Wednesday, August 14, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 31

Today we're going to knock out three entire Hall of Fame classes in one post. I think what I like most about this page of players is that I remember each of them during their playing days. I remember Ozzie Smith doing back flips on his way out to shortstop and Eddie Murray swatting homers from both sides of plate. Sometimes my baseball memories from my youth are clearer in my mind than those from this year or last. It's funny how that works.

1986 Topps, #704 -- Ozzie Smith
 Ozzie Smith is a Hall of Famer, but not for his offensive numbers. Sure, he turned himself into a fair hitter during the second half of his career, but he's famous because of his acrobatic defensive wizardry. Ozzie was elected to fifteen All-Star games and was awarded thirteen Gold Gloves during his nineteen year career. He won the Silver Slugger award in 1987 when he hit 0.303 with zero home runs. Ozzie finished his career with 2,460 hits, 28 homers and a 0.262 batting average.

1982 Donruss, #144 -- Gary Carter
 Gary Carter also finished his career with a 0.262 batting average, but hit 324 homers and tallied 2,092 hits. Carter played nineteen years, largely as a catcher, and he was voted to eleven All-Star contests, two of which he was the MVP. He was a stout defensive catcher who has three Gold Gloves to his credit and he also captured five Silver Slugger awards.

1984 Topps - Ralston Purina, #1 -- Eddie Murray
 Eddie Murray played twenty-one years in MLB for five different franchises. During that time the switch-hitter belted 504 homers and stroked 3,255 hits while batting 0.287. Did you know Murray is the all-time career record holder with 128 sacrifice flies? I didn't! He won the Rookie of the Year in 1977, was elected to eight All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers. Murray's a member of the 500 Home Run Club, but he never hit more than 33 in any given season. Steady Eddie was truly a model of consistency.

1987 Topps Traded, #31T -- Dennis Eckersley
 Dennis Eckersley started 361 games in his career and saved 390. Eck won 20 games as a starter with the Red Sox back in 1978, but he won the Cy Young and MVP awards as a reliever in 1992 when he went 7-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 51 saves for the Athletics. Personally, I think his 1990 season was more dominant. That year Eck saved 48 games, had an ERA of 0.61, and struck out 73 batters in 73.1 innings while only walking six. No matter how you look at the six-time All-Star he put together an amazing twenty-four year career.

1981 Topps, #300 -- Paul Molitor
Paul Molitor was a hit machine. If you look at his BaseballReference page and gander at its 162-game projections it works out that Molitor averaged 200 hits per season. In all he finished with 3,319 base knocks over his twenty-one year career. An All-Star seven times over, Molitor was the true definition of a table setter and he was a four time Silver Slugger winner. Nine times in his career Molitor coaxed more walks than the number of times he struck out, plus he hit to the tune of a 0.306 lifetime batting average.

Again, it's fun to reminisce about players one has seen play and that's why I enjoy this page so much. Also, each of these players suited up for at least two different teams during their careers, but I was able to secure cards of them in the uniform they are recognized going into Cooperstown with. That makes me pretty happy!

The Molitor card would be my favorite on this page if it weren't for Steady Eddie. Eddie's sweet facial hair on an oddball brand makes for great cardboard. Which one would be your favorite?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My Favorite Trade Package of 2019

This one makes the grade in every respect and it lands at the top of the list for the trade packages I received so for in 2019.

Depending how much you visit this site, you may or may not have picked up on the fact that I love when other bloggers take the time to write a hand-written note. Notes always earn chaps my blogging brethren extra points with me.
Cursive? Old-time language? Simply wonderful! If you're not familiar with Gavin, then here's the scouting report on him: "Superior trading partner within our cardboard community whose attention to detail and creativity is second to none."  Plus, he uses blue tape with pull tabs! (Pull tabs were on the other side. You'll have to trust me!)
Gavin, for what it's worth, the packaging on your return package was top notch. You even used non-marred top loaders. Pshaw!  Easily an A grade here.

 Let's start with the new cards to my player collections:
 I had no idea there are over-sized proofs out there. Now I have two of Kerry Wood. The picture below shows it to be just slightly larger than the Ryne Sandberg Topps Tribute gold(?) parallel, which also fits into one of my player collections.

 Here's another Kid K card and he's matched up with one of my favorite Astros of all-time in Lance Berkman.

Stadium Club is such a treat. And hey, a refractor of Cubs pitching prospect. I'll take those all day.

Here's an autograph from Bowman Platinum of a pitching prospect, Trevor Clifton, who seems to have taken a step back in AAA this year. Regardless, it's till a pretty sweet card!

Moving right along... here's where the package shifts into overdrive.
 The Elite Series from Donruss is one of my favorites from my youth. Vogelbach is pictured above in his high school uniform from Bishop Verot.
 Again, look at the attention to detail on the back of this custom. Holy cow!

I busted a couple boxes of Swell a few years back and walked away with a complete set from each box. That's the way it should be done if you ask me.
 That's a great city skyline in back of a hitter who has no problems swatting baseballs over tall buildings. Gavin, a Vogelmonster fan, knows what I'm talking about. Light tower power! #foreshadowing
 His nickname is "The Vogelmonster"  I love. Absolutely love it!

What's great about these photos on Gavin's customs is that they are all ones I have never seen before. And, I've scrolled through a bunch of Vogelbach pictures during my free time.
 Here's the back of the 1992 Stadium Club Cards.  Yes, cards... as in plural.

Here's the variation card. Gorgeous baseball sky and a shot of Vogelbach obviously contemplating whether or not it's good for the environment when he obliterates unsuspecting baseballs with his bat.

All of the customs were a complete surprise. Gavin shot me an email midway through our trade saying he spent a good chunk of time work on the cards and they would soon be on their way. Well, the original deal we struck was for copies of the Hall of Famers I needed for my HOF Binder. I didn't want Gavin spending too much time/effort and I was hoping he would just run off copies from his Neglected HOFers custom set. I didn't think much about the time he was spending when I read the email.
It never struck me he was making customs of the Vogelmonster for me! Blogger rule.

Here's a quick taste of the Conlon customs Gavin has put together to help fill the holes in my HOF Binder. Hilton Smith was featured just a couple of weeks ago on my blog... I needed a card... and now I have one!

 Here's the HOFers which I get to add to my binder.  Fun-fun!  I can't wait to page these cards up!

Oh, one more picture. Here's the back of the note Gavin sent.
I told you notes are awesome. This one is of Vogelbach showing off his light tower power by jacking a ball over the Seattle Space Needle. My writing may not show it, but I'm smiling ear-to-ear.

Gavin, thank you for your time and thoughtfulness with this trade package. You went way over the top and I tip my cap to you, good sir. Your contributions to my "based ball" card collection will not soon be forgotten! Thanks again!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 30

Today we'll finished off the entire 2000 and 2001 Hall of Fame classes in the same post. Unfortunately, there's only five cards to show off this week as I'm still on the hunt for cards featuring the likenesses of Bid McPhee, Turkey Stearnes and Hilton Smith.

Here's a look at the page with the less-than-glorious placeholders. Ugh.

1981 Donruss, #335 -- Carlton Fisk
Carlton Fisk played twenty-four years in baseball, primarily as a catcher. Just typing that sentence out is enough to make my knees ache. Fisk was the Rookie of the Year in 1974 when he led the league in triples, batted 0.293 with 22 homers, which also helped him to an All-Star game and a Gold Glove award. He was just getting started as he was elected to ten more All-Star contests and earned three Silver Slugger awards. Fisk finished his career with 376 home runs and a 0.269 batting average.

No Card -- Bid McPhee
Bid McPhee, Veterans Committee elect, played eighteen years for the Cincinnati Red Stockings and Reds from 1882 to 1899. The speedy second basemen was a career 0.272 hitter who once led the league in home runs (8 in 1886) and triples (19 in 1887). In fact, McPhee is eleventh all-time in career triples with 189. He made his name as an elite defender at the keystone position without using a glove. McPhee finally started using a glove at age 36 in 1896 and he immediately broke the fielding percentage record as a result.

1975 Topps, #560 -- Tony Perez
Tony Perez played sixteen of his twenty-three big league seasons with the Reds and helped them to two World Series titles. Perez was elected to seven All-Star games and was an integral part of the famed Big Red Machine in 1970's. Over his career, the first basemen hit 379 home runs and batted 0.279.

No Card -- Turkey Stearnes
Turkey Stearnes, a center fielder in the Negro Leagues from 1920-1940, hit over 0.300 in fourteen seasons. He was one of the best power hitters of his generation as he led the league in round trippers six times during his career. “He hit the ball nine miles. He was a show, people would go to see him play.”

1960 Topps, #55 -- Bill Mazeroski
Bill Mazeroski, a splendid second baseman, played all seventeen of his years with the Pirates. The career 0.260 hitter won eight Gold Glove awards and was elected to All-Star contests during seven different seasons. Maz is probably best known for his walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series in 1960 versus the Yankees. That shot earned him World Series MVP honors and The Sporting News' Major League Player of the Year award.

1986 Topps, #329 -- Kirby Puckett
Kirby Puckett only stood at 5'8", but he was an exceptional center field talent and all-around ball player. He actually played at Bradley University for a year during college and led the Braves in home runs! Puckett was elected to ten All-Star teams during his 12 MLB seasons and he won six Gold Gloves and six Silver Sluggers. The career 0.318 hitter helped Minnesota to two World Series titles. Puckett was forced into early retirement due to retinal damage to one of his eyes.

No Card -- Hilton Smith
Hilton Smith is often overshadowed within Negro League history because he was a teammate of the ever-flamboyant Satchel Paige. Smith is said to have had the best curveball in the league and he is credited with 20 or more wins in each of his first twelve seasons with the Kansas City Monarchs. I think this quote sums up the kind of pitcher he was quite nicely. "The old-timers would all say that if you were going to hit anything, you better hit it off Satchel because you weren’t going to touch Hilton Smith.”

1978 Topps, #530 -- Dave Winfield
Dave Winfield socked 465 homers, recorded 3,110 hits and batted 0.283 during a twenty-two year career with six different teams. The 6'6" outfielder was voted to twelve All-Star teams, was awarded seven Gold Gloves and hit his way to six Silver Slugger awards. During the 1980 season Winfield was credited with TWENTY outfield assists during the 162 game season. (Why did they keep running on him?!?) At age 40, Winfield hit 0.290 with 26 home runs and 108 RBIs to help Toronto win its first World Series championship in 1992. 

Although I thoroughly enjoy the Maz card, the '78 Topps Winfield steals the show for me this week. The color scheme of the Padres' uniform and those unbeatable sideburns take the cake. That's a great looking card! Which one is your favorite?

That's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Stellar Swap with a New Blogger

In my previous post I made mention of how I was hoping to trade large quantities of junk wax for set help and/or Cubs cards. A second, but new to me blogger, reached out and offered to lighten my load.

I packed up some cards from 1992 and sent them out to the east coast where Mike resides. Mike is a fellow high school baseball coach, and like many of us he was a one time collector who is getting back into the hobby for a second go. He began blogging in July and his posts on A Life Shaped by Baseball have really hit home with this collector. A card or two can be found in each of his posts, but the best part is strolling through Mike's childhood and his connection to baseball. Not only is his prose fun to read, but his musings really get my mind churning as my own memories start to flood back to me. Good stuff overall.

I think I may have been Mike's first blog related trade and I asked him to just send back what he thought was fair.
I think this may be the first time I received a trade package with rubber bands that I was okay with! I have a couple of these 300-count plastic storage cases and I have trouble parting with them myself. It's quite pleasing just looking at the cards in the container. Different thicknesses, colors... and the possibilities that lie within!

I'm not going to bother you with all 300 cards, but rather I'll start you off with one of my favorites.
I really enjoy Topps Big League and I might purchase a couple of discounted boxes during the Black Friday sales. The Players Weekend cards in the set are the best. An entire set dedicated to nicknames? Yes, please!

Some Cubs fans I know are down on Schwarber. I was one who was afraid he would be shipped out at the trading deadline. I'm glad to see he's still slugging away for my favorite team.

This is the second copy of this 1982 Dave Kingman card in my collection, yet I still need one more!
I have one for my Kingman player collection and one for my Cubs boxes, but I still need one for my upcoming 1982 Topps set build.  For the record... blue pullovers with white pinstripes are very bada$$.

Ryno signing for his fans! Sweet! His solid blue pullover is a close second to Kingman's.

This is a great photo of Mark Grace and it comes from time when I wasn't in the hobby.

More cards from when I was in college and too busy to collect.
Kerry Wood is 1A and Rod Beck is 1B as far as my favorites from the 1998 Cubs team go. 

I was newly wedded when this Topps set came out and I thought I about getting back into collecting cardboard at the time, but I wasn't sure how my new wife would take it. Would she think her new husband was a big nerd or a little kid? It took me a few more years before I decided to take the plunge and dive back into the hobby.
I'm glad I did, because now my wife has her friends giving me their dad's or husband's old card collections. I never saw that coming. 

How about a young Terry Francona from the 1986 Topps Traded set?
I wonder if this younger version of Francona ever envisioned himself, 30+ years later, taking a pitcher out of a game after he just tossed the ball over the center field fence from the mound?

How about these throw back uniforms? Maybe too dark, but I do like the old cubby bear inside the C on the uniform top.

I actually found a couple of Fleer Metal sets all bindered up an estate sale once. The creativity within these cards is astounding.

Glenallen Hill has been one of my faovorites ever since he launched a home run over Waveland Avenue and onto the top of one of the apartment buildings across the street. Remarkable power!
 I happy Doug Glanville has made a name for himself within the world of baseball after his retirement from playing the game. I enjoy his takes.

Here are a couple of guys who I forgot ever suited up for the Cubs:
I enjoyed Lofton's time with the Cubs, but I can't really remember anything from Benito Santiago's tenure. 

New-to-me 1988 Donruss cards. You don't hear that everyday!

Augie Ojeda was another fan favorite of mine... the diminutive utility infielder always seemed to be in the right spot at the right time on defense, but I didn't realize he only batted 0.196 for the Cubs during his four seasons. The mind remembers what it wants to remember I suppose.

I'm 2-for-2 on the TTM autograph requests. Should I send one out to my favorite radio color personality? Hmmm?

Here are some big dudes who played for the Peoria Chiefs.
Both of these guys were built like linebackers and had tremendous power, but they never made enough contact to capitalize.

Here are two of my favorite Chiefs of all-time.
Alberto Garcia ranks up there because he befriended the crew that I used to watch games with. Matt Walbeck was one of the first Chiefs players I remember playing in Peoria who made it the majors.

 Ahhhh... junk wax set help!
Mike, thanks again for all the cards! So many of them will find their way into a player collection binder, the Cubs FrankenSet, my Cubs boxes or a set build. Much appreciated!

If you liked what you saw here, I'd visit Mike's blog and see if you can't get a trade of your own started. Here's a link to his Want to Trade page.

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Friday, August 2, 2019

From One Collector to Another

I recently offered up bulk amounts of junk wax to anyone willing to send me some Cubs cards in return. One such blogger who too me up on my offer was Chris, the author of The Collector.
It makes me happy when a blogger takes the time to write a little note. What a nice personal touch in an era where it seems to be a fading and lost art.

Let's see what Chris' package had to offer. I haven't bought much product, Cubs or otherwise, during the last two years so the odds are good that I'll need the card if it's from a recent release.
 2018 Topps Big League. I have this card, but is currently sitting in my master set of the product. Woo-Hoo!  One for the binders!

 Now we have 2019 Topps Big League:
I'm not quite sure what to make of Ian Happ yet. I know he's genuinely a good human being and easy to root for, but at some point what you do on the field has to matter too.

Donruss help. The wavy lines in the lower third of the card make the design for me. I can dig it.
 Bote has been mired in a slump as of late and Darvish has been riding a hit streak. Baseball is a streaky game for sure.
 I'm not usually a fan of Gypsy Queen's design, but I'll take it over 2019 Donruss. The jagged corners of all the shapes does nothing for me.

Horizontals!  Some are from Topps' flagship and some come from Opening Day.
 I'm collecting those Wrigley Field cards, because I have many a binder which could use a card like that!
More 2019 Topps, all of which are needed. This has been a great package!

And look, set help for my junk wax sets. Perfect!
Thanks for the sweet return package, Chris! I hope you get plenty of use out of the cards I sent your way.

Have a wonderful weekend!