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Friday, December 6, 2019

High Tek, Low Tech

Topps put out their annual High Tek product a few weeks ago.  There is not a ton there in the way of Cardinals and Durham Bulls cards.  I picked up one former Durham Bulls cards last week, with a second one on the way.  This is the Brandon Lowe autograph......




I won this Brandon Lowe autograph in an Ebay auction.  More on the Cardinals cards in a minute, but I also ended up with a Carlos Carrasco autograph since nobody else was bidding on the card. 




Notice that the Carrasco and Lowe have the same pattern on the background.  Feels a little lazy considering that Topps usually has all sorts of different patterns on these cards.  Sort of the whole theme of the set. 

I saw Carrasco as a Phillies and Indians prospect when he was coming up through the Minors.  Not sure that most people remember him being in the Cliff Lee trade. 

The Cardinals checklist is not promising in this set.  There is Rick Ankiel, but after that there are people like Paul DeJong.  Likely going to take a hard pass on getting any Cardinals here. 

Picked up one other Durham Bulls card last week in a trade.  I actually sent another collector a bunch of cards to help with completing a set, this was the card I got in return. 




A little more low tech than the Lowe and Carrasco cards above.  Back of the card. 




I love that the Durham Bulls appear both in the stat line, and in the highlight above the stat line with the blurb about Lolich throwing a no-hitter in the Carolina League.  I have never been able to find out much about the no-no other than it happened.  Regardless, happy to have a new Lolich card in the collection. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 29- 1981 Kellogg's Garry Templeton

Garry Templeton was one of the best shortstops in the National League during the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The switch-hitting shortstop led the league in triple three straight years, made two All-Star Games, and regularly stole 30 bases.  In 1979, he had 211 hits for the season, which included more than 100 hits from each side of the plate.  I am not sure how often that has been accomplished, but it seemed like a neat factoid to me.

Garry Templeton ended up getting traded to the Padres for Ozzie Smith.  I am certain that few Cardinals fans really miss him.  Yes, it's easy to forget about a player when you get a Hall of Famer in return, but there are other reasons that Templeton is forgettable player around St. Louis. More on that later in the post. 

Anyway, my favorite baseball card of Templeton in a Cardinals uniform is his 1981 Kellogg's card.





The yellow borders have grown on me over the years.  I picked up a few Kellogg's cards at some point 15 years ago, but I always skipped this year due to those borders.  I think that the stars around the edges also busy up the card.  Again, it's grown on me.  I like the Kellogg's logo at the top of the card and the funky shape around the picture.

I used to always think that the picture was in Busch Stadium, but I spent some time looking at this picture a bit closer last week and changed my mind.  Pictures on cards taken inside of 1980s and 1990s Busch Stadium are always a good selling point for me. Yes, there are red seats and there are openings around the top, but Templeton is wearing a red blue uniform.  The middle deck also looks like it has seats, whereas Busch Stadium had a restaurant with glass windows.

My guess is that the picture on the card was actually taken in Riverfront Stadium.  This photo is from the 1990s, but you can see the openings around the top of the stadium and the middle deck was a seating area. 




I still like the picture regardless of the stadium. 

Here is the back of the card.




I like the Tony The Tiger logo up in the top corner.  The backs of the Kellogg's cards are always way too crowded for my taste.  There is so much information here.  The main thing that stands out for me is "The Franchise" line about half way down the back.  Templeton was likely viewed as "The Franchise" during this time, but he had a little run in with the crowd at Busch Stadium one afternoon while playing the Giants. 

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"Templeton, playing on a sore knee, struck out on Gary Lavelle's curveball in the dirt. The ball momentarily escaped catcher Milt May, perhaps unbeknownst to Templeton, who failed to run to first base. Fans booed and Templeton answered with a one-finger salute."


This picture of Templeton getting pulled into the dugout by Whitey Herzog is sort of a classic with Cardinals fans.  




Anyway, you know the rest.  Templeton was traded to the Padres for Ozzie Smith.  Templeton was never the same.  Ozzie learned how to hit.  I need to do an Ozzie Smith card.  


A good song from 1981 is David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes.....




Is he supposed to be Pagliacci the clown?   

Sunday, December 1, 2019

No Joey Fuego?

I wrote a little bit a few weeks back about the disappearance of the nickname cards in the Triple Threads product.  Always a highlight for me during the year, the absence of the nicknames has made me a little less likely to collect these cards.  Just a refresher, but they looked like this:



So, after adding my Snell autograph, I went back and did a little work on a second player from Triple Threads trying to add a few cards of Padres pitcher Joey Lucchesi, or Joey Fuego to those who follow his career.  I like the nickname.  It's catchy.  I am also not sure it's very apt considering he is a lot of deception mixed in with some breaking pitches. 



I have followed Joey's career since he was at Southeast Missouri and have been collecting his cards since he was first drafted by the Padres.  He's not a player I would have guessed to appear in Triple Threads, but I am not going to complain. 

Here is the card. 



Yep, no Joey Fuego.  We have this gem instead.  Why did Topps pick this phrase for his Triple Threads card?  



There you go. 

Chris Sale, Jordan Zimmerman, Clayton Kershaw, and Joey Lucchesi. 

There are other Joey Lucchesi cards from Triple Threads.  One is above average, so I might have to find that card.  Maybe, maybe not. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

More Lowes, But Just Brandon

There have been two players with the last name Lowe in the Rays, and Durham Bulls, lineups for the past year.  One is first baseman Nate Lowe, and the other is second baseman Brandon Lowe.  The names are not pronounced the same. 




I have posted cards of both players on here, but I am a bigger fan of Brandon.  He had a great year with the Rays last year finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.  I get him finishing behind Yordan Alvarez, but I am still not sure how John Means snuck in front of him,  perhaps some sort of gesture of sympathy towards Orioles fans for having to watch their team. 

It seemed like collectors were really into Brandon Lowe for awhile, but his cards have slid back in price a little bit this year.  With all of the time I have spent on Blake Snell cards, I feel like some of the other former Durham Bulls players who are currently in the Majors have been less of a priority.

Sort of accidental, but we can get more into the positives and negatives of the Blake Snell autographs in an end of year post. 

Two new Lowe cards. 



The first one is from the bulky Gold Label set.   I think Topps has improved these cards over the past two or three years so that the frames no longer pop off the cards.  They are still really heavy and feel a little clumsy.  The design feels a little stagnant too. 

I actually picked up this card with a Snell autograph since I cannot pass up combined shipping. 

Next up. 




This card is so much better than the Blake Snell autographed card I posted yesterday.  The art work is better.  The sticker is straight.  Feel like that sort of covers it.  

This was a pretty fun five-ten minutes of my morning.  Next month, I am going to try more cards that are not Blake Snell.  


Thursday, November 28, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 26

Yes, there are more Snell autographs to post.  More in the mail, but I am really running out.  It would take a small miracle, or some Ebay seller dumping their inventory, to get to 30 with a month left in the year.  So, here is the latest Snell, which is out of the Wal-Mart exclusive product Topps Gallery.  

Front of the card.  




I used to love these cards back in the 1990s.  Now, that quite as much.  Still, it's not exactly their worst effort either.  I like the design of the card, the art work is pretty mediocre.  Can we put the autograph stickers on straight?  Look at the words "Topps Certified Autograph Issue" and then the bottom of the sticker.  Not so good.  




I like that there are stats on the back of the card and not just some form letter stating the obvious that I have an autographed card.  While the stats are nice, it also means that Topps tried to squeeze a bunch of other stuff onto the back of the card that makes it seem a little cluttered.  Beyond the stats, personal information, and "Gallery Notes", Topps also managed to sneak in the name of the artist and a disclaimer about the autograph signing being witnessed.  

Also a serial number, a card number, small print, and a trio of little logos at the bottom.  

That's a lot of stuff for the back of the card.  Overall, this is a decent card, nothing great.  It's solidly in the bottom half of the Snell autographs that Topps has put out this year.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 28 - 1984 Fleer Floyd Rayford

Two days later than normal, but the beginning of the week was busy.  I am going with one of the real cult favorite Cardinal players of the 1980s this week in the person of Floyd Rayford.  He played for the majority of the 1980s, mostly with the Orioles, but he was briefly traded to the Cardinals in 1983 for outfielder Tito Landrum. 

The Orioles were in a pennant run.  Landrum ended up hitting the series clinching home run in the American League Championship Series to beat Tony LaRussa's White Sox. 


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The Orioles ended up beating the Phillies to win the World Series. 

Rayford ended up getting a few baseball cards in a Cardinals uniform for his 56 games with the team.  All of them, from what I know, are in 1984 sets.  He has one card int he Fleer set, one in the Topps set.  The Topps card is an action shot, the Fleer card....... 



This card accurately portrays Floyd best in my opinion.  You at least get the vibe that he is a short round guy with a lot of hair.  Love the 1980s satin jacket, and if you look closely he is wearing some really sweet batting glove.  




Floyd has a lot of Rochester on the back of his card.  I know he worked there as a coach for awhile too, a legendary player for the die hards of that Minor League team.  Not really an impressive stat line there outside of those seasons at (elevation) El Paso and Salt Lake City.  

So, what happened to Floyd and the Cardinals?  

Oddly enough, Rayford was traded back to the Orioles towards the end of the Spring Training in 1984, which is where he spent the rest of his career.  A few days later the teams made another trade where Landrum ended up back with the Cardinals.  It was not a duplication of the Rayford for Landrum trade, but it sure felt that way.  




This is how they are supposed to look right?  Rayford did not do much once he got back in Baltimore.  Tito Landrum was a platoon player with Andy Van Slyke in right field, ended up playing a significant amount of games for the 1985 National League Championship team.  

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Two More Guys In My Wolfpack

I took a bit of a break from baseball cards last week to pick up a pair of basketball cards.  I had not even really thought about finding any new basketball cards, but I ran across a social media post with a picture of a former NC State basketball player.






I think Cody Martin might be more famous for his time playing at Nevada, but he spent the first two years of his college basketball career at NC State.  He is actually from North Carolina.  If you do not know anything about Cody Martin, he also has a twin brother who played at both NC State and Nevada.

Caleb is not in the NBA, but once did not sit down after fouling out of a game at Duke.



This is what they do when someone fouls out.....




Not sitting down at Duke three or four years ago has not earned Caleb a card, but Cody has several as a member of the Charlotte Hornets, and as a Nevada Wolfpack.  No NC State Wolfpack, so I went with the Hornets.  He was really good in college, both at NC State and Nevada, but I am not sure he is doing very much with the Hornets.  




What is this card?  

I don't know.  No idea.  It did not cost much.  I am not sure that I like the fact that Cody now has a man bun.  The NC State people used to ride Kyle Guy, he went to Virginia, pretty hard over his man bun back in the day. 




Kyle Guy is on the Sacramento Kings now.  Not sure he plays at all.  

I also picked up another copy of Dennis Smith's rookie card from Contenders a few years back.  




Smith has not really lived up hype, but he was a fun player to watch while he was at NC State.