Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trading Deadline

Today's card is from the 2006 Topps set. It is the Trading places game used number TPR-BWI. The card commemorates the deal that brought Brad Wilkerson to Texas from the Nationals. I chose this card to recognize that today was the Trading Deadline.

The deadline came and went today and Texas made no deals. General Manager Jon Daniels had said that it would take a pretty sweet pitching offer to get any of the Rangers players this year. He stood by his word.

Even though Texas made no moves there were plenty of others going down. I already commented on Detroit shipping Pudge off to the Yankees. There were a couple of other surprising moves as well.

The Reds sent Ken Griffey Jr. to the ChiSox. Nice addition for the Sox going down the stretch. It looks like Cincy probably did ok as well since The Kid is going to be a free agent next year.

In a three team swap, Boston dumped Manny Ramirez on the Dodgers. The Sox got Jason Bay from the Pirates in return and the Bucs got players from Boston and LA as part of the deal. I say the Sox dumped Ramirez because I have never been impressed with Manny's antics or ego. I know he is a monster at the plate but it seems to me that Manny just being Manny is not good for the fabric of any team. The Red Sox and Pirates got the better end of this deal to be sure.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Double ouch!

Coming on the heels of Michael Young's broken finger, Texas announced that Hank Blalock is back on the disabled list. This after playing only nine games. More shoulder problems it appears.

Hank, seen here on card number 20 of the 2004 Skybox Autographics set, seems like a nice guy. I have been impressed with his put the team first attitude. Having said that, the frequent injuries are not good news. While not his fault, they are bringing many doubts as to the Rangers picking up Hank's contract option in 2009. I would like to see him be able to hold it together but it is looking less and less likely the further we go.

To add salt to the wound, Detroit dealt Ivan Rodriguez to the Yankees today. Pudge had to waive his no-trade clause. Very discouraging. At least he is a free agent at the end of the year. Hopefully after two months in the belly of the beast he can make good his escape.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Michael Young broke a finger last night in the first inning of the game against the Mariners. He was doing exactly what we see him doing here on card number 263 of the 2005 Topps set. Diving back into first base to avoid a tag.

Young stayed in the game though, and ended up scoring. By the second inning the swelling had gotten so bad he had to leave. The Rangers are saying five to seven days. Young is hoping only a couple of games.

I hope that is all he misses. I got a couple of free tickets to a Rangers game from voting for the All-Star game. It would be nice to see a healthy team in action.

I like this card. Nice action shot of a play you don't see very often on cards. The pickoff attempt from the first base coach's perspective.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ivan 1989-1999, page 4.

Here we are on a Monday again. Starting the complete page posts for Ivan Rodriguez. We'll see how it works out.

Today is page four in my 1989 through 1999 Ivan Rodriguez binder. Ten years in the first binder. The next one is the same size (three inches) and only covers 2000 through 2002.

Starting on the upper left and working across and then on to the second line, kind of like reading a book. Here we go:
1992 Classic I #T77
1992 Classic II #T69
1992 Colla All-Star Game #23
Empty pocket
1992 Donruss #289
1992 Donruss Cracker Jack I #27
1992 Fleer #316
1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations #12
1992 Leaf #194

The hole is left for the 1992 Colla All-Stars Promos #23. If you know where I can locate one please let me know.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Congratulations Goose

Rich "Goose" Gossage is slated to be inducted into the Hall of Fame tomorrow. Donruss predicted as much on the back of card number 555 in their 1992 set.

The card commemorates Nolan Ryan's 308th win and Goose's 308th save. Both occurred in the same game on July 23, 1991. If you flip over the card there is a brief account of the game. Donruss starts off the narrative by saying that it isn't often that two future Hall of Famers get together to make history in the same game.

Well Goose, Donruss was right. Both of you ended up in the Hall. Congratulations on flying that high.

Friday, July 25, 2008

1991 Stadium Club - John Russell

Well, they're bringing back Stadium Club. Since it has been on several sites I won't dwell much on it. Just thought I should at least acknowledge the news with a Stadium Club card.

Here we see John Russell on the front of card number 474 in Stadium Club's 1991 debut. Looks like John just slid into home. The play couldn't have been that close since the catcher is not set to receive a throw. Since the catcher is with the Pirates and this was before inter-league play it is probably safe to assume that this photo is from Spring Training.

Flipping the card over we find a picture of John's rookie card, 1986 Topps. He was with the Phillies then. According to the comments section, John had trouble with outside curves when facing right-handers. His strengths at the plate were waist high inside and low-middle fastballs. Seeing as his average against fastballs in these locations was .384 I would say he liked the ball located there.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

1979 Topps - Bevacqua IP auto

Here's another one of the autos I got in a lot off of Ebay a few years ago. The seller stated that the autos were all obtained in person or through the mail. Since most of them were of lesser known players I could see no reason for him to make it up or fake the signatures.

This is Kurt Bevacqua's 1979 Topps card, number 44 in the set. I have always liked the signature on here. For one, you can read it. What a concept! More than just a first letter and then a squiggly line. The extra flourishes are nice as well and give the card a nice look. I also appreciate that Kurt got the autograph fairly big but avoided his face.

Here are the answers to Monday's trivia:
1. True - Probably would have gotten this one.
2. Johnny Bench - Probably would have missed that one.
3. Carl Yastrzemski - Not a chance.
4. Steve Yeager - Ditto.
5. 4 - Easy one to build the old self-esteem after the first four.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just like old times.

When I got home from work today my wife had the Rangers' site up on the computer. She informed me that Texas was leading the White Sox 8-5 in the eighth inning. I was encouraged that maybe the team could hold on to win the rubber game of the series.

By the time I got changed and back downstairs the score was 10-8 in the ChiSox favor. I felt like Jack Daugherty on card number 564 of the 1990 Score set.

You see, I know what Jack is doing here. He is watching the bullpen blow an early lead to lose the game. Either that or standing by as the starter gets shelled bad enough to put the game out of reach. When I was younger the Rangers weren't on the Internet. Hadn't even heard of the concept at the time. What I had to do then was wait until dark and then catch WBAP on the skip.

I would usually get tuned into the scratchy broadcast just in time to listen to the bullpen blow the lead that the lineup had built. Other times I would hear the opposing team take advantage of the situation to build their slim lead to an insurmountable number. Occasionally the game was already long over but needed to be played out for the record books. I know what Jack is feeling, I have often lain in bed on a summer night feeling the same emotion. Today's bullpen collapse took me back to many a summer evening listening to Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel bravely narrating yet another spectacular implosion.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In case of emergency, break glass.

Texas sent Scott Feldman down to AA just before the All-Star break. He had been handling a spot in the starting rotation while everyone and their dog was on the DL. In the emergency the Rangers called on Feldman.

On Sunday they called him and told him to head to Chicago. He would be starting on Monday against one of the more powerful offenses in the American League, the Chicago White Sox. Eric Hurley was supposed to come off the DL and make the start. His arm was still sore and he wasn't ready. An emergency had arisen. Feldman got the call.

Look at the stats on the back of Scott's 2007 Topps Updates and Highlights card number UH303. Shuttled back and forth from AAA to the Rangers in 2007. Five different stints with the team in 2006. Time split between AA and the bigs in 2005. Until this year Feldman was a reliever with no Major league starts. He has 15 starts in the bigs so far this season. It seems not to phase him.

Baseball has starting pitchers, relievers, and closers. Should there also be a utility pitcher classification?

Monday, July 21, 2008

1992 Classic Game - Ivan Rodriguez

Hey hey, it's Monday again! Here's Pudge! Today's card is his 1992 Classic Game card, numbered 159 in the set.

I like the design of the card ok. The picture that they chose to use is another matter. Why Ivan awkwardly fouling off a bunt attempt? If you are going to use a picture like this of a player at least let the ball get out of the shot. Kind of makes you wonder if Classic only allowed their photographers one chance to get the final cut photo.

Flipping the card over we see one line of stats from 1991 and the familiar Classic trivia questions. Here they are:
1. (T-F) Gaylord Perry lost at least 100 games in both leagues.
2. I was the only man to get 1,000 RBI during the 70's. Who am I?
3. What AL player was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1988?
4. Name the missing half of the '77 Dodgers battery that included Don Sutton.
5. During a regular MLB game, how many umpires are there in the field?

Give them your best shot. No fair looking up the answers before you post. Also, if there are any last minute thoughts on going to a page at a time on Mondays rather than just one card, now is the time to speak up.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Return of the lost one.

Combining All-Star week with current events, today's card is Hank Blalock. He returns on card number 96 of the 2004 MLB Showdown Pennant Run set. This is his All-Star card from the set.

Hank appeared in the 2003 and the 2004 All-Star games but has not been selected since then. That's what happens when you are unlucky enough to get injured.

Blalock returned to the lineup last night from his last rehab assignment. He went 0-2 with a walk. To be fair, the rest of the team didn't do well either as they got shut out. Perhaps the big news was that Hank took the field as a third baseman. He had said when he moved to first that he didn't want to move back and forth. Then came the delayed return and Chris Davis' dynamic debut.

The team talked to Blalock about moving back to his old position. He wasn't thrilled but ended up doing it. When asked about it Blalock said, "It's what the boss says is best for the team. I am an employee, and that's what I'm going to do." Somewhat refreshing to hear that. It can be hard to find a company man in major league baseball in this day and age.

Friday, July 18, 2008

1990 Donruss All-Star - Ruben Sierra

On we go with the All-Star theme. Today we see Ruben Sierra on card number 673 of the 1990 Donruss set.

1990 was one of the few years that Donruss made its All-Star cards as part of the regular set rather than as a separate oversize set. When this set was first issued, the All-Star cards made a mild sensation when it was discovered that some of them lacked the little TM symbol on the league logos. I remember seeing the ones without the TM pulled off to the side and sold for a little more than the ones that had it. As you can see, Ruben has his.

This card doesn't have much going for it but there is one aspect that is a nice touch. Ruben's position is listed as "RF" or right field. I like that. Lots of times all three outfielders are listed only as "OF" for outfield. I like to see the specific positions given for a change of pace.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

1990 Fleer All-Star - Harold Baines

Continuing the All-Star theme. Here is Harold Baines on card number 1 of the 1990 Fleer All-Star set.

This post is brief because I am battling a sinus infection and have to start a 16 hour shift at 1030 tonight.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

1991 Score AS - Julio Franco

Well, the A.L. won last night. I listened to the first couple of extra innings and then had to hit the sack. Sounds like it was a pretty decent game. I always like extra innings games.

Julio makes his knock-kneed appearance today on his 1991 Score All-Star card, number 392 in the set. This card comes to you with the endorsement of Spiff Jr. who assures me that this is a good card.

Franco was a good hitter and was named the MVP of the 1990 All-Star game when he whacked a double to score two runs. Those were the only runs scored in the game as the A.L. beat the N.L. 2-0 at Wrigley Field.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star veteran.

The All-Star game is being played tonight. Michael Young leads the Texas delegation in his fifth trip to the midsummer classic. Here we see him on his 2006 Topps Updates and Highlights card, number UH252 in the set. He is holding his All-Star game MVP award.

The rest of the group wearing Ranger's insignia are Josh Hamilton, Milton Bradley, and Ian Kinsler.

Josh made his noise last night during the Home Run Derby by hammering 28 home runs in the first round. That shatters the former record of 24 set by Bobby Abreu a few years ago. Some of the shots were monsters. At least one was in excess of 500 feet.

Hamilton was also the only Ranger elected as a starter. Bradley will probably start as well due to David Ortiz being injured. It would be nice to see Bradley, Young, and Kinsler latch on to Hamilton's performance last night and have a great evening.

Monday, July 14, 2008

1992 Bowman - Ivan Rodriguez

Monday, and here is Ivan! Yes, I know this is the All-Star break and Rodriguez didn't get in. I will get going on the All-Star theme tomorrow.

Great looking card today from Bowman's 1992 offering; number 1 in the set. I like this card, clean front without a lot of clutter or foil. Nice shot of Pudge with his gear on and looking like he is in the mood to get the better end of a home plate collision.

If we flip the card over we see that Bowman offers us a breakdown of the teams faced during the 1991 season and how Pudge did against each. I like that for a change of pace in stats. Looks like Ivan had a hard time with Baltimore's pitching, averaging .000 in six games and 15 at bats. On the other end of the spectrum he went to town on the Angels with a .375 average in 13 games and 40 at bats.

With the posting of this card we are down to one more card on page three in my first Pudge binder. I am still open to feedback on posting an entire page at a time rather than just one card. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Davis dilemma.

Chris Davis appears to be validating the confidence he is displaying here on his 2006 Bowman Gold card, number DP29. As of last night, when he led the scoring charge with a solo shot, he has one half of the total home runs hit by Rangers first basemen this year. Not bad considering that he has only been on the roster since June 26th. He's only hitting .235 but he has 12 RBI in 15 games.

This throws the Rangers' management onto the horns of a dilemma. Davis was supposed to be a stopgap measure implemented only when Hank Blalock's return was delayed. The thought was that he would then turn over first to Hank and get on back down to AAA for some more seasoning. Now there are rumors swirling that he has won a permanent spot on the roster and that Frank Catalanotto may find himself out of a job and possibly on the trading block. All Ron Washington has said is that Chris Davis is "safe" and that any decisions will be made with his and the team's best interests in mind.

While I have liked what I have seen so far with Chris it seems to me that is might make sense to send him back to AAA for some more polishing. Cat can play first and outfield and is a veteran hitter. He would probably serve better in a high pressure pinch-hitting situation. Besides that, with the injuries Texas has suffered this year, Chris may get another call-up before the end of the season anyway.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Up and down.

Wes Littleton and Scott Feldman are being sent down to the minors. Littleton to AAA and Feldman to AA. Word is that Feldman will be back after the All-Star break and is only being sent down to get an extra start in over the break.

Kameron Loe, seen here on card number 838 of the 2006 Upper Deck set, and Joselo Diaz are coming up. They will be up for at least the series against the White Sox. There seems to be no word as to who will get sent back down when Feldman returns.

Kam Loe tried to make the starting rotation in Spring Training but didn't quite get it done. He got a brief call-up earlier this season but traveled back to AAA after only a few days. Not sure what the plan is with him this time. He can be pretty versatile. He has started and come out of the pen for Texas in past seasons.

Loe has his own section of fans at The Ballpark in Arlington. If you are ever there and look up in the third deck just to the third base side of home plate you will see a banner that reads "Kam's Snakepit." These folks share Loe's interest in pet snakes and show up at many Rangers games to cheer for him or lobby for his return as the case may be. Well, they'll get to see him this time since the Sox are in town and the rest of the staff has been ridden pretty hard. Here's to hoping him and the rest of the team good luck.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Davis delivers!

Got home from work today to find that one of my self addressed envelopes had returned home. It contained this card, number 334 in the 2002 MLB Showdown set. I had sent it off to Doug Davis care of his current team, the Diamondbacks. Doug made my day by signing it sending it back.

Even though Davis is no longer with Texas, this is an autographed card of him in a Rangers' uniform. A keeper for sure. This is also only my second success since I returned to asking for autographs through the mail this year. So far so good and maybe I'll get a few more back as well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

1998 Starting Lineup - Will Clark

Today's card is a card and a figure. The 1998 Starting Lineup figure and card of Will Clark.

Will seems to be waiting on deck for his turn at bat. Not sure what is going on with the left hand. Like most Starting Lineup figures, the facial features on this one bear at most a passing resemblance to Clark.

Starting Lineup figures were the in thing when they debuted in the late 80's. I remember searching through the figures on the racks at the stores trying to get all the Rangers I could get my hands on. The price was a bit steep for me though for what amounted to just one card and I never did manage to put together a complete team set. For years I had them displayed in my room and the sun gradually took its toll on some of the older figures in their home whites. Clark was a later addition though and managed to avoid the slight yellowing effect.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

1972 Topps - Casey Cox

Today's card is number 231 in the 1972 Topps set, Casey Cox. One thing I don't like about this set is that no positions are given on the front of the card. Casey was a pitcher.

Cox made his major league debut in 1966 with the Washington Senators. He had a rather rough time of it though with stints in the minors in '67 and '68. He made the move to Texas with the team at the end of the 1971 season and appeared in 35 games for the Rangers in '72 before being dealt to the Yankees. Six more games and he was done with baseball by April of 1973.

If we flip Casey's card over we find his stats back to 1962. Cox seems to have been a big boy at 6-5 and 215 pounds. There is also a trivia question asking who stole 8 bases in four at-bats for Oakland. The answer is given as Allan Lewis in 1968. Eight bases in four at-bats? That catcher must have had a glass arm.

New link

Check out Dinged Corners if you get the chance. Patricia and Lucy are very selective in their collecting. The posts are great and if you're lucky enough to score a trade with them you just might receive some of Lucy's artwork in the bargain. Great site!

Monday, July 7, 2008

1991-92 ProCards Tomorrow's Heroes - Ivan Rodriguez

Here is Pudge's last 1991 card. Number 153 in the 1991-92 ProCards Tomorrow's Heroes set. I believe that this is the last time we will see Ivan in his minor league threads.

Strangely enough, the stats on the back of the card include Ivan's 1991 Rangers numbers. Rather unusual to look on the back of a AA card and find the last line of stats to be with the parent club.

From this point on it is the big time for Ivan. Next week it's on to 1992. Three years down, 17 left to go. That got me to thinking. I have my Pudge cards in binder pages with holes left for the ones I am missing. With this card done, there are two more left to get to the end of the third page. Are the close-up scans what everyone prefers or would it be better to do a page at a time? Any comments or feedback would be appreciated.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Injury report

Well, it's that time of year. Almost into the stretch and players are starting to get hurt. Seems like it happens every year and to almost every team. Texas now has seven players on the DL with a few more looking at heading there. This is in addition to the players who are out for the season with injuries.

In 1997 Metal Universe released its second set. Appearing on card number 167 Roger Pavlik seems to be the Rangers' answer. With his bionic leg and arm he looks less likely to be injured. No more Tommy John surgery or bone chips in the throwing arm elbow. So he takes a line drive off his front leg, so what? There were apparently some glitches with the system though as Roger was a little prone to issue walks. It is also reported that there were a few problems keeping him oiled up during rain delays.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Rick Helling puts in an appearance on card number 641 of the 1992 Bowman set. He is dressed for the holiday in his Team USA uniform.

I sincerely hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July today. Instead of baseball commentary I would like to share a quote about the day from John Adams. Since he was instrumental in creating the reason for the day it seems only appropriate to read what he had to say. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, he wrote:

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means."

The spelling is antiquated and he thought the day would be July second instead of the fourth. The words are still worth dwelling on. I hope that we as a nation still hold Mr. Adams' vision.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Leaving for the last time

The Rangers leave Yankee stadium for the final time (barring an improbable post-season matchup) after taking the final series 2-1.

Today's card is Rusty Greer in the 1997 Donruss Signature Series. The card is not numbered and features an autograph of the perennial fan favorite.

Rusty was a part of Texas' lone post-season win in 1996. The Rangers beat New York 6-2 in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees quickly came back and won the series. The only other two times the team made the playoffs there were the dreaded Yankees. Two sweeps followed.

I have had people ask me why I dislike the Yankees so much since they aren't even in the Rangers' division. To have your team lose all of their post-season chances to the same opponent does not engender kind thoughts. That is why it is sweet to see the team leave The Bronx with a series win to close out their trips to Yankee stadium.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two in a row!

Today we see Ian Kinsler on card number 324 of the 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter set. I like these cards but they really don't scan all that well.

For only the second time in 14 years Texas managed to beat Mariano Rivera in The Bronx last night. With the game tied at 2 going into the ninth Rivera trotted to the mound. Kinlser doubled and then stole third. Michael Young singled and that was the game. Two of two so far in this series with the third game coming up tonight.

Texas needs to be on the ball with Sidney Ponson on the mound for New York. He had his stuff working earlier in the season when he was pitching for Texas. A sweep in The House that Ruth Built will be hard work.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Starting a rough stretch

The Rangers started their last series in the Bronx last night by winning 2-1. C.J. Wilson got the save by getting Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and Jorge Posada to go 1-2-3 to end the ninth. Josh Hamilton made the save possible with his 80th RBI.

Not having any more cards of Hamilton I am instead posting C.J. Wilson's 2008 Topps card. It is number 214 in the set.

C.J. often makes nerves fray when he comes into a game to close it out and has had several rough outings this year. Last night though he ran through the last three batters like a veteran.

Texas has a rough stretch going into the All-Star break. Starting off with the Yankees, they will play the Orioles, Angels, and White Sox before the break. It would be nice to see them still at .500 or better at the end of that. Beating the Yanks last night is a good start.