A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's: Halfway Point (30-26)

Wow, this has been a crazy week so far.  The biggest factor to the craziness has been at school, where on Monday I was asked to change classrooms, moving my first grade classroom across the school to the second grade hallway.  I was okay with the move, because the pros outweigh the cons (room with a carpet, sink, and more storage vs. smaller classroom further away from the first grade teachers that I collaborate with), and decided that I would like to have my classroom moved and ready to go the very next day.

This was probably a little overambitious, but after leaving a little after midnight on Tuesday morning, I had most everything ready to go.

Anyways, we had an early out the next day and we were granted time to work with our grade level teams and do what we thought was necessary.  I sent off a few important emails and then fell asleep on my carpeted floors for about an hour and a half.

Anyways, this is not what you are here for.  The masses have obviously been gathering to see the halfway mark of the Top 50 Padre Cards from the 90's countdown, complete with leader board (see end of post)!

Kick it.
#30 - Gary Sheffield 1993 Hostess
I had pretty specific tastes as a kid (i.e. picky), and I was probably the only one that I knew that was not a big fan of Hostess products.  If I was going to get a treat, I was more of a candy bar guy, not big on pastries (or whatever you call Hostess' food).  Fortunately, this Sheffield oddball made it into my collection, albeit about two decades after the fact.  I think I got this from my buddy TTG a while back, but I could be wrong.  I was a big Sheffield fan for the brief time he was a Padre, and it probably had a lot to do with the fact that his cards just looked so awesome.

#29 - Fernando Valenzuela 1997 Collector's Choice
I think I have a few cards of Fernando with a bat in his hands.  This one is better than them all, because not only is it a "pitcher at the plate" card, but it's a "Fernando admiring the trajectory" shot, which are plenty rare.  Probably.

Seeing Fernando speed around the base paths would probably make for an even better card.  Don't think I've come across any of those yet.

#28 - Jason Thompson 1997 Collector's Choice
Back to back cards from 1997 Collector's Choice?  Better believe it.  Also not the last card you'll see from this set.  This card was one of the reasons that this countdown was created.  I only learned of the existence in the last year, and I figured that there may be people who aren't aware of this awesome hybrid surfboard/baseball card.  Can't quite tell which San Diego beach Jason Thompson brought his board and his jersey to, but if I had to guess, it'd be Torrey Pines.  I usually preferred going further north to Solana Beach/Encinitas (Pipes), but I also was a pretty lousy surfer.

#27 - Bip Roberts 1990 Fleer
This card has me stumped.  I'm still not sure where it belongs on the countdown, or if it belongs here at all.  I'll be the first to admit that there are other cards of Bip Roberts that are more aesthetically pleasing than this one.  However, it is signed by Bip, and he signed it "The Bipper", so in my mind, it needs to be on here somewhere, even if there aren't many 1990 Fleer cards of Bip that are signed in a like manner.  If nothing else, the copious amounts of brown on this card are worth a second look.

#26 - 12-Player Trade (Astros/Padres) 1995 Collector's Choice
Lots of firsts here - The first post without a Tony Gwynn card.  The first post to have three cards from the same brand (albeit different years).  Now we have the first multi-player card on the countdown.  Although the Padres did spend some money on their 1998 World Series run (think Greg Vaughn and Kevin Brown), this card shows two reasons why they were competitive to start with: Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley.  Seeing the other ten players that were involved in "the largest trade since 1957" is also pretty cool, so say nothing of the pink background.  Love this one.

Alright!  That's the first 25 down, second 25 to go...

At the halfway point, here is the scoreboard (# of times a player has appeared on the countdown)...
8 - Tony Gwynn
2 - Steve Finley*, Benito Santiago, Trevor Hoffman
1 - Kurt Stillwell, Ruben Rivera, Jose Melendez, Ted Williams, Brad Ausmus, Wally Joyner, Gary Sheffield, Fernando Valenzuela, Jason Thompson, Bip Roberts

I don't want to spoil any of your guesses as to the players that will continue to be on here, but I'll let you know that only one player from the bottom will make it onto the countdown again.

But which one?  You'll have to tune in to find out.  And probably wait for me to finish up some school stuff first.  Such is life

Go Padres!  Go 90's!

*The asterisk by Steve Finley's name is to indicate that he was on a multiplayer card.  While the "12 Player Trade" card is not a Finley card, he does get an edge in the standings because of it.  My rules, I make 'em up as I go.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A New Quest

Last year when 2012 Topps Archives had fifty cards that featured the 1971 Topps design, I decided to have that be a group that I was going to chase after.  While not overly difficult, I'm not much of a "collect the whole set of something" kind of guy - I mostly just stick to my Padres - so I thought it was a pretty decent accomplishment when I finally tracked 'em all down.

Well, now that the Update set has these sweet looking '71 style mini's, I think I'm going to try to go after those as well.  This will probably be a more challenging task than the Archives set.  Even though there are still 50 cards to go after, that they are inserts will make them harder to come by.

So far, these are the five that I've been able to snag out of packs, and Robert from $30 A Week Habit has been kind enough to offer me four that he pulled recently (Adam Jones, David Wright, Don Mattingly, and Clayton Kershaw), so I only need 41 more.  Only.

Well, I guess this is the official begging post - if you have any of these that you wouldn't mind parting with, let me know and I'll see what I can scrounge up to offer in trade.  I'd like to reach out to my blogging buddies before having to (possibly) snag the final few off an online source.

Does anybody else like these?  I mean, I'm not crazy about them, and I can understand those who are getting tired of the whole "modern players on vintage design" concept, but I guess I'm just a sucker for those jet black borders.  And they don't annoy me like mini cards can annoy me sometimes.  Haven't seen these getting much love on other blogs, so wanted to check the temperature of the handful of people who sometimes comment on here.

Here's the checklist that I still need to track down...

TM-1 Bryce Harper
TM-2 Babe Ruth
TM-3 Derek Jeter
TM-4 Bo Jackson
TM-5 Ken Griffey, Jr.
TM-6 Miguel Cabrera
TM-7 Mike Trout
TM-8 Joe Mauer
TM-9 Robinson Cano
TM-10 Joey Votto
TM-11 Justin Upton
TM-12 Andrew McCutchen
TM-13 Prince Fielder
TM-14 Troy Tulowitzki
TM-16 Jackie Robinson
TM-17 Hyun-Jin Ryu
TM-18 Justin Verlander
TM-19 Dustin Pedroia
TM-22 Evan Longoria
TM-24 Greg Madden
TM-26 Mariano Rivera
TM-27 Stan Musial
TM-28 Johnny Bench
TM-29 Mike Schmidt
TM-30 Cal Ripken, Jr.
TM-31 Yasiel Puig
TM-32 Carlos Gonzalez
TM-33 Buster Posey
TM-34 Yu Darvish
TM-35 Paul Goldschmidt
TM-36 Felix Hernandez
TM-37 David Ortiz
TM-38 Will Clark
TM-40 Nomar Garciaparra
TM-42 Roberto Clemente
TM-43 Frank Thomas
TM-45 Stephen Strasburg
TM-46 George Brett
TM-48 Jay Bruce
TM-49 Matt Harvey
TM-50 Manny Machado

Oh, and if anybody knows why the Rays, A's, and Rangers all have the trademark "TM" by the name and the Cardinals and Marlins have the "circled R", don't hide your knowledge from me.  Is the difference because they're in different leagues?  Does the DH have anything to do with the trademark?

Emerald Update

My quest to put together an emerald Padres team set has been stalling out of late.  I'm still looking for five of the emeralds from Series 1 & 2, and when I saw that the Update set was on the way, I thought I'd be falling even further behind.

Well, it turns out that Brent and Becca, baseball card people that I've heard so much about, had a sweet deal on eBay and I got the whole team set for less than three bucks.  I mean, there's only five cards, but still, it was a good deal.

So, here are the guys, starting off with Luke Gregerson at the top.  I'm a big fan of Luke's, and this is a good looking shot of him.  Sometimes pitchers cards get taken at awkward angles and they can look anywhere from boring to flat out ridiculous.  This is neither.  Go Luke.

Chris Denorfia's card was the one that I was looking forward to the most, he being my favorite player on the current Padres squad.  Can't say that this is a disappointing image, but a little too similar to last year's card, if you ask me (to be fair, he was high fiving Cameron Maybin and Deno was sporting some manly facial hair, so it's not exactly the same.  Still, any card of Denosaur is a good one, so high fives all around!

I was also looking forward to see if Alexi Amarista would make it into the Update set.  He joined the team early in 2012, but this is his first appearance on a card as a Padre (except for that one other one, which I don't count because I don't have it yet).  This one doesn't disappoint either, and since this is the third time I've shown Amarista's card on this blog in the past week or so, I'll just leave it at "it's awesome" and move on.

Big Kyle Blanks looks big here.  Check out the forearms on that guy!  While perhaps a little too closely cropped, this is still a good shot of the 88 Train.  Glad to see that he made it into the Update set, the world needs more Kyle Blanks.

If there was one card I could do without, it would've been this one.  I would've preferred a card of Nick Vincent, but the Padres rarely make any splashes at the trading deadline, so I don't have a problem documenting it here whatsoever (although, here's hoping that Ian Kennedy has a better Padres career than Ryan Ludwick).

Well, there you have it - all of the 2013 Topps Update Emerald Padres, for your viewing pleasure.  If you've got any of the last five that I need, hook a blogger up!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Secret Ingredients

This is my entry into the Blogger Bracket Challenge.  If you are entertained by me quoting Tom Verducci quoting Dick Hayhurst, or making up lies about journeyman infielders/outfielders, please consider voting for this post at Nachos Grande.  I'm up against a few other bloggers who probably don't even know basic baseball information like who was the batter facing Tom Browning when he broke his arm with a pitch.  It was Archi Cianfrocco, guys.  C'mon.


Much has been made recently about the use of “foreign substances” being used to effect how a baseball moves when it is thrown.  Since the beginning of baseball, it seems, there have been pitchers who have tried to gain a competitive advantage by adding a little “something extra” to a pitch.

Here’s an excerpt from an article written by Tom Verducci...

“…nobody wrote a better "how-to" explanation of using foreign substances than (Dick) Hayhurst. In his book Out of My League, Hayhurst wrote about what's inside those backpacks pitchers carry to the bullpen. He wrote when describing the unpacking of the bag: "Then the real supplies came out: various goops and stick 'ems that some morally sensitive fans would call the use of cheating, while we in the business simply called having an edge." Those substances, Hayhurst wrote, include something called "Firm Grip . . . a knockoff of pine tar," shaving cream ("specifically the gel stuff") and sunscreen.

"When rubbed into the skin and mixed with sweat and rosin," Hayhurst wrote, "this stuff actually forms an SPF-40 caliber Fixodent, which a crafty pitcher can mix on the fly. A touch to the wrist slightly below the mitt for some [sun] screen, a wipe of the back of the neck for some sweat, a pat of the rosin bag for the third component, and you'll have enough tack to make the ball hang from your fingertips."

“…enough tack to make the ball hang from your fingertips”?  That sounds almost unbelievable, but I'm sure it's true.  Between corked bats and PED use, I'm sure some pitchers think it's no big deal.

But for the most part, we hear about those crafty pitchers who are trying to get an edge.  Does anybody else do it?

Some believe that position players do.  Take Craig Paquette, for example.  Entering the league in 1993, he would leave in 2003 a career .239 hitter.  While he didn’t hit for much average, his 162 game average equals out to about 20 HR and 75 RBI.  Not too shabby for a guy who didn’t see much playing time.

With a decent enough bat, how would they fit ol Craig into the lineup?

Well, the other half of the game is being on defense.  While Paquette bounced around the field during his tenure in the bigs, he had a hard time finding a "home", as is evidenced by his fielding position labeled as "IF-OF".  Yes, we're aware that those are basically your only options (unless you're a pitcher or a catcher, though technically both are in the infield).

After the 1996 season, Craig was skating on thin ice in terms of his defense.  While he was decent at first base (a position not known for being too defensively tasking), he had a whopping 11 errors in 51 games, good for an .891 fielding percentage at third base in 1996.  Ouch.

So where did Paquette turn to help right the ship and save his place as a major league player?  Could it be the SPF-40 caliber Fixodent?

Perhaps due to his extreme paranoia of being caught cheating (first triggered by getting caught cheating on a spelling test in Mrs. Wormwood's first grade class), he was very secretive about how he went about applying the stick 'em, including having a "secret ingredient" hidden in his armpit?  In this candid shot, could the disembodied hand with the fancy bracelet/watch is actually Hayhurst's, observing Paquette's routine and giving pointers?

The world may never know... unless we dig deeper - how did his fare with the glove in 1997?  Well, Paquette would play 22 more games at third and have only one more error than the previous year.

Go ahead and draw your own conclusions, but for me, the proof is in the pudding (Hey - what would that do to a baseball?  Somebody call Mythbusters!).

Either that, or he was just trying to find a place to wipe that dry, spring training booger that had been bugging him the whole game.

Hadn’t quite mastered the “pick and flick” method yet.  Sad stuff.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A New Leader & A Countdown

I thought that it was going to be tough to top Carlos Quentin's "play at the plate" card for the Best Padres Card of the Year.  Seeing him about to plow into Josh Thole, both wearing throwback uniforms, is a pretty cool shot.  I think that we might have a new leader in the clubhouse, however.  I love this card of Alexi Amarista.

There have got to be plenty of great action shots of Amarista, who has made plenty of great defensive plays as a Padre, and I tend to prefer action shots.  However, the image of Amarista, who is 5'7" leaping to be able to give a congratulatory high five is a pretty unique one.  If they had managed to get one of Amarista next to Kyle Blanks, who is 6'6".

After declaring about a week ago that I needed this card, it was the impetus of a trade with Chris of the Raz Card Blog.  The dude hooked me up big time, and I wasn't prepared for the onslaught of awesomeness - I might need to keep a lookout for some more things to send his way to try to even this trade out.

Anyways, here are the top five cards that Chris sent my way...

#5 - Austin Hedges 2012 Bowman #/500
Austin Hedges is a name that everybody will be hearing about sooner or later.  Probably later.  He is currently in the Arizona Fall League, and while his bat has been considered the weakest part of his game, is hitting .310 with three doubles, a triple, and six RBI in eight games.  The best part of his game is his defense - at last count, he had thrown out 9 of 14 potential base stealers.  I'm always a fan of catchers in gear, and this one is serial numbered to 500.  Great start.

#4 - Chase Headley 2013 Topps Opening Day #/2013
I've said it before, this is the Year of the Chase Headley Card.  I'll have a post at the end of the year with the dozens of Headley cards I've accumulated this year.  Big fan of the blue shine in this year's Opening Day set.

#3 - Paul Konerko 2013 Topps Archives gold foil #/199
As fortune would have it, the first three cards on the countdown are all serial numbered.  This one is the lowest.  It's been a while since I got a Paul Konerko card in a trade package.  He's my favorite non-Padre player, and I was big on collecting his cards when I first got back into collecting.  He's kind of taken a back seat in my collecting habits, but I still try to grab new cards of his that come out.  This is my second gold foil card from this year's Archives sets, and I'm a fan.

#2 - Tony Gwynn 2013 Topps Archives "1972 Basketball"
Despite the cool gold foil cards from this year's Archives set, I can't say that I'm a big fan of the set as a whole.  This is one of the inserts that I'm not really big on.  Still, a new Tony Gwynn card that I didn't already have - that has an image that I don't immediately recognize - is always a great pick up.  Tony's got some crazy looking eyes here.

#1 - Wally Joyner 2012 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs
The one area that I can concede that Archives got right is their autograph list.  This year they had former Padres Fred McGriff, Benito Santiago, and Bob Tewksbury.  Last year, the one that I was dying to get my hands on was this one of Brother Joyner.  I had kind of given up on ever having one, and didn't feel too bad about it since I snagged his auto from this year's Allen & Ginter set from Rod at Padrographs.  Very glad to have this one.  Joyner's got a great signature and looks more natural in an Angels uniform than a Padres uniform.

On top of all those great cards, there were a few others that were worth noting...

I don't have many Dodgers in my collection, but I will probably add this one to the "Former/Future Friar" section of my binders... along with the note that he added to it.  Go Poway High Titans!

He also included a pair of Topps Chrome base cards for my Player Collection binders.  I only have PCs for a handful of current players, but tracking down all the parallels for these guys is kind of a pain.  Getting these in the mail is definitely preferred, even if it's just the base card, since I had neither one of these yet.

To round out the package, here were a few miscellaneous goodies.  I forget which state flag is behind Casey Kelly, but it's not California's or Texas'.  Only 48 more to guess.  Don't have many Clayton Richard cards, and the same goes with Mark Davis.  Given the small number of Padres pitchers who have won the Cy Young, I figured he should be allotted some more space in my binders as well.

Thanks a lot Chris!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's: Action! (35-31)

Well, I didn't want to go through all the Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's countdown all at once, but I didn't anticipate the countdown going along this slowly.  Things've been busy at work, but the end of the grading period was yesterday, so I finally plowed through that big stack of papers that I've been meaning to grade for a while.  One of these days, I won't be scrambling to finish my report cards at the last minute.

Anyways, on to the countdown...

#35 - Tony Gwynn 1997 Zenith
Of all of the shots of Tony Gwynn batting, this is probably one of the most unique.  Gwynn's face is hidden (for the most part), and in the background, we have the ball heading towards the plate against the blurry background of the Jack Murphy fence.  You can still make out the fuzzy palm trees in the background as well.  As much as I normally don't like the "nonexistent design" look of those cards that are basically just a picture, this one looks sharp.

#34 - Steve Finley 1996 SP
One of my best Padre memories was when I was a kid and we were able to go down onto the field to take pictures with the players.  It was crazy and crowded, but I still got photos with Trevor Hoffman and Rickey Henderson, among others.  My favorite picture of the day, however, was of me pretending to leap at the wall like my hero, Steve Finley.  I could only make it up to about the orange line, not quite able to "rob" somebody of a home run, but still very cool as a kid.  This is not the last card you'll see of Finley flashing the leather.

#33 - Tony Gwynn 1999 Stadium Club
Here is the youngest card on the countdown, from 1999.  This is not my favorite Stadium Club release, but this is still a good card.  Can't hide that great photography.  Back to back "at the wall" shots - can't beat that.  I feel like this is an underused card shot - well, at least it's not used as much as I'd like it to be.  Much like the card at the top, Tony's face is mostly obscured here as well.  Who knew he was so mysterious?

#32 - Wally Joyner 1998 Pacific Collection
I'm not sure that I've ever seen a card featuring a "play at the plate" with so little contact.  Future Padre Mike Piazza seems to be stretching as much as he can to perhaps graze the pant leg of Joyner, who has tiptoed around to the other side of the line to avoid the tag.  As much as I truly dislike the design of the majority of Pacific cards (including this one), this is a great photo here, especially with the colors of Dodger Stadium in the background.  Doesn't hurt that it involves scoring a run against LA, and I feel like I haven't seen that many Piazza cameos on baseball cards.

 #31 - Benito Santiago 1991 Score
Some of the cards from 1991 Score were kind of a miss with me.  The different colors that they used for the borders means that there are some (like this one) that look awesome, while other players were stuck with blue or white, or teal borders.  This one is obviously black and is obviously awesome.  Great use of a horizontal catchers' card, which looks great even without the catcher's gear.

Closing in on the halfway mark of the countdown.  When we get to the middle, I'll do a list of the players featured so that those who put their guesses in at the beginning of the countdown can see how they're doing so far.  Hope that I'm not the only one enjoying this, but even if it is just me, it's still fun to count it down.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Rolaids Chapstick

This is my entry into the Blogger Bracket Challenge being held over at Nachos Grande.  The title has basically nothing to do with anything that I'm going to write about, but I am not good at writing titles.


When you think of great closers (of the pitching variety), many good ones tend to have something in common: the ability to throw the ball fast.  I mean really fast.  In most cases, they only have to pitch one inning, and they've usually got the lead, so no sense in holding back, try to blow the ball by them.

Of course, one of the all-time greats, Trevor Hoffman, is known for his change up.  Leave it to the Padres to be the odd ducks.

I'm not sure if Aroldis Chapman even has a change up.  For a guy that can throw it 100 MPH +, how much do you take off of a change up?  10 MPH?  If it's still in the 90's, does it really count as a "change up" or just a "not quite as fast" ball?

To one man, it does not matter.

Christopher Anthony Denorfia is a former Reds prospect who played 67 games with them between 2005 and 2006.  Since landing in San Diego from Oakland, he has become a platoon guy opposite Will Venable in right field.

Put don't let the "platoon" title fool you.  Deno is all hustle and heart.

And guts.

Against Aroldis Chapman (who, as it is noted in the card at the top of this post, has topped out at 105.1 MPH), he is hitting a Ted Williams-like .400 (2 for 5) with no strikeouts and three RBI.  Oh, and every hit that he's gotten off of Chapman has been a walk off hit.

But will Deno ever be on a card like Topps Attax?  Will there ever be more than a handful of Denorfia cards on the market place (two last year, one this year)?  Probably not.

That's fine.

He'll just take the "W".

Why did I spend most of this post that is "supposed to be about an Aroldis Chapman card" writing about Chris Denorfia?

Well, I have no idea what is happening in with Topps Attax.  I have none of these cards, which I think I'm alright with.  But Chris Denorfia is the man.  I guess you just write what you know.

Though I do wonder how fast that ball was traveling when it went over the fence.  Probably not 105.1 MPH, but it seemed to get out in a hurry.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Photo 101

Does anybody really like Topps Chrome?

I ask this question knowing the answer: some like it, others don't.  This depends on collecting preference, budgets, availability, etc.  This is not a novel concept, as I have never personally met anybody who actually watched Two and a Half Men, but it is somehow making some people very very rich.  It's all about personal taste.

Anyways, my answer is that I think it is one of the lamest sets out there, but still manages to have some of the awesomest cards around.  How is this done?

Well, when I rip open a pack of cards of (most) other brands, I'm excited to see what kind of random luck I have.  The possibilities seem endless.

With Topps Chrome, there are basically (at least in my experience) two outcomes.

Outcome 1: I get a boring old base card that is just a (much) shinier, glossier version of the flagship Topps set.

Outcome 2: I get some fancy parallel card that just has a different colored border, but is almost just as lame as the other base cards.

However, through the internet, I've found there to be a third option...

Outcome 3: Awesomeness

By far, the best cards that Topps Chrome has to offer are the Xfractor cards and sepia-toned cards.  If I had an example of the Xfractor cards, I'd show one to ya, but since I don't, I'll just move on to the sepia ones.

Look at how awesome this is.  Not just the border is changed, but the entire picture is changed.  It's like I'm back in Mr. Wood's class in Photo 101 my senior year (which always makes me think of Mallory, the girl I had a major crush on in that class who I of course rarely ever talked to).  I always thought that sepia made things look cooler.  The throwback uni that Alonso is rocking adds to the greatness of this card.

I keep telling myself that I'm not all that intrigued by serial numbering, but I think I might just be in denial, since I think that these are awesome.

I also have Casey Kelly's card of the sepia variety.  Not quite on par with Alonso's, but still pretty legit in my opinion.

I've read where people will seek out serial numbered cards that have a particular significance to the player, but for me it's all about price.  Both of these were mine for under $3 each.  Better than ripping a rack pack of Chrome and getting a bunch of Devil Rays (yeah, you heard me, I still call them by their original name, just like the Redlegs).  I'm not sure if #67 means anything to Kelly or if #26 does for Yonder, but it does to me.

It means that I'm halfway to putting together the Sepia Padres team set.  Only having four cards makes it an easier task, and I actually have the Chase Headley card in the mail already, so I'm really just looking for the Jedd Gyorko card.

If I can't find one for a good price, maybe I'll just try taking the regular card to a high school photo lab and find some toner.  Do they still even have darkrooms at school?  Everything seems to be digital now, and I'm not sure how high schoolers nowadays would handle a room like that.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Here's Looking At You, Kid

Yesterday was sort of a rough day for my daughter.  She's been a little grumpier lately, quicker to get fussy and throw a fit.  This may just be typical two and a half year old behavior, but she's usually been a pretty happy kid, so I've been feelin' for her lately.

We ate dinner at a friend's house last night, so we got back a little late, and her routine was thrown off, so she was a bit of a mess as we tried to brush teeth and go to bed.  After saying prayers, she was still a just kind of whining and complaining, so I went in and knelt next to her bed and stroked her hair.

When she was a baby, I'd rock her to sleep by singing one of my favorite songs (at the time), which was "Here's Looking At You, Kid", by a band called The Gaslight Anthem.  Now I don't sing as much.  She shares a room with her baby brother, so we usually just do prayers and then a quick story or two before going to bed.

Well, I decided to sing to her again, which seemed to soothe her a little bit.  After I was done, I laid down on the floor next to her and watched her fall asleep.

I know that this has very little nothing to do with baseball or baseball cards, but here are the only two cards I have of "The Kid" Gary Carter, one from 1977 Topps, the other from 2012 Topps Archives.  

Just wanted write this down to remember what it was like singing to her when she was still a little girl.  She seems to be growing up so fast and will probably be embarrassed of me soon.  But she is so great.  I love that girl.

Just like looking at Padre cards from the 90's reminds me of being a kid listening to Jerry Coleman call the game on the radio, listening to this song will always remind me of rocking her to sleep and thinking how blessed I was to have her.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Top 50 Padres Cards of the 90's: Lots of Gear (40-36)

A blessed Sunday to everybody.  Back to the Top 50 Padres cards of the 90's countdown.  As you may have inferred from the title, if you're the kind of person who likes cards of guys in catcher's gear, this next installment is for you.  If you're not... what's your deal, man?

#40 - Benito Santiago 1992 D.A.R.E. Safety Set
I've mentioned before that I got a few of the cards from the '92 D.A.R.E. set as a student at Garden Road Elementary.  I can't remember which ones I got, but I know that it wasn't Benito, because I would've remembered this one.  Benito has some awesome cards, and despite the plain border, this one is a favorite of mine.  We will see you again soon, Mr. Santiago.

#39 - Trevor Hoffman 1993 Leaf
As any semi-decent collector of 90's cardboard will tell you, 1993 Leaf is a beautiful set.  It's mostly known for the backs of the cards, which show scenic images of the city where the player's team is located.  As great as they are, it's the front of this card that makes it onto the countdown.  Trevor Hoffman made his Padres debut on June 25, 1993, after coming to San Diego in the Gary Sheffield trade.  He was not sharp, giving up thee runs (two earned) on four hits in one inning.  His next game would be a blown save in a game they would go on to lose 7-1 in extra innings.  Hoffy would post a 4.31 ERA in his first year with the Padres, going 2-4 with three saves.  

A pretty dubious start for the youngster.  Not sure that he seemed worth spot in Series 3 set, but I'm glad he was, a great shot of Hoffy mid-windup.  Even better - I'm not sure how many cards show Hoffman in his #34 jersey, since he went with #51 in 1994 - and kept it for the rest of his career.

#38 - Brad Ausmus 1996 Pacific
I recently made a justcommons.com purchase.  It was awesome, tons of cheap cards.  This countdown and other stuff have kept me from posting about it yet, but this was one of the reasons that I made the purchase.  I bought enough (about $18 worth) to qualify for free shipping, and this one set me back a whole dime.  This is not the last play at the plate shot you'll see on this countdown.  Rey Sanchez looks like he's out.  Pacific is one of my least favorite brands, as I think their designs are pretty lame.  However, occasionally they showcase some brilliant photography.  Like this one.

#37 - Tony Gwynn 1995 Pinnacle
This is not the best multi-exposure card in the world.  It's not even the best one on this countdown.  But  you still didn't see a whole lot of Padres with cards like these in the 90's (at least I didn't), so this one is cool in my book.  I think Griffey's '92 Upper Deck card is my favorite of the "multi-exposure" cards, but this one isn't too shabby either.

#36 - Trevor Hoffman 1998 Fleer Ultra
Rounding out this five-pack is a card that was brought to my attention only just before I started the countdown.  This was also a justcommons.com purchase, one that I had to pick up after seeing Bleedin' Brown and Gold do a post on it.  I know of a few collectors who like seeing cards of pitchers batting, but how often do you see cards of pitchers in catcher's gear?  This is the only one that I can think of, and it's a Hall of Fame pitcher to boot.  The countdown wouldn't be complete without this card.

Well, there you have it.  Finally, a list that isn't dominated by Tony Gwynn - we have three catcher's gear cards and two Trevor Hoffman cards.  We've now gone fifteen spots into our countdown, and our Tony Gwynn total is up to six.

The best is yet to come.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Update Party

Last night I happened to be in the vicinity of a place that had some Topps Update on the shelf (no thanks to the Walmart in my town) and decided to join the Update party.  Last year, one of my first Update pickups had a Mike Trout jersey card, but this year I had no such luck.  Still alright, since I prefer this year's design over last year's.

Of course, in the Update set, you're sure to get a lot of rookie cards.  If you're like me and focus primarily on one team, many of these newbies aren't that recognizable (though it helps if you're a fantasy player, which I wasn't this year).  If you had asked me before the playoffs who Michael Wacha was, I would've guessed a member of Congress or maybe an actor on the USA Network.  Now I know that he's the NLCS MVP.

Speaking of rookies, here are a few more.  I had never heard of Brad Miller, but his sweet Mariners throwback gets him on the post.  Zack Wheeler is a rookie that I'd heard of, since I'd seen him dominate the Padres earlier in the year.

Here are some of the "Update Specials".  Not Rookie cards, but "Rookie Debut" cards.  Can't say that I'm the biggest fan of these, but I wouldn't have minded if Jedd Gyorko had been slotted one of these.  As you can (maybe) see, the player's MLB debut is printed in silver foil on the bottom right.  Find it interesting that Jurickson Profar's MLB debut was in 2012, yet is still included in the '13 set.

Okay, last rookie card, I promise.  Great looking card of the Pirates hurler, especially digging the yellow in this photo.  

Even more plentiful than the rookie cards are the All-Star cards.  I am not a huge fan of these, which is probably because I'm a bitter Padres fan and no Padre has played an inning in the All-Star Game since Heath Bell came sliding out of the bullpen to pitch to one batter in 2011.  Or maybe because some of the shots are like this one of Manny Machado and just don't look that great.

Speaking of Machado, here is an insert that is new for the Update set - Franchise Forerunners.  Cute alliteration aside, these don't look too bad, though it seems like an excuse to make even more cards of Cal Ripken Jr.  Orange is my favorite color, so I like this card, though the Orioles pennants look a little... forced here.

Also new to the Update set are the 1971 minis, replacing the 1972 minis from Series 1 and 2.  I am a much bigger fan of the '71 set and it's black borders than the "groovy tombstone" theme of the '72 set, so I was excited to see these in hand.  Unfortunately, there are no Padres in this set, which is exactly what happened in last year's Archives set when they used the '71 template for 50 cards.  Not sure how many of these I'll try to track down - maybe reusing the '71 set too much has taken some of the shine off of it.  Or maybe it's because most of my cards that are actually from 1971 are worn and creased, and I prefer them to look that way instead of these crisp edged monstrosities.

Here are some cards of a guy that plays for the Dodgers.  I guess I was lying about the whole "no more rookie cards" thing.

Last but certainly not least, here was by far the best card of the lot.  I was almost worried that I would get shut out of Padres, but the second to last card was of outfielder Kyle Blanks.  Blanks got one of the best cards in the set last year, and though this doesn't quite touch the greatness of 2012, this is still a pretty legit photo of the Padres giant.  From this angle, the Padres uniforms almost look not horrible.  Almost.

Well, with the budget being the way it is, and the lack of Padres in the set, I can't say that I think I'll be buying too much Update, but since it is a little cheaper than the rest of the sets that are out there, I'll probably revisit it again.  Months after its initial release, I'm still a big fan of the 2013 flagship design, and am not looking forward to the design that's been released for the 2014 season.

I am not keeping many of the cards I pulled, so hopefully I can get them all posted on a trade list soon and exchange them for some Padres or something.

EDIT: Trade list has been updated, including other sets that I've been meaning to update for the past month.  Lemme know!