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Happy Reds birthday, Devin Mesoraco!

Mesoraco

June 19, 1988

Injuries have hampered Devin Mesoraco since his 2014 All-Star appearance. The catcher who was once seen as the future of the franchise isn’t even on the All-Star ballot this year, as he started the season on the disabled list. He was a first-round draft pick in 2007, which was an impressive class: David Price, Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, and Matt Wieters were also taken among the first fifteen picks.

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The want lists were updated while strains of Zeppelin filled the air

xmas

That’s a good bit of my Christmas loot there. A brand new record player, a stack of vinyl (including Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynryd, and Led Zeppelin), and several stacks of baseball cards. I have not scanned any of the cards I scored today yet, but earlier this week I received cards from Night Owl and TWJ contributor Patrick, and had a few minutes to scan them.

2015

Greg from Night Owl Cards helped fill several needs from the 2015 Topps and Donruss sets. I love the Donruss design; I know a lot of people aren’t crazy about them, but I love how they pay tribute to the heritage of 1980s designs.

2014 hamilton

The Owl also sent over some other needs, such as the Billy Hamilton Heritage “Rookie Stars” (above) and the 2013 Hometown Heroes Eric Davis (below)…

Davis

I also received my very first 1975 Topps mini card…

Carroll

…which coincidentally (or not?) featured a cartoon owl on the reverse…

Owl

There were several other cards in the package, including the late Ryan Freel.

Freel

It was just before Christmas three years ago that Freel took his own life. A very sad story. Freel was a huge fan favorite in Cincinnati because of his hard-nosed play.

2014 and 2015

Patrick also hooked me up with quite a few 2014 and 2015 Topps cards. I have gone from having only a handful of 2015 Reds to needing only two for the whole team set. So if you have an extra Daniel Corcino (209) or Kristopher Negron (547) laying around, shoot me a message.

Patrick also gave up a couple of hard-to-find gems. First, from 2015…

Gapper and Rosie

Rosie Red and Gapper dancing on a special All-Star Game card that was available during the FanFest, and I believe a few were handed out at RedsFest as well.

And then, from 2006…

Nuxy

The ol’ left-hander, Joe Nuxhall, from a set that I’m not familiar with. I tracked down a Chuck Harmon card from this same set online, but no full checklist or information about how they were distributed. I love getting cards that I know nothing about, because that just means I have something else to learn.

The Reds want lists have been fully updated to the best of my knowledge. You might have noticed that there are some non-Reds things in some of the stacks pictured at the beginning of this post. I got some nice stacks of Shawon Dunston, Chris Sabo, Kurt Stillwell, and Doug Dascenzo as well from my family for Christmas. I will eventually update those want lists at All-American Baseball Cards and fire that blog up again. I haven’t posted since January there, but I think I have a way to overcome the monotony of what I was writing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2016 on that.

Thank you again Greg and Patrick for the cards you sent! I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and that 2016 is awesome!

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Devin Mesoraco

Mesoraco

The 2014 All-Star hasn’t played in over a week, and during that stretch the Reds have only won two games and lost five. Coincidence? Would Devin Mesoraco have driven in a few of those dreaded “runners left on base” during those games? Injuries and bullpen woes were the downfall of the team last year, but it’s too early to write off 2015 already, isn’t it?

The kindness of bloggers

I recently sent Jim at GCRL a handful of Dodger cards, and he responded in kind with some Reds goodies. Here are a few of the cards that are now a part of my collection…

14 mesoraco

The Redlegs just signed their up-and-coming catcher Devin Mesoraco to a new 4-year deal worth $28 million. It boggles my mind that sports contracts are so much today. And we keep supporting them by shelling out big bucks to the games, at the concession stands, at the souvenir shops. I get by as cheaply as I can, and I don’t load up on souvenirs and such, but it’s still a mystery to me how they get away with it.

00 casey

Sean Casey was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame a few years ago. I never really paid much attention to “The Mayor,” as his career was largely during my dark days of “baseball is for kids” days. During that time, very few players were on my radar, and Casey simply wasn’t one of them.

10 harang gold

A few years ago, I joked that Aaron Harang always pitched when we went to a game. I couldn’t stand seeing him on the mound, but it seemed like every single time we went to the park he was the starting pitcher. Then, for the 2011 season, he signed a free agent contract with the Padres. And wouldn’t you know it, the very first Reds game we went to was against the Padres, and Harang was pitching. I saw him again late in the 2013 season when the Mets came to town. I’m willing to bet we will go to a game in 2015, and he’ll be pitching for the Phillies. I just can’t stay away from Aaron Harang.

08 volquez

I liked Edinson Volquez, and was upset when the Reds traded him to San Diego for Mat Latos. To me, Latos never lived up to his potential, and I was not upset when he got shipped off to Miami this year (where he will probably wind up winning the Cy Young Award). Meanwhile, Volquez signed a 2-year deal with a team option for 2017 with the Kansas City Royals. I don’t think he’ll replace James Shields, but hopefully he’ll be more like the 2008/2014 Volquez than the 2009-2013 Volquez for KC.

Thank you for the cards, Jim!

Fun Cards: 1988 Fleer All-Star Team Devin Mesoraco

All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds

Devin Mesoraco is a rising star. A first-time All-Star in 2014, he finished with 25 home runs for the Cincinnati Reds. The last Reds catcher to hit that many? It’s not that hard to guess: Johnny Bench in 1977. Bench hit 25 or more eight times in his career. I expect no less from the 2007 first-round draft pick Mesoraco.

Fun Cards Submissions: The 2014 Reds All-Stars!

TWJ contributor Patrick sent these “fun cards” of the 2014 Reds All-Stars over last night, styled after the 1970 Topps All-Stars. It’s great to see Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier, and Devin Mesoraco honored by the coaches and players by being selected to the team this year. And it’s great to see them on a classic design like the 1970 Topps All-Stars. Thanks Patrick!

Johnny Cueto All-Star

Aroldis Chapman All-Star

Todd Frazier All-Star

Devin Mesoraco All-Star

Congratulations, Reds All-Stars!

Reds All-Stars

Pitchers Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman, third baseman Todd Frazier, and catcher Devin Mesoraco have all been selected to the 2014 All-Star Team! This is Chapman’s third straight All-Star berth, while the others will be representing the Reds for the first time in their careers. Frazier and Mesoraco have been especially important to the Reds this year, providing the offense as the high-paid superstars have floundered. Congratulations, and have fun in Minnesota!

Click here to see the full rosters!

Fun Cards Submission: 1972 Topps Devin Mesoraco “Boyhood Photos of the Stars”

Mesoraco Boyhood Photos

Young Cincinnati backstop Devin Mesoraco was a first-round draft pick out of Punxsutawney High School in Pennsylvania in 2007 and made a fairly quick ascension to the major leagues. He had a brief setback last season, and is still not hitting as well as fans would like, but at age 25 he has time to develop into a fine young ballplayer. Hopefully, with veteran Ryan Hanigan showing him the ropes, Mesoraco will learn to shore up his game on both defense and offense and grow into a superstar behind the plate.

Thanks to TWJ contributor Patrick for this “fun card” showing Mesoraco on the 1972 Topps “Boyhood Photos of the Stars” design.

Chasing the Dream

I have been in the “anti-foil on baseball cards” camp for a long time, and I still am, but there are always exceptions. Topps produced an insert for the 2013 set called “Chasing the Dream,” and I have to say that the cards look phenomenal and probably would not be so awesome if they didn’t have foil.

Mesoraco Chasing the Dream 2013 Topps

Thanks to Crackin Wax, I now own the 2013 Topps “Chasing the Dream” Devin Mesoraco card. This young catcher will not erase Johnny Bench from the minds of Cincinnati Reds fans, but he has displayed a lot of intensity on the field, and with a little seasoning could turn into a very solid backstop.

Redsfest 2011: Devin Mesoraco

We got word of the 1 p.m. signers while waiting in line for Tom Browning. The boys wanted to get Devin Mesoraco, and he was signing in the “kids only” line.

Personally, I love the “kids only” lines. I don’t look like a kid anymore, so I don’t get an autograph, but that’s okay. I still have fun watching my boys smile as they receive something from a major leaguer.

The problem is that we didn’t have any Mesoraco cards. That doesn’t me we weren’t prepared. Friday afternoon I printed off a bunch of custom cards for the players that were missing from our collections. Some of the cards you have seen before, like these Mez issues:

There are a few that you haven’t seen yet, though. Such as the ones I will post tomorrow.

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