31 October 2010

happy halloween

this may well be the creepiest card i own.  it's a 1985 topps 3d fernando valenzuela 'card'
and until recently it was a 'nefarious 9' card.  it has since been replaced with an oddball piazza card.  anyway, it's larger than i expected, and seems to be made out of a lower grade version of the material that was used to make those old halloween masks with the elastic band stapled on either side.  combine that with the way this card scans, and it seems quite appropriate for today.

fernando says happy halloween! (y dia de los muertos manana)!

30 October 2010

fall classic game 3 preview

whodathunkit.  in game 3 of the 1953 world series, carl erskine struck out a record 14 batters (they happened to also be yankees, oh happy day) en route to a 3-2 victory.  the feat was immortalized here on a 1970 fleer world series card
in his other two starts that series, oisk struck out just a total of 2 batters in 5 innings of work.

here's hoping that a similar number of giants 'grab some bench' tonight.

29 October 2010

glenn burke ebay auto success!

a big thanks to mrmopar  (a sometimes ebay nemesis and holder of a steve garvey collection superior to mine) for giving me a heads up on the recent auction for this autographed copy of a 1978 topps glenn burke card.
i intermittently scan the bay for burke and fellow need for my modest 1978 topps dodger autograph project ed goodson, but i had not come across the auction until curt pointed it out.  the first thing i did was compare the image to that of the only other copy i have seen (courtesy of baseball almanac).
close enough for my naive palette. i won the auction and on monday the card was delivered safe and sound.

it's timely in that 'out - the glenn burke story' is on its way to tv next month. it should be interesting as i understand that there is a lot to burke's off the field story that i haven't really seen or heard in any real depth.

on the field, burke debuted for the dodgers in 1976 and was traded to oakland early in the 1978 season for bill north. in between he played in the 1977 postseason for the dodgers, which is where i first took note of him. his lone postseason hit came in game 1 of the world series that year - it was a single with two outs in the 6th and steve garvey was thrown out at home trying to score from first. if memory serves, it was a close play with garvey protesting the call (and in fact, it was, at least according to this news account ).

this is the penultimate card i need to complete the modest 1978 topps dodger autograph project, and it is the one i figured i would never get. let's hope that ed goodson doesn't fall into that category.

here's the tally:

team card (red adams) - through the mail success!
team card (mark cresse) - through the mail success!
team card (boog powell) - through the mail success!
dusty baker - through the mail success!
glenn burke - ebay success!
ron cey - through the mail success!
vic davalillo - ebay success!
terry forster - ebay success!
mike garman - through the mail success!
steve garvey - through the mail success!
ed goodson
jerry grote - through the mail success!
burt hooton - through the mail success!
charlie hough - through the mail success!
tommy john - in person/through the mail success!
lee lacy - through the mail success!
tom lasorda - ebay success!
dave lopes - through the mail success!
ted martinez - ebay success!
rick monday - in person/through the mail success!
manny mota - through the mail success!
johnny oates - ebay success!
doug rau - through the mail success!
lance rautzhan - through the mail success!
rick rhoden - through the mail success!
bill russell - through the mail success!
reggie smith - through the mail success!
elias sosa - through the mail success!
don sutton - through the mail success!
steve yeager - ebay success!
nlcs (davey lopes) - through the mail success!

28/29 = 97%

thanks curt, and here's to you glenn burke!

28 October 2010

double dippers - the first edition

with all of the fuss (there was fuss, wasn't there?) surrounding the return to the dodgers (for the third time) of juan castro, and the re-acquisition of former prospect ted lilly, i am going to start a new feature here called 'double dippers'.  these are the players who played for the dodgers, left for whatever reason, and then came back to play for the dodgers once again, not unlike george costanza's chip.  fyi, lilly actually doesn't qualify because he never pitched for the dodgers the first time around.  ron coomer, the coomdog, also falls into the lilly category.  i am also not going to count guys like tommy lasorda or charlie hough or claude osteen or ron perranoski or any of the other folks who left the dodgers to play for other teams but returned as coaches.  finally, willie crawford and ramon martinez (pedro's brother, not the other one) are also disqualified because, although they signed contracts with the dodgers to return to their roots, they never played for them a second time around.

anyway, i came up with a list of about two dozen players who did double dip off the top of my head, plus a few more that i had an inkling of but needed the brains of baseball reference to confirm.  here's one of the first guys i thought of:

brett butler.

shown here on his 1993 upper deck card,
butler's first go around with the dodgers lasted from 1991 through the 1994 season.  during that time, butler hit .303 with an obp of .402 and scored 357 runs.  the dodgers allowed butler to leave as a free agent after the 1994 season so that they could begin the roger cedeno experiment.  butler signed with the mets as evidenced on this 1995 topps traded card.
in new york, butler was batting .311 with 54 runs scored in 90 games when the dodgers reacquired him.  it kind of reminded me at the time of what happened a year or so earlier with the la kings when they sent marty mcsorley away only to bring him back because of fan uproar and the sense that they lost more than they gained by getting rid of him in the first place, even though you knew things weren't going to be the same.  and they weren't.  butler hit only .274 for the dodgers the rest of the way in '95, although they won the west and made the postseason for the first time since 1988.

here, on butler's 1996 topps card
you can see he is wearing number 12 instead of his familiar 22.  that's because chad fonville took butler's number (and his role of team sparkplug) and for whatever reason didn't give it up when butler came back.  in 1996, butler was diagnosed with cancer and missed most of the season.  his return in september was spectacular - in a game i watched with amazement, butler walked to open the bottom of the 8th in a tie game.  he stole second, went to third on an error and scored the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly.  butler was back.

since he was only gone part of one season, the dodgers didn't miss out on a whole lot of production.  still, his career totals with the dodgers would have topped 850 games, 500 runs, 950 hits, and 200 stolen bases had his numbers with the mets been achieved in la instead.

here's to you brett butler, double dipper!

world series game 1 recap

wow what a game that was. 

mickey hatcher taking dave stewart deep in the bottom of the first and then sprinting around the bases, almost catching up to steve sax?
and how about tim belcher, a rookie, starting the game for the dodgers since orel hershiser had pitched so often (and so brilliantly) in the nlcs against the mets.
belcher struggled a bit at first, and gave up that grand slam to canseco - still one of the top 4 hardest hit balls i have ever seen in person.  of course, the real heroics came in the 9th courtey of the league mvp.  what a great way to start the fall classic. 

so what if it was 22 years ago. you didn't think i was going to write about the no-cals did you?

27 October 2010

the 1978 topps ron washington card that should have been

texas rangers manager ron washington made his major league debut as a dodger in 1977.  he replaced bill russell at short in the 7th inning of a game against tom seaver and the reds in september and came to bat in the bottom of the ninth against pedro borbon.  he was hit by a pitch.  welcome to the big leagues ron!

in all, washington played in 10 games for the dodgers that year, and of the 9 games in which he had a plate appearance, he reached base in 7 of them.  unfortunately for him, he never appeared for the dodgers in another major league game, spending the next two seasons in their minor league system.  he was traded to the twins just before the start of the 1980 season, and made it to the majors for good (almost, anyway) in 1981.  still, those 10 games make him a member of the team of my youth and warrant inclusion in my 1978 topps burger king/update project.  here then is the ron washington card that should have been. 
 with a back
 i used his 1982 topps traded card (i believe it is his earliest card)
for the photo and just photoshopped the logo on the hat and jersey.  it's the same card night owl featured the other day.  speaking of which, i own the same 1978 dodger yearbook that night owl mentioned.  i tried to use the washington photo in it to create the card, but i had a hard time with the skin tone.  still, there is merit in using the only photo i know of showing washington in a dodger hat.  so, here is the colorized/black and white alternate version of the 1978 topps ron washington card that should have been
here's to you, ron washington!  now beat those giants!

dave anderson through the mail successes!

last year i sent a few cards to dave anderson, the former dodger shortstop and current rangers third base coach, in the hopes that he would sign and return them.  i didn't get them back.  then, during spring training this year, i gave it another shot, and a few months later, voila!

1984 donruss
1984 topps
1985 topps
to make matters even better, he didn't do what clint hurdle and vladimir guerrero did and send a team postcard.  buoyed by the first success, i sent another request and anderson again came through.

1989 score
1989 topps
1989 upper deck (in dodger stadium!)
1990 topps
it's an embarrassment of riches, really.

for the record, i am rooting for the rangers to win the world series, for the following reasons:

1. they are not the giants
2. vladdy
3. former dodger (i don't recognize his year with the giants) dave anderson is their third base coach
4. former dodger ron washington is their manager
5. they are not the giants

anderson may be best known for being the on deck decoy during mike davis' at bat in game 1 of the world series. he was called back to the dugout when gibby came up and the rest is history. here's hoping dave bears witness to some rangers game 1 magic this year.
thanks dave!

26 October 2010

fernandomania, revisited

i know it's been mentioned on a few blogs over the past week or so, but i wanted to add my reminder - 'fernando nation' premieres on espn tonight as part of their '30 for 30'  film series.  jon weisman has a great review.  i can't wait - the dvr is set.
and, this would be a good time to thank el toro for signing my 1990 topps card.
here's to you fernando.  if i had a sombrero i would throw it to the sky!

25 October 2010

spreckens sie speckenbach?

one thing about vintage cards, they don't make them anymore.  the sets aren't getting any bigger.  no inserts, no parallels (usually).  pretty straight forward for a team collector.  in the case of 1964 topps, there are the individual players' cards, the team card, and a couple of rookie cards for the dodgers.  in fact, here is the list from the fantastic resource teamsets4u

1964 topps - dodgers
14 dodgers rookies (nen, willhite)
30 ron perranoski
51 pete richert
68 willie davis
88 john roseboro
101 walt alston
120 don drysdale
154 dick tracewski
180 tommy davis
200 sandy koufax
214 ken mcmullen
231 dick calmus
249 doug camilli
291 phil ortega
310 jim gilliam
337 dodgers rookies (ferrara, torborg)
353 wally moon
371 frank howard
394 bob miller
411 lee walls
456 dodgers rookies (parker, werhas)
490 ron fairly
531 dodgers team
549 joe moeller
553 jim brewer
580 johnny podres

now, since i know the dodgers won the world series in 1963 (they swept a team called the yankees, by the way), i scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a few more cards featuring the boys in blue that aren't included in the team checklists

136 world series game 1 (koufax strikes out 15)

137 world series game 2 (davis sparks rally)
138 world series game 3 (la takes 3rd straight)
139 world series game 4 (sealing yanks' doom)
140 world series summary (the dodgers celebrate)

and, since sandy koufax was so dominant in 1963, i look for the league leader cards in that same part of the checklist

1 nl e.r.a. leaders (ellsworth, friend, koufax)
3 nl pitching leaders (koufax, marichal, spahn)
5 nl strikeout leaders (drysdale, koufax, maloney)

so that's it right?  the dodger team set sits at 34 cards, and i have most of them.
well...no so fast.  i was digging through a bargain vintage bin at the local card show earlier this month when i saw this
gah!  curse these multi-team rookie cards!  i had never heard of paul speckenbach.  according to baseball reference,  he pitched for the dodgers' single a affiliate in santa barbara in 1963 as a 19 year old.  in 1964 he was with the cardinals' single a team in rock hill, south carolina.  then he pulled a keyser soze and was gone (albeit with arm troubles).

obviously, this card never made it to my want list since i bought it about 1 minute after i learned it existed, but, for a brief moment in time 46 years after the fact, the 1964 dodgers team set got a little bit bigger.

here's to you, paul speckenbach!

22 October 2010

a mea culpa to mea traders

i love trading.  i just get behind on posting about it sometimes.  sadly, my procrastination resulted in a number of scans of cards i received in completed trades being lost. 

so, i apologize to

voice of the collector (dodger cards)
long fly ball to because (1995 topps brooklyn dodger archives set needs)
thorzul (dodger cards)
reader steve (dodger cards)
sign here...and here (dodger cards including a sweet saito auto)
sewing machine guy and carl crawford cards (group break swag - dodgers of course)
the sandlot (dodger cards)
play at the plate (dodger cards including the three recognizable ones in the scan below)
democratic roadkill (dodger cards including a russell martin a&g extended mini!)
on card autos (dodgers)
night owl (dodger hand me downs)
the middle child (dodgers)
field level view (dodgers)
project '62 (dodgers)
cardboard junkie (dodgers, 2009 opc needs, and a pack of 1988 opc cards with the gum stuck to a dave magadan card) - dayf i have a package almost ready to send your way.
baseball cards come to life (dodgers, double plays, and cards featuring dodger stadium)
the giants fan from the bench (dodgers)
cory the dodger auto hound (dodgers, twins, and a troncoso in person auto)

there were a ton of great cards in these trades, so thank you all.

so, now that that is taken care of...anyone wanna trade?

the allure of 2006 fleer

all that's missing from these 2006 fleer cards is some 'now with' text. 
i especially appreciate the fact that upper deck didn't adjust the set numbering (set up in team blocks just like the fleer sets of the 80's) to move the old dodgers to their new teams.  this made it easy to identify the milton bradley, jeff weaver and jason phillips cards as ones i wanted to own.

here's to you 2006 fleer!

21 October 2010

no bull - an al ferrara through the mail success!

i received my 1968 topps al ferrara card back in the mail a couple of weeks ago.   
i sent him $5 along with the card, and he signed both it and a note.
ferrara is a brooklyn native who played for the dodgers from 1963-1968.  his best year was 1967 when he played in 122 games with 16 home runs.  after the 1968 season, ferrara was taken by the padres in the expansion draft.  he played in san diego for 3 years, finishing his career with the reds in 1971.

ferrara got one postseason at bat, and it was in 1966.  he pinch hit for don drysdale in the bottom of the 9th inning in game 4 against dave mcnally and the orioles.  ferrara, representing the tying run, singled with one out.  unfortunately, the dodgers didn't score and the orioles won 1-0 to sweep the series.

i think the least i can do is honor the bull's wishes and 'remember johnny podres', so here is his 1957 topps card
thanks al, and here's to both you and johnny! 

20 October 2010

two more join in - the 1978 topps dodgers in 1964

the third player on the 1978 topps dodger team to make his major league debut was tommy john. he debuted debut on september 6, 1963, relieving dick donavan in the 7th inning against the washington senators with nobody out. the first two batters john faced (dick phillips and don zimmer) singled, and one run scored with the help of a max alvis error. the next batter flew out to center, but tommie agee was able to throw zimmer out at home. ed brinkman flew out, and john had thus completed the first inning of his career. he made it into 6 games that september, including his first two starts which he lost. he wound up 0-2 on the year although his era was a nice 2.21 in 20.1 innings. john didn't get a 1963 topps card, but he did get a card in the 1964 set.
that year, he made 25 appearances including 14 starts for the indians. his first start of the year was also his best - a complete game shutout of the orioles in which he allowed just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 6. he got lit up by the yankees in his next start, but missed his second career game by one out in his third start. three starts into the season, john was 2-1 with a 2.00 era. he would lose the remainder of his decisions, however, and end the season 2-9 with a 3.91 era. after being relegated to the bullpen for the last month of the season, john was traded to the white sox in the three-team deal that brought rocky colavito back to cleveland.

next came jerry grote. while he was not featured in topps' 1963 set, he debuted as a member of the houston colt .45's on september 21, 1963. grote took over for john bateman behind the plate in the 5th inning of the game against the phillies and came to bat for the first time with the colts down by a run in the 7th with a man on first and one out. after a wild pitch moved the runner to third, grote connected off of dallas green for a sacrifice fly to tie the game. not a bad debut even though the phillies eventually won the game. grote's only other two appearances in 1963 were games in which he was the starting catcher. in his last game that year, grote struck out to end the inning twice before getting his first big league hit, a single, in his final at bat. he finished the year at an even .200.

like john, grote shares his 1964 topps card with another rookie hopeful.
grote's 1964 season wasn't great as he wound up hitting just .181 in 100 games. he did, however, throw out 35% of the baserunners that tried to steal against him. the first home run of grote's career came in the 10th inning of a game against the cubs and lew burdette. it gave the colts a short lived lead, as jim owens and don larsen were unable to close the cubs out and lost the game in the bottom of the 10th. his second career dinger came off of don drysdale a couple of weeks later. no word on whether grote had to hit the dirt his next time up.

vic davalillo was back with the indians in 1964, and topps gave him his first solo card as a result.  
davalillo played in 150 games for the indians and earned a gold glove for his play in center. at the plate he hit .270 with career highs in hits (156), doubles (26) and rbi (51).

manny mota was properly identified as a pirate on his 1964 topps card, even though topps used the same photo (of him in a giants uniform) that they used on his 1963 card.
in his second year with the pirates, mota appeared in 115 games and hit .277. he played each outfield position plus second base and even caught a couple of innings in an extra inning affair against the cardinals (he was charged with two passed balls). mota hit his first career home run in 1964, off of the phillies' chris short. mota was 5 for 20 as a pinch hitter, including a home run.

so, that was the 1978 topps dodgers in 1964. next post coming soon, but there were no new faces in 1965.

here's the tally so far:

4/27 players featured by topps in 1964

total appearances:

davalillo 2 (1963, 1964)
grote 1 (1964)
john 1 (1964)
lasorda 1 (1954)
mota 2 (1963, 1964)

19 October 2010

no cereal with this post

i recently came across this 1963 post duke snider card at the local card show. 
for less than the cost of a box of shredded wheat, i got this somewhat shredded card.  while i am a staunch believer in complete career stats (on the back), i do appreciate the extensive text on these post cards at the price of yearly statistics.  and, unlike those early topps issues, post is kind enough to tell us what year the stats are from rather than just 'year'.  anyway, the card notes that duke was the 'senior member of the dodgers' after the 1962 season.  such seniority was shortlived, as he was sold to the mets just before the 1963 season began.  in fact, his 1963 topps card lists him as a met, so this is one of his last dodger cards around.

so, i guess this card is a final tribute to duke's days with the dodgers - 1995 hits, 389 home runs and a nice round .300 batting average.  for those of us who choose to ignore his time with the mets and the giants (shudder), this card is a good way for the silver fox to go out.

here's to you, 1963 post duke snider!

18 October 2010

let's begin again - 1963 brings us the first players in the evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers

on april 16, 1962, the first player who would eventually be featured as a dodger in topps' 1978 set debuted in the major leagues, although he wouldn't get his first topps card until 1963. manny mota was a 24 year old outfielder (mostly) for the san francisco giants, and the team he played against in his very first major league game was none other than the los angeles dodgers. he went 0 for 1 as a late inning replacement for harvey kuenn, and the giants shellacked the dodgers 19-8.
but, as you can tell, mota is not listed as a giant on his 1963 topps card. that's because after the season ended, mota was traded to the houston colt .45's for joey amalfitano. he still appears in a giants uniform, though. mota never played for houston, as they flipped him to the pirates in april of 1963 for someone named howie goss.

significantly for mota (because he would become a successful pinch hitter later in his career), he made his first career pinch hitting appearance against the dodgers in the game following his debut, and got his first career pinch hit on june 2, 1962 against the mets, pinch hitting for jim davenport. it was his only pinch hit of the season in 16 such appearances. with the pirates in 1963, mota hit .270 while playing left field with some right and center and even some time at second base thrown in to go along with the occasional pinch hitting appearance. he was 5 for 21 as a pinch hitter with a lone rbi.

about a year after mota debuted, the second of our eventual 1978 topps dodgers (and another pinch hitter extraordinaire) made his first appearance in the big leagues. vic davalillo suited up for the cleveland indians on april 9, 1963 as their starting center fielder. he hit in the leadoff spot and went 0 for 4 against jim 'mudcat' grant. topps featured him in their 1963 set along with 3 other rookie hopefuls. luckily for me, none of the other guys did much, and i was able to get this card on the cheap (i will not have the same success tracking down ken mcmullen's 1963 topps rookie card).
davalillo made 2 pinch hitting appearances in 1963, and was successful both times. he singled off of bill monbouquette on august 25 while pinch hitting for willie tasby, and hit a run scoring single off of ron kline while hitting for gary bell on september 2. for the season, davalillo hit .292 in 90 games.

we'll pick up a few more future 1978 topps dodgers in 1964, but until then, here's the tally of players by year so far...
1963 - 2/27
davalillo - 1
lasorda - 1 (1954)
mota - 1

08 October 2010

like a punch to the stomach...

or, an arm to the groin.  i feel a bit like jose offerman on his 1994 upper deck collector's choice card.  or maybe like the lurking jody reed.
no, i'm not talking about the twins and their inability to beat the yankees, i'm referring to my hard drive issues.  if the mets player is the hard drive, then offerman would be the data and reed would be me.  and, since we know offerman never lived up to expectations, we can assume that the data is not all there either.

so, as a collaterally damaged jody reed, i attempted to salvage as much as i could, and wound up with the vast majority of my scans being lost or partially saved.  here's an example.

this is a 1990 topps traded juan samuel card that he signed for me.
but you knew that, right?

how about a 2001 topps tribute roy campanella scan 
sweet.  why campy is lost but the offerman was spared is beyond me.  i'll spend some time rebuilding my scanned folder (and backing it up more regularly) and get back to business as usual soon.

say goodnight, duke.

06 October 2010

whistle while i wait

so, i'm almost to the point where i know what i can retrieve from my hard drive.  after that, i should be able to start scanning and posting again.  in the meantime, enjoy these dodger cards created by jon weisman of dodger thoughts resembling the early 60's post design.
wait 'til next year!