31 July 2009

my magnificent 7 (or is it the nefarious 9?)

i am stealing this idea from dan at saints of the cheap seats, who stole it from the collective troll. no shame in stealing a good idea. anyway, these are the 7 cards that are mocking me from afar, yet to join my collection. if you have any of them and can help me out, please let me know.

1 - 2003 topps tribute perennial all-star #10 roberto clemente - i need this one to complete the set.

2 - 1976 topps #5 tom seaver record breaker - not the only card i need from the 1976 set, but i hate having an empty space on the first page in the binder.

3 - 2003 upper deck vintage #81 kazuhisa ishii - a short print in this awesome 1965 topps knock-off set.

4 - 1975 topps #473 ken mcmullen the one i have in my dodger collection is horribly disfigured as you can see.

5 - 1974 opc #575 steve garveyi have one in my garvey collection, but am missing only this card in the 1974 opc dodger collection.

6 - 2008 topps heritage high numbers #696 mark sweeney - a late season issue, and a short print at that.

7 - 1997 dodgers mother's/1997 dodgers police/1998 dodgers police sets, but specifically bill russell since these are his only cards as the dodgers' manager.

8 - 1976 sspc #594 checklist 6 (ralph branca, carl erskine, pee wee reese). some nice oldtimers from a non-descript set.

9 - 1977 topps cloth sticker checklist (national league all-stars, middle card, middle row). the one with bill russell and steve garvey and half of rick rhoden, among others.

wait, that's nine. oh well, they're all driving me crazy!

let me know if you can help me out with any of these!

30 July 2009

the trading deadline approacheth

i love july 31. i used to love it more when i would play full seasons of tony larussa baseball on my pc in real time, and would update the rosters to reflect all the trades. good times.

anyway, we'll see if the dodgers pick up a reliever as is the general rumor floating about. the twins are going to mutiny if bill smith doesn't do something - especially now that he missed out on freddy sanchez. speaking of the pirates, old friend andy laroche, who was dealt at last year's deadline, is now the dean of their infield!

don't do anything stupid, ned.

29 July 2009

ted martinez ebay auto success!

ted martinez is awol on the ttm circuit, so i snatched this1978 topps card up off of ebay. i should note that i am assuming (and i know the risks of assuming) that the autos i have purchased on ebay are authentic. i really had no choice with johnny oates, and vic davalillo is pretty much in the same boat as martinez here. ted martinez had played in the majors for parts of 6 seasons before the dodgers selected him from the reds in the 1976 rule v draft. he had played for the mets and the a's (appearing in the 1973 world series for the mets and the 1975 alcs for the a's), but spent all of 1976 in the reds' minor league system.

for the dodgers, he hit .280 in 202 games over the course of the 1977, 1978 and 1979 seasons. his appearances were pretty evenly spread out at second, short and third. martinez was released by the dodgers just prior to the start of the 1980 season, and did not sign with any other team.

this is the 12th piece in my modest 1978 topps dodgers autograph project.

here's the tally:

team card
dusty baker
glenn burke
terry forster
steve garvey
ed goodson
burt hooton
tommy john
tom lasorda
dave lopes
ted martinez - ebay success!
rick monday
rick rhoden
reggie smith
elias sosa
don sutton
steve yeager
nlcs (davey lopes)

12/29 = 41%

28 July 2009

the decline of western civilization (if western civilization were stirrups)

blame george hendrick. i do. when i played little league, we would stretch our stirrups so you would only see the skinny part. by the time i was playing in high school, it was cool to show some of the stirrup top, or even as little of the skinny part as possible. the point is, we wore stirrups and we showed them off. today, few players show anything above the cleat.

let's review the demise of the stirrup.

here's jackie robinson on his 2008 topps stadium club card, showing a lot of stirrup. pants stop at the upper calf, with minimal stirrup and a lot of full width material. classic.

fast forward about 20 years, and we find a lee lacy 1973 topps card. lee has his stirrups stretched a bit, but you can still see some of the full material below the pant leg, which looks to be hitting at mid calf.

10 years hence, we find ron roenicke on his 1983 fleer card.the pants look a tad bit longer than lacy's, and there is no full width material to be seen. only the skinny part.

4 years later or so, we see the collision of generations on steve garvey's 1987 fleer limited edition card.garvey wears them like lacy did in 1973, but john kruk's stirrups look like an extension of the padres pinstripes. plus, his pants are reaching the lower end of the calf.

a year later, on his 1988 topps card, george hendrick dares to wear the full length pant.

you can actually see a tiny bit of the stirrup at the ankle where the shoe is lower, but for all intents and purposes, hendrick could have been wearing argyles. when i first saw this, i was horrified.

20 years later (i am skipping the derek bell years), we find blake dewitt on his 2008 upper deck first edition card.

this just looks sloppy. these look like the unwashed shrink-to-fit 501's i used to buy. this is progress?

a special note goes out to juan pierre and others who maintain the full stirrup look, either in tribute to the negro leagues or just because it looks right.

it is very much appreciated. maybe there's hope for civilization yet.

25 July 2009

rickey is the greatest

or at least one of the greatest of all time, and now he has his own 2009 goose joak original.congratulations to the latest dodger hall of famer. sure, he spent just a short time with the dodgers, but it is time that will be noted on his plaque. i am very much looking forward to his speech, by the way.

i wish billy beane would have signed rickey to a contract during the final month of any of the last 5 seasons. maybe now that holliday is gone, rickey will be back in left one more time.

here's to you rickey!

24 July 2009

now this was o-pee-chee...

back in my day, being an o-pee-chee card meant something dang-gummit! we were shown in our old team's uniforms and we liked it! well, i did anyway. after being disappointed with upper deck's resurrection of the o-pee-chee brand, let's renew our love of the variation, shall we?

1979 tommy john.

this card was unfathomable to me. a dodger on the yankees? no way. of course, it worked both ways, as andy messersmith and gary thomasson were yankees on the dodgers in this set. john had the same bad luck don sutton did in regards to the world series, although he at least appeared in the 1981 matchup. he was famously removed from game 6 early, and the dodgers went on to beat the yankees.

1980 joe morgan. the big red machine was almost completely dis-assembled after morgan returned to the astros. the astros released him a year later, which set the stage for him to go to the giants where he would eventually destroy my hopes for the 1982 season.

speaking of 1982, here's mark belanger.the defensive specialist was displaced in baltimore by cal ripken jr, and brought his gold gloves to the dodgers for a year. he made an uncharacteristic 4 errors in 86 chances at short, and retired after the 1982 season.

1985 rickey henderson. who would have thought that rickey would leave oakland? i was a big fan of 'billy-ball' and so had quite an interest in henderson, dwayne murphy, mike norris and the others. so i was surprised when rickey was traded to the yankees for jose rijo and a few other players, including eric plunk. in 1989, the yankees would trade him back to oakland for some players, including eric plunk.

1986 steve yeager.

aside from bill russell, yeager was the last of the dodgers from the 1978 team that i was so connected to. interestingly enough, he was a 'sign and trade' free agent, as the dodgers signed him and traded him a couple weeks later to the mariners for ed vandeberg. yeageer got to seattle just in time to play in roger clemens' first 20-k game. he only struck out once, though, out of two at-bats.

1987 greg brock. man, did i not care for greg brock. simply because he was garvey's replacement. it wasn't his fault, although he didn't do much of anything in the postseason the way garvey did. brock had his best season in 1987 for the brewers, where he had the pressure of replacing cecil cooper! if only greg had followed joe shlabotnik instead of two franchise favorites, he might not have had all the pressure.

i've enjoyed this trip down o-pee-chee memory lane, and i have a bunch more variations that i'll post in the future.

22 July 2009

the body politic

while jesse 'the body' ventura 'aint got time to bleed', he does have time to follow the minnesota twins, as evidenced by this 2005 donruss insert. i had been in minnesota for just over a year when ventura was voted in as governor. the campaign commercials he released leading up to the election were pretty entertaining, and his strategy of sitting back and watching the other two candidates bicker and turn off the voters during the debates helped him win.

one of his opponents in that election was (then) saint paul mayor norm coleman, who went on to win a senate seat by defeating walter mondale (after senator wellstone died in a plane crash) and then lose it to al franken. poor norm - beaten by a wrestler and a comedian.

anyway, i did see jesse at opening night in 1999, so he's at least been to a game. i'm not sure where he is these days - maybe on a beach in mexico - but wherever he is, you can be sure he's avoiding those media jackals.

21 July 2009

walter alston final tribute - the card that should have been

it kind of makes me sad that tommy lasorda's face is on the dodgers' 1977 team card rather than walter alston's. after all, walt alston managed the team for 23 years, including most of 1976. he should have received some sort of final tribute. so, here is my final tribute to mr. alston - the 1977 topps turn back the clock card that should have been.

alston played in one game for the cardinals in 1936 - he struck out in his only plate appearance and committed an error in the field. after that, he played in the minors for a few more seasons before becoming a manager. in 1954 he took over as manager of the brooklyn dodgers and didn't stop until game 159 of the 1976 season.

his final game was a 1-0 loss to jr richard and the houston astros. despite having won 90 games at that point, the dodgers were 10 games behind cincinnati. alston decided to retire, and tommy lasorda, one of alston's coaches, took over as manager, going 2-2 in the last 4 games of the season. lasorda was the logical choice as he was familiar with many of the younger dodgers, having managed them in the dodgers' farm system and coached them with the big club since 1973.

alston won seven pennants, and four world championships. he was named manager of the year six times, and finished with 2040 regular season wins. he was elected the hall of fame in 1983 and subsequently had his number 24 retired by the dodgers. alston passed away in 1984.

here's to you, walt!

20 July 2009

who is the moon man, really?

it seems appropriate today to ask the question, given the 40th anniversary of neil armstrong's walk on the moon (and i won't forget you, buzz aldrin). here on his 2006 fleer greats of the game 'nickname greats' insert is jay johnstone, aka 'moon man'. except, i would bet dollars to donuts that isn't jay johnstone. johnstone joined the dodgers prior to the 1980 season, and played for them until part way into the 1982 season. he rejoined the club for the 1985 season, his last in the majors. this photo, to me, has a 1970s feel to it. early 1970s at that. besides, when johnstone was with the dodgers, he was a bit more...mussed, shall we say, as his 1981 topps card demonstrates.on a related note, i really like this insert set - it has some of the great nicknames - the penguin, the toy cannon, happy, the mad hungarian, etc. and includes autos. they're sticker autos i believe - otherwise moon man probably would have protested.

speaking of johnstone, i don't know who writes the copy for upper deck, but they need to do some fact checking. according to them, johnstone played in the 1976 nlcs for the dodgers (he was with the phillies - the dodgers finished behind the nl west and eventual world champion reds in 1976).
we can put a man on the moon, but we can't get baseball card photos or text right.

here's to you, upper deck!

if you blinked, you missed it

yes, craig counsell was once a dodger. in fact, this 2000 pacific crown collection card may be the only card showing him in the dodger uniform, wearing maury wills' number, no less. the 1997 world series hero had a disappointing 1998 season for the marlins, and was having an even worse 1999 campaign when they traded him to the dodgers for aptbnl (ryan moskau). he played a little better for the dodgers, but that's all relative. in 50 games he hit .259 with an ops of .626.

the dodgers released him during spring training 2000, and the diamondbacks picked him up. his first two years in arizona were pretty good, and he won another world series in 2001 there. currently, this short-time dodger is with the brewers, and 1999 continues to be the worst season of his career.

thanks craig!

18 July 2009

willie davis through the mail success!

willie davis signed and returned this 1964 topps card in just over a week.it was the second time i had sent it to him - the first time i didn't realize he charged $10. i decided that was a small price to pay for a guy who retired as the la dodgers all-time leader in so many categories.

in his 14 years with the dodgers, the '3-dog' scored over 1000 runs, had over 2000 hits, stole 335 bases, drove in 849 runs and had 110 triples. in la dodger history, only bill russell played in more games, only steve garvey hit more doubles, and only maury wills and davey lopes stole more bases. no one has more hits, runs or triples as a la dodger.

the dodgers traded davis after his all-star 1973 season for mike marshall. he spent one season in montreal, and then split 1975 between texas and saint louis. in 1976, he played for the padres before spending two years in japan. he returned to the major leagues in 1979 for the al west champion california angels, and made a couple of appearances in the alcs against the orioles.

thanks willie!

17 July 2009

rod beck, harry caray and perfection on cardboard

i haven't posted any of my favorite cards lately, i don't think. here's one now - 1999 fleer tradition rod beck. it's not one of my favorites because of shooter's mustache, although that is awesome. it's because of the harry caray memorial patch, the fact that beck has his hat over his heart, and the look on his face. whether this photo was taken during a moment of silence for harry or not, it has that feeling for me.

my first visit to wrigley wasn't until 1998 (to see the dodgers), so i missed out on seeing caray in action. the cubs had a large version of this patch up next to the broadcast booth where vin scully was sitting. seeing scully there made me think quite a bit about how much i appreciate his work, and really how much a part of my life he has become. i am sure it was the same way for cubs fans and harry caray.

so take a minute to raise a toast to harry, and rod beck too, while you're at it. together, they were perfect.

16 July 2009

at least it's not airbrushed

topps didn't airbrush orlando hudson out of a diamondbacks uniform for this 2009 finest card.they merely went back in time several years and used a photo of him from his blue jays days.

here's to you, topps!

15 July 2009

charlie hough through the mail success!

it took about six weeks for charlie hough to sign and return the 1978 topps card i sent him. i'm not complaining, mind you. i appreciate the time that all of the ttm signers take to make this hobby a reality. at any rate, hough is pretty busy this time of year - he's the pitching coach for the inland empire 66er's based in san bernardino.

there are many things to remember about charlie hough other than his knuckleball, of course. there is the fact that he was used almost exclusively as a reliever during his dodgers career (11 seasons, 401 games, only 16 starts); that he was the dodgers' closer in 1977, saving 22 games; that he finished his career with a .500 record - 216 wins and 216 losses; that he had over 2300 strikeouts, 107 complete games and 61 saves; that he gave up one of reggie jackson's 3 consecutive world series home runs; that he is one of only 3 (now 4 with shane victorino) hawaiian born players to play in an all-star game. but perhaps the most oddly memorable thing to me about charles oliver hough is that he started the first game in marlins franchise history, which just happened to be against the dodgers. he outpitched orel hershiser to win the game and a place in marlins history.

one season later, he was finished as a player, but went on to serve in various coaching capacities in the dodger organization, including a stint as their major league pitching coach.

this is the 11th piece in my modest 1978 topps dodgers autograph project. here's the tally:

team card
dusty baker
glenn burke
ron cey - through the mail success!
vic davalillo - ebay success!
terry forster
mike garman - through the mail success!
steve garvey
ed goodson
jerry grote - through the mail success!
burt hooton
charlie hough - through the mail success!
tommy john
lee lacy - through the mail success!
tom lasorda
dave lopes
ted martinez
manny mota - through the mail success!
rick monday
johnny oates - ebay success!
doug rau - through the mail success!
lance rautzhan - through the mail success!
rick rhoden
bill russell - through the mail success!
reggie smith
elias sosa
don sutton
steve yeager
nlcs (davey lopes)

11/29 = 38%

thanks charlie!

14 July 2009

no one is going to read this post

just like no one is going to read this blog. actually, i did read the blog, but only after jeremy contacted me with an offer to send me some needs from my 2009 topps want list. i offered to reciprocate with some 2009 topps turkey red inserts, and the deal was done. here's some of what i received:

first off, there was this awesome modified dodgers logo. awesome. next up, a few of the 2009 topps:

lance berkman
one of the next generation of killer b's, although he might be the only one there now. berkman was my favorite non-dodger for a couple years. he looks like a righteous dude.

former dodger draft pick and non-signee, luke hochevar
have you seen that family guy episode where the movie trailer guy tries to pronounce jim caviezel's name? that's what some of the radio guys here sounded like last week when hochevar was pitching against the twinkies. ho-chee-ver? ho-sha-ver? ho-ka-var?

former dodger mark hendrickson.
the former nba-er is taller than the light standards behind him!

curtis granderson.
i like this card. you can feel the speed and action as he rounds third.
and some dodgers:

1992 fleer dennis cook.
oh, to be a lefty pitcher. cook played for 15 seasons, including one-and-a-half for the dodgers. in 1991, he gave up just one run in 17.2 innings for the blue. that was his season.

2008 topps randy wolf.
wolf signed with the padres after his one season in la. i guess it was too late for topps to change his 2008 card. they did include him in the update set, but as an astro since the pads traded him to houston in mid-season. now he's back with the dodgers as his 2009 topps card shows.

2006 topps update & highlights derek lowe and rafael furcal team leaders.
hopefully furky has a better second half.

thanks jeremy! now go read his blog - he found some cool random slides at a flea market. check it out.

13 July 2009

no gint-a-cuffs, but allen & ginter just the same

i really wanted to get involved in the gint-a-cuffs, but having just bought two boxes of o-pee-chee in a wasted effort to connect with those summers i spent in canada as a lad, i couldn't bring myself to buy a box. that's ok though, i will live vicariously through the rest of you. had i participated, though, my favorite team would have been the dodgers, and my favorite player would have been matt kemp.

despite being box-less, i did pick up a few singles at a card show this weekend (take that, night owl!) . this guy had a case worth of singles he was selling cheap - apparently he pulled a phelps (michael, not josh) redemption auto, so he was pretty happy. anyway, i think i have the whole team, except for manny.

let's see how i score.

chad billingsley!

favorite team = +1, sp = +5. not a bad start.

casey blake!favorite team = +1.

blake dewitt! i'm kind of surprised he's included in this set, but whatever, it's better than a giant. favorite team = +1

rafael furcal!
another dodger! favorite team = +1.

matt kemp!
favorite team = +1, my favorite player = +3

clayton kershaw!
night owl's favorite player = +2, favorite team = +1.

hiroki kuroda!favorite team = +1. this is easy!

james loney.
favorite team = +1

russell martin. i am definitely on the lookout for his national pride card, by the way.
favorite team = +1

let's total it up: 6+1+1+1+4+3+1+1+1 = 19! not bad for less than the price of a pack.

on a serious note, these cards are very nice. i like them better than last year's, which i collected the base set of. i may go after a set after seeing how nice the dodgers look in a sheet with their (mostly) blue and green backgrounds.oh well, wait 'til next year!

12 July 2009

'lurker' nolan ryan makes the call

1971 topps was a breakthrough set in terms of using game action photography. sometimes, though, the picture encompassed more than was necessary and made it difficult to figure out who the featured player actually was. at first glance, i felt that way about bud harrelson's 1971 topps card.

that's bud way on the left putting the tag on the runner. the picture is cropped strangely, in my opinion, and includes 4 players and an umpire. i always thought that a better shot would have been to crop nolan ryan out of the picture and get closer to the action at second base.

anyway, with nolan ryan lurking on the mound, the mets in home whites, and what i believe to be an astros player sliding (i thought it might be a giants player, but the 1970 giants didn't appear to wear patches on their left sleeves - the astros wore an 'astrodome' logo patch), i believe this action comes from the may 30, 1970 game. ryan was on the mound, harrelson was at short, and that would be ken boswell backing up the play at second. the umpire was ken burkhart (thanks baseball reference)!

while it looks like ryan is calling the runner out, there were no tag plays at second base that day other than the two astros stolen base attempts, both of which were successful - joe morgan in the 6th, and jimmy wynn in the 8th. so, by leaving ryan in the picture, topps reminds us all that only the umpire gets to make the call on the field.

here's to you, foreground lurker!

09 July 2009

upper deck was far from perfect

i have always enjoyed season highlight/record breaker cards. they were the first cards in the very first set i collected - 1978 topps. i have some sort of affinity towards them, especially the vintage ones since topps and upper deck have been pretty loose with the idea of what constitutes a highlight these days.

anyway, back in 1995, upper deck decided to combine the highlight cards with set checklists in their collector's choice se release. one of those cards was this kenny rogers highlight card.
i remember watching the last couple of innings of this game in a bar in newport beach. rogers really stuck it to the angels that night. but wait a minute, upper deck is claiming that it was the first ever perfect game by a left-hander! say what? whachoo talkin' 'bout richard mcwilliam?

ever hear of sandy koufax? back in 1965 he threw a perfect game against the cubs. i can hear vin scully calling it: '2 and 2 to harvey kuenn. koufax into his windup and here's the pitch. swung on and missed! a perfect game!' this was 29 years prior to rogers' gem.

i also should point out that tom browning, another lefty, threw a perfect game (against the dodgers) in 1988, a mere 6 years before the gambler did so.

to make matters worse, they perpetuated the error on the back of rogers' base card.

just to make things more interesting, they also credited rogers with 110 wins in 1990. now that would have been a record!

here's to you, upper deck editors!