Author Archives: JT

Congratulations, Sean Manaea!

Manaea

Sean Manaea pitched the first no-hitter of the 2018 season last night against the Boston Red Sox. He struck out ten batters and only walked two. Marcus Semien score all three Oakland runs, crossing the plate after doubles by Jed Lowrie in the first inning and Stephen Piscotty in the third, and hitting a solo home run in the fifth.

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Goodbye, Barbara Bush (1925-2018)

(June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018)

Barbara Bush First Lady

Barbara Bush has passed away. As wife of the 41st President of the United States of America George H. W. Bush, she served this great nation as First Lady from 1989-1993. Mrs. Bush was the mother of 43rd President George W. Bush, and was the fourth cousin, four times removed. of 14th President Franklin Pierce and author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She and Abigail Adams are the only women who were both wife and mother to Presidents.

Verified by Fox News and CNN.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Ric Ocasek of The Cars (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Ric Ocasek the Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Growing up in the heyday of MTV videos, I always considered Ric Ocasek as the leader and most important member of The Cars. “You Might Think” was one of my favorite videos, with his goofy mug floating all over the place. I had no idea what an important part all the others played until much later. Still today, though, I can’t help but think of Ocasek more than any other member when I think of the band.

Purchase The Cars, The Elektra Years, 1978-1987.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps The Cars “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

The Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Cars’ self-titled debut album dropped in 1978 and charted the hits “Just What I Need,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Good Times Roll.” Also appearing on the album are “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” For a debut album especially, it’s pretty fantastic.

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Saturday night, an honor that was many years overdue. The surviving members reunited to perform at the ceremony and were joined by Weezer‘s Scott Shriner on bass. The group closed their set with “Just What I Needed,” originally sung by the late Benjamin Orr.

Purchase The Cars, Complete Greatest Hits.

Goodbye, Harry Anderson (1952-2018)

(October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018)

Harry Anderson 1952-2018

Harry Anderson, best known for his role as Judge Harry Stone on the 1980s and 1990s sitcom Night Court, passed away today. The public defender, prosecutor, and one of the baliffs took to Twitter to express their sorrow.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Dire Straits “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Dire Straits 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees virtual custom trading card 1978 Topps

Inducting yourself into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of like wearing a band’s t-shirt to their concert, right? But that’s what happened Saturday night as bassist John Illsley congratulated himself and his Dire Straits band mates, three of whom didn’t even bother showing up, on their induction into the Cleveland institution. Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, and Pick Williams all decided to skip the ceremony.

Joining Illsely on stage were keyboardists Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, who also received the honor from the Rock Hall. Other former Dire Straits members Hal Lindes, Terry Williams, and Jack Sonni were shunned by the committee.

Purchase Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing, The Very Best of Dire Straits.

1960 Stars of Baseball

I love making custom cards (or “fun cards,” as I usually call them). Cards that should have been, cards that never were, original designs, slightly modified designs…you name it. It’s a fun way to pass the time. But I have never actually produced these cards. They reside on the internet only, with no physical copies (unless someone printed them off at home).

Some card creators take it a step further, producing highly collectible items. Take, for instance, the When Topps Had (Base)Balls blog. Gio has now produced five series of cards from different eras of America’s greatest game. His most recent offering, “1960 Stars of Baseball,” is a 40-card, 10-sticker set featuring the best players from the 1960 season. There are two Reds cards (Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson) and one sticker (Robinson).

Robinson

The cards, if left uncut, are quite large. They are reminiscent of the old Post cards from the 1960s, though these are glossy. But if you take scissors to them*…

Pinson

They are horizontal 3.5 x 2.5 cards…perfect for your standard 9-pocket binder page.

The stickers are also quite nice…

Robinson sticker

I didn’t measure it, but if I guessed I would say they are probably 1.5 x 1.5 or 1 x 1.

Unfortunately for team collectors, Gio doesn’t sell single cards. So if you want your team’s cards, you have to buy the entire set. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed seeing cards of a couple guys from 1960 who should be in the Hall of Fame, Ken Boyer and Minnie Minoso.

Boyer

Minoso

And there were plenty of other Hall of Famers like Warren Spahn in the lot as well, both in card form and sticker form.

Spahn

Only 20 sets of “1960 Stars of Baseball” were produced, and the stock is completely sold out. I’m trying to decide whether I should keep the set intact, or sell off most of the non-Reds to team collectors who didn’t have a chance to purchase it. Right this minute, I’m leaning toward keeping it, but I might change my mind tomorrow. I’m willing to listen to any serious offers, though, if you think you can change my mind.

* – I did not actually cut these cards. I may look stupid, and may act stupid, and may be stupid. But I ain’t that stupid.

I think I may rename my blog, “The Slacker’s Journey”

Votto

Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards (on Twitter as @OffHiatusBBC) is a very generous man. Last week he scoured several bloggers’ wantlists and fired off packages, and I was one of the fortunate recipients. Every single card in the package was a needed card, such as the Joey Votto “Home Run Challenge” game card pictured above.

The package arrived in my mailbox on either Thursday week. I tore it opened, thumbed through the cards quickly, then set them aside because family was coming in from out of town. Then I worked all weekend, and I had plans Monday and Tuesday. I did cross off the needs Tuesday night but didn’t feel like battling my scanner, so I put that off until tonight before work. I miss my old scanner. Not the one I had before my current scanner, but the one before that. These past two scanners don’t fit a full 9-pocket page on the glass and I’m constantly battling the network connection. I never had issues with the network connection when the machine was actually plugged into a computer.

Anyway, back to the gratitude. Tony hooked me up with several Allen & Ginter cards I didn’t already have, including several from the 2011 release.

Rolen

I wish I could say that was a bad scan of should-be Hall of Famer Scott Rolen, but that’s really what the card looks like. I know there are a lot of Ginter fans out there, but sometimes they just don’t work.

He also sent me my first 2014 Stadium Club card. I didn’t even have a wantlist posted for 2014 Stadium Club yet. So I had to scramble to add it to my wantlist so I could cross this card off. Sadly, it is a card of malcontent (and still unemployed) Brandon Phillips.

Phillips

I used to love BP; he was fun to watch. But he got grumpy in his old age. I believe he was a detriment to the Reds’ clubhouse during his last few years in Cincinnati. I didn’t follow him after he flew south to Atlanta, or west to Los Angeles, so I don’t know if he ruffled any feathers on those teams. I was glad to see him leave Cincinnati.

There was a hefty-sized stack of cards from the past eight years, each one allowing my to cross cards off my wantlists. But the highlights of the package were the vintage cards from the 1970s.

1970s Reds

I have wanted some of these cards for years, but have never seen them for sale locally at a decent price. I’m so happy to have the 1975 and 1976 World Series cards in my collection now. I feel like those were some glaring omissions. There were others that I thought I had, and probably did at some point, like the Joel Youngblood rookie from 1977. But they were not crossed off my lists until this package arrived last week.

Here’s the big news: Tony helped me get so close to finishing off some team sets from the 1970s. I now only need four cards from 1977, two from 1978, and one from 1979. He also knocked off the final three cards from the 1982 Fleer Reds wantlist.

This package was a definite win! Thank you Tony, and again, sorry it took almost a week to post the awesomeness!

Oh my, Ohtani!

Ohtani

I knew I was going to like this guy, I just knew it. He is absolutely dominating on the mound so far this year, taking a perfect game into the 7th inning today against the A’s. Between a walk in the 4th inning last week until he gave up a hit in the 7th today, Shohei Ohtani retired 27 straight batters. He struck out 12 A’s batters today, after mowing down six in his first start.

But, as you know, Ohtani has been a terror with the bat as well. In four games, he has sent three balls deep, driving in seven runs and hitting at a .389 clip. All of the concerns expressed during a slow spring have quickly evaporated as he has crushed the ball at the plate.

The “fun card” above is verrrrrry loosely based on the 1998 Fleer Ultra “Double Trouble” insert set.

Rookie of the Year…Most Valuable Player…Cy Young winner? I know we’re in the first week of the season, but that’s the perfect time to dream big!

It has already been a long season for Reds fans

We didn’t expect much, really. The front office’s inexplicable refusal to bolster the pitching staff during the offseason, even with quality pitchers available, let fans know that 2018 would be a lost cause. There are a lot of promising young arms, but little experience. The sad truth is that the offense is strong enough to compete, but the pitchers can’t keep the score close enough. Through the first seven games, opponents have already scored 44 runs.

Cincinnati won their second game of the season last night, thanks in large part to one of my favorite players on the team, Eugenio Suarez.

Suarez

Suarez is a fun player to watch, and has really blossomed as a part of the Reds’ infield. He finished last season with a 3.2 WAR, swatting 26 home runs and driving in 82 runs. I thought he had a real shot at the All-Star Game last year, but the Reds were kind of terrible and the powers that be probably couldn’t justify putting three Cincinnati guys on the roster. Maybe this year will be his year. He hit his second homer of 2018 last night, and drove in five runs in the Reds’ 7-4 victory over the Bucs.

I made a custom design last night during some downtime. I like the way it turned out, but don’t think I would make a full set with this design. It would look better as a limited insert I think. If I actually made physical copies, I would probably want a textured front, similar to the Upper Deck Masterpieces set. So I played a little with a texture filter, and voilà…

Suarez Sandstone

Let me know what you think. I’ll probably play around with several different custom designs this year, unless something really screams at me.

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