Three-Digit Yankee Uniform Numbers In Our Lifetime!

It was recently announced that the Yankees would be retiring 3 more uniform numbers for Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte… and it’s just a matter of time before they retire Jeter’s number.

But to be honest, the Yankees aren’t trying hard enough. If they really want to honor their glorious past, they need to retire more numbers!

I have some suggestions for numbers the Yankees could be retiring, if they’d only take this whole thing seriously.

Ron Blomberg was the first-ever Designated Hitter, the first pick in the 1967 draft, lead the team in batting average in 1973 and was the greatest-ever Jewish Yankee…. Let’s retire his #12.
1976 Hostess Ron Blomberg

Rickey Henderson has the top three slots in the single-season Yankee stolen base chart, and all-time he’s second only to His Jeterness.  Retire his #24!
1988 Topps All-Star Glossy Rickey Henderson

Catfish Hunter is a Hall Of Famer who won 20 games in 1975 and finished second in Cy Young voting.  Retire his #29!
1976 Hostess Jim Hunter

Mel Stottlemyre was a career Yankee who was a five-time all-star, won 20 games three times, started three games in the 1964 World Series, is 7th on the all-time win list, 7th in K’s and tied for 2nd in Shutouts.  He was the Yankees pitching coach for a decade and got 5 World Series rings that way. Retire his #30!
1973 Topps Mel Stottlemyre

Allie Reynolds threw two no-hitters, was the 1952 ERA leader, was a 5-time All-Star and won six world Series. Retire his #22!
Pacific Baseball Legends Allie Reynolds

Spud Chandler won 20 games, was the 1943 AL MVP and has the lowest ERA of any Yankee righty… Retire his #21!

1940 Play Ball Spud Chandler from web

1940 Play Ball from the web (I don’t own this one)

Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series and was the World Series MVP. Retire his #18!
Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Don Larsen

Johnny Mize is a Hall Of Famer who hit three homers in the 1952 World Series and won five World Series with the Yankees! Retire his #36!
1970 Fleer World Series 49 Yankees Dodgers

During the period from 1956 to 1962, Bill “Moose” Skowron was named to 5 All-Star teams and earned five World Series rings.  He hit a grand slam in game 7 of the 1956 World Series and a three-run homer in game 7 of the 1958 World Series, and hit 165 homers in 9 seasons as a Yankee.  Retire his #14!
Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Bill Skowron

Vic Raschi lead the AL in strikeouts in in 1951, was with six World Championship teams, a four-time all-star, won 21 games in three straight seasons and had a 120-50 record in his 8 years with the Yankees.  Retire his #17!
Pacific Baseball Legends Vic Raschi

Willie Randolph was the starting 2nd baseman for 13 straight seasons, was on the Topps Rookie All-Star team in 1976, the same year he played in the World Series against the Reds.  He represented the Yankees in five all-star games, and indirectly  made the Mets look bad when he was fired as their manager while flying out to the West Coast before a road trip.  Retire his #30!

1988 Score Willie Randolph

Dave Winfield is a Hall Of Famer who played 9 years in pinstripes (more games than with any other team), was an All-Star each of those 9 years, won five Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. Retire his #31!
1986 Topps Dave Winfield

Fritz Peterson has the lowest all-time ERA at Yankee Stadium and the lowest WHIP of any Post-WWII Yankee starting pitcher. Retire his #19!
1968 Topps Fritz Peterson

Dave Righetti is clearly the second-greatest closer in Yankee history, the 1981 Rookie of the Year and he no-hit the Red Sox.  Hell, for most Yankee fans just the “No-hit Boston” part is enough.  If you’re not going to retire #19 for Fritz Peterson, retire it for Rags!
1988 Score Dave Righetti

Bob Turley was the 1958 Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP. He won four World Series! If you’re not going to retire #19 for Peterson or Righetti, retire it for Turley!
Pacific Baseball Legends Bob Turley

How is it that Lefty Gomez’ number is not retired?  He’s more accomplished than many who already have had the honor.  He’s a Hall Of Famer, has the most wins of any Yankee left-handed pitcher, a four-time 20 game winner, pitched in five World Series while going 6-0, twice won the “Pitching Triple Crown” by leading the league in ERA, K’s and wins, has a .652 winning percentage while wearing pinstripes, started five All-Star games, and his Yankee career stats have him as 4th in wins, 4th in shutouts and 5th in strikeouts.  Rip that #11 away from Brett Gardner and retire it!

1941 Play Ball Lefty Gomez from web

1941 Play Ball from the web (I don’t own this one)

We can go on from here… Paul O’Neill (#21) was a four-time All-Star, a fan favorite and won four World Series!  David Cone (#36) threw a perfect game had two seasons where he had more than 200 K’s! Lou Piniella (#14) was a key member of the 1970’s Yankees, a fan favorite and managed the Yankees twice! Joe Pepitone (#25) was a three-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove and once hit two homers in the same inning!

If the Yankees follow my advice, they can retire an additional 14 numbers, bringing the total (with Jeter) to 34.  It would leave just 4 available numbers below 33.

Come on, Yankees! Go big or go home!

Three-digit uniform numbers in our lifetime!

Watching The 1952 World Series On The MLB Classics YouTube Channel

Did you know about this?  I didn’t know about this!

The other day I stumbled across the fact that there’s an MLBClassics YouTube channel (part of the MLB Advanced Media group) and it has a nice selection of complete TV broadcasts of postseason games, All-Star games and no-hitters.

I immediately got sucked into the game they have featured right now, game 7 of the 1952 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees.  Here’s the 1970 Fleer Laughlin World Series card for that year…

1970 Fleer World Series 49 Yankees Dodgers

1970 Fleer World Series 49 Back

I love to watch footage of baseball games from before I started to follow baseball… Naturally I enjoy watching players I’d never seen on a field before, but a big part of the appeal is just watching to see how the game has changed in the past 62 years, and how much of it was different even from when I started watching baseball in the 1970’s.

One thing I found really interesting was that they raised the flag while playing the National Anthem. I don’t remember having seen that before, I’ve always seen the flag flying when I enter a ballpark. I wonder if it was some sort of logistical change brought about by the big multi-purpose stadiums (sheer conjecture on my part).
52 WS G7 Flag being raised
The 48-star American flag, which most of us have never seen in use, looks really, really odd flying in Ebbets Field.  Even for a middle-aged guy like me, the flag has always had 50 stars.

If nothing else, you should watch the first 10 minutes to see the “pre-game show” and see all of the warm-up activity, the views of Ebbets Field, the two starting pitchers warming up near home plate, plus one of the groundskeepers putting down lines in a way that I that went out of style sometime before I started following baseball.
52 WS G7 Pre Game Home Plate
In this screen grab, you’ve got Yankees starting pitcher Eddie Lopat on the far left, Dodgers starting pitcher Joe Black on the far right, and the other guys are all groundskeepers.

At this point in the video I smiled because the “without the express consent of the Commissioner” legal disclaimer is very similar to what you hear today.

Here’s a cool dugout shot of Jackie Robinson and Steve Garvey!
52 WS G7 J Robinson and Furillo
Rightfielder Carl Furillo is the guy wearing #6 for the Dodgers, but when I see Dodgers & “6” on a jersey, my mind immediately goes to Garvey.

Here’s something I thought was fascinating… The broadcast was pretty primitive, especially by today’s standards, but they did some neat tricks that weren’t needed as technology advanced. With a runner on first, they did a sort of “double-exposure” in order to show the pitcher and batter on the left, as well as the runner and first baseman on the right.
52 WS G7 picture in picture
When the pitcher threw over to first, the path the ball seems to take is disconcerting.

Duke Snider hit a foul ball that skipped in front of the stands on the first base side. That happens today and people are doing everything they can to get the ball without technically going out on the field.
52 WS G7 Snider Foul ball
In this game, there’s the one guy in the lower right you see who made any kind of effort, another guy made a quick swipe without bending over much, and everybody else pretty much ignored the ball.

The Ebbets Field dugouts had posts supporting the roof, and Casey Stengel figured the post wouldn’t mind supporting him as well.
52 WS G7 Casey Stengel

Anyway, I could go on for hours… Do yourself a favor and check this out.  They’ve got entire broadcasts of no-hitters, perfect games, World Series, All-Star games and League Championship games from every decade since the 1950’s.

Quick update:  I went back and watched more of the game and noticed that a foul ball into the right field corner got much more of an effort out of the fans.  Perhaps the VIP’s down the first base line are too distinguished to be going after foul balls.

Also, I noticed that the P.A. announcer for the Dodgers announced the Yankees catcher as “Larry Berra”, although Mel Allen calls him “Yogi”

Hot Stove: Cruz, Markakis & Miller View Baltimore Through Their Rear-View Mirrors

Last week was not a good week for Orioles fans.

I expected Nelson Cruz and Andrew Miller to go elsewhere… But to lose both of those guys AND Nick Markakis, the guy who had the longest tenure of any Oriole?  All within the span of 6 days?

Last week was not a good week.

But we must soldier on…  Perhaps we must, to beat a dead meme even more than it’s been beaten, “Keep calm and make customs”.

For those new to this blog, the following are all custom baseball cards based on the 1974 Kellogg’s set, and all three players in today’s post were “Photoshopped” into their new uniforms.  (Although I actually used Paint Shop Pro)

First we had Nelson Cruz head to the Pacific northwest.  Later, Cruz.  Front door, backside.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #10 Nelson Cruz
I kept my emotional distance from Nelson Cruz last year. The guy signed a below-market one-year contract late in the offseason, so I figured there were two ways it could go… 1) Cruz would have a good season and take off for bigger piles of cash than the Orioles would pay, or 2) Cruz would be worthless without the PED’s and the Orioles wouldn’t want him back. Either way, the guy was clearly a short-timer. I’ll miss his offense, I won’t miss him.

For what it’s worth, the Nelson Cruz custom was made before the official announcement, and was a means of killing time while I was on hold with my internet provider’s support line.

…And then there’s Nick Mar-kick-ass. For a long while it seemed that re-signing with the Orioles was a mere formality. Then talks slowed down. Then they stopped. And the next thing you know, I’m digitally putting Markakis into a Braves uniform.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #11 Nick Markakis
This just looks wrong, and I’m not talking about my work on the card. Nick is supposed to be an Oriole, what’s he wearing that damn tomahawk for?

For his troubles, Markakis is going to have to switch numbers; his customary #21 was retired for Warren Spahn, so he’s switched to #22.

Before we move on to the third custom, I’ll point out that the Braves will be playing in Baltimore in late July. Should be interesting to see how Nick is welcomed back.

Finally, Andrew Miller went to the Yankees… and you can’t even say he went just for the big payday, because the Astros offered him more. Frankly, I probably would’ve gone to the Astros – More money, and possibly a brighter future than you have in the Bronx (but that’s probably wishful thinking on my part).
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #12 Andrew Miller
Useless information: I adapted Miller’s Yankee jersey from an image of Ichiro. I think it’s fairly safe to say that in real life the 6’7″, 210 lb. Miller would not be able to wear the jersey of the 5’11”, 170 lb. Ichiro… But that’s the magic of digital photo manipulation!

I decided to combine the heavy shadow on Miller’s face with a nighttime Yankee Stadium background, thus creating my first night card for the 2014/15 Hot Stove set. You’re welcome, Night Owl.

So there you have it… Three former Orioles moving on.   Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m making customs of guys coming to the Orioles.

1976 SSPC #203 – Mickey Rivers (Angels/Yankees)

1976 SSPC #203 Mickey Rivers

Mickey Rivers… was a speedy leadoff hitter who played 15 years in the majors with the Angels, Yankees and Rangers. He twice lead the league in triples, and once lead the league with 70 stolen bases.

A December 11, 1975 trade resulted in Mickey being listed as a Yankee on the back of the card.

‘Round here, folks call me… Mick The Quick.

In 1976 with the Yankees, Mickey Rivers… stole 43 bases – his second-highest career total – got 63 RBI, made his only All-Star team and batted .348 in the ALCS against the Royals. He also finished 3rd in MVP voting (teammate Thurman Munson was the winner).

Shea-o-meter:  A trained eye such as my own can identify the rightfield corner of Shea…
Shea:  40
Pretty sure it’s Shea:  7
Can’t tell:  7
Not Shea:  5

Betcha didn’t know… Mickey’s first pro team was the Class D Magic Valley Cowboys… how great a team name is that????

BTW, the Magic Valley region is in south-central Idaho, and the Cowboys were based in Twin Falls, ID.

Betcha didn’t know, Part 2… Mickey is 6th on the list of Angels’ all-time stolen base leaders (Chone Figgins leads with 280).

1976 SSPC #203 Mickey Rivers back

1978 Burger King Yankees Rawly Eastwick

During a recent panic attack over whether my 1970’s sets were as complete as I’d always believed them to be, I was going through my 1978 binder and ran across this lovely example of cardboardness… Almost forgot I had it.

1978 Burger King Yankees Rawley Eastwick

This is a 1978 Burger King Yankee card, #11 in the set. Although I’m generally indifferent to the concept of regional issues which are made by Topps and nearly identical to the regular card, I am a huge sucker for cards from 1970’s regional issues which are made by Topps and which are NOT identical to the regular card… as is the case here.

Rawly Eastwick was a reliever who lead the NL in saves in his rookie season, and finished a distant 3rd in NL ROY voting (behind winner John “The Count” Montefusco and some nobody named Gary Carter).

Here’s the 1978 Topps card of Eastwick…
1978 Topps Rawley Eastwick
…funny how the original card is airbrushed, but the updated BK card isn’t. Deadlines are a bitch.

The Reds had traded Eastwick to the Cardinals during the 1977 season. After the season, Rawly became a free agent and – doing what every free agent apparently dreams of doing – signed with the Yankees. $1.1 Million over 5 years is a mere pittance today, but was big money at the time and was nearly 10 times more per year than he had been making.

Thing is, the Yankees already had Goose Gossage and Sparky Lyle to close out games, so Eastwick got traded to the Phillies part way through the 1978 season.

Unfortunately, Eastwick could never duplicate the numbers he did early in his career, and after stints with the Royals and Cubs his career was over.

“Hot Stove” Custom – Yankees Outbid Half The Majors For Tanaka

I’d bet a stack of 1988 Donruss that this post gets its share of hits from people Googling on “Masahiro Tanaka Yankees”, so I’ll start off with a little explanation: This is a blog about baseball cards, and one of the things I like to do is make up “custom” baseball cards, ones that don’t exist in any format beyond digital… well, unless someone prints it out.

The card below uses a design based on the 1959 Bazooka baseball and football sets, and the image was “photoshopped” to get Tanaka into Yankees gear.

2013-14 TSR Hot Stove #16 - Masahiro Tanaka

Although I’m not too thrilled that Tanaka signed with the Yankees (and I would have been just as un-thrilled had he signed with the Dodgers), I am nevertheless happy that he signed with SOMEONE, because now the dozen or so teams who didn’t get an ace pitcher, who didn’t spend $100M, can get on with the business of working on their respective Plan B’s (“Plans B”?).

As they might say on TV, “We now return you to your regularly-scheduled offseason, already in progress”.

As for the custom, I guess it turned out well enough, but it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. In an effort to be topical, I tried to get it done in one sitting, something that isn’t my usual M.O. It also got to the point where any attempts I made to improve it had the opposite effect, so I decided that it was, for all intents and purposes, done.

Here’s a helpful hint to my fellow amateur pixel-pushers…  The jersey in the photo started out as a Japan jersey from last year’s World Baseball Classic, and that jersey had red and yellow piping coming out the wazoo.  To make it look more like a Yankees BP jersey I removed all the colored piping by using the “scratch remover” tool.  This tool also works quite nicely on unwanted pinstripes.  I usually run over the modified area with a Soften Brush just to make sure it’s not overly obvious that something’s been removed.

So as of right now, next week’s Hot Stove card looks to be Dan Haren, since that’s what I was working on when the whole Tanaka thing came up.  If there’s somebody else you’d rather see on a custom card, leave a comment and I’ll see if my meager skills are up to the challenge.

“Hot Stove” Custom – Carlos Beltrán Turns To The Dark Side

So, it’s been about three weeks since Carlos Beltrán officially signed with the Yankees, even longer since it became known that he would be playing his home games in Yankee Stadium Mark III.
2013-14 TSR Hot Stove #9 - Carlos Beltran

…and you know what? I’m still pretty pissed off about it.

This isn’t the usual “I’m tired of the Yankees throwing money around like rock salt on a frozen sidewalk” (to use a topical simile).

This one feels a little like betrayal… sure, “betrayal” is a little stronger than I actually mean, but I can’t think of anything better.

This feels like I’ve got the voice of someone’s sobbing mother in my head…  “I whole-heartedly cheered for you when you were with the Mets… I never said a word against you when the 2006 NLCS ended with you taking a called third strike with the bases loaded… I cheered for the Cardinals last year just because you had never been to the World Series… I always include the accent mark over the “A” in your last name…

“To think of all the things  I’ve done… All that I’ve sacrificed…

“…AND THIS IS THE THANKS I GET!!!

At this point, I’m thinking the best-case scenario from my own selfish standpoint would be season-ending injuries to Carlos and Brian Roberts (assuming his deal ever becomes official), thus sparing me the anguish of seeing two players I collect wearing the wrong-colored pinstripes.

I hope the two of your are satisfied… breaking my heart like that…

So, what do you think?  Are there any maternal guilt trips I should’ve included in my little rant?

Oh, almost forgot… Just for grins, I created a 1/1 Magenta Printing Plate for this custom:

2013-14 TSR Hot Stove #9 - Carlos Beltran Magenta

I’ll try to make sure the next custom card comes with less angst and guilt.

…And speaking of the next custom…

Favorite Player On The Move?  Favorite Team Make A New Addition?

Would you like to see what a player will look like in his new uniform?  Make a request in the comments below, and I’ll do what I can to make one of my “Hot Stove” customs of your player! *

*Offer based on availability of images and abilities of the blogger.  No purchase necessary.  Void Where Prohibited.  Your results may vary.  Not to be taken internally.  If rash or swelling occurs, discontinue use.

Heartbreaker, Your Time Has Come, Can’t Take Your Evil Ways! Go Away, Heartbreaker…

Duh duh duh duh-nuh-nuh

HEARTBREAKER!

HEARTBREAKER!

HEART–!!!!

…So, I’m not too happy with this guy:

2005 Topps Pristine Brian Roberts

My wife has been a dedicated Orioles fan since 1983. During that time, she’s had two favorite players: Cal Ripken and…

2001 Leaf Limited Brian Roberts

She’s been a fan of Brian’s pretty much since he came up;  she still hates Jerry Hairston because back then he was the guy who stood between Brian and a starting job.

She stuck with him through concussions and injuries.  She stuck with him though steroid allegations.  She’s gone through numerous black and orange t-shirts with “ROBERTS 1” on the back.

We entered this offseason knowing that Brian could be gone, but hoping that he’d sign some incentive-laden contract with the Orioles.

I always figured that if he did leave, he’d end up with some team who might benefit from an upgrade and have little to lose… Maybe the Twins or Cubs?

2006 Topps Finest Brian Roberts

But when I saw that negotiations were happening with the Yankees, I said — Well, I try to keep this blog family friendly, so I won’t share what I said.

I wasn’t there when my wife found out, but she told me that she let out a very loud gasp of disbelief.

I mean, it’s one thing to leave Baltimore…

It’s another thing to go to the – pause while I spit on the ground – YANKEES…

It’s even worse to know that, according to some sources, he didn’t even give the Orioles a chance to match the relatively modest contract.

I dunno, maybe this was an unspoken mutual parting.  Maybe the Orioles pulled him aside, wished him well and made it clear that he shouldn’t let the front door hit him on the backside.

All I know is that my wife is very upset and sad… “Heartbroken” may be too strong a word, but I haven’t ruled it out.  Last night I gave her some 2013 Topps Series 2 wax packs to open (because she likes busting some wax now and then) and she pulled this card:

2013 Topps Brian Roberts

Before this happened, she would’ve let out an exuberant yell after pulling a Brian, even if it was a base card;  last night she just looked really dejected and said “It’s not even a good picture of him”.

…and it’s not.  Do we want to know what Bryce Harper is doing to Brian here?

I know baseball is a business.  I know players have to do what’s best for them.

…But come on, dude.  The freakin’ Yankees?

…And it’s not even like you can say he did it for the money.  $2 Million plus incentives?  That’s not “doing it for the money”.

I hope he ends up with a uniform number like 43.

I hope that, if he “has always dreamed of turning two with Jeter”, the two of them are never healthy at the same time.

I hope he realizes that if things go badly, he’s going to hear it from the fans and get mocked on the back page of the NY Post and Daily News.

I hope that the Yankees continue to get old and end up in last place looking up at the first place Orioles.  Yeah, yeah, this is my hope every year, but more so this year.  This year…. it’s personal.

 

Coming Down the Home Stretch, Custom-wise

This is going to be the next-to-last post featuring my 2013 TSR custom set, and I’m going to let the customs speak for themselves…

No, wait, there’s one card I want to say something about… I couldn’t resist the opportunity to give the photo for this custom the patented “Topps tilt”.

2013 TSR #681 - Curtis Granderson

OK, now I’m going to let the rest of these customs speak for themselves…

2013 TSR #722 - Matt Carpenter

2013 TSR #751 - Zack Cozart

2013 TSR #146 - Yunel Escobar

Carlos, Fritz And The Box

…Not the name of an band or a film that played at Cannes, just three unrelated ideas that aren’t quite enough for their own post.


I went into this latest round of playoff with clear rooting interests (Cards & Tigers) but no real passion behind it.

Then I heard someone mention something about Carlos Beltran that I’d never realized…

1999 Upper Deck SP Top Prospects Carlos Beltran

This is Beltran’s 4th time in the NLCS – the previous times were 2004 with Houston, 2006 with the Mets, and last year with the Cards – but he’s never made it to the World Series.  That’s a shame because he’s such a good player in general, and has outstanding postseason numbers… In 42 postseason games, he’s batting .333 with 16 HR and 34 RBI.

I always liked Beltran in his 6.5 years with the Mets, and never blamed him for any team failures. So I’ve decided I’m not rooting for the Tigers or Cardinals… I’m rooting for Carlos!  Do it for Beltran!


Moving right along…

A couple of weeks ago I shared this recently-acquired 1969 Fritz Peterson card:
1969 Topps Fritz Peterson

It wasn’t until I was removing the card from my want list and putting it in a binder that I noticed the cartoon on the back:
1969 Topps Fritz Peterson Back

I’ve got a thing for baseball players who also played hockey, so this caught my attention.  “A top hockey player at Chicago”?  What does that mean?

It took a fair amount of Googling to find out what the cartoon was referring to, but I eventually found a reference to his playing semi-pro hockey in Chicago. OK, well, that’s less interesting than the cartoon made it sound.

The more interesting hockey fact I found out was that back in 1972/73, Fritz did color commentary on radio broadcasts of the New York Raiders of the World Hockey Association.  If you’ve never heard of the Raiders, that’s because they only lasted the one season under that name, changed its name to the Golden Blades and ended up leaving New York just 20 games into that second season.  While it would seem like a given that any wanna-be major professional league would have a team in New York, it seems that nobody in New York wanted anything to do with the WHA.

I wasn’t sure if there’d be any hockey cards which featured either the Raiders or Golden Blades, but I found an image of a 1973/74 Quaker Oats WHA card:

1973-74 Quaker Oats WHA Wayne Rivers

For what it’s worth, there’s currently a professional rugby team called the New York Raiders.

…and I didn’t even know there was professional rugby in the U.S.


And finally…

This past weekend I had the somewhat rare opportunity to attend a show, and my biggest purchase was this:
2013 Topps Series 2 Hobby Box

This is the first wax box I’ve bought in 10 years. Usually by the time I get the opportunity to buy a box, I’d already bought enough packs and blasters to make it somewhat pointless to make a major purchase.

This summer I’d gotten so caught up in organizing and blogging that I’ve bought relatively few packs, and I figured that instead of trying to play catch-up with retail blasters, I’d take a different approach.

I gave some thought to buying a hand-collated Series 2 set when I realized – Well crap, nobody makes hand-collated sets anymore.

Wax packs are more fun anyway… and I got this hobby box for… um… $32?  $33?  Something like that.

There were other things of interest I got at the show, but I’ll save that stuff for another time.


…and why is it that, whenever I have a couple of “small” ideas that I combine to make one post, they always grow when I write them out?