Friday, June 14, 2019

Card Spotlight: 6-14-19

2013 Bowman Sterling Prospects Autographs #BSAP-CH - Courtney Hawkins

I wanted to believe in Courtney Hawkins. From the back flip that he did on draft day, I wanted to believe in him. The White Sox gave up on Courtney in 2018, releasing him. He has since gone on to play in the Independent Leagues and in the minors with the Cincinnati Reds and currently in the minors with the San Francisco Giants.

I still hope he gets to play in the majors one day. Most likely it will be a cup of coffee, but hopefully something more. Don't stop chasing your dream, Courtney!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 Panini Prizm

You pretty much know by now what you're getting with Panini Prizm. You're getting another chromium product with shiny colored parallels. It's nothing spectacular anymore. It chips easily, but still, there's something alluring about chromium sets. Even if the design remind you a little of some Topps Finest designs. I guess there's only so many combinations of design before things start to look similar. I mean, eventually. Right? Maybe.

For those who like the chromium products, this will offer few surprises. The most eye catching aspect of this release is the over twenty parallels available. Isn't this one of the factors of how Donruss lost their license? I think it was. This is definitely a situation where team logos would help make this set a little more appealing.

The three hundred card set has few White Sox players in it. Half of the White Sox cards are in tier one.

The White Sox have six cards in the set.

46 - Michael Kopech
56 - Yoan Moncada
90 - Jose Abreu
155 - Carlos Rodon
166 - Tim Anderson
299 - Frank Thomas

This is not a bad set, but there is nothing other than the mind-blowing amount of parallels that set it apart. When you have to rely on parallels to make your product stand out, it's not a great product. It's an average one, which reeks of blandness. Sure, it's cool and shiny, but that does not equate awesomeness.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Card Spotlight: 6-7-19

1931 W517 #43 - Art Shires

Pre World War II cards are always interesting. Economic fluctuations and various material shortages account for spotty releases and other anomalies. There are some years that I cannot find a single solitary White Sox card release. During the United States involvement in WWII, materials were diverted for the war effort and the country had their obvious focus on other things.

Another reason for lack of years without a release would be that some releases were strung out over several years. Some would even put out the same set every few years with a few tweaks and updates. There are still debates in the forums on what card came out in what year and which version was which year. We can only sleuth and make educated guesses. Anyone involved with the processes of those cards are long deceased.

People like Jefferson Burdick helped catalog a great deal of these sets, but those lists were never perfect. Cards still are discovered today that never made those lists. Variations and other oddities still come to light. Time is a cruel mistress and the longer we travel past these releases, the harder it is to properly catalog. Although, some companies never release their full checklists today, which is even more annoying. These present day companies have no excuse not to release the full checklist.

Depression era cards are one of the most overlooked of the bunch, with the exception of Goudey. Most sets were strip cards that were cheaply produced and cheaply bought. They were meant to be hand cut, so the quality really varies in these cards.

The most exciting aspect for me is the sheer amount of players that never get cards anywhere but in these releases. Art Shires is a good example of this. Art played with three teams over a four year career. He only received three known card releases during his playing career. Two were with the White Sox and one was doctored to be on the Boston Braves, but used the same picture as on the W517 card, which he shared space with three other players.
Art has three postcards, one new card and one reprint card made well after his playing career was over. The postcards were made in 1966, the new card was in 1992 and the reprint was in 1997. Since then, nothing. That's why these cards fascinate me greatly. If you played anywhere from the Black Sox scandal until the end of the forties and you aren't a household name in the twenty-first century, you are largely forgotten.

These cards provide a window into that forgotten world. Someone had to play against Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Twittering A Buy-In

I don't check Twitter as often as I probably should. I get all of the notifications through my phone. Usually a Twitter notification and a text. I get tagged in a lot of stuff and it's usually someone hitting "reply all" and having a full blown conversation. Each reply gets the same treatment from my notifications. I'll usually give it a cursory glance before I swipe the notification away. If I'm at work, sometimes not even that much. I've been at work a lot lately, if you can tell by the lack of posts recently.

I don't usually purchase these on demand cards straight from Topps. They are usually too much money or I have to buy other cards that I don't want. I usually try to pick them up on the secondary market. So when J.T. of the fantastic Writer's Journey contacted me to see if I wanted in on a group break for Throwback Thursday, I said I was in. The caveat was that the entire lot had to be spoken for or the break wasn't happening. I said I was good for the White Sox card and if there was one card holding up the break, I would purchase that too. To my knowledge, every card was claimed because I only paid for the White Sox card.

And what a card it is! Tim Anderson is having a spectacular season. It has cooled some, but the numbers are still respectable. I am not a collector of football cards, so I was not familiar with this design, but I like it. It apparently is a 1970 Super Glossy Football design. Some are not enthralled with the design, but it reminds me of early nineties Fleer inserts, only better. I like the gradient background. I'm not sure I would like an entire set of this design, but for a handful of cards it's very nice.

Thank you, J.T.! I appreciate the opportunity to obtain a card for my collection without having a bunch of cards that I wouldn't really want. If the Reds and the White Sox have cards in the same offering again, I would like to do this arrangement again.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-31-19

1975 Twinkies #8 - Bill Melton

Essentially the exact same card as Hostess, except Twinkies cards have a black stripe on the back. Food issues were much more common than they are today, which is a shame. I can remember getting excited every time I saw baseball cards on a food product when I was growing up.

1975 marked the last season of Beltin' Bill in a White Sox uniform. His numbers were a little down from previous years, but not horrible. In December 1975, Melton would be traded to the California Angels. Bill would find post-career success as a pre and post game commentator for the White Sox.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mailbox Joys: A Thigpen Auto

2017 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs Blue #FFABT - Bobby Thigpen

Bobby Thigpen is one of my player collections. I haven't updated my have list for him recently. Player collections are next after getting my want list completely updated.

When I run across something that I don't have for a retired player that's not in the Hall of Fame, I get excited. Typically, most of my player collections are of fringe players, or in the case of Thigpen, ones who were in the upper echelon for a few years and then came crashing back to Earth.

Looking back, I think it was the grace and poise and respect for the game that made me a huge fan of Bobby's. Years later, when Francisco Rodriguez would break Thigpen's single season save record of fifty-seven (eventually racking up sixty-two saves), Bobby sent him a congratulatory note, just as Dave Righetti did when Thigpen broke his mark. Just to show you how far relievers have come, Dave Righetti's high mark of forty-six saves in 1986, has him tied for forty-second place with nine other players. Meanwhile, Bobby's record of fifty-seven saves has him tied for second place.

I found this autographed card on eBay, up for auction. I was the only bidder and won it for 99 cents, plus $3.50 shipping. I wasn't to concerned about the shipping costs considering I had won the auction at such a low price. It was coming from a seller in the continental United States with a good rating.

I won the auction on April 28th. The shipping estimate was for May 8th. Long, but not unreasonable. It was marked shipped the next day. So the wait begins. I wait. I wait some more. The estimated arrival date came and went. I wait even longer.

On May 15th, I sent the seller a question, asking if I could have the tracking number, so I could try to deduce where the package had been delayed. No response.

On May 18th, a package arrived in my mailbox, with this card in it, and a postmark of May 15th. When I was a seller, I tried to achieve the gold standard on every order and leave the competition in the dust. None of my customers saw red, when they ordered from me. None of them experienced even a delay. Maybe it's just the way I was raised, but if I can't deliver something as promised, in a timely fashion, I communicate. I explain myself and let the other person know what's going on.

I'm happy that the card arrived as described in the listing. Of course it's not the end of the world that it arrived late or I inadvertently had to remind the seller to send it. In the grand scheme of things it's the size of a molecule in the expanse of the universe. It does not mean that it isn't annoying. It does not mean that lackadaisical service is to be tolerated.

In the end, I left positive feedback, when I felt I should have left neutral, because I did not want to get hit with negative feedback. So far, the seller has left no feedback. I'm not going to call out the seller, but I won't be ordering from them unless it is the only way I can get something. I will know in the future, to remind the seller of their obligations earlier than I did this time and have patience.

Mistakes happen and I have no idea what was going on in their life during that time. Unless it is deliberately malicious, you have to give the benefit of the doubt. I could be in a situation one day, where something I send out is delayed. It could be through no fault of my own or it could've gotten buried in a pile of other stuff and forgotten. Life happens. People shouldn't be penalized for that. I'm just happy that I have another Thigpen card to add to the collection. The only real debate is should it be part of the White Sox team collection or part of the Thigpen player collection?

Friday, May 24, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-24-19

2018 Topps Chrome Future Stars #FS-6 - Lucas Giolito

There have been a lot of great highlights so far for the 2019 season. It has been still a largely uneven affair, as players have stepped up and were brought back down. Usually, there will be someone who steps up and has a fantastic stretch, while others falter around him.

This past week, the current ace of the pitching staff has been Lucas Giolito. He has had two complete games, one rain shortened, one nine inning outing. Regardless, it is an accomplishment that has not been achieved since Chris Sale was on the team.

Kudos to Giolito! When this team really gels... look out!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Draft Years: 1971

With the first pick overall in the 1971 draft, the Chicago White Sox selected catcher Danny Goodwin out of Peoria Central High School in Peoria, Illinois. And then Danny did not sign.

Goodwin opted to go to college instead. In an unusual anomaly, Danny was selected as the first overall pick in the 1975 draft by the California Angels. He did sign with the Angels and made his MLB debut on September 3, 1975 against the Texas Rangers. Goodwin had a mostly unremarkable career over seven seasons for the California Angels, the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics, ending in 1982.

It certainly did not live up to the lofty standards of being selected twice as the overall first pick in the draft. Seven years in the majors, even mostly under the radar, is a pretty remarkable feat.

The 1971 draft had some notable prospects, such as Frank Tanana, Jim Rice, Rick Rhoden, Craig Reynolds, Ron Guidry, Jerry Mumphrey and Keith Hernandez.

The White Sox had the first and twenty-fifth picks in the draft and there were two Hall of Fame superstars that were selected at picks twenty-nine and thirty. Theoretically, the White Sox could have selected both of these players. Both played third base primarily, but one was also considered a first baseman as well.

The White Sox selected outfielder Bill Sharp with the twenty-fifth pick. Bill did sign, but only lasted four seasons in the majors. I would've been comfortable with the White Sox selecting one of the available future Hall of Fame players at pick twenty-five.

With the first pick in the draft, the White Sox should have selected....



Mike Schmidt.
I selected Schmidt at pick number one because Mike had power numbers and a Gold Glove defense. While he didn't hit for consistent high average, he wasn't horrible. His glove and power balanced out a slightly above average batting average. Schmidt also bowed out gracefully when his numbers started to decline.

Since it's rare that two Hall of Fame superstars are still available after two picks by the White Sox, I'm going to say that the White Sox should have selected at pick number twenty-five...



George Brett.
George had a little pop in the bat and was no slouch in the defense department, but he consistently flirted with high averages, including a run at the elusive .400. Since Mike Schmidt would have been selected for third base, George would have shifted to first base much earlier in his career.

Can you imagine an infield for the White Sox with Mike Schmidt and George Brett at the infield corners? It could have happened!

Out of twenty-six prospects picked by the White Sox in the 1971 June amateur draft, only ten signed. Only six of those twenty-six picks ever made it to the majors.

The 70s and 80s certainly would have been different with Schmidt and Brett on the team!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-17-19

1970 Kellogg's #16 - Carlos May

Happy birthday to Carlos May, pthe only player ever to wear his birth date on the back of his uniform. Although this appears to be a photograph from a non-MLB game, since he is wearing number twenty-nine instead of number seventeen, as he did through his entire White Sox career.

The things you notice on cards!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-10-19

1993 Rice Council #1 - Steve Sax

This is what happens when baseball cards reach the saturation point. Lovely oddball cards. I'm not sure who thought that a ten card set of athletes from different sports shilling the benefits of rice was a good idea, but I am so glad they did. I never knew that there was such a thing as the USA Rice Council until I saw this card. Does every grain get a council or just rice? Besides making trading cards, what does the Rice Council actually do?

Steve Sax was not great during his time with the White Sox, but he did have this card. Steve was the only athlete to get a second card in the set and it shows him pumping iron.

My favorite quote from this card? "So grab an apron and let's stir up some fun in the kitchen!"

Oddballs are always fun and this card is no exception.

Monday, May 6, 2019

WSC Southside '19 - Carlos Rodon

Card #2 - Carlos Rodon

Cards From Zach

Zach, from the awesome blog Autographed Cards, sent me an e-mail about my post last week about trying to finish the 2008 Topps Heritage set. I'm so close, yet so far. I'd be finished if it wasn't for the surprise introduction of the High Number series. That really stopped my momentum in 2008.

Zach was very helpful and even made me realize that I had made a mistake in identifying a card. I had copied the wrong name on the card number I needed, so when he offered me the player and the number didn't correspond, it seemed glaringly obvious. So I was helped out twice, which is nice.

I got three cards from the Heritage and High Numbers sets and a chrome card for the team set. Zach was kind enough to protect these cards with some 1986 Sportflics cards from my want list, which was awfully nice to do.

The want list and the 2008 Topps Heritage post have both been updated to reflect the new cards.

On a side note, I have been in the lengthy process of revamping, rechecking and organizing my collection and want lists. I know at least one potential trader has been waiting patiently for me to finish, so I can let him know exactly what I have. On the want list front, I have updated through 1990. On the collection front, it is still slowly coming together. I keep discovering different caches of cards to go through.

It is a long time coming for this organization. Since my want list was last majorly updated, I have moved twice. It is only since my wife and I were able to purchase our forever home, that I've been able to properly catalog my collection and give it room to breathe. Since my move in 2013, my collection has spent the bulk of its time stored away in a closet, rarely venturing past that domain. My move in late 2016 saw my collection get some much needed space, but no time to sort through it. Now, the time is here and the space is here, so it is the perfect time to streamline everything.

Side note over. I have to thank Zach once again for the great additions to the collection! I will be sending some 2019 Royals your way, as requested.

Friday, May 3, 2019

WSC Southside '19 - Tim Anderson

Card #1 - Tim Anderson

Card Spotlight: 5-3-19

2012 Topps Gold Sparkle #149 - Chris Sale

I'll be the one to say it. I miss Chris Sale. I miss the passion (even if it sometimes was misguided). I miss the quality starts. I miss the focus and business-like attitude.

I don't miss the drama.

I love Michael Kopech being on this team. I enjoy seeing Yoan Moncada blossom into the player we thought he could be. I'm excited for Luis Basabe. So what if Victor Diaz hasn't pitched since 2017. I appreciate that Chris Sale has a World Series ring. I'm sad that it wasn't with the White Sox, but I am genuinely happy for him.

It will be exciting to see Chris Sale pitch against the White Sox tonight. It will be very interesting to see if he can get his first win of the season against his former team. He is uncharacteristically 0-5 to start the season with a 6.30 ERA. That is definitely not the Chris Sale that I'm used to seeing.

While I always wish Chris well, I'm hoping the White Sox can make him 0-6 tonight. I don't follow Sale as closely as I used to, but I'm wondering if he's getting the injuries out of the way early this year or if he is just suffering from bad luck. His strikeout total suggests bad luck, but his ERA hints at something more sinister. Either way, I hope Chris figures it out, after he leaves Chicago.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Mailbox Joys: Al Zarilla Continues To Show The Way

It seems appropriate that today marks what would have been Al Zarilla's 100th birthday, since he alone is rekindling my collecting of early 50s cards. I was given a limited code for $5 off of a $10 purchase on eBay and found this beauty lingering in an eBay store for around $12 shipped. It was an easy decision, considering I had just received a 1952 Topps Al Zarilla card in the mail recently. That may have been my very first 1952 Topps card, but this was not my first 1951 Topps card.

About a decade aago, I had won a mixed lot of 1951 Topps cards. I was immediately taken by how small they actually were. I believe there were six in that lot... four red back and two blue back. They were in pretty decent condition, but far from perfect. I sold a few in my long gone eBay store and the others ended up in trades. There were no White Sox cards in that lot, so this is truly the first one that I have in my collection.

This almost makes me want to start an Al Zarilla player collection. Almost. Al was only on the White Sox for parts of two seasons, so White Sox cards of him are pretty limited. Excluding later reprints, there are only nine cards that I immediately see of Zarilla in a White Sox uniform. A few of those will be very difficult to obtain, but not impossible. My biggest concerns will be the Star-Cal cards and the Tip Top bread label. Like I said, very difficult, but not impossible. Considering I recently lost out on two different Royal Dessert cards, for two White Sox players not named Al Zarilla, it's going to be a situation of "right time, right place" to get any non Topps or non Bowman cards at a decent price.

Still, that is the thrill of the hunt. The missed opportunities. The bargain wins. It's all part of the fun. Sometimes things fall in your lap. Other times, you have to really work for it. On rare occasions, it was never meant to be.

Theorizing that one could collect all the White Sox cards within his own lifetime, collector Steve Gierman stepped into the blogoshpere... and vanished. He awoke to find himself spending hours on sites like eBay, Sportlots, UniSquare and COMC, putting together awesome trades, and driven by an unknown force to collect all White Sox cards. His only guide on this journey is Al, a baseball player from the past, who appears as baseball cards that only Steve can see and hear. And so collector Steve Gierman finds himself leaping from trade to trade, sale to sale, striving to collect each card and hoping each time that his next card... will complete his collection.

Or I could just be losing my mind. Time will tell.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2008 Topps Heritage Needs

I'm giving myself a deadline to finish the 2008 Topps Heritage set, so I can finally put it to rest and bask in the glow of the journey of ten plus years. It's time to get serious. I'm close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then I can concentrate on those other pesky 2008 sets that I found compelling enough to collect.

When I started this venture, I was living in Illinois. I now live in Michigan. I was in the middle of a long term relationship. I am now happily married to someone other than that long term relationship. I was in-between jobs. Well... with the demise of Toys "R" Us, I find myself employed again, in a better situation, after nearly a year of being unemployed.

So, I believe I can get a good chunk of this through trading. Not all of it, mind you, but a good chunk. If there are specific cards you are looking for, email me. My email address is listed in the top of my trade page, for those who don't know. I'll do my best to knock off cards on your list. It would be too much of an undertaking to list every single card, so just point me to your want list and I'll see what I can come up with.

Here's what I need to complete this set. I'm only collecting the chrome for the White Sox cards, not the entire set. Even as foolish as I was back then, I still set limits.

Topps Heritage (green backs)

201 - Johan Santana (Mets variation)
231 - Kevin Gregg
315 - Jacque Jones
428 - I. Snell/T. Gorzelanny/M. Morris/M. Capps
431 - Chien-Ming Wang
440 - Jon Smoltz (spelling variation)
444 - Scott Rolen
471 - Jose Bautista
477 - Julio Lugo
480 - Jim Leyland AS
496 - Victor Martinez AS

Topps Heritage Black Backs
Completed

Topps Heritage Chrome (/1959)
C106 - Paul Konerko
C142 - Mark Buehrle
C150 - Jim Thome
C189 - Orlando Cabrera
C198 - Jermaine Dye
C213 - Joe Crede
C218 - John Danks
C243 - A.J. Pierzynski

Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor (/559)
C106 - Paul Konerko
C135 - Lance Broadway
C142 - Mark Buehrle
C150 - Jim Thome
C198 - Jermaine Dye
C213 - Joe Crede
C218 - John Danks
C250 - Bobby Jenks
C256 - Brian Anderson

Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor Black (/59)
C106 - Paul Konerko
C135 - Lance Broadway
C142 - Mark Buehrle
C150 - Jim Thome
C189 - Orlando Cabrera
C198 - Jermaine Dye
C213 - Joe Crede
C218 - John Danks
C243 - A.J. Pierzynski
C250 - Bobby Jenks
C256 - Brian Anderson

Topps Heritage Flashbacks
Completed

Topps Heritage High Numbers
523, 532, 545, 557, 595, 597, 661, 672, 686, 687, 689, 691, 693, 694, 697, 699, 703, 707, 710, 712, 714, 717, 718

Topps Heritage High Numbers 2008 Flashbacks
3, 6, 9

Topps Heritage High Numbers Black Backs
595

Topps Heritage High Numbers Rookie Performers
1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15

Topps Heritage High Numbers Then & Now
1, 2, 4

Topps Heritage New Age Performers
5, 13, 15

Topps Heritage News Flashbacks
Completed

Topps Heritage Then & Now
Completed

If you can help out, cool. If not, that's cool too. I appreciate the look.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Draft Years: 1970

With the sixth pick in the 1970 amateur draft, the Chicago White Sox selected shortstop Lee Richard of Southern University.

I'm pretty good with this pick. The 1970 draft class was pretty weak and the White Sox did get some good selections in later rounds, picking up Terry Forster, Jerry Hairston and Rich Gossage in later rounds. The White Sox even drafted Bucky Dent in the June secondary draft.

Lee "Bee Bee" Richard would play parts of four seasons with the White Sox and one season with the St. Louis Cardinals. He wasn't outstanding at the plate and somewhat OK in the field, but he did become a fan favorite during his time with the Sox. Sometimes, that's all you need to be a success.

If I were forced to make a selection other than Bee Bee, I would attempt Fred Lynn. Fred did not sign with the Yankees when they drafted him in 1970, but with Lynn coming from Chicago, that might have been enough to persuade him to sign with the Pale Hose.

Let's say that Fred was hell bent on going to college and I had scouted that well and was prepared for that. Bruce Sutter didn't sign either and opted for college instead. My choice would then be...



Dave Parker.

Imagine Dave Parker being one of the South Side Hitmen! Dave was the NL batting champion in 1977 and 1978. That would have made things especially interesting against the Royals. He literally knocked the cover off of a ball that he hit! Parker would have made an amazing addition to the batting lineup for the Sox in the 70s. His presence could have prevented the 1977 team from fading.

Alas, we'll never know. The Sox did pretty well in the 1970 draft, but they missed a few opportunities. At least in this draft, there were a few selections that made it to the majors and even a Hall of Fame pitcher thrown in the mix.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-26-19

1979 Topps #216 - Wilbur Wood

This would be the last regular season card for Wilbur Wood. After several seasons in the majors, Wilbur would call it a career after the 1978 campaign. This would technically be a legacy card, since he didn't play in 1979. It's an endgame, if you will.

That would be my little segue-way into what most people are going to do this weekend... see the new Marvel movie. I will be among them, at some point. I'll be working all weekend, so I'm unsure as to when I'll be seeing it, but I'll be seeing it. I was hoping to see Captain Marvel before Endgame, but that was not in the cards. Considering I've seen the other twenty films, I think I can fill in the gaps.

It's been a long journey to this point. It kind of reminds me of Wilbur Wood's career. It was a long journey to get to his decision to retire, but after an injury, he never came back quite the same. Two years of reduced workloads, saw him come back to nearly full strength in 1978, but the magic had gone. If he hadn't gotten injured, Wilbur may still be pitching today. THat's how solid and effortless he could be.

Imagine, if you will, a healthy Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon, broken up by a Mark Buehrle in his prime and Wilbur Wood from the early 70s. That would be one hell of a rotation. Two mystifying soft tossers mixed in with that young fire. The opposition wouldn't know what hit them. They would never get their timing down.

Enjoy this card of Wilbur Wood. If you see Endgame, please don't spoil it for those who have not seen it yet.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

2018 Panini Chronicles

I appreciate card companies experimenting with different ideas. A little tweak on an old idea can become exciting or it can become a painful little chore that sucks the joy out of collecting. It's a very fine line.

I wasn't paying much attention to a lot of releases last year. Money was tight and my focus was on other areas of my life. I first saw this release, as I was browsing through a Wal-Mart in the trading card section. I immediately wrote the set off as the stupidest set in awhile. Then I didn't think much about it after.

I have recently been trying to complete a lot of pesky and large (and mostly unnecessary) 2008 sets. I've been trying to do that as cheaply as possible and get the most bang for the buck. A lot of time has been spent on eBay and Sportlots recently, when I've not had access to my PC and collection to continue the organizing process. I came across a teal parallel version of the Nicky Delmonico card for under a dollar with free shipping, so I put in my low opening bid and ended up winning it as the only bidder. It took a long time, but it finally arrived this week from Canada.

I have to say, my initial reaction to this set was way off. It is not a perfect set by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, a pretty good set. At only sixty cards and five parallels and four printing plates, it's not that daunting of a task to reasonably complete a base set.

There is a catch. There are inserts galore! Too many to properly list here. There are insert sets that have a bigger checklist than the base cards. There are players that appear in the insert sets that don't appear in the base set. There's even a continuation of an earlier release (Donruss Optic) not related to anything else here. It's enough to give me a headache. Maybe it's a tumor. It's not a tumor! Not at all! It's just a headache.

The White Sox have two cards in the base set.

28 - Nicky Delmonico
39 - Jose Abreu

This is a nice set that highlights sixty "accomplishments". Nicky's accomplishment was walking twice and scoring a run without the benefit of a hit in a season opener. An accomplishment achieved by only two other White Sox players this century, Ray Durham in 2002 and Juan Uribe in 2006. So, yeah, it's a list of accomplishments that announcers trot out to fill time. It's interesting, but slightly off the mark and sometimes a stretch.

I really appreciate Panini trying. I do enjoy this set, but I feel this is more of a kitchen sink release. There's some Panini sets, some Donruss sets and even some Score sets (?!) thrown into the mix. It's a convoluted mess when viewed as a whole, but broken down into individual sets, it's a nice effort.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

WSC All-Stars: Luke Appling 1947

Card #27 - Luke Appling

Luke was selected to his seventh and final All-Star game in 1947. He was selected as a reserve shortstop for the game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Appling would pinch hit for right fielder Buddy Lewis to start the top of the sixth. Luke would hit a single to left field off of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Harry Brecheen. Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams would single to right field, enabling Appling to get to third base. New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio ground into a double play, but Luke would still score on the play, tying the game, one all. New York Yankees outfielder Tommy Henrich would replace Appling for the bottom of the sixth in right field.

The American League would end up winning, 2-1, on an RBI single by Washington Senators center fielder Stan Spence, scoring Boston Red Sox second baseman Bobby Doerr in the seventh inning.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-19-19

2016 Topps Update #287b - Tim Anderson

Currently the American League average leader, Tim Anderson has had a wonderful start to the 2019 season. He's certainly grabbed everyone's attention this year. Tim has vowed to be himself, have fun and entertain the crowd. So far, he has done just that. Even if it annoys the competition.

Bat flips and celebrations are nothing new. Neither is showboating. The actions this week from Tim Anderson as he hit a home run, were nothing out of the ordinary. Still, the opposition took offense. Even as, MLB tweeted out a celebratory tweet about Tim and his home run, that was the catalyst in a long standing uneasiness between the White Sox and Royals that dates back to at least the mid-seventies.

When these teams get together, things can get explosive. Feelings get hurt and tensions arise with the fragility of an eggshell. It takes one little thing. Add in an umpire that likes to stir the pot, especially against the White Sox, and things get out of hand quickly. That's what happened this week, which led to three ejections and three suspensions, including Tim Anderson.

Tim Anderson, with some help from Jose Abreu, took the high road, stayed out of the melee and just wanted to take the base. A screaming Heath Fillmyer, didn't ease tensions at all. Who is Heath Fillmyer and why does he want to get involved in something that he has no direct stake in. One can argue that he's sticking up for his teammates. That's one take, but it would be misguided.

I can understand why manager Rick Renteria got bent out of shape. While the incident was over and calmer heads tried to prevail to first base, two huge waves of royal blue came from two different directions towards first base. This led to a near confrontation between managers, then some jawing between Renteria and former White Sox short term infielder/current Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum.

So, out of all that posturing, only three people were ejected from the game... Royals pitcher Brad Keller (for throwing the pitch intentionally that started this whole mess), White Sox manager Rick Renteria (who just yelled at some people and almost fought physically) and Tim Anderson. For what, you might ask? Tim was suspended for "racially-charged language". He basically said to the Caucasian pitcher who hit him was a "weak-ass f-ing N-word".

So if we are going to open this can of worms, why hasn't this type of ejection been more prevalent? I don't think there's a Caucasian slur out there that would personally offend me, but I would expect it to carry the same amount of weight as any racial slur against any other race, color or creed. If it doesn't, then that would be racial discrimination by definition.

Would Tim still be suspended if he had called Keller a Caucasian slur, instead of the N-word? I guess we'll never know the answer to that. Does a racial slur matter if the insulted party is not the slur's race? Would it have mattered if Keller had called Anderson a racial slur?

I could play devil's advocate all day with all of the scenarios, but at the end of the day, it does not matter. I'm expecting to hear more players and coaches being ejected this year for "racially-charged language". If not, then there's something very fishy going on. I have ears at the ballpark. I can hear things that are said on the field. This was not an isolated incident. But timing is everything and those overheard racial slurs were not said in the heat of the moment after a bench clearing incident. They were said casually and laughed about. Does context of speech matter? Apparently so.

But don't let this all discourage you. This was just one game in a season of 162. There are plenty more games that will be incident free. This should not detract from another beautiful season of baseball. Tim Anderson will continue to have a wonderful season. The White Sox will continue in their rebuild mode. The Royals will still play in Kansas City. Everything will continue as it should.

Shouldn't it?

WSC Gierman '19 - Nicky Delmonico

Card #43 - Nicky Delmonico

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

WSC All-Stars: Luke Appling 1946

Card #26 - Luke Appling

Luke made it back to the All-Star game for the first time since 1943. Like last time, Appling made the team as a reserve shortstop. This time, Luke got the call, pinch hitting for Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller to lead off the bottom of the third inning at Boston's Fenway Park.

Appling hit a grounder to Chicago Cubs pitcher Claude Passeau, who threw to New York Giants first baseman Johnny Mize for the first out. Luke was replaced by Detroit Tigers pitcher Hal Newhouser to start the fourth inning. The AL All-Stars won handily, 12-0.

WSC Gierman '19 - Bernado Flores Jr.

Card #41 - Bernado Flores Jr.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-12-19

1952 Topps #70 - Al Zarilla

This week I bit the bullet and finally purchased my first 1952 Topps card. I can tell you that I was pretty excited pulling the trigger on the card! I've been meaning to do this for years. I found a great deal on this one.

It's far from perfect. The two major flaws with the card are the centering and the upper right corner. The card is slightly tilted, so I'm assuming there is an entire sheet worth of cards that have the same tilt. The upper right corner has a tiny chunk taken out of it.

You know what? I don't care. It's a 1952 Topps card and the first to grace my collection. It is the culmination of thirty-six years of collecting. The 1952 Topps set has been an unobtainable goal since I was a kid. Topps was the first cards that I opened and it remains a goal to have every White Sox team set from the flagship sets. The only thing that might top this would be a T206.

You have to start somewhere and I started with Al Zarilla. It's a nice addition to my White Sox collection and I'm sure it won't be the last 1952 Topps card I'll pick up. It's also a nice surprise to see in the mail today after a very early start at my job.

So begins an adventure that will likely involve patience, thrills, disappointments and ultimate victory... completing a 1952 Topps White Sox team set. However it turns out, it will be an adventure.

WSC Gierman '19 - Kelvin Herrera

Card #36 - Kelvin Herrera

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

1952 Topps

I can't believe that I've been blogging for over eleven years and I have never reviewed the 1952 Topps set. Let's get this out of the way first. This is one of the handful of truly iconic sets. Even people that have never collected baseball cards in their life, know the design, mostly because of the Mickey Mantle rookie card, which isn't technically his rookie card, but is. None of that really matters now though.

The whole set has late 40s/early 50s MLB logos. It has a facsimile autograph underneath a typewritten name inside a star lines marquee, similar to Broadway. The photos are colorized versions of the players. The coloring has a luminous sheen, making the subjects look more like wax figures, but still lifelike. This does make for a few interesting pictures. Some shots look unusual like Lou Kretlow's pitching stance. Other players just look like ventriloquist puppets, like Al Zarilla and Eddie Robinson.

It's definitely a unique combination of elements that comes together in an iconic way. Between the stories and the Topps revisionist history of all things starting in 1952, this set has become legendary. It wasn't the first post-WWII major release, but it is perhaps the best remembered.

The White Sox have twenty-one cards in the set.

32 - Eddie Robinson
42 - Lou Kretlow
50 - Marv Rickert
62 - Chuck Stobbs
70 - Al Zarilla
95 - Ken Holcombe
98 - Bill Pierce
117 - Sherman Lollar
133 - Al Widmar
159 - Saul Rogovin
169 - Howie Judson
195 - Orestes Minoso
211 - Ray Coleman
251 - Chico Carrasquel
254 - Joe Dobson
279 - Ed Stewart
283 - Phil Masi
303 - Harry Dorish
304 - Sam Dente
305 - Paul Richards
308 - Luis Aloma

Besides the T206 cards, the 1952 Topps are probably the most well known cards, even to non-collectors. Depending on who you are collecting from the set, things can get very pricey, very quickly. It's not uncommon to pay over $20 for a common player in a low grade. The set is that popular and of course the lore of unsold cases plunging into the Atlantic only adds to the mystique and high pricing.

Tread carefully and have fun, but I do not envy the Yankees fans having to look for the Mantle card. The White Sox fare only slightly better with the Minnie Minoso card. The Minoso card can be found for a song compared to the Mantle card. It is a Herculean task, but not impossible.

WSC Gierman '19 - Welington Castillo

Card #33 - Welington Castillo

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