Friday, December 26, 2008


I hope that everyone had a enjoyable Christmas and was able to celebrate it in the manner that you enjoy most.

Due to family engagements, I will most likely be unable to post until January 1st. I had thought that I might be able to post a few times before then but it is not looking like that will be possible. Thanks to everyone for all their comments, feedback, and support through the past year. I am looking forward to another year of Rangers cards and good conversation.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pondering Christmas.

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Amid all the wrappings and trappings of our modern-day Christmas each of us should remember to do as Mary. Keep in mind and ponder the greatest gift that mankind has ever received, reconciliation with God. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Show me the money!

Apparently Christmas came early for Mark Teixeira, seen here on card number 527 of the 2004 Topps set. is reporting that he and the Yankees have agreed to an eight year deal worth buku bucks. This puts Tex in New York for the foreseeable future and enhances the Steinbrenner family's reputation as big spenders.

Hopefully things work out for Mark. He is now playing for what he really wants, money. Lots of it. Oh, and he might be playing for a winner as well.

It will be interesting now to see where the remaining free agents sign. Now that Teixeira is off the table, expect to see the teams in the market get more aggressive.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Book 1, Page 22.

Well, another bright and cheery Monday. Where I am we have snow on the ground and it is about 10 degrees right now. Hope that everyone is ready, or close to ready, for Christmas.

Ok, on to the Pudge cards. Today's page has these for us:
1994 Ultra #132
1994 Ultra Award Winners #1
1994 Upper Deck #245
1994 Upper Deck Electric Diamond #245
Empty pocket
1995 Bazooka #16
1995 Bowman #344
1995 Bowman's Best #X1
Empty pocket

I like Upper Deck's picture on these cards but the back photo shows Ivan without a shirt and kind of creeps me out. The empty pockets are waiting on the 1994-95 Pro Mags #135 and the 1995 Bowman's Best Refractor #X1.

In other news, I have decided to occasionally post wantlists from Rangers team sets I am working on. My first list will be from the MLB Showdown run. I would like to finish up these sets and retire my search for Rangers Showdown cards. Here is what I need at this point:
2000 MLB Showdown 1st Edition
441 Ivan Rodriguez SP FOIL

2000 MLB Showdown Pennant Run 1st Ed
140 Tom Evans
142 Ruben Mateo FOIL

2001 MLB Showdown
433 Luis Alicea
434 Frank Catalanotto
444 Ivan Rodriguez FOIL

2001 Showdown Pennant Run
39 Alex Rodriguez FOIL

2002 Showdown Trading Deadline
82 Juan Gonzalez FOIL

2003 MLB Showdown
292 Rafael Palmeiro FOIL
294 Alex Rodriguez FOIL (might be interested in getting two copies of this)

2003 MLB Showdown Pennant Run
96 Hank Blalock FOIL
114 Ivan Rodriguez SS FOIL (interested in getting two or three copies of this)

2003 MLB Showdown
57 Ugueth Urbina

2004 MLB Showdown
333 Alex Rodriguez FOIL (might be interested in getting two copies of this)

2004 MLB Showdown Pennant Run
70 Alfonso Soriano AS FOIL (might be interested in getting two copies of this)

2005 Showdown
331 Francisco Cordero

If you happen to have any of these and are willing to part with them please let me know what you are looking for in return. I would love to be able to work out a trade.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dock Ellis, 1945 - 2008.

According to, Dock Ellis passed away yesterday as the result of liver failure. He was 63.

Ellis, seen here on card number 691 of the 1979 Topps set, was a successful pitcher with the Pirates and Yankees before coming to Texas via Oakland. In Texas his record would be 20-21 in two partial, and one full seasons.

Perhaps better known for being something of a loose cannon, Dock was an admitted illicit drug abuser. He hurled a no hitter for the Pirates in 1970 and later claimed to have been under the influence of LSD at the time.

After retirement Ellis settled down some. Recently he was working with the California Department of Corrections to assist inmates in returning to society.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hanging my hat.

Not a card today. In keeping with the time of year this is an ornament hanging on my family's Christmas tree.

This was given to me in October for my birthday. My wife and kids gave me three different Rangers ornaments and I can't remember who gave which. What is unusual about this one is the weight. To look at it one would never guess how heavy it is but it must be about the heaviest ornament on the tree.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

1997 Donruss Signature Series - Kevin Brown.

Today's card is from the 1997 Donruss Signature Series. It is unnumbered and features Kevin Brown and his autograph.

While it might seem a bit strange to see an American League pitcher batting it helps to know that this is not the pitching Kevin Brown who played for Texas. This Kevin was a catcher who lasted just two seasons and seven games with the Rangers before being traded. Why he was deemed worthy to feature on a certified autograph card is beyond me.

In other news, I recently received an email from Chris at Topps Heritage Cards. He had added a link to here on his blog and asked if I would mind doing the same. After perusing his site I found it to be a wealth of information on Topps Heritage cards. If you are a set collector chasing this set you need to pay a visit to Topps Heritage Cards.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Showboat rocks Tex's boat.

Things continue to simmer for free agents this off-season. Mark Teixeira, shown here on card number 70 of the 2005 Upper Deck All-Star Classics set, has yet to find a home. Manny Ramirez, Randy Johnson, and Ivan Rodriguez are also still looking as well.

I find it somewhat amusing to watch. When he wanted to leave Texas, Mark said that he wanted to play for a winner and that the Rangers were far from it. That resulted in a trade to Atlanta and then to Anaheim. The Angels made the post-season but apparently that didn't make them a winner in Mark's eyes. Or maybe he changed his criteria. Talks with the Nationals and Orioles began. Perhaps he now wanted to play for the love of the game with a hometown team? Perhaps not. Anaheim tossed a deal at him and the Red Sox followed suit. Talks with the Yankees have been rumored. Most likely Mark now just wants to play for the money. Period.

Things now appear to have narrowed down to the Angels and Red Sox with the Nats still a distant possibility. It seems that what Mark wants is a ten year deal. The Angels have offered eight. They don't seem too worried, if they don't get Tex they'll probably try for Manny Ramirez. The Sox won't go ten either. Apparently their principle owner wasn't impressed with the last player they "effectively had a 10-year deal with" and who was "determined not to live up to his contract." Wonder who that would be? You mean Manny had an eight year contract with a two year option when he played for Boston? Now Boston is gun shy? Really?

Now here's the amusing part. Both Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira employ Scott Boras as their agent. Boras played his own role with Manny and the BoSox. Might he have rained on Tex's parade in the process? At least one thing's for sure, Scott Boras is making a mint out of these deals. I guess that means that Mark got to play with a winner after all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

1972 Topps - Dick Billings.

Ok, another slow baseball news day so we take another gander at the Rangers' first cards. Today we see card number 148 in the 1972 Topps set, Dick Billings.

By the time Billings showed up for odd-angle photo day he was in his fourth season in the Majors. In that year he would appear in 116 games and in the team's first year in Texas he would show in a career high 133 games. He would also post his highest career batting average in '72. As he gazes over the photographer's head, Dick seems to be looking toward his career year.

This card has Billings listed as a catcher. In fact, during his career he played every position except the center infield spots and pitcher. He was primarily a catcher though, making 248 appearances at that position.

Billings didn't stick with Texas long after the move south though. Late in the 1974 season the Rangers sold him to St. Louis. He would be released by that team a little over a year later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book 1, Page 21.

Still no big free agent signings to report. It will be interesting to see how long this goes on before the final flurry. Thus far the Yankees seem to have made the most moves with their signings of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. They are also in pursuit of Mark Teixeira. It would be nice to see them just really tank next season.

In other news, Josh Hamilton has announced that he is planning on skipping the World Baseball Classic. He feels that he could use the time in Spring Training more since he missed so much time away from the sport. Makes sense to me.

Ok, on to the Pudge cards for today. This sheet is only missing two, which is a nice thing to see. Let's take a look.

Empty pocket
Empty pocket
1994 Stadium Club Team #265
1994 Stadium Club Team First Day Issue #265
1994 Studio #157
1994 Topps #165
1994 Topps Gold #165
1994 Topps Spanish #165
1994 Triple Play #199

The two empty pockets are waiting on the 1994 Stadium Club Members Only #ST27 and 1994 Stadium Club Super Teams #ST27. I like the 1994 Studio design but Ivan is wearing that stupid earring that he had for a couple of years and that kind of ruins the picture. Makes him look like some punk kid rather than the best backstop in the business.

One final note for today. Pursuant to a previous agreement, I received a nice package of cards today from Greg over at Night Owl Cards. Due to my lack of Dodgers, the trade was set at 50 cards. Greg went above and beyond and this morning 62 Rangers and one Senator arrived in my mailbox. 17 of them filled holes in my collection. I really appreciate the trade Greg. Extra thanks for the Senator as I don't come across that many. Be sure to check out Greg's blog and see what a class act looks like.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Now hiring...

Looks like all four closer positions are up in the air in the American League West. The Angels and Mariners have lost their closers to trades and free agency. In Oakland, closer Huston Street has hit the road in a trade that sent him to Colorado earlier this winter. Of course Texas is dealing with C.J. Wilson's comeback and Frank Francisco's wanting to hold on to the closer spot.

What Texas needs is a modern Jeff Russell. Jeff was the first Rangers' closer I can remember. There were others before Jeff after I started following the team but he stands out crystal clear. At the time card number 226 in the 1989 Bowman set was issued, he had a grand total of five career saves. In 1989 he would close the deal 38 times.

Things could get interesting in late innings in the A.L. West this next season. Just the sort of situation that a reincarnate Jeff Russell could take advantage of.

Friday, December 12, 2008

'Tis the season.

Due to several recent events, my family has been running behind in preparing for Christmas. Last night Mrs. Spiff got the decorations pulled out and started up. Today she and the kiddos are working on putting up the tree and various other holiday trappings.

All that means that I have now officially donned my seasonal Rangers hat. (Sorry about the picture background, Mrs. Spiff is in the middle of recovering a couch.) I picked up this hat early last year on clearance and wore it for the first time last Christmas. Spiff Jr. was duly impressed and gave his approval. Needless to say, I receive comments when out and about on the town. Since I am in Royals country the reaction is probably amplified.

So, am I the only one crazy enough to actually wear such a headpiece? How about you? How do you fly your team's colors?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heading home.

Today's card is number 82 in the 2003 Fleer MLB Hot Prospects set. The card is the game-used version, sporting a piece of Mark Teixeira's bat. It is numbered on the back 714/1250.

Mark is one of the players who still needs a home as the Winter Meetings let out in Las Vegas. Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez are also still homeless as are several other pretty big names. Nolan Ryan left Vegas disappointed at the Rangers' failure to land any pitching.

To tell the truth the number of free agents still on the market somewhat surprises me. After CC Sabathia signed I expected the market to thaw and players to start moving. It appears that this was not the case. Still much suspense as we wait for the free agent lottery to get heated up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Big Train likes The Big Unit.

In addition to Ben Sheets, there is at least one other starting pitcher that the Rangers might be interested in. Nolan Ryan, shown here on card number T2 of the 1989 Score Traded set, said that he would like to bring Randy Johnson to Texas next season.

Nolan's reasoning is that Johnson could help with the development of the Rangers' young pitching staff. Johnson is only five wins from 300 and is second on the all-time strikeout list. His lifetime ERA is 3.26. Those numbers clearly indicate that he knows how to pitch. From that perspective he seems attractive.

What I would worry about with Randy is his attitude and health. It seems that at times he has struggled with both. If he could stay healthy and keep his attitude straight he might well be able to do what Nolan accomplished in the early 90's. That is, he might set the stage for future post-season appearances. What are your thoughts on a possible Arlington relocation by The Big Unit?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trades and trading.

Returned to my computer today to learn that Gerald Laird is no longer a Texas Ranger. Laird, seen here on 2005 Topps card number 260, replaces another former Ranger behind the plate for the Detroit Tigers.

In exchange Texas picked up two pitching prospects. One of the guys is only 17 but the other one is showing pretty decent promise and has already performed at the AA level. Of course, prospects are always a gamble. It would be nice if These guys turn out well and can help the team a few years down the road. Even if only one clicks though the trade might well have been worth it. What are your thoughts on the trade?

In addition to the news about the Rangers' trade, they are reportedly talking to Ben Sheets. It is difficult to tell how hard they are going to go after him though. Should they try and sign him or let him go and be patient with their own young guys?

Aside from the news, the weekend also brought in several cards that I had sent off to players to be signed and a small package from the Old World. John from The Pursuit of 80's(ness) had traded with me a couple of months ago and I thoroughly enjoyed the transaction. This time he sent me a surprise package with another 30 Rangers cards. I have not yet had time to look through them and check my wantlists but the lot looks good. Now to scout around for something to return the favor with. Thanks again John!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I will be away from my computer starting this afternoon after work until Tuesday. I apologize in advance for the lack of posts in the meantime. Look for regular posting to resume on Tuesday December 9th. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Toy man.

Today's card is number 9 in the 2008 Allen and Ginter set. I like the A&G cards in person but they scan something terrible.

Chose this card today to recognize Ian Kinsler earning the Texas Rangers Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award yesterday. According to the Ranger's site, he was given the award because of his work with and for Toys for Tots. The award is about the highest recognition the Rangers can give a player for off-field actions and is appropriately named after one of the nicest guys to ever don Rangers duds.

Congratulations to Ian and his wife for their involvement with Toys for Tots. Hearing positive things about players counts as one of the highlights for me in my collecting endeavours.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Arbitrary decisions.

The Rangers offered Milton Bradley arbitration yesterday. They declined to do so with Jamey Wright, Ramon Vazquez, and Jason Jennings.

If Bradley can repeat this past season's performance he could be a key player should he accept arbitration. Bullpen workhorse Wright and utility infielder Vazquez will be missed and it could be argued that Texas should have considered offering them something.

Not so with Jennings. Jason, seen here on his 2008 Topps card, number 374, spent most of the 2008 season on the disabled list. For his $4 million contract the Rangers got six starts. He lost five of the six and got a no decision on the other. Putting in just 27.3 innings Jason received about $146,520.14 per inning. I find that a bit pricey for an 8.56 ERA and five losses. Letting Jason go looks to be a good decision.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Book 1, Page 20.

Another slow weekend on the off-season baseball front with no major moves. Surely the free agent logjam will break soon and guys will start moving. Oh well, on to the next page in my Ivan Rodriguez collection. Here's what we have up today.

1994 Select Skills #SK8
1994 SP #151
1994 SP Die Cuts #151
1994 Sportflics #88
Empty Pocket
1994 Stadium Club #116
Empty Pocket
1994 Stadium Club Rainbow #116
1994 Stadium Club Members Only #116

The two empty pockets are left open for the Sportflics FanFest All-Stars #AS5 and the Stadium Club First Day Issue #116. If anyone has either of those please feel free to let me know.

Also got a 300 card box in today from Paul at Paul's Random Stuff. I needed about 75 or 80 of them. Nice assortment that completed two team sets. Thanks for the great trade Paul!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All pitching leads to Boston.

Texas sent Wes Littleton to Boston yesterday. Littleton, seen here on card number 1201 of the 2006 Upper Deck set, had been designated for assignment just prior to the deal.

According to, the Rangers sent Wes to the Sox in exchange for "future considerations". Whether this means the Rangers get the biggest piece of Grandma's apple pie at Christmas or simply an apology for wedgies handed out as young children is yet to be determined. There are unsubstantiated rumors that actual baseball players or cold hard cash might be involved as well.

Speaking of cash, apparently money not only can't buy you happiness, it also can't buy you friends. Young Japanese star Junichi Tazawa has turned down Texas' offer to play ball for them. In spite of having the largest offer, the Rangers are stuck watching Tazawa head off to, you guessed it, Boston.

Not sure I understand that. The Sox have several other Japanese pitchers and supposedly that is the draw. Of course that will also be a bar to breaking into the rotation. If I were a young phenom I would think that the most potent offense in the Bigs and weak rotation would be enticing. What better place to break in big, get the insurance runs you need, and look good for other teams?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Where did the time go?

My sincere apologies for this past week's shortage of posts. With getting a dental crown on Tuesday and having relatives in for Thanksgiving, it seemed that time just got away from me. In addition, I am having writer's block so I think that I will settle for a Classic trivia day.

Today's questions are provided by Ruben Sierra on card number 180 in the 1988 Classic set. Please feel free to take a shot at the answers in the comments. Ok, here we go:

1. (T-F) Mike Whitt led the Angels in losses in 1987?
2. What Hall of Famer was referred to as "Big D"?
3. Who holds the M.L. record for most relief losses in a season?
4. Who holds the second longest hitting streak in the A.L.?
5. The Cincinnati Reds are in the N.L.?

Well, looks like number five is a giveaway but a couple of the others might be a little more challenging. Looking forward to seeing everyone's guesses.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Book 1, Page 19.

Today we have our first minority report Pudge page. Most of the page pockets are left empty in this sad episode. Well, let's see which cards put on an appearance today.

Empty pocket
Empty pocket
Empty pocket
Empty pocket
Empty pocket
1994 Score #31
1994 Score Gold Rush #31
1994 Score Gold Stars #58
1994 Select #214

To be fair, I am not sure that the empty pockets will be able to hold what they are left open for. Here is what they are waiting on: 1994 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #5, 1994 Rangers All-Stars Pins #20, 20, and 22, 1994 Rangers Magic Marker #35. Since I haven't ever seen any of these, I am not sure which are regular cards and which aren't. I have a bad feeling that the pins will not go in the pages (to avoid damage to the other cards) and so I'll have to readjust my pages. Time will tell I suppose.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where's Willie?

Well, with not much going on today in baseball it's time for another exciting episode of, "Whatever happened to that guy?" Today's card is an unnumbered card from the 1986 ProCards OKC Eighty Niners team set. The player pictured is infielder Willie Lozado.

Apparently by the time this photo was taken Willie's best baseball days were behind him. According to Willie was signed by the Brewers in 1978 and made his MLB debut in July of 1984. During his tenure with Milwaukee he played 2nd, short, third, and DH. After 43 games the Brew Crew left him unprotected and St. Louis snagged him in the rule 5 draft. They released him in November of 1985.

The record apparently stops there. According to the back of this card, Willie played for Louisville and Arkansas in 1985. There is no indication of how he ended up in the Rangers system. He never played for the Rangers or any other club in the bigs after his 1984 appearance. So, what did become of infielder Willie Lozado?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Making some moves.

The Rangers much heralded 2005 first round draft pick has been sent packing. Joh Mayberry Jr. is seen here on card number UH314 of the 2005 Topps Updates and Highlights set. These types of pictures might be as close as John comes to playing for Texas. Yesterday he got shipped off to to the Phillies in exchange for former 2004 first round pick Greg Golson. Both teams seem to think that the players needed a change of scenery.

The Rangers also said so long to pitcher Kameron Loe yesterday. They sold the rights to Kam to the Fukuoka SouthBank Hawks, a Japanese team. Looks like Loe is headed out of country. Best of luck to him and his pet python. Hopefully he can make a go of it and be able to stay off the Japanese equivalent of the OKC to Arlington shuttle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Frank Tanana - TTM autograph.

This 1985 Donruss card came in the mail for me today. I had sent it and a 1985 Topps card out to Frank Tanana earlier this month and asked him to sign them. He did so and returned both. He also included an autographed Gospel tract.

I really appreciate the players who take time to answer their mail. I would assume that most often the letters are requests for autographs. To sign and return the enclosed materials takes time and impresses me. It is easy to see who cares about the fans and who does not. A late return is understandable. A return with a letter saying the athlete is too busy to sign is acceptable. No return is not cool. Failure to even acknowledge the fans really bothers me.

In other news it looks like Mike Mussina is going to retire. I remember the hype the surrounded his debut and have watched from afar as he amassed his 270 career victories. After a 20 win season last this year it looks like he will be going out at the top of his game. Good luck with retirement Moose.

After a successful and enjoyable trade with John from England I am adding his blog to the links list. Take a look at The Pursuit of 80's(ness) and tell him Spiff sent ya.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trading cards with a card.

A while back I contacted Kerry at Cards on Cards about a possible team lot trade. After some back and forth we agreed on a 220 card trade. I shipped off Kerry's Cardinals cards and he sent some Rangers my way.

Approximately 290 Rangers cards arrived in the mail today and it was a pretty nice lot. Only one or two doubles in the entire thing. I needed about 45 of the cards and was able to complete four team sets. One of the cards that I needed to complete a team set was this 2006 Bazooka Hank Blalock, number 54.

I was also able to complete my 1979 Topps, 2008 Upper Deck, and 2006 Fleer Tradition team sets. Possibly the largest number of team sets knocked out by any one trade to date. Thanks for the great trade Kerry!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1972 Topps - Larry Biittner

Today's card is another in the airbrushed beauty that is 1972 Topps. Just about every Rangers card in this set was airbrushed due to the company not having pictures of the players in their new Rangers duds. As a result the team looks for all the world like they are appearing on cereal box cards.

Larry Biittner may not have been airbrushed on card number 122 but he has no logo in site. Larry seems a bit pensive, almost as if he is unsure about the move to Texas. He must have liked it though. After two seasons with the Rangers he was traded to Montreal. He then played nine more seasons before re-signing with Texas for his final campaign in 1983.

Don't worry Larry, you aren't the only one moving. It would appear that as soon as the logjam gets broken in the free agent market there will be a lot of players with new homes this next season.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Book 1, Page 18.

Looks like there is still not a lot of movement on the free agent front. Not a lot of movement on my front either so let's see what we have for Pudge today.

1994 Leaf Limited #74
1994 Leaf Limited Gold All-Stars #15
1994 O-Pee-Chee #87
1994 Pacific #627
1994 Pacific All-Latino #13
1994 Panini Stickers #132
1994 Pinnacle #349
Empty Pocket
1994 Pinnacle Museum Collection #349

The empty pocket is waiting for the 1994 Pinnacle Artist's Proofs #349. Seems like by this point in the book an empty pocket or two is about par for a page. That will change as the parallels pick up later in the 1990's and the gaps become more frequent.

On this page we see a numbered card in the Leaf Limited Gold All-Stars. On the back of the card it is numbered 1815/10,000. Not exactly low numbered but I think this is the first numbered card of Pudge we have seen.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

1987 Classic - Pete Incaviglia

Nothing much happening on the free agent front today so I decided to fall back on Classic trivia. Today's questions come from card number 16 in Classic's 1987 offering.

I picked this card up off Sportlots awhile back as I started trying to fill some holes in my collection. I must say, I like the card. I knew that Inky was strong but it takes real power to vaporize the ball. Looks like Pete has done just that. Wonder what the umpire's call was?

Ok, on to the questions.
1. (T-F) Ty Cobb holds the single season record for the highest batting average?
2. Who was nicknamed "The Iron Horse"?
3. Who tied Mike Schmidt for the N.L. home run crown in 1984?
4. Who was the first third baseman to hit over 500 career home runs?
5. What is the nickname of the Cincinnati N.L. team?
Got some pretty easy ones this time. Feel free to post your answers or thoughts on Inky's powder power.

Friday, November 14, 2008

...Start talking!

It's free agent time. Time for players' agents to try and talk up their clients for the big time contract. Got to like O-Pee-Chee's acknowledgment of the process on card number 201 of their 1985 offering. Burt Hooton is still pictured in his Dodger duds but there is a notation that he had signed with the Rangers since the picture was taken.

As for this year, the Rangers have reportedly showed some interest in Milton Bradley but the word is that he will probably end up with a new address. Burt's 1984 team has withdrawn their offer to Manny Ramirez but say they are still in the hunt. Thank goodness Texas learned their lesson with Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees are dangling big money in front of CC Sabathia and seem to be eying Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett. Trying to buy another Championship? I guess some things never change.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ready, set...

Today's card is an unnumbered card from the 2002 Fleer Box Score World Piece set. The card features a piece of one of Chan Ho Park's Rangers jerseys.

Park is one of the many free agents that are still up in the air as we head into Friday and free agent open season. In the past day though there have been several teams that have not been idle.

Nick Swisher is on his way to the Yankees while the Cubs acquired Kevin Gregg from the Marlins and appear to be ready to deal Kerry Wood. The talks surrounding Jake Peavey seem to be stalled and Manny Ramirez looks like he is stalling as well.

Thus far Texas has not made any major moves with the exception of picking up Hank Blalock's option for next year. They have also resigned a minor leaguer or two. Jon Daniels has said that the club plans to focus on bolstering the bullpen but will most likely not be handing out any blockbuster deals.

The next week or two could be very interesting with some big names possibly changing teams or retiring. Any thoughts on who ends up where?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1973 Kellogg's - Pete Broberg.

Nothing much happening so far today on the hot stove front. I thought I would take a gander in one of my Rangers binders and see what random card I could come across. I got this one.

This Pete Broberg card is from the 1973 Kellogg's set and is number 41 in the 54 card set. Excepting my Matlack card from the same year this is the earliest Kellogg's card I have and I believe is from the first year that the cereal company offered cards. This and the Matlack are also the only Kellogg's cards I have that are not 3D.

The card has small bumps on the sides and bottom that seem to indicate that it was torn from a sheet. It is difficult to tell if an old Senators picture of Pete was used - his cap almost looks airbrushed.

Flipping the card over we can see two lines of stats, all that Pete had at the time. We also find that Broberg's middle name is Sven and that this is an "officially authorized card." Who officially authorized it I am not sure but there are logos for the Rangers, MLB, and the Players Association on the back as well. About half of the back is filled with information on Pete that talks about his Dartmouth days and compares him to Walter Johnson. It also talks about the jump he made from college ball to the Majors and refers to the Rangers as "his Texas employers."

I enjoy reading old card backs and this one is particularly entertaining. Whoever wrote this should be brought out of retirement to write card backs now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Turning on the heat.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan knows pitching. After all, as card number 34 in the 1994 Topps set indicates, he did it in the Bigs for 27 years.

That length of time is just phenomenal and Ryan claims that it was his conditioning regimen that allowed him to last that long. Who's gonna argue with the king of K's? Not me. Apparently not anyone in the Rangers organization.

Frustrated by the 14 pitchers placed on the disabled list last season, Ryan has decided to retool the Rangers' pitching philosophy. Time to crack down, work out, and push the pitching staff to go further and be tougher. One of the several conditioning camps scheduled for this year is already in full swing. The goal? Get pitchers who can perform and not end up with a sore this or that. Sounds good to me. Here's to hoping it works.

While Nolan holds the pitching staff's feet to the fire, the off-season has been heating up as well. Looks like Billy Beane is trying to make opposing teams sweat a little with the acquisition of Matt Holliday. Obviously Beane is a brilliant operator, I just wonder who will replace Huston Street in the A's pen. Haven't had the opportunity to check with my A's advisor (my brother) about this latest move.

Meanwhile enough pitching to satisfy anyone is about to hit the free agent market on Friday. Looks like the price tags for most of it will be enough to make a Steinbrenner blush. Texas has said they will be cautious with free agent pitching. After their luck with Jennings and McCarthy perhaps that is a wise move.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Book 1, Page 17.

Monday again. Free agents and teams are preparing to start talking and here we are with our latest Pudge page. The eight cards we have today are:

1994 Finest Pre-Production #126P
Empty pocket
1994 Flair #346
1994 Fleer #319
1994 Fleer All-Stars #22
1994 Fun Pack #70
1994 Fun Pack #176
1994 Kenner Starting Lineup Cards #45
1994 Leaf #338

The empty pocket is left for the Finest Refractor which looks to be a pricey addition. Of these eight cards I think that I like the Flair the best. It just has a classy look to it.

One of the free agents that will soon be talking to various teams is none other than Ivan. The Tigers have already said that they don't feel he is a fit and the Rangers have too much depth at catcher to be interested. Apparently the Yankees only planned to rent him for the home stretch of last season. So, where will he end up? Is there a possibility that he won't catch on with anyone and end up retiring? What do you think?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Simply Golden.

Michael Young won a Gold Glove for this past season's performance. I thought that the image of Mike turning a double play was appropriate. Seeing it on card number 87 of the 2008 Masterpieces set was also fitting. A Gold Glove recognizes a master.

Can't say I was terribly surprised by Michael Young winning a Gold Glove. He managed to beat out runner-up Derek Jeter by five points in fielding percentage, one less error, 44 more double plays, and 0.77 assists more per game on average. For the numbers folks, Mike's range factor in 2008 was 4.36 compared to Jeter's 3.83.

Still not sure why the Rangers need to be in a hurry to trade Young or move his position. Seems to me that he is handling it just fine right now.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Got back from class this afternoon to find this 1994 O-Pee-Chee card waiting for me. I had sent it and two other cards out to Dean Palmer on September 17. Mr. Palmer was nice enough to sign and return all three.

Speaking of third basemen, it looks like the Rangers picked up Hank Blalock's option for 2009. Instead of playing third base though he will be the DH. Of course there is always the option that he will be dealt for some pitching before the season starts. Still a lot left that could happen this off-season.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A word from the management.

Well, the boss says I have to go to a continuing education class for the next three days. As a result I will be away from my computer for the next couple of days. I will try and post on Friday night bu no promises.

I will leave you with this Billy Hunter card from 1978 Topps, number 548 in the set. I posted the signed version of this card in an earlier post but thought I would throw up the untouched version as well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Book 1, Page 16.

Looks like the Rangers might have signed Mike Maddux to be their bullpen coach. I stopped by the card shop and mentioned that to the owner and he said that he had heard that they are talking to Ben Sheets and perhaps that might be why they signed Maddux. That could be interesting.

Wow! Two weeks with no Pudge. Hope that everyone was able to survive. Let's take a look at what we have up today.

1994 Church's Hometown Stars #27
1994 Church's Hometown Stars Gold #27
1994 Collector's Choice #625
Empty Pocket
1994 Collector's Choice Silver Signature #625
1994 Donruss #376
1994 Donruss Diamond Kings #DK10
1994 Donruss Special Edition #96
1994 Finest #126

The empty pocket is left for the 1994 Collector's Choice Gold Signature #625. Of these eight cards, I have to say I like the 1994 Donruss card the best. Minimal foil and a great photo of the classic play at the plate. Very nice looking card.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Talking points.

Well, the season is over, the champion is crowned, and the parades are past. The players are all home and have hung up the spikes for the year. Now it's time for the front office guys to take the field and do their thing.

Jon Daniels is off to the GM talks to represent the Rangers. We get to see his signature on this 2006 Topps card, number 293. I had the bright idea of sending it off for an autograph but didn't account for the gloss. Daniels signed it but the signature bubbled badly. Let's hope that his efforts this off-season turn out better than my efforts to obtain his autograph.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Curt Flood's legacy.

Milton Bradley, seen here on card number 673 of Upper Deck's 2008 set, is now officially looking for work. With Milton you get a pretty big bat, some pretty bad knees, and an unpredictable temper. Probably just the kind of player your team needs if you have a manager good at dealing with the players and need to fill the DH/occasional outfielder spot.

Bradley's not the only one up though. Jason Jennings, Ramon Vazquez, Hank Blalock, and Jamey Wright also filed for free agency yesterday. Blalock seems likely to have his option picked up by the Rangers and it is possible that Wright might be resigned. The others are likely to find new homes as the free agent frenzy begins.

As for the Rangers, they are planning on taking a look at starting pitching, either a cheap signing or in trade. Jon Daniels has said that he won't trade the future for now but is not adverse to moving a few younger players if that will result in pitching improvement.

The debate on free agency has raged since Curt Flood sued to invalidate the reserve clause. Some think it has helped baseball and some believe it has hurt. I tend to lean towards the hurt camp but often argue both sides. Let me hear what you have to say. Is Flood's legacy a credit or debit to the game?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Well, I made it back and all in one piece. Sorry about the lack of posts this past week.

When I got back I had a package waiting from John in the UK. John had contacted me awhile back and asked for my address so he could send me some Rangers. Having read about John's generosity on other blogs I was more than willing to send him my address.

John's bubble mailer contained about 34 cards. I needed eight of them. One of the eight was this nice looking Josh Rupe autograph from 2006 Upper Deck. Needless to say, I was pretty floored when I found it in the mailer. Having expected a random assortment of Rangers I did not expect an autograph. Thanks a million John! I hope to have a return package out to you soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A word from the management.

Just a quick post to let folks know that I will probably be unable to post until Thursday. Sorry about that.

In the meantime I will leave you with this Bobby Valentine 1990 Topps card, number 729. I got this card autographed through the mail in the early 1990's while Bobby was still managing the Rangers. Now there are rumors that Valentine is interested in returning to the states to manage. Perhaps sometime soon we may get to see him again in a big league uniform.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Double dippin'

First off, nice game last night for both Tampa and the Phillies. Sorry to see Tampa lose their first ever World Series game at home but Cole Hamels was just lights out.

Decided to review both of the remaining boxes today in one post. In order to be fair to both of the generous guys who sent, I will post one card from each box. Ok, let's see what was in the boxes.

First off is Adam from Missouri. Adam emailed me recently about a team lot trade. My kind of deal. Adam was offering 50 assorted Rangers. There was one catch though, he wanted Red Sox in return. I had none as a regular trade partner keeps me cleaned out. Adam settled for a lot of White Sox, Indians, and Rays in return. Off when his cards and yesterday I got the Rangers from him. Of the 50 cards I needed 11. One of the 11 was this 2004 Bowman Heritage K.C. Herren, number 254. A 22% hit rate on a blind trade is a deal I would take any day of the week. Thanks for the great trade Adam!

Moving on from Adam's smash hit, we have a box from David over at Indians Cards. This was part of his "Trick or Treat" giveaway and was so decorated. I was somewhat hesitant to open it but found that I had been treated, and well at that! Of the 135 cards that David sent, I needed 32 for an almost identical success rate as Adam. What are the chances? David sent along some pretty great cards, including this Sammy Sosa. It is number 6 in the 2007 Allen and Ginter Milestone set and is serial numbered to 999. This set was offered only through the eTopps program and only as part of the set. It is a card that is much better looking in person than scanned (too shiny). I had figured that this was a card I would never own since I was unwilling to purchase the set, but here it is. Wow! Thanks a million David. I have an Indians lot almost ready to go out to you in return but it may have to wait until next week to ship.

In summary, if you are ever e-mailed by Adam in Missouri and he wants to trade - do it! A trader of the first class to be sure. If David offers to send you some cards - let him! A generous and classy blogger.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I have been deluged with Rangers packages the past few days. Some expected, some not.

To start off with, the ladies at Dinged Corners sent me a nice group of Rangers that I received on Monday. Included in the lot was this foil version of Sammy Sosa's 2007 Bowman Heritage card, number 122. This card filled a hole in my sparse 2007 Bowman Heritage set. There were also lots of other Ranger goodies in the mailer, including a very nice note from the famous Lucy! Awesome added bonus to get written communication and artwork from such a classy gal. Thanks ladies!

Two other packages arrived today. I haven't had a chance to get through either box yet but they are looking good from the outside. I will take notes as I open them and be sure to let you know what Adam from Missouri and David from Indians Cards sent. So far I have sent out return packages to Lucy and Adam. I'll try and get one together soon for you as well David.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today's card is number 211 in the 2008 Allen and Ginter set, Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was just voted the American League Outstanding Player for the past season. This award is voted on by the players and recognizes the best player in the league. There is an article on the award here. Congratulations to Josh on the award and the season. More importantly, way to go in pulling your life back together.

I have also added a new link to the Handy Card Links. Matt over at Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius is a Royal's fan, 1971 Topps collector, and an entertaining writer. He is also currently on the Endangered Species list along with both of the Royals other fans. In the interest of full disclosure, I will state that I expressed interest in a Michael Young card that Matt had posted on his site and agreed to add his blog for the card. I guess crass commercialism creeps in everywhere. Anyway, head on over to Matt's blog, give it a read, and tell him Spiff sent ya.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Book 1, Page 15

Wow! What a weekend in baseball! First the Rays appear to be on their way to choking, then they win it all last night. There is probably much sadness in Beantown but at least they played the series out as far as they could. Congratulations to the Rays and their one or two fans.

Well, on to the card, or cards, of the day. Today we have seven more cards and two empty pockets. Let's take a look.
1993 Upper Deck #468
1993 Upper Deck Fifth Anniversary #A12
Empty Pocket
1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram #123
Empty Pocket
1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram #468
1993 Cardtoons #59
1993 Sports Cards Magazine #82
1994 Bowman #101

So we reach the end of 1993. Six more years to go in this binder. The empty pockets are left open for the 1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram cards number 52 and 450. Of these seven cards I like the Sports Cards Magazine one the most. Nothing beats the classic designs.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

No love.

How many of you have a copy of Paul Kilgus' rookie card? I have several copies of this 1988 Donruss card, number 469. Seems like it pops up whenever I buy a lot of Rangers, and in half the team lot trades I make.

Of course, we all know that 1988 Donruss was way over-produced. That, coupled with the lack of a decent design, dooms these cards to a lifetime of rejection. "Sure, I'll make the team lot trade. Just no 1988 or '89 Donruss." The lack of hobby love makes sense in this case though.

I am a bit more intrigued by some other cards that lack collectors. As I look at my commons boxes I see certain teams that have three or four times more cards than the others. Almost like 1988 Donruss, every time I open a pack these teams seem to be there and I can't see to make any trades with them.

To be fair, the lack of Expos fans is no surprise. If they had a big fan base they would still be north of the border. The Mariners, Brewers, and Padres are a little more surprising but still no big shock. I have made small trades in the past with the Mariners and the Brew Crew but I am sure the lack of post-season success has a lot to do with the lack of interest. It's the Mets and Giants that really confuse me. Why don't these teams move? Folks snap up the Yankees so fast I can't keep up. No Mets trades though. I have several folks interested in the A's but no Giants backers. Not really sure why on either coast.

Friday, October 17, 2008

2005 Upper Deck - Gerald Laird

Today's card is number 199 in the 2005 Upper Deck set, Gerald Laird. Here we see Gerald about to toss out a fresh baseball to his pitcher.

While the Red Sox may have kept their season alive last night, it is on to next year for most other teams. The off-season is officially here and the trade rumors are starting to swirl.

One name that keeps popping up in Texas is Gerald Laird. Opinions vary as to if he should be traded or kept but one thing is apparent; the Rangers are pretty deep at catcher. With Salty, Teagarden, and Max Ramirez pushing for the starting slot, it is looking like perhaps Laird is expendable. I would rather see Saltalamacchia go but if there is the chance to pick up some pitching, I say let the other team speak before making a final decision.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TTM auto - Steve Dreyer.

Got this Steve Dreyer card back in the mail today. I had sent this 1994 Collector's Choice card to him on September 21st of this year. Pretty quick turn around. The end of his last name rubbed on the inside of the return envelope but not too bad.

Well, the Phillies jumped on the Dodgers early last night and hung on for the win. That sends them to the World Series. Who will they be facing? I am guessing it will be Tampa Bay. Right now they are attempting to finish off the Red Sox. Looking good if you are a Tampa fan, 5-0 in the top of the fourth. The fade to black for the year may be beginning for the fabled Red Sox.

If the Rays hold on, who do you like to win the Series? Why?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Death Rays!

Carlos Pena, seen here on card number 731 of the 2001 Topps set, and his Tampa Bay teammates have been death on Boston pitching.

After winning 9-1 in Boston last night they are now leading 11-1 in the sixth inning. A win tonight will put them up 3-1 in the ALCS and one win away from the World Series. Wow! Who would have ever thought to see Boston so totally thumped in the post-season?

In the NLCS, the Phillies now lead the series 3-1 and will go for the kill tomorrow night in L.A. I was a bit torn over this series. I wanted to root for the Dodgers, but just couldn't stomach Manny Ramirez. If for no other reason than getting him off the stage I am glad to see Philadelphia up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book 1, Page 14.

Well, here we are on Monday again. A damp, overcast Monday where I am. The Dodgers showed some life last night to bring the NLCS to 2-1 in favor of the Phillies. Tampa Bay and Boston are tied 1-1 as they head into Fenway tonight. The Rangers have promoted Jim Sundberg to be Nolan Ryan's right hand man. A pitcher and a catcher running an organization known for it's lack of pitching. Could be an interesting ride.

On to the Pudge page for today. Here we see a full page:
1993 Topps Micro #360
1993 Toys'R'Us #33
1993 Triple Play #16
1993 Ultra #284
1993 Ultra All-Stars #11
1993 Ultra Award Winners #11
1993 Upper Deck #52
1993 Upper Deck #123
1993 Upper Deck #450

Of the nine, I have always had a soft spot for the 1993 Upper Deck #123. The classic catcher look with the mask on. None of the cards are particularly bad looking though.