Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wantlist - 1997 Fleer.

So, Colby Lewis looked pretty sharp in his outing against the Diamondbacks yesterday. Two runs in 7.1 innings. Not too bad. Keeps the Rangers in a position to win when the starter does that. In other news, the team is still pondering the need for a back-up right-handed hitting first baseman. Matt Brown is the leading candidate at this point. Ian Kinsler is most likely going to start the 2010 season on the DL as a result of his sprained ankle.

Juan Gonzalez started the 1997 season on the DL as well. He was still featured on card 747 in the 1997 Fleer set, a Rangers team checklist. This is another set design by Fleer that I like. Minimal design and no gloss so good for autographs. Nice looking set and one that I am only a couple of cards away from completing. Here is what I need:

1997 Fleer
219 Will Clark
222 Rusty Greer

Only two cards left. If you have either or both and are willing to part with them (or have any cards previously listed on wantlist posts) then shoot me an email. I am sure we can work out a trade.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

1973 Topps - Bill Fahey.

So Andres Blanco seems to have won the utility infielder position and might even be the Opening day second baseman if Ian Kinsler isn't ready. That's got to be a blow to Joaquin Arias and Esteban German who have been trying to get that spot nailed down all spring. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back to playing in A games and is hoping to be ready by Opening Day. Still some uncertainty behind the plate though. It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out with less than a week to go before Opening Day 2010.

1973 must have been a year of uncertainty behind the plate for Bill Fahey, seen here on card number 186 of the 1973 Topps set. After spending parts of the 1971 and '72 seasons with the Senators and Rangers he spent the entire 1973 season in Triple A. Apparently with Ken Saurez, Dick Billings, and Rick Stelmaszek on the roster the team just didn't have room for Bill.

Bill didn't waste his time in the minors though. He posted a .278 batting average with 44 RBI in 104 games. He also posted a .987 fielding percentage. That was almost as good as the Rangers starting catcher, Ken Suarez.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Minor League Monday - Dale Mohorcic, 1986 ProCards.

I know, we just had a minor league card on Friday. So what's up with another one just a couple of days later? Well, with the only big news out of Rangers camp being that Scott Feldman will start opening day I was wondering what to post. My wife suggested that I start a Minor League Monday to go along with Topps Tuesday, Wantlist Wednesday, and Senators Saturday. Seemed like a good idea. With that in mind I will try to keep the minor league cards to Monday.

Although not the first minor league card Dale Morhorcic will be the first on an official Minor League Monday. Dale's not too excited though, by the time he appeared on this 1986 ProCards Eighty-Niners card he was a minor league veteran. Of course his lack of excitement could also be attributed to the fact that ProCards couldn't get his last name spelled right.

Dale started his career in pro ball with an unaffiliated team in Victoria, British Columbia in 1978. At the end of that season the Mussels sold him to the Blue Jays who assigned him to Single A ball. In January of 1980 the Jays released him. In April of that year the Pirates picked him up and he was back in Single A ball. Four years later he had made it to Triple A just in time to be granted free agency.

The Rangers signed him in May of 1985. He played one season for OKC before becoming a free agent again that September. Texas waited until February of 1986 before re-signing him. 16 games later he got the call and hopped the OKC-Arlington shuttle. After eight plus seasons in the minors, Dale Mohorcic was off to the Big Show.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Senators Saturday - Frank Howard, 1968.

Frank Howard had shown flashes of what was coming in 1968 but that year was the the start of his reign as Washington's undisputed power king. Here we see Frank on card number 320 of the 1968 Topps set.

As the team's starting left fielder in '68 Frank appeared in 158 games. He logged 1,337.2 innings in the field, the majority in left field although he did play some first base. He handled 655 chances in that time and made 19 errors for a .971 fielding percentage. That was below the league average.

At the plate is where Hondo really shown. In 1968 he had 663 plate appearances. 54 of those he worked for walks and 164 for hits. His .274 batting average was top in the Senators' starting lineup and his .338 on base percentage tied for the top team mark. He also led the team in home runs (44), RBI (106), doubles (28), runs scored (79), total bases (330) and slugging percentage (.552). His 141 strikeouts were also the most on the team.

Frank's home runs, total bases, and slugging percentage led the league as well as the team. His RBI were second in the league. That resulted in an All-Star appearance, Howard's first. The Senators may have gone off the cliff in 1968 but Big Frank Howard was just hitting his stride. The future looked bright for the bespectacled big leaguer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

1986 ProCards - Jeff Kunkel.

It seems like I am getting in a rut on Fridays with minor league cards the last two weeks and now today. Going to be nice to see the regular season start and at least have games to talk about. Not that I dislike the minor league angle but I would rather have the season rolling and have some variety.

Jeff Kunkel's position designation on his 1986 ProCard is about as accurate as one can get. To be totally accurate though it would need to read "E" for everywhere. Jeff was a utility player in the truest since of the word. A quick look at his MLB career shows that he played every position except catcher. That includes DH and pitcher.

Jeff was the Rangers' first round pick in the 1983 draft and the team held high hopes for him. In fact, by the time the 1986 season rolled around, Jeff had already made his Major League debut. In 1986 though he would appear in only eight games for the Rangers, the rest of his season would be with Oklahoma City.

Baseball-Reference has no fielding records for Jeff while he was with OKC in 1986 other than to indicate that he played shortstop. His offensive numbers are there but have some pretty big gaps. In 111 games he had 409 at bats and managed 100 hits. 16 of those hits were doubles, four were triples, and 11 were home runs. All that translated into a .244 batting average and a .384 slugging percentage. Most of the rest of the numbers are missing. Makes it kind of hard to say what sort of season Jeff had for the Eighty-Niners.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ten days out.

So it's getting down to crunch time in Spring Training. Players are getting cut or sent down and rosters are getting finalized. Only ten days left until Opening Day 2010.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia says that he is pain free now. He took batting practice this morning and said everything felt fine. This after being sidelined for a week with muscle spasms. Hoepfully he will be able to get in shape quickly. He only has about eight more games he can play in before the start of the season. It will be interesting to see if he makes the Opening Day roster.

Ron Washington says that he isn't bothered just yet by the Rangers record this Spring. He does say that this is the day to start ramping things up for the season. Time to get in the habit of winning. Good idea. Ron is also impressed by Julio Borbon's play in center. Apparently Borbon has made some marked improvement over last year. This is good news as it will probably save some wear and tear on Josh Hamilton. Vladimir Guerrero is also on Washington's good list. So far he's been impressed with what he's seen. More welcome news. I would like to see this signing work out well.

Coming down to crunch time in the Devil Rays camp as well. Former Ranger Hank Blalock is surprisingly still in camp. Hank, shown here on a auto/jersey version of his 2003 Donruss Gamers card (46/50), wasn't given much of a chance to make the team when he reported in earlier this month. Manager Joe Maddon even said that he didn't see Blalock being with the team when they broke camp. Now Joe says that, "I think Blalock coming in and doing as well as he has, has raised questions I didn't have in the beginning,"

It's about time to answer some of those questions in all the MLB camps. The teams only have about ten days to come up with their final answers. Here's to the Rangers getting an "A" on their answer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wantlist - 1996 Fleer.

Well, after a horrific design in 1995 Fleer came back the following year with one of it's better ones. The 1996 cards, demonstrated here by Ed Vosberg on card number U91, were a marked improvement over the preceding year. I generally like the border-less look and 1996 Fleer is no exception. It also helps that the cards are not glossy and so are ideal for autographs.

I'm still quite a ways from completing the Rangers team set from 1996 Fleer though. Here are the cards I need:

1996 Fleer
248 Jeff Frye
253 Roger McDowell
255 Otis Nixon
256 Luis Ortiz
257 Mike Pagliarulo
258 Dean Palmer
261 Kenny Rogers
262 Jeff Russell
264 Bob Tewksbury
U92 Craig Worthington

Still quite a number of cards left. If you can knock out any from this list and are willing to part with them (or have any cards previously listed on wantlist posts) then shoot me an email. I am sure we can work out a trade.

Speaking of trades. I have noticed in my collecting that there are some teams (e.g. Yankees, Dodgers, White Sox, Red Sox, etc.) that seem to be very popular. So much so that I can hardly build up a decent stack of their cards before a trade proposal comes in. There are other teams however where the exact opposite is true. Here are the slowest-moving teams in my trade box:
Expos/Nationals (mostly Expos but they are all mixed in)
Some of these teams are to be expected while others are a surprise. It doesn't really shock me to see the Expos in the mix. The Cubs and Braves are a bit more unexpected. If you are interested in doing a team lot trade for any of them shoot me an email.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

1973 Topps - Rico Carty.

So the Rangers traded for catcher Matt Treanor yesterday. I guess that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is still somewhat of a question mark for the start of the season. I was worried that this might be the case.

Rico Carty looks a little worried on card number 435 of the 1973 Topps set. Either that or the camera man is making fun of his airbrushed cap and Rico isn't quite sure what to make of it.

Carty's cap had to be airbrushed on this card because he was a new arrival in Texas. In October, 1972 the Rangers had traded Jim Panther to the Braves for "Beeg Mon".

Carty would play in 53 games in left field for the Rangers in 1973. He would handle 90 chances in 411 innings without an error.

Offensively he would post a .232 batting average in 347 plate appearances in 86 total games. In those appearances he would manage 71 hits and 36 walks while striking out 39 times. That translates to a .311 on base percentage. Rico also hammered in 33 runs while scoring 25 times himself.

Those numbers made sense to the Rangers. Well dollars and cents that is. On August 13, 1973 they sold Rico to the Cubs thus ending his tenure in Texas. On September 11, 1973 the Cubs sold him to the A's. In December the A's released him. Rico was a traveling man in1973.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cookies and the results...

Decided to post card number 28 in the 1990 Mother's Cookies Rangers team set. I have to admit that I like the Mother's Cookies sets and was very sad to see them go. The cards all look like this and I have always been partial to such designs. The corners are actually rounded on these sets, much like the MLB Showdown cards. This particular card doubles as both the set checklist and the clubhouse staff card.

Didn't really have any other card that seemed appropriate to post with Josh Hamilton and I both headed to the dentist today. Not sure that this one is appropriate but at least it has trainers and and a strength and conditioning coach on it. Kind of like the dentist I suppose, getting one's teeth strengthened and conditioned. Don't really like going to the dentist but it sounds like Hamilton had a worse time of it than I did. At least my face is starting to feel normal again. Hopefully his is as well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Senators Saturday - Ken McMullen, 1968.

Ken McMullen appears here on card number 116 of the 1968 Topps set. In 1968 he appeared in 151 games for Washington, all but ten that the team played that season. 145 of those games were started at third base. He also played shortstop in eleven games for an average of three innings a game. Clearly Ken was the Senators' primary man on the hot corner.

At third in '68 Ken logged 1,255 innings. In that time he made 19 errors in 500 chances. That gave him a .962 fielding percentage, 12 points higher than the league average. Ken's range factor was also significantly higher than the league average.

Ken made 626 appearances at the plate in 1968. He managed 138 hits and 63 walks while striking out 66 times. That translated to a .248 batting average (second highest in the starting lineup) and a .326 on base percentage (also second in the starting lineup). Ken belted 11 doubles and 20 home runs (second highest on the team). He knocked in 62 RBI (another second on the team) while scoring 66 times himself (tied for second on the team with this one).

All in all Ken wasn't a bad third baseman in 1968. He certainly wasn't the reason for the Senators' dismal showing that year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

1986 ProCards - Jim Maler.

Jim Maler is listed as an infielder on his 1986 ProCards Eighty Niners card. That's a little misleading. Jim played in the infield, he didn't play the whole thing. As his glove indicates, he was a first baseman. I can't find a record of him playing anywhere else in his nine year career other than a few appearances as a designated hitter.

Originally drafted by the Mariners in 1978 Jim made his Big League debut with that team in 1981. He would play parts of the 1981, '82, and '83 seasons with Seattle. On January 15, 1984 he was traded to the Mets. He would play in the Mets and Phillies farm systems in 1984. There is no record of how he moved from New York to Philly.

There is also no record of how the Rangers got him but he played the entire 1985 and 1986 seasons for Oklahoma City. Jim's records are sketchy but there seems to have been a decline that last year.

1986 was the Jim Maler's last season in professional baseball. He had suffered at least two major knee injuries in his career and they finally caught up with him. He did have something to smile about - he had been to the big show.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I am sure that everyone knows by now about this story and this story. To say that this is disappointing is an understatement. Ron Washington is a manager, not some rookie kid in the clubhouse. He is supposed to lead the team in a positive direction. To see a man so baseball smart be so life stupid is very sad.

What makes it even worse is that I like Ron Washington. I know some folks don't, they take issues with his handling of the pitching staff. It seems to me that he has really learned a lot since starting this whole manager gig. Hey, he's led the team to contention and he's a nice guy on top of that.

Maybe it's the nice guy in Ron that led to this. Maybe he just gave in to peer pressure, both as a player and as a manager. Maybe he got to thinking that he was too good of a guy to get caught up in something like this. Maybe not. Either way he made the choice and there is little excuse to be given. I find it heartening that he didn't offer one, simply took responsibility for his actions.

So, what should be done? Should the team fire him? Not now. They fire him now and it simply tells all the other guys on the team that honesty is not the best policy. If they were going to fire him they should have done it last summer when they got the positive test notice. To do it now will only empower the guy that Randy Galloway talks about here.

So, if firing is not really an option at this point, then what? Forgive and forget? Well, Ron took responsibility for his actions and has already taken steps to prevent the situation from reoccurring. In such circumstances forgiveness is called for.

To forget however would be to give license. Trust has been violated here, the more so because of Washington's position. That trust must be earned back, the greater the trust violated the more work to be done in the re-earning. Part of that has apparently been one reason the Rangers' decided not to sign Ron to a long term contract before the season started. The second is the strict drug testing he now has to undergo for MLB and the drug treatment program he underwent. There's going to be hard questions to answer and respect that is no longer there. You can be sure that the Rangers and the media will be watching Ron like he was a rich uncle on life support.

Where to now? It's time to play ball. If Ron Washington meant what he said and keeps his boat between the banks then we judge him on how the team fares. A relapse should result in immediate termination, no matter the circumstances. It's harsh but there really is no other way. If the rules are not enforced then those who follow them are penalized.

So to Ron Washington: You are forgiven and the organization is standing behind you. I for one will continue to wish you the best and cheer you on. You will hear no booing or razzing from my seat on this count. Time to move on and win. Time to show what a "good person" you are, no need to remind me, just show me. More importantly, time to live the rest of your life without such poor decisions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wantlist - 1995 Fleer.

Got Jeff Fry on card number 284 of what has to be one of the ugliest card sets ever, 1995 Fleer. Not exactly Irish type colors but I did pick one with at least some green on it for St. Patrick's Day. The amazing thing is, I still need a few of these cards to complete my team set. You would think that folks would be just giving them away but I'm still looking for these:

1995 Fleer
290 Manuel Lee
295 Ivan Rodriguez
297 Doug Strange

Only three cards left and then I don't have to keep turning to the pages housing the team set. If you have any of the three and are willing to part with them (or have any cards previously listed on wantlist posts) then shoot me an email. I am sure we can work out a trade. Yes, I'll actually trade for 1995 Fleer cards. Wow! What a deal!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rangers name All-Decade team.

The Rangers have named their all-decade team for the 2000-09 decade. A panel made up of media, club officials and former players made the selections.

Not surprisingly, Johnny Oates was named as the manager. Oates, shown here on card 343 of the 2001 Topps set, was the Rangers manager for only one and a partial seasons during the decade. The team had a losing record under him in that time. Of course the team had a losing record most of the decade and Johnny was the only manager to ever take the team to the post-season and is extremely popular. I like this selection but wouldn't have argued with Ron Washington either.

Pudge Rodriguez was named as the catcher. Ivan finished the decade with Texas last season but it was his play from 2000 to 2002 that got him on the team. Can't complain about this selection at all.

First base was Mark "Money Man" Teixeira. Money played for the Rangers from 2003 until part way through the 2007 season. His power numbers really can't be beat by any other first baseman during the decade. Besides, Texas was able to sucker Atlanta out of some cool players in return when they shipped Money off.

Second base is Ian Kinsler. No real surprise there. Kinsler is just now getting his stride but he has been a great player to watch and shows a lot of promise. This selection seems like a good one although Alfonso Soriano might have a case as well.

Alex Rodriguez is the shortstop. Purely on numbers this selection makes sense. Probably the less said beyond that the better.

Michael Young edged out Hank Blalock at third base. This selection makes little sense to me. Blalock played third longer during the decade than Young and did more while there. I like Michael but he has played there just one season. He did far more at shortstop than he has at third. Seems like it might have been a better idea to drop A-Rod and give short to Young.

The Rangers' outfield has been a mess the past decade. Josh Hamilton, Marlon Byrd, and Gary Matthews Jr. are who got the call. Matthews is definitely the weak sister of the three and I could see lots of plausible arguments as to a replacement for him and possibly at least one of the others.

Rounding out the position players was Rafael Palmeiro at DH. Raffy was in his second stint with Texas from 1999 to 2003. His decade numbers are impressive with the bat. Of course the steroid issue hangs over him. Off the top of my head though I can't think of anyone else to put in this spot.

The starting rotation is led by Kenny Rogers. The other four are Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Rick Helling, and Scott Feldman. It is a reflection on Texas pitching that none of the four have an ERA under 4.00 for the decade. Personally I would like to see Padilla dropped and another reliever added.

The bullpen consists of only two guys, a setup man and a closer. Where's the middle relief? Anyway, Frank Francisco is the setup man and Francisco Cordero is the closer. No real disagreements with either.

So there you have it. Any thoughts? Who would you replace? Who got left out? Why?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Franco in from Florida.

Got a nice stack of cards today from reader Rob in Florida. Rob had contacted me a short time back to tell me that he could hit several cards off my wantlist. We agreed to a trade and Rob delivered.

The cards arrived in record time and did knock off several wants. In fact, at least two team sets were completed thanks to Rob's generosity. One set was the 1993 Triple Play set. The last card I needed was number 148, Julio Franco. As you can see, that card was included in the package.

Thanks a bunch Rob. Hopefully the cards I sent in return will fill a few of your wants as well. For everyone else; if Rob contacts you wanting to work a trade you would be well advised to agree. A first class Floridian to be sure.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Senators Saturday - Tim Cullen, 1968.

Apparently Tim Cullen, seen here on card number 209 of the 1968 Topps set, was a player the Senators couldn't live without. In February of 1968 the White Sox along with Buster Narum and Bob Priddy. In exchange Washington received Ron Hansen, Dennis Higgins, and Steve Jones. On August 2, 1968 Washington sent Ron Hansen back to Chicago in exchange for Tim Cullen. Seems like the original trade could have been kept much simpler to start with.

In his time with the Senators in 1968 Tim served as a backup middle infielder. In fact, the '68 Senators page at Baseball-Reference classifies his position as "MI". He carried out these duties in 47 games that year. All but three of those appearances were at either second base or shortstop.

Tim had 126 plate appearances with Washington in 1968. He managed 31 hits and seven walks. That translated to a .272 batting average and a .323 on base percentage. He managed only one home run and 16 RBI.

The interesting thing is that Tim's overall 1968 numbers didn't differ all that much from his 1967 numbers. Some categories were slightly up and some were slightly down but they were all within shouting distance. Makes me wonder if the rookie crop was just thin that year or if Topps was just free in handing out its All-Star Rookie designation.

Friday, March 12, 2010

1986 ProCards - Greg Tabor.

Taking a look at Greg Tabor today on his 1986 ProCards Eighty Niners card. Greg has the batting glove look going, one of only two players in the entire set to appear with a batting glove on. The other is Jeff Kunkel and we haven't gotten to him yet.

Greg had been drafted in the first round of the 1981 draft by the Rangers. He started his pro career in the same year with the GCL Rangers in Rookie ball. Just nine games later he was bumped up to Single A. About three quarters of the way through the 1982 season he was promoted up to Double A Tulsa.

Greg kind of stalled with the Tulsa Drillers, playing the entire 1983 and 1984 seasons with them. It was upward and onward in 1985 though as he started the season with OKC in Triple A ball. He would play there all season and in 1986 as well.

In 1986 Greg mainly played second base. I was unable to find any fielding stats for him for that season. On the offense he posted a .284 batting average with a .362 slugging percentage. Tabor stayed in OKC the entire 1986 season, any Major League call-up would have to wait.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring notes.

Decided to post this 2002 Donruss The Rookies autograph card of Hank Blalock today in recognition of him finally getting a contract this year. The card is numbered 6/100. So far Hank hasn't seen any action with the Rays, still gotta wait and see I suppose.

The Rangers beat the Rockies 16-5 today in Cactus League play. Chris Davis went 4-4 with a home run. Seems like he might have his swing back. Hope it sticks in the regular season.

The win brings Texas to 2-4 this Spring. I actually like those numbers. In years past the Rangers would tear up Spring Training only to fold in the regular season. They could always beat teams like the Yankees there but couldn't later. Maybe the reverse will be true this year. Can't hurt to hope I suppose.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wantlist - 1994 Fleer.

So Hank Blalock will be going to Spring Training after all. He signed today with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It is a minor league deal with an out should he not make the team. Joe Madden says that he doesn't think Hank will make the cut. If he can't stick with the Rays he can opt out of the contract on April 1st.

Julio Franco looks like he has the Spring Training mode down on card number 306 from the 1994 Fleer set. Seems like the fans can get quite a bit closer to the players during Spring Training than they can during the season. Always good to see a player signing.

The 1994 Fleer team set is one of the ones that I am still working on. Here is what I need:

1994 Fleer
319 Ivan Rodriguez
321 Nolan Ryan
U-89 Cris Carpenter
U-90 Will Clark
U-91 Jeff Frye
U-92 Rick Helling
U-93 Chris James
U-94 Oddibe McDowell
U-95 Billy Ripken

As you can see, I still need a number of cards from this set. If you have any of them and are willing to part with them (or have any cards previously listed on wantlist posts) then shoot me an email. I am sure we can work out a trade. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1973 Topps - Jeff Burroughs.

So the Rangers bought a pitcher from the Yankees today. A relatively unknown reliever named Edwar Ramirez. Looks like a wait and see situation. Jarrod Saltalamacchia missed today's Cactus League game because of soreness in his shoulder. That man is worrying me a bit and I hope it is unfounded. Other than that all is quiet from Arizona.

Looking at Jeff Burroughs today on card number 489 of the 1973 Topps set. Jeff's got the windbreaker under the jersey look going. I have to admit that I have never understood or liked that look. It appears especially questionable when the jacket sleeves are pulled up like they are here. The back of the card warns us not to judge Jeff just by his clothes. After all, we are informed, he was a member of the 1966 World Champion Pony League team. Gotta be something there then.

In 1973 there was something there for Jeff Burroughs. It was his fourth season in the Majors and it was his breakout year. Jeff was the Rangers first-string right fielder. He played in 151 games and had 605 plate appearances. Both numbers were career highs at that point for Burroughs and he took advantage of the opportunity.

Jeff put up his best batting average to date with a .279 mark. His slugging percentage was .487 - best of Texas' starting nine that year. He hammered 30 home runs and knocked in 85 runs (leading the team in both categories) while scoring 71 runs himself (tying for the top mark). He also managed 17 doubles. He walked 67 times while whiffing only 88, not bad for a power hitter.

In the field Jeff played 1,242 innings and handled 325 chances. He muffed the play only 8 times for a .975 fielding percentage. The fielding percentage isn't too bad considering that his range factor per nine innings was 2.14 compared to a league average of 2.02.

Even though the Rangers struggled in '73 Burroughs did not. In fact, he was on the verge of even greater achievements.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cards from heaven or Anaheim?

So I go to the mailbox this morning and find a bubble mailer that I was not expecting. I couldn't think of any trades or purchases that should have been coming in. The return address said RWH. As in RWH from I Heart Halos. Cool!

I still had no idea why RWH would send me cards but I opened the package anyway. A note, an over-sized Ivan Rodriguez card, and a nice looking stack of Rangers. The note reminded me that RWH had sent me some Rangers last year about this time and that both the Rangers and Angels had done well last season (the Halos better than Texas). This on field performance was attributed to the sending of the cards. The hope was expressed that a similar unexpected gift would have similar results this year. Blessings were bestowed on new Ranger Vladimir Guerrero. Certain here unmentioned AL West teams were consigned to the cellar as well.

After reading the note I turned to the cards. The stack covered the nineties to now and hit several of my team set needs. In fact, a sizable portion of the cards were ones I needed, including the 1999 Upper Deck MVP Power Surge card of Juan Gonzalez that I am showing in this post. The card is actually a shiny silver color but scans black. With so many hits I began to wonder if RWH was on to something, or perhaps on something. Either way this was too good a gift to be ignored. Thanks RWH! I will be getting together a return package for you. Hopefully it will be as good as the one you sent.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Senators Saturday - Ed Brinkman, 1968.

Something about Ed Brinkman's picture on card number 49 of the 1968 Topps set looks a little off. Was Ed's neck as long as it seems here or is there some kind of illusion going on?

Brinkman's .187 average in 1968 almost seems like an illusion. Even for the era of light-hitting middle infielders that wasn't even close to good. In 215 plate appearances Ed managed only 36 hits. He had no home runs and only six RBI on the season. He struck out 31 times and walked only 19 in route to a .259 on base percentage.

The offensive numbers were probably why Ed platooned at short with Ron Hansen. Brinkman was actually pretty decent on defense. In 304 chances in '68 he made just 10 errors. That gave him a .967 fielding percentage, five points higher than the league average.

1968 would not be Ed's last year with the Senators. It would however be his last as the Big League ball player of the family. In 1969 his brother Chuck would debut as a catcher for the Chicago White Sox.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sick day.

Sorry folks. I am getting hammered by a head cold with occasional intestinal twinges. Doubt I could do justice to a post. Hope to be back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nolan's prediction.

Nolan Ryan says that he thinks the Rangers can win 92 games this season. Ron Washington says that's not a problem. Haven't heard if Ron thinks that Josh Hamilton's 96 wins is a doable mark or not. 92 would be just fine with me. That would very possibly put them in the post-season. I must admit that I would feel a little more confidant of Nolan's prediction if he was still on the mound for Texas.

Gary Meilke was no Nolan Ryan but he was also a pitcher for the Rangers. He is also a great through the mail signer. I sent this 1990 Topps card to Mr. Meilke on February 24th of this year. It came back signed today. Thanks a bunch Gary!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wantlist - 1993 Fleer.

So it appears that Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are in a dead heat as to who will be the Rangers' starting catcher this season. Both are doing well in Spring Training so far and there is the possibility that they will share the catching duties.

By 1993 Geno Petralli had lost his starting catching job to Ivan Rodriguez. However, since he is in his catching gear on card number 689 of the 1993 Fleer set and Pudge isn't he gets to try and catch up with the rest of the cards I need for the team set.

1993 Fleer
F-278 Benji Gil
F-281 Robb Nen
F-283 Jon Shave

Three cards left. If you have any of them and are willing to part with them (or have any cards previously listed on wantlist posts) then shoot me an email. I am sure we can work out a trade. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

1973 Topps - Pete Broberg.

Not much coming out of Spring Training. The Rangers have started their intra-squad scrimmages and are on track to be ready for the Cactus League.

With not much interesting happening with the Rangers now it's time for trip back to 1973. Today we have Pete Broberg on his 1973 Topps card, number 162 in the set.

Legend has it that Ted Williams once said that Pete Broberg would never pitch in the minors. Well, Ted knew hitting and he knew baseball but he didn't know Pete Broberg.

In 1973 Pete appeared in 13 games for the Spokane Indians, the Rangers' Triple A affiliate. There he posted a 6-3 record with a 3.87 ERA. In 79 innings he struck out 50 batters.

He also showed up in 22 games for the Rangers, 20 of them as a starter. Unfortunately for Pete his Major League numbers were not as acceptable as his minor league ones. In his 22 appearances he posted a 5-9 record and a 5.61 ERA. In 118.2 innings pitched he struck out 57, quite the drop in rate from Spokane.

Those numbers didn't do Pete any favors. Jim Bibby was unquestionably the ace of the staff, Pete was probably the fourth or fifth starter.

A quick note, I have added a search feature at the bottom of the page in case you are needing to look for a specific player or year or anything else. Please let me know if you find it useful.

Monday, March 1, 2010

1986 ProCards - Don Werner.

Yes, this is the same Don Werner. By the time Don appeared on this 1986 ProCards card his time with the Rangers was behind him. He had last appeared in the Bigs in 1982 for Texas.

The next four years were spent toiling in the minors, trying to get back up to The Show. The Rangers had released Don in October of 1983 and he signed with the Royals in December of that year. In March of 1984 KC traded Werner to the Cubs.

Don spent the 1984 season in the Cubs system at Triple A. Somehow he made his way to the Tigers and started the 1985 season at Double A. Detroit promoted him to Triple A before moving him back to Texas. That was the start of Don's stint with the Eighty Niners.

In a full season in 1986 Don appeared in 66 games for OKC. He was one of five catchers who played for the Eighty Niners that year. Interestingly all five had been, or would be, major leaguers.

In his 66 games in 1986 Don posted a .285 batting average with a .441 slugging percentage. He managed 53 hits in 186 at bats. Six of those hits were home runs, five were doubles and three were triples. There is no record of how many RBI Don pushed across for the Niners. Not bad numbers but not good enough to get the call that year. In fact Don wouldn't get the call. His time in the Majors was behind him. There were still games to be played though and some interesting times in the future.