31 December 2012

in service

2012 is almost over, but before it goes, i want to recognize the 40th anniversary of roberto clemente's death.  clemente died when the plane he had chartered to deliver relief supplies to the people of nicaragua following an earthquake crashed into the ocean shortly after it left puerto rico.

here's a clemente card from one of my favorite sets - 1999 upper deck century legends
i did not see clemente play - i wouldn't remember it even if i had - but i became a fan of his at a young age.  i wrote a report about him in elementary school, and had a pc going of his cards as soon as i first saw his fantastic 1973 topps card, probably around 1980 or so.  

he has a statue outside what used to be three rivers stadium, and it was featured on jose guillen's 1998 topps card
i believe that this photo was used because guillen had been compared to clemente early on, kind of similar to the cesar cedeno/willie mays comparisons, although guillen played for the same franchise as the player he was being compared to.  it's still a nice card.

the mlb network aired a nice piece on clemente over the weekend, and i was glad i stumbled upon it.  i did not realize that neil walker's father, former major league pitcher tom walker, had been in puerto rico playing winter ball and helped clemente load the plane.  walker said that he asked to go along to nicaragua, but clemente told him to stay behind and enjoy new year's eve.

earlier this year, as i started to put together my 1974 topps set, this bob miller card made me do a double take.
miller, obviously airbrushed into a mets cap, is shown using a photo from his time in pittsburgh, which happened to be the latter half of 1971 and all of 1972, although he was cut during spring training of 1973.  the pirate over his left shoulder is what made me look twice - i can't tell if that is number 21 or not.  hopefully topps would have avoided using a photo of clemente in the 1974 set.

topps left clemente out, and rightfully so, of the 1954 set altogether.  he was in the dodgers' farm system, but they were unable to keep him hidden from other teams, and pittsburgh took him in the rule 5 draft in november of 1954.  clemente debuted five months later and the rest is history.  topps did make a card for their 1994 archives reprint set that featured the 1954 set
and they used it again in the 1995 brooklyn dodgers archives set.  ah, what might have been.

clemente was 38 when he died, which means that he has been gone for a couple years longer than he was alive, and that's a shame.  the roberto clemente award (formerly the commissioner's award) is given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and community service.  clayton kershaw won it this year (the first dodger to receive the award since steve garvey in 1981), and i believe that the award is a nice way to remember clemente's efforts off of the field.  however, i would support the idea of retiring number 21 across baseball as another way of honoring clemente's contributions to the game and to the latin american community.

this card almost made my header

when i was putting together the header for this blog just over 4 years and two months ago, i considered including a card of an expo.  specifically, this 2002 topps total orlando cabrera card.
that's why the first time i showed it, i used a photo (like the header) of it rather than a scan.  i considered using it in the header because i thought that it showed a couple other elements of my collection - cards featuring dodger stadium, and cards featuring the double play turn.  in the end, i decided against using it, mostly to keep the header free of non-dodgers.  besides, this version of the play, featured on cabrera's 2002 fleer premium card, 
shows dodger stadium better - that's sandy koufax's outfield wall retired number mural - but was strangely cropped and doesn't show the double play as well.

cabrera's 2002 topps gold label card is quite shiny and shows the same play as well
i know i have shown all three of those cards before, but i can't show one without the others.

here are some o-cab cards that haven't been featured here before.  like his 1999 skybox premium card
his 2003 donruss card
his 2003 topps opening day card
his 2006 topps card
and his 2008 topps chrome card
with refractor!
you may recall that cabrera was the guy who replaced nomar in 2004 and went on to win the world series as the red sox's starting shortstop.  that 'short stop' in boston kind of kickstarted the weary traveler stage of cabrera's career that saw him play for 7 franchises in the next 7 years.

another guy who bounced around a bit was roberto alomar, seen here on his 2003 topps traded card
here he is again on his 2003 fleer double header card
before he was traded to the white sox.  the first time.

cabrera is not alone in regards to his 2002 fleer premium card, either. here is rafael furcal's card from the set, which also has him turning two in dodger stadium
although he's turning two in philly on his 2001 upper deck card
other 2001 upper deck double plays include edgardo alfonzo
warren morris
and pokey reese
who also turns two on his 2001 fleer ultra card
that's not the last we'll see of pokey reese, either.  more double play cards coming tomorrow!

breaking up two is hard to do

i wonder if jason kendall was able to prevent mark grudzielanek from completing the double play, as his 2000 topps gallery card might indicate
that's a nice looking card, with a slightly higher vantage point than we usually see on cards.  and, it's a clean photo, too.  case in point, this 2000 upper deck delino deshields card features a field level photo.
and, with the text bar, we almost don't get to see paul loduca sliding in.

same with this 2008 bowman freddy sanchez gold parallel
you'll have to take my word for it that rafael furcal is under there trying to break up the twin killing.

james loney gives it a shot on former teammate julio lugo's 2009 topps update card
by the way, what are the chances that the cardinals retire jd drew's number to try to break up that 6-9 action on the outfield wall?

here's a 2004 fleer classic clippings card of mark teixeira
who appears to have successfully upended brandon phillips.  hopefully phillps was able to complete the double play despite teixeira's best efforts.

here's a card from 2001 mlb showdown
i don't know if nomar is trying to break up a double play or what.  it seems like there are too many rangers lurking around the bag for it to be a double play attempt.  but, the card mentions a double play, so i put it in my binder.

this next card is only in my lurkers binder.  it's al martin's 1999 topps stadium club card, and it features a play at second base
except this play if of martin reaching second with a double while jose vizcaino waits for the throw from right field.  i looked it up.

speaking of which, as far as i can tell from baseball reference, kendall was not able to break up the double play.  on memorial day, 5/31/99, warren morris hit into a 3-6-1 double play, with kendall out at second and grudzielanek making the force out and the relay.

nice try, though.

double play turns continue

let's burn through some more double play cards.  i can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there are still a few more posts queued up.  

here's a 1999 topps roger cedeno card
i believe that this is from may 6, 1998 - the only day game cedeno played in atlanta during the 1998 season.  and, that would mean that he broke up the double play as keith lockhart did not make the dp pivot successfully that day.

here's jose vizcaino's 1999 topps card
on which he appears to be more successful than lockhart.

here's a good progression of a double play turn - 1999 topps bret boone
the ball transfer.

1999 topps miguel cairo
ready to throw.

and 1999 topps ray durham
avoid the runner!

durham also has a dp turn on his 1996 upper deck collector's choice card
as do tim bogar
and jose hernandez
here's craig biggio's 1997 bowman card
just a little over a week until we find out if this is 'hall of famer' craig biggio

here's a 1997 pacific rene gonzales
and a randy velarde from the same set
nice to see walt weiss on a dp card other than one of his own.

now for some card backs, courtesy of 1997 upper deck.  here's alex gonzalez
mickey morandini
and rey sanchez
who also makes an appearance on liu rodriguez's 1999 fleer tradition update card
that's some instant karma for you.

the turns of kent

i don't seem to have any cards of jeff kent turning two while he was a dodger.  that's too bad, because i know i have cards of him doing so as a met and, as we will see shortly, as a giant.  i did stumble across this oddball a few weeks ago, however, and while not quite as cool as a double play turn, it was still interesting enough to acquire.  besides, it features kent as a dodger.  it's a card from 2005 topps hot button
which as far as i can tell was some sort of electronic game - possibly intended to compete with mlb showdown.  it must not have done well, because it didn't stick around, and topps moved on to toppstown and attax.

so, here are some gigante kent double play cards, as promised up top.  some of them aren't half bad.

2001 upper deck
1998 topps
these guys would eventually be teammates in los angeles

1999 pacific crown collection
2001 leaf rookies and stars
another card from 2001 upper deck - this one masquerading as a checklist
these two guys would be teammates, too - in houston

here's kent's 2002 upper deck card
which i believe features the same play shown on his 2001 leaf rookies and stars card i showed above.  i believe r&s came out late enough in the season for it to feature action from the 2001 season, which makes sense because adam hyzdu didn't play against the giants in 2000.  on 8/2/01, however, hyzdu did play in a day game at san francisco in which he was out on the front end of a double play that ended the 8th inning.  thanks baseball reference!

continuing on, here's kent's 2002 upper deck authentics card
featuring two future dodgers, although they were not teammates.

kent has also appeared on other double play cards, such as this 1998 pacific jose vizcaino card
and this 2003 topps opening day rich aurilia card
there are actually a couple more kent double play cards that i am on the lookout for - 2001 pacific and 2001 pacific private stock extreme action - if anyone can help.  it's weird, i know, to be wanting cards featuring a giant.  the things i do for some double play action...