Saturday, July 31, 2010

Senators Saturday - Dick Bosman, 1971.

Today we have the workhorse of the 1971 Senators starting rotation, Dick Bosman. Dick is seen here on card number 60 of the 1971 Topps set. Gotta love the signature with the star in place of the dot in his first name.

Bosman really was the workhorse in 1971 for Washington. He led the pitching staff in games started (35), innings pitched (236.2), wins (12), strikeouts (113), and batters faced (993).

Dick's 3.73 ERA was third on the starting staff. He also had some high numbers in earned runs allowed and walks permitted. He lost 16 games as well. Of course, most of the staff didn't log anywhere close to the number of innings that Dick did. Denny McClain was the only one close with 216.2 innings and his numbers are all worse than Bosman's.

If the Senators had an ace in 1971 Dick Bosman was the man. Of course he had a losing record at 12-16 but so did the team overall. Perhaps workhorse is a better description than ace.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Good luck Buck.

So the Orioles hired former Rangers manager Buck Showalter to be their new manager. Showalter, shown here on a 2003 Disabled American Veterans card, spent four years at the helm of the Rangers.

Buck took over from Jerry Narron at the start of the 2003 season with Texas and lasted through the end of the 2006 season when he gave way to Ron Washington. During that tenure he was able to lay a lot of the groundwork for the Rangers current success.

When he makes his Orioles debut on Tuesday Showalter will be taking over a team that stands at 32-70 on the season, 33.5 games out of first in the American League East. That is a team in much worse shape than the Rangers were in when Buck stepped in. On top of that Baltimore is in a division with Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay. Could be a rough ride Buck but I wish you well. It would be nice to see the Birds get in a post-season appearance or two.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gearing up heading into the stretch.

It's late. It's been a busy day so this post is going to be short.

Today Texas traded for Jorge Cantu. In return the Rangers sent minor league pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda to the Marlins.

Cantu should serve as a right-handed backup corner infielder down the stretch. Reed is a Single A relief pitcher. Poveda, shown here on an autographed version of his 2008 Donruss Threads card, is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery and is out for the season. In addition to Cantu the Rangers also got some much needed cash.

Strange to see Texas as a buyer going up against the trade deadline. All too often they are either holding or selling.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wantlist - 1998 Upper Deck.

This week we go from one of the Upper Deck designs that I really like to one I don't care for. The foil on the 1998 Upper Deck set is hard to read. As you can see on card number 522 of the set it doesn't scan well either. At least in person Domingo Cedeno's name is readable. Hard to make out at times but you can see it. The team name is actually easier to read on the scan than it is in person. Strange.

Ok, here's what I need to put this team set to bed:
1998 Upper Deck
236 Bobby Witt
270 Fernando Tatis
365 Rusty Greer HM

Only three cards on the wantlist this week. Let me know if you have any of them. I am sure we can work out a trade.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1973 Topps - Mike Paul.

So the Rangers had yesterday off but Anaheim lost so Texas gained a half a game in the standings anyway. In the absence of a recent game I decided to take another look back at 1973.

Mike Paul is show here on a miscut copy of card number 58 of the 1973 Topps set. Mike doesn't look particularly thrilled to be having his picture on a baseball card. Could be the airbrushed cap that has him unimpressed. No reason for that Topps, Mike was with Texas the entire 1972 season.

In 1973 Mike served as both a starter and a reliever for the Rangers. He started ten games and appeared in 26 more in relief. He posted a 4.95 ERA on the year and had a 5-4 win-loss record. Mike struck out 49 of the 401 batters he faced and walked 38 of them. Two of the walks were intentional.

While Mike had started the season with Texas he wouldn't finish it with the club. On August 31, 1973 the Rangers sent Mike to the Cubs for a player to be named later. On November 14th of the same year the Cubs sent pitcher Larry Gura to Texas to complete the deal. Texas wouldn't hang on to Gura either and would ship him off to New York in a trade on May 7, 1974.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Minor League Monday - Jeff Zaske, 1987 ProCards.

Texas traded for Jeff Zaske, shown here on card number 158 of the 1987 ProCards set, in September of 1986. He would play for Tulsa at Double A and Oklahoma City at Triple A in 1987.

I'm not sure exactly why the Rangers traded for Jeff. Maybe they thought that he would return to the majors. After all, he had appeared in three games in 1984 with the Pittsburg Pirates. That return to The Bigs wouldn't happen though. Jeff would only be in the Rangers' system for the 1987 season.

I couldn't find any more information on Zaske's organization changes but I do know that in 1988 he played in both the Dodgers and A's systems. After that season he drops from the record.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Senators Saturday - Del Unser, 1971.

This card, number 33 in the 1971 Topps set, was the first Senators card that I obtained for my collection. I remember I was about 13 years old and was in a card shop when I saw it. It was in a cardboard box and was packaged with about four other 1971 Topps cards for a buck. I was just becoming aware that the Rangers hadn't always been in Texas. I wasn't sure what year they had moved and didn't even know that there had been two Senators teams. I grabbed the package anyway and was thrilled at my purchase. This card was from before the Rangers were the Rangers. It had to be old. It immediately gained a prominent spot in my collection on that basis alone.

The other cards were non-Senators and have long ago left my hands but I hung on to Del Unser. Eventually he got some company as I added a few more Senators to the collection. I finally did my research and discovered the two incarnations of the Senators. Fortunately 1971 was part of the franchise that moved to Texas. I would have hated to have found out that Del wasn't part of the heritage of the team that I collect now. Part of the Rangers' heritage was all that Del would be involved in. 1971 was his last season with the team. He would be traded to Cleveland in December of 1971 and wouldn't make the move to Texas.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Late Thursday post.

Realized when I got up this morning that I had completely forgotten to post yesterday. Decided that the best thing to do would be to post the game-used card that I would have posted yesterday.

Today's card is a bat-chip card of Alex Rodriguez from the 2003 Topps Gallery Originals set. I decided to post this card since the former Ranger hit career home run 599 last night and is on the verge of becoming only the seventh player in history to hit 600 or more dingers in a career.

Ironically the long ball came off Kansas City reliever Robinson Tejeda, also a former Ranger. I believe that Jason Kendall was catching for KC so not all of the involved parties used to play in Texas.

Another irony is that Alex Rodriguez has become what he was supposed to deliver the sport from. When Barry Bonds became the all-time home run king there were many who were less than thrilled to see Hank Aaron displaced. Bonds was widely viewed as a selfish malcontent cheater. I read and heard more than one time the comment that folks could not wait until Bonds was displaced. Several possible successors were bandied about but it appeared that Alex Rodriguez had perhaps the best chance. Many people seemed to be happy with this. Alex was a natural talent and seemed to be just a big, overgrown kid. At least he wasn't a selfish malcontent cheat. Yeah...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wantlist - 1997 Upper Deck.

So I have the completed 1996 Upper Deck set. That brings us up to the 1997 Upper Deck set. This set is actually probably in my top 10 or 15 favorite sets list. The design as a whole really doesn't stand out but I do like the captions. As you can see on card number 506 of the set even a photo that doesn't match the player's listed position is explained. It's kind of hard to read but right under Mickey's left foot is a caption that reads, "Taking a rare turn at first base 6-9-96." Knowing when and where a photo was taken and what the player was doing is pretty cool and I wish the idea had taken with some of the other card companies and that Upper Deck had continued it.

Ok, on to the list of cards I need to complete this team set:
1997 Upper Deck
138 Ivan Rodriguez DG
203 Ivan Rodriguez GI
247 Juan Gonzalez UPDATE
387 Rusty Greer CF
505 Will Clark

If you happen to have any of these cards and would be willing to trade them please let me know. I would be more than happy to work out some kind of trade with you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Breaking the losing streak.

So the Rangers finally won one in Detroit. Going into last night's game they had lost eleven straight in motor city. After Frank Francisco blew the save in the eighth I figured they were headed for loss number 12. Fortunately he only allowed the Tigers to tie the game and on into extra innings it went.

As Matt Harrison squeaked through one scoreless inning after another the Ranger bats just couldn't seem to come through. Until the top of the 14th that is. One out. Josh Hamilton on base. Nelson Cruz at the plate. Nellie is shown here signing for fans on card number UH19 of the 2009 Topps Updates set. Last night he may not have had that many fans to sign for after he cranked a home run to make the score 8-6 Texas going into the bottom of the 14th. Enter Neftali Feliz. Two strikeouts and a scoreless half inning later the Rangers had won their longest ballgame of the season. That and snapped a nasty losing streak. Boy is it nice to have Nellie back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Minor League Monday - Bill Taylor, 1987 ProCards.

By the time Bill Taylor appeared on card number 157 of the 1987 ProCards set he had been playing pro ball for seven seasons. The Rangers drafted Bill in the second round of the 1980 draft.

Bill spent the 1980 season in Rookie and Single A ball. In 1981 he again started the season in Rookie ball before a second promotion to Single A. 1982 saw a Single A start and a promotion to Double A. Taylor stalled at Double A in 1983, '84, and '85. He started 1986 at Double A but finally made Triple A before the end of the season. He would spend the entire 1987 and '88 seasons with Oklahoma City.

It had been a long road through the minors for Bill but he had finally made Triple A. That would be it with Texas though. At the end of the 1988 season he was granted free agency and signed with the Padres in March of 1989.

Bill still had a long road to travel. He wouldn't see Major League action until 1994 and then with the Oakland A's. After 14 years in the minors he would finally make the big time. Bill Taylor was persistent to say the least.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Senators Saturday - Don Wert, 1971.

Don Wert, shown here on card number 307 in the 1971 Topps set, was part of the trade that brought Denny McLain to the Senators in October of 1970. He, McLain, Norm McRae, and Elliot Maddux came to Washington in exchange for Aurelio Rodriguez, Ed Brinkman, Joe Coleman, and Jim Hannan. Ted Williams was not in favor of the trade.

As you can see from the card, Topps had to go with a picture of Don in his Tigers uniform. They probably had to do that because Don only appeared in 20 games for the Senators. He served mostly as an utility infielder with third base being handled by Dave Nelson. Don had seven appearances at third, seven at shortstop, and one at second base. His overall fielding percentage was .941. That wasn't the best but the Senators weren't used to the best.

Don's struggles in the field weren't his ultimate undoing though. In 46 plate appearances he managed just a .050 batting average and a .156 on base percentage. Don struck out 10 times while only walking four. He hit no home runs, no triples, and only one double. He scored just two runs and had only two RBI of his own. Truly some dismal numbers. Wert had lost his bat between Detroit and Washington.

By June the Senators had seen enough of Don Wert. He played his last game on June 11th and on June 24, 1971 the Senators released him. That would end his career. Ted Williams had been right about at least part of the trade.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Contest - final week.

So the Rangers go out with a whimper in the Strat-O-Matic contest. Both teams lose their final matchup.

The MLB Showdown team got into trouble early but staged a sixth inning rally to tie the game. That gave way before a Brian Shouse meltdown in the Philly half of the seventh. An eighth inning rally tied the game back up but Jim Kern lost it all on a walk-off homer in the ninth. Carl Everett, shown here on his 2003 Showdown card, was a bright spot for Texas. He went 5-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. That wasn't enough though as the Phillies win 10-7. One point if you predicted the Rangers to lose this game.

The Strat-O-Matic game was much lower scoring. The Rangers were no-hit through seven. Josh Hamilton rapped out a single in the eighth to break up the no-no. That would be it offensively for Texas however. Phillies win 2-0. One point if you predicted the Rangers to lose this game.

The MLB Showdown team won the scoring race 7-0 this week. One point if you predicted the Showdown team to score more runs.

That brings us to our final point standings in the contest. Congratulations to Deaconblues for winning the contest. Shoot me an email with your address Deacon and I'll get your Strat-O-Matic computer game sent out to you. While I wish that we could have had better participation I do appreciate those who entered the contest. Thanks for your support guys. Here are the final point standings:

Deaconblues - 11
Night Owl - 8
Jon - 2

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Random Ranger auto.

Not much going on in Ranger-land today as we come out of the All-Star break. Tonight the team starts a four game series in Boston. Would be nice to see them at least split the series. Time to get some space built between them and the Angels.

Dipped into the game-used and autos box today and randomly came up with this 2005 Prime Patches auto of David Dellucci, number MLM-11 in the set.

Hope you enjoy both this card and the second half of the season.

***Last chance to enter the Strat-O-Matic contest. It all ends tomorrow.***

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wantlist - 1995 Upper Deck.

1995 marked the first year of no borders for Upper Deck. I actually like this set pretty well. The photography is generally good and the foil isn't overdone. Also, the bronze foil looks nicer than silver in my view.

Today we get a look at the set design with Otis Nixon on card number 155 of the set. Only one card left to complete the team set:

1995 Upper Deck
390 Will Clark

I would be thrilled if anyone has Will's card. Just let me know and I am sure we can work a trade. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All-Star over-sight.

Another reminder of why I don't put much stock in the All-Star game. No way Nick Swisher edges Michael Young outside of being a Yankee.

Sorry about the luck Michael. Be sure to take advantage of the break to be able to come back and make sure everyone sees the mistake.

For now I leave you with this 2005 Topps Updates and Highlights card of Michael as an All-Star, number UH149 in the set.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Minor League Monday - Greg Tabor, 1987 ProCards.

Greg Tabor, seen here on card number 153 of the 1987 ProCards set, played shortstop and second base with Oklahoma City in 1987. In total he appeared in 137 games for the Eighty-Niners. It was a career high in games played in a season for Tabor.

Greg had been the first round draft pick for Texas in the 1981 draft and had begun playing for the organization the same year. By the end of 1982 he was in Double A with the Tulsa Drillers. There he seemed to stall. He played for Tulsa for two more seasons before getting moved up to OKC for the 1985 season. Two seasons later he was still there.

1987 would be Greg's high water mark in professional ball. On September 10th he would make his major league debut. He would appear in nine games for the Rangers, four of those appearances would be as a pinch-runner. One would be as a designated hitter. All told Greg would only play in the field in four Big League games. On October 4th he would trot onto a Major League ballfield for the final time.

On March 17, 1988 the Rangers would include Tabor in a trade with the Cubs. He would put one more season in with the Cubs' Triple A affiliate and then hang up the spikes for good. Maybe Greg didn't make a big splash with the Rangers but at least he got a taste of The Show.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Senators Saturday - Dave Nelson, 1971.

Dave Nelson, shown here on card number 241 of the 1971 Topps set, split the 1971 season between Triple A and Washington. He appeared in 50 games for the Triple A Denver Bears and in 85 for the Senators.

84 of Dave's 85 Major League appearances were at third base. In spite of his time in the minors he had more time at the hot corner than any other Senator. In the 714.1 innings he played there he saw 240 chances and muffed 14 of them for a fielding percentage of .938. That was 19 points lower than the league average.

At the plate things were starting to look up for Dave. His batting average jumped 121 points to .280. He also posted career highs in on base percentage (.328) and slugging percentage (.377). In his 358 plate appearances he would walk 23 times and strike out 29. He would also score 47 runs and tap in 41 RBI on the season. His eleven doubles were the first time in his four MLB seasons that he had broken double digits in that area. He also hit his first career home run plus four more.

All in all 1971 wasn't all that bad a season for Dave Nelson. He appeared to be establishing himself and learning how to handle Major League pitchers. Things were looking up for him and he was one of the few bright spots on the team. Now all he had to do was build on his success by bringing his defense up a bit.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Contest - week seven.

Brutal week in the contest. No other way to describe it. The Mets put the hurt on Texas for sure this week.

First off was the MLB Showdown game. Texas lost to New York 4-2 as a ninth inning rally attempt failed. This was a let down but not a beating. One point if you predicted Texas to lose this game.

The beating took place in the Strat-O-Matic game. Scott Feldman, shown on his 2010 Strat card, started for the Rangers. He would last only three innings as the Mets jumped on him for five runs. Only three of those runs were earned however as Michael Young committed two errors in the first three innings and both base runners he allowed scored. Derek Holland came on in relief and went five innings. He would melt down in the 8th though and allow seven runs that inning including a three run homer by Fernando Tatis. That would be a total of nine runs allowed by Holland. Jason Jennings was able to come in and shut the Mets down in the ninth but it was too late. While the pitching was getting trounced the offense was having trouble getting going. The first Texas hit was in the 5th and the first run wasn't until the 6th. All told the Rangers were able to plate only 4 runs. Mets win 14-4. One point if you predicted the Rangers to lose this game.

The Strat-O-Matic Rangers outscored the MLB Showdown Rangers for the second time this contest. Strat Rangers win the scoring contest 4-2. One point if you predicted the Strat-O-Matic Rangers to score more runs.

This is the first blowout Strat game I have played. In that sense the game seems to hold more to the actual game than Showdown does. There do seem to be a lot of laughers in Showdown. Almost as if the scoring is too easy and too often.

Ok, on to the final matchup in the contest. The final game will see the Rangers take on the Phillies in Philadelphia. Be sure to get your guesses in early as this is the final opportunity to gain points. Remember, you need to predict how the Showdown Rangers will do and how the Strat-O-Matic Rangers will do and which Rangers team will score the most runs.

For details on how this contest works please see this post.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Darren Oliver delivers.

This signed 1997 Fleer card of Darren Oliver came in today. I had sent it another card to Darren on April 20, 2010. He signed just this card and sent both back.

It would have been nice to get both cards signed but I understand players limiting the number of items they sign at a time. Oliver's been around a long time and was pretty popular with the Angels so he most likely gets a lot of requests. Can't say I blame him for trying to cut down the time it takes to respond. I do appreciate him taking the time to sign this card and to send back both of the cards I sent him.

***Just a quick reminder that I will be posting the results from week six of the Strat-O-Matic contest tomorrow. Make sure you get your entry in before then.***

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wantlist - 1994 Upper Deck.

Upper Deck made its name originally with great photography. This shot of Chris James on card number 398 in the 1994 set is not one of those pictures. It appears that James has just struck out. On the back of the card he is taking off his batting gloves and putting them in his batting helmet. Not the best sequence of photos.

Having finished with the Donruss wantlists I am now moving on to Upper Deck. Upper Deck burst onto the collecting scene with its 1989 set. I have that complete team set and all the ones up through 1994 so we'll skip to that year. Here is what I need to complete my 1994 Upper Deck Rangers team set:

1994 Upper Deck
307 Darren Oliver
516 Rick Helling

Let me know if you have either of these cards or both and are willing to trade them. I'll try to leave you feeling better than Chris James was on his '94 card.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1973 Topps - Dave Nelson.

Dave Nelson appears on card number 111 of the 1973 Topps set along with two Oakland A's and part of an umpire. For some reason I really like this card in spite of the poor photograph composure. I mean, if it weren't for Nelson's name on the card it might be hard to determine who was the focus of the shot.

In 1973 Dave made the jump from third base to second. He had started at third in 1972 but would play only at second in 1973. He showed up in 142 games during the season and spent 1175 innings as the second sacker. During that time he handled 702 chances and made 11 errors. That gave him a fielding percentage of .984. That was four points above the league average.

On offense Dave batted .286 in 624 plate appearances. Those were career highs in both categories. His on base percentage was .325. He hammered in 48 RBI while scoring 71 times himself - both also career highs. His seven home runs and 24 doubles were career highs as well. In keeping with the photo it is fitting to note that Nelson swiped 43 bases and was caught 16 times.

1973 was a good year for Dave Nelson. He was able to adapt well to his new position and build on his previous two years' successes. He posted career high numbers in several categories and even received some MVP consideration. To top it all off, he was named to the All-Star team. Quite the year and he was only 29. Things were looking good for Dave.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Minor League Monday - Javier Ortiz, 1987 ProCards.

Javier Ortiz, pictured here on card number 147 of the 1987 ProCards set, was a first round draft pick. The Rangers took him fourth overall in the 1983 draft. It would take him seven years to see Major League service and then it wouldn't be with Texas.

By 1987 Javier had worked his way up through the levels of the Rangers' organization to Triple A. He would appear in 119 games that season for the Eighty-Niners.

Records are a bit sketchy but it is clear that Javier posted a .276 batting average and a .369 on base percentage with OKC. He hit 15 home runs and had 69 RBI. He also struck out 99 times. His fielding percentage was .974.

Two days before Christmas in 1987 the Rangers traded Javier to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Scott May. He would spend a year and a half there before being sent to Houston and finally making the Bigs in 1990.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Senators Saturday - Ted Williams, 1971.

Senators manager Ted Williams seems to be having a good time here on card number 380 of the 1971 Topps set. Good thing he got a laugh in early, he wouldn't have much to smile about during the season.

In Williams' third season at the helm the Senators lost seven more games than the season before. Their 63-96 record put them fifth in the American League East. They ended up 38.5 games behind the Division Champion Orioles and only 4.5 games ahead of the last place Indians.

In addition to the official standings, Washington was at the bottom of the A.L. in several key offensive categories: batting average, hits, and slugging percentage. They were second to last in home runs. Things weren't much better on the mound. The team ranked next to last in complete games, strikeouts, balks, and WHIP. The team also committed the second most errors in the American League.

Tough season for Teddy Ballgame. Just like the fans he was getting increasingly frustrated with owner Bob Short and the Senators inability to climb in the standings. Unlike the fans this was only his third year dealing with the situation. Also unlike the fans, he would have another year before calling it quits.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Contest - week six.

Shocker week in the contest. There were several surprises this week in the two games the Rangers played in San Diego against the Padres. The result is a little bit of tightening in the points standings.

The first surprise was the shutout that the 2009 Rangers suffered in the Strat-O-Matic game. The first time the Rangers offense has been entirely shut down in the contest. Texas pitching managed to match the Friars' staff for eight innings but it was the two runs that Kevin Millwood coughed up in the first that sealed the deal. Padres win 2-0. One point if you predicted the Rangers to lose the Strat-O-Matic game.

The next couple of surprises came in the MLB Showdown game. Texas started Ismael Valdes. You can see how he appeared in the game on card number 297 of the 2003 MLB Showdown set. Valdes turned in a very uncharacteristically dominating performance. He allowed just one run in eight innings while striking out eight and walking just one. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a run scored. Amazing for one of the weak links in the starting rotation. The offense was not stingy in backing Valdes as they plated seven runs for him. Brian Shouse came in to mop things up in the ninth and the day got ugly. I pulled Shouse after he allowed three runs and had two men on. In came Jeff Zimmerman. The first batter to face him was Ricky Henderson. He took Zim's first offering over the wall for a game tying home run. Jeff then got the last out of the inning. Bottom of the tenth, game tied. Ugueth Urbina in for Texas. Leadoff batter Ryan Klesko hammers a walk-off long ball. I was stunned. Padres win 8-7. One point if you predicted a Texas loss in the MLB Showdown game.

Due to the shutout in Strat and the slugfest in Showdown the MLB Showdown Rangers won the scoring contest 7-0. One point if you predicted the MLB Showdown Rangers to score the most runs.

Ok, on to the next match-up. This week the Mets come into Arlington to face off for a second time with the Rangers. Time is running out in the contest so make sure you get your predictions in as to how the Rangers will fare in each game and which Rangers team will score the most runs.

For details on how this contest works please see this post.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Autographs on TV.

So the Rangers won last night against the Angels thanks to Vladimir Guerrero's homer binge. Unfortunately I don't have any Vlad in a Rangers' uniform autos.

That means you'll have to settle for my latest through the mail autograph success. At least Joaquin Arias is on the team with Vlad. I sent Joaquin this 2004 Bowman Heritage card on April 20, 2010 care of the Rangers. I got it back signed on June 28, 2010. Joaquin was nice enough to sign and return the card and even added his uniform number under his signature. It would probably be easier to read if it wasn't blue sharpie on blue background. No big deal though and I still appreciate Mr. Arias taking the time to sign and return my card.