Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Birthday- Chipper Jones

While today is Resurrection Day, and our family is celebrating Christ's triumph over death, I want to take an opportunity to wish a happy birthday to the last man to wear #10 for the Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones.

As I'm writing this, the Braves have taken a 2-0 lead over the Giants on a first inning two-run double by Chipper. With the double, Jones is now just one shy of 500 for his career. Nothing would be nicer than to see him reach that milestone on this day. As far as the rest of his career, Jones has had a lot of success on April 24. Coming into today, he has hit .419 (18-43) with 10 runs, 4 homers, and 10 RBI- including a 4-5 (with a home run) performance at San Francisco in 1996. He also had a birthday to remember in Houston, 2001. That night, he went 2-5 with 2 Runs, 2 HR, and 3 RBI in a loss to the Astros. All together, Atlanta is 9-2 on April 24th during Jones' career. The Braves are seeking to get the sweep today, so let's see them make it 10-2!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rip City! Roy Rocks the Mavs

With baseball season in full swing, I've neglected keeping up on the Trail Blazers and their playoff series with Dallas. Heck, checking the game update early this evening, I immediately left the website as they were getting blown out towards the end of the third quarter. So, imagine the shock when I found out tonight that Portland came back from a 23 point deficit to beat the Mavericks. And once again, Brandon Roy showed why he's been such a popular figure with Blazer fans. Big game Brandon scored 18 of his 24 points in the forth quarter, bringing the Blazers back from the dead to even the series at 2. John Canzano of the Oregonian put it best, when he said, "Make no mistake, Roy didn't just take over the game. He is in charge of this series."

For a team that has been a perpetual underachiever, the Blazers might just win this series!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trade with Tomahawk Chopping- Cardboard and More!

I received a package in the mail today from Derek at Tomahawk Chopping-Cardboard and More! I was able to send him some Martin Prado cards for his collection, and he in turn supplied me with some cards needed for my 2011 Heritage set. Unfortunately, my scanner is toast- so I can't provide any pictures. Thanks again, Derek, for the trade!

Then and Now #TN1 Harmon Killebrew/Jose Bautista
I still have a hard time believing that Bautista isn't anything more than a one-year wonder- but the guy has continued to hit well this year.

#455 Joe Sanders
Hey, at least it's a short print!

#399 Roy Halladay
As a Braves fan, I wish he would have stayed north of the border. Yes, I hate the Phillies!

#365 Howie Kendrick
Dude hit his sixth home run today! At this pace, he will hit more this year than he hit during his first five seasons.

#100 David Price
Apparently, the price is right- he (and his team) is turning it around after a rocky start.

News Flash Backs #NF-5
U.S. Navy Seals are Activated- the commissioning of the first two U.S. Navy Sea, Air and Land teams took place in '62. And we think professional athletes are well conditioned...

Target Black bordered #C67 Jason Kubel
These black bordered cards are sharp. I think the best part is under the 'page curl' on the bottom right hand corner, as it includes a little patch of the wood finish. It reminds me, strangely enough, of a sunburst Les Paul.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday: 2009 Topps Commemorative Patch

The 1997 All-Star game, held at Cleveland's Jacob Field, was the sixth time Maddux was named to the NL's roster for the Midsummer Classic (he would be named two more times). This evening, he would pitch two innings, giving up two hits, and one run on an Edgar Martinez home run. It was the second time Maddux allowed a home run in an All-Star game (the other coming in 1992 to another Mariner, Ken Griffey Jr.) It's too bad that Topps didn't have a photo of Maddux on file from the actual game; it would have made this patch seem more authentic.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthday Trifecta: Steve Avery, David Justice, Greg Maddux

Happy Birthday wishes to three former members of the Atlanta Braves: Steve Avery, David Justice, and Greg Maddux-each celebrating their birthdays today, April 14. All three were integral to the dominant Braves teams of the 90s. Let's take a look at how they performed on this day over their careers...

Steve Avery-
Avery ascended to post-season glory as he completely dominated the Pirates in the '91 NLCS, and then followed it up with a very good '92 season. At that point, he looked like he would be the ace of the staff for years to come. 1993 would be his best season, but then arm problems began to occur-and by 1995 he was essentially done. Steve would appear in two April 14th games during his career- one coming in 1992 against the Reds. Avery pitched 7 innings that day, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits while getting a no-decision. His second April 14th appearance came as a member of the Boston Redsox in 1998 vs. the A's, facing only one batter, whom he would walk (Avery would be charged with allowing a run scored, as Spiezio would later score on a Bournigal single).

Greg Maddux-
Amazingly, Mad Dog appeared in an April 14th game only once during his twenty-three year career. That came in 1994 against the Giants. That night, in typical Maddux fashion, he would dominate the team by the Bay, picking up the win in a complete game shutout, allowing only 3 hits, while striking out nine hitters.

David Justice-
Justice, a career .279 hitter who finished with 305 Home Runs, 1017 RBI, and 929 runs scored, often seemed to rise to the occasion in his playing days. His birthday was a different story. David was only 3-27 (.111) with 2 runs, 2 RBI, and 2 walks on this date. The two runs and two RBI came in the first April 14th major league game he appeared in, which was in 1991.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Milestone for #10

Five days after collecting career hit #2500, Chipper Jones hit yet another milestone this evening: RBI #1500. With the run driven in, Chipper has joined Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters with 2500+ hits and 1500 RBI. It's too bad that it couldn't have happened during last night's win (April 12), as the feat came on a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-1 loss to the Marlins. Other numbers he's closing in on: he's 3 doubles from 500 and 92 walks from 1500.
While the 92 walks might be tough to reach this year, the three doubles could be reached by the end of this coming weekend. Oh, and for the record, Jones' first career RBI came against the Giants in the opening game of the 1995 season.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2010 Topps Peak Performance- Peter Moylan Auto

I'm not a huge fan of third-party grading services. Well, let me qualify that statement: I'm not a huge fan of having newer cards slabbed. In fact, until yesterday, I did not have any slabbed cards-whether they be vintage or otherwise. That is when I received my first PSA graded card- this one from an eBay auction for an autographed 2010 Topps Peter Moylan Peak Performance card. I've had my eyes open for one of these (non-slabbed) for months now, and haven't seen any, so I didn't mind getting a graded one. I really liked the Peak Performance inserts from last year, and picked up an autographed Jonny Venters last fall. The Moylan will compliment it nicely.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Trade with Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes

I received a few packages today, one of which came from -d @ Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes. I recently discovered his blog, and saw that he had some of the 2011 Topps Heritage cards available for trade. Thankfully, he had a few of the ones I need-and I'm looking forward to future trades.

2011 Topps Heritage #134 Brett Cecil, #269 Lance Berkman, #432 Michael Bourn (SP)

It's odd to see one of Berkman's cards list him as a member of the Cardinals; even with the red jersey, I was thinking it looks like an Astros uni. Berkman is compared to Mickey Mantle on the back of the card, with his slugging and OBP being second highest amongst switch hitters. While I knew about Bourn being a two-time gold glove winner, I didn't know that he had the most stolen-bases in the National League over the past two seasons.

Thanks again for the trade -d, and for the quick turn around on getting them out!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Home Opener Win, Chipper Gets #2500

What a glorious day! Despite finding themselves down 3-0 to the Phillies, the Braves fought back for a 6-3 win on Opening Night at the Ted. More importantly, Chipper Jones singled in the bottom of the 6th for his 2500th career hit. Earlier in the evening, Chip drove a ball deep to center to plate 3 and put the Braves ahead for good, 6-3. I have to admit, last summer after his season-ending knee injury, I stated on this blog that I thought he wouldn't be able to come back from such an injury at his age- and I'm glad to eat crow.

Congratulations on the Milestone, Chipper- it's good to have you back!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 Topps Wrapper Redemptions

While I didn't care much for this years Topps' Diamond Anniversary parallel cards, I did take a liking to the Black Diamond wrapper redemptions modeled after the '52 Topps. Part of a 2011 Topps 1 offer, in which collectors received a pack of five cards for sending in either 36 hobby wrappers or 10 HTA Jumbo wrappers, these cards are set apart from the typical Topps retro designed cards by their 'black diamond' technology. The basic redemption set consists of (what else?) 60 cards to commemorate their sixtieth anniversary, along with 34 randomly inserted on-card autographs featuring players from the original '52 set.It didn't cost much to pick up the four current Braves who are included in the set, but two of the short-printed autographed cards of former Braves Del Crandall and John Antonelli (each numbered to yes, 60) recently sold on eBay for $55 and $76, respectively. So, I guess I won't be adding those to the collection. It's no wonder that the auto's are extremely popular: those who signed are getting up there in age and may not sign for too many more years, they are on-card and are attractive in the blue ink, and the 60 motif doesn't hurt either.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trade with Crinkly Wrappers

I recently contacted Ted over at Crinkly Wrappers about his 2011 Heritage wantlist, and we were able to strike a deal that benefited each of us. Today when I got home, there was a package for me with about 56 of the 2011s that I need for my set- and so I want to say thanks to Ted for the trade. I don't open much wax, but look forward to trading with him in the future!

Some highlights from the cards I received:

#462 Magglio Ordonez (SP)
I had forgot just how good of a hitter Mags has been over the years. According to the back of the card, he has hit over .300 11x during his career, led the American League with a .363 mark during the 2007 season, and is a career .312 hitter.

#494 Rookie Parade-Pitchers: Barry Enright, Mike Minor, Travis Wood, Alex Sanabia, Drew Storen (SP)
I'm a fan of Mike Minor, the Braves lefty prospect who will be making his '11 debut Wednesday against the Brewers. Originally losing the 5th starter battle during spring training to Brandon Beachy, Minor was recalled this past weekend when Jair Jurrjens was sent to the DL with a strained right oblique. Minor will be facing a predominately right-handed hitting lineup, so he might have a rough go of it. I was really surprised that he didn't get the 5th spot, just due to the fact that he would have been the only lefty in the

Baseball Flashbacks #BF-4 Robin Roberts, #BF-9 Frank Robinson
Two former Orioles, two Hall of Famers. This insert set is one of the highlights of each year's Heritage-in my opinion.

New Age Performers #NAP-9 David Price, #NAP-14 Felix Hernandez
Kind of appropriate: these two finished 1/2 in the 2010 AL Cy Young voting. King Felix is my pick for this year's CY Young-who's yours?

Then and Now- #TN-6 Robin Roberts/Felix Hernandez
By looking at the back of this card, it doesn't make sense to have Roberts on the front: The ERA leaders for 1962 & 2010 are listed: Felix being no.1 in '10, but Roberts was no.3 in '62- Hank Aguirre of Detroit led the majors in ERA that year at 2.21. Then again, who is Hank Aguirre?!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review- 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number In Sports

It was the summer of 1941- the Nazi regime was storming across Europe, Americans were filled with anxiety as its young men were being drafted by the millions, a twenty-three year old man named Ted Williams was in the midst of a season in which he hit .400, and Joe DiMaggio gave us a number that seems unattainable-56. By the end of the year, America would enter the war and Joe D had cemented his place in baseball history.

In "56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number", Kostya Kennedy gives an account of the Yankee Clipper's pursuit of Wee Willie Keeler's 45-game hitting streak that had been set in 1897. While the streak is the focal point, what makes this book so interesting is that Kennedy has entwined other stories with it. In doing so, the author helps the reader to understand how this chase touched the lives of so many Americans-giving them a diversion from what was happening in Europe, as well as a sense of hope during those dark days. Reading like a novel, and using the war as a backdrop, the book portrays the Yankee great as a man driven by perfection and pride-a very private individual who is moody and yet (at least on the exterior) calm as the pressure mounts each day that summer. While the pressures would cause stomach illnesses, Joltin' Joe referred to those days as the best moments in his life. That's an interesting contrast to Henry Aaron, and his comments on his own chase of Ruth's record. The reader also gets a look into his first marriage: while DiMaggio is fighting to keep his streak alive, his wife Dorothy appeared to be fighting to keep their marriage alive. I was disappointed that, though the reader gets the sense that there's tension between he and his brother Dom, there's no real explanation as to why that tension is present-it leaves the reader guessing. In ending the book, Kennedy delves into probability and statistical theory in order to see how likely it is that someone could achieve what DiMaggio did. This section has some dry parts, but is fascinating nonetheless.