Monday, June 30, 2008

1991 Baseball Cards Magazine - Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan makes his usual Monday appearance on this Baseball Cards Magazine card from 1991. It is number 62 in the set.

I don't believe that Beckett has this card listed on their checklist for Pudge. It was part of a set that was sent out in Baseball Cards Magazine. The cards came in sheets and had to be cut apart by the subscribers. I got this one already loose.

The back of the card contains no stats, just a short write-up of each of the three players pictured on the front. Interestingly, Palmer is listed as OF-3B.

The card then informs us that Rodriguez was considered "the best catching prospect to come around in a long time." It also mentions that one of his throws to second was clocked at 85 mph. That is about it on Ivan.

For all the lack of stats and solid information the card doesn't do too bad. Alexander only lasted three years and 36 games but the other two did well. Palmer managed to put together a decent 14 year career and Rodriguez is still playing. Not a bad percentage of success.

Also, for those scoring at home, here are the answers to Saturday's questions:
1. True - Probably would have gotten that one.
2. Brooks Robinson - Also a probable.
3. Hal Lanier - Would have missed that one by a mile.
4. Paul Splittorff - No chance.
5. Yes - Got that one easy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

1986 Classic - Pete O'Brien

In the middle of a 12-hour shift today and running on about four hours of sleep so I am going to let Pete O'Brien handle the post today. He appears here on card 138 of the 1986 Classic set. The questions on the back of his card are another nice mix of easy and pretty hard. I will post the answers on Monday. If anyone wants to take a shot feel free to do so in the comments section.

1. (T-F) For most of his career Ernie Banks played shortstop.
2. My #5 was retired by the Orioles. Who am I?
3. Who was named Manager of the Year for 1986 in the NL?
4. What Royals pitcher is the all time leader in wins through 1986?
5. Is the batter out if he interferes with a fielder?

Friday, June 27, 2008

1981 Fleer - Billy Sample

Decided to post number 637 in the 1981 Fleer set as a Sample of what Fleer's initial offering looked like. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Actually Fleer released several sets about the time Billy was born in the mid 50's. A lawsuit from Topps shut them down though until 1981. Their return was marked by flimsy card stock and somewhat poor photography. Not as bad as Donruss' debut the same year though.

Texas must have thought a lot of Sample, they used two draft picks on him. He was drafted in 1973 but didn't sign. The Rangers waited a few years and drafted him again in 1976 and got him to sign. He moved up from the 28th round to the 10th in the meantime.

Billy seems to be grimacing a little in this picture. Maybe he knew it was going to be a rough year. In 1981 he was fourth in the AL in getting hit by pitch. He got on base seven times that way that year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Recent Arrival

This 2006 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection game used jersey card of Mark Teixeira came in the mail on Monday. It is number CC-MTE in the set.

I traded a lot of Twins to a fellow Bench member. In return he sent me a box of assorted Rangers. This card was included in the box. He had mentioned sending it and I had told him to hold off as I had no Twins GU to send in return. To find it in the box was a very pleasant surprise. A game used Rangers card and several cards that I needed for various sets. Great traders are just one of the many things I like about The Bench. If you haven't checked it out yet take a minute and do so. If you sign up make sure to tell them that Spiff sent ya!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When it rains it pours

Josh Hamilton left last night's game with inflammation in his knee. This is the same knee that he previously injured. He is also missing tonight's start against the Astros and is listed as day-to-day. The good news is that there appears to be no structural damage done. Hopefully we will see him back soon cranking out the homers and RBI.

Today we see Josh on the Beckett Baseball magazine cover from the August, 2008 issue. Ok, so it's not a card. Also, the Triple Crown Contender title may be a little premature. I'm still going to put in in my Rangers collection when I get done with it. It features Josh Hamilton in his Rangers' threads so that's good enough for me. Do you collect other items than just cards?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not again!

Today's card is number 166 in the 2007 Topps set, Hank Blalock.

Hank seems to be a hard-luck player as of late. After being injured during Spring Training and again earlier this season he volunteered to move from third to first if it would help the team. The powers that be thought it would and so he made the move. Then came the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the surgery. Now comes word that he jammed a hand playing in Oklahoma on Sunday. He was supposed to be back today against Houston but is now a possibility for Friday. Seems like Hank can't get a break. As soon as he starts mend it seems that something else goes wrong.

All this is really too bad. Hank seems like a nice guy and has (or maybe had) some real talent. He appears to be willing to make adjustments to help the team. All that means little though if he can't take the field. Texas has an option for Hank for 2009. If he can't get healthy fast and stay that way I am afraid that they won't be able to justify picking it up.

Monday, June 23, 2008

1991 Upper Deck - Ivan Rodriguez

It's Monday and today we have Ivan Rodriguez on his 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition card, number 55F. Here we see a young Pudge snapping up a pop foul. I like this card. The photo is a nice action shot and Upper Deck had some nice designs in their first few years.

The back of the card informs us that, "Ivan owns one of the best throwing arms in the Major Leagues and showed it off in his debut by gunning down two White Sox base-stealers."

Here are the answers to Saturday's trivia. I must admit to being a little surprised that nobody even took a shot at the questions.
1. True - Easy one there.
2. Al Kaline - Probably would have gotten that one.
3. Bob Horner - No way without some research.
4. Bert Blyleven - Ditto to number 3.
5. True - Another easy one to finish it out.

One last small item. If either of the two or three folks reading this blog is a Rangers fan and needs a few set fillers, let me know. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 plus doubles (triples, quads, etc.) of Rangers. I would be willing to work out a deal for some of these to help out fellow Rangers collectors.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

1986 Classic - Ed Correa

I am determined to keep the trivia going every so often. Guess I am stubborn. Today's questions come from card number 143 in Classic's 1986 offering. I will post the answers on Monday so be sure and offer your take in the comments section before then. Fairly nice cross section of easier and harder questions this time.

1. (T-F) The Kansas City Althletics became the Oakland A's?
2. I am the Tigers' all time leader in home runs through 1986. Who am I?
3. In 1986, who became only the 11th player to hit 4 home runs in one game?
4. What pitcher set a MLB record in 1986 for the most home runs allowed?
5. (T-F) A runner is out when he is tagged with the ball on a force play.

Friday, June 20, 2008

1989 Upper Deck - Scott Fletcher

Today's card is number 420 in Upper Deck's debut year, Scott Fletcher. Due to Scott's hang time here, this one should be enjoyed by Lucy over at Dinged Corners.

Scott was the Rangers shortstop when I first started keeping track of the team and the players. My Grandfather called him "Scottie" and that helped to personalize him. I remember being bummed when Texas traded him away during the 1989 season.

Upper Deck burst on the scene in 1989 and instantly challenged Topps as the top dog in the card industry. Great photography, sharp looking cards, and holograms on the back of every card. The holograms were supposed to keep the cards from being counterfeited. I had never realized that was a problem but took their word for it. The packs were foil and couldn't be looked through like Score's could. All the security seemed to justify in part the slightly higher costs. I decided to collect the set. The Griffey rookie card hype took that out of the picture though. I had thought the ten cent price tag on the common set fillers was harsh (the other brands were five cents for a common). There was no way I could cough up the bucks for a Griffey. That pretty much torpedoed my 1989 Upper Deck set aspirations.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Texas takes Atlanta series.

Michael Young came through in the ninth inning today with a single to score Ian Kinsler. That gave Texas a 5-4 win. The hit also defied the Rangers day game curse and might have signaled the end of Michael's 1-32 slump that he was in coming into today's game. With the win, Texas takes this three game series from Atlanta 2-1.

Today's card is from the 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings Gallery of Stars. It is number GS-21 in the set and is serial numbered 48/100. While big bang cards are not always my cup of tea I do like this one. It is not too flashy and I like the auto/game used combo. It doesn't hurt that Young has been a quiet mainstay for Texas and that they have him locked in for several more years.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2001 Fleer Futures - Andres Galarraga

Today's card is number 77 in the 2001 Fleer Futures set, Andres Galarraga. The Big Cat signed with Texas in December of 2000 and played in 72 games for them during the 2001 season. He was traded to the Giants at the end of July of the same year.

Andres didn't appear in many games for Texas. He doesn't even appear here in a Rangers uniform. I have this card in my collection because he is listed on the card as a Ranger. It does bug me a bit though that Fleer used a picture of him in a Braves uniform. Airbrushing is sometimes a little weird looking but Topps was using it as early as the 70's. Another alternative might be to use a head-shot where the uniform is not visible. A picture of Andres out of uniform might also have been a workable solution.

Am I the only one that gets a little miffed by the card companies showing players in uniforms that don't match the team name on the card? What is the best solution in your opinion?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Coming back

Mark Teixeira came back to Texas today for the first time since he was traded. He obviously wasn't wearing the same uniform that he is on card number T169 of the 2002 Topps Traded set.

Not surprisingly, he was booed when he made his first appearance. I don't advocate booing former players all the time. I have to admit though that I probably would have booed some had I been in the stands this evening. Nothing nasty, just enough to let Mark know that some fans haven't forgotten his parting words.

What is the proper reaction to a returning player on a different team? Do the circumstances of the parting matter? What about the individual player's actions and statements? Should they play a role?

Monday, June 16, 2008

1991 Ultra - Ivan Rodriguez

Pudge makes his weekly appearance on number U-58 of the 1991 Ultra Update set. Ultra was in the majority of brands when it left Ivan out of its regular set and had to make up the omission in the update set.

While not one of my favorite set designs, I don't mind the card. Plenty of picture and minimal borders. The back of the card has three different pictures of Ivan. A close-up, running the bases, and attired in his catching gear. There is no informational write-up and only one year of stats. Of course at this stage Pudge only had one or two years of stats.

While the overall design is good I do have one small gripe with the card. You would think that a hitter of Rodriguez' caliber could get a better shot on the front of his card than this one. It looks like he just shot a grounder along the line and is watching the third baseman make the snag.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This just in...

Received this 2007 Topps Moments and Milestones #30 today. Featuring Alex Rodriguez and serial numbered 144/150 it is my first acquisition of this brand. I snagged it and card number 29 (also Alex) off Ebay for $0.99 each with free shipping.

Overall I like the cards. The design is modern looking but not overly colorful or flashy. If it had been up to me I would have moved the serial number to the back of the card. I might have added more stats then just the 2003 season. However, limiting the numbers to that season makes sense because the card is focused on Rodriguez's performance that year. Overall the cards are nice and ones I needed for my Rangers collection.

Friday, June 13, 2008

1986 Fleer Sticker

Have a sinus headache tonight. In light of that I'm going to take things easy. Here is the 1986 Fleer Sticker for the Texas Rangers. Cool piece in my view.

The back of the sticker informs us that Walter Johnson won 38 1-0 games. Not sure if that is a bigger commentary on Johnson or his teammates' offensive prowess. For more on these types of stickers make sure you check out The Fleer Sticker Project.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bargain bin

Today's card is number LL-41 from 2001 Donruss Classics Legendary Lumberjacks set that I just received in the mail a couple of days ago. It includes a piece of Rafael Palmeiro's bat.

Nice looking card overall. I like the design and the head shot of Raffy is a good one. The back of the card is little more than a certificate of authenticity along with a picture of the bat the chip was taken from.

Perhaps the nicest thing about the card was the price. I managed to pick it up on Ebay for $0.99 total including shipping. I will take Rangers game used cards all day long for that price.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

1986 Classic - Ruben Sierra

Listening to Texas attempt to beat Kansas City. Since I live 500 miles from The Ballpark in Arlington and am too cheap to subscribe to MLB's broadcasts I only get to hear them when they play the Royals.

As such we'll have another round of trivia today, courtesy of Classic. Feel free to sound off with your answer in the comments section. I'll give it several days (depending on response) and post the answers. Remember, the year is 1986 for the purpose of the questions.

1. (T-F) Reggie Jackson has struck out more times than Mickey Mantle.
2. I am the Astros all time leader in HR's through 1986. Who am I?
3. What team led the A.L. in hitting in 1986?
4. What Expos pitcher is the club's all time win leader through 1986?
5. What position does Glenn Davis play?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Same song?

Denny McLain appears on number 210 of Topps' 1972 set.

Although this is a Rangers card, Denny never threw an inning for Texas. He spent the 1971 season with the Washington Senators but was traded by the team before the start of the 1972 season.

What got me to thinking about McLain today? Well, Sidney Ponson did. Both pitchers had potential. One managed to blow it all and the other appears to be on his way to doing so because of their off-field activities.

McLain was the last 30 game winner in the majors. He won 31 games in 1968 while posting a 1.96 ERA. Credited with assisting the Tigers to the Series he pitched three games, losing two to Bob Gibson but winning the third to set up game seven. That resulted in a championship for Detroit. Four years later he was out of baseball. A bad attitude, serious legal troubles, and a suspicious injury all contributed. Even in retirement Denny struggled. Bankruptcy, more legal troubles, and prison time followed. In April of this year Denny was arrested again. Apparently his learning curve is pretty flat.

Sir Sidney appears to be having almost as hard a time. After legal trouble in both the U.S. and his native Aruba he was released by Baltimore. Two hard seasons followed before he inked a minor league contract with Texas and was invited to Spring Training this year. A remarkable comeback followed. On June 6th his record stood at 4-1 and he had posted a 3.88 ERA. On that day Texas designated him for assignment. A bad attitude and off-field shenanigans seem to have struck him out as surely as if he had been facing Denny McLain in 1968.

Monday, June 9, 2008

1991 Tulsa Drillers - Ivan Rodriguez

Getting back into the swing of things with Ivan on Monday. Pudge is shown here on his 1991 Tulsa Drillers Team Issue card. This card is number 23 of a 30 card set that was apparently issued by the team. I am going to guess as a stadium giveaway but I really don't know for sure.

Although it might be hard to read, the baseball logo on the lower left of the card says, "Tulsa's Baseball Card Store." From what I can tell this would be the same store that helped to put out last week's card of Ivan. One of the two addresses listed on the back of the card for the store is the same. We also learn from the back of the card that it was printed by X-Press Printing on South Mingo in Tulsa.

I am guessing that by the time this card was issued Pudge was gone, called up to the majors. Still a neat card though. After seeing Tulsa's Baseball Card Store featured on two consecutive cards I now feel a need to try and get by there sometime if I am ever in Tulsa.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Home again

Well, after three long days in class going over information I already know and use in my job, I am home again. Glad to get that over with.

In celebration I post card number 387 of the 1991 Stadium Club set featuring Ruben Sierra. This card displays a picture of Ruben apparently at home in Puerto Rico. Rest assured that, while I am at home I don't sport the head wear or bling that we see Ruben showing off here.

As a side note to NTXCoog, I have scoured my collection and it appears that I have no Scott Sheldon cards at this time. I found several on my wantlist but none in my binders. I hope to get one at some point and will post it then.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I will be away from my computer attending job training the next three days. Hope to be back to posting on Saturday.

Name dropping

On today's card we see Travis Hafner. He appears on card number T210 of the Topps 2001 Traded set. For some Texas fans Hafner invokes regret. For most Cleveland fans he is a source of team pride. For my wife and I he is an ongoing inside joke.

Several years ago our church was in the middle of a pastor search. Different candidates came in over various weekends and spent time with the congregation. Most brought their wives. Mrs. Spiff and I usually did our part in hosting the candidates and their wives for a meal or two. One couple that we had the opportunity of hosting was unusual to say the least.

During the course of the meal the lady had done most of the talking. Attempts to interject comments or to engage her husband in conversation were futile. She so dominated the visit that it wasn't until almost halfway through the meal that she found out that I am a baseball fan. Immediately she brightened and asked which team I followed. I answered that it was Texas. Her response was unexpected. She asked if I had ever heard of Travis Hafner. I stated that I did and believed that he had started with Texas but had been traded to Cleveland. She stated that was the player she meant and went on to inform us that her daughter had previously dated Hafner. No interesting tidbits on Pronk, just that factoid left hanging. I didn't (and still don't) know the daughter at all and could care less about her past romantic interests.

It was a rather clumsy attempt at name-dropping to say the least. Mrs. Spiff and I still chuckle about it and whenever either of us pull a Hafner card we say, "My daughter used to date Travis Hafner!"

Monday, June 2, 2008

1991 ProCards - Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan on Monday! Today we continue to follow Pudge's trail through the 1991 card year and the confusing mixture of big league and minor league cards that were issued that year. Here we see Ivan on card number 2776 of ProCards' offering. This card is interesting to me in a couple of ways.

First is the design on the front. The spiral notebook look is rather neat and is continued on the back of the card. Kind of recalls a scout's notes on the players he watches.

The second thing is not visible from the front of the card. On the back of the card is an ad for Tulsa's Baseball Card Store. Apparently the store is, or was, a rather large operation. Two locations and two phone numbers are given.

Nobody gave Saturday's trivia a try but here are the answers anyway.
1. True.
2. Mike Schmidt
3. Don Baylor
4. Charlie Root
5. First Base