31 December 2009

whither nomar? the cards that should have been!

as happy as i was to have my favorite non-dodger player join the dodgers, i was equally as unhappy when nomar decided not to allow topps to produce cards bearing his likeness after 2006. as a collector of dodger topps flagship sets, i was disappointed to say the least.

here then, are the nomar garciaparra dodger cards that should have been. starting with 2007 topps.the home whites look nice with the black borders. yes, that does say 'nomar garciaparra'. and if you think the foil name looks bad here, wait until you see the 2009 card.

here's the 2008 card i guess in pregame the red wristband is closer to his wrist. once the game starts, though, it gets pushed to his elbow.

finally, 2009 topps. a double play! again, his name is spelled out, but the foil just doesn't come through in the scans.

i'm not sure whether nomar is going to play in 2010, but i hope he does just so there is a chance for more cards. even if they're not topps.

30 December 2009

the joy of a completed page, 1971 style

i have stolen ideas before, so why not now? here's page 1 of my 1971 topps set binder, highlighted by the world champion orioles, future dodger vic davalillo and the play at the plate on thurman munson's sophomore release! yes, after careful consideration and review of my 1971 topps inventory, i have decided to post a want list and get after this set.any help is appreciated!

[thanks dayf for the idea]

a card find so improbable, i left it off my want list

if you are a team collector and you haven't checked out teamsets4u yet, you are missing out! what a great resource that site has been in helping(?) me flesh out my dodger needs and wants, especially from the era of overproduction.

that's not to say that i just blindly add all dodger cards listed to the lists. no, there are some that i figure i will never find, so they don't get added to the list. one such set was the 1976 greyhound heroes on the basepaths. according to the site, there are two davey lopes cards in this set (there are also 1974 and 1975 greyhound heroes of the basepaths sets), and the fluckinger book says that one is a portrait and one an action shot.

well, i was at the monthly card show a couple of weeks ago, perusing the vintage bargain bins (!) when i spotted something sitting atop an oddball/oversized card bin. it was the 1976 davey lopes portrait card!
a card i had written off, never to own. not a bad deal for $1!

thanks vintage/oddball bin dude!

29 December 2009

when a remake doesn't work

back in 2005, leaf issued an insert set based on the late 1970's 'sportscaster' cards. i thought these were box toppers and was anxious to add one to my collection which i quickly did thanks to ebay. sadly, in my opinion, they failed to capture the essence and whimsy of the original release. here's an eric gagne card from the leaf set. it's regulation baseball card sized while the original sportscaster cards were more squarish and larger, which means it can't hold a candle to the amount of information that was provided on the backs of the originals (backs which i am too lazy to scan).

one thing i especially liked about the original sportscasters was that the symbol they used to identify cards related to sport was a cricket player (as you can see on this maury wills card), not a baseball player as on the leaf set. this detail reminded me that there was a larger population in the world that was more likely to recognize cricket than baseball. it just contributed to the oddball-ness of these cards.

the larger size allowed them to expand on their subjects, like jackie robinson and serve as a mini-encyclopedia - in this case, on the subject of jackie and the integration of the sport.

similarly, this card (featuring rick rhoden and a lurking davey lopes) touches on the meaning of several baseball phrases, and tommy john's card
gives several paragraphs to the subject of his surgery and subsequent comeback.

much better than the three sentences on the back of gagne's card. sometimes, failing to meet the intent of the original is worse than not even trying. with that said, i am happy to have the gagne card in my collection, so i suppose it's not all bad.

cards from on card autos

chris at on card autos sent me some dodgers recently in exchange for some cubbies. he has already posted some of the stuff i sent, and i am just now getting to the bounty i received. such is my lot in life. anyway, here are some of the goodies.

2007 fleer ultra jeff kentfull extenson works best as a horizontal card.

2006 topps update & highlights elmer dessens
proof that a fifth starter is hard to find.

2004 fleer ultra brad penny
a really nice dodger stadium card. ultra had quite a few cards featuring chavez ravine. maybe that's why i liked ultra so much.

1990 topps debut '89 darrin fletcher
it must have been tough to be a catcher in the dodger organization. that had been one of the most stable positions they had, except from 1997 through 2001 or so. too bad fletch (6'-5" with the afro) came up when scioscia was still doing ok.

1992 score roger mcdowell
nice to see a card of roger where he is doing normal baseball stuff

2005 donruss shawn green
i feel as though i have been remiss in posting shawn green cards. i have a ton - he was my favorite non-dodger and then my favorite dodger. i also like that this card shows him out of position according to the position assigned to him on the card. listed as a firstbaseman, he is pictured in the outfield. usually it's catchers that you see out of position - they're shown playing first base (i am thinking of a gary carter card) but listed as a catcher. i'll have to look for more of those.

thanks chris!

28 December 2009

a retread dick allen photo and the cards that should have been!

as i mentioned the other day, rich (dick) allen spent just one year with the dodgers. his 1971 topps base card was, at one time, my collecting white whale, and it was/is glorious. there are probably less than half a dozen cards that show allen as a member of the dodgers, so it is a shame that topps portrayed him as a member of the white sox on his 1972 card. sure, he had been traded in december of 1971, and sure, topps put tommy john in the set as a dodger so things evened out that way, but as a dodger fan i am still disappointed. adding to that disappointment is that topps used the same photo of allen in a phillies jersey on his 1970 card. so, i decided to create my own cards. here is the 1972 topps card that should have been:
i used a photo from a team issued postcard for this card. i also went with 'rich' instead of 'dick' since that's what his actual topps card had. but, for the next card that should have been, i went with 'dick'.

here's his 1972 topps in action card:
oc and dinged up a bit. a nice batting photo from steve's baseball photography pages with dodger stadium's field level scoreboard in the background.

as an aside, i ask you to turn your attention to the 'dick allen for the hall of fame' blog. andy has created some pretty cool dick allen cards, including a 1978 topps final tribute. check it out.

27 December 2009

even more dodger stadium shots!

the latest installment features a couple of cards showing the low railing and the yellow field seats behind first base (1990 upper deck larry walker) and down in the right field corner (1991 upper deck orlando merced)as well as the left field pavilion (1988 fleer david green)
with a shot of the 'diamond vision' screen (1990 topps jeff wetherby).i am running on faith with the next card - faith that the photo used was taken in the game mentioned on the card. it's a 1967 topps world series game 1 card featuring moe drabowsky
and it features the dodger stadium pitching mound, if my trust in topps is well placed.

the last one is a no-brainer - it's a 1967 topps world series game 2 card featuring jim palmer and the very top of the field level scoreboard.so what if the dodgers were shut out - at least we got a card featuring the stadium.

26 December 2009

forsch brothers through the mail success!

for no particular reason, other than i had a double found while seeing what i need to complete the set, i sent this 1977 topps card off to bob and ken forsch to be signed. i sent first to ken, and waited to recieve it back before sending to bob, for obvious reasons. i think it would have been funny if one of the brothers had drawn a mustache on the other. of course, no mid-70's ttm attempt would be complete without the requisite 1978 topps
thanks bob and ken!

cards from saints of the cheap seats

i received some cards from dan at saints of the cheap seats a while ago, including some from his 2007 upper deck ultimate collection box break. i don't think any of these three cards are ones that were originally pulled for my slot, but through trades with the other parties, i came away with a jason schmidt card, an andy laroche auto,
and a torii hunter jersey.
but dan also included some dodgers, such as a 1994 upper deck sp todd hollandsworth
just think - this card may have, at one time, been in a pack with an alex rodriguez rookie!

a 1987 topps all star glossy fernando valenzuela
true story - i was once so mesmerized by the sight of mike scioscia being escorted in the concourse of dodger stadium before a game that i bumped into the other guy in the group: fernando.

1981 donruss steve garvey
the garv had two cards in the 1981 donruss and fleer sets. only one in topps, though. i was bummed.

2001 upper deck the decade 70's steve garvey
i think he had three cards in this set, plus a few different bat card combinations.

finally, a 2009 topps chrome russell martin wbc card
i hope this is the only time we see russell not wearing dodger blue.

thanks dan!

25 December 2009

merry christmas to all!

and to all a good time ripping wax. thanks for the card, night owl.

24 December 2009

the evolution of the out of place guy, part 1

you know the guy, right? the free agent in decline your team signed but you don't really think of him as a 'member' of the team. the guy who came over in a trade but didn't really fit with the team or was only there for one season. or, the guy you had heard of but who you didn't realize even played for your team until many years into your fandom.

the dodgers have had their share of 'those' players, so here's a primer on the evolution of the dodgers' out of place guy.

we'll kick it off with moose skowron who was shown as a dodger on his 1963 topps card
skowron is best known (and almost exclusively known) as a yankee. he came to the dodgers in a deal for stan williams and had perhaps his poorest season ever, batting just over the mendoza line. he came alive in the 1963 world series though, batting .385 with an ops of over 1.000 against his former mates. his contract was purchased by the washington senators after the 63 season.

fast forward to 1968, and we have zoilo (once called 'zorro' on a topps card) versalleszoilo must have impressed the dodgers in the 1965 world series, because they traded for him two years later, sending john roseboro and ron perranoski (among others) to minnesota. versalles was the al mvp in 1965, but he was in serious decline by 1968. he hit only .196 for the dodgers that year - his only year in la - and was perhaps thankfully selected by the padres in the expansion draft prior to 1969.

so, with versalles gone, jim bunning was brought in to be the out of place guy. by the way, thank goodness for the 1990 target dodgers set, otherwise we might not have a card of jim bunning as a dodger. the phillies had traded bunning to the pirates prior to the 1968 season. after one-and a half seasons in pittsburgh, the dodgers acquired the future senator (united states, not washington) for a couple of minor leaguers and cash. he pitched fairly well for the dodgers (3.36 era in 56 innings) but was released after the season. the phillies took him back and bunning finished his career in philadelphia.

1971 saw dick allen joining the ranks, featured here on his 1971 topps super card (with the dodger stadium scoreboard in the background) allen had spent 1970 with the cardinals after 7 pretty remarkable years in philadelphia. he had a good year for the dodgers in 1971, too, but was traded to the white sox after that lone year in la. all he did the following year was win the al mvp.

on the same day dick allen was traded away, the dodgers traded for frank robinson, shown here on a 1989 smokey dodger greats card
like allen, frobby would spend just one year in la. unlike allen, that year would be pretty mediocre offensively. luckily for the angels (to whom robinson was traded), he would bounce back big time in 1973.

in 1975, juan marichal was a dodger, most definitely out of placehe had spent one year in boston after pitching exclusively for the giants organization and the dodgers decided to give him a shot. he lasted just two starts, completing six innings and striking out 1 before the dodgers released him.

in 1977, there was boog powell the former oriole had been released by the indians after the 1976 season. he came to the dodgers as a pinch hitter, but hit just .244 with no extra base hits in 53 at bats before being released in august of 1977.

we'll finish part one with another oriole, don stanhouse, who signed with the dodgers as a free agent prior to the 1980 season stan 'the man unusual' had saved 45 games for the orioles over the two previous seasons, but did not pitch that well in the 1979 postseason. he pitched even worse for the dodgers, saving just 7 games and posting an era of 5.04 to go with a whip of 1.84. the dodgers released him prior to the 1981 season. i believe that the stanhouse experience (along with fellow 1979 signee dave goltz) was a big reason the dodgers seemed to avoid the free agent market until 1987.

that doesn't mean, however, that they were without any 'out of place guys' during those years, as we will see in part 2.

23 December 2009

rick monday in person/through the mail success!

reader cory contacted me late in the 2009 season and mentioned that he would often get autographs when the dodgers were in san diego. with a roadtrip to face the padres in the near future, cory offered to try to get some signatures for me. i sent him a bunch of cards, including a 1978 topps tom lasorda and a 1978 topps rick monday, both of whom are still affiliated with the dodgers and, while lasorda is not always with them, monday is a broadcaster and (i believe) travels with the team on every roadtrip.

to make a long story short, cory was able to get mo's signature on my 1978 topps card! we worked out a deal, and i recently received the card. it is awesome!

i have to wonder if monday minds signing the card that shows him picking his teeth. a very strange photo for topps to choose. the dodgers acquired monday prior to the 1977 season, along with mike garman, for bill buckner and ivan dejesus. 4 years later, it was monday that hit the home run to propel the dodgers into the world series.

cory also got several other of my cards signed, which i will showcase another time. for now, i am happy to let the 1978 topps rick monday hold the spotlight.

this is the 20th piece of my modest 1978 topps dodgers autograph project.

here's the tally:
dusty baker
glenn burke
terry forster
ed goodson
burt hooton
tom lasorda
rick monday - in person/through the mail success!
rick rhoden
don sutton
steve yeager

20/29 = 69%

thanks rick (and cory)!

joe pignatano through the mail success!

eighty-year old joe pignatano recently (and very kindly) signed and returned three cards i had sent him. they were his 1958 topps card, his 1961 topps card,
and his 2005 topps all time fan favorites card.
the brooklyn native signed with the hometown team in 1948 and made his debut for them in 1957, their final year in the borough. his last year in los angeles was 1960 as he was purchased by the kansas city athletics prior to the 1961 season. he finished his career as an original met in 1962.

i tried to trace joe's 'trade legacy' and wound up hitting a dead end in 1989. that's not too bad for a guy who last played in 1962. this is how it works:

in 1961, joe was traded for jose tartabull, who was traded in 1966 for ken sanders. sanders was traded for don mincher in 1970 and mincher was traded for lew krausse in 1971. krausse was traded for ken brett in 1971, who was then traded in 1975 for doc medich. medich was traded for phil garner in 1977, and garner was in turn traded for johnny ray in 1981. in 1987, johnny ray was traded for miguel garcia, who last played in 1989.

thanks baseball reference, and thanks joe!