Friday, May 29, 2009

Pack Eighteen

Pack 18 +14
(upgraded cards are indicated by bold blue text)
115 Rick Leach
251 Steve Balboni
50 Todd Worrell
365 Calvin Schiraldi
196 Bryn Smith
607 Brian Dorsett
432 Scott Sanderson
402 Dave Lapoint
523 Steve Sax
156 Chris Bosio
548 Charlie Puleo
569 Billy Ripken
447 Bill Doran
390 Bill Wilkinson
48 John Tudor

This is gonna be a short one because I just got home from an evening out, and there's really not much here to talk about.

I do want to say first that if any of you are ever in Waynesville, North Carolina, and if you like good pizza (ie. not Pizza Hut or Dominoes) and good beer, make it a point to stop by Nick & Nate's on main street. The pizza is all hand made and it's all incredible.

Anyhoo, I only have two cards to show tonight. The first is proof that Billy Ripken is an obscene, filth peddler:

Look at the knob of his bat. What do you see? Boobs. It's not a big leap to think that the next year he'd write Fuck Face on his bat.

And look what we have here... a gen-you-wiiiine error card.

Can you see it?

Ok folks, this is my last post for a few days. I'm going out of town for the weekend, I think I'll be back Monday or Tuesday. I intend to drive by a Target on my way home, so hopefully I'll come back with some 2009 Topps Series 2 to open.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pack Seventeen

Pack 17 +12
(upgraded cards are indicated by bold blue text)
327 Doug Drabek
387 Jerry Reed
100 Mark Wasinger
54 Darrell Evans
597 Eric Show
7 Steve Carlton
306 Mike Jackson
600 Scorr Bailes
243 Dave Parker
104 Juan Beniquez
448 Ty Gainey
404 Bill Long

424 Dave Martinez
158 Greg Brock
534 Joe Boever

So yesterday I mentioned how I hadn't run across a lot of dead players, well, here's Eric Show.

This isn't a bad looking card and I really like the shadow under Show. It also gets some points for showing the grip on the ball.

Lefty looks confused. 1988 was his last year. He only pitched in 4 games, three of them out of the pen with a 16.76 ERA. But we can over look that last season, Carlton was a first ballot Hall of Famer, getting over 95% of the votes.

Look at the stats on the back. For most players Fleer included their entire Major League stats, but without using a smaller font, they weren't able to include all of Steve's stats.

And finally we have this. I'm not really sure what to think about this card. I can't really figure out what's happened here. Based on the position of his back hand, how soon the top hand came off the bat, and the look on his face, it looks like he's hurt himself on the swing. The top hand should never come off the bat that early in the swing.

I just have to question why pictures like this get through. Film is cheap, photo processing is cheap especially when your company owns the equipment. There is no reason to let poor photography slip through. When you send a photographer to a game, they've got a good three hours to get one usable shot. From some of these cards it looks like Fleer gave the photog a checklist and enough film for one picture of each player on that list.

In the end though, at least they're not airbrushing everything.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pack Sixteen

Pack 16 +13
(upgraded cards are indicated by bold blue text)
139 Terry Leach
224 Gary Ward
127 Rick Aguilera
23 Mike Smithson
303 Kevin Gross
612 Brook Jacoby
231 Eric Davis
629 Rookie Record Setter
441 Ken Caminiti
407 Jack McDowell
414 Jody Davis
178 Robin Yount
336 Vicente Palacios
378 Edgar Martinez
78 Chili Davis

Two more of the original twenty are replaced out of this pack.

This box of Fleer doesn't seem to be as obsessed with death as the box of '89 Bowman, but we do see the late Ken Caminiti here, and we've seen both Chris Brown and Frank Williams. There may be a few more players who are no longer with us, but I can't think of any right off the top of my head that have come out of this box.

We got an interesting mixture of some good photos and bad ones in this pack. Another Hall of Famer and the third card thus far featuring a fallen hero.

Bad photography:

It's a shame that such a great player got such a boring photo.

Hall of Fame? Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the DH rule, but Martinez put up some pretty impressive numbers. He's eligable next year and will probably get some votes, but I just don't think he's Hall of Fame material. If he had played at third base for fifteen years and then spent the last several years as a DH and still put up the numbers he did, then I think he would deserve consideration.

But of course, the same argument can be made against electing a closer to the Hall. I don't know the answer.

According to Baseball Reference, of those most similar to Edgar, only Orlando Cepeda is in the Hall of Fame. The list includes some of the great hitters of that generation though, and many of them are not yet eligable for Hall voting. So you can't read too much into it.

Here's a good shot of Eric Davis. Based on all the cameras in the background, I'll assume that this picture was taken during the 1987 All Star game in Oakland. Davis went 0-3 in the game with two groundouts and a strikeout.

I think, up to this point, this is the best looking card I've pulled. Davis is about to tag out a Reds baserunner at the plate.

Here's our Hall of Famer which also falls into the category of horrible picture. The Edgar Martinez picture is just boring, this one is downright horrible.

Look at the back of the card. Through 1987 Yount had 2,217 hits. He collected another 925 hits during the final six years of his career when players are supposed to start slowing down.

I'd have to look to make sure, but I think Yount was also the last player to retire who had been a teammate of Hank Aaron.

Here's that fallen hero...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pack Fifteen

Pack 15 +15
256 Steve Farr
26 Jack Clark
345 Wade Boggs
188 Dennis Martinez
621 Rich Yett
422 Ed Lynch
410 Bobby Thigpen
524 Mike Scioscia
624 Oakland’s Power Team
538 Ron Gant
561 Mike Griffin
460 Gerald Young
370 Scott Bradley
642 Major League Prospects (Damon Berryhill, Jeff Montgomery)
59 Larry Herndon

Let's hope I can get this one in before it starts storming again, and judging by the humidity and how fast my beer just got warm should be any second.

This wasn't a bad pack... several rookies, a Hall of Famer, two childhood heroes for many kids in the '80s and a foot note in the history books.

We'll start with the Hall of Famer:

I've always thought Wade Boggs resembled Roy Underhill of "The Woodright's Shop" fame.

At some point since my re-entry into the hobby, I mentioned that Wade Boggs pitched in two games, and I thought I talked about it over at '88 Score, but for the life of me I can't find it. Maybe it was in a comment on another blog, or maybe it was a draft post and I killed it.


When I pulled this card, other than the Roy Underhill comment, I thought I'd talk a little bit about his pitching performances (and I was going to use that old post as a lead in, but this'll have to do as a lead in).

It's pretty uncommon to see such a big name player take the mound, even in a blowout. I think it's just flirting with injury. We all remember what happened when Jose Canseco tried to pitch so I don't think it's worth the risk.

But twice in his career, for two different teams, Wade Boggs pitched.

The first time was August 19, 1997 against the Angels.

With the Yankees on the losing end of a 12-4 score in Anaheim, Joe Torre, instead of using his bullpen, called on 39 year old Wade Boggs to pitch the bottom of the 8th (David Wells had started and lasted only three innings, replaced by Graeme Lloyd who threw four innings).

Boggs started the inning by walking Luis Alicea. He then got Tim Salmon to hit a ground ball to the shortstop who forced Alicea out at second. Garret Anderson then grounded out moving Salmon to second. The inning ended when catcher Todd Greene struck out swinging.

Boggs' line for his first attempt at pitching: no runs, no hits, one walk. His second try at pitching didn't end as well.

On August 10, 1999, Boggs was brought in to pitch with two outs in the top of the 8th with the Orioles leading the Devil Rays 16-1. As an interesting aside, Boggs was inserted into the DH spot in the line up (he batted once) and had the game progressed past the 9th -which was very unlikely- the Devil Rays forfeited their right to use a DH.

Charles Johnson was the first to face Boggs, and he flew out to right ending the inning. First up in the ninth against Boggs was Delino DeShields who struckout looking. Not too surprising, Boggs won a few Gold Gloves in his career so he had a pretty accurate arm.

Up next was Ryan Minor who grounded out to short. Rich Amaral then doubled to center but advanced to third on an error. Mike Bordick singled driving Amaral in, making the score 17-1. Jeff Conine then singled and with two on and two out Albert Belle flew out to center.

Tampa Bay got one hit in the bottom half, but failed to score.

The line for his one and a third innings of work: one run on three hits, one strikeout. 6.75 ERA.

For his pitching career: 3.86, 2.1 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. 123 ERA+, 1.714 WHIP.

And here's that footnote in the history books:

Until last season, Bobby Thigpen was the saves in a season leader. In 1990 Thigpen saved 57 games for the White Sox with a 1.83 ERA. But with Francisco Rodriguez saving 62 last season Thigpen's career will be soon forgotten.

We do get a nice full frontal look at the old numbers-on-the-pants ChiSox uniform.

Two rookies:

Damon Berryhill was a light hitting catcher who spent most of his career as a backup. He played most notably for the Cubs, who won the division in '89, and then for the Braves in the early years of their 1990's dynasty.

Before seeing this card, I never realized that Jeff Montgomery began his career as a Red. In 1987 he pitched in 14 games (2-2, 6.52 ERA) for Cincinnati. In February 1988, the Reds traded him to Kansas City for Van Snider (oops). In KC, Montgomery went on to have a pretty good career, saving 304 games (19th all time) with a 3.27 ERA.

I'll let this card speak for itself. Try to think of yourself as a young baseball fan in 1988 and read the back of the card. Then take off the rose colored glasses and read the back of the card.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pack Fourteen

Pack 16 +15
52 Dave Bergman
498 Darrell Miller
461 Bob Brower
92 Kevin Mitchell
296 Curt Young
579 Keith Comstock
644 Todd Benzinger
140 Barry Lyons
214 Don Mattingly
325 John Cangelosi
1 Keith Atherton
308 Steve Jeltz
617 Greg Swindell
233 Nick Esasky
116 Manny Lee

Here I am after about a week away from baseball cards. I kept up with the blog world, reading posts and commenting here and there, but it was a nice break. I got some yard work done, put in (at last count) ten job applications, washed my car, made another trip to Atlanta. Now back to baseball cards.

I'm nearing the halfway point on this box, and so far it's only given me three cards that I already had and no doubles yet out of the box. If anyone else is looking to complete '88 Fleer, let me know and I'll add you to my checklist. It's first come first serve, so Jeff from Card Junkie will be the first to get any doubles that he needs. But if you're out there, send your wantlists my way and I'll help if I can.

This pack pushed me up over one third completion. So is it too early for a prediction? Nah. I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict 75% completion.

Now, let's look at some cards...

Keith Atherton's career was nothing remarkable. He pitched well enough out of the pen for seven seasons mostly in middle relief. Walks were a concern and he walked 3.4 per nine which is a little more than you'd like to see from a reliever.

But here he is as card number one. Thankfully for him, his mother to be married a guy named Atherton, and his team won the World Series in 1987. See, two things had to go right for Keith to end up as number one. If the Twins had traded him to the Indians two years earlier in 1987, he'd have been card number 600 and no one would have paid any attention to him at all.

Steve Jeltz is just one of eight Major League players born in France. Current Giants manager Bruce Bochy is another.

Jeltz is probably best remember for this game where he hit home runs from both sides of the plate after entering in the top of the second to replace Tom Herr. The game is remembered for a comment made by Pirates broadcaster Jim Rooker. After the Pirates scored ten runs in the top of the first, Rooker said, "If we lose this game, I'll walk home."

Jeltz's first home run, a two run shot, in the bottom of the fourth made the score 10-6. The Pirates scored again in the 5th making it 11-6. Jeltz's second homer, a three run affair, set the score at 11-9. Later in the inning, John Kruk scored on a Ricky Jordan single to center.

The score stood at 11-10 in favor of the Pirates until the bottom of the 8th when, unfortunately for Mr. Rooker, the Phillies scored five more runs to win the game 15-11.

True to his word, after the season was over, Rooker made the 300 mile walk from Philly back to Pitsburgh, and raised money for charity along the way.

The moral of the story? Don't consider a career in broadcasting if you don't like to walk.

Barry Lyons was obviously never a boy scout, otherwise he would have been prepared that fateful day in 1987:

Davey Johnson: "Barry, you're starting at short today."
Barry Lyons: "But skipper, I don't have the right glove."
Davey Johnson: "Well then, find one."
Barry Lyons: What do I do? What do I do? Hey, wait a minute. If'n I'm starting at short, that must mean Rafael doesn't need his glove today.
Barry Lyons: "Hey Raf... skip says I'm starting for you today, can uh... can I borrow your glove?"
Rafael Santana: "What! No, I don't want catcher cooties on my glove. Go away."
Barry Lyons: Aww gee, skipper's gonna be mad.
Barry Lyons: "Hey skipper, that meanie Rafael Santana said I'd get catcher cooties all over his glove and that I can't use it. What am I supposed to do?"
Davey Johnson: "Well, you'll just have to make do, now get out there."


Mets Announcer Guy #1: "And the Mets fall nineteen to three. Had it not been for the twelve errors committed by shortstop for the day Barry Lyons this would have been a much closer game.
Mets Announcer Guy #2: "But you have to wonder how many of those errors could have been avoided if he'd gone to the field wearing the proper glove."

Now the question must be asked, why did Fleer choose this particular day to take baseball card photographs? At least he looks determined to make the skipper proud.

I've never been one to shy away from expressing my dislike of the Yakees (or the Mets for that matter), but there are certain Yankees players that I admire. Most notably Ruth, DiMaggio and Gherig. But Don Mattingly is one that I feel bad for not liking more than I did during his playing days. I always respected his ability, but he was a Yankee. I guess I felt the same about Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neil, too. But that's ok, all is forgiven now that he's working for my other favorite team, the Dodgers (though I'm indifferent and leaning towards dislike of Joe Torre).

And there you have it, Pack Fourteen.