Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1981 Royals

1981 Kansas City Royals

On to the AL West.  First up, the AL Champion Royals.  Growing up I somehows liked the Royals, but I don't know why.  Maybe it was because they were always in the playoffs, and were not the Yankees.  They won the division 4 times in the years 76-80, and made the playoffs in 81.  Not a bad run during this time as they seemed to pick up afterthe A's dynasty years.  A total of 37 different players saw action during the 1980 season.  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


24 Different player cards + 2 of the 3  "Future Stars"  Manny Castillo and Mike Jones for a total of 26 players.  (70%)

Topps nailed most of the major players.  Other than Dave Chalk (69 games) their were not major players missing.  That is due to Kansas City fielding a regular lineup day in and day out, with a lot of "minor" players seeing time as spare parts.


23 Player cards + an extra Willie Wilson, Amos Otis, and George Brett  (62%)

Interesting note that Fleer has the only card of Steve Busby, who was released on 8/29.  Jeff Twitty is another player only in the Fleer set, but at least I had heard of Busby.


20 players + Manager + Darell Porter+ and extra George Brett  (57%)

Manged to get all of the major players.

Player selection grade:  Topps - A; Fleer - A; Donruss - B

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)
Tigers (85%)
Brewers (82%)
Indians (82%)
Orioles (79%)
Red Sox (76%)
Royals (70%)
Blue Jays (65%)


Yankees (85%)
Orioles (74%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (67%)
Indians (67%)
Royals (62%)
Blue Jays (57%)
Red Sox (54%)


Orioles (71%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (70%)
Indians (67%)
Yankees (64%)
Red Sox (59%)
Royals (57%)
Blue Jays (51%)

Monday, November 22, 2010

1981 Blue Jays

1981 Toronto Blue Jays

We finish up the AL East with the last place Blue Jays.  The Blue Jays were horrible in the late 70s, but they were starting to put together a good solid team that would compete in the later half of the 80s.  Good young players like Dave Stieb, Damaso Garcia, and Lloyd Moseby saw playing time in 1980 and George Bell would show up the next year.  A total of 37 different players saw action during the 1980 season.  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


22 Different player cards + 2 of the 3  "Future Stars"  Luis Leal and Ken Schrom for a total of 24 players.  (65%)

By far the worst job by Topps to date.  No posisiton players with less than 80 games played in Toronto with cards.  That means no Doug Ault, Danny Ainge, Joe Cannon, Willie Upshaw, etc.  Somehow we have a Phil Huffman who did not play in 1980.  Among pitchers there is no Jesse Jefferson (claimed on waivers by Pittsburgh in Sept.) Jack Kucek, and tom Buskey were major omissions.


21 Player cards +the manager  (57%)

Blah.  At least there is a Danny Ainge and the only card of Jesse Jefferson.


18 players + Manager + Dave Lemanczyk  (51%)

Worst job yet.  No Lloyd Moseby or Jim Clancy.

Player selection grade:  Topps - C; Fleer - C; Donruss - D

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)
Tigers (85%)
Brewers (82%)
Indians (82%)
Orioles (79%)
Red Sox (76%)
Blue Jays (65%)


Yankees (85%)
Orioles (74%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (67%)
Indians (67%)
Blue Jays (57%)
Red Sox (54%)


Orioles (71%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (70%)
Indians (67%)
Yankees (64%)
Red Sox (59%)
Blue Jays (51%)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Found in Retail

Last night me and the wife went to Target in search of Christmas decorations to add to our tree.  We have a bigger tree this year and need more stuff.  When we were done in the Christmas area I wandered over to movies and magazines to look for gift ideas and my wife wandered off.  She comes back and tells me that there are 2 different Topps sets in the card area, one marked 59.99 and one marked 49.99 and that I should go look.  I wait and then go over as we finish.  Keep in mind that she knows I am wanting to order a set for Christmas (Dave and Adams have a set for 37.95).   Anyway, she shows me the cheaper set and shows me that it is on clearance for 34.95!!!!!!  Shoot yeah, I but that sucker in my cart. I am not into the "Target Exclusive" Ruth (or Mantle), but I could not pass up the deal.

I also bought a rack pack of Update.  I know I said that I would not buy these things, but I was in a buying mood.  The pack gave me a nice surprise.

No, that was not it.  I showed this for the airbrush/photoshop job by Topps.  I noticed something odd about the photo (the yellow on the bat on the uniform looks too bright) and then noticed something in the background.  Look at the right leg of the gentleman sitting in the white uniform.  Notice his stirrups?  That is the color pattern of the Cardinals.  That is a Cardinal home uniform.  Feliz is in a Cardinal away uniform.  You would think that Topps would have learned to pay attention to the background when doctoring the photos, they did in 1973.

I got a hit.  Not a Met fan, so if anyone is interested drop me a line and I will trade it for some Update doubles.

Friday, November 19, 2010

1981 Cleveland

1981 Cleveland Indians

The 1980 Indians were one of two AL East teams that finished below .500, but they were only two games below.  The 1980 season saw hope on the horizon with a fine ROY showing by Joe Charboneau and Andre Thorton coming back from injury (he missed all of 1980 with a knee injury).  The sad thing is, the AL East was strong and it would take a lot to crack into the top 5 in that division.  Celveland had a small roster, with only 33 different players suiting up (20 position players and 13 pitchers).  the fact is that if you put all 3 sets together you would have cards of 31 of the 33 playes, with only Don Cllins the only one who I do not remember ever having a card.  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


24 Different player cards + 1 of the 3  "Future Stars"  Sany Wihtol was the only one who played on the big club in 1980 + Cliff Johsnon (traded to Cubs in June) + Ron Pruitt (traded to White Sox in June) - Anrdre Thornton (DNP in 1980) - Eric Wilkins (Last ML action in 1979) for a total of 27 players.  (82%)

I understand having a card of Thornton as he was agruably their best player, but the Wilkins card baffles me.  I guess they needed someone to fill out the quota of tribers.  No Mike Stanton, who appeared in 51 games, or Dave Rosello (71 games)


21 Player cards +Johnson  (67%)

Respectable job of player selection.  they did miss out on Alan Bannister, Bo Diaz, Dave Rosello, John Denny and Dell Alston.  Most of these players were semi-regulars, appearing in 52-76 games for the posistion players and 16 for Denny.


20 players + Manageri + Johnson + Thornton + Bob Owchinko.  Note on Owchinko, his team reads Pirates reflecting the trade of 12/9/80 that brought Bert Blyleven and Manny Sanguillen to Cleveland.  None of the other players involved had their team name changed.  (67%)

Not bad for Donruss with the only major omissions being Brohamer, Dan Spillner and Mike Stanton.  Spillner was granted Free Agency in October and signed with Cleveland on 12/8/10, one day before the above trade.  It is possible that Donruss removed the card from production and replaced it with another player thinking that Spillner would not be resigned. 

As noted earlier, if you combine all 3 sets you get 31 of the 33 players and Andre Thornton.  One of the missing is Andres Mora who had a card in a previous Topps set.  I do not remember Don Collins.

Player selection grade:  Topps - B; Fleer - B; Donruss - B

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)
Tigers (85%)
Brewers (82%)
Indians (82%)
Orioles (79%)
Red Sox (76%)


Yankees (85%)
Orioles (74%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (67%)
Indians (67%)
Red Sox (54%)


Orioles (71%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (70%)
Indians (67%)
Yankees (64%)
Red Sox (59%)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1981 Boston Red Sox

1981 Boston Red Sox   

The 1980 Red Sox finished 5th in the AL East, but had a record over .500.  This fact shows how competitive the AL East was during this time period as only two teams in the East finished with records belwo .500, and one of them was 2 games under at the end of the season.  Boston has the largest roster to date, with 41 different players suiting up (24 position players and 17 pitchers).  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


26 Different player cards + 3 "Future Stars"  Reid Nichols, Keith MacWhorter, and Bruce Hurst + Stan Papi (Tigers) + Jack Brohamer (Indians) - Tom Poquette (DNP in 1980) for a total of 31 players.  (76%)

Interesting in that Poquette did not play in 1980 and yet had a card in the set.  Only notable omission is Gary Hancock, a utility player who appeared in 46 games.


20 Player cards +manager + Papi + Brohamer + and extra Yaz  (54%)

Better job by Fleer than Detroit, but still quite a few omissions.  Missing are Dave Rader (backup C, 50 games), Andy Allenson, John Tudor, Chuck Rainey, Win Remmerswaal (was the name to large to put on the card?), and Skip Lockwood.   


23 players +Papi + extra Yaz.  Counted Butch Hopson, but his team name reads Angels (traded 12/10/80)  (59%)

Donruss did better than Fleer and they included John Tudor.  However they missed Brohamer, Rainey, Bill Campbell, and Hancock. 

Topps benefited by having a larger checklist of players (only company to have Bruce Hurst), Fleer had the only Gary Hancock, and Donruss did not do to bad.  Interesting note as Donruss changed the team name on Butch Hopson to reflect the trade but did not change the team name on any of the other parties involved in the trade (Rick Burleson, Mark Clear, Carney Lansford and Rick Miller)

Player selection grade:  Topps - A; Fleer - B; Donruss - B

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)
Tigers (85%)
Brewers (82%)
Orioles (79%)
Red Sox (76%)


Yankees (85%)
Orioles (74%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (67%)
Red Sox (54%)


Orioles (71%)
Tigers (71%)
Brewers (70%)
Yankees (64%)
Red Sox (59%)

Monday, November 15, 2010

1981 - Brewers

1981 Milwaukee Brewers

The 1980 Brewers were a team on the rise in the AL East.  They finished 3rd with 86 wins, and would go to post their first ever postseason appearance the next year.  This team was just two years away from making it's first, and only, World Series appearance.  The main componants of the 82 squad can be found in 80.  33 different players suited up for the Brewers (18 position players and 15 pitchers).  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


24 Different player cards + "Future Stars" of Ned Yost, Ed  Romero, and John Flinn for a total of 27 players.  (82%)

Player selection was very good.  In fact the player with the most palying time not included was Mark Brouhard with 45 games played. 


22 Player cards.  (67%)

Fleer did a good job, but there is one error card that is important to note.  Card 514 is noted as Jerry Augustine but features a photo of Bill Travers.  Fleer corrected the card by changing the name, so there are 2 Bill Travers.  Again no Brouhard and no Paul Mitchell, who pitched in 17 games.


23 players, plus the manager.   (70%)

The only ommission was Brouhard. 

Good job of player selection by all 3 companies.  Donruss did a good job with getting the main players in the set.

Player selection grade:  Topps - A; Fleer - A; Donruss - A

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)
Brewers (82%)
Orioles (79%)


Yankees (85%)
Orioles (74%)
Brewers (67%)


Orioles (71%)
Brewers (70%)
Yankees (64%)

Friday, November 12, 2010

1981 - Baltimore Orioles

1981 Baltimore Orioles

The defending AL champion Orioles won 100 games in 1980, but that was not good enough to win the division crown.  It seemed that it was always the Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox battling for the crown during this time.  34 different players suited up for the Orioles (22 position players and 12 pitchers).  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


23 Different player cards + "Future Stars" of Mike Bodiker, Mark Corey, and Floyd Rayford for a total of 26 players.  Also include Dave Skaggs who was sold to the Angels on 5/13 (79%)

Player selection was very good.  All 3 of the Rookies saw time with the big club in 80.  Of the players not represented in the set, only Lee May and Pat kelly were players that saw significant time with the team that did not have a Topps card.  They were both granted Free Agency on 10/23.


25 Player cards, with 2 Doug DeCinces and a card of Earl Weaver.  Dave Skaggs is not in the set  (74%)

Fleer had almost all of the same players as Topps, including Mark Corey.  Rayford only played in 8 games, so was probably not photographed.  Fleer did have a card of Pat Kelly.


24 players, plus the manager, 2 Jim Palmers, and 2 Steve Stones.  Again, no Dave Skaggs (71%)

No major ommisions, but they do have a card of Lee May.

Good job of player selection by all 3 companies.  Topps does not inclued 2 players who were granted Free Agency after the season, normal if Topps felt they would not sign with anyone. 

Player selection grade:  Topps - A; Fleer - A; Donruss - A

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)
Orioles (79%)


Yankees (85%)
Orioles (74%)


Orioles (71%)
Yankees (64%)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

A Veteran's Day salute to Mickey Lolich.  Lolich was a popular Tiger player in during the 70s, partially as a result of his his 3 complete game wins in the 68 series.  But there is more to Lolich's career than just those 3 games.  Most people do not realize that at the time of his retirement in 1979 he held the record for most career strikeouts by a lefthander.  He is now third on the list of lefties, behind Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson.

Lolich enjoyed a solid career in Detroit, as he is stil number 1 on the all time strikeout, shutout, and games started list.  He is also number 3 in wins, games pitched, and innings pitched.  Those career numbers are part of the reason that he was a fan favorite.  When he was traded to the Mets in 1975 for Rusty Staub (who was a favorite of mine) he did not move his family to New York and decided to sit out the second year of his contract to be a free agent after the 77 season.  Lolich remained in the Detroit area after retirement and opened a donut shop. 

Lolich also served in the Air National Guard during the late 60s, having to meet his guard obligations during the season.  In 1967, during the Detroit riots, he was called up to active duty for 15 days during the pennent race to patrol the streets of Detroit.  During the 68 season he also had to work playing time around his guard obligations.  That seems strange now as players do not have to worry about being drafted into service while playing ball, but that was a common practice during the 60s.  Most military posts had baseball teams in the early 60s and if a baseball player was serving in the Army, odds are that he would be on the post baseball team. 

Looking back at the career numbers for Lolich I do wonder why he did not seem to get a lot of support for the Hall of Fame.  He had a high career strikeout total, but never won a Cy Young award.  He did have 2 outstanding seasons (1971, 1972) and of course his one appearance in the World Series.  IMO, his series performance is the first thing that you think about when you see his name.  This is a case where one big event overshadows a solid career.  Do I think he will ever be in the HOF?  Reality tells me no, but he is in my personal HOF, along with Bill Freehan.

If you know a vetern make sure you take the time to thank them for their service to their country. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Topps of Topps - Part 1

While looking at other blogs this morning I came across on entry on bdj's Topps cards blog about the selection of the Topps 100.  In case you have not heard about the Topps 100, Topps selected their 100 best baseball cards from over the past 60 years and asked collectors to vote for their favorite 10 cards.  The top 60 vote getters will have cards (or redemtions) in the 2011 Topps sets. Sounds cool.  Small problem, some collectors are complaining about the compilation of the list.  JB is proposing coming up with his own.  I will attempt to do the same.  Here it goes:

1.  1952 Andy Pafko (have to include the first card in what is considered the first set)
2.  1952 Mantle (duh)
3.  1953 Jackie Robinson
4.  1952 Willie Mays
5.  1954 Hank Aaron
6.  1954 Ernie Banks
7.  1954 Al Kaline
8.  1956 Roberto Clemente
9.  1956 Sandy Kofax
10. 1954 Ted Williams (card number 1)
11.  1957 Frank Robinson
12.  1959 Bob Gibson
13.  1958 Stan Musual All Star
14.  1961 Billy Williams
15.  1960 Carl Yastremski
16.  1990 Bart Giamanti (Yes I am including a non player card.  It was a tribute card.  It is my list)
17.  1965 Joe Morgan
18.  1965 Steve Carlton
19.  1962 Al Kaline
20.  1958 World Series Batting Foes
21.  1962 Manger's Dream (Mantle and Banks)
22.  1962 Gaylord Perry
23.  1963 Pete Rose Rookie
24.  1964 Willie Mays
25.  1966 Jim Hunter
26.  1967 Carl Yastremski
27.  1967 Tom Seaver rookie
28.  1968 Nolan Ryan Rookie
29.  1969 Rollie Fingers Rookie
30.  1969 Reggie Jackson
31.  1969 Mickey Mantle - White letter variation
32.  1970 World Series celebration
33.  1956 Milwaukee Braves team card - any of the variations
34.  1971 Thurman Munson
35.  1971 Willie Mays
36.  1972 Billy Martin - In action
37.  1971 Lowell Palmer (If you are not familiar with this card go find an image of it)
38.  1971 Steve Garvey
39.  1973 Mike Schmidt rookie
40.  1974 Dave Winfield
41.  1975 Robin Yount
42.  1975 George Brett
43.  1974 Hank Aaron Home Run King
44.  1976 Johnny Bench
45.  1977 Carlton Fisk
46.  1978 Eddie Murray
47.  1979 Ozzie Smith
48.  1979 Thurman Munson
49.  1973 Luis Alcevedo (I think that is the card.  I am going off of memory.  It is the one where he is turning a double play in spring training with the cars in the background).
50.  1973 Roberto Clemente
51.  1976 Dennis Eckersly
52.  1977 Bruce Sutter
53.  1978 Rookie Shortstops (Trammell, Molitor, UL Washington)
54.  1998 Alex Rodriguez
55.  1980 Rickey Henderson
56.  1971 Nolan Ryan
57.  1989 Traded Griffey Jr.
58.  1981 Dodgers rookies
59.  1982 Traded Cal Ripken Jr.
60.  1983 Cal Ripken Jr.
61.  1984 Traded Pete Rose
62.  1985 Mark McGwire
63.  1987 Bo Jackson
64.  1987 Barry Bonds
65.  1978 Andre Dawson
66.  1983 Ozzie Smith
67.  1991 Roger Clemens
68.  1992 Cal Ripken Jr.
69.  1990 Frank Thomas
70.  1988 Traded Jim Abbott
71.  2006 Alex Gordon (I will not let this gimmick die).
72.  1991 Cecil Fielder
73.  1986 Pete Rose Highlight
74.  1962 Babe Ruth tribute (pick one.  Have to have Ruth in the set).
75.  1976 Brooks Robinson
76.  1987 Will Clark
77.  1984 Don Mattingly
78.  1985 Roger Clemens
79.  1985 Dwight Gooden
80.  1984 Darryl Strawberry
81.  2007 Derek Jeter
82.  1999 Mark McGwire Home Run (I think it card 220.  there are 70 variations of the card.)
83.  2002 Hank Aaron greatest moments (I think this is the year it came out.)
84.  1969 Aurelio Rodriguez
85.  1959 Lou Burdette
86.  1964 Casey Stengell
87.  1957 Hank Aaron
88.  1993 Derek Jeter
89.  1994 Ryne Sandberg
90.  1996 Chipper Jones
91.  1992 Brien Taylor
92.  2000 Barry Larkin
93.  2001 Ichiro
94.  2002 Joe Mauer
95.  2003 Hanley Rameriz
96.  1993 Black Gold Frank Thomas
97.  1994 Barry Bonds
98.  1984 Rickey Henderson
99.  1961 Roger Maris
100.  1953 Satchel Paige

This is my initial list.  Of course it leans heavy toward Vintage as that is what I think of when I think of iconic cards. 

1981 Baseball - Yankees

1981 New York Yankees

In 1980 39 Different players wore the uniform of the A.L East Division Champion New York Yankees (26 position players and 13 pitchers).  Lets see each of the card companies did in featuring cards of the players.  Any players shown with other teams will count in the team % as they are considered checklisted.


29 Different player cards + "Yankees Rookies" of Tim Lollar, Bruce Robinson, and Dennis Werth for a total of 32 players (87%)

Player selection was very good.  All 3 of the Rookies saw time with the big club in 80.  Of the players not represented in the set, only Paul Blair played the most games (12) of the posisiton players.  Blair was singed on May 28 and released on July 1.  He would not appear in the majors after his last game of June 20.  All of pitchers had cards in the set, with Ed Figueroa as a Ranger and Jim Kaat as a Cardinal the only players not featured in a Yankee uniform, but they were both sold from the Yankees before the All-Star break.


31 Player cards, with 2 Reggie Jacksons (85%)

Fleer had all of the same players as Topps with the exception of Bruce Robinson.  Kaat and Figueroa are with the Cardinals and Rangers in the Fleer set also.


23 players, plus the manager, one coach (Yogi), and 2 additional Reggie Jacksons. Lets see if Donruss missed any major players. (64%)

A big time ommission is Rudy May, the 1980 AL ERA leader.   Fred Stanley is listed as a member of the A's, but the Yankee checklist has Larry Milbourne as a Yankee.  This is a reflection of 2 offseason aquisitions and is an indication that the Donruss set was finalized at a later date. Stanley was traded for Mike Morgan on 11/3/80 and Milbourne was received in a trade on 11/18/80.

Other players in Topps/Fleer and not Donruss are:  Aurelio Rodriguez (52 games), Brian Doyle (34), Johnny Oates (39), Tom Lollar (14), Mike Griffin (13), and Doug Bird (22).

Overall, Donruss gets the worst grade due to the omission of May.  I don't know why May was not included as he would pitch until 1983.  It must have been beasue they were not able to get a photo of him as he was in future Donruss sets.  Topps and Fleer are tied because they have the same basic players.  This is to be expceted with this being a) the Yankees, and b) the AL East Champions.

Player selection grade:  Topps - A; Fleer - A; Donruss - C

Rankings by Team


Yankees (87%)


Yankees (85%)


Yankees (64%)

Monday, November 8, 2010

1980s Baseball - Card Wars Project

This is an introduction to a project that I am starting to work on:  the 80s.  This decade comprised my main collecting years.  I started collecting in 78 and stopped trying to hand collate sets in 1986, but I kept collecting actively until 1994.  A few items to be noted before I get started, this is meant to chronicle a journey through the base sets of the 80s and not an assessment of who "won" the card wars of the 80s.  You could argue that Topps won as they are the last company standing, but each of the 3/5 companies had their strengths and weaknesses.  Donruss seemed to have some quality control issues (major errors for most of the years until 1992) and Fleer was decent.

First things first, an introduction.  I was 9 years old when the 1979 cards came out and I was disappointed when Topps did not have any World Series cards in their set that year, like the previous year.  But I collected because I liked baseball, and all of the stars were there.  Fast forward to 1980 and again I was disappointed with no WS cards.  I was mesmorized by the Pittsburgh teams that year (Pirates and Steelers) and thought for sure that there would be a card celebrating the Pirates title that year. Nope.  Looking back I think that Topps moved up the deadline to finalize the checklist and photos starting in 79.  This theory is due to a limited amount of airbrushed photos for players that changed teams in the off season.  In both 77 and 78 you can try and pinpoint the date the checklist was finalized by looking at the transactions on Baseball Reference.  Of course in 77 the expansion teams were included and 78 was another big Free Agent year.  Topps got away from that starting in 79.

In 81 I first discovered a new set of cards, Fleer.  Later that summer I found my first packs of Donruss.  Fleer was more readilly available in my area, but I did not buy a whole lot as Topps was the one set I focused on.  I organized my cards by teams during that time and did try and get "master" team sets containing cards from all 3 sets.  Some players were in all three sets, and some in only one.  Donruss had some crappy looking cards.  If you have never seen one, just picture a photo on a 3 x 5 card.  Diamond cut.  With gum that was impossible to get off of the card.  That was Donruss.  I belive that Donruss decided to issue a set at almost the last minute and it shows.

There are differences in how cards were marketed that year.  Topps branded itself as the Real One as it had been around for years.  Fleer offered more cards per pack, and more packs per box as a way to get kids to buy the cards and retailers to stock the cards.  Donruss offered more cards per pack also, but did not have the massive distribution channels that Fleer did.  Other differences between the brands is that Fleer had complete career stats on the back.  Yes, Steve Carlton did pitch in the minors at one time after looking at his Fleer card.  Donruss decided to issue multiple cards of the superstars of the time period thinking kids would have a better chance of getting cards of the big names.  Donruss backs had career highlights and minimal stats. 

Another difference between the companies was in photography.  If you notice where photos are taken on Topps cards, most of them were taken in the following locatins:  New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area (SF/Oakland).  These cities hosted teams in both leagues and gave the photographers living in those cities opportunities to catch teams from both leagues as they traveled thorough town.  Spring training photos are also popular in all 3 sets and the teams train close by and you had opportunities to get photos of the prospects.  Some of the Topps sets also had quite a few photos from Detroit and Cleveland.  The Fleer set that year seems to have quite a few photos from Boston, San Diego. Los Angeles, and Toronto.  Donruss has Chicago and Milwaukee as the main backdrops. 

I had always considered the set to be a reflection of the prior year and that is the focus on player selection during the team writeups.  I will look at the cards on a team by team basis more than a set by set.  At the end of each year I will try and come up with a "best" set for each year, but that will be subjective.

First up:  1981.

Rough count of set breakdown, don't take this as gospel.

Topps set is 648 individual players, 26 three player "Future Stars", 26 Team Checklists, 6 checklists, 8 League Leaders, 8 Record Breakers, and 4 Postseason highlights

Fleet set is 618 different players, 16 managers, 14 cheklists, and 12 special cards of players (MVP, SB Leader, etc.)

Donruss is 564 different players, 21 mangers/coaches, 5 checklists, and 15 cards that are repeats of players (Steve Stone, George Brett, Reggie Jackson, etc) or multi-player cars (Brett/Carew)

Both Fleer and Donruss have a boatload of errors.  I am not going to take the time to chronicle the errors as that would take a lot of time.  An early favorite for best set would be Topps, due to the sheer number of cards in the set.  It will be interesting to see what players were left out of which set as we go through this team by team.

Overview is division by division with AL East first, followed by AL West, NL East and NL West.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I just read today that beloved former manager Sparky Anderson has passed away.  Link

Sparky was not the first Tiger manger that I remember, that honor goes to Ralph Houk, who also passed away this year, but he was there for the majority of my youth.  Sparky came to the team in 1979 because he was available after being fired from the Reds the previous season.  He had a burning desire to proved the Reds wrong for firing him and he wanted to field a winner.  Detroit had a good team in place when he took over, but the team roster would change before the championship season of 84.

He would say that the 84 season provided the most pressure he had felt as a manager because of the great start of the team.  It was said that if he failed to win the pennant the fans would hang him from the center field flag pole.

A lot will be written today and tomorrow about Sparky, the stories he told, his feats, etc.  Sit back, read them and enjoy them as most of the funny stories are true.  My only wish was that the Tigers would have retired his number 2 years ago during the 84 reunion.

If you want some light reading I recommend finding a copy of his diary of the 1984 season, Bless You Boys.  It is a good look at what was happening during the season, the highs and lows.

Tiger Heros - Bill Freehan

It has been to long since my last card post.  Life has just got in the way lately, no other excuse.  I have a couple of projects in my mind, but that will require scanning and preparation.  Hopefully I can find the time to scan and prepare.  This post will deal with one of the best catchers in Tiger history, Bill Freehan.

Bill Freehan was a Michigan native who spent his high school years in Florida.  After high school he spent 2 years at the University of Michigan, where he played baseball and football.  Made his debut with the club in 1961, his first year in professional ball.  Spent the entire 62 season in Denver before coming up to stay in Detroit for the 1963 season.  His rookie card is in the 1963 Topps set.

Not known as a great hitter, Bill would hit and even .300 in his first full major leage seaon.  That was the first time a Tiger catcher has hit .300 since Mickey Cochrane.  He won the Gold Glove award for 5 straight seasons in the 60s and was selected for the All-Star game 10 straight seasons.  He set an AL record for being HBP in 1968. 

In case anyone is wondering about the identiy of the coach in the background hitting fielding practice it is Wally Moses.    I did find it interesting that according to the 1968 roster the four coaches were assinged numbers from 50-53.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is the Barry Halper Collection Authentic?

Yes, you read the headline correctly.  To understand what I am talking about go here and read the article.  Ok, lets think about this for a second. 

At one time the Halper collection was considered the most extensive and greatest collection of them all.  People drooled over having some of this cool, older stuff.  But now the authenticity of some of the items are coming into question.  I don't know what to think about all of this.  Back when these items were first donated there was little in the way of being able to ascertain the authenticity of uniforms, but now as more people are researching there are questions being raised.  I would guess the lesson to be learned is that we should be careful when buying something expensive, making sure we do everything possible to determine authenticity before buying. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Strasburg lands on DL, again

The news today is that Strasburg is being placed on the DL again, with some talk of potential Tommy John surgery ESPN Link here one is made aware of how fragile pitchers are.  We could start a list of young phenoms who had their career shortened due to injury.  Guys like Brian Taylor, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, The "4 Aces", the young group of Met pitchers, to start with.  Each of these people were hot commodities in the baseball cards around the time of their debut.  Each of them had some problems along the way and never lived up to their hype.  When it comes to pitchers one must remember the risk of injury is high and not everyone starts out as an ueber stud and stays on that path.  Tom Seaver, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddox come to mind as examples of pitchers that had success early and maintained it for most of their career (I know that Smoltz got hurt, but it was later on).  These are the exceptions and not the rule.  Heck, Nolan Ryan was full of potential before being traded to the Angels.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photoshop Disaster?

Yesterday I received a pleasant surprise in my mailbox.  Someone had sent me a gift as a way of saying "Thank You", and it was a wonderful gift.  I am now the proud owner of a DVD set of the Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers.  I saw this and started thinking about how great it will be to rewatch game 5 of the '84 World Series, or Maggs' homer against Oakland.  I am looking forward to the last game at Tiger Stadium as I have never seen the game before.

But upon close inspection of the DVD box I noticed something strange.  See if you can spot it.

This is not my scan, but it is the actual package (I promise).  Does anything look funny to you?  Look closely at the scoreboard and the photoshop that was done to the advertisements.  It did not look right to me, so today I did a google search for Tiger Stadium images and found a similar one to compare.

I found this image on a photography blog.  Note that the time period is similar based on the dirt path to the pitching mound, the retired numbers and the banners hanging in right field.  But all of the advertisements are gone. 

I wonder if A & E, who produced the video, did not have permission to use advertising logos.  I would have thought that photos from inside the stadium would have been part of mlb properties and could have been resued with permission.  The DVD covers for the post season games have photos of the game programs, accurately reproduced. 

I will file this under a disaster and a fail.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sportlots Auction finds - I

I have been on a Sportlots kick lately.  I have found if you are patient you can find some bargains in the auction area.  Every once in a while you can find a card that no one else wants and get it for the minimum bid of a quarter.  This is what a quarter got me recently.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kung Fu Fighting

The next time Mr. Cueto wants to perform some Kung Fu in the middle of a brawl, someone should kidnap him and show him this video.

We should learn from history so others wont repeat our mistakes.  Oh, and some people wondered why Roze was in Sparky's doghouse.

One man's junk

While driving around town yesterday morning looking for a person's house to take food to because their husband died, I noticed a pile of 3-ring binders sitting out by the side of the road for the trash man to pick up today.  At first glance there were about 6 boxes full of 3 and 4 inch binders.  Just sitting out by the road.  Awaiting their final destination in some poor landfill, their purpose in life all used up.  I thought to myself, I have to rescue these poor souls.  So I did what any card collector, who operates on a budget would do.  I drove out there at 4:30 this morning on the way to the gym and took as many of them as I could fit in my minivan.  I ended up with about 16 binders total.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Craft Show Finds

As many of us know in the summer it is festival season, especially in Arkansas.  The festivals are usually winding down by August, as it is to hot (it hit 104 yesterday).  Well, one of the local towns as an annual Watermelon festival around this time and me and the wife went last night.  After some good watermelon (they keep it refrigerated on site) we wandered around looking at the crafts.  There was a guy set up with cards at the craft fair.  I ended up buying some cards off of him, and paying to much.  It  has been a while since I went to a show and I needed my fix.  This is what I bought.

I found this beaut first off.  I had to bring this handsome man home.  After buying this I started talking with the vendor and he showed me his other box, the one with the rookies.  This is where I should have walked off, but I had to have my fix.

Sparky rookie, Post Norm Cash and Ron Guidry.  I am working on the 76 set and could not pass up a rookie of Sparky.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thoughts from the weekend

I spent my Saturday in nearby Texarkana shopping with wife.  I already knew that any chances of finding cards were somewhere between slim and none with no real card shops in town.  So off we went to the mall, etc.  Stopped by Books a Million to see if I could find something that I could not live without and saw something that shocked me.  I was looking for some reading material int he magazine area and I found a new Beckett, but below the Becketts (on the floor level) some clerk had put Playboys and other "special" editions of Playboys out.  That made me feel weird looking at the cover of Beckett to decide to pick it and glace through while be distracted by the cover of the Playboy.  I am sure that there is some sort of irony in that picture.

after finding nothing at BAM we went to Target.  In the card asle there was basically no new product.  Sure there were a couple of rack packs of A & G, but I passed them up.  NO newere blasters.  Bunch of loose packs.  I left there just purchasing some 9 pocket sheets.  I guess I should not get my hopes up for my next visit.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I have not been here in a while due to life in general. My youngest graduated HS and is starting college in the fall. I have been swamped at work. No time to sit back and enjoy life. Fortunately I have been able to keep tabs on others and get some great cards from Stats on the Back, which I will hopefully show off sometime soon.

Oh, and the Tigers can't score a run from 3rd with less than two outs. I seem to have a good memory of this same situation from back in the mid 90s. Oh, well. They are doing the best that they can, and when they stop giving maximum effort is when the fans start to get on them. That's what I want is maximum effort.

That leads me into today's post.

Willie Horton was one of the first stars that I can remember as a kid. I don't remember seeing him play as a Tiger, but I do have memories of people complaining when they traded him away. That made me think he was one of the all-time greats. As the years went by I found out how good he was, and how much me meant to the city of Detroit. I read stories about him hitting a home run over the roof during a High School game. During the riots of 67 Horton went into the neighborhood in his uniform and tried to get the crowd under control. This was a man who grew up in Detroit and took pride in his city, it was his city. These stories make me wonder if that type of civic pride is still around today. How many home grown players are with their teams, and would risk their lives to save their home?

Horton's number is retired. It was retired as much for what he did off of the field as what he did on the field.

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.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Million Card Giveaway

I am late in posting this, but when the code redemtions went live I could not wait to redeem my one and only code. I got caught up in the excitement and just had to type in my code on day two of the "contest". What did I get for my troubles, well lets just say it was vintage junk:

I am in the process of trying to trade this thing for a Tiger card, hopefully I can work my way back to a card from the early to mid 70s that I don't have. But, nobody seems to want this guy, even though I remember him as a pretty good player.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mail Day

Yesterday was a huge mailday. I had a package from Sportlots, which allowed me to finish one set, come within a card on another, and a huge supply of Cain's disks. I will save those for the future.

I also received an envelope from Detroit. Last week I requested a fan pack. Expecting only a pocket schedule, they sent a small B & W photo of Verlander. The photo would make a great autograph piece. But, I was more than thrilled to receive a pocket sched. Last year Topps baseball cards were used as the photos for the schedule and this year's schedule photo(s) were also influenced by Topps.

This is the one they sent me.

This is the Topps Porcello for comparisons.

The design is very similar. For those that collect these things, I figure that there is a Verlander, Inge, and Miggy. I might just be able to pick another one up next time I am in Michigan.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baseball is here

With spring training for Detroit officially starting today (pitchers and catchers report), hope is springing eternal for Tiger fans. Hope that this year will be better than last year. Hope that the best case scenario happens. Hope that this team does not implode. Most every year starts the same, from the late 70s hope that the team will finish above 5th place to the late 90s early 00s that the team will finish above .500. We have hope that our heroes will make us feel proud to be a Tiger fan this summer.

But, around here baseball has already started. The local college has been playing for two weeks and is off to a great start. They are number 4 in the nation in a couple of polls, and if things keep going well we will host a Division II regional again this year.

SAU, and a couple of players were mentioned in the newest Baseball America this week, giving the program some national attention. Mentioned are Haydon Simpson, a local product, who is a Junior who was voted as an All-American last year. Simpson is the 8th ranked prospect in D-II and is a candidate for Pitcher of the Year.

Also getting some pub is second baseman Cannon Lester from nearby El Dorado. Cannon is a senior, and is also a returning All-American.

Here is a link to the press release.

The Joy of a Completed Set - I

While watching the snow fall last week I was happy to receive multiple packages in the mail. The first one was from a trade of my Factory Set inserts for some 97 and 98 Topps to help get me started on those sets. The second was from Baseball Cards Come to Life, who helped me fill some holes in my sets in exchange for some of my extra 81 Fleer and 92 Pinnacle. There was one card that really made me happy.

Yes, Ron Jones may be nothing but a common to most of you, but to me he was the missing piece in my 89 Score set. After 21 years, and by not buying a single pack, I have managed to complete this set through trades and minimal purchase. I estimate that I spent about $11 - $15 out of pocket to complete this set through individual card purchases, this is about double what the set is "worth" but the enjoyment of the hunt was well worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Watch 2010 - and a Contest

As we are preparing for snow in the next two days, a whole 2-4 inches are forcast (don't laugh, the town will probably be paralyzed by tomorrow afternoon), I can't help but think about what would better for getting me in the Olympic spirit. Some snow, and of course a contest. I am not running a contest, but JD is here, so feel free to enter.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Theyr'e Here

Finally, 2010 Topps has made it's way to South Arkansas. This morning while going after dog food at Wal Mart I wandered over to the card isle and there was a display of rack packs, gravity feed boxes, and blasters of Topps daring me to purchase. They also had Upper Deck, but I left those alone at 2.98 per pack. I purchased a rack, and here are the contents. A one pack review.

35 Rick Porcello (Tiger first card of the year)
128 Garrett Mock
277 Jarrod Washburn (2 Tigers in the first 3 cards)
202 SF Giants Franchise History
162 Wade Davis
172 Joe Mauer - AL MVP
261 Matt Carson
300 Chase Utley
198 Florida Marlins Franchise History
288 Boston Red Sox Franchise History
8 AL Batting Leaders
264 Arizona Diamondbacks Franchise HIstory - Gold
MIllion Card Giveaway'
ToppsTown Miguel Tejada
71 Mike Hampton
244 Barry Zito
312 Tyler Flowers
36 Tobi Stoner
219 Kevin Hart
13 Melvin Mora
81 Ryan Theriot
176 Yovani Gallardo
267 Toronto Blue Jays Franchise History
314 Angel Pagan
65 Nick Swisher
10 Clayton Kershaw
167 San Diego Padres Team
Cards Your Mom Threw Out - 86 Tony gwynn
Turkey Red Josh Beckett
Legenday Linage - Mike Schmidt/Evan Longoria
Peek Performance - Reggie Jackson
WTWY - Ricky Nolasco
225 David Price
77 Kenshin Kawakami
123 Jeff Smardzija
297 Ben Zobrist

28 Base Cards

Summary. I like the way these cards look. The photos are great, but I could do without the inserts. The CYMTO is a nice idea, but they probably should have stuck with the retro cards. 86 Gwynn was just a way to get an 86 card in this set, but surely they could have come up with a better example from that year, maybe a Gary Carter or Dale Murphy.

I give this set a B, it would be an A if they would cut out the large number of insets.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


In today's Tiger news it looks like Scott Boras is trying to get his client, Johnny Damon, to come to Detroit. Detroit has a good history of dealing with Boras, as they were able to sign Pudge late when nobody else wanted him, and I belive Maggs is also a Boras client with had signability problems when he was a free agent. Management has shown a willingness to pay a little more for a seasoned vet that has a little something left if that is what it takes to get them to Detroit (Pudge, Maggs, Kenny Rodgers). The question is, what does Damon have left and how does he fit into the Tigers plans.

Damon is a left handed hitting centerfielder, who also bats leadoff. As it stands now, Austin jackson could start the season in center and bat leadoff. But I don't know what the backup plan is if Jackson is not ready. By siging Damon they don't have the need to rush Jackson if he is not ready, and they can move Damon to left if Jackson shows he is ready during spring training. As of now the leftfiled posistion will be manned by some combination of Gullen/Clete Thomas/Ryan Rayburn/Don Kelly.

Management is also trying to sign Verlander to a contract extension. All I can say is: get it done. If I have to live off of Little Ceasers for the next 12 months to fund this I will. Crazy Bread is wonderfull.

Sping training is almost here, but our local college starts play Friday. Mulerider fever: Catch it!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Set Wants

All others to complete the sets I am currently working on. Updated 5/24/11

Note:  My cards to trade mainly consist of junk wax, with an emphasis on 92 and 93 Fleer Ultra.  I do have others from around that time period and a handful of cards from 54-68 that I would be willing to part with.

1968 Topps Game Inserts

1969 Topps

1970 Topps

1971 Topps

1972 Topps

1973 Topps

1974 Topps

1975 Topps

1976 Topps

1997 Topps

1998 Topps

1991 Stadium Club

1992 Stadium Club

1993 Stadium Club

1994 Stadium Club

1992 Donruss Rookies

1993 Donruss

1994 Donruss

1983 Fleer

1985 Fleer

1993 Fleer

1994 Fleer

1992 Leaf

1993 Leaf

1993 Pinnacle

1991 Bowman

1993 Score

1994 Score

1995 Score