Thursday, September 30, 2010

Matlack takes the title!

You may remember that previously I wrote about being involved in a contest over at The Bench. The Benchies are a yearly face-off that the site sponsors between various categories of collections. Members in good standing vote on the collections.

This year marked the third year of the contests and I again entered my Jon Matlack collection. Last year my collection had lost out in the final round of voting and I fully expected a similar or worse result this year.

Much to my surprise I won the title of Best Player Collection 2010. Wow! What an awesome surprise. Just wanted to share the moment. Guess I will need to figure out how to label my Matlack collection as award-winning.

For those that would rather not click on links, here is the entry that I made in the contest:

Player Collected - Jon Matlack
Basic Stats - 107/114 Beckett listed cards = 94%
10 cards not recognized by Beckett
Cards include:
3/4 Game used issued,
Only two serial numbered cards issued,
Only certified auto issued,
Two different custom MLB Showdown cards,
Two 1982 Topps Proof cards.
Additional items include:
Two autographed baseballs,
Autographed plastic Tigers helmet,
Autographed bat,
Two different placemats,
Seven different magazines/programs with Jon on cover,
Eight different wire services photos,
Five different autographed 8x10 photos,
Two graded cards (not included in other totals),
Endorsed check from MLB Players Association to Jon,
Two RC cans,
Pre-Rolled RC can,
25 different on-card autographs,
1970's fast-food drink lid.
Link to website -
Wantlist -
Pictures and scans -

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wantlist - 2006 Upper Deck.

So the Rangers won today and avoided getting swept at home by the last place Mariners. Once again the game ended with Nelson Cruz at the plate - this time on a wild pitch rather than a long blast. On a concerning note, David Murphy apparently strained his left groin muscle in the second inning. Hopefully it isn't a bad strain and he'll be back before the playoffs commence.

Michael Young went 2-for-5 in the game today with an RBI and a double. Glad to see that. Here he appears on card number 465 of the 2006 Upper Deck set as an example of what the set looks like. This set is a monster in size and I still need a bunch of cards to complete the team set. Here is what I need:

2006 Upper Deck
371 Scott Feldman (RC)
456 Francisco Cordero
457 Gary Matthews
460 Josh Rupe (RC)
832 Akinori Otsuka
835 D`Angelo Jimenez
892 Mark Teixeira CL
960 Ian Kinsler (RC)
961 John Koronka (RC)
991 Jason Botts (RC)
2006 Upper Deck Update
1196 Carlos Lee
1248 Mark Teixeira CL SP

Let me know if you have any of these and are interested in a trade. I would like to get this team set finished up. Here is the next installment of my tradelist as well:

Ryan Howard
2007 Topps #322
2007 Turkey Red #1
2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces #12
2008 Goudey #140
2008 Topps Opening Day Puzzle #17
2008 Topps Wal-Mart Dick Perez #WMDP3
2008 Upper Deck Timeline #11
2009 Topps #UH260
2009 Allen and Ginter #30

2004 Skybox L.E. #33
2005 Fleer Patchworks #40
2007 Topps #313
2008 Topps #320
2008 Topps Year in Review #YR33
2008 Topps Wal-Mart Dick Perez #WMDP9 (x2)
2008 Upper Deck #364
2008 Upper Deck X #87
2010 Topps #125

Let me know if you are interested in any of these cards. I am sure we can work out a trade.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1974 Topps - Jim Bibby.

Jim Bibby was traded to the Rangers in June of 1973. He threw a no-hitter for Texas in July of 1973 against the eventual World Champion Oakland A's. It was the first no-hitter in Rangers history.

With that introduction things were looking up for Jim heading into the 1974 season. He made the starting rotation and stayed there for 41 starts throughout the season. In those starts he went 19-19 while tossing 264 innings.

There was no no-no for Jim Bibby in 1974. He could have used one too. Might have lowered his 4.74 ERA. Possibly Jim struggled with his control during the season. He unintentionally walked 113 of the 1,134 batters he faced. He also hit nine batters and threw away 11 wild pitches. He did strike out 149.

Bibby's 41 starts were tied for the most on the starting staff and his 19 wins were second most. His ERA was the worst of the starting rotation though and his 19 losses were more than anyone else. All in all Jim had a rather mediocre season the year the Rangers made their first noise in the standings.

Steve over at 1974 Topps has already posted Jim's card, you can see his post here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

They're in!

So the Rangers clinched the A.L. West on Saturday while I was out of town. Not only was I out of town but I was out of pocket entirely and didn't get the welcome news until this morning. Congratulations to the players and staff involved with the season. This has been about the best season I can remember. Thanks guys.

Most of the stories I have read mention that it's been a long post-season drought for Texas and their fans, eleven years to be exact. This is true. It feels like a lot longer to me though.

In 1999 I wasn't really following baseball. I hadn't come back to the sport yet following the 1994 strike. That meant that I had missed the A.L. West championships of 1996, '98, and '99. No memory at all. Like they never happened. This feels to me like the first time the team has ever made it to the post-season. I know that's not true but that's what I keep thinking.

Makes me think of Pop, my grandfather. He would be on cloud nine about now if he was still with us. Talking about the possible matchups and if the Rangers would be better off in Tampa Bay or New York. Fretting about Josh Hamilton's ribs. Predicting that if the cards fall right the guys might be able to make it through the first round this year. Hopefully they will.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Senators Saturday - Ray Semproch, 1961.

Today could be the day after the Rangers clinch the American League West title. That is, if they have won the past two days against the A's. If they did clinch last night I should be doing a post celebrating that. Instead you are getting a Senators Saturday post because this post is pre-scheduled.

Actually this is a pseudo-Senators Saturday post. Ray Semproch appears on card number 174 of the 1961 Topps set. He didn't appear at all in a Senators' uniform in 1961, or any other year for that matter.

On November 28, 1960 the Senators drafted Ray from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 draft. They kept him until April 7, 1961 when they sold him to the Angels. With that transaction Semproch was out of Washington without ever appearing in an official Major League game. Just two appearances later he would be out of the Major Leagues for good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How do you classify this?

Today we have a yellow printing plate of Warner Madrigal's card out of the 2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects set. The plate is numbered 1/1.

So here is a question for all you card collectors out there. What do you consider to be a 1-of-1? Does a printing plate like this one count? Why or why not? Do you even try to pick these up for your collection?

In my book they count and I am always happy to pick one up for a reasonable price but I would like to hear your take on the issue.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Busy post.

Will be really busy the next couple of days, in fact the reason that I am posting so late is that I have been swamped all day today.

With that in mind I am posting this 2005 Fleer Patchworks card of Michael Young as a place filler post. It's kind of hard to see the jersey swatch because it's white. It is there though.

Tomorrow, a question of collecting classifications.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wantlist - 2005 Upper Deck.

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday. We had some storms through early in the day and by the time I was ready to post the Internet was down. Never did come back up before I had to head off to bed.

Today's wantlist consists of the two cards I need to complete the 2005 Upper Deck team set. To give an example of what the set looks like I am posting the team leaders card, number 289 in the set. This card really produces mixed emotions. I would have liked to see Hank Blalock's rebound bid with the Devil Rays succeed. Hank's a class act and it was sad to see him hurt and leaving Texas like he did. My thoughts on Money Man Teixeira have been pretty well documented previously and are not as charitable as those concerning Blalock. Ok, on to the wantlist, here is what I am looking for today:

2005 Upper Deck
415 Richard Hidalgo
2005 Upper Deck Update
149 Nick Masset PR RC

Just those two cards and I am done with the team set. Please shoot me an email if you have either or both and are willing to part with them. I am sure we can work out a trade. Speaking of trading, here's the latest installment of the tradelist:

Nomar Garciaparra
2004 Upper Deck #562
2005 Fleer Patchworks #58
2005 Studio #63

Ken Griffey, Jr.
1990 Topps Magazine #TM3 (VG)
1991 Fleer #450
1991 Studio #112 (2)
1991 Donruss #392
1991 Score #436
1992 Donruss #24
1992 Fleer #709
1992 Upper Deck #650
1992 Upper Deck Victory #400
1993 BD #13
1993 Upper Deck #55
1994 Collector's Choice #317
1994 Collector's Choice #117
1995 Fleer All-Star #7
1997 Collector's Choice #334
1997 Collector’s Choice #244
1997 Collector's Choice #247
1997 Collector's Choice #248
1997 Collector's Choice #249
1997 Donruss Hit List #399
1998 Collector's Choice #240
2000 Opening Day 2K #OD17
2002 Upper Deck Honor Roll #8
2002 Upper Deck Honor Roll #56
2005 Bazooka Comics #3
2005 Fleer Patchworks #66
2008 Topps #580
2008 Upper Deck Goudey #54
2008 Upper Deck Piece of History #26
2009 Topps Chrome #10

Let me know if you see any cards of these retired guys that you're interested in. I would love to move some of these in trade for Rangers I need.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Minor League Monday - Dwayne Henry, 1987 ProCards.

So the Rangers didn't win last night and it's not looking good tonight either. Josh Hamilton is still out and the reports are not encouraging. To top it all off Oklahoma City officially announced today that they are now the Houston Astros' affiliate. Going to miss OKC being in the Rangers' system.

With that thought in mind let's take another look at the 1987 Eighty-Niners team. Today we see a very young looking Dwayne Henry on card number 150 in the 1987 ProCards set. I have seen Henry on several cards and always think he looks like a high school kid. Must just have that young look.

By 1987 Dwayne had seven seasons in the Ranger's system. In fact, he had already seen Major League action in 1984, '85, and '86. He would again in 1987 but again wouldn't stick with the parent club. Probably his horrendous 9.00 ERA in ten innings pitched had something to do with the Rangers sending him back to Oklahoma City.

In 1987 for the Eighty-Niners Dwayne would appear in 30 games. Of those 30 appearances 22 were in relief. He tossed 69 innings and ended up with a 4.96 ERA on the season. His WHIP was 1.68. Dwayne struck out 55 of the batters he faced but he also issued 50 walks to go along with those K's.

Nothing in Dwayne Henry's Triple A numbers was anything to get excited about. About the best that could be said was that they weren't as bad as his stats at the Big League level. Seven seasons in for a second round draft pick is getting late. Dwayne Henry needed to get it figured out to get out of Triple A on a permanent basis.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Senators Saturday - Marty Keough, 1961.

So the Rangers' win streak came to an end last night with a 1-2 loss to the Mariners. Tonight though they're ahead of Seattle 6-0 in the seventh inning with Cliff Lee pitching. Feel pretty confident that they'll win this one.

Taking a quick look back at 1961 again tonight. Mary Keough appears on card number 146 of the 1961 Topps set. Marty is wearing his Cleveland Indians jersey in this picture, the Senators had drafted him from Cleveland.

Marty served as the fourth outfielder for Washington in 1961. He still saw plenty of playing time though as he appeared in 135 games that season.

In those appearances Marty played 871 innings in the field. He played primarily outfield but did show up a few times at first base. His fielding percentage was .982 on the season - that was about five points above the league average.

Keough went to the plate 431 times for Washington in 1961. He walked 32 times and was hit by a pitch twice. That combined with his .249 batting average gave him a .307 on base percentage. Marty also managed to bump in 34 RBI while scoring 57 times himself. Marty also stole 12 bases and got caught five times.

In December of 1961 the Senators traded Marty and Johnny Klippstein to the Reds for Bob Schmidt and Dave Stenhouse. One short year and Keough's time with the franchise was done.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Decisions, decisions.

So here we go. Final road trip of the season kicks off tonight. When the Rangers come back home after these ten games they may well be the American League West champs.

It's been a fun season to follow this year. Much of the reason that Texas is in position to play in the post-season is due to the management team and the decisions they have made. Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and Ron Washington deserve a lot of applause for their efforts. Especially Daniels. Jon has received a lot of static in years past and now some folks appear to owe him a bit of an apology.

T.R. Sullivan wrote a column earlier today taking a look at what he considered to be the most critical decisions leading to this year's success. I agreed with his list, even if I disagreed with some of the decisions when they were made. Here is T.R.'s list and my thoughts at the time they were made:

1. Signing Vladimir Guerrero. Gotta say I had mixed emotions on this one. I was excited to see a hugely successful power bat come on board. On the other had I was worried about Vladdy's health and concerned that he was only supposed to play DH. Guerrero has fulfilled the hopes and negated the concerns.

2. Signing Colby Lewis. Gotta admit that I was puzzled by this one. Colby hadn't worked out previously for Texas and I doubted that he would this time. Besides, as part of the signing the Rangers promised him a spot in the rotation. That seemed like sheer folly to me. Colby's been a hard luck player but he's also been an inning eater with an ERA under 4.00. That's nice. His defense and his comments about the fans are another story.

3. C.J. Wilson to the rotation. This was sheer madness in my mind. Wilson was shaky as a closer, as a starter he appeared to be poised to be an ulcer factory. Wrong. Nolan was right, C.J. has been a huge part of the reason the Rangers are where they are. Awesome year for one of the most fan friendly hurlers in the game.

4. Elvis Andrus to the leadoff spot. Concurred with Washington wholeheartedly on this. In fact I thought he should have put Elvis in the one spot to start with. Julio Borbon just needs some seasoning I think.

5. Naftali Feliz to closer. No brainer. Frank Francisco just didn't have it for some reason. Timely move on Ron Washington's part.

6. Keeping David Murphy engaged. To be honest I wasn't really aware of this decision until the past month or so when Murph exploded. I knew he was playing consistently but thought it was from necessity rather than choice. Nice move by Washington to keep Murph hot.

7. Acquiring Andres Blanco. Brought on by necessity. I figured that Blanco was better than nothing. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Andres has played great though and did an awesome job filling in for Ian Kinsler while he was on the Disabled List.

8. Handling Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Wasn't sure why they were leaving Salty in Triple A but I was ok with him going to Boston. Too many injuries. Too much whining about playing time.

9. Trading for Bengie Molina. I thought this was unnecessary with Teagarden and Ramirez in the pipeline. I also liked how Matt Treanor was playing. It panned out well though when Treanor got hurt. Also makes things a lot more comfortable going into the post-season with a backstop who has been there before.

10. Acquiring Cliff Lee. Loved the move at the time. Thought Lee would be a huge hammer at the front of the rotation. While he hasn't won like I thought he would, the mental impact has been big. That and we know Cliff can win in the playoffs. Really nice.

So, now that you've seen the list and my thoughts it's your turn. What did you think at the time Ryan, Daniels, and Washington made these moves? Have you changed your mind since?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Off day auto.

So after beating the Tigers last night the Rangers are enjoying their last off day before the end of the season. Kind of breather before the last dash. Hopefully the break will help the guys get healed up and rested a little.

Since there isn't much going on in Ranger-land I decided to post this 1986 Topps card of Charlie Hough today. I sent this card to Charlie on January 4, 2009. In typical Charlie fashion he signed it and sent it back in top time. I got it on January 16, 2009. Up until the last time I sent to him Hough was always a great signer.

Hope you enjoyed the breather. Almost time to get back to the final push to the finish line.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wantlist - 2004 Upper Deck.

So Michael Young has had a great past couple of days. Yesterday he went 3-for-5 at the plate in the Rangers' 11-4 trouncing of the Tigers. The win pushed Texas closer to clinching a postseason slot. Young also picked up three RBI in the victory.

Today Michael was elected to the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame. Chris Carpenter was also elected. Not bad company. The induction is sometime in November.

To recognize Young's accomplishments I decided to post this 2004 Upper Deck card of him. The card is number 84 in the set. To complete this team set I need only one card.

2004 Upper Deck
88 Hank Blalock

Let me know if you have this card and are not adverse to trading it. Here is part (but not all) of my trade list:

Barry Bonds
1990 Donruss #126
1991 Leaf #391
1991 Score #330 (x3)
1991 Score #876
1991 Studio #222
1992 Fleer #550
1992 Leaf #275
1992 Upper Deck #134 (x2)
1992 Upper Deck #721 (x2)

Joba Chamberlain
2008 Topps Wal-Mart Dick Perez #WMDP8

Roger Clemens
2005 Fleer National Pastime #26
2005 Fleer Patchworks #69
2008 Goudey #222

Let me know if you see anything you would like to trade for. I am sure we can work a deal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's the point?

So MLB has fined Ian Kinsler, shown here on card number RD-2 of the 2006 Topps Rookie Debut set, and suspended him for one game. The punishment stems from the extra innings game against the Yankees on Friday.

In that game Kinsler was ejected in the tenth inning for arguing balls and strikes. That's not what got him in trouble though. In the thirteenth inning Nelson Cruz hit a walk-off homer run to win the game. Ian ran on to the field with the rest of the team to celebrate.

Apparently there is a rule about an ejected player returning to the playing field. I understand the rule and the need for it. Well, I understand it most of the time. You can't have a player with nothing to lose coming back onto the field after being tossed. Such a player might want to effect the outcome of the game or continue his feud with the umpiring crew. Not cool.

What I don't get is why Kinsler got suspended in the first place. Sure, he came back on the field and that's a violation. He wasn't attempting to effect play though - the game was over. He also wasn't restarting his disagreement with the umpires - he came on to celebrate the win and did only that.

So fine him and move on. Why suspend him as well? I just don't see a reason to throw the book at him or any player in a similar situation.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweet sweep!

Decided to skip Minor League Monday this week in order to discuss a couple of other things. I will eventually get back to the feature though so stay tuned if you enjoy it. Decided to skip a specific player's card and go with this 1985 Fleer Sticker because I don't have Rangers cards of several of the past couple of days big performers.

First off, since I last posted the Rangers beat the Yankees twice more to complete a three game sweep. In the first game Jeff Francoeur recorded an almost unheard of walk-off hit by a pitch to win the game in the ninth inning. Equally amazing is that is happened against Mariano Rivera and was the end of a two run comeback against the legendary closer.

Yesterday Cliff Lee went to the mound for Texas for the first time in what seems like forever. Apparently his back is better. Cliff pitched like the ace he is and allowed just one run over eight innings before giving way to Neftali Feliz. For once Lee got adequate run support as the Rangers came out on top 4-1. Almost seemed anti-climatic after the first two nail-biter games.

I think this sweep is huge. It is looking more and more likely that Texas will be up against New York in the first round of the playoffs. This sweep should help the mental game even though the Rangers never faced the dreaded C.C. Sabathia in this series. They did beat Rivera though. For the second time this season. Mariano only has three loses on the year and two are against Texas. He can be beat and now they know it. Can't underestimate that with a young team.

Two more games against the Tigers and then the rest of the year is facing off with the A.L. West. Time to go to town guys. Tomorrow Derek Holland takes a shot at beating Jeremy Bonderman.

As an aside I am entered in two categories in this year's Benchies awards. In the team collector contest I drew a three-way contest for the first round. Currently I am in second place but will need to stage a dramatic comeback to beat the Red Sox collection that knocked me out last year. In the player collection contest my Jon Matlack collection is quite a bit ahead of a nice Matt Clement gathering. If you get the chance please head on over to The Bench and give me any support you feel you can. Also, don't forget to check out and vote in the other categories.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lucky thirteen(th).

Marathon win last night against the Yankees in Arlington. I had said in yesterday's post that I thought the Rangers had a shot at winning based on the starting pitching match-up. They did win but not because of the starters.

Wilson lasted just three innings and gave up four runs in a very untypical C.J. Wilson start. When Wilson left the Yankees were on top 4-1. A parade of ten relievers followed and only allowed one more run. They did set an American League record for the number of pitchers used in a single game.

By the eighth inning Texas had clawed back to within one run. With the score 5-4 in the Yankees' favor Nelson Cruz, seen here on card number 909 of the 2009 Upper Deck set, came up to bat. He sent the first pitch he saw into the seats to tie it up at 5 all.

Both teams bore down. Into the 13th. Still a 5-5 tie. Nellie leads off. First pitch launched. Walk-off homer. 6-5 Rangers. One win down, one more to win the series. Two more to sweep.

Tommy Hunter goes here in a few minutes against A.J. Burnett. Depending on which Hunter and which Burnett show the Rangers might be able to push the win streak to five. Come on guys!

***Sorry to skip the Senators Saturday. It will be back as soon as possible but could be spotty with the season winding down.***

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lewis finally bags number 10.

Another Rangers win last night. This time 4-2 over Toronto. I about fainted when I heard the news. It seemed as though Texas had forgotten how to win. Glad to see that they may be remembering.

Colby Lewis, seen here on card number 510 of the 2002 Fleer set, finally got win number ten on the season. This was his ninth try at the elusive mark. Colby pitched well as he went six and a third and gave up just one run. The bullpen again came in with good support. Darren O'Day again gave up a solo shot home run. Second time in two games. Hope he isn't planning on making that a habit. Neftali Feliz picked up his 35th save.

Mitch Moreland picked up all three Texas RBI as he put together one of his best offensive outings to date. David Murphy, Vlad Guerrero, and Nelson Cruz all scored runs.

Nice to see back-to-back wins. Got to keep it going though. The team is back home tonight to start a three game series against the New York Yankees. A series win is a must. A sweep would be great. Texas needs to decide that the Yankees are beatable before they see them in the post-season.

C.J. Wilson to the mound tonight for Texas and Javier Vazquez for New York. Looks to be a matchup the Rangers can win.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hello win column!

So the Rangers finally won! Snapped a five game tumble with a 8-1 trouncing of the Toronto Blue Jays last night in Toronto. Good to hear. I was starting to get a little worried.

Derek Holland was spotless in the start and the bullpen was great except for a mistake by Darren O'Day that ended up in the seats. Nice to see a starter do that well again. Getting spoiled by the 'pen.

In addition, the offense finally woke up. Ian Kinsler led the game off with a home run to let Toronto know the bats were back. Nellie Cruz smacked a long ball in the ninth to put an exclamation point on the game. In between Michael Young, shown here on his 2008 SPx Winning Materials jersey card, managed an RBI as well. In all six of the starting lineup snagged at least one RBI. Very glad to see that.

Got to keep it going now guys. A win tonight and then back home and two against the Yankees would be great. Nice time to prove before the post-season that you can beat New York.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wantlist - 2003 Upper Deck.

Moving on to the 2003 Upper Deck Rangers team set. Decided to show a checklist to give an example of the set's design. Here on card number 531 of the set we see the back of Alex Rodriguez. Only need one card to finish this team set:

2003 Upper Deck
81 Jorge Julio

If you have this card and are willing to trade it please let me know. I am sure we can work something out. Speaking of trading I have decided to try something slightly new. To go with the wantlists I am posting I will be throwing out various parts of my tradelist to try and work up some trades. Here is the first installment, up for trade:

Hank Aaron
1991 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes #23
1991 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes #26

Jeff Bagwell
1994 Stadium Club #108
1996 Score Titanic Taters #8
1998 Pinnacle Inside #26
1998 Thunder #150
1999 UD Choice #90
2000 Upper Deck Legends #5
2001 Donruss #10
2005 Fleer Patchworks #37

If you're interested in any of these cards please let me know. I would be willing to work a trade for any Rangers cards I need.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1974 Topps - Lloyd Allen.

1974 was the first winning season for the Rangers since the team moved to Texas and only the second since the team was founded in 1961. The team would post a season record of 84-76 and finish second in the A.L. West behind the Oakland A's.

Lloyd Allen, seen here on card number 539 of the 1974 Topps set, would appear in 14 games in relief for Texas in 1974. In the 22 innings he pitched he would post a horrifying 6.55 ERA. He did manage to strike out 18 batters but walked the same number and hit an additional batter for good measure. Amazingly he was only responsible for one loss.

By June the team had seen enough and placed Lloyd on waivers. On July first he was claimed by the Chicago White Sox. That would be the end of Allen's Texas career. Just two partial seasons in Texas, 1973 and 1974, and he was gone.

As a footnote on this start to the 1974 season review I would recommend that you check out the 1974 Topps Set blog if you get the chance. Steve is just getting going and I am considering adding him to my link list.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Minor League Monday - Alan Knicely, 1987 ProCards.

So the Rangers continue to play like a Triple A team that has somehow found itself in the middle of a Major League pennant race. Too painful to even go over the past few days of play. Instead let's take a look at an actual Triple A player - Alan Knicely.

Knicely appears today on card number 154 of the 1987 ProCards set. Apparently someone forgot to tell him that it was photo day and he decided to skip the shaving. No word on if Knicely lived up to his name or not. Never can tell, the only other Knicely I have ever heard of didn't.

By the time Alan appeared on this card he had already played all or parts of eight seasons in the Major Leagues and all or parts of eleven seasons in the minors. 1987 would be his first and only year with the Rangers organization after they signed him as a free agent in December of 1986.

Knicely would appear in 84 games for the Oklahoma City Eighty-Niners in 1987. He would play mostly at first base but would show up a few times behind the plate. At first base he would post a .984 fielding percentage. On offense he would bat .279 with a .361 on base percentage. Those numbers weren't good enough to get him a call-up with Texas. Part of the problem very likely was that he was being blocked by Pete O'Brien who was in his fifth year as the Rangers starting first baseman. O'Brien would get traded after the 1988 season but that wouldn't be soon enough for Alan Knicely. 1987 was his last season in professional ball.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Senators Saturday - Dale Long, 1961.

Dale Long appears today on an off-center copy of card number 117 in the 1961 Topps set. Like five of the previous six cards we have seen from this set Dale is hatless. He is also not in a Senators' uniform. Since he was drafted from the Yankees I was a little confused as to whose uniform he is in. Black and orange are not Yankee colors. A little checking revealed that the Yankees purchased Dale from the San Francisco Giants in August of 1960 only to lose him to Washington in the expansion draft in December. That explains the orange and black - Giants.

Dale ended up as the Senators' primary first baseman in 1961. He would appear in 123 games and play 817 innings on defense, all at first base.

At the plate Long would post a .249 batting average and a .317 on base percentage in 423 plate appearances. He struck out more times than he walked (41 to 39). He did knock 17 home runs though, tied for second behind Gene Green's 18. His 49 RBI put him in the upper part of the middle of the pack for Washington's starting nine.

On defense Dale saw 904 chances and committed 15 errors for a .983 fielding percentage. That put him seven points below the league average. That didn't make his fielding look good next to backup first-sacker R.C. Stevens.

Even with the patch-work club that the Senators were in their inaugural season Dale's numbers weren't that good. They were good enough to keep him on the job while the team struggled though a disastrous first season. If they didn't improve they wouldn't be good enough to keep him employed long term.

Friday, September 3, 2010


September. Time for the rosters to expand and teams to either take a look at prospects or try to shore up for a final push.

Texas is also taking Ian Kinsler, seen here on his 2010 Topps Attax card, off the Disabled List. Technically Ian was activated the last day the team was in Kansas City. He didn't play there though but is expected to start tonight in Minnesota.

Pedro Strop is also back in the bullpen after being called up on the first. This is his fifth trip up to the Majors this season. Hopefully he will help cover for Frank Francisco while he's on the DL.

The Rangers are also expected to call up Taylor Teagarden today. Taylor has been back at Triple A since Matt Treanor came off the DL a week or so ago. Tea should be able to help spell Treanor and Bengie Molina as well as pick up some valuable experience.

The Rangers are also expected to take Dustin Nippert off the DL some time today. Good to see that. Watching the replays of Dustin taking that line drive off his head was scary. It's been a long time in baseball terms since July 19th and hopefully Nippert is back to full strength.

Ok, got some guys coming back and coming up. Now's the time to start a nice winning streak. Got to take this series from the Twins if you don't want to start the post-season on the road in the East.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

High points.

Ok, so a couple of days ago I posted about some of the things on the Rangers that have been bothering and concerning me lately. Of course there is the other side of the coin. Some great things are going on as well.

David Murphy signed and returned this card to me through the mail last season. This season he has been a joy to watch play. The guy that many saw as a fourth or maybe fifth outfielder has really stepped up. His bat has been on fire during Nelson Cruz's trips to the Disabled List. That and his nice defense are putting Ron Washington in a rough spot of having too many great outfielders. Murph has been a go to guy for the team this year.

C.J. Wilson. Coming off a rough year last year with an injury that bounced him out of the closer role. Dominant as a starter this year. 14-5 with a 2.88 ERA. Ace stuff there. Can't say too much good stuff about him.

Josh Hamilton has bounced back from an off season last year and has so far avoided the injury bug. His knee is a concern but his bat is not. Leads the league in batting average at .361 and hits at 181. He is also in the top five in home runs, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. Throw in his speed (8 stolen bases v. one caught stealing) and defense and the talk of league MVP becomes understandable.

Tommy Hunter. Didn't even start the season with the team. Now he's in the starting rotation with a 12-2 record. That equates to a league-leading .857 winning percentage. His 3.64 ERA isn't lights out but it keeps the team in the game. That helps explain the win-lose record.

Nelson Cruz. Despite two trips to the DL and only 80 games Nellie has proved that he has a big bat this year. His .313 batting average includes 16 home runs and 22 doubles. He's also stolen 15 bases and only been caught four times.

Neftali Feliz. Young rookie who grabbed the closer job after Frank Francisco's early season struggles. Neffy has finished a league-leading 49 games and is currently sitting on 34 saves. Nice to have a closer who closes. That and the 59 strikeouts in 58 innings is fun to watch.

Of course this list isn't complete. One can't overlook Elvis Andrus, Darren O'Day, Vladimir Guerrero, Alexi Ogando, and quite a few more. It's been a fun ride in 2010. Here's to hoping the guys can keep it going.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wantlist - 2002 Upper Deck.

Ok, after the break last Wednesday it's time to get back to the wantlists. Today I am trying to finish out the 2002 Upper Deck set. Rick Helling puts in an appearance on card number 155 of the set to give an example of what the set design looks like. This was one of Upper Deck's designs that I could take or leave.

Ok, here is what I need to finish up the team set:
2002 Upper Deck
153 Rafael Palmeiro
156 Doug Davis
157 Mike Lamb
159 Jeff Zimmerman
160 Bill Haselman
732 Alex Rodriguez YR

A little longer list than for most team sets I am working on. Please let me know if you have any of these and are interested in trading them. I am sure we could work out a deal that helps us both.