Monday, January 31, 2011

Post #400: Anatomy of a blowout

For post #400 I thought I'd roll out one of the weirder cards I've come across in a while:
On the surface it's nothing special: Eduardo Rodriguez looking goofy out of the stretch delivering the ball to home plate. But check out the runner on second: not only is he not taking a lead, he's leaning over talking to the 2B! And the CF, he's got his hands on his hips. Now I'm sure all of this is because Eduardo is warming up, not really pitching, but I don't think there's another card that has quite so much dissonance with regard to the action. Usually everyone's in motion, about to be in motion, or standing still. Here we've got an odd juxtaposition of both which, as I'd like to suggest in the title, says "little-league style blowout" like nothing else. There's almost a disinterest in the runner and CF that I've never seen on cardboard.

As for Rodriguez this was the beginning of a 7-year career, 6 with MIL and 1 with KC. He passed away in '09 at the age of 57.

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

Friday, January 28, 2011

CC #600 and the 2000 Bowmans

For #600 I decided to step out and grab something awesome. Here it is:
Ah yes, when refractors were refractors. What we have here is the 2000 Bowman Chrome Retro/Future Refractor. For some reason CC retros (either regular or Chrome) almost never pop up on ebay, and I've only seen one (the regular) on COMC (didn't pull the trigger soon enough). It took some internet digging and some dealing with a place I'd never bought cards from (Sportsbuy) but I landed this retro/future refractor as card #600 in the CC collection. I also managed to pick up the regular Bowman issue, leaving me with just the Chrome retro to complete the rainbow.
Top left: 2000 Bowman; top middle: Bowman Gold /99; top right: Bowman Retro
Bottom left: Bowman Chrome; bottom middle: Bowman Chrome Refractor; bottom right: Bowman Chrome Retro/Future Refractor

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

East Bound and Downing: ttms from Cali

I've been out of the ttm game for a while but recently started up again. First up: Yankees and Dodgers legend and ttm superstar Al Downing. These cards come courtesy of the father-in-law who, being a Dodgers fan, would only part with Yankees-era Downings.

Downing was a STUD with the early-60s Yankees, and a bit of a wild man. In '64 he led the league in Ks (217) and BBs (120), both career highs. Here we have a young Al strutting his stuff on his 1962 RC.
I'm addicted to the "stadium looming over the young pitcher's right shoulder shot" that was popular in the '50's and '60's. You'd think this was Yankee stadium given Al's uni, but that doesn't look like the overhang from YS in the background. Any thoughts? 
The 1962 backs are nice, and the image of Al here is pretty menacing. Gotta even like the "Al Downs the Opposition" pun. 

Next up the 1964 and a place that is undeniably Yankee stadium.
Again a really nice set and a really solid card, a variation in the "stadium over the pitcher's right shoulder" shot.

As a kid I LOVED the backs here with the rub off mystery message but never had any to see up close. Even now they're pretty cool, a reminder of when defacing cards was part of the fun.
Sadly, no menacing cartoons.

Thanks Mr. Downing.

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

Contest at Vintage Sportcards

Check it out!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

But is that a complement?

Once again we've got a gem from 1974. 
For some reason I find the shot of the field and stands with Manny in a close-up really striking. Even more so because Manny is a catcher and, unless I'm totally mistaken, he's out tooling around with someone else's glove on a day off. 

But the real greatness on this card is the back:
Specifically the cartoon:

The fastest catcher in the NL?!? That's great but let's face it, I'm not sure the title of "fastest catcher" has much meaning. That's like "least noodle-armed OF." At any rate, it's a great almost-complement made even better by the catcher running fully geared up towards...who knows? And as we know from the front of the card, Manny's not even a big fan of gear. 

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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Contest at Great Orioles Auto Project

Go here, check it out!

George Hendrick, Fashion Icon

Over Christmas I came across this late 70's gem of current Rays first base coach George Hendricks.
You think there's gotta be a good story behind this. Is Hendrick secretly protesting the Cards' unis? Is the leisure zip-up under consideration as warm-up gear? Was the brass considering switching the tradition Red Bird unis for something more along the lines of the Astros's eclectic gear? 

Who knows, but Hendrick is the only brave soul I've seen rocking that get up. 

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fran Healy, or Thurman Munson Butts in Again

Another gem of early/mid-70s Topps photography.
I was sure Night Owl has had this one up at some point in the "Great Night Cards" series but I couldn't find it over there. However, if you were to ask the compa, she'd tell you I'm not the best finder of things.

We've got not one but two catchers here, with the focus of the card being split between them: Fran Healy and Thurman Munson, with Munson once again butting in on someone else's card. I wonder if Munson collectors would consider these as being part of Munson's card list?

We've got the "dirtsmoke effect" (or is it bad focus?), Munson giving a small fist pump as he slides across the plate, and Healy waiting for a ball that is obviously too late. 

Or is it? Munson's scored but what I really like about this shot is how Healy suggests there's another runner out there rounding third and that the throw is actually meant to catch him. In other words, even though Munson occupies half of the card he's irrelevant to the "action" part at this point, with what's about to happen being the real focus of the photo. And yet we still need Munson there to set that up. GREAT stuff. 

Healy himself had a solid career with a slightly below average lifetime OPS+ of 91. The back of the '74 has some great Americana-style facts:
He was a Legion ballplayer and something of a AAAA player in the late-60s, coming up for a cup of coffee in '69 and having to wait until 1971 to get another shot. His last three years were 1976-78 when, oddly enough, he was a backup to none other than Thurman Munson. 

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who is Terry Crowley?

As I've stated on here several times, I'm a BIG fan of 1973 Topps photography. This Terry Crowley is no exception.
Where can I begin? 

As his lifetime # of SBs (3!) might indicate, Terry's not the fastest guy in the world, and here we have him lumbering home, preparing to take out none other than Thurman Munson. Unlike a lot of play at the plate cards where the runner looks decidedly more heroic sliding in to home or colliding with the catcher,   we've got the awkward moment before these things come together. Crowley almost looks like he's shuddering in anticipation of being hit by the ball coming into the frame at the right. Is he out? Is he safe? I'm sure the intertoobs has it recorded somewhere, but I like this moment, the moment before it all comes together, almost signaling that the process is more important than the result, the part-time OF and the would-be HOF catcher caught in mid-action. 

And then we have the composition of the photo itself: if I cut out the name would you even know which player was the subject of the card? Munson dominates the center of the your attention and we, like the fans we are, have to gaze in at Crowley over Munson's right shoulder. We're also waiting for the ball, waiting for the runner, waiting to find out when the h#ll Terry Crowley, pinch hitter, RF, and 1B, will arrive at the plate. 

And then there's the semi-empty Yankee Stadium looming in the background. One of the enduring Yankee memes out there right now is that not only are the Yankees the greatest team on the planet, but that Yankees fans are also, by definition, the best. It is an unbroken tradition of greatness. One which, apparently, includes periods when "the greatest fans in the world" couldn't sell out Yankee Stadium when the Bombers took on the O's one afternoon in 1972. In other words, despite what ESPN would have you believe, Yankees fans are every bit as fickle as Pirates fans or any other fan base. I'm just saying.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recent Pickups and Thanks

As anyone who reads the blog knows, I'm kind of like the Blanch Dubios of the blogosphere. Since I don't rip new product I have to "depend on the kindness of others" to acquire new CCs and other Rays.

First up, the 2010 Bowman Platinum from Hackenbush.
Given the flak BP has caught from some corners, now that I can see the final product for myself, I'll say this: I think that peoples' response to Platinum is more a result of the glut of products out there than BP per se. It's a nice card, the design is solid, and I'm happy to add this one to the pc. However, I understand how a lot of folks, in a world already crowded with Bowman, B Chrome, BDP, etc., just let out a groan.

Meanwhile, The Angels in Order was dumping some chrome. I threw in for the Rays which, if you've opened a lot of chrome, seem to be underrepresented. Although it was only 1 card Tom insisted on sending it on, throwing in a Peña for good measure.
Corder was a Rays 7th round pick in 2008 but, judging from the absence of 2010 stats, he may already be out of baseball. At any rate having his own card and being drafted is a heck of a lot further than I made it, so that's still pretty awesome.

Then we have the shiny Peña. My compa's comment: "It's nice when people thin of me in your card collecting."

Well, there we have it. Thanks again, gents!

And good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CC Collection: The 1999 Bowmans

Hands down my favorite mass-market issue for CC's rookie year are the 1999 Bowmans. I'm not a huge fan of the 1999 Topps design but feel the Bowman design goes well (or at least OK) with a kind of awkward posed shot.
Top left to right: 1999 Bowman, Bowman International
Bottom left to right: 1999 Bowman Chrome, Bowman Chrome International, Bowman Refractor

Missing, to my knowledge, are the 1999 Bowman gold, the Bowman Chrome International Refractor and the Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor, all of which I imagine are a bit pricey these days.

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

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Manny, Sammy, Andruw: 3 stacks available

Apparently a generous (!?) ebay seller recently dumped a some extra lots on me: Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez (mostly Indians uni), and Sammy Sosa.

First come first serve, hit me back with CCs, Prices, Gomeses, Niemanns, mid-90s minor league cards, whatever.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Give me some wood...

and I'll build you a cabinet. (thx Beasties)

There's a funny story behind this card's winding its way into my collection.

A while back reader Joe (who is a prolific trader all across the blogosphere) sent me the CC cabinet card featured here. Again, that thing was stunning. So, after having received that card I remembered that there was a CC cabinet relic/auto out there numbered rather highly that would make a nice addition.

After some waiting one showed up on ebay. I had a number in mind, I was confident. Bidding was down to the final 10 seconds, steady at about $12, I was ready to pull the trigger...when I noticed the seller's handle was something like "BeckPalin2012." Politics aside, I couldn't bring myself to throw in knowing that maybe, just maybe, some of that cash would go to support a cause I'm just not in to.

Anyway, the auction stayed at $12 and I was bummed. Fast forward to a month ago when after some more ebay stalking, this showed up on my doorstep. CC prices have gone WAY out of the normal range since his signing with the Sawx, but this only set me back about $20. AND while I'll never know if the extra $8 I spent went to a political cause I don't agree with, at least I know the seller had enough sense to keep that junk out of peoples' faces.

Here's the card, and it's awesome:
Good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

1974 Topps Needs

1974 Needs:

Working on Wash Nat'l errors, list coming soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

CC Minors

One of my projects this year is to get the CC pc posted in its entirety. Here's the first installment. From here I'll probably go by brand but since these are all minor league cards I figured they went well together.
From top left to top right: 2001 Grandstand Southern League Top Prospects Orlando Rays; 1999 Multi-Ad Princeton D-Rays; 1999 Grandstand Princeton D-Rays.
Middle left to right: 1999 Just Memorabilia Princeton D-Rays; 2000 Team Best Rookies; 2000 Multi-Ad Charleston Riverdogs.
Bottom left to  right: 2000 Just Dominant Insert Charleston Riverdogs; 2000 Multi-Ad SAL Top Prospects Charleston Riverdogs; 2001 UD Minors Charleston Riverdogs (listed as Orlando Rays)

And here we have the backs:

And the next nine:
Top left to right: 2002 Choice Marketing IL All-Stars Durham Bulls; 2002 Choice Marketing IL Top Prospects Durham Bulls; 2002 Choice Marketing Durham Bulls
Middle left to right: 2000 Just Auto Charleston Riverdogs; 2000 Just Auto Charleston Riverdogs; 2000 Just Black Auto Charleston Riverdogs
Bottom left to right: 200 Just Charleston Riverdogs; 2002 Just; 2002 Arizona Fall League

Monday, January 3, 2011

Haz Vintage for Trading

First one of 2011, woot!

If anything tickles your fancy leave a comment and drop me a line with an offer. I'm especially keen on landing CCs I STILL don't have, as in 2010 Bowman Chrome, 2009 Topps Chrome, and all parallels thereof! From there priorities are Gomes, Price, Niemann.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Contest at 2008 Topps Set Blog

Go here, check it out! A box of 2010 Bowman Chrome is up for grabs.

Happy New Year: Reflective Ranger

Well, it's been a heck of year. As I write this snow is pouring down in my town. We were supposed to go to a NYE party tonight but compa has put the kibosh on that. Nothing to do but ebay binge, blog, and reminisce.

The year had it's good (Rays win the AL East), bad (Rays lose to the Rangers), and ugly (Rays lose Peña and CC to free agency). There were some personal milestones, also a mixed bag. For the first time in a LONG time I didn't make it to a game this summer, major league or otherwise, and that won't happen this year. Hopefully.

In a nod to the Rangers' victory of the Rays, here is a pensive looking Ranger I grabbed from a vintage commons box for 20 cents. Gotta love those things.

Here we have Dave Nelson kneeling in the on deck circle, looking back up past the stadium and into the night. He's coming off of his two finest seasons during which he stole over 90 bases and made the AS team in 1973. In these seasons he played in more games and established or came close to careers highs in almost every meaningful offensive category (SB, AVG, OBP, SLG, HR, 2B, 3B, H). His star didn't continue to rise, however, as his production quickly fell off and his playing days were over a scant four years later.

In a lot of ways this card speaks to the old "baseball as metaphor for life" cliché a lot of us point to when discussing our love of the game. Nelson, waiting his turn at bat, turning for a moment to the heavens. We have the bright promise of playing career on the rise that, seen from today, has already peaked.

Today Dave broadcasts for the Brewers, working alongside Bob Uecker. I'm sure that's hardly the future he was pondering when this photo was taken in 1973, but I'm also sure he has no complaints about how things shook out.

This is just a meandering way of saying a Happy New Year! Many thanks to everyone in the blogging community and beyond. Who knows what the future holds, but here's to a great 2011!

Good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!