Thursday, July 31, 2008

Junior Flying Under The Radar

It seems that a deal has been approved that would bring Ken Griffey Jr. to the White Sox. I've learned that when Kenny Williams says there is nothing going on, there's something big cooking.

Ken Griffey Jr. signed off on this deal. The Sox have been trying to get him for years. I can remember a few half-hearted stabs when he was with the Mariners, but it really started to heat up in 2005.

My sources tell me that Danny Richar and Nick Masset are being shipped out to Cincinnati for Griffey and that the deal has been approved by both teams.

My concern, and you know there had to be one, is where exactly is Junior going to play? The outfield seems set. Quentin is going nowhere. Neither is Dye. That leaves Swisher in center field. The Sox could move Swish to first base and platoon Thome and Konerko as the DH. Or platoon Griffey and Thome at DH. Or (gulp) play Thome at first and put Griffey in the DH spot. It kind of boggles the mind.

Through 102 games this year, Griffey is hitting .245 with 15 home runs. Not exactly setting the world on fire numbers, but leaps above Konerko. I would expect another trade soon. There is a logjam of major league talent now, so my guess is that Konerko or Thome will get moved.

The Sox have played in the past with a logjam at positions, but it's not likely to stay this way for too long. Ozzie has expressed that he wants to keep as many pitchers on the roster as possible, so there is essentially no room for an extra bat.

Then again, Brain Anderson could be expendable with Griffey in Chicago. I would think that Anderson would stay within the organization, with Junior's contract status up in the air after 2008.

Orlando Cabrera - SS
A.J. Pierzynski - C
Carlos Quentin - LF
Jermaine Dye - RF
Jim Thome - DH
Ken Griffey Jr. - CF
Nick Swisher - 1B
Alexei Ramirez - 2B
Juan Uribe - 3B

If Griffey were inserted into the lineup today, with Crede still on the DL, I could see this lineup being realistic. With Crede back in the lineup, move the 3B spot up to seventh or eighth place. Depending on how solid Griffey is hitting-wise, I could see him and Thome switching places.

If the Sox don't move another position player, or hitter, I could see Konerko developing into a pinch hitting specialist for the remainder of the season. That's probably not going to happen. The Sox are looking for another top of the line starter for their rotation, so I would expect Thome or Konerko to be moved to make that happen.

With a player of Griffey's caliber, it looks like I'll have a lot more to collect the rest of the season. I'm not about to have a heart attack, but I welcome Junior with open arms. You'll love it here Junior, and you'll wonder why you didn't come to Chicago sooner.

Swish's Wishes

I'll admit it, I'm a little late on the bandwagon sometimes. After getting pegged by anti-spamming robots, I used the extra verification step to think about donation buttons. Personally, I don't find anything wrong with them. There are certainly stupider things to waste money on, so why not just hand it over to someone who will appreciate it?

No, I'm not installing a donation button. I will ask that if you are thinking of donating, donate to Swish's Wishes.

"Swish’s Wishes" is committed to assist with vital medical and childhood care, elementary education and recreational activities and other essential programs that will make a difference in a child’s life while raising self esteem to help them achieve a bright future. All contributions to the "Swish's Wishes" Fund are processed through The Community Foundation For the National Capital Region (, a 501 c3, Tax ID 23-7343119 and are distributed through various non-profit avenues to help children.

Nick is really committed to his charity work. He's been known to read to children in the hospital, bring children to the ballpark as his "very special guest", and help out with former teammates' charities. He even donated his hair to Beautiful Lengths.

So, if you're thinking of donating anyway, donate to Swish's Wishes and help out the kids.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random Card #28

Apparently, I've been flagged as a spamming blog. This means that I have to enter a word verification before each post. I didn't even know that blogs could be used for spamming. I guess this will be taken care of before too long. I have been assured that when actually takes the time to read the blog, they will see it is written by an actual human being.

I ran across an article that reminded me of this card. Pimp Daddy Destro for some reason reminds me of Rudy Law. I'm not exactly sure why, but it does. I can see Rudy Law wearing leopard print pants and matching collar. Maybe it's just the way he looks on this 1984 Fleer card.

Rudy looks like he's about to kick some serious butt. Maybe he's not getting paid enough. Whatever the reason, he doesn't look happy about being short-changed. He will bust you upside the head with his baseball bat, if he doesn't get his money.

Well, at least Rudy Law (or Destro, for that matter) never looked like this.

But nothing beats this.

Pimpin' is hard. No matter if your a baseball player, a weapons manufacturer, an unemployed eccentric or Fly Guy.

Random Card #27

Last year, I bought two packs of Elements and decided not to waste my money anymore. I thought the cards were cool, but I didn't like paying about three bucks a card, for four cards that were big, fat nothings. None of the subjects that I received in my two packs wowed me enough to purchase more.

I always intended to go back and purchase a box, after the price drastically dipped, but I found myself in a money crunch and never did. By 2008, when the new cards were out, I had forgotten all about 2007 Elements.

That is until about two weeks ago. I found a seller on eBay with really cheap cards. I guess the eBay Gestapo hadn't caught up to this seller yet. The seller had a few scattered 2007 White Sox cards for 30 cents a piece.

Let's see if all the ingredients add up to a perfect recipe. Cheap White Sox cards... check. Cards I need... check. Getting one last defying moment against eBay... CHECK! The seller does combined shipping... we have the ingredients for a multiple card order!

I picked up the clear acetate Elements card of Jermaine Dye, pictured above, and a few other cards. I received my order over the weekend and I was happy. It never before struck me just how beautiful these cards are. I can't stop looking at this Dye acetate card. It is truly a work of art.

It's too bad that Upper Deck overpriced them last year. Hits are nice, but I just want a nice looking base set. I don't want to pay for hits that I have a slim to none chance at getting in my pack. I'm glad that there are places where I can still buy cheap random singles. If I had to get everything first hand, from a pack, I'd probably run naked down Michigan Avenue at Christmas.

Luckily, I don't have to do that. I really don't think that many people want to see that during the holidays. Well, anytime for that matter. That's how frustrated I felt when eBay first announced their new "nothing under a dollar" policy for store items. I'm just lucky to find ways around that, every now and then. It keeps me sane. That's probably a good thing. It's cold in Chicago at Christmas.

Monday, July 28, 2008

There Might Be Something To This Crystal Ball Deal

Like dayf and David and I'm sure countless others, I posed a question to the mighty online crystal ball.

Q: Will the White Sox win the World Series this year?

A: Certainly.

Well, that has me convinced. Not really, but it seems that I'm the only one getting positive answers out of this thing.

Baines Brought The Leather Too

I've been a little under the weather today. I was out, yesterday, at RidgeFest '08, which is an annual festival that a neighboring town puts on. In all the years that they have been doing this fest, I've never attended. I'm not usually one for gobs of people out in the sun, with $4 refreshments and no shade.

Anyway, Tracey and I were there to check out the reunion of her cousin's band, Dreams. They used to do these fests every year... about 13 years ago. Long story short, they reunited for kicks and were invited to play.

Dreams turned out to be better sounding than the 18 year old demo that I've been listening to for about a year. But with any concert, you have to shout over the music, if you want to have a conversation. I think I may have overdid the talking during the next act, because today I feel run down and have sinus issues.

This does have a good side though. I was able to watch Costas Now on HBO. Normally, I wouldn't stay on that program, but this episode was all about baseball. OK, that interests me. I checked the synopsis on the cable box and the lineup did not disappoint. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Pete Rose, Dave Winfield, Evan Longoria, Jimmy Rollins, and a score of others.

There was talk of what exactly makes a Hall of Fame candidate Hall worthy. It was an interesting listen. My ears perked up when Jim Palmer spoke about Harold Baines. Jim mentioned that Harold was a five tool player until his knees gave out. That's certainly true.

I took away a lot from this episode. Mostly, though, Pete Rose may be Hall of Fame worthy, but he's still an ass as a human being. Well, that and the fact that Dave Winfield doesn't seem to like confrontation.

The Jim Palmer comment stuck with me. I know Harold was a five tool player. Jim Palmer knows Harold was a five tool player. Why do most other people not think of Harold in that way. So, I went to my collection of Harold Baines cards to find the answer. The likely answer is staring me right in the face.

Harold standing. Harold batting. Harold sitting. Harold with a bat in his hand. Harold waiting to bat. Harold standing with a bat. Harold running after swinging a bat. Harold bunting? OK, there's always the oddball in there. My suspicions were true. There was not one card of Harold on the White Sox, in my collection, where he was playing the field.

1989 was the first time I saw him in action on the basepath on a card. I had to go to a 1992 Leaf card, when Harold was with the Athletics, to see him chase down a ball in the outfield. Then there was another one, about to catch a fly ball, on a 1993 Upper Deck card, also on the A's.

Maybe no one, outside of baseball players and Chicagoans, saw Harold play right field on any regular basis. Maybe that is why Harold is just getting enough votes to make it to the next ballot. It is so ingrained in our brains that Harold grabs a bat, hits, then sits down, that we forget that he was a great outfielder, until his knees gave out.

July 25 - 27, 2008: White Sox @ Tigers

July 25 - 27, 2008 - Detroit, Michigan

July 25: White Sox 6 - Tigers 5
July 26: White Sox 7 - Tigers 6
July 27: White Sox 4 - Tigers 6

White Sox on the mend?

There were plenty of good signs in this series. Bobby Jenks came out of the bullpen with purpose. Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye continue to hit the ball very well. I'm very surprised that Jermaine Dye can walk after getting hit on July 20th in the knee. He missed one game and it's back to business as usual. That could be the best news for the White Sox down the home stretch.

The good:
Bobby Jenks with saves in Game 1 and Game 2.

Quentin and Dye are on a home run tear!

The bad:
Alexei Ramirez had a throwing error in Game 2.

Paul Konerko continues to struggle with consistency at the plate.

The ugly:
Two errors in Game 1.

The Negro League uniforms made Alexei Ramirez look like Barry Bonds.

The Sox continue to struggle with errors and inconsistency, but they manage to win most series. They really need to improve on the mental mistakes to make it to the postseason this year.

The Road To Rhode Island

Hey, I'm psyched as the next White Sox fan to have any White Sox player on a subset. I didn't realize that Paul Konerko was the home run leader of people from Rhode Island, until dayf pointed that out when he came across this card.

I'm of the same opinion though. What happened to Napolean LaJoie? Wouldn't he trump Konerko in best players from Rhode Island? I would certainly think so.

Who knows where Topps gets its ideas for these things. I'm glad to see Konerko on this card. It's another card to eventually pick up for the collection. I'm just happy for that little miracle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Card Spotlight: 7-25-08

1991 Topps Desert Shield #8 - Bobby Thigpen (Record Breaker)

All this talk about Bobby Thigpen's record lately made me think of this card. I was never in the military and besides, I was a little young when this release came out. I was 14.

This card was issued for the troops stationed in the Middle East. Packs were sent over with a special foil insignia stamped onto the front of the card. I'm sure the number one priority over there was baseball cards. I bet it was something to enjoy when there was a lot of downtime.

I'm sure there was plenty of it. I'm sure it wasn't "Full Metal Jacket" and "Saving Private Ryan" type action all the time, but in contrast, it probably wasn't like "Gomer Pyle USMC" either. My guess would be somewhere in the middle, sans a laugh track.

The majority of these cards were left overseas or thrown away. As it turns out, most servicemen aren't interested in baseball cards. Some were though and the minority that did collect baseball cards, horded as much as they could. They understood the uniqueness of this type of card.

Over the years, there have been many cards which have "leaked" out into the open market. Some go for astronomical prices. Others can be had for next to nothing. The demand for these cards has gradually increased over the years. Enough to where there are counterfeit cards out there.

I am a few cards short of completing a full White Sox team set. The cards that will likely be the hardest to obtain, mostly because of price, are the Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa and Carlton Fisk cards. This card of Bobby's was a little more difficult to obtain than the others that I have.

I first encountered this card on eBay. I got into a bidding war with a few other bidders. I lost out on that card and I let the others fight it out. While they were trying to one up each other, I got bored and started another search. I found another one that was due to end in a shorter amount of time than the one I had been bidding on.

After the dust had settled, I purchased this card for under two dollars and the card I had been bidding on went for over ten dollars. It just goes to show that everything will show its face again, eventually. Sometimes it's sooner than you'd expect.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Will Thigpen's Save Record Stand?

Will this man break one of the White Sox organizations most sacred records? Many experts are saying yes. I'm not so sure.

Francisco Rodriguez is on a pace to save 65 games in 2008. This would shatter the existing record of 57, set by Bobby Thigpen in 1990. The question is, can Francisco keep it up?

My instincts tell me no. There are too many factors that prohibit this record from being broken. First of all, the situation that makes a save possible is out of K-Rod's control. If the opportunities aren't there in the second half, then there won't be many saves.

Secondly, many other pitchers have tried and failed to even tie the mark. Trevor Hoffman, Eric Gagne, John Smoltz and Mariano Rivera have all come close. They all fell short. John Smoltz even set a record for most saves before the All-Star break, which K-Rod has broken this year.

The closest any other pitcher has come to Thigpen's record is 55 saves. That's two away from tying. In the land of saves, that is a lot of games to make up. Save opportunities, like home runs, usually come in bunches. After that, they tend to dry up.

I think that this season Francisco will save 56 games. I'm not saying this because I don't want him to break the record. I'm saying 56 games because of the law of averages. They tend to even out throughout the season. Hitters start to get really hot after the All-Star break. Pitchers usually start to wear down. There tend to be more blowout games in the second half than close nail biters.

If Francisco does happen to break Thigpen's record, I'll be very happy for him. It takes the right amount of skill, luck and opportunity to accomplish this feat. If K-Rod does make it to 58 or beyond, I will witness a record that I thought would never be broken.

Update: 7-25-08:

While going through an old scrapbook today, I found clippings from early 1991. Bobby Thigpen was on pace to save 61 games, based on his April performance. Bobby only saved 30 games, making appearances in 67 games in 1991. Something to certainly think about, isn't it?

2008 Allen & Ginter

Well, the 2008 Allen & Ginter is out already. Where does the time go? This year, I will not be picking up a box like I did last year. Money is a little tighter and I find myself picking up less wax and buying more single cards. It's a little more economical, but I miss ripping all those packs. Someday, when money is a little more in abundance and gas is well under $4, I will bust boxes again.

I have been resisting the urge to go to Tony's shop and purchase a few packs. I don't want to be disappointed like last year. He sold out in a half hour of all of his 2007 Allen & Ginter stock. I arrived an hour after he opened.

The 2008 set sticks closely to the previous two sets. The lettering arrangement borrows from the N26 originals. As usual, these are beautiful cards! Even though the sets vary ever so slightly from year to year, I still love this set. There's something about the minimalist design and the card stock and the obvious care put into this release that makes me want to run out and buy cases of the stuff. Of course, I'm not made of money, so I can't do that. But if I were...

The set contains 9 known White Sox cards. This number may change after the cards start to saturate the marketplace.

24 - Bobby Jenks
33 - Nick Swisher
41 - Paul Konerko
76 - Jim Thome
136 - Javier Vazquez
141 - Jermaine Dye
148 - Mark Buehrle
151 - Orlando Cabrera
327 - A.J. Pierzynski

As much as I hate to say this, all of these players have had cards before in Allen & Ginter. Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera are making their White Sox debut in the set. They were both in last year's set with their former teams. Javier Vazquez is returning after a one year absence. The rest were there last year as White Sox players.

The look of the set is awesome. My concern would be for the other players. Where's Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez? Where's Gavin Floyd and John Danks? Where is a third baseman for the White Sox? I know that Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel aren't studly closers anymore, but aren't they still card worthy?

This is a fantastic set, but the first tiny dents are starting to appear in the structure of the players. I think it's great to have oddball subjects like the Rock, Paper, Scissors champion or the video game champion or the Guitar Hero champion. That's what makes this set feel like the originals. The same established stars and the same over-hyped rookies in every set gets repetitive and boring after awhile. I hope Topps won't let this set get boring. C'mon Topps, mix it up a little next year in the baseball players portion of the set.

July 21 - 23, 2008: Rangers @ White Sox

July 21 - 23, 2008 - Chicago, Illinois

July 21: Rangers 6 - White Sox 1
July 22: Rangers 2 - White Sox 10
July 23: Rangers 8 - White Sox 10

It's getting better all the time.

The Sox managed to take two of three from the Rangers, which is a miracle in itself. The Rangers remind me of the White Sox right now. They have a lot of offense that goes in streaks, but their pitching is sometimes suspect. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Sometimes I wonder if the Sox are trying to get back to the days of Albert Belle and Frank Thomas.

The good:
Carlos Quentin continues to put up fantastic numbers.

Mark Buehrle seems to be getting into a groove again.

The bad:
Nick Masset in Game 2: three hits, one run in one-third of an inning.

Paul Konerko had one hit in each game of the series, but will it be enough to save his season?

The ugly:
The White Sox had two errors in Game 1.

Four errors by the Sox in Game 3!

I think I finally figured it out. It's not the pitching per say, but the errors causing the extra out that's taxing the pitching. These games were ugly, especially game 3, but at least they held on to win the series.

The Adventures Of Dino Boy

"Hey, dinosaur!", screamed Carl Everett. "Get away from Quagmire! You're not real!"

But the dinosaur would not listen. It tried to eat Quagmire after he was attacked by wheelchair ninjas, black Nazis and evil pots and pans robots.

You see, while Carl Everett believed in wheelchair ninjas, black Nazis and evil pots and pans robots, he did not believe in dinosaurs.

How about it Carl, did dinosaurs exist?

"Didn't exist. God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve. The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex."

How do you explain the bones left behind?

"Made by man."

How were they made by man?

"You can make bones in the lab nowadays. And every year they come out with a different dinosaur movie, so does that mean that that dinosaur existed? A lot of things are being made that you would never see walk on this Earth."

OK, forget about things walking on Earth. Did man walk on the moon?

"Yeah, that could have happened. It's possible. That is something you could prove. You can't prove dinosaurs ever existed. I feel it's far-fetched."

If man can walk on the moon, couldn't dinosaurs have actually existed?

"Nope. And that never will change. First of all, paleontologists don't believe one another on their own discoveries. How can I believe in people who don't even believe in it themselves? And biblically, there's no mention of dinosaurs. According to the word of the Bible, Adam had dominion over all animals; according to man, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. So either God's a liar, or well, I don't believe that God's a liar."

So, if dinosaurs aren't real, why do scientists say that they did exist?

"Why would they say a lot of things that aren't real? That's the thing, no one thinks for themselves. If everybody would think logically, then they would come to their own conclusions. That's what I do."

Fascinating. What conclusions can you come up with about the people who pay to see you play baseball?

"Fan is short for fanatic, he's crazy about something he really doesn't know about. And it's proven that 99 percent of baseball fans have no idea what they're watching."

Really? I would say that every major league player is a fan of baseball. You played in New York. What's your opinion of the Mets?

"All those people are hypocrites and idiots."

How about the other side of town. The Yankees. What do you think of Derek Jeter?

"Not a star."

Well, New York is one of the largest cities in the world. What do you think of big cities?

"Hate 'em. I need space."

I can see your point. One of the biggest issues in baseball the past few years is steroids. What kind of effect is steroids having on the kids who watch their idols use drugs?

"We have a war going on, I have family in that war, yet we're talking about steroids. If everybody in the world got on steroids, we'll still lose more kids to a war than we will from steroids."

That's an interesting point of view. Jose Canseco seemed to have stirred things up with his first book. What would you say to Jose?

"He is a bitter, ignorant individual."

That's one way of looking at it, I suppose. What do you think of Barry Bonds? His name is probably the biggest name attached to the steroids scandal.

"I eat pieces of poop like him for breakfast."

You eat pieces of poop for breakfast?

"It's better than pieces of dinosaur."

Every quote from the question and answer portion was an actual quote from Carl Everett. I formed the questions to reflect similar questions that were asked to Carl that formed these answers. Pretty scary answers, huh?

#71 - Scott Linebrink

Not many players have worn number 71 for the Chicago White Sox. The players that would wear this number were usually scrub middle relievers that were around for a few games and never heard from again. That all changed in 2008.

General Manager Kenny Williams was determined to fix a struggling bullpen, which was blamed for the collapse of the 2007 season. The reasons behind the failure of that season were many and shouldn't rest solely on the bullpen, but this was the easiest to fix.

Kenny went after star players from other teams. Former closers who dominated in the set-up role. The plan was to get to Bobby Jenks with the lead intact. One of the guys that Kenny Williams went after was Scott Linebrink.

That instantly gave the middle relief credibility. No matter what Scott accomplished in a Sox uniform under number 71, would instantly trump all who wore the number previously. A funny thing happened when Scott put on the Sox uniform. He regained most of what made him a star. He had lost a step or two the previous season and had gotten lit up pretty well.

There have been some rough patches in Scott's 2008 season, but he has mostly been lights out. If Scott continues at this pace, it will be very hard to unseat him from this number.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Can Bartman Come Out Of Hiding?

Call me whatever you like, but I don't get what the big deal is about Steve Bartman. Did he lose that game for the Cubs? No. The Cubs defense and pitching did that after this foul ball into the stands. The Cubs were still very much ahead in the game when the "Bartman Incident" played out.

Don't blame Steve Bartman for the Cubs woes. The Cubs were up 3-0. After this foul ball, the Cubs gave up eight runs, six of them were unearned. Steve Bartman had nothing to do with Alex Gonzalez misplaying a ball, which could have been an inning ending double play if handled properly. Steve Bartman didn't throw a wild pitch for ball four to Luis Castillo which allowed Juan Pierre to advance to third base.

And no, Steve Bartman did not blow a 5-3 lead in the next game to end the Cubs season. That was Kerry Wood. The Cubs did all of this by themselves. And the biggest crybaby (and my award for worst overacting), Moises Alou, even admitted years later that he would never had been able to catch the ball anyway. This grain of truth comes from a player who urinates on his hands before he goes into a game.

The umpires rules correctly about there being no fan interference, but that hasn't stopped some Cubs fans from cursing Steve Bartman's name and burning images of him to change the Cubs luck each year.

Now, what is a White Sox baseball card blog doing writing about Cubs stuff? Well, an e-mail landed in my inbox concerning Steve Bartman. It seems that Steve Bartman is being offered $25,000 to sign one photo of himself catching that infamous ball at the upcoming sports collectibles convention in Chicago on July 31, 2008 at 1 P.M.

Who's willing to give Steve Bartman a briefcase full of $100 bills? (formerly will be footing the bill, if Bartman shows up. The press release promises plenty of security for Steve. Not that he needs it. He still lives and works in Chicago. At least as of 2005, he still did.

Personally, I'd tell Steve Bartman to come in, sign the photo, take the money, and move on with his life. That moment changed the entire course of his life. It's about time he got paid for that.

Can Topps Tell Japanese Players Apart?

I've never claimed to be an expert at faces. I sometimes can't recognize my own friends in a crowd, if I haven't seen them in awhile. I've never been able to do that on a consistent basis. So, it seems odd that I'm catching this while looking through my cards.

I never really studied the 2007 Topps Co-Signers release with any in depth analysis to every card. I thought they looked nice and felt frustrated at the many parallels of matched up players. Maybe that's why this escaped me for so long. I was so used to seeing two different players on the 2007 Co-Signers cards, that it never really registered.

This 2007 card of Tadahito Iguchi has Shingo Takatsu on it. You can definitely tell that this is not the same player. The facial features are nothing alike. The only similarities are that both players are of Japanese descent and are wearing Chicago White Sox uniforms. One is batting and one is throwing. At least to the untrained eye.

Tadahito is batting, even though he left before the 2007 season. I understand that these sets are put together months in advance. I'm fine with that. There's Shingo Takatsu on the right throwing a baseball, or as they say in the majors, pitching.

Maybe Topps thought that was a picture of Tadahito turning a double play. OK, it seems like I'm stretching for an excuse, but I can see that. If you tilt your head to the left and squint, it kinda looks like Tadahito turning a double play. It's an honest mistake. Or so I thought, until I looked at the back of the card.Hmmm. That certainly looks like a pitcher. That certainly does look like Mr. Zero's delivery style. By golly, that is Shingo Takatsu! But wait... that's impossible. Shingo has been out of the White Sox organization since 2005. So what gives?

Can Topps tell Japanese players apart? I guess not, unless your name is Ichiro Suzuki. Just because a team has had two Japanese players in its recent history, does not make them the same player. It may have taken me over a year to notice, but Topps screwed up big time. Three photographs on the card (two different) and only one is of the player mentioned on the card. For shame!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Harold Baines Tribute Day

Well, I finally saw Harold Baines get his statue at U.S. Cellular Field. It stands proud on the concourse behind right field, which is only fitting because Harold patrolled right field for the White Sox before becoming MLB's best DH.

I have to say the ceremony was awesome! Many teammates, including Carlton Fisk, joined the festivities to honor Harold. Even Roland Hemond was there. Roland signed Harold to his first big league contract.

When the statue was unveiled, the crowd burst in applause. This will be a lasting tribute to a great man, on and off the field. I was happy to see that Harold's parents, siblings, wife and children were all there as well. Maybe Harold won't get in the Hall of Fame, but there are still people who love and admire him for who he is. Seeing that much family there to celebrate this honor with Harold was more moving than the actual ceremony. That is a testimony to the type of human being that Harold is.
The likeness is pretty uncanny. It looks just like Harold did 25 years ago. A few members of my family tell me otherwise, but this image has been approved by the most revered critics, Harold and his family.
Then, the biggest treat of all happened. Harold spoke. To those who haven't followed Harold Baines in his career, to hear Harold speak in public is to witness a rare occurrence, like a comet smashing into a planet. You hear about it, but you rarely ever see it happen. That made me smile more than anything that day. I actually teared up more than once. Apparently, Harold felt the exact same way that I did. He was choked up a few different times during his speech. It is a moment in White Sox history, that I have experienced, that I will never forget.Throughout the game, during breaks in the action, the Sox played highlights from Harold's career. It was fantastic to relive some of those moments and actually be in the ballpark. It was a very emotional day for me and most Sox fans.

Another highlight of the day was getting to hear Nancy Faust. She only plays day games, usually Sundays. That took me back to the old park and games with friends and relatives. Plus, seeing the mid-eighties uniforms on the field gave a real nostalgic feel to the entire day.

The pictures above are from the Tribune staff photographers. The one below is from me.

I've taken the liberty of highlighting Harold's statue. This was as close as Tracey and I got to it. Squint real hard. There's a small gathering of people in front of it. Tracey and I had tickets in the upper deck. The White Sox have changed their policy of letting people roam wherever they want between levels. I could not get onto the main concourse because I didn't have a ticket for that level. Oh well. The next time I'm at the park, I'll get tickets for that level.

I did, however get decent shots of Championship Plaza which I will save for another post.

The only complaint that I had about the day? Just because the White Sox are wearing their mid-eighties uniforms, doesn't mean that they have to play like it was the mid-eighties. At least I got to see Jim Thome get hit #2,000. Two class acts getting two rewards in one day. I can accept that in the face of defeat. Only for this day, of course.

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 18 - 20, 2008: Royals @ White Sox

July 18 - 20, 2008 - Chicago, Illinois

July 18: Royals 5 - White Sox 9
July 19: Royals 9 - White Sox 1
July 20: Royals 8 - White Sox 7

Just because the Sox were going back to the eighties, doesn't mean they have to play like the eighties.

The Sox came out strong after the break and then reverted to their old selves. They had a chance to turn it around on Harold Baines day on July 20th, but just couldn't muster enough runs. The bullpen has got to be tweaked... a lot. They are reminding me more of 2007 each passing game. The bleeding must stop.

The good:
Jermaine Dye's performance in Game 1.

The mid-eighties uniforms sported on Harold Baines Day in Game 3.

The bad:
Nick Masset's performance in Game 1.

The White Sox only getting two hits in Game 2.

The ugly:
The White Sox pitching in Game 2.

Jermaine Dye getting hit in the knee in Game 3.

I'm not exactly sure what went wrong in this series. The Sox should have won two out of three games. They were simply overmatched in game 2. Game three was given away. Maybe if Mr. Selfish (Orlando Cabrera) could've managed to get on base, the Sox would've won. At least they got one game out of this.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More Cards From Eric!

If I've played my cards right, I'm at U.S. Cellular Field at this moment. If not, then technology has gone awry. I am probably watching the unveiling of Harold Baines' statue and your sitting at your computer reading this, like a sucker. Sorry, I just watched a bunch of Simpsons episodes and I've got Homer quotes on the brain.

Homer tends to use that phrase a lot.

"And here I'm using my lungs, like a sucker!"

Anyway... enough about my Simpsons addiction. I've come to terms with it. On one of Friday's posts, I eluded to a huge stack of cards. Well, I got another big stack of cards from Eric. I'm still waiting for his cards to arrive from a slow eBay seller. It turns out that he's in the process of moving, so I think I'll wait to send a package until he's comfortably settled. This also makes the pile of cards to send that much larger. Eh, so be it!

Here's what Eric sent over this time!

2002 Fleer Maximum
164 - Paul Konerko
24 - Frank Thomas (America's Game)

2005 ESPN
25 - Paul Konerko

2005 Topps Total
311 - Willie (Team 4!) Harris
399 - Freddy Garcia
560 - Paul Konerko

2005 Topps Updates & Highlights
UH132 - Paul Konerko/Scott Podsednik

2005 Upper Deck
298 - Jim Thome (Pennant Race)

2005 Upper Deck MVP
27 - Frank Thomas
BU-8 - Carlton Fisk (Batter Up)

2006 Topps
51 - Juan Uribe
270 - White Sox Team
363 - Jermaine Dye
556 - Rob (Yes, I really went to high school with him) Mackowiak (2)

2006 Upper Deck
345 - Jim Thome

2006 Upper Deck First Pitch
42 - Paul Konerko
155 - Rob Mackowiak

2007 Topps
445 - Pablo Ozuna
485 - Tadahito Iguchi
513 - Jermaine Dye
612 - Ozzie Guillen

2007 Topps Updates & Highlights
UH72 - Darin Erstad
UH208 - Mark Buehrle
UH272 - Bobby Jenks

2007 Topps Updates & Highlights Gold
UH72 - Darin Erstad 0375/2007

2007 Ultra Retail
34 - Jermaine Dye

2007 Upper Deck
9 - Chris Stewart
85 - A.J. Pierzynski
90 - Bobby Jenks
92 - Javier Vazquez

2007 Upper Deck First Pitch
68 - Jim Thome
74 - Bobby Jenks
75 - Mike MacDougal

2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces
39 - Frank Thomas

2007 Upper Deck Triple Play Performers
TP-JT - Jim Thome

2008 A Piece Of History
108 - Lance Broadway

2008 Spectrum
23 - Jim Thome

2008 Topps
144 - Jerry Owens
224 - Mark Buehrle
248 - Jose Contreras
293 - Gavin Floyd
384 - Carlos Quentin (2)

2008 Upper Deck
288 - Scott Podsednik (2)
451 - Gavin Floyd
452 - Bobby Jenks
453 - Scott Linebrink (2)
456 - Orlando Cabrera
457 - Joe Crede
458 - Josh Fields
459 - Paul Konerko
720 - Alexei Ramirez (2)

2008 Upper Deck First Edition
275 - Donny Lucy

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Starquest
SQ-26 - Jim Thome (Common)

2008 Upper Deck Starquest
SQ-54 - Paul Konerko (Rare)

But wait! There's more! I also got a big stack of Topps Heritage cards. Yes... that's it... feed my Topps Heritage addiction.

2008 Topps Heritage
8, 22, 37, 54, 102, 107, 170, 172, 196, 212, 228, 229, 236, 260, 268, 288, 293, 296, 297, 316, 320, 327, 331, 341, 343, 361, 363, 364, 383, 392, 393, 395, 402, 408, 409, 414, 420, 435, 439, 440, 441

2008 Topps Heritage Black Backs
18, 82, 130, 176, 196, 197, 198, 264, 325, 337, 350, 360

2008 Topps Heritage New Age Performers

2008 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks

Wow! That's another bunch of amazing cards. A few of them I had never heard of before! Hey, I'm impressed that I couldn't find a 2007 Jim Thome card on the online Beckett price guide.

Thank you so much, Eric! This was an awesome package. You put together some of the most thoughtful and large packages. I am very grateful! When you get settled into your new place, please send me the address. I'd rather send cards to the new address, rather than pack more stuff up.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

America's Game

This card is a contradiction of sorts. While it's true that baseball is America's Game, I'm not sure if it is still number one. I think that has been taken over, sadly, by football, or as the rest of the world calls it, American Football. You see, the United States is one of the only countries to call football by a completely different name... soccer.

I like football as much as the next guy, but I can't watch it continuously. I can watch baseball continuously. I'll even watch reruns during the winter months. I watch my 2005 World Series DVDs right around February of each year to get me primed for the upcoming season. It's a good way to reintroduce myself to baseball, right before Spring Training. I've already overdosed on trade talks and free agent signings during the off season. February is time for the real thing.

My birthday is the same as Carrie Fisher's, so I'm extremely lucky if I see my team play on my birthday. So far, it hasn't happened. It's come close though. One of the most iconic moments in World Series history happened exactly one year before my birthday. Maybe that's a subliminal reason why I love collecting that particular player. Although it doesn't make me run out and buy every card of Toby Hall, who was born on that day.

I think that baseball is slowly creeping back into being America's Game. It's not quite there yet. It's inching closer though. That part is important. Now that the game is starting to clean up and become more fan friendly, it's coming back into the hearts of everyday people. At one point, baseball lost me. It's allure slowly drew me back in and now I'm hooked more than ever.

Will it ever get to a point where I'm quizzing my aunt on what Wade Boggs' batting average was in 1982? No, it will never be that innocent and pure again. Those days are lost for me. There is hope for the children being introduced to baseball today. Although it's hard to maintain that level of innocence in this day of instant information, it can be obtained, if only for a brief time.

That's the type of wide-eyed innocence that baseball needs for a first exposure. As the kids grow up, they can become slightly disillusioned with how baseball was and how baseball is. Just let them enjoy the spectacle of it all, while they can view the sport through rose tinted glasses. I wish I could look at baseball the same way, but there is no going back. That's the price you pay with growing older. I still keep a little part of that six year old boy's spirit with me. That's why I still collect pieces of cardboard of my favorite team and of my favorite players. It keeps me young at heart. It brings baseball back to being America's Game.

Friday, July 18, 2008

YSL White Sox Checklist

I appreciate everyone trying to help me with figuring out the Yankee Stadium Legacy cards. Everything was helpful and had cool information, but wasn't exactly what I was looking for in my project.

At the end of the day, I had to go old school and do some serious sleuthing. After almost a week, I have come up with a card number list featuring only the games against the White Sox.

This was no easy task. I used a combination of looking at the games on the Baseball Almanac web site and eBay auctions. The Baseball Almanac site was very helpful. It contained vital information, such as year, team, final score and date. This made the task of completing the checklist slightly less than impossible.

On the other hand, most eBay sellers can suck my... Well, I won't get anal about it, but it's a crevice. That's all I'll say about that. A good number of cards were listed on eBay, but most of them were either "example" pictures, pictures of a huge stack of cards, two or three cards from a larger lot, or multiple cards crammed into a picture with the vital information blurred beyond recognition.

I do appreciate any eBay seller that takes the time to scan in the cards one or two at a time. I figured the hardest part to complete would be the thirties. Boy, was I wrong! The eighties were next to impossible. The hardest year was 1987. I have no idea why.

15, 16, 17, 38, 39, 40, 41, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64
91, 92, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 137, 138, 139
190, 191, 192, 193, 212, 213, 214, 227, 228, 229, 230
255, 256, 257, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 296
334, 335, 336, 337, 369, 370, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384
400, 401, 402, 403, 443, 444, 445, 446, 448, 449, 450
484, 485, 486, 487, 517, 518, 519, 545, 546, 547, 548

555, 556, 557, 558, 590, 591, 592, 611, 612, 613, 614
647, 648, 672, 673, 674, 675, 676, 677, 685, 686, 687
716, 748, 749, 750, 751, 752, 770, 771, 772, 773, 774
799, 800, 801, 802, 820, 821, 822, 849, 850, 851, 852, 853
869, 870, 871, 891, 892, 893, 894, 922, 923, 924, 925
948, 949, 950, 969, 970, 971, 972, 990, 991
1017, 1018, 1029, 1030, 1031, 1046, 1047, 1048, 1073, 1074, 1075
1093, 1094, 1108, 1109, 1110, 1129, 1130, 1131, 1132, 1154, 1155
1179, 1193, 1194, 1195, 1196, 1213, 1214, 1223, 1224, 1225, 1226
1259, 1260, 1275, 1276, 1277, 1291, 1292, 1293, 1321, 1322, 1323

1335, 1336, 1355, 1356, 1357, 1370, 1371, 1372, 1392, 1393, 1394
1416, 1417, 1418, 1430, 1431, 1432, 1448, 1449, 1450, 1451, 1477
1496, 1497, 1498, 1499, 1510, 1511, 1534, 1535, 1536, 1546, 1547
1582, 1583, 1584, 1604, 1605, 1606, 1607, 1608, 1637, 1638, 1639
1657, 1658, 1659, 1660, 1677, 1678, 1679, 1697, 1698, 1699, 1700
1733, 1734, 1735, 1736, 1762, 1763, 1764, 1786, 1787, 1788
1810, 1811, 1824, 1825, 1826, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1857, 1858, 1859
1885, 1886, 1887, 1900, 1901, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1947, 1948
1966, 1967, 1982, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
2046, 2053, 2054, 2055, 2056, 2075, 2076, 2077, 2078, 2105, 2106

2119, 2120, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2136, 2156, 2157, 2158, 2176, 2177
2204, 2217, 2218, 2219, 2220, 2233, 2234, 2235, 2263, 2264, 2265
2285, 2286, 2298, 2299, 2300, 2326, 2327, 2328, 2334, 2335, 2336
2365, 2366, 2384, 2385, 2386, 2407, 2408, 2409, 2410, 2417, 2418
2438, 2439, 2466, 2467, 2468, 2469, 2482, 2483, 2484, 2483, 2501
2525, 2526, 2538, 2539, 2540, 2541, 2556, 2557, 2558, 2581, 2582
2603, 2604, 2626, 2627, 2628, 2637, 2638, 2655, 2656, 2657, 2658
2684, 2685, 2697, 2698, 2699, 2700, 2711, 2712, 2713, 2740, 2741
2771, 2772, 2773, 2774, 2775, 2795, 2796, 2797, 2815, 2816, 2817
2844, 2845, 2861, 2862, 2863, 2876, 2877, 2878, 2879, 2905, 2906

2922, 2935, 2936, 2937, 2938, 2947, 2948, 2949, 2950, 2967, 2968
3011, 3012, 3035, 3036, 3037, 3038, 3054, 3055, 3056
3080, 3081, 3124, 3125, 3126, 3127, 3153, 3154, 3155
3163, 3192, 3193, 3194, 3195, 3218, 3219, 3220, 3221
3261, 3262, 3263, 3264, 3265, 3296, 3297, 3298, 3299
3346, 3347, 3348, 3349, 3370, 3371, 3404, 3405, 3406
3428, 3429, 3430, 3440, 3441, 3442, 3443, 3444, 3445, 3486
3493, 3494, 3516, 3517, 3518, 3519, 3557, 3558, 3559
3589, 3590, 3591, 3592, 3603, 3604, 3645, 3646, 3647
3677, 3678, 3679, 3680, 3713, 3714

3757, 3758, 3759, 3787, 3788, 3789
3823, 3858, 3859, 3860, 3861, 3862
3916, 3917, 3918, 3960, 3961, 3962
3978, 3979, 4025, 4026, 4027, 4028
Played at Shea Stadium, no cards
Played At Shea Stadium, no cards
4057, 4058, 4097, 4098, 4099, 4100
4163, 4164, 4165, 4196, 4197
4227, 4228, 4229, 4261, 4262
4333, 4334, 4335, 4366, 4367, 4368

4398, 4399, 4400, 4445, 4446, 4447
4497, 4498, 4499, 4503, 4504, 4505
4533, 4534, 4581, 4582, 4583, 4584
4627, 4628, 4629, 4671, 4672, 4673
4697, 4698, 4750, 4751, 4752, 4753
4776, 4777, 4821, 4822, 4823, 4824
4872, 4873, 4897, 4898, 4899, 4900
4948, 4949, 4980, 4981, 4982, 4983
5031, 5032, 5057, 5058, 5059, 5060
5105, 5106, 5107, 5129, 5130, 5131

5197, 5198, 5215, 5216, 5217, 5218
5259, 5260, 5261, 5317, 5318, 5319
5373, 5374, 5375, 5411, 5412, 5413
5444, 5445, 5446, 5487, 5488, 5489
5527, 5528, 5529
5592, 5593, 5594
5644, 5645, 5646, 5647, 5686, 5687, 5688
5728, 5729, 5730, 5751, 5752
5825, 5826, 5845, 5846, 5847
5907, 5908, 5909, 5964, 5965, 5966

5994, 5995, 6006, 6007, 6008, 6009
6141, 6142, 6143
6227, 6228, 6229
6299, 6300, 6301
6326, 6327, 6328, 6329
6467, 6468, 6469
6539, 6540, 6541
6631, 6632, 6633
No cards... yet.

This was actually more interesting than I thought it would be. I was reminded that the White Sox were in New York at the time of the World Trade Center collapse. My mind unlocked other images of games past. It was kind of cool.

For anyone collecting only the White Sox cards of the Yankee Stadium Legacy set... you're welcome. For anyone collecting another team's cards from this set... good luck. You'll need it. The older the team is, the more difficult it will be. Yes, the World Series and playoff cards count. The biggest deterrent from a correct checklist is the non-regular season cards that are thrown into the mix. The majority of the time spent on this was checking pictures and scans of other cards to make sure my math was fine and there wasn't an oddball card thrown in.

OK, I'm going to fall down out of sheer exhaustion of brain power. Enjoy!

Card Spotlight: 7-18-08

2007 UD Triple Play Performers #TP-JT - Jim Thome

I received this card in a big stack of cards today in the mail. I'll get to showcasing that next week, since I will be extremely busy this weekend. Saturday, I have a kid's birthday party to attend. Just so you don't think I show up to childrens' birthday parties for kicks, it's Tracey's Maid of Honor's son who is having the party in his honor.

Sunday, I'll be watching Harold Baines get his statue at U.S. Cellular Field before the game against the Royals. Monday, I'm going to visit a friend about 5 hours away. So, I'll be away from the computer a lot.

This card struck me as odd when I first saw it today. I have no idea where it came from. Beckett doesn't even list it.

On the back, there is some kind of scratch-off contest, with pictures of a Sony PS3 and an XBox 360 on the back.

"Enter the Triple Play Bonus Code on this card and win amazing prizes, including Upper Deck Kids Rewards Bonus Points, a Sony PSP, XBox 360 or a Sony PS3, to name a few! Every card is a winner!"

Why do I get the feeling that the bonus points are the most frequent prize? Hmm, just a hunch. Still, this card completely slipped my radar. I really like it! It's just the type of oddball card that puts a smile on my face.

July 11 - 13, 2008: White Sox @ Rangers

July 11 - 13, 2008 - Arlington, Texas

July 11: White Sox 2 - Rangers 7
July 12: White Sox 9 - Rangers 7
July 13: White Sox 11 - Rangers 12


There comes a point, each season, where a club starts to run down. They get sluggish and sloppy. Sometimes it lasts for a few games, sometimes a little over a week. Sometimes, it's the turning point of the season. Sometimes you can't rebound from it. The White Sox are playing like this. Let's hope it's for a short time and not the start of something worse.

The good:
D.J. Carrasco's Sox debut in game one.

John Danks showed up his former club in game two.

The bad:
Boone Logan made things a bit hairy in game two by giving up two earned runs.

The third game was still winnable until Boone Logan stepped in.

The ugly:
Gavin Floyd's pitching in game one.

Jose Contreras had another stupendously bad outing in game three.

You know this was a bad series when Ozzie tells the media that both teams should be embarrassed by the last game. Then no one really disagrees with him. Thankfully, the Sox will have four days off to recharge their batteries, with the exception of Joe Crede and Carlos Quentin. This team needs a recharge.

July 8-10, 2008: White Sox @ Royals

July 8 - 10, 2008 - Kansas City, Missouri

July 8: White Sox 8 - Royals 7
July 9: White Sox 7 - Royals 6
July 10: White Sox 1 - Royals 4

Not quite a Royal Flush.

The White Sox seem to be in a funk again. The first two games, the Sox should have lost, but they somehow managed to win both of them. The last game was theirs to win, but they managed to find a way to lose. That's not exactly the type of play you want to see near the All-Star break.

The good:
Orlando Cabrera's double to score the go ahead run in game one.

Carlos Quentin continued to pad his home run total in game two.

The bad:
The only way to win game two was to have the Royals pitcher balk with the bases loaded.

A decent outing by Mark Buehrle was wasted with no Sox offense.

The ugly:
Jose Contreras' start in game one.

Konerko's missed catch in game three.

The Sox may have won two out of three, but it still makes me feel dirty for having watched it. These games were bad baseball, plain and simple. Maybe it's a good thing that the majority of the Sox players will not be playing in the All-Star game. Missed catches, bad throws, winning on a balk. All these things point to a team limping towards the All-Star break.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's Up With Scott Radinsky These Days?

If you were ever wondering that question, like I have, here's your answer. Yes, I have no life. I spend spare time thinking about what happened to early nineties White Sox middle relievers. In my defence, someone has too!

Scott wasn't your basic middle reliever. He had an interesting life away from baseball. Scott was in a band. Although, it seemed like every young player on the White Sox was in a band in the early nineties. Jack McDowell and Wayne Edwards come to mind.

Anyway, enjoy the read. I know I did!

Mailbox Joys: A Shiny Card Lot

Last weekend, I won a lot of mostly 2008 Topps Chrome White Sox cards on eBay. There was a 2007 Topps Chrome Jermaine Dye thrown in for good measure. Normally, I would go after a team set for something that only consists of 6 cards. But there was one thing, besides the ridiculously low price and decent shipping costs, that made me jump on it. The Mark Buehrle XFractor.

Like Mario, I too am sometimes mesmerized by shiny blocky things. I tend to stick with White Sox related shiny blocky things. Although, all XFractors are way cool! Way cool? I think I've been spending too much time in my Jon Garland collection.

These Topps Chrome cards are hard to resist. Last year's set was a little blah, but the white borders really work with this set.

Let's see what came in the eBay package.

2007 Topps Chrome #221 - Jermaine Dye
2008 Topps Chrome #14 - Orlando Cabrera
2008 Topps Chrome #64 - Mark Buehrle
2008 Topps Chrome #109 - Nick Swisher
2008 Topps Chrome XFractor #64 - Mark Buehrle

Not a bad little lot! If I had a little more income coming in, I would probably stock up on boxes of this release. I'll settle for the occasional pack. Color me impressed with the cards though. This is definitely one eBay purchase that is not full of regrets.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One Uggla Game

Wow! What a long, boring game. I was literally bored to tears for most of the 2008 All-Star game. The only thing that made the game itself somewhat entertaining was Dan Uggla. At one point, I thought to myself that there would be no possible way that he could top that mistake. Then he did. Many, many, many more times.

I feel bad for the guy, but that was absolutely horrendous. Three errors, three strikeouts and a double play. Dan seemed to have some kind of bad luck mojo cloud hanging over him the entire night.

It's not like any of the other players were much better. Both sides, but especially the American League, wasted opportunity after opportunity to take the lead and end this travesty. No one could do it. I don't know if it's a mark against the hitters or a nod to great pitching. Countless times the bases were loaded with less than two outs and not a run would cross the plate. Unbelievable!

On the Sox side, Crede went 0 for 1 at the plate and did very little work in the field and was replaced quickly. Quentin wasn't so lucky. He came on in the late innings and went 0 for 4 with 1 strikeout, but reached on a Dan Uggla error. Not exactly the greatest efforts in All-Star history, but it was nice to see them play. They both looked like they were having a blast.

It was good to see Luis Aparicio out on the field, but I was left to wonder where Carlton Fisk was. I like Gary Carter, but I think Fisk would have been a better choice to stand alongside Yogi Berra. Why not have all three stand there? Someone screwed up, it would appear.

Of course it wouldn't be a New York All-Star game without a little controversy. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was loudly booed whenever he went out on the field. I have a hunch that if the New York fans wouldn't have shouted overrated during Papelbon's outing, the American League may have held on to win the game in regulation. I think it's a sad day for New York, when a player's wife is threatened. That's what exactly happened to Jonathan's wife. I can understand the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, but the Red Sox players are there to help the Yankees players (and other American League players) in a team effort. Leave the booing for the regular season games. It's only an exhibition game, people.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Your 2008 White Sox All-Stars

Will Crede and Quentin even get a chance to play tonight? I hope so, but I'm not going to hold my breath. The White Sox seem to get the shaft in All-Star games, unless the White Sox manager is the one managing the game.

If they get in, I can see Quentin being put into the game in a tight situation at the plate. He does have stellar defense as well, so I could also see him as a late inning defensive replacement. Crede, on the other hand, will most likely be a late inning defensive replacement. If the legend of "Late Inning Joe" has reached Boston, then maybe in the eighth or ninth inning at the plate.

I won't even get into Jermaine Dye not getting voted in. I'm OK with Evan Longoria getting in. Jermaine could probably use the rest. I just hope that it doesn't end up cooling him off. He was red hot going into the break.

My biggest WTF moment came when not a single White Sox pitcher was named to the All-Star team. Huh? I could see Jenks not going because of his little trip to the DL. What about Danks or Floyd? Up until his last start, Floyd had been outstanding. Danks has been more than amazing this year. They have both erased many of the doubts of seasons past.

Linebrink or Dotel couldn't edge their way in there? I don't know. Something fishy is going on with that one. Every team has to be represented, so that does eat into some of the better suited selections going. Riddle me this though. How does A.J. Pierzynski not make it, but Jason Varitek makes the cut? Jason is hitting near the Mendoza line and A.J. is hitting near .300. A.J. is also one of the best catchers to call a game. I smell nepotism.

I suppose it's a blessing in disguise. The team probably can use the four days off more than the exposure of a New York All-Star game. Let's hope that Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede can get in the game and make something happen.

The Newest White Sox Fan

At least it's the newest Sox fan that I know of. I'm sure there's some "newer" baby that has already converted to the Silver and Black, but I don't know about it.

One of my friends finally had her first child, a beautiful healthy girl, in June 2008. Since that blessed event, I've been getting sporadic updates and pictures. In the latest round of pictures, I received this photo of the baby in a White Sox cap. That definitely made me smile!

I won't reveal names, since anyone can run across this site. Little Sox Girl is entitled to her privacy. And yes, I did get permission to post this picture. Her face is just so full of wonder and amazement, it's a thing of beauty.

I know this post isn't about the White Sox or cards, but it is about hope for the future of the White Sox. Without the fans, where would the Sox be? Probably in Montreal. We all know that really isn't a suitable environment for baseball.

In Chicago, you are either born a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan. I think we know the outcome of this one. Hopefully, the White Sox will win a few more championships in Little Sox Girl's lifetime.

Monday, July 14, 2008

1990 All-Star Game

With the All-Star game coming up very shortly, I've been thinking about games past. One game in particular comes to mind, the 1990 All-Star game. Like this year's game, the White Sox only have two representatives.

1990's game was in Chicago, at Wrigley Field. I can remember Bill Murray's mugging face everywhere that night. It may have been in the Cubs' home park, but it was a White Sox night for me. Al Lopez was the A.L. Honorary Captain. I was just itching to see Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Thigpen enter the game.

I waited until the bottom of the sixth inning for my first White Sox sighting during the game. It was Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie replaced Rickey Henderson in the A.L. lineup, batting first and playing shortstop. Future White Sox George Bell slipped into left field in place of Rickey, since George pinch hit in place of Cal Ripken Jr.

Ozzie grounded out in the top of the seventh inning, off Jeff Brantley, right after the two runs scored on future White Sox Julio Franco's double. Yes, there were a lot of future White Sox players in this game.

Then in the bottom of the seventh, Bobby Thigpen took the mound. First up was Will Clark. Will grounded out. Then Tim Wallach stepped to the plate. Tim grounded out. Then Bobby strikes out Darryl Strawberry. It was a perfect inning for Bobby!

In the top of the eighth, Alan Trammell pinch hit for Bobby Thigpen and just like that, Bobby was done for the day. Bobby left with a perfect inning and a hold, before it was a recognized statistic.

Ozzie was up again, leading off, in the top of the ninth inning. This time, he was facing John Franco. Ozzie grounded out again. Ozzie stayed in the game, but never came close to the action. With Dennis Eckersley on the mound, the National League were all but finished.

The American League won that game 2-0. More importantly, I was able to see both White Sox players play in the game. That was something I really wasn't used to. It was a treat to see Bobby continue his success in the mid-summer classic. It was fun just to see Ozzie make it to the game.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yankee Stadium Cards: A Fool's Paradise

I admit it. I do foolish things as a collector. To begin with, I gather collections of things I am interested in with parameters that only I care about. I suppose we all do that to one degree or another. That would be close to the definition of a collector.

I decided a few months ago, on a whim, to start collecting the Yankee Stadium cards. Not all of them, but only the ones against the White Sox. I know, that's a foolish endeavor. I welcome the challenge. There's just one thing I'm really lacking... a checklist.

I can find extensive checklists of this massive set. They cover decade, player, and almost any other way you can think of except one. I cannot find a checklist by team opponent. Does anyone know where I can find such a list? I'd like to start to really collect the cards against the White Sox, but I really have no idea where to begin compiling the list of the particular cards in the set.

I could track down the games, season by season, through box scores and other various methods. This seems like a big waste of time and could lead to inaccuracies if I were to miscalculate. All I really want to do is collect and Upper Deck seems to take pride in preventing me from my goal by presenting an incomplete checklist on their site.

Anyone who knows where this information is... please HELP!

Card Spotlight 7-11-08 (Late)

I originally thought that I would have a rare Friday by myself. So I planned to put most of my blogging off until Friday night, including this post. I had the best intentions and I...


"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished. Well then, allow me to retort. Does Aaron Rowand look like an All-Star?"


"What country you from?"


"What ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak English in What?"


"English, White Sox Cards, do you speak it?"


"Then you know what I'm sayin'?"


"Describe what Aaron Rowand looks like!"


"Say what again. Say what again, White Sox Cards, say what one more time"

Uh, he's white.

"Go on."

Uh, he's got a goatee.

"Does he look like an All-Star?"



"Does Aaron Rowand look like an All-Star?"


"Then why are you trying to make him one?"

I, didn't.

"Yes you did, Steve, yes you did!"

I'm... I'm... sorry?

"OK then. What about Jermaine Dye?"

I'm not sorry about that.

"Correctamundo! You read the Bible, White Sox Cards?"

Not regularly.

"Well there's this line I got memorized. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men."

OK, so what's that mean?

"It means that you must stop obsessing over the Legend. By Rowand failing to make the All-Star team, you must show off that cool card you received of him last week."

The 2008 Spectrum swatch?

"Check out the big brain on Steve! You're a smart one. That's right."

What if I try to make Rowand an All-Star next year?

"I lay my vengeance upon you."

Gotcha. Good to know.

Friday, July 11, 2008

See The Animals, Get Autographs

There are unconfirmed reports that Bill Melton might be signing autographs at Brookfield Zoo on July 12, 2008. If you've got nothing to do on Saturday, stop by the zoo and see the animals and meet Beltin' Bill Melton. If Bill doesn't show up, there's still plenty to do and plenty to see.

But this is just a warm up for the main event. On August 7, 2008, current White Sox players will be at Brookfield Zoo signing autographs from 11 AM until 12:30 PM. The Sox have been doing this promotion with Brookfield for a few years, that I'm aware of. The whole team doesn't come out, usually, but there are stars and commons from the team willing to shorten their career to keep autographing things for you. Ozzie usually comes along for the ride, so there shouldn't be a dull moment.

It's nice to have a heads up on these sort of things. It makes planning a day that much easier. Thanks to Bad Wax for the heads up on Bill Melton's unconfirmed appearance. I won't be going, as I already have a previous engagement, but some lucky Sox fans might get to see a former White Sox slugger and current White Sox post game analyst.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Gift From The UK

Well, John is at it again. He is sending out packages to the blogs that he reads and wants absolutely nothing in return. I am a little disappointed that he wants nothing in return, but I will honor his wishes.

This time John sent over a nice assortment of White Sox cards. They range from 1975 to 2008. There's even a teeny weeny, itsy bitsy, tiny little Robin Ventura card from the 1992 Cracker Jack set. It looks like a little baby 1992 Donruss card. How cute!

Is it my imagination or does Brian Downing look a little like Richard Kiel in this photo? Maybe I've been watching too many cheesy Bond flicks and cheesier Adam Sandler comedies. Does that date me too much?

Anyhoo, let's see what John sent, shall we?

1975 Topps #422 - Brian Downing
1980 Topps #399 - Mike Proly
1980 Topps #522 - Jim (not the Lizard King) Morrison
1980 Topps #575 - Ken Kravec
1981 Topps #138 - Rich Dotson
1985 Topps #670 - Tom Seaver
1987 Topps #454 - Luis Salazar
1987 Topps #737 - Floyd Bannister
1988 Donruss #124 - Rich Dotson
1988 Donruss #137 - Ozzie Guillen (2)
1988 Donruss #334 - Ken Williams
1988 Donruss #580 - Ron Hassey
1989 Donruss #413 - Jerry Reuss
1989 Donruss #531 - Jack McDowell
1989 Fleer - White Sox logo sticker
1990 Donruss #219 - Dave Gallagher
1990 Donruss #253 - Steve Rosenberg
1990 Donruss #371 - Ken Patterson
1990 Donruss #384 - Greg Hibbard
1990 Donruss #573 - Lance Johnson
1990 Donruss #606 - Donn Pall
1990 Topps Traded #99T - Scott Radinsky
1991 Upper Deck #39 - Barry Jones
1992 Cracker Jack Series 1 #33 - Robin Ventura
1992 Pinnacle #607 - Jack McDowell (Grips)
1992 Stadium Club #635 - Steve Sax
1993 Select AL Leaders #3 - Frank Thomas
1993 Triple Play #179 - Robin Ventura
1994 Finest #71 - Ron Karkovice
1994 Finest #262 - Darrin Jackson
1994 Select #404 - Joe Hall
1995 Collector's Choice Silver Sig #233 - Jason Bere
1995 Collector's Choice Silver Sig #237 - Robin Ventura
1995 Collector's Choice SE #235 - Frank Thomas
1996 Topps #243 - Jeff Liefer
1996 Ultra #336 - Chris Snopek
1996 Upper Deck #111 - Tim Raines
1998 Circa Thunder #101 - Mike Cameron
1998 Topps #399 - Harold Baines (Orioles)
1999 Skybox Premium #141 - Frank Thomas
1999 Skybox Premium #278 - Frank Thomas
1999 Skybox Thunder #187 - Brian Simmons
1999 Topps #456 - Frank Thomas (Tim Salmon, David Justice)
2001 Leaf Certified Materials #30 - Harold Baines
204 UD Pro Sigs Diamond Collection #17 - Frank Thomas
2006 Sweet Spot #95 - Jermaine Dye
2006 Topps #UH287 - Jermaine Dye
2008 Upper Deck First Edition #236 - Jose Contreras
2008 Upper Deck First Edition #239 - Jim Thome

That package was simply awesome! There was a good size chunk from the mid-nineties, which is my lost weekend from the hobby. I've been getting an awful lot of 1989 Donruss Jack McDowell cards. Maybe I should try to collect as many as possible, you know just for fun. I could corner the market.

I'm shocked that I'm getting those and none of the Yankee Stadium Legacy cards showing games against the White Sox. That may prove to be an impossible task. Maybe more impossible than collecting all of the 1989 Donruss Jack McDowell cards. I smell a challenge!

Thanks for the package, John. The cards are greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blind Trading With Trader Crack's

Ryan from Trader Crack's proposed a blind trade a few weeks ago. It sounded like a fun prospect, so I said OK. When I received Ryan's package yesterday, I immediately opened it up to see what mysteries were waiting inside. I was not disappointed at the discoveries I made.

An autograph, a game-used material (with stripe!), and surprises ranging from 1992 until 2008. I even got a thumbs up from Javier Castillo smiling coyly at me from his 2008 Bowman Prospects card. It was a good little haul.

Let's review the package!

1992 Upper Deck Homerun Heroes #HR8 - Frank Thomas
1993 O-Pee-Chee Premier Star Performers #1 - Frank Thomas
1994 Collector's Choice Silver Sig #85 - Joey Cora
1994 Stadium Club Rainbow #100 - Joey Cora
1995 Collector's Choice Silver Sig #244 - Melido Perez (Yankees)
1995 Score Gold Rush #428 - Ozzie Guillen
1995 Score Gold Rush #449 - Roberto Hernandez
1997 Score Showcase Series #214 - Tony Phillips
2001 Topps White Sox logo sticker
2003 Topps 205 Triple Folder Polar Bear #TF7 - Paul Konerko/Magglio Ordonez
2005 Topps Gold #456 - Dustin Hermanson 1404/2005
2007 Topps Home Run Derby Contest - Jim Thome 285/999
2007 Topps Opening Day #OD6 - Indians vs. White Sox
2007 Topps Trading Places Autographs #TPA-FG - Freddy Garcia
2007 Upper Deck Game Materials #UD-JU - Juan Uribe
2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces Green #62 - Luis Aparicio
2008 Bowman #31 - Javier Vazquez
2008 Bowman Prospects #BP46 - Javier Castillo

Plus, there were a few cards to feed my 2008 Topps Heritage completion project!

13 - Billy Wagner
271 - Andy Phillips
317 - NL Hit Kings (Holliday/Ramirez)
390 - Ryan Braun

Outstanding! Thanks so much Ryan! I'm still pouring over your want list. Once I've found enough to satisfy my sending urge, I'll mail it out.

Trading With Eric

People continue to surprise me. Everyone is so nice, that I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Call my cynical or whatever, but the law of averages seems to be tipping in my favor trade-wise. Mind you, I'm not complaining one bit! I rather like it.

This latest trade comes from Eric, who was brought here by Tulo Trader. Eric included some real gems in his package. I was especially impressed by the number of 2008 cards that have been escaping me as of late. In fact, the oldest card is only from 2003. Am I disappointed? Hardly! I've got holes in all years of my collection. Some of the hardest cards to get are from the past ten to fifteen years. I'm not sure if this was because I was away from the hobby for the majority of this time or these cards have just disappeared of the face of the Earth. Either way, I love any cards that come my way and this is no exception.

Let's see what Eric sent over.

2003 Upper Deck
52 - Ryan Sweeney

2006 Upper Deck Diamond Debut
DD-5 - Pedro Lopez

2006 Upper Deck First Pitch Diamond Stars
DS-9 - Mark Buehrle

2007 Topps
121 - Alex Cintron
165 - Mark Buehrle

2007 Upper Deck First Edition
8 - Josh Fields
10 - Jerry Owens (2)
67 - Jermaine Dye

2007 Upper Deck First Edition Pennant Chasers
PC-PK - Paul Konerko

2008 Bowman Chrom Prospects
BCP83 - Sal Sanchez
BCP97 - Matt Inouye

2008 Bowman Gold
82 - Mark Buehrle

2008 Spectrum
21 - Paul Konerko
67 - Nick Swisher

2008 Spectrum Retrospectrum Swatches
RS-AR2 - Aaron Rowand

2008 Topps
284 - Lance Broadway
565 - A.J. Pierzynski

2008 Topps Game-Worn Relics
TR-OG - Ozzie Guillen (with stripe!)

2008 Upper Deck
281 - Mark Buehrle
284 - Matt Thornton
285 - Ryan Bukvich
290 - Jermaine Dye
779 - Nick Swisher (CL)

2008 Upper Deck Starquest
SQ-26 - Jim Thome (Common)
SQ-26 - Jim Thome (Rare)

2008 Upper Deck First Edition
234 - Mark Buehrle
235 - Jon Garland
236 - Jose Contreras
237 - Matt Thornton
240 - Jerry Owens (2)
241 - Jermaine Dye
258 - Lance Broadway
275 - Donny Lucy (2)

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Starquest
SQ-26 - Jim Thome (Common)

Those were a great selection of cards! The Ozzie jersey was very unexpected to see. The Rowand swatch just goes to show that you can take the player out of the Sox, but you can't take the Sox out of the player. One of my favorites is actually the Upper Deck First Edition Starquest card of Jim Thome. Oh, did I mention that green was my favorite color? No. Well, that would be close enough to my favorite shade of green to qualify as one of the awesomest cards in my collection.

But wait... there's more! In addition to feeding my White Sox addiction, Eric also fed my stupid decision to try to complete the 2008 Topps Heritage set. The first set that I actively tried to complete since around 1991.

2008 Topps Heritage
28 - Ivan Rodriguez
49 - Bill Hall
75 - Cole Hamels
121 - Dave Davidson
134 - Donny Lucy
145 - Eugeno Velez
148 - Hunter Pence
168 - Rafael Furcal
192 - Akinori Iwamura
302 - Wily Mo Pena
342 - Matt Chico
462 - Kyle Kendrick

2008 Topps Heritage Black Back
49 - Bill Hall
126 - Dan Giese
267 - Xavier Nady

2008 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks
9 - In Cold Blood Murders Committed

There's nothing like the feeling of finishing an envelope full of cards with a serial killing. Kind of gruesome. But I need it for the set, so a little blood must be shed in order to preserve the integrity of the set. OK, maybe that's a little creepy to include in a card set, but I guess it was news from 1959.

Eric, don't worry. I am waiting on a few cards that I acquired specifically for you. Once I get those cards in my hands, I will send your package out. I think you'll be happy with the package coming to you. Thank you for all the cool White Sox cards and for getting my Heritage set closer to completion.

Ozuna DFA

Ozzie Guillen likes the way DeWayne Wise plays and has stopped short of saying that he will stay with the team for the time being. Juan Uribe is being shopped around, but no one wants to take him on, just yet. With Paul Konerko coming off the DL and completing his minor league rehab assignment, someone has to go.

The odd man out would be super-sub, Pablo Ozuna. Third base is taken up by Joe Crede, shortstop is home to Orlando Cabrera and second base belongs squarely to Alexei Ramirez. Juan Uribe is now the main backup for all three positions. That leaves Pablo Ozuna in an expendable position. So, the Sox designated Pablo for assignment.

Maybe Pablo will fall back to AAA, if no one stakes a claim. If not, he may get a chance to play more regularly with another team. If this is the end for Ozuna, then I have to say it has been a pleasure watching him play for the White Sox. They could use him and abuse him and Pablo would come out smelling like a rose. Need someone to pinch run in the ninth? Put in Pablo. The shortstop tweaked his hamstring? Ozuna will take over. Crede's back is stiff? Pablo will take over.

Pablo was versatile enough to sit on the bench for days and enter the game strong. He could spot start or move around for ultimate flexibility. You will be missed on the Sox roster. I hope everything works out.
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