Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The man who wrote the rule

I don't have a lot of nice things to say about the new play at the plate rule. Some call it the "Buster Posey rule," and although I never need an excuse to dislike a Giant, this just gave me ammunition that will probably last a lifetime.

But Posey isn't the first player to lead to the creation of a new baseball rule. It's happened a few times. And it's happened regarding violence on the basepaths, too.

In 1978, baseball created a rule that required base runners who are attempting to break up a double play at second base to make an attempt to touch second base in the process. This was created because of what the Royals' Hal McRae did in the first game of the 1977 ALCS as he landed a cross body block on the Yankees' Willie Randolph well beyond second base.

How far beyond? Well this screen capture pretty much explains it:

You can see second base in the middle of the picture. And McRae, bottom, and Randolph, top, aren't anywhere near it. That's all McRae's doing.

The rule became known -- and is known -- as the Hal McRae rule.

Unlike the Posey rule, I can understand the reasoning behind it. The objective of a slide into second should be to get to second. Anything else is just mayhem. (And note, the rule doesn't say the shortstop or second baseman must "allow a lane" or do anything differently).

That aside, let me just say that McRae is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very awesome for that play.

McRae is probably known most for that play, flipping out during a press conference and destroying a phone, and for being the father of Brian McRae. But before all of that, he was one of my favorite non-Dodger players.

It helped that McRae was one of the first cards that I pulled out of a pack of 1975 Topps on the day I bought my first packs of cards. (For awhile I thought his card was actually the first, but through exhaustive searches of my brain, I've realized the Darold Knowles card was the first one).

Looking back, McRae was just a 1970s kind of player. He was aggressive on the bases, he was a doubles machine, and he played for two of the top baseball teams of the 1970s, the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals.

McRae was traded to K.C. too soon to enjoy the height of the Big Red Machine days, but he was the focal point, along with George Brett, of Kansas City's three straight AL West championships during the late 1970s.

He has some interesting cards, although not as interesting as they could be. For one, I would like to know how he got five years younger between 1982 and 1987. I guess beards really do make you look like an old man. Secondly, this will crack me up forever.

He also has some repetitious cards, mostly in the 1970s. And that's where I'd like to go with this. Yup, it's finally time for another Best of the '70s poll.

Which Hal McRae Topps card do you think is the best one?

Here is a look at all of them:

1971: We're going to see this pose a lot. This is "Harold" making his solo card debut. He appeared a couple of times on multi-player rookie cards, in 1968 and in 1970.

1972: Still relying on the batting pose. I believe that is shortstop Frank Duffy behind him. (McRae also appears in an In Action card in the set, which you saw at the top of the post).

1973: Oh for crying out loud. Are you going to stand like that all day, sir? This is the only McRae card here that I don't have. Yup, it's a filched image.

1974: By now you're asking yourself what the point is of voting on these cards. Even a change of teams can't get McRae to do anything different for the photographer. This is a man who practically maimed people on the basepaths! Get him doing SOMETHING.

1975: Finally. No batting shot. This card may be boring to some, but I have a super squishy soft spot in my heart for this card because of the circumstances behind it. As a kid, it seemed like McRae filled the entire photo. There was no palm tree or people or fence behind him. It was all McRae. I'd have a difficult time not voting for this card.

1976: This is the card that I think will win. Perhaps even in a landslide. Have you ever seen a larger guffaw on a baseball card? And those chops! You could serve garlic mashed potatoes with those things. What a glorious card.

1977: OK, back to the batting pose. I actually like this card a lot and always have. You didn't see black bats much at this time, so this was certainly unique. The spring training atmosphere behind is fantastic, right down to the cumulus clouds.

1978: I guess I'll call this "sedate McRae." It contrasts nicely with the '76 McRae and I noticed that right away when I pulled this card. This came out the year of the Hal McRae rule. He seems so calm about it.

1979: Wow. More batting poses. And not even a black bat. It's interesting to me how often McRae fiddled with his facial hair. He goes from clean shaven, to mustache, to muttons, to clean shaven, to mustache and about a week's growth, to mustache. He continues the pattern right through his '80s cards.

But it won't be until his 1982 card that McRae is featured on the basepaths.

Maybe Topps figured what's the point? After all the Hal McRae rule is in effect.

Although something like this would have been terribly excellent. (Pay no attention to the horridly sloppy MS paint action).

So now it's time to vote.

There is a poll on the revamped sidebar. It'll be there for a week. Vote for the Best Hal McRae card of the '70s!

You can even vote for one of those bat pose shots.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stuff I wanted and stuff I didn't know I wanted

I've traded with literally hundreds of people since starting this blog (more than 300 by my count). Traders come in all forms. Some younger, some older. Some into vintage. Some into present-day cards. Some like '90s cards, some like prospects, some like stuff that I'll never figure out.

If the trader is like me, a team collector who also deals in vintage and some modern sets, than it's an easy deal. But surprisingly -- and I don't know how this happens -- I've been able to work something out with traders with whom I have nothing in common besides our cardboard collections. I always feel a bit uneasy in trades like this, by the way.

But there are some collectors who seem to get me and my collection. This guy is one. Here's another. And another.

Another one of those is Scott. He and I collect a lot of the same things -- Brooklyn Dodgers, vintage sets, oddballs. Only he does A LOT MORE OF IT than I do. So I think he understands the way I collect and is able to find stuff that I like. My want list helps in this area, but then there is stuff like this:

"What the hell is that?" you're saying.

Why, of course, it's a 2014 Stubbly Bubbly card of one-game wonder Charlie Osgood!

This is a homemade card, which automatically impresses me, because if I was to ever make a card of a player who appeared in one game from the '40s, I'd be flummoxed by the "how do I find a photo of the guy" part before I even got to the "how do I make a card" part.

This card wasn't made by Scott, but by his buddy, Stubby. You may have read Stubby's comments on my blog, which are always informative in a uniquely ranty kind of way. I'm told that Stubby's a fan and he wanted me to have this card, which makes me too goopy inside for words.

But look there's a back to this card, too:

There's all the information about Osgood that you will need. And, before I forget, how cool is it that I have a card of a guy who played three innings of one game for the Dodgers during World War II?

And look at this!

It's a Charlie Osgood variation card! (The back's the same).

This is something I could have never expected yet I love it for all the reasons that it was intended for me. It's a Brooklyn Dodger. It's an obscure player with a fascinating history. It's an oddball. I wanted this card without even knowing it. Y'all get me.

Stubby also wanted me to have this:

It's a spring training program featuring the best pitcher currently on this green (or brown) earth. This thing is in immaculate shape. I treat my game programs a lot less kindly.

The other items were more traditional cards of more traditional fare (commonly known Dodgers). But Scott really knows where to find things that I want:

There's that thing for the Brooklyn Dodgers that I mentioned before. I can never have enough Bums. See how they shine.

There's some Panini product. Scott likes them a little more than I do, I think. Although the Hometown Heroes is far and away the best thing that Panini has ever done in baseball. I might be close to completing the non-SP Dodgers.

Fun cards. Scott knows I like fun cards. Who doesn't like a card that folds out?

Like so. That is officially the longest scan I've ever featured on this blog.

The rest of the cards I received I don't exactly have High Praise for -- let's call it Medium Praise. Scott knows the deal. There are cards from a period (in this case '90s and early '00s) that you need but you don't really have a lot to say about them.

A bunch of '90s parallels. Check 'em off the list.

Red-letter back variations from 2007. Need just one more Dodger. Check 'em off!

Blue-parallel Billingsley. His time with the Dodgers is starting to seem long ago.

Old man says "pffffffff". At least Dee Gordon would be more appropriate.

1998 Ultra. One of my favorite Ultras.

Flashback tribute sets for sets that I didn't necessarily need to see again. And I like 1984 Fleer, too.

Scott always throws a set at me that I've never seen in person. In this case UD Ballpark Collection from '08.

And, finally, even more '90s/'00s Dodgers. CHECK 'EM OFF!!!!

The best thing about card packages like these is the sheer number of team set wants that shrink before my eyes. Scott has more want lists I think than anyone I've seen so I think he knows what I mean here.

I'm really appreciative of everyone who trades with me, whether they collect like I do or not. But I have a special place in the cardboard box for blogs like Scott Crawford On Cards. He does a lot more player collecting than I do, and I'm more of a hardcore team collector. But we're coming from the same place in our baseball card pursuits.

Those trades are the best.

(Thanks, Stubby).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Awesome night card, pt. 221: name's the same

More research.

Yesterday, I experienced one of those moments of synchronicity that are probably all too common for baseball card collectors. I know they are for me.

While shuffling through some cards while the game played on TV in the background, I came across this night card of former Diamondback/current Met Chris Young just as the name "Chris Young" was uttered by the TV broadcaster.

But the TV game wasn't the Mets, it was the Mariners and Tigers. And the Chris Young mentioned wasn't the hitter, but the veteran pitcher, who started for Seattle.

That caused me to wonder how many card groupings I have of two different players with the same name. Not including father and son, of course (sorry, Sandy Alomar and Sandy Alomar Jr.)

I immediately went to my incomplete card database to find out:

1. Mike Adams (Twins outfielder from '70s and recent Phillies reliever)
2. Frank Baker (Indians outfielder in '70s and Yankees/Orioles infielder of '70s)
3. Jose Bautista (Orioles pitcher of late '80s and current Blue Jays slugger)
4. Ryan Braun (current Brewers hitter and Royals reliever of few years ago)
5. Kevin Brown (ex-Dodgers/Rangers/Orioles/Marlins/Padres/Yankees pitcher; Mets/Brewers reliever of early '90s; and Rangers/Blue Jays/Brewers catcher from late '90s/early '00s)
6. Mike Brown (Angels/Pirates outfielder of mid-'80s and Red Sox/Mariners pitcher of mid-80s)
7. Bill Butler (current Royals first baseman/DH and Royals/Twins pitcher of early '70s)

8. Dave Campbell (Padres infielder of early '70s and Braves reliever of late '70s)
9. Chris Carter (current Astros slugger and Red Sox outfielder from 2008-09)
10. Tim Corcoran (Tigers/Phillies outfielder/first baseman and Rays reliever from late '00s)
11. John Doherty (Tigers pitcher of mid-90s and Angels first baseman of mid-70s)
12. Adam Eaton (current White Sox/Diamondbacks outfielder and Padres/Rangers/Phillies pitcher of '00s)
13. Chris George (early '00s Royals pitcher and 1991 Brewers pitcher)


14. Bob Gibson (Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher of '60s and mid-80s Brewers reliever)
15. Brian Giles (Indians/Pirates/Padres outfielder of '90s/'00s and Mets infielder of early '80s)
16. Alex Gonzalez (Marlins/Reds/Braves shortstop who played with Tigers earlier this season and Blue Jays shortstop of '90s/early '00s)
17. Luis Gonzalez (Astros/Diamondbacks/Dodgers hitter of '90s/'00s and Rockies role player from 2004-06)
18. Tom Gorman (Kansas City A's pitcher of 1950s and mid-1980s Mets reliever)
19. Greg Harris (Padres/Rangers/Red Sox pitcher of '80s/'90s and Padres/Rockies pitcher of late '80s/'90s)
20. Ramon Hernandez (Pirates pitcher of '70s and A's/Padres/Orioles/Reds catcher of 2000s)
21. Jose Herrera (Astros/Expos outfielder of late '60s and mid-1990s A's outfielder)
22. Jim Hughes (Boys of Summer Dodgers reliever and mid-1970s Twins starter)
23. Brian Hunter (Braves/Reds/bunch of other teams first baseman of '90s and Astros/Tigers/bunch of other teams outfielder of '90s)
24. Ron Jackson (White Sox first baseman of '50s and Twins/Angels corner infielder of late '70s/early '80s)
25. Bob Johnson (Rangers catcher of early '80s; Pirates pitcher of '70s; and Orioles infielder of '60s)
26. Dave Johnson (Orioles/Braves infielder of '60s/early '70s; Twins pitcher of mid-1970; and Orioles reliever of early '90s)

27. Randy Johnson (Mariners/Astros/Yankees strikeout ace of '90s/'00s, Twins DH of early '80s and Braves infielder of early '80s)
28. Jeff Jones (A's reliever of '80s and 1983 Reds hitter)
29. Tim Jones (late '80s/early '90s Cardinals infielder and 1977 Pirates pitcher)
30. Pat Kelly (White Sox/Orioles hitter of '70s; Yankees infielder of '90s; and Blue Jays catcher from 1980)
31. Steve Kline (Yankees pitcher of '70s and Expos/Cardinals/Giants reliever of '90s/'00s)
32. Mark Lee (Padres pitcher of late '80s and Brewers pitcher of early '90s)
33. Scott Lewis (Angels pitcher of early '90s and 2008-09 Indians pitcher)
34. Luis Lopez (Mets/Brewers infielder of '90s and early '90s Indians/Dodgers pinch-hitter)
35. Mike Marshall (Dodgers/Expos/Tigers/Braves reliever of '70s and Dodgers/Red Sox first baseman of '80s/early '90s)
36. Carlos Martinez (current Cardinals reliever and White Sox corner infielder of early '90s)
37. Jose Martinez (1969-70 Pirates infielder and 1994 Padres pitcher)
38. Pedro Martinez ('90s/'00s Red Sox/Expos/Dodgers pitching great and mid-90s Padres/Astros reliever)
39. Ramon Martinez (1990s Dodgers starter and Giants/Cubs utility infielder from '00s)
40. Brad Mills (early '80s Expos utility player and recent Blue Jays/A's pitcher)
41. Bobby Mitchell (mid-70s Brewers DH and early '80s Twins center fielder)
42. Jose Morales (Expos, Twins, Dodgers pinch-hitter of '70s/early '80s and late '00s Twins catcher)
43. Joe Morgan (Reds/Astros Hall of Fame second baseman and late '80s Red Sox manager -- also played for Braves, Indians, A's in early '60s)
44. John Morris (late '80s Cardinals outfielder and early '70s Brewers/Giants pitcher)
45. John O'Donoghue (1960s A's/Indians pitcher and 1993 Orioles reliever)
46. Steve Ontiveros (1970s Giants/Cubs third baseman and 1980s/90s A's pitcher)

47. Dave Roberts (1970s/80s Padres/Tigers/Astros/Pirates pitcher; 1970s Padres/Rangers infielder; and '00s Dodgers/Red Sox/Padres outfielder)
48. Jeff Robinson (late '80s Pirates reliever and late '80s/early '90s Tigers starter)
49. Henry Rodriguez (1990s Dodgers/Expos/Cubs outfielder, 2012-13 Reds infielder, and recent A's/Nationals reliever)
50. Greg Smith (Cubs infielder of late '80s and 2008 A's pitcher)
51. Mike Stanton (Mariners reliever of '80s and Braves/Yankees/Mets/host of other teams reliever of  '90s/'00s
52. Frank Thomas (White Sox Hall of Famer and Pirates slugger from '50s)
53. Rich Thompson (Indians/Expos reliever of late '80s and 2012 Rays outfielder)

54. Bernie Williams (Yankees center fielder of '90s/'00s and early '70s Giants outfielder)
55. Reggie Williams (Dodgers outfielder of late '80s and Angels outfielder of late '90s)
56. Chris Young (A's/Diamondbacks/Mets outfielder and Padres/Rangers/Mets/Mariners starting pitcher)

Well, that was a few more than I thought. But most of them I knew already.

If you see any obvious omissions it's either because I don't have a card of one or the other players in the combo or because I've only completed the cards through last names with Ms in my database (for example, I added the 1950s Frank Thomas to this list even though I haven't listed him in the database yet).

Also, I didn't include players with same-sounding names but different spellings, such as Chris and Cris Carpenter.

And if this post looks familiar, I did something similar a couple years ago.

I'll try to come back to this list and complete it as I continue to go through my database, but no promises because you know how that goes.

OK, I think that's all the research posts for now, because good gosh this post took like two days to do.

Next up something easy.

Like a trade post.


Night card binder candidate: Chris Young, 2010 Topps Update, #US-124
Does it make the binder?: Yep.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

One and done players, update 2

With no ability to buy cards right now, the next best thing I can do is research them. I have several card research projects stagnating, and I decided to do a little bit with one of them.

The "One and Done Players" project involves researching which players received one -- and only one -- card during their playing career. There are a few guidelines that go along with this that I outlined in the original post, but I'll repeat them here.

"By one card, I mean one card. The player can't have appeared on a previous 3- or 4-player rookie card. The player can't have appeared on another set issued at the same time (for example Fleer or Score). The only exception I'll make is minor league cards. They can have all the minor league cards in the world. I won't count it against them."

I have another rule to go along with the above, but I'll wait until it comes up later in the post.

A few people have been nice enough to help me with what is sure to be a very long-term project. Bo of Baseball Cards Come To Life! and Chris of have each produced lists of one-and-done players for me that will come in handy. In fact, I'll be implementing one of Bo's lists in this post.

I am approaching this research in bite-sized chunks because it's very time-consuming and time is not something I have. So, for tonight's post, I limited my search for one-and-done players to three anniversary Topps sets -- the 1974, 1984 and 1994 base sets.

The differences in the '74 set and '94 set are vast as you can imagine.

But let's start with the 1974 set. Here are the guys who received a card only in this set and none other:

1974 Topps One-and-Dones

#33 - Don Newhauser, Red Sox
#37 - Dave Sells, Angels
#77 - Rich Troedson, Padres
#404 - Jim Howarth, Giants
#421 - Dan Fife, Twins
#457 - Chuck Goggin, Braves
#573 - Mike Adams, Twins

Notes: The Goggin card is one of the greatest one-and-dones of all-time. Goggin is one of only two major league players to be wounded in combat in Vietnam. The back of his card notes that he won the purple heart and a bronze star. I referenced it last Veterans Day. ...The Phillies' Mike Rogodzinski appeared in the '76 SSPC set so I disallowed him from this list. ... Troedson also appears listed as playing for "Washington, N.L.", but I consider that a variation, not a separate card.

1984 Topps One-and-Dones

#116 - George Bjorkman, Astros
#159 - Darryl Cias, A's
#163 - Lorenzo Gray, White Sox
#337 - Kevin Hagen, Cardinals
#382 - Chris Nyman, White Sox
#474 - Greg Bargar, Expos

Notes: This list checks out with the one that Bo gave me. It was a relief not having to search for these guys all by myself. ... One day I'll see which team has the most one-and-doners. Right now the White Sox are in the lead. ... It's a bit surprising to see so many OADs in '84, given that Donruss and Fleer were operating at the same time and that there are so few OADs in 1981 and 1982.

1994 Topps One-and-Dones

This is where it gets tricky. Because of the sheer number of cards and sets in the '90s, I don't expect to find very many one-and-doners. Even the most forgotten players, like George Tsamis here, has multiple cards because multiple sets were issued by the same company in 1994. Add the fact that since 1989 or 1990, companies were issuing cards of players much earlier in their careers than before and there are innumerable players who own a dozen or more cards who would have never received a card 10 or 20 years earlier.

I was painfully aware of this as I searched the 1994 checklist and kept turning up six or seven cards for players I never knew.

But there's hope ... I think ...

John Hope.

This is John Hope's only Topps card. It is also his only card in a major released set. But it is not his only card from a set released by a major card company.

Hope also appeared in the 1994 Fleer Major League Prospects set, which I think was either a separate issue or an insert set (I wasn't collecting much in '94). Part of me wants to disallow Hope because of this. But if I do that, I might never find a one-and-doner from the 1990s.

So I'll include him.

While going through the '94 set, I automatically ruled out Draft Pick cards because most hadn't even reached the majors yet. And, I decided to rule out Future Stars cards from '94. A lot of those players had barely played a major league game, too. I'll probably continue to do that for '90s sets.

With that determined, here is what I have so far for the One-and-Done cards:

1974 Topps:

#33 - Don Newhauser, Red Sox
#37 - Dave Sells, Angels
#77 - Rich Troedson, Padres
#421 - Dan Fife, Twins
#457 - Chuck Goggin, Braves
#573 - Mike Adams, Twins

1980 Topps:

#59 - Eddy Putman, Tigers
#72 - Fred Howard, White Sox
#156 - Tony Brizzolara, Braves
#221 - Joe Cannon, Blue Jays
#233 - LaRue Washington, Rangers
#291 - Randy Scarberry, White Sox
#347 - Harry Chappas, White Sox

1981 Topps:

 #491 - Gordy Pladson, Astros

1982 Topps:

#356 - Denny Lewallyn, Indians

1984 Topps:

#116 - George Bjorkman, Astros
#159 - Darryl Cias, A's
#163 - Lorenzo Gray, White Sox
#337 - Kevin Hagen, Cardinals
#382 - Chris Nyman, White Sox
#474 - Greg Bargar, Expos

1994 Topps:

#491 - John Hope, Pirates

As usual, this is an exercise where I could easily miss someone or miss the fact that the player already had a card in a major set. So if anyone sees anything like that, let me know.

At some point -- probably way in the future knowing how long it takes me to do things here -- I will link the list in the tabs up top or on the sidebar.

Maybe I'll even put some card images with the list.

After all, we've seen cards of the all-stars all too often. Time to see some common one-and-doners.

Friday, August 15, 2014

At a standstill

My card collecting never takes a holiday. But if I had to pick a month to put it on the shelf, it would be August every year.

Collecting cards takes cash and August is a giant moth-eaten wallet. There's always a point in the month when I can no longer execute the most basic parts of the hobby. Pack purchases dwindle to nothing, online window shopping becomes excruciating, and the post office workers wonder if my dog finally killed me.

Probably until the month is out, I won't be able to send out any packages. That always makes me feel bad, so I must produce a guilt-ridden list here on this blog of the people that I have cards for:

$30 A Week Habit (oh if I had only)
Base Set Calling
2 by 3 Heroes
Dime Boxes
All Tribe Baseball
All Trade Bait All The Time
Baseball Cards Come To Life!
The Angels, In Order
Starting Nine

Add to that a couple people who don't have blogs and the four or five additional people who have signed up to receive some of my extra Dodgers.

The cards are coming, I swear. But unless I can fit them in a PWE, they're going to stare at me from my card desk for probably the rest of the month.

OK, now that that messiness is out of the way, let's see some cards that somebody sent!

Of course, they're from Cards On Cards. Make a guess on who's sending me cards and one time out of four it's probably Kerry.

This time he sent mostly current Dodgers that plopped right into my collection because I've suddenly turned my nose up on what can be found at Target and Walmart.

Look, those are garden variety Series 2 cards. I made them super big so they would seem interesting to you.

Also, this way you can see Dee Gordon's pink eye black -- I guess it would actually be "eye pink" -- on Mother's Day; Alex Guerrero's left ear before it was Tysoned by ex-teammate Miguel Olivo; and Yasiel Puig making life difficult for the clubhouse man.

I had none of these cards before this package arrived. I don't even know if I can call myself a card collector if I don't have all the Series 2 Dodgers by August.

Look, Kerry even found Target reds of two of the previous three cards. Obviously he's buying packs. My card collecting shame continues to grow.

One of the few 2014 Dodger gold parallels that I own. It's of Carl Crawford. Who can suddenly hit, and even run. You know, like what he's paid to do. I'm glad he finally figured out the employer-employee relationship.

Here is a card that I saw on Cards On Cards earlier (along with some of the others you've seen). It's always good for a laugh because who would expect to see Juan Uribe on any kind of new-fangled statistical rating metric (look at me using fancy number words like "metric", I probably didn't even use it correctly).

But Uribe fields very well. I never worry when a bullet heads to third base because he swallows (purposeful choice of words) everything. And it's fun to say "Juan UZR Uribe".

 Here is the future coveted first Bowman card of Julio Urias, who just turned 18. Someday this card will be the Pujols and Trout Bowman rookie cards rolled into one. I'll be able to stand on my roof and shout out my asking price to the clamoring crowd below.

And Cards On Cards gave it away.

Too bad.

Finally, a card that's not the latest and greatest. But because it mimics a news magazine and because I used to spend Sunday afternoons at my grandmothers reading the Sporting News that she had accumulated, it's better than all of the previous ones.

And with that, I have now added Cards On Cards to the guilt list from above.

At least it doesn't cost anything to make a list.