Monday, October 31, 2011

TTM Success - Whitey Herzog

On the day a legendary manager of the St. Louis Cardinals retired, I received a signed baseball from another legendary Cardinals manager, Whitey Herzog.

Herzog got his start as a manager in 1973 with the Rangers when he managed 138 games.  He was the second manager of the Rangers when he took over for Ted Williams.  Yes, THAT Ted Williams.  He was fired as manager of the Rangers and replaced with Billy Martin.  He managed the Angels for 4 games in 1974 on an interim basis before Dick Williams was hired before being hired by the Kansas City Royals in 1975. 

With the Royals from 1975 to 1979, Herzog amassed a record of 714-410 and led those teams to three straight American League West titles from 1976 to 1978.

He joined the Cardinals in 1980 and went on to manage them until 1990.  During that time, the Cardinals won three NL pennants (1982, 1985 and 1987) and one World Series (1982).  He ended his managerial career with a record of 2409-1281 (.532 winning pct.).

Herzog is my 50th Hall of Famer and my 37th TTM Success.  I mailed to him on October 22 and got him back today, October 31, making him a 9-day TAT.  He signed for a fee of $10.00.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What a World Series

Oh man.  What an amazing World Series.  I'm sorry for all of my friends who are Rangers fans, but wow, this was a Series for the ages.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Card Shop Pickups

When I went to the card shop last weekend (the same weekend I picked up the box of 2011 Topps Update), I picked up a few loose cards out of the bargain bin.

 This 1996 Score Franchise Cal Ripken looks so much better in person.  This is one of the rare times that my scanner didn't perform as well as I had hoped on a card.  It's pretty sharp, though.  I'm more than certain I didn't have this card in my vast Ripken collection before last Sunday...

 Oh for two with the scanner.  This bland looking card actually looks really cool in person, too.  A 1999 Fleer Metal Cal.  I know I didn't ak\lready have it, either.

I got two similar Brian Roberts cards that I didn't have yet...  This 2010 Bowman Blue...

...and this 2011 Bowman Blue.  I like these parallels.  I like the orange Bowmans better, you know, Orioles colors, but the blue is nice, too.

 I also got these two 'minor league' cards of Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Jimmie Foxx.

I love the shot in this Foxx card.  Foxx was a beast (maybe why that nickname fit him so well) and I'm happy to add more of him to the collection.

Friday, October 21, 2011

TTM Success - Carl Erskine

I opened my mailbox this afternoon to find another of my brown mailers inside.  The mailer contained a signed baseball from former Dodger, Carl Erskine.  What I wasn't expecting was the amount of inscriptions that he put on it.  Take a look:

 Erskine, born 1926, pitched for the Dodgers from 1948 to 1959.  He wore uniform number 17 throughout most of his career, with the exception of wearing number 11 in 1950.  He retired at age 31 in 1959 due to shoulder issues.  His career record was 122-78, with 981 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.00.

 Erskine pitched two no hitters in his career, as you can see from his inscriptions.  If you can't read the dates well, they read:  June 19, 1952 vs the Cubs and May 12, 1956 vs the Giants.

 Erskine was a major part of five NL pennant winning Dodgers Teams (1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956).  He was on the 1959 team, but did not pitch in the actual post season.  The Dodgers would win the World Series in 1955 and 1959.

Erskine won 20 games once in his career, when he went 20-6 in 1953 (3 years before the Cy Young Award would debut).  That season, he finished 9th in the MVP voting in the NL (teammate Roy Campanella would win the 1953 NL MVP Award).

I wrote to Mr. Erskine on October 14 and got the signed ball back today, October 21, making him a 7-day TAT.  Pretty awesome.  Erskine is my 36th TTM success.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mail From Blog Reader Ryan

I've gotten several emails recently from blog reader Ryan.  Mostly about TTM ideas, and card searching in general.  I was able to hook him up with a 2011 Topps card that he needed for his set.  In return, Ryan sent me some really cool cards.  Here are some of the highlights:

 I'm really liking this Brian Roberts 2011 Gypsy Queen Black Mini.  Gypsy Queen was bashed by a lot of people, I thought it was pretty good.  It was almost impossible for me to get my hands on any packs; I think I opened two packs...
I'm really digging these green borders.  I doubt that is the official title of them, probably called emerald or something like that.  They look good regardless of what Topps decided to call them.  I still don't have very many Frank Robinson cards, when compared to cards of Brooks or Cal, so I think I need to get right on changing that...

Finally, how can you go wrong with Masterpieces.  I still love this set after al these years.  Maybe I'll build it at some point.  Maybe...

Anyway, thanks Ryan for the cool stuff.  You can email me with questions anytime, I'll be more than happy to answer them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thoughts on 2011 Topps Update Inserts

My son and I had several hours to kill on Saturday so we decided to go to the card shop here in town.  After an initial purchase of some packs (especially one jumbo pack of 2011 Topps Update Series) and looking at my watch to see we still had time to kill, I made the decision to buy a box of 2011 Topps Update Series Jumbo.  I was not disappointed...

This card came out of my initial jumbo pack.  I thought the card looked amazing and it convinced me that I really wanted to bust a box of Update...  This 'Hope Diamond' Markakis looks awesome and I think it scanned really cool...

I got a bunch of the 'Cognac' parallels.  I think these are cool too.  I was really hoping for the Brooks Robinsom, but I got Roberto Alomar and Carl Yastrzemski instead.  Not bad pulls.

The Yastrzemski looks really cool.  I think, in getting a Hall of Famer, Yaz is a pretty good one (not taking anything away from Alomar, of course).

Speaking of Hall of Famers, I also got this Andre Dawson diamond parallel.  It looks really cool scanned as well...

Check out this awesome Frank Thomas legends SP.  In an A's uniform, no less.  What a cool card, especially if you like the color green.  I had to explain to my son that Frank Thomas' nickname was The Big Hurt.  Why Daddy, he asked...  "Well, son, he was big and he hurt pitchers...."

Finally, I got a sweet Kimball Champions mini, this Zach Britton.  I got a bunch of others, but I was really glad I got the Britton.  It came in the pack with the Markakis.

I didn't even discuss the Julio Teheran 'Next 60' auto, the Adrian Gonzalez All Star Relic or the Tom Seaver (Reds) Leather Nameplate...

All in all, I got a sweet box.  I'd like to pick up another at some point, especially if I can chase some of the Brooks parallels...  Anyone got any Brooks Robinson Diamond Parallels (or the base card as well), please hook me up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awesome Mail Day Part 3 - Sportlots Pickups

Not only did I find two of my returned mailers in my mailbox on Saturday, I also found a bubble mailer from my Sportlots order.  I wanted to knock some set needs out and realized that I hadn't ordered from them in over a year.

 First off, I figured I'd knock a couple '59 Topps out.  I'm not officially pursuing this set, yet, but I saw that the seller I was buying from had these two cards that I knew I needed, so I added them at the last minute.

 I'm not sure why, but I'm liking the mint green of this Eddie Yost card.  I prefer the more vivid colors in this set (especially the red ones), but this color is actually pretty nice.  I think, aesthetically, 1959 might be one of the best looking sets.  I'm also a fan of 1954's look, too.  You all also know my affinity for the 1955 release.

 I knocked several 1970s off of my list, the most prominent was this Don Sutton.  We go from the awesome look of the 1959 set to the rather blase 1970 set.  I don't mind the gray, but it's kind of blah.  I've warmed up to it since I have been putting it together though.

 I picked up several 1971s as well and this group had a good many Hall of Famers.  First was this Jim 'Catfish' Hunter.  A really sharp looking card (which, incidentally, I already had, oops).

 I replaced the Mazeroski that I already had in the set.  That one was very rough looking and this one is much sharper.  The Pirates uniform really looks good with the black border of this set.

Finally, one of the bigger cards I got was this Reggie Jackson.  Wow, what an awesome uniform.  I got this card for $8.00.  Not bad, I've seen it go as high as $20.  This one is far from mint, but it fits right into the set.

In addition to these cards, I also knocked 3 cards off of my friend's 1963 Fleer want list.  Always good to be able to chip away at what he needs as well.

If you guys haven't tried Sportlots yet, I highly recommend.  They are awesome if you need a few more odd cards to complete a set.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Awesome Mail Day Part 2 - Jim Gentile TTM Success

The second baseball I got on Saturday was from former Oriole Jim Gentile.

Gentile (b. 1934) played in the majors from 1957, 1958, 1960-1966 for the Dodgers, Orioles, Astros and Indians.  He was runner up to former Oriole Ron Hansen (and was also tied with another Oriole Chuck Estrada) for the 1960 AL Rookie of the Year.  According to, three Orioles finished with voted for Rookie of the Year, Hansen was first and Estrada/Gentile were tied for second... no one else got votes.  Weird.

Gentile would have an amazing 1961 season where he would hit 46 home runs and would lead the league with 141 RBIs.  He finished third in the MVP voting behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (Gentile didn't stand a chance did he?). 

Gentile played for only 9 seasons in the majors, but was productive for only 5 or so.  That 1961 Season would be good for MVP most other years, but that year was one for the ages in Maris and Mantle's pursuit of the single season home run record.

Gentile is my 35th TTM success.  I mailed to him on June 24th and got the ball back on October 15th.  He was a little under a 4-month TAT.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Really Awesome Mail Day Part 1 - Doug Harvey Signed Baseball

I was so busy today with little odd jobs around the house that I forgot to check my mail until well after 7PM.  When I got the the mailbox, I opened it and said "Oh cool, I got a ball... no wait... 2 balls... no wait... some cards too!  AWESOME!!!

Here is the first of the two TTM successes I got today:

Hall of Famer Doug Harvey!  Harvey (b. 1930) is one of only 9 umpires in the Hall of Fame.  He umpired in the National League from 1962 to 1992 and was one of the last umpires in the Majors who did not attend an umpiring school.

Harvey's 4,673 games called ranks fourth all-time.  Harvey umpired in 5 World Series (1968, 1974, 1981, 1984, 1988), six All Star games (1963, 1964, 1971, 1977, 1982 and 1992) and 9 times in the NLCS (1970, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1989 and 1991).

Harvey makes my 49th Hall of Famer and my 34th TTM success.  I mailed to Harvey on June 20 and received it today, October 15 making him a 4-month TAT for me.  I had almost given up on the ball, but am glad that it finally came.  I'll post the other ball I got tomorrow with the cards to follow that post.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thoughts on 2011 Topps Lineage

 Yeah, I'm a bit late for this, but money has been tight lately, so I haven't been able to pick up any packs.  I went to the card shop here in Greenville a few weeks ago and picked up some 2011 Topps Lineage.  I have to say, the design was pretty nice.  I also liked the rookies as it was a take on the glossy All Star cards of the 80s which reminded me of my childhood and junk wax...

Overall, the set seemed to me like a cousin of the Topps Base set.  I only opened 2 packs so I didn't get any mega pulls, but I did get this sweet Hank Aaron sticker.
It looks really old school and is a pretty cool card.  I liked the concept, but of course, I'll never use it as an actual sticker...

By the way, the Strasburg was pulled from a pack and is definitely up for trade if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hall of Fame Spotlight - Dizzy Dean

Photo is from
Dizzy Dean was born Jay Hanna Dean on January 16, 1910 in Lucas, Arkansas.  He pitched for the Cardinals, Cubs and Browns in a career that spanned from 1930, 1932-1941 and 1947.  He had a career record of 150-83 with 1,163 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.02.  Here are some more of Dean's accomplishments:

  • Won 20 games or more in 4 straight seasons (1933, 34, 35 and 36)
  • Won 30 games (and was the last NL pitcher to win 30 games) in 1934
  • Led the NL in wins in 1934 (30) and 1935 (28)
  • Led the league in strikeouts for 4 straight seasons (1932, 33, 34 and 35)
  • Led the league in shutouts twice (1932 with 4 and 1934 with 7)
  • 1934 NL MVP
  • Won the World Series in 1934 with the St. Louis Cardinals as a member of the fabled 'Gashouse Gang'
Dean injured his toe during the 1937 All Star game.  When he changed his delivery to try to avoid some of the pain, his mechanics were altered, resulting in an arm injury from which he would never recover.  He was out of the game after he turned 31 (1941), only to return for one game for the Browns in 1947.

After his playing career was over, Dean would go on to become a successful commentator.  He was known for butchering the English language, but this quality is what endeared him to fans.

Dean died of a heart attack at the age of 64 in 1974.

Dean is one of those legendary players from the 1930s who definitely deserves his spot in the Hall.  He is probably most similar to Sandy Koufax in that he didn't pitch for very long, but during a 5-year stretch, he was unstoppable...

Dizzy Dean signed memorabilia can be very expensive.  Signed post cards are selling for around $300.00 while signed baseballs can go anywhere from around $800 to $5,000.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blast From The Past - 1991 O Pee Chee Premier

I was cleaning out an old album of cards so my son would have somewhere to put his wrestling cards when I discovered several pages of some cards that I remembered form my collecting days as a kid...

 1991 O Pee Chee Premier.  Oh yeah!  I remember when these came out.  No longer were O Pee Chee cards going to look EXACTLY like Topps cards from that year.  No, they finally had their own design, and a premium price point as well (if I remember correctly, they were pretty expensive for that era).

Loving Donnie Baseball's mullet in this picture, by the way.

This was right at the wave of card companies trying to cash in on the baseball card craze of the late 80s - early 90s.  Score, Fleer, O Pee Chee, Pacific, Leaf, Donruss, Upper Deck, Topps; so many card companies to choose from.  Oh, then you had to choose spin off brands as well: Triple Play, Collector's Choice, Stadium Club, Ultra, Flair, Fleer Metal, Aficionado (which I still really like), Score Select, Topps Finest, etc etc etc...

No wonder cards of this era aren't worth a thing.  This is what happens when you flood the market.  The cards look pretty good, though. Nice, basic design.  I also was remarking at how many big names I had in the album: Mattingly, Eddie Murray, Gary Carter, Robin Yount, George Brett, Nolan Ryan, etc.  They all went into a box for my son to look through when he gets into older cards.

I figured you guys would enjoy this trip down memory lane...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thoughts on the Postseason So Far...

Does everyone else agree with me that this postseason has been awesome?  3 series went to game 5.  All of the 'early picks' to win it all have been knocked out.  I feel like the remaining matchups are pretty even.

I don't know who I am picking to win it all, but I'm sure the rest of the postseason will be just as memorable!

Here are some thoughts:

I'm looking forward to seeing if Koji can do well for Texas.  He has been unimpressive so far, but here's to hoping that he can look good in his series.

I'm also hoping that Verlander pitches well.

I think Ryan Braun, even though he looks so goofy, is an amazing hitter.

Prince Fielder is the real deal.  Hope he is an Oriole next year (highly unlikely).

Chris Carpenter complete game shutout.  Man, if he wasn't so injury prone.

It was really cool seeing David Hernandez do well for the Diamondbacks.  I think the trade of Hernandez for Reynolds was a good deal on both ends.

Ryan Howard slips getting out of the box and injures himself.  Insult to injury.  Have to feel for the guy.

I like Charlie Manuel.  I don't think it was his fault that his team didn't win.  Of course, I didn't think it was Francona's fault the Red Sox lost.

Andy MacPhail is out as Orioles GM.  I hope they move quickly in getting a replacement.  I sincerely don't think it will be Buck.

Who is everyone pulling for in the ALCS/NLCS?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Set Complete - 2011 Topps

FINALLY!  It feels like it has been forever since I have completed a set (probably been since 2010 Topps Chrome?  I haven't checked...).  Anyway, I completed 2011 Topps by picking up 2 jumbo boxes at last weekend's card show.  I wasn't able to collate the set until this weekend because I have been really busy, but I finally got it done.

Cool thing is, I also had enough "rings" in the Topps Diamond giveaway to unlock a free set, so with that and the two I put together, I will have 3 2011 sets.

I have 59 of the 60 rings.  I still need the Mantle, and it is probably a long shot for me to get it, but man, how sweet would it be to get one of the 60th anniversary diamond rings?

So, I would be willing to trade or sell one of my hand-collated sets, in case anyone is interested.

I also have a partial (series 2 only) set that is missing maybe 20 cards or so.  I'd be willing to trade or sell it pretty cheaply. 

If anyone would like any base cards that I have duplicates of, I have a decent sized stack of those as well.  I have already pulled most Tigers, Yankees, Dodgers, Braves and Orioles from that, but there may still be some stuff in there to be had.  I have a guy who buys a lot of commons from me at the shows, so make sure you put an inquiry in before he gets them (mid December is my next show).

Finally, I have a good many inserts and stuff that can be had via sale or trade.  Email me and let me know!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's Next for Showalter and the Orioles??

It appears that over the next few days, the front office of the Orioles will have a different look for the 2012 season.  Andy MacPhail is expected to step down from his position as President of Baseball Operations and either leave the organization or take a lesser role.

Rumors are mounting that current manager, Buck Showalter, is weighing whether or not to accept a role as General Manager of the team, or to remain in the dugout.  It appears that Buck wants more of a decision making role in the organization, one who can control 40-man roster acquisitions, scouting, player development, etc.  Buck seems to be trying to figure out whether he can have more impact on the organization as manager or general manager.

If Buck remains manager, he will want to have an equal voice in the acquisition of players, etc, so I'm not certain an established GM would be willing to share duties with the field manager.  One GM option in this role could be Matt Klentak, who has served as assistant GM under MacPhail.  Klentak could accept a promotion to GM with the understanding that he will share duties with Buck while he learns the ins and outs as GM.  I'm not sure if this would be a good arrangement, the two-headed GM experiment didn't work all that well under the reigns of Mike Flanagan-Jim beattie or Mike Flanagan-Jim Duquette.  Buck is really close to former Rangers GM Jon Hart, so he could be an option.  Yes, the same Jon Hart who signed A-Roid to his ridiculous contract...  Hey, maybe he could offer the same deal to Pujols or Fielder this offseason?  Yeah, I know, only kidding.

If Buck does, in fact, decide to take a front office job, then who will manage the team?  Two former managers (Willie Randolph and John Russell) served as coaches this year.  I'm not sold on either of those guys.  Buck is close to former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu.  The same manager who many feel was the reason Ken Griffey, Jr. was unceremoniously ran out of Seattle.  I wasn't there, so I don't know what went down.  From everything I've read, he might be a decent choice to lead the Orioles under the watchful eye of Buck.

If I had any input (and clearly, I don't), I would see if a former Oriole with a well known last name would be willing to join the staff next season.  He was a gritty player who was brought up in a baseball family that bleeds (still to this day) Oriole Orange.  His dad managed the Orioles in 1987-1988 and served as a coach for a really really really long time.  I don't think his dad got a fair shake as O's manager (0-21 start notwithstanding), but he epitomised the old school "Oriole Way."  

Of course, I'm talking Ripken here.  No, I don't think Cal would be a good choice at this moment to be a manager or coach on the Orioles.  He would be much better suited as GM or (fingers crossed!) Owner one day.  No, I sincerely think...

...that BILL Ripken would be a solid choice to come in and have some input on the club.  Either as a coach or field manager.  Bill currently works as an analyst for MLB Network and hosts a weekly radio show with Cal on Sirius/XM.  Bill clearly has a wealth of baseball knowledge.  Many former and current managers didn't have hall of fame playing careers.  Usually, the players who had to fight and claw to stay on 40-man rosters are the ones who make the best coaches.  Bill was a hard-nosed, no-nonsense type player who I think would have a positive impact on the team.  It's about time the Orioles bring him in (if he is even interested).