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Giving credit where credit is due…

That will teach me to rely on my faulty memory. I posted this earlier, attributing the awesome assortmant of Reds cards to @vossbrink, who is a pretty awesome person. He quickly pointed out that the cards did not come from him, so I checked my messages again. The cards actually came from another awesome person, @ShaneKatz73! Sorry about the confusion. What follows is the original post, slightly edited.

Reds

New friend @ShaneKatz73, who blogs at Off The Wall, impressed me with a box of Reds he recently sent my way. There was a little bit of everything in this package from the 1960s all the way to today. As a fan of oddball cards, I was not at all surprised to find several non-standard cards in the box. Here are a few of my favorites…

Cardenas

From 1967, a Topps poster insert. This puppy measures 5×7 and is a great addition to my collection. I’m a big fan of Leo Cardenas, and he’s a big fan of baseball fans. My oldest son and I ran into him once at the Reds Hall of Fame…not a scheduled event, he was just there hanging out. He took the time to shake our hands and gave my son, who was a soccer player at the time, a little advice: “Always eat your breakfast!”

Bonham

A beat-up 1979 Kellogg’s Bill Bonham, without its lenitcularness.

Bench

A 1982 Drake’s Big Hitters Johnny Bench. I have had the 1981 Drake’s set since I was a little kid, and was aware of other Drake’s sets, but don’t think I’ve ever seen one until recently. Shane sent over several different Drake’s samples for me.

Trillo

A 1989 Topps BIG Manny Trillo…Manny Trillo played for the Reds? Sure enough, Trillo finished his big league career with 17 games in Cincinnati in 1989.

Chapman

A 2012 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Aroldis Chapman game-used jersey card. I’m not a relic or autograph chaser, to the point that I don’t even put them on my checklists. But I’m always happy to see them show up in blind trade packages.

Scooter

A 2018 Topps sticker Scooter Gennett. I love Topps stickers, and for the past three or four years I have liked the sticker designs better than the base card designs.

Shane also threw in a slew of Allen & Ginter and 1980s Fleer minis…

AG minis
minis

…and some Topps Heritage Minors and Topps Pro Debut, including three Billy Hamilton cards!

Hamilton

Overall, this was just a fantastic package and really fun to go through.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Shane also dove into some of my not-yet-official-non-Reds-player-collections…

Bo Knows

A 1987? 1988? 1989? 1990 even? Bo Jackson unlicensed Broder-type card. I love these things, but they are so difficult to nail down exactly what they are or where they came from.

Buddy

A 1978 O-Pee-Chee Buddy Bell. I don’t think I even have the Topps version of this card yet, that’s how far behind I am on organizing these.

Cobra

A 1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier Dave Parker! A rare celestial Cobra from late in his storied career.

Jackson

…and a big stack of Reggie Jackson cards!

I really have to get some wantlists started for these non-Reds collections.

Thank you for the cards Shane, and sorry again for my earlier confusion! If anyone wants to dispose of any Red Sox cards, contact @ShaneKatz73 on Twitter!

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Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

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

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.

Stillwell

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.

The Jacksons

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

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.

Horror

Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.

Music

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.

A one in a million trader

I don’t post the cards I receive in the mail very often anymore on here. I usually post them to Twitter then put them in the stack to be sorted. I think I will change that, because this blog needs some lovin’. So here is a trade recently completely with Beau of the One Million Cubs Project, who I met via Twitter (@onemillioncubs). I sent him a handful of Cubbies recently, and he loaded me up with Reds and Reggies.

Reggie Jackson is one of the non-Reds players that I collect, and Beau hit a few holes in my collection here. I don’t have an official wantlist, but I believe there are at least four cards in this lot that I didn’t previously have.

Reggie

Then there were the Reds. From Eric Davis to Tucker Barnhart to Pete Rose to Mario Soto, Beau scattered the selections throughout several eras of Cincinnati baseball.

Reds

And he sent over a few 2014 Allen & Ginters, which I don’t even have on my wantlists yet! I need to change that soon. I got a Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, and a mini Billy Hamilton rooooooookie card…

BHAM

And it’s always cool to get an autograph, even if you’ve never heard of the guy. Tanner Rainey was a second round draft pick in 2015 and split last year between Dayton and Pensacola, so he’s not a washout yet. Hope this guy can get to the bigs and help out the Reds…they sure need it on the mound.

Rainey

Eric Davis is another guy I collect everything of, whether Reds or not. It’s hard to find a Reds card of Davis I don’t have (though there are a handful), but when you send me Dodgers and Tigers and Orioles and Cardinals cards…there’s a good chance I don’t have it yet. Like Reggie, I don’t have a wantlist up yet, but maybe I’ll be able to change that this summer? (HAHA yeah right)

Davis

But what is this? Yes, it IS a Reds card of #44 I didn’t already have! From Baseball Cards Magazine…

Davis

Beau posted this and several more Reds from Baseball Cards Magazine, and I knew I had to ask if they could be included in the trade. Fortunately no one else had spoken up yet. If you need any of the non-Reds from the panels, let me know and they are yours (except for Darryl Strawberry, he’s already spoken for). The other Reds besides Davis were Barry Larkin, Randy Myers, Scott Scudder, Rosario Rodriguez, and Joe Oliver (sharing a card with John Wetteland of the Dodgers)…

Larkin

Myers

Scudder

Oliver

All of those came on uncut panels with other players, but they will be freed and bindered at some point.

Thanks Beau for an awesome trade!

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Reggie Jackson

Jackson

Reggie Jackson may have been my first favorite baseball player, or at the very least, my first favorite non-Reds player. I thought I remembered his 500th home run, but after looking it up, I don’t believe that is correct. His 500th came in 1984, slightly before I started paying attention to the sport. Perhaps I thought I remembered it because he was the last player to reach the milestone before Mike Schmidt in 1987, and I do remember Schmidt’s pursuit of the mark.

Reggie hit 563 home runs in all during the regular season, and 18 in the postseason. In 1973, he was named both the AL MVP an the World Series MVP for the Oakland A’s. He was also named the 1977 World Series MVP with the Yankees. His induction into the Hall of Fame was a no-brainer, which means the 27 voters who omitted his name from their ballots had no brains.

Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s by Jason Turbow (2017)

Dynasty, Bombastic, Fantastic Jason Turbow

Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s
by Jason Turbow
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic is the story of the Oakland A’s, a team stocked with some of the best players in baseball in the early 1970s. Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Dave Duncan, Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers…they all played a key role in the team’s dominant run of three straight World Championships from 1972 through 1974. None was a bigger star—in his own mind, at least—than owner Charlie O. Finley. The businessman moved the A’s from Kansas City shortly after securing the team, and shrewdly managed his personnel until baseball’s labor laws broke down, causing an exodus of not only the A’s but many major league rosters in the late 1970s. Finley’s first major loss came when his star pitcher Hunter jumped ship, just a few years after the owner stood his ground against another young pitcher (and kept him, at the time).

But Hunter’s departure came later; from 1972-1974, nothing could stop the Oakland powerhouse. Their three-year reign saw them defeat the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Mets, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it was not all smooth sailing. Contract disputes, poor attendance, arguments over playing time, and Finley’s manipulation of players play a major role in by Jason Turbow’s historical account. The author freely admits that Finley, if living, “wouldn’t likely appreciate his portrayal here.”

Besides the verbal clashes with the front office, there were a number of physical fights in the clubhouse as well. Turbow says, “I detail the major dustups in the book, but omitted many others that didn’t fit into the narrative. I had a recurring experience during my interviews: Player says that it was all overblown and the team didn’t fight as much as the media made out; I recount to a player a litany of the most prominent skirmishes; player goes quiet, shakes head and grudgingly agrees that maybe there’s something to it after all.”

Dynastic. Bombastic, Fantastic is a great way to get your blood pumping for another great season of baseball.

Learn more about Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Purchase Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s by Jason Turbow.

Becoming Mr. October by Reggie Jackson with Kevin Baker (2014)

Becoming Mr October Reggie Jackson New York Yankees

Becoming Mr. October
by Reggie Jackson with Kevin Baker
Anchor Books, 2014 (paperback)
320 pages

Before Derek Jeter, the Yankee most associated with postseason glory was Reggie Jackson. Nicknamed “Mr. October” for his offensive prowess in the World Series, particularly with the Yankees (8 home runs, 17 RBI, .400 batting average in 15 games), Jackson epitomized superstardom in the Big Apple. In his memoir Becoming Mr. October, the slugger recounts his 1977 and 1978 seasons in New York, including his feuds with teammate Thurman Munson, manager Billy Martin, and owner George Steinbrenner, and the infamous interview with Robert Ward that set him at odds with his teammates right off the bat.

Jackson begins his memoir as a college athlete at Arizona State University, then quickly moving through his time with the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles to set the stage for his debut with the Yankees. The first four chapters of the book deal with his pre-New York baseball career, while the final twenty-one chapters recall the events of just two seasons; there is no mention of playing for the California Angels or returning to Oakland at the end of his career. The writing style is extremely casual, almost to the point of distraction. This includes the use of text lingo such as “LOL” in some instances.

Overlooking that flippancy, though, Becoming Mr. October is a valuable resource as it presents Jackson’s side of the story. He had been villainized by the press and Yankee management, but was mot at the time afforded the opportunity to present his version of events. Further upset with his portrayal in The Bronx Is Burning (“the whole way they portrayed ‘Reggie Jackson in New York’ was a huge disconnect for me”), the Hall of Famer offers his take on what really happened during his first two seasons in pinstripes.

Learn more about Anchor Books.

Purchase Becoming Mr. October by Reggie Jackson with Kevin Baker.

Dave Kingman belongs in the Hall of Fame, obviously!

Dave Kingman belongs in the Hall of Fame obviously

Since the exposure of the inflated statistics of the steroid era, it is high time to re-examine the case of Dave Kingman for the Hall of Fame. The first 400-home run hitter to be denied entry into Cooperstown, Kingman shared his talents on the baseball diamond with fans in seven cities. Instead of writing several lengthy chapters to convince you of Kingman’s obvious worthiness, I’m going to go with simple bullet points. All of these could easily be expounded upon. Feel free to disagree. It’s your choice if you want to be wrong.

  • 442 home runs, 40th on the all-time list. But if you remove all the ‘roiders, he moves up to 31st, and if you remove all the guys that passed him after he retired, that puts him around 22nd at the time of his retirement. The 22nd-best clean home run hitter of all-time at the time of his retirement definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
  • He made the All-Star team in three different seasons. That’s more than Babe Ruth, and Babe Ruth is in the Hall of Fame. If you’ve done something more than Babe Ruth, you’ve really done something there.
  • He received MVP votes in five seasons, four times in the NL and once in the AL. If you will recall, Frank Robinson was the first player to ever win the MVP in both leagues. Frank Robinson is in the Hall of Fame. Do I need to go on? OK, I will.
  • Hit thirty or more home runs seven times in a sixteen-year career; five other times he topped twenty. In the pre-steroid era, that’s spectacular.
  • Some try to put a negative spin on Kingman’s status as a legend by pointing to his strikeouts. You know who had more strikeouts than Kingman? Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
  • He had a 1.167 OPS for the Yankees. 1.167!
  • He was a Diamond King in 1982. So were nine Hall of Famers, including Gary Carter, Rod Carew, Phil Niekro, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Ivan De Jesus. Wait, forget that last one.
  • He was a Super Veteran in 1983. Not just a Regular Veteran, a Super Veteran.

Some solid bullet points, right? I thought so too. Let’s get Kingman in the Hall! Download the badge, resize it to your heart’s content, and display it proudly on your blog!

Too big for a binder: Donruss All-Stars

I love the oddball sets of the 1980s, from the 33-card boxed sets you could find at Kmart, Toys R Us, and just about everywhere else, to the cards you had to cut out from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese boxes. But these cards absolutely drove me insane: the big Donruss All-Star cards from 1983 through 1987. Sure, there were plenty of great players included in these issues, but they were too big for a binder and difficult to store. I still haven’t figured out exactly what to do with them.

The 1983 version was horizontal, such as this Reggie Jackson:

Mr October 1983 Donruss

Donruss flipped the card right-side-up in 1984 and kept them that way the rest of the run, as this 1985 Don Mattingly shows:

Donnie Baseball 1985 Donruss

But they were still too big at 3.5×5. There were also the “pop-up” cards featuring the starters from the game, such as this 1986 Jack Morris:

Morris Donruss All Star

In 1988, Donruss finally wised up and shrunk the cards back down to regular size and they fit nicely into standard baseball card pages.

1983 Donruss and the search for a Hall of Fame rookie card

pack 1

pack 2

I picked up two rack packs of 1983 Donruss last night at the Redsfest for $1 each. I thought surely they were just in the wrong place on the table, but no…$1 each. And with a Reggie Jackson Diamond King showing on top, how could I resist?

Of course, the only real reason to buy packs from 1983 is to find a rookie card of Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, or Ryne Sandberg. So did I do it? Find out after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry

Who is the greatest right fielder of all-time?

Hammerin Hank

The only real surprise in right field may be the order of the rankings, as nine of the top ten right fielders are already enshrined in Cooperstown. Two players topped the 300-point mark, with Hank Aaron (362.05) beating out Babe Ruth (331.13) for the #1 spot. Even when removing the awards and All-Star appearances, Aaron still edges out Ruth for the top spot, though only by a mere .42 points.

Triple Crown Frank

I feel that Frank Robinson (#3, 289.8) is one of the most under-appreciated ballplayers in history, and his spot on this list supports at least the notion that he was a great right fielder. The man won two MVP awards and was a Triple Crown hitter, but is almost never mentioned among the all-time greats.

Reggie

Continuing down the list: Mel Ott (#4, 268.80), Al Kaline (#5, 265.82), Roberto Clemente (#6, 264.23), Andre Dawson (#7, 247.13), Reggie Jackson (#8, 244.48), and Dave Winfield (#9, 234.04). That’s right, all you Hawk haters, Dawson beats Mr. October. Granted, it’s because of Reggie’s less-than-stellar fielding; if offense were the only thing considered here Jackson would win the head-to-head battle.

Vladdy

The last name on the top ten list is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame: the recently retired Vladimir Guerrero (#10, 233.95). While there is little doubt Guerrero will eventually have a plaque hanging in the Hall, he may not make it his first time on the ballot considering recent elections. If Craig Biggio, a 3000-hit club member, can’t make it his first try, how can you elect a player who didn’t hit any magic numbers on his first ballot appearance? Only time will tell.

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