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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
June 9, 1951
Some of the coolest nicknames in baseball are animal-related. Ron Cey (“Penguin”), Andre Dawson (“Hawk”), Rich Gossage (“Goose”), Mark Fidrych (“The Bird”), and of course, Dave Parker (“Cobra”). Parker was a force at the plate, launching 339 home runs and driving in 1493 during his 19-year career for Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Oakland, Milwaukee, California, and Toronto. He was the 1978 NL MVP and finished in the top ten for MVP five other times. Seven times Parker was an All-Star, and he was the very first Home Run Derby champ in 1985.
As I was browsing through Dave Parker cards on COMC last night, I came across the above 1988 Donruss card of Parker, which I had never seen before. His regular issue Donruss card shows him with the Reds, but he was traded prior to the season to the Oakland A’s for Jose Rijo. In Donruss’ orange-bordered Baseball’s Best set, he is shown as a member of the A’s. But this was a regular, blue-bordered Donruss card showing the Cobra wearing the green and gold. Needless to say, I was floored.
After some eBay research, I discovered this sheet of cards comes from a book that Donruss issued for the A’s. I also found similar books for the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Cubs. Each appears to have a handful of cards depicting rookies or newly acquired veterans. In addition to Parker, the A’s book also includes 1988 AL Rookie of the Year Walt Weiss. Goose Gossage is shown with the Cubs, Lee Smith and Brady Anderson with the Red Sox, and Jose Cruz with the Yankees. I never could have told you that Cruz wound up his career in New York.
I plan to start a PC of Parker’s non-Reds cards soon (all Reds cards go in my Reds book), but I don’t know if I’ll ever drop the money needed to acquire this particular card. It’s not crazy expensive, but it is 1988 Donruss, and paying more than a few pennies for 1988 Donruss seems like a total rip-off. But the fact that it has existed for almost 30 years without my knowledge—and in 1988, I knew everything there was to know about baseball cards—just blows my mind.
An intimidating force on the diamond, the man nicknamed “The Cobra” now battles a foe much more daunting than pitchers. “I would have liked to have been in the Hall of Fame when I could have enjoyed it properly. Not that I couldn’t now, but the Parkinson’s would have something to say about it.”
Dave Parker’s lifetime statistics make him a borderline case for Cooperstown. With 339 home runs, 1493 RBI, and a .290 batting average, he would be far from the worst selection in baseball’s hallowed shrine.
He won the National League MVP Award in 1978, though he was not invited to the All-Star Game that year. Parker did appear on the midsummer roster four times with Pittsburgh, twice with Cincinnati, and one final time with Milwaukee in 1990. He finished second in MVP voting in 1985, third in 1975 and 1977, and fifth in 1986.
Still popular with fans at autograph signings, Parker longs for recognition as a baseball immortal. “I won two batting titles, should have won two MVPs, was in three World Series, was the MVP of the All-Star Game, DH of the Year twice, and won the RBI crown. I did everything that you could possibly do in baseball and I’m not in the Hall?”
[This is the fifth of a series of “pre-season” baseball cards published at TWJ cards on tumblr. At least one new virtual card is planned for each day from now until Opening Day. Follow TWJ cards on tumblr for more.]
I’m a baseball card junkie, I’ll admit it. But I don’t like the shiny, nor do I go nuts over the latest certified autographs or “can’t miss” prospects. I’m all about the cheap stuff featuring players I like and guys from the Reds. If I can buy it for under a buck, I might be interested.
Last week in Myrtle Beach, I stopped at a card shop called Baseball 17. As soon as I walked in, I knew I would be spending a bit of time there. It was just like the baseball card shops I grew up with…boxes upon boxes of cheap cards, 25 cents each or five for a dollar. Other boxes boasted, “Stars 50 cents!” I immediately dove in to a box, and started pulling Reds.
I’m not talking about 2013 Topps or 2014 Heritage. I’m talking old-school…1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s. Five for a dollar! Barry Larkin, Ken Hunt, Don Blasingame, Leon Wagner. Here’s a sample of just a few of the Reds I picked out…
I also spied a 1989 Broders Rookies Ken Griffey card. I have a couple of the 1988 sets, but had never seen a 1989 series before…
You just can’t beat that, can you?
Actually, yes you can. This card, featuring three Hall of Famers, set me back twenty cents…
I also visited the “Stars for 50 cents!” box, and pulled a couple more Gibsons…1969 and 1975.
I remember the 1975 Gibson card from my grandmother’s house. She had a nice stack of 1975 cards, not sure who they belonged to but I was never allowed to ask if I could keep them. I recall looking at those cards, and I remember seeing the Gibson in that stack. I probably had no idea who he was at the time, but I always liked the card anyway.
The 1969 card has an amusing cartoon on the back, highlighting one of Gibby’s many extraordinary feats from the 1968 season…
I had a great time in Myrtle Beach, and Baseball 17 made it even better. I only dropped about $10 there in two visits, but it was great reliving the memories of the card shops of my youth. I can’t wait to go back next year and see what else I can find in the bargain bins.
Probably one of the shortest tenured players in the Reds Hall of Fame, Dave Parker only spent four seasons in Cincinnati. The Cobra is originally from the area, and after spending a decade in Pittsburgh, he came home to the Reds signing a free agent contract following the 1983 season. In his four years here, Parker launched 107 home runs and drove in 432 runs. In 1985 alone, Parker hit 42 round-trippers and drove in 125, batting .312 and slugging .551. He finished second in NL MVP voting behind Willie McGee. Cobra was traded following the 1987 season in a deal that brought another Reds Hall of Famer to town, 1990 World Series MVP Jose Rijo.
(Custom Hall of Fame “fun card” by TWJ contributor Patrick.)
Should the Cobra be a Hall of Famer? The 30-Year Old Cardboard blog did a great comparison between Dave Parker and Willie Stargell recently, and it’s really eye-opening how well Parker’s numbers match up to Pops. I always considered Parker a “future Hall of Famer” when I was a kid, and still believe he belongs in Cooperstown.
I am still working on my baseball rankings, but wanted to give you a little preview as it relates to Parker. Among right fielders, Parker ranks seventeenth among Hall of Famers and select other players. Only four non-Hall of Famers rank above him: Pete Rose, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, and Dwight Evans; I am among those who believe all of those players should be enshrined (I just recently came around on Walker, in fact). Ichiro Suzuki pops up just under the Cobra on my list, and has the potential to surpass him this year; I also believe Ichiro deserves a plaque in the Hall of Fame. All of those players exceed the 200-point mark in my scoring system, which is a reasonable bench mark for Cooperstown worthiness; Parker’s score is 206.83.
Back to the original question: should the Cobra be a Hall of Famer? My answer is, “Yes.”
Unfortunately, Parker’s time ran out on the BBWAA ballot. In fifteen years, his highest support came in 1998 when he received 24.5% of the vote. Now his fate lies in the hands of the Veterans Committee.
In 1986 Topps teamed up with Quaker to issue a 33-card set full of superstars, including a nice handful of future Hall of Famers. Over the next few days, we’re going to look at the cards in the set, beginning with the first nine cards today…
In 1986, these guys were enormously popular, perhaps none more than Dwight Gooden. The man had just won the Cy Young Award in 1985 with 24 wins and a minuscule 1.53 ERA…at the age of 20. Willie McGee was the NL MVP, leading the league with 216 hits and a .353 average, and teammate Vince Coleman had just come of an outstanding rookie campaign setting the record for most stolen bases by a first-year player. He won the Rookie of the Year award unanimously, shutting out the game’s first 20-game winning rookie pitcher since the 1960s.
There are currently only two Hall of Famers among these first nine players: Gary Carter and Tony Gwynn, but reasonable cases can be made for Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, and Steve Garvey. If I had to choose only one of the three for Cooperstown, Murphy would get my vote. While Parker and Garvey dominated the 1970s, Murphy was one of the biggest stars in the 1980s. Say what you will about his short peak, that five-year period between 1982 and 1986 was a fantastic run. Perhaps his chances would have been better if he had retired after the 1991 season, but I will not hold it against him for trying to stick around for a few extra years. When you love something, you want to keep doing it.
I found this Dave Parker “card” at the antique mall a few weeks ago for thirty-five cents. I had no idea what it was; there is no copyright date or company information anywhere to be found. On the reverse is Tony Gwynn. After some extensive research (read: Googling), I discovered it was produced for General Mills in 1987 and came in “booklet” form, with ten players in each booklet. This particular booklet had evidently been separated at some point.
Had it been a complete booklet, I would have had Kevin Bass, Eric Davis, Bill Doran, Pedro Guerrero, Dale Murphy, Steve Sax, Mike Scott, and Fernando Valenzuela in addition to Gwynn and the Cobra. Not a bad line-up, especially in 1987.
Former Reds All-Star Dave Parker appeared at the Reds Hall of Fame Tuesday night to sign autographs for fans before the game against the Pirates. My dad, my oldest son, and I all went down to get his signature and they all turned out great! Hopefully the Cobra will get his due soon from both the Reds and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and be inducted into both institutions!