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. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Gum and Guns: The Frankenset Recap (Page 63: Cards 560-568)

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 63 of the set, which includes cards #560 to 568. 

1994 Collector's Choice #560 - Jose Canseco

Dateline 1994: Jose still keeping up the charade that his athleticism was all-natural.

2001 Topps #561 - Trot Nixon

Trot's given name? Christopher Trotman Nixon. 

1989 Upper Deck #562 - Carney Lansford

Carney and the ump discussing dinner plans. 

1989 Topps #563 - Bill Schroeder

Just happy to be here, Skip!

1976 Topps #564 - Kurt Bevacqua

Bevacqua defeated Johnny Oates in the final round of the Joe Garagiola Bazooka Bubble Gum Blowing Championship (better known as the JGBBGBC). The Tigers and Pirates were the only teams not to send a player to join the competition, depriving us of knowing the bubble blowing potential of John Wockenfuss or Rennie Stennett. 

1991 Fleer #565 - Bill Pecota

Even if he checked his swing, this still looks like a strike. 

1991 Topps #566 - Craig Wilson

Did Wilson hit .171 in 1991 because he was spending too much time on his juggling? You decide.

1983 Fleer #567 - John Grubb

Ranger Aid fell out of popularity after people discovered its two ingredients were crude oil and the tears of Rangers fans.

1998 Fleer Tradition #568 - Miguel Cairo

Hacky sack with a baseball? Better be wearing your steel-toed cleats.

What is your favorite card from the page? I almost have to go with the Bevacqua, probably followed by Carney Lansford arguing (I love player/manager arguing cards), and maybe Bill Pecota third. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Best of Ryno

The best way for me to find topics for non-Frankenset posts is to just look through a stack (or binder) of cards. Inevitably, I'll find something quirky, fun, or otherwise interesting to share. I've been combing through a variety of binders and boxes recently looking for cards that I call "favorites." These aren't necessarily cards that fit any specific category, but are generally just cards that I enjoy. It's a fun exercise, as I am discovering cards that I hadn't appreciated before. 

In going this direction, I recently ended up going through my Ryne Sandberg and Mark Grace cards. I had kind of done this last spring and planned to write a post about it, but never got around to it. But I figured the time should be now. After all, I have a pretty healthy collection to choose from for each player. Today's post will take you through some of my favorite Ryne Sandberg cards. Lists of favorites are always fun, in my opinion, because everyone has a slightly different taste and experience with a given group of cards. That is certainly true for my Ryno collection. I think they naturally fit into a few different categories, so I grouped them:

Early Acquisitions

I'll start with a few cards that I enjoy because I've had a copy for about as long as I can remember:

1994 Topps - Measures of Greatness #602

I'm pretty sure I first got a copy of this card in a pack the same year it came out. That didn't happen very often as a kid.

1989 Donruss #105

1989 Donruss packs and boxes used to be quite plentiful and quite cheap. So I opened a lot of them. I always enjoyed the simple nature of this card. So much so that I keep every copy I can get my hands on.

1992 Topps All-Star #387

I remember getting the 1992 All-Star subset from K-Mart as a kid. Loved the league leader stats on the back.

Ryno the Athlete

Cards that display Ryno's athleticism. Ryno was a three sport athlete in high school (football, basketball, and baseball) and early in his career was a formidable stolen base threat. 

1990 Upper Deck #324

1993 Upper Deck #175

1991 Fleer #431

I'm as surprised as you are that a 1991 Fleer card made this list. But it's really unique, as it shows him batting during the 1990 All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. Ryno won the event, and also hit a career high and National League-leading 40 home runs in 1990.

The Rookies

1983 Topps #83

I really like the simple, clean look of this card. 

1983 Fleer #507

Love the uniform and the Ryno's follow through on this card.

I could swear I once had a copy of the 1983 Donruss rookie. If I did, I have no idea what happened to it. I'll have to get around to snatching up a copy sometime soon. 

Card Design Favorites

1993 Triple Play "Nicknames" #3

I've always loved this nickname.

1994 Collector's Choice CL #335

I like the simple close-up picture on this card and have always enjoyed the look of the Collectors Choice cards.

1997 Collector's Choice #66

Another Collectors Choice card, which I like for its design and as a bonus, it shows Ryno signing for fans. 

1993 Donruss Spirit of the Game #SG14

I really like how this card shows snapshots of Ryno fielding a ball, and it uses both sides of the card to do so. It's superior to multiple exposure renditions, in my opinion.

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings #DK2

The 1992 and 1993 Diamond Kings are some of my favorite cards of all time.

Maybe you were a Sandberg fan or maybe you weren't, but what's your favorite Sandberg card of this group? (Or, if you are a Sandberg aficionado, maybe you can think of one not shown that you like best). 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Legendary Hat and Legendary Goggles: The Frankenset Recap (Page 55: Cards 488-496)

Welcome to third installment of an 89-part series (wow, that sounds daunting) 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.

I'll also occasionally share miscellaneous information about the set in its entirety. This week, I am featuring a fun fact about the "unique team" category. There are 77 cards in the 800 card set depicting a player with a "unique team." This is defined as a team you normally wouldn't associate that player with (think Willie Mays on the Mets or John Smoltz on the Cardinals). Here are the top teams featured in this category:

  • Orioles - 7 (one of these is featured in this week's post, but the card only contributes a half point to this total, since it also fits another Frankenset category)
  • Giants - 7 
  • Athletics - 6 
  • Padres - 5 
  • Red Sox - 5 
  • Angels - 5 
  • Yankees - 5 
Today, we'll look at page 55 of the set, cards 488 to 496.

1993 Stadium Club #488, Scooter Tucker

The meaning of this nickname is not fully known, even by Scooter himself.

1992 Upper Deck #489, Paul Gibson

Probably Dubble Bubble, which means it lost its flavor after approximately 7 seconds.

1994 Pinnacle #490, Chris Sabo

Sabo's iconic goggles make an appearance with an added bonus of an unfamiliar uniform.

1982 Donruss #491, Billy Martin
It probably wasn't too hard to find an opportunity for this type of photo.

2013 Topps #492, Jose Molina

The middle Molina brother actually played 15 years in the majors, but is still lesser known than older brother Bengie and younger brother Yadier. 

1990 Score #493, Eric Show
If you only saw his face, I imagine you might think Eric was participating in an activity other than throwing a baseball.

2012 Topps #494, Darwin Barney


1984 Fleer #495, Jay Johnstone

Perhaps one of the most iconic cards of all time, from a quirkiness perspective. And Jay Johnstone was a quirky guy.

1987 Topps #496, Bruce Bochte
Bruce looks like a middle school science teacher from the early 90s. Does anyone wear glasses like that anymore?

What was your favorite card from the page? Mine would have to be the legendary Jay Johnstone. I've actually read a couple of his books, which are quick and entertaining reads. I'd say the Billy Martin would be my second choice and Chris Sabo would come in third. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Hey Don't I Know You From Somewhere? - Some More Lesser Knowns

One of my mini-collections is of "lesser known" players. Put simply, a "lesser known" is a baseball player who reminds you of a more famous person. I categorize these players into a few groups:

Players with a more famous baseball player in the family.

Players sharing the same name with a more famous baseball player.

Players sharing the same name with a more famous athlete in a different sport.

Players sharing the same name with another more famous person. 

I don't remember when I first became interested in this subset of cards, but I'm sure Craig Griffey and Mike Tyson had something to do with it. I recently went through TCDB's list of player names to see if I could pluck out any new ones I hadn't found before. I found A LOT of cards for players that I consider lesser knowns, and Card Barrel came through with a lot of cards available. So I guess there's something good about basically every minor league player getting cards these days. My full list of lesser knowns (currently at 181 different players) can be found here

Today I'm going to feature only players with a more famous dad who played baseball. Some of these guys still have a chance to become better known and possibly escape this list altogether. Enjoy!

Tate Matheny - son of Mike Matheny; Highest level: AAA in 2019

Ryan Ripken - son of Cal Ripken Jr.; Highest level: AA in 2019

Reid Ryan - son of Nolan Ryan; Highest level: A+ in 1995

Preston Mattingly - son of Don Mattingly; Highest level: A+ in 2011

Joe Gaetti - son of Gary Gaetti; Highest level - AAA in 2008

Griffin Conine - son of Jeff Conine; Highest level: A in 2019

Glenallen Hill Jr. - son of Glenallen Hill; Highest level: Rookie in 2019

Cutter Dykstra - son of Lenny Dykstra; Highest level: AAA in 2015

Cameron Seitzer - son of Kevin Seitzer; Highest level: AAA in 2016

Brett Wallach - son of Tim Wallach; Highest level: A+ in 2012

Bo Greenwell - son of Mike Greenwell; Highest level: AA in 2014

Andre Randolph - son of Willie Randolph; Highest level: A- in 2003

Which player from this list surprised you the most? Had you heard of any of these guys before? 

Happy Easter everyone!