Friday, June 14, 2019

Card Spotlight: 6-14-19

2013 Bowman Sterling Prospects Autographs #BSAP-CH - Courtney Hawkins

I wanted to believe in Courtney Hawkins. From the back flip that he did on draft day, I wanted to believe in him. The White Sox gave up on Courtney in 2018, releasing him. He has since gone on to play in the Independent Leagues and in the minors with the Cincinnati Reds and currently in the minors with the San Francisco Giants.

I still hope he gets to play in the majors one day. Most likely it will be a cup of coffee, but hopefully something more. Don't stop chasing your dream, Courtney!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 Panini Prizm

You pretty much know by now what you're getting with Panini Prizm. You're getting another chromium product with shiny colored parallels. It's nothing spectacular anymore. It chips easily, but still, there's something alluring about chromium sets. Even if the design remind you a little of some Topps Finest designs. I guess there's only so many combinations of design before things start to look similar. I mean, eventually. Right? Maybe.

For those who like the chromium products, this will offer few surprises. The most eye catching aspect of this release is the over twenty parallels available. Isn't this one of the factors of how Donruss lost their license? I think it was. This is definitely a situation where team logos would help make this set a little more appealing.

The three hundred card set has few White Sox players in it. Half of the White Sox cards are in tier one.

The White Sox have six cards in the set.

46 - Michael Kopech
56 - Yoan Moncada
90 - Jose Abreu
155 - Carlos Rodon
166 - Tim Anderson
299 - Frank Thomas

This is not a bad set, but there is nothing other than the mind-blowing amount of parallels that set it apart. When you have to rely on parallels to make your product stand out, it's not a great product. It's an average one, which reeks of blandness. Sure, it's cool and shiny, but that does not equate awesomeness.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Card Spotlight: 6-7-19

1931 W517 #43 - Art Shires

Pre World War II cards are always interesting. Economic fluctuations and various material shortages account for spotty releases and other anomalies. There are some years that I cannot find a single solitary White Sox card release. During the United States involvement in WWII, materials were diverted for the war effort and the country had their obvious focus on other things.

Another reason for lack of years without a release would be that some releases were strung out over several years. Some would even put out the same set every few years with a few tweaks and updates. There are still debates in the forums on what card came out in what year and which version was which year. We can only sleuth and make educated guesses. Anyone involved with the processes of those cards are long deceased.

People like Jefferson Burdick helped catalog a great deal of these sets, but those lists were never perfect. Cards still are discovered today that never made those lists. Variations and other oddities still come to light. Time is a cruel mistress and the longer we travel past these releases, the harder it is to properly catalog. Although, some companies never release their full checklists today, which is even more annoying. These present day companies have no excuse not to release the full checklist.

Depression era cards are one of the most overlooked of the bunch, with the exception of Goudey. Most sets were strip cards that were cheaply produced and cheaply bought. They were meant to be hand cut, so the quality really varies in these cards.

The most exciting aspect for me is the sheer amount of players that never get cards anywhere but in these releases. Art Shires is a good example of this. Art played with three teams over a four year career. He only received three known card releases during his playing career. Two were with the White Sox and one was doctored to be on the Boston Braves, but used the same picture as on the W517 card, which he shared space with three other players.
Art has three postcards, one new card and one reprint card made well after his playing career was over. The postcards were made in 1966, the new card was in 1992 and the reprint was in 1997. Since then, nothing. That's why these cards fascinate me greatly. If you played anywhere from the Black Sox scandal until the end of the forties and you aren't a household name in the twenty-first century, you are largely forgotten.

These cards provide a window into that forgotten world. Someone had to play against Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Twittering A Buy-In

I don't check Twitter as often as I probably should. I get all of the notifications through my phone. Usually a Twitter notification and a text. I get tagged in a lot of stuff and it's usually someone hitting "reply all" and having a full blown conversation. Each reply gets the same treatment from my notifications. I'll usually give it a cursory glance before I swipe the notification away. If I'm at work, sometimes not even that much. I've been at work a lot lately, if you can tell by the lack of posts recently.

I don't usually purchase these on demand cards straight from Topps. They are usually too much money or I have to buy other cards that I don't want. I usually try to pick them up on the secondary market. So when J.T. of the fantastic Writer's Journey contacted me to see if I wanted in on a group break for Throwback Thursday, I said I was in. The caveat was that the entire lot had to be spoken for or the break wasn't happening. I said I was good for the White Sox card and if there was one card holding up the break, I would purchase that too. To my knowledge, every card was claimed because I only paid for the White Sox card.

And what a card it is! Tim Anderson is having a spectacular season. It has cooled some, but the numbers are still respectable. I am not a collector of football cards, so I was not familiar with this design, but I like it. It apparently is a 1970 Super Glossy Football design. Some are not enthralled with the design, but it reminds me of early nineties Fleer inserts, only better. I like the gradient background. I'm not sure I would like an entire set of this design, but for a handful of cards it's very nice.

Thank you, J.T.! I appreciate the opportunity to obtain a card for my collection without having a bunch of cards that I wouldn't really want. If the Reds and the White Sox have cards in the same offering again, I would like to do this arrangement again.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-31-19

1975 Twinkies #8 - Bill Melton

Essentially the exact same card as Hostess, except Twinkies cards have a black stripe on the back. Food issues were much more common than they are today, which is a shame. I can remember getting excited every time I saw baseball cards on a food product when I was growing up.

1975 marked the last season of Beltin' Bill in a White Sox uniform. His numbers were a little down from previous years, but not horrible. In December 1975, Melton would be traded to the California Angels. Bill would find post-career success as a pre and post game commentator for the White Sox.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mailbox Joys: A Thigpen Auto

2017 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs Blue #FFABT - Bobby Thigpen

Bobby Thigpen is one of my player collections. I haven't updated my have list for him recently. Player collections are next after getting my want list completely updated.

When I run across something that I don't have for a retired player that's not in the Hall of Fame, I get excited. Typically, most of my player collections are of fringe players, or in the case of Thigpen, ones who were in the upper echelon for a few years and then came crashing back to Earth.

Looking back, I think it was the grace and poise and respect for the game that made me a huge fan of Bobby's. Years later, when Francisco Rodriguez would break Thigpen's single season save record of fifty-seven (eventually racking up sixty-two saves), Bobby sent him a congratulatory note, just as Dave Righetti did when Thigpen broke his mark. Just to show you how far relievers have come, Dave Righetti's high mark of forty-six saves in 1986, has him tied for forty-second place with nine other players. Meanwhile, Bobby's record of fifty-seven saves has him tied for second place.

I found this autographed card on eBay, up for auction. I was the only bidder and won it for 99 cents, plus $3.50 shipping. I wasn't to concerned about the shipping costs considering I had won the auction at such a low price. It was coming from a seller in the continental United States with a good rating.

I won the auction on April 28th. The shipping estimate was for May 8th. Long, but not unreasonable. It was marked shipped the next day. So the wait begins. I wait. I wait some more. The estimated arrival date came and went. I wait even longer.

On May 15th, I sent the seller a question, asking if I could have the tracking number, so I could try to deduce where the package had been delayed. No response.

On May 18th, a package arrived in my mailbox, with this card in it, and a postmark of May 15th. When I was a seller, I tried to achieve the gold standard on every order and leave the competition in the dust. None of my customers saw red, when they ordered from me. None of them experienced even a delay. Maybe it's just the way I was raised, but if I can't deliver something as promised, in a timely fashion, I communicate. I explain myself and let the other person know what's going on.

I'm happy that the card arrived as described in the listing. Of course it's not the end of the world that it arrived late or I inadvertently had to remind the seller to send it. In the grand scheme of things it's the size of a molecule in the expanse of the universe. It does not mean that it isn't annoying. It does not mean that lackadaisical service is to be tolerated.

In the end, I left positive feedback, when I felt I should have left neutral, because I did not want to get hit with negative feedback. So far, the seller has left no feedback. I'm not going to call out the seller, but I won't be ordering from them unless it is the only way I can get something. I will know in the future, to remind the seller of their obligations earlier than I did this time and have patience.

Mistakes happen and I have no idea what was going on in their life during that time. Unless it is deliberately malicious, you have to give the benefit of the doubt. I could be in a situation one day, where something I send out is delayed. It could be through no fault of my own or it could've gotten buried in a pile of other stuff and forgotten. Life happens. People shouldn't be penalized for that. I'm just happy that I have another Thigpen card to add to the collection. The only real debate is should it be part of the White Sox team collection or part of the Thigpen player collection?

Friday, May 24, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-24-19

2018 Topps Chrome Future Stars #FS-6 - Lucas Giolito

There have been a lot of great highlights so far for the 2019 season. It has been still a largely uneven affair, as players have stepped up and were brought back down. Usually, there will be someone who steps up and has a fantastic stretch, while others falter around him.

This past week, the current ace of the pitching staff has been Lucas Giolito. He has had two complete games, one rain shortened, one nine inning outing. Regardless, it is an accomplishment that has not been achieved since Chris Sale was on the team.

Kudos to Giolito! When this team really gels... look out!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Draft Years: 1971

With the first pick overall in the 1971 draft, the Chicago White Sox selected catcher Danny Goodwin out of Peoria Central High School in Peoria, Illinois. And then Danny did not sign.

Goodwin opted to go to college instead. In an unusual anomaly, Danny was selected as the first overall pick in the 1975 draft by the California Angels. He did sign with the Angels and made his MLB debut on September 3, 1975 against the Texas Rangers. Goodwin had a mostly unremarkable career over seven seasons for the California Angels, the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics, ending in 1982.

It certainly did not live up to the lofty standards of being selected twice as the overall first pick in the draft. Seven years in the majors, even mostly under the radar, is a pretty remarkable feat.

The 1971 draft had some notable prospects, such as Frank Tanana, Jim Rice, Rick Rhoden, Craig Reynolds, Ron Guidry, Jerry Mumphrey and Keith Hernandez.

The White Sox had the first and twenty-fifth picks in the draft and there were two Hall of Fame superstars that were selected at picks twenty-nine and thirty. Theoretically, the White Sox could have selected both of these players. Both played third base primarily, but one was also considered a first baseman as well.

The White Sox selected outfielder Bill Sharp with the twenty-fifth pick. Bill did sign, but only lasted four seasons in the majors. I would've been comfortable with the White Sox selecting one of the available future Hall of Fame players at pick twenty-five.

With the first pick in the draft, the White Sox should have selected....

Mike Schmidt.
I selected Schmidt at pick number one because Mike had power numbers and a Gold Glove defense. While he didn't hit for consistent high average, he wasn't horrible. His glove and power balanced out a slightly above average batting average. Schmidt also bowed out gracefully when his numbers started to decline.

Since it's rare that two Hall of Fame superstars are still available after two picks by the White Sox, I'm going to say that the White Sox should have selected at pick number twenty-five...

George Brett.
George had a little pop in the bat and was no slouch in the defense department, but he consistently flirted with high averages, including a run at the elusive .400. Since Mike Schmidt would have been selected for third base, George would have shifted to first base much earlier in his career.

Can you imagine an infield for the White Sox with Mike Schmidt and George Brett at the infield corners? It could have happened!

Out of twenty-six prospects picked by the White Sox in the 1971 June amateur draft, only ten signed. Only six of those twenty-six picks ever made it to the majors.

The 70s and 80s certainly would have been different with Schmidt and Brett on the team!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-17-19

1970 Kellogg's #16 - Carlos May

Happy birthday to Carlos May, pthe only player ever to wear his birth date on the back of his uniform. Although this appears to be a photograph from a non-MLB game, since he is wearing number twenty-nine instead of number seventeen, as he did through his entire White Sox career.

The things you notice on cards!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-10-19

1993 Rice Council #1 - Steve Sax

This is what happens when baseball cards reach the saturation point. Lovely oddball cards. I'm not sure who thought that a ten card set of athletes from different sports shilling the benefits of rice was a good idea, but I am so glad they did. I never knew that there was such a thing as the USA Rice Council until I saw this card. Does every grain get a council or just rice? Besides making trading cards, what does the Rice Council actually do?

Steve Sax was not great during his time with the White Sox, but he did have this card. Steve was the only athlete to get a second card in the set and it shows him pumping iron.

My favorite quote from this card? "So grab an apron and let's stir up some fun in the kitchen!"

Oddballs are always fun and this card is no exception.
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