Monday, November 30, 2009

Bad to the bone.

There are a ton of bad card designs out there. Green borders on the 2001 Topps set, yellow on the 1991 Fleer set. Poor photography on the early Donruss and Fleer sets. The Metal Universe cards are a level of bad unto themselves. That's just a few examples.

One of the top bad designs has got to be the 1995 Fleer design. Here we see Jose Canseco on card number 281 as an example. As you can see from the picture, there just aren't any redeeming qualities about this design. The split frame, overly busy front, and psychedelic colors drive me batty. Looking at the team set in binder pages is about enough to cause a fit. Anyone attempting the whole set should be carefully monitored for signs of breakdown.

What's the top worst design ever in your opinion?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Senators Saturday - Pete Daley, 1961.

Today's Senator is catcher Pete Daley, seen here on card number 158 of the 1961 Topps set. Daley is shown here hatless in his Kansas City A's jersey.

By the time the Senators drafted Pete from the A's he had six Big League seasons under his belt. For most of his career he had been a backup catcher with the Red Sox. The Sox had traded him to the A's after the 1959 season. In 1960 the A's had a catcher by committee system going but Pete was the primary catcher. The Senators drafted him that December in the expansion draft.

In 1961 Pete went back his familiar role as the second string catcher behind Gene Green. Even so, Pete played in almost as many games in 1961 as he had in 1960, falling just one game shy of his A's totals. Amazingly, Pete played 16.2 innings more for Washington than he had for KC.

In spite of his frequent appearances, Daley's 1961 season was dismal. His batting average plunged 71 points from the previous season to .192 for the season. His on base percentage dropped 67 points to .244 while his slugging percentage took a bigger dive as it dropped 124 points to .266. Pete managed just two home runs all season and grounded into 11 double plays. He struck out 37 times while working just 14 walks.

If Pete tried to look at his defense to redeem the season he was bound to be disappointed. He made four errors behind the plate and allowed seven passed balls. He also allowed 32 stolen bases while catching only 15 attempted thieves.

All in all Pete had an ugly season in the Senator's first year. It was his worst season ever both offensively and defensively. It was also his last as he was released in October of 1962 after spending that season in the minors.

Friday, November 27, 2009

1986 ProCards - Orlando Mercado.

Well, I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday yesterday and took time to thank The Provider for all their blessings. Among my blessings I count baseball cards. More to the point, the fact that I have the extra income and time to collect them.

Today's card is from the 1986 ProCards OKC Eighty-Niners team set. It pictures catcher Orlando Mercado. Orlando's grin says that he has tasted the success of being in the Majors and expects to be there again.

In fact, that was just the case when this picture was taken. Orlando had been playing pro ball since 1978 but only came to the Rangers' organization in 1985. The Rangers had to give the Mariners Donnie Scott in exchange. At that time Orlando already had three Big League campaigns under his belt with the Mariners in 1982, '83, and '84. He would spend the 1985 season and part of 1986 in OKC before getting the call to Arlington.

Before getting called up in 1986 Mercado played in 48 games for the Eighty-Niners. He managed a .273 batting average with a .401 slugging percentage. has only sketchy offensive stats for him and no defensive numbers so that's about all I know. Whatever isn't there must have been impressive enough to get him called up though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Closed for Thanksgiving.

Will be back tomorrow. Wishing everyone a great holiday happily spent with their families. Thanks to all who read, follow, and comment on the blog. God bless.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wantlist - 1981 Fleer.

So the White Sox signed Andruw Jones today. Looks like they are signing all the aging stars the Rangers are letting go. Nice of them. I'm actually glad to see that Jones' tenure with the Rangers worked out to his advantage. Nice to see a comeback of sorts from him.

With it being Wednesday I am posting up a new wantlist. As you can see here on card number 635 of the 1981 Fleer set, I have had John Butcher double check the list. (When this picture was taken he was getting ready to hand the list back to me.) He affirms that there is only one card left on it.

1981 Fleer
622 Fergie Jenkins

So there it is. If anyone has this Fergie card please let me know. We can work out a trade. Help me put this set to bed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1972 Topps - Mike Paul.

Time for another trip to the Rangers' first season. Here we see Mike Paul on card number 577 of the 1972 set. Mike is styling his airbrushed cap and Cleveland Indians sleeveless jersey.

The Rangers obtained Mike in a trade with Cleveland in December of 1971 that also netted them Ken Suarez, Rich Hand, and Roy Foster. At the time Mike was busy bouncing back and forth between the Indians and the minors. In 1971 he had posted a dismal 5.95 ERA and a 2-7 record in 12 starts.

Apparently the move to Texas agreed with Mike. In 1972 he would experience the best season of his career. While his record was 8-9 in 20 starts and 49 games that is a bit deceiving. His ERA was a respectable 2.17 in 161.2 innings pitched. He struck out 108 on the season while walking just 52. Most notably, he allowed just four home runs all season. Perhaps if Mike had gotten some run support a few of those losses and no decisions might have slipped into the win column.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What was he thinking?

In 1988 Tom O'Malley was a utility infielder appearing on a truly ugly Score card, number 534. I mean, this card just doesn't have anything going for it. Not even the design. Yellow on a Rangers card? What was Score thinking?

I suppose I could ask the same thing about Omar Vizquel. Omar signed a one year contract with the White Sox today. That's not the part that raises questions. What makes me wonder is Omar's reported statement that he wasn't returning to the Rangers because he preferred a higher profile team. What did he mean by that? A team the President roots for? A team that had a worse record than the Rangers in 2009? It probably boils down to a team that has deeper pockets.

I understand Omar wanting more money. I don't understand him running his mouth like that. I have always heard that Vizquel is a class act. Not much class on display there. I mean, everyone knows that the Rangers are a small to mid-market team that hasn't ever won a post season series. The fans know the team can't afford to hang on to all the popular players. What's the point in making an issue out of it as you hit the road?

I enjoyed having Vizquel on the team this past season. He was fun to follow and a real star who grabbed my attention when he interviewed or played. Sadly my reaction to him leaving is about the same as when I see Tom O'Malley's 1988 Score card. What was Omar thinking?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Senators Saturday - Gene Woodling, 1961.

After the 1960 season the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. The Capital City wouldn't be without baseball for long though as MLB placed an expansion franchise there the same year. The new team was also called the Washington Senators. That team would play in D.C. for ten years and move to Texas after the 1971 season. As a Rangers collector I have occasionally picked up Senators cards dating from 1961 - 1971. I figured it was only appropriate since that team was the franchise that became the Rangers. I have also decided to feature these pre-Rangers cards on some Saturdays when there is no Rangers news. Any feedback as to this idea would be appreciated.

To kick the series off we see Gene Woodling on card number 275 of the 1961 Topps set. This set is similar to the 1972 Topps set in that every effort is made to avoid showing any kind of uniforms or team logos. I guess that is why Gene's cap is tipped back.

Washington drafted Gene from Baltimore in the 1960 expansion draft. By that time Gene had 17 MLB seasons under his belt and had played for six different teams. He kind of looks a little worn and weary in this picture. In 1961 Gene would play in 110 games for the Senators. He would post a .313 batting average with a .403 on base percentage. This was good enough to lead the team in both categories. In the course of the season he would knock in 57 runs (3rd on the team) and commit only two errors. It really is a wonder that Gene wasn't the All-Star representative for the team.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1986 ProCards - Tommy Dunbar.

Looking at Tommy Dunbar's 1986 ProCards card today. Tommy is having a ball as he models the windbreaker under the jersey look. I mean, just look at that grin. The guy can't be faking that.

Tommy was pictured on both minor and major league cards in 1986. By the time this card came out though Tommy's big league career was over. In 1980 Tommy was drafted by the Rangers and signed. He made his first major league appearance in 1983 as a September call-up. He wrapped up his MLB career in July of 1985.

After that Tommy didn't give up though. He played in the minor leagues until 1991. 1986 would be his last season with the Rangers organization. For the next five years he bounced around between five different organizations.

Two interesting notes on Tommy. While he was mostly an outfielder he did pitch in three games for Memphis in 1990. He went a total of three innings and posted a 3.00 ERA. Not too bad. The other interesting item is Tommy's managing career. In 1993 he managed for the Reds in the Rookie League. He lasted just one season at that endeavor and posted a losing record. Quite the varied career.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pratt's printing.

Today's random autograph card comes from the 2002 SPx Prospects set and is number 142 in the set. The card features Andy Pratt and one of his autographs.

When I first got this card in a lot I wondered who Andy Pratt was. That was as far as I got until today when I decided that I had better look him up on

The first thing that caught my attention was that Andy never played for the Rangers. He was selected in the ninth round of the 1998 draft. He signed shortly thereafter. In the same year he played with the Gulf Coast Rangers in the Rookie League. 1999 was A ball and in 2000 he moved up to Double A. His entire 2001 season was spent at Double A Tulsa.

In April of 2002 the Rangers traded Andy to the Braves for Ben Kozlowski. He finally made his debut with Atlanta in September of that year for one game. In 2004 he showed up four times for the Cubs. Those five games were the extent of Andy's MLB career. Not very many but probably five more than most of us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So here I am at 500 posts since starting this blog. I must say that the just under two years since the start has been very enjoyable. I have met some great folks and made a few nice trades. Hopefully I have been able to entertain you and possibly even make you think once in awhile. I had thought about having a contest or giveaway to mark the occasion. To be honest though, I am not sure I have anything that anyone might want to compete for. Perhaps I will try and secure a few things for the two year mark.

Some things have changed since I started writing. A few blogs I followed have been retired and others have come on the scene. Inspired by some fellow bloggers I have gotten back into the autograph request game. My collecting focus has shifted a bit as well. Jon Matlack, shown here on card 215 of the 1982 Donruss set, is still my main focus. I am surprised looking at my stats to see that I have only posted three of his cards before this one. Ivan Rodriguez and my Rangers collection have flip-flopped on the priority list. I am still a fan of Pudge but am currently more excited about finishing off Rangers team sets.

Speaking of finishing off Rangers team sets, I have decided to start posting some of my wantlists on Wednesdays. I figure I can do a team set at a time. Since I have Jon's 1982 Donruss card up I might as well start with that one. Only need two cards to finish it up:

1982 Donruss
89 Jim Kern
341 Steve Comer

Let me know if you have either of these cards and perhaps we can work a trade. I have older and newer commons from most teams and actually do have a small trade list.

Thanks to everyone for making the first 500 a great time. I will do my best to keep you amused and interested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Congrats Zack!

Zack Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award today. As much as I would have liked to see Scott Feldman with the award, I am glad Zack won it. The Royals need all the lift they can get and it is nice to see a different uniform in the highlight reel.

Since Zack never played for Texas I decided to see if he favorably compares to any pitchers who have. Checking I see that I am in luck. Listed as the third most similar at age 25 (Zack's current age) is none other than Burt Hooton.

Burt played one season for Texas and was a decade past 25 when card 56T in the 1985 Topps Traded set was issued. In his 25th year he played for the Cubs and Dodgers. His ERA was 3.07 as compared to Greinke's 2.16. Hooton went 18-9 in 33 starts while Greinke was 16-8 in the same number of starts. Burt managed 153 strikeouts to 68 walks while Zack went 242 strikeouts to 51 walks.

One you move past the win-loss record it becomes clear that Greinke was the more dominating. Probably why he won the Cy Young Award at age 25 while Burt Hooton didn't get a single vote.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Was he robbed?

Elvis Andrus was featured on card number 944 of the 2009 Upper Deck set. He also played in 145 games for the Rangers this year as he became their starting shortstop in his first season above Double A ball. This for a team in contention until the last three or so games of the season. Andrew Bailey appeared in 68 games for Oakland as he nailed down their closer's slot in his first season in the Bigs. This for a team that was close to elimination by the All-Star break.

Elvis had 541 plate appearances for the Rangers. Bailey faced 325 batters for the A's.

Elvis played 1238 innings for Texas while compiling 261 putouts, 407 assists, 98 double plays, and 22 errors. This translated to a fielding percentage of .968 with a range factor per game of 4.61. The league average was 3.89. Bailey played 83.1 innings for Oakland while compiling 91 strikeouts, allowing 17 runs, 24 walks, and 5 home runs. This translated to a 1.84 ERA. I was unable to locate the league average ERA for closers.

Elvis racked up 128 hits. Of these: 17 were doubles, 8 were triples, and 6 were home runs. He knocked in 40 runs and drew 40 walks. He successfully swiped 33 bases and was caught 6 times. This all translated into a .267 batting average, a .329 on base percentage, and a .373 slugging percentage. His OPS was .702. Bailey never lifted a bat in the five games he was eligible to do so.

Andrew Bailey won the AL Rookie of the Year today. Was Andrus shorted?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Through the mail success.

Working a twelve hour shift today so my time is limited. As such I will leave you with this 1993 Topps Gold card of Matt Whiteside that I received in the mail today. I had sent this card and one other one out to Matt on November 2. He graciously signed and returned both. One unique aspect is that he signed both cards in what looks like red ballpoint pen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Who is Chris Stewart?

Chris Stewart is one of those players that I don't have any recollection of. Here he is though, on card number 254 of the 2007 Allen and Ginter set. This, along with his inclusion in the 2007 Topps regular set, sparked my interest.

According to Chris made his major league debut in 2006 for the White Sox. He appeared in six games for them before being dealt to the Rangers in January of 2007. It was apparently a minor trade as the White Sox received one minor leaguer in return.

In 2007 Chris appeared in 17 games for Texas. This was almost a threefold increase in his playing time from the year before and a career high. According to the almighty Wikipedia, Chris snagged the backup catcher's job in Spring Training of that year. The Rangers then dropped Stewart to Triple A in early June after acquiring Adam Melhuse.

The Rangers released Chris in March of 2008. In April he signed with the Yankees on a minor league contract. He appeared in one game for them on April 29, 2008 before being granted free agency in November. The White Sox signed him in December. In March of this year the Sox sent Chris back to the Yankees for future considerations.

At least Chris has gotten a taste of the majors. That's a lot more than most of us can say. Playing at the Triple A level he is just an injury or two away from another call-up. I suppose that's a decent possibility for a catcher.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Auto at the plate.

Not a lot going on with the Rangers today. As I checked other blogs I came across Dinged Corners challenge to post your favorite three autographs. I decided to take up the challenge in part. Guess I am just not motivated enough to do the whole thing.

I haven't yet decided if this 1986 Topps card of Glenn Brummer is one of my favorite three but it is definitely in the top ten. I got this card back from Glenn on October 19 of this year and in my opinion he did an excellent job of endorsing it. The blue sharpie is almost always the best choice for a Rangers card.

Beyond the signature there are other great aspects to this card. The dust cloud that Glenn and the umpire fade into, the close play at the plate, the ball in Glenn's glove. All great points. Perhaps the best though is the ump's right hand ringing up the incoming Yankee runner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Headache post.

I was hoping that my sinus headache would go away. It hasn't and I am feeling pretty blah.

To match the way I feel I present card number 140 in the 1988 Score set. Even a player as cool as Charlie Hough can't overcome the blah of this set.

Hopefully things are cleared up in the morning.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year is...

No, it's not Kameron Loe. Can you imagine how bad things would have had to be for Kam to get the nod? I mean, he wasn't even with the team this year. So, if it wasn't Loe then why did I post card number 313 from the 2008 Topps set? Well I have a reason, weak though it may be.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America named Scott Feldman as their 2009 Rangers pitcher of the year today, this according to Scooter certainly deserved the honor after hurling his best pro season ever and coming withing a hair's breath of becoming a 20 game winner.

The hitch is that I am out of Topps cards of Scott Feldman. So what to do? Well, according to, Kam Loe is in the top ten of similar pitchers through age 26. So there's the Feldman connection and a way out of my Scooter-less jam. Hopefully Feldman garners more success with Texas after age 26 than Loe did.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1986 ProCards - Rob Clark.

Not much going on with the Rangers today. Reports that they may consider moving some pitching to pick up key position players is about it. Since it is a slow day I decided to hit up the minor leagues again with another installment of "Whatever happened to that guy?"

Today we see starting pitcher Rob (or Bob) Clark on his 1986 ProCards card. I was unable to find much on Rob but was able to determine that he never made the big time.

In Rob's six seasons of pro ball he made it as high as Triple A. He started off in 1982 with the Gulf Coast League Rangers and made the jump to Double A the next year. After four games with Tulsa in 1984 he was promoted to Oklahoma City. Moving up fast.

1985 saw Rob back at Double A for the entire season. In 1986 he made it back up to Triple A and played the whole season for the Eighty Niners. That was the end of the line with Texas. In 1987 Rob was back down in Double A, this time with Houston.

Following the 1987 season Rob disappears. There is no indication as to how he moved from the Rangers to the Astros or why he called it a career. In fact, there was nothing to indicate how the Rangers even acquired Clark in the first place. I was also unable to find out where Rob is today.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Two more file.

Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones both filed for free agency yesterday. Since I don't have cards of either of them I am posting this 1993 Sports Illustrated for Kids card of Nolan Ryan. The only possible connection might be that Nolan is still involved with the team and was a great free agent signing for Texas 21 years ago.

As far as Vizquel is concerned I would like to see him back next year. I wasn't really familiar with him before this past season but I liked what I saw on and off the field. He would be very helpful in a close pennant race. The big question will be if Omar will agree to stay in a utility infielder role.

It looks like to me that the team should let Andruw go. Nolan and the rest of the administration seem to agree as there are no plans to try and hang on to Jones. Andruw didn't have a bust of a season like he did in '08 for the Dodgers but he wasn't his old self either. I still don't think the Rangers should have let Frank Catalanotto go to keep Jones.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The free agent sweepstakes begins.

So the off-season movement has started. One of my least favorite things about modern baseball and the reason that most of my Rangers apparel has no players' names or numbers on it.

Ivan Rodriguez, seen here on card number 260 of the 1996 Fleer set, filed for free agency yesterday. He is interested in playing for two or three more years. The Rangers are at least moderately interested in having him back. No agreement yet though and it is unclear how hard Texas will pursue him. It would be nice to see Pudge retire in a Rangers' uniform but it isn't worth breaking the bank over.

Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Eddie Guardado and Joaquin Benoit also all filed for free agency. I am unsure how the team views Benoit but they are planning on letting Blalock go. Guardado has talked about retiring this off-season and with his struggles towards the end of last season I just can't see the team dropping a lot of cash on him.

Byrd is on the list to re-sign. If it doesn't get done the team will have to look elsewhere for a right-handed bat. Jermaine Dye and Milton Bradley have both come up as possibilities. I would like to keep Marlon but would settle for Dye if need be. Bradley should be avoided at all costs.

In other news, Clint Hurdle has been named the new hitting coach. Hurdle did a decent job for the Rockies before being named as manager. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to The Ballpark in Arlington as opposed to the Rockies' home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yankees jump on top of Phils.

Let me start off by apologizing for missing yesterday's post. Should have had a congratulatory post for the Phillies to recognize their win Monday night. Had to work extra though and am trying to wade through a home improvement project so my time got eaten up.

It's not looking good for the Phils tonight in The Bronx. Hideki Matsui almost single-handedly booted Pedro Martinez from the game as he racked up four RBI. Mark Teixeira, shown here on card number 55 of the 2005 Classic Clippings set, also got in on the act with a RBI single.

Ryan Howard has responded with a homer but it is still 7-3 in the Yankees' favor. Time is running out too since the game is in the seventh inning.

Looks like the moral of the story will be that money can't buy you friends or happiness but it can buy you a championship.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yanks within one.

Alex Rodriguez hammered a double to help the Yankees top the Phillies last night 7-4. Alex, seen here on card number 333 of the 2004 MLB Showdown set, was also hit in the first inning by pitcher Joe Blanton. That makes the third time A-Rod has been plunked by Philly pitching during the World Series. Is it intentional or just the hurlers trying to go inside and going too far?

The win last night puts the Yankees to within one of winning the series. The Phillies would have to win three straight to pull off a comeback. Not to sound pessimistic but I doubt they can do it. I fear we will see a Yankee title and have to suffer through the off-season hearing about it.