Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rain cools Texas bats.

The rain continues here in the Midwest. Perhaps the Rangers are wishing that is had rained again today in Arlington as well. Today's loss to the A's sees the Rangers ending April with a 10-11 record. The team had hoped to end the month with a winning record but the bats just couldn't get going.

Andruw Jones and Hank Blalock provided all the Texas offense with solo home runs in the eight and ninth. Blalock, pictured here on 2006 Topps Turkey Red Relics card number TRR-HB, cranked his sixth homer of the season in the eighth. Jones sent his third into the seats an inning later.

The shots weren't enough to counter the four runs the A's had put on the board though. They had three off of starter Vicente Padilla and then added one more at the expense of Jason Jennings. Michael Young hammered a double in the ninth but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. The team left 12 runners on base and was 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Just a dismal day on offense that matches the rainy and overcast weather where I'm at.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rainy day feeling...

Today's game against the Oakland A's was rained out. Seattle lost earlier today and this was the Rangers' chance to pick up a full game on them in the standings. Instead they have to settle for half a game. Kind of sums up the day's Rangers news, half and half.

On the rained out side, Josh Hamilton appears to be headed for the disabled list. Josh, seen here on card number 12 of the 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes set, apparently injured his ribcage running into a wall in Toronto on April 21st. The club is planning on waiting through the weekend before making a final decision on the 15 day disabled list. Somewhat concerning since Hamilton's personal problems began while he was on the disabled list for Tampa Bay. Hopefully he has moved past that and will be able to get through ok should he need to take some time off. I am not as worried as some over the possibility of his personal problems resurfacing.

On the positive side of things, Josh Rupe has cleared waivers and is now at extended Spring Training. The plan is to "stretch" him into being a starter. After that he will head to Oklahoma City. It would be nice to see Rupe be able to find his niche.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1972 Topps - Rich Hand.

There were three Rangers who were on the skids but seemed to snap out of it and contribute to last night's win over Baltimore. Unfortunately I don't have any Topps cards that I haven't already posted of David Murphy and none at all of Matt Harrison and Taylor Teagarden.

As a stand in I give you this 1972 Topps card of Rich Hand, number 317 in the set. There is no link between Rich and the three players listed above, he was just the next card up in the '72 Topps team set.

Rich sure looks happy on this card. He was probably thrilled to be back in the Majors after finishing the 1971 campaign in Triple A for Cleveland. After being traded to Texas, Rich would pitch part of two seasons with them. He would split the 1972 season between the Rangers and Triple A and would be traded to the Angels in May of 1973. Included in the trade was catcher Rick Stelmaszek.

1973 would be Rich's last season in the Big Leagues. He would spend 1972 in the minors as he bounced between The Angels and Red Sox and would be sent to St. Louis at the end of the season. That would be it for Rich's playing career.

Monday, April 27, 2009

1986 ProCards - Matt Williams.

Time for another exciting episode of "Whatever happened to that guy?" Today's contestant is pitcher Matt Williams. This Matt Williams should not be confused with third baseman Matt Williams.

We see Matt today on his 1986 ProCards Eighty Niners card. This set is unnumbered. Looking at the front of the card we can deduce that Matt is a pitcher and throws right-handed. Flipping the card over we see that he is listed at 6-1 and 200 pounds. There is only one year of stats listed for Matt on this card, his 1985 year. Looks like he played for three different teams that year. To take a closer look we turn to the

Looks like Matt was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 1981 draft. He spent the 1981 season playing A ball for the Jays and moved up to Double A the next season. After a promotion to Triple A in 1983, things seemed to be looking up. In August of 1983 Matt finally got the call. He appeared in four games for the Blue Jays and went 1-1. Unfortunately, he also posted a 14.62 ERA in eight innings. Apparently the Jays thought he needed more polishing so he spent the 1984 season back in Triple A.

After starting the 1985 season in Triple A for Toronto, Matt was traded to the Rangers who promptly assigned him to Triple A. He pitched a mere four innings there before getting called up to Arlington. In his second Major League stint he appeared in six games and tossed 26 innings while posting a 2.42 ERA. His record was 2-1 with 22 strikeouts to 10 walks.

A record like that makes me wonder what happened the following year when he started back in Triple A. One year with OKC and he was done at age 26. So, what happened to pitcher Matt Williams? An injury? Was his stint with Texas a fluke? Were the Rangers concerned that two pitchers named Williams (Mitch Williams would debut in 1986) would be confusing?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trading with Rhubarb.

Made a small trade with Rhubarb Runner over at é rayhahn, rayhahn. My end of the trade came in the mail this morning.

Rhubarb is a big Twins collector with not many holes left in his collection but I was able to fill one or two. In return he sent me several cards I needed for my team sets.

The highlight of the trade was this Al Oliver comic. It is number 16 in the 1979 Topps Comics set and is the first of its kind I have seen in person. It is printed on wax type paper and there is nothing printed on the back. Very cool piece.

Thanks for the trade Rhubarb! Hopefully I can come up with some more Twins you need.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Trading with Tim.

Received a nice package today from Tim in Ohio. As per an earlier agreement, Tim sent me about 70 Rangers and I shipped him roughly the same number of Indians and Expos. Actually, the package I sent was rather light on Indians. Sorry about that Tim, I'll make it right next time.

Anyway, on to the package. I needed several of the cards that Tim sent. One that I needed was this 1997 Collector's Choice Kevin L. Brown, number 12 in the set. This card helped push me closer to completing the team set from that year.

Also included in the package were some Topps Stickers from 1989 that I needed and a couple of Ivan Rodriguez cards that I already had in my Pudge collection but needed for my team sets. Great trade Tim! Thanks a bunch!

Had I not gotten the trade in from Tim, this would have been yet another Michael Young post. Mike hit a two run homer in the ninth inning in Baltimore today to win the game for Texas. That is the third time this week that he has hit a ninth inning home run to either tie the game or put the Rangers ahead. The guy is just tearing it up right now. Hopefully he can keep it up until the rest of the team catches up.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wacky night.

This is not a Michael Young blog. Having said that, it is a good thing that I have a large supply of Mike's cards. Seems like he is filling Josh Hamilton's role this year. He always seems to be one of the guys lifting the team at the crucial moments. Last night it was a ninth inning home run to put the Rangers back in the game they eventually lost 8-7 in the eleventh.

Today we see him on card number P-21 of the 2005 Prime Patches set. This card is numbered 72/100 and has a piece of Michael's bat in it. This is a set that was way too expensive for me to buy when it came out but that I have gotten quite addicted to on the secondary market. I still don't completely understand the structure of the set but they just grabbed me for some reason.

Young's homer wasn't the only highlight last night in Toronto. Much hyped pitching prospect Derek Holland made his Major League debut in the sixth inning. He went 2.1 innings, gave up three hits, no runs, and got two strikeouts. Sounds good but it's still way to early to draw any solid conclusions about this kid.

Pitcher Kris Benson went on the DL prior to the game. Scott Feldman will be moving to the starting rotation to replace him. To replace Feldman in the pen the Rangers claimed Darren O'Day off waivers from the Mets. He was told to join the team in Toronto and arrived at the park in the tenth inning. Texas was running low on relievers so they tossed him in to see what he could do. He made his appearance wearing Jason Gabbard's jersey since they didn't have one for him yet. He then promptly gave up a hit that allowed the winning run to score. Weird arrival to be sure.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Department of defense.

In their win last night in Toronto the Rangers had the usual home runs and other offense. They also had several gems on the defense side of things.

Nelson Cruz snagged an out when he went part way over the wall in foul territory on a full-out run. Reaching into the seats he got a ball that should have been a foul.

Josh Hamilton made an impressive Willie Mays type catch in center field. He caught the ball over his shoulder just before having to put out his hands to catch himself on the wall.

Michael Young was equally impressive. Since he made two great defensive plays he gets today's card, from the 2008 Dr. Pepper set. Mike started off by grabbing a deep bouncer along the line and firing a one hopper to first to get the runner. Later he speared a line drive that appeared headed into left field. Both were very nice plays.

It is good to see the Rangers demonstrate glove work like that. That type of play directly leads to close wins like the 5-4 victory last night. Big bats are sometimes fun to watch but I would rather see a team deny the opponent runs with their defense.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Player of the Week.

Ian Kinsler, seen here on card number 302 of the 2005 Topps set, was named co-A.L. Player of the Week yesterday. The honor applies to last week and was presented by Bank of America. Kinsler was named because of his tremendous offensive week. His co-winner was Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals who was named for his defensive work at keeping his opponents from hitting. Kind of an ironic pairing.

In other Rangers news:
Kris Benson has some tendinitis in his elbow and will be pushed back in his next start.

Nolan Ryan says that he thinks Ron Washington is doing a fine job as manager. Jon Daniels concurs and says there has been no talk of replacing him. These comments come in response to fans and writers already in panic mode.

The club is keeping an eye on Vicente Padilla. Padilla has been struggling this season and his velocity is apparently dropping. His ERA is currently at 9.64. Not good.

The bullpen is a concern. The combined ERA is 7.68 and heads have already started to roll with two pitchers being sent down so far. They got to do something about that if they want to get this season going right. Wilson, Francisco, and Jennings are doing well so there is at least a base to build on.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sweep avoidance.

Texas won last night to avoid getting swept at home by the Royals. They did it by the skin of their teeth and by Michael Young's ninth inning home run. Young, pictured here on his 2005 Fleer Authentix card number 50, hammered the second pitch he saw. It was his first ever career walk-off homer and he seemed to be enjoying it.

Mike was helped out by Ian Kinsler's dinger earlier in the game and by a nice slide from Hank Blalock to score in the eighth. Vicente Padilla had a rough outing as he gave up five runs to KC in five innings. Can't do that very often and get away with it.

Josh Rupe is no longer in the Ranger's bullpen. He was designated for assignment on Saturday. Pitching prospect Derek Holland was called up from Triple A. Holland is a starter but will be in the bullpen for Texas for the time being. Supposedly this kid can really pitch. I'm hoping he can and that this is not a David Clyde repeat.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Singing solo.

Hank Blalock provided one of the few bright spots in last night's blowout loss to the Kansas City Royals. The Rangers got trounced 12-3 and didn't even get on the board until the eighth inning. Hank, seen here on a 2004 Upper Deck Diamond Collection All-Star Lineup card, parked a moon shot in the upper deck. His blast came with one out and nobody on.

Marlon Byrd followed up with a solo dinger of his own in the next at bat and Jarrod Saltalamacchia parked one in the bottom of the ninth. Must have been solo homer night. At least they managed to get on the board. Better than being shut out I suppose.

Texas sends Kevin Millwood to the mound tonight with the A.L.'s second lowest ERA. This would be a good time to score some runs and perhaps win one. Could be an uphill haul though since the Royals are slated to send Zack Greinke and his league leading ERA to the mound.

Friday, April 17, 2009

1986 ProCards - Dave Owen.

Last night was an off day for the Rangers and tonight they play the Royals. Normally I would be pleased with that but I am working third shift and so will probably be asleep during most of the game. Rats.

With the lull in games, I thought today might be a good day to take a look at another minor league card. This is Dave Owen's card from the 1986 ProCards team set of the Eighty Niners. The set was unnumbered.

Dave never appeared in a major league uniform while with the Rangers during his season and a half with the organization.

He did play in the big show for the Cubs and Royals though. The height of his career was in 1984 when he appeared in 47 games for the Cubs. He had played for them in 1983 and would again in 1985 but 1984 was the most action he would see in the majors. Three years after his last Cubs appearance, a couple of trades, and a free agency Dave appeared in seven games for the Royals. He was granted free agency in October of 1988. After that he played one more year in the minors with the Cubs organization before disappearing from view.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kinsler channels Robinson.

Ian Kinlser led the charge last night as the Rangers routed the Orioles to avoid a sweep. Kinsler, seen here on card number FS-IK of the 2007 Upper Deck Ulitimate Collection set, went 6-6 in the game. Even more impressive, he managed to hit for the cycle. That makes him just the fourth player in Rangers' history to hit for the cycle and the first to go 6-6 in nine innings.

In all fairness though, Ian didn't score the Rangers' 19 runs by himself. Marlon Byrd had a big night as well and would have also gone 6-6 but for an outstanding defensive play. Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam in the fourth and almost got another in the eighth.

All this really couldn't have happened on a better day than Jackie Robinson day. Jackie was a great guy as well as a great ball-player. The world is definitely a better place for his life and accomplishments.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rough weekend.

Ouch! After sweeping the Indians in the first three games of the season it seems that the Rangers can't beg, buy, or steal a win. At least I got to spend this last weekend visiting family so that kind of took the sting out of the Rangers' collapse.

Since I missed posting on the losses and there haven't been many highlights, I decided to to dig into my Rangers notebooks to see what I could find. As I was flipping through, I came across the 1984 Donruss set. As sample we see Danny Darwin on card 544.

This set has been one of my favorite Donruss sets since I got my first card from it. It's debut was about three years before I started collecting so I never pulled any from packs. When I picked some up though I was immediately drawn to the nice, simple design. The large pictures and easy to read team and player names add to the attraction of the set. However, the blurry pictures and difficulty finding centered cards manage to drag the set down in the ratings a bit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Nelson Cruz, seen here on his 2007 Upper Deck card number 988, led the scoring charge for the Rangers yesterday. I was concerned that Fausto Carmona might be able to stifle the offense. Nellie hit two home runs to prove me wrong. Elvis Andrus also sent his first Major League into the stands as Texas came out on top 8-5.

The club lost Travis Metcalf yesterday as the Royals claimed him off waivers. The Rangers were trying to get him back to the minors but KC snagged him up. To replace him, the Rangers signed Esteban German. Not sure what to think about all that as of yet.

In a tragic note, Angels' rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart died in a car crash early this morning. He had started last night against the A's. He was 22. Police are saying that the crash was caused by another vehicle running a red light. Truly a sad day. My sincere condolances to Mr. Adenhart's family, friends, and fans.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can Zim still zoom?

According to, Seattle signed Jeff Zimmerman to a minor league contract yesterday. Zim, seen here on number 343 of the 2002 MLB Showdown set, hasn't pitched in the majors in over eight years. The Mariners are hoping to see him on the mound before the end of the year though.

I have always had a soft spot for Zimmerman. Few Rangers pitchers make any kind of splash but I remember him getting voted onto the All-Star team in his rookie year. Best of luck to Jeff on his comeback. I have to say though, I hope none of his success comes at the expense of his former team.

Not a whole lot else going on as far as I can see. Texas faces off with Cleveland again tonight. Two wins in a row to start the season would be nice but it could be a tall order with Carmona on the mound for the Tribe.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One game down, 161 to go.

Kevin Millwood, seen here on card number 382 of the 2007 Topps set, turned in an oddly dominating performance yesterday. He only allowed one run as the Rangers roughed up the reigning Cy Young winner in a 9-1 beating of the Indians.

It is really nice to start the season off with a win. Nicer still to see a starting pitcher go seven innings and keep the opposing offense handcuffed. If the pitching staff can do that in half the games this season then the team has a chance. Perhaps Nolan Ryan's philosophy is starting to pay off.

Also good to see Elvis Andrus do well at the plate and on defense and to see that Hank Blalock's bat appears to be back. Over all the team looked good and the guys seem to be excited. It's only one game of many but to start the season with a win is a nice feeling.

Monday, April 6, 2009

And they're off!

Even though Opening Day was yesterday, the Rangers start their season today. For the first time in several years, the Rangers are opening at home. They are donning their softball team red jerseys as they host the Indians of Cleveland.

Ian Kinsler is shown here on his 2008 Topps Opening day card, number 138. Ian will be started at second today and lead off.

Looks like things are going well so far. According to the Rangers site the game is now in the second inning. Texas has four on the board and the Indians haven't managed to touch Kevin Millwood yet. Here's to hoping to season starts with a win.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are you ready for some baseball?

It's almost time! Opening Day is just about here! Time to start the 2009 campaign. Gotta love springtime. Everything is fresh and every team has the chance to make this the year.

Ian Kinsler says the Rangers are ready and he thinks they can win. We'll see. Due to the pitching, I am not as confident as he is. I think I could handle a pleasant surprise though.

Looking at this pocket schedule, I see that the Rangers will be in Kansas City only once this season. Since I probably won't be able to get down to Arlington to see the guys I may have to plan a trip to KC.

What about you? Any plans to see your favorite team or player in action this year?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Season minus two days.

Not much new on the Rangers today. Just the players saying they are ready and pundits observing that the team needs to get off to a fast start in order to compete. They play the Royals tonight so maybe I'll get to hear the game.

Decided to post a fan favorite today what with the lack of news from the team. This past winter I sent this 1997 Score card to Rusty Greer. He was kind enough to sign it and send it back. I think it turned out rather well. The blue sharpie matches well with Rusty's uniform and I have always liked Score's 1997 offering.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Season minus three days.

Three days left until the start of the season and the Rangers seem to have finalized their roster. Sadly Frank Catalanotto isn't on it. Catalanotto, seen here on card number 213 of the 2003 Donruss set, was released by the team yesterday. Apparently the club liked Andruw Jones' righty bat over Cat's lefty one. Ok Jones, you got the spot, now prove that you deserve it. If you don't come with your A game Brandon Boggs is behind you and still hungry.

Catalanotto wasn't the only player who left camp yesterday. Pitchers Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Doug Mathis, and Tommy Hunter were all sent to the minors. First baseman Joe Koshansky was placed on waivers. The Rangers are hoping he clears so they can keep him in the minors.

Omar Vizquel was told that he has made the team. After all the paperwork is done the team will be ready for the season.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Season minus four days.

The Rangers continue to make moves as the season approaches. Scott Feldman, seen here on card number 91 of the 2006 Upper Deck Artifacts set, is officially assigned to the bullpen. Jason Jennings is also in there as well.

Kris Benson is the fifth starter. Hopefully he will only be needed for double-headers and the like.

Travis Metcalf, Kason Gabbard, and Derrick Turnbow have all been sent to the minors to start the season. Turnbow had the option to ask for his release but declined to do so.

KC Herren has been released. He was the Rangers second round pick in 2004 but never panned out.

The club still isn't sure what to do with Frank Catalanotto. Apparently Andruw Jones has put in a late push for the final bench spot and is the current favorite. Cat may get released if the team can't trade him.

No interest from other teams for Catalanotto but the Phillies have expressed some interest in Andruw Jones. The Reds are apparently eyeing Joaquin Arias. Could be some possibilities there.

It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out in the final days before the season starts. Could be a fun season.