29 July 2012

is the 1979 topps set binder-worthy? please advise.

as you might know, i am working on updating my 1979 topps set.  i wasn't too careful when i put the set together for the first time as i was only 8.  anyway, i am wondering what the general feeling is towards this set.  to me, it's not the greatest.  i didn't get that same feeling that i did when i was opening packs of 1978 topps, but i still opened a ton of packs.  as a young collector, i put a dodger team set in a binder and boxed up the complete sets.  later, i started putting doubles of star cards in a binder, too.  but the sets stayed in boxes.

today, i have a few sets in binders.  1978, of course.  1978 o-pee-chee as well.  1977 topps and o-pee-chee.  1970 topps.  1973 topps.  1976 topps.  partially completed 1971 topps and 2003 upper deck vintage sets.  plus, 2004 upper deck legends timeless teams, 1999 upper deck century legends, and a few more upper deck issues from the early 2000's that focused on retired players.

i've considered putting 1991 topps in a binder, but that's about it.  anyway, the question here is - should i put my upgraded 1979 topps set in a binder?

here's what the first page would look like.
dave campbell would exist among greatness (and a couple of one-year anomalies).  before you answer, consider that if the set weren't in a binder, i don't know that i would ever gaze upon two of my favorite cards from the set - pedro borbon
with the phillies' bullpen cart in the background, and the giants' team card
full of dysfunction (love the bob knepper (39) lean and the fact that rob andrews (21) is kneeling out in no-man's land).  not quite as much as the 1978 phillies team card, but close.

please sound off in the comments, and who knows?  i might take your advice.

27 July 2012

repetitive balance

i was looking through the nice stack of cards i received from cards on cards (this was quite a while ago - sorry madding for the delay in posting the cards) when i noticed something peculiar.  there were a few 1999 bowman cards in the package, and they all had something in common, other than the dodger blue.  let's take a look.  first up, adrian beltre.
ball is struck, and he's ready to start moving out of the batter's box.  here's raul mondesi's card:
ball is struck, and he's ready to think about half-assing it down the line.  how about eric young?
he's got more of the beltre pose going on - ball is struck, and he's ready to start running.  not to be outdone, here's gary sheffield's card
at least the photographer is on the other side of the diamond, but we still get the one-legged balancing shot.  obviously nobody looks at a set from a team collector's point of view to make sure there is a decent variety of photo types.  we've known that since the 1950's, although it's interesting to see the repetition with in-game action shots.  it's also nice to see dodger stadium in the background (of the non-beltre cards, anyway).

i also received a nice 2011 topps update diamond giveaway with a 1961 sandy koufax card on the front
believe it or not, i think i have all of sandy's topps cards from 1959 on.  plus, i picked up a 1957 topps koufax at a card show recently.  my loose goal of completing the 1960's dodgers topps team sets this year is looking like it might really happen.

welcome to the blog, rick auerbach.
that 1974 topps card is the first card of his that i have shown in the almost 4 years that i have been doing this.  i know i have mentioned him a few times, however, as he spent much of 1975 as the team's starting shortstop after bill russell was injured, and he was later traded for hank webb, who became a member of the 1977 dodgers - what i consider to be one of the two teams of my youth.  unfortunately for dodger collectors everywhere, auerbach was completely left out of the 1977 topps set.  i forgot that when i made some 1977 cards that should have been.  maybe i'll go back and correct my oversight someday.

here's a 1985 topps ken howell card
and a 1991 leaf gold rookies henry rodriguez card
not much to say about either one of those, although it is different to see those vero beach trees at twilight.  and, oh henry! looks like he's playing some first base there, although i remember him more as a dodger left fielder.

here's a pretty snazzy looking 1995 upper deck sp delino deshields card
in addition to the blue wall of the dodger stadium outfield, i like the blue accented sidebar thingy.  i wonder why delino isn't wearing his pants as knickers though.  although you can't see them, you know that's how juan pierre is wearing them on his 2009 upper deck card.
this was just a sampling of the great cards madding sent.  thanks again for the trade!

25 July 2012

steady eddie murray gets a proper send off

[this is the thirty-ninth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwin, and joe ferguson.]

eddie murray was one of my favorite non-dodgers.  he burst on to the big league scene at the same time i was starting to collect cards, so i took a great interest in following his career as it progressed in baltimore.  then, in december of 1988, i heard that the dodgers had acquired steady eddie in a trade.  hearing that news made me forget about the loss of steve sax, and besides, the dodgers were the world champs so who was i to complain about anything.  i also remember being surprised at some of the comments that murray made after the trade was confirmed.  he said something along the lines of 'i thought this was going to happen a few years ago' which was news to me.  there was no mlbtraderumors back then to get this type of gossip.  imagine if the dodgers had had murray at first in 1985.  1986 and 1987 might have been different, too.  ah, what might have been...

murray's first season with the dodgers was disappointing, but then again, so was the entire team.  his .247 batting average was (by 30 points) the lowest of his career.  still, he drove in 88 runs and hit 20 homers and played in 160 games.  the dodgers even stuck him over at third base a couple of times - the first time murray had ever played the hot corner in the big leagues.  t's also worth noting that murray's first home run as a dodger was a 9th inning grand slam that broke a tie against the giants.

here's murray's 1990 leaf card, which at one time was one of my 'nefarious 9'
1990 was a great year for murray, as he led the major leagues with a .330 batting average.  of course, that was also the year in which he didn't lead the national league in batting thanks to willie mcgee being traded from the cardinals to the a's.  murray finished fifth in the league mvp voting thanks to 96 runs scored, 95 runs driven in, 26 homers and that high batting average.

in 1991, murray's average dropped to .260, although he still drove in 96 runs and made the all-star team for the first time as a dodger and the last time of his career.  i was always kind of perplexed that topps gave murray an all-star card in 1991 even though he wasn't on the team in 1990.  but, after what they did to steve garvey in 1985 and 1986, i wasn't going to look a bonus dodger card in the mouth.

after the season, the dodgers were only interested in keeping murray with a one-year deal, so he took two years from the mets and headed east as his 1992 o-pee-chee card would indicate
murray left the dodgers with 398 career home runs, so the met fans got to see him join the 400 home run club, or so this 1992 upper deck card would have you believe.
actually, murray hit his 400th on the road in atlanta, and from the left side of the plate.  it was one of only 16 long balls that murray hit that year, the lowest total of his career to date.  he did hit a career high 37 doubles and drive in 93 runs, though, so he was still productive.  the following year, he would drive in 100 runs for the last time in his career.

after the season, murray moved on to cleveland where he hit .323 in 1995 over 113 games, and collected his 3000th career hit along the way.  during the 1996 season, the tribe sent murray back to baltimore, and he swatted his 500th career home run as an oriole.

i figured murray would retire with his 501 home runs after the season ended, but instead, he signed with the anaheim angels.  he hit three more home runs during his stint there which lasted into august.  after being released by team disney, murray was picked up by the dodgers who were just a couple of games out of first in the nl west.  murray was used exclusively as a pinch hitter, and was 2 for 7 with 2 walks and 3 rbi in his final big league appearances.

topps didn't give him a card in 1998, but donruss did, in their preferred set.
upper deck also gave eddie his due - both in their flagship set and in the collector's choice set.  here's his  collector's choice 'final tribute'
on the back we get all of murray's stats, as a final tribute should provide.  we also get a photo of murray from his time in anaheim
i posted murray's 1998 upper deck flagship card in one of my early final tribute posts on this blog, and i wasn't too kind to upper deck because they had him with the angels.  i since learned that there was a second murray card in the 1998 set, one that did things right.
i'm still not sure why upper deck included an angels card for murray in the set, but i suppose the halo collectors out there appreciate it.  and, to further appease those fans, the photo on the back of murray's dodger card is from his anaheim days.  we also get his full career stats, just like a final tribute should provide.
there was no doubt where eddie murray was headed after his career, but leaf gave us this shiny card in 1998 just in case we weren't sure
murray made it into the hall in his first year of eligibility, although he (obviously) went in as an oriole.  that's ok - i'll take all the eddie murray as a dodger cards as i can get.

here's to you, eddie murray - one of my favorite dodger double dippers! 

24 July 2012

caught in a rubdown

at many different times, i have thought about posting a comprehensive list of cards featuring each member of the infield, or at least an inventory of the ones that i own.  i am guessing there are two or three people out there who might be interested in such posts, but i have already shown all of their base topps cards (plus a few that should have been) in my history of the infield posts.  and, if you scroll down through the labels on the right side of the blog (web version), you can click on 'cey' or 'garvey' or 'lopes' or 'russell' to see all of their cards i have posted over the past (almost) four years.  so, at many different times, i have decided against the comprehensive posts.  but, who knows? the well may run dry, and you may be on the receiving end of a 'through the years with the infield' series of posts.

until then, please enjoy the 1984 topps rubdown 'cards' below.  the first one features a smiling ron cey in his cubs gear.  he's sharing space with kent tekulve, plus an old nemesis in greg luzinski.  steve kemp gets some appreciation, which reminds me of just how bad those yankee teams were in the early 1980's.
next up, bill russell and steve garvey on the same 'card'! that's fortuitous.
looks like ropes is trying to hit a baseball off of garvey's head.  also pictured, jerry remy and george wright.  hold on a sec while i jump to baseball reference - ok, wright had a promising year in 1983 (18/80/.276) as a 24-year old, so i see why topps gave him some prime real estate on an issue with half of the dodgers' storied infield.

do you think there was any animosity on this last rubdown?
davey lopes and his heir at second base for the dodgers, steve sax, sharing space.  i recognize the lopes image from his 1985 topps card, by the way.  if i ever get around to separating out my lopes collection, i will need another one of these things. 

these rubdowns are a giant leap forward from the tattoo thingys that topps issued in prior years.  but probably not as good as stickers.  if you're in to that sort of thing.  and i guess i am, as long as there's a dodger or a member of the infield on it.

23 July 2012

the topps dodgers autograph project - the early los angeles years

in case you missed the first installment, i am taking the lost collector's yankee project and putting my dodger spin on it.  so now we are into the los angeles years.  all of these autographs were obtained through the mail, and were free of charge. 

joe pignatano, 1958 topps
i've posted this one before.  pignatano was a brooklyn native who played in a handful of games as a hometown boy done good before moving to the west coast with the team.  he stayed with the dodgers until his contract was purchased by the a's prior to the 1961 season.  other players who have signed their 1958 topps cards for me include don zimmer.  that's it.

fred kipp, 1959 topps
kipp also went west with the club, having made an appearance with the team in 1957.  1958 was his big year in the majors, as he went 6-6 in 40 appearances.  he pitched in 2 games in 1959, and then was traded to the yankees prior to the 1960 season.  i have a few other 1959 topps cards that were signed through the mail - carl erskine, dick gray, and bob lillis.

chuck essegian, 1960 topps
essegian joined the dodgers for the latter part of the 1959 season.  he came from saint louis in exchange for dick gray, the man who had hit the first home run in los angeles dodger history.  essegian hit some home runs, too, as it turned out.  in the 1959 world series against the white sox, he had not one, but two pinch hit home runs.  the first one came in game 2 of the series with the dodgers down a game and trailing by a run in the 7th inning.  essegian''s blast tied the game, and a couple of batters later, charlie neal put them ahead to stay with his second home run of the game.  some other former dodgers who have signed their 1960 cards for me through the mail include roger craig (with fee), don demeter, and bob lillis.

bob aspromonte, 1961 topps
i posted this one not too long ago - it's the most recent 1961 topps card i have had signed through the mail.  others in my collection include don demeter, don newcombe (with fee), and joe pignatano.

norm sherry, 1962 topps
sherry debuted in the big leagues with a bang.  on april 12, 1959, he was the dodgers' starting catcher against the cubs.  on the mound that day was sandy koufax, the pitcher whom sherry suggested should just relax and take something off of his fastball to be more effective.  while koufax only lasted three innings that day, sherry played the whole game.  he was hit by a pitch in his first big league at bat, and then hit a two-run single his next time up.  sherry didn't appear in another game until september, but he was back in la each season from 1960 through 1962.  he even occasionally caught his brother larry.  i chose to feature sherry's card simply because i had not yet posted it on the blog.  other 1962 topps cards that i have received signed through the mail include tommy davis (with fee), willie davis (with fee), frank howard (with fee), wally moon (with fee), ron perranoski, pete richert, and daryl spencer.

ed roebuck, 1963 topps
same goes here for roebuck.  i've had his 1963 card  sitting in my scanned folder for a while now, but have never gotten around to showing it off.  roebuck was a member of the world champion brooklyn dodgers in 1955 (his rookie season) and he threw a couple of scoreless innings in the fall classic that year.  he also pitched in the 1956 world series.  unfortunately, roebuck did not pitch in the majors in 1959 due to injury, and so he missed out on another opportunity to pitch in the world series.  roebuck had a big year in 1962, winning 10 games and saving another 9.  he was traded to the senators in july of 1963, however, and eventually finished his career in philadelphia three years later.  the other 1963 cards i have signed through the mail include joe moeller, wally moon (with fee), and don zimmer.

ken mcmullen, 1964 topps
this is another card that i was saving for a different post - most likely mcmullen's double dipper post - but it fits here as part of the topps dodgers autograph project.  mcmullen first appeared in the big leagues in 1962, and he played in a total of 109 games for the dodgers between then and 1964.  after the 1964 season, he was traded to the senators in the claude osteen/frank howard deal.  he had his best years in washington and then in california with the angels before returning to the dodgers in a reserve role.  mcmullen gets the nod to represent 1964 over the other signed ttm cards in my collection, including willie davis (with fee), pete richert, and dick tracewski.

here's a running list of the cards and players in my topps dodgers autograph project.  only a few that were not free, and a different player for each year.

1951 topps - preacher roe (purchased)
1952 topps - rocky bridges
1953 topps - bobby morgan
1954 topps - billy herman (purchased)
1955 topps - don zimmer (purchased)
1956 topps - randy jackson
1957 topps - carl erskine
1958 topps - joe pignatano
1959 topps - fred kipp
1960 topps - chuck essegian
1961 topps - bob aspromonte
1962 topps - norm sherry
1963 topps - ed roebuck
1964 topps - ken mcmullen

22 July 2012


this card made me laugh when i first saw it.
hank conger goes beyond the role of lurker on torii hunter's 2012 topps card - he's in full blown photobomber mode.

erick aybar also has a guest on his 2012 topps card, but that's because he's turning two.
hello alexei ramirez.

i'll take this opportunity to hijack the post and show some more double play cards i located while trying to make an exhaustive listing of such cards in my collection.

2012 topps opening day ian desmond
hello, jason heyward.

2011 topps update brandon crawford
hello freddy sanchez and pete kozma.

2011 bowman dan uggla gold parallel
hello leg of unknown origin.

2004 upper deck legends timeless teams dick mcauliffe
you are following the timeless teams blog, right?  when i first saw this card i though mcauliffe was pitching because of the location of the player behind him and the fact that the player sliding in was obscured.  but no, he's turning two.

1997 topps wil cordero
hello mid-90's royal player.

1996 topps jeff blauser
hello ron gant.

1994 topps rafael belliard
that's a marlin sliding in.  i hope it's gary sheffield because whoever it is, he's out and has to go sit in the dugout now.

i'll finish with a 1994 upper deck joey cora card
cora's gone all john pacella on us thanks to brian mcrae's slide.

don't worry - there are plenty more double play cards yet to be featured.  i know you can't wait to see them.

21 July 2012

a couple of crazy canadians

zane smith isn't really canadian - he hails from georgia (the state, not the country in the former soviet union) - but he pitched for the montreal expos for a few years.  his 1990 upper deck card saw him sporting the expos' colorful uniforms in colorful dodger stadium.  
that made for a card that i needed to own, and bo at baseball cards come to life came through for me.  i am pretty sure i have a complete set of 1990 upper deck back at my parents' house, so i had most likely seen this card 22 years ago.  if so, i was reminded of it by a post at baseball card bust and i quickly added it to my bonus card list on the nefarious 9.  thanks bo!

bo also sent me a frank robinson autographed card that was issued by canadian club whiskey in 1996
too bad the photo is from his cincy years, and not his lone year in dodger blue.  this is the first frobby auto that i own.  i would like to get him to sign his 1973 topps card, but probably won't ever bother to pay the price to do so.

i don't own any mark grudzielanek signed cards, either, but i doubt he signs his full name anyway.  maybe he does like billy grabarkewitz and just goes with the last initial.
that's a nice 2000 topps stadium club card there with just a touch of the old field level scoreboard in view.  grudzy's 2002 topps heritage card is a little less appealing.
i think someday will venture down to vero beach and see if i can find those trees that have been on more dodger cards throughout the years than i care to count.

i'm showing the back of this 60 years of topps reprint from 2011 topps because i actually do not care for the front at all.
you see, i was so looking forward to 1994 topps specifically for the mike piazza card.  when it came out, i was pretty peeved that topps used almost the exact same photo they had put on his 1993 topps traded card.  and the color seemed washed out, too.  so disappointed.  very little effort there by topps.  the strongest man in socal deserved better, and so did i, dammit!

moving on to a 2008 topps opening day card of andy laroche.
i might like the opening day cards better than the flagship.  and i don't care for the opening day cards at all.  2008 topps may be the worst looking topps set ever.  don't worry, though, i'll leave the ranking of the sets to others.

i'll finish up with a couple of cards from 2007 fleer ultra.  here's jason schmidt
schmidt tried his best, but was able to make only 6 starts for the dodgers in 2007.  he won his first start and also pitched well in his fourth start (which came after a stint on the dl), but the rest were not too good.  he missed all of 2008 and came back to go 2-2 in 4 starts during the 2009 season.  the last pitch he threw as a major leaguer hit craig counsell to force in a run.  that's not how anybody wants to go out.

here's andre ethier's card from 2007 ultra
with his spring training number.  i think matt kemp was 65 for a while in the spring.  once ethier made the team, he took number 16 to continue the asu/dodger tradition.

as you can guess, this has been a thinly veiled trade post - all of the cards shown here were provided by bo.  thanks for another great trade!