Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Reference Cards #6 - 2000 Bowman's Best

This was the 7th year for Bowman's Best. In 2000, the base set had 200 cards. I don't have many cards from this set because I didn't buy any of it when it was live.

The first 85 cards were veteran players.
These cards have a golden cast and are printed on stiff white card stock. This is one of only two I have and I got it in a repack in August 2004 for about 8 cents.

Cards 86-100 are the "Best Performers" subset.
I paid $0.17 for this as part of a lot of 50 Bagwell cards I bought on eBay in August 2013.

Cards 101-150 look like the first 85 except with a silver cast. These all appear to be rookie players. Cards 151-200 are serial numbered (to 2999) rookie cards. I don't have any cards numbered over 100.

The set had a number of insert sets, including a 5-card autographed set available through a redemption program.  I only have on of the inserts.

 The "Franchise 2000" set was inserted 1 in 18 packs. There are 25 cards in the set. Lots of silver holographic foil in the front. I got this one for $0.75 at a card show in August 2013.

That's all I have for 2000 Bowman's Best. Coming up next is 2000 Crown Royal.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Random Cards from My Collection #66

Card #41999
1998 Upper Deck #138 Dennis Eckersley
Comments on the card/player: Perhaps the ugliest subset card from the 1990s. It was called "Define the Game". The brown background, the blue tint of the player and the silver foil all add up to a massive fail. 
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #36002
2003 Topps 205 #315 Johan Santana
Comments on the card/player: From an ugly insert to one of my favorite sets of the 21st century.
How/When acquired: I paid $0.55 per card for a hobby box of Topps 205 Series 2 in December 2010.

Card #36724
2006 Ultra Rising Stars #4 Felix Hernandez
Comments on the card/player: This was a 20-card insert to Upper Deck's first (of two) seasons of Ultra in 2006. No question that King Felix was on the rise in 2006.
How/When acquired: I paid $0.25/card for a blaster of Ultra in June 2006.

Card #3652
1987 Donruss #83 Shane Rawley
Comments on the card/player: 1987 was Rawley's 4th season with the Phillies (80-82 for the season). He was 17-11, his best year in baseball. In his last year with the Phillies, 1988, he will be 8-16 and by the end of 1989 his ML career will be over.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #36624
2012 Topps Pro Debut #205 Nolan Arenado
Comments on the card/player: Arenado was the Rockies #2 pick in 2009 and made his ML debut on 4/28/13. A 3rd baseman, he was a serious contender for Rookie of the Year on 2013. He also won a Gold Glove in his rookie season. 2014 was an even better year for him.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.30/card for 185-card hobby box of Topps Pro-Debut on eBay in January 2013.

Card #2141
1993 Topps Traded #88 Fred McGriff
Comments on the card/player: The Braves got Crime Dog from the Padres in July 1993 for basically nobody. In 5 years in Atlanta, he hit .293, with 130 home runs and 446 RBIs.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #13652
2009 Topps Update #260 Ryan Howard
Comments on the card/player: Sorry, seeing a 2009 Ryan Howard card makes me choke up for what used to be.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.14/card for a hobby box on eBay in October 2009.

Card #18941
1989 Donruss #547 Hensley Meulens
Comments on the card/player: Meulens had a career that spanned 10 years (1989-1998, only 7 actually in the majors) in which he played in 182 games.
How/When acquired: This card (in fact a whole box of 1989 Donruss) was part of a large box of baseball related items I paid $50 for at a church bazaar in October 2009.

Card #19899
2010 Topps 206 #172 Kid Elberfeld
Comments on the card/player: Not one of Topps' better retro sets. Elberfeld was an infielder who played from 1898 to 1914. Elberfeld was know as "The Tabasco Kid" because he seems to have been an out of control hot-head.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.45/card for 3 48-card blasters at Target in September 2010.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Life in the minor leagues of baseball

I just finished a teriffic baseball book called "Where Nobody Knows Your Name" by John Feinstein.

Feinstein focuses on 9 men who spent most of the year 2012 in the minor leagues, specifically Triple A. They are mostly players who, having had some success in the majors before, are trying to get back there. He also focuses on 2 minor league managers and one umpire. Along the way he touches on other players who intersect with the 9. As a baseball fan for over 40 years and a card collector for almost 30 years, I've seen a lot of players come and go. Often, when a player goes, it's hard to find out what happened to him. Sure, you can follow a players descent into the minors on baseball-reference.com but numbers don't give you the story. The fun part of the book was recognizing a lot of names of players I liked when they were playing but who now are minor league managers, coaches or scouts.

The story is simple. Everyone of these men, and the many others he mentions, all feel like they belong in the majors. They've been set back by injuries, by circumstances, by the "business" nature of baseball, or just bad luck. They all belong there and they're gonna keep on trying until they're convinced to stop.  Here are the main characters of the book. I've tried not to give any spoilers.

1999 Fleer Tradition #94 Scott Elarton
Elarton had been the Astros 1st round draft pick in 1994 and made his major league debut in 1998. His best season was 2000 when he went 17-7 for the Astros. He never came close to repeating that success and finally retired in 2008. He'd been out of baseball for 3 years when a chance encounter with Ruben Amaro, Jr., the Phillies General Manager, got him a spring tryout with the Phillies and an assignment to the Phillies Triple A team in Lehigh Valley.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson, the manager of the Orioles Triple A team, the Tidewater Tides in 2012, is a career minor league man. He had a 22-game career in the majors ending in 1984 and has been in the minors ever since. He loves it. He tells his players in Triple A "It you don't like it here, do a better job".

Jon Lindsey
Lindsey had played more minor league games with out a major league call-up than any player in history before getting into 11 major league games with the Dodgers in 2010. He had 1 hit in 12 at-bats.

Mark Lollo
Lollo finally got the call to the major leagues in 2011, working some games as a substitute umpire. He worked fewer games in 2012. Apparently umpires work their way up from the low minors to the majors just like players. But when an umpire fails to get that permanent assignment to the majors, he's done.

2006 Upper Deck #949 Nate McLouth
McClouth was the Pirates 25th round draft pick in 2000, pretty much making him a long shot. He made his major league debut in 2005 and was an All-Star in 2008. By 2012 he was hitting .141 for the Braves and was released. Nobody wanted him. Yet he ended up the 2012 season on the Orioles, heading to the playoffs.

Charlie Montoyo
In 2012 Montoyo was (and still is) the manager of Triple A Durham Bulls. He is considered one of Triple A's most successful managers but has never been seriously considered for a major league manager job. He said that one of the toughest parts about the job as a Triple A manager is that nobody wants to be there.

2003 Topps 205 #245 Scott Podsednik
Podsednik was the Rangers #2 pick in 1994 but never played for them. The highlight of his career was hitting a walk-off home run in 2nd game of the 2005 World Series, helping the White Sox sweep the Astros in 4 straight. 2 years later he was looking for a job. In 2012, he was in Lehigh Valley.

2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #166 Chris Schwinden
The youngest player profiled. He was the Padres 5th round pick in 2008. In 5 weeks in 2012 he was released and picked up by 4 different teams before finally ending up back with the Mets.

1998 Leaf #17 Brett Tomko
Tomko was the Reds 2nd round pick in 1995 and made his major league debut in 1997. In 2012 he was with Cincinnati's Triple A team in Louisville, still recovering from a serious shoulder injury in 2009.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Another Fairfield repack

I keep buying these things and I keep not being disappointed. This was a 103-card pack for $3.99. You can't beat 4 cents a card.  Nothing earthshaking in the pack but some nice cards nonetheless.

You can usually count on a handful of 1970s cards. I have hardly any 1970s cards that aren't Phillies so I usually get 1970s cards I don't have.

1979 Topps #37 Joe Kerrigan
Joe, a Philadelphia native, only had a 4-year career as a pitcher but he had a 27-year career as a pitching coach, including a stint with the Phillies.

1979 Topps #465 Reggie Smith
Reggie had a pretty impressive 17-year career as a player. He was a member of the Dodgers team that knocked the Phillies out of the playoffs in 1977 and 1978.

1979 Topps #572 Rod Gilbreath
Another guy with a long post-playing-days career in baseball. Rod played for the Braves from 1972-1978, mostly as a part-time player. After he retired in 1980, he joined Braves as a scout. According to Wikipedia, he was still with the Braves organization as of 2011.

1987 Fleer Update Glossy #51 Dion James
Fleer produced glossy versions of its main and update sets in the late 1980s. These were only available as a factory set and were limited in production. About 100,000 of this 1987 set were produced. I imagine a lot of these ended up in a warehouse to eventually find their way into repacks. I've gotten 18 cards from the set that way.

1988 Topps Tiffany #535 Ron Guidry
Topps also produced glossy factory sets, which they called "Tiffany". I had purchased the Phillies cards in this set some years ago. This is the only non-Phillie card from the set I've ever seen. Now I can pull whatever Phillie card I was using as a Reference Card.

1989 Upper Deck #79 Joaquin Andujar
There are always some 1989-1992 Upper Deck cards in repacks. Someday I'm going to complete these sets through repacks. This is one I needed.

1994 Fleer #545 Dennis Martinez
Dennis Martinez is a player I collect and I didn't have this card.

1994 Topps Gold #88 Pat Kelly
1994 was the third year-in-a-row that Topps produced a gold-foil parallel. In 1995, gold foil became part of the base set. Topps won't produce another gold parallel until 2001.

1996 Fleer #190 Jack McDowell
In 1996 and 1997, Fleer's flagship product was printed on thin white card stock with a sort of unfinished feel but with gold foil stamping. This is another card of a player I collect that I needed.

2003 Topps 205 #18b Miguel Tejada
2003 Topps 205 is one of my favorite sets. I've bought hobby boxes of Series 1 and 2 but I don't have the whole set. Some of the cards have alternate versions. I had the other version of this Tejada. I bought this particular repack package because this card was showing and I lucked out.

2004 Topps #459 Ramon Santiago
In cards featuring a batter, you often see a catcher's mitt extended into the picture. I've often thought that the catcher's mitt was the third most shown piece of baseball equipment, after the bat and the ball on baseball cards. This card has a catcher's mitt showing in an unusual place, on a card with a base-running player.

2010 Topps #637 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
You can hardly go wrong with a card featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. I was wondering if this was a real photo. You can find a number of Ruth-Gehrig photos, including this one (in black and white), through a Google image search.