Sunday, March 29, 2020

It Just Doesn't Add Up

I've been spending more time looking at each card when sorting lately. Time is one thing I have a little bit more of these days.

I enjoy playing games like, "What's his career home run total or batting average?"

Pausing while filing this Kyle Hendricks card away, I pondered, "What is Hendricks career ERA?"
 I knew it had to be in the low threes, but he did win the ERA title in 2016 so maybe it was in the high twos. I flipped over the card to reveal an ERA of 4.10.
I'm usually not that far off in my guesses. So I took a closer look.

Well, there you go. The ERAs from his first five MLB seasons are as follows: 2.46, 3.95, 2.13, 3.03 and 3.44. Naturally, his career earned run average is over 4 then.

Wait, what? Hendricks' WHIP is off as well, but every other column is correctly totaled.

Here's a screenshot from documenting what the 5-year totals should be.

So, The Professor's ERA and WHIP should be 3.07 and 1.110, respectively. How did Topps come to 4.10 and 1.48?

Only half joking: Did Topps make stat error variations in 2019?

I'm sure I can't fathom how they came to these numbers, but if Topps needs a stat checker I'm their guy.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Utz and Udders

Although I have slowed my Ebay purchasing as of late, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I did have one significant Vogelmonster card land in my mailbox today.
Behold: The 2020 Topps Utz Dan Vogelbach card. Who doesn't love a good food issue card?
I actually saw an Utz cardboard display at one of the local grocery stores recently, but it was full of Doritos. I was really bummed, because I would have loved to have bought some new-to-me potato chips and opened some baseball cards!

I also decided to take a gamble and jailbreak the cards sitting in my Sportlots box.
Here's my favorite from latest purchase:
 We were definitely spoiled with Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan back in the day. Do you think we'll have see a professional two-sport athlete again? Maybe Mookie Betts and his bowling escapades are as close as we're going get?

Topps Gallery.
My latest Ryne Sandberg addition is from the 1997 Topps Gallery set. The border is gold foil and it has all kinds of texture to it like a true picture frame. How about the double-dip, with ivy in the background, and the Craig Biggio cameo?  Very solid!  I'm up to 957 different Rynos in my player collection. Woo-Hoo!

One might think this is a random card from the 2014 Goodwin Champions set. One would be wrong.
This card fills the LAST empty pocket in my Hall of Fame binder. I now have one card for every player inducted into Cooperstown. This has been a long time coming!  Now all that is left is to go for card upgrades and track down cards for new inductees. 

Speaking of Hall of Famers inductees . . .
 This one isn't going in the HOF Binder, but instead it will reside in my Folder of Fun. Larry Walker and a dog? That is fun!

You clicked on this post to see some udders. Don't deny it.
I'm sure you've seen this card on the blogs before and now I have a copy to add to my collection. This one will also find a place in my Folder of Fun. Good stuff!

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Santo Collection: A Deeper Dive

Ron Santo's playing days were long over by the time I found baseball and the Cubs, but he quickly became one of my favorites because of his radio personality. Santo could tell some great baseball stories, he knew how to laugh at himself, and he wore his Cubs fandom on his sleeve. 

I started picking up cheap well-loved copies of his vintage baseball cards when I re-entered the hobby over a decade ago. The other day I decided to flip through my Santo pages and track down which Topps cards I was missing from his playing days. 

I pleasantly surprised to find I had all of his early cards. Whew!

From the standard Topps set I've left place holders for the following cards:
1965 Topps, #6, RBI Leaders with Boyer & Mays
1968 Topps, #5, HR Leaders with Aarpm, Wynn & McCovey
1969 Topps, #570
1970 Topps, #670
1972 Topps, #555
1975 Topps #35

If you have a beat up Ron Santo card, from the above list, which could use a good home please give me a shout!

In related news: I found a cheap Santo on eBay the other day, and even though it's not from his playing days it is pretty darn close. 
This card is from the 1976 Chicago's Greats set. 
It's not a spectacularly unique looking card or highly sought after, but I'm excited anytime I can add 40+ year old cardboard to my collection. 

Speaking of adding things to my collection... I decided to catalog my Santo cards in TCDB
 No surprise with who resides at #1, but Santo has found himself sitting alone in second place. If I were to log all of my cards I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be in the Top 20, but that's okay for a guy who finished his playing days before I was born.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

When I'm in Sheltered-In-Place

Illinois, under executive order of its governor, is under a Shelter-In-Place order until April 7th.

I spent last week "teaching" from home, but spring break started today and runs through next week.

So, what is one to do when you're not allowed to go anywhere but the pharmacy, the grocery store or the gas station?

Well, I inspect the arrivals to my Vogelmonster collection probably a little too closely.

Here is today's offering:
It's a 2012 A Sign Of History cut autograph of Dan Vogelbach from his days with the Kane County Cougars.

I saw this pop up on eBay at a discounted price and dropped it in my shopping cart while picking up some other Vogelbach mojo. I'm a sucker for anything Vogelbach which isn't already in my collection.

The back of the card doesn't offer too much insight on the manufacturer.
In fact, the website listed on the back is actually a dead link. Bummer. But, I was able to track down some pretty reliable information on the "company" from our local Tim Wallach collector.

I'm not bothered that this card seems to be made out of some guy's basement, but what does bother me is the cut auto used and the date on the case and card.

It's advertised as a 2012 product, but Dan Vogelbach didn't play with Kane County until 2013. Heck, Kane County was an Oakland affiliate in 2012.

I'll take a guess at what happened here. There were extra 2012 cut signature frames leftover and the gentleman making the product decided to throw an auto from 2013 in there assuming no one would notice!

He probably would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for this meddling kid.
Mystery solved!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

These Weren't Found in Re-Packs

Recently, a mailer from our neighbor to the north arrived at my door step. Douglas, the author of Sportscards From The Dollar Store, sent me a little package that provided quite the punch.

Let's dive in:
 Kris Bryant, I think, has become a bit of an afterthought with the glutton of talent at third base in MLB. Often times the industries fantasy pundits don't even list him in the Top-10 within the position. The man wants to get PAID and I think 2020 will be a big year for Kris.

Rizzo is one of my favorites and I hope the Cubs lock him up with a three or four year extension.
Chronicles is already such a fun product, but it would be so much better with logos!

Will Tyler Chatwood finally make good on the contract he signed a couple years back?  If the Cubs could get 170+ innings of sub-4.00 ERA out of him I would be very happy.
Addison Russell. Ugh. He's still a free agent. Any takers? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Triple Threads?  Here's a product that finds its way to me once every few years.
 I'm not sure how Douglas came into these, but I love the high-end feel to the cards.

Here's a Single Jumbo Relic card of Ian Happ. The Happster has a chance to be a solid contributor this season if he can win the strong side of the platoon job in CF.
Thanks for the Cards, Douglas!  I saw your post last weekend about where the leftovers to the re-packs you purchase go.  You, my friend, are a good man.  I've been sitting on a couple of re-packs and I think I may have to pony up and pay the price to get them across the border to you. All the best!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The 2020 MLB Season

I love me some Cubs cardboard, but just exactly when will the season start?

Obviously, baseball won't get going again until the viral pandemic is under control. 
 And, then I figure players will need at least a week, but probably two, to get ramped up again. You know, like a second mini spring training.
 Then once things get going, are we still looking at a 162 game season?
 I've heard there might doubleheaders in the future, which makes for long days for the players.
 I've also heard the season may extend further into October than it ever has, which would lead to play-off baseball in November?
Reggie is Mr. October and Jeter was gifted the nickname of Mr. November... could we have a Mr. December this year?  Could the World Series be hosted at a neutral warm weather site?

With all the possibilities and options, I'm quite curious to see what unfolds. What do you think will happen?  What would you like to see?

Before I close I'd like to take a second and thank Tom, of Angels in Order, for the Cubs cards featured in this post.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Social Distancing

Wow. That escalated quickly.

It was just a week ago life in the good ole U.S. of A. seemed fine.  Bradley, my college basketball team of choice, had just defended its Missouri Valley Conference tournament title and was set to go dancing.

Then the dominoes started to fall. All of the major sports leagues were put on hiatus, travel bans were implemented, every school in Illinois was on break until the end of the month, and I still can't find a single loaf of bread in P-town. Luckily my parents gave us a bread machine not too long ago. #winning

My wife and I were planning on meeting up with my family for lunch today, but we decided against it. I work in a high school germ pool and my wife is a nurse practitioner. I'd like to think I'm healthy, but I honestly have no idea at this point. Better safe than sorry.

So, yeah... I guess I'm social distancing. Ugh.

In the mean time I can organize my Vogelmonster collection, package up some trade packages, and organize the recent influx of Cubs cardboard.

Speaking of which, here is one of the more recent packages to hit my mailbox.
Kerry, from Cards on Cards, apparently had some Cubs cards lying around and sent them my way. Most excellent.

What a great start to a package of cards! The vintage Topps logo makes me smile.
 I don't know that Nico Hoerner will ever develop into a Top-10 second baseman, but he should be a decent contributor as a regular in the future.

Team Heroes of Kid K and Sarge:

For whatever reason I had a player collection of Mark Grudzielanek when he played with Les Expos. Yes, I was all over the map when I was a young collector.

Wow, that Schwarber refractor photographed really well!  Look at those purples and reds!

The 1989 Cubs are still one of my favorite Cubs teams ever. Dunston was a major cog on that team and Assenmacher was a trade deadline addition.

2020 Cubs! The Bote is a unique photo. You don't see flips too frequently on cardboard.

You remember when the checklist for Topps 2020 Series 1 came out and everyone was upset about the Rangers only having 1 card in the entire set?
 How in the world does the Cubs get two cards like this?  One is a checklist and the other is the team card, but still! Topps continues to perplex me.

The Schwarber is an insert from the 2020 flagship product and the 150 Years of Fun card of Ernie is from 2019 Opening Day. I love me some inserts!

Ahhhhhhh... This one was the most coveted card on my want-list.
 It's the Cubs World Series celebration card from the Decades' Best insert set. This one goes straight into the World Series binder. LOVE IT!

Thanks for the great care package, Kerry. It'll provide some enjoyment as sort them into my Cubs FrankenSet and my player binders.

For those of you missing live baseball right now Ken Burns has decided to make his baseball documentary available to us for free!  I know what I'll be doing this week when I'm not sorting cards!

Be safe everyone and wash those hands!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Checklist Confusion

My baseball coaching season is taking off and I still have cardboard finding its way to my mailbox. I have a couple of other trade packages to post about and handful of stacks which need to be packaged up and shipped out. Oh, such is the life of a collector!

I have time for a quick post before Bradley, my favorite college basketball program, takes the court in defense of their Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship. Go BU!
Zippy Zappy's PWE gets the nod here, because it's only one card and tip-off is fifteen minutes out and I still have to travel to my sister's to catch the game.

 This is my first look at Bowman Sterling.  The design is okay.
How does Topps pick their checklists? I understand he was the 5th ranked prospect in the Cubs organization, but he had a sub 0.600 OPS in A-Ball. That is not a Sterling Statistic!

Thanks for the PWE, ZZ!  Your package should go out this week. 😀

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Calm Before the Baseball Storm

Tomorrow marks the beginning of high school baseball season in Illinois. With a new varsity coach in charge of our program there has been quite a bit of shuffling among the coaching responsibilities. I worked with the varsity team last season, specifically with the pitchers, and I was in charge of stats and social media. 
This year, <gulp>, I'm the head coach of the sophomore team. It's been five years since I was the head coach of a high school team and there is definitely a modicum of nervous energy building up.  I'm sure it'll be fine, but I have much more responsibility on my plate, which means less time for things like hobbies.
Two-fifths of the what I once thought would be the best Cubs rotation ever!
Speaking of hobbies, I sent a handful of items out the other day in an attempt to clear my "I owe cards to:" list. Yet, there's still a couple of names listed there. 
Shooter! Please ignore the cat hair above his throwing shoulder. 
One of them is the formidable and complicated Zippy Zappy. What do you send a guy who has basically stated he doesn't want cards?
A pair of lefties from 2020 Topps.
The other is Matt from the Once a Cub blog, which is temporarily in hibernation. I bought some cards for him at the card show last weekend, but I'm having some difficultly allowing them to leave the house. I'm used to importing Cubs cards, not exporting them!  Argh!
Bru, from Remember the Astrodome, will also be added to the list with ZZ and Matt. It's a good list of bloggers and I'll make good on the cards before too long. Thanks for the cards, Bru!
 I'll leave you with a pensive Kyle Schwarber, who is my Cubs fantasy baseball sleeper pick. 

Oh, thank goodness baseball is here again!