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.