Saturday, January 31, 2009

Young Superstars #5 - Matt Nokes

After sips of coffee in '85 and '86, Matt Nokes stuck in the Tigers line up in 1987 and did pretty well for himself. We'd probably be talking about his 32 home runs as a rookie catcher today had another rookie not hit 49 that same season.

Despite having fairly productive years in 1991 and '92 on some less than spectacular Yankees teams, Nokes never again showed the promise that he did in 1987. After retiring in 1995 he spent some time in the independant leagues as a player and coach (and one season in the Mexican league).

Thus far, I'm having trouble deciding whether I like the photo on this card or the McGwire card better. Maybe at the end of this thing we'll have some voting for best looking card.

Matt Nokes' career statistics

Friday, January 30, 2009

Young Superstars #4 - Chris Bosio

Chris Bosio is remembered for pitching the second, to date, no hitter in Seattle Mariner history on April 22, 1993. He walked two, struck out four and faced one batter over the minimum.

Beyond that, his career wasn't one for the record books. In 11 seasons he posted a 94-93 record with a 3.96 ERA and 1056 strikeouts. He did eat up a lot of innings though, pitching 200+ innings three years, and at least 170 in six years.

Bosio has been a minor league coach for the past several seasons.

Despite falling well short of being a superstar, this card gets some points for that wonderful old-school Brewers logo. I really like the solid color logos on the backs of these cards, they're very classy.

Chris Bosio's career statistics

Thursday, January 29, 2009

87 Topps update

I got a package in the mail today and I expected it to be the completion of my '88 Score set, so I opened it up and there's a stack of '87 Topps. hmmmm...

So thanks to Steve at The Easy Life I'm not six cards away from finishing the set.

I'll be digging through some cards tonight to see if I can help him out with any of his sets.


Young Superstars #3 - Sam Horn

Syd Thrift was right, Sam Horn did hit the ball with a lot of power. But that's about all he did. In six seasons he played in over 100 games once (121 games in 1991 for Baltimore. He averaged just over 60 games a year, and all that power netted him 62 career home runs. Fielding wasn't his cup 'o tea, as he played in only 12 games at first base.

But what Sam Horn is most remembered for is the creation of the term horn. A horn is the bigger cousin of the hat trick. You see, in 1992 while playing with the Baltimore Orioles, Sam Horn managed to strike out six times in an extra inning game.

Of the three cards we've seen so far, this one has the best looking picture on the back of the card. McGwire looked confused and Santiago looked high. Mr. Horn sure did have a nice looking swing in this picture though.

Sam Horn's career statistics

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Young Superstars #2 - Benny Santiago

After a cup of coffee with the Padres in late 1986, Benito Santiago won the 1987 National League Rookie of the Year award. He was an All Star five times and three time winner of the Gold Glove.

While his career may be marred by steriod allegations, he was for nearly twenty years a very durable (though at times error prone) catcher. While his productivity at the plate wasn't the best in the league at his position, he was an above average hitter who early in his career possessed adequate speed (21 stolen bases in 1988).

This is a great looking card, capturing the ball in flight just as it left the bat. The quote on the back from from Tigers GM Bill Lajoie makes me wonder though. How many Hall of Fame votes will he get? I doubt enough to stay on the ballot more than his first year.

Benito Santiago's career statistics

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Young Superstars #1 - Mark McGwire

Mark McGwire was a late season call up by the Oakland Atheletics in 1986, appearing in 18 games (.189/3HR/9RBI). But by 1988, Big Mac was one of the games premier players; winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1987. He would go on to play in 12 All Star games while winning a Gold Glove and three Silver Slugger awards, plus a World Series ring in 1989.

Even with his record 49 home runs as a rookie, I don't think any of us thought that this skinny fellow would turn into the cartoonish character he became by the late 1990s.

McGwire retired after 16 seasons at the end of the 2001 season. His home run totals are a bit misleading and his career numbers aren't what you'd think they were. His 583 home runs account for a third of his career hits. But one thing the numbers don't tell us is how exciting he was to watch. Even with the idea of steriods in the back of your mind, watching he and Sosa bash it out in 1998 was a lot of fun.

But I don't know how inviting Cooperstown will be. Thus far he's well below the needed votes to get in. Time will tell.

Looking at the card itself you see how vastly different this insert set is from the base release. These cards have a high gloss finish on the front and much of the back is taken up by a head shot. The cards have a quote by various front office execs about each player and a run down of some of their accomplishments. In terms of photography, these cards are every bit as good as the base release.

Mark McGwire's career statistics

1988 Score Young Superstars

This is the 1988 Score blog, but it's been awhile since I've said much of anything about 1988 Score. Well, that changes today.

The nice mailman left me a package today and inside that package were the two Score Young Superstars sets that I bought on ebay Saturday morning... fast shipping!

Let's see what we've got here...

As you can see, what we get here are 40 player cards and five of the Magic Motion Trivia cards. The two series are numbered 1 through 40 and were inserted into rack packs of 1988 Score. Their design is different from the base release, and the front of the card has a gloss finish with white borders.

The checklist for this set is pretty interesting, especially for series two, but you'll have to wait for that one.

We're going to be looking at this set one card at a time. I probably won't be going into the same amount of detail that Andy is giving the 88 Score Traded set, but we'll see. By the way, if you haven't seen Andy's new blog, go check it out, it's going to be a good one.

Look for the first card later this afternoon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sportlots and ebay

I took the plunge and signed up for a account and promptly completed the '88 Score set... at least when the cards get here.  I'm still gonna work on the '87 Topps set through trades until I run out of all options.  Right around $5 shipped finished off Score for me.

Then I decided to take a look at ebay, and picked up '88 Score Young Superstars I and II.  I've never actually seen these cards before, so they should be a nice addition to the set.  They were included in rack packs, and I don't recall ever buying a rack pack.  So when those get here, we're gonna take a look at each card.  Price was $7.95 shipped, more than I'd like to have spent but hey, gotta treat yourself every now and then.

I was surprised that before these cards, the last time I purchased something on ebay was 2005.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Steve Avery

Here we go. As promised, here's my start on a Steve Avery player collection. I have a whopping six, count 'em... six card! There may be a few more here and there. But as I've said many times, my collection ends just before the vast proliferation of sets and variations, for example I have one of just two Avery cards from 1989, and there were just eight different Steve Avery cards in 1990 spread across all brands.

This is going to be a challenge, but one I'm looking forward to.

Here they are:

1989 Topps #784

1990 Donruss #39 - This was my first Steve Avery card. I actually bought this one in a card shop in 1990 for about $5. It's not perfect, but the white line through the M in his middle name on scan of the back is from the scanner, not the card.

1991 Donruss #187

1992 Score #797 - Oh the days before high quality digital manipulation. You can clearly see where the photo was "cut" using some software program. Look at the outlining of his pitching hand and then at his right sleeve just above the wrist. Then look at his hat on the back of the card. I never noticed this until I scanned it, and thought at first that it was the scanner, but no.

Read the back of the card. There's a wee lil typo there, or poor fact checking, or something. The last sentences reads: "The Pirates won 1-0." No, they didn't. The Braves won game two 1-0.

Way to go Score, high quality product ya got there... I kid, I kid, I actually like 1992 Score.

1994 Fleer Ultra #147 - Wow, that gold foil really doesn't like to scan, does it? Also pardon the dust and cat hair on the scan of the front... I love '94 Ultra, one of my all time favorite sets. I'm thinking about trying to find a box or two of it and see if I can't put together a set... it's a big one though.

2000 Topps #11 - Again, pardon the cat hair and dust. This is my only Steve Avery card not in a Braves uniform.

I'm thinking about tackling this thing in order of release, but we'll see how long that lasts. If I do it that way, the first card would be (not counting any little oddball releases, I'll deal with them at the end) 1989 Bowman.

Looking at ebay a lot of his cards go for no more than $1.50, so I don't see this being the most difficult undertaking of my life.

Two things on the plate for today...

I've got two things on the plate for this afternoon and hopefully I'll get to both of them.

First I wanna go through the package from Nachos Grande that's gotten me to within 18 cards of completing my 1987 Topps set. I'm excited to be so close to knocking this thing out. So look for that a little later.

Second, I've been thinking about this for a while now, but Dayf's post on another 1990s Braves farovite pushed me over the edge. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I now want to become a Steve Avery player collector. Probably won't turn out to be a very big collection, but aside from Chipper I can't really think of another Brave who's career I followed as closely.

It looks like there are, including variations, 261 Steve Avery cards. I'm not really interested, at least not right now, in collecting all the variations, so that number is probably closer to 230 actually.

I don't have a very good start on it, but it's something to work on. I'm going through all my cards today to see what I've got and I'll throw up some scans later.

The Steve Avery idea isn't a priority and I don't really care how long it takes, it just seems like a fun idea.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mail day from Nachos Grande and Wait 'til Next Year...

I woke up this morning and the thermometer on the back porch said 7 degrees... yeesh!

When the mailman came I decided to skate down the street and see what came.  Junk mail, junk mail, baseball cards, baseball cards...  woohoo!  Something to keep me busy on a cold day.

We'll go through some of these cards later, but I just want to say a quick thanks this morning.

First was a stack of 87 Topps from Nachos Grande to complete a trade (I sent him some 87 Topps).

Second was a card I've been after for 20 years from Wait 'til Next Year.  1989 Topps Steve Avery draft pick.  I haven't sent his cards out yet, I'm still putting together a package for him.

Well, I said I'd wait until later... but I've been after this card for 20 years, so here it is...

Later tonight or tomorrow afternoon, we'll take a look at some of the 87 Topps that Nachos Grande sent.

Again, thanks a whole lot to both Chris and Steve.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Third Blog Bat Around - my submission...

When the first two Blog Bat Arounds were announced I didn’t feel that I had been back in the hobby long enough to have a valid response to the questions they proposed. I was still learning what was what and trying to make some sense out of all these sets. Admittedly I’m still stuck in the time where there were five or six major releases every year, seeing ten or more from each brand is confusing to me.

I’ve mentioned several times that I think I’m ready to get back into this thing full time and try to build a few sets this year. But my interest isn’t with the so called high end, or even middle end sets. I’m a traditionalist; to me the most enjoyable part of baseball card collecting is set building, card by card.

When you buy for the “hits” 90% or more of the cards you open don’t mean anything to you, they’re extra, they’re base cards, they’re a waste of time. I’m still trying to figure out what a “hit” really is. A few weeks ago I bought a blaster of Topps Updates & Highlights and got my first game used card –a piece of bat— and my first serial numbered card. I wasn’t terribly excited about either and filed them away with the rest. What made me happy about that blaster were the two Chipper Jones base (oh god!) cards. I couldn’t possibly care less about “hits” I was happy to see my favorite player.

But I digress, sort of, we’ll get back to this later. The topic of this third Bat Around is what we as collectors would like to see in 2009, what sets we want to see and what sets we want killed off.

What do I want to get out of 2009 as a baseball card collector? I’m going to echo Night Owl’s sentiments and simply say that I want to have fun. For anyone who has followed 1988 Score, you know that my card collecting began in 1988. To this day I can remember what I felt every time I’d buy a pack of cards. Sure I wanted to pull cards of my favorite players, and in that way we’re all after the “hits” but the idea of the “hit” has changed over time I guess. I wasn’t buying cards to turn into profit, I was a seven year old kid who liked baseball.

Back in 1988 there wasn’t a lot of baseball on television. This was well before satellite packages offered every game every day; this was before Fox Sports Net showed hundreds of games. This was a time when the only baseball available to me was the Braves on TBS, the Saturday Game of the Week and an occasional game on ESPN. The thrill of opening a pack of baseball cards was to see the players I’d only heard of.

It was fun. And in 2008 when I picked up a few packs of Topps Series 1, opening them was fun. Sure it was nostalgic, but I realized that even now at 27 years old I still enjoyed opening a pack of baseball cards. It made me happy. Sure it may be a silly hobby, but it made me happy. We’ve all got to have something to keep us from going insane and baseball cards are one of my ways.

I apologize for continuously straying off topic.

When I opened those packs of ’08 Topps, I had no clue about how much the hobby had changed. I hadn’t even thought about buying a baseball card since 1994. What drove me away in 1994 was how the hobby had been spread so thin and how many sets were being produced every year. As I learned more about the hobby today, the first thing that became apparent was that things haven’t change, they’ve only gotten worse.

I can’t fault anyone for buying for the “hits,” it’s a hobby and everyone is certainly entitled to enjoy the hobby in their own way. But what frustrates me and what keeps me away from the higher end sets is that Topps and Upper Deck seem to be catering to those who only care about maybe one or two cards out of an entire box, and the traditional base sets and those who collect those sets suffer.

But at least I still have the luxury of a base set, and if I pull a “hit” or two, that’s fine, I just don’t want those cards to interfere with what I’m really after.

What would I like to see in 2009? I think the way Topps is doing their base release is good. Three series spread out over the year. That way there’s a smaller number of cards to have to worry with at one time.

My goal for 2009 is to collected base Topps (1, 2 and UH). I may buy a pack or two of some other brands and maybe even a pack of higher end stuff just to see what’s going on, but the fun to me is set building and seeing as many different cards as I can.

Beyond that, I’m interested in Allen & Ginter and UD Goudey, so they may be on a list of possible sets to complete. If I can find them, I still haven’t managed to find a single pack of ’08 A&G or Goudey.

As to brands I’d like to see killed off… again, I don’t think I’ve been back in the hobby long enough to be able to respond to this. Certainly if a brand isn’t selling then it should go, but there are collectors for everything that’s out there.

One thing I would like to see go the way of the dodo is the cut signature, especially those created by Razor. These cards aren’t even cards. The fact that they sell for many many times what the original is worth is absurd to me. But again, there must be a market for them so I can’t complain, I don’t have to like them or spend my time reading about them. So it doesn’t really matter.

I would, however, like to see MLB and the MLBPA further limit the number of sets that companies are allowed to produce. I think this would raise the quality of the sets that are produced. When that happens everyone wins.

I’d like to see bigger packs of cards. At what point did we go from 15 to 17 cards in a pack for less than $1 for seven cards in a pack for $2 or more? I understand the price on some of the high end cards. But I’d like to see 15 card packs of the base set… I’d even pay $2 for them. I guess blasters are the way to go here.

As many others have mentioned I think it’s time to bring Donruss back as a licensed product. The cards I saw this year from their baseball release were great, and I’d be all for building an old fashioned set of Donruss cards again if they were there to be had.

I know this is fairly disjointed and again I apologize. I want to close by saying once more that collecting baseball cards to me is fun and I want to keep it that way.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Bad, The Worse and What the Hell Went Wrong Here? 1987 Topps Edition

That nice '87 Topps Chris Brown card in the last post got me thinking about some of the photographic disasters Topps unleashed on us all in the late 80s. Topps' troubles ranged from bad lighting, bad shadows and poor composition to just downright terrible airbrushing.

The photos for the 1987 release were taken as early as spring training 1986, and with the checklist finalized well before production begins little could be done for players who were traded. Rather than leave gaps in the checklist, Topps got their airbrushes out and went to work.

So in this first installment of "The Bad, The Worse, and What the Hell Went Wrong Here?" we're going to take a look at three examples of airbrushing tragedy.

#3 - Bad

The first time I saw this card, I thought that it had to be the worst looking job of airbrushing I'd ever seen. Don't let the fact that I'm placing it at number three in our countdown fool you into thinking that it's not so bad. It is, it's horrible. But it gets much, much worse.

Mike Laga was a player to be named later in a deal between the Detroit Tigers and St. Loius Cardinals in late 1986. The photo here was taken sometime in 1986, I'll assume Spring Traning because it really doesn't look like Tiger Stadium back there, but the background is so dark it's hard to tell.

Ladies and gentlemen, this year your St. Louis Cardinals will be sporting pink pullover warm up jerseys. They look an awful lot like paper hospital gowns.

A lot of times in these airbrushing train wrecks, as bad as the jerseys are, the hat suffers the worst fate. What saves this card from being worse than it already is it the fact that the hat came out looking pretty much like a Cardinals hat should. Some of the ink bled over onto the sky giving Mr. Laga a purple halo, but the hat is at least in proportion to his head and positioned correctly.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being little better than spray paint on a smiley face), I give this one a 5, it'd get a 4 if not for the pink jersey.

#2 - Worse

Where do we start with this one? Remember what I said about hats? Judging from this picture Carl Willis' head must be the same shape as Homer Simpson's. I don't understand why it's so hard to correctly position a hat, unless of course the original photo was taken hatless. It looks like the brush was running out of ink towards the bottom of the Reds logo on the cap.

Looking at the position of his shoulders I have to wonder if the high left shoulder is an accident of airbrushing or if he's in some non-standing position that we're unable to see because of the close up.

Without the luxury of the internet, this is actually a somewhat confusing card.

From looking at the back, there seems to be little reason to airbrush a Reds uniform on him as he had been with the team since the middle of the 1984 season. A mystery? Not really.

What the back of the card doesn't show you are off season moves. It seems that Mr. Willis had a pretty eventful 1985 off season and under that baby blue Reds uniform lurks a California Angel.

On December 10, 1985, Willis was picked up by the California Angels as a Rule V selection and attended Spring Training with his new team before ultimately being returned to Cincinnati on April 6, 1986.

1 to 10: 7

#1 - What the Hell Went Wrong Here?

First, I'd like you to take a moment to let the true horror of this card set in, then we'll talk.

I don't think the words "What the hell went wrong here?" are strong enough for this card.

Not a single thing about this card looks real. Nothing. From the placement of the logo on the cap, to his shoulders, and even the background doesn't look like Earth. Even his beard doesn't looks real.

Somewhere under there, maybe, lies a Cubs uniform. I know nothing about Ray Fontenot's short career, but I hope for his sake there's a better looking card out there than this one. He looks so happy to have his picture taken for a baseball card... only to have it turn out like that? I honestly feel sorry for the guy.

1 - 10: 10...million

So in the spirit of recent events, I've decided to try my hand at airbrushing.

See, I told you, it's the hat that suffers the most.

1987 Donruss

Well, coming off one awesome pack and one not half bad pack of 88 Donruss, let's go back in time a year to 1987 and see what's going on.

1987 Donruss:

Rafael Palmeiro - Rated Rookie
Todd Worrell
Joe Sambito

John Franco
Bud Black
Manny Lee
Aurelio Lopez
Dave Righetti
Terry Steinbach - Rated Rookie
Jerry Browne - Rated Rookie
Mark Ryal - this card is about a milimeter taller than all the others

Chris Brown - RIP (in my opinion his 1987 Topps card has the best photo in the set)
Tom Brunansky
Dave Smith
Bob Tewksbury
Roberto Clemente's feet

Maybe this is a let down after that first pack of 88, but still not a half bad pack. Probably pretty nice back in '87 with the three Rated Rookies.

In my opinion there's two potential Hall of Famers in this pack with Palmeiro and John Franco. We'll have to wait and see how the writers treat the steroid era with Palmeiro. Whether or not he used intentionally (that's a strange, strange story) or not, he put up some amazing numbers. I think he's got a good shot.

Franco though is a long shot, but I think he'll end up there eventually after a few other closers go in first. His numbers are solid, 424 saves, 2.89 ERA.

As to Chris Brown... I know we're talking about 87 Donruss here, but his 87 Topps card has always been my favorite of that set. Admittedly, I had no clue who Chris Brown was in 1987, and I don't know too much about his career now. It's not a rare card, it's not a valuable card. He was an average baseball player, but his 87 Topps card is a very nice looking card. He died in 2006. I wish more cards in that set were as nice.

There, wasn't that fun? Three packs of Donruss.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

1988 Donruss pack two

After a pretty good first pack, let's see what pack two has to offer.

Pack 2:

Carl Nichols - complete with wax stain
Jim Eisenreich
Tommy Herr

Paul Molitor - Diamond King

Nolan Ryan
Eric King
Alan Ashby
Alan Trammell
Mark Grant

Ozzie Smith
Rick Rhoden
John Candelaria
Dan Petry
Mel Hall
Von Hayes

Stan Musial's midget doppelganger (Puzzle Pieces 34, 35, 36)

Another pretty OK pack. Three Hall of Famers and one that probably should be there (Trammell).

The photography in this set isn't the best in the world. Certainly not on par with the '88 Score cards that we've been looking at here. The overall quality of these cards is a downgrade from what Donruss put out in 1987. The set seems rushed at all stages from design to photography to manufacture. Even in the days before full-bleed, photostock baseball cards, the color saturation on these cards is lacking.

I still like the set though. I can't help it.

Did anyone ever actually put these puzzles together?

Lookie!!! I made myself a baseball card...

So I've been playing around with Wii baseball off and on since I got my Wii back in April.  It's a lot of fun though not really as accurate a baseball game as I'd like.  I think the Wii has great potential for baseball games so, so I'm looking forward to getting one of the 2009 MLB games.

Well, I got to thinking... Mario at Wax Heaven has a baseball card, Dayf has one... why can't I?  With camera in hand, I started up Wii baseball, loaded myself and took a picture of my TV screen that managed to come out with not a single scan line!  Then I spent the last three hours making a 1988 Score card from scratch for myself (including the Score logo and stars, that was a pain in the ass).

Considering I have no photoshop skills and this thing was made all in MS Paint, I think I did a pretty darn good job.  Maybe tomorrow I'll make a back for it.  Then I could print one, autograph it and make a 1/1, or cut up a shirt and make some game used relic cards.  The possibilities are endless!

EDIT: I even thought far enough ahead that I took the card apart and made a template of each piece, now I can make all the parallel versions I want... for what it's worth, black bordered '88 Score cards look amazing. heh heh...

Friday, January 16, 2009

1988 Donruss

Awhile back I received a package from Stats on the Back during his "take 'em or they're going in the dumpster" give away. In that package were three packs of Donruss, one '87 and two '88s.

I mentioned at the time that I'd open them here and throw some scans up. I opened one of them and then my computer blew up and I forgot all about the other two.

Seeing how it never got over 25 degrees today I figured it was as good a time as any to clean the house up. While cleaning up the kitchen table, guess what I found under a pile of junk mail?

So strap yourselves in for some truly ugly, nasty, poor quality, but greatly entertaining baseball cards.

Here's the pack that I opened, still in original order.

Tom Glavine
Tommy Hinzo
Candy Maldonado

Mark McGwire
Jeff Reardon
Jody Reed - Rated Rookie
Ruben Sierra
Harold Baines
Mike Moore
Mark Davis
Mike Devereaux
Diamond Kings Checklist
Jeff Hamilton
Mike Dunne

Dale Murphy - MVP

Stan Musial's Chin (Puzzle Pieces 40, 41, 42)

Not a bad pack overall (considering what it is... but hey, I like '88 Donruss... please don't hit me). Murph MVP card, a McGwire that was a big deal back in '88 and a Tom Glavine rookie card right on top. While not really superstars, Reardon, Sierra and Baines had very nice careers.

Pack two is coming up tomorrow and the 87 Donruss on Sunday. Can't wait to see what horrors are to be unleashed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Questions from Dinged Corners

Since I've been away with computer troubles for the past three weeks, I've been doing a lot of catching up over the weekend. I missed more than I thought I would. So when I was looking around Dinged Corners I came across their "New Year's baseball card questions," and thought I'd have a go at it. I posted my quick answers there, but decided to have some fun with it and go more indepth here.

The questions are, in round one:

1-If I didn't collect baseball cards, I'd collect _________.

Knives. In fact I do collect knives. My interest arose out of carrying a knife for utility and realized that too many things over the course of a day need a knife. Opening the mail, opening baseball cards, cutting loose strings, peeling an orange. Long before my interest in baseball cards returned I'd been feeding my need for things sharp, shiny and pointy. My collection includes 60+ pieces. Nothing of great value, but a lot of sentimental value. My collection includes my great grandfather's small three bladed Imperial stockman that my grandmother (who will be 91 this year) remembers he father carrying when she was young. A knife my grandfather carried as a college student in the 1930s and a fixed blade that my father had when he was a scout in the late 50s.

Pictured below is the focal point of my collection, my Bucks.

2-My baseball heroes include one you probably wouldn't know from my blog or comments, and that person is __________.

Lou Gherig. I hate the Yankees, always have. But I have unending respect for the likes of Ruth, DiMaggio and especially Gherig. He carried himself so professionally on the field and off. Everything he did was for the team and his team mates. He played until he was physically unable to take another at bat or take another throw from second.

Gherig's unfortunate end has a deeper meaning to me though as one of my cousins was taken from us by ALS several years back.

3-Every New Years I resolve to __________ my collection.

Organize. Not just my collection but my house, my life, everything. I can't ever seem to do it. My house is clean, but cluttered. I try to clean and set aside a weekend every now and then to clean and what happens? I can't find anything. My clutter is like a perfect filing system. To an outsider it looks like a small tornado has struck my house, but if you ask me to find one thing I can within seconds.

4-If I could spend a day with one person from baseball history, it would be ________.

Hank Aaron. I don't feel the need to explain this one. I've been a fan of Hammerin' Hank since I started reading baseball history. He was a great player and is a great man that accomplished something amazing. Barry Bonds isn't half the man Henry Aaron is.

Now on to round two, Lucy's questions.

1-What is your favorite kind of dog?

Dachshund. In 1976 my parents brought home a dachshund puppy. He was their child until I came along five years later. He lived to the ripe old age of 14 and died in 1990. I never cried so long and so hard in my life. For some strange reason I remember the night he died, after we buried him, the Braves were playing the Dodgers on TBS and someone turned a triple play. I don't remember who it was, but I remember where I was sitting on the couch and I remember not being very interested in the baseball game.

2-Who is your favorite baseball player?

My favorite player of all time is Cal Ripken Jr. I got to see him play once, on my 16th birthday in 1997 in Baltimore. He didn't disappoint. Cal played every day and he played the game the right way.

My favorite current player is Chipper Jones. I've been a fan of his since his rookie season and saw him play in 97 and again in 98 (Maddux pitched both games).

3-What is your favorite team?

Since the late 80s I've been a Braves fan. Before that, and still today, I was a Dodgers fan. The last few years have been frustrating for us Braves fan, but I liked them when they were the bottom feeders of the NL West, I enjoyed fifteen years of being the best, so I'll stick it out until they're on top again.

4-What is your favorite baseball movie?

Major League. It's not serious like some of them and it doesn't have a deeper cultural meaning, but it's funny and it's a good movie.

5-What is your favorite baseball book?

Back in the early 90s I used to buy the Sporting News guide every year before the season started. It was like having a media guide for every team in one book. The previous years statistics were included, schedules, rosters and I believe draft picks. I assume they still publish this book every year?

6-What is your favorite card?

This one.

I followed his career very closely from the beginning. He got of to a great start and things looked so hopeful for him. Between his rookie year of 1990 and 1993 he was 50-36. His best season came in 1993 where he went 18 and 6, and his 2.94 ERA was second on the staff to Maddux's 2.36.

But after an injury late in 1993 he was never the same pitcher. He pitched three more relatively unproductive years in Atlanta before being signed as a free agent by the Red Sox in 1996. Despite his troubles in his last three seasons with the Braves, I was sad to see him go. Fortunately by '96 we had the internet and I was able to keep up with his career as he threw for two seasons in Boston where he was able to post a record of two games over .500 in two seasons. Then he was off to the Reds where he pitched until an injury ended his season in July 99.

That injury was pretty much the end of his career. He resigned with the Braves in 2000 and again in 2001 but was released in March 2001 and was out of baseball until a brief comeback attempt in 2003 with the Tigers where he went 2-0 in 16 innings of relief.

So why is this my favorite card? Because Steve Avery was supposed to be the next great pitcher. He was young and he was good. He pitched with the best of the best in the early 90s and held his own. His career never panned out the way any of us hoped it would, but I can't look at this card and not think about how excited I was about him. I know it's not worth the paper it's printed on, but it's been in that top loader since 1990 and it's not coming out.

I was never able to get my hands on his 1989 Topps draft pick card, but this 1990 Donruss will forever be my favorite card, for the fond memories I have of Steve Avery.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm back.

Wow. So here I am after three weeks back with a new power supply in my Dell XPS. Nothing else seems to be wrong.

I got home the day after Christmas to find a nice package from Scott at Hand Collated. I'm now sixty cards away from the complete 1987 Topps set. I'll post an updated list tomorrow. Thanks Scott.

That's all I've got for now.