Thursday, December 11, 2014

WSC Birth Years: Scott Snodgress

Card #167 - Scott Snodgress

Born: September 20, 1989

Scott was drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox. Snodgress made his way to the number six prospect in the ChiSox farm system by the beginning of 2013. Bullpen woes from the parent team in 2014, forced the Pale Hose to promote a number of minor league pitchers to showcase their talents for consideration in 2015. Scott was one of those promoted and made his MLB debut on September 3, 2014 against the Minnesota Twins.

Snodgress' first two outings resulted in a sky high ERA, but after the jitters of the majors passed, he settled in nicely for his last two appearances. The Sox did not tender a contract to Scott after the 2014 season, but were hopeful that he would again be part of their plans in 2015. On December 10, 2014, Snodgress signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels that included an invitation to 2015 spring training. The Angels are the closest team to Scott's hometown, so the signing should have been an easy decision for him.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

WSC Birth Years: Eric Surkamp

Card #166 - Eric Surkamp

Born: July 16, 1987

Eric was drafted in the sixth round of the amateur draft in 2008 by the San Francisco Giants. Moving his way up the Giants' minor league system, Surkamp finally made his MLB debut on August 27, 201, starting against the Houston Astros, going six innings, giving up six hits and a run while striking out four and walking three. Eric suffered a flexor tendon strain that landed him on the disabled list in 2012, which eventually required Tommy John surgery.

Surkamp pitched in one game for the Giants in 2013, giving up seven runs in two and two-thirds innings. The White Sox claimed Eric on December 23, 2013. Surkamp made his White Sox debut on June 26, 2014 in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Eric appeared in thirty-five games for the Sox in relief. He seems to have found a niche in the Chicago bullpen.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

1973 Topps Candy Lids

Topps continued to experiment in the 1970s with unusual offerings. In 1973, Topps came out with "Baseball Stars Bubble Gum", which included a lid with one of fifty-five baseball players on the underside. The bubble gum itself proved more popular than the lids, so examples of this set are a bit on the rare side.

Team affiliation adheres to typical unlicensed product of the time, with the cap logo airbrushed out and the city name printed in place of the team name. The set as a whole is a colorful mix of eye popping background solids and color photographs that seem to compliment each other. Whether this pairing is intentional or not, remains to be determined, but it works out nicely.

The White Sox have two lids in this set.

Dick Allen
Wilbur Wood

I find the oddball releases to be fascinating and this set is no exception.

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.
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