Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Just Commons Order

I found myself bored one day.
I found myself also on
I found myself clicking, ticking off cards to fill in my needs.
I found myself happy when these baseball cards arrived.
I found myself annoyed, but not really, but kind of, when I realized I double ordered one of them (1992 Fleer Lumber).
I found myself further annoyed that I filed all these cards away without photographing them.
I found myself compelled to pull each out and photograph them.
I found myself in trouble with my wife for getting distracted doing this.

1986 O-Pee-Chee, Card #080

1987 O-Pee-Chee, Card #379

1988 O-Pee-Chee, Card #178

1990 O-Pee-Chee, Card #600

1991 Topps Micro, Card #200

1992 Bowman, Card #040
1992 Classic I, Card #T86
1992 Classic II, Card #T38
1992 Donruss Leaf Gold Star Previews, Card #05
1992 Fleer Lumber Company, Card #L3 (2)
1992 O-Pee-Chee, Card #550
1992 Pinnacle, Card #080 SH
1992 Pinnacle, Card #308
1992 Stadium Club, Card #560
1992 Topps Gold Winner, Card #550
1992 Upper Deck, Card #174
1992 Upper Deck FanFest, Card #43

1993 Bowman, Card #126
1993 Donruss Triple Play, Card #187
1993 Finest, Card #089 AS
1993 Fleer, Card #454
1993 Leaf, Card #210
1993 Pinnacle, Card #309 HH
1993 Score, Card #042
1993 Stadium Club Members Only Parallel, Card #398
1993 Studio, Card #122

1994 Score Select, Card #099
1994 Topps, Card #640

2005 Diamond Kings Gallery of Stars, Card #GS08
2005 Diamond Kings Heritage Collection, Card #HC05
2005 Diamond Kings Red Frame, Card #292
2005 Diamond Kings Red Frame B/W, Card #292
2005 Playoff Prestige, Card #191

2008 Topps Update Ring Honor, Card #MRH-DS
2009 Topps Ring of Honor, Card #RH54
2010 Topps Update Cards Mother Threw, Card #CMT149
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen, Card #245

2013 Panini Select, Card #120
2013 Topps Archives All-Stars, Card #83-DS
2013 Topps Gypsy Queen, Card #331SP
2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini, Card #098

2014 Topps 50 Years of Draft, Card #50YD9
2015 Topps Eclipsing History (with David Wright), Card #EH-10

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

St. Louis Cardinals vs Philadelphia Phillies, 21 August 2018

It's cheaper to drive down to Philadelphia to see a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park than it is to travel just a few miles up the road to see the Red Sox. So we went down to see the rubber match of a weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday 21 August 2016.

We sat in section 138, row 8, seats 1-4 and got to witness a shockingly boring game despite seeing four Cardinals home runs. Here are some views from our seats:

Before the game, we took in a lunch. Happily, they offer vegan/vegetarian options which was perhaps as that's what my wife and I are. And I enjoyed a very nice refreshing Victory Hop Devil.

After lunch, we looked at their Memory Lane where they have plaques for Phillies greats as well as a statue, above, of Richie Ashburn.

I was particularly to see John Kruk and it recalled the one game I saw in old Veterans Stadium in the summer of 1993. I have ticket stub for that somewhere, as well as a baseball card pack with Kruk's card on it. Will try to unearth those sometime.

It rained for much of the game; no foul balls came anywhere near us. For a while it seemed as though the Phillies weren't even going to swing their bats, yet they still managed to scatter 9 hits. The "crowd" rightly booed when they failed to send Franco home on a fly out to center field and the Cardinals smashed 4 home runs.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Baseball Numismatics

Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. Baseball was very into numismatics in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. The last time I was home I recovered these from a bin of childhood memories.

7-11 brilliantly offered coins in the bottom of their Slurpee's for a while in the 1980s. Of course, as players of baseball, as fans of the sport, and as children with an insatiable appetite for sugar, we were all about the Slurpee and their coins. Not sure what I wanted more: the coin or the sugar?

The left side are from 1984; the right are from 1986. If any of them are wanted by anyone reading this blog, please contact me and they'll be on their way to you before the sugar rush wanes.


Featured here from 1984:
Dave Winfield (Yankees, #7)
Bill Madlock (Pirates, #11)
Dave Stieb (Blue Jays, #13)
Ron Guidry (Yankees, #16) (2 of them)
Tony Pena (Pirates, #18)
Rick Dempsey (Orioles, #21) and
Rich Gossage (Yankees, #22)

For 1986, these are all "Triple Stars":
Slugging Champs: Harold Baines (White Sox), Pedro Guerrero (Dodgers), Dave Parker (Reds), #4
Cy Young Winners: Rob Guidry (Yankees), Bret Saberhagen (Royals), Fernando Valenzuela (Dodgers), #6
Bullpen Aces: Rich Gossage (Padres), Dan Quisenberry (Royals), Bruce Sutter (Braves), #7
Rookies: Steve Lyons (Red Sox), Rich Schu (Phillies), Larry Sheets (Orioles), #9
Bullpen Aces: Jeff Reardon (Expos), Dave Righetti (Yankees), Bob Stanley (Red Sox), #10
Base Stealers: Rickey Henderson (Yankees), Tim Raines (Expos), Juan Samuel (Phillies), #12
Bullpen Rookies: Tim Burke (Expos), Brian Fisher (Yankees), Roger McDowell (Mets), #15
Sluggers, Jesse Barfield (Blue Jays), Gary Carter (Mets), Fred Lynn (Orioles), #16

Topps entered the coin market, too. The following are available to anyone that wants them:

1989 Benito (Benny) Santiago (Padres, #24)
1989 George Brett  (Royals, #34) (2 of them; 1 has a dink it it)
1989 Fred McGriff (Blue Jays, #44) (2 of them) and
1989 Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles, #50) (3 of them)

Also in the scans, but not for trade, are several Darryl Strawberry coins: 7-11 coins from 1984 and 1986 (Triple Stars Power Hitters, with George Bell (Blue Jays) and Dave Winfield (Yankees), a 1990 Topps coin and a 1990 pin.

I'm not even sure I could drink a Slurpee today. I certainly know that if I tried, I wouldn't do like I did back then and combine Coke with Blue Raspberry and Cherry. Relatedly, I'm not sure I could eat a Twinkee. I did have one about six or so years ago, just to try it and it did very little for me. Did anyone out there eat Brown Edge Wafers?  Man, those were the best.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Don't Chew The Gum!

Tony Burbs of the awesome Wrigley Roster Jenga ran a giveaway contest. I won, which is weird because I never really win anything. Usually because I don't enter contests, I don't play the lottery, and generally never get in a situation to win something. But Tony's query was a good challenge and the reward was two 1987 Topps wax packs, with the gum. Though Tony was thoughtful enough to remind me in his note not to chew the gum. Believe me, sadly, I was tempted to do just that.

Pack 1:Broken gum, but some cool cards like Harold Baines, Lance Parrish All-Star, Steve Carlton (hard to think of him as anything other than a Phillies pitcher even though he played for a bunch of other teams in his ridiculously long career), and Bert Blyleven.

Pack 2: Entact gum. Great cards, too, including record breakers for Dave Righetti and Todd Worrell, Ozzie Smith, Fred Lynn, Julio Franco and three guys that embrace the quintessential 1987 baseball look: Johnny Grubb, Gary Pettis, and the oddly skin-toned Frank Williams.

We're not done yet: Tony included a potpourri of 29 cards. The highlight for me are seven Darryl Strawberry's cards. All were welcome, though. These are all great. The strange transparent card (top row, second from left; the weird mustache guy; and the over-large headed Orlando Cabrera (bottom row, far left).

The rest of the potpourri are below: young Mo Vaughan and Bernie Williams, 1981 Arizona State team card, and then two of the greats: Christy Matthewson and Walter "The Big Train" Johnson. According to the David Price Nickname Generator, my baseball nickname would be "Mini Wheats".

Thanks Tony! And, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Franken Trade

I thought I posted this on Wednesday. I was wrong. And part of the reason was I was out of town that night and so not able to. Portsmouth New Hampshire was where I spent the night and the fog rolled in...

I was happy to send Jim, the many-blog man (Garvey, Cey, Russell, Lopes, Frankendodger (this blog and project is freaking amazing), oh my o-pee-chee! (oh mon o-pee-chee!), and Timeless Teams), some 2016 Dodgers Topps series 1 and 2 cards and some inserts. In return, he sent to me 32 Darryl Strawberry cards which makes me feel in quite a debt, especially as most of them were Straw's Dodgers cards. I hope these were triplicates or cards Jim was more than happy to part with!

Here's a list of 'em...

1990 Fleer League Standouts, Card #3
1990 Topps Glossy Send-Ins, Card #7

1991 Bowman, Card #609
1991 Classic II, Card #T73
1991 Fleer Update, Card #U-96
1991 Leaf, Card #377
1991 Score, Card #864
1991 Stadium Club, Card #301
1991 Topps Traded, Card #114T
1991 Upper Deck, Card #245

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier, Card #179
1992 Pinnacle, Card #80
1992 Pinnacle, Card #308
1992 Post Cereal, Card #10
1992 Stadium Club, Card #560
1992 Studio Heritage, Card #BC-6
1992 Ultra, Card #219
1992 Upper Deck, Card #174

1993 Hostess, Card #7
1993 Leaf, Card #210
1993 Pinnacle, Card #309 (Hometown Heroes)
1993 Score Select, Card #21
1993 Stadium Club, Card #398
1993 Triple Play, Card #187
1993 Upper Deck, Card #575
1993 Upper Deck, Card #820

1994 Donruss, Card #292
1994 Stadium Club, Card #335
1994 Topps, Card #640

1995 Upper Deck, Card #89

1997 Topps, Card #282

1999 Topps, Card #18

Here are some images of 'em:

Some early Strawberry's above here. That mustard yellow 1991 Fleer is practically a rip off of the Ketchup red 1990 Donruss, right?

For Darryl and Pinnacle, the future was so bright he had to wear shades. Too bad the future kind of clouded over...

These cards feature a happier Darryl from the 1992-1993 seasons.

Above left, Darryl looks like he's ripping one

My Strawberry collection has exploded in the last two months thank to so many trades. I can't thank each of you enough. But this post is about Jim, so the rest of you can temporarily screw. Thank you, Jim!

Hope you like my place mats! Don't worry, they don't have food on them; in fact, we rarely use them. Food tastes better when eaten on the sofa. Try it. Bet I'm right.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

When Logic Fails/Strawberry Sunday

I needed just 19 cards to complete my Topps 2016 baseball card set so I took to Just Commons in order to finish it off. I had to wait a few weeks for their stock to include the cards from Series 2. In mid-ish July, they finally had all the ones I needed so I put in the order. Very happy to have a complete set. Here are the 19 I needed:

This came to about three or four dollars. But, logic completely failed me. I could've paid the $3.00 for shipping or whatever it was. But if I spent $15 I got free shipping. Logically, spending $6 or $7 (inclusive of shipping) is less than spending $15 and getting shipping for nothing. But my logic failed, miserably. Not only did I more than double my intended expenses, but I tripled it! Because, let's be honest, when I actually selected enough cards to eclipse their $15 threshold, I wasn't very well going to stop.

So I searched their Darryl Strawberry's and found a slew to buy. Including what is among my all time favorite bad picture cards, his 1995 Score card #209. I had to buy two of them as one is the "Gold Rush" parallel card. For like $.45 who cares, right?

1984 O-Pee-Chee, Card #182
1993 Stadium Club Inserts (Ken Griffey Jr./Darryl Strawberry), Card #B4

1994 Flair, Card #444
1994 Fleer Update, Card #196
1994 Pinnacle, Card #294
1994 Score Gold Rush, Card #428
1994 Sportflics Rookie Traded, Card #149
1994 Stadium Club Golden Rainbow, Card #335
1994 Topps Finest, Card #087
1994 Upper Deck Collectors Choice, Card #366

1995 Score, Card #209
1995 Score Gold Rush, Card #209
1995 Score Hall of Gold, Card #HG036
1995 Topps, Card #629
1995 Upper Deck Collectors Choice SE, Card #113
1995 Upper Deck Collectors Choice SE Silver Signature, Card #113

1996 Donruss, Card #215

1997 Circa, Card #221
1997 Donruss, Card #261
1997 Donruss Elite, Card #110
1997 Metal Universe, Card #123
1997 Studio, Card #143

1998 Bowman, Card #256

2010 Topps Cards Mother Threw Out, Card #CMT095

2011 Topps Update, Card #238B

2013 Select Prizm, Card #120
2013 Topps Archives Four-In-One, Card #69S-BPDS (Don Baylor, Dave Parker, Eric Davis, and Darryl Strawberry )
2013 Topps Archives Four-In-One, Card #69S-SWGJ (Mookie Wilson, Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, and Darryl Strawberry)

So, the Strawberry collection, via trades and purchases, is filling out a little bit.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Tale of Two Analysts

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
I've just finished read two recently published books: Brian Kenny's Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution (Simon & Schuster, Amazon) and Tim Kurkjian's I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love (St. Martin's, Amazon). The books couldn't be more different.

The tone in Kenny's Ahead of the Curve is one of dismissive pomposity. Page after page is drenched thoroughly with disturbing egotism and arrogance. He routinely made this reader feel dumb and insulted for being either resistant to or in something like denial of accepting/embracing sabermetrics. Some of the sabermetrics seem useful and interesting, others are frivolous and not helpful. It is abundantly clear that Kenny loves the game of baseball and is an authority; however, the style of writing was so off-putting it was a struggle to want to finish his book. The best chapter was "Chapter 15: Department of Decision Science" in which, happily, Kenny's "I" persona was largely absent. Kenny's thesis is that he was ahead of the curve in many aspects of baseball in the last thirty years; and that in doing so he separated himself from the 'herd'. However, ironically, he is now an active participant in and proponent of a herd of sabermatricians.

As can be done with statistical analysis, Kenny only chooses those results which suit his argument. For example, Kenny discusses the lack of MVP's being awarded to pitchers in the modern era, but never mentions the reason for this is likely due to the establishment in 1956 of the Cy Young Award, which is annually given to the best pitcher in each league. He also goes on and and and on about WAR and uses it as a metric to defend his stance that Mike Trout was hosed by the BBWAA in the 2012 MVP award (given to Miguel Cabrera). But, he never acknowledges that WAR is not an officially recognized stat in Major League Baseball. As such, it is likely that the BBWAA voters are unable to take this into consideration when voting. This is speculation on my part and it's likely I'm incorrect. A lot of people place a lot of emphasis on WAR which, these same people readily admit, is flawed and imperfect. Which makes me question how important a "stat" it can actually be? Anyway, Kenny kind of falls into a trap of his own making in the Trout/Cabrera debate and negated the pages and words he dedicates turning purple in the face trying to re-write history. He calls Trout the "best" player of 2012. This is probably true, but he wasn't the "Most Valuable", which was rightly given to Cabrera of the Tigers. This is a question of semantics.

The glossary in the back of the book is really helpful. When using acronyms for the first time Kenny in the book, Kenny reminds the reader to see there to get an idea of what he's talking about.

On the contrary, in I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies, Kurkjian writes with palpable enthusiasm for the "game we all love". Kurkjian's book represents the more human side of the game of baseball: from the quirks of the five kinds of superstitions, to what it's like to be hit by the ball, to an excellent defense of why he is so fascinated by the sacrifice fly, to how amazing John Kruk is, and so much more. He also discusses sabermetrics but with far more circumspection than Kenny about its applications. It isn't numbers and computers that are playing the game: it's people. See particularly pages 39-44 for what sabermetrics CAN'T do. Some of the text feels repeated from his previous book or from Baseball Tonight/Sportscenter broadcasts; but his writing is so wonderful I don't mind re-reading. Kurkjian writes with so much personality and likability -- his recounting of the Great Hot Dog race and experiences with Terry Francona and Buck Showalter so are wonderful -- that it was a refreshing and purifying read after Kenny's. Can't recommend I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies, as well as Kurkjian's Is This a Great Game, or What?, enough.

Thanks for stopping by!