Saturday, July 18, 2020

Folder of Fun: Page 22

The Folder of Fun, as I like to call it, has been in the works for about three years. That's about the time I stopped buying retail and hobby packs and began tracking down cards which fit a certain general description: FUN.  Here's a link to the first post in this series if you'd like to go back and catch up. 

As a former amateur pitcher I've found my tendencies tend to run toward low scoring baseball games, drafting way more pitchers than I should in a fantasy league and cards with pitch grips on them. If you're like me, then page 22, which I have labeled as Pitch Grips and Fundamentals, will make your heart smile. 

1992 Pinnacle, #612 - Steve Avery (Fastball)
For the record, that's a four-seam fastball. Four-seamers tend to be straighter than two-seamers and they can even appear to be rising if thrown hard enough.

1992 Pinnacle, #608 - Greg Maddux (Circle Change)
I didn't learn a change-up until I got to college and the circle change was what worked for me the best. Since then I've seen probably a dozen different grips for a change-up. Two years ago I had coached three pitchers on my high school team who all gripped their changes differently and they all had success with their offerings.

1991 Score, #568 - Bob Welch
I've read that a split-finger fastball puts a bunch of strain on the ulnar collateral ligament (aka the Tommy John ligament) and I won't teach it my players.

1992 Pinnacle, #611 - David Cone (Curveball)
The curveball was my out pitch in high school and college. I had a big looping one that was more like a slurve (part slider, part curve) and a quicker, sharper breaking one that I kept in my back pocket for certain hitters or situations in the game.

1992 Pinnacle, #609 - Charles Nagy (Slider)
Sliders are another pitch which puts tremendous strain on the elbow. I don't teach my pitchers the slider grip, but I have had at least one pitcher each of the last four years who have come back to us after a summer season with a new slider.

1995 Fleer Ultra, #4 of 6 - Greg Maddux (Strikeout King)
Cool card, but it would be a top-notch card if the grips were actually for the pitches Maddux threw.

1992 Pinnacle, #610 - Tom Candiotti (Knuckleball)
For some odd reason I could never throw a knuckleball with any sort of consistency. But, toss me a softball and I can make it dance so much it'll make you look silly at the plate.

1980 Topps, #437- Joe Niekro
Please voice your support or displeasure for this statement in the comment section: "Those Astros jerseys were some of the best ever."

1994 Topps, #625 - Charlie Hough
I believe Charlie Hough is 44 years old in this picture. The knuckleball could certainly extend a career!

1992 Upper Deck, #666 - Bob Ojeda
I play the role of Tommy Lasorda at least a couple times a week during the winter months when we have our pitcher bullpens inside. I have so much fun working with the pitchers I should probably be paying the school district instead of them paying me. 

1992 Pinnacle, #618 - Nolan Ryan
I always liked these cards from Pinnacle and I'm surprised this type of card hasn't been copied in the last 28 years.

1992 Pinnacle, #615 - Benito Santiago
Benito Santiago is an all-time Top 5 defensive catcher for me. Others in the top five would be Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez. Who else should help round it out?

1992 Pinnacle, #616 - Ruben Sierra
Cool card. I never thought of Ruben Sierra as a defensive stalwart, but he does show good mechanics here. 

1992 Pinnacle, #614 - Rickey Henderson
If only it were as easy as mastering a crossover step, leg drive, and focusing your eyes straight ahead. Good instincts, twitchy reflexes and superior speed go a long way, too!

1992 Pinnacle, #617 - Ryne Sandberg
Ryno!  Saving the best for last here!

FYI, I didn't have enough cards for two full pages, so I tacked on some extras to Page 22. Also, how cool of a set was 1992 Pinnacle? Ten of today's cards came from that set. 

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great weekend!


  1. Those Pinnacle cards are neat af, I'd appreciate a modern version. Imagine how much fun the unorthodox ways Javy Baez, Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado play the game would make those cards.

  2. I have a grips collection but ironically I'm not actually familiar with the nuances of the way pitchers grip their baseballs - I'll bookmark this post for reference for the such cards I have in my collection.

    I don't have a 'fundamentals' collection but have a collection of outfielder cards that picture something unique - it might not seem too exciting I've tried to set aside the cards picturing guys who catch the ball with two hands as way to point out the fundamentally correct way.

  3. I also appreciate grip cards. There are lots of knuckler cards out there. Brett butler is featured on one of those fundamental cards, too. He is, of course, bunting.

  4. I don’t know too much about fingering with pitches and stuff like that so this post was interesting.
    As far as defensive catchers, even though I can’t stand him, I think Yadier Molina has to be one of the top 5, and I remember Charles Johnson being an elite defender when he played, setting the record for consecutive errorless games as a catcher.

    1. Good call on Molina and Johnson. I'm not sure how I blanked on either of them, especially Yadi.

  5. Yadier Molina immediately springs to mind, though as a Cubs fan, I wish he wasn't so good.

  6. Good stuff! I love Hough's face on that card. It's like "I'm still fooling these young guys with this ridiculous pitch even though I'm Medicare eligible."

  7. I loved those cards growing up. I think that the only ones from the Pinnacle grip series that I still have are the Maddux shown above (which is the exact same grip as my circle change) and the Randy Tomlin "vulcan change," which is a wild one for sure. I can throw a change with ease, but with small hands, I always feel like I am searching for my curve. A good thing about coaching is knowing so many different grips to try and mechanical adjustments that can be made, but it is frustrating to never know if any/none will work on a given day. I can only throw a knuckleball sidearm, which really limits its value. ;)

    The Bob Welch card always amused me and does even more so now that it is all the more clear that his 27 wins in 1990 were nearly all due to ridiculous run support and the A's underrated defense from that era. It is hard to ever really feel terribly sorry for Roger Clemens, but it is baffling that he not only didn't win the 90 ALCY unanimously, he didn't win it at all.

    1. I didn't realize what kind of season Clemens had in 1990. 27 wins is impressive, but no way Clemens doesn't come home with the Cy Young Award with today's voters.
      FWIW, I looked it up and Welch (5.2) received almost a full extra run of run support in his starts than Clemens (4.3).

    2. The win total was truly a perfect storm, almost the total converse of Jacob deGrom posting a 10-9 mark despite a 1.70 ERA and 1.98 FIP in 2018. The 1990 A's stand out from the pack in the way that few teams really have. Only the White Sox (buoyed by good defense and bullpen luck) were able to finish within 15 games of them, which is remarkable. I would actually place Welch as the third-best pitcher on his own team behind Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley's absurd season, yet he was the one to come away with the hardware.

  8. I don't know that I'd say the Astros "tequila sunrise" uniforms are among the best ever, but I definitely like them. They were groundbreaking and I think they looked good. I wouldn't put them up there with a classic like the Cardinals' bird-on-bad unis, but they're one of the better examples of teams breaking from tradition with their unis.

  9. I love those rainbow colored Astros jerseys. Takes me to my childhood and watching The Bad News Bears when they're at the Astrodome. And when I think of defensive catchers... Ivan Rodriguez is the first player that pops into mind. Noticed a couple of people mentioned Yadier Molina. That's a pretty good call.

  10. Tequila Sunrise is a fun design, though I'm not a fan of "pullover" style jerseys compared to the traditional button up.

    Love seeing pitch grips on cards, those early 90s cards are great.

    Defensive catchers? Best I've seen in person was Joe Mauer, before his concussions. My top 5 (in no order) would probably be Mauer, Bench (by reputation alone, only saw highlights), Charles Johnson, Ivan Rodriguez, and Yadi.
    Other recent guys like Dan Wilson, Chris Snyder, Gary Carter, Bob Boone, Tony Pena come to mind...
    My list is heavily biased towards "modern" catchers - I suspect that Campanella, Yogi, Ernie Lombardi, Roger Breshnahan, Ray Schalk and others might have been better, but I can't really compare the eras. Certainly the old old old catchers from the 1880s through the 1920s should get credit for doing it without all the same gear.

    1. George Gibson refused to wear shin guards. Even when they were readily available. Felt they restricted his movement

  11. I loved the grips cards when I was younger.
    Oddly enough I could never use any of these grips.
    My go to fastball was a natural cutter that sometimes acted like a mini slider. My curve was a 12-6 that had a lot of drop. I used a few grips in little league that had no rhyme or reason but they worked.
    As I got older I got my curve better and a palmball change that is almost a mini curve.

    Tequila sunrise Astros unis are the best! On MLB20 I signed my pitcher to the Astros just to wear them

  12. Great page concept! Ojeda is hilarious! I need a copy of 80 Topps Joe Niekro. What a beautiful card!