Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Men of action

For several months now, I've had an idea of creating an "all-doing team" for the blog.

You know what an "all-doing team" is, right?

It's a team of baseball players whose names form an active sentence. Such as "Rick Waits". This is my favorite example, but there are others. The question was, would I be able to form a team out of those players?

But I struggled to do that. I have no doubt if I had the time for enough research, I could come up with a full lineup, but working within my constricted schedule (you don't want every post to be a trade post, do you?), I just couldn't find enough infielders. Kind of interesting, since infielders are moving all the time.

No, the vast majority of players who form active sentences with their names are pitchers. It just confirms that without pitchers, this game would cease to exist. You can't start a baseball game until a pitcher throws a pitch. They make the game go 'round.

So let's see those men of action, starting with my favorite one from my childhood.

Rick Waits. Awesome card. But it doesn't exactly illustrate his name accurately.

There we go. Rick Waits. Rick Waits for the sign. Rick Waits for the batter. His name is an actual caption for the photo! I love this card!

Here are a few more through the years. All pitchers.

Dave Sells. Dave Sells this pose. Dave Sells that there's an actual ball in his glove. Dave Sells seashells by the seashore.

Bill Hands. Here's a headline: "Bill Hands Twins Devastating Defeat".

Britt Burns. Britt Burns brightly. Britt Burns at the umpire. Britt Burns at the photographer taking his picture.

Todd Burns. Todd Burns over the three runs he gave up in 2/3 of an inning in Game 1 of the 1990 World Series.

Josh Towers. Josh Towers over the opposition. Towers is 6-1 so he isn't physically towering. But that mound helps.

James Shields. James Shields his face from a comebacker.

There's another pitching Shields. Scot Shields. Scott Shields his eyes from the sun.

Another Shields. Another pitcher. Steve Shields. Steve Shields himself from an awful word play on his name.

Willie Banks. Thought I forgot this one, huh? Willie Banks on a victory tonight. Willie Banks at First National.

David Weathers. This name evokes images of struggling through three-ball counts and the bases full. David Weathers another inning.

Here we are in the present day and it's a Dodger. Maybe a better name for an infielder, but it's still quite appropriate for baseball. Josh Fields his position well. (I have no idea if that's true -- the guy's always disabled).

There are several other Sentence Pitchers for which I don't have cards, including current Texas Ranger Jeffrey Springs, as well as Justin Marks, Terry Burrows and early 20th century Detroit Tiger Ralph Works. "Works" is the ultimate "doing" name.

As for hitters, there are a few even if they aren't as plentiful as pitchers.

Here's another Fields. Bruce Fields. He was an outfielder. Bruce Fields the ball off the wall.

I know you can't read that. But that's Derek Parks, a catcher. Derek Parks himself behind the plate.

"Burns" isn't restricted to pitchers, of course. (There is 1890s star Oyster Burns). Here is Billy Burns. Billy Burns around the bases.

The only corner infielder I could find. Razor Shines brightly on this all-doing team.

Charlie Spikes. He is in the wrong sport. Imagine if he was a running back. Charlie Spikes the ball references everywhere.

During the '70s, Charlie Spikes and Rick Waits were on the same Indians team. Maybe Cleveland should have done something, huh.

Finally, the most noted of the baseball Sentence Names. Maury Wills. If only I could say Maury Wills his way into the Hall of Fame.

If I extended this all-doing team into the minor leagues I could fill the couple of infield holes that exist. Here is one now:

It's another Shields. Tom Shields actually has a couple of major league cards from the early 1990s when he was with the Cubs. But I like this one better. The field shown there is right down the road from me. And you can't beat those uniforms.

If you included players whose names aren't exactly spelled correctly for this exercise you could add Glenn Braggs, Mookie Betts and Tim Raines. Then there is the treasure trove that would be unearthed if only there was an 'S' added to a last name: Oscar Gambles! Phil Garners! The "Cooks" alone would fill a team! (By the way you could do this with any other sport. I'm just dying to use Natrone Means on this team).

So those are your major (and minor) league doers. Your movers and shakers. All in one tidy first name and last name.

Now it's time for me to actually do something.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Now is as good a time as any

Not that I needed reminding, but I read a New York Times story the other day about how it's been 30 years since the Dodgers won the World Series.

Orel Hershiser was interviewed for the story and he was talking about how people still come up to him on the regular to thank him for 1988. This was the magic of 1988, he said. You win the World Series once and you'll be remembered fondly for the rest of your days.

As a broadcaster for the Dodgers, Hershiser said that he wanted this year's team to experience what he does. They came so close last year, one game away, and they could have easily won the whole thing, They deserve to know what that's like.

Now that the Dodgers are in first place, I think now is as good a time as any for them to win the Series. Last year's season of domination didn't work, so how about if they get in through the side door, after a season of injuries, hitting slumps and bullpen blowups?

Granted, there's the matter of one week to play with the Rockies less than two games behind and no wild-card berth as a fall-back. L.A. has to play the Diamondbacks -- who folded like a napkin against Colorado -- and the Giants to close out the season. So no guarantees against two spiteful teams.

However, I prefer to dwell in the positive today. And to help me do that, I have some 1989 Topps World Series cards to show.

Yes, you heard me, 1989 Topps World Series cards.

They did too make them.

Well, someone made them anyway.

That someone was Jeremy of Topps Cards That Never Were.

One of the great injustices of 1980s cardboard was the lack of Topps World Series cards, none more appalling than the failure to recognize the 1988 Dodgers (and if I'm being fair, the 1986 Mets). Fleer did the honors, thank goodness, but I've always wondered what a 1989 Topps set of World Series cards would look like.

Jeremy came through. If that design looks familiar, it's based on the 1989 Topps all-stars subset design.

Jeremy even added a 1988 NLCS set.

I still get nervous when I think about that series.

Also, there are backs for all of the cards with the familiar red theme:

So this provides some closure for Topps dropping the ball all those years ago.

Jeremy also sent a bunch of Dodgers cards. I haven't had time to go through to figure exactly what I need (I'm just back from an out-of-town trip). But the prospects are good. I don't recognize a lot of these cards.

A card from 1992 Bowman is a good sign, as is any Topps Opening Day cards from the '90s.

More promising stuff. Early Aughts Chrome. Inserts.

I got excited about the Lo Duca 40man card because I always need 40man cards, and then I saw it was a numbered parallel, which I suppose is cool, but only if I already have the Lo Duca base card!!

I know for a fact I need the Distinguished Service Duke Snider card. Snider signed my version of that card a number of years ago and then I forgot all about needing a regular unsigned version.

Parallels aplenty. I have some checklist checking ahead. (UPDATE: Someone found my want lists!!!)

The final week of the season could be a nerve-racking one for me and the Dodgers. But at least I have Jeremy's '89 Topps World Series set to remind me of the best times.

There's still that matter of a Topps 1982 World Series set recalling the '81 World Champion Dodgers. If any card-makers are listening.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hunting for errors

I finally made it through all 36 packs of the 1989 Fleer box that I received from Johnny's Trading Spot.

At 540 cards in the box, obviously I didn't complete the set from those packs since it's 660 cards in total. I'll have to see if it's complete once I add the many '89 Fleer cards already in my collection.

The collation was quite good -- this is pre-1990s after all -- absolutely no doubles and just about all the big names of the day. But I don't know why I'm telling you all that boring set-builder stuff because all you want to know is: what errors did I pull???

I'm right on the same page with you.

I found myself immediately searching for errors as I was opening the packs. With no real attachment to the set this was what was getting me through 36 packs. I went to Trading Card Database for a list of 1989 Fleer errors and took note:

That's a bunch of them.

The vast majority of these contain errors on the back. The most famous of the errors, though, are the errors on the front.

You already know I pulled the most famous one.

The FFer came out of Pack 4. Immediately, people were asking me if I pulled any of the variations of the card, but again, this is the '80s, collation was relatively under control. There were no other variations.

I also pulled one of the Randy Johnson variations from Pack 31. I paired it up with the one I had already in hopes that you can tell the difference. As everyone knows, there are several versions of the Marlboro ad being blacked out over Johnson's left shoulder. The one I already owned, on the right, shows no signs of the ad. The one I pulled on the left shows an outline of the ad, and if you see the card in hand you can make out a faint Marlboro ad.

There are also red tint and green tint versions, I don't know how people tell the difference between all of those.

As for the errors on the back, I did pretty well with those, too. But I had to double-check each.

First out of box was Neil Allen. His error says his home is in Sarasota, Fla., when it should be Syossot, N.Y. Let's take a look:

Florida! It's an error!

Next was Mike Heath. His error is a big fat one. The card features the card back of teammate Tom Brookens. I turned the card over and ...

Error! That's Brookens.

Moving on to Kevin Romine. This is actually an error on the front, sorry about that. The player shown on this card is actually Randy Kutcher.


Manny Trillo is up next. His error card says he throws "Rig" on the back, leaving off the "ht". Let's take a peak:


There's even some dots where the missing letters should go.

Alan Ashby came out of the box next. He has the exact same error card as Trillo. It says "Throws: Rig"

That's an error. But there are no dots this time.

Actually, this is a fairly lame error. Fleer could say that "Rig" was just an abbreviation instead of issuing a corrected version. But that wouldn't get collectors to hunt all over for an Alan Ashby card.

I pulled Ed Vande Berg's card next. His error is that the back says "Throws: Lef" instead of "Throws: Left" and now I'm convinced that Fleer was purposely making these errors. Let's turn it over.

Yup "Lef" so it's an error.

I pulled Jeff Treadway's card next. This is another front-facing error. The error is that there's a tiny target shown above Treadway's cap. But there is no target on this card, so this is the corrected version.

So I did pretty good on the errors. I pulled all of them except for Treadway, Danny Heep, John Moses, Tom Brookens (with the Mike Heath back) and checklist No. 655.

By now some you of insert fiends are saying "enough with the errors, did you pull any Fleer All-Stars???"

I did.

There were four in the box.

But some of you still aren't satisfied. Because you're all about the rookies. DID I PULL THE GRIFFEY CARD???

I did. With only two packs to spare, I might add.

That made it a very successful box with Ripken up front, Randy Johnson in the last third and Griffey Jr. near the end.

But there are still some people who probably aren't satisfied.


Here you go.

I pulled the Bob Walk card.