Friday, April 30, 2010

Joy of a Completed Set - Oddball Edition

Part of my purchase from Sportlots was the one card that I needed to finish a sweet oddball set from 84 - the Nestle Dream Team.

From what I can remember these cards came three to a package of 6 Nestle bars. If you either bought enough, or sent in money I don't remember, you could get an uncut sheet of Nestle cards that were identical to the 84 Topps set, except for the logo at the top. I found out later that some collectors had the sheet professionally cut into individual cards. That would make sense as a) there were probably not as many Nestle as there were Topps and b) there was a Don Mattingly rookie in the set.

I thought that it would be cool to get a sheet because I did not have an uncut sheet in my collection and sent off for one. I don't have the sheet anymore, but I now have the complete set of cards. I remember the sheet coming on a rainy day during the 84 Olympics (our mailbox was about a 1/4 from the house) and the mailman left the tube sticking out of the mailbox so part of the sheet got wet. I unrolled the sheet and tried to flatten it out, but I could not do it. I don't remember all of the cards on the sheet, but I do remember that Pete Rose was one of them.

There was also a contest that you were entered into when you ordered a sheet and I received a letter during the winter saying that I had won two tickets to any minor or major league game in 85. I was excited as I had never won anything before. I pulled out the Tiger schedule and noticed that there was a double header scheduled in August around the time of my birthday. That was perfect and I sent in for the tickets. Great seats close to the home team dugout. It was a good day, and I remember seeing on the scoreboard that Carew got his 3,000 hit and Seaver his 300 win that day.

Ok, now on to the final card.

There was one player selected at each position from the AL and NL for this set. Lance Parrish was the selection for AL catcher. He was coming into his own and was considered one of the top catchers in baseball going into 84. He was a gold glove and silver slugger winner, and was selected to the 82 All Star game. The other main candidate in the AL would have been Carlton Fisk, and maybe Bob Boone but my memory is a little faded.

The back shows that Topps had a lot of influence on this set. I don't see the Topps logo on the front or back, but it is clear who helped design this set. This is similar to the 85 Wendy's set where the backs are almost identical to the Topps back from the same year.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Joy of a Completed Set

Oh happy day!! The mailman brought my recent purchase from Sportlots over the weekend and I am thrilled. I have now finished the 81 and 83 Donruss sets, 94 Score Rookie/Traded, and need Tony Gwynn for the 83 Fleer set and a checklist for 80 Topps. My next project will be to sort and organize. I have most of the cards in binders from those sets in number order but not team order. I will think of something fun and maybe semi interesting to do later, but on to part one of the important stuff. I completed another oddball set.

I found someone who had for sale 1985 Cains Potato Chip disks a while ago and I could not resist picking up the cards I needed to complete this set. I remember my dad brining home from work a Willie Hernanadez that he got out of a bag he was eating on at work. I never got another card that year, but did get about half of the set in 86. Anyway, I was only down to two cards for the set and they arrived Saturday. Here is the front:

and here is the back of one.

The white background does not show up well on the scan, but you get the idea.

My only problem is storage, they fit tightly in 9 pocket pages, so I will have to get some 8 pocket ones to store these bad boys.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weekly Update

Well, the Tigers are back to their old ways. They are leaving to many RISP. Good news is that guys are getting on base, bad news is that the batters are having a hard time knocking them in. The pitching staff is up and down, but maybe Verlander is beginning to turn things around after his solid start Satuday. I hate it that he gave up a run after they worked hard to tie it, but those are the breaks. After two close losses in LA maybe they can start to turn it around and split the series. After leavign LA they go to Texas for 3, and I will have the opportunity to watch on tv. Except I am helping with my sons prom this weekend. No TV = less stress for me.

Card collecting wise I finally finished my 79 set and am working on 77 and 80. With no card shops or shows around here I am resorting to sportlots. Made a huge purchase last week (only spent 20.00, but that was above my monthly limit) and was able to finish off 2 oddball sets, 2 main sets, and come within one card of finishing two others. One day I am going to break down and buy a couple of boxes of 93/94 Score and Fleer and work on finishing those sets.

The strange thing is, I can see me reaching one of my short term goals. That goal is finishing a Topps run of 77-current. I only lack 3 cards for pre 97 Topps, and I will have a nice run with the exception of 97 and 98. There are good prices on boxes for those two years at BBCE, so that may be a purchase in the near future. After I finish my Topps run I will work on Fleer and Donruss.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gates Brown

In 1963 a young slugger burst onto the scene in Detroit. In his first major league at bat, he hit a pinch hit home run off of Boston's Bob Hoffner.

Gates was one of Detroit's first home grown black stars, working his way through the minor league system as an outfielder. He had an impressing minor league resume, winning a batting title while at Durham of the Carolina league in 1961. After making an impression with his perfomance in 1963, he would make the parent club out of spring training in 64, and took over the full time left field job in May of that year. A good hitter, he hit 15 home runs in 123 games and batted over .300 as late as July 30.

In 65 he was expected to be a regular int he outfield, as his competition in spring training for the three spots were Willie Horton (a home grown sandlot star from Detroit), who had a total of 40 games of major league experience. Al Kaline, the established superstar. Dom Demeter, a veteran acquired in 64 in the Jim Bunning trade. Demeter had a string of 228 consecutive error less games as an outfielder (he committed two errors as a first basemen) going into 65. Purn Goldy, a 27 year old minor leaguer with a lifetime .231 bating average in 29 career games. Jim Northrup and Mickey Stanley, two young outfielders who appeared in 4 and 5 games respectively with Detroit in 64. George Thomas was the the final main outfielder.

What would happen to "Gator" in 65? He would become the main pinch hitter off of the bench, batting .265 in 37 appearances (he played in a total of 96 games). Pinch hitting would become a role that Gates would know well later in his career.

I never got to see him play as he retried before I started watching baseball. I only remember him as the hitting coach for the 84 World Champions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Something New

One day last week I was trolling around the official Tigers website looking for a new wallpaper to put on my desktop @ work and I came across something really awsome. someone is in the process of scanning in media guides. Yes, media guides. They started with 1961 and are in the process of working toward the present.

If you have never seen a media guide they can be a wonderful trove of information. They cover minor league affiliates, career player stats for the players on the active roster heading into spring training, sometimes short bios, and other various items.

I don't know how long they have had these up, or if any of the other teams have started scanning them in. But if anyone with the Tigers is reading I have a couple of notes: there are a few pages missing from 65 and 82 (don't know about the other years) and is there a way to make the file size smaller? It takes a long time to download the PDF while on a high speed connection.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vintage Card of the Month

It has been a little while since I posted a VCTM, in fact I slacked off and missed last month. I will try and do better. This month's edition comes courtesy of parts unknown.

Yes, it looks like a regular ole Mike Roarke 1964 Topps card that was loved by some child. But upon closer inspection you will notice something odd. Can't see it, well lets flip the card over.

Ok. The back is black. All other 64 Topps are orange (I think) backed, and the rub off is not visible. What is this?

After years of being stumped I discovered what this was a couple of years ago. Really, I had just thought it was some type of variation of a 64 that I picked up at some card show many years ago. I had no reason not to think it was a variation, as the numbers matched up in the price guides. But something did not seem right so I did some google searching, and I discovered that this is a Venezuelan card. I had only heard of these cards and had never seen one before in person. After making a long journey from Central America he can find a home safe and sound with the rest of his buddies from the 64 Topps set.

2010 Tigers - First week observations

Detroit seems to be doing well to start the '10 season. But, they have opened against arguably the 2 worst teams in the division. The two wins in Kansas City were of the come from behind variety aginst a bad bullpen, and they won two of three against Cleveland in come from behind fashion. A win is a win, but the bats have to get going against good pitching if this team is going to contend. Here is a quick summary of what I liked about the first week of the season.


Willis and Bondo had good efforts in wins. Willis did not get the win, but he kept the team in the game with help from dp balls. He is the 5th starter, and I will take that type of performance from him based on the past two years. Speaking of the last two years, Bondo looked like the Bondo from early 2007 in his game Saturday against Cleveland. I worry about stamina with him as he has not pitched a full season in 3 years. Maybe by slotting him in the last spot in the rotation Leland can give him some extra rest.

Miggy and Maggs are hitting the ball well early. These two guys are carrying the team right now.

Jackson and Sizemore are doing ok.


Verlander's start. Watched part of the game Sunday and he just could not finish the hitters off in the first inning. He would get two strikes on the batter and could not put him away. The announcers said that he started slow last year and turned it around. Hope he can do the same this year.

Batting with RISP and less than two outs. Again, this is a recurring problem for the team. I complained about it in the early part of the decade and still complain about it now. Runner in scoring position and less than two outs, you have got be able to get him home.

Laird's slump. Throw Damon's in there too.

This team is going to have trouble against good pitchers. That much is clear. The hitters that are slumping will come around, but the team can't continue to come from behind most of the time.

2010 Heritage Box break photos

Sorry for the delay, but due to dial up at home I had to wait until I got to work to upload the images.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 Heritage Team

Lets see what I can make for a team:

2 Catchers - Joe Mauer and Brian McCann.
First Base - Adrian Gonzalez
Second Base - Howie Kendrick
Shortstop - Stephen Drew
Third Base - Scott Rolen
3 Outfielders - Nelson Cruz, Vernon Wells, Adam Jones
Corner Infielder - Aramis Ramirez
Middle Infielder - Troy Tulowitzki
1 Outfielder - B.J. Upton
1 Utility - Ryan Braun - I am using my alloted 1 SP
7 Pitchers - Joakim Soria, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Mark Buhrle, John Danks, Aaron Harang, James Shields

Not a bad team at all. A lot of power, but little in the way of speed. ONly 1 closer in the box, and only Haren and Shields are high strikeout pitchers.

2010 Topps Heritage Blaster Box

And, my entry into the Junkie's Fantasy contest. I had decided that any non-Tigers would be either a) traded or b) submitted as prizes. Anyone wanting to trade non-Tiger for Tiger is welcome to contact me. I will be attempting the Tiger team set. All remaining cards will be submitted as the prize for the winner. Scans will follow when I can get my scanner working again.

Pack 1:

Willy Taveras - OF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Jason Bartlett, SS
Neil Walker, 3B (Who?)
Luis Durango, SS (Who?)
Craig Stammen, P (Who?)
Josh Thole, P (Who?)
Miguel Tejada, 2002 MVP

Total by Pos:

C - 0
1B - 0
2B - 1
3B - 1
SS - 2
OF - 1
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 2

Off to a good start here, but I have no idea who 4 of these players are. Hopefully they will not have to be put on the team.

Pack 2:

Travis Snider - OF
Joe Mauer - C
Derek Jeter - SS
Michael Dunn - P
Dan Haren - P
Whitey Ford - Flashback
Torii Hunter - OF
Dusty Baker - Mgr.

Total by Pos:

C - 1
1B - 0
2B - 1
3B - 1
SS - 3
OF - 3
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 4

Who-ho Mauer. Jeter is my favorite Yankee, and Haren is a K artist.

Pack 3:

Adam Jones - OF
Nelson Cruz - OF
Lou Gehrig - Baseball Thrill
Albert Pujols - New Age Performers
Aaron Harang - P
Jeff Francoeur - OF
Nick Swisher - OF
B.J. UPton - OF

Total by Pos:

C - 1
1B - 0
2B - 1
3B - 1
SS - 3
OF - 5
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 5

Meh. Looks like a lot of P and OF. Hopefully I get a 1B soon, and another C.

Pack 4:

Chase Headley - OF
James Shields - P
Brett Myers - P
Tyler Colvin - OF
Raul Ibanez - OF
Stephen Drew - SS (Chrome)
Chris Carpenter - P
Jason Bay - OF

Total by Pos:

C - 1
1B - 0
2B - 1
3B - 1
SS - 4
OF - 6
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 8

Not bad. I might have to move some people around. LIke the Drew chrome.

Pack 5:

Vernon Wells - OF
Joakim Soria - P
Tim Hudson - P
John Danks - P
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B
Vin Mazzaro - P
Derek Lowe - P
Ryan Braun - All Star

Total by Pos:

C - 1
1B - 1
2B - 1
3B - 1
SS - 4
OF - 7
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 13

Finally a closer, so I wont get shutout in saves, and a 1B. All I need is a second C, can Wells catch?

Pack 6:

Skip Schumaker - 2B
Franklin Gutierrez - OF
Aramis Ramirez - 3B
Ross Ohlendorf - P
Clay Buckholz - P
Jon Niese - P
Zach Duke - P
Mark Buehrle - P

Total by Pos:

C - 1
1B - 1
2B - 2
3B - 2
SS - 4
OF - 8
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 18

What is it with the pitchers in this box?

Pack 7:

Brian Roberts - 2B
John Russell - Mgr
Gavi Floyd - P
2009 NL ERA Leaders
2009 World Series - Game 4
5th Series Checklist
Brian McCann - C
Tommy Manzella - SS

Total by Pos:

C - 2
1B - 1
2B - 3
3B - 2
SS - 4
OF - 8
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 19

Yeah, I can fill out a team.

Pack 8:
Scott Rolen - 3B
Jerry Hairston Jr - IF/OF
Manny RAmierez - OF
Troy Tulowitzki - SS
Magglio Ordonez - OF
Manlle/Gonzo then and now
Jhoulys Chacin - P (Who?)
Akinori Iwamura - 2B

Total by Pos:

C - 2
1B - 1
2B - 3
3B - 3
SS - 5
OF - 10
CI -
MI -
Utl -
P - 20

Ok I am finished. I will put together this awsome team in the next post.