Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1987 Press Box

Two cards I needed for my Darryl Strawberry collection were printed by The Press Box. It's a Broder-type card. Simple photograph on the front and minimal information on the back.

There are two other cards they put out in 1987 but I do not have them yet. I'd like them.They are part of my chase for 1,000 unique Strawberry cards! 

Pretty sure these are spring training games? In the bottom photo, it kind of looks like the Reds? The Mets and Reds did play four times that spring, so it's possible? 

Do you have any cards from The Press Box in your collection?

Players I most like, National League East:

Atlanta Braves: Frederick Freeman
Miami Marlins: Brian Anderson
New York Mets: I cannot find anyone I like
Philadelphia Phillies: Andrew McCutchen
Washington Nations: Max Scherzer

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Monday, April 19, 2021

HOF Larry Doby

In 1998, the Veterans Committee elected Larry Doby into the Hall of Fame. Doby had a 14 year career in which he played for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers. He broke into the Major Leagues in 1947, the same year as Jackie Robinson. He was the second black player to play in the Major Leagues and the first to do so in the American League. 

Doby was a seven time All-Star and was on the 1948 World Series winning team which saw his Indians beat the Boston Braves. 

His final Topps card: 

Larry Doby earned MVP votes in three seasons, finishing second behind Yogi Berra in 1954. 

New Series! Players I like on each squad. This might be harder than that the players I dislike! We'll do it in reverse order to my most disliked players! So, here is the NL West...

Arizona Diamondbacks: Kole Calhoun
Colorado Rockies: Ryan McMahon
San Diego Padres: Joe Musgrove 
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey
Los Angeles Dodgers: AJ Pollock 

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Friday, April 16, 2021

John Kruk: 1990 Topps Tiffany

Does being in the 90th percentile of Hard-Hit rate and Sprint Speed get you aroused? If so, please leave this blog right now.

I discovered sometime recently that I had NO Topps cards for John Kruk, not a base and not a Tiffany. Rather, I had TWO O-Pee-Chee's!  So I went out and got the super bright happy Tiffany version and the more sedate, dulled base version. 

This captures Kruk in his number 11 jersey for the Phillies in 1989. He'd switch in 1990 a few times to number 19 and then again to number 28, ultimately settling on 29 in 1991.

So a nice card, overall (specifically, the Tiffany). 1990 isn't my favorite set in the world, but I think it's fine. It's just fine. I'm fine. Are you fine? 

Final installment of Players I most dislike: National League West:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Madison Bumgarner
Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard
San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr
San Francisco Giants: Gabe Kapler
Los Angeles Dodgers: It's practically the whole team. Largely unlikable group of guys. But runner-up is that dink Trevor Bauer. Cody Bellinger wins. 

And, wherever he is, Yasiel Puig has to be mentioned. 

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2021 Topps Living

 Today I'll share my first 2021 card: Darryl Strawberry's Topps Living Set card. I hemmed and hawed about this after P-Town Tom DM'd me about it on Twitter. I've hated the set since it was announced & begun, but I knew even back then that once they did a Strawberry that I'd probably buy it. Fortunately, this card is relatively harmless in it's representation of the player. And I particularly love that they seem to have used a non-Topps image of Strawberry for it. Like they couldn't pool from an image they had the rights too?

The image of Strawberry may be sourced to several cards. Most notably the 1990 Wonder Bread and 1990 Post (see this, er, post). But I feel like this image shows a much younger Strawberry than he was in 1990. Possibly many years earlier as a similar outfit, complete with white undershirt, appeared on his 1984 Donruss baseball card. Or from his 1985 Topps First Round Draft picks era.  You get the point. 

The card back is problematic, namely for the Dugout Quiz. Why would Topps include a quiz on the back of a black player whose answer is Kenesaw Mountain Landis less than six months after Landis' name was removed from the MVP award?  Topps just cannot keep out of their own way and I'm willing to bet there are at least twenty million other baseball related quizzes they might have done instead. 

Players I most dislike, National League Central:

Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel
Cincinnati Reds: Nick Castellanos 
Milwaukee Brewers: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Pittsburgh Pirates: N/A
St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina

I feel a failure about the Pirates but I'm just so completely unmoved by their lineup. Plus, they have a beautiful ballpark.

Monday, April 12, 2021

HOF Pee Wee Reese

Today's Final Topps card for a Hall of Famer is Pee Wee Reese! Reese retired after the 1958 season but wasn't enshrined in the Hall until the Veteran's Committee voted him in in 1984.  Like many, Reese missed time in the early-to-mid 1940s due to the War. Not WAR, but the War. 

With the exception of his final year in Los Angeles, Reese played his entire career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a 10-time All-Star and was on the 1955 World Series winning team. His 1953 Bowman card is amongst the best cards ever made. It should be a required card in every collector's collection, along with the 1957 Ted Kluszewski.

I'm not totally in love with his career stats, to be honest. Offensively speaking. I looked at his fielding and he wasn't really that impressive either. Created a lot of errors. Compared to Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, he made more than 100 more errors in three fewer seasons. And looking at his "Similarity Scores" on Baseball Reference, he's average. There's only one other Hall of Famer in the top 10 similar players: Alan Trammell, and he's a questionable Hall of Famer, himself.  So...

This week we'll focus on the National players I dislike the most: National League East:

Atlanta Braves: Dansby Swanson
Miami Marlins: Jesús Aguilar
New York Mets: Michael Conforto
Philadelphia Phillies: Jean Segura
Washington Nations: Erick Fedde

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Friday, April 9, 2021

John Kruk: 1994 Fleer Extra Bases

Hello! Happy Friday. This is the 1994 Fleer Extra Bases card for John Kruk. A nice mix of home and away photographs here, both showing Kruk at the plate. 

I had never heard of this set before. It's a 400 card set of oversized cards: 2 1/2" x 4 11/16".

The patch on Kruk's sleeve is the 125th Anniversary patch for MLB, which was issued for the 1994 season. Which means these images were likely taken early in the season. Extra Bases was issued in August 1994. There were articles that ran on the set that were published in the Daily News and the Baltimore Sun, to name two newspapers. The Sun even had a Card of the Week feature!

Tell me, do you have any of these cards in your set?

Least Favorite Player: AL West
Houston Astros: Alex Bregman
Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim: Jose Iglesias
Oakland A's: Elvis Andrus
Seattle Mariners: Brock Holt
Texas Rangers: It was Rougned Odor when I drafted this post, but the Rangers got sense and pawned him off on the Yankees, who will DFA him by the All-Star break, so I'll go with the poor-man's Dansby Swanson: Charlie Culberson. 

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1998 Pacific Online

When I first heard of 1998's Pacific Online card, I thought it was one of those hideously stupid digital cards, like Bunt. But, I was wrong because it's a physical card and I was taken back to 1998 myself when I thought Netscape and Yahoo were the most amazing search engines. I guess there was no place to go but up.

This is Darryl Strawberry's card for that set. 

I love the url listed on the card but it's not secure. Sheesh. And the url isn't even valid any longer. Using the Internet Archive's Way Back machine, I visited the site. There were three captures in the year 2000, but none of them was very revealing. There were 17 captures for the base website But, again, nothing was really loading so it was really disappointing.  Maybe I wasn't doing something right? 

Least Favorite Players AL Central:

Chicago White Sox: Adam Easton
Cleveland Indians: Cesar Hernandez
Detroit Tigers: Nomar Mazara
Kansas City Royals: Andrew Benintendi
Minnesota Twins: Josh Donaldson

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