A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Monday, March 31, 2014

A "Real" Padre?

In a recent post (I can't remember where and don't feel like looking it up right now), I mentioned the idea that there are guys that play on the Padres, and then guys that are real Padres.  My weird fandom has differentiated tiers, I guess.

Sometimes it's because they're only with the team for a little bit, or maybe they didn't do well as a Padre.  Other times it's because I didn't like them personally or maybe I just wasn't a big Padre fan during their tenure in San Diego.

The criteria changes for each player.  Probably.

One way of earning "Real Padre" status is hitting a game tying home run in your first at bat as a Padre. Seth Smith did just that last night, helping erase a 1-0 deficit with a solo shot to right in the bottom of the 8th.  Chris Denorfia would have a 2 RBI single later on in that inning, which would help the Padres win their Opening Night game against the Dodgers 3-1.

So thanks Seth Smith!  A great way to start the season.

A few more of those, and maybe Padre fans will be able to forget about that time that you played for the Rockies.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Uh… Better Late Than Never

I'm a teacher, and teachers are the biggest copycats.

"Hey, do you have a copy of that worksheet?  Can I have it?"  "That's a great idea for a lesson, I'm totally going to do that!"  "Where did you get those?  I want some just like it."

I try my best to put my own "spin" on things.  Lots of activities/games/stuff we do in class I'm able to pull off because of the combination between a good idea (borrowed or original) and my own personality/enthusiasm/charisma.  I try not to be a total copycat in every area (although there are of course things that I do according to best practices, etc.)

As I close in on my second year of writing about baseball cards and the Padres, I've adapted a lot of good ideas and come up with some of my own as well.  There was at least one idea that I completely plagiarized and didn't really change in the slightest: the "Give 'em the Game Ball" column on the side of the blog.

This was blatantly ripped from Night Owl.  I gave him credit when I first introduced it, but if you missed that post, you're probably thinking, "Hey, that guy's a total ripoff!"  It's true.

I tried to think of a way to improve it/change it, and the only things that I tried that worked to make it different were a) not giving it the same name, and b) doing it for the Padres instead of the Dodgers.

Well, tonight the 2014 season begins for my Padres, so it's time to take it down and start over again.  Here's the final listing for "Game Balls", given to the player who I believe was most integral to the win for that game (no game balls given for games lost).

12 players tied with 1 - Burch Smith, Chase Headley, Chris Robinson, Huston Street, Ian Kennedy, Jesus Guzman, John Baker, Logan Forsythe, Luke Gregerson, Pedro Ciriaco, Rene Rivera, and Ronny Cedeño

In 2013, Chase Headley got MVP votes.  As in "Most Valuable Player".  He led the NL in RBI.  This year, that fell drastically, and the unofficial measurement of "GB" (game balls) is a good measurement of this.  Of course, you could also look at other stats, like 65 less RBI or 18 fewer homers.  

Headley is the only starter on the "1" list, and the rest are mostly bench guys.  The exceptions are bullpen guys Huston Street and Luke Gregerson.  Hard to really be an "integral" part of the win if your only job is to keep the team from losing (if that makes sense).  Still, they were able to scrape together a pair of GB's for the bullpen, the only two that the bullpen would get.

3 players tied with 2 - Carlos Quentin, Robbie Erlin, and Tommy Medica

A sharp decline from the number of players with 1 to the number of players with 2.  None of these players spent much time with the big league club.  CQ has a time share on the disabled list, while Robbie Erlin bounced back and forth between AAA and San Diego.  Tommy Medica was a late season call up who had a few clutch hits with the big club.  Both Medica and Erlin will begin the season in San Diego, while Quentin will start… on the DL.  



4 players tied with 3 - Alexi Amarista, Edinson Volquez, Jason Marquis, and Tyson Ross

Of the four players with three GB's, Alexi Amarista is the only one that is a position player.  Volquez and Marquis are (thankfully) no longer with the Padres.  Volquez is a disaster, and while I like the bulldog mentality that Marquis brings, it's nice to have better options than him.  I predict that Ross will have more than three this year, I think he'll surprise a lot of people.

4 players tied with 4 - Eric Stults, Everth Cabrera, Nick Hundley, and Yonder Alonso

Eric Stults is the only player that played a role on the team the whole season.  Cabrera was suspended after the All Star break for PED use, while Alonso spent time on the DL with a hand injury that made him less than dependable as the year went on.  I think this will be his breakout year - while he might not hit a ton of homers, he'll be a doubles machine and hit for a high average.

2 players tied with 5 - Jedd Gyorko and Kyle Blanks

Two of my favorite current Padres here, even though Blanks will start this season in AAA.  Gyorko had a really good, though not great rookie season.  He could stand to cut down on strikeouts and raise his average a bit, but he showed that he had power and led the team in homers.  Blanks is less injury prone than CQ, but still not a reliable guy, as far as health goes.  TONS of potential, but we may never see it fully realized.  The guy is a beast, though, and can hit the ball a long way.


2 players tied with 6 - Andrew Cashner and Chris Denorfia

Ok, so I really like Blanks and Gyorko, but I love Cashner and Denorfia.  Easily my two favorite current players.  The Padres had some injury bugs bite during Spring Training, and while losing Cameron Maybin is (probably?) not good, it will give Denorfia more playing time, so I'm excited for that.  As far as Cashner goes, I really hope that I'm not getting my expectations too high, but I see him as a Cy Young caliber pitcher.  We'll see how he does tonight, as he is the Padres Opening Day Night starter.


Oh, and as if I needed any more reason to love these guys…

Deno with the walk off...

and Ca$h with the dive to score a run… as a pinch runner.

Most on the team - Will Venable, with 8.

Alright, so I have a lot of love for the previous four guys, but I just don't have as much for Venable.  Solid player, who was named the team MVP last year (I would've gone with Cashner), but for an everyday player, I dunno, he just doesn't do it for me.  Had a "breakout" year last year and had 22 homers, but only a .268 average and 53 RBI.  It's not his fault that he hit a bunch of solo home runs, but it seems like he couldn't come through in the clutch as much.  Still, I'll give it to him, he did lead the team in GB's.  Gotta be worth something.

So there it is, a few hours before the 2014 season, the 2013 season wrap up.  The Padres finished '13 with the same record as 2012 (76-86).  I predict that they will improve on that this season and finish second in the NL West, behind the Dodgers.  I think that they will contend for a Wild Card spot, but will probably come up short (wouldn't mind being wrong about that one, though).

Every discussion about the Padres performance this year is filled with "if they stay healthy" projections (valid, since CQ, Cameron Maybin, Josh Johnson, and a bunch of other guys are DL regulars), but I think that even with some injuries, they'll still make a pretty good team.

Either way, I'll love 'em.  Can't wait for tonight!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Fosters

I guess there is a TV show called "The Fosters".  This is not a post about that show.

As I've mentioned before, my son's name is Foster.  He is named after an ancestor of mine named Foster Curtis.  Foster Curtis was born in 1826 and was a private in Company D of the Mormon Battalion. The group, as part of the US Army, marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, CA, a trip that spanned over 2,000 miles.  Later, he would help build the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City, UT, as well as being a member of the police force and a bodyguard to Brigham Young.  While researching about his life, I found a description of him that I found very powerful.

He was a man of the purest principles and greatest integrity, and he was well respected by all who knew him, where ever he went he gained the good will of all his associates. He was liberal to the poor, faithful and true to his trust as a servant of God.

While I'm not expecting my son (or myself) to walk 2,000 miles or construct beautiful works of art over 200 feet tall, I do hope that the same can be said for him, and that he is able to do his best to live up to his namesake.

My parents named me after Marcus Allen, an NFL running back that led the Raiders to the Super Bowl the year I was born, and I don't really even like football, so the idea of following a namesake doesn't always pan out.  Regardless, I'll always love the guy.

So much so, that after he was born, I started up the "Foster Collection".  While there are some baseball Fosters that I have more than one card of (George Foster is probably the most prolific, baseball card-wise), I finally completed a full page different Fosters.

I really like how these look on a page.  Good variety of years, players, uniforms, designs, etc.  Alan Foster is the only Padre of the bunch, and he was the first one I got.  The Foster Coleman and George Foster rookie were probably the most expensive, but weren't more than a few dollars.  The Rube Foster was the most recent addition and came via trade from Jeff at Fan-Attic Sports Cards.

Here's a quick look at each of the cards.  In most cases, I wanted a specific card of the player, but in some instances, I didn't really care which one it was.

Foster Castleman - 1958 Topps (#416)
Here is one of the few cards that I have from the '50s.  This is one of two that is not a Pacific Coast League Padre or Jerry Coleman.  Castleman has three Topps cards, from '56 to '58, and this one got a slight edge over the '57 because I kinda like the Orioles (though I prefer the '57 design).  This is the only baseball card of a player who's first name is Foster that I am aware of, the rest use it as a surname.

Alan Foster - 1976 Topps (#266)
Here's the only Padre in the bunch.  If you havta pick one, the '76 set is a good choice.  This is a very underrated uniform for the Pads, as the brown had not yet become completely dominant in the color scheme.  Foster also pitched for the Cardinals, Dodgers, Indians, and Angels, but ended his big league career in San Diego.

George Foster - 1971 Topps (#276)
I love all of my Foster cards.  I really do.  This one is the best, though.  Hands down, not even close.  You may have recently read that this is a pretty badass rookie card, so if you don't take my word for it, take his.  While George Foster is more known for being a cog in the Big Red Machine, he has a pretty unforgettable card as a Giant.

Kevin Foster - 1998 Collector's Choice (#54)
With the 90's players, there were a few cards I could choose from.  While I'm not that big of a fan of the  '98 offering from Collector's Choice, the Cubs throwback uniforms made this one an easy choice.  So much blue.

Leo Foster - 1975 Topps mini (418)
Even though you can't really tell, this is the mini version of Leo Foster's '75 Topps card.  While I don't always love the color combo that seems to be randomly assigned to a player, Foster's looks good here, especially with the cool blue of the Braves jerseys.  The rest of his cards seem to capture Leo with a weird look on his face, so this one was pretty easy to choose as well.  As a side note, my wife really likes the name Leo, so there's a chance that if son #2 happens along at some point, this card could be a double whammy.

Quincy Foster - 2000 Bowman (#170)
It was only when I was taking the picture for this card that I realized really how horrible this card is.  Before I thought it was just some weird black border, but it turns out that it's really a television.  You know, like how the '55 Bowman set had the old school, wood grain TV?  Well, since it's, like, totally Y2K, we decided to have an "updated" TV set.  Lame.  And now it's 14 years later and TVs don't even look like this anymore.  Well, mine does because we got it for free from a friend.  He was having a hard time giving it away.  Anyways, uh, back to Quincy.  You win the award for ugliest uniform, worst photograph, and most unique name.

Roy Foster - 1971 Topps (#107)
Alright, some vintage goodness to get the taste of '00 Bowman out of my eyes.  As far as I'm aware, this is Roy's rookie card, and his card in the '72 set is his last one.  I have both, but the All-Star Rookie cup makes this one the easy choice.  As if my deep love for anything having to do with the '71 design would let me choose either way.

Rube Foster - 1994 Ted Williams (#105)
As stated previously, this is the most recent addition to the Foster collection (though I got another one a few days after starting the draft for this post).  This one might edge it out because a) it shows good old Rube with some pretty hiked up pants and an interesting look on his face, and b) it's the Ted Williams company.  The fact that it's a non-Topps card makes me happy, as it's basically all we have left in the Hobby (sorry, I want to love you Panini, but I have a hard time backing anything you've put out recently, other than Pinnacle - and even that was mostly a nostalgic trip for me).  

While I have recognized the name, I knew little about Rube before this post.  As someone who organized the Negro National League, I'm sure he'd be happy to know that two-thirds of the Foster's on this page are African-American.

Okay, he probably doesn't care too much.

Steve Foster - 1993 Topps Gold (#193)
Last up, Steve.  Like Kevin, there were a few 90's cards to choose from, but I decided to go with a nostalgic favorite.  I'm a sucker for the gold cards from '92 and '93 Topps, and since the golds from '93 look just a bit nicer than their earlier counterparts, I went with this one.  Even though his legs are cut off, still a good action shot and well worth the use of the horizontal card design.

Anyways, thanks to everyone who has helped towards the Foster project.  Thanks for reading.

Foster, I know you can't read this yet, but I love you and you're pretty awesome, even if you're a bit of a stinker from time to time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Heritage Mailday

Compared to last year, when I was trying to track down all of the parallel cards that Chase Headley had in the Heritage set, finding the Padres "hits" in Heritage has been pretty easy.  Because there aren't really any.

The lone exception would be the ad panels that came in hobby boxes (I think?).  There were two of them that featured Padre players.  I managed to find a seller that had both of them, and was the lone bidder for each one.  I was able to get both of them for less than $5, shipped.  Not too bad.

 If the Padres are going to do well this year, it will be because Jedd Gyorko (along with a few other players) has a great year.  He was the best rookie second baseman in baseball last year, as evidenced by the "All-Star Rookie" trophy on the card.  Not sure how much competition there was for that, though.  Don't really know much about Brad Miller, but I really thought that Bryce Harper would drive up the price of this one.  Maybe collector's weren't fans of his haircut.

The big surprise was the inclusion of Eric Stults.  Until the injury to Josh Johnson, he was projected to be the Padres 5th starter, and after a less-than-stellar spring, I wouldn't have been surprised to see him left out of the rotation completely.  I'm still a fan of his, as he was the Padre in my blog header before Andrew Cashner, the current guy up top.  Stults is a crafty lefty who, on his good days, is a poor man's Greg Maddux, relying on location and ground ball outs.  The other two players are Florida guys, Jeremy Hellickson and Giancarlo Stanton.  Now that I notice it, neither of the five teams shown on either panel were in the league in 1965, when this design was used by Topps.

Here's the back.  Not much to see, pretty boring.  The sepia toned picture isn't too bad, but the "Embossed Star Portrait" doesn't seem like something I'd be too terribly interested in.

Overall, I wouldn't say that I love these, but I've always thought the ad panels were pretty cool and finally had a reason to pick a few up.  Not quite sure how these will be stored, so they're in a box alongside a few jumbo sized cards.

Anybody else a fan of these?  I think they've done 'em for a few Heritage sets, and I'm not sure how many different ones there are in this year's set, but I liked these enough to pick 'em up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Section M of the Misc. Padres

Here is today's installment of my Countdown to Opening Day 2014.  Each countdown post will feature a section of my Miscellaneous Padres binders.  Separate from my Team Set binder, Rad binder, Tony Gwynn binder, and Player Collection binder, are a pair of binders that hold all the rest of my beloved Padres.  I think they're awesome.


In lieu of writing something about my life, the Padres, or baseball cards at the beginning of this post, I have copied and pasted a section of the "Baseball Dictionary" from Grantland.com.  If you like baseball and have a computer, you probably already know about Grantland, but for the uninitiated, here is a sample of the "M's" from this article

Maddux (exp.) — a complete-game shutout requiring fewer than 100 pitches. Invented by baseball blogger Jason Lukehart, a Maddux is a start in which a pitcher shows both dominance and peak efficiency. As you can probably guess, the leader in Madduxes (which can be tabulated starting from only 1988, when pitch-count totals became widely available) is … Greg Maddux.
#MartePartay (exp.) — catch-all term meant to convey the greatness and party-inducing skills of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte (h/t @JonPgh).
Mendoza Line (exp.) — a .200 batting average. Named after light-hitting infielder Mario Mendoza, the Mendoza Line was conceived as a way of shaming players who hit less than .200. You can gain a more accurate view of a player’s ability (or lack thereof) by comparing him to replacement level.
Mystery Team (exp.) — term often floated by agents, teams, and other interested parties, often to drive up the price of a player involved in trade or free-agency rumors, then dutifully reported by (some) writers covering the beat. On the rare occasion when a Mystery Team actually does land the player in question, it can be both jarring and kind of awesome.
M:
Shane Mack – 1
Greg Maddux – 11
Mike Maddux – 4
Carmelo Martinez – 2
Jose Martinez – 1
Tim Mauser – 1
Cameron Maybin – 1
Willie McCovey – 1
Lance McCullers – 5
Ray McDavid – 10
Kevin McReynolds – 1
Jose Melendez – 2
Cla Meredith – 5
Matt Mieske – 1
John Montefusco – 1
Jerry Morales – 1
Cole Morton – 1
Ivan Murrell – 2

Randy Myers – 1

Total cards - 52
Total players - 19
Most - Greg Maddux (11)
Least - Eleven are tied (1)
Oldest - Ivan Murrell (1970 Topps)

Fitting that the first entry for Grantland is also the first cardboard subject.  While Greg Maddux is an all time great, I don't think that I would be nearly as big a fan of his as I am had he not made a brief stop near the end of his career in San Diego.  Made it out to a game he pitched - not a bad story to tell the grandkids, that I saw a game where Greg Maddux got the win and Trevor Hoffman got the save.

Speaking of Madduxes, here's current Rangers pitching coach and Greg's brother Mike.  The back of this card tells us (in case you couldn't tell from the umpire in the bottom shot) that Ivan Calderon was safe at this play at the plate.  While this may not technically be a Maddux card, it's still a pretty killer part of the MP binder.

The "M" section is the only one that has two Hall of Famers.  Willie McCovey is awesome, and his 1967 card was the most expensive card I bought as a kid (and actually that $18 still is the most I've ever spent), and was my first ever "vintage" card.  This one looks a lot better, though, since he's rocking the 70's brown and yellow.  And look at that smile!  He was born to be a Padre!

Ok, maybe that's a bit of a Stretch.

Lance McCullers might tie with Jim Lewis (from the previous post) for the most extreme case of pitcher's face.  That, plus the fact that I love the blue border that some of the late 80's Score sets had makes this one of the best of the "M" class.

Ivan Murrell has a career .236 average with 33 home runs, and even though his ten year totals aren't spectacular, he's an Original Padre, and has some pretty good looking vintage cardboard.  I'm not normally a fan of the gray borders of the 1970 Topps set, but this one just looks good.

Alright, the M's are done.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Section L of the Misc. Padres

Here is today's installment of my Countdown to Opening Day 2014.  Each countdown post will feature a section of my Miscellaneous Padres binders.  Separate from my Team Set binder, Rad binder, Tony Gwynn binder, and Player Collection binder, are a pair of binders that hold all the rest of my beloved Padres.  I think they're awesome.

"L" is a letter that is probably a little too familiar for Padres fans.  3,843 regular season losses in 45 years averages to about 85 losses a season, which would be 8 games under .500.

The Padres in Section L of the MP binder aren't much to look at either.  No Hall of Famers, only a few who have put together decent careers.  Still all good enough to make the binder cut.  However, to save time with these posts, I've limited the number of cards to show to five.  I take all my pictures on my iPhone, and then email them to myself (and then download them from my email and attach them in blogger on my laptop).  If I want to send more than five pictures, I have to send them in separate emails, and even though it's not a huge hassle, anytime I can save a few minutes, I'll go for it.


L:
Mark Langston – 2
Mat Latos – 7
Brian Lawrence – 3
Wade LeBlanc – 3
Derrek Lee – 14
Mark Lee – 2
Craig Lefferts – 9
Jim Lewis – 2
Sixto Lezcano – 2
Scott Linebrink – 1
Scott Livingstone – 3
Keith Lockhart – 1
Mickey Lolich – 2
Tim Lollar – 5
Luis Lopez – 3
Terrence Long – 1
Mark Loretta – 2
Gary Lucas – 2
Ryan Ludwick – 1
Corey Luebke – 2
Fred Lynn – 3

Total cards - 70
Total players - 21
Most - Craig Lee (14)
Least - Four are tied (1)
Oldest - Mark Lee (1979 Topps)

This is easily one of my favorite post-90's cards.  I forget who I got this from in a trade, but it's one of the diamond-paralleled-type redemption cards, I think.  Oh man, I used to remember exactly what it was called.  Oh well.  Anyways, it looks pretty cool, and features a good shot of the best Padres pitcher since Jake Peavy.  Hopefully this year I can say that Andrew Cashner is the best Padres pitcher since Peavy.  Or really anyone for that matter.  It'd be nice to have an ace.

SOOO much to love about this card.  It's so awesome that even the hard to miss brown and yellow take a backseat to the main focus of this card.  I can't believe that I have somehow not even really noticed the All Star Game patch on the sleeve until now.  Because really, this card is all about Mark Lee's awesome glasses.  Are they sunglasses?  Reading glasses?  Spare headlights from his car?  Whatever he uses them for, they look great with that killer blonde mustache and flowing 70's mane.  

I only have two Jim Lewis cards, but both of them show what I like to call an extreme case of "pitcher face".  I'm not sure that I've seen a more severe case, to be honest.  It doesn't seem like his eyes are open, and his face is contorted to an absurd degree.  If you were to zoom in on just his face, you could have a field day with a caption contest of some sort.  Lewis had a short career in the bigs, but I'd still like to track down a few more of his cards.

My grandma told me that she wants to get me a Padres jersey.  I found some cheap ones online, but she said that she wants me to get a "nice" one in the $70-80 range.  While that's way more than I'd ever spend on a single piece of clothing, she told me that I was going to be a Padre fan for life, so why not get something that's going to last?  Can't argue with that logic.  Anyways, I've been trying to find one from the 70's, but haven't found any luck finding anything that has struck my fancy.  My next choice might be the Padres road jersey from the 90's, like Scott Livingstone is sporting here.  Not the most exciting choice, but it looks good on this card, right?

I guess everything looks good on a Stadium Club card, though.

Ryan Ludwick was a huge disappointment as a Padre.  He was picked up near the trade deadline in 2010, and even though he hit 6 homers and 26 RBI in 59 games, he batted a paltry .211, much lower than they needed to get them over the hump to make the playoffs (two games behind the division winning Giants and a single game behind the Braves).  This card was the only good thing to come from his time as a Padre, as it's one of my favorite photos in recent years.  Buster Posey holding up the glove and Ludwick pleading his case to the umpire.  Can't get much better than that.  Just imagine if he had been a halfway decent player.

That's it.  The L's are done.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Padre Overload - 6 Trade Posts Is Probably Too Much

There are times when I think to myself, "Self, I think we're running out of things to post about on this blog we've got going.  What are we gonna do?"

Then there are times when I think, "Aaugh!  The drafts are piling up!  I have features and trade posts and randoms stuff that I want to post and not enough time to do it!"

This is one of those times.

In an attempt to chip away at the mounting pile of trade posts, here is a six-in-one - more than enough Padre-packed cardboard goodness to keep you satiated for the rest of the month (and longer, presumably, for those who care little about my precious Friars).

We'll start off with my first ever trade package from Ryan at the "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog.

If there is a better card showing the need for the Padres to go back to their brown uniform roots, I haven't seen it yet.  Even the card companies are forgetting what team is wearing those boring blue duds.  Still, I guess the Brewers logo in the middle makes an already cool looking card a little more interesting.  You'd be surprised how many Brewers cards I've gotten in trade packages because they basically have the same uniforms as the current Padres.

I need to come to grips with the fact that I will never own all of the Tony Gwynn cards in existence.  There's just too many.  As of my most recent count, the number is past 450.  You'd think I already have these.  But I didn't.  Until now (well, a few weeks ago, if we're getting specific).  Easy favorite goes to the Bowman card on the far right, touting Gwynn's status as a minor league MVP.

The Wally Whitehurst card is an "Electric Diamond" parallel, which I happen to like a lot.  Nice shot of the Jack Murphy "orange line" in the background as well.  Rickey Henderson is always an easy induction into the Miscellaneous Padres binder, based on him being the greatest base stealer of all time, while Dennis Tankersley can credit his admission into the binder to his socks, worn properly.

Now that Adrian is a Dodger, cards really need to stand out to me for them to make the binder cut.  These two fit the bill, as I'm a sucker for the '09 O-Pee-Chee set, and any card commemorating a Padres win is good in my book.

Here are some other parallels, Mike Cameron in gold, Austin Hedges in purple.  Don't have much to say about Cameron, other than that I prefer cards of him that show him on defense, since he was such a high quality center fielder.  Hedges has had mixed success in Spring Training so far.  On one hand, he's shown off a rocket arm and has had some timely hits for the team, but he's also made a throwing error and hasn't hit consistently.  I'll be interested to see when he comes up to the big team, because he's got the skills to pay the bills.

I'll go out on a limb and say that easily, the best part of the stack Ryan sent is the inclusion of the (what is probably a) Padres team set.  Matt Stites was traded to Arizona in the Joe Thatcher deal, but Max Fried and Yeison Asencio were invited to Spring Training camp.  Fried hurt his arm early on, but sounds like he'll recover quickly.  

Alright, I guess the main highlight of the package was another Austin Hedges card that I didn't already have.  All Padres fans love Austin Hedges.  Or they don't know about him.  To know him is to love him.

O! Almost forgot, here's a Kyle Blanks refractor from 2012 Topps.  Great card.

Up next, a few cards from Greg aka Night Owl, the man who needs no introduction.

I really didn't think it would've taken me this long to finally land this Tony Gwynn card from last year's Allen & Ginter set.  Glad to finally have it.  I'm guessing N.O. landed this one in one of his attempts to find some A&G minis that he needed.  Hope he found 'em.


Here's the back.  The "Across The Years" isn't terribly original, as there are lots of "Born On Today's Date" type things in newspapers (well, at least the one's I've read), but I guess there probably aren't many baseball cards that do the same thing.  I can't believe that I didn't know that Gwynn and Chase Headley had the same birthdays.  I also love that Billy Joel is categorized as a "Piano Man" instead of a musician.

While the Gwynn was the best card of the bunch, there were some other very useful cards he included as well.  I mean, if you are the type of person who considers cards to be "useful".  Like me.

This Trevor Hoffman card was one that I needed to complete my Trevor Hoffman Topps Timeline Project.  I never announced it, and I picked up the rest of the cards I needed, so that will be a post for… some future time.  The Tom Lampkin will be put into the Rad binder like it is shown, back facing the front.  Gotta take the Padres catchers in gear wherever I can get 'em, even if it's above a few lines of stats.

This trio of cards just makes me smile.  Between the orange borders from '90 Score, the gray border from '84 Fleer, and the use of brown as a primary color, there are a lot of people who would say that these are ugly cards.  I don't totally disagree, but I think they're awesome.

Something about the Score cards really struck me - I miss cards like this.  Cards where it's not so closely cropped and you see more of the player and what they are doing.  Maybe you don't see every last detail of their face, but it's not a bad look.

This next single card is a result of a trade I made with Kalib over at Cubs Cardboard.

 If it's only gonna be one card, you can't do much better than Mr. Padre himself.  This is from this year's Topps set, a "Before They Were Great" insert.  While I'm convinced that the overwhelming majority of inserts in the flagship were designed to bore me to death, this one bucks the trend.  Maybe a little more foil than is necessary around the border, but in hand, these look sharp.  The background behind the photo has a cool quality to it that makes it look almost 3D, but not quite.  I guess I'm doing a lousy job of describing it, so check it out for yourself.

On the back we are reminded (or learn for the first time) that Tony was actually more of a basketball star at San Diego State than a baseball player - he didn't try out for the team until his sophomore year, and even then he had to be "convinced" to do so.

Speaking of getting Tony Gwynn cards from Cubs bloggers for the first time…

This came to me via PWE a week or two ago from Tom over at Waiting 'Til Next Year.  I am not sure that I have seen a Gwynn card with a bigger smile.  Go ahead and scroll up, the ones that have already been featured in this post show a tight-lipped, serious Gwynn.  Can't say I'm used to seeing a smiling Tony card.  Good to see.

In breaking with the theme of this post (a bunch of trades and a crapload of Padres), Tom also sent me this guy who played for… the blue team in Chicago…?  Just kidding, I know that even though there are no logos on this photoshopped card, that the awesomely named Rock Shoulders is in the Cubs organization.  I'm pretty strict on the non-Padres cards that enter my binders.  Rock Shoulders makes the cut. BAMF.

Next up, this batch of cardboard comes from Jeff over at Fan-Attic Sports Cards.

I already had a copy of this Gwynn card, but it is autographed, so it's in the Rad binder.  Good to have another copy for the Gwynn binder.  Since joining the blogosphere, I've become a big supporter of the "Bring Back The Brown" movement for the Padres uniforms, but the more I look at 'em, I really like how they used yellow.  The amount of yellow on this card is awesome.

Here's another trio of Gwynn's that I also needed.  Hard to pick a favorite here, but it's probably a toss up between the '92 Fleer and the '91 Studio.  I'll go with the Fleer, because, as I mentioned above, it's one of those "full body" shots, which have become non-existent with todays cards.

This Gary Sheffield card reminded me that I need to finish my post on this year's Donruss set, which features the return of the Diamond Kings.  Kind of.  Love me some Sheff cardboard.  The card of Frank Seminara is also a great use of the full body photography, showing Seminara's unique arm slot.  A lot to love about this one, from the black borders, the "orange line" in the background, and the released ball heading toward the plate.  Great stuff.

Not all of these were Padres, as Jeff took the time to dig up a Rube Foster card for my Foster collection.  I've been trying to find on of Rube for a while now, glad to finally have this one.

You could tell that he had been looking at my want list, as he also sent me these two cards to go towards my Astros team set.  Castro and Altuve are probably the two biggest names on the current roster, although the 'Stros have got some great players that are going to be working their way up the minor league ladder to the bigs pretty quickly.  Since getting back into collecting in 2011, I've chosen a set each year to put together a team set for a Texas team.  I now have the '11 Topps Rangers, '12 Heritage Rangers, '13 Heritage Astros, and have a good lead on the '14 Topps Astros.  

Last but certainly not least is a package I got from Jimmy over at a great new blog called S. Mack Talk. He's a big Shane Mack fan.  I took a photo of all the cards at once, because he batted a perfect 9 for 9 as far as cards that made it into binders.

The Gwynn and Hitchcock in the middle are "Hobby Reserve" parallels, as evidenced by the large gold stamp/foil thing in the bottom right corner.  The Joyner at the bottom is a die-cut card that looks a lot better than most Pacific cards have any right to be.  The Ben Davis card makes yet another Davis entry into the Padres catchers in gear section of the Rad binder.  There are three stickers, featuring great late 80's Padres Benito Santiago, Marvell Wynne, and Ed Whitson, and while I'm not always big on stickers pretending to be cards, these are all good in my book, so they're in.  The best card of the bunch though, in my opinion, is the "Picture Perfect" card of Greg Vaughn.  Another great full body action shot.

Six trades, eleven Tony Gwynn cards?  Sounds pretty good to me!

Thanks so much to all these great bloggers and trade partners.  You're all awesome.  I normally try to make an individual post for each trade, but with the week that I've had, it had to be done.  I still need to find a way to shoehorn a few more trade posts for trades from Mark, Wes, and Ethan, along with some other posts that aren't trade-related.

Anyways, if you're waiting for any mail from me, I've been unable to get to the mail this week, but I think that this coming week I'll be able to make it happen.  Sincerest apologies, like I said, it couldn't be helped.

Anyways, hope everybody has a great Sunday!  Take care.