Thursday, December 31, 2009

Random Ranger autograph.

In the waning hours of the year I am posting a through the mail success from this past year.

Today's card features Wayne Rosenthal's signature. I sent this card and one other to Mr. Rosenthal on November 18, 2009. He graciously signed and returned both cards. They arrived in my mailbox on December 4, 2009.

Many thanks to Wayne Rosenthal for the autographs.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wantlist - 1992 Score.

The 1992 Score set makes its first appearance on this blog with card number 579 in the set. I am using Brian Downing's card as a sample of the team set that I am trying to complete this week. Just three more cards and this team set will be crossed off the list.

Here's what I need:
1992 Score
737 Terry Mathews
9T Jose Canseco
49T Al Newman

If you have any of these cards and are interested in parting with them just drop me an email. My tradelist is here and I can do team lot trades as well.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1972 Topps - Lenny Randle.

Taking a quick trip back to 1972 we find that Lenny (or Len) Randle is one of only a few cards left that we haven't seen from the 1972 Topps set. Len is shown here on card 737 of the 1972 Topps set.

1972 was Randle's second Major League season. He had played for the Senators in 1971 and made the move to Texas with the team. In '72 Lenny would platoon with Vic Harris at second base.

Len had a rough year as he batted just .193 in 267 plate appearances. He struck out 51 times while walking just 13. That probably contributed to his .235 on base percentage. Luckily for him, Harris' numbers were worse.

Randle also struggled in the field. His .952 fielding percentage at second was well below the league average .977. In 333 chances at second he committed 13 errors.

Those numbers made for a dismal first season in Arlington. Randle would stick around though and bounce back.

Monday, December 28, 2009

1986 ProCards - Ruben Sierra.

Today we come to the reason for the 1986 ProCards team set. Well, the reason that it is my collection. Ruben Sierra's card. My Dad bought me this set around 1988 because Sierra was about as hot as it could get and he thought it would be a good "investment." Not that my Dad was a money-grubber but he figured that I should get a couple of minor league sets with Ruben in them before they got so hot and so high priced that I couldn't get them.

Well, things didn't exactly work out that way. Ruben's cards were hot for awhile but they are extremely affordable now. Like common-card affordable. Kind of ironic considering that the player pictured on Ruben's card was a common player. Took me several years to realize that this isn't Ruben Sierra. It's Orlando Mercado. Perhaps Ruben was suffering from a surly episode and didn't show up for the picture session. At least the photographer could have kept the nameplate on the jersey from showing. Of course the smile would have given it away anyway, I'm not sure that Sierra had one.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Senators Saturday - Don Lock, 1963

Hope that everyone had a great Christmas and was able to enjoy themselves with family and loved ones.

After our quick stop in 1962 we move on to 1963 and the Senators first big power threat, Don Lock. Don shows up today on card number 47 of the 1963 Topps set.

1963 was Lock's first full season with Washington. He moved from left field to center, replacing Jimmy Piersall. In 149 games Don appeared in the field in 146. 134 of those games were in center field where he logged over 1,000 innings.

While on defense Lock posted a .980 fielding percentage, one point below the league average. He successfully handled 391 chances while committing eight errors. About average.

Offense was Don's specialty though. While his .252 average wasn't that impressive his power numbers were. Don's slugging percentage was .446 as he led the team in that category. He also led the team in RBI (82), doubles (20), walks (70), and strikeouts (151). Those are numbers that indicate a power hitter.

The team-leading 27 home runs (6th in the A.L.) also showcased Don's power at the plate and delighted Senators fans. Not only did Don lead the team in 1963 but he set a new high water mark for homers for the franchise. This was the first time since the team was founded in 1961 that any Senator hit over 18 home runs in a season. At last Washington had a hitter that other teams didn't want to see come to the plate.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Closed for Christmas.

Will be back tomorrow. Hope that every has an enjoyable and blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasonal lights.

Luke 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.
3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
1:8 He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

As we turn on the Christmas lights this evening and prepare to celebrate, let us not forget the Light. The One, whose coming John and Isaiah heralded and who gives us the ability to see the way in this dark world. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wantlist - 1991 Score.

Decided to try Score in the wantlist project. Since I already have completed team sets from 1988 - 1990 the first set will be the 1991 set. Since one of the cards I need is of Nolan Ryan we are seeing him on card number 4 of the set.

Here are the two cards I need to complete this team set:
1991 Score
900 Nolan Ryan COOP
1991 Score Rookies & Traded
82T Ivan Rodriguez RC

If you have either of these cards and are willing to part with them just drop me an email. My tradelist is here and I can do team lot trades as well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In brief.

Not much going on today in Ranger-land or with my motivation so here is a random Jon Matlack card, number 315 in the 1979 Topps set.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Third time's the charm?

The Rangers signed former Ranger Darren Oliver today. Darren, shown here on card number 209 of the 1997 Upper Deck set, has played for the Rangers in two previous stints.

He broke into the Bogs with them in 1993 and stayed with them until July 31, 1998 when he was traded to the Cardinals. He was back as a free agent in 2000 and was traded again in December of 2001, this time to the Red Sox.

The deal that Texas and Oliver reached is a one year contract for $3.5 million in 2010 with an option for 2011. Seems to be a good move to strengthen the bullpen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Senators Saturday - Chuck Cottier, 1962.

My Senators collection is not nearly as extensive as my Rangers one. That means that the four 1961 Topps cards that I have posted during the first four Senators Saturdays are the total that I have from that year.

That moves us on to 1962 and Chuck Cottier on card number 27 of the Topps set. This is the only card I have from this team set. It is also the first card in my collection to show the Washington "W" on the cap.

The back of the card shows Chuck wrapped up in an overcoat and scarf as he arrives in Washington in the middle of a snowstorm. It is doubtful it was snowing in Washington when Chuck arrived. The Senators traded for him on June 5, 1961. In return they sent Hal Woodeshick to the Tigers.

In 1962 Chuck served as the Senators' primary second baseman, appearing in 136 games. In all but two of those games he appeared at second. The other two were pinch-hitting appearances. He posted a .981 fielding percentage while taking part in 100 double plays. In 736 chances he committed 14 errors. That made him about average for the league that year (the league average fielding percentage was .980).

On the opposite side of things Cottier compiled a .242 batting average. That included a .341 slugging percentage and a .310 on base percentage. He had six home runs and 40 RBI. He tied for first in triples (6). He was second on the team in stolen bases (14) and caught stealing (8). He was third on the team in walks (44) and strikeouts (57). All in all a pretty average offensive season that about matched his defensive play. In spite of that, 1962 would be the best offensive year of Chuck's nine year career.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Local trading.

Rushing to get this post in before the date changes. Had some folks over tonight and so I haven't had much time to write up a post.

Not much going on out there to motivate a Rangers blogger. The possible Mike Lowell trade is still up in the air and Milton Bradley is off to Seattle. Wondering if Milton will offset the Mariners acquisition of Cliff Lee.

One of the guys who came over tonight is a fellow card collector. Instead of Rangers though he chases Royals cards. Makes for a perfect match. We don't really trade, I just give him any Royals I get and he passes on any Rangers he comes across. Tonight he handed me a big stack of assorted Rangers cards. Haven't had a chance to check my wantlists yet but I did thumb through the cards.

One gem that jumped out at me was this Pete Incavligia card. It is a "Broder" type card and is labeled on the back as being number three in the "Collector's Choices of the 1980's" set. The corners of the card are rounded and appear to have been originally cut that way. The card is well centered in person, the scan just makes the corner rounding look uneven. The set looks to have been put out by a place called "The Press Box." I have no idea where that is located or what type of business it is/was but I like this card. Of course I like most all of these kind of 1980's unlicensed cards.

Thanks for the trade (delivery) Mark. I was needing some cards to sort over the weekend and this stack saved the day. Always good to visit with a fellow collector face to face.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Odds and Ends.

Very sorry for missing yesterday's post. The family and I were out of town Monday through yesterday. I had scheduled Monday and Tuesday's posts but thought I would be back in time to post yesterday. That didn't work out so well.

Not much happening with the Rangers in the past few days. Still working on the Mike Lowell trade. Not sure how I am feeling about that one. Mike has a great bat when he is healthy but he has had some injury issues the past few years.

Read an article about Luis Mendoza pitching well in the Mexican leagues this winter. That's good news. I had forgotten about Luis, shown here on card number 147 of the Upper Deck Piece of History set. This is the signed version and is numbered 76/99.

The club had high hopes for Mendoza when they got him from the Red Sox. He has struggled though and is now out of options. He pretty much has to make the club in Spring Training or get through waivers. Hopefully his success down south means that he has gotten his game together. With Cliff Lee moving to Seattle the division just got a lot tougher and the Rangers can use every arm they can get.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1972 Topps - Horacio Pina.

Horacio Pina appears here on card number 654 of the 1972 Topps set. He appears to be looking straight into the sun in order to avoid having his cap airbrushed. He also appears to be floating up into the sky as the photographer snaps the shot.

Horacio was a side-arming reliever with Texas in 1972. He had been with the team for 1970 and '71 and had made the move south with them. Moving to Texas moved Pina closer to home, he was born in Matamoros, Mexico and was living in Coahila, Mexico at the time.

Horacio responded well to the move as he compiled the best season of his career. He posted improved numbers in ERA (third best on the team), innings pitched, strikeouts (second in the bullpen), appearances (second on the team), and batters faced. He also raised his saves from 2 in 1971 to 15 in 1972 as he became the team's closer.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Checking the tree.

This Rangers Christmas tree ornament was issued by Topperscot in 2008. It's your average large glass ball with the design painted on.

I received this ornament last Christmas from my boss. He is not a baseball fan in any way and the local stores do not stock Rangers memorabilia. I really appreciated the effort he put into finding a decent looking Rangers ornament.

I had to laugh though when I opened it and he asked me to take a look at it and see if the elves were supposed to be specific Rangers' players.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Senators Saturday - Willie Tasby, 1961.

On this cold December day we are greeted with the smiling visage of Willie Tasby on card number 458 of the 1961 Topps set. Like the previous two Senators we have seen, Willie appears hatless in the jersey of another team. In Willie's case the jersey belongs to the Boston Red Sox.

When Washington drafted Tasby from the BoSox in December of 1960 he had three Big League seasons under his belt. Two and a half of those seasons had been with the Orioles, although he had originally signed with that franchise while it was in St. Louis. In 1960 the O's traded him to Boston who then left him unprotected in the expansion draft. Good thing for the Senators they did.

In 1961 Tasby was the Senators' starting center fielder appearing in 141 games for the club. He posted a .251 batting average, a .330 on base percentage, and a .389 slugging percentage. He led the team in RBI with 63 on the season. He also came in second in hits (124), walks (58), and home runs (17).

While patrolling center field Willie posted a .985 fielding percentage in 1,187 innings played. He committed 5 errors in 339 chances. He had 5 assists and 329 putouts.

While not a star, Willie was at least a solid player on a weak Senators team that could use all the help it could get in 1961.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On card trade.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Chris over at On Card Autos. He was inquiring into my interest in a blind team lot trade, Cubs for Rangers. Since for some reason the Cubs have been a team I have not been terribly successful at team lot trading I at once said yes.

After some delays, mostly on my end, I received a great package of assorted Rangers cards from Chris. I foolishly did not count them but I estimate there were about 250 or so cards in the lot. I needed this 2005 Topps Total card of Chan Ho Park, number 88 in the set, and about 25 to 30 more of the cards.

That is a good success rate in this type of trade and one that I would take any day of the week. Chris delivered just what he said he would and did so in style. Should he ever contact you regarding a trade you would be best advised to jump on the offer. Better yet, head on over to check out his great blog and propose a trade of your own. Thanks again Chris!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Making moves.

Not that I am a big fan of John Rocker but he did return this 2002 Fleer card to me earlier this year. It took him about a month and half to sign it and get it back but he did it.

Just like the card says, there are a lot of MLB players changing places. That includes some ones that I have been surprised at.

The Rangers traded former Rocker teammate Kevin Millwood yesterday to the Orioles. In exchange they got reliever Chris Ray. Hopefully Ray works out in the pen and Millwood helps the Orioles sock it to the Yanks and Red Sox a little.

The trade allowed Texas to sign starting pitcher Rich Harden. Apparently the deal is only awaiting a physical to be final. It would be nice to see Harden return to his early career form in 2010.

As if that maneuvering wasn't enough, the team has apparently pulled a off a trade with Boston for Mike Lowell. The BoSox will receive minor league catcher Max Ramirez in return and will have to pick up a substantial part of Lowell's salary as well. The Commissioner's office has to approve the trade before it can be finalized.

Lots of trades so far, more than the Rangers were involved in last off-season. Some of the moves look good and I think the jury is still out on some. Time will tell if these exchanges and signings will put the team over the top in 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Filling holes.

So now that Pudge is gone and Salty is not looking good for the upcoming season, the Rangers are on the hunt for a catcher to fill the hole left by those two. Jason Kindall is one name that has been floated as a possibility. Another is former Ranger Rod Barajas. Barajas was the Rangers catcher from 2004 to 2006 before he left as a free agent. Since then he has played with the Phillies and Blue Jays.

Ron Washington knows Kendall from when Jason played for the A's and the organization knows Barajas from when he played for Texas. Both seem to have an equal chance. I haven't kept up on either of them so I am not sure I have an opinion one way or the other.

I do have an opinion about the 2006 Allen & Ginter set, of which Rod Barajas is number 216. I like the set and would like to finish off the team set. Here is what I am looking for to fill the holes in my team set:

2006 Allen & Ginter
177 Francisco Cordero
178 Kevin Millwood
215 Michael Young SP
253 Ian Kinsler

If you have any of these cards and are interested in parting with them just drop me an email. My tradelist is here and I can do team lot trades as well. The past few wantlists I have posted have not generated a trade so I am hoping this one will reverse the trend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Goodbye again.

This is why I hate this time of year. Why I am not sure that Curt Flood did the right thing. Ivan Rodriguez turned down arbitration last night. Today he signed a two year deal with the Washington Nationals.

I was thrilled this past season to have Pudge back in a Rangers uniform the way he is depicted on card number 165 of the 1994 Topps set. Having him back erased some of the pain of losing him the first time. Now I have to say goodbye again.

It's happened twice. Neither time was a trade. Blasted free agency both times. This time at least the club made an effort to keep him. Still stinks though, to say goodbye again. This time I am afraid it's for good, I don't foresee Ivan back in a Rangers cap until he enters Cooperstown.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Herzog to the Hall.

Whitey Herzog is in the Hall of Fame. He was elected by the Veterans Committee along with former umpire Doug Harvey.

While The White Rat is best known for his managerial career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, he also did a short stint in Arlington. Card number 549 in the 1973 set shows Whitey during his tenure as the Rangers second manager.

Whitey took over the team from Ted Williams when Williams quit after the 1972 season. In 138 games the Rangers struggled to a 47-91 record under Herzog in 1973. Owner Bob Short fired him on September 8th of that year. Short's excuse was that the team was struggling. Firing Whitey didn't help, the team finished 56-105 for the year.

The real reason Whitey had to go was so that Short could hire Billy Martin. That move would prove to be possibly one of the greatest blunders that Bob Short would make while he owned the Rangers. That's saying a lot. Bob Short made a lot of blunders. Of course Whitey Herzog won a lot of games.

Within two years of being fired, Herzog was on his way as he took over the Kansas City Royals. Following five winning seasons there he moved to the Cardinals and really took fire. In eleven seasons he had a winning reacord seven times. The result was three pennants, a World Series title, and a trip to Cooperstown.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Senators Saturday - Billy Klaus, 1961.

Today's Senators card is number 187 in the 1961 Topps set and features Billy Klaus (no relation to Santa). Billy is going hatless in his Orioles jersey.

The Senators drafted Billy from Baltimore following his eighth Big League season. Billy was the utility infielder for Washington, appearing in 91 games in 1961. 51 of those appearances were at third base, 18 at shortstop, 1 at second base, and 2 in the outfield. In the rest of his appearances Billy didn't take the field.

Billy made eight errors that season while posting a .965 fielding percentage. On the offensive side of things he posted a .227 average with a .311 on base percentage and a .359 slugging percentage. Billy managed seven home runs and 30 RBI. He struck out 34 times while walking 30.

In April of 1962 the Senators sold Billy to the Philadelphia Phillies.

One thing about this card that always struck me was how weathered Billy looks. I would have placed his age in his early 40's. In reality he was 32 years old in 1961.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hanging around the Christmas tree.

So the Christmas season has officially begun now that the wife is decorating the house for the holiday.

To mark the occasion I bring you this Christmas tree ornament that hangs on our tree. The decoration features a group of Rangers sluggers. Mark "Money" Teixeira and Michael Young are exchanging high fives while Hank Blalock prepares to embrace them both.

It isn't the most well-done ornament but it's the Rangers so it works. Obviously the inclusion of Money Man means that it is a couple of years old. An interesting note is that while the faces bear little resemblance to the players, the names and numbers on the jerseys are correct.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Catching woes.

I traded for this sad-looking Ken Suarez card shortly after I started collecting. At the time it was the oldest card in my collection and cherished in spite of the pin holes, nicks, rounded corners, and crease up the middle. If ever a card looked like it had been through a war it is this one. Most of that damage was in place when I obtained the card. I still traded for it and still prized it.

When I recently upgraded the card out of my team set I just couldn't toss it. I sent it to Ken instead on November 25, 2008. It was back by December 3rd of the same year with Ken's signature in place. Now it's in a toploader with the rest of my Rangers autos.

Saw today where Jarrod Saltalamacchia's shoulder is acting up again. Could be bad news for next season what with Pudge maybe leaving. Hopefully the Rangers' catching situation doesn't end up in as sad of shape as this Ken Suarez card.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oddibe responds.

So I was trying to decide which set to do next on the wantlist post series when Oddibe McDowell showed up. He was carrying a bat and not looking happy. I guess he read the comments on a previous post asking what sets my readers disliked. Apparently he took umbrage at Night Owl's nomination of 1986 Donruss as a most hated set. After all, card number 56 is his rookie card.

Hey, don't look at me Oddibe, Night Owl said it. I'm not knocking your rookie card, in fact I'm asking for more cards from the set if anyone has them for trade. Here's what I need:

1986 Donruss
422 Mike Mason
587 Dickie Noles

See? Looking for your teammates. Now, just put the bat down. Slowly. Please.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arbitrary decisions.

Texas offered arbitration today to Marlon Byrd and Ivan Rodriguez. This seems to be a good move. The team has little to lose and will receive extra draft picks should these guys move on. It would be nice to hold on to both but either can probably be replaced.

Pudge, seen here on card number 78 of the 1992 Topps set, is in the twilight of his career. His skills are fading a bit and his playing time has been diminished the past couple of seasons. This could result in a favorable result for Texas should he choose to accept arbitration. With the trouble that he had signing on last year he may just decide that arbitration is his best option. Hopefully that is the case as it would be nice to see him stay in Texas.

As for Byrd, his numbers have been consistently good and he is younger than Pudge and perhaps approaching his best years. This could raise his price. A raise might be worth it to the Rangers though. Of course, should Byrd decide to fly he is likely replaceable from the farm system.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bad to the bone.

There are a ton of bad card designs out there. Green borders on the 2001 Topps set, yellow on the 1991 Fleer set. Poor photography on the early Donruss and Fleer sets. The Metal Universe cards are a level of bad unto themselves. That's just a few examples.

One of the top bad designs has got to be the 1995 Fleer design. Here we see Jose Canseco on card number 281 as an example. As you can see from the picture, there just aren't any redeeming qualities about this design. The split frame, overly busy front, and psychedelic colors drive me batty. Looking at the team set in binder pages is about enough to cause a fit. Anyone attempting the whole set should be carefully monitored for signs of breakdown.

What's the top worst design ever in your opinion?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Senators Saturday - Pete Daley, 1961.

Today's Senator is catcher Pete Daley, seen here on card number 158 of the 1961 Topps set. Daley is shown here hatless in his Kansas City A's jersey.

By the time the Senators drafted Pete from the A's he had six Big League seasons under his belt. For most of his career he had been a backup catcher with the Red Sox. The Sox had traded him to the A's after the 1959 season. In 1960 the A's had a catcher by committee system going but Pete was the primary catcher. The Senators drafted him that December in the expansion draft.

In 1961 Pete went back his familiar role as the second string catcher behind Gene Green. Even so, Pete played in almost as many games in 1961 as he had in 1960, falling just one game shy of his A's totals. Amazingly, Pete played 16.2 innings more for Washington than he had for KC.

In spite of his frequent appearances, Daley's 1961 season was dismal. His batting average plunged 71 points from the previous season to .192 for the season. His on base percentage dropped 67 points to .244 while his slugging percentage took a bigger dive as it dropped 124 points to .266. Pete managed just two home runs all season and grounded into 11 double plays. He struck out 37 times while working just 14 walks.

If Pete tried to look at his defense to redeem the season he was bound to be disappointed. He made four errors behind the plate and allowed seven passed balls. He also allowed 32 stolen bases while catching only 15 attempted thieves.

All in all Pete had an ugly season in the Senator's first year. It was his worst season ever both offensively and defensively. It was also his last as he was released in October of 1962 after spending that season in the minors.

Friday, November 27, 2009

1986 ProCards - Orlando Mercado.

Well, I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday yesterday and took time to thank The Provider for all their blessings. Among my blessings I count baseball cards. More to the point, the fact that I have the extra income and time to collect them.

Today's card is from the 1986 ProCards OKC Eighty-Niners team set. It pictures catcher Orlando Mercado. Orlando's grin says that he has tasted the success of being in the Majors and expects to be there again.

In fact, that was just the case when this picture was taken. Orlando had been playing pro ball since 1978 but only came to the Rangers' organization in 1985. The Rangers had to give the Mariners Donnie Scott in exchange. At that time Orlando already had three Big League campaigns under his belt with the Mariners in 1982, '83, and '84. He would spend the 1985 season and part of 1986 in OKC before getting the call to Arlington.

Before getting called up in 1986 Mercado played in 48 games for the Eighty-Niners. He managed a .273 batting average with a .401 slugging percentage. has only sketchy offensive stats for him and no defensive numbers so that's about all I know. Whatever isn't there must have been impressive enough to get him called up though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Closed for Thanksgiving.

Will be back tomorrow. Wishing everyone a great holiday happily spent with their families. Thanks to all who read, follow, and comment on the blog. God bless.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wantlist - 1981 Fleer.

So the White Sox signed Andruw Jones today. Looks like they are signing all the aging stars the Rangers are letting go. Nice of them. I'm actually glad to see that Jones' tenure with the Rangers worked out to his advantage. Nice to see a comeback of sorts from him.

With it being Wednesday I am posting up a new wantlist. As you can see here on card number 635 of the 1981 Fleer set, I have had John Butcher double check the list. (When this picture was taken he was getting ready to hand the list back to me.) He affirms that there is only one card left on it.

1981 Fleer
622 Fergie Jenkins

So there it is. If anyone has this Fergie card please let me know. We can work out a trade. Help me put this set to bed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1972 Topps - Mike Paul.

Time for another trip to the Rangers' first season. Here we see Mike Paul on card number 577 of the 1972 set. Mike is styling his airbrushed cap and Cleveland Indians sleeveless jersey.

The Rangers obtained Mike in a trade with Cleveland in December of 1971 that also netted them Ken Suarez, Rich Hand, and Roy Foster. At the time Mike was busy bouncing back and forth between the Indians and the minors. In 1971 he had posted a dismal 5.95 ERA and a 2-7 record in 12 starts.

Apparently the move to Texas agreed with Mike. In 1972 he would experience the best season of his career. While his record was 8-9 in 20 starts and 49 games that is a bit deceiving. His ERA was a respectable 2.17 in 161.2 innings pitched. He struck out 108 on the season while walking just 52. Most notably, he allowed just four home runs all season. Perhaps if Mike had gotten some run support a few of those losses and no decisions might have slipped into the win column.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What was he thinking?

In 1988 Tom O'Malley was a utility infielder appearing on a truly ugly Score card, number 534. I mean, this card just doesn't have anything going for it. Not even the design. Yellow on a Rangers card? What was Score thinking?

I suppose I could ask the same thing about Omar Vizquel. Omar signed a one year contract with the White Sox today. That's not the part that raises questions. What makes me wonder is Omar's reported statement that he wasn't returning to the Rangers because he preferred a higher profile team. What did he mean by that? A team the President roots for? A team that had a worse record than the Rangers in 2009? It probably boils down to a team that has deeper pockets.

I understand Omar wanting more money. I don't understand him running his mouth like that. I have always heard that Vizquel is a class act. Not much class on display there. I mean, everyone knows that the Rangers are a small to mid-market team that hasn't ever won a post season series. The fans know the team can't afford to hang on to all the popular players. What's the point in making an issue out of it as you hit the road?

I enjoyed having Vizquel on the team this past season. He was fun to follow and a real star who grabbed my attention when he interviewed or played. Sadly my reaction to him leaving is about the same as when I see Tom O'Malley's 1988 Score card. What was Omar thinking?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Senators Saturday - Gene Woodling, 1961.

After the 1960 season the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. The Capital City wouldn't be without baseball for long though as MLB placed an expansion franchise there the same year. The new team was also called the Washington Senators. That team would play in D.C. for ten years and move to Texas after the 1971 season. As a Rangers collector I have occasionally picked up Senators cards dating from 1961 - 1971. I figured it was only appropriate since that team was the franchise that became the Rangers. I have also decided to feature these pre-Rangers cards on some Saturdays when there is no Rangers news. Any feedback as to this idea would be appreciated.

To kick the series off we see Gene Woodling on card number 275 of the 1961 Topps set. This set is similar to the 1972 Topps set in that every effort is made to avoid showing any kind of uniforms or team logos. I guess that is why Gene's cap is tipped back.

Washington drafted Gene from Baltimore in the 1960 expansion draft. By that time Gene had 17 MLB seasons under his belt and had played for six different teams. He kind of looks a little worn and weary in this picture. In 1961 Gene would play in 110 games for the Senators. He would post a .313 batting average with a .403 on base percentage. This was good enough to lead the team in both categories. In the course of the season he would knock in 57 runs (3rd on the team) and commit only two errors. It really is a wonder that Gene wasn't the All-Star representative for the team.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1986 ProCards - Tommy Dunbar.

Looking at Tommy Dunbar's 1986 ProCards card today. Tommy is having a ball as he models the windbreaker under the jersey look. I mean, just look at that grin. The guy can't be faking that.

Tommy was pictured on both minor and major league cards in 1986. By the time this card came out though Tommy's big league career was over. In 1980 Tommy was drafted by the Rangers and signed. He made his first major league appearance in 1983 as a September call-up. He wrapped up his MLB career in July of 1985.

After that Tommy didn't give up though. He played in the minor leagues until 1991. 1986 would be his last season with the Rangers organization. For the next five years he bounced around between five different organizations.

Two interesting notes on Tommy. While he was mostly an outfielder he did pitch in three games for Memphis in 1990. He went a total of three innings and posted a 3.00 ERA. Not too bad. The other interesting item is Tommy's managing career. In 1993 he managed for the Reds in the Rookie League. He lasted just one season at that endeavor and posted a losing record. Quite the varied career.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pratt's printing.

Today's random autograph card comes from the 2002 SPx Prospects set and is number 142 in the set. The card features Andy Pratt and one of his autographs.

When I first got this card in a lot I wondered who Andy Pratt was. That was as far as I got until today when I decided that I had better look him up on

The first thing that caught my attention was that Andy never played for the Rangers. He was selected in the ninth round of the 1998 draft. He signed shortly thereafter. In the same year he played with the Gulf Coast Rangers in the Rookie League. 1999 was A ball and in 2000 he moved up to Double A. His entire 2001 season was spent at Double A Tulsa.

In April of 2002 the Rangers traded Andy to the Braves for Ben Kozlowski. He finally made his debut with Atlanta in September of that year for one game. In 2004 he showed up four times for the Cubs. Those five games were the extent of Andy's MLB career. Not very many but probably five more than most of us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So here I am at 500 posts since starting this blog. I must say that the just under two years since the start has been very enjoyable. I have met some great folks and made a few nice trades. Hopefully I have been able to entertain you and possibly even make you think once in awhile. I had thought about having a contest or giveaway to mark the occasion. To be honest though, I am not sure I have anything that anyone might want to compete for. Perhaps I will try and secure a few things for the two year mark.

Some things have changed since I started writing. A few blogs I followed have been retired and others have come on the scene. Inspired by some fellow bloggers I have gotten back into the autograph request game. My collecting focus has shifted a bit as well. Jon Matlack, shown here on card 215 of the 1982 Donruss set, is still my main focus. I am surprised looking at my stats to see that I have only posted three of his cards before this one. Ivan Rodriguez and my Rangers collection have flip-flopped on the priority list. I am still a fan of Pudge but am currently more excited about finishing off Rangers team sets.

Speaking of finishing off Rangers team sets, I have decided to start posting some of my wantlists on Wednesdays. I figure I can do a team set at a time. Since I have Jon's 1982 Donruss card up I might as well start with that one. Only need two cards to finish it up:

1982 Donruss
89 Jim Kern
341 Steve Comer

Let me know if you have either of these cards and perhaps we can work a trade. I have older and newer commons from most teams and actually do have a small trade list.

Thanks to everyone for making the first 500 a great time. I will do my best to keep you amused and interested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Congrats Zack!

Zack Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award today. As much as I would have liked to see Scott Feldman with the award, I am glad Zack won it. The Royals need all the lift they can get and it is nice to see a different uniform in the highlight reel.

Since Zack never played for Texas I decided to see if he favorably compares to any pitchers who have. Checking I see that I am in luck. Listed as the third most similar at age 25 (Zack's current age) is none other than Burt Hooton.

Burt played one season for Texas and was a decade past 25 when card 56T in the 1985 Topps Traded set was issued. In his 25th year he played for the Cubs and Dodgers. His ERA was 3.07 as compared to Greinke's 2.16. Hooton went 18-9 in 33 starts while Greinke was 16-8 in the same number of starts. Burt managed 153 strikeouts to 68 walks while Zack went 242 strikeouts to 51 walks.

One you move past the win-loss record it becomes clear that Greinke was the more dominating. Probably why he won the Cy Young Award at age 25 while Burt Hooton didn't get a single vote.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Was he robbed?

Elvis Andrus was featured on card number 944 of the 2009 Upper Deck set. He also played in 145 games for the Rangers this year as he became their starting shortstop in his first season above Double A ball. This for a team in contention until the last three or so games of the season. Andrew Bailey appeared in 68 games for Oakland as he nailed down their closer's slot in his first season in the Bigs. This for a team that was close to elimination by the All-Star break.

Elvis had 541 plate appearances for the Rangers. Bailey faced 325 batters for the A's.

Elvis played 1238 innings for Texas while compiling 261 putouts, 407 assists, 98 double plays, and 22 errors. This translated to a fielding percentage of .968 with a range factor per game of 4.61. The league average was 3.89. Bailey played 83.1 innings for Oakland while compiling 91 strikeouts, allowing 17 runs, 24 walks, and 5 home runs. This translated to a 1.84 ERA. I was unable to locate the league average ERA for closers.

Elvis racked up 128 hits. Of these: 17 were doubles, 8 were triples, and 6 were home runs. He knocked in 40 runs and drew 40 walks. He successfully swiped 33 bases and was caught 6 times. This all translated into a .267 batting average, a .329 on base percentage, and a .373 slugging percentage. His OPS was .702. Bailey never lifted a bat in the five games he was eligible to do so.

Andrew Bailey won the AL Rookie of the Year today. Was Andrus shorted?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Through the mail success.

Working a twelve hour shift today so my time is limited. As such I will leave you with this 1993 Topps Gold card of Matt Whiteside that I received in the mail today. I had sent this card and one other one out to Matt on November 2. He graciously signed and returned both. One unique aspect is that he signed both cards in what looks like red ballpoint pen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Who is Chris Stewart?

Chris Stewart is one of those players that I don't have any recollection of. Here he is though, on card number 254 of the 2007 Allen and Ginter set. This, along with his inclusion in the 2007 Topps regular set, sparked my interest.

According to Chris made his major league debut in 2006 for the White Sox. He appeared in six games for them before being dealt to the Rangers in January of 2007. It was apparently a minor trade as the White Sox received one minor leaguer in return.

In 2007 Chris appeared in 17 games for Texas. This was almost a threefold increase in his playing time from the year before and a career high. According to the almighty Wikipedia, Chris snagged the backup catcher's job in Spring Training of that year. The Rangers then dropped Stewart to Triple A in early June after acquiring Adam Melhuse.

The Rangers released Chris in March of 2008. In April he signed with the Yankees on a minor league contract. He appeared in one game for them on April 29, 2008 before being granted free agency in November. The White Sox signed him in December. In March of this year the Sox sent Chris back to the Yankees for future considerations.

At least Chris has gotten a taste of the majors. That's a lot more than most of us can say. Playing at the Triple A level he is just an injury or two away from another call-up. I suppose that's a decent possibility for a catcher.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Auto at the plate.

Not a lot going on with the Rangers today. As I checked other blogs I came across Dinged Corners challenge to post your favorite three autographs. I decided to take up the challenge in part. Guess I am just not motivated enough to do the whole thing.

I haven't yet decided if this 1986 Topps card of Glenn Brummer is one of my favorite three but it is definitely in the top ten. I got this card back from Glenn on October 19 of this year and in my opinion he did an excellent job of endorsing it. The blue sharpie is almost always the best choice for a Rangers card.

Beyond the signature there are other great aspects to this card. The dust cloud that Glenn and the umpire fade into, the close play at the plate, the ball in Glenn's glove. All great points. Perhaps the best though is the ump's right hand ringing up the incoming Yankee runner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Headache post.

I was hoping that my sinus headache would go away. It hasn't and I am feeling pretty blah.

To match the way I feel I present card number 140 in the 1988 Score set. Even a player as cool as Charlie Hough can't overcome the blah of this set.

Hopefully things are cleared up in the morning.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year is...

No, it's not Kameron Loe. Can you imagine how bad things would have had to be for Kam to get the nod? I mean, he wasn't even with the team this year. So, if it wasn't Loe then why did I post card number 313 from the 2008 Topps set? Well I have a reason, weak though it may be.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America named Scott Feldman as their 2009 Rangers pitcher of the year today, this according to Scooter certainly deserved the honor after hurling his best pro season ever and coming withing a hair's breath of becoming a 20 game winner.

The hitch is that I am out of Topps cards of Scott Feldman. So what to do? Well, according to, Kam Loe is in the top ten of similar pitchers through age 26. So there's the Feldman connection and a way out of my Scooter-less jam. Hopefully Feldman garners more success with Texas after age 26 than Loe did.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1986 ProCards - Rob Clark.

Not much going on with the Rangers today. Reports that they may consider moving some pitching to pick up key position players is about it. Since it is a slow day I decided to hit up the minor leagues again with another installment of "Whatever happened to that guy?"

Today we see starting pitcher Rob (or Bob) Clark on his 1986 ProCards card. I was unable to find much on Rob but was able to determine that he never made the big time.

In Rob's six seasons of pro ball he made it as high as Triple A. He started off in 1982 with the Gulf Coast League Rangers and made the jump to Double A the next year. After four games with Tulsa in 1984 he was promoted to Oklahoma City. Moving up fast.

1985 saw Rob back at Double A for the entire season. In 1986 he made it back up to Triple A and played the whole season for the Eighty Niners. That was the end of the line with Texas. In 1987 Rob was back down in Double A, this time with Houston.

Following the 1987 season Rob disappears. There is no indication as to how he moved from the Rangers to the Astros or why he called it a career. In fact, there was nothing to indicate how the Rangers even acquired Clark in the first place. I was also unable to find out where Rob is today.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Two more file.

Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones both filed for free agency yesterday. Since I don't have cards of either of them I am posting this 1993 Sports Illustrated for Kids card of Nolan Ryan. The only possible connection might be that Nolan is still involved with the team and was a great free agent signing for Texas 21 years ago.

As far as Vizquel is concerned I would like to see him back next year. I wasn't really familiar with him before this past season but I liked what I saw on and off the field. He would be very helpful in a close pennant race. The big question will be if Omar will agree to stay in a utility infielder role.

It looks like to me that the team should let Andruw go. Nolan and the rest of the administration seem to agree as there are no plans to try and hang on to Jones. Andruw didn't have a bust of a season like he did in '08 for the Dodgers but he wasn't his old self either. I still don't think the Rangers should have let Frank Catalanotto go to keep Jones.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The free agent sweepstakes begins.

So the off-season movement has started. One of my least favorite things about modern baseball and the reason that most of my Rangers apparel has no players' names or numbers on it.

Ivan Rodriguez, seen here on card number 260 of the 1996 Fleer set, filed for free agency yesterday. He is interested in playing for two or three more years. The Rangers are at least moderately interested in having him back. No agreement yet though and it is unclear how hard Texas will pursue him. It would be nice to see Pudge retire in a Rangers' uniform but it isn't worth breaking the bank over.

Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Eddie Guardado and Joaquin Benoit also all filed for free agency. I am unsure how the team views Benoit but they are planning on letting Blalock go. Guardado has talked about retiring this off-season and with his struggles towards the end of last season I just can't see the team dropping a lot of cash on him.

Byrd is on the list to re-sign. If it doesn't get done the team will have to look elsewhere for a right-handed bat. Jermaine Dye and Milton Bradley have both come up as possibilities. I would like to keep Marlon but would settle for Dye if need be. Bradley should be avoided at all costs.

In other news, Clint Hurdle has been named the new hitting coach. Hurdle did a decent job for the Rockies before being named as manager. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to The Ballpark in Arlington as opposed to the Rockies' home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yankees jump on top of Phils.

Let me start off by apologizing for missing yesterday's post. Should have had a congratulatory post for the Phillies to recognize their win Monday night. Had to work extra though and am trying to wade through a home improvement project so my time got eaten up.

It's not looking good for the Phils tonight in The Bronx. Hideki Matsui almost single-handedly booted Pedro Martinez from the game as he racked up four RBI. Mark Teixeira, shown here on card number 55 of the 2005 Classic Clippings set, also got in on the act with a RBI single.

Ryan Howard has responded with a homer but it is still 7-3 in the Yankees' favor. Time is running out too since the game is in the seventh inning.

Looks like the moral of the story will be that money can't buy you friends or happiness but it can buy you a championship.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yanks within one.

Alex Rodriguez hammered a double to help the Yankees top the Phillies last night 7-4. Alex, seen here on card number 333 of the 2004 MLB Showdown set, was also hit in the first inning by pitcher Joe Blanton. That makes the third time A-Rod has been plunked by Philly pitching during the World Series. Is it intentional or just the hurlers trying to go inside and going too far?

The win last night puts the Yankees to within one of winning the series. The Phillies would have to win three straight to pull off a comeback. Not to sound pessimistic but I doubt they can do it. I fear we will see a Yankee title and have to suffer through the off-season hearing about it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Replacing Rudy.

The Rangers announced late yesterday that they are down to four finalists to replace Rudy Jaramillo as hitting coach.

Rusty Greer, shown here on card number 513 of the 1995 Donruss set, is probably the fan favorite but is likely the dark horse of the bunch. Rusty was a Ranger from 1994 to 2002. He played his entire career for Texas and was wildly popular with the fans. He also managed a career .305 batting average with a .387 on base percentage. Rusty has never been a hitting coach though and has never coached above the college level.

Clint Hurdle is interested in the job after getting fired as manager by the Rockies early this season. Before becoming Colorado's manager Clint was their hitting coach from 1997-2002.

Thad Bosley was the A's hitting coach from 1999-2002. This would have been at the same time Ron Washington was on the Oakland coaching staff. Bosley has a Rangers connection after logging the final two seasons of his career with them in 1989 and 1990.

Gerald Perry is the fourth candidate. He has been a hitting coach since 2000 for a total of four different teams. He is looking for work after getting sacked by the Cubs in June.

So it's down to the final four. These guys will all get face-to-face interviews. Who will get the job? Any thoughts?

Belated post.

Sorry about not posting last night. Had a work function in the evening and then watched the last part of game two of the World Series before running out of gas. Please consider this to be yesterday's post.

Have to post a card of Mark Teixeira as much as I would rather put one up to celebrate a Phillies win. Money Man, shown here with a piece of his jersey in Upper Deck's 2005 Game Jersey set, hit a solo home run off Pedro Martinez to tie the game in the fourth inning. A later shot by Hideki Matsui would give The Empire a one run lead and that would be all they would need. They did tack on an insurance run in the seventh though.

At least the 3-1 game wasn't the thumping the Phillies handed the Yankees in the first game. Hopefully the momentum hasn't swung and the Phils will be able to take advantage of being at home tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New hope.

In honor of the Phillies' 6-1 victory in game one of the World Series I am posting Jamie Moyer's 1991 Score card, number 437 in the set. I know Jamie is out hurt for the Series but he is the only former Ranger represented on the Phils that I am aware of.*

Anyway, good game guys. Awesome pitching performance by Cliff Lee and the offense never said die either. Gotta tighten up that ninth inning defense a little though or the Empire will strike back.

All the same, it did my heart good to see the Yanks trounced in their home park. Perhaps Philly can pull it off.

*Thanks to reader Raymond, I have been corrected. There are at least two other former Rangers with the Phillies. One is Chan Ho Park whom I have previously mentioned in connection with this post-season. Oops.