Monday, February 28, 2011

Postings will be infrequent for awhile...

...as I deal with some health issues. Thanks for your support.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Movie of the Week - Summer Wars

It has been awhile since we've been out to the movies. This is an anime movie that my daughter owns. She loves it and talked me into watching it with her last night.The story of this 2009 release concerns a Japanese high school math whiz and all-round nerd who is asked by a girl in his class to accompany her to her family ancestral home in the countryside. She pitches it as a summer job. He reluctantly goes and finds that a huge family celebration is just beginning for the girl's 90-year-old grandmother. To fulfill a promise the girl made to her grandmother (that the next time she visits she would bring her boyfriend) she introduces him to the family as her boyfriend. Much cute awkwardness ensues.

In the background of the story we are made aware of a world-wide computer network called Oz. Oz seems to have started as a Facebook type of application but has morphed into the prominent way that people and business interact with the Internet and each other. A malevolent Artificial Intelligence has been let lose in Oz causing widespread trouble. It is up to the math kid, his pretend girlfriend and her family (an old well-respected Japanese family with many connections) to safe the day. Why is it up to them? Well, you're just going to have to watch the movie.

It's a nice blend of cyberspace dueling (the poster shows all the character's Oz avatars) and Japanese family life. If you can imagine such a thing. If you've got kids into anime I'd recommend it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2005 Tim Redding Cards

This maybe the dumbest post I've ever made.

Tim Redding is the answer to the trivia question, "Name a player who was traded twice in one year for someone whose name starts with Q". On 3/28/05, Redding was traded by the Astros to the Padres for Humberto Quintero. On 7/5/05, the Padres traded him to the Yankees for Paul Quantrill. Since there are never that many players playing in the same year whose name starts with Q, I'll be willing to amend the question to "Name the only player who was traded twice in one year for someone whose name started with Q".

2005 Donruss Team Heroes #1452005 Topps #111
2005 Topps Heritage #179

Monday, February 14, 2011

2004 Fleer/Skybox

Those of you how are relatively new to collecting, or gave it up and have recently came back, may not know of the huge diversity of cards available just a few years ago. To give you a flavor of that, here are all but one of the major releases by Fleer/Skybox in 2004. They had 19 sets released that year. I'm missing just Greats of the Game. When you add in all the inserts and parallel cards you get 427 different types of cards issued by Fleer/Shybox in 2004. And they weren't the most prolific, that crown goes to Donruss. But that would be way too look a post. In 2004 I still had a local card shop where I stopped every week and bought a few packs of whatever he had that was new. Most of these cards were acquired from that shop. Ah, the good old days.

Classic ClippingsThis 75 card set featured horizontal cards without gloss or foil but a nice card stock.

Classic Clippings Insert
This is the only insert card I'm going to show because it is pretty cool. It features an insert of the box score from Mike's first game printed on newsprint. I'm guessing it's not really from a newspaper printed in 1972. This set featured 25 cards and each is numbered to 750.

E-X
This set had been around for awhile by 2004 but previous years were printed on acetate. It had aso gone through several name changes. At only 65 cards it was a short set. This was the last year for E-X.

Flair
This set started out in 1993 as Fleer's first super premium set. It has had many style changes over the years but a high gloss finish has always been the hallmark of this set.

Fleer Authentix
2004 was the third year for this set which was last published in 2005. This 100-card set was designed to look something like a stadium ticket (get it? Authentix?). This year featured foil printing and silver foil for the fanciest ticket you ever saw.

Fleer Genuine Insider
The 4th and last year for this set. For the past 3 years is was just called Fleer Genuine. To me, this set is emblematic of Fleer practices: background designs featuring abstract shapes and a tendency to randomly tweak the names of their sets. This was a 125-card set with a light glossy finish and gold foil.

Fleer Hot Prospects Draft Edition
Was there a regular Hot Prospects set? No there wasn't. Another odd-ball set and similar in scope to some Upper Deck sets. Does Roger Clemens belong in a set called Draft Edition?

Fleer Inscribed
A one-year set. Fleer did a lot of that as well. A non-glossy card with silver foil. It featured a facsimile signature on the back. Not a bad looking card and printed on crisp white card stock.

Fleer Legacy
This 60-card set featured a head shot combined with an action shot on a horizontal card. Where have I seen that before? The card border and highlight color matched the player's team colors.

Fleer Patchworks
This set was issued from 2003-2005. This set featured horizontal cards with partial glossy fronts. The player photo and the large logo are glossy. Another set featuring a nice card stock.

Fleer Platinum
Fleer Platinum always featured card designs from 1980's Fleer sets. This year the design came from the 1984 Fleer set. Not a particularly memorable design in my opinion. No gloss, no foil, plain card stock. It's hard to see why this set is called Platinum.

Fleer Showcase

This set featured a high gloss finish, silver foil and a refractive foil background. A pretty attractive card. Showcase started in 2000 and lasted until 2006. Upper Deck bought Fleer before the 2007 card year and did not issue a Showcase set.

Fleer Sweet Sigs
Another one-year set. You would think that a card set called "Sweet Sigs" might feature facsimile signatures on the base set, but it doesn't. There are inserted cards with autos, but pretty much every set in 2004 featured that. I don't think I ever saw a pack of this for sale. I have two of these, both acquired in a repack.

Fleer Tradition
Fleer changed their flagship set from just Fleer to Fleer Tradition in 1998. At 500 cards it is their largest set of 2004. The design of Fleer Tradition has varied wildly over this years. This year they went with a design which brings to mind 1990 Fleer. In most years they issued an Update set later in the year, but not in 2004. This is another set which Upper Deck dumped in 2007.

National Pastime
The first of 2 years for this set. It features high gloss and silver foil. The player photo is embossed. Only 60 cards in this set. Like many sets issued in 2004 (and even to this day) it featured different colored parallel sets. National Pastime's were Red, or White, or Blue.

Skybox Autographics
Another card that seems like it should have a signature on it. Instead it has a huge Skybox logo in gold foil. Beckett priced these cards pretty high when it first came out but the value fell rapidly. I own about half of the 65-card set. It was pricey, the cards going for about $0.50/card in loose packs.

Skybox LE

LE for, I suppose, for Limited Edition? This set was only available through hobby outlets. The cards are all die-cut across the top (the black region in the top of the scan). It featured a partial glossy front with silver foil.

Skybox LE Retail
Maybe the LE doesn't mean Limited Edition. This is obviously the retail version of Skybox LE. I might have just called it Skybox. The main difference is that the retail version is not die-cut and has gold, instead of silver, foil.

Ultra
By 2004, Ultra was the longest continuously issued Fleer set. It started way back in 1991 as Fleer's first premium card. In recent years every year of Ultra has pretty much looked like every other year and I stopped buying much of it. I have 30 of the 110-card set.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthdays this past week - Hits

Well, sorry I missed this feature last week but it's back. I am probably going to just focus on a handful of stats and rotate them each week. Probably home runs, wins, strike outs, and hits. And, with rare exceptions, I'm going to focus only on players from the modern era, defined rather immodestly by me, as players who played during my lifetime. In other words, players I might have actually seen play. It will also be more likely I own a card of these players as well. I own all the cards pictured here today except Bob Oliver.

February 6
2010 Topps 206 #185 Babe RuthOK, I'm going to break from my plans on the first card for this week, because February 6 was The Babe's birthday. Maybe I should have planned ahead a bit better. There's not much I can add about Babe Ruth that hasn't already been said. Suffice it to say that he had 2,873 hits with a career BA of .342, easily eclipsing anyone else with a birthday this week.

February 7
1988 Topps #292 - Carney LansfordCarney Ray Lansford was born in 1957 in San Jose CA. He was primarily a 3rd baseman who spent the last 10 years of his 15 year career with the A's. He had 2,074 hits with a .290 career BA. He was with those great A's teams of the late 1980s who went to the World Series in '88, '89 and '90. He was also an All-Star in 1988.

February 8
1972 Topps #57 Bob OliverI had to go all the way to fourth place on the February 8 list to come up with a player who played during my lifetime, and I never heard of him. Robert Lee Oliver was born in 1943 in Shreveport LA. In his 8 seasons he played for the Pirates, Royals, Angels, Orioles and ended his career in 1975 as a Yankee. He was signed by the White Sox in 1976 and then sold to the Phillies but didn't play for either team. His career total in hits was a modest 745 with a .256 batting average. His son, Darren, is in his 17th season as a pitcher, currently with the Rangers.

February 9
2004 Topps Cracker Jack # 81 - Vladimir GuerreroVlad the Impaler (what kind of a nickname is that?) was born in 1975 and is second to Babe Ruth for players born this week with 2,427 hits. In 15 years he has a .320 career batting average and has hit 436 home runs. He spent 7 seasons with the Expos, 6 with the Angels and is currently with the Rangers. He has appeared in 10 postseason series, including last year's World Series, his first, when the Rangers lost to the Giants. Vlad went 1 for 14 in the Series. He is an 8-time All-Star and the 2004 league MVP. I would think he's pretty much a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Guerrero is only 446 hits behind Babe Ruth. Since he has averaged almost 200 hits per season for his career (he had 178 in 2010) it is at least conceivable that he will pass Ruth in hits.

February 10
2006 Bowman Heritage Pieces of Greatness Lance BerkmanBig Puma was born in 1976 in Waco Texas. He has 1,675 hits in his career beating out Lenny Dykstra for players born this date. Lenny had 1,298 hits. Lance played for the Astros for 12 years before being traded to the Yankees last season. Although his production has fallen off in recent years he still has a career .296 average, and 327 home runs. He was a 5-time All-Star for the Astros with one World Series appearance, when the White Sox knocked the Astros out in 4 straight in 2005. He is currently signed with the Cardinals.

February 11
1987 Fleer Record Setters #26 Ben OglivieBen was born in 1949 in Panama. He was drafted in 1968 by the Red Sox in the 11th round. In his 16-year career he played for the Red Sox (3 years), the Tigers (4) years and 9 years for the Brewers. He had 1,615 hits in his career with a career batting average of .273. He made 3 All-Star Game appearances. In 1982, his Brewers lost the World Series to the Cardinals. His best year was 1980 when he hit for a .304 average and belted 41 home runs, well above his annual average. He is currently a hitting coach in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

February 12
1989 Donruss #209 Chet LemonChet "The Jet" was born in 1955. He was a 1st round draft pick by the A's in 1972. He played for 16 years and amassed 1,875 hits. He is a 3-time All-Star with a World Series ring as a member of the 1984 Tigers. He retired in 1990 and has suffered from a serious spleen disease, eventually having his spleen removed. He now coaches two successful AAU teams, Chet Lemon's Juice,(18 and under) and Chet Lemon's Juice II,(12 and under) in Eustis FL. Lemon's son Marcus was selected in the 4th round of the 2006 ML Draft by the Rangers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2002 Roy Oswalt Cards

video

Movie of the Week - The Road

This 2009 movie was in very limited release in the Houston area, I think only one theater was showing it. I had read the book, and although it was just about the most depressing book I'd ever read, I liked it. I finally got to see the movie on DVD last weekend.The movie is pretty depressing as well. What makes the movie watchable is the all consuming love of a father for his son. The same theme, of course, is what made the book readable. Mortensen plays "the man" struggling through soul devouring landscape trying to find a place of safety and/or hope for his son. The boy is 10 years old and this is all he has ever known. Just before he was born, some unknown catastrophe struck the earth. It's never explained in the book or the movie. It doesn't really matter. Through flashbacks, the movie briefly hints at the life the man had with is wife both prior to the catastrophe and the years after as the boy grows. But the bulk of the screen time is the man and the boy heading south, hoping for some place of safety there. Along they way they scrounge for food among ruins, avoid cannibals, and try to stay warm.

The filming of this movie must have been brutal. It was almost all filmed outdoors, in the winter, in Pennsylvania, Mount Saint Helens and Katrina ravaged Louisiana. Mortensen starved himself to look the part and slept in his movie clothes for days on end to make the movie look more realistic. And I can't say enough about Kodi Smit-McPhee, the 11-year-old actor who played the boy. He was fantastic.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Random Phillies cards of the Week

This week we spin the wheel and get three pitchers and a utility infielder.

1979 Topps #493 Larry ChristensonLarry spent his entire 11-year career with the Phillies and had a respectable 83-71 career record. I remember his as being very popular with the fans. But by 1979, his best years were behind him. He was 5-10 in 1979 and plagued by injuries, including a broken collarbone in June during a charity bike race. He'll play until 1983 but never really be effective again.

1981 Topps #644 Ramon AvilesRamon was a utility infielder for the Phillies in 1980 and 1981. He appeared in a grand total of 89 games. Despite that, my wife managed to get her baseball glove autographed by Aviles before a game, probably in 1981. She was at the game with her follow employees in her employer's field box seats. Everyone thought he was Manny Trillo until they saw the autograph.

1994 Topps #199 Danny JacksonDanny Jackson was 26-17 in his two years with the Phillies, including the World Series year of 1993. He parlayed that into a big free agent signing after the 1994 season. He got a 3-year deal from the Cardinals worth $10.8 million, an enormous contract for the time. Due to injuries, his record was a dismal 6 and 24 in those 3 years.

2004 Bowman #26 Kevin MillwoodIn 2004, Millwood was in the last year of a 2-year contract with $20.9 million. His record with the Phillies was 23-18. Prior to coming to the Phillies he'd been a successful pitcher for the Braves, and would continue to be a successful pitcher after leaving the Phillies, at least up until last year. He is currently a free agent after a 4-16 season with the Orioles. My impression is that he was not very popular while he was in Philadelphia.

Monday, February 7, 2011

3 years and counting

It's been busy at Capewood Manor and what with an ice storm going on last Thursday, I completely missed that February 3rd was the third anniversary of my first blog post. In those three years I've managed to make 685 posts. Pretty respectable, I think.

When I started this, there were not too many baseball card blogs that I could find. I'm by no means a pioneer at this but I think, by now, I've been at it longer than many. I seem to have gotten into this just as the number of baseball card blogs began exploding. There are lots of blogs around now and many have been around as long as or longer than me.

There have been a lot of changes in my life in the past three years, many of which I've shared here. Not in any order but here are a few of the highlights:

Hurricane Ike
3 stents in my heart (the day before Ike)
I lost my job of 35 years but found a new one within 2 months that was almost as good
My daughter got her Master's Degree in Library Science
My oldest son moved to the Dallas area
The Phillies won the World Series and appeared in another one.
Through it all, I've remained a baseball card collector. The 2011 collecting season has already started and I'm behind in blogging but that's a chronic problem with blogging.

Thanks to those who read and especially those who comment.