30 December 2008

cards from saint nick, i mean dan

well, they were from dan at saints of the cheap seats actually. they arrived a few days before christmas, and were a lot of fun to go through. i picked out a few to share.

1989 fleer sticker.i don't have too many stickers. puzzle pieces, holograms, and brittle sticks of gum are all plentiful here, but not stickers.

another oddball - 1999 ud choice adrian beltre floating head insert. the card comes with a baseball quiz - essentially, the question is against what american league team did adrian make his major league debut? the answer is inside his head, but rather than disassemble the card, i will use baseball reference. survey says...angels. they were just the anaheim angels back then.

2005 upper deck espn mike piazza. espy award winner.the strongest man in so-cal. or, italian-american superstar slugger. either way, piazza was a monster in la. he is one guy i wouldn't have minded seeing play a farewell season as a dodger. russell martin needed the rest.

another catcher - 2002 fleer ultra paul loduca.a couple of former dodgers here, with pedro astacio in the background. dodger stadium also featured. not a fan of loduca. the whole 'heart and soul' jim tracy/bill plaschke stuff made me like him even less. then came the mitchell report. boo.

finally, 1993 pinnacle 'the idols'. gregg jefferies and ron cey.

apparently, gregg jefferies was a fan of the penguin. and really, who wasn't?

thanks dan! i am stockpiling some tribe and oh my omars to send your way.

25 December 2008

an ornament, perhaps?

this card is on its way to mark at stats on the back. he needed a gil hodges mets (as a player) card, and i happened to have this 1962 beauty.the mets have retired his number, but the dodgers have not. except for jim gilliam, the dodgers only retire numbers for hall of famers. they will sometimes "hold" the number, as they did for a long time with steve garvey's 6 (retired by the padres, by the way) and fernando's 34. hodges missed out on the hall again this year, but, as they said in brooklyn: wait 'til next year!

just to tie this in to the day, i like to think that whoever had this card punched the hole in it so as to string a ribbon and hang it on the christmas tree. so, merry christmas mark - and everyone else!

24 December 2008

a card that makes you go hmmmm - or, wtf?

i recently completed a trade with a non-blogger. he had some 1970 cards for my set, and i had some detroit tigers for him from his want list. easy enough. the cards arrived, including the red sox team card featuring reggie smith's floating head.

what i was not expecting was the bonus 1973 cards. i have about a third of this set, but i don't think i will ever try to complete it. i am just not that into it, i guess. anyway, most of the cards sent were double plays, so that's nice.

here's future dodger mark belanger:

an airborne frank duffy:

looks like the belanger and duffy could have come from the same game. same goes for these next two:

mike andrews with bob oliver of the royals sliding in. nice astroturf.the diminutive freddie patek.baseball almanac shows ed spiezio as number 5 for the white sox in 1972. he is listed at 5'-11", but looks like frank howard next to patek. beware the headless umpire!

more research shows that oliver was with the royals only at the beginning of the 1972 season, while spiezio didn't join the white sox until later that year.

the card that made the trade, though is this one. luis alvarado.

where do i begin? check out the muscle cars! the weeds in the outfield! the chain link fence! the power lines! the cinder block wall and residence behind it! this card looks like it was taken at little league tryouts.

i was at first confused about the direction of the photo, but it looks like the picture is taken from the first base side, maybe a bit behind the bag and down the line. next, knowing what i know about the 1973 set, i wasn't sure whether alvarado was number 38 or the other guy. baseball almanac lists number 38 as phil regan. well, that's not phil regan. alvarado is a shortstop, so he must be the one taking the throw.

alvarado managed to play parts of 9 seasons for 6 teams. a pedestrian career, but one of the most gloriously strange cards i have ever seen.

23 December 2008

call this a mockumentary

documentary sucks. my least favorite product of the year - at least of the ones i bought a significant amount of. as a team collector, i was really looking forward to this product. all 162 dodger games documented? 81 home whites? 81 away grays? kershaw's debut? awesome. actual product? crap.back in 1997, upper deck had text on each card giving the circumstances of the photo - including the date. here's mark lemke. the caption says "meets media before marathon game at l.a. - 6/3/96". and you can clearly see this is dodger stadium. this is what i expected from documentary.

instead, they slap pictures of any team player, regardless of their impact on that particular game, with no regard for the caption they wrote! that kent card at the top? a generic caption, but the writeup on the back is about furcal and martin. plus the game was at cincy but the photo looks like san fran to me. some other cases in point:

angels game 154picture of john lackey with a caption referring to francisco rodriguez! and it's a milestone game for k-rod! i can't tell if lackey even pitched in this game.

brewers game 36. picture of eric gagne and a caption referring to ryan braun. maybe there weren't any highlights for gagne so they put him on this card just to include him in the set.

nope. here's brewers game 39only 3 games later - with a caption related to gagne's performance. and a picture of jason kendall.

now for some dodger goodness...

game 16. at atlanta. this makes sense - a picture of andruw jones! but he's in his home whites! and the caption refers to a "speedy veteran"! the back of the card is all about juan pierre. ugh.

game 17.

still at the braves. caption refers to (of course) andruw jones and his return to atlanta. so let's put a picture of james loney at st. louis on this card. why not?

game 153.
at pittsburgh. maddux in the home whites. kind of a generic caption, but with the game going extras, i can't tell if maddux pitched in this game or not.

well, probably not. here's game 154. the very next game! and the caption is all about maddux pitching his 5000th career inning. with a picture of manny.

game 155.nomar! with a generic offense caption! this works - except that it was a home game and nomar's wearing the grays. and the writeup on the back is all about manny.

here's how the giants look for the same game.

timmy! in the grays, but not at dodger stadium. neither the caption or the write up on the back indicate whether lincecum pitched or not.

now, having a photo - especially of a key play or player - from each game would be a daunting task. i figured upper deck either planned accordingly for this product or made some sort of deal with freelance or ap photographers or something like that. yes, i am naive about how that all works.

they did manage to get some right, with the player at least. here's twins game 144.

photo of nick blackburn, caption about nick blackburn, writeup on back about nick blackburn. nice work. except he's in the away jersey and game 144 was at the metrodome.
now for the worst part. take a look at dodgers game 152.

well, the road uni fits, as this game was at pnc park, and nomar is mentioned in the writeup on the back. but, wait. it's the same picture as game 155! woo-hoo!

documentary sucks. pure fiction.

19 December 2008

spirit of 76 from the blogger of 87

eric from 87 donruss was kind enough to fill some holes in my 1976 topps set. always nice to connect with a fellow dodger fan.

here are a few of the cards he sent my way:

1975 nl batting leaders.

there were no dodgers in the package, so we'll start with a future dodger, bill madlock. notice that the two next highest batting averages belonged to catchers.

next up is a former dodger, dick allen. cleanshaven, even. of course, he was rich allen on his only dodger card - 1971 topps. but that's a topic for a different day.

denny doyle of the red sox.i included this card simply to showcase the double play turn that is on every second baseman's card in the set. i love the player graphics in this set, much more than the ones in the 1973 issue.

jim lonborg.by this time, lonborg was a .500 pitcher, but he had a monster year in 67 for the red sox. he and i have something in common, too, but that will wait for a different post as well.

finally, a couple of yankee captains. first, the iron horse.lou gehrig is quite possibly my favorite non-dodger. i really tried to learn all i could about him when garvey was around 1000 consecutive games. it blew my mind that he was less than half way to the record. i don't care if he was a yankee, lou gehrig was quite a man.

thurman munson.

the first yankee captain after gehrig. not dimaggio, not mantle, not murcer. i didn't necessarily like munson - the dodgers losing to the yanks in 77 and 78 colored my thinking, but i sure respect him as a player and leader of that team. kind of like zeppelin. i can't deny the talent and the impact, but it's just not my cup of tea. i thought it was great how his son got to represent him at the final game at yankee stadium. what mixed emotions he must have felt that night.

thanks a lot eric - hope you enjoyed the 77s and the dodgers i sent your way. let's do it again sometime.

18 December 2008

oh, furcal-ing out loud - or - all i want furcal-smis is a healthy shortstop

just when you think he is gone, ned pulls him back in. furcal for 3 years at $30 million. this is the only furky card i have scanned at the moment - a 2008 ud ballparks six swatches. shown with fellow brave/ned free agent fiasco andruw jones and recent send-off takashi saito.b/w those angels of anaheim vlad, howie and jered.now back to the issue at hand. an infield of loney blake furcal dewitt. not as catchy as gcrl, but oh well. the main thing that bothers me about all this (besides the fact that dayf is upset) is that he missed most of last season. we did ok without him. the one thing that made a difference in the lineup was a big right-handed bat.losing one of our top starters and that big bat may mean that even with a healthy furcal we will fall short. i mean, is hu not ready?would he not be able to do as well as berroa did? can't this money go towards a bat?

the other thing that bothers me is that raffy's agent was quoted as saying he didn't want furcal to make a decision based on emotion, as raffy was really excited to return to the braves. who's best interests are at the forefront here?

don't get me wrong - i like furcal. i am glad he is on my team. i just hope he stays healthy. and i hope ned knows what he is doing. at any rate, welcome back, raffy.

17 December 2008

more heartbreaking cards

matt recently sent me a nice stack of cards, including the following:
2008 allen & ginter russ(ell) martin
the muted coloring and full body pose on this card really makes it stand out. one of my favorite 2008 cards for sure.
2008 ud timeline manny ramirez
who knows where manny will wind up. yankees? angels? maybe he'll accept an offer and then ned will try to make something happen.
2008 bowman orange freddy sanchezwhy, it's a double play with raffy as the lead runner. if furcal is healthy, i think he should be/have been the dodgers' top fa priority. i have to believe that there are legitimate concerns about his ability to live up to a multi-year contract, so i understand the dodgers hesitance prior to today. now, it looks like ned is getting sucked in to doing something he didn't really want to do.
there were more great cards but time is short. thanks again matt.

16 December 2008

let's bat around with jim lefebvre

in my short time posting on this blog, i have already shown my favorite card (1978 opc/topps steve garvey) and what is probably the centerpiece of my garvey collection (2001 leaf certified jersey number patch 6/6). now i want to write about the card that may just be the most important to me. it’s a 1966 topps jim lefebvre.lefebvre was an infielder for the dodgers in the late 60s and early 70s. the national league’s rookie of the year in 1965, “frenchy” had his best season in 1966 with career highs in almost every category. he was part of the dodgers’ switch hitting infield, along with maury wills, wes parker and jim gilliam, and like many of his teammates, he appeared on various television shows, including batman, gilligan’s island and mash. after being released following the 1972 season, he played in japan before returning to coach and eventually manage several teams in the majors. most recently, lefebvre managed china’s olympic team in 2008.

it was in 1980 when i first learned about lefebvre. at that point, i collected current year topps by buying what would have been retail packs, trading with my neighbors and buying singles at the local card and comic shop. anyway, i noticed when we would play catch that my dad used a rawlings jim lefebvre model glove. i asked him about lefebvre, and while i don’t really remember what my dad said, i got the impression that he was my dad’s favorite player. i asked my dad what lefebvre’s rookie year was and that was that. the next time i went to the shop, i asked to look through the 1966 singles. i figured he wouldn’t have a 1965 card since he hadn’t played in the majors, so i didn’t know about lefebvre’s actual rookie card. about two-thirds of the way through the box, i found the lefebvre. i bought it and gave it to my dad for father’s day.

almost immediately after that, my dad took an interest in the hobby. he began collecting lefebvre and other players and teams. he started to help me put together sets by buying boxes (boxes!) of wax. we would open the packs together and sort the cards as we went, winding up with a need list and a stack of doubles that could go to my dodger team set or individual player collections. we did this a few times a year, every year. we started going to the annual conventions in orange county (a 3 hour drive each way). i could give him my want list at christmas or my birthday, and he knew what it all meant. of course, we did other things together – the two of us and as a family – but card collecting with him was special. it was awesome to have him involved in this endeavor with me, and i like to think that it was all because i gave him a card of his own.

i should point out that the 1966 topps jim lefebvre card in my collection is not the same one i gave to my dad. he still has it, with his other cards, and i’m in no hurry to get it back.

13 December 2008

blue (wax) heaven

clayton kershaw. 'nuff said.

i sent mario at wax heaven all of my jose cruz jr (39 different) and ben grieve (75 different) cards, along with a bunch of canseco and marlins, a while back. mario told me that he would send a kershaw spx auto in return, although it was a redemption and might take some time. um, ok.

well, it arrived at my humble abode and it is awesome. even for a sticker auto. mario even included some kershaw cards from 2008 upper deck timeline, including the two sp style short prints.

mario, thank you. here's hoping that the future kershaw/andrew miller matchups are 1-0 pitcher's duels. and may one or two be in your favor.

12 December 2008

o canada! o-pee-chee!

having spent a good portion of some summers of my youth in canada, i really like o-pee-chee cards. the cardstock is different, the o-pee-chee logo is used instead of topps, and you get the french translation of some baseball terms. who knew, besides the french, that first base = premier but?

now, some o-pee-chee cards are pretty much identical to their topps brethren. like the 1979 steve garvey.
or the 1985 bob welch.but, here on mike (general soreness) marshall's 1983 card, we see the french translation for 1st base.sometimes, though, the cards are completely different. here, rick monday is shown as a member of the dodgers on his 1977 card, complete with airbrushed cap. his 1977 topps card shows him with the cubs, and uses an entirely different pose.usually when a player has changed teams, though, the card format for the new team is used with the unaltered topps photo and some explanatory text, lest we be unsure of the situation a la the 1979 topps bump wills or 1974 topps jerry morales cards. al downing and his 1971 card demonstrate. so, downing was "recently traded to dodgers". sounds good enough. however, o-pee-chee would use different text to get that simple message across, here, we see that derrel thomas was "signed as free agent 11-14-78".that's good information. on his 1979 card, we see that gary thomasson was "traded 2-15-79", presumably from the yankees to the dodgers.more ambiguity on the 1979 cards of andy messersmith and pete broberg. they are simply identified as "free agent"
so, in 1980, we return to a simplistic catch all statement. "now with dodgers" are jay johnstone and dave goltz.

i don't know if it's just the variation or what, but i really like these cards.