Monday, May 23, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 14

Pretty excited to post this card.  Back in the mid 1980s, being a Cardinals fan, meant that you sort of watched a different style of baseball.  Whiteyball, named after manager Whitey Herzog, involved playing good defense and putting pressure on teams by using speed.  Everyone on the Cardinals, minus Jack Clark and whoever was catching, stole bases.  The biggest base stealer though was left fielder Vince Coleman.

Where did Vince Coleman come from?  Not exactly a huge prospect, but he showed up at the beginning of the 1985 season and started stealing bases.  During his first three seasons in the Majors Coleman totaled more than 100 steals each season.  Made Coleman a pretty popular player.

Needless to say, as a card collector, there was no cool card in 1986 than his Topps rookie card.  All I wanted out of my weekly packs of baseball cards was a copy of his rookie card.  At some point that summer I finally pulled one, but it took a little bit of patience.

Years later I still really like the 1986 Topps Vince Coleman rookie.  After a slow second half of his career and the whole firecracker thing, the card has lost a little bit of luster in general.  Anyway, I was strolling the internet last week and saw that the Topps Vault had the photo negative for his Topps Super.  It's just like his 1986 Topps rookie card, but in 5x7 sized card.  Needless to say, I decided that this was a worthy card...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

1985 Cubs 7UP Set

We have almost reached the bottom of the box of oddball Cubs cards.  I could go another set, or two, but we will see how I am feeling next week.  For your Sunday afternoon, I am going to post the 1985 Cubs 7UP set.  The other team sets that I posted earlier in the week all had similar designs, but the Cubs switched things up a little bit for their 1985 stadium baseball card giveaway.

This set has a really simply white and blue border.  Sort of reminds of something that Donruss would have used in the early part of the 1980s.  As for the players in the set, many of the same names that were in the 1984 set reappear in this one.  Why not?  The 1984 Cubs won their division and came close to the World Series.....

However, the 1985 season ended up being not so great for the Cubs.  Older position players like Larry Bowa, Ron Cey, and Davy Lopes found out they were old.  Pitchers like Rick Sutcliffe and Steve Trout regressed, others were injured.  Most telling difference between the two seasons was the Cubs record against three in-division teams.  In 1984 the Cubs went 35-18 against the Mets, Cardinals, and Expos.  The next season the Cubs went 15-39 against the same three teams.

Despite finishing fourth, there were some positives for the Cubbies too.  Ryne Sandberg continued to be a great second baseman and the team brought up Shawon Dunston to replace the inept Larry Bowa.  Dunston did not have a great year in 1985, but he was a fixture on the Cubs teams during the later half of the 1980s and through the mid 1990s.

Here is the 1985 Cubs 7UP team set...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Five: Top Five BaseBrawls

This past weekend the internet exploded when Rangers second baseman decked Jose Bautista after he slid hard into second base.  Bautista's slide was triggered by his being hit intentionally by the Rangers.  The Rangers hit Bautista because he did that ridiculous bat flip against them in the playoffs last year.  So, the fight was caused by some sort of circle of unwritten baseball rules.

While I often eye roll at the whole "unwritten rules of baseball phrase", it's hard to pass up a good BaseBrawl every once in awhile.  So, today for my Friday Five I am going to do a countdown of the Top Five BaseBrawls of all-time.  I am also going to throw in a bonus pair for the Cardinals and former Durham Bulls players.  Let's do the bonus pairs first:

Former Durham Bulls:
I am pretty sure that fights between the Rays and Red Sox could make up there own list, so the first one for the former Durham Bulls players will be a player on the Rays, which is their parent club.  This James Shields/Coco Crisp fight took place in 2008 after "Big Game" plunked Coco.  There is a Red Sox player with a nice tackle on Shields and Carl Crawford looks like he's going to go Hannibal Lector on Coco on the replay starting at 2:50.

An old one, but good one.  Former White Sox pitcher, and Durham Bull, Jim Parque beamed Dean Palmer and a large fight ensued.  At the end Robert Fick celebrates the fact that he got punched and gets beer thrown on him.

Cardinals Brawls: 
I have to go with two dark horses here.  The first is a crazy fight between the Cubs and Cardinals.  I am not sure what the Cubs manager is doing at the beginning of this clip, but it's just weird.  Good brawl though.  

and one of the all-time most underrated fights...Cardinals and Giants from 1986.  Whitey Herzog and Roger Craig are in the middle of this fight.  Not too many fights that involve the managers.  The police also end up on the field.  I went to this game, for my mom's birthday.  Good present.  Sorry about the quality.  

5.  Reggie Sanders and Pedro Martinez - 1994 
This is a good brawl, but the circumstances of this brawl make it really underrated.  Pedro Martinez was having a great night and had a perfect game going in the eighth inning against the Reds.  Earlier in the game, Martinez had thrown inside against Reggie.  In the eighth, after showing his displeasure at Martinez pitch location, gets drilled by Pedro Martinez.  You don't see too many players blow their perfect game in the eighth inning by beaming a batter.  

4.  Ray Knight and Eric Davis - 1986 
Ray Knight was already pretty low on my list before this happened.  I get it, Gary Carter tried throwing out a runner, and it was the mid 1980s.  

3.  Tino Martinez and Armado Benitez 1998 
This is a pretty crazy fight.  Lots of really good players in this fight.

2.  Craig Lefferts and Pascual Perez 1984 
Not the biggest names, but a good brawl.  Champ Summers almost turns this into a Malice at the Palace type of fight.  Bob Gibson stays calm.  Here's in there.  

1.  Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura 1993

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Holy Cow! The 1984 7Up Cubs.

Another Cubs set out of a box filled mostly with Cubs cards.  There are plenty of good Cubs cards that I have found in the box, but this has to be the best overall team set.  The 1984 Cubs won a tough NL East finishing ahead of the Mets, their rival Cardinals, and the Phillies.  The baby bears had some good teams in the early 1970s, but spent the latter half of the decade in the bottom half of the division.  Same for the early 1980s.

The 84 Cubs were lead by second baseman Ryne Sandberg.  The team really had a good mix of younger players, like Sandberg, Leon Durham, Steve Trout, Lee Smith, and Bob Dernier, who were mixed in with a solid group of recognizable veterans.  Ron Cey started at third, Larry Bowa at shortstop, Gary Matthews and Keith Moreland holding down the corner outfield spots, and a rotation lead by Rick Sutcliffe and Dennis Eckersley.

The playoffs started off well for the Cubs, but since this is a Cubs friendly post, I am not going to mention anything specific about any games that were played against the Padres in San Diego.  So, here is my Cubs highlight for the 1984 season.  If you have fifteen to twenty minutes, love baseball, the Ryne Sandberg/Willie McGee showdown on the NBC Game of the Week is a classic.  If you do not know 1980s baseball just know that Bruce Sutter was nearly untouchable during the 1984 season with an ERA+ of 227.  That's in the neighborhood of Mariano Rivera.

On to the cards.  The 1984 7Up Cubs cards were a giveaway at Wrigley Field.  The design is very similar to the Thorn Apple Valley cards that I posted earlier in the week.  Not any one great rookie card in this set, but the Sandberg is a pretty popular card and there are a lot of good names that appear in this set.  Without interruption, the 1984 7Up Cubs.....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Before we go full Cub with the rest of the week, I am going to share my latest Cardinals card which I picked up last week.  I am trusting that the title on this post says Albert Pujols.  It's the first time I have put a title on a post and had to trust others to check my work in another language.  Here is the front of my newest Pujols card.....

The front of the card looks like a fairly ordinary 2002 Topps Albert Pujols card, but the back of the card tells a much different story.  The title of the post is at the top of the scan....

This is actually a Kanebo card from Japan.  Note the brand marking in the bottom right hand corner.  Kanebo was a long running baseball card manufacturer in Japan who produced a set of 2002 Topps cards that were sold in across the county.  I have been working on picking up some of the Cardinals cards from this set, started awhile ago, and the Pujols card is the most important card in the group.  I picked this card up in a trade, but I have seen them frequently on Ebay and COMC.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Venerable Old Card (Set) Part 13

Last week in this space I showed off a cool old oddball Ozzie Smith card that showed up in a box from a college friend.  Still so many more cards to show off, so this week I am going to focus a little bit on the Cubs.  Not just today, but all week.  In sorting out the box it is clear that a bunch of the cards in the box are old Cubs giveaways.  Some look pretty cool, others not so much.  I know that I am a Cardinals fan and you may not think of this as a place to read about cool Cubs cards, but let's get something straight here before we look at the cards.

It's hard as a Cardinals fan to collect Cubs cards.  I still have nice Cubs cards.  Further, the Cubs cards we are dealing with this week are from the 1980s.  What baseball loving kid in the 1980s did not spend a percentage of their summer break watching the Cubs games on WGN?  I did all time.  I can probably name most of their starters anytime after the mid 1980s through the mid 1990s.

A little background on tonight's card set....

This is the Thorn Apple Valley Cubs team set.  It was a stadium giveaway during the 1983 season.  While the 83 season was not a great one for the Cubs, the set features rookie cards of Ryno and Joe Carter.  There are also a lot of good veterans in this set, many of whom were contributors on the 1984 Cubs team, which was a really good team.

1980s Cubs also means there is music.  Enjoy the cards, commentary free.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Imaginary Years of Donruss

I always dug the Donruss cards as a kid.  Definitely different from Topps and I always tried to pick up some of the set every summer.  I even went for those blue plaid ones in 1988.  The Donruss run came to an end at some point during the spring of 1998.  There were still some 1998 Donruss products, but the company disappeared for a few years in the late 1990s and early 2000s until Playoff picked up the name in 2001.

One of the gimmicks of the 2001 Donruss product was that Playoff magically created sets for 2000 and 1999 which were inserted into packs.  The Imaginary Years of Donruss even included some of their usual parallels that went into their current year's base set.  Back in 2001 I picked up a box of Donruss, opened it, but that's about as far as it went.

I know that I do not have a complete set of the cards and I have never really made an attempt to add any of these cards to my collection.  However, recently a copy of a serial numbered Ray Lankford card from the Imaginary 1999 Donruss set popped up on Ebay and a friend alerted me to its presence.  I actually had thought about taking a pass on the card and it sat on my watch list for awhile.

Well, I finally pulled the trigger and am know the owner of a Ray Lankford card from the 1999 Donruss set.  That Donruss set that was never really a set.

A look at the front of the card.  This is a StatLine card for his 1998 season.  If you aren't fimiliar with the old Donruss sets, the company picked a stat from either the players career, or the previous season, and then made a parallel numbered to that stat.  They were slightly maddening for player collectors.  Like those of us who collect Ray Lankford cards.  

Here is the back of the card with the serial numbering to Lankford's 1998 hit total.  I think I might have a few Fleer cards similiar to this card, numbered to a statistic, but not any Donruss.  2000 and 2001 were sort of the beginning of these types of parallels, but this was also the end of Lankford's first run as a Cardinal.  He came back to the Cardinals in 2004 for the team's National League Championship team, but nobody made a card of him that season.