Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Albert Pujols

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Ray LankfordMark McGwireJ.D. DrewColby RasmusYadier MolinaAllen CraigStan MusialRick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton | Lance Berkman

What can you say about Albert Pujols? For 11 glorious seasons, the man was an unstoppable baseball killing machine, arriving on the scene as a rookie that was more polished offensively than most All-Stars. Only a .299 batting average (and his subsequent years with the Angels) ruined the back of what would have been a perfect baseball card. It was like Albert had all the cheat codes while everyone else was playing with the difficulty switch set to "hard". If you want some Pujols cards, I have plenty of extras - just check the list at the end of the post.

Albert's worst St. Louis season was probably his last, where he only drove in 99 runs and had a .906 OPS. No Cardinal on the 2013 World Series roster drove in as many as 99 runs or had an OPS as high as Albert's worst year, let alone sniffed the 32 HRs Pujols hit in his worst Cardinal power year (2007).

After being shuffled around the field early in his career, Pujols even became an excellent defensive first baseman before foot injuries began to rob him of his range. As great as Yadier Molina is behind the plate, he's never been able to pick players off of 1st like he did when Pujols was around.

There was much teeth gnashing surround Albert's departure for Anaheim in 2012. Due to the unfortunately decline in his health, the Cardinals have been much better off without the big Pujols contract. But there is nowhere in baseball he would have been more popular than if he had remained in the Gateway City, and that fact alone has probably dipped his standing a bit as one of the game's greats. He may no longer be an unstoppable killing machine, but Cardinals fans will always have those 11 spectacular seasons.

Oh yes, and those 2 World Series rings. And that sweet, sweet Game 3.

The list:

2002 Upper Deck MVP #166
2003 Fleer Doubleheader #129
2003 Upper Deck SP Authentic #54
2003 Upper Deck Victory #87
2003 Upper Deck Victory (Solid Hits) #101
2003 Upper Deck Victory Green #87
2004 Donruss Diamond Kings #27
2004 Fleer Classic Clippings #17
2005 Donruss Throwback Threads #105
2005 Fleer Patchworks #49
2005 Fleer Tradition (NL Home Run Leaders w/ Adrian Beltre and Adam Dunn) #10
2006 Topps #200
2006 Topps (League MVP) #263 [3 available]
2007 Fleer Ultra Retail #147
2007 Topps #130
2007 Topps (Gold Glove Award) #308 [5 4 available]
2007 Topps Stars #TS6
2007 Upper Deck Goudey Green Back #6
2007 Upper Deck MLB Artifacts #66
2008 Topps Target T205 #TCP1
2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes #156
2008 Upper Deck First Edition Starquest #SQ-32
2008 Upper Deck National Baseball Card Day #UD11
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic #3
2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic Authentic Achievements #AA-38
2008 Upper Deck Spectrum #87
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #300
2008 Upper Deck X #91 [2 available]
2009 Bowman #2
2009 Topps (NL MVP) #217
2009 Topps Update (All-Star) #UH48 [2 available]
2009 Topps Update (Home Run Derby) #UH300
2009 Topps Ticket to ToppsTown  #TTT13
2009 Topps Unique #100
2009 Upper Deck Icons #5
2009 Upper Deck X #84
2010 Bowman Gold #185
2010 Topps #100 [3 available]
2010 Topps (League Leaders w/ Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval) #4
2010 Topps (League Leaders w/ Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard) #42
2010 Topps (League Leaders w/ Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard) #206
2010 Topps (NL MVP) #327
2010 Topps Update (All-Star) #US-200 [2 available]
2010 Topps Ticket to ToppsTown #TTT14 [4 available]
2010 Topps Opening Day #47
2010 Topps Opening Day ToppsTown #TTS22
2010 Upper Deck #463
2011 Bowman #6
2011 Bowman Gold #6
2011 Topps (League Leaders w/ Carlos Gonzalez and Joey Votto) #138 [2 available]
2011 Topps (League Leaders w/ Adam Dunn and Joey Votto) #318 [2 available]
2011 Topps (Checklist) #547 [2 available]
2011 Topps Diamond Giveaway Code #TDG-8
2011 Topps Diamond Stars #DS-10
2011 Topps HTA Diamond Giveaway #HTA-20
2011 Topps Kimball Champions #KC-40
2011 Topps Topps 60 #T60-100
2011 Topps Chrome #150
2011 Topps Gypsy Queen #75
2011 Topps Opening Day #50
2012 Topps (League Leaders w/ Matt Kemp and Prince Fielder) #77
2012 Topps (World Series) #108 [2 available]
2012 Topps (League Leaders w/ Vladimir Guerrero and Todd Helton) #124 [3 available]
2012 Topps Golden Giveaway Code #GGC-6 [3 available]
2012 Topps Golden Greats #GG-69

[updated 11/12/13]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mini Wishes

A "do or die" Game 6 awaits. Hopefully those graves remain empty.

My birthday is coming up (it's on a certain holiday that people like to dress up for), but the days where I'd dwell on birthday wishes have long passed me. Instead, I'm going to watch the game tomorrow night and hope that there's a Game 7 to interfere with my birthday plans, where I'll wish that Carlos Beltran captures some more of his postseason magic.

I have some other kind of wishes, and they will be set to the images of some minis that I snagged in a group break of the hobby exclusive 2013 Topps Mini-Cards set. Thanks again to Ryan of Another Orioles Blog for putting it together.

I wish that Allen Craig gets some hits that don't require him to run. The ones that score runs and leave the playing field. And I wish that his foot heals normally.

I wish that Daniel Descalso puts together a late game at bat with runners in scoring position that belies his typical offensive performances and represents what he did in a couple of key situations in playoffs past.

Speaking of playoffs past, I wish that David Freese would find his hitting stroke that has largely abandoned him in 2013.

I wish that Lance Lynn isn't needed or called upon in Game 6, but is available out of the bullpen when all hands are on deck in Game 7.

I wish that Adam Wainwright's confidence is backed up by some truly heroic performances. And, you know, he could be available for an inning or two in a Game 7.

Finally, I wish that Matt Holliday continues to crush baseballs, but this time he doesn't find himself alone at doing so.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Good Luck Ducks, Week 9: BCS Flunkies

The biggest game of the season to date.

Despite resembling an unstoppable killing machine this season with college football's preeminent player at the helm of the offense, Oregon actually dropped to a #3 ranking in the eyes of those who like to rank things after last week's win over Washington State. The first BCS rankings in the lousy system's final year were released, giving Florida State a lead over Oregon by fractions of percentage points. When strength of schedule is taken into consideration, the Ducks should overtake the Seminoles provided that both teams remain undefeated for the rest of the season. When we talk like that, we are getting way, way ahead of ourselves, however. And I wouldn't trust anyone on the planet who thinks they can predict what garbage the BCS algorithm will spew out from week to week.

Let's talk about the opponent at hand, shall we? UCLA has slowly ascended to the throne of Kings of Los Angeles-area College Football with USC floundering in the post-Pete Carroll days. This year's Bruins team is clearly the best of the recent bunch, and they are led by sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley. The Pac-12 has an astonishingly talented group of quarterbacks, so it's no surprise that another ranked team in the Bruins would have yet another high caliber QB. Unlike last week's shenanigans, in which a wild gunslinger went for (and broke) an all-time FBS (Division I) record by attempting 89 passes (many with the game basically out of hand), Hundley will likely mix in some plays that don't involve chucking it down the field on every down.

Oregon is expected to see De'Anthony Thomas finally return to action, at least in some capacity. Byron Marshall has filled in admirably in his absence, which has allowed freshman Thomas Tyner to get some valuable experience in with the starters. I would expect all three to carry the ball at some point, and in front of the home crowd, I think Oregon should succeed again this week. It's another test, and certainly the toughest team they've faced to this point in the schedule. With the game at home, I think Oregon will be able to keep their streak alive.

Oregon's last meeting with the Bruins was in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game in 2011. It went well.

Game time is 4:00 PDT in Eugene with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps #430

Less than one week left of baseball. We're all going to miss it.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Matty Alou was an All-Star outfielder who bounced around a bit in his career. He won a World Series ring with the A's in '72 and had multiple brief stints with the Cardinals. He's best known as the middle child of the three Alou brothers, all of whom were successful MLBers. Matty was a career .307 hitter who won a batting title in his first season as a full-time outfielder. He's also the second Alou brother (third card overall) to be featured on Airbrushed Fridays.

Why is this a thing? As you may have figured out, this technically isn't even an airbrushed card. Topps found a hatless photo of Matty two teams removed from the Padres and called it good. While Alou finished up the 1973 season with the Cardinals, he's pictured here in Yankees pinstripes. Topps has always had some sort of unwritten policy to always match player photos to the team the player represents on the card, so I thought it was fun to include. Matty concluded his major league career with San Diego in 1974. But unlike a number of the Padres cards in this set, there's no Washington "Nat'l Lea" variation of this card.

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 Boston beard trimmings, but you never know!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Ray Lankford

Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Mark McGwireJ.D. DrewColby RasmusYadier MolinaAllen CraigStan MusialRick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton | Lance Berkman

Ray Lankford's Cardinal career spanned two decades, where he was one of the most consistent players in the Cardinals lineup. Advanced statistics say great things about Lankford's career. He was an athletic outfielder, not a corner infielder that could only slug his way out of things. You won't see his name on the Cardinals outfield wall, however, and he only has one All-Star nod to his credit.

Lankford came up at the tail end of the Whitey Herzog era, which was the Cardinals own version of the dead ball era. He soldiered on through the Joe Torre era. The less said about that era, the better. Lankford was on two Cardinals playoff teams after Tony La Russa took over, but the Cardinals best days were yet to come while Lankford's best days were behind him.

I always really liked Lankford, but it was clear that he would never have the star power of someone like Ken Griffey Jr. Similarly, I had high hopes for a Lankford/Bernard Gilkey/Felix Jose unstoppable killing machine, but things like that only happen in teenage card collector's fantasies.

Lankford himself wasn't a disappointment, though. He was a great hitter and, for the better part of his career, a player worth watching in the field as well. Were it not for a certain Edmonds guy that came along near the end of Lankford's Cardinal career, I might still be pining for the days the Cards had a center fielder like him around.

The list:

1990 Bowman #192 [2 available]
1991 Bowman #388
1991 Classic III #T48
1991 Donruss #43 [15 available]
1991 Donruss The Rookies #8 [2 available]
1991 Fleer #637 [5 available]
1991 Fleer Ultra #290 [5 available]
1991 Leaf #523 [4 available]
1991 O-Pee-Chee #682
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier #72 [4 available]
1991 Score #731 [5 available]
1991 Studio #234 [3 available]
1991 Topps #682 [8 available]
1991 Topps Stadium Club #537
1991 Topps Stadium Club Members Only
1991 Upper Deck #346 [6 available]
1992 Donruss #350 [9 available]
1992 Donruss Triple Play #194 [2 available]
1992 Fleer #583 [2 available]
1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations #17
1992 Fleer Ultra #265
1992 Leaf #195
1992 Panini #177
1992 Pinnacle #126 [3 available]
1992 Score #223 [4 available]
1992 Score '90s Impact Player #8
1992 Topps #292 [9 available]
1992 Topps Gold Winner #292
1992 Topps Stadium Club #8 [2 available]
1992 Upper Deck #262 [4 available]
1993 Donruss #366 [3 available]
1993 Fleer #127
1993 Hostess #5 [2 available]
1993 Leaf #297 [3 available]
1993 Pacific #296 [2 available]
1993 Pinnacle #116
1993 Studio #175 [2 available]
1993 Topps #386 [10 available]
1993 Topps Gold #386 [2 available]
1993 Topps Black Gold #10 [2 available]
1993 Topps Stadium Club #49
1993 Triple Play #254 [9 available]
1993 Upper Deck #244 [5 available]
1993 Upper Deck (Peter Gammons Inside the Numbers) #461 [8 available]
1993 Upper Deck Homerun Heroes #HR20
1993 Upper Deck Fun Pack #76 [9 available]
1994 Donruss #367 [2 available]
1994 Fleer #636 [2 available]
1994 Fleer Ultra #566 [3 available]
1994 Leaf #384
1994 O-Pee-Chee #251
1994 Pinnacle #36 [2 available]
1994 Topps #530 [3 available]
1994 Topps Stadium Club #353 [4 available]
1994 Upper Deck #446 [4 available]
1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #365 [2 available]
1995 Bazooka #74
1995 Fleer Ultra #431
1995 Score #264 [2 available]
1995 Topps #82 [7 available]
1995 Topps Cyberstats #058 [2 available]
1995 Topps Stadium Club #424 [2 available]
1995 Topps Stadium Club (Extreme Corps Red) #507 [2 available]
1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #190
1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Special Edition #77
1996 Donruss#379
1996 Leaf #37
1996 Pinnacle Zenith #38
1996 Topps #327 [5 available]
1996 Upper Deck #441
1996 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #690 [3 available]
1997 Donruss #67 [2 available]
1997 New Pinnacle #67
1997 Score #236
1997 Topps Finest #256
1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #202 [3 available]
1998 Donruss #13 [2 available]
1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated World Series Fever #87 [2 available]
1998 Pinnacle Performers #78
1998 Score Rookie Traded #RT168 [4 available]
1998 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Starquest (Special Delivery) #SQ42
1999 Bowman #57 [2 available]
1999 Fleer Ultra #27
1999 Pacific Omega #195
1999 Skybox Premium #150
1999 Skybox Thunder #89
1999 Topps #35 [4 available]
1999 Topps Finest #154 [2 available]
1999 Upper Deck UD Choice #131 [2 available]
1999 Upper Deck MVP #175 [2 available]
2000 Fleer Impact #14
2000 Fleer Mystique #101
2000 Topps #245 [2 available]
2000 Topps Stadium Club #25
2000 Upper Deck MVP #54
2000 Upper Deck Victory #76
2001 Fleer Focus #23
2001 Fleer Platinum #47 [2 available]
2001 Fleer Tradition #146
2001 Fleer Ultra #75
2001 Topps Stadium Club #52

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Something For Every Part of My Collection

Still cleaning up the August trade stacks.

I've traded with Brian C, a member in good standing of the Guilt Free Basketball Card Club, a number of times now. When I ended up with the Pirates as my extra team in a group break this summer, I decided to dump those cards on him. In exchange I got some goodies from all reaches of my collection, like this John Axford 2013 Topps Heritage card. Now, I'm not saying that I'm starting an Axford player collection because he's a Cardinal all of a sudden, but I did need his Heritage card for my Heritage set.

Here's a shiny gold Chris Carpenter card. There will always be places for these things in my collection, even now that Carp is hanging it up. Sorry, I know you all were big fans and all, but he's all but made it official that he's pitched his last game.

I still probably need a bunch of these Chasing History cards. Now that Update is out, there are undoubtedly even more to collect, along with paralleled versions of each.

Brian even went Blazers on me and delivered me this 2009-10 Travis Outlaw Panini card that is apparently some sort of glossy parallel. That means I have a bunch more of this team set to track down, too. Stupid gloss.

Robin Lopez just joined up with the Blazers to be their starting center, at least until Meyers Leonard or another player from the future develops into the position. I'm going to take a wait-and-see approach. I don't have a Sideshow Rob collection going, either, but I am collecting this fun/weird basketball tribute to baseball's 1984 Donruss.

Brian also sent over a Ducks card, but as is my usual process, I'm going to save it for a gameday.

Series Preview: World Series

The Cardinals/Red Sox World Series at a glance.

Largely on the strength of a pitcher who was drafted less than a year and a half ago, the Cardinals advanced to the World Series to face the Boston Red Sox. Boston, whose turnaround from a disastrous Bobby Valentine-led 2012 season was rather remarkable, has the home field advantage in the series due to Bud Selig's rather idiotic treatment of the annual All-Star Game.

2013 Season Series: 0-0
Boston and St. Louis did not play each other this year and haven't met in the regular season since 2008. Their last meeting in the World Series was in 2004, which proved to be a house of horrors for a previously unstoppable Redbird machine. Only David Ortiz and Yadier Molina remain from the two teams' 2004 World Series rosters, and Molina was just the backup to current manager Mike Matheny at the time.

Starting Pitching: Adam Wainwright / Michael Wacha / Joe Kelly / Lance Lynn vs. Jon Lester / John Lackey / Clay Buchholz / Jake Peavy
It's hard to recall a pitcher as young and suddenly successful under the brightest lights as Wacha is right now. In his final start of the season (and just 9th of his big league career), Wacha came within one out of a no-hitter. In his three playoff starts, he's allowed just one loud run (and 8 total hits) with an NLCS MVP trophy to show for his good work. Wainwright has been in ace form of late, while Kelly and Lynn have been a bit of a mixed bag. The Red Sox foursome are all quality starting pitchers and well-known commodities, but none can match the Cardinals ace or the recent work of the young rook. ADVANTAGE: CARDINALS

Bullpen: Trevor Rosenthal vs. Koji Uehara
Rosenthal can hit 100 on the gun and has impressed in his end of season role as the Cardinals closer, but 38 year old Uehara has literally been insane. Playoffs included, Uehara has struck out 114 batters while walking 9 and allowing 10 runs. Alongside Rosie in the Redbirds pen is Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness, Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist, while Boston's pen includes Craig Breslow, Franklin Morales, Junichi Tazawa, Brandon Workman and (oddly enough) Ryan Dempster. The Cardinals have many situational relievers while the Red Sox are flush with spot starter types (and Dempster). ADVANTAGE: CARDINALS

Catcher: Yadier Molina vs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Molina hasn't quite been the same player this year since a midseason injury, but his loads of playoff experience and success in big moments will serve him well here. Salty has one of the all-time great baseball last names, not to mention one of the longest ones, and he's thrived as Boston's first full-time catcher since Jason Varitek retired. No one can quite handle pitchers like Yadi as is evident by the results his young counterparts continue to achieve. ADVANTAGE: CARDINALS

First Base: Matt Adams vs. Mike Napoli
Adams is a bit of an all-or-nothing player at the plate, which can lead to some spectacular whiffs in key moments. The short porch at Fenway Park for the slugging lefty could prove to be very favorable to him, however. Adams may be replaced at first by Allen Craig by the time the series shifts to St. Louis, depending upon how much progress Craig can make. Napoli, a converted catcher, similarly runs hot and cold at the plate but has considerably more experience than Adams. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

Second Base: Matt Carpenter vs. Dustin Pedroia
Carpenter's bat finally started to show some life in the NLCS after an abysmal Divisional Series, and the league's leader in doubles, hits and runs will be depended upon heavily on the biggest stage. Pedroia led his league in those same categories in 2008 en route to an MVP award and has continued to be one of the better offensive second basemen around. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

Third Base: David Freese vs. Xander Bogaerts/Will Middlebrooks
Freese has rarely reminded anyone of 2011 this year and has been removed for defensive purposes in nearly ever game. There's still plenty of time for him to come up with something heroic, but it's possible that his rough injury history is really catching up to him even though he hasn't played a lot of big league games for his age. Bogaerts, the 21-year-old Aruban prospect, replaced Middlebrooks as the starter for the final two games of the ALCS. John Farrell will probably ride the hot hand. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

Shortstop: Pete Kozma vs. Stephen Drew
Kozma is generally a plus fielder and is the Cardinals best baserunner. Unfortunately, he brings his glove to the plate and tries to hit with it, or at least that's what it seems like. Stephen Drew likely won't ever live up to his early offensive promise, but he won't embarrass himself at the plate. ADVANTAGE: RED SOX

Right Field: Carlos Beltran vs. Shane Victorino
Beltran is one of the game's all-time best playoff performers, while The Flyin' Hawaiian brings loads of playoff experience to the table as well. Victorino has played in the postseason in every season of his career save his rookie year and last year, and his memorable grand slam helped propel the Red Sox into this final round. This one is close. ADVANTAGE: CARDINALS

Center Field: Jon Jay vs. Jacoby Ellsbury
Jay plays a solid center field and should get along just fine with Fenway Park's abbreviated dimensions. However, in what is quickly becoming the opposite of a small sample size, Jay has a .190/.259/.485 career playoff slash line, enough to frighten anyone at this spooky time of year. Ellsbury is the game's premiere base thief and can usually hold his own with the bat in his hands. ADVANTAGE: RED SOX

Left Field: Matt Holliday vs. Jonny Gomes
Holliday is the Cardinals rock solid #3 hitter and superstar. He faced the Red Sox in their last World Series appearance in 2007, when Boston prevailed over Holliday's Rockies. Gomes is heavily used against left-handed pitching, where he thrives. Given that the Cardinals have no lefty starters, Daniel Nava could figure into the equation quite a bit. ADVANTAGE: CARDINALS

Designated Hitter: Allen Craig vs. David Ortiz
Craig hasn't played a game since September 4th, but when he last played he was leading the league in RBI (97) and leading the galaxy in batting average with runners in scoring position. His power took a dip this season as it did pretty much across the board in the Cardinals clubhouse, but no one in the National League was more effective when it counted the most. It remains to be seen how effective he will be with all of the time off. Big Papi has quietly put together another stellar season at age 37, and his every at bat will be worth dropping whatever you're doing to tune in for. ADVANTAGE: RED SOX

Bench: Daniel Descalso / Shane Robinson / Tony Cruz / Kolten Wong vs. David Ross / Quintin Berry / Mike Carp / Daniel Nava
The Cardinals biggest playoff offensive contribution from the bench so far was a Shane Robinson home run that sort of squeaked over the wall in Game 3 of the NLCS. Carp is a slugger than doesn't get consistent playing time while Nava is essentially a regular without a regular position. Mike Napoli will also join this crowded bunch when David Ortiz plays first base in St. Louis. This is a stacked and scary Boston bench. ADVANTAGE: RED SOX

Manager: Mike Matheny vs. John Farrell
Matheny has built up a little bit of criticism along the way, but it's hard to argue with someone who has brought his team to the World Series in his second season as a professional manager after coming within one game of it in his first. Farrell is in his first playoff dance, but Boston must have liked something about him during his time in Toronto as they bizarrely included him somehow in a player trade between the two teams. Farrell has done a lot to soothe the nausea that Red Sox fans must still feel when Bobby Valentine's name is brought up, but it also helps a ton that many key players are healthy this year when they weren't last year. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

Prediction: CARDINALS in 7

Hey, as unlikely as it seems, it's happened before.

Game 1 game time is 7:00 CDT (8:00 EDT) at Fenway Park with national coverage on FOX. Go Cards!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trading with Swing and a Pop-Up

Trades, trades, what do they mean?

We just recently celebrated the 8 year anniversary of Lidge vs. Pujols (somewhere Andy Pettitte is still saying "oh my God!") I've seen highlights of Albert's big blast off of the Astros reliever in the 2005 NLCS so many times, and it's been made into countless GIFs, but it wasn't until recently that I had gotten a full look at the HD version of that moment captured in time. One of the best things about that shot is that Brad Ausmus is looking back at the umpire, calling for another baseball. That one isn't coming back.

My Brad Ausmus moment in time comes courtesy of Swing and a Pop-Up, who sent me some cards to fill a few want list needs awhile back. (I've been seriously deliquent on my end of the deal, but that package was mailed out last Friday, I swear!) There will probably come a time where I will need to hit up some website like sportlots to fill out the rest of some of these cheaper sets, but for now I'm still enjoying the cards that trickle in.

I received some Cardinals, too. This card had eluded me for a long time. I was having a hard time keeping track of which 1983 Topps Super Veteran cards that I needed, but now I think I finally have them all. Maybe.

I have pretty much no recollection of Tracy Woodson as a baseball player, which is troubling because he played for the Cardinals when I was still in high school (and therefore, still collecting cards.) The Joe Torre years were just that forgettable, I guess.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: Cougar Life

Pink helmets tonight.

Having passed their first true test of the season, the Oregon Ducks head back home to host the Washington State Cougars tonight. The Cougars possess a dangerous passing attack and are seeking to become bowl eligible this season for the first time since 2003. They have a 4-3 record, only suffering blowouts at the hands of Stanford and Oregon State. These Cougars can't be taken as lightly as the non-bowl teams that came before them. Connor Halliday has been a mixed bag behind center in Cougar Town, but he has already thrown for 2241 yards this season at just past the halfway point. Yards will accumulate.

I'd expect some points to be put on the scoreboard today from both sides. Oregon may again be without De'Anthony Thomas, but it may just be a precautionary measure as the Ducks are favored by 40 points. I'm not sure if they're a lock to cover that spread, but they shouldn't need DAT today. Games with UCLA and Stanford are on the horizon, and the hope is that Oregon won't entertain thoughts of this being a "trap game".

Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to be perfect this season. He finally played in a 4th quarter this season last week, but I'd expect to see him on the sidelines long before this one is over. Oregon will be wearing very jarring pink helmets tonight, but it's for a good cause: breast cancer awareness, of course. I will actually get to watch some of the game, with the Cardinals World Series berth wrapped up last night.

A look at #3 overall draft pick Dion Jordan's work against the Cougars last season.

Game time is 7:00 PDT in Eugene with national coverage on Fox Sports 1. Go Ducks!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Stickers #170

Tonight's starting shortstop, perhaps?

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Michael Young is a 7-time All-Star who seems to be one of the most hated men in baseball these days. I don't quite get it. He was the subject of much teeth-gnashing in Texas before the Rangers finally ran him out of town, and he got chewed up and spit out in Philly... which is, well, Philly. He's the Dodgers problem now. His time as a useful everyday baseball player is up, but it seems like people like to pick on him anyway. Is he being used inappropriately? Only if you trot him out at SS like it was 2004, I guess. My only beef with the guy is that he had some big All-Star moments that cost the NL their stupid home field advantage that I wished were decided by something less stupid. It seems like the guy can still hit a little bit, which is more than you could typically say about the Cardinals bench.

Why is this a thing? Young was finally traded by the Rangers to Philadelphia after last season for some scraps. The Phillies season went about as well as one could expect out of an aging team with a bloated payroll relying on a hobbling Ryan Howard, and Young was again on the move to LA for the playoff run. This Topps Stickers card catches him Photoshopped into a Phillies uniform because the set was released back at the beginning of the season. It doesn't look like there will be a Dodgers Michael Young card in 2013, but there's always next year. And it will probably be Photoshopped!

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 the proverbial gas left in Michael Young's tank, but you never know!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

From the Archives

An old pack break on the eve of a big game.

I used to work with this guy who was a bit hard of hearing, but not so much that you couldn't carry on a conversation with him successfully. He had some interesting quirks, including pronunciation of the word "archives", which he pronounced a lot like "chives". Is anyone else familiar with that pronunciation?

I bought four of these packs this summer and recently busted one over at APTBNL. Here's another one of the packs.

338 - Early Wynn (1962) - Wynn had one of those classic pitchers names, like Bob Walk and Larry Sinkerballer.

388 - Tony Perez (1986) - I get a bit of a twinge of nostalgia when I see this design, of all years. It was the first one I bought packs of. I remember seeing the 1981 design first when I was just barely old enough to eat cold cereal, so I mangled the little Robin Yount card that came out of my box of Chex or whatever it was. I took care of those precious '86 cards... well, not really. I actually got rid of most of them because even at 14 I realized how worthless they were. Maybe someday I'll buy a box and then donate the contents after I open it, just for old times' sake. Also, Eric Davis!

335 - Richie Ashburn (1963) - I always see Ashburn as a Phillie, so it's cool to see a later period card of his. Although, it's not the actual card... whatever.

344 - Jim Bouton (1968) - Hey, it's the Ball Four guy.

268 - Tommy John (1964) - Topps hacked up some of the multiplayer cards they featured in this set to focus on the better known half, or so it would seem. Hence, these look kind of wonky.

271 - Steve Carlton (1965) - Same deal here. Nice to get a Card, though!

270 - Paul Blair (1965) - Another '65 Rookie Star.

274 - Ron Swoboda (1965) - And another one. Neither of these guys were as successful as Lefty, crazy as he may be.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crap After a Crap Game

Can a repack box ease the pain of a playoff loss? You know the answer!

They have a single baseball card product for sale at the local neighborhood grocery superstore, which happens to be those 3 packs and a "memorabilia card" blind buys. Just about anything could have been in this box, but most likely it won't be Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols. I almost never buy these sorts of things - I tend to go for the ones that give you packs and only when I can at least tell what a few of the packs will be. The one time I remember taking one of these sorts of things a ride, I did fairly well with my relic card. It was David Wright.

To dispense with the suspense, here was my prize: a Marlon Byrd jersey card from 2004 Topps Finest. I was highly amused that the card came in a very used looking top loader that someone had written the year of the card on. I'm guessing Fairfield did a bulk buy of someone's (or some shop's) collection and didn't bother to swap out the top loaders or remove them altogether.

Marlon Byrd doesn't exactly strike me as the most collector-friendly player, but aside from being choosy about the player, this is a pretty nice looking card. I don't often buy Finest cards and I'm not sure if I own any from 2004. Nevertheless, this is up for grabs if anyone is interesting.

Pack 1 was a 2010 Topps Series 1 retail pack. I think this is my first time seeing this Willie Stargell insert.

I'm sure I have a handful of this Adam Wainwright base card, but it was nice to see a Cardinal card at least.

Pack 2 was a 2012 Topps Heritage retail pack. The problem here is that I have the entire base set and have more doubles from this one than probably all other Heritage sets combined. I do need something like 33 of the SPs, but this Jason Bay is unfortunately not one of those 33. This is up for grabs as well, along with a ton of non-SP base cards.

The less said about Pack 3, the better. This is one of those Pete Rose 2012 Leaf packs that no one is talking about these days. You can see a pack of this stuff opened right here. I am throwing these ones up on Listia unless there are any Rose fans or fans of this set out there.