Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Frankenset Recap (Page 38: Cards 335-343)

Welcome to another installment of a series covering my completed Frankenset. I thought it would be fun to share the set page by page on this blog, and also provide some random commentary with each page. More information on the Frankenset as well as links to the pages that have been revealed can be found here.

Today we'll look at page 38 of the set, which includes cards #335 to 343. 

1994 Topps #335, Kevin Mitchell

Kevin Mitchell signing autos, likely at Riverfront Stadium. Mitchell actually played parts of three seasons in Cincinnati, clubbing 30 homeruns in just 95 games in 1994. 

1992 Topps #336, Greg Anthony

If 1992 was a shirt, this would be it. 

1999 Topps #337, John Burkett

The follow through on this swing really looks like an AL pitcher, doesn't it? 

1992 Bowman # 338, Hensley Meulens

Meulens never lived up to expectations as a highly-touted Yankees prospect. His autograph can be had for a few dollars on eBay. 

1993 Upper Deck #339, Duane Ward

Was it magic gum? Ward posted a 1.95 ERA in 79 relief appearances in 1992. 

1990 Fleer #340, Robin Yount

Modern analytics wouldn't approve of bunting with a guy like Yount, the 1989 NL MVP. 

1992 Upper Deck #341, Glenn Braggs

Something's about to go down here, and it might get ugly. 

2001 Bowman #342, Grady Sizemore

Sizemore began his career with the Expos organization before being traded in 2002 along with Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens. In exchange, Cleveland sent Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew (J.D.'s brother) to Montreal. The Indians definitely got the better end of the deal. 

1990 Upper Deck #343, Ellis Burks

Keep your eye on the ball, Ellis. 

Do you have a favorite from this page? There's not a definite standout for me, but I'd say Sizemore with the Expos would be my pick. I also enjoy the Greg Anthony shirt and Robin Yount bunting.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The A to Z Player Challenge

The Diamond King recently posted his favorite card for his favorite player A to Z and challenged others to follow suit. I thought it seemed like a fun idea, so thought I would jump in. Along with each player is an actual card from my collection.

A - Grover Cleveland Alexander

Old Pete Alexander was a complex and troubled man, but a highly talented pitcher. He won 373 games and closed out game 7 of the 1926 World Series for the Cardinals at age 39. He was also a star pitcher for my Cubs for 9 seasons. Still need a Cub card of him.

Other favorite: Hank Aaron

B - Ernie Banks

Banks is a true legend. There are some other players that I really like, but I can't argue with Mr. Cub.

Other favorites: Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, Jim Banning, Jeff Bittiger, Kris Bryant, Chief Bender

C - Chris Coste

From my hometown, Coste was my favorite non-major leaguer growing up when he played for our city's independent minor league team. He later went on to make the major leagues. 

Other favorites: Tony Campana, Ty Cobb, Roberto Clemente

D - Dave Dravecky

Dravecky's biography Comeback was one of the first baseball books I read and was really inspiring. I later got a chance to meet Dave, and he is a truly good guy.

E - Darin Erstad

Another local favorite, Erstad grew up about 90 miles from my hometown. A favorite memory is him and the Angels winning the 2002 World Series. He also won Gold Gloves at first base and center field and had 240 hits one season.

F - Julio Franco

I always liked Franco's batting stance and as well as players that seemed to play forever. Fun fact: Franco hit .222 in 27 at-bats playing independent baseball in 2014. He was 55 at the time.

G - Mark Grace

A close second for my favorite Cub, behind Ryne Sandberg. Grace played the game hard, had an awesome swing, was a great fielder, and just a true pro for many years. I was upset when he left Chicago for Arizona, but loved seeing him win it all in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Other favorites: Mudcat Grant, Tom Glavine, Dave Goltz

H - Rick Helling

A graduate of my high school (14 years my senior), Helling had a solid pitching career and even won 20 games one year.

Other favorites: Travis Hafner, Billy Hamilton (21st century player), Charlie Hough

I - Monte Irvin

Not many to choose from for this letter, but you really can't go wrong with this Hall of Famer. Plus, he was a Cub for a year!

J - Bo Jackson

Bo was a once in a generation talent. 

Other favorites: Walter Johnson, Jay Johnstone

K - Sandy Koufax

Koufax had one of the best, if not THE best, 5 year stretch of any pitcher ever. Plus, he's a really interesting guy in my opinion.

Other favorites: Harmon Killebrew, Jim Kaat

L - Nap Lajoie

This guy was so great he got a team named after him (the Cleveland Naps). Incidentally, I'd love to see that be their "new" name. Would be cool if this card wasn't a reprint.

Other favorite: Kenny Lofton, Michael Lorenzen

M - Roger Maris

I really like a lot of "M" players. But Maris is pretty much a no brainer here. An alumnus of my high school and a legend in my town.

Other favorites: Gus Munch, Greg Maddux, Minnie Minoso, Jamie Moyer, Christy Mathewson, Darryl Motley, Biz Mackey

N - Phil Niekro

Not a ton of players to choose from here, but can't go wrong with a guy who was effective into his late 40s. 

O - Buck O'Neil

I honestly don't know the purpose of having a Baseball Hall of Fame without having this guy in it.

Other favorites: Sadaharu Oh, Tony Oliva, Shohei Ohtani

P - Deacon Phillippe

To my surprise, this turn of the century great who won nearly 200 games played a season in my hometown, Fargo, ND. He was one of the players I researched when I wrote my book on the 1897 Red River Valley League. This is the oldest card in my collection, too.

Other favorite: Satchel Paige

Q - Dan Quisenberry

Not many to choose from here, but Quiz was a cool dude with an awesome delivery.

R - Old Hoss Radbourn

This pick is due in large part to a  fantastic baseball read called 59 in '84, by Edward Achorn. Radbourn is now credited with 60 wins for the 1884 season. He also gave a subtle middle finger to the camera nearly a century before Billy Martin did on his 1972 Topps card. In fact, that's the photo featured in the card shown above.

Other favorites: Nolan Ryan, Anthony Rizzo, Jackie Robinson

S - Ryne Sandberg

Ryno's my all-time favorite. A no brainer here.

Other favorites: Ron Santo

T - Jim Thorpe

Thorpe was the original all-around athlete. Baseball was not even close to his best sport, yet he still played parts of 6 seasons in the majors.

Other favorite: Luis Tiant

U - Bob Unglaub

This one's due to a local connection. Unglaub had just finished his third season as player/manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Graingrowers when he died in a tragic accident while repairing a locomotive. He was just 36 years old. I'm in the market for a non-reprint of Unglaub.

V - Omar Vizquel

I was never an Indians fan, but Vizquel was just too good not to like. 

W - Kerry Wood

Kerry Wood stole the hearts of many Cubs fans in 1998 as a dominant 20-year-old. Striking out 20 Astros in a game certainly helped. 

Other favorites: Maury Wills, Rube Waddell

Y - Michael Young

I became a Rangers fan in the mid-2000s after getting a chance to visit the Ballpark in Arlington. Young and Mark Teixeira were my favorites.

Other favorite: Cy Young

Z - Ben Zobrist

I first liked Zobrist when he helped the Royals win the World Series, so I was excited when he signed with Chicago. He came up clutch for the Cubs in 2016, too.

Other favorite: Bill Zink

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 28, 2021

eBay Deals of the Week

Time for something new! A digest of the best eBay deals of the week. Act fast to grab one of these great deals!

Maybe it would grade out at a PSA 10?

Two Hall of Famers on one card! Oh, wait a minute...

This must be the ultra-rare upside down variation. 

Getting this card at this price would certainly be an investment gamble. 

Hey, this card has two reviews, both 5 stars! How can you go wrong?

A steal for 1992 Fleer! You can't find these anywhere! 

Happy bidding!

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Best Argument Against the DH? Rod Beck At-Bat - The Frankenset Recap (Page 13: Cards 110-118)

Welcome to another installment of a series covering my completed Frankenset. I thought it would be fun to share the set page by page on this blog, and also provide some random commentary with each page. More information on the Frankenset as well as links to the pages that have been revealed can be found here.

Today we'll look at page 13 of the set, which includes cards #110 to 118.

1993 Score Select #110 - Candy Maldonado

Ironically, that's not candy in his mouth. 

1993 Upper Deck #111 - Brady Anderson

"I got it! I got it!... I don't have it."

1995 Collector's Choice SE #112 - Rod Beck

Rod Beck was a .211 career hitter (4 hits in 19 at-bats). Not bad for a lifetime reliever. 

1993 Donruss Triple Play #113 - Andre Dawson

The Hawk really got sawed off on this pitch.

2015 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects #114 - Mariano Rivera

Easy to be a lesser known when the guy most people know had 652 saves. 

1991 Upper Deck #115 - Greg Maddux

Maddux had sacrifice bunts in nearly 10% of his career plate appearances (180 out of 1,812).

1992 Megacards The Babe Ruth Collection #116

Yes, this is Babe Ruth wearing a dress. This photo was probably taken around 1897, and the practice of putting boys in dresses faded out not long after. 

Per Wikipedia: "The main reason for keeping boys in dresses was toilet training, or the lack thereof. The change was probably made once boys had reached the age when they could easily undo the rather complicated fastenings of many early modern breeches and trousers. Before roughly 1550 various styles of long robes were in any case commonly worn by adult males of various sorts, so boys wearing them could probably not be said to form a distinct phenomenon. Dresses were also easier to make with room for future growth, in an age when clothes were much more expensive than now for all classes."

1989 Star #117 - Jamie Roseboro

Jamie's father, John Roseboro, played 14 major league seasons and is perhaps best known as the guy Juan Marichal clubbed over the head with a bat during a brawl. Jamie Roseboro topped out at AAA in 1991. 

1998 Upper Deck #118 - Hideo Nomo

I included this card despite the fact that any good Hideo Nomo card should show him in his legendary windup. 

Thanks for visiting. What was your favorite card from this page? It's kind of a tough call for me, but I'd probably go with the Rod Beck. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Some Brothers and a Renaissance Artist: A Few More Lesser Knowns

I'm up to 185 "lesser known" players in my collection, with some more on the way that I have yet to catalog. I love looking for and stumbling across these cards. One that I recently found just sitting in a pile of cards was Keith Kessinger, son of the more famous Don Kessinger. That's the most fun, finding the card when you aren't looking for it. But today, I'm going to share a few cards that I recently found by searching TCDB and Card Barrel. I also thought it would be fun to provide the statistics comparing the lesser known with the more famous player. 

Aaron Ashby:
  • 2 Minor League Seasons (Rookie, A, and A+)
  • 7 - 13 W/L, 3.53 ERA, 183.2 IP, 201 K, 1.285 WHIP
Andy Ashby (uncle): 

  • 14 Major League Seasons
  • 21.0 WAR, 98 - 110 W/L, 4.12 ERA, 1810.2 IP, 1173 K, 1.324 WHIP

Jacob Heyward: 

  • 4 Minor League seasons (even split between A, A+, and AA)
  • .241 BA, 34 HR, 164 RBI, 40 SB, .750 OPS

Jason Heyward (brother): 

  • 12 Major League seasons
  • 39.3 WAR, .261 BA, 152 HR, 606 RBI, 113 SB, .756 OPS

Jeff Farnsworth:

  • 1 Major League season
    • -0.2 WAR, 2 -3 W/L, 5.79 ERA, 70 IP, 28 K, 1.843 WHIP
  • 9 Minor League seasons (mainly AA and AAA)
    • 39 - 35 W/L, 4.81 ERA, 541 IP, 388 K, 1.438 WHIP
  • Also played 7 seasons in the Venezuelan Winter League and Italian Baseball League

Kyle Farnsworth (brother):

  • 16 Major League seasons
  • 6.2 WAR, 43 - 66 W/L, 4.26 ERA, 988.2 IP, 963 K, 1.372 WHIP, 57 Saves

Jim Nettles:

  • 6 Major League seasons
  • 1.1 WAR, .220 BA, 16 HR, 57 RBI, 10 SB, .644 OPS

Graig Nettles (brother): 

  • 22 Major League seasons
  • 67.9 WAR, .248 BA, 390 HR, 1314 RBI, 32 SB, .750 OPS

Joe Jackson: 

  • 4 Minor League seasons (evenly split between A, A+, and AA)
  • .278 BA, 23 HR, 199 RBI, 10 SB, .749 OPS

Shoeless Joe Jackson:

  • 13 Major League seasons
  • 62.2 WAR, .356 BA, 54 HR, 792 RBI, 202 SB, .940 OPS

Mike Colangelo:
  • 3 Major League seasons
    • -0.8 WAR, .233 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, .675 OPS
  • 8 Minor League seasons (mostly at AAA)
    • .298 BA, 56 HR, 293 RBI, 27 SB, .859 OPS
  • 0 Major League seasons
  • Sistine Chapel, David, Pieta, Bacchus

Mike Hampton:
  • 4 Minor League seasons (mostly at class A)
  • .236 BA, 31 HR, 182 RBI, 68 SB, .724 OPS

Mike Hampton (Rockies, Astros, Braves pitcher):
  • 16 Major League seasons
  • 28.1 WAR, 148 - 115 W/L, 4.06 ERA, 2268.1 IP, 1387 K, 1.442 WHIP
  • .246 BA, 16 HR, 79 RBI, 3 SB, .650 OPS

Tommy Davis:
  • 1 Major League season (5 games)
  • 9 Minor League seasons (mostly at AAA)
    • .274 BA, 95 HR, 450 RBI, 24 SB, .749 OPS
Tommy Davis (Dodgers OF):
  • 18 Major League seasons
  • 20.5 WAR, .294 BA, 153 HR, 1052 RBI, 136 SB, .733 OPS

Hope you enjoyed this episode of the lesser knowns! Thanks for reading.