Monday, May 30, 2016

Cards Malaise

For the last year, maybe two, I have felt a sort of malaise about collecting Cardinals cards.  I like players like Matt Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Matt Holliday.  However, there has just been a blah feeling about collecting their cards for the past year or so.  Holliday and Wainwright do not appear as signers in certified autograph releases anymore and their cards tend to be the same pattern of base cards mixed in with a few relic cards.  Matt Carpenter does sign for card companies, but I am not sure I am really excited about him as a collector.  I know that's not always been the case.  I loved this card way back when......

Maybe there have been too many Lance Lynn, Kolten Wong, Matt Adams cards the past few years that have dragged me down.  Not my favorite players, but I have still picked up cards of theirs in the past.  I even enjoyed a few of them, but not really feeling these players as good collection options at this point.  Probably my favorite card from these three.....

The Cardinals are having a rough season for the first time in five or six years.  The talent on the team has slowly been getting older and some of the talent has been leaving for other teams.  See Heyward and Lackey.  Still, I collected Cardinals cards through the 1990s and that probably was one of the worst stretches of play in the history of the franchise.  Through all of the losing I found players to collect: Ray Lankford, Brian Jordan, Fernando Tatis, and Mark McGwire.

I have been watching a few Cardinals games during the past week with the intention of finding a player to break my Cardinals collecting malaise and I think I have found a favorite new player.  At least, I am starting to really enjoy watching the Cardinals new right fielder Stephen Piscotty.  I had my doubts when he was coming up through the Minors, but the more he hits the more I believe.  I even have some cool cards of the Stanford alum from back in his prospect days.  This is probably my favorite.....

Now, if you have followed along in this space the last few years you know that I collect everything that is Ray Lankford.  Not many holes in that collection.  I am not going to go that far with Piscotty.  In fact, I will probably never go that far with another player as long as the current format of baseball card products holds for the foreseeable future.  Maybe Piscotty can be another Evan Longoria in my collection: lots of autographs and parallels, maybe even a few 1/1s, but I am not going to break the bank to collect every card....that's not even remotely possible anymore.  Here's my newest Piscotty.  Nothing fancy, but it's a start down a new path....

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 15

The vast majority of cards that I have featured in this weekly segment of my blog have been from the 1980s up to the mid 1990s.  This week I am going to go with a card that is a little bit newer.  By newer, I am mean 19 years old.  I really wanted to go with a Durham Bulls card this week, so picking a card inside of 20 years was a necessary evil.  It's been a while since I have done a Bulls card in this segment, so this week's card is.....

Both of the players on this 1997 Topps card were actually on the Durham Bulls at some point during their Minor League career.  Bowers was on the squad for four years between 2000 and 2003.  Bowers started a few games for the Bulls, but spent the majority of his time pitching out of the bullpen.  Sandberg is the real interesting player on this card.  

Sandberg was on the Bulls during the same time frame as Bowers, but he also spent time with the Devil Rays during that time.  Sandberg was a pretty popular prospect.  Not sure how much of that hype was based on talent and how much was based on his last name.  He ended up also spending the 2004 season with the Bulls after he was sent down.  Jared Sandberg drifted through the Minors for a few years before ended up back in the Rays system as a manager.  

Currently he is working his eighth season in the Rays organization after having worked for the team at every level.  Last season was his first with the Bulls and he finished the season 74-70.  This year has not gone as well for the Bulls, currently 10 games under .500, but I am hopeful that the team can bounce back at some point this year.  

A quick look at the back of the card.....

While early Sandberg cards were optimistic about his playing career, it clearly did not work out for him.  Two years into his managing career in Durham I am hopeful that his managing career will turn out to be successful.

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.  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Five: Top 5 Favorite Modern Cardinals Rookie Cards

It's been awhile since the Cardinals have lingered in the middle of the baseball pack, but it appears that this year's roster is a little thin on talent and Mike Matheny is proving himself to be one of the most idiotic managers currently employed by a Major League team.  There are still some bright points to watching this year's team with rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz leading the highlights.

Currently the former Cuban national is in the top ten in several offensive categories including batting average, on-base percentage, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, runs created, extra base hits, and at bats per strikeouts.  However, no card company has made a card of Aledmys and there are not even whispers of one coming out soon.  ToppsNow?  Nothing.  Maybe his lack of baseball cards has something to do with the fact that Mike Matheny won't bat him higher than seventh or eighth.  (insert eye roll emoji).

The Aledmys Diaz rookie card will happen at some point, but it is hard waiting around for it.  While we are waiting I decided to dig back through my boxes of cards and find my five favorite Cardinals rookie cards of the modern card era (1981-current).  I will do some vintage Cardinals sometime soon along with a broader rookie card countdown that will encompass a few more teams.

The list is based on players who were pictured as a Cardinal in their rookie card.  Yes, I love Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, and Chris Carpenter, but they all played somewhere else besides St. Louis at the time of their rookie cards.  Sorry, Brendan Ryan and Pete Kozma did not make it.

Without further delay, my top 5 modern Cardinals rookie cards......

Honorable Mention - 1990 Upper Deck Ray Lankford 

I know this is my favorite 1990s Cardinals player, but seriously the guy has some solid career numbers and ranks high in numerous offensive categories amongst the Cardinals all-time leaders.  If Lankford had his rookie card put out at some other point, other than the early 1990s, his rookie card might hold more weight.  As it stands now, its a fun card to own of an underrated player that I really enjoyed watching.  On to the others....

5.  1986 Topps Vince Coleman 

All I wanted in third grade was a Vince Coleman rookie card.  I know a lot of collectors like the looks of the 86 Topps set, but it does not really have a great rookie card.  Well, for some of us who grew up collecting cards in the 1980s the Coleman rookie is pretty great even if you can now buy copies of this cards for a dime.   Coleman left the Cardinals for the Mets in the early 1990s and I really stopped watching him.  His stolen base totals fell off too.  Over the last couple of years I have kind of rediscovered Vince Coleman and his cards.  Fun player.

4. 1983 Topps Willie McGee 

Another favorite Cardinals rookie card from my childhood.  Willie McGee spent a long time with the Cardinals at the beginning of his career helping the team win a World Series and win two National League Championship Series.  Willie also won the 1985 National League MVP and two batting titles.  Interestingly enough the last batting title he won in the National League happened while he was playing for the A's.  Willie is not a Hall of Famer, but is a real favorite with Cardinals fans.  As a kid this was a great card.  Again, like Coleman, it has a lot more sentimental value than actual monetary value.

3.  2004 Bowman's Best Yadier Molina 

Yadier has been another nice part of 2016 so far.  After a pair of down years with some thumb injuries Yadi is hitting again and doing what he always does on defense.  Yadier also has a few nice rookie cards.  It's a little hard to narrow it down to just one, but I am going to go with his Bowman since it has the on-card autograph.  Always thought it was a little Tony Gwynn-esque that Molina has a bunch of rookie cards wearing 74, instead of 4, like Gwynn is sporting 53 instead of 19.

2.  2001 Fleer Premium Albert Pujols 

The whole Pujols rookie card craze in 2001 was pretty ridiculous at times.  Lots of short prints and serial numbered cards, autographs, etc.  One of his first cards put out in the beginning parts of the 2001 baseball season was an exchange card in Fleer Premium.  This was one of the first Pujols cards I owned, still one of my favorites.

2001 Bowman Heritage Albert Pujols 

No serial numbers, foil, or autographs.  Just a really nice looking Albert Pujols card.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 12

Late last week I picked up a box of cards from a college friend.  The box was filled with all sorts of oddball stuff that he was jettisoning from his collection to save a little bit of space.  This is a skill that I myself am working on mastering.  In fact, a bunch of the cards in the box are Cubs giveaways that I have already found a home for with a local collector.  They just need a little sorting.  

My primary interest in taking on this package of cards was one old Ozzie Smith card.  I have never seen this card in person, but I once wrote about it over at my other gig.  I can proudly say that I now own a very nice copy of this card, the finest oddball in my collection.  No doubt.  

The Padres gave away a set of Family Fun Center cards for a few years during the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I believe that they gave the cards out as single cards every so often throughout the season.  As a Cardinals fan, I am really happy to add this to my collection.  Everyone has a Topps Ozzie Smith rookie, not sure a lot of people have this one.  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Topps Now, But Never Again

Topps is now making cards that feature in season highlights the day after they happen.  Jake Arrieta throws a no-hitter, Topps Now card.  Melvin Upton has a walk off hit, Topps Now.  Supposedly Topps got the idea for the Topps Now cards from this scene from SpaceBalls.

Since its inception Topps Now has drawn a lot of talk around social media.  Some good, some not good.  Recently I took the Topps Now plunge.  At $9.99 a card I was expecting something really cool.  I received my envelope a week, or two, ago and all I can say is "sigh".  Let me review a few reasons for my sigh of disappointment.  

1. Shoddy Packaging - Seriously, a $10 card with no penny sleeve in the cheapest, flimsiest Ultra Pro that money can possibly buy.  If someone had sent a card like this off of Ebay the would at least get a stern message about their packaging.  Luckily in this case nothing happened to my card, but if you have not bought from Topps Now, just beware that this is how your card is shipped.

2. Remind Me What's So Special? - I took Bryce out of his flimsy Ultra Pro to scan him, he's felling better in a penny sleeve and a sturdier top loader.  I had to check out the front and back of the card, but outside of the date on the front of the card I cannot really find anything that sets the card apart to make it special.  Is there a serial number?  No.  Is there some sort of cool certification statement on the back?  No.  So, it's printed on some sort of cool card stock, something?  No.  Anything?  No.

3. So This Will Be Great For Team Collectors? - Some of this is a little bit tricky.  If you are going to make roughly two cards a day, there are going to be days where there are some really tough choices.  As a Cardinals fan, I was happy to see Jaime Garcia get a card for his near no-hitter, but I have also been disappointed that Topps has missed getting a card of Aledmys Diaz out.  You know, the rookie shortstop is has been hitting .400 during April and leading the world in OPS, OPS+, and WAR.  So, maybe I am biased.  I asked around.

I decided that I would check out a Cubs collector or two who had said something about Topps Now cards.  After all, nobody is having a better season than the Cubs....Both liked the Arrieta no-hit card that Topps put out the day after, but that was sort of a no-brainer.  Both mentioned a few different plays and games that could have been a Topps Now card, but both wondered why Dexter Fowler had gone unnoticed for the first month of the season?  Fowler has had a spectacular start to the season, several huge games, yet nothing.

Dropping down further in the standings, there are several other collectors who have teams that currently reside near the bottom of their divisions.  For example, as a Durham Bulls fan and collector, I have the chance to interact with a lot of Rays collectors.  Many have expressed doubts about the Rays getting a Topps Now card anytime soon short of a no-hitter.  After all, Drew Smyly accomplished almost the same thing that Jaime Garcia got a Topps Now card for, but where is his card?

I bought two Topps Now cards, but never again.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Phil Dixon's Negro League Set Part 1

Way back in the fall I spent a little bit of time searching for some cards of former St. Louis Stars player Willie Wells.  Wells was one of the superstars of the Negro Leagues back in the 1920s and also spent time playing in Cuba where his play is also legendary.  I found a Perez-Steele postcard of Wells, but several of his other cards were really difficult to find.

One of the best sets of Negro League cards were produced by author, and speaker, Phil Dixon.  He has a few books out, like Wilber "Bullet" Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs, and you can find some of his public appearances around the internet.  I have found single cards from the set floating around on sites like COMC and Ebay, but I have never been able to track down certain singles.  Most of the single cards that I have been able to find have run north of $5, especially on COMC, and I had never really tried to find the set.

Well, after letting the Willie Wells card slip down my list, I did a little looking a week or two ago and was able to land the entire 45 card set including a Willie Wells card.  Here's a look at my newest card of the St. Louis Stars Hall of Famer....

The cards are on white postcard quality card stock.  The Dixon cards are a quarter inch wider than the standard card and an inch taller.  The pictures are all black and white photographs.  Really simple design, but I like the look of these cards.  The backs of the cards feature a short biography.

I am not sure that I want to cram 45 cards into one post.  After all, I am sitting here trying to complete sets, show off the sets as I finish them, and take a little time to display my accomplishments.  Sure, I just bought all 45 cards, but it's still a completed set and you're not going to see many blog posts about Negro League cards.  So, I am going to split the set up and display a few at a time over the next two or three weeks.  We've done Willie Wells, here are four more including the bios on the backs of the cards.  The scans are aligned top and bottom.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 11

It has been a long week of baseball in my world.  The Durham Bulls had a rough week and the Cardinals did not fair much better.  While both teams have had a great run of success in recent years this season has not started as expected.  Honestly, I think that the Durham Bulls will turn it around at some point.  There are a few players off to a slow start who will eventually turn it around and the team will be fine.  The Cardinals are a different story......

There have not been many lean years of late as a Cardinals fan.  In fact, over the last 20 years the Cardinals have finished below .500 a grand total of three times: 2007, 1999, and 1997.  The 1997 team was easily the worst of those three teams finishing with just 73 wins.  That team still had McGwire for half of season and Ray Lankford hit 31 home runs.  The top three starting pitchers, Matt Morris and the two Benes brothers, won a total of 31 games with ERA+ all over 130.  They didn't lack talent, they just did not win.

The worst Cardinals team I remember was actually the 1995 team.  The outfielders were good with Ray Lankford, Brian Jordan, and Bernard Gilkey all putting up good splits with a good blend of power and speed.  Lankford and Jordan both hit more than 20 home runs and stole more than 20 bases.  However, the rest of the position players and pitchers were a complete disaster.  The only regular position player, outside of the outfielders, with an OPS+ above 100 was John Mabry.  He was at exactly 100.  Pitching?

The team employed six different starting pitchers.  Allen Watson lead the group with seven wins.  No, he did not get screwed out of a bunch of wins, he wasn't really that good.  In fact, Rich DeLucia lead the team in wins that season with 8.  In summation, the 1995 Cardinals had three position players and a relief pitcher.

The relief pitcher was the best part of watching the Cardinals that summer.  Well, Lankford.  Name player from the 1980s and 1990s, but I am not sure many people remember playing for the Cardinals....

"The Terminator" spent his last season playing for the Cardinals in order to be closer to his hometown of Jefferson City, Missouri.  Henke ended his final season with 36 saves, an ERA+ of 229, and 2.3 WAR.  A great last season and one of the few highlights of some of the Cardinals team sets from the 1995 and 1996 seasons.  Well, Lankford.  Anyway, if you are a Cardinals collector and looking for some sort of positive from the mid 1990s Tom Henke, don't forget Ray Lankford, is a great choice.

An Online Set? Why not.

The baseball season starts and I always have to check out the rosters for my teams to find a few projects for the season.  New players, new cards.  Old players, new cards.  All sorts of combinations of those words.  So, this post started sometime last fall when the Cardinals brought up outfielder Tommy Pham.  He's been in their system forever, just never stayed healthy.

He had a good end of the season and had a nice Postseason moment when he hit a home run against the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS.

and all of the Cardinals collectors lost their minds over Tommy Pham cards.  He has an autograph in the 2015 Topps set, but they are fairly expensive.  I decided to wait for the excitement over Tommy Pham to die down a little.  I went on Ebay, put a few of his cards on my watch list, and kind of ignored them for awhile.  

Prices came down a little bit on a few of his cards and I found a really cool looking Topps card of Pham that I thought looked really cool.  There was a Buy It Now and also one or two floating around in auctions.  

Pretty nice card.  I didn't know much about this card when I first started watching it, so I did a little digging and found that there was also a Stephen Piscotty card in this set.  Then I found out there were only 13 cards in the whole set.  Then I found a set for $10.  I bought them all.  They are all numbered out of 99 and are print run 99.  Pretty cool.  I guess Topps sold these sets in their online store.  Kind of cutting out the card shops there big guy....

The cards are also oversized at 5x7.  Not only are they postcard sized, but they also appear to be made out of the same material as the common postcard.  Perhaps an Office Max Brand index card.  The cards are really thin and the George Springer card has a little ding on the bottom right corner.  Here's a look at the other 12 cards......