30 September 2012

cutting (trade) bait

so, the twins cut bait on their japanese import, tsuyoshi nishioka, on the same day (9/28) that i received this card in the mail from daniel at it's like having my own card shop
it's a 2012 topps short print with an anonymous (matt tolbert?) twin lurking and giving nishi the rabbit ears.  it kind of reminds me of billy ashley's 1993 upper deck card, without eric karros' fabulous hair.  i saw it listed as trade bait on daniel's site and arranged to trade for it.  nishioka was pretty much awful in his time with the twins, but i really wanted him to do well.  even when he was called up this season, i was hoping against hope that he would perform well.  he didn't, and on friday he asked the twins to release him from his contract.  he left upwards of $3 million on the table, too.  sayonara, nishi.

daniel also included some dodger cards for my enjoyment, like this 1988 score bob welch card.
with the yellow borders, it's as if score knew he was really a member of the oakland a's.

here's a 1999 fleer sports illustrated card of a trio of dodger rookies - angel pena, jeff kubenka, and paul loduca
of the three, kubenka was the one who saw the least amount of big league action (12 games over the 1998 and 1999 seasons).  however, of the three, kubenka is the one with the better career batting average.  like roy gleason, kubenka has an average of 1.000, having singled in his only big league at bat.

speaking of rookies, here is an 'official pinnacle rookie card' of paul konerko.
 that would be a 1998 score card, by the way.  here's a translucent 1998 skybox ex-2001 konerko card
nowhere on the card does it say 'official rookie card'.  and it is better for it.

finally, a 2012 topps heritage card of former dodger nathan eovaldi
i forget about heritage.  when people ask me what i need, i usually say bowman since i don't buy bowman product.  i also don't buy heritage any more, although that might change in two years.  we'll see.

thanks for the trade daniel!

29 September 2012

the same old sob

in this case, sob refers to superstars of baseball, as in kaybee superstars of baseball.  you see, if you compare this 1987 kaybee superstars of baseball pedro guerrero card
 to this 1988 kaybee superstars of baseball pedro guerrero card
you will find a whole lot of repetitiveness in the design.  and they didn't stop there, as you will see when you look at this 1989 kaybee superstars of baseball kirk gibson card
at least fleer put in a tiny amount of effort to differentiate their 1988 baseball mvp design (here's fernando in dodger stadium)
from their 1989 baseball mvp design (featuring mike marshall, who was no one's mvp at the big league level)
sure, they basically just flipped the margins, but at least they tried.

all of these cards were sent to me by tom of the angels, in order.  tom also runs the 1995 skybox emotion blog, so there was one of those cards in the package, too.  eric karros is deep, apparently
as we all know, karros kicked off the dodgers' mid-90's run of rookies of the year by winning the award in 1992.  in 1994, a year after mike piazza won the award, raul mondesi was voted the best rookie in the national league.  here's a card of rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuul from 1997 upper deck collector's choice
that also features talking heads keith olbermann and dan patrick.  first direct espn tie-in with cards as far i as know.

i'll finish with the 1995 national league rookie of the year (sorry chipper), hideo nomo on a 2003 mlb showdown card
thanks tom! always a pleasure to trade halos for dodgers.

28 September 2012

if it's taken me this long, there's no use waiting any longer

every once in a while, i will take a gander through my scanned folder.  a lot of times, i scan cards for a specific post, like the cards for the 'evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers' posts, or a 'double dipper' post.  sometimes i will scan cards as they come in or if they catch my eye, and then i wait for the right post idea to come along.  well, i'm done waiting with these four cards.

the following four cards have been taking up space in my scanned folder for almost 4 years - not quite the entire time i've been running this blog.  yes, yesterday was the 4th anniversary of garvey cey russell lopes.  so, as i embark on year number 5, here are some cards that have been stuck in purgatory for most of years 1 through 4.

2008 ud piece of history russell martin, joe mauer, brian mccann relic
i did not think that martin would decline so quickly.

2003 ud sp legendary cuts walter alston relic
shiny!  this guy was the manager of the dodgers when i was born and when i attended my first dodger game.  it's nice that the card companies didn't ignore managers like alston. although i am somewhat pleased that there haven't been a whole lot of john mcgraw cards.

2008 topps moments and milestones gary sheffield
sheff was one of the greatest offensive players the dodgers have ever had.  it's too bad that they couldn't harness his offensive prowess for good instead of evil.  kind of like sinestro.

finally, here's a 1999 upper deck angel pena card
pena must have felt a bit like ed goodson in the mid-1970's.  there wasn't a whole lot to do when you are steve garvey's backup, just as there wasn't much for pena to do at the big league level when mike piazza is reigning supreme behind the plate.  but, with piazza gone for good heading  into the  1999 season, pena got a shot at some playing time.  although the dodgers had todd hundley as their primary backstop, pena got into 43 games and hit 4 homers.  he appeared in a total of 71 games for the dodgers over three seasons (1998, 1999, and 2001) as the dodgers passed the catcher's torch from hundley to paul loduca.

so, there you have it - 4 cards and 4 years.  but i'm not done yet.

27 September 2012

1978 topps dodgers in 1982 part 2

hey, charlie hough.  why don't you kick off this second part of the evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers 1982 post by showing us how to grip a knuckleball.
thanks!  in 1982, for the first time in his career, charlie hough made no relief appearances.  instead, the rangers used him exclusively as a starter and he responded by going 16-13 with a 3.95 era in 34 starts.  he pitched 228 innings and threw 12 complete games, 2 of them shutouts (one a 2-hitter and the other a 3-hitter).  thus began a 9-year string of 10 or more victories for hough as a ranger.

tommy john was in action on his 1982 topps base card, but was denied an in action card.  
go figure.  he also wrangled his way onto the yankees' team leader card 
thanks to his 2.63 era in 1981.  dave righetti actually had a lower era (2.05), but i assume that the rules for era-title qualifying were the same in 1981 as they are in full regular seasons.  that is, a pitcher must pitch an average of 1 inning per game, so 162 innings pitched is the typical minimum.  in 1981, the yankees played 108 games, and righetti had only 105.1 innings pitched to john's 140.1  in 1982, john's era rose to 3.66, but it was still the lowest on the staff as righetti's also ballooned, all the way to 3.79.  john was just 10-10 in 26 starts, but had 9 complete games and 2 shutouts for the bronx bombers before he was traded to the angels at the end of august.  

california was making a run for the pennant, and picked up john for some veteran moxie.  he went 4-2 with a 3.86 era in his seven regular season starts for the angels, and then was 1-1 in the alcs against the brewers.  he was the winner in game 1, but the loser in game 4; a game that turned out to be his final postseason appearance.  for whatever reason, john was not included in the topps traded set in 1982.  i might have to fix that with a card that should have been.  we'll see.

there's a lot of yellow on lee lacy's 1982 topps card.
with dave parker out with a thumb injury for a good part of the season, lacy got some solid playing time for the bucs in right field.  he also played left, center and even a couple of games at third base over the course of the 1982 season.  along the way, he hit .312 with 5 homers, 31 rbi and 40 stolen bases. one of his home runs was an inside-the-park job off of randy jones of the mets.

rick rhoden, in contrast to lacy, is going for the all black look on his 1982 topps card.  all the way to his mustache.
rhoden made 35 starts for the pirates in 1982, winning 11 and losing 14.  he had an era of 4.14 and had 6 complete games and 1 shutout.  his shutout was a 6-hitter against the braves in which rhoden helped his own cause by going 2 for 4 at the plate with a double and two rbi.  in fact, rhoden helped his cause quite a bit during 1982, as he hit .265 with 3 home runs and 12 rbi on the season.

elias sosa was shown as an expo on his 1982 topps base card, 
but he spent the year in detroit.  that's why we have the 1982 topps traded set, which put sosa in motown gear.
sosa joined the tigers towards the end of spring training and wound up spending the entire year, but only that year, on their roster.  he made 38 appearances for detroit, going 3-3 with 4 saves and a 4.43 era in 61 innings of work.  right after the season ended, sosa was on the move again as he had his contract purchased by the padres in october of 1982.

hey - look at don sutton's 1982 topps base card
and then his 1982 topps in action card
not a lot of variation there, although topps did put the photo with a tad more action on the appropriate card.  in 1982, sutton was toiling for the astros for most of the season.  he was 13-8 with a 3.00 era in 27 starts for houston when they dealt him to the brewers for kevin bass and two other players near the end of august.  down the stretch, he was 4-1 in his 7 starts for the brew crew, with two complete games and a shutout (a 7-hitter against the tigers in his second american league start).  his biggest victory, however, came on the last day of the season when the brewers and orioles started the day tied atop the american league east.  sutton outdueled jim palmer that day, throwing 8 strong innings to lead the brewers to a 10-2 victory and a division title.

sutton was also the winning pitcher in game 3 of the alcs against the angels, and he went on to start games 2 and 6 of the world series against the cardinals.  he took the loss in game 6 as the brewers failed to close out their first world series championship, but he didn't pitch well in either start.  like john, sutton was left out of the 1982 topps traded set.  i'll be sure to correct that oversight.

so there were 16/27 members of the 1978 topps dodgers featured by topps in 1982.  and, we'll get tommy back in 1983.  here's the tally to date:

baker 12 (1971-1982)
burke 2 (1978-1979)
cey 11 (1972-1982)
davalillo 14 (1963-1974, 1978-1979)
forster 11 (1972-1982)
garman 8 (1971-1973, 1975-1979)
garvey 12 (1971-1982)
goodson 6 (1973-1978)
grote 15 (1964-1976, 1978-1979)
hooton 11 (1972-1982)
hough 11 (1972-1982)
john 19 (1964-1982)
lacy 10 (1973-1982)
lasorda 8 (1954, 1973-1974, 1977-1981)
lopes 10 (1973-1982)
martinez 9 (1971-1976, 1978-1980)
monday 16 (1967-1982)
mota 18 (1963-1980)
oates 10 (1972-1981)
rau 9 (1973-1981)
rautzhan 2 (1978-1979)
rhoden 8 (1975-1982)
russell 13 (1970-1982)
smith 16 (1967-1982)
sosa 9 (1974-1982)
sutton 17 (1966-1982)
yeager 10 (1973-1982)

teams represented so far:  20  (dodgers, indians, colt .45's, pirates, white sox, astros, mets, a's, red sox, angels, expos, cardinals, braves, cubs, orioles, giants, phillies, yankees, rangers, tigers)

26 September 2012

1978 topps dodgers in 1982

some more of the dodgers of my youth were on the move in 1982, like reggie smith, who was featured in the 1982 topps traded set as a giant.
topps also listed him as a first baseman on the card, which was different from his flagship 1982 topps card
as i mentioned last time, reggie didn't play in the outfield at all in 1981, making only two fielding appearances all year (both at first base) due to his injured shoulder.  reggie also got an 'in action' card in the set, which means the photo shows him in inaction, waiting for a pitch.
reggie played in 106 games in 1982, 99 of which were spent at first base.  he hit 18 home runs and drove in 56 runs.  he hit his 300th career home run that year, as well as his 2000th base hit.  it turned out to be smith's final season in the big leagues, too.

davey lopes was another starter from the team of my youth to be playing in the bay area in 1982.  here's his very yellow and green (and pink) 1982 topps traded card:
but, before lopes could get into the green and gold, topps issued three cards of him in the flagship set.  here's his base:
and in action:
you'll notice that lopes is slightly more 'in action' than smith - it looks like he is prepping for the pitch.  like maury wills in 1972, lopes gets an in action card that doesn't make any sense for a premier basestealer.  at least the photo is from 1981, unlike the photo on his all-star card which came from 1980 (as did the photo on reggie smith's base card).  you can tell by the patches.  the round patch was worn by the dodgers in 1980 to mark the playing of the all-star game at dodger stadium that year.  the 1981 patch was narrow and was worn to commemorate the bicentennial of the city of los angeles.  anyway, lopes played in 128 games for the a's.  he hit 11 home runs (including number 100 for his career which came courtesy of former teammate bobby castillo) and stole 28 bases.

steve garvey wasn't going anywhere in 1982
although his photo is also from 1980.  the garv didn't get an all-star card since he failed to start at first base for the national league for the first time since 1973, but he did get an in action card:
ah, the intense action of the swing follow through.  1982 was a contract year for garvey, and he didn't do himself any favors.  although he played in all 162 games, he had only 176 hits and his .718 ops was the lowest since 1971.  he did hit career home run number 200 during the 1982 season, and on september 13th, he capped off his dodger career with a 16th inning, walk-off home run for his final long ball as a dodger.  his 1968 hits as a dodger rank second among los angeles dodgers to willie davis, and he is 5th overall in franchise history in that category.   he hit more doubles (333) and drove in more runs (992) than any other la dodger, and only duke snider and zach wheat are above him on the all-time franchise doubles list.  carl furillo and gil hodges join snider and wheat in the top four spots of the all-time franchise rbi list.  finally, garvey left the dodgers for san diego with the fifth highest home run total in franchise history with 211.

garvey was eclipsed on that home run list by only one other los angeles dodger, and his name was ron cey (the penguin had 228 homers).  since then, eric karros has passed them both.  here's cey's 1982 topps base card
and an in action card of his very own.
hello, rick monday!  cey gets the most action out of any of the photos features.  in fact, you can see the progression of a swing if you look at the cards in the order in which i have presented them - smith, lopes, garvey, and cey.  cey also finished his dodger career in 1982.  he remains to this day the all-time los angeles leader in walks.  cey played in 150 games and hit 24 home runs in 1982.  before he was traded to the cubs during the offseason, cey hit a home run in his last game as a dodger.  against the giants, no less.

the fourth member of the infield, bill russell, got just one card in the set.
it looks a lot like reggie smith's in action card.  plus, there's a lurking pitcher on deck.  guess i'll try to figure out who it is.  hold on.  w know that the dodgers are on the road (gray uniforms), and we know the photo is from 1981 (left sleeve patch).  plus, the blue of the dugout roof fascia tells me that the dodgers are in new york (shea stadium, where the visitors sat in the third base dugout).  in the strike shortened season, the dodgers made only one visit to shea, and bill russell only appeared in two of the games.  on may 8th, russell did indeed hit in the 8th spot in front of the pitcher; however, that was a night game.  and, even though the pitcher was a left-handed batter (batting glove on right hand), it was fernando, and the on deck guy looks more like terry forster.  the next day, the dodgers and mets squared off in a saturday afternoon affair.  russell was once again in the 8-spot, and the starting pitcher was rick sutcliffe.  sut was a left-handed batter, and he was 0 for 1 in his lone at bat.  dave goltz also got an at bat that day, but goltzie was a righty-righty.  i'll go with sutcliffe as the lurker.

i thought at one point that it was possible that the lopes, garvey, and cey in action card photos all came from the same game as the russell photo, but rick monday did not play in any of the three games the dodgers played in new york in 1981.  pedro guerrero hit behind cey all weekend, and i don't know that monday would have been used as a pinch hitting decoy for petey.  so maybe the cey photo is from 1980?

moving on, here's dusty baker's base card
dusty also got some face time on the team leaders card that topps issued in place of the team card that had been part of their sets since 1956, except for 1969 i believe.
dusty followed up his .320 average with by hitting an even .300 in 1982 with 23 home runs, 88 rbi, and a second straight all-star berth, although he was 0 for 2 in the game.

terry forster got kind of washed out on his 1982 topps card
forster was all the way back in 1982, pitching 83 innings in 56 appearances.  both of those were highs for forster's tenure with the dodgers which ended after the 1982 season.  forster was 5-6 with 3 saves, and he criminally got only two at bats all season (he was 0 for 2) and his career batting average fell below .400.  after the season, forster signed a free agent deal with the braves.

burt hooton matched dusty baker as far as profile style photo on his base card
as well as appearing on the team leader card
his 2.28 era just barely bested jerry reuss' 2.30 mark in 1981, but his 4.03 era in 1982 was fourth-best among the four primary starters (fernando, reuss, bob welch, and hooton).  he was just 4-7 in 21 starts, but did throw two shutouts, including a one-hitter against the phillies in april.

here's rick monday in the foreground of a card for a change
mo hit .257 over 104 games for the dodgers in 1982.  he had 11 home runs and 42 rbi.  he had a two-homer game against the padres in june, and a grand slam against the giants in october.

finally, we have steve yeager
the yeager-meister hit .245 with a couple of home runs as mike scioscia's backup in 1982.  as far as the picture on his card goes, yeager caught both the saturday and sunday games of that three game series against the mets in new york during may of 1981, so this photo might be from the same game as the bill russell photo.  in reality, this photo should have been used for a steve yeager in action card so i could put it between the lopes and the garvey card to further complete the anatomy of a swing.

tomorrow i'll showcase the 1978 topps dodger players who had moved on from la prior to the release of the 1982 topps set.

25 September 2012

the dodgers' mcmullen

[this is the forty-first 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 goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murray, and matt luke.]

there were probably some folks back in 1965 that lamented the likelihood that his was the last card that would feature ken mcmullen as a dodger.  mcmullen's 1964 topps card
was the first card on which he was flying solo, and although frank howard's 1965 topps card showed him still with the dodgers, mcmullen's had him listed as a washington senator.  mcmullen was included, along with phil ortega and pete richert (and later, dick nen) in the deal that sent hondo to washington in exchange for claude osteen and john kennedy in december of 1964.

at that point in time, mcmullen had 109 games of major league experience under his belt, with a .232 average, 6 home runs, and 30 rbi.  he debuted in 1962 and played in a handful of games, although the only defensive position he played that year was left field.  mcmullen played in 79 games during the 1963 season, most of which came as the dodgers' third baseman.  unfortunately, he did not appear in the world series that year due to a late season injury.

after a disappointing 1964 season in which mcmullen was down at spokane for an extended period of time, he was dealt to the senators.  there, he was their everyday third baseman and he responded by hitting 86 home runs over the next 5 seasons.  he never won a gold glove, but he did lead the league, or finish near the top of the leader board, in many defensive categories during his time in the nation's capitol.  just a few games into the 1970 season, however, mcmullen was traded to the angels.

his 1971 topps card features one of those fantastic in-game photos that the set is known for, and it's one of my favorite cards in the set.
we get to see the original yankee stadium set up, with the flag pole and the monuments in the field of play!  that's crazy stuff.

with the angels, mcmullen was once again the everyday third baseman.  he played in a career high 160 games in 1971, and hit a career high 21 home runs that year.  his home run total dropped to just 9 in 1972, but he hit .269 which was just a few points off his career best average.

now we get to the double dipping part.  when the dodgers traded frank robinson, bill singer, and bobby valentine (and others) to the angels prior to the 1973 season, they received andy messersmith and mcmullen in return.  mcmullen began the year as the dodger third baseman, and was hitting .389 through the team's first five games.  that's when he became wally pipp to ron cey's lou gehrig.  out with muscle spasms, mcmullen sat on april 11 while cey got the start.  mcmullen didn't get another start at third base until late june, and he was used primarily as a pinch hitter off the bench the rest of the season.  here's mcmullen's 1975 topps card to document his return to los angeles.
mcmullen spent three seasons with the dodgers the second time around - 1973 through 1975.  he was able to make his only career postseason appearance in 1974 during the nlcs against the pirates.  unfortunately, he struck out in his only at bat.  earlier that year, mcmullen lost his wife to cancer, and the dodgers wore black armbands for a few games in her honor.  in fact, on the night that hank aaron broke babe ruth's career home run record, al downing and the rest of the team were wearing the armbands on their left sleeves.  you can't really see it on this card, but there are a number of photos from the game that show the armband, like this one.

after the 1975 season, mcmullen was on the move again.  he returned to the american league, where he played in 98 games for the oakland a's.  then, during spring training 1977, mcmullen's contract was purchased by the milwaukee brewers.  it was with the brew crew that mcmullen closed out his big league career, hitting 5 home runs over the course of 63 appearances.  in his final big league at bat, mcmullen came off the brewers' bench to hit a two-run pinch hit home run against the mariners.  not a bad way to go out.

while mcmullen did get a card in the 1977 topps set, he was not included in the 1978 set, even though he played in more games in 1977 than he had in any of his three 'double dipper' seasons in los angeles.  that's just wrong, so i went ahead and threw a card that should have been together for him.
if i ever get around to doing the back, it will be a true final tribute.

these days, mcmullen maintains his ties with the dodgers, often making appearances on their behalf.  he is also a good ttm signer, as i will show you.  here's a copy of his 1973 topps card that he signed through the mail.
the 'shot from below' rather than a bad airbrush job. mcmullen came out ahead in this set.  bill singer, not so much.

mcmullen also signed a copy of his 1974 topps card, marking his triumphant return to the blue with a real photo
kudos to topps for not just going back to a photo from the early 1960's instead.  here's my ratty old version of his 1975 topps card that he also signed for me
and his 1976 card, the last to feature him as a dodger.
i also sent a printed copy of the 1978 card that should have been, and he signed that, too.
he also wrote me a short note and signed it as well.  super double dipper through the mail success awesomeness.

thanks ken!