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.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Surprising trade.

Some time back, I enjoyed a successful trade with Eric from Minnesota. He was on the hunt for Yankees and sent me a nice group of Rangers. Recently he contacted me again and asked if I was interested in a second trade. Of course!

I was only able to come up with 27 or so Yankees but Eric assured me that was enough and to send them his way. Off they went. Today I went out to get the mail and found an 800 card box. I looked at the return address and assumed Eric had run out of smaller boxes.

Inside the box was this 1989 Topps Jim Sundberg, number 78 in the set. I already had it but who can say no to a card of Sunny? Also in the box were approximately 750 other assorted Rangers cards. Wow! Just flipping through them I can see that Eric has completed at least two team sets for me along with overwhelming me with his generosity. This is truly a classy collector we have here. Thanks Eric. I owe you, and will be saving back Yankees for you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Phils inch closer.

Today's card is number 6 in the 2003 MLB Showdown Trading Deadline set. It features former Rangers pitcher Chan Ho Park.

According to the card, Park cannot give up a triple if he gets the advantage over a batter. He must not have done that this afternoon. Chan faced one batter and gave up a two run triple before being yanked. He looked pretty disgusted with his performance. He wasn't the only L.A. hurler to have problems though, as the Phillies smacked 8 runs to win 8-5 and go up 2-0 in the NLCS.

Seeing Park back in a Dodgers uniform looks natural. He came up with the Trolley Dodgers and was the biggest thing since sliced bread at the time. It just seems fitting that he is back with the team now as they are making a post season appearance.

What jarred me a bit was watching him come out of the bullpen. In my mind he will always be a starter, that's just where he belongs. Warming up before a game with hordes of photographers capturing his every move. The new phenom from the east who was the harbinger of great things to come from overseas.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Got two cards in the mail today from Danny Patterson. One was this 1998 Pinnacle #120. I had sent the cards to him at his home in Arizona and he signed and returned both.

To say that I am happy to get them back signed is probably an understatement. I have been trying to get back into requesting autos through the mail and just recently decided to try retired players at home. So far this has been my only success with a retired player. That and four return to sender envelopes are all I have to show for my efforts at retired players' autographs. Hopefully that will change and I will have a few more to show in the next few months.

As a PS, sorry about the lack of posts the past two days. I came down with a cold just in time for house-guests to arrive. That pretty effectively precluded posting. Both the guests and the cold are now gone and I see no reason not to get back to daily posts once again.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Book 1, Page 13

Monday again and time for our next installment of Pudge. Today we have an almost complete page of Ivan's cards. Here is the lineup for today:

1993 Stadium Club First Day Issue #592
Empty Pocket
1993 Stadium Club Members Only #592
1993 Stadium Club Murphy #175
1993 Studio #133
1993 Topps #360
1993 Topps Gold #360
1993 Topps Inaugural Marlins #360
1993 Topps Inaugural Rockies #360

The empty pocket is for the 1993 Stadium Club Members Only #524. In the Topps cards on this page we see a hint of the endless parallels to come that would eventually ruin any chance of player collectors to obtain the majority of cards issued for their players.

Well, the Halos hung on last night in Boston to win and keep their post-season alive. The White Sox triumphed in Chicago to deny the sweep to Tampa Bay. In the NL, the Brew Crew succumbed to the Phillies but at least avoided the embarrassment of a sweep. I must say that this post-season has been pretty interesting. Not having some of the perennial champs helps I think.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The brooms are out all over!

Today's card is number 67 in the 2002 Fleer Authentix set. It features former Ranger and current Brewer Gabe Kapler. I chose to post this card because it is designed to look like a ticket to a Major League Baseball game.

Tickets are exactly what Gabe and the rest of the Brew Crew are going to need if they lose tonight. If they don't win that's the only way they will be able to see the games in person. No need to feel lonely though guys, there are three other teams in the same spot you're in. The Angels, Cubs, and White Sox are all winless as well and facing sweeps.

A quadruple sweep would eliminate any advantage that a team might garner by playing out a series. Really kind of an odd occurrence. I am sure it has happened before but I don't like it much. My Grandfather used to say that he wanted every playoff series and the World Series to go the maximum number of games. I asked him why once, he winked and said, "Because, that means more baseball!"

Friday, October 3, 2008

On the razor's edge.

Alfonso Soriano (seen here on his 2005 Donruss card, number 354) and his fellow Cubbies better get hopping or they'll be going home tomorrow. That would end the now fading hopes of an all Chicago World Series and would keep Murphy and his goat in business for one more year.

Both the Cubs and the Brewers are looking at getting swept right out of the playoffs tomorrow if they can't get a win. This would set the table for a possible repeat of last year; quick sweeps in the National League. If there is a prolonged battle in the AL then the there really would be nothing new under the sun.

So, are teams hurt or helped by sweeps in the post-season? Is the extra time a good thing, or does it cause them to get rusty? I tend to think that it causes the teams that get the sweeps to get out of practice waiting on the other series to end. It also allows them to get psyched out watching the team they are to face. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

And they're off!

Sorry about the lack of posts the past two days. My Internet service went down just after Monday's post and wasn't restored until this afternoon.

Well, the post-season has begun and it is always interesting to see former Rangers and their teams in the mix. One such player is Mark Teixeira. We see Mark today on his 2003 Topps Traded Signature Moves card, number SMA-MT.

Last night Tex finally got his first taste of October baseball. He managed to go 2 for 4 and leave one runner on base as the Red Sox drew first blood against the Angels in game one of their series. With a score of 4-1, one wonders if the Halos' efforts to power up their lineup worked. Time will tell and the series could still go either way.

In other fall news, L.A. hammered the Cubbies and Philadelphia got a leg up on the Brewers. Tampa Bay and the ChiSox kick off their series this afternoon. Anyone have any predictions they want to make?