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Happy Reds birthday, Josh Hamilton!

Hamilton

May 21, 1981

His star rose, then fell, then rose again, only to be toppled. Drugs are bad, mmmkay? Josh Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, is a man without a team. After five straight All-Star appearances, Hamilton faltered for the next three, and has not played in the majors since 2015. An amazing talent, but he couldn’t defeat his demons.

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Reds junk from the Barves Junkie

Griffey

There has not been a new post on the Cardboard Junkie website in four months. But Dave is still quite active on Twitter as @CardJunk, and after telling him that I wanted to send him some Barves cards, he said he had some Reds set aside for me. His package arrived last week. Here’s some of the awesomeness contained inside:

Hamilton

Perez

A couple of “1st Home Run” inserts from 2015 Topps featuring Josh Hamilton and Tony Perez. I don’t recall seeing any of these last year, and if I did, I certainly didn’t notice that some were silver and some were gold.

red

Lutz

Leake

Cueto

Some parallel goodies. Red-bordered Jonathan Broxton from 2014, and man, Reds players sure look good on red-bordered cards. The emerald green borders look sharp too, but I bet Donald Lutz would look better in an A’s uniform on that card. The Mike Leake is a mini, alternate-colored bordered Gypsy Queen. And a black-bordered Johnny Cueto Heritage. Are there any sets that don’t have some sort of parallel anymore?

Pineda

Autographed goodness! Luis Pineda only played two seasons in the bigs, and only one for the Reds. But I got his scribbles now!

Hoffman

Future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman never played for the Cincinnati Reds, but he spent some time in the organization before going to Miami Florida in the 1992 expansion draft.

Franco

Another fantastic reliever, John Franco, from the 1987 Topps sticker set.

Larkin

Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, from the 1987 Classic green border set. I already had the yellow border card from the travel edition, but the green border features a different photo and everything.

Perez

Nolan

Cline

Now we’re starting to get vintagey with a trio of ’70s cards. Tony Perez, 1976. Gary Nolan, 1972. Ty Cline, 1971.

Cardenas

Even more vintage. Leo Cardenas, 1968. This card is going to look fantastic with Leo’s scribbles on it. The only question is whether I wait until December at Redsfest or try to catch him at the Reds Hall of Fame this summer.

There was a ton of other stuff in the package…

Junk

…including a card that I didn’t even discover until I went to scan them last night. In addition to all the Reds goodies, Dave included a special 1/1 sketch card of one of my very favorite vampires…

Nosferatu

NOSFERATU!

A pleasant surprise slid in between two other cards in one of the hard cases. I absolutely love this sketch card!

Long gone

Hamilton goes yard four times

Josh Hamilton became only the sixteenth player in MLB history to hit four home runs in one game. Babe Ruth never did it; neither did Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, or Barry Bonds. Hamilton joins Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig, Ed Delahanty, Chuck Klein, Willie Mays, and Mike Schmidt, and ten other non-Hall of Famers, including Gil Hodges, Bob Horner, and former Red Mike Cameron.

Zombiefied World Series

Congratulations are in order to the Texas Rangers for making the World Series this year. I suppose the same should be said for the St. Louis Cardinals, even though they shouldn’t have been in the playoffs to begin with.

Has the Wild Card team ever had homefield advantage in the World Series? Bud Selig, you’re such a misunderstood genius.

A couple of years ago, I made a post of zombiefied players from the Phillies and Yankees, who would be facing off in the World Series. I thought I would bring back that theme after watching the killer season 2 premiere of “The Walking Dead” on AMC. What a fantastic show. If you haven’t seen it, check out season 1 (only six episodes, streaming on Netflix now) and find a find a friend who DVR’d the season 2 premiere before next Sunday night.

Here is Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, representing the Texas Braingers and the St. Louis Cannibals…

Want to play around with your own zombifications? Zombieland is your one-stop site for all things reanimated.

Fun Card: 1987 Fleer “Super Star Special” David Ortiz/Josh Hamilton

David Ortiz and Josh Hamilton chatting it up during the workout on Monday. I wonder what they’re looking at off in the distance? Maybe they’re laughing at Cliff Lee‘s shoes.

Valuable Redlegs

I’m still pumped about Joey Votto‘s victory over the evil Albert Pujols (who is not really evil, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?) in the 2010 NL MVP vote. Of course, Votto was not the first Cincinnati player to win the award. The Reds Hall of Fame site has a good article recapping past winners from the Queen City – Ernie Lombardi, Bucky Walters, Frank McCormick, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench (x2), Pete Rose, Joe Morgan (x2), George Foster, and Barry Larkin.

There was also a former Red in the spotlight this week with Josh Hamilton winning the AL MVP award. That got me to thinking – how many former Reds were MVP winners? Unless I’m missing someone, you have to go all the way back to Frank Robinson in 1966, who won with the Orioles (after taking home the prize with the Reds earlier in his career). Before that you have to go back to Jim Konstanty and his 1950 win with the Phillies.

There are also a number of guys who won an MVP before their time in Cincinnati: Ken Griffey Jr., Terry Pendleton, Kevin Mitchell, Dave Parker, and Don Newcombe among them. And who could forget Rollie Fingers, who was almost a Red, but wouldn’t sign because of the “no facial hair” rule at the time.

2009 Topps Josh Hamilton

Another former Reds player who is still in the big leagues, Josh Hamilton serves as an inspiration to us all that you can overcome your demons with hard work and perseverance. I won’t rehash the story because it’s been told a thousand times, but Hamilton is a good example of good-guy-gone-bad-turning-around-and-going-good-again. He only played 90 games for the Reds in 2007, but slugged 19 homers with a .292 average in those 90 games. In 2008, he led the AL with 130 RBI. Hamilton was voted to start in the last two All-Star games as a Texas Ranger, but had a disappointing season due to injury. Hopefully in 2009 we will see Josh back out there doing what he does best – slamming baseballs over the fence.

While I was disappointed in the Reds for trading him, the truth is Hamilton is better off in Texas. Cincinnati players just get no love, no publicity. As a Ranger, he will get a lot more face time on ESPN and that will translate into bigger paychecks and a much larger fan base.

And while your mind is on the guy, be sure to check out the best Josh Hamilton blog out there – The Hamiltonian.

Photo credit: TimeKeeper Photography

The Midsummer Yawner

The rosters were announced today for the MLB All-Star Game. I don’t know if I could be any less excited. No Griffey, no Soriano, no Hanigan. What’s to root for? A few of my AL votes got in: Ichiro, Hamilton, Mauer, and Longoria. Don’t yell at me for voting for Hamilton. I don’t care if he has been out injured. He’s one of my few favorites left in the bigs, he’s going to get my vote. Same with Griffey. He will always get my vote, as long as his name is on the ballot.

In the NL, I got nothing. Zero. Zilch. Of course, I voted for all Reds and Cubs, both of whom really stink this year. Yeah, I should have voted for Pujols, since he is the best player in the game today. There’s no discussion there. I’m not a fan of Big Al, but I can’t deny his amazing talent either. He is simply the best. But he’s no Votto. (Again, I don’t care if he has been out injured [or whatever]. He’s going to get my vote.)

What really hurts is the reserves. The Reds lone representative: reliever Francisco Cordero.

Francisco Cordero All-Star baseball card Reds

A reliever? Give me a break. The most ridiculous position in the sport, and that’s the only Cincinnati player TPTB deemed worthy of All-Star status. (No offense to Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton.)

I really wanted Ryan Hanigan to get the nod, even though I knew he wouldn’t. But a guy can dream, can’t he?

Oh well. I’m working the night of the game, so probably won’t get to see much of it anyway. And it really doesn’t matter much, since I wouldn’t recognize most of the players on the field.

TTM Success!

Back in spring training, my son and I decided to send a few cards to Josh Hamilton at the Rangers camp. I had given up on them, and even last week when my son asked when they would be coming back, I told him they probably wouldn’t. Hamilton had a great season and became a national sensation at the All-Star break when he competed in the Home Run Derby. Lo and behold, we opened the mailbox today to find this…

and this…

and this…

Hamilton signed and returned all three cards we sent! The Turkey Red belongs to my son, the other two are mine. There was much celebrating in my house at mail time today!

I’m not the only one with a recent Hamilton success, either. The Hamiltonian got a custom card signed, and Bad Wax scored too!

Fun Cards of the All-Stars

Way back before the season began, Mike from Awesomely Bad Wax Packs approached me with the idea of producing a set of fun cards for the baseball card blogging community. Due to my apathy and inability to complete anything I start, it didn’t go very far. However, I did finish some cards. Read the rest of this entry

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