Sunday, November 23, 2014

WSC Legends: Encarnacion - Delgado

Card #1 - Edwin Encarnacion/Carlos Delgado

WSC Birth Years: Ronald Belisario In Action

Card #165 - Ronald Belisario

Born: December 31, 1982

A bonus card from the 1982 set.

WSC Birth Years: Ronald Belisario

Card #164 - Ronald Belisario

Born: December 31, 1982

After having some moderate success with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ronald was poised to capitalize on that and vault to the next level. He did just that... for the first two games, then Belisario imploded with a blown save against the Minnesota Twins on April 3, 2014. The real culprit was a game on April 9, 2014 in Colorado against the Rockies, where Ronald gave up five earned runs on sixteen pitches to six batters in the eighth inning, recording only one out, pushing his skyrocketing ERA to 15.75 and obliterating the tie game.

Belisario recovered enough to have a 3.96 ERA on May 19th, but was wildly inconsistent the rest of the season to finish with a 5.56 ERA. While ERA isn't the full measure of a pitcher, it is a stat that can mess with some pitchers' heads. One can only speculate if the trouble was between the ears, poor mechanics, poor pitch selection or just plain bad luck, but since Ronald was designated for assignment by the White Sox on November 20, 2014, it will likely be another team that finds out that answer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some Features Will Be Offline Temporarily

I am aware of issues getting to the features. I am assured they will be all resolved within the next twenty-four hours. Sorry for any inconvenience these issues may have caused.


Things seem to have come back online much quicker than anticipated. Hopefully, that will be the end of the issues.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 Topps Update

The 2014 Topps flagship continues with series three, or the update series.

This year's Topps flagship design reminds me more and more of recycled late 2000s era Bowman designs. It's pleasant enough, but nothing immediately grabs your attention. The card just fades into the background relying on the actual photograph to do most of the heavy lifting. Some photos work very well and are eye catching masterpieces. Others... not so much.

The cards are all game action, except for the posed shots on the two All-Star cards. So much action, in fact, that it gets tiring. The only break in the action is Adrian Nieto's card, which shows him standing near home plate with his catching gear on, pointing at something, possibly directing Felipe Paulino to the opposing team, where they hastily agreed to take him in trade in exchange for eleven Wiffle balls. Other than that, it's all running and pitching and batting. I think I sweated out five pounds just watching all that action on cardboard.

The White Sox have twelve cards in the set, not including variations and inserts.

US-37 - Leury Garcia
US-62 - Adam Eaton
US-100 - Jose Abreu
US-156 - Ronald Belisario
US-170 - Matt Davidson
US-232 - Scott Carroll
US-239 - Jose Abreu AS
US-252 - Adrian Nieto
US-277 - Chris Sale
US-309 - Alexei Ramirez AS
US-325 - Jose Abreu
US-330 - Daniel Webb

Leury Garcia, Matt Davidson and Daniel Webb have sparkle variations. Adam Eaton has a photo and a Sabermetric variation. There are also red (Target), blue (Wal-Mart), red hot foil, gold (/2014), green camo (/99), black (/63), pink (/50), clear (/10), platinum (/1), and black, cyan, magenta and yellow printing plate (/1) parallels of each card. I have a love/hate relationship with parallels and variations. The collecting side of me likes them, but the completist side of me strongly dislikes them.

Overall, it typical Topps. If you've collected either of the previous two series for 2014, you know exactly what you're getting from Topps. The inserts may change, but the game is still the same, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Seventh Anniversary

Today marks the seventh anniversary of this blog. It also marks the day that I reached 310,000 page views. I'll freely admit that I don't get to post as much as I used to in the past. A job and a family, both of which I love, sheds some light on that mystery. This job would mark my third "paycheck" job in the span of this blog.

I went from starting this blog as an unemployed man in a dead-end relationship wishing to keep track of my card collection to a happily married man (with an awesome step-daughter) and an awesome job wishing to keep track of his card collection and make some custom cards for people to enjoy. It's a huge leap forward and I couldn't be happier with the evolution of this blog and all the friends I have made through White Sox Cards.

Can I do another seven years? I don't see why not. I still enjoy my time with this blog. I may not get here as often as I used to, but this is still a happy place for me. Look for more customs and more set reviews in the near future, as well as the nonsensical fun posts from time to time.

Thanks for making this a great seven years!

WSC Birth Years: Zach Putnam

Card #163 - Zach Putnam

Born: July 3, 1987

Originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2005 in the thirty-eighth round, Zach ultimately chose not to sign. The gamble paid off three years later when he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. Putnam later made his MLB debut on September 13, 2011 with the Indians against the Rangers in Texas. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was the first ever to face Zach and he belted a home run on the eighth pitch of the at-bat in bottom of the seventh inning. He appeared in eight games for the Tribe in 2011.

After brief stints with the Colorado Rockies (two games in 2012) and the Chicago Cubs (five games in 2013), Putnam signed with the White Sox in November 2013. He made his ChiSox debut on April 18, 2014 against the Rangers in Texas, taking over for an ineffective Felipe Paulino with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, down ten runs. The first batter was Rangers left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who Zach got to line out to Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza in left center. Putnam was one of the most consistent relievers for the Pale Hose in 2014, shattering his previous high for games in one season by forty-one games. His season ERA of 1.98 was just icing on the cake. Zach looks to loom large for the White Sox bullpen in 2015.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

WSC Birth Years: Adam Eaton

Card #162 - Adam Eaton

Born: December 6, 1988

Originally selected in the nineteenth round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Adam made his MLB debut on September 4, 2012 and looked to be a cornerstone of the D'Backs lineup for years to come. Injuries made him expendable to Arizona, so the White Sox acquired Spanky from the Diamondbacks in a three way deal that sent pitcher Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Eaton immediately filled a few holes in the White Sox lineup by being the first true leadoff man since Scott Podsednik and plugging the pesky hole in center field. Adam responded by tying the lead for AL triples for the 2014 season with Cleveland's Michael Bourn and is one of the American League's finalists for center field Gold Glove. Spanky looks to be part of Chicago's plan for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WSC Birth Years: Felipe Paulino

Card #161 - Felipe Paulino

Born: October 5, 1983

Felipe's White Sox career would seem to be short lived. After winning his first start in a White Sox uniform on April 2, 2014, Paulino's luck ran out and his ERA started to balloon. Felipe's last appearance for the Pale Hose in 2014 happened on April 18th and resulted in ten earned runs over three and two-thirds innings.

Paulino's ineffectiveness was caused by a rotator cuff injury. This was quite a setback after Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the majority of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, when he was with the Kansas City Royals. The White Sox may not pick up his $4 million dollar team option for 2015, but if the team believes he can recover from these devastating injuries, they may sign him on a cheap incentive based contract, strictly as an insurance policy for the starting rotation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WSC Birth Years: Frank Francisco

Card #160 - Frank Francisco

Born: September 11, 1979

Frank signed a minor league contract with the White Sox on April 14, 2014, where he was assigned to the AAA affiliate in Charlotte. Francisco previously had played six seasons for the Texas Rangers, one season for the Toronto Blue Jays and two seasons with the New York Mets. In that time, he logged seventy-three saves over ten seasons. Originally signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1996, Frank spent some time in the White Sox minor league system from 2002, when he came over in the Bobby Howry trade, to 2003, when he was sent to Texas to complete the Carl Everett trade.

Francisco made his White Sox debut on May 11, 2014, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving up a meaningless home run to D'Backs catcher Miguel Montero in the ninth inning, in a loss. His ERA blossomed to a robust 12.27, after three more outings and Frank was designated for assignment on May 22, 2014. Francisco cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Charlotte, which he refused and became a free agent.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1933 Butter Cream (R306)

One of the more scarce issues in the 1930s, the thirty card set originated from the Butter Cream Confectionery Corporation in Union City, New Jersey. The black and white cards measure only 1 ¼ x 3 ½ inches. Each card back held a contest where one could guess the player's final batting average and win a prize. The nature of the contest and any prizes have been unfortunately lost to time, as there is no mention of specific prizes on the card backs.

The cards themselves don't hold much of a curiosity, but the rarity of the issue, with only a handful of examples of each card, remain the allure of the set. The thirtieth card (Babe Ruth) wasn't rediscovered until 1989 and is so rare that a set can be considered complete at twenty-nine cards.

The White Sox have one card in the set.

- Ted Lyons

The set may not be much to look at with mostly poor grades available and miscut cards providing the bulk of examples, but that adds to the charm of the set. It is doubtful that anyone will ever find a gem mint complete set, but the thrill of the hunt and uncovering new examples of this rare set have collectors scrambling.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cards That Never Were #61

2012 Topps - Rich Thompson

Rich's last licensed MLB card came in 2002, as a prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays. Since then, he made his MLB debut for the Kansas City Royals on April 7, 2004. Thompson only appeared in six games for the Royals before he was sent down to the minors, where he was on the cusp of being called back up many times, for many teams.

Patience paid off and Rich was called back up to the majors in 2012, as a part of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. It was here that Thompson had his greatest success in the majors, collecting his first hit on May 17, 2012 against the Boston Red Sox, eight years, one month and ten days after his MLB debut.

Thompson broke his foot in 2013, while fielding a ball, which ended his career. Despite spending time with the Royals in 2004 and the Rays in 2012, Rich only has a Royals Police issued card from 2006 and a handful of minor league cards after his Blue Jays prospect cards in 2002. In 2014, Thompson competed on season six of American Ninja Warrior.
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