31 March 2013

it's time for dodger stadium

tomorrow marks the beginning of the 52nd season of dodger stadium, if i did my math right.  it opened in april of 1962 and went through some major renovations during this past offseason.  most of the improvements won't necessarily be noticeable from the field - they upgraded concourses, entrance plazas, restrooms, clubhouses, etc. - but i'll still be interested to see what people think.

first, let's look at some cards featuring some dodger stadium backgrounds.  the corrugated fiberglass bullpen walls are now covered with greenery, but they were exposed in the 1980's as evidenced by nolan ryan's 1982 fleer card
and kelly downs' 1989 topps card
greg brock's 1984 donruss card
and bill madlock's 1985 donruss card
show us the outfield wall and the railing at the front of the outfield pavilions, while darryl strawberry's 1985 donruss card
shows the dugout and the field level, plus a classicly attired dodger stadium usher.

back to the pavilions - we see the roof structures on randy myers' 1988 donruss card
as well as the padres leaders card from 1988 topps
also from 1988 topps, former dodger candy maldanado takes a cut in dodger stadium
while the astros' chuck jacskon is most likely playing catch

1990 score features at least four astro cards with dodger stadium backgrounds - here's jim deshaies
and the old field level scoreboard with the unocal logo, bob forsch
and dave smith
with the bullpen people behind the gate, and gerald young
with the fence and pavilion railing.  1993 topps gave us another astro - xavier hernandez
with the bullpen gate and the low fence near the right field corner

here's a more recent card - from 2007 upper deck first edition, it's troy tulowitzki
that's the pavilion, but the outfield fence has been bastardized with ads thanks to the mccourts.

the last thing i'll show in this post was in an oddball lot i picked up a couple of months ago.  it's from a release called 1990 publications international hottest rookies stickers, if you can believe that.
the photo is taken from the players' parking lot behind the left field pavilion  a ferrari, a beemer, and some sort of off-road vehicle, among others.

i wish i could be there tomorrow - i haven't been to a dodgers home opener since 1998 which was the year after i moved out of the state.  i won't be going to the twins' opener either, even though i usually make it a point to attend.  temps in the low 30s have a way of discouraging me.

the dodgers' babe

looking for alyssa milano?  sorry, this post is about one of the players known as 'babe' to play for the dodgers (they've had at least two, plus a coach).  babe herman holds a few dodger franchise records.  his .393 batting average in 1930 is the highest ever by a dodger. and, his .381 average the year before is the second highest.  his 143 runs scored and his on base percentage of .466 in 1930 were the highest by a dodger in the 20th century, and his slugging percentage (.678) and ops (1.132) are the highest by any member of the franchise ever. ditto his 241 hits, 94 extra base hits, and 416 total bases in 1930. and, until last year, he was the last player to hit for the cycle twice in one season, which he did as a dodger in 1931.

one thing herman also did was double dip as a dodger.  to be more accurate, he began his career as a brooklyn robin, and finished it as a brooklyn dodger, while playing for three other franchises (including a cincinnati double dipping) in between.  yes, this is a double dipper post.

[this is the fiftyfirst 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 grotedon suttonralph branca, todd hundley, elmer dessensguillermo motajoe beckwith, and jamie hoffmann.]

aside from the 1990 target dodgers card, this 2005 upper deck classics might be the only card featuring herman as a dodger - in my collection, anyway.
herman broke into the big leagues with the robins in 1926, and remained with them through his fantastic 1931 season. during that time, herman hit .340 with an ops of .955 over 851 games.  prior to the 1932 season, the dodgers traded him (with ernie lombardi and wally gilbert) for clyde sukeforth (who went on to become jackie robinson's first major league manager in 1947), joe stripp (himself a near dodger double dipper - he was reacquired by the franchise after the 1938 season but released during the spring of 1939), and tony cuccinello.

herman had a good year with the reds in 1932, hitting .326 while leading the league with 19 triples.  still, he was traded to the cubs where he played through the 1934 season.  after a 26-game stint in pittsburgh to start the 1935 season, herman was dealt back to the reds where he played until he joined the tigers for the 1937 campagin.  after he was released by detroit, herman played minor league ball in the pacific coast league with the hollywooed all-stars.  then, in 1945, he was brought back to brookolyn to t=lay asa a dodger for the first time.  at 42 years of age, he hit .265 in 37 games with a home run an d 9 rbi.  interestingly enough, clyde sukeforth also returned to the dodgers' active roster in 1945, after a 11 year hiateus.  he hit .294 in 18 games.  not sure what was going on in brooklyn in 1945 that they brought back these two guys after such long absences from the majors, but it meant that babe herman double dipped, so i guess i am ok with it.  for the record, sukeforth did not double dip - he did not play for any other big league team between 1934 and 1945.

29 March 2013

tribute-iful cards that i hope to have received for free

i have been very good lately about buying cards using only funds that come from selling stuff on ebay or sportlots.   i've always been good about not using the plastic fantastic to fund my collecting, but these days i prefer to not raid the checking account, either.  my paypal balance is dwindling, however, so i need to get some more things sold.

one thing i have done to reduce the paypal account is purchase a couple of lots of topps tribute cards.  a total of 137 cards, to be exact, for a total cost (including shipping) of about $74.  these lots have included a fair number of dodgers (19 if we are really counting), a haloed don sutton and 3 steve garvey (as a freakin' friar) cards.  the other 114 cards are not of much use to me (actually, make that 113 as i sent a greg maddux card to the junior junkie in a trade).  those cards include many numbered parallels, and i will eventually re-sell most of them.  i'm wondering if i will be able to get all of my money back.

before i get into all of that, here are most of the cards that i am keeping.

from 2009 topps tribute, i have a steve garvey black (#/99) parallel
as well as a duke snider black parallel
and a pee wee reese black parallel
one of the lots also had the blue parallels (#/219) of garvey
and pee wee
this whole thing was borne out of a search for the two garvey parallels.  after watching a few auctions that featured the cards individually, i decided that it might pay off in the long run to buy them as part of lots.  and so i did.

there were regular ol' base versions of the duke
 pee wee
 roy campanella
 jackie robinson
johnny podres
 mike piazza
 manny ramirez
 clayton kershaw
 and don zimmer
in the lots as well.  look at that water cooler zimmer is using - it looks like a wine barrel.  the majority of the cards that i picked up were from 2009, which is probably my favorite tribute set this side of the initial 2001 release.  still, i picked up a couple of cards from the 2002 set, like gil hodges
 and don sutton
plus a bunch from the 2010 set.  here's campy
 pee wee
and jackie
and here's the lone 2011 topps tribute card in the bunch, a blue parallel of duke snider.
that's a really pretty card.  all of the tribute cards look nice to be honest, although the 2010 design is a bit busy for my taste.  it's too bad my scanner is so inconsistent with these cards.

some of those dodger cards might be doubles, so they may go back into the 'to sell' box. once i figure that out, my plan is to try to do a better job with the auction listing(s) and maybe make back all or at least the majority of my $74 investment.  it might sound like a longshot, but i have already got about $9 of it back thanks to just this one card
that would be a rogers hornsby 'no name on front' variation (or were they errors?).  i cleared about $9 after shipping and fees, so now i'm looking at around $65 to get into the black.  the seller of the lot that included this card did not mention the variation, so i was surprised to see it when the box arrived.

this is not the first time that i have tried flipping cards - i've done it several times, and i actually had a really nice (and somewhat heartbreaking) success about 12 years ago, but i'll save that for a different post.  most recently i wound up with a 1951 bowman carl furillo card for about $4 after re-selling the other 5 cards he came with when i bought him.

in the meantime, if anyone is looking for any 2009 topps tribute cards, let me know.  i am open to working out a trade before they hit the selling block.

28 March 2013

a different point of view

isn't it strange that most of the time, we watch baseball games as if we were sitting in centerfield, yet most baseball cards give us the point of view of someone sitting in the lower level infield seats?  it's not that unexpected, since the camera wells are usually located near the dugouts, and the only cameras in the outfield are tv cameras.  every once in a while, however, the cards give us that different point of view.

the first one of these that i was aware of was in the 1965 topps set.  it's also the oldest mickey mantle card that i own.
mantle did indeed hit a clutch homerun in game 3 of the 1964 world series against the cardinals.  too bad that blast isn't what is shown here. in game 3, mantle led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk-off home run.  barney schultz was the pitcher for the cardinals.  i am pretty sure that this card shows the mick on the road and batting against bob gibson.  still, it's a nice card.

fast forward to 1991, and topps gave us another gem - dwight evans.
what happened to the pitcher?

the first dodger card i saw with this vantage point being used was this 1996 pinnacle raul mondesi card
this is some sort of parallel, but the real issue here is that the image is kind of blurry.  as for other similar dodger cards, there is of course the really bad 2008 topps stadium club manny ramirez card with the extensive photoshopping and umpire elimination. 

there's no umpire on the 2008 upper deck first edition justin maxwell card either, but that makes sense
it's from the photo op during the construction of the nationals' stadium in dc.  the twins did a similar thing when target field was under construction with mauer, morneau, and cuddyer.  there's a poster as a result, but no card that i know of.

also in 2008, we have garrett atkins' upper deck card
featuring world series action.  upper deck did this in 2007, too.  i think it's the albert pujols card that features the centerfield view with jason verlander lurking in the foreground.

i mentioned target field a minute ago.  i was excited for 2011 cards to be issued as i was hoping to see the twins' new stadium on some cardboard.  2011 topps opening day didn't disappoint, with magglio ordonez's card
i think the card would look a little better if it weren't cropped to lose some of the 'target field' text.  still, i like the card a lot.  not as much as these next two, however.

this is from 2007 upper deck masterpieces, and it gives us the view from centerfield as reggie jackson hit his third home run in game 6 of the 1977 world series.
that's the dodgers' steve yeager wearing the catcher's gear.

even though the yankees beat the dodgers, i like this card because the 1977 world series is the first fall classic that i watched, and this is a much better representation of the series than the highlight card that topps issued in 1978.

even better is this card from the 1994 upper deck all-time heroes set
not only do we get to see yeager, we get charlie hough, too.  the dodgers outnumber the yankees on the card 2 to 1.

i know there are more of these cards (2004 topps juan uribe, for one) but for me, there aren't enough.  it would be pretty cool to see other cards - a double play card would be awesome - from the center field view.  don't you think?

27 March 2013

together again

it is weird for me as a dodger fan to think of don mattingly and mark mcgwire both wearing dodger blue.  even though the dodger/yankee rivalry was not reignited during mattingly's playing career, he was still an enemy wearing pinstripes.  yes, i respected the talent and even had a pc going early in his career.  same for mcgwire who actually dealt the dodgers their only loss in the 1988 world series.

mattingly has had three dodger cards now, thanks to topps heritage, but mcgwire has been missing from non-tribute sets since 2002.  and, who knows what changes might occur in the dodgers' on-field leadership between now and 2022 when topps heritage is scheduled to feature the 1973 card design.  that would be the next time in which we would see coaches appear on a card, unless topps does something with its flagship that it hasn't done since 1974.

the dodger manager and hitting coach did share space on cardboard a couple of times at least once in 1990, like on this fleer super star special
and then there although my favorite is mcgwire's card from that year's upper deck release
it is similar to kirby puckett's 1989 upper deck card that had mcgwire playing behind the runner, although there is more action here with mcgwire breaking towards second and someone whom i thought to be donnie baseball headed to first.  obviously i didn't check the glove hand.  it doesn't look like steve balboni (the only right-handed first baseman the yankees had in 1989), so maybe it's wayne tolleson playing short as mcgwire is running towards third, as was the case on may 18, 1989?

is that the last time we will see mattingly and mcgwire together on a card? who knows? maybe these two (along with first base coach davey lopes) will show up again on a 2014 topps world series celebration card.  i am hoping so.

26 March 2013

the first adrian

this is adrian gonzalez's 2013 topps card
it was the first card of gonzalez as a dodger that i owned.  it won't be the last, but there is one that i pretty much know that i will never own.

for the first time since i began collecting (and now dating back to the 1957 set), i do not have a complete dodger team set of topps' flagship and traded/update cards because of the ssp nonsense that was perpetrated in last year's update set.

sure, for $700 i could own this gonzalez card
and this nick punto card
plus this card of carl crawford
and this josh beckett card

but i won't.  instead, i'll settle for this 2013 topps beckett
and wait for series two (maybe) for a punto and a crawford.

things were simpler in 1999 when another adrian made his dodger topps debut
i've been thinking about making 2013 the last year that i would bother with the non-ssp dodger team sets.  we'll have to see what kind of shenanigans (beyond the out of bounds short prints) topps brings to the table.