Monday, September 30, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 20 - 1988 Donruss Jim Lindeman

Another 1980s Cardinals prospect. 

This week I am going with a position player, former first baseman and outfield prospect Jim Lindeman.  I also wanted to post a Donruss card this week.  So many places to go with the Donruss sets from the 1980s.  The 1988 set is an all or nothing design.  I know people who love these cards, I know people who hate them.  Not sure I have ever heard anyone say something neutral about this design. 

Strong opinions. 

I personally place it towards the bottom of the Donruss base set designs from the 1980s.  I have heard some people call the 1988 set the "Flannel" or "Plaid" set, but I do not think it's quite right.  Maybe it's just the blue color though, which seems very institutional. 

It reminds me a lot of the walls in the old Busch Stadium during the 1980s. 

Not their best effort, but then again, it's not like 1988 was a banner year for the vast majority of card companies.  It's still better than the Fleer design.  Yawn. 

Back of the card and a little bit about Lindeman. 

The Cardinals used their first round pick in 1983 to take Lindeman out of Bradley, which is not too far from St. Louis in central Illinois.  While he was in college he played wit Kirby Puckett.  Lindeman hit in the Minors, but never really did much in the Majors save for one month, which should get him a little more notoriety with Cardinals fans. 

Lindeman only played 11 postseason games in his career.  All for the Cardinals, all in 1987 replacing Jack Clark in their lineup. 

He hit over .300 in both the NLCS and World Series that fall.  In Game 3 of the NLCS, the Cardinals were trailing the Giants 4-0 early in the game.  Lindeman hit a 2 run home run off of Atlee Hammaker to cut the lead in half, and then later hit a sac fly which gave the Cardinals the lead.  While his career never panned out for the Cardinals, he was a big part of one World Series run. 

Lindeman hung around the Majors and upper Minors until the mid 1990s when his career ended.  A few years back a newspaper in Peoria did a "Where Are They Now?" article about the former Bradley baseball player.  Lindeman is currently working at a high school outside of Chicago where he teaches and coaches baseball. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Vacations Are Good

I feel like I have not had a break in awhile.  I know there are plenty of people who go long stretches with no vacations, and I am a teacher so I often hear the, "you just sit around all summer" line more times than I can count.  Actually, I usually teach for a two to three month stretch before I get a vacation that usually lasts for roughly three weeks.  I have been on the same schedule for more than decade, my clock is sort of used to the schedule by now.   

I am now going to yell at a few clouds, but before I do here is a Stadium Club autograph of Brandon Lowe that I picked up.  I had not posted it yet, but here it is now....

I drove more than 3,000 miles this summer.  I went from Raleigh to St. Louis, to mid-Missouri, and then on to northern Michigan.  Eventually I ended up in Grand Rapids for a wedding before driving home (13 hours with 2 kids) the day before the beginning of the school year started.  I switched grade levels, moved classrooms, and ended up running a committee.

I feel a little stretched thin.

This is a Steven Souza autograph that I also did not get a chance to post.

This card cost me $2.00.  It's Steven Souza, but he once won the International League MVP Award in a season where he only played 90 games.  His numbers were insane. 

Friday was my last day at work for the next three weeks.  I am not going anywhere, or doing anything the least bit responsible during that time.  I am going to spend some serious time doing non-work things.  Kids going to parks and museums, home improvement projects, and baseball cards.  I have actually been planning on doing some writing on a project I have been working on for awhile with my baseball cards.

I am pretty excited about it.

This is Tanner Houck.  I once saw him pitch a no hitter.  I didn't have time to post this when I got it a few months back. 

Definitely needs a post or two next week since the project has been six years in the making.  

This picture was from way back when I started a project with my cards.  The original post is here.  My baseball card room used to be really red.  It's not that color anymore. I am going to get a little bit of rest and probably take my kids to the park first.  

Monday, September 23, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 19 - 1986 Topps Kurt Kepshire

The 1985 Cardinals should have won the World Series against the Kansas City Royals.  They were a bad Don Denkinger call away from capturing the team's second title of the 1980s.

The 1980s Cardinals were best known for their speed and defense, but they also had some pretty solid pitchers.  John Tudor, Joaquin Andujar, and Danny Cox led the 1985 National League Championship team's rotation.  Those three players accounted for 60 of the team's 101 victories.

What about the last two spots in the rotation?

One of the spots belonged to long time Cardinal pitcher Bob Forsch, while the other spot belonged to a younger pitcher the team had picked up a few years earlier in the Rule 5 Draft from the Reds.  The Cardinals gave Kurt Kepshire roughly two years two nail down the fifth starters job.

He got a few baseball cards along the way too.  HIs 1986 Topps card was his last as Major Leaguer.

The backdrop of the card was common on 1980s Cardinals cards.  This was at the team's Spring Training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida. There are at least five or six Cardinals cards in the 1986 Topps set alone that were taken some piece this building in the background.

Kepshire did win 16 games between 1984 and 1985, but he got a lot of support from the team to get to those totals.  He started the season with the Cardinals in 1986, but was quickly demoted to Triple A in favor of Greg Matthews after a few starts.  The team also signed former Cubs pitcher Ray Burris as a free agent, picked up pitching prospect Tim Conroy from the A's, and had first round draft pick Joe Magrane in the wings too.

Kepshire spent the rest of his career in the Minors with the Cardinals, and eventually with the Expos.  He never pitched in another Major League game after his demotion from the Cardinals.  The retooled rotation with Matthews and Magrane, combined with Cox, Tudor, and Forsch, got the Cardinals back to the World Series in 1987.

Back of the card.

Love the centering on the card.

I like when players are young enough that you can see all of their Minor League stats on the back of the card.  I thought it was also interesting that Kepshire was a relief pitcher in the Reds Minor League system, the Cardinals turned him into a reliever.  Usually goes the other way around.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 20

It has been almost a month since I have posted a Blake Snell autograph.  Just waiting for a good one to post for number 20.  I actually have had some other successes with Blake Snell cards during the past week.  Still hoping for a year end total around 25. 

Snell actually appeared locally last week in a rehab start. 

It was on a school night, so the little man and I watched from the comforts of our sofa. 

For my 20th Snell autograph of the year I went with a nice Five Star.  Great looking card. 

This is a Golden Graphs. 

I am not sure that I love the gold pattern around the edges of the card, but I do like the contrast between the gold color and the dark signing surface in the middle of the card.  I also like that Snell autographed the pen using gold colored ink. 

Well done design by Topps. 

Back of the card. 

So, you got an autograph from Topps.......

Monday, September 16, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 18 - Topps Circle K All-Time Home Run Kings Stan Musial

Stan Musial is currently 31st all-time in home runs. When Musial retired from baseball in 1963 he was considerably higher up the list.  Stan The Man ended his career with 475.  He's also still 3rd overall in doubles and 19th in triples on top of all the home runs.  Stan hit a lot of extra base hits, some went over the wall.  I think that's a fair way to describe his home run total.

Anyway, Circle K made a set of home run hitters in 1985.  They are essentially the same design as the Glossy Mail-In sets that Topps used to put on their wrappers back at this time, but the photos were a mix of black and white and color photos. 

White border, name in small print in the bottom corner, similar finish too.  Mine is not really well centered, but I picked this set up for next to nothing a card show long ago.  The set is great, Stan is just a little off.  Might need to fix this at some point.

The back of the card is odd.

I am sure if I sat here and thought about it a little longer I might be able to think of another set that has player stats in two different columns, but one is not popping into my head at the moment.  Just a really bizarre way to design the back of the card.  If the point of the set is to show the players with the highest home run totals, I am sure that they could have come up with a better way than to list all 22 years that Stan played.  Even Ralph Kiner, who only played 10 years, has his stats split into two different columns.

I just look at the front of the card.  It's nice. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Trending Up

I have avoided really committing to collecting a Cardinals player in recent years, more of just a general interest in their cards.  There will always be Ray Lankford cards.......

There will always be Albert Pujols cards.......

and Stan Musial too.....

The second half of this season really has me contemplating spending a little bit of time and money working on Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty.  He has pitched really well......

There are already some Jack Flaherty cards hanging out in my card room that are pretty nice.  

They are just kind of cheap considering he is one of the better pitchers in the Majors at the moment.  He's right up there with pitchers like Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.  

I mean he's only won 10 games.  Snark.  

I found a new Five Star autograph of the talented 23 year old for less than $10 last week.  Great looking card of a great pitcher.....

The card stock on these is still super thick, hopefully the edges won't the chip the way that some of the older sets did.  Even if they do, this is probably my favorite Flaherty autograph that I have added to my collection this year.  Not saying he's going to reach the same status as Blake Snell, but for the moment Flaherty is going to be my go to Cardinals player.  

Monday, September 9, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 17- 1989 Topps Ames 20/20 Club Pedro Guerrero

Discount retailer Ames teamed up with Topps in 1989 to offer a small set of cards featuring players who had reached 20 home runs and 20 steals in a season.  No doubt a likely follow up to the Jose Canseco 40/40 season that took place in 1988.  We were still five years away from Carlos Martinez hitting a home run off the top of Jose's head.....

People were still taking him seriously at this point.  

There are plenty of not so surprising names in this small box set like Andre Dawson, Kirby Puckett, Eric Davis, Dale Murphy, and plenty of others.  I was actually a little surprised that Pedro Guerrero ever stole 20 bases.  I remember him being a good player on the Dodgers, but not really a base runner.  

My greatest Pedro Guerrero memory on the Dodgers is him throwing his glove, he was playing left field, when Jack Clark hit his home run at the end of Game 6 in the 1985 National League Championship Series.  

Yes, after checking the stat sheet, also the back of the card, I can tell you that Pedro Guerrero did steal bases at one point during his career.  Obviously prior to being traded to the Cardinals.  

Here is the front of the card.  

It's a decent design for something that was sold exclusively at a discount retailer.  I don't love the Ames logo going across the bottom, sort of the weak point of the card design here, but I understand why it is there.  

The back of the card confirms that Pedro once had wheels.  

I like that they highlighted the years he went 20/20 and the little factoid down at the bottom of the card.  I feel like this card could use a baseball card cartoon in the worst way, but those were out of fashion in the late 1980s.  Good little set if you are looking for something fun with some good names from the 1980s.  

A good song from 1989.....

Sunday, September 8, 2019

I'm Fine With The Expos

In my new tradition of not buying current products, I skipped doing much with this year's Topps Archives product.  You know that they always have great autographs in that set though, so I had to go check out what was available on Ebay.  The Cardinals selection was underwhelming, but there were former Cardinals in the set wearing other uniforms. 

They are in the Expos Anniversary Set. 

I'm fine with the Expos.  It's not like it's the Cubs Anniversary set, but even then, if it's the right Cardinals player I am going to go for it.  Let's check out the cards. 

This is Ken Hill's second appearance on the blog this week.  Personal best for writing about Ken Hill.  Solid starting pitcher during the 1990s, he actually made his Major League debut as a Cardinal, but was traded to the Expos after a few years.  Hill's best years were as an Expo, so it's probably pretty fair to put him in an Expos set.  Although, I am not sure how many people would associate him with that team? 

This guy is definitely an Expo, or maybe a Rockie. 

Nobody remembers Andres Galarraga playing for the Cardinals, and I have a feeling that if you asked Andres about it he would prefer you forget about it too.  Not his best year.  Interestingly enough he was traded to the Cardinals for Ken Hill.  Kind of connects my two former Cardinals cards here.  Hill ended up getting traded back to the Cardinals, Galarraga went on to hit a lot of home runs and win a batting title or two with the Rockies.  

All the Expos cards in the Topps Archives set are on the 1969 Topps design.  There are also non-autographed versions of all these cards.  Might have to get the Bartolo Colon Expos cards, not willing to shill out for the autograph.  

Saturday, September 7, 2019

One And Only Clydell

Clydell is not a common name, and according to the name search on the Social Security website its never really been.  However, one of the better pitchers on the 1933 Durham Bulls was a 19 year old by the name of Clydell Castleman.  He went by Slick.  

He would end up pitching for the Giants during the second half of the 1930s.  In 1935, he won 15 games for the Giants, and in 1936 he would help them win the National League before losing to the Yankees in the World Series.  

Along the way there were a few Clydell "Slick" Castleman baseball cards.  Some are a little pricy just because they are from the 1930s.   However, I recently was able to find a 1936 Goudy Wide Pen Premium of the former Giants pitcher.  Here is a scan of the card front.....

I am not sure why they are dubbed "wide pens", perhaps something to do with the signature on the front.  These were also more baseball cards for the sake of being a baseball card than the plain Goudey cards, which were actually a card game.  They also have a glossy finish over the photo. 

Here's the back, plain with no words like "Double" or "Wild Pitch".

Not a very expensive card, and another successful addition to my developing collection of older Durham Bulls players.  Also the first 1936 Goudey Wide Pen card in my collection.  The set has a pretty long checklist, and some solid names for not very much money.  

Friday, September 6, 2019

Predictable Marcell

The Topps products sometimes run together these days and they the cards have become all too predictable. 

I got a new Cardinals autograph. 

It's Marcell Ozuna.  He's just swung his bat and likely hit a fly ball.  Can't really tell. 

He signs a lot for Topps.  Topps uses him in every product.  

This card could be better if they showed Marcell missing a fly ball.....

or when the television cameras use his signature neon green arm band as a green screen.  

Marcell is interesting.  Let's try a little harder on these baseball cards.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Project Durham Bulls #56 - Dennis Burlingame

1989 & 1990 Durham Bulls 

The Braves selected Burlingame in the 5th Round of the 1987 Major League Baseball Draft.  While he was in the lower Minors, Burlingame was a serious pitching prospect, ranking as high as 50th with Baseball America.  In 1989, he appeared for the Durham Bulls in 11 games, went a perfect 4-0, and had an ERA of 0.50.  On Opening Day in 1989 Burlingame threw a perfect game against the Fredrick Keys, which was apart of a double header where Steve Avery hurled a two hitter in the second game.  Not quite Johnny Vander Meer, but close.  It is said to be the only perfect game ever thrown on Opening Day, not sure if that is true.  

Burlingame missed a chunk of the 1989 and 1990 seasons with arm troubles.  He pitched the second half of 1990 with the Bulls, but was not the same pitcher.  Still good enough to make it up to Triple A with the Braves in 1993 before his career came to a halt.  

This looks like a pretty run of the mill Minor League card from the 1990s, but the 1997 Bulls to Braves set is one of the toughest sets of the Durham Bulls out there.  I am missing Durham Bulls sets that are out there in my collection, but I have at least seen the cards.  I have passed on them because of price, or lost auctions.  The Bulls to Braves set?  I think I have only seen half of the cards in the set, and they are expensive.  

I am still not even entirely sure how the cards were sold. or given out.  

Here is the back of the card, which gives a short bio on the former Braves Minor Leaguer.  

I have posted some really good cards on this thread of Durham Bulls players, this might be one of my modern favorites.  Really great card.  

Monday, September 2, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 16 - 1980 Topps Super Ted Simmons

Ted Simmons always had some great facial expressions on his cards.  Someone could make one of those emotion/facial expression posters for Simmons based on his baseball card photos.  Blues fans have made them for Jordan Binnington, I am sure we can get one for Ted Simmons. 

I am not sure of how the Super cards were packaged, but they are oversized cards with a blank back.  Eventually Topps made them to fit the current baseball design, but during this time period they were just a studio style picture.

I picked this card up at a little card shop in south St. Louis County about 15 years ago.  It has a gray back, most have a white back. 

The gray card backs were promotional items, but I am not sure who or where they were given out.  There is no consistent story on that anywhere.  There is also not much of a price difference when you look at these cards on Ebay.  These must have been handed out in the thousands.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Weekend Countdown: Favorite Blake Snell Autographs

I am nearing 20 Blake Snell autographs for the year, so I figured it would be fun to go back and compare some of this year's cards to those I have picked up over the past few years. 

This week's rules:

  • Blake Snell autographs 

  • Blake Snell autographs 

  • Blake Snell autographs 

  • I am picking my favorite five 

5. 2016 Allen & Ginter - This was a great set for the Durham Bulls.  It was fun to collect, and I specifically remember wanting this Ginter autograph.  I had mastered his Bowman cards, found his Durham Bulls autograph, so this was one of the first Rays autographs.  Still a favorite.   I like the darker frame too, as opposed to this year's set which is more gold colored.  

4. 2018 Topps Now Autograph - Have I ever mentioned that I do not buy directly from Topps?  Luckily other people do, and then they sell and trade me the cards that they buy directly from Topps.  I was a little nervous going for a Topps Now autograph, but they really are nice cards.  Assuming someone else takes the risk of buying them directly from Topps.  Oh, something about the actual card?  It commemorates Snell being an incredible pitcher during the 2018 season, striking out a ton of batters, and winning a lot of games in the process.  

3. 2019 Topps Heritage - Always a good one to own.  

2. 2016 Topps Chrome - This is a Durham Bulls picture that has been airbrushed into a Tampa Rays picture.  Plus the card is shiny.  

1. 2016 Topps Pro Debut - Not very surprising.