Sunday, April 23, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #17- Card from First Hand Collated Set

Today's prompt is very similar to day #3, which called for a card from the first set you tried to complete. Well, the first set I tried to complete also happens to be the first set I completed by hand-collation, so we're going back to 1991 Fleer Ultra.

While not my favorite card from the set, I do appreciate early cards of Omar. It still amazes me that should he make the Hall of Fame (which I believe he will), you will have had two HOFers make their MLB debut on the same day, in the same game. The other being The Kid, whose debut came in the same game as Omar's (April 3, 1989).

There's a little trivia to stick in your back pocket.

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #16: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Today's choice wasn't all that difficult- "a player whom you appreciate but don't like."

I can only guess that my dislike of George Brett came from the sense of arrogance that he projected. Although I wasn't a Royals fan, I did find myself rooting for them against those Yankees teams of the late '70s and early '80s. I found it much easier to root for players such as Amos Otis, Frank White, Willie Wilson and Al Cowens.

But I will say this: I found myself really learning to appreciate Brett, the player, after his playing days were over. I found myself feeling the same way about Joe Montana after he hung up his cleats (although I think my dislike of Montana was more about getting tired of hearing about him, not that he came across as a jerk).

I got this Brett oddball from Tony at Off Hiatus a couple of years ago-- I think he had featured some stuff and asked if anyone was interested. I was picking up a lot of oddballs at the time, requested it, and Tony was kind enough to ship it to me.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #15: Card from the 2010s

No matter what Bill Gates says, context -not content- is king. The late American artist Kenneth Nowland was correct when he said that it (context) "is the key- from that comes the understanding of everything."

To illustrate this point, we will be looking at a short-print photo variation from 2012 Topps baseball.

When I first saw this card of King Felix, I didn't know what to think. Sure, it was humorous, but what was going on? Why is Felix wearing glasses? Why is he wearing a wig? I didn't understand because I had no context from which to interpret the photo. Had we not gone without cable or satellite for close to ten years, I would have probably seen the commercial that provided the context for this picture.

I don't know about the team in your market, but each season Root Sports (formerly Fox Sports Northwest) air a few Mariners commercials to promote the team. One of the commercials the team aired for the 2011 season featured Larry Bernandez, the alter-ego of ace Felix Hernandez. The schtick centers around Felix's competitive nature, with the ace going to extreme lengths to pitch on his off-days. "Felix, I know you love to compete, but you just pitched yesterday" says manager Eric Wedge, after going out to the mound. "I'm Larry," deadpans Felix, who's sporting a mullet, sideburns and glasses. Wedge then looks at the name on the back of the jersey and sees it says "Bernandez," with the F having been changed to a B with the help of electricians tape. It gets even better after skip takes the ball from Larry, as the commercial ends with pitching coach Carl Willis asking (who I believe to be) bullpen coach Jaime Navarro "who's the new lefty?" to which Navarro replies, "Some guy named Jerry."

Back to today's card... the photo comes from the night of August 27, 2011, when Felix once again donned the Larry outfit to throw out the first pitch on Larry Bernandez bobblehead night.

It's too bad that Topps didn't have a chance to do a SSP card of Felix's other alter-ego, Jerry.

The original commerical:

First Pitch:

and finally, Brad Adams and Dave Valle interviewing Larry on Felix.

Friday, April 21, 2017

30-Day Baseball Challenge #14: Card from the 2000s

My interest in oddball cards dates back to my childhood, when I would often accompany my mother during her grocery shopping and would pick out some of my staples based upon whether or not a product included baseball (or football) cards in the box. I was fortunate in that my parents, though not wealthy, made enough money that we were able to buy the name-brand cereals (Kellogg's), snacks (Hostess) and bread (Wonder Bread-for football). Contrast this situation with the one that many families faced during the mid-late '70s fiscal crisis, where they were trying to maximize their dollar and avoided the name-brands for the generic ones.

As far as this particular card set (2002 Seattle Mariners Knothole Gang)- I can't find much information on its distribution. I recently bought the entire set, which includes this 2nd year Ichiro.

The term 'knothole gang' has its origins in the early part of the 20th century, but the practice dates earlier, when ballparks were being built with wooden fences. Children who weren't able to afford the price of a ticket would gather around the areas where the knotholes were, giving them a view to the game. Over time, teams (as well as individuals & businesses) began offering tickets to children in the community who otherwise might not be able to attend a professional baseball game. Some of these were offered through incentive programs (good grades, get into a game) at local schools, or given away to kids for good behavior. One individual, former Mariners manager and then later bench coach Rene Lachemann, started Lach's Kids, a program to help low-income children and urban youth groups attend major league games. You can read about his story here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trade with The Collective Mind

 I've been so preoccupied with the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge lately that I am gettting behind on a few trade posts. This is never a good thing because if I don't begin a draft, odds are that it will slip my mind. Thankfully, I scanned some of the cards I received a couple of weeks ago in a trade with Greg from The Collective Mind- and then uploaded them into a draft. And while the draft got buried in my list of posts, I was able to somehow remember to sneak this into the middle of Tony's challenge.

Most of the cards that Greg sent were of the 2014 Topps Update variety- and were very much needed. Thanks to Greg, I was able to do something I thought would never be done: eliminate a large chunk of my wantlist for a set that no one seemed to open.

Next up were a couple of 1983 Topps cards, which is usually enough to get a collector excited. But when those cards are Expos... yeehaw. It sounds inevitable that baseball will be back in Montreal one day, and in my opinion it can't come soon enough.

Moving on... a Mike Fetters error card (incorrect card number on the back- I forget what the card number read), leaving me just one card away from completing this set. While I'm not crazy about the way the player's name were stamped on the bottom (and no position), I do like the photography found in the 1997 set. 

I was a fan of the design found on the 1995 Topps set when it was first released, but I've got to say... it hasn't aged very well. I guess its one saving grace is it's a little more challenging to put together due to a relatively low(er) production run due to the strike. Other than that, there's not too much to get excited about.

Thanks again for the trade, Greg- and yes, I, too, look forward to Round 2.

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #13: Card from the 1990s

A friend tagged me in a post on Facebook the other day, sharing with me a picture that Dale Murphy had tweeted prior to the opening of the Braves new Sun Trust Park. I had already seen the selfie, taken with fellow Atlanta legends Bobby Cox, Chipper Jones, Phil Niekro, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, but thanked him for sharing it with me. His next comment elicited a laugh from me: "I know they're not totally dead to you." "I think of it like a divorce," I said. "You can't stand your ex, but there are kids involved."

Now, I've never been divorced, but I know how messy some can get. Likewise, there are marriages that end with both sides still being on friendly terms and where each still care for the other. My split with the Braves, a marriage consummated in 1981, is like the one where you can't stand your ex, but have kids involved. In this case, one of the kids involved happens to be Andruw Jones.

It's easy to look at today's card and automatically think of Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, where the 19 year-old Jones homered in his very first two at-bats. But a closer look at the card reveals a different moment: homering in the bottom of the 6th during Game 7 of the 1996 NLCS. Cardinals fans will undoubtedly have bad flashbacks to this game, in which the Braves routed the Cards 15-0 to pull off an improbably comeback to advance to the World Series. One thing of note regarding Jones' homer- the home run came in the sixth inning and the young budding star would walk in his next (and final) at-bat. Thus, when you consider  his first two WS plate appearances, he would homer in three straight post-season (official) at-bats.

Monday, April 17, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #12: Card from the 1980s

I had a specific card in mind for today's post but changed my mind after discovering the one I settled on.

The card I was going to feature is an oddball card (1981 Seattle Mariners Police card) of a player who provided us with a humorous on-the-field moment in May of 1981. Instead, I found something even better while searching to see how many cards were made of Lenny Randle while a member of the Mariners.

I don't own the '87 ProCards that depicts Randle reenacting his bizarre moment, but I would probably pick it up if I were able to locate one. I searched eBay and COMC, with no success- so maybe I'll have to go to my eBay search settings and make it so that I will be notified should one come up for sale.

If you don't know the context for the photo on the card, here ya go...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #11: Card from the 1970s

The '70s is probably my second least favorite decade (post-War era) for baseball cards. Having been born in 1969, I wasn't around to enjoy the 50s or 60s, but I still prefer the cards from those two decades over the ones from the 70s. I do have to note, however, that I very much enjoy cards from the latter part of the 70s (1976-1979), as that was the time period where I began cutting my teeth on collecting.

So to pick a card from the 1970s, I've got to go with something from that time period and the card I've chosen is...

1979 Topps #30 Dave Winfield

There's so much to like about this card- so much that screams "'70s". The razor-sharp sideburns, the flapless helmet, that brown and gold uniform (second to only the Astros tequila sunrise for '70s greatness).

Thanks for taking time to read this Easter Sunday.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

70th Anniversary

Let me make this clear: I'm not a fan of manufactured relics. That doesn't mean I haven't bought them, or traded for them, but they're not something I would go after other than to add to a player collection or team set. And please, don't tell me that the Adams Jones 500 HR Futures Club manu-relic counts as one of the 'hits' from my hobby box. Just don't.

All that to say that the purchase of today's card was perfectly timed, as it showed up two days ago. I wasn't even aware that the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut was imminent . I know, go ahead and say it... 'you call yourself a baseball fan and did not know when Jackie Robinson Day is?' Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

It's really too bad that there is some sort of manu-relic on this card, because it is a really nice looking design. But for $1 plus $1 for shipping, I can overlook the inauthenticity and just rejoice that it's one more card for my team set.

You know what I'd like to see Topps do for Jackie Robinson Day? Purchase some game-used jerseys and use the numbers for the swatches. Actual game-used #42 jersey swatches. Now, for all I know it could have already been done.

Friday, April 14, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge #10: Card from 60s

I don't have many cards from the 60s in my collection. In fact everything I have is from a Braves team set collection, from which today's card is pulled from.


There are some really cool cards from the decade and one of my favorites is the Hank Aaron MVP subset card (#484) from the 1961 set.