Saturday, November 5, 2016

Royal Delivery.

Long time friend, reader, and Royals fan extraordinaire Mark sent me a small group of Rangers inserts from recent sets. Among the cards he sent my way was this 2015 Topps Highlight card of Nolan Ryan. The card recalls Nolan's amazing seventh no-hitter in 1991.

Along with Ryan, Mark also sent along 14 other Rangers inserts. Most of them filled holes in my collection. A few (Prince Fielder) brought back some bad memories but most of them were like this Nolan, they brought to mind why I enjoy the Rangers, most of the time at least.

Thanks a ton Mark. Have a few Royals set aside for you and hope to be able to send a stack your way soon. It won't be as good as the one you sent me but you should enjoy it anyway.

This catches me up on the cards that arrived while I was recently away from the blog. Now I just need to get back to regular posting. The motivation for that is spotty but I will be trying to make the time to get things rolling again here at Texas Rangers Cards.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Package According to the Rule.

Ruben Sierra seems happy on card 355 of the 1990 Upper Deck set. Kind of a rare thing, to see Ruben Sierra smiling.

This card was part of a stack of Rangers cards sent my way by Adam over at Infield Fly Rule. The package made me smile like Ruben. Hopefully not as rare an occurrence as with him but one that was needed nonetheless.

Along with Sierra, Adam sent 35 other Rangers cards. He managed to hit several holes in different team sets. Most importantly, Adam gave me a smile.

Many thanks Adam. I really appreciate the cards and the thought. Hope to be able to return the gesture sometime soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Well, once again it's been a long while since I wrote. Lots going on in life recently and that's interfered with my blog. One of those things was more computer issues. In all the confusion and transferring of data I lost most of the images of cards I have scanned in over the years for the blog. The last time this happened (a few months ago) I took the time to re-scan the lost images. This time I will not. The result may be that you occasionally see cards posted in the future that you have already seen. I apologize in advance for that. I'll be making every effort to avoid that happening but I am on the verge of shuttering Texas Rangers Cards for good so I really can't afford the time to re-scan the lost cards images.

While I was away the mail kept arriving. A few folks remembered me and sent some Rangers for my collection. I will post those packages in the coming days. Also, a few long awaited autograph requests returned as well.

One of the returns was from Charlie Hough. Mr. Hough signed this 1983 Topps card featuring him and Buddy Bell as well as signing a 1984 Topps card of his. I sent both cards out on March 3, 2016 and they arrived back home on Sepember 26th. Also coming home were signed cards from former Ranger Dickie Noles (sent October 28, 2015, returned November 1, 2016) and former Senator Ken Hamlin (sent January 13, 2016, returned September 30, 2016). Many thanks to all three of these gentlemen for taking of their time to sign and return cards for a fan.

Last night the Cubs broke their curse and won the World Series for the first time since 1908. While I was pulling for the Indians to take the crown I have to admit, not too many teams get three chances to close out a championship and still fail to get it done. Congratulations to the Cubbies for the long-awaited ring. Condolences to the Tribe and their fans. I know the pain of seeing your team lose a close one like that.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fences and a Trip to Houston.

Wow! I knew I had gotten busy this summer and slacked off the blog. I didn't realize it has been almost a month since I posted. Lots going on that ate up my posting time. In the meantime the Rangers managed to get their magic number to clinch the American League West down to two games. Looks like they might well clinch in Oakland again.

Perhaps the biggest thing I had going was a fence replacement. This last spring a portion of our back fence blew down. The neighbor and I repaired it but it was obvious the time was short before a new fence would be needed. We crunched numbers and decided to wait until September to get the project done. Out came the old fence and in went the new. At least for about 60% of my yard. Now one of the other neighbors is talking about replacing the fence between us within the next month or so. That's going to take some more time but will almost completely give me a new fence to keep the dog and kids in.

In the midst of the fence endeavor, Spiff Jr and I took a short trip down to Houston to follow the Rangers to Minute Maid Park. We watched the game on September 12th. Took some time to walk around the park before the game. It was my first time in an enclosed stadium and I wasn't really impressed. Not that there was anything just terribly wrong, Minute Maid is a nice park. I just prefer outside baseball I guess. Hopefully the Rangers new enclosed park will be left open most of the time. The other thing that struck me was that there were almost as many Rangers fans there as Astros fans. Hopefully the Rangers can avoid that problem as well. The Rangers winning the contest in extras put a great finish to the night.

Of course, we had to check out the local card shop before the game. I found the Houston Sports Connection online prior to our trip and we made it a point to get there. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't Duane's Sportscards in Arlington. The shop employees were friendly and we picked up some needed supplies. The shop was cluttered though and seemed to be focused on high-end cards and autographed memorabilia. I didn't see a single quarter box or very many common cards at all, even of the Astros. We did manage to find several game-used and autographed Rangers cards though, including the pictured 2004 Leaf Second Edition Kevin Mench auto. The prices on those weren't unreasonable but it didn't take long for Spiff Jr to run through his budget. I think he would have preferred some lower priced cards to take a look at. All things considered, if I am ever in Houston again I will probably try to stop by again.

All in all the trip was great. We had some guy time, hit a card shop, and got to a game. Can't beat that. Unfortunately the fall is just as busy as the summer was. Another fence project, Spiff Jr back to playing ball, and several other family activities could make it a challenge to keep up on the posting. I'll do my best though to stay on top of things and not be a stranger.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rangers top Mariners.

Last night the Rangers kicked off a three game series against the Seattle Mariners. From this point on, 24 of the remaining 30 games in the season are against other American League West teams. If somebody is going to try to make a move to knock Texas out of first place, it's now or never.

The Mariners had to go through Yu Darvish, shown here on card 125 of the 2013 Topps Heritage set, last night to beat the Rangers. They weren't able to do it. In 6.2 innings Darvish struck out nine while allowing three earned runs. To be fair, two of those runs crossed home after Yu was relieved by an ineffective Jake Diekman with two outs in the seventh inning.

Keone Kela took over from Diekman to end the seventh with no further damage. Kela also handled the eighth without incident. Sam Dyson came on in the ninth and notched his 30th save of the season.

While all that was going on, the offense was not silent. The Rangers scoring charge was led by Carlos Beltran, whom I do not have a Rangers card of. Carlos went 3-for-4 at the plate with a home run, double, and two RBI. Ian Desmond and Adrian Beltre also chimed in with doubles while Nomar Mazara contributed a triple. All told, the Rangers put six runs on the board. Enough for a 6-3 victory.

Always good to down a division foe. Nice effort by Darvish to tamp down the potent Seattle offense. Also a very good night for Beltran to break out of career-worst slump. I was beginning to wonder if he had fallen off the age cliff. Diekman is not really a concern with his troubles, after all it was his third outing in a row. He probably just needs a day or two off to be back to the Jake Diekman Rangers fans are used to.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Darvish did what?

Ok, I know Thursday is normally a game-used or autograph card day. Problem is, I don't have any game-used or autograph cards of Yu Darvish, something I must remedy soon. Anyway, Yu's 2013 Allen and Ginter card, number 74, will be filling in today.

Darvish had a rough night last night on the mound against the Reds. He pitched just six innings, allowing five runs. Only three of those five runs were earned but Yu battled his control as he walked five and hit a batter while striking out five. That's not normal Darvish.

Darvish taking his cuts at the plate is not normal Darvish either but the game was in Cincinnati and so National League rules were in place. It is generally accepted that the American League pitchers come off poorly on offense as compared to the National League hurlers. Last night was the exception as Yu hammered a solo shot in the fifth inning. Ian Desmond followed up with a long ball of his own to go back-to-back with Darvish.

Unfortunately, Yu's control struggles and some defensive miscues by Texas assured that his home run would not be the difference maker in the game. While the Rangers bullpen put up three scoreless innings in relief, the offense was not dependent on Darvish and Desmond alone. Nomar Mazara started off the scoring for the night with a three run bomb in the second inning.

By the time the eighth inning rolled around the score stood at 5-5. Desmond started off the Rangers rally by getting hit by a pitch. He stole second to advance into scoring position. Adrian Beltre, hero of so many games, came through again for the Rangers with a double that scored Desmond to give Texas a 6-5 lead that they held on to for the rest of the game.

While Darvish's pitching struggles are frustrating, they are not overly alarming. Yu is still on the road back from his Tommy John Surgery and bumps are to be expected. Very good to see the offense arrive early and pick Darvish up. Too often the guys have struggled to score runs with Yu on the mound. Tonight the team kicks off a tough four game set at home against the Cleveland Indians. Cole Hamels takes the mound against the Tribe, who are one win behind the Rangers for the best record in the American League.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

1980 Topps - Eric Soderholm.

By the time Eric Soderholm appeared on card #441 of the 1980 Topps set, he was no longer wearing a Rangers uniform. Texas picked up the veteran third baseman from the White Sox on June 15, 1979 in exchange for Ed Farmer and Gary Holle.

Soderholm played in 63 games for the Rangers. Texas picked him up to help fill in for ailing third baseman Buddy Bell as Bell struggled through his injury-plagued season. All told Eric would appear in 37 games at third base, 14 games as the designated hitter, and two games at first base for the Rangers. He was serviceable but below the league average at both third and first.

In his 166 plate appearances Soderholm walked 12 times and struck out nine times en route to a .272 batting average and a .325 on-base percentage. He scored 15 runs and knocked in 19 RBI. He also hit six doubles and four home runs.

On November 14, 1979 the Rangers traded Eric to the Yankees for Amos Lewis and Ricky Burdette. Neither one of those players would ever make it to the Majors. Soderholm would play through the end of the 1980 season as a backup with the Yankees and see some some action in the American League Championship Series as New York fell to the Royals. Eric would miss the entire 1981 season before the Yanks released him on October 13, 1981.