Friday, April 30, 2010

Card Spotlight: 4-30-10

1975 Topps Mini #35 - Ron Santo

I'm going to Wrigley today to see the Diamondbacks. How can I pass up a free ticket to a baseball game? So, what better way to commemorate this experience by showing a Cubs legend in a White Sox uniform.

I really want to like Ron Santo. I really do. He makes it really hard sometimes. Listening to the Cubs radio broadcasts are sometimes like listening to a dramatic reading of the Steinbeck classic, "Of Mice And Men".

Pat Hughes is a competent and intelligent announcer. He makes thoughtful observations and has a pleasant voice. Ron Santo says, "Yeah", after what seems like an eternity of radio silence.

I really feel for the guy though. I've heard about his struggle with diabetes and it breaks my heart to see someone go through all that pain and suffering. Many stories have been told about keeping the disease a secret, except for his teammates and having occasional near-disasters on the field because of low blood sugar. I feel bad for Ron Santo.

Then, I hear about his refusal to broadcast games in New York against the Mets. He certainly knows how to hold a grudge. It was forty-one years ago that the Mets passed up the Cubs on their way to a World Series victory, Ron. Get over it! The black cat didn't cause the Cubs to swoon, the inept defense did your team in. It probably didn't help that you were quick to criticize your teammate, Don Young, after he made key errors... on July 8th!

Pettiness is pretty selfish to hold onto for over forty years. I'll be sitting near the booth today. Hopefully, I can enjoy the game in peace. The more I hear about the 1969 Cubs, the more I think that it's been overblown into some mythological beast. The '69 Cubs lost the pennant by 8 games and the slump began over two months before the season ended. It's not quite the lost season everyone would have you believe. Still, if the Cubs went .500 that September, it might have been close.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

WSC Vintage: Wally Moses

Card #16 - Wally Moses

When Wally was traded to the White Sox on December 9, 1941, he was four years past his best year (1937) and exactly two years past a voided trade to the Detroit Tigers. The aborted trade could have made the difference in the 1940 World Series. Instead, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis decided to nullify the proposed trade. This was one of many baffling decisions made during the tyrannical reign of baseball's first commissioner.

Moses took the opportunity to play in Chicago to heart. He showed off his speed by posting a career-high mark in 1943 with 56 stolen bases. Wally also co-led the league in triples that year, with Johnny Lindell of the New York Yankees, slugging 12.

Wally led the league in putouts in 1945 with 329. He also led the league with 35 doubles that year. It seemed to be a period of resurgence for Moses, as he finally made it back to the All-Star game. His first trip since 1937.

On July 23, 1946, Wally was purchased by the Boston Red Sox. He batted .417 and tied a World Series record with four hits in a game. Despite this, he was released after the season. He finished his career, where it began, with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1951.

Watashi O Tetsudatte Moraemasenka?

I figured that someone who can understand the title of this post might be able to help me find this card. To my understanding this translates as a polite way of saying "Could you help me?"

This is a 1995 BBM Bobby Thigpen card. I let it slip through my fingers once. I do not intend on making the same mistake twice.

Part of the problem stems from this card being part of a Japanese release. Unless the name on the card translates to Ichiro Suzuki, chances are that the card will not be readily available in the States. This would likely be the crown jewel in my Thigpen collection.

If anyone knows a place where I can find this, please leave a suggestion in the comments section.

UPDATE: In early 2011, I finally obtained this card! Now, the only card left to seek out is Thigpen's 1995 Takara Fukuoka Daiei Hawks card.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cards That Never Were #19

1964 Topps - Dave Roberts

Dave played for the Colts in 1962 and 1964. At the end of 1965, a season he spent in the minor leagues, Roberts was drafted by the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft.

Dave has a rookie stars card in the 1963 Topps set, which he shares with three other players. Dave also has a card in the 1966 Topps set, as a Pirate, but nothing else.

I decided to make the card a 1964 Topps. Here's the reasoning. Dave L. Roberts never played a game as an Astro. Every game that he played for the Houston organization was when they were using the Colt .45s name. By 1965, the Colts had become the Astros and were reflected that way on Topps cards. Using that logic, the missing card would have to be a 1964.

Dave wasn't the best player, but he managed to stick around for parts of three different non-consecutive seasons. That was probably due to his versatility in playing the field.

Cards That Never Were #18

1975 Topps - Jerry Moses

Wait a minute. Doesn't Jerry Moses have a card in the 1975 Topps set? The answer is... yes. Unfortunately, that card of Jerry is on the Detroit Tigers, a team that he played on last in 1974.

Jerry was purchased by the New York Mets in January 1975. Moses never played a single game for the Mets, but was purchased by the San Diego Padres in April 1975. Jerry played in 13 games for the Friars.

Then, in July 1975, Jerry was purchased by the Chicago White Sox, where he appeared in the last two games of his Major League career.

As a result of not playing his first game of 1975 until May 7th, Jerry was denied a proper team designated card. If there was a traded set in 1975, more than likely the team choice would have been the White Sox.

Coming later in the series... a 1975 Topps Jerry Moses White Sox card.

Cards That Never Were #17

1951 Topps - Nelson Fox

After experimenting with baseball cards in the 1948 Magic set, Topps issued two sets of 52 baseball cards in 1951, which were used in a card game of baseball.

With only 104 cards between the two sets, not including the few update variations, there wasn't room for a lot of players. One of the overlooked players was Nelson Fox, better known to today's generation as Nellie Fox.

Nelson was traded to the Chicago White Sox from the Philadelphia Athletics, at the end of the 1949 season, for Joe Tipton. Fox's first season with Chicago saw a dip in his batting average as his games played increased from 88 to 130. Nellie's fielding was spectacular though.

How could Topps know that Nelson Fox would become one of the premier second basemen of the fifties? They couldn't. Topps also couldn't predict that Nellie's bat would come around too.

In hindsight, Nellie should have been an easy addition to one of the sets. Sometimes it's hard to see things in the moment. Topps also left out (shockingly) then rookie, Mickey Mantle. Topps has created a '51 Mantle as a modern day insert, but I've yet to run across a 1951 Topps Nelson Fox.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Attention All Card Bloggers!

From Andy at

The Blog has a new weekly feature covering
baseball cards:

Click on that link to call up the relevant posts.

We would like to feature some of the excellent card blogs out there.
If you would like to participate, please email me at 88topps at gmail
dot com to direct me to one or two posts on your blog that you would
like to have highlighted. It doesn't matter if they are recent or old,
but they must contain scans of the front and back of a card that can
be used on our blog (minimum size 400 pixels by 285 pixels.) If I
choose to use your scans as the basis of a post, I will credit your
blog by name and also include a writeup about (plus link to) your
original source post. In return, I ask that on your blog you include
either a link or a post for the blog located at (not a link for just the main site.)

We currently get about 40,000 pageviews per week and would love to
send some traffic your way. Please pick out a couple of your favorite
posts and send them my way!


Can You Help?

When I started this blog, it was mainly to keep track of my growing collection. I never thought that the blog would evolve as it has. I wasn't even expecting people to read it. I never thought my fine arts background would be utilized on this blog either.

I branched out into custom cards and it has stimulated my dormant artistic side. This blog is about many things. White Sox, White Sox cards, custom cards, White Sox history, and many other facets. One thing I began to realize is how every other team impacts my favorite team. Most ex-White Sox players have played for other teams before and after.

As I prepare a book on the early origins of the White Sox, the history of other teams has peaked my interest again. I'm not about to start collecting everything under the sun, like I did in my youth. Part of the thrill as a collector is seeing everyone get their cards. It's always been a source of frustration for me to see the same handful of players get multiple cards, while another handful of players seem to get the shaft time and time again.

Over the past year, I've seen my custom cards gain a lot of attention from readers. I really enjoy making these cards, but I'm hitting a roadblock. The further back I go and the more obscure the player, the less likely I can find a usable color photograph of a player. This impacts the majority of my custom card projects. "Cards That Never Were" and WSC Birth Years" are affected by players that weren't used much, had cups of coffee with a certain team or had the unfortunate luck of being in the photographically unpopular roles of middle relief or pinch runner.

Other times, uniform changes complicate and abandon more custom projects than I care to admit. In the case with "WSC Vintage", some players before 1950 are just next to impossible to find usable photographic evidence of in a White Sox uniform.

How can you help?

Through first hand and second hand knowledge, I'm aware that friends and family of former players read this blog. In a few cases, I have knowledge of actual former players checking out the blog. For the record, I think any connection to a Major League player is pretty cool.

If you or someone you know has had a cup of coffee with the White Sox and you have usable photos of them in uniform, please get in touch with me. If you or someone you know got shafted out of a baseball card (on any team), I want to try to rectify that by making a custom card.

Examples of aborted projects include a 1986 card of Bobby Thigpen. I couldn't find a photo of him, that wasn't used on a 1987 card, in a 1986 White Sox uniform. A 1973 card of Tony LaRussa was canceled since I couldn't find a photo with him on the Cubs. This particular card has been created by another blogger, after I abandoned that project. There are countless others.

If you have photos of any player from the 1894 Sioux City Cornhuskers or the 1895-1899 St. Paul Saints minor league teams, I REALLY want to talk to you.

Cards That Never Were #16

1985 Topps - Mike LaValliere

Few people realize that Spanky started out on the Phillies. He appeared in six games with the Fightin' Phils, mustering nine plate appearances, two walks and zero hits, in the 1984 season.

By the start of the 1985 season, he found himself on the St. Louis Cardinals. From there, Mike would become a minor star in Pittsburgh and finish out his solid career in Chicago.

I can certainly understand why LaValliere didn't get a card with the Phillies (unless Mike was in a regional set), but that hasn't stopped card companies before.

Unless my eyes deceive me, this shot of Spanky was taken at Wrigley Field. If that is the case, this photograph was taken either on September 10, 1984 or September 11, 1984, which were the only two days that Mike was with the Phillies in Chicago.

A "Cracked" History Of The White Sox

Check out this article on the history of the White Sox, as told by Cracked magazine. Gellman would be proud!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Favorite Cards: Houston Colt .45s

1963 Topps #338 - Russ Kemmerer

The Colts were one of my favorite teams as a kid. I wasn't alive when they were called the Colts, but name changes always fascinated me back then. They still do, actually.

From 1962 until 1964, the Houston team was named after the gun that won the west, as they say. The uniforms featured a smoking gun, with the smoke forming the "C" in Colts.

When the team moved into the newly constructed Astrodome in 1965, the team changed its name to the Astros. Instead of looking to the past, the team was seemingly looking to the future. In today's age of politically correct BS, the team would have been forced to project a more wholesome image by ditching the guns and choosing something that wouldn't potentially scare the bejeezus out of young, impressionable children.

This card featured the logo prominently. Later sixties sets would obscure any reference to the team name, as the fans were still getting used to the Houston team being named after explorers of the cosmos.

This choice has more to do with a combination of the uniform logo showing, an interesting background and the .45s logo on the cap, than the player. Interestingly enough, Kemmerer played for the White Sox the season before. Kemmerer was traded to the Colts in the middle of the 1962 season for Dean Stone. Small world.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

WSC Birth Years: Andruw Jones

Card #54 - Andruw Jones

Born: April 23, 1977

White Sox management took quite a few gambles before the 2010 season started. One of the high risk/high reward moves involved signing Andruw Jones, hoping that he would return to his old form that he had with Atlanta. Jones has bounced around the last few years, spending time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers after slightly over a decade with the Atlanta Braves.

The last three seasons have been subpar compared with Andruw's past performances. Jones joins old friend Ozzie Guillen on the White Sox. With any luck, Andruw's fortunes will turn around for the entire 2010 season.

So far in 2010, the White Sox have found a power threat and speed on the base paths from Jones. While celebrating his 33rd birthday, Andruw stole his third base of the year and smacked two homers for the Sox, including the game winner.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Card Spotlight: 4-23-10

1909-11 T206 - Fielder Jones (hands on hips)

A note to the 2010 Chicago White Stockings: Fielder Jones says, "Man up and tough it out." Look at that face. This is the face of a player/manager that you do not want to cross.

"You have the hitting and the pitching of the gods themselves. When I managed the 1906 team, I took them to the World Series and catawamptiously chewed up the crosstown rivals, giving them the thrashing that they deserved. It is a huckleberry above my persimmon to cipher out how we manged without a mighty grist of hitting displays. What's your excuse?"

Despite facing a heavy hitting Cubs team, the Sox won the 1906 World Series against their favored city rivals.

"My career in the Major Leagues ended after the 1908 season. These advertising trade cards did not arrive until 1909. The tobacco companies did not have to include me. Not by a jugful! Yet I warranted two different cards. Can anyone say that about any of you, when you go into retiracy?"

If Ozzie Guillen can't inspire the Sox, maybe Fielder Jones can.

"The last time I hit over .300 was in aught-two and I still managed to make this team cap the climax. No player absquatulated on me. Some of my players were mere guttersnipe when they came to me. When they got on base, they pulled foot! We would use those designs to exfluncticate the opponent with greased lightning."

Do not cross Fielder Jones. He can be quite ornery when it comes to the game of sport.

"Be skeery and heed my caution. Approach the season across lots and play full chisel like a rip-stavur. Do not pucker and sour on the picayune balderdash. Do not spend your time backing and filling or you will come out at the little end of the horn and have to ride out on the rail at first candle light."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Big Thanks

A big thank you to Mark at Stats On The Back for the great unexpected package a few days ago.

Included in the surprise package was this great 1970 Topps team card, a cache of 1986 Topps Traded, a very young Kenny Williams Donruss Rookies card, some Baines love, early Flair cards, some shiny nineties cards and a framed Diamond King of Joe Borchard!

Great stuff! I wanted to give it a mention before it gets too farther down into my queue.

Thanks again, Mark! I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Could This Be Topps Next Variation?

It's very rough around the edges and not colorized, but that is Babe Ruth in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform taking batting practice. I just wanted to do a quick mock-up of the card just to see what it would look like. I did not take a lot of time or care into this card. I already know that it isn't up to my usual custom card standards.

Just slumming with this one.

Goose Joak 2010: Gordon Beckham

Check out the entire set here!

Cards That Never Were #15

1966 Topps - Joey Amalfitano

Joey Amalfitano was a bonus baby with the New York Giants, which is why you see him in the big leagues in 1954 and 1955, then not again until 1960.

By 1964, Joey had found himself on the Chicago Cubs, after they purchased his contract from the Houston Colt .45s. He stayed with the Cubs from 1964 until 1966, when the team released him. He found himself back on the Cubs in May of 1967, only to be released again less than two months later.

Joey's stint with the Cubs in 1967 only resulted in four games, with none in the field. He had one plate appearance.

There are cards of Joey with the Cubs in 1964 and 1965. His next Topps card would come in 1973, as a coach on the Giants. Joey appeared in 67 games in 1965 and 41 games in 1966. By this point, he had become more of a utility player. Still, he played most of his games in the field at second base.

I chose to go with Joe instead of Joey, mainly because Topps had done so on his previous Cubs cards. I saw no reason that they would have changed that in 1966.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 Finest

What can possibly be said about Topps Finest that hasn't already been said before? Not too much. Another year of Finest and another top notch effort.

I've never had many problems with Finest. I think it's one of the most consistent sets that Topps produces every year. The set doesn't have endless cards, just a few parallels that you can ignore, if you choose to do so.

This year's solid set contains 125 base cards, 25 rookie cards and 20 autographed rookie patches. Of those 125 base cards, the White Sox have six. There are no White Sox rookie cards and there are manufactured autographed rookie patches of Tyler Flowers and Daniel Hudson.

Base cards
15 - Mark Buehrle
20 - Alexei Ramirez
67 - Jermaine Dye
68 - Paul Konerko
114 - Gordon Beckham
120 - A.J. Pierzynski

Autographed Rookie Patches
153 - Tyler Flowers
154 - Daniel Hudson

The price might be a little high for a box, but the quality is certainly there. The value in each box might be a gamble, but at least you have quality shiny cards to look at after you've opened everything.

Cards That Never Were #14

1969 Topps - Jim Bouton

Jim Bouton is a strange case. His last card appeared in 1968, as a Yankee. He played for the Seattle Pilots in 1969, the Houston Astros from 1969 until 1970, and the Atlanta Braves in 1978, all after his last Topps card.

Bouton is most notably known for his book, Ball Four, which mainly chronicled the Seattle Pilots in their only season. That book initially burned a lot of bridges, which were repaired many years later.

There are famous stories about Jim not signing his Topps contract, but the most likely culprit in not having a card in the 1969 set would be Jim's career arc. Bouton spent a good chunk of 1968 in the minor leagues, in the Angels AAA club in Seattle trying to resurrect his career after arm soreness.

To correct this oversight, here is how Jim Bouton's 1969 Topps card could have looked.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ex Files: Frank Thomas

When people think of Frank Thomas, they think White Sox. Frank is the all-time home run leader for the White Sox with 448. He also holds many other records for the Sox, including runs scored (1,327), doubles (447), RBI (1,465), extra-base hits (906), walks (1,466), total bases (3,949), slugging percentage (.568), and on-base percentage (.427).

You might think of Thomas as this generation's "Mr. White Sox". No offense Minnie. Minoso will always hold that nickname honor, but one could present a strong argument for Thomas.

The last few years of Frank Thomas' tenure on the South Side were steeped with injuries and fighting words. In fact, Frank was injured so much in 2005, that White Sox management decided to let him go after the season. All the good will found in a World Series championship fell by the wayside as fans endured back and forth bickering between Frank Thomas and Kenny Williams.

The Sox made a stand by trading popular center fielder Aaron Rowand and two then-minor league pitchers to Philadelphia for Jim Thome and cash. Thomas countered by eventually signing with the Oakland Athletics.

Frank responded by playing 135 games for the A's in 2006. He was forth in MVP voting that year, hitting 39 home runs and helping his new team to the postseason. Jim Thome was a slight upgrade for the Sox at DH, with 42 home runs and a slightly higher average, but the hole in centerfield was too much to overcome.

Brian Anderson and Rob Mackowiak platooned in center for the Sox. Anderson could field but couldn't hit. Mackowiak could hit for average, but wasn't the best option in center. The Sox finished with a respectable 90 wins, but it was good enough for third in the AL Central in 2006. Adding insult to injury, the wild card came from the central that year.

Frank moved on to Toronto in 2007, and hit his 500th career home run, before playing briefly with the Athletics again before retirement. After Frank took his last at-bats with Oakland in August 2008, the Sox returned to the postseason.

Currently, Frank Thomas can be seen on pre and post game shows for White Sox games on ComcastSportsNet, alongside former White Sox favorite Bill Melton. Back in the fold, Thomas' number 35 will be retired by the team on August 29, 2010, in an on-field ceremony, as part of "Frank Thomas Day".

Favorite Cards: Cleveland Bronchos

1902-11 W600 Sporting Life Cabinets - Napoleon Lajoie

Cleveland Bronchos? Was that a Major League team? You betcha!

The Bronchos were the modern day Indians, from 1902 and 1904. Many team histories are littered with name changes and city changes. Some are acknowledged readily and some are an open secret. Some clubs' histories are full of changes from minor to major leagues. I will be focusing on Major League ball clubs. Each name change or city change will be treated as a new team for this series.

I was a bit surprised to run across this doing research on other topics last year. I wasn't aware that the Bronchos had any cards made. I haven't found examples of the Cleveland Bluebirds (or Blues) yet. I can find examples of every name change after the Bronchos name. The Bronchos card discovery amazes me.

I am a huge baseball history buff, so this is like the mother lode of coolness for me. There were three different cabinets made of Lajoie for this ongoing set. The earliest examples (listing him as second baseman), were issued in 1903. One in a suit and one in a uniform were issued. There is a third cabinet card issued between 1905 and 1911, which lists Nap as a manager and infielder.

To me, this is the coolest example of the card. It was issued before the official team name change in his honor and it is a photograph of Lajoie in uniform. The most famous Lajoie card is essentially an artist's rendition of a photograph. Seeing cards with actual photographs from this period in time gives me goosebumps.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Favorite Cards: Seattle Pilots

1970 Topps #158 - Jerry McNertney

Sure, my favorite team is and always will be the White Sox. I can't foresee anything changing that. However, that doesn't mean that I'm not a fan of other teams or baseball in general. I can pick something out for every team that I like. It might be a player or a card or a feat. Well, you get the idea.

I'm a sucker for the oddities of baseball. Perhaps the oddest team in recent memory would be the Seattle Pilots, which are now the Milwaukee Brewers.

When I was absorbing information like a sponge as a kid, I was drawn to the Pilots, after receiving a 1970 card of a player in some baseball repack set that I chose from some rewards program. It was a huge catalog of items that I had access to by working for the Penny Saver newspaper.

I wondered if the Mariners were known as a different name. That quickly was discovered to be false. I learned that after one season, the Pilots were relocated to Milwaukee. I always wondered how that was possible in the twentieth century. I understood why teams started up, folded and moved in the nineteenth century, but I couldn't fathom why one would do that less than a decade before I was born.

I have a handful of Pilots cards, but I do not own this one. It is my favorite Pilots card, not because the player is an ex-White Sox player, but because of the composition of the photograph. It almost looks like someone caught Jerry in a compromising position. It seems to be a unique perspective, behind a batting cage and what looks to be a manager or a coach.

I do remember seeing this as a kid, possibly in the card shop called Family Coins, where they had binders of each set. It may have been priced a little higher because of the White Sox connection, which would explain why I did not get it. The oldest card I could afford was a 1974 Topps Luis Aparicio from that shop.

I can still remember being captured by the image on this card. It's still with me after all these years and it's what immediately comes to mind when I think of the Seattle Pilots.

Ubaldo Jimizez, I Salute You

After a late breakfast at Golden Bear and a quick trip to a few stores, I headed home with my fiancee just in time to catch the White Sox broadcast on Fox. I saw the Sox lose another close game. I turned off the television and thought that my sports day had ended. It's never over until all the games are over.

I spent the rest of the night with the television and radio off. I was on a mission to find stickers of bald eagles to help my family ease a difficult date coming up in the next few days. Each anniversary of my uncle's suicide is a tense time for the family. It's gotten a little easier each year, but it's still a bit fresh in our minds.

Bald eagles and Harleys were the things that he loved. His daughter was the thing that he loved the most. I can't begin to imagine what she goes through every time the date rolls around. I don't pretend to know.

I start to remember the concerts that we attended together. Aerosmith. Ted Nugent. John Mellencamp. John Fogerty. Black Sabbath. Page & Plant. Every time a classic rock or blues artist hit the Chicagoland area, we would have a discussion on whether or not to get tickets. Sometimes we would go. Sometimes not.

Since he's been gone, I've tried to appreciate the simple joys in life. Let go of the complexities and complications of life and see things for what they truly can be. I keep coming back to the same things; life, love, friendship, music, writing and baseball. I can tie almost everything in my life to one or more of those basic elements.

The last time I saw a no-hitter, it was a perfect game from an easygoing southpaw by the name of Mark Buehrle. I didn't even see Ubaldo's no-hitter. I haven't bothered to check for highlights. I just heard about it a short while ago. I've seen them before. I don't need to rush to see the last out. I can already feel it. It is a symphony of joy and I am so happy for him.

This leaves three teams that have not had a no-hitter. I'm not surprised by the Tampa Bay Rays. They are still a relatively new team. I'm a bit surprised by the San Diego Padres. I would have thought that somewhere down the line, someone would have thrown one for them. I'm not shocked though. The New York Mets? That surprises me. Everyone knows that the pitcher who threw seven no-hitters started his career with the New York Mets. Not everyone realizes that he didn't throw one of those seven with the Mets. He only spent parts of five seasons with the Metropolitans.

Ubaldo's gem had everything. It could have fallen apart by working from the stretch due to six walks, but he took advice from his pitching coach and continued to work out of the stretch, as he had for most of the game. It was working so far, so why mess with what works? Sound advice. It had a game saving catch by the center fielder. Buehrle's gem had that too. It's funny how that works out.

I can remember rooting for Jiminez in the 2007 playoffs, all the way to the World Series. The Rockies were the team I latched onto, when they entered the league in 1993. The Marlins were cool, but the Rockies were a bit cooler. Along with my assortment of White Sox shirts in high school, I'd wear a Rockies shirt too.

My allegiances may have decayed, due to a strike and a downsizing to just the Sox, but I still have a soft spot for non-White Sox teams I followed pre-strike. When it comes down to it, I'm really just a fan of baseball in general. I can appreciate good baseball, wherever it comes from. I live for that. I breathe it in like a newly opened can of Perri-air on Spaceball One.

When I see or hear of amazing accomplishments like Ubaldo Jiminez's no-hitter, I think of my uncle. I think of everything he's missed in the past three years. I think of what he will be missing in the next few years. All this thinking makes me reach one conclusion. Enjoy these moments while you can. Relish in the fact that you can enjoy and appreciate these little slices of pure happiness. You never know when the next one will happen and that's part of the attraction.

When your team accomplishes a no-hitter, everyone who identifies with that team celebrates. When your team gets no-hit, you tip your cap and acknowledge that you were part of something historic and are happy for that privilege. When a no-hitter happens, every fan of baseball pauses and smiles. They know something special just happened.

Enjoy your accomplishment Ubaldo. You deserve every moment.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Card Spotlight: 4-16-10

2008 Allen & Ginter mini #327 - A.J. Pierzynski

Isn't it cute? A mini card of a retro product, bringing all the feel of a true tobacco card into the 21st century. That may be a bit of a stretch, but not by much.

Allen & Ginter has always been an interesting product. It stays true to the original sets. It feels old and new at the same time. There's something about the feel of the cards that make the product almost irresistible when it is in your hands. It's not like old cardboard. It's not like newer glossy treated cards. It's just different and it feels good.

I've had a fascination with mini cards since I was a kid. I remember those consumer round up vendor shows that would come through the elementary school, trying to make us into good citizens who purchased immense amounts of anything. It wasn't the secret Santa workshop. It wasn't the Schoolastic order form, where my classmates and I would choose our Pick A Path books (my favorite was the Amazing Bubblegum Caper) and Dynamite magazines (was Michael J. Fox on every cover?). It was something else entirely.

Whatever school program it was, I can remember getting a baseball card kit with replicas of famous cards like the T206 Honus Wagner and a set of green bordered HyGrade cards. That's where I thought I had a goldmine in the Wagner card and I first learned about the Sherry Magie misspelling error. I also learned how cool it was to own a card that was not standard size. I also learned how difficult it was to keep those cards in mint condition. It was quite an education.

Of course nowadays, with the proliferation of greed in the hobby industry, I have access to supplies that can keep my oddball cards pack fresh for years to come. I never had that luxury twenty-five years ago. That loss of innocence at least came with cool 15 pocket pages and screw down holders to ensure that no slob drips his lunch on my cards.

I can't say that I have many cards that deserve that type of treatment. It's not like I'm housing a cache of autographed 19th century cards or 5,000 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie cards. I'm a firm believer in letting cards breathe. If that helps them deteriorate, so be it. I think I'll be alright. 19th century cards that aren't incarcerated in plastic have survived into the 21st century. I think my A.J. mini card will be just fine in the 23rd century, when my collection is somewhere other than in my possession.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

1967 Topps Posters

Remember when you opened a pack of cards and got a bonus? Not a piece of white plain cloth that might have been used in a game, shoved into a card. Not a questionable autograph on a shiny sticker, that you couldn't tell who it was except for the card telling you. Not even a gritty, crumbly piece of so called gum. When was the last time you found something in a pack that didn't count towards the number of cards in a pack?

Chances are that if you are young enough, you have never experienced this sensation. I'm in my early thirties and I came in on the tail end of inserts similar to this. In the eighties, only Topps could produce cards with gum sold in the packs. Other companies had to get creative. Donruss came with the unique puzzle pieces, which frustrated my youth because I could never get all the pieces to complete a puzzle. Fleer put wonderful stickers of team logos and other assorted goodies in their packs. A treat like this is rare nowadays.

I can remember running across a stray pack of Donruss Estrellas a few years ago and really being impressed with the poster that came out. I was not expecting it and it was something cool and different.

To drive up interest in their product, Topps started putting these posters in packs of cards in the middle of the 1967 season. I can never be sure of the reaction that kids had back then, but I know I would be ecstatic if I pulled a poster of a big leaguer out of my pack of cards. Alas, this happened nine years before my birth, so I will never truly know.

The White Sox had one poster in the series of 32.

4 - Tommie Agee

Of course, I'm partial to the White Sox poster, but there are others that catch my fancy. I doubt I'll ever put them into my collection, but I can always look at pictures online.

My favorites include Sam McDowell, who looks like he's about to kill someone; Frank Howard and those crazy big glasses; Harmon Killebrew's mischievous smile; Joe Morgan's fake pose (before he had all the Sandberg hate and bouts of arguing against himself); Ron Hunt's "country" look.

These insert sets usually have a lot of Hall of Fame players and this is no exception. Most of the posters can be found very cheaply, so this could be a great way to have a unique vintage hobby addition to your collection.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mailbox Joys: Dyed Silk

2007 Topps Turkey Red Silks #JD - Jermaine Dye (41/99)

Jermaine Dye may not have a place in the Major Leagues right now, but he always has a place in my collection.

I consider myself pretty savvy regarding the 2007 baseball product, but this was one I had either forgotten about or (gasp) never knew about. I started back in the hobby in 2007, so I was soaking in any and all information about the products coming out that year. Either I didn't realize there was a White Sox player in the checklist, thought this was out of my grasp, or just completely missed it.

Consider that mistake rectified.

In my hands, for under $2.00 no less, I have a framed silk mini card of Jermaine Dye in red ink. It is a wonderment of beauty, which no actual picture will do justice. The picture doesn't fully reveal the stitching running up each side or the intricate geometric patterns made by the silk.

A throwback to the early twentieth century, these cards are truly a joy and a slight luxury to have. I have been outbid on vintage silk cards before and the end results are not pretty. Many times bidding wars will ensue and the novelty of the item will cause the card to skyrocket past any actual value that would be associated.

Modern silk cards are a hit or miss. The novelty is certainly there, but value depends on where the player is in the limelight. A World Series MVP in 2005, Dye should be worth more on a card like this, but without a team this year and a steep decline in playing ability during the second half last year, this card can be picked up for a steal.

Time will be the ultimate decider for Dye's silk card. A few years after retirement, this card will probably go for more. With the freshness of a less than stellar season, it certainly impacts the prices of his cards, the 2007 Turkey Red Silk being no exception. There are 98 others out there. Number 41 will not be among them.

Respect The One-Hitter

At almost no point in Ricky Romero's career did anyone see this coming. Perfect through three, until he walked Carlos Quentin in the fourth. He ended up with a career high in strikeouts with twelve. It all came crashing down in the eighth inning, thanks to a brilliant acting performance and a former teammate.

In that ominous eighth inning, Romero hit A.J. Pierzynski. Or did he? Replays show that the ball was very close to A.J.'s foot, but did not actually hit it. Like most players, Pierzynski did his best to sell it. A.J. hopped up and down and headed to first. About a third of the way to first base, A.J. looked back at home plate umpire Tim McClelland to make sure his ruse was working. It was and he was awarded his base.

That may have been enough to rattle the young pitcher because the next batter launched a two run homer to cut the Jays lead in half. That batter? Former teammate, Alex Rios. The very same batter that Steve Stone had predicted to break up the no-hitter, earlier in the game.

I'm sure that Ricky is feeling bad about the outing as evidenced by the photo below, but it still takes something special to throw eight innings of one-hit ball. I was glued to my seat during the game. Be proud of your accomplishments on the field in this game. Like I said on Twitter, when the no-hitter was still a possibility, "This Romero kid is pitching the game of his life!" Indeed he was.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog Bat Around: The Ultimate eBay Shopping Spree

How I've missed the Blog Bat Around. Now it's back and here's the information on how to participate.

Gellman issues this statement.

Remember those days on Nickelodeon where they would hold contests for their version of a kids' ultimate shopping spree? They would let the winner loose in a Toys R Us for however long and let them keep what they could fit in the cart, right? Well, if you were given $50,000 and 15 minutes on ebay, what cards/memorabilia would you buy with the money? Break it down card by card, and give us a price and a reason for what you are buying. Not everyone would go out there and buy a Joe Jackson cracker jack, but some people would. So, with that, what would you spend the mother lode on? Happy buying.

OK, I'm armed with $50,000 that I have to spend on cards and memorabilia in 15 minutes on eBay. This is every collector's wet dream. What will I possibly purchase with essentially "found" money?

I need a quick game plan. I only have 15 minutes to blow $50,000 on sports stuff. I need to be precise and quick. Any lost time might result in losing something and leaving virtual money unspent. I want to maximize my money and try to squeeze every last cent out of this in only 15 minutes. I will not choose anything on auction. The majority of auctions will not close within the time allotted and the pricing can be controlled with "Buy It Now" items. If there is a "Best Offer" option, I am choosing to ignore that. There is no guarantee that a buyer would respond within the parameters. Checking mail will only slow my progress.

I will comment on exactly what my thinking is when I click on the fake "Buy It Now" button.

All right. Take a deep breath and exhale. Let's do this!

1909 T206 – Billy Sullivan (Piedmont) EX - $69.95
I always get beat out of auctions for original T206 cards. No more! I will add Billy Sullivan to my cart.

1909 T206 – Frank Smith (Piedmont) (Chicago, Boston) EX - $337.49
Sweet! The Frank Smith Chicago/Boston variation! CLICK!

1909 T206 – Lee Tannehill (Sweet Caporal) EX - $85.00
Something without a Piedmont back? Sold!

1919 W514 – Chick Gandil - $860.00
I could run out of time by searching for T206 White Sox cards all day. Searching for specific players, I see this Chick Gandil card. It's so rare to find vintage cards of banned players who aren't named Jackson or Rose.

1940 Playball #225 – Joe Jackson NM - $4,000.00
Speaking of Jackson... I've admired this card for a long time. It is now in my shopping cart.

1931 W517 #45 – Ted Lyons EX - $110.00
Number 16 is retired by the Sox. Gots ta have a Ted Lyons card!

1978 TCMA Knoxville Know Sox Team Set - $189.00
Now is the time to go after that Harold Baines minor league card! The team set is slightly cheaper than the single graded card. More = better in this case.

1990 Topps #414 – Frank Thomas NNO - $549.99
I've never known anyone to have this. I've never seen this in person. It will be mine.

1906 Fan Craze – Nick Altrock - $125.00
The pitcher who got mobbed by fans after a beautiful pitching performance in the 1906 World Series against the Cubs. I'm a big fan of Fan Craze. The card set, not actual "fan craze". That's scary.

1983 Appleton Foxes – John Cangelosi - $12.99
An overpriced card with my money, now it is mine. The only one I've seen on eBay.

1941 Double Play #71/72 – Solters/Rigney - $20.00
A search for 1941 Goudey. No Sox Goudey cards, but a few Double Play cards of Sox. I really want a Double Play card and this one is reasonably priced.

1913 T200 Fatima – Chicago Americans VG/EX - $749.99
You never hear of the 1913 White Sox, but now I'll have a team card. I am a vintage junkie!

1917 Boston Store – Ray Schalk - $247.50
An early card of Hall of Fame catcher Ray Schalk. Put it in the cart!

1922 W501 #47 – Harry Hooper VG/EX - $249.99
This was the outfielder that showed up instead of Babe Ruth. It's simplifying, but I don't have time to justify my thoughts and elaborate.

1929 R316 Kashin – Red Faber NM - $150.00
Oooo, Red Faber! And a set I'm not familiar with. Sold!

1933 Goudey #43 – Lew Fonseca EX/MT - $49.99
I have to have a card from this iconic set!

1952 Bowman #5 – Minnie Minoso NM/MT - $119.95
Searching or 1952 Minoso, I run across several cards. All of which I don't have.

1952 Star Cal Decals Type 1 #73E – Orestes Minoso - $99.99
This isn't seen very often. In my cart it goes!

1952 Red Man with tabs #15AL – Minnie Minoso - $50.00
A Red Man card with the tabs? It will bring my tab White Sox set closer to completion.

1952 Topps #195 – Orestes Minoso EX/MT - $75.00
And where would my head be, if I didn't include 1952 Topps?

2007 Bowman’s Best #56 – Josh Fields (1/1) - $60.00
The total is not going down quick enough. I need to step up the money by searching for 1 of 1s. I have a soft spot for Josh.

2009 Topps Sketch Card – Carlos Quentin (1/1) - $69.95
This looks unique. I hope Quentin comes back to form. Maybe obtaining this rare card will help!

2008 Sweet Spot Signatures #S2-CF – Carlton Fisk (1/1) - $139.99
A 1 of 1 Fisk? YES!! 1 of 1s aren't enough. I'm running out of time. Time for the big guns!

1916 Famous & Barr – Charles Comiskey EX/NM - $950.00
Charles Comiskey leaning against a railing in Comiskey Park. Cool!

2009 SP Legendary Cuts Auto – Bill Veeck (05/14) - $225.00
Veeck as in "wreck"! Beautiful signature and a Sox logo.

1907 Geo. W Hull Postcards – Fielder Jones - $300.00
I've heard about these postcards and I've always thought Fielder Jones was a cool name.

1948 Leaf #59 – Luke Appling NM/MT - $550.00
How could I forget about Appling? Problem solved!

2001 SP Legendary Cuts – Joe Jackson Bat Relic - $399.95
I'll add the first Shoeless Joe relic I ever saw. Cool! Hope it's not Black Betsy!

1922 E121 American Caramel – Kid Gleason - $255.00
Gotta have the manager of the 1919 American League Champions.

1915 Cracker Jack #61 – Ray Schalk - $459.99
Another Schalk! Cracker Jack! Awesome!

2005 White Sox Team autographed ball - $495.95
Let's add some actual memorabilia. This looks like a good start.

Old Comiskey Park set of 4 stadium seats (autographed by Carlton Fisk and Ozzie Guillen) - $1,800.00
This is just so cool!!!

1917 Official World Series program - $750.00
Interesting! This is a must have. It will go well with my 2005 WS program.

1917 World Series ticket Game #3 - $2,395.00
Why not spring for a ticket too! I love ChiSox history!

1919 World Series program – $2999.99
This is definitely something I have to have!

1959 World Series Game #1 ticket - $400.00
11-0 victory? Yup!

1959 World Series program - $129.00
It's a matched set.

2005 World Series Game #4 ticket - $150.00
I have so wanted this since October 26, 2005!

1911 T205 – Patsy Dougherty EX - $625.00
I almost forgot about T205s! I like these better than T206s!

1911 T201 – Payne, Walsh NM - $495.00
Interesting. Vintage is always good!

1911 Turkey Red #125 – Ed Walsh - $450.00
Ed Walsh. Nope, I don't have an Ed Walsh or a Turkey Red.

1957 Swift Meats #7 – Nellie Fox - $600.00
The pieces card. I will never assemble this.

1954 Wilson Franks – Nellie Fox - $595.00
It's in my header. I have to buy it.

1954 Dixie Lids – Minnie Minoso - $500.00
A rare Dixie Lid of Minoso. Got it!

1950 Fishers Bread Label – Chico Carrasquel - $375.00
Never heard of the set. Gotta have Chico!

1993 Finest Refractor #102 – Frank Thomas - $411.00
These are always so expensive. It is so mine!

1915 Cracker Jack #175 – Joe Benz - $300.00

2008 Upper Deck Documentary Gold White Sox 163 card set - $274.99
It may be a crock of a set, but this looks so cool.

2008 Razor #108 – Gordon Beckham auto (1/5) - $175.00
A Bacon minor league auto? Let's add some cheese to that Bacon!

1988 Topps Cloth – Pat Keedy - $49.95
I passed on this card before and someone else bought it. Can't find the Karkovice from this issue. Half a team set is better than none at all.

2009 Sweet Spot Signature – Michael Jordan (8/23) - $524.95
An MJ auto on a White Sox card? It is so in the cart!

1912 T207 Broad Leaf Cigarettes – George Weaver - $1,750.00
Buck, where have you been my whole life? I finally found your grave and now I find this!

2008 Donruss Legends Of The Game Relics #LGC-2 – Pete Rose, Joe Jackson - $299.00
Another card I've secretly wanted. Not so secretly, I guess. It was a Card Spotlight.

2008 Premier Trios #PTP-TKB – Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle (7/15) - $119.99
Buehrle and Konerko have rings with the Sox. I was hoping that Thome would too. CLICK TO BUY!

1983 All-Star Game AL Team autographed ball - $7,649.99
The last All-Star Game in old Comiskey. The entire AL team autographed this? NICE!!

Harold Baines Game Worn White Sox nineties home white jersey - $795.00
I would have preferred the black alternate jersey, but what are you gonna do?

2005 White Sox World Series team photo autographed by 29 players - $1,499.00
This will go nicely with my autographed ball from earlier in the shopping spree.

2005 World Series Game One 8 foot banner - $579.95
And this will too. I could make a shrine of some type.

1954 Red Heart – Billy Pierce - $1,100.00
I lost out on this in a bidding war. Who's winning it now? I got how much left? Crap! Better start thinking more outside the box.

1887 Allen & Ginter N28 – Charles Comiskey - $999.99
If I own one vintage Allen & Ginter, it should be this one.

1887 N173 Old Judge Cabinet – Kid Gleason - $2,200.00
OK, this is just too coincidental. Nice card!

1900 Wills Cigarettes #33 Baseball America VG-EX - $199.95
It has nothing to do with the Sox or any of my favorite players, but this just looks so damn cool!

1907 Geo. W. Hull Postcards – Doc White - $249.99
Not much time left. I saw a couple of other 1907 postcards. I'm gonna snap them up!

1907 Geo. W. Hull Postcards – Eddie Hahn - $199.99

1908 E102 – Patsy Dougherty VG-EX - $525.00
Another Patsy Dougherty. I can live with that.

1909 T206 – Chick Gandil (Hindu) - $5,500.00
This should finish off my spree. I wish this were real money.

1933 Tattoo Orbit – Lewis Fonseca - $275.00
Just enough to go back and get this Tattoo Orbit card.

Grand total = $49,999.40

I have 60 cents left over. I don't think that's too bad. If eBay didn't banish cards for under a dollar for "Buy It Now", I would be able to pick up a Jason Frasor card for 60 cents, or something like that. Since everything is a dollar or more, I technically have nothing left.

What have I learned from this experience?

Trying to spend $50,000 in 15 minutes is really hard when you don't collect the Yankees! If I had more time, I would have made hundreds of smaller purchases, but being on the clock is a little frazzling, even with a good game plan.

I figured going vintage would eat the money up rather quick. I was wrong. One of one cards didn't chip away as much as I would have originally thought. Even Joe Jackson couldn't take the majority of my money. I would really hate to be a Rays fan trying to do this. It might be next to impossible.

I tried to stick to cards, but as the time was running out, I had to resort to other avenues. I would be happy to have any of the items from the fake shopping spree in my collection. They wouldn't necessarily be the first items I would go to though.

It might have been a slow week for cards and memorabilia on eBay. Maybe not. It's nice to know that if I ever get this chance for real, I could do it and come out with some really cool items. If I was thinking straight, I probably would have searched for the Ping Bodie Cracker Jack card. Maybe next time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Separated At Birth: Mark Teahen And Ray Liotta

It's been bugging me ever since I saw Mark Teahen report to Spring Training with the White Sox. He reminds me of someone, but who?

Yesterday, it finally dawned on me. Ray Liotta!

Ray has his own connections to the White Sox. His distant cousin, also named Ray Liotta, was drafted by the White Sox and has been in the Kansas City Royals organization since 2008. But who could forget Ray's performance as "Shoeless" Joe Jackson in "Field Of Dreams"?

Like Ray's cousin, Ray, Mark Teahen played for the Kansas City Royals organization. Funny how the Royals connections seem to be piling up lately.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Card Spotlight: 4-9-10

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #138 - Daryl Boston

I suppose I had better get this done quick before my internet goes out again. I wouldn't necessarily call Daryl Boston a "fan favorite", but he did capture my attention on a few occasions.

When I was a kid, I used to absorb the backs of baseball cards like a sponge. I would pay attention to the game itself and pick up little tiny nuances in each game. I was able to see past the players and focus on what was actually happening. No biases or home team slant entered my mind. I still wanted to see the White Sox win, but I was almost Steve Stone-like in how I was able to call a game. I wanted to be a broadcaster for a very short period of time in my youth.

Late in 1986, I was attending a game at Comiskey Park with my dad. He didn't really care for sports too much, but he gradually came to like baseball. He would listen to me drone on and on about this player or that player for hours on end.

In the late innings, I mentioned to my dad that John Cangelosi would get on base. Then, he would attempt to steal second and advance to third when Daryl Boston hit the ball in a certain area. The little details are fuzzy, considering that this over twenty years ago.

My dad listened to me and nodded. Then he watched exactly what I had said play out before his eyes. He sat in amazement for a minute. He never lets me forget about that moment. He has believed everything I've had to say about baseball ever since.

Daryl hung on with the White Sox until early 1990, when he was selected by the New York Mets off of waivers. I watched Daryl as he moved up in the organization. I was too young to remember when he was drafted in 1981, since I didn't start watching baseball until 1982. I do remember his appearances in 1984 and of course after that.

I always thought Daryl and John Cangelosi made a great back to back pair. Unfortunately, Tony LaRussa was fired, Doug Rader was only around for two games and I'm not sure if Jim Fregosi really knew what to do with the team. Opportunities may have been lost then, but I have some great memories to recall.


In the past couple weeks it seems like I've been everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I've done posts, but mostly they have been updates on custom cards. There have been other posts, but those stick out in my mind the most.

I finally tracked down a photo of the elusive Ray Shook, who only played one game, with no at-bats, in 1916. As soon as the photo was emailed to me, I had to get to work on the card and the corresponding information. How could I not? This marked the end of almost a year of searching.

The Goose Joak templates were released and I have been having a blast working with that wonderful design. I've been collecting photos during Spring Training, so it's been easier this year. Preparation always makes these type of projects easier.

A big thank you goes out to Marie for sending Sox cards. All I had to do was pay shipping. A great deal! I already spotted cards that I needed. The want lists will be updated in the next few days, hopefully.

On Wednesday, I mailed out long overdue packages to Tom and Doc T. Sorry for the delay. I've been rearranging my boxes by team and cards are everywhere! I hope to get through that project soon.

A great big thank you goes out to Noah. I received an unexpected package from him yesterday. I need to stockpile Mets. As soon as I do, expect a return package.

Most of the changes have been behind the scenes lately. I've been putting a lot of grunt work into the Facebook page and putting my two cents in on Twitter. And of course, watching baseball that counts! Every game that I can see without the MLB Network.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WSC Vintage: Ray Shook

Card #15 - Ray Shook

On April 16, 1916, Ray Shook made his debut in a Major League game in Chicago, in a loss to the St. Louis Browns. After the game, Shook was released to the Rockford Wakes of the Three-I League, without ever making a plate appearance.

Ray's career has always been an oddity. Until recently, no known pictures of him in a White Sox uniform had been widely circulated. In fact, some actually believed that Ray Shook did not exist.

Shook was a third string catcher for the White Sox, who was used mostly for exhibition games. Ray made the club in 1916, behind Ray Shalk and Jack Lapp. Shook was plucked out of the Racine, Wisconsin area and given a contract with the White Sox in late 1915. He had played with the Racine Belles of the Bi-State League and with the Racine clubs (the Malted Milks and the Belles) of the Wisconsin-Illinois League before his brief MLB career.

*** A great big thank you to the staff at Shoeless Joe Jackson's Virtual Hall of Fame for providing the photograph and a few vintage articles on Ray Shook.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WSC Birth Years: Omar Vizquel

Card #53 - Omar Vizquel

Born: April 24, 1967

Making his debut with the Seattle Mariners in 1989, Omar is the oldest active player on the White Sox at the beginning of the season. Vizquel is the next in the long line of excellent Venezuelan shortstops to grace the position for the White Sox.

In his long career, Omar has won eleven Gold Gloves and has been selected to three All-Star teams. Vizquel is not expected to be the everyday shortstop this late in his career, but don't be surprised if he can still play with the best of them. Omar is expected to be a bench player and a mentor to the young infielders.

Expect Vizquel to see plenty of playing time between filling in at shortstop, pinch hitting and being part of skipper Ozzie Guillen's rotating DH plan for 2010.

WSC Vintage: Maurice Archdeacon

Card #14 - Maurice Archdeacon

While in the minor leagues, Maurice racked up 225 stolen bases in five years. In 1923, that was enough for a call up to the big club.

Playing parts of three seasons with the White Sox (1923-1925), Archdeacon pulled in a lifetime average of .333 in 127 games. Even though the "Flash" or "Comet", as he was nicknamed, played his last MLB game in 1925, his career in the minors began in 1919 and ended in 1932.

He only managed to steal thirteen bases in the majors, but still was able to patrol centerfield for the Sox. After Maurice's playing days were over, he became a scout for his hometown Browns team, until they moved to Baltimore.

Why Buehrle Is The Sox Ace

Monday, April 5, 2010

Four New 2010 Goose Joak Cards

Alejandro De Aza - the 26th man

Jordan Danks - the future of the outfield

Josh Kroger - another long look in the spring

Paul Konerko - the 2010 Opening Day bare handed grab!

Check out the entire 2010 Goose Joak set here!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Goose Joak 2010: Juan Pierre

Goose Joak Cards are back for 2010 and this set is looking to eclipse the 2009 version. I know I'll be making my contributions, will you?

Check out the entire 2010 set here!

Happy Easter

From Ted Easterly and the 1912 White Sox.

Top Row, L-R: Frank Lange (P), Cuke Barrows (RF), Joe Benz (P), Harry Lord (3B), Ed Walsh (P), Jim 'Death Valley' Scott (P), Wally Mayer (C), Billy Sullivan (C).

2nd Row, L-R: unidentified (batboy?), Doc White (P), unidentified, Ted Easterly (C), Morry Rath (2B), Ernie Johnson (P), Ellis Johnson (P), Phil Douglas (P), Walt Kuhn (P).

3rd Row, L-R: Ray Schalk (C), Kid Gleason (Coach), Ping Bodie (CF), Wally Mattick (CF), Nixey Callahan(Mgr.), Eddie Cicotte (P), John 'Shano' Collins (OF), Rollie Zeider (1B/3B).

Front: Fred Lamlein (P), Buck Weaver (SS), Polly Wolfe (RF).

And look folks, Buck Weaver, front and center in the first row!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 Predictions

Once again, I will try to pick the winners of each division. Once again, it will probably be wrong, to some capacity. I will try again anyway.

In no way am I trying to "wrong" anyone by picking their team in a certain order. I base this on offseason moves (by team and division rivals), statistics, personal observations and hunches. I do not base this on friendship to any bloggers or fans of any team. There is no bias in these decisions. If I thought the White Sox had the worst team in the AL Central division, I would pick them to be in fifth, but I don't think that for this year's team... so I won't.

On the other side of the coin, if I thought the Cubs had the best team in the NL Central, I would pick them to be in first place. I don't, so I won't.

American League East:
1. Red Sox
2. Rays
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

A traditionally tough division. The Red Sox should prevail in a tight race. The Yankees will fade for awhile at some point in the season, whether it happens early or late is debatable.

American League Central:
1. White Sox
2. Tigers
3. Twins
4. Indians
5. Royals

The White Sox pitching should find them on top of a weak division. If the hitting experiments work out, look for them to be on top by a lot. The Twins will stumble this season adjusting to life outside of the dome. The Indians will rebound from their gutting, just not enough to contend. The Royals additions only shuffled their Rolodex.

American League West:
1. Mariners
2. Rangers
3. Angels
4. Athletics

Look for the Mariners and the Rangers to dine on the rest of their division. The Angels are the biggest question mark in the division. They look weaker, but looks could prove deceiving. The Athletics aren't ready for contention this year.

American League Wild Card: Rangers

American League team that will surprise people: Indians

National League East:
1. Phillies
2. Marlins
3. Mets
4. Braves
5. Nationals

The Phillies made moves, but seemed to stay in the same place. Look for them to stay on top. The Mets and Braves continue to make questionable moves, but the Braves are focusing on the future more than the present. The Nationals will contend in a few years, if they continue like this past winter.

National League Central:
1. Cardinals
2. Cubs
3. Reds
4. Brewers
5. Pirates
6. Astros

This could be the last year the Cardinals will have enough to win this weak division. They should take advantage of that. The Cubs have a lot of glitz, but still have enough holes to keep them from the top. The Reds could have a decent year. Look for the Pirates to surprise a lot of people this year.

National League West:
1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Padres
4. Giants
5. Diamondbacks

The Rockies and Dodgers could be a dogfight the entire season. The Padres are on the rise, while the Giants are in decline. They will probably flip flop from last season's standings. The Diamondbacks haven't done enough to improve their status this year.

National League Wild Card: Dodgers

National League team that will surprise people: Pirates

Regardless of how many are right or wrong at season's end, this is always a good primer for me before the season starts. Everyone has different opinions of the season and are entitled to those opinions. Right or wrong, these are mine.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Buck Weaver Found!

When I went looking for Buck Weaver's grave last October, I came within a few yards of his grave site. I just didn't know it at the time.

I got onto a kick looking for Buck's final resting place by looking for my own relatives in the area cemeteries. No one knew the exact locations of any relative, but they knew the cemeteries. That was a start.

My mother's side was fairly easy. It took one trip and about an hour of searching before I found both my two year old cousin and my mom's mother. Once I found my cousin, I knew that my grandmother would be fairly close from the information I was given.

My dad's side of the family would be different. I was looking for a great aunt, my grandfather and my grandmother. No locations were given, just the cemeteries.

After a few fruitless searches, I broke down and called. There was no record of my relatives. I was starting to think that I had uncovered another Burr Oak fiasco. Fortunately, whoever wrote the names down switched the cemeteries. After twenty minutes of getting nowhere inquiring about my grandfather and great aunt, I took a stab in the dark and asked about my grandmother. There she was! It was easy enough to figure out the the other two were at another cemetery nearby.

I found everyone and I discovered that my uncle who passed away last November was right next to my grandmother. In a weird morbid sense, I won the bonus prize. I found something I wasn't expecting, but was very glad to find.

In between those two cemeteries, Tracey and I went to Mt. Hope to try once again to locate the elusive Buck Weaver. This time I was armed with all the information I could possibly find. I knew that Buck was in section 35, under his given name of George D. Weaver. I just didn't know where he was in that section.
Did I mention that cemeteries in Illinois are designed to confuse the hell out of you? No? Well, they are. Each cemetery seems to have their own unique way of keeping records. The cemeteries in the south Chicagoland area have the added benefit of markers that are mostly worn of their numbers. The placement of these numbered lots also seems a bit haphazard. Gravestones face in multiple directions. Some forwards, some backwards, some sideways, some on angles.
In this picture, I am standing directly in front of Buck's grave. It is literally facing the corner. As you can see by the placement of the gravestones, nothing appears to have much order. This is facing the intersection of 115th and Rockwell, where there is a stoplight, with train tracks running across 115th at the light. The train tracks run along the east side fence. 115th street runs along the north side fence.

How to locate Buck's grave.

When entering Mt. Hope's entrance on 115th, turn left. Go all the way back. When the road starts to bend along the east fence (where the tracks are) stop the car. Get out and start heading towards the corner of the fence. You will run into the grave. Right behind Buck's stone is a black granite flat stone with a child's face etched onto the marker. This is very obvious, as there is not another headstone like it. Buck's stone is right before that, on an angle.

If you're still lost, look at the trees. There is a white sign with the number 35 in black on the side of a tree with the sign facing the road, a little bit past the bend. Start heading to the left of that. If you go to the right, you'll run into a sign that reads 35N. This is not where you want to be. That was confusing the first time I went. I want to make sure that no one else gets tripped up by that.

The information of section 35, lot 258, was a good start. You could still end up searching for awhile because of the poor condition of the cement markers and the odd layout. Use this post as a guide to easily find Buck.

My long search, interrupted by winter, is finally over. I'm happy I was able to find Buck's grave. I just wish his name was cleared. That is another problem for another day.

Card Spotlight: 4-2-10

2001 Donruss Classics #93 - Carlos Lee

This card is Tracey's choice. I asked her to grab a binder off the shelf and pick a card that looked good. Chances were good that she wouldn't pick a card that has already been spotlighted. My hunch was correct.

I asked her why she picked this one out of all the cards in the binder. It was of a player that she hadn't heard about in awhile and no other reason was given.

This is like many cards that I tried to play catch up with, when I started to buy White Sox team sets off of eBay early last decade. I knew nothing but the Donruss name, so I purchased many of the Donruss Classics Sox sets, but strangely enough, not this particular set.

I'm not sure exactly how or when I acquired this card, but I'm sure it was through a trade. Sometimes a card just doesn't have an interesting story attached to it. No memory that recalls the joy or frustration of collecting. Sometimes it's just random. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out a card in your collection that you overlook. Other times, I'm just lazy and feel like putting my faith in someone I love to choose a card wisely, completely at random.

My one thought of Carlos Lee, just days before Opening Day, is one of happiness and neglect. If it wasn't for Carlos Lee leaving the Sox through trade, the White Sox may not have won the World Series in 2005. Many other deals made that dream a reality, but this was one of the big ones.

I see a similar path during this past offseason. The Sox are taking chances on a number of guys and have cut ties with many fan favorite players. Will it work out the same way? Only time will tell on that one. We shall find out in October.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mackowiak Is Back

Recognize this smiling face? I sure do! I was a classmate with him for three years in high school. Then, I saw him in a less than stellar stint with the White Sox.

Tempting fate, Rob is back in Chicago, this time with the Cubs. Mackowiak is the Cubs new utility outfielder. Injuries to Tyler Colvin and Xavier Nady made this a necessity.

"Soriano might not last 162 games. Fukudome can't play in April and Byrd can't carry the load of three outfielders. Robby was our obvious choice", said Lou Piniella.

"Adduci is not ready yet and the less said about Fuld, the better", chimed bench coach Alan Trammell.

Veteran Derrek Lee has been impressed. "I hated going to Pittsburgh, when I was with Florida. Mack would find a way to beat us. I'm glad I never had to face a team of Macks."

Upon hearing the news of his former whipping boy being back in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen (never at a loss for words) said, "Mackowiak a good kid. He play pretty s****y for me, but the kid has heart. I take him over Anderson."

It looks like there will be a redemption of sorts for Rob Mackowiak in Chicago. Not bad for someone who couldn't make Cleveland's roster last year. In baseball, they take care of their own and Rob has his second chance.

OK, I couldn't think of anything to top the Zambrano to the White Sox post from last year. So to make it up to you, here's Rob Mackowiak's Junior year yearbook photo, from back in 1993.

Happy April Fool's Day!
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