Friday, November 30, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: Jumbo Sunflower Seeds TP

1992 Jumbo Sunflower Seeds Auto Series III #7

When it comes to sunflower seeds, there's only one brand for me-and it's not Jumbo. Heck, I don't think I've ever seen a pack of seeds from this company. No, the brand I prefer is David. Still, I won't discriminate when it comes to cardboard which bears the Jumbo name.

As far as the card itself- kinda plain. Just how I like my seeds (well, salted; but please, no flavored).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Final Four

Well, I'm down to the final four cards in the 'Screw Topps 100 Card Challenge.' Each player represented here today was a part of a mid-to-late season trade and played an important role in Atlanta Braves post-season history.

1992 Fleer Update #U-71 Jeff Reardon (99 cents)
Acquired from the BoSox on August 30, 1992, Reardon was lights out for the Braves the final month of the regular season-going 3-0 in 14 appearances (15.1 IP) and sporting a 1.021 WHIP. The veteran barely qualified for post-season play (league rules state that a player must be on the 40 man roster by September 1st, with the exception of injury replacements), and actually pitched well against the Pirates in the NLCS-throwing three innings over three games and picking up a win, while allowing no runs. Unfortunately for Braves fans, the then-career saves leader also pitched in the World Series.

After taking the first game from the Blue Jays, and leading 4-3 in the top of the ninth in game 2, Atlanta was looking to take control of the Series. The 'Terminator' came in for the save and got lead off hitter Pat Borders to line out. He then walked Derek Bell before giving up what would be the game winning home run to pinch-hitter Ed Sprague.

Reardon's last appearance in a Braves uniform would be two days later, in game three.

After Braves starter Steve Avery allowed a lead-off single to Roberto Alomar in the bottom of the ninth, reliever Mark Wohlers intentionally walked Joe Carter after Alomar stole second. Hall of Fame OFer Dave Winfield would then move Alomar and Carter up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Mike Stanton, coming in for Wohlers, set up the double play by intentionally walking game two hero Sprague. Manager Jimmy Williams, filling in for Bobby Cox (who had been tossed) brought in Reardon, who immediately went up 0-2 on Candy Maldonado with two curve balls. The third pitch was a charm for the Candy man, who was looking for, and got, yet another curve (a hanging one, at that). Maldonado stroked a  flyball to deep center to win the game, giving the Jays a two games to one lead. They would eventually win it 4-2, thanks in large part of Jeff Reardon.

1988 Score #610 Doyle Alexander (25 cents)
Trailing the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays by 1.5 games on August 12, 1987, the Detroit Tigers made a key move for their pennant run by trading a minor league prospect to the Atlanta Braves for veteran starter Doyle Alexander. The thirty-six year old Alexander would go 9-0 (with three shutouts) in eleven games down the stretch for Detroit-posting a 1.53 ERA with a 1.008 WHIP. Detroit would eventually win the division-but fail to make it to the World Series. An even bigger loss was the prospect-a man named John Smoltz. Nothing further needs to be said.

1995 Upper Deck Minors Future Stock #118 Andre King (25 cents)
Who, you might ask?

King, a second-team high school All-American his senior year, was drafted by the Braves in second round (66th pick) in the 1993 draft. Great things were expected of King after an impressive performance during his debut season in Danville, where he was named the #3 overall prospect in the Appy league.

 After moving up a level to Macon, Andre's second season was a disappointment, however. His third season, spent in Durham, saw the speedster struggle once again before he was sent to the White Sox for Mike Deveraux.

King eventually spent time in the Cardinals, Reds, and Devil Rays minor league systems before returning to the U (Miami)-where he played football. Following his collegiate career, Andre spent four season with the Cleveland Browns as a wide receiver.

1995 Topps #23 Mike Devereaux (25 cents)
The man acquired for Andre King didn't make much noise during the Braves' final month of the 1995 regular season. Limited to only 55 at-bats over twenty-nine regular season games, Devereaux still made the Braves post-season roster as a bench player.

Against the Rockies in the first ever Division Series, Mike only had five at bats- getting one hit. It was in the NLCS, though, where he engraved his name in Braves lore. Against the Reds, Devereaux hit .308 with a 10th inning game-winning RBI in game one and a three-run homer in the decisive game four- earning him MVP of the NLCS. The Braves, of course, went on to defeat the Indians for their first World Championship since 1957-and their first, and only, in Atlanta.

Final Totals: 100 cards/ $63.53
So, after spending the past month trying to 'top' Topps, I think can look at it as a successful run. I picked up cards of traded veterans, rookies, top prospects, future Hall of Famers, busts, unknowns, and not one-but two autographed cards. Who needs to spend $100 for a 100 card set? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Movin' on 'Up'

Weezy! We finally got a piece of the pie...Now we're up in the big leagues, getting our turn at bat!

Okay, so my excitement has nothing to do with the old tv show The Jeffersons. Although I did get the Post title from the Twitter account of Faux Frank Wren, who tweeted 'we're movin' on Up' after the signing of BJ Upton was announced this afternoon.

I happen to be a realist (or pessimist, as some like to call it)- so after watching Dan Uggla's struggles after being acquired two years ago, I'm saying that I'm 'cautiously optimistic' about the Upton signing. He's got the tools to make you drool: great D , speed, a RH power bat. What's not to like?!  Well there is a Low OBP and high K's- like I said, I'm cautiously optimistic that he and Jason Heyward will one of the few 30/30 teammates you will ever see.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trying to Finish Those Sets

One thing the "Screw Topps 100-Card Challenge" has allowed me to do is get closer to finishing some of my Braves team sets. Two such sets are actually two of my favorites: the 1969 Topps and the 2000 Topps Update.

1969 Topps #196 Lum Harris (25 cents)
When it comes to getting a job, it's all about who you know, or so 'they' say.

Harris' first season in pro ball was spent as a pitcher for the Atlanta Crackers. His catcher with Atlanta was a man named Paul Richards, who a year later would become his manager. The two forged a close bond that would literally affect the rest of Lum's professional career.

Beginning in 1951, Lum served as a coach under Richards (who was still managing)-first with the ChiSox and then the Orioles. Harris would replace his mentor when the latter left Baltimore to become the GM of the expansion Houston team. His first managerial experience would only last 27 games, however, as Baltimore did not bring him back the following season. No worry-there was a job available for Lum in Houston, where he would serve as a coach from 1962 until September of '64. Astros manager Harry Craft would get the axe that fall, and Lum would serve the remainder of the season, as well as all of the 1965 season, as manager of the young team. When Richards took the vice president of player personnel gig for the Braves after their move to Atlanta in 1966, Lum was hired as the manager for AAA Richmond, where he would serve for two seasons before getting the manager position in Atlanta.

1969 Topps #282 Pat Jarvis ($1)
It's not everyday that someone can boast of being the first strikeout victim of a future Hall of Famer (Nolan Ryan) AND giving up a 500th career home run (Ernie Banks; as well as #599 for Willie Mays), but Jarvis can.

2000 Topps Traded #T41 Asdrubal Oropeza, #T49  Junior Brignac, #T65 Scott Sobkowiak, #T110 Reggie Sanders, #T124 BJ Serhoff($1.45 for all)

For whatever reason, these cards have evaded me all these years. Well, I somehow acquired the Chrome Traded cards for Atlanta, but never the regular-issue one. Only missing Tony Pena, Jr. (#T39) and Wally Joyner (#T117) now.

Running Total:   96 Cards/  $61.79

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Knock, Knock

My daughter and I have made a weekly tradition of watching the Sunday Morning show on CBS. Whether it's the profiles, commentaries, or nature segments, there's always something that catches our interest.

Take this morning, for instance. On today's Almanac, we were informed that it was 72 years ago today that Woody Woodpecker made his big screen debut in a cartoon called "Knock Knock."

This got me thinking about the baseball world having its share of Woody's as well...

1966 Topps #49 Woody Woodward
Only hitting one home run in a career that lasted 9 seasons, Woodward once said that at the rate he was hitting home runs, it would take him 4,998 seasons to catch Babe Ruth. He was, however, much more successful after his playing days were over. After two brief stints as the GM of the Yankees and Phillies, Woody went on to become GM of Seattle from 1988-1999. 

2007 Heritage #35 Woody Williams
Signed as a free-agent by the Astros in November of 2006, Gregory Scott Williams pitched only one season for the Astros, going 8-15 in what would be his final season in the majors. With a name that sounds like an old-school player, how fitting is it that Topps captured Wiliams in this set that is a throwback to 1958.

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Williams
Searching for a baseball card of the former Dodger and Reds infielder came up with nothing but cards of a different Woodrow Wilson-as in our former President. Wilson, who died in 1995 at the age of 82, had a brief career in the majors which included a cup of coffee for Brooklyn and then two-plus seasons in the Queen City. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame occurred in 1943 while with the Reds. Over the course of three games in two days, Woody collected ten hits in ten consecutive at-bats, which tied what was then the record.

1967 Topps #221 Woody Fryman

A veteran of 18 seasons (with six major league teams), Fryman has plenty of cardboard with his likeness. You want 60s? Got it! How about the 70s? Yep. And who didn't have a card in the 80s? Fryman did.

1962 Topps #215 Woody Held

It's only appropriate that there be a Woody in the classic '62 wood-grain frame card.
Coming into the '62 season, Held had homered at least twenty times in three consecutive seasons for Cleveland, and held (no pun intended) the Indians record for most career homers by a shortstop (85) until 2009, when Jhonny Peralta passed him.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Well, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

More from the 'Screw Topps 100 Card Challenge'-

1991 Woolworth Baseball Highlights #5 Dave Justice (50 cents)
My second recent purchase which shows Justice in the infield. While the front of these cards are pretty sweet, the backs are rather plain- featuring no stats and no photos, only a red back with black and white lettering. It does announce Justice as the NL Rookie of the Year. This plain back is what makes it a great odd ball!

1994 Braves Topps Stadium Club Team Set #45 Tyler Houston (25 cents)
I liked the '93 Stadium Club Team sets, but the ninety-four's are just plain horrible.

Houston was chosen second overall in the 1989 amateur draft. At the time, the pick was a no-brainer. Looking back in hindsight, how good would Frank Thomas have looked sporting a Braves uni? The big hurt was taken 7th overall. Heck, even Chuck Knoblauch, taken 25th, would have been a better pick. I included this player in the challenge as a reminder of those super prospects who don't live up to the hype.

Rafael Furcal: 2004 Bazooka #18 (50 cents), 2008 Topps 50th Anniversary All-Rookie Team #AR99 (37 cents), 2004 Topps Own the Game #20 (50 cents)

It was just reported this week that Furcal's injured elbow is 100 % healed and he should be ready for spring training. That's good to hear. I've always liked Rafa- even after the free-agency debacle a few years ago when his agent supposedly pulled out of a deal they had reached with the Braves.

Running Total: 89 Cards/  $59.09

Friday, November 23, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: Post Cereal-100 Card Challenge Style

My first inclination for a post-Thanksgiving Food-Issue Friday was to feature the 1992 Mr. Turkey Superstars set. But since most of us probably gorged ourselves with a large meal, I've decided to offer up a lighter one for this week.

1994 Post Cereal Canada Champion Series #17 David Justice ($1.99)
1995 Post Cereal Canada #16 Greg Maddux ($1.99)

Of the more modern Post Cereal Cards (1991-), only the ones from 1993 and 2001 can rival these two sets as the cereal maker's most attractive. Proof that you can make a great looking, non-licensed product-something that doesn't happen much anymore.

Running Total: 84 Cards/ $56.97

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for...Todd Van Poppel

Because he said no...

1991 Upper Deck #53, 1992 Upper Deck #22 Todd Van Poppel (20 cents, 25 cents)


We had to settle for the runner up.

2005 Topps Rookie Cup #92 ($2.50), 1992 Topps #551 (23 cents), 1997 Topps Stars #5 (95 cents), 2002 Topps Gallery #23 (25 cents)

Running Total: 82 Cards/ $52.99

But seriously, I hope you have a great time today with family and friends! We have so much to be thankful for- even life itself is a gift. #gratitude

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's a Fine Looking Card, A Fine Looking Card!

2012 Mississippi Braves #12 Andrelton Simmons ($1.99)
Who needs to buy Bowman for its prospects, when you can pick up a more limited produced minor league card that doesn't beat a dead horse with its design? This beauty is a throwback to the '76 Topps set. One thing I like about it, which I don't recall seeing on a card before: the (reversed) silhouette of a player running. The backs are equally awesome, with a large team logo centered towards the bottom, the minor league stats for the player, and of course the Braves Banter section heralding Simmons achievements from the prior season.

2001 Topps HD #31 Rafael Furcal (49 cents)
Vibrant colors, thick stock, great full-bleed photos-Topps HD needs to be brought back. The backs of the '01 HD cards are very nice as well, with another large photo. The font is quite small, but I like the trade-off with allowing for more space for stats and lengthy paragraph. Another great feature of the back is the players' info put in vertical format.

2000 Stadium Club #210 Rafael Furcal (74 cents)
What can I say? I loves me some Stadium Club. Yo, Topps- Bring. It. Back.

Mini 2012 Allen & Ginter #92 Craig Kimbrel (25 cents)
Diminutive in stature, but packing a powerful punch. Ginter Minis-or Kimbrel?

2012 Topps #85 Jason Heyward- Target Red Border (50 cents)
I normally don't go ga-ga for parallel cards. Except Topps Red. And Black. And Blue.

2001 Upper Deck Gold Glove #45 Andruw Jones, 46 Greg Maddux, 47 Chipper Jones ($1.80)
My daughter was born shortly after Opening Day 2001, and that was pretty much the end of my collecting days for the next few years. Thus, I never knew these awesome cards existed until recently. I'm not a big fan of cards with a lot going on with the fronts-this is an exception. Why can't Topps produce something like this as an insert in their base product? Oh yes, lack of creativity.

Running Total: 76 Cards/ $48.61

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Okay, call me a hypocrite. I don't mind-because it's true.

The whole premises for my "Screw Topps 100 Card Challenge" was for what I perceive to be the company giving it to the set collector. Super Short Prints, Short Prints, High Number Sets for $100, yada yada yada. Whatever your opinion may be, it's hard to argue the fact that it's becoming more and more difficult to complete a set-any set, and so I decided to forgo the Heritage High Numbers this year.

And while holding to my obstinate stance (I will not buy the set!), I saw this- and couldn't pass it up. It is, after all, the only card in the set that I really, truly give a crap about.

2012 Topps Heritage #H642 Andrelton Simmons ($4)
So now I'm left with fighting a sense of guilt over this purchase. Is it a false guilt, or am I guilty of going against my conscience? Having compromised once, will it make it easier to try to justify further purchases from any such product? I don't think so. My protest was against the company making it difficult for set collectors. I counted myself as one such. I've cut ties with building complete sets. I am, however, still a team set collector, as well as a collector of certain players. I think I can continue to collect with a clean conscience.

It's too bad that Simmons went down with an injury when he did, because he was playing well enough to make a strong run at the NL Rookie of the Year award. Rumors have been making their rounds about both Texas and Arizona being interested in acquiring Simmons. I hope Atlanta wouldn't even consider it at this point, as I truly believe Andrelton is going to be a Derek Jeter-type of star. 

Running Total: 68 Cards/ $42.84

Monday, November 19, 2012

The 100 Card Challenge: 2000 Upper Deck

My collecting habits had changed dramatically by the time the 2000 baseball season began. The base Topps and Bowman products were the only ones I even bothered to get Braves cards out of. It wasn't so much that I didn't enjoy the other manufacturers- I just didn't have the time nor money to seek out anything else. One of the great sets I missed out on, then, was 2000 Upper Deck baseball. 

2000 Upper Deck Braves Team Set: 21 Cards*/ $5.50
Once again, the folks at UD did a great job of including some of the best photography in the biz; and while the set included a nice card design, it didn't distract from the primary focus-the photos. One of my favorite UD sets.
Another great aspect of Upper Deck: the prospects. They didn't have as many as the Bowman line, but at least the ones UD included in their sets had experience in the majors-or at the very least were on the cusp of getting a call-up. Case in point: Odalis Perez, Luis Rivera, Bruce Chen, Jason Marquis, George Lombard, and Rafael Furcal- all included in this set.

*I recently included the Rafael Furcal "Rookie Stars" card from this set in another post (well, it was actually a different purchase), so I've excluded him from this lot. 

Running Total: 67 cards/ $38.84

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Screw Topps 100 Card Challenge: 1981 Donruss

  Many of the cards I have purchased so far during the 100 Card Challenge have been ones which fall into the $2-$3.50 price range. And while purchasing 100 cards in that price range isn't going to qualify me for the Topps Five Star Club, it is more than I'm going to spend. Time for a strategic plan to get my costs down.

1981 Donruss Braves Team Set- 20 Cards for $2.99
It's embarrassing to admit that I didn't have this team set. Well, I did at one time-but it went away with countless cards when I got out of the hobby years ago.

When I think of the 1981 Donruss baseball set, there's a few things that automatically come to mind. It seemed like many of the photos of National League players were taken at Wrigley Field. The horrific design for the back of the cards. The thin stock in which they were printed. And of course, photos which were out of focus or had an orange tint to it (such as the Matula and Cox cards above).

All things considered, it wasn't too bad of a product for a debut set-especially after having to rush the production of it once they acquired the license.

Running Totals: 46 cards/ $33.34

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The 100 Card Challenge: HOF Auto!

So Topps has included one autographed card in each Heritage 100 card High Number set, have they? While there are certainly some nice players included in the checklist, how many will be ever be members of the Hall of Fame?

 Andy Pettite, one of the most successful postseason pitchers, very well could be enshrined one day. I wouldn't be upset if he does; but I also won't be surprised if he isn't in Cooperstown one day.

 Bryce Harper-whoa, wait a minute! The guy just completed his first season in the majors, so it's a little premature for that kind of speculation.

Earlier in this challenge, I added an autograph of Rafael Furcal to my collection. Nice player, but will never make the Hall. In fact, Rafae would be among the best players included in the 2012 Heritage High Number autograph set, and I only paid a pittance for his SP Authentic card.

My latest acquisition in the 100 Card Challenge is a bona fide Hall of Fame player: Mr. Jim Rice.

Rice was never one of my favorite players-I can't think of any Red Sox who would fall into that category- but I did respect the man for his consistent play. In many ways, he reminds me of my favorite player during my youth: Dale Murphy. Rice, however, was more consistent over a longer period of time and a better overall hitter.

Anyway, as I was trolling for cards on the 'bay, I came across this card for less than a beer at a ballgame. An autograph of a Hall of Fame player for only $6.80. Top that, Topps!

 Mr. Rice may have signed three times (or whatever) as many of his Leaf cards as Zack Cozart or Tyler Pastornicky did their High Number ones-but I would much rather have the HOF'er any day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 100 Card Challenge/Pepsi

  My primary vice these days is coffee. It was only about four years ago, however, that I had a different drink of choice: Pepsi. I wouldn't have called my love for it an insatiable thirst- I averaged maybe a can a day, but I did enjoy it and it was the beverage that my daughter associated with me. She bought me a "Pepsi Cola" T-shirt one year for my birthday. If she had known there were trading cards put out by the soft drink company, surely she would have bought a few for me.

Perhaps something like this...

1991 Pepsi "Flavor of Baseball Superstar" Series David Justice, Card #9 ($2.50)

A regional set issued only in the Orlando, Tampa, and Miami markets, there's much to like about this card. First of all, I like that it pictures Justice at first base- the position he played  for 69 of the 130 games during his 1990 ROY campaign. There's not a lot of cards of him in the infield (at least, not that I can recall), and so that alone makes this card great.

Second, the color scheme of the set fits well with the red, white, and blue of the Braves uni's. All-American colors for the All-American drink and team.

Finally, the glove catching the can of Pepsi. Kinda cheesy, but I don't recall the other cola giant doing that with one of their cards. That's because they suck.

I did get another 'Food Issue' card in this same purchase from north of the border:

1987 Hostess Canadian Dale Murphy #7 ($2.50)
This odd-ball measures approximately 1 3/8" x 1 3/4" and completely took me by surprise. I had not paid close attention to the description and wasn't aware of how small this thing is. In addition, as you can tell, it's still in its cello pack. And, like other Canadian issues, it features both English and French text on the back. Another 'sweet' purchase!

One interesting note: Like Justice, Murphy's first full season in the majors was spent primarily at first base. He would also spend a majority of the 1979 season at first, before the move to the outfield in 1980.

Well, these two cards put me at a total of 25. I'm one-quarter of the way through The Challenge, and I've spent a total thus far of $23.55   

Looks like I had better start adding some cheap cards if I'm to reach my goal.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Screw Topps 100-Card Challenge: 1974

 Yet another part of my first big purchase for The Challenge. I was a little hesitant at first about buying Topps cards during this protest, but one of the criteria I set up for myself was that it needed to finish a set-or work towards that goal. These '74 Topps cards meet said criteria, and  I'm now down to only two cards needed for that year's Braves' team set.

1974 Topps # 483 Atlanta Braves team card (40 cents)
Everyone knows that 1974 was the season in which Hank Aaron became the all-time Home Run champion. And while that certainly was the highlight of the Braves '74 campaign, it isn't the only thing worth mentioning. Dale Murphy was taken with the fifth overall pick of that year's draft, and would soon become an Atlanta icon. The team also finished the season with a respectable 88-74 record- it would be the last time the club finished above .500 until 1980, when it would go 81-80.

1974 Topps #457 Chuck Goggin (25 cents)
This, as Ronnie Joyner at SABR's website writes, is Goggin's only Topps baseball card. A great read! Goggin played for the Braves during the 1973 season, but would be traded to Boston in March of '74.
Thank you for your service in Vietnam, Mr. Goggin!

1974 Topps #439 Norm Miller (50 cents)
This wasn't the first piece of cardboard to feature Miller, but it was his last one. And, like Goggin, the 1974 season would be his final year in the majors.

1974 Topps #634 Braves Field Leaders (75 cents)
Herm Starrette, the Braves pitching coach, had spent a couple of years in the majors with the Orioles before beginning his coaching career for the O's AAA team. Seventy-four was his first year in the Braves organization.
Connie Ryan, a former Boston Brave, served as the third-base coach for the 1974 Braves-and would later succeed Clyde King (who succeeded Eddie Mathews) as the Braves manager towards the end of the 1975 season.

1974 Topps #3 Aaron Special 58-61  ($1.19)
1974 Topps #140 Darrell Evans ($1.00)
1974 Topps #29 Phil Niekro (44 cents)
1974 Topps #244 Carl Morton (38 cents)
1974 Topps #227 Mike Lum (20 cents)
1974 Topps #45 Dave Johnson (45 cents)
1974 Topps #320 Dusty Baker (30 cents)
1974 Topps #504 Joe Niekro (40 cents)
1974 Topps #591 Sonny Jackson (65 cents)
1974 Topps #93 Rod Gilbreath RC (40 cents)
1974 Topps #71 Dan Frisella (40 cents)

15 cards/ $7.71

Running Total: 23 Cards/ $18.55

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Those Wacky Walmartites

  My daughter asked me during dinner this evening if I would take her to (of all places) Walmart. She wanted to get some arts and crafts stuff to decorate a pumpkin for a contest at school-and being a daddy's girl, she got her wish.

  As some of you might know by now, I loathe Walmart. The only thing good about the super-center is that it has cards. And people.

  So while I may no longer buy many packs or boxes to open (which, at this point in my collecting journey is done more for entertainment than for set building), I know that if I leave the store with nothing to open, I can always count on experiencing a different form of entertainment: people watching.

  Watch enough and you will see twelve, thirteen Honey Boo Boo's.

  More common are the folks who look like the poor child's parent(s).

  One fellow behind me tonight was a dead ringer for Badger, the meth-head/dealer on Breaking Bad. He had the hair, the eyes, the stubble on the face. Heck, he even had the gravely voice. Only instead of buying mass amounts of pseudophedrine, this dude was buying large bags of chips, a case of Red Bull, and telling his buddy about the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Clearly, he was loading up for a long night.

  Of course, there's also the forty-three year old man buying the pack of Topps Wacky Packages. That would be *ahem* me.

  For the life of her, I don't think my daughter could understand why her father would spend money on such non-sense. Two bucks ain't much, but it's still two bucks, right?

  Well, it took a while to work our way home, but I think she finally got it once I opened the pack and she saw the shiny corn butts sticker. I guess eleven-year old boys and forty-three year old men aren't the only ones with sophomoric humor.

  Well, baseball may be my mistress-but I grew up on Mad Magazine, enjoyed some of the Wacky Packs back in the day, and still have a great appreciation for parody and satire.



Rufie, You One Lucky Guy

"He hit ball...I dive...I look over here [Rufino looked left]...No ball...I look over here [he looked right]...No ball. I look in glove...I see ball...I say, 'Rufie, you one lucky guy."~  Braves outfielder Rufino Linares, not known for his defense, after making a spectacular game saving catch.
  ~taken from former Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren's Of Mikes and Men'

Sunday, November 11, 2012

1963 Post Cereal 'Update' Norm Larker

  Former Dodger All-Star Norm Larker was included in the 1963 Post Cereal set as a member of the Houston Colt .45s. Having spent the '62 season with the expansion Colts, Larker was traded to the Braves in November, but for some reason was still listed as a .45 on the '63 Post Cereal cards. Topps got it right, however, and included him in the high-numbers as a Brave. Perhaps Post began putting the cards on the back of their boxes prior to spring training and couldn't get a photo; whatever the case, I've customized this 'update' card to get Larker another card as a Brave.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

100 Card Challenge #3: Mega Prospects

  Continuing the quest to best the value found in Topps Heritage High Number set, I turn my attention to Mega Prospects.

   The  Heritage High Numbers boasts Harper, Darvish, and Cespedes in its regular set and autographed checklist. Pulling a Harper auto might be worthwhile, but I question the long-term value of a Darvish and Cespedes. Hype tends to soften, interest often wanes, and values tend to deflate. Case in point: Brad Komminsk and Rafael Furcal, two players I grabbed in my big purchase this week.

2000 Upper Deck SP Chirography #RF Rafael Furcal Autograph ($2.25)
  Prior to the 2000 season, Baseball America ranked Braves shortstop prospect Rafael Furcal at number 8 in their top 100 Prospects list. Raffy was coming off of a 1999 season in which he hit a combined .322 with 96 stolen bases between low and high-A ball. An injury to Walt Weiss opened the door for Furcal to make the jump from A-ball to the majors, and the kid won the 2000 NL ROY- hitting .295 with 40 stolen bases. I wouldn't call Furcal's career a disappointment-other than suffering through a variety of injuries. Three-time All Star, 1800+ hits, and 314 SB. Picking up an autograph from his rookie season for $2.25= another steal- only for me.

2000 Upper Deck #284 Rafael Furcal (20 cents)
  One thing you won't find in Topps Heritage (regular or high number series): stunning photography. Upper Deck just happened to do it better than everyone else. This card features yet another great photo, this time it's Furcal doing his best pretzel imitation. By the way, does anyone else miss the "Star Rookie" subset?

1995 Donruss #321 Brad Komminsk (40 cents)

  "He will do things Dale Murphy never dreamed of."~Hank Aaron, speaking about Komminsk. Yeah, like fail miserably.

Running Total: 8 cards/ $10.84

Friday, November 9, 2012

Food-Issue Friday: 100 Card Challenge Edition

  My first big purchase of the Screw Topps 100 Card Challenge arrived yesterday (29 cards total), and it couldn't have come at a better time. Covering 100 cards in a month's time might be a challenge in and of itself, and so thankfully we will be able to cover four of them in today's Food-Issue Friday.

1985 Wendy's/Coca-Cola Detroit Tigers #7 Darrell Evans (50 cents)
  This card looks more like it belongs in the 1988 Score baseball set-not something that Topps issued. A sixteen-year veteran in '85, Evans hit forty homers as a thirty-eight year old-proving that he was far from finished. One thing that did come to an end in 1985 was Wendy's "Where's The Beef" campaign that began only one year previously. How awesome would it have been to have the little old lady included in this set?

1991 Canadian Post Cereal #12 de 30 David Justice  (75 cents)
  How did Justice fare in Canada during the '91 season? He hit 4-18 in six games at Olympic Stadium. Small sampling, but glad he didn't play there more.

1992 Diet Pepsi Collector Series #5 Tom Glavine ($2)
  Another Canadian-issued Braves card. Glavine, whose worst vice according to is drinking too much soda, allowed only three runs in 17 innings against Toronto in the '92 World Series- finishing with one win and one loss against the champion Blue Jays. He also went 1-1 in Montreal that season

1995 Tombstone Pizza #26 Fred McGriff (75 cents)

  The 1993 fire-sale trade that sent the Crime Dog to Atlanta was one of the city of San Diego's most painful sports moments (coming in at #8) on the ESPN2 Cold Pizza show as they counted down America's Most Tortured Sports Cities. The beautiful coast city landed at number 9. Next on the list? Yep, Atlanta. Had the Braves not won the 1995 World Series (thanks in part to McGriff's contributions), Atlanta very well might have ended up at number 6. If you want to be a Braves fan (or Falcons, or Hawks), you must learn to live with disappointment.

Total, month to date: 5 cards/ $7.99
  So far, my goal of keeping the average card price well under $1 each isn't looking too good. Can I do it?