Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Joey Cora 1993 Topps Variations

My quest to collect as many copies of every Joey Cora card ever would be so much easier if his career took place ten years earlier than it did. As it played out, the second half of his career was chock-full of parallels and inserts. The parallel craze took off with Topps Gold in 1992 and they brought it back for a sophomore season. Along with Topps Gold, it was also the second season of Topps Micro, although it's not considered a parallel. The Micro cards were only sold in complete sets, as were the cards stamped with the Rockies and Marlins inaugural logos in gold foil. Topps would repeat this in 1998 with sets stamped with Diamondbacks and Devil Rays logos, but that's a post for another day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

51 Photographs

Trevor Hoffman is no stranger to great baseball cards. He's been pictured signing, bunting, and wearing catcher's gear, among other things. Hoffman's 1998 Upper Deck Collector's Choice All-Star card might be the best of the bunch. Trevor seems to be enjoying himself immensely, which makes me wonder even more what he's focusing in on. There's a nearly-endless array of possibilities, but in honor of his uniform number I'll narrow it down to my 51 best guesses as to what he's snapping pics of.
  1. Teammate and fellow All-Star Tony Gwynn
  2. A kid. The scoreboard does note that it's Kids Day.
  3. Fellow All-Star pitcher and pro photographer Randy Johnson.
  4. The San Diego Chicken
  5. The Swinging Friar
  6. Greg Vaughn, in his first full season with the Padres
  7. Legendary broadcaster, former player, and war hero Jerry Coleman
  8. Gary Coleman
  9. The photographer whose camera that is
  10. His wife Tracy
  11. Former Friar and fellow 1997 All-Star Joey Cora
  12. A locally stationed member of the Marine Corps.
  13. Then-current San Diego mayor Susan Golding
  14. Chargers legend Junior Seau
  15. Padres owner John Moores
  16. Padres manager Bruce Bochy
  17. A local businessperson trying to impress a client
  18. Then-Padres broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe
  19. Ron Burgundy
  20. The Padres' dugout
  21. The opposing team's dugout
  22. Thirteen-year-old San Diego resident Cole Hamels
  23. Harry the Heckler
  24. Hall of Famer and former Friar Willie McCovey
  25. Padres beat writer Bill Center
  26. The press box
  27. ESPN loudmouth Chris Berman
  28. Archi Cianfrocco looking for his first baseman's mitt among his five other gloves
  29. Elvis
  30. Tupac
  31. Joan Embery from the San Diego Zoo
  32. Former Vice President Dan Quayle
  33. Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath with two groupies
  34. The grounds crew
  35. Clean-shaven rookie first baseman Derrek Lee
  36. California governor Pete Wilson
  37. Beach Boys member Brian Wilson
  38. Occasional Beach Boys member John Stamos
  39. Teammate Joey Hamilton signing autographs
  40. Teammate Ken Caminiti eating a Snickers bar
  41. Winners of a local radio contest
  42. Fernando Valenzuela serving as a translator for a younger teammate
  43. Weighted bats in the on-deck circle
  44. Third base coach Tim Flannery tying his shoes
  45. Rickey Henderson stretching
  46. A security guard catching someone trying to sneak onto the field
  47. Bullpen coach Greg Booker working with Tim Worrell on his grip
  48. Local golfer Phil Mickelson
  49. Two visiting Giants fans smoking a joint while another one watches out for security
  50. An usher showing people to their seats
  51. Outfielder Ruben Rivera trying to sell Archi Cianfrocco's first baseman's mitt

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bips & Brackets

It's still Bip Roberts's fiftieth birthday on the west coast, so I'm sneaking this post in right under the wire. I also did a post about Bip over at Gaslamp Ball earlier today. It's a card post; I picked out 10 cards of him with the Padres. Ten, of course, because of his uniform number.

Since Bip is pictured here with the Reds, that gives me a legitimate segue into talking about Nacho Grande's Blogger Bracket Challenge. Round 0 was  fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what my prompt card is for the first round of bracket play; the unveiling will be at 7:30am. I'm glad he had this contest because it has gotten me writing on this blog again, however briefly or inanely as it has been.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Better Off Dread

Whenever I see a card of Rickie Weeks or anyone else with long dreads I get kind of bummed out. Not because I'm a stone-faced, finger-wagging Steinbrenner type bemoaning these dang players these days with their flat bills and sideburns. Far from it, actually. It just makes me miss my dreads. I had them for about three years and have regretted it ever since I shaved them off a couple years ago. My hair is fairly long now but I'm not going to knot it up because I'm growing it out to donate to Locks of Love and they do not accept dreadlocks. Donations have to be a minimum of 10 inches and I'm almost there; the shortest part of my hair, the sides and back, is currently around 8 1/2" while the top is 15-ish. I'm looking forward to getting rid of all of this because I can't wear a hat without looking like I have a mullet, and otherwise I look like a hippie. It's for a good cause though, so I can't complain. Besides, time flies so before you know it it'll be 2016 or so and I'll look like a poor imitation of Rickie Weeks yet again.
(This post was written as my "Round 0" entry for Nachos Grande's Blogger Bracket Challenge. Head on over and check out the the other entries.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Birthday to Bob Scanlan

Former pitcher and current Padres radio analyst and more Bob Scanlan turns 47 today. I just dropped 845 words about him over at Gaslamp Ball, so check that out if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kruk, Henke & Other Stuff

Along with the few Joey Cora cards and cards of guys from West Virginia that I got from Just Commons last week, I picked up a few Padres, including a neat autographed letter patch card I wrote up elsewhere, a handful of '93 Upper Decks for my set I'm building, and some cards for my player collections. The two John Kruk cards pictured above are ones I had in my younger days but haven't had copies of for years. Kruk also qualifies as a guy from West Virginia but he's the of them that I collect in earnest, as opposed to just being satisfied with having one random card of each of the other guys.
I especially like that throwback on the back of Krukky's '94 UD CC card.
These Kruks, like most I acquire these days, are also "new again". I did, however, get some Tom Henke cards that are completely new to me:
I didn't have too many Flair cards when they came out in '93- just the Kruk and the Tony Gwynn, if I recall correctly- but I thought they were the coolest thing in the world. I still think they're pretty great. I just started typing a bunch of adjectives about the cards from that set but I deleted all of them as I imagined someone reading them and saying "That's what she said".

That Pacific issue is my first card of Henke with the Cardinals. He pitched his final season for them in '95 and went out on top. Well, not like John Elway or whatever because the Cardinals didn't win squat that year, but he had a great personal season. His ERA was a blink and you'd miss it 1.82 in 54.1 innings over 52 appearances. Henke was named to his second All-Star game; I was going to get into the details of both of his appearances but I'll save that for its own post.

My Tom Henke collection is still fairly small since I only started collecting his cards last summer when I discovered that he made his MLB debut the day I was born.

Oh, and here are those '93 Upper Decks that I mentioned. Nothing too special; I just knocked a few cheap ones off my needs list.
Here we have some "Star Rookies" who didn't live up to the star part. Manny Alexander did end up letting a clubhouse attendant take the rap for some steroids he had in his car, so he's got that going for him.
Dan Plesac seems like a nice guy. A little overbearing sometimes, sure, but ultimately likable. I really enjoy that Community Heroes subset card of Dave Stewart. When I think of him I think of intimidation and intensity. This is neither of those.

Wow, I'm actually posting here fairly often lately. Good times. For me and hopefully also for each of the seven to twelve people who will read this.

Monday, July 29, 2013

R.I.P. Frank Castillo

I just saw on Deadspin that Frank Castillo died yesterday. The 44-year-old former starting pitcher drowned while on a boating trip with a friend. I knew his name sounded familiar but the picture they showed of him in a Red Sox uniform just didn't register. Then when I read that he had pitched for the Cubs, it clicked. I dug into the Cubs section of my junk box and there were these two cards.

My thoughts go out to his friends and family, especially his friend he was out on the boat with. I can't even begin to imagine how traumatic that has to be.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Common Bond Contest

What is the common bond between the following ten players? First person to respond correctly in the comments wins, uh, some cards, I guess. But not these ones (I can't imagine any of you would want any of these anyway).
Alright, start guessing!

...or actually researching it if you're so inclined.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Just Coras from Just Commons

Earlier today (well, technically yesterday but you know what I mean), I got 43 cards in the mail that I ordered from Just Commons earlier this week. They got here incredibly fast- especially fast considering that it was free shipping. I'll get to some of the others in another post before too long, but first the Coras.

The last time I made an order from Just Commons, I bought all of their Joey Cora cards. Or so I thought I did. There were three copies of his '95 Topps Traded that I missed out on. I'm pretty sure what happened was that they had four copies and I accidentally didn't change the 1 to a 4 when putting them in the cart. The other card I missed was the 1994 Score The Cycle insert #TC12 pictured above. I had only searched "Joey Cora" the first time and this one was listed as "J. Cora/ S. Finley". Good thing I searched just "Cora" this last time. This is one of my favorite Joey Cora cards, due to both its relative scarcity and the inclusion of future Friar Steve Finley. Ordinarily I would take any card of Steve Finley as an Oriole, Astro, or even a Padre, and promptly send it to Marcus of All The Way To The Backstop... because he collects those specifically, but this is the one exception. Sorry, man; hope you understand.
 Here are those '95 Topps Traded cards of Joey I mentioned. Yep, still look the same. I've always like it quite a lot; it's one of his first cards with the Mariners and really seems to encapsulate him.

I'll be back later today with at least a couple of the other (non-Cora) cards I got.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trade with 'Playing With My Cards'

I recently got an email from Ethan of Playing With My Cards, saying he had some Series 2 cards on my '93 Upper Deck set needs list. We exchanged a few emails, got the other one's mailing address, and you know the rest. In addition to the Series 1 doubles I had, I threw in a few others. He also included some extras. I'll get to those, but first the '93 UDs.
From inspiring to despicable to forgettable. One thing that Dodger lovers and I can agree on is a mutual hatred of Barry Bonds. It's not like we're alone on that but still, it's nice to find common ground wherever you can.
Hey, there's Jim Abbott again. This one is his base card. The front had a good shot of him in his motion but this picture of him batting trumps it. I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million more: '93 Upper Deck has the greatest photography of any set ever.
Next up were some Padres cards. If I'm not mistaken (I'm probably mistaken) all but one of them are ones I didn't have.
That Marty Barrett card probably deserves its own post. Note to self: Dig that one out next time you can't think of anything to write about.
I thought it was kinda neat that I got a Robbie Beckett card in the mail on Robbie Beckett's birthday. He was a first-round flop and never pitched for the Padres. He did get into seven games with Colorado in '96 and '97 but fared very poorly. Hence not getting into eight or more games.
And here are a pair of current managers who have since trashed the 'stache. But I saved the best four cards he sent for last. And I'm sure you know what that means.
Yes! Joeys! Of the four, I have the most of the '93 Topps issue, followed by the '95 Topps. I'm not positive of how many I have of each because that would require getting up and I'm pretty comfortable. I need to start doing posts for each card of his and update them with how many copies I have of each, the way Tim Wallach Cards does.

So, thanks, Ethan! I hope you liked the ones I sent your way as much as I liked these.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The One Player Born On 7/7/77

I noticed yesterday that today was going to be 7/7, so of course I automatically wondered if there were any baseball players who were born on 7/7/77. Sure enough, there was one.

Andy Green got into 136 games with Arizona from '04 through '06, and then four more in 2009 with the Mets. He served mostly as a pinch hitter but saw a bit of time at second and third bases and out in left field.

He didn't have a ton of success with the stick in the bigs, with a career average right on the Mendoza line over 230 at-bats, but even the last man on any team's bench is one of the 750 or so best players in the world at that given time, so I'd say he did pretty daggone well for himself.

Like I always do with any Rockies, Giants, or D****** cards, I edited out the offensive Diamondtrash logos for its inclusion here.

Lastly, this song seemed appropriate for today's post:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chipping Away At The '93 Upper Deck Set

I've been working on putting together the '93 Upper Deck set slowly but surely; there has been a stack of them growing for the past couple of months as I neglected to sort them, take them off my needs list, and put them in order with the others. Most of them came form small team lots on Listia. Anyway, here are the ones I've accrued recently:

1. Tim Salmon Star Rookie
34. Kirby Puckett Community Heroes
40. Dave Winfield Community Heroes
 Speaking of Winfield, I wrote a piece on his first major league game about a week ago on the occasion of its 40th anniversary. Mr. Winfield somehow found out about it and was kind enough to tweet out the link and post it on Facebook. That was pretty cool to me.

42. Joe Carter/ Roberto Alomar
43. Paul Molitor/ Pat Listach/ Robin Yount
50. Kent Hrbek/ Kirby Puckett
60. Wilfredo Cordero
76. Kevin Brown
99. Mark Portugal
 Ah, now we're starting to get into what makes '93 Upper Deck the greatest set ever: the photography. Where else are you going to see a guy wearing aviators, sucking on a lollipop, and signing a glove? Nowhere. I wish I had a double of this to send Dime Box Nick. That's something I find myself saying over and over again while looking at these cards. I hope he has most of them already. If not, I'm sure I'll get dubs of some of them at some point.

102. B.J. Surhoff
105. Frank Thomas CL
112. Bip Roberts
114. Craig Biggio
I left both of these on my needs list because I could use copies for their player collections as well.

125. Roberto Alomar
138. Ken Hill
139. Ozzie Guillen
142. Delino DeShields
144. Larry Walker
147. Chris Sabo
158. Derek Bell
171. Doug Jones
 Younger readers might be unfamiliar with the object Doug Jones is holding up to his face. That's a camcorder. It's what people used to use to record video with back when phones were things that stayed attached to walls.

177. John Jaha
178. Luis Polonia
183. Eric Anthony
192. Darryl Hamilton
199. Ron Karkovice
207. Charlie Hough
 Like that! That's what phones were like back then. Also, it's interesting to see a team wearing a throwback hat with a current jersey.

219. Gary Carter
223. Joe Carter
226. Jose Rijo
231. Steve Finley
232. Dennis Martinez
 Pitcher batting alert! Pitcher eating an apple alert!

234. Joe Oliver
235. Chad Curtis
241. Dean Palmer
245. Barry Larkin
254. Chuck Knoblauch
256. Jeff Bagwell
263. Robin Ventura
 Nice shot of should-be Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell signing for a fan. That Ventura card made my day, though. Why? Look who's congratulating him as he's coming into the dugout.

272. Carlton Fisk
280. Lance Johnson
286. Brian Williams
294. Casey Candaele
 It seems like all of the Astros got great photos, at least on one side and usually on both.

305. Ken Caminiti
313. Kevin Tapani
333. Paul Molitor
344. John Olerud
348. Mark Gardner
352. Roberto Hernandez
358. Jimmy Key
362. Alex Fernandez
368. Tim Belcher
369. Steve Sax
370. Gary Gaetti
377. Damion Easley
399. Mark Guthrie
400. Dave Martinez
487. Dennis Eckersley AL MVP
 Am I the only one who saw that picture of Dave Martinez and immediately thought of Chris Denorfia? In fairness, Deno has actually been making the catch most of the times he dives these days.

489. Dennis Eckersley AL CY
656. Julio Franco
749. Todd Burns

I got about a dozen doubles from this stack, bringing me up to 41. I'll try to post those soon so anybody who's also building this set or just needs any of the cards can claim them. There are a few with awesome photography that are definitely Nick's unless he already has them.

Also, I got 127 Joey Cora cards in the mail earlier this week, some of which I didn't have copies of yet, so I need to post at least some of the White Sox and Mariners ones here since I'm going to do a post about his Padres cards over at Gaslamp Ball. I've been neglecting this blog for way too long and I'll try to start correcting that...