Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dodgers from Duck country

Unfortunately, Tim Belcher did not grow up in Oregon. He's from Ohio. But the card of McMinnville, Oregon, native Greg Brock that madding of Cards on Cards sent me is a 1986 Donruss, and I'm not putting THAT at the top of the post (more on '86 Donruss later). Kerry did send just about everything else in our second transcontinental trade, including several '91 Stadium Club Dodgers, so I picked the Belcher card to start it off.

I was operating under the assumption that this was another Cardinals for Dodgers deal, but Kerry sent me so much more. Aside from the Dodgers, he added a bunch of set stuff, and a few minor league cards that he was giving away. It all added up to more than 200 cards, which is probably twice the amount that I sent. He admitted that once he started pulling cards, he couldn't stop. It is the giving season after all, and Kerry is another blogging Santa.

So let's review some of the goodies that I could easily put under the Christmas tree, that is if I lived in a house where the dog didn't consume any object that rested on the floor:

Orel Hershiser, 1991 Studio. A true story about Hershiser and me (no, I've never interviewed him): Hershiser was born in Buffalo, but he moved to Philadelphia when he was young (I think he was around 5 or 6). When I was in college, I read a story in the Buffalo paper about Hershiser. The story mentioned that Hershiser was born in Buffalo and lived the first few years of his life in a Buffalo suburb, the same suburb where my grandmother lived. It also mentioned the street address of his former house.

The street was the same street my grandmother lived on. I quickly did some computing and realized that the house that Hershiser grew up in was the house of my grandmother's next door neighbor! I was living with my grandmother at the time to save on dorm costs, and I knew the neighbor on a casual basis. I made up some excuse to get inside the house and look around. I don't think he knew anything about the Hershiser connection.

Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry, 1993 Upper Deck Team Stars subset. The disappointment produced by these two practically leaps off the cardboard. Someone should have shown this card to the Yankees brass at the winter meetings, at least before they pulled the trigger on Burnett.

Here are some Donruss Dodgers that Kerry sent:

Rick Dempsey, 1989 Donruss. Maybe it was because of Lasorda or maybe because it's L.A., but the Dodgers had an awful lot of hams on their roster during the 1980s. There was Dempsey, Jay Johnstone, Jerry Reuss and Mickey Hatcher. Probably some others. I can't think of anyone on the current roster, although they do have Steve Lyons in the booth.

Jerry Reuss, 1985 Donruss. Here's one of them now. 1985 Donruss is probably my second-favorite early Donruss set. Only 1984 is better.

Bill Russell, 1986 Donruss. Here is one of my least favorite Donruss designs (probably one of my least favorite designs of all-time). I'm not sure exactly why it bothers me, but I believe it's because the pattern is jarring -- in fact I think I might've made an audible gasp the first time I saw it.

Now, I know that because I just ripped '86 Donruss, someone is going to say that they LOVE 1986 Donruss, how it was the best set ever, how horizontal lines are slimming, how when they were a baby their mother read the backs of 1986 Donruss cards to put them to sleep at night, etc., etc. My response: good. I'm glad you like it. I don't. But because there are Dodgers printed on that design, I must collect them.

Domingo Mota, 1991 Bowman. A pet-peeve of mine (I've got a lot of 'em don't I?): Mota never played in the major leagues. Yet he is drawn into a Dodger uniform and helmet on this card. According to this Bowman card, he played for L.A. But he really didn't.

On to some key facial expressions on cards:

Fernando Valenzuela, 1990 Leaf. There are a few cards out there that feature Valenzuela's "eyes-to-the-sky" pitching motion. I like this one a lot because it's a nice, tight shot.

Paul Lo Duca, 2004 Topps Heritage. If you were to cut out just the Lo Duca head shot and blow it up to seven times its size and then plaster it on some kid's bedroom wall, I'm quite certain that kid would be freaked out every time they went to bed at night. What an alarming portrait.

Kirk Gibson, 1990 Bowman. Bowman really threw Gibson under the bus with this shot. He looks half-deranged.

On to some team-set builders:
Cory Wade, 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights. I need only Manny to complete the 2008 Topps Dodgers set. As it stands now, Wade is the Dodgers' set-up guy. I'm hoping L.A. finds someone else, at least to help out.

Bill Russell, 1982 Donruss. Just need Jerry Reuss and this team set is done.

John Wetteland, 1989 Score Rookie & Traded. I completed the Dodgers base set and traded set on the same day from two different packages. Boxes from Eric of 1987 Donruss and Kerry showed up at the same time in my mailbox Thursday, combining to pick off the last of the '89 Score that I needed.

Some surprises:

Eddie Murray, 1990 KayBee Kings. Love me an oddball.

Steve Sax, 1990 Topps mini leaders. Sax is GAAA!!!! a Yankee! It's funny with team trading, sometimes you get other teams mixed in. I've received Royals with my Dodgers, because the uniforms are similar, I guess. I once received a random Expo. But this is the first Yankee in a Dodger team trade. Never could get used to Sax in a Yankee uniform.

It's time for "Stump Night Owl" (which isn't hard to do). This is the standard card size of 2 1/2-by-3 1/2, but consisting of four mini-cards. The backs are yellowish and produced by Topps and Cracker Jack. My question: how were these issued? In stores, in Cracker Jack boxes?

Sandy Koufax, 1993 promo card. This is very cool. This is a promotional card handed out at a Portland, Oregon, card show (I'm guessing it was a card show), featuring Koufax's celebration after the Dodgers clinched the final out in their sweep of the Yankees in the 1963 World Series. Card back says No. 203 of 1,000. Love this.

I received several minor league cards as part of Cards on Cards' giveaway. I was looking forward to the Albuquerque Dukes cards, just to see their cool, gaudy uniforms again. The Dodgers are back in Albuquerque for 2009, but they won't be wearing the red and gold anymore. Or displaying the conquistador-like dude. Too bad.

Here's Kevin Kennedy, former Dukes manager and a Dodger lifer. He bleeds for the Dodgers, which is a great thing. I just want him off TV, which looks like it's going to happen as Fox is talking about axing its baseball pregame show.

Two more '08 Heritage needs: Matt Holliday and Ryan Theriot for the card set that WILL NOT DIE. Theriot is a short-print, so receiving it is greatly appreciated.

Joe Niekro, 1986 Topps. MORE set-building stuff. I think I like getting cards that I need to complete sets more than I like getting Dodgers. Seeing cards like Niekro's gets me all giddy. I now need just four cards to complete the '86 set.

Bengie Molina and Anibal Sanchez, 2006 Topps Updates & Highlights. Kerry is the only one to send me set-building cards from the 2006 set, which I'm very thankful for. I'm down to 20 or so cards from the traded set, and I'd really like to complete that. Then I'm going for all the rest of the inserts I don't have. I've never done that. But the 2006 set is a special one for me.

Kaz Ishii, 2004 Donruss Diamond Kings, GU jersey and bat (36/100). Fantastic. This is the first jersey/bat card I've owned. Kerry said he got it at the card show he was at recently. He found it in a bin of cheap GU cards. Ishii was the only guy he heard of. It means a lot to me that he was hunting around for cards for fellow bloggers. He really IS Santa.

Kerry, thanks. I'll be packaging up some A&G cards for you in the next couple of weeks, just as a token of thanks. Great stuff from Duck country, again.


  1. Glad you liked the stuff. The '91 Bowman set had a card of the player of the year in each minor league (the ones they stamped the MVP foil on) and all of the pictures are completely drawn. Of course, they're drawn in their major league uniform, and many of them probably never made it there, like Mota.

    The Cracker Jack cards were indeed inserted into Cracker Jack boxes, but I have no idea where I got the 4-paneled one. There were two series made in 1991 with the Topps design, a Donruss designed one in 1992 and after that I have no idea if they continued the mini set.

    Sorry about the Steve Sax! I always think of him as a Dodger, and I guess I didn't look at the uniform.

  2. 1. 1986 Donruss. I didn't like them either, mainly because the color scheme was dark and the photos tended to be dark, leaving the card pretty dark.

    2. Paul LoDuca would scare just about anybody with good reason.

    3. 1990 Bowman Kirk Gibson. Hate to say it, but based on the way Gibson played the game, he should be shown looking half-deranged and take it as a compliment. However, that facial expression looks like the one he should have had when on Eric Byrnes' radio show in early 2008, Byrnes told him they'd go in Spring Training to get a manicure/pedicure.