Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Johnny Grubb #467 (What kind of middle name is Maywood?)

Photo Front : An action shot of Johnny on the follow through of his swing. This would have been a perfect shot for an 2010 Upper Deck baseball card because the team name and Rangers logo on his helmet cannot be seen
Back Stats: Experienced worst year in majors last year. Middle name is Maywood.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baseball Price Guide History - 1973 Topps Set

About once a month Wrigley Wax (check it out) presents the average price of Topps sets (1969-present) sold on ebay.  I have decided to compare that with what price guides have listed the sets for over the years. First up 1973 Topps Set. (listed by year, source, price)

1982 Renata Galasso                          $135.00
8/1985 Baseball Cards                       $95-210.00
11/1988 Baseball Cards                     $525.00
10/1996 SportsCards                          $950.00
10/1998 SportsCards                          $950.00
2/2005 Beckett Baseball                     Not Listed
2/2009 Beckett Baseball                     $350-700.00
8/10 Ebay 12 month average (WW)   $352.00

The numbers are interesting. The 1973 set had been listed at $170.00  more than it is selling for 22 years later. Wow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tom Lasorda #110 (2008 Topps Kevin Millwood 26 years later)

Unbelievable, but it appears that Kevin Millwood on his 2008 Topps card is standing almost in the same location as Tom Lasorda on his 1982 Donruss card. Compare the light tower and the green outfield wall. They both look like it is the same background and both were standing in the same spots.

While I never really liked this guy and kind of thought of him as a phony, this card is a beauty. Tom is posed looking off to the Big Blue Dodger in the Sky. There is a large light post just off his shoulder in this classic spring training shot. The back of  the card mentions that Tom reached the pinnacle of his career last October when he piloted the Dodgers to a six game triumph over
the Yankees.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reggie Smith #488

Another of those underrated 1970s players whose stats were diminished because of the 1970s pitching era. This guy has a full head of hair against an all blue background. Reggie has a prominent afro in this photo.

Back Stats: He was unable to play the outfield or throw the ball. He had 35 at bats in 40 games in the 1981 season (a year in which the Dodgers won the World Series

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mike Lum #300

When I was a kid, Mike Lum was the first person that I knew of that was Hawaiian. Then I saw that 3-part Hawaiian vacation episodes of the Brady Bunch and Don Ho became the second person that I knew of that was
Hawaiian. In 2008, Barack Obama became the 3rd person that I knew who was Hawaiian.

Photo Front: Looks like a between inning shot from Wrigley Field.
Back Stats:  He hit 3 Home Runs in one game (7/3/70) vs. Padres while playing for Braves. He was the First Hawaiian to make the majors since Hawaii achieved Statehood.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baseball Card Mystery - Ryan Theriot

The 2008 Topps Chrome Card of Ryan Theriot has a rookie card logo on it. That would be ok if not for the fact that Ryan was not a rookie. His rookie logo cards are from 2006. It appears that he was on 2 cards in 2006, with the rookie card logo (Fleer Ultra and Topps 1952 rookies). Is it possible that Topps forgot in 2008 that Ryan already had a rookie card. Ryan did not appear in the regular Topps or Topps Chrome sets in 2006 and 2007. He did appear in the 2008 Topps set but without the rookie card logo. I checked the internet and could not find any answer to the reason why his 2008 chrome card had the rookie card logo on it. Was this just a mistake and or did Topps just forget that Theriot was not a rookie..

The other odd fact about 2008 Topps Chrome was that all cards numbered 192-220 were rookie cards except card 194 of Adam Jones. I am assuming that some rookie card was pulled at number 194 and Adam Jones was inserted in his place. Was Theriot supposed to be card 194 instead of card 172 or was it someone else.   The Mystery remains…………

Monday, November 15, 2010

Terry Crowley #383

Photo Front: Terry looks about to be 57  years old (actually 34 years old at the time). This is a definitive spring training shot as you can see a palm tree sprouting through the bleacher section
Back Facts: Ranks 6th all time on the pinch hit list - is signed through '83.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Love in the NBA

Kevin Love's father, Stan, played for the Baltimore Bullets in the early 1970s. Around that time, Stan wrote a book about his travels in the NBA, called "Love in the NBA". Stan also, I believe was a brother to a couple of Beach Boys.

Kevin Love last night had the first 30 point and 30 rebound game in 28 years. I would say at this point that Kevin is already a better player than his father. It is hard to say where Kevin stands in the NBA pantheon. Could he develope into one of the top 10 players in the league. If he was a better shot blocker maybe. Could he turn into a great number 2 guy (Like Scottie Pippin) for a super star player, that is a better possibility

2009-10 Bowman 48 was one of the best basketball sets in the last 20 years. Its simple design, non gloss finish and sturdy old fashion card stock gave it a look and feel unlike any recent card set. Plus, it has 3 autographs per box for the hit collectors.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gorman Thomas Klingon (Cardassians vs. Kardashians)

I always thought Gorman Thomas looked like a Klingon. I was a big fan of Star Trek, I watched the syndicated show in the 1970s but it was Star Trek The Next Generation that took me over the top. I really did not get into it, its first year which premiered in the fall of 1987. However, in the late fall of 1988, the second season, I caught an episode called Where Silence has No Lease and I was hooked.  Then after that there was just one great episodes after another. Its 2nd season was its best - it was during this seasons that they introduced the Borg (the Federations greatest adversary). There was a prelude episode to the Borg in Season One, however, you have to watch it to figure it out.

Over time the Kligons look evolved on Star Trek. Gorman looks more fitting in the first series as opposed to 75 years into the future, on the second series. Someone once explained to me that between the First and Second Series, the Kligons look changed because they were evolving.

The Cardassians were introduced around 1990 or 1991 on Star Trek TNG. I did not know what to make of them as they appeared to be a second rate species. They were featured more in the third Star Trek Series Deep Space Nine.

The First time I heard the word Kardashians was in 1994, during the OJ Simpson freeway chase. I don't watch much reality TV but I have caught some episodes of this show and it is kind of funny.

However, I wonder  who would win - the Cardassians or the Kardashians (I am including Bruce Jenner and Scott Disick on this team). It would be a galactic battle with Repercussions throughout the Galaxy but I think the Gorman Thomas Klingons would kick both of their butts.

Gorman Thomas #26

Since these are the first year of the  Diamond Kings, Donruss tended to select the Best Player on each team for the honor. This diamond king set had I believe the best player selection of any year that these cards were part of the base set. At this time Milwaukee had a lot of greatplayers but they chose Thomas, which should give you an idea about how good people thought he was in 1981-1982 time period.

Back Stats: Stormin Gorman Thomas is one of baseball's most exciting performers. (Nuff said)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1982 Donruss vs. 1982 Topps

The 1982 Donruss set consisted of 660 cards but it was somewhat dwarfed by the 1982 Topps set which was 792 cards. Upon further inspection the break down of individual player cards is a lot closer. Donruss had 375 cards of batters and 221 cards of pitchers vs. Topps which had 419 (batters) and 244 (pitchers).

A breakdown of the sets


Batters              375
Pitchers             221
Diamond Kings 26
Managers          19
Checklist             7
Coaches              7
Combo                4
Chicken               1


Batters               419
Pitchers              244
In Action              38
Team Leaders      26
Trio Rookies        24
All Stars               22
League Leaders    7
Checklist               7
Highlights               6

Topps had 20 percent more cards than Donruss but only 11 percent more on individual cards (663 to 596). Credit Topps though - the trio rookies increase the number of individual players of getting cards an extra 72 players.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lee May #570

One of my favorite players when I was growing up. I used to look in awe at the back of his 1972 Topps cards and see his home run stats 34 HR in 1970 and 38 HR in 1971. He did not receive a Donruss card in the 1981 set

Photo Front: One of the worst photos of all time, it is incredibly dark of May in the batter's box after a follow through.
Back Stats: Given a new one-year contract by Royals last fall after a productive if limited '81 campaign for them. Averaged 95 Rbis per season for nine straight years 1969-1977.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Morning QB (Top Ten Edition)

In honor of the NFL Networks list of the greatest of all –time – here are the best players in the NFL today. 1. Big Ben 7#, 2. Clay Mathews 3. Ray Rice 4. Chris Johnson 5. Desean Jackson
6. Darrel Revis 7. Troy Palomula 8. Peyton Manning 9. DeMarcus Ware 10. Joe Thomas

Big Ben is the best talent in the game today and with another Super Bowl could probably vault him into one of the best QBs ever.

Clay Mathews is having the best first two years for a defensive player since Lawrence Taylor in 1981 and 1982. He looks like LT. Last year he ripped a football out of Adrian Peterson’s hands and took it for a TD. Yesterday, he took INT home for a 62 yard TD.

Rice is the best runner and receiver in the NFL today.

CJ has great speed and strength and in today’s passing game is one of the few running backs that can dominate like running backs from the 1960s and 1970s.

Desean Jackson may vault to being the best player in the NFL by the end of the season. Jackson has a big play ability that can only be matched by Chris Johnson. He is making life for Michael Vick a lot easier.

Calvin Johnson caught one pass yesterday on Revis Island.

Troy is a 2-time Super Bowl, if he is injured, the Steelers can’t make the playoffs.

Peyton Manning, a 4 time MVP is still a functionary offense machine.

Ware is on a really bad team right night but he is a complete Linebacker.

Peyton Hillis (who) ran for over 180 yards yesterday. The Browns have no offensive skill players of note but are dangerous because Joe Thomas is a man among boys on the field

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gary Roenicke #509

Photo Front: Gary is standing in exactly the same spot as Terry Bulling #612 was standing for his card. Both cards have the same background
of this unknown staduim.
Back Facts: (A classic line) Is the right-handed half of the Orioles leftfield platoon.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Topps Marketing Mistake

Topps made a major marketing mistake by releasing Topps Chrome Baseball, Topps Update, Bowman Chrome and Topps Chrome Football all within a matter of weeks (and all at or after the Baseball Season). I realize they are trying to make a profit but here is what they should do.

Here is a proposed Calendar for Topps in 2011. The idea is to maximize exclusiveness of the product while cutting down on the shear numbers of sets produced

January – Topps Series 1 (Will include Rookies from previous Sept call up)
February – Topps Heritage (this set looks like it will be around a while)
March – A nostalgic set such as T206, Allen Ginter or Whatever
April – Bowman (it may only include rookies from the previous Sept – prospect AFL stars).
May – Topps Series 2 – (includes rookies on Opening Day rosters)
June – An experimental set like Unique, Finest, Platinum.
July – Topps Chrome
August – Bowman Chrome
September – A Super High Set of whatever you want to call it
October – Topps Update Set
November – Bowman Draft Pick Set (updated rookies – draft picks)
December  - Topps Chrome Update set/ Holiday or End of Year Topps Factory Set

I would create a Topps Chrome Update Set (this could also be a factory set of say 110 cards – with an auto or relic) for December. I would also offer Topps Update in factory form for December.

You could possibly interchange the sets from June (experimental) and September (Super Premium).

I think if they had a set schedule, collectors could set there budgets to buy cards and Topps can avoid having 3 set coming out at the same time Topps Update, Topps Chrome, and Bowman Chrome (and competing with Football Cards).  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bert Blyeven #111

First off I don't think Bert is a Hall of Famer. He was never great and he was never really a dominant winning pitcher. He pitched in an era with a lot good pitching.
He was a great strikeout pitcher. It looks like he will be elected next year. It is no longer the Hall of Fame but the Hall of Good.

Photo Front: Bert is on the mound in full wind up as he is lifting is his left leg. I can't tell if this is from an actual game or practice but the odd photo angle makes me think
this could be some sort of warm up.
Back Stats: Pirates traded him after he criticized manager Chuck Tanner for not giving him enough work. (Donruss 1982 was the first set that offered this real life write ups on the back of them)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breaking News - Topps Factory is now Willy Wonka's Place

See Ball Card Mania Blog for more info. This may be the most ultimate Hobby Contest ever devised

Billy Gardner #591

Photo Front: First Manager card - a head shot of Garnder with puffy cheeks (does he have tobacco in there?). He is wearing his Twins cap but does not
appear to be wearing his uniform only a black shirt.
Back Stats: Was originally hired as a third base coach on Dec 7, 1980 - he became Twins manager on May 22, 1981.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Baseball Card Mystery - 1940 Play Ball Joe Jackson

In 1920, Joe Jackson was banned from Major League Baseball for fixing the 1919 World Series. He appeared on cards at this time and prior to the banning. However, in 1940 he appears the Play Ball baseball card set. The question that I ask is if he was banned from the game, why was he allowed to appear in a set with current major league players (such as Joe Dimaggio and Ted Williams). The 1940 set did include some retired players but why did they pick Joe.

I know today that Joe appears in some unlicensed Upper Deck and Donruss sets. He also appeared in Renata Galasso sets from the late 1970s and Pacific trading card sets from the late 1980s. But the fundamental question to ask is if he was banned from baseball why was PlayBall allowed to include him in their set. I did notice that the front of the card obscures any indication that the photo was taken of him as a White Sox or Indian. The back of the card mentions that he stopped playing with the White Sox after 1920 but does not give a reason why. The mystery remains......

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Eve

In honor of the upcoming election tomorrow, a former Washington Senator