Monday, November 30, 2009

1949 Bowman

This is an iconic set, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't filled with bad choices. The cards are ugly, but they aren't as ugly as the 1941 Goudey set. They do come close to that level of ugly.

The players are hard to identify sometimes and team affiliations occasionally do not match the uniform on the front of the card. Still, this is one of the best known sets to come out of the forties.

If you count all the cards picturing or listing the player as being a part of the White Sox, there are a total of thirteen cards. If you choose only to follow the team listing on the back, there are ten cards. If you choose to follow the pretty pictures, there are eleven cards.

12 - Cass Michaels
28 - Don Kolloway
44 - Dave Philley
87 - Randy Gumpert (pictured in a Yankees uniform/back lists White Sox)
96 - Taft Wright (pictured in a White Sox uniform/back lists Athletics)
103 - Joe Tipton (pictured in an Indians uniform/back lists White Sox)
119 - Floyd Baker
133 - Aaron Robinson (pictured in a White Sox uniform/back lists Tigers)
141 - Tony Lupien (pictured in a White Sox uniform/back lists Tigers)
159 - Glen Moulder
175 - Luke Appling
191 - Joe Haynes
217 - Marino Pieretti

Players being out of sync with their uniforms is nothing new to the hobby. This was happening sixty years ago. Information flows much faster than it did back then. There really isn't much of an excuse for this in a modern card set. In 1949, this would have been perfectly acceptable.

The mismatches are sort of endearing to a vintage set like this. Bowman also couldn't decide whether or not to issue the cards with names on the front. Some cards have the name on the front (usually the higher numbers), some do not have the name. Then there are the rare few where both versions can be found of one card. No card affiliated with the White Sox has two versions.

Mailbox Joys: 50 Proof

2008 Stadium Club Photographer's Proof Gold #65 - Nick Swisher 33/50

There's a reason why I haven't reviewed this set for the blog yet. Even after being available for over a year, the set is still confusing. Retail and high end hobby versions. First day and photographer's proof parallels. Some cards in the set only seem to be available in either the high end expensive hobby product or the cheaper bare bones retail version.

That being said, the photography is the key here. Some of it is simply stunning. Even Nick Swisher making a routine play on this card looks beautiful and important. I wish Topps would have treated this set as such.

So much potential was lost in this product. That does make it a bit easier to pick up cheaply on the secondary market. This was my first photographer's proof card from this release and I couldn't be happier with the result. The gold foil shines in person. Unfortunately, it shows up as a dirty copper color blob when scanned.

This card makes me pine for a Stadium Club set done right. It even makes me forgive Swisher for being such a two faced pouty jerk of a player. Well, almost. I still like him as a person, since he has a good heart. His baseball side is a lot like this set. It looks good on the surface, but when you dig deeper, you see it needs a lot of work.

Cards That Never Were #12

1968 Topps - Bill Skowron

It would be easy to ignore Moose's 1967 season. He got off to a poor start with the White Sox and was quickly traded to the Angels for Cotton Nash and cash. Life in California was slightly better, but not by much.

Bill finished out the year with the Angels before being released shortly after the season was over. Considering Skowron won five World Series championships (four with the Yankees and one with the Dodgers), you would think that he would be deserving of a final card. You would be wrong. Even his six All-Star Game selections didn't sway Topps to issue a 1968 card.

According to Topps, Moose's last team was with the White Sox and his last card was in the 1967 set. Let's correct that oversight right now. Here is Bill Skowron's proper final card.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Card Spotlight: 11-27-09

2006 SP Legendary Cuts #62 - Sloppy Thurston

When I first got back into collecting cards in 2007, I tried to make up for thirteen years of absence by sampling every product I could get my hands on. The second hobby box I purchased from the local card shop was 2006 SP Legendary Cuts.

I instantly fell in love with the product. If I was thinking clearly back then, I probably would have finished the set. Instead, I showed great restraint and only collected the White Sox cards in the set. I sold the rest through eBay.

Back then, I solely focused on the White Sox cards in each set. Since then, I have expanded that original criteria into chasing one complete set and a few players that I admire. Mainly, I have stuck to my guns.

I'm a sucker for cards that feel retro without actually "borrowing" from a classic design. If a company fills a set with retired players that normally don't get a lot of "card love" nowadays, I will usually gravitate towards that set. If I ever get into a lull in my card collecting, I may decide to chase this set.

The design is sharp and it looks even better in person. The scan does not do the card proper justice. It even feels different. It's printed on very solid stock and at first glance reminded me of porcelain.

Last year, the unexpected happened. SP Legendary Cuts turned into some type of hybrid product which featured mostly current players. It was not one of my favorite releases of 2008. 2009 continued that trend. If you are intrigued by baseball history and love collecting retired players, you can't go wrong with this set from 2007 or earlier. It's a shame that card companies tinker with a winning formula. I can still concentrate on the earlier sets. So I got that going for me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Getting ready for dinner and still recovering (in a good way) from the Dreams concert last night. This is beginning to be an annual tradition!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just When I Thought It Was Safe...

... Topps pulls this variation card out of their hat. In what seemed like minutes after I had opened my mouth and claimed that I would be frustrated if the White Sox had a stupid "variation" parallel, I run across this card staring me in the face.


Topps should really have their license pulled for crap like this. It's not cute anymore. It stopped being cute the moment I saw a squirrel with his own baseball card, along with a cutesy name that made me want to vomit.

Can someone please organize an intervention for Topps? One is long overdue.

Welcome Andruw Jones

Next up on Kenny Williams' wishlist from 2000 is Andruw Jones. Andruw is expected to be a bench player, who will pinch hit, play a little outfield and DH. With this signing, the White Sox bench should be feared. Why does that make me a little bit afraid?

We will see how these moves will pan out during the season, but I hope Kenny Williams is focusing on the 2010 team and not fulfilling his decade old dream team.

Either way, it should be an interesting sight to see on the South Side next year. Jones signed a one year contract for $500,000.00. It's a low enough commitment that if this doesn't work out, it shouldn't be taxing the budget too much. Hopefully, Andruw will have a bit of a resurgence here.

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

2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers

For the second year in a row, Topps has continued the Heritage set with a high numbers release. Basically, they are exploiting the fact that some of their older sets came in different series throughout the year and created this release to add an update set onto the existing retro set.

I don't have a problem with an update to the Heritage set. I love the idea! I have a problem with how the retro update set is marketed. In order to get around the pesky rule of only having a certain number of sets per year, Topps latches this onto the Updates & Highlights set and treats this as an insert set.

Even someone with a transorbital lobotomy can figure out that if six out of the eight cards in a pack are from the Heritage High Numbers set, that is probably the main set of the pack. I would think that licensing would have been pulled from Topps instead of Upper Deck for this type of mockery.

From the base set, there are four different White Sox cards, including a short print card of Gordon Beckham.

516 - Bartolo Colon
569 - Alex Rios
682 - Scott Podsednik
699 - Gordon Beckham

This isn't a bad addendum to the set earlier in the year. In fact, this set really compliments the other. It is a natural progression to the first release and I feel very good recommending this update set. I'm still not a fan of the way it's distributed, but I certainly can't complain about the product itself. With only four cards to pick up (as far as I can tell at this early juncture), this should be a fairly easy set to finish for the White Sox team collector.

There is now photographic proof of a gimmick card of Alex Rios featuring a black & white photo instead of the color. I haven't seen one for sale yet, but just the thought of it existing is another slap in the face by Topps.

Cards That Never Were #11

1969 Topps - Rocky Colavito

Rocky's last card was in the 1968 Topps set as a member of the Chicago White Sox. The only problem is that Rocky spent the first half of the 1968 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the second half with the New York Yankees.

By the 1968 season, Colavito was well past his prime. He still managed to appear in 79 games between Los Angeles and New York. While with Cleveland, and to a lesser extent Detroit, he put up fantastic numbers. One would think that this would justify a final card for Rocky. This was sadly not the case.

Forty years later, Rocky Colavito will finally get his final card.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2009 Topps T-206

The year is winding down and there is yet another retro set on the market. Topps, who already put out a 206 set in 2002, has decided to mark the 100th anniversary of the original tobacco set with this tribute release.

The cards themselves look smart and somewhat faithful to the original design. Purists will complain that the set feels forced and doesn't retain the look of the original T-206 set. I would have to agree to a degree.

If you want a true faithful rendition, purchase 2009 Goudey. This is not what's on display here. This set reminds me of the spectacular Obak release from a few months ago. The only differences lies in the backgrounds and the licensing of team logos.

There are eleven cards featuring White Sox players. That number may fluctuate slightly, as I see examples of every card. Jim Thome is still stuck in a White Sox uniform. I was wondering if Topps would sneak Thome into a Dodgers uniform, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

3 - Carlos Quentin
80 - Jim Thome
97 - Gavin Floyd
108 - Alex Rios
161 - Jermaine Dye
174 - Gordon Beckham
191 - Paul Konerko
193 - Jake Peavy
238 - Mark Buehrle
255 - A.J. Pierzynski
284 - Alexei Ramirez

Overall, the Topps T-206 base set is a winner. I have seen examples of sticker autographs as inserts and that feels completely wrong for a retro set. There is a Gordon Beckham short print back variation out there, which has "Rookie American League" and nothing else.

There are the usual mini parallels and back variations for every card in the set. Refractors, printing plates and other unnecessary evils of modern card collecting are present too. The exact information on all of that jazz will slowly leak out, as more boxes are opened. Going to the Topps website for help on any complete set checklist is a complete joke. The one thing that's not a joke? This excellent looking set!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome Omar Vizquel

The White Sox signed Omar Vizquel, who will be 43 in April, to a one year deal today. He will be used as a backup middle infielder.

The White Sox have a knack for high profile Venezuelan shortstops. Although it would have been nice to have Vizquel ten or twenty years ago, Kenny Williams seems to prefer high profile stars in the twilight of their careers.

Hopefully, Omar will bring a much needed spark to the lineup and stability in the middle infield. He did a decent job as a backup player with the Rangers last year, so there is no indication that the Sox can't expect more of the same.

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

Memories Linger

Memories are something that no one can take away. I have vivid memories starting around two years old. One of my best memories was from July 5, 1981. I was a few months shy of five years old, but there I was at my Uncle Jack's house playing catch with him in the backyard.

I can remember feeling so much joy in that one simple act. Playing catch with my uncle may have only lasted a few minutes, maybe less, but at that age, it seemed like an eternity. I was in complete bliss.

I imagine that we were at some type of barbecue, since it was the day after the fourth of July. I also remember that I chose not to watch my favorite movie that had just started on cable, The Blues Brothers (which I had all of the dialogue memorized by that time). Instead, I went out in my aunt and uncle's backyard to play catch.

My uncle saw how much I enjoyed playing with the baseball, so he inscribed it for me. He spelled my first name out on the sweet spot and underneath he wrote, "FROM UNCLE JACK 7-5-81". I still have that ball today and whenever I want a quick smile, I'll pull that ball out and reminisce.

My Uncle Jack passed away on Wednesday in Florida. He was in the middle of playing golf, so I can take comfort that he was doing something he loved in his last moments.

I didn't see him very much over the years. My dad's side of the family only gets together for weddings and funerals, mainly. I did get to visit him when I got my driver's license. He sold me my first auto insurance policy. He shook my hand and offered his congratulations.

It's those little moments that I will always remember. If this blog is lacking in the new post department over the next few days, now you know why. This weekend my mission is to find a ball holder for that ball.

Card Spotlight: 11-20-09

1992 Pinnacle #227 - Dan Pasqua

Once upon a time, there were a plethora of baseball card companies in existence. Each had many different releases. Sometimes the sets were so diverse, that one could not distinguish which cards came from which company without looking at the tiny print.

2009 is a much simpler time, in that respect. There are only so many places where cards come from today. By 2010, there will only be one card company that will be fully licensed to produce cards. That company would be Topps. As of next year, only Topps will be able to produce images of players with logos. Any other company will need to get creative.

Back in 1992, only card sets that came with baked goods and cereal had to airbrush logos out. Pinnacle has long since ceased production of baseball cards. Still, the memories of this age are fresh in my mind. It may have been the overproduction era, but there were so many choices.

Innovations in how cards were presented were born out of healthy competition between card companies. Where will the Dan Pasquas of today find a home? Today's Dan Pasqua is someone like a Nick Swisher, with one difference. Dan Pasqua would not showboat or complain about where he ended up on the field. Dan Pasqua would play wherever the manager assigned him.

He did not fuss or cry foul if he wasn't in the lineup. He came to the park ready to play and did his job to the best of his ability. There was no flash, yet Dan occasionally had a flair for the dramatic, when he would hit a mammoth home run. His numbers may not show it, but I felt confident every time that Dan came up against a right handed pitcher.

I, along with many other collectors, miss Pinnacle. I miss all of the other fallen brands too. There was a feeling I would get when I went to the card shop and had a smorgasbord of packs to choose from. Pinnacle always stood out when I was in a pinch. Dan Pasqua stood out to me when the Sox were in a pinch. Whenever I run across a Pinnacle card in my collection, I always think about this card of Pasqua and collecting as a teenager. Looking back, I wouldn't trade either memory for the world.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heartbreakingly Random Shiny

I love unexpected packages in the mail! One such package arrived at my house today from Heartbreaking Cards Of Staggering Genius.

Even with Matt being on hiatus, he is still churning out some amazing posts. Not only is it the place to see Royals cards, Matt even managed to showcase my favorite thirsty vampire manager card in a salute to arms sequel.

With only six cards to the lot, each of them makes a powerful statement.

2007 Bowman Chrome Refractor
BDPP43 - Leroy Hunt

There are so many versions of Bowman prospect cards covering various releases, it's hard to keep up with what set each card is from. For those who know, it's dedication.

2007 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor
206 - Jose Contreras

The shiny blue border makes this card look awesome!

2008 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor
79 - Paul Konerko

The same can be said for this blue bordered shiny card from the following year!

2008 Topps Gold
486 - Javier Vazquez (0170/2008)

Let's speak some freaky deeky Dutch. Gooooooooooooold!!!!

2008 Topps Opening Day Gold
113 - Jose Contreras (1908/2008)

These gold variations have eluded me, for the most part.

2009 Sweet Spot
13 - Carlos Quentin

Mmmmm... bumpy card! Feel the stitching!

Thanks, Matt! These cards were an unexpected and cool surprise.

1990 Score McDonalds

One of the greatest thrills and greatest frustrations is running into a set that was a test run. It makes it even harder when that set is issued by a fast food restaurant.

These cards were put out by Score for a McDonalds test run in eleven stores. These eleven stores were located in the great MLB areas of Idaho and eastern Oregon. Whoever had the bright idea that this would be a good testing ground for a MLB card set should have been fired. That's almost like saying that I want to put a hockey franchise in Ecuador.

There are 25 cards in the set, but that's not where it gets bad. It is believed that only 4,000 of each card was produced. Who knows how many cards actually survived due the the extreme nature of the test run.

Regardless, there are still two White Sox cards to chase in the set.

4 - Carlton Fisk
21 - Ozzie Guillen

This looks similar to the 1990 Score release with a McDonalds logo stuck on the card. This actually improves upon that set design by using a gradient style for the border. It does scream early nineties, but the dated look is offset by the rarity of the cards.

The cards are usually way overpriced on the secondary market. A complete set is worth around fifty dollars, while the commons are about a dollar and twenty five cents. If you can find these cards at a decent price, they are worth picking up. Just don't overpay for them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1983 All-Star Game Program Inserts

Unlike most sets, I really don't know much about this set. From the listing of the set, I would assume that these were inserts in the 1983 All-Star Game program. Even if the history of the cards elude me, I can still enjoy them.

The insert set itself is 180 cards. They seem to be separated by position and then arranged by alphabetical order. The cards only measure 2 inches by 1 1/4 inches, so they are tiny!

Of the 180 cards, there are only six cards featuring White Sox players.

6 - Tom Paciorek
40 - Carlton Fisk
47 - Harold Baines
59 - Greg Luzinski
75 - Richard Dotson
81 - Dennis Lamp

This is a cool little set. The cards are paper thin and remind me of a cross between postage stamps and vending machine stickers. This set is so oddball, that I can't even find it in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.

I think it's pretty neat to have a set of White Sox inserts from an All-Star Game played at Comiskey Park. It's a great way to remember the event. Hopefully, I'll be able to track down more of these sets from different years.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mailbox Joys: Mr. Bo Jackson

2009 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH52b - Bo Jackson

I have a love/hate relationship with hidden variations in sets. I love the idea behind them, but I hate the task of tracking these variations down at a price that won't break the bank.

Luckily, I found the White Sox Bo Jackson variation for under $2.00 with a low shipping price. I'm glad that I jumped on the card because every other seller had this card listed around $5.00 with ridiculously high shipping.

I haven't been lucky enough to find any variations in any 2009 Topps product this year. I'm a little shocked that a White Sox player popped up in the variations. If Topps wanted to go mainstream, they would have chosen Bo in a Royals uniform. If they wanted to go obscure, Topps would have had Bo pictured in an Angels uniform. Instead, Topps went middle of the road and I couldn't be happier about that.

If Topps were to make a set next year with great players in rarely seen uniforms, I would probably collect that set. The oddity of Ken Griffey Jr. in a White Sox uniform could be followed by the strangeness of Babe Ruth in a Braves uniform or George Foster in a White Sox uniform.

Mark Grace in a Diamondbacks uniform, followed by Reggie Jackson as an Oriole. The possibilities are endless! Somewhere down the line, most famous players have worn an odd duck uniform. A regular set featuring that would be collecting heaven for me. I think that's why I loved the Obak set so much this year. Even the career one team players were featured in a different uniform. It was fun!

Bo Jackson was the biggest hurdle of completing the 2009 Topps Update set. Now, it's gotten a whole lot easier.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who Knew?

Apparently Baileys is better than Bacon.

At least according to the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

Congrats to Andrew Bailey for beating Gordon Beckham.

Maybe I should celebrate by combining alcohol and bacon?

Autographed Hawk

Because some people wanted to see it, here is my autographed 1989 Topps Andre Dawson card.

I obtained it through a card shop around 1990.

Originally, I was unsure of having a Cub autograph in my collection. Hawk won me over with the awesome signature and his even more awesome playing.

I used to love the Expos. I have a soft spot for Expos players. Hawk was an awesome player for the Expos. It was a simple decision after that.

I do have other things in my collection, other than White Sox cards and a few player collections. I just don't seek these things out. Somehow, they seek me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Many Faces Of Sosa

Fresh faced rookie

Speedy strikeout king

Raging monster

Aging hipster

Token white guy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Card Spotlight: 11-13-09

1991 Score Traded #81T - Brian Drahman

Sometimes it's the most common cards that elude you. Even in the overproduced era of baseball cards, I still have commons that I have never seen.

A year ago, I lacked a Barry Jones card to complete a 1991 Donruss Sox set. Finally, I got that card in a trade and was able to finally put '91 Donruss to rest.

Today, I finally completed the 1991 Score Traded set. I had a few cards left to pick up but I was never able to find the cards as singles. I broke down and just bought the whole set. It was simpler than tracking down singles that were only available in a set.

I found an unopened set online with free shipping. I was the only bidder so I ended up paying $3.50 for the set. When it arrived in the mail, the postage was $3.89. It literally cost more to ship the set than I shelled out. That's the way it works, when dealing with cards from the overproduced era. That's why you don't see a lot of commons up for sale.

The sad thing is that I now own rookie cards of Ivan Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell and many others in this set that I picked up for a song. I am happy about that aspect, but something still saddens me about having to obtain cards this way. If I were a set collector, I would be thrilled. I only collect the White Sox and a few select players.

The only thing I really remember about Brian Drahman is the palmball. I can remember Ken Harrelson and Tom Paciorek making a huge deal about Brian throwing one. The pitch was a mild success in the hands of Drahman. He stuck around the majors for four years, mainly because of that one pitch. It must have impressed other people as well. He is currently the pitching coach for the minor league Great Falls, Montana team.

The Voyagers, which are an Advanced Rookie class team, have been an affiliate of the White Sox since 2003. Ex White Sox players never fade away. They just become White Sox employees. I can respect that. It's nice to have continuity. It's also nice to complete a pesky traded set with a common reliever.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dinged Corners Challenge: 3 On Card Autos

I have many autographs in my collection. Not as many as some people, but a fair share. I will share three that I obtained before autographs were included in products.

1990 Topps - Frank Thomas
I bought this after a signing at Chicago Ridge Mall when Frank was there for a signing in his rookie year. The shop always had the signers autograph extra to sell at the shop later. I took one look at the lines for Frank and decided it would be a wise move to come back after the signing to get my autograph. One of the best decisions I ever made!

1990 Upper Deck - Carlton Fisk
The same shop had a Fisk combo autographed card and ball. I saved up and purchased this shortly after the Frank Thomas.

1985 Donruss - Harold Baines
The card was picked up at a card show in 1995. I was rifling through the autographed cards, just to see if they had anything interesting. I had stopped collecting, but my friend thought it would be fun to attend a show at the local K of C. I came with no shopping agenda, but I saw this card cheap and snatched it up. I added an autographed ball about ten years later and tracked down a ball/card display holder and that is how it has stayed.

Other cards that were considered.

1993 Upper Deck - Jason Bere
1989 Topps - Andre Dawson
1990 Leaf - Shawn Boskie

All were cards that I picked up in my youth, before an autograph was expected out of a pack.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Pictured on their way to Hawaii in 1944: (back row left to right) Walt Judnich; then-future White Sox player, Mike McCormick; Joe DiMaggio; (front row left to right) then-current White Sox player, Dario Lodigiani; Jerry Priddy.

Let us never forget the sacrifices that people in the armed forces made. Some things are even more important than baseball. And remember, even if you don't support war, always support the troops.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2nd Anniversary Contest Winner

I got a lot of interesting responses, which is exactly what I was looking for. I even accepted "nothing" as an answer. I didn't want to come out and say that could be an answer or everyone would end up saying that. That being said, Patrick Swayze definitely was a lame favorite, as was the post where this very contest was announced.

I'm not promising anything, but I don't think that Swayze in drag picture will ever make another appearance on this blog. Never say never though. I can be enough of a cheeky bastard to pull that out again, if provoked.

Congratulations to RoofGod for coming out on top in the randomizer!!

Please e-mail me your address and a choice of baseball team and I will mail out some cards shortly after.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with their entry, opinion and/or well wishes. Let's try for another successful year!

Post script...

I use Firefox exclusively to view and edit this blog. I haven't had any problems since switching over to this browser over a year ago. Kinda weird that someone else could not see this blog properly using the same browser. I'm glad that there are good alternatives out there for those of you who have trouble viewing the blog properly.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Contest Time!

White Sox Cards turns two today. I want to hold an easy contest & I'd like some brutal honesty. Leave a comment on this post between now and 11:59 PM today and your name will be put in the randomizer. You could win some free cards!!

Here's the catch. I want to hear what you think is the lamest post on this blog over the past two years. It could be anything. It's your opinion. It could be something from the infancy of this blog. It could be something recent that you thought was the stupidest thing ever. There are no wrong or right answers here. Just some honest feedback.

If there is no answer whatsoever, the comment will not count towards the contest. You can comment as many times as you like, but only one entry will be accepted.

Be creative. Be honest. I want to give out free cards to somebody!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Question For The Horror Fans

This has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, but a question has been bothering me for a number of years. Many who frequent this site happen to be horror movie aficionados, so I thought I'd ask.

Sometime in the mid to late eighties, I caught a movie on one of the movie cable networks. It was most likely Cinemax, when they used to run a bevy of horror movies.

All I remember of a particular movie is one scene that has stood out in my mind. It featured the killer, in a yellow raincoat walking up the stairs. Along the way, his hand is stuck in gum left on the banister. He grumbles about it and continues back up the stairs.

And that's all I got. That one part of one scene. It's been driving me batty for years! With my luck, it's probably part of the stupidest movie on Earth, but I need to know.

I've had some suggestions over the years as to what it may be. I've heard "Student Bodies", but I have never seen this scene in that movie. I've heard "April Fool's Day". I didn't see it in there either. I've heard "Communion" (AKA "Alice, Sweet Alice" or "Holy Terror"). The only connection to that movie is the raincoat and that was worn by a twelve year old girl in "Communion", so that is definitely not it.

My feeling is that it came from a low budget horror/comedy from the early to mid eighties, but I just don't know. If anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Card Spotlight: 11-6-09

1960 Leaf #66 - Earl Battey

This is my first foray into 1960 Leaf. It arrived on Thursday. I had never actually seen any of these cards in person, so I was in for a little culture shock when it arrived. The card is ever so slightly under the standard size.

Whenever I would see a picture of 1960 Leaf cards, the design always made me think of the fifties and sixties team promos that were 5x7 or 4x6. Something in my brain made me think that the 1960 Leaf cards were exactly the same. I can see how foolish I actually was, now that I have my first card in hand.

This was around a time where cards came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. My thinking wasn't out of line. It was just flawed without seeing an example in hand.

This is one of my first cards of Earl Battey too. Earl was a great catcher that was blocked by Sherm Lollar in the Sox organization. His sporadic starts did nothing for his average. He was a lifetime .209 hitter with the White Sox. When he was shipped off to the Senators, he blossomed into a great overall player, winning three gold gloves. By the time that the Senators moved to Minnesota and dubbed the Twins, Earl was a star.

1960 Leaf is strange for many reasons. This was the first Leaf baseball set since the forties and the last until the eighties. There are variations that zoom in on just the face, if you didn't think the mugshot bust shots weren't creepy enough. The set was packaged in a wrapper with marbles. Yes, those round little objects that kids used to play with in a circle (before they played with video games) were packaged with these cards.

This is also one of the last cards of Earl Battey in a White Sox uniform. By the time this card came out, he had already went to Washington.

WSC Birth Years: Wes Whisler

Card #29 - Wes Whisler

Born: April 7, 1983

Wes is an imposing pitcher standing at 6'5". Whisler made his MLB debut on June 2, 2009. He only made three appearances with the White Sox, but they were decent.

In his first two games, he pitched 1.1 innings and didn't allow any hits or runs and finished the game. Both were games where the Sox did not score.

In Wes' final game of the 2009 season, he allowed two walks, which came around to score. The future still looks bright for Whisler. If the Sox need an arm, Wes will be there to help out.

Mailbox Joys: An Old All-Star

1958 Topps #479 Nellie Fox AS

I found myself with a few extra bucks in the PayPal account, so I decided to check out some cards and make some frugal purchases. It's something that I haven't done in awhile, so I've been having fun!

One of those finds came into my life on Thursday through the courtesy of the U.S. mail.

Usually, the fifties Topps All-Star cards are a little out of my price range. Bidding usually goes up pretty quickly for the cards that I see. I got pretty lucky and found a 99 cent steal.

Sure, the card is a bit off center, but the corners are sharp and the color is good. I'm happy with the card and I can live with the minor flaws, until I find an upgrade.

The thing that really sticks out is the photo. He is only 30 years old in this photo, but he reminds me of my grandfather. Still, he was an amazing player in his day. His career really took off after leaving the Athletics. He is the first player I was aware of from the 1959 team and he is one that I love to find bargains on. Every single card I have of Nellie from the fifties, I found dirt cheap. I'm not sure if that's luck or skill, but it doesn't matter. The journey is over for this card.

WSC Birth Years: Jhonny Nunez

Card #28 - Jhonny Nunez

Born: November 26, 1985

Jhonny only appeared in seven games in 2009. Most of those occurred in blowout games. It included his Major League debut on August 2nd in the ninth inning with two outs. In fact, four out of the seven appearances were game finishers.

5.2 innings in seven games isn't really a fair assessment of Jhonny's talent. Nunez may find a better fit on the 2010 team. There may be more chances for him. After a full year in the White Sox system, 2010 should bring a more defined role.

Jhonny came to the Sox in the Nick Swisher trade of November 2008. He was able to slip into the White Sox bullpen, after bouncing around between the Dodgers, Nationals and Yankees farm systems.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's Hear It For The Red And Blue!

Among all the Halloween madness that occurred, I received a message from John of Johngy's Beat that he was dropping off another package soon. All he would hint at was that I would be seeing a lot of red and blue.

Immediately, that got me very excited! Red and blue from John could only mean seventies goodness! Boy was that ever worth the wait.

I slept in this morning and missed the Sox/Royals trade that may or may not have happened. I also missed a stop by John. When I awoke, I found a package for me on the coffee table.

In my eagerness, I ripped open the package and found Rich Hinton staring back at me. I was taken aback for a second. What were these? Could it be? I think it might be. Yes! SSPC!

Nearly a full team set!

134 - Bill Gogolewski
135 - Dan Osborn
136 - Jim Kaat
137 - Claude Osteen
138 - Cecil Upshaw
140 - Lloyd Allen
141 - Brian Downing
142 - Jim Essian
143 - Bucky Dent
144 - Jorge Orta
145 - Lee Richard
146 - Bill Stein
147 - Ken Henderson
148 - Carlos May
149 - Nyls Nyman
150 - Bob Coluccio
151 - Chuck Tanner
152 - Pat Kelly
153 - Jerry Hairston
154 - Pete Varney
156 - Rich Gossage
157 - Terry Forster
158 - Rich Hinton

Thanks, Johngy! This was an awesome surprise! Only Wilbur Wood and Bill Melton remain elusive to me now. The back of the cards say 1975, but I've heard that these weren't available until 1976. Either way, they are standard size. That shocked me, considering the puzzle backs were much larger.

I am very glad to have these cards in my collection. I have been hunting these down for awhile now. The hunt is almost over. Oh yeah, the card featured is Cecil Upshaw. Just in case you were in the dark.

WSC Birth Years: Octavio Dotel

Card #27 - Octavio Dotel

Born: November 25, 1973

Octavio had been a questionable closer with other teams, but he finally found his niche in middle relief. Primarily as set up man in the White Sox pen, Dotel seemed to thrive on occasion.

Dotel is best when his role is defined. His successes have come when he is used in a specific spot, usually the entire seventh inning. If you bring Octavio out of his defined role, trouble starts brewing. His recent failures have mostly come when he was brought into the middle of an inning, instead of the beginning.

No situation is ideally the same, but when Dotel is brought into a game for a situation he is mentally prepared for, he is lights out.

Welcome Mark Teahen?

This is what I get for sleeping in this morning. Apparently, the White Sox shipped out Chris Getz and Josh Fields to the Royals for Mark Teahen.

I say "apparently" because the Royals are mum on the trade, although the White Sox have already announced it. It may be a premature welcome, but welcome, Mark!

In other news, the White Sox have re-signed Mark Kotsay. That was a no-brainer there! Welcome back, Mark! I think soon we'll have a team of players named Mark.

This certainly looks like it will be a busy offseason. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1981 Fleer

Fleer sporadically produced baseball card sets until Topps was allowed to monopolize the baseball card industry by decisions in court and Fleer's initial refusal to sell cards without gum. Eventually, Topps gained power during it's monopoly period and when Fleer was ready to try baseball products again, they found Topps blackballing them.

After a court decision forced the players union to offer group contracts to other companies, Fleer was allowed to produce its first set of baseball cards, in almost two decades, in 1981.

These were exciting times for the hobby. This would be the first time in many years that more than one licensed baseball card set would be on the market. Fleer was voted the number one design of 1981 by Baseball Hobby News.

Despite the design, the set was riddled with errors and the photography was mostly sub par. There are a lot of "in action" shots used for the set, with a nice mix of posed and candid shots. Fleer had to start somewhere and this was it!

The White Sox have twenty cards in the set. Twenty one, if you include the team checklist.

339 - Ed Farmer
340 - Bob Molinaro
341 - Todd Cruz
342 - Britt Burns
343 - Kevin Bell
344 - Tony LaRussa
345 - Steve Trout
346 - Harold Baines
347 - Richard Wortham
348 - Wayne Nordhagen
349 - Mike Squires
350 - Lamar Johnson
352 - Francisco Barrios
353 - Thad Bosley
354 - Chet Lemon
355 - Bruce Kimm
356 - Richard Dotson
357 - Jim Morrison
358 - Mike Proly
359 - Greg Pryor
648 - CL: Mets/White Sox

Overall, this was a great reboot for Fleer. This would be the beginning of some great and some awful sets by the company. This one is important because it collapsed the stranglehold Topps had on the hobby. It was far from a perfect set, but it is one that is highly collectible.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mailbox Joys: A Fisk To Remember

2009 Goodwin Champions #75 - Carlton Fisk

Recently, I added my first Fisk purchase in awhile. The resulting purchase arrived as if on cue on my birthday. I have been meaning to post this ever since.

This card, as many Fisk cards, hold a significance to me that is nearly impossible for me to comprehend. Since this is a blog, which requires words to coexist with the pretty pictures, I'll try to explain.

Many would think that Carlton Fisk being a Hall of Fame player who spent over half his career with my favorite team would be enough of a reason to collect him. Add that to me playing the position of catcher and I guess you could begin to understand why.

I've been known to chew out players (in a serious game, not one for fun) when they dog it and don't do the little things that they should, like run out a ball in play. I learned that lesson very early and I never forgot it. Sometimes it can be the difference between winning and whining.

I have a strong connection with the most iconic moment of Fisk's career. I was born 366 days after his dramatic home run in the 1975 World Series that changed how games are shown on television. I won't dwell on the fact that a rat ultimately played the most important part of making that piece of television history happen. It doesn't matter. It happened and the sport was changed.

On October 21, 1976, I was born in Chicago. It came one year (366 days, since 1976 was a leap year) to the day of Fisk's World Series home run. In a sense, you could argue that I was destined to be a Fisk fan. It's natural for people to seek out important events, births and deaths that happened somewhere in time on their birthday. Fisk's home run is second to only Ruth's called shot at Wrigley field in storied home runs during the World Series.

Maybe I collect him because of the close proximity to my own birth. Maybe it has to do with being an impressionable child and Fisk being the star catcher on my favorite team. It probably has a little of each and a smattering of other things.

I do know that this is a beautiful card and I am proud to have it in my collection. I am also relieved to find what I thought was the state of Florida behind the Red Sox logo to only be decoration and nothing more. Now I am one card closer to being through with the 2009 Goodwin Champions set.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick And Treat?

It's that time of year again. Where spooky things and delightful treats travel through the U.S. Postal Service right to my door. It must be another Trick Or Treat giveaway by the master of gifting, Tribe Cards!

I grabbed the mail today and noticed a small envelope with a familiar address. Would I get Alomared? I opened the envelope slowly. A pair of eyes greeted me. I know those eyes! Kenny Lofton. And there's a White Sox logo. Kenny Lofton was on the Sox. No tricks!

Then I took the paper ring off.

The White Sox logo was just a sticker. Kenny's eyes turned evil and he was smiling, while a mini Kenny Lofton swung a mighty stick and frightened my fragile psyche. This was the Evil Dead trilogy all over again! I turned to the back of the card and it revealed three more Tribe uniforms. And two more Loftons!!!!

Then a 1985 checklist. What?!! That's not right. Another 1985 Topps checklist. The same card!! I'm having a horrible feeling about this.

A 1991 Donruss checklist card!! I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

Wait!! Wait!! Is that a... YES!! It's a White Sox card!! An autographed 2007 Bowman's Best Kyle McCulloch card. I'll consider that a treat, until proven otherwise.

OK. This isn't so bad. I think I'm going to live through the experience.

1997 Bowman checklist!! Awww, man!! 1991 Upper Deck high numbers checklist??!! I can't take anymore junk wax checklists!! Then I reached the last card. Will it be my salvation? Will it at least feature a picture? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A 1992 Donruss checklist!!!
Four Indian encrusted Loftons on a single card. A number one draft pick autograph of a player still with the White Sox AA team. Six pictureless checklists. I think I got tricked with a treat. How did all of you fare this Halloween?

A Great Projected Trade Of Autographic Proportions

I think that I'm finally over the sinus trouble. Kinda sounds like a Marx Brothers movie. The Marx Brothers in Sinus Trouble, with Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush as the Mucous Man!

A weekend filled with "interesting" Halloween parties further pushed this along. Finally, I will be thanking Ryan from The Great Orioles Autograph Project properly.

This amazingly huge package arrives in the mail. It overwhelmed me with its sheer immensity. I had to pop myself a diet root beer. You see, once I unraveled that sucker, I bet it would stretch all the way to Fargo, North Dakota. OK, maybe if I were standing in Kragnes it would, but still, it was a good amount of cards!

A lot were cards that I already had, but that's OK. I can put those into my White Sox recycling program. It's a win/win situation! Let's see what cards I that were brand spanking new to me or ones that piqued my interest.

1961 Post
26 - Roy Sievers

1994 Bowman's Best
4 - James Baldwin

1994 Topps Traded
61T - Joe Hall

1995 Fleer Prospects
5 - Ray Durham

1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection
174 - Mark Johnson

1995 Summit New Age
NA15 - Ray Durham

1996 Bazooka
61 - Frank Thomas

1996 Bowman
54 - Frank Thomas

1996 Finest
5 - Roberto Hernandez
121 - Ray Durham
183 - Wilson Alvarez

1996 Fleer
70 - Ron Karkovice

1996 Leaf
Frank Thomas Charity Card Order Form

1996 Select Certified
107 - Jermaine Dye (Braves)

1996 Stadium Club
128 - Frank Thomas

1996 Summit
5 - Ray Durham

1997 Collector's Choice
72 - Tony Phillips
75 - Harold Baines

1997 Fleer
54 - Wilson Alvarez

1997 Pacific
56 - Darren Lewis
64 - Frank Thomas

1997 Pacific Gems of the Diamond
GD-30 - Domingo Cedeno

1997 Pinnacle
140 - Danny Tartabull

1997 Pinnacle New
193 - Albert Belle AURA

2000 Crown Royale
32 - Magglio Ordonez

2000 Impact
31 - Frank Thomas

2003 - MVP
49 - Joe Borchard
50 - Joe Crede

2003 Ultra Gold Medallion
130 - Jose Valentin

2004 Topps First Edition
408 - Scott Schoenweis
540 - Magglio Ordonez

2005 Throwback Threads
271 - Jermaine Dye

2009 - UD 20th Anniversary
1447 - Carlton Fisk

Thank you, Ryan! All of the cards were awesome! I'm particularly impressed with the 2004 Topps First Edition cards. Usually parallels like those slip right through my fingers.

I will be loading up the boxes you sent with goodies and sending them your way soon!
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