Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Card From The Pack

The prices on Bowman have continued to drop off, so I decided that last week was the right time to add a few more cards from the set.  This time I went with two Cardinals.  I do not know too much about the first player outside the fact that his father is former Rangers shortstop Benji Gil. 

The Cardinals took the infielder in the third round of last year's draft, but at 17 he has a long way to go to reach the Majors.  This was a really cheap card, so really no risk here in picking up this card.  The weird airbrushing reminds me of Bowman Draft.  Hopefully, he turns out to be a good player. 

Next up, a card I have wanted for awhile. 

Knizner went to NC State and was a good player in college.  He was a freshman All-American, but lost a little traction during his time playing for the Pack while transitioning from third base to catching.  My Cardinals drafted him 2016, and he has ascended to Triple A.  Good prospect, but has not had many cards for some reason.  This is my second of 2019, let's hope there are a few more at some point.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Elite Cards

I took a little time last week to go look for a few 70s, 80s, and 90s cards that I have wanted to add to my collection.  A bunch of the cards were on COMC, a post at some point next week, a few came from a trade, and also a couple off of Ebay.  One of my quests in collecting single cards is to fill in some holes with older Cardinals and Durham Bulls cards.  

There are some really nice cards out there of players who started their careers other places, but ended up on the Cardinals at some point.  I am missing cards from the other places more so than the Cardinals.  The Durham Bulls situation is a little different, but that is for a different post.  

My two Cardinals for tonight both appeared in the 1993 Donruss Elite set, but not as Cardinals.  

First up, Mark McGwire.  

Not sure when the Donruss cards were put out during the 1993 calendar year, but it was a lost year for McGwire.  He only played a 150 games between 1993 and 1995.  I am not saying that he was totally cut out of products, but he definitely has fewer cards from those three years.  

Check out the card counts on COMC.  

When I flip through my McGwire cards from his time with the A's I feel like they are all either from his first few years in the league, or they are from his time leading up to the trade to the Cardinals.  Overall, I think this was one of his better non-Cardinals McGwire cards that I missing from my collection.  The Elite cards only had 10,000 copies, seriously tough number in 1993, but they are really popular.  Happy to add this card.  

Next and last.  

Larry Walker was not a Cardinal for long, but I feel bad that I do not have more of his cards.  He was a great player for the Rockies and Expos, and I really did not mind him as an opponent of the Cardinals.  Definitely a Hall of Famer too.  At least in my opinion.  I really need to work on adding a few more of his older cards.  This seems like a good start.  

Monday, May 13, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 1- 1986 Topps Vince Coleman

I am out of 1990s Cardinals players that I am interested in writing about.  On to the 1980s.  

My favorite 1980s Cardinals card has to be the first post.  The first full year that I lived in St. Louis was 1985.  Vince Coleman stole 100 some bases that season.  Yes, there is a 1985 Topps Traded card of Vince, but I did not own that card until I was an adult.  The 1986 Topps card was the first card of Coleman that I actually had a chance to own.  Every week during the summer, two packs of cards from the Manchester Dierbergs.  

The store has been remodeled at least ten times since I was kid, probably too conservative an estimate, but this cool brown and orange sign is supposedly still out in front of the shopping center.  I spent a summer pushing in carts at this store.

At some point during the summer of 1986 I finally pulled a copy of the card.  I don't remember the exact moment, but I am sure that I was excited.

Something else I love from 1986:  Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Project Durham Bulls #52 - Merrill "Pinky" May

1933 Durham Bulls 

Background- Merrill May was originally a Yankees farmhand after graduating from Indiana University.  At some point in the lower Minors he picked up the nickname "Pinky", but he still has a few baseball cards that refer to him as Merrill.  He played for the Durham Bulls in 1933, who were a Yankees affiliate for just that season, and hit .309 with 3 home runs, and 31 doubles. The Phillies picked him up in the Rule 5 Draft at the end of the 1938 season.  May was the Phillies starting third baseman from 1939 until 1943.  He was best known for his strong defense at the hot corner, and posted a slash line of .275/.354/.337 for his career.  May was drafted into the Navy after the 1943 season.    

After returning from the war, May spent two years playing in the Pirates Minor League system before he was given the opportunity to take over the team's managerial job.  May would spend the the next twenty-five years managing in the Minors for the Pirates, Indians, Yankees, and Reds.  He had some great years mixed in there though, including a 90 win season with Keokuk Kernels, which is a rarity in the Minors.

One of May's other notable moments in his Minor League managing career came in 1967 while managing the Indians Class A Ball team in Statesville, North Carolina.  The league also featured a Pirates affiliate with his son Milt as the starting catcher.  Milt May ended the season with 10 home runs hit against his father's team.  Those ten included an inside the park home run where Pinky was ejected for arguing that the ball got stuck in a net and should only be a double. In another game, Milt hit two home runs in consecutive at-bats, Pinky ordered him to be hit. 

Milt ended up playing 15 years, primarily for the Pirates, Giants, and Tigers.  

Card- Pinky May has several different cards floating around out there, most of them come from the late 1930s and 1940s Play Ball sets.  I did not want to pay a ton of money for some slabbed card, so I watched a few that were in decent shape, and ended up with the one pictured above.  It's off center, the corners are worn, there are some surface issues, but overall I really like this card.  Obviously there are not a ton of 1930s baseball cards in my collection, so it's nice to end up with another one at a reasonable price.  

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Weekend Countdown: Top 10 Albert Pujols Rookie Cards

It's hard to believe that it has been 18 years since Albert Pujols started his career with the Cardinals.  I went to the Cardinals home opener in 2001, but the team started the season on the road, so this was not his first game in the Majors.  First time I saw him, he hit a home run. 

I need to find the ticket stub. 

Nowadays, it seems like Albert is on the highlights every few weeks for passing up some Hall of Famer in an important category, or he is reaching some sort of plateau number.  I know on a day to day basis Albert is not the same player, but it's still amazing to see him pass up some of the all-time greats.  I think my favorite most recent milestone was his 3,000th hit last year against the Mariners.  

A few years back when he first signed with the Angels, I narrowed down my collection of his cards a bit.  A little bit of a knee jerk reaction to him being signed away from the Cardinals, but I have added a few cards back over the last year or two.  I would really like to spend some more time showing off my Albert cards at some point.  I started writing in this space in 2012, the year he left St. Louis, so naturally I have not written much about him.  I have thought about loop back and doing a few posts.   

Let me start out by showing off a few cards today.   

Here are this week's rules.  

  • I am only using Pujols rookie cards, no other years outside of 2001

  • I am only using rookie cards in my collection.  There might be Pujols rookie cards that are considered better than the ones on the list, but I do not own them.  

  • The cards are in order of how I view them, which has a large sentimental factor, don't bother me about where I put his Bowman autograph.  

Go team.  

10. 2001 Donruss The Rookies - This was a mail in card that I got out of a box.  I lost the redemption coupon for awhile, but luckily I found it.  I like that he is a third baseman on this card, and not a utility player.  If you have never heard the story of Pujols making the Cardinals in 2001, it's out there somewhere.  Short version. The Cardinals signed Bobby Bonilla to be a utility player off the bench, he got injured at the end of Spring Training, and so Pujols made the team.  Third was his natural position at this point, although LaRussa did play him all over the place.  

9. 2001 Fleer Platinum - I always liked this set, which was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1981 Fleer set, but there is something unappealing about this photo.  It's like Pujols had to get a picture taken by someone, and is trying really hard to seem happy to be there.  Reminds me of school picture day.  Not as a kid, but now as an adult.  The photographers don't distinguish the teachers from the kids, "Say school lunch!!!".  No, and I'd rather go hungry.  

8. 2001 Fleer Tradition - Always liked the Fleer base sets from the late 1990s and early 2000s.  I actually think this is one of the worst designs they had, it's still above average.  This was only sold in the factory set, which I did not want to buy, so I picked this one up at a local card shop in St. Louis.  Maybe the only low end Pujols rookie that I did not pull out of a pack.  

7. 2001 Upper Deck - Pulled this out of a pack back in the day.  Love the action shot of him hitting the ball.  The looks like it's in Coors, which is where the Cardinals started out the 2001 season, got to figure it likely from one of his first games.  

6. 2001 Bowman Autograph - It has always bother me that Bowman used the same Pujols picture on tons of cards in 2001.  I think it just felt that way.  It's a Spring Training photo, but you think they could have gotten a more updated picture at some point for their later products.  Considering where Pujols was at his career entering Spring Training in 2001, not supposed to make the roster, I suppose it's nice the Cardinals gave him a decent uniform number.  He could be wearing 72 or 89.  This autograph is terrible for Pujols. 

5. 2001 Topps Traded- Really nice card.  I always liked this update set.  There are some cool parallels where they played with the card stock, chrome parallels, etc.  It's well done.  Good clean card of Pujols.  

4. 2001 Topps Gallery - I liked this brand during the 1990s and early 2000s.  Of course, it's not nearly as good anymore.  The art was a lot better back in the day.  Love this Spring Training picture.  I would love to know if the Cardinals actually have a Coke machine on their Spring Training field, or if that's some sort of artist's addition?  I also miss the birds on the bat hats.  The Cardinals do not wear them enough.  

3. 2001 Bowman's Best- Pretty random choice here, but I have always liked this set.  Yes, it's really modern.  Yes, this is a batting practice photo.  Just something about the photo with Pujols following through on a swing.  Good looking picture.  

2. 2001 Fleer Premium - This was the first Pujols card that I pulled out of a pack.  It was actually a redemption card.  Always been in my top 2, ever since 2001.

1. 2001 Bowman Heritage - Just a great looking card.  It's been my favorite since it came out.  

Friday, May 10, 2019

So Little Time

Over the past three years I have settled into a routine with my blog posts.  I usually make three posts a week: one on Sunday night/Monday morning, one in the middle of the week, and one on Friday or Saturday.  It all averages out to about 15 posts per month.

This month?


So many other things to do.  However, this morning I made a few minutes to sit down and write about a few of the new cards that have made it into my collection during the past two weeks.  I believe the last new card that I posted was a 2019 Bowman, but I have not shown off any Cardinals or Durham Bulls players.  

Honestly, I have not done much to acquire many cards either, but I found two cards from the 2019 Bowman set that I was excited to add.

First, a Durham Bulls player.  

Lowe played for the Bulls last season, start this year in Durham, but has been called up to the Rays. He probably needs a little more time in Triple A, but still seems like at least a solid Major League player.  


This is a Nolan Gorman insert on the 1989 Bowman design.  Not the same size as the 1989 Bowman, which were the size of the 1950s Bowman cards, but I have always liked the simplicity of these cards.  This is a nice card, I am not going to put together the whole insert set, but I will at least go out and get a few more of these.  

It was a good few minutes.  

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Project Durham Bulls #51 - Clint Courtney

1962 -1963 Durham Bulls

Clint Courtney spent the better part of a decade playing in the Majors as a backup catcher, appearing in games for the Yankees, Browns, Orioles, Senators, White Sox, and A's. Seems like a pretty good player off the bench, but I really like that he was nicknamed  "Scrap Iron" while playing for the St. Louis Browns over two fights he incited with the Yankees.  During one incident he spiked Billy Martin, and then proceeded to punch him when the Yankees infielder protested being spiked.  The following season Courtney spiked Phil Rizzuto, while trying to stretch a single into a double, which resulted in Billy Martin jumping on him during a fight that ensued.  For years, the fight held the American League record for fines.   

Clint Courtney played his last game in the Majors in 1961 for the Baltimore Orioles.  He would spend the next three seasons in the Houston Colts Minor League system working with younger players.  Courtney was 35 and 36 years old for his two seasons with the Durham Bulls.  The Bulls were an Astros affiliate at that time, and they had some good Major League quality talent on the roster.  By the mid 1960s, the Astros used Clint Courtney as their bullpen coach.  He had been considered for several managing jobs along the way.  

After leaving the Astros in 1970, Clint Courtney spent the rest of his life working as a coach in the Minor Leagues.  He managed the Richmond Braves on several different occasions during the 1970s, before he passed away playing ping pong against some of the team's players on a road trip in 1975.  

There are not a ton of Clint Courtney cards, but they are all from really good sets.  It was honestly sort of a hard decision to choose which card I should add to my collection.  I ended up narrowing it down to trying to find a St. Louis Browns card, and then after that I decided to go with his 1953 Bowman card.  There are far too few St. Louis Browns cards in my collection.