My Arm Hurts

My arm has been bothering me lately, and since it’s the arm I “mouse with”, I figure it’s from spending too much time in front of computers.

So today I’m just going to shut up and share some assorted images of cards I bought at a recent show.

1980 Topps Carlton Fisk

1982 Donruss Lenn Sakata

1991 Stadium Club Kevin Elster

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites George Brett

1965 Topps New York Mets

Using My Fantasy Team As An Excuse To Make Customs

I had a really good season in my points league;  I wish I could tell you that I won, but I didn’t.  Had a “knock ’em out, drag ’em out” fight with another team and I lost by 14 points… Just to make clear how razor-thin this margin is, the actual totals from the league was 8,187 to 8,173… Close enough to give me thoughts like “If I hadn’t started Ricky Nolasco when he got shelled, I would’ve won…”

Once again, done dirty by the Dodgers.

As a way to begin wrapping up my 2013 TSR set, and as a way to pay tribute to this almost-team, I present customs of some of my better fantasy players.

We’ll start with my #1 pick (3rd overall), your MVP and mine, Miguel Cabrera!

Cabrera lead the majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and was second to Chris Davis in homers and RBI.
2013 TSR #700 - Miguel Cabrera
Not surprisingly, Cabrera earned the most points of any position player on my team. It is nice for a #1 pick to actually pan out.

Joey Votto batted .304/24/73, lead the majors with 135 walks and was second in MLB in on-base percentage.
2013 TSR #720 - Joey Votto

Dustin Pedroia was tied with Cabrera for 2nd in the A.L. in hits. He batted .301/9/84.
2013 TSR #730 - Dustin Pedroia

Yu Darvish went 13-9, 2.83 and was the ace of my virtual rotation – at least in terms of total points earned.  He lead the Majors in K’s and was second to Jose Fernandez in batting-average-against.
2013 TSR #742 - Yu Darvish

I will be back with more customs before I’m through;  if nothing else, I intend to get at least one custom for every team, and I’m not there yet.

My Customs Are So “Old School” That Even My Quality Control is “Old School”

There’s a weird part of my brain that kinda misses miscut cards… You really haven’t seen anything like that in the last 10 years, and it’s sort of a shame.

Sort of.
2013 TSR #175 - Jose Reyes miscut

Truth is, I just felt like making a miscut custom, and as long as I’m making one I figured I’d use it to feature one of the players I collect… Well, I would collect his Mets cards even if only because he was a Met, but I really enjoy watching him play even if it’s on another team in another league and in another country.  At least I don’t have to see him in a Marlins uniform anymore.

Koji Uehara is another guy who falls into the “Guy who used to be on one of my teams but I still like him after he’s gone”. I really wish the O’s had picked him up after he became a free agent, but I guess I’ll have to remain satisfied that they got Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji. I’m glad he’s doing well, and I’ll continue to root for him, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the Mets or Orioles.

2013 TSR #708 - Koji Uehara

I don’t really know much about Adam Ottavino, but he earned a little bit of my appreciation when I found out his uniform number is zero. There’s something about a player who’s willing to wear zero that just appeals to me…

2013 TSR #699 - Adam Ottavino

…well, for the most part. I was disappointed when Brian Wilson started wearing double-zero, because I’m really sick of The Beard, not to mention the guy attached to it.

1976 SSPC: #424 Luis Tiant (Red Sox)

1976 SSPC #424 Luis Tiant
Luis Tiant is known for having more career wins than any other Cuban in the 20th century, being named to three All-Star games, having two wins in the 1975 World Series, leading the league in ERA and shutouts multiple times, having four 20 win seasons, three 200 strikeout seasons and winning the 1972 AL Comeback Player Of The Year award.

In 1976, Luis Tiant… went 21-12, was an All-Star and finished 5th in Cy Young voting (although he didn’t get any first-place votes).

So… take your time… and tell me… Is it Shea?  No, it’s not.  I think it’s Original Yankee Stadium.

Betcha didn’t know… Luis lead the AL with 20 losses in 1969, just one season after winning 21 games.

1976 Joe says… This card is cool!

2013 Joe says… Tiant had a lot of cool cards, I think it was the mustache and the “You know, I killed a man once” expression.

1976 SSPC #424 Luis Tiant back

Aw, Man! I Want A Fairfield Repack, Too!!!

I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts lately for repacks, and it lit a fire within me.

MUST…
HAVE…
REPACK!!!!

I had to go to Target anyway, so I went through the repacks they had on hand… Unfortunately, the ones they had made no promises of vintage, just 5 rookie cards. Whoop-dee-doop-dee-doo.

Didn’t matter, I needed a fix. Into the cart it went, and into my blog it goes…

The particular repack I bought was one I picked out because of this Jason Bay card I didn’t recognize… and it turned out to be a 2007 Topps Wal-Mart insert. Despite his less-than-stellar time with the Mets, I like Jason Bay and hope he turns it around with the Mariners.
2007 Topps Wal-Mart Jason Bay

Just like most Fairfield repacks, I got some 1980’s Topps glossies… Usually my favorite part. Unfortunately, this time around the only one I needed was this Clemens…
1987 Topps Glossy All Star Roger Clemens
…and naturally, I ended up with two of these. Sigh.

I like the late-1980’s parking lot in the background.  I believe that’s a big ol’ Cadillac just over Clemens’ shoulder.  It’s too bad it’s not a pink Cadillac, crushed velvet seats, ridin’ in the back, oozin’ down the street, wavin’ to the girls, feelin’ outta sight, spendin’ all my money on a Saturday night, honey I just wonder what it feels like in the back of your pink Cadillac… pink Cadillac…

Huh?  Whuh?  Oh, sorry, drifted away for a minute…

Woo-hoo! I got Bipped! I think that’s almost becoming a point of honor…
1992 Upper Deck Bip Roberts

Huh. I didn’t know Star did a Keith Hernandez set… I’ve got a couple of other player-specific Star sets, but I don’t recall running across Keith before.
1987 Star Keith Hernandez Post Season Stats
The problem with doing these player-specific sets in the colors of the player’s current team is that you get bad combos like a Cardinals uniform framed with Mets orange. This would’ve been a nicer card with different colors… but it’s Star, it’s only going to get but so nice… I’ll just distract myself by admiring Keith’s stirrups.

I got a number of 2010 cards, including this Aaron Laffey. Laffey was on the Mets earlier this month, and I didn’t have a single card of his. Last week the Mets put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Blue Jays… and NOW I have a card of Aaron Laffey. Ain’t that just…
2010 Topps Aaron Laffey
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Blue Jays will put a waiver claim on ANYBODY. Don’t believe me? Keep an eye on the transactions column… seems like half the guys who go through waivers get claimed by the Jays, even if the Jays then turn around and DFA the guy.

No, I don’t understand it.

…and for what it’s worth, the Jays did turn around and DFA Aaron Laffey.

Among the promised rookies I got were a 2005 Bazooka Melky Cabrera (which seems to actually have some value), a couple of uninteresting 2010 rookies and this 2007 TriStar David Price, which is at least shiny even if it is kinda ugly.
2007 TriStar Prospects Plus David Price

Not one of the better repacks I’ve gotten, but still $4 worth of entertainment.

…And for the record, 36 cards went straight from the repack into the recycling bin… Just doing my part to keep America safe from Junk Wax.

Mystery Box Of 1970 Topps: Sawks And Yanks

Back in January I bought a box of 100+ 1970 Topps cards, and I’m going through them in “pack-sized” lots of 10-15 cards.

This latest “pack” had a mix of Red Sox and Yankees in it, and much to my delight I needed most of them.

Yo, check out dese bad boys:

Stick!
1970 Topps Gene Michael
I associate Gene Michael so thoroughly with the Yankees that I forget that he came up with the Pirates and also played with the Dodgers and Tigers. Gene Michael played 7 years in pinstripes and was also the Yankees GM and manager. Although this is his fourth card, it’s the first one to show him in the uniform of the team he’s listed with… the prior three showed him in a Pirates uniform, but listed him with the Dodgers and Yanks.

Pity poor Joe Verbanic…
1970 Topps Joe Verbanic
…he appeared on a Topps card from 1967 to 1970, and yet Topps used only two hatless photos between the four cards. This photo is the same one used on the 1967 Rookie Stars card he shared with Bill Robinson. His 1968 and 1969 cards shared what is apparently the only other known photo of Joe Verbanic in existence.

When I started collecting, Lindy McDaniel was with the Royals, wrapping his career…
1970 Topps Lindy McDaniel
…but he was one of the best relievers of the 1960’s, and he had a long career spanning 21 seasons and 5 teams. He would’ve lead the NL in saves three times had it been an official statistic before 1969.

Mike Andrews was an All-Star in 1969 and 1970 was his fourth season as the Red Sox’ starting second baseman.
1970 Topps Mike Andrews
I really like this card for reasons I cannot explain.

Mike Kekich was traded from the Dodgers to the Yankees late in 1968, and since he’s hatless and pinstripeless here, I’m guessing the photo is from before 1969.
1970 Topps Mike Kekich

The most interesting thing I found about Steve Hamilton is covered in the cartoon, which I’ll get to in a minute…
1970 Topps Steve Hamilton

Tom Satriano has never been “Surfing With The Alien”, because that was Joe Satriani, not Tom Satriano.
1970 Topps Tom Satriano

Best Card  Rico Petrocelli All-Star:
1970 Topps Rico Petrocelli AS

Best Cartoon – Steve Hamilton:

1970 Topps Steve Hamilton Cartoon
Baseball-reference.com says that Hamilton played alongside Elgin Baylor… I know jack about basketball, but even I know of Elgin Baylor.

Eight cards added to my set! Freakin’ A! Now I have 446 with 274 to go (61.9%).

Mystery Box Of 1970 Topps: Wicked Hahdcoah

Back in January I bought a box of 100+ 1970 Topps cards, and I’m going through them in “pack-sized” lots of 10-15 cards.

Among my friends at work are a woman from Boston and a guy from the Midwest who amuses the Boston woman by affecting the worst “Boston” accent known to man.  This is apropos of nothing, other than as a lead-in to the most recent “pack” of 1970 Topps, which was almost entirely Red Sox.  Let’s take a look…

Here’s the Spaceman’s rookie card.  I like the background on this card…  There’s nothing “Red Sockier” than having the Green Monster and Citgo sign in the background.   There’s also someone with a red hat and sleeves… Someone from the Indians? Maybe the Senators?
1970 Topps Bill Lee

Joe Lahoud is one of those guys I know from having his baseball cards, but I don’t remember seeing a card of his where he was on a team other than the Angels.  I’ve never been sure of how to say his name…  La-howd?  La-hewd?  La-ho-ood?  He’s apparently of Lebanese descent, if that helps anyone figure the pronunciation out.
1970 Topps Joe Lahoud

Gerry Moses was a journeyman catcher who got sold a lot in 1975. In January the Tigers sold him to the Mets, who later sold him to the Padres, who sold him to the White Sox, who released him… and that was the end of his Major League career.
1970 Topps Gerry Moses

Best Card:
1970 Topps Sparky Lyle

Sparky Lyle always looks odd to me in a Red Sox uni.  Sparky was one of the Yankees better players back when I was a dumb kid who naively liked BOTH New York teams.  Even after Reggie Jackson’s arrival in the Bronx had sounded the death knell of my Yankee fandom, I still kept a place in my collection for guys like Sparky.

Best Cartoon: Bobby Floyd (I didn’t picture the front because I already had this card, but I couldn’t not share the cartoon):
1970 Topps Bobby Floyd Cartoon

Another 4 cards added to my set, so I’ve got 438 with 282 to go (60.8%).

Photo Clichés #4: Arroyo’s Revenge

I recently pulled a 2012 Bronson Arroyo out of a pack, which reminded me that I haven’t done an Arroyo Photo Cliché post in a while. Topps was kind enough to give us a leg kick.
2012 Topps Bronson Arroyo

I’ve also got two other cards I ran across while organizing…

2006 Allen & Ginter is a portrait… How boring.

2005 Topps Total is a non-leg-kick action shot. Even more boring.

So here are the stats…

Leg Kick: 2006 Upper Deck, 2006 Topps, 2007 Topps, 2009 Topps, 2010 Topps, 2011 Topps, 2012 Topps

Posed/Portrait: 2005 Topps, 2006 A&G, 2008 Heritage

Action Shot without a leg kick: 2002 Upper Deck, 2005 Topps Total, 2009 Upper Deck

Leg Kick Average: .538 (7 leg kicks out of 13 cards)

I’ve got to track down the 2008 Topps card;  if that’s a leg kick, then Topps has done the leg kick on its base cards for 7 years running.

Let’s close things out with a review of the 6 leg kick cards I’d previously featured…

2011 Topps Bronson Arroyo 2007 Topps Bronson Arroyo 2009 Topps Bronson Arroyo 2010 Topps Bronson Arroyo 2006 Topps Bronson Arroyo 2006 UD Bronson Arroyo

On The Threshold Of Complete

Two of my goals for 2012 are to complete two sets I’d started collecting back in the 1970’s: 1973 Topps baseball and 1975 Topps football.

My latest attempt to complete these sets came when COMC had their Black Friday promotion. In both cases I made progress, but didn’t QUITE get to my goal… at this point, it looks like these goals will carry over to 2013.

For 1975 Football, I needed two cards. I found the first card I needed at a price and condition I could get behind:
1975 Topps Football Cliff Branch

When I decided to complete the set a couple of years ago, this rookie card was one of the costliest needs on my list (the Dan Fouts rookie was at the top). It took a while to find one within my (low) budget, and I’m very happy to be able to cross this one off the list.

However, when I went looking for the other card I need, the only one available was from someone whose asking price was book. I thought about buying it just to complete the set…

…But there’s just one thing, you see…
I
nevah
evah
buy nothin’
at book price.

Since I wanted to be like a shark and keep moving through the COMC waters – and to be honest, it’s taken me 37 years to get this far and I can wait another couple of months – I passed that card by without making an offer. Let that be a lesson to you, Mr. Book Value Guy.

Just like with 1975 Football, I went into Black Friday needing just a couple of cards for 1973 baseball. One of the three is the Schmidt rookie, and I’m trying to find a well-loved copy that I can get in the general $20 area. I didn’t expect to find a card like that on COMC, and I didn’t.

The third-most-wanted 1973 card is a checklist, and even though I’m not particular about condition or whether it’s been used as a checklist, this card has eluded me. COMC was no exception, but I’m not going to sweat it too much, since I’m sure I’ll find a copy of that before I find “The Perfectly Imperfect Schmidt”.

Ah, but the third card I needed is one I got in my COMC shipment… The Dwight Evans/Al Bumbry/Charlie Spikes rookie card, which I got in decent condition for $5.
1973 Topps Bumbry Evans Spikes

I have to say, it might be more fun when the final cards come one at a time… I’m enjoying the anticipation and the sense of the hunt.

I did complete some 1970’s Steelers team sets, but given that I’m already running late for work, those will have to wait for another day.

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1975 Rico Petrocelli

Rico Petrocelli was a shortstop/third baseman who spent his entire career (1963-1976) with the Red Sox.

His best season was 1969, when he batted .297 with 40 homers, 97 RBI, 32 doubles, 92 runs and a .589 slugging percentage (second only to Reggie Jackson in the AL). Keep in mind that he did this as a shortstop in an era when offense was not expected of shortstops. His 40 homers was the AL record for a shortstop (since broken by a steroid-laden jerk). For you Sabermetricians, Rico lead the AL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with 9.5; second place was Reggie Jackson with 8.8.

Among Rico’s achievements included being named to the 1965 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, the 1967 & 1969 All-Star teams, and induction into the Red Sox Hall Of Fame.

He had two home runs in one game in the 1967 World Series against the Cardinals, and batted .308 in the 1975 World Series against the Reds.