Daily Archives: December 10, 2013

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – Miguel Cabrera

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – Miguel Cabrera

The 2013 Topps Update baseball card set includes a subset tagged as ‘Postseason Heroes.  And with that theme, you would expect to find cards of modern players like Albert Pujols, Edgar Rentaria, and Pablo Sandoval but none of these guys made the checklist.

That does leave room for some nice surprises…

This is the card of Miguel Cabrera from the set:

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At the end of the 2013 baseball season, Miguel Cabrera completed his 11th season in the majors.

He has already been in the postseason four times, making two trips and winning one World Series championship.

In 52 postseason games, Cabrera has a .273 batting average with 53 hits in 194 at-bats.  Of his 53 hits, he has connected for 9 doubles and 12 home runs while also scoring 27 runs and driving in 37.

In World Series play, Cabrera has a just a .189 batting average through ten games.

Andre Dawson 1996 Score – Artist’s Proof

Andre Dawson 1996 Score – Artist’s Proof

I keep trying to find cards issued of Andre from his playing days to add to my collection, and that task is getting tougher and tougher and tougher.

Thankfully, there is still of handful of cards from that period that I need, but they are becoming harder and harder to come by.

I did score the below card from the 1996 Score baseball card set last week.  This card is the same as the base card from the ’96 issue, but this one is stamped with an ‘Artist’s Proof’ logo.  And it also features a Bronze border versus the standard White border from the base set.

Check it out:

 

 

DAWSON PROOF

 

I love it!!  The Bronze is a nice border color option but it does take a bit away from the Score logo in the upper-left corner.

Another great addition to my Andre Dawson ‘Ultimate Dawson’ collection!!

Jim Palmer 2005 Upper Deck Hall Of Fame Baseball – Serial Numbered As #13/15

Jim Palmer 2005 Upper Deck Hall Of Fame Baseball – Serial Numbered As #13/15

It took me a little time, but I wanted to bring a new card into my Jim Palmer collection that was a little more ‘rare’.

The term ‘rare’ in the baseball card world can mean a lot of different things depending on who you are talking about and what the subject of the conversation is.

When it comes to modern baseball card releases, the term ‘rare’ is simply another way of saying that the card has a low circulation, and is serial numbered as such.

This card I picked up of Jim Palmer from the 2005 Upper Deck Hall of Fame Baseball set is numbered to just 15 copies.  Mine is #13.

Have a look:

 

I picked this one up for a couple of dollars a few weeks ago.  To date, this is the lowest serial-number card I own of Jim Palmer.  I hope to be able to add a few more in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Enjoy!

Andrew McCutchen 2011 Bowman ‘Finest Futures’

Andrew McCutchen 2011 Bowman ‘Finest Futures’

This is the third card that I have added to my collection from the ‘Finest Futures’ subset issued by Bowman in 2011.

The cards are sharp and feature just enough graphics to allow the large image to remain as the main attraction.

Have a look:

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The coloring, and shading, that Bowman employed on this subset are really spectacular.  The White clouding that is happening behind the graphics at the bottom of the card are a unique touch that really works well.  I especially like how it is blended into the image of McCutchen.

A may need to explore the checklist from this subset a bit further to see if I can uncover any more gems…

Did You Know…

The first player in Arizona Diamondbacks history to hit for the cycle was Luis Gonzalez.  He accomplished the feat on July 7, 2000.

Luis Gonzalez

And The Winner Of The ‘Expansion Era Contest’ Is…

And The Winner Of The ‘Expansion Era Contest’ Is…

Reader, Q!!!

That’s right, ‘Q’ properly named all three of the managers voted into the Hall of Fame on the ‘Expansion Era’ ballot earning himself a 50/50 shot at the grand prize of more than 150 cards from the 2013 Topps Update set.

One other player, JT, correctly named the three electees – Cox, Torre, and LaRussa.  But, it was ‘Q’ whose name was chosen on Random.com as the winner.

Here is a look at he final rankings:

Player Points Concepcion Cox Garvey John LaRussa Martin Miller Parker Quisenberry Simmons Steinbrenner Torre
Justin 2   x x   x             x
Jason 0   x       x         x x
DJ 2   x                   x
GCRL 2   x x   x             x
Superduperman 2   x     x           x  
Q 3   x     x             x
Matt W 0 x x                    
Eric 1     x   x             x
JT 3   x     x             x
AG 0                        
JT 2   x                   x
Ron C 1   x     x   x     x   x
Hackenbush 0                        
Henry 1 x             x       x
Defgav 0   x     x x x x       x
Jeff 1   x                    
Diamond King 2   x     x              
Mgrlvr 2   x     x           x x
Daniel W 1   x     x   x       x x
Bo R 0                        
**30-YOC 1         x              

And here is one more look at the prize:

Expansion Era Contest Prize

Congrats again go out to ‘Q’.

And thanks to all that played.  This will wrap up my contest season for 2013, but I already have something very cool up my sleeve for the first contest of 2014 so please stay tuned for that!!!

 

After A 16-year Career, Roy Halladay Retires From Major League Baseball

After A 16-year Career, Roy Halladay Retires From Major League Baseball

By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Roy Halladay knew for the past several weeks that his career had come to an end, but before the move could become official, there was some unfinished business to take care of first.

The 16-year veteran announced his retirement on Monday morning at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, but not before he signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays. The decision ensured Halladay finished his illustrious career with the organization that drafted him out of high school in 1995.

Halladay said the ceremonial contract was his way of saying thanks to an organization that he called home for 14 years and to the people who helped him become one of the greatest pitchers in recent history.

“I very easily could have been out of baseball in 2000, 2001 and never had a shot,” Halladay said during his afternoon news conference. “So to me, that was the most important thing was I felt like everything that the organization had done for me, the player that they allowed me to become, I felt like it was really important to acknowledge that.”

Halladay approached the Blue Jays with the idea to retire as a Blue Jay in late November. There surely would have been some offers in free agency, but after two injury plagued seasons in Philadelphia, Halladay decided it was time to step away.

Toronto jumped at the opportunity to bring Halladay back into the fold — even if it was just for one day. It’s a fitting end considering Halladay ranks second all-time in Blue Jays history with 148 wins, 1,495 strikeouts and 15 shutouts. He’s also third with 2,246 2/3 innings, a 3.43 ERA and 287 starts.

For a stretch of eight years in Toronto, Halladay was easily regarded as one of the most dominant and consistent pitchers in the game. He defined baseball in the city during the early 2000s, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets added to the club’s Level of Excellence.

“It speaks volumes to the organization and everyone that has been involved in the organization for him to feel that strongly,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “The fact that he still feels those ties was great. He approached us, let us know he was going to retire. He wanted to retire a Toronto Blue Jay, it was very important to him.

“We were thrilled that he would even consider us that way. I think that speaks to the people that we don’t see behind the scenes. All of his years he spent, that they had that type of impact on him.”

Halladay’s body of work also serves as inspiration for players who might have lost their way in search of the Major League dream. The right-hander was selected by Toronto in the first round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft, and he debuted just three years later, but it wasn’t too long after that his career hit rock bottom.

The Colorado native couldn’t seem to get anyone out in the spring of 2001, and he was optioned all the way down to Class A Dunedin in order to revamp his mechanics, and perhaps just as importantly, the mental side of his game. It was a drastic move that seemed to be a last-ditch effort to salvage Halladay’s career, and in the end, it paid off more than anyone could have imagined.

Halladay made it back to the big leagues by the middle of that 2001 season and won 19 games the following year. His best season in the American League arguably came in 2003, when he won the AL Cy Young Award with a 22-7 record, a 3.25 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 266 innings.

“I think there was a period of time where I didn’t know what was going to happen, where I probably wasn’t as positive as I could be about what my future was going to be,” Halladay said. “But I think through the support of my wife and people in the organization, I was able to find people that really helped me see the mental side of it and see the positives.

“That’s really where I felt like my career changed, was I started thinking, ‘I’m going to go out and do everything I possibly can. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I can walk away knowing that I poured everything I had into it.’ I was very fortunate to have that experience, because that stuck with me my entire career.”

Halladay spoke at length about his gratitude to both the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations. Halladay said there were too many people to thank, but he took some time to single out Blue Jays scout Bus Campbell, sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, Pat Hentgen and the recently retired Chris Carpenter as his main influences.

The fact that Halladay’s retirement came at the site of the annual Winter Meetings meant there was a lengthy list of guests in attendance. Former general managers Pat Gillick, Gord Ash and J.P. Ricciardi were in attendance, as were Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Toronto manager John Gibbons.

The attention seemed more than appropriate for a pitcher who finished with a 203-105 record, a 3.38 ERA, a perfect game and even a no-hitter during his postseason debut. The numbers are impressive, but they stand up even better when considering the offense-heavy era during which he pitched.

At some point in the future, Halladay’s name will at the very least be mentioned as a possibility for the Hall of Fame, but to Toronto, he represented even more than that. Despite a prolonged playoff drought, Halladay decided to sign two extensions at well-below market value in order to remain with the Blue Jays.

That can’t be said for a lot of athletes in the city, and when combined with his overall dominance, it remains the main reason Halladay has a cult-like hero among the club’s fanbase. The time eventually came for Halladay to go elsewhere to pursue his postseason dreams, but the way the two-time Cy Young Award winner handled everything ensured, he never severed ties with Blue Jays fans or the organization.

“I’ve always tried to do the best I could to really acknowledge that,” Halladay said of the fan support. “I’ve been very fortunate that I played two places where the fans have been extremely supportive. They may boo when you’re on the field, but you run into them on the street or in a restaurant and they’re the first ones that come up and shake your hand and smile and greet you.

“It happened in Toronto, it happened in Philadelphia, but [leaving] Toronto was hard for me. As much as I loved it there, I felt like I needed to make a decision to give myself a chance to get to the playoffs, and thankfully the fans understood that and were very supportive. Hopefully they’ll get a chance to experience that also, because it is a tremendous feeling.”

Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, And Bobby Cox Going Into Hall of Fame

Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, And Bobby Cox Going Into Hall of Fame

From MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For the first time in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, three of the greatest managers of a generation — Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa — will be inducted on the same day this coming summer.

The three, who accumulated 7,558 regular-season wins, 17 pennants and eight World Series titles, were elected unanimously by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee during a lengthy meeting on Sunday. The announcement by Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark was made on Monday morning as the annual Winter Meetings began.

Cox spent 25 of his 29 seasons as a big league manager with the Braves, winning the 1995 World Series and 14 consecutive division titles. Torre, who managed for 29 seasons, won six pennants and four World Series with the Yankees in an eight-year period from 1996-2003. La Russa managed for 33 years, winning it all once with the A’s and twice with the Cardinals. They all were notified of their elections at about 8:30 a.m. ET.

“I am thrilled that these great managers during my tenure as Commissioner will join the legends of our game in the halls of Cooperstown,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “In careers of consistent excellence and incredible longevity, Bobby, Tony and Joe all left indelible impacts on our national pastime. For decades, these three individuals not only led great ballclubs, but instilled in their teams a brand of class and professionalism that baseball fans admired. It is fitting that Bobby, Tony and Joe will share our game’s highest honor together.

“Joe and Tony have been outstanding members of our staff at Major League Baseball in recent years. On behalf of all of their colleagues with MLB, it is an honor to congratulate them and their families on this milestone. I look forward to a remarkable day for all of baseball next July 27 in Cooperstown.”

La Russa, Torre and Cox rank third, fourth and fifth in managerial victories in Major League history, each winning more than 2,000 games. Only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) won more games than La Russa (2,728), Cox (2,504) and Torre (2,326).

They will enter the Hall of Fame on the second day of Induction Weekend, to be held July 26-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“When I think of these guys, I think of the respect they’ve had from their players, their fans and their organizations,” said Phil Niekro, a Hall of Famer who pitched for both Cox and Torre, was briefly a teammate of La Russa’s, and was a member of the election committee. “They are men of integrity and character. I was honored and privileged to play for a couple of these guys.

“We’re in Disney World right now. This is a Magical Kingdom. I think we just honored the three kings among the managers. It’s a magical day for each and every one of them, and we’re so excited about having them in the Hall of Fame.”

Cox’s election is matched up with the candidacies on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot of two Braves pitchers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who pitched together for Cox for a decade and between them spent 28 seasons with Atlanta. Maddux totaled 355 wins and Glavine won 305.

“I’m still getting goose bumps,” Cox said. “I’m excited to be in Cooperstown in July and get inducted. It’s the greatest honor you can have in baseball. I’m going in with great company. I’m just hoping that Glav and Mad Dog can be up there on the stage with me. They were two of the guys who got me there, or helped get me there. That would be the final, finishing touch, going in with those two.”

Cox, Torre and La Russa were among 12 people on the Expansion Era ballot, which included another landmark skipper, Billy Martin; players Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons; Marvin Miller, the influential executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association; and iconic Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner.

None of the other nine received more than six of the 16 possible votes. Like all Hall of Fame elections, a candidate’s name needs to appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots to be elected. On this committee, that was 12 votes. Each member could vote for a maximum of five candidates.

Miller’s name had previously been on ballots studied by several permutations of the Veterans Committee, and he missed election by a single vote on the first Expansion Era ballot three years ago. He died last year. Steinbrenner, Martin, Concepcion, Garvey, John and Simmons were also on the previous Expansion Era ballot.

But the selection of the three managers provided an epic highlight. Monday’s announcement assured that the 2014 induction weekend will be one of the most widely attended and covered ever.

Torre and Cox had each attended one recent induction each, while La Russa has never been to one.

“You realize you want to offer thanks to the people who made it possible,” said La Russa, whose managing career began with the White Sox under owner Jerry Reinsdorf and is now a consultant to Major League Baseball on on-field issues. “You want to thank the family. There have been a lot sacrifices by my wife and daughter. You go to the park early and you stay late. And finally, you realize who is sitting behind you. I can categorically state I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable as a member of that club.”

“I can’t tell you how I’m going to feel,” said Torre, who also managed the Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers and is currently MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “All I know, and Tony just said it, when you see who else is there, players who have obviously been inducted before you and come up every year. It’s obviously special to them. I’ve admired these players even though I might have played or managed against some of them. So I don’t know how I’m going to feel, but I can tell you it will be a feeling I’ve never had before.”

Cox compiled a 2,504-2,001 (.556) record in his 29 seasons, which included four managing the Blue Jays. His Braves won the 1995 World Series while capturing five National League pennants during his 25 years with Atlanta. Cox led Atlanta to a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005.

La Russa had a 2,728-2,365 (.536) record in 33 seasons, winning the World Series with the A’s in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and ’11. He also guided Oakland to three American League pennants (1988-90) in 10 seasons and the Cards to three NL pennants (2004, ’06 and ’11) in 16 years. La Russa also spent eight seasons managing the White Sox, taking them to the AL Championship Series in 1983.

Following an 18-year playing career in which he had a .297 batting average and one batting title, Torre posted a 2,326-1,997 record, good for a .538 winning percentage. Torre led the Yankees to Series titles in 1996, ’98, ’99 and 2000 (in addition to 100-win seasons in 1998 and from 2002-04), and six AL pennants. He spent his first 14 seasons a manager with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, and finished his career managing the Dodgers in 2010. Torre took his teams in New York and Los Angeles into the playoffs every year from 1996-2009.

The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot consisted of Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Niekro, and Frank Robinson; Major League executives Paul Beeston of the Blue Jays, Dave Montgomery of the Phillies, Reinsdorf and Andy MacPhail, formerly of the Twins, Cubs and Orioles. They were joined by historians Steve Hirdt of Elias Sports Bureau, Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA, and Jim Reeves, recently retired from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“It’s a great day for baseball,” said Robinson, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball development. “They are three outstanding, quality guys.”

“It was amazing in our discussion,” Reinsdorf said. “Everyone said you could throw a blanket over them. It was almost like one. They’re so similar.”

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful class,” said John Schuerholz, the Braves’ club president who was general manager beginning in 1990, when Cox returned to the Atlanta bench for the remainder of his career. “I have a wonderful partner and dear friend elected to the Hall of Fame in Bobby Cox and two friends in Tony and Joe, who are on the instant-replay committee with me, so I’ve gotten to know them a lot better through that. I’m delighted for all of them.”

2011 Topps ‘Prime 9 Players Of The Week’ Redemption Set – Mike Schmidt

2011 Topps ‘Prime 9 Players Of The Week’ Redemption Set – Mike Schmidt

I had such a good time building the ‘Prime 9 – Home Run Legends’ set that as soon as it was completed, I jumped right into the ‘Prime 9 – Players Of The Week’ set.

The set was issued in the same manner – through exclusive redemption cards that could only be processed through hobby shops.

The set is ten cards deep, and features a great graphic display as well as a super-glossy finish.

This is the Mike Schmidt card from the set:

 

 

Prime Schmidt

 

The back of the card features ‘9 Prime’ facts about Schmidt.

A few of my favorites are:

  • Was an All-American at Shortstop
  • Selected as an All-Star in the minor leagues while playing 2B
  • 4-HR Game on is resume: 4/17/76
  • Only player with 8 NL HR Titles
  • Most career home runs for a third baseman
  • 10 Gold Gloves in 11-year span