Friday, May 31, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 1978 Topps #416

As I write this, the Cardinals and Royals are getting set to resume the final game of their four game home/road split series, after an extremely long rain delay. The start of the game was already delayed by an hour. Why didn't they call it off? Well, St. Louis led the entire game until the heavy rains started in the top of the 9th. Kansas City scored 3 runs and looked ready to score about 30 more when everyone was pulled off the field. If the game does not resume, the Cardinals win, but this game should and could be the Royals for the taking. Did I mention that it's well past 2 AM local time?

Who is this week's victim, and why? Jack Brohamer, or "Broheim" to all his chill buds, did some cool baseball stuff and totally rocked the place. He got some hits, probably, and hit a few out of the park. He was totally sweet. He played for the BoSox, the White Sox, and that team with the little chief dude on their unis. Tight.

Why is this a thing? Brohamer got this sick airbrushing thing done to his card because he wasn't down with the Red Sox until, like, after they snapped this killer pic. He played for those wicked little crittas for a couple of years before he hung it up to catch a wave and chillax for years. Killer.

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Up For Grabs: Big Mac

Well, my Mattingly fire sale didn't exactly catch fire, but I'm pressing on with this huckstering and listing all of my Mark McGwire non-Cardinals (i.e. Oakland) cards that I have up for grabs. The list follows at the end of the pictures.

McGwire's story is well known, of course. He was a human freak show in a baseball uniform that, like a number of his colleagues in the '90s, decided to cheat to gain a competitive edge for whatever reason. His race to the record books in 1998 managed to get national FOX baseball broadcasts to primetime weeknights and he captured the hearts of millions, etc., etc.

I was ostensibly an Oakland fan when I was younger because my #1 and #2 teams (Cardinals and Yankees, respectively) were a bit of a mess around the same time that Oakland went to three straight World Series. I was probably more of a Canseco fan than a Big Mac fan, maybe because of that one year that Canseco decided to steal bases to prove a point or something. I was pretty convinced as a young teen that Canseco was shooting tons of steroids into himself, which turned out to be the truth. (Seriously, didn't everyone think that at the time? The guy had rhino-sized biceps and always looked really sweaty and dangerous. And steroids were a thing in 1988. Just ask Ben Johnson.)

McGwire was more of a classic low average, high reward power hitter that had some trouble staying healthy. I preferred a more all around player, but something seemed to "click" for him in the mid-'90s for, uh, whatever reason. And he became a transcendent star.

I have plenty of Cardinals McGwire doubles as well, but I haven't pulled them out just yet.

The list:

1993 Post #19
1994 Sportflics #4
1995 Bazooka #27
1990 Sports Illustrated for Kids #146
1991 Fleer Pro-Visions #4
1988 O-Pee-Chee Stickers (w/ George Bell Superstar back) #164
1988 Fleer (SuperStarSpecials) #629
1988 Fleer (SuperStarSpecials w/ Jose Canseco) #624
1990 Upper Deck (Team Checklist) #36 [4 available]
1990 Upper Deck #171
1989 Upper Deck #300
1992 Donruss Triple Play #262 [2 available]
1991 Fleer Ultra #251 [3 available]
1988 Topps (Record Breakers ERR "white triangle") #3 [2 available]
1990 Topps #690 [3 available]
1989 Donruss #95
1990 Topps Glossy All-Stars #13
1989 Panini Stickers #420 [2 available]
1989 Topps Stickers Back (w/ Mike Scioscia and Bret Saberhagen stickers) #3
1988 Donruss (Diamond Kings) #1
1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice SE #45
1990 Donruss (All-Stars COR) #697
1990 Donruss #185 [3 available]
1988 Panini Stickers #167
1988 Topps Stickers Back (w/ Bruce Ruffin and Mike Stanley stickers) #36
1988 Topps Glossy Send-Ins #39
1988 Topps Toys 'R Us Rookies #19
1991 Donruss #105 [2 available]
1991 Donruss (All-Stars) #56 [3 2 available]
1991 Donruss Grand Slammers #11
1988 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers #27
1988 Topps Mini League Leaders #31
1991 Upper Deck (The Bashing Years) #656 [2 available]
1994 Topps Stadium Club #358
1991 Score #324 [4 3 available]
1991 Topps (ERR 618) #270
1991 Donruss Bonus Cards (Highlights) #BC-9
1990 Bowman #454
1989 Classic Travel Orange #104
1988 Topps (Athletics Leaders w/ Jose Canseco) #759 [3 available]
1991 Fleer #17 [3 available]
1990 Score #385
1990 Classic Update #T33
1989 Score #3
1995 Leaf #240
1989 Fleer (SuperStarSpecials w/ Jose Canseco and Terry Steinbach) #634 [3 available]
1989 Fleer #17
1993 Topps Black Gold #39
1988 Score #5
1996 Bazooka #74

[updated 7/7/13]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Cardinal-centric Trade

Last month I was introduced to another Cardinals collector, which is not so much of a surprise these days. Trading with people that are primarily interested in the same team as you, however, is a lot easier than it sounds. Just because you might be competitors for cards in certain scenarios does not mean that you don't have plenty to exchange. And as you'll see here in the coming weeks, I have much more to offer a Cardinals fan than fans of any other team by far.

This recent exchange involved Andrew of Andrew's Baseball Cards. Cardinals fan or otherwise, Andrew has some quality trade bait up for the taking, so you should stop on by if you haven't already paid a visit. He also tends to post scans of cards I would love to get my hands on copies of someday, but that just comes with the territory.

With the sudden rise of the young talented arms in the Cardinals system, I feel like a bit of the attention has been taken away from some of their vets. As a card collector, I don't mind it at all. While I do want my own copies of Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez cards, I will gladly take in all of the Wainwrights the internet has to offer.

Yadier Molina's completed ascent to the center of the Cardinals star pillar has not taken me by surprise in the least. What doesn't sit well with me is that his cards are still fairly difficult to find. I'm sure certain fans of certain other teams are sick to death of pulling Yadis, but it's taken him until this season to reach Insert Card Consideration status, something that was previously reserved for the Pujolses and Rolens of the world.

Boom! A small Yadi, looming large for some reason.

The man behind the mask sat on the bench tonight for just the third time all season. He has to be given serious MVP consideration this year, moreso than his 4th place finish last season.

Up For Grabs: Donnie Baseball

Cardinals fans, please watch this space! In the coming weeks, I will be listing a bunch of my extra Cardinals cards here, most likely in the same format as these Up For Grabs posts. I'm getting to the point where something like 20% of the unwanted cards in my collection are Cardinals cards, and that's just not right. Before we get to those, however, I have a few more non-Cardinals players to finally clear out of the binders. As always, look for the list at the end of the post.

Don Mattingly is probably not the most popular ex-ballplayer around right now. Reports seem to float by every day discussing his imminent termination as manager of the Dodgers. As much as I liked Mattingly as a player, it wouldn't really bother me to see his days as a Dodger come to an end because I grew up in the '80s believing that the Yankees were great and the Dodgers were the enemy.

Of course, these days I have a hard time finding much affection for the Yankees. This year's team is some sort of weird hybrid of superstar (Cano, Sabathia) and free agent scrapheap fantasy draft fodder (Travis Hafner? Lyle Overbay? Brennan Boesch?)

Mattingly was a terrific player for awhile, but he remains outside of the Hall of Fame inner circle. His highs were probably not quite high enough for books to be written about him and his career wasn't quite as long as many 1B sluggers that we're used to. In fact, Mattingly wasn't really a slugger at all, but he did a very good impression of one for a few years in the '80s.

Still, he's a curious case. Is it possible for someone to be so overrated that he's actually maybe a little bit overlooked. His career was pretty much bookended by Yankee World Series appearances, but he debuted a year too late and retired a year too soon to participate. He was one of the few talented, marketable players that stuck with the Yankees all the way through their lean years, and he never suited up for any other big league team.

The list:

1991 Post #29 [4 available]
1987 Fleer #104
1985 Fleer Limited Edition #20
1989 Cereal Superstars #11
1996 Topps Stadium Club #73
1991 Fleer Provisions #11 [2 available]
1991 Score (The Franchise) #856 [3 available]
1988 Topps Sticker Backs (w/ John Kruk sticker) #35
1988 O-Pee-Chee Sticker Backs (w/ Scott Bailes / Casey Candaele stickers) #35
1989 Topps UK Minis #49
1993 Triple Play #120
1993 Topps #32
1989 Classic Orange #106
1992 Topps #300
2010 Topps The Cards Your Mom Threw Out #CMT157
1991 Upper Deck #354
1992 Upper Deck #356
1992 Score #23
2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes (w/ Dave Winfield and Reggie Jackson) #190
2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes (w/ Wade Boggs) #176 [2 available]
1990 Topps Mini League Leaders #24
1989 Fleer #258
1990 Fleer #447
1990 Fleer (SuperStarSpecials w/ Mark McGwire) #638 [2 available]
1991 Score #23
1988 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers #26
1991 Donruss #107
1990 Post #1
1992 Topps Stadium Club #420
1990 Topps #200 [7 available]
1990 Bowman Art Inserts [4 available]
1991 Fleer #673
1988 Donruss MVP #BC-21
1987 Topps (Yankees Leaders w/ Rickey Henderson) #406 [2 available]
1987 Topps (All-Stars ERR no trademark) #606
1987 Topps (All-Stars COR) #606
1987 Topps Mini League Leaders #65
1988 Topps UK Minis #45 [2 available]
1988 Topps Glossy All-Stars #2
1988 Topps (Record Breakers) #2
1992 Fleer #237 [2 available]
1989 Topps #700
1989 Topps (All-Stars) #397
1991 Topps (ERR 10 hits in 1990) #100 [2 available]
1991 Leaf #425
1989 Donruss #74
1989 Donruss (Diamond Kings) #26
1990 Bowman #443
1990 Topps Kay-Bee Kings #18
1990 Leaf #69
1987 Sportflics (Tri-Stars w/ Wally Joyner and Eddie Murray) #75
1988 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers #25
1987 Fleer (SuperStarSpecials w/ Darryl Strawberry) #638
1996 Bazooka #23

[updated 7/7/13]

Friday, May 24, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 1985 Topps #535

I've got a little bit of a milestone coming up soon and a little bit of a giveaway to go along with it. Oops, I may have said too much.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Pat Putnam was a first baseman who played in parts of eight major league seasons over the course of his career. He finished fourth in ROY voting in 1979 as a member of the Rangers and had a few productive if unspectacular seasons with the bat.

Why is this a thing? After spending most of his career in the Rangers organization, Putnam was traded to the Mariners prior to the start of the 1983 season. He'd spend most of his final two seasons there, before a late season deal brought him to Minnesota. Topps only had 14 games to capture Putnam in action with the Twins, and failed to do so, settling for this ghostly image of Putnam in... heaven?

Airbrushed Fridays is a regular, weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and a copy of Dustin Diamond's "Behind the Bell", but you never know!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Are We Writing on Cards Again?

The long time affordable group break host Cardboard Collections held a box bust of fancy cards from more than a decade ago, which is also how things usually become affordable in the first place. It seems that no one was able to squirrel away large sacks of lucre with dollar signs on them by investing in Topps Gold Label or, shockingly, something called Pacific Online. The former looks classy and attracts fingerprints like crazy while the latter looks hilarious dated and kind of terrible. I am all about terrible cards if they are Cardinals and not already in my collection, so I jumped at this opportunity. And now I have landed. With cards.

My "other team" in the break ended up being the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in their salad days. I now have a couple of early Josh Hamilton cards to trade. I don't know if there's much of a market for his early stuff as it was a dark time for him and you can barely connect Josh Hamilton the Burned Out Prospect to Josh Hamilton the Very Well Paid Angel.

This one is an insert. These are both headed to the Trade Bait pile, which I still need to work on getting live on the blog.

It doesn't seem like McGwire has had much of a positive effect on the Dodgers since taking over as their hitting coach. I also read this article (column?) and wondered if the LA Times is still a real paper.

Ah, Pacific Online. I don't really even know what to say about this set other than that I've heard rumblings that it's huge and daunting and scary. All I do know is that it prints two URLs on the card, one that redirects to a better known address and one that has probably been defunct for a decade.

I'm not positive, but I think this might be my very first Lance Painter Cardinals card. If it's not, I know that I don't have many. Painter was one of the first Cardinals I got to know better through video games than from actually watching on TV. T.J. Matthews was another one of those players. I miss my old MLB PC game.

Colbey often sends me extra Cardinals cards (which reminds me, I need to send something back!) and this time was no exception. The hand-numbered Allen Craig Heritage mini was icing on the cake, but I still feel weird when I look at this card. I love getting a rare Cardinals card, and one of an excellent first baseman at that. I get that hand numbering cards is supposed to be a sign of a precious rare item, like a little craftsman touch or something. So why do I get a weird feeling when I see this, like what the hell kind of teenager was given a coffee and a sandwich and made to sign a bunch of baseball cards over at Topps HQ? I never got these feelings when I first got a hand numbered Allen & Ginter mini, but these just seem weird. All I can think of is some poor intern drawing on cards for no pay whatsoever.

Another part of me is very happy to own this, of course, and wonders where the other 99 are at.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kids Dig the Bowman

The Topps monopoly forces me to pretend from time to time that there's an alternative to their usual brand of products. It's times like these that I look forward to buying Bowman cards just to get my hands on something "different". I know full well that these are Topps cards with a different logo on the front, but I still like to have my pretend time, okay? And in recent years, they have done a good job with adding a few extras to the otherwise stale product. This year continues that run, with a not entirely offensive card design.

Like many other Topps products, Bowman is available as a rack pack containing three separate sealed packs with a bonus three-card pack. This set's bonus cards appear to be purple parallels of their prospect cards.

I've never heard of any of these purple guys, but Bowman is a brand that will often cause whatever the opposite of name recognition is. I must have looked at Todd Kibby's card ten times before I realized his last name wasn't "Kirby".

A little searching reveals that Wisler was drafted out of high school in 2011 and has, as of this month, already moved up to the AA level. He could be one of those prospects that I've been hearing so much about.

Within the three packs, there's the usual configuration of a couple of chrome cards, a couple of prospect cards, a gold parallel and occasionally something inserted at a less than 1:1 ratio. One such thing that is new this year is these Cream of the Crop Mini Refractors. 5 players from each team were selected, making this insertfest larger than the actual prospect set itself.

I dislike the Reds, but I am starting to believe my "most hated" member of the team has drifted from the Brandon Phillips/Johnny Cueto territory mined by that brawl several years ago to the broadcast booth. Thom Brennaman has always irritated me to some extent, but I can no longer listen to him (or his father) on the air without getting a bit angry.

I'm going to Seattle in part to see the Mariners play in a few weeks and I'm hoping to see Felix on the mound. The Mariners offense is still in disarray and now the pitching isn't nearly as good as it was, so Felix must feel like he's trying to get out of one of those horrible pits in the Atari 2600 adaptation of E.T. when he's on the mound sometimes.

With 33 cards in the package, I just hoping to come out of it with one Cardinal card, and Seth Maness made that happen. Maness has struggled a bit since joining the bullpen recently. As a starter in the minor league ranks, he pretty much never walked anyone, ever.

Mark Reynolds is starting to look like a legitimate ballplayer again and less like a cartoon villain, eager to swing three times at any given pitch.

Is this guy really the ace of the Cubs right now? This is what passes for "ace" material these days?

Back for 2013 are the Silver Ice parallels that all of the kids love these days. I hear the kids are having Silver Ice parties every weekend, where they gaze upon their shiny cardboard for hours on end. I mean, that's what they do, do they?

This also fell out of one of the packs. I don't know what it does, but unless it's giving me the chance to instantly win a free card for some reason, I don't want any part of it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

All Clear

I've finally waded my way through all of the piles of cards affected by The Big Spill. These cards are from the last two trades whose contents all literally fell all over each other like some out of control cardboard game of Twister.

I received another fun package from All Trade Bait, All The Time. It contained a bunch of the Cardinals that I needed from the 1986 Donruss Action All-Stars set. For some reason I have enough of the Ozzie Smith stand-ups that I could build my own fort out of them, but I was missing this Tommy Herr stand up and many of the jumbo cards that comprise the main set.

It's always nice to get a Willie that I didn't own. It would be a fun project to figure out which Willie McGee Cardinals cards I still need to own, because he kind of slipped out of the consciousness around the peak era of cardboard excess. I think a master Willie McGee collection might actually be somewhat manageable. Aside from a cameo in the Topps Rookie Cup set from a number of years ago, I think he's mostly been left out of post-retirement releases.

I know I already had a copy of this Ozzie card, but it was probably in worse shape overall. It's really hard to store oversized cards, guys! Really hard!

TheBrooklynMet, whose blog has been awfully quiet of late, sent over some stuff as well. I officially need only two more copies of this Yadier Molina Opening Day Stars to attain completeness, as this copy is going to Erin. I (hint hint) am collecting all of the Opening Day Stars inserts from the last three years and I also (hint hint) collect the Cardinals in case you didn't know.

TheBrooklynMet also included an unopened National Baseball Hall of Fame pack that I completely failed to find out any information about, but I thoroughly enjoyed looking at its contents. The cards themselves were vastly more informative than anything I was able to pull up in a few cursory Google searches.

A couple of cards were Cardinals-related, which is awesome for me. Dizzy Dean is seen showing off his broadcasting chops. He didn't spend his entire career with the Cardinals and the team isn't mentioned on the card anywhere, so I guess it doesn't qualify for my binders. Still cool, though.

Here's a prime binder card if I ever saw one. Of course, with Ozzie it wouldn't matter because he's one of my player collection guys anyway. The 'SS' must stand for Super Science!

On the backs of the cards, you get some quality book learnin'. The National Baseball Hall of Fame missed a golden opportunity to explain the physics of backflips, unfortunately.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Airbrushed Fridays: 2010 Topps #116

Fantasy baseball can be a bit perplexing. Sometimes I will look at one of my teams and not understand why I don't have a better record. Other times, I will realize that all along I've thought that I had pretty decent pitching only to realize that Ryan Vogelsong has turned back into a pumpkin and Dan Haren hasn't been good in years. I wonder if real team GMs have similar feelings about their actual teams. I mean, you can look at the Astros or Marlins and know exactly why they are losing, but sometimes it's hard to understand how a team loaded with talent (and stats!) has a less than fabulous won-loss record.

Who is this week's victim, and why? Carlos Gomez has gone from someone I was fantasy-indifferent about to someone who is one of the cornerstones of my offense. How did that happen? Gomez has been through three organizations and failed to provide offense, power, or much in the way of speed at any level. Suddenly, after hitting 19 HRs and stealing a bunch of bases, he's on track to increase his numbers once again and is putting up a .996 OPS at last check. The outfielder is only 27 and is in his 7th major league season, which seems to indicate that he was rushed to the big leagues too soon.

Why is this a thing? Gomez is Photoshopped into a (for some reason, retro) Brewers jersey after Milwaukee acquired him straight up for J.J. Hardy. Gomez was once the Twins bounty for trading away Johan Santana, but after two pretty lousy seasons with the Twins, Gomez was gone.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a three hour looped recording of Kevin Millar saying "Got HEEEEM!", but you never know!