Monday, August 25, 2014

250 Baseball Card Cube: You've Been Halved

A couple of Friday nights ago I had the urge to open some cards while watching the Sox game. I drove down to Target, and while the pickings were slim, I did manage to find something.

This had two unopened packs, plus a bunch of loose cards with the possibility of an auto or relic card. I made my selection hoping I had picked one of the "other" cubes.

This was the first unopened pack, but had nothing exciting to report.

However, the first card is another story. I've been trying to piece together the 2006 Upper Deck National Baseball Card Day set, and the Ortiz had eluded me.

Here are some more of my favorites of the first half of the cube.


1990 Donruss Baseballs Best Bip Roberts. This was released in two 144 card sets (one for the AL, and one for the NL), and was a retail-only product.

One of my favorite sets of all time....and the first one I ever finished.

Every time I see a card of Vern Ruhle, I think of how the '75 World Series might have been different if he hadn't of broken Jim Rice's wrist with a pitch the last month of the season.

I like the early Donruss issues (and haven't finished any of the sets), and I was rewarded with a miscut Dwayne Murphy...

...and an equally miscut Reid Nichols.

Although I'm pretty familiar with the players of the late 70's/early 80's Toronto Blue Jays teams, the same apparently cannot be said for the managers. I had to check Wikipedia to find out who this was. Interestingly, he wanted to wear "regular business clothing" rather that a uniform in the dugout. He did not get his wish.

I have a soft spot for the old Montreal Expos uniforms....and some of the players that made their way to Boston. Hello, Pedro!

I thought the photography for the 1988 Score set was excellent. Some of the cropping left a little to be desired, but this was one of my favorite sets of the 80's.

The oldest card so far, a 1974 Topps Bob Watson.

Next post...the second half of the cube!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pounded By Puigs

I don't know how much of this you've heard about in the news lately, but there is a grocery chain called Demoulas which has been teaching the world how not to run a business. I won't go into the details, but there are Demoulas all over my area, and this was where I used to grocery shop. They had the best prices, and even if the place was mobbed, you could get out very quickly.

This is the exact opposite of Wal-Mart, which is where I have to grocery shop now. Even if you are only getting a gallon of milk (which is two-and-a-half miles from the front door), pencil in about a half-hour into your schedule. There are two other alternatives in my area;

Hannaford's - prices are kind of high, and you need to dress like you are going ice fishing. It is unbelievable                     how cold it is in this store.

Shaw's - akin to shopping at the airport. Do they know how much this stuff costs everywhere else?

There are four brick-and-mortar places that I can buy cards;

LCS. There are two within driving distance. I generally only buy monster boxes of commons and supplies. Packs are usually too expensive for me.

Target. Where I buy most of my other cards. 

Wal-Mart. I used to buy more from here in the past, but the selection has deteriorated to the point that it's not even worth going to anymore. 

So a couple of weeks ago, I needed to go grocery shopping.

Let's review my options.

1.) Stand in line way too long.

2.) Freeze.

3.) Shop at the airport.

This sucks. But at least if I take option 1, there is a chance I can pick up some cards.

Ed. note - Target does not carry beer, so they are not considered an option.

Other than Topps 2014 Series 2 (which I passed on), the only thing I was interested in was the repack boxes found on the bottom shelf. They are $19.99 and lately have had some real good stuff in them. They will usually have ten or so regular packs and four or five "fat" packs and most offerings will be from the previous year. To me, they are definitely worth the money as I seem to do pretty well with these.

One of the packs was a fat pack of 2013 Topps Update. I didn't buy a lot of this, so I knew I wouldn't get very many dupes. If you are a Dodger fan, please hold your applause until the performance is over.

First I got one of his three base cards.

Then I got the Wal-Mart version of another one of his Update base cards.

Since things always happen in threes, one of the inserts carried his mug as well.

If you though that was exciting...

I have no idea who this player is, but the back of the card says there are a lot of Pedro Martinez comparisons attributed to him.

Just what Dodger fans want to hear.

So I guess this means he'll be traded for Delino Deshields Jr. and eventually end up in a Red Sox uniform.

Here I've saved the best for last.

My first reaction was "Another Dodger. Wonderful." But when I flipped it over I realized it was card 661. Now remembering the many versions of the 2010 Stephen Strasburg, I looked through my copy of Beckett (yes I have a subscription, yes I know everybody hates it, yes I know the prices are extremely inflated), and just as I thought, there are variations of this card.

The base card was listed for about $2.50, which was what I automatically assumed I had. So while I was putting the pack in numerical order, I looked at the front of the card again.

"Wasn't him batting one of the variations?" I thought to myself. So I looked again at the aforementioned book that everybody hates, and it is one of the short prints and surprisingly this "books" at $60. More surprisingly is that I couldn't find one on Ebay to see what people are really paying for it. So maybe there aren't a lot of these out there?

Since I rarely pull variations of base cards, this alone made the trip to Wal-Mart worth it.

But grocery shopping there still sucks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Card Challenged - 1986 Topps Collectors' Series Reggie Jackson

These cards were made by Topps, but they were issued by Woolworth's in 1986 as a 33-card boxed set, and somehow a stray Reggie Jackson landed in the immensely unorganized Swing And A Pop-Up collection.

There was a Woolworth's in my town back in 1986, but I was too focused with counting the days left until I got out of high school (which seemed to take forever) to notice any cards begging for my attention. I'm convinced we are on "Nintendo" time when we get older because four years seem to go by an awful lot faster now than it did back in the 80's. 

I don't remember if my mom ever took me school shopping at Woolworth's, but I do remember having to wear the Sears "Toughskins" pants when I was in elementary school. They fit pretty good at the beginning of the year, but unless mom bought reinforcements for Christmas, you would spend the spring "waiting for a flood". Good times.

The cards are standard sized with a glossy feel, and consists of  players that have held hitting, home run or RBI titles. You can tell that this set was marketed towards kids with the "school bus" yellow border and "state-of-the-art" graphics.

Relevant stats are on the back, as well as the list of hitting, home run or RBI titles that the player won (or in some cases, tied.) I also just noticed the plate, batter boxes and baselines as I was typing this.

The checklist was in alphabetical order and has a good selection of current (at the time) and past Red Sox players.

1.  Tony Armas
2.  Don Baylor
3.  Wade Boggs
4.  George Brett
5.  Bill Buckner
6.  Rod Carew
7.  Gary Carter
8.  Cecil Cooper
9.  Darrell Evans
10. Dwight Evans
11. George Foster
12. Bob Grich
13. Tony Gwynn
14. Keith Hernandez
15. Reggie Jackson
16. Dave Kingman
17. Carney Lansford
18. Fred Lynn
19. Bill Madlock
20. Don Mattingly
21. Willie McGee
22. Hal McRae
23. Dale Murphy
24. Eddie Murray
25. Ben Oglivie
26. Al Oliver
27. Dave Parker
28. Jim Rice
29. Pete Rose
30 Mike Schmidt
31. Gorman Thomas
32. Willie Wilson
33. Dave Winfield

Monday, August 18, 2014

We Interrupt This Baseball Card Blog...

....for a non-baseball card related post.

My youngest sister has just had her first book published. It is called "Lucy's Amazing Friend" and it is a children's book about autism.

Lucy doesn’t understand why the new boy in Miss Reed’s class doesn’t like her.

“I said hi and he ignored me,” she said.
“Lucy, that’s Daniel. He has autism,” Miss Miller responded.
“What’s autism?” asked Lucy.

From that moment on Lucy works to make friends with Daniel in this bright, upbeat book about autism. Once she succeeds, Lucy becomes determined that the other kids in the class learn to accept Daniel as well. With an estimated 1 in 68 children now falling somewhere on the autism spectrum, Lucy’s Amazing Friend is just the right book to help children understand that we are all different, and while those differences can be challenging, they also make us each special.

You can learn more about the book (and purchase it  - no, I don't get any commission) at I've also put a link to her website on the sidebar of the blog.

(On a side note, the website's profile shot of my sister was taken by my wife, a very creative woman as well.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Trade With Fantastic Catch

Well, the Boston area is plenty abuzz with baseball talk. Even in last place, the Red Sox take quality airtime away from the New England Patriots preseason.

Clay Buchholz, in his first start as the Red Sox "ace", pitched Sunday night against the Yankees. There really is no nice way to put it...he sucked. I certainly hope that the Red Sox have some plan as to acquire pitching help, whether it be through trades, free agency or the farm system, because Buchholz is at best a fourth or fifth starter. He neither pitches nor carries himself like an "ace".

On a more positive note, pitching prospect Henry Owens made his first start at Pawtucket last night and dazzled. The number 2 prospect in the Sox farm system pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and striking out nine. Callers into the local sports talk shows were giddy with anticipation as to when Owens would make the leap to Fenway. Lost in all of the "hysteria" over Owens' performance was that catcher Blake Swihart, the number 3 prospect in the Sox farm system who made the jump as well. His debut wasn't as noteworthy however, as he went 0 - 3.

While the Red Sox games over the weekend were frustrating (now that they are scoring runs, they have no pitching), there was a bright spot of course.

I got cards!!!

These came courtesy of Wes at Fantastic Catch. He emailed me with a trade proposal, which I quickly accepted. He sent me some Red Sox cards and a few off of my want lists.

He sent me a couple of team bags, each had Red Sox cards on the front and back. This is my favorite of them. Not just because of the players, but if you've read my blog in the past, you know that I love the 70's uniforms.

He also sent me two cards from the 2008 Upper Deck First Edition Update.

If my calculations are correct, I have now finally finished this set!

The majority of the package was seventy-six cards for 2007 Upper Deck. It's a small set, only one thousand and twenty cards. I can't believe I haven't finished it already.

Thank you Wes! If you've got anymore cards that I need that you want to get rid of, let me know and we'll trade again!

Note: My want lists are incomplete. If you don't see a certain set listed, it's not because I have no interest in them or I don't need any cards from it. It's simply because I haven't gotten around to listing it. If you've got a bunch of cards that you want out of your house as soon as possible, let me know. I just may need them and I'm sure we can work out some kind of trade. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Housecleaning Continues...

You thought the Red Sox were done with multiple roster moves?

Think again.

August 1st

Mike Carp - Designated For Assignment

Shane Victorino - Placed on the 15 Day DL (retroactive to July 31st).

Today it was reported he may need back surgery.

Will Middlebrooks was activated from the 15 day DL.

Mookie Betts was recalled from the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Tommy Layne was recalled from the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Alex Wilson was recalled from the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Anthony Ranaudo was recalled from Pawtucket (to start against the Yankees).

August 2nd

David Ross was put on the 15 day DL.

Dan Butler was recalled from Pawtucket to take his place (which means both catchers are rookies).

Anthony Ranaudo is optioned to the Pawtucket Red Sox (after winning last night's game 4 - 3).

Joe Kelly is activated to the 25-man roster and is expected to start on Wednesday against his former team.

They did blow a 3 - 0 lead today, losing 6 - 4, with waaaaay to many walks being the downfall of starting pitcher Alan Webster. But if we are going to be excited about seeing all of the youngsters playing, that's going to happen.

With all of the new players it almost feels like it is Opening Day again. The announcers of last nights game commented several times about how different the atmosphere was during that game as opposed to the previous few months.

Even at the Swing And A Pop-Up compound, the past two games were actually watched, rather than being background noise with only the occasional attempt of feigning interest.

Hey, at least they didn't lose 6 - 1.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pitch Slapped

Four-fifths of the Opening Day starting rotation have been traded since Saturday.

Almost one-third of the team has either been traded or released in the past two weeks.

July 16th

A.J. Pierzynski is released. (He has since been signed by the Cardinals.)

July 26th

Jake Peavy (and cash) is traded to the San Francisco Giants for Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.

July 30th

Felix Doubront is traded to the Chicago Cubs for a bag of balls to be named later.

July 31st

Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes are traded to the Oakland A's for Yoenis Cespedes.

John Lackey and minor leaguer Corey Littrell are traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.

Andrew Miller is traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Eduardo Rodriguez. 

Stephen Drew (and most of his salary!) is traded to the New York Yankees for Kelly Johnson.

(That's when you know you really don't want a player...when you trade him to your biggest division rival.)

So I guess the question is...who is going to pitch?

Tonight Anthony Ranaudo makes his major league debut against the New York Yankees. I guess there will be no "easing in" of the younger players.

So who's pitching for the Yankees tonight?

Chris Capuano. (Yes, that Chris Capuano.)

My thoughts?

You've got to do something. All the pitching in the world is not going to help if you can't score runs. And from what I hear, more changes are a-comin'.

This is going to be a interesting last two months of the season.