Wednesday, May 29, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 20

We're knocking on June's door and I'm absolutely loving it. School is nearly out and I can spend a little of my newfound time writing up HOF posts. I'm still in the middle of a time crunch with final exams this week and a sectional baseball playoff this evening, but I'm starting to get stoked for summer!

 Let's get right to page 20!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #160 -- John Henry "Pop" Lloyd
 John Henry Lloyd played in the Negro Leagues for twenty-seven years. His plaque in Cooperstown describes him as a "scientific hitter" who batted over 0.400 several times. "Pop" also went by another nickname: "Shovel." He earned that nickname because of the tendency to pick up a lot of dirt in his glove when fielding ground balls. Lloyd is considered to be the greatest short stop in the history of the Negro Leagues.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #162 -- Amos Rusie
 Amos Rusie played nine full years in baseball and amassed 246 wins with a 3.07 ERA during the late 1800s. Five times he led the league in strikeouts and walks and he earned the pitching Triple Crown in 1894. He also logged more than 300 innings in eight seasons and three times he threw over 500 in a single season. Rusie was also a fair outfielder and a career 0.248 hitter with the bat.

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #163 -- Joe Sewell
 Joe Sewell was a shortstop and third baseman for the Indians (11 years) and Yankees (3 years). Sewell earned MVP votes during seven different campaigns. Overall, he was a consistent 0.300 hitter who was as durable as can be, starting nearly every game during a ten year stretch in his career. He had gap power and twice topped the century mark in runs scored and RBIs, but what catches my eye is base running line in 1927: he went 3 for 19 in the stolen base department! 

2014 Panini Golden Age, #19 -- Addie Joss
 Addie Joss had a brief nine year career, but during that time he went 160-97 with a 1.89 ERA. He is the all-time leader in career WHIP with a 0.968 mark. His highest posted ERA was 2.77 during his rookie year in 1902. The lifetime Cleveland Nap finished five seasons with ERA markings lower than 2.00. Joss died of tubercular meningitis at age 31 and he surely would have pitched longer and been a no doubt HOF inductee, rather than being inducted by the Veteran's Committee.

1959 Topps, #450 -- Eddie Mathews
 Eddie Mathews played seventeen seasons, fifteen of which were with the Braves, and hit 512 homers. He was an offensive force for years in the National League and he was voted to twelve All-Star games during his career. He career stat lines shows over 1,500 runs scored and over 1,400 RBIs, while striking out only 43 more times than walking. Fun fact: he graces the cover of Sports Illustrated's first issue.

1970 Topps, #600 -- Willie Mays
 Willie Mays. Rookie of the Year, MVP x2, batting champion, Gold Glove winner x12, All-Star in twenty different seasons, stolen base leader x4, home run leader x4 . . . he even missed a year to military service. Willie Mays was the goods. The only question is where does he fit in your rankings for the best player ever? Mays would be my #1 if Babe Ruth didn't also have a pretty solid pitching career.

1985 Woolworths, #40 -- Hack Wilson
Hack Wilson had five really good years from 1926 to 1930 for the Cubs, which carried him to the HOF. It is said that if could have stayed away from the bottle he would have been one of the best outfielders ever. Wilson was only 5'6", but that didn't stop him from leading the NL in homers four different seasons. He is the single season record holder for RBI with 191 in 1930. That season he hit 56 homers and batted 0.356 and also led the league in walks and strikeouts. Wilson was one of the first true "three outcome" players in MLB history.

The talent on this page is pretty diverse, but it's strong. I'd like to seek out a few replacements for the three 1980 TCMA All-Stars that start the page. Favorite card?  . . . I really love the Woolworth's card of Hack Wilson, but the Eddie Mathews card is my favorite. There's something about fuzzy and rounded corners on vintage cardboard that really makes me smile.

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!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Ogle That Vogel: Missing Magenta

The Vogelmonster may have cooled off from his torrid start in April, but my collection of his keeps getting hotter. It was a good week in terms of sniping cards off Ebay as I netted three printing plates!

2011 - Bowman Sterling (Cyan)

2017 Topps Chrome (Yellow)

2018 Panini National Treasures (Black)
I thought I understood the printing plate process, but now I'm befuddled because the Panini card doesn't have a reverse image like the two Topps products above.

For the record, I have now acquired ten printing plates total and I have three of the four 2018 National Treasures plates. I'm only missing the magenta. It'll show up eventually! Right?

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 17

Hey, look at that! It's my first HOF Binder post with the new year markers from Wrigley Wax! He even sent be the template so I can more going forward. How cool is that?
Page 17 brings us some great variety with well known names (Spahn & Clemente), guys I don't know much about like (Youngs & Welch), and a speedster known as Cool Papa. Plus, actual vintage! Woo-Hoo!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #134 -- Ross Youngs
 Ross Youngs played ten years in MLB, all for the New York Giants. He was a 0.322 career hitter who played mostly right field. Youngs finished fifth in MVP voting during his age 27 season in 1924, when he set career highs in batting average and on-base and slugging percentages. Youngs in another benefactor of being elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee.

1966 Topps, #300 -- Roberto Clemente
 How can you not appreciate Roberto Clemente? He tallied his 3,000 hit at the end of the 1972 season and died in a plane crash attempting to deliver food and medicine to earthquake victims in Nicaragua during that off season. Clemente was elected into the Hall of Fame by a special committee in 1973, effectively bypassing the 5-year rule for retired players. Clemente won four batting titles, one MVP award, twelve Gold Gloves and was a member of fifteen All-Star teams. He was also the first Latin American to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Side note: you can read about how I came to own this card here.

1955 Topps, #100 -- Monte Irvin
It was of great debate who was the best candidate to break the color barrier back in the 1940s. Many of the Negro League players thought Monte Irvin was the best choice, but ultimately Branch Rickey went with Jackie Robinson. It was said that Irwin was the more complete player, who had a cannon for an arm and could hit the ball a mile. Irwin, who served three years in World War II, was past his prime when he made his debut at age 30 in 1949 for the New York Giants. He would give fans a taste of what they were missing during the first half of his career, when he was voted third for the MVP award in 1951. That season he hit double digits in doubles, triples, homers and steals, while leading the league in RBIs and walking twice as much as he struck out. It sounds like he was a complete player!

1992 Conlon, #561 -- George "High Pockets" Kelly
 High Pockets is/was a nickname given to tall people. George Kelly was 6'4" and was also known as "Long George." Kelly, a first baseman mostly for the Giants and Reds, was known for being a clutch hitter. When home runs were starting to become en vogue during the roaring 20's High Pockets was among the league leaders in the category during seven different seasons. Kelly played parts of sixteen different seasons, but only totaled more than a hundred games in nine of them. He is another player who had a good career, but was helped by the Veterans' Committee to gain election.

1963 Topps, #320 -- Warren Spahn
 Warren Spahn made his debut with the Braves at age 21 in 1942. He missed the next three seasons while he served in the military. Spahn pitched well when he returned to Boston in 1946, but really came into his own in 1947 when he earned his first of seventeen All-Star appearances. He topped the league in wins nine times, won three ERA titles and was an absolute horse on the mound. Spahn won 363 games in his career, good for sixth all-time, and he also threw 382 complete games. Also Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain!

1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #140 -- Mickey Welch
 Mickey Welch, a pitcher for the Troy Trojans and New York Gothams & Giants for thirteen years, finished his career with 307 wins and a 2.71 ERA. During his career he made 549 starts as a pitcher and he completed 525 of those starts. If you guessed he was a Dead Ball Era pitcher of the late 1800's you would be correct! In 1884 he started 65 games, which was 58% of the teams 112 games that season. Baseball was so different back then!

1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes, #25 -- James "Cool Papa" Bell
Cool Papa Bell, a switch-hitting center fielder, played in the Negro Leagues from 1922 to 1946. He had a reputation for being the fastest man in the league. His plaque in Cooperstown boasts that he regularly hit above 0.300 and topping 0.400 on occasion. Satchel Paige is known for saying, "Cool Papa was so fast he could flip the light switch and be in bed before the room got dark." But I also found this quote from Paige that made me smile, "One time he hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit his ass sliding into second." It was said that he would often beat out come backers to the pitcher and he was known for taking two bases on a sacrifice bunt. That's one fast man!

My favorite card from the is page is the 1966 Topps Roberto Clemente, because it takes me back to the days of being a young collector. My favorite player on this page is Cool Papa Bell. When I play Strat-O-Matic baseball with a friend he is often my center fielder and lead-off hitter. I'm fascinated with the legendary stories of his speed.

Thanks for taking the time to look at Page 17 with me. See you next week!