Saturday, February 27, 2010

5 From 5, Rays Autograph Edition

Thanks to everyone who entered the quick Chipper Contest. It is now closed; I will randomize a list sometime next week. A sorry to those of you who didn’t make it, your time will come! Today was supposed to be the last day of full-squad workouts at Pirate City, BUT it has been raining all day. I pick lil bro up at 9 AM and we came back to my house to wait it out. Let me just say that playing ping pong in my garage is a lot of fun some days, but not when you plan on watching baseball out in the sun.
I just dropped “Dan” back off at home and now I am supposed to be cleaning the house to prepare for my niece to come over. I figured I would probably have time to write a quick post though… This is a 5 From 5, Rays Autographs Edition. I have received quite a few Rays graphs lately, but these are close to the keyboard, so I will go with them.
The first is of the Rays fearless leader, our manager Joe Maddon, shown here on his 2009 Topps base card, belly and all. This is rad for a few reasons. One is that (as far as I know) there aren’t any certified manager autos out there. I know there are scout autos, but I haven’t seen managers and I wondered how I would add Maddon to the collection. This one came to me from (the other reason it is rad) my wife, the lovely and legendary Esther Gin N Juice who waited in line at Fan Fest for this one. The security guards at the Fan Fest were living out their Cop Fantasies and EVERYONE out of line was complaining about them. “One item per person, no pictures, don’t talk to the players” they said, it was stupid. I didn’t wait in line, but my lovely wife did and she proved my theory that pretty girls get special privileges with this. Normally that would irritate me, but having a 9=8 Maddon ball on the mantle looks pretty good.
The next one comes from reader Derek L and shows the Rays new closer as a rookie with the Mariners from 2002 Donruss Rookie Crusade. This is obviously before Donruss lost their licensing and it is a sharp and shiny card with a shinier sticker on it. You can see the evolution of Soriano’s signature here on this one from EGnJ’s (again) Fan Fest adventure. The next Rays auto comes from Joe L. of the Cobb and Halladay blog. Joe has hooked me up with several Rays graphs and has a knack for finding ones that I need. This one is from 2007 Upper Deck Spectrum and shows Juan Salas. It is a sticker auto, too, but Upper Deck used the more sublime scotch tape sticker on this one. Salas spent 10 years in the Rays organization, originally as a third baseman, then converting to a hard throwing pitcher. He made appearances as a reliever with the big club in 2006-2008 before being traded and released from Cleveland. The 4th auto comes from another super trader who seems to hook me up on a weekly basis, Mr. Alfredo Ortega from My Past Time…I Love It!. He sent 4 other autos in this batch, but for now I will show this one as it came from my “most wanted” list. I think this is a redemption auto as it is in a screw-down case with a Bowman sticker sealing it. The card is 2005 Bowman Draft Pick card showing the Rays #1 pick from the 2002 draft, BJ Upton. This card is signed on-card in blue sharpie and is numbered quite randomly 435 of 667. The fifth card is in a similar case with the 2006 Bowman Originals sticker on it. It comes from another reader, Gary N. The card is a 2005 Bowman of Scott Kazmir and it is signed in blue sharpie (very fine tip sharpie) on-card. It is also randomly numbered 045/155. Thanks to everyone for this great autographs! The most wanted list now includes Carlos Pena, Dioner Navarro, Willy Aybar, Gabe Gross, Matt Garza, JP Howell and Cliff Floyd. THEN, I will have EVERYONE on the 2008 American League Championship team! Next I will start working on the 2010 Championship team, cuz it is gonna happen! Thanks to everyone who hooked it up with these awesome cards! More autos and more awesomeness to come… Oh, if anyone knows anything about these 2005 Bowman autos with the 2006 Bowman Originals stickers on the case, let me know... Go Rays! Troll out.

A Contest, ATL Style!

My penance for having a great day yesterday was a double today and that leaves little time for a post. Since it was pointed out that the former Braves on the Pirates seem to be the most fan friendly players, I thought a Braves themed post was in order. Since I already have Warren Spahn posted on the Nitty Gritty and I posted Hank Aaron on this blog a few days back, I am thinking this might be overkill, but I have to get back to work, so… In celebration of 70,000 hits on this here blog, let’s do a quick Braves contest. The Braves are NOT my team, but since they did train my team’s closer, I suppose I owe them something. Here it is, quick contest. The prize will be this autographed Chipper Jones color photograph. It is 4X6” and is already in a toploader. It is signed with his number, #10. Here is the deal, contest will be limited to the first 10 people to comment, then (next week) I will randomize and pick a winner out of those ten. Sound good? Hope so, I gotta get back to work! Go Rays! Troll out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spending the Day at Pirate City With My Little Brothers...

The local schools in my area had an admin half day today. That worked out awesome for me because I had the morning off from work. I wanted to check out some spring training action as I hadn’t been all week, but I figured I would leave the planning up to my little brother. On a side note, I would whole-heartedly recommend volunteering as a big brother or big sister to anyone and everyone reading this post. It is very rewarding and it’s just a fun thing to do. You can get more info from the Big Brothers national website HERE. Anyway, I called my little brothers mother last night and she confirmed that he wanted to go to Pirates camp. I asked if any of his friends wanted to come and a few hours later she called and asked how many kids I could handle. Well, I sometimes have a rough time taking care of myself, but when baseball is involved, I say the more the merrier! I knew we would have a crowd so I decided to rent a car for the day, went with a minivan, fortunately. When I arrived at lil bros house (we will call him Dan for the sake of this post) he had 7 friends with him. All of them had their baseball mitts and wanted to come along. We all piled into the car and hit Pirate City. I brought along all of the Pirates cards that I had and we split them up among the kids when we got there. I didn’t have too many current Pirates at all, but I had quite a few Akinori Iwamura cards, so every boy got at least 3 of them. I also gave each one a ball (not official league, but they worked) and a sharpie magic marker. We all watched BP for a while and then went off to the side to play catch together. Chuck Tanner came by on his golf cart and pretended that he was scouting the kids. He posed for some pictures with them (which I won’t post here) and he signed some of the boy’s baseballs even though they had no idea who he was. After an hour and a half we stopped our game of catch and returned to watch the big leaguers take BP. That wasn’t too exciting for them because they didn’t have a great view of what was going on from behind the batting cages. The nice thing was that as each guy finished his round of BP, they came out to sign autographs for my boys. I only had cards for them of about 6-10 players each, but I bought “Dan” a gray tee Pirates tee-shirt and they each had baseballs, so by the end of the day each boy had at least 20 autographs. Not every player stopped to sign for them. They were most disappointed that Andrew McCutchen didn’t come over as he seemed to be the kid’s favorite. Bobby Crosby and Ryan Doumit both denied our requests as did most of the pitching staff. Some of the most friendly players and best signers included (fortunately) Akinori Iwamura, Ryan Church, Garrett Jones, Brandon Jones, Tony Sanchez, Ramon Vazquez, Steve Pearce, Lastings Milledge, Jonathan Van Every, Brandon Moss, Chuck Tanner and Javier Lopez. The two best signers were Ryan Church and Aki. I only had 1 Church card for each kid, but he signed all of them, plus their baseballs, shirts, rosters and then posed for pictures with each kid and then signed all of their gloves. I had 25 cards of Aki (all in a Rays uniform) so each boy got 3 and then after I dropped them all off, “Dan” gave me back 3 autographed cards-an Aki, Brandon Jones and a Garrett Jones (my other favorite Pirate). It made me want to cry. Seriously, it did. Aki was in more of a hurry than Church, but he did sign a total of 25 cards and pose for a group photo with the boys. His English was better than I remembered with the Rays as he said “how are you” to each boy. It was weird for me to see my one of my favorite Rays in another jersey, but I am glad that he landed on a team that appreciates him and he really seems to get along great with everybody. I am not very impressed with the Pirates staff, but offensively, I think they are a team that can get on base and manufacture runs. I want to thank “Dan” and all of his friends for a fantastic day. I think the two of us will ride our bicycles out to Pirate City again next week and once the games begin, we will go to one each week. There will be more on Aki the Pirate in my next post, stay tuned!!! Spring training isn’t going to last much longer, but if anyone has any cards of current Pirates that they can spare for my next field trip, I would appreciate it. These boys loved getting autographs of big league ballplayers, but other than “Dan” who has a binder full of cards from me, the other kids had never seen baseball cards before. The hobby is in a lot of ways too costly for most of the next generation and I would hate to see my favorite hobby dry up and go away, so please, send your common cards of Pirates and Rays over here! I will also add that when players like McCutchen snub their young fans, it doesn’t help the games popularity any either. Go Rays! Go Aki! Troll out.

One More 44 From '64

Here is another card from the 1964 Topps (regular sized set), card #154 of Dick Tracewski. If you are reading this automatic post, I am still likely at Pirate City, spending the afternoon with my little brother(s). They are not literally my brothers, but I am a volunteer with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program and I always spend Thursdays with my little brother and this week he wanted to watch practice. There will be a long story to follow, but for now-enjoy a few more cards from the 1964 set. I opted to follow Aaron with Dick Tracewski, a light hitting middle infielder who spent 8 seasons in the big leagues-the first 4 with the Dodgers and the final four with Detroit. Tracewski wore the same uniform number as Aaron and this card shows it prominently. DT played for a much shorter period of time (15 fewer seasons) so naturally his stats aren’t as impressive as Hammerin’ Hank’s. Where Aaron swatted 755 career homers, Tracewski hit 8. Where Aaron topped the 300 batting average plateau 14 times, Tracewski topped the Mendoza Line only 4 times. He was a career .213 hitter. That said, where it matters most, Tracewski trumps Aaron. The Hammer earned his lone World Series ring in 1957 with the Braves. Tracewski won 4 rings over his 8 year career. With the Dodgers in 1963 and again in 1965 and he also won it all with the Detroit Tigers in 1968 and earned his final ring with them in 1984 while serving as their 3rd base coach. In 3 Series’ Tracewski appeared in 12 games and got 4 hits in 30 at-bats for a career .133 postseason batting average. Tracewski also sits in the history books having served more coaching time than any coach in Detroit Tigers history, spending 24 years as coach with them at the big league level. He is also one of the few managers in baseball history to go undefeated. He won 2 games as the Skipper for Detroit in 1979 without a loss. Sparky Anderson took over for him and did well (56-50) and the Tigers finished 5th in the AL East, but there is no telling how well they would have done if Tracewski remained at the helm. I love Hammerin’ Hank, but Dick Tracewski has him beat. I love this game, I love this hobby! Check back later for a full spring training update… Go Rays! Troll out.

CT Card of the Day-1964 Topps Hank Aaron

1964 has never been my favorite set, not even close. The white border at the top has always bugged me. I LOVE 1960, I like 1961, don’t care for ’62, love 1963, don’t like 1964, absolutely LOVE 1965 and I am indifferent to pretty much every set for the rest of the decade. Any time I get more than 9 cards from one year, I feel like I can chase the set. Doing that isn’t realistic unless those 9 cards include Mantle, Mays, Koufax, Gibson, Clemente, Yaz, Robinson, Kaline and Aaron. Seldom do my 9 cards ever include any of them. If I have less than 9 cards from a year, I generally trade them away. In the past few months I had to sell off cards from 1959, 1960 and 1965 and I traded away all of my ‘68s, ‘69s and ‘76s. Good news is they went to loving homes. I haven’t been going to the card shop very often, but I stopped in a few weeks back and he picked up a lot of ‘64s and offered me a deal on them. I had 8 ‘64s which I shipped out last month, so I was down to none. Actually that isn’t true, I do have some others, but they are all group cards (more than one player) and they go in a separate binder. 1964 was good for group cards. I need to get around to posting them soon… When I needed to find a card quick to be today’s card of the day, I grabbed for the 1964 pile. The card that is in the worst condition happens to be of the greatest hitter (by some accounts) of all-time. A guy who has never earned CotD honors from the Troll, mostly because I don’t have any of his cards, not because I am not impressed by 755 career homers and 2297 runs batted in. I am speaking of course of Hammering Hank Aaron, card #300 in the 1964 Topps set. The Hammer was coming off of one of the most impressive batting years of his career. He was the starting right fielder in the All Star game that year and he finished 3rd in the MVP vote behind Sandy Koufax and Dick Groat. He led the National League in homers in ’63; in fact, he hit his number, 44. He finished the year with 44 homers 4 different times in his 23 year career. 3 of those times it was good for the league lead. He scored 121 runs to lead the NL, it was one of 13 different times he hit triple digits in that category. He had 201 hits and batted .319 and led the NL with 130 RBI. It was one of 11 times he hit three digits in that category. He also set a personal best with 31 stolen bases that year. Yep, he was a 40-30 man in ’63; the only time in his career he hit that plateau. He also paced the league in total bases, slugging percentage and OPS. The back of the card shows his career stats. He was only 10 seasons into his 23 year career, he had 342 homers and career .320 batting average. Not too shabby. Would I trade this card for a 1964 Topps Giants? Are you offering? I love this game, I love this hobby! Troll out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Getting In on All of the PHUN!!!

It has been close to a year since I have been trading with other bloggers. There are a few of you that I haven’t traded with yet, but the list is getting smaller. I was able to pull off a deal with the legendary Phungo Blog and it was all that I had hoped for and then some. I did receive one of the magical “2009/2010 Phungo Cards Combo Packs”. I have seen these posted on other blogs and have really wanted to rip one myself for a while now. The ripping will have to wait for later. The house have cards ALL OVER THE PLACE and my sister Dawn, her husband Jonathan and my niece Ruby are coming to visit from London, England tomorrow. Ruby is a crawling machine and like all babies, she puts everything she can get her baby hands on into her mouth. I would hate to have to kill my adorable niece the first time I meet her, so I am running around the house and stuffing everything into boxes today. Anyway, I won’t open my Phungo Pack, but I will show off some other cards he sent. This one came from 2008 Topps Stadium Club. These were sold in blasters and a few months ago all of the discount department stores that carried them marked them down 50%. I never bought any blasters because I already had Clemente, Roberts, Crawford and Niemann-all scored in trades, so I didn’t see the point. I didn’t realize that Jackie Robinson was even in the set, but now I don’t have to worry about finding it cuz Phungo sent it to me! He also hooked up a big stack of random Rays. Some were of the retro variety which I love. There were Fleer Traditions (even though I think this design is weak) and Upper Deck Vintage. I never understood why (or how) Upper Deck was using old Topps designs for their cards, these 2001 UD Vintage are styled after 1971 Topps, or wait, is it 1971 O-Pee-Chee? Did they get those designs when they bought the OPC name? Anyway, I like the look of these a lot. I had started getting my sets in order, making all kinds of lists and what not, but everything is a mess once again. I need to take a couple days off and just hang out with my cards. Wouldn’t that be nice? Anyway, the Keystone of the trade is coming up. Its one of those cards that seems larger than life and a scan doesn’t capture it. It is from 2009 Upper Deck series 1 and it’s a serial numbered game used patch of current Pirates second baseman Akinori Iwamura. This one stands out as super special to me for a few reasons. The first Rays relic I owned came to me last June (seriously, no relics before that, I had like 35 Rays cards when I started blogging) from my friend Duane at Democratic Roadkill. It was the game used jersey version of this card and it will always be super special to me. It really blew my mind that there was a chance that a piece of fabric on that card might have been used by Aki in a game-it further blew my mind that someone out there was willing to share it with me. Anyway, this patch compliments that card nicely. The patch itself is two colors and has threads hanging off of it. It is about 3/16” thick and just jumps right out at you. It is an amazing looking slab of cardboard. At 16/25 it is the lowest numbered Aki card in my collection, too. I haven’t spoke with him (don’t think I could) but I saw him this morning in Pirate City and he is having fun and looks happy with his new teammates. I don’t think he will stay a Pirate for too long, but I think he will do well while he is there and YES I do still intend on collecting all of his cards that I can… Oh, there is another reason why this patch card stands out in the collection. I also lucked out and got the Carl Crawford version of this card, too. I need to track down the BJ Upton patch and the CC jersey from 2009 Upper Deck and then I will have all of the Rays covered in patch and jersey, woo hoo! I love being an obsessive completist! Thanks so much for the awesome trade Phungo! It was great wheeling and dealing with you and I am VERY happy with my take and I still haven't my pack of Phungo Cards yet... I really hope that our favorite teams can have a rematch this October that would be awesome! Stay tuned for the Phungo Cards pack rip, stay tuned for about 180 pack rips, some more spring training coverage and a whole bunch of trade posts!!!
On a totally unrelated topic, I have received packages of 2010 Topps this week from Dog Faced Gremlin, Roll out the Barrel, Cardboard Junkie and Cards on Cards, THANKS SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU!!! As soon as I can get to a scanner I will post a completed page that you all helped on. Team work, gotta love it!!! You can view my progress here; I am only 6 cards away from sticking a fork into the series 1 base set, but I am still planning on chasing all of the inserts, too. The pesky cards I am still searching for are: 78,127,131,213,235 and 289. I have yet to get my mitts on any black variations, but I want to get all of the Rays, plus all of them in gold, too. I don’t have one so far, card #225 of David Price in gold, this one came from my buddy Ed from Roll Out The Barrel, THANKS ED! I hope to post more of the great stuff you sent soon… I don't think I have any doubles of the base set cards either... Basically if the gigantic team logo on the front says RAYS, send it my way! Thanks again for the awesome trade Phungo! THANKS to everyone who has been keeping the workers at the Tallevast Post Office busy. Y'all rock! Gotta get back to work, Go Rays! Troll out

564 Home Runs and 1 Signed Card...

Unless it is at an event specifically for fans to get autographs (like a fan fest) I will never ask a player for an autograph in person. As a journalist, it complicates things and it is not a good idea. I shouldn’t say never though. In the past I have made exceptions for Cal Ripken Jr., Bob Feller, Bert Blyleven, Dave Winfield, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Duke Snider and Bill Mazeroski. I have never made an exception for a current player however. Until this spring when I bent my rules for a left handed hitting slugger who recently signed with the Minnesota Twins. He hit 23 homers last season and he will be turning 39 this summer. In the Twins lineup he will have good protection and should see a lot of pitches to hit. He is only 46 homers away from becoming the 7th player to reach the 600 homer club. He is 9 homers away from reaching the top ten of All Time. He is currently 12th All Time and 3rd among active players. He thinks he can still be a productive hitter in the big leagues. I believe him. I am speaking of Jim Thome, of course. He is a 5 time All Star and his .557 slugging percentage puts him 23rd All Time in that category. His 1619 walks are tops among active players and 10th All Time. His 564 homers is 5th best among left handed batters behind Aaron, Ruth, Griffey and just 5 homers behind Rafael Palmeiro. In my opinion he is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Even in the livest of live ball eras, he is among the most intimidating sluggers in the game and has been for nearly 20 years. That is why I bent my rule. That and I just happened to have this 2008 Topps Heritage card handy… This card might be available for trade, or maybe for a contest prize or maybe I will treasure it forever. Any opinions? Go Rays! Troll out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Long Overdue Appreciation and Awesomeness in my Mailbox!!!

Greetings and good morning Trollites! To make up for taking the weekend off I have been treated to 5 straight 18 shifts at work. I am almost halfway through day 2. I am dying. It makes it worse that I am missing spring training baseball. I am an optimist though and I am really just happy to have a job and I am thankful for a great weekend and this is well worth it. The Bombers (Bombshells actually) dropped the home opener, (photo by Keith Wolfe) but we drew a record crowd and the new gals skated great, so we are on the right track. Esther Gin N Juice took home the Star Trophy as best jammer, it was her 3rd. Yep, I am a proud hubby! I also got invited to host a Saturday afternoon radio show. You think I write alot... The BOMBERS have their official home opener on March 7th.
I emptied the post office box yesterday and got more great stuff, THANKS TO ALL!!! I am literally about 60 packages behind in my trade posts. Some might not make it, which stinks, but I will do my best to get them all their proper thanks. I actually have 7 more bippings to post and I due intend on giving them their proper due. One of them came in December I think and he got me GOOD, but he also sent some amazing cards. I need to get that one up. I hope the powers that be will excuse the BIP postings based on my laziness… Anyway, speaking of packages that I got in December, this one came to me from Adam E of the Thoughts and Sox Blog in early December, soon after the first group break went underway. He has since delivered the goods three more times and I think we have another trade happening soon. I recently ran into some Sox related relics from 2010 Topps that I think he will like. ANYWAY… This post is months overdue. I wish I had taken a picture of the box, it was huge. I think it was a box for an electrical motor, but the package was really light weight. I was very thrown off. When I opened it, the motor box contained about 100 bubble mailers. AWESOME!!! I have already run out of them, but they did take care of the first group break and a few other trades. I just bought some more (at $.69 a pop) so I can finish paying my debts. Along with all of the envelopes, there were some cards in the giant motor box. Let’s start with a refractor. This one came from 2009 Heritage. It was coincidentally the first card out of the first pack of 2009 Heritage that I bought this year. I still contend that Vladdy looks just like Rick James on this card.
From the set that ’09 Heritage borrowed its design he also sent 3 gems from 1960 Topps including 2 Senators and a Philadelphia Athletic. I won’t show too much of these now cuz I hope to post them as Cards of the Day sometime down the road. He also hooked it up with a 2009 Allen and Ginter Scott Kazmir that helped me get closer to finishing the team set (I still need a Navi SP to finish) and some ’09 Rays O-Pee-Chee cards as well. There was a smattering of random Rays cards that I needed, but haven’t had time to catalog yet including this Chad Gaudin Ticket to Stardom, uh, I mean Fleer Authentix. Did I mention this package also included like 70 dollars worth of mailers, plus vintage, plus needs list cards? Adam E hooked it up! I haven’t shown the true gem of the package though-actually I did at the top of the post, but I haven't mentioned it til now... It comes from Upper Deck Masterpieces, a groovy relic of Akinori Iwamura, Captured on Canvas. Thanks so much for all of this great stuff Adam! I will have a package for you before the first pitch of 2010, I promise!!! By the by, the 1939 Buddy Hassett at the top of this post is a flashback to the previous awesome trade I did with T and S. If you have any Red Sox or boxing cards you want to deal, or you just wanna drool over his, check out Thoughts and Sox immediately! Cuz (yep, she is back) Shannon Stewart said so! Go Rays! Troll out.

The National League's FIRST All Star Catcher is Finding...

This card would probably fit in well with Carl Crawford Cards’ Catchers Finding Jesus” series of cards. It certainly appears that Jimmy Wilson is looking for something, divine intervention perhaps; there is no telling if he found it. He did find himself featured as the Collective Troll’s Card of the Day nearly 65 years after his untimely passing of a heart attack at age 46 in my hometown of Bradenton, Florida. Wilson moved there after his dismissal from the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff in 1946 to pursue a career in the citrus business, but he passed away the following May.
The card is from the Fleer Baseball Greats set from 1961. It is card #88 and shows Wilson in full catching gear.
Jimmie Wilson has several claims to fame as a player. Most impressive is he was the starting catcher for the National League in the first ever All Star Game in 1933. He batted 8th and was 0-1 before being lifted for a pinch hitter, Lefty O’Doul. Two catchers made the team as reserves; Bill Dickey and Gabby Hartnett, both of them are Hall of Famers. Wilson was the starting catcher in the Midsummer Classic again in 1935. This time he played until doubling in the 7th inning. He was lifted for a pinch runner. The NL lost both games.
Wilson, whose nickname was Ace, broke into the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1923 after a successful soccer career. In 1928 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in between innings while the teams were playing each other. He left one bench, swapped uniforms and landed on the Cards bench. He became an integral part of the St. Louis Cardinals Gas House Gang teams of the 30s. Along with Pepper Martin, Burleigh Grimes, Paul Derringer, Frank Frisch, Chick Haffey and Bill Hallahan-Wilson and the Cards won 3 NL Pennants and won the World Championship in 1931. Wilson didn’t do well at the plate during the Series, but he was a fine defensive catcher and the team won despite his lack of offense. Wilson was then traded back to the Phillies before the 1934 season. He served as the Phillies player and manager from 1934 until 1938. Even with future Hall of Famer Chuck Klein in his outfield, the Phils were among the worst teams in baseball at the time, but under his management they managed to not finish last twice.
He was recognized as one of the top catchers in the National League during his era, which was the deadball era. He set his career high with 6 homers in 1924. Over his 18 year career he hit 32 homers, an average of less than 2 per season.
Wilson was released by Philadelphia after the ’38 season and he signed on with the Cincinnati Reds as a player (3rd string catcher) and coach. Wilson saw limited play in 1939, but in July of 1940 the Reds future Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi hurt his finger in the thick of the Pennant Race. His backup Willard Hershberger filled in admirably, but while on a road trip in August, he committed suicide in his hotel room. Jimmy Wilson activated himself and became the Reds starting backstop at age 39. The Reds won the National League Pennant and Wilson batted .353 in the World Series as the Reds beat the Detroit Tigers in 6 games. Wilson scored 6 times and even stole a base. His postseason heroics led him to get the job as the Chicago Cubs manager, a post he held from 1941 until the first week of the 1944 season. He then returned to the Reds as a non-playing coach.
Wilson’s final batting statistics include 1358 career hits and a .284 average. He spent 15 years on the writer’s ballot for the Hall of Fame. His best year of support came in 1956 when he received 17 votes.
There is no telling if he ever found what he was looking for. He earned success on the highest stage in the game he loved and proved that he couldn’t live without it. As an end note, I believe that he may be the only person with the last name of Wilson to ever manage in the major leagues. Prove me wrong and win the card. Troll out.

Card of the Day-1887 Allen and Ginter N28

There are 50 cards in the 1887 Allen and Ginter World Champions set. It breaks down as follows: There are ten baseball players, including Hall of Famers Cap Anson and King Kelly, which are the two most sought after and expensive in the set. There are 4 rifle shooters and two pool players, ten pugilists and seven billiards players. There are also 7 wrestlers and ten oarsmen. I would imagine that all of these folks are World Champions of some sort. These cards came in packs of Allen and Ginter cigarettes, one card per pack of ten cigarettes. My love affair began with one card that I inherited from my Grandfather, who got it from his grandfather. I figured I had one and only needed 49 more, so the chase was on. It hasn’t been quick, but I am about 20% of the way there. Today’s card of the day is from that set. It features George Bubear, a rower from London. I don’t know very much about Bubear, other than he was a competitive oarsmen who was winning prizes of $1,000.00 one-hundred and twenty years ago. Honestly I can’t believe that I own any of these considering their age. It truly boggles my mind. It’s hard to complain about them, but the more I get, the more I wish that the back of the card had some kind of a description of the subject. They all just have the checklist on the back. Anybody have a Cap Anson that they want to trade? Go Rays! Troll out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

CT Card of the Day-1969 Topps Deckled Edge Roberto Clemente

Today's card of the day doesn't need a bunch of verbiage behind it-its a 41-year-old card of my favorite all time player, one of the greatest to ever play the game. It is from 1969 when Roberto Clemente was a living legend in baseball. The card is imperfect in many ways. It is off-centered and the deckling (is that a word) is erratic and uneven. The black and white photo is a crisp portrait of Clemente holding two bats. I am sure a lot of pitchers felt like he was swinging 2 bats... This card is the 27th of 33 different cards in this subset. I have 2 of them and that seems close enough to chase it! Go Rays! troll out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Look at Rafael Soriano

I haven’t made it to the Rays spring training camp in Port Charlotte, Florida yet, so this was my first look at brand new closer Rafael Soriano. He wasn’t in full uniform, but he looked good in the Rays new baby-blue alternate jersey. I wasn’t feeling the tacky bling hat, but I am glad to have him on the team. He seemed excited to be there, he said he was there to win and he was getting to know everyone and was happy to be here. Basically all the standard clichés, but I believe that he CAN and WILL deliver. He was seated next to Aussie power pitcher Grant Balfour, who will be one of his set-up men, and the two were chatting and laughing throughout their one-hour autograph session at Rays Fan Fest on Saturday. Welcome to Tampa Bay Rafael!!! Now lose the hat. Go Rays! Bradentucky Bombers season opener starts at 6 PM, we will be victorious!!! Troll out.