(March 23, 1949 – September 15, 2019)
The Cars frontman and producer extraordinaire Ric Ocasek was found unresponsive in his Manhatten townhouse today. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death has not been released.
(March 21, 1949 – September 13, 2019)
Eddie Money passed away this morning from complications from a recent heart valve replacement. He was 70 years old. Born Edward Joseph Mahoney, the singer’s double platinum debut album in 1977 contained one of his most enduring hits, “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Other hits include “Baby Hold On,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” and “I Wanna Go Back.”
Jeff Pickler was the guy in charge the night of the Pirates-Reds rumble back in July. David Bell had already been ejected while arguing balls and strikes. Freddie Benavides was then tossed when Jared Hughes “accidentally” hit a Pirates batter after both teams had received warnings. It was during Pickler’s mound visit to an agitated Amir Garrett that both benches (and clubhouses) cleared. Reviewing the video, it almost appears that Pickler encouraged Garrett to take on the entire Pittsburgh squad by himself.
I can’t wrap my head around Jesse Winker. He has hot streaks, then he has really cold streaks. His defense is not great. Does his hitting make up for that? I really don’t know. I wouldn’t hate it if the Reds moved him during the offseason.
Cincinnati has used five different men behind the plate so far this year: Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali, Ryan Lavarnway, Kyle Farmer, and our featured player today, Juan Graterol. Graterol started his big league career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Golden State of California, U S of A. He was actually signed in 2005 by the Royals as an amateur free agent. From there, he signed as a free agent with the Yankees (2014), then the Angels (2016), was selected off waivers by the Reds (2016), then selected off waivers by the Diamondbacks (2016). Less than a month later, the Angels selected him off waivers from Arizona, but the Blue Jays made a waiver claim off the Angles 4 days later. Fast-forward three months, and the Blue Jays traded Graterol to the Angels for cash. The Angels released him in June 2018; he was signed by the Twins a few days later. Finally, last October, the Reds again selected him off waivers and he has been in the Cincinnati organization ever since.
Kyle Farmer was acquired as a part of the big Dodgers trade that brought Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Alex Wood to Cincinnati. Puig and Kemp are now gone, but Farmer has been a good role player for the Reds. He has played first, second, and third base, catcher, and has even pitched. In his 1 1/3 inning of relief on August 8 against the Cubs, he gave up one hit and no runs.
I received an e-mail from Michael at SportsCards.com a couple of weeks ago offering a complimentary “Mystery Box” for review on the blog. In addition to the “Mystery Box,” Michael also wanted to inform me (and for me to inform you) about a pricing tool available at SportsCards.com. Here is the info:
Additionally, we wanted to let you know about our newly launched pricing tool for collectors that features a massive database of current and completed eBay auction data. It’s a great option for pricing out your sports cards, autographs and memorabilia using real eBay sales data. It’s also helpful for finding great deals. We were originally charging fees for our service, but decided to open it up to all in the hobby for free. We’d greatly appreciate any feedback that you or your readers have on it as we are constantly trying to improve it to make it of maximum use to collectors.
I signed up for an account, and it looks like a great tool for those who use eBay frequently. I encourage you to sign up and check it out as well.
The “Mystery Box” arrived in my mailbox today, and I’d like to share what came inside. Full disclosure: this was a complimentary box, meaning it came at no charge to me. Further, this is an introductory package; there are several different subscriptions available to purchase on SportsCards.com.
There was a mixture of different sports inside the box, so I’ll start with a the ones I don’t generally collect. First, basketball:
A nice—nay—spectacular jersey swatch from Andrew Wiggins of the Timberwolves. I honestly know zilch about modern basketball, so I don’t know if this is a great card or not. Several of these items will be offered up as giveaways either here or on Twitter, so keep an eye out to see how you can snag this memorabilia card for your collection if you’re interested.
Next is a pack of 2019 Leaf Draft football cards. This five-card pack contained Anthony Johnson, Darrell Henderson, Marquise Brown, Rodney Anderson, and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. I generally don’t collect football cards, but Barry Sanders played when I did, so I’m probably going to hang on to that card. The others I will offer up soon as a giveaway.
Moving on to baseball, which is definitely my wheelhouse, we start with a “Verified Vintage” 1976 Topps Pete Rose. A quick check of my wantlists revealed that I did not already have this card, so this box is an automatic winner in my book. Well, it was already a winner since it was free, but including a card that I want? Double winner. I will leave this card in its case for now, but will move it to a binder when I get my basement cleaned up (which I’ve been meaning to do for over a year now).
Next up is a Ty Cobb card, produced by SportsCards.com. These are “authentic handwriting” cards. Mine is a sample, so does not include the handwriting, but the back of the card reveals that these relics are meant to include snippets of handwritten letters from one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball. An interesting piece to be sure.
The final card in the box is a jaw-dropper. A Beckett authenticated autograph of late Negro Leaguer Buck Leonard. Leonard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972, one of the biggest stars in the Negro Leagues. This card is from the 1978 Grand Slam set. I don’t have an official collection of Negro League cards, but it takes quite a bit to pry one away from me. You add a legend’s signature, and there is no way this is leaving my collection.
This was a great “Mystery Box” from SportsCards.com. While the subscriptions do not fit my collecting budget, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase one in the future if that budget was readjusted.
Stay tuned for giveaways of some of the above cards here and on Twitter!
Tyler Mahle has had a rough 2019. He is 2-10 with a 4.72 ERA and missed all of August with a hamstring injury. He returned on Sunday, pitching well but receiving no decision in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. He has struck out a little more than a batter an inning so far this year, but has given up the same number of hits as strikeouts. It is unlikely Mahle will ever be more than a 4th or 5th starter in a rotation. (By typing that last sentence, I have ensured Mahle will make at least five All-Star games and receive strong Cy Young consideration next season).
TWJ contributor Patrick followed the recent Ken Griffey Jr.-palooza, writing, “It seemed everything was represented. I wondered about all the odd ball stuff; stickers, oversized, coins mini posters, stamps, 80s box sets, and so on; does that count?”
Does that count? OF COURSE. I love oddball cards, and love the 1969 Deckle Edge custom Patrick sent in. “One set that I always liked were the deckle edge. So I decided to create a 1969 deckle edge. Since I didn’t recall seeing him in a Moeller uniform I opted for that.”
Patrick always does high-quality stuff and I’m glad to share them with readers. If anyone has some oddball Griffey customs but nowhere to share, send them along and we’ll post them up here!