Daily Archives: January 19, 2013

Ken Griffey Jr. 2012 Topps ‘Blockbusters’

Ken Griffey Jr. 2012 Topps ‘Blockbusters’

While this event may not have been as historic as it could have been, the occasion was certainly worth the attention.

On February 10, 2000, Ken Griffey Jr. signed to play with the Cincinnati Reds.  ‘The Kid’ was coming home.  Back to where his dad starred in the majors.  Back to where he learned how to play the game.  Back to where he hung out in the dugout and locker room with Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez!!

This card from the 2012 Topps Blockbuster set is a perfect addition to the set.  This signing in 2000 was extremely newsworthy.

VINTAGE GRIFFEY

It’s just too bad that Griffey was unable to put together a string of success with the Reds that matched what he had accomplished in Seattle.

Tony Gwynn 2005 Upper Deck Past Time Pennants

Tony Gwynn 2005 Upper Deck Past Time Pennants

When I hear the theme ‘Past Time Pennants’ I immediately think of older players.  Legendary players.  And I also tend to think of playoff performers as well; I guess the word ‘pennants’ takes me there…

So, when I saw that Tony Gwynn was a part of this set, I was very curious about his playoff history.  Sure, I knew that he never won a World Series, but I wanted to get a little more detailed than that…

Gwynn played in the big leagues for twenty seasons.  His Padres team made it to the playoffs in just three of those years – 1984, 1996, and 1998.  They did make two appearances in the World Series, but they lost both times – in 1984 to the Detroit Tigers and in 1998 to the New York Yankees.

VINTAGE GWYNN

While not upset that Gwynn was put into this set of cards, if the theme was to be celebrating legendary playoff players from the past, I think that Upper Deck was a little lenient with their selections…

Just sayin…

Rest In Peace – Hall Of Fame Manafer, Earl Weaver

Rest In Peace – Hall Of Fame Manafer, Earl Weaver

From The Baltimore Sun

Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, the cantankerous baseball wizard who led the Orioles to the World Series in each of his first three full seasons as manager, died yesterday. He was 82.

Weaver died Friday night while on a cruise, according to Monica Barlow, the team’s public relations head.

The legendary Earl of Baltimore managed parts of 17 major league seasons in Baltimore and the Orioles failed to post a winning record under him only once (1986). His career was defined by an affinity for the three-run home run and a long-running, public feud with superstar pitcher Jim Palmer that both men jokingly played to whenever together.

Weaver was always a fan favorite and the Orioles faithful got several opportunities to let him know that during the course of the Orioles uplifting 2012 season. He returned to Baltimore repeatedly to take part in the special series of statue unveilings in the center field plaza at Oriole Park, including the one that was dedicated to him on June 30.

He showed his softer side during his acceptance speech, applauding all the great Orioles who also are immortalized in bronze there and a many more of the players who helped him become a managerial legend.

“What comes to mind is, ‘Thank God those guys were there and thank God we won 100 games three years in a row so I could come back for a fourth,” Weaver said. “And thank God for the fourth that won enough games for me to come back for the fifth … and on to 17.”

Weaver won six American League East titles, four pennants and one world title. His .583 career winning percentage ranks fifth among modern managers (since 1900) with at least 10 seasons in the major leagues. Factor in his reputation as one of the games great strategists and it’s no wonder that he was selected by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee for induction at Cooperstown in 1996.

“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball,” Orioles Managing Partner Peter Angelos said. “This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”

Palmer said that he heard of Weaver’s death at 3:30 a.m. Saturday from former  Orioles pitcher Scotty McGregor.  McGregor was on the same Orioles-theme cruise with Weaver. “I didn’t get much restful sleep after that,” Palmer said.

“There weren’t any gray areas with Earl,” said Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer Saturday morning. “We had a love-hate relationship. Earl was going to tell you what he expected and there wasn’t a lot of room for error with him. Earl was about winning and that was what he did.”

He was irascible. No question about it.

He also was known by his closest friends to be both sensitive and caring, though he seldom allowed the public to see the softer side of him.

“Earl is a very caring human being underneath that facade,” former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell said in a 1996 interview. “And we all knew that. We felt like family, and when I left here, I felt like I had left my family. You always knew that Earl would do anything in the world he could do for you.”

Weaver went to bat for a couple of young players who would establish themselves among the greatest stars in the history of the game.

He pressed to keep Eddie Murray at the major league level in 1977 and is credited with bucking convention to switch supposedly oversized Cal Ripken Jr. from third base to shortstop.

The rest, of course, is history.

“This man fought for me,” Murray said, during an interview in early 2003. “He kept telling (general manager) Hank Peters and the rest of the front office that I should stay. They just had me penciled in there, but he kept sending me out there.”

Weaver also is credited with a major role in developing what came to be known as The Oriole Way, a standardized approach to minor league instruction that he instituted along with fellow minor league manager Cal Ripken Sr. during the early 1960s.

In some ways, he was a comic character like longtime Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, but he had a hard edge that could rankle a player as easily as an umpire.

Weaver got under the skin of Triple-A call-up Bobby Grich in the early 1970s, yelling “home run or (go back to Triple-A) Rochester” at the young second baseman as he went up to bat. Grich came back to the dugout and — after a loud verbal exchange — threw Weaver down the steps that led to the clubhouse.

 

Alan Trammell 1984 Fleer – Oh, The Memories!!!

Alan Trammell 1984 Fleer

As a kid, the 1984 Fleer baseball card set was the second set that I built (1985 Topps was the first).

So, when I come across a card from this set that features a player that I collect today, it really takes me back to when I was nine years old and hoarding baseball cards.

This card of Trammell really stands out for me as one of my favorites from when I built the ’84 Fleer set.  I actually put it together in 1985, and had just watched Trammell dominate the World Series and win the championship with the Tigers.  He was the MVP of that team, and with my dad being a Tigers fan, we were both very excited to watch him perform at the level in which he did.

Here is the card:

This one is a fantastic addition to my Alan Trammell collection.  And it takes me right back to when baseball card collecting was simple, fun, and affordable!

Oh, the memories!!!

1977 HEADLINE: Ernie Banks Elected To Baseball Hall Of Fame

1977 HEADLINE: Ernie Banks Elected To Baseball Hall Of Fame

‘Mr. Cub’ will always be the most popular and respected player from the Chicago Cubs organization. His 19-seasons of perfection in a Cubs uniform still remain as fond and vibrant memories for the ‘North Siders’. Banks’ 512 career home runs and season after season of MVP caliber baseball earned him a Hall of Fame induction in 1977 on the first ballot.

Ernie Banks was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot. He received 321 of 383 votes cast.

banks HOF postcard

Curt Schilling To Sell ‘Bloody Sock’ Made Famous During 2004 World Series

Curt Schilling To Sell ‘Bloody Sock’ Made Famous During 2004 World Series

By David Brown, Big League Stew, Yahoo Sports

 

Famous people’s unwashed underwear. That’s where the money’s at.

Sensing an opportunity to make some cash, former major leaguer Curt Schilling is auctioning the second-most famous sock of his career, a bloody one worn on his right foot when he pitched Game 2 of the 2004 World Series for the Boston Red Sox. The Stew reported this possibility in October.

As Deadspin nobly points out, it’s not THE SOCK ™, the one Schilling wore when he pitched against the New York Yankees in the ALCS during Boston’s historic comeback, when the sutures in his surgically repaired ankle ruptured , he bled through and became something of a supernatural figure in Red Sox lore.

Where’s that sock? Probably in a landfill in New York somewhere. Schilling and the Red Sox weren’t savvy enough to save it before it was discarded in a Yankee Stadium dumpster and taken out with the rest of the icky trash. Who knows what that sock might go for on the open market? All we have is Schilling’s second bloody sock. ESPN’s Darren Rovell, who has made a cottage industry of tracking the value of everything in the known universe, made a guess as to what it’s worth:

 

It’s a tremendous piece of memorabilia that has been in the Baseball Hall of Fame for years. The blood, produced from a sutured tendon in his foot, symbolized the fight for the Boston Red Sox to finally win a title for the first time in 86 years.

Schilling has considered selling the item in the past, first in February 2005. At the time, a Red Sox collector I interviewed said he would bid on it and that he expected the price to soar north of $600,000. Others told me that number was light and that the sock could draw bids above $1 million.

(AP, Heritage Auctions)

Oh, sure. Schilling’s blood-encrusted sock gets into the Hall of Fame but Jeff Bagwell can’t. Can Rovell’s sources be right? A million bucks for a dirty sock? OK, a famous dirty sock? Schilling obviously hopes so. His other recent big business venture, a video game studio, collapsed due to mismanagement after reportedly producing one title. Will selling a million-dollar sock make up for the losses? It won’t begin to cover it, but selling the sock is part of a deal Schilling made to cover his debts.

Side question: In 100 years when cloning is common, will the owner of the bloody sock be able to make Li’l Curt Schillings from the dried DNA in the sock? What an epidemic it would be.

Heritage Auctions reports that the bidding starts in early February, with the hot and heavy auctioning set to wrap up Feb. 23-24.

Andre Dawson 1984 Topps All-Star Glossy – AUTOGRAPHED!!!!

Andre Dawson 1984 Topps All-Star Glossy – AUTOGRAPHED!!!!

There was no way that I was going to less this card escape my grasp.  Through my Ebay saved searches I saw when it was added as a listing on Ebay and I immediately started watching it.

From there, I just had to wait….

And wait…

And wait some more…

And amazingly, nobody else came out to battle me for possible possession of the card.

It didn’t take much effort or money to bring this card home, but that doesn’t affect the excitement at all.

Have a look:

DAWSON 1984 ASG

This card comes from the 1984 Topps Glossy All-Star send-in set.  I had never seen a signed version prior to this and I am very happy and lucky to have been able to snag it for my ‘Ultimate Dawson’ collection.

Oh Yeah!!!