Dec 30, 2013

Carrion Call or How Would You Like Some Cheap Cards?

I keep my cards in cabinets.  The cabinets, they get full.  These full cabinets, they start screaming at night from indigestion.  As a collector and general furniture-narian, this concerns me.  I can't have cards living inside a tortured cabinet.  Where is the lacquered wood-anity?

I know what your next question is:  How can I help? Well, you can deem to put yourself ahead of their suffering.....have some card-passion.  I've spent the last three days freeing these cards from these ostensible prisons and began sorting.  They swam into their piles and made friends again with their teammates.  For too long, they have been separated by year, distance, and strangely dust-free boxes.  They can also peer ahead and see older versions of themselves or glance behind and wistfully dream of days that once were.

Of course, no one would dream of being caught inside a 2008 Topps card; it's so constricting.

Make your claim in the comments for your team (s) below; I've listed the estimated number of cards for each team.  Most are base cards from 2007-2011 with some 2012/2013 cards and 1994 Flair for some reason.  There may be some inserts; there are definitely Bowman prospects. There will be some duplicates.

If you're feeling charitable, please send $3.00 by Paypal to drauer at wustl dot edu to help cover shipping. This is strictly optional however.

You can send your address to the same email, put the subject of "Claim!" in the subject line so I can see it.

Make a claim before the end of January 2, I'll add some bonus cards which I haven't sorted through yet.

The count.

Red Sox-21
Blue Jays-50
White Sox-39

Thank you for allowing me to continue my quest to not give cabinets pain.

Oct 18, 2013

Hockey's Back in Season, Not that the Flyers Noticed....Signed, a Disgruntled Philadelphia Sports Fan (Who Has Hockey Cards)

Even though I'm deeply involved in the baseball playoffs, I'm also an avidly involved hockey fan. As the second round of the league championship series come to an end, there is less and less baseball every day.

What is a baseball fan to do that tries to watch three games at once every day in order to fill his time? Well, turn to the next best thing that happens on weekday nights....and in this case, for me, it would be turn to the sport that bleeds winter.

Where I live though has no true winter, so when December comes around, I stand in front of the cold room at work to get into the hockey mood.

But it;s only October now, so it feels like they should be skating on leaves instead of ice.

Baseball card season is a different story.  It's never not baseball card season. There seems to be so many sets released at the end of the year.....does it never end?  I will never finish the Phillies collector checklist!  The shame...the horrrrrrrrrror!

Oh well, to cope I decided to get some hockey cards to remind me of simpler times....when strapping on goalie pads on an ice covered driveway and purposefully sliding on them into people's knees was considered good defense.

Check out these rookies from five years ago.  This was a box set of 2007-2008 Upper Deck Rookie Class....I have a weakness for box sets, they're all boxed up and ready to sort, and there's never a missing number.  I like when the numbers go in order; it makes me feel all happy inside, like the time when I realized how rally caps actually work had nothing to do with the hat.

Ok, for's the cards.
Nicklas Backstrom, Caps: Considered one of the most underrated players in the league because he's a defensive center that plays with that Ovechkin guy (reigning MVP and all that).
Erik Johnson, Blues: Originally noteworthy because he's an American who was chosen 1st overall in the NHL entry draft.  It's a tough sign to carry, and even tougher as a defenseman.
Ryan Parent, Flyers: I don't remember seeing him play, but it's a Flyers rookie, weeeee.
Sam Gagner, Oilers: One of the elder statesman of the Oilers at 24 years old, he's best known for scoring 8 points in a game in 2012, only the 13th player to ever do that in the NHL.
Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks: He's the youngest member of the Triple Gold Club (Olympic Gold Medal, World Championship Gold Medal, Stanley Cup)...very disappointing career so far.
Carey Price, Les Canadiens: He started an all-star game in Montreal, but has had bad luck with injuries.  Surprisingly anonymous for a Canadian/Canadien goalie.
David Krejci, Bruins: Was sidelined with the swine flu in 2009, but won the Golden Stick award (best Czech player) in 2013.....also won a Stanley Cup.
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks: This card was a set topper and is about 4x6 or so.   I was lucky enough to get the rookie of this dual Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe trophy award winner.

I still feel warm.

Oct 16, 2013

Roy Halladay: The (2012 National Treasures) Book is Unwritten

.....the 2012 National Treasures card only has a pinstripe swatch and very few words (see what I did there?)

There's nothing more frustrating to see a player who was dominant fall off a proverbial performance cliff whether because of injury, age, or both.  Roy Halladay's starts were an experience that I signed up for and put aside time for when he first joined the Phillies in 2010.

And now, as he walked off the mound for the last time during the 2013 season after barely gutting out 15 pitches, it is uncertain about both where he stands as a pitcher and as a future member of the Phillies.

The images of Halladay look the same on the surface, but the performance differences are stark, when comparing his stats from his time of greatness to the present day.

Regardless, this card is great, and it would make a nice storytime book.

No one knows what the future holds because the back page is blank.

Sep 25, 2013

Gint-A-Cuffs V: Packs 21-24, in which the rug is pulled out from under me

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." 
-Bart Giamatti, speaking about Gint-A-Cuffs

Pack 21
Ken Griffey Jr
Carlos Beltran
Cliff Lee +1 (FT)
Darryl Strawberry
Joe Mauer +2 (FP)
Civilization of Ages Past Olmecs +3
Bob Lemon SP +2
Mini Black Border Jose Bautista +3
Pack Total: 11
Box Total: 175

Pack 22
David Ortiz
Matt Garza
Johnny Bench
Joe Morgan
Carlos Santana
Cecil Fielder
Across the Years Ryne Sandberg +2
Mini No Number Mini Ben Revere +11, +1 (FT)
Pack Total: 14
Box Total: 189

Pack 23
Albert Pujols
Jackie Robinson
Dexter Fowler
Joey Votto +2 (FP)
Frank Thomas
Civilization of Ages Past Shang Dynasty +3
Josh Rutledge SP +2
Mini Paul Molitor SP +3
Pack Total: 10
Box Total: 199

Pack 24
Juan Marichal
Raul Ibanez
Mariano Rivera -1
Don Mattingly -1
Gary Carter
Yovani Gallardo
Across the Years Babe Ruth +2, -1
Mini Early Wynn
Pack Total: -1
Box Total: 198

Worst last pack ever.....keeps my 5 year streak alive of not breaking 200.  This reminds of the time when I played Rummy 500, got to 495 and the managed to be stuck there for 4 straight wins as I was overtaken.

Gint-A-Cuffs, you win again.....curse you.

Sep 24, 2013

Gint-A-Cuffs V: Packs 17-20, in which somebody is not impressed

Pink ribbon scars I never forget....I fear that I am ordinary just like everyone.

Pack 17
Chrissy Teigen
Ryan Zimmerman
Colby Rasmus
Matt Harrison
Enos Slaughter
Palaces and Stronghold Mysore Palace +3
Andrew McCutchen SP +2
Mini The First Americans +3
Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 131

Pack 18
Reggie Jackson
Carlos Ruiz +1 (FT)
Starling Marte
Tim Lincecum +2 (FP)
Across the Years Manny Machado +2
Framed Relic McKayla Maroney +10
Mini Justin Morneau SP +3
Pack Total: 18
Box Total: 149

Pack 19
Ian Kennedy
Howie Kendrick
Jason Heyward +2 (FP)
Phil Niekro
Cal Ripken Jr
Martial Mastery Amazons +3
Carlton Fisk SP +2
Mini A&G Back Tommy Lee +2
Pack Total: 9
Box Total: 158

Pack 20
Bryce Harper +2 (FP)
Mike Joy
Barry Melrose
Monty Hall
Jason Dufner
Freddie Roach
Through the Years Jason Heyward +2, +2 (FP)
Mini Jim Rice
Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 164

Sep 23, 2013

Gint-A-Cuffs V Packs 13-16, in which a corked bat was found

To paraphrase: Did you see the jabberwock, my son?  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch?

Pack 13
Bill Walton
Abe Vigoda +1
Ziggy Marley
Phil Heath
Framed Relic Albert Belle +10
Through the Years Sandy Koufax +2
Mini James Shields
Pack Total: 13
Box Total: 106

Pack 14
AJ Burnett
Yasmani Grandal
Willie Mays
Felix Hernandez
Babe Ruth -1
Derek Jeter -1
Through the Years Jesus Montero +2
Mini A&G Back Ian Kinsler +2, +3 (FP)
Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 111

Pack 15
Matthew Berry
Nana Meriwether
Shelby Miller
Evan Longoria
Jurickson Profar
Civilization of Ages Past Mayans +3
Robin Yount SP +2
Mini Fergie Jenkins
Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 116

Pack 16
Allen Craig
Elvis Andrus
Ian Kinsler  +2 (FP)
Brandon Morrow
Denard Span
Penny Marshall +1
Through the Years Troy Tulowitzki +2
Mini A&G Back Matt Moore +2
Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 123

Sep 22, 2013

Gint-A-Cuffs V, Packs 9-12, there is no spoon

The quest continues to paper the world with art-deco borders.

Pack 9
Bonnie Bernstein
Bud Selig -1
Code Breakers Trio
Anthony Rendon
Death Valley (the one time I was in Death Valley, it was 114 degrees)
Gio Gonzalez
Through the Years Ken Griffey Jr +2
Mini Inquiring Minds Hannah Arendt +3
Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 73

Pack 10
Dylan Bundy
Jon Lester
Anthony Rizzo
Bronson Arroyo
Tony Perez
Palaces and Strongholds Forbidden City (I've been here, it's enormous) +3
Alex Rodriuez SP +2 -1
Mini Black Bordered John Smoltz +3
Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 80

Pack 11
Vance Worley
Rickie Weeks
Hanley Ramirez
Salvador Perez
Jose Altuve
One Little Corner Makemake +3
Avisail Garcia SP +2
Mini Duke Snider
Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 85

Pack 12
Clayton Kershaw
Alex Gordon
Robinson Cano -1
Vida Blue
Ben Revere (FT)+1
Martial Mastery Apache +3
Marco Scutaro SP +2
Inquiring Minds Author of The Prince +3
Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 93

Sep 21, 2013

Gint-a-cuffs V: Packs 5-8, in which PEDs make relics grow

The box continues to spill out its contents as the heat lamp reveals the truth.

Pack 5
Jon Niese
Ryan Braun
Chad Billingsley
Anibal Sanchez
Paco Rodriguez
Corey Hart
Through the Years Salvador Perez +2
Mini Bronson Arroyo
Pack Total: 2
Box Total: 41

Pack 6
Bobby Doerr
Eddie Murray
John Smoltz
Paul Goldschmidt
Full-sized Relic Ryan Braun +10
Through the Years Yu Darvish +2
Mini A&G Back BJ Upton +2
Pack Total: 14
Box Total: 56

Pack 7
Daniel Murphy
Curtis Granderson -1
Yoenis Cespedes
Michael Young +1 (FT)
Neil Walker
Palaces and Strongholds Taj Mahal +3
Wily Peralta SP +2
Mini Tony Perez
Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 61

Pack 8
Roy Jones Jr
Lou Brock
Adrian Beltre
Mark Buehrle
Michael Morse
Martial Mastery Aztecs +3
Rickey Henderson SP +2
Mini Black Border Paul Goldschmidt +3
Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 69

Sep 15, 2013

Gint-A-Cuffs V: BoxTopper and Packs 1-4

I know this is the moment everyone who's ever read this site has waited for......the 5th edition of Gint-A-Cuffs here on this blog.  When I was a young lad, I once dreamed of a world where Yankees were hated properly and devalued, where red ink and blood were worth more than the written word, and when destruction and tearing was the desired outcome of any endeavor.  Gint-A-Cuffs is a culmination of those wishes.

This year, the Ginter universe is slightly changed.  There are more retired players in the set since its first incarnation in '06. And there are more standard size inserts, and no more sketches to to look for.

Onto the ripping....

First, I ripped into the box itself.....I did not have a card inside. (0 points)

Next, up is the boxtopper.

Josh Hamilton Sepia Oversized Box Loader +8, +10=18

Box Total: 18

Then, onto smaller and better things.

Pack 1
Early Wynn
Ferguson Jenkins
Duke Snider
Jim Rice
Brooks Robinson
Kris Medlen
Across the Years Gio Gonzalez +2
Mini Peacemaker Mother Teresa +3
Pack 1 Total: 5
Box Total: 23

Pack 2
Anthony Gose
David Murphy
Stan Musial
David Freese
Chanel Iman
One Little Corner-Uranus +3
Wei-Yin Chen SP +2
Mini A&G Back Brian McCann +2
Pack 2 Total: 7
Box Total: 30

Pack 3
Starlin Castro
Jay Bruce
Bob Feller
Doug Fister
Carlos Gonzalez
One Little Corner-Ceres +3
Kyle Seager SP +2
Mini The First Americans Cherokee +3
Pack 3 Total: 8
Box Total: 38

Pack 4
Alfonso Soriano
Ernie Banks
Michael Brantley
Prince Fielder
CJ Wilson
Tyler Skaggs
Across the Years Lou Gehrig +2, -1=+1
Mini Jose Altuve
Pack 4 Total: 1
Box Total: 39

Aug 25, 2013

Stat Anomaly: 20 losses in a Season, Chuck Stobbs in 1957

There are some years where you just don't have your stuff.  You can feel the ball spinning too much upward on the curveball or the sinker's downward gradient has decreased by 2%.  Chuck Stobbs experienced that in 1957.

One of the original bonus babies, signed by the Red Sox in 1947, he had been on a major league roster since the age of 17.  In those days, bonus babies (with signing bonuses greater than $4000) had to stay on the big league roster for 2 years or the teams could potentially forfeit their rights to them.  One prominent example of a bonus baby from that time period was Harmon Killebrew.

He made it through those two seasons and then became a reliable, mostly league average starter for many years starting in 1949.  It was during this internecine period that he threw the pitch that he's most remembered for.  He was the pitcher for the Senators when Mickey Mantle hit the record 565 foot home run (captured on 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills #406) out of Griffith Stadium in 1953.

His luck and ability turned for the worse in 1957.  He started the season 0-11, losing 11 of his first 12 starts, with 8 of those starts allowing more than one run per inning.  He was pulled before the end of the 3rd inning in 5 of those starts.

This streak culminated on June 14th against the White Sox, facing a lineup that included Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, and Larry Doby, allowing 4 runs in the 1st and 6 runs in the 5th.  At that point in the season, his ERA was 8.90.

He improved as the season went on, but he still had 20 losses at the end.

Aug 19, 2013

Set Gallery: 2013 Turkey Red Phillies Team Set

Turkey Red is an appropriate name for the Phillies this year. They wear red and have been a turkey of a baseball team. With the exit of Charlie Manuel as manager after nearly 9 mostly successful seasons, it's time to assess the responsibility for this fiasco of a season.

 Well, we're going to rate the players in the checklist of the 2013 Turkey Red set to see how they've contributed. Now, the Turkey Red set is a curious offering. It purports to be a low-end offering, originally offered at the all-important benchmark of just over the cost of a blaster.

 Speculators and mass buyers wanting the possibility of the auto fairy landing sellable autos under their pillow drove up the price quickly.    The prices doubled quickly, and now the supply is nearly impossible to find.  The ten base cards per pack are practically throwaways, slick reproductions that are a vehicle for sticker autos.

The Phillies had a fair representation in the 100 card base set, and it turns out the calendar of 2013 was an unlucky year to be chosen for the Turkey Red set.   Yet another claim to buttress the case that triskaidekaphobia is real.

All ratings are on a 1-5 Turkey scale.
Cole Hamels, 3 Turkeys:  His won/loss record (5-13) doesn't tell the whole story.  His pitching has been fairly spectacular since the July 1 (1.96 ERA), but his April and May were pedestrian at best (4.80 ERA or so) and signaled the long season ahead.
Roy Halladay, 5 Turkeys: He pitched injured and looked like it...going 2-4 with 8.65 ERA before going on the DL.  His lack of command and injury were the omen that the Phillies didn't need.
Cliff Lee, 1 Turkey: His overall performance (10-6, 3.19 ERA,5.59 K/BB) has been in line with expectations, but even he has not been immune to the 2nd half swoon, allowing 3 runs or more in his last 7 starts, which is too much for this team to overcome.
Chase Utley, 2 Turkeys: He has performed at an elite level for a 2nd baseman.....(128 OPS+) when healthy.  Still gives it his all, though definitely has lost a step when fielding.
Jimmy Rollins, 3 Turkeys: He made a mistake in the Philadelphia media by saying he was playing to pad individual stats.  Unfortunately, the real problem has been that he's been  a terrible hitter this year (78 OPS+).  Since July, he's been hitting since Michael Martinez, 'nuff said.
Ryan Howard,  4 Turkeys: His contract deserves way more than that, but that's not really his fault.  He also can't hit  lefties...for forever, and is still penciled as a clean-up hitter against them when healthy...also not his fault.  He's become a mediocre power hitter (.465 SLG) with a bad knee.
Jonathan Papelbon, 8 Turkeys: The scale was only to 5, but he needed more so the other 3 turkeys could be stuffed in his mouth.  Actually, he's been the best of a very bad bullpen...which doesn't say much.  He had too many blown saves during a critical stretch and is clearly declining....still a good closer, but not the elite one he was signed to be.

Nice cards, though.

Jun 30, 2013

Card Spotlight: 1993 Donruss Elite Darren Daulton

This card is the first Donruss Elite card from the original era, when the numbers were continuous from year to year, that I've ever acquired.  Numbered to 10000, it represented the thrill of the chase for certain cards in the early '90s for Donruss pack opening collectors.

Darren Daulton was an elite baseball player in 1992-1993.  It wasn't just the RBI title in 1992 (with 109 RBI, doesn't that seem like it's from another era?), but his overall production including the flowing locks.  His patient approach personified the Phillies lineup of that short, memorable era.

Even in 1992 as a last-place team, they finished 4th in the league in walks and on-base % (OBP) (and 2nd in hitter Ks).  In 1993, they had an obscenely high .351 OBP and finished 1st in walks and 2nd in hitter Ks.

Len Dykstra was the catalyst, John Kruk was the smiling all-star, but "Dutch" Daulton was the linchpin, the power hitting center of the lineup that allowed the patient approach to manifest itself into two consecutive years of finishing in the top two in the NL in runs scored.

Daulton's best season was 1992.  He carried a 156 OPS+ on the strength of a line of .270/.385/.524 line with 27 HR, 109 RBI, and  surprising 11 stolen bases.  He came by his silver slugger easily that year, marking the first time a catcher led the league in RBIs since Gary Carter in 1984 (with Johnny Bench before that in 1974).  Side Note: Curiously, a catcher has never led the AL in RBIs.

With the news of his operation coming up this week, it is worth it to remember how elite he was during the prime of his career.  May he come out of it as his baseball career ended, on top of the world.

Jun 27, 2013

Those are the Breaks from The Daily Dimwit

There has been no interest in my proposed group break, but that's alright.  I'll put those aside for one with more boxes later in the year.  There are other people who do group breaks and do them right.  Sam from the Daily Dimwit used to do lot of breaks, and he ran them with aplomb.

I once participated in one many moons ago, even before the internet existed, and claimed four teams which I have no connection to.  The only explanation I could think of at the time is that I saw their wandering logos in a dream and wanted to claim them.    It was all the logos from the '80s, which is really the only explanation I can rationally have for claiming the Brewers in a group break.  The artistic integrity and majesty of the interlocking 'm' and 'b' in the baseball glove shape....I also always end up with the Athletics; it must be 2009 again.

<Fandom Digression>Speaking of 2009, I just saw the Phillies beat the Padres on some heady baserunning, taking advantage of events that break your way.  That would be the mark of a good team....if only that could happen every night. </Fandom Digression>

Anyway, there was a variety of cards to be had from the denizen daily dimwit delight.
2013 Topps Norichika Aoki: answer to the question of who had the 2nd highest WAR among NL position players rookies.
2005 Topps Chrome Update Black Refractor /100 Willy Mota: answer to the question of who was a baseball playing Mota not a progeny of Manny.
2011 Limited Prospect Auto Miles Head: answer to the question of who is the prospect most likely to join the all-body part team.
2005 Topps Chrome Update Ugueth Urbina: answer to the question of who was most likely to be the best pitcher in the Venezuelan Penal League.
2013 Topps Chasing History Auto Jarrod Parker: answer to the question of who is most likely to be carded at the Ruby Room.
2013 Topps Vance Worley: answer to the question of who does not like the Mall of America the most.
2013 Topps Cut to the Chase Ted Williams: answer to the question of who is the greatest on-base force in baseball history.
2013 Topps Calling Card Jonathan Papelbon: answer to the question of who on the Phillies needs a no-trade clause in July.
2013 Topps 1972 mini Josh Reddick: answer to the question of who had the most impressive baseball beard in April.

Thanks for hosting the breaks, Sam.  It's always fun.