Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cards That Never Were #53

1984 Fleer Update - Bucky Dent

Well past the days of postseason heroics, Bucky Dent was released from the Texas Rangers on April 2, 1984. Later in the season, he signed a contract with the Yankees, where he became a household name years earlier. Finding himself released from a contract with the Yankees shortly after, without appearing in a MLB game, Bucky signed with the Kansas City Royals.

Appearing in eleven games, mostly as a defensive replacement at shortstop and third base, Bucky was able to manage three hits and one RBI between August and September in the 1984 season. After the 1984 season, Bucky was released from his contract with the Royals and his MLB playing career ended.

Dent ended his career with the team his Yankees defeated two years in a row to advance to the World Series, in 1977 and 1978. The Royals bested the Yankee team he was on in 1980, to advance to the World Series. The Royals did win the Western Division in 1984, but lost to the Tigers in the playoffs. Dent did not participate in any of those games. In fact, his last game was on September 11, 1984 against the Twins. Bucky came in as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning for John Wathan, who pinch hit for Buddy Biancalana. Dent was lifted in the eighth by pinch hitter Leon Roberts, who was replaced in the field by Onix Concepcion.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buehrle Is A Marlin


I've thoroughly enjoyed your time in Chicago. We (as the collective of players and fans) have experienced the best of times and times that were probably best forgotten. Yet, your calm, cool and grace always poked through. There are too many highlights that I will remember from your time here to start listing them all. I'm sad to see you go, but I can understand your decision. And I thought St. Louis was the only team that could wrangle you away from the White Sox! I'll still collect your cards and I will follow your career with great interest. I, and the rest of Chicago, will sure miss you. We will never forget you.

~ Steve Gierman
White Sox Cards

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santo In, Minoso Denied

I could say a lot about the Hall of Fame committee's vote, but I won't. Instead, I'll say congratulations to the ghost of Ron Santo and his loyal supporters. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Ron Santo, the player, deserves to get into the Hall of Fame, as do other excellent players that repeatedly get overlooked.
For a great read on why Minnie Minoso got the shaft again, read Jim Margalus' excellent article.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2012 WSC Hall Of Fame Ballot

Here's a Hall of Fame that anyone can vote for: The White Sox Cards Hall Of Fame.

You can vote for as many or as few players as you want. The rules are the same as the MLB Hall of Fame. 75% of the vote will get a player in. At least 5% of the vote will keep a player on the ballot for next year. A player has to be away from the White Sox for a minimum of five years for ballot consideration. If a player cannot get 75% of the vote after 15 tries, he is taken off the ballot.

Last ballot, first baseman Frank Thomas was voted into the WSC Hall Of Fame. Who will make it in this year?

The 2012 ballot includes a player for each positional spot on the field, a designated hitter, a manager, and pitching has been split into spots for starter, middle relief and closer.

Luis Aparicio - SS (2nd year)
Harold Baines – OF (2nd year)
Nellie Fox – 2nd Base (2nd year)
Oscar Gamble - DH (2nd year)
Ed Herrmann - C (1st year)
Frank Isbell – 1st Base (1st year)
Joe Jackson - OF (2nd year)
Fielder Jones – OF (2nd year)
Al Lopez – MGR (2nd year)
Gary Peters - P (2nd year)
Bobby Thigpen - P (1st year)
Robin Ventura – 3rd Base (2nd year)
Hoyt Wilhelm – P (1st year)

Voting will be through February 14, 2012, with the results announced shortly after. You can vote on the right sidebar. Any position left open due to election or cuts will be filled by another player next year.

The results should prove interesting. Have fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For This Year

In no particular order...

New job
Better new job
Restarting my education
New relationship
Not abandoning this blog
A new direction for the White Sox
At least one company still makes baseball cards
Becoming a published author
Happiness after sadness
Reading everyone else's card blogs
The feeling of a freshly opened pack of cards
Watching "Garfield's Thanksgiving" on DVD today
Watching "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" on DVD right after
Secretly wishing that my dinner consisted of buttered toast, pretzel sticks, popcorn and jelly beans

Hope everyone has a growing list of things to be thankful for this year!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Everybody Wants My Jack Lamabe

Let's see here...

A 1990 Ozzie Smith for my 1967 Jack Lamabe...


A 1974 Brewer and a 1978 Brewer for my 1967 Jack Lamabe...
Closer, but still no. I do like the fact that this potential trader didn't try to unload worthless junk wax on me, but the answer is no. I need the 1967 Jack Lamabe for my team set. Someone will have to do a lot better to wrangle this card away from me.

I'm already preparing its spot in my binder.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Explanation

Blog posts have been significantly down on this site the past few months. Many of you may think that it was tied into the White Sox painful dive into mediocrity at about the same time. No. It's just a coincidence. The truth is, a lot of changes have been happening on my end. And no, I have not become a Cubs fan. Thank you for your concern.

A chain reaction of events have kicked off an unexpected path. Well, not so much unexpected. Let's say severely delayed. The timing was unexpected.

I plan to still finish off the Season Pass cards, but they are not a top priority for me. Things will still be posted here, but not with the same type of frequency as before. At least for the time being.

I want to thank the few people that have sent packages in the past month. I have really appreciated them, but I haven't had time to fully dive into each package. I'm just starting to pick apart a package sent by Project '62. That was sent back in late August.

The catalyst was my fiancee, or rather my ex-fiancee now. We both needed to concentrate on getting our own lives in order and for some odd reason, she was convinced that we couldn't do that while still being engaged. It came out of left field for me, but I can still respect that. Mind you, I am not happy about it, but I can respect it. I can appreciate that we're just as good of friends as before, just not together.

As luck would have it, I landed a job right after that. My employment has been sporadic the past few years and the hours each day of filling out applications finally paid off. I was a little out of my comfort zone with the job I did get, driving a taxi, but I really enjoyed the work. A monkey wrench in the works was the area. I was driving in the Cicero/Berwyn area, which was fine, but I wasn't overly familiar with the area. Thank heavens for GPS! The real problem was the pay. To say it was inconsistent would be comparable to claiming that the Pope was Catholic. Most days, I barely made enough to cover the lease and the gas that I used. With travel time to and from work, we're looking at a fourteen hour day. It wasn't the best situation, but it was work and I stuck with it. The people (passengers and co-workers) I met on that job were all great and I am a better person for meeting them.

At the same time, I went back to inquire about how close I was to an Associates degree at my local community college. I was intending to start in the spring semester and work my way through the core classes that I still needed. Well, when I met with an advisor, I found that I had accumulated 87 credits. I knew I had a lot, but I didn't think it was that many. As it stands, I have four classes to complete and I will have my degree.

Many nights, while waiting for fares to call in, I spent my time studying the college catalog. I plotted my course and found a short term class that started in November for one of my four remaining classes. Unfortunately, that one was full up, but I found an alternate short term class at an extension center in Blue Island and I'll be starting that class on Monday.

After I figured out what I needed to still accomplish at a community college, I started to think about where I wanted to go after. I settled on a path that most people I've met have told me I am a natural for; therapist. Specifically an LCSW. After researching costs and programs, I settled on Governors State University. I should be entering their psychology program the fall of 2012, barring the use of grants.

While I was happy to be working, I was displeased at the cab job. The stability was not there and I needed a steady paycheck if I was to get my schooling done. Having so many credits, I was not eligible for assistance. Like the other 87 credits, I would have to pay for them out of pocket.

I e-mailed an old boss, mostly out of desperation, to inquire if there were any clients available that I could work with. I used to work with disabled HIV patients. The work was rewarding, but the last client I had turned into a 24/7 job that was on call. I had gotten sucked into going well beyond the scope of my job description. By the time the client required full time hospitalization, I was burned out.

Shortly after that, I started this blog, struggled with dead end or short term jobs, and got my writing career off to a non-paying beginning. All while it was harder to get and keep even the crappiest job because of the declining economy.

As luck would have it, my old boss called me back a few days later. He had a client looking for help, although it was about forty-five minutes from my house, without too much traffic. I accepted it and began the process of meeting the client. After a pleasant phone call and a great visit, the client approved me and I start that job the same day I start my class in Blue Island. So, I'll be working during the day and going to class at night. I still have the cab job, if I feel like taking a slim chance for extra pocket money.

Serendipity must be working overtime. My new job is slightly over three miles from where I'll be going to school next fall and the client has agreed to work around whatever school schedule I have. Things are definitely on an upswing, but all this activity sadly leaves less time for this blog. The good thing is that I haven't abandoned this blog. It is something that I love to do and I get great enjoyment from this extension of my hobby. It just has to be left mostly on the back burner for awhile.

In addition to two jobs and school, I'm still writing short stories and continuing work on my various novels that I have half written. Another short story will be published in an upcoming anthology called Code Z, available through KnightWatch Press.

I've even inquired on getting the band back together... again. Not just to play and recall our past glories from the garage, but to actually flesh out some of the reams of lyrics that I have written over the years. I have grandiose ideas and I'll be a happy man if a few of them actually make it past my brain someday.

To make matters more complicated, during all this transitioning, the White Sox manager situation came to a head and blew up, leading to the short lived Don Cooper era. Although some say that the Don Copper era will continue under the figurehead of Robin Ventura. We'll see how that scenario plays out.

So... yeah. That's what has been going on here on my end, which has been disrupting the natural flow of the blog. When I settle into a routine, expect a little more content. Until then, feel free to explore the over 2,000 previous posts. You never know what you may find. Like cards trapped in jars and an original WSC Venture Bros adventure.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Card Spotlight: 10-7-11

1990 Toys "R" Us Rookies #28 - Robin Ventura

When the White Sox were searching for their new manager, I would have lost many bets with the choice of Robin Ventura. Not only was he not on my radar as a potential candidate, he was on nobody's radar, except for Kenny Williams.

If the White Sox were looking for the anti-Ozzie, I think they found it. Honestly, I don't recall ever hearing Robin Ventura speak during his playing days. The only act of impulse I remember him doing ended up in a headlock and a migraine. I have no doubt that he was a great teammate. That was accurately on display during his entire playing career. How does that translate to manager? I have no idea.

Imagine my surprise, while relaxing and fishing on the Chain O' Lakes yesterday, when text after text popped up letting me know that Ventura was named the new Sox manager. Apparently, everyone and their sibling wanted to try to be the first to tell me breaking White Sox news. I appreciate that.

What kind of a manager will Robin Ventura make? We'll see next year. The aspect of the hiring that bothers me a little is the lack of any type of coaching experience at the major or minor league level. The hire is interesting, nonetheless. People doubted Ozzie's ability to manage, but he also had a little bit of coaching experience under his belt. Hopefully, Ventura can prove the doubters wrong. Only time will tell.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ozzie Exits Early

I was driving a friend to a Big & Tall store in Orland Park, when we heard a press conference on the radio, back in November 2003. Ozzie Guillen had just been hired to manage the White Sox. While my friend was skeptical, I turned to him and said, "Now the White Sox will win the World Series".

Of course my friend laughed and thought I was a little crazier than usual. I was dead serious and within two seasons, my prophetic statement had come true.

The next six seasons were about pursuing a repeat of that magical season, where everything went right. There were good teams in that time. Some overachieved and came up short, others fell apart when it counted, and others underachieved to an astonishing degree, which proves that no matter how good things look on paper, the human element always trumps the best laid plans.

Love him or hate him, everyone can agree that Ozzie Guillen was never boring. He was truthful, sometimes to a fault. He tried to deflect the media's wrath away from his players. Ozzie was a protector, in that respect.

The events of tonight have been building for a long time. The timing of everything is odd. With only two games left, Ozzie wanted (and was granted) his release. Rather than manage two more games, Ozzie walked away, and presumably Joey Cora will fill in the rest of the season. This is the only part of this release that I find unsettling. Joey Cora is a great baseball mind and would make a great manager, but it feels like Ozzie didn't get exactly what he wanted, so he picked up his ball and asked to go home.

Fortunately for the Sox, the warning signs have been there and plans are in place for 2012. Kenny Williams is tight lipped about the potential plans and that's exactly the way it should be. While Ozzie chewed a reporter out this evening for talking before he was finished speaking, Kenny looked like he was on the verge of tears. I can only imagine what Jerry Reinsdorf was going through today.

It's been a tough season for White Sox fans in 2011. A promising season turned into a bevy of spectacular meltdowns. Changes will be made for 2012, but as to what exactly, we will all have to wait awhile.

So long, Ozzie. It's been a fun ride, but like all fun things, they have to end sometime. I'm glad it lasted as long as it did.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Card Spotlight: 9-23-11

1912 T207 - Morrie Rath

Morrie Rath is one of several MLB players to commit suicide. Why do I bring this up? I mention it because I have had two family members and a few friends' family members commit this selfish act in the past decade. In 2007, my uncle, who I was extremely close to, left this world in this manner. In 2008, a cousin also chose this path.

For the second consecutive year, I will be participating in the AFSP Out Of The Darkness community walk. It will be held on Saturday morning, September 24th, in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. While I won't be raising any money this year, I will be supporting others who are. The annual event raises money for AFSP's vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide, advocate for mental health issues, and assist survivors of suicide loss.

While we do not live in a perfect world, things are never as bad as they appear in the moment. Time heals, if you allow it. There are no answers to the tragic endings of suicide. It is fruitless to speculate the why after the fact, but where we can help is in prevention.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WSC Birth Years: Shane Lindsay

Card #100 - Shane Lindsay

Born: January 25, 1985

Shane spent time in the Rockies, Yankees and Indians minor league organizations before signing with the White Sox in 2011. Lindsay spent most of the season in the minors, before being called up by the Pale Hose in September 2011. He made his MLB debut against the Tigers on September 2nd, striking out one and walking one in one inning of work.

Shane became the first Australian born player to pitch for the White Sox, when he made his debut, furthering the worldwide diversity of the Sox staff and players.

Lindsay had a disastrous second outing, where he gave up seven runs to the Tigers, but he has settled down in subsequent appearances. During the offseason, Shane plays for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Card Spotlight: 8-26-11

2010 Upper Deck #130 - Paul Konerko

Let's highlight the most consistent White Sox hitter of the 2011 season. Whether he's bashing homers or playing through pain, Konerko has brought his "A" game from day one of the season.

Recently, Paulie got his 2,000th hit, making him the latest to accomplish that feat in a White Sox uniform. If Konerko wasn't on the White Sox this season, there would be no hope, however slim it may be, of still contending. Those hopes dash away with each game given away, but they still remain, largely due to the consistency of Paul Konerko.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mr. 2,000

Congratulations to Paul Konerko on his 2,000th hit!

Random Card #44

2011 Topps Opening Day #125 - Adam Dunn

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Card Spotlight: 8-19-11

1980 Topps #291 - Randy Scarbery

Just a quick card to keep the Card Spotlight rolling. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just A Quick Note

The Season Pass cards will be delayed a bit, while I focus on the start of a new job. Don't worry, they'll all be there, but I have to put them on the back burner temporarily. The plan is to be all caught up with them by the middle of next week.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Congrats, Jim Thome!!!

Congratulations on your 600th career home run!!! You're a classy guy and I loved the time that you were in Chicago.

Random Card #43

1973 Topps #261 - Pat Kelly

The powder blues of the early seventies and the dominating red colors of the White Sox uniform are just the capper on this card. The awkward, but surprisingly sweet smile is the real draw here. The draw for some will be the overhang of Yankee Stadium in the background, perfectly framing the left side of the photo. There are so many little cool details, I'll leave it to you to discover them all.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Card Spotlight: 8-12-11

1994 Conlon #1003 - Sad Sam Jones

It's been a busy day and didn't have time to post earlier, so I thought I'd treat everyone to one of my favorite sets. This card came towards the end of the run, but the quality and care is still evident.

One of the great players with great nicknames, Sad Sam Jones, graces this card, as well as a few others in the set. There's one difference... this one shows Sad Sam in a White Sox uniform!

Enjoy the vintage photo on a sharp looking card and I'll get back to game, so I can post the latest WSC Season Pass card later. Sad Sam Jones. Just stare at him.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 WSC Season Pass - Card #120

Why I Didn't Go To The National

Many people have wondered why I didn't go to the National this year. It's a valid question, since it was practically on my doorstep. The main reason was money. Looking for steady work, that actually is attached to a paycheck, is difficult in the current economy. I've always prided myself in being a dependable worker, who usually does more than his fair share of the work. I know my strengths and weaknesses and don't try to kid myself about them.

Even with a sterling work history, with years long stretches at jobs and overlapping time at these jobs, it's been a struggle to stay afloat financially. Many people are in the same boat I am and unless you know someone, chances are you will be overlooked on the job front. I still keep plugging away every day and I know my luck will turn around. The law of averages is with me. Until then, I am forced to be frugal. My collecting has been mostly through trades this year. It satisfies my need for a hobby and it brings people closer together.

I just picked up my first two packs of cards in three months. I thought I needed a little pick me up, so I treated myself to a rack pack of Allen & Ginter and a rack pack of Topps Lineage. There was really nothing too special in either, but I did manage to find an Alexei Ramirez A&G card, so I'm happy. There's nothing like opening a pack of cards. Even though it was a couple of pretty dull packs, it felt magical opening them after such a long absence.

The overall reason was financial, but that's never stopped me from finding a way. The other reason I did not attend was medical. Somehow, I developed a nasty ear infection that knocked me off my feet for a few weeks. There was a reason for less posts during the last few weeks and that was it.

The ear infection has cleared up and things are starting to return to some normalcy, medically speaking. I expect the financial situation to improve sooner rather than later. Things (with the exception of one very recent private matter that some of you know about) have been looking up and I see no reason why that trend shouldn't continue.

The short answer is that I didn't have the spare cash and I was sick. The longer answer is a little more complicated, but it all boils down to essentially the same aspects. The fact of the matter is that I have been to card shows but I have never been to the National. I intend that to change soon. If not next year, shortly thereafter. And maybe I'll have some cool freebies to give out when that happens. Only time will tell.

2011 WSC Season Pass - Card #119

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WSC Birth Years: Jason Frasor

Card #99 - Jason Frasor

Born: August 9, 1977

Jason was drafted into the Tigers organization in the thirty-third of the 1999 draft. After being traded to the Dodgers in 2002, he was converted from a starter into a reliever. He was then traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004 for Jayson Werth.

It was with the Blue Jays where he finally made it to the majors. Eventually, in 2011, he surpassed Duane Ward in number of appearances for Toronto. A week and a half later, Jay was traded to the White Sox, along with Zach Stewart, for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen, in what became a salary dump for Chicago.

In Frasor, the Sox got a tough competitor, who will battle the hitters with every pitch. Ozzie Guillen used to hate for his team to face Jay because he gave the Sox hitters fits. Now, he's giving the Pale Hose opponents fits.

Jason is a south side native, who grew up rooting for the Cubs. He shed those allegiances and has given his all for the South Side. Frasor gives the Sox another option besides Jesse Crain in the late innings and has worked out better than expected since coming over.

2011 WSC Season Pass - Card #118

Sunday, August 7, 2011

2011 WSC Season Pass - Card #116

WSC Vintage: Walt Kuhn

Card #41 - Walt Kuhn

Walt signed with the White Sox in February 1912. He would play parts of three seasons with the Pale Hose, ending in 1914. Kuhn made his MLB debut on April 18, 1912 in a game against the St. Louis Browns. Regular catcher Billy Sullivan had great faith in Walt's abilities and supported him in his rookie campaign.

By 1913, Kuhn was given the starting catcher position, showing great promise, but by August, he had lost the starting job to future Hall of Fame catcher, Ray Schalk. After that, a series of injuries limited Walt's playing time. His MLB career caught stealing percentage is 45.54% and compares with Ivan Rodriguez.

In 1915, he was sold to the minor league Oakland Oaks and resumed his minor league career. While, finding some success in the minors, Kuhn was drafted into the army in 1918. While Sgt. Kuhn was in combat training in San Antonio, Texas, his roommate snapped him with a towel, as a joke, causing a permanent blindness in his right eye. Walt was honorably discharged after the incident.

After his MLB career was over, Kuhn joined the Dallas Police Department and took over as player/manager of the Modesto Reds. Walt died in 1935, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, presumably brought on by his failing health.

2011 WSC Season Pass - Card #115

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