Friday, July 31, 2020

John Kruk: 1989 Fleer Glossy

One of the more confused Faces of John Kruk. I always know he was on the Padres for a few years but yet somehow seem most to associate him with the Phillies. Which is probably normal.

Fleer Glossy (Flossy, if one is prone to portmanteau-ing) is, for me, one of the harder parallels to discern. Here is John Kruk's 1989 Fleer Glossy card. Don't you feel better for seeing it? 

Frankly these kinds of things are, well, kind of annoying. I prefer truly discernible differences in parallel sets. I daresay I even think color parallels are better. I'm biting my tongue. I'm mad at myself for feeling that way. I guess Fleer Glossy is supposed to be like Topps Tiffany? Maybe?

How'd the first week of baseball go for you? Are you happy about it? Frustrated? 

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1992 Panini Sticker

Hi. How are you? I'm doing all right, thanks. 

1992 Panini Stickers. Looks like a shark might have gotten at the left hand side of the sticker! Or, it was cut with fun scissors. Darryl wit his classic stance and leg kick in lamentable Dodgers gray. 

Panini here has put some kind of game on the back of it. At least, I think it is a game? It could be the outcome of the at-bat depicted in the sticker, too. I suppose.

Darryl Strawberry wore 44 in LA. Likely in homage to his friend Eric Davis. But when Davis joined the Dodgers for 1992 and (part of) 1993, rather than give up the number, Davis took 33. Davis' tenure in LA was pretty abysmal, following a pretty crummy 1991 in Cincinnati. Though his 1993 campaign was better as he seemed healthier. But for as bad as Davis, was, Strawberry was worse in 1992. It's safe to say that experience (that hope!) pretty much failed for the franchise. Crikey, looking again at Strawberry's years from 1992 to 1997 is just depressing.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

HOF Willie McCovey

The (other) Willie, Mickey, and the Duke....

Willie McCovey is synonymous with the San Francisco Giants. With the exception of a three year trial separation between San Diego and Oakland in the mid-1970s, he was a lifelong Giants.  His best three year period was 1968 to 1970 and saw him win his only MVP award in '69. McCovey was also a Rookie of the Year and a six-time All-Star, winning the MVP of one of those mid-summer classics. Mid-summer Classics. The All-Star game is still played in "mid"-summer (actually, it's early summer... mid-summer would technically be in August), but it's hardly a classic.

McCovey played some games (48) in 1980 but wasn't in Topps' 1981 set. Which I think makes sense as 48 games isn't even half of a season. Things I love about this card in addition to the design are his warm-up jacket which is straight-aces, and the batting cage net that's just visible like a spider web seen from the right angle.

McCovey was voted in on his first ballot in 1986 and received 81.4% of the vote. Not overwhelming, but enough. His 521 career home runs is tied with Frank Thomas and Ted Williams. I was a little dismayed to see McCovey's RBI total at 1555. That doesn't feel like a ton. Compared, at least, to Frank Thomas and Ted Williams who both had at least 149 more RBI.

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Friday, July 24, 2020

John Kruk: 1989 Bowman Tiffany

I wonder if anyone with the surname Tiffany has ever named their kid Bowman (or Topps)? Wondering this probably means I have too much time on my hands. 

This is John Kruk's 1989 Bowman card, the Tiffany edition. So it's much brighter. I know some people aren't a fan of the card back breakdown of stats but I particularly like it. I do prefer the standard card backs, but this one is kind of nice. 

A lot of people also don't like the Bowman size. I don't mind it, but I do prefer the standard card size. I wonder when Topps decided to resurrect the Bowman brand? Because I sometimes think that Topps Big, which debuted in 1988, might have been a trial run? In fact, Topps Big appears to be a fraction bigger than Bowman (Big is 2 5/8" x 3 3/4"; Bowman is 2 1/2" x 3 3/4", according to Trading Card Database). People complained enough about the size of Bowman so that for their 1990 issue, the cards were reduced to standard size. Yet Topps Big remained, well, Big. Though it was cancelled after just three years.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1992 MooTown Snackers

This is the 1992 MooTown Snackers baseball card for Darryl Strawberry. Interesting that they list the full team name down in the bottom right but that they had to airbrush out the team logo on the batting helmet and team name off the jersey. Even Strawberry's Number 44 looks a bit different.

MooTown Snackers is product of Sargento cheese and was launched in 1988. It appears to be a cheese stick, like Poly-O String cheese in shape, and maybe in nature. I was hoping it was more junk food-y.

The card opens up and this is what is inside. Nice facsimile signature, career stats, some vitals, and then the checklist featuring mostly really good players. Maas and Jose are the two that I question the most. 
MooTown Snackers also produced baseball cards in 1991. It was a 24 card set but didn't include Strawberry, which is rude.

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Monday, July 20, 2020

HOF Willie Stargell

Willie Stargell. A star giver, beautiful facsimile signature on this card. Willie was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1988, the first year that he appeared on the ballot, getting 82.4% of the votes. This is his final Topps card, issued in 1982. 

It seems after the 1979 World Series victory against the Orioles, Stargell was more often than not not in the lineup, appearing in 67, 38, and 74 games, respectively, in 1980, 1981, and 1982. Even with playing nearly half of a season, he did not do enough to earn a 1983 Topps card.

In his 21 years, all admirably with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Stargell won an MVP, two World Series, was a 7 time All-Star, and a World Series MVP, among other things. His 17 stolen bases are a bit disappointing. Although his prime years seem to have been 1971-1973, it wasn't until 1979 that he was awarded his MVP. He did nearly win, appearing 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd when all was said and done in MVP voting in those prime years.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

John Kruk: 1988 Topps Tiffany & a Rant on Spin Rate

Delicious baseball card. So delicious in fact I'm fairly certain just before the picture was taken that John Kruk finished off his helmet nachos to put that plastic cap on his noggin. You can even see, about the interlocking SD logo on his warm-up jacket, some yellowish color which is probably residue from the cheese on his fingers. 

Topps Tiffany needs no introduction. But does anyone know this: were they ever sold in packs? Or, are all the Topps Tiffany singles you see for sale out there from broken factory sets? 

One thing I LOVE about the 1988 Topps set is the baseballs on the back of the card. In fact, one might go so far as to say this card captures the spin rate. Interesting on the surface, Spin Rate is among those advance stats that have very little relevance or use to me because it's measuring the wrong thing. Spin Rate measures
A pitcher's Spin Rate represents the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute. The amount of spin on a pitch changes its trajectory. The same pitch thrown at the same Velocity will end up in a different place depending on how much it spins.
The reason that I have an issue with Spin Rate in large part is that it is measure in RPM (revolutions per minute). That's absolutely useless, frivolous, and crap information. Why? Because the ball will never me moving for a minute. And if it's like a fastball or any other pitch that is affected by something called gravity and slows down from the moment it leaves the pitcher's hand, then the RPM Spin Rate measures, by extension, will also slow up. Right? Is that calculated in it?

What would be more interesting to me, and perhaps even useful, is if it measured the actual number of spins in the time it too to reach either the bat or the catcher's mitt. In fact, something called "Pitch Time"--which would time the exact number of seconds or partial seconds it takes the ball the reach the bat or mitt---would be extraordinarily useful. It's "real".  Spin rate, in RPM, is not real.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Darryl Strawberry 1992 Confex Baseball Enquirer

This is a terrible "baseball" card. It's ugly. It bears little to no resemblance to the player (Darryl Strawberry). It was produced by something called Confex Baseball Enquirer and is a 64 card set. Strawberry is listed in the set as being on the New York Mets, though by this point he was on the Dodgers. called this a "parody" set. I guess so. Buy from him or Sportlots if you're interested in these cards and not from COMC because COMC will rip you off. 

Some packs are on eBay and they have printed on them that it's "mystery interview cards". Whatever.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

HOF Johnny Bench

The fact that Johnny Bench's last Topps card, for the 1983 set, has a wax stain on it makes this card very much more awesome than it would otherwise be. It show Bench at bat, in his visitor's grays, with fun colors of pink and yellow (ish). Maybe they aren't pink and yellow but that's what they look like to me. I ain't no colorologist. 

Johnny Bench was elected into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1989, receiving 96.4% of votes. That's, for all intents and purposes, a unanimous selection. He was a Rookie of the Year, 2-time MVP (1970 and 1972), 14-time All-Star, 2-time World Series winner, a World Series MVP, and a 10-time Gold Glover.

Bench led the league three times in Sacrifice Flies. He led the once in intentional walks and that was in the same year he won an MVP (1972). It's probably the only reason why he won the MVP that year. Or maybe his 40 home runs and 125 RBI had a little something to do with it.

I normally think of him as a catcher, but he got around. Like a lot. He played seven different positions in his career: Catcher, First Base, Third Base, Left/Right/Centerfield, and, generically, Outfield. The majority of his games, 1742, came as catcher. In 1972, he played 2 games in Centerfield and then they realized that even though he had three chances and 3 putouts, Bench shouldn't play Centerfield. 

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Friday, July 10, 2020

P-Town Tom Does It Again

Waitin' Til Next Year blogger P-Town Tom sent me another surprise PWE in the mail and again, basing his kind act on my Google sheets list of cards. Thank you Tom! This one consisted of four John Kruk cards.

2013 Allen and Ginter (which you will undoubtedly remember was featured in last Friday's blog post as being a card that Mark sent me)

2013 Gypsy Queen Mini

2012 Goodwin Champions Mini

A far better rendition of of Kruk than of Strawberry, which was discussed also in last weeks post about cards from Mark.

1995 Collector's Choice

What's kind of funny is that within a week, two different hobby-collector-friends both sent me Allen and Ginter and Goodwin Champions cards of one of my favorite players. Has that ever happened to you?

Thanks Tom!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1992 7-Eleven Coins

Nothing says Summer like Baseball. Even during a pandemic, I still think this season and baseball are synonymous. In addition, nothing brings back really awesome fond memories of summer than 7-Eleven Slurpee coins. We collected these like madmen and would walk, run, or bike from our house the .8 miles to the closest one. So many happy memories. But by the time this 1992 Darryl Strawberry coin was issued I wasn't in the hobby anymore. I was just graduated from high school and more focused on other things. 

Did you go in for Slurpee coins when you were a kid? Did you mix flavors to concoct weird-ass combinations?

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Monday, July 6, 2020

HOF Gaylord Perry

I do not remember much about the Boy Scouts. I remember we met in the basement of a church located next to my elementary school. I remember doing those wooden car races. I remember scoffing at the idea of camping. But what I remember most was trading baseball cards and one of them being Gaylord Perry's 1983 Topps card.

Perry had a 22 year career. Are any starting pitchers these days going to have that kind of endurance? To pitch 22 years and amass a total of 5,350 innings? That's an average of 243.18 innings per year. No league leader in Innings Pitched has exceeded 243 since 2014 when Johnny Cueto and David Price both did it. And he pitched more than 300 innings six times. There hasn't been a 300 Innings Pitched guy since Steve Carlton in 1980. I would like to see someone pitch 1 inning exactly in every game of the year. 

Perry won two Cy Young awards (1972 and 1978), was a five time All-Star, and pitched for eight teams in the AL and NL. He won a total of 314 games. Wins matter. Do you think they do?

In 1983, he was released mid-season by the Mariners and signed in early July with the Royals with whom his career ended after going 4-4 with them. Gaylord Perry appeared in the postseason just once! In 1971.

How about a quiz?  This is from a school in Massachusetts from April 1946.

Answers next Monday!

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Cards from Fuji

Mark, bka San Jose Fuji, sent me two PWE's recently. The first contained a single card of 1987 Fleer All-Star Kirby Puckett. A very happy looking card.

The second envelope had 16 cards in it. All of John Kruk and Darryl Strawberry. Although I am grateful for all of them, 14 of them will be passed along to fellow collectors eventually as they are dupes. But two were new.

First up is the 2013 Allen and Ginter John Kruk. A decent likeness to the guy.

The second is Upper Deck's Goodwin Champion of Darryl Strawberry, also from 2013.

This card is not a decent likeness of Strawberry. In fact, I'm going to go so far as to sound ungrateful enough by saying it's a hideous, heinous representation of the player. Now, I'm not a jerk--I may sound like one often, but I am not one--so please don't think me one, Mark! I am grateful to have this card. I didn't even know about it until I saw it.

Thanks Mark!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1990 Panini Stickers

This it the 1990 Panini Darryl Strawberry sticker. It's a sharp, bright, clear photograph and the team name and player name are nicely rendered. The baseball is very nice, and I really like the color bar on the team name. I guess since this is a blog in which I complain regularly, I think I wished the color bar matched the team colors. But, that's grasping because I think the yellow to teal(?) has a really nice and fresh look to it.

Goodness those Mets uniforms were gorgeous.

I'm not really sure what "double stickers" are. Do you? And do you or did you agree that "Trading double stickers with your friends is fun"?

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