Friday, July 31, 2009

Dutch, Old Man go to town.

Derek Holland was a star of last night's game for Texas. I can't find a card of Holland though so I'll go with Michael Young for today's card, number 215 of the 2003 Donruss set. Michael isn't the second choice for star of the game, he is a co-star. The Old Man of the team and the new kid, sounds like a TV show. Let's start with Dutch.

I have seriously lost faith in Derek Holland over the course of the season. I just couldn't see what all the hype was about. All the talk about him being the future of the Rangers and I couldn't see it. Sure he was good for a couple of innings out of the pen but he always seemed to melt down for at least one inning when he started. Since he is billed as a starter that does have bearing on the situation. Still not completely sold on Dutch but if he pitched in the minors like he did last night I can see why folks were raving about him. Derek went 8.2 innings last night and gave up only two hits and one run. He walked one while whiffing ten. Talk about dominating. The Mariners didn't stand a chance offensively.

As it turned out, Seattle got pounded defensively as well. The Rangers' guns woke up and smashed seven runs across the plate. Five of those runs were the batters crossing after launching home runs. Michael Young was in the thick of the action as he went 3-for-4 and while sending two balls out of the park. Mike scored all three times he was on base and picked up two more RBI on the season. He also bounced his batting average up to .326. For being the old guy on the team he sure is moving.

Speaking of moving, the win put Texas to only three games behind the idle Angels. Anaheim opens a series with the Twins tonight so there is a possibility that the Rangers can pick up some ground if they can keep winning.

As far as any other moves, there weren't any for Texas. The Rangers made no trades as the trading deadline passed today. There had been some talk about a possible deal with Toronto for Roy Halladay but that illustrious personage declined to consider playing in a Rangers' uniform. Just as well I am thinking. Jon Daniels would have had to strip the farm system to get him and he would have been off goldbricking with the Evil Empire within two years. Best to dance with the one who brung ya as the saying goes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cesar's sig.

Last night was ugly. The Tigers manhandled Scott Feldman. Scooter suffered his worst start of the season as he went only 2.1 innings and gave up six earned runs. The bullpen couldn't stop the bleeding either. The final score was 13-5 Detroit. Ouch!

The trading deadline is also looming. Lots of teams are still in contention and looking to make a deal. There are rumors but Jon Daniels is saying that he isn't sure he can swing a deal for the Rangers.

Cesar King is one player who probably wished for a trade when he was in the Rangers' farm system. King, seen here on card #CK1 of the 1999 SP Signature Edition set, played minor league ball for Texas from 1996 to 2000. That was right in the middle of Ivan Rodriguez's heyday. Effectively blocked by Pudge, King never saw the Bigs. He eventually got away from Pudge's shadow and played a few years for Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Cincinnati. By then it was too late though, his best seasons were behind him. Just as he got the chance to make the big leap, his offense and defense dipped. By age 24 he was done.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kinsler goes down as Texas downs Detroit.

Texas won last night's game against Detroit 7-3 behind a hodge-podge of pitching. Vicente Padilla was scratched from the start due to the flu. In his place Doug Mathis was pressed into service. He lasted four innings and gave up all three of Detroit's runs. Jason Grilli then went two innings. Eddie Guardado, Darren O'Day, and Guillermo Moscoso all went one inning each. Some nice stop-gap pitching to take the series from the Tigers.

There was a downside though. In the sixth inning Ian Kinsler was trying unsuccessfully to beat out an infield hit. He strained a hamstring and is now day-to-day. That's going to hurt the Rangers I am afraid. Kinsler, seen here on card number 175 of the 2008 Upper Deck Heroes Charcoal set, had appeared in 96 out of 98 games so far in the season. Hopefully he can get back in action soon.

As a result of the Kinsler injury, Omar Vizquel got the start at second tonight. For insurance, the club called Joaquin Arias up from Triple A. They had to option Doug Mathis in order to do that.

Frank Francisco threw batting practice this afternoon. He says that he is over the flu and ready to pitch any time the Rangers are ready to have him back.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hunter keeps Texas in the hunt.

Tommy Hunter was undoubtedly a key component in the Rangers' win last night. In seven innings of work he allowed just one run. That lowered his ERA to 2.00. Tommy struck out six while only walking two to get his third win of the season. Sadly, I don't have a Topps Tommy Hunter card to post today.

Fortunately, Tommy wasn't the only bright spot for Texas as they topped Detroit 5-2. Michael Young went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. One of his hits was a home run. That performance scores Michael today's card, number 41 in the 2004 Topps set.

Other notable offensive contributions included a two RBI double from Hank Blalock, a solo homer from Nelson Cruz, and a 2-for-3 night from Elvis Andrus. On the defensive side of things Josh Hamilton made a gravity-defying catch while playing right field, David Murphy picked up an outfield assist as he gunned down Curtis Granderson, and C.J. Wilson picked up his eleventh save as he struck out three of the four batters he faced.

Some good ball from the guys and they move up a game in the standings. A good night at the park.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Road trip recap.

Had a good trip to Kansas City this past weekend to see the Rangers come to town.

In Friday's game we watched as Scott Feldman tossed eight shutout innings, his longest outing of the season. C.J. Wilson came on in the ninth to keep the Royals handcuffed and save the shutout. Marlon Byrd, shown here on card number TEX8 of the 2008 Topps Texas Rangers set, knocked a home run in the fourth inning to tag Zack Grienke with the loss. It was Zack's sixth loss of the season. The guys managed to add an insurance run in the eighth off the Royals' bullpen to make the final 2-0.

Saturday's game started off well as the Rangers scored in the first, third, and fourth to make it 3-0 Texas. The Royals came back in the fourth to score a run. In the fifth though Derek Holland suffered his now traditional meltdown and allowed three runs to give up the lead. That was enough to sink Texas but KC added two more off of Jennings in the seventh. Holland is now 3-6 on the season with a 6.13 ERA. Perhaps a trip back to the minors to learn how to avoid the meltdown inning could be in order.

All in all a good weekend. Nice weather, the refurbished Kauffman Stadium is much better than last year, and Spiff Jr. scored a Josh Hamilton autograph on Saturday. Didn't manage to pull off a meeting with Micah over at Baseball is my Boyfriend, perhaps another time when the Rangers are at The K. At least with the win last night though the Rangers took the series from KC and made their trip to KC as enjoyable as mine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rangers go for sweep against Boston.

Quick post tonight. Trying to get ready to be off to see two Rangers/Royals games this weekend. That will probably put a hold on any further posts until Monday.

In spite of being hammered by the flu. the Rangers haven't slowed down. They are currently leading the Red Sox 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning and have already knocked Clay Buchholz out of the game.

David Murphy, shown here on card number 188 of the 2008 Goudey set, has done his part to keep the train moving. He is currently sitting on 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored and a stolen base.

Speaking of stolen bases, so far the guys are robbing Jason Veritek blind. They have five steals in the game. Unreal. Hopefully the last few innings go as well as the first part of the game has.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Hammer pounds the BoSox.

Hank Blalock has been on an offensive resurgence since taking over at first base from Chris Davis. Apparently getting to play every day has its advantages.

In the past two days Hank has gone to town on Red Sox pitching. For the two games he has gone a total of 4-for-7 and that against some decent pitchers. Those numbers put Hank's 2005 Topps card, number 20 in the set, up today.

Last night John Smoltz took the loss for the BoSox as Texas handed Kevin Millwood a 6-3 win. Hank went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. One of his hits was a double and he managed to avoid the strikeout all night.

Tonight the Rangers beat Josh Beckett 4-2 as Tommy Hunter snagged his second win of the season. The Hammer was present again, going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Once again he avoided the K.

That's a two decent performances in a row against some pretty good pitching. That's also the kind of production the Rangers are going to need out of Hank in order to compete to the end of the season.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kinsler konnects in extras.

Ian Kinsler, shown here on card number 171 of the 2005 Bowman set, has not been doing real well at the plate lately. It appears that he has been over aggressive and hasn't really been working the count. Most of the time that approach doesn't pay off. In fact, some people have opined that such an approach is what cost Kins an All-Star spot. It did the job last night though.

Kinsler started the game with a lead-off homer in the first inning. He ended it in the 12th inning with a walk-off homer off of former Ranger R.A. Dickey. In between he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. While the game ending home run was nice it would be even nicer to see more consistency. Kinsler's homers did help Texas avoid the sweep by Minnesota by putting them on top 5-3.

Also of note last night was David Murphy's performance. Murph was a late insertion into the lineup after Nelson Cruz was scratched with a fractured ring finger. David made the most of his opportunity as he went 3-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. His hits included a double. Amazingly, Murph picked up no RBI and didn't score a single run.

Also during last night's game Andruw Jones lost a home run to the instant replay. According to the announcers the shot was foul so no beef there. It was the first time in Arlington that instant replay has reversed a call.

Frank Francisco was unavailable last night because he was sick. Today the Rangers placed him on the DL for pneumonia. The way things are sounding he should be back on Sunday against the Royals.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

1986 ProCards - Don Welchel.

Texas lost last night to the Twins 5-3. Josh Hamilton was responsible for all of the Rangers' RBI. Spiff Jr. was at the ballgame with Grandpa and called this morning to tell me that Hamilton's home run "went a long way." Fortunantly the Angels also lost so Texas is still only two games out of first. Other than that the main news seems to be that David Murphy has been taking some infield practice at first base. Apparently he is an emergency back-up.

With the slow day it seemed like an opportune time to take a look at a minor league card and play "Whatever happened to that guy?" Today's subject comes to us from the 1986 ProCards Eighty Niners team set. Pitcher Don Welchel.

Don played one year in the Rangers' organization. In 1986 he started 25 games and went 12-9 on the year while posting a 3.99 ERA. He never got the call with Texas and went to the Royals for two years in the minors before the end of his career.

Don did play in the majors though, for Baltimore in 1982 and 1983. He appeared in a total of 13 games in those two seasons, all in relief. His career Major League ERA stands at 5.81 in 31 innings pitched. Perhaps Kevin over at Orioles Card "O" the Day has some more information on Don's time with Baltimore.

All told Welchel put in part or all of eleven seasons in the minors between 1978 and 1988. During that time he spent parts of two seasons in the Bigs. A lot of work for a couple of cameo appearances. I wonder if Don ever regretted hanging on as long as he did.

Friday, July 17, 2009

1972 Topps - Paul Lindblad.

The Rangers go back into action tonight two games behind the first place Angels. Hopefully the guys can come out of the break firing on all cylinders. Supposedly Texas is talking to the Blue Jays about Roy Halladay. They are apparently a long shot. That doesn't bother me since I am still not sure about the idea of giving the Jays what they will probably ask for Halladay.

Since there isn't a lot to report, I decided to take another look at the 1972 Topps team set. As an aside, I just recently completed this set and am now planning on concentrating on 1973. Anyway, Paul Lindblad puts on an appearance today on card number 396. Paul appears to be punching the photographer. Perhaps that is why he was allowed to keep his cap on.

Paul joined the Senators in May of 1971 in the same trade that brought in Don Mincher and Frank Fernandez. Paul put up decent numbers out of the bullpen for Washington in 1971. That winter he made the move to Texas with the rest of the team.

In 1972 Lindblad would appear in a league leading 66 games and toss 99.2 innings. In that span he would post a 2.62 ERA and save nine games while finishing 33. The save to finish ratio wasn't necessarily a reflection on Paul though, he was 5-8 on the year. Being a Ranger pitcher in 1972 was just plain rough. The team lost 100 games and managed only 54 wins. Hard to get many save opportunities in that type of situation.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Royce's writing.

Ok, so we'll move on past Ian Kinsler and his failure to make the All-Star team. At least Nelson Cruz made it and turned in a respectable Home Run Derby performance. Hopefully that won't throw his swing off.

With not much else going on today in baseball I decided to take a look in the auto and game-used box. This 1999 SP Signature Edition card of Royce Clayton is what I came up with for today's card.

I like this SP set. The background colors match the uniforms and there is a nice space beside the player's picture for the autograph. At the same time the player's picture is a nice size as well. The autograph actually being on-card is icing on the cake. At first I couldn't quite tell what is going on in the picture. I finally settled on Royce preparing to flip his bat towards the dugout after taking a walk. That seems better than him looking back at the umpire in disbelief after being called out on strikes.

Hopefully this card is a good sign for the rest of the season. Royce played on two of Texas' three post-season teams in two and a partial seasons with the team. In his time with the Rangers he played in 333 games and turned in a .267 batting average. I really don't remember Royce in a Ranger's uniform since that was during my time away from the game and collecting. I do remember when he came up with the Giants and was big news.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The kase for Kinsler - Pena.

Today we see Ian Kinsler on card number 175 of the 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes set. After Ian had lost to Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Inge in the fan voting it appeared that Kinsler's chances to take part in yesterday's game were dead. Then Dustin Pedroia withdrew from the game to be with his wife during a difficult pregnancy. A wise decision by Pedroia. Immediately speculation began that American League manager Joe Maddon would choose Kinsler to replace Pedroia. He did not, he chose his own first baseman, Carlos Pena. Was Pena a better choice than Kinsler? Let's take a look.

Up to this point in the season Carlos Pena has appeared in 88 games, played 758.2 innings, and appeared at the plate 379 times. Ian Kinsler has made 85 games, played 756 innings, and appeared in the batter's box 395 times. The three additional games might give Pena a slight advantage in durability but that is probably balanced by Kinsler's 16 additional plate appearances.

On offense Pena spends most of his time in the number four slot. He leads Kinsler in on base percentage .364 to .327. He has more walks, 60 to 39. He also has four more homers at 24 and three more RBI at 58. Both players have scored 62 runs and have 19 doubles. Pena is the only player that he lost out to that Kinsler leads in average, .250 to .228. He also has 61 fewer strikeouts than Pena's 111 and one more triple. Ian has swiped 17 more bases than Pena (18-1) and has only been caught one time more (2-1). It seems that Kinsler leads in average and speed while Pena has the pole as far as power and patience at the plate. Looks like an overall tie.

Once again, defense is hard to compare since the two players man different positions. Kinsler has six errors on the season while Pena has eight. Depending on your view of the difficulty of playing second as compared to first, this might be of importance. Pena does beat Kinsler in fielding percentage with a .989 average as compared to Kinsler's .987. Pretty close though. Looks like another tie.

So, should Maddon have taken Kinsler instead of Pena? Well, it depends on what kind of game he was planning on playing. Over all the two players are comparable and it makes sense for Maddon to take the one he was familiar with. As much as I hate to see Ian left out, I can't blame Joe Maddon for this one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The kase for Kinsler - Inge.

Ok, so it is understandable why Dustin Pedroia beat Ian Kinsler out of the second sacker spot for the All-Star game. I don't feel that it was the correct decision by the fans, but I can agree to disagree on that one. In the vote for the final spot though Ian lost out to Brandon Inge. Here are how the two compare.

As noted yesterday, Kinsler has played in 85 games this year and logged 756 innings in the field. Inge has appeared in 86 games while putting in 749.1 innings. Pretty close at first glance. Looking a little closer we find that Ian has 395 plate appearances while Inge has 345. Considering innings played and plate appearances, slight edge to Kinsler in durability.

At first glance Inge holds the edge in offense with a .268 average compared to Kinsler's .250. Not a very significant difference though when one considers that Kinsler is a leadoff man and Inge spends most of his time in the six hole. Inge also holds the edge in on base percentage with a .360 as compared to .327, that is significant. After that Brandon begins to lose ground. Inge has struck out 85 times as compared to Kinsler's 50 and has 35 walks to Ian's 39. He is seven hits behind Ian, 87-80 and has scored eleven times less 62-51. Some of the runs scored may be accounted for by batting order but Inge's lead in RBI (58-55) should be greater as well. Once on base, Kinsler has swiped 18 bags and only been caught twice while Inge has two steals and has been snagged himself four times. Ian has grounded into five double plays while Inge has kicked off eight twin killings. The power numbers also seem to favor Kinsler. He has 19 doubles, 2 triples, and 20 home runs. Brandon answers with 9 doubles, 1 triple, and 21 home runs. I'll trade one homer for 10 doubles and a triple any day of the week. In speed and power Kinsler holds a clear advantage over Inge. Offensive advantage: Kinsler.

Defense is a little harder to compare since Kinsler is a second baseman and Inge plays third. As such, the comparison may be flawed and the difference in positions must be remembered. Kinsler leads in errors with six to Inge's ten. Double plays are not important because middle infielders will always have more than a third baseman. Kinsler's .987 fielding percentage seems to be way ahead of Inge's .959 though. (By comparison, Michael Young is carrying a .968 in his first year at third.) I am not sure that range factor can fairly be compared. Based on errors and fielding percentage Kinsler beats Inge handily.

Kinsler comes out with a slight advantage in durability but seems to pull away in offense and defense. It seems to be pretty clear that the fans made a mistake on this one.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The kase for Kinsler - Pedroia.

As I write this the All-Star Home Run Derby is in progress. The players taking part in the game tomorrow are in St. Louis for the festivities. One player who was at the game last year but isn't this year is Ian Kinsler, seen here on card number 341 of the 2005 Topps Heritage set.

Ian led American League second basemen in fan voting until the last few hours and then lost to Dustin Pedroia in a late surge. He then finished second to Brandon Inge in the final roster spot voting. Pedroia bowed out and it was assumed that Kinsler would replace him. Instead Joe Maddon picked Carlos Pena to finish out the A.L. roster. All this made me want to see just how Ian compared to the guys who are going to the game instead of him.

Here is what I found for Dustin Pedroia v. Ian Kinsler so far in 2009. Kinsler has played in 85 games while Pedroia has kept pace with 84. In those games Kinsler has gone 756 innings while Pedroia has managed 745.1. Perhaps a slight edge in durability for Kinsler. Not enough to sway the decision though.

On offense Dustin seems to easily beat Ian. Pedroia has 393 plate appearances while Kinsler has 395, no significant difference. Pedroia pulls away in average at .303 while Kinsler checks in at .250. Dustin's on base percentage is .378 as compared to .327 for Kinsler. Kinsler has also struck out 50 times compared to 27 for Pedroia while Dustin has knocked 105 hits as compared to 87 for Ian. Clear advantage Pedroia in those four categories for Pedroia. Runs scored appear to be a wash with Ian scoring 62 and Dustin crossing the plate 65 times. Pedroia holds a clear lead in doubles 30-19. Triples are practically the same, two for Kinsler and one for Dustin. Ian is way out ahead in homers, 20-4 and leads in RBI as well, 55-40. He also has 18 stolen bases and has only been caught twice. Pedroia has 14 swipes with 5 arrests. Kinsler has avoided all but five double plays while Pedroia has grounded into 13. A point perhaps worth considering is that Kinsler spends most of his plate time leading off while Pedroia hits in the number two slot. All things considered, Dustin Pedroia seems to have the advantage in average and on base while Kinsler comes out ahead in power and speed. Seems reasonable to give Pedroia the nod on offense though.

On defense things might be different. Kinsler has 6 errors to Pedroia's 5 and a .987 fielding percentage to Pedroia's .986. Pretty close to identical. In range factor though, things change. Per nine innings Kinsler ranks at 5.32 compared to 4.26 for Pedroia. Per game the numbers run 5.26 and 4.20 respectively. Kinsler has turned 66 double plays as compared to Pedroia's 46. Advantage to Kinsler on defense.

So, what is the conclusion. Well, depending on what side to the plate you are standing on it is reasonable that Pedroia would beat Kinsler. He has the edge in defense and the durability is a wash. On defense Kinsler ranks but that isn't as attractive to fans as the bat. Of course, Kinsler has 16 more homers than Pedroia and chicks dig the longball. Perhaps the most important digit isn't even a number. When it comes to helmets and caps, Pedroia wears a "B" on the front of his as compared to Kinsler's "T". That may be the biggest difference.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Catching up.

Wow! A lot has happened the last couple of days. Sorry about not posting since Tuesday. Seemed like every time I started to post something would come up. Ok, on to the Rangers.

Wins on Tuesday and Wednesday put the Rangers out in front of the Angels by one game. A loss last night dropped them back to only a half game ahead.

Tuesday was Josh Hamilton and Hank Blalock's night. Josh went 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and run scored. Hank managed 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Neither struck out all night. Texas won 8-5.

Wednesday was the Jones and Padilla show. Vicente Padilla went six plus innings and allowed only one run. He rang up four strikeouts and only gave up one walk. Meanwhile Andruw Jones was on a romp. He went 3-for-5 with one strikeout. The three hits were all home runs and he got four RBI out of the deal. Those performances were good for an 8-1 Angels beating.

Tommy Hunter came out of the game last night a winner. In six innings he allowed no runs on four hits. Not bad for a spot starter. Darren O'Day did his part with a scoreless seventh. The Rangers pitcher for the eighth was C.J. Wilson, shown here on his 2008 Dr. Pepper card. Wilson gave up a hit and a walk before allowing a three run homer. Seattle over Texas 3-1.

Off the field things are starting to gear up for the Mid-Summer Classic. Michael Young and Josh Hamilton were named to the All-Star team. Hamilton as a starter. Ian Kinsler lost out to Dustin Pedroia in the initial vote and to Brandon Inge in the vote for the final slot. He may still go though since Pedroia is considering withdrawing from the game due to his wife's difficult pregnancy. This afternoon Nelson Cruz was named to the team as an injury replacement for Torii Hunter. No Rangers' pitchers made the team.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Josh returns.

Josh is back! Last night was Josh Hamilton's first night back from the DL and his surgery. Even though the Rangers lost the game a first place to the Angels, Josh had a good night.

Hamilton, shown here on card number 439 of the 2008 Topps set, went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He did strike out twice but left no men on base.

Sadly to effect did not rub off on the rest of the team. Kevin Millwood was touched up for more runs than he gave up in all of June. Not good. Hopefully the guys can come back and win tonight. If they can win tonight and tomorrow then they can still come out on top.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Davis heads north.

The Rangers won last night 5-2 over the Devil Rays. Scott Feldman picked up his seventh win of the season while Frank Francisco notched his 14th save. Feldman's ERA is now at 3.91 for the season. He's been looking pretty good. The team now heads out to the left coast for a series with Anaheim that starts tonight. Important series, the current tie for first will be broken one way or the other by the time the Rangers leave Haloville.

Chris Davis, shown here on card number BDP14 of the 2008 Bowman Draft Picks set, went 1-for-4 with one hit and one strikeout last night. The hit was an infield single that Chris managed with a headfirst slide. That left his average at .202. This morning the Rangers sent Chris to Triple A as they activated Josh Hamilton.

Sad to see Davis get demoted but it is probably for the best. He has been struggling to reach the Mendoza Line all season. If he hadn't gotten sent down he might well have broken the MLB record for most strikeouts in the first half of the season. Some time up in OKC will take the pressure off and allow him to work on hitting while maintaining his stellar defense. Hopefully this is just a temporary assignment and he'll be back to being Crush Davis shortly.

During Davis' absence Hank Blalock will likely get quite a bit of time in at first. His average is still under .300 but it is 39 points higher than Davis'. What concerns me is his defense. Davis is a Gold Glove worthy first sacker, Blalock is not by any stretch. Time to cross the fingers and hope for a quick recovery for Davis' bat so Texas can get his glove back.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrate the 4th!

John Adams was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, second President of the United States, and filled numerous other roles of service to the country from before the Revolution to his death. He died on July 4, 1826.

Adams was a prolific writer and speaker. His thoughts may apply to us even today. He seemed to know what his job was: "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy."

Adams had a warning for future generations though: "Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people."

What general knowledge? Well, he seemed to have two things in mind: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Additionally: "Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom." Sound advice.

John Adams wasn't so busy that he couldn't cut loose on occasion. He wrote to his wife what he envisioned Independence Day celebrations to be like. He said, "
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

Something tells me that President John Adams wouldn't have thought it amiss to observe the day with fireworks, cookouts, and baseball. He might have even wanted to sit in the bleachers with a hotdog. After all, "As much as I converse with Sages and Heroes, they have very little of my Love or Admiration." Sounds like he would have been much more comfortable out in the seats rather than a climate controlled suite.

Friday, July 3, 2009

1972 Topps - Ted Kubiak.

Texas was off last night but Anaheim won. That puts the Rangers a full game out of first going into tonight's action. Hopefully the guys can keep the winning going.

With the off night last night and no other Rangers news I decided to once again revisit the 1972 Topps set. Today we have card number 23, Ted Kubiak. The 1972 Topps Baseball blog has a pretty good write up on Ted here. Since it's much better than I normally do I will make a few comments and leave it at that.

46 games in 1972 would be the sum total of Ted's career with the Rangers. He managed a .205 batting average with no home runs. He had 12 walks and 12 strikeouts. He managed only seven RBI in his 130 plate appearances while scoring just five times himself.

Ted would be gone by July 20th of 1972 in a trade with the A's. Texas also sent Don Mincher and received Vic Harris, Marty Martinez, and Steve Lawson in return.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blalock saves Texas closer.

Hank Blalock delivered last night against the Angels. He went 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. Two of his hits were home runs and the second home run was a walk-off homer in the ninth inning to win the game for the Rangers.

He also delivered this morning. When I checked the mail I found this card. I had sent this 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings card to Hank care of the Rangers and asked for Blalock's autograph. I sent it in June of last year just before he got hurt the second time. Following that injury I had given the card up as lost. Not so. The Hammer signed it and got it back to me. Now that's a home run. Thanks Hank.

Hank's home run saved Frank Francisco's bacon. In one inning pitched Frank gave up two walks, two hits (one of them a home run), and three earned runs. That performance is what made Blalock's walk-off homer necessary. Ron Washington said yesterday before the ball game that Francisco is back to being the closer. His performance last night was not very closerish it seems. Hopefully it was just a rough spot and Frank will get it back together again.