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Showing posts from September, 2010

The mystery of Fernando

Today is the 30th anniversary of the first victory of Fernando Valenzuela's career. I remember the game well, which is difficult for me to do at my semi-advancing age.

The Dodgers were involved in a pennant race with the Astros, and it was six games from the end of the season. The Giants were attempting to knock L.A. out of the race. But boosted by a couple of young hopefuls, Valenzuela and Pedro Guerrero, the Dodgers beat the Giants 6-3 on the strength of Valenzuela's two hitless innings pitched and Guerrero's home run in the top of the 10th inning.

Valenzuela would gain another win before the season was through. Although the Dodgers would end up losing to the Astros in a one-game playoff, I sensed the beginnings of Fernandomania. Valenzuela would become a national sensation the following season and remain insanely popular the rest of his career. He's popular to this day, working for the Dodgers as a broadcaster on L.A.'s Spanish-language station.

But even though…

Nobody puts '63 Fleer in a corner

I am taking a brief break from the card back countdown to address a question brought up by Andy of the baseball-reference.com blog. Andy has invited me to provide a few "Card of the Week" posts for the B-R blog. I hope to eventually get to creating one soon. I even have an idea and everything. But life really hates that I write about cards on a computer. I mean it really REALLY hates it.

Anyway ...

When I did the card back countdown post for 1963 Fleer, Andy wondered if there had been any other examples of the card number being featured so far from the corners of the card.

The center-positioned card number is what makes the 1963 Fleer set unique (the card back displayed here is from 2003 Fleer Tradition, which is a homage to '63 Fleer). I decided to do some research and see whether there was another example like this. I didn't expect to find another one. And I didn't.

This isn't the definitive report on card number positioning. Although, I'm sure no one …

Cardboard appreciation: 1995 Pinnacle Delino DeShields

(As I write this, the plumber is here. I love house issues, don't you? It's time for Cardboard Appreciation. Because I can find a lot more to appreciate in cardboard than my house right now. This is the 83rd in a series):


I need a laugh right now, and this card is up to the task. I pulled it from a card package from Smed's Baseball Card Blog.

It made me laugh when I took it out of the package. It made me laugh when I looked at it a week later as I realized I had to post the cards. And it's still killing me now.

I've said a lot of unkind things about Delino DeShields in the past. When you're a Dodger fan and your team trades Pedro Martinez for this guy, and you know, in the pit of your stomach that it's not a good deal, and then it turns out to be perhaps the worst deal the Dodgers have ever made, then you are not a fan of Delino DeShields. At. All.

Have I mentioned 124 strikeouts while hitting .224 in 1996? Yes I have.

But somehow this card makes all the an…

Team colors: Orioles

I have this card in my Million Card Giveaway portfolio. Someone just offered a 1969 Leon Wagner card for it. Normally, I'd make a deal for "Daddy Wags" in a second. But I have the '69 Wagner already.

I've heard that the Million Card Giveaway site will be disappearing after a year of operation. I'm not surprised by that. I didn't think Topps would be giving away cards forever, although I hoped it would. But I do hope they keep the site functional as a database. I have used it already hundreds of times while researching posts. Taking away a resource like this would be counterproductive, in my opinion.

One area where it's been valuable to me already is in these team colors posts. This is only the second one I've done so far and it would have taken me a lot longer to look up all the colors used with a particular team if the MCG site didn't exist.

Tonight, I'm examining the colors Topps used with the Orioles next because of a comment O's f…

Brush with greatness: Bob Shaw

I had been saving this particular "Brush With Greatness" for the anniversary of my conversation with Bob Shaw.

I talked to him five years ago in late October. In 2005, the White Sox, the team for which Shaw had the most success during his 11-season career, were in the World Series for the first time since 1959. Shaw was the last pitcher to win a World Series game for the White Sox prior to '05, and since he was a graduate of a college in our coverage area, I thought it'd be a good idea to talk to him.

So I did, and like any conversation with a major leaguer of the past, I found it fascinating.

Shaw talked about being roommates with Early Wynn, the standout pitcher known as much for his crankiness and drinking as his talent. Shaw said he'd go out late with Wynn and Wynn would berate him for his pitching habits. But Shaw listened to Wynn and credited him for his new-found success. Shaw enjoyed the best season of his career in 1959, going 18-6 with a 2.69 ERA and f…

Back by popular demand ...

... it's every card blogger's favorite game show:

HELLO! HELLO AND WELCOME!!! WE'RE BACK!!!

That's right! They tried to keep us away!!!!! But the masses were too insistent! "BRING BACK 'BEST CARD'!" they cried. "BRING BACK 'BEST CARD'!"

So, we're here and we're BACK! This is your host Night Owl, ready to deliver to you another episode of What's the Best Card in the Package!! You know the rules by now!!! We select 16 key cards from one card package and determine The Best Card!!!

It's fun! It's zany! It's only boring to those who DON'T MATTER!

All right! All right! Thank you folks for joining us!

Tonight, we have a crazy card package from Too Many Grandersons! Judging from what we received here tonight, he has too many of every other kind of card, too! But we're not complaining at WTBCITP! It makes for another classic edition of the game show that's sweeping the nation!!!!

Is everyone ready??!!! All…