Friday, September 4, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 1972 Topps #529

No logo, no identity.

Who is he? Dave Nelson was an infielder who spent most of his career with the Rangers franchise, earning an All-Star appearance in 1973 and a playoff appearance as a Royals reserve in 1976. Currently, Nelson serves as a color analyst for Brewers regional TV broadcasts on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

How did he get here? Washington's second attempt at an MLB franchise was the Washington Senators 2.0, who lasted some ten years in the nation's capitol before bolting for North Texas. Nelson didn't switch teams, but he fell victim to the airbrush just as all of his teammates did. Topps apparently didn't think putting the new team name (Rangers) at the top of the card with photos of the old Senators logo would get kids to plunk down their dimes on packs of cards for some reason.

Repeat offender? Yes - see his 1976 Topps entry

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 8

Comments: This seems so pointless. Then again, so did the 2012 Topps cards with newly Photoshopped Marlins and Blue Jays logos.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cards from Another Angels Enthusiast

Featuring one of the early Cuban defectors.

Tom from The Angels, In Order contacted me awhile back about a 1993 Toys 'R Us set that he was busting up. My memory can be fuzzy, but I'm at least 80% certain that's what kicked off this latest deal. Prior to this, I may have accidentally acquired one of the cards from this set (and I don't think it's in great shape), so it was nice to get the whole Cardinals lot. Apparently, this was a set that was focused solely on "Future Stars", "Rookie Stars", and "Young Stars". This explains why there's no Ozzie Smith in the set, which in turn provides a pretty good reason why I had never previously given these a second glance.

David Freese continues to be the guy that caught fire in October 2011 and led the Cardinals to an improbable World Series win. It looks like that may be this man's only lasting legacy in baseball, but if so, there aren't many sports memories better than Game 6 of that wonderful World Series.

This is badly Photoshopped, of course. The Cardinals haven't gone numberless on their jersey fronts since the Big Mac days, and it's a look I am glad they haven't returned to. Bowman Prospect cards, more often than not, provide head-scratching names of dudes that only sometimes become meaningful years later. (If the name Piscotty didn't crack me up because it sounds like food, I probably would have been more surprised to come across his cards from 2013 in my binders again.)

I always bashed Cal Ripken back in the day because of his offensive superiority to Ozzie's. Ripken won a World Series a year after Ozzie did and went on to become baseball's Iron Man, but I always enjoyed Ozzie's sensational defense just a tad bit... okay, a lot more.

Tim also tossed in some minor league cards from a set I haven't seen much of. Mabry had three separate turns with the Cardinals in his major league career and is now in his third season as the St. Louis hitting coach.

From the well known to the completely unknown -- I never would have guessed that the Cardinals ever had a guy named Wander Pimentel in their farm system. That's nutty.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Trade Bait

Are there any Mariners fans out there? Anyone?

Sunday was a fruitful day in the retail pack busting department. I snagged another Allen & Ginter blaster and one of those Topps Chrome rack packs that all the kids have been chattering about. I'm not quite ready to compile my Allen & Ginter list for this year just yet, but I don't usually keep the memorabilia/auto cards unless they're a team or player favorite. Jersey cards are a dime a dozen these days, but I've got one of a young up-and-coming Seattle pitcher if you're interested.

Chrome blasters this year have sepia colored refractors, while it seems that the rack packs have pink bordered refractors. Both are a little strange to me, but I'm sure they'll stand out in any binder.

There's a pink Odor.

It seems like Sabathia's career may be winding down. Also, pink and Yankees colors don't really blend.

Nothing to see here folks... just a regular refractor of a scorching hot hitter.

I might actually throw this up on eBay if I don't get any nice offers. This is a prism version (this year's "X-Fractor" I guess), so it's maybe a bit more desirable?

And here's a gold refractor Padres auto. On card, even! How about that? This one is numbered 13/50 if this intrigues you at all.

Ideally, I'd love to get some Cardinals from this set, but I'm open to just about whatever. Send me an email, a comment or a Tweet... or all three if you really don't value your own personal time.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Redirected Cards

Seeing red, just not the right red.

Sometimes the wrong team slips in. I've run into this quite a few times over the years, with the odd Cincinnati card or stray National mixed in with my usually allotment of Cardinals. Sometimes, whole chunks of mysterious cards end up in your hands. When it happened to One Man's Junk (Wax), a collector of the red team with a halo (and not the devil horned team that everyone hates these days), Jeff was kind enough to bounce those Cardinals along to someone who would appreciate them more.

Included in the loot was a healthy stack of 1975 SSPC cards, always a nice surprise. My scanner must truly hate cards from the '70s, though, because once again it decided to chop off another border. Oh well, the scanner lid has been closed and the machine has been powered down. What's done is done.

Here's Jason Heyward, apparently Photoshopped into a Nationals uniform for some reason. Let's hope this isn't a preview of next year, because as expensive as he's going to be I've enjoyed watching Heyward play. (The rise of Randal Grichuk, pre-injury, and Stephen Piscotty may give the Cardinals pause come this offseason.)

Jeff also knocked off some Heritage needs from this year's set. I'm pretty sure this was his own doing.

Finally, here's a 2013 Topps Heritage Jason Motte jersey. I've always enjoyed the completely made-up Heritage Clubhouse Collection designs for whatever reason. Motte joined up with the small bears this season and has closed out some games. I hate to see him pitching for the enemy, but I'm happy that he's been able to continue a career that was faltering for awhile.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps #406

Who wants to get hit in the head by a line drive?

Who is he? Brandon McCarthy has been a starting pitcher in the bigs for the last 11 seasons, but he's best known for being smacked by a line drive late in the 2012 season. The shot to the head fractured his skull and caused injuries to his brain. It pretty much sounds like the worst thing ever. McCarthy came up with the White Sox, but was pitching for his third franchise (Oakland) at the time. That number has grown to six.

How did he get here? The shot to the head ended his season, but Arizona scooped him up on a two year free agent deal starting in 2013. Things with the Diamondbacks didn't go as well as hoped, but a successful stint late last year with the Yankees talked another team - the Dodgers - into handing him a big 4 year contract. He promptly needed Tommy John surgery this past spring.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but here's the original --

Airbrushed Score: 6

Comments: Not bad, but they probably should have left a gap between the letters in 'Arizona' like what occurs with his actual uniform.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Youth Movement

Filled with excitement/dread.

I'm getting close to wrapping up the Spring Cleaning trade posts, although there are plenty of teams still available for all you latecomers and slacker types. Royal Phil of Royal Card Review sent over most of the Cardinals Opening Day team set along with several Blazers from Panini's NBA Hoops set from a couple of seasons ago in exchange for a stash of Royals card. The Cardinals are doing really well (which makes me nervous) so there isn't a whole lot to talk about there, although the Pirates refuse to lose (which also makes me nervous).

Instead, I'll dip my toe into the Blazers discussion... another thing that's making me nervous. Everything is nervous. Thanks to a mercurial guy who was more or less holding the entire fate of the franchise hostage opting out of his desire to become "the best Blazer ever" (his words), the front office dug up the lawn and turned over all the topsoil at 1 Center Court. Aside from aspiring rapper/shoe mogul Damian Lillard and a guy who looks like a 7'1 Justin Bieber, the roster has pretty much been reset.

There's a couple of young promising players left from the previous two playoff teams, however, and they'll likely see a significant increase in opportunities if not minutes this year. Allen Crabbe was a terrific player in college and made some spot starts in place of Nicolas Batum last season, but he was mostly utilized in certain matchups as a defender. His offense hasn't developed in the pros yet, though that may be due having heavy restrictions put on him by design.

CJ McCollum (not C.J. as his trading card and Wikipedia entry suggest) is another 3rd year guard, but he is leaps ahead of Crabbe in terms of his offensive game. He shined during a stretch late in the season when Wesley Matthews' Achilles injury fatefully sealed the Blazers season, and is expected to compete with Gerald Henderson for a starting spot this year alongside Lillard.

This could and probably should be an awful NBA season for the hometown team, but it will at least be a fresh start for a lot of players.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Multi-Sport Bo-nanza

Behold, the beauty that is Flair.

Bo Rosny's Baseball Cards Come to Life! is another blog that has seemingly been around forever. Bo is out there grabbing interviews, profiling players, and generally making the rest of us blogging chumps look lazy and... chumplike? Earlier this year, Bo acquired a ton of cards and moved a bunch of them all over the place, including several hundred that landed in my mailbox. I've admittedly been a bit intimidated to write this post among my multiple false starts in trying to get a suitable package together to send back, but rest assured that this blog entry means things are moving in the right direction.

I specifically requested '90s Cardinals from the years/sets that I didn't collect in their day, and hopefully was able to fill in a bunch of gaps. I would check the want lists from these years if they actually existed. This is, I believe, my first look at Cory Bailey. Ever. Not only does he not currently have a place in my Cardinals binders but I'm pretty sure I didn't even know that such a player existed anywhere.

In contrast, I have a ton of Ray Lankford cards and I am quite sure of his existence. However, I definitely had never seen this card before, from the 1998 Topps Stars set.

I believe Bo was a near-miss in getting his name on the high score board, aka the 10 Most Wanted "Special Thanks" list of people who were able to knock off a Top 10 need. Still, I will post a Jamie Moyer card any chance that I get.

There was a huge pile of 1993 Flair cards which I will pore over in the days to come, now that they've been unleashed from my "to be scanned and reported on" box. Osborne's name is a bit of a bummer to Cards fans who remember their horrific 1996 NLCS collapse, but I choose to remember the good times... like that cool 1991 Score rookie card, maybe?

Bo also sent old-school Blazers (nice!) including two different version of a 1995-96 Fleer Metal Buck Williams card. This is basically the Slayer of basketball cards right here.

I'll take anything Finest, especially something from one of my favorite players of all-time. Clyde was Pacific's Finest back then, but would soon be one of Texas's Finest after that great Portland team was dismantled.

Wow, this looks totally bootleg. It's apparently from a brand called Scoreboard and bears no league or even Player's Association insignia.

I would have to say Nick Van Exel was one of the more unfortunate members of the Jail Blazers era. For every knucklehead like Qyntel Woods (was into dogfighting and tried to use his rookie card as photo ID when he got pulled over for speeding) or all out creep like Ruben Patterson, there was a guy like Van Exel who was just a lost former star who was trying on a new uniform in a new environment for a couple of years. The Blazers operated like a zealous fan's fantasy league team for a number of years, for better and for worse. I enjoyed the team immensely during these days, but it was also a little embarrassing to be a fan at times.

Finally, Bo threw in some Ducks hoops cards. These are always appreciated! Freddie Jones has red foil on his card, which makes me think it's some kind of parallel. Basketball season (especially college) is a ways off yet, but football is frighteningly lurking just around the corner.