Friday, March 29, 2019

Do Bloggers Have a Sixth Sense?

About six days ago I added a list of cards from 1988 Topps to my want Set Needs page. I already have a hand-collated set of '88 Topps in my collection, but last year I inherited a collection which included a partial set. The 800-count box sat and collected dust in my card closet until recently when I finally took the time to figure out what was missing. Without any fanfare I published the aforementioned want list.
Cards from Bru
 Queue the blogosphere. With being it one of my two busy times of the year, I haven't been wheeling & dealing and I wasn't expecting any packages. Yet, two packages arrived yesterday from familiar zip codes . . . less than a week after I posted the '88 Topps want list.
The blogosphere is a mysterious and wonderful place . . . it's a place where collectors send random PWEs because they hit a card from another collector's player collection. It's a place where some truly talented writers tell stories about card collecting, which sends the reader through a time warp back to their childhood. It's a place where you can reveal something about your personal life and the comment section will flood with words of kindness, encouragement, condolences and congratulations. In short, it's a community for those who truly call themselves sports card collectors.
I feel I need to touch on the "mysterious" qualifier a tad more. You see, it's as though bloggers have a sixth sense. And what exactly would this sixth sense involve? Well, that's easy! It detects when there's a way one can rid themselves of junk wax from their collection!
Most collectors have at least a nominal amount of junk wax in their collection which they have no clue what to do with. It doesn't fit into one of your defined collecting niches, but you'd feel guilty about dumping it on someone, and you can't bring yourself to toss it out. So there it sits. In your collection. Taking up space.
Cards from Night Owl
 I have 3200-count box dedicated to junk wax. There are some Hall of Famers in there and certainly plenty of All-Stars, but all the Cubs have been sent to the One Million Cubs, the Tim Wallach's to the Tim Wallach guy and . . . well, you get the idea. I've toyed with the idea of donating my box to Good Will or sending it to Commons4Kids, but I'm sitting on my hands hoping there's a better answer.
In the meantime I guess I'll just keep building random junk wax sets like 1988 Topps. Thank you to Bru and Night Owl for demonstrating their respective sixth senses are in working order. The junk wax and other cards in this post were from their two packages. Cubs cards and other set help are always appreciated, too!
If your sixth sense is out of practice, yet you feel the desire to help finish my '88 set, then please feel free to check out my want list. Please, don't just send cards though, because the last thing I need is eleven copies of an '88 Topps Kirk McCaskill card. Send me a quick email or make a comment about what you have for me so that I may update my want list in a timely fashion. Like Bru and Night Owl you will be added to my list and I'll send you "thank you" cards once the school year slows down.
As always, thanks for reading!  (And, for sending me your 1988 Topps junk wax!)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Happy Opening Day

My first 2019 Dan Vogelbach card arrived in the mail this week. It's the morning of Opening Day and thanks to an earlier two game set in Japan The Vogelmonster is already leading all of MLB in OBP.

That's right. I don't drink coffee in the AM, I go straight to the Vogelbach Kool-Aid.
Dan, just keep your head down and let your play (and myself ) do all the talking for you.

Last year Vogelbach was selected to be a part of the Mariners' factory team, but he wasn't awarded a card in S1, S2 or Update. What a farce that was.
This year he was included in the factory team set again . . .

. . . which leads me to the only preseason prediction I'm going to make for 2019.

Vogelbach will do enough this season, at the big league level, that Topps will be forced to give him a card in Series 2 or Update. 

Baseball is back and I couldn't be happier. Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 11

Welcome to our eleventh installment of the Hall of Fame Binder. There are a couple of very big names within this page, but it's also a page that I feel needs a lot of work. I'm thankful for the 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals set, but three cards from one set on a page is a glaring flaw in my eyes.
 Let's break down the cards/players!

2017 Panini Diamond Kings, #26 - Max Carey
 Max Carey is ninth all-time in career stolen bases. A veteran of twenty years, Carey was a speedy outfielder who batted 0.285 and had an on-base percentage of 0.361. When he got on base he terrorized pitchers, as he led the league in stolen bases during ten different seasons during a span from 1913-1925.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #86 - Billy Hamilton
 Are all professional baseball players named Billy Hamilton lightning quick? This Hamilton played from 1888-1901, owns a career average of 0.344, and he led the league in stolen bases, walks, and on-base percentage five times each. He is third all-time in stolen bases behind Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson.

2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic, #6 - Bob Feller
 Bob Feller is one of my favorite Hall of Famers. I've written about Feller a couple of times on my blog. My two favorite facts about the Heater from Van Meter are 1. he is one of only two players to strike out as many players in a game equal to his age and 2. his high school graduation was broadcast across the country by NBC radio. Lastly, he had already led the league in strikeouts four times before he left to serve in World War II at age 23. How crazy is that?

2012 Topps Archives, #39 - Jackie Robinson
 Like Feller, Jackie Robinson is in my top 5 favorite Hall of Fame baseball players. Arguably, he is one of the best athletes to ever play the game, but he'll forever be known as the man who broke the color barrier. I've read a number of books on Robinson, saw the movie 42, and wrote my senior year term paper on him and Branch Rickey. I have a couple of dozen Robinson cards in my collection, but I like this one the most because it looks about as vintage-esque as possible.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #90 - Edd Roush
 Edd Roush is the third center fielder on today's page. Roush batted 0.323 during his eighteen year career, which was mostly spent with Cincinnati. He won two batting titles and had some doubles and triples power. He led the league in sacrifice hits (33) and in slugging percentage (0.455) in 1918. It was a different game back then!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #91 - John Clarkson
John Clarkson, a 300 game winner and owner of a career 2.81 ERA, pitched exclusively in the 19th century. Twice he logged more than 600 innings in a season! He pitched for the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) and Boston Beaneaters (Braves) during the prime of his 12 year career.  I love the old-time hat and mustache in that colorized photo!

According to my records I'm supposed to be scouring the card collecting world looking for upgrades for all of these cards.  The Max Carey Diamond Kings card isn't bad, and I don't mind having one card for the TCMA set, but not three. Someday I would like to splurge and get an actual vintage card of Robinson and/or Feller, but I think I'll need to do some saving first!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Brackets, Baseball and Ogle that Vogel!

As an assistant coach for a high school baseball team I've been hearing a lot of chatter about college basketball. All my players are talking about Duke, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. It sounds like each player has at least different brackets filled out!

I did fill out a thoughtless bracket, but I haven't watched one minute of the action so far. My hometown Bradley Braves made the tournament for the first time since 2006 and they had a strong showing against Michigan St. in the first round. Unfortunately, the Braves game started while I was teaching and finished during the middle of batting practice. The other assistant coach was the listening to the audio feed and reported with updates during BP, but that's as connected to the madness this March as I've been.

It's been a fun couple of weeks for a baseball fan like myself and basketball hasn't been able to captivate my interest. Here's a list of recent baseball happenings and my take:

  • Machado and Harper signed . . . 
    • I'm happy Harper went to a "hitter's park" in Philadelphia. I think MLB needs to market its stars better in an attempt to keep/recruit a youthful fan base. Bat flips, home runs, and flashy play are what attracts attention . . . Harper seems to enjoy the spotlight and I hope MLB and the Phillies take advantage of that.
    • I'm even happier that Manny Machado is playing for a small market, west coast team that is largely forgotten by the national media. Good for San Diego for landing the big fish, but personally, I'm not a Machado fan . . . There's a line between hustle and dirty play and another line between showmanship and immaturity . . . and Machado showed on a few occasions last season that he doesn't know where that line is.
  • Extensions have been signed by Trout, Goldschmidt, Sale, Bregman, Snell, Eloy Jimenez, Brandon Lowe and Verlander.
    • The deals for Bregman, Snell, Jimenez and Lowe seem to make sense for both the young players who desire financial security and the teams who believe in their talent. I suppose the Verlander extension makes sense as well because it's only for two years and the Astros have everyone already locked up for the duration of his contract. They know their short-term budget and know how Verlander fits into the puzzle.
    • But, wow, that Trout deal! I get it, Trout is the best ballplayer and should be paid like it, but you'd think the Angels would be somewhat snake bitten after the Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols deals? If Trout wanted to play for a winner, then why handicap the team you're going to be playing with for the next 12 years with such a big contract? I have no experience as a millionaire, but how exactly does the lifestyle and priorities change for someone who makes $430 million versus "only" $200 million? 
  • Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel still haven't signed. Personally, I feel Kimbrel will go to Milwaukee, but I could see the Braves swooping in. I still don't quite understand the way the baseball markets have played out the last two off seasons and the driving force behind it. The players' union is talking collusion, while the owners are pointing the finger back at the players. Go figure. 
  • Baseball in Japan!
    • Seattle won a couple of games and lots of homers were hit! But the big show centered around Ichiro, and rightfully so. Players of his caliber and character don't come around everyday.
    • I also thought it was cool Yusei Kikuchi was able to make a start in front of his countrymen.
    • Lastly, did you see who replaced Ichiro in the first game of the season? The VOGELMONSTER! In his only at-bat he was plunked on the elbow and eventually had to be removed from the game. It sounds like Vogelbach will be alright, but I heard the baseball suffered from internal fraying and a lacerated core. 
Hey, another low-numbered Vogelmonster arrived in the mail this week. 
This one comes the 2018 Panini Chronicles set. I already have the "base" auto of the Select Signatures card and the gold (numbered 09/10) only leaves me chasing the 1-of-1. "Only" two parallels for the base? I can get behind that!

Good luck on your brackets and fantasy baseball drafts!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 10

We've reached a milestone of sorts with Page 10 of the Hall of Fame binder. At the onset I was wondering if I would be able to follow through with my goal of posting a page per week and I'm pleased to report I haven't hit a speed bump yet. In fact, I'm a little more than a quarter of the way finished with this series.

Prepare yourself for an education, for there aren't a bunch of household names in this post!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #78 - Ray Schalk
Ray Schalk was not an offensive juggernaut at the plate, but he was a defensive force behind it. His career numbers include 11 homers and a 0.253 batting average over 18 seasons, but he also threw out 52% of all would be base stealers during his career. In fact, in 1925 Schalk cut down 61 of 85 base runners, 72%, which led all of baseball. Wow.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #79 - Dazzy Vance
 Honestly, I knew nothing of Dazzy Vance before today, but he had quite a nice career. In 1924 he won the pitching Triple Crown and the MVP with 28 wins, a 2.16 ERA, and 262 strikeouts over 35 games pitched. From 1922 to 1931 he led the league in multiple pitching categories with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes, #20 - Joe Cronin
 Joe Cronin was on my radar before this series started, but that's only because I knew him as Moe Berg's manager at the beginning of The Catcher Was a Spy movie. Cronin had a great career and earned MVP consideration in eight seasons and was an All-Star in seven seasons. Mostly a shortstop during his 20 year career, he batted 0.301 and provide nice pop with 60+ extra base hits in eight different seasons.

2010 TriStar Obak, #19 - Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg, the biggest name on today's post, is another player whose ball career was put on hiatus when he served in World War II for 3+ seasons. Here are some of his career highs, which were set in parts of different seasons: 63 doubles, 16 triples, 58 homers, 143 runs, 184 RBI. and 119 walks. What a masher. In 1938 he had tallied 58 homers with five games to go in the season and only needed two more to tie Babe Ruth's record. Wouldn't that have been something if Hammerin' Hank owned the single season home run record until Maris?

2014 Panini Classics - Home Run Heroes, #23 - Sam Crawford
 Give Sam Crawford's career a quick peak . . . you won't be disappointed. To start things off he led the league in homers in 1901 and 1908 with sixteen and seven, respectively. The outfielder of nineteen seasons played before the All-Star game came to be, he never won a world championship and was only given MVP votes during four different seasons. Personally, I think he was highly underrated and maybe playing for Cincinnati and Detroit hurt him a little in the public eye? He was a 0.309 career hitter, stole 367 bases, and is the career leader in triples with 309. Your average player won't hit twenty triples in their entire career . . . he swatted twenty in a season five different times!

2012 Panini Cooperstown, #65 - Zack Wheat
Zack Wheat played nineteen years (eighteen with the Dodgers) and the left fielder won the batting title in 1918 with a 0.335 average. Wheat, in my opinion was very much like Crawford. Both were outfielders, batted lefty, hit over 0.300, could hit a double or a triple, they walked more than they struck out, and both could steal a base.

There's definitely some talent on this page, but Cronin and Greenberg were the only names I was familiar with before crafting this post. As far as the cards go, the 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals set is really saving my butt here, but I sure would like to find some other cards to put in their place, especially when there are multiple of them on the same page. My favorite card is the Joe Cronin card and it's also the only one which has a vintage-like feel in my opinion. I'd like to replace the others, especially, the Greenberg card with all the lightning in the background.

Next week we'll see two of my favorite Hall of Famers as we'll see the classes from 1961, 1962 and part of 1963.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 18, 2019

One Gesture Leads to a Second

Back in December I posted a feel good story about passing on a baseball card to one of my high school's maintenance workers from his playing days. Alex, a blog reader, enjoyed the story and decided to make a significant contribution. A week or so later I received a yellow padded envelope with about twenty more Roberto Batista cards. There were numerous duplicates in the package, but even better was that at least one copy of every card produced from his playing days was included.

Shortly thereafter I hit up Dave at Minor League Singles and cleaned out his Roberto Batista inventory. There was a spell back in January and February where I'm sure I was ultimate Roberto Batista collector! I had 31 copies of his cards from his minor league days.

Seven of those cards went into a card frame I picked up on Amazon.
I filled out the other two card slots with a team photo card and a Cardinals logo card from Fleer.

Twenty-three of the remaining cards went into a clear plastic case with a bow placed on top.
Card for Alex
The last card was to receive an autograph to send back to Alex. I was able to locate a few other cards to send to Alex as part of a thank you package for being so generous with his card funds to surprise a former minor leaguer, who he has connection to, with a nice gift.
The generosity from Alex did not stop with Roberto cards though. Somewhere during all the planning and waiting he slipped a PWE into the mail with a Brooks Kieschnick in-person autograph. Score!

Planning and waiting . . . Well, I wanted to surprise 'Berto with the frame and all the duplicates for his birthday, which was March 10th. I placed everything into a gift bag and it sat in my closet at school for the entire month of February. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part! On March 8th my school had a half-day and I was able to track down 'Berto at lunch and I pulled him aside into one of the nearby faculty lounges for some privacy.

He saw the gift bag and he started shaking his head, left-to-right, and repeating, "What did you do?" I tried to explain as best I could about how I collect cards and then write about them on my blog on the internet. I mentioned how one fellow collector thought he should have more cards from his playing days than just the one I gave him back in December.

I handed over the gift back and his hand found the clear plastic case of cards at the bottom. I don't think he knew what to make of it at first and I explained they were all duplicates to keep or to pass on to family and friends. He then reached in again and pulled out the frame.

At first he was kind of speechless, save the occasional "Oh, My God." He sat down, placed the frame on the table and started pouring over the cards. I interjected that I thought there was a copy of each of his cards in the frame. He then said, "Yeah, a card for every team I played on except the summer league."
The card in the top left is from 2000 when 'Berto was 18. I guessed, "The Dominican Summer League?"  He responded with, "Yes, where I played before coming to the US." To the best of my knowledge cards have never been produced from the Dominican Summer League.

'Berto then repeated something he said from our initial baseball card encounter back in December, "I don't have much from my playing days."

He continued with more, "They sold everything. When I didn't make the majors they got rid of it all."

I didn't prod, but from what I could tell his baseball mementos, although priceless to him, could be had for the right price if it meant helping his family. He mentioned something about how he doesn't even have his All-Star trophy. I'm assuming that was from his 2003 season where he led the NYPL in saves with a 0.88 ERA.

Roberto, humble and gracious as always, was truly touched by the gift. We parted with some smiles and a handshake and I made off for my afternoon meetings. Later, on my way out of the building to baseball practice, I bumped into another maintenance worked and she commented how nice the card display was and how appreciative 'Berto was of the gift. I thought it was pretty cool that he thought enough of it to show off to his co-workers. That made me smile.

I want to thank Alex for reaching out and providing so many more cards for this endeavor. I had plans of my own to grab one of each of his cards, but Alex really came through with his package of twenty cards.

It's been about ten days since I surprised 'Berto with the cards, but I've seen him a few times since then, while coaching the baseball team, and I always get the biggest smile and a wave.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Vogelmonster Is In Japan!

Sometimes I get excited. This is one of those times and I'll do my best to not go all fanboy on you.

Vogelbach is second on the Mariners in plate appearances this spring and is leading ALL hitters in walks.

Vogelbach is 26 years old and out of minor league options. Kyle Seager's unfortunate hand injury, which has him out until at least mid-June, has allowed the Mariners to shift Ryon Healy across the diamond. This development gives Vogelbach a legitimate opportunity to receive regular at-bats! He'll share first base with Edwin Encarnacion a little, but mostly it sounds like he'll be plugged in as the designated hitter.

I'm excited to see how Vogelbach's new "relaxed" approach to the mental side of the game, as well as his approach at the plate translate over to the MLB level. For the first time it seems like the manager and GM of a major league club both want to see him succeed. I, for one, think it's about time and I can't wait to see Dan Vogelbach go all Godzilla Vogelmonster while in Japan versus the Athletics.
Folks, I believe this will be your last chance to jump in on the ground floor of the Vogelbach baseball card market. You have been warned!

Go get 'em, Dan!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 9

I was mildly frustrated with myself last weekend when learning I had mistakenly forgot to delay the HOF Binder post to Wednesday. I've been writing these the weekend before and then scheduling them for some easy mid-week reading. I wound up breaking my streak of Wednesday HOF posts and burying my post from earlier in the day. Double whammy!

Let's see if I can't rebound here a bit.

This week we have another pretty solid page, all the way around, with only having to double up on TCMA's Baseball Immortals set. I like when the page starts off with a year marker, but I dislike when I'm not able to see the entire induction class from one year. In this case we're missing Ray Schalk and Dazzy Vance from the 1955 HOF class. They'll just have to wait until next week!

1983 Donruss - Hall of Fame Heroes, #26 - Bill Dickey
 The 1983 Hall of Fame Heroes set from Donruss is absolutely stunning. The artwork is masterful and the player selection is top notch. I don't own much 1983 Donruss other than Sandberg's rookie card, but I've been picking these cards, from the 44-card boxed set, out of dime boxes whenever I can find them.
Bill Dickey, played his entire seventeen year career as a catcher for the Yankees. He took time to serve our nation in WWII later in his career, but during his prime he was the best offensive catcher in the game. He was an eleven time All-Star, garnered MVP consideration during nine different seasons and he was a SEVEN time World Series Champion. Dickey walked twice as many times as he struck out in his career, swatted 200+ homers and had a career batting average of 0.313.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #72 - Rabbit Maranville
 Walter James Vincent Maranville played for five different organizations, mostly as a shortstop, during his twenty-three year career. He was all of 5'5" and was noted for his defensive prowess. He earned MVP votes during parts of eight different seasons, but that was mostly due to playing on winning teams and being an integral part of the defense. The lifetime 0.258 hitter never had an OPS register higher than 0.750 and it is said he was given the nickname of "rabbit" by a little girl who insisted he bounded around like one on the base and in the field.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #73 - Bill Terry
 Bill Terry, a middle of the order stick for some great New York Giants teams, won the batting title in 1930 with a 0.401 mark. He was a career 0.341 hitter with decent pop. He would have earned many more than the three All-Star selections he earned if the majority of playing career hadn't come before the first All-Star game in 1933.

1994 Conlon (color), #39 - Frank "Home Run" Baker
 John Franklin Baker swung a 52 ounce bat and led the AL in home runs from 1911 to 1914 with 11, 10, 12 and 9, respectively. The first seven years of his career were spent with the Philadelphia Athletics, but he sat out the 1915 season, at the age of 29, over a contract dispute with Connie Mack. Mack sold his contract to the Yankees the following year and hit 10 homers in just 100 games to finish second in the AL in homer to Wally Pipp's 12. Baker also sat out the 1920 season due to family issues. He finished his career with the Yankees as Babe Ruth was just starting to earn his homer hitting reputation. Baker was once quoted as saying"I don't like to cast aspersions, but a Little Leaguer today can hit the modern ball as far as grown men could hit the ball we played with." 

2012 Topps Archives, #138 - Joe DiMaggio
 Everyone knows about Joe DiMaggio and his legendary hitting streak. I would like to remind you that he won three MVP awards at the ages of 24, 26 and 32 . . . and that he spent his prime, ages 28-30, serving in the Military. Also, he was an All-Star thirteen times during his thirteen year career. Wow.

2003 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts, #44 - Gabby Hartnett
 Gabby Hartnett, one of my favorite Cubs, hit 236 homers and batted 0.297 as a catcher over twenty seasons. He was the NL's answer to Bill Dickey for a number of years and might be better known for his Homer in the Gloaming during the 1938 pennant stretch. I can't do the story justice, so you should just go ahead and click on the link.

2005 Upper Deck Classics, #89 - Ted Lyons
 Ted Lyons was the ace of the White Sox staff for six years, but then he suffered a shoulder injury during the 1931 season at the age of 30. After his shoulder injury he became more of a junk ball pitcher, and although he never relied solely on his knuckleball it was a large part of arsenal. In 1942, at the age of 41, he led the league with a 2.10 ERA. He spent the next three seasons in WWII with the Marines. He returned to baseball at the age of 45 and pitched well, but soon retired to the dugout to manage. Lyons finished with a career record of 260-230 and an ERA of 3.67.

Again, I'm happy with the page, but I would like a couple of upgrades if possible. First, I feel like Bill Terry should have a few more cards out there, which would help the fact I had to double-dip on the TCMA Baseball Immortals set. Secondly, and this is probably more of me dreaming big, but I would love to find something older of DiMaggio. I doubt I could ever afford something from his playing days, but if it's in poor enough condition then maybe I could have a shot!

My favorite card from this page is the Home Run Baker card. Don't sleep on those colorized Conlon cards . . . they are fantastic! Plus, Baker's career is fascinating to read about. The Hall of Fame Heroes card of Bill Dickey would be a close second.

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

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Ogle That Vogel: 2012 Onyx Mojo

Young Dan Vogelbach is my favorite Dan Vogelbach. Dog tags, chin hair, intimidating shades... baseballs fear this man. 
I don't know that I will ever figure out card pricing on the internet. My newest edition to the Vogelbach collection is a 2012 Onyx autograph card, which is hand-numbered 07/10. This beauty cost me about half the price of what the autographed 2014 Onyx version, numbered to 50, is going for on Ebay. I guess sellers can ask whatever they want, but I'm not buying until it's to my liking.
I have material to blog about, but it's the end of the grading period and we're less than a week out from my high school baseball season opening up. Things are busy, but it's a good busy. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 8

We're entering the part of the Hall of Fame Binder which I most enjoy. More familiar names like Mel Ott and Dizzy Dean start to show, but there are still some other talented chaps that the card manufacturers have seemed to have forgotten, like Chief Bender and Bobby Wallace. Also, variety! This is the third page in a row where all the cards are from different sets.

2004 Topps Tribute, #43 - Mel Ott
 I wasn't collecting in 2004... I was buying a house, getting married, and finding a new job. I feel like I missed out a beautiful set in '04 Topps Tribute. I'm a fan of shiny chrome goodness, but I'm not sure how I feel about it with old-timey photos. This Mel Ott card is gorgeous though! I could do without the large 1951 at Mel's feet, especially with there being another mention of the year he was elected to the Hall of Fame in the upper right hand corner.
If you're not familiar with Ott's career then do yourself a favor and check out the stats for this lifetime New York Giant and member of the 500 home run club. I'm most impressed with his counting stats and how many times he cracked the century mark in runs scored, runs batted in, and walks drawn.

1982 TCMA Baseball's Greatest Hitters, #20 - Harry Heilmann
 Harry Heilmann was a 0.342 hitter and logged an OPS of 0.930 during a seventeen year career spent mostly with Detroit. Heilmann's nickname was Slug, and although he may have ran like one he sure didn't hit like one. Four times in his career he batted over 0.390, each time leading the AL. 

1992 Conlon, #563 - Paul Waner
 While Ruth and Gehrig were swatting a combined 107 homers during the 1927, Paul Waner, aka Big Poison, swatted only nine, but he went on to win the NL MVP award.
Back of the Conlon card.
He and his younger brother, Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner, combined for 460 hits in that season. Paul, who was 5'8" and 148 pounds, was a 0.333 career hitter and played into his early 40's during his twenty year career, with fifteen of those years being with the Pirates.

2003 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts, #24 - Chief Bender
 Chief Bender, son to a white father and Native American mother, was the pitcher Connie Mack counted on to win the big game during the Philadelphia Athletics' early dynasty. Due to nagging injuries, Bender never cracked 300 innings like most star pitchers did during the Dead Ball Era, but he possessed a knack for coming through in the clutch. He was one of the early trailblazers in an all-white baseball world.

1990 Swell Baseball Greats, #6 - Dizzy Dean
 During a five year span during the 1930s there wasn't a better pitcher in the National League than Dizzy Dean. He led the league in strikeouts during four of those seasons, innings during three, and wins during two different seasons. Dean also finished as the runner-up for the MVP award twice and won it in 1934. He was known for a larger than life persona and was never at a loss for words. Dean started to have arm issues during his age 27 season and lasted parts of five more seasons, but never again cracked the 100 inning mark before retiring.

2012 Panini Cooperstown, #156 - Al Simmons
 Al Simmons was a 0.334 lifetime hitter who hit 307 home runs just when they started to become en vogue. He was a complete hitter who could hit for average and for power, which often put him in the mix for most valuable player. He never won an MVP award, but don't hold that against him as he played in the same league as Ruth and Gehrig.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #69 - Bobby Wallace
Bobby Wallace's career started in 1894 as a pitcher for the Cleveland Spiders when he was twenty years old. In 1897 he switched to third base and hit 0.335, which was his career high batting average. He would play primarily at short for the duration of his twenty-five year career. Wallace played during the Dead Ball Era and the career 0.268 hitter only belted more than four home runs in a season once.

My favorite card on this page is the colorized short print Panini Cooperstown card of Al Simmons. Black and white photos are nice, but I really enjoy a parallel of a base card that does something more than just change the border color.

The card I would like most to upgrade would be the Conlon card of Big Poison. Baseball and nicknames have been intertwined forever, but sometimes I confuse Little Poison for Big Poison. Find me a card that says "Paul Waner" on the front and I'll be happy!

Thanks for stopping by for a look at this week's page. Next week we'll take a look at Joltin' Joe and the fella who hit the Homer in the Gloamin'. Stay tuned!