Friday, November 13, 2009
A Wicked New Name for my Blog???
Sometimes I think that I should rename this blog “cool stuff that came from Wicked Ortega”- this guy is forever hooking me up with the best stuff from every different sector of my collection. Yesterday (Thursday) I had to go to the Post Office to send out some stuff for Mojo, Dinged Corners and Dan. My cash flow has been terribly low these past two weeks and I had to empty the change bowl to do that much, but after calculating in my head I thought I would have enough left to send out a surprise package. I decided that I would send one to the only blogger who lives further south than I do, the man himself, the legendary Alfredo “Wicked” Ortega. So I packed up some goodies for Fredo, nothing too exciting, but I thought it might brighten up his day a tad bit…Anyway, I got all 4 envelopes shipped ($5.60) and I walked over to check my box and sure enough, there were two packages waiting for me. One came from Ryan’s Memorabilia (and will get its own post soon) and one came courtesy of Wicked Ortega. I wasn’t really expecting anything from either of them, two surprise packages in one day? Its gonna be a good day… I was late for work at this point, but I still ripped open the packages when I hit each and every stop light on my way in. Man, I thought, I already owe Alfredo big time and he’s hooking me up with all this? I’m gonna have to drive down to Royal Palm Beach and clean his house and wash his dishes or something to make this even… There were a couple of cards in there that made me swerve the car in amazement, but I did manage to avoid an accident and still make it to work (about 10 minutes tardy). I am going to get right into the package. The first card that I saw was of Robb Nen. Last week Fredo had posted a TTM success from the former Marlins closer, Robb Nen, and I commented on it that I was a big Nen fan back in the (pre-D-Rays) day. Robb was as reliable a stopper as there ever was and was a big reason behind the first World Series trophy coming to the Sunshine State in 1997. I was a Fish fan that year. I went to Joe Robbie during the NLCS against Atlanta. Nen wasn’t dominating, but I don’t think he allowed a hit either. He is the career leader in saves for the Marlins (108) and with 314 in his career he is 16th All Time. I don’t think Nen will ever go to the Hall-his 10 year career was just too short, but during that time he was completely dominate. He had 7 straight seasons with 30 or more saves, he saved one World Series for Florida and he brought the Giants to the Series in 2002. He played his final season with a torn rotator cuff and still had a career year. I could go on forever about this guy, but I will end it with his stat line from his final season with San Francisco in 2002, when he was 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 43 saves during the regular season, then added another 7 in the postseason. How is that for going out on top? He was a closer pure and simple and he left the game at his best, he could have come back and beefed up his career numbers, but he didn’t-he retired while being the best closer in baseball. I didn’t intend on collecting autographs of modern players that don’t have connections to the Rays, but I think Alfredo may have started me on trying to collect ‘graphs from the ’97 Marlins cuz they were MY home team then. The photo on this card is awesome, too. The scream of intensity-you can almost imagine that he just threw a 93-MPH slider that was swung right through… Thanks so much for sharing this card with me, I really appreciate it! Wow, I have only written about one card and this post is already really long. I think I will just post the non-Rays cards that he sent in this one. This guy is a Ray now, but he was wearing a different (non-descript) uniform then. I really bet the Astros are kicking themselves for dealing this guy away! Here is this All Star’s rookie card, from the 2004 UP SP set, card #202 of Benjamin Zobrist. Aside from sets/team sets, this is only the 5th card that I have of Zorilla in my binder. I have one of his certified autos, but no relics. Zobrist, Longoria, Bartlett, Aybar, Wheeler, Price, Davis and Howell are the only “regulars” of the past two seasons that I don’t have relics of. I don’t have Pat The Bat either, but I don’t really consider him regular…Anyway, here is another Non-Ray that is now a Ray, it is the 2009 O-Pee-Chee card of Jesse Chavez, the guy who came over in exchange for Aki. I am really looking forward to seeing what Chavez brings to the table, I still think it’s a bad trade, but that isn’t Chavez’ fault. Next up is a 2001 Topps Archives reprint of the GREATEST RHP EVER. Of course I am talking about Leroy “Satchel” Paige. I will own the real thing again someday, but for now this one makes me happy. Here in Troll land, segues are smooth and we are gonna go from a legendary pitcher with mythical stuff to a creature of myth, legend and terror. Some folks call him Sasquatch, others call him the Abominable Snowman, but the 2009 Allen and Ginter set calls him card #LMT1, BIGFOOT! This is my third LMT card and I am still holding onto the illusion that I will someday finish the set. Since this is a Non-Rays post I am going to show off this card from the 2008 Stadium Club set of my favorite player of all time, Roberto Clemente. I just LOVE this picture! Okay, back to modern days… Here is another favorite of mine who is currently a Ray, but wasn’t in 2004. The is from the ’04 SP Prospects set and shows the 390th player selected in the 2001 draft, card #158 of my favorite shortstop Jason Bartlett. I still have more cards of JB in a Twins uni than in Rays jersey, but I think that should change soon. From one great infielder to another, here are 3 cards of my favorite active Non-Ray, Brian Roberts. I had posted the full sized version of this the other day, but I now have the mini to go with it, card #63 from Goodwin Champions of Brian Roberts. These cards are growing on me with each one I get; here is a 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom of B-Rob. The Star for a Day on the back is from 4-24-2008 when he was 4 for 4 with his 4th hit being a game winning home run. Yeah, he has had many games like that, that is one of the (many) reasons why I collect this guy. I really hope that B-More can get it together and build a decent team around him, Jones and Markakis while they are still at the top of their games. I would really love for Roberts to be a career Oriole, but I would also like for him to at least have a shot at the postseason before he is an aging part time DH. On a different note, I will probably make a list of my B-Rob cards soon. Fredo hooked me up, I just got some in the mail from Ryan’s, too, and the collection is growing rapidly. Quantity wise, he is climbing in the PC standings. Currently the rankings are as follows: 1. Crawford, 2. Kazmir, 3.Upton, 4.Tartabull, 5.Young, 6.Pena, 7.Shields, 8.Roberts, 9.Iwamura, 10.Garza. Actually, Aubrey Huff is probably in second, but he doesn’t have a binder page. Either way, considering that two months ago I didn’t have a single Roberts card and now he is in 8th place and climbing in the PC ranks, that is pretty good. He is the only player, other than Crawford, that I have the triple crown of-an autograph, jersey and bat-I just really can’t believe how quickly it is growing. Thanks Blog-O-Sphere!!! Okay, lost focus for a bit… Back to the cards that Wicked sent… The final card is another B-Rob and this is my favorite of this bunch. The design is great! This is from the 2006 SP Authentic Baseball Heroes set. This is sharp looking-it has an up-close color portrait of young Mr. Roberts in the foreground and in the back is a black and white action rendering of him. I have only one other card from this set, and it came from Wicked as well. It is of the aforementioned Greatest pitcher of all-time, Satchel Paige. Anyway, I really do like these Baseball Heroes cards. I don’t know when I will post the remainder of this package from Ortega, but trust me; it was filled with some pretty amazing Rays cards! I wanted to get something up right now to thank you. Your generosity is mind-blowing and very much appreciated. I am so very glad that our paths crossed. You run a terrific blog; you’re a knowledgeable fan and collector, a good friend and an awesome trader! Oh, and I still owe you big time!!! Thanks Alfedo!!! Once again you made my day! Now excuse me while I go fill my binder. The Rays from this package will be posted soon, so stay tuned...Oh, and for those of you keeping score-there are 15 images on this post and not a single Rays uniform, how often does that happen on the Troll? Go Roberts! Go Rays! Troll out.