Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's Here!

What did I get in the mail today but my autographed copy of Javy Lopez' autobiography, Behind the Plate. I thought I had read that it wasn't to be released until April. Perhaps that was when Amazon will have it available (I bought my copy off of what I believe to be Gary Caruso's website. Gary is the co-author of the book). Unfortunately, this book is buried deep on the bench-I've got many others that I need to get to first. However, I look forward to hearing Javy's story-he was one of my favorite Braves.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Know What You Did Last September

So the title isn't mine- I have to give credit to Braves.com's Mark Bowman for it. I thought it would make a nice poster. Or perhaps one of those cards from back in the day-what were they called, Broders?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

1996 Topps Laser John Smoltz

 I was excited to hear this past week that John Smoltz has an autobiography coming out in May. There's also an upcoming Javy Lopez autobiography (due out in April- I've pre-ordered an autographed copy), as well as a book on the '57 Braves team who beat those damn Yanks in the Series; it's due out in July. I'm looking forward to all three, but am still waiting on a Maddux bio.

 1996 Topps Laser John Smoltz
 Speaking of Smoltz, what a season he had in 1996- winning the Cy Young after picking up 24 regular season victories (he also had 4 playoff and the all-star game win that year). While I didn't really like the Topps Laser set as a whole, I did like the pitchers' cards out of this Laser set. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Boy Brian McCann

Spring must be just around the corner! Pitchers and Catchers reported yesterday, including Mr. Brian McCann-who is celebrating his 28th birthday today. I just received this 2012 Topps Golden Moments auto of BMac last week, and had planned on posting  it either today or tomorrow. I then read this morning that it's his birthday, so it only makes sense to put it up now. Happy Birthday, Brian.

Friday, February 17, 2012

An Open Letter to Topps

Dear Topps,
  How does it feel to have sold your soul by offering up Gary Carter items from your Vault the day after the Hall of Fame player/World Class individual died? You try to disguise this greed in the name of charity by offering 10% of proceeds to the Gary Carter Foundation, but you're not fooling anyone. I even gave you the benefit of the doubt, thinking that perhaps there was a zero left out of the percentage, until I visited your Topps Online store, which states "A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Gary Carter Foundation." Yes- a very small portion. This is something that I would expect from scumbags on eBay looking to turn a quick buck, not from a company which has played such an important part in not only the hobby, but in the game of baseball itself.  I implore you to undo this outrageous act-give 100% of proceeds to the foundation, get out of the business of profiting off the death of individuals, and fire the ass who came up with this idea.

Food-Issue Friday: 1993 Nabisco All-Star Autographs Phil Niekro

Who doesn't enjoy a good snack. Cookies, crackers-they're both good, and towards the end of the junk wax era Nabisco combined the two with autographed cards for a pretty sweet promotion. For five bucks and two proof of purchases from participating Nabisco Brands (Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Ritz Crackers, and Wheat Thins), collectors could send in their choice from a six player checklist. Players on the checklist included: Ernie Banks, Don Drysdale, Catfish Hunter, Niekro, Brooks Robinson, and Willie Stargell. The promotion was included on a full-page insert which ran on June 27 and July 18, 1993. Not only was the offer promoted in the FSI's, but Nabisco also publicized the offer on reportedly 80 million packages of their products. Speaking of large numbers, Rod Taylor, in his 2006 Promo article, reported that International Sports Marketing (who owned the marketing rights to the Major League Baseball Alumni Association) contracted with each of the Hall of Famers to sign the cards for $2 apiece. He also reported that the snack company requested 90,000 cards and 20,000 signed premiums per player, for a guaranteed $220,000 payout for the player. One interesting note on this set: as noted earlier, Don Drysdale was included in the set. You might remember that double-D died on July 3, 1993, which came a week after the promo began, and just over two weeks before an ad featuring his autographed card would appear in the July 18th FSI. As a result, the fulfillment company was deluged with Drysdale requests.

It's not everyday that one can pick up the autograph of a Hall of Famer for less than $15.  And while I would prefer to have picked up an Knucksie autographed ball, I was thrilled to pick up an auto for $12.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

At Last, JC Boscan has a Topps Card

What? What's that you said? He doesn't? My bad, it's just a Fab Five Freddie Freeman SP. 

 Wasn't too thrilled to find out #5 has an SP card in this year's set- but I was able to pick it up for ten bucks on the 'bay. Still hopin' to find the 2010 Pie-In-The-Face Heyward for about the same. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Don't Lyke Hot Dogs, but Lyke Me Braves

I know, about as cheesy of a title as one will find

 It probably sounds un-American, but I hate hot dogs. This loathing stems from my childhood and I can't tell you why exactly. It's a very vague memory, but I think it started at a Mariners game and had something to do with the texture of the food and the act of choking (me, not the Mariners)-well more like gagging, but "choking" set up the pun . Freud would claim that the fact that I can't vividly recall the details must prove just how traumatic this event was in my life. Even today when I go to a ballgame, I feel like I'm a stranger in a strange land: I'm chomping on pizza while everyone else is enjoying their dog. Despite all of this, I didn't have a problem consuming this 1992 Lykes Braves team set.

  Lykes Meats became the Braves hot dog vendor for the 1992 season and produced photo team sets, as well as individual cards, through the 1996 season. Prior to purchasing this set, I had bought a Tom Glavine single from the 1993 set. So when I bought this on eBay, I was expecting thirty-one individual cards, not an  uncutsheet. Surprised? Yes. Once the sheets were pulled out of the sheet protector, I was faced with the question of whether or not to perforate them. I'm still undecided. The third sheet contains a team photo. The design isn't too exciting: red logos for the team and the meat company below each player photo, blue ball with players number in it, and the players photo against a blue background inside of a tombstone shape. The backs contain basic stats and player info along with a facsimile auto.This design would have been far more fitting had it been used in a set from '88-90, had Lykes produced them during those years. By 1992 the team was a year into their dominance of the National League and  Fulton was no longer a graveyard where careers went to die.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Troy Glaus...but anyway

2010 Topps MLB Atlanta Braves Team Set #ATL2  While many fans were shaking their heads when Atlanta signed Glaus to a one-year deal in December of 2009, I actually liked the deal. It was the very definition of a low-risk, high-reward type of contract and bought the club some time while Freddie Freeman got some AAA experience. The 2010 season was Glaus' final one in the majors, with his gutsy defensive play at third base in game 2 of the NLDS coming in his second to last game as a pro. But anyway, I have parodied Blues Traveler's "But Anyway" to tell the story of Troy's final season in the majors-a season which was definitely memorable. 

I signed as a first baseman
folks said I was done but anyway.
Testosterone, nandrolone
it's bad for me but anyway.
April was cold one-ninety-four
slugged 2-9-2 but anyway.
Carried the team from May to June
player of month but anyway.

it's a game of inches
and a game of a nation
a kind of game you must understand.
I'm looking for one pitch
you throw another
I walk away
another wasted chance.

Dog days of summer soon came
my knees started barking but anyway.
Found myself on the D.L.
and then behind D-Lee but anyway.
The doctor told me my knees were
brittle like Sid Bream's
It's my career he's trying to save but
I found out I'm going to the minors
gotta find my legs and my swing
 but anyway.

it's a game of inches
and a game of a nation
a kind of game you must understand.
I'm looking for one pitch
you throw another
I walk away
another wasted chance.

I found out we made the postseason
quite a long shot but anyway.
Chipper and Prado they're down
so I fill in at third but anyway.
Bases are loaded Buster hits it to me
I turn the 5-4-3 to end the inning but
I see another inning dawning
Ankiel then drives it deep for the win
but anyway.

it's a game of inches
and a game of a nation
a kind of game you must understand.
I'm looking for one pitch
you throw another
I walk away
another wasted chance.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 1993 Milk Bone Super Stars #2 Tom Glavine

 "Like the reason a dog has so many friends, he wags his tail instead of his tongue."~ Aerosmith "The Reason a Dog"

 I don't know who writes the better one-liner lyrics, Steven Tyler or David Lee Roth. I guess it really doesn't matter as both are quite witty. But what does matter to this collector are baseball cards. To be more particular, odd-ball cards matter.

  This week's food-issue/regional/whatever card is from the 1993 Milk-Bone Super Stars set put out by Nabisco Foods. The twenty-card set featured players at home with their dog, as well as information on the back about the pet. Available in specially marked products, the Super Stars cards came two per pack while the set was available for purchase through the mail.
   It's a good thing that this isn't the typical card; if that were the case, my daughter would be trying to sweet talk me into sharing them with her.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

She's the Woman-but Chip's The Man

'She's the Woman!'~ Van Halen

'when was the last time you did something for the first time?'-  Van Halen's "The Trouble with Never"

  So, I must confess...in the last few weeks I have been really skeptical in regards to the latest Van Halen release. Age, the last few releases by the band (which by the way, came YEARS ago!), and the first single from the album brought about this cynicism. But now that I have listened to it, oh probably five or six times in the last 36 hours I've got to admit that the boys came to play! While Diamond Dave still can't sing much, the band sounds tight and is playing with more energy than they have since about '84. As I have been reading reviews and readers' comments, I have found a surprising number of people who are upset that the band has used a number of old tunes that date back to their club days. This isn't anything new with the band (as well as other bands who do the same thing), and to be honest-I don't really care if much of the material is 36 years old. I'm really digging it! Eddie can still shred, Alex is still a fabulous drummer, and Wolfie ain't bad for a 20 year old. He even fills in some background vocals-not as well as Michael Anthony, but hey, the kid's not bad.

2010 Topps MLB Braves #ATL1
  I guess the aforementioned complaints are much like those many of us collectors like to pitch. Case in point: Topps. It doesn't matter if it's the base set, insert sets, or Heritage- the cards often look so familiar (because they are). Yes, Topps goes to the well time and time again- just like musicians and just like car companies. But we cry that we've been cheated, or curse them and swear off buying any new product. I'm sure we have all done it- I know I have. For now, tho, I think I'll  just enjoy some thirty-five/thirty-six year old tunes that I've waited twenty-eight years to hear. Oh, and enjoy this 2010 Topps MLB Braves team set Chipper that arrived today. After all, as Diamond Dave so eloquently puts it on the new album, "selective amnesia is only a heartbeat away."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Obligatory Post

Life's been busy. But I did find some time to break a couple of packs of '12 Topps.

Friday, February 3, 2012

2008 Topps Mayo Warren Haynes auto

  While on the 'Bay recently, I came across this Warren Haynes auto from the 2008 Topps Mayo set. Since I'm not much of a football collector, I didn't know this card even existed (not to mention the Haynes guitar strap relic piece I have since found out about). Not really wanting to pay the asking price, I headed over to COMC and found it for $10 cheaper-which I pounced on. I had earmarked the money I spent on this for a cheaper Chipper auto, but Haynes is such a great musician and has played with two of my favorite bands (Gov't Mule and The Allman Brothers Band), so I just had to get it. While a member of the Allman Brothers, Haynes wrote what has to be one of my favorite songs of all time.

...He used to say soul shine,
it's better than sunshine
it's better than moonshine
damn sure better than rain.

  Now if I can only find a piece on the equally amazing Derek Trucks, featured on the video playing with Warren.

Food-Issue Friday: 5 Dale Murphy Drakes Cakes

  sanjosefuji commented last week that his favorite food-issue cards are the Kellogg's cards from the 70s and 80s, so I though what better set to feature this week than a Kellogg's Dale Murphy. When I went to pull one to scan I was shocked to discover I don't have one! As one who considers himself a Murphy collector, I am ashamed to admit that there's not one of those in my collection. I focused on Murph odd-ball stuff during one of my collecting seasons and thought I had most of the more common issues. I guess I don't.

 Growing up in the west, I have never been familiar with Drake Cakes, which are (according to the hostess website) found in the northeastern U.S. Well, I guess I have heard of Ring-Dings and Yodels- but was never aware that they were part of the Drakes company. Neither did I know that they are a Hostess brand. From 1981 until 1988, the food company issued  these cards in their snacks. And while they billed the set as "Drake's Big Hitters" , the sets included pitchers as well as hitters. While I like the front of each year, there's nothing that really distinguishes them from the myriad of stuff from that same time period. In fact, the backs in the '83-'85 sets resemble the backs of the regular Topps base sets from those same years. The '86 & '88 card backs are different and show no indications of being a Topps product. Presumably the '87 backs are the same as the two it was sandwiched in between. I don't have the '87 release, nor the '81 & '82. Yet three more cards to add to my wantlist.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cards You're Not Likely to See: The 250-250 Club

 With his twentieth home-run this season, Prince Fielder will join this exclusive club!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not Your Typical 2012 Topps 1 Pack Break

  F.Y.I. I hate Walmart. I would sooner have a dentist appointment than make a trip to Wally World. They never have enough checkers, half the time you're lucky if they have any food stocked on the shelves, and their customer service is without a doubt the worst I've ever encountered. That being said, I was near our local "supercenter" this evening, so I thought I'd drop by to pick up a pack or two of Topps baseball. That is, if they had it. Well, dumb me pulls in the parking lot, when it hits me like a ton of bricks: it's the first day of the new month!!! No way I'm making that trip inside. So, I got home and did an imaginary pack break by pulling up an online checklist, closing my eyes, moving the up and down arrows while blindly pointing at the screen-and there's the card I pulled. After the tenth time I was done for the night. I'm glad I didn't buy that imaginary jumbo!

  Here's my imaginary pull:
#9 Jesus Montero (Holy Crap! In a Mariner uniform! It must be an SP- hey, it's my imaginary card okay?)

#87 Craig Kimbrel (YES! A Brave on the second point!)

#GG68 Albert Pujols Golden Greats (After running down about 20 pages of ebay listings, I'm already tired of the 'Golden' motif)

#29 Active Leaders: Livan Hernandez, Roy Oswalt, Randy Wolf

#268 Miguel Cairo

#243 Justin De Fratus

#189 Alberto Callaspo

#162 Max Scherzer

#94 Logan Forsythe

#313 Phil Hughes (a dirty Yank to end it all)

So there it is, my *first pack of 2012 Topps Baseball. That might just hold me over until Series 2