Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ending Up With It Anyway

I had an agreement to trade for this 2011 manufactured patch card of Manny Ramirez with a blogger. I just had to find the patch card that he was looking for. After two blasters without success, I decided it would be cheaper to head on eBay. I could pick up the patch for a fraction of the price of a blaster and know exactly what I was getting, as opposed to the unknown gamble that awaited another blaster purchase.

After losing out on a dozen auctions of the patch I was looking to pick up to trade for the Ramirez, I saw the White Sox card at an auction ending in a few minutes with no bids. Fully expecting to get outbid at the last possible second, I put in the minimum bid. Amazingly, I won the auction and ended up paying ninety-nine cents for the card.

Sometimes you end up with what you were looking for, despite your best efforts to trade for it. I'm sure that the blogger and I will find another trade to pull the trigger on, later in the season. I'll still be on the lookout for that patch that I was willing to trade away, just in case.

WSC Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

Congratulations, once again, to Frank Thomas for being inducted into the WSC Hall of Fame!

The voting for the Class of 2012 will begin shortly after the World Series is concluded.

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 8

A collection of tales with the sole purpose to frighten you. What could be better? There are many movies that can qualify in this category, but none have captured my imagination as much as this one. It could have been the recognizable stars in unusual roles. It could have been the people involved behind the scenes. It could have been the dark humor. The truth is, it was all of these and the fact that I was at an impressionable age when I first saw it.

Your favorite horror anthology.
Creepshow (1982)

Let's start with the wraparound. A young boy named Billy (played by Stephen King's son Joe, who is quickly becoming my favorite author) is caught with a trashy horror comic book that quickly gets thrown out. Billy's fantasy world intrudes after he is sent to his room, when a character from the comic book invites him to come along for some fun.

We are now transported into each story from the comic book. Five stories in all, which were inspired by the fifties E.C. comics. "Father's Day" was the story about a father coming back from the grave to claim his cake. It was written by Stephen King specifically for the movie. "The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill"was adapted from a previously published Stephen King story. It features King in a role as Jordy. A meteor falls to Earth and Jordy dreams of being rich and famous by discovering it. Stephen King delivers my favorite line in the entire film when he gets some goop on his hand.

"Something To Tide You Over" features Leslie Nielsen as a vindictive psychopath who gets a kick out of watching people die. Those people being Ted Danson and Gaylen Ross. The tides turn on him when he starts to hear strange things. "The Crate" features a classic monster in the laboratory story. "They're Creeping Up On You" features a man who lives in a sealed off sterile environment and his battle with roaches. The film end where it began, back to Billy and his family. Billy managed to clip out some coupons from the tossed comic and is now seeking his revenge.

Directed by George A Romero and written by Stephen King, this film is a smorgasbord of horror and dark comedy. I was hooked on it the minute I saw the film.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Of My Biggest Pet Peeves

While sorting through a great stack of cards that I received from Dustin of Coot Veal and the Vealtones today, I ran across this card.
Cap Anson of the Chicago White Sox. While this is marginally a true statement, it does present a problem that faces both White Sox and Cubs collectors. The Chicago White Stockings started as a National League club in 1876. Any good Cubs fan will tell you that 1876 is the same year that the Cubs joined the National League. The really good Cubs fans will tell you that this is the same team.

Yes, the Chicago Cubs started out as the Chicago White Stockings, then abandoned that name for the Colts in 1890. Then they abandoned that name for the Orphans in 1898, no doubt to reflect the retirement of Cap Anson. The Cubs name didn't start until 1903.

Meanwhile, in 1894, a team started playing in Sioux City, Iowa, named the Cornhuskers. In 1895, that team would move to St. Paul, Minnesota, and be known as the Saints, alternating between the Saints and the Apostles. All of this took place in a minor league circuit named the Western League. In 1900, the Western League became the American League, still remaining a minor league. Also in 1900, the St. Paul team moved to Chicago and adopted the discarded White Stockings name, since the National League club in the city hadn't used it in a decade.

In 1901, the American League became a major league. The White Stockings name would be used until 1903. After that, the shortened White Sox name was officially used.

Now that the history lesson is out of the way, I'll mention that players from the nineteenth century Cubs teams often get mislabeled with the current White Sox. It's something that I have learned to expect and usually laugh it off. I know my timeline and I'm familiar enough with the players to pick out a nineteenth century Cubs player and a nineteenth century Sioux City or St. Paul player, when they are identified as "White Sox" on their card.

Even though the "registered trademark" name of the White Sox is on the front, what irks me about this card is the back.
While mentioning Cap Anson's association with the National League team in Chicago, Upper Deck uses the modern Chicago White Sox logo. It calmly mentions that Anson played for twenty-four seasons, ending in 1897, three seasons before the American League would even be formed. That's just shoddy decision making for an otherwise nice card.

If they wanted to be historically accurate, the "Sox" on the from would be "Stockings" or the team would be listed as the Colts. There are even many examples of modern day clothing with the Chicago Colts logo appearing.
If Upper Deck didn't want to confuse the casual fans, they could have just as easily slapped a modern Cubs logo on the back and be done with it. Instead they chose to insult everyone from the people who purchased this product to the ghost of Cap Anson by displaying the White Sox logo that has been in use by the American League team since 1991.

I do miss Upper Deck being a part of the baseball landscape, but situations like this give me pause.

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 7

Well, this rounds out a solid week of horror movies. This entry has to do with supernatural forces. There are a ton of great films that could fit this category and this one had a lot of debate. There are so many worthy candidates that it seems almost unfair to choose just one. Almost.

Your favorite supernatural horror movie.
The Evil Dead (1981)

Demons? Check. Possession? Check. Book of the dead? Check!

This film could have ended up cheesy. It could have been really bad. The story starts out with five teenagers spending the weekend in an isolated cabin in the woods. Sound cliche enough? The "acting" here is a little suspect, but you have to remember that this was done with a cast of relatively unknowns. The typical teenage cabin start with the typical teenage movie lines seems to only be there to lull your senses into boredom, so you are never quite prepared for what lies ahead.

Teenagers in horror movies do stupid things as a rule. This movie is no exception. Instead of reading incantations from a book, it is lovingly provided for them on audiotape and of course they play it. There wouldn't be a movie if the teens didn't play the tape.

What follows is a slow build up leading to one of the cleverest uses of a forest ever filmed for a horror movie. One by one, the teens die off and become possessed by the demons. By the end of the film, you are totally engrossed in what is happening on the screen. It's a slow kill, but this movie will hook you.

There have been sequels, comic books and countless other media blitzes to capture on the success of Bruce Campbell and his character Ash. All are good in their own way, but this is the beginning. The go for broke movie that started a cult hero.

"Now the sun will be up in an hour or so, and we can all get out of here together. You, me, Linda, Shelly. Hmm... Well... not Shelly, she? We'll all be going home together. Wouldn't you like to be going home? I bet you'd like that, wouldn't you, Scott?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The End Of Cactus League Play

The end of Cactus League play is here. The White Sox finished with an 11-20 record. Good enough for second worst record in the Cactus League. Any team that thinks that spring stats count are usually already dead in the water as of Opening Day.

This also marks the end of the WSC Cactus League 2011 cards. I tried to get as many players in the set as I possibly could. The main goal was to get everybody who played in a White Sox uniform in the set. That didn't happen. The secondary goal was to only use photos from 2011. That happened with the exception of three cards (Jared Mitchell, Greg Walker and Michael Restovich). The only 2011 photo I had come across of Greg Walker is the one you see at the top of this post. It's not exactly the best photo to use for a coach.

As a result of this twenty four players were not included in the set. I did manage to make cards of fifty-five different players and ten cards of staff and management. All things considered, I'd mark this set a success.

To the remaining twenty-four players, I'd like to offer my sincerest apologies. For whatever reason, I just could not find a photo of you from this year. I saw plenty of these players on television, but nothing on the photography front.

These twenty-four players are:

Ozzie Chavez
Tyson Corley
Kyle Davis
Gookie Dawkins
Drew Garcia
Ryan Hamme
Deunte Heath
Robby Hudson
Seth Loman
Christian Marrero
Jose Martinez
Greg Paiml
Addison Reed
C.J. Retherford
Tyler Saladino
Hector Santiago
Orlando Santos
John Shelby
Luis Sierra
Trayce Thompson
Daniel Wagner
Kenny Williams Jr.
Ross Wilson
Austin Yount

I was scrambling at the last minute to find photos from 2011 Spring Training of each of these players, but just could not run across any. I even had to reject a Drew Garcia photograph because I used it last year, in another card set.

Now that this set has drawn to a close, there only a small window left to wait for the next card set. Tentatively on Friday night, the first card of the brand new set should be up on this blog. I have been fighting with myself over not leaking any details.

"I see myself as an intelligent, sensitive human, with the soul of a clown which forces me to blow it at the most important moments." - James Douglas Morrison

I wouldn't classify this in those extremes, but it has been difficult. I didn't make it this far just to give it away days before the big reveal.

The WSC Cactus League 2011 set was fun to do and I really got to know the team, from the new arrivals down to the minor league players. I haven't decided if I'll do this again next year, but I figure I have a good ten months to make up my mind.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Ozzie Guillen

Card #65 - Ozzie Guillen

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Herm Schneider

Card #64 - Herm Schneider

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 6

The vampire movie is one that has saturated the horror genre in the last few decades. It has creeped into so many sub-genres, that there's even prepubescent girls have been known to engage in debates involving them. Unlike werewolves, vampires can be branched out into many different directions, which makes this decision a very tough one.

Your favorite vampire movie.
Innocent Blood (1992)

It's interesting to note that the first vampire stories evolved from the lack of medical knowledge of how a body dies and decomposes. A panic about vampirism occurred in New England in the late nineteenth century because of a tuberculosis outbreak.

From the classic Nosferatu and Dracula, the myth of the vampire in movies has evolved to include the deformed, the suave and the teenage soap opera. With all these bases now covered, what could possibly be unique about a vampire film? How about a dark horror comedy with mob influence?

John Landis, who helped define eighties movies, directed this ode to vampires and the mob. It starts off with a beautiful vampire feeding on a victim, which turns out to be a mob boss, played by Robert Loggia. The vampire has a moral code and only feeds on criminals. When her meal is interrupted, the mob boss turns into a vampire instead of the lunch that he was supposed to be.

As he discovers his powers and tries to create a mob army of the undead, the vampire teams up with a cop to stop what she started. There is a scene towards the middle of the film where Don Rickles finally dies from his boss's bite and starts to turn into a vampire. The scene is surprisingly effective and has to be seen to be believed. As with any John Landis film, there are cameos. Look closely at the paramedics. One is played by horror director Dario Argento.

This film has a unique twist to the story. Unique for 1992, at least. It is definitely worth at least a rent. It may end up being a movie you come back to.

Monday, March 28, 2011

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Mark Salas

Card #63 - Mark Salas

More Cards From Jay

My fine arts background and love of baseball have finally paid off. I've been doing various freelance projects for Jay at Buccos, for cards. It has produced great results for both Jay and I. He gets some newly created cards to round out his collection and to seek autographs with, and I get glorious cards.

Until I find a steady job doing this type of work, this is my payday. Somehow, I don't think it will ever be as satisfying as this arrangement. Sixties cards are pretty sweet and Jay send over nine of them. Just enough to field a team!

1961, 1964 and 1966 Topps all arrived in the mail today and what a joyful sight they were! While I'm still waiting for my Topps Million Card Giveaway cards to get here, I can bask in the luxurious glow of vintage Pale Hose from a decade before I was born.

Let's see what Jay sent over.

1961 Topps
157 - Cal McLish
170 - Al Smith
185 - Herb Score
205 - Bill Pierce

1964 Topps
130 - Gary Peters
148 - J.C. Martin
283 - Tommy McCraw

1966 Topps
354 - Smoky Burgess
413 - John Romano

Thanks, Jay! These cards really brightened my day! My sixties collection just got a tiny bit bigger.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Joey Cora

Card #62 - Joey Cora

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Don Cooper

Card #61 - Don Cooper

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Greg Walker

Card #60 - Greg Walker

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 5

When I think of monster movies, thoughts instantly turn to the Universal monsters. It's many of those monsters that have endured generations and become timeless treasures. The stories were told and retold countless times, but hardly ever lost their luster. Many of the current day monsters are just variations on the classic Universal lineup.

Your favorite monster movie.
The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Sequels rarely outshine their predecessors, but this movie really is up to the task. Immediately following the events of the first film, the film manages to convey a subtle emotion that humanizes the monster, while still sticking to the original novel for inspiration.

Twice the doctors, twice the insanity and twice the monsters. The film follows the basic boardroom logic that gets sequels to successful movies greenlighted. That's where the similarities end. Simply put, this movie is the best Frankenstein film put to celluloid.

Director James Whale, who also directed the original, was given artistic freedom with this sequel. He crafted a tale where the story is enhanced by the camera angles, the hidden humor, the horror, the musical score and the superb acting. The growth of the characters is nothing short of miraculous in a film that by all accounts should be a retread of the first. "To a new world of gods and monsters", proclaims Dr. Pretorius. This is a world that I return to often.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Jeff Cox

Card #59 - Jeff Cox

Mailbox Joys: A Steal Home

2005 Upper Deck Reflections Purple #275 - Sean Tracey (72/99)

I don't have too much in the PayPal account right now, but I do browse and dream on eBay. When I see something that is too good to pass up, I weigh my options quickly, make a decision and move on. If that decision is to make a bid, I always expect to be outbid at the very last moment. I refuse to get into a bidding war, especially when funds are so low.

On a rare occasion, I end up winning. When that miracle occurs, I wonder how the seller makes any money off of it. All the fees and fickle buyers equated disaster for my eBay business. Instead of beating around the bush, I'll just get to the meat of the post. I got this card for a quarter. Twenty-five cents. That in itself is pretty good, but the real steal was free shipping. Yeah. I only spent a quarter to win this card and have it shipped. Let that sink in for a moment.

The card is pristine. It was encased in a penny sleeve and a top loader, which was inside a team bag. All of this arrived in a very secure bubble mailer. All for twenty-five cents. I'm shocked, to say the least. Even more amazing is that the card arrived in three days. The icing on the cake is that I actually outbid someone for this card. Strange things are afoot at the old eBay.

This proves that if you are diligent, you can find good bargains on eBay. Sometimes, you can bring a steal home.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Harold Baines

Card #58 - Harold Baines

WSC Vintage: Ralph Weigel

Card #37 - Ralph Weigel

Ralph is one of many backstops to grace the White Sox uniform. In fact, he was one of three for the Pale Hose in 1948. Aaron Robinson got the most playing time, followed by Weigel and Mike Tresh. Mike was in his second to last year in the majors and was relegated to backup duties.

The Sox acquired both Aaron Robinson and Ralph Weigel before the 1948 season. Both would be gone after the season. Ralph was most likely picked up because of his age. At 26, Weigel was seven years younger than Robinson and eight years junior to Tresh.

Ralph made appearances in sixty-six games for the White Sox in 1948, but only forty-one as a position player. He played his natural position of catcher for thirty-nine games and like Carlton Fisk many years later, was stuck in the outfield. Weigel played two games there.

The Sox traded Thurman Tucker to the Indians to get Ralph. He was purchased by the Washington Senators on April 15, 1949. He only had six games of MLB experience when the White Sox acquired Weigel. After being sold to the Senators, he appeared in only thirty-four more games before he was sent down to the AAA Chattanooga Lookouts. After 1949, Ralph Weigel fell off the baseball radar.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Juan Nieves

Card #57 - Juan Nieves

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 4

Ah. The werewolf movie. There's not too much you can do with a basic werewolf story. People are basically turning into animals that usually kill things. Full moons are involved, but nothing that you'd see at a drunken frat party. Well, not in most films. I like a lot of werewolf films, but it's a sub-genre that has never really grabbed me. That may have something to do with a later post. Right now, let's get on with it.

Day 4: Your favorite werewolf film.
Bad Moon (1996)

Sometimes I will intentionally seek out bad horror films. I see a cheesy title and read a brief description and decide that the movie could be worth a laugh or two. Usually I'm right on the money with my first vibe. On rare occasions, a film will surprise me.

I saw this title in the cable movie listings a lot. Unless I've heard of the film, that's usually a bad sign. There are so many movie stations littering the landscape right now that they fill the time by showing bad movies. Ones that would dominate the horror section at your local, likely now vanished, video rental store.

I started watching this film and thought the story sounded familiar, but I think that about the majority of low budget werewolf movies. It turns out that an unfilmable book was turned into a movie. "THOR" by Wayne Smith provided the inspiration for this movie. I had read this book around 1993 or 1994. The reason why most people, myself included, thought that no one could make a decent film out of the story is that the majority of the book is told from the point of view of a dog named Thor.

I still think the book is far superior to the film, but the fact that someone was able to make a decent film out of the story is nothing short of remarkable. Mariel Hemingway does a decent job in her role and Michael Pare's performance as the uncle turned werewolf even impressed the author, who isn't shy in his dislike of some changes deemed necessary to bring the story to film. It was an engaging enough story to survive the translation to the screen somewhat unscathed, but after you're done with the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book for a truly unique view on the werewolf story.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cards That Never Were #47

1964 Topps - Bob Hope

In the history of baseball cards, there have been numerous instances of owners appearing on the famed cardboard. Charles Comiskey is probably the most used example that people remember today.

Topps isn't quite the same company it was back in 1964. Today, Topps relies on gimmicks to sell cards. I suppose that they do need that for their bottom line. How else do you reach the majority of kids that are used to state of the art video games and other forms of electronic stimuli? How did Topps reach out to the generation before? I'm sure there are other people more qualified than I to answer those questions.

Bob Hope had two stints as a partial owner of the Cleveland Indians. The first occurred in the forties when Bill Veeck ran things. The second is harder to determine exact dates. Most likely his second tenure started in the fifties and possibly ran into the sixties and maybe beyond. I used a Sports Illustrated cover story from 1963 as a reference point to determine this 1964 card creation.

While this card may not have fit in to the plans of Topps for their 1964 set, it wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility. Owners, particularly famous or infamous ones, have shown up on cardboard before and after 1964.

"I'd like to have more time with the Cleveland club," said Hope, "but why should I louse them up?"

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Ken Williams

Card #56 - Ken Williams

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 3

This was a choice between two iconic characters, Michael and Jason. I grew up watching both and I couldn't decide between the two back then. Fast forward a couple decades... and I still can't convincingly choose. Since there are no repeat movies in the list, this one wins by default.

Your favorite slasher.
Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)

When it comes to slasher movies, no one quite fits the bill like Jason Voorhees. No other slasher turns killing into a primitive art form.

Part 6 opens with a deceased Jason. Up to this point, the man had been strong, but bound to mortality. In an ode to Frankenstein, the third actor to portray Tommy Jarvis and Arnold Horshack make the mistake of digging up Jason to make sure that he's really dead. Jason doesn't disappoint, but in a fit of pent up rage, Tommy grabs a metal fence post and stabs Voorhees in the chest, just to make sure he's dead. Lightning strikes the metal rod (the previously mentioned nod to Frankenstein) and Jason is reborn.

At this point, Jason becomes the superhuman rotting killing machine that we all associate the character with today. It was still all about protecting his territory, but with amped up undead power. This would be before Jason battled a psychic girl. Before he took a trip to Canada and Times Square to have toxic waste melt away the decayed man outside the little boy. Before turning into a parasitic slug. Before he played the part of Philip J. Fry, developed a stainless steel fetish and traveled to distant planets. Yes. All of those ludicrous things happened after his lightning resurrection and end of movie return to the lake. Did I just spoil the ending for anyone? Didn't think so.

Unbelievably, this is the only Friday the 13th movie not to feature any nudity. It's all about the story, as stretched as it is in some places. This movie is the epitome of the "second half" Paramount movies. There was no place to go but up after the misdirection of the fifth installment with Dudley from Diff'rent Strokes. This entry in the series pushed the storyline back in the right direction and created a mythic horror icon in the process.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Card Spotlight: 3-25-11

1982 Fleer #343 - Carlton Fisk

Today is the 12,574th day of my life. Exactly one year prior, one of the most memorable World Series moments occurred, with the help of a rat. Normally, television cameras were focused on the flight of the ball, but legend has it that the cameraman was distracted by a rat and had no other choice but to point the camera at the player who hit a long fly ball. Practically willing the ball to stay fair, Carlton Fisk's actions are burned into the memory of each fan, even those who were not born when the play happened. All thanks to a rat.

Thanks to a contract snafu, Fisk landed in Chicago in 1981. He brought veteran leadership and a blue collar work ethic that Chicagoans instantly appreciated. The "never say die" attitude of Fisk rubbed off on teammates and inspired a generation of fans. No matter how much the ball beat me by to first base, I always run it out. If I quit before I reached the bag, no matter what the outcome may be, I risk the ire of Carlton's voice inside my head chewing me out.

There are many baseball cards of Carlton Fisk. Most show him hitting, fielding his position, or posing. A select few show his emotion on the field. This card is the only one that I can recall showing his emotion and dedication to the game before the actual game.

I couldn't tell you where this photo was taken, but someone has been caught slacking off under the watchful eye of Fisk. It's the little moments like this that make me appreciate early Fleer cards. The photos may not have been the best, but sometimes the photos that other companies reject give you a better picture of who the players actually are. Some may look at this photo and see an angry or annoyed person. I look at the photo and see a fierce competitor.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - John Danks

Card #55 - John Danks

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 2

This was a dilemma. I have many movies that I can relate to, but some of my favorites fit other categories later on in the challenge. Usually I can relate to a single character, who seems to make the same decisions I would in the same situation, or someone who views life slightly removed from everyone else, taking in the absurdity of it all.

Day 02 – The horror film that you relate most to
Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

This movie really put a fresh spin on the zombie genre. Some movies would attempt to throw inside jokes into the film. Some movies would try to be a comedy, but fail miserably. This is the first zombie film that I can recall that got the mix just right for a comedy that features horror.

I could identify with Shaun as he goes about his routine oblivious to his surroundings, which I have been known to do if I am focused on a task. When he finally realizes what is actually going on, he is thrust into a world of the undead. Facing tough decisions, he tries to bring his world into a safe haven, which brings more complications. I'd like to think that when all seems lost, I would step up and take charge, but I hope it won't be this exact situation. Until that time, I can enjoy this wickedly good film.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Alex Rios

Card #54 - Alex Rios

The Final Wilson Comparison

Other Wilson Reminders

There's Something Familiar About Wilson

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Kyle Cofield

Card #53 - Kyle Cofield

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 1

As a good deal of you know, I love movies. All kinds. One of the genres that I appreciate most would be horror. When I heard about this challenge from The Writer's Journey (seriously, he finds the best stuff!), I had to jump on it.

There were a thousand different ways that I could have gone with each entry. Narrowing it down to just one film is a monumental task, but I have picked my thirty movies, and I'm positive that there are ones that will be left off that rank up there with these entries. Some days, those fallen movies may have bested the ones on here, but that's how it always goes.

The challenge sounds like a blast, so here is my first entry.

Day 01 – A horror film that no one would expect you to love, but you do.
Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Yes, I'll admit it. I'm the one person who likes this movie. Years ago, before the powers that be decided to reboot this franchise, I studied all the movies and wrote a treatment linking this entry with the others. It was logical and included all the movies tied together. The treatment is buried somewhere on a floppy disc (I told you it was years ago) and if I ever run across it again, it will only remind me of times before Rob Zombie made the franchise all about child abuse.

Every Halloween, I get the Silver Shamrock theme stuck in my head. It never fails. John Carpenter had a knack with music that sticks in your brain.

I can definitely appreciate what John Carpenter and Debra Hill were trying to do with this movie. Create an anthology series that focused on Halloween with different stories for each entry. Michael Myers proved too popular a character to be brushed aside.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Alejandro De Aza

Card #52 - Alejandro De Aza

1931 W517

These 3 inch by 4 inch cards are generally found in a sepia color, but other color variations are known to exist. They were originally sold as a strip of three cards. The majority of these that have been found have been cut into individual cards.

The card backs are blank, but there is a handy number on the front. The front of the card also lists player name, city and league affiliation.

Unlike some lesser strip issues, the W517 series uses photographs, which greatly enhances the value to collectors, if only for a better window into the time period.

The entire set consists of fifty-four cards and four variations, but only four of those cards feature White Sox players.

5a - Chalmer Cissell
13 - Willie Kamm
43 - Art Shires
45 - Ted Lyons

The Chalmer Cissell card can be found in two variations. The first is a Chicago team designation. The second is a Cleveland moniker. Both hold equal value.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Jeff Marquez

Card #51 - Jeff Marquez

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diamonds, Gold, Copper And Micro

When I sent off a few used Diamond Code cards and a couple of well placed Cubbies to JayBee of the spectacular bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog, I had no idea what to expect in return. Frankly, I would have been happy with a smile on JayBee's face as my reward, but I got some awesome cards too.
That itsy bitsy, teeny tiny, little speck in the center of the picture is a 1991 Topps Micro card of Eric King. I have only recently been brave enough to explore the option of these minuscule parallels and being thrust into the water by another blogger's generous supply of 1993 Micro cards, it doesn't seem as scary or as impossible anymore.

I may be fool for going after the gold parallel set of any Topps year, but I am close in enough to continue the pursuit of fool's gold. What better to fuel my fix for pyrite than a 2009 Brian Anderson Topps Gold card? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing!

That is unless you count copper. I'm not sure how copper ever trumps gold in the real world, but in the Topps world, copper is a much rarer commodity. A 2010 Topps Copper card of Mark Buehrle will always be welcomed.

What say you? Faux metals aren't your thing? Huzzah! 2011 Diamond Anniversary parallels of Omar Vizquel and Brent Morel will certainly fit the quota. All shiny and sparkly. I can mesmerize Charlie Sheen for hours just by tilting these cards back and forth. Amazing.

To top it all off, a new and improved Smelloscope uh, I mean, ToppsTown features Manny Ramirez's back after what I assume to be a strikeout. Even the ToppsTown card is shiny and distracting.

Thanks, JayBee! These cards were awesome! Thanks for a great trade and as you predicted, I loved what you sent over.

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Freddy Dolsi

Card #50 - Freddy Dolsi

Monday, March 21, 2011

WSC Cactus League 2011 - Gordon Beckham

Card #49 - Gordon Beckham

1960 MacGregor

I love the oddities of baseball cards. This twenty-five card set came from the MacGregor Sporting Goods Company. The set features stars and lesser known players. Card dimensions measure in at 3 3/4 inches by 5 inches.

The cards were nothing more than clever advertising, but the fact that it exists is something spectacular. The most interesting shot associated with the White Sox is Ted Kluszewski. He's showing off his posed fielding abilities. With the concentration in his eyes, it almost appears to be during a game, until you look at the stands and realize there's not many people there.

The cards are made of thin white stock and sport a facsimile autograph. The cards are also unnumbered. It isn't much of a surprise that out of twenty-five cards, the White Sox have four in this set. They were coming off a World Series appearance and were poised to field good teams for the near future.

Gene Freese
Ted Kluszewski
Jim Landis
Al Lopez

The inclusion of managers in such a small set is just another puzzler, albeit a nice addition. These cards are usually found pretty cheap, with the Kluszewski going for the highest out of the featured White Sox.
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