Monday, June 30, 2008

Mike Schmidt - 1975

1975 Topps #70.

1975 was another good year for Mike Schmidt and another good year for the Phillies.

Mike lead the National League in home runs for the second straight year with 38. He also led the league in rbis with 95. Unfortunately, he also lead the league in strike outs, with 180, and his batting average dropped almost 40 points, from .282 to .249. It would be his worst year for strike outs and the lowest batting average for the rest of his career except for his last two seasons when he was hobbled by a shoulder injury.

The Phillies finished the 1975 season with a record of 86-76, good enough for second place in the NL East. Danny Ozark was in his third year as manager. It was the first season since 1967 that they'd finished with a better than .500 winning percentage. In 1967 they were 82 and 80.
This was in the days before there was a wild card position in the playoffs, so second place meant sitting at home in October.

Stats (league position):
Games - 158
At Bats - 562
Runs - 93 (7th)
Hits - 140
Doubles - 34 (10th)
Triples - 3
Home Runs - 38 (1st)
Slugging - 0.523 (3rd)
Runs Batted In - 95 (1st)
Stolen Bases - 29 (9th)
Batting Average - 0.249
Fielding percentage: 0.954

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Song of the Week - She's A Beauty - The Tubes

I have 5,351 songs in my iTunes library. This is one of them.

My alphabetical playing of my iPod has gotten me to songs starting with the word "She". There are a bunch of them. This song is by The Tubes. The song was released in 1983. To me, it has the perfect 1980s sound. That doesn't necessarily make it a good song, there was a lot of terrible pop music in the '80s. For me, this song is kind of a guilty pleasure. I'd never seen the video for this song but found it on YouTube. It's pretty bizarre but, again, a perfect example of videos from the period.

"She" songs:

She - The Monkies
She Belongs to Me - Bob Dylan
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window - The Beatles and Joe Cocker
She Has Funny Cars - Jefferson Airplane
She is Still a Mystery - Lovin' Spoonful
She Knows Me Too Well - Beach Boys
She Loves You - The Beatles
She Said She Said - The Beatles
She Shook Me Cold - David Bowie
She Sings Songs Without Words - Harry Chapin
She'd Rather Be With Me - The Turtles
She's a Beauty - The Tubes
She's A Woman - The Beatles
She's About A Mover - Sir Douglas Quintet
She's Always a Woman - Billy Joel
She's Coming Home - The Zombies
She's Got a Way - Billy Joel
She's Leaving Home - The Beatles
She's My Girl - The Turtles
She's Not There - The Zombies and Santana
She's On Fire - Train
She's Right on Time - Billy Joel
She's Your Cocaine - Tory Amos

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Night at the Movies

Get Smart

This movie could have been terrible but in fact its pretty good. The cast has a lot to do with its success. Although Steve Carell has been in The Office and several movies, I'm not really familiar with his work. What distinguishes his work here is that he doesn't try to imitate Don Adams. Anne Hathaway is good as 99, especially when she gets to wear a slinky dress about mid-way through. Alan Arkin plays a more aggressive Chief then in the TV show but it works. There are a few cameos, watch out for Bill Murray as Agent 13. They've got all the catch phrases, like "Would you believe..." and "Missed it by that much", but they didn't overdo it. The goofy gadgets like the shoe phone and the Cone of Silence make an appearance but they had lots of new goofy gadgets like a Swiss Army knife which doubles as a cross bow and exploding dental floss. The movie actually works on two levels, comedy and action. The humor seldom descends to bathroom level (by itself a big achievement these days). The action scenes were very well done and actually exciting. All in all we like the movie very much. I think you'll like it too even if you aren't familiar with the original series. You'll miss a few jokes but there are plenty of laughs to go around.

The worse trailer we saw was for the new Eddie Murphy movie called "Meet Dave". Except for the fact that he's got 5 more movies working over the next two years (including Shrek 4), I would say this is the movie which should end Eddie Murphy's career.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mike Schmidt - 1974

It is no secret to those who know me that Mike Schmidt is my favorite baseball player. Contrary to most fans, I wasn't much of a baseball fan as a kid. I started to be interested in the very early 1970s which coincided with the growth of the Phillies (I lived in Philadelphia) team which would eventually win the 1980 World Series. Mike Schmidt was a huge part of that team as it got better and better through the 1970s. Schmidt would go on to dominate the 3rd base position and also hit over 500 home runs (back when this was pretty rare).

I already posted his 1973 rookie card. Mike was the Phillies 2nd round draft pick in 1971 and cracked the majors in 1972 for 13 games. The Phillies were not very good in 1972, finishing with a record of 59 and 97. Over their long history the Phillies have had a lot of terrible teams and this was one of the worst. Of course, a franchise doesn't get to lose over 10,000 games without have a few bad seasons. So even thought Mike didn't have a good year, no Phillie had a good year in 1972 except of course Steve Carlton, who was 27-10.

He didn't look too good in 1972 but the Phillies brought him up again in 1973. This also was not a great season. He played 132 games, hit for a 0.196 average and 18 home runs. 1973 would be a better season for the Phillies, with a record of 71-91. Not great by any means but better.

The 1974 Phillies showed more improvement with an 80-82 season. 1974 turned out to be a breakout season for Schmidt however. He hit for average (0.282) and hit 36 home runs, which was good for 1st in the NL. He would go on to lead the league in home runs in 8 seasons. The photo on this card looks to have been taken at spring training. Today, one of the practice fields at the Phillies complex in Florida is named for Mike Schmidt.

This will be the first of a series. Eventually I will post all 205 Schmidt card which I own. I'll probably have to keep this blog going for years to finish this series.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Song of the Week - Everyone is Good by The Roches

There are 5,319 songs on my iTunes, this is one of them.

I'm not sure how I first The Roches. They are a sister act (Margaret, Terre and Suzzy) with wonderful harmonies. There main career stretches from 1979 to 1995 and I have 5 of the 10 albums they released during that time. They disbanded as a trio in 1995, after their father died, but released a new CD in 2007 (which I haven't heard). According to Wikipedia they were never real popular and don't get much air play. I probably heard them on University of Penn's radio station (WXPN) when I used to live in Philadelphia. Hopefully you'll like them as much as I do.

This is from their 5th album, "Speak" which was released in 1989.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gift from Dinged Corners

One nice thing about being part of the BCB (Baseball Card Blogosphere) is that once in awhile, a fellow blogger sends you a present. A month or so ago I made a trade with the lovely ladies (Patricia and Lucy) who run the Dinged Corners blog. In return for a Mike Piazza jersey card they sent me a bunch of Phillies and Astros cards. Even though I have a lot of Astros and Phillies cards, most of the cards they sent were cards I didn't have. Well, since then, they've been collecting Astros and Phillies cards and sent me a bunch. And once again they scored. Of the 13 pre-2008 cards they sent, I only had 5. Even better, of the 13 2008 Bowman cards, I only had 2. My luck getting Astros or Phillies Bowman cards had not been good (although the one Future Autograph card I got was a Phillie).

I decided to post two of the cards. The Tyler Green card isn't really anything special (as Tyler Green wasn't really anything special) but it's a card I didn't have. Even better, I didn't have any of the 1st Round Pick subset cards from 1992 Score. I don't care much for this set so didn't buy much. So my baseball collecting heart was pleased on two levels.

This other card is a 2003 Playoff Prestige. These cards are very nice and, of course, Jimmy Rollins is one of the top players in the National League. But in addition to that, I not only didn't have this card but I didn't have any Phillies card from this set. Packs of these cards were a bit pricey and I didn't buy many of them. So again, joy on two levels.

Thanks, Patricia and Lucy, for the wonderful cards.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bonsai - Sago Palm

In an earlier post, I commented that you've got to have a lot of patience to grow bonsai because stuff is only going to grow at the pace its going to grow. You can't do much about it. And in most cases, its going to grow slow.

But sometimes, something will grow in a spurt. This plant is called a sago palm. Its not really a palm and I'm not sure how good a bonsai its going to be. I bought it at Home Depot already potted. These plants can get pretty big but I suppose if I keep it in its current pot it will stay small.

Fronds grow out of the center brown area. When I got it, it had a set of 4 frounds and soon after it grew another set of 4. Last summer it didn't get any new fronds. I have a relatively young one of these in the back yard. It didn't get any fronds either last year. The big plant grew two huge set of fronds (each frond is at least 3 feet long) in about two weeks. I was hoping the little guy would take the hint.

On May 26th it was maybe showing signs it was going to sprout. The next day it had sprouts about 2 inches long (the first photo - click on it to see a larger image).
4 days later the fronds were about 6 inches long and by the 31st about 10 inches. By May 4th they were over a foot long. This is about as long as they are going to get. It only put out a set of 3 fronds but I happy to see it do something.

The fronds are a nice bright green color as they unfurl. Eventually they turn a deeper green. The plant is evergreen and doesn't shed fronds with the seasons. Eventually the older fronds weaken and fall off. As it gets taller, it only has fronds on the top.

The next pictures will hopefully be my crepe myrtle. It got about 4 flowers last summer but overall it is growing much better this summer. It looks like it is about to set some buds on the ends of most of the branches.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

eBay Find

2007 Upper Deck Premier

I just won this card on eBay for $8.47. I generally don't even look for cards like this because, based on the prices in Beckett, I wouldn't be able to afford them.

I call this blog Capewood's Collection. Capewood has been my internet nickname for about 10 years. Collections because I have several types of collections. But baseball card collecting is my real passion. I read about 20 baseball card blogs a day (thank God they all don't have a new post every day). I don't even know if there are any bonsai blogs (there probably are). On Cardboard Junkie today, he posted a card from this set he recently won on eBay for a ridiculously low price, especially considering how expensive a pack of these cards were when they first came out in 2007. Read his post here.

So I went on eBay to see what I could find. The first card in the list was this Roy Oswalt card. There was 19 minutes left in the auction. The bid was at $3.50. I made my first bid at 7:36:07 for $4.87. This wasn't enough to overbid the current winner and the bid moved up to $5.00. Here's an eBay tip if you haven't figured this out. At this level, a new bid has to be at least 25 cents over the current bid. This bid came back at $5.00, only 13 cents over my bid. That means that its the other guy's maximum bid. I came back strong at 7:36:30 with a bid of $7.47. and led the bid at $6.47. 19 seconds later, a new bidder came in at $7.97. I decided I wanted this card and rebid at something over $11 and won it for $8.47. According to Beckett, this card should be worth $20.00. Since it is numbered to 35, this might be the gold version of the card (which carries no premium over the regular version).

Now all I have to do is pay for it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nice Card File - Richie Ashburn

This is a Topps Tribute Game Bat Relics card from 2001. It features a piece of a bat once used by Richie Ashburn.

Ashburn played for the Phillies from 1948 to 1959. He was one of the best players in the 1950s. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1995, and thus entered the Hall with Mike Schmidt. More than 25,000 people, mostly from Philadelphia showed up in Cooperstown for the induction ceremony.

It was fitting that Ashburn and Schmidt should go into the Hall together. Richie represented the greatest Phillies team of my father's generation, the team nicknamed the Whiz Kids. They were the first Phillies team to go to the World Series, in 1950, the year before I was born. And Mike represents the best Phillies team of my generation, the only Phillies team to win a World Series, in 1980.

I grew up listening to Richie Ashburn doing the color commentary for the Phillies. He worked Phillies cames from 1963 up to the day he died in 1997 (he was on the road with the team when he died). One other connection - Ashburn was born on the same day as my father, March 19, 1927. I was living in Houston when Ashburn died. That season in 1997, I had found out how to get a baseball card into the visitor's broadcast booth and was planning to get Ashburn's autograph the next season when the Phillies came to town.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Song of the Week - Happy Together

I have 5,310 songs in my iTunes library. This is one of them.

Happy Together - The Turtles

This is just for fun and for the silliness of it. This video was clearly inspired by the TV show The Monkees (1965 - 1968). I was 16 in 1967 and this song was on the radio all the time. Enjoy.

Imagine me and you, I do
I think about you day and night, it's only right
To think about the girl you love and hold her tight
So happy together

If I should call you up, invest a dime
And you say you belong to me and ease my mind
Imagine how the world could be, so very fine
So happy together

I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together

I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together

Ba-ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba-ba

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together

So happy together
How is the weather
So happy together
We're happy together
So happy together
Happy together
So happy together
So happy together (ba-ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba-ba)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Photography: Public Art - Philadelphia

We're in Philadelphia this week on vacation. These pictures are from a previous trip. These three pieces are along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.


The piece above is called Kopernik. The artist is Dudley Vaill Talcott (1899-1986). The sculpture was dedicated on 8/15/73 and commemorates the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). It stands 12 feet tall and is located on the Parkway at 18th Street. There is a good write-up here. If you click on the photo you'll get a bigger image. You'll be able to see the scourge of all public statuary. There is a pigeon sitting on the lower part of the circle and ample evidence of other pigeons.

Three-Way Piece Number 1: Points

I wasn't able to find out as much information on this as on Kopernik. The artist was Henry Moore. The piece is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and is located on the Parkway near 16th Street. It was installed in 1964. I have recollections of seeing this piece in the late 1960s. This photo was taken by me in 2006. There may also be a copy of this located in Kansas City Missouri. While researching this I found an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about theft of metal statues. The copper dedication plaque for the piece was stolen sometime in January 2008. Apparently the whole statue was too big to take.

The Prophet
There was even less information on this piece. The artist was Jacob Lipkin and it was dedicated in 1968. It is currently located on the Parkway at 16th Street (it's to the right of the Henry Moore piece). It was originally located on John F. Kennedy Plaza, a few blocks down the Parkway but was moved here in 1974. It stands about 8 feet tall. Examples of Lipkin's work (although not this piece) can be found here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Song of the Week - Raining in Baltimore

I have 5,311 songs in my iTunes library. This is one of them.

I'm playing the songs on my iPod in alphabetical order (why not?). Recently I got up to rain songs.

Rain Dance - Guess Who
Rain King - Counting Crows
The Rain Song - Led Zeppelin
Raining Again - Moby
Raining in Baltimore - Counting Crows
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
Rainy Day, Dream Away - Jimi Hendrix
Rainy Night in Georgia - Ray Charles
Rainy Night in Tokyo - Michael Franks

Here's a live version of Raining in Baltimore from 1997.

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
Its raining in Baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no ones around

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call

These train conversations are passing me by
And I don't have nothing to say
You get what you pay for
But I just had no intention of living this way

I need a phone call
I need a plane ride
I need a sunburn
I need a raincoat

And I get no answers
And I don't get no change
Its raining in Baltimore, baby
But everything else is the same

Theres things I remember and things I forget
I miss you I guess that I should
Three thousand five hundred miles away
But what would you change if you could?

I need a phone call
Maybe I should buy a new car
I can always hear a freight train if I listen real hard
And I wish it was a small world
Because I'm lonely for the big towns
Id like to hear a little guitar
I think its time to put the top down

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Grandfather

So what's collectible about my grandfather? Nothing really, except I have a large collection of photographs and other stuff from my grandfather.

Orville Burnetz Walk served in the Navy during World War 1. He never saw combat (perhaps fortunately for me). He served on several ships in the Caribbean. In this photo he is in his dress whites and holding a saxophone. He's holding a saxophone because he was a musician in the Navy. His rating when he was discharged was Musician, 2nd Class.

It was apparently a different world then. The larger ships carried orchestras for entertainment. Movies (silent films, of course) were shown on deck at night and the orchestra provided music. They also played at on-shore officer's clubs, weddings, and other events.

OB, as he was called, probably had other duties other than playing the saxophone. I have a diary he kept for his first 2 year hitch. He describes sailing from port to port and taking on coal at each port. He describes taking gunnery practice. He was counting the days down to his last day. On the day after his last day he wrote, "Re-enlisted. Damn fool".

I'll post other interesting ship-board photos later. OB also served on the USS Arizona, when it was new and when it was the most powerful weapon ever built. And since I post a lot of baseball cards, I'll post some pictures of the Arizona baseball team.

We're going to be in Philadelphia, our home town, next week on vacation. Among other things, we're going to visit my grandfather's grave site at the Philadelphia National Cemetery.

I've got some posts in draft form so the site won't go completely dark.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mike Lieberthal Retires as a Phillie

Last Sunday, Mike Lieberthal, who played last year for the Dodgers, signed a minor league contract with the Phillies for $4, then retired.

“I spent 17 years of my life and put everything that I had into baseball and into the Phillies,” said Lieberthal. “I know I finished (last season) with the Dodgers, but I was still a Phillie at heart. I did watch pretty much every game that was on TV, and I still do. The Phillies are definitely deep in my heart.”

Mike was the Phillies 1st round draft pick (third pick overall) in 1990. He made his major league debut on June 30, 1994. He played 13 seasons with the Phillies, all as a catcher. He caught 1,139 games for the Phillies, more than any other catcher. Darren Daulton caught 965 games for the Phillies, prior to Lieberthal. Daulton's and Lieberthal's careers with the Phillies overlapped from 1994 to 1997, when Mike became the full time starting catcher.

Mike was pretty productive in his career. Both he and Daulton played 13 years with the Phillies. Lieberthal's average was 0.274 with 150 home runs, 610 RBIs and 257 doubles. Daulton's stats were 0.245/137/588/197. He was a 2-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner.

Lieberthal's big regret about his Phillie's career is that he never reached the playoffs. His career was book ended by the 1993 World Series team and the 2007 NL East championship team. “That was kind of ironic,” he said. “Everyone tells me how special (the playoffs) are, and that’s what playing is all about. That’s probably the one thing that I wish we had when I was here.”

After signing his contract he put on his old #24 uniform and threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Sunday's game against the Marlins. Club president Dave Montgomery said of Lieberthal, "Mike played here for a long time, and for me, it went beyond that. It was a real friendship," said Montgomery. "In many ways, Mike was the face of the franchise for a number of years because of the continuity he brought. He always played hard. He cared about the community. This seemed like the right thing to do."

I got the quotations for this piece from

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Song of the Week - Live Again: Better Than Ezra

I have 5,311 songs in my iTunes library. This is one of them.

Better Than Ezra