Friday, July 29, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1976 Topps #265

I'll be in Seattle this weekend for some actual live baseball games. The idea was pretty exciting a month ago when both the Mariners and the Rays were actually in contention, but it will still be fun to see some baseball under sunny skies and the not-at-all-oppressive Seattle heat. Garlic fries and nine dollar beers await.

Smilin' Willie Davis was the Dodgers' center fielder throughout the '60s and early part of the '70s, helping L.A. win two world series crowns while picking up a few Gold Gloves along the way. He was a two-time All-Star. He took over for one Duke Snider and certainly had some tall shoes to fill. He stole nearly 400 bases in his impressive career. Sadly, he passed away last year.

Why did Topps airbrush Willie's photo? Willie bounced around quite a bit in his waning years after 14 seasons with the Dodgers. He came over to the Cardinals in a midseason swap with the Rangers in 1975 before being flipped to the Padres in the offseason for someone named Dick Sharon.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Someone didn't quite master the art of the interlocking SD logo. They also got a bit carried away with the yellow triangle, which clearly extends beyond the actual hat and is threatening to bleed into the card border.

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. If you're still reading this boiler plate nonsense that I post every week for some reason, congratulations. E-mail me the name of your favorite team or players and I will send you a couple of team bags of free cards. Offer stands for the first five people that actually fall for this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 Stages of Colby Rasmus

(Or: How the Cardinals Inexplicably Became Sellers at the Trade Deadline)

1. Denial: No way is this happening. This must be some goofy, misguided MLBTradeRumors concoction. Didn't John Mozeliak just swear up and down a couple of days ago that Colby wasn't going anywhere?

2. Anger: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING, MO?! Why are you running this franchise into the ground? What's next, Jaime Garcia to the Dodgers for Aaron Miles and a sack of used Band-Aids? I swear I am done with you and Tony and this team. I'm just going to start watching hockey from now on. HOCKEY.

3. Bargaining: Okay, okay... this isn't the end of the trade, right? Some of those three Players to be Named Later are going to be stud prospects, right? I'll... you know what? I'll take back every mean thing I said about Ryan Theriot this year if you JUST BRING COLBY BACK. Come on. Bud Selig, step in! This trade is ridiculous. You pretend to find something wrong with it and veto it. Just pretend that you're David Stern. I will buy like 7 camouflage Cardinals caps and 10 cases of Budweiser aluminum bottles if it will bring that sweet swing back.

4. Depression: This is terrible. Jon Jay is a fourth outfielder. He fell apart last year after Ludwick was traded. That trade sunk the offense and doomed the Cardinals, ensuring that they would miss the playoffs after things looked promising. The defense needed to be upgraded and an extra bat is always handy. A lefty reliever wouldn't hurt, but you blew it when you traded a young, extreme talent who was cost-controlled for several more seasons. I'll never see one of those bombs to right field again. Colby hits the ball farther than Albert Pujols (seriously, look it up) and... oh no... not the rookie cards! What will I ever do when I look at those rookie cards?

5. Acceptance: Well... teams make trades all the time. Colby was barely sniffing .250 this year and didn't seem to be a very popular guy in the clubhouse. I get that he didn't always do things "the right way". He has a meddlesome father whom he'd sooner listen to than his employer. Sometimes it looks like he has a noodle for an arm. And I know I was totally okay with a Rasmus trade as long as the return made sense and the Cardinals got something that would help them both this season and in the future. Of course, I was thinking a similar type of young but major league ready prospect and... ZLKJLDFJSEG forget this! MO, I HATE YOU. I AM NOT ACCEPTING THIS ONE BIT. WHERE IS THAT FUUUUUUUUUUU GRAPHIC THAT DAYF LOVES SO MUCH?!!

JOHN MOZELIAK, YOU MADE COREY PATTERSON A CARDINAL. That, my friends, is an unforgivable sin.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fun With UPC Codes

There's been some kerfuffle about 2011 Topps Heritage loose packs at Target lately, as seen here and here. I figured I may as well check it out myself. I am feeling no remorse about cherry picking these packs considering what some grubby rat bastard did to the four Allen & Ginter rack packs that I bought. Five of the cards I received in those packs had nasty creases in them, so I don't even feel like posting about them at this point. Here's three "special" Heritage packs instead.

Pack 1:
101 - Jacoby Ellsbury (Where has the power come from all of a sudden? He went from Mr. Glass to Rather Formidable.)
354 - Hunter Pence
70 - Justin Morneau
319 - Lincecum Shows His Stuff (1 in every 4 Heritage packs contains this card.)

439 - Stephen Drew (It's a short print and I needed it.)

395 - Matt Holliday All-Star

110 - Mark Teixeira (I get plenty of Jeters and A-Rods, but I have relatively few Teixeira cards.)
366 - Rick Porcello
74 - Hanley Ramirez

Pack 2:
183 - Mike Pelfrey
72 - Philly's Men Up The Middle (That's Rollins and Utley if you didn't know.)
320 - Jason Heyward (I stayed far far away from this guy on fantasy draft day and feel good about my decision right now.)
50 - Albert Pujols

493 - Rookie Parade (Rookies on parade! Floating heads! Short print... ahhh... I already have it.)
244 - Lars Anderson

211 - Midway Masters (This has got to be one of the worst card design decisions I've seen from Topps. Sadly, it's a tribute to something like most of these cards.)
116 - Gavin Floyd
412 - Tradey McRumorson

Pack 3:
277 - Pedro Alvarez

215 - Asdrubal Cabrera (You would think that the Mariners would have won at least one of their past 17 games if they still had Cabrera.)
374 - Charlie Manuel (Former Portland Beavers skipper.)

TN-10 - Bob Gibson / Roy Halladay Then and Now (It's no short print, but these are 1:15 pack pulls if the odds are what they say they are. I already had a copy of this, but I needed two and now I have two. Nice.)

420 - Miguel Montero
198 - Tony La Russa
279 - Bengie Molina (The rare "1994" version of this card seems to be one of the most rare Heritage variations ever released. This isn't that one, of course.)
64 - Nick Markakis
330 - Mike Napoli

My Heritage want list is up to date. Please let me know if you'd like to do a swap. I have two SP doubles to trade at the moment if that's interesting at all.


About those Allen & Ginter cards... well, I'm still pretty ticked off about the damaged cards. Here's a scan of the code card that I got because I feel bad. Is anyone doing this crack the code business anymore? Do people still need these images? Does anyone else want to kick the Code Master in the face every time they see him? I find it pretty hilarious that he only has 357 followers on Twitter, whatever that means.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Behind These Cardinal Cards

Our latest bubble mailer to hit the doorstep at Cards on Cards central comes from Lonestarr of the not-quite-Kelly-Clarkson-themed Behind These Hazel Eyes. It's been an interesting summer for trading. I have quite a few packages still lined up to post about and yet I feel like I haven't done nearly enough trading. I'm somehow gaining cards instead of reducing the glut, even though I've barely set foot in stores lately and haven't been to a card show in a couple of months.

Jaime Garcia may not be the best pitcher in the National League as it sometimes appeared early this season, but he's making a very strong case for future ace of the staff if Adam Wainwright can't return to pre-surgery levels. There's nothing to suggest Wainwright won't come back at 100%, though. I would be really sad if he didn't. This particular Garcia card is one of those goofy green parallels that is serial numbered to 450 copies. Why 450? That seems like such an arbitrary number.

Deryk Hooker is one of the prospect arms in the Cardinals system that makes you think that the Cardinals have plenty of prospect arms. I don't hear his name mentioned in the same conversations as Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez, however.

Did I just dream this or did I see the Angels using these unis as throwbacks the other day? I seem to remember feeling very old all of a sudden. The Edmonds collection is in good shape right now, but it could still use some work. I don't have anything he's autographed, for starters... not that autographs are all that important to me.

Here's the centerpiece of the trade and something that instantly becomes one of the gems of my collection. Although after doing an eBay search it seems that Musial bat relics in this particular set are quite common right now, I am still in awe of this card. Does Topps really need to do the same framed autograph and memorabilia thing in all of their sets lately, though? I guess they found something that clicked and decided to run with it. This looks nice, though.

Lonestarr also hooked me up with a giant 2010 National Chicle box loader of Johnny Mize. I did consider scanning it, but I realized it wouldn't look any different than a regular card once posted here.

Thanks again to Lonestarr. If anyone else wants to help me out with this glut of excess cardboard, please let me know. I'm sure I can find something to take off your hands in return.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1978 Topps #91

While more than 80% of the country is stuck under this unmovable atmospheric dome of intense heat, my hometown is on the outside looking in and is struggling to get its summer underway. We've yet to even sniff 90 degrees, but this weekend is finally looking like a warm one... before it gives way to unseasonably mild temperatures once again. None of this, of course, has anything to do with airbrushing or baseball cards.

Oscar Zamora was a right-handed Cuban relief pitcher that spent three of his four big league seasons with the hapless Cubbies. His work on the mound, especially in his latter two seasons with Chicago, apparently left something to be desired as it inspired a parody song about him.

Why did Topps airbrush Oscar's card? Looking at the back of the card, Zamora has the rare distinction of having spent a full season in the minors the prior season but was still granted a card in the Topps set. Houston signed him as a free agent in the offseason, where he logged 15 innings along with another stint in the minor leagues. Baseball-Reference speaks of a brief comeback four seasons later with a single A club, but that's the last we heard of him.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? I'm sure this was someone's "best work" given some sort of time constraint. I could see someone scratching this one out in about ten minutes or so. There's a freehand look to the Astros logo and some uncertain stripes on his collar. Even Oscar is trying to sell it with the look on his face here, but he's not doing it very well.

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, July 20, 2011

The Faces of Heritage and Mediocre Baseball

What the hell are you so happy about? I'm grumpy. The Cardinals lost. Again. It was a very winnable game.

Okay, that's better. No more smiles. You look serious, but probably not angry enough.

Alright, that works. Although... you might be a little drunk or concussed or something.

Gahhh! Not that! I hate these guys. They're the World Champs!

Yeah, that about sums it up. Disbelief and maybe...

Maybe a little disgust.

Adam Wainwright, please come back healthy next year. This two-man rotation garbage is not working so well right now.

Thanks to Nachos Grande for the cards, all needed set-fillers from my ongoing 2011 Heritage saga. Also, if you haven't checked this out yet and you're into the Heritage - well, check it out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ginter Madness: 2011 Edition

This post means that I have admitted collecting failure once again. I have not managed to complete any of the previous three Allen & Ginter sets prior to the release of the 2011 set. No sooner had I purchased 10 of the 15-pocket Ultra Pro sheets for storage of coveted mins for last year's set than I noticed this foul temptress on the shelves. I caved and bought three hobby packs. Technically, my first 2011 A&G came by way of Smed's Dastardly Grab Bag Service, but I disgress.

Pack 1:

293 - Royal Wedding (I think it's hilarious that this was my very first card, in light of this post over at Night Owl Central.)

256 - Hunter Pence (Pence is the lone plum that still has color on the otherwise dead and rotten tree over in Houston. I fully expect that this team flirts with record-setting futility in the short term before starting to turn things around thanks to some truly terrible management.)
218 - Bobby Abreu
163 - Ian Kennedy

219 - Johan Santana (First horizontal card.)
321 - Mark Reynolds

325 - Mike Stanton Mini (Super talented player. Possibly short-printed mini.)

HH37 - Clayton Kershaw Hometown Heroes (These seem to follow the theme of the This Day in History and National Pride cards among others.)

Pack 2:
197 - Jay Bruce
235 - Cole Hamels
156 - Marlon Byrd (A lot of cards from teams I don't like.)

91 - Joel Pineiro (Wow, I've never seen Pineiro look so angry before.)

BHS-10 - Ryan Howard Baseball Highlight Sketches (I'm not overly thrilled that these are back. It also doesn't make sense that the frame is in portrait orientation but the sketch is landscape.)

329 - Alex Gordon (The mega prospect third baseman has turned into a serviceable outfielder. I suppose that's okay.)

270 - Kevin Youkilis Black Mini (Here's a new look to the black bordered minis.)
HH86 - Kevin Youkilis Hometown Heroes (Back to back Youk.)
- Ginter Code ad (Ugh, Twitter.)

Pack 3:
227 - Lucas Duda

295 - Chris Carpenter (I love this. Carp is my favorite active player.)
207 - Kosuke Fukudome
46 - Edinson Volquez

172 - Yunesky Maya Ginter Code (Here's a code parallel. I don't know if this useful to anyone or not. Has the thing been cracked yet?)

320 - Jon Lester (It's nice to see that the old familiar reverse of these cards has not changed.)
208 - Marco Scutaro Mini A&G Back (So many Red Sox.)

FF20 - USS Pennsylvania Floating Fortresses (Interesting... I was expecting to see a Hometown Heroes card here.)

None of these cards are for trade. All for me! Ha!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Clearance (Capewood's Version)

Whenever I hear of random assortments of cards being offered up at virtually no expense other than a courtesy trade response of similarly unwanted stuff, I react with some sort of Pavlovian response. I think I would be in real trouble if all of the trading card blogs did these sorts of things every week. My dream of reducing my card collection and replacing it with only the essential interests (namely, all things Cardinals and a few other quirks) would finally be shattered. I'm not sure it's really attainable, anyway, considering that I've done nothing to train myself not to respond to temptation like a slobbering dog.

I can proudly say that I've never once bought a pack of Topps Attax. Even if I run into one of these things in a deeply discounted bin, I will try to stay away. I can't resist Upper Deck Victory or MLB Showdown since these things regularly appear in repacks everywhere, but somewhere I decided to draw the line at Topps Attax. That doesn't keep me from wanting the Cardinals from these sets, even though I don't know if I'll ever officially add these sets to my want list. I should also mention that these cards came from Capewood's Collections and that my overall trading card surplus is a few sandwich baggies lighter.

Cards with players on their former teams while designating them as members of a new team seem to be somewhat of a divisive issue. I'm a fan, and I had not seen this one before. Royce Clayton was put in the unfortunate position of being caught in the middle of the Ozzie Smith / Tony La Russa feud that marked the end of the Wizard's career as La Russa sought to give more playing time to Clayton. Clayton was never great, but numbers wise it probably made sense at the time.

The 1991 Fleer Ultra Update set can be counted among the junkiest of junk wax era junk that I've actually seen very little of. I still need three Cardinals from it as well as a few others from the main set for some reason.

Colby Rasmus is Topic Number One around the water coolers in the Gateway City, or so I imagine given how much he's discussed on the internet and on game broadcasts. I live nowhere near St. Louis, but I imagine there are plenty of guys in suits in downtown office buildings there, talking about how much of a bum Rasmus is. I think I've finally come around to the idea that trading Rasmus might make sense, but I also see many reasons why it doesn't. I know this much - stay far away from players with overbearing parental figures in their lives who want to be involved in their careers. It's never a good sign.