Wednesday, July 31, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 29

It's the end of July, which means the MLB trade deadline is upon us! The dust is settling and hopefully your team made the transactions you were looking for. If not, as my blog name implies, you can always wait 'til next year!

In the meantime I'd like to entice you with another Hall of Fame post. Overall, I think we have ourselves a pretty good page.

1994 Ted Williams Card Co., #111 -- Wilber "Bullet" Rogan
 Bullet Rogan was one of the winningest pitchers in the Negro Leagues and when he wasn't toeing the bump his elite bat was in the lineup as an outfielder. He was a lifetime Kansas City Monarch, leading them to four titles during his career from 1920 to 1938. Rogan finished his playing days with a record of 116 wins, 50 losses, a 2.60 ERA, a 0.338 batting average and an OPS over 0.900.

1980 Topps, #440 -- Don Sutton
 Don Sutton played for five different franchises during his twenty-three year career. Best known for his sixteen years as Dodger, Sutton was a four time All-Star, an All-Star game MVP, the winner of an ERA title 1980, and he earned Cy Young votes in five different seasons. He is seventh all-time in innings pitched and strikeouts recorded. Sutton finished his career with 324 wins and an ERA of 3.26.

1982 Topps, #200 -- George Brett
 George Brett was a lifetime Kansas City Royal of twenty-one seasons. Brett won three batting titles overall, which included him winning the MVP and topping the AL with a 0.390 average in 1981. Brett finished his career with 3,154 hits and he helped the Royals to the 1985 World Series. He also won a Gold Glove, three Silver Sluggers, and was elected to thirteen All-Star games.

1962 Post, #136 -- Orlando Cepeda
 Orlando Cepeda was the Rookie of the Year for the Giants at age twenty in 1958. A Native Puerto Rico, Cepeda helped the Cardinals to the World Series in 1967 by leading the league in RBIs on the way to an MVP season. Baby Bull was a career 0.297 hitter, he socked 379 homers, and he was an All-Star during seven different seasons.

1987 Fleer, #67 -- Nolan Ryan
 Nolan Ryan pitched twenty-seven years in the Major Leagues and he accumulated seven no-hitters, 324 wins, 5,714 strikeouts, two ERA titles, and a World Series in 1969 with the Miracle Mets. If scientists could study and clone any pitcher I think Nolan Ryan might be the one chosen. 

1986 Larry Fritsch Negro League Baseball Stars, #86 -- Smokey Joe Williams
 Smokey Joe Williams played from 1911 to 1934 and was voted as the 'Top Pitcher in Negro League History' in a poll performed in 1952 by the Pittsburgh Courier. He was said to have pinpoint control, a brilliant change of pace pitch and a fastball which traveled with exceptional velocity. Ty Cobb once said Williams would have won 30 games in MLB and another fellow pitcher also claimed, "It used to take two catchers to hold him. By the time the fifth inning was over, that catcher’s hand would be like that, all swollen up. He’d have to have another catcher back there the rest of the game.”

1981 Donruss, #323 -- Robin Yount
Robin Yount played two decades for the Brewers as a shortstop and center fielder and was an everyday major leaguer at the age of eighteen. The three time All-Star and career 0.285 hitter won two MVP awards, a Gold Glove (SS), three Silver Sluggers (CF & SS) and accumulated 3,142 hits.

My favorite card is the 1962 Post card of Orlando Cepeda. Thankfully, I have no qualms about any of the cards not having backs! On the whole, I think I'm good with this page and I don't feel the need to search for any upgrades. I thought about maybe pursuing an early Nolan Ryan card, but I remember him the most as an Astro, so I'm good with 1987 Fleer getting some recognition here.

See you next week!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer Baseball Trip 2019

It had been a few years since I last planned and took a summer baseball trip. I decided to give it another go and I'm glad I did.

Day 1: I was planning on catching the Angels game in Anaheim, and I started my morning in Peoria's airport at 8am. I was scheduled to land in Los Angeles at 3pm local time, which would have been plenty of time to check-in to my hotel and get to the game by the 7pm start.
I'll save you all the gory details, but let's just say it was an ominous start to my trip and I didn't land in Los Angeles until just before midnight. The picture above is the dark beer that helped soothe my anger while being laid over at DFW.

Day 2: The previous day was get-away-day for the Angels, so I missed out on seeing Trout and Ohtani. Bummer. But, I was able to snag the last spot in the last tour of the day at Angel Stadium.
On my way there I stopped at Average Joe's card shop and killed an hour talking baseball with the owners and shuffling through cards.
My best find was a Jason Heyward relic for $2. My Cubs World Series project gains another card. (I'm trying to acquire an auto or relic of every player from the 2016 Cubs roster.)

I enjoyed the tour of the Angels' ballpark. Here's a pretty decent selfie of me in their dugout.
After the tour I made a beeline for Dodger Stadium and was able to secure a Dodger Dog and a mango beer before first pitch.
The picture above is the view from my seat and the beer . . . it wasn't blue, but the plastic cup turns blue when a cool liquid hits it. Fun-fun. For the record the Dodgers beat the Marlins 2-1.

Day 3: This was a travel day for me as I left from LAX and landed in Seattle. My good friend Jeff and his wife, Nichole, relocated to the Emerald City within the last year. I wasn't going to miss out on an opportunity to visit them, especially with so much for me to do in the area!

Day 4: Jeff and I made the short drive up to Everett to watch the rookie level AquaSox play.
Outside the ballpark we found this landmark on the sidewalk.
The Kid's first home run, huh?  Very cool.

We scored two free tickets, right behind the scouts and their radar guns, in the shade thanks to Adam.
One of my former students and players is interning with the AuquaSox for the summer and he earns 9 semester hours of credit toward his degree for doing so. Adam, pictured above, is largely responsible for me getting off my butt and applying for my summer job with the Peoria Chiefs. He's got a great head on his shoulders and has a tremendous work ethic. The kid will go far.
I had to show a photo of the field. One thing to note is everything is turf except for the pitcher's and batter's circle. Secondly, it doubles as the local high school's field during the school season. Lastly, the dimensions are ridiculous, even for a field that is also used for prep ball. It is 357 feet to dead center, 390 feet to the left of center and only 330 feet to the right center field power alley. There's a twenty foot wall out there, but routine fly balls are tagged for dingers if you can go that way. Crazy.
For what it's worth, the AuquaSox lost 5-4 to the Spokane Indians and two fly balls found their way over the wall in right center.

Day 4: To the Mariners' game!
Here's me trying on one of the game-used Seattle Pilots jerseys. It was very, very cool of the staff to allow me to do this. The price is a cool $400 . . . so I was very careful when handling the jersey!

The Mariner Moose was bored, as all the kids had seemingly already visited. Moose are my favorite animals and I adore mascots. So, I had to.
I was able to wiggle my way down next to the Mariners' dugout before game time. (My seat was in the outfield.) I was hoping to get an in-person auto of my man-crush, and I also had some custom cards I wanted to pass on to him.
I struck out, but it was really cool to see him sign for so many kids. When game time was approaching he would check the dugout and then sign another item for a young fan. He probably did this six times before he decided he better get moving.
The picture above is of the Vogelmonster running back to the dugout right before the team was to take the field. He was the designated hitter so at least he didn't have to go find his glove and run out to first base! Honestly, he's probably moving faster here than any of the times he "sprinted" during warm-ups.

For dinner I tested the Vogey Hoagie. I think mine had been sitting under a heat lamp for an inning or two, but it was a pretty good and I'd love a crack at a fresh one!
In case you're keeping track, the Mariners beat the Rangers 7-3.

Day 5: I actually did something non-baseball related. At the suggestion of my father I toured the Boeing manufacturing plant in Everett. From what they told me it's the largest building on the planet. I was impressed.
They don't allow pictures during the tour or inside the plant, so here's a snapshot of the tourist center.

I stopped at another card shop on my way back to Jeff and Nichole's place. The owner was busy talking up some customers so I started flipping through a couple of the numerous monster boxes while pulling some cards I was interested in purchasing.
After the other customers left he came over and said he doesn't allow customers to handle the cards in the boxes, which were stacked everywhere. I guess I was only supposed to look at the cards in the three cases in the store.
We had a curt exchange and things were quickly smoothed over and I felt comfortable enough to ask if he had any singles for my 1979 Topps set build. His response was that I needed to go to Facebook, list the cards I needed, and then he'd pull them and have them ready for me the next time I come in. What in the world?
I did walk away from this store with a handful of cards.
I saw the Rizzuto card pictured above and swapped the owner four Vogelbach cards for it. This one will proudly be placed in my HOF binder. I can't remember the last time I made an in-person trade. Thankfully I brought some of my Voeglmonster duplicates with me thinking they might have some value in the Seattle area. I was right!

Day 6: Guess who went to another Mariners game?
This time I sat in the upper deck and kept score and I'm glad I did!
Post Game Interview on the Jumbotron
The Vogelmonster was the Player of the Game after swatting two solo homers and helping the M's to a 5-3 win over the Rangers. It was a GLORIOUS game!

Day 7: Ugh, more travel back to P-town.

Day 8: Brother-sister sibling's roadtrip to Des Moines to catch the Iowa Cubs.
We stopped at two different card shops on the way and I was able to find the last "pricey" card for my '79 Topps set build at the first LCS.
At the last card shop I walked away with this beauty!
Before the I-Cubs game I treated my sister to Fong's pizza. Pictured below is their famous crab-rangoon pizza. Deliciousness!
Here's a picture of my sister, myself, and Jose. Jose is the father of one of my co-workers.
Before the game I tried to purchase tickets and was surprised to find they were sold out. I was told we might have a chance to buy standing room only tickets after the game started. Ugh. Then up walks Jose, who I completely forgot was working in the area. He had his company's four season tickets and was going to give back two of them because a pair of his buddies bailed on him. Well, you can see how that worked out! What a stroke of serendipity! The I-Cubs lost 10-8 to Round Rock.

Summary: I visited five different ballparks and watched five games. I was able to stay with friends and hang with my sister. The tour of the Boeing plant was a nice change of pace, but I dare say I enjoyed the four card shops more. The food was grand and I enjoyed some nice adult craft beverages I don't have access to here in P-town. I even went for a couple of hikes in the Seattle area and a couple of runs.
It may not have started off the way I wanted it to, but it was a great trip overall.
I'm already thinking about next summer. I only have five MLB venues left to cross off my list before I've seen them all: Marlins, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox and the new Rangers ballpark. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 28

Here's where we tread into the pages with missing cards. Last week had our first missing card and this week we have two. I'm working on a solution to solve this problem and I'm very optimistic about placing something in the Bill Foster and Willie Wells slots before I put a bow on this weekly series. There's still eleven more pages to go . . . that's plenty of time!

Here's this week's breakdown of of players and cards.

 1966 Topps, #435 -- Jim Bunning
 Jim Bunning, voted in by the Veteran's Committee, had a seventeen year career in the Big Leagues and was a ten-time All-Star. He pitched the majority of his career with the Tigers (9 years) and Phillies (6 years), but he also spent time with the Dodgers and Pirates. Four times Bunning led the league in strikeouts and he topped the AL in wins in 1957. For his career Jim Bunning was 224-184 with an ERA of 3.27.

No Card -- Bill Foster
Bill Foster played in the Negro Leagues from 1923 to 1937. He was a switch-hitter and a left-handed pitcher who was one of the top arms of the league. Foster is known for winning twenty-six consecutive games during the 1926 season. To win the pennant that year his team needed to win the last two games against the Kansas City Monarchs. Foster started and won both games of a doubleheader to put his Giants in the championship. He was known for not only being a hard thrower but knowing how to pitch and hit his spots. 

1958 Topps, #479 -- Nellie Fox
 Nellie Fox debuted with the A's in 1947 and then played fourteen years with the White Sox before retiring with the Astros in 1965. During his time on the south side of Chicago, Fox was elected to fifteen All-Star contests, won an MVP in 1959 an captured three Gold Glove awards. Fox did all the little things to help contribute to a winning ball club, but he was known for his bat control and plate discipline. He topped 700 plate appearances six times in his career, yet Fox never struck out more than 18 times in a season. Whoa! Nellie Fox finished his career with 35 homers, 2,663 hits, a 0.288 batting average and only 216 strikeouts in 10,351 plate appearances.

1973 Kellogg's #29 -- Phil Niekro
 Phil Niekro pitched for twenty-four years, twenty-one of which were with the Braves. He learned the knuckleball from his father who was taught by a co-worker once the elder Niekro's arm gave out. Niekro took the pitch to new heights during his career and earned the name "Knucksie" along the way. Niekro won five Gold Gloves, was elected to five All-Star games and won one ERA title. Take a look at his age 40 season: he led the league in wins, losses, games started, complete games, innings pitched, hits allowed, home runs allowed, hit batters and batters faced. All at forty years of age! Niekro finished his career at age 48, but not before he fooled enough batters to earn 318 wins to go along with a career ERA of 3.35.

No Card -- Willie Wells
Willie Wells played in the Negro Leagues from 1924 to 1948, and then he played four seasons in an independent league before retiring at age 47. He played a number of seasons in the Cuban, Mexican and Canadian leagues when the Negro Leagues weren't in action. Wells was a a true five-tool player. He was a smooth fielding shortstop, who could hit for average and he is also among the career leaders in the Negro Leagues for doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases.

1992 Conlon -- George "Kiddo" Davis
 Argh!  This is a card of the wrong George Davis. I need a card for this George Davis, who did not go by Kiddo and played from 1890 to 1908. Davis was a switch-hitter who hit over 0.300 in eight consecutive seasons and helped the 1906 White Sox to a World Series. He also stole 619 bases, which ranks him 17th all-time. George Stacey Davis, an infielder, was a career 0.295 hitter who twice hit ten or more home runs in a season during the Dead Ball Era.

1988 Pacific Baseball Legends, #102 -- Larry Doby
Larry Doby is probably best known as the American League's answer to Jackie Robinson. But, Doby was truly a great player in his own right. Doby was a seven-time All-Star who helped the Indians to their last World Series championship in 1948. Doby twice led the league in homers and once topped the AL circuit with a 0.442 on-base percentage. In all, Doby finished with a batting average of 0.283 and 253 homers during his thirteen year career.

Wow, I went into this post thinking I needed only two cards (Foster and Wells) and I leave it discovering I've had a card of the wrong player in the binder for a few months. Ouch. That one stings.

Luckily, the pure awesomeness of the '58 All-Star Fox and '73 Kellogg's Niekro helps to save the page. LOL

Queue the announcer voice: That's it for this edition. We'll see you next week on, "How many blunders can P-town Tom Make in One Binder Project?!?!"

Monday, July 22, 2019

Where's P-Town Tom?

I saw the Angels play on Thursday and the Dodgers on Friday, but now we're getting to the most anticipated part of my current vacation. 

I had a really good friend move to Seattle recently for work and I figured it was time to catch up. 

We have taken a few baseball trips in the past before and I'm hoping to drag him kicking and screaming from work to accompany me to a Mariners game before the week is over. He's actually out of town today, so I'll be heading down to the ballpark myself this evening. 

But, that's okay, because this guy will be there!
The newest addition to my Vogelbach collection, #/25.
Maybe I'll get there early enough and have a shot at an auto? Shoot, I'm might die of happiness right there on the spot if that happens!

I'm also thinking about hitting up this place before the game to help prep me for seeing The Vogelmonster play live for the first time since 2013. 
They may have to roll me into the stadium!

Thanks for stopping by and may all your burgers be Vogel Burgers!

Friday, July 19, 2019

There's 2nd Card Show in Town

Peoria used to have multiple cards shows each month back in the early 90's. Then the card prospecting bubble popped and the number of local card shops and shows started to dwindle. Up until recently the people of P-town were limited to one card show in November, which was hosted by the local park district to raise funds. 

Sunday I traveled to . . . gasp . . . East Peoria. 
 This new hotel show was ten miles from my house and about eight of that is four lane highway. That's not bad.
 The price of admission was free. That's great.
 There were about four families there. Yes, families. That's great for our hobby. The kids were all excited about buying junk wax packs at 3 for a $1. Hey, whatever can get some youth into this hobby of ours is great.
 There were only ten dealers there and a few of them were only selling jerseys and other memorabilia. I was a little disappointed by the that. 
 There wasn't one dime box at the show. Ouch. That hurts. The five cards above were plucked from a 5 for a dollar box. I don't know that there's anything special there, but four of the cards will go into my Folder of Fun and the '58 Thomson for twenty cents was a steal.

In all, I bought 35 cards from this dealer and found some interesting stuff to toss into trade packages.
 Not one dealer was selling modern packs. I found that to be interesting. Most everyone was trying to flip cards from product they had busted themselves.
The two cards above have been on my radar for awhile, and I probably overpaid for them at $2 each, but at least they are now mine!

My find of the show was a dealer who was giving away used monster boxes for free and selling used binders for a buck.
 I have enough boxes and don't really have room to store more, but I couldn't pass up on this vintage looking leather-ish binder for a dollar.
I'm not sure what I'm going to put in there, but my immediate thought was to transfer my HOF Cubs cards into this old-timey binder.

This particular card show wasn't anything special, and I still prefer the one in Orland Park (Chicago suburb), but it made for a nice way to kill a few hours on a Sunday.  I'll be back when my schedule allows.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 27

We had a lengthy run of wonderful pages sporting gorgeous vintage recently. I don't know that I would label this page as "wonderful" though. Take a peek and see what you try to change about this page. I'll have my thoughts at the end of the post.
 Here's the breakdown of the players:

1973 Topps, #300 -- Steve Carlton
 Lefty. What a cool nickname. Steve Carlton pitched from 1965 to 1988 and his best seasons were with the Cardinals at the beginning of his career and then the Phillies for the next fifteen seasons. Carlton won four Cy Young awards, one Gold Glove, and the pitching Triple Crown in 1972. He was was elected to ten All-Star games in all. Carton is fourth all-time in strikeouts and he finished with 329 wins and a 3.22 ERA.

2012 Topps Archives, #96 -- Phil Rizzuto
 Phil Rizzuto had two seasons under his belt as the full-time shortstop for the Yankees before taking a hiatus and spending three years with the Navy during WWII. He won an MVP in 1950 and was elected to six All-Star teams during his thirteen year career. Rizzuto, a career 0.273 hitter, helped the Yankees to seven World Series Championships, including five in a row from 1949-1953.

1960 Topps, #305 -- Richie Ashburn
 I would love to get a Phillie card of Richie Ashburn so I can plug this Cub card into my Cubs FrankenSet. Ashburn played fifteen seasons, with twelve of those being with Philadelphia, two with Chicago and one with the Mets. Ashburn didn't have much power, just 29 career homers, but he led the league in walks multiple times and never struck out more than fifty times in a season. The six time All-Star won two batting titles on his way to collecting 2,574 hits and a 0.308 batting average.

1993 Ted Williams Card Co., #103 -- Leon Day
 Leon Day was one of the top two pitchers in Negro League history with Satchel Paige being the other. It was said that his fastball consistently sat in the 90s and that he probably won more than 300 games during his career. What sticks with me the most after reading Day's biography was that he was informed of his election to Cooperstown at 92 years of age and he died just five days later. My favorite quote of his is, "When they told me they was gonna pay me to play baseball, I said they must be crazy. I said I'd play for nothing." He obviously loved the game.

1980 Topps, #270 -- Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt, for my money, is the best third baseman of all-time. Schmidt won six Silver Slugger awards, was a three time MVP, captured ten Gold Gloves, won the World Series MVP in 1980 and was elected to twelve All-Star games. He led the NL in homers eight different times and he wasn't afraid to take a walk, as evident by his 0.380 career OBP. Schmidt retired in 1989 with a 0.267 career batting average and 548 home runs.

No Card -- Vic Willis
I do NOT own this card. 
Vic Willis pitched thirteen seasons, from 1898-1910, with the Boston Beaneaters, Pirates and Cardinals. Like many of the better pitchers of the era he would log over 300 innings, post relatively low walk and strikeout ratios, and top twenty wins. Willis' best season was in 1902 when he went 27-20 with a 2.20 ERA and led the league in games started, complete games, saves, innings pitched (410) and strikeouts (244). On a side note, he did not allow one single home run during the 1906 campaign in which he recorded a 1.73 ERA over 322 innings. Impressive! Willis finished finished his career with 249 wins and an ERA of 2.63

There's a couple of quality cards on the Page 27, but in my mind there's definitely some upgrading to be done. The first priority would be to track down a Vic Willis card. Willis has a couple of T206 cards, which maybe I can find a reprint of, but not I'm spending big bucks on a Hall of Famer I didn't know anything about until this post. Secondly, who remembers Richie Ashburn as a Cub? Lastly, I should be able to find an affordable vintage Rizzuto at some point. Right?

My favorite card is of Mike Schmidt in the batting cage followed closely by Steve Carlton shaking his battery mate's hand after a win. Maybe that's not what's going on there, no? Regardless, there's some definite talent on this page.

Thanks for stopping by today!