31 May 2014

these also came from outer space

here are some more cards from my 'team' in the 'tribe cards from outer space' pack opening extravaganza hosted by david from tribe cards.  i mentioned earlier that one of my strategies throughout the season was to pick up middle infielders in the hopes of getting some double play turns.  i was successful a few times, and wound up with this 1993 leaf mariano duncan card
and a 1997 fleer rex hudler card
that were new to me.

my other draft strategies included dodgers (of course) and members of the teams of my youth.  players like elias sosa, who showed up in a 1981 fleer pack (or was it a repack?).
overall, i received quite a few expos.  mitch webster (former dodger) was an expo on his 1988 o-pee-chee card
and tim wallach (another former dodger) showed up twice in a 1992 leaf pack - regular and black gold
those cards, plus a couple others of the current dodger bench coach have been shipped out to new mexico already.

another expo that fit into my former dodger and middle infielder strategy was delino deshields, seen here on his 1993 leaf card
but the most welcome expo of my 'team' was vladimir guerrero.  i wound up with a few vladdys, including this 2000 pacific crown collection card
i might like the red hats more than the red, white, and blue ones.

here's a 1995 topps cyber stats parallel of felix fermin
i drafted him in hopes of some double play cards.  this bunting card is on its way to 2x3 heroes.

howie kendrick was another middle infielder added to my team.  he delivered a 2013 topps a&g regular and mini combo
i beat david to the punch in adding former dodger (and indian) casey blake, and so i wound up with this 2004 fleer ultra card
which also features the mel harder and larry doby memorial patches.

there aren't too many cards of aaron harang as a dodger, but i was hoping for one or two when i added him to my player list.  instead, i received this 2011 topps gold parallel featuring him with the reds
i'm not complaining, though.

thanks david!

they came from outer space

what a great haul of cards i received recently from david at tribe cards as a result of his generous 'tribe cards from outer space' giveaway.  in all the packs david opened last season, he only pulled one steve garvey card (1993 ted williams) and one davey lopes card (1987 topps record breaker), but there were other dodgers and random players i had drafted that were well represented.  like alfredo griffin.
that's his 1988 donruss baseball's best card, and this is his 1990 fleer card
i picked up alejandro pena somewhere along the way, and was rewarded with a 1987 fleer card
here's a 1992 topps stadium club mike sharperson card
and a couple of billy ashley cards - 1994 donruss triple play
and 1994 topps
also from 1994 topps, here's jim gott
james loney was represented by his 2012 topps a&g card
my strategy was to draft dodgers, members of the dodger team of my youth, and middle infielders - hoping for some double play turns.  that meant that i received some non-dodger cards of former dodgers, like this 2012 topps a&g black bordered mini of russell martin
and more yankees - tommy john
and rick rhoden
from 1988 donruss baseball's best.

i also wound up with tim wallach on my list, so received his baseball's best card
as well as that of fellow expo bryn smith
and giant craig lefferts
i can explain bryn smith - here's his regular 1988 donruss card, by the way
as he's a local guy made good and i sometimes think about pulling together a player collection.  but lefferts?  i forgot why i added him to my list until i saw his regular donruss card
featuring the right field pavilion at dodger stadium as a backdrop.

i've got some more cards from this package to show off, and i'll do so later today...

30 May 2014

sweet lou whitaker had some sweet final tributes

while picking up some lou whitaker double play cards from 1996, including his donruss
and upper deck cards
(that one is part of the 'young at heart' subset in 1996 upper deck - a nice way of saying 'damn, these guys have been playing for a long time'), i realized that these cards were also his final tributes!

whitaker retired following the 1995 season, one year before longtime double play partner alan trammell hung up his spikes.  here are the backs of the above cards, each of which show whitaker's full career stats
with a trammell cameo on the upper deck card.  nice.

it's not a double play card, but whitaker's 1996 upper deck collector's choice card gets the 'tribute' banner which is nice.
whitaker retired with over 2300 hits, 244 homers, and (the card doesn't show it but it should in this case) 1527 double plays turned - not a bad career at all.

28 May 2014

the evolution of the dodger second baseman, part 2

when we last saw the dodger second baseman, he (paul popovich) was on his way to the expansion montreal expos, so someone needed to step up in 1969.  that someone was…

ted sizemore (1969-1970)
sizemore (seen with his topps rookie team trophy on his 1970 topps card) actually started the season at shortstop (jim lefebvre was at second), but he moved to second when lefebvre got hurt in mid april.  even though he returned to short when lefebvre came back, walt alston eventually switched sizemore back to second when the club reacquired maury wills to play shortstop.  sizemore played 118 of his 159 games in 1969 as the dodgers' second baseman, and hit .271 as he was named the national league's rookie of the year.  in 1970, he appeared in only 96 games, but made 81 starts at second for the dodgers so he retains his title as their primary second baseman.  he hit .306 that year and was dealt following the season to the cardinals in the dick (rich) allen trade.

jim lefebvre (1971)
look who's back.  lefebvre, who had been the team's primary second baseman in 1965 and 1966 and is a former rookie of the year himself, was back at the position in 1971.  that's lefebvre's 1972 o-pee-chee card, by the way.  he played in 102 games as the dodger second baseman in '71 (98 starts) and hit .245 with 12 homers.

lee lacy (1972)
once again, lefebvre began the season as the team's second baseman, but hit a rough patch in early may and gave way to bobby valentine.  soon thereafter, lee lacy (shown on his 1973 o-pee-chee card) was called up from the minors, and he went on to lay claim to the position.  lacy made 58 starts at second - about a dozen more than valentine and 20 or so more than lefebvre.  he hit .259 and scored 34 runs, but didn't play much in september, as the dodgers called up another guy to play some second.

dave lopes (1973-1981)
lopes (shown on a very crooked 1979 kellogg's card) made 11 starts during the last month of the 1972 season, and i guess alston saw enough.  he handed the position over to lopes in 1973, giving him 133 starts that year.  he dabbled in the outfield from time to time, but otherwise held the position through the 1981 world series.  along the way, he led the league in steals twice, won a gold glove, made four all-star teams, and helped the dodgers to four pennants and a world series title.  he was the second baseman on the team of my youth.

steve sax (1982-1988)
like lopes, sax held the dodgers' second base position until they won a world series title.  lopes, however, was traded prior to the 1982 season while saxy left after the 1988 campaign as a free agent.  before that happened, he was the fourth dodger second baseman to win the rookie of the year award, and he made three all-star teams, including the 1983 squad as alluded to on the 1984 topps glossy all-star card above.  in 1986, sax finished second to tim raines in the batting title race, hitting a career high .332 (raines hit .334).  he twice led the national league in errors while with the dodgers and much was made about his difficulties throwing to first base, but he was still my favorite dodger after steve garvey left town.  besides, i don't think of him defensively - my lasting steve sax memory is of him hitting the first pitch of the 1988 season into the left field bleachers at dodger stadium.

willie randolph (1989)
the yankees and dodgers essentially traded second baseman for the 1989 season, although both signed with their new teams as free agents.  with sax gone to the bronx, the dodgers signed willie randolph (seen on a 1989 fleer update card).  randolph appeared in 145 games in 1989, including 139 starts at second.  he hit .282 and was selected to the all-star team.  however, the dodgers traded him to the a's early in the 1990 season for stan javier.

juan samuel (1990-1991)
following the 1989 season, the dodgers traded mike marshall and alejandro pena to the mets for samuel.  they moved him back to his original position of second base (the mets were using him as their center fielder), and he made 101 starts there for the dodgers in 1990.  the following year, samuel started 150 games at second for the blue, and didn't sniff the outfield.  he made the all-star team that year as well, hitting .271 with 74 runs scored and 23 steals.  samuel began the 1992 season as the team's second baseman, but was released in july.  eric young was called up to take his roster spot, but there was another player who actually played second more than anyone else that year.

lenny harris (1992)
yes, i am using cards from 1992 fleer ultra for both samuel and harris in this post.  it's what i had handy.  deal with it.  the second baseman position in 1992 looked something like this:  samuel, 29 starts; mike sharperson, 33 starts; eric young, 35 starts; harris, 65 starts.  harris had been the team's primary third baseman in 1991, and he played some third as well as short and outfield in 1992 as well.  overall, harris hit .271 while fielding at a clip below league average for second basemen.  many thought that young would be the dodgers' second baseman of the future, but they weren't convinced as he was left unprotected in the 1993 expansion draft and was taken by colorado.  as a result, the dodgers worked out a deal with the rockies to acquire one of their later draft picks to fill the hole at second.  that set into motion events that would lead to one of the worst (thanks to hindsight) trades in dodger history.  stay tuned...

27 May 2014

dave stewart through the mail success and hopefully a pending success as well

here's my 1978 topps update/burger king dodgers card that should have been of dave stewart, signed by the former dodger and three-time world series champion himself.
i sent it in to a hall of fame sports signing a couple of years ago.  if you don't recall, stew pitched in one game for the 1978 dodgers and then didn't return to the majors until 1981.

i recently (6 months ago) took a chance on a 2013 topps triple threads redemption card which promised to deliver an auto-relic of stewart.
i reard (that's how topps shows him in other releases this year), but my hopes were buoyed by panini which issued a short print of him as a dodger last year.  of course, his base card (and certified auto) in that set had him affiliated with oakland.

no matter the result, you can wait for the card along with me, as i have updated the redemption watch feature on the upper right side of the blog (web view only) by removing the clayton kershaw redemption (that one took about two months) and adding stewart.  by the way, i redeemed the stewart code last november, and am still waiting.

he's signed for me once; i hope he does so again...

26 May 2014

we've been waiting for beckett

just over four years ago, i lamented the fact that the dodgers had not had a pitcher throw a no-hitter since 1996.  yesterday, i watched from my couch as josh beckett recorded the last three outs of the game to end his first career no-hitter and the dodgers' run of futility in that department.  here's a 2013 topps stickers 'card' of beckett that i must have been saving for this occasion.
i also had this carl crawford sticker from the same set ready to go in the scanned folder, so why not today?
even though crawford was 0 for 5 in the game.

if there is any down side to the no-no, it is that vin scully didn't get to call it.  i believe he has called every other dodger no-hitter since carl erskine's second career no-no which was thrown in 1956.  i like charley steiner, but it just wasn't the same.

we will all be on johnny vander meer watch in a few days, but for now i'll just enjoy the fact that another dodger pitcher has thrown a no-hitter.  only three more to catch sandy koufax...
…but hopefully there will be some beckett no-hitter cards in some future releases, including the next round of gypsy queen if there is such a thing.

the splendid splinter memorial patch and black armband

when i was a kid, i wanted to be a baseball player.  my neighbor wanted to be a fighter pilot.  neither one of us made it - i stopped playing ball at the age of 29 in an amateur league, while my neighbor served in the armed forces as an officer for the us army, not a pilot.

one man who lived both of our dreams was ted williams.  not only was he a baseball player, he was one of the best that there ever was.  521 home runs. two triple crowns.  a career .344 batting average - better than all but 7 men.  a .482 onbase percentage - the best that there ever was.  and of course, he was the last man to hit over .400 during the regular season.

on top of all that, he left the red sox twice to serve his country as a us marine fighter pilot, missing the entire 1943-1945 seasons during world war ii, and then again missing parts of the 1952 and 1953 seasons during the korean conflict.

he retired following the 1960 season and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1966.  he spent some time managing the washington senators/texas rangers and later had a baseball card company bear his name.  williams also became a hall of fame fisherman and has a highway named after him in his native san diego, and a tunnel bearing his name in boston. his appearance at the 1999 all-star game in boston was one of the coolest things i have seen as a baseball fan.

ted williams passed away on july 5, 2002, and the red sox began wearing a black armband and williams' number 9 on their right sleeves soon thereafter.  you can see the memorials on nomar garciaparra's 2003 upper deck first pitch card
and again on manny ramirez's 2004 upper deck super sluggers insert
here it is again on nomar's 2003 upper deck vintage 3-d sluggers short print subset card
but it's manny's 2003 upper deck vintage card that is in my memorials binder
like williams, manny patrolled left field at fenway, so it seems fitting.

can you imagine a better american life?  neither my neighbor nor i could.  here's to ted williams, but especially today, here's to all the men and women who lost their lives in service to our country.