Saturday, April 26, 2014

Check that one off

What? Posting baseball cards in April? What? I've been doing things instead of looking at cardboard.

I picked this one up from Listia for 499 credits.

1969 Topps
2nd Series Checklist (card # 107)

You can see that Willie Mays seems to have been rubbed raw on the back of the card.  It wasn't Willie, but Bob Gibson's eyes on the front.  Take another glance.  He looks like he's a child of the darned or something.

I find it interesting that the 3rd Series Checklist is listed on the 2nd Series Checklist card.

Family is in town, birthday parties to attend, research to do will leave little blogging for the rest of this month.  I'll be back eventually.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A night of Stars

Thursday night the Knoxville Pediatric Cardiology's support group, Heart 2 Heart, sponsored an outing to the Smokies game.  The Smokies played host to the Southern League North Division leaders, the Huntsville Stars.  Before the game got started I was able to go on the field and ask third baseman Kris Bryant for a posed shot.  He was generous and gracious.

This is Kris, just after signing some autographs for the fans.

He was rushing to get back to the dugout to watch Jamie Lynn Spears throw out the first pitch.  She's the younger sister of Britney.

The Smokies fell to the Stars, 3-1.  Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 with a double.  Here's the Box Score.

So how did I get on the field for those early shots?  I was granted a Media Pass, for which I'm very thankful.

Do you want your own copy of the Smokies 2014 Media Guide?  You can click this link to download the 12.3MB pdf.

The whole family, including my folks (who are in from Arizona), and minus my son (who is studying for college finals), enjoyed the game.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

True Greatness

Congrats to Albert Pujols on his 500th career Home Run.  Thanks to the Pujols Family Foundation for all the wonderful work they do.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Earlier this week I received a comment on the blog that morphed into an email exchange that turned into a phone call.

Brian, over at Play at the Plate, thought that I might have some info he was looking for.  As it turned out, I did.  But rather than just use email, which we could have, he chose to call me.  How nice that was.

Over the years of blogging I've developed several internet friendships.  Similar places in life.  Same likes.  Same dislikes.  You know what I mean.  Some friendships come and go.  Some stick around a bit.  I think that Brian and I are headed there.  I've respected his blog and his outlook on life.  We've traded a few times.  Now I was able to talk with him.  No, it wasn't deep.  But we communicated in a refreshing way in this time of digital.

So, looking through a box of Expos tonight I found these Play at the Plate cards to give Brian some props.

1993 Score Select
Gary Carter (card # 55)
1993 Upper Deck
Gary Carter (card # 219)
1992 Score
Gilberto Reyes (card # 229)

And you thought I might toss up a music video to support the title.  I just listened to the lyrics of a certain Lionel Richie song after many years.  I like Brian, but I'm not dedicating that song to him.  Maybe this one.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Original Star Trek Cards in book form

While on vacation last week I stumbled in to a bookstore. Found this fantastic book sharing the 1976 Topps issue.

Seeing "The Gorn Strikes" card reminds me of this bit of internet fun which I've edited...

Gorn Captain's Log: Gorn Stardate 410380510260192.1093.

Well, yesterday wasn't exactly what you'd call a red-letter day, no sir.  Me and the Gorns was just out on a Gorn reconnaissance mission -- one of them standard "lay waste to random planets" missions -- and some of us was doing some heavy-duty alien-ravishing and eating the enemy and blowing the crud out of all their buildings, and then we beamed back to the Gorn ship and was having a big Gorn party with Gorns jumping out of cakes, and skits with Gorns pretending to kick the crap out of Gorns dressed as aliens, and then next thing you know, my Gorns down on one of them planets signals the ship and hollers something about the freakin' aliens and their neutro-vomp megamortars and holy-crud-they're-blowin'-away-a-crudload-of-us-Gorns, etc.

And then the freaks is chasing our Gornship all the heck over the place and firing crud at us Gorns, and we was all ticked off and ready to kick their pink little alien hineys, and all of a sudden I'm zapped the heck off my Gornship and stuck on a planet Gorn-god knows where the heck it is, right? And this little pink goofball nearly cleans my Gorn clocks. But I'm okay now. Here's what happened:

We was just minding our own business.  Least that's what I was telling that weenie-butt pink boy with the headband, and he was not seeing it my way, so I was forced to try to stick a boulder in his nose so maybe he would see it my way, okay?  Only he grabs the boulder and clonks me right in my Gorn chest, excepting it bounces off, like it always does, because these pink boys doesn't know that the Gorns is tough guys.  But it gave me these bodacious Gorn hiccups, and I freakin' don't see what the freak is goin' on, and the next thing I know, I'm tryin' to get my Gorn butt out the way of this freakin' avalanche some other pink-butt is tryin' to dump on me after I fall over this freakin' rope, because, let's be honest, we Gorns isn't the most coordinated creatures that ever was, so anyway I'm like lying on my Gorn butt tryin' like heck to move all these freakkin' rocks offa my freakin' chest and, like, this pink-butt is hopping up and down and going "yippee!" 'n' crud.

Anyway, I figure, why not scare the crud out of this pink-butt wimp son of a glutenfnorpzschflarthffreemblegleemptystoob, so I start hissin' and gurglin' and I thought he was gonna drop a load right there, so I figure I'm gonna skin the freak with my Gorn knife, only he nearly slices me in two with this thing that fires diamonds. How do you figure? Anyway he comes over to chop off my Gorn head, only I guess he had this massive seizure or forgot what he was doing or something, and the next thing I know I'm back on the Gorn ship.

So I figure, hey, it's great I'm alive, right, but the Gorn commander of the Gorn Space Army busts my Gorn chops on account of I don't totally freakn' demolish the planet and bring him Captain Pink-Butt's head stuffed with schternfdoo cheese and his body sliced to ribbons and braised in top-quality mgloosh crud.

So after 120 Gorn years as a Gorn captain of a Gorn starship, my green Gorn butt is pushing Gorn paper at the Gorn Space Army Gorn Sewage Gorn Plant, and I have to wear one of them stupid short-sleeved shirts and a necktie.  Sometimes the life of a Gorn really is lousy.


I've cleaned this up. The original was published by Gregg Pearlman here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The rest of last week - part 2

Last Saturday the Franklin Farriers came to Ramsey House to take on the host Knoxville Holstons.  The day was beautiful, even if the visiting team won, 13-1.

Will "Twitch" Renfro and Caroline
I'll be getting back to cards soon enough.  Be patient.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The rest of last week

Let's see.  When I last blogged I was on my way to a mountain cabin with my lovely bride for a few days of getaway.  That was the beginning of a full week.  I won't bore you with all the details, but I was able to sort some cards.

I had a big box of Hershiser duplicates that needed sorting.  My goal is to do some trading on Zistle, but you can't trade if you don't know what you have.  The sorting was good because I found some cards I hadn't yet entered in Zistle and hadn't yet put in my binders.  I was able to correct a few quantities and it was just nice looking at my collection.

I wasn't only sorting my Orels.  I knocked out my Kevin McHale collection, small as it is.  I started on my Jeff Burton collection but soon became dismayed because I have absolutely no idea what some of the cards are.  I look at one and see there is bronze foil stamped on it.  Another is silver.  A third is gold.  The Beckett guide says that they are the Main Set, Premium, and Emerald.  What?  I set them aside for a bit.

The trip home lead us to Cades Cove, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It was back to work on Wednesday, but I took a long lunch and headed downtown to see Adam Alfrey talk at the East Tennessee Historical Society about baseball in Knoxville in 1867.  He's done some great research and has some interesting ideas on the make up of the two teams in town then.

The next night turned into music, talk, and laughter at the studio of WDVX.

Host Brad Reeves and fellow SABR member Brad Ridenour
In a previous post I had asked which songs should I bring to play on the East Tennessee Quiver show.

Here's what ended up on the CD that I brought:

You can listen to a stream of the show for another week and a half or so. Go to the WDVX Audio Archive page and find Thursday, April 10. Click on the 10pm East Tennessee Quiver for the first hour and the 11pm Overnight Americana Mix for the second hour.  Not all of what I brought along made it to the air.

Listen to the show, for no other reason than to hear the 1986 rap song "Get METSmerized" by members of the NY Mets.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

And we're back

So I've been away from blogging here for a week. What on earth did I do with all my free time? I'll show you, in chunks.

Caroline and I went to the Blount County Historical Society where they were hosting a baseball exhibit.  This is a uniform from the 1953 Maryville - Alcoa Twins.  I'll be attending a round table discussion on that team on Monday night.

1953 Maryville - Alcoa Twins uniform

Along with cards, uniforms and photos the exhibit was attended by Tyler "Little Skeet" Wells, a ballist for the Knoxville Holstons.  Caroline and I will be attending their season (and home) opener this afternoon.

"Little Skeet"

They were giving away a grab bag of baseball cards.  Caroline's was full of early 90s Upper Deck.  Mine was stuffed with 1991 Kahn's Cincinnati Reds cards.  Want to see the whole set?  Head on over to the Reds Card Collector's post about them from last month.

1991 Kahn's Cincinnati Reds

On Sunday we drove over to Crossville to drop Caroline at Camp Koinonia, a camp for children with special needs sponsored by the University of Tennessee.  This was a week long camp.  The longest Caroline has ever been away from home.

Caroline and Counselor Savannah
On the way back Angie and I stopped at a NASCAR shop.  But that's a post for itself.  We rented a cabin in Wears Valley and spent a few nights.  She quilted and I sorted cards.  What a wonderful wife I have.

There's more baseball related stuff that happened this week but I thought I'd not cram it in just one post.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A couple of Hershisers to tide you over

I'm going to take a few days off from the blog.  My beautiful wife and I have rented a small cabin in the Smoky Mountains for a couple of nights.  Our daughter is going off to camp for the week and we're taking advantage of not having any responsibilities.  Whee!

She'll be taking her sewing machine to catch up on some quilting.  I'll be taking my cards and doing some sorting and organizing.  To get to that point, I'm having to figure out which binders to take.  One of the projects is to determine exactly what duplicates of Orel Hershiser I have so that I can offer them for trade on Zistle.

Looking at my cards on Zistle I noticed that there are several that don't have images.  Since it is a community project I figured I should add some.  The first one is a Michael Schechter & Associates oddball.

1990 All American Baseball Team
Orel Hershiser (card # 9)

The second is a gaudy Pacific card.  Oh, was that being redundant?  Sorry.

1997 Pacific Collection
Sluggers and Hitters
Orel Hershiser (card # SH-4B)

That's all I've got.  I must go pack.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A-Rod's Suspended Season - a fictitious card set

Game one of one hundred sixty two.

I've found these cards in a dark corner of my mind.  I don't think that there will be a complete run, but they'll show up during the season.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tanker 10 - a book review

Jonathan Curelop’s 2013 book, Tanker 10, is the story of a boy’s journey into manhood using baseball as a backdrop. Young Jimmy LaPlante is overweight and subject to taunts from his brother and his cronies. The verbal abuse turns physical with unintended consequences.

It is a coming of age book that Curelop develops well. The Jimmy character in the book is just a few years younger than I actually am, so when the author describes cultural artifacts (turkey bacon, certain songs), I can readily identify with them and the time. It made the story seem much more authentic to me. So real is his writing that an early chapter that deals with a visit to the emergency room disturbed me. I don’t care for things medical and his description of the event bothered me. Really bothered me. That’s good writing.

We see Jimmy deal with his friends, his family (especially his brother Cliff), and eventually girls. This is where I think the book went off track. Young men fantasize about girls. Most encounter them in a more than platonic way. Jimmy does both. For some reason the author felt it important to be very graphic in the description of these meetings.

There is some memorable dialogue such as this exchange between members of the college baseball team discussing attractive women:
“You know who was hot? Natasha.”
“Natasha who?”
“You know, from the cartoon.”
“Rocky and Bullwinkle?”
“Yeah, yeah.”
“How could she be hot? Her head was a rectangle.”
Unfortunately the author used the R-word, or a derivative of it, a few times.  For a book that deals with bullying one might think that he'd be a bit more sensitive to the power of words.

Overall I’d give Tanker 10 three stars out of five. It would have been four stars had Curelop and his editor been more judicious in parts of the book. The themes of the book are good, but this is not one that I can recommend for young readers due to the graphic nature of some of the scenes and the casual use of alcohol, drugs and profanity.

You can purchase Tanker 10 through or Barnes & Noble.

Disclaimer stuff:  I was contacted in January by a representative of the author, asking if I'd be interested in reviewing the book.  The author provided the book to me.  I received no compensation for the review nor did I feel compelled to give the book a pass.