31 October 2013

by green lantern's light

hey! it's halloween and the first official day of the postseason!  one of those things means that kids will be ringing my doorbell looking for candy.  the other means that pretty soon, a bunch of men will be ringing ned colletti's doorbell looking for a taste of the dodger money stream.

i don't think there will be too many kids dressed as green lantern this year (plenty of iron men though), but raul mondesi's 1996 score insert here made me think of hal jordan perhaps facing off against sinestro while mondy tried to figure out what base to throw to.
it also reminds me that at around 9:30 tonight, there will be some high school aged kids using their baseball uniforms as costumes. nice try.  hope you like raisins.

30 October 2013

what does craig paquette have up his sleeve?

some might think that craig paquette was the embodiment of the southern california dude back in 1996. it makes sense - he had his tan, his wraparound shades, his blond hair, and his pearly whites, but he also had something else.  the socal native had a fan who would give him things to put up his sleeve before games.  here, on paquette's 1997 upper deck collector's choice card, we are given a glimpse of the scene immediately following one such transaction.
now, what could paquette be putting up his sleeve?  and why?  well, now, for the first time, we are able to understand thanks to recently discovered photo variations of the card.  take a look.
interesting.  that looks like a tree.  it's as if the unidentified fan is telling paquette to put a tree in his sleeve.
that's weird.  that's a transformer action figure - bumblebee, i believe.  i guess i should know, but i was too busy looking at megan fox to really have understood what was going on in that movie.  but yes, it is bumblebee.  so, paquette has also put bumblebee in his sleeve.
ok, now this is strange.  a clock?
a big rock?
and now some fleas?  what would paquette have to gain by putting a bunch of chili pepper bassists in his sleeve?  i wonder if the chili peps would make him start to sneeze in his sleeve.
that's a tin can
and that's a little tiny man, both put in paquette's sleeve.
now a light?  would that make it bright in his sleeve?
a tv?

who is this fan, anyway?

i get it.

it's the boogie.  paquette's got the boogie in his sleeve.

well, the boogie did paquette good in 1996, as he led the royals in home runs (22) and rbi (67).  i would never have guessed that paquette had ever hit that many dingers, but when you've got the boogie, i suppose anything is possible.

[this work of fiction is my entry in round 1 of nachos grande's blogger bracket challenge.  if you want to see more things craig paquette may or may not have put up his sleeve (such as a frown, a clown, a boat, moat, or even a mink coat), then cast your vote accordingly]

hooray for hollywood! and triple threads, too, i suppose.

today is the day - the day that topher at crackin' wax busts his case of 2013 topps triple threads.  i took the dodgers, and i am hoping for some nice hits.  perhaps something along the lines of this 2011 topps triple threads card i recently acquired.
that's steve garvey, duke snider, sandy koufax, clayton kershaw, andre ethier, and matt kemp all on the front.  here's the guts of the card
with another look at the front and back
garvey seems a bit out of place on the card - gil hodges or pee wee reese might have made more sense - but i am in no way complaining.  this is one of a few new-ish additions to my garvey collection which will slowly make their way to a post or several.  for now, i'm hoping to post some cool stuff from 2013 triple threads in the very near future!

29 October 2013

1986 topps cards of the 1978 topps dodgers that should have been

there are only three cards that i could think of that topps failed to make in 1986 when it came to the 1978 topps dodgers.  the first one is the steve garvey all-star card that should have been
you've seen this one before.  garvey was voted in as the starter of the 1985 all-star game - the 10th time in 12 seasons and the last time in his career that he received that honor - but topps put keith hernandez in the 1986 all-star subset.  hernandez wasn't even on the roster for the game, and garvey was 1 for 3 with the game winning rbi, by the way.  1985 also marked the last time that the all-star game was played in minnesota, although the twin cities will host the midsummer classic in 2014.

dave lopes topps traded
lopes was traded to the astros in july of 1986, but was left out of the annual traded set.  with the 'stros, he was able to make his final postseason appearance.  he made three pinch-hit appearances in the nlcs, including a 16th inning walk in game 6 off of jesse orosco.  lopes came around to score the first of two astro runs in the inning, but the astros were unable to match the three runs the mets had scored in the top of the inning, and so lost the pennant to the eventual world champs.

tommy john topps traded
john signed with the yankees as a free agent at the start of the 1986 season, returning to the bronx for a second go-around.  the 43-year old was left off of the topps traded checklist perhaps due to the fact that he didn't pitch for the yankees in april, july, or september.

up next is the 1987 versions of 1978 topps dodger cards.  of the 13 who remain, there are quite a few who got their last topps cards that year, and not all were of the final tribute variety.  stay tuned...

28 October 2013

memorial patches for kevin hickey and moose

bill 'moose' skowron passed away in late april, 2012, and fellow white sox alum kevin hickey died a couple of weeks later.  the white sox honored both former players with diamond memorial patches on their 2012 jerseys.  the top one read 'hic man' for hickey, and the bottom patch had 'bms' for bill 'moose' skowron.

you can see both patches on the road grays thanks to francisco liriano's 2012 topps update card
as well as on the home pinstripes courtesy of adam dunn's 2013 topps
and 2013 topps opening day cards
and even on the throwbacks thanks to alex rios' 2013 topps archives card
but the card that gives us the best view of the patches is this 2012 topps heritage high numbers francisco liriano card. it's the one that goes in the memorials binder
one thing i like about this relatively new collection of mine is that i get to learn about players that i might not have known much about otherwise.  i did not know that kevin hickey's story rivals that of 'the rookie' jim morris or that philadelphia eagle player that disney made a movie about.

hickey was a steelworker who played softball and went to a tryout held by the white sox in the late 1970's.  he did well enough that he wound up getting to play in the minor leagues.  he eventually earned a call up and pitched in the majors for parts of six seasons - three with the white sox and three with the orioles.  even after his playing career was over, he remained close to the white sox, and was the team's bp pitcher from 2004 up until his death.

skowron i knew more about, largely because of his role in the dodgers' 1963 world series sweep of the yankees.  it was his lone season as a dodger, but he hit .385 in the fall classic with a home run to help defeat his former team, which he was not too thrilled about.  beginning the following year (after a short stint with the senators), skowron played for the white sox for a few seasons.  after retiring, he returned to chicago and served as an ambassador for the team as a member of their community relations department.  skowron appeared in 7 world series as a member of the yankees to go along with his one as a dodger, but the yankees did not wear armbands in 2012.

the pesky patch (and armband)

in august of 2012, johnny pesky passed away at the age of 92.  he had been a player, coach, manager, broadcaster and ambassador for the red sox over the span of 70 or so years, and was honored with a memorial patch and a black armband for the remainder of the season.

pesky's number 6, which had been retired by the club a few seasons earlier, was worn by the team on their left sleeves while at home - on both the home whites (as seen on this 2013 topps museum collection dustin pedroia card)
and the red alternates (as seen on this 2013 topps jon lester card)
on the road grays, the red sox wore a black armband in pesky's memory (as see on this 2013 topps craig breslow card)
the angels, who were visiting boston for the first series at fenway following pesky's passing, wore their own version of the patch for the august 21 game only.  you can see it in this getty images photo of albert pujols and ervin santana
while pesky was not affiliated in any way with the angels, it was a nice gesture on their part to honor a baseball lifer.  in 2013, the angels would do the same with stan musial.

pesky led the american league in hits in his first three seasons as a major leaguer; a streak that was interrupted due to service in the navy during world war 2.  he may be best known by baseball fans as the person for whom fenway park's right field foul pole is named, but pesky put together quite a baseball career, and as bud selig said in a statement after pesky died, 'a great american life'.

27 October 2013

should i keep this card?

so, i am wondering what other player collectors would do in this situation.  i have a 2012 topps nolan ryan golden great card that i pulled from a pack.  
i am wondering whether to keep this card or not.  sure, it's a nice card of a hall of fame pitcher wearing a colorful uniform.  i did used to have a ryan pc, but that ended with most of my other pc's around 2002 or so.

no, the reason i am questioning the card is because of the back
my main man steve garvey gets a mention on the back!  even though it was the nlds (not the nlcs), garvey's home run was the only blemish on ryan's effort that day in '81.  it's nice of topps to mention the garv, but i don't know that text on the back is enough to earn a spot in the garvey binder.

what do you think?

26 October 2013

cards and things from the diamond king

it's time to show some dodger goodies that came my way a while back as a result of a trade with the diamond king.  i sent some cards for his steroids/scam project, and he sent me cards of honest, hard working dodgers, like hall of famer don sutton on a 2006 fleer greats of the game insert card
i appreciate the inset photo of dodger stadium with the palm trees and the sunset.  unfortunately, the 'dodgers' script seems to be a bit off.  oh well, this is still a great insert set chock full of dodger greats.  obviously.

speaking of dodger greats, here is clayton kershaw on a 2012 bowman draft picks and prospects insert.
he shares space with a padres' southpaw, max fried, who was also a top ten draft pick.

here's a 2011 bowman platinum matt kemp ruby parallel
and a couple of josh beckett parallels from 2013 topps gypsy queen.  the first is the framed blue parallel numbered to 499
and the second is the framed white parallel that is not serial numbered
the dodgers will have beckett back in 2014 for one more season.  he was 0-5 in 2013 before his season was lost to injury.  hopefully he will bounce back in a big way.

another dodger who lost time to injury in 2013, and of whom i received multiple parallels, is andre ethier.  this is his 2013 topps heritage chrome parallel
and this is his 2013 topps heritage chrome refractor parallel
see the difference?

the diamond king sent a couple of double play cards along to keep the dodgers company, which was nice.  here's a 1995 score gold rush parallel of roberto alomar
and a 1999 topps stars card of miguel tejada
the most unusual (and unexpected) item in the package was a 8x10 giveaway sheet commemorating the 1972 oldtimers day at dodger stadium.
that was the day that the dodgers retired the jerseys of jackie robinson, roy campanella, and sandy koufax.  it also marked, i believe, the last time jackie appeared in public, or at least at dodger stadium.  he passed away in october of 1972, about four months after the ceremonies.

thanks for the trade!

25 October 2013

the lone harmon killebrew final tribute

it's good and bad at the same time that topps didn't make a card of harmon killebrew for their 1976 set.  good in that the killer looks strange in a kansas city royal uniform, but bad that there is no final tribute for the hall of famer with his complete career stats on the back.  we do have this 1975 (some say 1976) sspc card, though, 
which lists most of his key career stat totals in the text on the back
killebrew retired as the game's fifth leading home run hitter of all time, and no other right-handed american league player had hit more than his 573 homers at the time.  today, only alex rodriguez has surpassed him in that regard.  it is fitting that the final home run of killebrew's career was hit during the last game he played in minnesota - a solo shot on september 18, 1975 at the metropolitan stadium.

killebrew didn't want to leave the twins, but he also wanted to play, and calvin griffith was only willing to pay $50,000 for killebrew's services as a coach/pinch hitter in 1975.  he ultimately was released and signed a 2-year deal with the royals.  the twins retired his number during the 1975 season, and killebrew fittingly hit a home run in the game that featured the retirement ceremony.  the royals, who finished second in the al west in 1975, released killebrew after the season ended, and he eventually returned to the twins organization and became one of its greatest ambassadors.

i had the pleasure of meeting killebrew a couple of times, which is to say that i spoke with him at a couple of team sponsored events and signings.  he was revered by twins fans and this dodger fan alike.

24 October 2013

the 1978 topps dodgers who were not 1986 topps dodgers, save one - pitcher edition

earlier today we looked at the position players featured in the 1986 topps set who were members of the dodgers in the eyes of topps in 1978.  now it's the pitchers' turn.

charlie hough was in his 7th season as a ranger in 1986
he was also featured on the team leader card
and for good reason even if he weren't the 'dean' of the team.  he led the team in wins, era, strikeouts, innings, and complete games in 1985.  in 1986, he led the rangers in some of those categories again (wins, era, and complete games), but was overtaken in others (innings, strikeouts) by the guys who hastened burt hooton's retirement - ed correa and bobby witt.  still, hough's 17 wins were at that time a career high, and the knuckleballer made the all-star team for the only time in his career.  in the midsummer classic, hough pitched a perfect 7th inning to preserve the al's 3-0 lead.  he went back to the mound in the 8th and recorded 3 strikeouts.  unfortunately, one of his strikeout victims reached on a passed ball.  throw in an earlier double and wild pitch, plus an ensuing balk and single, and hough was lifted having pitched an inning and two-thirds while allowing 2 runs (one earned).  the al still won the game, however.

hough's two best pitching performances of the season came against the angels.  in late september, he faced off against former teammate don sutton, and beat the halos 1-0 on a complete game two hitter.  he held the angels hitless in that game through 6 and a third innings.  earlier in the season, hough had lost a no-hitter against the angels in the 9th inning.  in that game, hough took the no-no into the 9th with a 1-0 lead.  after a strikeout to start the inning, jack howell reached on an error by the left fielder and scored on wally joyner's single, bringing an end to the no-hitter and the shutout.  then came a passed ball, another strikeout, and an intentional walk, and then another strikeout that should have ended the inning.  instead, strike 3 came on a passed ball and joyner was able to score all the way from second to give the angels a win and hough a hard luck one-hit loss.

rick rhoden, like hough, was named to the all-star team in 1986 representing the pirates (he did not appear in the game)
and he also graced the pirates' team leader card
thanks to his service dating back to 1980.  rhoden didn't have any close calls with no-hitters, but he did strike out 21 expos over the course of two consecutive starts in late june.  overall, he was a 15 game winner with 12 complete games in 1986.  heading into the final month of the season, he was 15-7 with a 2.41 era and a viable cy young award candidate.  unfortunately, five losses and a no-decision in 6 september starts saw his era jump to 2.84 (still a career best), and rhoden subsequently wound up 5th in the cy young voting.  rhoden did win another silver slugger, however, as he hit .278 with a home run (the 9th and final one of his career) and 10 rbi.

tommy john finally got a card as an athletic in 1986
even though he had returned to the yankees during the offseason.  topps chose, as they had with davey lopes, not to include john in the 1986 traded set.  i guess john's 13 appearances (10 as a starter) were not enough to warrant a spot in the set.  john was 5-3 on the season with a 2.93 era.

terry forster was included in the 1986 topps traded set.  the flagship set had him in a braves uniform
but he had been released by atlanta at the start of the season, and signed with the angels shortly thereafter
he pitched in 41 games for the angels, compiling a 4-1 record with 5 saves.  1986 turned out to be forster's last in the big leagues, and although the angels made the postseason, forster did not make an appearance in the alcs.

don sutton also pitched for the angels in 1986
he went 15-11 with a 3.74 era over 34 starts in his first full season for the angels.  one of those victories, a complete game 3-hitter against the rangers in june (two days after the near charlie hough no-no), counted for the 300th of his career.  after helping the angels win the al west, sutton made two appearances in the alcs, including a start.  he had an era of 1.86 in those appearances, having allowed 2 earned runs in 9.2 innings of work, but had no record in the series - the last postseason appearance of his career.

now for the retired pitcher, tommy lasorda
lasorda hit near bottom in 1986 as far as his managerial career went.  the dodgers posted their worst record to date in his tenure (73-89) and finished 5th in the nl west, 23 games behind the astros.  it marked the first time they had ever been as low as 5th place in the division, and they were only a half game ahead of the last place braves!

now for the wrap up.  as in 1985, there were 14/27 members of the 1978 topps dodgers featured by topps in 1986. here's the tally of appearances to date:

baker 16 (1971-1986)
burke 2 (1978-1979)
cey 15 (1972-1986)
davalillo 14 (1963-1974, 1978-1979)
forster 15 (1972-1986)
garman 8 (1971-1973, 1975-1979)
garvey 16 (1971-1986)
goodson 6 (1973-1978)
grote 15 (1964-1976, 1978-1979)
hooton 15 (1972-1986)
hough 15 (1972-1986)
john 23 (1964-1986)
lacy 14 (1973-1986)
lasorda 12 (1954, 1973-1974, 1977-1981, 1983-1986)
lopes 14 (1973-1986)
martinez 9 (1971-1976, 1978-1980)
monday 18 (1967-1984)
mota 18 (1963-1980)
oates 10 (1972-1981)
rau 9 (1973-1981)
rautzhan 2 (1978-1979)
rhoden 12 (1975-1986)
russell 17 (1970-1986)
smith 17 (1967-1983)
sosa 10 (1974-1984)
sutton 21 (1966-1986)
yeager 14 (1973-1986)

teams represented so far: 23 (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, padres, brewers, mariners)