Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Hall Of Famer and Someone Else

It is rare in the box of 5000 that i run across cards of guys I recognize more than just a name. Sure there are the Andres Gallaraga's, the Ozzie Canseco's . . . yeah, that one. There just are not that many hall of famers in this box.

But, But . . . I got one.

But I don't really like him.

But, he's one. He's a hall of famer.

While Bag's has never been one of my favorite players, I was surpised to read a few interesting things about him while looking him up.

I didn't realize that he was a trade from the Boston Red Sox. Nor, that he was a third baseman, up until the spring training before his rookie year. The team liked his bat so much they moved him to first (they had Caminiti locking up third), in the hope he would take to it. And boy did he ever. The first half of the season he may have committed 9 errors, but only 4 more after the all-star break.

I also learned that the trade involving Bagwell still causes my sous-chef from Boston to groan in displeasure. Apparently they view that trade with disfavor. That makes me smile a bit.

Now the other guy, well he's not as heralded. But to my suprise, after umpteen 1991 Score, the box only yielded two of the 1992 variety. So Pedro, you make the cut!

The most interesting thing I could find about Pedro Munoz was that in 1992 he led all American League right fielders in double play's turned at 4. He smoked those NL chumps (Larry Walker, and Andre Dawson), who only had 3.

Don't take a lead on Pedro. Don't run to far from base on a sharply hit liner.

Pedro'll turn you.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hidden Grace

Still going through that box of 5000 cards I bought online. Fun. Weird. Filled with commons and strange runs of consecutive cards every now and then. And, being honest about it, the cataloging and filing is a process that I enjoy. Organizing the random large pile, into decade sorted piles, and then those into yearly, then set, etc. On down to many smaller piles sorted by card number. Then in the computer they go. Fun!

Our hobbies binomial nomenclature . . . the old Order, Kingdom, Phylum, Class. I've always liked that.

I like the Dewey Decimal as well. That's good decimal.

In executing this battle against entropy and disorder you begin to see things. They come in groups.

Like these guys:

This is absolutely one of my favorite photos of the set. For all of its "junk-waxey"-ness, I do think Score used some really quality pictures occasionally. And this is one of my current faves.

Look at the smile on Kirt Manwaring's face.

Look at the first picture again. He seems to be laughing at the player, holding the ball out as if to say nanny-nanny-boo-boo. I got the ball. I got you.

Good ol' fun time Kirt. Who's he got? Who is this plodding baserunner?

Well, I looked it up.

And it's this guy. Who's card just happened to be in the small pile in front of me. And let me tell you, around these parts, he's a hero.

Look how young he is. What great uniforms the cubs had then. Stirrups need to make a come back.

Mark Grace could not best Kirt Manwaring this day my friend.

It must make the guy that has this website sad. (for the record, this website is awesome! And I stand in awe of the collection)

That's a virtual Mark Grace baseball card museum people. Science.

After digging around a little while online, I have discovered the time, the place and the off screen teammate that began this smiling moment.

July 9th, home game Wrigley field, 1990. Sheffield ave. alive with the peanut hawkers, and ticket scalpers. All of the bars in Wrigleyville ready to serve the masses after the last out.

Kevin Mitchell was ready. Kevin Mitchell gunned Mark Grace down for his second put-out of the day.

Kevin Mitchell always makes Kirt smile.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hmmm . . . do I like it?

I couldn't resist. I needed toilet paper from Walgreens. And let me tell you, I cannot for the life of me figure out why toilet paper is not on the Maslow's heirarchy of needs. Am I alone in launching right into DEFCON 5 if there is no more t.p. in the house and I am in desperate need? The awkward tip-toe into the kitchen for the paper towel roll is no way to live.

Thank god my wife has never seen that walk of shame.

And I did it. I bought a box of re-pack. It advertised one pack of unopened cards along with the 100 assorted others.


Sort of.

This is what it was.

I had never seen these cards before. I had never heard of the Triple Play sets that came out in the early 90's. I knew that Panini couldn't show logos. That's about it.

At first I was shocked that these were the cards I got:

It took me a minute not to hate them outright. What the heck? Cartoons? Two of the seven cards were a sticker and a temporary tattoo! 

Then, I breathed. Like they do in Yoga. I think. In and out. In and out. Slowly.

Researching the product, I'm kind of on board with it now. Clearly developed for children, and at only 0.99 a pack, very reasonable for a family to buy. What a good way to get kids into the hobby. Perhaps to get kids into baseball at all.

After I was over my initial repulsion, I looked closer. I like the symbols in the background that roughly represent the teams name. My favorite by far of these above is the Lincecum card with the Golden Gate bridge in the background. I also think the graphic of Justin Morneau is dead on and well realized. Hmm, not so bad after all.

So what did I learn?

I think the take away lesson is that the next time I run out of toilet paper when I am in need, I need to breathe like they do in Yoga. In and out. In and out, slowly.

That and pray my wife isn't in the kitchen.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's 80's Night!!!

That's right. It's 80's night. Put on the New Wave music, perhaps Duran Duran, maybe some Depeche Mode, or if you feel like dancing some New Order.

That's my choice - New Order for the win.

Couple of cards from that sweet decade, where we saw the junk wax era begin, and the definition of what was an acceptable haircut stretch (here's looking at you Flock of Seagulls)

Image result for jay howell 1985 fleer

Howell was outed as a cheater by Tucker Ashford (an ex-mets manager) who saw it in his living room, on his couch, watching the playoffs.  Tucker called his contacts in the Mets organization, who then relayed the information to the umps.Sure enough, Howell had pine tar on his glove . . . a definite no no. Howell was suspended 3 days for the incident.

Cheater Cheater.

Image result for mike lacrosse 89 topps

Like Yu Darvish in the 2017 World Series, this guy seems to be tipping his pitches.  Known for his split finger change, Mike had quite a long and successful career. Probably could have had more success if he had learned not to show the batters his grip.

God Bless the '80s.

p.s. sorry about the image quality, something is up, looking into it now :)

Friday, January 19, 2018


Sitting here, filing and sorting cards, late at night on a Friday. Googling players I have never heard of, googling those I have. How did anybody know who anyone was before the Google?

Plucked a couple of good ones to share with you.

First, dancin’ Tim Tefuel.

I was only nine when this guy won a world series with the '86 mets. One year before this card was made. Now, while he did have a decent career, and played for a long time. He is mostly known, at least by me for the "Teufel Shuffle". Dance Tim, dance.

The next guy, also had a long career. Sid Fernandez still holds the record for wins by a pitcher born and raised in Hawaii (thank you SABR project). He was so proud of his Hawaiian heritage that he wore the number 50 on his uniform, honoring the fact that Hawaii was the 50th state in the Union.

What is interesting, and I could find nothing to corroborate this, he did not get the "right" to wear number 50 until the '88 season.

Not sure the reason, maybe he wasn't veteran enough? Maybe there was someone with the number 50 on the team? Here you can see him in the #10

And here, he has earned his states number. Proudly wearing the #50 . . . and proudly sporting a wicked good mustache.

This last card, well . . .

I'm not sure I like the way he's looking at me. His soft eyes seem kind. Where's the killer instinct, where's the fury? 

Nope, I do not like the way he's looking at me.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I know, I know.

I’ve been absent for four years.

My cards survived the purchase of a house, and the creation of a down-stairs, “man room”. The room for all of my stuff. The kind of stuff that only I’m interested in. The kind of stuff that has pictures on cardboard. So there’s that.

I also have some time now before my wife and I open our first restaurant to have some fun sorting cards. I’m clearly still tip toeing my way through the random box of 5000 cards I bought. As a re-entry into the blog, I’m gonna tell the storie of some of these players.

Let’s start with Steve. 

Steve Howard.

Steve went to the same high school in California (Castlemont Highschool, Oakland, Ca.) that Hall of Famer Joe Morgan did. Over 30 years later, but that’s sweet.

1990 was the only year Steve was called up to the show. He was trying like heck during spring training though. As this story in the Sonoran Union Democrat, on March 27th 1990 recounts it. Steve Howard was put in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning, down one run with two outs and bases loaded, and played the hero! Hitting a two run single up the middle for the game winning runs. Steve says, “I was just sitting there with Tony (manager Tony La Russa) told me on the spur of the moment that I was hitting”. He goes on, “I know what the situation is with the team. My chances of making it are slim and none. I just try and go out there and have fun . . . I want to make myself look good. Anything can happen and I want my work habits to look good.”

Continuing that streak of making his own luck with his work habits, his first at bat in the majors he struck out, but managed to get to first on a wild pitch. What an entrance to the Bigs!

This guy, this guy is legend in Chicago. The back of the card describes him as “an affable man, with a wide grin and a shaggy mustache, well liked by his teammates, he is slightly inclined toward weight and could almost be called rolly-polly.”

Harry Caray in his legendarily drunk-uncle fashion could never pronounce Hector’s name correctly, often with comic error. While I could not find a sample online, I did find this – which attests to his cult status in the windy city and Caray's lubricated tongue. (

His second MLB at bat was a home-run against the good guys, the Cardinals. Villanueva is quoted as saying “I got home, I was out of breath, I ran so fast.” In the off season, the catcher was checked into a clinic for eating disorders, as he described it a “fat farm”.

The man could hit, and eat.

These are two UER, hmm. Sampen suffers from the shame of having "long" on his card back spelled "along". There are worse sins.

Like Craig "Little hurt" Grebeck. Score maliciously states that he was born in Cerritos, while everyone knows he was born in Johnstown.

Johnstown Tough.

We're looking at you Score.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Sorting of 5000: 1992 Topps

Man oh Man,

As I continue to look at these players from my sophomore year of high school I recall those days with nostalgia, and wistfulness. Both of those vices reside in the realm of age, never visiting the young man. But boy, our first player is one of the big ones from my youth. He wasn't really on my radar until he played for the dreaded Yanks.

It wasn't for a couple of more years and alot more Big Mac's that Wells really reached his dominance. For some reason his perfect game stands out in my head as significant. Perhaps I had just started watching Sports Center seriously, not sure. Did love watching his dominance of the era, and this is my first card of his. Somewhere in this box of 5000 I bet there's more ;)

Woo Hoo another great player! All I remember about Palms here was his amazing mustache at different points along his career. It wasn't until I was looking at the back of this card that I remembered he started life as a Cubbie. This year he led the league in doubles, and the year before that he led the league in hits. This year on 7/2/91 He belted his second homer in one game for the second time that week!

Another sweet catcher in action pose card from Topps. I am a fan. Charlie here played for eight teams, won the World Series in 1995, and caught for 11 Cy Young Pitchers. He invented the newfangled hockey masks that catchers wear because he got tired of gettin' dinged by foul tips. On a personal note, his son players for the Wichita State Shockers, a very good team located near my grandparents in Hutchinson, Ks.

Donn "the Pope" Pall pitched around the league for 10 years. He is currently a community rep for the White Sox. Once a shout-sider, always a shout-sider.