Saturday, March 30, 2019

Cardboard and Random Facts From 1996 Part 2

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.  

Gus Kennedy- Led the 1996 Bulls with 20 home runs 

Kerry Ligtenberg- Saved 30 games for the 1998 Braves 

Ray Nunez- Played parts of two seasons with the Bulls and never hit below .300 

Chris Schmitt- According to Baseball Reference, he actually went by the name Jo Jo 

Marc Lewis- Was traded to the Braves from the Red Sox for Mike Stanton 

Wes Helms- Played over 1,200 games for the Braves, Brewers, Phillies, and Marlins

Tony Wood- 1996 was his final season as a professional baseball player, he never hit a home run in three years in the Minors.  

Mike Mahoney- Has one career Major League home run, which he hit off of Mark Prior as a member of the 2005 Cardinals.  

Coaches Card- Had no idea that Max Venable worked for the Bulls.  

Luis Brito- Played for the Durham Bulls and Carolina Mudcats

Pascual Matos- Played six career games in the Majors for the Braves, and got his lone hit in his last game against Doug Henry.  The hit drove in Andruw Jones, who was his teammate on the 1996 Bulls.

Sean Smith- He is from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  Sounds like a cool place, but apparently it's just outside of Milwaukee.

Danny Magee- Was picked one spot ahead of Scott Speizio in the 1993 MLB Draft

Edward Cordero- In his first full season in the Minor Leagues, 1995, he had has many stolen bases as he had RBIs.  Sounds like a stat that a 1980s Cardinals player would have.  

Mike Eaglin- Still works in baseball for New Balance, the shoe company.  He has also worked as a scout for the Twins

Ron Wright- Went back to college after his baseball career and now works as a dentist.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Random Envelopes

I spent the end of last week wrangling 80 some fifth graders around Washington D.C..  It's a cool field trip for my students, but leaves me feeling zapped for a few days afterwards.  I still like going, Washington is a fun place to hang around. 

My mail from the first half of the week and end of last week has piled up, so I am condensing it into one short post.  Three envelopes with four cards.  

Envelope 1.  

I did a lot with Anthony Banda cards last year.  He started out the 2018 season with the Durham Bulls, pitched briefly for the Rays, and ended the year on the D.L. after going through Tommy John surgery.  This Triple Threads card was one I was missing.  For some reason, his cards alternate between him being on the Rays and Diamondbacks.  Don't know why, it's just the way Topps rolls.  

Envelope 2.  

The white mark on the left is on the protective sleeve.  Lucchesi went to Southeast Missouri, which is where I went for my undergraduate degree.  It's a teacher's college that is about half way between St. Louis and Memphis.  Not exactly a powerhouse for cranking out professional athletes.  Lucchesi is amongst a small number.   I have been collecting his cards informally since last fall.  I am not going after anything super rare, just some nice looking cards.  I liked this black bordered Heritage card.  Sharp.  

Which brings me to Envelope 3.  Related to envelope 2.  There are two cards.  

Who is Kelvin Anderson?  I actually had someone offer to send me some cards of him a month ago after I posted a Lucchesi card.  He is another professional athlete from Southeast Missouri.  We missed each other in school by a year, but he was a really good player on a really bad team.  I would be surprised if the Indians, now the Redhawks, won 10 games in the 4 years I was in college.  

"The Earthquake", he is from New Madrid like the fault line, had eight consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 yards rushing in the CFL.  Anderson also won the CFL Grey Cup twice.  Two years ago he was elected into the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame.  

Finally, this gem.  

What is this card company?  They make cards of players from Southeast Missouri in a Southeast Missouri uniform?  They are playing Austin Peay in this picture, which might be one of the few Ohio Valley schools that Southeast Missouri has been able to compete with over the years.  Not really a good thing. 

There are copies of this card for $1.50 on Ebay, and there are 7.750 copies.  Not very rare, nor really in demand for a guy in a Hall of Fame.  Still really cool to find out a little bit more about his cards. 

On a side note, the football team has been better of late.  They made the playoffs last year, and won a game in the first round.  They also played Kansas a few years back.....

and came within a touchdown of the Jayhawks.  I mean it's Kansas, but still.  

Monday, March 25, 2019

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 70- 1999 Topps Mark McGwire Home Run Card

I am just doing one card this week, but it's actually 70 different cards.  Confusing, yes.  If you collected cards in the late 1990s, you will likely remember this card.  At the time the 1999 Topps set came out towards the end of 1998, the Mark McGwire home run cards were highly sought after, and could be expensive depending on the number.  I tried to pick up a few here and there, but did not really gain any traction towards putting the set together. 

I started off going for home runs that I saw in person.  I went to a Cardinals game for my 21st birthday and saw him hit a home run off of Mark Langston.  

and the then the back of the card gives the date, pitcher, and distance of the home run.  

It also gives the location.  

This game was ridiculously cold.  

In fact, of the cards that I own in this set, most of them have a matching ticket stub somewhere in my closet of baseball card stuff..  

So, they are just randomly numbered cards between 1 and 70.  I also own a few of the Topps Chrome versions of these cards.  Again, home runs that I saw in person.  

The only really significant milestone card that I own out of this set is the number 62 card, which was the first version that I pulled out of a pack in late 1998.  I did not sell it, nor trade it.  I wished it would have been 70.    

It's a home run that I did not actually see in person though.  

I saw 60.  

I saw 61.  

I saw 70.  

I do not own those variations to this card.  Well, unless you count the Topps Super Chrome card.  

There were not actually any variations on the Super Chrome, which are oversized cards, or the Opening Day cards.  Topps only made a 70 card for those two sets, which is the only way that I have a 70 card. 

Maybe someday this should be some sort of project on here.  It would probably take a year or two, but it might be fun.  I am going to put it at the bottom of my list of things to do.  

Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 3

Blake Snell autographs that are not from 2019?  I like those too.  My newest Blake Snell card is from the 2018 Topps Now set.  I have posted a few Topps Now cards on here from time to time, but I never directly purchase any of Topps direct consumer sales cards anymore. 

Long ago, I bought an Aledmys Diaz rookie card from them.  It was in less than ideal shape when it arrived at my house....

The response from Topps Customer Service was incredible.  

So, all the Topps Now cards that appear in this space are purchased, or traded for second hand.  

A look at the new Snell card.  All of the Topps Now autograph are encased, which is terrible for scanning, but helpful for keeping these cards in good shape.  Still not buying these directly from Topps.  

The autograph is typical of Snell's signature and it's on card.  No stickers here.  The bottom of the card has a caption about Snell winning his 21st game of the season.  The picture comes from the game, which took place against the Blue Jays in September of 2018.  


I thought the video of the game would also be nice since the back of the card is exactly two sentences with nothing else to help out the card.  No picture, or stats.  Nothing.  

Luckily, cards really are not judged on their backs.  This is my first Topps Now autograph, very impressed.  

Monday, March 18, 2019

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 69- Todd Burns

Todd Burns has been on my list of 1990s Cardinals players to get a post in this series for awhile.  He does not actually have a card as a Cardinal, which may actually be a good thing.  Burns appeared in 24 games for the 1993 Cardinals.  If you ask Cardinals fans who watched the team in the 1990s to name some of the worst players to appear for the team during the decade, there is a decent chance that Burns would make the list. 

I would have put him on mine too at one point.  

Rewind a little bit.  I actually had this post drafted awhile ago and then decided to rewrite it a bit after thinking a little bit more about the situation.  Let's start out with the good Tood Burns.  I have a bunch of different Todd Burns cards in my collection from his days in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the Tony LaRussa A's teams.  

In 1988, Burns went 8-2 in 14 starts with the A's en route to the team winning the American League West and playing the Dodgers in the World Series.  The next season, Burns moved to the bullpen as a long reliever.  He went 6-5 with an ERA+ of 166, which was second in the A's bullpen to Dennis Eckersley.  The A's won the World Series, Burns pitched in two games, and did not allow a run to the Dodgers.  Similar story in 1990, except he did not pitch very well in the World Series.  

Although, the A's got swept by the Reds, so really nobody on the A's played very well that Postseason.  

In 1991, Burns spent two different stints on the disabled list with the A's missing almost the entire season, save for nine games in the middle of the season.  The A's let Burns walk after the season, he signed with the Rangers for 1992, and was never quite right.  His career ERA with the A's was 2.81, with the Rangers it was always higher.  In the half a season he played with the Rangers in 1993 it was 4.57.  

In the middle of the 1993 season, the Rangers managed to dump Burns off on the Cardinals.  On the day the Cardinals traded for Burns, they were 6 games behind the first place Phillies, and they needed relief help.  Burns was the only reinforcement that August Busch's thrifty ways allowed the team to acquire.  

A Burns card with the Rangers.  

It would be easy to sit here and spend a few paragraphs telling you how terrible Burns was during the second half of the season for the Cardinals,.  I am going to say it now, he was bad.  However, I have decided that it was not really his fault that the situation turned out the way it did with the Cardinals.  All things considered, fans in St. Louis should probably lay off the guy a little.  

First, he had been racking up the injuries in the year and a half prior to the trade.  Clearly something was not right physically with Burns.  Second, he was a really good pitcher for a championship level team while he was in Oakland.  If the Cardinals had traded for another relief pitcher, added Burns as a player who they were taking a chance on down the stretch based on previous success, I think he might have been remembered a little bit differently.  

Took a chance and did not work out is a lot different than did not work out and we had everything riding on this one player.  

Another Todd Burns card from 1993.  

In the end, the Cardinals released Burns at the end of September of 1993.  He pitched the 1994 season with the Mariners Triple A team in Calgary and did not fair well.  That was pretty much the end of Todd Burns career.   Moving forward, if you are going to speak ill of Burns, please place all the blame squarely at the feet of August Busch instead.  

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Project Durham Bulls #49 - Mark Lemke

1987 Durham Bulls 

The Braves selected Mark Lemke out of high school in Utica, New York during the 1983 MLB Draft.  He spent the first five seasons of his professional baseball career toiling in A and Rookie Ball.  The summers of 1986, spent with the Sumter Braves in the South Atlantic League, and the Bulls were breakthrough years for Lemke.  During his 1987 season with the Bulls, Lemke hit 20 home runs, hit almost 30 doubles, and had batting average of .292 with an on-base percentage of .364.  The second baseman would appear in Atlanta the next summer, and would nail down the starting job with the Braves by time 1990 started. 

Lemke spent his career almost entirely with the Braves, he played 31 games with the Red Sox in 1998, and ended up being a light hitting middle infielder.  However, he had a few stretches during the Postseason that became his legacy as a Major League player.  Lemke hit .417 with 4 RBIs in the 1991 World Series against the Twins, .333 against the Pirates in the 1992 NLCS against the Pirates, and .444 against the Cardinals in the 1996 NLCS. 

There are several different Lemke autograph cards out there.  One of the easier ones to find is one of those Panini Hometown Heroes cards, with no logos, and no soul.  If that were the only Lemke card out there, I probably would have picked one up at some point.  However, there are also a few different Topps Archives and Fan Favorites autographs.  This is a 2005 Fan Favorites autograph.  Lemke has been on my list of players to find for awhile, finally found a card I like at a price I like.  As an added bonus, I like that it is on a 1995 Topps design, which is the year that the Braves and Lemke won the World Series.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 2

This new Blake Snell autographed card feels really highfalutin.  It's one of those "exclusive" cards that was given out at a special event hosted by Topps back in the middle of February.  It's exactly the sort of thing that some fifth grade teacher would not get invited to, but here I am with one of their Industry Conference cards. 

According to the internet, the Topps Industry Conference cost $199, non-refundable, to attend.  So, buying this card off the internet saved me $200, plus the airfare.....

That's almost $800.  Well, I did buy the card, so actually $770.  Plus I walked to the Post Office to pick up the card, and got baited into buying some Goldfish Crackers on the way.  So, bottom line savings was $768. 

Here's the front of the card. 

It's encased and has a cool sticker on the top letting you know that it is from the Industry Conference.  I mean, the card says it's from the Industry Conference too, but just in case.  The scans with the cases never turn out well.  Just a picture....

The autograph is on a sticker, never my first choice, but I probably won't have a lot of chances to find this card.  There are just 15 copies.  

A look at the back of the card..... 

and a short love note from Topps thanking participants for their $199.99*.  


Monday, March 11, 2019

One Simple 1990s Card

For the past year and a half Monday has been my day to pick out some cards of a Cardinals player from the 1990s.  I am going to skip my 1990s Cardinals post about a player this week.  I am not a person who keeps a schedule, so much as I keep a routine.  Certain things happen on certain days, and everything works out fine.  At the moment, my routine has been skewed.

Next week I will bounce back. 

For this week, I am just going to show off a really nice 1990s Cardinals that found its way into my mailbox this past weekend.  One of my favorite Cardinals players from that era.....

I know, the scan is not great. 

This is from the 2018 Topps Archives Signature Series, which is a set of cards that Topps recollected and then had players sign them.  This is from the Postseason edition.  I have been looking for a Brian Jordan card out of this set for awhile, but I was looking for the right card. A card from either 1996 or 1997 was preferred over the other options. 

Jordan only appeared in the Postseason with the Cardinals during the 1996 season, hence the reason why I was looking for cards from those two seasons.  I ended up with a 1997 Topps, which has a picture of Jordan from 1996.  Kudos to Topps for remembering his Postseason performance that year, or is he in here because of his years with the Braves? 

Let's pretend someone knew what they were doing. 

During that Postseason, Jordan hit a series clinching home run against the Padres in the National League Division Series off of Trevor Hoffman. 

Later in the Postseason hit a game winning home run against the Braves in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.....

The Cardinals were up 3-1 in the NLCS after that game, but then lost three straight games to Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.  

Back of the card.  

Again, a little fuzzy on the scan.  I am tired.  Hope your Monday has been good. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mailday From The Mitten

I received a nice envelope of cards a week and a half ago from Julie over at A Cracked Bat.   I will run through the cards in a minute, but I really need to get a business card or something catchy to stick into packages.  This is nice.....

My eight year old son was initially really excited about this package of cards.  He checks our mail as part of chores around the house.  If it is mail for me then it is a baseball card, and there is not much excitement over the mail for the day.  However, this package threw him off because the return address was from Michigan.  He was jumping up and down. 

My wife is from Michigan, so there are grandparents, aunts and uncles who live there are mail him stuff.  

Her hometown is actually on this map.  It's right there, next to one of the lakes.  It's a nice place.

So naturally, he opened the envelope and was a little disappointed to see that it was baseball cards, but I was pretty excited.  So, here's what I got:

First off, this was a card from a set that Julie had posted on Twitter, and we had spent some time talking about it one day.  I had never seen anything out of this Church's Chicken card set before.  Are there Church's Chickens in Missouri?  According to Google there are a dozen of them around St. Louis.  I just missed out on these back in the day.  There are even Cardinals players in the set. 

Love the design on these cards, they look like something from the mid 1990s too.  I am going to have to find more of these.  I appreciate that Julie introduced me to these cards.

More cards.

These three Cardinals are out of the 2003 EX set.  Always one of my favorite products from the late 1990s and early 2000s.  These are from the 2003.  Great looking cards.  


I know that the Action Packed cards were an oddball set from the early 1990s that featured older players, but I do not know much about them.  I actually have two other Action Packed cards in my collection, a Bob Gibson and a Jerome Bettis, but I am a little fuzzy on how they got here.  Never really got into collecting Rams cards.  I love the photograph on the card.  Nice action shot of Lou Brock running the bases is always a winner. 

 I do not do much with Furcal, but he was on the 2011 Cardinals World Series winner.  Kind of easy to forget he was there.  This is a gold sparkle variation of his 2012 Topps base card.  Not sure the scan really did it justice, sometimes shiny and bright does not scan well, but it's a sharp card. 

This is a really sharp looking card of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.  Love the die cut.  


There are not many Ray Lankford cards in this world that I do not own.  However, he is one of the few players whom I actively welcome duplicates of in my collection.  This is a 1998 Donruss Preferred card, which was not only a great set, but also a card from Lankford's prime years as a player.  The years where card companies sort of paid interest in him. 

A great package of cards.  Thank you Julie, I will get you a return package at some point in the near future. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Got One Of Them Hot Boxes

I bought baseball cards at Target.  Not a real common occurrence, but I am usually at least willing to walk past the card aisle and see what is there.  I think about it for a few minutes. 

There is the "Remember you pulled an Al Kaline autograph out of a $20 box here once"

There is also the "Isn't this the store where some jerk slit the top of a pack of cards we bought?"

If I do decided to buy cards, I now make sure the packs are sealed, or the box is not wrapped in Glad Food Wrap or something.  

On with the story.  

Now, if you have never heard of a hot box, they are sort of a mythological creature in the world of baseball cards.  I liken the hot box to things like....

The chupacabra. 

The Loch Ness monster.  


So, I start opening up my packs of Topps Heritage cards and I get a Chromium looking card of Aaron Judge.  I flip the card over, no serial number.  

Weird, but I am in the middle of opening up packs, so I just set it aside and open the pack.  I get another Chromium looking card of Jose Ramirez.  No serial number.  

At this point I am intrigued, but I am still not going to stop for two of these cards in two packs.  

Then the next pack started out with this card......

and ended with this card......

I knew something was up with the box of cards that I was opening.  I checked out a few different checklist type sites, you should read Cardboard Connections, and I found the answer was indeed something called a "Hot Box".  These aren't just Chromium cards, or Chrome, or whatever you want to call them.  They are some form of purple Chrome.  

I was stunned, so what did I end up?  This is great stuff for a retail box.  I mean, it's not Al Kaline, but for $20 at Target.....

All a very good haul, but I got one other card, which is going to go along way towards putting together this set.  

Hot Box!!!!