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!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On the Pence

I get alot of grief from some of the cooks, but I really like watching this guy play. He is fast, hits the ball well, has years in front of him to play and learn the game. This is the second, black-border mini A&G, in as many days. If I was to collect one brand of the mini's it would be these black bordered beauties. My favorite aspect of the design is the, almost wrought-iron, paisley found in the border.

Even though he hit his first big league Grand Slam against those sweet red birds. Even though he may look kind of like an alien, or a doppleganger about to shift; don't hold these things against him. Coming into the NL the same season as Ryan Braun, he certainly has done well to cement his spot of greatness in the 2007 class. Playing for the Phillies should give Pence an even greater chance to excel, surrounded by great players playing well.

Having seen him play the Cubs quite a few times, he earned my notice earlier this year. The seats I get from my meat purveyor are on the first base line, just past first base. I have seen him chase down pop-ups in right field, and he has caught up to several line drives I thought were gonna' get through. He is really fast if you see him in person, covers so much ground.

If I continue to like Pence next year, and he continues to perform, I could totally see myself collecting Pence cards.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Give this man a contract extension!!!

Come on Cards. Don't let this guy leave the team. Franchise player by definition, by heart of the fans, and by deed. The Cardinals would be making a mistake not to secure his services through the rest of his career.

He may be having a down year now, but you would only notice the numbers if they weren't being produced by Pujols. Over his first ten years, he has been selected to by on the All-Star team 9 times. That's incredible. Only missing one year?!? At the end of last year he led the league's active players in avg., slugging, and obp.

Please don't let me get a sweet black border Allen and Ginter mini with Pujols in a differnt uniform next year. Sign the man.

The French King of New York

Imagine my suprise, when A&G was being spoiled, that there would be a chef card. Who would it be I wondered? Mario Batali? Thomas Keller? Escoffier?

No, it turns out it was a man I have done several events with. The king of New York:

At one point, in what was one of the highlights of my career the man called me "putain". I was helping Laurent Gras at the South Beach food festival. Living the dream. I was surrounded by all of these famous chef's, had an amazing hotel room paid for by the event, was foot-loose and fancy free. Chef Daniel and I shared a prep kitchen. As he was busy slicing his terrines for the event, I carelessly opened the door directly into his elbow as he was slicing. This caused him to call me "putain", which is french for a woman of ill-repute. I smiled inside. I had finally made it!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tribecards Royals

Here is some more of the sweetness from Dave over at These are some of the sweet Royals cards he sent, supplementing the Cardinal's cards from the previous post. Now, I will be honest with you, it has been Reeeeaaaaallll hard to be a Royal's fan, oh . . . say for the last decade maybe decade and a half. All I can think of is the run down stadium I used to go to in the mid-late 80's, with the huge Royals shield standing off of I-70. It looked derelict, like a team with no money. Shame, shame, shame. We couldn't even hold on to Grienke.

Oh well, these cards are still sweet!!!

We all know the man of steel knees, the sweet footage of the homer, the hobble around the bases. Most of us forgot he was a Royal. There he is, DH for the boys. Reminds me of when Montana QB'd the chiefs for one more season. KC likes it that way. They also like BBQ.

My first Bowman Butler. I think he's throwing a sweet softball pitch. Seeing this, I can't believe how much bigger he is now. I also can't believe he has spent his career with the Royals. Atleast he's good at softball.

Hall of Famer and MVP, he has so many stats to list, I won't. I will say, since he went to Highschool in El Segundo . . . I think he may be missing his wallet (sweet hip hop reference, I know card blogs and hip hop, you'd think it was a Deion Sanders post). The man crushed it, and like Butler above, all for the Royals. Unlike Butler, it was when the Royals rocked. Kansas City is due a resurgence!

I'm sorry ma'am, what kind of berry do you want with your icecream. Not a raspberry? Blueberry, no? What is that, you want a Quisenberry? Sorry, we're all out.
It's a good thing they don't make me a server, no one would get my jokes (much like Monty Python). Jokes take nothing awary from  this oversized card, my first. Submarine pitchers should make a return, he was great to watch as a kid.

For the next three, all the same man. You knows who it is. And if you don't it's okay, because Bo knows.

I love them all. That's one big head on a suction cup. Look at the curve and warp in the bat of the swing card. Man, it's like that guy is strong enough to play football. The bottom picture is my favorite. A man that is relaxed, comfortable, and probably thinking about his future as a restauranteur.

One more, the final is a subset of cards I am going to collect. Cards with food on them. If you have them, please contact me. The newer cards are so sterile, I can't find a chili dog or fries amongst them. Saberhagen however, may know how many licks it takes.

Chef off the clock. Oui!