A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, November 30, 2014

South Side Pride

A few weeks ago,  a big box was sent to me from Jeff over at 2 x 3 Heroes.  Quite a while ago, I had mentioned to him that the White Sox were my second favorite team.  While I think that the current incarnation of the White Sox probably isn't my second favorite team (that "honor" might go one of the Texas MLB teams, or one of the small market teams that did well in the playoffs last season), one of my all time favorite teams was the White Sox.  Their 2005 team to be precise.

So when he sends me Sox cards, that's the first thing I look for - cards that commemorate that incredible 2005 team.  This Jermaine Dye card is the kind of card I love to see - no doubt that this is a World Series card.  The Bobby Jenks card is actually from 2007, but if I'm correct, it looks like he has a World Series patch on his hat.  It's kinda hard to tell, but even if it's not, Jenks was a big part of that Championship, so it's still good in my book.

Here's a couple of other guys from that '05 team, sprinkled in with a few guys from before and after that.  I saw a MLB Network special that talked about the best rotations of all time, and the '05 Sox rotation that included Jon Garland and Jose Contreras was ranked pretty high.  Carlos Lee was traded before 2005, but he's a guy that I remember seeing in a few games I went to when I was a missionary in Chicago.  Scott Podsednik was a World Series hero with a walk off home run in Game 2.  The Brent Lillibridge is a great looking card, and I got to see him last year play for the Round Rock Express, so that was kinda cool.

I thought these two cards were interesting, since it looks like they were taken a few seconds apart.

Jim Thome cards are pretty cool in my book too.  The one on the left is a pretty cool shot, and it's kinda funny to me that Thome is included in a set that's called "Future Stars", especially towards the end of his career.  Future Hall of Famer, right?  Maybe?  I don't know about Hall of Fame ballots anymore.  

These were some prized cards as well.  I was a big fan of Tadahito Iguchi during that '05 run, and I have almost all of his cards during his short stint as a Padre.  I actually forgot that he was a 30 year old rookie in 2005, after playing eight years for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.  He only spent four season in America, between the Sox, Phillies, and Padres.

Addison Reed is a guy that I'm on the fence about collecting.  Not chasing down autographs or relics or anything, but base cards and small stuff.  He played college at San Diego State for Tony Gwynn, and he's got some pretty cool cards.  Wouldn't mind branching out.  However, being traded to the Diamondbacks may be too much for me to bear eventually.  We'll see how his career goes, but these two were added to a binder.  Think I'm closing in on a whole page of him now.

These three actually filled a page in my binder of Mark Buehrle cards.  Mark Buehrle is ridiculous.  In his 15 year career (14 full seasons), he has 14 straight seasons of 200+ innings and double digit wins.  His best season was in 2005, when he went 16-8 with a 3.12 ERA.  He is a five time All Star and a four time Gold Glover.  He has gone six or more innings in 82% of his starts, more than any current pitcher.  Felix Hernandez is second with 81% and Justin Verlander is third with 80%.  Clayton Kershaw is sixth with 73%.  Is he a Hall of Famer in my book?  No.  But I'd rather have him than Jack Morris or Bert Blyleven.

These three Ozzie Guillen cards gave me a whole page of him in my binder as well (man, this was a really productive box, thanks again Jeff!).  Ozzie was the man behind the wheel of the 2005 White Sox.  I know his reputation was tarnished pretty heavily during his time as the Marlins manager, but I gotta think that Sox fans still love him for what he did in Chicago, both as a player and especially as a manager.  I dig the socks on his '89 Donruss card, but the real gem was on the back of his '91 Score card.

Look at all that throwback goodness.  According to the write up, he also was named the co-captain of the White Sox in 1990.  Are there any more captains in baseball?  Seems like they've all retired (Konerko, Varitek, Jeter).

He also included some coins, which were cool, but not quite as cool as… 

… the vintage.  I have about three or four pages of non-Padres vintage cards, and in the packages I've gotten from Jeff, I've gotten more than double that amount.  Haven't put them all in binders, so I'll be looking to pass on a few of them.  Man, I really need to update my "for trade" page, that thing used to always be updated.

Here was one of my favorite vintage cards.  Ed Herrmann played catcher for the White Sox for seven years, and was an All Star in 1974.  His grandfather, Marty Herrmann, was also a baseballer, who played for the Brooklyn Robins in 1918.  Really love the catcher's pose along with the stadium seats in the background.

While looking at the backs, I found out that Herrmann and Bob Spence were both born in San Diego.  That's pretty cool.  Even though I wasn't born in San Diego (I was born in Portland, OR), I lived there from the time that I was five until I moved out for college.  The best info on the back, though, has to be learning that Russ Nixon "breeds Arabian horses in the off season".

While I liked the Hermann card, I loved this one.  It's one of the checklists from 1960 Topps.  I actually had to look online to figure out what year it was from, it's easily one of the oldest cards in my collection.  It's only bested by a few vintage Jerry Coleman cards, some Mother's Cookies Padres cards from the Pacific Coast League days, and some old Bowman's I found for cheap at a card shop.  Pretty cool card in my opinion.

Alright, this officially makes me a nerd (as if having a blog about baseball cards wasn't official enough).  This was my favorite card, and it wasn't even close.  This is my first White Sox card of Darin Erstad, and I can't believe it's taken this long.  Although I think I'm wavering on whether or not to continue the Erstad quest (I'm trying to free up some space, and having 300+ cards of a guy who never played for the Padres might be more than I feel that I absolutely need to have - I know, I know, using "need" when it comes to a hobby like card collecting is a first world problem), I was really glad to see this one.

Receiving huge boxes of cards is one of many perks of operating this blog.  Sure, just following blogs is fun too, but getting all this stuff just because I said I kinda like the White Sox?  That's pretty cool.

I currently have enough extra White Sox cards to choke a horse, so if/when I run out of extra Padres cards to pass out to my first graders, I'll move on to White Sox cards.  Thanks again Jeff!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday Countdown

I meant to get this post up yesterday, but like many people in this great country of ours, I was doing Black Friday things.  Nothing crazy - I got to sleep in a little - but my wife has made sure that every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, we decorate the house for Christmas.  This means picking out a Christmas tree and getting out the boxes of ornaments and decorations.  Busy day.

If you lived in San Diego, yesterday you had a chance to meet Padres manager Bud Black at the Padres team store.  "Bud Black Friday".  Kind of a cool concept, though I'm not much of a Bud Black fan.  Probably wouldn't wait in line to meet him, but still a pretty cool thing to do.  I think you got a free Padres hoodie if you spent more than $75, and that might've been more of a motivator for me to go there - imagine that it would be pretty easy to do in a team store, which are usually pretty overpriced.

The term "Black Friday" got me thinking about one of my favorite subjects: black bordered cards.

Here are a few gems from my collection.  All inserts or oddballs, all Padres, mostly Tony Gwynn cards.  While I love the Tony Gwynn "Black Gold" card at the bottom, my favorite would probably have to be the Gary Sheffield card in the middle.  Fleer Ultra was pretty awesome in the early 90's.

While those were all cool, there are many sets that have utilized black in the color scheme (not just inserts).  Today, I will attempt to rank them in order of preference/awesomeness.  The rankings are not scientific and subject to change, so let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments.

17. 2001 Upper Deck Vintage
The lowest set on the countdown gets docked all of it's points primarily for plagiarism.  This is a complete ripoff from the 1971 TOPPS set, the only difference being that the color of the team name looks different, and the nameplates are on the bottom.  I mean, it looks good, don't get me wrong, but zero points for originality.

16. Bowman, from ? to ?
Alright, in my time in the card-collecting hobby, I've become fairly adept at determining the year and make of a card by only a quick glance.  I'm not the best or anything, but I can hold my own.  But any black bordered set by Bowman?  Forget it.  I have no idea which is which.  If you can do it… well, I think you may have a problem.

15. 2007 Topps
I dunno why this one doesn't do it for me, but it's low on my list.  In 2007, I was still in college and didn't make time for baseball, let alone cards.  Maybe if I had been, these might hold a dearer spot in my heart.

14. 2013 Heritage (black border & Venezuelan backs)
I really like these, but they get docked points for scarcity.  Only a few players were granted the privilege of having a black bordered card, and the Venezuelan black backs were very short printed.  The magic of black needs to be shared with everybody, not held to a premium!

13. 1987 Donruss
The black borders look good with the some of the other colors in the set - purple, yellow, and red, but the gray and yellow "driving lane" of baseballs?  Points for originality, but can't say that I love it.  Like it, but don't love it.  They get dogged a few points for some of the photography in this set, though I'm a fan of these shots in particular.

12. 1991 Score
'91 Score was one of the many late 80s/early 90s Score sets that had different colored borders.  The black ones looked great, in my opinion, but in ranking of the black bordered cards, they lose points for not being black enough.  Wait, is there a better way to say that?

11. 1985 Donruss
Here is basically "ground zero" for black bordered cards.  Hard to imagine getting more basic than this: minimal border, small logos, with a few small red lines near the bottom.  You know how they say that everything goes with black?  I kinda think that brown might be the exception to the rule, and the red from the border with the yellow of Andy Hawkins' uniform isn't a great look.

10. 2009-2011 Topps black background parallels
I debated whether or not to include black parallels on the countdown, since they're not really a "set".  I decided to include them because… um… well, it's my list, and I wanted to.  I don't know how hard these were to come by, but I know that I don't have very many of these.  Apparently they stopped doing these parallels in 2011.  Don't worry though, there's still plenty of colored border parallels to go around.

9. 2011-present Topps black border parallels (serial numbered)
Speaking of which, here are some of those black border parallels.  I guess these don't really do much for me when they're side by side.  They look pretty cool when matched with all of the other different colored parallels, though.

8. 1993 Pinnacle
Alright, I said that the '85 Donruss was kind of the "ground zero", but this is probably the most basic you can get.  Minimal black border, small nameplate, hard to read team name at the top.  Why is this so high on my list?  I guess it has to do with the glossy finish and the quality of the photos.  I probably should've gone with some different cards to show, but for me, the early 90's Padres were all about these three, my favorite players.

7. 2009 O-Pee-Chee (black borders)
2009 O-Pee-Chee was a pretty solid release, in my book.  While it might've been a little on the bland side, the black bordered inserts were great cards to pull.  Really made the photography pop.  Since they came one per pack, they weren't too hard to come by, so that is pretty cool.

6. 1996 Pinnacle Summit
Pinnacle remains my all time favorite brand.  While it wasn't until the past few years that I became fully aware of all the different "offshoot" sets they released (Summit, Pinnacle, Inside, etc.).  While it took a little of the shine off how much I liked them, seeing that they looked like this makes up for it.  There are a few parallels in this one too, and they all look pretty good.

5. 1993 Triple Play
Man, Triple Play was so cool.  Aside from being pretty cheap, the info they had on the back was pretty cool, moreso if you were still in elementary school.  While the '92 set wasn't a big hit in my book, I love the all caps last name in bold at the top of each card.  Really, really great look.

4. 2013 Pinnacle
I was pretty disappointed that there weren't more collectors that liked '13 Pinnacle as much as I did.  I even bought a pack from the dollar store of basketball cards.  BASKETBALL CARDS!!!  That's how much I liked the set.  The lack of logos seemed to be the deal breaker, but I've seen enough rad 90's oddballs to believe that it's not a deal breaker.  Is it perfect?  No.  Was it my favorite release of last year?  Probably.  Really bummed that it didn't get continued this year.

3. 1992 Leaf Black Gold
I cheated a little bit with the scan and included the McGriff and Benes, which are actually from the "Preview" set.  While these are also parallels, they also weren't too hard to come by.  Leaf was the pioneer of the black border parallels, and they were awesome.  Especially if you consider how boring the '92 Leaf set looks without them.  Ahead of their time.

2. 1992 Pinnacle
OOOH, I really wanted to put the '92 Pinnacle set at the very top.  Tried to justify it.  In the end, I just couldn't do it.  Still, this is one of my top five favorite sets.  From the glossy black borders, the brightly colored nameplate, the informative backs, the sharp photography, this is a great set.  You know, in my opinion.  

1. 1971 Topps
Anybody surprised by this one?  Didn't think so.  The "grand daddy" of all the black bordered sets, I have to think that if I ever put a poll up on this subject, there would be few if any who wouldn't go with '71 Topps.  This is one of the first vintage Padres sets that I ever wanted to work on and one of the first to complete.  The only reason people might not like the set is the difficulty of finding copies of cards in good condition.  Those black borders are hard to keep crisp and sharp, very easy to see any flaws.  Very few in my collection are centered or have sharp corners, but they all look great.  I've even gone on to collect all the copy cat sets that Topps has released in the recent years honoring this set (2012 Archives and 2013 Topps Update Minis).

Well, there you have it.  Lots of black borders, eleven Tony Gwynn cards, all Padres, all stretching from 1971 to 2014.

Any black bordered cards/sets that I left off?  Any disagreements?  Any hot cardboard takes?  Lemme know.

Hope your Black Friday was a good one.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

One Out Of Three

According to baseball-reference.com, there are 38 players who have MLB service time who were born on November 27th.  Of those 38, I have cards of four of them.  I didn't feel like digging through my binders to find an Ivan Rodriguez card (sorry Pudge), but I did have Padre cards of three of them, all conveniently located in my Team Set binder.

The title of this post alludes to the percentage of these three who actually played a game with the Padres: only 33.3%.

Mike Scioscia is shown here in the '93 Mother's Cookies set, one of my all time favorites.  After spending 13 seasons with Los Angeles, Scioscia tried to find work with the Padres in 1993.  He was injured in Spring Training, and later tried to catch on with the Rangers.  Neither case worked out, so Mike ended his career having played all of his games for on one team: the Dodgers.

Dave Giusti was the third round pick of the '68 Expansion Draft for the Padres.  Before the draft, he played with Houston in parts of six seasons, leaving with a 47-53 record with a 4.02 ERA.  However, at the end of the draft, the Padres hadn't picked up a third baseman, so before the season started, Giusti was dealt to the Cardinals for Phil Knuckles, Dan Breeden, Ron Davis, and future Padres third baseman Ed Spiezio.  He would go on to lead the league in saves in '71 (30) and be an All Star in '73, both with the Pirates.

Dan Spillner is the lone player who actually played a game with the Padres.  He was a second round draft pick in 1970, and broke into the majors with the club in '74.  He'd play four full seasons in San Diego, before being traded to Cleveland in the middle of the '78 season.  After going 16-35 with a 4.38 ERA in his first three seasons as a starter, he was moved to the bullpen and lowered his ERA to 3.73 the following season.  His last season was in 1985, at the age of 33.  Ten years later, he received a $486,000 settlement after it was found that he was one of the players who was forced out of the game via owner collusion, when they were trying to keep salaries down for veterans.

Well, it's probably not much of a Thanksgiving post, but I will say that I have a lot to be thankful for.  It's pretty easy to forget that when focusing on the negative things that happen in life, but when it comes right down to it, I have a beautiful wife and great kids, a job that helps me provide for them, and we live in a great country.  God has definitely blessed us.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  And Happy birthday to Mike, Dan, and Dave!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Alright, I'm Back

Alright, so after a little less than a week and a half, I have my school laptop back!  Very excited, since a) I am too cheap to get my own personal laptop, so since my school provides me one year round, I use it like it's my own, and B) The loaner they gave to me would only work at school, and the school filters don't allow access to blogs, so I've been pretty absent from the blogosphere for a little over a week.

But now I'm back!  I had a bunch of posts I've been sitting on, so let's dive right in.

As I mentioned at the beginning of November, I was putting myself on a "No Cards/Candy" November policy.  Well, I am sad to say that it has not lasted as long as I would've liked, on both fronts.  But I'll save that for another post.  Today's cards were the ones that I picked up as a "last hurrah" of sorts on the last day of October.  Lots of want list type stuff, all from the same eBay seller, who hooked me up with free shipping.  Sweet.

These were the last two Hometown parallels from this year's Bowman set that had the Texas flag on them.  For some reason, the Joe Nathan has been surprisingly hard to track down.  The Hunter Dozier was a tough get too, but at least he's a somewhat up and coming prospect.  These look pretty rad in binder pages.  That'll get it's own post sooner or later.  Bet on the later.

KELLOGG'S 3-D CARDS!  The world's greatest oddballs, all in brown and yellow!  By adding these six Kellogg's cards (all from the 70s except for the Ozzie Smith), I am now within two of adding all of the Padres to the Team Set binder.  That's pretty cool.  I think my favorites here are the two Nate Colbert cards.  He has the most Kellogg's cards of any Padre with three.

70s oddballs and new parallels with the Texas flag are pretty hard to top, but they weren't the highlight of the pickup.  That honor would go to the new cards for my Archi Cianfrocco collection.

First up, a pair of 90s parallels!  Here is Archi's card from the '93 Topps set.  Both of these have foil stamps showing that they are from different box sets, one celebrating the Rockies inaugural season (left), and the other celebrating the Marlins inaugural season (right).  Had my eye on these for a while, glad to finally add them to a binder.  '93 Topps was one of the sets I collected heavily as a kid, so I love seeing that design.

Next up, Archi's card from '93 Pacific.  This one is written in Spanish, as evidenced by the "Primera Base" scrolled across the bottom.  Not a lot of Cianfrocco cards that feature him batting, and I really like this one, showing his front foot prepare for an oncoming pitch, likely just before sending it into orbit 400 feet away.  Or something like that.

Here's the back of Archi's card.  Another great action shot, followed by a lengthy write up in Spanish.  Here's my translation, with a few edits for clarity:

Last season, Archi played in the outfield, and first and third base.
The Expos found a jewel in their minor league system in Cianfrocco.  Archi showed his power with 6 homers, 30 RBI, and a .358 batting average.

Really love how the whole card is red, white, and blue, matching those old Expo uniforms that get guys like me nostalgic for the 90s.

This was probably my favorite card of the pickup.  Archi's '94 Stadium Club card looks killer here with the rainbow foil on his name.  While only a slight difference from the actual card, this is a design that was also near and dear to my heart as a kid.  While not the most interesting shot (it's actually kind of boring), the dust that's being kicked up looks kinda cool, and who doesn't love the full bleed photography of Stadium Club?  

Well, like I said, this was supposed to be a last hurrah of sorts, and while it unfortunately wasn't (the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!), it would've been a pretty good note to end on.  I'll show the cards that tempted me above that which I could stand in a few posts, after I round up some other late-arriving cards and a trade post or two.

Glad to be back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's Old Is New... I Guess

So, I now have a loaner computer from my school, so I'm no longer operating from my iPhone.  A step up, though this particular computer seems like it's a little touchy, so hopefully I can finish this post.

Since it's not "mine", I don't have any of my card scans handy, but I do have a bunch of posts that have been sitting in draft mode for... a while.  Let's go ahead and dig one up.

Oh man... While most of them are half baked ideas and posts that are missing scans, here is a trade post that never got finished!  A cardinal sin of the blog community!  Alright, maybe a stretch there, but part of the joys of trading with a blogger is seeing what they think about the cards you sent.  While this particular trader isn't a fellow blogger, I still feel bad for not giving him his props sooner.

From looking at our email correspondence, I'm not sure that this is the full haul that Howard B. sent over, (he saw a comment I left at This Way To The Clubhouse blog) but there is still plenty of good stuff here worth showing.

Were it not for trades with others, I would never know the greatness of Topps Embossed.  While the design isn't visually arresting, the texture is pretty cool.  While the border of the card looks out of focus, having Andy Benes' front foot popping out towards the edge is a cool detail.  The orange line of the Jack Murphy outfield fence is always fun for the 90's kid in me to see.

Here's not one, not two, but three... uh, 3-D Gwynn cards.  Didn't want it to sound like I was typing with a stutter.  Anyways, if I was a fancy blogger like Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown, I'd do something really cool with these.  Instead, you just get the boring scans.

Sticking with a "trio" theme.  Here are three very sharp looking 90's cards.  Not a border out of the whole lot of 'em (sigh... so beautiful).  And look at those sharp pinstripes.  Bip Roberts is easily the most beloved former Friar out of these three, but Phil Plantier had a 100 RBI season with the Padres, and Dustin Hermanson had a solid career, albeit away from San Diego.

I'm normally not big on cards that are made to look almost identical, with only slight differences to distinguish them from the rest, but I kinda like seeing four of these together.  From what I gather, there are a bunch of Topps cards that commemorate each of Josh Barfield's doubles.  Kind of a weird concept, and definitely not something that I'd actively track down, but something I'd definitely hold on to if it came my way.

  We'll finish off with a big picture of a mini card.  While regular sized cards are more my speed, There's something about these Goudey cards that I really like.  I don't have any "original" Goudey cards from the 30's, but I like the painted look.  Reminiscent (even if it's only slightly) to some of the Bowman cards from the '50s that I've been able to pick up.  Oh, and it's also of one of the best pitchers in Padres history, Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy.

Well Howard, it's more than a few months overdue, but thanks for the great cardboard.  Like I said, all of my other posts that are still in "draft" mode are of the half-baked, crackpot variety, nothing that might be seen as an ungrateful slight to a generous fellow-collector.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!  May all your mailboxes be full of baseball cards, and may all of your trade posts go up sooner than this one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Guess Who?

NOTE: My school district-issued laptop was taken in for repairs on Friday, and I didn't get it back on Monday, so here's a post written via iPhone.  A much slower, annoying process, but at least I had the card scans for this one already dialed up.

There are a few cards that I've received from folks I've traded with that have made me think "Wow, this is a card that I directly associate with this person."

'75 minis from Night Owl.  Dodger cards (with Padre cameos) from GCRL.  Custom autos from Padrographs.  All the vintage radness from Mr. Hoyle.  Serial numbered cards from Robert M.  The list goes on.

With that in mind, which blogger would you associate this card with?

This is one of the more ridiculous Padre cards I've ever seen.  Other than Bip Roberts' "sombrero" card, I can't really think of any card that comes close.  While I happen to really dig Bip's headgear, I can't say that I'm equally a fan of Joey's hat.  It might look better if he was a character in a Dr. Seuss book.  I've seen this one before, but I can't believe that it took so long to make its way into my collection.

If you guessed that this was from Dimebox Nick (I'll include a corresponding link later, if I can remember), then you are probably familiar with his blog and/or have been a recipient of his cardboard generosity.  While this was the most "dimebox" card he sent my way, there were a bunch of other gems I was able to add to my collection.

Padre fans are tired of waiting for Robbie Erlin to figure it out, but it's hard to pass up a sweet blue parallel from this years Opening Day set.  Hmmm... Opening Day, I'm looking forward to that.  Matt Wisler is a young Padres prospect that I'm looking forward to seeing. Cool to have the state flag parallel of the Padres number two prospect.  While Nick Hundley is no longer a Friar, I love these Sega Card Gen cards.  I think Hundles is only behind Benito Santiago for the volume of "Padres catchers in gear" cards in my Rad binder.  Really dig that one.

Finding vintage Padres that I still need/want is becoming an increasingly difficult task.  Collecting a team that entered the majors in '69 will do that to ya - not much to track down.  I already had the Al Ferrara and Alan  Foster cards (Foster's card is also in the Rad binder with my small collection of "Foster" cards), but they were simply too sweet to not scan.  I did need the Dave Roberts card, however.  Slid it into the Miscellaneous Padres binder between Bip Roberts and Dave Roberts the outfielder (and current Padres coach, former World Series champion, and cancer survivor).

The card that got me most excited, however, wasn't vintage or a sweet 90's card: it was a lame, brand new card.  But doggone it, if seeing a Chris Denorfia card that I didn't already have didn't bring a big smile to my face.  I'm working on the "rainbow" for Deno's lone card of 2014, which doesn't seem like something Nick would dedicate himself to, but I'm glad he's willing to help suckers like me.

All in all, a very "Dimebox" delivery: some vintage, a quirky 90s gem, and some shiny new parallels.  A little bit of everything.

Even if I hadn't glanced at the return address, I would've known for sure who it was from.  Thanks Nick!