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Monday, October 28, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 23

I picked up a copy of Blake Snell's red Clearly Authentic autograph, which is serial numbered out of 50.  I am not sure that I like this card as much as the base autograph that I posted here last week.  Here is a look at the front of the card......



My main complaint with this card is the red border.  I am hit or miss on the colored parallels, but this is one that does not really work for me.  Maybe I am stuck on having the white border on a 1984 style card.  Maybe the red border just does not look right on a Rays card. 

Here is the back of the card. 




This card back is the same the base autograph.  Two more to go.  

A 1980s Card Part 24 - 1987 KMart 25th Anniversary Bob Gibson

There were no KMarts near my house in 1987.  I know that there were KMarts in St. Louis County, just none that were next to my house.  Western St. Louis County had it's own discount retail store at that time called Granda Pigeons, there were several stores in several locations throughout the area.  If you are familiar with the St. Louis, the store I went to was west of 141 on Manchester Road, sort of out near all the car dealerships in Ballwin. 



Not sure if this is the exact store, but this seems like the best picture that I can find on the internet that fits my memories of Grandpa Pigeons.  It's floating around on Pinterest, so I am not sure who originally posted this picture, or where it was taken.  The main thing I remember buying at Grandpa Pigeons was fishing tackle boxes for my Legos.  I had tons of them as a kid, I built the castle sets, and I used the tackle boxes to keep the different pieces organized.  

They are still in my parents' basement.  My son plays with them when we visit.  



Not having a KMart near my house resulted in me not having any KMart baseball cards in my collection until I was much older.  Somehow I survived, probably by collecting thousands of other baseball cards.  As an adult, I found that KMart made some quality baseball cards, and luckily most of the cards can be found in dime boxes at card shows.

One of my favorites is the 1987 Bob Gibson card that was included in the retail chain's 25th Anniversary set.  Here is the front of the card.  




It's not a terrible design for something that is a really cheap mass produced baseball card from a discount retail chain.  I actually like the picture on this card a lot.  If you know anything about Bob Gibson, he was a rather intense player.  There are not many pictures or cards of the Cardinals Hall of Famer with this type of expression on his face.  It's different, I like it.  

Back of the card.  


The set is organized by decade, with the majority of players coming from the 1960s and 1970s.  They may not be very expensive cards, and there are some really good names on the checklist.  I kind of like that they broke the set down by time.  Gibby is one of the "Star of the Sixties" portion along with Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Juan Marichal, Roger Maris, Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, and Frank Robinson.  

Lou Brock is another Cardinals card in this set.  Maris was also on the Cardinals, but obviously pictured as a Yankee.  Same with Steve Carlton and the Phillies.  

This set of cards is a really great hidden gem of the 1980s.  If you don't have any of these cards in your collection, they are dirt cheap.  There are several copies of the set available on Ebay at the moment for less than $5 shipped.  

Sunday, October 27, 2019

I Forgot

Willy Adames spent two years playing for the Durham Bulls.  I collected quite a few of his cards during that time, and continued to track down a few once he got called up to the Rays last season.  I think my favorite was his Topps Living Set card. 



I have a few Minor League cards of him too, also a few autographs. 

The beginning of the year was not kind to Willy, and with plenty of other former Durham Bulls players on the Rays I set my sights elsewhere.  Well, I mainly collected Blake Snell cards, but there were a few other Rays players who made an appearance in this space during this baseball season too. 

Willy did not. 

Then the second half of the season happened.  Willy improved his OPS by more than 100 points, played Gold Glove caliber defense, and helped the Rays get into the playoffs.  He even hit a pair of home runs in the ALDS against the Astros. 




So, maybe it is time to find a few new cards of this former Durham Bull.  His cards have gotten a lot less expensive, so I was actually able to pick up two of his cards rather than the one that I had originally set out to find.  

First up.  




This is from Topps Heritage High Numbers.  The autograph looks a little smudged, but there are other copies of this card with a similar appearance.  Perhaps this was not Willy's best effort on signing cards.  The card cost a few dollars, so I am not overly worried about the the slight smudge.  Just happy to own an Adames autograph from this set.  Always one of the best every year.  

Next.  




This is from this year's Archives set, the autograph is on card, and the design in borrowed from the 1994 Topps set.  When I saw this card, I was reminded that the original 1994 set had different shortstop prospect that was on my rooting interest.......


No autographs from Tripp "Homer" Cromer, but I hope that Willy Adames turns out a little bit better in the long run.  

Monday, October 21, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 22

This is one of my favorite Snell autographs that I have picked up this year.  In fact, I have generally avoided picking up multiple parallels of Snell's autographs, but that might change with this card.  The other variations of this cards seem fairly reasonable, so I am sitting here watching them on Ebay.  We will see.

Here's the new Snell autograph, which brings the count to 22.



I know this is a rehash set of the base Topps set, and I usually gripe about those in this space, but this one is really well done.  In fact, I feel like I have really ignored the Topps Clearly set the last year or two when it is "clearly" up my ally. 



Why? 

My favorite Topps parallel the last five years has been the acetate, or clear cards.  They are numbered to 10, so they are tough to find.  Way back in 2013, or 2012, or whenever they started I posted a bunch of them.  Then they got popular, they are not here as often.  Very much worth the effort though.  This Snell autographed card is the same thing as the acetate parallels. 

Here is the front and back of an acetate parallel.




Someone at Topps loves Jon Jay.  He always has good cards.  

You've already seen the front of the Snell autograph from Clearly Authentic.  Here is the back.....




Same thing as the Jon Jay, which is not a bad thing since it is something that Topps does really well.  I have a feeling that the Clearly cards are going to help me reach my goal of getting to 25 Snell autographs this year.  My goal is within reach, but we are running out of calendar days and new 2019 products.  

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 23 - 1987 Donruss All-Star Pop-Ups

The Cardinals were not very good in 1986, but that did not stop Ozzie Smith from making the National League All-Star Team as their starting shortstop.  He missed the 1980 All-Star Game while he was with the Padres, but otherwise made it every year during the decade.  There are more than a few All-Star cards of Ozzie, this Donruss is one of my favorites.

In general, the Donruss All-Star Pop-Ups are one of my favorite oddballish sets from the 1980s.  I usually just bought packs of Topps, with an occasional Donruss and Fleer pack, so I am not quite sure where I got my Donruss Pop-Up cards.  I might have picked them up at some point later on too.  They are supposed to be a knock off of the 1964 Topps Stand-Ups.



At least the same concept, perforations around a picture of a baseball player that fold into a stand-up model. Other years look a lot closer. 

Here is the Ozzie Smith card.



Donruss used the host stadium of the previous year's All-Star game as the background for these cards.  The game in 1986 was hosted by the Astros at the AstroDome.  The picture of Smith is oddly blended in though.  You can tell it's a picture from Spring Training because it's the only time the Cardinals ever wear solid colored uniforms.  Still true today.  You can also see what looks like a group of Blue Jays players sitting in the dugout in the background.  

Small things, but I think the card would have looked better if they had completely blacked out the background behind Ozzie.  Maybe it's just me though.  




The back of the card has the All-Star Game logo from 1986 along with directions about how to assemble the stand-up figurine.  I have a bunch of these in my collection, and I am not sure that I have ever made one into the stand up figure.  I am going to have to do that the next time I run across one.

A good song from 1987.  Never Let Me Down Again.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Another of the La Pizza Royale

I found another La Pizza Royale card of a former Durham Bulls player this week.  Last week I made a post with my first card from this set featuring Rusty Staub.  This is obviously a manager card from the set, but Gene Mauch was a player while he was on the Durham Bulls during the 1943 season.  He has a few 1950s cards a player, but not manu. 

Here is the new Pizza Royale card. 



There are several different color variations for each of these cards.  This is the blue/purple card of the long time Major League manager.  There are a total of four colors in the set: blue, green, yellow, and red.  Hopefully I will get around to getting all four color variations of both the Mauch and Staub cards, but it is going to take a little bit of patience. 

This is my second Gene Mauch card that I have added to my Durham Bulls collection.  I know I have a bunch of his cards with the Angels and Twins too, but those are all sorted into sets.  This was my first from earlier this year......




Hopefully I will have a few more La Pizza Royale cards to post in the coming weeks. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Cracker Jack Prize

We all have dreams we aspire to reach in life.  I have several that involve old baseball cards.  One of them is to own an old Cracker Jacks cards from the 1910s.  Not just any old Cracker Jacks card, but I have a short list of players that would be the most ideal to find on a copy of one of those cards.  They are quite expensive. 

Hall of Famers can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.  Occasionally you can find a Cracker Jack card for around $50, but not very often.  Inexpensive usually means that there are condition issues that go above and beyond.

Not my card, but a good example of a Cracker Jack card with a few flaws. 



So, for years I have set aside my dream of owning a Cracker Jack card from yesteryear in favor of just owning a few nice ones from the Topps rehash from 2004 and 2005.  Still pretty nice players in there. 

My two favorite Cracker Jack cards are.......




My Yadier Molina rookie card out of the 2004 set.  




I also have a Miguel Cabrera autograph.  He's looks like he's in middle school in this picture.  

Recently one of the unaffordable Cracker Jack cards that is on my short list came available.  It's of George Whitted, or Possum Whitted, who is a Durham, North Carolina native.  I have been trying to find a few of his cards over the past few months.  I have been successful.  

He was on the Phillies at the time his Cracker Jack card was made, but he also played for the Cardinals and for the Durham Bulls.  He also managed the Bulls.  There has been a Buy It Now copy of this card on Ebay for awhile, but at $250 I have been passing month after month.  

It's not the cleanest copy, but I picked it up on the low end of the price spectrum for a Cracker Jack card.  The $250 card, but on major clearance.  I am really happy to add this to my Durham Bulls/Cardinals collection.  It's already high on my list, and it's not been here for long.  

It's in a protective case, so it's not the best scan.  



There are two main flaws with the card.  First, there is chipping along with the edges near the top left corner.  The mark on the side almost looks like it could be from a thumbtack.  The card is also discolored along the bottom border.  I am not quite sure why it is discolored, I am a little scared to take it out of the case at this point.  

Here is the back.  I had originally tried to scan the back, but it did not turn out very well.  I flipped the photo since the backs are upside on Cracker Jack cards.  




I like the bio on the back of this card, which mentions that he is from Durham and that he was on the Cardinals.  There is also mention of him playing in Wadesboro, which is near Charlotte, but there is nothing on his Baseball Reference page about him being on that team.  In fact, when you try to find information about baseball in Wadesboro the only thing that pops up is information about an Expos Minor Leaguer from the early 2000s who was from that town.  

Not my card, but Antonio Garris owns the search for Wadesboro and baseball.  




Overall, it feels good to own a Cracker Jack card that is more than a century old.  Even better that it is a player who appeared for my favorite Major and Minor League teams.  Quite a prize. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 Blake Snell Autograph Count: 21

I probably should have had this Snell autograph awhile ago, but I refused to spend much money on a card out of Topps Big League.  It's supposed to be an inexpensive set, so the autographs should be inexpensive too, right?

I'd like to think so. It's the same reason why I have not posted a Topps Fire autograph of my favorite pitcher.  I am not going to pay $20 for an autograph that likely came out of a $20 retail box, and lists for more than his autographs that come out of more expensive hobby boxes. 

I finally found one at a price I was willing to pay. 





I do not love the design of these cards, but it's still a Snell autograph.  At the same time that I do not love the overall design, I will say that Topps did a good job of blending in the sticker.  If you have been here long enough you know that I don't love sticker autographs.  I do not totally avoid them, and honestly I don't mind them if they are inexpensive and the design does a good job of cover up the sticker.  That is the case here. 

Back of the card.




That's not very exciting.  

Probably low on the list of Snell autographs that I have picked up this year, but also another step closer towards my goal of getting to 25.  It's going to be close.  

Monday, October 14, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 22 - 1988 Fleer All-Star Team Jack Clark

I sort of bad mouthed 1988 baseball cards a few weeks back in one of these 1980s Cardinals posts.  I gave a generalization that all the cards from 1988 were bad, which is not completely true.  I will revise my statement:

1988 was not a very good year for the majority of new baseball card products.  

It was also not a very good year for the Cardinals because Jack Clark left the team for the Yankees.  

He was the lone power hitter on the Cardinals during the mid 1980s, and probably really under appreciated as to how good of a player he was during his time with the team.  His numbers with the Cardinals in 1987 were ridiculous, especially given the fact that he basically missed the last month of the season.  

A quick rundown:  

-35 Home Runs 

-106 RBIs

-.459 On Base Percentage 

-.597 Slugging Percentage 

-1.055 POS 

Yes, Andre Dawson was very good and won the MVP in the National League.  I would like to think that if Jack Clark had played the month of September, he would have won the award instead.  So, while Clark was off anchoring the middle of the Yankees lineup, Fleer put out a really nice card of him as a Cardinal as a part of their All-Star Team insert set.  



The 1988 Fleer set is really boring, but this card is not.  I like the contrasting dark and light green stripes, along with the All-Star Team heading up at the top of the card.  The only thing odd here is what they did with Jack Clark's bat.  They couldn't have it go all the way to the edge of the card?  It just sort of disappears, makes the card look slightly odd.  

I also like Clark's wristband and batting gloves.  The little Cardinals logo on both make them look like they were purchased in the gift shop prior to a game.  Tons of kids were probably running around St. Louis with that same sweatband and set of batting gloves.  

Back of the card.  



It just describes all the awesome things I said about Jack Clark up above.  I will be nicer to 1988 the rest of the time I write these 1980s posts.  

A song on my IPod from 1988, I will get the embed code right this week, is The Church's "Under The Milky Way".  Underrated song from the 1980s.  



Sunday, October 13, 2019

Farewell Mr. Freese

I remember when the Cardinals traded for David Freese back in 2007.  I was not happy at all.  The team sent aging center fielder Jim Edmonds to the Padres, and all they got back was a Minor League third baseman.  I heard the spin about how this Minor Leaguer could be the Cardinals third baseman of the future, and as an added bonus the guy was from suburban St. Louis.

I did not really care about any of it.  I really liked Jim Edmonds.  

I got over it eventually.  Freese started playing for the Cardinals, and was good when he was healthy during the regular season.  Then there is the Postseason.  He is largely responsible for the Cardinals winning the World Series in 2011.    




Not sure any Cardinals fan is ever going to argue that he should be in the Hall of Fame, but he will always be given the same level of love and appreciation as the best players to have worn the birds on the bat.  

I cannot remember a game he played for the Pirates or Dodgers against the Cardinals the last few years where he did not get a standing ovation.  




I have collected a few Freese cards over the years.  Given what he means to St. Louisans, he is probably underrepresented in my baseball card collection.  I do not regularly write about him, and in looking back, I have made two posts about him since 2013 when he was traded to the Angels.  

Two.  

I probably should have spent a little more time writing about his cards after he left the Cardinals, but we cannot go back and change that now.  





Especially since David Freese announced his retirement yesterday.  

It took me only a few minutes to dig out my small pile of good David Freese cards, flip through, and pick out my favorites.  There were three that were clearly better than the rest.  

Here they are.....




I always forget how nice these By The Letter cards were back when Upper Deck had an MLB license.  It seems like every time I see a Letter card these days, it's because someone is buying up the junky ones so they can spell out their kids name with cards, frame it, and hang it on a wall in their house.  No judgement.  My wife has my kids names spelled out on their walls too, but with wood letters from a craft store.  




A Five Star autograph, which is always good, but this is not even my best Five Star autograph of Freese.  Let's just move on to the last card.




This is my favorite David Freese card.  I have posted it on here before.  I love the combination of the red background and the silver pen used to sign the card.  Someone at Topps was having a good day when they came up with this card.  

Even though he did not appear in this space regularly, I will miss having David Freese around as a baseball player.  I am not sure if he will have any baseball cards in the future. I am not sure if I will ever go back and find the ones that I am missing.  I  do know that as a Cardinals fan, I will always enjoy looking back at his time with the team.  




Other Cardinals fans will too.  

Farewell Mr. Freese.  

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Minors Matter

I am collecting fewer sets this year, but one I would eventually like to pick up a copy of the Heritage Minor League set.  I did not open any packs or boxes, and I am honestly thinking about just buying the complete set off of Ebay.  It costs less than a box, and while it takes the fun of opening packs out of the equation, it will also allow for some extra funds to go towards autographs or some nice inserts and parallels. 

There are actually a few autographs I have seen that fit well into my collection, they were inexpensive, so I went ahead and picked them up.  Heritage Minors always has on card autographs, so always a nice groups of cards. 

First up. 



I think this is my second Brock Deatherage autograph that I have posted on this blog, but I also think I have skipped over posting one or two others.  He is a former NC State player who was drafted by the Tigers two years ago.  He is still in the lower Minors, but is the type of toolsy player that the Tigers really need to pan out.  He has some pop in his bat, but he's more of a doubles and triple machine than a home run threat.  I believe he also came close to stealing 50 bases last year. 

Fun to watch.  Next. 




Another former NC State player, only Knizner is on the Cardinals.  He's already been up for part of this year, and I have already posted several other Knizner autographs during the summer.  Definitely happy to get this card, and happy people have cooled down with the prices of his autographs. 




Last card.  I am still not sure what to make of Elehuris Montero.  He was injured for the majority of this year, but was a sub .200 hitter when he came back.  Before this year he was a great prospect, tons of extra base hits, high slash line.  Elehuris is still only 20, so I am picking up a few of his cards here and there.  Maybe it will look good in a few years, and if not it's a nice looking card of a Cardinals prospect.  

Friday, October 11, 2019

Royale LeGrand Orange

I do not always buy cards off of COMC, but rarely a week goes by where I do not visit the site and add a couple of items to my cart.  I use it as more of a place holder than an actual shopping cart.  

There are all sorts of great cards to explore, but I like to dig pretty deep on some of the items.  I have really been trying to find some unique cards for some of the players and teams I collect.  In the end, I will buy a large percentage of the cards in my cart, but usually not all at once.  Slowly over time.  

One of my most recent groupings of cards that I have explored has been the 1970 La Pizza Royale set.  They are Expos cards.  No, the Bulls were never an Expos affiliate, just a fluke that a group of their former players ended up in Montreal.  

So, a few of these cards have sat in my cart the past few weeks while I have tried to figure out more about them.  I still do not know much, but they look pretty neat.  


The cards come in different colors, but they all seem to be roughly around $5.  I was mainly interested in finding copies of the Gene Mauch and Rusty Staub cards.  Both played for the Bulls back in the day, both were important Major Leaguers for different reasons.  Since Ebay bucks rolled in the other day, and the COMC cards are double listed as Buy It Nows on the Bay, I rolled the dice on a copy of one of the Rusty Staub cards.  

Le Grand Orange in Montreal.  




I ended up with a copy of the green card.  The picture is the same no matter the color.  The position at the bottom is always written in French.   It's a really nice card too.  These La Pizza Royale cards are larger than normal cards, and they are on fairly thick card stock.  For cards that were likely a restaurant giveaway, they are as good as it gets.  

A quick comparison to a standard baseball card.  




There is a slight ding in the bottom left-hand corner of the Staub card, which probably helped keep the price more in line with the commons, but Staub is the best card in the in the La Pizza Royale set.  Overall, this is a great addition to my Durham Bulls collection, and likely the first of several La Pizza cards that I am hoping to find.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Random Cards A Century Apart

I have been on vacation for the past week, and have enjoyed sitting around sorting out some cards and watching baseball.  I have sorted out a few thousand cards, but that's for a later post. 


I have also enjoyed checking out the baseball playoffs.  One of the best perks of my job is the fact that I get the first two to three weeks of October off.  Always nice. 

On to cards. 

While I have been sorting out all these cards, I have run across more than a few cards that I wish I had taken the time to post when I bought/traded for them.  In looking at the stack I pulled out on Tuesday, I decided that there were two cards that were clearly better than the rest of the stack, or so they seem that way for the moment. 

First card. 



I posted my first card of George "Possum" Whitted way back in August.  The Durham native primarily played for the Phillies, Pirates, and Cardinals from 1912 until 1922, so his cards are quite old and often quite expensive.  Possum also managed and played for the Durham Bulls for six years during the late 1920s and early 1930s.  

This card is from the long running Exhibits cards, which are more or less postcards with baseball players.  There are still a lot of people who like collecting them.  Personally, I have never done much with them, but I am not really in line to drop a few hundred dollars on a Cracker Jacks or Famous & Barr card of him.  Let's try one out.  

The card years on the Exhibits tend to be over multiple years.  This card is listed as a 1921 in many places, but other sites have it as a 1921-1924.  Either way, it's almost a century old, and still in relatively good condition.  The corners are soft and the dings and scratches are on the card, not on the top loader.  

I like the simplicity and the fact that this card has an actual photo of Possum.  My first card was a drawing.  

Next.  



I still do not buy directly from Topps, but I spent one day of my summer looking for different cards they have sold on their website that I have missed out on.  More of those for a later date, but know that I am not going to let the whole Aledmys thing go yet. 




Since I did not buy it from Topps, some guy on Ebay got my money instead.  Although he paid Topps for the card, so really Topps still made a bunch of money off of this card even though I bought it from someone else. 

Some other reasons why this card is here:

Who wouldn't want an Expos card? 

Have I ever told you about how St. Louis people obsess over what high school they went to?  Max Scherzer and I went to different high schools, but in the same school district.  Also a decade apart from each other.   

Max Scherzer went to Mizzou.  I did not, but I still like their sports teams. 

Max Scherzer is good. 

Max Scherzer is wearing an Expos uniform. 

After getting the Possum Whitted card, I specifically thought about how great these two random cards would look in a post together. 

My work here is done.  Off to watch baseball for the rest of the day. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

A 1980s Card Part 21- 1986 Topps Cesar Cedeno

If I sorted my Cardinals cards by the type of player they were for the team, I would go ahead and put Cesar Cedeno and Will Clark in their own section.  Same story, but Will Clark is for another day.   If you watched baseball during the 1970s and 1980s you probably best remember Cesar as a toolsy outfielder for the Houston Astros, or maybe the Cincinnati Reds. 

Cesar could do a little bit of everything. 



He has almost 200 career home runs, more than 400 career doubles, and over 500 stolen bases.  Throw in five Gold Gloves, four All-Star Game appearances, and you've got a really good career.  Cesar is not a Hall of Famer, but definitely a great of his era.  Plus, he and a bunch of Astros players were in the end of The Bad News Bears.  



I think Bob Watson has the glasses and J.R. Richard is wearing the jacket on the bench.  Ken Forsch maybe sitting next to J.R. Richard?  

What is really important here is that Cesar was on the Reds at the start of the 1985 season and was terrible.  He played 83 games in Cincinnati, hit .241, and had almost zero power.  The Reds already had Dave Parker, Eddie Milner, Gary Redus, and Nick Esasky in the outfield, plus a young Eric Davis and Paul O'Neill both made their debuts that summer with the Reds. They traded Cesar away to the Cardinals at the end of August in a waiver deal for a Rookie League pitcher.  

Who can blame them?  He was taking up a roster spot.  

Cesar went from looking like a guy at the end of his career to a player who belonged in the middle of a Major League All-Star Game lineup.  During his September with the Cardinals, Cesar hit .434 with 6 home runs and 19 RBIs.  He had a .750 slugging percentage.  While he did not hit well during the playoffs, it's hard to imagine the Cardinals would have gotten there without his bat down the stretch.  

His biggest contribution might have been a game winning extra inning home run off of Jesse Orosco against the Mets in a late September matchup which featured dueling shutouts by John Tudor and Dwight Gooden.  



It all rightfully earned Cesar a few cards during the summer of 1986 as a Cardinal.  

  

He actually signed as a free agent with the Dodgers at the end of 1985, but quickly reverted back to the declining player who played for the Reds during the first half of the season.  Still, as a Cardinals fan I enjoy his cards with the team.

I especially love the back.  


I know the print is small, but the .434 batting average and .750 slugging percentage are rather glorious looking.  His stint with the Cardinals was short, but definitely worthy of being remembered on a baseball card.  

A great movie from 1986 was The Money Pit.  





Sunday, October 6, 2019

2019 Durham Bulls Team Set

The Bulls team set came out a little later than normal this year, but I picked up a copy a few weeks back when I went to a Bulls playoff game with the little man.  The Bulls won the game, and the series, but they ended up losing in the International League finals against the Columbus Clippers (Indians). 




I only went to a handful of games this year, I felt a little disconnected from the team.  Probably does not help that the end and beginning of my schools years have been a little hectic, I switched grade levels, and my summer vacation was spent almost entirely on an almost 3,000 mile road trip.  

Some great names in this set, so let's have a look.  I scanned the cards in groups of three.  



I do not love the design.  I cannot remember the last time the Bulls used Choice, or similar company to produce their team set.  Feels like it has been a few years, the majority have been made by smaller, more local companies.  Although, the photographer for the set is from the area.  

Out of this first group, Brosseau is my favorite player.  He ended up being a pretty important player for the Rays down the stretch.  



Like the Cronenworth card on the end.  He did not get called up by the Rays at the end of the summer, but he hit .334 for the Bulls, and also appeared as a relief pitcher for the roughly a dozen games too.  He was a two way player in college at Michigan a few years back.  Not sure he could pitch in the Majors, but he's fun to watch in the Minors.  I believe that batting average ended up winning the International League batting crown.  




This is actually two groups of three.  I like that the photographer shows off some of the different home uniforms that Bulls wear.  Tan caps, blue caps, blue jerseys, white jerseys, and Dalton Kelly with the 4th of July hat.  In the first group of cards you can see Brosseau has the white front panel cap.  Not much on the players in these two groups outside of Nate Lowe on the bottom right, who has spent some time with the Rays already.  


McKay has to be the best card in the set.  Love the idea of having a two way player, although the Rays seem to really be leaning towards towards just having him pitch.  The amount of time he has spent playing in the field, or as an offensive player seems limited.  


Pruitt is my favorite veteran player on the Bulls.  He shuffled back and forth a lot this year, something like nine call ups to the Rays. 


Love the Dashenko Ricardo card.  He was an independent league player for a few years, made back to Triple A with the Bulls, and actually had some pretty decent play at times.  I believe he might have hit a home run in first Triple A game, or something like that.  


The Rays traded Nick Solak to the Rangers towards the end of the season for a pitcher.  He hit two home runs and had a ton of RBIs in a series against the Rays late in the year.  Sulser is on the Orioles now.  Slegers is still in the Rays system, I think. 


We are to the end of the set.  Kean Wong had done a lot of clutch hitting for the Bulls in the playoffs the last two years, got called up to the Rays, but was eventually claimed by the Angels.  I think that Kean might find some more playing time there, so probably for the best. 

Brady Williams was in his first year managing the Bulls.  He had some great shoes. 



That's always important. 


Last three cards.  We have the mascot.  Wool E. Bull is a great, he's better than the majority of Major League mascots, but we get to enjoy him in Durham. 

Last we have Quinton McCracken.  You might remember him from being an outfielder in the Major Leagues during the 1990s and 2000s, but to locals he was a standout defensive back and kick returner for Duke during the early 1990s.