Sunday, March 24, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Ray Olmedo

Card #122 - Ray Olmedo

Born: May 31, 1981

Ray signed with the White Sox on November 25, 2011 and remained in AAA Charlotte for the majority of the 2012 season, until Eduardo Escobar was traded to Minnesota in the Francisco Liriano trade. Olmedo made his Pale Hose debut on August 5, 2012, against the Los Angeles Angels in Chicago, pinch running for Paul Konerko, after his single that led off the eighth inning. He would score on Alexei Ramirez's triple later that inning. It would be his first time on playing in a MLB game since September 30, 2007, with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Perhaps his best day with the ChiSox was on August 26, 2012, at home against Seattle, when he went two for three, and scored on a Kevin Youkilis triple in the bottom of the third inning. He only repeated two hits in a game once more in a White Sox uniform, on October 3, 2012, the last day of the season, Ray went two for five with a run scored.

Olmedo played twenty games with the Sox, in various roles. He played third base, shortstop, second base and designated hitter in his short time with the team. After the 2012 season, Ray was option back to AAA, but opted for free agency instead, where he signed with the Minnesota Twins.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

1964 Topps

After the candy coated clown colors of the 1963 set, Topps went simplistic. The colors are still there, but more subdued. The subject dominates the card this time around, even popping out slightly from the box he fills.

While it may seem like Topps phoned in the design, the simplistic elements aren't here by accident. A conscious decision to focus on mostly head shots wouldn't have worked if the colors were garish or overbearing.

What people remember most about the 1964 Topps set is the orange backs. The backs of the cards remind me of a Dreamsicle. The orange and white combination shouldn't work, but it weirdly does. Here is where the glaring colors of last year's set have decided to take residence. It's an adjustment for the eyes, but it is a pleasant diversion. Some collectors are divided on the 1964 orange backs. Most people either love them or hate them. Rare is the collector that sees the orange and white backs indifferently.

The backs feature complete MLB stats, a short bio and (if room allows) a trivia question on a player's regular card. Topps suggested to rub a nickel on the back of the card to view the answer to the trivia question, but if the card is angled just right, the answer could be seen without coin rubbing.

The 1964 Topps set has 587 cards. There are thirty-one cards featuring White Sox players.

2 - AL ERA Leaders - Gary Peters, Juan Pizarro (Camilo Pasqual)
13 - Hoyt Wilhelm
31 - Dave Nicholson
66 - Eddie Fisher
81 - All-Star Vets - Nellie Fox (Harmon Killebrew)
85 - Pete Ward
107 -  Bruce Howard, Frank Kreutzer
130 - Gary Peters
148 - J.C. Martin
168 - Al Weis
195 - Floyd Robinson
215 - Ray Herbert
232 - Al Lopez
247 - Dave DeBusschere
264 - Jim Landis
283 - Tommy McCraw
308 - Gene Stephens
323 - John Buzhardt
340 - Joe Cunningham
368 - Fritz Ackley, Don Buford
384 - Ron Hansen
401 - Charlie Maxwell
421 - Camilo Carreon
430 - Juan Pizarro
453 - Frank Baumann
465 - Mike Hershberger
496 - White Sox Team
519 - Charlie Smith (pictured on White Sox, listed on Mets)
538 - Minnie Minoso
564 - Jerry McNertney (McCabe)
584 - Joel Horlen

The 1964 set is one of the underrated sets of the sixties. It has a solid, yet simplistic design, memorable backs and a nice selection of players. Even though Nellie Fox has a regular card on the Colts, he shows up with Harmon Killebrew on a multi-player card while in a White Sox uniform. This set also features the second of three Dave DeBusschere cards. DeBusschere pitched with the White Sox for two seasons in the majors and an additional two seasons in the minors before hanging up his pitching glove to focus of a Hall of Fame career as a power forward in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.

Monday, March 11, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Donnie Veal

Card #121 - Donnie Veal

Born: September 18, 1984

Originally drafted in the second round by the Chicago Cubs in 2005, Donnie was taken from the Cubs in the 2008 rule V draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was in Pittsburgh that Veal made his MLB debut on April 7, 2009, against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Donnie worked the fifth inning after Ian Snell got rocked for eight runs (six earned) in the first four. Veal would appear in nineteen games for the Pirates that year. In 2010, Donnie got off to a promising start in the Pittsburgh minor league system before being sidelined by an injury in late May, which required Tommy John surgery.

Veal was signed by the White Sox on November 10, 2011 and made his White Sox debut on July 20, 2012 against the Tigers in Detroit. Donnie retired twenty-six consecutive left-handed batters before Shin-Soo Choo broke the streak with an RBI double on September 24, 2012, in a game which also saw Veal record his first career save. It looks like Donnie has found a comfortable spot in the Sox bullpen. He will definitely be in the mix for a roster spot on the 2013 team.
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