31 January 2013

victory is mine! along with a complete list of the double play cards in my collection!

so i picked up a few upper deck victory singles a couple of weeks ago from both 2001 and 2002.  some of which featured double plays, like this adam kennedy card from the 2002 set
and this jose offerman card from the 2001 set
and these cubbies - ricky gutierrez
and eric young, also from the 2001 set
and i can't forget about damian easley from the 2002 set
or this dick schofield card from 1991 upper deck that seems to show kenny lofton getting a cheekful of glove after trying to break up a double play
these cards have been added to my double play binder, as well as the complete list of double play cards in my collection that is now posted over at my want list site.  any card not listed there is greatly desired by me. 

another card on that list that is fairly new to me is this 1995 upper deck minors danny klassen card.
klassen, the pride of leamington ontario, played in the majors for a handful of seasons, but never had a better card than that.

i also grabbed this nomar garciaparra card.  i know - it is not a non-red sox nomar - but at first i thought it might be a shot of the aftermath of a dp turn.
turns out, i think bernie williams has just stolen a base.  false alarm.

some of the impetus to pick up the victory cards came because i was looking for some cards of obscure dodgers.  it doesn't get much more obscure than bruce aven.
aven played in a total of 30 games for the dodgers over the course of the 2000 and 2001 seasons.  he had 13 hits as a dodger, 3 of which were home runs.  two of those homers, including one of the ones that resulted in the photo used for his 2001 upper deck victory card shown above, came in his second game as a dodger at the expense of kerry wood in chicago.

there are more cards of andy ashby as a dodger than there are of bruce aven, but this one features the good ol' former team's uniform
not that he wore the dodger uniform much in 2001.  ashby won both of his starts for the dodgers in 2001, each of which came against the eventual world champion diamondbacks.  he then missed the rest of the season due to an elbow injury, but returned to pitch for the dodgers in 2002 and 2003.

jim leyritz only appeared for the dodgers during the 2000 season, his last in the big leagues, making this 2001 card a final tribute.
unfortunately, i didn't scan the back.  if i had, you would see that he hit 1 of his 90 career home runs for the dodgers.  he appeared in 41 games as a dodger and hit an even .200 after starting the season with the yankees.

that was .125 points below gary sheffield who led the team in batting average over the course of the 2000 season.  how did i know that? because i picked up a team leader card, too.
i was excited about chan ho park's 2000 season - 18 wins, more than 200 strike outs, an era of 3.27, but he still had way too many walks.  he led the team in wins in 2001 as well, although his total dropped to 15 and his era crept to 3.50.  after that, he was gone to texas.

whatever, this post was about some double play cards and my comprehensive 'have' list of people turning two or at least a reference to a twin killing.  check it out and let me know if you have any cards (or just know of any) that aren't on the list!

30 January 2013

final joe morgan

lil' joe morgan finished his career with a one year stop in oakland back in 1984.  i recall hearing rumors during the 1983 nlcs that morgan might retire after the 1983 season in which he helped the phillies get to the world series (by beating the dodgers in the nlcs) but those rumors turned out to be false.  morgan wanted to play closer to home in 1984, and he also wanted to pass rogers hornsby for the top spot among home run hitting second basemen.

so, on to oakland, where it was a homecoming for morgan as he had attended high school and college there. he hit around .250 and appeared in 116 games for the a's but by the time the season was coming to an end, it was known that morgan would retire upon its completion.  that's why i was a tad surprised when i opened packs in 1985 and found joe morgan 'final tribute' cards in donruss
 and topps
after all, in 1984, not all of the manufacturers treated other hall of fame caliber retirees as well.  this time, however, morgan got base cards from all three, even though he was formally retired.  heck, o-pee-chee celebrated the fact that he was retired right on the front of his 1985 card!

you all know that i collect cards of players that show their complete career stats, right?  mostly just hall of fame or dodger types, and only those cards that were actually released the year after they stopped playing.  ok then, back to the show.

morgan's final at bat came in the team's 162nd game.  in the top of the first inning against mark gubicza and the royals, morgan doubled with one out and was removed from the game (and from the game in a larger sense) to some serious applause. before that, he reached his goal of passing rogers hornsby in home runs by a second baseman, and topps gave him a card commemorating that achievement.
 here's the back
the backs of the base cards varied, of course.  donruss was the only one to mention the fact that morgan was retired, but they also only showed five years of stats
fleer showed morgan's entire career stats, but they referred to batting average as 'pct.' and omitted slugging percentage (as did donruss)
 so, the most complete final tribute award goes to topps, despite their green backs and red ink print.
i used to point out to friends that steve garvey had more hits, more home runs and a higher batting average than joe morgan - hoping that they wouldn't point out that morgan got on base about 1400 more times than garvey did, thanks to all of those walks.

i respected and enjoyed watching morgan the player, and even had a pc of him going back in the 1980's. these days, i'm glad that i have these final tributes to enjoy.  i'm just thankful that they are silent.

29 January 2013

a bounty on beckham

first person to send me a 2013 topps gordon beckham card
(and any other double play cards from the set) will be rewarded.  and by rewarded i mean will receive a card in exchange for the beckham.  or any other double play cards from the set (such as jason kipnis or brendan ryan).

that is all.

gcrl : vintage :: evita : argentina

it's been nice to see so many bloggers make a point to focus on vintage cards this year.  i enjoy seeing older cards get some attention over the newer and shinier and more gimmicky cards, even though i still have some of those, too.  my 'no new pack' pledge has worked pretty well over the last couple of years, although i have bought some here and there, with the biggest splurge coming on gimmicky blasters of 2012 topps update.

anyway, like many of you, i never left vintage.  just like evita never left argentina.  even in my wild years. in fact, in the four and a half years (almost) that i have been running this blog, i have probably focused more on vintage (to me, those are cards that came out before i was born, so pre-1970) than at any time previously in my collection.  a lot of it probably has to do with the accessibility of vintage bargain bins and ebay, but i attribute much of it to the vintage that i have seen on the blogs over that time.

at any rate, i am more than pleased to announce that i have completed the topps dodger team sets from 1957 on.  in fact, the only cards preventing me from saying that i have all the topps dodger base cards from 1957 through 2012, including traded and update sets are those four red sox turned dodger players that got the ssp's in last year's update set.  boo/hiss on topps.

the last card that i needed for the 1957 topps team set?  none other than roy campanella.
here are some of the others that i picked up over the past few months to complete the team set.

don elston
kind of off centered, but not too bad.  elston's dodger career consisted of one scoreless inning of work in one game.  he was acquired from the cubs after the 1955 season, and found his way to the big leagues in 1957.  he came in to finish the game against the milwaukee braves on cinco de mayo, pitching to campanella.  less than three weeks later, elston was traded back to the cubs.  here's the guy he relieved in his lone appearance as a dodger, sandy koufax
this may well be the worst conditioned koufax in my collection, but i'll still count it.  in fact, i only need sandy's 1956 card to have all of his topps cards.  that is mind boggling to me.

here's another regular from the brooklyn days - gil hodges
i've always thought that it was nice that hodges got a shout-out in 'field of dreams'.

i picked up the team card around the same time that i got the campanella
so, that puts a wrap on the final year in brooklyn.

i finished up the team set for the first year in los angeles a while back, but there are a few cards that i had scanned that hadn't been showcased yet.  like gil hodges
and don drysdale
carl erskine
and john roseboro
and al walker
also known as 'rube'.  the card above was an upgrade that i picked up at a show last summer.  here is the walker card that was in my topps dodger team binder previously
it's been a blast digging through vintage bargain bins and finding vintage deals online the last few years, and really for most of my 35 years of collecting (except for the online part).  i kept my promise. vintage, don't keep your distance.  

28 January 2013

i snoozed, losed, but wound up winning. sort of.

i was recently tipped off via a saved search to a listing on ebay of a 2006 fleer greats of the game steve garvey bat barrel autogreats card, numbered out of 4 copies
i didn't win it.  i added to to my watch list with the intent of submitting a best offer to the seller.  someone beat me to the punch, although their best offer of $225 was higher than mine would have been.  

small consolation, but the seller had some other dodger goodies listed, and i was able to get a few of them for my best offer amounts.

like this 2009 topps triple threads russell martin, manny ramirez, and matt kemp relic card
i like the card, but i do have a tinge of buyer's regret thanks to the well documented questions surrounding 'game used' jerseys, as well as the non-committal statements on the back.  for all we know, that could be a piece of maury wills' wool jersey under kemp's photo.

here's a card i didn't know existed before now - a 2011 topps black diamond wrapper redemption card of clayton kershaw
kershaw wasn't around in 2001 when topps heritage used the 1952 design, but i suppose this is what it might have looked like.

jim wynn wasn't around in los angeles for too long, so i love finding cards that show him during his brief stay.  here's the autographed companion to the 1999 fleer sports illustrated greats of the game card i showed a short while ago
it's nice.  as is this 2004 upper deck etchings dusty baker autographed card
and this steve sax auto from the same set.
i think the dusty baker photo was also used by upper deck in their 2004 legends timeless teams set.  speaking of which, the timeless teams blog gets an update in a couple of hours.  be sure to check it out, but make that best offer you've been putting off first.  just in case someone else is out there ready to beat you to the punch.

27 January 2013

redefining the golden age

i always understood that the 'golden age of baseball' came after the 'dead ball' era and preceded the 'modern era'.  and, when i think of the golden era i think mostly of the 1950's and maybe the early 1960's.  to me, the 1970's are firmly entrenched in the modern era.  so, it was a surprise to find that steven patrick garvey was featured in the 2012 panini golden age release.  here's his base card
it is obvious that the interlocking 'la' has been removed from the hat, as well as the 'dodgers' script on the front of the jersey.  at least rawlings got to have their logo displayed.  and, we get the left field pavilion in the background.  

yes, it is 'golden age' and not 'golden era', but look at the rest of the checklist.  it's full of guys like jackie robinson and hal newhouser and joltin' joe dimaggio and the three stooges.  ok, it's also got lou piniella and gene tenace and joe torre.  and marcia brady.  so the garvey is not really out of place, and i am certainly not going to protest a new base card of the nl iron man.  here's the back, by the way.
there are also (of course) minis
with cigarette backs, among others.
remember kids - draw ponies instead! or something like that.

i picked up the garveys off of sportlots.  i don't know if i am even interested in the other dodgers from the set thanks to the lack of logos.  and, i am thankful that there don't seem to be any garvey autos or artificially rarified inserts in this release.

going oppo

here's the 9th installment in the countdown to spring training.  i'm using the 1979 post raisin bran steve garvey's baseball tips cards as a weekly windown to baseball.  this week, the garv waxes poetic about one of his favorite pastimes - hitting to the opposite field.
the cartoon sketch doesn't seem to match the text - that front foot looks like it is pointed directly up the middle.  anyway, i took a look through some of my collection to see if i could find examples of guys hitting to the opposite field.  i found tom candiotti possibly doing it on his 1995 ud collector's choice card
although he might have just swung late.  todd benzinger looks to be flailing at the outside pitch on his 1992 topps traded card
but john lindsey seems to have the 'inside-out' part of the swing down on his 2011 bowman card
here's a nice example of moving the runner over by going the opposite way, assuming the batter was right-handed.  it's bobby higginson's 2003 topps card
in which he is advancing to third base on a grounder to the second baseman.  i really like this card - it reminds me a bit of the 1995 topps raul mondesi card which is one of my all-time faves.

speaking of mondesi, the back of his 1996 pinnacle zenith card gives us a lesson in the opposite of going the opposite way
only 10% of mondy's hits in 1995 were to right field, and none of his home runs went that direction.  contrast that with mike piazza
who hit about one-third of his base hits to right, including the same number of home runs that he pulled to left.  that's some opposite field prowess right there.

i'll finish up with a 2012 topps gypsy queen matt kemp mini, upon which the bison is tracking a ball that he has just sent to the opposite field
only about 3 weeks left until spring training starts!