Monday, June 30, 2014

Complete Reds Topps Base Run - Ted Kluszewksi

I recently snagged a beat up '56 Topps Big Klu, which was the final Topps base card I needed of his. Which is excellent. Most baseball fans have at least heard of Kluszewski, but I'm not sure everyone knows just how dominant he was for a stretch in the 1950's. Check out his 4 All Star seasons, 1953-1956:

1953: 40 HR/108 RBI/.316 BA/.570 SLG
1954: 49 HR/141 RBI/.326 BA/.642 SLG
1955: 47 HR/113 RBI/.314 BA/.585 SLG
1956: 35 HR/102 RBI/.302 BA/.536 SLG

Damn. Also of note in those three 40 HR seasons, Klu struck out 40 or fewer times (34, 35, and 40, respectively), which were the last such seasons that happened in the majors. Nice. He also led NL first basemen in fielding percentage for five straight years; which is a record. If it weren't for injuries, he would be a surefire Hall of Famer. He was however, inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1962.

Let's run through the cards.

1952 Topps #29

1953 Topps #162

1954 Topps #7

1955 Topps #120

1956 Topps #25

1957 Topps #165

Bonus: 1973 Topps #296 Sparky Anderson w/coaches

Bonus: 1974 Topps #326 Sparky Anderson w/coaches

Klu also had Topps base cards 1958-1961 for the Pirates and White Sox, but we don't care about those, now, do we?

Oh, and since it's the end of the month, be on the lookout for the contest results very soon. Oh boy.

Go Reds.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

TTM Goodness: Miller, Salkeld, Krenchicki, Ochoa

We're down to the last few days of the Mega Contest. Get those entries in for one of the nine prize packages.
Some random TTM goodness for ya on this warm Saturday.
Corky Miller is up there among my favorite players. Signed by the Reds in 1998 out of UNLV. Debuted in 2001, finding himself in 76 games in the ensuing 4 seasons. Then 5 games for the Twins in 2005. Then 1 game for the Red Sox in 2006. Then 43 games for the Braves in 2007 and 2008. Then 14 games for the White Sox in 2009. Then back to Cincy for 53 games in 2009 and 2010. Then a miracle comeback due to Reds catcher attrition for 17 games in 2013. Currently with the Reds' AAA Louisville Bats, his 17th season in baseball. Corky is 7 full points south of the Mendoza line in the majors, but dammit the boy can catch a baseball game. You don't get 17 years of employment without creating value. Signed is a 2002 Topps Total #564.

Roger Salkeld was drafted by the Mariners in 1989 and debuted for them in 1993, starting 15 games for them over two seasons. He was traded to the Reds in 1995 for Tim Belcher. Salkeld started 19 games and appeared in 10 more for Cincinnati in 1996, going 8-5 with 82 strikeouts before calling it a career. He is the grandson of major leaguer Bill Salkeld. Signed is a 1997 Topps #178.

Wayne Krenchicki was drafted by Baltimore in 1976 and debuted for them in 1979. He then found himself in Cincinnati from 1982-1985, with a brief stop in Detroit in 1983. He would hit .283 in 332 games for the Reds After the 1986 season with the Expos, he finished his major league career, thought would play in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989 and 1990. He would go on to manage a few minor league teams, including the Beloit Brewers, Newark Bears, and Evansville Otters. Signed is a 1986 Donruss #140.

Alex Ochoa was drafted by the Orioles in 1991 and debuted for the Mets in 1995. Over an 8 year career he would appear for the Mets, Twins, Brewers, Reds, Rockies, Brewers again, and Angels. In one and a half seasons with Cincinnati in 2000 and 2001, Ochoa hit .300 with 20 homers and 93 RBI. He closed his career in Japan, and in so doing, became the only player to hit for a cycle in both America's and Japan's highest league. Sweet. He would later join the staff of the Boston Red Sox as a first base coach. Signed is a 2001 Upper Deck Victory #527.

Go Reds.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Late to the Party: 2014 Topps Archives/2014 Topps Series 2

As usual, I wait a bit to pick up the latest goodness. It usually takes two new releases and a half dozen newly added older sets for me to pick up enough stuff at JustCommons to get the free shipping, so I don't mind waiting. Let's check out the Redsy goodness.

Just like last year, the Reds weren't spread evenly over all designs. Six of the eleven non-SP base cards were given the 1980 design. I was hoping for more 1986's, but such is life. As far as these, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez had actual 1980 Topps releases, thought Perez was an Expo at the time. Also, I love that Eric Davis is making it into a lot of sets lately.
See how sweet that '86 Tony Cingrani is? Man, I want more. Frank Robinson had an iconic 1973 Topps card as a Dodger, so this one feels funny. And again, Topps seems to know something about David Holmberg that I don't since they keep throwing him into sets. I'm missing, and probably will always be missing, the Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton short prints. I'll get over it.

Picked up a Gold Aroldis just because. Serial numbered out of 199, of course.

Now some Topps Series 2 base. Looking good. The Mesoraco is very regal. The Santiago and Schumaker are their first Reds cards. And Phillips ridin' the pony is great.

Mat Latos base, Joey Votto SaberStars (pissing off old fogies, I'm sure), BP gold, and Johnny 50 years of the Draft (this was Series 1, actually). Nice.

Zack Cozart gets another sweet horizontal card this year. Last year's was a favorite, and this one is pretty sweet too. So I snagged a Gold version to join it. The Billy Hamilton was stolen off eBay for 11 cents and hasn't arrived yet. He's the only one missing.

Less than a week for the Mega Contest, FYI. I'm very eager to rid myself of all these cards.

Go Reds.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2002 Bowman Draft #BDP44 - Joey Votto

This Joey Votto first year card has been an inexcusable absence from my collection. It was the only card missing from my 2002 Bowman team set as well. I paid a little more than I cared to, but Votto was smirking at me. Mocking me for not having a 2002 release of him. Cheeky bugger.

Votto was drafted by the Reds in 2002, at age 19, out of Canada. He spent no more that one year at each level of the Reds farm system (Gulf League, Pioneer League, A, A+, AA, AAA) before debuting for the Reds in 2007. Since then, well, let's just say you've heard of Joey Votto.

Gotta love that empty stat line. Topps had a card of Votto in their 206 set of 2002. Then Bowman threw out an autograph release in 2004 and Future's Game cards in 2006 and 2007. His true rookie cards came out 6 years after this one, in 2008. Everything else 2002-2007 is minor league issues and nonsense. So this is clearly the card to own. Done.

Go Reds.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Some PWE Goodness and a Little Padding to the Contest Prizes

Two more excellent PWE's came in for the Mega Contest. Entries abound. There's still time if you wish to up your stake.

First up, everyone's favorite reader, Mark Hoyle, sent along some vintage goodness.

1973 Kellogg's Bobby Tolan. Sweet. Who isn't happy with vintage oddballs? This joins Joe Morgan in the ol' binders. Gary Nolan and Pete Rose would complete the team set. I'm not optimistic about finding a cheapo Petey. But no matter. This card is excellent.

1974 Topps Stamps Tony Perez. Stamps definitely count as cards. Especially when they are vintage and Hall of Famers. This was a big set, with 10 total Reds. Maybe someday. Maybe someday.

An excellent pair. Many thanks, Mark.

Next up, a fellow Larkin-hound, Joe Frecker, sent some fresh Barrys my way.

1986 Sportflics Rookies Barry Larkin. As this set was released post-season in 1986, Sportflics put out the only card of Mr. Larkin with a 1986 byline. At least, as far as I can tell. This is sweet. I've been hunting for this card forever. Its absence was inexcusable. But now it's mine. Muah ah ah. I only wish my scanner could do something to properly show it off.

Four more new Larkins. Brings the total up to 680. Nice. We have a 2002 Studio, 2005 Donruss Throwback Threads, 2000 Kahn's, and a 1987 Broder. Hey, it's a Broder RC. I'll allow it.

And some extra Larkins to pad the envelope. These will be payed forward. A few went in Prize #9 and the rest went in Prize #8. Sweet. Much thanks, Joe. Much thanks.

Go Reds.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Completely Red - 1980 Burger King Pitch, Hit & Run

A quickie Completely Red today. Burger King released a 33 card set in 1980, via Topps, to be found in their restaurant's kids' meals. The design is the same as the 1980 Topps flagship, save for the Burger King logo replacing the Topps logo. Since it was released later in the year, they used some updated photos, mostly for traded players, but not always. Case in point: the Tom Seaver flagship card uses a different Reds photo, whereas the George Foster uses the same photo.

The Reds got 2 cards of the 33. Kind of surprised Johnny Bench didn't make the cut, but who knows what was going on with licensing back then. No matter. Seaver and Foster make for a nice combo. And damn, those sideburns, kid.


Cards - 2

RC's - 0

All Stars - 2 (Seaver, Foster)

Hall of Famers - 1 (Seaver)

Reds Hall of Famers - 2 (Seaver, Foster)

Facial Hair - Disco Era


10 Tom Seaver
15 George Foster

Go Reds.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Autos of Three People You've Never Heard Of

First up, forget not about the Mega Contest. Only 9 days left in the month to score some entries.
Here's a few autos I've picked up recently. They aren't exactly household names, but any player I don't already have an autograph of is quite welcome.

2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Aspirations Autographs Rafael Gonzalez #'d 37/50.

Rafael Gonzalez spent 6 years in the minors, all with the Reds' system. Drafted in 2004 straight out of high school, Gonzalez never made it past high-A. Picked this up on eBay for not too much. I already had the base auto from this set, and I don't typically go for a second auto of anybody, but anything serial numbered out of 50 is an acceptable exception.

1994 Signature Rookies C.J. Nitkowski.

Ok, maybe you've heard of C.J. Drafted in 1994 by the Reds, he would make it to The Show the very next year. He was then shipped off to Detroit mid-season. He would play for the Reds, Tigers, Astros, Tigers again, Mets, Rangers, Braves, Yankees, and Nationals during a 10-year career that came to a close in 2005. I don't even remember where I got this. I think it was in a quarter box at a card show.

2011 ITG Heroes and Prospects Lumbergraphs Philippe Valiquette.

Another cheap-o eBay purchase. Like Gonzalez, Valiquette never quite found his way to the big dance. Drafted straight out of high school in Canada by the Reds in 2005, he made it as high as triple-A, but didn't quite have enough to make the leap. After 6 season in the Reds' farm system and 1 season in the Brewers', Valiqutte retired in 2012.

Go Reds.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Completely Red: 1991 Stadium Club

Lawd have mercy, this set was so good when it came out. I think I might have actually dropped 4 or 5 Christmas money dollars a few times on packs of this back in the day. Twenty years later I found a dealer at a show selling packs 3/$1. Ah, the melancholy of our little hobby can be humbling. But no matter. Upper Deck thumped Topps pretty good in 1989 with their slick release, but 1991 Stadium Club blew everythng else out of the water. Full-bleed goodness. Foil. Cool photos. Well done. This is still better than most releases of late, honestly, both in design AND quality. It's baffling that 23 years later, this type of quality isn't standard.

The 600 card set produced 22 Reds, so there was only room for one rookie. The Chris Sabo card, celebrating a home run, is one of my favorite cards of all time. And be on the look out for a tremendous Joe Oliver mullett.


Cards - 22

RC's - 1 (Dan Wilson)

All Stars - 10 (Eric Davis, Rob Dibble, Chris Sabo, Paul O'Neill, Tom Browning, Mariano Duncan, Randy Myers, Norm Charlton, Jack Armstrong, Dan Wilson)

Hall of Famers - 1 (Barry Larkin)

Reds Hall of Famers - 5 (Eric Davis, Jose Rijo, Tom Browning, Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo)

Business - In the front

Party - In the back


11 Jose Rijo
37 Eric Davis
68 Joe Oliver
92 Barry Larkin
113 Todd Benzinger
131 Rob Dibble
148 Bill Doran
165 Chris Sabo
187 Glenn Braggs
218 Paul O'Neill
235 Tom Browning
251 Mariano Duncan
275 Randy Myers
305 Norm Charlton
339 Hal Morris
371 Billy Hatcher
396 Tim Layana
510 Jack Armstrong
534 Jeff Reed
546 Herm Winningham
575 Chris Hammond
587 Dan Wilson RC

Go Reds.

Friday, June 20, 2014

TTM Goodness: Venable/Bankhead/Hanson/Bako

Here are four TTM autos for your eyes to look at.

Max Venable was drafted by the Dodgers in 1976 and would make his debut in 1979, with the Giants. Five years in San Franciso and a year in Montreal later, he would join the Reds for a 3-year stint from 1985 to 1987, batting .246 in 192 games. After three years with the Angels and two in Japan, Venable took up coaching. He's currently a hitting instructor in the Mariners minor leagues. Signed is a 1987 Topps #226.

Scott Bankhead was drafted by the Royals in 1984 and would debut for them in 1986. Among stints for the Royals, Mariners, Red Sox, and Yankees, was one year in Cincinnati: 1992. In 54 relief appearances for the Reds, Bankhead went 10-4 with a 2.93 ERA. Bankhead also pitched for Team USA in the 1984 Olympics. Signed is a 1993 Topps #361.

Erik Hanson was drafted by the Mariners in 1986 and began his 6-year stint there in 1988. He was then shipped to the Reds for the 1994 season, where he went 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in his lone season in Cincinnati. He would follow that up with an All Star appearance for the Red Sox in 1995 and three years in Toronto before retiring in 1998. Signed is a 1994 Topps #529.

Journeyman Paul Bako was drafted by the Reds in 1993. After five years with the Reds' farm system, he joined the Tigers and made his major league debut with them in 1998. What followed were stints with the Astros, Marlins, Brewers, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, Royals, Orioles, Reds, and Phillies, none of which lasting more than two seasons. His return to the Reds in 2008 saw him behind the plate in 99 games where he hit .217 with 6 home runs and 35 RBI. Signed is a 2009 Topps Heritage #411.

Go Reds.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Completely Red: 1985 Topps/Topps Traded

This set came out 6 years before I started collecting, so I didn't have a lot of it. But what I did have is one of the most iconic rookie cards of the era: 1985 Topps Eric Davis. Oh man, what a sweet card. This, and the '87 Topps Jose Canseco were freakin' boss. It really isn't much to speak of in general. Just a dusk portrait of our man near the batting cage. But the 5-tool upside of Davis was immense, so this card was high society, man. He was great for bit, good for a while, but nowhere near where we'd thought he'd be. Ah well. It's still a page-stopper for me. And nowadays? Eighteen cents on Sportlots. Such is this silly little world.

As far as the set design, I'm a fan. Big, imposing team nameplate, made even more apparent by the mere 4 letters of 'REDS' forced to fill the whole space. Throw Mr. Redlegs in there on the right, and we have precious little room for the actual name and position of the player, crammed into the gray in a boring font. Whatever. Still sweet. We have an excellent Father-Son subset, which was fortunate enough to feature a Reds Hall of Famer, Gus Bell, and his son, Buddy, who would actually join the Reds midway through the '85 season. We're also blessed with three big Pete Rose cards (record breaker, manager, base). Nice.


Cards - 32

RC's - 2 (Eric Davis, Tom Browning)

All Stars - 11 (Pete Rose, Cesar Cedeno, Gus Bell, Dave Parker, Tom Hume, John Franco, Mario Soto, Dave Concepcion, Eric Davis, Jeff Russell, Tom Browning)

Reds Hall of Famers - 8 (Gus Bell, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, Mario Soto, Eric Davis, Tom Browning, Dave Parker, Ron Oester)

Spectacles - 2 pair

The 70's Called, They Want Their Mustache Back - 1 (Andy McGaffigan)


6 Pete Rose RB
28 Dann Bilardello
54 Cesar Cedeno
82 Joe Price
107 Tom Foley 
131 Buddy Bell - Gus Bell FS 
146 Gary Redus
175 Dave Parker
198 Eddie Milner
223 Tom Hume
251 Brad Gulden
314 Ron Oester
323 Andy McGaffigan
342 Ted Power
367 Keefe Cato
417 John Franco RC
441 Duane Walker
468 Wayne Krenchicki
495 Mario Soto
515 Dave Concepcion
547 Pete Rose MG/TC
573 Jay Tibbs
597 Brad Lesley
600 Pete Rose
627 Eric Davis RC
651 Jeff Russell
675 Tony Perez
727 Frank Pastore
752 Bob Owchinko 
779 Nick Esasky
11T Tom Browning XRC
68T Alan Knicely

Go Reds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Round 1 of Contest Packages and a 9th Prize For You All

I opened up an overflowing mailbox on Monday. Is there a better feeling in this hobby than receiving mystery packages? I say no. TJ the Junior Junkie, Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown, and Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life all jumped on the chance to send me some Redsy goodness. Thank them for reducing your odds of winning by giving them some clicks.

Here be the new cards added to the Red Cardboard collection.

Junior Junkie:
The Morgan and Seaver Fleer Box Scores are both numbered 0367/2950. Hey where have I seen that Morgan photo in the Classic Combinations? That badass Phillips is numbered out of 2012. And Deacon White/Pat Moran both have ties to the Reds, so since these cards aren't team specific, I choose to count them. Excellent.

Baseball Card Breakdown:
That Larkin is a Pacific Prism from the 90's. Friggin sweet. That Griffey is my 5000th card from UD Documentary. Only 12,000 Reds to go! And is the Target Red getting more and more pink over the years or am I losing my mind? If the Target Red was the same color as the Cincinnati Red, man, these cards would be stellar.

Baseball Cards Come to Life:

Nice haul, here. How awesome is that Fun Pack scratchoff? Man, I wanna scratch it so bad. But I won't. For the record, I find Minor League cards equally worthy collectibles. I love learning about new guys who couldn't quite make it to The Show. Well done on adding twenty cards to the collection, broseph.

Ok, so you're wondering what the 9th prize is. Well, here is what ELSE these gentlemanly squires sent:

The first is the overage from the Junkie and the second is the overage from BC Breakdown. I think. I might have mixed em up and/or mashed em together (after the official tally, of course). I thought this might happen, but not this much. And I'm to understand more of this is on the way from many of you.

So in an effort to pay forward all this goodness, the ninth prize in the Mega Contest will be all the doubles from the packages sent for this contest. There's some good stuff in there, I tells ya. I'll spare you the over-production era stuff. And some cards were plucked to add girth to the other prizes (for instance, 3 inserts were added to the insert prize and 6 or 7 Vottos/Larkins were thrown into that prize). But everything else will go into a box and shipped away to a winner. So celebrate your 12.5% increased odds of winning with a bottle of scotch, some fresh packs, and a ballgame on the TV box. Woot woot.

Thanks for the cards, brozillas. Go Reds.