2016 TSR: This Pack Has Miss Universe… What More Do You Need?

Talk about your hot pack…
2016 TSR wrapper series one

Look out, Mets fans! The pitching prospect who was traded for Yoenis Cespedes made his Major League debut this past week! Chickens are starting to come home to roost! (…says the many-times-bitten, twice-shy Mets fan).
2016 TSR #8 - Michael Fulmer
Fulmer pitched well, going 5 innings with 4 K’s and 2 ER’s.

When I was preparing for my fantasy baseball draft, I heard about Raisel Iglesias and how he had a string of 7 consecutive quality starts at the end of 2015, including 3 straight games with double-digit K’s. I thought about how I would swoop in and grab this stud from my unsuspecting opponents when I realized that the default rankings had him pretty high up, so there was no “stealing” him.
2016 TSR #56 - Raisel Iglesias
Then I heard he would be the opening day starter for the Reds, and I said “Where did this guy come from?”

…And it was the same answer I always get when I ask “Where did this guy come from?” He came from Cuba. He signed in 2014 and played only in the Arizona Fall League before making his MLB debut in 2015. I guess because he plays for the small-market, rebuilding Reds he flew completely under my radar. Oh, and I’m sorry, Reds fans… I had this custom ready to go today, and then found out he’s scratched from his scheduled start today.

My hat goes off to the Phillies, who swept the Nationals this week. Jeanmar Gomez got saves in all three games. Right now, the Phillies hold the honor of “Least disliked NL East opponent”, so hang on to that while you can, Phillies fans!
2016 TSR #57 - Jeanmar Gomez
As I’m a Mets fan, it’s obvious why I would regard the Nats with disdain. The Marlins are largely because of the people at the top of that classless organization, and even though the Braves suck right now, I despise their cash-grabbing ways when it comes to new ballparks, both at the top and at several minor league levels.

One reason for this Aaron Hicks card, and one reason only…
2016 TSR #58 - Aaron Hicks
…I found a Yankee Stadium photo that would work nicely as background, so I paired it up with a “Photo Day” image of Aaron Hicks.

Since opening day you’ve been teased with the promise of “Miscut parallels” on the wrapper. Well, the long international nightmare is over, we’ve finally pulled one!
2016 TSR #59 - Jayson Werth Vertical Miscut
You’ll notice it’s numbered to 999, that’s because it’s a vertical miscut, which is the most common. Horizontal miscuts are numbered to 99 and Horizontal *AND* Vertical miscuts are numbered to 9.

Go ahead and laugh, but last year I joked about “gum-stained parallels”, and the next thing I knew, Topps Heritage had gum-stained parallels. One never knows.

The reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, threw out the first pitch at a recent Mets game… Which gave me a lovely excuse to start my own First Pitch insert set.
2016 TSR CFP-1a Pia Wurtzbach
Ms. Wurtzbach is German-Filipino, in case you wondered about the mismatch between face and last name (as I did). She was born in Stuttgart and raised in the Philippines.

OK, one last card because I was finishing this post and felt guilty that I’ve only done one Oriole this year…
2016 TSR #75 - Manny Machado

When it comes to the Orioles, it seems like Chris Davis gets a lot of the attention, with Adam Jones not far behind.  Manny Machado doesn’t get the love he deserves.  No, he doesn’t hit quite as many homers or make the big money, but he hits his share of bombs and his other numbers are right up there with the other two, not to mention that he flashes the leather and doesn’t strike out anywhere near as much as Davis.  He also won’t turn 24 until July.

Oddball du Jour – Terry Bradshaw’s Second Album

I have a few hobbies outside of card collecting, and one that has been with me since I was 10 or so is collecting and listening to records.  My collection isn’t anywhere as large as it once was, and I don’t go quite as crazy buying as I used to, but I still enjoy looking at used LP’s, especially when they’re cheap.  It’s not unlike going through a dime box.

The other night two of my hobbies intersected when I was in a local record store.  I was  poking through the cheap used vinyl when I ran across something that I couldn’t pass up for a dollar…
Terry Bradshaw - Until You - Front
This is a copy of “Until You” by Terry Bradshaw, who was busy moonlighting as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback around the time this album came out. I’d heard that Bradshaw had put out some Country music, but I’d never heard anything of his.

…But even if the music turned out to be awful, or just something I didn’t care for, here was an album by a Hall of Fame quarterback… and a buck, no less. At the very least I had a really large football card for my collection.

After I got home I did some research and found that this was Bradshaw’s second LP and it had come out in 1980.  His first album, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die”,came out in 1976 and the title track made it up to #17 on the Billboard Country Music charts. Who knew? Well, I’m sure plenty of you knew, but I didn’t.  Hell, I grew up near New York City, where “Hee Haw” didn’t even get shown in prime time… Not only did I not know much Country music growing up,  I didn’t even know anyone who listened to it.

Here’s the back of the cover, including (of course) pictures of him with the Steelers, as well as one with his wife.
Terry Bradshaw - Until You - Back

As you can see, there’s a note on the back, from the lovely Mrs. Bradshaw herself. This might be a little hard to read (especially if you’re on a phone), so I’ve included a transcription below the photo.
Terry Bradshaw - Until You - Note
Terry is a big, strong, aggressive, determined man.  He is able to withstand incredible pressure and criticism and still come out shining.  He has put his body through unnatural abuses and demands, (along with some “help” from his friends!).  He pursues his goals with obsessive perseverance and will never quit short of success, whether it’s for real or just for fun.  He’s a “good ol’ boy” with a great sense of humor.  All of these traits are the parts that seem the most obvious, the side of him that most people know.  However, through the words the spirit of this album, I think you’ll find another Terry Bradshaw – one that is sensitive, gentle, very vulnerable and, of course, one that loves the Lord.
In living with Terry, I’ve seen both sides of him as he praises God in both victories, as well as tribulations.  I hope you enjoy getting to know this other dimension that you don’t see in the football uniform, and that his music brings you Joy!
— JoJo (star) $ Bradshaw

Terry’s wife’s signature made me wonder for a while… Why does she have a pentagram and a dollar sign in her signature? After I looked her up, I realized why – His wife at the time was figure skater JoJo Starbuck (hence the two symbols in her signature… Star Buck. Get it?)

Despite her praise for Terry, she would file for divorce the same year this album came out.

Just to prove that I didn’t buy an empty cardboard sleeve, here’s the label of the album…
Terry Bradshaw - Until You - label
Bradshaw has released a few more albums, although not with any consistency in the timeframe… Perhaps just when his muse dictates.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet;  is anybody familiar with Terry Bradshaw’s  musical career and can give me a heads-up of what’s in store for me?

Four From 1970

Back in the days before I started this blog, I considered myself a set collector, even though the evidence in front of me (a long string of partially-completed sets) said otherwise.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really collect with completion as the goal, I collect with satisfaction as the goal.  If it’s a set I really love and to which I have an emotional attachment, like 1973 Topps, then I won’t be satisfied until I have all of the cards.

Other sets have a lower satisfaction threshold… For example, on certain sets just completing my team sets and player collections is good enough for me.  There are also sets to which I say (to paraphrase the famous Bob Mankoff cartoon), “How about none?  Does none work for you?”

One particular level of satisfaction that I’m increasingly finding myself pursuing is to collect until I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten every card from the set that fits into my budget.  I’m currently working on that with 1972 Topps, and I’m pondering making a run for a 1979/80 Topps/OPC Hockey frankenset of every card *except* for the Wayne Gretzky rookie which would never be worth to me whatever I spent on it, and even if my long lost Uncle Thaddeus were to bequeath me a Gretzky rookie in his will, I’d sell/trade it for other cards I want more.  But anyway…

I’ve never entertained the thought of collecting the entire 1970 Topps baseball set… well, not since I was a kid and was determined to collect every baseball card there ever was…  but that hasn’t stopped me from buying something like one or two hundred 1970 cards over the past couple of years.  This is very much a “collect ’em until I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten every card I can fit in my budget” set.

So the point of all this is that I’ve acquired a bunch of 1970 Topps baseball, and I’m going to get back to sharing them.

A miscut card with some kind of sticker up top. Gotta love it.
1970 Topps Pat Corrales
Pat Corrales played 9 years in the majors but never played more than 63 games. He did make the 1965 Topps All-Star Rookie team, and as backup catchers tend to do, he later managed the Phillies and Indians.

Few people know that Conan O’Brien pitched for the Twins…
1970 Topps Jim Kaat
In 1966 Jim Kaat lead the league with (takes deep breath) 25 wins, 41 starts, 19 complete games, 304.2 innings pitched, 1227 batters faced, 271 hits (that one’s a bad thing) and most interesting, 1.6 walks per 9 innings and 3.73 K’s per walk. He was also a Gold Glove, an All-Star and finished 5th in MVP voting (but no Cy Young votes). Kaat also won 16 consecutive Gold Gloves.

Byron Browne’s card caught my eye because he looks like some random friendly guy that they put on a baseball card.
1970 Topps Byron Browne
He was (obviously) new to the Phillies in 1970, having come over from St. Louis in the infamous Curt Flood deal. In 1966 he was a Topps All-Star Rookie and he had good power but struck out a lot (leading the league with 143 K’s in 1966).

Tom Terrific, fresh off the Mets’ World Championship!
1970 Topps Tom Seaver
In 1970 Seaver was still only 25, had an 18-12 record for the 83-79 Mets and lead the league in ERA (2.82) and K’s (283).

For the record, I’m going to make this a semi-regular feature… and probably mix in similar posts with 1972 cards (which I’ve also acquired a fair chunk of).


PWE Playhouse: Ain’t A Supertrader Part II

In which I go further into the cardboard delights sent by Shane of Shoebox Legends.  Should one be interested, one can find Part I here.

Before we go any further, let’s share the official logo of PWE Playhouse.

PWE Playhouse

…And now, let us conclude the pair of posts highlighting the contents of the past two PWE’s obtained from that far and distant land known as Shoeboxia.

David Segui got around a bit, playing for the Mets, Expos, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rangers and Indians, while beginning and ending his career with the Orioles.
1993 Fleer Ultra David Segui
Segui got one vote during his one year of HOF eligibility (2010).  His father, Diego, pitched for both the Seattle Pilots and the Seattle Mariners.

This is a 2006 Fleer Stars Of Tomorrow card of David Wright. It appears to have been some sort of insert in 2006 Fleer (as distinct from 2006 Fleer Tradition).
2006 Fleer Stars Of Tomorrow David Wright
As it is, I had to use the Browse feature of COMC to  “drill down” through 2006 Fleer sets and determine which set it comes from. At any rate, I’ve never seen these cards before, but now that I’ve got the one Met (and there are no Orioles) I need never be concerned with it again… Unless I decide to be a master collector of Jeff Francoeur.

I showed some 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Orioles in the last post, here’s a New York Met…
2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Cleon Jones
I really like it when card companies feature “second tier” Mets old-timers like Cleon Jones… It makes for a nice break from Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan (not that I don’t love those guys as well).

2013 Topps Spring Fever card of Nick Markakis… I don’t have a local card shop, much less a Topps Authorized shop that has these cards, so I don’t have many… or any… of these. Well, I have at least one.
2013 Topps Spring Fever Nick Markakis
There’s a petulant part of me that wants to ask Nick how his contract with the Braves is working out. I would imagine there are a sufficient number of disgruntled O’s fans already doing this through social media.

David Wright short print! This is very welcome, because I usually wait a while before tracking down short prints, hoping that the lessening demand will bring the prices down some.
2015 Topps Heritage David Wright
The good thing about the Mets achieving respectability is that we get to see inserts featuring someone other than David Wright. The bad thing is that the short prints also go beyond David Wright, so it’s going to take me a while to track down these SP’s at a price that satisfies my cheap self.

1960-61 A&BC Footballers! Woooooooooooo!
1960-61 A&BC Peter McCall
Now I’ve got 7% of the set!  Which is far better than 0%… I tried to research Peter McCall, and basically could only confirm that he played football in England. You’ve got to love this card, though. Pity my scan is washed out.

Here’s the back of this glorious card.
1960-61 A&BC Peter McCall back
I guess it has something to do with the position he plays (I’m not really familiar with the positions involved in soccer), but I love the line about “Likes to have the occasional shot on goal”, as if there’s anybody on the pitch who says “Oh, man…  Do I HAVE to take a shot on goal?”

Muchas gracias, Shane! As always, these are much appreciated!

2016 TSR: Notable Newbies, Achievements And Throwbacks

Another weekend, another pack of 2016 TSR, available at fine stores all over Gotham City, Atlantis, South Park, Latveria and Rivendell!

2016 TSR wrapper series one

Blake Snell was the Baseball America and USA Today Minor League Player of the Year last season, and made his Major League debut yesterday against the Yankees.
2016 TSR #6 - Blake Snell
It was just a spot start and he’s being sent back down to AAA, but in 5 innings he struck out 6 while allowing 1 run on two hits. Despite his efforts, the Yankees won anyway. (Sigh).

It turns out that it is possible for a Mets pitcher to fly under the radar, because Logan Verrett has done just that.
2016 TSR #7a - Logan Verrett
Orioles and Rangers fans might be familiar with his name… He was a Rule V selection by the O’s last year, spent Spring Training with the team but was put on waivers before the season started. He pitched 4 games for Texas before being returned to the Mets. This year, in two spot starts and two relief appearances he’s given up 1 run and 10 hits in 14 innings. In his first start he should’ve been in line for the win after shutting out the Marlins for 6 innings, but Adam Conley also shut down the Mets for 6 innings. He got more run support in his second start, leaving the game with a 6-0 lead.

Here’s the first 2016 Highlights card of the season… By now, you all know about Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter. Not surprisingly, the Topps Now card commemorating this event has had the biggest press run so far – 1,808 cards.
2016 TSR #54 - Arrieta No-Hitter Highlights
One of these days I’m going to dig out my scorebooks and see how Arrieta did in all the games I saw him pitch for the Orioles. He always showed signs of promise, mixed with signs of ending up as a middle reliever.

Check out these career statistics for Terrance Gore… Granted, “Career” means 22 games over three seasons, but even so…
2016 TSR #57 - Terrance Gore
Gore has 9 stolen bases, 7 runs scored… and 6 plate appearances. On top of that, he’s been hit by a pitch twice and has no hits. Again, this is for 22 games over three seasons. Add in the postseason and he’s got two more runs, four more stolen bases… and no additional plate appearances. I know this is largely because of the way that Ned Yost uses Gore, but it’s still fun stuff. He’s like a 21st Century Herb Washington!  I thought about listing his position as “PINCH RUN.” just like on Washington’s 1975 card, but I decided against it at the last minute… and now I kinda regret it.

OK, so last week I did a TSRchives card of Matt Harvey in a throwback Mets uniform with the promise of a similar card for the Pirates in the next post. I’d mentioned a 1979 custom, but decided to go with the 1978 design instead. I also followed up Matt Harvey with…. Rob Scahill?
2016 TSRchives 78T-2 Rob Scahill
Trust me, I’m not an anti-Buc-ite… I just went with the photo that I thought would work best in this case.  Since both teams are wearing their throwbacks for Sunday home games, there will be more of these cards in the future (and I’m sticking with the 1978 design for the Pirates, just because I like it better than 79T).

You never know how Japanese pitchers are going to play out in MLB, but so far Kenta Maeda looks like the real deal.
2016 TSR #4 - Kenta Maeda
Yesterday he no-hit the Rockies into the 6th (in Denver, I might add). Over four starts he’s 3-0 with 23 K’s, just 5 BB’s, a 0.868 WHIP and a 0.36 ERA. In his one no-decision he pitched six scoreless innings.

Nomar Mazara has gotten off to a hot start in his rookie season. As of this morning, he’s batting .357 with 7 runs, 5 RBI, 2 doubles and a homer. He also robbed Todd Frazier of a homer in yesterday’s game.
2016 TSR #5 - Nomar Mazara
…and he turns 21 on Tuesday. Daaaaamn.

…No, I Didn’t Make Up ‘Ringette’

…Although I wouldn’t rule out that I’ve fallen for an elaborate hoax involving numerous websites and YouTube videos…

Yesterday, one of the cards I’d featured was of former hockey Olympian and World Champion Judy Diduck.
1997-98 UDCC Hockey Judy Diduck
I’d mentioned that Judy was in the Ringette Hall Of Fame, and I got a couple of comments jokingly accusing me of having made up Ringette.

…and I said “Hmmm, there’s a post in there…”

On top of that, over the past 5-10 years I’ve learned of a number of sports that I had never knew existed… either from friends who grew up outside of the U.S., or from looking at the cable channel guide early on a weekend morning and saying “What the heck is that?”

…and I said “Hmmmm, there’s a custom set in there…”

So after a crappy afternoon at work when two printers conspired against me and jointly refused to print one 36-page report, I needed a creative outlet.  It came in the form of a faux tobacco set called “Sports Of The World”.

2016 Simon & Gintfunkel Sports Of The World ringette 2

Ringette is a variation on ice hockey that was invented in the early 1960’s as a winter sport for girls.  The most obvious difference is that the sticks are straight and don’t have a blade like a hockey stick, while the puck is replaced by a blue rubber ring (you can see one getting past the goalie in the image above).

There are other differences between ringette and ice hockey.  Intentional body contact is not allowed, one can’t carry the ring across the blue lines, there is a 30-second shot clock and only three skaters from each team may be in the end zone at the same time.

Less obviously, since it’s a ring instead of a puck, players can use their sticks to throw the ring.

Ringette was invented in Canada, but is played internationally.  The World Ringette Championship was recently played in Helsinki, Finland.  Although Canada largely dominated in pool play (going 6-0 with 126 goals scored and 6 goals allowed) and won the President’s Trophy, they were beaten for Sam Jack’s Trophy by almost-as-dominant Finland.  Other participating countries were the United States, Sweden, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

So that’s about everything I was able to learn about ringette on a Saturday morning.

I’ve got two more sports in mind for this series, but I’m willing to keep going with these as long as both you and I have interest… and as long as there are sports out there that people will accuse me of making up.

Epic Throwdown: Head Cold vs. M-W-F Schedule!

About a week ago I woke up with a congested head and a slightly sore throat. As someone who’s suffered from allergies all his life, I know when something is more than that, and this was a cold coming on. As it turns out, it wasn’t a bad one… I didn’t end up watching daytime TV while surrounded by used tissues… but it did sap me of a lot of energy and brain power, and when I woke up this morning I realized that I needed to post something but had nothing ready.

The “need” to post wasn’t from a overwhelming desire, those posts almost write themselves. No, this was “need” as in “trying to stick to a schedule”. I doubt anyone would pick up on this if I didn’t say something, but I’m in the process of transitioning from an every-other-day posting schedule to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday-plus-one-weekend-post schedule. Not a big shift, but it means an extra post every other week.

So I’m looking through my drafts folder and find nothing but fragments and half-baked ideas… So I’m going to throw all those together and hope that the end result is more like side two of “Abbey Road” and less like the disjointed ramblings I fear it will end up being.

Before this year’s Heritage came out I did a post about 1967 Topps, and an early draft mistakenly included two 1969 cards. Since they were already scanned and uploaded, I figured I’d save them for later. Guess what? It’s later.

This is Curt Flood’s last Topps card where he wasn’t looking skyward to obscure the logo on his cap.
1969 Topps Curt Flood
His 1970 card showed him as a Phillie, but he never played for them. His 1971 card showed him as a Senator, and he played just 13 games for that team. Flood played for 4 teams, and luckily for Topps they were all teams with red caps (he started his career with the Reds).

Bob Watson… What can I say about Bob Watson? For starters, this is his rookie card…
1969 Topps Bob Watson
The position on the card is “C-OF”, but over 17 seasons he appeared in just 10 games as a catcher, scattered among 1969, 1970 and 1973.

Quite a while ago I bought a box containing a large chunk of someone’s childhood card collection. It was mostly baseball and mostly 1980’s commons, but there were a few gems that made the amount of sorting worthwhile. One was this 1968 Topps Football card, and I kept it because I like the design and somehow didn’t have any other 1968 Football in my collection.
1968 Topps Football Bobby Walden
As it turns out, Bobby Walden played for two of my favorite football teams. Before the Vikings, he played for my favorite (relatively speaking) CFL team, the Edmonton Eskimos. After the Vikings, he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here’s a card from 1972/73 Topps Hockey that features an interesting action shot.  The Ranger is Walt Tkaczuk, the Bruin is… Ed Johnston?  I think?  Help me out here, Bruins fans.  Ed Westfall, in his final season with the Bruins before going to the expansion Islanders.  (Thanks to Mark Hoyle for the ID)
1972-73 Topps Hockey Bruins Rangers Game 4
The Bruins beat the Broadway Blueshirts in this game, and would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

This 1997-98 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice hockey card of Team Canada’s Judy Diduck proves that goofy photos are not strictly a man’s domain.
1997-98 UDCC Hockey Judy Diduck
With Team Canada, Diduck was a 4-time Gold Medalist in the World Championships, and won a Silver in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

Judy is in the Ringette Hall Of Fame, and I had to look up what “Ringette” is… It’s a sport similar to hockey but instead of a puck there’s a rubber ring, and the sticks are just that – sticks. No blade. I’m probably oversimplifying and getting countless facts wrong, so I leave it to you to find out more if you’d like to (how’s that for a cop-out?)

Oh, and Judy is the sister of former NHLer Gerald Diduck.

…And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

See? Just like Abbey Road.