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Showing posts from November, 2009

When '71s collide

As you may know, I have been the recent recipient of several delightful 1971 Topps-themed packages (yes, I said it. I said "delightful." It's a word. I said it. Move on).

The package from reader Doug was supposed to be the last of the '71s for now. He sent me a few 1971 wants in exchange for some early "aughts" cards that I really didn't need. But then, out of the blue, our beloved Collective Troll sent me a package that also included some '71 Topps.

And, naturally, that meant that many of the cards that I received from Doug suddenly had a twin!

The Jim Wynn card up top became this:

Zounds! My Wynn has a twin! It's a Wynn-Wynn situation! ... OK, I'll stop now.

Unfortunately, I don't know who sent me which Wynn. They're all mixed up now. I also don't know who sent me which Walt Williams:

But I do know both have "No Neck."

Here are two Black Barts. Or, if you're going to be formal, Bob Bartons. Black Bart's real first …

Brush with greatness: John Doherty

Reporters notice certain ballplayers immediately. They are the players who are friendly, personable and always available. They are often articulate and can be counted on for a quote in good times and bad.

I have been lucky enough to find several players like that during my journalism career, in pro baseball and otherwise. Sean Casey was one of those players. And so was John Doherty.

These are the players that end up with jobs in the broadcasting industry. You see them on Baseball Tonight or some similar gig. Curtis Granderson is destined for that kind of role. I figured the same for John Doherty. But he went in a different direction after his major league baseball career ended.

Doherty's career lasted just four years. He had a solid 1993 season with the Tigers, but was finished after three games with the Red Sox in 1996. I came across him during his first year in professional baseball, with the Tigers' Single A team in Niagara Falls.

Doherty was the closer for that team in 1989, a…

Almost as overwhelming as going through my email after a week away from work ...

Take it easy. I said "almost." I would never bring you folks down to the level of drudgery I currently experience with my present employer.

It's just that "catching up" has been on my mind, seeing as I have been on vacation all week. On Monday, I'll take the first hour-and-a-half of my shift to wade through the ridiculousness of the past week while I was away (I know what you're thinking. But I absolutely refuse to check my work email when I am on vacation. I would much rather go through the "Monday after" ritual than do that).

Plus, I returned home from three days away and couldn't believe the number of card blog posts logged since early Wednesday. Wow. How'd you guys fit in time to eat Thanksgiving dinner? I threw in a couple of pre-written posts, but aside from that, I was basically a long way from blogville.

It took me a few hours, but I think I'm officially caught up, although I'm sure I've missed a few.

One thing I'm …

The worst card of 2009, contestant #12

Here is another card that I have waited to obtain before making it a Worst Card of 2009 candidate.

The Upper Deck Retrospective card orgy is a terrific example of quantity over quality. More is better. Might makes right. All you can eat. Consume, consume, consume. It is Black Friday isn't it?

Some might ask: what's wrong with that? After all, we are throwing money down to buy something frivolous. Pieces of cardboard with pictures on them. And in many cases, the more cards a collector has, the happier he is. Upper Deck is giving you more cards, right?

Well, it's the kind of cards, we're getting.

Actually, I don't have that much of a problem with the restrospective set. I don't even have a problem with pulling retrospective cards in my packs, as long as they are baseball players. Because even if I'm not interested in that player, I probably can find someone who is.

Now, basketball, hockey or college football players present more of a challenge. I'm not interes…

Awesome night card, pt. 61

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. For me that means the same thing that it means to most people: turkey, stuffing (my favorite part), pies, football, family and lots and lots and lots of kids.

But it also means the likelihood of posing for a family photo. My mother is a camera fiend.

I actually admire her tenacity, because she does not have willing subjects. My brother is notoriously uncooperative. I am more cooperative but am a lousy camera subject. There are many, many horrendous photos of myself in mid-blink or mid-grimace.

It is my hope that I can at least manage to look like Dave Parker or RyneSandberg when the flash dazzled this pair of all-stars as Keith Hernandez walked past.

And if that's my goal, then you know I'm in deep trouble.

Have a safe and pleasant Thanksgiving.

My Matt Kemp card pipeline

It's strange to me that some folks seem to have a limitless supply of Dodgers. Especially Dodgers of the "hit" persuasion.

I've mentioned recently how often I pull hits of my favorite team. It's happened three times. Fortunately, other people have much better luck. And "the bearded one" is one of those other people. Beardy has sent me not one, but two Dodger hits of the SAME PLAYER.

The first one was the Matt Kemp '08 A&G autograph card, which has become one of my favorite autograph cards.

Then he sent me this Matt Kemp jersey card. It's tremendous, too.

Now, other generous folks have sent me Kemp au/gu cards as well, but I think Beardy has some direct line to Kemp hits. And, thankfully, I have a direct line to Beardy.

Last Friday I found a package in the mailbox from none other than the follically blessed and wondered if the Kemp pipeline was still flowing.

Here is some of what I found:

A 1996 Fleer Ultra card of Greg Gagne. This was the D…

Color me hopeless

Don't ask me why I was going through my 1991 Fleer cards the other day, but I was. And I came across this card.

Being the hopeless color freak that I am, I read the name, looked at the border, and chuckled.

That prompted me to track down these other cards:

The Bud Black card may not be as obvious as the other ones, but it works for me.
I didn't spend a lot of time searching, so I don't know if there are similar cards for Pete Rose or Frank/Roy/Bill/Gabe White or Kevin/Bobby/Chris/Emil/Gates/Jackie Brown. But I'll search again some other time.
If you found this as fascinating as I did, or even vaguely eventful, then you may be a color freak, too. If you didn't, well, that's OK. I now return you to your colorless, barren, despair-filled lives.
Joking. I'm joking.

Cardboard appreciation: quarterfinal #2

(Ah, Thanksgiving. A holiday devoted to appreciation. But when I sit down with a virtual multitude of family members and bow my head before the giant turkey at mid-table, I will not say "I am thankful for baseball cards," for fear of getting several piercing looks. So, I'll say it here: I am thankful for baseball cards! Time for Cardboard Appreciation):

The J.R. Richard 1980 Kellogg's card is officially a juggernaut (I really hate that word, by the way). It has pasted two straight opponents to become the first card to advance out of the quarterfinals.

Here are the vote totals for the first quarterfinal:

J.R. Richard, 1980 Kellogg's: 31
Kent Tekulve, 1981 Topps: 18

After that demonstration of domination, Richard has earned himself a break. He'll watch from the sidelines as the other quarterfinalists duke it out. And we have an intriguing battle for quarterfinal #2.

The first card is one of the most-loved cards of the 1970s. A true rarity and conversation-starter:

T…

Hearing the siren call

If you are a card blogger, then this has happened to you: you have purchased a blaster, reviewed its contents, and concluded that the blaster would have made another blogger much happier.

That happened to me a couple of weeks ago. The blaster contained two "hits." And both hits -- actually one "hit" and one very nice parallel -- made me think of Bud from First Day Issue. "Damn," I thought, "this is his blaster."

Well, less than a week later, I received a card package from Bud. Somehow, all the way across the country, he heard the blaster siren call. He sniffed it out. And he must have thought, "I better send Night Owl some cards." Which he did.

So, Bud, never fear. Those cards are yours. I'll be sending them out in a week or two. Meanwhile, I need to show everybody the cards you sent me. Because it's a wild-and-crazy bunch.

A '98 Donruss of Paul Konerko. A number of months ago, I celebrated my first Konerko Dodger card. I did…