Thursday, March 31, 2011

How I'll get by if the Dodgers lose tonight

As I write this, Clayton Kershaw has struck out eight Giants through five innings. That would make me most pleased, except for the fact that the Dodgers are continuing the tradition that they have been known for over the last decade -- leaving abundant runners on base.

So, I've decided to write a post during the game that will remind me of why I'm happy to be a Dodger fan, no matter what happens tonight.

The following cards come from Mike at Sports Syzygy. I thank him for validating my appreciation for the greatest team on earth.

Kirk Gibson. Author of the greatest baseball moment since ESPN hit the airwaves. Really. There were polls to figure this out and everything. We all know that if it's not on ESPN, it didn't happen.

Sandy Koufax. Author of the greatest abbreviated pitching career of all-time. I think he has many more fans today than he ever did when he was playing.

Roy Campanella. Perhaps the most inspirational baseball player of all-time for how he persevered in a positive manner after his terrible accident.

He is such a favorite that I had to grab the red-bordered card, too.

Hideo Nomo. Possibly the most popular retired baseball player in the world. And this is a parallel version of one of his rookie cards. Wee for me.

I would show a few more cards, but they don't fit into the whole Pillars of Dodgerdom like the other cards.

OK, just one more:

Jeff Kent. Not exactly a proud part of Dodger history. But I think that's because he had the taint of Giant on him. So I'm featuring the Kent card in an effort to jinx the pumpkin-colored team.

OK, back to the Kershaw show. Remember, if he breaks the strikeout record, you read it here first.

Play ball! (2011)

It's a tradition around these parts. And, as promised last year, I've mixed in a few more card companies. Next year, I'll even add some Score. (Poor, poor Score).

All right, here we go:

The last time the GIANTS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the YANKEES won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the PHILLIES won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the RED SOX won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the CARDINALS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the WHITE SOX won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the MARLINS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the ANGELS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the DIAMONDBACKS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the BRAVES won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the BLUE JAYS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the TWINS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the REDS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the A'S won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the DODGERS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the METS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the ROYALS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the TIGERS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the ORIOLES won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the PIRATES won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the INDIANS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the CUBS won the World Series, cards looked like this:

The last time the ASTROS, BREWERS, MARINERS, NATIONALS, PADRES, RANGERS, RAYS or ROCKIES won the World Series, cards looked like this:

Rangers! What happened? You were so close!!!!

Oh, well, everyone is in the same boat now.

Time to show that last year was a fluke!

Happy Opening Day everyone!

And happy end of March!

What a great day. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Every Topps card, diamond giveaway style

(Note: As of at least June of 2012, the links below now go to the Golden Giveway, making all my work pointless. Topps -- you suck).

More than a year ago, when Topps' Million Card Giveaway was at a fever pitch, Wrigley Wax figured out a cool way for collectors to get on the site and search for every Topps card from 1952 through 2009. 

I used that post obsessively when researching my own post topics.

But a few weeks ago, something happened. The links that Wrigley Wax provided for each of the Topps years stopped working. If you click on the year, it takes you to the old Million Card Giveaway site, but the page is pretty much blank. At the top, there is the random name of a baseball superstar.

I suppose that makes sense. Topps has moved on to the Diamond Giveaway extravaganza, with a whole new site that is much like the Million Card site, except with a diamond ring theme.

But I wondered if Topps had continued to store images of all of its cards on the Diamond Giveaway site as it had on the Million Card site. The set-up seemed the same, so it appeared logical that Topps would have its entire catalog of cards in Diamond Giveaway form, too.

So I tried the old URL addresses that Wrigley Wax had provided, simply substituting the Diamond Giveaway address instead.

The address is:

Then you add: /BaseballCard.aspx?CardID= just as you did on the old Million Card site.

The final number added after the equal sign specifies which card is called up.

So, if you type in:

You end up with this:

That is the first card in the 1962 Topps set. Adding one to the CardID will get you the next card in the set and so on and so on.

So, here are the links to the start of each Topps set on the Diamond Giveaway site:

1958 - image of Card #1 is not shown

Unfortunately, the 2010 set doesn't appear to be archived on the site, which kind of shows you what Topps thinks of this as an archiving site. Once you get beyond 2009, you start to get into cards like this, which appear to be prizes that can be redeemed through the Diamond Giveaway site. But there are no images from the 2010 set.

Now, using the above links is kind of cumbersome and involves a bunch of guessing to get to the card you want.

Wrigley Wax came up with another way so that you could type in a particular card number in the Million Card address and arrive at the exact card you wanted to view. That's much easier.

It's possible that you can jigger the Diamond Giveaway address in a similar fashion and get the same results. I don't have time to monkey with that now, though. If someone doesn't get to it first, I'll experiment when I have time and add it here.

But, of course, you can always go to the site for a simpler way of maneuvering through images of all the cards. I've used that for awhile now. I like it a lot and it's much less time-consuming than the above fashion, although I preferred the Million Giveaway site for the use of scans.

Despite the greatness of that site, there's something more comforting about having Topps itself provide an image archive of all of its cards. Why go to a bunch of collectors' sites when you can go directly to the source that actually created the cards?

Unfortunately, Topps doesn't seem to care about things like that as much as collectors do. So, we'll continue to tinker with URLs and links, and create our own websites, and scan our own cards.

Everyone knows this, but it needs to be said again: Topps is in this for business and collectors are in it for love. (Most collectors anyway).

Kid, you almost gave me a heart attack

A number of months ago, I received thousands of trading cards from my brother-in-law. He ripped off some kid at a rummage sale and I was the main beneficiary.

I found a lot of goodies in those cards. But there were also plenty of cards straight off the boat from the era of overproduction. Among the cards I have growing old in my dupes box are countless 1991 Topps, 1991 Donruss and 1989 Topps.

There are also plenty of 1988 Topps, which I might have more of than any other set that was ever created.

I happened to be leafing through those same '88 Topps yesterday afternoon to find some cards for a trade (don't ask). The condition of these cards are all over the board. Some look like they came directly out of a pack and some look like they were used to grout tile.

One of the less pleasant cards I came across was this Wally Joyner item. It's plagued by so many creases that Joyner actually looks like he's running from them. There's also an unsightly stain on the upper left border.

I turned the card over for a reason I do not know and saw this:

"Holy crap," my totally irrational side said to me, "is that Wally Joyner's signature?"

Now, those of you who know what Wally Joyner's signature looks like are laughing like hell right now. But I have better things to do than examine people's signatures. To me, this DID looked like a kid scrawled Joyner's name on the back of a card. But then again people have exhibited time and again that they have horrible handwriting. Maybe Joyner had horrible, terrible, child-like handwriting.

Fortunately, we have the internets expressly for this purpose. Really. That's why the internet was invented. To compare signatures.

Here was the first Joyner signature I found:

The ball displays what I've since gathered to be the signature style of Joyner's signature. He signs with a super-wide loop in the "J" in his name.

There is no super-wide loop in the "J" on this card. Instead it's a tall loop. And it's all very messy.

On to example No. 2:

Well, there's the super-wide "J" again. In fact, it encompasses Wally's entire first name.

Also, I noticed that there was a loop to start the "W" on the back of this card, but no loop in the "W" on the first two examples.

I was pretty convinced that this wasn't Joyner's signature.

Still, one more example:

The very card itself. This image was grabbed directly from Autographed Cards. I hope Zach doesn't mind. This happens to be the first signed card that Zach ever received through the mail.

You can see that it also features the wide "J" and the non-looping "W."

Strike three, and you're out, kid.

I'm convinced that the kid signed the back of his Joyner card and then tried to convince his friends that he ran into Joyner and Joyner signed his card. The kid even muddied up the signature a little bit to make it look legitimate and pull a fast one on his friends.

Nice try, bud. You didn't quite give me a heart attack, but you did give me a post idea.

And that's almost as valuable as a Wally Joyner autograph.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In lieu of actual content

I thought I would have time to write a post on a topic that might actually interest a few readers. But, alas, the calendar has not changed, and I find myself rushing just to squeeze in a simple trade post.

Yes, I just used the word "alas." Still have time to do goofy stuff like that.

Anyway, I'm showing some goodies from three recent package arrivals. They originated, respectively, from Colbey at Cardboard Collections, Julie at Things Are Funner Here, and Scott at Scott Crawford on Cards! These are my first trades with all three of these individuals, which is cool, because I've traded with over a hundred bloggers now, and it's always nice to find some new friends. Not that I've ditched the old friends. Don't get insecure.

So here are the cards that I'll no doubt be recording and filing during my glorious two baseball-filled days later this week.

But not now. Only the grim recounting of card arrivals as I toil through a thankless job.

And onward!

The first set of cards is from Cardboard Collections. Colbey seems like a great guy. He sure does send some nice cards and operate some attractive group breaks. And this sure is a round card that reminds me of those '70s cards that used to come with wiffle balls. Love it.

This card is for AdamE, who says Pedro looks wrong in Dodger blue. Well, I have a whole bunch of cards of Pedro looking wrong then. I don't know how you can look wrong when it's the uniform you wore first. If anyone looks wrong in a Dodger uniform it's Delino Deshields.

This is a mini Bazooka card from 2003. The stat line on the back gives McGriff's 2002 stats but lists him as playing for the Dodgers. So it says that McGriff hit 30 home runs and drove in 103 runs for the Dodgers in 2002, which I don't remember AT ALL. Turns out he did that with the Cubs.

I do not have time to write anything about this card. It's ... uh ... vigorously white?

Target Throwback Dodgers. Topps would gain one more collector trying to complete the set -- me -- if it made the Throwback cards the base set cards. Probably not enough to offset the costs, I'm guessing.

Jeff Hamilton is three letters away from being Josh Hamilton. There's your deep thought for the day.

Colbey sent three Hideo Nomo cards in hopes I didn't have them. Turns out I didn't have two, which you see here. The Victory card is a parallel because Victory had to make parallels for the legions of collectors who didn't buy cards from the set.

There were more cards, but I think I'll cut off the Cardboard Collections card show there. Much gratitude and salutations to you, Colbey.

The next group of cards are from Julie at FunnerHere (that's her Twitter ID). I received some Dodger Heritage needs from her, including this one of No. 5 starter Jon Garland, who I hope will remain intact this year. But I have a feeling someone else may work their way into the rotation. My hope is it's John Ely.

 Part of me wishes the Dodgers form a closer-by-committee set-up with Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo. But I suppose those don't work out too much.

Ethier's being asked to be the team leader this season, according to what I've read and viewed. I just don't see it. I think the team leader thing is overrated, but Ethier just seems like too nice of a guy.

Ooooh, a shiny Heritage Billingsley who has a new contract extension. Likey, likey. This extends my Heritage Chrome Billingsley streak to at least three straight years. Maybe four. I have to check.

Before leaving Julie, I have to show part of what she used for packing material:

Junk wax! Those are the backs of a couple 1989 Topps. In between those two cards was a 1986 Sammy Stewart, 1990 Bryan Clutterbuck and 1990 Fleer Eric Hetzel.

That's great. I think I need the Hetzel card, so I'll try to salvage that one.

Great stuff, Julie. Much obliged.

This item arrives from Scott Crawford on Cards. Scott is a serial poster. I go to read one of his posts and before I know it he's got two more up there as I'm reading the other one. I'm behind in a matter of minutes.

I happened to see this card and it dawned on me that there was a Dodger on there. I'm always forgetting about leader cards when I collect Dodgers. There are so many of them out there that I need. So, yes, many people consider this a Fergie Jenkins card or, especially, a Bob Gibson card. But I'm one of the weirdos who says it's a Bill Singer card.

Final card is the best one. An expertly trimmed Hostess card from 1976. Every Hostess card reminds me of sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table with the cool wall lamp that hung over the table. It had a red glass covering, so if you turned it on, the lamp glowed red. It was awesome.

Scott, you've done good if you can get a memory of grandma's kitchen out of me. Nice work.

Speaking of work, time to get to it. Fortunately, I'll be able to squeeze in some blog reading tonight. Don't tell the boss.