Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1991 Allan Kayes

More and more cards are available to us now because of awesome websites like the Trading Card Database. Sure it can be a little difficult when endless variations are added which then sends you back to look at your cards (a joy) or to a website to try to find other cards with or without a comma, a period, an asterisk (sometimes not a joy). 

But this 1991 Allan Kaye's card was one of those cards I never knew existed; but it coincides with when I was in the process of leaving the hobby in 1991. 

Allan Kaye's was a Sports Cards News & Price Guides and they included cards in the periodical similar to what SI For Kids was doing, among others. 

This card appears to be at Shea Stadium; not the first such Strawberry card that year to feature him as a visitor in his former home park. 

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Monday, March 29, 2021

HOF George Kell

George Kell! 1958 Topps! This is a nice looking set. The design is relatively simple with the name in big font at the top, followed below on a colored bar which includes the player position and team. It's simple, it's nice. Kell's face is a bit washed out or faded away in this card example I have, but when selecting it I wanted something that was more or less centered and what I mean by that is that there is at least some respectable border on all four sides of the card.

In his 15 year career, Kell was a ten-time All-Star and won a batting title in 1949 when he batted .343. His "best" year was 1950 when he finished fourth in the MVP race behind last weeks card Phil Rizzuto, Billy Goodman (who?), and Yogi Berra.  

Another guy who was voted in by the Veterans committee, George Kell was elected in 1983, along with Manager Walter Alston and BBWAA guys Brooks Robinson and Juan Marichal. Kell played for five teams in his big league career: Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, and, as depicted here, the Baltimore Orioles. 

I like this card. I'm glad to have it as part of my last-Topps-card-of-all-MLB-Hall-of-Famers, but I'm not really certainly, reviewing his stats, that I think he's an all-time great. 

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Friday, March 26, 2021

John Kruk: 1989 Topps Traded Tiffany

In 1989, John Kruk was traded from the Padres to the Phillies on June 2nd. He and Randy Ready were exchanged for something called Chris James. 

The Phillies "won" this trade.

However, the next Topps card for John Kruk has to be amongst the worst positioned card as well as the worst photographs, of all time. Everything about it is awkward.

Behold the 1989 Topps Traded card. This is is apparently the Tiffany edition though how to tell the different between it and the regular traded release, which was typically done on better card stock than the base set.

Just awful.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1987 Action Superstars

I'm repulsed and attracted by these "Broder" style cards. The card backs are an exercise in minmalism. The card front vary a bit in quality but they all have something about them that is completely amateur but also fairly unique. 

This the 1987 Action Superstars card for Darryl Strawberry. 

This is an interview card, as you can see the hands and microphone of someone in the dugout with him. It looks like a spring training kind of atmosphere, and many of the Broder type cards were taken in February and March in the warmer climes.

I'm ok, strangely, with alternate home and away jerseys for Spring Training. But the thing I balk about appreciating is the different hats they seem to have to wear now. I loathe them. Like the Dodgers D hats I find to be heinous. As well, anything green for St. Patrick's Day (unless green is your teams color anyway). But we've already established, I think, that I apparently am old and don't like "fun". 

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Monday, March 22, 2021

HOF Phil Rizzuto

Good Monday to you! Another Veterans Committee inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame was Phil Rizzuto, elected with the class of 1994. Rizzuto's career, which came to an end in 1956, saw him win one MVP (1950), a five-time All-Star, and as many World Series wins as Tom Brady has won Super Bowls (to date). (That's seven.) (That's impressive). Rizzuto broke into the Major Leagues in 1941 but he missed three seasons (1943, 1944, 1945) to military service. He played his entire career with the New York Yankees. He was dominant in the league, from 1949 to 1952, in sacrifice hits! His standard and traditional stats also indicates that he lead the league in hit by pitches with 8 in 1947. 

This is is final Topps card from 1956. A beautiful card in a beautiful set. And, obviously, this is a reprint (issued in 2011). 

Do I like having to resort to reprints? No, but it seemed the best way to acquire a card--even a facsimile--that was frankly way more pricey than I was comfortable spending. And at .18 cents, well, it's a nice placeholder until, maybe one day, when I'll get a real one, even if it's in poor to fair condition. 

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Friday, March 19, 2021

John Kruk: 1988 Red Foley

Hi. My name is John Kruk. I'm a whole San Diego Padres baseball player. I come from West Virginia, which is very different from California.

Would you Swipe left or swipe right?

I swiped, as it were, if you will, "Add to cart." 

This is John Kruk's 1988 Red Foley sticker. Compare this to the 1989 version. You can see him morphing---before your very eyes---into what he would eventually become, which is an nearly indescribable creature-beast. 

To be honest I do not know why I scan the backs of the stickers, or of anything, really, that is content-less. Do you scan them too?

Crickey he looks wholesome!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Hard Learnin' by Darryl Strawberry

In early 1990, Darryl Strawberry was admitted to an alcoholics clinic to help him recover from some dependency. He was in the process of writing, with Don Gold, a book that was published in December of that year entitled Hard Learnin'. By 1992 it was already out of print, and Strawberry was at work on another book, this one with Art Rust, Jr. It was published in 1993 under the title Darryl. I got a signed copy of that a few years ago for Christmas

I just read Hard Learnin', having just also learned about it! As I was reading it I felt the feeling that a lot of it was familiar and it is the case that there is some decent overlap between it and Darryl.  My guess is the book was a result of his monster 1988 year and it seems to follow the disappointing 1989 season closely. Fortunately his1990 season, the option year with the Mets leading into Free Agency, was a bounce back year for him.

Not sure when this was issued, but Mark Hoyle sent me this circa 1980s or very early 1990s tag back in November and I don't think I've showed it off on the blog before. I did pimp it on Twitter, but that's not the same thing. 

There is another version of the card of him in a Dodgers uniform which, like this, as been airbrushed and what not to remove logos, team names, etc. But, I gotta tell ya, nothing beats this home NY Mets uniform. Classic colors, lines. There are some gloves out there for sale on eBay and other sites, but I don't think I'm that kind of collector.

Darryl Strawberry was one of the best players in baseball for a time, and that lead him to be included in the 1990 Hottest 50 Players Stickers set. 

Weird they include six stadiums (Dodger, Shea, Three Rivers, Tiger, Jack Murphy, and Yankee) as some of the hottest "players". But I guess maybe stadiums have their own personality. Unlike the sticker back.

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Monday, March 15, 2021

HOF John Mize

Multiple lines of stats wasn't really a thing when Topps first started doing baseball cards. Their sophomore major release, in 1953, is no exception. 1953 Topps is a beautiful set. The card front has player name, position and team, as well as a logo. And that Yankees logo is classic. The artwork of the card itself is actual artwork and it's stunningly rendered. So we can admire a card like this for all of its beauty. The back of the card has a lot going for it and it's awesome, but to fully appreciate Mize with regards to his career, I suppose one must rely on the Interwebs.

Johnny "John" Mize was a 10-time All-Star, a five-time World Series champion (all with the Yankees from 1949 to 1953), and won a batting title in 1939. He missed the years 1943-1945 due to military service like so many others. A hero on the baseball field, and a hero for the country more importantly. He was purchased by the Yankees in 1949 as they were going down the stretch.  Like last weeks player Hal Newhouser, Mize was a Veterans Committee inductee to the hall of fame and he went in om 1981.

He played his career for three teams: St Louis Cardinals, the New York Giants, and the New York Yankees. The below is his final Topps base card, issued in 1953 in a season that saw him play in 81 games. Mize retired from baseball in October 1953.

Mize's next baseball card appearance after this was as a Greats by Fleer in 1960. He was holding about 17,982 bats in that card.  Topps reprinted their iconic 1953 set in 1991 when Topps Archives was launched. Here is an excellent podcast on that set by Wax Ecstatic.

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Friday, March 12, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: Topps Gold Label Class Cards

Today is Darryl Strawberry's 59th Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Strawberry!

I recently decided to treat myself the the 2016 Topps Gold Label Class 3 card which is the rarest of these Gold Label class issues. Last week I showed off Class 2. This is from 2016. 

Strawberry was included in the 2020 issue of the Gold Label set, which I did not know about until recently, and I was able to get all three classes, below, for less than the price of this one here.

The 2020 edition of the card looks fairly similar to me as the 2016 version. Two images of Strawberry but with more elements of Photoshop being employed. The same image in Class 1, of Strawberry throwing, was used in his 2016 Class 1 card. But the images on Classes 2 and 3 are different. 

I do like the juxtaposition of the home and away uniforms in these cards. The merging of black and white with the color image is neat. The factoid about Strawberry being the sole player in MLB history (by one stolen base) to have at least 250 home runs and 180 stolen bases in their first eight years is a fun thing to know. 

Thanks for stopping by! And, again, Happy Birthday, Mr. Strawberry. Thank you for your career in baseball and your post-career being a voice of inspiration. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

John Kruk: 1988 Pacific Cards & Comics Big League All-Stars Series 2

Normally I post a Kruk card on Friday, and a Strawberry card on Wednesday, but I'm doing this today because Friday is a special day for Strawberry which normally includes candles and cakes. 

Last year was a record year, it seems, for baseball cards. I know I got hundreds of new cards in for my PCs. This is one of them: 1988 Pacific Cards & Comics Big League All-Stars Series 2. It is an unlicensed set of ten cards which includes Wade Boggs, Mark McGwire, Eric Davis, Mike Greenwell, Kirby Puckett, Kevin Seitzer, Don Mattingly, Will Clark, Jose Canseco. Some of the biggest names in the game at the time.  

There were four series total each containing 10 cards. Lots of repeat players, but also some single appearances by guys like Darryl Strawberry (which I realize I'm missing!), Rickey Henderson, Sam Horn, Bobby Bonilla, Ellis Burks, and Mark Grace, to name some of them. 

The Kruk card is nice as I really like the batting practice net behind him as well as the no-covering over the ears/face helmet. 

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Monday, March 8, 2021

HOF Hal Newhouser

Hello. Last year I got a ton of cards for my Topps Hall of Fame project, which is, if you need reminding, to collect the last Topps card of all MLB players that were voted into the Hall of Fame. This is a beautiful card from 1955 of Hal Newhouser of the Cleveland Indians. 

Newhouser was elected into the HOF in 1992 by the Veterans committee. He played 15 years with Detroit and 2 with the Indians. He was a two-time MVP winner in back-to-back years (1944, 1945), won a Triple Crown, was a 7-time All-Star, won a couple of ERA titles, and won the World Series with the Tigers in 1945. His peak years for traditional stats seemed to have been from 1943 to 1949.  He was runner-up for MVP in 1946, so he nearly won three straight. Impressive stuff. 

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Friday, March 5, 2021

John Kruk: 2006 SP Legendary Cuts When It Was a Game

Last week I showed off John Kruk's 2006 SP Legendary Cuts. This week I'm showing off the When It Was a Game Silver insert card

This particular card is SN455 out of 550. The card is rather busy; gaudy, even, but I think overall I like it. 

The When It Was a Game name is interesting. Baseball is still a game but it's a quite different game to when Kruk was playing ball. Mostly I think due to analytics, which is ruining this fans enjoyment. It's a flippin' game. Your swings and misses and hits...they don't really mean anything. Sometimes I don't know how they can be proud with the product they're putting out. 

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2016 Topps Gold Label Class 2

To be honest I do not have any idea what Gold Label is or why there are three classes of them. Is a class basically a series? Anything with "Gold Label" should be, I think, high end. But these cards feel much like any other run of the mill cards Topps produces. 

This is an example of Class 2 for the year 2016 for Darry Strawberry. I got Class 1 from Cards on Cards Kerry back in 2017. 

I've just treated myself to Class 3 for 2016, and all three classes for 2020. So, even though I suspect the cards will look and feel Topps Lazy, I'll show those off when they arrive. 

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Monday, March 1, 2021

HOF Tom Glavine

How many times have teammates, who dominated together, been inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same year? Tom Glavine went in with his teammate Greg Maddux (highlighted last week). He received, in his first year of eligibility, 91.9% of the vote. About 6% less than Maddux, and about 8% more than Frank Thomas, who also went in in 2014. 

Glavine, like Maddux, strayed from the Braves for a time, playing five years for the Mets. But he played more than three times that number of years, 17, with the Braves. He returned to the Braves for his last year, 2008. The card shown here is his 2008 Topps card. Homeboy went 2-4 in 13 games with the Braves in 2008. But he didn't officially retired until February 2010. He clearly, then, went unsigned for a season or so.

Glavine won 2 Cy Young Awards (1991, 1998), a 10-time All-Star, won the World Series in 1995 and was named MVP of it, and was a 4-time Silver Slugger award. I'm sure they still give out Silver Sluggers for pitchers, but I don't know why. His first Silver Slugger was awarded when he batter .230 with 17 hits, one double, and six RBI. Nice going!

Glavine amassed 2607 career strikeouts but never lead the league in that category. 

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