Monday, January 31, 2011

Len Gabrielson- 1964 Finest Moments

1964 Topps #198 Len Gabrielson
Gabrielson, an outfielder signed by the Braves in 1959, started the '64 season in Milwaukee. However, after hitting only .184 in limited at-bats during the first month and a half of the season, the Braves traded Len to the Cubs on June 3. Two weeks after the trade, Len took over the right field position vacated when Lou Brock was traded to the Cardinals. Between June 24th and July 21st, Gabrielson would collect 3 hits in a game five different times, seeing his average rise from .217 to .294. Len's finest moment came at Wrigley Field on June 28 against the Astros. In that game, Gabrielson went 3 for 4, with 3 runs scored, 2 RBI, and 2 SB. Len's first RBI that day came in the bottom of the second, scoring Ernie Banks for the 1-0 lead. The Cubs would not look back, going on to a 10-2 victory.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Million Card Giveaway, Pt. 1

Yes, I received some cards today from the Topps Million Card Giveaway. And I've got to tell you, I'm glad that I spent some $13 for shipping fees on a package that was postmarked at two dollars and some change. Anyway, I received twenty of the twenty one cards I had requested-the one I didn't get was a 1979 Jeff Burroughs. In its place I received a 1977 Rick Rhoden card. Thankfully they've included a phone number for the inventory coordinator; he will be receiving a phone call from me tomorrow. So, on to the show...

1964 Topps #53 Denis Menke
And a beat up one, at that. Centering issues, rounded corners, creases-the whole 10 yards. About the only thing missing on this one is some writing on it. Doesn't matter- I've got worse cards than this in my collection.

1970 Topps #86 Lum Harris

Nothing too exciting here. The man did lead them to the 1969 N.L. West title, however.

1971 Topps #374 Clete Boyer

This card was by far the most sought after of the cards in my online collection. It seems like I was getting daily requests for ol' Clete. It's too bad he didn't play football- Clete would have been a great name for a football player. This would be the final season of his major league career.

1972 Topps #260 Ralph Garr, #484 Lum Harris, #591 Paul Casanova

A trio from what has to be the ugliest set Topps has ever produced. Ralphie was a pretty popular card on yo mama's site- the second most requested card I had. I hear that all Ralphie wanted for Christmas while growing up was a Louisville Slugger Model U1 - his mother was afraid he'd break a window playin' ball. She conceded, and all Ralphie did was collect 219 hits while hitting .343 in 1971-his first full major league season. Well, not really- but he was a terrific hitter!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Picked Up a Punk

we've all seen the highlights, but you've got to check out this remix
I really didn't want to do it. After all, I was born and raised in the Treasure Valley-home of the Broncos. And even though I didn't go to school there, I can't help but root for Boise State. Ever since the night that Blount cold-cocked Byron Hout I could only call him a punk -and was not surprised when he reportedly punched a teammate during his time with the Titans (although it's supposed to be quite common on the practice field). Then, it happened: the Bucs signed him. And by the middle of the season, Cadillac was running like a clunker and was parked in the shop (except for the occasional joy ride). Blount only had 10 carries through the first six weeks (for 30 yards) and then went nuttier than he did in Boise last year. So, you can understand the dilema I faced when LeGarrette rookie cards came out featuring him in a Tampa uniform.

But, when you can do this

And this

and never break stride....

You've gotta pick up one of these

Man, that's some crazy #*$@ !!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

December Card Show Purchases 2

It's taken a few weeks to get back to my purchases from the December card show, but here's another vintage card from that show.

1971 Topps #71 A.L. Strikeout Leaders

In researching the first of the three pitchers pictured on this card, I was in for quite a surprise. Unbeknownst to me, the character Sam Malone on the hit tv series Cheers was based upon Sam McDowell. McDowell was a hard throwin' left who played primarily for the Indians during his 15 year major league career, and was all of but 18 years old when he made his debut (he was actually a week from his 19th birthday). By 1964 he had become a workhorse on the Cleveland staff, logging in more than 200 innings in six of seven seasons between 1965 and 1971- including a league high 305 IP in 1970. That same year, Sam led the A.L. in strikeouts for the fifth and final time, falling 11 short of his career best for a single season. Not only was McDowell known as a workhorse who could rack up the K's, he was also quite wild. From 1965-1971, Sam led the league in walks in five of those six years, as well as in wild pitches in three of those same seasons. High strikeout totals and walks will result in high pitch counts, and by the end of the 1971 season, he had thrown over 200 pitches in a game 5 times during his career. The year this card was released was the last year that McDowell would spend in the Indian organization, as he was traded to San Francisco in '72 for HOF'er Gaylord Perry. The trade did not turn out well for the Giants- McDowell's last decent year was 1971, and his days in the majors were just about numbered. By the time he retired in 1975, McDowell actually had some pretty good numbers with a 3.17 ERA, and yet only had 7 more wins than loses; he also finished with 2453 strikeouts in 2492.1 innings while also walking 1312 batters. And, like the Malone character on Cheers, McDowell lost almost everything he had after his playing days were over. Later, upon his sobriety, Sam was able to find redemption-gaining a degree, a new career in baseball, and a new marriage.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Scab"- aka Replacement Cards

If you read my Christmas post, you might remember that my wife bought me the same 1959 Hank Aaron card for Christmas that she had bought for my birthday. Well, I had contacted the folks at Dean's Cards, and they were very gracious- agreeing to exchange it for the like value of the original purchase. When I got home today, these two cards were waiting for me...

1964 Topps #7 N.L. Batting Leaders Tommy Davis, Bob Clemente, Dick Groat, Hank Aaron

From Bob Aspromonte (.214) to Tommy Davis (.326), the National League's top 50 hitters in the race for the 1963 batting title are listed here. Davis had also finished first in the N.L. in 1962, and was a .294 career hitting over 18 seasons.

1967 Topps #250 Hank Aaron

Aaron, at the age of 33, had another solid season in 1967. It would be the year that he passed the 2500 hit mark while leading the league in slugging, runs scored, total bases, homers, and extra base hits.
Thanks again to my beautiful bride (we celebrated our 15th anniversary today), as well as to Dean's Cards for the great customer service!