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The final nine

TWJ 2014

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the final nine 2014 TWJ baseball cards are in the books (the last two were uploaded this morning). The virtual set consists of 260 base cards, twenty-eight highlights, and an eighteen-card All-Star subset. The final nine were highlights, featuring each league’s Most Valuable Player (Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw), Cy Young (Corey Kluber and Kershaw), Manager of the Year (Matt Williams and Buck Showalter), and Rookie of the Year (Jacob deGrom and Jose Abreu) Award winners, and a special World Champions card for the San Francisco Giants featuring Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and his catcher Buster Posey.

I liked the 2014 TWJ set, and enjoyed producing these cards. I’m still tinkering with a design for 2015 and some possible subsets for the off-season. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

The full set (as well as previous years’ sets and subsets) can be viewed at TWJ cards on tumblr.

Fun Cards: 2014 TWJ Lauren Hill

2014 TWJ Lauren Hill

In addition to his fine submissions today, TWJ contributor Patrick encouraged me to make a 2014 TWJ card for Lauren Hill. A great idea, and a deserving athlete if there ever was one.

Congratulations, San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants

Madison Bumgarner dominated, but the Royals never gave up. A hard-fought Series. Congratulations to the Giants.

I missed the no-hitter yesterday

I was so caught up in self-pity over the awful Reds season that I totally missed the news that Jordan Zimmermann pitched a no-hitter for the first-place Washington Nationals. When I found out this afternoon, I did the proper thing and made a “highlights” card for him to post at TWJ cards on tumblr. But because I like you non-tumblr folks so much, I’m going to post it here as well…

Jordan  Zimmermann no-hitter

This isn’t Zim’s first appearance in the TWJ cards set, but his earlier card is an UER with the incorrect spelling of his last name, made way back when I was putting a black border around the cards (which involved an extra step and I just got too lazy to do it)…

Jordan  Zimmermann Zimmerman

Unless something extraordinary happens in the playoffs (such as a no-hitter or perfect game), I don’t plan to make any more 2014 TWJ cards until the Series is decided, and then when the awards are handed out.

Speaking of awards, you have less than 24 hours to get your picks in to me. There are some very tight races so far, and your votes could make the difference. Click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Baseball season is almost over

It has been a disappointing year for Reds fans. After a late first-half surge that made it appear that the team would be contenders, they simply fell apart after the All-Star break. Between injuries, slumps, and season-long poor performances, the team struggled to even stay above the Cubs at the bottom of the division.

Outside of the Cincinnati world, two fine players are wrapping up their careers. Of course, nearly everyone is talking about Derek Jeter, the sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer (why even wait five years?), who is playing his final games at Fenway Park this weekend. But there is another, lower-profile player who is just as classy as Jeter even if his stats don’t reflect the same talents.

Konerko fun card

Paul Konerko will be playing his final games for the White Sox at home this weekend against the Royals. Paulie has had a solid career: 439 home runs, 1412 RBI, and a .279 batting average (at the time of this writing). Probably not a Hall of Fame career, but certainly one to be admired.

I’ll be wrapping things up over on TWJ cards on tumblr this weekend as well, at least as far as the “base set” goes. There may be a handful of postseason cards, and will likely be awards cards down the line, but as far as the “regular set” goes, it will end with card #260.

The final card is scheduled to appear around 8:30 tomorrow night, and then two more “highlights” cards will follow.

Want to see all the TWJ cards that have featured players from your favorite team? Just type in your browser’s address bar:, replacing los-angeles-dodgers with whatever your favorite team is. You will see everything that has appeared over the past three seasons.

Pete Rose’s uniform number retired

Pete Rose Florence Freedom

Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Reds were not the team that honored Pete Rose Tuesday night. Rather, it was the Florence Freedom, whose stadium sits less than 15 miles from the Reds’ Great American Ballpark. Rose stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the game, and was then replaced by a pinch hitter. Later in the night, Rose stood in the coaching boxes down the first and third base side.

More highlights for the 2014 TWJ set

Hamels No Hitter

Yesterday’s combined no-hitter by four Philadelphia pitchers brings the total of 2014 TWJ highlights cards to twelve so far, with a thirteenth scheduled to be added later tonight/early tomorrow morning. Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia bullpen threw the eleventh combined no-hitter in MLB history; the first combined no-hitter occurred in 1917 when Babe Ruth and Ernie Shore shut down the Washington Senators without a hit. Interestingly, Ruth only pitched to one batter, and was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes after that batter walked; the batter was subsequently thrown out trying to steal, and Shore retired the next 26 batters without incident.

Who says designated hitters are useless on the field?

He’s certainly not the first non-pitcher to pitch in a big league contest, and most likely will not be the last. But seeing Adam Dunn take the pitcher’s mound on Tuesday night was nothing short of fantastic. I remember watching Doug Dascenzo on WGN pitch for the Cubs when the game was out-of-reach (four different times, actually!), and recall Reds shortstop Davey Concepcion tossing a few pitches in a 1988 game. And who can forget Jose Canseco’s “masterful” performance 60 feet and 6 inches away from where he made a name for himself?

Dunn’s official pitching record is 1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 ER. Not a terrible outing for a designated hitter.

Congratulations, Adam Dunn, and thanks for the entertainment.

Special card, unnumbered, Adam Dunn, “THE PITCHER.”

See more original baseball cards at TWJ cards on tumblr.

Fun Cards Submission: 1983 Fleer “Superstar Special” Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys Trout and Frazier 2014 MLB All-Star Game

Paying tribute to the “Superstar Specials” that appeared in Fleer sets from 1983 onward, TWJ contributor Patrick sent over this nice “Jersey Boys” card featuring Angels outfielder (and future Hall of Famer) Mike Trout and Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. Trout hails from Millville, NJ, while Frazier grew up over an hour away in Toms River. They were born about five and a half years apart, so I doubt they ever faced each other in competitions growing up, but the connection is still there. It was great seeing Frazier having so much fun in Minneapolis this year, and I hope he gets to experience that for many years to come.

While he was at it, Patrick had a little fun with one of the 2014 TWJ originals…

Trout Subway

Trout is a paid spokeman for Subway, and appears in this hilarious commercial for the restaurant chain:

Patrick’s “improvement” to my card definitely brought a smile to my face. Thanks again for all your great work, Patrick!

I see many MVP awards in this guy’s future

Trout MVP

Mike Trout is a beast.

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