Monday, January 28, 2019

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 63- Kent Bottenfield

Kent Bottenfield most memorable season as a professional baseball player came in 1999 while he was pitching for the Cardinals.  Prior to landing a job with the Cardinals, Bottenfield had made appearances with the Expos, Rockies, Giants, and Cubs.  Most teams mainly used him as a reliever.  The Expos and Rockies had both used Bottenfield as a starter, but that did not go very well.

Bottenfield joined the Cardinals as a free agent in January of 1998.  He was a long reliever in 1998 and was thrown into the starting rotation at the beginning of the 1999 season.  Bottenfield's 18 wins, 3.97 ERA, and All-Game appearance are often cited as some of Dave Duncan's finest work as a pitching coach. 

Someone posted a clip of his All-Star game appearance on YouTube.  He gave up a few runs, but also struck out Ivan Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.  Definitely a highlight.....

Bottenfield really has a limited amount of baseball cards with the Cardinals.  So, a quick tour.  He did not consistently appear in sets, even after the 18 win season.  Most card companies put him in a few of their products, but he never was amongst the core of Cardinals players who made all of a brand's sets.  

Pacific was one of my favorite brands from this era.  They actually had a 1998 card of Bottenfield in their Omega set, but I like the card in the 1999 set better.  

Pacific also used him in some of their 2000 sets as a Cardinal after he was traded away.  Nice cards, but he had nicer 2000 cards I will get to in a minute.  

Upper Deck might have been the stingiest company with Bottenfield cards, but their sets were stuffed with McGwire, Ankiel, and J.D. Drew cards at this point.  Give a spot to Ray Lankford, Fernando Tatis, maybe a Matt Morris or Andy Benes.  Not much room for other players from the Cardinals.  His most notable Cardinals card in an Upper Deck product was his appearance in the team's McDonald's set from 1999......

These cards were sold at McDonald's restaurants in the St. Louis area, I believe as a set, not a giveaway at the stadium.  The usual suspects were in the set, but Upper Deck put several players in this set who were not in other sets in 1999.  Bottenfield and Shawon Dunston are the two of them.  

Bottenfield did not get a Topps card with the Cardinals in 1998 or 1999, but they did manage to squeeze him into the 2000 set.  

There were no traded or update sets in 1998 and 1999, so I kind of get it.  Still, it's hard to believe that a relief pitcher who popped up in more than 60 games in 1998 could not get a card in the 1999 set.  This was also the small set phase for Topps.  I believe they were down to 400 some cards in the base set.  

The best two Bottenfield cards with the Cardinals are his autographs, which both came out in 2000 after he was traded.  He has a Fleer and a Skybox autograph.  The Fleer is a FreshInk card, the Skybox is an Autographics.  Both were cross product autograph sets, not sure what products contained Bottenfield autographs.  I own the Skybox card....

It's like a piece of artwork.  Bottenfield is consistent with his autograph too.  I love it when players care about their signature.  This is a great looking card, 90% of it is the autograph.  

So, the end of Bottenfield in a Cardinals uniform took place at the end of Spring Training in 2000 when the Cardinals traded him to the Angels, along with Adam Kennedy, for free agent to be Jim Edmonds. 

The Cardinals seemed to frequently trade for players in walk years during the late 1990s and early 2000s, let them play in St. Louis for the year, and then sign them.  Edmonds had a great 2000 with the Cardinals and signed a contract in the middle of the season to stay in St. Louis.  He ended up playing on the Cardinals for 8 seasons in all.  He helped the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series, win two National League pennants, and reach the National League Championship three other times.  While he is off the Hall of Fame ballot for the moment, Edmonds should make it at some point through the Veterans Committee.  Whatever it is now called.  

Edmonds popped up on a baseball card as a Cardinal long before Bottenfield showed up as an Angel.  Although, Bottenfield only lasted half a season in Anaheim before he was traded to the Phillies for Ron Gant.  He was never able to match his 1999 season with the Cardinals, but Bottenfield stuck around for a few more seasons before retiring.  

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Word Association

There was a really cool post over at San Jose Fuji a few weeks back where he took a list of teams and wrote down the first name that came to mind when he saw the team name.  I liked the idea, so I decided to try the same thing.  I put all the teams that are current Major League teams on a notecard and randomly drew out the cards.  I wrote a name down on the card. 

I decided to add the Expos, plus I split the Brewers, and Astros.  While the Expos are no longer they were around for a long time.  The Brewers and Astros are split between the National League and American League versions of each team.  Feel like the vibe of those two franchises changed when they switched leagues.  

The players are shown off in baseball card form in the uniform of the associated team. 

National League East 

Atlanta Braves - Greg Maddux 

Flordia/Miami Marlins- Gary Sheffield 

Montreal Expos- Tim Raines 

New York Mets- Dwight Gooden 

Philadelphia Phillies- Mike Schmidt

Washington Nationals- Bryce Harper 

National League Central 

Chicago Cubs- Ryne Sandberg 

Cincinnati Reds- Barry Larkin 

Houston Astros (NL)- Jeff Bagwell 

Milwaukee Brewers (NL)- Jeromy Burnitz 

Pittsburgh Pirates- Barry Bonds 

St. Louis Cardinals- Albert Pujols

National League West 

Arizona Diamondbacks- Randy Johnson 

Colorado Rockies- Larry Walker

Los Angeles Dodgers- Clayton Kershaw 

San Diego Padres- Tony Gwynn 

San Francisco Giants- Barry Bonds 

American League East 

Baltimore Orioles- Cal Ripken Jr. 

Boston Red Sox- Roger Clemens 

New York Yankees- Derek Jeter

Tampa Bay Rays/Devil Rays- Evan Longoria 

Toronto Blue Jays- Joe Carter 

American League Central 

Chicago White Sox- Frank Thomas 

Cleveland Indians- Jim Thome 

Detroit Tigers- Alan Trammell

Kansas City Royals- George Brett 

Milwaukee Brewers (AL)- Robin Yount 

Minnesota Twins- Kirby Puckett 

American League West

Houston Astros (AL)- Jose Altuve 

Los Angeles Angels- Mike Trout 

Oakland A's- Rickey Henderson 

Seattle Mariners- Ken Griffey Jr. 

Texas Rangers- Juan Gonzalez 

This was a fun activity and post to make.  I might have to try this again with Minor League teams, though I am not sure I have cards of the players with the teams.  Maybe next week.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

This Set Has Dragged On Long Enough.....

The last of the 1986 Topps Glossy Mail-In set.  There have been two other posts for this set, which is my favorite out of all the Mail-In sets from the 1980s.  It's Cardinals heavy and I have already gushed over the team's left fielder enough in other posts this month.  Last few groups of cards.

Picking out one player from each group to share something, or some thoughts about....... 

Ernie Riles - He was a prospect in this set, ended up spending roughly a decade in the Majors as a utility infielder.  I best remember him on the late 1980s Giants teams with Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell.  Obviously not that level of player, but he contributed to the team.  I like the old Brewers powder blue uniform and MB glove logo hat.  Very nice card. 

Dave Stieb- Since Jack Morris is in the Hall of Fame, we should also go ahead and put Dave Stieb in there too.  He never pitched in the deciding game of a World Series, but he was one of the better pitchers of the 1980s and some of his career numbers are better than what is on Jack Morris's resume.

In the three season prior to 1986, Dave Stieb had a WAR of 21.6 and Nolan Ryan, same three years, had a WAR of 6.5.  I mean Nolan Ryan struck out a bunch of people though, so that's what is important. 

George Bell (Jorge) Begin rant....

There are bad trades in baseball.  It has been a long held belief that the White Sox trading Sammy Sosa was somehow a terrible idea.  Do people not remember how good Jorge Bell was during his career?  He won the American League MVP Award in 1987, but you'd swear the guy was the biggest bum in the world based on the way people talk about the fact that he was traded for Sammy Sosa.  He hit 47 home runs in a season during the 1980s.  The year before the Cubs traded Bell, he hit 25 home runs, 27 doubles, and drove in 86 runs.  Sure, he fell off after he joined the White Sox, but let's stop talking badly about George. 

End rant. 

Browning.  Should I post the video of him on the Wrigley rooftop again? 

I will do a picture instead.  He also once pitched a perfect game.  

This is a really tough group to decide between.  We have a former football player, a Cardinals player wearing the wrong numbered jersey, and a former Durham Bull.  

Since there has been a lot of talk about college football players, and whether they should choose to play baseball or football, lets go with.....

Phil Bradley- He played both baseball and football at the University of Missouri.  As a baseball player he helped the team win the Big 8 (I miss that conference) Conference Championship in 1980 and they made the NCAA Tournament in both 1980 and 1981.  However, Bradley was much better known as a football player, he did not win the Heisman, but he was the Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year three years in a row.  While football has changed a lot in the last 40 years, and the Big 12 has a reputation for not playing defense, many of Bradley's numbers have held up over time.  He is still in the top 10 all-time in passing yards and top 5 in total yards in conference history.  Bradley mainly played with the Mariners, but bounced around at the end of his career.  He made almost 6 million dollars in 1980s money (that's a lot).  

Tony Gwynn- I guess Jeff Reardon is the least known player in this group, but it's hard to pass up a chance to talk about Tony Gwynn.  The Padres were not the best team in the mid 1980s, but I always think about those years as being some of the best of Tony Gwynn's career.  He could always hit and won several batting titles in the 1980s, a few more towards the end of his career, ending with eight overall.  The thing I liked best about the mid to late 1980s Tony Gwynn was the fact that he stole bases.  He stole 33 in 1984 while winning his first batting title, but went over 50 in 1987 and 40 in 1989.  Gwynn was not exactly the picture of fitness, but he has more than 300 career stolen bases.  I liked fast Tony Gwynn. 

Let's go Darrell Evans.  I used to not like getting his cards as a kid.  He was old.  I saw him play a game towards the end of his career with the Braves.  He was the worst player on the field.  Seriously, the elementary school/middle school version of me was wrong about Darrell.  Not a Hall of Famer, but a good player.  Darrell Evans hit 400 home runs, also walked more than he struck out.  


Monday, January 21, 2019

I Like Art Galleries

I am a really big fan of art galleries.  They are relaxing places.  They are quiet.  They are dark.  They are cold.  I usually have a favorite piece of art, or two at each of the museums that I frequent.  Sometimes, it's something that I have seen in an exhibit.  

Some of my favorites........

At the St. Louis Art Museum I like the Thomas Hart Benton painting "Cradling Wheat".  The shapes in his pictures are always interesting, lots of curved lines.  Always a lot of greens and browns.  Plus, he's a Missouri native and his paintings are plenty of other places around the state.  You can't run a history museum in Missouri if you do not have a Benton painting.  Not sure it's a law, but it feels that way.  

The Duke Nasher Art Museum has some Kehinde Wiley paintings.  When I worked in Durham, we used to take our students on field trips to this museum.  My students were convinced that this was supposed to be Big Boi from OutKast.   


Could be.  

The North Carolina Art Museum is in Raleigh.  There are some nice permanent pieces there and the museum itself is nice to visit, but I really like the exhibits that go through that museum.  My favorite was a group of Monet paintings that came there about ten years ago.  Nice time....

Even if his paintings are repetitive.  Haystacks, water lilies, some rock formation in France.  It's all good.  

Baseball cards have art too.  Some of it is really good, some of it is not so good.  Picked up two new cards from Topps Gallery a week or two ago.  It has taken me a week or so to catch up on scanning new cards.  

In my opinion, this is a pretty nice art card.  

The paintings on the Gallery cards do not necessarily have to be perfect to win my praise, but the right details have to be there.  When I think of Anthony Banda, I think of sport goggles and tattoos.  The artist of the card got the style and brand of the goggles perfect and the tattoos are pretty close.  The tattoos on his glove arm are some combination of stars and maybe clouds?  There are for sure stars.  

I am not sure how many autographs of Banda I have picked up over the past year, but it is probably in double digits at this point.  I like this card without the autograph, I might have to go find a couple of the different colored versions of this one.  

Next, some art work that deserves a little bit of criticism.  Here is the card....

So, let's start off by stating something positive.  The Cardinals hat and uniform are pretty good.  Now, let's talk about Miles Mikolas.  When I think of Miles Mikolas, I think he has a lot of hair, sometimes he has facial hair, and he's a bit of a free spirit.  On this card, I think he looks like Tom Selleck in Mr. Baseball.  

I am almost sure that Miles Mikolas is a lot more of a free spirit than Tom Selleck.  Tom Selleck is well-groomed like that mustache on the Miles Mikolas card.  Wasn't Tom Selleck in the Army?  Precise hair, precise mustache.  Miles Mikolas has free flowing hair.  It would not have a definite stopping point like the picture.  I haven't brushed my hair in twenty years, I know when someone does not brush their hair.  Miles Mikolas does not brush his hair.   Let's look at how Miles Mikolas rolls.....

Miles Mikolas has a mustache?  Not after the game.  Is that a bolo tie?  Philip Rivers is jealous.  The hair is not neat and it's not brushed.  More hair not brushed.....

and finally, more fashion statement.....

Again, bolo tie, belt buckle, sunglasses, unbrushed hair.  

Free Miles.