Friday, May 29, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2007 Topps #21

Hi. I play for NEWYORK.

Who is he? Chris Britton was a relief pitcher for a spell. His Wikipedia entry seems neglected and a little sad, mentioning his large weight relative to other players in the league in the present tense even though he hasn't pitched a game in 7 years. There's a quote from the Yankees GM that probably fails the "is it noteworthy?" check pretty hard, damning Britton with faint praise or at least casual indifference. In any case Chris Britton logged three years of MLB service time, three years more than I did or my neighbors did or any of my friends did.

How did he get here? Britton was an 8th round pick of the Orioles in 2001 and reached the majors at the age of 23. The Yankees gave up Jaret Wright to get him, and he would spend the next two years bouncing between the Yankees bullpen and AAA. He struggled in later years in the Padres organization before disappearing from organized ball entirely after 2011.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 10

Comments: This card gets the rare perfect score in the Photoshop era. The only thing that could have made it worse is if "New York" was misspelled.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Crazy Idea?

Matt Holliday playing first base doesn't seem far-fetched to me.

I didn't plan on making consecutive posts about the Cardinals Lego-headed star, but with Matt Adams being lost for the year due to injury my mind has been wandering about how this problem will be addressed. With Peter Bourjos finally starting to approach his potential, Randal Grichuk's light tower power on display, and Jason Heyward sometimes doing Jason Heyward things, it seems like the Cardinals have a glut of outfielders and a shortage of quality corner infielders. Holliday is 35 and certainly in the age range of a player who is moved to a more stationary position to keep his bat in the lineup as often as possible. Is baseball the only pro sport anymore where teams are hesitant to approach their aging stars about career changes out of respect or whatever? I'm a huge fan of the man, but it's not like his defensive skills in left field are irreplaceable. Local media, however, seems to have dismissed this idea as nonsense. I don't get it, and I'm not eager to see Mark Reynolds at first as an everyday thing. He's been solid so far in a utility role, but that's where I'd like him to stay.

On to the cards! The always excellent Junior Junkie sent me an outstanding group of cards some time ago, including this synthetic canvas-like Brian Jordan card from the 1997 Leaf set. I'd never seen one of these inserts before. The '90s continue to surprise.

A bunch of Jim Edmonds cards were in the mix, pushing my unique Edmonds card total into the 470s. This shiny thing is number 94 out of 100.

My scanner sort of munched this card's border, but it's still evident that this is a silver signature parallel of Jimmy's 1995 Collector's Choice card. Even Edmonds even played 1B a little bit, also as his Cardinals career was nearing its end.

I'm not going to sugarcoat this. This is an awful card. This was early on in Panini's baseball run, where they evidently were terrified to show even the tiniest indication that the subject plays for a team and isn't, say, an amateur chef in training.

I don't know what this is at all, but it's numbered to just 30 and reminds of some informational cards I had as a kid that showed safari animals and little factoids about each. It's awesome! I need more like this.

Somehow I completely missed 2013's 75th Anniversary Topps set (must have been a Hobby only thing?), but the buybacks have been trickling out in trade packages of late. If you put this in a time capsule it would probably confuse the hell out of someone down the road.

Finally, here's a swell looking Tulo jersey card for Erin's collection. Erin is still holding on to some hope that Tulo will someday be a Cardinal, but for the time being that position is pretty locked up by a Peralta guy that could be headed to the All-Star Game this year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Goin' on a Holliday

Matt Holliday ties a Cardinals record by reaching base for the 42nd consecutive game to start the season.

Over the holiday weekend, I hit up a local card shop for some supplies and a few things I needed to fulfill some contest prizes. I decided to buy a few 2015 Topps Heritage packs and was fortunate enough to get the shopkeep to open a fresh box. I picked the three packs across the top of the box (because of course!) and was pleasantly surprised with this Matt Holliday Chrome card numbered (something or other) out of 999.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Another Team Collecting Dilemma

Maybe I am overthinking this.

As if I needed another team collecting quirk to deal with, some cards that Infield Fly Rule sent me earlier in the spring dug up some 24 year old feelings. Back in the early days of Stadium Club, Topps would include a little inset photo of the player's rookie card on the back. I don't know why in all these years I hadn't considered this before, but I might have to include this Mets Tommy Herr card in my Cardinals binders after all.

Here is the issue, of course. There are Cardinals on this card. The team is mentioned. There's even a logo or two if you squint really hard or pull out your jeweler's loupe. If I am going to put a Jaime Moyer Rangers card with "NOW WITH CARDINALS" printed in text in the binders, I am not sure I can consider this any less of a worthy candidate. I know I'm not putting up much of a fight here. I guess I am resigned to admit defeat to weird collecting technicalities.

Adam also sent over some cards for my PCs as well as some not-so-borderline Cardinals. My Darryl Kile collection is fairly neglected at this point, standing at just 89 cards after this junk wax gem. I need to work on this.

Finally, here's a couple of circa-1997 cards of the venerable Cardinals hitting coach. (Pro tip: if you send me cards from 1997, I probably don't have them.)

The other awesome thing about cards from 1997, if they are of the Upper Deck variety, is that you might actually get a date and a factoid with your card photo. Bonus!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Stickers #92

No, this guy!

Who is he? Ryan Madson is a talented reliever who spent a number of years in a sort of backup closer role in Philadelphia. He was on the World Series winning Phillies team of 2008 and would fill in for Brad Lidge whenever he was shelved due to injury. Madson ended up being the primary closer more or less by default in his final season with the Phillies in 2011.

How did he get here? The Phillies let Madson go to the Reds following the 2011 season (their most recent playoff year) with Jonathan Papelbon looming. Unfortunately for Madson, he never threw a pitch for the Reds, succumbing to elbow ligament replacement surgery. The Angels were the next team to take a chance on Ryan Madson, but it wouldn't be until last month that Madson would return to the mound again after the defending AL Champion Royals took a flyer on him in spring training.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but here's the source image from 2011 (of course):

Airbrushed Score: 9

Comments: This was just wishful thinking, I guess.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Cavalcade of Ex-Eagles

Forgive me for wanting to talk about something other than the Cardinals tonight, 19 strikeouts and 1 hit later.

Finally, we've arrived at the stack of Eagles cards in the big box of fun that Jaybarkerfan sent me earlier in the year. I'm admittedly way behind on my end of the trade, but I am amassing a weird collection of certified autos to send his way that will hopefully be something interesting to look at. I have no real ties to Philly or any football team, but I became an Eagles fan during the heyday of Randall Cunningham and Tecmo Super Bowl and have sort of supported them by default ever since. I've made exceptions, of course, like when a certain canine abusing chump was giving the keys to the offense. What a chump.

This card is actually from way before my time as an Eagles fan, but I've always been a little fascinated with these early Fleer NFL issues. These are somewhat like the unlicensed cards of today in reverse. Instead of having the rights to the players but not the teams they appeared with, apparently Fleer held the rights to the league and teams but not to any individual players. They managed to take this and put out sets year after year of horizontal team-based action photos and were (I guess?) quick to cover up or crop any photos with player names appearing. Strange.

Nick Foles is a pretty good quarterback as far as I can tell, but he was recently exiled to St. Louis in Chip Kelly's own version of this classic Kids in the Hall sketch.

Great quarterback. Don't let anyone tell you different. He seems to have graduated to Complete Moron status in his broadcasting career, however.

T.O. was hardly my favorite player, but he was the catalyst to an Eagles team that made the Super Bowl. They would ultimately lose to a team that cheats on the regular. Aren't pro sports fun?!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Trading with Remember The Astrodome


The Houston Astros are off to a stellar start this season, their third in the AL West. I still think it's incredibly stupid that they were moved when the Brewers could have been sent back to where they belong, but the move combined with a full scale rebuild has allowed the franchise to forge a new identity. Astros fan Bru from Remember The Astrodome certainly must be pleased with his team's play so far this year, which reminds me that he sent me some cards recently.

Allen Craig is on fire here, which is clearly the opposite of how he is doing in real life. He was recently sent to AAA, and even though he now plays for a franchise I loathe, I really hope he pulls out of this 2 year funk that he's been going through. He was fun to watch in St. Louis and was undeniably a key cog in the 2011 World Series winning squad.

We saw Mr. Gomber's autographed (college) card last week, and this week we see him Photoshopped into an actual factual big league uniform. Way to go!

My scanner decided that this was exactly how much of John Denny's 1979 Hostess card that it was going to allow you to see. I have very few oddballs from the '60s and '70s, so this was a very exciting trade package for me.

Well, it's time to admit something in a little moment of shame. I've said many hateful things over the years about Tim McCarver and what he does with his voice. Hearing him on some of the local Cardinals telecasts recently has changed my tune a bit, because he's shown that he's leaps ahead of Al Hrabosky and Ricky Horton. It shouldn't be a surprise that broadcasters have a different approach to local/regional broadcasts than they have on the big national stage, but I was still skeptical that I'd ever look forward to his insight about anything. I guess I was wrong. Now, if we could just get Joe Buck back on FSN Midwest... seriously, he was hilarious and entertaining in the few local games I watched him do.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2015 Topps Opening Day #179

It's been awhile.

Who is he? David Robertson is a modern relief pitcher. He spent his career coming up in the Yankees organization and ascended to the closer role last season. He's always pitched very well, but will likely be relegated to asterisk status as the guy who was the first Yankees closer that wasn't named Mariano in decades.

How did he get here? Like most closers these days, as soon as Robertson got expensive, he was off to another organization. The White Sox signed him as a free agent this past offseason after Robertson's first year in the hotseat. The Yankees have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller to fill the key role(s) right now, but in a few years it will almost certainly be someone else.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but here's the source image:

Airbrushed Score: 8

Comments: Well, he appears to be celebrating something, but it sure wasn't anything the White Sox did!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This Week in Plain White Enveloping

Just kidding, these are from March.

I don't receive a lot of small little letter-sized envelopes containing baseball cards unless they're from Listia these days, but occasionally it happens. As I'm still catching up with things sent to me from months ago, I thought I'd show off a few cards that arrived in the smallest of packages.

Angels fan Jeff from One Man's Junk (Wax) sent over this solitary gold style insert of Big City. Due to some recent successes of one Mark Reynolds, along with the fact that Adams has proved to be less than lethal so far against like-handed pitchers, the playing time of a certain burly southpaw first baseman has waned of late.

Quirk! Quirk quirk! Quirk!!

Dodgers fanatic GCRL sent over a stack of cards, just small enough to avoid the ire of the USPS. Tony Cruz is vastly under-represented in my Cardinals collection for a guy who has held down a steady roster spot for going on five years now. It could be because he barely has any baseball cards, because... yeah, that's totally true. Such is the life of the career backup catcher.

I really wish this was an exciting rookie-style card of a future MLB star. I'm glad I have this now, but ugh.

High profile group breaker Crackin' Wax has a pretty straight-forward program that allows pretty much anyone to snag a few free cards for very little work. I've taken advantage of it a few times. This time around, I grabbed a few cards from the new Topps Heritage set along with a 2013 Allen & Ginter Eddie Murray mini. Adam LaRoche is a little pensive about showing off the grey in his beard.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Catch a Wave of Fire

Despite injuries -- some major -- the Cardinals are off to a historic start.

For the first time since sometime in the 19th Century, the Cardinals are 19-6. The Cardinals successes on the field typically have been with teams that either squeaked their way into a Wild Card spot or took a Division crown because someone simply had to. This much success this early almost feels like a mirage, but even with the injuries to Adam Wainwright and more peripheral players, it's hard to spot a lot of red flags right now. (Famous last words.)

Here's a few Cardinals cards to look at after Monday's crazy 10-9 win over the rival Cubs, courtesy of The Lost Collector.

This was the special surprise inside a Cracker Jack box (or bag?) from some years ago. Some people would go straight to the bottom of the box looking for peanuts, but I was always more of a caramel corn kind of guy. Someone else can help themselves to those peanuts. I like salted peanuts. There, I said it.

I'll probably never have every version (3) of each of these 1st Home Run inserts for my team collection, much as I still don't have every version of those Chasing History inserts of Cardinals players from a couple of years ago. I'm assuming they're bringing these back for Series 2 and Series 3.

Austin Gomber is a name that wasn't immediately familiar to me, but a little bit of typing reminds me that he was a 4th round draft pick from last year. He's in A-ball this season after starting in low-A-ball last year. In a few years, hopefully people all over will be putting together their own Austin Gomber player collections.