Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Original "Next Big Thing": Herb Score

Herb Score was one of the guys my dad was always talking about when I was a kid. Score's first two years in the bigs in '55 and '56 he was, well, AMAZING. He made the AS team both years and won the ROY in '55. Those are, of course, subjective measures, but check this out: in '55 he had a 2.85 ERA with 245 K in just over 227 IP and an ERA+ of 141. In '56 he was better: 2.53 ERA, 263 K in 249 IP, and an ERA+ of 166.  He was even BETTER the next year until on May 7, 1957 he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Gil McDougal. Score was never the same pitcher.

According to various website Score always maintained he was coming down with a sore arm anyway, so McDougal's liner was irrelevant in terms of the arc of his career. Who knows?

As far as baseball cards are concerned, I had a chance to pick up the '58 Score on the cheap so I took it:
I'm guessing this picture was taken well before the incident with McDougal. Even though Score's left eye looks slightly closed, in the '62 (that I'm on the hunt for!) there's a crescent moon-shaped scar from the line drive. I don't see a scar here. What kills me is the back:
There's all the language about Herb being the "next Bob Feller" but no mention of his horrific, potentially career-altering injury beyond the stats at the bottom: 5 GS (3 of which were CG!), 39 K in 36 IP, a 2.00 ERA. It's a melancholy kinda card, and I imagine the last one where people were planning on enshrining Score with the baseball gods. From the juxtaposition of the stats and the text you kinda know things will never be the same, as they were supposed to be.

I've gone into it a bit on here before, here it is again: I understand the excitement of the Strausburgs and the Chapmans, the Priors and Woods, the Van Poppels and Taylors, but this is well-travelled territory. Life happens to these guys just like it happens to the rest of us. I'm not going to end by railing against the people who are spending THOUSANDS stockpiling the hottest cards of the latest phenoms, but with this: in today's market, how much would a Bowman Chrome auto Refractor #ed to 25 of a pitcher with Score's stats fetch? How much would you pay? How hard would you kick yourself if, only a few years later, that same card was in the discount auto bin at the local shop (hello Mark Prior for $3)? How much harder if, years after that, the same card, like my '58 Score, could be had for .99 plus .99 s/h on ebay?

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fare Thee Well Pat Burrell

I wish him the best but let's be honest: a .625 OPS doesn't get it done. To be completely honest, although I know the Rays were after a RH bat, I wanted them to sign a lefty, Adam Dunn. He is younger than Pat and signed for less to play with the Nats. Meanwhile we've been watching Burrell press and not hit for a season plus now.

And let's not forget, in a lost season last year he and CC weren't gonna be hanging out in the off season. Anyway, no hard feelings Pat, but I hope you give a lot of the $16 large the Rays are paying you to whatever church you go to. After getting that money for nothing, giving something to your god beyond your clean living will be a good move. Seriously. Google Pat Burrel on deadspin if you don't know what I mean.

Calling Fed-Ex

I had a pretty good card day yesterday. I found a few cards in unexpected places when compa and I were out and about in the new home state, among them this gem:
An auto of a A+ player in the Red Sox system? Oh yes.

Tim Federowicz has a ways to go before reaching the majors like his college teammates Andrew Miller and Josh Bard, but he had a great career at UNC (my alma mater) and when I came across this card I didn't blink at the price ($4---long story). Fed-Ex had one of the biggest hits in UNC history, and grand slam against the LSU Tigers in the college WS. Of course the Heels didn't win it all in that one (or the other one) but I'll always be proud of those guys and their accomplishments. Finding this dual jersey/auto card today was like reliving a little bit of that. 

Fed-Ex---here's to your being in the big leagues soon!

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Million $ Hit from the JC Break

OK, not really, but it's the first Rays hit I've scored over there. JC was less than enthused with this pull (given the price of the box guess I can't say I blame him) but still, it's a fat jersey swatch and a decent sig considered it's ON the swatch.
My one complaint? It's a home white swatch and BJ's sporting the away grays in the photo. They seriously didn't have an appropriate pic?

And then I got the base from the 2010 jumbo box. Good stuff.
Love the CC, didn't have the Niemann or the Davis. Turkey Longo is up for trade if anyone needs him, you know the drill. 

Thanks for hosting JC. Looking forward to next month and more monster Rays hits! (By which I mean cards that top out at $15 or so)

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

At least it used to be. When I was a student I LOVED finals week. Not because I was a great student (I wasn't) but because the semester was over and I could relax a bit, take a few tests that cramming would do me no good on anyway, and mail it in.

Things are different from the other side of the desk. I get emails asking about grades. Ridiculous emails about assignments that were due months ago and if it's too late to get them in. Emails that, in any other context, are more poorly written than spam. This is the time of year for taking your lumps and reaping what fruits you have coming to you, not for waking up after 16 weeks of coma and trying to squeeze 1000 years of knowledge into your head in 24 hours.

Take Amos Otis here.

Amos hit the bigs at 20 with the New York Mets in 1967 and pretty much crapped out. He got a another shot two years later in '69 and, once again, crapped out. He got sent to KC and, well, in 1970 made the first of his 5 AS appearances over the span of a 17 year career. You gotta take your lumps but be honest about it. No crap. I wonder what turned Amos Otis around. I'm sure it wasn't a lot of griping about bad breaks, bad calls, and sleeping in for who knows how many straight days. 

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Changing Channels: A Ray from the Long Long Ago

Compa just switched to the Twins game, away from the Yankees/Tigers game on ESPN. Since discovering the MLB Network her tolerance of the sycophants on the WWL has hit the negative numbers. Normally we'd go with Yankees game if only b/c the outcome helps/hurts the Rays, but after listing to Sutty and whoever else hit all the pertinent talking points about Jay-Z she flipped her sh!t and changed the channel to the Twins. After that we'll be on the MLB Network watching for Rays highlights, cutting ESPN totally out of the picture. Nice.

Anyway, glad to get that out there.  Here's another card I got from Padrographs, the guy who was the face of the franchise before Longo, CC, or Huff. Jim Morris. Hell, he's one of the only ballplayers to have his own movie, The Rookie.
And let's be straight: Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris makes getting to the Majors at 35 years of age pretty difficult. I pick up this card of this guy, the real Jim Morris, and think I was playing against this guy in church-league softball a few years back. That said, what this guy did was awesome, even if his MLB dream only lasted 15 innings over 2 seasons. I mean, he struck out both future HOFers Jim Thome and Frank Thomas. Awesome stuff!

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ebay Shenanigans Update, Group Break Cards are Mailed!

Quick update: I hadn't heard back from the guy so I wrote him again and told him to tell me what was up. Amazingly (and too his credit) I guess he did what I told him to do: extend 2nd chance offers to the runners up and that way he'd STILL get his sale plus shipping, because he said we are square. I was ready to get HOSED on this (and guess I still might somehow) but wonders never cease.

Anyway, group break cards went out yesterday. I've still gotta random the poker guy patch among folks who didn't get hits, so stay tuned! CCC out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Breaking Bad: Group Break, Ebay Shenanigans, and Cards from Rod

First, go here and grab a team in the June CCC/SMG Break. Seriously. The May break was sweet and we're looking for more solid pulls next month. Cards from this month's break will start going out tomorrow. There are three teams (White Sox, Twins, Royals) left!

Second, no word yet back from the seller in this post. All I can say is ebay's been a bit disappointing lately and I'm taking a hard line on this one. In fact, I'm gonna go on a small shopping spree ($20) later before they close my account for being a non-paying bidder. 

And speaking of ebay, check out Matt G.'s post on a recent conterfeit he got off ebay

Finally, Rod over at Padrographs and I had been working on the acquisition of this card a while back but nothing came of it. I'm busy, he's busy, it's all good. Then I received this and many other Rays in the mail a few days ago.
I can't tell if it's the most ridiculous SB card ever or quite simply the BEST SB card ever. I mean, was CC even trying for this one or did he have it by that much? There's no drama here. Looks like he beat the throw by so much he had time to choreograph a fist pump into his slide and throw in a "Damn, I'm smooth" whistle for good measure. Great stuff. I even dig the raised seams on the card design. Thanks again Rod! Something will be coming your way soon!

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ebay Shenanigans: Here we go....

I score 4 sweet cards on ebay for about $10 from the same seller. I get an invoice for $20+, and respond to this asking for an invoice reflecting combined shipping. In response I am told there is no combined shipping. I just here we #@$%ing go.

So the question is, am I the one being a jerk? Refusal to combine shipping on 4 cards? You've gotta be kidding me!?!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weekend Cards for Trade Post & Don't forget the Group Break!

First, go here and grab a team in the June CCC/SMG Break. Seriously. The May break was sweet and we're looking for more solid pulls next month. Cards from this month's break will start going out tomorrow.

On to the cards for trade!

Drop me a comment, make me an offer if you see something you like!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sock a what?: The Original Cleveland "Indian"

First, go here and grab a team in the June CCC/SMG Break. Seriously. The May break was sweet and we're looking for more solid pulls next month.

As for the post, did you know about the story that the Cleveland Indians might be named after a real guy? Seriously, look it up.
It goes back to the late 1800s and an amazing start by a rookie for the Cleveland Spiders, Louis Sockalexis. Sockalexis didn't stick (check out the reasons) and was out of the game almost as soon as he came into it. Supposedly the Naps (after Nap Lajoie) became the Indians to honor Sockalexis in the years after his death, but there is little to no documentary evidence from the 1910s to support the connection. Instead the Sockalexis as honored by the "Indians" name seems to be of more recent vintage for who knows what reasons (Ward Churchill and Robert Berkhofer might have a few things to say on the subject). At any rate it seems to be generally agreed that Sockalexis was among the first if not the first Native American ballplayer in the bigs, but the Topps T205 was his first card. 

Have a good one everybody and a good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back in the Day: And Don't Forget the June Break!

First, go here and grab a team in the June CCC/SMG Break. Seriously. The May break was swimming and we're looking for more solid pulls next month.

Back in the day when I was young my guy was Dwight Gooden. We're talking the meat of the junk era, and I have binders full of Gooden junk back in the SC. Of all my Gooden cards, though, this remains my favorite.
I was never able to make it to Shea (this is Shea, right?) but this card put me there. We've got a young Doc who is literally larger than the game itself. Usually stadium shots emphasize the player's diminutive stature within a broader context but here the diamond and the stadium are a backdrop to the amazingness that was the mid-late 80s Gooden. And this shot was taken on the heels of '84. '85 was damn near immortal. 

What I'll never get about this card, though, is that it's not the base. It's one of those box bottom cards that were a staple of 80s junk glory.
No idea why this wasn't in the set. The shot is FAR superior to the base offerings in Topps, Donruss, or Fleer. It even conjures up the '72 Clemente with the exception that Gooden's looking up, like toward the heavens, while Clemente focuses on juggling the ball. I guess there was a time before the cocaine and the legal trouble when the game cam that easy to him.

Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Monday, May 3, 2010

CC Highlights: This Gift from???

First up don't forget to renew or sign on for the CCC/SMG June Group Break. SMG is doing the honors this time.

I am a total jerk. Total jerk. Work has been killing me for oh....about 2 months now and I've had my head up my a@@ about it. The group break yesterday was a great way to relax and reconnect with some cards.

Today I began the arduous task of packing up all those cards, addressing them, and getting them out. I have a stack of supplies I use for trades, etc., and among the things I save is cardboard inserts packing to reuse later.

Now, being an idiot I didn't see that one of them said "Open me." So I opened it some months after I was supposed to. This was inside:
Oh good Lord. The back says this is a "Fan pack standee" and it is very, very cool. For the moment I'm leaving it in 2D card form. The design is busy, but the photo is CC running at 100 mph, so there is a nice balance between design and photo that you just don't see every day. Even the blurry stands contribute to the feel of speed. Very, very well conveyed. 

And I'm such a jerk I'm not sure who to thank! Whoever you are, sir or madam, please leave a comment and take your praise!

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Group Break Post-mortem: Thoughts, Opinions, Still Negotiating with the Videos

First, thanks again to everyone who participated. This was the first one and although the videography was shot in various and sundry locations (thanks compa!) things went really well. Still getting those last two videos up. Gotta put the Barry White and get the computer and camera back in the mood.

So...what about the boxes and the product?

The product
We got EXACTLY what we were promised: 2 letterman patches and an auto per box, beating those odds on box #6. In addition there were a a good many numbered subset cards that broke up the base.

In addition, the hits broke differently than what I went in expecting given the checklist. There WERE Yankees and Red Sox hits (the checklist is dominated by them) but the Padres, Dodgers, and Orioles (mostly led by Markakis) were the undisputed champs here. Given the number of guaranteed hits (3 per box) plus the extra jerseys, by my count 18 different teams were represented in the break hits. Aside from the Dodgers box that will live in infamy, that's pretty good distribution.

Many kudos go out to SMG for product selection.

The Hits
This product is about the hits so I'll dive right in. 

The manu-patches are solid. I know some people think they are a bit cheesy, but to each their own. They look nice and if you are a player collector they are a nice addition.

The jerseys are also solid, no complaints there.

The autos are sticker autos (boo), but the sticker works with the design OK so it's not as bad as one might think. AND the patch autos are on-patch, so that's a big plus.

My one beef is that some of the Lettermen patches and some of the base look like they were cut with a rusty switchblade. Among the base there are a few cards that came out with weird scratches. Again, nothing TOO bad and stuff we've all seen before, but a little aggravating nonetheless.

I thought this was a great group break product. Everyone got a good bit of base and over half the participants walked away with hits. Overall money well spent. Congrats again SMG!

If I had the cash laying around I might be tempted to buy a box for myself, but since I'm a player/team collector I'm pretty much always going to feel my money is better sent on singles or group breaks.

Finally, don't forget the June break! SMG will be doing the honors this time around.

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Icons Break: Box 6 to Rule Them All

To this point things have been fun. I think the Hamels auto in box 1 (congrats arfmax!!) was by far the best pull. A solid group break with some teams doing a lot better than others, as usually happens if you follow the JC breaks. It's been a while since I've bought wax for myself and with the number of group breaks out there I won't be doing so any time soon. Socialist box buying, er group breaks, is the way to go.

And now we have the last box, box 6. Yes, that's 3 patches (one more than the average). Yes, the middle one has some scribbling on it. Yes, this is the no doubt big hit (hence #6 gets its own post).
Markakis auto patch #ed 3/3. Big shout out to Ryan on that one! We also have a Bruce patch, an Oil Can patch, Young jersey, Martis auto, HanRam jersey. 2 autos, 2 jerseys, 3 patches. One box to rule them all indeed! Kick ass!

Videos and my thoughts to come later. For the moment many thanks to SMG for proposing this, and thanks to all of you for participating. Check out the June break!

Here are the first two videos. 

Computer and my video camera aren't talking right now to post the rest of the boxes, but hopefully they'll be on better terms tomorrow.

Icons Break: Boxes 2-5

This is where we hit the horse latitudes.

These are solid boxes but not great. Worth the $52 if I were to buy these for myself as opposed to a box break? You tell me.

Dig the Longo Patch (yeah Rays hit!), Markakis patch (he'll be playing a large part in our drama---just wait), Everth Cabrera auto is nice (although he's on the DL at the moment).

González patch, Lowrie patch, Papelbon jersey, Bobby Parnel auto (yeah auto!; but Bobby Parnell?); another Price #ed RC.

Soto Patch (congrats On Cards Autos!), Guillén jersey (there are you SMG), Greinke patch (another for the SMG), CC jersey (rock on!), Dexter Fowler auto (good pull, looks like it was done by his 2 y.o. kid)

To this point the Dodgers had NOTHING. They changed that dramatically here. Wang patch, Bills jersey, Kershaw patch, Kemp jersey, MacDonald auto. Collation anyone?

But there's one box left you say? Yes there is. Oh yes, there is...

Icons Break: Box 1

Welcome to the inaugural CCC SMG Group Break. Video will be up tonight. In the meantime, here are the hits and highlights from the first box. Oddballs like the poker player patch (wtf!?) will be randomed off. Hamels auto, Boggs jersey, Halladay jersey, Peavy jersey. Not bad for a first box!