Wednesday, December 12, 2018

At The Head Of The Hit Parade

I was playing around on eBay the other week and came across a really nice dual patch auto piece from 2015 Topps Museum Collection of one of my player collection guys.

This bad boy is numbered 2 out of 5 and while it's a stickergraph, it looks pretty nice against the photo.  And those patch pieces are sweet.

There are a couple comparable items on COMC right now of Cardinal guys - Matt Carpenter and Shelby Miller.  They are priced at $46.25 and $21.47 respectively.

Mine cost eight bucks.

That was such a bargain, I did what I always do and peruse the rest of that sellers' items to see if there are any others I like to combine shipping.

I found several other really nice pieces for only a few dollars each.  Higher serial numbers, but big swatches and autos.

Unfortunately, I can't show them to you here.  They are bound for a few of my blogger friends.  They are not part of the Blogger Secret Santa program.  They're just some extra bonuses for particular people.

Stay tuned to their blogs after the holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Version Of The Sheep Quiz

Josh at Royals & Randoms put up a contest called Baseball Sheep 2018 asking for the most generic answers to 20 baseball or card related questions.  The questions were so varied and interesting, I preserved my answers and will add my own preferred responses as well.

My little twist to his photo too!
1) What is the best Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium with a roof?

Common Answer: Minute Maid Park     My own answer: Miller Park

Had to look up which ones had roofs.  Figured the most common answer would be the best team.  Astros are hot these days.  My choices were the six parks with retractable roofs.  Not sure if there are others that qualify.  The others are:
  • Rogers Centre in Toronto - too much blue and the place looks spooky on tv, not warm and welcoming.  
  • Chase Field in Arizona - Not bad, but a bit too symmetrical - not much personality at first glance.  Though they have a pool.
  • Safeco Field in Seattle - Kinda cool, too, but it's the Mariners.  <yawn>.
  • Marlins Park in Miami - Some neat features, but garish colors and empty seats.  All I can think of is those idiots that do nothing but whistle loudly the whole game.
  • Miller Park in Milwaukee - My choice since they have fun stuff like the sliding board for Bernie Brewer and the Sausage races.

 2) Name an Alou.

Common Answer: Felipe - shoulda said Moises     My own answer: Felipe

Old school gets in the way and I pick the oldest one.  I'm sure all the young guys think of Moises first.

3) What is the best baseball card product with no MLB team logos?

Common Answer: Donruss     My own answer: Hometown Heroes / Cooperstown

I picked the most generic non-logo set I could think of.  I would have said HH or Coopy.  I bet Golden Age gets some individual votes too, but it's less baseball-centric.

Ooh, I bet some people said "None."

4) What city without a MLB team most needs one?

Common Answer: Montreal       My own answer: No real opinion

I figure most will say Montreal since they had one before, and are the second most populated city north of the border besided #1 Toronto.

The only geographic gap I can see is that there's not much between Cincinnati and Atlanta.  You have Louisville, Nashville, Charlotte, Memphis, and all the way down to New Orleans.  A lot of these places have teams in other sports, so I'm not sure how much they'd want baseball too.  But Louisville seems like a natural baseball town I would guess.  Other than that, is Vancouver or Edmonton too into hockey?

I think it's more of a question of where MLB would like to go than which city wants them so bad.  I could be wrong, though.  Since DC got the Nats, I'm happy with the status quo.  I think they should swap Milwaukee and Houston to their "proper" leagues though.

5) Budget: How much money (in cash) should you take to a card show?

Common Answer: $100       My own answer: $200-500 depending on the size of the show.

A hundred may be over the limit for a lot of collectors.  I am blessed with plentiful fundage and no matrimonial supervision, so I tend to go to shows and just start tossing $20's at people.  But if it's a decent show, and you collect a lot of stuff like I do, ya gotta be prepared.  I'll take out $200-300 for a decent size show like Chantilly, and more for a week at the National.

6) What is the most unusual name for an active MLB player?

Common Answer: Roughned Odor       My own answer: Various

I figured his was the weirdest choice out of many.  Xander Bogaerts,  Ender Inciarte, Scooter Gennett, Yoán Moncada, Avisail Garcia, Eugenio Suárez, Yuli Guirriel, Shohei Ohtani, Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, Odúbel Herrera, Yangervis Solarte, the list goes on and on.

7) Who is the best MLB Mascot?

Common Answer: Phillie Phanatic      
My own answer:
Phanatic with shout-outs to Oriole Bird or San Diego Chicken

I'm going on comedic value alone here.  Plus a little hometown bias.  I figured a lot of people would say Mr. Met or other homers, but the Phanatic is a lot more entertaining and original than that.  The Chicken is king, but now retired or at least outdated(?).  Best as in favorite - I'd say O's Bird.  Funniest - have to give it to Philly.

8) Who is the best bunter in MLB history?

Common Answer: Eddie Collins      
My own answer:
Ichiro or someone that you know better than me

I looked up the Baseball Reference chart on Sacrifice Hit leaders and saw Collins was #1.  That's what I think a lot of us will do.  But some who follow (and remeber little things like this) about the game much better than I do will have someone more recent in mind.

9) How many "hits" (autograph or relic cards) do you expect to receive in a hobby box of cards?

Common Answer: 2       My own answer: Two or none.

The average mid- to low-range product (call it "flagship") SHOULD contain two hits.  Nowadays, regular hobby boxes only have one.  And sometimes that isn't even true.  I think two is a nice balance for $50 or more per box.  Especially since after market prices on average "hit" singles are in the single digits pretty consistently.

10) What is the best professional baseball team name that is no longer in use?

Common Answer: Expos       My own answer: Various

Again, the Montreal sympathy vote should rate high.  I like the Cleveland Spiders.  Perusing the names of other aliases, there are also the NY Gothams, Brooklyn Superbas, St. Louis Perfectos, and the politically incorrect Houston Colt .45's.

11) What is the most-useful statistic or measurement to use for evaluating how good a baseball player is?

Common Answer: WAR      
My own answer:
Card number, All-Star appearances, LL card appearances.

I'm not a stat guy.  I glance at the backs of cards, but I don't remember stuff from the fine print.  I can't tell you who won the World Series for any given year, the MVPs, the league leaders, the all-time leaders in any category except the most obvious.

They say that WAR is the stat they're looking for here.  I'll take their word for it.

12) Name any baseball player with the initials "J.M."

Common Answer: Joe Morgan (J.D. Martinez)       My own answer: Various

I said Joe Morgan as the old school answer.  The younger set will probably say JD Martinez, since he killed it this past season.

Other choices include Joe Magrane ('87 to '96), Jim Mahoney ('59 to '65), John Maine ('04 to '13),  Jim Maloney ('60 to '71), Jeff Manto ('90 to 2000), Jerry Manuel ('75 to '82), Juan Marichal ('60 to '75), Jake Marisnick ('13 to now), Jason Marquis ('00 to '15), J.C. Martin ('59 to '72), Justin Masterson ('08 to '15), Jeff Mathis ('05 to now), Jon Matlack ('71 to '83), Joe Mauer ('04 to '18), Jack McDowell ('87 to '99), John McGraw (NYG Mgr.), Jose Mesa ('87 to '07), John Milner ('71 to '82), Johnny Mize ('36 to '53), Jose Molina ('99 to '14), John Montefusco ('74 to '86), Jerry Morales ('69 to '83), Justin Morneau ('03 to '16), Jack Morris ('77 to '94), Jason Motte ('08 to '17), Jamie Moyer ('86 to '12!), and Jerry Mumphrey ('74 to '88).

Whew, just killed my evening looking through the whole "M" list on BB Reference.

13) What is the best baseball movie ever?

Common Answer: Field Of Dreams, Sandlot, Bad News Bears     
My own answer:
Field Of Dreams

 Gotta be FoD.  Though the Sandlot is hot right now since Archives.  And the others aren't as serious.

14) Most people consider Mariano Rivera to be the best relief pitcher ever. Who would you say is the SECOND-BEST reliever?

Common Answer: Trevor Hoffman       My own answer: Bruce Sutter

Hoffman is second on the all-time Saves list, so he is the obvious choice.  I didn't see Hoffman a lot, so I lean more towards guys like Lee Smith (congrats!), Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley.  Sutter is one of my PC guys, so he gets my nod.

15) Who is the most over-rated current MLB player?

Common Answer: Aaron Judge       My own answer: Any Yankee or Red Sox star

I figure with all the hype usually associated with Yankee stars, plus his regression and injury this past season, Judge will be the most common answer.  My Orioles bias leads me to him or any of the other over-hyped guys on the Yankees or Red Sox.  The networks only talk about them and Mike Trout most of the time - and Trout actually lives up to it.

The Hype Machine

16) What is the best food item to get at the ballpark?

Common Answer: Hot Dog       My own answer: Soft Pretzels and Hot Dogs

Dogs are the default baseball food.  It's in the song, with apple pie (which would be too messy to sell there), and Chevrolets.  My default meal at the game is a dog and a pretzel.  No mustard on either one.  My guts are too sensitive for much of the more exotic things they offer these days, so I keep it simple (and cheaper).

17) On an average day, how many minutes does a normal collector spend reading about sports cards (blogs/forums/social media/etc.)?

Common Answer: 60       My own answer: Several times a day in 15 to 30 minute spurts.

I'm always perusing blogs during work hours.  If I had access to my cards or scans I would probably post too.  I check the blogroll site for new postings a couple times a day.  I'm not on social media of any kind, so it's limited to blogs, dealer sites, and sites like Cardboard Connection, TCDB, etc.  I hope I didn't overshoot the nice even 60 minutes.

18) Vin Scully has retired. :-( Who will take up his mantle as the best current MLB broadcaster? 

Common Answer: Marty Brennaman     
My own answer:
Marty, because other choices are limited.

Marty is about the only "classic" announcer I see on the list of current broadcasters.  I might have picked Ken Harrelson, but he left too, and Bob Uecker is all but retired as well.  I think he's OK, but there's a lot of people that don't like Bob Costas.  I refuse to say Joe Buck.

19) For years there have been rumors about MLB contracting a team. If they would do that, which team should be eliminated?

Common Answer: Marlins, Padres, Rays       My own answer: Marlins, for sure.

The teams I listed in the Common spot are consistently non-competitive.  But I'd say everyone but the Marlins has decent fan bases.  The echoes of silence at Marlins Park are deafening.  They couldn't draw a full crowd if they put centerfold chicks on the field and gave away beer for free.  Move 'em to Montreal or somewhere where people are interested.

20) What is the best song that a player could use as his batting walk-up music?

Common Answer: Enter Sandman       My own answer: Sandman or anything else metal

That's the only one I know by heart.  I'm sure there are other R&B, rap, or pop tunes that guys use.  I couldn't tell you any of them.  So I'm going with what I like.  Metal is just way more badass than that other stuff.  Mic drop.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Nomad Quarterback

John's post on his ugliest card caught my eye.

Something looked familiar...

Damon is actually a lefty, so it was off a bit.  But I can compensate.

That reminded me of this.  The faces are kinda similar...

Which after last Sunday's game is the ugliest prospect we've had for the Redskins' season.  It's not Sanchez's fault, but it's a tough situation.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Ugliest Card Nominees

I've been trying to think of a submission for Baseball Every Night's Ugly Card Contest.  I figured there's got to be a couple cards that just make me think "Egad, that's hideous!" at first glance.  My first criteria would be horrible designs.  Trouble is, if I hate the design of a set, I'm not going to collect it, so I won't have any.  So I went to my tradeables box and started in the early 90's, since that's the most likely source of hideousness by default.   I came up with three candidates.  Here they are in order from least to most terrible.

#3 - 1995 Score #115 Bud Black

Not one of my favorite designs in the first place, mostly because of the default 90's teal color plowing through the basepath dirt contrasted by the violet blue namestrip.  A ghastly combination.  And then the photograph is rather unique, but almost obscures the featured player completely.  It's a lot worse in hand - the scan emphasizes the focus on the face.  A few feet to the right would have framed it a lot better without losing the intended depth.

#2 - 1998 Pacific Aurora Pennant Fever Red Mo Vaughn.

Now I generally like Pacific in all their foily over the top gaudiness, but these are just bizarre.  This is actually an insert set - and a parallel one at that - of an unusual base set.

This is the base product.  Interesting concept, but the position line is way too big, as is the city text.  Thin those out and expand the action pic and you might have something.

But back to Mo.  The regular inserts are actually gold or bronze (can't really tell from the scans on TCDB).  This red parallel series keeps the random colored stripes through the middle of the background echo picture (the what? - I'll show you) but washes it all in blood red.

See here, I've outlined the embossed "echo picture", which I define as a second image identical to the featured picture.  They are almost always identical and totally redundant.  It's OK, but lazy to put the same image of a player on the back as the front, but I really hate echo pictures on the fronts of cards, especially when they're distorted.




But that's the least of the APF's design woes - where does the blue and yellow come from?  That isn't Boston's colors, nor do all of Boston's (or any team's) players have the same colors in this set.  Plus, what is the purpose of the team-lettered stripe?  No idea.  But it looks awful against the uniform and the red background.  Not to mention the Player's Association logo which jumped up front for some reason too....

The back doesn't help much either.  The scheme changes to green.

At least the angle of the gold band (complete with Windows logos at each end...???) is at the same angle as the useless color band on the front.  The logos repeat.  Bonus points for readable text, though.

#1 - 2012 Topps Classic Walk-offs #CW-3 Johnny Bench  Or pretty much all of them.

I finished my master-ish set of 2012 Topps a while after they came out.  I've never added these inserts.  This is Topps' most blatant example of starting with the auto-relic hit and working backwards (quickly and lazily) by subtraction to get the base insert.  I reviewed the 2012 inserts and offered my upgrades to their designs.

All of these have at least two echo pictures.  A few have three.  THREE!  The same image re-cropped and shown three times on one card.  I have to pause to compose myself.  Not sure whether to laugh, cry or scream.  Then in Bench's case, the team logo, which occupies the space reserved for the relic swatch, is (accurately) plain white.  Therefore the only color on the whole card is on one quarter of the total area.  Stuck between the parallel lines that make it look like those sliding chalkboard panels that move in front of each other in older school buildings.  the bottom picture on the right 2/3 of the front is faded so that the signature that you didn't get will show better.  Or remind you that you didn't pull the signed version.

I had to make an improved version again.

Ahh, much better.

I visualized my "ugliest card" to be something with a lot more gaudy foil against sickening color combinations with a badly cropped photo, but this will do.  These are the cards that I can think of the quickest that I can't stand the most.  A couple times I've seen them cheap, and considered finishing the master set just for the sake of completism, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Maybe if I find the whole set in a dime box at a show somewhere down the line.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Congratulations To Tom Brady!

This week against the Minnesota Vikings, Tom Brady rushed two times for five yards.  These heroic numbers put him right at 1000 yards.

For his CAREER!  Eighteen years - 265 games total.  He now ranks 71st all time.

71st!  Add that to all his other supreme accomplishments!

He is in position to surpass his former backup Matt Cassel (1011 yards in 13 years / 107 games) and current Lions QB Matthew Stafford (1013+ yards in nine years - ½ the time / 136 games) by the end of the season.

Now, he's only got to catch up to Josh McCown, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton to be the active leader.

Only 3737 yards to go!  (Or 5109 to catch Michael Vick for the all-time mark).