Category Archives: baseball

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.

Advertisements

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.

BREAKING: Pete Rose to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Rose

In a surprise announcement this morning, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that he has reviewed the case of Pete Rose and decided to reinstate Cincinnati’s favorite son. “Yes, Mr. Rose did bet on baseball games, and he has spent thirty years regretting it. I met with him, discussed how we can move forward. I also met with the board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and they were in complete agreement that Rose should be immortalized in the museum. They will forego the customary voting process and induct Mr. Rose this summer with Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Alan Trammell, and Jack Morris.”

Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, added to Manfred’s statement, “After further review, we have determined the actions of former commissioner Bud Selig damaged our national pastime to a greater extent than Pete Rose. The only way to make it up to the all-time hits leader is to permanently ban Mr. Selig from the Hall of Fame. His photograph will be posted at the ticket booth and he will be denied entry to our grand museum.” In an effort to save money, the Hall of Fame said that they would be removing the plaque of Bud Selig, melting it down and recycling it to make Rose’s 2018 plaque.

Read the rest of this entry

Just in time for Opening Day (part 2)

crawford cards

Also in the mail today was a package from Phillies fan @Crawdad79. He sent a slew of 2018 Topps that I’ll be able to use for TTMs and trades, but also helped finish off my Reds non-SP team set with Billy Hamilton

Hamilton

He also sent some Bowman Platinum cards, including a couple of guys who will hopefully shine for Cincinnati for many years to come, Nick Senzel and a very sparkly Taylor Trammell

Senzel

Trammell

Scott, I’ll be digging through some boxes for Phillies cards to send you this weekend. Thanks for the Reds!

Still waiting for the Reds to make that late-inning comeback and start the season right!

Just in time for Opening Day (part 1)

Mr Red

Happy Reds Opening Day! As I type this, my Redlegs trail the Washington Nationals 1-0 while waiting to bat against Brandon Kintzler, who replaces future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer in the bottom of the 7th. The Reds still have nine outs to cross the plate a couple of times and pull out a victory in their first official game of 2018. Fingers crossed!

cjbosu2000

For the second time in less than a month, @cjbosu2000 hits a home run with a package full of Reds cards. Inside were Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey Jr...

Bench

Griffey

Prospects Tyler Stephenson and Jesse Winker (who got the start today)…

Stephenson

Winker

Speedster Billy Hamilton

AG Hamilton

1987 Hamilton

And my first 2018 Gypsy Queen cards, Scooter Gennett and Adam Duvall

Scooter

Duvall

Again, thank you for the cards Chuck! Good luck to the Tribe this year…maybe we will see a World Series featuring two Ohio teams this year!

Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

I’m not sure if I have ever participated in a Blog Bat Around before, but this one might help me organize my thoughts on collecting. Thanks to Night Owl Cards for starting the topic. Here goes…

MY CARD COLLECTING PROJECTS

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: I know I will never own every Cincinnati Reds baseball card, but that doesn’t stop me from attempting to create a master checklist. It’s an ongoing project, as new sets are released every year and I discover older sets I never knew existed until some kind soul sends me a card from the set. I’m still working on crossing out my recent acquisitions, and I found a shoebox that had several other needs that have not been inventoried yet.

Stillwell

Kurt Stillwell: The former second-overall draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has right around 100 cards. At one time, I had a good checklist and kept up with the collection. I was close to completion, and something went off the rails. I have several empty slots in the binder, and the checklist has disappeared, and I really have no idea which cards I still need. It’s not a huge project, and so close to finished, I really need to figure out where I’m at with it.

Shawon Dunston and Doug Dascenzo: As a baseball fan in the mid- to late-’80s and early ’90s, I saw a lot of Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN. I loved watching Dunston fire the ball to first base, nearly breaking Mark Grace‘s hand. I loved seeing Dascenzo hustle around the bases and take the mound on occasion. Both were fantastic “through the mail” signers to boot, so I have quite a few autographs of each. I would like to eventually acquire, at a minimum, all their Cubs cards from their playing days. Both moved on to other teams, and I do have some cards from those later years, but I remember them best as Cubs.

The Jacksons

Reggie and Bo Jackson: I think Reggie was my first favorite player. Or at least my first favorite non-Reds player. I don’t have a huge number of his cards, but one of my prized possessions since middle school has been his 1973 Topps card. I recently came into possession of his rookie card, which is now the pièce de résistance of my small Reggie collection. These are not organized at all, and I have no idea what I might be missing. Bo was an amazing athlete. For those who never saw him perform live—even if only on television—you truly missed out. Acquiring his cards from his playing days, even if including the football issues, seems a little more doable than Reggie.

Non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Buddy Bell, and Dave Parker: Davis and Sabo had their best years in Reds uniforms, while Bell and Parker were better known for their time with other teams. I don’t have checklists available for these collecting goals yet, but I like to pick up cards I don’t think I already have occasionally.

Stars and Famers

Stars and Famers: I used to hoard cards of Hall of Famers. I didn’t care how many 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith cards I had, they were never available for trade. Until recently. The cards were just taking up so much space, and I didn’t ever look at them. A much more manageable project is to keep one or two favorite cards of these guys. The rest have been shipped off to team collectors. Likewise with the likes of Don Mattingly, Ken Boyer, Dale Murphy, and a few guys that aren’t really should-be Hall of Famers, but once seemed to be on the right track, like Darryl Strawberry and Will Clark. Same rule as HoFers: one or two favorite cards of each is enough for me.

Horror

Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.

Music

Music Cards: Pro Set Musicards, Yo! MTV Raps, Donruss KISS cards, and a very small selection of other brands. I have nearly the complete set of Musicards (missing only a handful of cards). Two of my favorite music cards came from Steve over a year ago, when he had Topps make custom cards of Vivian Campbell and John Sykes for me.

Miscellaneous: Here is the catch-all. If it’s something I like, I’ll collect it. Be it He-Man cards, Dukes of Hazzard cards, Star Wars cards, Superman cards, you name it. I may never chase the entire set, but I like to have a few cards of pop culture awesomeness in my possession. Come to think of it, I might be close on that He-Man set. No closer than I was 15 years ago when I first bought that wax box, mind you, but close still.

I look forward to reading all the other bloggers’ various card collecting projects.

Modern Pitchers Are Wimps (a late night rant by a grumpy old man in the making)

A few observations…

Two games were rained out yesterday, so only 24 teams played. That’s still four more teams than 1968, yet the 2018 starters pitched twenty fewer innings. On average, 2018ers pitched two innings fewer per game. 1968ers went 7 1/2 innings, but 2018ers only 5 1/2. Embarrassing.

1968 featured five future Hall of Famers pitching on Opening Day (Catfish Hunter, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Tom Seaver, and Jim Bunning). Can the same be said about 2018? Clayton Kershaw is a shoo-in assuming he remains healthy. Justin Verlander is next in line and is a likely selection. Felix Hernandez and Corey Kluber are other possibles, but they’re not quite there yet.

Kluber pitched the only complete game (though only 8 innings) on Opening Day in 2018, and that was in a loss to the Mariners. The Tribe did have someone warming up in the ‘pen, so it is likely he would have been pulled in the 9th had the Indians taken the lead. Thirteen starters (out of twenty) stayed in the game past seven innings in 1968. Kluber was the only one (out of 24) in 2018.

I get that the game has changed, but is this particular change for the better? As a grumpy old man (who incidentally was not alive yet in 1968), I posit that this change is absolutely, 100% worse for the game of baseball. Grrr!!! And while we’re at it, abolish the designated hitter and stop the insanity of interleague play and put the Brewers back in the AL and the Astros back in the NL and stop playing regular season baseball in Florida and Arizona…and Colorado?!? Puhleaze!

%d bloggers like this: