Friday, December 31, 2010
Today’s CT Card of the Day is one of those cards… Despite the hideous wood paneling background, this is a near perfect card – for Dodgers fans at least. It makes me think of the much cooler League Leader card from 1965 Topps which is pure blue and shows Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax alone at the top. This card includes DD and Koufax both and but could not have been limited to the two of them.
Sandy Koufax ran away with the National League strikeout title in 1961 when he struck out 269 batters. Remember, 1961 was a year similar to the mid-1990s. Balls were flying out of ballparks like crazy (more so in the AL, but…) and 11 different batters topped the .300 mark, led by Roberto Clemente at .351. I’m saying that what Koufax did in ’61 was a testament to his dominance. He faced guys like Clemente, Mays, Pinson, Cepeda, Boyer, Aaron, Mathews, Musial and Frank Robinson on a regular basis, but still punched out 269. Koufax had 64 more strikeouts than his nearest rival. The second place pitcher in that category wasn’t really a rival at all; it was his teammate Stan Williams with 204. Another teammate, the aforementioned Don Drysdale ranked 3rd in the NL that year with 182. Pretty good, but nowhere near Koufax. The card could have been pure Dodger blue against the wood grain, but Topps went 4 deep on the League Leader cards and included Cincinnati Reds starter Jim O’Toole who finished 4th in the K race with 178, 91 strikeouts less than the League Leader. If you look at the back of the card you will see that 91 Ks was an entire season for many – it was for Dick Ellsworth of the Cubs who finished 29th in the NL with 91. It was more than Koufax’s teammates Ron Perranoski, Roger Craig, Turk Ferrell or Larry Sherry had.
Basically with this post I am saying two things that I think everyone already knew. #1 Sandy Koufax was straight up dominant. #2, the Dodgers had a damn good pitching staff. Their starters ranked 1, 2 and 3 in Ks in 1961. If you look down the list a little further you will notice that their #4 starter Johnny Podres tied with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for 10th with 124. Now that is a dominant pitching staff. Of course everyone already knew that. Koufax was also only 25 and just hitting his stride.
I will end this post by saying that I am in Oklahoma City, finally. We spent Wednesday night in Houston. Our flight was delayed and eventually cancelled due to the weather. We killed 16 hours at the George Bush International Airport and did so without our luggage, without internet and with a whole lot of anger towards Continental Airlines. We got through the night without murdering each other, so that is a plus. The contest remains open. One entry per day is the rule, unless I post more than once, then you can have one entry per post. It will end soon and without notice, so GUESS AWAY Trollites!!!
Good news coming, for now I just want to take a shower… PLEASE please enter the contest and have fun and guess… Internet access is limited, but I will be around… Don’t forget the reward is 3 cards from 1956 Topps of Hall of Famers… Go Rays! Screw Houston! Troll out.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I didn’t want this post to solely be of holiday well-wishes, so I found another glorious red and green card to feature. This one was on my wantlist for over a year, but I can scratch it off and for that I am thankful. It is also one of the sharpest cards I own…
The Christmas Edition Troll at the Plate Card of the Day comes from 1965 Topps Baseball, aka the best set of the past 50 years. It is card #42 of Boston Red Sox pitcher Earl Wilson. Despite the fact that he never played in an All Star Game, Wilson was one of the top pitchers in the American League during the 1960s. He was signed by the Red Sox organization as a teenager in 1953 and made his Major League debut with Boston in 1959. He was the second African American player on the Red Sox, after Pumpsie Green, and was the first pitcher.
By 1962 he was a regular part of the Red Sox rotation and posted a record of 12-8 that year. That same season, as the back of the card mentions, Wilson no hit Bo Belinsky and the Angels 2-0. Wilson provided the offense in that game for the Sox hitting a homerun to put the Sox on the scoreboard. With that no hitter on June 26th, Wilson made the history books several ways. He was the first African American pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the American League and he became just the third pitcher to throw a no-hitter and hit a homerun in the same game.
Wilson was a successful batter and hit 33 homers in 740 at bats over his career. This ranks him 5th All Time among pitchers. Only Wes Ferrell, Red Ruffing, Warren Spahn and Bob Lemon matched him in that category.
Of course it was his arm that keep him employed and from 1962-1969 he was among the best righties in the AL as he won more than 11 games in each of those 9 seasons. He tossed a no hitter in ’62 and in 1966 he was 18-11 with 200 strikeouts for the Sox and Tigers combined.
In 1967, his first full season in Detroit, he had his finest year. He was 22-11 in 38 starts for the Tigers. He logged 264 innings and completed 12 games. His 22 wins tied him for the League lead. Had the Sox not traded him away many believe they would have won it all in ’67, but alas the Curse of the Bambino and all…
The following season Wilson saw the postseason. As a member of the Tigers he won it all in ’68. In the rotation with Denny McClain and Mickey Lolich, Wilson won 13 games for Detroit in ’68 and had a stellar 2.85 ERA. He would win 12 games for the Tigers in 1969 before heading to San Diego in 1970. That would be his final season. He retired with a 121-109 mark, a 3.69 ERA and 1452 strikeouts. He earned a ring with the Tigers in ’68 and at the plate had a .195 batting average with 35 homers and 111 RBI in 740 at bats. A poor year at the plate in his final year with the Padres plunged his career batting average under 200.
As a long sought after card and a lovely red and green color scheme, this seemed the perfect Christmas card…
Don’t forget to enter my contest and win yourself some sweet 1956s…
Go Rays! Good night Pumpsie Green wherever you are and thanks to everyone who has hooked me up in my quest in for '65 Topps AND thanks to Larry and everyone else who has sent me Holiday greetings! You guys rule!! Troll out.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Before I get into the contest you will have to indulge me while I share some personal news. It DOES tie into the contest, so…
I, the Troll, am going to be a GRANDFATHER! Yes, a Grandfather. My oldest son Zadeh and his girlfriend Holly are expecting and have been for a while. The wife (Esther Gin N Juice) and I will be heading to Oklahoma City next week to hang out and hopefully meet our new grandson.
I say hopefully because he hasn’t been born yet.
There in is the contest.
I want you folks to guess what time he is born.
Pick a time, any time, once a day until he is born. The winner gets a prize of sweet vintage goodness which will include at least 3 Hall of Famers from the 1956 Topps set. I am not going to tell you who just yet, you are going to have to trust me on this one.
So, beginning today, you can guess a time. If you want to be more thorough, you can pick a day as a tie-breaker. That way more than one person can pick 7:00AM and the day will serve as the tie breaker. If you want to go one step further, you can try and guess his name. I will give you a hint, his name appears in this year’s Allen and Ginter set. It isn’t Prince, Carl, Ponce de Leon, Stegosaurus, Pan or Francisco, but you would be on the right track. So, my dear readers, you can start guessing immediately and closest to the minute will win a pile of 5 (at least) 1956 Topps baseball cards including at least 3 Hall of Famers.
The prizes are good, you want in, trust me. The prize will not be mailed out until after the New Year. I don’t get back to Floriduh until January 5, 2011. I will determine the winner then.
You can enter once a day every day until I close the contest. I will try and post daily to keep up. You can advertise on your blogs, BUT that doesn't give you any extra credit. You need to pick the time and be the closest. For example, if he is born at 7:58 AM and Joe guesses 7:55 and Bob guesses 8:00, Bob would win as he would be the closest. If Bill also picked 8:00, too, then we would go to the tie-breakers.
Okay, that’s it, comment away. Go Rays! Go Grandparents! Troll out.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Now That Joe Morgan is Unemployed, Is it Safe to Recognize Him as One of the Best Second Baseman of All Time?
Friday, December 17, 2010
With each new card I get I generally spend a while staring at the photo, reading and re-reading the back, googling the player to look for new information and career stats, then I scan the card and finally put it in the binder.
The card I am writing about today broke that routine. It was a much needed one and I anticipated owning it, but holding it in my hands I didn’t feel that excitement I generally do.
It did fill up a page, which is awesome, but there was no googling, no memories, no stories, no sweet photos, no getting to learn about a player I may not have been too familiar with.
That is because card #79 is a checklist.
When I was a kid checklists were cool. Like many others, I used them. Well, I didn’t write ON them, I put them in a penny sleeve and then marked them off AND I used them to make my want list. Now, with the power of the internet I had a checklist before I even bought a binder. All this card really does is fill a hole in a page. This card is in GREAT shape, a little off-center, but has sharp corners and no markings. I got a good deal on it and it shipped to me for 3 bucks, but that was only after a lot of careful searching. These can and do sell for 5 bucks a pop PLUS shipping, for a card with no pictures.
Looking at this one does make me smile now that I think of it. The front lists the first 34 cards in the set. I have ALL but one.
The back shows cards numbered 35 – 88. I have all but 2 of those.
Collecting this set has renewed my love of this hobby. All of crap with Topps’ monopoly, overpriced cards and crappy inserts goes away when you dive into a set like this. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is getting disenchanted with the hobby.
But, I am wondering – how do y’all feel about checklists?
That’s all for now. Details on the contest will come soon along with details on my grades. I have to wait till Monday for my test score so I don’t know whether to be happy or sad just yet. Feel free to check out my want list. The binder is looking damn good with 97% of the first 100 cards safely sitting in its pages. Oh, Norm Cash has little to do with this post, but I wanted a real photo of a card that I got REALLY excited about scratching off my list...
Go Rays! Troll out.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
I have been a proud member since March 2010, so this is my first BBA Day as a member. Actually I think it the first BBA Day period.
So what does BBA Day mean? Well, it is a day to advertise our network, reflect on why we are members and encourage more to join the Alliance.
My first introduction to the BBA came from C70 at the Bat, a Cardinals blog. I was trying to get a take on how Jaime Garcia was going to factor into the Red Birds plans for 2010 and found that website after a bit of googling. While reading the blog I noticed that C70 was a member of the BBA. Actually it turns out he is the founder.
I sent him an email asking how I could join. I thought there would be a long approval process and some form of an interview, but there wasn’t. I was approved automatically and could remain a member as long as I participated in the BBA Awards voting. Turns out that is the best part.
How often have you complained about how the BBWA voted for MVP or Cy Young or for the Hall of Fame? For me it’s pretty constant. Well, with the BBA WE GET TO VOTE!!! We aren’t actually placing players in Cooperstown, but it’s a real voting process with votes coming from people who cover the game they love and are generally doing it for free.
Every year I make my picks for the All Star Game and put a lot of time into my selections. This year I was able to vote as part of a group to choose the starting line-up. Ditto that with postseason awards. I voted with the group for the Walter Johnson Award for top pitcher, the Goose Gossage Award for top reliever and the Stan Musial Award for best overall player.
Presently we are voting for Hall of Fame suggestions. I just voted and as soon as the ballot came up on my screen I was hit by a rush, some goose bumps, some anxiety and a generally crazy awesome feeling.
As a baseball fan, a sentimentalist and a writer, so many times I have written about so and so belongs in the Hall of Fame.
When I clicked on the ballot I was greeted by many of these names and instantly got a taste of the pressure that the Baseball Writers must feel when they get their ballot.
I pasted all of the names from the ballot below; it is quite a list…
Alomar, Roberto, Baerga, Carlos, Bagwell, Jeff, Baines, Harold, Boone, Bret, Brown, Kevin, Blyleven, Bert, Franco, John, Gonzalez, Juan, Grissom, Marquis, Higginson,Bobby, Johnson, Charles, Larkin, Barry, Leiter, Al, Martinez, Edgar, Martinez, Tino, Mattingly, Don, McGriff, Fred, McGwire, Mark, Mondesi, Raul,Morris, Jack, Murphy, Dale, Olerud, John,Palmerio, Rafael, Parker, Dave, Raines, Tim, Rueter, Kirk, Santiago, Benito, Smith, Lee, Surhoff, B.J., Trammell, Alan and Larry Walker.
Wow. That is a long list of names, some pretty big names, and some pretty HUGE numbers. The rules for BBA Hall of Fame Suggestion Voting state that you can vote for up to, but no more than 10 players. I could have picked 10 names but I didn’t. Take away Kirk Rueter, Bobby Higginson and Kevin Brown and you could make a case for nearly every one of these guys. I voted for 5. Bert Blyleven was a no-brainer and that was the first name I checked. I scanned through the list and on the next time through I selected Barry Larkin and Jeff Bagwell. Those 2 aren’t really no-brainers, but I think they are legit Hall of Famers. Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Larry Walker have Bagwell-like numbers, and I came close to checking Larry Walker, but I couldn’t this time. My third time through the list I came close to voting for Harold Baines, Dave Parker, Jack Morris and Lee Smith, but resisted for some reason. The last 2 I voted for were Tim Raines and Fred McGriff. I couldn’t think of a reason not to vote for those 5, the other players, well, I just couldn’t come up with enough reasons TO vote for them. Regardless of whether a player used steroids or not, the stats produced by steroid era players have to be taken with a grain of salt and it isn’t easy picking and choosing the best of the best from that time. It also makes the numbers put up by Dave Parker, Dale Murphy and Harold Baines that much more impressive… For my vote Bags and Larkin got extra credit for team loyalty. I thought long and hard about Allen Trammell for that same reason.
BBA Hall of Fame voting stays open till December 28th. I believe if you join now you could still vote for the HOF Suggestion.
I hope that everyone has a Happy BBA Day!!! I am VERY happy that I joined before last season. I was quiet with my baseball writing, but that is because I didn’t have much to complain about – my team had a GREAT regular season. This year I already have lots to gripe about, so you can look forward to hearing my voice much more this year.
I hope that some of you writers out there consider joining the BBA today and for the upcoming baseball season. It is a GREAT network of baseball bloggers. I have made friends and contacts that I value and it provides great exposure for your blog.
Thanks for reading! Oh, feel free to agree or disagree with my picks for the Hall. I am ready! Oh, speaking of ready… What are you waiting for? Go check out the BBA website and see if its something you would like to be a part of… Oh, as evidenced by my choice of images - the BBA WELCOMES baseball writers who blog about baseball cards... Go Rays! Troll out.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
I wanted to thank everyone for checking out my 1965 Topps Trade Bait Posts. Four of you took advantage of these, a few cards have been claimed, I scratched several cards off of my wantlist AND I finished up 2 different Allen and Ginter mini subsets, so I am pretty happy. There are still a bunch more cards available. I want to keep on posting more vintage trade bait, but unless there are readers out there who have cards from my wantlist that are just waiting for the right bait card, I think it would be a waste of time. What do you guys think? Anyway, I think I need only 14 more cards to polish off the first 20 pages in my binder. This number includes Hank Aaron and Roger Maris, but whatever...
Go Rays! troll out.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
156 Bob Sadowski - Braves - Claimed Waxaholic
177 Pete Mikkelsen - Yankees - Claimed BA Benny
181 Senators Rookie Stars - Loun and McCabe
70 Moose Skowron - White Sox
86 Les Narum - Senators
87 Nelson Mathews KC Athletics
109 Walt Bond - Colt 45s (a bit off-center) - CLAIMED Daily Dimwit
117 Wes Stock -KC Athletics
128 Vic Davalillo - Indians
142 Bill Monboquette - Red Sox
146 Ron Hansen - White Sox
148 Willie Kirkland - Senators (yes, he has a toothpick in his mouth, does anyone collect those?)
1965 Topps - Begging and Offering...The First in a 3 Part Series of '65 Topps Trade Bait! Come and Get It!
13 Pedro Ramos - Yankees - Claimed BA Benny
23 Bob Tiefenauer - Braves
27 Dick Bertell - Cubbies
51 Billy Bryan (really rough shape) Athletics
56 Ron Kline - Senators (has a pen mark below pennant)
57 St. Louis Cardinals (duh) - Claimed BA Benny
60 Jim O'Toole ( a little creased) Reds
66 Bill Rigney - Angels Manager
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
There was a package from my buddy in South Florida, Wicked Ortega from the My Past Time…I Love It! Blog with a post mark from early August.
I generally don’t look at postmarks, but what triggered me was a package from an unknown sender that wasn’t addressed to Troll. I hadn’t bought anything online or traded with anyone new, so all the envelopes were from familiar senders except this one. I tore it open first and found this 2010 Topps Chrome autograph of my favorite Rays rookie Wade Davis.
I had bought this card from an eBay seller in late September when the product first dropped. I was searching around for the card late one night after work and found a BIN or Best Offer card. I made an offer, a really low offer, just for fun and the next morning I had an invoice for the card in my inbox. I didn’t really want to buy the card – actually I did, but I really couldn’t afford it, I couldn’t afford to be buying anything that week, but I did make an offer, it was accepted and I was on the hook to pay for it. Anyway, I “wrote” an e-check to pay for it and checked my PO Box in anticipation of the new card for the next 2 weeks with no success.
Finally I wrote a “hey WTF” letter to the seller. The seller actually turned out to be really nice and cool about the situation. He said he sent the card out the day I paid for it and he had a tracking code for the package. That was pretty cool of him considering I had only paid 5 bucks for the card including shipping and the asking price was $9.99 plus shipping. Anyway, he tracked the package down-it got stuck in his home post office and he couldn’t get an answer as to why. He offered to refund my money and said if the card arrived I could keep it as bonus. Sweet! I was happier to get my money back; I left him good feedback and forgot about the card. I tried using the 5 bucks to buy a different Wade Davis auto, but got outbid every time.
Anyway, 2 months after I dropped 5 bucks I didn’t have on this on-card autograph of Lake Wales native Wade Davis, it showed up in the mail.
What made it even cooler was that the seller had included a couple of 2010 Topps cards of Davis as freebies along with the card I “bought” which ended up being a freebie too. Yeah, getting an on-card auto of my favorite Rays pitcher for free is freaking awesome! On the negative side, looking at the card it ain’t that great and the autograph looked nowhere near as good as the photo in the auction. Same card yes, but a far weaker looking autograph.
So, that was the reason that I started looking at postmarks and that one took 2 months to make it to Bradentucky. The package from my homie Wicked Ortega was lost in transit even longer. It spent 3 and a half months hovering in postal purgatory. This package was a total surprise to me. Wicked never mentioned sending it to me, so I had no idea it was lost. Either way I am psyched that it showed up. He sent a 2007 Topps Tampa Bay Devil Rays retail team set along with 2 autographs.
Before I show the sweet autographs I have to send out a LONG overdue and HUGE thank you to my buddy Wicked! I am going to show the 2 autographs that were in this surprise package now, but I still owe you my readers a Wicked Week of posting to show off all of the unposted autographs and cards that I have got from Wicked this past year, there are a LOT of sweet autos he has shared with me and SOMEDAY I will actually post them.
Okay, here are the two autographs liberated from the Dead Letter Office.
He sent a Select Rookies and Stars autograph of Brent Abernathy. BA was the Devil Rays starting second baseman for the 2002 season, had a decent year, but was taken off the waiver wire by the Royals in April of 2003 and he never found a regular job in the Majors again.
Next is a 2003 Donruss The Rookies autograph of prospect Brian Stokes. In 2003 the D-Rays were awful and Stokes was coming off a 10-7 season in A ball and represented hope for the pitching staff. Stokes wouldn’t see Tampa Bay until 2006 when he came up as a rookie starter, he moved to the pen in ’07 and moved to New York after that. He was since moved to the Los Angeles Angels and hopefully will have a shot to stay in the Big Leagues in 2011. He is one of those players that I am surprised doesn’t sign TTM. Relief pitchers are generally pretty good about keeping up with their mail. Thanks to Wicked, I don’t need to waste ANOTHER stamp on him…
Okay, now I mentioned that I had received 5 packages that day. Funny thing (awesome thing) is all 5 packages included autographs in them. One came from The Great Orioles Autograph Project which will get its own post because he sent a bunch of autographed cards - the 5th package will remain a mystery for now, but I will show off a one card surprise treat from Zack of the Autographed Cards blog. He included a note saying that I needed to get my Rays autograph list online again because it made it a lot easier to surprise me with an auto that I needed. I am working on getting the list together again and will hopefully have one online again soon.
The card that Zack sent WAS in fact one that I needed. He sent along an in-person autograph from former Rays pitcher Mitch Talbot which looks great! Talbot was a 13 game winner in AAA with the Durham Bulls in both 2007 and '08 and earned himself a call up with the Rays in 2008. He spent all of 2009 in the minors before being traded to Cleveland as part of the Kelly Shoppach deal. Talbot won 10 games for the Tribe and I think they got the better end of the deal. Either way I am glad that Talbot is in the big leagues and I am thrilled to scratch him off of my autographs need list.