Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Some days you're hot, some days you're not.
These days the Sox offense seems to be just enough to lose. They look like they are in a lazy funk. I understand that teams go through that at some point during the season. It's just frustrating on the fans. I'm sure it's more frustrating on the players themselves.
I can see A.J., in particular, slamming his bat down every time he pops up. I see a frustrated team that is going to break out with an offensive explosion soon. Hopefully, that will happen this weekend in Toronto.
As for the offense, Brian Anderson seems to be getting more consistent as he gets more at-bats. Jim Thome is climbing out of his funk. Nick Swisher seems to always find a way on base. Those are all good signs that things will improve soon enough.
Brian Anderson was 3 for 4.
Matt Thornton pitched two scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts.
Seven batters left on base for the Sox.
Joe Crede was 0 for 4.
Orlando Cabrera was 0 for 4 and left 4 on base.
Nick Masset balked.
It's surprising to me that Carlos Quentin is tied for the American League lead in home runs. He is also one bases loaded hit by pitch away from establishing a new modern day record. It's good to see Toby Hall getting his hits. He had another one today. This is from someone who was 0 for Spring Training. Let's go get them in Canada!
From the back of the card, I learn that Rob was signed as a free agent on February 27, 1995 by the Sox. Why did Cincinnati let Rob get away?
That is quickly answered by the "Did You Know?" portion of the card.
"Missed most of 1994 after right shoulder surgery..."
A-ha! More evidence that the White Sox were nothing more than MLB's M*A*S*H unit in the nineties. Why is a Rob Dibble White Sox card a rarity?
The answer is quite simple. He only played 16 games with the White Sox with a 6.28 ERA. The plot thickens! At least he held on for one save during his brief White Sox career. It would be his last MLB save.
Rob was released on July 17, 1995 by the Sox and picked up on July 31, 1995 by the Brewers. He appeared in 15 games for the Brewers, but without a save. At the end of 1995, Rob was so desperate that he signed with the Cubs, but never made it onto the major league team.
At least I can finally say that I have a White Sox card of Rob Dibble. That's pretty cool.
Which one will play today for the White Sox? Apparently neither. 1998 was the last year for Chris on the White Sox. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in August 1998. This would also be the last year in the majors.
Chris would end up only playing in 8 games for the Red Sox in 1998. He only had 2 hits in 12 plate appearances with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. He ended up playing until 2002 in the minor leagues with the Reds, the Mariners, the Cubs and the Cardinals.
Chris was a third baseman, but had trouble getting to the major league level as a third baseman. The problem was that the White Sox already had a great third baseman in Robin Ventura. So, Chris adapted to also play shortstop and second base. He would not become the super sub that the Sox wanted. It's one thing to be versatile, but you need to be suited to play that role.
Chris would end up being a AAAA type of player. He was really good at the AAA level, but never really put it together at the major league level. I remember Chris being highly touted within the White Sox organization. Sometimes all the potential never lives up to the hype.
What else could I say, but yes. I love adding oddball White Sox stuff to my collection and I love White Sox team sets. It's a perfect solution.
Then Todd asked if I wanted a ruler with a 1957 White Sox schedule on it. After thinking about that for a millisecond, I said yes to that too. I sent along my mailing address and forgot about it. Until a mysterious package turned up early this week.
I opened it to find a nice letter from Todd and a 1957 White Sox schedule ruler, a 1995 Kodak team set, 1984 Fun Foods buttons of Ron Kittle and Carlton Fisk, 1981 Topps stickers of Chet Lemon, Wayne Nordhagen, Jim Morrison, Rich Dotson and Ed Farmer, 1983 Topps stickers of LaMarr Hoyt, Carlton Fisk and another Carlton Fisk and 1990 Leaf cards of Dan Pasqua and Greg Hibbard.
Wow! I can't believe all of the cool White Sox stuff that arrived in this package. I'm most impressed by the ruler. That's definitely an oddball item! I'm psyched about the John Kruk card from the 1995 team set. This proves that the 1995 Collector's Choice card is not the only proof of Kruk on the White Sox. The Rob Dibble card in the 1995 set was an awesome find too.
When I saw the stickers and the buttons, my face broke out in a huge smile. I was transported back to my youth. That is the type of moment that is instantly welcomed in my household! 1984 was my first year collecting the Topps stickers, so seeing anything before that is a real treat.
Thank you, Todd! This package is the highlight of my week! I really appreciate the time and effort that you put into this package. These are all going to a good home!
Gavin Floyd turned in another great start that was promptly wasted by the anemic offense. Jim Thome had a double and Joe Crede had a solo home run. Those were the two big hits. Only one of them scored. Guess which one?
Boof Bonser confounded the White Sox hitters. It's not an isolated incident. This happens to the Sox more than it should. Jermaine Dye didn't provide the spark to the lineup in his return. It should have, but I'm not sure what could possibly spark the Sox offense, at this point. Hopefully, something will turn around.
Joe Crede's home run.
Gavin Floyd's solid start.
The team left 5 on base.
A.J. had a throwing error.
Jermaine Dye went 0 for 4 in his return.
Only 1 walk issued by Twins pitching.
I can understand the Sox not adjusting well to someone they have not seen before. The thing is, they have seen Boof Bonser. They have hit Boof in the past. Maybe it's the stigma of facing the Twins that has Sox hitters in a funk. They went through the same thing on the west coast for awhile. Things can only get better from here.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This includes the missing cards from my 2008 Topps Heritage set that I'm foolishly trying to complete. Truth be told, that is what took the most amount of time. That is why 2008 Topps Heritage is only represented by numbers of cards, instead of the player's name as well.
I have gotten plenty of e-mails lately about my 2008 want list, so it's finally up. I will update when I find out about new White Sox card releases and when cards on the want list are in hand.
I've decided to leave off most of the parallel releases. Parallels are always welcome. It just gets too cumbersome listing ten different parallels for each card. I have also decided to collect the White Sox games out of the Yankee Stadium Legacy set. Since they offer box scores and tidbits on each game, it sounded like a cool project for my White Sox collection.
Monday, April 28, 2008
This is the game that never ends. It just goes on and on my friend. Somebody started playing this game, not knowing what it was, and now it lasts forever just because this is the game that never ends...
After a two hour and 6 minute rain delay to start the game, the wackiness has been suspended for tonight. A great start by Javier Vazquez was wasted by one pitch from Bobby Jenks. Bobby can't seem to succeed against those pesky Orioles.
That sent the game to extra innings where the Orioles scored in the top of the eleventh. Then by sheer force, Juan Uribe launches a mammoth home run in the bottom of the eleventh. In the top of the twelfth, play was delayed and then suspended until a later date.
Who deserves the win in this one? Who knows. The Sox stranded a small army on the bases. Aubrey Huff was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Many interesting plays, on both sides, were made (or not made) because of the steady rain throughout the entire game. It's a toss up.
I can't wait to see how this one finally ends, whenever they resume play.
"Yeah, I was traded for a Hall of Fame pitcher. I'm that good!"
That's a lot of attitude for someone who never hit over .280 in a season. He had reason to have that type of attitude. The ladies loved him. You could almost see the thoughts forming in his head about dropping his pants in a few years.
"I can play all nine positions. I'm the best utility player ever! I'm going to show the ladies what I'm made of someday. They'll see!"
The White Sox seem to be a breeding ground for unique personalities. That's fine by me. It makes the game more interesting. I'll never forget that July 1990 game in Detroit where Steve showed the ladies exactly what he was made of.
Konerko's deuces are wild!
It's not often you look at the box score and see 2 next to almost every category on a player. That happened with Konerko on Sunday. 2 at-bats, 2 runs, 2 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 home runs. Paulie had a hell of a game and provided the Sox with all the offense they would need.
Jose Contreras pitched another great game. This time it was enough for a win. Before the game, Mike MacDougal was sent down to AAA and Ehren Wassermann was called up. Ehren came into the game to face one batter and walked him. No damage done. The pitches that were called strikes down at the AAA level, were not called in Wassermann's favor at the major league level.
Paul Konerko's 2 home runs.
Jose Contreras' pitching.
Ehren Wassermann walked the only batter he saw.
Alexei Ramirez was 0 for 3, but managed an RBI.
8 men left on base.
Pablo Ozuna was 0 for 4.
This is the type of game that the White Sox needed, a fairly easy victory. The Orioles are tough this year. If the Sox can split the four game series, it will be a good series. The Orioles are pesky enough to warrant that. The Sox are in position to win 3 out of 4 games, if they win on Monday. That would be great, if that happens. There's a reason why the O's are 14-11 after this game. They are that good this year. They should be battling for the top spot this year.
I thought the entire countdown was fun and exciting. I found myself anxiously waiting each day for a new post in the countdown. The cards weren't always the coolest or most expensive, but these cards in the countdown did expose wonderful memories. It's not always the worth that makes the card, it's the memories.
Thanks for the memories and an awesome countdown. I hope you go through with more countdowns.
I received a package in the mail on Friday (like I said, I'm running behind) and smiled when I saw the return address. It was from Kevin of Orioles Cards. When I opened the package up, six cards were staring at me. That was definitely a great start to the weekend!
Anytime White Sox cards are received in my mailbox is a great day. When I get surprise White Sox cards in the mail is an awesome day!
There are always surprises when I get mid-nineties cards. I wasn't disappointed with the mid-nineties card I received in this package.
1992 Jimmy Dean #4 - Frank Thomas
1992 Topps #635 - Harold Baines
1995 Donruss Top Of The Order #50 - Roberto Hernandez
2008 Topps #293 - Gavin Floyd
2008 Topps Gold Foil #284 - Lance Broadway
2008 Topps Own The Game #OTG8 - Jim Thome
The Frank Thomas is awesome. I love the oddball Sox cards. This is definitely one of them! The Harold Baines is technically not a White Sox card. That's fine though. It's Harold!
The card that threw me was the Roberto Hernandez. I have never seen it or heard of it. It looks odd to me, but that's what makes it cool too. It reminds me of the MLB Showdown cards that would come out a few years later.
Rounding out everything would be three 2008 cards. Gavin Floyd is always welcome here. Especially if he keeps up his great starts. Lance Broadway should be cracking the rotation at the first sign of trouble. Jim Thome is Jim Thome. 'Nuff said.
Thanks, Kevin! Those were awesome cards you sent. I should have my 2008 want list up sometime on Monday. It's been hectic lately. I meant to get that done this weekend, but just didn't find myself at the computer long enough to get it done.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Let's play two!
Game 1: Orioles 5 - Sox 1
Game 2: Orioles 5 - Sox 6
After playing less than a full inning of Friday, The Sox and Orioles decided to get the game in on Saturday afternoon. The classic double header would be in full force on Saturday. One of the hardest things to do in baseball is sweep a double header. Saturday would prove that old adage.
The first game featured a gem of a performance by John Danks, but no hitting by the Sox offense. The last thing that the Sox need is a revert back to this style of game. Both pitching and offense need to be there. A lead is hard to hold when the offense is anemic. The same is true when the pitching is getting hammered.
The second game featured most of the offense for the Sox. Nick Swisher provided a boost with his third home run of the year. The bullpen was shaky, but the Sox hitters got it done in the bottom of the ninth, for a nail biting finish. For once it wasn't late inning hero, Joe Crede, who turned 30 on Saturday. Joe Crede went 0 for the double header, but had plenty of chances along the way. Brian Anderson played hero in the second game by driving in the winning run.
John Danks was perfect through the first five innings in the first game.
Brian Anderson regained some of his Spring Training swagger in the second game.
5 hits by the Sox in the first game. Two were by Toby Hall?!
12 left on base in the second game.
Alexei Ramirez was caught stealing in the first game.
Errors by Konerko and Crede in the second game.
I expected a split in the double header and I was not disappointed. These days are just hard to get both wins. I was surpised by the lack of hitting in the first game. It's funny what a few hours difference will make in a hitter's approach. At least the Sox broke even on the day.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The 1990 Score set was loud and reeked of primary colors. Against all that eye-bleeding color, came this homage to tobacco cards called the Dream Team.
While the Dream Team subsets would get more arty in later years, this original set got everything right. This card felt like I was travelling back in time. The look and feel of the Dream Team cards juxtaposed the rest of the set perfectly.
After the circus lights of the main set, it was nice to relax the senses and calm yourself with the subtle beauty of these cards. The washed out, yet vibrant colors were a real treat in 1990. Retro sets were not yet the rage, so this was as close to a historical card as a kid could get without it being a reprint.
While there are a multitude of great Bobby Thigpen cards, this has to be in my top five. It might actually be my favorite. The fact that this card came out during Bobby's finest season and in the middle of a White Sox resurgence, makes this a perfect storm of a card. Bobby would have some great regular cards, a few great cards depicting his single season save record and a few awesome oddball cards, but this is probably his best overall card.
At least they salvaged one.
Two rain delays and a comeback by the Yankees almost hampered a White Sox victory. The Sox have been building to this type of win all week. Narrowly missing these types of wins in the last two games, they picked themselves up and finally got it done.
Gavin Floyd showed that he was human by giving up five runs in six innings. Jim Thome continues to show that he is superhuman by moving into 19th place on the all-time home run list, with his 513th home run.
Bobby Jenks held down a tie game by inducing a double play ball. Joe Crede came through in the clutch again to win the game for the Pale Hose in the bottom of the ninth. It all led to an exciting victory that shouldn't have been as exciting.
Bobby Jenks gets his first win of the year.
Jim Thome gets his 513th homer.
Gavin Floyd was a little roughed up when he was pitching in the stretch.
Johnny Damon stole a base.
Nick Swisher was caught stealing.
The rain delays almost cost this game.
It never should have gotten that close to where the Sox had to pull it out in the ninth. Still, it's great to see the Sox actually win the close battles with the Yankees. After seeing Joba Chamberlain pitch, I can see what all the fuss is about. He reminds me of a cross between Bobby Jenks and Roger Clemens with a slight David Wells impersonation.
Lets build on this win and get on a roll!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The card shows a simple action shot with all the identification on the back. Since Ozzie wasn't too much of a home run hitter, I'll assume that he is coming out of the batter's box after a bunt attempt.
Ozzie was always a bundle of energy during a game. Whether it was in the dugout, on the field or at the plate. His average wasn't the greatest, but he could work a count with the best. He always gave his team a chance to win, even on the lousy teams of the late eighties.
Ozzie was doing the little things from his first major league game. That philosophy just kept growing until he became a manager. He's still a bundle of energy in the dugout, but I think he's found a match in Nick Swisher. Every good play has a spark. Ozzie was that spark when he was playing.
My "main" characters were Harold and Bjourni. During my Junior year of high school, I actually created an intricate storyline that progressed throughout my notebook pages. Storylines were never abandoned and the past was never brushed aside for convenience. There would be no "older brother Chuck from Happy Days" moments.
At the end of the semester, I collected all the Harold and Bjourni comics that I had created and bundled them together in a binder. I drew unrelated comics from the same world and threw them in between the Harold and Bjourni comics.
I took my inspiration from the cartoons that I grew up watching. I pulled the format from Bullwinkle and Rocky. I stole basic ideas from Ren and Stimpy. I even spoofed Quantum Leap and SNL in several ways. I asked a cartoonist friend to write an introduction and even made a high school friend a cartoon star.
Even with all of this going on, I still loved baseball and the White Sox. I slipped in a short storyline about Harold and Bjourni playing professional baseball with the Metallion Black Sox.
I never storyboarded any idea. I just let my imagination run wild. Whenever I got to the last panel on the piece of notebook paper, I would add a cliffhanger, come up with a title for the next page and start fresh. Working that way, I'm surprised that everything turned out so well.
In this comic the two friends are both discharged from the Navy and decide to go to open tryouts for the Black Sox. Harold grows a mustache and the Black Sox are on the verge of going to the playoffs because the Armaville Asymetrics lost their game. Bjourni is the starting pitcher for the big game and Harold is left out of the lineup.
In the next Harold and Bjourni comic, there are even cartoon characters of Hawk Harrelson and his broadcasting partner Wimpy. Maybe I will post "Play Ball" in the near future. I still feel a little weird posting this part of my youth. In the back of my mind, I still hold out some hope of getting these comics published.
Maybe Harold and Bjourni will find their place on the bookshelves. Will they bring their friends with them? I certainly hope so. I know that Recycled-Man, Mr. Moronically Insane, The Jersey Fly, Seymore the blind man and Ned, Harry and the Pelican would love to find a home too.
Why does Steve Trout look like an effeminate weirdo on almost every baseball card he is featured on? On this card he looks like he's started premarin a few months earlier. By the time we see Steve Trout on his 1986 Topps card, he looks like a grandmother with a bad perm.
Having the nickname "Rainbow Trout" probably didn't help either. I know the images probably go with his offbeat personality. You don't challenge teammates to burrito eating contests unless you're a little offbeat.
To be fair, most of the photography from the eighties that ended up on cards looked pretty poor. The uniform he's wearing on this 1981 Fleer card looks like a woman's smock. That doesn't help. The 1986 Topps card was a really bad photo. Steve was under thirty at the time of that card and it made him look like a seventy year old woman.
There are much better photos of Steve at his website. He's done a lot since baseball. He runs a wintertime baseball clinic in Florida. He's written a few books. He's been a pitching coach for a few different minor league teams. He is currently the inaugural manager for the Texarkana Gunslingers. Steve also does public speaking engagements.
Knowing who he is outside of the major leagues makes me even more perplexed with his baseball cards. Why couldn't the photographers capture Steve in a decent photo? One that didn't make him look like a transsexual or a grandmother. Personally, I think that Steve got a raw deal when it comes to his cards. I'm sure that there were better photos out there.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Another day, another few runs short.
Lack of execution has seemed to hurt the White Sox this week. They can play with the big boys, but can't hit at the right times. The Sox are getting closer though. Bridging the gap to "just losing" is still a loss.
Case in point, Crede and Quentin both had home runs. Both were solo home runs. It adds another run to the score, but it could have been so much more. I have to say that the bullpen was much better tonight. It was the starting pitching that really failed.
Orlando Cabrera and Jim Thome each had two hits.
The bullpen bounced back to have a solid night.
Jason Giambi had a stolen base!
If it wasn't a home run, it was only a single.
Javier Vazquez gave up six runs.
Orlando Cabrera's fielding error.
The Sox need to put all the pieces together. I'm sure they will be fine, but this is not a trend they want to stay in. Timely hitting will cure most of their ails. Decent pitching on both ends will cause better games. The starters and the bullpen need to be good at the same time.
Details are in this post. If this can get off the ground, then it just may be another dimension to our online community. I've already seen great ideas from other bloggers blossom into something beautiful. This is the sort of thinking that makes our community strong.
Please support Rich in this idea and let's see how far we can take this idea and run with it. I know we already trade among ourselves, from time to time. This may be a way to streamline that process.
I'm always excited about the next new great idea. This may be it.
While the front features a great action shot of Ventura, it's the back that captivates me more. It compares Robin to three different baseball greats.
I'm assuming that the three players selected have already reached the five baseball level in each category. That's the only way I can see this working. Let's see how Robin stacks up against the greats.
Compared to Harmon Killebrew, Robin rates average in power. That sounds eerily accurate. While Robin could sport some power, he was more of a base hit kind of guy. He could sneak up on you with his power, but it didn't come around enough in his career.
Compared to Lou Brock, Robin rates average in speed. I would have guessed this would be below average. Before 1998, Robin's career stolen bases would be 14. That's a far cry from Lou Brock's career total. I don't really remember Ventura stretching singles into doubles.
Compared to Brooks Robinson, Robin rates above average in fielding. That sounds about right too. Ventura had great range, but not as great as Brooks Robinson. The Sox have had a history of above average to excellent third basemen. Take the current third baseman, Joe Crede. He may actually rate the same as Brooks when it comes to fielding.
Based on the breakdown of this chart, I can see that Robin had a great career, but it wasn't even close to get him into Hall of Fame consideration. He can hold his head high though. Ventura had a career that should keep him in the minor star and regional star range for years to come.
His best years were with the Washington Senators, but he spent the majority of the 1935 season with the White Sox after being purchased in May from the Detroit Tigers. What surprised me the most is that two players from the thirties have worn number 66. Carl seems to have slightly better numbers for his time with the team.
Carl was the first player to wear number 66 for the White Sox. He was 5-5 with a 6.19 ERA. It doesn't seem like he had great numbers, but he did complete three games with the Sox, while starting only eleven. It's not that bad for a 24 game total for a fifth place club.
At some point in the near future, I'm sure that some great player will knock Carl Fischer off of the number 66 perch. He has been sitting there since 1935, so maybe he is harder to knock off that perch than it would appear.
It was the end of the eighties, so the rainbow motif is in full view at the top and bottom of the base cards. The sides remind me of some random Atari 2600 rollbar error, but it fits in nicely with the rest of the design.
Some of the pictures look like they were chosen by the luck of the dart. Then again, so did many eighties releases. Of course nothing would be complete without the team's logo and Donruss' logo slapped on the card.
It's not one of the prettiest designs, but it holds up surprisingly well. The Sox have 23 cards in this set, including the ever-popular Diamond King.
7 Carlton Fisk DK
58 Melido Perez
101 Carlton Fisk
135 Greg Walker
148 Harold Baines
176 Ozzie Guillen
219 Steve Rosenberg
253 Steve Lyons
266 Bobby Thigpen
294 Dan Pasqua
337 Ken Williams
371 Ivan Calderon
384 Dave Gallagher
413 Jerry Reuss
455 Daryl Boston
489 Fred Manrique
503 Shawn Hillegas
531 Jack McDowell
573 Bill Long
606 Lance Johnson
619 Adam Peterson
647 Barry Jones
655 Mike Diaz
Nothing would be able to compete with Upper Deck in 1989. Donruss put out a nice, affordable set. It was nothing flashy, but it worked. I believe it's equal to Topps and Score's efforts and certainly is better than Fleer's pinstripe suit cards.
Still, this card seemed to stand out from the rest. Not only is it a Magglio rookie card, it has the title of "Little Dawgs" in lettering bigger than the player. I tend to notice little things like that.
What is a "LITTLE DAWG"?
Major League teams invite as many as 70 players to Spring Training each year. With so many players, it's sometimes difficult to learn everybody's name, so Barry Larkin simply refers to the players he doesn't recognize as "Little Dawgs."
I'll bet you that this is the only Magglio Ordonez card with a profile picture of Barry Larkin on the back. I don't think anyone would refer to Magglio as a "little dawg" today. At least not with that ridiculous mane of hair that he sports with the Tigers. Still, it's an interesting card.
I remember listening to White Sox games in 1998 on the radio. I recall thinking that Magglio was going to turn into something special. It looks like I was right. I think everybody knows his name now.
The White Sox celebrated Earth Day by only shooting fireworks off once, in the ninth inning. A.J.'s home run came a little late for a full come back. At least the Sox still had some fight left in them during the late innings.
Jose Contreras put together a mostly strong start, but the bullpen could not back him up. The Sox didn't help their cause by stranding thirteen runners. It came down to execution. The Yankees were able to execute at the right times and the Sox couldn't.
Paul Konerko continued his hot hitting by driving in the go ahead run, but the lead wouldn't last for long. A combination of Jose Contreras and Boone Logan helped set up a situation where Octavio Dotel would give up a grand slam. That pretty much spelled the end for the Sox, but at least they still had life.
5 players had 2 hits each.
Mike MacDougal was great in his one and a third innings of work.
Poor execution led to wasted opportunities.
Matt Thornton gave up 3 runs.
The Sox stranded 13 players!
Octavio Dotel gave up a grand slam.
The Sox have a nice habit of bouncing back from games like this. Hopefully, that will stay true as the same two teams go at it again. Even though the Sox didn't win, they showed that they will not just lie down and take it. The hits are there, they just need to be more timely.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sox Machine has been trying to get the nickname "The Gentleman Masher" to stick for Jim Thome. I had my doubts at first, but after seeing this "card", I am convinced that it is perfect for him.
All Thome needs to do is grow a handlebar mustache and he would fit right into the nineteenth century. The only thing that bothers me about the card is the date of 1874. If that were true, then Thome would technically be on the Cubs. It's a little thing that only I would notice and be bothered by. It's my hang up, I'll deal with it.
All I have to say is that I want one! For a better look at the picture, click here. I sized the image down so it wouldn't eat up my limit for pictures. If the Sox ever decide to chuck it all, rewrite history and turn back the clock to 1874, I hope Jim Thome is around for this uniform. I hope he would try growing the mustache for that game too.
Monday, April 21, 2008
At first, I was like everybody else. I blamed Billy for being a bum and a fluke. I thought it was Kenny Williams second worst move. Nothing could top Todd Ritchie. It turns out that Billy, his wife and three children are all suffering from this disease.
No one is really sure where it comes from, how it spreads or if it is contagious. It does show up in multiple family members when it does show up.
Billy went from being a top notch closer to middle relief to out of baseball in the span of two years. This isn't widely reported, but when you google Billy Koch's name, there are many sites chronicling this ailment.
Billy's time with the White Sox may have been hellish, but it's nothing like the hell his family has been through with a disease that many doctors do not take seriously. I have a better understanding of why Billy Koch failed on the White Sox. It still doesn't change the fact that he stunk up the joint, but now I know why. I hope Billy and his family don't have to suffer through this much longer.
Sure, that's a pretty energetic photo. There's more energy in that photo than I ever saw him put into a game. In 1989, Dave was 28. That seems a bit old for a rookie phenom to appear. I could be wrong, but Dave really never amounted to much.
In a nine year career, Dave played on eight different teams. He only played in 100 or more games twice in his major league career. Both times were with the White Sox on really awful teams in 1988 and 1989.
The White Sox aren't even Dave's first team. That privilege would go to the Indians. The fact is that he has more time under his belt as a minor leaguer. He spent parts of 10 seasons in the minors. Did Dave have relatives working for the card companies? Or they desperate for players to fill their sets?
I could think of many players that could've filled the role better. Sandy Alomar Jr. was left off that set. So was Ken Griffey Jr. If Topps needed a representative for each team, Jack McDowell or Robin Ventura would've been better choices. Even Bobby Thigpen would have been an excellent choice. I know the late eighties teams were horrible but Harold Baines or Carlton Fisk could have easily fit the bill on this one.
Still, I look back at Dave Gallagher cards from 1989 and wonder why. At least it wasn't a card of Fred Manrique. I'll take Dave over Fred any day of the week.
The sultans of swing!
John Danks looks like the real thing. Let's see how he'll hold up during the season. The rookie pitchers in the rotation seem to be doing better than the veterans. I never would have thought that.
Jim Thome seems to be out of his funk. He went 4 for 5 with 3 RBI and another home run. Most of the hitters contributed to the win. Brian Anderson is not helping his cause by sitting on the bench. He's getting rusty and it's showing. I know it's not his decision to play, but he needs regular at-bats to stay consistent.
Jim Thome's home run.
Jermaine Dye's first triple in a long time.
Jermaine Dye's 3 strikeouts.
7 left on base.
Brain Anderson's 0 for 4 day at the plate.
Joe Crede was also 0 for 4.
There wasn't much that was bad about this game. It's almost a complete reverse of yesterday's affair. It's nice to see the Sox bounce back from a tough game. Let's see if they can continue this type of play.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
He's lucky, you're lucky, we're all lucky except the White Sox.
It's hard to score when the only runner to reach second base is Orlando Cabrera. Three hits do not help either. The highlight of the game is Mike MacDougal pitching a scoreless inning.
There's not much else that came out of this game. This is the kind of game where you throw your hands up and figure out how to get them next game. It's frustrating, but these games will happen during the season. At least the game started out fine with a pick off by Mark Buehrle.
Mike MacDougal's scoreless inning.
Mark Buehrle's pick off in the first.
Only one player reached second base and was left stranded.
Toby Hall is 1 for 2 in catching runners stealing bases.
A forgettable game that was over in 2 hours and 2 minutes. It took me longer to grab a table to eat at an Olive Garden on Saturday night. Suck it up and move on.
While reading one of the local papers this weekend, I found an article about my favorite (and closest) card shop, RBI Sports in Burbank, Illinois. After boycotting the only other known card shop in the area, this shop is it.
It's nice to see that the hits come to this shop as well. I have to repeat that the owner, Tony Carrasquillo, is one of the nicest around. The customer was a 38 year old White Sox fan, who was celebrating his birthday. His fiancee told him to pick out anything in the store. The customer picked out a $300 pack of cards and found a Babe Ruth 1/1 signature and patch card.
Awesome find! I'm glad to see that the story ran in the local paper. Anything to draw more interest in the hobby, I say.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I have a feeling that I'll own a unicorn before I own GNR's Chinese Democracy. At least I got the 1994 Sportflics out of the way first.
The scan of this card is atrocious. It looks like bad television reception. Back in the days of UHF and VHF, there were things called antennas that had to be (GASP) manually adjusted! We had to walk to change the channel or control the volume. It was truly the time of cavemen. Not the kind who shill car insurance.
The card itself is a thing of beauty. It's something that you have to see in person to really appreciate. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to see one in my lifetime.
Thorzul has a card for card swap going on, so I decided to take advantage of that. Regular cards for regular cards. SPs for SPs. Black backs for black backs. You get the idea.
I took my minuscule amount of doubles and picked out everything that I could find from Thorzul's want list. Two regular cards and a short print. I couldn't tell you what I sent, but I know it was from the list.
I received in Friday's mail the three cards that I selected. The short print is featured in the photo.
313 - Kei Igawa
416 - Asdrubal Cabrera
450 - Chipper Jones SP
I'm happy with the trade. It's gets three doubles out of my possession and three cards into my collection. A win-win! Maybe Thorzul still has cards you need. Check it out and see if you have anything he needs. It works! I'm living proof!
Friday, April 18, 2008
To tell you the truth, the card spotlight was the last thing on my mind today. I almost forgot it. I've been busy with job interviews and Saturday is the one year anniversary of a tragedy in my family. So in other words, my mind has been a bit preoccupied today.
I haven't really seen much of 1994 Bowman. It was released shortly after I bought my last pack of cards in the nineties. I received this card in the mail earlier in the week and it seems like the perfect card for a hectic week.
It doesn't show well in the scan, but the card is foil. It seems obscurred, but it makes Jason really stand out. I usually don't care for over-foiled cards, but this one seems striking to me. Jason had all the potential in the world when this card was issued. An injury filled career would soon follow, but this was the time to shine for Jason.
He was hot stuff in 1994. People were projecting him to win multiple Cy Youngs and win 300+ games by the time his career was over. It never happened. He only won 71 games in his career. It reminds me of a saying Frank Thomas' father told him. Don't Believe The Hype.
This card reminds me of all that hype, hope and dreams for the future. Sometimes they just don't pan out the way you think they will. At least Jason was able to surivive in the majors until 2003. That's still a decent career.
"It's hard to believe, but apparently the umpires have got Criscione in a run-down."
Javier Vazquez had another strong outing. The test was in the second inning when a run down gone wrong that left the bases loaded with one out. Aside from that, the Sox showed a strong performance.
The second consecutive night with back to back jacks is very promising. The Sox seemed to have shrugged off the tough loss last night in Baltimore.
Thome and Konerko's back to back home runs.
Another great performance by Javier Vazquez.
10 men left on base.
Jermaine Dye has cooled at the plate.
Pablo Ozuna needs to work on his run down technique.
A.J. Pierzynski drew the collar with an 0 for 5 performance.
It's nice to see the Sox back to life after a derailed game in Baltimore. This is a different team to watch this year. I feel confident that the Sox will stay in games until the end. Tampa Bay has a great team this year. It's only a matter of time before they get really hot.
These cards are a God send to collectors of older players. Some players on these cards don't even have a regular card in the standard catalogue until their inclusion in this set.
These cards aren't worth much, but try telling that to some sellers. These cards regularly list for around $10. They are only worth maybe 50 cents, depending on the card. That's the average. Don't get fooled.
These are sharp cards that feature wonderful, mostly forgotten players. Luke is one of the better known players in the multi-year set. This is a wonderful idea for a card set. I hope some company will issue another set similar to this, featuring different obscure players. One can only dream.
A good start by Gavin Floyd was erased by a surprisingly bad bullpen. Floyd worked six innings of two run ball. Floyd lost a slim lead, but the White Sox answered right back with two solo homers.
I liked the way the Sox fought the entire game, but sometimes a team is destined to lose a game. That seemed evident every time the lead was erased. The home runs helped, but they just weren't enough to keep the Orioles at bay.
Carlos Quentin's home runs in the seventh and the eighth.
The offense keeping the Sox in the game.
A throwing error by A.J. Pierzynski.
A tough hop fielding error by Konerko.
Bobby Jenks blown save.
Boone Logan's loss.
The game started fine with two consecutive stolen bases by Orlando Cabrera. The bullpen can't win every game for the Sox, but this was surprising. This is one that the Sox have to suck up and forget. Tomorrow is a new day and a new team in Tampa Bay.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
At the point of this card, Tim had played 17 of his 23 seasons in the majors. This card almost seems like a retirement card.
"This speedy veteran has recorded 777 stolen bases during his 17-year career, placing him fifth all-time in Major League history. Raines stole a career-high 90 bases in 1983 while with the Montreal Expos."
The back of the card almost sounds like a eulogy. While this was one of his last cards in a White Sox uniform, he played until 2002. He's still in fifth place, with 808 steals. He is, however, the switch hitting stolen base leader.
Three of the four players ahead of him in career stolen bases are in the Hall of Fame. One is not eligible yet, but shouldn't have too much of a problem getting in, because Rickey will tell you that Rickey is just being Rickey and Rickey is number one. Tim has a shot at the Hall of Fame. I hope one of the best leadoff hitters of the eighties gets in.
In 2007, Chicago sportswriters got all over A.J. Pierzynski for having a 16.2% for throwing out base runners. Is it that easy to steal on A.J.? Chicago Sun Times reporter Joe Cowley (not the ex-Sox pitcher) decided to find out for himself. See the results of 10 attempts to steal on A.J.
And this, a post that has nothing to do with cards, would be the 500th post. It kinda snuck up on me.
Keep on rockin' in the free world.
The good Jose Contreras showed up on Wednesday. He pitched 7 innings with 4 hits, 6 strikeouts and 0 walks. It looks like he's found whatever he lost at the beginning of the year. I hope this one stays awhile.
Jim Thome also broke out of his funk with a three-run homer and a double. The first thing I noticed when looking at the swing for the home run was how short and quick it was. Thome had gotten slightly long in his swing lately. Will this be the real Jim Thome returning? Let's hope so.
Jose Contreras pitched extremely well.
Jim Thome's stroke is back!
Joe Crede's throwing error.
The Orioles had a stolen base.
The bottom of the order was 0 for 11 with a walk.
The Orioles shouldn't try to duplicate Jermaine Dye's sliding catches.
The starting pitching for this game would either allow it to be a high scoring affair or a low scoring one. I would've picked a high scoring game. I was pleasantly surprised by the minuscule amount of runs that were scored. The Orioles have a talented team. The Sox should not underestimate them.
I am thankful that this is the only example that I know of featuring this mustache mistake. It paints Ed in a whole new light and it's not good. He looks like he should be trolling the high schools for dates.
"That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."
At least this hair experiment was short lived. He does not wear it well.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I saw this card in a stack of cards I received in the mail and immediately thought of Kathy from Diff'rent Strokes. So far, this is the only set photo I can find of Melanie, but I think it illustrates my point.
Britt and Melanie's character have many things in common. Both have the sheer grit and determination to succeed and they both look like kind, gentile souls. Also, both had their fame in the eighties.
Melanie Watson (now Bernhardt) was the executive director of an organization called Train Rite, which placed dogs with disabled people. Unfortunately, the organization folded in 2007.
Britt's career came to a premature end due to a chronic, degenerative hip condition. He is currently the minor league pitching coordinator for the Houston Astros.
Kelly Wunsch is the greatest White Sox player to wear number 65. He pitched on the White Sox from 2000 until 2004. Wunsch has only one save in his career. That was with the White Sox in 2000, his rookie year. He also led the league in appearances with 83 in 2000.
After that, the White Sox figured out exactly where to put Kelly. He was a sidearm/submarine specialty pitcher. He would come in and get a one to three batters and make a quick exit.
His success comes from the number of hits allowed. While there is no perfect pitcher, Kelly has never allowed more hits than innings pitched. His strikeout totals never surpassed his walk total. He was the perfect pitcher for delicate situations.
His funky delivery style would fool hitters. Some of the best players of the game looked foolish when Wunsch was on the mound. Among his accomplishments is a 0.00 ERA in the 2000 postseason. The Sox would be swept by the Mariners, but Kelly was in every game. He allowed only 2 hits with no walks, but took the loss in the last game.
Kelly's unique delivery caused later injury problems. I always felt good when Kelly would come into the game. I knew there was an excellent chance of a White Sox winner.
He wouldn't wear a decent looking uniform until 1989, when he was traded to the Texas Rangers. Throughout the eighties, Harold had to suffer wearing a softball uniform with a collar, a fan-made uniform and a cursive monstrosity that features a lower case "e" on the hat. I know it was supposed to be a "C", but it never looked that way to me.
Harold travelled the United States and Canada in search of better uniforms. Every stop on his journey netted better uniforms than his first stop. He went from Texas to Oakland to Baltimore, and even stayed overnight in Cleveland. He returned to Chicago to find that the Sox had taken his advice and finally had good looking uniforms.
Obligations in other cities had Harold constantly moving, but he always came back for the improved Chicago uniforms. After playtime was done, Harold became a coach with Chicago. It's probably because of the good looking uniforms.
Another card from the Out Of The Mill stack.
Have you ever read Things Done To Cards and thought, "I could do that". Well, here's your chance. I am looking for contributors for that site.
I put a notice on that site a few days ago. So far, Cliff from Capewood's Collections has answered the call and has already delivered a great post on Cardsupials.
I'm hoping to turn the site into a community effort with daily content or a close equivalent. So, if you feel like adding an occasional post or a bombardment of posts, e-mail me to get an invite.
The only things I ask are to keep it semi-clean because kids do read the site, have a blogspot account (so you can post) and have fun with it. Be as creative as you like. Everything from a history lesson to a rant to a funny story equal great posts. If you've found something done to a card, share it with the world.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
"Welcome to Life Is Love. I hope you enjoy your stay here. Would you like a flower? How about some Kool-Aid? I'm sure your stay here will be pleasant. Ralph provides for everyone."
"Um... thanks. I just came in here to get directions to the baseball card shop."
"I used to play baseball. That was before I discovered the power of Ralph. Won't you join us in our celebration?"
"Uh, what are you celebrating?"
"The all-knowing power of Ralph. He provides for us through Mother Nature. He gives our lives a purpose. A direction."
"Speaking of directions, do you know the way to the card shop?"
"You do not need cards. All you need is Ralph. Ralph will provide your mind with comfort, so you won't have a need for cards. Would you like to meet Ralph?"
"Sure... why not."
"Ralph, we have another believer in your presence. May he join our cause?"
"Um... you do know that Ralph is a head of lettuce, right?"
"Ralph is more than a head of lettuce. He is our savior! He comes in many forms. When this is vessel is used up, another will replace it."
"Another head of lettuce?"
"Yes! It can only be a head of lettuce of a predetermined size to truly be the right vessel for Ralph!"
"Yeah... listen... I gotta go. It was lovely meeting you Ralph. Good luck with the providing and all that."
"You now know too much! You will be the sacrifice for Ralph to have a permanent vessel!"
It would be about this time that I high-tail my size 11 quadruple E's out of there. Frankly, I'd probably be out of there as soon as I saw Barry's eyes. And yes, I did steal the plot from an old episode of What's Happening!
I'm almost certain that Barry Jones is a good guy. He was decent for the White Sox in 1990, that's for sure. Plus, he was trade bait for Tim Raines, before the 1991 season.
Another fantastic card from the stack from Out Of The Mill.
The Sox strike back!
John Danks brought out another pitching gem today, including a pick off. I'm starting to think that this kid may be for real. He was attacking the hitters and making them swing at strikes. If he keeps doing that and lets his defense back him up, he will be successful.
Carlos Quentin continues to impress with his bat and his glove. He made another "Rowand-like" smash into the wall and hit a three-run homer. Not too shabby for a day without Jim Thome and a few other regulars.
The Sox only had five hits, but they made the most out of them. Three walks and two errors by Oakland certainly didn't hurt either.
The good John Danks showed up today. I hope he stays the rest of the season.
Carlos Quentin's home run.
Alexei Ramirez almost injured himself and the catcher on a swing.
Nick Swisher was 0 for 3, but he more than made up for it with his catches at first base.
Scott Linebrink's shaky ninth inning after a great third of an inning eighth.
Toby Hall is down to a .100 average.
The Sox end up splitting the 2 game series with the Athletics. It could've been a sweep, but at least they won one game of the two. If the Sox continue to take or split series, they should be playoff bound in October.
The first card is one that Dinged Corners would appreciate. Mike Cameron on a huge cellular phone. Was this a sign of things to come? This is a shot from Comiskey Park, which was renamed after a cellphone company less than a decade later.
Mike gives a glimpse into the future of the park. Unfortunately, Mike would not be a part of the park's future. Well before this card came out, Mike was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul Konerko.
Mike is now on his fifth team since being traded from the White Sox. Paul is still with the White Sox. I wonder. Who made the best of that trade? I always thought that Mike was a good player. He would be back in the American league in 2000, when he was traded with three other players for Ken Griffey Jr.
There was a slim chance of Mike Cameron coming back to the White Sox in 2008. That was quickly dismissed when the Sox traded for Nick Swisher and Mike's 25 game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. He could be starting his season in Chicago, playing for the Brewers against the Cubs. Best of luck, Mike.
Monday, April 14, 2008
That sinking feeling.
Try as the Sox might, they just couldn't get more than one run across the plate tonight. here was a great starting pitchers duel going on between Mark Buehrle and Greg Smith. If Smith keeps healthy, there's no telling how far he'll go with that kind of stuff.
Nick Swisher did stick it to his old teammates by going 2 for 3 with a walk. The Sox started to get to the A's closer Huston Street, but just couldn't get a run home. It's the close losses that really hurt and this game was winnable as soon as Smith was replaced.
Nick Swisher's hitting.
Mark Buehrle holding the A's to 2 runs.
Jim Thome going 0 for 4.
Jermaine Dye's pick off.
Nick Swisher's caught stealing.
Hawk Harrelson's rally hankie. Ewwww!
The bottom line is that the Sox just ran into some great pitching performances tonight. There were good pitching performances for all sides, but some one has to win. Take it for what it is and get the A's tomorrow.
I spent some time with Tracey and watched the White Sox games and bowled one of my best series ever. While a 439 series doesn't sound impressive, it is for me.
Today, I think I got rewarded for my time off. I recieved a lot of 16 different White Sox Topps cards from 1975. I believe with shipping, it was under $5. 1975 is one of my severely lacking years. Well, not anymore! Thanks to an earlier trade, I am now up to 17 of the 33 cards from the 1975 Topps set that feature White Sox players.
I also recieved a strange heavy package. My first thought was that someone had stolen a legacy brick from outside
It turned out to have a familiar name on the return address label, so I opened it. I found a box the size of my forearm stuffed with White Sox, Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk cards from Rich over at Out Of The Mill. On top of the box was a note that explained that these cards were a token of Rich's appreciation for promoting his blog.
All I can say is WOW! I've recieved bricks of cards before, but never anything this size. Rather than boring everyone with a long list of every card received (my hand would fall off and your eyes would dry out), I will post selected cards at random. It should make it easier on everyone that way.
Thank you for your generosity, Rich. Believe it or not, I needed many of those cards for my collection. I just wish someone had a camera when I opened the box up. I can only imagine it was priceless.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Ain't life grand?
What can you say about a game in which there was dominant pitching, dominant hitting and lucky breaks all for one side? That would be winner for $400, Alex.
It's not every game that includes a superb effort by Javier Vazquez and grand slams by Paul Konerko and Joe Crede, while shutting out a team for the second straight game. These Tigers won't be asleep all season and I would hate to be the team that runs into them when they figure everything out and wake up.
Jim Thome's luck is changing. After getting a great swing off of Kenny Rogers that had the ball soaring a few feet foul, high over the foul pole, he got a lucky break on an infield pop-up. Miguel Cabrera ran into the third base umpire and the ball dropped fair. It was a wacky lopsided affair.
Two grand slams in the game! One by Konerko, one by Crede.
A dominant pitching performance by Javier Vazquez.
The Cuban Missile (Alexei Ramirez) had a tough luck at-bat with a line out.
Thome still looks uncomfortable at the plate, but is getting better.
Thome's "hit" could be construed as "umpire interference"?
Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers really looked bad in his outing.
It's really hard coming up with bad and ugly points when every starter gets on base, scores a lot and the opposition gets shut out. I like this kind of a challenge though. Let's hope this type of team camaraderie lasts through the season.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Long as I remember, the rain's been comin' down.
Gavin Floyd was outstanding in this game. Until the eighth inning, there were only two hits. Both were by the White Sox. Justin Verlander also had a great game, until the eighth inning. That's when everything derailed for him. He plunked two batters, including one in the back of the head.
To be fair, the weather was nothing but a steady wetness. The rain didn't let up once during the game. That might've helped Gavin Floyd's performance, but he did get into a groove despite the weather. Orlando Cabrera got his first home run in a White Sox uniform, but karma caught up with him in the eighth inning. He's the batter that ended up with the pitch on the back of the helmet. He's a trooper and ended up finishing the game.
Gavin Floyd taking a no-hitter into the eighth.
Orlando Cabrera's first White Sox home run.
Jermaine Dye was 0 for 4 and left 5 men on base.
Orlando Cabrera's head hunting scare.
Konerko being hit two batters later.
It was nice to see the Sox pile on the runs late in the game. This was a formula that was missing in 2007. Everyone seemed to do their part in moving the runners along. The defense was spectacular and it took one soft hit from Renteria to break up Gavin Floyd's no-hitter.