Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Back! Trying to Catch Up, Let's Start With a Great Trade With Drews Cards

Well, it seems like months since I have posted anything, I feel awful about that. I love posting here; it truly is therapy for me to get everything out there. I also love and live for the interaction with other bloggers, readers and collectors. I’ve been going though a lot of late and haven’t been able to post. I had a PayPal account that someone tapped into and made a bunch of purchases with, ever though the account had no money in it. Twenty small transactions at less than 10 dollars each were made. I apparently had the account linked to a checking account that I don’t use any more and all twenty transactions posted against this account (without my knowledge or authorization) which didn’t have any more in it. For whatever reason the bank paid them all and I am stuck with $700.00 in fees (based on 35 per overdraft). I’ve been on the phone with PayPal all day and have resolved nothing. I refuse to pay the fees, and the bank will let me file a fraudulent claim against them, which is cool, but PayPal has me very pissed off right now. They allowed someone to change the password on the account to use it for their thievery, but since I don’t know this password, they are leery of helping me. Fraud protection my ass.
That said my planned afternoon of posting is blown. I write posts in a notebook every night at work, but I haven’t had the time to type them up and turn them into actual posts. To give an update, I sent 4 packages out yesterday and 3 more today. Everyone that I have arranged a trade with or owe something to-your cards are in transit to you. I am going to try and stay composed long enough to post a trade, though. I have to be to work in 45 minutes, so it’s a race against time. I apologize to Drew for starting this post off with all of this garbage. Sorry Drew!
Drew gets the call to be first in line in my attempt to catch up trades. The reasons being many, but include: I think I got his cards first; he posted what I sent him a month ago, but also because he runs a cool blog and seems like a cool guy even though he is a Yankees fan. That list bit is important because I have been looking for a trader to ship my Yankees cards off to for a while. Drew answered the call, he is the man. Get in touch with him if you have unwanted Yankees cards (and who doesn’t?) and work out a trade. He also collects Nick Swisher and Robby Cano, so he has better taste than your average A-Rod fan (ha!). He sent me a TON of Rays cards in exchange for said Yankees and some cards I had from his Ginter list. With time being an issue, I am gonna fly through these. This first one is my favorite; I really like this insert from 2009 Upper Deck. I ripped a bunch of these packs and did pull a few of these inserts, but they were all of NL Central teams, I kinda figured that was it for the set. If there are any other Rays in this subset, I want ‘em! I do like the style of these, but it puzzles me why Upper Deck is recycling the design from 1975 Topps. Oh well, the card is of Carl Crawford and is number OPC-7 in the set. Next is a carryover from my magnificent 7 want list of Rays Heritage cards. Someone else sent me this one for my set, but I needed 2 more to fill the team set and player collection. The card is of Ben Zobrist, card #577 in the Topps Heritage 2008 High Numbers series. Trade bait trading has brought at least one copy in of all of those cards, but I still need player collection cards of Gabe Gross (#702 I think) and an extra copy of Jason Bartlett and the Coaches floating head card, too.
Next up is Topps Town Evan Longoria. It’s kinda funny because I got to within 2 cards of finishing the set and gave up and split it into team piles for trading. One of the two cards that I needed was this Longo!
Another new card to my collection is this shiny 2008 Bowman Chrome card #171 of Carlos Pena. This BJ Upton card made me do a double take. Its from the 2007 Topps Opening Day set, which I ripped a ton of, but something seemed different about it. I dug up the 10 or so copies I had and realized this one is different. It has the opening day date on the top and is serial numbered 0514/2007 on the back. Sweet! I am trying to rush here, so please forgive me. Here is a triple panel of Upper Deck cards of 3 of my favorites, Edwin Jackson, Carl Crawford and Jason Bartlett. I really miss having Edwin on the team. I hope he can make a statement in the playoffs-not that I am a Tigers fan or anything… That said, I am loving this race between the Tigers and the Twins and the Braves chasing the Rockies, I love it! Anyway, here is another strip of cool 2009 cards for the Rays binder. Then a very shiny spectrum card of BJ Upton (shown above with chrome Pena). I don’t know why, but I really have avoided buying Spectrum, I like chasing the Rays, but there’s something about the product I just can’t get into. The next card is an Upper Deck Documentary. I have gotten quite a few of these, I don’t know how close I am to finishing up all of the Rays cards in it, but I think this one is new to me. It has Carl Crawford running the bases on the front, which is weird because the game they detailed on the back mentions nothing about CC. Longo and Hinske homered and Kaz got the win, yet CC is on the card? Odd. Again, not a product I would buy, but Rays are always welcome here! I can’t show all 80 or so cards he sent, so I am gonna wrap it up with one more. This is the key to the trade, I guess, since it is the lone relic. I really appreciated this because I didn’t send Drew any relics, so this was a bonus. It is actually my first Greg Vaughn relic of any kind. I really like this card, the lumber-y look of it, and the giant hunk of bat in the center. It has a classy look. It is the first Vaughn card to find its way into my fancy Rays card display case. Now this doesn’t mean I want anymore, one is enough, but I do really like this one. I gotta motor and head to work. More stuff to come manana. JDs Wild, SOTCS, Beardy, Wicked, Joe, Jim, GCRL, you guys all have packages in transit. Sarah, I have some cards and stuff for you that I think you will really like-it will head out before the end of the week. There are a few trade bait cards left, not many, but I can still listen to offers. I think there are 7 cards left (out of 43!) and 3 are Braves cards which kinda surprised me. Whats up Braves fans? I missed the Twins and Tigers double header, but I caught the replay of the Braves vs. Fish game and the Rays handing the Orioles their 11th loss in a row. Josh Johnson hitting an RBI double, those fish don’t quit! Congrats to Brian Roberts on his 56th double of the year, too! I am babbling, so I will sign off. Thanks to everyone for their patience, I will be back to posting regularly again soon! Thanks Drew for this trade, I really appreciate it! Please excuse this post for being all over the place and rushed. My mind is on other things, but I really love this community we have here and I wanted to make my contribution daily. I do really hate trying to deal with paypal. That is one of the reasons I have sworn off ebay. I do promise to post as many trades as I can till I am caught up, then I have a few surprises for y'all. Thanks again to Drew, go check out his blog and send him some Yankees! Go Rays! Troll out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Remembering Ray Berres

After spending the day and night in Fort Myers yesterday for the very successful “Ta Ta Takedown”, I arrived home way after 3 in the morning. I did manage to wake up for my early morning classes, and then went to the dentist. It was a four-filling visit and I am very numb and cloudy and not feeling very creative. The dentist was kind enough to put on the replay of yesterdays Rays vs. Rangers game for me and the Rays won 7-6! The Bombers also won yesterday, it was truly an amazing game. They pulled it off 104-103 in the final seconds. I didn’t take pictures as I was very, very busy hosting the Breast Cancer benefit (we raised a bunch of money!) as well as calling all of the derby action by myself (Ft.Myers announcer was ill). I am still a bit hoarse, but the Novocain (or whatever they use now) has me forgetting all of that. Anyway, last week, I was rifling through my Mom's storage and I found some cool stuff that I hadn’t seen in 10 years. There was a short interview that I did with Bob Shaw, former MLB pitcher who outdueled Sandy Koufax in Game 5 of the 1959 World Series and also an interview and many cool pics of Johnny Sain. There was also a stack of letters and correspondence that I had with former players at that time. I think (if anyone is interested) I may post all of them sooner or later. The one that I will post today is from Ray Berres. I wish I had a copy of the letter that I had sent to him that he was replying to, but I do not. We went back and forth several times over the years, but this is the only letter that I have found so far. He was 90 years old when he wrote this letter to me. I was writing a book about the Chicago White Sox at the time and really wanted to meet with him. We never did meet face to face, mostly due to his age, but also because he was nervous about going on record, in fear of hurting peoples feelings by forgetting to mention a name of any of the Greats that he coached. During his playing days, Berres was a catcher who made his MLB debut in 1933 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, prior to his death in 2007; he was the oldest living Dodger. He died at age 99 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, his birthplace, offseason residence and lifelong home. His nephew sent me a copy of the Kenosha obituary and said that his uncle enjoyed our correspondence. His playing career spanned 11 seasons and 5 different teams; his final year in the Majors was 1945 with the New York Giants. Following that year, he was a player manager with Richmond, and then retired from playing. He was a lifetime .216 batter, he had 287 hits and 78 RBI. His size (5’8”/165 LBS) wasn’t typical of a catcher, but he was known for defense. With the Braves in 1941 he led all catchers in fielding percentage with a .995 average. He had just 2 errors in 422 total chances while turning 13 double plays and having 64 assists from behind the plate. His career crossed paths with Hall of Famer Al Lopez many times throughout his days as a player and a coach. He worked as Lopez’ backup catcher, the two were traded for each other and he served as Lopez’ pitching coach for many years with the Chicago White Sox. In an interesting (to me) note, in 11 seasons he wore 9 different uniform numbers. The #32 which he wore with the Pirates was the only number he used in two consecutive years. As a coach, Berres was recognized by his students as pure genius. He spent 20 years with the White Sox as a pitching coach, starting in 1949 and continuing (with a short interruption) until 1969. I had interviewed quite a few of the Sox pitchers and Berres name always came up and this is why I so desperately wanted to meet him. During his 20 years in that position, he (the White Sox) produced 15 different All Star pitchers. I think this is a remarkable statistic. Those pitchers are: Ray Scarborough, Randy Gumpert, Billy Pierce (7 times), Bob Keegan, Sandy Consuergra, Dick Donavon, Jim Wilson, Virgil Trucks, Early Wynn (3 times), Gerry Staley, Ray Herbert, Juan Pizzaro (2 times), Gary Peters, Eddie Fisher and Tommy John. That is a total of 24 All Star Appearances by his pitching staff in 19 seasons! To put this in perspective, the prior 16 years the Sox had 8 All Star pitchers total, and in the 10 years after he left, there only 3 different pitchers to make the All Star team-Wilbur Wood (3 times), Goose Gossage (2 times) and Jim Kaat. He also was part of the coaching staff that led the White Sox to the World Series (lost to Dodgers) in 1959. Simply put, he had a remarkable career-baseball was very good to him. I have scanned the letter (2 pages) and I will also type it here. Mr. Berres isn’t going into Cooperstown any time soon, certainly not as a player, but his impact as a coach was felt by MANY and I will remember him as a Legend and a pen pal. I will always treasure the 1940 Playball card (#164) that he sent to me with one of his letters. The sentimentality of it, coupled with the fact that it is from 1940, makes it one of my favorites of all-time. I always wondered why he sent the card without autographing it; I think he was just that modest. I thought of sending it back to him for him to sign, but I thought it would be best to keep the gift as he gave it to me. This letter was written on August 2, 1998 when Mr. Berres was 90 years old. Transcription follows: Dear Mr. Generous,
And that you are, generous with your remarks and thank you for your complimentary letter. I can’t be deserving of all that, but it is nice to hear. I wasn’t all that successful (ed note:as a player) and if I hurt anyone along the way (ed note: referring to frequent trades and becoming a starter in 1941), I am sorry and it was done inadvertently. I still feel badly for those who tried so hard, but for one reason or another did not “make it”.
You asked about my career with the Chicago White Sox. Well, Frank Lane brought me to the Sox in 1949 after having worked for the Milwaukee Brewers, then in the American Association in 1948. I quit the big club after the 1966 season and went into the farm system in 1967-rejoined the parent club during the 1968 season for a total of 20 years. Went back into the “farm system” in 1970 when I decided to retire.
(I) had an enjoyable tenure with the Sox, mainly because of the wonderful guys to work with. I was not aware of the 15 pitchers that pitched in the All Star games. I do not like to mention favorites-lest I forget to mention a deserving one. Most were cooperative and if I enjoyed a modicum of success it was because of them.
As for Sarasota (Florida), I enjoyed training there. I’m talking so many lies here my pen went dry. (using a new pen, now…) The location of the hotel and the ballpark made it very convenient for the players to go to and from. I also liked Sarasota because I had relatives and friends living there and the fans were great. I miss it at times, but you can’t turn back the clock. I’m pushing 91 and these arthritic fingers are acting up. So let me thank you once again with hopes this note will suffice.
Best Wishes,
Ray Berres.
We continued to be pen pals for several years after this and he always sent a note in reply, but they became shorter and eventually were written by someone else on his behalf. I truly enjoyed this communication with a man that I truly respected and admired. There are many GREAT players that have excelled at this game over the years, but many of them owe huge debts to the GREAT TEACHERS that helped them ply their craft. Mr. Berres was a great teacher and a great friend.
For a few endnotes… Bloggers, a few of you have written to me asking how you can get players to respond to letters. First, current players rarely have time to read and respond to them. I have only gotten letters from a very small number. The best way to get your letter noticed from a retired player is to not include an autograph request. Many players get 100s a week and even those who have great reputations as signers will often just skim the letter to check and see if you want the autograph personalized or not. If you send the letter without a card, it will more likely be responded to. Also, take the time to write “Thank you” notes. I know everyone gets excited when they get a cool autograph in the mail, take a minute and thank the old-timer for taking the time, you may be surprised how much that means. I have written 1,000s of letters to ball players over the years, most were attempts at initiating interviews, some were autograph requests and some were just out of curiosity. I wish I still had even 10% of these great letters, but anyone who has ever survived a divorce knows what that does to your life and your important belongings. I thank my Mom for saving the small bunch that I found this letter in. Thanks for reading and Rest in Peace Mr. Berres, I really enjoyed our correspondence. On a personal note, my face is still numb and I am getting REALY hungry! Thanks to all who took the time to read this, I cried a little when I found this letter in the box from Mom’s. I am so glad she saved it. Switching gears completely I want to send a thank you to all who bit at the trade bait. Nearly all of the cards have been claimed and are noted as such. I am still taking offers for the rest of them. My Wife’s family is visiting from Michigan, so as soon as I can feel my face again, I will be meeting up with them. I didn’t check the mailbox today, but I have about 15 trades that I need to catch up on-these will be posted soon. Thanks again for reading and if this got you in the mood for some Chicago White Sox history, I suggest you head on over to the White Sox Cards blog, it is highly recommended! Go Rays! Troll out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bradentucky Vs. Fort Myers

So what am I up to today? Glad ya asked. I will be going to Fort Myers, Florida for some roller derby! Even though our regular season is over, we added some bonus bouts just so none of us had to worry about having a free weekend and doing something non-derby-related. Kidding. Wish us luck, the goal is of course to totally destroy Fort Myers on their rink, AGAIN! I couldn't find a flier for today's bout, but this one should explain my whereabouts three weeks from now. Are there any locals out there? Get in touch. See ya at the rink! I will be back on Monday to try and catch up on trades and stuff. Hope y’all have a great weekend! Go Bombers! Go Rays! Troll out.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Allen and Ginter TTM Success Number Seven or Front Runner for 2009 AL ROY!

Two days in a row now for Allen and Ginter autograph successes. That brings my success rate up to 4%. Not great, but I am happy to get any back. I have officially pulled the plug on TTM requests for this year. There are only a few more days left of the season and my ten dollar a day stamp habit could use a rest. The plan is to sit back and watch them all pour in now. I have over 250 requests out there, but only 168 are for the Ginter Quest. Anyway, this is the first autograph I have gotten this year from an Oakland A’s player (Dallas Braden, Adam Kennedy, Rajai Davis, Bobby Crosby are all pending) and also the first I have received from an All Star. On the subject of firsts, it is the first one that I have received from a front running candidate for Rookie of the Year, too. This act of kindness on his part could sway my opinion on who should be Rookie of the Year. I am still undecided. I am a total homer for the Rays so naturally I am backing Jeff Niemann. Rick Porcello has the wins lead and Elvis Andrus is getting hot at the right time. The problem is none of those three are responding to my fan mail! It is tight race and like I said, I am pulling for Niemann, but this guy, oh; by the way I am speaking of Andrew Bailey if you haven’t figured that out already, is hard to ignore. He literally came out of nowhere this year. After three seasons in the minors without posting a winning record as a starter, the A’s who were short on arms, gave him a shot in the bullpen. Bailey had never earned a save in the minors, but suddenly this year he has 26 of them in the big leagues. Not bad for a guy with a 12-22 career record, mostly in AA. Seriously, who would have thought that a guy who was 5-9 with a 4.32 ERA in AA last year would be an All Star closer? Not me. His 26 saves won’t rival Fuentes, Nathan, Papplebon or Rivera for the league lead, but the A’s don’t have many games to close. In addition to his 26 saves, he has those guys beat in games (65), innings (80), strike outs (88), wins (6) and games finished (51) and he is tied with Joe Nathan for the fewest homers allowed out of those 5 guys. Oh, and although all five of them are All Star relievers, Bailey is the only rookie in that bunch and that is pretty good company to be compared to, especially when your better! His record of 6-3 with a teeny tiny 1.90 ERA is pretty nice, too. In fact, the only reliever with more strikeouts than Bailey is his teammate in Oakland, Mike Wuertz, who is having a darn good year himself. If you want to compare Rookie of the Year candidates, head on over to the Closet Full of Cardboard blog, he has a great comparison of all of the candidates. I don’t have a vote for ROY myself, but I really do appreciate the speedy turn around on this TTM. Plus, the signature is pretty sweet and it never hurts to add in your number. Much appreciated Mr. Bailey, good luck the rest of the year!

Triple Digit Birthday Wishes!

I use this blog for birthday wishes quite often, but I have never wished anyone a triple digit birthday here before-until today, September 26, 2009. 104 years ago today, Emilio “Millito” Navarro was born in Patillas, Puerto Rico. He started playing professional ball in 1921 in Puerto Rico when he was just 17 years old. In 1928 (22 yrs old) he came to New York in the US and began playing and travelling with the Eastern Cuban Stars. He was their starting shortstop and lead-off hitter. He paired up with Alejandro Crespo to form one of the league’s top double-play combinations. He was the first Puerto Rican born player to play in the Negro American League. Even though the Stars were a last place team, he became known quickly as a top defender, base stealer and hitter. He batted .327 in 1929 which was his second and final year playing ball in the NAL and in thiscountry. He continued playing for more than 20 year in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He played baseball year round, but during the winters of the 1930’s and 1940’s he was joined by some of the top talent from the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues. During his 2 years with the Cuban Stars there was no World Series or playoffs and he played prior to the East-West All Star game. League games were limited for the Stars and so were victories. Of the 55 games they played in 1929, they won just 16 of them. The team did include many Cuban players, but also included South Americans, Puerto Ricans, Americans and Mexican player. Aside from Navarro and Crespo, the Stars boasted two other big-time stars-catcher and manager Jose Fernandez and Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo. Over his 23-year career Dihigo was one of the top pitchers and hitters in baseball. Aside from pitching, he was skilled and able to play every single position in baseball, rarely taking a day off from the game. Aside from playing all 9 positions, he also coached and managed teams during his playing days.
After retiring from pro baseball in the 1940s, Millito Navarro worked as a physical education teacher in the Puerto Rican public school system. He is living in Ponce, Puerto Rico and is completely retired now. Mr. Navarro is the oldest living veteran of the Negro American Leagues, or any Negro League for that matter. He was included in the 2009 Allen and Ginter set with card #112, he is also included in the minis subset and signed 239 cards for the framed autographed mini set. Happy Birthday to you Emilio-Feliz cumpleanos a ti Senor Navarro! Here’s to many more! Reader GreggG sent me a present for Mr. Navarro’s birthday (I actually got it today and this post was already planned). A huge thank you for this card! I love the Bazooka backs and anytime you can have a #1 of anything is pretty awesome! Happy Birthday 104th Millito! This card is one of twenty-five, but you sir are one in a million! Go Rays! Troll out.

Allen and Ginter TTM Success #6

Willie “Curly” Williams was the Newark (and later Houston) Eagles shortstop for six seasons starting in 1945. His original double play partner was Hall of Famer Willie Wells. In 1946 a new second baseman joined the Eagles to work the middle infield with Williams, another future Hall of Famer, this time Larry Doby. During his 6 years with the Eagles these weren’t the only future Hall of Famers that Williams shared the field with. He also played with Biz Mackie, Monte Irvin and Leon Day. It didn’t take long before Williams himself was established as a star, too. He was named the starting shortstop for the 1950 East-West All Star Game, the final official EW game in Negro League Baseball. He led off for the West and scored a run in the West’s 5-3 victory. Connie Johnson of the Kansas City Monarchs got the win. Joe Black and Junior Gilliam were the stars of the East team. After the 1950 season Black, Gilliam and Williams were all signed by Major League teams and the rest, as they say, is history. Curly signed this 2009 Allen and Ginter card for me TTM and even personalized it AND spelled my name correctly. It is card #81 in the set. I am interested in obtaining as many copies of this card as I can. Anyone who has copies that would like to trade, please contact me. I am also looking for the framed autograph and Bazooka back mini from this set, along with any other cards or pictures related to Mr. Williams fine career. I have plans to do an in-person interview with Mr. Williams in the very near future. I don’t have publishing arranged for it yet. Is this something that the blog-o-sphere would be interested in reading about? Please let me know. Thank you Mr. Williams! Go Rays! Troll out.

Kinsler is 30-30!!!!

Ian Kinsler stole his 30th base on Thursday night when the Rangers fell to Oakland 3-12. Tonight he hit his 30th home run, but this time did so in a winning effort. Unfortunately the victim in this case was the Tampa Bay Rays. Kinsler had not homered since September 1st and it seemed that he would stay locked at 29 homers forever. Enter the Rays bullpen. Grant Balfour served up the 3-run blast in the 8th inning. It was the 6th home run that Balfour has allowed this year, he has a 5.01 ERA. It wasn't a blown save either as the Rangers were leading 5-3. The 3-run blast just put the nail in the coffin for that game. An other Ranger got in on the milestone act as well. Chris Davis hit his 20th homerun. Julio Borbon tryed to join them. He stole 2 bases to give him 19 on the year. Earlier this week Elvis Andrus topped 30 steals for Texas. Kinsler is the second Rangers hitter to reach this plateau (Alfonso Soriano) and just the third second baseman to do it, joining Soriano and Brandon Phillips. He is the first to hit 30-30 this season. Congrats to Ian! Next time you hit a milestone, please don't do it against the Rays, it makes it difficult to be happy for you...Go Rays! troll out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Trade Bait!!!

More trade bait… I do have a lot more, but this will be my last trade bait post until after the baseball season is over. I do have more stuff, a lot of jersey cards from early 2000s. Jeff Bagwell, Roberto Alomar, Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones, Edgar Martinez… I also have a few Topps Updates Star Relics-Brian McCann, David Ortiz, George Sherrill...Just don’t have time to post them right now and I want to keep the blog free for breaking news and a lot of you know what I have and I got a few offers already for cards I have not yet posted, so I will keep this brief for now. I probably will keep these trade bait posts up through Friday. A few trades have been made and noted and a few are in talks, but the cards are still out there. Here is some more. I will be at work till midnight, so don’t get worried if I don’t reply right away. I do sneak time on the net while at work, though…
2001 Pacific Authentic Game Used Bat-Rickey Henderson *TAKEN* (Mariners!)-Card#158 2009 Upper Deck SPx Game Jersey Autograph-Fausto Carmona *TAKEN* -Card#GJA-FC 2006 Bowman Signs of the Future-Rickey Romero-Card#SOF-RR *TAKEN* (one of my favorites) 2009 Allen and Ginter Code Cards- *ALL TAKEN* #118 Scott Olsen, #129 Brian Giles, #134 Jered Weaver, #150 Prince Fielder, #182 Jose Reyes, #207 Jack Cust, #223 Scott Rolen and #267 Melvin Mora 2006 Bowman Heritage Game Used Bat Relic-Vladimir Guerrero-Card#PG-VG 2008 Upper Deck Spectrum Retrospectrum Swatches-Albert Pujols- *TAKEN* Card#RS-AP 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 UD Game Jersey-Joakim Soria-Card#GJ-SO(60/75)2007 Topps-Ted Williams .406 in 1941-Card #sTW6, TW12,TW18 2007 Upper Deck SPx Winning Materials Patch Card-Huston Street-Card#WM-HS (33/50) 2009 Topps Career Best Game Worn-Curtis Granderson-Card#CBR-CG 2009 Allen and Ginter Baseball Highlights Sketch Cards-Card#s AGHS6 Beckett *TAKEN* , AGHS7 Manny *TAKEN* , AGHS11 K-Rod, AGHS13 David Wright, AGHS14 Ichiro (2), AGHS18 Jeter and AGHS24 Marianno Rivera 2008 Upper Deck Spectrum Dual Swatches-Prince Fielder/Ryan Braun-Card *TAKEN* #SDS-FB Okay, make sure you read the post below this one for more cards and rules and stuff. Thanks for looking and make me an offer! Go Rays! Troll out.


As you can imagine, I had a really long intro for this post, explaining where this cards from, which I pulled, which I purchased and what color socks I was wearing when I did so. The freaking post was three pages long before I got to the cards, so I will try and redo this and do it a little quicker. I spent too much money buying cards and ripping wax. Bottom line. I extended my collection to include everything I thought looked cool (and some of these cards look really cool!) and every player I thought was worth collecting. I want to keep on collecting, but I wanna stay focused. I want my Rays collection to keep on growing and above all I wanna finish one of the freaking Topps Heritage sets before the series reaches the 1987 Topps design. Here are my trade bait cards, I am not in a rush to get rid of any of them. Some are okay, some are good, some are awesome. I want to get equal return for them. If you see something you like, you can claim it in the comments section, but please send me an e-mail, too. Tell me exactly what card you want and tell me exactly what card(s) you are going to give me for it. I am looking for cards from my Topps Heritage Wantlists. I am also looking for Ginter hits-a rip card, Bazooka back, silk or Negro League autographs. I will trade for Rays relics or autos. I will also trade for base cards (not one for one) of Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett, Wade Davis, Evan Longoria, Tim Beckham or Desmond Jennings, provided I don’t have them. Basically, if you see something you want, e-mail me an offer. Most of the relics cards are in thick Lucite cases and don’t scan well at all, but the scan will give you an idea. This is trade bait post 1, you can thank me for making this into a LOT shorter. While you are here, check out my wantlists, read some of my other stories, follow the blog, make a comment, whatever. Thanks for looking and lets do some trading! Oh, I have uncompleted trades (my end) with Madding from Cards on Cards and Jeff from Closet Full of Cardboard. You guys have first dibs. Here we go!
2009 Goudey Memorabilia-Joe Mauer-Card *TAKEN* #GM-MA 2009 Allen and Ginter Game Worn Jersey Relic-David Wright-Card #AGR-DAW2 *TAKEN*
2008 Upper Deck X Relic-Jorge Posada-Card *TAKEN* #UDXM-PO 2009 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractors-Card#C73-Chris Davis (505/560) and Card#C83-Adam Dunn (430/560) 2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Team Trios Astros-Richard Hidalgo, Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell-Card#TT-43 (070/150) 2008 Upper Deck Timeline Certified Auto-Rickie Weeks-Card#267 (01/10) 2009 Allen and Ginter Game Worn Jersey Relic-Magglio Ordonez-Card#AGR-MO 2007 and 2008 Moments and Milestones-Johan Santana-Card#87(007/150&024/150) and Francisco Liriano-Card#66(18/29) 2003 Upper Deck National Pride Game Worn Relic-Conor Jackson-Card#NP-CJ 2001 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Game Worn Jersey-Chipper Jones-Card#J-CJ 2009 Allen and Ginter Short Prints-Card #s 300 TAKEN ,320,336,345,347 TAKEN and 349 2008 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Game Worn Jersey-Eric Chavez-Card#CC-EC 2009 Upper Deck Series 1-Game Used Patch-Roy Halladay *TAKEN* -Card#GJ-RO (12/25) 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History-Certified Autograph-James Parr-Card#131 1997 Donruss Preferred Tins-Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken or Albert Belle 2009 Allen and Ginter Black Bordered Minis-Troy Tulowitzki #14, Albert Pujols #71 *TAKEN*, Justin Upton #84, Tim Lincecum #224 *TAKEN* or Brett Gardner #295 That’s all for tonight, much more tomorrow! If ya see anything you want, e-mail me your offer at bacontowne at yahoo dot com. Better images can be provided by request. Thanks for looking! Go Rays! Troll out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stats Focus-The Stolen Base

(Warning-this post has been in my head all day, but by the time I sat down to type it, well I should have been getting ready for work. This is very rushed, not well thought out and not proofread at all. I am sorry for that, sorry for the lack of scans, too-On to the story...)
Today was a crappy day, literally. I was late for class and rushing to try and make it, while having no idea what time it was because there is no clock in the car, I don’t own a watch and the stupid phone is broken, and when I finally found a parking spot and started to race toward the building, I stepped in a huge pile of poop with both feet. I have never done this before, not to this extreme. I don’t know if it was horse, human or rhinoceros feces, but there was a lot of it and it smelled horrible. It got onto my pants and coated my boots. I went to the restroom and attempted to clean up, but it was a lost cause. Nothing like showing up to class 15 minutes late and stinking of poop! Class was awful, the assignments that I struggled with for the last three days aren’t due till next week and when I showed the instructor my essay for her input, she did say it was great, but she also didn’t believe that I wrote it and she warned me that plagiarism will result in a failing grade. I guess I could take that as a compliment, I guess. So, since getting home I have been scanning cards like a madman in plans for an epic trade bait post tomorrow. I am not going to spend any more money on wax (other than a group break maybe) till 2010 Heritage or 2009 Heritage Update Highs (are they doing that this year?) and in the meantime I want to try and finish up my in progress sets and build up my player collections. I have a few autographs, but a BUNCH of relics that I am going to put on the block, so stay tuned!
For now I am going to talk about the stolen base. To me, this is huge; this is how games get won. It has always been, to me at least, more prominent in the National League, but the Rays and The Angels have really brought it back in the AL this year as a team. A stolen base instantly puts a guy who walked or singled in scoring position, it distracts the pitcher and the catcher, it just helps win games. Most of this year Carl Crawford was pacing the league in steals, he set a record for steals in one game, consecutive steals and he rode the stolen base all the way to the All Star game and then snagged MVP honors there. Now it is a well known fact that I despise the Red Sox, but they have a couple players that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Rays jersey. The first is Jason Bay. He rules and has a shot at the RBI and homerun titles this year and I would much rather see him do it than that guy on the Yankees, but anyway… The other Red Sox outfielder who has earned my respect this year is Jacoby Ellsbury.
JE has moved past CC in the stolen base chase and moved ahead of everyone in baseball. With 63 steals he already has more stolen bases than anyone in the American League since Rickey swiped 66 in 1998. He will also be the first AL player to lead the majors since Chone Figgins in 2005. His other numbers aren’t too bad either, with a line of .302/8/57, a good glove in the outfield and 63 steals at an 86% success rate, he will deservedly get some MVP attention, at least he should. Carl Crawford does have a chance to catch him, though. Craw is sitting with 59 steals as of last night, just 4 behind Ellsbury. Crawford has also been caught more often-15 times this year. His success rate is now just 80%. You can blame a few of those on bad calls and Crawford does, but he been thrown without question more than half of those times. Crawford’s three key stat line is more impressive though-.307/14/66 and an All Star MVP and a few records doesn’t hurt when it comes to MVP voting. He has also gotten more hits and scored more than Ellsbury. So what are they doing in the NL this year? Well, Michael Bourn of the Astros is pacing the League. He has 58 steals, so he too can catch Crawford and Ellsbury; nothing is set in stone yet. I wouldn’t call Bourn an MVP candidate just yet, but he is having a breakout year and he, along with Ellsbury and Crawford all have more steals themselves than 3, yes three different National League TEAMS! This blows my mind that one person can out run an entire team in a running league. It is happening and I don’t think anyone of these teams catch any of those 3 guys. The closest team is the Milwaukee Brewers, led by the speedster (sarcasm) Ryan Braun. RB has 15 steals this year, which is pretty impressive for a slugger of his stature, but the rest of the team combines for just 39 steals. That gives the Brew Crew 54 total for the year, while being caught 34 times! That is a success rate of 61%. They’ve been caught more than 3 times more often than Ellsbury with 9 less steals total and they aren’t the only ones. The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves both have just 52 steals from their entire teams. The Cubs, led by Ryan Theriot with 20, have been caught 32 times, a success rate of 62.6%. The Braves, led by Nate McClough with 11 have been tried to run less than any other team in baseball. Their success rate is higher (69%), but they are still tied for the fewest in baseball. Those things absolutely blow my mind. I will leave you all with one more tidbit and also tease that those aren’t the only stats where one player outguns an entire team. We are back on Michael Bourn of the Astros who is tied for the League lead in triples with Shane Victorino, both of them having 11. This also happens to be 2 more than the entire Toronto Blue Jays roster. I should note that the team has had as many as Victorino and Bourn, but 2 came from Alex Rios. Since I am deleting his stats from the team, take away his 20 steals for the Jays this year and they have just 52 steals, same boat as Atlanta and the Cubbies. Now, granted, I grew up in the era of Rickey and Vincent Van Go Go, but to me a team should never have less steals than anyone not named Rickey Henderson. I know it’s of no coincidence that the Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs and Braves will all have to buy tickets to the Playoffs this year. That said, I have to go to work if I want to be able to watch the playoffs on TV, light bill is due, eek! Go Rays! Troll out.