Sunday, September 25, 2016


Jose Fernandez was a great young pitcher who loved the game of baseball.  I remember being really excited to get this card a few years ago.  One of the best young talents in the game gone too soon.  #RIPJoseFernandez

The Snorting Bull will return next week.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I'm Ready To Talk About Fernando Again...

Several years ago there were a lot of current and former players who roamed social media that were pretty fun to follow along with, but in my opinion former Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis might have been the best of them all.  Most people remember Fernando, I like to call him Freddy Tats, from his game against the Dodgers in 1999 where he hit two grand slams in one inning off of Chan Ho Park.

Welp, the Twitter account of Fernando Tatis just added to the legend of the man who hit two grand slams in one inning.  There was so much to love about the account:  

Art work about Wendy's founder Dave Thomas....

Tweets putting down the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl while making reference to his two grand slams in one inning game.....

and inspirational quotes, my personal favorite could not be tracked down on Twitter....

"Swag is made up of 4 characteristics, Solid fun, Winning attitude, Aggresive pursuit of humanity, and Goals"

-Fernando Tatis 

All of the fun came crashing down one day in September of 2014 when MLB writer Jesse Sanchez attended a baseball game to watch Fernando Tatis Jr..  So, while he was watching Fernando Jr., now plays in the Padres system, he ran into Fernando Tatis.  The guy who hit two grand slams in one inning.  That's when the bomb was dropped.....

Something put on the internet was not true?  I was devastated and have not many any Fernando Tatis posts over the last two years.  He's been mentioned in a post here and there in passing, but no cards.  Is it really because I was that upset about his Twitter account being fake, or was it simply that nobody really made any cool Fernando Tatis cards?  

After looking back through my cards, I noticed that there are basically no cards of Fernando made over the last two years, and I didn't buy or trade for any cool old ones either.  I do want to say though, that I miss the Fernando Tatis Twitter account, fake or not, it was funny.  

and finally someone made a new Fernando Tatis card this summer.  This card has been sitting on my desk for the last two or three months and I figured why not go ahead and post it....

I love this card.  I am not sure why Fernando Tatis is on a 1983 Topps card, but I love the design of this set.  It was one of the first sets that I collected when I was a kid, not sure how many other people like this design, but I like the reprints Topps makes of this set for the most part.  Fernando still has the same unique signature which has a pretty cool look.  

Happy to see Freddy Tats back on a baseball card.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Five: Five Cardinals Players I'd Rather Not Have In My Collection

We are winding down on the 2016 baseball season and I have been waiting for a certain Cardinals player to turn around their season.  Do something positive for the team.  I reached a tipping point of sorts today, so I came up with my first Friday Five post in awhile.  These are always fun to write, and tonight, this one is going to help me blow off a little steam about my Cardinals.

Every baseball fan has a player, or players that they wish their team had never ever touched.  The Cardinals are no exception.  While they have been good of late, there have been a few less than stellar signings over the years.  One of them took place this year.  Luckily Jason Heyward and his .630 OPS is not on the team, or there would have been two of them from this year's squad on my list of five.

Without further delay: Five Cardinals Players I'd Rather Not Have In My Collection

5. Bob Horner - 1988

Horner was a fixture for the Braves infield for much of the late 70s and early 1980s.  After finishing the 1986 season in Atlanta he opted to play a season in Japan with Yakult where he hit .327/.423/.683 with 31 home runs and 73 RBIs in just 93 games.  The Cardinals had lost Jack Clark at the end of the 1987 season to the Yankees, so Horner seemed like a good option to fill his spot at first and give Whitey Herzog his token big bat in the middle of the line up.  Horner lasted just 60 games with the Cardinals and hit a whopping 3 home runs in almost 250 plate appearances.  The 1988 Cardinals ended up trading for a few power hitters in season to compensate picking up Tom Brunansky from the Twins and Pedro Guerrero from the Dodgers.

4. Adam Kennedy Part II

Kennedy was originally a Cardinals prospect and number one draft pick.  The team called him up at the end of the 1999 season and then packaged him up with Kent Bottenfield in a trade with the Angels for Jim Edmonds.  Kennedy was sort of an average player for the Angels for the seven years he was on the team, but he also famously went Reggie Jackson in Game 5 of the 2002 ALCS...

For some reason nobody has yet to figure out, the Cardinals brought him back to the team in 2007 where he clashed with Tony LaRussa, played horribly, and ended up getting run out of town.  In fact, he ended up on the Durham Bulls.  Just an all around bad signing by the team who had the opportunity to retain Ronnie Belliard from the 2006 team.  While Belliard was not exactly an All-Star caliber player, he spent the next three seasons post numbers at, or above, the league average from second baseman and got paid less money than Kennedy.  Painful.

3.  Wiggy (Ty Wigginton) 2013

Wiggy got paid $5 million dollars over two years to be a bat off the bench for the Cardinals.  The problem is that Wiggy only made it 57 at bats into the two year deal.  In those 57 at bats he posted a slash line of .158/.238/.193 for an OPS of .431 and OPS+ of 21.  That's better than Bartolo Colon batting, but just slightly better.  On July 9th, 2013 the Cardinals kicked Wiggy to the curb and Cardinals fans rejoiced.

2. Mike Leake 2016

I had really thought about making Mike Leake first on my list this week since he is the inspiration for this post.  When the Cardinals announced his signing I was at a Wendy's in Princeton, West Virginia stopping to eat lunch on road trip to Michigan.  I remember tweeting out, hoping that something would hit a snag, and Mike Leake would not get a five year 80 million dollar contract from the Cardinals.  Welp, didn't happen.  Mike has an ERA of 4.54 and an ERA+ of 90.  I guess Mike has four more years to do something, but I wouldn't mind if he got lost in the bullpen or left in an airport on a road trip.  A lot of luggage gets lost in Denver, the Cardinals were just there, but apparently Mike made the plane to Chicago.  Sigh.

1. Tino Martinez 2002-2003

The Cardinals had Mark McGwire in 2001 for his last season and it was dreadful, so the team signed Tino Martinez to replace him.  Tino was a winner and there was some sort of personal connection to Tony LaRussa, seemed like a good fit until Tino couldn't hit home runs anymore.  In 2001 Tino hit 34 with the Yankees, 2002 he hit 21, and in 2003 he hit 15.  In the two years Tino played for the Cardinals Albert Pujols played left field, but frequently ended up at first base when LaRussa would keep Albert's bat in the lineup moving him to first, and playing a defensive outfielder as a sub for Tino.

I guess being double switch for Kerry Robinson and So Taguchi was not cool in Tino's book who told a New York sports reporter that St. Louis wasn't as good of a baseball town as St. Louis.  Not going to argue the point, but it's never a good idea to put down the city in which you are employed as a professional athlete.

I will give Tino some plus points, and the possibility of moving to second on this list if Mike Leake stinks all five years of his contract, for his fight with Miguel Batista in 2003.  Batista hit Martinez with a pitch during an at-bat early in the game.  Tino had a few words, went to first, and then was forced out at second later in the inning.  Rather than running back to the dugout, Tino decided it was time to charge the mound.  No video, but there is a picture of the fight.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fixing Aledmys

A few months back I ordered one of those Throwback Thursday sets from Topps.  The cards arrived in the mail and were quite disappointing.  Instead of receiving a nice copy of the Cardinals shortstop's first rookie card, I got a bent up card.  Not happy.

I decided that I did not want to miss out on having the card, and it's not like Topps really did anything to help resolve the situation, so I went ahead and traded for another copy of the card.  This time the card came in a nice bubble mailer and was in good condition.

The scan is a little bit crooked, not my best day, but the card also does not have a big crease in it.  After completing the trade it has become clear to me that the best way to pick up these cards is to let other people buy them and pick them up on the secondary market.  Trade partners and sellers on sites like Ebay want to maintain their reputation, they know how to package cards, and if something were to go wrong I probably won't be ignored.  

Besides trading for the Aledmys rookie card I also picked up a nice Wil Myers card.....

This is from this year's Topps Chrome set.  I have picked up some cards from that set, but have yet to post them on here.  This is an insert set featuring different Rookie of the Year winners.  Myers is one of two former Durham Bulls players in the set along with Longoria.  There are also autographed versions of these cards, but the seem like they might be a little pricy.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

An Archived Friar

Rewinding a bit with this post to a card that has been sitting on my desk for the past two months.  I think I actually already took a picture of it and put it on my Instagram feed over there on the left side of the page.  Always some good retired players in the Topps Archives set and this year was no different.  I opened some packs, pulled a few autographs, but I missed out on the former Cardinals players.

I don't even remember if I traded for this card or bought it, but one of the former Cardinals in the set is pitcher Andy Benes.  He was actually on the team twice.....

Bones actually started out with the Padres who took him with the first overall pick in the 1988 draft.  The Evansville native spent the first few years of his career with the Friars, before moving on to the Mariners for the end of the 1995 season, and then landing with the Cardinals in 1996.  After two years with the Cardinals, Benes tried to re-sign with the team, but some technicality took place between the Cardinals, Scott Boras, and Bud Selig.

Benes ended up with the Diamondbacks.  Then back with the Cardinals.

For those who missed out on watching Benes pitch let me summarize briefly.  He threw hard, he won 155 games, but had an ERA+ of 104.  What I remember about Andy Benes, besides the fact that young Alan Benes was a lot better pitcher?

Here is Barry Bonds 100th career home run.  The pitcher???

A Mike Piazza Grand Slam.  The pitcher???

Ken Griffey Jr. Walk Off Inside the Park Style.... The pitcher???

That Griffey is a classic. 

Benes has actually taken residence in St. Louis and is pretty active around the town.  He does some work with the Cardinals as the host of their Kids Club show.  There are clips of the show floating around the internet including one where Fredbird spits sunflower seeds into his mouth.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 28

I picked this card up awhile ago and just have not had a chance to post it yet.  Nothing beats getting a really cool card of a Minor Leaguer.  Especially when the Minor Leaguer is someone who made it to the Majors and had a cool nickname like "The Secret Weapon"

The card.....

This gem is from the 1982 TCMA Tidewater Tides set which also featured Ron Darling, Mike Cubbage, and Dave Von Ohlen.  I skipped out on all of those in favor of the team's light hitting shortstop Jose Oquendo.  "The Secret Weapon" would end up spending parts of the 1983 and 1984 seasons with the Tides, also a little time with the Mets, before being traded to the Cardinals.  

I have seen and heard many people put Oquendo in the Keith Hernandez trade, but the Cardinals and Mets also swapped a bunch of Minor Leaguers around the same time.  Oquendo was basically the only name player in the trade.  

Oquendo would gain notoriety on the 1980s "Whiteyball" Cardinals for randomly showing up all over the field and lineup card.  He literally played everywhere for the team, but ended up spending the majority of his career as the backup shortstop to Ozzie Smith and started at second for a time too.  

His two big claim to fames, outside of playing everywhere, were his series clinching home run in the 1987 National League Championship Series.....

and also his fight with Will Clark.  Ozzie Smith, Candy Maldonado, and Bob Brenly also figured prominently in this one. Really underrated baseball brawl.  

Help Us Meat Hook, You're Our Only Hope...

There is a little overreaction taking place in certain corners of the internet by Cardinals fans regarding their probable second place finish this year.  Maybe they will get caught by the Pirates and finish third.  Over the past twenty years or so the Cardinals have not had too many down years.

A few in between the 1996 National League Central Champs and the 2000 National League Central Champs, with a whole lot of McGwire home runs keeping everyone entertained, and a few years in between the 2006 and 2011 World Series teams.  During the second stretch Cardinals fans got to watch the best player in the game at the time, Albert Pujols, while they were finishing behind the Cubs and Brewers.

Welp, there is a chance that 2016 is going to end without a playoff berth.  It will be the first time since 2010 that the team has missed the Postseason.  How bleak is the future in St. Louis?

  • Adam Wainwright is pitching like a bottom of the rotation starter
  • Matt Holliday is likely done in town after an injury plagued year
  • Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha, and Mike Leake are all having the worst years of their careers
  • Mike Matheny is employed as the team's manager
While that all seems really bad the team also has:

  • Aledmys Diaz, 25, finishing his first season with an OPS+ of 136 with a slash line of .309/.375/.518.  He's hit 15 home runs, 23 doubles, and chased home 59 RBIs.  
  • Randal Grichuk, 24,  has hit 7 home runs, 7 doubles, and a .576 slugging percentage during the past month after he was sent to Memphis to straighten out the wires that Matheny crossed in his head.  For the season Grichuk has 22 home runs and 25 doubles. 
  • Stephen Piscotty, 25, has 21 home runs, 33 doubles, and 81 RBIs in his first full season 
  • Carlos Martinez, 24, is one of the better starting pitchers in the National League this year.  He's in the top 10 across most of the major pitching statistics in the National League
  • Luke Weaver, 22, has made 7 starts during the second half of the year and is averaging more than 11 strikeouts per 9 innings.  
  • Alex Reyes, 21, has made a few starts and also appeared out of the bullpen.  He throws 100, will be starting next year, and is averaging 10.5 strikeouts per 9.  

Let's take a depth breath.  

A lot of the worry and panic about the state of the Cardinals can be whisked away with just a few baseball cards.  Back in the mid 1990s, when the current ownership of the Cardinals took over, the franchise was in rebuild mode after years of low budget teams and indifference from one of Auggie Busch's kids.  I scanned through my mid 1990s Cardinals cards checking out the prospects that the team's rebuild centered around.

There were some real duds in the stack like Luis Ordaz, Mike Busby, and others who went on to be decent players like Matt Morris and Braden Looper.  

Not many collectors were ever busting down the door for cards of players like Luis Ordaz.  I am pretty sure that his cards can be found in the dollar bin and I am pretty sure that they have been there for a long time.....

The crown jewel of the Cardinals system was infielder/outfielder Dmitri Young who was taken fourth overall by the team in the 1991 amateur draft.  The Meat Hook arrived in St. Louis at the end of the 1996 season after posting a .333/.378/.534 slash line with the Louisville Redbirds along with 15 home runs, 8 triples, and 31 doubles.  Dmitri had a huge triple that helped the Cardinals win a game in the 1996 NLCS.  

Many Cardinals fans were pretty excited that The Meat Hook was going to be a key cog of the franchise for year's to come.  As a Cardinals collector one of my favorite cards around this time was the 1997 Bowman Autograph of Dmitri Young.....

This Bowman autograph was sort of a hidden gem.  Cardinals fans were excited about Dmitri, but I think that there were more highly touted prospects in this Bowman product around this time like Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman, and Aramis Ramirez.  Beyond the Bowman autograph there were all sorts of cool cards out there featuring Dmitri.....

In the end Dmitri struggled during the 1997 season, the Cardinals traded for Mark McGwire, and The Meat Hook for shipped off to the Reds at the end of the season for Jeff Brantley.  While I love Dmitri, and he was a solid player throughout his career, he was never the franchise player that many Cardinals fans envisioned he would be during the mid 1990s.  His best season came with the 2003 Tigers, who lost 119 games, when he hit 29 home runs, 34 doubles, 7 triples, 85 RBIs, and a slash line of .297/.372/.537.  

Nice season.