31 March 2009

a bicentennial reader donation

reader mike contacted me a while back with an offer to assist with my want list. he has collected all of the dodger cards since 1952, and had some extras as a result of upgrading his collection. he was kind enough to send some 1976 topps for my set:

dodgers team card/walt alston walt's last appearance - he retired just before the end of the 76 season. this is one of the few dodger team cards that does not feature garvey in the front row. i guess they had some other short players in 1975.

john hale. here's a guy i really don't know much about. i started following the dodgers late in 1977, and i don't think hale made the postseason roster. i do know he also played for seattle because his 1978 topps card was an airbrush job. had they left him as a dodger for that set, i would be able to quote his stats verbatim. it is worth noting that he sports a very nice 'magnum pi' mustache on his 1977 card.

don sutton. i saw sutton pitch quite a bit, and we even ran into him at disneyland once. for two years, the don sutton celebrity golf tournament was held in my home town. i think sutton showed up once. anyway, i respect the talent but i sure didn't think he would be the only hall of famer from these teams.

steve yeager. another nice shot of his neck, although this picture was taken before his esophageal injury. perhaps the only player to ever appear on solid gold and in playgirl magazine. a true renaissance man.

thanks mike!

30 March 2009

cards from voice of the collector

i sent a whole 2 cards to help rob out with his pursuit of upper deck's 20th anniversary set. he was kind enough to send me these heretofore unseen by me beauties:

2008 upper deck x russell martin exponential x^2
our fair canadian catcher. i just drafted him last night in my primary fantasy league. it had nothing to do with the fact that he is a dodger. really.

clayton kershaw's 2007 tristar business card.
if that whole pitching thing doesn't work out, looks like he's got a future as a realtor.

not a bad return for a couple of cards commemmerating some weird non-baseball occurrences.

be sure to help rob out in his quest - i know i will.

thanks rob!

ud conspiracy - the number of the dodgers

so, i had long wondered about the way upper deck numbered its sets. every year, the dodgers had the '666' card assigned to them. after reading "card sharks" recently, i now know that it was by design. the guy who was in charge of numbering the sets hated the dodgers. probably a giants fan, jealous of the success the dodgers have enjoyed on the west coast while his pitiful team loses year after year.

anyway, here are the 'dodgers of the beast'

1989 kirk gibson world series highlight
if there is any call for jealousy, i suppose gibby's home run would fit the bill.
there doesn't appear to be any bias on the back, though.

1990 jose gonzalez.at least upper deck got the pictures right, unlike topps in 1991.again, no apparent malice. a nice photo of jose in dodger stadium.

1991 mickey hatcher. with an oversized glove. i think jose guzman later used this glove for an upper deck card, too. or does every team have an oversized mitt, just in case?
a nice photo of the stuntman on the back - either having received a hot-foot, or stamping out a flaming bag of dog turds. nice view of the left field pavilion in the background.

1992 bob ojeda.
with uncle tommy. i guess tommy is a polarizing figure, so i can understand the desire to give a card with him lurking the 666 number.1993 jim gottthe irony is nice here. gott, of course, translates to 'god' in german.gott's card would be the last of the '666' dodgers. primarily because upper deck trimmed the size of its sets in 1994 through 1997.

in 1998, though, they assigned numbers based on teams' cities alphabetically. this meant that the reds' steve cooke was assigned the number of the beast that year.
at least he's wearing red.

29 March 2009

pettitte pursued, dodgers and twins obtained

i received a great big box of goodies from eric slette (the pettitte pursuit) a while back. i had sent him some (what else?) andy pettittes, riveras and posadas.

he countered with some nice dodgers and twins, including:

1991 upper deck al newman.a double play turn! al had some health problems last season (or was it 2007?). hard to believe looking at him now that he could get airborne like that back in the day.

2008 topps stadium club joe mauer. no one knows what it's like - the back pain - behind those smiling eyes.

a trifecta of japanese dodger imports -

2003 fleer flair hideo nomo
2003 upper deck first pitch kazuhisa ishii
2008 upper deck timeline (2004) hiroki kuroda
nomo was great, ishii not so much, and the jury is still out on kuroda.

finally, a 2008 topps stadium club photographer's proof clayton kershaw.
numbered to 50. nice.

this only scratched the surface of the box eric sent. makes me feel good about hoarding those yankees for all these years.

thanks eric.

26 March 2009

goose joak backstops

the dodgers have 4 catchers in camp that i know of - brad ausmus, danny ardoin, aj ellis, and of course, russell j. martin. here are their 2009 goose joak originals.

brad ausmus takes the stain off of jeff kent's number. aj ellis goes horizontal. he made his debut pinch running for gcrl favorite nomar garciaparra.
danny ardoin. last year's primary backup.
russell martin. i thought about using a photo of martin playing third base, but settled on an action shot from the nlcs.
more to come...

25 March 2009

bob vila builds collections

mark at stats on the back recently held a contest, or a poll i suppose, regarding the age old question of veale vs. vila. my response was deemed worthy of a bob vila card, along with some other goodies:

1991 leaf studio mike scioscia it's hard to believe mark still has some scioscia cards after the great card giveaway of 2008...

1991 leaf studio tommy lasorda checklist
tommy's trying to decide between the red sauce and the white sauce.

1982 donruss steve yeager
i love this card. it gives a great shot of steve's neck, and i always wonder if that mark below his jawline is scarring from his perforated windpipe incident.

1991 upper deck final roger mcdowell
the second spitter. i don't think mcdowell has any cards where he is doing anything normally seen on a baseball card.

1933 delong (dover reprint) lefty o'doul
a scene straight out of gulliver's travels. i have a bunch of the dover reprints still in sheets because i am too lazy to take them apart. i once took the t206 wagner and roughed it up a bit in an attempt to convince my neighbor it was real. he didn't fall for it.

1986 fleer update alex trevino

alex is playing it cool, making the lady wait.

thanks mark. and if anyone wants a bob vila card, let me know.

24 March 2009

let's bat around with pete rose, steve garvey and rich (not dick) allen

i've got three stories for the fifth installment, which i loosely interpret to be about memorable card or memorabilia acquisitions.

first, i am an unabashed fan of pete rose. during my formative fan years, there were several offseasons when a group of major leaguers would descend on our fair city for a fundraising dinner. local guys like roy howell and good players like tim wallach, rick burleson, and bobby bonds, and even some hall of fame caliber guys like robin yount and pete rose. joe dimaggio even showed up one year, but i was off at college.

the dinners were held at the local elks lodge, and you could mingle with the players before dinner. during dinner, they sat at a head table, and each took turns speaking for a few minutes. i recall one year it turned into a pete rose roast. anyway, every year i got rose's autograph. i still have a ball (pretty faded) with yount and rose and a bunch of other guys. one year, though, i had a hard time finding him. i finally saw him heading into the bar area. i remember he was wearing what i would now consider some sort of cheap leather/naugahyde jacket. there was a hockey game on the tv in the bar, and when i asked him for his autograph, rose snapped at the bartender: 'so now you're letting kids into the bar!?' i just smiled and held out my autograph book, which he took and signed.

the only in person steve garvey autograph i have is in that same book, and how i got it is story number 2. the cool thing about it is that i got it at dodger stadium on april 16, 1983. that was the day garvey broke billy williams' national league consecutive games played streak. i waited down by the padres' dugout along with a ton of other people to get the auto. it was garvey's first trip back to chavez ravine after signing with the padres in the offseason. i remember some older teens pushing their way toward the railing, sticking their items out closer to garvey, beyond my reach. as he took my book he waved their stuff away and said 'maybe next time'. i thought that was pretty cool.

but probably the best experience i have had acquiring something in this hobby, which i will use for story number 3, has to do with my personal white whale: the 1971 topps rich allen (cue the sunbeams and singing angels). i think it was around 1980 when i decided to collect the dodger team sets back to 1970, not really knowing how difficult it would be. i quickly discovered that ron cey happened to be on mike schmidt's rookie card, that steve garvey's 1972 topps card was a high number, and that ron cey and frank robinson also had high number cards in that set. those were the cards that i figured would give me the most trouble. i was wrong.

my dad came through one birthday with the schmidt/cey card, and the others were obtained over the years at card shows in anaheim and la. soon, the only hole in my dodger team collection was the second pocket of my 1971 team set. right between the team card and walter alston, sat a spot for rich allen.

at every show i went to, i would ask; just about every time i went into the local card shop, i would ask. but i didn't even know what the card looked like - i had never seen one. finally, at one of the shows, a dealer had a complete 1971 set. i saw the card for the first time - allen kneeling, pointing the bat, the left field pavilion of dodger stadium in the background, the photographer's knee (or was it someone else's) in the foreground. i remember telling the guy i would kill for that card - he had the decency to correct me, and i confessed that i would not actually kill. maim, maybe.

but so it went, no allen for me. in 1988 i went off to college and drifted from the hobby to some extent. once in a while, i would head to shops around orange county or go to anaheim or the oc fairgrounds for a show and look around, but never found the card. one day in 1995, i went into a local hobby store for some reason - i forget why. this wasn't a card shop. it was a hobbytown usa type store - models, remote control cars, that kind of stuff. i had never been in it before, even though i had been to that shopping center hundreds of times over the previous 7 years. as i wandered around the store, i saw a display case on one wall. right in the middle of the case was the 1971 topps rich allen card.

i was in shock. i literally began to shake. $25 was all that separated me from that card. i had to run back out to my car to get my checkbook (yes, i used to write checks for things). i remember running, worrying that someone was going to ask for that card while i was outside. i made it back in to the store and flagged down an employee to open the case and hand me the card. as i stood in line to pay, i struck up a nervous conversation with the woman in front of me. i told her i had been searching for that card for most of my life. she said that it must be important if i were willing to pay $25 for it. she had no idea.

22 March 2009

crisis on infinite earths - a 2006 topps update & highlights crossover

mark hendrickson courageously stands his ground, even as the anti-matter cloud rapidly approaches. who knows, maybe he'll catch a glimpse of barry allen running by...

20 March 2009

wax heaven directory brings manny direct to me

a big thanks to mario at wax heaven for sharing the wealth! as many of you know, he created a directory that allows his readers to claim cards obtained from the manufacturers who provide product for mario to review. all it costs is round trip postage! although i was too late to sign up for kershaw, martin or kemp, i was able to reserve manny ramirez!

the first sase yielded the following cards:

2009 topps gold parallel 2009 topps base
2009 topps base postseason highlights
and a bonus - 2008 upper deck sweet spot
i'm glad manny re-signed with the dodgers, so i won't be getting any photoshopped giants cards later on in the year!

thanks again mario! i am sending another sase soon, as i see you have a couple more mannys.

17 March 2009

some goose joak dodgers - just for fun

i don't think dave intends for these sorts of cards to be part of the set, but i thought i would put a few 'fun' dodger cards together.

vin scully
the voice of the dodgers. what an icon.

the infield a little bit older now...

opening day 2008with erskine, koufax, and newcombe surrounded by a legion of former and current dodgers.

one of the dodgers' most beloved coaches
good to see he took his bike to arizona.

one of the dodgers' biggest executives
the pasta won.

one of the dodgers' biggest fans

16 March 2009

a babe ruth final tribute

in a dodgers' uniform?i know the 1962 topps 'babe ruth special' subset card of the bambino in the boston braves jersey would be a more appropriate final tribute, but it doesn't include his complete career stats on the back. this one does, and it's the only one of the cards i own, so it will do.

it's strange that ruth wore the dodgers' jersey. he desperately wanted to manage, but found no takers, so he took a job coaching first for the dodgers in 1938. it was the last uniform he would wear during a major league game.

he did put the yankee pinstripes on again for a few appearances at yankee stadium, most famously on june 13, 1948 at the 25th anniversary of yankee stadium celebration (which would turn out to be his final public appearance) as documented so perfectlly in nathaniel fein's pulitzer prize winning photo, 'the babe bows out'.

that, friends, is a final tribute image.

13 March 2009

snap, crackle, and pop

also known here as mota, brewer, and davis. these 1974 kellogg's cards are 35 years old. when i started collecting, a 35 year old card would have been from a 1943 set. yikes.

manny mota was acquired by the dodgers from the expos, along with maury wills, after the 1969 season. manny went on to play for the dodgers through 1980 (serving in 1980 as a player/coach), and then made a final plate appearance for them in 1982 at he age of 44. i think i need to work on a 1983 topps final tribute for him...

jim brewer was rescued from the cubs after the 1963 season in a trade for dick scott. the dodgers also acquired cuno barragan in that deal, although he never played for them. brewer, on the other hand, was the primary closer for the dodgers from the late '60s into the early '70s. he appeared in the 1973 all star game, finishing the game by striking out thurman munson and willie horton. unfortunately, jim died in a car crash in 1987.

the back of the willie davis card (you'll have to trust me on this - i am too lazy to scan it) shows that he is actually with the expos now, having been traded for mike marshall. this trade was followed a day later by the trade for jimmy wynn. while davis was a great dodger, wynn was an upgrade offensively and was certainly worthy of garvey's nl mvp in 1974. wynn was then traded for dusty baker after the 1975 season. speaking of final tributes, a 1980 willie davis in an angels uniform would look pretty nice...