Monday, April 30, 2012

Better than cards

Yesterday was my daughter's eighth birthday. It was a full weekend. My brother and sister-in-law came down from Ohio to help celebrate.

One of the things that Caroline said that she wanted for her birthday was a bat and ball. We get to see Grandma pitching to her.

On Saturday the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee had their annual Day at the Zoo.   The Knoxville Zoo is nice.  Of the many critters that they host, this one caught my eye.

Which ties in very nicely to Night Owl's "The Best Glasses On Baseball Cards. Period" countdown.

The only thing card related I did this weekend was to show my brother some of my card binders.  It was nice to actually look at the cards.

But Caroline's birthday was much better than cards.

Friday, April 27, 2012

You snooze, you lose

Over the last few weeks I've been looking at ebay for some Orel Hershiser cards that I want to add to my collection.

I'm one of those different collectors. I don't have any OCD tendencies (that I'm aware of) for completing the binder. I'm probably an advanced collector, but I still have quite a few holes. There are over 600 unique cards for OH, I've got about two thirds of them, just over 400. That leaves about 200 cards left to collect.

I'm a realistic collector. There are several of the OH cards I'm never going to land. You know the ones, the super duper rare only issued at a secret coven of card manufacturers and their distributors, numbered to less than five, with the platinum foil stamp commemorating the bacchanalian weekend that they shared in the Antarctic with some stripper dressed as a penguin. Yeah, I'm not chasing that one. Printing plates don't do anything for me. And now that OH has turned his head to the poker tables, I don't want to collect his poker cards. I have nothing against card games, but I want my collection to be about his baseball career.

I'm also a frugal collector. I don't want to spend a boatload of dough on this hobby. I have fun with it, but I still need to be responsible with my other obligations. That means I need to be a good steward with my money as well as my time.

So, what's a card worth? In my mind, many of OH's cards are in that 25 cent to 75 cent range. Maybe a dollar. Unfortunately sellers of the cards tend to think otherwise.

I have no problem with ebay sellers making money from whatever they're trying to sell. I also don't have a problem with them making a bit of scratch on the S&H.  I prefer a seller to offer Free Shipping on a single item, but I don't get a discount at all if I'm purchasing multiple cards from the same seller.  All cards are $2.  I don't want to pay $2 per card. 

Now, back to the title of the post.  There were two OH cards that I wanted from the same seller.  Buy it now, free shipping.  Each card was $1.09.  Fair price.  I was going to offer $1.00 each, combine the shipping.  They'd been sitting there for weeks.  Last night I finally got around to sitting down and purchasing them.  Except that they weren't there.  Either they had sold or the auctions had expired.  I don't remember.  Yes, I should have purchased them sooner or at least set them in my watch list.  But I didn't.  I snoozed.  I lost.

To remedy that situation, I decided to take care of some of the cards on my want lists.  By "take care of" I mean purchase.

I looked at ebay.  Nothing fit my criteria (on my want list, reasonably priced).  Off to SportLots.  I've been tracking some OH cards there for a few months.  I'd narrowed down the cards I was interested in to two sellers.  I just needed to verify on my end and then pull the trigger.  But I got sidetracked.  One of the sellers has some Jeff Burton cards.  My JB collection is not thoroughly organized so I didn't want to just purchase them willy-nilly.  So, my cart is loaded, but I'm still looking.

CheckOutMyCards is another option.  I've never used their services.  I've been under the misconception that I need to load up money to them and then draw from it.  It looks like PayPal is an option.  It is currently working out to about $1.07 per card, delivered.  I like those prices much better than the ebay prices.  Again, I've loaded the cart up, but haven't pushed the "buy" button.  I'm checking to see if I want to add any Bill Wade cards.

Then Beckett Marketplace called to me like a siren.  They have some of the cards that are still on my want list.  They look to be reasonably priced, but I haven't started to look around at the details.  Do the sellers fill the orders, or is it like COMC?  Have any of you used Beckett Marketplace to purchase cards?  How was the experience?

Or, I could just beg for and trade cards.  Does anyone want to send me some Orel Hershiser cards from my wantlist?  I need to code the cards that are in the shopping carts and then add the cards that I just found out about, but that's another rant.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


So, yesterday was the big kickoff to the 100 years of baseball at Fenway Park.
Boston Evening Transcript - April 18, 1912

"So, young missy, would you like me to take you to see the Highlanders take on our Red Sox in the new baseball park?"

"The Highlanders?  I thought that they were called the Yankees."

"Only by some.  Or perhaps you'd like to go to the Gaiety and catch the Robinson Crusoe Girls.  This Friday only."

"You slay me.  Stop.  I would so love to see that Personal Reminiscences of a Bird Man at the Tremont Temple."

"Not the Red Sox, then?"

"No, I think that it will be a passing fad."

I wrote up a short piece about the different names of the New York team of 1912 yesterday over at Baseball Nuggets.

Other interesting mentions of yesteryear that came across my computer screen this week...

White Besty is a blog that looks at the authenticity and provenience of various baseball related artifacts.   Sort of like Hauls of Shame, but a bit different.

The weekly SABR electronic newsletter alerted me to a new baseball history and card blog.  K's, Cards, and Things.  Jonathan has a nice post about the M-101 series of cards.  That entry and his others deserve reading.

That's it for now.  Look, it was either this or some 1991 Hoby SEC Star cards.  Happy now?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Number 50 Type Collection

Matthew, over at the Number 5 Type Collection, is one of my favorite bloggers. He cranks out solid posts with regularity. This is a nod to his collection.

I mentioned that I received quite a few duplicate OHs in a Listia auction.  I started to add them to my Zistle trade page.  I hadn't yet scanned these two cards in, so you reap the benefits of seeing Orel near the top of his game.

1989 Donruss All-Stars
Orel Hershiser (card # 50)

1990 Score
Orel Hershiser (card # 50)

So there you go, a few cards of OH to start the morning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

OOTP13 - a review

A few weeks back the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance were approached by Brad Cook of Out of the Park Developments for reviews of their new simulation game.

I volunteered to do a review.  Formal and fair warning:  Brad provided me with the game and a license key.  This kind gesture did not influence my review in any way.

Since originally downloading the game, there have been a few updates.  These required a complete ~175 MB download.  I think that the updates were because it was a new version.  It now appears to be stable.  A minor update appeared and it was a fraction of the original file size.

Brad asked the reviewers to run the upcoming season in Commissioner Mode and to enter the results in a spreadsheet.  My season simulation has the Giants beating the Yankees in the World Series.  That's not a bad thing.

After taking care of the "let's see what happens in the future" test I jumped backward, just after WWII.  I became the manager of the Cubs for the 1946 season.  I'm a fairly hands off manager and had assembled a winning record at the end of August.  The screenshot shows a glut of info.  And that isn't a bad thing, either.  Want to see how the other teams are doing?  Click it.  Want to see a replay of a game?  Click it.

By the middle of September I was still winning, but 9-1/2 games back.  A different screen shot shows various leaders in the standard categories, including WAR.  Someday I'll figure that one out.

Here's the team page for the Cubs in that sim. Not terrible, but there are better teams.

OOTP13 is rich in tweakability.  Don't like the colors they give your team?  Change them.  Different logos?  Change them.  Want to allow your players to have facial hair?  Click the box.  Yes, it is that granular.

I tried managing a team from 1871, thinking that I'd be able start small and work myself into a nice position with a big time club.  Nope.  I got fired for mismanagement.  Twice.  Well, with two different teams.

Brad offered a few screen shots to help the reviewers. At first I told myself I didn't need them. This is my review.  Then I told myself, I'd be a fool not to use them, as the game is so rich, I could get lost trying to find 'just the right screen'.  The following images came from Brad.

Do you want to bench Albert because you found a player with better eye/discipline?  Sub him out.  I don't think you want to do that.

Some of the media outlets could learn a few things about sharing info with the fans.

It is like you're watching MLBTV or ESPN.  Except here you get to click.  And pause.  Slow down time to figure out who you should be trading.

I reviewed OOTP13 on a Windows 7 machine with 7GB RAM and plenty of hard drive.  When I started the program, it took a bit to build and populate the databases.  Rather than saying "17% complete" it would show a progress bar and a baseball factoid.  Could be a baseball quote or some interesting stat.  A nice touch.

The game is also available for Mac and for Linux. 

Over the years I've played other baseball sim games.  None are as rich and fully featured as OOTP13.  Whether you're looking to build a dynasty or just find out a "what if" situation, OOTP13 is the baseball simulation game for you.

The best feature of OOTP13?  Simple complexity.  It will allow you to scratch the surface or delve deep, depending on what you want to do.

If you want to purchase a baseball sim, I'd highly recommend OOTP13.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Play at the Plate

Oh, you were expecting Brian?  Nope.

Maybe this?

Nope. What you get is this:

1989 Sports Impressions
The Sports Superstars Collector Plate Series
Orel Hershiser by Joseph Catalano

I found this little (just over 4" wide) gem on Listia.  I had to pay for the shipping, but it is a nice addition to my collection.  The seller tossed in quite a few Hershiser cards.  It was a nice gesture, but I have all of them.  Anyone collect him?  Anyone?

I came across the "Two Sides" photos in the June 11, 1942 issue of The Sporting News.  You know what else I found there?  Well, besides a paragraph about Pat McGlothin tossing his first no-hitter.  And technically that story was in the next issue.  First, the no-no article because I'm doing a bit of research on Pat.  And yes, they spelled his name wrong.  No L in McGlothin.

The Sporting News - June 18, 1942 (page 12)

Now, for the next 'find'.  More stylized drop capital letters.  I first came across these last year.  This is what they look like in their natural environment.
The Sporting News - June 11, 1942

The elusive V and Y.

And then there were three.  Q, X, and Z are still out there.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ezra "Pat" McGlothin cards

Here are some of the images of Pat McGlothin cards.

1950 Big League Stars (V362)
Pat McGlothin (card # 10)
image from ebay
The Big League Stars card is 3-1/4" x 2-5/8" and feature International League players.

1952 Parkhurst
Ezra McGlothin (card # 53)
image from ebay
The Parkhurst cards are small.  Just 2" x 2-1/2".  They were issued by Frostade in Canada, featuring players from three International League teams.

1952 Victoria
Pat Mc Clothin (card # 135)
image from
The Victoria cards were issued during the 1952-53 Cuba Winter Season.  They are only 2-1/8" x 3-1/8".

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jackie Robinson Day

This card has appeared on my blog last year. But it deserves to be shown again.  Thank you, Jackie for being on the front lines.
1989 Bowman Reprint Insert
Jackie Robinson '50 (card #9)

And thank you, Branch Rickey, for having the foresight to sign him. It takes two to dance well.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Lunch with Ezra

Who? Ezra McGlothin. You might know him as Pat McGlothin. Or you might not.

Pat was a pitcher in the Dodgers' organization in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A few SABR members got together for lunch with Pat at his house. I was fortunate to be there.

Although I had a digital audio recorder, I failed to have it start recording.  Don't ask and yes, I'm kicking myself for not verifying that it was actually running.

Pat spent about an hour answering our questions and telling stories.  He played in the majors for 8 games, 7 of them in 1949 and 1 in 1950.

He has a large collection of signed baseballs. You can see Ted Williams' auto on the one that he's holding.

I made a postcard sized card for him to sign. He was very gracious.

While we were there he opened his mail and signed a card that someone had sent him. Placed it back in the self stamped return envelope. He said that he was amazed that people still wanted his autograph, especially since he hadn't played professional ball in almost 50 years.

He only has four cards that I'm aware of.
  • 1950 Big League Stars - # 10 (Pat McGlothin)
  • 1952 Parkhurst - # 53 (Ezra McGlothin)
  • 1952 Victoria - # 135 (Pat Mc Clothin)
  • 1990 Target Dodgers - # 1027 (Pat McGlothlin)
I asked him if any of the first three card companies had contacted him before issuing the cards.  He said no, that there was no contract, no money.  They just put the cards out.

He faced Ted Williams in a Naval base game in September of 1944.  Pat struck out Ted five times in a 19 inning game.  In that game Pat also had 3 RBI and 1 Run.  Wearing a wool uniform.  In Corpus Christi, Texas.

When I asked him what the highlight of his professional career was, he thought and said that his three no-hitters.  Asking his about his biggest disappointment was, he said that the time that it took for his arm to heal after elbow surgery.  They removed some bone chips and his arm got tired very easily after that.  He went on to play and manage the Knoxville Smokies in 1954, his last year in professional baseball.

You can see Pat's record at  The local NBC affiliate ran a story on Pat last year.  Here's the video link.

Thanks, Pat, for the day.  And the autograph.  And sharing your memories today.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Easter Bunny Was Good To Me

The Easter Bunny visited my house.  Chocolate.  More chocolate.  And baseball cards.  Three packs of Topps 2012 Baseball.  From Target.

Let's see what I pulled.  Lily Tomlin sliding in on Stephen Drew.  This one's going to my dad.
2012 Topps
Stephen Drew (card # 246)

The Bearded Trio.  One of the last cards with Pujols as a Card.
2012 Topps
2011 NL Home Run Leaders (card # 77)

And we know that it came from Target because there's a red border.
2012 Topps
Target Red Bordered Parallel
Tim Federowicz (card # 253)

You'd think Brandon would have his hand further into his glove.  It looks like it is getting ready to fall off.
2012 Topps
Gold Futures
Brandon Belt (card # GF-3)

Ah, a Golden Moment.  That I want to share with a Yankee.
2012 Topps
Golden Moments
Robinson Cano (card # GM-39)

A pair of small, wood bordered Joshes.
2012 Topps
1987 Topps Mini
Josh Johnson (card # TM-34)

2012 Topps
1987 Topps Mini
Josh Hamilton (card # TM-42)

Look, they both have some tongue thing going on.  I don't want to speculate.
2012 Topps
Timeless Talents
Barry Larkin / Asdrubal Cabrera (card # TT-13)

This one came out of the first pack I opened.  I've never pulled an auto from a pack.  Never.  I was rather excited.  I don't know a thing about Chris Coghlan.  I don't like the new Marlins' logo. I think that Ted Williams had something to do with it.
2012 Topps
Golden Moments Autograph
Chris Coghlan (card # GMA-CC)

A great worship service at church. Lunch with family and friends. And some cards. A very nice Easter.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

The San Francisco Call - April 10, 1898
May you all have a blessed Easter day.

It about more than bunnies and eggs and candy.

It is about the Risen Lord.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jeer and Cheers

At the end of March Boston pitcher John Lackey made some headlines.

Here's a portion of the March 27th Boston Globe article:
“Guys having a beer after their start has been going on for the last 100 years,’’ Lackey said. “This is retarded. It’s not like we were sitting up there doing it every night. It’s not even close to what people think.’’

That didn't sit well with me.  So I went to the Red Sox Fan Feedback page and sent them my thoughts:.

The recent comments by John Lackey about "chicken and beer in the clubhouse thing" being "retarded" has me a bit upset and disappointed.

I'm sure that Mr. Lackey could have used a better word to describe the "clubhouse thing" and I would encourage him to visit and pledge to eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word.

My daughter has Down syndrome and is clinically mentally retarded. She is anything but that. She is bright, playful, humorous, intelligent, and likes to watch baseball, either on television or at the local AA stadium.

She's too young to know that Mr. Lackey's comment is hurtful, but I'm old enough to know. I would hope that Mr. Lackey is, as well.

The Boston Red Sox have a great history and tradition. I don't want to see it crumble, even in the slightest, over Mr. Lackey's comment.

I wish the Red Sox the best in the upcoming season.

Mark Aubrey
father and defender of Caroline

Later that day the Boston Globe reported:
The team's media relations department issued the following statement from Lackey: "I apologize for my thoughtless choice of words that appeared in print earlier today. I meant no harm, and I am sorry to all I offended."

This afternoon I received an email from the Red Sox:
Thanks for writing to the Red Sox and I apologize for the delayed response. We make it our goal to personally respond to every piece of mail that we receive.

There were a number of calls and emails from Red Sox Nation fans who were disappointed with John Lackey’s choice of words during a recent interview. Please know that your voice is being heard and that the Red Sox do not condone the use of words that discriminate or put down any one or group of people – especially those who are in most need of our support.

John Lackey realized his error and issued a statement. In that statement, he apologized for his ”thoughtless choice of words” saying he meant no harm, and apologized to all he may have offended.

Again, thanks for writing, and sharing your feelings. Your thoughts and views remain important to us. We will share your sentiments with the leaders of our organization, as well as with John. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this 100th Anniversary Season of the Red Sox at Fenway Park.


Phil Derick
Fenway Ambassador
Boston Red Sox

That day, almost two weeks ago, wasn't great, but it turned out well. I accepted Lackey's apology at face value. I don't really think that he meant harm and hopefully he'll pause and take thought before he speaks.

image lifted from Sports of Boston

Friday, April 6, 2012

A new game in town

At the bank inside my local grocery store had these new schedules out. I grabbed a small handful.

There has been arena football in Knoxville off and on for many years.  We had the Tennessee ThunderCats in 2001 and 2002.  They changed their name to the Tennessee Riverhawks for the 2003 season.  We've even had professional women's football here.  The Knoxville Tornadoes of the NWFA.

The NightHawks are off to a rough start this season, going 0-3.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Weekly Roundup, or what I've been doing lately

New-York Daily Tribune - April 15, 1899

Ah, the sweetness that is Opening Day.  A time for beginnings. A time for things to stay the same.  A time for change.  Baseball is like that.

I thought that this year Tony Campana would be starting for the Cubs.  Nope.  They optioned him to AAA Iowa.  He stole 24 out of 26 attempts last year in 95 games for the Cubs.  I really imagined he'd have a spot.  I guess Theo knows more about baseball than I do.

I purchased MLB's At Bat 12 for my Kindle Fire.  I moved an access point at work into my building so that I got better coverage.  The other guy that was using it took a sick day.  You snooze, you lose.  Hey, that's one of the benefits of being a system administrator.

I applied for media credentials for the Tennessee Smokies.  Hope to hear back from them soon.

While tooling around I stumbled on the Early Baseball Memory site. Much to my surprise and delight I found that I'm mentioned there a few times.  A few years back I was an active part of SABR's 19th Century discussion group. I must have added some things that were worthwhile.

As I type this I've got the Dodgers/Padres game on TV.  Nice to hear Vin Scully. I love the cadence of the good announcers.  Telling a story, coming back to the pitch count, resuming the story.  Seamless.

I came across a tweet from @jimmyleiderman about his new blog, The New York Clipper.  If you like great research on old baseball (and some cricket), visit and follow.

New-York Daily Tribune - April 13, 1899
To the disappointment of some I've switched the team that I root for. I've always had a liking for the Nationals. More accurately I've been a fan of the Expos. Then Selig & Co. tried to destroy them. Somehow they survived and morphed into the Nats. I've stuck with them, but now I'm switching teams. I'm now rooting for the Cubs. It makes sense to me. The Smokies are the AA team for them. The players that I've watched at Smokies Stadium over the last few years are now coming of age. Many of them are with the Cubs. This doesn't mean that I'm going to start collecting Cubs cards, just that I'll be following them a bit closer than I have before.

Oh, and a big shout out to Topher over at Crackin Wax and to Matthew over at the Number 5 Type Collection.  I was involved with some card giveaways.  I selected cards from the Diamondbacks to be delivered to my father.  He received the packages and is greatly pleased.  Thanks, guys.

Now, on to the season.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Portlandia: Baseball Tryouts

Had I won the Mega Lottery this last week I probably would have purchased a baseball team. A minor league team. You know, a short season rookie team. This is probably how the tryouts would have looked. Thanks to Edison for sharing this with me.

Law Professor Trading Cards?

Stumbling around the internet lead me to this article: Law Professor Trading Cards - Has Anyone Got a Monaghan for a Tribe.

I found an extra Monaghan.  I'm looking for someone that has an extra Tribe.