Saturday, May 31, 2008

Triva time!

Time for some more trivia courtesy of the Classic Baseball game. These questions come from card number 146 in the 1986 set, Jerry Browne. Give them your best shot in the comments and I will post the answers on Monday.

1. T-F. The N.Y. Giants became the San Francisco Giants.
2. I am the Phillies all time leader in HR's through 1986. Who am I?
3. Who was voted the A.L. Outstanding Designated Hitter in 1986?
4. What Cubs pitcher is the club's all time leader in wins through 1986?
5. What position does (did) Don Mattingly play?

Friday, May 30, 2008

What a steal!

Here we see outfielder Dan Peltier on card number 266 of Bowman's 1991 offering.

Dan spent part of two seasons with Texas in 1992 and 1993 and part of the 1994 season with the Giants. In 108 games he had 243 at bats and only managed one career home run. He wasn't exactly a speed demon on the base paths either. In 77 games with Texas he never stole a single base.

Dan wasn't exactly the next Rickey Henderson. His lack of speed didn't keep Dan from committing one theft though. He managed to steal Dean Palmer's 1991 Bowman card!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You make the call

Hunter skippered the Rangers for part of 1977 and part of 1978. He appears here on his 1978 card which I obtained with the autograph already in place. Not being familiar with Bill's signature I assume it is authentic because I doubt there is much to be made in forging his autograph.

I have been meaning to ask for some feedback from any readers I might have. Do you like the way the blog is going? Have any suggestions? Any player, year, or company you would like to see featured. If so leave a comment and I will see what I can do. If I have a card in my collection I probably don't mind posting it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1989 ProCards - Jose Hernandez

Brandon Bogg's feat earlier this year of going 4-4 upon being called up made me think of Jose Hernandez. Here he is on today's card, number 1018 in the 1989 ProCards set.

Jose appears on this very minor league-looking card two years before making his major league debut for Texas. The orange border, sandlot outfield fence, and mesh cap remind us that Jose has not hit the big time yet.

According to the back of the card there is a reason for the delay. In 1988 Hernandez hit a mere .160 in 162 at bats. He knocked in a lowly 13 RBI and hammered only one homer. Not exactly stats calculated to catch the parent club's eye.

After a partial season with Texas in 1991 the Rangers had seen enough. In spite of going 4-4 in his first four at bats (a mark not matched until Boggs did it this year) Jose managed to match his minor league numbers. He posted a .184 average in 98 at bats with no homers and only four RBI. Texas then put him on waivers and Cleveland snagged him up. Let's hope that Brandon Boggs has a longer career with the Rangers than that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Unlikely contenders

Today's card is number 184 in Topps' 1974 offering. I post this card as an encouragement to the team of 2008.

Just two years after MLB baseball came to the metroplex and a year after losing 105 games the team pictured at left took the field. Expected to lose once again, they instead took fire and finished the season at 84-76. That put them only 5 games behind the team that would eventually win the Series; the Oakland A's.

Here's to hoping that this year will be as big a surprise as 1974. Just seeing the team stay in the race all year would be a pleasant surprise.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Today is Memorial Day. I just got back from the local cemetery and the yearly Memorial Day service. Thought I should take a minute to say thanks to any vets who are reading this. There are not words to express how grateful I am to those who have sacrificed to defend this country in the past and now. If you know a vet make sure you take time to thank them today.

1991 Topps - Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan on Monday again and this time a two for one deal. Today's first card is number 101T in the 1991 Topps Traded set.

The back of this card re-states that Ivan was signed as a free agent by Texas in 1988. It also lets us know that he led South Atlantic League catchers in 1989 with 96 assists. He threw out 44 of the 133 runners trying to swipe on him.

I like this card. The 1991 Topps design is one of the better ones from the time period and the picture is a decent headshot. This is one card I would like to get autographed. It seems like it would lend itself to that.

The second card is the Tiffany version of the first card. The card is the same but with a lighter colored back and a coat of gloss on the front.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

He's got mail!

When the family and I went to the Rangers game on Mother's Day, Spiff Jr. got to join the Dr. Pepper Jr. Rangers club.

The membership included a package of cool Rangers stuff for the little guy. He scored a Rangers string bag, a cap, a plastic helmet, a "waller" (called a poster by most of us), and a pair of wristbands. he wasn't real sure about wearing the wristbands until he saw the players warming up and noticed that most were wearing two. He pulled them on and left them on for the rest of the game.

A couple of days ago an envelope arrived addressed to Spiff Jr. with a return address for the Texas Rangers. He was pumped at getting mail (like most three year olds) and was even more excited that it was from the Rangers. It turned out to be the June newsletter posted here. It has all kinds of cool information on David Murphy and some activities. I'd give specifics but somebody had to have their mail back as soon as I got it scanned in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We need pitching

Texas needs pitching. If they had a couple of good starters to follow up Padilla and Ponson they might be able to seriously contend.

On card number 191 of the 1993 SP set, Jose Canseco demonstrates the kind of pitching the Rangers don't need this year. Or any year as a matter of fact.

This picture was taken fairly early in the 1993 season during a game in Boston. Texas was getting blown out and Jose convinced manager Kevin Kennedy to pitch him to save the bullpen during the massacre. Apparently Jose was just as egotistical then as now. Kennedy put him in; whether to save the pen or quiet Jose is a matter of conjecture.

Canseco lasted all of one inning. He gave up three walks and got no strikeouts. The three runs he allowed give him a lifetime ERA of 27.00. Worst of all he injured his arm and missed about half of the season as a result. Perhaps the saddest part of the whole episode is that when Texas traded Canseco to Boston a year and a half later they didn't get a single pitcher in return.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2004 Upper Deck National Pride - Mike Lamb

Today's card contains a piece of Mike Lamb's USA jersey.

Texas kept Mike for four seasons from 2000 through the end of the 2003 season but never seemed to be able to find a spot for him. He played just about every position except short-stop, center field, and pitcher during that time. He even appeared three times as a catcher.

At the end of the 2003 season Texas dealt Mike to the Yankees who then sent him to Houston prior to the opening of the 2004 campaign. Houston hung on to him up through last year and he is now playing with Minnesota. Ironic because Minnesota was the first team to draft him 1996 but he waited until 1997 to sign with Texas. He might have saved a lot of traveling had he just inked with the Twins to start with.


Several weeks ago I got an email from Patricia at Dinged Corners. She was wanting to do a trade but wanted to send first.

Today I got a nice package of cards and some hand-drawn art from Lucy. Gotta love extra bonuses like that. I needed quite a few of the cards like the 1987 Leaf card pictured here of Scott Fletcher. I will be working up a Diamondbacks package to get out in return in the next few days.

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Today's card is #C8 in the 2005 Donruss Craftsmen set. It features Hank Blalock and is numbered 0230/2000. It is a much nicer looking card in person than it shows in the scan but the mirror backing didn't scan well.

Probably everyone now knows about Hank Blalock's move from third base to first base. Lots of pundits and common fans have weighed in on the wisdom of the move. For his part Hank is working out at first in extended Spring Training and is expected to take over the slot with Texas when he returns from the disabled list.

Only time will tell if the move will work out for Hank and the Rangers. Some like the fact that Hank offered to move and some feel that the team should have told him no because it sends the message that the players are running the team.

I admire Hank's willingness to make the move and hope it works out for him and the team. Perhaps it will help to keep him off the DL and in the lineup.


Did a trade with Dave over at Indians Baseball Cards. Always. He sent a pretty nice lot of cards to me in exchange for some random Indians I sent him.

Included in the lot was this beauty of a Mike Hargrove from the 1977 Pepsi Discs set. Mike also sent a couple of Classic phone cards, several minor league cards I needed and stack of other Rangers. If you have some extra Indians cards I recommend hitting Dave up and seeing if he'll work a trade with you.

Thanks again Dave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2008 Topps Texas Rangers - Josh Hamilton

Today's card is number TEX2 in the 2008 Topps Texas Rangers team set. I picked this set up on my recent trip to Texas. These sets are not part of the regular Topps set and some of the cards have different photos that the regular set.

This is my first card of Josh in a Rangers uniform. I say this to explain why I am only now posting a card of his in spite of his phenomenal year to this point. I hope that Texas can lock him in to a long-term deal and that there will be many more cards of him in a Rangers uniform.

The back of the card gives a hint of what was to come for Hamilton. "In 2007, Josh became just the third active player (with Carlos Delgado and J.D. Drew) to hit his first five Big League home runs in fewer than 30 at-bats."

Monday, May 19, 2008

1991 Score - Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan on Monday again after a week off. Today's card is Pudge's 1991 Score card, number 82T in the Score Traded set.

Due to his mid-season call-up in 1991 most of the big companies issued their first cards of Pudge as part of their traded or update sets.

From the back of the card we learn that, when he was called up, Ivan was the youngest everyday player in the bigs since Robin Yount in 1974. It also reminds us that he skipped AAA ball and was called up directly from the Tulsa farm club.

The interesting thing that I didn't know was that his throws to second base had been timed at 1.9 seconds and clocked at 85 MPH. No wonder he gunned down 6 of the first 13 who tried to steal on him.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1986 Classic - Pete Incaviglia

Inky puts in another appearance on this early Classic card. I kind of like the design on these cards and didn't feel up to writing a lot after working in the yard most of the afternoon. The nice thing about these Classic cards is the trivia questions on the back. Here they are for your enjoyment.
Post your answers if you want to take a shot.

1. (T-F) Stan Musial never led the league in home runs?
2. Who was nicknamed the "Commerce Comet"?
3. What position did Willie McCovey play?
4. Where did the AL Philadelphia team move to in 1955?
5. (T-F) Bluffing a pitch to a batter, then throwing to first base to catch a runner is a balk?

Friday, May 16, 2008


Well, I'm back and posting. The reason I was unable to post was that I was visiting family in Texas for the week. Had a great time seeing both my family and Mrs. Spiff's kin.

Also got to take in two Rangers games while down south. The first was on Friday the 9th. We went with my father-in-law, two sister-in-laws, and the two kiddos (ages three and one). Had a great time and got to see the Rangers in the middle of a hot streak as they downed the A's. The youngsters got a high-five from Captain. The father-in-law got to talk to A's catcher Kurt Suzuki (they are both from Hawaii). The seats were awesome and we all got free t-shirts. Great game.

On the 11th (yes, Mother's day) we went to the game with my brother and his wife, the father-in-law, and one kiddo (three). Got the Mother's Day giveaway caps for the gals and had pretty good seats. Not quite as good as on Friday but good all the same. The weather was cooler and we all had a pretty good time. Spiff Jr. got to run the bases after the game which about put him into orbit. The lone drawback was the final score as the A's took revenge for the first two games of the series and hammered the Rangers. Guess that worked out well though for my brother as he is a huge Oakland fan.

Great trip but good to be back and get back to posting.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I will be unable to post any new cards until next Friday. If possible I will try and post some kind of Rangers news in the meantime.


Today's card is Hank Blalock on a 2004 Upper Deck Power Up #15.

When I was younger I used to derive great excitement out of send off cards to big league players (mostly Rangers) and asking for them to sign them. Not all of them came back but enough did to keep me going.

Recently I decided to dust off the old art and try again for some autographs through the mail. Off went three requests. I reasoned that I would use the three as a test to see what the prevailing atmosphere is towards autograph requests.

This last week I received back the card in this post. Hank came through!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Breakfast time

Number 4 in Kellogg's 1981 offering is Al Oliver. These cards are really kind of neat. A forerunner of sorts to Sportsflics, they were included as prizes in cereal boxes.

The card is made of pretty thin stock and only measures 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. It has the same plastic ridged plastic front as the later Sportsflics. This makes some of the earlier versions warp but this particular card is in pretty good shape.

The back of the card informs us that Al's hobby was racquetball; it may still be for all I know. It also tells us that he had personalized license plates on his car that read "Al Hits." He was also the only player who wore the number zero as his uniform number. Something tells me that there wasn't much competition for the number.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Retired - finally

Today's card is number 34T in the 1989 Topps Traded set, Julio Franco.

Franco announced his retirement two days ago in Mexico City. He played 23 seasons in the majors with eight different teams. Appearing three times in the All-Star game, winning a batting title once, and five Silver Slugger awards. Julio also played for four seasons as the oldest player in the majors.

Texas picked Franco up in a trade from Cleveland in December of 1988. At the time he was regarded as promising but somewhat troubled. Franco delivered for Texas though. In five seasons he won the batting title, appeared in his three All-Star games, won three of his Silver Sluggers, and was voted the MVP of the All-Star game.

Franco helped form the nucleus of the dangerous Texas batting order of the late 80's and early 90's. Once he was in a batting order alongside Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, Dean Palmer, and Ivan Rodriguez the results were devastating to opposing pitching. If the Rangers could only have come up with pitching to support Nolan Ryan, who arrived in Texas the same year as Franco, then the results might have included a post-season appearance.

Monday, May 5, 2008

1991 Line Drive - Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan on Monday again. Number 592 in the 1991 Line Drive Pre-Rookie set. As a note, the card is not mis-cut, the scanner just didn't get it all and I failed to notice that until after posting the picture.

After seeing Ivan in a major league uniform for two straight cards it is somewhat startling to see him back in a minor league outfit. No, he didn't get sent down. In 1991 Pudge was called up mid-season. This resulted in both minor league and major league cards being issued.

Not much of note jumps out from this card. About the most interesting thing is that he is wearing number 8. Again we see him without his trademark number 7. I guess in the minors you don't get to request a specific number.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

2006 Upper Deck - Vicente Padilla

Vicente Padilla appears on card number 843 of the 2006 Upper Deck set. Last night he appeared in the win column last night against the division leading Oakland A's.

Last night's win brings Vicente up to a 4-2 record on the season with a 3.50 ERA. After last season's 5.76 ERA and 6-10 record that is a welcome change.

There were lots of calls for Texas to move Padilla in the off-season and few were excited to see him make the starting rotation. However Vicente has managed to avoid the injuries plaguing the rest of the starting rotation and now seems to be an anchor of sorts. Kind of an ironic twist in a very unusual season.

Friday, May 2, 2008

2001 Donruss Elite - Gabe Kapler

Number 105 in the set is today's card, Gabe Kapler.

This card design scans very poorly. From the scan one would be justified in thinking that the card is predominantly black. The reality is that these are so shiny and reflective that the scanner has a hard time reading them. I don't mind the design in person but it is annoying trying to get a decent scan.

Gabe player for Texas in 2000, 2001, and part of 2002. Originally drafted by the Tigers, he came over in the trade that sent Juan Gonzalez to Detroit.

At the end of the 2006 season Kapler signed to play in Japan. He didn't even last the whole season there and retired at the end of the year.

After spending 2007 managing for the Red Sox in the minors he announced that he would be returning to baseball as a player. Milwaukee gave him a chance and he is currently hitting .296 with an on base percentage of .316. Not too shabby for a retiree.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Still on top

Josh Hamilton is phenomenal, no question. He had an amazing April, compiling 32 RBI in the month. Mind boggling.

Amazingly, Josh's incredible performance in April stands second to Juan Gonzalez's April, 1998 numbers. Juan punched out 35 RBI that month, the most in team history.

Juan's bat was incredible as depicted on this 2002 Fleer Genuine Bat's Incredible game used bat card. While a game used of a Rangers' player this is not one of my favorite cards. The base version seems jumbled and confusing. The game used version is worse. The piece of the bat seems to have been thrown on the card as an afterthought; it even covers part of the team name. Nice player, nice numbers, card could be better.