Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

1953 Topps #47 - Bubba Church
1994 Church's Chicken #12 - Barry Larkin
1989 Topps #711 - Candy Sierra
1962 Topps #364 - Ken Hunt
2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP224 - Mike DeJesus

Yes, I know I'm lame.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

1969 Topps #120 - Pete Rose

The second in a series of Gem Mint Vintage All Stars. This 1969 Rose is gorgeous. Pete is in his lefty stance in the batting cage, ready to smack a well-placed single into shallow left field. The card captures perfectly the majesty of Rose's preparation, dedication, form, and focus. A true treasure of card collecting goodness. I think. It's hard to tell since this card obviously found its way into a wood chipper.

Friday, March 29, 2013

1992 Bowman #11 - Trevor Hoffman

Bowman's history of issuing cards of minor league players alongside those already on major league rosters leads to a lot of nonsense (which I did in fact praise a while back), but it also leads to excellent cards like this one. Who knew Trevor Hoffman was a Red? Drafted as an infielder then converted to a pitcher, we let him go to the Marlins in the expansion draft before ever getting a big league call-up. He went on to have mild success elsewhere. Bowman jumped the gun, however, and now the only official rookie card of Hoffman is plastered in red. Excellent.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Updated Giveaways!

In an effort to promote my blog and to share the Reds collecting love with all of you, I am updating the giveaway page to include all kinds of goodies. I am purging all sorts of my doubles, so check out the giveaway page in the sidebar. I will be spending some time the rest of today adding to it. I would love to get all my doubles outta here, Jay Bruce style. Go Reds.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

1955 Bowman #155 - Gerry Staley

GERRY STALEY STARES INTO YOUR SOUL. This card has always jumped off the page. A strange look on his face combined with the all-too-common ink offset in the '55 Bowman series leads to quite a piercing gaze from Staley. This is the set that killed Bowman for 34 years. I'm not sure the TV design looked modern even then. It's been growing on me though. It's hypnotizing. And I'm only 4 away from completing the Reds set. On Staley, he only pitched half a season for the Reds but snuck onto a card wearing a Reds jersey. In fact, this is the only baseball card of him as a Red. Good thing he made it count.

Monday, March 25, 2013

2007 Topps #222 - Scott Hatteberg

Amidst the hundred hours of basketball I watched this weekend, nothing stood out more than the 'sabermatician' Butler employs. Nerdy guy on the sidelines that the coaches consult to decide who starts at small forward that day. Love it. I can't imagine that dude has any real say over the roster, though, but I bet he's got a cushy job since no one around him will have any ability to gauge how well he's doing. I couldn't help but think of the sabermetric poster boy, Scott Hatteberg. Hit .289 and .310 in two full seasons with us. Then in 2008 he was benched in favor of Joey Votto, then released to make room for Jay Bruce. So, yeah. That turned out ok. I like this card though. Great pic of Hatteberg knocking the ball loose (you can see it in front of the catcher's mask). Ain't no math gonna help with toughness.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2012 Allen & Ginter #70 - Aroldis Chapman

With all the latest starter/closer hoopla around Chapman lately, I feel the need to post a card of his. Most of his cards are fairly normal. This one however, looks like he's summoning a little Street Fighter 2 hadoken energy for his next pitch, which is surprisingly accurate. I suppose there's an argument that it would be foolish not to at least try to find out if he can be a starter, but this year is no time to experiment. It's championship time and we have a guaranteed lights-out closer. I'm fine with "wasting" money on Broxton to keep Chapman where he is. On a card-related note, stop it with the short prints in every effing set you put out, Topps. Yeah it's cute with Heritage, seeing as that's what happened 50 years ago, but you're really gonna make me stretch for a Frank Robinson high number in Ginter? Terrible.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

1964 Topps #3 - NL Pitching Leaders

An excellent card from the '64 Topps set featuring 3 Hall of Famers...and the Reds own Jim Maloney. Yet I still classify this as a Reds card. Come on HoF committee. Jimmy has 134 wins, a career ERA of 3.19, and over 1600 strike outs. That's solid. No love for solid pitching in Cooperstown, I guess. Lets get Maloney in there and make this an all-Hall card.

Friday, March 22, 2013

2009 Topps #431 - Ramon Hernandez

I've always had a soft spot for catchers. Probably because I was one. Ok, definitely because I was one. It was a lot of fun putting on this peculiar armor to go into some strange battle of bats, leather, and hide. All the other wusses on the field were just prancing around in their polyester pants while I was ready for WAR, dammit. Of course they weren't fainting from heat exhaustion, so I guess there's that. This card here is quite excellent. Definitely stands out in the series. To a non sports person this mask must be very confusing. Hernandez does not look like a man to be trifled with here. No catchers do.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1981 Topps Scratchoffs #91b - Ken Griffey

I suppose it was difficult for some kids to refrain from scratching cards like this. The scratch-off style cards of my youth (the 90's) I always managed to avoid scratching. Not out of some faint notion of future value  (I knew a '93 Triply Play scratch card would never be worth anything), but out of just not wanting to ruin the card. That and the little game you play with these isn't terribly entertaining. But not only did the kid who originally nabbed this card avoid scratching, but even avoided perforating the individual players. So my Griffey gets to traverse this mortal coil with an epic Buckner-stache and with Mike Easler donning one of the worst baseball uniforms of all time. Nice. Maybe if another one of these falls into my lap, I'll give it a good scratching.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1957 Topps #165 - Ted Kluszewski

This iconic card shows the tremendous guns of Klu and the custom jersey he "needed" since his arms were just so, so muscular. While undoubtedly a powerhouse, I find it hard to believe they couldn't make him a proper jersey. I think they just didn't want to. Great card, though. 1957 established the still-used standard for card sizes and had nice, full, colorful pictures. I believe I would have to classify my copy as "near mint, frayed corners, slightly faded".

1993 Topps Black Gold #11 - Barry Larkin

These were officially the coolest cards in the history of the world back in 1993. This type of excess-foil design is no big thing now, but at the time I loved the few I had. I couldn't trade for em since no one wanted to give em up. And they were selling for too much to even consider buying. Odds of grabbing one were 1 in 72 packs. I never had the Larkin as a kid; I picked it up recently for a dime at a card show. A DIME. I thought baseball cards were a savvy investment idea, right?

Monday, March 18, 2013

1991 Reds Kahn's #00 - Schottzie

Have mercy. As much as I loved the always feisty Marge Schott (overt racism and Nazi memorabilia collection aside), I hated this big, stupid, hideous dog of hers. Look at this thing. It's drooling all over our championship trophy. Why did Kahn's waste good card space on this beast for 9 years? Come on, Kahn's. You're the official wiener of the Big Red Machine. Class it up a bit.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

1953 Red Man Tobacco National League #2 - Bobby Adams

Tobacco cards started out very small at the beginning of the century, but upon their comeback release in the 1950's, they had apparently gone the other way with a whopping 3.5" x 4" release. I don't know when it stops being a card and starts being a poster, but it's still an interesting set, though not terribly well-known. Great artwork. An order of magnitude more realistic than the Topps set of the same year. On the back it says I can redeem 50 (!) stubs for a "big league style" baseball cap of the team of my choice. I don't know how much tobacco was included in a Red Man pouch, but judging by the size of these cards, 50 pouches is quite the endeavor. Ah well. Only 49 stubs to go! Oh wait, offer expired in 1954.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

1951 Bowman #24 - Ewell Blackwell

The Bowman releases from '50 to '52 i really like. They're smaller cards, there were plenty of action poses, and the artwork is great, especially compared to the first two sets, '48 and '49, which are quite hideous. Blackwell was a 6 time all star with a goofy, sidearm delivery. In 1947 he came 1 inning short of back-to-back no-hitters, which would have been fantastic for that to happen to another Red. The story goes that he became unhinged in the ninth and dropped a few slurs on Jackie Robinson. John Rocker approves.

Friday, March 15, 2013

1987 Kraft Foods #34 - Pete Rose

Not even Kraft Dinners were immune to printing an unlicensed, half-hearted, airbrushed-cap picture of a baseball player on their boxes. Throw some stats beneath the pic, print a dashed line in an arbitrarily sized rectangle around it all, and boom. Baseball "card". But on another note; should Petey be in the Hall of Fame? Of course I think so, but not as vehemently as most other Cincy fans. The argument is that there are bigger cheats already in there, but that's a terrible reason. There are a lot of people in there who should be kicked OUT of the HoF. But Rose was SO good at what he did, that should trump any indiscretions. Everyone should play like Pete Rose. And no one should cut his hair like Pete Rose. Time for some mac'n'cheese.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Topps Heritage #105 - Shin-Soo Choo

Ah, the first Reds card of newly acquired Shin-Soo Choo. Photoshopped hat aside, I was pretty happy to pick this up in yesterday's mail. A welcome bat to replace Stubbs. Is Choo the missing piece for a Cincinnati title team? Are my hopes set a tad too high? Let's go 'yes' for the former and 'no' for the latter. World Series. Guaranteed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2009 Bowman #112 - Johnny Cueto

Generic Bowman set. Great picture of Cueto (about to smoke some hapless batsman) obstructed by the huge signature box, which brings me to the reason for choosing this card. You gotta love a man who's official MLB signature is all block caps. Very nice. I've seen versions prior to 2009 and versions from the past couple years that are standard squiggly cursive, so I don't know what the deal is here, but it always jumps off the page when I see one, and there are many.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

1909-11 T-206 Hans Lobert

A trip in the way-back machine for this one. What's not to love about the T-206 set? Pop gets his tobacco. Junior gets his collector card. A hundred years later it shows up in my collection. No need for a hyper-expensive pristine-condition version. These beat-up ones survived a century of abuse. They're tough. And a note about Lobert: He once raced a horse around the base paths in a Chad Johnson-esque publicity stunt (he lost by a nose). Nowadays we race sausages and watch frisbee dogs. Not much has changed.

1962 Post #128 - Wally Post

Thought I'd post this. It needed posted. So I'm posting it. Post.

2001 Bowman #398 - Onix Mercado

A lot of people criticize the card industry for over-saturation, and they have a good point. A particular culprit was/is the Bowman brand, putting out draft picks or prospects as an offshoot to the regular set, featuring all sorts of players who will never have a major league at bat. However, I have become a fan of this notion. Take, for instance, our boy above. ~350 at bats in the Reds' rookie league and single-A teams. ~650 in independent leagues. Certainly not Hall of Fame credentials. Nevertheless, Onix Mercado has the pleasure of gracing a baseball card. I find this more than a tad romantic. Cool name, too.

1990 Topps Hills Hit Men #1 - Eric Davis

Don't even bring your tired-ass collection 'round here unless you were rockin' your local Hills, Ames, Kmart, etc. for their store-issued cards. Approximately 1 billion of these cards were produced. 99.99% were justly thrown away I'm sure. But yours truly still has one proudly on display in a 'miscellaneous' album. I loved Davis as a kid, but this was before I was aware of his diva-ness. This card is grossly undervalued at $0.05. Should be fetching at least $0.15.

Monday, March 11, 2013

1953 Topps #105 - Joe Nuxhall

Youngest player ever in the bigs? Yup. Ok, so it was a publicity stunt during WWII, and he got lit up for 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning (67.50 ERA for the year!). But hey. Still recorded two outs in a major league game at 15. Not too shabby. Hang your heads in embarrassment George Fallon and Augie Bergamo. You got skunked by a ninth grader.

Now, about the card. The 1953 Topps set is excellent, with much better artwork than the iconic '52 set. Mine is off-center, but I don't mind. I'm in for quantity, not quality. I'd talk more about this card, but all I can see is Jerry Seinfeld. So we'll just leave it at that.

"This is the old left-hander, rounding third and heading for home."

1973 Topps #380 - Johnny Bench

Think I'll lead off with one of the all-time greats on an all-time great card. The "In Action" cards debuted the year before, but still weren't the mainstream. There were a good amount included in the '73 set as regulars, including this. Bench is about to steamroll some poor Giants bench guys. Bench don't care. Do we even need to speculate as to whether or not he caught it? This photo was taken during his second MVP year, so, yeah. Dude caught it. Greatest Of All Time.