Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hook 'Em

I received a few sports card-related gifts for Christmas, all of which were ready made for posting on the internet about. Hooray, internet! I already posted one of the gifts over at APTBNL. Here is, for some reason, a little write-up on the 2008 Texas Longhorns baseball set.

Brandon Belt gets front of the set billing, and of course his card is the only one that shows any wear at all. I didn't know that he also had a role on his college team as a pitcher. I think Giants fans are still hoping this guy becomes one of the centerpieces of their lineup, but it seems like it's probably tough to develop power while playing half your games at Phone Company Park.

Here's the other major leaguer in the bunch, Chance Ruffin. Ruffin was a Tigers draft pick and had already reached the majors when he was part of the trade that brought Doug Fister to Detroit.

Cameron Rupp is a Phillies draft pick and he's topped out at A-ball so far.

Austin Wood is famous for one 13-inning relief appearance with UT, the first 12 of which yielded no hits. 169 pitches later, nearly everyone agrees that what he did was colossally stupid. He eventually got injured, obviously, but has so far played as high as AA with the Tigers organization.

In the Everybody Gets a Card Dept., here is your volunteer assistant coach. Sorry, I mean, volunteer assistant to the coach. Weird.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH294

How can you just leave me standing alone in a world that's so cold? Maybe I'm just too demanding. Maybe I'm just like my father: too bold. Maybe you're just like my mother (she's never satisfied.) Why do we scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

Todd Wellemeyer was a right-handed reliever that the Cardinals scooped up off the scrapheap (er, Royals system) and tried to perform the Dave Duncan Conversion Project magic on him. He had some success, especially in 2008, but was mostly a league average (if not below) pitcher as a starter in St. Louis. He's also a Colonel, however.

Why did Topps airbrush Todd's photo? As mentioned, Wellemeyer was an early season waiver claim from Kansas City. That being said, this card is from the Updates & Highlights set and he had been on the team since May, so there's really no excuse.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? This is just an awful example of Photoshop work. You can barely even see what are supposed to be the Cardinals cap and jersey logos.

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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The NBA Is Back, But Where Are The Cards?

Actual factual NBA basketball is back now, which means I can resume posting the occasional basketball card here on the blog. I'm sure this thrills my reader base to no end. In any case, I'm kind of excited to at least see the Portland Trail Blazers play again, and they've gotten off to a reasonable 2-0 start. Here's a few cards that I didn't post before because I was bitter.

These are all from the 2010-11 Donruss set, one that I really should have bought more of before that whole lockout thing happened. Especially annoying is the fact that there has been virtually no sign of new NBA cards (no doubt lockout related) for quite some time. There was talk of an NBA Hoops revival, but it seems that those plans were scrapped or at least put on the shelf indefinitely. The only thing I've read about any imminent releases came from this article posted a few days ago. In the wake of the lockout, the shoddy economy and the whole Occupy thing, does Panini really think that a set that contains nothing but autographs and multi-swatch booklets is a great idea for the average collector?

Until an actually affordable set is released, I will at least consider restarting my attempt to collect the 2010-11 Donruss set. This idea never really got off the ground before, but I do still like the way this set works.

Also... go Blazers!

Just Another Group Break

Pardon the dust around here. I fully acknowledge that things have been really, really slow at this blog. I think that things will turn around to near-normalcy sometime soon after the New Year. Yes, yes, they will. In the meantime, let's take a look at a few cards from a group break hosted by Cardboard Collections at some point in the past. In the future!

1996 Pinnacle Aficionado (better known as Aficionado by Pinnacle, apparently) is an interesting set. I would venture to say that it's a great looking set if it wasn't for the shiny pixelated face close-up on the left edge of each card. The other, normal looking player photos are either in full color or sepia tone, but I'm not sure what the criteria is for choosing either style. Among others, I got another Ozzie Smith card for the collection and one of new assistant hitting coach John Mabry.

This here is a Men of Summer parallel of young Matt Morris from the 1997 Pinnacle XPress set. This wasn't his rookie year in baseball card terms, but it sure looks like it nonetheless.

I think I've mentioned this card on this blog before, but I still am fascinated with the wrong-logoed Terry Bradshaw card. He never played for the Brewers as far as I know. Also, isn't the mid-'90s Brewers look the worst?

Ahh, the old medicine ball look. Does this still exist? Does anyone use these anymore? Maybe I should be a medicine ball supercollector.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps Traded #319T

Two updates here on a Christmas Eve before the Eve. First off, for those of you who weren't on the email, check out this cool thing that is going on at Crackin Wax. It all ends up going for charity, and I've always considered myself a charitable guy. Secondly, in looking at some early results for the Bowl Pick 'Em Contest, The Lost Collector has jumped out in front of the pack. He leads both the group standings and the total possible points. It's that latter point that is the most crucial, especially if all your heavily weighted games are still to come.

Randy Hundley was a former All-Star and Gold Glove winning catcher who logged 14 seasons in the Majors, spending most of his time with the Chicago Cubs. And if you're my age, when you think of catching Hundleys, Randy's son Todd comes to mind. Todd Hundley spent 15 seasons in the bigs himself.

Why did Topps airbrush Randy's photo? Hundley was dealt to the Twins by Chicago in the offseason for one George Mitterwald. After a season with the Padres, Hundley would eventually return to the Cubs to finish out his career.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Well, it's a '70s Topps Traded card. Do you have to ask? I've seen worse, of course, but Hundley's cap has that dark/blotchy/glassy look that is evident on a lot of doctored card photos in this era. Of course, that TRADED banner conveniently blocks out a good portion of the photo that might also have needed some dressing up.

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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pick 'Em Contest: Still Time Left

There's less than 24 hours left to sign up for the College Bowl Pick 'Em Contest (win free baseball cards!) Technically, you could sign up after tomorrow morning's deadline and still be eligible for some of the prizes, but not locking in your picks for the first games will certainly hinder your chances at winning.

Good luck to all of the participants! We already have more involved this year than ever before.

No "Airbrushed Fridays" post today because I feel like giving Topps a break. I'll make up for it later or something.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Cardinalcentric Trade Post

Reader Tim from OH, a long time supporter of the blog (by which I mean he sends me stuff from time to time) sent over another package of Cardinals stuff last month. And it was pretty great. Here are just a few of the cards I received that caught my eye.

A 40 Man Roster themed set seems exactly like the kind of set I would design if things were left up to me and there were no restrictions. This is why things aren't left up to me. I imagine this set, if it truly contained 40+ cards for each team, to have been a pretty large one. Has anyone bought any of this stuff?

I'm not sure that Reggie Sanders is the first name that comes to mind when you think of October heroics, but here it is. I still can't figure out what all of that black dead space is for on these cards.

I'm fairly confident that this card features Bud Smith chatting with Tony La Russa during batting practice, as Smith had just recently pitched a no-hitter which gets a mention on the card back. I can't even imagine what Topps was thinking when they designed the 2002 set. There's nothing appealing about it. As with a couple of other years (or maybe it's just 2001?), there's sort of a foil background on some of the subset cards.

I never thought I'd see the day where Mark McGwire would return to being the most popular Cardinal first baseman in town, but that's where we are. I think it's fair to say that you'll be seeing quite a bit more of him than the other guy on this blog in the future.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Free Contest Time! Football Picks With Baseball Prizes!

Ladies and non-ladies, it's time once again for the annual Cards on Cards College Bowl Pick 'Em Contest. We've had some fun in previous years, and last year's contest was totally owned by Stats on the Back. It was also very non-possessed by "é rayhahn, rayhahn". Both the winner and "winner" along with some runners-up (or is that runner-ups?) came away with some prizes, even though I think I took months to distribute them. I'm sorry for that.

There are prizes again this year, although I'm scaling things down a bit so I don't lose focus and procrastinate again this year. There are rules as well, which I know you are dying to read, but let's take a look at the fun stuff first.
  • First place will receive: a blaster of current retail big box store product OR $20 blind card show mystery pack shopping spree (basically, $20 in random packs that I pick out at a card show)... as well as a small plastic pouch of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc.
  • Second place will receive: a small Priority Mail mailer/box full of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc. (this usually ends up being around 8 bags/pouches or so)
  • Third place will receive: at least five cards from my next Rummage Sale post... as well as a small plastic pouch of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc.
  • Worst place will receive: whatever I feel like sending you (these are the risks that you take...)
Because every thing that involves getting stuff has to have rules, here they are (basically copied from last year):
  • Participants must sign up through the official Yahoo link. Unfortunately, this means that you must have a Yahoo account. I am only doing this because I am lazy, not because I want you to sign up with Yahoo who gives me $27 every time someone reads one of my blog posts.
  • Promote this contest! No, that doesn't mean you need to "follow" my blog, nor does it mean that you'll gain any competitive advantage by posting about this contest. I just want to see a lot of people participate, and will be willing to award more prizes if there are more participants. 16 23 people joined the Yahoo group last year - let's increase that total! Put a subliminal message on your blog post. Send a mass email. Casually tell your co-workers in the break room while discussing Brett Favre's latest injury Tim Tebow's latest game winning prayer. The possibilities are endless!
  • Points are scored according to the Confidence System. This basically means that while you are predicting which team wins which bowl game, you will also be responsible for ranking how confident you are in each pick. For example, if you are insane enough to think that Washington will beat Nebraska Baylor and are willing to bet your street cred on it, you will want to assign that matchup a higher confidence rating (30, perhaps) than you would with your misguided "Alabama Georgia will totally stomp Michigan State because the SEC is *AWESOME*" pick.
  • Email me your contest information after you sign up. You can't assume that I will automatically recognize your clever Yahoo Pick Set name, nor will I necessarily disbelieve your "friend" who claims your prize after everything is said and done because he swears he's CowboysFan4Ever and is the "most right" about his "sweet picks".
  • You can change your picks at any time, so long as your pick is made before the official start time (usually the TV broadcast time) of each game.
  • You must make a pick for every game to be eligible for the "worst place" prize. Also, once again this year... please... no tanking it on purpose! The prizes aren't that great, folks. I'd much rather award the prize to someone who failed in spectacular fashion than someone who intentionally went with picks like Arizona over Oklahoma State LA Tech over TCU.
Through the power of internet technologies, Yahoo has already sent out an invitation to everyone who participated last year. If you did not get the email or simply did not participate before, click here to sign up! It's free! First timers are welcome.

Group ID: 29698
Password: quackquackquack

DEADLINE: There's a hard deadline of Saturday, December 17th at 11:00 AM PST. That's the start time of the first bowl game.

Monday, December 12, 2011


As the flood of Brandon Roy tributes continue far and wide across the internet, I figured it was time for me to say something. I have many great memories of Roy on the court and was fortunate enough to witness some of them in person. This is just one of many exciting games I got to see him put his stamp on. The Blazers have Hall of Famers in their annals, but before Brandon Roy they had never had someone who you could just put the ball in their hand and expect to come out with a victory, no matter what the circumstance. This was just one game that I got see, up near the rafters in the 300 level at the Rose Garden.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Feeling Blue

I try my best to avoid all things Wal-Mart, and for the most part I'm pretty successful at it. I live in a progressive city that tends to frown upon big box stores inside its retail core, so one has to really hunt for these places and make them a destination rather than just stop by on your way to somewhere. After seeing the Target red parallels in the 2011 Topps Update set, I knew there would be a blue counterpart in the Wal-Mart exclusive packs and decided to at least see what they were like.

This is kind of disappointing, however. Topps apparently used the same weird metallic light blue that they use for the recent Opening Day parallels, minus the little sparkles. I guess I was hoping for something more along the lines of the 2003 Topps base set. Speaking of which, I really need to make some headway on that set.

Here's some other junk that I got in the five Wal-Mart looseys that I snagged. This one is going in the Play at the Plate pile. I don't actually know who Craig Gentry is, even though he was on the World Series roster and made some appearances. It hasn't been THAT long since October, has it?

This is just bright... really bright. Correia's card just barely missed out on my Pirates post from the other day.

I could complain about the Fish overspending when they don't really have a fan base, but I guess they'll figure out on their own why throwing a bunch of money around will come back to bite them soon enough.

I find the title of this card, "Career Grand Slams Through 2010", to be a little strange considering Lou Gehrig is on it. Sadly, A-Rod is close to catching him according to the back.


I decided against collecting the Kimball Champions card, but I won't say for sure whether or not it has anything to do with my frustration that my scanner always cuts off at least one of the borders when I scan them.

I also got one of these code things...

...which turned into this. B-Webb 4 Life!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 2007 Topps #361

All I can say is that it was not a great day to be a Blazer. Here's a late night edition of Airbrushed Fridays to forget that the NBA exists for awhile longer.

Adam Kennedy is a second baseman who has been converted to a utility player in recent years. Kennedy was originally a Cardinals first round draft pick in 1997 and began his career in St. Louis before being shipped to Anaheim, where he would spend his most productive years, as a piece in the Jim Edmonds deal. He won a ring with the Angels while gaining a reputation for his "dependability" and "not terribleness".

Why did Topps airbrush Adam's photo? Kennedy was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals in what was supposed to be a glorious reunion between Kennedy's first team, who happened to be defending champions. It didn't work out so well. The Cardinals were expecting more "not terribleness" and instead got "mostly terribleness".

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Kennedy was assigned uniform #7 (sadly, not 47, because AK47 would have been easier to root for) and never wore #2 with the Cardinals, a retired number reserved for Red Schoendienst. As a sign of things to come, Kennedy was also at the plate without a bat in this shot.

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, December 8, 2011

Still The Man

Well, there is no danger of anyone else becoming the best player in Cardinals franchise history anytime soon. Stan The Man is the best.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

30 Teams in 30 Posts: #12

At number 12 on the charts is the last remaining Cardinals division rival to make the list. The Pirates found themselves in unfamiliar territory last season when they occupied 1st place at one point after the All-Star Break. Just as soon as they seemed to realize it (basically as soon as fans started showing up to the games) things went horribly wrong and Pittsburgh collapsed even faster than Atlanta did down the stretch. The midsummer signs of success in Pittsburgh is a sign of an improving team, and Pirates fans can only hope they hang on to some of the young talent (Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, some of the pitching) instead of letting it go the second there's a chance to go somewhere else.

I think I dislike the Pirates the least among the NL Central foes because they're sort of the anti-ESPN cool. Interesting uniforms, homegrown talent and some sweet disco-era history. Barry Bonds notwithstanding, there's not much to be ashamed of in the Pittsburgh legacy - except the losses, of course. And there have been quite a few of those.

I hear that PNC Park is absolutely gorgeous and, by the attendance it usually draws, it seems like it's not just me that's missing out so far. Albert Pujols has absolutely owned anything and everything that has taken place in that park, which will make it a shame if he ends up with some crummy American League team like the Angels. (Note: First person to guess tomorrow's hot bidding team on Pujols wins a prize.)

Favorite current Pirates player: Jose Tabata. His name is fun to say. He's one of those guys that tempted me into spending a fantasy pick on, only to disappoint with his injuries and overall Pirateness. His name was still fun to say, though.

Least favorite current Pirates player: Joel Hanrahan. With Ryan "Demon Eyes" Doumit gone, I guess I had to pick Hanrahan simply for being good. He shut down the Cardinals on multiple occasions as I recall.

Favorite Pirates player of all-time: Willie Stargell. I was a little too young to remember Stargell as a player, but I heard plenty of stories. My dad often recounted seeing Stargell hit a home run onto a ridiculously unreachable balcony at the old Civic Stadium here in Portland during an exhibition game. Well, I got to see Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield at Civic, so there's that!

Least favorite Pirates player of all-time: Barry Bonds. I was always firmly on the Bobby Bonilla side of the Bonds/Bonilla debate, and if I had invested heavily in '80s rookie cards I would have probably lost a lot of money on this. It's easy to dislike Bonds now that we know what a monster he was, but I didn't even like him then. He was just really unlikable.

The Pittsburgh Pirates snag a spot at #12 in my reverse-ranking of favorite teams as of the moment I picked them on October 4th, 2010. Yes, that was more than a full calendar year ago! All of these cards are very much up for trade, so please contact me if you're interested.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Sky Is Falling, Kind Of

It's full blown panic time in Cardinalville, at least if you're one of those sorts who reads the internet texts and the breaking bottom lines on the TV. Pujols may well be a Miami Marlin by the time you get around to reading this. Or, perhaps, he will be a member of Mystery Team C, whoever that ends up being (it usually doesn't exist.) I hate getting caught up in reading about contract negotiations, so I think I am going to bow out of the speculation and just see what happens. If some team is going to offer an an insanely lengthy contract with a ridiculous amount of money attached, so be it. It doesn't seem right that he'd leave after being the face of the organization for a decade-plus, but it could and certainly may happen. I'm okay with it.

Here's my first 2011 Topps Chrome card, and like the rest of the cards in this post, it came to me in the mailbox from Rod at Padrographs. Rod is giving away a bunch of stuff (postage donations gladly accepted) and I hear that people like stuff, so if you're into stuff you should check it out. Meanwhile, when I look at Colby Rasmus, it's hard for me to believe right now that he won't be the biggest name that leaves the team this year.

And this is what we call a vomitcard. And that's not just because the craptacular Ryan Theriot is the featured player. Hey-o!

Back to happier thoughts, here's another puke encrusted card. This time it's World Series MVP and All Around Good Guy David Freese.

In other, lesser known Hot Stove talk, the Cards are looking at possibly shaking up their starting rotation a little bit with rumors involving the departures of Kyle Lohse and/or Jake Westbrook. Carlos Martinez is one of the hot young prospects waiting in the wings, but he's probably got quite a ways to go. I'm also still trying to come to grips with the marriage of Topps Heritage and minor league baseball. I would probably be all over this if it wasn't a hobby-only release. In any case, I certainly appreciate the Cardinals-affiliated cards.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Good Luck Ducks: Inaugural Pac-12 Championship Edition

Just six days after the conclusion of the regular season that saw a crushing Civil War victory by the Quack Attack comes the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. Not only is it scheduled on an odd night, but the decision was made prior to the season to award the team with the overall best record in the conference the right to host the game. Therefore, this marks the third consecutive week that the Ducks will play at Autzen Stadium. Attempts will be made to make this a "neutral site" game, but the game will likely be sparsely attended by the blue and gold clad UCLA Bruins fans.

UCLA comes in as the de facto Pac-12 South Champions despite an overall record of 6-6. The Bruins had to petition (successfully) the NCAA governing body in order to be permitted to play in a bowl game should they lose to the Ducks tonight and are only in the game because of an upset loss by Utah last week against Colorado. The Bruins did themselves no favors by losing to USC last week 50-0 and just fired their head coach, Rick Neuheisel.

Speaking of Neuheisel, who went 21-28 in his 4 seasons in L.A., Oregon fans don't like him very much. I believe it all started when he ran up the score against the Ducks in a bowl game way back when against Colorado by calling for a fake punt with his team up 38-6 late in the game. He cemented his legacy when he took the head coaching job with the rival Washington Huskies, with which at one point he celebrated a victory at Autzen by jumping up and down on the 'O' in the center of the field. Neuheisel's Bruins have not been competitive in recent years against Oregon, however, with the Ducks outscoring UCLA 84-33 in the last two games. Tonight's game is not expected to be close, either, but you can never tell what a team who has just lost their coach will do. (Neuheisel will coach the team for this game.) This is big for the Ducks as a victory means they will play in the Rose Bowl for the second time in three seasons.

Above footage from the 2010 UCLA/Oregon game at Autzen.

Game time is 5:00 PST with national coverage on FOX. Quack Quack!

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps #399

Big Ducks game tonight, but first there's some business to attend to of the airbrushed variety.

Mike Paul was a left handed pitcher who spent parts of seven big league seasons with Cleveland, Texas and the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in 228 games in his career, starting 77 of them and finishing 59. As we flip over the card, we are also about to learn that he's a fan of swimming. Go Mike!

Why did Topps airbrush Mike's photo? Paul was traded to the Rangers for a PTBNL right before the trade deadline in 1973. That player eventually turned out to be one Larry Gura.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? He has a glowing cap and a mysterious collar, the stripes of which lazily disappear for some reason.

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.