Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas time and Computer Woes...

Greetings all.

Well here we are at Christmas time and what do you know, my computer is dead. What we first suspected was the power supply may now be a motherboard problem. Woohoo! This is a $2000 machine that's less than a year and a half old. I think it got zapped by lightning or a power surge last week when my power went out.

So I'm writing this on my parents computer where I'll be until the day after Christmas. Hopefully I'll know what's wrong and can get some parts to bring my computer back to life.

So anyone that's sent me cards in trade and haven't gotten an email that I've gotten them, never fear I'll see them when I get home and find some way to let everyone know.

That's all I've got. Have a great Christmas everyone and good luck for the new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mail day from Joe Collector and MLB Collector...

The generosity of this community astounds me. I've recieved packages from JV at Treasure Never Buried, and the afore mentioned from Stats on the Back among others. My only regret is that in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty new to this world and don't have too much to offer in return. The fourteen year gap in my collection has meant that I'm essentially starting from scratch on this thing.

I have decided that as much as I'm enjoying myself, 2009 will be the first year that I actively collect a set in fifteen years. I haven't decided which one yet, but my goal is to put together a set by hand and do my best to get into this on line trading more than I am at the present.

Speaking of, two packages went out today, one to MLB Collector and the other to Hand Collated. I apologize for the lateness of getting these out, time has really slipped away from me over the past several weeks.

All that said, over the past several days two packages have come in that have me pretty excited. The first is a huge box from I Am Joe Collector that I haven't even begun to sift through.



Just for an idea of how large this box is, that's a 24 inch wide screen monitor in the background. And yes, that's Kirby from Nintendo fame sitting there peeping out over the box.

Like I said I haven't even made a dent in sifting through this box, but just looking at it something popped out at me. In the sea of white edged cards there were a few browns here and there. Hmmmmm. Being the lover of old cards that I am, those were the places I inspected first. Granted there weren't many of them, but thrown in the mix here and there were a few late 80s Topps. One 88 (Andres Galarraga, one of my all time favorites), a few 89's, but most importantly, one 87. I looked at it and thought "I've never seen this one before."

That's right, I'm now one card closer in my pursuit of the complete 1987 set.



That card is Dale Mohorcic. Mohorcic had a short but interesting career in the Bigs. From April 6th through the 20th of 1986 he appeared in a record thirteen straight games in relief.

Dale's claim to fame, however, came in a 1987 game against the Brewers where he was accused of tampering with the baseball, though the umpire's investigation showed no evidence and play resumed. After the game, however, Mohorcic began to complain of a sore throat and was taken to the hospital where he was found to be bleeding internally from swallowing a piece of sand paper.

The card notes that he attended Cleveland (Ohio) State University, not to be confused with the much more well known Cleveland, Tennessee, where I bought a Big Daddy's Truck Stop hat probably fifteen years ago.

Moving right along.

This afternoon an envelope showed up from Joe at MLB Collector containing a beautiful 1988 Score Andre Dawson.

Readers of this site should be well aware of my grand annoyance at pulling very, very few low numbered cards out of my box of '88 Score. Now thanks to trades and generous readers, I'm 16 cards away from the complete set and don't need many of those low numbered cards. But Mr. Dawson is one that I did need.

Funny thing about this card, is that this will be twice in the past several days that this card has been displayed on a card site. 30 Year old Cardboard wrote about it here.

Since you can see the front of the card there, I'll show you the back, complete with Score's high quality copy writing. The quality of the photography, writing and the general quality of the card stock really make this one of the best sets of the 80s. It's unfortunate that it's so often overlooked.



I apologize for the poor quality of these scans, I'm learning to use the first new scanner/printer/thing I've had in ten years, so it's taking some time.

I've decided that I'm gonna keep this place up and running too, not a daily thing, but I'm having fun with it and I've got a few more posts in me. I still need to get around to posting some cards from the package from Stats on the Back and I'm sure there will be something of interest in this box from Joe Collector.

But that's all for now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mail day from Stats on the Back

It's been raining just about non-stop for the past two days. We're under flood warnings and the creek in my back yard is turning into a river. The weather has been strange this year. Last week this was what you saw out my front door...



And today, this is out my back door...



It's in the 60s today, nice compared to last week's highs in the 30s... but it's supposed to snow tonight.

This is the third time I've started this post because the power has gone out twice. It was out for about two hours this morning. Strange strange strange.

Oh well.

So I went down to the mail box today in the rain and what do I find? A package... from Stats on the Back. YAY. Nothing better than flipping through new (to me) baseball cards on a rainy day. Fortunately my other hobby is collecting knvies because this package was a bitch to get into.



The cards and the Benchmade 710 (aka. best knife ever made) I used to open the package.

Also included, as padding so the cards didn't flop around, were a pack of 87 Donruss and two packs of 88 Donruss. I always liked 87 Donruss but never got to open any packs, so it was a nice treat. And I'm sorry to admit this, but I LOVE '88 Donruss. I hope that didn't kill my credibility as a collector.

I'll throw up some scans later once I learn how to use my new super-duper all in one printer/scanner/copier/fax/toaster oven/can opener thingy.

Now to go look at some new (to me) baseball cards. A BIG thanks to Stats on the Back!

Friday, November 28, 2008

1987 Topps

Here's a list of 87 Topps that I need to complete the set (I think, I'm sure I missed a few).

2, 10, 11, 13, 20, 29, 39, 43, 46, 54, 57, 74, 83, 86, 90, 104, 109, 123, 128, 130, 143, 145, 147, 151, 164, 193, 198, 201, 210, 221, 223, 230, 231, 238, 252, 272, 273, 277, 287, 304, 320, 321, 327, 329, 338, 348, 350, 351, 357, 358, 367, 368, 369, 376, 378, 392, 394, 395, 403, 407, 410, 411, 412, 429, 438, 440, 455, 461, 463, 466, 468, 476, 477, 480, 497, 504, 505, 506, 508, 518, 524, 535, 539, 548, 550, 555, 575, 579, 585, 589, 590, 599, 602, 608, 616, 620, 630, 632, 640, 645, 647, 648, 649, 651, 657, 665, 668, 676, 677, 679, 682, 703, 704, 714, 718, 720, 721, 726, 727, 735, 739, 748, 757, 778, 787, 788, 789

I'm in the middle of a trade with Capewood (helping him complete his 1987 set) that should net me four of the remaining 17 '88 Score cards I need. They are 47, 302, 417 and 602.

I've got two boxes full of '87 Topps and '88 Score doubles if anyone else is working on one of those sets, let me know and I'll send what I've got (I'm running out of room).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One last (probably) post...

I haven't written anything here for a while and really didn't intend to, but I figured I'd throw up the final list of what I need if anyone out there's got them.

1 Don Mattingly
4 Andre Dawson
5 Mark McGwire
24 Kirby Puckett
47 Mike Stanley
49 David Cone
107 Fred McGriff
236 Bob Brower
278 Jerry Browne
302 Jim Lindeman
354 Jim Deshaies
361 Sal Butera
417 Danny Heep
602 Les Lancaster
631 Gary Thurman
634 Roberto Kelly
637 Mike Devereaux

If you have any of these and need some '87 Topps or '88 Score, let me know what you want.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Final totals... thus far

Well, I figured I should post a final checklist. Twenty years after I started, I have 446 of the 660 cards in the set.

I'm debating where I want to go from here. Will it be worth it to pick up a second box? I really don't know. How many of these cards are out there to be had outside of boxes? Is it worth my time looking through the online trading sites for the 214 cards I'm missing? Especially when the cost of shipping one card will be four times what the card is most likely worth.

Here is my current checklist (.doc file). If you can help me out here let me know. I don't know what I can give in return, but I'll see what I can come up with... I've got a growing stack of 1987 Topps sitting next to me that I could part ways with.

If anyone else is looking for 1988 Score, let me know, I've got several hundred doubles in my commons box now. I'll try to get a list of those up within several days.

I've started a new site to clean up a few things that I started here and to expand on my thoughts on baseball cards in general. It'll be slow going, but hopefully better in the long run. Maybe at some point, I'll move all of this over there.

Baseball Card Projects

Thanks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One... what a way to end it.

Pack 36 (+0)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
95 Rob Deer
110 Roger Clemens
2 Wade Boggs
220 Mike Easler
112 Ken Williams
128 Tim Teufel
240 Tommy John
245 Ken Oberkfell
260 Sid Bream
347 Andy Hawkins
353 John Habyan
367 Stan Javier
550 Cal Ripken, Jr.
442 Gerald Young
612 Shawn Hillegas
617 Dave Engle
614 Eric Plunk


Isn't this a wonderful way to end the box? I'd hoped for 450 cards out of the set, but fell short at 446. Overall I'm happy with the way the box turned out, and I will be picking up a second box pretty soon. I got bogged down with all the doubles over the past several weeks and because of that my writing here slowed down. Now that the box is finished, I can take a bit of time away from this site and open my other box of '87 Topps. Then when I have a second box of '87 Score, I'll come back here and try to finish the set.

While opening the box of '87 Topps, for anyone that's interested, I'll keep the completion percentage updated.

But before I go, I give you this, the box bottom cards from 1988 Score. It's an 18 "card" set commemorating the 1987 All Star game.

Two...

Pack 35 (+8)
8 Jesse Barfield
12 Ozzie Smith
103 Dave Schmidt

147 Franklin Stubbs
153 Tim Laudner
167 Ed Whitson
319 Rick Mahler
321 Mariano Duncan
358 Tom Pagnozzi
362 Domingo Ramos
378 Leon Durham
467 Jerry Mumphrey
473 Darren Daulton
487 Tony Armas

655 Juan Nieves – '87 Highlights
660 Paul Molitor – '87 Highlights
652 Vince Coleman – '87 Highlights

With this pack I completed the '87 Highlights subset, which is the last nine cards of the set.


First up is Juan Nieves, he pitched the first, and only, no-hitter in Brewers history in 1987 as a 22 year old. An arm injury ended his career after the 1988 season. These days he's the bullpen coach for the White Sox.

Next we have Vince Coleman. 1987 marks his fourth consecutive 100+ stolen base season. Good for him. I'm no fan of Coleman, for obvious reasons, but I think it's interesting that his two cards in this set are nearly identical.



The Highlights card clearly shows him stealing second base on the pitcher's move to the plate. But I'm not so sure what he's looking at in the regular card. He's wearing batting gloves, which would lead me to believe he's running to first on a hit, but where's he looking? If he's trying to bunt for a hit he needs to be looking towards first base, not at the camera man.


Finally, in 1987 Paul Molitor hit safely in 39 consecutive games. While he was several hits shy of DiMaggio's record, Molitor's is the 7th longest hitting streak in MLB history.

Three...

Last three. Here we go.

Pack 34 (+6)
2 Wade Boggs
95 Rob Deer
110 Roger Clemens

220 Mike Easler
112 Ken Williams
225 Steve Garvey
240 Tommy John
245 Ken Oberkfell
333 Rupert Jones
347 Andy Hawkins
353 John Habyan
535 John Franco
550 Cal Ripken, Jr.
442 Gerald Young

612 Shawn Hillegas
617 Dave Engle
614 Eric Plunk

Another low numbered card that I needed in Wade Boggs, but nothing else really to talk about.

Monday, July 14, 2008

T minus Four... pack 33

Lots of doubles here, but a few rookies and others of note.

Pack 33 +7
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
3 Tim Raines
17 Dave Parker
23 Pat Tabler
156 Mike Heath
164 Ken Caminiti
316 Rafael Santana
324 Dan Gladden
221 Kurt Stillwell
367 Stan Javier
373 Geno Petralli
387 Barry Lyons
478 Jeff Musselman
482 Gary Roenicke
498 Jeff Dedmon

645 Greg Jefferies – Rookie Prospect
648 Rookie Sluggers (McGwire, Nokes)
643 Vicente Palacios – Rookie Prospect

We're now 432 cards into the 660 card set with three packs to go. It's been slowing down considerably of late, but with one box I think I'm fairly pleased with the progress. Unfortunately, I've forgotten how many cards of the set I started out with from opening packs 20 years ago, but I think it's safe to assume that most of them have been replaced by this point. I'll come up with that number and try to get some actual percentages up tomorrow when I compile all the sorting of doubles I did tonight.

But as a rough estimate, I'd imagine that upwards of 70% of this box is going towards the set. Not too bad I don't think. But like I said, hopefully I'll have those numbers tomorrow.

Anyway, on to the cards. (Blogger isn't being friendly with pictures tonight, so I'll get those up tomorrow, they're all scanned and ready to go.)

I'll start this one off with a sad note. Ken Caminiti. He was a steroid user, well all know that. He admitted to using during his 1996 MVP season, and for several seasons after. What he did was wrong, what he did tarnished the game of baseball and his legacy. But, and while it doesn't change the facts or grant him automatic forgiveness, he did come clean.



If you look at his years with San Diego, it's immediately noticable that something was different. Of his 239 career home runs, more than half were hit while in a Padres uniform between 1995 and his return to Houston in 1999.

Looking at the numbers, before his move to San Diego, he was an average player. Fairly solid at third, and showed some potential at the plate, but never hit for much of an average. How many people actually paid attention to Ken Caminiti before his first All Star appearance in 1994? Not many.

1995 was one of those "where did this guy come from" kind of years, that led into his MVP performance in 96 where he did put up some pretty incredible numbers, .326 avg, .408 OBP and he slugged .621, with 40HR and 130RBIs. But those numbers were so out of line with anything he'd done in the past and anything he'd do in the future.

In '96 he beat out Piazza and Ellis Burks for the MVP, when by the numbers Burks had the better season.

Moving beyond what he did wrong, he wasn't a bad player. He was tough and played a good thirdbase, winning three gold gloves.

In 1988 Ken played in only 30 games for the Astros, after spending a little more time (63 games) with the team in '87. He finally stuck at third in 1989.

He died in 2004 at the age of 41.

Up next we've got the rookies.


Vicente Palacios put up some good numbers in the minors, but never really caught on in the Majors until 1991. He had four pretty good seasons with the Pirates and Cardinals as a middle reliever and spot starter. He started 17 games in 1994, posting a 3 - 8 record while striking out 95.

He attempted a comeback in the very late 90s, but spent the 99 and 2000 seasons mostly in limbo before appearing in seven games for San Diego in 2000.


Next we have a young Gregg Jefferies. He was only 19 years old when he made his major league debut in 1987 with the Mets. While he never really turned into the player New York hoped he would, life after the Mets was a little better for Jefferies. He posted good numbers through out his career and made All Star appearances in '93 and '94.

He ended his career with a very respectable .289 batting average in 1465 games over 14 seasons.

And finally, we have Mark McGwire and Matt Nokes. This card celebrates their impressive rookie years. We all know what McGwire did in '87 and what he did throughout his career, so we'll skip that. Matt Nokes' rookie year was by far his most productive.



In 1987 Nokes won the Silver Slugger and a trip to the All Star game. His numbers never again reflected the potential (or was it a fluke) he showed in '87. Though he put up good numbers again in 1991 and '92, his RBI totals were very low considering the home runs he hit (24/77 and 22/59). You expect better run production with power numbers like those. Of course, he did play for two less than remarkable Yankee teams those years.

Well, that's it for tonight. Look for the cards tomorrow. And don't forget to watch the All Star game tomorrow night.

Justin Morneau wins it

I don't know much about Justin Morneau, but he put on a nice show and at least turned me into a bit of a fan. Josh Hamilton was impressive too, but he was tired in the final round and his swing was sloppy compared to round one.

Like I said before, I'm a fan of pitching, but for whatever reason, I can't get enough of the Home Run Derby. Did ESPN re-run all of the previous derbies this afternoon? I always enjoyed that.

88 Score talk coming up soon.

Home Run Derby and some clerical work.

Don't worry, I've got a good post in me tonight and some nice 88 Score cards to talk about. But right now I'm watching the Home Run Derby and sorting out my doubles. I plan on finding some where to post my checklist when it's all said and done, and list what I have, what I need and what I have extra of just in case there's someone else out there wanting to finish this set.

Just three more packs after we've talked about todays pack. It's almost over.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Twins? 31 & 32

Ok, this will get us caught up. No cards to talk about, but look at pack 32. Doesn't it look familiar?

Pack 31 +9
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
85 Vance Law
100 Jack Clark
105 Don Sutton
130 Brian Fisher
135 Mike Marshall
150 Lance McCullers
294 Tony Phillips
306 Steve Buechele
314 Joe Sambito

345 Mitch Williams
360 Darryl Strawberry
365 Dave Smith
459 Pascual Perez
461 Dan Petry
570 Mark Davidson
565 Gene Garber
568 Eric Nolte

Pack 32 +0
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
85 Vance Law
100 Jack Clark
105 Don Sutton
130 Brian Fisher
135 Mike Marshall
286 John Shelby
294 Tony Phillips
306 Steve Buechele
340 Paul Molitor
345 Mitch Williams
360 Darryl Strawberry
441 Mel Hall
459 Pascual Perez
461 Dan Petry
570 Mark Davidson
565 Gene Garber
568 Eric Nolte


These two packs are nearly identical. Very strage, and annoying.

With four pack left, I'm going to get back on track and do some writing here and then decide what's next. I'll probably pick up a second box of 88 Score and keep going until I've finished the set. So this little website won't be compeltely finished when the box is gone.

Catching up, 29 & 30

I've had a busy past several days, so while the cards are getting opened, I haven't written anything here. Mostly because these packs haven't had anything worth writing about.

Here's 29 and 30.

Pack 29 +6
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
97 Casey Candaele
103 Dave Schmidt
8 Jesse Barfield
138 Larry Herndon
142 Herm Winningham
158 Lee Mazzilli
234 Greg Brock
246 Jimmy Jones

331 Goose Gossage
349 Earnest Riles
351 Dave Righetti
466 Steve Farr
493 Chris Speier
507 Willie Hernandez

582 Daryl Boston
590 Harold Baines
585 Bill Gullickson

Pack 30 +6
88 Alfredo Griffin
92 Cory Snyder
108 Les Straker
202 Todd Worrell
218 Calvin Schiraldi
115 Milt Thompson
223 Dave Martinez
237 Joe Niekro
243 Dave Meads
339 Mitch Williams

341 Gus Polidor
528 Atlee H ammaker
532 Joel Skinner
548 Eddie Milner
598 Ross Jones
595 Tom Candiotti
600 Fernando Valenzuela

Thursday, July 10, 2008

28

Pack 28 (+9)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
30 Mark Langston
35 Steve Sax
50 Rick Sutcliffe
175 Mike Greenwell
190 Terry Pendleton

195 Donnie Moore
237 Joe Niekro
243 Dave Meads
258 Tim Stoddard
400 Keith Hernandez
405 Glenn Wilson
420 Joey Cora
501 Reggie Jackson
519 Rick Reuschel
521 Rick Aguilera
579 Claudell Washington
576 Jim Acker

There's two of the lower than #40 cards I'm so lacking.

I had several paragraphs typed out about this card, but erased it all. I don't think too much needs to be said. The circumstances surrounding Donnie Moore's death are unfortunate and tragic. It's hard to look at any of his cards and not in some way feel sorry for the guy.



1988 was his final season.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

short one tonight.

Sorry guys, this is another short one. I haven't really been in the mood to write too much lately, I'm tired and Windows automatically updated a few hours ago and it's been trying to get me to restart incessantly so I'm going to make it happy pretty soon. I'll get some more words up tomorrow night.

Before we get to the cards, I've resigned myself to buying a second box of '88 Score. All my looking around hasn't netted me any solid information about this set, and just a lot of scattered bits and pieces. So I fully intend to try and draw some conclusions about this set and offer up as much information in one place as I can. I may make an attempt at an actual website with a scan of as many cards as possible (hopefully the full set at some point).

Don't hold me to that though, I've started a lot of litle websites over the past ten years and none of them have gone anywhere.

Pack 27
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
86 Kal Daniels
94 Joe Magrane
106 Danny Tartabull
124 Jack Howell
136 Gerald Perry
144 Mike Jackson
296 Bill Wegman
304 Paul O’Neill
333 Rupert Jones
347 Andy Hawkins
353 John Habyan
442 Gerald Young
458 Dave Stewart
462 Jim Winn

647 Ron Gant – Rookie Prospect
642 Mackey Sasser – Rookie Prospect
650 Game Breakers (Mattingly, Clark)

A very good pack with eleven new cards added to the set. The rookie of the set, Mackey Sasser (pretty cool name), spent his career primarily as a backup catcher. He put up some pretty decent numbers though he only played 100 games in a season once. He was a career .267 hitter with 16 home runs and 156 RBIs in 534 games.

His best offensive season came in 1990, where he played in 100 games and hit .307/6HR/41RBI in 288 total PA. Not too bad for a backup, though he did commit 14 errors behind the plate.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some more words, and a few pictures to brighten the place up a bit.

Monday, July 7, 2008

26, All Stars and low numbers.

Here's pack 26, there's nothing here.

Pack 26 (+7)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
70 Tim Wallach
75 Darrell Evans
90 Bert Blyleven

185 Mike Krukow
200 Bill Ripken
205 Brian Dayett
312 Jose Nunez
328 Bill Dawley

225 Steve Garvey
424 Len Matuszek
436 Donell Nixon
333 Rupert Jones
515 Von Hayes
530 Jim Clancy
535 John Franco

615 Sid Fernandez
620 John Farrell

I've gone over this a few times, but it's really starting to irk me a bit that I'm not pulling any low numbered cards. I still can't find any printing information out there about these cards, but I'm not really sure where to look. Google doesn't seem to do much for me, and being away from the hobby for so long, I don't know if there's anywhere else I should look.

I imagine that this being a first set, the print runs were probably relatively low to guage interest and sales. But not one single digit card out of 26 packs (442 cards!) and only one out of who knows how many packs I bought back in 1988. That just doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me.

We're nearing the home stretch with this thing and I don't see myself make any progress on those first 40 cards. Any ideas what's up with this?

*****


And as I mentioned yesterday, I want to talk a bit about the All Star game.

I'm happy to see Chipper starting this year, and happy to see Brian McCann make it for a third straight year being voted in by the players. But I see the Braves all the time, and that's what I want to talk about.

The All Star game is something special because it gives fans a chance to see players they never get a chance to see play. All of that has changed a little over the past decade with Fox Sports Net and ESPN showing more games than in the past, and satellite packages that give you just about every game every day.

I'm not saying that it's a bad thing that there's so much baseball out there, it's great. But it takes a little something away from the All Star game. It's still fun to watch and it always will be, but it's just not as exciting any more.

I remember looking forward to it every year just because I'd get to see so many different players. The only baseball I got to see in the late 80's through the mid-90s was the Braves on TBS and the Saturday Game of the Week on NBC, CBS (when they bothered to show a game) and then Fox.

The All Star game is a whole lot of fun and I'm still looking forward to it, and I'll be on the couch for it week, but it won't be an all day build up of excitement.

All of this said, the only criticism I have for the All Star game is the idea that it means something. It's an exhibition game and should have no bearing on home field advantage for the World Series. What a stupid idea that was.

At some point during one of yesterday's seventeen innings, Braves announcer Joe Simpson theorized that this idea stems from the outrage of the 2002 tie. I wouldn't be surprised if he's right. But why should players from the entire league fight for one team's home field advantage?

It's a break for the players, let them play the game and let them have fun, and let us have fun watching it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

XXV

Pack 25 (+6)
77 Dan Plesac
83 Alvin Davis

97 Casey Candaele
113 Ruben Sierra
127 Curt Wilkerson
133 Larry Andersen
281 Terry McGriff
299 Andres Thomas
301 Al Pedrique
338 Eric Show
342 Steve Trout
542 Joe Boever
447 Greg Booker
453 Rafael Belliard
656 Steve Bedrosian – '87 Highlights
653 Kirby Puckett – '87 Highlights

658 Don Mattingly – '87 Highlights

Only six cards added to the set, but it brings the total of the last three packs up to 31 of 51 possible new cards. Not as nice a pack as I'd have liked, but still not too bad all things considered.

No cards of note here, except maybe the Donnie Baseball '87 Highlights card. I've never been a big fan of Mattingly and I'm almost sorry for that. I don't like the Yankees, that's no secret. But a little part of me wants to like Mattingly.

He had a good career, but not a very long one which will probably hurt his chances for the Hall.



In 1987, Mattingly tied Dale Long's record of home runs in eight consecutive games. The record was tied again in 1993 by Ken Griffey Jr.

In other news, Braves won tonight 7 to 6 over Houston in 17 innings! The game was scheduled to begin at 1:30pm, but a nearly two hour rain delay pushed it back to 3:30. The game finally ended around 9pm. Fun game to watch.

I missed the All Star selection show, but that's ok.

Also, C.C. Sabathia is now a Brewer.

Tomorrow I want to talk a bit about the All Star game and what it means and how it relates to my interest in baseball and 1988 Score (there's a connection, at least for me there is). So tune in for that.

Don't laugh at me for this... but.

Ok, so I know a lot of people don't like 2008 Topps, but I do. I think 2008 Topps is going to be like my 1988 Score in another 20 years, it's what got me back into the hobby. So I'm going to like it because of that, but beyond that I kinda do like the design, especially the card backs.

So it seems that without intentionally trying, I'm very close to having a complete base set of 2008 Topps Opening Day. I'm lacking 30 cards and I don't care at all about the inserts or the super ultra rare bits of cloth or autographs or whatever's stuck to cards these days.

If anyone has some of the cards I need, I'm willing to send some '88 Score, '87 Topps or any other doubles I may have. If there's anything you're looking for between '88 and '94, and I've got extra, just ask. Hell, I'm even willing to send a few bucks for shipping if you've got the cards I need and I don't have anything you want.

Here's what I'm needing.

3 15 37 48
62 69 73 78 80 85 91
110 117 120 124 127 133 136
151 153 163 166 171 177 187 188 192 199
209 220

Like I said, I don't want inserts or anything special, just the base cards. If you can help out, shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Thanks.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pack 24

Pack 24 (+12)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
18 Eddie Murray
22 B.J. Surhoff
128 Tim Teufel
132 Tom Browning
148 Albert Hall
260 Sid Bream
265 Barry Bonds
280 Teddy Higuera
367 Stan Javier
373 Geno Petralli
387 Barry Lyons
458 Dave Stewart
462 Jim Winn
478 Jeff Musselman

611 Mike Bielecki
621 Nelson Liriano
624 Kevin Elster

Looks like we're getting back on pace here, 25 new cards in the last two packs.

A few things here of interest. First is the continued lack of low numbered cards. I was wrong when I said earlier that the lowest number I've pulled is #3, Tim Raines. I already had that card from opening packs 20 years ago. So actually, the lowest number I've pulled out of this box is #12, Ozzie Smith. And that Raines card is one of the few remaining that I haven't replaced.

I've looked around for some information on the sorting and printing of '88 Score, but can't find any. And from this one box I can't really draw any conclusions yet. With twelve packs left after this one, I could pull all the low numbered cards, but that's not too likely.

Looking at my checklist, after card number 40 or so it starts to pick up. But from numbers 1 through 39 I only have 12 cards, 30%.

Granted these first 40 cards include some of the stars of the set, so they may be a little less common than other players, but you'd think after being more than half way through the box more than a handful (and no single digit cards) would have shown up.

Is this just a weird box? Or is this how '88 Score works? At the prices you can pick these boxes up, I'm tempted to get another one just to see. Maybe this one is an oddball. Any ideas?

Now on to the cards.

1988 is a strange year. For some reason all these funny little pieces of cardboard descended from space promising Kevin Elster was going to be a super star.

Here's one and if you're lucky another one just might show up:


In all fairness, while Kevin Elster didn't pan out as the super star Score, Topps and the New York Mets hoped he would, he managed to stay in the Major Leagues for 12 injury prone seasons. He even attempted a comback in 2000. Beginning in 1988 and going into 1989 Elster played 88 consecutive errorless games at short. A record, for a while. Cal Ripken broke it in 1990 with 95 games.

Elster also put up a pretty good year in 1996 where he was relatively free from injuries and played in 157 games for Texas, batting .252/24HR/99RBI, but that was his only productive season. He never batted higher than .241 any other year of his career.

Moving on. I've been waiting for this card the entire box so far. Not because I'm a fan, but because I've been curious what my reaction to it would be and what words I'd have to say about it.



Now what do I want to say about it. It's red. It's the first red card I've featured here. It's a good looking card of a promising young player. A player who had the potential to be one of the very best the game has ever seen, but a player who let success get the better of him, a player who lost touch with the fans and a player who in my opinion didn't show a whole hell of a lot of respect to the great thing he accomplished. And in my opinion a player who should never be in the Hall of Fame, but I'm not a baseball writer so what I think as a fan doesn't really matter.

And that's all I want to say.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Turning it around?

As I write this, the Braves are up 3 - 0 over Houston in the top of the 5th.

So tonight, I've got some more Braves talk and, finally after almost a week, some '88 Score goodies worth talking about.

Since the whole point of us being here is 1988 Score, we'll start with that first.


Pack 23 (+13)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
63 Bob Boone
77 Dan Plesac

83 Alvin Davis
213 Mickey Brantley
118 Matt Williams
122 Brett Butler
311 Bill Schroededer
329 Paul Noce
226 Greg Mathews
426 Rafael Ramirez
434 Jack O’Connor
530 Jim Clancy
535 John Franco
454 Charlie Puleo
581 Carmen Castillo
584 John Marzano
587 Lee Tunnell

I was worried when the first two cards I pulled were doubles, but this one turned out pretty well. So well in fact that I finally managed to fill my first entire nine card Ultra Pro page. Woohoo!

Moving right along. We've got three real stars in this pack: John Franco, Matt Williams and Brett Butler.

John Franco had an extremely productive career, debuting with the Cincinnatti Reds in 1984 and hanging it up after the 2005 season with Houston. Though his career as a closer effectively ended in 1999 (he recorded only eight saves between '00 and '05) he put together 424 saves, good for fourth place all time. He struck out 975 men while walking 495, and his career ERA (2.89) was well over a run better than the league average during his career... pretty impressive.


In 1987 he went 8-5 with 32 save and a 2.52 ERA (league ERA was 4.21)

Franco was a four time All Star and two time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year.

Hall of Fame? Maybe. It's hard to tell with closers since that role has really come into its own only over the past thirty years. The numbers are there, but unlike Eckersley and (eventually) Smoltz, Franco didn't have a long career as a starter before converting to the closer. Time will tell. I certainly think he deserves a look by the writers, whether or not it ends with an eventual induction is anyone's guess.


Brett Butler was always a very solid player who never could seem to stay in one place for too long. He was a very consistant hitter and probably one of the best leadoff hitters of his generation, at least in the National League (he stole 558 bases too). Aside from his leadoff prowess, he was an exceptional center fielder, posting a .992 fielding pct. over a 17 year career.

Hall of Fame? Not a chance. I could be wrong, but I just don't think he was the caliber of player that makes it to the Hall. He was good, he was very good, but he wasn't great. He also moved around a lot more than the typical HoF'er, playing for five teams (two stints with LA) over 17 yeears.

And then there's Matt Williams. He's always been a player that I just don't know what to think of. He put up some great numbers in the '90s. Remember all the talk of breaking the record when the strike hit? Williams was sitting at 43 homers when play ended in 1994. But now we hear all of these steroid allegations and even though he says it was to overcome an injury, it still makes you look at those numbers in the '90s and wonder.

Hall of Fame? No.

And my Braves talk for the night (it's now 6 - 1 Atlanta in the top of the 8th). In a move that probably didn't make too many fans happy, but has been coming for some time now, the club optioned right fielder Jeff Francoeur to AA Mississippi. In 85 games in 2008, he's hitting .234/8HR/41RBI.


He needs this. He needs the time in a more relaxed environment to work out what's wrong with his swing. Right now the Braves say this will be at least a ten game stint with Mississippi and they expect him to be back after the All Star Break.

It must be very difficult at 24 years old to have great success and then hit a snag. But he's got plenty of time left and a few weeks in Double-A can't do anything but help.

Despite sending a fan favorite down to the minors, Bobby Coz and Frank Wren are looking out for the best interest of both Jeff Francoeur and the Atlanta Braves. I hope this helps him, because it's no fun to see Frenchie struggling.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's going on in Atlanta, part 2

A few words before I call it a night.

The Braves lost again, their fifth straight. I haven't been this frustrated watching Braves baseball since the '96 World Series. And honestly, this season may be even more frustrating than that.

I touched on a lot of this some days back, and I'll try not to go over and over the same points. But the problem is it's the same things that are still going wrong and will still be going wrong in another two weeks if something doesn't start to work.

The team is starting to get healthy again. Chipper, Escobar and Kotsay are all back in the line-up. There's also good things being said about Tom Glavine's progress and that he hopes to be back soon. Matt Diaz is also expected back relatively soon.

But all this good news doesn't mean anything when the team isn't performing with all its missing pieces put back into place.

What is the root of the Braves' problems this year? It isn't pitching. Sure the coveted Glavine-Smoltz combo isn't working out, but Atlanta is second in the NL with a 3.78 ERA.

Jair Jurrjens has been impressive. But he's 22 years old and can't do it all. Jo Jo Reyes has been good also.

Jurrjens gave up three home runs tonight to the first place Phillies, but otherwise pitched a good game. Therein lies the problem. Run support.

The offense isn't providing any. How many one run games have the Braves lost this year? How many games have they lost on the road? Why? Run support. If you can't push across those two vital runs on the road, you're sunk.

It's not that they're failing to hit the ball. Chipper is still batting close to .390. They're hitting the ball just fine. They're just not driving in runs. No matter how good your pitching is, if you can't score runs you can't win games. I'm honestly a little surprised that they're 40 and 46 and not worse (even though MLB.com's expected W-L has them at 46-40).

No one in the division is playing the best baseball in the world. It's still a very close race. Here's what it looks like after play tonight:

National League East
Win LossGB
Philadelphia4739-
Florida44412.5
New York42434.5
Atlanta40467.0
Washington345313.0


What all this means is that right now, two weeks before the All Star break is that seven games back isn't the end of the world. But they've got to start winning, because if the Phillies decide to get hot and win fifteen of twenty, it could easily get out of the Braves' reach. But they've got to start scoring runs, and I have a feeling that I'll be saying that a lot throughout the rest of the summer.

Up next is a weekend series agasint a Houston team that isn't playing all that well either, maybe a few good wins would help Atlanta's (or Houston's) cause.

grinding to a stop.

My internet wasn't working well last night, so I didn't get to post. So here we have another two packs today, and like the last post, there's not much to say.

I'm afraid we're grinding down to a halt here, after a very productive four days where I added fifty cards to the set. The last four packs have provided only ninteen.

With fourteen packs left, I hope my luck turns around and I start adding 10+ cards to the set again. If I have any hopes of making substantial headway in this thing something's gotta change.

Pack 21 (+6)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
40 Willie McGee
45 Jose Canseco
178 Mike Kingery
182 Alex Trevino
198 Mark Eichhorn

234 Greg Brock
246 Jimmy Jones
254 Johnny Ray
395 Dion James
410 Zane Smith
415 Danny Cox
504 Reggie Jackson
516 Mark Gubicza
524 Manny Trillo
551 Jody Davis
561 Manny Lee
564 Dave Dravecky

Pack 21 (+1)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
52 Bill Doran
68 Vince Coleman
72 Barry Larkin
178 Mike Kingery
182 Alex Trevino
198 Mark Eichhorn
306 Steve Buechele
314 Joe Sambito
326 Tracy Jones
411 Ken Dixon
429 Juan Castillo
431 Phil Garner

508 Jose DeLeon
512 Randy Ready
599 Gary Matthews
596 Steve Lake
593 Rick Manning

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Packs 19 & 20

After a much needed night of rest I'm back with two packs today.

Pack 19 (+2)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
28 Jose Cruz
32 Juan Samuel
48 Tony Pena

142 Herm Winningham
158 Lee Mazzilli
162 Bob Walk
286 John Shelby
294 Tony Phillips
389 Pat Clements
274 Dick Schofield
391 Mark Davis
409 Chris James
472 Ellis Burks

488 Jerry Red
492 Bruce Ruffin
586 Andy Allanson
589 Dave LaPoint


First, I'd like to apologize. To which ever baseball card god I offended, I truly and from the bottom of my heart apologize. I'll never do whatever it was that I did again.

I've been rolling along at a good pace ever since pack 13, but 19 evened everything out. Here it is, and there's absolutely nothing to say about it.

And here we have the somewhat better pack twenty:

Pack 20 (+10)
50 Rick Suttcliffe
55 Dave Winfield
160 Robin Yount
165 Jose Uribe
180 Bo Jackson
288 Curt Ford
292 Randy Bush
308 George Hendrick
396 Steve Shields
404 Junior Ortiz
416 Andy Van Slyke
490 Frank Tanana
495 Jesse Orosco
510 Bob Welch
616 Dennis Lamp
613 Keith Atherton
618 Harry Spilman

Not much to say here either. Twelve cards in two pack. Woohoo. We are over the 50% mark though.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

18th Episode Special

Well, here we are, halfway home.

Despite the mathematical impossibility of completion, we're not doing too badly. Counting in the cards that I previously had, we're up to 326 of 660, almost 50%. Of course, I've replaced all but 20 of the original cards out of this box, so the actual number from this box alone is 306 of 660, still not too bad.

It's interesting that I'm missing a whole lot of the purple cards and the lowest number I've pulled thus far is 3, Tim Raines.

All that said, pack 18 yielded another 11 cards to the set bringing the total since pack 13 to 50 new cards out of 68 possible.

Here we go...

Pack 18 (+11)
68 Vince Coleman
72 Barry Larkin
88 Alfredo Griffin
218 Calvin Schiraldi
115 Milt Thompson
130 Brian Fisher

314 Joe Sambito
326 Tracy Jones
223 Dave Martinez
429 Juan Castillo
431 Phil Garner
339 Mitch Williams
458 Dave Stewart
462 Jim Winn
478 Jeff Musselman
593 Rick Manning
598 Ross Jones


The shining star of this pack is Barry Larkin. I don't think there's anything that can keep him out of the Hall of Fame in a few years. He's one of the good guys in baseball that really knew how to play the game and I wouldn't be surprised if he popped up as a manager at some point in the future.

Larkin accomplished some pretty amazing things over his nineteen year career. He was a twelve time All Star, three Gold Gloves and nine Silver Sluggers. All of that was capped off with the 1995 National League MVP Award.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pack 17

Pack 17 (+14)
90 Bert Blyleven
95 Rob Deer
110 Roger Clemens
125 Curt Young
140 Charlie Hough
145 Dennis Walling
297 Terry Francona
303 Wally Backman
317 Frank Williams
348 Dave Leiper
352 Pat Dodson
449 Ron Kittle
451 Bob Dernier
469 Bruce Bochy
580 Jeffery Leonard
572 Donnie Hill
577 Jamie Quirk

I don't have a lot to say about today's pack, and I'm going to start trying to get these things done earlier in the afternoon. Like I've said the past several days, this no sleeping thing has got to stop. I got a new job (well same place different job), and I'm not used to the schedule yet. I love my schedule, 7 to 4 everyday, which isn't much different from my old schedule, but something just hasn't clicked yet. I'd like to have two days off in a row just to work this sleep schedule out, but whatever.

Moving right along.

Like with McGwire and Canseco, it's hard to look at Roger Clemens in the perspective of 1988. I could go on and on about how he's tarnished his reputation for ever, but what good does that do? If I'd pulled this card twenty years ago, I'd have loved it. I didn't know what steroids were when I was seven years old.

I'm happy to have pulled this card, he was amazing pitcher in the late 80s. In 1988 he was coming off his second straight Cy Young year and went 18 - 12, finishing sixth in CY voting.

We're still moving along at a very good pace. 39 of the last 51 cards have been added to the set. We will soon be passing the 50% mark.

Pack 16 and lots of rookies...

Pack 16 (+11)
62 Gary Gaetti
78 Will Clark
82 Terry Steinbach
188 Roger McDowell
192 Rey Quinones
208 Brian Holton
320 Jim Gott
325 Gary Carter
230 Larry Owen
427 Mike Flanagan
433 Wallace Johnson
338 Eric Show
518 Don Aase
522 Jay Howell

630 Steve Kiefer – RP
625 Jody Reed – RP
628 Pete Stanicek – RP

This is another late one, my no sleeping lately led to a crash after work, so I'll probably up up late again. Oh well.

I'm very pleased with the way the last packs have turned out. After crossing the barrier of mathematical impossibility, I've managed to add 25 cards to the set with the last two packs. Out of a total of 34 cards, 25 isn't half bad. Plus, we're over 300 cards into the set now.

This turned out to be a pretty good pack, with two major stars and three rookie prospects.

The stars you can read about anywhere. Will Clark had an excellent career, not a superstar, but a very solid career winning a Gold Glove in '91 and making six All Star teams.

Not much needs to be said about Gary Carter, I'm just surprised he wasn't a first ballot HoF incudtee. He was an eleven time All-Star and won the MVP of the Mid-Summer Classic twice. Pretty impressive.

While I could go on and on about Clark and Carter, and I'd like to, what I really want to talk about tonight are rookie cards.

It's always amazed me that rookie cards of the next greatest thing are such a hot commodity. I'll even admit to getting swept up in it once. In 1990, Steve Avery was billed as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, and he was, for a few years. I went out and got every one of his cards I could find. What are they worth today? Not much, probably more than the Todd Van Poppel rookie card I pulled from a pack of '91 Upper Deck, but not much.

They do mean something to me though. As a Braves fan, they mean something. And honestly, I'm still a Steve Avery fan. I have fond memories every time I see him in a highlight reel or look at one of his old cards. I think he was just too young and too good, but not ready for the Major Leagues.

Granted I never spent more than $10 on a Steve Avery card. But it just doesn't compute in my brain that cards of completely unprooven rookies can bring hundreds. Sure, these guys may go on to hit 900 home runs, win 300 games or strike out 7,000, but they could also blow an ACL or destroy a rotator cuff tomoorow and never play again.

Wait five years, if they're still a star, then their rookie cards will be worth something. Until they've prooven themselves, the cards are just flaps of cardboard.

Now, onto today Rookie Prospects.


First up is Jody Reed. He was a 26 year old rookie in 1988 and placed third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. He had a very solid, ten year, offensive career, posting a batting average of .270, three points higher than the league average from the period. Not a lot of speed and not a lot of power, he did however manage to get him self on base with 120+ hits in all but four seasons.

He was never the greatest defensive player at second base, but was consistent with a lifetime fielding pct. of .985 (league FP 87-97 - .980).


Pete Stanicek posted good numbers in the minor leagues, batting .317 and .315 in '86 and '87. He was batting .297 at Rochester before being called up to the Orioles in 1988.

His major league career is nothing special. In two seasons with Baltimore he batted .243 in 113 games.


There's not a lot to say about Steven George Kiefer, and not a lot of information to be found. He played parts of six seasons with the A's, Brewers and Yankees, appearing in 105 games with a .192 career batting average. He's another one that posted average numbers in the minors, but never made the transition to a good Major League player.

He does have a nice looking rookie card.

Maybe at the end, we'll do a Class of 1988 Rookie Prospects Extravaganza and see where they are now.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2:24am, awake , the mystery Expo and some thoughts

I don't intend for this to be a mutiple post per day kind of thing, but it's 2:24am, I'm awake and have a few things on my mind.

First, if you read the comments from the previous post, you'll see that Expert Expo Spotter Andy from 88 Topps noticed an Expo in the background of the Steve Bedrosian Highlight card.

The only time a Phillie and an Expo should be on the field as defensive players at the same time is during an All Star game. As Andy correctly points out, if we assume that this photo was taken during the 1987 All Star game (juding from the green fence of Oakland Coliseum it seems like a pretty good guess), the only two Expos were Tim Raines and Tim Wallach.

Digging around through Baseball-Reference I've come up with this:

Steve Bedrosian replaced John Franco in the bottom of the 9th and was then pinch hit for in the top of the 10th. Now's where it gets tricky. Both Raines and Wallach came into the game as replacements in the bottom of the 6th. Both stayed in for the remainder of the game, with Tim Raines eventually driving in the only two runs of the game in the top of the 12th. So this photo had to have been taken in the bottom half of the ninth inning, because at no other point in the game would these players have been on the field.

Andy guesses, judging by the skin tone, that the mystery Expo is Tim Raines. For this to be the case, he's playing very very shallow. But for it to be Tim Wallach, the infield would have to be shifted drastically towards the right side with the thirdbaseman positioned where the shortstop usually plays.

So what do you think? A shifted, shadowy Wallach, or a confused Raines?

And some thoughts as it nears 3am. This no sleeping thing has got to stop.

I've got a second box of '87 Topps sitting on the shelf waiting to be opened and it will after these 88 Score are finished. But I don't think I'll be done with this website when the box is empty. I want to finish the set and maybe do a page by page run down of nine cards at a time. I'd thought about doing the same for the '87 Topps, but that's been done before, and done very well at Awesomely Bad Wax Packs. So I don't want to take anything away from that site.

What I really want to do, and I mentioned this a few days back, is try to put together a set of 1981 Topps. But, having been away from the hobby for fourteen years, I don't know how difficult that task may be. And right now, I can't justify spending $100 for a box of wax.

Any thoughts on how to go about this?

And now I think I'm off to bed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

15 > 14, '08 Topps Opening Day

Pack 15 (+14)
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
57 Tom Henke
63 Bob Boone
77 Dan Plesac
204 Garth Iorg
216 Jimmy Key
113 Ruben Sierra
261 Tom Neidenfuer
279 Willie Upshaw
281 Terry McGriff
427 Mike Flanagan
433 Wallace Johnson
338 Eric Show
538 Walk Terrell

542 Joe Boever
447 Greg Booker
656 Steve Bedrosian – '87 Highlights
653 Kirby Puckett – '87 Highlights

A bit more to say than yesterday. Overall the best pack out of the last ten, in terms of cards added to the set. I've had the set tracker going for a while and it's updated after every pack, but I'm gonna try something else in addition to that. Starting today, and running for as long as I remember to do it (probably just today), next to the pack header, I'll be showing how many cards were added to the set with that day's pack. So today, we're +14.

For the first several days, I was also adding the Magic Motion Trivia Card into the list, but I dropped that... ok, I forgot about it. I think at the end of the box, I'll do a run down of all of those little pieces of goodness.

No real big stars in this one (not counting the Highlights cards), but I did always like Ruben Sierra. He had a very solid twenty year career, retiring in 2006. Over 20 seasons, his batting average was a few points higher than the league average, and he finished second in MVP voting behind Robin Yount.

I'm not saying he's a candidate for the Hall of Fame, but I wouldn't be surprised if he stays on the ballot at least for a few years when he's eligible.

Here's a nice picture of Sierra swinging for the fences. This may be the first blue card I've shown here. I always liked the blue border the best. '88 Score was divided into six colors of 110 cards each.

And now the two Highlights cards for this pack.

First up is Kirby Puckett. What an amazing player he was. I was always amazed watching that fat man move. Sure, he had some issues come up in his private life after baseball, but while he was a player he was nothing but class.

Watching Atlanta lose the 1991 World Series (no Kent Hrbek jokes today) was helped a bit by getting to see Puckett play.

This '87 Highlight card commemorates Kirby's ten hits over a two game period, August 29 and 30.

Sadly, his career ended far too early after losing sight in his right eye during Spring Training in 1996 (where he was hitting .360). What could he have done with another ten years? 4,000 hits? 400 home runs? Would he have continued to hit over .300? The world will unfortunately never know.

He was elected to the HoF in 2001, and died five years later. Rest in Peace Mr. Puckett, you'll always be one of my favorites.



1987 was a banner year for Steve Bedrosian: 5-3, 2.83 ERA, 40 saves. He set a Major League record for consecutive saves and ended the year with some pretty impressive accolades. He was selected to the All-Star team, and was eventually named as The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year, Rolaids Relief Man of the Year and, most importantly, National League Cy Young winner.

This is a long one, but we're almost finished.

I was at Wal-Mart this afternoon and picked up a box of 2008 Topps Opening Day cards for less than $10. 11 packs of 6 cards each. For that price, I may go back and get the other four boxes they had.

Nothing special, but fun to open and see what all's going on the world of baseball cards these days.

I did get this though:



It may be a common, and he may be out for the year. But he is without a doubt a future Hall of Famer and one of my all time favorites.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ugh...

This is the worst pack yet for doubles. In all, I added eight cards to the set. I'm hoping this doesn't start to slow down. After making pretty good progress through 13 packs, I hope I don't end up needing more than 100 cards. The chances of getting 100 needed cards from a second box isn't very good, so we'll see how it goes.

Here we go.

Pack 14
60 Julio Franco
65 Dwight Evans

80 Joe Carter
202 Todd Worrell
218 Calvin Schiraldi
115 Milt Thompson
266 Willie Randolph
274 Dick Schofield
286 John Shelby

430 Neal Heaton
435 Steve Jeltz
340 Paul Molitor
536 Paul Kilgus

544 Scott Sanderson
441 Mel Hall
567 Tommy Hinzo
562 Jeff Blauser

There's not a lot to talk about here and I'm not really in the mood to dig for something to say. So we'll leave it at this for tonight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

40% and unlucky 13...

I decided to try a new layout. Lastnight's fairly lengthy post was a bit awkward to read confined in such large margins. I think I like this better. We'll see though.

Pack 13
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
52 Bill Doran
68 Vince Coleman

193 Joaquin Andujar
207 Craig Reynolds
213 Mickey Brantley
251 Scot Fletcher
269 Mickey Tettleton
271 Marc Sullivan
418 John Cangelosi
422 Kelly Gruber
438 Keith Comstock
527 Al Nipper
533 Scott Garrelts
547 Steve Henderson
559 Rob Murphy
556 Mike Aldrete
553 Craig Leffets

Unlucky Pack Thirteen. This was the key pack in deciding if I was going to be able to complete the set out of this box. The answer? Let's look at the math and assume just for a second that the world is perfect and I don't pull another double in the remaining 23 packs.

1988 Score = 660 cards.
40% of 660 = 268 cards.
23 packs remaining X 17 cards per pack = 391
391 + 268 = 659.

660 - 659 = 1

There's your answer.

Since this pack didn't really provide anything of interest and just left me rather depressed, I'll move on to a somewhat lighter subject. Lance Blankenship.

In a few hours of insomnia last night I was flipping through some old Fleer cards when I came across Mr. Blankenship. The name sounded kinda familiar. I was really getting into baseball in the late 80s and the first World Series I remember watching was 1988. At the time I liked both Los Angeles and Oakland, and being seven years old I didn't know who to pull for anyway.

But 1989 came along. One of the defining television moments of my childhood was the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake before the beginning of Game 3. What does all this mean?

Lance Blankenship was a member of that '89 Series winning Oakland team. Hence the familiarity with the name.

His career isn't really worth mentioning. Six seasons, .222 average, nine home runs and a handful of RBIs.

What makes him worth mentioning here is his somewhat embarassing 1989 Fleer rookie card. The photo on the front is pretty good, but the stats on the back... aren't. Granted he only played in ten games, but do these numbers really warrant a baseball card? Couldn't they have waited until the 1990 set where he had some actual numbers? 125 ABs in '89, good for a .232 avg.



I'm interested to see how many rookie cards today have stats like these on the back. Probably not many. If you know of one, let me know.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pack 12, the Ryan Express & What's going on in Atlanta?

I'm a little later getting this one up than I'd like, but I was watching Ben Sheets pitch a pretty brilliant game against my Braves. But more on that later. Here's pack twelve.

Pack 12
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
55 Dave Winfield
70 Tim Wallach
75 Darrell Evans
210 Dave Concepcion
215 Oddibe McDowell
120 Dale Sveum
263 Lonnie Smith
277 Harold Reynolds
283 Mark Wasinger

425 Kent Tekulve
440 Graig Nettles
332 George Frazier
539 Bill Long
541 Jeff Sellers
573 Jamie Moyer
578 Jay Aldrich
575 Nolan Ryan


Looks like I should have waited on the previous post about Jamie Moyer. I found his card flipping through some '08 Topps and I wanted to say something about him. I honestly thought I had his '88 Score card, but I guess not. Until today.

That said, let's move on to more important things.

I've always been a fan of pitching. Sure the home runs are fun to watch and I try not to miss the Home Run Derby before the All-Star game, but I'd much rather see a 1 - 0 pitching duel than a 13 - 11 smash-fest.

However, I was never a fan of Nolan Ryan. I understand that this may be considered blasphemy, and if it is then strike me down now with lightning bolt baseballs. But his approach to the game never really worked for me, and I honestly think he was pretty over-hyped.



Seven no-hitters, ok, I'll give him that. That's an amazing feat, and so are the strikeout numbers. But dig a little deeper into his stats and a few less than spectacular things pop up.

I won't criticize him for his losses, any pitcher that plays as long as he did can expect to lose his fair share of games, it's just a by product of longevity.

But he gave up a lot of walks, 2,795, most all time. He threw of a lot of wild pitches and hit a lot batters.

Don't take this to mean I don't think he should be in the Hall of Fame. I think he's very deserving of his enshrinement at Cooperstown. But it's hard to say he's the best, and I was surprised that he was a first ballot inductee.

Despite not being my favorite player, I'll never complain about pulling a Nolan Ryan card. 20 years ago, I had a few friends who were big Nolan Ryan fans and this card would have netted me several good cards in trade.

It's not a bad looking card either.

This is going to be a long one, and for that I apologize, but there's something else I've gotta say. Being a Braves fan for nearly 20 years now has led to its share of heartache and irritation. 1991 was fun, despite Hrbek's atrocity. 1994 was shaping up to be a good run between the Expos and Braves, but we all know how that one ended up.

1995 was sweet. I'll never forget game six. Glavine pitched a masterpiece and Justice silenced all the naysayers. But after losing in '96 it all started going downhill. They kept winning, 100+ wins five times since winning it all in '95, but only one trip to the World Series (1999). They just can't seem to pull off wins when they need them.

Then the streak of consecutive division titles ended in 2006 with their first season below .500 since 1991.

What's going on in Atlanta?


In March I thought this year would be the one. I think a lot of people thought this year would be the one. We've got the best team on the field, in my opinion, since that 1995 team. A good outfield, when Kotsay is healthy, and the best infield in the division, and probably the league. If Chipper doesn't win the MVP award this year something's wrong.

Pitching. We all thought "hey look, Smoltz and Glavine are back together, this can only go well." It hasn't. Smoltz is out for the year, Glavine's on the DL. The bullpen is a concern, again.

In fact, the Braves bullpen has always been a concern, you just didn't notice it too much when Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz, Millwood and company were blowing by teams and getting deep into games. But now with inexperienced starters and aging starters, the pen is called on by the 6th, instead of the 8th.

There's a lot of talent on this team and they continue to show flashes of brilliance, but never seem to be able to string it together and win eight of ten. They've got to find a way to start winning on the road.

What changes need to be made? Honestly I don't see any, other than maybe adding one more veteran starter. Tim Hudson can't do it all alone, and Jo Jo Reyes is still learning. Team chemestry isn't a problem and Bobby Cox certainly isn't to blame.

Maybe this is one of those rebuilding periods and we haven't heard the last of the Atlanta Braves.

Pack 11

Pack 11
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
48 Tony Pena
52 Bill Doran
182 Alex Trevino
198 Mark Eichhorn
202 Todd Worrell
286 John Shelby
294 Tony Phillips
306 Steve Buechele
391 Mark Davis
409 Chris James
411 Ken Dixon
473 Darren Daulton
550 Cal Ripken, Jr.
442 Gerald Young
589 Dave LaPoint
599 Gary Matthews
596 Steve Lake

Only one double in this pack, but several others that I already had, meaning I was only able to add ten cards to the set.

Not much to say. I always liked Darren Daulton, even if he is a bit... odd.

The best part of this pack? Cal Ripken, Jr. He's probably my all time favorite player. Like I said before, he played the game the way it's supposed to be played and he played every day.

Back in 1988 I don't think anyone had a clue he'd eventually break the consecutive games record. In fact, in 1987, Ripken's consecutive innings streak ended on September 14 at 8,233.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pack 10, twenty years later...

Pack 10
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
62 Gary Gaetti
67 Mike Boddicker
64 Luis Polonia
162 Bob Walk
178 Mike Kingery

291 Alan Wiggins
309 John Moses
311 Bill Schroededer
440 Graig Nettles
432 Mike Dunne
437 Jack Lazorko
450 Dale Murphy
442 Gerald Young
447 Greg Booker
627 Kirt Manwaring
633 Dave Clark
647 Ron Gant

Pretty good pack today, a nice change from the last two. Where to start, where to start...

Dale Murphy. Why is this man not in the Hall of Fame? Yes, I'm a Braves fan, but that's beside the point. He deserves to be there. But why isn't he? I have a few guesses.

His lifetime batting average was only .265. Excluding 1977, where he played in 16 games, he only hit .300 or better twice: 1983 and 1985. He stuck out, a lot. In 18 years he struck out 1,748 times and walked only 986 times. That's good for 13th place all time.

His 2,111 hits fall well short of the standard 3,000 hit mark that many HoF'ers reached.

While the numbers aren't big, look at his accomplishments. Seven time All Star, five straight gold gloves and four silver sluggers in a row. Pretty good, eh?

But wait, there's more. Mr. Murphy won the National League MVP twice. That alone should put him in the Hall.

The career numbers don't jump out at you like a Mays or Aaron. But you have to realize that Murphy played on a very sub-par team for much of his career. What would his numbers be like had he played in Atlanta during the Maddox-Glavine-Smoltz era? No one can tell.

Should he be there? I think so. Will he? No, probably not.

Moving on to another Brave, Ron Gant.

I always liked Ron Gant, but limited playing time the last several years of his career really hurt his numbers.

This is his rookie card.

But why am I really showing this here? Well, we just heard from Kent Hrbek a few days ago, so we have to see Gant.

Just know this, all of you who aren't old enough to remember Game 2 of the 1991 World Series. Hrbek, despite all his goodness and kindness of soul, pulled Gant off the bag. That's all you need to know about that game, that series, and Kent Hrbek.

These days Gant can be seen doing the pre-game show for the Atlanta Braves on FSN South and SportSouth.

Finally, twenty years is a long time. Most players are lucky to make it ten. Those who make it fifteen are rare. How many make it twenty in this era? Not a lot. There's a few: Glavine, Smoltz, Maddox, Randy Johnson... Jamie Moyer.

I've never been a huge fan of Jamie Moyer, but that's been changing over the last several years. The more I see of him and the more I learn about him, the more I like. A starting pitcher virtually all of his career, his (at the moment) 237 and 182 win/loss mark is impressive. Will he reach 300 wins, I doubt it. But that shouldn't take anything away from his career.

Here's his 1987 Topps card, next to his 2008 Topps Series 1 card. Enjoy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

looking ahead.& Do You Remember?

I know there hasn't been much to say the last two days, but hopefully the next packs will get me back on track. I'd hoped to be able to complete the set with this box, but with the last three or four packs I've only been able to add between ten and twelve new cards to the set. So I'm not so sure now. I do have every intention of completing this set though, however I have to do it.

Up next is a second wax box of 1987 Topps. I'm itchin' to get into that one because I'm relatively close to finishing the set. But I'm going to wait until this box of Score is finished.

I'd also like to see what I can do wit 1989 Topps, because I've got a good start on that set with cards I bought 20 years ago. So that may be coming up after the second box of '87 Topps.

Lately though, I've been thinking really hard about trying to put together a set of 1981 Topps, the year I was born. Could be a challenge, but I'd like to give it a shot. After these two boxes of course.

-- Do You Remember? --

Do you? I didn't. I'd forgotten all about those little Magic Motion Trivia Card things that came in every pack of '88 Score. It was a 56 card set, meaning there's no way to complete a set out of one box. They're gimicky, but kinda fun. They're actually more fun now than they were 20 years ago. There's a lot of words on the back and I never wanted to read all of that back then, but looking at them now is interesting.



Yep, eight of them. I got a double of my Magic Motion Trivia Card. Oh well.

Pack IX

Pack 9
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
28 Jose Cruz
32 Juan Samuel

48 Tony Pena
173 Lee Lacy
187 Tim Burke
229 Jim Dwyer
231 Andre Thornton
249 John Mitchel
382 Mark Thurmond
398 Danny Jackson
402 Chuck Crim
493 Chris Speier
507 Willie Hernandez
513 Juan Nieves
657 Mike Schmidt – 1987 Highlights
654 Benny Santiago – 1987 Highlights
651 Super Shortstops

Another pack not really worthy of much comment. Better than pack eight yes, but nothing special. Three doubles, but in the end I was only able to add 10 cards to the set.

The two '87 Highlights cards are nice though.



This one is for Schmidt's 500th homerun. Remember, that was a big deal.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eight.

Pack 8
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
38 Chris Bosio
42 Fred Lynn
58 Ken Gerhart
152 Mark McLemore
168 Ernie Whitt
172 Chris Bando
285 Ted Simmons
300 Bob Stanley
305 Hubie Brooks
393 Mike Young
407 Jeff Kunkel
413 Frank DiPino

482 Gary Roenicke
498 Jeff Dedmon
502 Reggie Jackson – New York
627 Kirt Manwarnig – Rookie Prospect
622 Floyd Bannister

Not a lot to say about this one. Four doubles and a few that I already had before. I did add 11 new cards to the set, so that's not too bad over all.

Maybe there will be something to say tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pack seven, oops, and a link

We'll start with the link first. Please, if you haven't seen it before, check out Mario Alejandro's Wax Heaven. It'll have a permenant spot on links list here as well.

Oops, because I mentioned several days ago that I was going to open the series 2 rack pack of '08 Upper Deck. I found them on the floor under the bed when I went to retreive today's pack of '88 Score which the cat batted off the desk and onto the floor. I'll assume she's also responsible for the UD cards taking a floorward journey.

Nothing too special in the pack. I pulled a Kelly Johnson, one of my favorite current Braves, so not too bad overall.

Now to the topic at hand.

Pack 7
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
37 Alan Trammell
43 Kent Hrbek
176 Greg Minton
184 Danny Darwin
196 Dan Pasqua
239 Doug DeCinces
241 Rich Gedman
259 Ed Romero
393 Mike Young
407 Jeff Kunkel
413 Frank DiPino
502 Reggie Jackson – New York
518 Don Aase
522 Jay Howell
646 Jeff Treadway – Rookie Propect
649 Speed and Power (Eric Davis, Tim Raines)
659 Mark McGwire - 1987 Highlights

This is the best pack so far.

There's not much to say about Alan Trammell that isn't already out there. He had a great career, all of it in once city which by the 1980s was becoming a rarity. Should he be in the Hall of Fame? By his numbers yes. But as much of a celebration of talent as it is, the HoF is also a popularity contest. Unfortunately, Trammell played on a small market team and didn't get the exposure as his counterparts in New York, Chicago and LA.

I'm confident that he'll make it though. He was just too good not to be there.



Next we have Kent Hrbek. As a Braves fan it's taken me seventeen years to get over game 2 of the 1991 World Series. But I'll admit, grudgingly as it may be, that he had a pretty good career. Beyond his career he's done a lot of charity work and is all in all an upstanding citizen.

But come on Kent, we all know you pulled Gant off the bag.



I lack one more card of completing the Reggie Jackson subset (of five cards, woo). This is the Reggie that everyone remembers.

And finally, we have this. See yesterday's post for comments on steroids and the like.



Like I said about Canseco, Mark McGwire was one of the biggest things in baseball in 1988 and he deserves to be here, highlighted for what he did 20 years ago, not what he did in 1998.

In 1987 McGwire hit 49 homeruns as a rookie. That's impressive. Especially considering how skinny he was back then.