Sunday, December 11, 2011

On Baseball Wives...

Go here, check out this post. It's awesome!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Headhunting Part II: Get Your Phillies Out

Here's the deal: A Phillies fan who is also in to prospect autos has a pretty awesome EJ. Sooo.... if you have a constellation of Phillies this guy will take, I'll trade you this card: 

I'll update with a better scan later today/tonight. It'll hurt to let this one go, but them's the breaks.

Make an offer in the comment section. Then I'll pass it along! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blyleven and Goose GU:

Not sure how to embed these in a PM over at the Bench, so here they are!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I miss baseball...: Looking to Next Season

I'll pay attention to other sports if they're on, but baseball remains the only sport I follow. Like I find myself doing most falls, I can't wait for next season. So, I went through a bunch of cards other bloggers have sent me and found this:
It was a while ago, so who knows who sent me this card? And let's be honest, unless you follow the Rays you probably had no idea who Moore was until this. Or maybe you caught this on Sept. 22. Either way, there's a lot of hype surrounding the 22 year-old former eight-round pick in the 2007 draft. As a Rays fan, I'm on board.
Funny, but nothing on this card screams, "Dude's about to blow up!" There are something interesting stats, some typical Topps language, but Topps still lists him as "Matthew." Whatever. I'm glad he's on our side, at least until his arb years are up!

And he seems pretty down-to-earth as seen in this promo video for the Rays affiliate the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Goodnight Pumpsie Green...Wherever You Are!

Pumpsie Green sounds like he might have DJed for these cats, but he was actually the guy who integrated the Red Sox, the last team to integrate, and a Hell of a ballplayer. I first read about Mr. Green in the context of Gene Conley, with whom Mr. Green went on a Kerouacesque multi-day Bender while with the Sox.
Because of the trip I've always had a special place in my heart for Green. Man who integrated the Red Sox and, as this interview with the man says, the "last of the first." Topps All-Star Rookie. Roughian. Would-be pilgrim to the Holy Land. There are complex personalities, then there are the life and times of Pumpsie Green.
This card was a gift from the father-in-law. Still strikes me how it mentions Green was the first Sox switching-hitting regular in 27 years but says NOTHING about Green integrating the Sox. Which was, according to accounts, no easy feat.

Been contemplating sending this card out ttm but have held off. Thinking I'll pull the trigger this weekend. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

EJ x 3: Thanks GCRL!

I'm going after the 2011 Topps Update EJ Rainbow. I was able to land the first two plates fairly easily but hit a snag with plat #3. As outlined here, Jim over at GRCL stepped up and took what I was offering in order to land the EJ. Thanks to Jim, here's 3/4 of the plate rainbow which, as a bonus, includes CC as a foreground lurker. Pretty serendipitous.

And then he included a TON of extra Rays, among them this gem of Fer Perez
We lost Fer in the Matt Garza trade, he was later picked up by the Mets, and he was another ballplayer that the compa and I really enjoyed watching back in Durham. He's got a degree from Columbia and has even published in Poetry. A renaissance man, he's a great actor (seriously, check this out), maintains an active Twitter feed, and always has craziness up on Tumblr. A cool guy and a cool card. Compa is still devastated that we let him go!

Thanks again, GCRL!

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Miggida miggida miggida Mack: With apologies to Connie

Matt over at the Number 5 Type Collection had an awesome contest where if you guessed the cards, you won them. From the rubbings Matt posted I got that they were from the 1963 Bazooka All-Time Greats, but I still had to know who they were.

I guessed a Connie Mack was at stake and put my head on figuring out who the other guy was. In short, I won and landed these cards:
I'm a HUGE fan of the Connie Mack A's and am stoked to add this to my collection. Believe it or not, Mack is in the HOF despite losing more games than he won, a distinction he shares with Buck Harris. Hopefully one day Gene Mauch will join that club, but I digress. The really cool thing (actually about all three of them!) is that they were OK-but-not-great ballplayers who, despite their not-so-greatness, learned enough about the game they went on to become All-Time-Great managers.
The other HOFer here is Harry Heilmann, nicknamed "Slug" (for his hitting prowess or blinding speed, who knows?). The awesome thing about this card is that I had no appreciation for Slug until looking up his stats: he hit .400 once and flirted with it several times, had a lifetime OBP of .411, and 183 HRs in the dead ball era which is even more impressive in the context of his OPS+ of 148. 

After today's Lions game I may have to send Harry over to a certain Detroit fan I know to cheer him up!

Thanks again for the contest, Matt!

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Headhunting Part II: Coming Soon?

I'm now rolling with some guys over FCB with regard to some EJs. Being a Rays collector, I don't have a ton of quality non-Rays to offer in trade. So... if things work out the second edition of headhunters will be coming up shortly.
First we had this Jackie Robinson relic claimed by GCRL (who'll have a post coming soon, and to whom I definitely owe more Dodgers for the additional Rays he threw in!). 

What'll be next? It'll be something from the pc, and something good. Hint: Get your Phillies ready.

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Double Duty: Bender and Oldring 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder

I picked this card up about a year ago. It's an awesome twofer of HOFer and CCC favorite Charles Bender and the less known Rube Oldring.

First the whole card with Bender:
Overall it's a pretty classy shot of Bender at, I'm guessing, an early version of Shibe Park. Being a guy who digs on some vintage, I'm often disappointed by how current brands (ahem, Topps) will take something like this and go waaay crazy with it (T206, I'm looking at you!). Cards from the actual era were pretty straightforward and not all all self-conscious like the C. Kershaw in The Shining-type cards you pull nowadays.

Anyway, Oldring and the stats are on the back.
Sure enough, if you fold Oldring over he lines up nicely with Bender's legs in kind of a fielding pose. 

The coolest thing is that, according to a Bender bio I read, the two were roomies back in the day. When was the last time two baseball roomies were on the same card? Anyone else know of any cases?

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Best of Topps Photoshop: Carlos Peña

So I'm sitting there the other day going through the compa's Peña collection. Who knows why, but the following two card jumped out at me.

As everyone knows, card companies recycling photos is nothing new. I'm guessing I never noticed these two before because a) the cropping makes for a radically different card and b) because someone photoshopped the bejeesus out of one of them (my vote is for the second). 

Unlike other (well, most) airbrush/photoshop jobs you see Topps take on, this one is well done 
enough. You don't get the feeling that Los just emerged from a nuclear reactor, that his jersey is melting off, or that part of him is floating in the aether. Like I said, I never noticed the photoshop until I noticed these cards were identical.

So, Topps, well done here!

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Regular Programming: Brien Taylor

I've written about Brien Taylor before. He was "the next big thing." A true "can't miss prospect" from NC.

For a time, the biggest card after the 1989 UD Griffey was this 1991 Topps Gold auto:
If I remember correctly it was included in "special" complete sets and at one point booked for well over $100. I got this copy for about $7 shipped. 

Some folks have used contemporary stats to argue he wouldn't have made it anyway, but that's all part of the mystique of this story, of guys like him and Prior and countless others. Baseball America had him as a top-20 prospect from 1992-4, #1 in '92 and #2 in '93. 

Who knows what would have been? There's only what was.

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


General strike Wednesday, November 2 in Oakland, CA.

Poster by Eric Drooker.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2009 Topps Ethier/Soria Walmart black error

Has a Soria back. Weird, huh?

When you were young: Chris Richard

I found this card in a dime box at the local a while back:

For a dime you can't do any better. Chris Richard was a hard hitting OF prospect with the Cardinals who homered in his first MLB at-bat in 2000. Twelve days after his debut he was quickly shipped off to the O's for Mike Timlin, whose rubber arm would keep him in the majors until 2008 and through 2 Red Sox WS. At the moment you would have thought it was a case of two guys crossing paths, one going up, the other down, the kind you frequently see around the trading deadline.

Drafted in the 19th round, Richard is one of those guys who aren't supposed to make the majors. I was thinking about this the other day when the Rays released 14 minor league prospects recently. Several of those guys were drafted THIS year. If drafting guys you'll soon release is a scouting failure, it's also a scouting failure that a guy who stays on the draft board for 18 rounds goes on to make the majors. 

I've written about this before, but I arrived in Baltimore in 2001, right after Chris Richard did. I remember the commercials, the excitement, the expectation surrounding the youngster from San Diego. The O's weren't supposed to contend, but a young core of guys like Richard and Jay Gibbons who were coming into their primes, the O's were on the cusp of contention. Richard responded with 15 HRs and a 127 OPS+ in 2001. I was finishing my MA at Johns Hopkins and contemplating going on for my PhD. The future was now and it was bright. 

It was a little strange, then, when many years later I found myself at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) with Chris Richard starting at 1B. At that point expectations of the future were somewhat murky if not tarnished, and I had learned several difficult lessons about what people in my racket euphemistically call "the life of the mind." Once again, Chris Richard was playing a major role for my local 9, only it wasn't the 9 Richard had envisioned back in 2001. 

I never met the guy or shook his hand, but like EJ he's one of the Bulls who looms large in my pantheon.    In 2009, all the way up where I live now, the compa and I were stoked to see Richard get called up at the end of the Rays' season. Dude had MASHED at Durham for 4-straight years, and here he was in the majors again. Things did not go as planned as he hit .222 with a .300 OBP in 27 AB. He also made an error at 1B which I remember vividly because both compa and I sat in silence for a few minutes afterward, the game moving on without us. 

Richard retired this past March from the Rays organization, the all-time franchise leader in HR. Cue up the Crash Davis references, which are wholly appropriate given he played for the Bulls, but I'll say Richard taught me a lot (again, I never met the guy).

Things change. We might come up short of the ideal. But we all owe it to ourselves and to those to whom we are responsible to grind it out everyday, to do our best, to shine wherever we find ourselves. Not bad for a 10 cent card.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Has someone brought home the bacon!?!

Just for kicks I went to check out the EJ black printing plate and saw this.

Who bought it? GCRL? Moose? Someone else? Maybe a completely different ebayer that'll keep me from completing the rainbow? It sold for almost 3X what the other two went for, so I almost can't imagine it's the last of these. Guess I'll know soon enough.

That said, if this was successful it'll be the first of many CCC headhunting expeditions to come, and with much more difficult to find cards.

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

Friday, October 21, 2011

Headhunting Part I: Who Wants This Card?

OK, so here's the deal. I'm working on EJ rainbows. 2005 Bowman Chrome will take a while, but should be fun.

Over the past few days I've acquired the lion's share of the versions of the 2011 Topps Update Elliot Johnson Cards. I'm still missing the regular issue (go figure!), the gold (emailed someone who posted one), the Diamond sparkle edition, the Target Red Border, and two printing plates, one of which is here.

Here's where this card comes in.
It's probably a Topps furniture leg, but still, it's a Jackie Robinson relic. If you can get the plate away from that guy, I'll flip you the Robinson for that plate and some assorted Rays (your choice, just assorted fun cards). 

Why am I doing this? Well, for starters I'm on a budget, a budget which is tapped until December. I made this dude several offers, but he took none of them and ignored the last one. Keep in mind the BIN on that plate is $20 plus s/h, and I scored my two other plates for about $16 TOTAL. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did and talk him down to a fair price, meaning JR will be a steal. I made solid offers based on market value, but whatever. 

So there is it. The link. The card for trade. The first edition of Headhunters around here.

Any takers?

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thor as a 5'10" White Guy: Lemmer

This is the other card I pulled when going down memory lane the other night:
This is Mark Lemke circa 1990. In case anyone forgot, the Braves at this point are something of an abomination. They haven't been relevant since 1982 when they lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS. Sure, in they finished second in the old NL West in '83 and '84, but starting in '85 they'd go on an EPIC losing jag in which they'd lose 90+ games in 5 of the next 6 seasons. The exception was '86 when they lost 89. They were bad. This cat here was bad. They were ALL bad, in fact. So bad in '87 they traded they lone effective pitcher to the Tigers for some minor leaguer. Things sucked.

Then this happened. And this guy, this guy who even in the season had an OPS of .617 went NUTS to the tune of 1.170
This, I'd like to think, is one if the things that makes baseball great. It's not just the one guy who comes through in a big way and his team wins. There's also the career-OPS .641 2B who blows up over a period of days, a guy who had 63 hits all season who has 10 in a few days, and 4 of those were XBH. He had one of the greatest WS ever. And yet his team still lost. Now that I'm older, I think we're all there at some point. 

Any who, when I was a kid this wasn't quite an auto of Christ himself, but it was pretty darn close. 

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Old School Auto: Francisco Cabrera

My grandmother passed away about 2 years ago. She'd been living with my folks for several years, and they're just now getting around to going through her stuff. Understandable, I guess. On Sunday my dad told me he and my mom had found two autos I got in the late-80s at a Braves game: Vida Blue and Atlee Hammaker. Apparently they were in an envelop my grandmother had kept for years.

Anyway, that got me kind of sentimental. After my granddad passed away in the mid-1990s my grandmother always came over for dinner. In the summer and into the fall, she stayed for the Braves. In honor of gramma, I pulled out this card:
I got this card "the year before," but that doesn't make it any less awesome. If I remember correctly, I obtained the card and the auto at a Braves Caravan back when the Braves had a rabid regional following. Like my Glavine and Smoltz autos, when I got this Francisco Cabrera was nobody. 

But he'd very quickly become a somebody, one of the greatest somebodies in Braves history.
This video is here. I many ways, it's kind of a "shot heard round the world." Cabrera's BB reference page is even sponsored by a Pirates fan who says, "He ruined my childhood and destroyed a franchise. The only thing I can do now is make sure a Braves fan can never sponsor this page again." Dark stuff they talk over at Where have you gone Andy Van Slyke.

Anyway, get your EJ's out, trade bait coming out soon!

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The EJ Collection Goes to 11: The 2005 Bowman Chrome Superfractor


I sold a few things on the 'bay recently and decided it was time to step out of my normal purchasing range. WAY out.

I'd been following the card for a while and the BIN on it was more than I wanted to pay. I was looking to get one of several cards and even though this buyer didn't have an OBO on it, I thought I'd drop him a  line. I offered, he countered, we agreed on a price. 

Give it a few days and here it is:
I'd never seen, much less held a superfractor in person before, and let me say that they are sweet. REALLY sweet. 

I've stated before that I'm a HUGE EJ fan. This was only increased this past 4th of July, but that story will have to wait. Suffice it to say that he's a cool, down-to-earth guy and one of my favorite players of all-time. Hence the superfractor purchase.
A 1/1, but look at that story. How many undrafted free agents make it so far as to have their own card, much less all the way to the show? He's a hell of a guy and a hell of a ballplayer. This is also a hell of a card.

So, keep an eye out in the next few days for some headhunting trade offers I'll be putting out. I'm obviously going after the 2005 Bowman EJ rainbow, as well as this year's 2011 Topps Update EJs. If you have any put them aside, it'll be worth your while!

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

Have a good 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Enough of the CC Hating: Or John Henry is Killing the Red Sox

So here we go.

Red Sox owner John Henry goes on a radio show and says that he was "against signing CC." Now, there's no denying CC had a down year, but why is the Red Sox owner going on the record and throwing players under the bus? Usually Henry and the Sox brass waits until a guy is gone or on his way out, so what on earth is he trying to accomplish here? This is the type of stuff that drove the Yankis into the ground in the 80s and kept them there until the mid-90s.

Now, I know a good bit of CC hate has been unleashed by a lot of Rays fans, but remember this: CC is a consummate pro. When Pat "The Bat" was stinking it up and pouting around for the Rays, CC was the clubhouse enforcer. According to at least one source, CC was so shocked by the lackadaisical clubhouse culture in Beantown he kind of kept to himself for most of the season. That said, he manned-up and gave an "impassioned speech" to his teammates as the Sox season went from bad to worse.

Let's be clear: in a clubhouse where Beckett, Lester, and Lackey supposedly drank and played video games between starts, CC is the guy Henry has publicly decided to name as a disappointment.

If that's the case JH, then by all means please, PLEASE send him back to the Rays.

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Card Show Purchase #6: The One that Sent Me Back to the ATM

When I was a kid anything older than 1984 Topps was positively ancient. An older friend of a friend had a TON of ancient cards (pre-1984) and his 1977 Thurman Munson ruled them all. I guess it's because I was so young, but I never understood the big deal about the tragedy surrounding Munson until I was much older. That said, he's always held a special place in my collecting heart.

So: having made all my other purchases, I just happened to be perusing this other dealer's special "half-off original price, nothing over $5, everything comes in a screw-down case" box. I still can't believe it, but this was at the back of the box:
It's got more than a crease or two and the guy who sold it to me lamented that it was a "$100 card that was hardly worth anything" (whatever that means!), but I politely asked him to put the Munson aside while I ran to the ATM for reinforcements.

"Good arm, great desire." No truer words were ever written about Munson.

So, there you have it. If you are a condition guy my haul from the show is pretty substandard. Seeing as how I'm not a condition guy, this was the type of show I've been dreaming about since I got back into cards. Serendipity, great prices, great cards, pure awesome!

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Card Show Purchase #5: 1956 Ernie Banks

This card is the last one from the guy with the junk vintage box.

He was sharing a table with the guy next to him (the guy who sold me Eddie Moore) and, after I'd already made my original purchase, this dude points out the 1959 Banks to me. 
In fairness, I had NO intention of buying this. I a) already own a 1950s Banks, and b) didn't have near enough money left to purchase it. Anyway, just being polite, I asked how much. He asked his friend, the guy with the vintage junk box. Response: $7.

For $7 I could go over budget on a 1959 Banks. 
I really like the 1959s, cartoon, insightful text, and all. I know he'll always be Mr. Cub, but if he'd played in NY we'd talk about Banks being THE greatest shortstop of all-time. Imagine: a SS who with a high SLG % than Willie Mays!

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Card Show Purchase #4: Stan the Man

The last card from the vintage junk box from the Fargo show last weekend. But can you call this card junk?
OK, so my Stan the Man has the structural consistency of tissue paper. However, it was about 95% off book (as if book means anything these days!). 

When I first came across this card and thought to myself, "A Musial I might be able to afford!" As with the other cards from the vintage junk box, this one was marked a TON more than I would have paid for it ($10) but the guy selling it brought it down into my range. 
I'd never taken a hard look at any Musial cards or even looked much at hit stats. The first thing I thought when I got this home was, "That's a lot of years and a lot of excellence."

So that's number 4, two more to go!

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

Friday, October 7, 2011

Card Show Purchase #3: From the Way Back Machine

Second card from the random vintage box is the oldest one I grabbed at the show. It's also the cheapest.
A 1920 W516-1 Hank Gowdy Strip card. Who knows if it's authentic, but who counterfeit a Hank Gowdy? The paper feels right, the colors look right, good enough for me. At any rate it wasn't even $2. AND it's the oldest Braves card I own, which is awesome.

Hank Gowdy had a 17-year career playing catcher and 1B for the NY Giants and Boston Braves. In 1920 he's coming off of a decent year in which he batted .278. That said, he's more of a clutch performer. For example, in the 1914 WS he set the series record for catcher BA, hitting at an amazing .545 clip against the Philadelphia A's.

Also according to Baseball Almanac, he was the first American ballplayer to enlist in WWI. He also later enlisted in WWII, and the ball field at Fort Benning bears his name.

Great stuff about a ballplayer I had never heard of before Saturday. And I got a great card CHEAP!

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

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Card Show Purchase #2: 1959 Fence Busters

Overall the dealers at the Fargo show weren't terribly organized. Not that that's a bad thing, it's just once you've seen some of the guys who frequent the Raleigh, NC shows you kind of expect to show up to a card show, ask for what you want, and have it handed right to you. There's plenty of room for serendipity, but not quite as much.

So, I was rummaging through what looked like a Braves-heavy section of this guys vintage box and this card popped out:

It's not mint but with Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthew it doesn't need to be. And man do they look young here!

But what it that supposed to be in the background? It that a busted fence or an odd fractal threatening to swallow up Matthews?

Pretty sweet that a card about "Fence Busters" has a guys sliding and stealing bases on the back.

Even so, the original price on the card had it WAY out of my price range. There was a lot of great vintage there, vintage I hadn't budgeted to run into, so I was already over budget. Long story short, after bargaining I landed this 50s classic for $6. 

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Card Show Purchase #1: Eddie Moore

Looking at vintage make me feel better about going down 1-2 to the Rangers. OK, not really, but still.

At the card show this weekend there were about 8 guys selling cards. Of the 8 maybe 3 were serious dealers and the remaining 5 were just guys selling cards.

I noticed Eddie Moore at the table of one of the guys selling cards. It was the only thing near that old he had and he seemed relaxed so I asked to take a look.

Eddie himself looks a bit wistful. He's at the end of his career and just staring off into the distance, like he knows that when you go from the Browns and Giants to playing with the New Orleans Pelicans the end is pretty much near. That said, as their starting 2B in 1933 Eddie led them to a Southern Association Championship. That and, with those blue eyes, I imagine he was quite the lady killer no matter where he was. 

The back of the card is full of Goudey goofiness. His name isn't really "Eddie"? Was that just made up? BBReference lists him as "Edward Charles Moore," while Wikipedia agrees with the Goudey here. (The Wikipedia entry, btw, is pretty nice!) Gotta do more research on that and figure out what the deal is. 

Anyway, it turns out Eddie was an insert in UD Goudey a few years ago and was one of the big hits this guy pulled from his case. After some more discussion I put Eddie back down and walked away, because I wasn't there to spend my limited budget on a single but awesome vintage card. 

Fast forward to when I'm buying cards at the adjacent table about 1/2 hour later. When I'm finished there the guy simply stands up, hands me the Eddie, and says, "I'll give it to you for $5." I still can't believe that! 

Judging by the show, my hypothesis is that local guys are now selling vintage at even lower than ebay prices---is that the same where everyone else lives?

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

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rays-style crazy

Things have been wild for the past 7 or so months.

I got my book to the publisher (yay!), spent a month in Mexico (yay!), and started the new semester back in August. Good God, it's now October!

Anyway, I'm getting my act together. I've you been in touch about a trade, I'll email you this week.

New goals: I'll be posting at least once a week. At least one trade a week.

I finally got to a card show this weekend down in Fargo. I'll put up the haul later this week, but it'll center around one question: do people sell vintage at these prices all over the country? I was shocked.

Also, a neighbor who's moving dropped off his collection yesterday. This is AWESOME, and I'll be passing a lot of that goodness along by Friday.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's been a while...

but WOW, just WOW. Go Rays!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jeff Niemann says it all: Blech!

Ever had one of those days? Jeff Niemann has:
My man Elliot Johnson gets injured the same night I post about him throwing me a ball.

Then tonight the Rays get 6 runs (SIX runs!) off of Justin Verlander, only to lose 7-6 to SMG's Tigers. AND they dropped the lead in the AL-East.

When it rains it POURS!

At least the new Walking Dead comes out this morning. Zombies!

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Post Where Elliot Johnson Rules the World

So, three weeks ago I was talking about the Rays games I caught in the Twin Cities.

Like I said in that post, Elliot Johnson (currently the starting SS for the Rays!) came over to talk with the compa and I a few minutes before the game. He even signed an ancient (from 1997) Durham Bulls jersey I have. That really made our trip. But that was before this:
After the players had finished warming up and had come off of the field, I heard somebody yelling off to the right. I looked over and EJ was gesturing over at us with a ball. I have no idea what I said/did, but I managed to successfully communicate "Dude that would be AMAZING!" (probably looking like a total goon) and EJ threw it over.

I never hit too many games growing up, and now that I'm well beyond the acceptable age for ballhawking I had pretty much just accepted that I'd never get a ball at a game unless one hit me in the head. It never occurred to me that EJ would toss us a ball, and as cool as it was for EJ to sign the Bulls jersey for us, tossing the ball over was WAY beyond that.

He's having a good season with the Rays so far, and is getting more and more playing time as other guys struggle. I'm really pulling for him to come up big!

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting back in the swing: ttm from The Chairman of the Board

I'm slowly catching up on emails (you know who you are!) and the second half of the Twins/Rays tilt post is coming.

Until then, here's a quick ttm success I had a while back:
The card is from a reader, Brian, with whom I traded a while back. I was able to help him out with some needs and he randomly included some unsolicited cards (along with a cowbell) in return. Since I'm working on a Topps auto project and Whitey is a consistent signer (for $20), I decided to send it out. 

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

Monday, May 2, 2011

Game 2: Straight to the Good Stuff

I'm skipping game 1. Not because it wasn't great (Rays won!), but because it was so cold no one remembered to take pictures. In case you missed it, it was SNOWED during the game.

The next day started out not so promising.
Clouds in the sky, tarp on the field. And raining. And cold.

Compa and a friend who came with us got beers and, like sensible people, stayed under cover to keep warm.

Since we never get to games I sprung for front row tickets next to the visitor's dugout.
I know, not the best shot, but I swear that you can see players beyond the cameras from time to time! Besides, this being the Rays in MN, there were some interesting characters down there waiting for the players to come out.

There was guy and his two kids up from Des Moines to see Hellickson pitch. He said he'd played in an over-35 league with Helly's dad and had nothing but good things to say about the Rays prospect. The ushers were coming around and kicking people out of there but since compa wasn't there and those WERE our seats I told them to stick with me and I'd vouch for them if anyone asked. Long story short, Helly did come out on his way to the pen and the guy and his kids DID get to shake his hand. Pretty cool.

Compa and friend came back and we settled in when one of our all-time favorite Durham Bulls, Elliot Johnson, came out to warm up. This is where things get goofy.

Elliot had made the team out of spring training this year, which was a pretty big deal as far as we were concerned. Appropriately enough we'd made a sign for Elliot saying "Congrats," which was promptly pulled out. He was gracious about the whole thing and yelled over, "Congratulations for what?" When we replied, "For making the team out of spring training!" he ran over and spoke with us for a few minutes until the National Anthem.

He asked us about being Durham fans and, when we told him we'd recently moved up North here from NC, without missing a beat he said, "That sucks." Good stuff.

Well, I had an old Durham jersey I was wearing to the game and had brought a pen just in case Elliot was around. He seemed surprised someone would ask him to sign a jersey that obviously wasn't his number (the jersey is #14, he's #9; he even flipped it over to see whose name was on the back---there's no name!), but I was THRILLED. He said, "Well, I was 14 in 2007."

Not seen: the massive sh!t-eating grin I've got on. 

Thanks Elliot! This was very, very cool, and the non-game highlight of the trip until what happened a few minutes later, but that'll be for tomorrow.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2 days in April: Seeing the Rays kick some butt

I took a road trip to see the Rays hopefully win some games against the Twins (they did!). They were my first games in 2 years, so I was stoked to be there. So, picks and the 411 coming over the next few days!
This was day 2, after the sun a had cleared a bit. The Wednesday night game was almost unbearable, but Thursday more than made up for it!

If you are in the area Target Field is well worth the visit. Clean lines, friendly field, altogether a nice place to take in a game (so long as it's above 40 degrees).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Man, that was cold...

but the Rays won! Heading out now to catch the day/night double header in the rain and snow and cold. No matter, go Rays!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heading out for the games!

Check out this video of Durham Bull Mark Ekstrom. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Been busy lately...

and I got tickets to the COMPLETE Rays/Twins tilt, including tomorrow and the doubleheader Thursday. On Thursday keep an eye out for the dude in the Durham Bulls jersey near the Rays dugout---I wouldn't know him!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

2003 Bowman CCs

From top left to right: Bowman, Bowman Gold, Bowman Chrome
Bottom Center: Bowman Silver /250

Needs: Chrome Refractor; x-Fractor; Blue Refractor; Uncirculated Gold Refractor /50

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Ebony Whip: TTM from Juan Pizarro

AKA Terín.
No question why I sent this card in to be the 1963 entry in the Topps 1951-present ttm project. It screams "I'm a bad man." Although he was only a 2x All-Star, Pizarro was a bad dude. Braves fans still remember his time with the club in the late 1950s when he came up as a flame throwing lefty the sportswriter Terry Garcia called "El látigo de ébano" 'The Ebony Whip.' I'd say that's pretty bad.

He remained a big K guy during his 18-year career during which he compiled a 104 ERA+ and a 131-105 WL record. 
According to the questionnaire he was kind enough to fill out, his favorite player growing up was another boriquén legend, Rubén Gomez. His best memory from his time in the Majors was going to back-to-back WS with the Braves in '57 and '58.

My favorite was his answer for his toughest batter to strike out. The answer: they were all tough. Pretty humble from a guy with 1522 career Ks.

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