Monday, September 29, 2008

Book 1, Page 12

Well, here we are on Monday. Time for Pudge. Today we have a full page. Here is what's on tap:
1993 Score #507
1993 Score #537
1993 Score Gold Dream Team #6
1993 Select #136
1993 Select Chase Stars #17
1993 SP #9
1993 Stadium Club #524
1993 Stadium Club #592
1993 Stadium Club First Day Issue #524

Overall a nice group of cards. I have to say that I like the Select card the best. Ivan gunning down a would be base stealer.

So, here we are at the end of the regular season. Most of the Playoff spots are locked down. Once again the Rangers scored over 800 runs on the season while missing the post-season. This marks the 13th season they have scored that many runs. Shortstop Michael Young ends the year on top of the league in fielding percentage and double plays.

What next year brings will be interesting. If pitching can be nailed down, Texas will contend. They open the 2009 season at home. Who all will be wearing the home uniform though remains to be seen.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Artful Dodger.

This 2006 Topps Updates and Highlights #UH116 card features Jerry Hairston. It is also the last card I needed to put my 2006 Topps set to bed. I received it in the mail yesterday as part of a trade with Greg over at Night Owl cards. Greg had taken me up on my offer of a team lot trade and wanted Dodgers for his Rangers.

There is an art to successful team lot trading and Greg is a master. The lot that he sent me exceeded the 75 card agreement that we had and included several that I needed. In addition to helping me knock off a team set he also sent along some older cards and some oddball ones that I needed. There was also a way cool bonus card that went far above and beyond the parameters of the trade.

If you ever get the chance to trade with Greg, you need to do so. Most likely he'll put more in your pocket than he takes out. Thanks again for the trade Greg and I will be adding your blog to my links list.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Trading away White Sox.

Got this Cecil Espy card, number 6 in the 1988 K-Mart set, yesterday in the mail. It came in as part of a trade with Steve over at White Sox Cards. He and I agreed to send each other just over 200 cards. I shipped off White Sox and he sent Rangers.

While I doubt K-Mart's wisdom in putting Espy on a Dream Team, I don't doubt the wisdom of trading with Steve. The lot he sent was great. There were many I had already (an accepted part of team lot trades) but there were also several that I needed as well. All in all an excellent exchange and one that I would like to repeat at some time in the future should the occasion arise.

Well Steve, thanks for the great trade. Traders like you are what helps keep the hobby going. For everyone else, if you ever get a chance to trade with Steve, do so without delay.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rangers Captain - TTM auto

Spiff Jr. got this card in the mail today. Late last week he sent it off to Captain with a request for an autograph. Then came the long (for him) wait. Finally, it came back today. With it was a personalized note and two additional autographed cards.

Needless to say, the little man is in orbit. He had to call Papa right away and tell him all about it. He had to have Dad put the cards in toploaders, Mom read and re-read the note and little sister had to look at them again and again. Gotta love a young child's enthusiasm. Reminds me of why I send cards off to players and ask them to scrawl their names across the fronts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mr. September.

Reggie Jackson was called Mr. October because he always seemed to wait until his team was in the post-season to get hot. Well, here we have Mr. September. Now that the Rangers are eliminated, Hank Blalock couldn't be much hotter. I doubt he waited on purpose but that's how it worked out.

Blalock, seen here on card number 99 of the 2004 Fleer Authentix set, has homered in each of Texas' last four games. Today he sent a three run shot out of play to break the game open for the Rangers. They then proceeded to shell the A's 14-4 for a second straight win. At least they ended the season at home with a win.

It is nice to see Hank back in form again. There are all kinds of rumors floating that he may not be back with the team next year. Nobody seems to know for sure, but the possibility is there that he might have just played his last game in a Rangers home uniform. Nice way to go out if that turns out to be the case. Hope for a successful season next year if he ends up staying.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Don Slaught can't believe what he is seeing. At least it looks that way on card number 107T of the 1985 Topps Traded set.

Sometimes I feel like Don, standing there with hands on hips and a look of mixed disgust and disbelief on his face. Being a Rangers fan can do that to a person.

Last night the guys lost to Oakland. Lost the game. Lost second place. Lost their chance at a .500 record this year. They play the A's twice more and then finish the season with three in California against the Angels.

With a 75-81 record, the best the Rangers can do is one game short of .500. Of course that will mean that they take the next two from the A's and sweep the Angels. That would mean an entirely different team than has been playing would need to show up. If that happens it might change the face of the season. It might even change Don's expression to one of surprise.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book 1, Page 11

Hello, hope that everyone is having a great Monday. Mailed out Dodgers and White Sox lots today so those are gone. Be sure to let me know if you are interested in trading for any of the other team lots I listed.

Ok, on to the Pudge page of the day. Here is what we have today:
1993 Pinnacle #301
1993 Pinnacle Team 2001 #29
1993 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #3
Empty pocket
1993 Rangers Keebler #428
1993 Rangers Stadium Club #10
Empty Pocket
Empty Pocket
1993 Score #25

The empty pockets are left for 1993 Rangers Decker #31, and 1993 Red Foley stickers #80 and #124. Again, anyone who has a line on these, please let me know.

As for the cards in the page, I must say I like the Keebler the best. It is part of a set that was given out at the ballpark over eight different games in 1993. If you can get the whole set you have cards of every player, coach, and manager who ever appeared in a Rangers uniform up to that point. Cool concept and a great way to get cards of players who never had a regular issue card in a Rangers uniform. What they need to do now is a second series that takes up where that one left off and comes through the current year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Final face off!

Today's card is Jon Matlack's 1981 Topps Super Home Team card. This card has no number.

Decided to post a Matlack card today because my Matlack collection survived the final four and is now in the final match-up for The Benchies. This poll I am up against a pretty impressive Andruw Jones collection. I have a feeling this vote will be pretty tight, no matter which way it comes out. Win or lose though, I am pleased with how far the collection has come.

In other news, several people have contacted me about the team lots I listed for trade a couple of posts ago. I have a deal finalized on the White Sox and have them packaged for Monday mailing. The Rockies and Dodgers are in negotiations to go. As for the rest, well go ahead and get in touch with me folks and let's trade!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not good enough?

Today's card is number 59 in the 2006 Bowman set, Michael Young. I must say that Michael looks confused in this picture. Is he trying to figure out the third base coach's signals or Rangers fans? I can't help him with the former and I am just as confused over the latter.

Young was already in place in the Texas infield when I returned to baseball a few years ago. I didn't know much about him. He seemed quiet and professional. I thought that was a good thing. Manny Ramirez has never been my type of player. I appreciated his leadership on the team. It seemed to be a good deal to get him locked into a long-term contract.

Apparently a vocal segment of Rangers fandom disagrees with me. There seems to be quite a few folks yammering for Michael's head, or at least a trade where he leaves. Apparently he is not good enough to trod the diamond at The Ballpark in Arlington. I wondered if they had any justification for such claims. To such an end I compared Young to Derek Jeter. Here is what I found.

One claim often shouted from the rooftops is that Michael just doesn't stack up offensively and is getting worse. Well, his batting average so far this year is down, just .276 at age 31. Last year, at 30 years old he hit .315 which was one point higher than the year before (.314 at 29). In 2005, at 28, he managed .331. Let's look at similar years for Jeter. At 28 he hit .297 (34 points less than Young). At 29 he posted .324 (10 points higher). At 30 he was down to .292 (23 points lower). At 31 he was at .309 (33 points higher). Pretty clearly, up to this year, Michael had held his own with the Yanks captain at the same age.

Of course, true numbers folks always point to the on base percentage rather than batting average. Let's look at the numbers there as well. At 28 years Young was at .385 and Jeter at .373. At 29 years, Young .356, Jeter .393. At 30 years, Young .366, Jeter .352. At 31 years, Young .331, Jeter .389. In four years Young gets the nod twice and Jeter twice. Young is down considerably this year but actually was up last year over 2006.

Supposedly Michael doesn't hit enough homers either. Just a quick rundown and we'll leave offense alone. At 28, Young 24, Jeter 18. At 29, Young 14, Jeter 10. At 30, Young 9, Jeter 23. At 31, Young 12 (so far), Jeter 19. Jeter appears to pass Young in power during these years.

Ok, defense. Let's start with fielding percentage. At 28 years, Young .974, Jeter .977 (Young's first year at short). At 29, Young .981, Jeter .969. At 30, Young .972, Jeter .981. At 31, Young .983, Jeter .979. Again, a 2-2 split. Michael seems to be about the same in fielding percentage as Jeter.

Range is next. At 28, Young 4.29, Jeter 3.76. At 29, Young 4.74, Jeter 3.65. At 30, Young 4.38, Jeter 4.32. At 31, Young 4.42, Jeter 4.56. Clearly, Young is not losing range and is a comparable player to Jeter at the same age.

For grins let's look at double plays turned. At 28, Young 95, Jeter 69. At 29, Young 113, Jeter 51. At 30, Young 107, Jeter 96. At 31, Young 110 (so far), Jeter 96. Mike knows how to turn the double play. Hands down better than Jeter at the same age.

Ok, to sum up. Compared to Derek Jeter at the same age, Michael Young is trading years in the batting average lead. His on base percentage is doing the same. His power, as indicated by home runs, is down but he is still producing and is actually going back up after a low year last year. Also helps to remember that shortstops are generally not power hitters. His fielding percentage is trading leads with Jeter's. His range is up for him and ahead of Jeter for all but one year. He turns double plays more frequently than Jeter.

Needless to say, I am still confused. Perhaps there were shouts to get rid of Jeter but I don't remember them. Such proposals with Young now make no more sense to me than they would have with Jeter then.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

2005 Zenith jersey - Mench

Dipping into the auto and game used box for this week's installment and we find this Kevin Mench jersey card. It hails from the 2005 Zenith set, number ZB-61.

When I got this card, Mench was still a member of the Rangers. Not that his being gone will stop me from picking up other game used cards featuring him in a Rangers uniform. If it's Rangers, I want it.

This particular card came in as the result of a trade that I made on the forum that got me going in online trading. I actually didn't start on The Bench but on a smaller board that has since pretty much died out. After I got good and going I moved to The Bench.

If you look on the lower right of the card you can see a scratch starting at about the height of Kevin's ankle and going to the bottom of the card. My trade partner didn't tell me about that defect. Of course he also didn't send the card until I called and talked to his parents. There is the downside of trading online. You never know who you are dealing with, might just be some kid who has no sense of responsibility. Of course there are also many adults who have no sense or responsibility.

Fortunately though, most traders are much better than that. I have almost 200 online trades under my belt and have only had problems on three or four of them. In my view that says volumes about the generally great folks who trade online.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hello, Win Column!

Yes, the guys won again last night. It would be nice to see them win tonight to be just one win from .500. It would also be nice to hear Mark Holtz call another Rangers game. It was always good to hear his trademark "Hello, Win Column!" call at the end of a game.

Today's card of Mr. Holtz is part of the 2005 Donruss Classics Rangers Legacy set and has no number. I got it in today from a trade on The Bench. Part of what I like about this hobby is trading. That is some of what I miss from the days when everyone at least dabbled in cards. Online trading helps get part of that back.

One thing that I have found helps build my Rangers collection is team lot trades. I send out a lot of commons and minor stars of a team I don't follow and get a similar lot of Rangers back. These trades are almost always a blast and help clear out the commons box. Anyone interested in putting a team lot trade together? If so, check out the list below for the teams I have to trade and then shoot me an e-mail.

Small lots: Angels, Twins, White Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, Braves, D-Rays.
Larger lots: Expos (not Nats.), Cardinals, Padres, Orioles, Mets, Indians, Cubs, Mariners, Giants, Rockies, Brewers, Astros, Phillies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today we see Brandon McCarthy on the front of his 2008 Topps card, number 156 in the set. Brandon appears to be about to deliver a pitch in Yankee stadium.

Good thing Topps picked this picture for McCarthy's 2008 card. It is just about all the pitching Rangers fans have seen out of Brandon this year. After spending most of the year on the disabled list, he looks to be headed back there.

McCarthy lasted less than an inning last night before leaving the game with an injured finger. So much for the full season of health the Rangers were expecting according to the back of the card. Texas managed to win anyway but the exhausted bullpen got ridden hard again.

It seems that the big catch this year has been the starting rotation. Not that they can't perform or have pitched badly. It seems like none of them have stayed off the disabled list long enough for anyone to find out. Very frustrating.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book 1, Page 10

Here we are on Monday again and the weekly Pudge page. Today there are three empty pockets, the most since starting the walk through book one. Well, here we go:

1993 Leaf Gold All-Stars #U2
1993 O-Pee-Chee #331
Empty pocket
Empty pocket
1993 Pacific Jugadores Calientes #14
1993 Pacific Spanish #316
Empty pocket
1993 Panini Stickers #80
1993 Pinnacle #21

The empty pockets are left for the 1993 Pacific Beisbol Amigos #4 and #16 and the 1993 Pacific Spanish Prism Inserts #20. If anyone has a line on any of these please let me know.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tenuous connection.

Today's card features R.A. Dickey and his trademark high socks. Here we see him on card number 33 of the 2000 Just minor league set. R.A. appears to be warming up before a Tulsa Drillers game.

So why, with the season still active and a win to talk about, post a card of a player no longer with the Rangers? Simple really, I don't have any cards of Matt Harrision. See? Clear as mud, right? Let me explain.

Last night Matt Harrision shut the Oakland A's down. Out really. He threw a complete game shutout in Oakland. That gave him eight wins on the season, the most ever of any Texas rookie lefty. It was also the first complete game shutout by a Rangers rookie since Dickey accomplished the feat in 2003.

So there you have it. A nice 7-0 win for Matt Harrision and a cardboard appearance for R.A. Dickey, thanks to a lack of Harrision cards in my collection. Hopefully that shortcoming in my collection will soon be remedied.

Speaking of the collection, it got the bronze in the 2008 Benchies awards. The Matlack collection managed a victory last night over a Scott Kazmir collection. It is now facing off with an Alvin Davis collection. This one will probably be a nail-biter.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Death of a thousand cuts.

Today we see Josh Hamilton on Upper Deck's 2008 card number 671. Josh is looking good here as he takes his swings at the plate.

Hamilton appears to be feeling pretty good in this picture. Probably better than he is feeling today after fouling two pitches off his right foot in last night's victory over Oakland. After doing that he eventually had to leave the game in the eighth inning. Now the Rangers' site is saying he is day-to-day. Bummer.

Josh's injury is just the latest to plague Texas this year. Each seems small in its own way but they all put stress on the team as a whole and are a big part of the reason the team is stumbling. From the season-ending surgeries to the abscessed teeth and sore backs, the guys are looking pretty beat up right now. Hopefully they can rally to finish strong, rest and recuperate over the winter and be set to run hammer down next spring.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eric Soderholm - TTM auto

Today's card is number 441 in the 1980 Topps set. Eric Soderholm. This card was already autographed when I picked it up on Ebay as part of a Rangers signed lot. You really have to wonder what Mr. Soderholm was thinking as he attached his signature to this card. Did he find it mildly amusing that the card already had a facsimile of his autograph? Did he think about signing over the facsimile? Did he just sign without noticing the facsimile?

Well, Round 2 of The Benchies is winding down with just over 24 hours left to vote. It is looking like the Rangers collection will come in third in a three-way final. I am getting smashed but at least I finally broke double digits in votes. It is looking as though a Packers collection might well take first with a Red Sox collection posting a respectable second. The Matlack collection is faring a bit better and appears to be poised to advance to the final four. It will be interesting to see if it can hold on in the final hours of polling.

As a final note, most everyone is aware that this is the seventh anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. I have not forgotten this and do not mean to be making light of the fact by not mentioning it earlier in this post. Much has been written and said today. Most of what is out there is very appropriate. I recognize the day and have observed it with proper dignity. I will leave the commentary to others more worthy than I.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Trading with Chris.

Got a bubble mailer in today from Chris in Virgina. Chris had contacted me on the 5th about doing a team lot trade, Nationals for Rangers. I agreed and he hit the Post Office in record time. A nice stack of Rangers came in today.

In that stack was Mark Teixeira's 2005 Topps card, number 634. That was the last card I needed for my 2005 Topps team set. It wasn't the only card from the stack I needed but it definitely filled a big hole in my collection. It is always nice to get that last card to complete a team set.

Well, thanks for the trade Chris. I'll be getting your Nats out ASAP. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed the Rangers you sent.

Want to do a team lot trade? Give me a shout and I am sure we can work something out. I don't have every team available but I do have quite a few.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mikey likes it!

Today's card is #513 in the 2003 Topps set, Michael Young. I don't know about you, but I like these turning the double play shots.

Anyway, on to what Michael likes. (Anyone remember that commercial?) According to this article, Young likes the current use of the instant replay in the MLB. He says that he wants it left restricted to home run calls but thinks it should be retained for that use. Since he stands about where the umps do during a game he can see the need for it.

As for me, the jury is still out. I am not sure yet what I think about instant replay though I lean against it. Whenever I hear "instant replay" I think football and that is not a sport I find very interesting outside the Super Bowl. Michael has some valid points though. Maybe I need to give the issue a second look. What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Book 1, Page 9

Well, Texas dropped their last game in Boston to fall four short of .500. Need to get going if they are going to end the season even. Might be hard with the upcoming series against the Angels.

Today is page nine in my first Pudge binder. Here is what we have today:
1993 Flair #285
1993 Fleer #327
1993 Fleer #355
1993 Fun Pack #159
1993 Fun Pack All-Stars #AS2
1993 Humpty Dumpty Canadian #17
1993 Leaf #5
Empty pocket
1993 Leaf Gold All-Stars #R1

Had to leave the empty space for the 1993 Leaf Fasttrack #15. Of these eight cards I would have to say I like the Flair one the best. I am a sucker for nice photos and colors combined with good card stock. Not really sure what the Humpty Dumpty card is from. It is still sealed in plastic, almost like it was a prize in a snack food or cereal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stuff and things.

Today's card is my most recent arrival. It is the refractor version of 2008 Topps Chrome number 116. I got this Josh Hamilton off of Ebay for about $0.90 shipped. I figured you can't beat that. Now that I have the card, I like it more in person than I did on Ebay.

Well, my Rangers collection made it through the first round of the team collector voting on The Bench by defeating a Red Sox collection 65-22. I am now in a three way final vote and am in third place trailing a second BoSox collection as well as a Packers collection. Due to the lack of entries there were only two rounds in that category.

As far as the Matlack collection goes, it won in the first round of the player collection contest, 75-15 over a nice Phil Hughes collection. It is now leading in the second round going up against a pretty fine Scott Kazmir gathering. If it can hold on it appears that the next round will be the final four where I am assuming that I shall meet defeat.

Friday, September 5, 2008

1978 RC Cola Iron-on

Today's card is not a card at all, it is a 1978 RC Cola iron-on of Mike Hargrove. Seeing this post over at Dinged Corners made me think of this iron-on set.

This iron-on is part of a five piece team set. I got the set off of Ebay in order to get the Jon Matlack one. Ended up with four other Rangers as well. Kind of a nice odd-ball set I think.

Since my gums are still pretty sore from Wednesday and Mrs. Spiff is trying to get ready to hold a garage sale tomorrow I think I will call it a post.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

1986 Classic - Scott Fletcher

Sorry about not posting yesterday. I had three of my wisdom teeth out in the morning and was feeling too miserable to do much of anything the rest of the day. Still hurting quite a bit today but thought I should at least put something up.

Here is card number 118 in the Classic set. Scott Fletcher is the last card in the team set from that year for the Rangers. This marks the first time a complete set has been posted on this blog. Well, here are the trivia questions from today's card:
1. (T-F) A mule was once a M.L. Team's mascot?
2. Who was the first black umpire in the M.L.?
3. Who was the first player to win the MVP award unanimously?
4. What team led the N.L. in batting average in 1986?
5. Who holds the record for most hits lifetime?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Strained relations.

Yesterday Texas called up Taylor Teagarden. Last night Jarrod Saltalamacchia went down with a strained forearm ligament that will likely cost him the rest of the season. Teagarden saw himself go from the third catcher to the second in less than twelve hours.

I find is somewhat ironic that Salty strained his forearm on a play. He certainly didn't do it signing for the fans in Kansas City when I went to see him and the rest of the Rangers last week. Several fans were there early and asked him politely to sign as he left batting practice. He didn't even deign to acknowledge their requests. Just looked past them and spoke to a friend before heading into the clubhouse.

Needless to say, I was less than impressed. If you don't want to sign, fine. I think that players would be well served by such simple PR but each to their own. Be polite about it though. If folks are going to ask courteously and refer to you as mister then at least take the time to say, "Not now." Of course, that might be a strain.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Book 1, Page 8

Nice to see Texas take one from the Angels last night. Headed into a series with Seattle is a good time to try and claw their way back up to .500. Would like to see them end the season playing at least that well.

Today's Pudge page starts off with three cards from 1992 that Beckett doesn't list and then starts on 1993. Well, here we go.

1992 RBI #28
1992 Sports Educational #17
1992 Baseball Cards Magazine #37
1993 Bowman #489
1993 Classic Game #T78
1993 Colla All-Star #11
1993 Donruss #187
1993 Finest #47
Empty Pocket

The empty pocket is left for the 1993 Finest Refractor. If you have an extra one laying around feel free to send it my way.