Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classics

No, this is not an official police mugshot of Darryl Strawberry, but I can see how and why you would be thinking that. This is, though, his 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classics card.

With only ten years worth of stats that's a decent amount of time, but it does sadly exclude Strawberry's best years, which are alluded to in the text. Strawberry was on four NY-based World Series teams.

It would have been a nice touch to have the background image on the back be Strawberry at the plate because I do not think it is.  

It's a 90-card set. The last four cards scream New York Yankees: Times Square, Central Park, Empire State Building, and Statue of Liberty. I remember that walk off Central Park hit back in '82. I don't know about you, but I'm fairly certain I could think of four more deserving Yankees than that!

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Monday, January 18, 2021

HOF Rickey Henderson

Voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2009, Rickey Henderson received 94.8% of the vote. He played for nine teams in his career, most of which with the Oakland A's (14 seasons). In his last year, 2003, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.  In fact, from 2000 to 2003, he played for five different teams: Mets, Mariners, Padres, Red Sox, and Dodgers. Interestingly, he never played for a "Central" division teams: just east coast and west coast. Must've accumulated a lot of frequent flyer miles. 

This card here is from 2003's Topps set. He was not issued a 2004 sunset card. This is actually a rather sad looking card, I think. It shows Henderson squatting in the on deck circle, looking down pensively towards the ground. Summoning something? Magic to his bat? Reflecting upon his career which began in 1979? 

Henderson was the MVP in 1990; a 10 time All-Star (the last of which was in 1991); won a gold glove; some silver sluggers, and two World Series (1989 with Oakland and 1993 with Toronto). 

What I think about when I think about Henderson is those 1,406 stolen bases. He led the league in that category nine times. Just the same number as Ferris Bueller's school absences! In addition to having more stolen bases than anyone in the history of baseball, he has more runs scored than anyone and was also caught stealing more than anyone. Secondly, even though he played 14 years with the A's (in four different stints), I think of him oddly as a Yankee.  

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Friday, January 15, 2021

John Kruk: 1995 Ultra Gold Medallion

I do not know about you, but when I think about the 1990s, I think about medallions. The 1990s were dominated by them on baseball cards.  This is the 1995 Ultra (Fleer) Gold Medallion card for John Kruk but enough about the commonplace medallion, let's concentrate on not one, not two, but three photographs of the studmuffin. 

One on the front, clearly a pop up--probably an infield fly rule kind. And then two on the back: a black and white photograph fielding at first base which is such a work of art it should be in a museum, and the a small color inset photograph from the upper shin up. Which is good because everyone knows that Kruks' ankles are legendarily racy. 

The blue color for the name plate and team on the front is awful, and just one year of stats on the back is too, but otherwise this is a nice looking card. I don't know if it's intentional but it's kind of poor taste in placement having the 1B be right below Kruk's crotch and him having had testicular cancer leading to the removal of one of his testes, leaving him with "1 ball".  

Three photographs of Kruk!  Wonderful! 

What's the strangest thing you've ever collected? I used to save toenail clippings and skin that peeled off my foot when my foot was growing. Am I proud of this? Not really.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2004 SP Legendary Cuts

2004 and 2005 and 2006 were obscene for baseball cards. If I remember correctly that's about the time that Topps became the monopoly. Legendary Cuts was produced by Upper Deck and is a part of their Cooperstown Collection. Sadly because Strawberry's career went slightly off the rails getting cards with Cooperstown on the back is the closest he might get to the "Hall".

This is a sharp looking card and it's made better by the presence on the back of the Mets city skyline logo. 

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Monday, January 11, 2021

HOF Barry Larkin

Barry Larkin was voted into the Hall of Fame on his third ballot in 2012 with 86.4%. His first two years were 51% and 62%, respectively. He was the only person voted into the Hall of Fame that year. 

Larkin was a career Cincinnati Reds shortstop, though he appeared at a DH in three total games 1997 and 2000. He also played second base in three games. 19 year years with that team. Wonderful! 

Larkin was a 12 time All-Star, an MVP (1995), won the World Series in 1990, and won a number of Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards. 

At the end of the 2004 season, Larkin was granted free agency and retired. He worked for the Nationals and ESPN as a baseball analyst from 2011 to 2014. That was the heydey of the program for me as I loved him on the program (and Kruk as well). 

The below is Larkin's last Topps card in 2004. Love the full body shot, nicely framed in the card with an line-drawn outline mirroring Larkin in the bottom left. The front of the card seems rather...busy? Even though it really actually isn't.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1997 Score

Score, too, got on the parallel train. I guess there was peer pressure. The below two Darryl Strawberry cards are from 1997. The top is "Premium Stock" and the bottom is "Showcase Series".

I like the pure white back with black font; the transparent old-timey Yankees hat & bat logo is subtle and pretty. We get full stats on the back though the font is small and, as well, four lines of text. That's maximizing the space and Score was keeping the faith on something it tended to do well from the beginning which is having good amounts of writing on the back. What's more they have fielding statistics at the bottom and splits on the right side. 

There's a lot to lover about the card backs here; the front of the cards? Nice action shot. The "Showcase" case looks better in person and the PS foil-stamp-thing just kind of looks like Strawberry's pooping a football.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

1995 Topps CyberStats: John Kruk and Darryl Strawberry

I was really excited to get this CyberStats card that Topps put out for John Kruk; though frankly the design of the card makes it really hard to determine what those crazy cyber stats are as there are no column headers. 

But you have to read the fine print! The stats aren't real! They are "computer-simulated data for games of August 12, 1994 through the scheduled conclusion of the 1994 season". What a crock of horse shit! It's like the modern-day "advanced" stats that "adjust" or "weight" various things for players. Cockamamie. None of that's real. I don't think. 

Anyway, this is a great post-swing shot of Kruk. He looks fairly three-dimensional.  Must be that "spectralight" effect.

Strawberry has one in the set, too, and I got that in 2016 and appear to have show it off in a post. So here that is:

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