Friday, September 19, 2014

Pictures of Pitchers

My daughter was at the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethsada, MD last weekend. This is a convention for independent comic book and graphic novel artists and small publishers. A lot of artists come to this and sell their work and produce original artwork for a commission. While she was there she bought this for me.

And this...
These are little booklets, apparently self published by artist Katherine K. Wirick. She was nice enough to autograph them to me.  Here are some of her pictures.

The booklets are laid out with a head shot of a pitcher on one side and a full shot on the other. This is Walter Johnson.

Sandy Koufax

She says that she only draws pitchers who inspire her in some way.

Who wasn't inspired by Mo'ne Davis?

Whitey Ford

Most of the pictures were of past greats.

She seems to have a particular affinity for Dodgers.

You can see more of her work here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

That sad time of year

Well it's that sad time of year. No, I don't mean the start of school, or the first hints of fall in the air. I mean it's the time of year when football and hockey cards begin to push baseball cards off the rack at Target.

And dear God, what is this?


My hand was shaking so much I couldn't get the picture in focus.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Broken Bats and Baseball Cards

One of the subsets of baseball cards I like are cards featuring broken bats. It's always fun as a fan to find a razor-sharp hunk of wood spinning at your head.  Most of the cards I have show the barrel of the bat just at the act of breaking, or just as it's leaving the handle of the bat in the player's hands.

1992 Upper Deck #180 Kirk Gibson
Looks like he broke his bat on a check swing.

1992 Pinnacle Rookies #14 Monty Fariss
Sometimes it's all you can do to get the bat between you and the ball.

1992 Triple Play #113 Andre Dawson
On the back it says "Players, like Andre Dawson of the Cubs, break dozens of bats each season". Doesn't this card look nicer than the recent Panini Triple Play cards?

1993 Upper Deck #253 Pat Listach
Pat looks like he's ready to do some damage with that weapon in his hand.

1993 Upper Deck #267 Wes Chamberlain
It must be a weird feeling to complete your follow-through with just a nubbin of the bat.

1993 Upper Deck #582 Brian R. Hunter
I'm having a hard time figuring out what went on here. Hunter is a right-handed batter. It looks like the bat broke before he got it off his shoulder. Upper Deck was having luck getting broken bat pics in 1993.

2001 Stadium Club #60 Ivan Rodriguez
Infielders beware.

2007 Upper Deck #399 Roger Clemens
Cards featuring pitchers batting are rare. One's where the pitcher is getting his bat broken are very rare.

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Update #319 David Ortiz
Upper Deck - home of the broken bat.

2009 Upper Deck #763 David Wright 
It's hard to tell exactly, but it looks like the photographer caught the ball in the act.

2010 Upper Deck #32 Kyle Phillips
A thoroughly demolished bat.

2001 Topps #233 Ramon Hernandez
Without Upper Deck, I guess we'll see fewer broken bat cards. This is the latest one I have.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Reference Cards #2 - 2000 Black Diamond

This is the second post in my new series highlighting sets from my Reference Binders.

2000 Black Diamond
This was the second and last year of this Upper Deck product. It is a 120-card set available in 6-card packs for $3.99. The cards are printed on embossed foil board. The lines you see behind McGwire are actually grooves. The player on the front and the back are glossy. There's also a color photo on the back which will become important in a moment. I bought several packs when they were new.

As far as I know these "diamond debut" cards were the only subset. Also on foil board but with added gold foil on the front. Petrick made his diamond debut on June 1, 1999. He played for 5 years as a backup catcher and occasional outfielder. I believe this is the only Petrick card I own.

2000 Black Diamond Reciprocal Cut
This is a parallel set with die-cut corners. The card has the photo from the front of the base card on the back and the photo from the back of the base card on the front. Get it - reciprocal! Upper Deck had a similar gimmick in 1999 Ionix. These were inserted at a ratio of 1:7 packs.

2000 Black Diamond A Piece of History
An early relic card and disturbingly purple. Upper Deck has used "A Piece of History" on a lot of different cards in the 2000s, including a whole set. This may have been the first. There were 19 of these cards, inserted 1:359 packs. Good luck pulling one. I paid $6.72 on eBay for this in 2003.

2000 Black Diamond Constant Threat
There's a lot going on on the front of this card. Foil board, gold foil and high gloss. The back, featuring another photo is also high gloss. This 10-card set was inserted 1:29 packs. I got this for $2.50 in 2005 on eBay.

2000 Black Diamond Diamonation
If you though that last card was busy, get a load of this one. Gold foil everywhere. I also have the Scott Rolen card from this set so I know the colors are based on the player's team colors. This is also a 10-card set but a little easier to get since it was inserted at 1:4. I paid $2.99 on eBay in 2005.

2000 Black Diamond Gallery
All those lines on the front are gold foil. Lots of right angles on these Black Diamond cards. Another 10-card set, inserted at 1:14. I paid $5.20 on eBay in 2005.

2000 Black Diamond Might
Another 10-card set, inserted at 1:14. All of these insert cards are pretty extravagant. $2.99 on eBay in 2005. As you might have guessed by now I was making an effort to obtain the Black Diamond inserts in 2005.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition
This is not actually part of the Black Diamond release but a separate release with a different design. I know you're thinking that Chipper wasn't a rookie in 2000. The first 90 cards in this set are not rookies. Cards 91 to 120 are rookies, serial-numbered to 1000. Cards 121-154 are rookie relic cards. I only have 4 cards from this set all below 90. These came in 6-card packs for $2.99. I think I must have bought one pack.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition DiamoNation
Apparently Diamonation is a weird contraction of Diamond Nation. That wasn't clear from the base set. This is a 9-card set inserted at 1:9. None of the players in this set are rookies. I paid 20 cents for this card as part of a 25-card Johnson lot I bought at a card shop in 2009.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition Gallery

This 6-card set may be the most extravagant of the whole lot. It was inserted at 1:20 packs. Again, not a rookie in sight. I paid $2.50 on eBay in 2003.

2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition Gallery
If you like foil on your cards, these Black Diamond sets and their inserts are for you. This one has multicolored foil and embossing on the front and an almost unreadable back. 9-cards inserted at 1:12. No rookies.

I've got a ways to go to finish off the inserts in these sets.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Random Cards From My Collection #64

Card #9496
1992 Topps #83 Tommy Greene
Comments on the card/player: 1992 was a radical year for Topps although it doesn't seem so radical from today's viewpoint. What was the big deal? All the major manufacturers in those days, Fleer, Donruss, Score and Upper Deck were producing their nameplate sets on white cardboard, except for Topps. In 1992, Topps joined the rest of the pack.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #33055
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter National Pride #66 Joba Chamberlain
Comments on the card/player: Each year, Allen & Ginter has an insert which is included in just about every pack. This was that insert in 2009, a not so original idea of combining a picture of a player with his home country's flag. Not original, perhaps, but well done.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.42 in a hobby box in August 2009.

Card #8679
1992 Fleer #465 Mike Morgan
Comments on the card/player: In 1991, Fleer's cards were violently yellow so I guess this was an improvement. The card does feature a large color photo on the back but the front photo is squeezed by a larger than necessary name block.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.04 in a Fairfield Repack in March 2013.

Card #38415
2011 Topps Update #46 Angel Sanchez
Comments on the card/player: Sanchez was a middle infielder for the Astros in 2010-2012 but spent all of 2012 in the minors before being released. He's currently on the Dodgers minor league roster.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.06/card for 2 500-card boxes of Topps Update in October 2011. I had ordered 1 box on eBay but the seller sent me 2 by mistake. Keep the second, he said.

Card #40765
2012 Panini Golden Age #48 Eddie Mathews
 Comments on the card/player: Panini's well-done answer to Allen & Ginter. Clever photo placement and Photoshopping hide team logos.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.42/card for a hobby box in October 2012.

Card #13831
1995 Donruss #395 Ricky Jordan
Comments on the card/player: Donruss had gone full-bleed in 1994 and never looked back. This is a well designed set which manages to get 3 color player photos on the card. I always liked the backs of this set, featuring a full card photo with stats and bio info overlayed. The stat box is very well designed.
How/When acquired: Paid $4.87 for 20-card Phillies set in October 2010.

Card #10415
1992 Stadium Club #251 Jerry Brown

Comments on the card/player: In my opinion, the early years of Stadium Club (this was the 2nd year) were some of the best card sets of the 1990's.
How/When acquired: Paid $5.00 for a 540-card unopened hobby box at a card show in June 2012. I should have bought 2.

Card #10463
1993 Bowman #325 Kirby Puckett

Comments on the card/player: The late, great Kirby Puckett.
How/When acquired: Don't know but I probably acquired it new.