30 June 2012

jerry reuss rolls. and signs.

jerry reuss gets his due over at oh my o-pee-chee today thanks to his minor variation in the 1977 set, so i figured i would feature him here as well by showing a few of the ttm requests that the former dodger has so kindly fulfilled over the last few years.
this 1976 topps card was one of the first that i saw from that set.
a neighborhood kid had some cards and gave me this one.  i was pretty pleased.

1980 topps was reuss' first card as a dodger
he came to the team early in the 1979 season, so there was no 1979 o-pee-chee variation nor was there topps traded set that year.

he's hatless in 1981
which was potentially troublesome, given the fact that hatless photos mean the player can easily be shown on a different team should a postseason transaction take place.  however, with the season that reuss had in 1980, there was no worrying.

here's his 1983 topps card
showing some serious torque on his arm and wrist.

1984 topps had a nice full body action shot
too bad it's on the road, and not from dodger stadium
his 1986 fleer card features a photo from wrigley
and his 1986 topps is back to the portraits of the early 80's
the last two - 1987 topps
and 1989 topps (with reuss in an unfamiliar white sox jersey)
are actually two of my favorites.  i should also mention that reuss was the one who made me aware of adult baseball leagues.  after he retired, he played in a league in the los angeles area if i recall correctly.  until then, i did not know that these leagues existed.  a few years later, i played for three years in one of those leagues myself and had a lot of fun.  i didn't get to face any former major league pitchers, though.

thanks jerry! i am happy to have these in my collection!

29 June 2012

what's mine is mine

you may recall that i recently received the wrong steve garvey card in the mail.  that's all been taken care of, thanks to mrmopar and the ebay seller, and now i have my 2007 upper deck sweet spot steve garvey gold stich autograph card
complete with the bleeding pen.  at least dodger stadium is featured prominently.  i have another version of this card with a better auto.  i think it might be without the '6' though.

yes, it turned out that my one-time ebay nemesis had won the other card.  these days, i am no longer as active in the garvey ebay market, at least for the more 'rare' items, and mrmopar has become a valued 'lookout' at times.  he tipped me off to a 1978 topps glenn burke auto that i needed for my modest 1978 topps dodger autograph project (i now have two '78 topps cards signed by burke) and has sent me some cards from my want list, too.

still, i was surprised when i received the sweet spot auto and enclosed along with it were a few other cards.  such as this 1998 pinnacle paul konerko card that was on my nefarious 9!
he also included an almost complete set of the 1982 dodgers police sga set.  what i like most about that set (other than making sure to have my dad buy tickets to the game so i would be assured of getting a set) is that it included cards commemorating the 1981 postseason, like this one showing the jubilant dodgers after beating the astros in the nlds.
here's the garvey card from that set
a fitting way to end the post.

thanks curt!  sorry i didn't include any cards with your tribute card!

28 June 2012

i once threw a sombrero to the sky, but now i pull my hat down in embarassment

tomorrow marks the 22nd anniversary of fernando's no-hitter against the cardinals, commemorated on this 1991 score card.
i can still remember pedro guerrero grounding into the game-ending double play and vin scully suggesting that we throw our sombreros to the sky in celebration.

so, what does this have to do with anything?  nothing really - i'm just hoping the dodgers can score a run for a change.  they don't face johan santana until saturday, so maybe they can avoid a whitewashing in at least one of the two games before then. and if chris capuano wants to no-hit his former team tonight, by all means, please do so.  it might be the only way he can win.

27 June 2012

a holy post of obligation

when i first started collecting baseball cards, i was a set collector primarily.  even more than a team collector, as i would put the first dodger cards i pulled into the set, and only take a double for my team set.  later, my dad got me into specific player collections, but still - the set came first.  as a result, i put together every topps, fleer, and donruss set from 1978 through 1987 by busting wax. i believe i have all of the topps sets from 1988 through 2008 as well, with maybe about half of those being hand collated. 

more recently, i have gone back and completed the set of my birth year (1970), as well as the 1973, 1976 and 1977 topps sets, and, i am actively working on my 1971 set.  if i were to collect another set from the 1970's, it wouldn't be 1975 (can't stand it) or 1974 (kind of blah in my opinion).  no, it would be the 1972 set.

i probably have a couple of hundred 1972 topps cards (not counting my complete dodger team set and my separate binder with the 1978 topps dodgers as they were featured in 1972), but i did not own one of the most popular cards from the set until recently, however.  that's when matt at heartbreaking cards of staggering genius sent me a copy of the billy cowan card with the strategically placed 'big a' at the stadium formerly known as angels' stadium
it turns out matt had picked up a handful of them at one of my local card shops, just a couple of days after i had been there for the first time.  thanks matt!

meanwhile, captain canuck pulled together a package of dodgers for me which included this beauty - jose pena rocking the knuckleballer's number
pena was sent down in august of 1970, around the time that charlie hough was called up for the first time.  sometime shortly thereafter, hough snagged pena's number in true knuckler fashion.  i was surprised to learn that this is the only jose pena to have played in the big leagues.  seems like there would have been more.  anyway, this is a double so it can go in the 'set' binder if i ever get around to creating one.

the captain also sent me some newer, shiny cards.  like this 2005 playoff absolute memorabilia duke snider card
that absolutely does not contain any sort of memorabilia on it in any way.  still, it's shiny.

here's a 2005 topps pristine steve garvey card
i am a sucker for cards that have that wavy pennant, as in 1965 topps and 2003 upper deck vintage.  and, 2005 topps pristine, i suppose.

here's a card that looks better scanned, a 2006 upper deck future stars eric gagne
the card, in it's natural state, has a lot of red on it.  i prefer the shades of blue.  by the way, in 2006, eric gagne was not a future star.  he was a star on the downward slope, trying to come back from injury.

speaking of the downward slope, here's a 2007 topps insert of luis gonzalez
i believe gonzalez was among the active career leaders in hits back in 2007.  in fact, he got his 2500th career hit as a dodger.  he last played in 2008 for the marlins, and has 2591 hits to his name.  8 fewer than the garv!

here's a 2007 upper deck elements card of rafael furcal
i didn't mind furky, but i am glad davey lopes can wear his number again.

i'll finish up with a 2008 upper deck starquest insert of russell martin
martin's batting average has gone down every season since it peaked at .290 in his fantastic 2007 season.  this year, it is threatening to take it's most precipitous drop yet as he hovers around .200 - currently 32 points lower than his .237 average of 2011.  that's too bad for the yankees.

thanks a lot matt and captain.  i am sure we will do this again soon!

26 June 2012

four heads are better than one

it's always a good day when you get an email from a fellow blogger asking for your address.  that's happened a few times recently, including once where i received the request from steelehere, he of 1207 consecutive games.  it turns out, just as it did with night owl, rob had an extra infield bobblehead and wanted to send it my way.
sweet.  i think i first learned of the bobblehead thanks to either dodgerbobble or roberto (get well soon, buddy) and knew that i was going to overpay for one.  thanks to a friendly socal blogger, i didn't have to.

it's not the first time the infield has been the focus of a stadium giveaway, though.  i dug out my 1991 dodgers unocal pin featuring the record setting infield to prove that point.
still, the bobblehead is pretty darn cool.  and, it displays on my desk much better than a pin would.  i guess i could put the pin on a hat, but who puts pins on their hats other than olympic superfans?  anyway, i took some pictures of the box for posterity's sake.

here's the picture of what's inside.
the infielders seem a bit more evenly spaced than they are on my bobble.  on mine, as you can see above, it's as if the three double digit wearing dodgers are trying to be as far away from steve garvey as they can.  in fact, bill russell's head won't bobble individually - it has to take the penguin's and davey lopes' heads along for the ride.

here's the image that the bobblehead sculptors(?) tried to recreate.
i think the image is from 1978, as it appears on the front of the team's 1979 photo album.  it's also reproduced in the playbill that was handed out at the game.  rob sent one of those for me, too.  i didn't scan any of it, but i was surprised to read that the phillies tried to trade for garvey back in '72 or '73 before he was permanently installed at first base.  al campanis was offered willie montanez for the garv and turned it down.  that's not as much of a no-brainer as it might seem - montanez had put up some good power numbers in '72 and '73, although at that time he was playing more outfield than first base, and with wes parker having retired, i am guessing campanis wanted to keep garvey to back up billy buckner who had been given the first crack at replacing parker.

here's one of the sides of the box
not a bad resume for a foursome...

here's the other side
lots of good bobbleheads yet to come - karros, gibby (with a bobble arm!), fernando, koufax, and even good ol' vin scully.

i like the dodgers' logo patch for the 50th year of dodger stadium
it would be nice for the new owners to enhance the stadium as was done in boston and make sure it's around for another 50.

rob, thank you so much for thinking of me and sending me the infield.  you know i appreciate it.

the evolution of the ace, part the fourth

not too far to go now, here's jeff weaver (2004-2005)
weaver was acquired from the yankees in the kevin brown deal.  he was one of three dodger pitchers (kaz ishii and jose lima were the others) to win 13 games in 2004, but it was weaver who led the rotation in starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts.  in 2005, weaver again led the team in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts on what was a very disappointing team.  it was the year of jim tracy's parade of ja(y)sons (phillips, grabowski, werth, and repko).  'nuff said.

derek lowe (2006)
derek lowe was 16-8 in 2006, tying brad penny for the team lead in wins.  however, lowe's era was 3.63 compared to penny's 4.33, and lowe also pitched more innings and had a better whip.  he also threw the lone complete game of the season for the dodgers, a 4-2 win over the mariners, lowe's original team.

brad penny (2007)
penny was 16-4 with a 3.03 era in 33 starts in 2007.  he started the all-star game for the national league, and finished third in the cy young voting.

chad billingsley (2008)
bills put up good numbers in 20 starts and 43 overall appearances in 2007 (12-5, 3.31 era) and then went 16-10 in 32 starts with a 3.12 era in 2008.  he threw his first career shutout that year, and struck out 201 batters.  he also won game 2 of the nlds against the cubs before struggling in game 2 of the nlcs against the eventual world champion phillies.

clayton kershaw (2009-present)
(thanks for the sticker, night owl). even though kershaw was just 8-8 in 2009, i'll still anoint him as the ace thanks to his 2.79 era.  he made 30 starts for the dodgers, and led the staff in strikeouts despite pitching fewer innings than randy wolf or billingsley.  2010 saw kershaw go 13-10 with a 2.91 era and 212 k's over 204.1 innings pitched in 32 starts.  of course, his 2011 numbers were even better, as he captured the pitching triple crown with 21 wins, a 2.28 era, and 248 strikeouts.  his 0.98 whip also led the league.

so, there you have it, in four installments.  from newcombe to kershaw - the evolution of the dodgers' ace.

up next (and by next i mean someday), the infield...

25 June 2012

the evolution of the ace, part 3

here's the third installment in the evolution of the dodgers' ace.  that's ace as defined by me.

orel hershiser (1985, 1987-1989)
bulldog burst on the scene with a 19-3 record in 1985.  he finished 3rd in the cy young voting that year, and followed it up with a couple of .500 campaigns.  in 1987, however, his 16-16 record also came with a  3.06 era and a league leading 264.2 innings pitched.  it also netted him a fourth place showing in the cy young vote.  then, in 1988, the stars aligned and hershiser won 23 games, broke don drysdale's scoreless innings streak, led the league in wins (tied with danny jackson), innings pitched, complete games and shutouts, and won the cy young and the nlcs and world series mvp awards.  not bad.  in 1989, hershiser fell back to .500 with a 15-15 record, but had a tidy 2.31 era and led the league in innings pitched for the third straight year.  he also finished fourth in the cy young vote.  of course, all that work caught up to him, and he missed most of the following season due to injury.

ramon martinez (1990-1991, 1994)
mike morgan, bob ojeda and tim belcher had better eras in 1991, as did hershiser and gross in 1994, but i give the nod to martinez in those years.  1990 was a no-brainer, though, as ramon won 20 games for the only time in his career, going 20-6 with a 2.92 era and 12 complete games.  he also had 3 shutouts that year, including one against the braves in which he struck out 18 batters.  he won 17 games in 1991, and then posted 12 victories in 1994, leading the staff both times.  what made him the ace in those years, in my mind anyway, was that he led the team in starts, and shutouts, and nearly led in complete games and innings pitched.

tom candiotti (1992-1993)
in between the martinez years, there was tom candiotti.  and some bad dodger teams.  the 1992 team is the worst in la dodger history, winning just 63 games.  candiotti was credited with 11 of them, more than anyone else on the staff.  he also led all starters (who made more than 11 starts) in era with a nice 3.00 mark.  1993 was a bit trickier.  the dodgers improved their record to an even .500, but candiotti was still on the wrong side of breaking even.  he was 8-10 despite a staff leading 3.12 era.  it's because of the era, and the fact that he led the staff in strikeouts that i let him retain his ace status.  i came very near to listing pedro martinez as the ace of the staff, but he made just 2 starts that season and i couldn't bring myself to do it.

hideo nomo (1995-1996)
there was no doubt about who the ace of the staff was in 1995, though.  isn't that a great card, by the way.  nice 2006 upper deck collector's choice featuring a 3-exposure, horizontal, dodger stadium shot.  me likey very much.  nomo was just 13-6 in 28 starts (ramon martinez won 17 games and pitched a no-hitter), but his era was 2.54 and he had a league leading 3 shutouts and 236 strikeouts.  he struck out 234 batters in 1996, and had a record of 16-11 although his era climbed to 3.19.  he also threw the first of two career no-hitters that year, and confused the heck out of bob dole.  it's worth noting as well that nomo finished 4th in the cy young voting each of those two years, which also marked the return of the dodgers to the postseason.

chan ho park (1997-1998, 2001)
nomo's era continued to climb, and so i picked chan ho park as the ace of the team in '97.  it could have just as easily been ismael valdes, but them's the breaks.  park was 14-8 with a 3.38 era and 166 strikeouts.  he also had 2 complete games (both wins) and a much better whip than nomo.  in 1998, park was filthy.  he led the staff in wins (15), innings pitched (220.1) and strikeouts (191).  after a down year in 1999 (era wise), park bounced back to win 18 games in 2000.  however, that team also had kevin brown who was simply a better pitcher than park, despite their records.  park did reclaim the ace title in 2001, however, when brown was injured and park again led the staff in wins (15), innings pitched (234) and strikeouts (218).

kevin brown (1999-2000, 2003)
brown joined the dodgers to be the ace, period.  he should have been the ace for several years given what the team was paying him (just a year after refusing to pay that much for piazza), but that didn't happen.  he did have a very good 1999 season, going 18-9 with a 3.00 era, 1.07 whip, 5 complete games and 221 strikeouts.  in 2000, he led the league with a 2.58 era and 0.99 whip.  his record was only 13-6, but that was more a function of the dodgers than brown.  as mentioned earlier, had brown stayed healthy, he may have held the title in 2001 and 2002, but he did not.  he did return to full strength in 2003 and was 14-9 with a 2.39 era in 32 starts.  he also had 185 k's and a whip of 1.14, numbers which must have made the yankees comfortable enough to trade for him after the season.  bwah-ha-ha!

odalis perez (2002)

despite the triumphant return of hideo nomo, it was odalis perez who earned the title of ace based on his 2002 performance.  odalis was acquired in the 'let's get rid of gary sheffield' trade with the braves, and promptly helped dodger fans forget that sheff was one of the greatest offensive players the team had ever seen.  perez was 15-10 in 2002, with a 3.00 era, a 0.99 whip and a staff-leading 222.1 innings pitched.  he also had the only complete games and shutouts on the staff with 4 and 2, respectively.

i'll finish up the evolution tomorrow.

24 June 2012

howe about that!

i was very happy with topps in 1983.  after a disappointing (to me) set in 1982, they came back with a 'porthole' design that i liked.  it seemed to me to be a bit of a nod to the set from 20 years earlier, but with a more modern feel.  anyway, i also liked it because ron cey and steve garvey were still shown as dodgers.  plus there was this steve howe card.
featuring a photo from candlestick (or maybe jack murphy?), we see howe looking in for the sign, with steve garvey lurking in the background.  that's bonus garvey!  at least my 12-year old self was convinced that it was the garv.  we know he played in every game on the dodgers' schedule in 1982, and since he played in every inning of every game steve howe pitched in at san diego and san francisco in 1982, i still feel confident that steve garvey lurks on that card.  i wish there more of these, like the 1985 topps dick williams card that i saw for the first time in 27 years on friday.  i did not realize that garvey was on that card, so thanks for sharing it, greg.

the steve howe card above and the rest of these cards were sent to me by kyle from just a bit outside

here's a jackie robinson card from upper deck's 1994 american epic set that accompanied the ken burns baseball documentary
it looks like a sonic or a quaker oats card thanks to the lack of any logos.  still, it's jackie and it's a nice card to have.  there was a smaller set put out by upper deck for general motors that used the same design, but this one comes from the larger set.

here's a darryl strawberry hologram from upper deck in 1993
this is not the first time that someone has sent me an upper deck strawberry card from 1993 that i had no idea existed.  this one if from some set called 'diamond gallery'.

nomar!  from 2007 upper deck
usually i would complain about the fact that upper deck had two cards for pretty much every player in their 2007 set, but i am glad to get as many cards featuring nomar in a dodger uniform as i can get.

here's a 2009 upper deck o-pee-chee card of andre ethier.
i am still chasing this set, so if you have any of the cards i need, please let me know.

i sat out the allen & ginter chase last year, so this was the first time i had seen this 2011 topps allen & ginter rafael furcal card
another release i avoided in 2011 was lineage.  i bought a single pack at target, but it wasn't what i was hoping for, so i didn't buy any more packs.  i believe kyle sent me a complete base dodger set.  that means we have roy campanella
andre ethier
clayton kershaw
jackie robinson
and duke snider
plus matt kemp which i must have forgotten to scan.

thanks for the cards kyle! and thanks for your patience with me in getting back to you!