Wednesday, May 22, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 19

Four more cards from the 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals populate this page. I feel as though if a card company put out set with all of the Hall of Famers represented that it would sell really well. I figure the problem would be earning permission from all the players and their estates to be represented within the set.

The TCMA cards, on a couple of occasions, have featured some creepy artwork. I think I'm okay with the sketch of Oscar Charleston.

 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #152 -- Oscar Charleston
 Oscar Charleston played in the Negro Leagues from 1915 to 1941. Bill James, the noted baseball historian, ranks Charleston as the fourth greatest player of all-time. He is the Negro League's all-time leader in stolen bases and he ranks in the top five in batting average and home runs.

 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #153 -- Connor Roger
 Roger Connor played for six different teams during his career, which spanned from 1880 to 1897. Connor was the definition of a power hitter during baseball's early years. There's a thirteen year period during his career where he averaged 27 doubles, 15 triples and 9 homers. Connor, a 0.316 batter, finished his career just shy of 2500 hits.

2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic, #81 -- Bob Lemon
 Bob Lemon got a late start to his big league career after serving three years in the military from 1943-1945. At age 25 he made his debut for the Indians and shortly after that he was firmly entrenched within Cleveland's starting rotation. He led the league in complete games in 1948, 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1956. From that stat, one may think the seven time All-Star had his best years during even years, but he was as big a workhorse as any pitcher in the AL during that period. He finished his career with a 3.23 ERA and a record of 207 wins and 128 losses.

 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #165 -- Freddie Lindstrom
 Freddie Lindstrom played thirteen years at the hot corner, most notably with the New York Giants. He was a career 0.311 hitter who had two stellar seasons where he hit 0.358 and 0.379. Those two seasons and a generous Veteran's Committee are what earned him passage to Cooperstown.

1962 Topps, #243 -- Robin Roberts
 Fourteen of Robin Roberts' nineteen big league seasons were with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was elected to seven All-Star games, which were all in his twenties. During those years he regularly logging over 300 innings, while completing about 68% of his starts. In 1952 he was named MLB Player of the Year as he went 28-7 with a 2.59 ERA. He led the league in wins, GS, CG, innings, fewest walks per nine, and best K/BB ratio. Impressive! He finished his career with a 3.41 ERA and 286 wins.

1967 Topps, #215 -- Ernie Banks
 Ernie Banks was the first Cub to have his number retired. He was elected to the All-Star game fourteen times, won a gold glove and won back-to-back MVPs as a shortstop in 1958 and 1959. He is known by most on the north side of Chicago as Mr. Cub and for his famous quote, "Let's play two!"

 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #159 -- Martin Dihigo
Martin Dihigo, with Babe Ruth, is considered to be one of the best two-way baseball players of all-time. Dihigo is not only a member of Cooperstown, but also the Mexican Baseball Hall of fame and the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame. He played from 1922 to 1950 and spent time at every position other than catcher. During his career Dihigo won over 250 games and two batting titles.

My favorite card on this page is by far and away the 1967 Ernie Banks. I didn't get to meet Ernie in person until forty years after he retired. The youthful face of Ernie is something to behold, although he has the same smile . . . he always seemed to be smiling.

The card I'd most like to upgrade, besides the four TCMA cards, would be the Sweet Spot Classic card of Bob Lemon. Lemon played into the late 1950s and he isn't the biggest name from that era. I should be able to find a vintage card of his at a decent price.

That's it for this week! Six more school days until summer is here . . . I think I can make it!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cardinals in a PWE?

Kenny, the all powerful Zippy Zappy and Luis Torrens super fan, dropped a PWE on me a couple of days ago.

Things started out innocent enough: Blake DeWitt. This card is from my favorite Topps set since I got back into collecting in 2009.

And then this happened!
Going to Blake DeWitt to a Vogelmonster rookie is similar to playing with sparklers on the Fourth of July and then being handled some M-80s.  Ka-Boom!

Random Chicago Bear?
I'm a Chicago Bear fan for sure. The NFL season helps me get through the wintry months. Jurquin Iglesias played in one game during his NFL career. I guess that's why I don't remember him.

I know these two guys.
Kyle Long is the dean of the offensive line and I'm predicting a break-out season for Leonard Floyd in 2019. Oh yeah, logos on Panini cards. Nice!

I'm still not sure what to think about Mitchell Trubisky.
 He took a step forward last year, but it wasn't as big a step as many had predicted. Personally, I still can't get over the Bears trading up to take him. They got fleeced. In short, the Bears traded up from the #3 overall to #2 overall and gave up two 3rd round picks and one 4th round pick to do so.
For the record, the Browns took a defensive end #1 overall and Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson went 10th and 12th overall, respectively.

Meh. I digress. Let's move on back to baseball, which is something I know much more about.

What's this? St. Louis Cardinals 2018 #1 pick, Nolan Gorman?
Gorman absolutely raked in rookie ball last summer after being drafted in June. He was promoted to the Peoria Chiefs and hit just above the Mendoza line in twenty-five games. The third baseman tore it up in Spring Training and there was speculation about him starting the season High-A Palm Beach. Nevertheless, he was issued a plane ticket back to P-town (Low-A). He just turned nineteen a couple of weeks ago and already has 9 homers this spring, which leads the Midwest League.

I'm going to try to get one of the cards signed for Kenny, but that could be pretty challenging. The Chiefs only play three home games in the next eighteen days!  Yikes. And honestly, I'm hoping my high school baseball team is still playing when the Chiefs come back into town for that brief three game home stand.

Thanks for the cards, ZZ!  I'll see what I can do about the Nolan Gorman auto. If he's not promoted before June 7th, then I may have a shot!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 18

Page 18 of the binder brings us eight cards from seven different sets, including a vintage Mickey Mantle! Mantle may carry this page, but there's plenty more solid talent on the page including a couple of former Cubs!

1991 Conlon, #302 -- Jim Bottomley
 Jim Bottomley, a St. Louis Cardinal, played first base for three teams during his sixteen year career in which he batted 0.310 and amassed over 2,300 hits. His earned MVP consideration six times and won the award in 1928. That year he scored 123 runs, swatted 42 doubles, 20 triples, 31 homers and knocked in 136 while hitting 0.325.

1967 Topps, #5 -- Whitey Ford
 This ten time All-Star won five World Series championships during his sixteen year career. Whitey Ford served his age 22 and 23 seasons in the military, but otherwise he anchored the Yankees' staff while consistently pitching 200+ innings. In 1961 he won the Cy Young award when he went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA. Ford finished his career with a record of 236-106 and an ERA of 2.75. He also has one of the cooler nicknames: "Chairman of the Board".

1964 Topps, #50 -- Mickey Mantle
 Mickey Mantle was THE MAN. When he was healthy there wasn't another player as dynamic in the game during his era. Ted Williams may have been a better hitter, but I think Mantle had the better overall skill set. His career spanned eighteens seasons and he was elected to the All-Star game in all but two of those seasons. At twenty years old, the switch-hitting center fielder received his first All-Star nod and finished third in the MVP voting. Mantle would go on to hit 0.298 and 536 homers during his career. You can read about how this card came to join the Hall of Fame binder here. Thanks again, Mark!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #146 -- Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson, and outfielder for the Detroit Wolverines and Philadelphia (Quakers & Phillies), was a career 0.331 hitter. He's another Deadball Era player elected by the Veterans' Committee, but the more I look at his stats I think he definitely belongs in The Hall of Fame. There's a good ten year span in the middle of his career where he was arguably one of the best outfielders in the game. Take a look at his stats and let me know what you think!

2017 Panini Diamond Kings, #40 -- Earl Averill
 Earl Averill played most of his thirteen year career for Cleveland. Alverill, a dominant offensive force during the 1930's, was an outfielder who had some pop (238 home runs) and who can handle the bat (0.318 hitter). His career on-base percentage was a cool 0.395 and he often ranked in the top ten in that category. Averill graduated from high school in Snohomish, Washington, and his nickname was "The Earl of Snohomish."  Good stuff!

1990 Swell Baseball Greats, #59 -- Billy Herman
 Billy Herman played eleven of his fifteen big league seasons for the Cubs. The second baseman didn't provide much power, but he brought enough to the table to represent the National League in the All-Star game ten consecutive years. His All-Star string was snapped when he entered the military for two years starting in 1944. His 162 game averages for his career, provided by, show a 0.304 average, 98 runs, and 52 extra base hits. I'll take that out of one of my middle infielders!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals -- Judy Johnson
 Judy Johnson was considered to be the best third baseman of his day and the best clutch hitter in the Negro Leagues. He became the sixth former Negro League player to be inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1975, after he stepped down from serving on the Hall of Fame's Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues. Johnson was also the first African American to coach in Major League Baseball.

1961 Fleer, #50 -- Ralph Kiner
Ralph Kiner only played ten years in MLB, but he made a lasting impression. Known better as a Pittsburgh Pirate, the left fielder lead the NL in homers during each of his first seven seasons. After suffering through some seasons with back problems, Kiner retired at age 32 to become the general manager of the San Diego Padres, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians at the time. Bill James, noted statistician, calls him one of the four best out fielders of his era, which included DiMaggio, Musial and Ted Williams. Lastly, when he retired he was sixth all-time in career home runs. Now he is 78th. How crazy is that?

Biggest improvement I'd like to make on this page: find a new Judy Johnson or Sam Thompson card so that each card on the page is from a unique set. Also, I'd like to add a card of Kiner in a Pirates uniform, the team which he is known for playing. The Cub card could then go in a different binder!

My favorite card on this page?  That's easy . . . it's the 1964 Mickey Mantle. I never thought I would own a Mantle. Not in wildest dreams.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Roberto Story Continues

Let's be honest here. Not all trade packages are created equal.

I received one the other day that has to belong in my Top 10 all-time. Now, that's saying something because I've been swapping cards with 136 different "friends of the blog" for over eight years now. Yes, I keep track. I am a numbers guy after all.

Jeremy, from the ultra-creative Cards That Never Were blog, reached out to say he had some cards I might find useful.

For starters, he sent me the last eight cards I needed for me 1988 Topps set build. This is my second '88 set. I finished the first one when I was eleven and this most recent one was from a conglomeration of collections I had inherited.

Here we have an odd pairing, but it's the pair that finish off my first 1990 Topps set. Awesome!

Also in the package were cards for my Brook Kieschnick player collection.
 The card above is very chromey, and like most early chrome cards it is very curly. No worries, for it will find a permanent resting spot in a binder page and it will eventually flatten out.
 All three of the Kieschnick cards, Pinnacle, Leaf & Donruss, are from 1997. I miss the days of multiple card brands!  I'm now up to 95 different cards of the Cubs' former #1 draft pick.

Customs!  Jeremy specializes in making cards to recognize those players who have been snubbed. 
 I guess Brooks has been left out of a few Topps sets during his playing days! LOL
The 2005 Topps card of Kieschnick with the bat on his shoulder and the 4-seam fastball grip is an awesome photo selection for the two-way athlete!

I love my prospects. Oscar De La Cruz seems to be over his injury concerns and is pitching well in the minors again.
I suppose it isn't totally out of the question that we see him in Wrigley sometime later this year.

Alright, onto the best part of the package!
Yep, the best part wasn't even meant for me, it's for Roberto! You can read about the Roberto Batista story here and here.

I summarized the details Jeremy gave in his emails and my internet sleuthing into one note for Roberto:

Here's the item:
How cool is that? The only thing better would have been if Robert had pitched in the game. Shame on Ron Warner for not pitting Roberto in the championship clincher.  Also, check out that bullpen for Palm Beach. SEVEN lefties and not one right-hander? How odd. 

I gave the line-up card to Roberto yesterday and he was as grateful as ever. Truth be told, I think he's a little puzzled why people he doesn't know are giving him things from his playing days. Bloggers are just giving bunch!

Thanks so much, Jeremy!  I've got some cards for you, but I'm waiting on my Sportlots box order to to arrive. When it does I'll redirect the cards meant for you to the Sunshine State. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

About to Put It to Bed

Sometimes I feel as thought Mondays are made for the "Quick & Easy" trade post. So, let's put it into practice. 

Mike, the author of Not Another Baseball Card Blog, and I completed a trade in which I sent him some Expos for his "one million Expos" project and returned in kind with set help.

I feel like Sparky is reaching out to say, "These are not the droids you're looking for."
 In all, there were forty-six 1988 Topps cards in the package and I needed everyone of them.
Actually, it was an "Eddie Murray Hot Package!" Woo-Hoo! 

Tomorrow will be the post that closes the book on my '88 Topps set build.
Thanks again, Mike. I hope you liked all those Expos!