Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2008 Topps Heritage Needs

I'm giving myself a deadline to finish the 2008 Topps Heritage set, so I can finally put it to rest and bask in the glow of the journey of ten plus years. It's time to get serious. I'm close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then I can concentrate on those other pesky 2008 sets that I found compelling enough to collect.

When I started this venture, I was living in Illinois. I now live in Michigan. I was in the middle of a long term relationship. I am now happily married to someone other than that long term relationship. I was in-between jobs. Well... with the demise of Toys "R" Us, I find myself employed again, in a better situation, after nearly a year of being unemployed.

So, I believe I can get a good chunk of this through trading. Not all of it, mind you, but a good chunk. If there are specific cards you are looking for, email me. My email address is listed in the top of my trade page, for those who don't know. I'll do my best to knock off cards on your list. It would be too much of an undertaking to list every single card, so just point me to your want list and I'll see what I can come up with.

Here's what I need to complete this set. I'm only collecting the chrome for the White Sox cards, not the entire set. Even as foolish as I was back then, I still set limits.

Topps Heritage (green backs)

201 - Johan Santana (Mets variation)
231 - Kevin Gregg
315 - Jacque Jones
428 - I. Snell/T. Gorzelanny/M. Morris/M. Capps
431 - Chien-Ming Wang
440 - Jon Smoltz (spelling variation)
444 - Scott Rolen
471 - Jose Bautista
477 - Julio Lugo
480 - Jim Leyland AS
496 - Victor Martinez AS

Topps Heritage Black Backs

Topps Heritage Chrome (/1959)
C106 - Paul Konerko
C142 - Mark Buehrle
C150 - Jim Thome
C189 - Orlando Cabrera
C198 - Jermaine Dye
C213 - Joe Crede
C218 - John Danks
C243 - A.J. Pierzynski

Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor (/559)
C106 - Paul Konerko
C135 - Lance Broadway
C142 - Mark Buehrle
C150 - Jim Thome
C198 - Jermaine Dye
C213 - Joe Crede
C218 - John Danks
C250 - Bobby Jenks
C256 - Brian Anderson

Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor Black (/59)
C106 - Paul Konerko
C135 - Lance Broadway
C142 - Mark Buehrle
C150 - Jim Thome
C189 - Orlando Cabrera
C198 - Jermaine Dye
C213 - Joe Crede
C218 - John Danks
C243 - A.J. Pierzynski
C250 - Bobby Jenks
C256 - Brian Anderson

Topps Heritage Flashbacks

Topps Heritage High Numbers
523, 532, 545, 557, 595, 597, 661, 672, 686, 687, 689, 691, 693, 694, 697, 699, 703, 707, 710, 712, 714, 717, 718

Topps Heritage High Numbers 2008 Flashbacks
3, 6, 9

Topps Heritage High Numbers Black Backs

Topps Heritage High Numbers Rookie Performers
1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15

Topps Heritage High Numbers Then & Now
1, 2, 4

Topps Heritage New Age Performers
5, 13, 15

Topps Heritage News Flashbacks

Topps Heritage Then & Now

If you can help out, cool. If not, that's cool too. I appreciate the look.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Draft Years: 1970

With the sixth pick in the 1970 amateur draft, the Chicago White Sox selected shortstop Lee Richard of Southern University.

I'm pretty good with this pick. The 1970 draft class was pretty weak and the White Sox did get some good selections in later rounds, picking up Terry Forster, Jerry Hairston and Rich Gossage in later rounds. The White Sox even drafted Bucky Dent in the June secondary draft.

Lee "Bee Bee" Richard would play parts of four seasons with the White Sox and one season with the St. Louis Cardinals. He wasn't outstanding at the plate and somewhat OK in the field, but he did become a fan favorite during his time with the Sox. Sometimes, that's all you need to be a success.

If I were forced to make a selection other than Bee Bee, I would attempt Fred Lynn. Fred did not sign with the Yankees when they drafted him in 1970, but with Lynn coming from Chicago, that might have been enough to persuade him to sign with the Pale Hose.

Let's say that Fred was hell bent on going to college and I had scouted that well and was prepared for that. Bruce Sutter didn't sign either and opted for college instead. My choice would then be...

Dave Parker.

Imagine Dave Parker being one of the South Side Hitmen! Dave was the NL batting champion in 1977 and 1978. That would have made things especially interesting against the Royals. He literally knocked the cover off of a ball that he hit! Parker would have made an amazing addition to the batting lineup for the Sox in the 70s. His presence could have prevented the 1977 team from fading.

Alas, we'll never know. The Sox did pretty well in the 1970 draft, but they missed a few opportunities. At least in this draft, there were a few selections that made it to the majors and even a Hall of Fame pitcher thrown in the mix.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-26-19

1979 Topps #216 - Wilbur Wood

This would be the last regular season card for Wilbur Wood. After several seasons in the majors, Wilbur would call it a career after the 1978 campaign. This would technically be a legacy card, since he didn't play in 1979. It's an endgame, if you will.

That would be my little segue-way into what most people are going to do this weekend... see the new Marvel movie. I will be among them, at some point. I'll be working all weekend, so I'm unsure as to when I'll be seeing it, but I'll be seeing it. I was hoping to see Captain Marvel before Endgame, but that was not in the cards. Considering I've seen the other twenty films, I think I can fill in the gaps.

It's been a long journey to this point. It kind of reminds me of Wilbur Wood's career. It was a long journey to get to his decision to retire, but after an injury, he never came back quite the same. Two years of reduced workloads, saw him come back to nearly full strength in 1978, but the magic had gone. If he hadn't gotten injured, Wilbur may still be pitching today. THat's how solid and effortless he could be.

Imagine, if you will, a healthy Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon, broken up by a Mark Buehrle in his prime and Wilbur Wood from the early 70s. That would be one hell of a rotation. Two mystifying soft tossers mixed in with that young fire. The opposition wouldn't know what hit them. They would never get their timing down.

Enjoy this card of Wilbur Wood. If you see Endgame, please don't spoil it for those who have not seen it yet.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

2018 Panini Chronicles

I appreciate card companies experimenting with different ideas. A little tweak on an old idea can become exciting or it can become a painful little chore that sucks the joy out of collecting. It's a very fine line.

I wasn't paying much attention to a lot of releases last year. Money was tight and my focus was on other areas of my life. I first saw this release, as I was browsing through a Wal-Mart in the trading card section. I immediately wrote the set off as the stupidest set in awhile. Then I didn't think much about it after.

I have recently been trying to complete a lot of pesky and large (and mostly unnecessary) 2008 sets. I've been trying to do that as cheaply as possible and get the most bang for the buck. A lot of time has been spent on eBay and Sportlots recently, when I've not had access to my PC and collection to continue the organizing process. I came across a teal parallel version of the Nicky Delmonico card for under a dollar with free shipping, so I put in my low opening bid and ended up winning it as the only bidder. It took a long time, but it finally arrived this week from Canada.

I have to say, my initial reaction to this set was way off. It is not a perfect set by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, a pretty good set. At only sixty cards and five parallels and four printing plates, it's not that daunting of a task to reasonably complete a base set.

There is a catch. There are inserts galore! Too many to properly list here. There are insert sets that have a bigger checklist than the base cards. There are players that appear in the insert sets that don't appear in the base set. There's even a continuation of an earlier release (Donruss Optic) not related to anything else here. It's enough to give me a headache. Maybe it's a tumor. It's not a tumor! Not at all! It's just a headache.

The White Sox have two cards in the base set.

28 - Nicky Delmonico
39 - Jose Abreu

This is a nice set that highlights sixty "accomplishments". Nicky's accomplishment was walking twice and scoring a run without the benefit of a hit in a season opener. An accomplishment achieved by only two other White Sox players this century, Ray Durham in 2002 and Juan Uribe in 2006. So, yeah, it's a list of accomplishments that announcers trot out to fill time. It's interesting, but slightly off the mark and sometimes a stretch.

I really appreciate Panini trying. I do enjoy this set, but I feel this is more of a kitchen sink release. There's some Panini sets, some Donruss sets and even some Score sets (?!) thrown into the mix. It's a convoluted mess when viewed as a whole, but broken down into individual sets, it's a nice effort.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

WSC All-Stars: Luke Appling 1947

Card #27 - Luke Appling

Luke was selected to his seventh and final All-Star game in 1947. He was selected as a reserve shortstop for the game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Appling would pinch hit for right fielder Buddy Lewis to start the top of the sixth. Luke would hit a single to left field off of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Harry Brecheen. Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams would single to right field, enabling Appling to get to third base. New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio ground into a double play, but Luke would still score on the play, tying the game, one all. New York Yankees outfielder Tommy Henrich would replace Appling for the bottom of the sixth in right field.

The American League would end up winning, 2-1, on an RBI single by Washington Senators center fielder Stan Spence, scoring Boston Red Sox second baseman Bobby Doerr in the seventh inning.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-19-19

2016 Topps Update #287b - Tim Anderson

Currently the American League average leader, Tim Anderson has had a wonderful start to the 2019 season. He's certainly grabbed everyone's attention this year. Tim has vowed to be himself, have fun and entertain the crowd. So far, he has done just that. Even if it annoys the competition.

Bat flips and celebrations are nothing new. Neither is showboating. The actions this week from Tim Anderson as he hit a home run, were nothing out of the ordinary. Still, the opposition took offense. Even as, MLB tweeted out a celebratory tweet about Tim and his home run, that was the catalyst in a long standing uneasiness between the White Sox and Royals that dates back to at least the mid-seventies.

When these teams get together, things can get explosive. Feelings get hurt and tensions arise with the fragility of an eggshell. It takes one little thing. Add in an umpire that likes to stir the pot, especially against the White Sox, and things get out of hand quickly. That's what happened this week, which led to three ejections and three suspensions, including Tim Anderson.

Tim Anderson, with some help from Jose Abreu, took the high road, stayed out of the melee and just wanted to take the base. A screaming Heath Fillmyer, didn't ease tensions at all. Who is Heath Fillmyer and why does he want to get involved in something that he has no direct stake in. One can argue that he's sticking up for his teammates. That's one take, but it would be misguided.

I can understand why manager Rick Renteria got bent out of shape. While the incident was over and calmer heads tried to prevail to first base, two huge waves of royal blue came from two different directions towards first base. This led to a near confrontation between managers, then some jawing between Renteria and former White Sox short term infielder/current Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum.

So, out of all that posturing, only three people were ejected from the game... Royals pitcher Brad Keller (for throwing the pitch intentionally that started this whole mess), White Sox manager Rick Renteria (who just yelled at some people and almost fought physically) and Tim Anderson. For what, you might ask? Tim was suspended for "racially-charged language". He basically said to the Caucasian pitcher who hit him was a "weak-ass f-ing N-word".

So if we are going to open this can of worms, why hasn't this type of ejection been more prevalent? I don't think there's a Caucasian slur out there that would personally offend me, but I would expect it to carry the same amount of weight as any racial slur against any other race, color or creed. If it doesn't, then that would be racial discrimination by definition.

Would Tim still be suspended if he had called Keller a Caucasian slur, instead of the N-word? I guess we'll never know the answer to that. Does a racial slur matter if the insulted party is not the slur's race? Would it have mattered if Keller had called Anderson a racial slur?

I could play devil's advocate all day with all of the scenarios, but at the end of the day, it does not matter. I'm expecting to hear more players and coaches being ejected this year for "racially-charged language". If not, then there's something very fishy going on. I have ears at the ballpark. I can hear things that are said on the field. This was not an isolated incident. But timing is everything and those overheard racial slurs were not said in the heat of the moment after a bench clearing incident. They were said casually and laughed about. Does context of speech matter? Apparently so.

But don't let this all discourage you. This was just one game in a season of 162. There are plenty more games that will be incident free. This should not detract from another beautiful season of baseball. Tim Anderson will continue to have a wonderful season. The White Sox will continue in their rebuild mode. The Royals will still play in Kansas City. Everything will continue as it should.

Shouldn't it?

WSC Gierman '19 - Nicky Delmonico

Card #43 - Nicky Delmonico

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

WSC All-Stars: Luke Appling 1946

Card #26 - Luke Appling

Luke made it back to the All-Star game for the first time since 1943. Like last time, Appling made the team as a reserve shortstop. This time, Luke got the call, pinch hitting for Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller to lead off the bottom of the third inning at Boston's Fenway Park.

Appling hit a grounder to Chicago Cubs pitcher Claude Passeau, who threw to New York Giants first baseman Johnny Mize for the first out. Luke was replaced by Detroit Tigers pitcher Hal Newhouser to start the fourth inning. The AL All-Stars won handily, 12-0.

WSC Gierman '19 - Bernado Flores Jr.

Card #41 - Bernado Flores Jr.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-12-19

1952 Topps #70 - Al Zarilla

This week I bit the bullet and finally purchased my first 1952 Topps card. I can tell you that I was pretty excited pulling the trigger on the card! I've been meaning to do this for years. I found a great deal on this one.

It's far from perfect. The two major flaws with the card are the centering and the upper right corner. The card is slightly tilted, so I'm assuming there is an entire sheet worth of cards that have the same tilt. The upper right corner has a tiny chunk taken out of it.

You know what? I don't care. It's a 1952 Topps card and the first to grace my collection. It is the culmination of thirty-six years of collecting. The 1952 Topps set has been an unobtainable goal since I was a kid. Topps was the first cards that I opened and it remains a goal to have every White Sox team set from the flagship sets. The only thing that might top this would be a T206.

You have to start somewhere and I started with Al Zarilla. It's a nice addition to my White Sox collection and I'm sure it won't be the last 1952 Topps card I'll pick up. It's also a nice surprise to see in the mail today after a very early start at my job.

So begins an adventure that will likely involve patience, thrills, disappointments and ultimate victory... completing a 1952 Topps White Sox team set. However it turns out, it will be an adventure.

WSC Gierman '19 - Kelvin Herrera

Card #36 - Kelvin Herrera

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

1952 Topps

I can't believe that I've been blogging for over eleven years and I have never reviewed the 1952 Topps set. Let's get this out of the way first. This is one of the handful of truly iconic sets. Even people that have never collected baseball cards in their life, know the design, mostly because of the Mickey Mantle rookie card, which isn't technically his rookie card, but is. None of that really matters now though.

The whole set has late 40s/early 50s MLB logos. It has a facsimile autograph underneath a typewritten name inside a star lines marquee, similar to Broadway. The photos are colorized versions of the players. The coloring has a luminous sheen, making the subjects look more like wax figures, but still lifelike. This does make for a few interesting pictures. Some shots look unusual like Lou Kretlow's pitching stance. Other players just look like ventriloquist puppets, like Al Zarilla and Eddie Robinson.

It's definitely a unique combination of elements that comes together in an iconic way. Between the stories and the Topps revisionist history of all things starting in 1952, this set has become legendary. It wasn't the first post-WWII major release, but it is perhaps the best remembered.

The White Sox have twenty-one cards in the set.

32 - Eddie Robinson
42 - Lou Kretlow
50 - Marv Rickert
62 - Chuck Stobbs
70 - Al Zarilla
95 - Ken Holcombe
98 - Bill Pierce
117 - Sherman Lollar
133 - Al Widmar
159 - Saul Rogovin
169 - Howie Judson
195 - Orestes Minoso
211 - Ray Coleman
251 - Chico Carrasquel
254 - Joe Dobson
279 - Ed Stewart
283 - Phil Masi
303 - Harry Dorish
304 - Sam Dente
305 - Paul Richards
308 - Luis Aloma

Besides the T206 cards, the 1952 Topps are probably the most well known cards, even to non-collectors. Depending on who you are collecting from the set, things can get very pricey, very quickly. It's not uncommon to pay over $20 for a common player in a low grade. The set is that popular and of course the lore of unsold cases plunging into the Atlantic only adds to the mystique and high pricing.

Tread carefully and have fun, but I do not envy the Yankees fans having to look for the Mantle card. The White Sox fare only slightly better with the Minnie Minoso card. The Minoso card can be found for a song compared to the Mantle card. It is a Herculean task, but not impossible.

WSC Gierman '19 - Welington Castillo

Card #33 - Welington Castillo

Friday, April 5, 2019

Card Spotlight: 4-5-19

1987 Donruss Opening Day #236 - Harold Baines

Not too much to say today on the weekly card spotlight. Enjoy this card of the Hall of Fame player who threw out a first pitch in the home opener this afternoon.

Enjoy the game folks!

WSC Gierman '19 - Nate Jones

Card #29 - Nate Jones

Thursday, April 4, 2019

2017 Triple Threads

When most people think about Topps Triple Threads, they think of all the relics and autographs. Those are nice, but there's a base set with parallels that usually gets tossed aside and forgotten. Well, the parallels usually get a little more love because of the scarcity, but this release is all about the hits in most collectors' eyes.

What a lot of people don't realize is that there is a beautiful one hundred card base set just hiding in plain sight. Sure, the design is a little gaudy, but that's exactly what gives the cards their personality. It's almost expected by the level of price point that the cards will be a bit deco, a bit gaudy and a little royal looking. There is little love for the base set here, but Topps takes care with the base anyway.

The one hundred cards run the gamut of stars (both currently ascended and retired) and a tiny smattering of hot rookies. While there are a few cards of players who have played for the White Sox, only one player is pictured and listed as being on the White Sox.

80 - Frank Thomas

A lot of the focus is on the relics and autographs, but if you look past that, there is a really nice base set here. Most of the base set can be picked up for a song on the secondary market. If you are into big hits, try buying the packs themselves. There are some nice guarantees and you might get really lucky with the hits.

If you are just looking for the base cards and parallels, a seven card pack that breaks the bank is a little hard to swallow. Stick to the secondary market where you can usually find most base cards for a couple dollars each. Most higher numbered parallels can be had for a few dollars more.

WSC Gierman '19 - Manny Banuelos

Card #28 - Manny Banuelos

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

WSC All-Stars: Mike Tresh

Card #25 - Mike Tresh

For the first time since the inaugural All-Star game in 1933, the All-Star game was cancelled. Due to wartime travel restrictions for World War II, the 1945 All-Star game was cancelled on April 24, 1945.

No players were ever "officially" selected to the All-Star rosters, but the Associated Press and The Sporting News selected their own roster, so fans could dream about the All-Star game that never was.

Mike was selected by both the Sporting News and the Associated Press and listed as the American League starting catcher. This would be the only time Tresh was selected as an All-Star. Mike played for the Chicago White Sox from 1938 until 1948. He spent his last season with the Cleveland Indians in 1949.

WSC Gierman '19 - Blake Rutherford

Card #27 - Blake Rutherford

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

2018 Donruss Optic

Donruss Optic is one of my favorite releases each year. I don't get many packs, mainly because the pack prices are steep even for retail, but I do get a few packs each year.

It's almost like a baseball card on steroids, in a good way, not a shaming of our national pastime way. The chromium-stock makes all the difference. I shouldn't be swayed by this. Topps Chrome doesn't give me the same satisfaction, even though it's a very similar card type. Maybe it's just the fact that it's Donruss and not Topps or the fact that the word chrome doesn't factor into the name. I can't quite place my finger on it.

In fact the only reason this release isn't a top priority for me is the parallels. All seventeen parallels. I'm sick of so many parallels. It makes getting a complete set through packs almost impossible, even though the base set is only 175 cards.

Well, technically the base set is 186 cards. Panini pulls some Topps-level shenanigans. Card #176 is available as a variation. Cards 177 - 186 are only available as inserts in 2018 Panini Chronicles. It really reminds me of what Topps did with their 2008 Update and Highlights set featuring Topps Heritage High Numbers. I was not happy with that marketing decision by Topps, but I understood the reasoning behind it.

The White Sox have five cards in the set and no variations. There are still the seventeen additional parallels.

2 - Yoan Moncada DK
53 - Thyago Vieira RR
59 - Nicky Delmonico RR
80 - Jose Abreu
81 - Frank Thomas

For only five cards, the White Sox have a nice variety in there. A Diamond King, two Rated Rookies, a veteran and a retired Hall of Famer. Not too shabby. It makes up for the trip through parallel hell.

Donruss Optic is not a perfect release, but it has a lot going for it. A manageable sized set, a good mix of players and chromium technology. It's brought down by the seventeen parallels and being split over multiple releases to complete the base set. There's a lot that went right though and that's what counts. Now only if Panini can get fully licensed, this might be an unstoppable powerhouse.

WSC Gierman '19 - Juan Minaya

Card #26 - Juan Minaya

Monday, April 1, 2019

Draft Years: 1969

With the third pick in the 1969 amateur draft, the Chicago White Sox chose third baseman Ted Nicholson out of Oak Park High School in Laurel, Mississippi. Out of the top nine picks in the draft, Ted is the only one not to make it to the majors. During his first year with the White Sox, Ted played for the Gulf Coast League White Sox, where they switched him to the outfield. Despite a low average and only two home runs, Ted made the All-Star game. In 1970, Nicholson split time between the Duluth-Superior Dukes and the Appleton Foxes where he fared slightly better. Ted joined the war effort in Vietnam during the 1971 and 1972 seasons. Nicholson came back to the Appleton Foxes in 1973, but played only twelve games before calling it a career.

Some people have claimed that this was the "ultimate bust" in the history of White Sox draft picks. That's debatable. It's certainly in the bottom half of draft picks. The two year wartime break definitely did not help his development.

There were plenty of names that made the majors after Ted was picked. There are intriguing name like Ken Griffey, Gorman Thomas, Alan Ashby, Bob Boone, Bill Madlock and Buddy Bell. Even Dave Winfield was selected, but didn't sign. I would be really tempted to take Bert Blyleven here, but the White Sox took a third baseman and turned him into an outfielder, so keeping that logic here, the White Sox should have picked...

Dwight Evans
Dwight played for twenty seasons, earned seven Gold Gloves, was selected to three All-Star games and won a Silver Slugger award. Except for his rookie season in 1972 and the 1977 season, Evans played in over one hundred games in each season. He led the league three times with walks. Dwight also led MLB in runs scored in 1984.

I can envision an early eighties team with Dwight Evans, Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk being jumbled in the middle of the order. I can see Dwight being moved into the fifth spot in the 1981 season, when Fisk and Greg Luzinski were acquired and moving to the sixth spot when Baines came into his own. That would be a very intimidating middle of the order, who could hold their own at their respective positions.

WSC Gierman '19 - Daniel Palka

Ccard #25 - Daniel Palka

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