Thursday, August 29, 2019

Stained Glass Snell

Topps has dabbled with all sorts of stained glass cards in this past.  I think my favorites were in the late 1990s Topps Gallery sets, but those are long gone.  There have been others along the way, some better than others. This year Topps made a set of stained glass cards in their Ginter set.  It's one of the mini parallels.  

It took me a bit, but I found a copy of the Blake Snell card.  This is a great looking card.  

It reminds me a lot of the acetate cards from the flagship in terms of the materials and how the light goes through the card.  The "glass" portions of the card are translucent, not transparent, or actual glass.  I am not sure about the actual design in the background behind Snell.  Are those palm trees?  That's what I think they are, but I might be wrong. The light provides good contrast with the black frame around the edge of the card, and the shadow looking figure on the back of the card.....

The card back reminds me a lot of the acetates too, but I wish they had done something more with the player image on the back.  I know that the back is black to block out the light, but the shadow figure isn't the greatest for the design.  Not sure what they should have done here, but it feels empty.  

Love the card though.  

Monday, August 26, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 15 - 1989 Topps Traded Ken Hill

Ken Hill was originally in the Tigers Minor League system, but the Cardinals picked him up in trade for catcher Mike Heath.  When you watched Ken Hill pitch, he looked the part of a very good pitcher.  He threw hard, could rack up the Ks, and for a few years he was the best young pitcher the Cardinals had in their rotation.  The front office's patience wained a bit, and he was traded to the Expos for Andres Galarraga. 

Ken Hill was great for the Expos.  He won 16 games his first year in Montreal, and then led the National League in wins during the strike shortened 1994 season. 

I found this video from an Expos broadcast that seems to give a little bit into Ken Hill's career....

Know that the Expos traded him back to the Cardinals where he continued his trend of looking like a really good pitcher, but getting none of the results.  Ken Hill would go on to pitch for 14 years in the Majors, finishing with a 117-109 record, and an ERA just above 4.00.  If only he could have pitched 15 years for the Expos....

On to the card.  

The Cardinals roster started turning over from the WhiteyBall era players in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Half of the team left via free agency, and there were a lot of young players on the way up to the team.  Todd Zeile was sort of the most highly regarded prospect of the bunch, but the Cardinals also had Ray Lankford, Bernard Gilkey, Geronimo Pena, and Hill. 

I wouldn't say that Hill was a bust, he just turned out to be an end of the rotation starter with a front of the rotation arm.  He was really the Cardinals only decent young arm from the early 1990s though.  The rest all seemed to turn into relievers.  See Rheal Cormier. 

Back of the card. 

Hill was called up to the Cardinals from Double A.  While his Minor League numbers look pedestrian, when the Cardinals sent him back down to work at Triple A, he was pretty much untouchable.  Hill went 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 104 strikeouts in just 85 innings.  He pitched with the Cardinals in 1990 and 1991, he the trade with the Expos happened before the 1992 season. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 19

I was willing to miss out on this Allen & Ginter X autograph of Snell.  It is serial numbered to just 25, and many of the copies on Ebay had sold for more than what I was willing to pay.  There were several Buy It Nows with the price hovering north of $40.  I lost out on a pair of auctions too, but eventually found one for less than half of the final auction prices I missed out on.

I love the silver ink on the black background.  Great look for the card.

The back is the pretty standard for an Allen & Ginter card.  

One away from 20.  

Thursday, August 22, 2019

It's Not That I Am Against Sets......

There have been a whole bunch of 2019 sets that have been released this year starting with Topps Series 1 way back in January or February.

I think I have a Stadium Club set put together.  Otherwise, I just have a bunch of random 2019 cards from a whole bunch of different sets.  Way back at the beginning of the year I thought I would try to put together a couple of small sets.  Have I done that?  


It's not that I am against sets, it's just that the majority that Topps is putting out at this point do not really hold my interest.  Rather mediocre.  

What to do?  

I am going to try to put together a pair of small Upper Deck insert sets from the early 1990s.  One from the 1992 Upper Deck Minor League set, and the other from the 1993 Upper Deck base set. Different years, different products, but I have always felt like these two insert sets are clones of each other.  

Minor League set first....

This is from the Top Prospects Holograms set.  There are 9 cards, but I only have two of them.  One being the Dmitri Young shown above as a member of the Springfield Cardinals.  The other belongs to Chipper Jones, which is a Durham Bulls card.  The other 7 cards in the set shouldn't be too hard to find.

I already have the red cards. 

TP1 Midre Cummings
TP2 Cliff Floyd
TP3 Chipper Jones
TP4 Mike Kelly
TP5 David McCarty
TP6 Frank Rodriguez
TP7 Brien Taylor
TP8 Rondell White
TP9 Dmitri Young

North Carolina native Brien Taylor card seems like he might be the hardest card left to find.  There is not one on COMC at the moment, so I will have to find one from some place different, I do not always like buying single cards like this off of Ebay.  Might have to go do a SportsLots order, something.    

On to the 1993 Upper Deck set.  If you collected at the time, I bet you can guess the insert set....

This is from the Then & Now set.  There is an older player of the picture in color with the hologram showing a new picture.  There are 18 cards in all.  There are actually a few cards in this set that I am not big on, but the rest of the cards more than make up for it.  

These are the cards I do not like.....

The retired players in the set have a goofy picture of the player wearing an Upper Deck shirt of some sort in the hologram picture rather than an older image.  Why doesn't this Reggie Jackson have a picture of him on the Angels, or his last season with the A's?  Would have made for a better set, but it's only a few cards that fit into this category.  
I am missing roughly half the set.  I already have the red cards. 

TN1 Wade Boggs
TN2 George Brett
TN3 Rickey Henderson
TN4 Cal Ripken, Jr.
TN5 Nolan Ryan
TN6 Ryne Sandberg
TN7 Ozzie Smith
TN8 Darryl Strawberry
TN9 Dave Winfield
TN10 Dennis Eckersley
TN11 Tony Gwynn
TN12 Howard Johnson
TN13 Don Mattingly
TN14 Eddie Murray
TN15 Robin Yount
TN16 Reggie Jackson
TN17 Mickey Mantle
TN18 Willie Mays

I think I can have these two small sets put together by the end of September.  Go team.  

Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 16 & 17

Every. other. post. 

What was in my mailbox today?  What will be in my mailbox tomorrow?  You already know the answer.  It's a Blake Snell autograph.  I am making a strong push to get to 25, there are not many I am missing at this point.  They are generally low numbered cards that I am going to have to get for the right price, and probably can never manage to get them all.

On to the cards. 

There are two because they are from the same ridiculous set, but they are two different cards.  I liked these cards when they first came out a few years back.  Now, they are starting to get a little annoying.  These are both from the Topps Archives Signature Series. 

The top card is a buyback of a 2015 Bowman card that Snell signed 99 copies of, while the bottom card is a 2018 Topps card (Aqua Fresh Design) that is also numbered out of 99.  I do not mind buybacks, but it seems ridiculous to do a buyback of a card that is one year old.  Silly.  

The good news is that I have added two more Snell autographs, they were fairly inexpensive, and I am now going to go do some work for my day job.  

A 1980s Card Part 14 - 1984 All-Star Game Inserts Tommy Herr

The other week I made fun of Bob Forsch for having a perm on a 1980s baseball card.  Tom Herr is on this week's card, and he also rocked a perm for parts of the decade.  I am going to skip over the hair and tell you all of the things I remember about the Cardinals second baseman during the 1980s.

1. He had the smallest home run space of any second baseman in the All-Star Baseball game.

It's the number 1 at the top of the disc if you never played.  Give me Ryne Sandberg or Bobby Grich all day long.

2. Walk off grand slam against the Mets on seat cushion night in 1987.


3. This sac fly he hit in the 1982 World Series that scored two runs.  Really Gorman Thomas misplayed the ball, but Tommy Herr hit it.  

and I did not really know much about this play during the 1980s.  More like the 1990s when I learned more about the 1982 World Series.  Still counts.  

4. He was traded to the Twins for Tom Brunansky.  

The 1989 Topps Cardinals Leaders cards had Tom Brunansky on it, plus Luis Alicea who replaced him at second base.  Feels like a 1980s troll job from Topps.  

That's it.  That's my Tommy Herr list.  Now for a card.  

This is a card I have picked up in the past year.  I really have not ever gone after any of these cards, but I included one of these in an article over at my other writing gig and I decided to check one out.  This is an All-Star Game Program insert card.  MLB put them in the programs for a few years during the 1980s, people cut them out, and there are a few floating around the internet.  Again, a more recent pick up, not an actual card I had in my collection during the 1980s.  Plus, there is no way the first/second grade me would have ever cut out a card this neatly.

This was already cut when I acquired it.  Here is the back.

No stats, just the All-Star Game logo from 1984, which was hosted by the Giants.  Huey Lewis and the News performed the National Anthem at this game.

A good song from 1984.  Huey Lewis and the News?  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

"Facts" About A Bulls Player

I have been working on finding cards of older Durham Bulls players all summer, and this past week I managed to scrounge up a really old one.  In this case, I am not only excited about the fact that the card is really really old, but I am also really excited about the player on the card.  He's a local, from Durham, and played and managed the Bulls for an extended period of time during the late 1920s and into the early 1930s.

He was also on the Cardinals for a stint, so there is that too.  Meet George "Possum" Whitted.

There are several places where you can find information on George Whitted, but I will give you a quick run down on the most important "facts":

-As a 6 month old baby, he fell out of a second story window and was not injured

-He was given the nickname of "possum" because he spent his free time roaming the forests around Durham hunting the annoying creatures

-He was also kicked by a mule as a child, but was not injured. The mule broke its legs

-Possum also hated school, which later burned down. However, he did end up playing baseball at Trinity College, which was the forerunner of Duke University.

There are others out there, but these seem to be the universally repeated "facts" about his early life around Durham.  I feel like the Chuck Norris jokes may all be based on the "real" life events of this former Major Leaguer.

As a Major Leaguer he played for the Cardinals, Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers.  He won the World Series with the 1914 Dodgers and won the National League pennant with the 1915 Phillies.  There was a break during the middle of this career for a stint in the Army during World War I.  He would last appear in a game for the 1922 Brooklyn Dodgers before he went into managing at the Minor League level.  He started out with the Toledo Mud Hens in the first part of the 1920s, but ended the decade in the Piedmont League with the Bulls as a player/manager.

In all, he managed the Bulls for 6 seasons, and appeared in more than 400 games for them as a player.  Possum was an instant success, winning the regular season Piedmont League title in 1929, but losing in the playoffs.  The 1930 season Whitted led the Bulls to a second place finish in the Piedmont League, but the team won in the playoffs to capture the Postseason title.  Whitted would manage a few other places after the Bulls, and also ran the athletic leagues at the shipping yards in Wilmington, North Carolina during World War II. 

George would end up living out his life around North Carolina.  He died in 1962.  Interesting side note that his sister would go on to become the first female professor emeritus at Duke University.

Now, the baseball card.  Really excited about this one.

This is a 1919 W514 strip card.  This is hand cut, and while there are many who attribute these cards to other years, the Whitted card had to come from 1919 since it lists him as a Philadelphia "Quaker".  He was on the Pirates during the two other years some of these cards are listed under, which was in 1920 and 1921.  I was a little curious about the Phillies nickname here, but apparently they had played around with other nicknames at different points during their time as a franchise including the "Blue Jays".  According to the Sports Logo site this was there 1919 logo....

No use of the word Phillies, but there is a Quaker playing baseball. 

There are not many cards of Whitted, but this is the only one that I could find at a reasonable price.  A 100 year old card for less than $15, I will take it all day long.  His rookie card is in the 1914 Cracker Jacks set, so that one is not going to happen. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 15

Every other post for the rest of the year will be a Blake Snell autograph.  Probably not, but I am on a roll at the moment with finding his cards on Ebay.  It feels like I cannot lose an auction at the moment, or I seem to never get turned down by sellers on offers.  Really, there is only one more that is on the way, after that the cupboard is starting to get bare.

Here is my latest.

This is from National Baseball Card Day.

I did not go to a card shop and buy and baseball cards that day, but I did go out and find a few cards I liked from other collectors who did get some of the Topps packs.  For a card that came out of a free pack this is a pretty nice autograph.  It's a sticker autograph, but Topps did a really nice job of blending it into the background.  The lighter area around the sticker and stripes seem to cover it up well.

A nice addition to the collection.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

and I am done.

I do not care about Gary Vee. 

I bought a blaster of Ginter a few weeks back and pulled a Corbin Burnes printing plate. 

I am not sure if I have ever pulled a printing plate out of a pack of retail cards.  Pretty cool. 

I got two copies of the Blake Snell autograph.  The regular one. 

Last week I found two Cardinals autographs that I was interested in adding.  The first was a copy of the Tyler O'Neill autograph.  Interested in seeing him play a bit more.  The Cardinals lack offense, O'Neill seems like he can hit for power.  I have not done much with his cards recently. 

He has other autographs and nice cards floating around, but I am going to pass on them all for right now.  Just one.  

This is one I have had on my list since the checklist for Ginter first came out.....

Ankiel autographs always seem to be expensive when they first come out, but they eventually settle down at some point.  After waiting a few weeks, I was finally able to add this card at a price I was comfortable with paying.  Topps did a great job of being neutral on pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel. 

and that's it for Ginter, I am done. 

Unless one of the serial numbered Snell autographs ends up selling cheap. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 14

This is a sticker autograph from Museum Collection.  I am glad that I do not open packs of this product.  They are expensive and I am fairly certain that I have half a dozen autographs from this set, and have not spent more than $5 on any of them.  You've got two jersey swatches and an autographed sticker, on a generic looking card. 

I did not set a goal at the beginning of the year with the number of Snell autographs I wanted to find, just started making these posts.  There are four and a half months last in 2019, so 20 seems like the obvious answer. 

Here is the back of the card. 

I guess I am not sure how many more Snell autographs Topps is going to throw into their products, and how many more chances I am going to have to add some of the high end/low serial number cards that I am missing.  I would love to put down a higher number.

Pretty standard autograph.  I feel like I already own several of cards almost just like this....

A 1980s Card Part 13 - 1985 O-Pee-Chee John Tudor

Way back in 1985 I did not collect any O-Pee-Chee cards.  In fact, I think I might have had one or two of them in collection and had no idea what to do with them.  As an adult, I love the 1980s O-Pee-Chee cards.  Really, how many 1985 Topps sets do I need in my collection?  I think there are several copies, probably do not need any more, but these O-Pee-Chee cards keep things interesting.

They are like a hybrid of the regular Topps card and the Topps Traded cards.

I wish I could make some sort of cool graphic where the two cards merge together and form the O-Pee-Chee card.  I am not that talented.  I imagine it would like that episode of The Simpsons where the Japanese cleaning company is using a likeness of Homer, and he discovers they created it by merging together an image of a light bulb and a fish.  

Flip over to the back of the card......

John Tudor's stat line was not interesting until he got to the Cardinals.  I like the dual language labels in both French and English. Always fun 1980s cards to collect. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

I Think We All Know Who The Real MVP Is.....

I do not write much about Panini cards, and I generally just tune them out.  Every once in awhile I will see a card of theirs that catches my eye, but that happens once or twice a year.  Like the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook page, when I ran across a sweet card of former Cardinals player/current Cardinals coach Willie McGee.  


I know the airbrushed stuff isn't even close to a Cardinals uniform, but I love the attempt at recreating some 1980s graphics in the background of the card.  Strong effort.  I even like the picture of McGee batting.  Add in an autograph, and this card is MVP material.  

Back of the card.  

Nice write up about McGee's MVP season in 1985.  Excellent.  

Thursday, August 8, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 13

I am almost caught up with all of my Blake Snell mail from vacation.

Back to Topps Series 1 for one of the 1984 insert cards.  When this card first came out it was selling for far too much, but a little patience and it was finally available on Ebay for the right price.  This is a sticker autograph that is numbered out of 50.   To their credit, the sticker is actually really well blended on this card and not immediately noticeable.

Design wise, I am a little bummed out that Topps made color variations of the 1984 cards.  They were white, they looked really good as white bordered cards too.  Leave them alone.

Back of the card.

I posted the base version of this card long ago.  It might have been the 2019 Blake Snell autograph #1.  I talked about how the backs on the original 1984 All-Star cards had a blurb about the players personal life and mentioned specific events and games that made the player an All-Star.  That would be nice here, as opposed to the giant "Congratulations" heading.  The serial number is in the top left corner.  

Overall, I am happy to have this card.  I am collecting Blake Snell autographs, but I am not breaking the bank here.  I am willing to skip the serial numbered stuff if people are going to be unreasonable.  I am glad that there was finally someone who had a good price on this card.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Project Durham Bulls #56 - Ben Chapman

1950 Durham Bulls 

I wrote a bit about Chapman a few weeks back while I was working on some 1950s cards of former Durham Bulls players.  I am not going to rehash the whole post, but Chapman has sort of a dubious history in the game for some of his on field antics.  As a player, he was one of the greatest trash talkers of all-time.  As a manager, he was noted for his clashes with Jackie Robinson while he was managing the Phillies in the late 1940s.  

The Bulls had been managed by former Duke baseball/football star, also Pro Football Hall of Famer, as a player manager during the 1949 season.  I am not sure exactly why Chapman was brought in to manage the Bulls in 1950, they were the Tigers Carolina League affiliate, but he led them to a 74-78 season before departing for a job managing in a Minor League team in Florida.  Chapman would not last much longer in baseball, leaving the sport in the mid 1950s to sell insurance in Alabama.  

This is from the 1935 Diamond Stars set.  I know it's a really old card, the type that I do not post on here very often.  I am fairly certain that I have a few Cardinals and Browns cards from this set that I picked up somewhere, at some point, for not very much.  Chapman is likely the best card that I have from this set.  

Here is the back of the card.  

 I do not mind its imperfections, this is just a good classic baseball card.  There is a crease along the bottom, the corners are rounded, and I would not have it any other way.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"and my wolfpack, it grew, it grew by one"

It has been fun to watch former NC State player Andrew Knizner get some time with the Cardinals while Yadier Molina has been out with an injury.  Yadi is currently rehabbing with the Memphis Redbirds, so I suspect that Knizner's time with the Cardinals might be slowly winding down until the rosters expand in September.

There have been some good moments during his first season playing in the Majors.  My favorite has to be his first home run, which he hit against the Pirates two weeks ago.

While Andrew Knizner has been promoted to the Majors, he is still showing up on baseball cards as a Minor Leaguer; Bowman products, pictures from Spring Training, and jersey numbers that belong to an offensive line in football.  All of these accurately describe my second Knizner autograph of the year, which is out of Bowman Platinum.  

It's a sticker autograph, which I don't love, but I like that the prices of his cards have gotten a little cheaper since Topps put out Bowman.  

I picked up a second Cardinals autograph out of Bowman Platinum.  

Elehuris Montero has not had a great year, but was a pretty well thought of prospect entering the season.  He has spent a lot of time dealing with injuries, so I am hopeful he will still turn out to do something with himself.  

Monday, August 5, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 12 - 1981 Fleer Bob Forsch

Love the hair style.  Never really associated Bob Forsch with having a perm, but apparently it happened at some point during the 1980 season.  It looks like he changed hairstyles with Tommy Herr for a season.....

The jersey is also really off on this card.  Fleer clearly did not airbrush it or anything, Forsch is actually wearing a jersey that looks like he bought it cheap off of Ebay.  The actual powder blue Cardinals uniforms had a better looking bird on the bat, and also the number on the front of the jersey.

This is more like it.

I am not sure I have ever seen a Cardinals player wear a jersey like that on a card that has not been airbrushed.  

Overall, this card makes me question whether or not Will Ferrell has ever made a baseball movie?  If he did, I am pretty sure that the 1981 Fleer Bob Forsch card could be the mock up for his character. 

It is not hard to get from his basketball movie......

to that picture of Bob Forsch.  

Back of the card.  

Forsch was always a decent pitcher.  He won a bunch of games, lost a bunch of games, did not strike out very many hitters, but somehow always managed to keep the ball in the park and runs off the board.  I like that the 1980s Fleer cards always show the players complete stat line including their time in the Minors, no matter their age.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Great Way To Spend A Special Day

The last half of my summer vacation was spent hanging out in Grand Rapids, Michigan for my sister-in-law's wedding.  My wife was in the wedding, along with son and my daughter.  I was happy just being able to throw on a shirt and tie, and not have to rent a tux.  Most of my time was actually spent wrangling the flower girl.

With everyone running around for the eight hours before the wedding, I needed to find away to keep busy that did not involve getting the little one dirty.  No playgrounds, no parks, so we decided to check out the local card scene.

Grand Rapids has a nice card shop called All Star Sports.  It was easy to find for someone who is not from the city.

I spent a good amount of time just walking around when I first got into the store, which has a new owner, and a great staff.  They are clearly reworking parts of the store, but there are plenty of single cards, some old wax, current wax, memorabilia, and just about anything else that you would want to find in a sports card shop.  I think that the new owner has a good vision for the space too. 

I picked up a couple of modern singles for my collection, and if I had been better prepared for my visit, could have probably closed out finding all the single 2019 base cards of Cardinals, Durham Bulls, and former NC State players that I collect.  They also had some nice vintage singles that I flipped through, but at the moment I am looking for Durham Bulls players from the 1960s and earlier.  Not an easy find, but there were some sharp looking cards nonetheless.  

Since I have slowly drifted back into not having much of a card shop here in Raleigh, I decided to spend my time and money working on some 2019 Stadium Club.  The store owner Eric gave me a great price on the cards, and I sat in the store and opened the packs.  

Here is what I got out of two boxes.  

I am not sure of the exact breakdown of which autographs came together.  I do not really have any connection to Ryan O'Hearn other than he hit everywhere in the Minors, and had 1.2 WAR in 44 games last year with the Royals.  He's not having a great year, but he's on the Royals.  I am going to file this away for another day.  

Ray Black is a former Pitt Panther from way back when they first joined the ACC.  I know they have been somewhat of a train wreck in baseball since joining the conference, but they were actually decent when Black was there.  Three Major League players on the team with Black, Kevan Smith, and Matt Wotherspoon (not misspelled) from the Norfolk Tides.  He's beating the Durham Bulls as I type.  

Briceno played locally here a few years back for the Carolina Mudcats.  He's a defense first catcher, not much of a hitter.  None of that really matters though, this is an awesome card.  Pictures of walk off home runs always make for good baseball cards.  

Last up is my favorite Gwinnett Striper, pitcher Touki Toussaint.  He's good, but gets overlooked often because he's a young guy on the Braves.  One day the Braves will let Touki start, or they will trade him to a team that will start him. 

All the autographs are on card too.  

Here a few more of my highlights.  I did not finish sorting out my colored parallels of the base cards, but I know I have several reds, blacks, black and white, and sepia cards.  Mainly sticking with the insert cards for the moment.  

The bottom right Griffey card is serial numbered out of 99.  The rest are all non-serial numbered cards.  

Love that Snell card.  There is an autographed version of this card out there, but the copies are rather expensive at the moment.  Maybe at some point it will appear on a Blake Snell autograph post.  I wish.  

This is my bad scan for the week.  I love the Chrome cards, had to scan these even though I am trying to stick with inserts over parallels.  Might need to go find all of the Rays and Cardinals in this set.  

Good looking set of cards.  The Marp was my only Cardinals insert that I pulled out of my two boxes.  Some great young players in this insert.  

Love that Topps squeezed in a set for fast players.

So, overall......

I had a great time sitting in the store opening packs, and talking about cards.  All Star Sports Cards came highly recommended to me from one of my followers on Twitter, and I would completely agree that this is a great local card shop.  If you live in Western Michigan, or just pass through it, this is worth a stop.  I live 800 miles away, and would not hesitate to give them my business.

In the end.....

it was a great wedding, and a great way to spend my day.