Thursday, August 27, 2015

Returns begin again.

A couple of weeks ago I posted I was getting back in the practice of requesting players' autographs through the mail. I sent out several batches of requests. Over the past several days a couple of them have returned with success.

Former Ranger outfielder George Wright returned two cards I sent him, both signed. That return came in on Monday. Two-time Ranger pitcher Bobby Witt also returned the two cards I sent him. Both this 1990 Topps and a second card were signed. Those cards arrived yesterday. Both Wright and Witt have signed for me in the past but it's always a thrill to open an envelope and see autographs inside. Many thanks to both gentlemen for their time in signing and returning the cards.

Looking forward to more returns in the coming days. I mixed things up a bit with the last batch of requests I sent out and added in some Senators along with past and current Rangers.. I usually don't have the extra cards to send to the guys who played in Washington but I did some checking and located a few. Decided I better send sooner rather than later since time is marching against them. Hope to see those cards, and some more Rangers, arriving home soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Colby Comes Through.

The Rangers were coming off a defeat last night as they faced off with the Tigers in Detroit. On Thursday night they got one-hit by Detroit starter Alfredo Simon. Last night the Tigers sent Justin Verlander to the hill to try for a second straight win.

Verlander did well, holding the Rangers to two runs (just one earned) on four hits over seven innings. The Tigers bullpen allowed just one hit and no runs over the remaining two innings.

Those two runs were all Colby Lewis, shown here on card 31 of the 2000 Bowman set, needed. Lewis has been a work horse for Texas this season and he didn't disappoint last night. Colby shut Detroit out as he scattered six hits over seven innings to out-duel Verlander. Keone Kela and Shawn Tolleson continued the shutout for the last two innings to ensure Lewis' 14th win of the season.

The win marks a career high for Colby and moves him into a three way tie for top in the American League this season. Nice to see things coming together for him after all he's been through since he was the prospect pictured on today's card. Extra nice to see his success coming in a Rangers uniform.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dutch's return.

Yesterday marked Derek Holland's return to the Rangers rotation. He had been on the disabled list prior to then with only one inning under his belt this season.

Holland, shown here on a signed 2009 Topps 206 bronze card, made good on his return. He went 6.1 innings and gave up just two runs against Seattle. Derek struck out six and walked none. Not too shabby. Good enough to get him his first win of the season.

Coming to Dutch's support, the Rangers scored seven runs off Mariners pitching. The game was 3-2 until the seventh, when Texas scored four runs to salt it away. Most of the uprising in the seventh was back-to-back-to-back long balls by Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli, and Elvis Andrus. Moreland's was a two-run shot so the home runs accounted for all the Ranger runs in that inning.

Nice to see the offense continuing the deliver. Going to need that if the team is looking to make a run at the post-season. Very nice to see Holland come back strong. He was lights out in his return last season but came back too late in the year to make any real impact. This year might be different. Dutch may have returned just in time to give Texas another big arm in the rotation when they really need it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sweep!

Made it out to the Rangers game yesterday. Got in line early enough to get the Adrian Beltre bobble head giveaway you see here. Also had time to stroll around the park and enjoy the atmosphere a bit before the game.

Sat in section 331 this time. I am getting to where I really enjoy the third deck along the baselines. Great view of the game and park, some shade, and a nice breeze most of the time.

Coming into the game yesterday the Rangers were leading the series with the Rays 2-0 and looking for the sweep. I have little confidence in Texas starter Yovanni Gallardo and my fears seemed to be borne out when the Rays struck first with a run in the first inning. It would have been more but Delino DeShields made a great diving catch in left center field to rob Asdrubal Cabrera of at least one, maybe two, RBI. Texas struck back in the bottom of the first with two runs on one hit. DeShields was in on the action again with a walk, stolen base, and run scored.

Gallardo gave up a lead-off triple to Desmond Jennings to start the second inning and Kevin Kiermaier knocked a double in the next at-bat to even the score. John Jaso came up next and singled to give the Rays a 3-2 lead. You can bet I was not saying pleasant things about Gallardo. Elvis Andrus led off the bottom of the second with a single but got knocked off at second on a Bobby Wilson fielder's choice to short. Recent call-up Ryan Strausborger rapped a two out single to move Wilson to second. That turned the lineup over and brought up DeShields again. He singled to bring in Wilson and tie things up. Shin-Soo Choo struck out to leave the knot intact.

Gallardo settled down in the third and allowed no more runs for the rest of his time in the ballgame. He was lifted in the sixth for Sam Freeman. Freeman, Keone Kela, Sam Dyson, and Shawn Tolleson kept the Rays off the board for the rest of the game. Dyson was helped by an outstanding play by Beltre in the eighth to get Jennings on a shot to third.

Beltre hammered a solo shot in the third to put the Rangers up for good. Ryan Strausborger added insurance with a solo homer of his own in the fourth. That ended the scoring. Final, 5-3 Texas. Sweep! Great game and a great day at the park. Always good to see the guys win, especially when they pick up a spot in the Wild Card standings.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Back in the game.

So, after taking a little over a year off from through the mail autograph requests, I'm back at it. I recently sent out two batches of requests to current and former Rangers players. Now comes the wait to see who responds and what comes back.

To celebrate getting back into the through the mail game I decided to post this 1990 Topps card of Steve Buechele. I mailed this card to Mr. Buechele on February 3, 2014. He's a busy man but he signed and returned it. I got it back on April 10, 2014. Not too bad a wait for a player as popular as Steve Buechele was in Texas.

Hopefully I will have some more recent successes to share with you in the near future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

1979 Topps - Bobby Thompson.

1979 Topps card number 336 is Bobby Thompson's only regular issue card. By the time it arrived in packs, Bobby's Major League career was over.

The Rangers drafted Thompson in the 19th round of the 1972 draft. He spent four years in Single A ball before beginning his ascent of the minor league ladder. By 1977 he was at Triple A. The Rangers must not have considered Thompson one of their best prospects since they lent him out to Cleveland and Atlanta so those teams could get a look at him in their farm systems. Neither club made the arrangement permanent and Thompson spent most of 1977 with the Triple A Tucson Torros. He batted .333 with the Torros and had on on-base percentage of .436. Those numbers were some of the best of his career and got him a shot at the Majors in 1978.

Bobby spent the entire 1978 season on the Rangers roster, serving as a backup outfielder to Juan Beniquez, Al Oliver, Richie Zisk, and Bobby Bonds. He appeared in 64 games and got 136 plate appearances. He was unable to replicate his Tucson numbers as his batting average reached just .225 and his on-base percentage .284. He hit three doubles, three triples, and two home runs. Disturbingly for a player with little power, he struck out 26 times while walking only nine times.  Thompson made 37 appearances in center field and nine each in left and right field.

Apparently unimpressed with Thompson's 1978 performance, the Rangers sold his contract to Seattle on December 6, 1978. He went to Spring Training with the Mariners but didn't make the team and they released him on March 28, 1979. He was able to catch on with the Maracaibo Petroleros de Zulia of the Inter-Amercan League for the 1979 season. In 1980 Bobby played for the Poza Rica Petroleros of the Mexican League. That would mark the end of his professional playing career.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Minor League Monday - David Lynch, 1990 CMC.

The Rangers drafted pitcher David Lynch in the 22nd round of the June, 1987 draft. He started his pro career the same year with the Gulf Coast Rangers in the Rookie League. By 1989 Lynch, shown here on card 154 of the 1990 CMC set, reached Double A Tulsa. He would split the 1989 season between Double and Triple A. That started a pattern that ran for several years.

David also split the 1990 season between the Double A Tulsa Drillers and the Triple A Oklahoma City 89ers. Since I don't know which stint came first I will start with his Double A performance.

Lynch appeared in 21 games for the Drillers, six of those appearances were starts. Over the 59 innings he pitched he put up a 3.81 ERA and a 1.373 WHIP. He struck out 37 opposing batters while issuing 21 unintentional free passes. Those numbers translated into a 4-4 record.

With Triple A OKC, David appeared 14 times and made two starts. He pitched 26.2 rough innings. Lynch posted a 5.74 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP. He allowed 14 free passes while whiffing just 20. Not surprisingly, he got four losses and zero wins.

Four years into his pro career David Lynch had made steady progress but was not blowing the doors off. The Rangers decided he was expendable. He was a left hander though and so likely to get more chances than the average 22nd round draft pick.

1991 would find Lynch in the Dodgers farm system. He split the season between Double and Triple A. He was a Reds farm hand in 1992 and split the season between Double and Triple A. Still with Cincinnati in 1993, he split the season between Double and Triple A for the fifth season in a row. That would be his final split season though. In 1994 and 1995 Lynch played at Triple A for the Indians. Following the 1995 season, at age 29, David Lynch hung up the spikes on his baseball career.