Friday, February 29, 2008

Card Spotlight: 2-29-08

1933 R308 Tattoo Orbit #167 - Jimmy Dykes

I love old cards. The older, the better. I love oddball cards. The odder, the better. What happens when I see an older oddball card?

I lay the card down by the fire and make sweet love. OK, maybe not, but I get very happy about the find. I haven't run across any of these cards at a bargain. In fact, I don't run across very many.

It may have to do with the unsanitary conditions that most of these cards were exposed to. If I found my information correctly, you were supposed to spit on the wrapper. Then rub the wrapper on the face of the card until it was evenly wet. You would then expose the wet card to the sun and a face would appear.

It sounds disgusting and it seems like a good way to spread tuberculosis in the early thirties. Even though its beginnings are questionable at best, this card still intrigues me. It's amazing to me that some cards still survive today, after the torture these cards were put through.

I wouldn't hesitate to put any of these cards into my collection. Maybe I'd be cautious about handling them, but not about adding them to the collection.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2-28-08: Sox 12 - Rockies 3

What a difference a day makes. The White Sox seemed to have turned around today after a loss yesterday to open up Spring Training. Less mistakes were made today and there was definitely more production out of most aspects of the lineup.

Jose Contreras picked up a victory in the 12 to 3 rout of the Rockies. Let's break it down into the good, the bad and the ugly. Cue whistling.

The good:
Alexei Ramirez went 4 for 5 with 1 RBI and 3 runs scored. This kid is on fire in his starting debut!

Brian Anderson continues to show that he wants a major league job, somewhere. He's matured a lot since his humbling injury last year.

Nick Swisher gets lucky with his glove and continues to swing a hot bat. He can only get better in center field.

Jose Contreras looked to be in mid 2005 condition as he went 3 scoreless innings.

The bad:
There was still a throwing error by catcher Paul Phillips. Brian Anderson was caught stealing.

The bullpen is still hit or miss. When it's on, it's lights out. When it's off, look out.

The ugly:
Joe Crede's average is 0.00. The worst of it is that he left 5 men on base. The team total today is 10 men left on base. Crede left half of those.

This is a much better game than yesterday's affair. The Sox seem more consistent and they look like they are starting to get in a groove. A few guys in the bullpen still need to work things out. Linebrink is one of those relievers. He gave up three hits and 1 run in 1 inning of work. The throwing error was by a rookie non-roster invitee, so it's not as bad as if someone who should make the team committed the error.

And look who closed out the game for the Rockies. My old pal Darren Clarke. He came in needing to get one out to end the game. He gave up two hits and struck out the final batter. Maybe all the White Sox need to do is keep a few of his Topps 52 cards on hand and ask for an autograph. That might keep his mind off the batters.

Many Thanks To Chad

My short term memory has really been horrible lately. Most of my concentration has been on the job front lately. More specifically, a lack of a job front. With most of my mental powers laser focused on finding employment, things that are important in the moment, tend to get buried in the basement of my mind.

Every once in awhile, they will pop up and slap me in the face. That happened with the Revco Baines card that Joey from Squeeze Play Cards wanted to trade. The thought was dormant for awhile, then decided to make it's presence known.

A similar occurrance happened today. The name looked familiar, the address looked a little familiar, but I just couldn't make the connection to anything. I have three theories as to where this mystery package came from.

Theory 1: I had exchanged e-mails with Chad and gave him my address. Then the events of that e-mailing got buried and forgotten.

Theory 2: Someone who bought something from my eBay store, investigated my member page and discovered the link for this blog. Then decided to send me a gift.

Theory 3: Chad is a friend of a fellow blogger, who heard that I was a huge White Sox fan.

What did Chad send me? He sent me the following 96 cards.

1987 Topps #61 – Bobby Thigpen
1989 Upper Deck #530 – Jack McDowell
1991 Bowman #366 – Frank Thomas
1991 Jimmy Dean #9 – Frank Thomas
1991 Leaf #281 – Frank Thomas
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier #121 – Frank Thomas
1991 Score #69 – Craig Grebeck
1991 Score #840 – Frank Thomas
1991 Studio #40 – Frank Thomas
1991 Stadium Club #57 – Frank Thomas
1991 Topps #461 – Robin Ventura
1991 Toys “R” Us #27 – Frank Thomas
1991 Ultra #85 – Frank Thomas
1991 Upper Deck #246 – Frank Thomas
1991 Upper Deck #263 – Robin Ventura
1992 Donruss #145 – Robin Ventura
1992 Score #122 – Robin Ventura
1992 Upper Deck #436 – Ozzie Guillen
1993 Donruss #788 – Michael Huff
1993 Leaf #524 – Jason Bere
1993 Upper Deck #453 – Jason Bere
1994 Fleer #304 – Jose Canseco
1994 Score #563 – Jason Bere
1994 Stadium Club #167 – Bo Jackson
1994 Stadium Club #434 – Scott Radinsky
1994 Topps Gold #62 – Tim Belcher
1995 Score #320 – White Sox/Rockies Checklist
1995 Stadium Club Virtual Reality #247 – Jason Bere
1995 Ultra #276 – Scott Ruffcorn
1996 Ultra Gold Medallion # 336 – Chris Snopek
1999 Upper Deck #14 – Jim Parque
2001 Leaf Rookies & Stars #94 – Magglio Ordonez
2003 Donruss Team Heroes #130 – Paul Konerko
2003 MVP #45 – Mark Buehrle
2003 Playoff Prestige #23 – Mark Buehrle
2003 Playoff Prestige #24 – Paul Konerko
2003 Topps #679 – Joe Borchard/Corwin Malone
2003 Ultra #199 – Paul Konerko
2003 Upper Deck #360 – Joe Borchard
2004 Studio #55 – Magglio Ordonez
2004 Topps Opening Day #126 – Roberto Alomar
2004 Topps Opening Day #147 – Magglio Ordonez
2004 Upper Deck #119 – Magglio Ordonez
2005 Authentix #9 – Paul Konerko (2)
2005 Donruss Team Heroes #81 Jose Contreras
2005 Fleer Platinum #84 Freddy Garcia
2005 Studio #72 – Paul Konerko
2005 Throwback Threads #56 – Mark Buehrle
2005 Throwback Threads #59 – Tadahito Iguchi
2005 Throwback Threads #114 – Paul Konerko
2005 Topps #365 – Paul Konerko
2005 Topps Opening Day #14 – Paul Konerko
2005 Topps Opening Day #18 – Carlos Lee
2005 Topps Opening Day #38 – Shingo Takatsu
2005 Topps Opening Day #92 – Jose Contreras
2005 Topps Update #UH261 – Sean Tracey
2005 Ultra #20 – Magglio Ordonez
2005 Ultra #104 – Carlos Lee
2005 Upper Deck #46 – Juan Uribe
2006 Fleer #277 – Rob Mackowiak
2006 SP Authentic Baseball Heroes #55 – Tadahito Iguchi (Brian Roberts)
2006 Topps #13 – Tadahito Iguchi (2)
2006 Topps #51 – Juan Uribe (2)
2006 Topps #149 – A.J. Pierzynski (2)
2006 Topps #191 – Freddy Garcia
2006 Topps #270 – White Sox Team
2006 Topps Opening Day #13 – Tadahito Iguchi
2006 Ultra #168 – Jon Garland
2006 Ultra Home Run Kings #HRK10 – Paul Konerko
2006 Upper Deck Future Stars #13 – Paul Konerko
2006 Upper Deck Future Stars #14 – Jermaine Dye
2007 Artifacts #6 – Paul Konerko
2007 Bowman #133 – Jermaine Dye
2007 Bowman #165 – Paul Konerko
2007 Bowman Chrome Refractor #98 – Tadahito Iguchi
2007 Bowman Gold #133 – Jermaine Dye
2007 Bowman Prospects Gold #BP82 – Ricardo Nanita
2007 Fleer #257 – Jon Garland
2007 Fleer #260 – Paul Konerko
2007 Fleer #262 – Joe Crede
2007 Fleer #264 – Javier Vazquez
2007 Fleer #265 – A.J. Pierzynski
2007 Fleer #331 – Ryan Sweeney
2007 Fleer #376 – Jermaine Dye (Checklist)
2007 Topps #165 – Mark Buehrle
2007 Ultra Retail #35 – Paul Konerko
2007 Upper Deck First Edition #73 – Jose Contreras
2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces #62 – Luis Aparicio

Yeah, this was the last thing I was expecting when I woke up this morning, but WOW! It also came with a note that read:

"Well I never thought I'd be giving away my white sox cards (fav team) but I think you will enjoy them more so than I. Hope you can use some of them."

Well, Chad from Virginia, rest assured, I can use most of them. All of the cards are very much appreciated! I finished a lot of pesky 1991 Frank Thomas cards with this gift. This also filled some holes in my collection. Thank you for this unexpected bundle of joy that came from Virginia. If we did exchange e-mails, pardon my brain for being occupied with other thoughts. I'm not usually like that.

Chad, your favorite team's cards are in good hands!

Why Sox Machine Is Awesome

It seems that everyone is everywhere I want to be and doing everything I want to do. From getting the 2008 Topps Heritage before my pre-order has come in to going to 2008 Spring Training. Everyone on Earth, it seems, is doing more exciting things than I am.

Case in point is Sox Machine. The Spring Training videos are awesome! Keep them up. Besides dayf's excessive taunting about Jim Thome, this is the stuff I really want to see first hand. One day, I will get to Spring Training. Hopefully, sometime this week, I'll get my pre-order 2008 Topps Heritage box.

Until then, enjoy these awesome Spring Training videos.

John Danks new cutter.

Alexei Ramirez' first at-bat.

1959 Topps

In the spirit of the 2008 Topps Heritage release, let's review the set that inspired it. I haven't gotten my pre-order box of Topps Heritage yet, so I'm hoping today will be the day.

1959 is one of my all-time favorite sets. There's just something about it that sets the right mood with me. This set gets everything right in my book. From the use of circles throughout the set to the one color framing, everything just seems to fit nicely. The set is pleasing to the eye. The color combinations compliment each other very well. It's just a great all around set.

The White Sox have 38 cards in the set where a player is featured.

5 - Dick Donovan
22 - Al Smith
30 - Nellie Fox
73 - Ron Jackson
86 - Bob Keegan
94 - White Sox Team
103 - Billy Goodman
114 - Earl Battey
119 - John Callison
138 - John Romano
156 - Ace Hurlers (Billy Pierce)
159 - Bob Shaw
179 - Don Rudolph
187 - Bubba Phillips
213 - Jim Rivera
252 - Ray Boone
260 - Early Wynn
277 - Turk Lown
293 - Ray Moore
310 - Luis Aparicio
328 - Lou Skizas
341 - Tom Qualters
351 - Earl Torgeson
368 - Don Mueller
385 - Sherm Lollar
408 - Keystone Combo (Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox)
410 - Billy Pierce
426 - Jerry Staley
438 - Sam Esposito
453 - Les Moss
466 - Billy Pierce (Baseball Thrills - All-Star Starter)
477 - Barry Latman
493 - Jim Landis
509 - Norm Cash
537 - Rudolfo Arias
556 - Nellie Fox (All-Star)
560 - Luis Aparicio (All-Star)
572 - Billy Pierce (All-Star)

I have roughly 18.42% of the set done in excellent to near mint condition. That equals out to 7 cards. Not too bad for a set that's both popular and 17 years older than I am. Plus, I just started collecting the 1959 set in 2007.

Collecting vintage cards was not something I was comfortable doing years ago. Mostly because I was a kid. I didn't want the cost or heavy responsibility involved. This time around, I am comfortable with what I collect and how I collect. It was only in the last few years where I decided to focus on a few particular things. Before then, I was all over the map.

This iconic set deserves my full attention and care. I can safely say that I am ready to collect anything now. Once I complete this set, it will be the oldest completed team set in my collection. Take that 1968 Topps! I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

1985 White Sox Coke

The last few weeks, I've been taking trips down memory lane to my childhood. During 1985, it seemed like most weekends, when the Sox were in town, I would end up going to a game with someone. My dad would get free tickets through his work, my school would offer free tickets for good grades and my friends always seemed to have an extra ticket.

I probably went to Comiskey Park during the mid eighties more than any other time in my life. I've been trying to collect the oversize cards that the Sox would give out as promotions during some games. I think that they even gave them out with whatever version of the kids club that was around back then.

Either way, I had a lot of them between 1985 and 1988. I probably had at least two sets from each of those four years. What happens when you mix oversize cards and kids? You get disaster waiting to happen. It didn't help that I couldn't find anything to really protect them properly. All of my team issued eighties card were ultimately destroyed.

I've been looking out for all of these cards and the other team issued cards for the past couple of years. I've run across them, but usually the seller wants more than I'm willing to pay. So, I keep my eyes open for bargains. I'd love to get my hands on the 1990 White Sox Coke set, but that will be nearly impossible because of two rookies in that set. Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas.

The 1985 set is almost as difficult to find in mint or near mint condition. That all changed this month when a reader named Anthony e-mailed me about trading for a near complete set. It wasn't in mint condition, but it was close enough.

While we were e-mailing back and forth deciding on a fair trade, a miraculous thing happened. One of my long time friends ran across a complete set for $6.00. He snapped it up for me and I was very grateful! A complete set in mint condition was one goal that I could cross off my list.

So, what happened to Anthony's trade? I still made the trade, but I only chose three cards. I chose a Harold Baines, an Ozzie Guillen and a Nancy Faust. He didn't have the Fisk card available. Why these particular cards? Easy. All three are still currently employed by the White Sox. My thinking is that they would be the easiest to possibly sign these cards. Anthony requested cards of Tony LaRussa, Jay Buhner and Yadier Molina. I did the best I could to find cards that he didn't have.

There are 30 cards in this 1985 White Sox Coke set.

0 - Oscar Gamble (Zeke Bonura)
1 - Scott Fletcher (Luke Appling)
3 - Harold Baines (Bill Melton)
5 - Luis Salazar (Chico Carrasquel)
7 - Marc Hill (Sherm Lollar)
8 - Daryl Boston (Jim Landis)
10 - Tony LaRussa (Al Lopez)
12 - Julio Cruz (Nellie Fox)
13 - Ozzie Guillen (Luis Aparicio)
17 - Jerry Hairston (Smoky Burgess)
20 - Joe DeSa (Carlos May)
22 - Joel Skinner (J.C. Martin)
23 - Rudy Law (Bill Skowron)
24 - Floyd Bannister (Red Faber)
29 - Greg Walker (Dick Allen)
30 - Gene Nelson (Early Wynn)
32 - Tim Hulett (Pete Ward)
34 - Richard Dotson (Ed Walsh)
37 - Dan Spillner (Thornton Lee)
40 - Britt Burns (Gary Peters)
41 - Tom Seaver (Ted Lyons)
42 - Ron Kittle (Minnie Minoso)
43 - Bob James (Hoyt Wilhelm)
44 - Tom Paciorek (Eddie Collins)
46 - Tim Lollar (Billy Pierce)
50 - Juan Agosto (Wilbur Wood)
72 - Carlton Fisk (Ray Schalk)
NNO - Comiskey Park
NNO - Nancy Faust
NNO - Ribbie & Roobarb

These cards are paper thin. They won't stay in pages. If anyone has a suggestion on how to store odd size cards that are paper thin in plastic pages, I'm all ears. I have the same trouble with the 1989 White Sox Coke set that I have. They are in 8 pocket pages, but they won't stay in. I'd love a solution where I can see both sides of the card clearly.

This is the set that turned me on to the history of the game. I had to know each and every player in the little oval on the bottom right hand side. For this year, the Sox paired up the regular players with iconic White Sox legends. The pair was usually the same position, but not always.

The cards are also numbered by uniform, with three cards not having a number. There were non-numbered cards of the park the Sox played in, the organist and the mascots. These are actually neat looking cards. They have great shots of the players, White Sox legends, and a nice design. This is probably my favorite set from 1985. The only downgrade of that opinion comes from the oddball size. These cards hold special memories from my childhood. Better memories than even Topps, Fleer and Donruss could provide.

Thank you to everyone who helped me obtain this set.

2-27-08: Rockies 7 - Sox 3

The first Spring Training game is out of the way. Maybe this is the one that will shake the cobwebs off. The White Sox just lost their 11th consecutive Spring Training game to the Rockies.

The good:
Brian Anderson seemed to actually concentrate on baseball instead of the honeys, as he calls women. The day resulted in spectacular defense, 1 hit and 1 walk.

Non-Roster Invitees Chris Getz, Royce Huffman, Miguel Negron and Brad Eldred excelled at the plate. Jason Bourgeois did well in his appearances too.

Most of the bullpen was outstanding. Bobby Jenks, Boone Logan and Ehren Wassermann threw a combined 3 innings of one hit, no run ball. John Danks, the starter, gave up a home run to Troy Tulowitzki, but looked sharp otherwise.

The bad:
The rest of the bullpen. Dewon Day gave up three earned runs. Andrew Sisco gave up one. Not a good sign for either of these players that are desperately trying to hang on to a job on the roster.

7 runners left in scoring position with 2 out. Not a good start to the year. That definitely needs to be improved.

The ugly:
Three errors! A Josh Fields throwing error and fielding errors by Orlando Cabrera and Royce Huffman. This isn't good even for a Spring Training game.

21 men left on base! That hurts! That's a lot even for a Spring Training game. At least the Sox are getting men on base. Now if they can only work on bringing them home.

Enter Richar

Danny Richar's visa problems are over. He entered camp today on the first game of Spring Training. Hopefully, the lack of playing time won't hurt his chances at competing for the second base job.

Danny seems to have a lot of competition at second base. Juan Uribe has been forced out of his shortstop position by Orlando Cabrera and is now a candidate for second base. Pablo Ozuna and Alexei Ramirez also have shots at nabbing second base.

The second base job was Danny's to lose at the beginning of the year. Now, that's not as clear. Juan Uribe seems to perform better at second base. Pablo Ozuna is back from injury, so he will likely be the backup infielder. Alexei Ramirez is turning some heads already with his play, and more importantly, his bat. Danny could be the odd man out.

Personally, I'd like to see Danny make the team. He was just getting comfortable at the end of last year. Plus, there should be another card of Danny Richar other than this 2007 Topps 52. That would be sweet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mailbox Joys: A Laminated Fisk

I've been scratching my head over this card for almost a week. I'm not sure what to make of it. I usually don't cross-post, but in this case I'll make an exception.

For my initial thoughts on this card check out the post at Things Done To Cards. I'll just add that this is one of the most original and unique Fisk cards that I have run across. It feels like an old school credit card. Very thick and very laminated.

I saw it on eBay and knew it had to be mine. This came in the same package as the 1964 Topps Giant from a few days ago. That seller had a bunch of oddball cards, so I scooped them up.

Suffice to say, this will be a highlight in my collection for years to come. I will amaze people that are out of the loop with this thick, laminated baseball card. They will wonder where it came from and I will say, "From a credit card equipment company". Then, they will slowly back away, turn around and run.

This Search Goes On

Spring Training has begun! With that, the White Sox are searching for their next Central Division Title. If they can't achieve that, they search for the Wild Card. This is all part of the search for a World Championship in 2008.

In this photo from Monday, Nick Swisher searches for the perfect photograph to be taken. It's nice to see him in a White Sox uniform. He was a pain every time the Sox faced the Athletics. I hope he continues that trend with his opponents.

Speaking of searching, I've added a new search feature at the bottom of the page. You can do a search of this site, or a search of Google. The searching of this site excites me more. If you want all the posts that, for example, Jose Canseco are in, now you can find them easily. No more endless searching through over 300 different posts. You will have everything at your fingertips.

Click on the search button for this site and you can find every Harold Baines post and every Carlton Fisk post. You can even find out how many posts include the name Wakamatsu.

I strive to add content that will benefit the reader. I try not to bog this site down with pop-ups and annoying ads. Any ad that you see on this site is simple and out of the way. I could put ads everywhere on this site, but I hate sites like that. I'm not going to let that happen. In fact, this will probably be the only post where ads will be mentioned, unless something gigantic comes along.

The content is up front and the ads are tucked safely in corners, not bothering anyone. On the bright side, I'm very psyched about the new search option at the bottom of the page. It's not in the way of the content either.

#60 - Rocky Biddle

Lee Francis Biddle has done something that Scott Schoeneweis and Dewon Day could not do. That is be the best number 60 on the White Sox. Dewon did not fare well in his limited time. Scott showed nothing of his former self, while on the White Sox. So, it all rests on Rocky Biddle.

Not that Rocky fared too well himself. He pitched from 200-2002 for the White Sox. He never had a winning season in his career. He never had a MLB ERA under 4.00. But Rocky had something else that Scott and Dewon never had with the Sox, potential.

Rocky was full of potential. He also had the occasional flash of brilliance, but the potential was mostly unrealized. He did help the Sox out in one regard, his exit. Rocky was one of the key pieces in a trade to Montreal to get Bartolo Colon. Bartolo may have had an off year with the White Sox, but the name value alone is enough to put Rocky over the top. I'm not sure, but I think I made two Sylvester Stallone references in the last sentence. That's scary.

Rocky fared a little better in Montreal. The Expos turned him into a closer. He did have 34 saves for them in 2003. The best that I can tell is that he was released by the Nationals before their move to DC. Will someone knock Rocky out of this number? Only time will tell.

Monday, February 25, 2008

When Sox Turn Green

It seems that a lot of former White Sox players have ended up in green and gold. An amazing number of players in the Oakland organization came from the White Sox organization sometime in the past. One newspaper has already dubbed it White Sox West.

Some arrived there through trades, others through free agency, but all spent time with the White Sox. It's a bit interesting that so many players from one team would land on another team. They mostly have different paths to the Oakland organization.

Chris Carter, infielder
Left the White Sox in a trade to the Diamondbacks, the Diamondbacks traded him to Oakland.

Aaron Cunningham, outfielder
Left the White Sox in a trade to the Diamondbacks, the Diamondbacks traded him to Oakland.

Gio Gonzalez, pitcher
Traded to Oakland by the White Sox.

Fernando Hernandez, pitcher
Taken by Oakland in the Rule-5 draft.

Jay Marshall, pitcher
Taken by Oakland in the Rule-5 draft.

Casey Rogowski, infielder
Minor League free angent.

Ryan Sweeney, outfielder
Traded to Oakland by the White Sox.

Ryan Wing, pitcher
Minor League free agent.

Even players like Fautino de los Santos and Nick Walker are now with Oakland, but aren't in camp with the Athletics right now. We'll see how these players pan out in the coming years. It should be very interesting to watch.

Nancy Faust: Star Organist

One of the things that make White Sox games very unique is the organ playing of Nancy Faust. Along with the smells and sights of old Comiskey Park, I remember the sounds of the organ with every game.

It's hard to imagine that this petite, pretty lady can whip a crowd into a frenzy, but it's true. Her renditions of Queen's, "We Will Rock You" and Steam's, "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" are legendary for the way a crowd would get into it. She would sometime elicit a greater response than the team on the field. Especially during the leaner years of the late 80's.

The trend of, "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey goodbye", started right here with Nancy Faust. She had been playing it for awhile, at a fan's request, and one game vs. Kansas City, the fans started singing along. The rest is baseball history.

Nancy has scaled back her performances to just day games, since 2006. After four decades behind the organ, Nancy deserves a bit of a break. I did miss her musical musings at the last night game I attended. A game isn't quite the same without Nancy providing the background music.

Nancy has a lot of history with the White Sox. I can't picture a season without her. Most of my childhood memories have Nancy's music in the background. I just wish I was at the game where she played "Chariots Of Fire" when the hefty trainer Herm Schneider ran onto the field. That would've been worth the price of admission right there.

Organists playing in baseball parks are a dying breed. Please enjoy them while they last.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Trading With Cincy Reds Cards

Without further ado, I present the details of the White Sox (fan) trading with the Reds (fan). Details of what the Reds (fan) got can be found here and here, respectively.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I got my cards. I understand that Joe from Cincy Reds Cards is away a lot because of his job, so I wasn't discouraged by the wait. It seemd like an eternity because of the antici... pation of the coolness of the cards that I would be getting. I was not disappointed!

The postman rang twice on Saturday. First, he delivered our regular mail. We brought that in and sorted through it. Then we heard the doorbell ring. It was a small box. I was very perplexed. I wasn't expecting anything in a box, yet. I was expecting a hobby box of Topps Heritage, but it was too early for that. Besides, the package wouldn't quite fit a hobby box of cards, unless you had your own Szalinski shrink ray. That is highly doubtful.

As soon as I saw the return address, I knew this would be a package for the ages. I was not let down. I opened that bad boy up and found treasures beyond my belief. I had forgotten exactly what I had traded for, so it hit me like a complete surprise. Let's find out what I got, shall we?

2002 Topps Gold Label: Gold Class 1
16 - Carlos Lee 266/500
40 - Magglio Ordonez 191/500
81 - Frank Thomas 171/500
121 - Paul Konerko 449/500

2003 Upper Deck MVP Sports Nut
#SN71 - Mark Buehrle

2005 Topps Chrome
26 - Shingo Takatsu
75 - Frank Thomas
82 - Joe Crede
107 - Mark Buehrle
121 - Jose Valentin
174 - Paul Konerko
180 - Carlos Lee
186 - Juan Uribe

2006 Topps Chrome
5 - Tadahito Iguchi
15 - Jon Garland
42 - Mark Buehrle
82 - A.J. Pierzynski
112 - Freddy Garcia
116 - Jim Thome
236 - Paul Konerko
250 - Javier Vazquez
251 - Jose Contreras
306 - Brian Anderson

I am truly impressed! A bunch of nice, shiny cards and an oddball insert Buehrle. The pride and joy of the package has to be the Topps Gold Label cards. Wow! Here is something I didn't know ever existed. Now I have four of them, all limited to 500. Very cool!

Thank you Joe! I love my new cards! I hope you are as happy with our trade as I am. This was an awesome package in the mail. Thank you again!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

1964 Topps Giant

I received an oddball set in the mail the other day. The 1964 Topps Giant White Sox team set. I had only ordered two cards, but the seller threw the third card in for free. What a nice fellow.

This is basically a highlights set that features highlights from the 1963 season. At least that's what I'm taking it as. This set is 12 years older than I am, so I didn't live through its release.

Compared to the regular release, this is giant. I don't believe that it's as big as the Topps Super release from when I was a kid though. I don't have any for direct comparison, but I remember the supers being larger. Why do I suddenly feel like I'm discussing feminine hygiene products? Oh well, it's only baseball.

The White Sox have three cards in this release, from what I can tell. Let's go through the list.

  • 1 - Gary Peters
  • 33 - Pete Ward
  • 53 - Jaun Pizzaro

Gary Peters boasts the best ERA in the AL. Pete Ward was named the top rookie. Juan Pizzaro hurls in the All-Star game. Not a bad group of accomplishments. But does Juan Pizzaro deserve a card for getting sick at the All-Star game? Yes, I'm kidding.

I have to tell you that when I think of Pete Ward, the first picture that comes to mind is Gary Ward. It's most likely because of the 1985 Fleer card I had of Gary Ward when I was an impressionable youth. I know of Pete Ward's career and I know his accomplishments. I know what Pete Ward looks like too. I just can't get the image of Gary Ward's 1985 Fleer card out of my head. I will be seeking professional help. I swear.

Pete Ward looks like one of the Righteous Brothers and Gary Ward looks like James Brown. Yet, I can't get Gary's image out of my mind. Maybe it's because he reminds me of James Brown's preacher from the Blues Brothers.

Anyway, the backs of each card feature a nice short story on each player along with an action photograph in black and white. I would imagine these would have been popular with the kids. There's even cards of Nellie Fox on the Houston Colt 45's and Luis Aparicio on the Orioles. All the usual suspects are included.

At 60 cards this may be a good vintage set to start off with. Most cards in the set can be found for under a dollar. There are only a few short printed cards. This may be easier to collect than the regular issue.

Trading With Squeeze Play Cards

Earlier in the year, I was contacted by Joey of Squeeze Play Cards about the Revco card of Harold Baines. I had made a comment that I had never run across it. So, shortly after, I received an e-mail asking me if I'd like to trade for it. Let me think about that for a sec... YEAH!

Schedules got in the way and, in time, we had both forgot about it. I went through my old e-mails trying to decide what I needed to hang on to and what to delete. I ran across the e-mail from Joey. I e-mailed him back to see if the trade was still on and what he was looking for specifically, since I never got a reply back.

Joey apologized for forgetting about it (I did too for awhile, truthfully) and he quickly sent me a want list. I saw two cards on his Turkey Red list that I had, so I sent a quick reply. Before I knew it, the trade was accepted and addresses were exchanged.

Yesterday, I finally got the Baines in the mail. To be fair, only a few days had passed since the trade was agreed upon. Joey, if you haven't already received your two Turkey Reds, they should be arriving shortly. I sent them out on the day we agreed on the trade.

I am very happy with this trade! I got a Baines that I didn't know existed before this year and Joey is two cards closer to completion of his Turkey Red set. Everybody wins!

Humpty Dumpty By Request

"Look at this sorry miserable squashed thing. Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture.", Michael Douglas - Falling Down

I posted a trade yesterday in which one of the card was this 1993 Humpty Dumpty Robin Ventura. I received a request to show the card. Well, here it is. Blink and you'll miss it. This thing is tiny. As you can see, it is still in the wrapper. I think that if it wasn't, the card would get lost under a speck of dust.

There's not much of a design to the card. There's only room for a full bleed photo and a logo. The name even has to be on the back. It may be on the front, but the type is so small, it cannot be seen with the naked eye.

So, here is the card in all it's glory, still inside the wrapper.

President Hirohito: We are very simple people. With very small trading card. Mr. Ose trading card is …especially small.

Mr. Ose: [fakes a sob] Uh, smuh, so small.

President Hirohito: We cannot achieve much with so small trading card. But you! Americans. Wow! Trading card so big! SOOO big trading card!

The best I can tell is that Humpty Dumpty is a Canadian potato chip company specializing in strange flavors. The trading card is nice, but so small.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mailbox Joys: Blame Canada

My Canadian package arrived today. I don't care, it was worth it! I purchased some oddballs on some cards I just didn't run across very much. It was reasonably priced and the shipping was fantastic. Plus, it arrived in record time from Canada.

I only have a handful of cards left in the 1992 Colla Frank Thomas Collection. Plus, I got a few oddball Canadian releases that have been taunting me from across the border for awhile.

I'm never one to turn down a bunch of Frank Thomas cards or an oddball Bobby Thigpen, or an oddball Fisk. When I saw them all in the same store, I went buck wild. Add on a Ventura oddball and a Boomer card and you've got yourself an assortment of cards.

Here's what I got.

1991 Post Canadian #25 - Bobby Thigpen
1992 Colla Frank Thomas #3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 - Frank Thomas
1992 Diet Pepsi #11 - Carlton Fisk
1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier #59 - Frank Thomas
1992 Studio #159 - Frank Thomas
1993 Humpty Dumpty #7 - Robin Ventura (sealed)
2001 SP Legendary Cuts #74 - Luke Appling
2001 SP Legendary Cuts #76 - Nellie Fox
2001 UD Evolution #34 - David Wells

I am one happy camper! I can't believe I found all of these in the same place for such a low price. It just goes to show what you can find, when you look.

Sox Sign Tomo Ohka


Is this Coop's project this year?

Is it in case the other 2 dozen relievers in front of him falter?

Could it be the shrewdest move this off-season, being the last piece in a World Championship team of the likes that Chicago has never seen before?

Probably not.


I have no idea why the Sox signed Tomo and added him to the Spring Training roster.

Did Hawk miss shouting the name Timo during broadcasts?

That's probably why.

Card Spotlight: 2-22-08

2008 Topps Black #296 - Paul Konerko 32/57

This is my second 2008 Topps Black White Sox card. I received it in the mail the other day off of eBay. At this rate, I'll have the black collection completed before the regular team set. Oh well, such is life.

I can't get over how good these cards look! Being out of the hobby for so many years, it's hard to imagine what these cards looked like before last year's copper cards. The copper cards look nice, but these look even better.

Hmm, maybe completing a black set isn't such a lofty goal after all. If anyone gets a Topps Black White Sox card, let me know if you are willing to trade. I'll think of something to give in return, to where we are both satisfied with the trade.

I think I smell a challenge! I'm never one to back away from a challenge, so I'll get it done or collect as many as I can trying. I'm all for the cause, but I'm also realistic enough to think that I may fall short of my goal. I'm willing to give it my best though.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bad Wax Forum

If you haven't signed up for the Bad Wax forum, what are you waiting for? It's free to join. Keep up with the latest news, pulls, box breaks of your fellow card bloggers. There are sections to trade cards, sell cards, or even offer free cards. Take my Kevin Gross, please.

It's a fun place to gather to find all your baseball card blogger friends and find new ones. It just started recently, but the response has been good so far. If you don't feel like signing up, at least go on over and check it out. Offer feedback to improve existing sections or even suggest new sections.

The moderator is a really nice guy. If there's something you'd like to see on there, join up and ask. You can follow his progress on Operation Topps. You can follow the progress of the Fun Card set. You can even get a heads up on blog promotions.

Join in the fun. What have you got to lose? Nothing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Original Cards On The Writer's Journey

The image on the left was created by Jason of The Writer's Journey back in 1990. You can see 15 examples of this homemade set here.

I think most of us with any interest in art have at one point tried making our own cards. I'm sure we've had varying degrees of success with each attempt. I can remember making really bad cards of Harold Baines and Cal Ripken Jr., among others, when I was much younger. I even tried to make my own Garbage Pail Kids.

I'm positive that this is 250 times better than anything I ever did as a kid. This looks better than a few major card releases. Without even looking at the name, I can tell this is Ozzie Guillen from around the 1990 season.

The design reminds me of classic card releases. Is this perfect? No, but that's part of the charm. This is an awesome card from a pretty great set of cards, based on the 15 examples I have seen. Would I be out of line by saying I really like this card and wish that it was in my collection? Yeah, probably. But I am that impressed with the results of this 1990 venture.

2002 Topps Gallery Heritage

I consider it my duty to keep the White Sox collectors informed of what's out there. I know I have trouble keeping track of it all, so I can imagine the daunting task that awaits a casual fan trying to collect the White Sox. Let's face it, the White Sox don't get a lot of card love. Some players are hard to ignore in a White Sox uniform.

Frank Thomas for instance. He got a lot of card love in the 90's. Not as much now, but it's still out there. Harold Baines was a superstar in the Chicagoland area and the Baltimore area. Not so much anywhere else. That's a shame only two areas in the US really care about Harold, but it doesn't result in much card love.

When Sammy Sosa is pictured as a rookie, it's usually with the White Sox. People seem to ignore the fact that his debut was with the Texas Rangers. Let's call it a bit of revisionist history. That's OK. I may not care for the player that much, but if it means another White Sox card, I'll take it.

There is only one White Sox card in the 2002 realease of Topps Gallery Heritage. It's Sammy!
  • GH-SS - Sammy Sosa

Silly me for thinking that Harold Baines or Frank Thomas would get a card in this set. I shouldn't get my hopes up like that. At least a popular Cubs player is shown in his first Chicago uniform. Even if that player is Sammy Sosa.

I was completely out of collecting baseball cards at the time this release came out. I'm finding it very interesting playing catch up. I've got a lot of information to cram in. Like studying for a test 10 minutes before, not all the info is going to stick in your brain. I feel that way when I look at the releases between 1993 and 2006. I'm getting more familiar with them, but I'll never memorize them all. That's something that you can do only when living through it.

These Topps Gallery Heritage cards intrigue me. I like the look of them. It's as if someone painted an existing card. I could apreciate that. It adds another dimension to the original card. I'm just disappointed that there wasn't another White Sox card in the set. I guess I'll be happy with one.

One For Wax Heaven

While doing my usual random searching this morning, I ran across a site devoted to Jose Canseco. There are pictures, video and audio for every phase of his career. There are even Expos photos!

The most interesting thing for me was a video of Jose hitting a home run with the White Sox. The image to the left is from that home run. It was off Charles Nagy on July 26, 2001. By the road uniform, it was obviously in Cleveland. It's only an ESPN highlight, but it works. You can't hear Hawk Harrelson's home run call because it's not a White Sox local broadcast. Still, you can put it on the board.

If you like any of the teams Jose has been on, or you yourself are a Jose Canseco fan, is worth checking out. Even if you're just a baseball fan, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It surprising to see the many different teammates that Jose has had over the course of his playing days. I think I spotted him stretching with Lance Johnson on the Expos! Lance, I never knew you sunk that low. At least it looked like Lance Johnson.

Conan's Tour Of Chicago

I ran across this video on YouTube. It features a tour of Chicago ending with a stop at U.S. Cellular Field. What happens when Conan O'Brien is unleashed on Chicago with a local tour guide and ends up getting batting advice from Jermaine Dye? Watch and find out.

Am I desperate for White Sox baseball to start in Chicago? You bet!

Mariotti Yawns: Film At 11

Ozzie's "back to basics" direction has rubbed columnist Jay Mariotti the wrong way again. I believe that Jay was happiest when Ozzie was being muzzled last year by sensitivity classes and the ramifications that followed. Why was he happy? It was all Jay's doing.

I get that Jay is tired of Ozzie's antics. That's fine. He's entitled to his beliefs. I also know that Jay needs something to write about. Yesterday's column included Jay yawning in the middle of his column. I agree. Jay's rantings about Ozzie and the White Sox are boring. It's about time someone tells him.

Jay is a bitter man, who can't take a joke. I was initially excited by the hype that surrounded his hiring in Chicago. I was quickly bored to tears by his opinions and his columns. Then a funny thing happened. I started to dread reading the sports page. I knew I would have to flip past him to get to everything I wanted to read.

Not that I stopped reading Mariotti. I read his column to laugh. His serious opinions couldn't be read without laughing. They were that ludicrous. I was fine with him being in his own little corner of the newspaper, quietly bitching to himself. Then people started paying attention to him.

Other people started to get brainwashed by his unique perspective. He rode the Sox hard in 2005. He took joy in their near collapse late in the year. He was right all along and no one else's opinion mattered to him. When the White Sox won it all that year, I imagine Jay was throwing fits in a lonely stall in the mens room of the Sun Times building.

It was his goal to undermine the White Sox staff, who in his eyes, made him a laughingstock. I can almost picture him plotting his revenge behind closed doors. He started public war of words with Ken Harrelson, the White Sox television broadcaster. Hawk is easy to bait, and he took it as easy as his golf stories and Yaz stories roll off his tongue.

Then came his grand finale. Getting Ozzie in trouble. That was easy. Wait for Ozzie to say something off color, which is not as hard as it appears. Make a big deal out of it and the rest is history.

After Ozzie got in trouble, you could almost see the joy in Jay's writing. Now that Ozzie decided to return to his previous form, Jay naturally has a problem with it. The new attack culminated in a front page blurb that read, "Shut Up And Win".

I do agree with the last line in Mariotti's column on Tuesday. "Do yourself a favor and ignore him". I would just apply that to Jay Marrioti instead.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mailbox Joys: Heavy Hitters Of The Early 90's

A few days ago, I found a balance slowly climbing on my PayPal account. What does that mean after paying part of my eBay seller fees? Shopping spree on eBay!

I loaded up on cards from sellers with severely discounted shipping fees for multiple cards. It always helps when the cards are below book value too. I'm the kind of buyer who wants everything in one or two places. It will be very rare that I go after a common card as my only purchase. I can't justify the shipping fees on a quarter card, unless I really want that card. I restrained myself with this seller from Detroit, but another one from Canada, I went nuts on.

The package from Detroit came today. A modest 5 card haul. Some pesky cards from the period where I was slowing down or completely out of collecting.

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings #DK-10 - Robin Ventura
1993 Flair #186 - Bo Jackson
1993 Flair #189 - Frank Thomas
1995 Donruss National Packtime #1 - Frank Thomas
2000 Fleer Tradition #129 - Frank Thomas

I ran across almost every other Diamond King in 1992, but never ran across a Ventura. Now I finally have one. In 1993, Flair was way out of my price range. I was still in high school and didn't have a job. I had never heard of the 1995 National Packtime card. It looked interesting, so I snatched it up. As for the 2000 Fleer Tradition Thomas, I just never saw it in any of the Frank Thomas lots that I bought a few years ago.

5 more pesky cards have been hunted down. I'm happy. When the Canadian package arrives, I'll post it's contents. I went buck wild and bought 17 individual cards. We'll see what, when I get it in the mail.

#59 - John Snyder

Number 59 is John Snyder. Is that right? I'm afraid so. Before you get out the pitchforks, let me explain. Not many players have worn number 59. It's the simple logistics of it all. I told you some numbers past 50 would be real slim pickings.

There is an upside though. John had his best season with the White Sox in his rookie year, 1998. He was 7-2 as a starter with a 4.80 ERA. That's a pretty decent record despite the high ERA.

John's final year with the White Sox was not as impressive as his first. In 1999, he was 9-12 with a 6.68 ERA. Not the kind of numbers that keep you on the staff, unless your name is Jaime Navarro.

How did John get to the White Sox? He was part of the deal that traded away Jim Abbott back to the California Angels. Bill Simas, McKay Christensen and Andrew Lorraine came with him to the White Sox in 1995.

How did John leave? He was traded to the Brewers along with Jaime Navarro for Jose Valentin and Cal Eldred. John had a 3-10 record for the Brew Crew in 2000. That was the last year he was in the major leagues. His best years were with the White Sox. That's always something to be proud of.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I got enough positive e-mails about this, so I'll share with you my idea for a card set called Beginnings. It features mostly star players and a few that have distinct notable places in baseball history.

The image I chose to represent the idea of this project is Babe Ruth on the Baltimore Orioles. This is the only image I have seen of him on the Orioles. Everyone talks about him being on the Yankees. Most people talk about him being on the Red Sox. Fewer yet, speak about his time with the Braves. Almost no one speaks about his time on the Orioles, his team before he hit the majors.

This has intrigued me since I was a child. I thought this was an important part of history. Yet, I couldn't find any information on it except for a date. That frustrated me to no end. I wanted to know more. It's the same way that finding out Luke Appling played on a team before the White Sox effected me. I was curious.

I won't do a different card everyday or every week. This list is here to take as is. I don't even have images or a card design. If someone wants to take a stab at it, go for it. Just run it by me first and give me the credit for it.

1 - Ozzie Smith - Walla Walla Padres
2 - Hanley Ramirez - Portland Sea Dogs
3 - Babe Ruth - Baltimore Orioles
4 - Graig Nettles - Charlotte Hornets
5 - Aaron Boone - Indianapolis Indians
6 - Buddy Bell - Wichita Aeros
7 - Derek Jeter - Columbus Clippers
8 - Carl Yastrzemski - Raleigh Capitals
9 - Akinori Iwamura - Tokyo Yakult Swallows
10 - Fernando Valenzuela - San Antonio Dodgers
11 - Luis Aparicio - Waterloo White Hawks
12 - Craig Biggio - Tucson Toros
13 - Ozzie Guillen - Beaumont Golden Gators
14 - Nolan Ryan - Jacksonville Suns
15 - George Stovey - Newark Little Giants
16 - Masanori Murakami - Nankai Hawks
17 - Todd Helton - Colorado Springs Sky Sox
18 - Reggie Jackson - Birmingham A’s
19 - Tony Gwynn - Hawaii Islanders
20 - John Paciorek - Modesto Colts
21 - Roberto Clemente - Montreal Royals
22 - Michael Bourn - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
23 - Ryne Sandberg - Oklahoma City 89ers
24 - Willie Mays - Minneapolis Millers
25 - Albert Pujols - Potomac Cannons
26 - Gary Carter - Quebec City Carnavales
27 - Jesse Barfield - Kinston Eagles
28 - Joe Carter - Midland Cubs
29 - Alex Rodriguez - Tacoma Rainiers
30 - Tim Raines - Memphis Chicks
31 - Harmon Killebrew - Charlotte Hornets
32 - Manny Ramirez - Canton-Akron Indians
33 - Jose Canseco - Modesto A’s
34 - Kirby Puckett - Toledo Mud Hens
35 - Frank Thomas - Birmingham Barons
36 - Brooks Robinson - Vancouver Mounties
37 - Bruce Sutter - Wichita Aeros
38 - Curt Schilling - Charlotte Knights
39 - Jim Palmer - Aberdeen Pheasants
40 - Joba Chamberlain - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees
41 - Tom Seaver - Jacksonville Suns
42 - Jackie Robinson - Montreal Royals
43 - Cal Ripken Jr. - Rochester Red Wings
44 - Hank Aaron - Eau Claire Bears
45 - Bob Gibson - Omaha Cardinals
46 - David Wells - Syracuse Chiefs
47 - Luke Appling - Atlanta Crackers
48 - Rickey Henderson - Navojoa Mayos
49 - Ichiro Suzuki - Orix Blue Wave
50 - Will Clark - Phoenix Firebirds
51 - Vladimir Guerrero - Harrisburg Senators
52 - Bill Lee - Pittsfield Red Sox
53 - Willie Stargell - Columbus Jets
54 - William Edward White - Providence Grays
55 - Orel Hershiser - Albuquerque Dukes
56 - Mark Buehrle - Burlington Bees
57 - Todd Zeile - Louisville Redbirds
58 - Nick Markakis - Bowie Baysox
59 - Robin Yount - Newark Co-Pilots
60 - Joe DiMaggio - San Francisco Seals
61 - Roger Maris - Keokuk Kernels
62 - Randy Johnson - Indianapolis Indians
63 - Hideki Okajima - Nippon Ham Fighters
64 - Oscar Gamble - San Antonio Missions
65 - Hank Greenberg - Beaumont Exporters
66 - Bo Jackson - Memphis Chicks
67 - Andre Dawson - Denver Bears
68 - Josh Beckett - Kane County Cougars
69 - Carl Crawford - Durham Bulls
70 - Rod Carew - Wilson Tobs
71 - Johan Santana - Quad City River Bandits
72 - Carlton Fisk - Waterloo Hawks
73 - Troy Tulowitzki - Modesto Nuts
74 - Duke Snider - St. Paul Saints
75 - Jim Morris - Orlando Rays
76 - George Brett - Billings Mustangs
77 - Mark Grace - Iowa Cubs
78 - Ty Cobb - Royston Rompers
79 - Johnny Damon - Wichita Wranglers
80 - Vida Blue - Iowa Oaks
81 - Lou Brock - St. Cloud Rox
82 - Pete Rose - Macon Peaches
83 - Jermaine Dye - Richmond Braves
84 - Kirk Gibson - Evansville Triplets
85 - Moses Walker - Toledo Blue Stockings
86 - Dustin Pedroia - Augusta Greenjackets
87 - Dick Allen - Arkansas Travelers
88 - Sammy Sosa - Tulsa Drillers
89 - Brandon Webb - Tucson Sidewinders
90 - Paul Molitor - Burlington Bees
91 - Julio Franco - Oklahoma City 89ers
92 - Tadahito Iguchi - Fukuoka Daiei Hawks
93 - Fergie Jenkins - Arkansas Travelers
94 - Jim Thome - Charlotte Knights
95 - Ron Santo - Houston Buffs
96 - David Wright - Norfolk Tides
97 - Johnny Bench - Buffalo Bisons
98 - Ken Griffey Jr. - San Bernardino Spirit
99 - David Ortiz - Ft. Myers Miracle
100 - Mike Schmidt - Eugene Emeralds

As you can see, there is a method to the madness. I gave vanity numbers to as many players as I could without going overboard. I also tried to get a good mix of teams and players. I tried to use players from the 19th century until present day. I attempted to mix in unique accomplishments in with the superstars. If you don't immediately recognize a name, look up the player and see why he made the list.

I refrained from using a lot of players from the White Sox. They are there, but I kept my fandom out of this project. The genesis for the listings came from the SP Legendary Cuts series. There are a mix of superstars, Hall of Famers, regional stars and relatively unknown players with a great accomplishment to their credit. My only real criteria was that they couldn't be on a major league team and it was preferably before they reached the major leagues.

I tried to make the listing from teams that the player was on for a short time. Sometimes that wasn't possible, but I tried. Maybe I'll be inspired to do another one of these lists somewhere down the line. Until that happens or doesn't happen, enjoy this one.

A Fisk Countdown Begins

Confessions Of A Sports Junkie is having a Carlton Fisk Card Countdown. This is such a great idea! Why didn't I think of that first? Oh well, I'm glad someone has.

The countdown begins with number 72 and will continue once a day until it reaches all the way to number 1. Brilliant! I couldn't be happier with this prospect. I, for one, can't wait to see what pops up from day to day.

I'll offer my image commemorating the Carlton Fisk Card Countdown. A 1986 Fleer Box Bottom card of Fisk. It's one that I don't have and never see on eBay. It shows that even with indigestion, Fisk still finishes the game. Depending on when the photo was taken, he could've been blocking Joel Skinner or Marc Hill from getting into the game.

This is the same man who caught 25 innings in a game in 1984. So, his hunger to be in the game is strong. This is why he is a Hall of Famer. Enjoy the countdown. I know I will.

A Darren Clarke Auto Pull

I didn't pull this Darren Clarke card. Patricia over at Dinged Corners did. I'm sure that Lucy helped. This is a genuine Darren Clarke autograph. At least I hope it is. It would be sad if the blue autograph that Darren Clarke claimed to have personally autographed turns out to be fake as well. At this point, I wouldn't put it past Topps.

I have received no response from Topps about my concern. Are they just not speaking out of embarrassment? Do they not care about my petty concerns? Topps may care more about Sidd Finch and Rudy Giuliani than they do about quality control. I guess gimmicks are more important to Topps than their consumers.

I have also not received another e-mail from"Darren Clarke". Maybe it was just a drunken rant. Maybe it was all a hoax on me. I don't know and I'm beginning not to care. All I know is that Darren's autograph above, looks nothing like his base card pre-printed autograph. I'm still curious about where that pre-printed autograph came from. I don't care what "Darren Clarke" thinks of me. It's not worth my time or energy, to waste it on an anonymous poster claiming to be a ballplayer.

If I ever get any more answers on this burning issue, I will post it. The topic seems to have reached a standstill for now. Maybe when I least expect it, an answer will fall out of the sky. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy News In Beckett

While suffering through yet another Yankees Beckett cover, I decided to read about the Yankee insert set. I'm glad I did. I found tentative dates for Upper Deck product throughout the year!

Keep in mind these are all target release dates which are subject to change, but they made me happy to see.

Spectrum - April 16
I liked the set last year. It was one of my first hobby boxes. I hope Upper Deck can improve from last year's set.

A Piece Of History - late April
I have no clue, but it sounds interesting. It was originally scheduled for February 5, 2008 and has no information on its Upper Deck page.

SPx - late May
Last year's set was unique.

SP Legendary Cuts - early June
One of my favorite releases! I hope they have a design we can all see this year.

Upper Deck Series Two - mid June
This sounds about right for the release.

SP Authentic - late June
Can they jazz up the base release this year? Let's hope so. 2007's set was a bit boring.

UDx - mid July
Huh? OK...

UD Masterpieces - mid October
YES! I loved this set! I'm so glad they are continuing it!

Granted, these are releases in which the Yankee Stadium Legacy cards will be seeded into. I'm not happy about that. Especially when some of these releases only have 4 cards typically. I don't want to pay for a crappy insert. But I am psyched! Lots of good releases to look forward to!

I know it's the final year of Yankee Stadium, but enough already with the Yankee covers. Both Beckett Baseball and Beckett Baseball Plus have them right now. I was happy to see a 1973 Goose Gossage Topps card in the upper right hand corner on the cover of the Plus magazine, but no article about Goose to be found inside. Maybe I missed it?

A Return To Form

Be warned. Ozzie Guillen will not hold back anymore. Cover your children's ears because the old Ozzie will be back this season. Ozzie is sick of the sensitivity training mode and blames that way of thinking for last year's lackluster performance.

I tend to agree with that statement. Ozzie can be an insensitive boob, but it's that kind of honest, first thing out of his mouth way of managing that makes him successful. Ozzie makes things in the clubhouse interesting. If there is any player bored in the dugout, they must be a cadaver.

Ozzie thrives on emotions. That was his style of play. That's his style of managing. It brings success. When he is forced to alter his management style, Ozzie is less effective.

Be prepared for a looser clubhouse. Don't be surprised if you hear Ozzie calling a player a @%*# or a #!^@. He is the manager who made a rookie pitcher cry. He called a Chicago area journalist a homophobic slur. The journalist deserved a harsher word than that, and Ozzie deserved less punishment for what he said.

I'm not defending Ozzie's actions, but it seems to be a lot better when Ozzie is just being Ozzie. I hope this lasts all season. Chicago has missed the real Ozzie. So have the Sox players. The 2007 record of 72-90 speaks for itself.

If that doesn't inspire confidence, maybe this Ozzie quote will.

"If we win this year, I might run naked down Michigan Avenue, like people expect me to do," Guillen said. "I suffered a lot last year. My family says that when I win, 'take advantage because when you lose, you are going to take the blame.' "

Inspiring words, but I'm not sure how many fans want to see a 44 year old, crazy Venezuelan running naked down Michigan Avenue. Maybe Ozzie's looking to crack his way into the Nude Olympics.

Mailbox Joys: Paint It Black

2008 Topps Black #224 - Mark Buehrle 18/57

I see a White Sox and I want it painted black. No colors anymore. I want cards to turn black. I see the Sox arrive dressed in their summer clothes. I have to turn my head until the winter goes.

I'm as surprised as anyone that my first 2008 Topps White Sox card is a black card. I figured I'd be getting a regular issue White Sox card before this. But noooooooo! No!

I haven't had any luck in packs so far, so I thought of turning to eBay. I ran across this Mark Buehrle card up for auction. My final cost was under $5, so it was mine! I don't know whether I should be thrilled about getting a Buehrle for so cheap or mad because Mark is still undervalued. I'm going with happy. It made me smile, so I am happy.

I like these cards better than the regular issue. The border coloring goes much better with the design. This card is doubly good for matching Mark's uniform. Black all around! I can't get over how a border color change does so much improvement to the design. I guess the same was true 2007. I preferred the white look of the Opening Day cards to the regular issue set's black. A border color change really does make a difference!

Although these borders remind me of soapstone. The black mingled with specs of foil or something. It looks really nice. I guess these are replacing the copper parallel from last year. Not bad at all. These parallels are always welcome in this household.

A Gift Of Fan Favorites

The bloggers that I have run into have generally been very supportive and generous with their time and collection. I haven't run into one wacko in this community, at least in a negative way. There are some wackos here and there, but they are the good kind. So far, everyone has been wonderful.

I love to check out as many sites as I can in a day. I'll check them out throughout the day and leave comments when I feel it appropriate. It could be support, a story, a correction, supplemental information, or whatever pops into my brain.

One of the sites that I frequent is 88 Topps. This is of particular interest to me because I had stopped collecting baseball cards for a brief period in time. The first year I didn't collect was 1988. I have many in my collection now, but it's still somewhat fresh to me, since I didn't collect it the year it came out.

I even remember seeing a Mad magazine cover with the 1988 Topps design on it. I thought to myself that it was a good design and if there was a card that looked like that, I would probably pick up a few packs. I had no idea, until 1990, that the design was the 1988 Topps card.

I had made a comment on a 2003 All-Time Fan Favorites card of Steve Lyons that was posted on the site. It was in the design of the 1988 Topps series. I had no clue to the card's existence. I stopped collecting in early 1994 and started back full time in 2007, so 1993 until 2006 still hold a lot of surprises to me. I was aware of the Harold Baines card from that set, but nothing else.

Within seconds of that comment, Andy contacted me about it. Would I be interested in that card and am I missing any other White Sox cards from that set? After a half second, I thought, "Hell yeah! I'd like that card". I responded back that I would be interested in that card and from looking at the set listing, I was also lacking the Aparicio card.

True to form, I get an instant reply back. Wasn't I forgetting about the Baines card in the set? Another e-mail off to Andy insisted that I hadn't forgot about it. I already had a couple of them, so I didn't technically need the card. I asked what Andy wanted in return. Andy wanted nothing more than for me to keep reading the blog. A class act all the way.

Flipping through the mail today, I saw the long white envelope with Andy's address on it. I got very excited. I hadn't expected anything this soon. I figured next week sometime. I opened the envelope and was met by another white envelope, this time folded. I opened the second envelope up and was greeted by two sweet looking cards, each in their own toploader.

Thank you, Andy! Your generous nature is inspiring and you continue to amaze me with your envelopes full of goodies. These cards have found a good home.

Tips For Would-Be eBay Sellers

Be careful. The watchful eye of Albert Belle sees all. He sees some interesting things going on at eBay. This time from the sellers. Beware, the ides of Albert "Joey" Belle.

I look for cards and deals on eBay, just like the next person. Sometimes I wish there was a watchful eye, like Albert's, looking after things. It would make life a lot simpler. But there's not. One can dream though. Quality control: Albert Belle style. Sounds like a bad reality show.

What can a seller do to make their product more desirable than the other similar products out there? Everyone's a critic and there's no pleasing everyone. There are things the seller can do to make the most out of what they have to sell.

1. If the card is listed as an auction, start with a low bid price.
More people are likely to at least watch your card, if they think they can grab it at a steal. Some will get into bidding wars because of that.

2. If your card is listed as a fixed price or an inventory item, check out what other people are selling it for.
It's a very simple thing to do and takes no time at all. This way, your card has a better chance of selling. If there is no other examples of your card, check a price guide and don't go over high value.

3. Make sure what you are describing is what you are selling.
I've seen more incorrect years for cards on recent eBay listings than ever before. Get your information correct. A confused customer does not buy.

4. Use a picture.
It's free for the first picture. Take advantage of that.

5. Have a picture of the actual card that you are selling, not just an example.
I can't tell anything about the card that you're selling from an example of another card from the same set. This is lazy.

6. Cut the stories.
I don't care about your ex-husband or your dying mother. I just want the card without the usual line of bull. Save the creative stuff for your novel.

7. Have sensible shipping rates.
Nothing turns me off of a sale faster than a shipping rate over $4.00 for a single card. Even $3.00 is pushing it sometimes. The higher the shipping rate is, the more likely the card will come with the least amount of protection, in my experiences.

8. Have discount shipping rates for multiple purchases.
I'm not paying $20.00 shipping on 10 cards. It's not gonna happen. You've just lost a lot of business.

These are just the basics. I'm sure there are more things that I'm missing. Have respect for the customer. Most of them are not idiots. If you want repeat business, take pride in your listings. A little work now, will save a lot of questions later.

Customers can be just as clueless as sellers can be. Here are a few tips for them.

1. Do your research.
Mistakes in listings happen. If you know what you're looking for, then half the battle is over already. You can spot simple mistakes and save yourself aggravation.

2. Read the listing carefully.
You can find out a lot if you read more and spend less time looking at the pretty pictures.

3. Look for shipping discounts.
It can save you a lot of money. Less on shipping, more on cards.

4. When all else fails, ask.
Don't be afraid to ask a stupid question. If the answer is not on the page, ask about it. Most sellers are friendly and responsive.

I'm not trying to pick on anyone. I just see a lot of these things happen. These pitfalls can be avoided with very little effort. Be knowledgeable. Be courteous. Be patient. Sellers want to sell and buyers want to buy. I'm a seller and a buyer. Hmm, I think I just picked on myself in two different ways.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Joy Of Spring

I received an e-mail from Jon from The Fleer Sticker Project this afternoon. He thought I could use this site as a primer for Spring Training. Boy, was he right!

The picture I chose to represent the photos on that site is one of Bill Veeck during Spring Training of 1977. Yes, that's Bill, complete with famous wooden leg. This site is a plethora of images from both sides of Chicago baseball from 1937 until 2007. Yes, both White Sox and Cubs images stretching from California to Florida to Arizona.

The Cubs have already started in Arizona and the White Sox start tomorrow. I can't wait! This has been a long, cold winter. I need baseball back in my life full time. I don't mean talking about baseball every day. No, there's something missing. The games. It's not full time until there are games. Not just any games. Games that count.

This will get me in the mood for tomorrow's reporting. The wait is almost over. It's been too long and I need the regular season to start. Tomorrow White Sox fans will get that much closer.

Mailbox Joys: A Smile For Me

2005 SP Legendary Cuts - Glory Days - Jersey #GD-HB - Harold Baines

I found a seller on eBay who has had two different Harold Baines game used jersey cards within a week. Both had stripes and both were won for $0.99. I feel pretty lucky!

The eBay seller had low shipping as well! The only caveat is that combined shipping is only over a 24 hour period. No exceptions. With cards like these starting at under a dollar, I don't mind paying the low shipping cost.

I am always amazed when I find a new Harold Baines card. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one who has followed his career from shortly after the beginning to the end. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one who collects him. Other times, I'm outbid by a huge amount. I wonder if it's someone who is a Harold fan or someone trying to complete a collection of whatever card it may be.

My small collection of game used Harolds and Carltons is slowly growing. I feel like a little kid each time I get one in the mail. I'm pretty certain that's a good feeling.

Card Spotlight: 2-15-08

1994 Conlon TSN Burgundy #1309 - Larry Rosenthal

I got this in a recent trade with Patricia and Lucy. It was one of my favorite cards in the package that they sent. I believe that every player on a team should have a few cards. There are a few cards of Larry Rosenthal out there, so the "First Card" monicker is a little misleading.

For the most part, these cards from Conlon offer the first ever cards for many players. I like the idea of that. I'm a sucker for oddball cards and cards of players in rarely seen uniforms. I enjoyed seeing Joe DiMaggio in a Seals uniform in last year's Topps subset. I would love to see a card of Babe Ruth on the Baltimore Orioles, his first professional team. I doubt it will happen, but I'd love to see it. I sleep better at night knowing there's one card of Greg Walker on the Orioles. He played a whopping 14 games in Baltimore to end his major league career in 1990.

I know it sounds weird, but I enjoy the hidden history of baseball. It's cards like these that make me more knowledgable about the history of the game. I would love to see a card of Pete Rose on the Macon Peaches. I was bored last year and researched where players spent time in the minors. I came up with a 100 card set I called Beginnings. It showed 100 different players past and present on professional teams other than the major league teams.

This is the kind of thing I do for fun when I have nothing better to do. Who wouldn't want to see Carl Yastrzemski on the Raleigh Capitals? Or Roberto Clemente on the Montreal Royals? How about Carlton Fisk on the Waterloo Hawks? I'd love to see all of these images. Common players from years ago don't get the card love that they should. Plus superstars are always stuck in their famous uniforms. It's nice to see them in something unfamiliar.

Today's players get tons of cards when they are rookies and pre-rookies. If they don't make it to a star player, then they are lucky to get one card a year. This is wrong. It can't be all about superstars and rookies. There are hundreds of other players out there. A team consisting of only superstars and rookies will not get very far. The common players need to fill in the gaps.

I will always have a soft spot for the Conlon cards because they show the players that don't get the recognition and the respect that they deserve. If a player played in a major league game, they should get a few different cards featuring them. If a player switches teams, they should get a few cards of that player on his new team. Cards should not only be about collecting your favorite players or your favorite team. They should be about documenting history with photographic evidence, not just a stat on the back of a piece of cardboard.

Maybe someday I will share with you my listing for the 100 card set called Beginnings. Until then, it's stuck in a Word document. Maybe I will find all the images I am looking for. Maybe I'll find a card design that will be appropriate for such an important project. Until then, I'm satisfied with the Conlon cards.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love, Comiskey Style

I am reminded of love this Valentine's Day. How can you not, with every advertiser practically beating you over the head with it this past week. Kevin's Oriole card of the day reminded me of past ballpark experiences.

I could choose the time in 1997, where I went to Comiskey with a friend. The game was a low scoring affair where we were able to get out early for a night game. I went over by my girlfriend's place and she wanted to go for a walk.

I thought nothing of it, so I went. By the time I got back, every one of our friends knew what had happened. It seems that it had been planned all night long by my now ex-girlfriend. I was devastated, mostly because I was blindsided. It turned out that she was seeing one of our mutual friends behind my back, who was there that night. I have moved on to much better things since then.

I could tell the tale of taking a female friend to Comiskey in 1998 and falling in love during the fireworks. The White Sox hit three home runs that game (at least). All I really remember is that there were a lot of fireworks being shot off. That relationship ended horribly. In fact it was the worst breakup I have ever experienced and not because it broke my heart. It tried to break my spirit. The ramifications from that split still last today. I won't get into anything specific, but I never want to go through that type of breakup again. The only clue I will give you is this.

I will tell you about a ticket purchase in June 2007 for a game in August. Tracey hadn't been to a White Sox game in years and I hadn't been to the park since 2004. I didn't have the money to be throwing around, so I just watched or listened to the games wherever I could.

We picked a date at random. Saturday, August 15, 2007. We figured that the Sox would either be in the middle of an exciting pennant race or it would be a good game with plenty of leg room, like a late 90's Expos game. Either way, it would be great. We would see White Sox baseball and that is always good in my book. If they lost, it would be a chance to soak in the atmosphere of the park.

By pure luck, Jim Thome was chasing his 500th home run. He hadn't had a homer in the previous 9 games in the homestand. That night and Sunday afternoon were his last chances to get it at home. Every time that Jim walked up to the plate, everyone stood and cheered as their eyes were fixated on him. Flashes from cameras went off with every pitch. It was very exciting! The entire crowd seemed to almost will the ball in Thome's wheelhouse. There were some exciting pops, but nothing went out of the park. Jim would hit his 500th the next day in his final at bat in the ninth.

The White Sox ended up losing the close game to the Angels, but Tracey and I were both happy. We saw a well played game and we were part of the excitement of Jim Thome's pursuit. Sometime this year, we will pay for the two images that were taken of us at the game. But for now, this low res thumbnail that I lifted off the photo site will have to do. It's still a great memory and it was still a great night.

It seems fitting that we were delayed by one game of seeing history. Jim Thome seems to be having all sorts of delays in getting that home run ball to the Hall of Fame. It truly is the season for crappy weather in Illinois.

Dario Lodigiani

Dario Lodigiani passed away on Sunday, February 10, 2008. The name may not sound familiar, but he was a great part of the fabric of 1940's baseball. He only played for 6 total years in the majors. The first three were with the Philadelphia Athletics. Dario played on the White Sox from 1941 until 1942 and again in 1946.

Dario's double play partner in high school was Joe DiMaggio. Years later, in the middle of Joltin' Joe's hitting streak, Dario had a chance to end DiMaggio's streak at 24 games. In Joe's final at-bat, he hit a grounder to Dario. Dario then threw to first in time for the out. Or so he thought. DiMaggio was called safe, even though he was out by half a step. Joe went on to fame and fortune in the bigs. Dario, like Joe, went to serve his country in WWII.

When Dario came back, he played with the White Sox in 1946. He bounced around in the minors for awhile after that, and had a pretty successful minor league career, before finding his niche as a scout for the White Sox. He signed players such as Ken Williams, Rusty Kuntz and Jack McDowell.

In 2006, he was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame. To read an interview with Dario, check this site out.

Some eBay Sellers Are On Crack

I ran across this auction on eBay of a 2008 eTopps Allen & Ginter card of Barack Obama. The opening bid is $2,008.00. Does this seller expect anyone to bid on this? If someone purchases this card from this seller, they must have eaten paint chips as a kid, then had a frontal lobotomy.

I get the cuteness in offering it for $2,008 dollars. Ha ha. A more practical opening bid would have been $20.08. If someone is stupid enough to purchase a potato chip in the shape of Jay Leno, then someone is stupid enough to pay over $2,000 for this card.

What a shock, the last feeback as a seller is negative. This is the only thing that the eBayer is selling. It's stuff like this that makes me not like Topps. I want to like Topps, but they shoot themselves in the foot all the time.

These cards go to the sellers, not the purchasers. Every eTopps card that I've bought, a total of 3, I've bought off eBay. I have never puchased a card directly from Topps. This makes me suspicious, but that's just me. As a public service, please avoid sellers like this like the plague. I'll gladly take this card off the seller for 1 cent. It would serve the seller right.

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day 2008 is upon us. In the spirit of hearts and baseball, I've decided to post an image from the 1954 Red heart set. What better way to show someone that you care than by giving them a red heart. Come to think of it, wasn't Red Heart a dog food brand?

OK, it's the perfect thing for that blind date you were forced into today because you felt the need for a stab at companionship and/or romance on Valentine's Day. Keep the cards and give the blind date the dog food.

Do you want to spend a romantic evening with that blind date, but don't want to shell out the big bucks for a fancy dinner? Or suppose you just got shut out of all the good restaurants because you didn't make your reservations early enough. You're in luck if you live near a White Castle. They are offering reservations to dine at their fine restaurant with a candlelit, tableside feast. Whatever that means.

For those of you brave enough or financially strapped enough to have a romantic evening out at White Castle, give it a try. Nothing says Valentine's Day like tiny hamburgers made for drunk people. Side effects may vary. Proceed with caution around significant other. Natural gas leaks may occur suddenly. Void where Krystals are available.

For those of you that have a long distance relationship or are too cheap to spring for a candlelit dinner at a fast food location, there are online cards to send. I found a doozy involving the White Sox and Indians. You can send a Joe Jackson card online for any occasion. There are several pictures of Joe in his White Sox uniform and in his Indians uniform. There are also pictures of his glove and his shoes and his statue. It should spice up any sports lover's Valentine's Day. You're welcome.

Now back to the 1954 Red Heart Sherm Lollar card. Isn't he dreamy girls? What better card to give or receive than the gift of old baseball cards? These are the cards that should be exchanged on Valentine's Day. Not some sappy, love stricken opportunity to beg for some good lovin'. Baseball cards will get a better response.
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