Sunday, January 31, 2010

Play at the Plate 2: Eddie Perez vs. Vladimir Guerrero

This is the second in a series of play at the plate cards.

1998 Stadium Club Vladimir Guerrero

May 21, 1997: Montreal Expos @ Atlanta Braves

It's the top of the 7th inning and Henry Rodriguez hits a one out single. Vladimir Guerrero steps in against Greg Maddux and smacks a double to deep center. Rodriguez holds at 3rd base. Doug Strange comes to the plate and hits a drive to deep right center field. Michael Tucker uses his good speed to track the ball down. Rodriguez scores easily and I'm not sure what happens, but the ball is deep enough that the third base coach sends Guerrero to try to score from second, leading to this...

Guerrero slides in safe at home, beating the tag of catcher Eddie Perez. Two rbi sac flies aren't unheard of, but they are uncommon. The Braves would go on to win the game 3-2, with these two "Strange" rbi's the only runs of the game for Montreal.

Normally, I might be a little disappointed to have Henry Rodriguez's backside in the center of the shot, but knowing that both Rodriguez and Guerrero scored on a sac fly more than makes up for it.

Winner of this battle at the plate: Vladimir Guerrero

There is a Rangers connection on this card as well. Doug Strange was a former Ranger and Guerrero will be a Ranger this season.

The Troll Delivers

A couple of days ago I got a package from the one and only Collective Troll. It had something I've never received in a package before. I'll save that for the end of the post however. I don't know if the Troll has any teams left in his big pack break, but you should go over and check just in case.

I'm not posting them, but I want to thank Marck for sending the 2009 Topps cards for my son's collection. Slowly, but surely, we're wrapping that one up. I'm also not posting it, but he sent what must be the entire Rangers set from 1987 Topps! Here is part of the other stuff Marck sent over.

I only bought a few packs of 2009 Heritage High Numbers and I needed this Omar Vizquel. You'll be seeing this card again in an upcoming post.

I would love to have real autos from all the guys on this 1974 Topps Rangers Checklist. Especially Fergie Jenkins and David Clyde.

I claimed this off one of the Troll's trade bait posts. My son likes these USA relic cards and I've picked up 5 or 6 in trades. I know it's only Sean Burroughs, but the beauty of being a young collector is he's not jaded like us old fogies.

Did you know Ivan Rodriguez was a "Receptor"? It says so right on the front of this card. Back when this 2000 Pacific Invicible Pudge jersey card (#118/675) came out, a card serial numbered to 675 would seem like a low print run.

I think this may be the very first ever Troll original. Maybe a 2010 Retro set? Actually, it's a sweet 4x6 photo of my favorite all-time player, Will Clark. I'm not sure if Will is the main subject of the photo or it's the Budweiser sign in the back. I'm guessing Marck took this when the Rangers used to have Spring Training in Florida. Thanks for the photo Marck!

Last, but not least, is something that appeals to the lazy collector in me. Marck sent this...

A Pre-Loaded Page! This page came loaded with 7 cards. Three Pudge cards, a Will Clark, a Johnny Bench, a great Play at the Plate which you will see again at some point. My favorite card is the 1974 Topps Billy Martin w/coaches card. That is one I know I didn't have. According to the back of this card, Martin lived in Richfield, Minnesota which is only 23 miles from where I was born. That is what you call TMI.

The kind-hearted, no-sleep getting, pack busting Troll was also kind enough to send along some other much needed stuff that wasn't made of cardboard. Thanks for that and the cards too Marck!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cards from the Old Man: Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts about cards I received from the old collector in our town who had library catalogs full of cards from the 1950's-1970's. You can see those original posts here and here if you missed them. I picked this card because he was one of the big stars that I had heard of even though we never saw any games in our small Texas town.

I don't remember ever seeing a baseball game on TV until the 1979 World Series. One year later I watched the Phillies beat the Royasl 4-2. I was rooting for the Royals, but I learned all about Pete Rose and when I started collecting cards in 1981, I liked getting Pete Rose cards.
While looking through the old man's cards I came upon 4 or 5 of these 1973 Topps Rose cards. I liked the action shot and quickly made a trade for it.
Pete Rose played 24 years for the Reds, Phillies and Expos (it was weird seeing him in that uniform). He had 10 years with over 200 hits and 5 more years with more 185 or more hits. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1963 and the National League MVP in 1973. He finished with 4,256 hits, 160 homeruns, 1,314 rbis and a career .303 average. He should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. Too bad for Pete, he had a little gambling issue that came between him and the Hall. I'm not going to re-hash the negative. It's there and it's not going away.

Do you think Pete and Ed Brinkman's high school claim Ed over Pete these days?

Do you think Pete Rose EVER gets in the Hall of Fame?

Do you think I should keep posting these cards?

Phungo Phabulosity Part 2

Like many across the blogosphere (sorry, it's that word again), I recently received a 2010 Phungo pack.

It was loaded with Phungo originals and a couple of extras.

Mike Moustakas--I like that Paul puts the date of the game on the card.

John Maine vs. Shane Victorino--Great shot...I wonder who won this battle?

Joe Mauer--one for the player collection.

Nice Pudge!

This is a new one to me. It's a 1992 MLB Aces Playing Card. I think Raffy might be a little disappointed at only being the 8 of Diamonds.

A sweet, sweet Elvis Andrus T206 mini.

Thanks Phungo! It's going to be tough to be this pack.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

I have a Facebook account because one of my kids had a teacher that gave an extra "bonus" question each week on his Facebook page. I didn't want a Facebook page. I don't use it to post stuff. I rarely comment on any of my friends pages. I don't have a problem with those types of sites, but honestly, I don't need to let everyone know every time I eat a sandwich or scratch my butt. I guess I could post pack breaks there, but that's what I have this blog for.

At any rate, somehow I found out that Upper Deck has a Facebook page and they were having a contest to guess which of the playoff teams would win the Super Bowl. All you had to do was post a comment on the page of the team you thought would win and you could win boxes, high-end packs, autographed footballs or some singles. Of course, I took the Cowboys and was one of the three people selected to take home one of the three Cowboys singles. One was a Randy White auto'd card. I didn't get that one. One was a Tony Romo Flag Patch (I don't know much about football products so I'm not sure what it was from). I didn't get that one either. I got this...

That is one nice card for a Cowboys fan. It's my first triple auto anything. Mike Jenkins and Anthony Spencer really came on this season for the Cowboys. It's numbered #49/50. I'm really happy to have won it and want to thank Upper Deck for sending it to me. I think the whole giveaway was/is very generous.

I have one problem.

Why would you (Upper Deck) go to all the trouble and expense of mailing this card to me via Fedex and ship it only in a penny sleeve, loose in a #0 envelope. I don't know if you can see it in the scan, but this card has a massive crease in it. It goes from just under Mr. McWilliam's faux signature all the way down to the right at a slight angle and through the SP logo. What a waste!
I appreciate the effort, but the execution was terrible.

Scanner 101--With a couple of questions

In case you hadn't noticed, I started using my scanner that I got for Christmas. I've been using it for a while, but I still haven't bothered to read the directions. I'm sure there are things it can do that would make me smack my forehead and say "Why didn't I read the directions?" I actually had a couple of those moments yesterday.

First, if you're a regular reader, (thank you) you might remember this scan from the package I got from Padrographs and posted a few days ago.

These cards were the last ones I scanned that day. I gathered everything up and went about the business of being a dad and husband. The next day, I go to scan some more cards and EVERY SINGLE TIME, the card I would scan would save, and one of these would save too...

The problem, in hindsight, was silly, but at the time I was dumbfounded. I thought the scanner must have gotten the Don Slaught image "stuck" in it somehow and it was coming through every time. Finally, I went to load a 6 card group for scanning, when I opened the lid ALL the way and low and behold, there at the far end of the scanner was a Slaught card that I had left on the glass the day before. DUH!! How stupid is that. I scanned and deleted that Slaught card 50 times I bet. The good thing was it led to a breakthrough.

I had been scanning all my cards one at a time. After I found the Slaught card, it hit me that I could scan multiple cards at the same time and if I left some space between them, the scanner would read each one as a single image. Presto, scanning time cut down in a HUGE way. Now, it's much faster to scan a big group of cards. This may not bode well for Thorzul because I may actually start putting more scans in my trade posts.

Now for a couple of questions.

What size image do you use when posting a scan on your blog? I've only been blogging since August and I've used up 11% of the available space according to Blogger. I still have a long way to go, but I want to use the best size for viewing and saving space.

My second question is this. Often times, when I'm looking at other blogs, I'll click on an image so I can see it better. I don't think you can click on my images though. How do I set that up so it's possible to click on my images?

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Great Box from Shane

Here's a little lesson for you. Sometimes, it pays to comment on other people's trade posts. It was comments on trade posts by Night Owl and Nachos Grande that led to an email from Shane. He noticed my comments, started following my blog and asked if I would be interested in some Rangers. Let me think about it...yes!! I sent over some cards off one of his wantlists and he sent me a little box loaded with pre-1981 Rangers plus plenty of more current cards.

This is my first 2004 Topps Cracker Jack card. Sure, it's a Mark Teixeira card, but it's a near priceless white swatch of jersey. This is sort of a "mini" card.

This 2005 Donruss Throwback Threads Michael Young is another new addition to the collection. I hope the Rangers can keep Michael a Ranger his whole career.

Here we have an early Tom Henke, 1984 Donruss edition. Tom, big glasses and all, started his career in Texas in 1982. He left to play for the Blue Jays in 1985 and came back to get 40 saves for Texas in 1993, 15 saves in 1994 and finish his career with the Cardinals in 1995.

Recent postings by Night Owl and the Collective Troll, both excellent bloggers, got me wondering if there were any Rangers in the Drake's series. Without ever asking the question, I find the answer with this 1981 Drake's Al Oliver. You can see their great posts on the subject by clicking on their names above.

This is the third or fourth 1975 SSPC Texas Ranger Card I've gotten via trade. It's my first Jim Sundberg and I must say I really like these. They look really clean and uncluttered and would be great for TTM's.

Shane also sent over three TTM or in person autos he got from Rangers. These kinds of cards in trade packages are always much appreciated because someone had to go to some kind of effort to get these signed.

2000 Upper Deck Doug Davis--my first Doug Davis auto of any kind.

1986 Fleer Bobby Witt

One of my top 5 all-time favorite Rangers, Rusty Greer on a 1997 Fleer card. Very nice.

Now on to the "vintage", or pre-1981 Rangers. When your favorite team has only been in existence since 1972, you define your own vintage era. The upside is I don't need any 1950's Topps cards for the Team Collection.

1980 Topps Pat Putnam. Pat played 8 years in the Majors, 6 with Texas. His best year was actually in the minors for Asheville in 1976 when he hit .361 with 24 homeruns and 142! rbis in 138 games. The numbers didn't translate to the Show where he had 63 career homers and 255 rbis in his 8 seasons.

I would love to feature each of these cards individually because they deserve it, but I really want to leave the epic posts to the Troll. He does them so much better than I do...that's not a shot at him either, his long posts have helped me through many a long, boring night at work. Featured here are Al Oliver, Len Barker, Toby Harrah, Juan Beniquez, Jon Matlack and Bobby Bonds, circa 1979 Topps.

Here we have a couple of 1978 Topps Rangers. Manager Billy Hunter was the fourth of four Rangers managers in the 1977 season. Frank Lucchesi (31-31), Eddie Stanky (1-0), Connie Ryan (2-4) preceded him and Hunter finished the season 60-33 for 2nd place. He led the Rangers to a 86-75 record in 1978, good enough for 2nd place. Pat Corrales managed one game in 1978, going 1-0 and replaced Billy Hunter as manager for the 1979 season.

This is a fine trio of 1977 Topps Rangers. Mike Hargrove has the normal cap on. The Bert Campaneris cap is one of the worst airbrush jobs I've ever seen. At least until I saw the Bump Wills Rookie card. The hat is airbrushed and it looks like his face is too. Weird. I still love having these cards in my collection now.

This colorful 1975 Topps Toby Harrah will soon be featured on this far out 1975 Topps blog. I can't wait.

Finally, we get to three 1974 Topps Rangers. It looks like Jeff Burroughs is questioning a call, Dave Nelson looks like he's looking to Heaven for an answer to his hitting woes. Toby Harrah just looks annoyed at having to pose in front of the batting cage. If you've read this far, bless you, and I'm sorry. I actually left out a number of cards I wanted to post. I didn't send Shane nearly enough cards for what he sent me. Thanks Shane!

My first 30 packs of 2010 Topps--collation test

I stopped by Target yesterday. Really, I had a list of things to buy and the list was short. 2010 Topps. Well, check that off the list as I found a nearly full triple size gravity feeder. I didn't think to look at how many packs it had, but I pulled out 30 and there were at least 20 left. I'm posting the first pack in it's entirety. Then I'll post the breakdown on the whole 30 packs and see how it might compare to a hobby box since what I paid was roughly the same price as a hobby box.
First Topps Card of the 2010:

#295 Kevin Youklis...or a card featuring a bunch of Red Sox fans.

#22 Anthony Swarzak

#175 Josh Hamilton-Only three cards to get my first Ranger. A good pack to start with if you ask me.

#233 A.L. RBI Leaders

#159 Vernon Wells

#171 A.L. Wins Leaders

#TR26 Dexter Fowler

Red Back 14 Cal Ripken Jr.-These are really nice.

ToppsTown 9 Roy Halladay
#104 Mets Franchise History-I'm not opposed to these cards, but they fall way too frequently. A certain blogger I know is going to love the adds in the background behind Tom Seaver.

#214 Matt Kemp-After one pack, this gets my vote for card of the year. Maybe I should see a few more before I award it that title, but it is a great action shot. I wonder if he held on to the ball. You can see it in the very tip of his glove.

#238 Ian Stewart-Can someone tell me why the the other cards say "Rangers", "Jays", "Mets" or "Twins" and this one says "Colorado Rockies"? I know there aren't a ton of Rockies fans, but don't we all know they are from Colorado?
That was my first 12 card pack. I have 29 more that I opened and the collation results are coming up. The total cost for these 30 packs was about $10 more than a pre-sell Hobby box from Blowout and dacardworld. The hobby box contains 36 1o card packs. I'll be ordering a hobby box to test it out as well. Incidentally, I went to the local card shop and he said his hobby boxes were going to run $69.99 and jumbo boxes $130. I like to support local business, but that is so far above what you can get those for on the net, it's ridiculous. Here is what I got from the retail packs.
Total cards received: 360, so I did get the right number of cards.
Base: 220/330---66.7%
SP: 1--#90b Rogers Hornsby
48 Base Dupes-13.3%
1951 Redbacks, retail exclusive--The pack says to "collect all 15" but they "2 in a series of 45". I got 7 total. Hornsby, Spahn, Young, Pujols, Foxx, Ripken Jr., Wright.
Million Card giveaway codes: 5--if they're not giving away actual cards then these are a waste.
Legendary Lineage--1:4--8 total
Peak Performers--1:4--8 total
Topps Town--30, 8 dupes.
Topps Gold--1, Yovani Gallardo--This is where I got shafted. These fall 9 per hobby box.
The Cards Your Mother Threw Out--1:3--9 total, I assume there is one of these representing every year Topps has been around. I got #1 which is the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.
Turkey Red 1:4--7 total
Tales of the Game 1:6--4 total, including the Jeter Flip play at the plate.
When They Were Young 1:8--6 total, I beat the odds pulling 6 of these, but YAWN...who cares.
History of the Game 1:6--6 total
There you have it, the results of 30 retail packs. It was a fun rip and I like some of the inserts. I should be able to finish the set with a hobby box. I should, that doesn't mean I will.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cards on Cards didn't "Bip" me

I got a trade package from Cards on Cards that didn't include a "Bip"ping or a "Slaught"er. It did include a few Rangers cards I didn't have and some 10 year old shiny cards. The package was also unexpected which is always fun.

Kerry included 8 Rangers from the 2000 Topps Chrome set. Mark McLemore was one of my favorite Rangers from that era.

This 2000 Topps Chrome Jeff Zimmerman reminds me of what could have been. He made a big splash in 1999 when he was an All-Star in his rookie season. According to the back of this card, he was the first pure middle reliever ever named to the All-Star Team. He had 28 saves in 2001 and then he was done. Arm injuries derailed what looked to be the start of a good career.

On this 1999 Fleer Ultra we see John Wetteland having communication issues with Ivan Rodriguez.

Will "The Thrill" Clark shows off the scar on his left elbow after having 24 bone chips removed.

Something doesn't look right on this 1999 Skybox card. It must be Will in the Baltimore uniform.

Last, but not least, we have the first guy I remember playing catcher for Texas. Jim Sundberg, 1983 Fleer Edition. I love the old TR logo on the front. Perhaps Jim would be a little quicker down the line if he dropped the bat.

Kerry, thanks so much for the unexpected package. You might want to watch your mailbox...I sent you something the same day I got this one without knowing this was coming. Funny...