Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Get Off My Lawn, Bowman!

There's something really creepy about buying a pack featuring, and seemingly centered on, an 18 year old kid on all of its packaging. I'm also not your typical Bowman consumer and likely won't buy another full price Bowman pack again this year. I like to wait for this stuff to show up in repack boxes and the $1.59 bin. I was out at a local retail giant in search of supplies, however, and just didn't feel right unless I bought at least one pack. I also fell victim to the "hey, it's something NEW" circumstance that plagues me and far too many others at times.

Anyway, here's the one pack, which likely will not feature the snot-nosed brat named Bryce.

BP86 - Stetson Allie Prospects (Someone took a girl's full name and reversed it for some reason.)

BP23 - Vinnie Catricala Prospects (He's Hawaiian!)

64 - Trevor Cahill (It's almost as if they took the last 10 years of Bowman designs and threw them into a blender to come up with this year's model. You could probably say that every year, however.)

58 - Torii Hunter

124 - Franklin Gutierrez (Good Guy Gutierrez returns to Seattle's lineup not long after Nut Case Milton leaves it and suddenly the Mariners are competitive.)

133 - Jose Tabata (I am not a fan of the holiday caps.)

205 - Freddie Freeman

BCP59 - Ronald Bermudez Chrome Prospects (I got nothin'.)

BBP7 - Mike Moustakas Bowman's Best (I guess this counts as one of my chrome cards for some reason. Moustakas has been a highly touted prospect for awhile now, which automatically means that he's the next George Brett Alex Gordon.)

114 - David Wright Gold (Here's the unnecessary one per pack parallel. Gold Bowman cards are still going strong.)

As a gentle reminder to you all, I don't need any of these cards. I will collect the related Cardinals cards, however.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Heritage on Parade

This is the first installment of a series of posts documenting the goodies I snagged in Smed's Spring Cleaning. Oddly enough, I did some spring cleaning of my own today around Casa de Cards on Cards. I didn't discover any hidden baseball card treasures or anything... just some clothes I assumed I already parted ways with. This is just going to be a gallery of 2011 Topps Heritage cards that I found to be interesting, which means that most of them will be Cardinals related. Go figure.

It's nice to see a couple of photos of Gibby that I'm not totally sick of. He did play baseball for a long time in an era where there were plenty of photo opportunities, so I'm hoping more photos will circulate for some of these legendary players who played in more of a modern era than guys like Ty Cobb.

It's tough to say what the future holds for Skip Schumaker. I like Skip, but I think my interest in him as a player waned when he went from the 25th man that you always wanted to see more of to an everyday player, with not a whole lot of punch in his bat. Those types of players are still pretty valuable if they can play stellar middle infield defense or can play almost any position on the field late in games. Unfortunately, Skip can't really do either. With Allen Craig beginning to take hold as the Next Great La Russa Position Conversion, Schumaker seems relegated to backup duties on a team that is in no short supply of backups.

It's so weird that I have a spot in my binders for Lance Berkman.

New closer Fernando Salas is now on his second year with the new-fangled RC logo. Good job, Topps. He's in one of the 2010 Bowman sets as a regular RC (not one of the prospects.) He's got an interesting face.

Albert Pujols hit a home run today, a bright spot in a game dampened by Kyle McClellan failing to retire Madison Bumgarner at all before allowing a grand slam to Andres Torres.

Jon Jay is looking more and more like the best 4th outfielder the Cards have ever had. He can play all three outfield positions very well, and has a quick lefty bat that has provided some late innings punch. As long as Holliday, Berkman and Rasmus don't miss any extended time, Jay should end up with some pretty nice numbers. His production seems to decline when relied upon as an everyday guy, though.

Holliday limped his way through 9 innings today. I hope his sore quad isn't something he's going to be dealing with all season.

There is no chance of Colby Rasmus ever not looking awkward, kind of like this sentence.

Chris Perez is probably the last person I'd ever want to be in a bar fight with.


I think Vernon picked up this Angels hat at a gas station.

I don't know why I'm such a fan of these four-paneled "in action" cards, but I am. Something about this card also makes me giggle a little bit.

My want list will be updated before I go to sleep tonight as I've knocked off a ton of needs here, along with a few other packs I've purchased recently. If you see names instead of just numbers, you'll know that it's updated.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1978 Topps #415

Catcher collisions are in the news right now as Gerald Dempsey Posey was taken out in the wee hours of the morning yesterday and is likely done for the season. What better time is there to bring back our first two-time Airbrushed Fridays featured player who happens to know a thing or two about this very subject?

Ray Fosse was a two-time All-Star, two-time World Series winner and two-time Gold Glove Award winning catcher who was famously blown up by Pete Rose in the 1970 ASG. Fosse's offensive production declined for five consecutive seasons following The Collision, although he would go on to win his second Gold Glove and make his second All-Star appearance in 1971. Fosse played with Cleveland, Oakland, Cleveland again and Seattle before making his final stop and first in the National League as depicted on this very card.

Why did Topps airbrush Ray's photo? Fosse signed on the last day of 1977 with Milwaukee and did not appear in a Brewers uniform before the 1978 set was released. According to Wikipedia, he "tripped in a hole while running down the first base line, and suffered injuries to his right leg" during spring training that season, which makes me wonder if '70s spring training baseball was similar to Mutant League Football in that players would occasionally fall victim to land mines and large craters in their normal everyday gameplay.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? The cap is airbrushed, of course. What I'm really concerned about is that Ray is wearing something that is dangerously close to a smoking jacket. He's looking very contemplative, as if he never believed his career would ever take him to the National League.

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, May 25, 2011

Group Break From The Other World

I haven't participated in a lot of group breaks lately because I tend to be a bit slow on the draw and I have plenty of competition for Cardinals slots. I'm glad I was tipped off to the group break hosted by The Other World recently, however, because it turned out to be a really good one (at least for me.) The break had a pretty good variety of products from throughout the '00s, rather than just focusing on a certain year, which is nice.

I should also mention that I got to choose a second team, so I ended up taking San Diego and was rewarded handsomely with this Ozzie Smith short print from the 2005 Upper Deck Classics set.

I also snagged a short stack of 2002 Topps Total. Most of the base cards in this case ended up being Padres cards, but I did get an Albert Pujols and a So Taguchi rookie.

There was also this snazzy little insert. Snazzy is about how I feel about it.

2009 Topps 206 was also in the mix, but I didn't fare as well here. I did, however, get three Cardinal minis which is nothing to sneeze about.

I'm usually not the biggest fan of Topps Gallery sets, but this 2003 set looks really nice I must admit. I think I like it because there's no gold involved.

Ryan Klesko's Artists Proof card (doesn't everyone steal this name?) is thicker than the base cards and loses the really nice artsy finish, replacing it with more of a refractor look. It doesn't scan the way it looks, of course.

I have every Cardinals base card from the 2008 Baseball Heroes set, so I wasn't expecting much outside from maybe a parallel or two that I didn't have. I didn't get anything like that, so I thought I'd show this card of a couple of Hall of Famers instead. However...

I hit the jackpot with this one. Well, maybe not the jackpot, but bells and whistles definitely started going off and coins started busting out of the machine. Here's three Hall of Fame (or HoF to be) pitchers and their respective jersey swatches. Yes, I know, jersey cards aren't that exciting to most. Yes, I know, this design sucks and the player's photos are nearly microscoping. This is still a really cool card to have and it will be one of the few non-Cardinals (and non-set building) cards I own that I won't be eager to rid myself of.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 on the 5: 1998 Skybox Dugout Axcess

Here's a product that epitomizes '90s baseball card excess, right down to its intentionally misspelled name. 1998 Skybox Dugout Axcess cards were a hot mess in a mylar wrapper, cramming 12 skinny cards in what I assumed to be an affordable package. I picked up 6 of these for 80 cents a piece and will show 5 of them here, with the pack to be named later shown off at A Pack To Be Named Later at some later point. All cards are up for grabs including the Cardinals cards.

Pack 1:

10 of 20 DH - Kenny Lofton Doubleheader (It's a game. It's an insert. It's a two-per-pack game insert. It involves dice, not included, because that would be weird.)
17 of 20 DH - Frank Thomas Doubleheader (I assume that there are more of these than actual Frank Thomas base cards because of how they were distributed.)

FF6 of 10 - Craig Biggio Frequent Flyer (Sort of like a cheap replica credit card that a credit card company might mail you unsolicited before people thought about things like identity theft, Frequent Flyers were a 1:4 insert.)
76 - Matt Stairs

127 - Mark McGwire 7th Inning Sketch
125 - Mike Piazza 7th Inning Sketch (Get it?)
59 - Frank Thomas (He has so many cards. I think it would be quite a challenge to be a Big Hurt player collector.)

18 - Gary Sheffield (If everything else wasn't enough, the base cards have this weird rainbowy effect going on in the corners at times.)
102 - Brian Giles Little Dawgs (Quite possibly the most annoying concept and name of a subset of all-time. I don't feel like getting into it right now. Maybe later.)
100 - Juan Encarnacion Little Dawgs
99 - Rod Myers Little Dawgs (Who?)
1 - Travis Lee

Pack 2:
9 of 20 DH - Chipper Jones Doubleheader

16 of 20 DH - Scott Rolen Doubleheader (There was a time when you might have felt bad for Philly. Rolen and J.D. Drew both jilted them, after all. I feel like they've turned into the Red Sox of the National League these days.)

FF7 of 10 - Delino DeShields Frequent Flyer (As if the front of these Frequent Flyer cards weren't ridiculous enough.)
118 - Paul Konerko Little Dawgs

6 of 10 SH - Hideo Nomo & Human Torch Superheroes (Hey, I recognize this card!)

40 - Ron Gant (One of the centerpieces of the '96 Cardinals playoff run, a team that looked like they were on the brink of something only to completely collapse against Atlanta. Still painful.)
39 - Jason Kendall
58 - Albert Belle
37 - Tony Womack (It's almost as if Tony Womack has always existed. Before time, even.)
10 - Barry Larkin
44 - Ken Caminiti (I can't believe anyone does steroids anymore after seeing what happened to the late Caminiti.)
116 - Rich Butler Little Dawgs (Wait for it.)

Pack 3:
4 of 20 DH - Derek Jeter Doubleheaders (So tired of this guy right now.)

11 of 20 DH - Mark McGwire Doubleheaders (Normally I'd be happy with this card, but I recently received three of them in a group break.)

133 - Mo Vaughn Name Plates (Scary dude.)
91 - Jeff Suppan Little Dawgs (It's so weird to think of someone like Jeff Suppan as a "Little Dawg".)
62 - Sandy Alomar, Jr.
35 - Curt Schilling
54 - Roberto Alomar (Multi-Alomar)

73 - Derek Jeter (Fine, you win, Jeter.)
72 - Brad Radke
45 - Kevin Brown
109 - Eric Milton Little Dawgs (Ah, Uncle Miltie.)
46 - Barry Bonds

Pack 4:

9 of 20 DH - Chipper Jones Doubleheader (Ol' Larry wearing a Boston Braves replica jersey.)
16 of 20 DH - Scott Rolen Doubleheader

137 - Fred McGriff Name Plates (I approve of this.)
108 - A.J. Hinch Little Dawgs
2 - Matt Williams
40 - Ron Gant
59 - Frank Thomas (So many doubles. Clearly this set was not very big.)
78 - Jason Giambi (I told my friend about Giambi hitting 3 HRs the other day and tried to convey how confusing it was. He responded with something sarcastic about steroids. Uh, if Giambi is still on steroids, he's doing it wrong. His 3 HR night was a huge anomaly for 2011 Giambi.)
77 - Ben Grieve
30 - Rondell White
64 - Bobby Higginson
106 - Mark Kotsay Little Dawgs (I really dislike these cards. To be honest, if I had realized that this was the "Little Dawgs" set before I bought the packs I might have thought twice about shelling out the money.)

Pack 5:
3 of 20 DH - Barry Bonds Doubleheader
20 of 20 DH - Jose Cruz, Jr. Doubleheader
138 - Roger Clemens Name Plates (I just can't.)
48 - Shawn Estes
67 - Dean Palmer
60 - Robin Ventura
19 - Jeff Bagwell (I've been on a run of Bagwell cards lately.)

148 - Andres Galarraga Trivia Card (Can you guess the answer?)

112 - Derrek Lee Little Dawgs (Okay, fine, here's the deal. This is what the Little Dawgs look like. On the back of each Little Dawgs card is an explanation from Barry Larkin himself on what a Little Dawg is. It basically makes him sound like a jerk who doesn't bother to make personal connections with people he figures he probably won't be playing with anytime soon. It doesn't make it any better that the graphic takes up half of the card.)
110 - Ricky Ledee Little Dawgs
119 - Richard Hidalgo Little Dawgs (And again.)
106 - Mark Kotsay Little Dawgs (And again.)