Dec 31, 2012

A Story Involving a Baseball Legend and Happy New Year

As the year draws to an end, I would just like to wish everyone a happy new year. 

This blog got its start because I always wanted to write about baseball in some form.  I wasn´t sure which direction to go as you can tell from my first few posts back in 2009.  I´m still not sure half the time, and the other half I´m completely lost. However, what draws us all here to read blogs of this type are generally two things: an appreciation for baseball as a game and appreciation for baseball as a uniquely nostalgic history.  This can be expressed through collecting cards, going to games, watching, or what have you.

Many of us have had baseball permeate our life through experiences with our family.  Who doesn´t have fond memories of going to games as a child?  Others have had baseball become a folklore as we can recite which cards came out of which pack from which store during which year?  While even others have had first hand run-ins with our heroes of the diamond and cardboard and foil.

This is one of those such stories.....but I was not the benficiary

As is often the case when reaches a certain age, certain activities become part of the lexicon which did not exist before in my previous experience.  One of these is perusing antique shops for furniture.  Furniture shopping is one of the worst things that I can do on a weekend because of my childhood (Brad knows what I´m talking about).

Anyway, because IKEA furniture doesn´t last that long and apparently, every corner of an apartment needs to be filled with something...(why? I can´t explain the mind of some people)...antique stores have been the last refuge of semi-affordable, don´t gouge your eyes out after seeing the price furniture.

It was during one of these trips to an antique store that I stumbled upon something else that I had to have.  It was simply a wooden sign that said ¨I heart baseball cards¨ with the heart actually heart-shaped.  It looked like it was from the 1960s or so.  After an afternoon of searching in vain for furniture, finally there was something worth looking at and buying.

I went to the front of the store to have it purchased (my friend was kind enough to give it to me) and the proprietor of the store started asking me about baseball cards.  Do I collect?  Who´s my favorite team/favorite player?  He showed me some cards in the front case.  They were all early 90s Upper Deck Heroes cards. 

He then told me that his other location had more cards and I should look there, and I assented.  He then started asking where we were all from originally.  The group was eclectic with myself being born in Philadelphia, one from Spain, one from Massachusetts, and another from Oklahoma. (all living in the Bay Area now.) 

He then said he was from Texas and started talking with the person from Oklahoma about similar places and family traditions and so forth.  But one piece was interesting in that he said his favorite team was the Yankees because of where he was from. 

Texas?  Yankees?

He must have been 70 years or more, so there was no team in Texas to root for outside the minors.  Maybe he had a minor league team in his town?  No, he said it was because of his aunt and uncle.

His explanation continued.

When he was 7 or 8 years old, he used to stay the summers with his aunt and uncle.  He said that the group of kids that was there used to play baseball in the backyard of his aunt and uncle as well as the adjoining neighbors.  They used the clothesline posts as bases and tried their best to not break windows.

He said that there was one boy, who must have been 12 or 13, who was head and shoulders above everyone else in skill, regardless of age of the group of kids.  He could run, catch, throw, and hit better than anyone he had ever seen.

I then asked where his aunt and uncle lived.  And he replied......a town called Commerce, Oklahoma.  In other words, the home of the Commerce Comet, Mickey Mantle.

It turned out that his uncle and Mickey Mantle´s father worked together in the mines (if I remember correctly) and the Mantles lived either on that street or at least in the same neighborhood.  His aunt kept a scrapbook of everything that Mickey Mantle ever did and he started rattling off facts about him.

By this time, it was time to move on to the next antique store, so we had to bid our leave.  It turns out that furniture shopping can be interesting after all.

Dec 27, 2012

Sterling....a question...a rare midweek thought...

As someone who normally operates, in the so-called "first world" collecting arena, I am baffled by some of the prices for the Bowman Sterling brand.  Prospect autos are all the rage, especially in the last 3 years, in which there has been a stellar or near-stellar class to pursue. 

Shown above is one of the few Bowman Sterling cards that I possess.  It´s a single swatch jersey relic.  It comes out of a $50 per pack product.   It is luminous, but is otherwise lacking in anything else that would suggest it´s from a premium, high-end brand.

But past is least as Bowman Sterling is concerned.  Until the past couple years, it was single relics like these and autographs on shiny stickers.  It was a visual mess to say the least.  (I was not a fan to put it mildly.)

These past couple years, the on-card auto content has at least been increased, so that there is more connection.  There also is less emphasis on the relic portion of the checklist content.  It seems a smorgasbord of prospect autos is what to expect judging from the box breaks I have seen.

Questions for those who prospect....
-Are there checklist elements in this set that are more desirable than other sets?
-Since this is the last release of the year, who missed the cut in other prospect-centric sets?
-Would you rate the appeal of these prospect autos over Bowman Chrome and Topps Chrome?
-Isn´t this now just a high-end version of Bowman Platinum?
-Is there a continuity element to collecting it from year to year?

I want to understand more about the Bowman Sterling phenomenon.

Dec 24, 2012

Back to Basics: Cards from My Cardboard Mistress

There are times in this world where sharing is difficult.    For instance, I have trouble sharing cookies...I am guilty as charged as a cookie hoarder.  I also have trouble sharing  personal items about myself.  But I´m trying to break out of that.  Did you know I can wiggle both ears at the same time independently?  Lately, and most importantly, I´ve had trouble sharing on the blog.

How can this be?  Is it because I´m part bear and gone into hibernation (possible).  Is it because I´ve become obsessed with fantasy football and drove my team to the championship? (probable)  Or is it because everytime I looked at a computer outside work, my first instinct was to kick first and ask questions later? (correct).

I´ve discovered there´s only so much typing in me per day for any subject, and unfortunately, the fun subjects suffer. And this includes my real reason for being, collecting the heck out of baseball cards.

These cards are from a group break at the inestimable My Cardboard Mistress, who hosted the most random, surprisingly satisfying group break I´ve taken part in awhile.  I snagged the present Philadelphia team as well as the former Philadelphia team (and the team in my backyard) as my weapons of choice, and what came out were 100s of cards of varietal surrealism that left me in sorter´s heaven.  Included among the group were the following (see how the formal writing creeps in may now erase that last sentence from your consciousness)
2008 Upper Deck Timeline (2004 Timeless Teams Design) Cole Hamels: I don´t know how I missed the original of this set.  This guy did not.  But, I will gladly take an update for the most memorable Phillies year of my lifetime.
1993 Ted Williams Mike Schmidt:  I also wish I bought this set when it first came out.  I used to have designations of real/not real cards.  What a strange idea....since they´re all real now.
2000 Topps Gold Label Brett Myers:  A rookie! A rookie! I can trade this for a cookie!
2003 Topps Bobby Abreu: The always underappreciated Bobby Abreu....shown here at the height of his walking, not-fielding powers.  It looks like his career might end if he doesn´t sign with someone soon.  Still, one of the top 5 trades in recent Phillies history.
2009 Goudey Jimmy Rollins(heads-up);  I think I love these heads-up cards.  I want them all from all the Goudey years.
2006 Topps Aaron Rowand: old ¨fence face¨had an interesting two year run with the Phillies.  He was a strange beast with power from the center field spot and liked to get hit by pitches.
2012 Bowman Platinum Roy Halladay: He was part of ESPN´s Hall of 100, and this year, the hopes of Phillies nation hinge on his return to form in 2013 (was that overdramatic? I meant it to be.)
1984 Topps Rickey Henderson: Early Ricky cards are the best.  Even Rickey thinks so because Rickey was faster than lightning and cooler than a glacier melt.  Rickey still is.
1987 Fleer Dusty Baker:  I didn´t know he played that long, and 1987 Fleer is on my list of sets to pursue.
2002 Donruss (spanish card) Mark Mulder:  Mark Mulder begat Dan Haren who begat Brett Anderson/Chris Carter/Carlos Gonzalez who the last begat Matt Holliday for half a season who begat Brett Wallace who begat Michael Taylor (I really thought it would be a better ending to this trade chain)
2003 Topps All Star Miguel Tejada:  He was truly special in his time and blasted the ball as a shortstop.  I like shiny cards almost as much as cookies, but I wouldn´t trade a cookie for a shiny card.
2008 Upper Deck Timeline Frank Thomas:  It looked weird, but it worked.  39 HRs and 140 OPS+ in 2006.
2007 Fleer Ultra Mike Piazza; It looked weird, and it didn´t work.  Anyway, can anyone identify Ultra sets just by looking at the front without consulting references (1997-2007)?
2012 Topps Archives Yoenis Cespedes: Not the best rookie (Trout) this year....but man, was he dynamic to watch...a twisting corkscrew of power and flair.  He made a popfly look fun.
2000 Topps Gold Label Eric Chavez: He and his back have been resurrected as a very successful platoon player.  He seemed like a contender for the HOF until the back injuries.  It was a legitimate debate: Chavez or Rolen in the mid-2000s.
2000 Topps 21st century Topps Ben Grieve:  This is not a refractor, but it should be.  Ben Grieve needs the refractor designation to stay hobby relevant.
2010? Heritage Flashback Jason Giambi:  He came back, he flashed back, he bashed back, and then went to the Rockies.
2009 Opeechee Matt Holliday: See, it wasn´t a dream.  Having lived in both places, I prefer Oakland to St, Louis....but the St. Louis baseball experience has been better.

Thanks for the sweetly awesome break, Adam....I will celebrate the sorting with some cookies.

Dec 6, 2012

Two Random Vintage Phillies: A Look into New Players

I do love when vintage Phillies worm their way into my collection. Whether by land, sea, or air, the gray, creased versions of bygone players bring to life the nostalgic voice inside my head. Remember when? Can you see the filtered sunlight?  Why are there palm trees in Philadelphia?  How many splinters can you pick up by sitting in the bleachers?

The ironic part I wasn't alive for any of that.  I've always considered myself a person that had baseball history interest first and that expanded into card collecting.  My first exposure to the deep inner workings of baseball was through a book my dad bought for me in Cooperstown when I was 8.  I don't remember the name, but it was edited by Donald Honig.

It had one or two pages for every year's happenings and photos from every decade of baseball history.  It was amazing.  I read that book so much that the pages started falling out.  This is where I learned the names of Ferris Fain, Stan Coveleski, Fred Clarke, Karl Spooner, Jim Lonborg, Sandy Amoros, Rube Waddell, and more.  I also learned that the most impressive accomplishments were to win 20 games in the season and win the batting title.  Things have changed a bit since when that book was written in 1989 or 1990.

Even with the comprehensive overview of baseball history (since 1900) under my belt, there are always players that are not as recalled.  Even for one's favorite team, is it really possible to name all those players during your lifetime?  The answer is no,  So it's not surprising, that there are Phillies from the '50s that I'm not familiar with....especially pitchers.
Jim Owens was a Phillie from 1955-1962.  Oddly, he took a year off for military service in 1957.  It's only odd because the majority of major leaguers that were off for military service were during the Korean War in the early '50s.  The highlights of his career with the Phillies were few, but the 1959 season was one.  He reached .500 on the awful teams from that era, had 11 complete games, and a career best 135 K.
Ron Negray had a short Phillies career spanning 1955-1956 and 130 innings or so.  He did have 3 saves in 1956 in a time when saves weren't the stat chaser that we all know and love today.  He also went 3 for 7 with a .929 OPS, leading the team, but.....sample size. Still a fun fact.

Amazing, these two only crossed paths for two months over these two years.  But we cross paths with players as we sort through cards to create memories of players we have never seen play.

Nov 30, 2012

Framed Ginter Majesty

O beautiful for mini cards, For the dark bordered grain,  
For framed Ginter majesty,
The autos are not plain!
Nostalgia! Ginterica! God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with jersey and wood
From sea to shining sea!

Nov 26, 2012

Cards from Fantastic Catch or Envelopes Welcome Me Home

After being away from home for a little bit, there is one constant that keeps me going....the unspoken threat of a manila envelope in the mailbox. They lurk for you when at work and try to give ideas to the bills and magazines always present in the mailbox to get noticed more. Here's the top 5 pieces of advice from the manila envelope to these other scraps of mail that get thrown on the table unopened and unloved.
1. "Try and hold your breath.  You seem frail and bendy"
2. "You're looking a little pale. You need more sunlight to turn yellow."
3."I can give you the number of a good toploader implant doctor."
4. "Allow yourself to be covered in stickers."
5."See that. That's a delivery confirmation stamp. Use it. Live it. Love it."

In any case, one of the envelopes I received some time ago was from the gentleman at Fantastic Catch.  He exhibited a lot of patience with me and came through with ....well, a fantastic package.  Everyone can tell I'm a Phillies fan, but I don't mind some cards from the original AL Philadelphia team, especially with the year they had this year. Here are some highlights.
2008 or 2009 Upper Deck Common or Uncommon or Rare or Ultra Rare Starquest Jimmy Rollins: Honestly, if it's not chrome or refractory and it's a retail one per pack insert, colored parallels barely matter.  The only starquest that matters is Collector's Choice style circa 1997.
2012 Topps Daric Barton:  He was benched for the Chris Carter/Brandon Moss platoon this year and was not part of the excitement.
2006 Ovation Eric Chavez: He was a Yankee last year, and he destroyed righties, and he played more than 70 games. Remember when he was a 2nd/3rd round fantasy pick?
2012 Topps Opening Day Roy Halladay: The stripped down version of Topps with the stripped down 2012 version of Halladay.  I hope the 2013 version is close to the 2011 version.
2012 Topps Update Blue Border Laynce Nix: An injured bench player is the most forgotten of players as a retail parallel issued only in blaster packs is the most cast aside of parallel.
2012 Topps Kyle Kendrick: He was officially labeled a pleasant surprise in 2012, upping his K rate to a career best 6.6 K/9.
2006 Ovation Ryan Howard:  Who misses themed cards? Spotlighted baseballs anyone?
2006 Artifacts Pat Burrell: Burrell had the best chewing mouth ever....possibly.
2012 Topps  A Cut Above Roy Halladay: Die cuts are back in 2012....It's almost like they forgot what the purpose was. This looks like a 'Z', which would be in the omega position of the alphabet.

Always fun to receive a manila envelope....maybe next time, the rest of my mail will be inspired and every piece will transform into one.

Nov 19, 2012

Wondrous Seasons of the Past: Elston Howard in 1963

Elston Howard was a catcher for the Yankees.....and an outfielder...and a first baseman.   His career started late at the age of 26 because of the Korean War and Yogi Berra, and he was a semi-full time player for the first 5 years thanks to Yogi Berra.

He was the International League MVP in 1954, batting a robust .330/.380/.569 with 29 HR and 109 RBIs. Allie Reynolds pontificated that if they had had Howard in the lineup, they would have overtaken the Indians and won 112 games instead of the mortal 103 that they earned during that season.  (Sidenote:  It must have been really fun to be a Yankee during the '50s in some ways.  You got to be in the World Series every year except 1954 and 1959  Then again, everyone had to have a buzzcut.)

He was called up and bounced around the field from 1955-1958, squeezing at-bats amid Yogiisms and the toughness of breaking into the '50s juggernaut Yankees lineups.  He initially modeled his batting stance after Joe Dimaggio, but after an unsuccessful 1960 season (.245/.298/.353, 80 OPS+) it had to changed.  His manager, Ralph Houk, told him to hit it through the center to better square up the ball.

So, Howard adapted the point to centerfield before each at-bat that we can associate with Jim Thome or Ryan Howard and was also associated with Rocky Colavito.  That 1961 season was the best of his career, hitting .348/.387/.549 (153 OPS+), albeit in a not quite full-time role.

But he won the MVP in 1963 with a prodigious line for a catcher in a pitcher's era.....287/.342/.528 (141 OPS+) with 28 HR and 85 RBI, with a stellar catching line as well with a Gold Glove.  Of course, the Yankees won the pennant that year, so that may have helped in the voting.

He was 5th in the league in OPS, 8th in the league in AVG, 8th in RBIs, 9th in extra base hits, 2nd in catcher assists, 2nd in total zone rating for catchers, and 4th in caught stealing %.  That is some all-around goodness.   He was also seen as the expert handler of the pitching staff with the 2nd best ERA in the AL, presiding over the continued excellence of Whitey Ford and the emergences of Jim Bouton and Al Downing.

As pitcher Pedro Ramos once said, "With a catcher like Ellie, a pitcher can do no wrong."

"Hail to Howard
While yet he plays,
And honor ye your catcher
While unstill he toils on bended knee!
Deny him not the spoils of excellence
For simply that he's not become mere history."

(all non-statistical information in this post is from the book "Baseball Stars of 1965" article written by Norm Borrow.  Of course, all statistics are from

Nov 17, 2012

2011 Playoff Prime Cut Phillies or The Hats Are On a Search

There's a bevy of MLB-unlicensed products out there with Panini and Leaf leading the way. We don't have Ames or Woolworth's releasing cards anymore. These are companies that just can't seem to get in the logo game at this point and time.

 Both have seen to gone the high-end route with multiple autos and patches of pros, prospects, and legends dotting their product release landscape. With these products come inherent risk for the collector. Why would one bother with a product that's not officially recognized? Do we care about logos that much? If there was a card without a photo or name, but just a signature or jersey piece, would it be worthwhile? (That last question has already been answered by 2010 Famous Fabrics and 2012 SP Signature not as rhetorical as the first two)

 I recently acquired a couple Phillies reps from the 2011 Panini Prime Cuts brand; this was originally released as a $250/box product. With the chance for some great pulls including the only place for "Shoeless" Joe Jackson cards; it seems like there should be enough quality to go around.  Unfortunately, there were not enough legend cards to offset the unknown prospect auto cards with the terrible design and broad checklist.

Also, there seemed to be a lot of single grey or white swatch jersey cards for modern players with numbering around /199 per card.   I picked up two Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee to continually build towards that impossible mission: connecting enough Phillies cards to spell out Philadelphia around the circumference of the Earth.

The best part about these cards is actually the Detroit Tigers-style font and sepia tone.  It actually feels like an old-time card displaced to the present day.  Unfortunately, the worst part of the card is the inherent part of being unlicensed, the player picture with the blank shirts and hats and the city name in lieu of the team name.

After looking at these cards awhile, I have visions of the hats conspiring together to steal other hats' logos, and then I feel like I have to wear all my hats at once to protect them from the rampaging imposters.  The end result is that I have a stack of hats on my head all murmuring to each other about how ridiculous they feel about not being the primary hat and having to share the head spotlight.

So, I guess the message is unlicensed cards make other hats become paranoid.  Paranoid hats only breed paranoid people. In other words, unlicensed cards cause unnecessary paranoia due to attacking logoless hats.  Remember that when you're thinking about buying this year's Prime Cuts release.

Nov 13, 2012

Gypsy Queen Dual Rack Pack Break Highlights

There are times when packs sit on my shelf of cards for months at a time. "This time I will write something grandiose about these cards," I think to myself. "This time the scans will be known the world over and then phase 2!" Actually, none of those thoughts occur in exactly that way, but it's true that I like to scan in bunches. There will be nothing grandiose about this entry as well. Sorry, I left my trumpets at my other blog.

Gypsy Queen was my siren last year (2011).  It drew me in with the subtle game of playing hard-to-get.  The  packs flirted with me at Fanfest, tantalizing me with the $10 price tag.  Then, they came into startling vision at my local Target, singing unto me their glorious contents.  I caved and was pulled in, forever smitten by the Gypsy Queen.  Would the 2012 version be so rewarding and alluring?

The thing I like best about the Gypsy Queen base set is the retired players sprinkled throughout with the strange photo filter they use.  It doesn't work all the time, but there are enough times where one can say it makes a spectacular card.  The design is certainly ornate.
One such example that I like is this Bob Gibson. He's not intimidating, he's a retro-vintage art-deco piece.
Hunter Pence is an anachronistic player if there ever was one.  Too bad they don't show his socks here.
Future Stars Desmond Jennings is an example of one of the retail only inserts from this edition (if I remember right). They are very similar to the 2011 version.
The Hallmark Heroes are also a retail-only insert. Nolan Ryan wants to give you a card.....attached to a ball traveling 100 mph.
And of course with a retro-vintage product there are minis like this Gypsy Queen back mini of someone I don't know because there is no name on the back (though the card number would reveal it) and another mini of Josh Reddick.

And here are more minis: a Nick Swisher black border mini, a future NL MVP mini, and a legendary mini.

Of course, the raison d'etre of these rack packs are the bonus 3 card packs.  It's like you bought 3 packs and were rewarded with three cards of a colorful variety.  In Gypsy Queen, this is especially effective because the raised border cards from last year were among the most intoxicating of them all.  This year's edition were bronze, textured, and ready to be put in the baroque section of an antiquities museum, especially that Duke Snider.

How was this foray into the land of the Gypsy Queen and was I able to weave its way out from the entangling spell cast by yesteryear?  Well, after this, I got a hobby box (to be posted at some later date), but have decided to not cast the line for master set completion.  Crisis averted; I can wander free without the siren song for 2012.

Nov 7, 2012

Original Heritage: 2001 Topps Heritage Grandstand Glory Robin Roberts

This is an authentic stadium seat piece (or at least the card front says so) from the previous previous stadium in Philadelphia. It was even from a name and time when Philadelphia had two sports teams.  The name Shibe Park elicits times when Connie Mack wore a hat and suit and when Jimmie Foxx mashed (wait, wrong team, let's try that again).  The name Shibe Park elicits times when Richie Ashburn roamed centerfield and Hugh Mulcahy received the nickname "Losing Pitcher" and when the team got sold because the owner gambled....I  guess the Phillies history in Shibe Park wasn't that great for most of the time it was called Shibe Park.

Shibe Park was built in 1909 and was the first steel and concrete stadium in the business.  It served as the home of the Athletics principally, and then the Phillies joined there in 1938 upon the abandonment of the Baker Bowl.  At this point in their histories, none of the franchises were particularly ascendant.  The Phillies were in the 5th year of a 16 year streak being under .500, and the Athletics were in the middle of a streak of their own with 9 straight 8th or 7th place finishes.  Why not share a stadium and see what happens...there's less overhead for everyone??

The Phillies began their turnaround in 1949, just as Connie Mack was about to hang up his hat after 50 years  as the manager/owner.  This was fortuitous for the Phillies because even though they were the less successful of the two franchises through league history, they held their heads above water enough to become first banana in the city at the right time.  Connie Mack retired, the A's moved to Kansas City after the 1954 season, and Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium during that interim period.

This seat piece could be from either era of the stadium, but the fact that it can potentially connect back to the Philadelphia A's of both Home Run Baker and Lefty Grove as well as the Whiz Kid Phillies of Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn brings the history of Philadelphia sports into focus.

This was also from the first Topps Heritage set of 2001, and gave collectors a different part of the past than they had before.  A stadium seat piece, though impersonal on its face, is an interesting idea, especially for defunct, no longer existing stadiums.

I guess my next collection quest is to get a seat from all the Phillies stadiums.  Imagine how the wooden bench of Shibe Park would look next to the blue plastic seats of Veterans Stadium (I remember sitting in brown seats or orange seats also).  It's much better than a couch to watch a ballgame in the summer.....the dreams have already begun.

Nov 3, 2012

Sometimes There are Dreams of Creatures in the Night When Baseball Season Ends

Like many, I am lulling my way through a baseball season withdrawal.  Football is nice; I like football, but it doesn't feed my need for sports every single day (does that sound like I have an obsessive personality? I might in some things, but I swear I only fold my socks in one direction).  My daily 2nd choice has been hockey; the sport's collectively decided to go into a coma.  If a season is missed twice in one decade, will anyone remember you exist?  I will now have to turn to basketball, though for some reason, I enjoy reading about it more than watching it....except for playoff basketball.

I am inoculated against the European version of football because in my special home fraternity, if I don't root for Real Madrid, I will be excommunicated.   I should be delving into this because I do play this sport and need to learn more about tactics, so that every cornerkick doesn't have the potential to end with someone flying facefirst into a goalpost.

One good thing about the offseason is that it allows me to do activities which I would consider an anathema to my normally busy (meaning television and ticket oriented) schedule, such as finally re-organizing my collection for the 20th time in 20 years.  I do not like the stacks of cards that I have accumulated and my binders are full and my bookshelfs are full of binders and there's chaos everywhere.

To enlist in the destruction of the chaos, I've found two legendary figures to help cut things down to size.  The good news is that they both have axes.  I've also discovered yet another quest, trying to get at least one card from any of the mini sets from an Allen & Ginter release.  This will not be an easy undertaking....anyone ever seen a World's Saltiest Sailor card?

These are from the Creatures of Legend, Myth, and Joy set from 2010 (not to be confused with the Creatures of Legend, Myth, and Terror set from the previous year.)  These apparently were inserted at the rate of approximately 2 per case.
Paul Bunyan would be useful for the large-scale culling needed for my collection.  Large swaths of cards would fall before his mighty axe.  The only caveat is that he's taller than most roofs and would have trouble bending over so far.  His mighty blue ox, Babe, would haul them all away, never to be thought of again.  To feed him, I would need how to learn to make flapjacks the size of my street.

I'm more worried if Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk comes calling to help. Out of desperation, he might take my only cow and my magic harp.  His cutting would be more focused, especially if I attach my collection to a sky-reaching plant.  Commons from 2010-2012, you're first up for planting.

Anyone else feel off during this offseason?

Oct 31, 2012

Tricked Out on Halloween: Pitcher Losses

Sometimes pitcher losses aren't always what they seem.  Are they treats for a game not as well pitched as you had hoped or are they tricks for doing well in previous years or for being a good team except when they don't give you run support.  Here are the tricked out categories.

MVPs that led the league in losses
Hal Newhouser
Denny McLain
Vida Blue
Justin Verlander

HOFers that led the league in losses
Amos Rusie:
Vic Willis
Cy Young
Ed Walsh
Eppa Rixey
Rube Marquard
Burleigh Grimes
Red Ruffing
Ted Lyons
Early Wynn
Hal Newhouser
Bob Lemon
Robin Roberts
Steve Carlton
Nolan Ryan
Phil Niekro
Bert Blyleven

Pitchers that led the league in losses and won a pennant and/or world series

Tim Lincecum (2012)
Jason Marquis (2006)
Livan Hernandez (2002)

Leading the league in losses and wins in the same year
Phil Niekro

And most horrifying of all, here are all the years where a Phillies pitcher led the league in losses since 1900.
1911, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1927, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1944, 1945, 1948, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1961, 1973, 1989, 1997

Happy Halloween!