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Monday, October 21, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 22

This is one of my favorite Snell autographs that I have picked up this year.  In fact, I have generally avoided picking up multiple parallels of Snell's autographs, but that might change with this card.  The other variations of this cards seem fairly reasonable, so I am sitting here watching them on Ebay.  We will see.

Here's the new Snell autograph, which brings the count to 22.



I know this is a rehash set of the base Topps set, and I usually gripe about those in this space, but this one is really well done.  In fact, I feel like I have really ignored the Topps Clearly set the last year or two when it is "clearly" up my ally. 



Why? 

My favorite Topps parallel the last five years has been the acetate, or clear cards.  They are numbered to 10, so they are tough to find.  Way back in 2013, or 2012, or whenever they started I posted a bunch of them.  Then they got popular, they are not here as often.  Very much worth the effort though.  This Snell autographed card is the same thing as the acetate parallels. 

Here is the front and back of an acetate parallel.




Someone at Topps loves Jon Jay.  He always has good cards.  

You've already seen the front of the Snell autograph from Clearly Authentic.  Here is the back.....




Same thing as the Jon Jay, which is not a bad thing since it is something that Topps does really well.  I have a feeling that the Clearly cards are going to help me reach my goal of getting to 25 Snell autographs this year.  My goal is within reach, but we are running out of calendar days and new 2019 products.  

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 23 - 1987 Donruss All-Star Pop-Ups

The Cardinals were not very good in 1986, but that did not stop Ozzie Smith from making the National League All-Star Team as their starting shortstop.  He missed the 1980 All-Star Game while he was with the Padres, but otherwise made it every year during the decade.  There are more than a few All-Star cards of Ozzie, this Donruss is one of my favorites.

In general, the Donruss All-Star Pop-Ups are one of my favorite oddballish sets from the 1980s.  I usually just bought packs of Topps, with an occasional Donruss and Fleer pack, so I am not quite sure where I got my Donruss Pop-Up cards.  I might have picked them up at some point later on too.  They are supposed to be a knock off of the 1964 Topps Stand-Ups.



At least the same concept, perforations around a picture of a baseball player that fold into a stand-up model. Other years look a lot closer. 

Here is the Ozzie Smith card.



Donruss used the host stadium of the previous year's All-Star game as the background for these cards.  The game in 1986 was hosted by the Astros at the AstroDome.  The picture of Smith is oddly blended in though.  You can tell it's a picture from Spring Training because it's the only time the Cardinals ever wear solid colored uniforms.  Still true today.  You can also see what looks like a group of Blue Jays players sitting in the dugout in the background.  

Small things, but I think the card would have looked better if they had completely blacked out the background behind Ozzie.  Maybe it's just me though.  




The back of the card has the All-Star Game logo from 1986 along with directions about how to assemble the stand-up figurine.  I have a bunch of these in my collection, and I am not sure that I have ever made one into the stand up figure.  I am going to have to do that the next time I run across one.

A good song from 1987.  Never Let Me Down Again.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Another of the La Pizza Royale

I found another La Pizza Royale card of a former Durham Bulls player this week.  Last week I made a post with my first card from this set featuring Rusty Staub.  This is obviously a manager card from the set, but Gene Mauch was a player while he was on the Durham Bulls during the 1943 season.  He has a few 1950s cards a player, but not manu. 

Here is the new Pizza Royale card. 



There are several different color variations for each of these cards.  This is the blue/purple card of the long time Major League manager.  There are a total of four colors in the set: blue, green, yellow, and red.  Hopefully I will get around to getting all four color variations of both the Mauch and Staub cards, but it is going to take a little bit of patience. 

This is my second Gene Mauch card that I have added to my Durham Bulls collection.  I know I have a bunch of his cards with the Angels and Twins too, but those are all sorted into sets.  This was my first from earlier this year......




Hopefully I will have a few more La Pizza Royale cards to post in the coming weeks. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Cracker Jack Prize

We all have dreams we aspire to reach in life.  I have several that involve old baseball cards.  One of them is to own an old Cracker Jacks cards from the 1910s.  Not just any old Cracker Jacks card, but I have a short list of players that would be the most ideal to find on a copy of one of those cards.  They are quite expensive. 

Hall of Famers can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.  Occasionally you can find a Cracker Jack card for around $50, but not very often.  Inexpensive usually means that there are condition issues that go above and beyond.

Not my card, but a good example of a Cracker Jack card with a few flaws. 



So, for years I have set aside my dream of owning a Cracker Jack card from yesteryear in favor of just owning a few nice ones from the Topps rehash from 2004 and 2005.  Still pretty nice players in there. 

My two favorite Cracker Jack cards are.......




My Yadier Molina rookie card out of the 2004 set.  




I also have a Miguel Cabrera autograph.  He's looks like he's in middle school in this picture.  

Recently one of the unaffordable Cracker Jack cards that is on my short list came available.  It's of George Whitted, or Possum Whitted, who is a Durham, North Carolina native.  I have been trying to find a few of his cards over the past few months.  I have been successful.  

He was on the Phillies at the time his Cracker Jack card was made, but he also played for the Cardinals and for the Durham Bulls.  He also managed the Bulls.  There has been a Buy It Now copy of this card on Ebay for awhile, but at $250 I have been passing month after month.  

It's not the cleanest copy, but I picked it up on the low end of the price spectrum for a Cracker Jack card.  The $250 card, but on major clearance.  I am really happy to add this to my Durham Bulls/Cardinals collection.  It's already high on my list, and it's not been here for long.  

It's in a protective case, so it's not the best scan.  



There are two main flaws with the card.  First, there is chipping along with the edges near the top left corner.  The mark on the side almost looks like it could be from a thumbtack.  The card is also discolored along the bottom border.  I am not quite sure why it is discolored, I am a little scared to take it out of the case at this point.  

Here is the back.  I had originally tried to scan the back, but it did not turn out very well.  I flipped the photo since the backs are upside on Cracker Jack cards.  




I like the bio on the back of this card, which mentions that he is from Durham and that he was on the Cardinals.  There is also mention of him playing in Wadesboro, which is near Charlotte, but there is nothing on his Baseball Reference page about him being on that team.  In fact, when you try to find information about baseball in Wadesboro the only thing that pops up is information about an Expos Minor Leaguer from the early 2000s who was from that town.  

Not my card, but Antonio Garris owns the search for Wadesboro and baseball.  




Overall, it feels good to own a Cracker Jack card that is more than a century old.  Even better that it is a player who appeared for my favorite Major and Minor League teams.  Quite a prize. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 21

I probably should have had this Snell autograph awhile ago, but I refused to spend much money on a card out of Topps Big League.  It's supposed to be an inexpensive set, so the autographs should be inexpensive too, right?

I'd like to think so. It's the same reason why I have not posted a Topps Fire autograph of my favorite pitcher.  I am not going to pay $20 for an autograph that likely came out of a $20 retail box, and lists for more than his autographs that come out of more expensive hobby boxes. 

I finally found one at a price I was willing to pay. 





I do not love the design of these cards, but it's still a Snell autograph.  At the same time that I do not love the overall design, I will say that Topps did a good job of blending in the sticker.  If you have been here long enough you know that I don't love sticker autographs.  I do not totally avoid them, and honestly I don't mind them if they are inexpensive and the design does a good job of cover up the sticker.  That is the case here. 

Back of the card.




That's not very exciting.  

Probably low on the list of Snell autographs that I have picked up this year, but also another step closer towards my goal of getting to 25.  It's going to be close.  

Monday, October 14, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 22 - 1988 Fleer All-Star Team Jack Clark

I sort of bad mouthed 1988 baseball cards a few weeks back in one of these 1980s Cardinals posts.  I gave a generalization that all the cards from 1988 were bad, which is not completely true.  I will revise my statement:

1988 was not a very good year for the majority of new baseball card products.  

It was also not a very good year for the Cardinals because Jack Clark left the team for the Yankees.  

He was the lone power hitter on the Cardinals during the mid 1980s, and probably really under appreciated as to how good of a player he was during his time with the team.  His numbers with the Cardinals in 1987 were ridiculous, especially given the fact that he basically missed the last month of the season.  

A quick rundown:  

-35 Home Runs 

-106 RBIs

-.459 On Base Percentage 

-.597 Slugging Percentage 

-1.055 POS 

Yes, Andre Dawson was very good and won the MVP in the National League.  I would like to think that if Jack Clark had played the month of September, he would have won the award instead.  So, while Clark was off anchoring the middle of the Yankees lineup, Fleer put out a really nice card of him as a Cardinal as a part of their All-Star Team insert set.  



The 1988 Fleer set is really boring, but this card is not.  I like the contrasting dark and light green stripes, along with the All-Star Team heading up at the top of the card.  The only thing odd here is what they did with Jack Clark's bat.  They couldn't have it go all the way to the edge of the card?  It just sort of disappears, makes the card look slightly odd.  

I also like Clark's wristband and batting gloves.  The little Cardinals logo on both make them look like they were purchased in the gift shop prior to a game.  Tons of kids were probably running around St. Louis with that same sweatband and set of batting gloves.  

Back of the card.  



It just describes all the awesome things I said about Jack Clark up above.  I will be nicer to 1988 the rest of the time I write these 1980s posts.  

A song on my IPod from 1988, I will get the embed code right this week, is The Church's "Under The Milky Way".  Underrated song from the 1980s.  



Sunday, October 13, 2019

Farewell Mr. Freese

I remember when the Cardinals traded for David Freese back in 2007.  I was not happy at all.  The team sent aging center fielder Jim Edmonds to the Padres, and all they got back was a Minor League third baseman.  I heard the spin about how this Minor Leaguer could be the Cardinals third baseman of the future, and as an added bonus the guy was from suburban St. Louis.

I did not really care about any of it.  I really liked Jim Edmonds.  

I got over it eventually.  Freese started playing for the Cardinals, and was good when he was healthy during the regular season.  Then there is the Postseason.  He is largely responsible for the Cardinals winning the World Series in 2011.    




Not sure any Cardinals fan is ever going to argue that he should be in the Hall of Fame, but he will always be given the same level of love and appreciation as the best players to have worn the birds on the bat.  

I cannot remember a game he played for the Pirates or Dodgers against the Cardinals the last few years where he did not get a standing ovation.  




I have collected a few Freese cards over the years.  Given what he means to St. Louisans, he is probably underrepresented in my baseball card collection.  I do not regularly write about him, and in looking back, I have made two posts about him since 2013 when he was traded to the Angels.  

Two.  

I probably should have spent a little more time writing about his cards after he left the Cardinals, but we cannot go back and change that now.  





Especially since David Freese announced his retirement yesterday.  

It took me only a few minutes to dig out my small pile of good David Freese cards, flip through, and pick out my favorites.  There were three that were clearly better than the rest.  

Here they are.....




I always forget how nice these By The Letter cards were back when Upper Deck had an MLB license.  It seems like every time I see a Letter card these days, it's because someone is buying up the junky ones so they can spell out their kids name with cards, frame it, and hang it on a wall in their house.  No judgement.  My wife has my kids names spelled out on their walls too, but with wood letters from a craft store.  




A Five Star autograph, which is always good, but this is not even my best Five Star autograph of Freese.  Let's just move on to the last card.




This is my favorite David Freese card.  I have posted it on here before.  I love the combination of the red background and the silver pen used to sign the card.  Someone at Topps was having a good day when they came up with this card.  

Even though he did not appear in this space regularly, I will miss having David Freese around as a baseball player.  I am not sure if he will have any baseball cards in the future. I am not sure if I will ever go back and find the ones that I am missing.  I  do know that as a Cardinals fan, I will always enjoy looking back at his time with the team.  




Other Cardinals fans will too.  

Farewell Mr. Freese.