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If I made a baseball card set called “Opening Day”…

It would look a lot like the 1987 Donruss “Opening Day” set. Not design-wise, but concept-wise. It would feature only the starters from Opening Day, perhaps the manager or mascot as well. It would (if possible) feature photos from Opening Day. I would definitely avoid using the same photo as used in the flagship set. Thirty teams, ten cards per team…a nice 300-card set featuring the starting lineup for each team.

Ichiro

The Mariners and A’s played the first game of the 2019 season early Wednesday morning in Japan. Well, it wasn’t early in Japan, but it was early here in the States. 5:30 a.m. Eastern time. I was able to watch the first inning and a half before my shift at work ended.

The Mariners Blog posted a bunch of fantastic photos, and I converted several of them into “fun cards.” The only player omitted from that post was Jay Bruce, but I was able to find a photo for him from an exhibition game played earlier in Japan.

The Mariners starting lineup was Bruce (1B), Dee Gordon (2B), Ryon Healy (3B), Tim Beckham (SS), Ichiro Suzuki (RF), Mitch Haniger (CF), Domingo Santana (LF), Omar Narvaez (C), Marco Gonzalez (P), and Edwin Encarnacion (DH). Scott Servais is the manager.

Bruce 1B

Gordon 2B

Healy 3B

Beckham SS

Haniger CF

Santana LF

Narvaez C

Gonzalez SP

Edwin DH

Servais MGR

It was not as easy finding photos on the A’s side. I’m sure there is a good blog that posted nice photos, but I didn’t spend a lot of time searching. I did find enough from the game on Twitter and Google to make five players and the manager. The A’s starting lineup was Matt Olson (1B), Jurickson Profar (2B), Matt Chapman (3B), Marcus Semien (SS), Stephen Piscotty (RF), Ramon Laureano (CF), Chad Pinder (LF), Nick Hundley (C), Mike Fiers (P), and Khris Davis (DH). They are managed by Bob Melvin.

Chapman 3B

Piscotty RF

Hundley C

Fiers P

Davis DH

Melvin MGR

This design has a definite 2007 Fleer flavor to them. Not what I was going for, but I don’t hate it. It may be a little too similar to other designs I have made in the past though.

I plan to make a few of these for the Reds as I find good photos from Opening Day. If other teams post some good pics on Twitter, I may do a few non-Reds as well. Is there anyone you would like to see in this design (assuming, of course, they are in the starting lineup next Thursday)?

Fun Cards Submissions: Topps Now Pete Rose

Rose

A lot of people made a big deal of Ichiro Suzuki “passing” Pete Rose with his 4257nd hit earlier this month. They combined Ichiro’s professional Japanese League numbers with his big league totals, but ignored the fact that Rose had another 427 hits in the minor leagues, which is also professional. The Lifetime Topps Project did an interesting breakdown of players with more than 4000 professional hits, including not only regular season play in the majors and minors, but also postseason and All-Star appearances. One name stood out more than Rose, Ichiro, Ty Cobb, and Derek Jeter to me: Jigger Statz. Sounds like a guy that The Infinite Baseball Card Set should profile.

I am not denying that Ichiro’s accomplishment is a big deal. It is! But he is not the professional hit king. Pete Rose is, and probably always will be. Unless Ichiro sticks around for a few more years, which I highly doubt, he will not pass Rose’s professional regular-season mark of 4683.

Rose

TWJ contributor Patrick sent over a couple of great “fun cards” to remind us all that Pete Rose is still the Hit King, and with the Reds Hall of Fame induction happening this weekend, there is no more appropriate time to post them here. I see Ron Robinson, Tony Perez, Dave Parker, and Max Venable in that shot. Can you identify anyone else?

Ichiro’s achievement was commemorated by The Shlabotnik Report recently.

As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”

I failed to check the MLB news yesterday before posting about the 2015 TWJ cards wrap-up. Well, let’s change some numbers. Instead of 125 base “revamped” cards, how about 126? This card is a special super-duper-short-unprinted card, added after the regular set was finalized, but it is even more widely available that most of the cards because it is posted both here and on TWJ cards on tumblr. How is that for an oxymoron?

One of the best hitters of his generation was given a chance to show his stuff on the mound. Ichiro Suzuki, the Japanese import that took America by storm fifteen years ago, pitched the eighth inning of yesterday’s Marlins game, giving up two doubles and one earned run.

Ichiro

I just had to make a card to commemorate the event, and I hope Topps follows suit next year, even if it is super-duper-short-printed.

I hope Ichiro has a little left in the tank. The free agent is only 65 hits shy of the magical 3000, but is there a team willing to give him a semi-regular job to reach that milestone?

If I had my druthers, I would love to see Ichiro in Cincinnati’s left field spot, occasionally spelling the bullpen for an inning during blowouts. Because 2016 promises to be another looooooong season for Reds fans.

Fun Cards: 1990 Donruss Ichiro

I’m still in shock.

Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the Yankees.

fake Ichiro baseball card

Photo credit: Getty Images

Wouldn’t it be something?

Ichiro Suzuki, in his first ten seasons in the major leagues, collected more than 200 hits per season. Seven of those seasons he was the league leader. He was selected to the All-Star Game in each of those seasons, won the Gold Glove Award each year, and picked up an MVP and Rookie of the Year trophy in the process.

2011 is a different story. Through 156 games, Ichiro has “only” 180 hits. His batting average is below .300 for the first time in his big league career, and he was not invited to the mid-summer classic.

The Mariners only have five games left in the season, including the one being played today. Five games, about four at-bats each game, there is the potential for about twenty more hits.

Unprecedented? Absolutely.

But what about Ichiro isn’t unprecedented?

2011 Fan Pack Challenge: Seattle Mariners

2009’s FPC champs didn’t respond to my first request this year, but didn’t ignore me the second time. As always, a very nice package from the Mariners, but not entirely different from what they sent 2 years ago. The activity page is exactly the same, and many of the stickers are identical, although laid out differently on the sticker sheet. Regardless, it’s a cool package and I’m glad to have it.

Here’s their score:
The inclusion of pocket schedule(s) = 1 points (featuring Felix Hernandez)
Stickers = 10 (including Felix and Ichiro Suzuki)
Baseball cards = 6 (Felix, Ichiro, Franklin Gutierrez, Moose the mascot, Michael Pineda, and broadcaster Dave Niehaus)
High-quality promotional items = 2 (mini-poster of Safeco with activities on the back, mini-poster of Ichiro and Felix with advertisements on the back)
Other stuff = 0
Timeliness = 10 points
TOTAL SCORE = 29 POINTS

To see the activity sheet, see my post from 2009.

And with 29 points, the Mariners currently find themselves in second place in the 2011 FPC, behind my Cincinnati Reds.

To get your own awesome Mariners fan pack, write a polite electronic letter to them at this link.

Garage sale goodies

My father-in-law likes to go to garage sales, and at a recent one he “negotiated” for a free box of sports cards to be thrown in with something he wanted to buy. When my wife told me about the box, I didn’t have very high hopes…I’ve gotten garage sale boxes before, and they are full of junk wax. This one was also full of junk wax, but there were a few gems hidden inside.

Most of the box was basketball cards, but there were a few keepers even among them. Rex Chapman, B.J. Armstrong, Dee Brown, Muggsy Bogues, and Patrick Ewing were a few of the basketball cards I pulled out for myself.

And then the baseball cards, including a Frank Robinson manager card, Scott Rolen cereal card, and Chris Sabo playing card.

There were also a few Topps Stars cards from 1998…

There was also what appeared to be a retail blaster of 2005 Topps. All the packs were opened, but there were some pretty cool cards inside…

But the best card in the box, hands-down, was a 1971 Fergie Jenkins. Not. A. Reprint.

If it weren’t for a small pinhole just below his left sleeve, this would be a very good condition 1971 card. The corners are nice, no creases, just a small pinhole.

In any case, this was a pretty good box…especially for free!

Ichiro’s pre-MLB days; a pantsless Psycho; a heated Hawk

While browsing YouTube this morning, I came across some neat videos of Ichiro Suzuki batting against MLB pitchers while still in Japan.

I also found Steve “Psycho” Lyons dropping his pants…

…and Andre Dawson going batty after a bad call…

I love how Dawson says the ump was being unprofessional during the post-game interview. Hello, kettle! Meet the pot!

YouTube is so awesome!

Here’s the mail, it never fails…

Last week I received packages from both Steve at White Sox Cards and Mark at Stats On The Back with some sweet Reds-ness in them. Due to several excuses (lack of padded envelopes, sick kids, weather conditions, my own pathetic laziness and procrastination), I have not gotten their packages in the mail yet, but they will be going out on Tuesday. But I wanted to go ahead and post some of the goodies they sent along…

Never heard of this guy, but a look at his b-r page shows he played a few games for the ‘Legs in 2009 before being traded to the Mariners.

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE.

A guy I have liked since the first time I saw him. I have high hopes for CD and the Reds in ’10.

I’m a little uneasy with this pairing…a good, clean HOF player (Bench) and a stinkin’ cheater (that other guy, on the right).

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t like Bench at all if he didn’t play for the Reds. But at least Bubble Fudge wasn’t as bad as PEDs (or was it?).

The Reds are celebrating on the front of this card. Maybe from a walk-off homer, maybe from a walk. Not really sure. They didn’t have a whole lot to celebrate in their sub-.500 season last year.

Some people have been giving UD some flack on this card. But hey, they’re allowed to look at each other that way. They’ve seen each other naked.

Steve also sent along a couple of cards of Ichiro, one of the non-Reds that I like.

Thanks Steve and Mark!

Anyone else who has some Reds that they want to get rid of, see my previous three posts!

2010 Baseball Cards have arrived!

For me, the new year doesn’t truly start until the new baseball cards hit the shelves. I’ve said a million times that I’m not going to buy packs, but when they’re new…it’s hard to resist. So tonight at Walmart, I went to see if they had the Topps cards yet…and they did. AND they had Upper Deck. Now I haven’t seen any images around the web of the new UD cards, so I had no idea what to expect. And I’m writing this post before looking at other blogs just to keep my opinion as uninfluenced by others as possible. So without further rambling…on to the cards.

I’m not posting every card here, but rather just the Reds and a couple of other favorites.


The front of the card is good, if not great. This design has really grown on me over the past several months. The only change I would make on the front of this card is to make the photo a teensy bit smaller so you can see Homer’s entire right hand. But that’s a very minor thing. The reverse side is also cool, and the stats are readable.


I don’t like the new RC logo. I thought I did at first, but now that I’m holding a card in my hand, it just looks out of place. I do believe it’s better than the previous logo, but I still don’t like it. Turn the card over, and you see “Rookie Card” also printed under the player’s position. That I do like…at least for now.


What luck…three Reds in one jumbo pack. I’m a happy man, especially since one of those was from an insert set and features a Hall of Famer. I’m not a huge fan of Johnny Bench, but he did play for the Reds…so I have to like him a little.


Those who have followed this blog for very long know that I’m a huge Griffey fan. I won’t spend insane amounts of money on his autographs or jerseys, but I love the base cards. This is a great card showing that sweet swing of The Kid. On the reverse, even with 21 years of stats, they are still readable. And wow…look at that…630 home runs. Can he hang around for 31 more?


Ichiro is another of my favorite non-Reds players. I’ve been a fan of the man ever since he came from Japan. The back of his card even makes reference to his pre-MLB career in Japan: “most (hits) professionally by a Japanese-born player (3,308).”


These cards are fantastic. This particular one won’t stay in my collection for long, but I wanted to post it because of the back. I want to say a big thank you to Topps for including not only the current team leader and the 2009 leader, but the all-time team leader for the stats on these team cards. It’s a great way to say, “Hey, baseball has been around for a while and there are a lot of older players that you need to know about.” Hopefully this will spur younger collectors on to research some of these older players, like Ed Walsh and Billy Pierce.

I got a few other cards in the pack, including a couple other inserts, but none that I plan to keep. After I let my kids pick through them, I’ll post a list of what I have left and they will be available for trade.

And on to the Upper Deck. In case you were not aware…

Seems like they are kind of proud of that, no? Only two Reds out of the 36-card pack, and not really any others I plan on hanging on to. But I want to post those two Reds and my thoughts on the Upper Deck design.




In short, I like them. Not love…but I haven’t really loved an Upper Deck release since, well maybe never. 1989 is the benchmark, and in my mind they have never come close to achieving the beauty of that set since.

The front is cool with two photos. I still don’t like full-bleed, and probably never will. The player names are in foil (which I HATE…but everyone does it, including Topps), but the team name city and position are in white print.

The back of the cards are upside-down (a beef I had with other card companies way back in the 1980s…just do it the way Topps does it! Don’t rock the boat), but I like what’s printed there. The photo is in color, the stats lines are in a readable print, and there is a little bio blurb on the left side underneath the card number and UD logo. Nothing too fancy, but not too boring either.

As with the Topps, I’m going to let the kids go through them and pick a few of these for their collections, then I will post the rest for trade.

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