Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pack Five and a Revelation

Pack 5 +12
28 Marty Barrett
419 Sid Bream
36 Ellis Burks
313 Paul O’Neill
98 Mike Henneman
55 Bobby Thigpen
167 Dave Righetti
400 Dickie Thon
132 Mike Birkbeck
330 Rafael Ramirez
223 Jamie Moyer
420 Austin Manahan

Pretty good pack here, but first my revelation. Once again, I admit that sometimes I'm slow, and sometimes it takes a little time for me to catch on. I'm sure what I'm about to say is old news to 99% of you who have any experience with this set. But I realized after opening this pack and putting the cards in their place that the checklist is set up by team. Beyond that, it looks like they're set up alphabetically by division.

Several days before the box arrived, I was setting up my checklist in preperation for opening the box. I noticed something a bit odd and thought to myself "that looks like a lot of Orioles in one place." But from time to time there will be a run of cards of the same team. I didn't give it another thought until a lot of cards very close together were players from the same team. So off to Baseball Reference I went to have a look at the 1988 Orioles roster and the clouds parted, the angels sang and it all became clear.

So yeah, I'm a bit slow sometimes.

Anyway, the cards.

Several guys here had great careers: Burks, O'Neill, Righetti. The former single season saves leader, who has been relegated to a footnote in the annals of baseball history, is here too And we come across the second player who's still around.

And that's where I'll start.

1989 was Moyer's first year as a member of the Texas Rangers. Moyer is of course best known for his ten years in Seattle and for the past several seasons with the Phillies (where he's under contract throug 2010), but the first ten years of his career was spent moving around with five different teams.

I didn't really pay much attention to Jamie Moyer until the past several years and the more I see him the more I like him. Is he Hall of Fame material? I don't know. He's certainly a very good pitcher who's flown under the radar for much of his career. Two more good seasons (15-8 or so) could earn him some serious consideration for Cooperstown. I doubt he'll be in, but I'd give him my vote if I had one.

I wonder if the photo is posed. I think it is because at this angle, we should be seeing the shortstop and maybe the centerfielder, and the look on his face isn't one of effort. Not a terrible photo though.

Not as bad as this one. Here we see a classic baseball card pose, with some unfortunate shadows and what looks like a charred left arm. The reason I'm showing this card though, is the nice placement Topps used for the signature. Too many of these cards have the signature near the bottom where it can be obscured by shadow or darker parts of the outfield wall. The placement of Marty's signature makes it look more like a real autograph.

Finally we see 18 year old Austin Manahan. Prospecting are we? Mr. Manahan never progressed higher than AA Orlando in the Cubs system. And his minor league stat line isn't all that impressive.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.