Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sports Royalty Mike Bossy

I must confess. I don't know who Mike Bossy is. I'm not even intrigued a little bit to find out.

Maybe once fantasy baseball stops destroying my will to live I'll look into who this guy is. For now, enjoy his portrait.

On a separate and somewhat related note I commented on a post over at Sewingmachineguy on Cards. This turned out to be an excellent idea as I'm now set to receive a few more of these Goudey short prints to try and complete my 2009 set. In exchange I plan to hit a few of his 2009 T206 needs.

Anyone who follows through on a comment from me, to my blog, to my needs list and actually knocks a few off is alright by me. Thanks for taking the time to poke around - it's much appreciated.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jack Morris Goudey SP

Hello Jack Morris! In a Tigers uniform no less.

Jack Morris is a borderline Hall of Famer in my book. I could go either way. If he got in, I wouldn't be upset. If he was left on the outside looking in I could see why people felt that way too.

I don't use wins as a way to measure how great a pitcher was, but he did win at least 14 games over the course of 13 of 14 seasons culminating with his 21 win season in 1992 with the Blue Jays. That season is one reason you can't take wins seriously. 4.04 ERA. Those 21 wins were a product of an explosive Jays offense.

Morris did have approximately 8 seasons of dominant pitching. Do you need to be a pitcher who strikes out a batter per inning to be dominant and get into the Hall of Fame? In the roto world we live in now, it almost seems like you have to for quite some time. Morris averaged only 5.83 strikeouts per nine innings over his career, and had a WHIP of nearly 1.30. I believe these are the things keeping him out of the Hall.

In the end, I'm glad to add Jack to my Goudey collection. I'm still searching for more short prints from last year, and if you have any laying around, please let me know, I'd love to take them off your hands one way or another. My needs list is in the right sidebar.

This Jack Morris card came as part of a 4 card lot on eBay.

Monday, April 26, 2010

HBL Week 4

Once upon a time I thought Dave Bush would be a solid #3 for the Brewers, and even after two years of injuries I thought Dave could be a productive member of the staff.

I believed this because he was very good about not putting many runners on base. I believe he finished top 5 in WHIP in 2007. This is definitely not 2007.

Last week I pondered starting Jeff Niemann against Boston and Toronto or Dave Bush against the Pirates and the Cubs. Bush normally pitches much better at home, and well, the Pirates are still the Pirates. This decision looked like there was no way I could lose after the first Bush and Niemann starts. Bush took an easy win during the Pirates series that saw the Brewers outscore the Pirates 36-1 which included a 20 run outbust on Wednesday.

Well the plane definitely crashed into the mountain yesterday for Bush when he was just destroyed by Kosuke "April" Fukudome and the rest of the Cub bats.

Normally I could handle this sort of implosion, especially from a borderline fantasy starting pitcher, but after Jake Peavy and Justin Verlander, my aces, both imploded on the same night last week, well I'm at wits end. I've got a 5.22 ERA and 1.49 WHIP to chisel down starting this week. So welcome to the show Jeff Niemann. You join Brett Anderson (elbow), Verlander and Peavy, and Ian Kennedy in the rotation this week. I'm sitting Beuhrle due to general suckiness combined with the fact that he pitches @TEX and @NYY.

The lineup is pretty much status quoa. Pierzynski (better hit this week), Berkman, Weeks as my 2b d'jour, Jeter, Longoria, Crawford, Ordonez, Bruce (3of d'jour), and Tulowitzki. Tough to sit Uggla, and tough to play Musical Outfielders with Bruce and Francouer since guessing will probably lead to guessing wrong again. Sat Bruce last week and he outhit Frenchy by a mile.

I'm hoping to bring myself some good luck, I sent the Peavy T206 card I mentioned here over to White Sox Cards. I feel like I need to exercise some Verlander demons as well. Anyone interested in receiving a T206 Verlander in the mail this week? Just let me know.

As a side note, thus far this season I started stashing away some minor league talent including Josh Bell and Todd Frazier. This is in addition to Gaby Sanchez who I have no real need for but I'm hoping shows some promise as a late bloomer.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Great Card Design Continued: Topps Stadium Club

Yesterday I wrote a post asking which card designs you like best or preferences you have for how a card looks and is laid out. I won't lie, I'd love to get more feedback. What works? What doesn't? What do you love, and what do you hate?

Today I'm going to continue a little bit more on the theme of card design. I spent the better part of this afternoon going through 4 huge plastic tubs filled with baseball and football cards from my youth (late 80s and early 90s). I bet a saw over 100 different card designs as I opened cardboard monster box after monster box.

Very quickly I realized the best sets I saw today were the early Topps Stadium Club sets, and the early Upper Deck sets. Both the football and baseball sets are equally top notch for both products. I can't stress this enough. Glossy is good.

On the flip side, ToppsGold, whatever the heck that attempt was, is terrible. Foil is terrible. You got that? FOIL IS BAD. You can't read it and it doesn't present well. I kind of wished I'd scanned a ToppsGold card. Wait, this is the internet, let me go grab one. This scan is courtesy of 25 Years of Baseball. Steve writes a good blog so check it out.

Again, people, foil is a horrible thing. I stand by that. I'm not a designer, and I'm not very artistic, but those two things I'll stand by.

Now let's go back to Topps Stadium Club. 1991, 1992, and 1993:

Even if the design element didn't change much from year to year, the pictures are great on these cards even 17-19 years later. It's no secret this set was designed to compete against the new Upper Deck cards which were high gloss with color photos on the back.

As I said, I saw a lot of different card designs today, and many were and still are terrible. I wish I could properly capture with words the visual vomit that was being put out by the one thousand or so people making football cards in the early 90s. That's probably another story for another day on another blog though.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Best Baseball Card Design

I thought I'd throw out a discussion topic for Friday.

I'm toying around with the idea of making an original baseball card design and among the many things I've been pondering this today is baseball card borders.

In your opinions, what makes a great baseball card border and what sets would you say back up your preference?

Here are some examples of a few colored or pattern border retro sets 1968 Topps and 1975 Topps:

Or how about white around the border to keep everything clean looking?

A couple other questions are running through my mind too. I think most people would agree that the player photo should be the most prominent part of the card, but what's next? Is it the player name? The team name? What do you feel absolutely needs to be on the front of the card?

Thanks for posting your thoughts, I'm very curious to see what you think makes a great border and a great design.

2009 Topps Series 1 #192

Major oversight on my part last summer. While building the 2009 Topps set, I thought I was completely finished with Series 1. That statement is incorrect.

Washington Nationals pitcher Colin Balester is eluding me. I should also mention approximately 30 cards from Series 2 as well:

371, 382, 396, 417, 423, 430, 431, 437, 440, 448, 462, 469, 471
475, 477, 484, 492, 494, 500, 505, 508, 510, 537, 577, 581, 610
612, 619, 622, 624, 641, 649

If you can help bring any of these wanted cards into the fold for me, please leave me a comment or email me directly.

Also, to any of you hunting down Turkey Reds from last year, I have 9 or so leftover that I'd like to move in a trade. I'll try to post this evening.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trade With Baseball Dad

Very surprised and excited that someone was following my estate sale finds which included a group of 1993 Topps Stadium Club master photos. I was informed by a reader that these were done as a mail-in redemption that year.

Baseball Dad over at All Tribe Baseball offered up a deal I couldn't refuse. In exchange for the Mark McGwire he'd send me a Will Clark. Done!

Welcome home Will, we've been waiting for you. I also netted a few other Clark cards in the deal and hopefully I'll have a chance to scan and post those as well. McGwire should show up in Ohio today along with a couple of friends I packaged up.

David Price Goudey RC Auto

David Price is off to a good start with the Rays this year, although he's still walking a few batters each game. You'd hope at some point he'd nail down that command and become an elite pitcher, but it may still take a season or so. Very respectable 3.20 ERA and averaging nearly a K per inning. His worst start thus far came against the White Sox, who have a very pathetic lineup.

I was excited to see the Price autograph on my favorite set to collect from last year. That reminds me, I should get back to work on those short prints. Guess I'll head over to ebay and see what I can see.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today's Ray: Ben Zobrist Auto

I swear to you that this hasn't turned into a Rays blog. I know there are enough of those out there.

However, today I present to you the 2010 Topps Ben Zobrist on card auto. Again, completely compliments of my friend Brian and his trip to Rays/Twins spring training last month.

Ben carried my middle of the pack fantasy team last season and I actually packaged him up in a deal for Evan Longoria. Yes, I covet all Rays players. They must all be mine. Wow, how did this happen? Although I think this obsession is allowing me to forget how the Brewers were almost swept by the Nats.

That is all for now, go Rays, er I mean Brewers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

White Sox Cards & CTBNL Trade

This is exactly how much catch-up I'm trying to play, this trade for cards to be named later came in from Steve over at White Sox Cards in mid-February. I haven't forgotten Steve, I swear.

I originally promised to send him some Sox 2009 Topps T206 cards that I had from his want list, but I see they've mostly disappeared except for AJ Pierzynski and Jake Peavy. Now, I know I have Jake Peavy, but I do have a love affair with the man. See, it's right here.

So it's either part with Peavy or scour his want list for something new. I'm sure I'll make a decision quickly this week to close the book on this trade.

Steve did send over 16 cards I needed from my 1992 Topps Stadium Club want list. This side project started sometime over the winter when I realized I had about half the cards from Series 1. I really liked the idea of the rookie card image in color on the back of the cards. In fact, I can actually remember buying these packs when I was 15 or so and really liking the glossy photo paper. Very high end for its day. Here's a shot of some of the cards he sent over.

These cards bring back great memories. My friends and I used to heckle Chili Davis and Tim Wallach (not pictured here) unmercifully at Third World County Stadium when they came to town to take on the Brewers. I'd go so far as to say with the light crowds at the start of the 1995 season (remember they were going to use scabs to start the year but pushed the dates back instead once they reached an agreement?) that Tim Wallach could hear every word we shouted at him. Chili Davis too. You could basically sit anywhere you wanted in that park it was so empty. Don't get me wrong, it was empty to begin with but even the ushers didn't make you leave the "nice" seats in the beginning of that 1995 season.

Here are a few more including one of my favorites to watch in that era, Jay Buhner.

I'll do my best to update my list of Series 1 needs from the 1992 Stadium Club set. Also if you have anything to trade from Series 2, I don't think I have any. Although I did find a real cheap set of Series 3 back in December. But that's another post for another day - or just later tonight.

Jeff Niemann Auto

Jeff Niemann. I love you, but I'm scared to know if you love me back. That's why I couldn't possibly have started you this week in fantasy baseball.

You see Jeff, it's been a long time since I had feelings like this about a young pitcher - and well, I don't want to be hurt again.

Many have hurt me Jeff, too many to recount. But I'll try. Just last year there was Johnny Cueto, Jon Sanchez, and Chris Volstad to name a few. Oh, before that there was Phil Hughes, and his AL East cohort Clay Buchholz. Go back further and you'll find Joel Zumaya. I'm telling you, this list could go on forever.

That's it Jeff, while I totally dig this dorky photo on your 2009 Topps card, along with the sweet autograph you supplied my friend Brian while he swung by Spring Training last month, I simply didn't have it in me to see if you would love me back this week against Boston and the Toronto Wells. Yes, at this point, Vernon Wells has become bigger than the team itself, hence I move for them to rename the franchise.

Now if you somehow find it in you to destroy the Wells, and the Rays have won 12 straight, I'll have no choice but to see how you fair next week. But all I ask is that you don't hurt me Jeff. It would set me back a decade.

For the record, I went with Dave Bush against the Pirates (tonight) and Cubs if you'd like to see how I fare.

This begins three days of Rays autos that I'd like to post. I have a mini-obsession with that franchise, especially their pitching.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let's Talk Baseball & Cards & HBL Week 3

Let's talk about everything and anything. It feels like a month since i last posted. Oh wait, it has been? Totally makes sense. Apparently these little baseball fans in training, newborn children, take up quite a bit of your time. Who'd have thunk that? My little guy's name is Theodore William.

I assure you we didn't name him after Teddy Higuera and Will Clark, two of my favorite players from the 80s. Nor did we name him after Ted Williams, but many of my baseball friends are already calling him Teddy Ballgame. Too funny. Theodore was a name we both liked and William is a family name, but no one has to know if I secretly appreciate his name for the baseball roots, right?

The nice part about my three weeks off from work is that I was able to get some scans in and recall some long lost trades I did.

My friend Brian and I also ran a team 50K race, so the Hoffman Rookie Card may or may not have changed hands, I'll have to do an update on that as well. What I can tell you is that we busted a box of 1998 Leaf Updates in search of the Crusade cards. If you've never seen these fantastic cards, take a look. I'm going to do a long post on that box break this week as well.

So back to where I started, the image that kicked off this post, the Jim Palmer Sports Royalty Goudey Graph. I actually purchased this card sometime back in January or February. I took such a liking to what most people decided was a horrible set - I knew my first Palmer auto should be from it. I'm very happy to have added it to my collection. I also spent some time bidding and losing out on a couple different Jim Palmer rookie cards from the 1966 Topps set. I'll likely make another run at one. Since I know there are many Palmer collectors out there, do any of you have one? Did you use ebay to snag it? Just curious.

Speaking of Jim Palmer, I could really use him on my fantasy team this week. First a quick recap of the first two weeks of my season.

Berkman got hurt, I got mad. Signed Aubrey Huff and Luke Scott. Guess which is still on my team? As a flier I also picked up Gaby Sanchez last week. Everything I've read says he should be a middle of the order bat for the Marlins down the road. I'd like that very much. He's hit 8th much of the season, but I've got the patience to wait on him. I like him.

I've also had to scramble at the outfield position. While I still like Jay Bruce, I can't let him do to me this year what BJ Upton did to me last year. I continually started Upton all year despite his lack of usefulness outside of stolen bases. I always thought to myself "this is the month he gets the power back". It never happened. While Bruce has 2 steals, he also only has 1 run scored and 2 RBI in two weeks. That's killing me. So I made the hot waiver pickup, Jeff Francouer. Other than the 20 inning extravaganza that was played last night he's been on fire. Taking walks even! I can't believe it. But I'll try to ride his hot streak this week.

Another guy on my 'list' is Raul Ibanez. I traded for him in the off-season full well knowing I despised the guy because I didn't understand where he came from and why he was good. He played in Philly and hit behind Howard and Utley so I was willing to give it a go. Well the Phillies decided to hit him 6th this year which makes him mostly useless to me. He was rendered completely useless by not hitting, ever. At all. Luckily I was able to trade Justin Frasor right before he lost his closer job for Magglio Ordonez.

The other trouble spot for me so far has been starting pitching. Verlander and Peavy had terrible first weeks, and while each had 2 starts this week, and both pitched better, I still didn't get a win out of either pitching. In fact, I don't think I have a win this week. Brett Anderson and Ian Kennedy also both had 2 starts and neither won their first game on Tuesday. Both also pitch today. Realistically I'm just looking for Kennedy not to get BLOWD UP, and Anderson to pitch well. Here's to hoping.

And to round out my first (long) post back in a while, I'll give you the tough calls I made this week in fantasy baseball.

I like the Marlins going on the road to Houston and Colorado. Houston might be the worst team in the NL. I've been saying that since before the season. Because of this, I'm going to give Gaby Sanchez a start at 1b instead of Aubrey Huff, and I'm going to play Dan Uggla (red hot) over Rickie Weeks (also red hot) just because I don't necessarily need the steals from Rickie right now. I can still cheer for him all week.

My last tough call is whether or not to promote Jeff Niemann this week to pitch against Boston and Toronto. Boston's lineup scares me, and no one has been able to stop Vernon (back on the roids) Wells. Seriously, does anyone else think that Wells was sick of being a punchline and just decided to do whatever he had to do to stop getting picked on? I do. Anyway, I can't decide if I want to use Niemann, double down on Ian Kennedy for a second week, or use Dave Bush on the road against the Pirates and at home against the Cubs. Leaning toward Bush. Bush is normally great at home and poor on the road, but it's the Pirates on the road. Bush would join Peavy, Verlander, Anderson, Beuhrle, Marmol, and Heath Bell for Week 3.

As for the rest of my hitters, catcher is set with AJ (ice cold) Pierzynski. Third base, shortstop and DH are set all season with Longoria, Derek Jeter, and Troy Tulowitzki - also known as the heart of my team. And Carl Crawford takes the other outfield spot next to Maggs and Frenchy.

This post got super long, but I'm glad to be back, I might have enough in me to do 2 posts a day for a while, so long as I can find the time.

One last note since I talked with a few of you other bloggers about MLB The Show. I spent three weeks playing this game, bought the PS3 just to play it, and I love it. I honed in on a set of sliders that make it realistic and fun for me, and now that I have I'm starting a Brewers dynasty. Let's see how much I get to play now that I'm back at work.