Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Topps Mickey Mantle - is that really a photo of him?

There is something strange going on with this card. When I look at the face of the player on this card, I really can't make out a defined image. The face on this card seems to be contorted or altered slightly.  It just does not look like the Mick. The body type of the player resembles Mantle (he was a switch hitter) but there are really no other defining marks that it could be Mantle. Though I have to admit I could not guess which other Yankee left handed hitter this could be. Maybe Topps has  run out of all the Mantle photos that they have and now they have to scratch for anything they can get.

What is also interesting about this card are the people in the background in the stands. There appear to be 2 people wearing Yankee Caps and another person reading the paper.  Maybe, I just can't put my finger on it but there is something odd about this card.

2012 Topps Ryan Braun

Ok, Ryan Braun may miss the first 50 games of the season but looking at this mini insert card, I wish Topps would have honored the 25th anniversary of the set by making its regular set with this design and not just as an insert set. This was kind of a shot you would get from a 87er. (i.e. Guys just standing around in the dugout.). However, this shot gives you much more of a clear detail background to look at.

2012 Topps Andrew McCutchen

These type of action shots were not part of the 1987  and they kind of look out of place on these mini inserts. But this is still an awesome card.

2012 Topps Robinson Cano

Now this card really does look like a 1987 Topps card. These type of angle batting stance photos were all over the set. The Yankee logo also was perfect for this brown wood border set.

2012 Topps Chase Utley

Let the Chase Begin. This card looks awesome. Though you did not see these type of shots in the 1987 set. I don't think there is any card in the 1987 comparable to this from this anglr. Though the next card looks like an 87er. 

2012 Topps Hunter Pence

In taking a look at some of the 2012 Topps cards, here I present you Hunter Pence. This is a nice action shot but I really on't know if I like the design yet. Maybe it will grow on me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

John let it be Lowenstein

A nice close up of John batting in that classic Orioles uniform.  John’s career I believe took off after he turned 30 years old in 1977. He was part of Earl Weaver’s platoon outfield and hit with some power.

Back Facts: Orioles purchased him from Texas 11/27/78

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Has the lack of Basketball Product affected the value of Ricky Rubio’s rookie cards.

I would answer an astounding YES. Without any basketball cards so far this year to chase, collectors are going to the past. There were last week on ebay 197 sales of Ricky Rubio’s regular 2009-10 Topps rookie card. I just looked at sales that had that card or lots of that card only in them. I did not include graded cards or gold cards. The average selling price (not including shipping) was $4.03. Not Bad for a regular rookie card.

What was more astounding were sales of his  regular Topps Chrome rookie card (these sales did not include graded, refractor, or gold cards). There were 15 ebay sales last week for an average price of $51.75. 50 Bucks for a regular chrome card. Wow. (Granted the chrome was limited to 999 – but that is still a lot of money)  I think having less product out there is giving more value to the collector.

Johnny WTF #459

The term WTF is something that became known to me in the last 10 years or so. It must have evolved out of the new digital age. If John was playing today, I think WTF would have been replaced with Wockenfuss (Wock-en-Fuss). This is a strange looking profile photo with the rare Tigers dark uni's making an appearance.

Fred Breining #186 (Sun Shine Superman)

He appears alongside of Lowell Palmer on those great crazy sun glasses cards. Though no one could outdo Lowell's 1971 and 1972 Topps cards. He came to the Giants in the Bill Madlock trade with the Pirates 6/28/79. Super Man and Green Lantren have nothing on Fred.

Richard Gale #138

I think that Rich Gale appeared on that Famous 1978 Baseball Digest cover with Clint Hurdle as both players were top prospects. Here he is all legs and arms and it is not hard to imagine that he is 6'7. We have an umpire sighting between his legs.

Ricky Keeton. #618

Why is this guy smiling. Is it because of the cool uniform he is wearing.  Is it because he was lucky to be in the majors with a 5.00 ERA. An oddity - his full name is Ricky Keeton on the back of the card. No middle name or anything. No related to Buster.

Jose Morales #203

This is a very clear shot of Jose, during spring training. He appears to be wearing dirty batting gloves.

Back Facts: Ranks seventh on the all-time pinch hit list.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

One of the funniest things I ever read

According to Prince Fielder's new contract he will be given a $100,000 bonus if he is chosen as an Associated Press All Star. The funny thing is that the AP does not select an All-Star team for major league baseball. From what I can find on the internet they did select a baseball all-star team from 1982 to 2000. Prince's father Cecil was the MLB AP All-Star first baseman in 1990 and 1991. I wonder if that will help.

Jerry Narron #433

Another blurry Seattle Mariner photo, though the blurriness is very slight on this card. Though the card does not mention it, I think Jerry Narron was one of the Yankee catchers that replaced Thurman Munson in 1979, after he died in a plane crash.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ken Reitz #277

The Cardinal that became a Cub. For reasons unknown even to me, when I think of Scott Rolen, I think of Kenny Reitz. Maybe it was because both  had 5 letters in a last name that began with an R. And maybe because both played 3rd base. And  maybe because Scott was a Phillie who became a Cardinal (and Kenny was a Card who became a Cub). It  just seemed odd that those National League East (and Former National League East) rivals trading for the other teams starting third baseman.

Here is Kenny in all his Cubby Glory.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cesar Cedeno (The Next Great One)

The man who was supposed to be the next Clemente. He had some problems with the law with the death of a young girl in the early 1970s in Latin America. This seemed to derail his career. There is an odd look on his face on this card.  He has kind of a mad look on his face like he is kind of mad.

Back Facts: Has appeared in five All Star Games.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dave McKay #391

One of the few in field (non pitcher or batting stance) action shots in the 1982  Set. Awesome Oakland A’s uniform on this card. If you look closely at his glove you can see the white of the ball in the glove webbing.

Dave was another player who got his start in the 1977 season with the expansion Blue Jays.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #1 - 1977 Topps Mark Van Eeghen

First, this is just a great action shot of a running back picking up yardage with some great blocking. Second, this photo is from a  Super Bowl  game (XI -though the kind of game stunk). Third, it is an error card (kind of). In the 1977 set cards of players who gained 1000 yard rushing the year before(1976), received a round black circle blurb about rushing for 1000 yards. Van Eeghen ran for 1000 yards the year before but for some reason the notation on the front of his card was missing. He was the only 1000 yard rushers missing one.  This card with straight line of sight view gives the card an added dimension.  The extra added bonus: Mud - Mark’s arm is covered with mud which is also on his uniform.  All these factors make this the greatest Football Card of the 1970s.

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #2 - 1972 Topps LC Greenwood in action.

It looks like LC Greenwood has just tackled Larry Csonka while Joe Greene and John Rowser look on. There is a lot of stuff going on in this card. I am wondering if this is the continuation to the play on the Csonka (1972 in action)card. Probably not but it might be. Here again, you have a lot of green going on in the back ground with about 1/3 of the goal post visible. You don’t get these type of shots on today’s cards and it was incredibly rare back then.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #3 - 1973 Topps Jim Kiick.

A recent post about Jim Kiick on Johngy’s Beat, made me think about his (this) card and  in turn gave me the inspiration to create these posts for the greatest Football Cards of the 1970s.

I know, years later collectors would complain that Topps had too many cards of players just sitting around on the bench, However, none of them ever looked like this. Draped around his shoulder was the Blue/Green/Teal Dolphin colors warm up jacket. Not many times has a warm up jacket figured so prominently on card to enhance the look of the card. But this one does.  The sight angle/sight view on this card is also perfect as you can see the fans in the stand in the back ground.

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #4 - 1973 Topps Merlin Olsen.

A Jail Break. The Rams were a great team in the early 1970s, led by their Defense. This card captures all of this. This card has a lot of things going including a couple of Bears hitting the ground.  This card has Isaiah Robertson, Jack Youngblood and Merlin Olsen on it and Merlin Olsen is featured prominently on the card. That was hard to do.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #5 - 1970 Topps Len Dawson.

Dignified. Portrait. Painting. Classy. These are the words that describe this card. This was card number one in the 1970 set. The first football card of the 1970s was almost the best card.  Dawson just came off a Super Bowl victory over the Vikings. This was the first year Topps was not allowed to use NFL Logos so they made a great portrait design to hide that fact. This is almost like a glamour shot. Leading by his chin with his hair combed, Dawson looks like a Super Bowl winning QB.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #6 - 1976 Topps J J Jones.

Who? The fact that Joe Namath after 1973 did not give Topps permission to use his image on their cards and the fact he got hurt so much gave chances to other players to appear on cards. Another great action shot like Lee, this one shows a lot more mud and grass plus an oncoming pass rusher. It is also of note that Jones is an African American QB. I think he was the second African American QB to appear on a Topps card.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #7 - 1974 Topps Bob Lee

This is one of the best action shots on a football card in the 1970s.  You got guys falling over in front of him and in back of him, giving this card kind of a 3-D type image. The blurriness of the player’s knee in front of Lee invokes your imagination to see things that are going on around Lee at this time that are not shown on the card.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #8 - 1979 Topps O J Simpson.

O.K., he who was famous at this time and became infamous later on. But this card is so great, first it is odd seeing him not in a Bills uniform but also Topps did a great job on this card. In the 1970s, Topps could not show NFL logo’s but the way this half body shot of Simpson wearing a 49er helmet gives you no doubt that this is a 49ers uniform. This card did not need the logo for you to easily figure out who he played for.

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #9 - 1973 Topps Joe Namath

I have already featured this card in an earlier post, saying this was Namath’s most iconic card. This is one of the first sports cards ever made with a personality.  How can anyone argue against that stocking cap with almost his whole first name JOE on it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The top 10 greatest Football Cards of the 1970s. No #10 - 1972 Topps Larry Csonka in action.

While I do not like horizontal photos on my football cards I have to give this card its due. It shows Csonka in the open field with Palm Trees and all kind of vegetation in the background. It also has Steelers Andy Russell and Mike Wagner in the picture trying to make a tackle. It was these type of in action cards from the 1972 set that paved the way for Fleer to make player less identified  team action cards a few years later.

Vance Law #582

The son of former 1960 World Champion Pirates Pitcher Vernon Law.  Vance is in a posed batting stance for this spring training shot. Law lives in Utah and attended Brigham Young University.

Back Facts: Pirates have been grooming him as their SS of the future.

We all live in a yellow submarine. Yellow Submarine.

Here is a montage of all the cards in the last few post with the yellow theme. The 1982 Donruss set with its yellow bat design for whatever reason made teams with yellow uniforms really stand out in this set. Yellow is the theme

Bob Owchinko #287

Yellow and Green. I love how Bob's A's uniform stands out over the green background of the outfield fence. This photo also captures Bob high leg kick just before the pitch. Back Facts: Acquired By A's from Pirates 4/6/81 for P Ernie Camacho. (Interesting fact because he played 1980 with the Indians and never appeared in a game for the Pirates)>

Rick Rhoden #423

Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow, was a big song by Wiz Kalifa last year. Here we have the original Black and Yellow uniforms of the Pirates as they are playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Back Facts: Was a victom of osteomyelitis as a youngster and wore a brace on his right leg for 3 years...later walked with a cane and finally underwent an operation to remove part of his left knee so it wouldn't outgrow his right.

Steve Mura #523

We are going to do a yellow theme for the next few posts. Here we have Steve Mura at Wrigley Field in the Padre Yellow Jersey. It looks like an overcast day because the background is really dark.

The Era of the Super Tight End

In the past 20 years, the best tight ends have been Shannon Sharpe, Jay Novacek, Brent Jones and Tony Gonzalez. Between 1992 and 2000, Sharpe, Novacek and Jones accounted for 7 Super Bowl wins. It was an era of Tight End Domination. Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten have been have been great tight end in the 2000s, but, I think Witten has only won one playoff game and Tony G has never won a playoff game.

What I saw yesterday was total domination by Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. These guys are beasts, monsters, destroyers on the football field. These guys are dominating on the field like I have never seen before.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Derrel Thomas #537

A nice in action shot of Thomas. I don't think this is during a game but only in warmup. Back Fact: Grew up in LA where his boyhood idol was Maury Wills.

Aurelio Lopez #359, Paul Splittorff #464, Luis Leal #255

Closer, Closer, Closer. The photo of Lopez shows most of his upper body and goes until almost the top of his cap. Splittorrff’s photo is a closer shot which just show his upper shoulders and part of his chest region. The photographer in Leal’s photo got even closer as he gets Leal from the top of the cap to his lower neck region.

All three of these cards also give clear background shots. Interesting Back Facts Aurelio was nickname Senor Smoke

Cliff Johnson #339

Well maybe another non inspiring A’s card. This one is a little blurry with a little too much shadow on this bright sunny day.

Back Facts: has 14 career pinch hit HR, one shy of the major league record which was stood since ‘32

Tom Underwood #323

One of the few non inspiring Oakland A’s photo’s from the set (still a nice green hat). It appears that on this bright sunny day, Tom had trouble keeping his eyes open. He had a brother Pat who pitched in the Majors.

Bill Madlock #653

If you would compare Madlock's 1982 Donruss card with his 1982 Topps and Fleer cards, you would see that something is missing. On his Donruss 1982 card Mad Dog has, at least to my count, 8 stars showing up on his batting cap. On his Topps and Fleer cards there are no stars (which were given out by Willie STARgell) on his cap. He also appears on a batting leader card in Topps set with a cap on but with no stars. I am guessing that the photo on the 1982 Donruss card was taken in 1979 or 1980. I don't think Willie Stargell gave out stars to players in 1981.

Back Facts: signed a 6 year contract with Pirates that contained a unique weight clause.

Jody Davis #225

A kind of a boring photo. Jody who was a rookie in 1981 appeared in Topps and Fleer after having 180 at bats in 1981. Back Facts: Suffered from a severe case of ulcers during the 1980 season and lost more than 50 pounds.

Jerry White #621

A very nice posed shot of Jerry White at Wrigley Field. It looks like it was a cold gray day.  Again, there is nothing more fabulous than the red shirted Expos cards on the Donruss 1982 design

Joe Lefebvre #373

A one time Yankee prospect like Jesus Montero, Joe was traded with Ruppert Jones 3/31/81 for Jerry Mumphrey. We have what appears to be a coke a cola sighting in the background but after further inspection I don't think they are coke a cola cups.