Sunday, December 31, 2017

End Of Year Wrap Up

I was going to run a "Top Ten Posts I Did This Year" post. 

Then I realized I didn't write 10 posts.  I hang my head in shame. 

I haven't been a good card blogger.  I'm still involved in collecting, just not as much.  I've gotten in some cards from fellow bloggers.  I've had intentions of sending some cards out.  For a year I've been planning on doing that.  More head hanging.

I've picked up some team sets for the local minor league team, the Tennessee Smokies, AA farm team for the Cubs.  But I haven't featured them on this blog.  Yet more head hanging.

So, let me put that behind me and show you some cards.

These are from the 2017 Limited Edition Mini Team Set for the Smokies.  Issued towards the of the season, it features some late call ups and some rehab players.

Benny Z came to town and was a darling by all reports.  He hung out after playing and signed until everyone was satisfied.

Kyle, down on rehab.  He looks good in a Smokies uni.
Mick is the radio voice of the Smokies.  A knowledgeable fellow, I enjoy listening to his patter on radio.  He weaves stories into the calls.  A big heart and someone I'm glad to call a friend.  Earlier this year Ballpark Digest honored him as co-MiLB Broadcaster of the Year.
Every team has a guy (or gal) that will dress up and try to get the fans more involved with cheering on the home team.  The Smokies have the Rally Ranger.  A fun, but goofy character.
There are 14 total cards in the 2017 Limited Edition Mini Team Set.  This set might be of some interest to player collectors, or Cubs completists.

I like it because it is "my team".

Happy New Year.  Maybe I'll blog more in 2018.

Or maybe I'll keep populating Base Ball Stats and Stuff.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

National Baseball Card Day 2017

For National Baseball Card Day I took my daughter, Caroline, to a new old card shop. New old? Yep. The Dugout, in Pigeon Forge, TN, closed about 3 years ago. Little did I know that they didn't close, but moved. To a better location, in my opinion.

Before we get to the cards from the free pack that Topps was giving away, here's a few shots of The Dugout.  (LCS plug - you can follow The Dugout-TN on facebook.)

From the middle of the store, looking out to the front.

From the middle of the store, looking towards the back.

Rick, owner of The Dugout, was dealing with another customer.  We walked around, looked at the variety of bobbleheads, relic cards, this and that.  After he finished with the customer, Rick gave Caroline two Panini sticker books.  Cars 3 and Finding Dory.  She was pleased with those.

We stepped outside, went to a bench and opened the pack.
2017 National Baseball Card Day
Nolan Arendao (card #8)

2017 National Baseball Card Day
Justin Verlander (card #10)

2017 National Baseball Card Day
Robinson Cano (card #24)

2017 National Baseball Card Day
Jacob deGrom (card #27)

This is Caroline's favorite card from the pack.
2017 National Baseball Card Day
Andrew Benintendi (card #AU-AB)

We went back inside to let Rick know that she got a hit.  He was excited, asked if he could take a picture for his facebook page.  We said yes.

Overall it was a good day.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1971s from the Night Owl

For several months I've been threatening to send Greg some cards. He beat me to the punch, sending 15 1971 Topps my way.  I've selected just four to show here.

Look how un-dinged these corners are.  No major chipping.  Some would quibble, pointing out printing flaws, the scant bits of white at the corners.  I see it, but I choose to ignore it.  If you saw some of the other cards I have in my collection of 71s  you'd say that these are Gem Mint 10s.

You can't go wrong with vintage Cubbies.

An unadulterated checklist.  Just reading those names brings back good memories.

I've always thought that Joe Morgan should be part of Greg's BA list.  But that's his list, not mine.  This is the first card of that era that I can recall where no players' faces are shown.

What a smile.  And a lot of pine tar.  Or his bat was hot footed.
Greg, thanks for getting me closer to my goal of completing my 1971 Topps set.  I still have a ways to go, but this get's me 5.7%* closer than I was at the beginning of June.

* I don't actually track percentages of set completion.  I just seemed like a funny number to add and I'd look smart.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cards from Tribecards

David, from Tribecards, sent me a nifty little package, chock full 'o Cubbies. I won't share the whole stack, but just a nice sampling.

My wife grew up in the Chicago area.  I lived there for a number of years.  I never made it to Wrigley for a game, but I have fond memories of driving by it while a game was in progress, WGN on the radio, window rolled down to hear the roar of the crowd.  We watched most every inning of the World Series last year and were very pleased Chicago brought home a trophy.

David opened a mess of different cards.  First up is 2017 Topps Heritage.  A burlap television set?  I've got access to a glue gun.  I could do that.

2017 Topps Opening Day.  I still smile at this image.  The joy that Rizzo displayed is childlike.
Sandberg from 1990 Score.  One of the Dream Team cards.  Almost reminds me of a Ginter card.  Wait.  Shouldn't Gint-A-Cuffs be starting next month?  Crud.  Well, looks like David is trying to get on my good side with this pre start date bribe.  Noted.
I saw Schwarber play a few games in the Cubs AA organization.  One word.  Fireplug.  Or two words if you spell it fire plug.  This is a 2017 Panini Donruss card.  The confetti look on the front hearkens back to the early 1990s,  It might not be confetti.  Maybe champagne bubbles?  Or a Jackson Pollock painting?
Mr. Lester meets Mr. Allen and Mr. Ginter in "The Numbers Game".  Coming soon to a theater near you.  2016.

What good's a pack from David without a relic.  Half of the Bryzzo love fest.  Or is it Brizzo?  Sounds better than Riyant.
Thanks, David.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Deadball: Baseball With Dice

A few weeks ago I became aware of a dice baseball game on Kickstarter.

Deadball: Baseball With Dice looked interesting.  Put a team together, roll some percentile dice (with pitching modifiers) to see if a batter gets a hit.  Track the game's progress on a scorecard.  See who wins.  A rather simple and elegant game.  I backed the project.  It took off like wild fire.  Stretch Goal #1 was met.  Then #2.  Then the hits kept a-rollin'.  I upped my pledge to get a fat discount on the printed version of the final product.

The creator, W.M. Akers, was witty, had good communication, and delivered on his promises.  I eagerly anticipated each update, would download the preview copies, read them over and over.  But I never put dice to the table or pencil to the scorecard.  Until last night.

My folks have been in town, visiting for Caroline's birthday and Edison's college graduation.  I'd talked to my dad about the game, but we didn't carve out time to play over the weekend.

I cleared the kitchen table, pulled out some dice, and we sat down to play.  We used the Quick Start Guide.

Basically, to assemble a team, take players you like, arranging them in the scorecard.  You're the manager.  Take the first two digits of their Batting Average.  That's the number you want to roll, or less.  Add in the pitching die roll, based on the pitcher's ERA.  The better he is, the bigger die you roll.  If you make your number, you get a hit.  If you're 1-10 points above the target number, you get a walk.  If you get a hit, consult the hit table.  Single?  Double?  Triple?  HR?  Other?  Did the pitcher get the hitter out?  How?  Consult the out table.  K? F-7?  F-8?  F-9? etc?  Score it and go to the next batter.  It is all explained in the Quick Start Guide.  I caught on rather quickly.

So, we took two prepared teams (just to save time) and I thought I'd do a write up of the game.


The Rome Emperors came to town on Monday evening to face the Washington Presidents in the first game of the new season.  With all the pomp and parades, the game didn't get started until later than anticipated.  The crowd was thin, as they were probably afraid of getting wet from storms that were predicted.

The team managers decided to start the game without fanfare.  Abe Lincoln took the mound.  He didn't have a great previous season, compiling a 4.45 ERA.    He induced Nero, the Emperor's lead man, to fly out to right field.  Then he set Hadrian down with strikes.  Constantine, the left fielder, got to first on a feeble hit.  He was stranded there as Caesar Augustus flied out to left field.

Pitcher Marcus Aurelius started on the mound for the Emperors.  He faced middle sacker, Franklin Roosevelt, who hit it deep, right into the glove of Julius Caesar.  Teddy Roosevelt hit a solid double.  The ball got stuck in the webbing of Caligula and Julius made it to third.  Kennedy came to bat next, grounding out to Nero who whipped it to Casear Augustus at first.  "Little Jimmy
" Garfield was the next batter to face Marcus Oh, as he's known in Washington.  "Little Jimmy" smacked the ball hard into the infield but was called out at first.
The second inning brought another set of fresh bats, seemingly from the Pines of Rome, or the Cedars of Lebanon.  Trajan settled in and took the first pitch deep, straight over the center field wall.  Caligula doubled, and was left standing there as Claudius flied out, Julius Caesar struck out and Marcus Oh also flied out.

President Washington swung hard, but was out on a fly ball to right.  General Grant, stogie in his mouth, couldn't get it out of the infield and was tossed out at first.  William Henry Harrison, the centerfielder, who is going by the nickname of "Hank" this year, drew a walk.  Rutherford B. Hayes, that player from Ohio, hit it right to Caesar August at first, thus ending the inning. 

The third inning brought the Emperors to the top of the order.  Nero walked, but then Abe struck out the next two batters.  Caesar Augustus was out at first. 

Abe Lincoln went from the mound to the plate hitting what most in the park would be a double, but the quick fielding by the Romans held him to a single.  He was stuck there as FDR whiffed, Teddy hit it right to first and JFK soared out to right field.

The fourth inning went by quickly.  Trajan hit it to the left side of the infield where Teddy tossed it to Gen. Grant.  Abe found his good stuff and put Caligula and Claudius away.

Marcus Oh got Little Jimmy Garfield, Pres. Washington and Gen. Grant to hit the ball right to waiting Emperors.  

In the fifth inning Julius Caesar took the third pitch right along the left foul line for a single.  Abe put down the Emperor's pitcher on three s saw Nero and Hadrian be put out at first.

Just as fast Marcus Oh let "Hank" Harrison feel good by getting his bat on the ball, but "Hank" couldn't get it out of the infield.  Both Hayes and Lincoln didn't see the orbs that went by the plate, resulting in two strike outs.

Abe retaliated, setting down Constantine.  Caesar Augustus got a lucky single.  Trajan flied out, followed by Caligula getting a single, pushing Caesar Augustus over to third, where he'd watch Claudius fly out to right. 

The Presidents saw the top of the order in the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Roosevelt boys swinging big, making contact and not even making it to first.  JFK got a walk.  "Little Jimmy" Garfield hit the ball hard, all the way to the warning track, but Julius Caesar pulled it in. 

It was a long run in for Julius as he lead off the seventh inning, only to swing three times with no result.  Marcus Oh, hit it strong to right.  Some said the ball was trapped by Hayes, but the umpire called the pitcher out.  Nero had a similar experience, but this time Hayes cleanly secured the ball. 

Pres. Washington hit the ball right to the first baseman and didn't get five steps out of the box before heading towards the dugout.  Gen. Grant took four straight balls and wound up on first.  "Hank" Harrison blooped a single, sending Grant to second.  Hayes went down swinging, with Marcus Oh recording just his fourth strikeout of the evening.  Abe swung his bat like it was an axe and drilled the ball to the centerfielder's glove, causing the inning to be over. 

It must have been the anger in Abe that caused him to put three fast balls right down the middle of the plate, surprising Hadrian, who watched them go by without taking a swing.  Constantine saw what was coming and ripped the second pitch for a double.  With Abe not letting up on his method, Caesar Augustus hit the third pitch for a single.  Constantine had a good lead and was able to make it home.  Abe calmed down a bit and got both Trajan and Caligula to hit grounders and were both thrown out at first, leaving just one man on base.

In the middle of the eighth, the top of the order couldn't do a thing, FDR flying out to right and Teddy and JFK not being able to get the ball out of the infield.

With the Emperors leading 2-0, they wanted to put the game away.  Claudius singled, Julius Caesar hit it to Teddy at third, Marcus Oh drew a walk, Nero, who hadn't had a hit all game, continued in his streak, grounding out to JFK at short.  Hadrian drew a walk, filling the bases.  Abe dug deep and whiffed Constantine for the third time.

It is not recorded what the manager said to his men, but they had some fire in their bellies.  "Little Jimmy" Garfield hit a moon shot for their first score of the evening.  Pres. Washington followed with a double.  Gen. Grant, now with two cigars clenched between his teeth, dribbled the ball to the second baseman, Hadrian, for an easy out at first.  "Hank" Harrison got a double, driving in Pres. Washington.  "Hank" was left standing on second ask Hayes was fanned and Abe, again swinging hard, had the ball reeled in deep in the center field.

At the end of regulation play, the score stood tied at two a piece.  The managers conferred with the umpire.  The sun was setting quickly, but they couldn't fire up the arc lights as they were still in winter storage.  The umpire encouraged them to play quickly, at least three more innings, to give the fans a good show for their admission.

Both Marcus Oh and Abe were rubbed down by their trainers.  Play resumed shortly.

Caesar Augustus led off in the tenth inning with a ground ball to the shortstop who quickly tossed it to first.  Fearing that Trajan would hit another home run, Abe pitched him outside, allowing him to take first.  Caligula tried to bring him home, but Hayes tracked the ball and put him out.  Claudius, the catcher, connected with Abe's curve ball and put it out of the park.  Julius Caesar sent the next pitch right towards the second baseman.

or the fourth time in the game, FDR took the plate to lead off the Presidents.  He doubled.  Teddy hit the ball squarely to the first baseman.  It was so quick that FDR couldn't break for third.  JFK walked and then Garfield went down swinging.  Pres. Washington, knowing that it was on his shoulders to keep the rally going, hit his second double of the night, pushing in FDR.   Gen. Grant, now back to one cigar, got a single, and JFK made it home, tying the game at four runs each.  "Hank" Harrison, trying to end it all, sent the ball deep into left field, but it was caught by Constantine.

The eleventh inning was uneventful for the Emporers.  Marcus Oh hit it to the infield who put him out.  Nero got some lift on the ball, but flied out to right field.  Hadrian copied Marcus Oh's feat.

Hayes struck out and Abe, again swinging hard, flied out to left field.  FDR singled on a well placed ball to the infield.  Teddy took a walk, pushing his distant cousin to second.  JFK hit the next pitch right to the second baseman, for the final out.

Darkness almost covered the field.  Only three Emperor players made it to the plate.  Constantine hit it right to Gen. Grant who hovered over first.  Caesar Augustus tried the other side of the field, but the quick armed Teddy fired it to Gen. Grant.  Trajan, trying for his second homer, fell short and the side was retired.

The first batter, "Little Jimmy" Garfield, scratched out a single.  Then Pres. Washington was sent down swinging.  Gen. Grant smashed one to right field, but it was caught.  "Hank" Harrison drew the walk.  Hayes struck out for the fourth time in the game.

The managers met with the umpire and stayed true to their word.  The  declared the game a draw, tied at four, called on account of darkness.  Both managers signed the scorecard then sat and discussed the finer points of the game.


It took us about 40 minutes to complete the game.  A few times we didn't follow the dice rolls and had to back track to the previous inning.  (Note to self:  After three outs, the side is retired.)  We had fun and my dad, who is 85, enjoyed himself greatly.  He wanted to know where to get a copy.  I felt bad when I could only give him the Quick Start Guide, some blank score sheets, and a set of dice.  My guess is that I'll buy a printed copy for him for Father's Day.  Don't tell him.

The game, Deadball: Baseball With Dice, can be ordered via DriveThruRPG. Currently a PDF edition is available with a print on demand edition coming soon.

There's also a good overview of the game, a forum, and some files at the game's entry at BoardGameGeek.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Should I send this postcard to Night Owl?

I purchased this card at the first card show I've been to in years. I picked up a mess of stuff. Including this ad postcard.

I wasn't familiar with the ASCCA.  So off to the web.  I found a mention in this Columbia University student newspaper from 1973.  Actually quite an interesting look at the collecting hobby some 43 plus years ago.

Now to figure out if I really want to send that postcard to Night Owl, hopefully enticing him to send me the 1971s I need want.  Look at it.  There's a bit of water damage.  The image isn't perfect.  I can't send him such a lousy card.  But there are Dodgers.  He does like the Dodgers.

I also picked up some other cards for him, but I can't show those to you now.  Heck, what would I blog about in March?

Thoughts?  Send him the postcard?

Oh, and I need a 2017 Topps for my Topps Type Collection.  I don't know which card I should add.

I'm too tired to make these decision.  Help me.  Comment below.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Thing of Beauty

Back in November I ran into Buddy Gilbert at a SABR meeting.  He was an attendee and I was a speaker.  We've met a few times before.

Buddy and my Dad
He's a hoot.  So's my dad.  They didn't get a chance to talk for any length of time.  Buddy was telling me that he was about out of his baseball card.  The place where he usually purchases them just had a few and they wanted $4.00 a piece.  I told him I'd see what I could do.

Off I went to COMC and was able to snag a mess of them for about a dollar each.  I called him to see if he wanted me to purchase them.  He was tickled about it.  I ordered them during their Black Friday sale for the free shipping.  They arrived in mid December.

My daughter, Caroline, and I delivered them to him.

He told her some corny jokes and they laughed a lot.  He's got a booming voice that scared her a bit.  She got over it quickly and now they're friends.  I asked Buddy if he had any memorabilia from his time in baseball.  He pulled out a few boxes of signed balls and started to tell some stories.

But this is a card blog, so back to the cards and the title of this post.  I asked Buddy to sign two of the cards for me.  He pulled out his special signing pen and went to town, being careful not to put them back in their penny sleeves until the ink dried.
Look at those signatures.  This, from a man who is 81 years old.  It is a thing of beauty.

In the coming weeks I'll be headed back to Buddy's house to talk more baseball and to help him digitize his scrapbook.  I'm guessing I'll have more stories to share.