Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Sobering Celebration

Nick Adenhart was thoughtlessly killed by a drunk driver on April 9, 2009. Some may find it in poor taste to celebrate the clinching of the AL West division by drenching Adenhart's jersey with champagne and beer on September 28, 2009. Just saying.

Nick deserves better than this, don't you think?

Master Of The 80s Trivia

I'm not sure that I'd agree with the "master" designation of 80s trivia, but I do know quite a bit. Too much in fact. Still, I'm not even sure how I won this 80s trivia contest sponsored by Phungo. I thought for sure that I was beat, but it was all in the points system. If this were set up like a regular run of the mill trivia game, I probably would have lost, but I have a feeling I just squeaked by a player slightly more knowledgeable than I.

I thought I had no chance. I wasn't fooling anyone. The next screw that fell out would be me. By winning, I was probably breaking like 30 major laws here. It's time to pay the fiddler...

Honestly, I had forgotten about the contest, when I got a reminder for my address. Then it all came back to me, like a radical neon pink hypercolor t-shirt. I had won a contest concerning John Hughes movies, which are some of my favorite 80s guilty pleasures. I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. You know who I am? In the field of local-live-home entertainment, I'm a god! This is not true. It can't be. This has got to be the most hilarious rumor ever floated. Right? Well, somebody better explain, or there'll, uh... there'll be a lot of explaining to do.

Don't let me stand in your way, please don't let me stand in your way. The last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth... You know, nothing grinds my gears worse than some chowderhead that doesn't know when to keep his big trap shut... If you catch me running off with my mouth, just give me a poke on the chubbs...

And in the end, I realized that I took more than I gave, I was trusted more than I trusted, and I was loved more than I loved. And what I was looking for was not to be found but to be made. No, I don't want to go over the list! OK, let's go over the list.

2008 Donruss Americana
129 - Corey Feldman

No, the Feldmeister was not in a John Hughes movie, but you can't get more eighties than a Corey, can you?

1991 Oklahoma State Collegiate Collection
85 - Jerry Adair

1999 Fleer Update
U-10 - Jesus Pena

1987 Topps
740 - Rich Gedman

Trap card! Someone's looking for more Sox Or No Sox! In the future, I promise!
1992 Upper Deck All-Star Fan Fest Future Heroes
10 - Frank Thomas

1997 Bowman Chrome
100 - Frank Thomas

1992 Stadium Club
611 - Esteban Beltre

2008 Upper Deck First Edition
336 - Paul Konerko
338 - Carlos Quentin

1992 Stadium Club
841 - Dave Gallagher (Mets, pictured in Sox in the back)

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Gold
UH227 - Carlos Quentin (1789/2008)

2008 Topps Highlights Game-Worn Relics
HR-JT - Jim Thome

2008 UD Masterpieces
97 - Carlton Fisk

2003 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks
BDP126 - Neal Cotts

2004 Ultra Gold Medallion
5 - Bartolo Colon

2000 Pacific Paramount
54 - Carlos Lee

2000 Pacific Omega
31 - Carlos Lee

1994 Topps Gold
792 - Dan Pasqua
1986 O-Pee-Chee
14 - Julio Cruz

Thanks so much! I'm still in shock that I actually won. I figured dayf had the edge. There's a lot of great cards here and thank you for dredging up all those great John Hughes memories!

Goose Joak Originals: Jake Peavy

Check out the full AL/NL Central set here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Offseason Bullpen Relief

Bobby Jenks may or may not return next year. Matt Thornton may or may not be groomed for the closer role. The bullpen status for 2010 is currently up in the air.

Let's offer a solution. Regardless of how the Jenks and Thornton situations turn out, there needs to be a solid pickup or two for the bullpen. Might I suggest Jason Frasor?

Jason is currently with the Blue Jays. You know, the team that the White Sox liberated Alex Rios' contract from the payroll. I'm thinking that the Jays might be grateful to the Sox for picking up the albatross of a contract. Maybe they would be willing to part with Jason Frasor in a trade?

Frasor grew up in the Chicagoland area. He's got decent stuff. If the Sox part ways with Jenks, Jason could fill in the closer role or fill in Thornton's old role. If the Sox decide to keep Jenks, then he would slide into another hole in the bullpen. It's a win/win situation.

This could be the defining moment of young Frasor's career. It could be a nice homecoming for a local kid done good. Unlike Rob Mackowiak's return to the area, Jason has a defined role that is club ready. Think about it KW.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beckham Makes A Push

A combination of a superb Jake Peavy, an uncharacteristically great bullpen, a Brandon Inge error and a Beckham home run culminated in a win for the White Sox, staving off elimination for another day.

While it's still, amazingly, statistically possible for the White Sox to win the division, realistically it's over. The Tigers and Twins have a four game series left. If the Tigers win at all, the White Sox are eliminated. If the Twins end up winning all four of those games, the White Sox are eliminated. The writing is etched on the wall. This season is ovah!

There's still a lot of positives to be found. In last night's game, Jake Peavy continued to make Sox fans salivate for 2010. Gordon Beckham broke up a no-hitter by belting a two run homer. It will be moments like that home run that will propel Beckham to the American League Rookie of the Year.

I have a much better feeling about 2010. The pieces are falling into place and I'm beginning to see what needs to be taken care of and what just needed to find footing during this season. The infield needed this season to gel. They are finally ready for everyday play. The outfield needed to be solved, especially center field. I think that's been solved, despite the recent plate struggles.

If Podsednik is retained, he will have to go to baserunning classes during the winter. If not, expect Figgins to appear in a White Sox uniform. We will finally see what a healthy Carlos Quentin can do for a full season next year. Freddy Garcia has pretty much locked up the fifth starter spot for 2010, with a few rookies waiting in the wings.

As for the offseason, moves will be made. What those moves are, only Kenny Williams knows for sure. The one thing that definitely needs to be done? Fumigation. Something has to get rid of that virus that permeated the clubhouse causing the batters to operate daily without hitting. If they exorcise the hitless demons in the clubhouse, they will prevail in 2010.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Egbert Gone

Jack Egbert was claimed on waivers by the New York Mets today. I know a lot of people in the White Sox minor league organization were very high on Jack.

In two Major League appearances, Jack had a 27.00 ERA. Not much can be measured by two appearances and 2.2 innings worth of MLB work, but it appears that Jack may have become victim of the notorious "AAAA syndrome". This syndrome afflicts AAA stars who can't quite translate that success into Major League success.

Hopefully, Egbert's MLB experience was a fluke and he can move on to bigger and better things with the Mets. At least he won't be alone there. He can buddy up with Lance Broadway.

So long, Jack. Maybe you'll come back this way again.

Card Spotlight: 9-25-09

1958 Topps #129 - Jim Derrington

I know what you're thinking. Who is this guy? He's what's known as a bonus baby.

From 1947 until 1965, any player signed to a contract in excess of $4,000 or more had to be assigned to the 40 man roster for a period of two years. The stipulation being that the player could not be assigned to a farm team. He had to be on the Major League roster.

On September 12, 1956, Jim Derrington was signed to a contract by the Chicago White Sox. On September 30, 1956, he made his Major League debut, at the age of sixteen. Jim also happens to be the youngest starting Major League player in the twentieth century.

Jim appeared in one game in the 1956 season. He appeared in 20 games in 1957. His last game was on September 29, 1957. So, Jim's Major League career spanned exactly one year. His MLB career was washed up at the age of seventeen.

After the 1957 season, Jim spent the rest of his career in the minors trying to get called up, in the White Sox organization. In 1961, he wound up in the New York Mets system before retiring at the end of that season.

Since Jim spent all of 1958 in the minors, I would assume that the White Sox violated the contract and exposed him to the waiver wires, where he went unclaimed.

Topps must have thought enough of him as a bonus baby to include Jim in the 1958 set. It wound up being his only baseball card until 2007, when Jim had two cards issued in the Topps Heritage set, which borrowed its design from the 1958 Topps set.

If you ever run across Jim Derrington's 1958 Topps card, take a moment to reflect. It is the only regular issue Major League card of Jim. There's something both beautiful and sad in that thought.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reacting To A Significant Sports Loss

The latest Blog Bat Around is hosted by Thorzul. The topic?

How have you reacted to one or more specific soul-crushing sports losses?

I don't normally react badly to sports losses. It's part of the fabric of the game itself. Specifically in baseball, no team can win every single game in a season. That's one of the reasons that make baseball so compelling. Any team has the capability to win a game on any day.

It doesn't matter if a team is the best team in the history of the sport or the worst. Mistakes can be made. Calls are subject to human error. A bench warmer can have the game of his life. A superstar can have the worst game of their career. Even in a blowout game, it's not over until the last out is made.

Sports losses are a part of life. I generally react by complaining a little bit, trying to find the positive things in the game, shrug it off and set my focus on the next game. I guess I have the mindset of an athlete, in that respect. The successful athletes can do that. Once a game is played it can never be played again.

What if a sports loss was out of any team's control? It didn't matter what happened on the field. It didn't matter if your team had the best or worst players. Nothing that happened in the clubhouse, no play called from the dugout had any baring on the loss. That happened to me and to the rest of the world.

The worst sports loss in my lifetime happened on September 14, 1994. Wait a minute. How could that be? No Major League baseball was played on that day!

You'd be right! No MLB game ever was played on that day. At that point, no MLB game had been played in slightly over a month. It was on September 14, 1994 that Bud Selig canceled the rest of the season and the World Series.

This one act was not entirely Selig's fault, but he is not faultless. I'm done blaming people for this mess. I just want it never to happen again.

For the first time since 1904, there would be no World Series. There would be no playoffs. Individual accomplishments would fall short.

Here are some moments we potentially lost out on.

- The Expos in the World Series.
- The White Sox in the World Series.
- The Rangers winning the division with a sub .500 record.
- Matt Williams breaking Roger Maris' single season home run record.
- Tony Gwynn batting .400 or better for the season.
- Don Mattingly lost his best chance at the playoffs as a player.
- Carlos Baerga was unable to extend his record streak of 20 home runs, 200 hits and 100 RBI in consecutive seasons.

The fallout from this decision created replacement players. Some of which played before in the majors, some who would play later. This created a sticky situation in later seasons. Players who were in this select group could not be shown or mentioned in World Series related memorabilia. This stipulation effected the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 World Series merchandise.

That's all well and good, but how did I react? I removed baseball from my life. I concentrated on other aspects of my life. It wasn't until 1997, that I attended a baseball game at Comiskey Park. I didn't listen to a complete ball game on the radio or watch a complete game on television until 1998. The only baseball I allowed myself to watch between September 1994 and 1997 was Cal Ripken Jr.'s record breaking game. I felt that I had owed it to him.

The worst reaction was in terms of collecting. I did not purchase a pack of cards between the time of the 1994 strike until early 2007. I had picked up a few team sets on eBay starting around 2003 or 2004, but that was my limitation. I had no clue what had happened to the hobby since 1994, nor did I care much during that period.

I was angry for a long time at that sports loss. I have since mellowed a bit with time and distance. It still is a sore subject. That is the worst reaction I have ever had to a sports loss.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Avoiding The Train Wreck

Tracey and I should be at the game right now with a married couple, who are friends with her (and in turn me), but one of them threw their back out and the other (who had the tickets) was stuck working in the city. It was too confusing to relay the tickets to us and have the worker husband travel to Lockport to tend to his ailing wife.

In the end, they were free tickets (to us anyway) and there is nothing lost because no money or time (of ours) was wasted.

I always have a fun time at U.S. Cellular Field and tonight would have been no exception. I could have witnessed something that is said to be rarer than a perfect game; an Alex Rios home run in a White Sox uniform. I could have seen Gordon Beckham hit a home run too. I saw those just fine on television.

It's just not the White Sox team's year. I'm OK with that. I just wish they would have come to that conclusion a while ago. I know how tempting the division looked. I know how on paper everything looked wonderful. Teams don't live on paper. They live on the field.

Who knew that many of the hitters and many of the bullpen would collectively have their worst seasons? Nobody plans that. Some of it was dumb luck. Some of it was injury. Some of it was, well... fill in your own homemade excuse.

I think the Sox hitters and the bullpen decided to let the Tigers and Twins battle it out for the honor to get swept in the first round. This division was bad this year. Fruit flies have a longer shelf life than all of the teams in the AL Central in 2009.

This division was for the Sox to take. The one thing that really hurt this season was that the team could never put together a run. Even the Nationals had a run. The White Sox never did. If that had happened this year, the Sox would be looking back in first place.

I'll still reserve my official concession of the division when the Sox are mathematically eliminated, but it's been over all season. In any other division, the Sox would be playing Tyler Flowers instead of Ramon Castro. The majority of the ailing starters would be shut down and rookies would audition for 2010. Not in this lousy division.

If the Sox play their cards right, they could have the season wrapped up by Thursday. I'm still OK with that. It just was never the year for the White Sox. Here's to 2010 and I pity the AL Central team who heads to the first round this year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

WSC Birth Years: Jake Peavy

Card #23 - Jake Peavy

Born: May 31, 1981

In a surprising move, Jake Peavy approved a trade to the White Sox just shy of the July 31st deadline. The Padres received 4 players, while the White Sox received an injured Peavy, who was speculated not to make his Chicago debut until 2010.

Peavy proved to be a speedy healer and he made his White Sox debut on September 19, 2009. In that game, Jake went five innings, gave up three runs and three hits, while striking out five and walking two. The Sox managed to go ahead in the bottom of the fifth and Peavy walked away with the win.

In 2010, Peavy looks to be in the middle of the core of a dominating starting pitching rotation.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bloggers Unite: VOTC And Me

By a stroke of pure luck, Rob of VOTC and I won the same radio contest through Twitter. We had the option to pick the prize (a nice Crafstman wrench set) up at the loading dock of the radio station or pick it up at the Sears in Oakbrook, Illinois. Guess which option we both chose?

From the way it sounded (to me anyway) we would each be there by our lonesome selves. It was a little bit of a shock when each of us appeared with lovely ladies on our arms. Tracey ended up coming with me and Rob's daughter came with him. It was a pleasant surprise.

Rob and I exchanged pleasantries and small talk. Since Tracey tagged along, I brought the digital camera. I asked Rob if he would pose for a picture for the blog and he quickly agreed. Tracey took our picture and the result is at the top of this post.

Rob is the first blogger that I've met in person and the experience couldn't have been nicer. I wish we would've had a little more time to chat but you don't argue with a hungry 3 year old.

The White Sox Players New Album

Available this September in a ballpark near you!

The White Sox Players newest sensation, "Giving Up!" is burning up the charts!

You'll find such classics as:

Jermaine Dye singing "Working My Way Out Of Chi Town"

I’m working my way out of Chi Town
Kiss my 12 mil option bye
I’m working my way out of Chi Town
By playing everyday
To everyone’s dismay

Alex Rios crooning "I Left My Bat In Toronto"

I left my bat up in Toronto
Rogers Centre, it calls to me
To be where the winter air
Means hockey up there
No fans means no pressure’s stare
I don’t care

Carlos Quentin singing "Wake Me Up Before The Season Go Gos"

You put the boom boom into my bat
I send the balls sky high when the pitching starts
Injury bug into my brain
Goes a bang bang bang ‘til my feet do the same

Scott Linebrink singing "In The Air Tonight"

I can see it leaving in the air tonight, oh lord
I’ve been dreading for this homer, all my life, oh lord
Can you see the ball leaving in the air tonight, oh lord, oh lord

Tony Pena's rendition of "Game Breaker"

Work so hard I couldn’t unwind
Got no innings saved
Abuse my pitch a thousand times
However hard I tried
Game breaker, your time has come
Can’t take your evil way
Go away
Game breaker

Ramon Castro singing "Use Me Two Times"

Use me one time
I couldn’t hit
Use me one time, baby
Yeah, my knees got weak
Use me two times skip
Useless all through the week
Use me two times
I’m going away

The first 500 pressings will include Ozzie Guillen's haunting profanity laced cover of "Homeward Bound"!

As a special bonus, if you play the album backwards you can hear Ozzie chewing out his lazy players!

Act now, before Jake Peavy single-handedly saves the season from ruin!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Card Spotlight: 9-18-09

1989 Bowman #62 - Carlton Fisk

In the fifties, Bowman was a threat to Topps' way of life. Today, Bowman is owned by Topps and is the place where some low level prospects get their only Major League card. When Bowman was rebooted as a set, it wasn't the home of the rookie card. That would come later.

Topps bought out Bowman after their 1955 set. Even though there were prototypes ready to go for the 1956 season, Topps shut down Bowman. If it weren't for budding competition in the late eighties, Bowman may have never been resurrected.

Already reeling from a court decision that opened the door for Fleer and Donruss to sell trading cards in the MLB market, the late eighties saw new companies spring up and grab more of the spotlight away from Topps. Score debuted in 1988, with color backs and a slight upgrade in card stock. Upper Deck would debut in 1989 with even better card stock, hologram anti-theft technology and gigantic photos on both sides of the card. How could Topps compete?

Bowman to the rescue! Collectors were abuzz with excitement about the prospect of another issue of Bowman. The initial buzz died down quickly, when collectors realized that the new set was a little lacking. Still, it was a nice homage to the original sets.

Unfortunately, a lot had changed in the more than thirty years between Bowman releases. Topps decided to release the set in its original dimensions, which were slightly bigger than the standard size that took effect in 1957. Most people who were not hardcore collectors had no use for a card larger than the standard size. In the late eighties, size mattered. If it couldn't fit into a nine pocket page, most people wanted nothing to do with the set.

I can still remember reading an article, in one of the baseball card magazines, about a collector who found a pack of 1989 Bowman cards for sale a month early. They took the cards to the post office and had a postal employee stamp each card with the date. I always thought that was a cool and unique way to celebrate the early find.

Card collectors can appreciate a release like 1989 Bowman today. The set hearkened back to a simpler time in collecting. This came before Bowman turned into a haven for prospects that will never sniff the show. This set was about capturing a long lost feeling. A feeling of happiness. As Carlton Fisk's card shows, I think he 1989 Bowman set captured that perfectly.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baines Surfaces In The Onion

Harold Baines sure is getting the accolades lately. Not long ago, he was honored by the Baltimore Orioles by enshrinement into their Hall of Fame. Now, Harold finds himself compared to some Yankee named Derek Jeter. I have no idea who this Jeter is because the Yankees get less coverage than the Canadian transplant team residing in D.C.

Cough. Cough.

Excuse me. That last sentence seemed hard to swallow, for some reason.

I think that Jeter was this single A kid on Brandon Wilson's rookie card. Anyway, the Onion reported about a mass celebration of Jeter. You can read it here. Harold Baines is mentioned prominently in the article.

If you were too lazy to click over, I have saved you a click by reprinting the article below.

NEW YORK—Following Derek Jeter's 2,722nd career hit Friday, Yankee fans and teammates took a moment to honor the all-star shortstop for having 144 fewer hits than former journeyman designated hitter Harold Baines.

Jeter, who reached the historic milestone in the third inning of his team's game again Baltimore, joined a pantheon of Yankee greats that includes Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig—all of whom share the distinction of having fewer career hits than Baines, a one-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award.

"This is a very special moment for me and for the entire Yankee organization," said Jeter, who received a six-minute standing ovation, multiple video tributes, and hours upon hours of media coverage for being 144 hits behind Harold Baines. "As a young boy playing baseball, I never dreamed I would someday be mentioned in the same breath as [Harold Baines], let alone reach the level of having [12 dozen fewer hits than him]."

"They called him the Iron Horse for a reason," said Jeter, apparently referring to the retired designated hitter and sometime outfielder, whose 1981 Fleer rookie card is worth $9.99 in perfect mint condition. "He was a hero. Not just to baseball fans, but to the entire country."

Jeter's 2,722nd career hit not only puts him in the company of Yankee legends, but also ranks him with an elite group of 675,000 additional baseball players past and present with fewer hits than Baines, who played for the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox again, Baltimore Orioles again, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles for a third time, and Chicago White Sox yet again, and is not a member of the Hall of Fame.

Though Jeter prides himself on his team-first attitude, the Yankee shortstop was visibly excited to step into the shadow of Harold Baines.

After hitting safely to right field, Jeter smiled, clapped his hands, and raised his helmet to the throngs of cheering fans, many of whom sat through an 87-minute rain delay to witness their hero fall well short of Harold Baines' 2,866 career-hit mark.

Baines led the American League in slugging percentage in 1984.

"I'm glad I can tell my kids that I was at the game when Derek Jeter [didn't come close to getting as many hits as 22-season veteran Harold Baines, who won his only World Series as a bench coach]," Yankee fan Nick Sullivan said. "[Harold Baines]."

Fellow Yankee players were equally excited for their teammate, rushing the field to congratulate Jeter on successfully becoming a professional baseball player who has fewer base hits than Harold Baines, and only slightly more than Omar Vizquel and Bill Buckner.

Even the team's principal owner, George Steinbrenner, who has largely avoided the public eye since the new Yankee Stadium opened, released a statement extolling his shortstop for taking his rightful place 13 spots below Harold Baines on the all-time career-hit list.

"For those who say today's game can't produce legendary players, I have two words: Derek Jeter," the statement read. "Game in and game out, he simply produces [a lot less than retired nonentity Harold Baines]. And that's why we are honoring this significant accomplishment tonight."

Born in 1959 in Easton, MD, Harold Baines attended St. Michaels High School, where he batted .532 as a senior and was named an all-American. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1977 and would go on to a professional career in which he had more hits than Derek Jeter.

Baines was not on hand to witness Jeter's achievement, and is presumably still alive somewhere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

RIP Henry Gibson

Another actor from one of my favorite movies is dead at the age of 73.

Solomon Grundy, by Henry Gibson;
Solomon Grundy born on Monday;
went to school on Tuesday;
grew a beard on Wednesday;
expelled on Thursday;
protested on Friday;
arrested on Saturday;
drafted on Sunday;
and this was the end of Solomon Grundy.

Rest in peace Henry. You always knew how to make me laugh.

Before Someone Steals The Phrase...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thoughts And White Sox

This post would be what the teaser post from the other day was leading up to. On Saturday, I received a box from Adam of Thoughts And Sox. We had been discussing a trade for awhile through e-mails and we finally pulled the trigger about two weeks ago.

The big surprise was right on top. A 1972 Red Sox rookies card featuring Mike Garman. More importantly, it featured a prominent Cecil Cooper. Most important of all (with no disrespect to the other two players who had fine careers), it featured a young, barely noticeable catcher named Carlton Fisk. A pitcher, a first baseman and a catcher. You could potentially field a skeleton team with those three positions, if the game were pitched just right.

It's been nearly a lifelong dream to own a Carlton Fisk rookie card and that dream became a reality last Saturday. It may not be the prettiest Fisk rookie around, but it's still a Fisk rookie. This card will never leave my collection, even if I eventually get an upgrade. It was in my collection first and that counts for something, in this case.

The box held other surprises too! Let's find out what surprises.

1972 Topps
79 – Red Sox Rookies (Mike Garman, Cecil Cooper, Carlton Fisk)

2000 Skybox Dominion
274 – Pat Daneker/Aaron Myette

2001 Sweet Spot
66 – Matt Ginter (0895/1000)

2002 Donruss Classics
11 – Mark Buehrle

2002 Fleer Showcase
144 – Edwin Almonte (0871/1000)

2002 SP Authentic
35 – Mark Buehrle
134 – Kyle Kane (1532/1999)

2002 Topps Pristine
105 – Mark Buehrle

2003 Bowman
159 – Joe Borchard
277 – Arnie Munoz

2003 Bowman Draft Picks
BDP81 – Matt Nachreiner
BDP85 – Robert Valido

2003 Bowman Draft Picks Chrome
BDP126 – Neal Cotts

2003 Bowman Heritage
107 – Bartolo Colon
176A – Luis Aparicio

2003 Diamond Kings
21 – Mark Buehrle
151 – Joe Borchard

2003 Donruss Champions
56 – Carlos Lee
57 – Corwin Malone
59 – Joe Borchard
60 – Joe Crede
64 – Tim Hummel
65 – Joe Adkins

2003 Donruss Classics
66 – Joe Borchard
69 – Carlos Lee

2003 Finest
55 – Bartolo Colon

2003 Fleer Box Score
46 – Magglio Ordonez
70 – Bartolo Colon

2003 Fleer Double Header
116 – Frank Thomas

2003 Fleer Mystique
66 – Magglio Ordonez

2003 Fleer Splendid Splinters
7 – Bartolo Colon

2003 Leaf
271 – Joe Borchard
290 – Corwin Malone
294 – Jon Adkins
306 – Mitch Wylie

2003 Leaf Certified Materials
39 – Mark Buehrle

2003 Playoff Prestige
189 – Jon Adkins

2003 Topps
546 – Bartolo Colon

2003 Topps 205
5 – Bartolo Colon
34 – Magglio Ordonez
52 – Paul Konerko
144 – Arnie Munoz
251 – Esteban Loaiza
256 – Carlos Lee

2003 Topps Chrome
435 – Joe Borchard/Corwin Malone

2003 Topps HOF Gallery
5 – Luis Aparicio (Wood Bat)
5 – Luis Aparicio (Black Bat)
13 – Eddie Collins

2003 Topps Heritage
63 – Joe Borchard

2003 Topps Total
513 – Arnie Munoz

2003 Topps Total Silver
955 – Rylan Reed

2003 Topps Traded
T11 – Mike Rivera
T142 – Joe Crede

2003 Upper Deck
120 – Mark Buehrle
511 – Josh Stewart

2003 Upper Deck 40 Man
884 – David Sanders

2003 Upper Deck Classic Portraits
15 – Magglio Ordonez
39 – Bartolo Colon

2003 Upper Deck Finite
28 – Bartolo Colon

2003 Upper Deck First Pitch
120 – Mark Buehrle

2003 Upper Deck MVP Sports Nut
SN13 – Magglio Ordonez

2003 Upper Deck Victory
27 – Mark Buehrle

2003 Upper Deck Vintage
282 – Josh Stewart

2004 Absolute Memorabilia Spectrum Gold
53 – Carlos Lee (34/50)

2004 Bowman Chrome
119 – Miguel Olivo
149 – Neal Cotts
217 – Ryan Meaux

2004 Bowman Heritage
26 – Mark Buehrle
328 – Shingo Takatsu

2004 Donruss
98 – Bartolo Colon
197 – Carl Everett

2004 Finest
42 – Mark Buehrle

2004 Fleer Patchworks
107 – Rudy Yan (798/799)

2004 Leaf Certified Materials
100 – Joe Borchard

2004 Playoff Honors
51 – Carlos Lee

2004 Playoff Honors Prime Signatures
PS-36 – Bo Jackson (0966/2500)

2004 SP Authentic
69 – Carlos Lee
71 – Magglio Ordonez

2004 Sweet Spot
162 – Ryan Wing (463/799)

2004 Throwback Threads
48 – Joe Borchard

2004 Topps Chrome
95 – Jose Valentin

2004 Topps Total
751 – Jon Rauch

2004 Ultra
11 – Carlos Lee

2004 Upper Deck Reflections
341 – Shingo Takatsu
361 - Ryan Wing
386 – Enemencio Pacheco

2005 Bowman Chrome
101 – Aaron Rowand

2005 Diamond Kings
285 – Harold Baines
335 – Scott Podsednik
445 – Brandon McCarthy

2005 Diamond Kings HOF Heroes
HH-11 – Carlton Fisk

2005 Donruss Classics Membership
MS-24 – Carlton Fisk (0126/1000)

2005 Origins
209 – Casey Rogowski

2005 Reflections
209 – Casey Rogowski
261 – Paulino Reynoso
262 – Pedro Lopez

2005 Sweet Spot
96 – Brandon McCarthy
140 – Matt Smith
149 – Paulino Reynoso
150 – Pedro Lopez

2005 All-Time Fan Favorites Refractors
134 – Harold Baines (011/299)

2005 Topps Traded Chrome
UH113 – Brian Miller
UH128 – Daniel Haigwood
UH136 – Pedro Lopez
UH146 – Sean Tracey
UH147 – Jerry Owens
UH149 – Brandon McCarthy
UH161 – Micah Schnurstein

2006 SP Legendary Cuts
64 – Vern Kennedy

2006 Upper Deck Gold
567 – Ross Gload (161/299)

2007 Triple Threads
107 – Hoyt Wilhelm (1174/1350)

Thank you, Adam! That is a great selection of cards! Being away from the hobby for the majority of years represented in this box makes me think that cards from this era are needlessly numbered. I'm a bit glad that I didn't waste my money on cards during this time because I was into collecting everything before my epiphany of collecting just what I truly care about in 2007. I think I would have hit myself over the head repeatedly with a brick had I collected during this period.

It's hard enough to collect just the White Sox and select players with the limitations of numbered cards and short prints. Trying to collect everything would have drove me batty!

That being said, I have to admire someone who consistently hits my want list from those periods. My hat is off to you. Bravo! I stopped collecting again in 1994, when I thought that there were too many sets coming out. I couldn't keep up with them, so I left the hobby to explore other interests.

I just hope that the box that I sent over lives up to the expectations that this box brought. I do know that I found cards that were on your want list, at the time it was sent out. I have a feeling that I will be looking through your want list again to see if I can find a few more cards, in the near future.

Thank you again for your generosity.

The Swayze Way

I've been a little occupied lately, but I wanted to share with you an image from one of my favorite Patrick Swayze movies. Yes, that is Patrick Swayze in drag. I've liked a lot of his movies, but this one has to be in the top five. It's always good for some laughs. And heart. Lots of heart. I'll probably get to that movie on the weekend. I chose Red Dawn earlier.

As for the lack of blog posts, I've had some things taking me away from the computer. I was a little under the weather on Saturday into Sunday, so I vegged on the couch for a marathon of the fourth season of SNL. I was sad to see the last major performances of both Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi on the program. Both would appear later on SNL, with John appearing in a sketch standing at a urinal in a Halloween show with Donald Pleasance hosting. I'm kind of glad that Michael Palin never hosted SNL with Belushi in the cast after 1979. I'm not sure if I could take another appearance of Captain Ned of the Raging Queen. Two was enough. It was funny, but overstayed its welcome quickly.

I felt better Sunday night, so I worked on some long neglected band project. Suffice to say, I finally finished the artwork for a Stedy Giers cover of a Beatles song and got it posted on MySpace. I've only been putting it off for months. At least it's done now. It would have been more appropriate last week, but what are you gonna do?

Monday has been spent working my way through a box of cards that I received in the mail, which has everything to do with the teaser post from earlier. The want list is now updated accordingly.

Things should be a little more active than the past few days. That is until Tracey and I see Dreams at Sam Maguire's in Orland Park on Saturday night. What can I say? It's good to know the band.

I think I'll go pop in the Best of Chris Farley, so I can see Swayze win the Chippendale's dancing audition from a surprisingly limber Farley.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Teaser Post

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Contest Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered. The contest ended last night at 7:10PM CST, but I was at my town's Fall On The Green Festival last night. Tracey's cousin's band was playing, so we had to attend. Dreams always puts on a great show and it's always a good time.

Their friend who was supposed to run the camera didn't show up, so I got to run the camera for both performances! I guess I can add rock videographer to my resume. If that didn't happen, then I probably would have randomized the results last night, after I got home.

Instead, I randomized the results this morning. I entered all eleven valid entries below, in the order that they appeared in the comments section.

I hit the randomize button and voila, the winner, they are announced.

Congrats to csd! Please e-mail me your address and I will send out your contest winnings on Monday. Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Card Spotlight: 9-11-09

2001 Bowman's Best #77 - Paul Konerko

Eight years ago, Paul Konerko looked out of his hotel room and saw an amazing sight. Unfathomable to the eyes, it looked like the city was under attack. The eyes, being the window to the soul, do not lie.

Paul was in New York on September 11, 2001, along with the rest of his White Sox teammates. They were getting ready to play the Yankees in a pivotal series in Yankee Stadium. They wouldn't play that day. In fact, the three game series, wouldn't be played until October 1, 2001. It was meaningless to the playoff situation by them. The series was more symbolic, than anything.

The Yankees had already clinched and were headed to the playoffs. The White Sox had been eliminated and were playing out the schedule. Nothing could make up for the images that everyone saw on the morning of September 11, 2001. I can imagine it would be ingrained in the brains of everyone who was in New York that morning.

Out of all the players on the White Sox roster, only two remain playing with the team today. Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle. The events in our lives shape us into who we are today. Konerko has been transformed into the captain of the White Sox and the current dean of the team. The latter requires only longevity. The former requires a lot more.

Contest Ends Tonight!

The contest ends at 7:10PM CST tonight! There are eight valid entries, so far. Don't let this opportunity slip away.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Nine bandwagon officially jumped on today with Minoso card.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WSC Birth Years: Daniel Hudson

Card #22 - Daniel Hudson

Born: March 9, 1987

Daniel made an interesting MLB debut on September 4, 2009. He hit the first batter he saw... on the foot. Call it nerves, or whatever you like, but after that, Daniel pitched two scoreless innings and did not allow another base runner.

Hudson is another player from the successful 2008 draft to make his debut in 2009. This showcases both the composition of the players and the much needed improvements to the scouting system. Look for Daniel Hudson to make a big impact in the next few years.

Photo courtesy of csd.

Monday, September 7, 2009

6 In 30: White Sox Edition

The ladies over at Dinged Corners posed an interesting query. Flip through a random binder and pick out six cards, that make you happy, in a thirty second time limit. After battling with closing the pool, I needed some happiness today. I was up for the challenge.

Thirty seconds can be a very long time, if you are bored and watching the clock. If, on the other hand, you are in a rapid search through a full binder filled with mostly half full pages, time flies faster than Superman with gastrointestinal problems.

I pulled a random binder off the shelf. It happened to be my White Sox binder featuring cards from 1996 and 1997. Knowing that time was of the essence, I limited my picking to those cards that provided some type of instant karma reaction. I would figure out the "whys" later. What was important now was the "what".

It didn't matter "who" either. It just mattered that for a split second, I was in cardboard bliss. A momentary lapse in the rushed fury that caused me to pause. Here are the results.
1996 Fleer #62 – Luis Andujar
It has everything to do with that smile! He looks genuinely happy to be there.

1996 Leaf #172 - Robin Ventura
It's gotta be the mid-air flight. He's kicking up his heels like a jolly leprechaun.

1996 Summit Nth Degree #147 - Alex Fernandez
I'll admit the shininess of the card is what initially attracted me, but it was the sheer determined look that hooked me.

1997 Bowman #440 - Jason Dellaero
The goofy look on Jason's face stopped me dead in my tracks. Plus, in this photo, he looks a little like my cousin... named Jason. In a good way.

1997 Circa #215 - Tony Phillips
Those eyes! I know it's the angle, but the amount of white in the eyes immediately made me stop and look. Haunting!

1997 E-X 2000 #16 - Robin Ventura
It looks like Robin is running from some all encompassing vortex to another dimension. Real compelling stuff!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

WSC Birth Years: Freddy Garcia

Card #21 - Freddy Garcia

Born: June 10, 1976

During his first stint with the White Sox, Freddy was one of the workhorses of the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox rotation. He was dealt to Philadelphia for Jim Thome shortly after the 2006 season. Garcia has had his share of troubled times, pitching wise, since he left Chicago.

After unsuccessful stops in Detroit and in the Mets minor league system, the Sox rewarded Freddy with a minor league contract without any promises, hoping to recapture a bit of his past glories. With question marks at the fourth and fifth starter positions, the White Sox called Garcia up in August 2009. He has impressed, so far, and is in the running for a position in the 2010 Sox rotation.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Card Spotlight: 9-4-09

1991 Upper Deck #744 - Bo Jackson

This card may not look like much, but it was the card to have when the High Numbers set was released by Upper Deck in 1991. It was perceived to be the first easily obtainable Bo Jackson card in a White Sox uniform.

Score and Topps would put him in their year end sets, but those were typically bought by the set. Little did we realize that a cheaper card stock version of the Topps Traded set would be available by packs that year. Nonetheless, this was the mecca for many collectors that year.

Upper Deck was generally thought of as having a low print run, so the fever for a superstar of this magnitude to be shown in his new uniform first was huge! Many companies had Darryl Strawberry in a Dodgers uniform already. No major trading card company had Bo in a White Sox uniform. No other card in the high number series caused this much excitement, back in 1991.

Card shops and table dealers immediately priced the card at the unheard of price of one dollar. Even with the card being widely available, this Bo Jackson card would fly off the shelves. I know many people who bought multiple copies of this card, priced at a dollar or more, thinking that they would be sitting on a goldmine. It never came to be.

Time has been very cruel to 1991 Upper Deck. This Bo Jackson card, which commanded a top line price in 1991, can be had for under a quarter now. Sometimes, I'll receive a few copies in a trade as an extra, just because the card is taking up space. Unloved and unwanted, the 1991 Upper Deck High Numbers Bo Jackson card is now tossed aside. The excitement has long vanished and the roar of the crowd has died. I'll always remember this card for what is used to be and what it stood for; the first major set release with Bo Jackson in a White Sox uniform.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

WSC Birth Years: Carlos Torres In Action

Card #20 - Carlos Torres - In Action

Born: October 22, 1982

Another bonus card for the "In Action" series from the 1982 Topps set.

WSC Birth Years: Carlos Torres

Card #19 - Carlos Torres

Born: October 22, 1982

Carlos has impressed in his three Major League starts in 2009. Not only did he pick up his first win on September 3, 2009, he also made his first plate appearance. His pitching was thankfully better than his hitting. Carlos went seven strong innings, tossing six strikeouts, five hits and no walks, for his first win.

Torres seemed like a long shot to ever reach the Majors. He was drafted in the 15th round of the 2004 draft, 449th overall. He made an emergency start on July 22, 2009, for his MLB debut, replacing John Danks, who had a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand.

Carlos will be fighting for the fifth starting position in 2010.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Out Of The Metrodome Contest

I want to hear your Metrodome horror stories. Did your favorite team have a nightmare play, a horrible game or just a bad memory of this ill-fated football venue where baseball was played? I want to hear about it.

It doesn't matter what team it is. Even Twins fans, I'm sure, have horror stories in that place. It doesn't matter if your team is the home team or a visiting American League or visiting National League team. I want to hear a horror story that involved your team getting the shaft.

Here's the format for the contest.

Team: xxxxxx
Bad memory: xxxxxxxxxxxx

The winner will be randomly selected by

The winner will receive this lovely 2009 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph of Brian Duensing, numbered to 499. Brian was the last starting pitcher to face the White Sox in the Metrodome.

Contest is open to anyone. One entry per person. Invalid entries will not be included. Entries must have team name and bad memory to be counted. If you enter an invalid entry, you are out of the contest, so make sure your first and only entry count! Only your first entry will be considered.

Contest ends on September 11, 2009 at 7:10 PM Central time, which is the scheduled start time for the Twins last home stand in September. The last home stand is actually in October, but I didn't want to stretch the contest out that long.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wax Heaven Sample Pack: 2009 Topps Chrome

Last week, Mario from Wax Heaven, offered me a chance to review a "sample pack" of 2009 Topps Chrome. In agreeing to review this sample, I was to decide on the product itself and no other biased criteria. I can certainly call 'em like I see 'em, so the sample arrived today.

Let me tell you what this isn't. This isn't a traditional pack. This is just a sampling of random cards. Some base cards are included and a few different parallels and "hits" make up the sample pack. This is a broader selection of the set and can be reviewed more as the set instead of relying on the opening a single pack.

This should be a more honest view of the set itself, instead of the pure luck of the draw. So, I will base my review on those parameters.

The Base Cards

42 - Kosuke Fukudome
99 - John Smoltz
8 - Jason Giambi
47 - Evan Longoria
75 - Ryan Braun
87 - Derrek Lee
131 - Troy Glaus

The first thing that I noticed had nothing to do with the set. It had to do with the players. Two of the first three players (Smoltz and Giambi) are no longer on the teams depicted on the cards. Troy Glaus makes his 2009 debut with the Cardinals tonight because of injuries this year. All seven are recognizable names which is great for a product like this.

The players seem to "pop" more because of the chrome technology. The Topps Chrome sets almost always look sharp and this year is no exception. Even a boring card, like Smoltz, is enhanced by the chrome.

The Refractor Parallels
214 - Gordon Beckham
88 - Ichiro

Refractors are some of the hardest baseball cards to scan. You never really appreciate the subtle undertones of the process until you have a card in your hands. The same is true with this year's refractor parallels. Why mess with success?

The WBC Refractor Parallels
W48 - James Beresford (158/199)

I didn't receive a regular World Baseball Classic card for comparison, but I'll say that the chrome and refractor combination really makes these card stand out. The card feels similar to porcelain. The colors in the WBC logo really shine.

The Blue Refractor Parallels
68 - Jay Bruce (196/199)

Blue is always a great border color with refractors. It's usually something different than the base border color and it frames everything in a different light. While each card is limited to just 199 copies, this is still a very easy set to tackle.

The Gold Refractor Parallels
89 - Javier Vazquez (18/50)

The gold parallel is normally a given with Topps products. The gold border works, but not as well as it should. It is a step above the regular base set gold parallel. Only 50 copies of each card exist, making this parallel set a little harder to complete. Harder, but not impossible.

The Autographed Rookie Refractor Parallels
240 - Brian Duensing (001/499)
The autograph that I received in this "sample pack" looks pretty sharp. This is a refractor parallel numbered to 499 copies. While the sell sheets for the rookie autos show a possible sticker autograph, the one on this card looks to be on card. The rectangle surrounding the signature is actually part of the design on the card.

Based on the sample given to me, I would recommend this product. I would not, however, put it at the top of my list. For all of you shiny card connoisseurs, this product will give you your fix. For those of you who are indifferent to all things shiny, this set may disappoint. The value you would receive in a typical store bought pack will rarely match this sample, but that doesn't mean that you will never pull the hits. Just don't expect to pull them in every pack.

A set that improves on the 2009 Topps base set and has only a few parallels to chase is pretty decent in this day and age. I am impressed with the autograph that I have seen in person. The design is not overbearing and the simplicity makes that card look elegant.

Look for one or more possible contests giving away the majority of these cards, in the near future.

At Least The Sox Outlook Isn't This Bad

Apparently, there is no outlook at all for the Washington Nationals! Hopefully, that's just an error and not a statement by That's pretty a pretty bleak outlook, even for the Nationals.

Unconventional Wisdom

Jim Thome's (possibly temporary) departure from the South Side of Chicago opens the door to many possibilities. Podsednik could be spared the embarrassment of the outfield and be placed as DH, based solely on his bat prowess. Yeah, I can't believe I typed that either, but it's true.

The Sox could also see how Tyler Flowers responds to Major League pitching, while still appeasing A.J. The outfield can get a rotating rest, which everyone but Rios seems to need. Konerko could slip in at DH and the Sox could try Dye at first base, if any such thoughts of that were in store for 2010.

Let's face it. The Sox are still technically in the race, but are in third place. They actually have to win games to win the division. Unless the mother of all miracles happens, the Sox aren't going to take the Central Division. Everything would have to go right, in order for this underachieving team to finish first.

Now that we've assumed that the Sox are effectively out of the race, let's explore one more possibility. Frank Thomas.

The pros:
- Frank and the White Sox can give the fans a great big thank you.
- Frank can finish his career in a White Sox uniform.
- The Sox have nothing else to play for, so why not a nostalgia tour.

The cons:
- Frank hasn't played in months.
- Frank could endanger his superb lifetime batting average.
- Frank was in a grumbling clubhouse that wouldn't let Minnie Minoso play.

OK, so the last con was more of a personal gripe, but all the cons don't outweigh the pros of having Frank Thomas suit up one last time. The White Sox really need a positive boost for the fan base. This could be that boost.
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