A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Pair of PWE's

A semi-quick post today to show off a pair of PWE's that came my way recently.

We'll start off with some goodies from Judson at My Cardboard Habit.  My fellow Texan blogger has been generous with sending me some stuff that he knew I'd like from this year's Update set.  The three cards he sent down I-35 were all awesome.

My "Black Friday" purchase from COMC.com will net me the remaining pieces to the 2013 Topps Denorfia rainbow (tried to come up with a clever word for the project, like "Denorainbow", but it doesn't seem to be working), aside from the 1/1's.  Very glad to get this ahold of this one.

How many times have you guys been able to pull the "harder to get" cards of the guys that you really collect?  I've busted a few packs of Update, and I'd be way stoked to be able to pull any of the Denorfia parallels, but have been shut out completely from the Padre cards (there are only five of them, but still!).  Anyways, that's why I'm glad to have friends like Judson.

The remaining cards were just as crucial.

Two more of the Update Mini's!  I miscalculated in my last post, saying that I was 60% there (30 out of 50 cards), when in reality, these two bring me to 72% of the way (36/50).  I didn't add any of these to my COMC order, so I'll still be looking for the remainders out there.

On top of Judson's envelope, I also received a PWE from John at Johnny's Trading Spot.  He emailed me a while back to initiate our first trade, and I'll say that the first thing that impressed me was the amount of cards he was able to squeeze into an envelope!  He cut two rows from a plastic page and was able to fit about 2 or 3 cards into each space.  Smart thinking' John!

This was my favorite card from the group.  I coulda sworn that I already had this one, but I didn't.  Sheff looking serious here.

Here were the smallest and biggest cards in the package.  Something looks amiss with "Andrew" Benes' hat, which looks as poorly photoshopped as his uniform does.  Love the Gwynn card, another one that I thought I already had.

There was plenty of junk wax to be had in this one, and John said that he'd keep going through his boxes to find some good Padres, but that hopefully these would help complete some team sets.  Well, I'll go ahead and say right now that, as much of a Padre fan that I am, I don't want the team set of whatever year these Score cards came out.  Not a fan of the design/colors at all.  Still, I checked out the Miscellaneous Padres binders (the K-Z one, since it was recently divided into two binders) and saw that I had zero Shane Mack cards.  I don't need to have a card of every player who ever played for the Padres, but Shane Mack shouldn't be shut out.  I also like the Lance McCullers card because he is on some flat out rough looking pieces of cardboard.  This is a good example, as his eyes are closed and it looks like he's trying to pass a kidney stone.

See?  Even if it's junk wax, there's just no telling what will strike my fancy.

The last cards I'll show from John are these two catchers cards.  While I'm not sure that these will have a permanent home in my collection, these are definitely worth taking a look at here.  The Munson is definitely worn, but still a good looking card of a guy who is on some great looking cards (BTW, what's with the orange catchers gear for a Yankee catcher?).  The Campanella is also a pretty unique looking card, that I like despite the fact that it's a Dodger.  I don't hold too many grudges against the boys from Brooklyn.

Thanks a lot Judson and John!  You guys are great!

Alright!  Bonus PWE that made it's way here today!  Got this sweet looking Gwynn of eBay for a whopping 46 cents.  This may seem weird, but as a general rule, I normally don't look to buy Gwynn cards.  This is because 1) there are so many that there's really no "rush" to track them down - it's going to take a while, and 2) I get lots of them in trade packages, so in an effort to not already have all the Gwynn's that y'all are planning on sending to me, I try to leave 'em alone.  Still, this one was so cool looking and so cheap that I pulled the trigger.  At first I thought the "N" was a die-cut, but it turns out that it's actually a die-cut that is attached to a backing piece of cardboard, so the card has a good thickness to it.  Definitely worth the 46 cents.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Not Leftovers

Is everybody still stuffed from Thanksgiving?  This is proving a difficult time of the year to lose the final nine pounds that I need to achieve my New Year's resolution of losing 30 lbs.  But, I also resolved to be happy, so I guess one out of two ain't bad.  And no, I didn't intentionally start a post about eating a lot and needing to lose weight with a card of Tony Gwynn.  It just happened that way.  Sweet card though, right?

Anyways, speaking of the number 30, here are a few cards that recently came to me from Robert, the author at $30 a Week Habit.  

While many are enjoying leftovers today (and throughout the next few days), I imagine that this gold bordered Nick Hundley card is a leftover from his quest for Serial Insanity.  It's one that I can definitely use, as it will be moving into my recently created "camouflage" mini-collection.

These might not have been "leftovers" per se, but after Robert posted the contents of an Update purchase, he mentioned that he didn't need these Update Minis.  As of now, I have managed to complete 60% of the set (30/50).  Very nice.

The last card I'll show from Robert is this very cool Tony Gwynn card, one that I'd never seen or even heard of before.  It's from the 1996 Leaf Steel set.  It is actually made out of metal (not sure how to tell if it's actual steel or not), and I still haven't taken the "Protective Film" off of it (though I have done so on all the other cards who were apparently too wimpy to handle the real world on their own).  Very nice piece to add to the Gwynn PC.

Thanks a lot for the cards, Robert!  Wether or not they were "leftovers", they were still great!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! And Contest Results!

Today is Turkey Day!  Assuming that you enjoy Turkey on Thanksgiving.  Every year that we have been married (all seven of 'em) we have done the traditional stuff, big turkey, potatoes, etc.  I'm not much of a pumpkin pie guy, and most of the "normal" holiday food isn't really up my alley, but we still try to celebrate.  This year, we're going a little smaller and just making food that we really like, so no turkey this year (going with a cheaper and faster to make option).

Anyways, yesterday was the culmination of the Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's countdown, and at the beginning of the countdown (well over a month ago), I announced that I'd be holding a contest.  The questions that had to be answered about the countdown were:

1) How many Tony Gwynn cards will be featured in the countdown?
2) Which three Padres (besides Gwynn) will be the most represented in the countdown?
3) Name one Padre that will only have one card in the countdown.

Here were the answers:

1) There were 13 Gwynn cards, but if you count the one with Gwynn, Sheffield, McGriff, and Plantier, there would be 14.  Despite the large number, the highest ranking card of Mr. Padre was this one, at #7.

2) The three most represented Padres in the countdown were Steve Finley (five cards, plus one multiplayer card), Benito Santiago (five cards), and Gary Sheffield (three cards, plus one multiplayer card).  Trevor Hoffman also had three cards in the countdown, but Sheff gets the edge due to the multiplayer card.

3) There were 15 of players who made it into the countdown just once.  Those included Kurt Stillwell (#49), Ruben Rivera (#48), Jose Melendez (#46), Ted Williams (#41), Brad Ausmus (#38), Wally Joyner (#32), Fernando Valenzuela (#29), Jason Thompson (#28), Bip Roberts (#27), Melvin Nieves (#25), Roberto Alomar (#24), Tony Fernandez (#21), Greg Vaughn (#18), Paul Faries (#5), and Archi Cianfrocco (#4).  Lots to choose from with this one.

I think there are a few ways for me to look at the scoring for this contest, and since it's mine, I'll do it like this:

Question 1 - Three points for closest, two points for next closest, one point for the third closest.

Skroeker - 3 pts.
Dimebox Nick - 3 pts.
Defgav - 2 pts.
Spiegel - 2 pts.
John Hazen - 1 pt.
Nathan Bell - 1 pt.

Question 2 - Three points for each player that made it into the top three (Finley, Santiago, and Sheffield), and one point if you chose Hoffman, since he was so close.

Dimebox Nick - 9 pts.
TTG - 7 pts.
Spiegel - 6 pts.
Angels in Order - 4 pts.
P-Town Tom - 4 pts.
Dhoff - 4 pts.
Superduperman - 4 pts.
John Hazen - 4 pts.
Skroeker - 4 pts.
Wilson - 4 pts.
Brian Conrad - 4 pts.
Swing and a Pop Up - 4 pts.
Defgav - 3 pts.
Red Cardboard - 3 pts.
Nathan Bell - 2 pts.
Lost Collector - 1 pt.
Commish Bob - 1 pt.

Alright, with this question, everybody got on the board.  The Thin Gwynn, another big Padre fan, made up a lot of ground in this round, picking Finley, Santiago, and Hoffman.  Nick added six points, however, and looks like he's pulling away.

Question 3 - I know that I meant to have the third question as a "tiebreaker", but I think that since the results are not going change a whole lot, I'll just count it as much as the rest of them, and give three points if you were able to get one of our "one and done" guys.

Final Scoreboard:
Dimebox Nick - 12 pts.
TTG - 7 pts.
Dhoff - 7 pts.
P-Town Tom - 7 pts.
Spiegel - 6 pts.
Red Cardboard - 6 pts.
Angels in Order - 4 pts.
Superduperman - 4 pts.
John Hazen - 4 pts.
Skroeker - 4 pts.
Wilson - 4 pts.
Brian Conrad - 4 pts.
Swing and a Pop Up - 4 pts.
Lost Collector - 4 pts.
Defgav - 3 pts.
Nathan Bell - 2 pts.
Commish Bob - 1 pt.

Well, there you have it.  I've done three contests in the less than two year history of the blog, and Dimebox Nick has won two of them.  Conspiracy theorists can rest, as the "grand prize" of a rack pack of cards is hardly worth colluding with someone who is already a trade partner and friend of the blog.

Nick!  Shoot me an email of your top three rack pack preferences.  Last time I was at Walmart, I saw Update, some Bowman-type stuff, and a lone pack of Allen & Ginter, but I'm sure I'll be around Target as well this weekend, and there is usually more stuff over there.

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's: Final 5

Can you believe that it's already time to count down the Top 5 Padre Cards of the 90's?  It seems like it went so fast.  I'm already thinking of some other countdowns that I could do now that this one is over.  I'm leaning towards a shorter countdown, possibly involving Trevor Hoffman cards or something like that.

But today is not the day for that, it is a day for basking in the glory of 90's cardboard greatness, featuring Padre greats and Padre forgottens.  Blogger is telling me that "forgottens" is not a word, but if it's not, it should be.

Drumroll please...
#5 - Paul Faries, 1991 Upper Deck
I'd have to go back and double check, but I'm almost positive that Paul Faries has to be the most forgettable Padre on the countdown (though Jason Thompson gives him a run for his money).  This is not only the #5 best Padre card from the 90's, but it also is probably the best double play card featuring a Padre fielder.  Actually, is this a double play card?  Faries is definitely not throwing the ball, and the way he's jumping doesn't make it look like he just threw the ball, so I'd wager that the ball is in his closed glove.  Man, all this time I've been thinking that this was a sweet double play shot, and it's probably not.  Regardless, this is a very cool shot for a very unknown player.  Bravo Upper Deck.

#4 - Archi Cianfrocco, 1997 Upper Deck
While Archi Cianfrocco is one of my all time favorite Padres, he has been criminally underrepresented on this countdown - not because he's been snubbed by me, but because… his baseball cards aren't all that visually interesting.  Still, this is one of the best Padre cards of the 90's.  Hard not to look awesome when you're rocking the catcher's gear, but Archi definitely owns it (crap, I think I've been watching too much Project Runway).  Cool blurb at the bottom which says exactly when he was making his "rare appearance as a catcher".  I've written about this card before, and it's still great.

#3 - Benito Santiago, 1991 Score "Dream Team"
This is the second "Dream Team" card on the countdown, the first being Robbie Alomar's (#24).  All of the things I said about the Cianfrocco card are quintupled here.  I know it's a studio shot, but seeing Benito's deadpan stare while he's tossing the ball up in the air, as if daring the guy on first to just think about stealing?  It does not get much better than this.  When I started drafting the countdown, this was my early #1 pick, and it's hard to drop it down to #3.

#2 - Trevor Hoffman, 1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice
As action packed as #5 was, and as serious as #3 and 4 were, this one is just fun.  I loved Picture Day with the Padres when I was a kid.  Very bummed when they moved it from Saturday to Sunday, since that is our day of worship.  Still, seeing Hoffy with arms outstretched, a throng of fans behind him, and the "Keep The Faith" sign in the background - very cool.  I also kind of see it as a cocky "bring it on" sort of card, which was definitely how the team felt in 1996, the year that Hoffman is being celebrated for being an All-Star (also the first year of my childhood that they won the NL West).

#1 - Gary Sheffield, Phil Plantier, Tony Gwynn, & Fred McGriff, 1993 Upper Deck "Four Corners"
Alright!  We've reached the top!  When I thought about this countdown, I realized that there is no way for me to take my own biases out.  I am a fan.  As a fan of the Padres, there is no greater 90's baseball card of the Padres than this one.  Tony Gwynn, the bedrock of San Diego baseball, along with two of the most talented players ever to wear the Padres uniform (Sheff & McGriff) set to a San Diegan background?  Love it.  Throw in Plantier, who (in hindsight) seems very out of place, though he did become the sixth Padre to have a 100 RBI season in 1993.  Growing up as a kid in the early 90's, there was no better trio than Sheffield, McGriff, and Gwynn.

Of course, it would all be short lived, and they wouldn't make the playoffs until that great '96 season.  But I now have this card to remember the early promise of greatness.

Well, there you have it, the Top 50 Padres Cards of the 90's.  There is one very popular Padres card from the 90's that I didn't show because… I don't have it.  If you think you know which one I'm talking about, go ahead and leave a message in the comments.  Then send it to me.

I'll post about the countdown contest winners tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cards from Idaho

I received a bubble mailer over the weekend from one of my more recent trading partners, Chris from The Raz Card Blog.  Chris is a pretty awesome dude and makes me feel bad about denouncing Idaho when I left there in 2010.  In my defense, I had been there for four years and was tired of it snowing in July, but saying that I would never step foot in it again might've been a little extreme (though probably accurate, given my current location).

Anyways, it wasn't a huge haul in terms of volume, but the quality was definitely very high.

The Verlander above, plus these four '71 Update minis bring me to an even 30 out of 50 on the checklist.  I am very surprised that I've managed to get even this far, and it's been due to great people like Chris and Judson from My Cardboard Habit.  These cards are so awesome, and I now declare that I will never tire of the black borders of the '71 set, regardless of how many times Topps overuses the design for it's "retro" qualities.

There were a few random Padres and a Paul Konerko card in the package as well, but this was the other gem that Chris tossed in (believe it or not, I do have a "want list" that doesn't involve exclusively Padres).  I'd be hard pressed not to keep any card of a player rocking the sweet White Sox throwbacks, but that it's a card of Matt Lindstrom makes it even cooler.

Lindstrom has something in common with me and Chris, in that we have all served two year missions for our church.  In a very impressive coincidence, I served in Chicago, where Lindstrom played last year, Chris served in San Diego, where I was raised, and Lindstrom served in… Sweden.  Okay, so they can't all be coincidences, but Lindstrom was born and lives in Idaho, so it still kinda ties back together, right?

Thanks for all the cards, Chris!  I have a hard time complaining about the cold in Texas knowing how you guys must have it up north.

Stay warm, my friends.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Four Random Cards

This is a scheduled post, but as I write this, I am hoping that when it is posted, I will still be at home, instead of at work.  Central Texas is experiencing what most areas call "cold weather", but around here, you'd think that the world was ending.  There is talk that school may be cancelled or at least have a later start time today, so later on in the day, I'll post a weather update, since I figure my readers come for the cards but stay for the riveting information about my life.

Anyways, today's post is four random and seemingly unrelated cards that I've recently added to my collection.

I've kind of shied away from going full bore on collecting every Chris Denorfia card prior to his Padre days (there are a ton of inserts/parallels/autos from his days as a Reds prospect that I don't have the time/energy/money to track down, plus I obviously prefer his Padre cards), but when I saw this one, I knew it had to be mine.  Technically, this may be a Carlos Carrasco card, since that's the name that is plastered on the front.  I have never heard of the guy, but apparently he played for the Phillies, even though the card's color scheme matches Deno's uniform (yellow and green dots).  I'm probably late to the game on this one, but I didn't know that Denorfia's card from 2007 Topps Update was an error card.   Pretty cool in my book.

Okay, I guess two of these cards are somewhat related, since this Tadahito Iguchi card is also an error card.  The error here is that, while there is a photo of Iguchi in the background on the left, the picture on the right is of a completely different player.  This same picture is also on the back of the card as well.  Much like Carrasco, I have no idea who he is and no time right now to sit. down wand figure it out.  I actually got this one in a lot with the card above it, which was cool, since I was a big fan of Iguchi's after the great run the White Sox had in 2005.

Here's one that I pulled out of a pack recently.  I have no idea who Jake Elmore is, but I love love love the Astros uniforms here.  Can't go wrong with orange and blue, and the abundance of orange here is spectacular.  That it's a blue bordered card is a bonus as well, though it'd be better if it was a little darker to better match the uniform.

AHH!  I almost hit publish without looking up who Jake Elmore actually was!  Turns out that he played every single position for the Astros this year!  Looking it up on Baseball Reference, it look like he pitched and caught for an inning each in a 16-5 loss against the Rangers on August 16.  He has a perfect ERA of 0.00, retiring Mitch Moreland, Jurickson Profar, and David Murphy on 11 pitches.  That game might've been closer if the 'Stros hadn't given up eleven runs on seven hits and two errors in the 3rd inning alone.

That said, I still know basically nothing about Elmore.  This is definitely enough for now.

Last but not least, my first autograph of Keyvius Sampson.  Sampson recently was added to the 40 Man Roster on the Padres, and he's been tearing it up in whatever Fall League he's been in.  While he might still have a season or so until he gets a legit shot at making the move to the bigs, seems like the dude's got a lot of potential.  He's one that I follow on twitter (@K_Samp2) as well, and seems like a good human being as well.

Well, there ya have it!  Four random cards, and only one was a Padre!  Well, Denorfia and Iguchi would later become Padres, so I'm not going way off book here.  Hope everybody had a great weekend, I may or may not keep y'all posted on the weather situation.

EDIT: School had a two hour late start this morning.  It was 33 degrees and raining on my way to work.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chris Denorfia's Lone Topps Card of 2013

As you may or may not know, Chris Denorfia is my favorite current player.  There are many reasons whyHe most recent recipient of the "Heart and Hustle" award, which is given to a player from each team who "demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and tradition of the game."  He also won the "Wilson Defensive Player of the Year" award for the Friars, as he led the team in outfield assists with 13.

The guy is gutsy and gritty and all those other adjectives that you use to describe a guy who doesn't always get a lot of playing time (he usually platoons in right field with Will Venable and comes in to face lefties) but still gives his all when he gets a chance.  He's also a hard working, humble guy who is a fan favorite, and my brother and I got his autograph a few Spring Trainings ago.

Well, the past few years, he's been a little snubbed by Topps.  In 2011, he got a very awesome card in the Update set, and also appeared on the Padres team card (picture from the same game, rocking the throwback uniforms).  In 2012, he appeared in the Update set as well, and even made it onto the Heritage set as a Short Print.  Lots of people were after that Denorfia card last year, and I managed to pull one from a pack.  Very cool.

This year, he only got featured in the flagship set, once again... in the Update set.  I'm not sure if the Update set gets the same treatment as far as the mail-in "blue shiny" parallels, but since it's his only card for 2013, I decided to chase the parallels.  Here's what I've managed so far...

The Camouflage Parallel, numbered to 99
When it comes to parallels, this is my favorite one, especially for Padres players.  Seeing as how their Sunday uniforms look almost exactly like this, it seems very fitting.  I've already nabbed a few other Camo Padres, but seeing as how they're serial numbered, putting together a set would be way too pricey and not at all necessary.  Still, I'm digging the look of this card.

As far as serial numbered cards go, this is the "largest" of the set, not counting the Gold Parallels, which are serial numbered (to 2013), but not with the fancy foil that you see here.

The Black Parallel, numbered to 62
The black border here really makes it seem like this is a "night shot".  Digging around, I found out that this was taken after Deno had homered in the 5th inning of the July 26th game against the Phillies.  I'll assume that by the 5th inning, it was getting dark.  The game would actually go to 13 innings, with the Padres losing on a pair of errors.  Go Padres.

Numbered to 62 because that's how long Topps as been around.  Probably?

The Pink Parallel, numbered to 50
Hmmm... the photo of this one doesn't do justice to just how pink it is in hand.  Seems kinda red in this photo, but trust me.  Seeing the pink borders reminds me of how much I'm sure the Ladies Love Cool Chris.  He was rocking a long, Fabio-inspired mane last year, which would later feature a beard, but moved to a cleaner look for 2013.  

Guess I haven't commented on what the backs actually say.  Thought it was interesting that in 2013, Chris made the stat null and void, since he hit a walk off, two run homer against the Reds, giving them a 2-1 victory.  Did not think that I'd be seeing Mark Parent's name on the back of a baseball card ever again, good to see a Padre backstop get some love.

The Emerald Parallel
I know that I've already shown this one before, but here is the last parallel that I'll show.  It's not numbered like the rest of the ones shown today, but it's still Deno and it's still awesome.  Almost finished with the emerald team set, just four more to go.

You may have noticed that I didn't post the base card - that's because I don't have it yet!  Crazy right?  I'm looking to finish off the rainbow of parallels, since I think I've got the most difficult ones taken care of (minus the Sapphire #/25 and the printing plates).  Hoping to score the red and blue parallels on the cheap, but who knows.

For inquiring minds, here's the original, uncropped photo, taken by Denis Poroy, culled from the Getty Images site.  Not a bad photo at all, but it would've been even cooler if the boys had been working on their Top Gun high-five.  Someone needs to bring that back.

To wrap up this Deno-centric post, here are a few videos of Denorfia that might help to illustrate why he is so awesome, since there are probably a few who don't even know who he is.

Walk off homer against Aroldis Chapman.

Heart and Hustle.

Makes another pretty sweet catch.

Home run on a high chopper down the third base line.

Happy weekend to everybody!  If you get the chance and haven't voted yet, Nachos Grande is running the Blogger Bracket Challenge and the race is tight right now - head over there and vote.  Preferably for me, but if you go with someone else, I won't hold it against you.  Voting ends sometime today.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's: Inserts, Man (10-6)

I imagined that there would be a lot more hoopla surrounding the unveiling of the Top 10 Padre Cards of the 90's.  Maybe it's because the TV spots weren't as great as they seemed in the studio, or maybe it was the disrespectful mustaches that were drawn on the bus ads.  I think the mustaches were drawn on by Dodger fans.

Of course, the lack of fanfare can't be blamed on these gleaming pieces of cardboard, right?  Of course not, that's just ridiculous.  I guess that might just leave my writing to blame...

Hm, anyways, here you have it, the first half of the Top 10.  Spoiler alert: as the title of the most may hint at, four fifths of this post features inserts.  Score.

#10 - Fred McGriff, 1993 Topps "Black Gold"
If I was judging solely on nostalgia, this would easily be in the top five, and might be at the top of the whole heap.  This is one of the few cards from the countdown that I actually pulled out of a pack as a kid.  Sheffield and Gwynn were the other Padres included in the "Black Gold" insert set, which was very cool, but I didn't get those other ones until after I started the blog.  Up until this point, this was the shiniest that a card from Topps' flagship had gotten, and I was definitely digging it.  I'd say this is still my favorite insert that Topps has ever made.

#9 - Fred McGriff, 1993 Donruss Triple Play "Nicknames"
Triple Play was a fun little set, but was still kind of the "little kid" to most of the other brands out there. Still, they hit it out of the park with the "Nicknames" inserts.  As far as I know, this is the only card that has McGriff's nickname on the front of the card, and the fact that it is the headliner while McGriff's actual name relegated to the bottom only makes it better.  I would've preferred a picture of McGriff at the plate, but if "Crime Dog" is written in bold foil on the front, it's hard to go wrong.

#8 - Tony Gwynn, 1994 Fleer "Pro-Visions"
This is probably definitely the most outrageous card of the countdown.  So.  Many.  Things.  Going on here.  Between the Fleer batting gloves, a lucky Baseball book at the end of a rainbow, baseballs orbiting Gwynn's head, and Tony dressed as a actual pinstriped friar, this is a pretty spectacular card.  Kind of like how Tremors was so bad it was good, this card is so ridiculous that I love it.

#7 - Tony Gwynn, 1994 Topps Stadium Club
How about a serious Gwynn card to cleanse the pallet?  This shot of Tony and his bat is, in my mind, a 90's classic.  While there were plenty of cool action shots to be found in '94 TSC, a calm, composed Gwynn decked out in his orange Franklin wristbands just looks so killer.

#6 - Gary Sheffield, 1992 Fleer Ultra "All-Star"
1992 was the year that I got really into baseball cards, and '92 Pinnacle and Fleer Ultra were some of the big reasons why.  While the base set looked cool (a lot cooler than the simple design of Topps), the inserts were awesome, and the All-Star cards from Ultra were some of the best.  By now I've raved plenty of times about how cool black borders on cards look ('92 Pinnacle, '71 Topps, etc.), so so see the black border have a marble look to it, plus the gold foil and actually have a Padre in the checklist?  I thought it was awesome.  I still do.

Well, there you have it.  The next post in the countdown will showcase the Top 5 Padre cards of the 90's.  Comments on the countdown so far are appreciated.  Get stoked.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Josh Johnson is Probably a Padre

Last night I was hanging out on the couch with my wife and we were having a conversation about something.  I think it had to do with our trip home this Christmas, or maybe something about what we are planning on doing the rest of the week (seems like we've actually got some stuff on our previously non-existent social calendar), but I remember the tone was "semi-serious-type stuff, but still casual enough that I could still be browsing on my iPhone and she could still be using the laptop while we talked."

She seemed a little taken aback when I checked twitter and, seeing that my timeline had exploded with talk of Josh Johnson signing with the Padres, let out an audible "Woah!"

She seemed immediately intrigued by asking me what I had just read, and then immediately disinterested when I started to explain who JJ was and why the Padres had signed him, etc.

The reason that the title of this post says "Probably a Padre" is because, as most baseball fans know, Johnson is pretty injury-prone, and it sounds like he still needs to pass a physical for the deal to be "final", but by all accounts, it seems like, health-willing, he'll be going to Spring Training in Peoria as a Friar.

This is my only Josh Johnson card.  After reading the news, I checked out the Recent Sets section of one of my non-Padres binders and found that he was absent from the handful of pages of recent ('11 to present) sets that I'd kept for myself.  I found this one in my trade box.  It's a short print from this year's Allen & Ginter set that nobody had asked to trade for, so I saved it from the box and will be giving it a home with a small handful of other 2013 A&G cards that I'm keeping.

While the last thing the Padres need is another player who is injury prone (see Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Cory Luebke, Casey Kelly, plus guys who had significant time on the DL last year like Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso), but I really like the move as a fan.  It's a one-year deal, basically in hopes that Johnson will bounce back and prove that last year was a fluke and get a fat contract elsewhere.  I won't be buying any Josh Johnson merchandise since it's pretty much a rental, but I'm glad that the front office was willing to roll the dice, since signing a player like Johnson is a good "win now" move.  

Even if they don't "win now" (which many project that they won't), if he rebounds, then he might make a good bargaining chip at the trade deadline, and if at the end of the season he's still on the team and they make a qualifying offer that he rejects, they'll score a draft pick out of it.  It's also got some incentives in the contract (nothing too heavy, from what I can tell), that should protect the Pads somewhat if the injury bug bites early.

I've actually be pretty surprised with the difficulty the Padres have had in landing a decent free agent pitcher, since Petco Park is always being heralded with the term "Pitcher's Paradise".  What pitcher wouldn't want to play half of his games in Petco (not to mention spend plenty of time in San Diego).

Anyways, if you had told me that the Padres would be signing Johnson at the beginning of the offseason, I would've been very doubtful.  Now we just need to find the "Pitcher Time Machine" for JJ and Ian Kennedy so they can think that it's 2010 and 2011 (respectively), when both were in the top five for the Cy Young voting.

Can't beat a little Hot Stove action in mid-November!  Go Padres!

Edit: Josh Johnson is now, officially, a Padre.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Is What You Get

I had planned on digging into the Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's (can't believe that that we're ready to start hitting the Top 10!), but things have been busy at school, and between helping out of the kids when I get home, planning for my class, and trying to navigate some student loan repayment plans (ug), time's been at a premium.

So, instead of taking a look at some sweet 90's cardboard, here is what you get: some much lamer cardboard from the late 80's.

The first thing that jumped out at me when I saw these cards is the name, since one of my buddies growing up had Nolte as a last name.  Funny guy.  The second thing that I noticed was the vacant stare that Eric seems to be sporting here.  I've never seen The Walking Dead, and I'm not a big fan of zombie movies, but this seems like a look that you'd see from somebody who eats brains.

I've mentioned before that, even though I'm your basic "team collector", I don't collect every card that has a Padre on it.  Too much junk that I don't want to waste time collecting and storing.  When I first saw the Donruss card, I thought "Hm, never heard of this guy, '88 Donruss is an ugly design, this one is gone."  Then, I randomly received the '88 Fleer card of Nolte, and I realized that they both needed to stay in my collection.

I'm not much of an expert when it comes to "where this picture was taken" type stuff, but it seems pretty apparent to me that these photos were culled from the same photo shoot.  Despite the absence of the lurker with the ball cap from the Donruss card, the rest seems identical - background: horizontal lines of the stands, green outfield wall with logos and the yellow stripe, and though you can't see the glove that he might be wearing on the Fleer card, I really can't imagine what that pose would look like without a glove ("Hey, how about you twiddle your thumbs while we take your picture.  Ya know?  Real big leaguer stuff).

Since I can't imagine Mr. Nolte getting any more press on this here blog, I'll go ahead and mention that in his four year career ('87-'89, '91), he pitched in 26 games (23 as a Padre, 3 as a Ranger) and accumulated a 5-8 record and a 5.63 ERA.  Not enough to guarantee you a spot in the Miscellaneous Padres binder, but if there's a small coincidence with some of your cards, it's enough of a novelty to get you in.  Don't want to be too exclusive, now.  It is just the Padres.

Anyways, this is also the post that you get when I have to clean out the photos taken with my iPhone.  This one has been sitting on there for a while, and since Foster started taking his first steps and is basically the cutest thing ever, I'm needing some more storage space.

I mean, seriously, is this kid for real?

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Like Having A New Trade Partner

I remember when I first started this blog, I was always emailing other bloggers for trades.  Checking want lists and trade lists and making my own lists - it was a lot.  A lot of work, but also a lot of fun.

Can't say that it's where I am anymore, however.  Now, I pretty much know who all my regular/semi-regular trade partners are, and I don't check a lot of lists, I pretty much know where a card is going to go if I decide that I'm not giving it a permanent home.

Anyways, after accumulating a few pretty decent Diamondbacks cards, I realized that since I didn't have any D-Backs fans in my current circle of traders, I would need to expand the radius and find one.  That individual happened to be Daniel from the blog It's Like Having My Own Card Shop.  After shipping off my end, here's what I received a few days later, starting off with my second Josh Barfield card.

A pair of shiny cards here, one celebrating a Gold Glove center fielder and another a former Cy Young award winner.  As you might've noticed, there were no Padre nominees for any of the year end awards this year (unless you count the guy that voted for Jedd Gyorko over Yasiel Puig in the Rookie of the Year voting), so these were nice to see and think of better days.  I'm normally not a big fan of the "creative spelling" that is found on some baseball cards, but the "Xponential" cards are not too shabby.

This Homerun Heroes is one that I already had, but I used it to show the size of some of these mini cards that Daniel sent along.  They were almost my favorite cards of the package.  Very cool, and this from a guy that isn't the biggest fan of minis.

Here's one reason these are awesome - they're from Cracker Jack boxes!  My wife and I recently got a Sam's Club membership and while looking for something to keep in a drawer at work to snack on, I found a box of individually wrapped Cracker Jack bags.  I've gone through most of them now, and the novelty of caramel popcorn has worn thin, and the stickers that are now included as "prizes" pale in comparison to these sweet little cards.

I don't have much to say about this one other than that I like it and it shows a Padre catcher in gear, which is a rapidly growing subsection in my Sweetness binder (yes, that's the name for the binder that has most of my mini-collections and other stuff that I deem to be awesome).

I don't think that I had any cards from the Sweet Spot set previously, but these two are some nice additions to my Khalil Greene and Trevor Hoffman collections.  Simple design with decent shots - I like these ones enough.

When I first contacted Daniel, he mentioned that he had some serial numbered Padres that he'd be sending my way, and while I appreciated the ones he sent, I think I actually tended to like some of the "non-hits" that he sent instead.  Here were the serial #'d ones that caught my eye, however...

When I first looked at these, I thought, "Great, two guys I've never heard of.  Probably never even made it to the bigs."  But thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to see that, while I was sort of right, that they still had a story worth learning about.

Alex Pelaez is a guy who seemed very unimpressive at first.  He only played in three big league games (two starts), getting two singles in eight at bats - no walks, no strikeouts - for a .250 batting average.  Further investigation shows that he played the first three games of a four game series at home against the Mets.  The Padres would lose all three games by a combined score of 21-7.  He would not see action in the fourth game, which the Padres won.

What really set Pelaez apart from the crowd, however, is his road to the big leagues:
1 - Born in San Diego
2 - Graduated from Chula Vista High School
3 - Played at San Diego State University
4 - Drafted by the San Diego Padre

Now, he played ball in the minors at a bunch of different places outside of San Diego, but it's pretty cool that he was born, raised, educated, and played professional baseball all in the same city.

J.J. Trujillo, on the other hand, has this little piece of history to hang his hat on:
Trujillo is one of only two pitchers in major league history to surrender a game-ending home run to the first batter he faced in the majors. On June 11, 2002, he began the 10th inning of an interleague game against the Baltimore Orioles and promptly gave up a walk-off home run to Tony Batista.

I didn't say it was something good.  He pitched in four games for the Padres in 2002, lasting 2.2 innings and left the majors with a 10.13 ERA.

Easily, however, this was my favorite card of the mailer.  Fred McGriff is one of my all-time favorite players, despite the brevity of his stint in San Diego.  He and Gary Sheffield made a pretty impressive duo in the Padres lineup, and it's cool that this Donruss "Spirit of the Game" card recognized it.  Who needs stats when you've got two awesome shots on the front and back?

Thanks again for the trade Daniel!