Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Wilbur Wood Collection is Forming

I get some strange notions about which dudes to collect sometimes. They'll just occur to me - I should collect Max Fried! or I should collect Hunter Pence! - and then I'm off and running. A couple months ago I decided to give Luis Tiant a go. This week, it seems, it's Wilbur Wood.

I happen to remember Wilbur Wood from his late pitching days. I was never a White Sox fan or anything; I just liked that he lost 20 games twice, including one year (1973) when his W-L was 24-20! 

You want to talk "innings-eater"? Wood pitched over 300 innings four years in a row, and almost did it a fifth year as well (291 innings in 1975). Those same four years, he pitched over 20 complete games each year. He actually went through several years as a reliever before becoming a workhorse starter, too, and appeared in 88 games (!) for the 1968 Chicago White Sox. No wonder the guy looked pretty old by the time I started to become aware of him in the mid-70s.

He seemed like a guy whom it would be good to collect the baseball cards of. So that's what I'm doing. Here's what I've gathered so far.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Wacky Moments from the 2008 San Jose Giants Team Set

I was happy to be able to pick up a 2008 Pablo Sandoval minor league card I needed the other day by buying an entire 2008 Grandstand San Jose Giants team set. This is the single-A team an hour to the south of San Francisco; they're currently "Low-A", but often times you'll see top prospects stashed there for a while, just because it's so easy for them to be evaluated by the local club. (SF's AAA team is in Sacramento, a mere 90-100 minutes away, as well).

So yeah, it was really only that Sandoval card I was after, but I was left with another 34 cards in the 2008 set as well. Some of them are ringers! We all love a good mascot card, and what's better than this one of Gigante, the lovable monkey (?) who is still the mascot of the team to this day. Back of his card says "Gigante demonstrated his gift of baseball at an early age, throwing coconuts and using bananas to hit it out of the park....If baseball does not work out, he still has his modeling career to pursue." Outstanding humor writing there!

Speaking of humor, how about Tyler LaTorre? Now this dude really showed up for picture day. He's now the pitching coach at Sacramento State University.

Likewise, Craig Whitaker's a good-time, partyin' rocknroller who loves to make it with the ladies!

Tim Alderson never ended up making it to the bigs, but he was a really highly-touted prospect around this time. In mid-2009, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2nd baseman (and three-time All-Star) Freddy Sanchez, who'd go on to very much help San Francisco win our first world series the next year. At the time, though, there was this Giants blog I used to follow closely (I've forgotten the name) that was always SUPER gloomy about anything the Giants did - especially trading away prospects. The blog was incredibly upset about this deal, and blamed GM Brian Sabean: "Damn you Sabean, damn you, you're ruining the team. FIRE SABEAN NOW!!" etc etc. 

Again: Tim Alderson, like many prospects, never made the major leagues. Freddy Sanchez was a 3-time All-Star who was a leader on the team that won the 2010 World Series.

Here are a few other fellas of note, all of whom would eventually make the majors, or, in Steve Decker's case, already had:

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Another Full-Team, Multi-Card Giveaway

Once again, I have some cards I would like to send to those of you who happen to collect a team, or who might like some cards of that team. I did this a few weeks ago with my excess San Francisco Giants cards, and then again with some Yankees, Indians and Mariners cards.

Here is how it works. You send me 1 or more cards from my want list - it can even be something from 2021 Heritage, I'm cool with that! - and in return you'll get a batch of 25 or more cards from your chosen team below (you'll tell me which one you want, of course, so I can set it aside for you). There are a few teams - like the Nationals and Rockies - where I don't have quite 25 cards to send, but close enough. There are others - like the Reds, Phillies, Red Sox, Twins, Rangers, Blue Jays and White Sox - where I have so, so many cards.

It'll work this way:

1. You'll let me know that you want 25-30 of your team's cards by emailing me. That part's a must, because I'll need your mailing address and commitment you want to do this.

2. I'll set them aside for you.

3. You'll send me something - anything - from my want list.

4. When it arrives, I shall send your cards, posthaste. Depending on the response, you might get a lot more than 25-30. Last time I did this no one wanted the Mets or the Brewers or the Orioles - so anyone who claims those and sends me something from my want list gets them all.

You can get a sense of what sorts of cards are in there from the Braves cards pictured above. Definitely some junk wax, along with 2010s Topps, Upper Deck and lots of other stuff. The team I have to choose from are:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Boston Red Sox
  • California / Anaheim Angels
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Florida / Miami Marlins
  • Houston Astros
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Montreal Expos
  • New York Mets
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • San Francisco Giants
  • San Diego Padres
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Texas Rangers
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Washington Nationals
  • plus a single random assortment of checklists, Allen & Ginter "celebrity" cards & other weird stuff
Let me know if you want to do this!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

1973 All Over The Place

Bo from Baseball Cards Come To Life rose to the occasion after I put out the call about some 25-to-1 card trades I was proposing. I sent him a whole bunch of Yankees; he sent me much more than a single card on my want list. In fact, most of the 1973 Topps set is on my want list - really just getting going with that one. 

The whole idea with these trades - and there are more teams coming later this week - is that I'm putting aside single-team piles of about 25-30 cards (mostly junk wax, but much of it is not), in hopes of trading them for anything on my want list. If you've got a team you collect, keep an eye peeled, as I may have some card bounties for you later this week. Bo got something like 60-70 Yankees from me - he was the only one to put in a claim on them - and because he has so many cards in his life already, he found only 9 of them were ones he didn't have. But he seems happy about it, and that makes me happy.

Bo easily ticked some boxes with these '73s. Check out Greg Luzinski, "the Bull", an omnipresent force on the baseball TV scene during my youth. That's my favorite of the bunch, but I thought you might want to look at some of the others that were proffered unto me as well.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Hockey Update: Vaclav Nedomansky, My Nemesis

One project I've been working on over the past year is to pull together every card in the 66-card 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA hockey set. I didn't ever buy any batches of these either, aside from maybe 6-8 cards when I first started....it's all been assembled one-by-one, and 100% via mail-order, since I haven't seen any of these cards at shows or in stores. 
The cards that were easier (and cheaper) to come by than I'd expected were #1 - the Gordie/Mark/ Marty Howe card, with father, son and son all playing for the Houston Aeros. Then there's card #50, Hall of Famer and all-time legend Bobby Hull, playing for the Winnipeg Jets. I thought that one was going to really set me back, and I think I got it for $4 (it helps when you don't care too much about condition; anything that's not brutally bent and frayed is usually good enough for my collection).

No, the card that I still can't find for a decent price is card #49, Vaclav Nedomansky. This was not a player I was familiar with, and shame on me for that. He's in the Hockey Hall of Fame as well; in my defence, he was inducted in 2019, and wasn't in when I visited the hall in Toronto in 2010 or so (great museum!). Nadomansky's '74-'75 card usually runs $40 all the way up into the hundreds on eBay. Granted, it is his rookie card. But he's keeping me one card shy of completing the 66-card set. 

My hockey projects so far have been small potatoes but really fun. I collected every Topps Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals card, and I'm several cards shy of completing 2001-02 Topps Heritage Hockey. Getting that Nedomansky will be my crowning hockey achievement, such as it is, and then maybe I'll think about tackling another WHA set down the line.

Friday, September 10, 2021

An Orlando Cepeda Mini-Collection

I didn't exactly set out to collect cards of one Orlando Cepeda - "the baby bull", and a San Francisco Giants legend - but it kind of worked out that way anyway. If you collect the Giants, then Cepeda cards will find their way to you - particularly because he's a legend, and therefore part of sets that have come out every year since he stopped playing in 1974. 

What's wild is that he was an MVP in 1967 for the St. Louis Cardinals - which I already knew - but not only that, he finished 15th in MVP voting in 1973 for the Boston Red Sox (!), a year before he retired. This I did not know. 

Most of my Cepeda cards aren't from his actual playing days, but I'll get there eventually. None of these are cards I actually went out and bought, aside from his 1962 Topps and Fleer cards - they came to me in trades, pretty much. He's a fairly affordable guy to collect and had a long and storied career. Here are 10 of the cards of his I have lying around.

Monday, August 30, 2021

A 2021 Allen & Ginter Dispatch

One of my favorite sets just came out, and now because of the whole Topps/Fanatics/MLB kerfuffle, I'm not sure if it's the last or the second-to-last time I'll ever see a new Allen & Ginter set - at least one created by Topps. This year's is about 10% nicer-looking than most of 'em, and maybe that means I'll need to collect the whole thing in time, as I've been doing for 2014 A&G.

I went over to CardBarrel the day they got in a bunch of these and grabbed all of my guys (and two gals). I won't bore you with the 2021 A&G San Francisco Giants team set, but I got that as well - and then the rest of my time and money was spent on adding to player collections + a few other gems that I thought that maybe I might need.

No big surprises on the cards themselves nor in the set: there are baseball players, goofball celebrities, inserts about birds and deep sea life; relics & autos & minis and all that. The backs look the same as they have for years, and the fronts, as I said, just a little bit cooler than they did last year. Here are some adds to my player collections:

OK, now check these out: there's a parallel "silver portrait" set as well, 350 cards in all. I picked up a few of those, too:

One card I was really happy to see in the set was for Rose Lavelle, the US Women's soccer national team star who's by far by favorite player on the team. If you've never seen her play, she's a powerhouse talent in the midfield who can assist and score at will; an amazing ball-handler and just totally fun to watch. She's young and will be around a while. Shame that the rest of the women's soccer world has finally caught up to the US' talent level, but hey, it's great for the game.

All right, I said I wouldn't share anything from the Giants set, but since I've already shown you Joey Bart, how about coach Alyssa Nakken and a Yaz relic?

Finally, a couple of inserts for the guys I collect. Nice set. Shame if something happens to it, right?