Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Best Smile in Baseball

I know I'm new to this. That I haven't been exposed to the tens-of-thousands of cards others have. I hope if you read this, have a favorite card that fits the category "smiles", that you share it with me. A binder of smiles would be pretty awesome.

However, there's no denyin' it. This man could smile with the best of them. I knew it little, and know it now.

As nice as they come. What's that? You want another. OK.

You gotta' own this card to see the smile because my scanner only picked up his holo-swing. Discernible barely at the tops surface of the picture. A peek-a-boo smile indeed.

The last smile is savvy. My first of this much maligned set.

I'll say it again.


These cards were presented courtesy of Angels in the Outfield. Just post new year I will get those Angels out to you. Got a bunch of Lineage and the glossy A&G set, with a few extra.

Show your smiles. I'd love to see.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Holiday Candy

Here he is everyone. That last little bit of candy in that orange jack-o-lantern pumpkin with the black plastic handle. The mustachioed hero of the minor leagues, while still residing in Puerto Rico. It's Riverside, he's Candy . . . its cavities.

Take that Wilson!

The next one, while he does look happy on the front. I mean that smile will just suck you in. It is what is on the back that really makes this spectacular. Two Words.


That happy little star promising delicious hamburger devilry. Few and far between, here in the midwest, Chicago. A special treat when discovered on the highway, going to some far away place, off in the west.

Riverside, one day. One day I shall sup with temporal proximity where Candy once tread. Or perhaps Ulises, as this card reads on the back. Because who needs candy when you have . . .

The Double Bacon Western Cheeseburger.

This certainly qualifies as a doubly food card. Sweet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cubs From the Giving Box

The Extreme Value continues to crank out the hits. Here we have the 2006 Topps team set of the Cubs. I am sure glad I don't have the Diamondbacks, or the Marlins. At least its from a team I like, and since I did buy the box in Chicago it makes since. Here we have the Cubs, only five years ago. Moving into the Epstein era, lets see where these ex-cubies play, and if we would be glad or sad if they still played for the boys in blue.

1. Kerry Wood: Cubs again, Glad

2. Mark Prior: Yankees Farm League, Sad

3. Greg Maddux: Retired, Glad

4. Carlos Zambrano: Probably and Unbelievably a Cubbie, Sad-so-sad

5. Michael Barrett: Mets Free Agent, Sad

6. Derrek Lee: Pirates, Glad

7. Jerry Hairston Jr.: Dodgers, Sad

8. Ronny Cedeno: Pirates Free Agent, Sad

9. Todd Walker: Retired, Sad

10. Aramis Ramirez: Cubs Free Agent, Glad

11. Ryan Dempster: Cubs, Glad

12. Jacque Jones: Free Agent, Sad

13. Glendon Rusch: Free Agent, Sad

14. Juan Pierre: Free Agent, Sad

Well, there's the cards. And judging how I would be sad if the majority were still on the team, I think the Cubs have moved in the right direction. Just drop the big Z, what the heck?!?

Monday, December 26, 2011

More Love from the Box

Well, I hope every one's Christmas season was well spent with friends and family. Food at our house was delicious, a standing rib roast, horseradish whipped potato, various sides, homemade bread. And to wash it all down, Umathum, an amazing Austrian red wine that lends it self, along with a table for 10, to quick drinking and Gregorian chanting.

Alas, we shall return to the cards. Once more into my 1.99 investment we discover some questionable design, and three players, two who previously were strangers and one young surprise.

Tom Browning has the unfortunate fate to be placed on the worst design of the day. I think my sister sponge-painted her bedroom in a similar fashion around the same years. None the less, a year after this card was printed Tom would throw the 12th perfect game in history. Marge Schott, his then owner, attempted to add a clause to his contract that stated if he pitched another perfect game in 19989 his wife would earn 300,000 dollars. This was eventually nixed by the league.

Barry Jones, besides rocking the old-school White sox uni, has a sweet stash and an "East Bound and Down" aesthetic that is hard not to envy.

So, for the most part I figured this must be a different Luis Gonzalez. What were the chances that I got a rookie, minor league card from the "real" Luis Gonzalez's career. Had to be another kid . . . what is that. The same birth date as Luis on wikipedia. And, reading further he was drafted by the Astros in the 4th round of the 88 draft. The card is shot at the Astros compound and field down in Florida, home of the rookie league team. I figure that is what this is from. Pretty cool.

Well, I believe Luis here has pulled ahead of the off-center Buckner as best pull from the plasticine box of value!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's All a Matter of Perspective

I have almost finished organizing and coallating my 2011 Update set. It has been fun. I pulled the Ozzie Smith SP so that was totally sweet! Why are so many of those cards from his Padres days?  Seems to be all I get, but oh well. He had awesome hair back then.

The two cards today are absolutely stunning photos. I love that a few cards can be like this. For all of the floating head cards, the swing shots, the oh-so boring pitcher throwing . . . there are these.

The colors alone are so refreshing and bright. The yellow banner across the bottom perfect against the green of the grass above and on-deck circle below. Notice the catcher caught between the Pirates players, exceptional. And then the photo continues to rise into the stadium's nose bleed section and into the blue sky above. Reminds me of an EA sports "photo". Refreshing says it best to me.

Wow. Just wow. Amazing work, amazing shadows. I believe it may slow the heart rate akin to watching an aquarium. Don't quote me on this.

Couple of beautiful cards Topps, thanks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Extreme Value Plasticine Box #3

 So the World Championship hangover has come and gone. Man was that good kool-aid.

As I finish sorting my update series, and cataloging it (I should finally have a haves-and-wants list up), I look over and there is this pile of cards. Ah yes, the extreme value plasticine box, a real pile if there ever was one. Would the Buckner be the best of the bunch? We shall see.

All of today's cards are from the Leaf company.

Today's first card, once again in honor of the storied Redbirds, is a St. Louis Alum.

Tony is one of very few catchers to earn a gold glove in both the AL and NL. His work with the Cardinals in '87 was exemplary. Moving into quite a succesful coaching career after playing, he is currently the bench coach for the New York Yankees.

He is on a short-list to replace Terry Francona as manager in Beantown. I certainly think he would be a good fit there, and deserves the chance to manage the helm in the bigs.

I like the design ok. It is sharp, no intrusive design elements. I like the position and team logos located in opposite corners of the bottom. A surprisinly handsome card for the early 90's.

The next card is Joel Skinner.

My first bunt card. Can't wait to fill a page with 9 bunt cards. Oh man.

If I played baseball I would regret that they chose my picture to be of me bunting. I researched it, Joel is not known for his bunting prowess. Come to think of it, who is?

He is also a bench coach like Tony Pena, but working for the A's these days.

The card is beautiful. I love the "scrapbooky" design conceit, and the silver border works well with the Braves uniform. My favorite card of a bunt.

And last, the ugliest:

Thank good-ness we got through the 90's. So many photoshop tricks, I am glad we worked through the tricks.

Chris here only played a few games this year for the Orioles, but went on to play a whole bunch of them up until 1998. Fans of the Orioles that grew up watching him behind home-plate seem to really like him.

He did hit one of only 23 ultimate grand-slams in history. And, his may be the best. His slam is the only one to ultimate-ultimate. He hit a grandslam, at home, down three runs with 2 outs and the count at 3 and 2.


More sweetness from the Plasticine Box.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Things He Might Be Thinking

1) My bat looks huge today!

2) Come on ladies!!

3) No I'm not the guy that covered Wonderwall!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ah . . . To Participate in Ubiquity

I had to do it.

I've seen so many others.

What of the season if it weren't for injury?

Having finished with the initial sorting of the Update series I have a few posts worth of some sweet cards. I really love the old-time logo contrasted with the blue diamond affect, the juxtaposition is pleasant.

I hope the kid can pitch lights-out next year. Tommy John's surgery is not the death-knell it once was. His ligament may be stronger now then ever.

It's a shame he is on the Nationals.

Friday, October 28, 2011

They Sparkle Because They're Champions

That's right. They did it!!!

They weren't the zombie cards, as the pundits liked to call them. They were the Vampire cards . . . vampires sparkle.

Busy day tomorrow at work, gotta keep it short.

The only Texas Ranger I was afraid of was Chuck Norris.

Now please resign Albert.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Woo Hoo!!!

Absolutely amazing. Silly amazing.

Game 7 here we come.

This also means that Royals week continues. This last installment is brought by my first "trade".

Tom at sent me some awesome Cards and Royals, several Ozzies, and several types of cards I didn't have yet. Totally fun, and you will probably read atleast one more post on it. I say "trade" because he sent me these cards with only the promise of me sending any Angels cards I might have. One caveat, he had more then enough 80's and early 90's cards. Lol. I don't blame him. After just recently starting to collect, I can certainly see how someone would have a copious amount of, and more then enough of those cards.

I did luck into some sweet Angels cards through a group break, and can't wait to send them out to complete my "trade".

Back to Royals Week. With a Card for good luck.

Probably unbenknowsnt to Tom, he sent me my 2nd and 3rd card of literal foodstuff. I hadn't thought about it before, but they both feature a food that is probably in a great number of baseball photos.

Chewing Gum.

If I could be Bo, would I be Bo? Something about the sentence begs for a "would a wood chuck" treatment.

The second and bonus Card is something I collect exactly.

An Ozzie Smith Food Card!
Never even imagined one would exist.

18th year in the bigs here. And still just a sweet day in the sun chewin' gum.

Thanks for my new favorite Ozzie.

Carpenter will pitch, I guarantee it!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holy Friday Service and the Continuation of Royals Week

Wow!!! What a Friday at the restaurant. Paris Club was boomin', when I left we had done around 700 guests. That is quite a few. Tomorrow promises more of the same. Come and get that sweet French food.

By necessity this post will be short. I am a little OCD when it comes to cataloging my cards. One of the reasons I think I like this hobby is so many things to catalog and put in its place.

Mise en place chef!!! Mise en place!

So it drives me crazy when I don't know where to pigeon hole a card into my long box or in beckett's database.

Can someone please tell me what this card is?

What is it? Chef will yell if I don't have the place in place. Wait, I'm the chef. Somebody help.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Royals Week Continues With an '85 Alum

This post is bittersweet.

Yes the Cards lost. As everyone and their mother let me know through my headset at work. My restaurant is so busy we all wear mics and headsets to communicate during service. All through tonight's game I would receive bi-inning updates on the score. They were nice enough to let Chef know that his team was tied or winning.

Come the 9th, man oh man did Chef receive a lot of updates. Sometimes three for the same game-state. One of my front of house managers managed to let me know that we were tied. Then that we were behind. At that moment, I believe that three others on mic chimed in to reiterate that I was losing. The mic chatter was plentiful and the sympathy was 86'd. My favorite had to be when J-$ (that's his handle, pronounce it J-Money) let me know that Gordo was pitching in relief and he was throwing spaghetti on the mound.

It's really nice to have such a supportive staff.

The Royals card of the day hopes to blow off the jinx. Even though Paul was a member of the Royals team that bested the Cards in the '85 series, his results were sub-par. I'm hoping by outing this demon of the past, and that nary a zombie Don Denkinger will show up to give the game away (still the wrong call, even in HD), I can help the Redbirds regain some of the momentum that brought them here.

I figure that's close enough to Ranger blue to have the sought after voodoo effect.

Release the demons of the past.

Go Redbirds!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cards Win!!! Incongruously Royals Week Continues with Day 2.

I won't say much about the game. It was awesome, Carpenter had his sweet stuff (did you see that diving out at first?!?), and the Birds take game one.

"Bo Knew"

Seriously, look at the strength in this mans legs. His left quadricep here is huge. Arms locked, head down, weight shifted. Man oh Man, 'tis a shame he had but a year left at this physical state.

Pujols never played in the NFL. I like the man, hope he doesn't leave for the Cubs, but I'm just sayin'. He has alot of records, but a first-down isn't one of them.

I gotta try Bo's BBQ.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Redbirds Made It!!! But, Let's Not Forget Their I-70 Neighbors.

Yes, that's right. I am stoked the Birds made it back to the Series. I swear, 19 games out, I thought the season was over. I was hanging my head. And yet . . . zombie love!!!

However, switching gears, I began to think that the other Show-Me state team had its day. Albeit, a loooooonnngggg time ago. That made me sad. Feeling empowered to do something about sadness I hereby declare that this will be Royals week.

That's right, the Cards are in the Series, and Royals week?

Why not . . . no one else will do it.

The first card today is a great one. There was another blogger today that mentioned how rarely orange is used in baseball cards. Being that I just cataloged this bad boy last night, I thought why not. Why don't I do a Now and Then post about two Royals pitchers.

I really wish the boys in blue had been able to keep this guy on their roster, but it is no surprise that he is gone. However, while he was there, he hurled that thing.

So that's the Now (even if he plays for Milwaukee).

The Then, another AL Cy Young winner:

That's right, the swordsman himself.

It could be awhile before the Royals find themselves another Cy Young Award winner. If I had a David Cone card I would show so the Trifecta!

That's it for the first installment of Royals Week. See you back here tomorrow for a card that shows Bo pitching?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Ever Happened to Kay-Bee Toy Stores?

This was a sweet eBay pick-up. It is actually only part of the purchase. I got about 12 boxes of 80's era proprietary cards produced by Topps. My favorite thing about all of these boxes is the feeling of nostalgia they inspire. Not only are the players the young versions of my childhood baseball heroes, they have often times been commissioned by the purveyors of my youth.

Ka-Bee toy stores were one of my favorites in the mall. I think I probably bought at least a couple of G.I. Joe's from the mall in Columbia, Mo.

These are only 9 of the 33 cards in the set. And man do they have everything you would want.

Dwight Gooden is throwin' the heat. I would not want to be in front of that fastball.

Vince Coleman is running the bases. The stirrups are cool, but man those pants were ugly.

And, check out the George Brett card. The bat he has thrown behind him is rendered wonderfully in the photo, and it is too bad no one rocks the double sweatbands on the wrists anymore. Reminds me of Wonder Woman.

To answer the question in the title. Kay-Bee toy stores filed for bankruptcy twice in five years which finally led to its demise in 2009. 'Tis a product of the Wal-mart beat down that main street America has been feeling for decades. Kay-Bee was the second oldest toy retail outlet in the country (behind FAO Schwartz), operating 1300 stores in all 50 states.

It comforts me to know that Eskimos had access to G.I. Joe's.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More of that Extreme Value!!!

The Extreme Value Plasticine Box

The first card is a guy that spent most of his careers with the A's, whom with we see him here. For most of his career he batted behind Ricky Henderson. Mr. Henderson credits Dwayne with helping him set the single season record for stolen bases in 1982 at 130. He is still in baseball, currently acting as the hitting coach for the Blue Jays.

As if helping Ricky set the record wasn't enough, the man gets cool points for helping fund M.C. Hammer's first album. It's hammer time!

The next card will probably prove to be the best card in the plasticine box. Even if it is off center, has rough corners, the man has a story. I shan't recall it here. Although, if you haven't seen his episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, you certainely should.

Slippery fingers Buckner . . .

I think he has a caterpillar on his face.

The last card for today is a world series winner, from the year the card was produced. I believe it is my first such treasure. If a '92 Score card could be considered a treasure.

And, to spin it back to my resurgent redbirds, Manny ended his career in St. Louis. On April 26th, 1995 he had one bat for the Cardinals, got injured in the fourth inning, and never made it back to the Show after that.

What are the chances I can find a card of him as a Cardinal? If Candy Sierra can have two as a Red, why can't Manny have one as a Redbird?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Was That the Only Picture You Had? a.k.a. Wake up Lance

Go Redbirds!!!

It isn't fair that Lance is depicted in this "Animal House"-like fashion. Even if he went 0-3 in game 5, woke up on picture day hung-over, he deserves better. At least comb his hair photographer.

The humanity!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Extreme Value?

So I bought this box at Walgreens . . . ok, I bought two of them. They looked like a good way to expand my new collection a bit, and at 3.99 they wouldn’t break the bank. 

It says “extreme value” . . . we shall see. This will be a regular series on my blog, as we comb through the hundred cards that cost me .04 a card. I hope to remind you old-timers the gruesome beauty that were baseball cards back then. I have some real sweet  Star cards that will get you hoppin’. I also hope to learn something about all 100 players (assuming no repeat players), as that is what the game is really about. At .04 a card, the information may be hard to come by.

Without further adieu, I present:

The Extreme Value Plasticine Box

He doesn’t look German?

That doesn’t seem like a German surname.
What gives?

He pitched two seasons in the big leagues for the Twins. Had a respectable SO percentage, 19 SO’s in 21 IP in 1988.

Topps Lineage should have included this forgotten Venezuelan. What is that you ask? You haven’t forgotten about his name. He obviously doesn’t eat Schnitzel.

Germany was the first European country to colonize Venezuela in 1527. For twenty years they ruled until Spain revoked their ownership of the colony. Do you suppose his parents were history buffs?

Not much to say about Mr. Mason. He did hit the big show for 7 years total, with several trips back down the ladder during his career. Most notably, he has a microscopic postseason ERA of .49 over 18.33 innings. Still among the best for relievers. To put it in perspective, Mariano Rivera's average is 2.21. Although, admitedly Mo has pitched 1211 innings, and has a slightly bigger wiki page than Roger Mason. Still though, .49 is low.

Gleaton pitched mainly in relief for 12 years in the bigs. On April 30, 1981 he received the dubious honor of pitching a complete game loss as his Mariners lost to the Tigers.

He is only one of handful of baseball players to go by their first and middle name. 
Jerry Don.
Can you name others?

Friday, September 30, 2011

That Country Candy

Here he is again.

Nashville was a team in the folds of the Reds farm system at the time. Poor Candy landed on the team during a horrible year. They were in last place and had gone through five managers in two weeks.

Things looked bleak.

Until they got some Candy.

I like the card alot. The team logo in the bottom left is great and well rendered. A very clean minor league card design.

Why is the Pitcher holding a bat? Candy went to bat four times in the big leagues. He had four strikeouts.

Why is he holding a bat?

This is a new subset I may collect. Pitchers with Bats.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Phenom"-enal Candy

Another piece of candy. Sweet, sweet candy.

There are 9 cards of this candy flavor. My expo has told me that I should look into Candy Muldonado, I have, and that is a flavor for the future. For now, we stick with Sierra.

Sweet, Emmanuel Lewis ("Webster") look alike Candy Sierra.

If you are too young to have seen the show, Google the actor. Wikipedia the show. Stare in awe at the sweet Greek foster-father. Appreciate that Webster grew up, changed his name, and became a major league pitcher for 16 games.

Again the Reds uniform. Paying attention to the back of the card below, shows us what the Fleer card did as well. It shows that Candy played 15 games in the bigs for the Padres and one for the Reds. Yet again, Topps caught him in the Reds uni.

This card is so much nicer to look at  than the Fleer version, Topps win.. Here we also show that after his one game with the Reds, they shipped him to Nashville. He had a short career there and then a year with Riverside. The newspaper articles I have found on him will be for a future post. I can tell you though, that he is almost always mentioned as a Padre, it was hard to find a mention of his time with the Reds.

What I didn't notice on the Fleer version was that Candy's first year pitching pro was '83. Looking at the top of his card, seeing he was born in '67 . . . some math . . . and holy cow!!!! He was pitching pro when he was 16. And the next year, at 17 years of age, he has his best year. Most games, IP, and his lowest ERA in '84.

At 17!!!

Sweet Phenom Candy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Amusements From Ebay

Here are the 4th and 5th amusements found in the ebay box. Having just scratched the surface of the box I can guarantee it is mostly late 80's - early 90's cards.

New to the hobby, I am not sure if I would have survived if I was collecting back then. The cards have been atrocious.

But amusing.

Here I can imagine the consternation of the photographer when he was told he had to get an action photo of Larry jumping.

"Come on Larry, jump. That's it . . . both feet off the ground. Ah screw it, let's build a platform and shoot it from a ridiculous angle. Larry, you stand on your tip-toes. Act like your jumping."

The other card is just funny. I imagine there are other cards that depict players in the situation Devon White finds himself in. But really, Upper Deck, why use that photo? Why not the one of him hitting a double? Or even hitting a pop-fly but holding onto the bat?

Poor Larry. He was a Redbird at the end. Sweet.

The bat chucker has two World Series rings. Sweet.

Thanks box.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


2011Topps redemption program was really fun for me. I have already posted a vintage card from my Topps redemption draw. As this is my first year collecting cards, it was a great way to get me some of the old ones. I also got to discover players I had never heard of. I had quite a good time putting in those silly codes.

Now this one is . . . precious.
Diamond inlay just like my grill.

Sweet bling in the bottom right.


Who in the hell is it?

He hasn't played a game this season and Topps gave him a card, with a DIAMOND in it.

My first 1/1. Sweet Ump action in the background. Precious geologic pearl.

I look forward to next years redemption program. Hope Jason plays a game next year, sounds like his shoulder is hurt somethin' fierce.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bob is Great, Stan is Neat, and Osborne Rocks!

Kevin over at has sent me an amazing package.

This is the third package of awesomness I have received. Tribecards, the Troll and now Kevin have all hooked me up. Inspiring and giving great fun to this stranger.

The first card of the shipment tonight just might be my new favorite. The card is so sleek, clean and awesome. I can't believe Kevin would send me such a great Topp '74, made three years before I was born. Bob Gibson was from my Dad's era, when Grandad was a man and Dad was a boy.

What a classic shot. Gibson, wearing the weird spacesuit of orange textile beneath his sharp Cardinals uniform, stands alone in an empty stadium. Or, almost empty. Seems Chilly.

He played for so long, all for the Redbirds. Hoot really is, in the psyche of every young Missouri boy, along with Mark Twain and Daniel Boone.

The next card is amazing. An absolute treasure of a photo.

Donora Pennsylvania . . . home of stan the man. Around 14,000 people strong the year he was born. Obviously the home of high b-ball fashion. I think American Apparel sells gold lame like that. No disrespect Mr. Musial.

The Arch. Sweet. Architechtural Masterpiece. It says he was neat.

I have always wanted to build a statue across the Mississippi river in Illinois. The statue would be of a croquet player, and the viewer would veiw it with such perspective that the Arch was a giant wicket. That's sweet architecture.

Seriously though . . . there is a statue of the "Man" for a reason.
One of the greatest hitters ever.
Despite the kneepads.

The last card for this post is the first of the Ozzie's. Kevin sent me many Ozzie's. Thanks to him I already have double digit Ozzie.

But his Mama calls him Osborne Earl.

He can flip.
So many gold gloves. Baker's Dozen.


Thanks diamondking.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Learning About VIntage

I liked the Topps redemption program this year. Putting the codes in online, and then digging a sqaure to find your reward was fun. I didn't really care for the digital rings as I would never get enough to matter. I did like getting the vintage cards. I didn't have any older cards before these, so it has been fun to see them.

This Cardinal wasn't known to me, which is no surprise considering he played his last year in 1973. This card is from 1967.

I can imagine this 25 year old kid from Memphis enjoying several of the Italian restaurants on the "hill" in St. Louis. Bear with me as we journey into a sweet food aside. I have been to the "hill" several times growing up, always going with my Dad and family to an Italian restaurant in the heavily Italian region of St. Louis dubbed the "hill". Red and white checkerboard scene. Fun, jovial rooms.

The home of Fried Ravioli.

That's right, digest that one.

The first fried ravioli were made right in the "hill". According to Missouri canon, a cook was making ravioli near the fryer, and one fell into the oil. Seeing the sublime creation and swiftly dipping it into marinara, that cook changed the world. Well, if not the world, than atleast a great deal of the overweight midwesterners waistline was changed by this genius. Don't argue with regional urban-folklore. Just accept it and repeat it to all who will listen. Such is the oral tradition.

Back to the card, just picture the young second-bagger above with a belly full of delicious.

Phil was born in Memphis. Attended high school down there with three other players he would team with on the Cardinals. in 1967, Phil had just played two full seasons in the bigs, preceded by two partial teams in the early 60's.

His brother Ralph played a few years in the bigs as well.

Searching for the player shows 24 cards, two of them minor league, many of them team issue. It is fun to think that you could choose a random card like this, and chase that player's cards.

Love the Cards uniform, but Gagliano will not be my first vintage chase. I'll know it when I see it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My first Hall of Fame Rookie Card . . . or Introducing the 100 Amusement Box

I had been reading blogs for awhile, probably around 6 months, before I actively began to collect baseball cards. As a 34 year old male, this might be seen as an odd time to start, and the blogs helped me decide that it was for me. I enjoy the notion of trading, especially with the goal of completing sets. I cannot wait to send off a few of my doubles from next years cards, and receive ones that I need.

That being said, I knew I needed to increase my collection. I needed to increase my collection so that I could send fun things along with the traded-cards in the trade packages. I have had the blessing of receiving three such packages so far, where I traded nothing to get them, and look forward to sweetening the envelopes with finds from my 24.99 eBay purchase of 3000 cards.

Now being new to the hobby, but having read quite a bit of history through all of the blogs on, I can deduce that late 80's - early 90's cards are viewed with derision and scorn. I however, am not tainted by such views. Having never seen the carnage that can result when too much cardboard floods the market, pushes out all competitive bacteria, and a plague of Bruckheimer-esque proportions takes over the Earth. I stand in the enviable position to find amusement in them all.

That is what I propose to share with this series. Borrowing heavily from Thorzul's "Best 100 finds in a 30 dollar lot", I plan on sharing 100 amusing pieces I find in the 3000. Many of them are probably not the "best" cards in the box, I certainly can't pick the good ones (spoiler: I did pull at least one Ozzie). I will focus on cards that amuse me.

Sid Bream and Candy Sierra, of "Two pieces of Candy . . . and a Fish" fame, are the first two amusements found in the box.

The next card just might be my first rookie card of a hall of Famer:

The Front:

What a great photo of the Rook. Doing what he did for so many years, tagging 'em out. I love the full photo-frame design. The colors and the gloss really make the card feel special to me. I have to admit, I did hunt for a bit of food in the background. Come on lady in the yellow pants, just a cheesy-fry, come on? One fry!

It was not to be. Alas, a great picture of a great player.

The Back:

I am in love. This is legit, the first card back I have seen that I think is sleek and perfect. The purple, oh the purple. Now, I know that I belittled Todd Helton's choice of color. Perhaps I even implied that purple should only be worn by old women. Perhaps. I don't care!!! This purple is regal. There is royalty associated with this color. The Mike wears it well.

Well, there is #3 from the box. A future hall of famer? I think there is no doubt about it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two Pieces of Candy . . . and a Fish

Still being new at card collecting, I am still in the process of really finding my collecting niche. I know I will probably be a set collector, as I like having the completeness of things. I will collect Cardinal's and Royals as they were the teams I grew up watching.

And, I want to collect cards with food on them. I am a chef by profession, so it seems natural I should build an over-whelming, feast inducing collection of cards. Any help acquiring such random treats would be appreciated.

Sifting through a $30 dollar box of random cards I bought on ebay, I came across three new food cards. Now these stretch the definition of food on the card, but I like it. It will provide access to a whole new, quirky collection to be built. So, with out further adieu:

The Food:

Bream is a fish. This is a fresh water fish found in Europe, nor of the alps and as far east as the Black Sea. Often prepared and served whole, the fish is delicate and declicious. A simple salting, and roasting in the oven, served with olives and olive oil, will serve this fish well.
Picture of Sea Bream in Sea Salt with Salsa Verde Recipe

The Player:

Sid Bream played 11 seasons in the bigs. Not an exceptionally productive hitter, he did have strong gap power, which resulted in him getting a large number of doubles. As you can see from his card back between 1986 and 1988 he belted 99 doubles. Not bad.

This excerpt from his wikipedia page describes Bream's moment in the spotlight.

The most famous moment of Bream's career came in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series. Bream was the Atlanta first baseman, and the Braves were playing his old team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, in the NLCS.

The Pirates carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning under the pitching of their ace, Doug Drabek, needing just three outs to make the World Series. However, Drabek gave up a leadoff double to Terry Pendleton, then allowed another runner (David Justice) on an infield error by second baseman José Lind. After Drabek walked Bream to load the bases, Pirates manager Jim Leyland pulled him out of the game. Reliever Stan Belinda replaced him on the mound, and managed to get two outs, despite giving up a run on a sacrifice fly by Ron Gant. Then, Braves third-string catcher Francisco Cabrera belted a single to left field, and Justice scored easily to tie the game.

Pirates left fielder and eventual National League MVP Barry Bonds fielded the ball as Bream (known as a slow runner, possibly one of the slowest in baseball) plodded around the bases toward home plate. Bonds' throw arrived first, but it was slightly offline towards the first-base line. As soon as catcher Mike LaValliere received the ball, he desperately lunged toward the plate to tag Bream out, but Bream was able to slide just underneath the tag to score the winning run and send the Braves to the World Series for the second consecutive year.

Noted baseball announcer Sean McDonough uttered arguably the most famous call of his career while he was relaying what came to be known as "The Slide" to North American television viewers on CBS:

Line drive and a base hit! Justice has scored the tying run, Bream to the plate, and he is... SAFE! Safe at the plate! The Braves go to the World Series!

McDonough got so caught up in the moment that his voice cracked when Bream arrived safely home ahead of the throw from Bonds.

Braves announcer Skip Caray delivered his defining call on the play as well:

"Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here's the throw to the plate! He is . . . safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!"

The Card:

The Upperdeck design from 1990 is not offensive at all. I like the large photo field, the action shot, the logo and name location. A sharp card design.
The back is not as nice. Confusion results due to the vertical orientation of the 2nd photo (kudo's for the second photo) and the orientation of the stats.

The second food card of the day is sweet sweet Candy!!!

The Food:

Candy, sweet candy! Who doesn't know what candy is? It's delicious, sweet, sometimes hard, sometimes chewy, angels gift to kids, candy is awesome!

The Player:

Candy Sierra, the player, unfortunately is not as good as the foodstuff.  The Puerto Rican only played 16 games in the bigs. And incredibly, according to his stats, played 15 for Pittsburgh, and only one for Cincinatti. How in the world did he end up in a Reds uniform on the card? Did he happen to show up for picture day by chance? Is he sitting in a cell? Do you think he knows the picture is taken on his last game?

The Card:

The design is awful. I can't stand the gray pinstripes, they make the card look dirty. The diagonal cut photo frame with the top of the head being outside of it, is atrocious. Turning the card over, you see the horrible gray pinstripes carried around the edges. And then the highlighter yellow, horrible color. The only thing I like is the cartoon denoting the allstar break at the bottom. And poor poor Candy, notice the N/A after the break.

What's This?!?

That's right, Two Pieces of Candy!!!

Send me your Candy! I like the Candy!