Daily Archives: September 24, 2011

Bob Gibson 2001 Upper Deck Hall Of Fame Gallery

Bob Gibson 2001 Upper Deck Hall Of Fame Gallery

Upper Deck was just a few years ahead of its time with some of the modern cards that they were issuing in the early part of the decade.

Brilliantly designed, and capturing Gibson just as I want to see him, this card is a beauty!!

And I do believe that with the background image, Upper Deck is the only company to capture Gibson smiling.  LOL

Here is the card:

Wade Boggs 1987 Donruss Highlights – Set of Two

Wade Boggs 1987 Donruss Highlights – Set of Two

Oh, yeah!!  2 beauties from the 1987 Donruss Highlights set – both featuring my favorite member of the Boston Red Sox, Mr. Wade Boggs!!!

And while I definitely prefer the Maroon border color from the ‘Opening Day’ set issued by Donruss in 1987 to this Turquoise one, I do love the theme of the set.

Boggs was honored twice – both times for worthy reasons:

  1. Left card – honors Boggs’ ‘Player of the Month’ award for his solid June in 1987.
  2. Right card – honors Boggs collecting 200+ hits in each of the last five baseball seasons

 

Two solid additions to my Wade Boggs collection.  And they happen to honor one of my favorite seasons in baseball history – 1987!!

 

Happy Anniversary Dave Winfield!!!

Happy Anniversary Dave Winfield!!!

On this day in 1992, Dave Winfield became the oldest player in major league history to collect 100 RBI in a single season.

At the age of 40, and playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, Winfield tallied 108 RBI by the end of the 1990 baseball season.

His efforts were rewarded very kindly – a World Series championship.  Winfield collected three more RBI in the Fall Classic as well.

Happy Anniversary Mr. Winfield!!!

‘Home Run Derby’ Contests Nets 6 Winners!!!

‘Home Run Derby’ Contests Nets 6 Winners!!!

Well, Well, Well…  There were a lot of home runs hit last night.  And a few game cancelations too.  Unfortunately with the 2 games being canceled, quite a few players were unable to compete.  Maybe they should convert Yankee Stadium to a dome??  LOL

The end result?  6 players in my ‘Home Run Derby’ contest are winners!!!

Congratulations Guys!!!

The Winners:
Jacob – Prince Fielder
Matt D – Miguel Cabrera – CLAIMS EDDIE MURRAY
Charley – Josh Hamilton – CLAIMS ANDRE DAWSON
Jeff L – Paul Konerko
Greg Z – Matt Kemp – CLAIMS MANNY RAMIREZ
Jeff P – Alfonso Soriano – CLAIMS FRANK THOMAS

Just as a reminder, here is the prize:

To claim the card  that you want, either leave me a comment on this post with the name of the player you’d like.  Or, you can email me too – bapple2286 AT hotmail.com.

Congrats again guys.  And thanks to everyone that participated.

My next contest is just a few weeks away.  Here is a hint – start studying who you think is going to be taking home the individual year-end awards…  Thanks!!!

Milwaukee Brewers Clinch The NL Central

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers won a game, then clinched their place in the postseason, too. Sound familiar?

It was 2008 all over again on an exhilarating Friday night at Miller Park, down to the eighth-inning, hysteria-inducing Ryan Braun home run and the tense moments that followed while the Brewers’ postseason fate was sealed hundreds of miles away.

A 4-1 win over the Marlins pushed the Brewers to the verge of the National League Central crown and turned Miller Park into a northern outpost of Wrigleyville. With Milwaukee’s magic number down to one, a sold-out crowd of 44,584 turned its attention to the scoreboard and watched the Cubs rally for a 5-1 win over the Cardinals.

With that, Milwaukee’s postseason ticket was punched.

With that, pandemonium.

“In 2008, when we went to the postseason for the first time in 26 years, you really realized how special it was to everybody in this city and this state,” Braun said. “Winning the division this time makes it that much more meaningful. This is what we set out to do from the beginning of the year.”

Back in ’08, they won the NL Wild Card on the final day of the season at Miller Park. Midseason acquisition CC Sabathia supplied the pitching gem. Braun snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run homer in the eighth inning. Everybody — players, fans alike — watched on the scoreboard as the Marlins beat the Mets to seal Milwaukee’s spot in October.

Three years later, the similarities were striking down to the involvement of the Cubs and Marlins. Yovani Gallardo was the starting pitcher this time, working into the eighth inning. A July acquisition (Francisco Rodriguez) earned the win. Braun again snapped a 1-1 tie, this time with a two-out, three-run homer off Marlins reliever Clay Hensley that clanked off the scoreboard in center field.

Then, the wait through the final outs of Cubs-Cardinals. Then, a celebration that began in the clubhouse and worked back onto the field, where the stands remained full of fans.

“I told Corey [Hart] in the first inning, ‘This feels like ’08,'” Braun said. “The anxiety, the excitement from the fans. You could just tell they were waiting for an opportunity to go crazy.”

They went crazy after the Brewers won their division for only the second time in franchise history and the first time since 1982. For only the fourth time in 43 years of existence, the Brewers are bound for the postseason.

Gallardo scattered seven Marlins hits — four of them doubles — but allowed only one run in 7 1/3 innings thanks to 11 strikeouts on a record-setting night. He became the first Brewers pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters in three consecutive starts, with 12 whiffs against the Phillies on Sept. 11 and 13 more against the Reds on Saturday. He topped the 200-strikeout plateau for the third straight season, another club record. Of the seven 200-strikeout seasons in Brewers history, Gallardo owns three of them.

He conjured Sabathia on Friday night.

“You know, one of the things I learned from him, no matter what the situation is, he’d just stay relaxed and go out there and pitch his game,” Gallardo said. “That’s what I tried to do here tonight.”

Prince Fielder’s towering home run in the second inning and Marlins center fielder Bryan Petersen’s bloop single in the fourth accounted for the game’s only runs into the eighth inning, when an error charged to Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks gave the Marlins runners at first and second base with one out.

Enter Rodriguez, who struck out Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison with 10 tension-filled pitches, pumping his fist into his glove and pointing to the crowd as he worked his way back to the dugout.

“I have no words to describe it, the intensity, the adrenaline that I had when I was walking from the bullpen,” Rodriguez said. “Once I crossed that door, I knew I had to go for two strikeouts. I cannot let them get the opportunity to put the ball in play. That was my mentality.”

The Brewers rallied moments later. After Corey Hart doubled and Nyjer Morgan walked, Braun, 0-for-3 in the game and with only one hit in his last 16 at-bats, connected with a slider from right-hander Hensley and sent it to straightaway center field.

“That’s the difference,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “That’s the pros. That’s what you like to find, the guys who put the good numbers up, but they knock the runs in. Look at Fielder and Braun, more than 100 RBIs. That’s tough back to back, pick your poison.”

With the crowd roaring and a new Cubs-Cardinals score posted on the out-of-town scoreboard — a 1-1 tie had turned into a 4-1 Cubs lead — Brewers closer John Axford pitched the ninth inning. His 44th save tied Francisco Cordero’s franchise record.

Braun also made the game’s defining defensive play, a diving catch in the fifth inning to rob Omar Infante of a hit. Braun jumped up and fired to first base to complete an inning-ending double play.

“At first, I didn’t [think he would get to the ball],” Gallardo said. “But he made an awesome play. He did a great job. And then coming back and hitting that home run, that’s the kind of night he had.”

How did it feel to be the hero?

“It’s not my night; it’s our night,” Braun said. “It feels amazing. It’s something we’ve all done together. You just recognize it, embrace it and realize how hard it is to get to this position.”

Texas Rangers Capture The AL West Crown

ARLINGTON — A fabulous September has brought the Rangers their second consecutive American League West title.

After a 5-3 victory over the Mariners at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night, the Rangers ran their record to 14-6 for the month. The Angels’ loss to the A’s in Anaheim ensured the division title.

“We’re playing our best baseball right now,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “That’s what you’re looking for at the end of the season and that’s what we’re looking for going into the postseason. We wanted to get everything on track — defense, situational hitting, pitching — and that’s what we’re doing.”

The Rangers were 16-14 in their final 30 regular-season games last year.

“Last year we had a bunch of guys who had never experienced postseason before,” outfielder David Murphy said. “We could taste it and we were pressing in September. This month is different. Our experience is really helping. We haven’t thought ahead, we’ve stayed focused on taking care of business each day.”

The Rangers did so on Friday night with the division title within reach. Three home runs — including an inside-the-park shot by Craig Gentry — gave them a 5-0 lead after four innings. That was also Gentry’s first Major League home run.

Rangers starter Matt Harrison went six innings to earn his 14th win. Harrison had a one-hit shutout going into the sixth before the Mariners scored three runs off him. Manager Ron Washington went to the bullpen in the seventh with the combination of Darren Oliver, Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz locking down the victory.

“He was really good,” Washington said of Harrison. “He just lost his command a little bit. But he got us out of the sixth inning and the bullpen did the rest.”

“I was just trying to go out there and keep making pitches, and keep making them swing the bat, and try to keep them off the bases by not giving them any free passes,” Harrison said. “I had some stuff working early in the game, and then I ran into trouble in the sixth. I felt pretty good until then.”

Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two-run home run. He has hit home runs in eight of his last 12 games. He also has 19 RBIs in his last 13 games, giving him 100 on the season. Josh Hamilton’s 25th home run made it 3-0 in the third.

Gentry came up in the fourth with one out and Nelson Cruz on first. He hit a line drive to left-center where both left fielder Mike Carp and center fielder Trayvon Robinson left their feet trying to make a catch. Both missed and the ball rolled to the wall. By the time Robinson recovered, Gentry was on his way around the bases.

“He hit one in the perfect spot,” Washington said. “He split the outfielders and did the rest with his legs. I think he slowed down a little bit so he wouldn’t pass Cruz.”

“That was just a tough play,” Robinson said. “We did exactly what we were supposed to do, just attack the ball. We just thought we could both get it, without any communication. Thank God we didn’t collide with each other or we probably wouldn’t be talking right now.”

Cruz, who is recovering from a strained left hamstring, had to stop at second to make sure the ball wasn’t caught. But he was able to get around the bases in plenty of time ahead of Gentry.

“I knew I couldn’t round first real hard because I didn’t want to run up on him,” Gentry said. “Luckily, they weren’t able to catch it. I stopped around first because I didn’t know if he was going to make it around second. Once I hit second base, I knew they were going to send me, so I tried to kick it into gear after then.

“I came in and asked, ‘That was a home run, right?’ They said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘I need that ball, that’s my first one.’ So [Washington] ran out there and got it for me. Yeah, that was special for me.”

Arizona Diamondbacks Take NL West Title

PHOENIX — For the fifth time in franchise history, the Arizona Diamondbacks are National League West champions.

The D-backs completed the worst-to-first transformation with a 3-1 win over the defending World Series champion Giants on Friday night at Chase Field.

The win was emblematic of the way the season has gone for the D-backs, who also won division titles in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2007. They got solid starting pitching, started slow offensively and rallied late to turn a lead over to the back end of the bullpen.

“That pretty much sums up our year right there,” said J.J. Putz, who closed out the game for his 44th save of the year.

It was Arizona’s Major League-leading 46th comeback win.

The hero this time was Paul Goldschmidt, whose two-out triple to right off Sergio Romo in the eighth scored Ryan Roberts and Justin Upton.

“A lot of come-from-behind wins — they never give up,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers said. “We’re dangerous late. We kind of lull them to sleep early, and late in the game the bats come out. It’s just exciting. Goldschmidt, who spent half of the season in [Double-A] Mobile, to come up with the big hit like that against arguably one of the greatest right-handed sliders there is in the game is pretty incredible.”

That the D-backs are division champions is also pretty remarkable given the fact that they lost 92 and 97 games over the past two seasons and did not look like a juggernaut this spring.

“Tonight,” D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said when asked when he finally believed his team would win the division. “I’m realistic and I really felt like this year was a year to restore the franchise and that we could do that, but this is more than I imagined, so I’m very proud of them.”

Roberts led off the eighth with a double to left-center on a ball that just ticked off the glove of a diving Justin Christian, and after Aaron Hill sacrificed Roberts to third, the Giants intentionally walked Upton.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy then brought in lefty Javier Lopez to face Miguel Montero, and he got him to pop out to shallow center.

Romo came on to face Goldschmidt. After falling behind 0-2, Goldschmidt took a pitch for a ball before lacing a liner down the right-field line.

“We bring a guy from Double-A up here that gets the big hit to clinch it,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “That’s significant because that’s how important it is to have an organization on the same page.”

The Giants got on the board first when Orlando Cabrera led off the fifth inning with a homer to left field.

For a time, it seemed like Matt Cain would make that hold up as the Giants starter handcuffed the D-backs through the first six innings.

Finally in the seventh, the D-backs were able to break through.

Goldschmidt drew a one-out walk and came around to score when Chris Young followed with a double to left-center.

The D-backs could do no further damage in the frame, however, as Cain was able to retire John McDonald and pinch-hitter Geoff Blum after issuing an intentional walk to Gerardo Parra.

“They’re a team that really does play to the end,” Cain said. “They find different guys every night to sparkplug the offense. They carry that little bit of swagger through the game, and I think that’s been beneficial for those guys.”

Several Giants stayed in the dugout after the game to watch the D-backs celebrate on the field. Romo, however, was not one of them.

“I didn’t want to see that reminder that I didn’t make the pitch I needed to make,” he said.

Joe Saunders didn’t get the win, but the D-backs left-hander had another quality outing, allowing just the one run over his seven innings of work.

“They’re a quality ballclub and I knew Matt Cain was going to come out and do his stuff,” Saunders said. “In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, so we did that tonight. Hats off to them, they’re an amazing club and it just goes to show you how good we are and how good we can be.”