Friday, August 30, 2019

Night Gives Me Day

I was coaching junior high girls softball most of day on National Baseball Card Day. As a result, I missed out on a chance to hit up my local card shop and participate in the merriment.

Peter, of Baseball Every Night, bailed me out though and sent me the lone Cub from the set.
I thought the photo selection for this year's NBCD set was really well executed. From what I have seen on the blogs many of the photos fit the cards well. For example, Baez is making a play to his left and it's framed perfectly the design, but if he was making the same play the other direction it would interfere with the logos.

Thanks for the card, Peter!  I look forward to our PWE exchanges in the future!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 33

Today we get to finish off the big thirteen player induction class from 2006. Plus, as a bonus, we'll take a look at half of the 2007 class!

No Card -- José Méndez
José Méndez is recognized as the first Cuban born baseball star during the Pre-Negro League era. Although he never played in Major League Baseball, he pitched a number of exhibition games against some of the best pitchers of the Dead Ball Ear, including Christy Mathewson, and always compared favorably well, and in many cases he bested his opponent. Méndez, a wiry pitcher, was known for changing speeds, but he also possessed a hard fastball and a sharp curve. It is said that he was "Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander" rolled into one.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #13 -- Louis Santop
 Louis Santop, who first starred in the Pre-Negro Leagues is said to be the first big superstar and one of the first great Negro League sluggers. Standing at 6'4", the catcher was nicknamed Big Bertha, after a large piece of German heavy artillery. A bit of a showman, Santop would put on a power display during batting practice by hitting tape measure blasts. It was said he would sometimes call his shot during live play and before the game he would show off his arm by throwing a ball from home plate over the center field fence.

1982 Donruss, #372 -- Bruce Sutter
 Bruce Sutter pitched for twelve years in the majors and recorded 300 saves during that span. The six-time All-Star lead the league in saves five times, won a Cy Young award with the Cubs in 1979, and helped the Cardinals to a World Series in 1982. Sutter was one of the dominate relievers in baseball during the late 70's and early 80's. For what it's worth, Sutter now comes in tied with Jason Isringhausen for 28th on the all-time saves list.
Fun stuff: My favorite memory of Sutter is from the Sandberg Game!
If I recall correctly, Willie McGee was named the Player of the Game before Sandberg hit the first homer and Bob Costas was in the middle of reading the names of the production crew when Sutter gave up the second homer. Baseball is a funny game.

1986 Larry Fritsch Negro League Baseball Stars, #115 -- Mule Suttles
 Mule Suttles played in the Negro Leagues for twenty-three seasons as a first baseman and outfielded. He was a soft-spoken gent who was just as talented as Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, but because he didn't seek out the limelight he was often overlooked by the press despite having a career average of 0.325 and prodigious power.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #10 -- Ben Taylor
 Ben Taylor's career lasted twenty-two years and he is remembered as great teacher of the game and for exhibiting a scientific approach on the field. A career 0.300 hitter, Taylor would hit to all fields and execute the hit-and-run to perfection. He was known as "Old Reliable" for his slick glove work at first base as well as being a tremendous clutch hitter.

2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions, #137 -- Cristobal Torriente
 Cristobal Torriente was once given the moniker "The Black Babe Ruth" because he out-performed the Babe in Cuba during a nine game barnstorming series. Torriente, a Cuban, was a five-tool player who patrolled center fielder. He was known for hitting in the high 0.300's and swatting dramatic home runs to all fields. Torriente dabbled with pitching and according to the incomplete stats in he won twenty-one games during his career. A former manager of his in the Negro Leagues once said, "If I should see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say ‘There walks a ballclub.'"

1994 Ted Williams Card Co., #116 -- Jud Wilson
 Jud Wilson, served in World War I, and then took to battle on the ball fields of the Negro and Cuban Winter Leagues. He was known as a fiery competitor who had just as much power as Josh Gibson, but he was more of a line drive hitter who would easily blast balls off the walls for doubles. Wilson, a third baseman, owned a career average north of 0.350 in the Negro Leagues and better than 0.370 in winter ball. He had a reputation throughout baseball, which can be summed up in this manner, "There were no pitchers who wanted to face him and few umpires that wanted to call ball and strikes for him."

1985 Topps, #660 -- Tony Gwynn
Tony Gwynn, or Mr. Padre, played twenty seasons and racked up 3,141 hits during his career. Gwynn went to fifteen All-Star games, won eight batting titles and was awarded seven Silver Sluggers. The strike shortened season of 1994 still bothers me for two reasons: 1. missing out on the Expos (74-40 record) in the post season and 2. Tony Gwynn may have hit 0.400.  Gwynn finished his career as a 0.338 hitter and never struck out more than 40 times in a season.
Here's one of my favorite tweets of all-time:
Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs are probably the two best contact hitters I've been fortunate enough to watch play during my lifetime.

Gavin's wonderful customs aside, my favorite card on this page is the 1985 Topps Tony Gwynn. I absolutely love the gold and brown color scheme the Padres used to sport on a regular basis. Plus, flip-down sunglasses for the win!

For the record, José Méndez has a card in the 2014 Goodwin Champions set, but I just haven't secured a copy yet. Sooner or later I'll make my way to Sportlots and place one in my cart.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Ogle That Vogel: Gold Ink Mojo

Because Daniel Vogelbach has been largely omitted from 2019 checklists I've been spending my free-time picking up his cards from earlier in his career with some moderate success. I believe there are some sellers out there who had ideas of cashing in on Vogelbach's hot start and All-Star nod, but they have probably been disappointed by the market.

I've filled some gaps in my player collection of The Vogelmonster at very reasonable prices and I couldn't be happier.

Here's my latest find from Ebay. 
Hey, look at that!  "Go Cubs"

Even without the logos this is one of my favorite pictures of The Vogelmonster. Shades, dog tags, stubble under the chin... Vogelbach is one bad dude!

 Here's the back and you can see it's numbered to 5.
There's a little extra gold ink to the right of the picture on the back, but I'm cool with it. Heck, maybe the other four have small imperfections, too?

Regardless, that is one awesome card to add to my collection!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Going to the Cardboard Clubhouse to Flip Some Junk Wax

I need to learn that I shouldn't make trades near the end of my summer vacation. Trade packages come in and pile up in a hurry when school starts. If you've sent me something recently I thank you ahead of time for your patience. A thank you "show-and-tell" blog post is on the horizon . . . I promise!

It's difficult to read the date on the PWE, but I think this one from Adam, of Cardboard Clubhouse fame, came during the first week of August.
Apparently, earlier this summer I packaged up some '87 Donruss junk wax and some other Reds card for him. That kind of sounds like something I would do!

Adam was kind enough to send me some Cubs. Always appreciated!

 Adam also included some Hall of Fame cardboard for my HOF Binder project.
At this point I've filled nearly all of the holes in my binder and I'm looking to "upgrade" some of my cards. Condition isn't my main concern in this case, as I would like to add variety and a certain level of uniqueness to the pages. For you see, cardboard from the Conlon Collection dominates some pages.
I can't picture the Schmidt card in my binder, but I know I have an early Rollie without a mustache. I love the Padres uniform here, but if I'm ditching the early Rollie I'll need that handlebar flavor savor!

Thanks for the trade, Adam! I'll take a look at my Cy Young, Appling, and Roush cards and any with any luck one of your offerings will find it's way into the HOF Binder. I really appreciate you contributing to my project!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 32

This page has been a struggle. As you can see it starts off with the only two members of the well known 2005 class and then we start the madness of 2006. A Special Committee for the Negro Leagues (SCNL) was constructed and twelve players from the Negro Leagues were joined by Bruce Sutter to form the largest induction class ever.

Gavin came to my rescue with his "Neglected Hall of Famer" set, which is seen four times on this page. I still have to track down a Biz Mackey card and I have a couple of leads . . . I just struggle paying north of $4 in shipping and handling for one card. (I'm looking at you, Beckett Marketplace!)

1991 Topps Stadium Club, #170 -- Wade Boggs
 Wade "Chicken Man" Boggs is probably one of the Top 5 contact hitters I've seen play. Here's a short list of Boggs accolades: 12 All-Star elections, five batting titles and a World Series Championship in 1996 with the Yankees. I have a question for you though. As a rookie in 1982 Boggs hit 0.349 in 104 games and he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Obviously, he put himself on the map. How in the world did he not get elected to the All-Star Game in 1983? He was on his way to a 200 hit season and 0.361 average, which topped both leagues by more than twenty points! I was only six at the time, so if you could shed some light on that oversight I would gladly appreciate it. 

1984 Fleer, #504 -- Ryne Sandberg
 Ryne Sandberg was my guy during my first time through the hobby. Currently I have 931 different cards of his in my collection, but over two-thirds of those came to me during my teenage years. Ryno was awarded seven Silver Sluggers, nine Gold Gloves, and was in ten All-Star Games. In 1984 he helped the Cubs earn a trip to the playoffs for the first time in four decades by putting together an MVP season, in which he swatted 19 homers and 19 triples, stole 32 bases and batted a cool 0.314.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #1 -- Ray Brown
 Ray Brown is near the top of the all-time leaders in Negro League history in wins, winning percentage, strikeouts and shutouts. He was known for his overhand curveball and was called a "Sunday Pitcher" because that's when teams would throw their best to draw the biggest paying crowds. 

1993 Ted Williams Card Co., #101 -- Willard Brown
 Willard Brown was a free swinging center fielder whose batting average regularly topped 0.300. He was elected to eight East-West All-Stars and helped the Kansas City Monarchs to six pennants in a ten year span. Brown won two Triple Crowns in the Puerto Rican League and he was the first African American to homer in the American League when he did so with the St. Louis Browns in 1947.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #2 -- Andy Cooper
 Andy "Lefty" Cooper ranks near or at the top in nearly every career pitching category. He was known for his wide array of off-speed pitches, which kept opposing hitters off balanced, and also for pitching in relief on the days between starts. Cooper was once traded to the Kansas City Monarchs for five players, which paid off for KC as they would later win a championship with Cooper at the top of their rotation.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #5 -- Frank Grant
 Frank Grant began his playing career before the Negro Leagues had formed and he starred within the integrated minor leagues. He was known as a slick fielder who had decent power for someone of shorter stature. Later, when the minors became segregated, he finished his career in the Cuban League where he mentored younger players.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #12 -- Pete Hill
Pete Hill, like Grant, started his career pre-Negro Leagues. He played from 1899-1925, with his last six years being with the Detroit Stars and the Baltimore Black Sox of the Negro Leagues. A speedy center fielder, Hill was known for distracting infielders, catchers and pitchers with his base running antics. Hill was a complete player and many claimed he was one of the three best out fielders of the 1910's, with Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker.

No Card -- Biz Mackey
Biz Mackey was a true leader and the best defensive catcher in the Negro Leagues. He was said to have taught Roy Campanella the art of catching. Mackey was a consistent 0.300 hitter who could play all the other positions with skill. At the end of his playing days Mackey became a player-manager and he had five future Hall of Famers play for him while at Newark.

I'm a Sandberg fan at heart, but I can't pick his card as my favorite on this page. I love Gavin's work with his customs and how they look identical to the Conlon Collection. I wish there were better photos out there of these players, but a couple of them played more than a century ago and the picture selection has to be quite limited. I think the Ray Brown card is my favorite, because it's an action shot. Wade Boggs in a batting tunnel seems only fitting and I would choose that as my second favorite on the page. How about you? Would you choose one of the customs, too?

That's it for this week. Maybe if I find a little time I'll pull the trigger on a Biz Mackey card. You never know!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My Favorite Trade Package of 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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