Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There's Something About O-Pee-Chee

When Upper Deck announced O-Pee-Chee for 2009, I was thrilled. I have very fond memories of the Canadian brand. These memories include better card stock, updated player affiliations and exclusive cards of the Blue Jays and Expos, in a familiar Topps setting. In the nineties, O-Pee-Chee branched out from Topps shadow and produced a few baseball card sets of their own.

Upper Deck bought out O-Pee-Chee a few years ago. The purchase was intended to resurrect the O-Pee-Chee brand back into hockey. The NHL had revoked all card licensing renewals, except for Upper Deck. Since Topps had a long standing relationship with O-Pee-Chee, this must have been a slap in the face. Without a license, Topps couldn't do anything with the hockey card company anyway.

It was only a matter of time before someone at Upper Deck thought of the baseball side of things. Retro cards are big sellers and with the rights to O-Pee-Chee, why not find a way to incorporate older O-Pee-Chee designs into a new product? The only problem was that the old designs were actually Topps designs.

Upper Deck's lawyers must be a cunning bunch. One of them figured out that Upper Deck could move forward with a retro set using a Topps design because technically it was an O-Pee-Chee design. Full stealing of a Topps design would surely attract the attention of the sleeping giant, so Upper Deck tweaked the base card design to be reminiscent of a vintage seventies O-Pee-Chee design, but would save the full Topps robbery for the planned parallel base on the 1971 Topps set via the fully licensed O-Pee-Chee 1971 set.

Now, Topps (the sleeping giant) would be forced to take notice. Topps filed lawsuits and eventually prevailed through the court system, for the moment. Here's the thing though... since O-Pee-Chee had the proper licensing to use the Topps designs on their cards for any year in which they produced a set incorporating said design, wouldn't Upper Deck be able to use the designs from a company they rightfully purchased? My first instinct would be yes, but it would depend on how the contract between Topps and O-Pee-Chee was actually worded.

From an outsider perspective, I'm going to side with Upper Deck on this one. Licensing issues have long plagued the baseball card industry, even in the fifties. In 1994, Topps issued an archive set of their 1954 baseball card set. Included in the archive set, were players that were not issued a card in the original 1954 set, for whatever reason. During this time, Upper Deck had licensing rights to Ted Williams. The Splendid Splinter had two cards in the 1954 Topps set.

Upper Deck produced both Ted Williams cards and added them as inserts to their All-Time Heroes set in 1994. The backs of each Ted Williams card was numbered in accordance to their place in the original set. There was absolutely no reason for Upper Deck to do this. There was not much to gain from including a few Topps Archives cards in their product.

Upper Deck did one better. Due to licensing issues, Mickey Mantle could not be included in the 1954 Topps set. Mickey had an exclusive contract with Bowman at the time. Topps buying out Bowman solved that snafu back in the fifties, but in 1994, Mickey Mantle had an exclusive contract with... Upper Deck.
So Upper Deck also produced this card for the Topps Archives set, to be included in their All-Time Heroes packs as an insert. Again, Upper Deck had nothing to really gain from producing this original Mickey Mantle card to help Topps with their set. When I think about the 2009 O-Pee-Chee lawsuit, I will be reminded of this 1994 Mickey Mantle card. I will be reminded of the generosity of Upper Deck and the pettiness of Topps.

Can Topps and Upper Deck put aside their differences? If they don't, the hobby is likely going to suffer. Topps and Upper Deck may find themselves out of business, if they can't learn how to work together.

Might I offer a suggestion to each company that will prove beneficial to both parties? Between Topps and Upper Deck, there are numerous exclusive contracts. Why don't both companies come together on a joint product featuring retired players? Many of which will have exclusive contracts with one company or the other, so this could help revitalize the industry.

Each company could have an x amount of players with exclusive contracts. The number must be equal on both sides. The rest of the set would feature retired players without exclusive contracts. These would be divided equally between the two companies, using the best unique pictures from company archives. The cost and profits would be split evenly between both companies.

Stop the silly bickering and let's start to work together!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Clayton Richard

Check out the ful AL/NL Central set here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The #5 Baseball Card Type Trade

Back when I first started looking for contributors for Things Done To Cards, Matthew was one of the select few who answered the call. His posts for the site have been amazing! Most of the time that my jaw drops in the rarity and age of a card, it's been one of his.

If you haven't had the chance to check out his own blog, The #5 Baseball Card Type Collection, it's a real treat. There are so many different types of cards posted on there, it truly is a feast for the eyes. The only stipulation is that all the cards are the fifth card in the set. I've seen a lot of unique, antique cards on the blog, as well as some newer issues.

Imagine my surprise, when I get a direct message from Matthew on my new twitter account. Do I have a want list? Check. Would I like some White Sox cards from my want list? Double check. Can I send my address? You bet!

Here are the cards that Matthew sent over.

1972 O-Pee-Chee
73 - Steve Huntz
98 - Chuck Tanner

1987 Score Great Moments In Baseball
5 - Comiskey Park: July 11, 1950

1991 Topps Archives 1953
5 - Joe Dobson

2008 UD Documentary
967 (CWS37) - Alexei Ramirez (White Sox 3 - Mariners 6)
1261 (CWS41) - Paul Konerko (White Sox 4 - Angels 3)
4550 (CWS153) - Ken Griffey Jr. (White Sox 9 - Royals 4)

Thanks, Matthew! Those were awesome! I had never seen the Score card before. That was during one of my collecting lulls. The 1972 O-Pee-Chee cards really pop with more color over their Topps counterparts. I'm slowly making my way through the 2008 season. I've still got a long way to go, but I am three cards closer to my goal.

If you are curious, here's the front of that number 5 card from up top.
Beautiful, isn't it? They certainly don't make cards like that anymore. Matthew, I'll send along some number 5 type cards soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Octavio Dotel

See the full set here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Card Spotlight: 6-26-09

2004 Topps Total #767 - Mike Jackson

By now, everyone has heard the news about pop singing sensation Michael Jackson. There has been a frenzy of coverage about his death, even in forums that normally wouldn't be mentioning his name. I have seen almost every sports card blogger comment about his death and how his music helped shape who they are today.

It's not far fetched to say that everyone who has even listened to music in the past thirty years was listening to something influenced by either Michael Jackson or the Beatles. In some cases, both.

Michael Jackson's influence has even infiltrated the world of sports, like it or not. There have been seven Michael Jacksons in the world of sports. Two in baseball, two in football, one in basketball, one in rugby and one in soccer. All but one (the left handed baseball pitcher) have played in the heyday or the aftermath of Michael Jackson's solo career explosion. That Michael Jackson's career ended in 1973 with the Cleveland Indians.

Let's talk about the other Michael Jackson in baseball. He had a lengthy career that started in 1986 with the Phillies and ended in 2004 with the White Sox. In between, he played for the Mariners (twice), the Giants, the Reds, the Indians, the Astros and the Twins. I remember him from most of the other teams, but I recall him on the White Sox most vividly.

Mike was at the end of his career, when he landed on the Sox. His stats weren't the best. He played in 45 games, finished 12 and had a 2-0 record in 2004. His ERA was a ghastly 5.01, the worst of his career. Basically, he was a mop up guy. The game had already been decided most of the time and Mike came in to save the rest of the bullpen.

My memory may be faulty, but I seem to recall the White Sox playing "Thriller" or some other Michael Jackson song when Mike would come in. If I'm remembering incorrectly, so be it. I think if the Sox would play the "Halloween theme" when they brought in Mike Myers, they would play a Jacko song when Mike Jackson came in. It only seems logical, right?

Mike Jackson may have been on the White Sox from opening day until early September of 2004, but he only has one card. 2004 Topps Total. There are also four printing plates and a silver parallel, but essentially only one card. That seems to be the trouble with middle relievers. There aren't many opportunities given for cardboard glory.

Still, I'm happy that one set included Mike Jackson with the White Sox. I hope each year that there will be a set that incorporates everyone on each team, in a given year. I am usually disappointed. The 2004 Topps Total White Sox team set includes 26 players. This is a far cry from the 42 men who actually played for the team that year.

No set is perfect, but this came closer than most in 2004. I do appreciate the fact that Mike looks like he's trying to pitch in the middle of a track and field event. There's something smile inducing about that, but I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it reminds me of high school, where every sport had to share the same field and facility. Whatever the reason, this card is still the only one of Mike Jackson produced in a White Sox uniform. That's pretty special, in its own right.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Gift Of Flowers

Not all the news was bad today. I did receive in the mail today, a gift of Flowers from The Pettitte Pursuit.

Two cards featuring White Sox prospects, in fact.

2009 Bowman
BP12 - Kenneth Gilbert
BP23 - Tyler Flowers

Thanks, Eric! That was a great pick me up today. I should have a mailing out to you shortly. Sometimes the coolest unexpected surprises come in the smallest white envelopes.

First Farrah, Now This?!

OK, seriously... WTF?! Are all the good memories from my childhood dying today?

Farrah Fawcett dying of cancer was expected. She was fighting a losing battle and took a turn for the worse, in the last week. It still doesn't make it any less shocking.

Michael Jackson died from a cardiac arrest. He was only 50 years old. Sure, he hasn't been relevant in almost twenty years, but the Thriller and Off The Wall albums were awesome. Clerks II made me appreciate his work with the Jackson 5 again.

Despite the downturn of events in his life the past two decades, he still held that allure to many fans. I was actually looking forward to his new album. It was supposed to be his best since the early eighties. I have no idea how completed that album is. It may be a posthumous classic like George Harrison's last album was or it could be a complete disaster like the most recent posthumous releases from 2Pac.

The sadness with both of these deaths isn't the fact that they are gone. We can relive many past moments of each celebrity through the magic of television and the internet. The saddest part is that they both left family behind. In Michael's case, it is especially tragic because there are three young children left behind. No matter how tragic these deaths are to us, imagine how devastating it is to their loved ones.

May both of you rest in peace. Maybe Ed McMahon will reserve a spot for you on the couch, next to Johnny.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1972 Durochrome Decals

There have been some very interesting promotions in the history of baseball. One of the most beloved is the giveaway. Every time that I am at a ballpark where a giveaway is being offered, I see people scrounging to locate discarded treasures or simply asking people if they want theirs.

In 1972, the White Sox had six different "Decal Days", where a different decal would be given away. The giveaway dates were April 9, May 14, June 7, July 1, July 29 and August 23. I haven't been able to track down which decal was given out on which day, but if any reader could volunteer the correct information, it would be greatly appreciated.

The giveaways had a slit in the middle of the backing typical with decals, but they were closer to a sticker than a decal. Regardless of what these technically are, the colors are more vibrant than the 1972 Topps set. The red in the uniforms really pop with each decal. A facsimile signature completes the front. The backs have limited personal statistics, giveaway dates, and are printed in green lettering.

The set contained six decals and was produced by Durochrome Products Inc. of Los Angeles, California. They are unnumbered, so they will be listed in alphabetical order.

1 - Richard Allen
2 - Ed Hermann
3 - Bart Johnson
4 - Carlos May
5 - Bill Melton
6 - Wilbur Wood

I really miss giveaways of this nature. This really speaks to the inventive nature of past promotional days. Presently, there are usually a few bobblehead promotions or a youth jersey here and there. I haven't seen a sticker, decal or card promotion for some time. If there are any of that nature, it's strictly for kids.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Bobby Jenks

Check out the full set here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Care Package From Andy

A few days ago, Andy of Traded Sets, caught wind that I was in a financial snafu. To make a long story short, the snafu is better, but led to postponement of various life changing activities that I had planned for later in the year.

To ease my card suffering, Andy put together a little care package for me and sent it on its merry way. I've been spending my time with his excellent Shopped Cards contests to help keep my mind off of recent events. Let me tell you, one can get lost in those puzzles. I spent last week helping other people win.

I was told by Andy that a care package was on the way and the next day, it shows up in my mailbox. How's that for speedy service?

Without any further delay, here's what Andy sent out.

1996 Upper Deck All-Star Supers
300 – Frank Thomas

2005 ESPN
23 – Frank Thomas

2008 Topps
86 – Scott Podsednik
96 – Sam Fuld
144 – Jerry Owens
224 – Mark Buehrle
248 – Jose Contreras

2008 Topps Moments & Milestones
3 – Frank Thomas (188 HR) 067/150
3 – Frank Thomas (335 HR) 070/150
3 – Frank Thomas (367 HR) 139/150
3 – Frank Thomas (406 HR) 120/150

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights
UH324 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2009 A Piece Of History
23 – Ken Griffey Jr.

Thanks, Andy! This package really perked me up! I was amazed by the sheer size of the Frank Thomas All-Star card. The Cubs card was a hoot. Plus, I can knock a few off my crazy Moments and Milestones Frank Thomas quest. Good stuff!

And for those of you who might be curious as to why Andy sent a Cubs card... this is why.
A defaced card pointing out the suckiness of certain players in blue. Also, pointing out the questionable hotness of a spectator. While it may not be PC, the added notes on the card got a chuckle out of me. It's too intentionally done to put on Things Done To Cards, but the joke still deserves to be shown.

Mailbox Joys: Logoless Fisk

2008 Donruss Threads - Baseball Americana Materials Position #BA-12 - Carlton Fisk 47/75

Does that seem like a mouthful to you? Yeah, me too. In fact, it took longer to get here than it took to say it. This card was stuck in an Alabama post office for over a month due to a faulty calculation of postage. Luckily, the postage price included delivery confirmation, so it was easily tracked.

Was it worth the wait? Sure. It's another Fisk to add to the collection. Granted, Carlton looks like more of an umpire here than a player. That is a Carlton Fisk personally worn piece of material. So it's got that going for it.

For what the card actually cost me, I paid three cents a day for this card to go on a scenic vacation of the Gulf Shores, Alabama post office. This card has seen more places and met more people than I will this summer. That's kind of sad.

I've seen much better Fisk cards out there, but for the price I paid and the journey of the destination, it has a home here.

White Sox Treats From Stampman12345

I've had my share of great trades. Within those trades, I have corresponded with a lot of great people. Bill has been an excellent trading partner in the past. Check him out at the Cardboard Connection.

Bill is a Nationals fan. When I read that Raymond was lamenting about having a stockpile of Nationals cards and no one to unload them to, I leaped into action. I know someone who collects Nationals cards and I know someone giving them away. Seemed like a natural fit to me.

I received a package from Bill the other day, along with a great letter. It turns out that Bill got a Zimmerman Goudey jersey card and an autographed Just minor league card with his Nationals cards. I love it when a plan comes together.

I guess you're wondering what Bill sent over. Well, let's find out!

1992 Upper Deck
594 – Scott Radinsky

1994 Topps
601 – Frank Thomas

1997 SP
56 – Harold Baines
58 – Tony Phillips

2005 Topps Updates & Highlights
UH123 – PSH It’s A South Side Series
UH138 – AL Wins Leaders Jon Garland (Colon, Lee)
UH139 – AL ERA Leaders Mark Buehrle (Millwood, Santana)
UH173 – Ozzie Guillen
UH184 – Mark Buehrle AS
UH276 – Micah Schnurstein

2007 Upper Deck First Edition
11 – Ryan Sweeney
67 – Jermaine Dye
70 – Brian Anderson

2008 Topps
144 – Jerry Owens
248 – Jose Contreras
274 – Jermaine Dye
293 – Gavin Floyd
378 – Ozzie Guillen
384 – Carlos Quentin
420 – Nick Swisher
486 – Javier Vazquez
457 – Josh Fields
508 – John Danks
565 – A.J. Pierzynski
639 – Juan Uribe
649 – Joe Crede

2008 Topps All-Rookie 50th Anniversary
AR65 – Tadahito Iguchi
AR92 – Miguel Olivo

2008 Topps Chrome
14 – Orlando Cabrera

2008 Topps Gold Foil
457 – Josh Fields

2008 Topps Trading Card History
TCH72 – Jim Thome

2009 Topps
149 – Juan Uribe
154 – A.J. Pierzynski
337 – Bobby Jenks
365 – Mark Buehrle
375 – Carlos Quentin
443 – Gavin Floyd
466 – Wilson Betemit
488 – Ozzie Guillen
506 – Paul Konerko
516 – Brian Anderson
548 – John Danks
577 – Jose Contreras
585 – Alexei Ramirez
625 – Jim Thome

2009 Topps Ring Of Honor
RH66 – Mark Buehrle

2009 Upper Deck
89 – Brian Anderson
493 – Carlos Quentin

Thanks, Bill! That's quite a good stack of cards that you sent over. I had forgotten about the Jim Thome Trading Card History card. That Buehrle Ring of Honor card is a real beaut! I suspect the rest will fill some nagging holes in my collection.

I'll take care of the Nationals relievers if you'll fix Linebrink. Deal? I should be sending some Nationals your way pretty soon.

WSC Vintage: Dummy Hoy

Card #5 - Dummy Hoy

William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy was on the Chicago White Stockings from 1900 until 1901. He saw the team transform from a minor league team into a Major League team.

In 1900, he led the American League with a .977 fielding average, with 337 putouts and 45 outfield assists. He has been the only outfielder to lead in all three categories in one season.

While umpire Bill Klem is credited with developing the hand signals used in the game today, there are newspaper clippings dating as far back as 1887, mentioning the use of Hoy's hand signals. Since Hoy was deaf, this was the primary tool for communication in the outfield.

Dummy Hoy is also one of 29 players to play in four different leagues. He played in the Players League, the Western League, the Major League (consisting of the American and National Leagues) and the Pacific Coast League. Hoy helped the White Stockings to pennants in both years that he was there. Chicago's American League club won the Western League's last pennant in 1900 and the first pennant in the Major League in 1901.

* A note about the photo used for this card.

The photo used is actually two different photos. There are very few pictures of Dummy Hoy in uniform and I have found none of him in a White Sox uniform. I took a photo of Hoy from an Old Judge card, which obscured the Washington logo. I manipulated the remainder of the "W" logo to make the uniform appear plain. I erased the background of the photo, which was a backdrop of a farm with a fence and a creek and replaced it with a photograph of South Side Park, where Dummy Hoy played his games with the Chicago White Stockings.

I feel that this can give the best representation of Hoy's playing career in Chicago. It was a decision that weighed heavily on the integrity of this project. In the end, I decided that it was best to have a real photograph of Hoy, rather than do without. If I ever run across an actual photograph of Hoy in the field, during his time with the White Sox, I will issue another card.

Make Me Laugh Contest Winner

There have been 10 entries and 10 funny lines. I have to admit, I chuckled at each one. I based this contest on what would make me laugh upon the initial reading. There was no further scientific explanation.

One entry made me laugh the hardest upon the initial reading. One entry was very tough competition for the eventual winner. I wasn't expecting that. Those two entries made for a very tough decision.

The runner up is zman40 for Doing his best Austin Powers imitation, Alexie asks Curtis "does rubbing my balls on your buttucks make your horny?"

The winner is TheJaw for Ha Ha. Alexei make you Curtis Cottontail.

The simplicity and absurdity of TheJaw's entry made it very tough to beat. Drawing on my love of comedy movies, zman40's entry made me laugh, but just not hard enough to win. For that, I'd like to award an honorable mention.

TheJaw and zman40, please e-mail me with your addresses and preferences.

To everyone else, thank you for participating. Hopefully, I'll be doing this type of contest again, in the near future.

The other fantastic entries are as follows:

Dan - Yeah, Alexei, that's right, a little bit lower . . . lower . . . ooooo, right there! Yeah that's it!

csd - A thermal detonator in his pocket will slow him down.

dayf - It's only gay if the balls touch.

--David - "This is a simple, outpatient procedure... We'll have that out in a jiffy..."

steveisjewish - moooooooon river
you ever serve time?

Rod - ewwwwww, curtis, put a cork in it. Ok I will.

MGonnella - "Maybe if Josh Fields and Wilson Betemit 'kissed' a little more ass, they would have kept their jobs."

Lonestarr - Alexei: "I got you, pshewpshew!"
Curtis: "Argh... Noooooooooo!!"

Thanks for the great entries!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Updates And Ramblings

Just a couple of update announcements for the site.

I am on Twitter now, so if you'd like to follow me on Twitter, you can now do so. There is a Twitter Tracker somewhere in the links on the right hand side.

The Make Me Laugh contest is ending tomorrow at noon, Chicago time. Hurry and get those entries in! You could win some cards!

For some reason, I have been updating sites like mad this weekend. I guess I'm just in the mood to do so. The want list will soon be updated too. I'm hoping for tonight, but we'll see how that plan goes.

Happy Father's Day to all the proud pops out there. Hasn't this just been the perfect day to sit down and watch a baseball game? Even better, weather permitting, hasn't this been the perfect day to play some baseball with your kids? I'm not a father, but I would imagine that would be one of the many great joys to share with your kids.

I have a couple of packages left to sort through and post. Those should be up tonight or tomorrow.

Apollo Creed

I was roaming other blogs and saw someone mention how cool it would be to make a card of Apollo Creed. I thought it was a cool idea too, so I made one.

Sometimes the most innocent comments create the most unlikely inspirations.

Harold At The Civil Rights Game

Confessions of a Sports Junkie has a great post about yesterday's Civil Rights game between the White Sox and the Reds, complete with pictures of the awesome 1964 uniforms!

1984 Pizza Hut Commercial

Richard Dotson was a natural born pitchman. Carlton Fisk just loves to steal food. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

WSC Birth Years: Corky Miller

Card #11 - Corky Miller

Born: March 18, 1976

Corky was signed by the White Sox as a free agent in November 2008. As a second string catcher, Corky has been decent. While he doesn't have the best average, Miller hits the ball hard.

Midway through the 2009 season, Corky was designated for assignment. He chose to remain with the White Sox at the AAA level. While Corky was with the parent club, he filled in on A.J. Pierzynski's days off and was a valuable asset on the bench in a pinch hitting role.

Since Corky chose to remain in the White Sox farm system, the parent club may call on Corky Miller to catch in the big leagues again. Only time will tell.

Goose Joak Originals: Jimmy Gobble

Be sure to check out the full AL/NL Central set here.

The Writer's Sox Journey

Earlier this week, Jason, from the excellent blog The Writer's Journey, contacted me about a few cards that he ran across. There were four cards all together. Three White Sox and one Frank Thomas Blue Jays card. I already had two of them, so I e-mailed back and told him that I still needed two of the four.

Jason wrote back and told me that they would be in the mail. The cards arrived today.

2008 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary Hobby Preview
UD-55 - Frank Thomas (Blue Jays)

2009 Topps Ring of Honor (2005 WS Champion)
RH16 - Jermaine Dye

I'm normally not a big Frank Thomas collector of cards that don't show him in a White Sox uniform, but this seemed like a cool card. My instincts were right. There's a nice big picture of Frank looking a bit surprised that he is seen in a Toronto road uniform. On the back there's (Upper Deck aficionados will not believe me) a completely different photo of Frank in a Blue Jays uniform! It mentions an August 4, 2007 game, where Frank hit two home runs to lead the Jays to victory.

I really like the Ring of Honor cards. I've been waiting patiently for some White Sox cards to come out of the series. My patience has finally paid off. The card mentions that Jermaine is the lone MVP that the White Sox have in their entire history. It makes you realize that the title of World Series MVP hasn't been around as long as you might think. In the 2005 World Series, Jermaine went 7 for 16, homered off Roger Clemens and drove in the only run of the clinching game.

Nice cards! They both will be in my collection for the foreseeable future.

After a disappointing loss tonight, I get an e-mail from Jason. You see, he was at the game in Cincinnati against the White Sox Friday night. In the e-mail he explains that he didn't actually get to the game until the seventh inning, but he took several pictures of a certain player that I favor. I downloaded the attachment and found 13 pictures, including these gems.

Harold having a brief conversation with Reds first baseman, Ramon Hernandez.

Harold standing diligently at first base, patiently waiting for a runner to appear.

Thanks, Jason! You have gone above and beyond. Thanks for thinking of me while you were at the game. This makes two games that I have candid shots of Harold coaching. Very cool!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back In 1972

Matt, from Project Baseball 1976, sent me a link today through e-mail. Once there, I found an 8mm transfer, on a site called Fuzzy Memories, that consisted of home movies from inside White Sox Park.

Check out this page and watch Dick Allen steal home, which would place that as June 4, 1972, in the first game of a doubleheader. Plus, plenty of other activity in the games.

Traded Sets Contest

Traded Sets is running a contest that you should all check out!

There are great prizes to be won!

Good luck!

It was a difficult contest, but it was solved rather quickly. I was the third person to identify all 24 cards and I got it done about an hour after this post.

Card Spotlight: 6-19-09

1961 Topps #42 - American League Batting Leaders (Runnels, Smith, Minoso, Skowron)

I'll let you in on a little secret. Maybe it's not that much of a secret, but most collectors tend to overlook it. You can get vintage cards with popular players for a fraction of the price of a regular star card by picking up league leader cards.

This card features the top four American League hitters from the 1960 season. Pete Runnels of the Red Sox sported a .320 average to rise to the top of the AL hitters. Al Smith of the White Sox followed with .315. Minnie Minoso of the White Sox sneaks in at third with .311 and Moose Skowron of the Yankees rounds out the top four with a .309 average.

Sixties cards are great to pick up. Most of them are still on the cheaper side and they can be found in wonderful condition. I collect mostly White Sox cards, so this card fits in perfectly with bust shots of Al Smith and Minnie Minoso in South Side attire. A bonus goes to Moose Skowron, who would later join the White Sox. Here, he is pictured with the Yankees, which is always a plus when dealing with vintage cards. Pete Runnels is pictured in another fan favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.

This makes a near perfect card from the standpoint of getting my money's worth from a 1961 card. Occasionally, the prices will inflate if a more popular player, like Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams appears. That's actually a good thing. While everybody else is concentrating on high profile players of the era, you can swoop in and find some great deals on cards with star players that don't quite live up to the superstar billing. All four went to multiple All-Star games.

The interesting thing about the two White Sox players is that they were traded for each other in 1957, along with two other players. Al Smith came to the White Sox with Early Wynn and Minnie Minoso went to the Indians with Fred Hatfield. A few years later, Minoso would be back in Chicago.

Topps still has league leader cards in their sets, from time to time. One feature that you will not see on those cards is a list of American League batting champions from 1901 until the card was created. Looking at the list from 1901 until 1960, I see a disturbing trend. Ty Cobb won the batting title 12 times, including an amazing 9 in a row! It's not nearly as impressive as it sounds. There is a mistake in this list. Ty Cobb hit .383 in 1910, according to baseball-reference.com. He lost the title to Nap LaJoie's .384, even though Ty Cobb is listed as hitting .385 in 1910 on the back of this card.

Even if Nap LaJoie beat Ty Cobb in 1910, that still leaves him with a run of three years, then five years, then three years, only broken up by one single year twice. No one has come close to Cobb's 11 batting titles in either league.

As fun as it is to study the backs of the cards and find potential errors, the front of the cards are the eye candy. The design on the 1961 Topps cards are minimal, some would say boring. It has always been a favorite of mine, but I can see why some people would think the design is a flaw of the set. The league leader cards really pop out with the minimalist design. Bold colors permeate the cardboard almost like a Warhol painting.

Normally, four sixties All-Stars would set you back a few bucks. I won this beauty at auction for ninety nine cents with two dollars shipping. So for under three dollars, I now possess a card that is just shy of being fifty years old with four All-Stars. That's what I call value. Any day that I can get a card of Al Smith, famous for the beer shower in Game 2 of the 1959 World Series, and the ageless Minnie Minoso for mere pennies is a great day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2,227 Games Caught

Congratulations to Ivan Rodriguez on breaking Carlton Fisk's games caught record. Hopefully, Ivan will continue to catch games. I couldn't imagine another player worthy of passing Pudge than Little Pudge.

Make Me Laugh Contest

This moment from the third inning on June 10, 2009, between the Tigers and the White Sox shows Alexei Ramirez tagging Blue Island, Illinos native, Curtis Granderson during a rundown between first base and second.

The premise for this contest is simple. I'm in a giving mood and I want to give away some cards. Whoever can come up with the caption for this picture that makes me laugh the most will win. It's as simple as that.

It really doesn't matter what the nature of your caption is. Just look into the archives of this site for inspiration of something that might make me laugh. My taste in comedy is wide ranging, so it could be almost anything that will make me laugh. That's all up to you to decide.

I will accept entries in the comments section until noon, Chicago time, on Monday, June 22, 2009. I will not be making any sort of comments in the comment section of this post until a winner is decided.

I'll tell you one thing, repetition is not funny to me. If you base your entry off of another entry, it had better be twice as funny to get me to laugh at it.

The winner will get an assortment of cards from their favorite team(s), player(s), set(s) or some Frankenstein combination of the three. It all depends on what I have available and what the winner's favorite baseball related things are.

Let's have some fun and make me laugh!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trade Relapse: The Good Kind

Recently, I saw another collector streamlining their collection to focus on what they truly want to collect. While perusing the cards now available to trade, I spotted many Jim Thome cards that I didn't have from the 2009 Spectrum release.

I took a stab in the dark and left a comment that I'd like a shot at the Thome cards. In no time, I received a correspondence inquiring my address.

When the package from Wax Pack Relapse arrived, I couldn't believe my eyes! In addition to the Spectrum cards, there were a bunch of other cards thrown in, that I hadn't a clue about beforehand. I love surprises, when they are good. This is ALWAYS the good kind of surprise.

Let's see what goodies came in the Wax Pack Relapse package.

1986 O-Pee-Chee
390 - Tom Seaver

1990 Classic III
T99 - Alex Fernandez

1991 Cracker Jack
36 - Alex Fernandez

1991 Line Drive
96 - Jim Thome

1991 Topps Magazine
TM52 - Bo Jackson

1992 Topps Gold Winners
615 - Matt Merullo
648 - Scott Fletcher

1993 Topps Black Gold
38 - Jack McDowell

1994 Post
Unopened pack with Jack McDowell on top

2007 Elements
51 - Jermaine Dye
94 - Jim Thome

2008 Bowman Chrome
30 - Javier Vazquez

2008 Sweet Spot
53 - Jim Thome
79 - Nick Swisher

2008 UD Documentary
66 (CWS6) - White Sox 13 at Tigers 2 (Jermaine Dye)
664 (CWS24) - Orioles 1 vs. White Sox 6 (Mark Buehrle)
3651 (CWS124 White Sox 13 at Athletics 1 (Nick Swisher)

2008 Upper Deck X Die Cut
24 - Paul Konerko
26 - Carlos Quentin
27 - Jim Thome

2008 Upper Deck Die Cut Gold
27 - Jim Thome

2008 Upper Deck X XPotential
X-NS - Nick Swisher

2008 Upper Deck X XPotential 2
X2-PK - Paul Konerko

2009 Goudey
45 - Gavin Floyd

2009 A Piece Of History Red
22 - Jim Thome

2009 A Piece Of History Box Score Memories
BSM-PK - Paul Konerko (445/999)

2009 Spectrum
23 - Carlos Quentin
24 - Jim Thome

2009 Spectrum Black
24 - Jim Thome (35/50)

2009 Spectrum Green
24 - Jim Thome (09/99)

2009 Spectrum Swatches
SS-PK - Paul Konerko (53/99)

2009 SP Legendary Cuts
9 - Jim Thome
80 - Carlos Quentin

2009 SPx
88 - Jim Thome

2009 Topps Attax
Mark Buehrle
Bobby Jenks
A.J. Pierzynski

2009 Topps Target Throwback
70 - Jermaine Dye
255 - Joe Crede

2009 Topps Wal-Mart Black
255 - Joe Crede

2009 Upper Deck Starquest Silver Common
SQ-32 - Carlos Quentin

Thanks so much! There are so many cool things in this package that I don't really know where to begin. O-Pee-Chee cards are always welcome. Unopened packs are always cool. Topps Attax is growing on me. Clear cards are awesome! I may have finished off a few team sets with this pile of cards.

I will be scouring the internet and card shops for Longoria cards and whatever else that might be on your want list. Thanks again!

A Little Commentary About Sammy Sosa

When I chose Sammy Sosa's 1992 Score card for my card of the week on June 5, 2009, it was mostly because of his retirement announcement. I had a gut feeling that something bigger was on the horizon. I thought that if there was anything on Sosa, this would be the perfect time to spring it.

On June 16, 2009, word "leaked" that Sammy Sosa had failed a drug test in 2003. If five percent or more of the players failed the test, then a permanent testing policy could be put into place. When this was first announced, the majority of the White Sox members voted to boycott the test. The thinking was that a refusal resulted in a positive test. Frank Thomas and many others were ready to make that sacrifice in order to force a testing policy to be a part of baseball.

The team was talked out of the boycott and no player, to my knowledge, refused to take the test. The agreement was that whoever tested positive would be kept anonymous. Any time that there is potentially explosive information like this, you know it's going to eventually leak.

Since Jose Canseco's books have been published, there has been slow trickles of information bubbling to the surface. I'm of the opinion to let the floodgates open and whoever else is on the list is out of luck. The still unnamed players have had six years to come forward. That is an ample amount of time to get their affairs in order and face the music.

Will this list be the end of speculation from this era? Certainly not. This is just from one test. We will never know how many players took any banned substances before 2003. The clean players who put up fantastic numbers are the ones who are suffering the most. Players like Frank Thomas, Jim Thome and Ken Griffey Jr. put up great numbers during this time. While I'm almost positive that none of those players cheated, they are now under suspicion because of the years that they played.

I can never be 100% certain about anyone who had career years during that time. That, I think, is the real tragedy of the steroid era. The players who deserve the accolades will never properly get them. There will always be a lingering doubt.

In my Sosa post on June 5th, I danced around the issue of Sammy's drug use. There has been plenty of speculation, but no hard evidence until now. I grew up rooting for Sammy. Since one of my favorite players was traded to acquire him, I wanted him to succeed. If only to justify the trade of a fan favorite.

Now that the truth has finally come out about Sammy Sosa, am I glad? No. I made my peace with what he was accused of doing a long time ago. I don't feel sorry for him. He knew exactly what he was getting into. I don't buy his non-English speaking act either. He spoke English well enough when he was the toast of the North Side of Chicago.

I feel sorry for the fans. They shelled out a lot of money on Sosa merchandise. They bought tickets through ticket brokers with inflated prices just to see him. Little kids trusted Sammy Sosa. They idolized him. I watched kids' heads bop up and down following Sosa's hop when he hit another long one. I watched ladies of all ages try to catch one of Sammy's kisses, when he was rounding the bases.

I feel sorry for the clean players, whoever they may be. Most of them were faced with a great moral dilema. Either go with the flow or possibly be out of a job. I applaud those players who decided to fight cleanly for their jobs. It couldn't have been easy in some clubhouses. In other clubhouses, I'm sure it wasn't as hard.

Hours after the news broke, I heard Lou Piniella talk his way out of his responsibility as a manager to know what was going on with his team. If I'm not mistaken, he referred to not knowing the difference between a steroid and a reefer. That doesn't exactly leave me brimming with confidence that he ran a clean clubhouse in Seattle or in Tampa Bay.

Joe Torre also danced around the issue when asked about Manny Ramirez the other day on the Tonight Show. He spoke candidly with Conan, but it seemed awfully guarded at the same time. Not that I blame him for feeling uncomfortable about the issue. Manny's problem came this year, not six years ago.

I wish that whoever is the source of these leaks would release all of the names left on the list. There is absolutely no reason to prolong it any longer. Let's get past this and hopefully move on. It's easy enough to blame Jose Canseco for the wide use of these drugs, but it's not the cause for any player who has tested positive. Every player made their own decision to take drugs. No one forced players at gunpoint to take anything.

I can be easier on the players who admitted to taking banned substances, but that doesn't make them less guilty. All that shows is that they are willing to take responsibility for their own actions. Some players refuse to do that. They are the game's biggest shame. Players like Jose Canseco aren't innocent either. They choose to name names for their own gain. That's helping, somewhat, but it's not an action that should be rewarded.

Shame on you, Sammy Sosa. Shame on you for pretending to be something you're not. Shame on you for lying to adoring fans. Shame on you for setting a bad example for the children. Shame on you for lying to congress by saying that you never used "illegal performance-enhancing drugs," have never "injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything," and have not "broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic."

You, Sammy, are a disgrace to the game. Your years of denial only further tarnish your crafted image. While there is no possible way to erase your misdeeds from the box scores, I can only hope that you are calmly waiting to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame for eternity.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Harold Baines Jr.

Check out the full set here.

Within A Budding Grove: The Past Recaptured

This trade ostensibly tells of the irrevocability of time lost, the forfeiture of innocence through experience, the reinstatement of extra-temporal values of time regained, ultimately the trade is both optimistic and set within the context of a humane religious experience, re-stating as it does the concept of intemporality.

But what does it all mean?

It means that another package from dayf arrived on my doorstep.

With any trade, people are trying to capture a little of the glory years. A time when everything seemed right with the world and the possibilities were as endless as root beer floats. But Bruce Springsteen and soda jerks aside, I always look forward to dayf's packages. We agree on an initial trade and then the freaks come out at night.

I knew I was in trouble when I sent a kidnap package to dayf, creatively wrapped with cries of help in different languages. I was in a saucy mood that night, with just the right amount of wicked humor thrown in for good measure.

The tradeway from Illinois to Georgia is always filled with oddities and it creates just as many smiles as it does scratching of heads. Riddles are abound tonight as players of yesteryear await new awakening by a mere opening of a bubble mailer.

I unsheathed my trusty, uh, what did I unsheath? Oh yeah! My turkey baster! ...and thrust a generous portion of giblet gravy unto the package, thus dissolving the many tiny bubbles that protected the treasures inside. Once the protective coating was dealt with, I was able to feast my eyes upon the treasures that lie in wait.

1972 Topps
326 - Pat Kelly

1974 Topps
205 - Victory Leaders - Wilbur Wood (Ron Bryant)

1976 Topps
110 - Carlos May
212 - Pat Kelly
258 - Nyls Nyman

1996 Topps "Laser"
32 - Robin Ventura

1997 Topps Gallery
25 - Tony Phillips

1997 Topps Stars
123 - Jason Dellaero

1998 Bowman
240 - Frank Thomas

1998 Pinnacle Plus
24 - Frank Thomas

1998 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Retrospect
MJR3 - Michael Jordan

1998 Upper Deck Retro
107 - Jim Parque FUTURAMA!

1999 Bowman's Best
115 - Paul Konerko

2001 SP Authentic
193 - Carlos Lee

2001 SPx
163 - Carlos Lee

2001 Upper Deck Gold Glove
36 - Magglio Ordonez

2004 Donruss Press Proof
107 - Paul Konerko

2004 Ultra
371 - Ryan Meaux

2007 Allen & Ginter Mini
132 - Paul Konerko

2009 Topps Heritage
458 - White Sox Coaches - Joey Cora, Harold Baines, Jeff Cox

Thanks, dayf! As always, it was an adventure. I will not subject the readers to the sinful debauchery of Paul Konerko's Donruss card. Attached to the plastic holder was a Post-It note.

Careful - this one is subtle - Enjoy!

Subtle indeed, but not that subtle. It appears that Paulie might be stockpiling his walnuts behind his glove hand. It takes a sick mind to think of that. It takes a disturbed mind to report that. Nicely done, dayf. The only thing missing was a piece of Big Pink. It's the only gum with the breath-freshening power of ham.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Crosstown Classic Time Again

Once again, it's that time of the year that seems to matter most to casual Chicago baseball fans. Cubs vs. Sox.

This year, for some unknown reason, the games are in the middle of the week. Usually, this series, on both sides, is a weekend long spectacle. Maybe that's part of the reason for the move. Then again, it could just be a scheduling snafu. Because who deserves an interleague series against the White Sox on a weekend more than the Pirates?

The players used to get jazzed up for this meeting every year. Since the drama has waned, mostly because of the White Sox 2005 World Series win, it's become just another series. Albeit, a still anticipated series, it's a shadow of its former self.

Gone are the Michael Barrets, the Jose Valentins, the Juan Uribes and the Sammy Sosas that drove the teams to really battle. The best that anyone can come up with this year is Ozzie Guillen's hatred of Wrigley Field. Not the players or the personnel, or the fans, just the building itself.

John Kruk even mentioned that Wrigley was his least favorite place to play as a player because he had to use a urinal that was inside the dugout, next to the manager.

While the series isn't as important a series as it used to be, it's still an exciting way to spend roughly three hours. In the past, whichever team proves victorious in a series, usually goes on a hot streak right after. This year, both teams look like they could use the boost.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

WSC Vintage: Ted Easterly

Card #4 - Ted Easterly

Ted was purchased from the Cleveland Naps on August 7, 1912. He stayed with the White Sox through the 1913 season. On January 12, 1914, he jumped to the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League.

Splitting time between the Naps and the Sox, in 1912, he led the AL with 11 pinch hit appearances. Ted was a good contact hitter for the majority of his career, but was kept around for his defensive prowess.

Normally a catcher, he would sometimes be used as a backup right fielder because of his strong arm. Ted appeared in 90 games during his tenure with the White Sox. While most of those games saw him at his familiar catcher position, he spent one game as an outfielder. Ted finished his career with a .300 average.

Buehrle Blast

Congratulations to Mark Buehrle on his first Major League home run!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Card Spotlight: 6-12-09

2009 Topps #625 - Jim Thome

The cards of my youth were mostly posed shots in weird places. Sometimes the background looked like a local park. Sometimes it looked like a county fair. Other times the scene looked reminiscent of snapping a picture of a friend in the batting cages.

It was about the time that I grew out of adolescence that the cards would undergo a transformation. Gone were the posed shots and here comes the ACTION! There are sets from the early nineties that feature nothing but action shots.

It became mind numbing the way card after card would feature someone leaping, someone throwing, someone swinging, someone sliding, someone tagging or someone holding on to a ball for dear life.

Sure the quality of the cards became better. More focus was put on photography. Occasionally, some minion at a card company would come up with a design that would compliment the photography well. Most of the time, the design aspect was left in a state of decay. It's still that way today, in some instances.

In the flagship sets from each company, there is usually a good mix of the action shots and the still shots. On a rare occasion, I'll spot a posed shot that will really take me back to the sets of yesterday.

I haven't gotten around to purchasing many packs of the series two sets from Upper Deck or Topps this year. They are still fairly new and my local store has only recently started to stock them. Before I bought my first 2009 series two packs, I received a package in the mail from a friend. In that package were a few series two White Sox cards mixed in with some other White Sox cards.

Something about the photography struck me in the Topps series two cards. Sure, there were the same standard shots, but a few cards had unique aspects to the photo that made me pause. The first card was the Paul Konerko card. In the photo, he and A.J. Pierzynski appear to mirror each other's movements as Paul Konerko throws the ball, across a very green field, to hopefully an awaiting pitcher at first base.

It is a testament of beauty, but another card made my jaw drop; Jim Thome. Clearly, the shot is posed, but the symmetry of the card was undeniably gorgeous. The blue sky, with nary a wisp of cloud cover. The gentle giant smirk on Thome's face. The leafy green tree. The smattering of people gathered in the stands. Even the canopy above the portion of the stands screams summer.

The picture reminds me of a simpler time before million dollar salaries and court battles. It hearkens back to the days when Pete Rose wore a crew cut. When ballplayers were heroes and they took a winter job to keep their family afloat. There is a reason why Thome is known by the nickname "Gentleman Jim" and it is all evident in this card.

Heartbreakingly Awesome Free Cards

I'll be the first to admit it. I tend to be forgetful sometimes. I need a gentle poke or a friendly reminder sometimes. Sometimes this results in trades being dragged out forever.

With so many card sites out there right now and so many cool stuff happening on those sites, it's getting harder and harder to keep track of everything. Things slip by. If they pertain to me, someone is usually kind enough to give me a heads up. Thank you to those who have performed that service over the years.

I'm convinced that there is a lot going on within the community, when I signed up for free cards and then completely forgot about them. That just so happened with Matt of Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius.

Back in April, which seems like a lifetime ago, Matt bought a box of 1997 Stadium Club Series 2 and a box of 2000 HOLOGrFX for a reasonable cost at a show. He was only interested in a few cards and offered the rest, split up by team, to anyone who asked nicely enough.

Of course, I requested White Sox cards. These are what arrived.

1997 Stadium Club
213 - Frank Thomas
227 - Albert Belle (2)
258 - Jaime Navarro
293 - Ray Durham
317 - James Baldwin
347 - Wilson Alvarez (2)

84 - Frank Thomas
85 - Magglio Ordonez
86 - Carlos Lee

Thanks, Matt! These were awesome freebies! The HOLOGrFX cards nearly blinded me when I slipped them out of the package. I'm too lazy to look up the answer, but I'm thinking that I might be close to a team set in the HOLOGrFX cards. I'll look it up later.

Thanks for the cards and keep up the fantastic work on your blog!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Heavenly Surprise

Much like this Carlos Quentin card depicts, I felt like I was backed up against the wall last week. This week is so much better. Like Carlos, I came out of a potentially bad situation and wound up with the ball in my glove.

A few packages helped to elevate my mood last week. One I already wrote about a few days ago. Today, I'll write about the second, which came with no warning.

This unexpected package came from Mario at Wax Heaven. Mario doesn't need any publicity from me. He's already one of the most widely read card blogs out there. Instead, I want to give thanks.

Mario was one of the first bloggers to contact me, when I started this juggernaut in 2007. We formed a friendship over Jose Canseco, before he was Wax Heaven. A further bond was created over Carlos Quentin, who Mario thinks will be the next Canseco. I can see exactly what he means. I'm just hoping that Carlos takes everything that was good about Jose and leaves out the flaws that had his only playing option be the Newark Bears.

Out of this package, there were plenty of 2009 cards and a really cool 1997 card. Of course, there was an abundant amount of Carlos Quentin cards. Let's see what exactly Mario sent over.

1997 EX2000

14 – Ray Durham 006/299

2009 Bowman

108 – Jermaine Dye

121 – Mark Buehrle

127 – Paul Konerko

169 – Carlos Quentin

173 – A.J. Pierzynski

2009 Finest

90 – Carlos Quentin

109 – Gavin Floyd

124 – Jim Thome

149 – Jason Bourgeois

2009 Finest Refractor

109 – Gavin Floyd

2009 Goudey

48 – Jim Thome

47 – Nick Swisher

49 – Jermaine Dye

50 – Alexei Ramirez

51 – Carlos Quentin

2009 Spectrum

24 – Jim Thome

2009 Topps

70 – Jermaine Dye

149 – Juan Uribe

154 – A.J. Pierzynski

306 – Javier Vazquez

337 – Bobby Jenks (2)

365 – Mark Buehrle

375 – Carlos Quentin

488 – Ozzie Guillen

506 – Paul Konerko

516 – Brian Anderson

548 – John Danks

577 – Jose Contreras

585 – Alexei Ramirez

625 – Jim Thome

2009 Topps Heritage

150 – John Danks

240 – Orlando Cabrera

360 – Gavin Floyd

365 – Carlos Quentin

2009 Topps Toppstown

TTT19 – Carlos Quentin

2009 Topps Turkey

TR12 – Jermaine Dye

2009 Upper Deck

80 – Jermaine Dye (2)

83 – Joe Crede (2)

87 – Mark Buehrle

88 – Bobby Jenks

90 – A.J. Pierzynski

493 – Carlos Quentin CL

580 – Jerry Owens

582 – John Danks

583 – Carlos Quentin

584 – D.J. Carrasco

587 – Brent Lillibridge

592 – Bobby Jenks

Wow! Thanks, Mario! This package came out of left field and it couldn't have come at a better time. That's certainly a bunch of 2009 cards. I'll have to make a separate post about the Ray Durham card. There's something that I noticed on it that deserves its own post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Futurama's Back Baby!

Comedy Central ordered 26 new episodes.

To start in 2010.

If you still do not comply, enjoy a special episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad. You will come around.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Goose Joak Originals: Jared Mitchell

Check out the full set here!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Balmy Package

I am so happy that a new week is starting. Someone must have some bad mojo working its way to me. Everything that could end up going wrong last week, pretty much did. I won't go into much detail but it's been one of the worst weeks of my life. To paraphrase the idiot savant, Homer Simpson... the worst week of my life, so far!

As comforting as that thought is, I am happy to report that things are looking up. Slowly, but surely (don't call me Shirley!), things are settling down and new groundwork is being laid. Everything eventually works out. It just takes time. Time, I have. Patience, I have. Frustration... I have that too. As George Harrison once sang, all things must pass. I won't bore you with the lyrics, but they are so true.

The nice thing about all the drama is that it is subsiding. At the pinnacle of the drama, a few packages came. They were the most welcome pieces of mail on Earth, at that point. Packages have a way of showing up at the right times to help me get in a better mood. This package from Shawn, at Balmers Blasters, arrived just in time. If you haven't checked it out, what are you waiting for? Go! Go! Go! Ultra cards and all things Orioles await you.

Let's see what cards arrived from Shawn!

1990 Topps Sticker Backs
55 - Carlton Fisk (2)

1991 Topps 1953 Archives
250 - Bob Wilson

1993 Starting Lineup
500554 - Frank Thomas
500555 - Frank Thomas

1993 Ultra
174 - Lance Johnson
176 - Jack McDowell

1994 Starting Lineup
506928 - Frank Thomas

1995 Bazooka
26 - Robin Ventura
35 - Wilson Alvarez
72 - Alex Fernandez

1995 Collector's Choice SE
234 - Alex Fernandez

1996 Bazooka
49 - Ray Durham
87 - Roberto Hernandez
107 - Lance Johnson

1996 Score
259 - Larry Thomas

1997 Score
160 - Ozzie Guillen
212 - Wilson Alvarez
314 - Jeff Darwin

2007 Upper Deck
619 - Joe Crede
623 - Scott Podsednik

2007 Upper Deck Triple Play
TP-JT - Jim Thome

2008 Upper Deck X XPotential

Thanks, Shawn! That's a great assortment of oddball Sox cards and a few holes in my collection. Plus, it was a great pick me up. I never really got how the numbering system for the Starting Lineup cards were. I couldn't find the Sluggers card anywhere, but I discovered them in the same package in an eBay auction. I'm too lazy to drag out the big book to look it up.

Thanks again!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Major Trading Moratorium

As of this post, I am officially putting major card trading on hiatus. I need to start filtering my money away from packs that might provide the big hits that most of you are looking for and start pooling money towards my upcoming wedding.

All trades that have been agreed upon will be fulfilled, so there's nothing to worry about for the few people who are waiting. I have no problem doing smaller trades right now either. I just need to build my trade collection up a bit more before diving back into major trading.

This will not effect the blog at all, so for those of you who just come here for the content, no worries. For those of you who are wonderful trading partners, we will trade again.

This moratorium goes into effect as soon as this post is published. To those who have things set aside for me and haven't set something up yet, please keep them set aside. If it's a base card, I'll still entertain those trades during the moratorium.

I'm tapped out of most relics, autos and other sought after cards. After the wedding, I'll recharge the trading pile and start trading again with a vengeance.

Card Spotlight: 6-5-09

1992 Score #258 - Sammy Sosa

This week, Sammy Sosa announced his retirement. He last played two seasons ago. I'm left to wonder if Sammy thought that he had something left to give a ball club. The last few years of Sosa's career were nothing short of embarrassing.

He ran himself out of Chicago by exiting a game early in 2004. He followed this up by hitting .221 for Baltimore in 2005. No team wanted him in 2006, so he sat that season at home. In 2007, the Rangers took a chance on him. He brought his average up to slightly below average, he tacked on a few more home runs and swelled his strikeouts to 112. To be fair, that was still less than most of his seasons with the Cubs.

I chose this card to showcase for many reasons. This 1992 Score card was one of the last to feature Sammy as a member of the White Sox. He was shipped off to the Cubs right before the 1992 season began. The card also shows that Sammy Sosa used to be known for his defense. He was like a gazelle in the outfield, during his last season with the Sox. Sosa was put in primarily for his defense. He had a tendency to strike out frequently. Only 28 of his 609 Major League home runs came during his two and a half years with the White Sox.

This card is a time capsule. Sammy is sporting his Will Smith fade hairstyle. Sosa could be about to make a great catch or he might be about to boot the ball of the heel of the glove. Either way, it could be exciting. Sammy is super skinny in this shot and appears quite athletic. His appearance would bloat a few years after this and when the home runs went up, the defense went down mostly.

The nice thing about the photo on the card is the extra player. Sure the card says right field, but Sammy played in other places in the outfield, when needed. I can definitely tell that he was in right field. The player ready to back Sammy up, if the ball should get away from him, is none other than Lance Johnson. One Dog (Lance Johnson) only played away from his center field staple in two games in 1991, when this picture was taken. Those two games were in right field. From the positioning of Lance, there is no possible way that he was in right field.

Now that Sosa has announced his retirement, he says that he is just waiting for his induction into the Hall of Fame. There are steroid allegations dancing around him that won't go away. Nothing has been proven, but the stigma of those allegations may be enough to sink his chances for enshrinement. If Sammy had continued on the path that he chose before going to the Cubs, I don't think his numbers would hold up. He would be stuck in the common bin and Sammy Sosa would be a stumping question in sports trivia.

Still, this card shows an innocence that is now lost to the ages. Sammy reminds me more of what Rickey Henderson might have looked like in a White Sox uniform than of Sammy Sosa. I can look back and wonder about the path not chosen. I choose to look at a promising defensive wizard that took a path to the dark side.
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