Sunday, September 27, 2020
Saturday, September 26, 2020
I picked up a bunch of 2020 Topps cards a few weeks back on Twitter. I do not buy or trade a ton of cards there, but I saw a good deal on a Mike Brosseau Stadium Club autograph and ended up with a few other good cards in the process.
A Heard of Bulls.
Here is the Brosseau autograph.
I'm not sure what to think of this year's Stadium Club. I usually like this product, but I also usually buy a few packs at some point during the year. I am convinced that there are zero packs of baseball cards at retail stores in all of the Raleigh area. For the moment, I have a Mike Brosseau autograph. That's a good start.
I am a big fan of combined shipping, so I always ask about Rays who were on the Durham Bulls and Cardinals when I buy an inexpensive card. Here are my other former Bulls players:
Meadows is a pretty good young player. He's having a bad year, but I am still hopeful. I really like these sepia parallels. I know they are not serial numbered or tough pulls, but they always are pretty eye appealing to me.
A College of Cardinals
All three of these cards are pretty simple, but I like the looks of each of them. I got two sepia cards and a base of Miles Mikolas. I don't really collect these three players, but they might some of the few 2020 Cardinals cards in my collection.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
There was no Minor League Baseball season this year, which means there was no post on this year's Durham Bulls team set. It's an annual rite of fall. Lining the cards up as straight as possible on scanner, hoping that they don't all shift when I close the lid. I need to start running those posts with a five year delay. They are actually more fun to look at now then at the time the cards were produced.
Look at this group from 2014.
You've got the reigning National League leader in saves, a guy with three gold gloves, and the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. I think Enny Romero might have been the highest rated prospect in this group in 2014 and he's not even playing anymore.
With no Durham Bulls team set coming out in 2020, I decided I would just work on putting together another team set from a different year. After checking out what was available on Ebay, I decided that was actually not much of a challenge. So, I am making up my own Durham Bulls set to collect.
Something I don't already own.
Something with interesting players.
Something with a decent quantity of cards.
Something that will require me to work harder than placing one Ebay or COMC order.
After a lot of thought, I am putting together a 1975 Topps Mini Set of the Durham Bulls. There were a ton of Durham Bulls players who were in the Majors at the time. The cards are fun to collect. While they are easy to find, it's such an odd combination of players that I cannot just click a few Ebay listings and have all the cards.
In fact, I am still making the checklist. I think the answer is between 15 and 20 cards. I will let you know for sure with the next post. So, for tonight, I have my first group of cards fresh out of the mailbox.
Scans are jumbo, cards are minis.
It makes me cringe when I see the "Raleigh-Durham" one the back of a baseball card sometimes. What person thought it was a good idea to change the name of the Durham Bulls? Obviously someone in the Mets front office, but the Phillies kept it later on. Figueroa was on the Raleigh-Durham Mets. He's a player I learned about after moving to North Carolina. Ed had two Top 10 Cy Young finishes and pitched for two World Series winners with the Yankees.
He actually hurt his arm while pitching here, hence the 7 games, and quit baseball to join the Marines. After a stint in Vietnam, he ended up in the Minors with the Giants, but was traded to the Angels. Ed Figueroa made his Major League debut pitching in long relief for Nolan Ryan who had given up 3 runs in the first inning and had walked the bases loaded in the second.
Lolich is best know for winning Game 7 of the 1968 World Series. He also retired as the all-time left-handed strikeout leader before being passed by Steve Carlton. Randy Johnson and C.C. Sabathia have also passed him, making him fourth. Lolich ranks 20th overall, roughly 150 strikeouts away from 3,000. I don't think Mickey is a Hall of Famer, but he's better than Jack Morris. Maybe he is?
Another Raleigh-Durham card. Bob Boone played 19 years for the Phillies, Angels, and Royals. He also managed the Royals and Reds for awhile in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Boone was on the 1980 Phillies World Series winner. He didn't win the MVP in that series, but he did hit .412. While Boone did not win the World Series MVP, he did win 7 Gold Gloves.
Is the jacket he is wearing under his uniform from an Army surplus store?
I am a little disappointed that Luzinski's Minor League stats were not included on the back of his card considering that he and Boone were in Durham the same season. Luzinski was shuffled between the Minors and Majors several times during his first few seasons, so maybe with the multiple teams over multiple seasons it would not have fit on the card. He hit 31 home runs that season with the Raleigh-Durham Phillies, which would look nice on a baseball card.
Luzinski was an old guy on the White Sox by the time I started watching baseball. "The Bull" is not a Hall of Famer, more a great of his era. He and Schmidt were a pretty scary tandem in the middle of the Phillies lineup.
This card was made near the end of Dobson's career. He played with the Durham Bulls while he was coming through the Minors with the Tigers. The 1960 Bulls were 20 games under .500 and had a starting rotation with both Pat Dobson and Mickey Lolich, who were both on the 1968 Tigers World Series team. Dobson also pitched for the 1971 Orioles, who made it to the World Series, but lost to the Pirates.
More 1975 Topps Minis and a checklist next week.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Nabisco makes some really good stuff.
There is the Oreo Cookie, Ritz Crackers, Chips Ahoy!, and Fig Newtons just to name a few.
Nabisco also made baseball cards. I know a lot of collectors don't like the off-brand food cards from the 1990s for the same reasons that they do not like the current run of Panini cards. The logos are airbrushed out on the players uniforms.
I generally agree, but it's Nabisco. I put them ahead of Panini because of their delicious snack foods, but they also they also make a much better baseball card. Nabisco has come up with some quality cards in the past. Logos or not, the 1993 All-Star Legends autograph set has a really strong checklist. Honestly, I don't care that Don Drysdale doesn't have a Dodgers logo. I don't care that they made the Dodger blue a little darker. This is a great card.
Well, in my quest to find some cards of former Durham Bulls players this summer, I ran across several who appeared in a Nabisco set from Canada. The set is called Nabisco Tradition. No word on whether Fleer ripped off the name from Nabisco later in the 1990s when they rebranded their base set. I am a little unclear on all the details behind the product, but there are a total of 36 cards in the set that is divided evenly between Expos and Blue Jays players. All of the cards featured players from previous Expos and Blue Jays teams, no current members of the teams were included.
As far as the Durham Bulls cards that I picked up, there were three cards in all. Each a name the average baseball fan from the 1970s and 1980s would recognize. The two appeared for the Bulls in the 1960s, the other in 1970.
Let's look at the cards.
The lone Blue Jay in my trio will be first.
Cliff Johnson was on the Blue Jays at the end of his career, which was in the mid 1980s. I remember getting his cards as a kid. Always on the Blue Jays, maybe a Rangers card or two in there too. He appeared on the Durham Bulls while the team was in their weird late 1960s/early 1970s phase. By weird, I mean Cliff Johnson actually played for the Raleigh-Durham Triangles.
I like that there is an explanation of the Expos logo.
Staub appeared for the Durham Bulls in 1962 after the Houston Astros drafted him out of high school. He was the Carolina League MVP that season. The Bulls had Joe Morgan pass through town the following season, and the team retired his jersey. Wish the team would do something similar for Staub. At least give him a bobblehead.
This is the part of the post where I advertise something.
Do you like podcasts?
I like baseball podcasts, started listening to them about two years ago. One of my favorites is Baseball Beyond Batting Average. Basically, it's two knowledgable baseball fans talking about all things baseball with a heavy lean on numbers. If you don't like statistics, you're a big fan of the game-winning RBI, it's probably not going to be your cup of tea.
Even if you don't decide to listen to the podcast, the two guys who make the Podcast have great baseball card related accounts on Twitter. One is Baseball Card Backs and the other is IDrawBaseballCards.
The last episode of Baseball Beyond Batting Average was all about underrated players from the 1970s. They did a great job of picking out two players at each position who need a little more appreciation for their career numbers. They won me over at Gene Tenace, but Ken Singleton also came up as one of those players. I completely agree, more people should pay attention to Ken Singleton. Not sure you could convince me he's a Hall of Famer, but he's at worst in the Hall of Very Good Players. Maybe if he were playing today, with the heavier slant on advanced stats, more people would appreciate him.
Singleton briefly played for the Durham Bulls. (Checks notes)
Singleton briefly played for the Raleigh-Durham Mets.
He also had three great years playing with the Expos in the early 1970s. Singleton was originally on the Mets, but was traded to Montreal for Rusty Staub early in his career. Apparently he set the team RBI record in 1973. You learn something new everyday.
The back would be better if they had included a fact that had something to do with Ken Singleton. He was not on the Expos in 1978, so he did not hit one of the 8 home runs against the Braves during that game. If Nabisco can come up with a Cliff Johnson specific highlight, they can come up with something for Ken Singleton.
More 1970s Durham Bulls next week.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
I am on a roll.
When I last left you, I was telling all about all the cheap Durham Bulls cards that I found over the summer. Lots of old players from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but there were also a few more recent players mixed in as well. Tonight, I thought I'd share a few cards of two players who were on the Bulls roughly 10-15 years ago.
First, one quick card from 2020. Also a former Durham Bulls player, which is why I am putting this card in the post.
Someone was probably really irked that they spent $300 and they walked away with a Kirby Yates card that I bought for $7.99 on Ebay.
Onto some older players from the Durham Bulls.
First up is Elijah Dukes. Don't go look him up. There is nothing there that you want to see. I was excited to find these cards this summer. Here is my quick run down on Elijah.
The first year I lived in Durham for baseball season was 2006. I actually moved to North Carolina in 2005, but missed out on baseball season. The 2006 Bulls team was loaded was talent. You might know Delmon Young, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson, and James Shields. The International League MVP Kevin Witt was also on the team. Elijah Dukes was just as good as anyone else in that group. Baseball America considered him a Top 100 Prospect.
He was fast and could hit for power. A star football player in high school who was learning to play baseball, and did some pretty incredible stuff at times.
Elijah had some off the field issues and was eventually traded to the Nationals. In Washington, he ran himself out of the league with a bunch of other off the field incidents. Sadly, Elijah is still fighting the war so to speak.
I still remember him as a tremendous talent. I loved collecting his cards the first year or two he was in the league, and found two this summer that I did not own.
Last Elijah Dukes card is from the 10th Anniversary set of Allen & Ginter that came out in 2015. There were buybacks of old cards that were stamped with the words "10th Anniversary Issue". Nice looking cards. I found a copy of Elijah's 2007 rookie.
Final Durham Bulls player for this post.