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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekend Countdown: Top 5 Larry Walker Cards

Remember when I said I was going to make a bunch of countdown posts?  Well, I did not really stick with that, so let's try again this year.  I already have topics picked out and everything.  I did not do that before.  

I was really pumped up to see Larry Walker get into the Hall of Fame this past week.  He was only on the Cardinals for a year and half, but he seemed like he had a pretty big impact on the team during that time.  Cardinals fans still talk about him, and I know he still shows up in St. Louis from time to time.  There have been other Hall of Famers who have made spot appearances with the Cardinals in the last twenty years, but none as popular as Larry Walker.  

Who remembers John Smoltz on the Cardinals?  




What about Dennis Eckersley?  




Eckersley was in St. Louis for two seasons, but clearly at the end of his career.  Smoltz pitched seven regular season games at the end of the 2009 season, and also a Postseason game in the NLDS.  The Cardinals got eliminated in the first round that season.  Matt Holliday eating sunflower seeds.  



The infield fly rule couldn't save him that time.  

Walker was always a fun player to watch before he got to the Cardinals.  Never minded him as an Expo or Rockie.  Once he got to the Cardinals he quickly became a fan favorite, which is saying something on a team with Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Chris Carpenter, and some others I am probably forgetting about.  It also did not hurt that Larry Walker played on the 2004 and 2005 Cardinals.  Neither team won the World Series, but they were both loaded rosters.  I'd say they are the best Cardinals teams to not win a World Series. A National League Championship and an appearance in the Championship Series are still pretty good set of accomplishments.  

Here are my rules for this week:  

  • I am picking my five favorite Larry Walker cards from my collection 

  • The picks are not based on value, popularity, or what I think other people think.  These are my favorite cards.  

  • The cards are not in any order, just my five favorite Larry Walker cards.  


Shall we?  


2004 Topps Traded 

There are not many Larry Walker cards from 2004.  The Cardinals actually traded for him using waivers after the trade deadline.  I really don't like the 2004 Topps cards, but I will make an exception for this card.  Like all modern Topps cards, there are probably a few too many different parallel versions of this card, but I actually like two of them better than the base card.  

This is the Chrome version.  I believe that they came two per pack, or something like that. 




The Gold parallel is also nice.  




So, there will now be six cards in this post.  Make someone on COMC happy, go buy these two cards.  I am sure they are cheap.  


1992 Stadium Club 

There are some good action shots of Walker from the early 1990s.  His 1992 Topps card has a similar landscape perspective action shot, but he's playing first base on the card.  Larry Walker was a true five tool player, putting him at first base is wasting a few of those tools.  With what I imagine is a wide turn around first base, I love this photo of Walker.  Added bonus with the powder blue Expos uni.  




1997 Donruss Signature 

Love that there is a space on the bottom for the players to sign, and Walker autographed every single copy of this card vertically across his picture.  Some of the star players from the 1990s and 2000s literally have thousands and thousands of autographs.  How many products did Jeter and Griffey Jr. sign for over the years?  Walker signed virtually nothing in comparison.  The card is a little quirky with the signature location, but I dig it.  Definitely worth finding.  




Edgar Renteria also signed his Donruss Signature cards across his picture on the top of the card.  Although his autograph is horizontal.  I already broke my rules for the first card, not going to post an Edgar card tonight.  


1998 Stadium Club Co-Signers

I got this card before Walker was traded to the Cardinals.  The "Big Cat" was a former Cardinal, and both players have nice signatures.  Turned out nice that both of these players ended up appearing for the Cardinals.  Although, it would have been nice if Andres had been a little more successful with the team.  





1993 Donruss Elite 

It does not have Walker in a blue Expos uniform, but everything else about this card is incredible.  



Friday, January 24, 2020

Sorting Post Take 2: The Originals

I started collecting cards as a 6 year old in 1983.  My first packs of cards were 1983 Fleer cards, with my first card being Pirates shortstop Jimmy Smith.  I still have the card, it's in great condition.



In fact, I have most of my "original" cards.  In my work to reorganize my cards into sets, most of them have failed to make the cut.  With most of the sets that I collected the before the age of 10, I have revisited the product at some point, and have other copies of all the cards.  Nice copies of the cards, with sharp corners.  Cards that haven't been handled by a 6, 7, or 8 year old. Needless to say,  while sorting out into sets, I picked out the best looking copy of each card.  All the other duplicates ended up in boxes of doubles.

While I have traded and given away loads of duplicate cards, and plan to do more in the future, the original cards have not gone anywhere.  At first, the originals were sorted in with the rest of my duplicates.  Since, I have changed directions and sorted them out into their own boxes.  I plan on putting them together into their own sets.

The originals that are not sorted out yet are in large boxes.



The sets in this box include several different span several different years and brands.   




A whole bunch of 1985 Topps cards, 


some 1984s Topps,  



 and also a few 1987 Topps.  Although the 1987 Topps stack seems a little light.

I also have a bunch of cards from the years just before I started collected that I also consider apart of my originals.  Most of them were bought in common lots from an antique market when I first started collecting.



Many random late 1970s and early 1980s Fleer and Topps cards.  Nothing that comes close to making a set, but still deserve a space with my other cards from this time.

There are several different sets that I collected from the early 1980s where I have been able to sort the cards out into their own organized box.  These are my 1983 Topps cards.




Labels.  

I am kind of excited to see how these will look when I have them all sorted out into their own boxes.  It has been fun to flip back through these cards and look at them again.  So many great cards, and you can tell that the six and seven year old version of me really enjoyed these cards.  



Loads of cards with soft corners and soft edges.  


Cards with crinkles and bends.  


I am not even sure what happened to my original Topps Eric Davis rookie card. 

Regardless of condition, I am excited to see all of the original cards in my collection sorted into these sets.  Since I have always sorted by team, this will be just about the first time that some of these cards have been together in the same box.  They should be fun to look at, and definitely plan on doing some more posts on these cards.

Monday, January 20, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 34- 1988 Topps Traded Bob Horner

Every team makes a few poor decisions along the way, as fans we just hope they are short lived, and not too painful.  Bob Horner checked all of those boxes.  The Cardinals should have never signed him, but the team also got rid of him after one season.  In fact, he did not appear in a game for the team after June, and was replaced at first base when the team traded for Pedro Guerrero. 

We got a few baseball cards of Bob Horner in a Cardinals uniform as an added bonus.  A bunch of them were made in 1989, the year after he was a Cardinal, but a few card companies managed to squeeze him into their 1988 sets. 

The Topps Traded set was one of two Topps sets that year with a Horner card. 




Horner was out of shape by the time he joined the Cardinals, and not a very good player.  The card does a pretty good job of hiding the fact that Horner was a little pudgy and not very good as a player during his brief tenure with the Cardinals.  He only hit 3 home runs in 200 at bats in St. Louis.  I tried to track down a highlight of Horner wearing a Cardinals uniform, and the best I could come up with was him getting out of the way while Vince Coleman is stealing home. 





That's it.  Bob Horner as a Cardinal.  Here is the back of the card.  




He was really a good player while he was with the Braves, it's too bad that his time with the Cardinals did not go a little bit better.  In retrospect though, the Cardinals probably would not have ended up with Pedro Guerrero if Horner had done anything during his time with the team.  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sorting Post. Take 1.

The last time I wrote about sorting out cards in my collection was roughly five years ago.  At the time I made the post, I was transitioning my collection from being sorted out by teams, into being sorted out by sets.  It was a pretty huge change for me, and has taken a lot of time and energy to accomplish.

This is what my card closet looked like a few years back.



The transition pictures are a little rough, which are in an upcoming post.  

Lots of boxes. 



The boxes got sorted out. They are now in stacks by year, which are back into my card closet, which are in an upcoming post.  These are all the sets I put together from 2000.  Imagine them on a shelf, only some are not really on a shelf.  They are other places too. 



Reorganizing my cards into sets seemed like a great idea, but I really underestimated the number of single cards that would be generated from resorting the cards into sets.  

For awhile there was a doubles table.  This is the doubles table at a bad moment in time.  



It looked nicer at different points.  

Completely overwhelming to deal with these sorts of things.  Not to mention that there were thousands and thousands of other cards that did not belong with a set.  

So, as part of my goals for my blog this year I wanted to write a little bit about sorting this year.  Taking a collection of 300,000 cards and resorting them into sets, with a hefty number of single cards, has changed how I collect cards.  Feels like something worth writing about.  

I am hoping to make a sorting post or two every month.  A little background post to start out.  

Small Sets




I count small sets as Minor League sets, completed insert sets, those little Denny's sets, the Topps mail-in sets, and many others.  Most of the sets are put together and finished, they just needed a home.  Others were split up for whatever reason and put back together.  

For example, 



I broke up my 1989-1990 Mayaquez Indios baseball card set.  In sorting out all the single cards, I have slowly put the Indios set back together.  I am still missing a Tom Pagnozzi card.  Where did it go?  All of my little sets are now housed in a 5,000 count box.  I need a second one, which means a trip to the card shop.  The little sets will have their own sorting post at some point.

Commons 

What do you do with thousands and thousands of commons?



I have given a few thousand away to students in my classes over the last five to six years.  I have used them to cover my classroom door.  I have donated them to different charitable endeavors, and yet some remain.  I guess they are still good to have around.  I just have not thought of the reason why yet.  

If nothing else, they are fun to flip through.  

Inserts



When I first started sorting out my sets, I was putting the insert cards in with the sets.  Then I started pulling out the completed insert sets, placing them in the small sets box, which left a bunch of random individual cards at the back of all of my set boxes.  It did not seem right, so they now have their own area.  

My inserts cards are now being sorted out the same as my autographed cards.  They are alphabetized by player, sorted by year within the player, and then by set within the year.  



Separate boxes for the two different types of cards though.  

Relic Cards



What are people even doing with these anymore?  I have thousands of these cards.  What are other people doing with these?  I will have another sorting post next week.  Kind of excited about these posts.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Baseball Card To Be Named Later

I love when players get traded to the Cardinals, and instead of running to Ebay or COMC to find cards of the new player, I run to a box of cards.  Sure, I post cards here, but I do not take the time to scan or post all of them.  Actually, if my mailbox would scan the cards when they got delivered, I would probably post them all.  That's for a different day though. 

The trade sent Randy Arozarena and Jose Martinez to the Rays for pitcher Matthew Libertore, and a Minor League catcher. 




First, I will miss Randy Arozarena's Instgram Stories from the Cardinals locker room.  I will also miss Jose Martinez, because he was one of the few Cardinals with any personality. 




I made a mad dash for the autographed card boxes just minutes after the trade was announced.  I actually picked up a pair of Libertore autographs after has was drafted by the Rays.  I figure that their high draft picks are likely to end up on the Bulls, so I am saving myself some trouble.  Plus, if they are a college player, maybe there is a chance that I have seen them play. 

Libertore was a high school kid, so no college cards.  Here's what I did have in my autographed cards box of the new Cardinals prospect. 




I got this 2018 Bowman's Best autograph of Libertore.  It is one of his cheapest autographs, which is exactly why I bought it.  I think he was on the Princeton Rays at the time, which is Rookie League.  I was also hoping that maybe over time his autograph might evolve into something different. 

Probably not, but we can hope. 

I did end up with a copy of his Bowman Chrome autograph.  A little bit nicer than his Bowman's Best, and a little more expensive.




However, I managed to find a copy of this card last year during the offseason, and it was not too bad to buy this card.  I will go ahead and file these away, hopefully he will be pitching at Busch Stadium in the not too distant future.  

Unless, he gets traded again.....




In that case, I will post some Nolan Arenado cards. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 33 - 1981 Topps Bob Forsch

There are few reasons to airbrush the picture on the front of a baseball card. Almost all of them involve free agents signings, or players who have been traded.  The most famous airbrushed Cardinals card of the 1980s has to be the 1987 Topps Mike Laga card. 



Laga was on the Tigers for a few years in the early 1980s, but was traded to the Cardinals, along with Ken Hill, for catcher Mike Heath.  Nothing like covering up a Tigers jersey by airbrushing it pink, and calling it a Cardinals card.  If you look over Laga's right shoulder you can see a player with a grey Tigers jersey, with the blue and orange trim.  At least Topps got the hat to be red.

So, why would a card company airbrush a card of a player who has been on a team for a long time?  I honestly have no idea.  Bob Forsch spent almost his entire career with the Cardinals.  He pitched one year with the Astros, I believe his final season.  Forsch's rookie year was in 1974, so he was in his 7th season with the Cardinals by the time 1981 rolled around. 

Here is the card.  Notice the hat. 



It looks like it is floating above his head.  I am not really sure why there would be a reason to airbrush this card.  Even more bizarre is the fact that Topps made another card of Forsch in 1981, and they even used the same picture.  Well, almost the same.  

This is the 1981 Topps Coca-Cola card.  



The hat on the Coca-Cola card looks like it is unaltered.  You can also see the difference in the reds on the two cards.  Check out the hat, the numbers on the sleeve of his jersey, and the undershirt on the right side of the card.  That is the color red that the Cardinals wear.  It almost feels like the top card was airbrushed just to dull the color red.  I simply have no idea why Topps would change the color on their regular Bob Forsch card. 

Bizarre that it is airburshed at all. 

Just for the sake of having a reference point, I found a non-baseball card photo of Forsch from the early 1980s.  The uniform is slightly different in terms of style, but you can see the red color matches the Coke card. 




Here is the back of the 1981 Topps card.  



The back shows Forsch's career numbers, and makes mention of the fact that he had thrown a no-hitter.  The no-hitter mentioned took place in 1978 against the Phillies.  The video shows Forsch getting Larry Bowa as the last out. 



He threw another no-hitter against the Expos in 1983, the only Cardinals pitcher to have thrown two for the team.  Forsch passed away in 2011, but the Cardinals inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2015.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

National Bobblehead Day

Years ago I collected all sorts of different things.  Score cards, ticket stubs, programs, signed photos, autographed baseballs, bobbleheads, and other nicknacks.  That goes along with all of the baseball cards.  My past residences were filled with shelves and tons of red framed pictures that covered the walls. When I first met my wife, she dubbed my place "The Sports Bar".  

Not much of a drinker though. 

I have paired my "other" collections down over the years, but my bobbleheads still remain in force.  I don't want to show exactly how they are displayed, because I want to do a post at some point this year about my baseball card space.  There are a lot of them, but the majority can really be broken down into two categories.  There are Cardinals Bobbleheads and Durham Bulls bobbleheads.  

For National Bobblehead Day, I thought it would be fun to do a quick list of my 5 favorite Durham Bulls and Cardinals bobbleheads.  I never blog about them, but I actually got my start on this blog from talking to a bobblehead blogger.  Their blog is down, otherwise I would link it.  

Bulls first.  I got the majority of these bobbleheads in person at games.  In no particular order.  

2018 Crash Davis & Nuke LaLoosh Bus Bobblehead 

The Bulls usually give out items like this to their season ticket holders, which includes full season and partial season ticket holders.  I have a mini-plan, so I picked this up two years ago.  Definitely one of the more unique bobbleheads in my collection.  Both the bus and the heads bobble.  



If you have not seen Bull Durham, you should this weekend, but in the meantime here is a short clip that takes place on the bus.  There are several throughout the movie.  

I hate people that get the words wrong.  




2002 Durham Bulls 100th Anniversary Joe Morgan 

The Bulls gave out a whole bunch of bobbleheads in 2002 for their 100th Anniversary.  The majority of the players were newer active player such as David Justice, Chipper Jones, and Andruw Jones.  They also included Joe Morgan.  I like reading about the older Bulls players, really like that they included one in this bobblehead set.  The older Bulls bobbles all have this shape.  



 2014 Wil Myers Season Ticket Holder Bobblehead 

This bobblehead has actually been on my blog in a few posts before.  Way back when I got this bobblehead, I actually tried live blogging a night out at a Durham Bulls game.  Something different, and I have never tried it again. 



The biggest obstacle was the fact that the game was 12-1 in the second inning.  It's hard to be enthusiastic about making blog posts when the outcome of the game is over 30 minutes after it starts.




This is the giveaway schedule and ticket from the Bulls.  They have a little tear off tab on the bottom of the ticket for the items.  



 The Championship ring was a pretty sweet giveaway too.  The Bulls have sort of made that an annual giveaway since they are almost always in the playoffs.  Very nice item. 


2014 Chipper Jones Jersey Number Retirement Bobblehead 

The Bulls retired Chipper's number 10 in 2014.  They gave out this sweet looking bobblehead as part of the celebration.   In my opinion, this is the best modern bobblehead.  So many great things about this giveaway.  I especially like the detail on the uniform, which is spot on for the Bulls in the early 1990s.           



2010 Jeremy Hellickson 2009 Triple National Championship Bobblehead 

This is the hardest bobblehead that I have had to track down.  The summer of 2010 was busy around my house.  My focus was not really on baseball, so I missed nearly half of my Bulls games that summer.  I got the bobblehead at a bargain price, but there was a condition issue.  

This is how the bobblehead looks now.  



This is how the bobble looked when I first picked up a few years ago.  




Took a little bit of work.  

On to the Cardinals bobbleheads.  I only got one of these bobbleheads at a game.  The rest of them all came from other people.  Again, no particular order after the first bobblehead, which is my favorite at the moment.  


2018 Bud Bash Ray Lankford Bobblehead 

The Cardinals have different ways they give out Bobbleheads.  There are general attendance bobbleheads that are giveaways that the Cardinals do every year, but there are also different areas of the stadium that have giveaways too.  The Bud Bash bobbles have featured the 1985 National League Championship team, also players who have made the team Hall of Fame.  



Lankford did not have a Bobble for a long time.  He is a really good player in terms of numbers, and his all-time ranking with against other great Cardinals.  Lankford also played on some terrible teams during the 1990s.  Bobbles are not my main focus, and I will not spend too much on any of these.  I had actually given up on getting one of these, but a parent of a student bought me one last year.  I was shocked.  I am still shocked.  


2011 Cardinals Giveaway Willie McGee 

The Cardinals have done several Willie McGee bobbleheads over the years.  This is the best of them.  Mainly because he is wearing a powder blue 1980s Cardinals uniform.  You can't lose with the powder blues.  



2009 Ozzie Smith Busch Stadium Giveaway 

Pretty easy one to figure out.  Again the powder blue, and the only diving bobble in my collection.  The Dennis Eckersley shadow in the background is unfortunate.  Apologies.  




2001 Busch Stadium Giveaway Jim Edmonds

This was one of the first bobbles the Cardinals ever gave away, and the first in my collection.  I think this was pretty limited in some fashion, like only 10,000 people or something.  That's small for a giveaway at a Major League stadium.  Anyway, I like this for the simple reason that it was the first one on the shelf.  Maybe a bookcase at the time.  




Last one.  

2014 Busch Stadium Giveaway Jose Oquendo Secret Weapon Bobble

This actually got a blog post when I got this one.  Just an incredible bobble.