Friday, July 31, 2009

Peavy'd Again?

The White Sox apparently got their man... after awhile.

The White Sox acquired Jake Peavy for Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter.

Peavy is on the DL and the "best" estimate is August 15th, but considering he has thrown for "real" yet, that is a very generous estimate. Long term, this is a great deal for the White Sox. Short term depends on how fast Jake Peavy can heal and pitch effectively. Only time will tell with that.

My big question? Why did Peavy approve the deal this time? Why did he veto the previous deal? Will these answers be revealed? Stay tuned. Same Sox time. Same Sox channel.


Peavy never said no to the deal, he just said that it wasn't the right time. The deal that took place was the same deal that was on the table originally. Kenny Williams contacted the Padres this morning about it and no one could get a hold of Peavy until a few hours before the deadline.

What are the Sox giving up?

Clayton Richard
A decent left handed starter, who was electric in his last two starts. He should excel in the Padres organization.

Aaron Poreda
A 1st round draft pick left handed starter by the Sox in 2007. Made his MLB debut in 2009. Aaron is expected to be a decent frontline starter. He was effective out of the bullpen this year.

Dexter Carter
He's a 22 year old right handed starter with a huge upside. He's had a great win/loss record in rookie and A ball.

Adam Russell
Worked out of the bullpen in 2008 on the White Sox. He has a 4-0 record in 22 MLB games out of the pen.

All should work very well in the Padres system.

Card Spotlight: 7-31-09

2006 Topps Chrome Refractor #306 - Brian Anderson /549

Brian Anderson is lucky. The MLB draft is littered with promise unfulfilled. Many players in the first round of the draft never make it past AAA. Some don't even make it that far.

Given Brian's numbers at the plate, most teams would have given up on him a long time ago. The few teams that would show interest wouldn't care about his bat. They'd be looking at his glove. As he aged and his defensive skills declined, less and less teams would be interested. He would retire much earlier than expected or take a tour with a team like the Newark Bears, just to hang on for dear life to that once promising dream.

Do I think that Brian Anderson will make an impact on the Boston roster. Not really. I think he will become that very frustrating AAAA player. The type that's too good for AAA and not good enough for the big show. His defense skills might keep him on a roster as the 25th man. The forgotten soul at the end of the dugout, alone and broken.

Brian went through a lot of growing pains since being drafted by the White Sox. He was invited to be a part of the postseason atmosphere in 2005, so he could become accustomed to the whole process. He was given a World Series ring in 2005, for his involvement in that season.

2006 saw Brian taking over in center field for the departing Aaron Rowand. He had to think that he was on top of the world. Then it came crashing down. A full season in the outfield produced a .225 batting average and above average defense. Brian was frustrated and he lashed out by demanding to be traded, when he was demoted in 2007.

2008 was the year of the blackout catch in the final game of the season. That was the highlight of Brian Anderson's career. He brought along a .238 batting average in 109 games, mostly as a defensive replacement. Alexei Ramirez took Brian's job out of Spring Training, but was moved to the infield, as the season went on. When a 38 year old Ken Griffey Jr. took over in center field that year, one could sense the White Sox growing impatient with Anderson. If it was meant to motivate Brian into working harder, it may have.

2009 saw a brand new attitude from Brian. One of a team player who was willing to make sacrifices and drop the "me" attitude. Still, the bat didn't come around and a 31 year old DeWayne Wise was anointed the center field position. Brian Anderson was set up to take the keys to the city of Chicago, but his ego was writing checks that his batting average couldn't cash.

If you buy rookie cards for the possible investment value, 95% of the time you will lose. Very few rookies pan out the way the hype suggests. It's rare that the prospect that everyone goes gaga over, turns out to be worth the outrageous prices when the rookie cards first hit the shelves.

A little patience can be the difference between someone else getting rich and you getting your cards at a reasonable price. This Brian Anderson refractor was selling, at one point, over twenty dollars. I'll bet that you can pick one up today for around one dollar. Remember, if a rookie seems to good to live up to the hype, they usually can't.

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't I?

If this is the first blog that you've read today, then have I got a treat for you! Trader Crack's is having a contest for a pack of Razor Sports Icons Cut Signature Edition.

It's easy to enter and you have a chance to get a card of Bill Veeck or Ted Lyons. If you are not a White Sox fan, there's plenty of those in there too. Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Jose Canseco, Jennie Finch, Lou Gehrig, Buck Leonard, Brooks Robinson, Mario Andretti, Dick Butkus, Pete Rose & Neil Diamond are among the many possibilities.

What are you waiting for? Find out how to enter now!

Let's Get Dummy Hoy A Statue

Currently, in Ohio, there has been discussion on replacing a statue of a former governor, who's views have been described as disgraceful and racist. The State of Ohio has been taking suggestions on what figure in Ohio history should take the governor's place.

Steve Sandy, who researched and associate produced a docudrama about Hoy, contacted me with the idea of getting the word out. Check out the article on

What can you do to help? Click here to read the blog section about Dummy Hoy's nomination. Click here to add your nomination for Dummy Hoy.

I told Steve that if Hoy gets his statue, I would make a pilgrimage to the statue and get my picture taken with the likeness of a truly great man. Hoy played with the White Sox during their first two seasons in Chicago, so it would truly be an honor.

Help me keep my word to Steve. Let's get Dummy Hoy his statue!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unbeknownst To Me

I certainly had no idea that I was on Mark's list of packages to send out. I am eternally grateful to the seemingly random packages that Mark, of Stats on the Back fame, sends to me.

After a long day, that included a wake up an hour before my alarm (which you are better off staying awake after or you will feel it later), a drop off of Tess to the groomers, breakfast alone at J.C. George's (which was nice for a change), trips to Target (which included an auto OPC find and more coupons for Marie) and Wal-Mart (which really sucked), outings to two grocery stores with my mom and the drive-thru at McDonald's for a sweet tea, it was especially nice to see a few packages waiting for me. Yes, my junior high English teacher will rip me a new one for that last sentence. Sorry, Mrs. Hook.

I found two packages from eBay purchases. Three more cheap SP cards for my 2008 Topps Heritage quest and the last short print (the recently demoted Josh Fields) I needed to complete my 2007 Turkey Red White Sox team set. Among those mailbox joys was a package from Mark. I really love it when I instantly recognize the return address. I have to admit that sometimes I have absolutely no clue who send me things occasionally. In those instances, I really have to do my homework. I've almost always passed that test, whether I knew it or not.

When I opened Mark's package, I discovered a tiny note praising my want list and informing me that I can cross a few more off. I love notes like that!

Let's see what Mark sent over.

1986 Fleer Baseball's Best
34 - Tom Seaver

1987 Hy-Grade
Big Ed Walsh

1990 Best
216 - Roberto Hernandez

1992 Score
505 - Frank Thomas

1994 Pinnacle
1 - Frank Thomas

1994-95 Excel League Leaders
20 - Harold Williams

1995 Collector's Choice
75 - Frank Thomas

1996 Donruss
384 - Tim Raines

1997 Collector's Choice
300 - Frank Thomas

2005 Bazooka
72 - Aaron "Legend" Rowand

2005 Donruss
329 - Freddy Garcia

2005 UD ESPN
23 - Frank Thomas

Thank you so much, Mark! These were great! I especially love the Roberto Hernandez minor league card. I was very high on Roberto when he first came up. I tried to track down every card I could back then, but this one always eluded me. I can remember having all the green Hy-Grade cards in some baseball card starter kit, back when I was in elementary school, but they are either lost or in horrendous condition. It's really nice to see this card of Ed Walsh again. It brings back many good memories.

I'm still on the lookout for your Mets card project. When I find something else, it will be quickly sent over to you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Buehrle's New Ad

Heritage Helper

Who's still working on the 2008 Topps Heritage set? That's right, Torii... ME!! In fact, smarty pants, your green back card is still eluding me. So mock me all you want. I will have the last laugh.

I am currently 31 cards away from completing the base set of the regular series. I may never see the two variation cards enter my collection. I've made my peace with that. I'll still look, but if they never make it, so be it. The odds aren't in my favor. Especially when some lucky SOB got both in the same hobby box. Can't you just hear the patented Paw Rugg muttering grumble coming from me?

Tack on the 71 cards left to finish the high numbers series and a few stray inserts and black backs and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the last week, I've been finding some really nice deals on short prints, as sellers are clearing out inventory for newer cards.

A hobby box, many blasters and a ton of loose packs later, I have surmounted a good deal of doubles. If anyone else is still trying to complete this set, let's combine our efforts. A good old fashioned one set doubles swap. My list is here and the cards that have been crossed out are currently in transit.

I think we can all get a little closer to completion by helping each other out. While everyone else is concentrating on Allen & Ginter and OPC, let's knock out this set, once and for all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Mark Buehrle just passed the Major League record of 41 consecutive batters retired set by Jim Barr and tied by Bobby Jenks!! The good news just keeps coming for Buehrle!

Update: The streak ended at 45 consecutive batters retired with a walk.

Congrats, Buehrle!!

Hello Mark Kotsay

So Brian Anderson finally got his wish. He was traded this afternoon to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Mark Kotsay and cash. This will either be the best possible move for Anderson or the nadir of his career. At least he wasn't traded for a bagful of bats.

With an outfield of Baldelli, Drew, Bay and Ellsbury (sounds like a law firm), I have a hard time thinking that Brian will crack that outfield. He's still got Chris Carter and Chris Duncan to worry about passing too. Barring injury, I think Anderson is done playing until at least September, when the call ups are on the team.

As for Mark Kotsay, he is six years older than Brian, with a slightly better bat. He can play the outfield and some first base. He had back surgery in the offseason and is on the wrong side of thirty. Still, he provides versatility and a veteran presence, if he comes to the parent club.

Mark has postseason experience in 2006 with the A's and in 2008 with the Red Sox. He technically should have a ring from the 1997 Marlins team, but he did not appear in the postseason with them. He played 14 games as a rookie for Florida in 1997.

Is another trade on the horizon? Maybe so. If not, the Sox are getting a slight upgrade for Anderson in the batting department, with somewhat similar defense. The only downside is that he's 33 and coming off of back surgery. At least Kenny didn't trade for Griffey again.

Welcome to Chicago, Mark! You'll love it here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Words Fail Me

My jaw nearly dropped when I opened the white envelope. I still don't know exactly what to say. In the span of six cards, in an unassuming white envelope with a 44 cent stamp, my mouth went from a smile to a big gaping hole where proper muscle control used to reside.

Four cards were from within the last decade. Very cool, but not exactly Earth shattering. The last two were from from before my birth in the bicentennial. One card saw Kennedy as president. The other card saw the tail end of the Korean War.

Neither of these vintage cards could claim to be in mint condition. One wonders if they ever saw that condition. Still, it is amazing to me, the generosity of these loved cards. They must have an interesting story to tell, but I'll never know the complete works. I must marvel at the treasures left behind and decipher the ancient clues left behind by persons unknown.

The first culprit is a 1953 Bowman Color card of Joe Dobson.

Someone took the time to fill out Joe's 1953 statistics in green felt tip pen. The ERA is off by 0.02. The funny thing is that whoever decided to mark up the back, felt it necessary to label Joe's gender as MR, in a different color felt tip pen. Maybe the original card owner was a fan of the AAGPBL?
From stats on the back oddities to no printing on the back, we see a 1962 Post card of Roy Sievers. The card may be crinkled, but it sure is a joy to look at. The interesting thing is that the card appears to be half in French. Maybe the cereal box this came from was Canadian?
You may be wondering where these cards came from. They are a mailing from Matthew, of The #5 Type Card Type Collection.

Let's see what all came in that unassuming white envelope.

1953 Bowman Color #88 - Joe Dobson
1962 Post #46 - Roy Sievers
2004 Upper Deck First Pitch #288 - Ryan Meaux
2005 Bazooka #202 - Ryan Sweeney
2005 Bazooka Comics #9 - Jim Thome's 400th Home Run
2009 OPC #533 - AL Home Run Leaders (Carlos Quentin)

Thank you so much, Matthew! Words fail me to properly express my gratitude for these six cards. They were a joy to see and the exact cards were a complete surprise! I am working on a package to send to you soon.

Goose Joak Originals: Brian Anderson

See the full set here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hand Picked Cards

Yes. I know. You are probably sick of hearing about Thursday's event. The last five posts had something to do with last Thursday. I'd like to say this is a Buehrle free post, but it's not. I will say that the Buehrle featured in this post has absolutely nothing to do with the events of last Thursday.

Feel better? It's OK. I know. I've done the Buehrle posts. I've done the DeWayne Wise post. I even did the Charlie Robertson post. There will be no Josh Fields post. Probably not.

This post concerns another aspect of this blog. Trading!

Are you excited now? Yeah, I thought so. But I'm going to post it anyway. Insert your own Toll Booth Willie line here. I'm partial to the Carlton Fisk line, but it's still not my favorite. If you've never heard of Toll Booth Willie, go look it up. Be warned, it's not for virgin ears.

Still with me? Good. I was afraid I lost you somewhere in the tangents.

I received an envelope in the mail from Scott, of Hand Collated. He's been a very good trading partner in the past and this time is no exception. Inside the envelope were three cards. It's not the amount of cards that matter, it's how many you can use. I could use all three.

Let's check out the contents.

2009 Upper Deck StarQuest Turquoise Common
SQ-32 - Carlos Quentin

2009 Upper Deck
590 - Octavio Dotel
591 - Mark Buehrle

Thank you, Scott! This was a nice pick me up. Three cards off my want list. The reason I went with Octavio Dotel was because he was the only player not to have participated in Thursday's game, of the three cards listed here. This package was in transit during Buehrle's amazing game, which makes it all the more special.

Three more cards gone off the 2009 want list. I am happy beyond words. I'll take a look at your want list and see if I can knock a few off.

WSC Vintage: Charlie Robertson

Card #8 - Charlie Robertson

Charlie began his Major League career with the White Sox in 1919, where he pitched 2 innings. Robertson's main pitch throughout his career was a slow curveball which he would often throw on the first pitch to a batter on either side of the plate, followed by a fastball up in the zone.

Charlie would spend most of 1919 and all of 1920 and 1921 with the Minneapolis AA team. He came up with the White Sox again in 1922. No one could predict what would happen next.

In only his fourth MLB start, Charlie threw a perfect game, on April 30, 1922, against the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field. There were no spectacular plays made, except for a line drive fielded by Johnny Mostil. Robertson's control was the key. The unruly crowd of 25,000 made the task even more difficult, with booing and complaining. When the game was finished, Charlie had won the crowd over with his dazzling pitching performance.

After the game, the Tigers presented several balls from the game to the American League President, Ban Johnson for inspection. Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann were among the vocal Tiger batters accusing Robertson of doctoring the ball. All game balls presented to Johnson were found to be undoctored and the perfect game was upheld.

Charlie remained on the White Sox through 1925. After the perfect game, Robertson suffered through arm injuries that shortened his career. Short stints with the St. Louis Browns and the Boston Braves would follow his Chicago career. By 1928, Charles Culbertson Robertson was out of the Major Leagues. By 1930, he retired from playing baseball.

Friday, July 24, 2009

WSC Birth Years: DeWayne Wise

Card #14 - DeWayne Wise

Born: February 24, 1978

DeWayne may not get many opportunities to play, but he usually squeezes every last drop out of each appearance he makes. Case in point, September 14, 2008. He was called on to pinch hit in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers, in an important late season game. DeWayne chose this time to smack his first career grand slam that provided the go-ahead run.

Every plate appearance doesn't have that kind of magic. His average is usually well below the league average, but he tends to make his hits count. When his bat isn't clutch, he's providing some spectacular leather in the outfield.

On July 23, 2009, DeWayne came into a game, in the ninth inning, against the Tampa Bay Rays, as a defensive replacement. This was no ordinary game. Pitcher Mark Buehrle was working on a perfect game going into the ninth inning. DeWayne proceeded to rob Gabe Kapler of a home run by snagging the ball over the wall, reeling it back in and holding on for dear life. Despite having landed on the DL earlier in the year from a diving play, Wise went all out against the wall to save the perfect game.

Card Spotlight: 7-24-09

2002 Diamond Kings #81 – Mark Buehrle

Anyone that watched the White Sox game on Thursday was lucky enough to catch a rare event. Anyone that saw the game in person has a story to tell their grandchildren. Some people have only heard about these games. Others have only seen the replays on television. It is a special treat to witness a perfect game. Mark Buehrle made this wish come true.

I wasn’t at the game, but I saw it live through the magic of television. I was lucky enough to be at Monday’s game. The White Sox were still winners in a thrilling fashion, but it didn’t come close to Thursday’s spectacular win.

There are a few facts that I have picked up throughout the broadcast and aftermath of Buehrle’s perfect gem.

- Steve Stone had never witnessed a no-hitter in all his years in baseball.
- There have only been 18 perfect games in Major League history.
- 17 of those were during the regular season.
- Buehrle became the sixth player to throw a perfect game and a no-hitter.
- Those other five? Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, and Randy Johnson.
- Of those five, only Randy Johnson is not in the Hall of Fame.
- Why? Because Randy Johnson is still playing.
- Only Mark Buehrle, Cy Young and Sandy Koufax faced a minimum 27 batters in their perfect game and again in another no-hitter.
- This was Ramon Castro’s first time catching Buehrle. Ever.
- Before the game, regular catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, told Mark to throw a no-hitter during the game. Mark replied that he’d already done that. A.J. told him to throw a perfect game instead. Mark told A.J. that he just might.
- No, I’m not making that up.
- Umpire Eric Cooper was behind home plate for Buehrle’s perfect game in 2009 and his no-hitter in 2007.
- Eric’s umpire number is 56, the same as Buehrle’s uniform number.

I’m sure there are many more weird facts and statistics to pour through, but those are the ones that immediately jump out. This marks the first time since 1922 that a White Sox pitcher threw a perfect game. Considering that there are only eighteen perfect games, I’d say that’s a pretty decent ratio.

Mark Buehrle has always been one of my favorites on the White Sox. It helps that he is usually Mr. Consistency. You know exactly what you’re getting when he steps onto the mound. Even so, Mark has surprised me time and time again. Just when I think Buehrle has reached his plateau, he finds a way to climb higher.

Mark is one of the rare pitchers that I don’t have to worry about. I don’t spend my time praying that he will pitch a good game. I know he will give it his all without looking like he’s giving it his all. I did a mid-season report on the state of the White Sox in 2009. I went through each position and picked out the positives and negatives of most players. I tried to predict how each would fare in the second half. For Mark Buehrle I simply wrote, “Buehrle is Buehrle”.

Mark’s name may fade from the spotlight as the season goes on. It usually does. As other players accomplish other fantastic feats, Mark will become just another name in the book of 2009. The sad truth is that the White Sox don’t get a lot of glory from the media. They don’t get the respect from the fans and even some players. Mark Buehrle is the best pitcher that most people have never heard of before. If Buehrle keeps on pitching at his own pace, in his own way, people will eventually stand up and notice.

This perfect game is another step in that direction. Chicago’s best secret is about to explode onto the scene, but not in a way you’d expect. Players like Gordon Beckham will get the hype and deservedly so. Mark Buehrle will get quiet admiration and respect. In a way, that’s the perfect compliment for a man like Mark Buehrle. He does his job without complaint or incident. He parades himself on the mound with little fanfare and the coolness of Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name”. Buehrle truly is a Diamond King.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Mark Buehrle Perfect Game

Check out all the Goose Joak card highlights here.


Credit DeWayne Wise with the save.

Goose Joak Originals: Carlos Torres

Check out the full set here.

New Traded Sets Contest

Want a free MLB Network adjustable hat? Enter this contest over at Traded Sets!

You know I couldn't pass up a "free hat" contest without showing this.

Parque Comes Clean

In a somewhat classy move, Jim Parque has finally admitted to using HGH in an attempt to recover from a career threatening injury. Rather than have someone pen his story, Jim decided to write it in his own words.

Reading Jim's essay, you begin to see the real struggle that MLB athletes face and the realization that there is a very short window to make sure the family is properly provided for.

It's easy to forget about Jim Parque in the midst of the other high profile names. It would have been simple to fade into the background, since most people don't remember Parque pitching in the Major Leagues. Until his injury in the 2000 postseason against the Mariners, Jim was shaping up to be a decent number two or three starter. Not an ace, but someone who could keep the team in the game every five days.

The admission may be a few years late, but it's appreciated nonetheless. Check out Jim's story, which is a Chicago Sun Times exclusive.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mailbox Joys: Bargain Bin Lollar

I sought out the 1974 Kellogg's Fisk and bid on it. Usually, if a seller offers combined shipping, I'll take a glance at the other items they have for sale. Sometimes, you find things that you may not know that you need. With over 100 years of White Sox baseball, there are quite a few items and I can't be expected to do a search on every single one of them.

I found this 1954 Topps Sherm Lollar in those auctions. When I ran across it, there was around 18 hours left and no bids. It looked like a card in decent shape, so I put in a token bid. I fully expected to be outbid. I've been outbid on every 2009 Allen & Ginter rip card, both ripped and unripped. Why should this card be any different?

The Fisk ended and I had won it without a last minute bidder even driving the price up. I was ecstatic! That was the card that I really wanted, so my attention shifted to the 1954 Topps Lollar. I was still the high bidder with less than an hour left to go.

Surely, someone would come out of the woodwork and drive the price up. Someone would swoop in at the last second and outbid me with no time to put in a counter bid. The seconds seemed like minutes and the minutes seemed like hours. I was so close to the card that I had nonchalantly bid on that I could smell victory.

As the minutes dwindled away, I was fearful that I would get sniped again. I had nothing to lose. I had bid on this as a whim, so if I lost it, so be it. You and I both know that bids that start out that way have a tendency to quickly turn to the most important event in your life, the closer the clock ticks away to zero. It was quickly becoming that way.

With a minute left to go, I realized exactly what I had bid on. It was of a seven time All-Star with a World Series ring from the 1947 Yankees. It was a decent condition early Topps release of a player storied in White Sox lore. I began to get really nervous.

What had began as a lark had turned into a high stakes investment in emotion and time. I hadn't planned this, but if I didn't get this, I would be a little bummed. To be this seconds away, only to have it ripped away from me, would be heartbreaking.

The seconds ticked away until the final refresh happened. It's at this point that I braced myself. I have lost many cards on the final refresh. Something happens in that final few precious seconds that always manages to sour my mood. I had a little bit of a cushion, but not much. I didn't bid to win. I just bid for fun, so it could very well be lost.

When I saw the those sweet words urging me to pay for my purchase, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had won and on my terms. No overbidding. No regrets. I scrolled down to see what price I had won the card for. 99 cents.

It still amazes me that cards over fifty years old could sell that cheaply in this condition. Am I complaining? Not one bit! I just got a bargain and combined it with another bargain. This is truly a mailbox joy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mailbox Joys: Cereal Fisk

When I came home last night, from a thrilling White Sox victory, I found this little beauty in my mailbox. The 1974 Kellogg's Carlton Fisk.

I made my pilgrimage to the Fisk statue (and the others) before the game. I just wish that I had the camera with me. Tracey has it right now, so my friend got a few close up shots of the Fisk and Baines statues for me on his camera phone. I'm not holding my breath for the quality of those shots.

I've always had a soft spot for mid-seventies Fisk cards. I guess it's because I barely have any and I thought that they were nearly impossible to obtain, when I was younger. I still love the 1979 Topps Fisk for that same reason. I actually got a hold of one when I was an early teenager. I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and videotape. It was 1991 and I was easily impressed. What can I say?

I found this Kellogg's Fisk for a steal at 99 cents. I was luckily the only bidder. My luck would improve with the same seller, on the same day, but I'll save that card for another post.

I'm so used to seeing the grizzled, war torn Fisk, that it's a bit jarring seeing him this young. When he was ending his career in Chicago, he seemed like he was born old. The veteran who would call out younger players for making a mockery of the game. That's the image that I keep.

The smile is the best part of this card. The oldest card I have of Carlton is from 1973. He looks like a younger version of the grizzled veteran in the photo. Maybe Thurman Munson walked by, but he looks annoyed. The rest of my seventies Fisk cards are all action or annoyed grimaces. This is an absolute treat to see him smile. According to my cards, he didn't start smiling until he came to Chicago.

It's nice to see Fisk enjoying his time with the Red Sox, on a card from that period. I was beginning to think dreadful thoughts. In a few days, I'll feature the other card I picked up for a song from this seller.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Off To The Sox Game

I'm headed off to the White Sox game. It should be an interesting one. Carlos Quentin is starting in left field, back from his foot injury, and Gavin Floyd is pitching. The Sox get to see David Price pitch for the Rays.

My friend had an extra ticket, so he asked me to use it for free. What a nice guy! We'll be in the upper deck, behind home plate, just to the third base side.

WSC Vintage: Al Simmons

Card #7 - Al Simmons

Al played for the White Sox from 1933 until 1935. During that time, he was a three time All-Star. In essence, Al only appeared as a White Sox player in the All-Star game and he never missed the game when in a White Sox uniform. Simmons was sure to be an All-Star before coming to the Sox, but the first game was played in 1933 at Comiskey Park.

During his three years with the Sox, Al hit .315, belted 48 home runs and drove in 302 runs, in only 412 games. While Al is primarily remembered as a Philadelphia Athletic, he is fondly recalled on the south side of Chicago for his three productive years in a Sox uniform.

After leaving the White Sox, Al played parts of eight seasons over nine years. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, with 75.4% of the vote on his seventh try.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Tyler Flowers

Check out the entire set here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Beauty Marred By Business

Communities and friendships have formed and strengthened over these cards from series one. With series two, just out, those bonds are being tested.

Most collectors liked the Topps stealth exclusive store parallels in series one. They were meant as a surprise and to the delight and/or frustration of many, they did just that. I can remember when I first got wind of these super secret parallels. My first reaction was a groan. Not another mindless parallel.

That quickly dissipated into joy, when I realized exactly what was going on. We were given a choice, whether we wanted to collect this or not. Sure, you couldn't buy a blaster blindly, but that was a small price to pay. If you were aware of the parallel, you knew exactly what to look for after the first few days.

Now, with the first of the series two blasters on Wal-Mart shelves, we are no longer given the choice. For those of us who got hooked on collecting the parallel set, the rules have changed. What prompted this change? I can only think of greed.

Much like a dealer giving a junkie a taste, we were given a giant heaping spoonful of these black parallel cards from Topps. When we were waiting for the next series, Topps decided to cut our supply to a fraction of what it once was, without changing the price. Bait and switch.

So far, the only way to get these cards are to buy a blaster. Instead of the blaster being completely full of black parallel cards, we only get two packs out of ten. Is this fair? Clearly not. I will complete this set through trades and online sales. I will never buy a blaster of this stuff. Full blasters of stealth parallels could be on the way, but I have heard nothing about that. I haven't heard anything about the Target parallel either, but I would assume that will be working out the same as Wal-Mart.

The first images that I saw of the series two variation came from Nachos Grande. That is where I saw the beautiful Alexei Ramirez card. This is what is driving me to finish the White Sox team set, so it can fit smoothly next to series one.

Topps is forgetting one thing with this bait and switch attempt. Like the dealers who bait and switch the junkies, the junkies always find a way around to get the product. While I hate the analogy, it seems fittingly appropriate.

Coding Is Tedious Work

I've been using some down time to finally fill in some of the missing years on my want list. In the past two days, I've knocked out 1950, 1951, 1963, 1975, 2003 and 2004.

Now that I've gotten confirmation that my site isn't going to evaporate into the ether when Geocities finally closes, I feel that I have a renewed purpose. The radical layout restructuring was the first part. The second is actually getting the lists done.

The worst thing about this is that the further I go back, the more time I need to actually do the research on each set to confirm a player is on the White Sox. The modern approach to cards has taught me that just because a player is on a team, doesn't necessarily mean that he will be on that same team in a card set. This is even true for vintage sets.

The more recent I go on the lists, the more research I have to do because of the mind numbing amount of sets there were a few years ago. I think Fleer put out 80 sets with five different parallels for each (and a super secret parallel to be revealed on December 21, 2012) in July 2003 alone!

One thing I insist on doing is coding the whole list by hand. All the HTML is written by yours truly. Sure, a lot of copy/paste goes on too, but that's time consuming too.

The one thing that I am truly grateful for, during this whole ordeal, is some nice quality time looking through my collection. I can actually see what I have, rather than browse at what I have. I'm still shocked at a few sets that I thought I had completed, I hadn't. Plus, a few sets that I thought I had a long way to go on, are done. That is the advantage of physically writing out a list.

The best thing about all this work? The piles of cards on my desk are almost non-existent! That is worth it, in the end. If only albums and pages were cheaper, there would be no cards on my desk. At least the cards waiting for entry into the albums are all in snap cases now.

I hope to get back to putting fresh content on the blog shortly. Not just updates of progress on other things.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Long Trading With Capewood

Back around the beginning of the season, I had a proposition with Cliff, of Capewood's Collections, to set aside every Phillies card that I opened in a pack. In return, Cliff would set aside every White Sox card that came his way through packs.

I'm not the only blogger who had this deal with Cliff this year. For some odd reason, the Phillie Pharie has not been kind to me this year. In the act of phinding Phillies, it started to mimic the White Sox hitting this year. It was streaky. There were packs of cards where it seemed like I pulled 10 cards out of 8 which were Phillies. Then there were others, where I could go 0 for 36.

More times than not, I struck out. I did manage to run across a phew Phillies in my pack openings. I presented my evidence to Cliff and he let me know which ones he actually needed. I looked over his list of White Sox cards that he pulled and I let him know what I needed. Our packages crossed in the mail.

The following are the cards that I needed out of the pulled Sox cards.

1997 Pacific Prism
18 - Wilson Alvarez

2009 Bowman
BP70 - Justin Greene

2009 O-Pee-Chee
5 - A.J. Pierzynski

2009 O-Pee-Chee Face of the Franchise
FF29 - Carlos Quentin

2009 Topps Heritage
306 - Scott Linebrink

2009 Upper Deck
585 - DeWayne Wise
586 - Clayton Richard

Thanks, Cliff! This was a fun experience. I would have needed a few more cards that you sent over, but in between our final tallies and the package arriving, I received a few mailings from some fellow bloggers. Wouldn't you know it, there were 2009 cards in there. Along with the bounty from a box break, they kind of ate away at the cards that I still needed.

Hopefully, we can try this again next year. Maybe I will pull something of Michael Jack for you. I was holding out for something this year, but it just wasn't in the cards.

Card Spotlight: 7-17-09

1995 Bazooka #26 - Robin Ventura

There's an innocence about the picture on this card that screams Bazooka. I was born to be on a card synonymous with bubble gum.

Robin looks like he's playing on a sandlot, smack dab in the middle of suburbia, watching the other team's kid power slugger get underneath a ball and pop it up just past the pitcher's mound. Then again, he's had half a decade's worth of Major League experience, by this point. It could be a pop up in the infield from any player.

Did Albert Belle pop that ball up? How about Ken Griffey Jr.? It could just as easily be Pat Listach or Ernie Young. There's nothing really identifying the ballpark or the opponent. All I can tell is that Ventura is wearing his road uniform pants. He could be taking infield practice, for all I know.

Still, this is the photograph that I would think of when I ponder what a bubble gum card actually is in this day and age. You won't find this photo in the flagship set. You certainly won't find this in the $400 a pack, two card type release. One of these photographs could possibly slip into the flagship set, but it's less likely. If I saw this image when I paid $400 for a pack of two cards, I'd demand my money back. Not that I would ever pay something like that.

Everything about this card says bubble gum card. The position lit up like the rarely used number board in a fast food kitchen, the font style of the player's name, the outline of that player's name and the shadow effect on the team name. They all remind me of a card that would be sold as an afterthought with gum. Not that it's a bad thing.

The bubble gum card needs a place in the modern world. Maybe Topps will eventually resurrect the Bazooka line of cards. Maybe not. Still, I could think of worse releases. Maybe the world is ready for Bazooka again. Maybe that should become the kid's set next year. In a world of complication, maybe it's time for the simplicity and comfort of a Bazooka set again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Mark Buehrle All-Star

See the entire 2009 Goose Joak Originals set here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Of My Pet Peeves About Modern Cards

One of my biggest pet peeves about collecting modern cards is the lack of effort in design and execution. Earlier in the week, I received my share of some box breaks, in which I was the recipient of all the cards belonging to the White Sox.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, one of the products was changed. I'm fine with that. It actually increased my chances of landing White Sox cards. Unfortunately, the replacement product that was busted was one that I already completed the base set for. Fortunately, there were inserts and parallels that were floating around. I found two gold cards in my stash, one of which I needed. I also found the last Ring of Honor card that I was seeking to complete the team set. I also had lots of base cards. I have a White Sox redistribution program, so I'm not worried.

I was also the lucky random winner of a double team swatch card that was pulled from SPx. I'm very happy to have it. It's one less White Sox related card off of my list. In my joy of receiving something that I never would have pulled myself, I am also reminded of why I dislike some decisions of the card companies.

The card in question features swatches of Ken Griffey Jr. and Jim Edmonds. I'm certain I wouldn't be able to get this card for a steal, mainly because of the popularity of Ken Griffey Jr. I've liked Griffey since the beginning of his career. Same with Edmonds. I can remember cheering him on during his days with the Angels. Except for the times that each player was playing against the White Sox, I was rooting for both.

My pet peeve is an obvious one. One glance at the card and there is no mistaking what my pet peeve is. The card uses the logos of the last team that each player played for in 2008. Griffey with the White Sox and Edmonds with the Cubs. Both being Chicago teams, this card had great potential.

I understand the swatches of uniform can come from any time in their career. I'm perfectly fine with that. The whole point of a uniform swatch is that the player actually wore it during some type of MLB activity, whether it be a game or batting practice or some sanctioned event. My problem comes with how the team affiliation is listed and how that corresponds to the picture.

Griffey's swatch obviously comes from a Cincinnati home uniform. The striping of red completely gives that away. There were no throwback games with the White Sox involving the red uniforms of the early seventies while Griffey was on the team. The Mariners never wore anything of that nature to my knowledge. So, why is the swatch from the Reds, his picture from the Reds and his team affiliation listed as being on the White Sox? This is especially confusing in a mid-2009 product considering he now plays for the Mariners. It's enough to make your head spin!

Edmonds is a completely different animal. He is listed as being on the Cubs, which is his last team in 2008. Edmonds has not played in 2009, so it may be his last MLB team as a player. His picture is from his Cardinals days, which ended in 2007. Between the ending of his Cardinals career and the beginning of his short Cubs career, he was on the Padres for a very brief stint. I can understand why he is listed on the Cubs, as that was his last team, but why is he pictured in a uniform from two teams ago. So is the swatch from the Angels, the Cardinals, the Padres or the Cubs? It's a plain white swatch so it's a shot in the dark as to where it actually came from. Does it really matter?

There are literally thousands of pictures taken of each player on each team today, no matter how brief his appearance actually is. There is absolutely no excuse for this laziness put out by the card companies. Even if, for some odd reason, there isn't a photo available for the player on the team that he's listed, people are doing amazing work through newfangled computer programs designed to manipulate photographs. It's no secret that when done properly, this work looks more accomplished than the airbrushing done by earlier Topps releases.

I am hoping that there will be less of these hybrid monstrosities in the future. While it's fine by a player collector's standpoint (although, still not excusable), it makes it extremely difficult for the team collector. If the companies want their product to sell, why don't they put out a less confusing product? The simple solution would have been just to slap on the Reds and Cardinals logo and be done with it. Even swapping out the pictures to correctly correspond with the chosen logos would have been a decent solution. This mismatch looks like it was designed by someone who failed the matching assignment in kindergarten.

In the future, the card companies should choose a path and stick with it. This does not create a greater demand for your product. This turns away more collectors from purchasing future products. Most people who buy baseball cards want the quality and attention to detail. They are not vocal about it, if they are disappointed with a product. They just don't buy it anymore. This is why sales are skyrocketing downward. Do a little quality control and the customers will find their way back.

Still, I'm happy for having this card. I'm just glad that I didn't have to buy a hobby box to pull it.

My Cardboard Problem

I, too, have a cardboard problem. I not only look for cards that I want, but I'll occasionally scope out players or teams that other bloggers, that I consider friends, and have a good history with, would like. On a few occasions, I've hit the jackpot.

I have one major rule if I am just picking something up for the heck of it; it has to be a steal. As much as I love everyone in this community like extended family, I'm not going to go broke supporting other people's cardboard habits. If I had the disposable income, I'd be more likely to break that rule. Unfortunately, I don't.

When I see something that I know a friendly blogger will love, I will pounce on it. Sometimes I get lucky, other times I don't. It's not a big deal if I don't. There is no weight on my shoulder if I fail at being the highest bidder. Lately, I've been pretty lucky at winning bids on cards intended for other people. On cards that I personally want, some joker always comes in at the absolute last second and blows my high bid out of the water. It's frustrating, but I move on.

Recently, I found two autographed cards of a certain player that I saw play in Wrigley Field this year. Nobody was bidding on one and the other had one bid. I decided to try my luck. I won both for an insanely low amount. I waited patiently for each card to arrive. I transferred both into an already addressed bubble mailer and sent it off to the post office.

Fast forward about a week. I get a note through some form of online communication. Which one escapes me, but I have reason to believe it was Twitter. In the note, I am told that the cards arrived and would I be interested in a Lance Broadway autograph in return? Seeing as Lance was just traded to the Mets right before this note, I thought it would be a great memento of his time on the South Side. Plus, I didn't have that particular card. In fact, I wasn't even aware of its existence. So, I agreed.

Leap forward to today. I get a gigantically thick bubble mailer in the afternoon mail. It's from Sooz of A Cardboard Problem. Inside was the promised Lance Broadway autograph and a snap case full of cards. That's always a pleasant sight.

Let's see what Sooz sent over.

1986 Topps
493 - Gene Nelson
637 - Rudy Law
778 - Jerry Hairston

1988 Donruss
59 - Jose DeLeon

1988 Score
607 - Ivan Calderon

1988 Topps
634 - Jose DeLeon

1990 Topps Glossy 1989 Rookies
14 - Greg Hibbard

1998 Upper Deck
607 - Frank Thomas EP

1999 Revolution
36 - Frank Thomas

1999 Revolution Diamond Legacy
11 - Frank Thomas

2000 Skybox Dominion Eye On October
EO8 - Frank Thomas

2000 Topps
369 - Bill Simas
421 - Bobby Howry
470 - Frank Thomas

2001 E-X
57 - Paul Konerko

2003 SP Authentic
118 - Jon Rauch (0633/2500)

2004 Diamond Kings
38 - Frank Thomas

2005 ESPN
23 - Frank Thomas

2005 Fleer Platinum
6 - Paul Konerko

2005 Skybox Autographix
15 - Paul Konerko

2006 Bazooka
62 - Paul Konerko

2006 Fleer Lumber Company
LC-21 - Paul Konerko

2006 Turkey Red Red
467 - Mark Buehrle

2006 Ultra Diamond Producers
DP25 - Paul Konerko

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X
105 - Aaron Rowand

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X Player Highlights
PH-17 - Paul Konerko

2007 Fleer Crowning Achievement
CA-JT - Jim Thome

2007 Goudey Red
60 - Jim Thome

2007 Topps Moments & Milestones
107 - Frank Thomas (99 RBI) (039/150)

2008 Bowman
82 - Mark Buehrle
112 - Nick Swisher

2008 SP Authentic
74 - Paul Konerko

2008 Spectrum
21 - Paul Konerko

2008 Starquest Common
SQ-54 - Paul Konerko

2008 Topps Chrome
64 - Mark Buehrle

2008 Topps Co-Signers
63 - Paul Konerko

2008 Topps Heritage
410 - Mark Buehrle

2008 Topps Opening Day
129 - Paul Konerko

2008 Upper Deck Documentary Seasonal Signatures
LB - Lance Broadway

2008 Upper Deck First Edition
336 - Paul Konerko
337 - Nick Swisher

2008 Upper Deck X
24 - Paul Konerko
27 - Jim Thome

2009 A Piece Of History
21 - Carlos Quentin

Thanks, Sooz! That Lance Broadway autograph is sensational. Considering that he is now out of the White Sox organization, maybe it's very appropriate that this is a "Seasonal Signature". The snap case full of cards was a great unexpected treat. There are definitely cards in there that I need. I think I may have vision trouble after my little trip through late nineties Shiny Frank Land. Some of those cards are downright blinding!

I'm guessing, by the collation of the cards in the case, that you separate the more recent cards by player. I could be completely off base on that though. It's just one of the little patterns that my brain picks up. Thanks again and I hope you are enjoying your cards.

Upper Deck X Icons Short Print

I feel a little bit like Wax Heaven here, but I was on Facebook and saw this pop up from Upper Deck.

Upper Deck X delivers a dimensional foil card and one Upper Deck X Die-Cut card in every pack at a low price point! Upper Deck X focuses on the youth baseball fan by providing a visually entertaining embossed rainbow board insert in each pack! Also look for short-printed Michael Jackson Icons cards!

Key Inserts:
Upper Deck X Die- Cut (one per pack)
Xponential (X-X6) combine one per pack!
Upper Deck X Signatures
Upper Deck X Jerseys
20th Anniversary Cards
Michael Jackson Icons short-print Cards

Arrival Date: August 2009

There are four different designs. Cool or creepy? You decide.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Funsies From Marie

I'm a horrible person. I've had a package from Marie, of A Cardboard Problem, since Saturday. I've been keeping it from you all. Hording it and trying to find the time to dedicate to properly address the package.

Hello, package! Sorry... cheap laugh.

The weekend was involved with want list work. Monday, I went downtown to the Daley Center with my friend Steve. His CTA bus was hit when a woman illegally made a right turn in front of him. It was simple and it turned out that he wasn't even really needed, but it was a nice excuse to spend the day downtown.

We walked around Navy Pier and went to a tea house and had some of the nest chilled tea with lemonade I have ever tasted. Essentially, Monday, the package was neglected again, when Chris Berman's tired old routine put me to sleep, literally. So this is the absolute first opportunity I've had to sit down and analyze the contents of the package properly.

One card, in particular, was found at a yard sale in a giant box of cards. It was waiting ever since then on Marie's desk, waiting to be sent to me. How thoughtful and cool! The rest are "funsies". Marie's word, not mine, but I think it's growing on me. I like the sound of funsies.

Let's see what Marie sent over.

1989 Swell Baseball Greats
45 - Hoyt Wilhelm
127 - Wilbur Wood

1994 Bowman's Best
43 - Chris Snopek

2009 UD Starquest Blue Uncommon
SQ-32 - Carlos Quentin

2009 UD Starquest Silver Common
SQ-32 - Carlos Quentin

Some very cool funsies right there. But wait there's one more. The card found in a box at the yard sale. This one is full of...

BAINES MOJO!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks, Marie! Those cards were awesome! Especially the Baines rookie! I can never have too many Baines rookie cards.

A Sad Farewell, A Happy New Beginning

I set aside enough money to do some much needed errands today. I picked up a 4 inch "D" ring binder at Office Depot and headed over to RBI Sports to pick up a box of Ultra Pro pages and maybe a few packs.

Nothing unusual, just some ordinary running around, all concerning this great hobby of ours. I saw a sort of familiar face sitting in the corner of the shop, behind the counter. I thought nothing of it, as Tony's friends and relatives sometimes help out if Tony had something that tore him away from the shop.

I picked up a box of pages, two Allen & Ginter packs and a TriStar PROjections pack. The box was brought down from the shelf and I was allowed to pick my pack, like usual. Then I asked where Tony was today. The answer was both alarming and somewhat comforting. He sold the store about a month ago.

After finally figuring out, in 2007, that there was a place that could have kept me interested in cards throughout the nineties, it felt like I had lost that all over again. I pressed on and asked why. Tony was the only employee, so he was there everyday, open to close. After fifteen years, he wanted to spend more time with his family. I can totally understand that and I can respect that.

The last few times that I was in the shop, I thought I noticed the old spark diminished in Tony. I chalked it up to having a bad day or a shipment was late or something else. Now, I realize that the writing was on the wall for his days as a shop owner. I can't afford to go in there every day or every week, or even every month. It had been awhile since I had stopped by. If I had to guess, it was probably in April or May.

As I was listening to the new shopkeeper, I started to understand the motivation behind the sale and I began to appreciate the new owners. The new owners had actually looked into opening a shop when Tony opened his. They were loyal customers and when Tony put the shop up for sale, it seemed like a natural fit.

This is a family owned and operated business, so the shop will be open seven days a week now. The man I talked to seemed friendly and willing to talk shop. He was a Cubs fan wearing a faded Fukudome shirt, but I have no beef with that. I don't care who's team you support, it's just nice to see the support there.

So long, Tony Carrasquillo. It was great having you as the nearest and coolest card shop owner in this area. I will never forget the instrumental role that you played in getting me back into the hobby. I appreciate all the advice and the conversations that we've had over the past two years. I bought my first hobby box since 1991 in your store and I pulled a nice Konerko card from a 2007 Moments & Milestones box, among other nice pulls. I wish you and your family the best.

Hello, Joe Ostrowski and family! I've only been in your new shop once since you've acquired it from Tony, but color me impressed. I have the same feeling that I had when I entered Tony's store. It was nice and friendly. A very inviting place to browse and shop. Good luck in your new business. I will be coming back.

I will be keeping RBI Sports on the recommended shops list. I've had a great experience my first time there with the new owners. I hope that trend continues. One of these days, I will make it out to AU Sports and from everything that I've heard about that store, it will be on the list. I just have to make an official visit and have a good experience for that to make the list.

A Quick One While They're Away

The All-Star game is tonight. I'm excited, even though there's only two Chicago players on the rosters. One for each team. Sigh, such is life.

I've been organizing my cards, trying to streamline everything. I'm hoping to get my collection of doubles and cards that I do not collect whipped into a well organized machine. While I was quickly thumbing through cards last night, my eye caught something. I hadn't noticed it earlier and I've had an example of this card in my collection for nearly four years.

It was by sheer luck that I spotted something amiss with this card, as the cards were going by fast and furious. In a tenth of a second, my brain saw something that had escaped it on previous, longer glances at this card.

Can you spot what's wrong with this card?

The first person to guess correctly will win some White Sox cards.

***We have a winner!!!***

Lonestarr is correct. I'll throw in some White Sox cards along with a package I was already sending, very shortly. Nice try VOTC. Better luck next time.

The 2005 U&H card #UH184 has Buehrle spelled as "Buerhle" four times on the card! Twice on the front and twice on the back. To add insult to injury, the AL ERA Leaders card (#UH139) from that same set, correctly spells Buehrle's name twice. Once on the front, once one the back.

Midseason Reviews

The White Sox are blessed to play in one of the weakest divisions in 2009. In almost any other division in baseball, the Sox would be in seller's mode. Since they are 3 1/2 out at the break, the next two weeks are crucial.

If they play poorly, look for the expensive parts to be shipped off to contenders for AAA talent and utility players. If the Sox play well, look for one player to be added to the roster that will make everybody go, "Why?", just before he helps win the division.

We've been through this scenario many times before. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Irregardless, the next two weeks should tell the tale. I don't envision another "White Flag" trade if the Sox are still 3 1/2 games out by the trading deadline.

Let's go through the roster, position by position, and see how everyone stacks up.

Starting Pitcher
The starting pitching has had its ups and downs. Mostly, the starting pitching has been outstanding. When the starting pitching is bad, it really stinks up the joint. No one has been immune, not even Buehrle, who got his horrid outing out of the way, two days before he appears on the All-Star roster. Way to make an impression.

Danks and Floyd have pitched up to expectations, with little bumps along the way. They are finally learning that one bad inning should not effect the rest of their outings. This is a major step in each player's development and it tells me that last year was not a fluke for either pitcher.

Buehrle is Buehrle.

Jose Contreras was smart enough to demote himself and has made a miraculous comeback. Will it last? Let's hope so.

The fifth starter has been problematic at best. A nightmare at worst. Bartolo Colon may be the short term answer. Clayton Richard is clearly not the answer this year. He needs to work on fielding and throwing to first base, not the stands. His outings become worse the more he thinks out there. A trip to AAA will hopefully straighten his head out. Freddy Garcia is a long shot, at best. His arm is nowhere near ready. Aaron Poreda could be a starter, but the Sox need to define his role better or send him down to get steady work.

Grade: C+

A.J. Pierzynski continues to improve his game. His batting is much more consistent and it seems that it's staying around the entire year... so far. Corky was a nice experiment, but I'm not surprised by his current status. Ramon Castro has a little pop in his bat, but needs more consistency at the plate. His involvement in the resurrection of Jose Contreras is good enough for me. The defense is suspect, but that has more to do with the erratic pitching staff.

Grade: A-

First Base
Paul Konerko is the most underrated player in Chicago. The Sox would have more errors (if you can believe that) without the great picks by Paulie. He has rebounded from a mostly miserable 2008 to possibly be in contention for Comeback Player of the Year. Yes, I'm serious. Anyone else that has played first base from Betemit to Fields has been pretty lousy. Fields at least is believable at first, unlike Betemit.

Grade: A

Second Base
Lillibridge looked like a twelve year old out there and played like one too. Chris Getz is the perfect choice here, but he has much left to learn. I can see a drastic improvement in Getz at the plate and defensively. There is still work to be done. Jayson Nix has been a nice bench player surprise. Getz has a huge upside though. Remember, he stole home this year. I can see him blossoming into a Joey Cora type player with a better bat.

Grade: C

Alexei Ramirez reminds me of Jose Valentin 2.0 at short. He has great range and most of his errors would have been hits with almost every other shortstop. He is trying to master his third position at the Major League level in less than two years. I think he's doing a nice job, in that respect. He learns fairly easy and quickly, but he learns best, unfortunately, with on the job training. Brain cramps will be part of his game for a while.

Grade: B-

Third Base
Josh Fields could have become Joe Crede. His defense was really starting to come around. It's a shame that his bat really hasn't followed suit. He is in the unenviable position of being usurped by someone who was drafted 364 days earlier.

Not that Bacon, er I mean Beckham, should feel bad about taking Fields place. Beckham has definitely earned the opportunity. He is a quick learner, who has already started to live up to some of the hype. The errors will start to lessen, once he learns his new position. I think I see a theme emerging.

Grade: B

Left Field
Carlos Quentin has missed more time. A rotating roster of players have filled the position in his absence. Unlikely candidate, Scott Podsednik, has filled in beautifully, after an American Idol type audition for the open spot. You know the kind. The train wrecks! The White Sox had a left field and center field of William Hungs after Quentin and before Podsednik.

Look for Quentin to reclaim left field sometime after the break. Let's hope that he has had enough at-bats in AAA to reclaim his timing and that the foot injury doesn't re-aggravate itself near the end of the season.

Grade: B+

Center Field
Oh the horrors. If you can field there, you can't bat. If you can bat, you can't field there. Let's try offense in the early innings and defense in the late innings. The thing is, you usually need both. DeWayne Wise started off the season as the answer, until he separated his shoulder diving for a ball and tumbling. It looked painful and it was painful.

Brian Anderson is great defensively, but his average is a little limp. B.A., that doesn't impress the "honeys" too much. No matter what Brain tells you, B.A. stands for Bad Average. Look for Scott Podsednik, who has gained speed somehow, to slip into center when Quentin comes back.

Grade: D+

Right Field
Jermaine Dye is a wonder. He still makes (mostly) exceptional plays in right and he carries a huge stick to the plate and knows how to use it. 'Nuff said!

Grade: A

Designated Hitter
You know what you're getting with Jim Thome. He delivers exactly what you would expect in the role. He is usually a pitcher's worst nightmare and has beaten "The Shift" on numerous occasions. He does tend to strike out a little more and usually needs to be pulled for a pinch runner in late innings.

Grade: B+

Relief Pitcher
This is the most maddening group of players ever assembled. Every one of them has shown flashes of brilliance. Some have had long streaks of pure dominance this year. It's the meltdowns that really hurt this group though. When it goes for the bullpen, it goes all the way south. We're talking about a tumble from the Magnificent Mile down to the woods in Deliverance. There is no in between, like a Leonardo, New Jersey, where the players can hide out at the dirt mall and change their luck following advice from topless psychics.

If the lows weren't so low, they would have gotten a higher grade. The talent that exists in the White Sox bullpen is far too good to be that low for such long stretches. Usually, one player steps their game up when the others fail, but the bullpen can't live like that. You never know who that one guy is on a daily basis.

Grade: C

Hopefully, the White Sox can step up and improve on these grades. There is still time to pass the next test. Will the Sox players study for it? Only time will tell. The final grades should be in by the end of October. If they are the last team standing, everyone gets an A.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...