Friday, March 27, 2020

A Tale of Two Krukkies

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…

Of course Charles Dickens was writing about the future in his post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi novel about John Kruk's career in San Diego versus Philadelphia as represented here in his 1989 Topps Tiffany and 1991 Classic III baseball cards.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

1992 High 5 Reusable Decals

This product is called a High 5 Reusable Decal. What I didn't realize until now is that it's the prototype and not the actual sticker. It was published in 1992. I'm not really sure what High 5 is or was. There were 130 stickers in the inaugural set. It appears it was the only set as I couldn't find one for 1993-5. Then I gave up.

Who's with me: Bring back wearing two hats! I wonder if there is a collector out there who just collects baseball cards where the player is wearing his field cap and batting helmet? 

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Monday, March 23, 2020

HOF Ozzie Smith

Ozzie Smith was, for his generation, Derek Jeter. But I actually think he was better than Derek Jeter. If you get a boner for WAR, Smith's was 3.5 WAR higher. 

15 times he was an All-Star
He won a single World Series (1982, much to the then American League Brewers chagrin)
13 time Gold Glove Winner
And he was the NLCS MVP.

His card lists "Padre" for 1981. I think they needed the "s" for all the references to Split Season.

Smith broke in with the Padres, just like Dave Winfield, though in 1978. He left after the 1981 season to go play in St. Louis where he finished his career 15 years later, retiring  in mid-season in 1996. Like Winfield, this card does not feature his full stats since the 82 games he played in 1996 aren't featured here.  (Smith was excluded from 1997's Topps set). 

Smith bafflingly won a Silver Slugger award in 1987 for hitting .303 with 0 home runs. Remind me again of the criteria to win the award? That's right, you can't. Smith's 182 total hits (many singles, 40 doubles, and 4 triples) didn't even lead the league. 

Smith was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2002 on his first ballot with 91.7% of the vote. He was the sole inductee that year.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

John Kruk Sportflics

Well, there is a lot going on in this 1987 Padres Team Sportflics card. The scan is just a mess but that's just fine. A lot of players are featured here but the most important one, the reason I got it, is obviously John Kruk. The other players in there are: Randy Asadoor, Steve Garvey, Tony Gwynn, Andy Hawkins, Jimmy Jones, Craig Lefferts, Shane Mack, Lance McCullers, Kevin Mitchell, Benito Santiago, and Ed Wojna. Should I start saying Lance McCullers, Sr.?

Then there is 1994's Sportflics 2000. A look to the future?

Scanning these cards is almost pointless because they do look a big fugly. In fact, I think Sportflics cards made for GIFing. If I knew how to do that I might try. But I'm a GIF virgin.

Do you store your Sportflics cards (or other lenticular beasts) in any special way to encourage them to stay as true and flat as possible?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

1988 Playball America

Uh-oh! Looks like I've done it again! This fancy card has white text on a black back. That's mixing it up a bit. That's challenging innovation and showing a conscientious effort! But at least this Broder-style card has Strawberry wearing the beautiful blue and orange and white of the Mets and not that West Coast team that ruined him. 

One of the things that lead to my leaving baseball card collecting, and general fandom, was when Darryl Strawberry left New York to go west. It really broke my teen-aged heart. Maybe it had to do with girls or friends, too. But I know Strawberry's not being in New York was a contributing factor.

What's more distressing for you to experience regarding a professional sports player you like? That s/he goes, simply, to another team. Or, that they go, specifically, to your mortal enemy team?

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Monday, March 16, 2020

HOF Dave Winfield

I used to regularly post beer on the blog. I don't think it was that popular, so I've decided to bring it back. 

These six beauties are:
Three Heads Brewing: The Kind (IPA, bottle, 6/8%)
Genesee Brewing Company: Spring Bock (German Bock, can, 5.2%)
Founders: Mosaic Promise (APA, can, 5.5%)
Brewdog Elvis Juice (IPA, can, 6.5%)
Sloop Brewing: Super Soft (IPA, can, 6%)
Sly Fox: Softly Falling Darkness (Oatmeal Stout, can, 5.9%)

The Super Soft has to be one of the absolute best can designs I've ever seen. I'll think of both Charmin and Care Bears when I drink it, as well as unicorns, rainbows, and show ponies. NE hazy IPA's are generally repulsive, but I thought I'd give it a go. 

Now for a baseball card.

Recently got this 1995 Topps Dave Winfield card for my Hall of Fame project, which, since it has been a while since I posted something about it, I will remind you that the project is to have the last base Topps card (if possible) of each Hall of Fame player. The project if faulty, I'll admit, because sometimes Topps didn't issue a card for a player with their last year's stats on it. Dave Winfield is a prime example because although he appeared in 46 games in 1995, he was not given the courtesy of a 1996 Topps card.

Dave Winfield played baseball for 22 seasons, breaking into the big leagues in 1973 for the San Diego Padres. After the 1980 season, he left the Padres and the National League for good playing for the Yankees (most notably) as well as the Angels, Blue Jays, Twins, and Indians.

His smile is among the most infectious in baseball.

Winfield was a 12 time All-Star, a 1992 Word Series Champion with the Blue Jays, won 7 Gold Gloves, 6 Silver Sluggers, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001, which was his first ballot. Winfield went in with Kirby Puckett, Bill Mazeroski, and Hilton Smith. Mazeroski and Smith were selected by Veterans.

The best thing about collecting Hall of Fame Players last cards is that you can get them very reasonably priced. On average I pay less than .20 cents per card. Am I cheap? Or am I practical?

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Friday, March 13, 2020

John Kruk 1995

This is John Kruk's 1995 Ultra (by Fleer) card. Believe it or not I got it in November last year.  

By the time this card was issued, Kruk was a free agent, but he later took his awesomeness to Chicago (AL)---signing for $1,000,000 on May 18, 1995---for the last year of his career. It's a shame he couldn't have finished things out in Philly. He played in 45 games, the last of which was on July 30th. (He went 1-1 with a single as the DH and was pinch hit for by Frank Thomas.) He then retired. I like, a lot, some of his stats. Career games: 1200. Career home runs: 100. Career Batting Average: .300. Solid. 

In 1994 Kruk played in just 75 games for the Phillies. He had four stolen bases and a .302 average.  1994 broke his streak of three consecutive All-Star games. 

Not sure how I feel about the card back photo of him wearing glasses. They just look weird. The vital stats are kind of hidden by his head and left shoulders. The inset color photograph is weird. The color of the back of the card also interferes with the clarity of reading the stats. Even the blue is too close to the gray. On the whole, Ultra let me down. 

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