Saturday, February 27, 2010

HOF trade bait: Part II

Usual scheme: looking mostly for the usual subjects (CC, Gomes). Prefer relics for relics but I'll consider #'d cards, etc. Drop me a comment and an offer if something catches your eye!

Friday, February 26, 2010

We Want the Funk: Gettin' Down With Franklin Ray

Before teaming up with George Clinton, Franklin Ray Funk was a ballplayer.
He was exclusively a rubber-armed reliever for the Indians and Braves, lasting 4 seasons during which he posted a career ERA+ of 125. What's odd is that he retired so soon while he was still effective. I guess that's what happens when you gotta get your groove on.

Other than touring with Parliament, Funk managed in the minors off and on, and according to wikipedia recently served in the Rockies organization as a pitching coach. Still blazing after all these years!

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Phil Garner and the Electric Nose Neighbor

Seriously man, have you EVER seen a 'stache like that? I know this is the late-'70s Pirates and all, but that thing looks fake beyond words.

I feel like all those pin stripes make the thing even more spectacular, like a pink paisley tie worn with a purple striped suit or something.

I actually love the idea of this card: the on-deck batter and manager in the background, no doubt watching on of Garner's prodigious 9 home homeruns leave the park. But I can't get past the a mustache straight out of an 1800's saloon. Dude should be riding a horse, robbing banks, swilling whiskey and partying with Ms. Kitty on Gunsmoke, not playing baseball.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First of the 2010s: Thanks to Nachos Grande and Chris

I've seen this card making the rounds on ebay and the 'sphere, and knew I'd get it eventually. Eventually, fortunately, has been the past few days.

The gold on the bottom is courtesy of Nachos Grande. I'd sent him a Larkin relic a while back, and when I saw he'd pulled the gold version of the 2010 CC he was cool to send it along.
The card on top comes from reader Chris. We'd been going back and forth and I kept dropping the email ball due to work-related stress (several MAJOR projects underway), and so I finally shipped off the Yaz relic to him for the 2010 CC base and the David Price base. In the land where you can't drop into the shop and pick those up for 25 cents a piece you do what you have to do, and I am stoked to get these.

The CC is a TREMENDOUS photo, and I really hope the photographer responsible gets some kind of raise. GREAT shot.

The Price is also really nice, though admittedly overshadowed by the CC.
He has a really easy motion, and hopefully things will come together for him this year!

Thanks again for the trades! Have a good one and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Catching Paper: Cards from the Paper Chase

Roy from over at The Paper Chase dropped me a line about a Niemann auto he could part with and buried this deep in the package. 
I'm always stoked to get a CC I don't have because I have a good many of them and there are fewer and fewer I haven't seen. He'd mentioned in an email he might have one, but since it wasn't on top I wasn't even looking for it. Pretty cool to hide it, complete with note on the penny sleeve.

And then the Niemann:
I left it in the case with electrical tape for the scan because I'm always fascinated by different styles of packaging trades. For example, many ebay sellers are worse than traders although they are getting cash money to send the cards out safely. I usually pack cards in cardboard, packing tape, and a bubble mailer, which mostly likely means I'm overcautious and paranoid, eg a typical southerner. Electrical tape - that one's new to me. Maybe it has something to do with Geologists. At any rate it made extra sure no one messed with my cards in transit, which kicks ass!

Thanks again for the cards, Roy! I scanned a bunch of the other cool Rays you sent over, but my computer kept eating the scans (seems it doesn't have the multi-card thing down just yet!)

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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nine Cards Needing a Home

Got a half priced blaster of '09 Topps, pulled some cards I'm more than willing to send along. Let me know what you need in the comments/via email, trade me a CC or Gomes to be named later and it's yours.

3B Finding Jesus: Enos Cabell

He's no catcher, but if Enos Cabell's not finding Jesus I have no idea what he is doing.

The coolest part of the card is that the cropping and the off-center placing of the subject give you a sense of vertigo, that the world isn't right but, thankfully, Cabell sees something that's neither apparent to us nor to the shortstop who seems just as befuddled as we are. Everything is slightly out of focus from the hint of scoreboard to the OF wall, all of which foregrounds Cabell's crisply in-focus off-centeredness. The dramatic tension of the off-centered, unusually focused subject isn't too common in baseball card photography, but heightens Cabell's revelation.

"Going after a pop up?"

"Nah, I'm taking to Jesus."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wicked Trade: (Long Over Due)

I could blame it on my slow scanner. Or pure laziness. Or my fondness for wine within 5 minutes of hitting the door when I get home from work. Or all of it, take your pick.

At any rate, I've fallen behind in trade posts, starting with an epic trade from Wicked Ortega. Well, this is my end.

A 1956 Doby:
I'm not a huge Miggy fan, but he's one of the best players in the game and it would have taken something pretty badass to pry that card from me. Well, this is more than sufficiently badass. Since Doby is from SC I pick up his cards whenever I can afford them, and this was a score. I'll go into it in more depth this summer when I do Larry Doby week again, but for now I'll just say "YEAH!"

Worked out in the trade were some other Rays cards.
I don't get too much into the high end stuff (is Sweet Spot High End? Low End? Mid Range? Hell, they sell is at Wal Mart, right?) or even serial numbered cards because of the cost. So: I'd never seen this card or one like it before and have/had no idea of it's value. First: that's not a bat chip. It's a 1/2 inch thick piece of bat embedded in a card that's more like a shadow box. Pretty awesome, and I had no idea what I was getting.

Then this CC jersey:
CC jerseys are always good, CC jerseys with Derek Jeter on them....I just don't know.

And most importantly, as a throw in for the person who tolerates my collection (and has yet to see my recent ebay purchase come up on the credit card bill):
It's the smile himself, Mr. Carlos Peña. It was immediately one of the compa's favorite cards and it's her first minor league CP. Thanks for throwing that in, Wicked, and for the epic trade in general.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now pinch hitting: Bobby G. Smith

BB Reference lists Bobby G. Smith as an "Outfielder and Pinch Hitter," which I'm guessing translates as "Have Bat, Will Travel." Smith had a seven year career in the bigs, from '57-'62 in the NL, with another stint in '65 with the Angels.
This is one of those cards that has really drawn me in since I pulled it from Daddy D's vault at Christmas. My initial thought was "Bobby G. Smith---he was one of the guys in the original Backstreet Boys, right?" "Bobby Smith" is completely anonymous but "Bobby G. Smith" has golden pipes, several Grammies to his credit, and has since gone on to a solo career. Looking over the card more and more, though, it's pretty cool.

For starters, it's another of the '59s that looks painted as opposed to being a straight photo. Anyone know why Topps did that? I'm also a big fan of cards with empty stands in general, and save for a few fans (are they turned looking out of the park or are they looking down onto the field?) we're all alone here. And then there's Smith, giving us one of those classic disinterested ballplayer posed swings you find on baseball cards going back to at least the t206 sets. 

And then we have Smith. Career-wise he was solid enough but looks to have been primarily a pinch hitter, so that skews the numbers a bit. His best year was 1960 with the Phils, when it looks like he had a platoon gig or was maybe filling in for an injury. Otherwise in most years he only has a few more PAs than games played, which I take to mean he generally pinch hit and little else.

And you gotta love the Topps cartoon here. "Fleet footed"? Dude was 5-14 lifetime in SB attempts. Maybe he was faster in the OF, but that's not the raw material of "fleetness."

The coolest thing about Smith, though, was a tidbit I picked up on SCF. Seems Smith did a ttm for a dude and not only returned in w/in a week (very cool) but he also sent the guy his $5 back. I have no problem with guys who charge for autos, but that's an awesome gesture on Smith's part nonetheless. Think I'll have to drop him a line.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You get paid to do what?: Bob Oliver "Plays" "First Base"

Here we've got Bob Oliver in 1972 playing a little first base down in Margarittaville, where there are no bases but lots of palm trees. And something of a breeze, apparently, as well as the occasional falling coconut. Why else does he have on a windbreaker and a batting helmet?
This card just gives you the feeling baseball in the early '70s was a bit more relaxed than it is nowadays. I mean, there are posed action shots, and then there is the the revenge of the simulacrum. It's a stretch, but it's there. And then consider he's Darren Oliver's dad. Creepy, right? I mean, at what point are these dudes just poking fun at the fabric of the universe?

Best part about the back? The knowledge that Bruce Kison once held the record for most hit batters in the WS. Given he was renowned as a mean SOB on Pirates teams that had pitchers doing things like throwing no-hitters in acid and hitting the Big Red Machine batter-by-batter (OK---just Dock Ellis), that's not too surprising.

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From NC to ND (and back): Jim Perry

As a quick editorial note, CCC now has an editorial assistant: the compa. Seems my spelling, etc. are just too bad, and I was never much of a proofread, so she's jumping on board.

I'm a big fan of southern ballplayers and one of the greatest is All Star and Cy Young Award winner Jim Perry. Now, I've done some ttms, and I hadn't really thought of writing him until I was at Daddy D's over Christmas and, while thumbing through some cards from the vault: Mr. Perry spent a year in Fargo while in the minors.

The vehicle: ttm request to Mr. Perry. The goal: an answer to the question, "how does one survive the cold up here?" First, the ttms:

The 1960 Topps All-Star Rookie RC. A gift from Daddy D, a great one no doubt, and I'm pretty sure this one will be going back to Iowa in the near future. And then:

Mr. Perry with the Twins. This card is the one that records his time in Fargo on the back. From the photo I'm guessing this is back when they had outdoor baseball in the Twin Cities. And they're returning to that tradition this year, which I think is great, only in July. In April? From what I hear there's still snow on the ground in parts, but since I'm the new guy they might be messing with me. Or maybe not.

At any rate, Mr. Perry's advice on surviving the cold? "Move away" This ain't good. :)

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

Monday, February 15, 2010

HOF trade bait

In order: Winfield, Yaz, Murray, Rice, I-Rod, Brock (/99), and Markakis (to keep the scanner happy). The Rice has a little bit of chipping around the window, otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. 

I'm primarily looking for Carl Crawford relics, autos, or numbered parallels (1st preference goes to those), but also open to Gomes, etc.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pinch hitting: Roy Howell and Where I Been

At first it was job-related stress, then it was the plague. I've been lurking on blogs, not commenting as much as I'd like, but finally, today, I'm back to bring you Roy Howell.
This is another of the really strange shots I prefer. For example, we think of dugouts as full of ball players, equipment, scattered sunflower seed shells and other baseball flotsam. Here we have Howell almost blending in amongst the junk: multiple bats, some gloves, a spare hat, an aluminum container with indecipherable writing, a Coke cup with a plastic straw. I really like how Howell, in addition to holding a bat and having on a batting glove, has on a helmet, like he's gonna go bat at any moment.

And Howell DID have a solid career between stops in Texas, Toronto, and Milwaukee, league average lifetime OPS+ of 98, made the AS team in 1978. Another "have bat will travel type," the kind of guy who's way underrated in the game. This card really captures that. 

Anyway, tomorrow I've got a small HOF trade bait post coming, looking for some CCs to ring in the new year.

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Catchers Finding Jesus: Darrell Miller

We've seen a lot of catchers finding Jesus, but all of them were catching. Here we have Darrell Miller hitting on the back of his '89 UD.
Now sure, this is a really well composed shot for this space on the card. I mean, Miller in his samurai pose looking straight into the sky practically fills the entire rectangle. And then, of course, we've got the immortal question: what is he looking at? Sure, maybe a pop up, or a dude in a chicken suit hanging off the upper deck. More likely, after a big swing and a miss, he hears the voices overhead: "$#$# it Darrell, watch the $#$#**%# ball!!! I died for your sins, the least you could do is take a pitch." 

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

Monday, February 8, 2010

When they photograph you in the locker room it ain't good: Gordy Coleman

A lot of folks around are really into airbrushing, so I thought I'd trot out this 1960 Gordy Coleman.
I'm guessing the original photo is him with Cleveland in 1959, retouched a bit to make him look like he's in a Reds uni. But the closer you look, the more it falls apart in all its photoshopped disaster glory. For starters, there's no name on the front of the jersey in either pic. But then take a closer look at the grey jersey. The piping is perfectly straight but there are NO buttons running down the jersey. Moreover, it makes Gordy's right side WAY off in proportion to the left given that the front is perfectly straight. There'd need to be a good bit of extra fabric around to make that happen.

Despite being the only BB player ever photographed for a bb card while in a locker room, Coleman actually had a solid 9 year career for the Reds during which he posted a lifetime 107 OPS+, his best year perhaps being 1965. Redlegs fans think enough of Gordy that he's in the Reds HOF, which is a pretty great honor for a guy whose career started out fairly inauspiciously. 

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

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Greatest Moment on Cardboard: Treadway Takes a Walk

My scanner won't quit cropping white border cards and I'm tired of wrestling with it. But don't let that detract from the absolute insanity of this card, Jeff Treadway.
Seriously, when was the last time you saw a dude take a WALK on a baseball card? And the fuzzy security guard in the background (I'm assuming that's why he has a tie) is another weird touch. Why aren't there more walks on baseball cards? In fact, is there even another in existence?

Treadway was a hard-nosed utility guy for the classic comeback Braves of the early 90s. Jeff was a pure Georgia boy, as in from GA, plated ball for GA, drafted by the Reds but played the meat of his career with his home state Braves. He's one of the guys you wish could have been on the WS Champion team since he was there at the beginning of the turn around. A suitcase kind of guy, he just showed up, did his job, and went home, a real pleasure to watch.

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

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trade Bait: Leave a Comment, Send Me an Offer

The Hanley jersey has two light creases around the jersey window (grrr) otherwise these are sharp.

Offers landing me new CCs, Gomes, Niemanns, or Prices get first dibs. Other than that check out my interests and let's get it done!

Contest Winnings from Jason at 2008 Ginter Code Champion

2008 Ginter Code Champ Jason Wong had a badass contest over at his blog, which you need to check out. The prize: two cards signed by the champ himself, one in Chinese and one in English. Check them out.
I spent a year teaching English in China, so this is pretty awesome to have. My Mandarin is pretty basic at this point, but I remember enough to recognize "wong." Kinda.
And then the "traditional" English signed card with the "1st Ginter Code Champion" inscription. Very cool stuff, and thanks again for the contest, Jason!

As an aside, the contest Jason ran was pretty cool. Apparently the inspiration came from an autographed bat he has in his collection, and the structure of the questions meant you had to count Negro League stats as being "official." As a big fan of the Negro Leagues, I thought that was an awesome move!

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blast from the Past: Chris Burr

I'm a big fan of minor league ball. As much as part of the family ritual in the summer involved going to one Braves game a summer, a much bigger part were the minor league games we took in down in Charleston. College Park was where I learned to watch the game and be a fan. As the link over there say, it has an antiseptic sort of charm that's the opposite of most contemporary parks. In fact, one of my very first posts was about the Rainbows that used to play in College Park and a card I got from Dinged Corners.

Well, I recently came across an old stack of Rainbows and, getting all nostalgic, decided to contact one of the former players to see if he'd sign one of them for me.
That's my childhood in baseball on a single card: wooden grandstands, folding chairs on the field, and a daytime crowd that would be hanging around for nickel beer in the nightcap. 

And then, of course, we've got the aspiring minor league slugger toiling away in 100% humidity for his shot at the bigs. He's currently an assistant coach at Tulane, as well as a coach in a collegiate wood-bat summer league, but back then he was a 1B prospect for the Texas Rangers
He hit .340 with a .902 OPS the previous year in the GCL, but that summer in Charleston, 1993, he hit .235 wit 10 HR, and that was his last in the minors. He's obviously been a really successful baseball man  as evidenced by his current coaching positions, and it's great to think that one of the guys I grew up watching is still in the game. It's also awesome he took the time to sign this card for me, which I really appreciate. 

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eddie Lake and Life

Eddie Lake's nickname was "Sparky," I'm guessing because he was 5' 7" and weighed 160 lbs. He's one of those players whose careers spanned WWII. Unlike many others he actually played through most of the war as he was out in 1942 but otherwise missed no time. He played for 11 seasons (STL, BOS, DET) from '39-'50, so I'm guessing this is his last card. He was a solid enough ballplayer for a guy called "Sparky," being around league average career-wise, leading the league in OBP in 1945 and even getting an MVP vote that year (he finished 31st). He even pitched in 6 games in 1944.
Lake mostly played 3b/ss, so I'm guessing we're looking towards right-center field, those two white shadows coming in at the end of pre-game warm ups. Did Lake know this was the year? He would have been 34, so it's not inconceivable. Why's he out there taking extra fielding, or is he just out there to have his picture taken? Everyone else is already in, or headed in. 

As a card I think it's a pretty apt metaphor for a lot of the things we do, things accomplished when no one else is watching, for an audience of only ourselves. The stadium is empty, the young guys are gone or going in, Eddie Lake is out there taking one last grounder, one last pop up, thinking it might make a difference later on, so he'll be ready. The card lacks the glory of a Ryan Howard connecting but it portrays the mundane effort sustained by the rest of us, at work, working, getting ready to work, always being prepared.

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