Category Archives: baseball

Fun Cards: 2020 Baseball Immortals Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller

I was excited about the “Modern Era” ballot. So many fantastic players, and I was looking forward to seeing some of these larger-than-life personalities get their just due in Cooperstown.

Then Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller were selected.

Both are solid choices, sure, but neither is particularly exciting. I’m still against the practice of putting non-players on the same ballot anyway, so I was opposed to Miller’s very inclusion on the ballot. Why should he (or any other non-playing person) take votes away from the guys on the field?

Oh well. Maybe Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, and Lou Whitaker will receive the support they deserve next time.

In the meantime, here are a couple of “Baseball Immortals” cards for the newest Hall of Famers…

Simmons

Miller

Regrets…I’ve had a few

Redfest is quickly approaching. I won’t be going this year (for the third or fourth year in a row). I’m more interested in getting alumni autographs than current players, and while there are a couple of names on the list that have not been at the past 20 events, there aren’t enough to make me want to go. Besides that, I’ll be out of town that weekend.

Back in 2008, I attended one of my first Redsfests. And I experienced one of my biggest baseball card-related regrets. I even documented it on the blog…

Cueto no Votto

That Joey Votto card that I didn’t buy for $3 is difficult to come by these days. Last time I searched for it, I couldn’t even find it on eBay. There are a couple listed right now; the cheapest is $23.99 plus shipping, and that’s more than I generally pay for single cards.

I could have had the Votto for $3.

The Johnny Cueto? A couple bucks plus shipping on COMC.

Insert sad face emoji.

Christmas gift ideas for the baseball historians in your life

It’s that time of year. Get your shopping done early and don’t wait until the last minute to wrap them. Here’s the first installment of TWJ’s “Christmas gift ideas” 2019.

Cincinnati Red StockingsI love baseball history more than I like modern baseball. The Houston Astros will always be a National League team to me. Hank Aaron will always be the all-time home run king. And baseball card sets should have either 660 or 792 cards, released in one series, with an update set at the end of the year. I miss subsets and despise insert sets, just like Night Owl. I’m living in the past and I know it. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

Here are some ideas for baseball fans in your life that are older than forty, that long for the purity of the pre-steroid era.

Books. Some of these books are old and some are new, so check your friend’s bookshelf before placing an order.

Apparel. You can’t go wrong with a good baseball cap or jersey.

Larkin
Baseball Cards. Did you know Amazon sells baseball cards?

Fun Cards: 1988 Donruss Highlights Award Winners

Sabo Rookie of the Year

During a Twitter discussion earlier tonight, the topic of year-end highlights baseball sets came up. I immediately thought of the Donruss Highlights sets which were issued from 1985-1987. I’m disappointed this set did not continue beyond 1987, and wondered what a 1988 edition might look like. I tried to go with a gold border with silver in place of the red gradient. It is similar to the “Baseball’s Best” set, but not quite as orange. Since I don’t have the font Donruss used in 1988, I simply copied-and-pasted the nameplate from an actual 1988 release.

Here are the 1988 Award Winners: Chris Sabo, Walt Weiss, Kirk Gibson, Jose Canseco, Orel Hershiser, and Frank Viola.

Weiss

Gibson

Canseco

Hershiser

Viola

Fun Cards: 1988 and 1990 Topps Billy Martin

1988 Topps Billy Martin New York Yankees manager

I’m no Yankees fan, but I loved Billy Martin‘s fiery attitude as a manager. He was the skipper for the Yankees five different times: 1975-1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, and 1988. He took over for Lou Piniella after the 1987 season, but was fired after 68 games and Piniella was re-hired to finish out 1988. There is speculation Martin would be hired for another round of abuse from George Steinbrenner in 1990, but he died in an auto accident on Christmas day in 1989.

1990 Topps Billy Martin New York Yankees manager

Fun Cards: 1989 Fleer Marty Brennaman, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Joe Nuxhall (SuperStar Specials)

Marty Joe and Macho Man

Randy Poffo was once a farmhand in the Cincinnati Reds system, but by the time he showed up at Riverfront Stadium in 1989 he had transformed himself into a wrestling superstar. “Macho Man” Randy Savage visited with Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall in the broadcast booth near the end of the season. Players, fans, and umpires noticed and seemed amused at his presence. One person was not amused, though: Reds owner Marge Schott. She ordered Brennaman to remove Savage from the booth, even threatening his employment.

Brennaman obeyed but did not remain silent about her tactics. Never one to mince his words, Marty later told Schott, “Don’t you ever try to intimidate me again. And if you have something to say to me, say it yourself.”

By the way, I really miss Fleer.

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Doug Dascenzo (“Secret Weapon”)

1990 Topps Doug Dascenzo

Who was the best pitcher in Cubs history? Greg Maddux you say? Fergie Jenkins? Mordecai Brown? Rick Reuschel?

You’re wrong.

The greatest pitcher in Cubs history is none other than Doug Dascenzo, the scrappy 5’7 centerfielder who made four relief appearances over two seasons and never gave up an earned run. He stared down eighteen batters, and only three got a hit. He struck out two (Willie Fraser and Joe Redfield) and walked two in five innings.

Sadly, Dascenzo declined to pitch any more at the major league level after the 1991 season. “Any time I go out and touch the mound, we’re getting beat by 10 or 15 runs and we’re losing a game in the standings,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1992. “I don’t want any part of that. I want us to be beating someone else’s brains in.”

For the record, the Cubs were outscored 59-23 in the four games Dascenzo took the mound, but he was not responsible for any of those runs.

He did toe the rubber two more times—in the minor leagues. In 1995 for the Marlins’ AAA Charlotte Knights and in 1997 for the Padres’ AAA Las Vegas Stars. It was in his last appearance that the opponent finally crossed the plate on him, but I have been unable to locate the name of the hitters he faced in that game.

Tip of the hat to @onemillioncubs who dug up that awesome photo and posted it on Twitter a few days ago. The picture is actually from 1991, so it is a bit anachronistic, but I like the 1990 Topps design. (I’m not being facetious.)

Fun Cards: 1974 Topps Judas Priest “Rookie Rockers”

1974 Topps Judas Priest

The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced, and heavy metal icons Judas Priest appear for the second time. They were previously nominated in 2018.

The other nominees are Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T.Rex, and Thin Lizzy. Fans can vote via Google…just type in “Rock Hall” or one of the nominees, and the ballot appears. You can select up to five nominees.

I expect NIN and B.I.G. to get in, and probably Soundgarden. Past that, it’s a toss-up. I would love to see Priest and Motörhead make it in, but the Hall is notoriously anti-metal.

2019 Reds, 1987 Topps style: The Legends, and a Post-Game Concert

The rockingest pitcher the Reds ever employed, Bronson Arroyo; Barry Larkin admiring Barry Larkin; and Zedd, who I have never heard of before, and will probably never hear of again.

Arroyo

Larkin

Zedd

And that’s all of the “fun cards” I have from the 2019 Reds season. If I’m missing any that you are desparate to see, let me know and I’ll throw it together!

2019 Reds, 1987 Topps style: The Manager and His Coaches

I absolutely love David Bell‘s fire, and I hope that he is able to turn around the team’s won/loss record next year. This group features one of my favorite “fun cards,” the last one of the bunch, showing a Father’s Day embrace between first base coach Delino DeShields and his Texas Ranger son, Delino DeShields.

Also in this post: Nate Irving, the recently unemployed Turner Ward, Freddie Benavides, and J.R. House.

Bell and Senzel

Bell arguing with another ump

Discussing post-game dinner plans

Irving

Ward

Benavides

House

House

DeShields

DeShields and DeShields

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