Saturday, August 31, 2013

Good Luck Ducks, Week 1: Begin Again

The Oregon Ducks begin a 13 week journey to discover, among other things, if everyone loves their uniforms after all.

Welcome back to another year of college football games! The Oregon Ducks begin anew today, with a new coach, new athletic complex, new batch of opponents and dates and a new attitude! Well, hopefully they don't have a new attitude. Their old attitude has been serving them well in the past several seasons. There's a bit of trepidation, at least on my part, that the Chip Kelly Era is now over. Mark Helfrich, the offensive coodinator, was promoted from within to be the new head coach. Wide receivers coach and former Nebraska QB Scott Frost is now overseeing the offense. For the most part, the rest of the coaching staff remains the same. I may be just a wee bit nervous about this change, though.

What I'm not nervous about is today's opponent, Nicholls State. This is one of the worst programs in the game right now, a team that dropped their last "contest" to Oregon's bitter rivals to the north(west...ish) by a score of 77-3. Seriously, right before bowl games were happening last December, a counting football was played that had a final score of 77-3. My biggest concern today is that none of Oregon's key players get the slightest bit of an injury. In fact, I don't want the backups getting hurt.

Does this game have to be played at all? The more I think about it, the more it takes away from my excitement about college football season being upon us. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best. As for my prediction, I think it will be solidly in Oregon's favor, but we will probably see a few early season jitters result in some productivity by the Colonels.

Last season's opener became a laugher early, but Arkansas State would go on to have a big season which included a bowl win.

Game time is 1:00 PDT with national coverage on Fox Sports 1, whatever that is. Go Ducks!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps Traded #43T

We check in on Jimmy Wynn, a repeat offender.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? When we last saw The Toy Cannon, Wynn was being airbrushed of of his own team due to some sort of licensing issue. Here Wynn is about to embark on the most prolific period of his career, which finally saw him change caps for real.

Why is this a thing? Wynn was traded to the Dodgers for Claude Osteen, a crafty lefty (is there such a thing as a lefty that isn't crafty) who would pitch for a couple more seasons before hanging it up. Wynn had a big year in Dodger blue, winning the Comeback Player of the Year award in 1974 and notching two consecutive All-Star appearances.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a wooden nickel, but you never know!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Allen Craig

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Stan MusialRick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton | Lance Berkman | Lou Brock | Dennis Eckersley | Bob Gibson

Allen Craig broke out as a Cardinal star during the 2011 World Series winning season, perhaps overshadowed a bit by the heroics of David Freese and the steady production of Lance Berkman. When Albert Pujols departed to free agency and Berkman was rendered ineffective due to injury, Craig took over as the everyday first baseman and hasn't looked back. He's second in the National League currently with 96 RBI after driving in 92 last year, and has generally outperformed Pujols on a cost controlled contract. He's also been the deadliest hitter in baseball this year with runners in scoring position, which has helped the Cardinals lead many offensive categories this year despite being almost allergic to the long ball.

In short, he's not really a household name, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few collectors of his out there. The list follows at the end of the post.

Who is this skinny kid? This photo was probably taken 6 years ago.

The list:

2010 Bowman Draft #BDP93 [2 available]
2010 Topps #452 [2 available]
2010 Topps Chrome #199
2011 Topps Update Diamond Anniversary #US255
2012 Topps #402
2012 Topps (World Series) #329
2013 Topps #321 [5 available]

[updated 10/2/13]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Four Guys Named Brian Walk Into a Bar...

Featuring a man affectionately known as "Walking Underwear".

When four guys with the same first name send me cards in the span of a few weeks, something is bound to get hosed up. One of the Brians sent me a small stack of cards last month that got a bit lost in the shuffle, and it was only when I went to write up this post that I realized that the cards I owed him were still sitting on my desk. Since I've barely bought any cards this summer, my desk is starting to finally get some clear spots on it, so hopefully embarrassments like this will be few and far between in the future.

The Gooch sent over a pack of Cardinals cards, including many of my needs from the 1982 Donruss set. Nice!

I don't say this very often, but this is a pretty badass Turkey Red card. I doubt any of the original Turkey Red cards had any swagger poses like this.

The Gooch also tossed a few 2003 Topps cards my way. I'm still chipping away at the set, and most of my needs are now concentrated in the Traded set side of things.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Opening Day #174

In honor of Julio Franco's birthday, here's today's airbrushed atrocity.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Kendrys Morales is a slugging first baseman/DH type that spent the first 7 years of his professional baseball career having his name misspelled and mispronunced. It seems like a really odd thing to just grin and accept, but I'm a person whose name is so frequently misspelled that I tend to just start spelling it out for people when I get that certain confused look on someone's face. Short an 'S', Morales came up in the Angels system and is perhaps best known for suffering a severe knee injury while celebrating a walkoff grand slam, something that kept him out of action for nearly two years.

Why is this a thing? Offensively starved Seattle came a-calling for Morales's services after he had proved his relative health in 2012. The pitching rich Mariners sent over Jason Vargas in return, and seem to have succeeded in becoming mediocre at both pitching and hitting instead of being polar opposites at each as they were in the past. As is the case with many Topps Opening Day cards in recent years, we get someone's Photoshop handywork on a photo that is not very flattering to begin with.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a torn ACL, but you never know!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


All aboard for funtime! It's another trade post.

Longtime reader Tim sent me another package of Cardinals cards last month, and as is my wont, I will show you some of those cards here tonight. I was happy to see some of the newer Topps stickers in the lot, as I have very few of those. I really like them, but I have so many other things going on (not to mention a still incomplete 1990 Panini stickerbook) that I just haven't been able to get myself to do a sticker set.

Quick, here's a pop quiz - which of these next two cards is an honest to goodness vintage classic? I will say that if I was going to collect any vintage set, it would have to be the 1959 Topps set. I'd probably have to make do with some lesser versions of some of the best cards in the set, like maybe a Gibby rookie that a dog chewed on a few times.

And then there's this thing, which I had a little bit of trouble identifying at first.

This is one of the "Lost Cards" inserts from the 2011 Topps set, which signifies that there was never a Musial card in the classic '57 design. To further complicate things, this is the more rare "original back" version, a strange concept considering the card never existed to begin with. And on top of that, along with a made-up card number that means nothing because it's not the real card number, Topps mistakenly put a 2010 copyright on the back of this card when the majority of cards from 2011 Series 1 have a 2011 copyright. Weird.

It's rare that someone sends me an Ozzie Smith that I don't already have, so it was great to see this card. It also just goes to show that it would do me a world of good to actually put my Ozzie player collection online. The only one I have a list for so far is Jim Edmonds. I need to do better in that department.

Finally, it's a sparkly parallel of the former Cardinal reliever we affectionately knew as Scrabble. He's a reminder of past trade deadline moves that helped solidify the bullpen en route to the World Series crown a couple of seasons ago. The Cardinals made no such moves this year, and really the only trades they've made since the season started involved dumping bullpeners who weren't quiet working out... like Scrabble. And Mitchell Boggs.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Stan Musial

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Rick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton | Lance Berkman | Lou Brock | Dennis Eckersley | Bob Gibson

What can you say about Stan Musial? He was The Man. Literally. Figuratively. Absolutely. Albert Pujols was never comfortable with the Musial-inspired nickname, "El Hombre", because he didn't want to be compared to someone as great as Stan.

I have a few extra (modern) cards of his, and the list follows at the end of this post.

This is actually a smaller than standard sized Walmart exclusive insert from the 2009 Topps set. Blue Back, like the 1951 Topps game set.

In another couple of decades, they'll be putting Lou Gehrig on a 2010 Topps knockoff. Gross.

The list:

1988 Donruss (Hall of Fame Diamond King) #641 [9 available]
1988 Donruss Hall of Fame Diamond King Puzzle Pieces - I have a bunch of these, just ask if you need some!
1988 Donruss Hall of Fame Diamond King Minipuzzle
1988 Topps (Turn Back the Clock) #665 [12 available]
1999 Topps Hall of Fame Collection #HOF3
2002 Upper Deck World Series Heroes #25
2008 Donruss Threads #48
2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes #162
2009 Topps Walmart Blue Backs #2
2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps #60YOT-69
2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps The Lost Cards #60YOTLC-9 [3 available]
2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps The Lost Cards #60YOTLC-10
2011 Topps Lineage #40
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen #249
2013 Topps Archives #185 [3 2 available]

[updated 10/2/13]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two Brocks, Two Envelopes

There's only two cards in me, and I just scanned the third.

Reader Jeff sent me one of those familiar plain white envelopes this summer with the gold version of the Lou Brock Chasing History. Admire it in all its goldness.

Meanwhile, GCRL gave me (after I may have done a little begging) my first pre-1977 O-Pee-Chee card. I almost typed 1978 there, but I think I may have a single 1977 OPC card in some binder or another. All I know is that I need more '70s O-Pee-Chee cards.

Heck, I just need more O-Pee-Chee cards, period.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Rick Ankiel

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: David Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton | Lance Berkman | Lou Brock | Dennis Eckersley | Bob Gibson

Rick Ankiel may not have the largest hobby following, but I'm hoping to find a few Cardinals loyalists who enjoyed his unique baseball story and could use some of his cards. For those of you who don't know, Ankiel was a top prospect who had a remarkably great rookie season in 2000. Ankiel was trotted out to start the first game of the playoffs where he famously melted down and threw five wild pitches in the same inning. It's painful to watch, even today. Ankiel was never the same and washed out as a pitcher after his disastrous playoff appearances (he didn't fare much better in later outings) and struggled with injuries for years. Astonishingly, he came back as a slugging outfielder in 2007 and had a nice run with the Cardinals for a year or so. He's bounced around a bit since the Cardinals let him go a few seasons ago, and at 34 he may not have much major league baseball left in him.

The list follows at the end.

I've always liked Ankiel-as-a-pitcher cards. He was one of the early adopters of the Cardinals high socks revolution. The current squad has High Socks Sundays where they try to get most of the team involved, but for a long time there would be only one or two players at most on the team that would don the look.

My first glimpse of Ankiel The Outfielder was actually at a Triple-A game, when the Memphis Redbirds came to town to play the Portland Beavers, the year he was eventually called up. He crushed a ball that nearly hit the light tower in right field - but it was a foul ball.

The list:

1999 Just #5
2000 Bowman Chrome #220
2001 Topps Stadium Club #66
2000 Just The Preview 2K Just The One #TO-RA01 [2 available]
2000 Just The Preview 2K Just The One #TO-RA04
2000 Pacific Crown Collection #227
2000 Topps Stars #189
2001 Topps #275
2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH85 [3 available]
2008 Topps #4 [6 available]
2008 Topps Gold Foil #4
2008 Upper Deck Documentary #2655
2008 Upper Deck Documentary #3887
2008 Upper Deck First Edition #57
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic #80 [2 available]
2008 Upper Deck X #90 [4 available]
2008 Upper Deck X Die Cut #90
2009 Bowman #41 [4 available]
2009 O-Pee-Chee #137
2009 Topps #605 [3 available]
2009 Topps Chrome #161
2009 Topps Ticket To Stardom #186
2009 Topps Unique #21 [2 available]
2009 Upper Deck #347
2009 Upper Deck (Team Checklist) #979 [2 available]
2009 Upper Deck Goudey #179
2009 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Green Back #179
2009 Upper Deck Icons #85 [3 available]
2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History #88 [2 available]
2009 Upper Deck X #83
2010 Topps Opening Day #149

[updated 10/2/13]

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Five cards that don't really have much to do with each other, except that they were sent by the same person a very long time ago.

There are times when I feel like I am spending all of my free time dealing with a bunch of baseball cards that I have lying around the home, and there are times when I feel like everything I own is collecting its own little layer of dust. This is one of those dust times. With apologies to Sportscards From the Dollar Store, and everyone else that's traded with me (or is attempting to) lately, I present you some cards that I misplaced that were starting to build up a layer of funk.

It's every scanner's little secret that they like to turn the Topps Archives gold parallels into their own weird shade of green for no apparent reason. Topps has probably done the pointless parallel thing a little better than this, but I still need to collect all of the versions of things that I collect.

This season was just not the time for the breakout of the Cardinals Number One Prospect. Taveras had season ending ankle surgery recently after missing a large chunk of this season, and he'll likely get some more time at AAA before he puts on a St. Louis uniform in a game that counts. 18 rookies have played for the big club this season, including 11 that made their debut, but Oscar won't be among them.

I also received a lot of nice set builder stuff from Buckstore Cards, including this SP of the most dominating pitcher of 2013.

A few Blazers were included, the best of which was a card of a personal favorite of mine. Sheed is attempting to be an assistant coach next season, which should prove to be very interesting. He didn't strike me as the most "coachable" person during his playing days.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 1983 Topps Traded #1T

A truly terrifying trip to the '80s, brought to you in part by Swing and a Pop-Up.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Neil Allen was a reliever and sometime starter who came up in the Mets system. Ask most Cardinals fans and they'll tell you that Allen was their team's return for letting Keith Hernandez go in 1983. Keith had become a hassle and a nuisance to Whitey Herzog, and it's rare that you'll ever get equal return when you're just trying to get rid of a problem.

Why is this a thing? This is the rare pre-Photoshop era card where Topps actually tried to doctor up a player's name and number on their uniform. And boy, does it look hilariously awful. Someone must have had a lot of fun with painting the numbers on, at least. The curious thing about it is that the inset photo looks quite passable. I suppose I wouldn't be completely shocked if it was a current photo, but I'm not completely convinced.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than some gum from a pack of 1983 Topps, but you never know!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Better Than a Pack of Ginter

A jumbo sized pack break featuring a little known Rangers slugger on the wrapper.

While all the cool kids have been rushing out to get their grubby mitts all over the Allen's and Ginter's pack's, I decided to plunk down a cool $3.50 for some 10+ year old product. For about the price of a single brand new pack, I was able to purchase 7 packs of some moldy old Upper Deck. This is actually one of the better designs if you ask me, and I recently opened a pack over at APTBNL if you're looking for more.

Pack 1:
459 - Greg Norton
161 - Tim Crabtree
135 - Tony Batista

109 - John Rocker - This guy held a Reddit AMA (basically an open forum "ask me anything" online interview) the other day and it went about as well as you'd expect.

B-JG - Juan Gonzalez Game-Used Base - A b-b-b-base? According to the back of the card, this base was used during the 2001 All-Star Game at Safeco Field. It doesn't mention what connection Juan Gone had to the base, but he was a starter in the game so it's possible he touched it at some point.

484 - Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey Gallery - There's a bunch of these in the 2002 Upper Deck set.

50 - Jason Karnuth - I don't remember this guy at all, but apparently he made a few appearances in 2001.

Pack 2:
358 - Livan Hernandez
332 - Tom Goodwin

306 - Fred McGriff - It's a little sad to see the Crime Dog in a Cubs uni.
166 - Manny Ramirez
140 - David Segui
114 - Danys Baez
243 - Luis Sojo

GH4 - Mike Piazza 2001 Greatest Hits - These inserts fall at a 1:14 ratio according to the wrapper. I know I've traded with some Piazza fans before. Any takers?

Pack 3:
128 - Kazuhiro Sasaki
102 - Felix Martinez
76 - Olmedo Saenz

239 - Mariano Rivera - The All-Stars from the previous season had a silver logo on their cards which is, unfortunately, very difficult to see.
213 - Joe Mays
187 - Luis Ordaz
482 - Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey Gallery

Z4 - Sammy Sosa Big Fly Zone - These inserts are also a 1:14 pull. I imagine there's less interest in Sammy Sosa than Piazza at this point.

Pack 4:
313 - Corey Patterson

287 - Mark McGwire - Big Mac had already played his last game at this point, but if I recall there were several more years worth of tribute cards to come.
261 - Ken Caminiti
439 - Jason LaRue
413 - Turk Wendell

387 - Al Leiter - Just a nice and interesting looking shot.

476 - Kazuhiro Sasaki World Stage - These look like a bit of a precursor to the World Baseball Classic and all of the sets and inserts it has spawned. Sasaki was dominant as the Mariners closer during the days when the Mariners were a threat.
42 - Junior Guerrero

Pack 5:
391 - Matt Lawton
365 - Jason Schmidt
339 - Chan Ho Park
111 - Einar Diaz
85 - Homer Bush
59 - Larry Barnes

295 - Bobby Bonilla - Legend has it that a late spring training injury to Bobby Bo is what paved Albert Pujols' path to the major leagues. I've heard people try to debunk that tale, though.
34 - Jason Phillips

Pack 6:
206 - Cristian Guzman
180 - A.J. Hinch
154 - Rob Bell
317 - Tony Womack

291 - Dustin Hermanson - Hermanson was a back end of the rotation guy in St. Louis after pitching for the Padres and Expos previously.
265 - Jason Marquis

499 - Albert Pujols Season Highlights Checklist - It's always nice to get an early Pujols card.

473 - Pedro Martinez World Stage

Pack 7:
127 - Aaron Sele
101 - Joe Kennedy
75 - Jeremy Giambi
177 - Neifi Perez

ALJ-CR - Cal Ripken Jr. AL Centennial Anniversary Jersey - Wow! This is an amazing pull for a pack that cost me 50 cents. Ripken stuff is highly collectible to this day, though I'm sure that's no big secret.
16 - Luke Hudson
475 - Tony Batista World Stage