Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the box of cards I recently received from Eric (thanks again!) were 88 late 1980s and early 1990s Phillies cards. 18 of the cards were ones I needed. 88 cards is way too many to list so I'm just going to show some of the more interesting ones. The cards in bold are cards I didn't already have.

1992 Leaf #313 John KrukKruk played first base so I'm not really sure what's going on in the picture. The other player appears to be K1rt Gibson. Gibson only played 16 games for the Pirates before being released in May of 1992. With a little digging around in the box scores I could probably figure out exactly which game this is. Several of the Leaf Phillies cards of this year were taken at the Pirates.

1994 Topps Gold #635 Lenny Dykstra
Topps expiremented with gold foil on their base set from 1992-1994 with a parallel set each year before putting gold foil on the regular release in 1995 (and pretty much every year since then).

1994 Donruss #333 Darren Daulton
Darren looks like he really got a hold of this one. Note the hair flying from under his helmut. Donruss beat Topps by one year in putting gold foil on its regular release.

1995 Score #22 Lenny Dykstra
Lenny having a nice chat with an umpire.

1994 Leaf #170 Darren Daulton
Is Tony Tarrasco safe or out? You make the call.

1994 Score #60 Lenny Dykstra
One of the reasons that Dykstra's nickname was "Nails".

1994 Upper Deck Minors #111 Jason Moler
Moler never made it to the majors but here he is making a throw as if his very life depended on it.

1993 Leaf #366 John Kruk
Leaf went full bleed with gold foil in 1993, two years after Stadium Club invented the concept. I always liked this year of Leaf. The back featured a photo of the player superimposed over some landmark from the team's city. Here's John Kruk fielding a grounder on South Broad Street in Philladelphia. That's Philadelphia's City Hall behind him.

1992 Leaf Black Gold #335 Darren Daulton
Eric sent me two cards from this set. I didn't have any Phillies from it. These were a parallel to the Leaf base set which weren't hard to get as one was in every pack. The regular cards were gray with no gold foil.

Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Upper Deck Spectrum

I picked up a blaster box of 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum on Saturday. I won't be buying any more. $20 for 28 cards, 3 of which were the 20th anniversary cards. Of the remaining cards, I only got 4 players I collect and only one parallel card. Here's the sorry lot.

#64 Alex RodriguezDoes anyone else think these cards are too purple?

#85 Ichrio
And that they all look pretty much alike?

#24 Jim Thome
And that they look pretty much like 2008 Upper Deck X? Especially the backs?

#40 Lance Berkman
Only one Astro and no Phillies.

#14 J. D. Drew
Although I collect Drew, there are plenty of other players I'd have rather had.

#8 John Smoltz Spectrum Blue

Much nicer looking than the base card and the only parallel in the box.

#120 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary Retrospective
I've only seen 5 of these cards. This one makes as much sense as last year's Upper Deck Documentary. The card celebrates the end of Communist rule in Hungary as symbolized by the reburial of 1956 Prime Minister Imre Nagy in Hero's Square in front of 250,000 people. The picture looks like some guys redecorating a night club.

And I learned what it means when the box says "MEMORABILIA CARD in EVERY box (on average).
It means, that some boxes, like the box I bought, don't have a memorabilia card.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Song of the Week - Mexican Wrestler by Jill Sobule

Jill Sobule is an artist which I like but I'm not sure why I know her. It's not like she's had many, or any, big hits. She had a semi-hit in 1995 with a song called "I Kissed A Girl". This is not the same as the song by Katy Perry. When I lived in Philadelphia I listened to a public station called WXPN. They played a very broad spectrum of music. I'm pretty sure I must have heard her there. I have her 2001 compilation album, I Never Learned To Swim.

This song combines what are maybe the two things I like about her, very personal songs done with a hint of humor.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Helmet flying!

1994 Bowman - Ryan Klesko

Here's the kind of card the nice ladies at Dinged Corners like.

It looks to me like the photo on the back is the first in the sequence. Unless of course, Ryan's helmet flew back on to his head after he ran down the 3rd base line. I think the catcher taking it on the chin is Darrin Fletcher. He was the Expos starting catcher in 1993 and 1994 (the most likely years that the photos were taken). Also, it looks like Fletcher. He was a Phillie before he was an Expo and I've got a number of his Phillies cards.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Phorgotten Phillie Phile - Wes Chamberlain

Wes Chamberlain isn't like the usual Phorgotten Phillie I've posted in the past in that he did play for the Phillies a 5 years. His rookie year was 1991. In 101 games, he hit .240, had 13 HR and 50 RBI. He was the 5th runner up for NL Rookie of the Year. He was also on the 1993 World Series team, but like most of the Phillies, he didn't have much of an impact (0 for 2). He was traded to the Red Sox in 1994 for Paul Quantrill and Billy Hatcher. In 1996 he played in Japan. After that he played in independent leagues until around 2003. I always hoped that Wes would be a big star because of this card. 1991 Topps #603.Because that's not really Wes Chemberlain. It's Louie Meadows. Louie was signed by the Phillies as a free agent in July 1990. Wes was traded to the Phillies in August 1990. The story I heard is that the Topps photographer was looking for Chamberlain and was told that Meadows was Chamberlain. Meadows never corrected the misidentification. The card above was the result.

Here's the corrected card.
Unfortunately, Wes did not become a big star. I'm not sure which card is harder to get, but I suspect that the corrected card is less available. Both of these cards were in a box of cards Eric recently sent me. I had them both (5 of the Meadows verson and 4 of the corrected version). The cards are just rectangular pieces of cardboard today with no real value.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Fistfull of Bagwells

I received another box of mixed Phillies and Astros cards from Eric yesterday. Since there are so many nice cards, I'm going to use his generosity as an excuse for making several posts. Let's start with Jeff Bagwell. There were 30 Bagwell cards from the early 1990s, 17 of which I didn't have. The cards in bold are cards I didn't have.

1991 Leaf Gold Rookies #14
1991 Upper Deck #755
1992 Donruss #358
1992 Pinnacle #70
1992 Stadium Club #330. I had this card but I really like it.
1992 Stadium Club #606
1992 Topps #520 (I'm showing the back of this card for a reason which will be clear later).
1992 Triple Play #200
1992 Triple Play Gallery of Stars #7 Triple Play was produced by Donruss for a few years. The Gallery of Stars was similar to Donruss Diamond Kings. I love this card!
1992 Upper Deck #276. This card should be in the baseball dictionary next to the entry for "bad hop".
1993 Fleer #46
1993 Fun Pack #43. This was a one-year set by Upper Deck aimed at a younger audiance. I like cards featuring an infielder taking a throw like this.
1993 Leaf Gold All-Stars #3. He's on the back, Cecil Fielder is on the front.
1993 Pinnacle #10
1993 Pinnacle #297. The Idols subset. Bagwell is paired with Carl Yastrzemski.
1993 Select #113
1993 Upper Deck #256. This is why I showed the back of his 1992 Topps card. It appears to me that Jeff is autographing a baseball card in this picture and if I'm not mistaken, it's his 1992 Topps card (click on the picture to get a better look).
1993 Ted Williams #159. Part of a subset called "Dawning of a Legacy".
1993 Hostess #19. Apparently these came packaged with cupcakes which looked like baseballs. I've never seen one of these before.
1994 Collector's Choice #329. A checklist card.
1994 Collector's Choice #590. The shadowy figure in the background has to be his long time double play partner, Craig Biggio.
1994 Donruss #365

1994 Fleer #483

1994 Pinnacle #483 I've become interested recently in trying to identify other players on a card. I'm pretty sure that catcher is the Cubs' Rick Wilkins.
1994 Score #483. This one's pretty easy, the Pirates' Jeff King.
1994 Topps #40

1994 Ultra #203

1995 Leaf #119

1995 Score #221 I think that is the Padres' Derek Bell. Since this is a 1995 card, the photo was most likely taken in 1994. In 1995, Bell and Bagwell were teammates on the Astros and the legend of the Killer B's began.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baseball Card Poem

My daughter, who spends her days cataloging new books at the local library, often pages through the books she is working on. The other day she found a poem about baseball cards in a book called Keepers: Treasure-Hunt Poems by John Frank. She immediately typed it into an email and sent it to me.


A shoe box full of baseball cards,
of players from olden days,
with tiny batting averages
and giant E.R.A.’s—
an absolutely sorry stack,
not worth the gum once in each pack,
but . . . what is this? . . .
A rookie Willie Mays?

The “Say-Hey Kid”? The legend
of the one-hand basket catch?
There was no fly he couldn’t field
no base he couldn’t snatch,
no juicy pitch he couldn’t clout,
no runner he could not throw out—
his glove and speed and power
had no match!

And what? A Sandy Koufax??
Once the greatest arm of all,
he threw so hard that if you blinked
you wouldn’t see the ball;
the batters always swung too late,
they’d miss the lighting sear the plate,
then hear the umpire’s thunderous
“Stee-rike!” call.
And yes! A Henry Aaron,
baseball's longtime home-run king!
He belted seven fifty-five
with his colossal swing!
His bat was money in the bank!
I wouldn’t trade these cards
for anything!
I, sadly, don't own any of these cards. I found them online through Google image serach.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Song of the Week - Radar Love by Golden Earring

I have 6,616 songs in iTunes. This is one of them.

I was going to call Golden Earring a one hit wonder until I read their listing on Wikipedia. The band was founded in 1961 and is still performing today. They have released over 30 albums. They are apparently a big hit in their home country the Netherlands. "Radar Love" was released in 1973 and was a pretty big hit in the US and the UK. I couldn't name another song by them. I own "Radar Love" on a compilation CD of 1970s hit songs. In 1973, it seemed my friends and I were always on the road and this was a great road song.

I've been drivin' all night, my hands wet on the wheel.
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel.
It's my baby callin' said I need you here.
It's half past four and I'm shifting gears.

When she's gets lonely and the longing gets too much,
She sends a cable coming in from above.
Don't need no phone at all.
We got a thing that's called radar love
We got a wave in the air
Radar love

The radio's playin' some forgotten song.
Brenda Lee's "Coming On Strong".
The road has got me hypnotized,
As I spin into a new sunrise.

When I get lonely and I'm sure I've had enough,
She sends a comfort coming in from above.
Don't need a letter at all.
We got a thing that's called radar love
We got a line in the sky

No more speed I'm almost there.
Gotta keep cool, now, gotta take care.
Last car to pass, here I go.
The line of cars drove down real slow.
The radio plays that forgotten song.
Brenda Lee's "Coming On Strong".
The news man sang his same song,
One more radar lover gone.

When I get lonely and I'm sure I've had enough.
She sends the comfort coming in from above.
Don't need no letter at all
We got a thing that's called radar love
We got a light in the sky
We got a thing and its called radar love
We got a thing that's called
Radar love

Friday, March 20, 2009

2009 Topps Throwbacks (from Target)

I hadn't been in Target looking for baseball cards in over a week. I stopped in today and hit the jackpot. The Topps blasters with the "Throwback" cards, Topps Heritage balsters (I bought one even though I just bought a hobby box, and some loose packs as well) and Topps Attax started boxes. More about the Heritage and Attax later. First the Throwbacks. These have been talked about for over a month and as near as I can tell, nobody else has shown them on their blog. I can't really believe I'm the first to post these, but I guess somebody had to be first.

These have been called "Throwbacks" and "Gray Backs". I'm not sure what Topps calls them. As with the WalMart black cards, there is no marking on the box to tell you what is inside except for the code above the UPC, 1-825-50-12-9. I decided to just post a couple from the World Series teams of last year.Note the old-school Topps logo on the front. Topps changed logos after the 1981 season.
The card backs aren't just gray, the cards are printed on gray card stock. The card stock has some texture to it like old-time cards before white card stock became the norm.
The front of the card is glossy, like the regular cards but you can feel the slight roughness of the card stock through the gloss. They also have the same silver foil as the regular cards.
I believe that they are a little thicker than the regular cards. The packs come with the same inserts. I got one Turkey Red and one Gold Bordered card (which is printed on regular white card stock). The box also featured one of the Historical Commemorative Patch cards. I got this one.
I know these are just manufactured patches but I like them. I've got 4 and have the Mike Schmidt coming in the mail from eBay.

Aaron Boone

Aaron Boone was a #3 draft pick by the Reds in 1994. He made his debut with the Reds on June 20, 1997. After playing 6 and part of a 7th year with the Reds he was traded to the Yankees in July 2003. He only played the rest of 2003 with the Yankees, being released before the start of the 2004 season. He put the Yankees into the 2003 World Series with an 11th inning home run in Game 7 of the ALCS. He played for the Indians in 2004 and 2005, with the Marlins in 2007 and with the Nationals in 2008. He was signed by the Astros for the 2009 season. I always liked Aaron Boone, but I might not have paid any attention to him, or his brother Bret, if their father hadn't been Bob Boone, the Phillies catcher on the 1980 World Series team (and for a number of years before and after).

Aaron is a career .264 hitter with 126 home runs. He was projected to platoon at third base for the Astros in 2009. Today it was announced that he will have surgery to replace a valve in his heart. This is a condition he's apparently had since the early 1990s which suddenly and unexpectedly became worse. Aaron is 36 years old and has had an 11-year career. It seems doubtful to me that he'll be back as a player. In addition to his father playing baseball, his grandfather, Ray Boone also played. Will there be a 4th generation of Boones? Here's a short retrospective of his baseball cards, except for his year with the Marlins. I've got no Marlin cards of Aaron Boone.

1995 Bowman (foil card, #246)

2004 Topps (#578)
2005 Topps Traded Gold (#11)
2008 Upper Deck (#698)
2009 Topps Heritage (#297)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

1996 Part 8 Pinnacle


Pinnacle started in 1992 as a premium set. The first two years the cards were black bordered. In 1994, the set had full bleed printing. From 1995 through 1997, the cards featured a massive amount of gold foil. The 1998 set was more modest. After 1998, Pinnacle Brands went bankrupt, taking Score and Donruss down with it.

1996 Pinnacle was released in two 200-card series. A pack cost $2.49. Some cards are horizontal with the gold foil on the left side. I only have a handful of cards from this set. There were two subsets (as far as I know). Hardball Heroes and The Naturals.

Pinnacle Starburst
This is a parallel set inserted 1:7 packs. The front of the card was printed on a foil background. I paid $1.48 for this card in October 2003.

Pinnacle Starburst Artist's Proof
Another foil parallel, inserted at 1:47. The only difference with the regular Starburst is that the words "Artist's Proof" are engraved in the foil background.

Pinnacle Christie Brinkley Collection
This was an insert set (1:23 in Series 2) featuring photographs by that noted sports photographer, Christie Brinkley. I've never been able to decide if Maddux is holding that massive frame up by sheer arm strength or if its propped up on something. I acquired this on eBay in January 2003 and it is the first individual card I purchased on eBay. Prior to that, I had only bought hobby boxes of product.

Pinnacle Power
A 20 card insert (1:35 in Series 1). The card features gold foil for all the printing on the front. The player background is a refractive foil. The player figure is raised. I paid $0.15 for this in a hobby shop in May 2003.

Pinnacle Project Stardom
More foil printing on this 18-card insert set (1:35). This set features young players. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are the best cards.

Pinnacle Slugfest
Pinnacle was really into the foil printing in 1996. This was an 18-card set inserted in Series 2 at 1:35. I paid $4.99 for this card in February 2003.

Pinnacle Team Pinnacle
A 9-card insert set (1:72 in Series 1) featuring a different player in each side, pairing an American League and a National League player. The front was foil printed. I paid $2.64 for this on eBay in September 2004. This card books for $20.

There are several other inserts for this set available: Pinnacle Foil (another parallel), Pinnacle Essence of the Game, Pinnacle First Rate, Pinnacle Skylines, Pinnacle Team Spirit, and Pinnacle Team Tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have some of these to show later in the year.