Thursday, January 31, 2008

#55 - Brandon McCarthy

For lack of a better option, Brandon McCarthy is here. He had his share of success with the White Sox, but his failures were more memorable. When potential is thrown around to describe a player for well over a year, there's a problem.

Brandon had plenty of opportunities to make good on that potential. He pitched with the White Sox in parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He rarely duplicated the success of his minor league stints with the parent club. So far, Brandon is what some people would call a 4A pitcher. Dominating at AAA, but dinged up at the major league level.

Brandon was eventually traded to the Rangers with David Paisano for John Danks, Nick Massett and Jake Rasner. Maybe he will find Texas a more suitable environment to be more effective in the majors. From his 2007 season stats with the Rangers, it looks like he has more work to do.

Uniform number 55 will be Brandon's until someone steps in and has a little more success. I wish Brandon the best in his career. I'm sorry it didn't work out in Chicago. If there's one positive thing Brandon can take pride in, it's that he was the best at number 55 for the White Sox.

The Joy Of Santana

I am crossing my fingers that this deal to the Mets gets finalized. Johan Santana is a bully. That's a good thing, except when you are the White Sox. Since July 27, 2004, Santana was 12-2 against the White Sox, posting a 1.93 ERA.

Although it seemed like the White Sox kept getting closer to breaking his spell, they will be throwing a party for Johan once the ink has dried on his new deal. Those numbers are pure domination. This was no lucky streak, this was great stuff from a great pitcher.

The head of the committee to organize a party for Johan will probably be team captain Paul Konerko. These are not the normal duties for team captains. Party planning usually gets thrust upon the rookies because it's scrub work. Paul will organize it, not because he wants to, but because he has to.

Paul went 5-for-40 (that's a measly .125) with 13 strikeouts against Santana over the past three seasons. If anyone is happier to see Johan go to another division, in another league, I'd like to meet them. I think that would be the most obvious example of dominance against the White Sox.

As the snow continues to fall in Chicago today, Sox fans hearts are already warming. The idea of a schedule with no Johan Santana on it is a very pleasing one. The only chance that the White Sox may have of facing Santana is the exhibition Civil Rights Game on March 29th in Memphis, Tennessee. I like those odds. The only other time would potentially be a White Sox - Mets World Series. Really, what are the chances of that happening? 1 in 870?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sox Or No Sox WSC Edition: 1-30-08

Welcome to another White Sox Cards edition of Sox Or No Sox!

We've getting closer as we make our way through the blaster box, we have yet to encounter any White Sox cards in the packs themselves, just in the bonus cellophane pack. There has to something in here, right?

Today we have the ninth and tenth of ten packs of 2007 Topps Series 2. This is it. The last two packs from the box. Can we find some White Sox cards? Let’s hope so! There are 6 cards in each pack. You know how to play, let’s begin!

#1: Brian Bannister - 587 – Royals
His dad was on the White Sox!

#2: Ted Lilly - 456 – Cubs
Damn trap card!

#3: Steve Trachsel – 558 – Orioles
A former Cub.

#4: So Taguchi - Gold Card 1545/2007 – 428 - Cardinals
I like go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-old!

#5: Francisco Rodriguez – 422 – Angels
He led the league in saves in 2005 and 2006.

#6: Brian Giles – 349 – Padres
He led the league in walks in 2005.

We’re through the first mini pack and no White Sox cards. Some pretty decent pitchers and a gold card. Not too shabby. I’m still holding out hope for the last pack. OK. Ready.

#7: Andy Cannizaro - 627 – Yankees
He singled in his first MLB at-bat.

#8: Florida Marlins - 592 – Marlins
It’s nice to see a team come together.

#9: Esteban Loaiza – 518 – Athletics
A former White Sox. Why do the card companies taunt me?

#10: Bob Geren – 614 – Athletics
Another manager card. OK. Two Athletics in a row. OK.

#11: Jim Thome – Hit Parade – HP19 – White Sox
Holy crap! A White Sox card! An insert White Sox card! One that I actually need too. This card rocks! Shiny and reflective. Sweet!

#12: Shawn Green – 346 - Mets
That’s cool I guess. I’m still stoked about the Thome insert!

Sweet! A pretty decent two packs. I guess they saved the best for last. ½ point for each card. –1 point for the Cubs trap card. +2 for the Thome insert.

Final score: 7 points

1 White Sox card in this game! See you next time on Sox Or No Sox.

Where Will Esteban Beltre Be Sold, eBay?

I’m sure most of you who have eBay stores have heard about the new pricing. When I first heard the news, I was rejoicing about it too. Lower selling fees and more exposure seemed too good to be true. Then, I read further into the new pricing structure.

I have a lot of baseball cards in store inventory. Over 1,000 cards. Fixed pricing was too high of a cost, so I went with store inventory which has the added benefit of automatic renewal every 30 days. With a gallery feature, it cost a grand total of 6 cents per card, per 30 days. Some cards I make money on, some I don’t. It all depends on how long the card is in the store. If it sits there for months, I’m probably going to lose money in the long run. That’s OK though. I usually even things out on other items.

I enjoy putting commons in my eBay store. Especially older commons. You don’t see a common card from 1992 up on eBay too often. I like to think that if someone is looking for a common to complete their older set, they might be able to find it in my store. The way I set things up, you can find a common as much as you can find a star. I think it’s a pretty good mix. Some cards you just can’t get in a trade. Some cards are too much baggage to haul to a show.

Then on Monday, I found this notice on eBay that goes into effect on February 20, 2008.

Insertion Fees for Store Inventory listings

Price fee.............. before fee............ now (effective 02/20/08)
$0.01 - $0.99 -------$0.05 ---------N/A
$1.00 - $24.99 ------$0.05 ---------$0.03 Lower fee!
$25.00 - $199.99 ---$0.10 ----------$0.05 Lower fee!
Above $200.00 -----$0.10 ----------$0.10

Starting Price: Fixed Price, Store Inventory, and Buy It Now
The "N/A" in the charts above reflects a new minimum start price for Fixed Price listings, Store Inventory listings and the Buy It Now feature. Store Inventory and Fixed Price listings must have a starting price of at least $1.00. The Buy It Now feature, which can be added to Auction-style listings, must also have a minimum Buy It Now price of at least $1.00.

I couldn’t believe what I read. So, I e-mailed eBay right away with my concerns. This morning, I got a reply back.

Dear eBay member,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to our new pricing structure. Based on the new pricing structure, you will not be able to list Store Inventory items for less than $1.00. You can still list Auction and Fixed Price items for under $1.00. All new fees will become effective as of 00:00 PST (midnight) on February 20, 2008. Listings that begin on and after midnight on February 20, 2008, will be charged the new fees, regardless of when they were created (e.g. through a listing tool or through the Sell Your Item form using the listing scheduler feature).

We encourage you to also provide your feedback on February 1 during our webinar. The webinar will be at 10 am PST and can be accessed by visiting

If you need further assistance, please don't hesitate to reply to this email and let us know.

Sincerely, Alexis Va.
eBay Customer Support

This contradicts what the original memo says about fixed pricing, but it still doesn’t change store inventory. I don’t have the time to reactivate over 1,000 items a month, do you? I liked the way that you could set up the store inventory to renew automatically every 30 days.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t justify charging $1.00 for a card that’s worth a quarter or lower. This is more than likely a way to stop the sellers who charge 1 cent for the card and $5.00 for the shipping. I can understand that. What about the honest sellers out there, who charge a reasonable price for their cards and charge a fair shipping price? They are left out in the cold with a limited inventory and consumers with limited selection.

I want my commons back! This decision will hurt card sellers on eBay. It will cut into sales and result in consumer anger and seller anguish. Sure, we’re getting free gallery features, but at what price?

Plus, despite what eBay claims. Prices are going up across the board.

Does this sound like savings to you? I didn’t think so.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MLB Rumors Interview With Jack Egbert

There have been questions in the past, on this site, about the White Sox prospects. Popular opinion seems to be that the White Sox have spent the farm this past off-season. That's not necessarily so.

MLB Rumors has an interview with Jack Egbert. He's a starting pitcher in the White Sox minor league system who's in line for a starting position in the next year or two.

He's progressed slowly through the minors, mastering each level. Jack has gotten his ERA and walks down. He seems to be a pitcher with the same type of attitude that Mark Buehrle has. Buehrle had a similar rise to the majors.

I think this bodes well for the future of the White Sox rotation. It's puzzling that there are no cards of him yet. I'm sure that will change very soon. As soon as he is on the radar more, Jack's exposure will be wider. Hopefully, he'll be another Buehrle and not another Scott Ruffcorn.

Mailbox Joys: A DK Harold Signature

2005 Diamond Kings Signature Framed Red - Harold Baines 11/25

This came in the mailbox today in a plain white letter envelope. I'm always suspicious of cards enclosed in this. I'm sure I paid a lot more for shipping than a 41 cent stamp. As long as the card arrives in the condition it was described, I don't mind the nail biting moments before the condition is confirmed.

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief as I stared down at a perfectly preserved Harold Baines card numbered to only 25. The signature is nice and crisp. The card is in pack condition. I'm a very happy White Sox fan.

While this isn't quite as cool as my Baines card with his signature and jersey swatch, this trumps my Bazooka Fun Facts relic card of him. They are all cool in their own way. They are a little piece of Harold's history in each card. It doesn't matter if he signed it, wore it or swung it. All that matters is that it brings me a little closer to one of my favorite players.

I'd be happy if I could collect all 25, but I know that will never happen. It's a nice pipe dream though. I was thwarted at my earlier attempt to collect all 25 of the Carlos Lee 2005 Topps Chrome Red X-Fractor #180. I only managed to get my hands on two cards before they all disappeared on me. Would I like all of the Harold Baines relic and signature cards? Sure! I'll be happy with whatever I can get though.

1985 Topps

This is the first set that I remember caring about enough to actively collect it. This set had everything. It had cards of my favorite players, cards of players I've never heard of, at the time, that were on the White Sox, draft picks, father & son cards, USA baseball cards, All-Stars and Record Breakers. It was so much that my 8 year old mind could hardly wrap itself around it all.

It seemed like White Sox players were popping up everywhere in this set. There was always something new to discover, since the only way I knew about cards were checklist cards and friends. This was before I had ever heard of Beckett or the Internet. It was a simpler time, where making connections got you closer to completing your set.

I was happy for the simple fact that Harold Baines had two cards and Carlton Fisk had two cards in the set. It was a dream come true. The design of the card screams mid 80's. I'm not sure if it's the design or because this set came out in 1985. I love it! Let's see what White Sox cards are in here.
  • 1 - Carlton Fisk RB
  • 26 - Roy Smalley
  • 52 - Jerry Dybzinski
  • 78 - Scott Fletcher
  • 105 - Ron Kittle
  • 137 - Vance Law/Vern Law FS
  • 139 - Joel Skinner/Bob Skinner FS
  • 140 - Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley FS
  • 169 - Dan Spillner
  • 194 - Dave Stegman
  • 216 - Jerry Don Gleaton
  • 221 - Ron Reed
  • 249 - Harold Baines
  • 275 - Harold Baines FDP
  • 286 - Rudy Law
  • 312 - Marc Hill
  • 338 - Britt Burns
  • 351 - Juan Agosto
  • 364 - Richard Dotson
  • 388 - Bert Roberge
  • 413 - Vance Law
  • 437 - Al Jones
  • 466 - Tony LaRussa
  • 488 - Joel Skinner
  • 520 - LaMarr Hoyt
  • 543 - Mike Squires
  • 572 - Tom Paciorek
  • 596 - Jery Hairston
  • 623 - Greg Walker
  • 650 - Greg Luzinski
  • 670 - Tom Seaver
  • 725 - Floyd Bannister
  • 749 - Julio Cruz
  • 770 - Carlton Fisk

This was a set that got me excited about baseball. I would actually go back and complete the entire set. That's how much this set was ingrained in my youth. I couldn't say that about any other set from 1985. It might be the childhood memories clouding my judgement, but this is one of my favorite sets from the mid 80's. It's a set that brings me back.

You are probably wondering about my selection of Dave Stegman as the player to represent this set. Well, Dave Stegman never gets any card love, so I thought I'd give him some. But if you must know the real reason, it's because I have a friend named Dave, who has almost the same last name. It's only a one letter difference. Plus, he's a huge White Sox fan. If he ever runs across this blog, he'll get a big kick out of it.

Sox Or No Sox WSC Edition: 1-29-08

Welcome to another White Sox Cards edition of Sox Or No Sox!

We’ve getting closer as we make our way through the blaster box, we have yet to encounter any White Sox cards in the packs themselves. Could our luck be improving?

Today we have the seventh and eighth of ten packs of 2007 Topps Series 2. Can we find some White Sox cards? Let’s hope so! There are 6 cards in each pack. You know how to play, let’s begin!

#1: Alex Gordon - 634 – Royals
That’s a great way to start the pack!

#2: Chris Shelton - 479 – Tigers
That was a wonderful start … for one season, which seems like a thousand years ago.

#3: Erik Bedard – 533 – Orioles
I’m starting to wonder if he’ll ever be traded.

#4: Jason Kendall – 548 - Athletics
Wasn’t he on the Cubs last year?

#5: Nick Swisher – Generation Now – GN390 – Athletics
A mirror trap card. Great. And it’s of a current White Sox player. Will the taunting ever cease?

#6: Checklist – 1 of 3
At least these don’t count against my card total.

#7: Jason LaRue – 577 – Royals
Another Royal. He was the only catcher in the NL with 12 or more homers each year from 2001 to 2005. At least he’s consistent.

We’re through the first mini pack and no White Sox cards. A sweet rookie card, a pitcher on the trading block, a few Royals and a mirror trap card. OK, what’s next?

#8: Chris Stewart - 567 – Rangers
A former White Sox prospect. Hmmm, I smell taunting from the baseball Gods.

#9: Jon Lieber - 535 – Phillies
The former and current Cub. Is that a disease?

#10: Kenny Rogers – 511 – Tigers
Why do I have a taste for chicken? I think I’d better hide my camera though. They definitely had to take his picture from afar while he was distracted.

#11: Ronny Paulino – 381 – Pirates
Three years in Altoona? Isn’t that Mr. Belvedere’s purgatory?

#12: Alex Cora – 565 – Red Sox
A trap card of the younger brother of a former White Sox player and current coach.

#13: Matt Diaz – 395 - Braves
At least the Braves are a major step up from the Devil Rays and Royals.

Not that bad. But not good either. ½ point for each card. –1 point for the Swisher trap card. That hurts, but he’s not on the White Sox on the card. –1 for the Red Sox trap card of the brother of a White Sox player.

Final score: 4 points

No White Sox cards in this game, but there's always next time on Sox Or No Sox.

#54 - Rich Gossage

When a Hall of Fame pitcher starts out in your organization and ends up playing his second longest tenure with your team, he generally deserves accolades. Lack of more deserving contenders also contribute to this selection. Rich "Goose" Gossage will always wear number 54 for the White Sox. It's going to take another Hall of Famer with a longer tenure or a clear fan favorite to unseat Goose.

Rich was on the White Sox from 1972 until 1976. During that time, he went back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation. He saved 26 games in 1975, but threw 15 complete games out of 29 started in 1976 with 1 save.

Despite the success in 1975 in the closer role, Rich was needed in the starting rotation in 1976. I'm not sure if it was because of a team need in the rotation or if the White Sox didn't realize what they had in a closer. Rich posted his White Sox best ERA as a closer in 1975 with 1.84.

More than likely it had to do with Chuck Tanner leaving as skipper of the White Sox after the 1975 season. The new manager in 1976, Paul Richards, probably had his own agenda. One which didn't involve Goose as a closer.

Probably most telling is that Rich never started another game after he left the White Sox. He went on to become the premier closer for many teams over many years. He was traded with Terry Forster to the Pirates for Richie Zisk and Silvio Martinez. Goose was back under the management of Chuck Tanner and he went back to the role of closer.

Rich was starting to emerge as a player at the tail end of his White Sox tenure. He made the All-Star team in 1975 and 1976 with the Sox. He led the league in saves in 1975. With all the success later in his career it's hard to remember that Rich started on the White Sox. For what it's worth, the Goose started to be on loose on the White Sox.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Photography Of 1994 Donruss

Donruss was usually not about the photograph, but about capitalizing on the moment. Their photography usually looked like it was picked of the cutting room floor. But Donruss got their cards out in a hurry, so they were among the first in 1991 to have a Darryl Strawberry card with a Dodgers cap on.

Donruss was all about gimmicks. Shameful and in abundance. When Upper Deck came out with the first "premium" cards, Donruss was among the last to challenge them. 1994 was the first set that didn't seem like it was thrown together by a monkey or a starving artist. Look at Donruss' 1990 and 1991 designs for proof of that.

The photography got better in quality and better in selection, but there was still a problem. There were no standout cards from the set. It was all action, all the time. Not much variety. They mostly showed pitchers pitching and batters batting. Mixed in was an occasional shot of some player in the field.

There's nothing wrong with that, but it does get a bit boring after awhile. Players are not constantly in motion. They do rest. They do have candid moments. If anyone were to come out with a card of Steve Lyons with his pants down, it would be Donruss. Not because it's a candid moment, but because it's something to capitalize on.

I'm just glad that Donruss actually found a shot of Mike "Spanky" LaValliere moving. Well, kind of, but it's more movement than I've ever seen of him captured on a card. He actually looks like he's about to do the Truffle Shuffle. This set started a lazy trend that has come to be the norm today, rather than the exception. The lazy action card.

Looking through my small inventory of 1994 Donruss, I can't find a single shot of a pose or a resting position. Not even a shot of someone just standing there. Even the backs are all action. That's mind numbing.

I applaud Donruss for stepping up the photography in this release, even though it's a bit later than most. Maybe they thought that all the portrait and posed shots should be in the Studio releases. It's always better to mix it up for some variety.

Gone To The Dark Side

Well, I made my first post for A Pack A Day. I've decided to keep playing Sox Or No Sox over there. I have officially gone to the Dark Side, according to Mario. Although there will be no Tales From The Darkside, I'll continue with Sox Or No Sox on both sites. I just think of A Pack A Day as going national. I haven't gone over anyone's helmet.

Now, you may be thinking that the lack of posts has something to do with my joining the roster over there. Far from it. The last two days have been a logistical nightmare. First of all, I'm helping out my friend, Steve, with his bowling team. His entire team quit on him, so he asked nicely (begged) for me to help him. So, I've taken my 111 average (as of last night), which seems to climb every week, over to help him. This has been going on for about two months.

Since the Super Bowl is next Sunday, no one wants to bowl that Sunday night. I could care less, since football is not my main interest. Besides, it would be on at the bowling alley anyway. So, it's not like anyone would be missing anything. In addition to 1 practice game and 3 regular games, most of us bowled 3 additional games last night, instead of bowling it during the week. You'd think my body would be tired and achy after 7 games, but surprisingly, it's fine. It's my sinuses that have been bothering me.

I love Chicago weather this time of year. Up, down and all around. Today was freezing rain and high winds with a fluctuating temperature. Needless to say, I've been battling a headache all day.

On the White Sox front, I was pleased to see David Aardsma land on the Red Sox for minor league right-handed pitchers Willy Mota and Miguel Socolovich. Funny, I always thought that Aardsma would fit in on the Pirates. Then again, maybe that's just Ed Farmer.

Sox Or No Sox WSC Edition: 1-28-08

Welcome to the White Sox Cards edition of Sox Or No Sox!

We’ve been close as we make our way through the blaster box, we have yet to encounter any White Sox cards in the packs themselves. Could that change today?

Today we have the fifth and sixth of ten packs of 2007 Topps Series 2. Can we find some White Sox cards? Let’s hope so! There are 6 cards in each pack. You know how to play, let’s begin!

#1: Juan Morillo - 647 – Rockies
He’s got a top-shelf arm according to Clint Hurdle.

#2: Kevin Millar - 408 – Orioles
A Kevin who’s on the Orioles. It boggles the mind.

#3: Shin-Soo Choo – 343 – Indians
All aboard for the Shin-Soo Choo express!

#4: Jim Leyland – 610 - Tigers
Jim's looking like a hungry vampire in this shot. “Hi there, don’t you look tasty!”
#5: Brian McCann – 335 – Braves
A kindred sounding board in Jeff Francoeur? More vampires?

#6: Jhonny Peralta – 465 – Indians
A ncie Idnian palyer, woh seplls hsi nmae srtange.

We’re through the first mini pack and no White Sox cards. A reverse vampire and more kindred. A train and a player with dyslexia. Interesting mix and a terrible disability.

#7: Fredi Gonzalez - 616 – Marlins
Ooo! A manager card.

#8: David Wells - 471 – Padres
I remember a show about a dog named Boomer. I wonder if that’s where this ex-White Sox player gets his nickname.

#9: Milwaukee Brewers – 454 – Brewers
They made a good run against the Cubs last year. I was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin in September and the bars still had baseball on. It was nice to see.

#10: Xavier Nady – 473 – Pirates
He went 4 for 4 on Opening Day 2006.

#11: Willy Aybar – 586 – Braves
He certainly has a long history in the minors!

#12: Jeff Weaver – 420 - Mariners
Red snapper! Very tasty, Weaver. You’ll take the box! Let’s see what he gets! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! No White Sox cards!

Not that bad. But not that great either. ½ point for each card. Nothing more, nothing less. At least there are no trap cards.

Final score: 6 points

No White Sox cards in this game, but there's always next time on Sox Or No Sox.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Frank Thomas Love

I ran across this on this on YouTube and got a big kick out of it. It was made by David Crivello. I'm guessing David's from Canada.

I'm thinking someone might have too big of a man-crush on Frank Thomas. Seriously, the Barry White song is funny and disturbing at the same time. Still, it's nice to see Frank getting the "love" he rightfully deserves.

#53 - Dennis Lamp

I have no doubt that this won't go to Chris Tremie. He's a catcher that played 10 games for the White Sox in 1995. Nor will it go to Norberto Martin, who wore the number in 1993.

This number shall go to Dennis Lamp. He played for the White Sox from 1981 until 1983. He was 25-21 with the Sox with 193 strikeouts in middle relief.

His standout year was in 1982, where he was 11-8 with 78 strikouts and 5 saves. He would have a better ERA in 1981 with 2.41. In fact that was his best on the White Sox and second best in his career. His best year for saves was 1983, when he has 15. That was also the best of his career.

The little known fact about Dennis, is that he helped get Tom Seaver onto the White Sox. When he signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays for the 1984 season, the White Sox claimed Tom Seaver from the Mets as compensation for the loss of Dennis. The Mets left Tom Seaver off their protected list, figuring that no team would want him.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Am Now Part Of The Collective

After a few days of wrestling with the idea, I finally bit the bullet and became part of the group at A Pack A Day. I guess that playing Sox Or No Sox gave me an itch for opening packs.

I haven't decided how I'm going to open packs there. I may transport Sox Or No Sox or just do a good old fashioned pack opening. I will probably do my first posting sometime next week. I'll finish through the blaster box that's already opened and post the rest on this site.

Any opinions as to what type of pack opening I should do on A Pack A Day? If so, either e-mail me or leave a comment. Should I continue with my Sox Or No Sox game or should I keep that one a White Sox Cards exclusive? Or should I mix it up and do both on there?

Whatever I do on A Pack A Day, it should be fun and shouldn't take away from this post or my other one. That site is one of the many that inspired this blog. Basically everyone that came before me was an inspiration. Everyone from the Baseball Card Blog and Stale Gum to Wax Heaven and Cardboard Junkie. Plus, every blog in between. The newer sites inspire me to go further and keep up with content.

I guess what I'm trying to say is look for me on A Pack A Day sometime in the near future as well as here and the other blog that Mario prefers to this one. Shhh, I won't let on that I know.

Trading With Cardboard Junkie

Where do I even begin with this trade. Even though the initial trade was agreed upon last month, it feels like last year. Wait, technically it was last year. It's only been a month though, give or take a few days. I was a little more organized than dayf was last month. Not by that much, but a little goes a long way I guess.

As minutes turned into hours and then, in turn, turned into days, the baseball blogging community started getting restless. I kept getting e-mails in my box about dayf. They all wondered what happened to their trades. I started to wonder myself, but I felt comfort in the fact that dayf had successfully completed many trades in the past. I was less worried and more curious.

Then, one fateful day, slightly over a week ago, I heard something. It was a Friday I believe, and the wintery snow was engulfing our area with bitter cold. But a bright light of hope arrived on dayf's blog. It explained everything. The doubts that had started to creep in had been washed away by a sea of happiness. Everything was right in the world. The holidays had kidnapped dayf and held him hostage at 500 different family functions. I could certainly understand that. I was kidnapped beyond my control to family functions on more than a few occasions myself, this past holiday season.

Today, after being teased and taunted by images on dayf's site, the package finally arrived. It looked like a hardcover novel was in that bubble mailer. It felt like it too. Before we get into what I got, let's review what dayf received.

What dayf got:

2007 Topps Update:
39 – Wilfredo Ledezma
91 – Carlos Pena
95 – Dmitri Young
114 – Pete Orr
131 – Marlon Byrd
151 – Tony Abreu
168 – Rick Vanden Hurk
180 – Joakim Soria
197 – Troy Cate
243 – Jake Peavy
258 – Miguel Cabrera
306 – Paul Bako
308 – Gabe Gross
329 – Roger Clemens

2007 UD Masterpieces:
I forget which, but I think it was four from his list. Dayf can tell you more, if you really want to know.

Be prepared, the following is a long list. You may be shocked and amazed at the sheer volume and time span of the following cards.

What I got:

1954 Topps #216 – Al Sima
1955 Topps #10 – Bob Keegan
1958 Topps #11 – Jim Rivera
1959 Topps #493 – Jim Landis
1960 Topps #222 – Al Lopez
1961 Topps #152 – Earl Torgeson
1962 Topps #341 – Mike Hershberger
1963 Topps #308 – Camilo Carreon
1967 Topps #391 – Wilbur Wood
1969 Topps #363 – Russ Nixon
1971 Topps #186 – Bob Spence
1972 Topps #326 – Pat Kelly
1973 Topps #73 – Ed Herrmann
1974 Topps #440 – Jim Kaat
1977 Topps #529 – Jim Essian
1978 Topps #506 – Ron Blomberg
1980 Topps #575 – Ken Kravec
1981 Donruss #161 – Rich Wortham
1981 Topps #186 – Wayne Nordhagen
1982 Topps #428 – LaMarr Hoyt
1983 Topps #393 – Carlton Fisk AS
1984 Fleer – White Sox Logo Sticker
1984 Topps #216 – White Sox Leaders (Fisk, Dotson)
1985 Topps #650 – Greg Luzinski
1986 Topps #447 – Jerry Don Gleaton
1988 Topps UK #1 – Harold Baines
1990 Leaf #431 – Barry Jones
1991 Donruss #108 – Carlton Fisk
1991 Stadium Club #180 – Carlton Fisk
1992 Bowman #133 – Roberto Hernandez
1992 Bowman #565 – Ozzie Guillen
1992 Donruss #740 – Sammy Sosa
1992 Upper Deck #571 – Carlton Fisk
1993 Fun Pak #201 – Tim Raines
1993 Leaf Thomas #7 – Frank Thomas (Control)
1993 Studio #33 – Ellis Burks
1993 Ultra #178 – Tim Raines
1994 Fleer #78 – Ellis Burks
1995 Score #571 – Frank Thomas (HIT)
1996 Collector’s Choice #412 – Frank Thomas (TC)
1996 Fleer Rookie Sensations #4 – Ray Durham
1996 Metal Universe Heavy Metal #8 – Frank Thomas
1996 Topps Classic Confrontations #CC5 – Frank Thomas
1997 Ultra Checklists #A10 – Frank Thomas
1998 Collector's Choice Evolution Revolution #ER6 – Frank Thomas
1999 Stadium Club #50 – Frank Thomas
1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond #21 – Magglio Ordonez
2000 Bowman #431 – McKay Christensen
2000 Topps #421 – Bobby Howry
2000 Topps Stars #50 – Frank Thomas
2001 Absolute Memorabilia #112 – Paul Konerko
2001 Donruss #7 – Frank Thomas
2001 Fleer Platinum #146 – Frank Thomas
2001 SP Authentic #193 – Carlos Lee
2001 Topps #230 – James Baldwin
2001 Topps #284 – Keith Foulke
2001 Topps Archive Reserve #389 – Luis Swipes Base (1959 World Series Game 5)
2001 Upper Deck Vintage #144 – Ray Durham
2002 Bowman #91 – Magglio Ordonez
2002 Donruss Elite #38 – Paul Konerko
2002 Donruss Originals #336 – Magglio Ordonez (‘86)
2002 Fleer Platinum #35 – Magglio Ordonez
2002 Fleer Tradition #369 – Frank Thomas
2002 Leaf #16 – Magglio Ordonez
2002 Leaf Certified #7 – Magglio Ordonez
2002 Studio #58 – Paul Konerko
2002 Topps 206 #258 – Paul Konerko
2003 Stadium Club #30 – Magglio Ordonez
2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #129 – Harold Baines
2003 Topps Heritage #59 – Mark Buehrle
2003 Topps Heritage #83 – Tony Graffanino
2003 Topps Heritage #244 – Paul Konerko
2003 Upper Deck #364 – Miguel Olivo
2003 Upper Deck Victory #26 – Frank Thomas
2003 Upper Deck Vintage #302 – Bartolo Colon
2004 Bowman #69 – Magglio Ordonez
2004 Cracker Jack Mini #188 – Neal Cotts
2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #67 – Wilbur Wood
2004 Upper Deck #122 – Jose Valentin
2005 Diamond Kings #62 – Joe Crede
2005 Donruss Champions #125 – Ray Durham
2005 Donruss Champions #325 – Carlos Lee
2005 Donruss Team Heroes #82 – Juan Uribe
2005 Topps Update #UH304 – Chris Young
2005 Turkey Red #94 – Mark Buehrle
2006 Bowman Heritage #30 – Jim Thome
2006 Turkey Red #331 – Paul Konerko
2007 Allen & Ginter #299 – Mark Buehrle (SP)
2007 Artifacts #5 – Jim Thome
2007 Artifacts #6 – Paul Konerko
2007 Bowman Heritage #227 – John Danks
2007 Goudey Green #60 – Jim Thome
2007 Goudey Green #173 – Paul Konerko
2007 Goudey Red #60 – Jim Thome
2007 Goudey Red #173 – Paul Konerko
2007 Topps Opening Day Gold #56 – Javier Vazquez (0026/2007)
2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces #39 – Frank Thomas

See, I told you it was a long list. But nooooooo, you didn't want to believe me. I'm flabbergasted at the brick of cards that I received in the mail today. WOW! I was not expecting this at all. Dayf claims that the guilt of being late made him add more cards to the pile. Somehow, I believe that.

They aren't all pretty, but I don't mind. I have some of these cards already, but I don't care. The majority of cards I did not have. All I have to really say is that the next time I trade with dayf, he's getting a buttload of cards. I'm very happy with my novel-thick stack of new cards. I hope dayf is happy with the cards he received.

An Extension For Jenks?

The White Sox are starting to realize that the best arm in the bullpen probably deserves to be rewarded. Even though Bobby and the White Sox are a long way from worrying about this, it looks like they are talking about an extension.

I'm not one that favors lengthy contracts for pitchers, but this seems like a good idea. The White Sox have shied away from giving huge contracts out to pitchers because of the many times they have been burned. They don't usually give out lengthy contracts period, because of that reason.

It seems that every time a White Sox player gets a long contract, they get injured before the ink has dried. Hopefully that won't happen to Bobby. I'd like to see him in a White Sox uniform for a long time. He may even challenge Bobby Thigpen's save record someday. Although, I think that record is pretty safe for now. Bobby Jenks is the first Sox pitcher to have back to back 40 save seasons, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Thems Fightin' Words

A horde of unruly fans came out in full force at the first day of SoxFest '08. They were patiently waiting for Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen to take the stand for the annual Q&A session.

Before any of that could happen, Ed Farmer and two fans got into a shouting match for the first 15 minutes. The 30 minute session turned into a 65 minute showdown between the Sox and their fans. Farmio shouted that the Angels overpaid for Torii Hunter and that the Giants gave Aaron Rowand too long of a contract.

While Ed Farmer melted down, Kenny Williams seemed prepared for everything. He focused on individuals that will fit the club, rather than on options that didn't make sense.

"I will take a risk on a high-ceiling players and jeopardize my reputation if I think that player fits into the equation and leads us to a championship if things go the way we think they will," Williams said in a five minute answer. The crowd amazingly turned from ugly to peaceful. Cheers started to break the silence. Kenny Williams had won the crowd over.

"I don't care about Torii Hunter," Williams said after Farmio pulled out his best Ozzie rant impression. "He's a great guy. I love him as a person, but I prefer to talk about what we have, not who's not here."

Kenny reiterated that the bullpen has improved significantly and was more balanced. All of this is essentially true. The facts are there. The Angels probably did overpay on Hunter. The Giants maybe should have only offered four years on Rowand. Kenny does usually go with the player that will fit the club the best. If Kenny can turn this crowd around, I have hope for the 2008 season.

#52 - Jose Contreras

At number 52, we have Jose Contreras. Don't let the lack of competition fool you, he belongs here. It's just, at times, it seems like he doesn't belong on a major league club. Other times, Jose is the best pitcher in the world.

Therein lies the mystery of Jose Contreras. He can be lights out just as easily as he can be yanked in the first inning. Jose first came to the White Sox in the middle of 2004. He is still there, as of this writing.

Jose has had a winning record every year with the White Sox except 2007, when he went 10-17. His best year came in 2005 when he went 15-7 with a 3.61 ERA. It looked like Jose had solved his demons that plagued him in New York. He even went to the All-Star game in 2006, but did not play.

Between 2005 and 2006, Jose won 17 consecutive games where he was the pitcher of record. Even though his 2007 season was one to mostly forget, he did lead the AL in shutouts. Joel Davis, Rich Barnes and even Jerry Kutzler can all step aside. Jose has this number for awhile.

The Photography Of 1993 Upper Deck

Nicole over at Olagato House and fleerfan of The Fleer Sticker Project both commented favorably on my first piece on the photography of baseball cards. My first piece focused on 1991 and 1992 Topps and showed off cards other than White Sox cards. They are out there, you know.

I had been thinking about doing followup articles about other companies and other sets. Nicole reminded me of the beautiful photography in the 1993 Upper Deck set. This was around the period where I started to get out of baseball cards, so I'm not as familiar with this set as I should be. I do have a good chunk from when this set first came out, but not rows of it like I do the 1991 set, for example.

So, armed with this support, I soldier on with another installment of looking at the photography side of cards. Some of these photos are simply breathtaking. Some capture moments of action, moments of candidness or just beautifully posed shots. This is not your typical Sears photo.

These photos scream to be seen by more than just a kid plunking down his allowance. This show the beauty and attraction of baseball. You can see the crispness of the photos. Only when you actually look at the card of Juan Samuel, do you notice the specks of dirt that is erupting violently as he slides into the base.
You can almost sense the excitement that the crowd must have been feeling when Orlando Merced leaped into their lives to try to rob a souvenir away from a fan. These are works of art waiting to be discovered. They are timed perfectly and posed just right. This is why I stayed collecting for so long and it's part of the reason that it draws me back every time that I stray.

For those of you who think I may stray off the topic of the White Sox, I've led off every photography article with a nice card of a White Sox player. Fear not, I haven't forgotten that this is a White Sox site. It's just nice to appreciate the other teams in baseball. Without them, where would the White Sox be?

Thanks Nicole, for reminding me of the Karkovice card. It slipped my mind.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sox Or No Sox: 1-25-08 Bonus Edition

Welcome to a Special Bad Wax Bonus Edition of Sox Or No Sox!

I won a contest over at Awesomely Bad Wax Packs and received a beautiful pack of bad wax in the mail today.

Today we have a 1988 Pacific trading cards pack of Eight Men Out. Can we find some White Sox cards in a pack based on a movie about the White Sox? I would think so! There are 10 cards in each pack. The rules will be slightly different for this bonus edition. Since we have a pack about the White Sox, each card of a real Sox player will be worth 2 points. Each card of a real non-White Sox player/person will be worth –1 point. Any image from the movie or cards featuring actors from the movie will be worth the point value of a regular pack card, ½ point.

#1: Shoeless Joe Jackson - 110 – White Sox
Holy crap, a White Sox card of a real player! And a card of a legendary player! This is a first.

#2: Pat Moran - 89 – Reds
The manager of the 1919 World Champion Reds. A trap card for this game only.

#3: Ban Johnson – 78 – AL President
He was chosen for the Hall of Fame in 1937. Yet another trap card.

#4: Don Harvey as Charles “Swede” Risberg – 16 – Actor (White Sox)
The first card from the movie itself.

#5: Kid watches Eddie – 59 – Actors (White Sox)
Depicting Game 7, from the movie.

We’re halfway through the pack and one White Sox card, two trap cards and two movie images. Not bad for a pack where the deck is stacked.

#6: Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis - 67 – Actor
John Anderson as Judge Landis.

#7: Kerr wins Game Six - 56 – Actor (White Sox)
Jace Alexander as Dickey Kerr in Game 6.

#8: The fix is on - 39 – Actor (White Sox)
David Strathairn as Eddie Cicotte.

#9: Sign the petition – 65 – Actor
Jesse Vincent as Scooter.

#10: Hugh and Ring confront Kid – 35 – Actor, Director, Sportswriter
Studs Terkel, John Sayles and John Mahoney on the same card. Interesting.

One White Sox card worth 2 points. Two trap cards worth –2 points. Ten cards worth 5 points. I expected a few more actual White Sox players, but I am very pleased with this Bad Wax prize.

Final score: 5 points

One White Sox card in this game, but there's always the pursuit for more next time on Sox Or No Sox.

The Beauty Of Photography

With all the glitzy, special edition cards out there today, it's hard to remember sometimes the simple art of photography on cards. Granted, these scans of cards don't begin to give the actual card justice, but at least there is some idea of the beauty that lies in the card.

In today's world of Photoshopped cards and cut-outs, it's refreshing to see a simple, well balanced photograph. Topps had a lot of them in the 1991 and 1992 sets. I think it was timed to go with their glossier image. 1992 was the first year that Topps cards didn't have the brownish card back.
Maybe it's all the art classes I took in high school, but something strikes me about these cards. They are beautiful, in their own way. Forget about the borders and focus on the photograph. While I was scouring my collection for "Oh" face cards last night, thanks Mario, I was struck by the sheer beauty of some of these cards.
I had noticed them before, but after Wax Heaven's interview with Jerry Hale, they jumped out at me more than ever before. I chose a few cards from these sets to represent them. Posed shots and action shots alike were in full glory here. Sure, there's a few bad photos in every set, but the ones that stand out are a true work of art. The Roger Clemens card stands out to this day, in my mind. So does the Wade Boggs card.
These are nothing like the homoerotic Score Dream Team cards of shirtless men showing off their muscles. No, these cards can be appreciated by all. If they didn't land on a card, I'm sure they would be in a photography show for all to admire. They don't seem to shoot photos like this anymore.

Trading With Gem Mint Genius

Fred Sarra has a simple mission. He wants to complete his 2007 Allen & Ginter mini set. He doesn't care what kind of back the card has, he just wants to complete his set. If you can, help him out. He had cards that I needed, so I'm sure he'll have something you need.

I perused his want list and went through my Allen & Ginter mini cards and found a few that he needed. I e-mailed Fred with a proposal of these mini cards for whatever White Sox cards he was willing to spare. He e-mailed back with an offer and I pulled the trigger.

If you haven't visited Gem Mint Genius, give it a once over, you won't be disappointed. Fred has some great stuff over there. Before you wander over there, take a look at what we traded.

What I got:

2007 SP Legendary Cuts #20 - Luis Aparicio
2007 SP Rookie Edition #197 - John Danks, #202 - Andy Gonzalez, #266 - Gustavo Molina
2007 Topps Update Red Back #72 - Darin Erstad, #73 - Boone Logan

What Fred got:

2007 Allen & Ginter Mini #25 - Jay Payton, #73 A&G back - Nick Punto, #187 - Russell Martin, #298 - Harry S. Truman, #332 - Tom Glavine

I'm certainly happy with the trade. I got closer to finishing a few of those pesky team sets. I hope Fred is happy with his cards. It got him a little bit closer to his goal.

Sox Or No Sox 1-25-08

Welcome to another stupendous edition of Sox Or No Sox!

As we make our way through the blaster box, we have yet to encounter any White Sox cards in the packs themselves. Could that change today?

Today we have the third and fourth of ten packs of 2007 Topps Series 2. Can we find some White Sox cards? Let’s hope so! There are 6 cards in each pack. You know how to play, let’s begin!

#1: Takashi Saito - 432 – Dodgers
When Eric Gagne fails, Takashi to the rescue!

#2: Jeff Francoeur - 426 – Braves

#3: Octavio Dotel – 478 – Royals
A current White Sox! A step in the right direction.

#4: Mickey Mantle - HR insert – MHR387 - Yankees
A mindless mirror insert! Curse you Topps!

#5: Josh Willingham – 405 – Marlins
He played in Kane County! Cool!

#6: Ryan Church – 469 – Nationals
The fifth card in the 400’s. Curious.

We’re through the first mini pack and no White Sox cards. Should I be surprised? A current White Sox player and a mirror. What can we expect from mini pack #2? It’s not looking good.

#7: Juan Perez - 633 – Pirates
At least the card isn’t in the 400’s.

#8: Kenji Johjima - 344 – Mariners
Nice “oh” face Kenji!

#9: Joe DiMaggio - The Streak – JD17 – Yankees
A mirror card of Joltin’ Joe. At least it’s not another Mantle.

#10: Nick Swisher – Generation Now – GN374 – Athletics
Being a current White Sox doesn’t save you from the mirror card of your former team. Home run number 15, for those of you keeping score.

#11: Checklist – 3 of 3
I hate checklist cards in a pack, unless it features a picture of a player. This doesn't.

#12: Torii Hunter – 388 – Twins
A picture of Mr. Broken Promises running. Take the money and run!

#13: Yuniesky Betancourt
The checklist card didn’t count against me!

Not that bad. But not that great either. ½ point for each card. –1 ½ point for the mirror cards.

Final score: 4 ½ points

No White Sox cards in this game, but there's always next time on Sox Or No Sox.

Card Spotlight 1-25-08

2004 Donruss Classics - Team Colors - TC9 - Harold Baines 013/100

One of my first purchases on eBay, when I got back into collecting White Sox cards, was the 2004 Donruss Classics Team Colors card of Harold Baines. I couldn't believe a card like this would ever exist! I had been out of the hobby for slightly over a decade at this point.

I knew Harold Baines had retired, so I figured the best I would be able to do was a Turn Back The Clock card from Topps. I had no idea that companies were making new cards of retired players. I'm pretty sure I paid $12 for this card. Now, I see cards like this all over the place, but back then, I had never seen one quite like this.

This is another card that essentially got me back into collecting. I was practically giddy over having Harold's signature and a part of his uniform on the same card! Now, this card is more commonplace, but when I got it, I thought I had found a money tree or a cure for cancer.

This card will never leave my collection. It is with me for eternity. I may get other cooler cards of Harold, but this will be my first autograph and swatch, so it will always have a place in my collection.

#51 - Jason Bere

Jason Bere comes in at number 51. He was on the White Sox from 1993 until July 16, 1998, when he was released by the White Sox.
Jason's best years were his first two, 1993 and 1994. He appeared in 24 games in each season.

In 1993, he posted a 12-5 record with 129 strikeouts and a 3.47 ERA. 1994 brought more of the same. A 12-2 record with 127 strikeouts and a 3.81 ERA. Jason was projected to be the next huge pitching talent. If Jason could have kept up those numbers, he would have been a huge star.

He made the 1994 All-Star team and everything was looking good. Then came arm injuries and Tommy John surgery, which he came back too soon from. It all started with the 1994 strike. The 1995 Spring Training was short and Jason was working on a new pitch, a cut fastball. He ended up throwing it too much and had injuries ever since. Whether the short Spring Training was to blame or the new pitch or the combination of the two, Jason's career was never the same after that.

Jason shares this number with Andrew Sisco, Terry Forster, Jon Rauch, Dave Wehrmeister and Mike Bertotti among others. Jason has the capabilities to lead this number based on his first two years on the White Sox. Maybe someone will step in and have an unbelievable few years with this number on. Until then, it is Jason Bere's.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Branching Out With Baines And Fisk

After much thought, I have decided to branch out slightly from just collecting White Sox cards. I have decided to add to my collection of Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk cards.

What does this mean to future trades with me? It's simple. In addition to White Sox cards on my list or confirmed through e-mail, I will also accept any card of Harold Baines or Carlton Fisk. Any card. It doesn't matter if Carlton is on the Red Sox or the White Sox. I don't mind if Harold Baines is on the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Orioles or Indians. Actually, if you can find an Indian card of Harold, send it over! I haven't found any, yet.

At this point I don't care if I have the card or not. Send me your White Sox cards and/or any Carlton Fisks or Harold Baines that you have lying around and I'll see what I can give you in return. When I have a good chunk chipped away, I'll post what I have and ask that those cards not be included in trades. The only thing I ask right now is that the cards are in NRMT condition or better. That's it. Since there is no possible way that there would be a card of either player before 1969, NRMT or better should be a simple enough request.

Thank you in advance to anyone who trades a Fisk or Baines with me. No, I don't have the card that is pictured in this post. It is a Beckett image find. The more obscure the better, but don't let that detract you from sending regular issue cards.

Trading With Tatiana

Last week, Mario e-mailed me with a trade suggestion. It sounded weird and when I grilled him, he finally admitted that it was for "The Infamous Tatiana". I was thrilled to say the least. I had only recently discovered that she had gotten into collecting. I got a positive response when I sent a card over to Wax Heaven in a trade that Tatiana had expressed disappointment in not getting during a box break.

So what does Tatiana want? Well, namely Derek Jeter and Hanley Ramirez. So, I poured through my boxes and pulled out what I could find. I kept finding more and more, but I wanted the card that Mario dangled in front of me. The Jim Thome Goudey Materials card. It had to be mine.

I'm sure my package is a couple of days away from arrival. Wax Heaven's packages always seem to arrive before mine do, even if we send them on the same day. So, I'm going to spill the beans about everything Tatiana and Mario will be getting. You didn't think I would trade with Tatiana and not throw in something for Mario, did you? Perish the thought.

You can see exactly what I got from the picture, but let me clarify for those who want to be difficult.

What I got:

2007 Goudey Red: Jim Thome, Joe Crede
2007 Goudey Green: Jermaine Dye
2007 Goudey Memorabilia Parallel: Jim Thome
2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects: John Danks
2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects: John Danks, Leroy Hunt, John Ely

Not a bad haul. I really wanted that Jim Thome swatch card. So, here's what Tatiana and Mario got.

Tatiana got:

Derek Jeter
2005 - Fleer Platinum #89
2006 - Topps #246 (Gold Glove)
2006 - Topps Updates #183 (Highlights 5 for 5), #326 (Duo with Reyes)
2006 - Upper Deck Play Ball! With Jeter #PBDJ-2 (Letter E)
2007 - Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Sketch Card #19
2007 - Fleer #122
2007 - Topps Opening Day #46
2007 - Upper Deck #479

Hanley Ramirez
2007 - Upper Deck #715
2007 - Ultra #70
2007 - Bowman #1
2007 - Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Sketch Card #11
2007 - Allen & Ginter #95
2007 - Topps Moments & Milestones #71 - 86 Doubles - 065/150
2007 - Topps Generation Now - GN309

Mario got:

Andrew Miller
2007 - Fleer #340
2007 - Upper Deck First Edition #18
2007 - Artifacts #72

Jose Canseco
1985 - Burger King Huntsville Stars
1991 - Classic #T19
1991 - Classic (4 in 1)

I do realize that some of these are doubles for them, but I didn't know about Tatiana's site until today. I knew about the 1985 Canseco after I had gotten it specifically for Mario. I think it can be forgiven since I did get Mario his holy grail card. I'm happy with the trade and I hope that Tatiana and Mario are happy with their cards.

Sox Or No Sox: 1-24-07

Welcome to another fabulous edition of Sox Or No Sox!

So far, we have not seen a solitary White Sox card. There was one in the bonus pack of inserts, but none, so far, in the packs.

Today we have the first and second of ten packs of 2007 Topps Series 2. Can we find some White Sox cards? Let’s hope so! There are 6 cards in each pack. You know how to play, let’s begin!

#1: Josh Hamilton - 625 – Reds
He was picked by Tampa Bay in 1999, but he tore the cover off the ball in Spring Training 2007!

#2: Kip Wells - 537 – Cardinals
A former White Sox player! OK, we’re getting warmer!

#3: Joe DiMaggio – Distinguished Service – DS21 – Yankees
An insert card. It’s of Joe DiMaggio, which doesn't hurt. Plus, it’s not one of his mirrored cards.

#4: Kevin Youkilis – 475 – Red Sox
A trap card! This pack is not looking good points-wise!

#5: Jeremy Hermida – 525 – Marlins
Hip and ankle injuries? Sounds like a winner!

#6: Adrian Beltre – 374 – Mariners
Marlins… Mariners… they look alike, they talk alike, at times they even play alike. Adrian’s bat came alive after moving to second in the order? OK, if alive means .268.

We’re through the first mini pack and no White Sox cards. What a shocker! A former White Sox player and a trap card. What can we expect from mini pack #2? More of the same perhaps?

#7: Boof Bonser - 418 – Twins
You gotta love a guy named Boof! Especially when he legally changes his name to Boof. I've heard decent things about him.

#8: Doug Mientkiewicz - 559 – Yankees
He must have loved his parents when he was growing up. Especially when he was learning to spell his name. I’m sure at least once, he tried on Doug Smith, just to see how it sounded. He won the World Series with the Red Sox, yet he’s elated to be on the Yankees.

#9: David Eckstein - 491 – Cardinals
A World Series ring in each league. He must feel special.

#10: Greg Maddux – Trading Places – TP24 – Dodgers/Padres
Who doesn't like Greg Maddux? He usually turns in a solid performance and he looks like Ferris Bueller. Two teams on one card!

#11: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies – Opening Day 2007 – OD9 - D'Backs/Rockies
Another two teams on one card? OK…

#12: Mariano Rivera – 570 – Yankees
Cool, one of the elite closers of the game. Still not a White Sox card.

Not too bad. But not that great either. ½ point for each card. –1 point for the trap card. 3 insert cards, but none of them mirrors.

Final score: 5 points

No White Sox cards in this game, but there's always next time on Sox Or No Sox.

#50 - Barry Jones

There aren't a lot of standout candidates here. John Danks is the most likely to take this spot over, but he's not ready. There have been others that occupied this number. Sean Tracey, Sean Lowe, Larry Thomas, Juan Agosto, Buddy Groom and Brian Drahman come to mind.

Only one player can be described as "owning" this number, for now. That would be Barry Jones. Barry came to the White Sox in August of 1988 from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He left the White Sox at the end of the 1990 season. He was part of the deal to the Montreal Expos that brought Tim Raines to the White Sox.

Barry's best year was in 1990. He was 11-4, for a reliever, with 1 save and a 2.31 ERA. It's amazing that he even got a save in the same season where Bobby Thigpen had 57. Barry's ERA was always under 3.00 for the White Sox. This is what a great set-up pitcher will do. He'll get a good win-loss record and make the closer look outstanding.

Is Magglio In The Clear?

I hear that Magglio Ordonez was unsuccessfully blackmailed by Jose Canseco. If Magglio helped finance a movie that Jose wanted to promote, then Jose would leave Magglio's name out of his latest book. I don't know what to believe, but it sounds like a plot out of a bad Saturday morning cartoon or a Z grade movie.

Maybe that's the movie Jose wanted to get out. I can see it now. "Blackmailed" starring Steven Seagal as Jose Canseco and Vin Diesel (with a Magglio wig) as Magglio Ordonez. John C. Reilly would play Chuck Knoblauch, the comical clown who forgot how to throw and is now hiding out from the feds in the tropical paradise of Kokomo, Indiana.

Actually, I think that's upgraded to B movie, based on John C. Reilly alone. Will Ferrell could make a cameo playing Bud "Lite" Selig and Vince Vaughn could play Senator George Mitchell. Throw in a couple of bumbling, yet capable, FBI agents played by Hank Azaria and John Cusack. You've got yourself a comedy classic.

Unfortunately, that's the movies and this is real life. Did Magglio use illegal substances? I'd like to think no, but in this day and age, you never know. Sometimes being accused is enough to create a downfall. Did Jose Canseco try to blackmail Magglio? I could see him doing something like that to create more sales for his second book. Does Jose have the goods on Magglio and others? So far, he's pretty much been vindicated, in most claims from his first book. It took a few years to weed it out, but most of the accusations have a shred of truth to them.

Right now, everything is just hearsay. Until more substantial facts are brought to light, we have to believe the best in people. We should be past the witch hunts, but we sadly aren't. Just one hint at wrong-doing is enough to sink a player's reputation. Even if that hint is completely off base. I'm choosing to not believe this until more facts are brought out. That doesn't mean that I think everyone is innocent. Far from it.

Jose Canseco isn't the only baseball player that cheated. He's just honest about his steroid use. Many players aren't. There is the real problem. Did Magglio develop his ability naturally or was he helped by a teammate who was there, just before his abilities went to the next level? Would he lie about his use, if he used? These are unanswered questions, at the moment. Everyone should be innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't mean we can't keep a closer eye on them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2007 Topps Series 2 Blaster Box

My friend Steve, no not me, needed to do his taxes on my computer. I've known the guy for twenty years, so I'm fine with that. He came over about 8:30 with a few bags in his hand. He brought food for himself, so he doesn't eat me out of house and home, and the other bag he laid on the table.

He said that he got me a few things. I open up the bag and see a couple of bags of M&Ms, for my movie night that I host on Fridays and a box. I pulled it out and it was a blaster of 2007 Topps Series 2. He's getting a kick out of opening packs with me. He gets his childhood thrills and I get to keep the cards.

The first thing that I thought of was this blog. There are 10 packs of 6 cards in the box and a bonus packs of K-Mart exclusive inserts. The insert pack is clear, so I couldn't help but see the top and bottom card.

#1. Daisuke Matsuzaka - GNV36 - Red Sox
#2. Ian Kinsler - GNV26 - Rangers
#3. GNV33 - Bobby Jenks - White Sox

My luck seems to be changing. A White Sox card as an insert and a card that I actually need! I will go through this free blaster box pack by pack on Sox Or No Sox. I've got a good feeling about this.

Shingo Returns To Chicago

After a two year absence from the major leagues, it looks like Shingo Takatsu may return. Not with the White Sox, but the Cubs. Shingo was lights out in 2004, when he first came to the major leagues. The beginning of the 2005 season began with two tough luck blown saves that seemed to take a toll on Shingo.

He was released by the White Sox on August 1, 2005. The Mets signed him and he played in 9 games for them. He did fairly well, but didn't catch on anywhere else. He returned to Japanese baseball on recorded his 300th overall save, combining Japanese and Major League totals.

Shingo did receive a World Series ring for 2005, even though he wasn't on the roster or even in the White Sox system at the time of the World Series. Hopefully, Shingo can return to form with the Cubs. There is a special place for most ex-White Sox players, even if they are on the Cubs.

1986 Topps

These cards were released during my first wave of collecting. The black and white two-tone is iconic for this release. I loved this set when I was a kid. It was much better than the basic blue of Fleer that year and Donruss cards never kept in stock long enough for me to really assess them in 1986.

I can remember laying these out on the carpeted floor and arranging them in different ways. Whatever tickled my fancy on any particular day. I would assort them by number or by name or by team. The possibilities were endless. You guessed right. All of my originals from this set have gone to wax heaven. No, not the blog site. They were all damaged beyond compare because I handled them on a daily basis. If I could go back and do things differently, I'd still handle them everyday. That's part of the fun of collecting as a kid!

The White Sox had 29 cards and 1 All-Star card in this set. It was a nice big set for me to collect, but it still was reasonable to assume that I could collect every card. I cared about every card when this first came out. Now, I am "laser focused" and only collect certain things. I may try to collect an entire set, someday. But for now, I'm happy just collecting White Sox cards.
  • 14 Julio Cruz
  • 64 Floyd Bannister
  • 103 Luis Salazar
  • 123 Greg Walker
  • 139 Daryl Boston
  • 156 White Sox Leaders - Richard Dotson
  • 187 Scott Fletcher
  • 227 Al Jones
  • 239 Joel Skinner
  • 254 Ozzie Guillen
  • 290 Carlton Fisk
  • 313 Joe DeSa
  • 346 Bryan Little
  • 364 Reid Nichols
  • 390 Tom Seaver
  • 423 Dan Spillner
  • 447 Jerry Don Gleaton
  • 467 Bob James
  • 493 Gene Nelson
  • 531 Tony LaRussa
  • 552 Marc Hill
  • 574 Ron Kittle
  • 612 Richard Dotson
  • 637 Rudy Law
  • 657 Juan Agosto
  • 679 Britt Burns
  • 719 Carlton Fisk AS
  • 724 Tim Hulett
  • 755 Harold Baines
  • 778 Jerry Hairston

Basically, this is how I remember sets from Topps. I'm hoping that they get closer to these past sets again. It doesn't look like it though. Change is good, but there is something to be said for non-fifties nostalgia. A great set and a good design.


As my iPod shuffles from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash to Thoughtless by Korn to Ain't That A Shame by Fats Domino, I am reminded of inconsistency. On the iPod, this is a great thing. I'm very eclectic in my music collection and the shuffle feature keeps me on my toes. This is how I would normally make a mix tape when I was a teenager. It reflects my tastes in music and is a peek at how my brain works.

Inconsistency on the baseball diamond reminds me of Jose Valentin. He tried and tried, but he couldn't just let those balls out of his range go through for a hit. Instead, he put a glove on them, making the ball spin in another direction for an error or actually handling the ball and making a throwing error instead. This usually resulted in the hitter ending up on at least second base, when he should only be on first base.

He also fancied himself a power hitter, but ended up striking out. A lot. Jose did break the single season mark for homers by a White Sox shortstop. Those errors and strikeouts are what did him in though. He played with a lot of heart, but didn't play smart baseball. Jose ended up saving a lot of runs with his defense, but also probably caused more runs to cross the plate at the end of the day than anyone else on the team.

As Air Dance by Black Sabbath gives way to Driver 8 by R.E.M., I am still reminded of Jose Valentin. I'm happy for his time with the White Sox, but I'm also thankful that he has moved on. I guess his eventual move to New York is even acknowledged by my iPod. Ch-Check It Out by The Beastie Boys just popped up. I guess iPods and baseball do mix.

Autographs Through The Mail

On Base Autos has a wonderful article about getting autographs through the mail. I tried this when I was younger and all I got back was a nice 1990 Leaf card of Shawn Boskie. I still have it on my desk. Yes, he's in a Cubs uniform. So what. He sent back an autographed card, so he's cool in my book.

Upon looking for an appropriate signed White Sox card, I found this site. Waiting For The Mail Man chronicles the pursuit of autographs through the mail. The Buehrle was posted by someone named Bryan, who got a turn around in less than a month! This was after Mark's no-hitter. Very cool!

The best advice I can follow for autographs through the mail, don't be greedy, send a SASE, and take the time to write a nice hand written letter. It shows that you care more about the player than just his autograph. Don't get discouraged. Some players have more things to do besides answering your mail. Give them enough time and they should send it back.

I think I may just try reaching Harold Baines for an autograph. You never know. I might just get something back.
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