A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Friday, September 26, 2014

Old Reliable

With all the horrible things going on in the NFL, it's been hard to stay interested in the regular sports talk radio that I usually listen to while I'm driving.  God forbid they actually talk about baseball, but I live in Texas, so I guess it comes with the territory.

Anyways, instead of mindless radio jibber jabber, I've been digging up some of the gems from my music library.  It's been fun.  There was a particular day this week where I felt like I needed something different than what I'd been listening to.  I can only fit about 400 songs comfortably on my iPhone (yep, that's how I listen to music now, apparently), so my resources weren't really that extensive.

Then, I found it.  The perfect album to get me into a groove.

Was it something new?  Well, not quite.  It was a band that I saw about a dozen times as a high school/college kid.  Nobody outside of southern California has heard of them, and they were only around for a few years (enough to release a full length album and an EP), but they're my favorite band (disclaimer: if people ask, I claim The Clash, but just because more people have heard of them, rather than explain my life story with some obscure local band).

Well, in a roundabout way, I was feeling the same about some of my recent blogs.  Having a hard time feeling it.  So what do I turn to?  The old reliable.

What sparked my interest was a question from View From The Skybox author on twitter, and seeing this card recently in one of my binders:

The back of a regular old Trevor Hoffman card, you say?  Perhaps to the untrained eye.  Easy to miss Hoffman congratulating Archi Cianfrocco on being awesome.

A few posts ago, I said that, when I thought about my blog, the player that came to mind was Andrew Cashner.  This is because there are so many new cards (well, parallels) that I can chase down of his.

If I think harder about it, however, my Archi Cianfrocco collection is probably one of my favorites.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm the biggest Cianfrocco collector there is.  

Here's a page worth of Archi's rookie cards, from the '92 season.  There are a few more that didn't fit on the page, but seeing 1) Archi on cardboard, and 2) the old Expos uniforms is awesome.

I guess it's a collection that is easy to take for granted, because I have a pretty good majority of Cianfrocco's cards.  There are probably only a few parallels to track down, and maybe a minor league card or two.  Hard to get excited about a collection that is basically completed (and one that basically nobody else cards much about).

I'm pretty sure I showed this one already, but here it is again.  While we're speaking of cameo's, here's Archi totally photo bombing Brett Butler's card.  Extra special bonus points for having the Jack Murphy palm trees in the cave.

Well, there you have it!  My go to when nothing else will do: Archi Cianfrocco.

Not a better post subject with which to lead me into the weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three for Thursday

I'm a binder guy.  I like seeing the cards all laid out nicely on a page, and I like flipping through them quickly.  While I only have a handful of (very full) binders, I usually have a "favorite" binder, depending on my mood.

When my mind is on adding to my player collections, my Player Collection binder really interests me.  When I reorganized my Tony Gwynn binder, I couldn't get enough of it.  And for the really special cards (autographs, relics, rainbows, etc.) well, it's hard to put the Rad binder down.

However, if there's one I keep going back to, it's my Miscellaneous Padres binders.  I recently had to replace a binder that had almost completely fallen apart, so I've been spending some time with them lately.  At first, I was looking to trim the fat so I had some cards that I could pass out to my students.  I mean, I have stuff in the trade box that they would like as much as the next card, but my intent is to create Padres fans, so that's all I give them.

Anyways, while purging recently (which yielded about 20 cards from the 1,500 or so in both binders), I saw a few cards that I thought I'd toss up on this here blog.

Look!  A giant Andujar Cedeño is about to destroy Jack Murphy Stadium!!  Run for your lives!!!  Man, I really like Pinnacle.  I even liked the most recent set they put out last year, but haven't seen anything this year.  That is a bummer.  Oh yeah, and this reminds me that whenever I think of Cedeño, I think of how my dad would yell like the opening song of "The Lion King" whenever he batted: "AnduHARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR Cedeñooooooooooooooooooo!"

I've seen a few collectors comment on hour the shadows look on cards sometimes (lots of cards are taken during day games for better light, but this is by far the best looking shadow card I've come across.    Kevin Brown was a beast.  Wasn't the cuddliest guy out there, but he could pitch.  His 1998 season was probably the best ever of a Padres pitcher.  I just checked, and I guess Tom Glavine won the Cy Young Award that year, and Brown came in third in the vote behind teammate Trevor Hoffman.  If you check out the numbers, I think you'll agree that Brown got jobbed.

I forgot what the front of this card looked like, but I'm pretty sure it's not as awesome as the back.  Decent amount of stats, I guess, but cool to see Trevor Hoffman do the old "balancing a ball while bouncing it on a bat" routine.  Glad I'm not the only one who did that/tried to do that.

If you've made it this far down, I might as well tell you that I sent a few packages out last week, but finally got around to mailing a bunch of PWEs out to a few fellow bloggers.  As far as I can tell, all the packages were sent out last week (except my buddy TTG, but I got that one out today too), but yesterday I sent envelopes to these zip codes:

95843, 35750, 40475, 50131, 97535, 13601, 16101, 19713, 02766, 61615, 15232, and 03801

I finally used up the stamps that we bought to send out our Thank You's to the people who got us wedding presents.  My wife and I have been married for over eight years.  I had to double up on the stamps (thanks a lot, inflation!), and then had to use some… uh, I don't know… "vanity stamps"?  My grandpa took a picture of my wife and I while I was wearing one of his "Texas rancher hats", and he put it onto a stamp.  So some of you will get envelopes with those on there.  That's what my wife and I looked like about six years ago, so, yeah.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recycled GWYNNsday

Recycling.  Something that is good for the environment (c'mon now, don't just throw that stuff away!), but is much less of a positive thing when related to baseball cards.  For those not in the know, it is very common practice for Topps to reuse photos on multiple cards.  While it may save money (I guess the rights to printing pictures costs green), it makes for a lackluster cardboard experience that screams laziness.

That's why, when I saw Tony Gwynn's 2012 Allen & Ginter card, in all it's brown and gold glory, I was pleasantly surprised to see a photo that I didn't recognize - and a great one at that!

I loved it so much that I even declared it my Card of the Year in December 2012.  That it narrowly edged out a Cory Spangenberg card showed that I might've been more than a little biased in my choices, but I still stand by them.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened up a package a few weeks ago (Aaaugh!  I can't remember who it was from!  Sorry!  Claim it in the comments if you'd like proper credit!), and I found this gem:

Hey!  I recognize that guy!  This is from the 1985 Topps set, one of the "send in" offers.  I'd guess this photo was taken during a spring training warmup, judging by (what appear to be) the folding chairs in the stands.  I'll admit that getting the "Allen & Ginter" treatment makes this photo look a little more glamorous, but still a good looking card here.  Not sure I've ever seen thinner borders on a card.

Now that I've pointed this out, I'll have a bunch of comments saying the other cards that this photo has been used on.  Sorry, I can't believe you, this is the only physical evidence I have.  If you would like to prove your point to me, I can send you my address and you can send me said card(s).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vintage Palm Trees

So, usually the occasional "palm tree" cards that I post on Tuesdays are from the 90's, when Jack Murphy Stadium had palm trees behind the outfield walls.  Today's card is from… well, before the 90's.

It's actually from more than twenty years prior, from 1970 Topps.  Preston Gomez was the first manager for the MLB iteration of the San Diego Padres (the Padres were also a Pacific Coast League team that had been around since the '50s).  He managed three whole seasons with the Padres, and combined for 309 losses (110, 99, and 100).  He lasted 11 games in 1972 before getting canned, and went 4-7 in that stretch.  He left San Diego with a .363 winning percentage as a manager.  He'd go on to manage the Astros ('74-'75, .443 winning pct.) and Cubs ('80, .422 winning pct.), and would get fired midseason from both of those positions.

Man, that sounded depressing.  But hey!  Look in the background of the smiling Gomez!  Palm trees!  Spring Training!  Optimism!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting Caught Up

So, it's been a long time since I got back from my summer trip to San Diego.  I hinted that I wasn't sure if I was going to rock my Kevin Kouzmanoff replica jersey or my Raul Casanova Spring Training jersey, or maybe dress up as a Friar (y'know, because they're the Padres).

Well, I'm sure that so many of you were hanging onto the edge of your seats...

…speaking of seats, this is where I was sitting (it was floppy hat day, hence the ridiculous looking headgear by the guy in front of us)...

…we went as Friars!  I'm the weirdo on the left, in the darkest brown robe, with my brothers Tyler and Ammon to the right.  We used sheets that my mom and sister dyed brown, but it took longer than we expected, and my dad's didn't get the brown treatment.  This was pre game at my brother Tyler's place, where we met up before the game.

I was rocking a brand new '84 style Padres hat that I got myself for my birthday (big 3-0!).  I'm pretty much in love with it and wear it more than any hat I've owned (well, as an adult).

Well, the Padres beat the Braves with a walk off hit by Will Venable, who is my least favorite current Padre.  It was pretty fun rooting on Kevin Quackenbush and making fun of Andrelton Simmons with my brothers.  My dad was pretty upset that, despite dressing up like a bunch of idiots, we didn't get on the Jumbo Tron.  Apparently my "SOLARTE POWER!!!" sign didn't cut it.

We were able to snap a picture in front of the Tony Gwynn statue, which was a must do for my only trip to Petco this year.  As you can see, I was also wearing sandals to complete the Swinging Friar look.  

We went to the Padres gift shop and I picked up a few discounted items.  I couldn't afford the Chris Denorfia official jersey, which was discounted to $150 (he had been traded a few days ago), but this Luke Gregerson shirsey was only $10, so I snapped it up (he was traded in the offseason, and was a guy I really liked).

I also got the hat that I'm wearing in this picture.  Hard to tell from here, but it's a number 51, which is in reference to Trevor Hoffman's retired number.  Also a steal for $10.  This photo was taken at a hotel pool where my sister Charlotte and my brother Sam caught a free concert by Spoon, one of my favorite bands.  They released their new album "They Want My Soul" that day, and it was pretty rad.

Sam couldn't go to the baseball game with us because he had to work, but he is probably the most diehard baseball fan of all of my brothers (well, Ammon is close, I guess).  He got me this book for my birthday.

For my actual birthday, we went to a Lake Elsinore Storm game.  It was pretty fun, and I really have to say that I prefer the minor league experience to the major league experience.  Closer seats, cheaper tickets, more fun.  Not knowing most of the players is really the biggest bummer, but since they're in the Padres organization, I knew a few of them.  They won that game too, so I was undefeated on my southern California swing.  Oh, it was Free Hotdog Wednesday and my brother Ammon got a hot dog-less piece of aluminum foil with this note written on it, along with a dollar bill.  Pretty cool.

I posted this earlier, but my second "gift" for myself was this bat.  It was only $25 in the Storm gift shop, and is signed by Gabriel Quintana.  He hit a home run that night that went 415 feet, so that was pretty cool.  It's broken, but only has a sliver chunked out of the handle, still in pretty decent condition.  I need to find a way to display it in my classroom near my desk.

Anyways, yeah, there's some vacation news that's about a month and a half old.

In more recent news, my brother Tyler had his second child (first girl) last night, and the Padres swept the Giants!  All around, a pretty good Sunday.

Happy Monday!  Take care, feel free to leave jokes about robes in the comments below.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

That Guy

In the baseball card blogosphere, there are lots of blogs that would be easily classified as "team-related" blogs.  Obviously, this one here is heavily slanted towards the Padres.  I could easily burn a few lines of writing listing off the different blogs that I'd assign to the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, Cubs, Pirates, Phillies, Mets, Braves, Angels, Astros, Rangers, White Sox, Indians, Royals, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Rays, and Blue Jays.

But there are much fewer blogs that I can think of that I'd assign to a specific player.

Darwin Barney makes me think of Wrigley Wax.
Andrew McCutchen makes me think of Pirates Treasure Room.
Joey Cora makes me think of From an Unlikely Source.
Willie McCovey makes me think of ARPsmith.

There are probably others.  Some (like Tim Wallach, Todd Helton, and Ken Griffey Jr.) bring to mind whole blogs that devote the overwhelming majority of their collection to those pacific players.

Of course, as a big Padres collector, I collect a wide variety of Padres, including Tony Gwynn, who I have over 500 cards of.

But there are many collectors who have more Gwynns than I, and I'd say that it'll be a while to get more than half of the Gwynns out there.  They are many.

However, when I think of my blog (is that a narcissistic thing to say?), I think of Andrew Cashner.

It seems like I can't go more than a week without a Cashner related post.  If it seems excessive, please understand that I agree with you.  It is probably getting out of hand.  But I keep on finding cards of his for pretty cheap, and I can't help myself.

Here's my most recent Cashner pickup.  This is only my third relic of Cashner, but the first in a Padre uniform.  While I'm not much of a "high end" collector (I can count on one hand the number of Triple Threads cards I own), this is pretty nice looking, with a decent sized jersey swatch paired with the serial number on the front.  Looking at the back, the fine print reads "the relic contained on this card is not from any specific game, event, or season".  Looking at the swatch, I'd wager that that blue is probably from his Cubs days.  Padre blue is much darker.

This came in the mail yesterday, to coincide with Cashner's beatdown of the San Francisco Giants.  He pitched 8 innings of scoreless ball and didn't give up any runs til the 9th, as the Padres held on for a 3-2 win.  Cashner went 2 for 2 at the plate with a walk, a triple, and a bunt single.  His triple was the first by a pitcher this year for all of Major League baseball.

When I visited my family over the summer, they all joked about the man crush that I had on Cashner, and to be honest, I couldn't really say anything to refute it.  Dude is the only guy on the Padres that I get excited to watch (though I'm a big fan of some of the Padres bullpen guys, namely Kevin Quackenbush and Nick Vincent).  He's got electric stuff and a personality that I can't help but love.

Cashner was included in this year's Topps Chrome set, so I've been scooping up a few of those cards as I've come across them.  Here are the six I've got so far.

Left to right, top to bottom, we have here the Xfractor, Refractor, purple border, blue refractor (#/199), black border (#/100), and sepia (#/75).  Love those sepia cards.  Wouldn't mind putting together the team set of those ones, except I don't want to add any cards of Everth Cabrera or Chase Headley to my collection for the time being.

Last night was the last Saturday night game at Petco Park of the season, and, in an attempt to make up for one of the worst seasons (on and off the field) in Padres history, the front office brought back the '84 brown uniforms.  Would've loved to have watched the game, but it was great spending time with my family - out to dinner and then to the drive in movie (even though it was Dolphin Tale 2, which was pretty bad).  Here's hoping that this is an image I'll get to see on a baseball card next year:

Eight more games left, which means that there should be one more start.  On Monday the Padres head to Los Angeles for a series before ending the season in San Francisco.  Here's hoping that he can stick it to the Giants one last time in 2014.

Friday, September 19, 2014

All The Klesko's

I recently sent my end of a trade to Ryan over at a new-to-me blog called Card Stacks. While I'm not really that discerning when it comes to card blogs (not like there's thousands of 'em or anything), I enjoy reading his takes on Orioles and Braves cards from the 90's (among other things).

Well, being a Braves fan during the 90's, he's a bit of a Ryan Klesko fan, and since I have a few Klesko's in my collection from his Padres days, I figured now would be as good a time to show 'em as ever.

I guess I'm doing a mini "countdown" showing all 12 cards, but listing my top three favorites.  My #3 is the one above.  Maybe if I knew more about baseball, I'd know what is up with that nun chuck bat, but whatever it's purpose for being, it makes for a pretty unique card.

Card number two also features a bat that seems out of place, but not because of what it looks like - because of where it is.  While I've seen a fair share of broken bats twirling and spinning towards fielders, I haven't seen many fly to first base that are still seemingly in tact.  Even better, it looks like Klesko's trying to catch it with his glove.  I don't see this ending particularly well.

Alright, I think I might've messed up on this countdown.  Maybe that last one was my favorite.  Still, as weird as a flying bat is in a card picture, how many cards show a player with a bag of fast food?  I feel like I'm watching some celebrity "They're just like us!" type article.  Any guesses on the chain?  I'd say Wendy's or Burger King, but I am wrong sometimes.

Alright, now that the short countdown is over, here are the rest of the twelve cards in the "K" is for Klesko section of the Miscellaneous Padres binder.  I really like the Heritage card in the bottom left corner, as well as the sideline/dugout shot above it.  The rest are mostly unique in that I really like Klesko's sideburns, so he made it in, or that they're rocking a camouflage jersey.

Well, there ya go.  Ryan Klesko, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Choke Up!

I have three Gene Richards cards in my collection.  Seems kinda small for a guy who ranks 5th all time in games played as a Padre.  He played in San Diego from 1977 to 1983, leaving the year before they went to the World Series.  He also ranks 4th in at bats, hits, and average, 3rd in runs, and 2nd in steals.

FWIW, Tony Gwynn leads most of the Padres offensive stats, as you tend to rack up the numbers when you're a great player who stays with the same team for 19 years (although he is 14th in strikeouts, despite having almost three times more at bats than most of his competition.

Anyways, the reason I'm talking about Gene Richards is that when I saw the two of his cards in my Miscellaneous Padres binder, I noticed that they both had something similar about them...

Man, the guy chokes up on his bat a lot!  I don't think I've ever seen a major leaguer swing a bat like that.

I remember my dad teaching me to choke up on the bat if it was too big or heavy for me, but Richards is a grown man!  Probably had his own bats and everything.  Weird to see it captured on cardboard like that.  I can just imagine a retired Gene Richards coaching a Little League team and having a kid go home to his dad and show him how he was taught to hold his bat.  "He told you to grip it like that?  And he used to be a big leaguer?"

The third card I have of Gene's is in my team set binder ('84 Topps).  Sorry I'm too lazy to scan it, but trust me, he's choking up there, too.  

Of these two cards, I'd have to say that I'm more of a fan of the sticker card.  Bright blue and yellow borders - can't get enough of those...

Anyways, yeah, Gene Richards.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Friendly GWYNNsday

Go make a friend with a rival at the office today.  Instead of focusing on your differences (different positions, roles, locations), focus on what you have in common (similarly colored uniforms, penchant for hitting things thrown at you).

Even if it doesn't blossom into a forever friendship…

take solace in the fact that you're better at everything than them.

And never smile with them in photos.  Shows weakness.

This card is from a baseball card magazine.  I think it might've even been called Baseball Card Magazine.  Could be wrong.  It's in a binder in the garage.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thanks, Junior!

In my quest to acquire as many Andrew Cashner cards as I can, there are a few basic principles I try to adhere to when buying cards online: 1) Try to keep it under $5, and 2) If I think I can get it from somebody else, hold off.

Well, there have been a few Cashner's that have topped the five buck rule, I think I've done alright in that aspect.  Still plenty of high end ones that I don't have, but I can live with that pretty easy.

Anyways, I was sitting on eight different variations of Andrew Cashner's Bowman card from this year, six of which are serial numbered, but there was one that eluded me:

The base card.  I opened a pack or two of Bowman, but never pulled this one.  Cough up actual money for a card that I knew someone I knew would have to pull and possibly send to me?  No way.  Fortunately, TJ, The Junior Junkie, came through in a big way last week.  Now I have a full page of 2014 Bowman Cashner greatness.  Seriously, the throwback uniforms and backdrop make for a great card.  Love that guy.

Here's a sample of the other cards that TJ sent my way.

I bought into the hype from Topps on Yonder Alonso - hook line and sinker.  Dude has gotten a lot of autos and relics in a bunch of sets, and, despite an above average rookie year in 2012, has failed to build on the promise.  First base continues to be a black hole for the Padres.  Hunter Renfroe, on the other hand, is a big prospect who has done well this year, starting in single A Lake Elsinore and making the Cal League All Star team, and then having a strong year in AA San Antonio.  I think he might get a shot in San Diego at the end of the year next year, or maybe get a chance to make the team out of Spring Training in 2016.

Here's some 90's goodness, not sure what happened with the scan here.  I already had the Hoffman, which is stellar, but mine had a little wear and tear, so this is a good upgrade in condition.  Melvin Nieves is one of the guys the Padres got in exchange for Fred McGriff from the Braves in 1993, and I've gone from hating him for being so horrible to being amused by his ineptitude.  I guess I've finally forgiven Melvin - when I first started getting his cards in trades, I wouldn't just pawn them off on my students or toss them into a trade box - I'd throw them away.

I have more than a page's worth of cards of Dustin Hermanson cards, and all of them have the word "Rookie" or a synonym of it either on the front or the back.  He had a pretty decent career, though, of his 1,283 innings pitched, only 45.1 of them were with the Padres.  This Jedd Gyorko is no longer with me, although it looks killer.  I'll be putting it in the mail tomorrow to send to my buddy Joe at From an Unlikely Source, who is a Padre fan who happens to call West Virginia home.

Thanks TJ!  I've been slow on the trade front lately, but I'm heading to the post office today (hopefully), and I'll have a bunch of stuff sent out.

Take care!  Happy Tuesday!

EDIT: Seeing as how Andrew Cashner turned in a pretty fine performance last night (complete game shutout, two hits, no runs, 7 strikeouts - all in 92 pitches), here's some bonus Cashner, with the aforementioned page of 2014 Bowman cards.

I've said it before, if there's been a card released this year that's better looking than Cashner in a throwback Padres jersey against a backdrop of the Lone Star flag, well, I haven't seen it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

'93 Upper Deck

Digging through my Non-Padres binder, I got to thinking about what it took to make it into the binder. In most cases, it was the player, someone who I liked or had some small measure of importance to me.  In a very few cases, it was because I thought the card looked too awesome not to have.

1993 Upper Deck is represented more than any other set in the binder, so here's a look at the eight cards from that set in the Non-Padres binder.

I don't know really know how to pronounce Casey Candaele's last name, but this is a pretty cool shot here.  Maybe it's just the angle, but it looks like CC's getting some pretty good air and has a decent shot at snaring that liner, though I'd bet that he's probably going to end up just a bit short on this one.  Also like that Candaele is listed as an infielder, not a specific position.

Here's a few cards that I didn't think of much when I first saw them, but they grew on me the more I looked at 'em.  I've read that Buhner and Griffey were/are pals, so kinda cool seeing a candid shot of them goofin' around.  Here's Cory Snyder casually blowing a bubble while catching a fly near the ivy at Wrigley

Matt Nokes and Tom Brunansky are actually both guys that I have a more of a connection to.  Matt Nokes, seen here hitting off a tee, was on my little brother's Little League team.  My dad was the coach, so when he said we could go to an Angels game to watch batting practice and get autographs, I was able to tag along.  Tom Brunansky's kid also played in the Poway American Little League, and I've heard my dad talk about talking baseball w/Brunansky a few times.  I always considered him a Red Sock, so kinda weird seeing him in a Brewers uniform here.

I loved Omar Vizquel as a kid (well, and as an adult - he retired in 2012), and while I usually prefer shots of him making spectacular plays at short, seeing him fiddle with a camcorder is pretty memorable as well.  Really like those old Mariner uniforms as well.

Of course, if I had to choose a favorite "type" of photos in '93 Upper Deck, it's have to be the multi-exposure shots.  Upper Deck became known for their great cards with Nolan Ryan and Fernando Valenzuela, but even guys like Phil Hiatt got some love here.  This one is awesome.

Of course, it doesn't hurt having a big name on the card, either.  Here's Andre Dawson hawking down a foul ball in right field at Wrigley.  Diving headfirst towards a brick wall doesn't seem like the most intelligent thing, but I'm sure that's something that Cubs outfielders are always aware of and practice.

I'm sure that there are other great cards from that great '93 Upper Deck set, and maybe I'll track down a few more at some point.  Actually, my favorite ones can be found in the Padres team set.  Randy Myers, Gary Sheffield, and Jose Melendez have some great cards.  Check 'em out sometime.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Washington "Nat'l Lea." Team Set

Well, cross another project off my list!  I have *completed the 1974 Topps Washington "Nat'l Lea." team set!

Cue the confetti!

Brass band!

Visit from the mayor!

Alright, a little much, but I'm happy to have it finished.  Here's how it looks in my Team Set binder:

Nate Colbert and Randy Jones are the "big names" on the first page.  Colbert is the Padres home run leader with 163.  Once Giancarlo Stanton hits his next ten homers as a Marlin, the Padres will have the lowest total home runs for a franchise leader.  Randy Jones is still a fixture at Petco Park and an all around great guy.  I love the Fred Kendall card, and the team card has more yellow than you'll ever see on a card.

The Willie McCovey is a great card, which I'll talk more about later.  I keep forgetting that Clarence "Cito" Gaston was taken by the Padres in the inaugural draft in 1968.  Good looking card here.  For some reason, I think that Rich Troedson looks a lot like actor Mark Ruffalo.

As far as uniforms go, we have:
11 cards featuring the mustard yellow jerseys
1 card with a cream colored jersey
1 card with a photo shopped jersey
1 card with a Cubs jersey

10 cards with the "mission bell" style hat
1 card with the "mission bell" style batting helmet
1 card with the original brown hat w/yellow letters
1 card with a photo shopped hat
1 card with a Cubs batting helmet

If there's one thing that a serious collector may have noticed, it's that, of the "15 cards" in the '74 Washington "Nat'l Lea." team set, I only have 14.  So why the celebration?

Well, the 15th card is this one:

A "multi-player" card.  As a "team collector", I usually will bite for anything that has as "SD" on the hat.  However, with vintage cards, I've decided that I will still call it a complete set even if I don't include them.  Is this a cop out?  Maybe.  But it's one of the weird rules that I've decided to create for myself.  Besides, if I didn't have that rule…

I would probably never finish the 1973 Topps team set.  You know, the one with the famous John Hilton rookie card.  Besides, both of those cards have Dodgers on them!  Ugh.  And Phillies.  And Freisleben's card has a Giant on it.  

No, instead I've adopted the rule that vintage cards have to be at least half Padre, or else it's inclusion into the team set is not mandatory.  Trust me, if anyone wants to gift the Freisleben or Hilton cards to me, I'd love to add them, but for the time being, I'm going to consider those sets done.

Sorry for the mini-lesson on my weird collecting rules.  Back to the team set.

This is my favorite card.  It's the one that I spent the most money on from the set: a whopping $5.  Willie McCovey is probably one of my favorite Padres from the '70s, even though I wouldn't be born for a decade after this card was made.  I remember as a kid I thought it was really cool that there was someone in the Hall of Fame who used to play for the Padres, even if he was better known for his San Francisco days.

Here's the back.  Yeah, lots of Giants stats on here.  Also a fun little cartoon.  Would be interested to know what kind of comic books McCovey was into.  He appears to be laughing in the cartoon, though I guess I mostly associate comic books with superheroes, not the funnies.

Anyways, there you have it!  All of Padre-only cards from the '74 Washington "Nat'l Lea." set.  Anybody else working on this set as well?  Special shout out to all the collectors who helped me out with this one, especially Jim at GCRL, who sent me the John Grubb, and was the first card I ever had from the set.  Jim's awesome.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Masked Marauders

As I was looking over the various posts I've done in the past few weeks, I was reminded how heavily slanted my collection is.  I'd say that it's probably over 90% Padre cards, though my '91 Fleer complete set might lower that number just a little bit.

There was a time, however (when I started this blog), that I wasn't such an exclusive team collector.  One thing that I really loved that diversified my collection were my binders of catcher cards.  Heck, I even named the blog "Backstop Cards".

I've often thought about changing the name of the blog to something more Padre-themed, but it's a fleeting thought and something I don't think will ever happen.  Don't care that much about it.

Anyways, while I don't apologize for the overwhelming amount of Padre related posts, here's one that features zero Padre cards (though there are a trio of former Friars in here), while hearkening back to the "backstop" days of the blog.

If you collected in the 90's you'll remember the Collector's Choice brand, put out by Upper Deck.  Though the design was usually a little plainer than the regular UD brand, the checklists were pretty big and the price tag was pretty low.  I didn't always love it, but I could usually afford it, which was big.

Well, included in the set is a page worth of cards devoted to catchers, the "Masked Marauders".  While I'm not sure that this is a term or nickname that has ever really been used in baseball circles, I appreciate the alliteration.  More importantly, I appreciate the design and look of these cards.

Featuring catchers in their gear is a pretty easy way to make a cool card.  Having cards that are dedicated to the craft of catching is even better.  Raul Casanova's card here (former Padre prospect) is the best looking of the bunch, looking cool in the black background.  The rest of the cards didn't get similar treatment, though I think Casanova might've been standing in front of something dark?

I've always loved baseball, and as a kid, I was pretty much obsessed with it.  Strange thing I realized looking back: I never really liked hitting.

This was partially due to the fact that I wasn't very good, but was furthered because I was a pretty good fielder.  I was one of the few on my teams that could make the throw from 3rd to 1st without hopping, and I especially loved strapping on the gear and getting behind the plate.  Felt more comfortable behind it than in the batters box.

It might've been a little selfish on my part, as well.  As the catcher, you get to call the shots and run the game.  I was pretty into that, once I figured it out.  The only one who touches the ball more than you is the pitcher.  Catchers have been known to make it as managers (Bruce Bochy, Mike Matheny) as evidenced by current Tigers manager and former Padre Brad Ausmus.

While there have been plenty of card sets that glamorize ace pitchers or dominant sluggers, there haven't been nearly as much of the star backstops.  The Gypsy Queen "Collisions at the Plate" inserts were pretty cool (though I only saw them on blogs - I don't buy GQ), but I have to say that I prefer these 90's beauties.

This is also a ploy on my part.  There are nine of these cards in the set, and I have six of them.  If you've got the remaining three laying around and you don't need 'em, shoot me an email and let's see if we can work something out.  Who even collects Javy Lopez, Mike Piazza, and Ivan Rodriguez, right?