainly didn't.

Cardinals cards: Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen Gold Glove, Mike Crudale, Chuck Finley, Woody Williams, Jim Edmonds Gold Glove, So Taguchi, Miguel Cairo, Scott Rolen All-Stars, Joe Girardi, Fernando Vina Gold Glove, Scott Rolen, Team Card, J.D. Drew, Edgar Renteria All-Stars, Eli Marrero, Edgar Renteria Gold Glove, Brett Tomko

More of the same here, although I remarkably received no single Cardinals card more than once in this box.

Red Backs (Odds - 1:12, 3 per box): 3 (Vladimir Guerrero, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa)

It's disappointing that I received a second Barry Bonds. I don't think anyone collects him. At least I can pawn off Sosa cards on a nostalgic Cubs fan.

Hit Parade (Odds - 1:15, at least 2 per box): 2 (Juan Gonzalez, Andres Galarraga)

Second Galarraga Hit Parade out of 2 boxes.

Record Breakers (Odds - 1:6, 6 per box): 6 (Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Molitor, Jeff Kent, Randy Johnson)

On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed that there were no doubles here across both boxes.

This card has got to be the biggest disappointment of anything I've ever pulled. If I'm reading the odds on the pack wrappers correctly, the odds of pulling something called "Vintage Buy-Backs" is 1 in 1847 packs (roughly 51 boxes.) This is a 1991 Topps Eddie Murray All-Star card. It is in the kind of condition you would expect out of a repack box or a 1 cent box at a flea market. It's somehow imprinted with a Topps "2003 Vintage Card" logo in such a way that you can only really see it if you hold it up to the light. It's barely visible on my scan. If you click on the image, it might look a little better. Does anyone know anything about this vintage insert program? I'm guessing that by the lack of available information online and the extremely long odds that no one reading this will have any clue, but I've been surprised before.

Goldies! (Odds - 1:7, at least 5 per box): 5 (Edgar Renteria All-Stars, Sammy Sosa All-Stars, Octavio Dotel, Scott Williamson, Damion Easley)

I can end it here on a bright note, at least. I do have to say that it was nice to pull a gold Cardinals parallel.

It's time to work on the wantlists.