Tuesday, June 30, 2009

They're Not In Kansas Anymore

Matt, well known from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius, was kind enough to offer some cards from the 2000 Upper Deck HoloGrFX set some time ago. I claimed the Diamondbacks as a team, since I knew that my dad would soon be collecting them.

Earlier this month, Matt sent three cards. Shiny beyond shiny. I looked at them, tried to figure out how my scanner wouldn't short circuit while doing its job. I set the cards aside in my special stack of cards to be scanned and uploaded to Zistle and very possibly this blog. Reading over the manual for the scanner and a few calls into NORAD confirmed that I could actually scan them.

Turning back to that special stack I realized that my stacks looked like the Chiricahua National Monument. There were stacks of books, cards, wax packs, bills paid, bills to be paid and socks.

It took me the better part of this month to actually find the cards. They were in the bills paid stack.

I scanned them and I'll share one.

2000 Upper Deck HoloGrFX, Erubiel Durazo (card #30)

Matt also sent me cards of Matt Williams and Randy Johnson. So, why did I choose to show Erubiel's card? Well, Johnson gets his fair share of press. Williams, a bit less. Durazo? My guess is that this is the first time that one of his cards has been featured in a blog.

Erubiel Durazo's contract got purchased from Monterey (Mexican League) by the Diamondbacks in 1998. He was then part of a four team trade (which made my head hurt trying to figure it out). He ended up with Oakland in December of 2002. He was granted Free Agency, signed by Rangers then released. Re-signed with the Rangers. Signed by the Yankees. Then with the Twins. Back to the Athletics and then back to the Yankees. It was only fourteen months from the time he signed with the Rangers (the first time) until he signed with the Yankees (the second time) in 2007.

He only played for the Diamondbacks (1B) and the Athletics (DH). He ended up his seven seasons with a .281 Batting Average and a World Series ring (with Arizona). Currently he's playing for the Sultanes de Monterrey.

Matt (from Lawrence, Kansas), thanks for the shiny. My dad will appreciate it, I'm sure.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tribute Card - Rich Gossage

This is based on the 1973 Topps design. Okay, it is the 1973 Topps design. I lifted the photo from the Hall of Fame website.

Here is the original 1973 Topps Gossage.

I did this over lunch, using Paint.net. I tried to match the 'original' team colors for the Yankees (purple and black), since that is the team that he entered the Hall as. The fonts aren't quite right, but I can live with them. I'm still working on getting smooth curves in the corners. But I can live with those as well.

I selected the 1973 Topps design as this was Gossage's rookie card. Just my tribute to a Hall of Fame pitcher.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Red Schoendienst Bat Card

Saturday I ran a few errands with the family. Then to lunch at Litton's. Yum. Fortunately one of the Knoxvegas sports card stores was on the way home. I was able to turn in my work on their website and then started looking at the cards. They have one case of $5.00 GU / Auto cards. Look what I found...

2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic, Classic Memorabilia,
Red Schoendienst (card # CM-SC)

A clean looking card. Upper Deck's checklist for this subset can be found here. It appears from looking at the cards on their checklist site that they only have uniforms. Looking closely at the cards they used the same graphic for the uniform. The color or positon of the threads never move. I'm sure that this is an internal ease of use issue from their graphic designers.

Again, I like the card and I'm happy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wines for Baseball and Other Sports

While doing some background research for blog posts I came across a site that pairs fine wines with great charities. CharityWines.com has created wines for a variety of sports including football, hockey and wrestling. Artist Jonathan Banchick did a number of the labels. His art work can be found at his website, BanchickIllustration.com. It took me a while to understand his logo.

I enjoy the labels although I have a hard time with...
Samu Presents...
Flying Head Butt Merlot

2006 Merlot, Lontue Valley - Chile
Benefiting the Usos - Samoan Family Foundation

Our deep red organic merlot is estate-grown and handcrafted - a soft, well-balanced wine, with aromas of black pepper and red fruit and a velvety, spicy finish. Enjoy it with turkey, grilled meats, pasta and pizza.

I don't drink and I don't know if these are dinner wines, sipping wines, wines for speculation or just novelty wines, but here's a pair for Beardy and his O's...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flying High

The girls over at Dinged Corners posted about the 1953 Bowman Pee Wee Reese card long before I even thought about starting a sports card blog. They call it "the holy grail of all mid-air cards" and I am inclined to agree with them.
The term holy grail, as was used by Patricia and Lucy, means an object or goal that is sought after for its great significance.

Why is the Pee Wee Reese card significant? Well, it isn't his rookie card. The 1941 Play Ball card # 54 is considered to be his rookie card. This one was issued 12 years later. I think that it is the whole package. The colors, the action, the framing, the clouds. A recent copy of this went for $1,100 in the last Robert Edward Auctions sale. It was PSA Graded NM-MT 8. I know that I can't afford it.

But here's a card that is similar...
1991 Topps Walt Weiss (card # 455)

No, Walt isn't in the Hall of Fame and probably never will be. But you can pick this one up for $1.10 on ebay. Free shipping. You could probably pick it up for a lot less from your local card store.

Not "the holy grail of mid-air cards," but it is a nice one.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jim Bunning Jersey Card

In my quest to collect a relic (bat or uniform) or autograph card of each of the men enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame I have added a 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic, Classic Materials Jim Bunning card (#CM-JB).

Yes, I've been taken, again. He was inducted into the Hall with a Phillies cap on the plaque.

But let's read the back of the card a bit closer, shall we?
Congratulations! You have received a Jim Bunning Came-Used Jersy trading card from The Upper Deck Company. On the front of the card is an authentic piece of a jersey worn by Jim Bunning in an official Pirates® MLB® game. We hope you enjoy this piece of Major League Baseball® history as we at the Upper Deck Company continue to keep you as close as you can get!
So, he's a Phillie, but I got a Pirates jersey swatch. Not a problem, really. I thinking I'm getting over that issue. Would it be nice if it was a Phillie's jersey? Sure, but Jim Bunning was elected to the Hall for his body of work, which included starting his career in Detroit with stops in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Los Angels and then back to Philadelphia to finish his career.

According to the Hall of Fame he "...became the first pitcher to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both the American and National Leagues. He also threw no-hitters in both leagues..."

Not bad for a man one normally doesn't associate with the 'big names' of Cooperstown.

I picked this card up on ebay for $0.99, plus $2.50 shipping. I'm happy with that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ben Sakoguchi - Orange Crate Label Artist

Sunday Brand

I came across Ben Sakoguchi's site recently. Mr. Sakoguchi is well educated, has had numerous solo exhibits and has an interesting style. These prints are from one of his series, "The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings".

From what I can tell, Mr. Sakoguchi is not afraid to express himself through his art. He takes on some of the issues (racism, sexism, cheating) that never seem to go away. He also embraces the finer things (patriotism, athleticism, determination) that also stay around.

I'll let his art say the rest. Here's a small sampling of it.

Pitchin' Babes Brand

Catalina Cubs Brand

Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain Brand

Yiddish Curver Brand

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ernie Banks Jersey Card

Not really much to say about Mr. Cub. Actually, there is, but it has been said time and time again.
2009 SP Legendary Cuts, Legendary Memorabilia RED, Ernie Banks
(card # LM-EB), numbered 57 of 75

Upper Deck came out with a slew of variations on these cards. There is the standard base card (greenish) - print run of 125, Blue - print run of 100, Red - print run of 75, Brown - print run of 50 and Violet - print run of 25. I don't know why they have to do that. Maybe they had extra swatches. Not every player has the same print run. More info on this set can be found at Upper Deck's site for this set.

I picked this HoFer card up on the ebay for $3.53, plus $3 shipping. Yes, that is over my $5 self imposed target/limit, but it will average out soon enough.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Here's a book that my dad gave me. Well, it could have been my mom, but work with me, people.

I haven't read it cover to cover, but have selected a chapter or two during a lull in the day. So, this isn't going to be a review. Here's a link to the publisher's site. Wayne Stewart has interviewed dozens of players for this book that weaves stories of both on and off the field memories of fathers and sons.

Let me share some of my own...

In the late 1960s (or very early 1970s) my family took a vacation to the Boston area. My folks met at a college there and went back every so often. We saw the Old North Church, Old Ironsides, Old this and Old That. On this particular trip my dad took my brother and I to Fenway. I don't know who they were playing. I don't know who won. I do remember having seats in the outfield and drunken men brawling in the stands. And that my dad took us there.

I remember his old glove, tucked away in his closet. It was bulky, dark chocolate colored with age. Putting it on and wondering how anyone could catch a ball with it.

I remember going to see Eddie Feigner of The King & His Court take on a local softball team. And then riding back in Elmer Wilson's convertible.

I remember going to Montreal to see the Expos take on the Pirates in a double header in July of 1974. My brother ordered delivery pizza to Parc Jarry.

I remember taking him to a Volunteers game where the handily beat Vandy in the rain.

I remember taking another family vacation. This time Cooperstown was part of the trip. The Cardiff Giant at the Farmer's Museum is still vivid in my mind.

I remember being taken to see a Harlem Globetrotters game for my birthday in the 1970s.

I remember going to see the Reds play the Cubs in June of 2001 in Cincy. Dad was there, sharing his time with his sons and his grandson.

I remember attending a SUNY-Plattsburgh hockey team take on the Russians in the mid-1970s.

I remember watching a spring training game last year with the Rockies hosting the White Sox in Tucson the day before my mom had knee replacement surgery. Again, with the family. Dad and son. Grandfather and grandson. Dad and son.

I remember re-introducing him to baseball cards a few months ago.

I remember playing on a church softball team with him. Slow pitch. High arc. I think that he played first base. I pitched one game and mostly played catcher. I don't know that we won many games. But I remember looking up to my 'old man' thinking that some day I wanted to be like him.

I still do.

Thanks for the memories, Dad. Let's keep making them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1989 Bowman Wax Pack Break

This pack is one of the ones that my dad had sent my way. Topps revived the Bowman name in 1989 after purchasing them in 1955. They are a mix of action shots and posed shots. The posers seem to be more abundant than their counterparts.
484 cards in the set, with a handful of rookies, including Ken Griffey Jr., Gary Sheffield and Steve Finley. But not in this pack.
There are some established players, such as Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs. They weren't in this pack, either.
Probably the funnest card was a reproduction Gil Hodges sweepstakes card. Topps was giving away a complete set of 1953 color Bowman Baseball Cards, along with other individual cards from the late 1940s and early 1950s. Entries must be recieved by March 10, 1990.

In the words of Maxwell Smart, "Missed it by that much."

Cards pulled from this pack are:

10 - Randy Milligan
59 - Melido Perez
73 - Charles Nagy (rookie card)
123 - Kevin Seitzer
129 - Teddy Higuera
147 - Fred Toliver
167 - Dave Righetti
187 - Rick Honeycutt
327 - Alan Ashby (pictured above)
400 - Dickie Thon
435 - Tony Pena (pictured above)
465 - Kelly Downs

And a broken piece of gum.

Eddie Murray Jerseys Card

Yes, the title of the post is correct. Jerseys card. Plural jerseys. Two of them. I won this card on ebay early this week. Since I stung myself on the Don Sutton jersey card I've been a bit more cautious. Eddie Murray went into the Hall of Fame as an Oriole. But he also played for the Dodgers, Mets, Indians and then finished his career in Baltimore.

2004 Fleer Hot Prospects Draft, Double Team, Eddie Murray (card # DT-EM)

A few things that I like about this card...

The jersey swatches. A light cream colored Orioles bit and a crisp white with blue stripe for the Mets. Some collectors think that jersey cards aren't cool. And striped jersey cards really aren't cool. They're just wrong.

It is a numbered card. This one is 33 of 100. In 1983 Eddie was selected to the All-Star team, won a Gold Glove and was a Silver Slugger. He also had 33 Home Runs. Coincidence? I think not.

The text on the back of the card.
"Congratulations! This card holds swatches from authentic game-worn BALTIMORE ORIOLES and NEW YORK METS jerseys, both worn by EDDIE MURRAY of the BALTIMORE ORIOLES."
Fleer clearly states what the jerseys are. And it isn't Richard McWilliam's signature.

The delivery. This arrived via USPS, first class in a small bubble mailer. Then, to actually get to the card, here's what I had to go through. More bubble wrap. A team bag. A thick toploader. A penny sleeve. The seller (exporterjdo) did a great job with packing and shipping. I paid for it on Monday, June 15th. It arrived on Friday, June 19th.

The price. I paid $4.99 (free shipping).

I'm not quite sure why it was included in the Fleer Hot Prospects Draft set. But it was.

I was so taken by this card that I did a retro tribute card of Mr. Murray.

It is based on the 1968 Topps design. I snagged the photo from an old JET magazine from google books. Some GIMP and paint.net action and I was in business.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Manhunt Pack Break video

I stumbled across this video over at Zistle.com. Enjoy the video.

Little kids disclaimer... implied violence, knives. Just trying to protect Lucy (and others).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

collect.com Auction

The middle of last week I received an email from a person at SportsBuy.com. They thought I might be interested in an auction that Krause Publications is doing. I registered for the auction and poked around a bit.

They've got some interesting items, most of them well out of my price range.

Here's something I've never seen before. Lot #153: 1889 Baseball Currency featuring Cap Anson and Cubs (Joliet, Illinois)

Opening bid is $1,000. It hasn't seen a single bid.

They have several signed baseballs, bats and even a homeplate. Graded cards in a variety of sports. Even some entertainment and non-sport items (read: entertainment).

Hanging out in the blogosphere has expanded my appreciation for teams, players and other items. I'm beginning to associate teams with bloggers. Beardy likes the Orioles. Night Owl likes the Dodgers.

One of the items that caught my eye was a panoramic photo of Wrigley Field (Lot #236). Steve popped into my mind because he likes the Cubs.

I like the Great American Baseball Game (Lot #249), but I don't have $400 for the opening bid.

You can visit the auction site at collect.com. But go quickly. Bidding ends on June 18th.

Overall, I like what they have to offer. I much prefer a bound catalog that I can peruse at my leisure instead of poking around on the web, but I'll live. Another auction will be wrapping up at the end of August.

UPDATE - Wednesday morning I received a nice email from Steve Bloedow, Director of Auctions ­at Collect.com Auctions. He thanked me for my "kind words" and wanted to point out that a 64 page catalog for this auction was included with a recent issue of Sports Collectors Digest and were mailed to registered bidders. He offered to send me a catalog, even though I would not receive it before the auction is closed. I took him up on his offer. In a few days I'll do an auction wrap up post.

One - Yes, Two - Not Yet

From the book of Second Hesitations, chapter 3, verse 21... There is a time for Joy and a time for Gripeyness.

First, the joy. I was able to purchase three game used cards in a SportLots.com auction.

2006 SP Legendary Cuts, Baseball Chronology Materials, Robin Yount (card # BC-RY)

2004 Upper Deck Reflections, Greg Maddux (card #149)

2008 SP Legendary Cuts Dual Memorabilia, Randy Johnson, Rich Hill (card # GEN-RR)

The first card is of Robin Yount, a Hall of Fame member (class of 1999). The card is good looking. Shiny. And it looks like it actually is a Brewer's uniform. Price: $4.25.

The second card, Greg Maddux, a first round Hall of Famer. Eight time All-Star, four time Cy Young Award winner, 18 Gold Gloves and has led the league in just about every positive pitching category at least once. I tend to think of Greg Maddux as a Brave, but he got his start in Chicago. I'm happy with this card. Price: $1.25.

The third card, well, it is Randy Johnson. And some other guy. Randy was selected to the All-Star team 10 times, five time Cy Young Award winner, strike out monster. A recent 301 game winner (everyone talks about win 300, but he's still going). He'll get elected to the Hall of Fame soon enough. He's been an Expo, a Mariner, an Astro, a Diamondback, a Yankee and a Giant. He gets around and gets paid very well. Speaking of rich, the other guy is Rich Hill. He's now an Oriole, but got his start with the Cubs. I'm not sure the reasoning behind this Generations set. Maybe it is the old guys with the young guys. Price: $1.25.

Total for the three cards: $9.50, including shipping ($2.75, for those of you keeping score at home). They all came from the same seller. Important to keep costs down.

And now for the Gripeyness...

Some ebay sellers aren't being quite truthful in their titles (click images for larger pics).

Is Manny in the HOF? Randy?


Nope. Not yet. It is way too early to discuss Manny, but the Randy and Greg will get there. But they're not in yet.

Open note to all ebay sellers:
If the player isn't in the Hall of Fame, don't tell me that he is.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Kirt gets his Dessert

I did a post not too long ago about Mark Grace, Hairstylist.

In a recent Zistle chat session one of the guys (gritz76, from Project '62) made the connection to the 1993 Upper Deck Mark Grace card (card # 573).

I don't know what the outcome of this play was, but I'm guessing that Mark Grace didn't forget what happened a few years earlier.

UPDATE: Looking at restrosheet.org, I see that the Cubs and the Giants played each other in two series at San Francisco in 1992. I'm making some assumptions. The photo for the 1993 UD is not Wrigley Field. In those two series, Mark Grace only crossed the plate twice. The first time was on Sunday, May 17th. He scored in the third inning off of a Dawson single. The second time was on Thursday, August 20th. He scored, again in the third inning, off of a Dawson double. It doesn't look like Manwaring is challenging him at the plate. It could have been either of those games. The Cubs won both of them.

In the 1991 Score photo, evidence would point to this being the game played in Chicago on Friday, July 20th, 1990. In that game Grace tried to score from second off of a Dawson single in the sixth inning. Chicago won that game.

Disclaimer: 1993 UD image swiped from an ebay auction.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day

Today, June 14th, is Flag Day in the United States. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing national Flag Day on this date.

I have seen many baseball cards with flags. Some patches (as above), some on uniforms, some in the background, billowing in the breeze, some as a subject all their own.

What are your favorite cards that have a flag on them?

Standard disclaimer: images lifted from an ebay auction. And another one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

1997 Topps Gallery - Peter Max

Dan, over at Saints of the Cheap Seats, recently posted a blog entry about a Ken Caminiti Peter Max card. In the post, he had some questions. I'll try to shed some light on this subset.

From the 2008 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards we find:
Noted artist Peter Max has painted renditions of 10 superstar players and offered his commentary about those players on the backs. Cards were inserted 1:24 packs. In addition, Max-autographed cards signed and numbered from an edition of 40 are inserted 1:1,200 packs.
Here's the checklist:

PM1 - Derek Jeter
PM2 - Albert Belle
PM3 - Ken Caminiti
PM4 - Chipper Jones
PM5 - Ken Griffey Jr.
PM6 - Frank Thomas
PM7 - Cal Ripken Jr.
PM8 - Mark McGwire
PM9 - Barry Bonds
PM10 - Mike Piazza

I'm partial to the Piazza card. Some of Peter Max's paintings are... well, out there. He's done a nice job with these. The artist also did a subset for 1997 Topps Football.

Disclaimer: I lifted these images from ebay auctions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Phil Niekro Jersey Card

SportLots.com came through for me again. I picked up this 2006 SP Legendary Cuts, Legendary Materials Phil Niekro (card # LM-PM2) for $1.25, plus very modest S&H. There's one of these selling on ebay for $9.95 (Buy It Now).

Unlike the Sutton card, this one appears to be part of a uniform of the team that I associate Niekro with, the Braves. The Milwaukee Braves or the Atlanta Braves, I'm not sure which.

This five time Gold Glove winner, five time All-Star had an interesting year in 1979. While he was finishing up that season I was starting my senior year of high school. I was part of the Show Band and played at the Arizona State Fair. He led the league in Wins (21), Losses (20), Games Started (44), Complete Games (23), Innings Pitched (342.0), Hits Allowed (311), Home Runs Allowed (41), Walks Given (113), Hit Batters (11), Batters Faced (1,436). He did all this while helping the Braves to a 66-94 record. It was an interesting year for both of us.

Another Hall of Fame relic/auto card in my collection.

Beardy spurred me on to go on a bidding spree earlier today. When my wife asks why the checkbook is low, I'll blame him.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Smokies vs. Lookouts

Monday evening I had an opportunity to attend a Smokies' home game with my family. We were guests of Caroline's cardiolgist and it was fun.

The weather was warm. I took the family up to the veranda / patio where the festivities were being held. Plenty of burgers and hot dogs, chips and chili awaited, as well as a tub of cold soda and a platter of cookies that were as big as your head.

I got them settled and headed down towards the first base dugout where a line had formed for autograph seekers of Ryne Sandberg. I waited in line for about 15 minutes before he arrived and then the line moved along. I guess I was there for about 35 minutes or so. When it was time for him to sign my card I offered him my new pointy Sharpie. He picked up one that he'd been using. The point was dulled, but it doesn't really matter in the long run. I said something like, "Thanks, Mr. Sandberg. Good luck tonight." He sort of grunted back. Not in a Get away from me kid, you bother me tone, but more of a It is in the mid '80s, I've been signing for 20 minutes, there's another 20 people that want things signed and my team is about 10 games out of first place type of grunt.

I let the ink dry, secured the card in a top loader and headed off to get some photos. Papelbon was pitching for the Smokies. Jeremy, not Jonathan.

Overall, I wasn't watching the game super close. I couldn't tell you who popped up when, which player made that great sliding catch or which pitcher couldn't catch the soft toss from the umpire.

I was taking some photos, talking with friends, corraling Caroline, explaining errors to Edison, enjoying the evening.

We left at the end of the ninth. The score was tied at 2. It was after ten o'clock and Caroline was fading fast.

This is what a full day of playing, reading, watching Dora the Explorer and nine innings of baseball looks like...

We had fun. So did this runner...

The Smokies won, 3-2 in the tenth. Here's the boxscore and the local newspaper writeup.

I'm going back.