30 November 2012

and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be

yesterday was vin scully's 85th birthday.  i celebrated by opening my mail and finding this card waiting for me.  first, i'll show the back
i was so pleased to see scully included in the 2012 panini cooperstown release, i quickly picked one of his cards up on ebay.  here's the front
it's an insert set - there's also a red barber card that i will need to get at some point.  i am by no means complaining about a real honest to goodness card of the dodger broadcaster (the first since fleer's 2004 announcing greats card), i just sort of wish that they had used a later image of scully.  i am being selfish here, but i picture scully more like he is today.  i know panini did use a later 'in action' photo for his autographed card, but i don't think i will lay out the cash for one of those unless the prices settle a bit.  to say the first few have been volatile is putting it mildly.  i was watching several copies of the autographed card on ebay, and the first one went for $410.  then there was a bin for $300 that someone quickly snagged, followed by another for $175.  there's one up now at around $250 (as i type this on friday morning) and another at about $150, but both have a couple of days left yet.

anyway, there are several dodgers in the set that i also picked up over at sportlots.  i believe the only dodger i am missing is duke snider (can you help a blogger out?), although there are a number of hall of famers who played for the dodgers that may be featured in a dodger uniform.  because panini had to remove all indications from the unis, maybe rickey henderson is shown from his time as a dodger.  heck, maybe the duke of flatbush is really a met on his card.  i am guessing, though, that panini tried to match the image with the team that each player is enshrined under in cooperstown.  that would leave jim hunter hatless.

it's easy to know what team is represented on these cards.  walter alston
 spent his entire managerial career with the dodgers, as did tommy lasorda
i believe lasorda got special dispensation from the hall which is why he was inducted without the usual 5-year waiting period following retirement.  alston up there had to wait until 1983 (7 years after he retired) to get in.

don sutton had a longer wait
but he's in now, whether reggie jackson likes it or not.  he is obviously shown as a dodger here, pitching in candlestick even, and i thank panini for not using a photo of him as a brewer.

roy campanella was only ever a dodger in the big leagues
and i can't believe that he wasn't inducted until 1969.

pee wee reese
came to the dodgers from the red sox organization, but i doubt that this is a 1939 minor league photo of the captain.  he joined the hall as a veterans committee selection in 1984, the same year don drysdale was inducted.  speaking of which, there are no cards in the set for big d or sandy koufax, although both maury wills (not in the hall) and shawn green (on the ballot for the first time this year) are both featured in autograph insert sets.

here's jackie robinson
jackie was the first player voted in by the writers since joe cronin and hank greenberg in 1956.  i think that's the longest stretch the hall has gone without a player be admitted by the writers.

during that stretch, zach wheat
had been voted in by the veterans committee in 1959, and although he spent his final season in philadelphia with the a's, that is definitely a brooklyn uniform wheat is wearing.  here's his teammate and fellow hall of famer burleigh grimes similarly dressed
the dodgers (and robins) wore pinstripes for much of the 1910's and 20's which would have covered the time that both wheat and grimes played for brooklyn.  here's a 1983 donruss hall of fame heroes card of grimes showing the 1964 veterans committee inductee in a robins uniform, circa 1919.
i like this panini set.  it reminds me of the cramer legends sets from the early 1980's which i collected (at least the first 3 sets - there might be a 4th i am missing).  i won't chase the whole set, but i definitely am looking for the snider and the barber insert.

happy bday vin; i can't wait to hear you say 'dodger baseball is on the air' in 2013.

where's ethel?

this 1991 topps stadium club card of eddie murray reminds me of lucille ball and a classic episode of 'i love lucy'.
he's got a ball in his hand with another one about to be fielded by his glove.  pretty soon he will have to stuff balls in his hat and elsewhere, because joey amalfitano is going to keep hitting fungoes at him like the conveyor belt in that chocolate factory kept bringing the candy.  all that's missing is todd benzinger standing next to steady eddie suffering the same fate.

a long while back, i won a contest at 'all trade bait all the time', and along with my winnings, oscar sent along some dodgers, including that steady eddie up top.  here are some more that came along for the ride.

2003 donruss estrellas shawn green
apparently shawn green is a gardener.  at least, that's what i thought jardinero meant.  i guess it also means outfielder.  which is the same as voltigeur, if you are speaking french, which also means tumbler or refers to napoleonic infantry units.

i have looked at this 1970 topps dodgers rookie stars card hundreds of times over the years.  well, not this copy, but one just like it.  it features ray lamb and bob stinson
i have often wondered why steve garvey wasn't chosen to be featured instead of one of those guys.  after all, stinson had only appeared in 4 games in 1969 (garvey played in 3).  it might have been as simple as that - if the garv had made into a couple more games, maybe he would have had a card in the gray border set.  anyway, even with all that wistful gazing at that card, i have never really looked closely at the guy lurking over stinson's shoulder until now.  could it be bill russell?
it's hard to say - if i squint enough i think i see the number 18 there in red which would mean that it is russell.  doesn't really matter, though, since russell got a card of his own in the set.  as did bill buckner, although this is from the 2003 topps shoe box collection
gone is buckner's card partner from the 1970 card, jack jenkins.  jenkins was a curious case - he had appeared in the big leagues in 1962 and 1963 with the washington senators, but didn't surface again until he was with the dodgers in 1969.  that year he appeared in...one game?!?  same with billy buck - one game in 1969 and he gets some card time from topps.  garvey was robbed, i tells ya!

garvey did get a card in 1971, however, and that card was reprinted in 2010 topps update as one of the cards your mom threw out
my mom knew better.  that's the back of the card, just because i figure we all know what his 1971 topps card looks like.

here's steve yeager's 1982 donruss card
in which we are offered a good look at his thighs and buttocks, which is not too strange when you consider that this card came out around the time that yeager posed for playgirl magazine.

another donruss card, sans the tight pants. this one is the duke snider hall of fame diamond king from 1984 donruss
this was one of the very first cards i ever sent out in a ttm attempt.  it turned out to be successful, which was pretty awesome.

last, but not least, we have this 1996 fleer insert (were there even base cards in 1996 fleer?) of raul mondesi
it celebrates mondesi's gold glove earned in 1995, when he led the league in outfield assists for the second year in a row.

always nice to add a card of rauuuuuuul to the collection.  thanks for the cards, oscar!

29 November 2012

at long last, terry forster through the mail success!

just over a year ago, hall of fame sports had their big 'dodger days' autograph event.  it featured a bunch of players from the 1981 world series championship team and i partook of the through the mail option for many of them.  one player who was scheduled to appear that was at the top of my 'want' list was terry forster.

i had purchased a signed copy of forster's 1978 topps card as part of my modest 1978 topps dodger autograph project, but i really wanted one that was for sure signed by the lefty reliever.  unfortunately, forster fell ill and was not able to attend the signing.  i kept in touch with the guys at hall of fame sports, and they told me they were working on rescheduling - either with forster traveling to socal, or items being sent to him in quebec.  well, the signing finally took place earlier this month, and i am happy to say that i received a 1978 topps card signed by forster himself.
i am so very happy about this.  that leaves just ted martinez and vic davalillo as the only living members that i haven't been able to upgrade to a ttm success.  and then there is ed goodson, for whom i have no 1978 topps success of any kind.  i'm still hoping, though.

in the meantime, i'll update my modest 1978 topps dodgers autograph project - here's the tally:

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

28/29 = 97%

still waiting for mr. goodson.

28 November 2012

as always, avert your eyes

yes, it's time to show off (?) another 2008 tristar signa cuts card from my collection.  this one is of ralph branca, and features a chopped up 1988 pacific card
tristar lets me know that branca was a '3x all-star'.  i'm here to tell you that he was also a '2x dodger'. that's right - this is a dodger double dipper post!

[this is the forty-fifth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grote, and don sutton.]

branca debuted for the dodgers as an 18-year old in 1944.  three years later, he won 21 games and was the ace of the staff.  branca remained with the dodgers through the 1952 season, but was waived by the team after 7 appearances in 1953.  he was claimed by the tigers, and pitched in detroit for about a year, spanning the latter part of the '53 season as well as the first half of the 1954 campaign.  in july of '54, the tigers released branca, and he signed with the yankees a few days later.  he made 5 appearances for the yankees, including 3 starts, and was 1-0 with a 2.84 era.  unfortunately for branca, the yankees missed out on the pennant that year despite winning 103 games (cleveland won 111), and he was released shortly after the end of the season.

branca was only 28 when the yankees released him, but he remained unsigned for the entire 1955 season and most of 1956.  in fact, it wasn't until september 6th that the dodgers brought branca back to ebbets field for the last time.  the next day, branca made his first and only appearance of the season, and the last of his career.  he was brought in to relieve ed roebuck in a game which had the dodgers trailing the giants 6-1.  branca pitched the eighth and ninth innings, allowing no runs and striking out two, including willie mays.  not a bad way to go out.

usually i will show a card or two from the players year(s) in between their stints as dodgers, but i don't think there are any branca cards showing him as a tiger or a yankee, except for the 1991 topps archives 1953 card that should have been thingy which i don't own.  i do have a couple of his cards from his first stint as a dodger, but there is no 1957 card to cap his career.

i do have this 1993 ted williams card
but the back only features 5 of branca's season statistics, all during his first run as a dodger.

here's to you, ralph branca - another dodgers double dipper!

i can't believe i made it through the entire post without mentioning bobby thomson.

27 November 2012

bunning wasn't on empty

why did the dodgers release jim bunning at the end of the 1969 season?  bunning was 3-1 as a dodger, but the team went 3-6 in the 9 starts he made for them at the end of the 1969 season.  that doesn't look too good, i suppose, but bunning didn't pitch that poorly.  he had a couple of bad starts, but overall had a 3.36 era during his time in los angeles.

he had been acquired in august 1969, shortly after don drysdale made his last appearance, and one would have thought that the dodgers still needed another veteran arm in the rotation to complement claude osteen and don sutton heading into 1970.  instead, bunning was released by the team in october of 1969 and he re-signed with the phillies quickly thereafter.

bunning went 10-15 in 1970, so even with him in the rotation, it would have been unlikely that the dodgers would have challenged the reds that year.  it would have been nice, however, to have forced topps into issuing a card for bunning as a dodger.

at any rate, bunning went on to other things after baseball, and has been known to be a good ttm signer.  he filled my requests by signing his 2001 fleer greats of the game card
and his 1970 topps card
he also signed a copy of his 1970 topps card that should have been
i think that many people don't realize that when bunning retired after the 1971 season, the only pitcher in history to have more strikeouts was walter johnson.  and 33 of his 2855 k's came as a dodger.

thanks for signing my cards senator!

26 November 2012

the topps dodger autograph project - into the aughts

the dodgers returned to the postseason for the first time since 1988 in 1995, although they may have made it in 1994 if there hadn't been the strike.  anyway, i'm moving on with the topps dodger autograph project posts, and this one starts with '95.  remember, the idea here is to have at least one topps card from each year signed free of charge through the mail.  i fell short with the 1950's, but am on track since then.  i don't count traded sets, but i will show them if i have them.  here we go.

1995 topps, chris gwynn
gwynn returned to the dodgers after a couple of years in kansas city.  i've also had 1995 topps dodger ttm successes with brett butler, jim gott, kevin gross, dave hansen, and tim wallach.

i don't have a 1995 topps traded card signed, unfortunately.  roberto kelly, please send me back your card!

1996 topps, todd hollandsworth
the 1996 national league rookie of the year was kind enough to sign this card.  no 'roy' inscription, but a cross instead.  the only other 1996 topps dodger ttm success i have had is with brett butler.

there wasn't a traded set issued in 1996 - the first time since 1980.

1997 topps brett butler
what a surprise! a card featuring a photo of butler bunting.  you'll notice a theme here as the team sets were smaller following the strike of 1994, so there aren't a lot of options for having cards signed.  the only other 1997 topps dodger ttm success i have had was with greg gagne.  i also have a card signed by karim garcia that i picked up at a card show.

there was no traded set in 1997, either.

1998 topps, greg gagne
gagne is a good signer.  the only other 1998 topps dodger ttm success i have had came courtesy of todd hollandsworth.

once again, topps did not issue a traded set, so no dodgers to chase there.

1999 topps, jose vizcaino
el viz turns two.  the only other 1999 topps ttm success i have had came from closer jeff shaw.  there was a traded set in 1999, but i don't have any of the cards signed.  the dodgers in the set, in case you were wondering, are steve colyer, bubba crosby, and luke prokopec.

2000 topps, jeff shaw
shaw for konerko.  he pitched well, but konerko could have provided some stability at first base after eric karros was traded.  the only other 2000 topps dodger ttm success i have had was from jose vizcaino.  slim pickings for me in the traded set, too.  the only dodgers featured are marcus castillo, tony mota, and ismael valdes - none of which i have even attempted to have signed through the mail.

2001 topps, chan ho park
i got this card returned to me when park was pitching for the yankees.  i've also had 2001 topps dodger ttm successes with andy ashby, davey johnson, chad kreuter, jeff shaw, kevin elster, and dave hansen.  there were a few dodgers featured in the traded set, but i don't have any of them signed. 

thanks to all these players for signing my cards!  here's a running list of the topps dodger autograph project:

1951 topps - preacher roe (purchased)
1952 topps - rocky bridges
1953 topps - bobby morgan
1954 topps - billy herman (purchased)
1955 topps - don zimmer (purchased)
1956 topps - randy jackson
1957 topps - carl erskine
1958 topps - joe pignatano
1959 topps - fred kipp
1960 topps - chuck essegian
1961 topps - bob aspromonte
1962 topps - norm sherry
1963 topps - ed roebuck
1964 topps - ken mcmullen
1965 topps - dick tracewski
1966 topps - john kennedy
1967 topps - phil regan
1968 topps - jim campanis
1969 topps - jeff torborg
1970 topps - al mcbean
1971 topps - sandy vance
1972 topps - manny mota
1973 topps - wes parker
1974 topps - claude osteen
1974 topps traded - jim wynn
1975 topps - ron cey
1975 topps mini - joe ferguson
1976 topps - bill russell
1976 topps traded - dusty baker
1977 topps - steve garvey
1978 topps - dave lopes
1979 topps - charlie hough
1980 topps - jerry reuss
1981 topps - doug rau
1981 topps traded - ken landreaux
1982 topps - dave goltz
1982 topps traded - jose morales
1983 topps - ron roenicke
1983 topps traded - rafael landestoy
1984 topps - fernando valenzuela
1984 topps traded - mike vail
1985 topps - burt hooton
1986 topps - enos cabell
1987 topps - steve sax
1987 topps traded - matt young
1988 topps - len matuszek
1989 topps - mickey hatcher
1990 topps - kal daniels
1990 topps traded - juan samuel
1991 topps - tim belcher
1992 topps - roger mcdowell
1993 topps - dave hansen
1993 topps traded - tim wallach
1994 topps - jody reed
1995 topps - chris gwynn
1996 topps - todd hollandsworth
1997 topps - brett butler
1998 topps - greg gagne
1999 topps - jose vizcaino
2000 topps - jeff shaw
2001 topps - chan ho park

25 November 2012

what's this guy doing here?

i recently picked up a few lots of dodger autos and relics on the cheap.  in amongst the dodger goodness of one lot was this 2011 bowman platinum auto of clint robinson
clint robinson happens to be a member of the kansas city royals' organization.  he debuted this past season and was dfa'd just a few days ago.  bummer.

on to the dodger stuff - there was this 2009 topps 206 autograph of scott elbert
i get elbert and eric stults mixed up all the time.  elbert is still with the dodgers while stults is down in san diego.

there were also a couple of cards from 2009 topps ticket to stardom.  first, here's a chad billingsley jersey and ticket stub card
topps makes this too easy.  on june 22, 2008, chad billingsley got the win against the indians.  i was totally not expecting that - kudos to topps for matching up the ticket stub with the appropriate player.  as an aside, the dodgers' starting second baseman that day was someone named luis maza.

now let's check out this russell martin card from the same set
on june 10, 2008, russell martin was 3 for 5 with 3 rbi as the dodgers beat the padres 7-2.  not sure who's rear that is on the padres' ticket stub, but greg maddux started the game for the pads.  the leg kick looks too high to be maddux.  the dodgers' starter that evening was clayton kershaw, who was making his 4th career start.  neither pitcher figured in the decision.

here's a 2009 tristar projections josh lindblom auto
tristar did not project that lindblom would be traded to the phillies for a shane victorino rental.

also from 2009, here's an upper deck sp authentic james mcdonald autographed card
hindsight is 20/20, but this was another bad trade by ned. he sent mcdonald and andrew lambo to the pirates in 2010 for octavio dotel.  a month and a half later, ned flipped dotel to the rockies for a non-prospect minor league outfielder.

here's a prospect that ned hasn't traded away yet - angelo songco - on a 2001 donruss elite card
songco might make the jump to aa this year.  i hope he is able to bounce back from his leg injury that limited his production last year.

finally, we have an andre ethier relic card from 2011 topps update
it's from one of those workout jerseys that only exist to populate relic cards that wind up going for cheap in a team lot.  like this one.

24 November 2012

upper deck in the community

i recently participated in the group break hosted by community gum.  it was an all upper deck break, and i received a decent stack of dodgers for my entry fee.  from 2004 upper deck sweet spot i landed a couple of cards, including this hideo nomo
this was the first time i had seen these cards, so already i am ahead as far as adding new cards to my collection goes.  then, there was this card from 2002 upper deck 40 man - a shawn green numbered relic.
it might be nicer if the card were blue instead of red, but it's a new green relic for me which is pretty surprising given the fact that i used to buy shawn green relics like they were going out of style.  which they weren't as there were seemingly three or four different jersey cards for him in every set issued in the early 2000's.

almost as nice as 40man was 2003 upper deck victory.  it was cheap and featured a good number of dodgers. here's adrian beltre.
looks like he's channeling gary coleman.

i also picked up a rainbow of sorts featuring hideo nomo - base black border
parallel green border,
and a parallel orange border
i wonder how long it has been since i featured a card of odalis perez.  look at his 2006 upper deck first pitch card while i find out.
it's only been five months.  i would have guessed it had been longer.

here's a cool card from 2007 upper deck elements.  it's a rafael furcal card from the petg themed subset.
that's polyethylene terephtalate glycol for all you people wondering.  the card is plastic.

the next cards come from 1999 upper deck vintage.  surprisingly, they didn't rip off a topps design for this set.  here's kevin brown
he's running to catch his contractually provided private jet that has already started to take off without him.

next up, it's steve garvey himself.
it's always nice to get a garvey in a group break or a trade package, for that matter.  but what's even better is getting all four of the infielders
that's the power of a set like 2004 upper deck legends.

thanks for hosting guys!