Feb 19, 2013

I Caught a Draft from Shoebox Legends

Which is better?  A new car or a trade bait draft?  A cookie sandwich or a trade bait draft? A talking cactus or a trade bait draft?

If you answered a trade bait draft to all three questions, you just might be a card collector or an aspiring one.  I participated in one such trade bait draft hosted by the progenitor of the 1953 Topps project, Shoebox Legends.  There were gobs of cards to choose from, including surprise bonus rounds, from all types of athletic pursuits.

I got together with my collecting war room contingent, evaluated all the prospects in the green room, and came up cards when fit together into a card voltron will run a 4.1 40 meters, bench 350, and throw a football 80 yards....but on the downside, he will be vulnerable to rain....the cardboard does not hold together when wet.
This card is from 1910 (1910 Mecca T218 to be precise): This boxing card is now the oldest card in my collection by more than 20 years.   Known as a finesse fighter during his career, he recorded 61 wins and 8 losses.
1985-86 Topps Ron Francis:  I liked Ron Francis ever since you could combine him with Lemieux and Jagr on NHL '96.  That line was devastating....Did you know he was 4th in career points in NHL history?  Seriously, he had more than Stevie Y.
Autoed 2001 Topps Archives Jim Lonborg: I have an unofficial quest to get cards of players who were on the Phillies.  This fit the bill as a cut-up multi-player card from Topps Archives that was either signed in person or TTM.  He did win the AL Cy Young Award in 1967 during the first year that an award was offered in both league, with his only season over 200 K or >7 K/9 for a full season.  Surprisingly, he had the most career wins as a Phillie.
1962-63 Topps Murray Balfour: I know almost nothing about the Original Six era of the NHL except Montreal kept on winning the Stanley Cup.  He was a member of the Million Dollar Line with Bobby Hull (when's the last time that there were great line names like that? Legion of Doom?).  He died tragically from lung cancer at the age of 28.
2008 Goudey Sport Royalty Barry Sanders: I count this as a baseball card; it came from a Goudey set.  Even so, it's my first Barry Sanders.  When I was a young pup, my brother (of Brad's Blog) and our neighbor used to play this football game called up, up, and away.....I was older, so therefore bigger and faster at that age.  They got to choose whether I was Barry Sanders (run around them) or Christian Okoye (run over them)....I think we played because we liked to get our faces in snow.
2009 Goodwin Champions Cole Hamels Jersey:  There is nothing I don't love about this cards; it was a worthy 2nd pick.  I would like to revive the Cole Hamels blog this year, but I need to actually see him pitch. Curse you work internet connection!
2007 Sweet Spot Classic Brooks Robinson Sweet Spot Auto:  This was a worthy first pick of the draft. Someday the signature will fade completely, so it's better to capture it now.  What happened with 2007 Sweet Spot compared to other years?
2008-08 UD Rookie Materials Jakub Voracek: He was one of the pieces the Flyers got from Columbus for that Jeff Carter guy (who pulled a Vince Carter and seemed to play poorly for Columbus before getting his wish and being traded to the Kings where his buddy for life Mike Richards was playing....it worked out). You heard it here first; if the Flyers make the playoffs, this will be the top Flyers point-getter in the postseason.
2007 Ultimate Star Materials Joe Mauer: Joe Mauer is racking up a HOF career.  I did not realize he led the AL in OBP last year to add to his 3 batting (average) titles.  His power will probably never again approach is 2009 high of 28 HR.  He has 37 WAR in his career right now, and there are only three catcher with >45 WAR not in the HOF, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, and Mike Piazza.  His peak puts him in line with Bill Dickey and Mickey Cochrane.

There were many more cards to be had as the draft stretched beyond the bounds of conventional form.....

I just finished my cookie sandwich; I am ready for another draft.

Feb 14, 2013

The Most Tragic Baseball Love Story

This is the tragic story of Roy Hobbs......well at least it could have been; it sounds like something that would come out of a movie, especially for this time period.  

Eddie Waitkus was a decorated World War II veteran who had become an all-star first baseman with the Chicago Cubs by 1948.  After that season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  It seems there was an obsessed fan that was left behind in Chicago. She had built a shrine to him and wanted to see him everyday; his trade to Philadelphia enhanced the obsession.

When the Phillies came to Chicago, she took an alias of a friend of his and invited him to a hotel room.  When he entered the room, she shot him with intent to kill him.  Luckily, the bullet missed his head, and he was able to survive after many operations trying to remove it.

He did come back to the Phillies as the first baseman for the Whiz Kids in 1950 and won NL Comeback Player of the Year.  He continually suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, however, and his baseball career ended by 1955.  He did have a fairly remarkable 1952, where he walked 64 times and struck out 23 times with a 108 OPS+.

Love can be consuming and sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes there is tragedy, but there are always ways to be picked up in the end.  Eddie Waitkus survived his event and rebuilt everything despite his personal tragedy.

Feb 11, 2013

The Topps Online Giveaways of 2012: Result!

With the newest online event right around the corner in the form of the Million Dollar Chase, I figured it would be a good idea to get the cards that I unlocked from the 2012 Topps online code programs.  I ended up with 2 cards from my codes, and then someone offered me a 2 for 1 trade, which I obviously took.

Therefore, behold the die-cut moments of Phillies wonders.  Also, these cards are immense.  They wouldn't even slide under a door. They are also refractory in the best way possible
Roy Halladay: He's the ace of the present.  The hopes and dreams of a 2nd wild card (does that sound pessimistic?) rest on the recovery of his various maladies from dos mil doce.   I think he's already joined the pantheon of Phillies pitchers, though he made it to the team too late in his career to really move up the this imaginary ladder I'm thinking about.  Golden Moment: He pitched 6 or more innings in 63 straight road starts, the longest streak since Walter Johnson.
Steve Carlton: This guy is at the top of the list I was thinking of.  He's also one of the few Phillies pitchers to pitch with them for more than 10 years.  The awards, accolades, and strikeouts speak for themselves though.  If I had to pick one player to become a supercollector of, it would probably be Steve Carlton, but I think I have to up my obsessive quotient by a few more hundredfold.  Golden Moment:  He was the all-time MLB strikeout leader at the end of the 1983 season.
Chase Utley  When healthy, he's still a top 5 second basemen in the game, but there's the question that's still around.  Golden Moment:  Had a streak of 20 consecutive stolen bases entering 2012, his career high was 27 in a row from 2008-2010.
Tony Romo:  He's not a Phillie....at least I got a card from the football card site.....for trade.

I won the Phillies, but I'm not counting on a million dollars....let's examine the reasons why later.

Feb 6, 2013

Cards from the Team Set Completion Maestro (Cards on Cards) Part 2

In the second part of the trade package, Kerry from Cards on Cards brought in the more modern card sensibilities as well as the cards from the bygone era when cards were valuable pieces to be stored and treasured until they overran the earth in revenge against their toploader oppressors.
2012 Topps Golden Futures Domonic Brown: I've written about this many times, but the fact that he will probably again be benched by inferior ballplayers is a travesty in player development.  There's a reason he was the #4 prospect in all of baseball in 2010....because he was killing it in the minors.  With the injuries and the league yo-yoing, he's bordering on losing the luster of that prospect status.  He;s still only 25, but seriously, Delmon Young?  Someone who can't field or get on base getting a possible guaranteed spot in the outfield?    Color me gag purple.....not golden.
2009 Upper Deck X5 Chase Utley:  This is a curious set because it has the worst name ever.  It's like it took the special of SPx and became the forgotten stepchild of the Upper Deck canon.  These exponential (xcuse me, xponential.....how xistentially xciting) inserts seem like they belong on another plane of xistence.  Utley is jumping out of the card at me by traveling through the 5th dimension.....and that would be the tesseract, which was discovered much later than Einstein.
2012 Topps Update Blockbusters Steve Carlton: Blockbuster, challenge trade, whatever you want to call it:  the Phillies won this trade.  It must be a nice feeling to win a trade.  I am a terrible trader in fantasy sports because I try to give people what I think they want.  Was this the most lopsided trade in their favor in Phillies history?  The Schilling-Grimsley or Abreu-Stocker trades may rival it.
2010 Topps CYMTO Mike Schmidt:  You can see what the acronym stands for on the card back.  The front would be a normal 1976 Topps Mike Schmidt.  I always thought those reprint sets should have some type of indication on the front so that it would be less confusing.
2010 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Cole Hamels:  Behold the standard bearer!  Behold the baseball hero!  All of the Phillies' hopes rest on his left arm for this season until he leaves in 2017 or 2018.
1994 Stadium Club Dugout Dirt Darren Daulton:  This is the back of the card.  Just read what's written on the bicep; it so of the era.
2006 Upper Deck First Pitch Diamond Stars Bobby Abreu: Somehow Abreu was still kicking around the majors last year. His power has diminished, but one thing he always had was his batting eye.  He had 8 straight seasons of 100 walks and 100 strikeouts; that seems pretty unique.
2007 Topps World Domination Ryan Howard:  Howard took his mighty bat and laid claim to the trappings of modern civilization.  With a jovial iron hand, he shall reign, where all lefty pitchers shall be relegated to the shadows of society and be forced to use only right handed scissors until they lose their ability.  Afterwards, he will go up into the troposphere and destroy all carbon atoms in his path and make it rain where it must be rained.  Yes, the rain will be made.  Then, there can be peace in this world according to the manifesto.

Thanks for the cards!

Feb 4, 2013

Cards From The Team Set Completion Maestro (Cards on Cards): Part 1

Sometimes there's a package that comes along that jumps out of the mailbox, laughs maniacally, and starts tap dancing on your wantlist. Its movements are graceful and frenetic at the same time as it uses precision to cull those numbers and images from the desired corner of your mind and yet is a chaotic whirlwind of tumult.

Seriously, though, there are still Phillies cards on my wantlist from the golden overproduction era of my childhood.  I probably had all these cards at these some point, but I think they were lost in an unmarked van that was driving along the PA Turnpike on a late afternoon 10 years ago.....I really dislike stealth vans ever since that day.

The maestro of this wantlist destroyer was Kerry from the estimable Cards on Cards.  We somehow made a trade and so came this dervish of delirious delight to reduce me to my knees pining for Jim Eisenreich to come back to the Phillies, but only the version from 1993.

Oh, to be young and full of soda and T-shirts.....

By my imprecise count, he finished off 17 different team/insert team sets from this package.  Amazing.  Highlights to follow.....
1989 Shining Stars Ricky Jordan: I'm sure I've said this before, but I modeled my baseball stance after Ricky Jordan when I started playing kid pitch Little League.....I was not a good hitter.
1989 Score Darren Daulton:  This was pre-car accident, pre-RBI accumulating Daulton....I always thought Steve Lake was better.  I really knew nothing at this time.  What is Daulton doing now that his prediction didn't come true?
1992 Action Packed Dick Groat:  I will now reference myself....so you can read the previous post.
1986 Fleer Future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton: This may have possibly been the last mainstream issue card I needed from 1986 that I know of.  These may also have doubled as the first insert set.  There were only 6 cards in the checklist.....and one did not make the Hall of Fame: Pete Rose, of course.
1990 Topps Traded Dave Hollins:  This was the first I remember hearing of the Rule 5 draft.  I really liked Hollins because he was so intense; you could hear his bat handle grinding down to nubbins while he was batting.
1990 Donruss Jeff Parrett:  I thought that Parrett was the best pitcher ever because he tied for the team lead in 1989 with 12 wins.....as a reliever!  Well, it definitely wasn't Don Carman.....who remembers these players truly....

Tangent: Speaking of Don Carman, here's another anecdote.  I was obsessed with baseball (some would say I still am).  And so like all good little baseball-obsessed fans I also listened to every spring training game I could on the radio.  Don Carman was pitching on that day (it must have been 1989 or 1990).  The bases were loaded with 2 outs in a 1 run game (this may be exaggerated) and he had the hitter at 3-0, and I was feeling so deflated because he seemed to walk so many people.  He then came back and struck the hitter out, and I was so excited.....for a spring training game.  I thought maybe the Phillies would finish above 6th place.....and in 1990, they finished 4th....hope wins again.
1993 Topps Wes Chamberlain: One thing's for sure; he'll never get confused for Louie Meadows.  What, now?
1993 Upper Deck Tyler Green:  You know those days when you take a tennis ball (or any ball really) and a glove and you simulate pitching an entire game in the street alternating innings?  Once I heard of Tyler Green, I developed my own version of the knuckle curve that was basically called the "squiggly".  I swear to this day that it made an "S" shape curve in the air when it was thrown correctly.  I don't think I can replicate it now though.

This was part 1 of 2 because there are more cards to show than I know to fit on a scanner bed.....