Friday, May 31, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-31-19

1975 Twinkies #8 - Bill Melton

Essentially the exact same card as Hostess, except Twinkies cards have a black stripe on the back. Food issues were much more common than they are today, which is a shame. I can remember getting excited every time I saw baseball cards on a food product when I was growing up.

1975 marked the last season of Beltin' Bill in a White Sox uniform. His numbers were a little down from previous years, but not horrible. In December 1975, Melton would be traded to the California Angels. Bill would find post-career success as a pre and post game commentator for the White Sox.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mailbox Joys: A Thigpen Auto

2017 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs Blue #FFABT - Bobby Thigpen

Bobby Thigpen is one of my player collections. I haven't updated my have list for him recently. Player collections are next after getting my want list completely updated.

When I run across something that I don't have for a retired player that's not in the Hall of Fame, I get excited. Typically, most of my player collections are of fringe players, or in the case of Thigpen, ones who were in the upper echelon for a few years and then came crashing back to Earth.

Looking back, I think it was the grace and poise and respect for the game that made me a huge fan of Bobby's. Years later, when Francisco Rodriguez would break Thigpen's single season save record of fifty-seven (eventually racking up sixty-two saves), Bobby sent him a congratulatory note, just as Dave Righetti did when Thigpen broke his mark. Just to show you how far relievers have come, Dave Righetti's high mark of forty-six saves in 1986, has him tied for forty-second place with nine other players. Meanwhile, Bobby's record of fifty-seven saves has him tied for second place.

I found this autographed card on eBay, up for auction. I was the only bidder and won it for 99 cents, plus $3.50 shipping. I wasn't to concerned about the shipping costs considering I had won the auction at such a low price. It was coming from a seller in the continental United States with a good rating.

I won the auction on April 28th. The shipping estimate was for May 8th. Long, but not unreasonable. It was marked shipped the next day. So the wait begins. I wait. I wait some more. The estimated arrival date came and went. I wait even longer.

On May 15th, I sent the seller a question, asking if I could have the tracking number, so I could try to deduce where the package had been delayed. No response.

On May 18th, a package arrived in my mailbox, with this card in it, and a postmark of May 15th. When I was a seller, I tried to achieve the gold standard on every order and leave the competition in the dust. None of my customers saw red, when they ordered from me. None of them experienced even a delay. Maybe it's just the way I was raised, but if I can't deliver something as promised, in a timely fashion, I communicate. I explain myself and let the other person know what's going on.

I'm happy that the card arrived as described in the listing. Of course it's not the end of the world that it arrived late or I inadvertently had to remind the seller to send it. In the grand scheme of things it's the size of a molecule in the expanse of the universe. It does not mean that it isn't annoying. It does not mean that lackadaisical service is to be tolerated.

In the end, I left positive feedback, when I felt I should have left neutral, because I did not want to get hit with negative feedback. So far, the seller has left no feedback. I'm not going to call out the seller, but I won't be ordering from them unless it is the only way I can get something. I will know in the future, to remind the seller of their obligations earlier than I did this time and have patience.

Mistakes happen and I have no idea what was going on in their life during that time. Unless it is deliberately malicious, you have to give the benefit of the doubt. I could be in a situation one day, where something I send out is delayed. It could be through no fault of my own or it could've gotten buried in a pile of other stuff and forgotten. Life happens. People shouldn't be penalized for that. I'm just happy that I have another Thigpen card to add to the collection. The only real debate is should it be part of the White Sox team collection or part of the Thigpen player collection?

Friday, May 24, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-24-19

2018 Topps Chrome Future Stars #FS-6 - Lucas Giolito

There have been a lot of great highlights so far for the 2019 season. It has been still a largely uneven affair, as players have stepped up and were brought back down. Usually, there will be someone who steps up and has a fantastic stretch, while others falter around him.

This past week, the current ace of the pitching staff has been Lucas Giolito. He has had two complete games, one rain shortened, one nine inning outing. Regardless, it is an accomplishment that has not been achieved since Chris Sale was on the team.

Kudos to Giolito! When this team really gels... look out!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Draft Years: 1971

With the first pick overall in the 1971 draft, the Chicago White Sox selected catcher Danny Goodwin out of Peoria Central High School in Peoria, Illinois. And then Danny did not sign.

Goodwin opted to go to college instead. In an unusual anomaly, Danny was selected as the first overall pick in the 1975 draft by the California Angels. He did sign with the Angels and made his MLB debut on September 3, 1975 against the Texas Rangers. Goodwin had a mostly unremarkable career over seven seasons for the California Angels, the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics, ending in 1982.

It certainly did not live up to the lofty standards of being selected twice as the overall first pick in the draft. Seven years in the majors, even mostly under the radar, is a pretty remarkable feat.

The 1971 draft had some notable prospects, such as Frank Tanana, Jim Rice, Rick Rhoden, Craig Reynolds, Ron Guidry, Jerry Mumphrey and Keith Hernandez.

The White Sox had the first and twenty-fifth picks in the draft and there were two Hall of Fame superstars that were selected at picks twenty-nine and thirty. Theoretically, the White Sox could have selected both of these players. Both played third base primarily, but one was also considered a first baseman as well.

The White Sox selected outfielder Bill Sharp with the twenty-fifth pick. Bill did sign, but only lasted four seasons in the majors. I would've been comfortable with the White Sox selecting one of the available future Hall of Fame players at pick twenty-five.

With the first pick in the draft, the White Sox should have selected....

Mike Schmidt.
I selected Schmidt at pick number one because Mike had power numbers and a Gold Glove defense. While he didn't hit for consistent high average, he wasn't horrible. His glove and power balanced out a slightly above average batting average. Schmidt also bowed out gracefully when his numbers started to decline.

Since it's rare that two Hall of Fame superstars are still available after two picks by the White Sox, I'm going to say that the White Sox should have selected at pick number twenty-five...

George Brett.
George had a little pop in the bat and was no slouch in the defense department, but he consistently flirted with high averages, including a run at the elusive .400. Since Mike Schmidt would have been selected for third base, George would have shifted to first base much earlier in his career.

Can you imagine an infield for the White Sox with Mike Schmidt and George Brett at the infield corners? It could have happened!

Out of twenty-six prospects picked by the White Sox in the 1971 June amateur draft, only ten signed. Only six of those twenty-six picks ever made it to the majors.

The 70s and 80s certainly would have been different with Schmidt and Brett on the team!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-17-19

1970 Kellogg's #16 - Carlos May

Happy birthday to Carlos May, pthe only player ever to wear his birth date on the back of his uniform. Although this appears to be a photograph from a non-MLB game, since he is wearing number twenty-nine instead of number seventeen, as he did through his entire White Sox career.

The things you notice on cards!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Card Spotlight: 5-10-19

1993 Rice Council #1 - Steve Sax

This is what happens when baseball cards reach the saturation point. Lovely oddball cards. I'm not sure who thought that a ten card set of athletes from different sports shilling the benefits of rice was a good idea, but I am so glad they did. I never knew that there was such a thing as the USA Rice Council until I saw this card. Does every grain get a council or just rice? Besides making trading cards, what does the Rice Council actually do?

Steve Sax was not great during his time with the White Sox, but he did have this card. Steve was the only athlete to get a second card in the set and it shows him pumping iron.

My favorite quote from this card? "So grab an apron and let's stir up some fun in the kitchen!"

Oddballs are always fun and this card is no exception.

Monday, May 6, 2019

WSC Southside '19 - Carlos Rodon

Card #2 - Carlos Rodon

Cards From Zach

Zach, from the awesome blog Autographed Cards, sent me an e-mail about my post last week about trying to finish the 2008 Topps Heritage set. I'm so close, yet so far. I'd be finished if it wasn't for the surprise introduction of the High Number series. That really stopped my momentum in 2008.

Zach was very helpful and even made me realize that I had made a mistake in identifying a card. I had copied the wrong name on the card number I needed, so when he offered me the player and the number didn't correspond, it seemed glaringly obvious. So I was helped out twice, which is nice.

I got three cards from the Heritage and High Numbers sets and a chrome card for the team set. Zach was kind enough to protect these cards with some 1986 Sportflics cards from my want list, which was awfully nice to do.

The want list and the 2008 Topps Heritage post have both been updated to reflect the new cards.

On a side note, I have been in the lengthy process of revamping, rechecking and organizing my collection and want lists. I know at least one potential trader has been waiting patiently for me to finish, so I can let him know exactly what I have. On the want list front, I have updated through 1990. On the collection front, it is still slowly coming together. I keep discovering different caches of cards to go through.

It is a long time coming for this organization. Since my want list was last majorly updated, I have moved twice. It is only since my wife and I were able to purchase our forever home, that I've been able to properly catalog my collection and give it room to breathe. Since my move in 2013, my collection has spent the bulk of its time stored away in a closet, rarely venturing past that domain. My move in late 2016 saw my collection get some much needed space, but no time to sort through it. Now, the time is here and the space is here, so it is the perfect time to streamline everything.

Side note over. I have to thank Zach once again for the great additions to the collection! I will be sending some 2019 Royals your way, as requested.

Friday, May 3, 2019

WSC Southside '19 - Tim Anderson

Card #1 - Tim Anderson

Card Spotlight: 5-3-19

2012 Topps Gold Sparkle #149 - Chris Sale

I'll be the one to say it. I miss Chris Sale. I miss the passion (even if it sometimes was misguided). I miss the quality starts. I miss the focus and business-like attitude.

I don't miss the drama.

I love Michael Kopech being on this team. I enjoy seeing Yoan Moncada blossom into the player we thought he could be. I'm excited for Luis Basabe. So what if Victor Diaz hasn't pitched since 2017. I appreciate that Chris Sale has a World Series ring. I'm sad that it wasn't with the White Sox, but I am genuinely happy for him.

It will be exciting to see Chris Sale pitch against the White Sox tonight. It will be very interesting to see if he can get his first win of the season against his former team. He is uncharacteristically 0-5 to start the season with a 6.30 ERA. That is definitely not the Chris Sale that I'm used to seeing.

While I always wish Chris well, I'm hoping the White Sox can make him 0-6 tonight. I don't follow Sale as closely as I used to, but I'm wondering if he's getting the injuries out of the way early this year or if he is just suffering from bad luck. His strikeout total suggests bad luck, but his ERA hints at something more sinister. Either way, I hope Chris figures it out, after he leaves Chicago.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Mailbox Joys: Al Zarilla Continues To Show The Way

It seems appropriate that today marks what would have been Al Zarilla's 100th birthday, since he alone is rekindling my collecting of early 50s cards. I was given a limited code for $5 off of a $10 purchase on eBay and found this beauty lingering in an eBay store for around $12 shipped. It was an easy decision, considering I had just received a 1952 Topps Al Zarilla card in the mail recently. That may have been my very first 1952 Topps card, but this was not my first 1951 Topps card.

About a decade aago, I had won a mixed lot of 1951 Topps cards. I was immediately taken by how small they actually were. I believe there were six in that lot... four red back and two blue back. They were in pretty decent condition, but far from perfect. I sold a few in my long gone eBay store and the others ended up in trades. There were no White Sox cards in that lot, so this is truly the first one that I have in my collection.

This almost makes me want to start an Al Zarilla player collection. Almost. Al was only on the White Sox for parts of two seasons, so White Sox cards of him are pretty limited. Excluding later reprints, there are only nine cards that I immediately see of Zarilla in a White Sox uniform. A few of those will be very difficult to obtain, but not impossible. My biggest concerns will be the Star-Cal cards and the Tip Top bread label. Like I said, very difficult, but not impossible. Considering I recently lost out on two different Royal Dessert cards, for two White Sox players not named Al Zarilla, it's going to be a situation of "right time, right place" to get any non Topps or non Bowman cards at a decent price.

Still, that is the thrill of the hunt. The missed opportunities. The bargain wins. It's all part of the fun. Sometimes things fall in your lap. Other times, you have to really work for it. On rare occasions, it was never meant to be.

Theorizing that one could collect all the White Sox cards within his own lifetime, collector Steve Gierman stepped into the blogoshpere... and vanished. He awoke to find himself spending hours on sites like eBay, Sportlots, UniSquare and COMC, putting together awesome trades, and driven by an unknown force to collect all White Sox cards. His only guide on this journey is Al, a baseball player from the past, who appears as baseball cards that only Steve can see and hear. And so collector Steve Gierman finds himself leaping from trade to trade, sale to sale, striving to collect each card and hoping each time that his next card... will complete his collection.

Or I could just be losing my mind. Time will tell.

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