Blog Archives

Goodbye, Don Baylor

(June 28, 1949 – August 7, 2017)

Baylor

Slugging outfielder and 1979 American League MVP, Don Baylor passed away today from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of plasma cells. Baylor his 338 home runs in his career, was an All-Star in 1979, and won the World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987. He presided over the Boston Red Sox’s kangaroo court, and fined Roger Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen on an 0-2 count during his 20-strikeout game in 1986. He was also the Colorado Rockies’ first manager.

Baseball cards from Orlando

packs

I have been sitting on this post for absolutely no reason other than laziness. I bought a handful of fifty-cent packs when I was in Orlando at the beginning of the month, and scanned a handful of them, even uploaded the scans, but just haven’t been motivated to post them. I have nothing else planned for today, so let’s see what I got…

Davis

First up is Eric Davis from the 1987 Fleer Star Stickers set. These cards are very similar to the 1986 set, but with a green border instead of maroon. Either way, the border clashes with the red jersey.

Mattingly

The 1988 Fleer Star Stickers went with a gray border sprinkled with colorful stars. This Don Mattingly is the best card I pulled from that pack.

Davis mini

Franco mini

Back to 1987, and a pair of Reds in a pack: the best centerfielder and the best relief pitcher of the second half of the decade. John Franco is criminally underrated.

Benzinger

Benzinger

Clark

Clark

I bought a couple of packs of 1990 Donruss. Don’t look at me like that. I did not have any Grand Slammers cards, and I wanted a couple. I pulled the Todd Benzinger from one pack, and Will Clark from another. If I had found another pack with Bo Jackson on top, I would have bought that one too.

Big Hurt

I did not know the 1992 Fleer “The Performer” cards came in packs of their own. I assumed they were inserts. In a five-card pack, I pulled Nolan Ryan and Frank Thomas. And probably some ‘roiders, I can’t remember now.

Griffey All-Star

Henke

Art cards will always be my weakness. I’m not sure why I picked up a pack of 1992 Score, but I was happy to pull these bad boys.

Ryan

Henderson

Also from the same 1992 Score pack.

Thome

There it is. I knew there had to be something cool showing on the top of a 1992 Score pack for me to buy it, even at only fifty cents. Jim Thome is the man.

Dennys

Kirby Puckett from 1996 Pinnacle Denny’s. Not sure why I bought this one-card pack. Oh well, at least it’s a Hall of Famer.

Double Headers

Double Header

I have always wanted some Double Headers, but have never seen them in person. Vince Coleman is from 1990, while Wade Boggs and Andre Dawson are from 1989.

Brett

candy

Think this candy is still good from 1991?

buttons

Finally, a couple of 1990 Baseball Buttons. I already have several of these, so I probably shouldn’t have bought them, but it was only fifty cents.

Goodbye, Dave Henderson

(July 21, 1958 – December 27, 2015)

Fourteen-year MLB veteran Dave Henderson, nicknamed “Hendu,” suffered a heart attack and passed away today. Henderson played for the Mariners, Red Sox, Giants, A’s, and Royals, and was an All-Star in 1991. He played in four World Series for the Red Sox (1986) and A’s (1988-1990) and hit a dramatic home run in the fifth game of the 1986 ALCS against the Angels (video of the home run is above, or watch the full game here).

Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk by Doug Wilson (2015)

Pudge

Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk
by Doug Wilson
Thomas Dunne Books, 2015
368 pages

One of the best catchers to ever play the game, Carlton Fisk never backed down when facing an opponent on the diamond or in the front office. He hit one of the most legendary home runs in World Series history in 1975, but is also remembered for butting heads with ownership in both Boston and Chicago when he felt he was being treated unfairly. Opponents on the field also faced the wrath of Fisk if he felt they were not respecting the game—just ask Deion Sanders (or read chapter 17 in this book).

Author Doug Wilson has made a name for himself with some excellent baseball biographies on Brooks Robinson (Brooks, 2014) and Mark Fidrych (The Bird, 2013), and Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk is no exception. Wilson spends a good four chapters on the catcher’s early life, from his boyhood through the minor leagues, before arriving in Boston in chapter 5. Several chapters are devoted to a single season apiece, with special attention paid to Game Six in 1975, Fisk’s departure from Boston prior to the 1981 season, and the collusion battles of the mid-1980s. Wilson’s conversational style makes reading a joy, and he succinctly explains difficult and complex topics with ease.

Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk is an entertaining read (just as Wilson’s prior books), highly recommended to baseball fans.

Learn more about Thomas Dunne Books.

Purchase Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk by Doug Wilson.

Baseball Stadiums 2016 Calendar published by TF Publishing

Baseball Stadiums Calendar

Baseball Stadiums 2016 Calendar
published by TF Publishing, 2015

Now that October has arrived, it is time to admit that Christmas is just around the corner. Yes, we have to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving first, but it is never too soon to start thinking about what gifts you will be buying for others. One small gift that is timeless is the calendar. Whether you go with the daily boxed variety, or the monthly hang-on-the-wall calendar, everyone needs to know what day it is at some point.

Perfect Timing publishes a wide variety of calendars, including this very nice Baseball Stadiums 2016 Calendar. Twelve ballparks are featured, including such vital statistics as home team, opening date, dimensions, capacity, and playing surface. The twelve parks are Busch (St. Louis), AT&T (San Francisco), Fenway (Boston), Citi (New York Mets), PNC (Pittsburgh), Great American (Cincinnati), Yankee (New York Yankees), Wrigley (Chicago Cubs), Chase (Arizona), Comerica (Detroit), Rogers (Toronto), and Dodger (Los Angeles). The calendar measures 11.8×23.4 when hung on the wall, showing the stadium of the month; the calendar portion has plenty of room to jot down appointment and meeting reminders in the blocks.

Learn more about TF Publishing.

Purchase Baseball Stadiums 2016 Calendar published by Perfect Timing.

Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses by Dick Flavin (2015)

redsoxrhymes

Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses
by Dick Flavin
William Morrow, 2015
224 pages

Red Sox fans rejoice as Fenway’s finest are immortalized in verse by “Boston Red Sox Poet Laureate” Dick Flavin in Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses. Singing the praises of Pedro Martinez, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and more, Flavin combines his flair for words with his love for baseball and creates some memorable lines about Boston’s major league franchise. There are eight themed sections in this hardcover book, covering the glorious and the inglorious, the players and the management, and a handful of personal, biographical verses.

Included in the section about the Splendid Splinter and his teammates is a re-working of the Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s classic, “Casey At The Bat.” Originally recited privately to Williams, Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio, during a visit to Williams in Florida while he was ill, Flavin was asked shortly thereafter to recite “Teddy At The Bat” during the memorial service held at Fenway Park for the Boston legend. It is a wonderful tribute to the man, and alone is almost worth the purchase price of this volume. But there is so much more inside.

Should Joe DiMaggio‘s brother Dom be in the Hall of Fame? Flavin thinks so, and lists numerous reasons to support that belief in “The Little Professor.” There are parodies of the Christmas classics, “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and tributes to Pedro Martinez and Carl Yastrzemski. There are even a few lines written for non-Sox, such as Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Jackie Robinson.

A thoroughly enjoyable book of poems about the country’s most poetic sport, Red Sox Rhymes is a must-have for any baseball buff.

Learn more about William Morrow.

Purchase Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses by Dick Flavin.

1975 Red Sox: American League Champions (Images of Baseball) by Raymond Sinibaldi (2015)

1975 Red Sox

1975 Red Sox: American League Champions (Images of Baseball)
by Raymond Sinibaldi
Arcadia Publishing, 2015
128 pages

The Images of Baseball series from Arcadia Press never fails to impress. With this installment, author Raymond Sinibaldi has compiled an impressive collection of photographs from the almost-storybook-ending 1975 season of the Boston Red Sox. Carlton Fisk‘s home run in Game 6 of the World Series that year is one of the most memorable walk-offs in the history of baseball. Though the Cincinnati Reds were crowned the champions of baseball that year, Fisk has been quoted as saying that Boston won the Series “three games to four.” Sinibaldi takes a look at that team, starting in 1967 and the players of that pennant winner that would stick around to play a major role on the ’75 squad.

For the 1975 team, future Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and Fisk played major roles. Rice, who was a rookie, joined Dwight Evans (who has a strong Hall of Fame case himself) and another rookie Fred Lynn in the outfield. Lynn was named the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in 1975, the first time in history that happened. In addition to photos from the regular season of 1975 and the postseason against the Oakland A’s and Cincinnati, Sinibaldi turns his attention to another player that he believes should be honored along with Yaz, Rice, and Fisk in Cooperstown: Luis Tiant. Fifteen pages are devoted to “El Tiante,” from his early years in Cleveland and Minnesota, to his later career in Pittsburgh and the Yankees, with an obvious emphasis on his years in Boston.

It is absolutely wonderful to see all these images from 1975 collected into one volume, including several photographs of Fisk hitting that dramatic blast in Game 6. Red Sox fans will cherish this book, and baseball historians will relish in the memories of the 1975 Red Sox: American League Champions.

1975 Red Sox: American League Champions, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing and the History Press at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

Learn more about Arcadia Publishing.

Purchase 1975 Red Sox: American League Champions (Images of Baseball) by Raymond Sinibaldi.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Brayan Pena & 2015 ex-Reds, 1990 Score style: Ryan Hanigan

Brayan Pena

I have nothing against Brayan Pena personally. He is hitting well this year and filling in nicely while Devin Mesoraco is off injured. But when Pena was signed, it meant another catcher had to leave…

Ryan Hanigan

Shortly after Pena was signed in 2013, Ryan Hanigan was dealt to Tampa Bay in a three-team trade. I was a huge fan of Hanigan while he was in Cincinnati, and was very sad to see him go. This past winter, the Rays sent him to the Padres in another three-team trade, and later the same day the Padres shipped him to Boston.

Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002 by Dick Trust (2015)

the greatest hitter who ever lived

Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002
by Dick Trust
Arcadia Publishing, 2015
96 pages

One of the latest offerings from Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of Modern America” series, Dick Trust’s Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002 is a superb collection of photographs featuring the “Splendid Splinter” after his playing days. Many photos from Old Timers Days at Fenway Park are featured, showing “the greatest hitter who ever lived” along with former teammates and opponents such as Joe DiMaggio, Warren Spahn, Carl Yastrzemski, Jimmy Piersall, Jackie Jensen, and Bobby Doerr.

Other photos show Williams at his Hall of Fame induction in 1966, at Jimmy Fund activities, and at the 1999 All-Star Game with Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken. Trust ends the book with a reproduction of a personal letter Williams wrote to a young fan in 1943. The Hall of Famer said he didn’t answer many letters, but decided to respond to this fan “because you sounded like you wasn’t one of those meathead wolfs that howl there lungs out when they get to the ballpark.”

Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002 contains a fantastic assortment of photographs, and baseball fans will appreciate the historical significance of this volume.

Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002, $22.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

Learn more about Arcadia Publishing.

Purchase Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002 by Dick Trust.

Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares (2015)

pedro

Growing Up Pedro
by Matt Tavares
Candlewick Press, 2015
40 pages

Following excellent books about Hank Aaron and Ted Williams, the latest subject of a Matt Tavares children’s baseball biography is new Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. Tavares tells young readers the story of a young boy who grew up watching his brother Ramon Martinez pitch in the Dominican Republic, dreaming of playing together in the major leagues. The author and illustrator follows Pedro’s journey pitching with his brother in Los Angeles, to becoming the best pitcher in baseball in Montreal, to a World Championship in Boston.

Tavares is in top form as his illustrations help tell the story of one of the greatest pitchers of the past thirty years. The book is aimed toward 8-12 year olds, and the text is certainly written on that level, but the artwork can be appreciated by baseball fans of any age. Tavares’ illustrations perfectly depicts Pedro’s intensity.

Learn more about Matt Tavares.

Learn more about Candlewick Press.

Purchase Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares.

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