Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wright in the Nuts

  I don't know what's more humiliating- taking a Craig Kimbrel 88 mph slider night in the ruts in front of a packed house, or taking your base and having your opponents (Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla) laughing about it.

  Hey David, at least it wasn't one of Craig's 98 mph heaters!

  Speaking of Night in the Ruts, give Aerosmith's album a listen...

Home! Sweet Home

"Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home! There's no place like home, there's no place like home. 'Mid pleasures and palaces, though I may roam. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home...To thee, I'll return, overburdened with care. The heart's dearest solace, will smile on me there."~ John Howard Payne

  The Natural faces the team he owns, the New York Mets, today for the final time in his storied career. Against the Mets, Chipper is hitting .308 (264-856), with 49 homers and 159 RBI. Though he is 0-8 this series, I'm predicting a big day for #10. He's provided plenty of memorable moments this season, and I can see yet another one coming. I'm calling it- he will hit the final home run of his career today. It seems to be the perfect bookend to his career: his first home run came on May 9, 1995 against the Mets-beating them with the 9th inning homer.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chopps Originals: Chipper Cornerstones

  One of the many gifts presented to Chipper Jones during yesterday's tribute was a plaque with a homeplate made of bricks from The Ted. The piece symbolized him being the foundation of the team and inspired this original card.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 1992 Classic Fisher Nuts Chipper Jones

1992 Classic/Best Fisher Stars of the Future #5
  This 20 card set was available for a short time from Fisher Nuts with a proof of purchase. Other future big leaguers in the set included Cliff Floyd, Carlos Delgado, Dimitri Young, and Rondell White. Unfortunately, the card front utilizes the same design and photo as Chipper's base Classic/Best card-as well as the Red Bonus insert cards.  
  While minor league issues abound, I can't say that I have seen many 'food-issues'. In fact, aside from this set, I don't think I've seen any other minor league food-issues. Can anyone confirm any other such releases?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Freddie Freeman Inserts-Clincher Edition

Remember the 'Pie-in-the-Face' cards? 
Say hello to the 'Gatorade Bath' card.

How about the Classic Walk-Offs?
ESPN StatsInfo reported that Freeman's walk-off is only the 2nd to clinch a playoff birth when the team is trailing in game. The other is Bobby Thompson's Shot Heard 'round the World in '51.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mr. Mojo Rising to the Occasion

"Mr. Mojo risin'..." ~ L.A. Woman, The Doors

  What a game. Chipper ties Robbie Alomar on career hits list with a double in the bottom of the ninth. Freddie Freeman wins it with a walk-off homer. Playoffs.

  Now four behind Washington. Not conceding the division!

1992 Fleer Excel All-Stars #2 Chipper Jones

   After being rated as Baseball-America's forty-ninth best prospect in 1991, Chipper rocketed up to number four in the rankings prior to the 1992 season.
  Starting the '92 season at high-A Durham of the Carolina league, Jones' stay with the historic Bulls team was relatively short-lasting only 70 games before a mid-season promotion to AA Greenville. While in Durham, Chipper continued to show remarkable plate discipline for a 20-year old-with 31 walks compared to only 34 strikeouts. After committing a whopping 56 errors at Macon in '91, the young shortstop also showed much improvement in the field as he moved up the ladder-with 14 at Durham and then 18 at Greenville.

  While the minor league releases from the early-mid nineties certainly weren't limited in their production runs, they are a rather nice addition to a player or team collection.

 I recently ran across this video of Chip from his Durham days. If you scroll to the middle of the page, you will be able to watch the two minute clip. Ah,the wonders of the internet!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun-Issue Friday: Scooby-Doo and Friends

Scooby-Doo and Friends
So yesterday the Braves rookies (and a certain 40 year-old) were forced to dress up. My favorites: Tyler Pastornicky as Tinkerbell  and Cory Gearrin as Scooby. I wonder if he did it for a Scooby snack?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Working a Deal: September 2012 Card Show Purchases #2

"I get up at seven, yeah, and I go to work at nine. I got no time for livin', yes, I'm workin' all the time."~Rush's Working Man

  My card show funds typically come from the pocket change that I usually put into a jar at the end of each day. And since we only have a show every three months, it allows me to collect enough to make it worthwhile. Then, on the day of the show I will stop by the credit union, empty the change into the coin machine, and presto- spending money!

  And while this is the primary means of picking up cardboard from the locals, it's not the only means. That's where all that overtime I've been putting in comes in handy. A few extra bills in my wallet, and I'm feeling phat. Must be all those ones.

  After my first few purchases, I was coming to the end of the line, so to speak- facing the possibility of going home with very few cards and a wad of cash.

  Now, going home with cash in my pocket is never a bad thing-but the thing was, I was really hoping to see my usual supplier of vintage cards. He's constantly adding to his inventory, so he's always my best chance of adding to my team sets. To my dismay, I hadn't seen him yet.

  My distress soon turned to joy as I found one fellow with a 61 Spahnie that was calling out my name. And an Aaron Special from '74. Oh, let's not forget the '87 Donruss The Rookies Maddux card. All three for less than what I'd pay for a lesser conditioned Spahn on ebay. Who was I looking for? What dealer?

  As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed 'my guy.' Last table in the square. How did I miss him as I entered?

  Waiting patiently to browse through his shoe-box of goodies, I spied a couple of Hank Aaron's. Probably more than I have to spend, so I began perusing through his 1970 singles. One, two, three, four, -ooh, a Felix Millan Sporting News All-Star! (Five), six, seven, eight.

  "How much for the Aarons," I ask.

  "Forty," the dealer replies.

  I begin counting my huge wad of cash, which was still made up primarily of George Washington's. (Dang you one dollar bills!) Thankfully, there's a few fives.



  I know the eight 1970 singles are going to go for more than a buck-but I'm probably the world's worst negotiator. While I will try to work a deal if I have to, I just don't feel comfortable negotiating. Never have, never will. Otherwise, why would I have paid a dollar for the Ryno/Uggla card earlier that day?

  Somehow, I summon up the courage to ask him if he would take $1 for the eight cards if I buy the Aarons. Since I have done plenty of business with him in the past, he agrees-and I get the girl cards.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

He's No Angel (Nor Cardinal, Nor Cub)

"No I'm no angel...come on and let me show you my tattoo." ~ I'm No Angel by Greg Allman

Or, perhaps a spitball.

1966 Topps #299

  Rare is the player who spends the entirety of his career in one organization (unless it's a rather short one, that is). Even those who have played for a few different teams are often associated with one particular team. And for me, Burdette is one such player.

1967 Topps #265

   After signing with the Yankees in 1947, Lew had a brief stint with the big club in 1950-appearing in two games for the Bombers. Lew was traded to Boston for Johnny Sain in August of '51, and would spend the next thirteen seasons pitching for the Braves. Warren Spahn's partner in crime would go on to win the World Series MVP in '57, throw a thirteen-inning one-hit shutout against Pittsburgh in 1959 (the game in which Harvey Haddix had a perfect game through 12 innings-only to lose it, and the game, in the thirteenth), and then pitch a no-hitter against Philadelphia in 1960.

   Lew also spent time with St. Louis, Chicago (NL), and Philadelphia before finishing his career with the Angels in 1967 at the age of forty. 

 1964 Topps #523

1965 Topps #64

  Burdette's success came through pitch location, movement, and the ability to use different arm slots. Oh, and psychology.

  In Bushville Wins! The Saga of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, author John Klima describes Burdette as a pitcher who played head games with his opponents. Long rumored to throw a spitball, he would often plant a seed of doubt into his opponents' minds- doing it through the media. "They talk as if all you had to do to throw a spitball was to crank up and throw one. Don't they know it's the hardest pitch to control? It takes lots of practice and you just don't throw one when you figure it might get the hitter out." 

  He might have donned the uniform of five other teams, but in my mind, Lew Burdette will always be a Brave.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Card Show 1st

"Let me tell you how it will be, there's one for you, nineteen for me. Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman.
Should five per cent appear too small, be thankful I don't take it all. Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman.
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street. If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat. If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat. If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
Cause I'm the taxman. Yeah, I'm the taxman. Don't ask me what I want it for, if you don't want to pay some more. Cause I'm the taxman, Yeah-I'm the taxman.
Now my advice for those who die, declare the pennies on your eyes. Cause I'm the taxman. Yeah, I'm the taxman. 
And you're working for no one but me!"~ The Beatles' "Taxman"

For over twenty years I have been attending, or have set up and sold at, card shows- and I can honestly say that yesterday marked the first time that I have seen people from the State Tax Commission show up and make their presence known. 

  I hadn't been at the show for very long before the promoter called out for everyone's attention. He then pointed out two representatives from the Idaho State Tax Commission, and notified all the dealers that the tax folks would be passing out forms, which would need to be returned to him (the promoter) by the end of the day. If they didn't, he could go to jail, he said.

 "Who cares!" one guy yelled out. 

  We should, I guess, as the promoter promised there would be no more shows-should he go to jail.

  "That's bull****", one fellow next to me kept repeating, ad nauseam. 

  "Total sales for today: 0," said I to the dealer whose table I was standing at during this time.

I guess revenue is still down, so it's time to go after the little guys. Bull****, indeed.

Okay, on with the show, pt. 1

1978 Topps #703 Rookie Pitchers
I actually have this card in my '78 set, but needed it for my Braves team set. 

1959 Topps #157 Felix Mantilla and #165 Bill Bruton
50 cents each for two speedsters. 

1958 Topps #325 Joe Adcock
Poor guy was overshadowed by Aaron and Mathews all those years in Milwaukee; great power hitter, though.

1969 Topps #100 Hank Aaron
A vintage Aaron card for $10?! Well, okay! Been wanting my 'birth-year' card of the Hammer, and now it's mine. All mine! Mwahahahhaahha.

2012 Topps #TT-10 Timeless Talents Ryne Sandberg/Dan Uggla
At $1, I grossly overpaid for this one, but needed it for my Braves team set. I watched Ryno on WGN all those years, and don't remember him enduring such great funks as the ones Uggla has made us fans suffer through for the better part of two seasons. 'Timeless Talent'? How about 'Tumultuous Tank-Job' for the Braves second baseman?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Card Show Day

With work having been crazy the past few months and much of my free time lately having been spent painting the house, I am needing a day of escapism. My only game plan will be to try to get a few more vintage Braves on my wantlist, as well as some Chipper, Maddux, and whatever other cheap Braves I can find.

It's Bronco Game Day today, as Boise State's home opener against Miami (OH) begins at 2:00pm- so I don't expect there to be a big crowd, unless everyone goes early. I was planning on getting there early; maybe it would work to my favor if I wait?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 1987 Drakes Big Hitters Dale Murphy

1987 Drake's Big Hitters #13 Dale Murphy
   Murph achieved career-highs in home-runs (44), on-base (.417), slugging (.580), and OPS (.997) during the 1987 season. After finishing with a .295 average that year, we saw a huge drop the following year, finishing with only a slash line of .226/.313/.421

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hanging with My Gnomies

Another of the favorites from my childhood- former Braves second baseman Glenn Hubbard. Picked this one up on the bay for a buck and a few pennies.

  I wonder if my wife would let me get one of those ceramic or resin garden gnomes and paint it up to look like Hub? Just thinking out loud...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Georgia Taters 'Night'- Brian McCann

    I created this card towards the end of July-the month in which McCann bashed nine homers. Since then, he's been MIA. Whether injured, or mired in a deep slump, Atlanta has desperately missed Brian's bat contributing to their offense. Hopefully yesterday was a sign that BMac is getting things around. Against the Mets, McCann had four hits, including his first home run since July 31st.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yeah, (Bleep)! Martin Marquee! Ooh!

"War-huh, yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing."- War, by Edwin Starr

     My views on war might align with the just war theory, but I am an advocate of an all-out bidding war on cardboard. You see something you want- take no prisoners! The only rules or law that should prevent me from winning this kind of war is that of being financially constrained.

Case in point: I recently saw this Martin Prado Topps Marquee auto/relic card on eBay and set my sights on it.

The opening bid was 99 cents, and within a few days was still reasonably priced at the five dollar range. On the final day of bidding, I finally jumped into the fray at $6.98 with about three hours left on the auction. After being outbid twice in the next hour, I decided that I wasn't going to let anyone outbid me on this beautiful piece. So with about seven minutes left, I upped the bid-only to watch my competition begin lobbing higher bids, to which I would respond by another bid. With about fifteen seconds left on the auction, my hope began to fade as I saw the enemy's username take the top spot on the app. Frantically, I lobbed yet another bid-this time sending it with only a few seconds left.


He didn't even see it coming. Well, maybe he did-he just couldn't do anything about it.

  Upon winning, I fought off the urge to allow my inner Jesse Pinkman to scream out, "Yeah, (bleep)Magnets! Martin Marquee! Ooh!"

Weapon: iPhone
Ammunition: eBay app
Casualties: 14.5 greenbacks; 6 enemies

Friday, September 7, 2012

Food-Issue Fridays: Upper Deck Quarterback Challenge

  Our family has had a long-running tradition of having pizza for dinner on Friday night. The only thing that has changed during that course of time has been where we have purchased the pie. Pizza Hut, Papa Murphys, Idaho Pizza Company, Denali Pizza, and Domino's have all been on the menu. There were also the home-made pizzas my wife baked over the course of three years. Bless her heart,  it was a lot of work.

  This pizza tradition is nothing new to me. As a kid growing up, we would often go out for pizza with my grandparents on Friday nights. Nothing like enjoying pizza at Grizzly Bear Pizza while watching the Planet of the Apes television show.

  After I moved out of my parents house and into my own place, pizza was probably on the menu at least twice a week-sometimes more.

  That would have been around the time that Upper Deck produced cards for Domino's Pizza. The 1991 UD Quarterback Challenge cards were something that I couldn't get enough of-even if it meant choking down their pies. With either three or four cards per-pack, I accumulated quite a nice chunk of the 50 card set. Problem was, the collation was terrible-if my memory serves me correctly. I never did finish the set, and probably sold the singles at some of the shows I used to do.

  I was reminded of these awesome pieces of cardboard (the football cards-not the pizza) recently as I was listening to Atlanta's 680 the fan-which hosts the Craig Kimbrel show. The weekly radio show is sponsored by, yes- Domino's Pizza. And since UD never did a Domino's set for major league baseball, I thought it would be fun to feature Kimbrel on a Closers Challenge card. Now, I only need some competition for him. Perhaps Aroldis Chapman?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Canaries in a Coal Mine

  More canaries in a coal mine from the Atlanta Police Athletic League-this time from 1982.

Like the 1985 set, the 1982 Atlanta PAL Braves team set features a "Tip from the Braves" on the back of the card. Unfortunately, many of the cards feature the same tip as the '85s (imagine that):  the '85 Gene Garber card warned against getting high on drugs (encouraging us to get high on ourselves, instead), while the 1982 Nancy Reagan award goes to two Braves: Rick Camp and Bob Walk.

Steve Bedrosian and Larry McWilliams come in a close race for second: "Good grades and dope don't mix!" (Bedrock) and "Take a friend along when you go to the playground, movie, or store. Good grades and dope don't mix!" (McWilliams)

Rafael Ramirez offered up some choice words of wisdom that I once tried to impart to my oldest son. "Always put your bike or other toys away after playing with them. Do not leave them outside." Do you think my son listened to me? No; after leaving his bike unattended near the street for the umpteenth time, some punk rode off into the sunset. If only I had had this card to give him!

Claudell Washington: "Always have enough change with you, to make an emergency phone call." Huh? What's he talking about?

and finally..the main reason I purchased this set- the Brett Butler card. Same year as his Rookie Card!

"Practice good 'safety' habits by not playing in dangerous places." Does jumping down a long flight of stairs qualify as playing in dangerous places? Yeah, I thought so. Oldest, again. This time, he suffered a fracture in his right foot. Brett- why couldn't you have spoken to him?! 

I leave you with this: "Canary in a Coal Mine" by the Police

Uggla Can't Buy a Hit, Braves Buying Cases

   Since Dan Uggla has forgotten how to hit (but he leads the league in walks!!) and has been benched, I think the Braves need to start picking up cases of high-end Topps products. Could be the only Uggla hits they get over the final month of the season.

(photos taken from ebay auctions)

Either that, or ask Bobby Cox to allow the struggling second baseman to wear #6. You know ballplayers and their superstitions...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cards You're Not Likely To See: Allen & Ginter World's Greatest Liars

"Running with the Devil..."~ Van Halen

World's Greatest Liars- Politicians #250 (Well, not really)

 So, we have Joy Behar calling Paul Ryan  "The Devil in Disguise" and Jeb Bush asserting that people don't relate to Mitt Romney because of tv ads which depict the GOP candidate as the devil himself. Just a few months ago, John Rocker declared that he would rather vote for the devil than Obama. [Yes-that John Rocker]. And let's not forget Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, whose alter-ego JDevil has made a pretty convincing case for President Obama being the prince of darkness . Joe Biden even admitted on The View that President Obama laughed like the devil at his infamous F-Bomb. All this talk of politicians and Satan makes sense; he is, after all, the 'father of lies.'

And, of course, the devil is in the details-which is why I never get too excited for any one candidate.

While I try to keep my political views to myself and off the blog, I will admit this: I think very little of politicians and have no love for them. If asked my party affiliation, I'm more likely to respond, "disgruntled."

And so, please, don't take this custom card I have posted as reflecting any kind of party affiliation. It is what it is: a reflection of how I view politicians in general.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Moy! Moy! Moy!

"oi oi oi oi oi oi oi...See me ride out of the sunset. On your colored tv screen. Out for all I can get, if you know what I mean... cuz I'm TNT, I'm dynomite. TNT, and I'll win the fight."~ AC/DC's "TNT"

If you don't watch many Braves games, then you may never have seen Aussie Peter Moylan's entrance into a game. When called in from the 'pen, Moy comes out to the mound to the tune of "TNT" by fellow Australian's AC/DC. And, of course, the crowd chanting, "moy, moy, moy..." instead of  "oi".

One of Braves nation's favorites, Moylan made his season debut Saturday night- working a scoreless eighth against the Phillies. He then entered yesterday's game to record the final out in the top of the ninth, picking up the win after the Braves unbelievable comeback.

Moylan has battled injuries over the years, the latest being a torn right labrum and rotator cuff, so it's great to see the bloke make a successful comeback. Welcome back-and congratulations- Pete!