A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Cards for the Trees

I've mentioned many times about my love for the Padres of my youth.  Though I love the famous (or infamous) Padre brown, all of my memories are of the blue and orange of the early and mid 90's.

My love for the Padres can also be tied to Jack Murphy Stadium.  Though Petco Park is a beautiful stadium, I will forever prefer "The Murph".  Even as a kid, I was not pleased that they re-named it Qualcomm Stadium in 1997.  In many ways, 1996 was the pinnacle of my Padre fandom - it was the last year of Jack Murphy Stadium, and it was the first playoff appearance for the Friars since I was a few months old in 1984.

For that reason, I really love early and mid 90's cardboard.  That's why I started the "Orange Line" collection, in which you can see the orange line on the top of the fence of The Murph.

Thing is, it turns out that there are actually a bunch of cards like that.  Really, a ton.  Even on cards of non-Padres (when they were playing against them).  It became too much for a mini collection.

Still, I wanted to have a way to remember the stadium of my youth.  So, with that in mind, I present to you…

Palm tree cards!  While it's not the greatest shot, the green out-of-focus blur behind Hoffy is a palm tree.  The Padres put them in the outfield to make the field seem more "San Diegan".  There are better examples of these kinds of cards (here, for example).

While I'm sure that there are baseball cards that feature palm trees that aren't from Jack Murphy Stadium, I'm sticking to those that are from are.  I suppose that this is an inaugural post of sorts, but it started out as a trade post of cards from Weston at Fantastic Catch.  He sent me a sweet little batch of cards a month or so ago, and while this may not have been the "nicest" of the bunch, it was the one I liked the most.

Anyways, after accumulating around 150 "Orange Line" cards, I've pruned the pile down to about a page and a half full of "Palm Tree" cards.  I'll show 'em off one at a time, and what better way than to start than with a future Hall of Famer?

As I'm typing this, I'm watching the Padres play the Giants, and I'm spotting the palm trees next to the left field monstrosity at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Copycats.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

3 x 3


Two days, two trade posts!  Alright!  Slowly digging myself out of the hole.  Like yesterday, this is an abbreviated post, because there were a bunch of cards that I could've written about that would've taken me more time than I have.

Doug, a collector who I don't believe has a blog (though I may just be forgetting, it is very late as I'm writing this, and the package came in around a month ago) sent me some cool cards.  First of which is this "Rube" Foster card.  Far too few baseball cards these days featuring those newsie style caps.

This Foster threw me for a loop; one I'd never even heard of before.  Foster Hewitt, from what I gather, was a Canadian radio announcer, famous for the play by play for Hockey Night in Canada.  He's not a baseballer, but the Upper Deck Masterpieces is a sweet looking set, and as a guy who grew up without cable, I'm a sucker for a good radio announcer.

What?  Another hockey related guy?  Why would I even want this?  Actually, even though all I know about hockey I learned from Emilio Estevez, this is still a good card in my book, and one that made it into a binder.  First of all, I like O-Pee-Chee as a brand, and the colors of the border work well enough with the overall design.  Also, the person who I named my son Foster after (the reason that I even started up this collection in the first place) was actually named Foster Curtis, so a card of Kurtis Foster sounds good to me.

Douglas also tossed in three of the '71 minis from last years Topps set.  These should've brought me to within one card of completing the set, but a rare error (first time) from justcommons.com still leaves me four short.  They sent the minis from the 2012 set, not the 2013 set.  They're still getting my business, I don't anticipate having any other problems with them, but I still need four more cards to complete the set; if you've got the Trout, Harper, Pedroia, or Longoria cards, drop me a line!  I know, four big name guys left.  Can't make it easy.

Anyways Doug, thanks for the great package.  There were a bunch of other Padres that he sent that I didn't post, but they were great as well.

Oh, BTW…

PADRES WIN!!!  PADRES WIN!!!  

Hopefully tomorrow, I can look back and say that it was worth staying up to watch it.

EDIT: Alright, as soon as I got Doug's comment, I remembered that he is the author of Sportscards From The Dollar Store.  Way to be a gentleman and not point out that I'm an idiot for not remembering that.  Classy guy, generous trader.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Always Leave A Note


Alright, I'm hoping that this week, I can churn out a couple of thank you's, via the good old fashioned trade post.  First up is my best good buddy Mark, from This Way To The Clubhouse…  He's already sent me another one, but this one came about a month or so ago.

The tradition with Mark is to send me Benito Santiago cards from his tenure with other, non-Padre teams.  At first, to be honest, I didn't really think I'd keep 'em, but a) Benito had some pretty killer cards, b) Benito is pretty awesome, and c) I like that they come from a person I'd consider a friend (well, as much a friend as you can consider someone who you've never met), so they've now become one of the highlights of my collection.

This one is from '96 Collector's Choice, while Benito was a Phillie.  The trivia on the back says that Benito won the NL Rookie of the Year in '87, and (at the time) the last catcher to win the award was Mike Piazza (in '93).  Since then, there have been two other catchers to win the NL ROY: Geovany Soto ('08) and Buster Posey ('10).  Interesting trivia.

These were two of my favorite from the bunch, from a set that I had never even seen/heard of: 2007 SP Legendary Cuts.  Being a fan of '71 Topps and '92 Pinnacle, of course, I'm a sucker for black bordered cards.  While I always love adding another Gwynn card to the binders, the George Foster card looks sharp with the red background.  Very spiffy, and a great addition to the Foster collection.

I had already thrown away the package with the protective cardboard in it when I finally read Mark's note.  I recently sent out a slew of packages and didn't include any notes, which I normally like to do, but I've been slacking lately.  Anyways, I'm glad I did because afterwards, I thought "Big A&G Gwynn?  I didn't see that!"

Turns out, it was taped securely to the cardboard that I had tossed in the trash!  I have no idea how I missed it!  I might've never known that it was in there.  And that would've been a bummer, because this is a pretty sweet looking card.

Here's a better look.  I didn't take the measurements on this one, but it's bigger than a regular 2.5" by 3.5".  Hadn't seen these before either, so this is a great find!  Thanks a ton Mark!

As you might've seen in the note, he also included a pack of '91 Fleer, which was doubly awesome.  I've been neglecting my '91 Fleer blog, Yellow Cardboard.  If you wanna check out what I got, head over there.

There was a lot more than what I showed here, but I'm trying to keep my posts short and manageable so I don't go weeks between posts, so just the absolute highlights.  Thanks again Mark.

Props to you if you got the Arrested Development reference.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

KOUZ

There's a post I've been working on in draft mode for a few weeks now, but right when I was about to finish it, blogger attacked it, and now it's gone.  While it was initially about my trip down to see the Round Rock Express play their Opening Day game, it turned into a post about how much I loved Kevin Kouzmanoff.

After playing his last game in the majors in 2011 with the Rockies, Kouzmanoff was released and toiled in the minors for the Royals (AA and AAA in 2012) and Marlins (2013).  He did well at all levels, but never got a call up to the bigs.  He signed a contract with the Rangers for 2014, and did really well in Spring Training, but, if you know anything about the Rangers, one of their best players is their third baseman, Adrian Beltre.  Kouzmanoff started off the year in AAA Round Rock.

Here's the proof!  I saw him go 2 for 5 at the plate, and put on a clinic at third, making some very good plays with the glove.  Even though the Express lost in extra innings, I cheered like a crazy person every time Kouz stepped up to the plate or made a play in the field.  I definitely got some strange looks from the crowd around me.

Well, Kouz got the call up to Arlington when Beltre went on the DL, and in his first 13 games, the Mashing Macedonian hit 6 doubles, 2 homers, and had 10 RBI to go along with a .362 average.  He was named AL Player of the Week.  Every Rangers fan was saying the same thing: Where did this guy come from?

Well, now that Beltre is off the DL and Kouzy took his place with some back issues (that may require surgery…ug), he may become a small footnote in the Rangers season.  Here's hoping he gets right and can keep on contributing in the majors.

In the meantime, he's been added to my player collection.  If you've got any extra Kouzmanoff cards, lemme know!  I'll take 'em from any team he's been on (Indians, A's, Rockies, Rangers, and of course, Padres).

Here's my most recent addition, and easily the best card in the Kouz pages.  Sticker auto, along with a jersey relic, numbered to 50.  Not too shabby.

Now that Kouz is injured, I have less of a reason to check in on the Rangers games, so I'm back to only focusing on the Padres, which is depressing.  Andrew Cashner is a great pitcher, but has had two rough starts, and there are only two starters who have batting averages above .200: Everth Cabrera and My Man Chris Denorfia.

Here's hoping that Cameron Maybin being back in the lineup will make a difference.

Did I really just say that?  Sigh.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jesus

Belated Easter wishes to those who take the time to read this here blog.  I had a great Sabbath, starting off with a fun Easter morning with the kiddos (I felt like I did a pretty good job hiding the eggs, without making it too difficult for the three year old).  We got some stuff taken care of around the house, and then went to church and was spiritually fed.

Coming home, I found out that Kevin Kouzmanoff's hitting streak had been halted at ten games, and the Padres weren't able to complete the sweep of the Giants, losing 4-3.  Not a great day for baseball, but hey, kind of low on the priority list, especially on a day like today.

I was reminded today that Jesus Guzman isn't on the team anymore, being traded to the Astros for… somebody, I can't remember who.  Still, this is a pretty cool last card as a Padre.

Anyways, short post tonight.  Just thought I'd let you know that I'm still alive and doing well.  Here are some videos that I watched today to get me in the Easter mood.




God bless.

- Marcus

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cashner

Padres won last night, on the shoulders of their ace, Andrew Cashner.

The Padres are a sometimes good, never great, often below average team.  It's something that I've come to accept, despite a handful of times when it seemed like something good could happen.  I'm not as optimistic that they'll ever win a World Series or throw a no-hitter.

But I do know that on days that Andrew Cashner pitches, I get genuinely excited.

Normally, I'm busy during a game, so as I'm watching it on my laptop, I'll get back to doing something else while the other team is batting and just stay tuned for when the Padres are hitting.  With Cashner, it's the other way around - I'd rather watch the pitching than the offense.  The dude is awesome.

Anyways, here is my first Gypsy Queen card of the year, of the aforementioned Andrew Burton Cashner.

It's one of the red bordered minis, and is numbered to 99.  I'm not a huge fan of Gypsy Queen (haven't bought a pack since 2012, and don't plan on buying any this year, either), but this is a pretty solid Cashner card.  I knew that Cashner won the Pitcher of the Year award for the Padres, but didn't know it was named after Clyde McCullough.  Still trying to find out more about who McCullough is and why he has an award named after him.

Anyways, here's a .gif of the Topps rainbow I have going of Cashner cards.  Only missing the pink version, numbered to 50.  Hopefully I can find one, even though this rainbow set now is more than a page, which seems a little excessive.

So, yeah, Padres win, Cashner is great, and there's a day game tomorrow, which means that I don't have to stay up late to watch my Padres play.  Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Section P 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.


Alright, so we're a few weeks into the season, and well past Opening Day, but I don't feel like changing up the introductory paragraph.  Trying to keep things uniform, alright?

The Padres won last night, on kind of a fluky inning where they managed two runs on zero hits.  Three walks, followed by a wild pitch and an error on the same play, allowed the Padres to pull ahead in the 8th.  Seems like usually the Padres are the ones gifting runs, so I'll take the "W", as sloppy as it may have been.  That puts them a game under .500, after winning their first series over the weekend against the Tigers.  You may have heard about Andrew Cashner's game.  It was a gem.

Though Cash won't make an appearance in this post, I have included a quartet of Padre pitchers.  Some powerful, some poised, some promising.

P:
Mark Parent – 2
Jake Peavy – 39
Alex Pelaez – 1
Oliver Perez – 3
Gaylord Perry – 7
Roberto Petagine – 1
Gary Pettis – 2
Phil Plantier – 11
Mark Prior – 1

Johnny Podres – 1

Total cards - 68
Total players - 10
Most - Jake Peavy (39)
Least - Four are tied (1)
Oldest - Gaylord Perry (1979 Topps)

Jake Peavy starts us off with easily the best card of the bunch.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the yellow Padre unis from the early 70s.  Jake Peavy is the most recent Padre Cy Young Award winner.  Here's hoping that Andrew Cashner can help San Diego fans forget about Peavy, who's currently on the Red Sox.

Against all odds, Oliver Perez is still in the major leagues.  He's currently on the Diamondbacks, despite owning a career 62-75 record and a 4.55 ERA.  Parents, teach your children to throw left handed.  He actually wasn't that bad for the Mariners the last few seasons.  So far, we're 2 for 2 in the awesome socks department.

Speaking of Padres Cy Young Award winners, here's the second of the four.  Gaylord Perry was able to win his first with the Indians when he was 33 years old.  His second would come with the Padres when he was 39.  Not sure that there are many CYA winners who have as much gray hair as Perry has in this shot.

Lastly, we have a "zero year" card, featuring one time prospect Mark Prior.  Mark is the only one of the bunch that is still with the Padres, though he's now a scout of some sort.  Like current Padre Josh Johnson, Prior was an injury prone guy that the Padres took a flier on.  He certainly didn't make as much as JJ did, and he never made it on the field (though Johnson started the season on the DL and doesn't look to return any time soon), but here he is in a Padre uniform showing off his fastball grip.

How long is this alphabet?  I guess we've got ten letters left, though not all will be used in this series.  Take care card collectors.  Until next time.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Something

I feel like it's taking me forever to write a quality blog post.  Fingers, brain, moving very sluggishly.  Until I can work my way out of the writing funk (everything else is working alright), here is a quick post highlighting a few cards that I've picked up via eBay over the past month or so.

Nothing super fancy, but it's something.

Here's a card that I didn't even know existed.  Hard to keep track of all of the parallels from the last few years of Topps sets, but I pounced on this orange bordered Chris Denorfia card from 2012.  It's serial numbered 3/190, which is cool.  More than that, I now have 7/9ths of a page full of 2012 Denorfia cards.  I like it.  Oh, and orange is my favorite color, so that makes this one even better.

 Here's a pair of autographed cards from 2011 Topps.  Picked these up a few weeks apart.  The price of Andrew Cashner cards is slowly rising, as people seem to have taken notice that he could be a big time pitcher in the league.  Neither of his first two starts have been stellar, and he's gotten zero run support (literally no runs scored by the Padres while he's been on the mound), but he's still rocking a pretty good 2.25 ERA, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits over 12 innings, with 11 K's and 5 walks.  Even though it's a Cubs uniform he's wearing, I'll take a cheap Cashner auto when I can find it.  This is my fourth auto of his.  I already have a few Will Venable autos, and this (like the Cashner) is of the sticker variety, which I'm not a big fan of, but I really like the use of the throwback uniforms, so I picked it up.

The well of cheap '74 Washington "Nat'l Lea." cards seems to have dried up.  I haven't picked one up for a long time, and I finally found one that was under three bucks.  Love the all yellow uniform that Bill Greif is wearing here.  That'd be the jersey I'd buy if I could find it anywhere, though I wouldn't wear yellow pants with it.  The '74 Washington set is a long term goal, and I'm now over the halfway mark, with 8 out of the 14 cards in the binder.  Sweet.

We'll wrap up with a card that I used to finally complete a set.  As much as I love any and all Padre throwbacks, I don't like this photo as much as the Venable above, but I really liked last year's Opening Day blue sparkly parallels.  The ones from this year seem a little bland (or at the very least, not as cool as they were last year), so I don't think I'll be chasing the team set, though I wouldn't mind getting the cards of Alonso and Gyorko to add to the Misc. Padres binders.

Hopefully over the weekend, I'll have a little bit of time to write about a trip to the Round Rock Express opening game I went to last week, as well as a trip to San Antonio that I got back from a few days ago. It wasn't a baseball related trip (teaching workshop on common assessments), but I was able to find a cool baseball card shop and pick up some new-to-me Padre cards.

Happy Friday!  Here's hoping the Padres can put together back to back wins with Andrew Cashner on the mound tonight.  Go Padres!

Monday, April 7, 2014

One

It's been a week since I last posted here, the longest stretch since 2012.  I think.

Been very busy lately, coupled with a bit of disinterest in blogging.  It makes me feel guilty, since I still have trade posts that have been in draft mode for over a month now, and there are other things that I'd like to post about, but spending time with my family when I'm home from work has trumped everything.  That, coupled with spending my nights actually watching baseball has cut short writing time.

This past week has been full of highs and lows.  Over the weekend, I was able to spend all day with my family, and we were able to listen to General Conference, a broadcast of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I rarely get any responses when I mention my religious beliefs, which is fine (that's not usually the reason to read a baseball card blog), but I will continue to mention it now and again, as it is a very large part of my life.  Anyways, it was great to feel spiritually renewed and to talk with my wife about strengthening our family and our faith.

Some of you may also know that I am a teacher in central Texas.  I happen to teach on Fort Hood, where there was a recent shooting.  Again.

I wasn't here for the first one, but trust me, this one was one I won't forget.

I don't want to make it seem like I was deeply affected by it, since I left school (early for once, around 4:15,) about 15 minutes before the whole post was locked down.  I didn't find out about it until I got home, and nobody I knew was directly involved.

Still, talking with my students and members of the community, and knowing the specifics of how close in proximity it was makes me sick.  It saddens me to think that things like that happen on a pretty regular basis, and that this post has already gone through that.  I thought about how much I love my kids and what I would do if something bad was to happen to them.  I definitely hugged them a little tighter that night.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's made posting here seem a lot less important.  Because in reality, it is.

This isn't my last post or anything, and I expect to be back to more regular posts soon, but I'll need to get back into a different frame of mind to do so, and it might be a little bit.


Which is not to say that I've given up collecting cards.  I've been picking up a few here and there from eBay (on the cheap, as per usual).  I've been waiting to post this one for a while because it's awesome.  Andrew Cashner is one of the few Padres who has gotten off to a good start (even though he's 0-1, the Padres haven't scored a run while he's been on the field).  This is from last year's Topps set and is one of the blue shiny ones that I think you had to send in wrappers for.  Very cool.

I'm even (probably) going to send off my first TTM autograph request soon.  I know I mentioned that I would do it during Spring Training, but that didn't happen.

If I still owe you cards (I know there are a few of you guys out there), I promise that I haven't forgotten, I've just been moving slow.  I'm not promising them to anybody else, I'm kind of an a trade hiatus for now.  I'd like to give you an idea of when I think I'll be sending them out, but I keep on saying it's soon and I keep turning myself into a liar.  Anyways, I hope all of my blogging buddies are doing well.  I'll still be reading the blogs when I have a chance.  Go Padres!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Section O 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.


Hey, it's the Padres Opening Day, so why not a visit to Section "O" of the MP binder?  I guess if I was a really cool blog, I'd be posting about some great April Fools Day joke.  But this isn't a cool blog.

Sorry.  Instead, you get Jesse Orosco!
O:
Miguel Ojeda – 1
Jesse Orosco – 1
Akinori Otsuka – 10
Bob Owchinko – 1
Eric Owens – 8

Total cards - 16
Total players - 5
Most - Eric Owens (7)
Least - Miguel Ojeda, Jesse Orosco, Bob Owchinko (1)
Oldest - Bob Owchinko (1979 Topps)


I had no idea that Jesse Orosco ever played for the Padres until I got this card.  Pretty hard to believe that he had a 24 year career that started in the 70s, and was still around for a baseball card in 2003.  In '03, he pitched for three teams, the first of which was the Padres (later traded to the Yankees, who later traded him to the Twins), in what would be his final year.  Did you know that Orosco was a two time All-Star?  Both games were before I was born, so I didn't know until just now.  Orosco's most recent claim to fame was being included in last year's Topps set on the back of lots of cards that mentioned that he was the all-time leader in games pitched, with 1,252.  That's a lot of games.

Aki Otsuka is a great Padre.  There is nothing that I don't love about him.  If I was to create a "Favorite Padre" team, he'd be one of the guys in the bullpen.

I mean, it might be a crowded bullpen (Gossage, Fingers, Hoffman, Bell, Gregerson, Worrell, etc.), but he'd be in there.

I don't really know that much about Bob Owchinko, but I like this card.  Lots of blue sky in the background, while Owchinko is calmly looking away at… something.  Man, I'm just getting lost in that blue sky.

Speaking of All-Time Favorite Padres, Eric Owens is going to have to be on there as well.  He'd be on the bench, along with a few other gritty-guys.  He'd be a good late game replacement for Tony Gwynn, a pinch runner that could score a difference-making run.  Yes, in my All-Time Favorite Padres team, I'm including the 90's version of Tony Gwynn, not the 80's version of the all-time great.  That's when he became a favorite for me, sorry.  Anyways, yeah, Eric Owens is awesome.  Not a lot of great cards, but still awesome.

All right, two Misc. Padres posts for the day!  This may actually have a proper ending someday!

Section N 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.


My little brother Sam just got back from his two year mission to Nicaragua.  Very cool to have him back in the US - another person I can talk baseball with.

And yeah, I guess I love him and everything else, too.

Anyways, he has already checked out the blog and has sent me some absolute gems that nobody could possibly appreciate more than me, so I'll be posting those soon, as well as a Nicaraguan-themed post.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, on with the countdown.  I know that all of the Opening Days will have passed by the end of the day, but why stop now?

N:
Xavier Nady – 4
Craig Nettles – 1
Phil Nevin – 6
Marc Newfield – 1
Melvin Nieves – 7

Eric Nolte – 3

Total cards - 22
Total players - 6
Most - Melvin Nieves (7)
Least - Craig Nettles & Marc Newfield (1)
Oldest - Craig Nettles (1986 Topps)

I've said it before, the '71 Topps design is a killer one, even when it's blatantly ripped off by Upper Deck.  While Jason Middlebrook gets the headline, Xavier Nady had the better career of the two (I'm assuming, since I had never heard of him until this card.  While I wasn't following the Padres as much during X's tenure in San Diego, I think it's cool that he's back with the Padres this season, and will be root in' for him big time. 

One of my favorite action shots in the whole binder.  Not really a big Phil Nevin fan, but hard not to appreciate this photo of him and a sliding Damian Jackson in the infield.

Oh, Melvin Nieves… you never stood a chance.  Even with a flat out great card like this one, there was still no way I was going to be able to root for you when I was a kid.  Not after you were traded away in one of the worst deals in Padres history, for my favorite player.  It was unfair to have to compare you to Fred McGriff, a should-be Hall of Famer, but I was young, and thought that trades actually had to benefit both sides.  I didn't understand the money aspect of it.

I've gotten over it and accepted it now, but it's been pretty recently.  If you had told me at the beginning of this blog that I'd have seven different cards of Nieves, I would've thought you'd be crazy.  Now, I know that it's just a part of Padres history.  Not a good part, but still part of it.

That'll wrap it up for today, but here's a little DMX for your Tuesday.  I'm not really into rap (although I enjoy listening to a little Rakim now and then), but this is Xavier Nady's walkup music, and who doesn't love Xavier Nady?  Nobody, that's who.