Tuesday, April 28, 2015

1979 Topps - Mike Hargrove.

Little house-keeping. Starting today my access to a scanner is going to be limited for several weeks. I'll be around, just not able to scan cards for current posts. As such I have tried to pre-schedule as many posts as possible to keep things going. I also have a few cards pre-scanned that may allow me to be able to post with current Rangers news. However, most of the posts will not match current happenings. My apologies for that but I hope you enjoy what I have managed to put together.

Getting back to the theme of the late 1970's Rangers roster upheaval. Today it's Mike Hargrove on card 591 of the 1979 Topps set. This is actually one of my favorite cards of Mike Hargrove, seems like his intensity is really evident here.

Hargrove was the first Rookie of the Year winner for the Rangers back in 1974. Following the 1978 season, he was one more player being shipped out in the merry-go-round of trades.

On October 25, 1978 the Rangers sent Hargrove, Kurt Bevacqua, and Bill Fahey to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Oscar Gamble, Dave Roberts, and $300,000. The Padres sent Mike to Cleveland in June of 1979. He would stay there until he retired following the 1985 season.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hamilton Homecoming?

It seems the Rangers are all but done bringing Josh Hamilton back to Texas. Had somebody ask me my thoughts about the deal yesterday and I figured it would be a good topic for today's post.

I picked 2011 Playoff Contenders Season Ticket #1 for today's post because it's an unlicensed card. Makes it look like Hamilton is playing for the local semi-pro team and kind of sums up his situation with the Angels.

As Rangers fans know, Josh made his name with Texas between 2008 and 2012. He signed with Anaheim prior to the 2013 season. The signing and aftermath led to some hostility between Hamilton and Rangers fans. In his second season with the Halos, Josh suffered a relapse of his drug and alcohol problems. He'd done the same several times with Texas and had been able to patch things up. It must be noted though that his last apology to Rangers fans rang a little hollow. Major League Baseball decided not to suspend Josh for his antics but the Angels owner, Arte Moreno, wasn't having it. Hamilton missed Spring Training due to off-season shoulder surgery but he wasn't invited or issued a locker. He wasn't issued a locker at the Big A either and the team shops pulled all merchandise with his name or likeness on it. Moreno publicly stated he thought he had grounds to void Hamilton's contract. Josh has been spending his time in Houston in limbo, a player without a team or a chance to find one. He didn't waste his time though and reportedly filed for divorce from his wife in April. Rumors are that he caught her cheating but she denied that and said she was stunned by the filing. Either way it's a sad event.

Now the Rangers are offering the Angels $11 million for Hamilton. Supposedly the deal calls for the Halos to cover all but $15 million of the $83 million remaining on Hamilton's contract. If the deal goes through Josh will likely start in the minors and is not guaranteed a spot with the Rangers.

Why I like this deal: It's cheap and the Rangers can walk away without losing their shirt. There's also a slight chance Hamilton makes good and provides an impact bat.

Why I dislike this deal: It involves Josh Hamilton. Hamilton has become entitled and seems to feel like the world owes him. Add that to his inability to keep his mouth shut, the fans bitterness towards him, and his susceptibility to injury, and the gas is ready for the match. Josh needs support, lots of it. He gets it from the fans, team, and family. He's burned the family and fans so that leaves just the team. Of course the team has no real skin in the game on him at this point. That's not a good recipe for personal success.

All in all this deal feels like a mistake. Hamilton isn't the player he was with Texas two years ago. His numbers are down and he has been battling injuries to past couple of seasons. I can't see him making a real impact or surviving the booking of the fans when he doesn't. For Josh and the Rangers sakes, I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Senators Saturday - Bob Humphreys, 1969.

Bob Humphreys, shown here on card 84 of the 1969 Topps set, was entering his fourth season with Washington in 1969. The Senators were hoping to see Humphreys build on his 1968 effort and keep the ERA and WHIP moving down.

Primarily a reliever, Bob had only three starts in his career prior to 1969. He would not add anymore that season as all of his 47 appearances were in relief. He finished 14 games, picked up five saves, and ended with a 3-3 record. Over 79.2 innings pitched Humphreys lowered his ERA .64 points from the previous season to 3.05. That was a move in the right direction.

There were warning signs though. Bob's WHIP climbed .178 points to 1.343. He issued 38 walks, up eight from 1968, while striking out 43, down 13 from the previous year. As a result his strikeout to walk ratio dropped .74 points to 1.13.

All in all, 1969 was a mixed bag for the 34-year-old Bob Humphreys. On the surface he was moving on the right direction with his ERA. Most of the other important numbers pointed to a problem though. It was hard to tell for sure exactly what was going on. The Senators decided to take a wait and see approach. Bob Humphreys would start the 1970 season on the Washington roster but he had work to do if he wanted to stay there.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Of Pitching.

So, Nick Martinez lost his scoreless streak in the second inning of Tuesday's game when he allowed a run. That ended his streak of innings without an earned run to start the season at 15. Yu Darvish had a streak of 16 innings to start off last season. Jon Matlack, seen here on a 1980 Topps card he signed through the mail in 2010, holds the team record with 19 innings of no earned runs to start the 1980 season. Matlack's record will stand for at least another season.

Martinez got the win on Tuesday. The one run in the second inning was the only headway the Diamondbacks made. Meanwhile the Rangers bats unloaded for seven runs. Prince Fielder even got a home run, his first since last May. Hopefully it's a sign that he's getting his swing back.

Last night was a whole other story. To begin, Yovani Gallardo got the start. That was not encouraging in my mind. After all, the pitcher Arizona was starting beat Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in his last two starts. Whatever you may want to say about Gallardo, he's not even close to either of those guys. Sure enough, Yovani allowed five runs, three of them earned, over five innings en route to a 8-5 Rangers loss. There was some sloppy fielding involved as well but Gallardo's pitching was the main culprit. About the only encouraging thing was that the Rangers bats showed up for a second night in a row. I think that's the first time this season they've managed to hit two games in a row. It would be nice if it means the offense has finally got things in gear.

Texas is off tonight and facing the Angels in Anaheim tomorrow. Wandy Rodriguez is up from Triple A to make the start in place of Ross Detwiler. Detwiler is supposed to use the time off for extra bullpen sessions to try and figure out what he is doing wrong when he pitches. Normally I wouldn't be thrilled with a worn out veteran coming up from the minors to make a start. Can't say I'm really thrilled now but at least the Rangers may have a chance to win. With Ross Detwiler throwing batting practice to opposing teams there's no chance at all. Maybe Rodriguez can put it together for a few innings and keep the team in the game long enough for the offense to do their thing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1979 Topps - Johnny Grubb.

Johnny Grubb came to Texas via an August trade in 1978. He posted a .394 batting average in the 21 games he played for Texas and ensured himself a spot on the Rangers roster in 1979. He couldn't ensure he wouldn't have to undergo a terrible airbrush job on card 198 of the 1979 Topps set.

Serving as the fourth outfielder, Grubb appeared in 102 games for Texas. In 82 of those games Johnny played in one of the outfield positions. He played in all three throughout the season. His combined outfield fielding percentage was .986, five points higher than the league average. Grubb also appeared in six games as the designated hitter. The remaining games were pinch-hit appearances

Johnny made 328 trips to the plate for the Rangers and compiled a .273 batting average and a .350 on-base percentage. He also hit 14 doubles and 10 home runs. He walked 34 times while striking out 44 times.

On August 3, 1978, Grubb dislocated the pinkie finger of his left hand. That put him on the Disabled List for a month and cooled off his bat a little. He was carrying a .280 batting average when he got hurt.

Johnny Grubb had a pretty decent season for Texas in 1979. He was more than serviceable as a fourth outfielder and had a little power with the bat to boot. He needed to stay healthy in 1980 if he wanted to win a full-time job and keep it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Minor League Monday - Terry Mathews, 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers.

Getting towards the end of the 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers team set. Terry Mathews, shown here on card 1171, is the last player featured in the set.

The Rangers selected Mathews in the fifth round of the 1987 draft. He began his pro career the same year with Single A Gastonia. He spent 1988 and part of 1989 with the Single A Charlotte Rangers before moving up to Double A Tulsa midway through the 1989 season. He stayed at Double A for the beginning of the 1990 campaign.

Serving strictly as a starter, Mathews appeared in 14 games for Tulsa and pitched 86.1 innings. He put together an unimpressive 4.27 ERA and 1.436 WHIP. That translated to a 5-7 record.

In spite of his less than impressive numbers, the Rangers moved Terry up to Triple A Oklahoma City mid-season. For whatever reason, the promotion worked. Mathews appeared in 12 games for the 89'ers, all but one as a starter. He tossed 70.2 innings and lowered his ERA to 3.69 while improving his WHIP slightly to 1.358. Those improvements didn't keep him from a 2-7 record.

Mathews' numbers may not have been overwhelming but, in the pitching starved Texas system, they were good enough to keep him at Triple A. Terry was slated to start the 1991 season with OKC. If he could perform well enough he just might get a chance to see Arlington before the 1991 season ended.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rangers win first series opener.

Yovanni Gallardo picked up his second win of the season last night in Seattle. He managed to last just over six innings while allowing six hits and walking two. It was his strongest start to date for Texas. The bullpen took over in the seventh and allowed just one run in the eighth to clinch the 3-1 victory for the first series opener win of the season.

On the offensive side of things, Robinson Chirinos hammered a solo home run, his second of the season. Chirinos also got a double, as did Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder. Fielder picked up a RBI on his.

Interesting thing about Prince Fielder, shown here on card 196 of the 2014 Topps Archives set, he hasn't hit a home run yet. He has been getting on base though. With last night's 2-for-3 he's run his batting average to .419. He's also not striking out this season at the pace of previous years. If the home runs arrive as expected, and Prince keeps on being selective at the plate, this could turn into a stellar season for him.

Of course all was not good news yesterday. Mitch Moreland was scratched from the lineup an hour before game time with discomfort in his left elbow. Apparently he injured the elbow while swinging a weighted bat and may need surgery. Word is tests showed a "loose body" moving around in the elbow. Sounds like bone chips to me. The club is going to wait a couple of days and see if they settle down. If they don't, or if they move into the joint, surgery is the next step. Bad news for Moreland. He's already being blocked at first by Prince Fielder and missed a chance for significant playing time last year due to injury. This one could give him the injury prone tag and might cause the Rangers to looks elsewhere for a first baseman/DH.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quick auto.

Have a short turn around for work today due to not getting off until 0300 this morning. Not much time to pick a card or topic.

As a result we have Benji Gil on his 1996 Leaf Signature Series card. Why? Just because.

Hope everyone got their taxes in and is enjoying the young baseball season.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nick notches another win.

Jon Matlack in 1980, Yu Darvish in 2014, Nick Martinez in 2015. The only three pitchers in Rangers history to go at least seven innings in each of their first two season starts and not allow an earned run.

Martinez pitched seven innings last night against the Angels without allowing an earned run. One run did score but it was unearned as the result of a rare Adrian Beltre error. Nick was not as dominant as in his first start, he allowed five hits and three walks while only striking out one. He came through when it counted though and got the win.

While Martinez was working on his second victory, the Rangers bats arrived and put eight runs on the board before the game ended. Robinson Chirinos and Juan Peguero both got doubles. Chirinos and Elvis Andrus bopped home runs as well. Interesting to note that the club has only hit homers this year when Nick Martinez starts. Prince Fielder took the league lead in multi-hit games as he went 2-for-4.

Phil Kline gave up a run in the eighth but that was all the Halos got. 8-2 Texas. Great game for Martinez and the offense. Hopefully the lineup can carry the momentum over to some of the other members of the starting rotation. As for Nick Martinez, he's got to be walking on air with his 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA. He's already used up all his cards. This 2013 Topps Heritage Minor League card #70 is the final unused card I have of him. Nice problem to have if I need to highlight him again and don't have a card.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

1979 Topps - John Ellis.

John Ellis, shown here on card 539 of the 1979 Topps set, started off the 1979 season as a player-coach for the Rangers. He was supposed to be the bullpen coach. I'm sure that after Ellis played in just 34 games in 1978, the Rangers thought the arrangement would work just fine. I don't know how long it lasted though since John got into more games in 1979 than he had been in since 1974.

Still serving as a backup catcher to Jim Sundberg, Ellis only saw action behind the plate in seven games. He caught 28 innings and committed no errors. He caught 20% of the runners trying to steal on him, 16% lower than the league average.

John's secondary position, first base, gave him the most time in the field. 185 innings over 30 games. He had five miscues there for a .978 fielding percentage, much lower than the league average .992.

John also appeared in 61 games as the Rangers designated hitter. In total he appeared in 111 games throughout the season and made 337 trips to the plate. Ellis responded to the additional use by raising his batting average to .285 and his on-base percentage to .318. He had a bit of pop in his bat as his 12 doubles and 12 home runs showed. He scored 33 runs wile driving in 61.

John Ellis managed to put together a decent season in 1979. Nothing to overawe anyone but for a backup catcher/first baseman it was more than acceptable. He was were he was though and his chances of landing a full-time spot where slim. He would be back with Texas in 1980 but it would still be as a backup.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Minor League Monday - Dean Palmer 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers.

What a mixture of feelings about yesterday's game. Great to see the team battle back from four runs down and tie it. Frustrating to have them muff some chances to win. Heartbreaking to watch it slip away in extras. Anyway, time to look back at a former Ranger as he neared the end of his minor league career.

Dean Palmer appears today on card 1170 of the 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers team set. A third round pick for Texas in the 1986 draft, Palmer spent most of 1989 with the Drillers before being called up to The Show when the rosters expanded in September. He struggled over the course of the 16 games he appeared in and the Rangers decided at least another season in the minors was in order. They slated Dino to start the 1990 season at Double A with the Drillers.

Palmer's time with Tulsa in 1990 was short. He appeared in just seven games, all at third base. His three errors led to a .833 fielding percentage, poor at best. His offense was better though as he put together a .292 batting average and a .414 on-base percentage over 29 plate appearances. He walked four times but struck out 10 - an ominous sign. Dean had power though, one triple and three home runs.

The Rangers bumped Palmer up to Triple A Oklahoma City for the rest of 1990. He appeared in 88 games total for the 89'ers. 57 at third base and 22 at first base. The rest were probably as either a pinch-hitter or designated hitter. Dean's .889 fielding percentage at third and his .978 fielding percentage at first showed that he still had a lot of work to do on his defense. He also struggled a bit at the plate with the increased competition.

Over 343 plate appearances Palmer managed a .218 batting average and a .271 on-base percentage. The dip in both was related to his propensity to strike out. He did so almost a third of the time, 106 before the end of the season, as opposed to his 20 walks. He still had power though as his 17 doubles, four triples, and 12 home runs indicated.

If the Rangers were looking for Dean Palmer to prove he was ready for the Majors in 1991 they were disappointed. He was making progress but wasn't quite there yet. He needed a little more time on the farm. Maybe a whole season, probably less. He would be assigned to Triple A OKC for the start of the 1991 campaign.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Same song, second verse?

Well, Derek Holland, shown here on card 92 of the 2012 Topps Chrome set, got the home opener start yesterday for Texas. He lasted one inning. During that inning Dutch never touched 90 with his fastball. That brought alarm to my mind as well as to manager Jeff Banister. In the second inning the Rangers brought in Anthony Bass to take over on the mound. Shortly after the game the Rangers announced Holland will probably miss two months with a left shoulder strain.

Meanwhile Shin-Soo Choo left the game in the second inning with back spasms. He's supposed to be back before long. Ryan Rua won't be though. He left after five innings and appears to be headed for the Disabled List with a sprained ankle.

The 5-1 loss the Astros was bad enough. The injuries are worse. First Darvish, now Holland and Rua. If the Rangers remain anywhere near .500 with the losses to the rotation, it will be a miracle. Unfortunately the nagging fears from last season are now starting to come to the fore. 2015 was supposed to be a comeback year for the Rangers. Is it turning into a sequel of 2014 instead? I sincerely hope not but it seems the club is well on the way to a repeat. Could be a long summer in Arlington if the guys don't figure out a way to stay healthy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rangers romp leaving Oakland.

Thanks to some great pitching, and the bats finally waking up, the Rangers left Oakland yesterday following a 10-1 blowout that split the series 2-2.

Youngster Nick Martinez, shown here on card 65 of the 2014 Topps Chrome set, got the start. Martinez showed some high potential last season and won a spot in the rotation this year. Last night he went a ways towards proving he deserves the spot.

Nick went seven innings and allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out five. The A's didn't get a single run off him. The lone Oakland run came against reliever Keone Kela in the eighth while Roman Mendez worked a scoreless ninth to end the game.

While the pitching was doing their part, the dormant offense seemed to wake up. After getting shut out in two of their first three games and having no extra base hits, things exploded. The Rangers got home runs from Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, and Rougned Odor. Ryan Rua chimed in with a double. Everybody in the starting lineup scored except Prince Fielder and Elvis Andrus.

Great to see a game like this early in the season. If Martinez can continue to pitch well, Colby Lewis performs like he did in his first start, and Derek Holland delivers, the season could be a fun one to watch. Now that the offense has their first big eruption out of the way hopefully they will relax and perform up to their potential.

This afternoon is Texas' home opener against the Astros. Dutch gets the start and he's pretty excited to get going. If he can keep his late last season mojo going Rangers fans will have a lot to be excited about as well.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Early musings.

Just because. Dean Palmer on a signed 1992 Upper Deck card. Got this one back in the mail after sending it off to Mr. Palmer.

Well, the Rangers have lost two of their first three games in the 2015 season. Both losses have come in starts by pitchers brought in over the off season to bolster the starting rotation. The offense has yet to hit a home run and have only one extra base hit.

Not the most encouraging start to the season. It's only three games though and the Rangers have always struggled in Oakland. The lamented Yu Darvish has a losing record there I believe. If the guys can pick up a win this afternoon they will split the series and head home with an acceptable road trip. Things would be looking up in that case. That's the fine line separating a decent start from a terrible one.

There's a lot of fans who seem to be sounding the alarm already. Perhaps that's due to overly high expectations. Perhaps it's due to a desire to get rid of Jon Daniels. Maybe people just like to gripe. It's hard to tell and really doesn't matter. At this point a few more games are needed before any conclusive opinions can be reached. At least two starts by Gallardo and Detwiler would be nice to get a grasp on how they will perform. Bats get cold, a little time to let them get hot is not out of line.

I'm not saying this is a championship team. It may not even be a contender. It's just hard to tell for sure right now. Let's put the cover back over the panic button and take a second look.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

1979 Topps - Steve Comer.

Ugly Opening Day for the Rangers yesterday. Sonny Gray held them to one hit over eight innings as the A's romped to an 8-0 tune. Unfortunately the early returns are favoring my predictions concerning Yovani Gallardo. Looks like Texas could use some pitching help.

Steve Comer, shown here on card 463 of the 1979 Topps set, was just the kind of hurler the Rangers could use now. Undrafted in 1976, Comer was signed by the Rangers to round out their pitching staff at Sarasota. He blew the doors off and garnered an invite to Spring Training in 1978, primarily to help with batting practice. Steve again turned heads and ended up making the team. His 2.30 ERA over 117 innings seemed to prove the scouts wrong.

Based on Comer's 1978 performance, he was given a chance to make the starting rotation in 1979 and did just that. All of his 36 appearances would be starts. He completed six of those games and ended the season with a 17-12 record. That put him just one start behind Fergie Jenkins and one win ahead of Jenkins to lead the team. Over 242.1 innings Steve compiled a rotation best 3.68 ERA and an 1.296 WHIP. He struck out 86 while walking 84, troubling for a control pitcher.

Steve Comer's 1979 season hadn't been quite as impressive as his rookie effort but it was still pretty good. Especially considering the struggles the rest of the rotation went through. He would be looking to nail down his starting role in 1980. He needed to get his walks down but he still had a tremendous up side. For a guy who was picking up scrap lumber on construction sites just three years previous, he had come a long way.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Minor League Monday - Dan Rohrmeier, 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers.

Yes, I know. Today is Opening Day 2015 and the Rangers are finally back in action after the long winter. Their opener isn't until 2100 hours though since they start the season in Oakland. Figure that gives me one more day to get in minor league card before the season starts for Texas. Hopefully they will play well enough that my posting of minor league cards will be slowed significantly. On to Tulsa for now.

Dan Rohrmeier appears on card 1169 of the 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers set. By 1990 Dan was set to begin his fourth season as a professional ball player. Drafted by the White Sox in the first round of the 1986 draft, Rohrmeier started his career the next year. In 1989 Chicago sent him to Texas as part of a conditional deal. Don't ask me what that means, it's just how baseball-reference.com has it listed. I wasn't able to discover the conditions on the deal or find a record of what the ChiSox got in return. After splitting the 1989 season between the Sarasota White Sox, the Port Charlotte Rangers, and the Tulsa Drillers, Dan was assigned to stay at Double A Tulsa for the start of the 1990 season.

Rohrmeier played in 61 games defensively for the Drillers in 1990. He put in the most time over 60 games in the outfield. His two errors left him with a .979 fielding percentage. He also made a cameo appearance at first in one game without a miscue.

Apparently Tulsa used Dan frequently as a designated hitter. He appeared in a total of 119 games and made 495 plate appearances in 1990 for the Drillers. He managed a solid .305 batting average and a .354 on-base percentage. He hit 24 doubles, seven triples, and ten home runs while bumping in 62 RBI. He struck out 51 times but did work 37 walks.

All in all Dan Rohrmeier turned in a successful offensive season with Tulsa. He needed some serious work on his defense but his bat seemed to be just fine. Perhaps because of his defense, perhaps for another reason, Rohrmeier was assigned to Tulsa again for the opening of the 1991 season. He needed to keep the bat going and polish up the glove if he wanted to have a chance of climbing to Triple A.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Senators Saturday - Frank Howard, 1969.

Like last week's card, my copy of card 170 in the 1969 Topps set does feature all the borders. It's off center though so the scanner cut off the bottom border.

Coming into 1969, Frank Howard was the big cog in the Senators offense. A league-leading 44 home runs in 1968 had placed him squarely in the top tier of American League sluggers. Washington fans were hoping the bombs would continue to fall in the nation's capital.

Frank continued to play mainly left field for the Senators, 114 of the games he played in were in the outfield. He committed four errors over 898.1 innings for a .974 fielding percentage. That was a significant improvement over the previous season and brought him to within five points of the league average. Howard also put in 441.1 innings over 70 games at first base. He had 10 errors there for a .980 fielding percentage, 12 points below the league average.

Washington didn't have Frank Howard on the team for his defense though. Over the course of the season Hondo made 702 plate appearances (team high) over 161 games (most on the team). He put together a .292 batting average (team best) and a .402 on-base percentage (second best on the club). Contributing to the on-base percentage was the fact that he walked 102 times (team high) and was given free passes another 19 times (team high). Oddly for a slugger, those walks outnumbered his 96 strikeouts. Howard ran his slugging percentage to .574 (team best) with his 17 doubles, two triples, and 48 home runs (team best). He knocked in 111 runs for the Senators (team best) and scored 111 of his own (team best).

Frank Howard was clearly the Washington Senators leading offensive threat. He also appeared among the top batters in the American League in home runs (second), slugging percentage (fourth), games played (fourth), plate appearances (fourth), runs scored (second), hits (fourth), total bases (first), bases on balls (fourth), and intentional walks (third). Folks outside Washington took notice. Howard was selected for the All-Star game and came in fourth in MVP consideration.

Washington fans and management were elated with Big Frank's 1969 season. Expectations were high for 1970.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2x3 Greatness.

The past couple of weeks have been like a delayed Christmas for me. Surprise packages of cards arriving from awesome guys like Jeff over at 2x3 Heroes. A couple of days ago a bubble mailer arrived from Jeff. Inside was greatness.

Jeff sent me 23 Rangers cards ranging from the early 90's to 2014. The lot included some base cards, inserts, and even two game-used. One of the game-used was this 2010 Allen and Ginter Relics card of Nelson Cruz. The other was my first ever Adrian Beltre game-used card. It will be saved for an appropriate posting during the upcoming season.

All told I think Jeff hit holes in my collection with at least 14 of the cards he sent. If his White Sox can win games like he fills in other folk's collections, the rest of the league better watch out. Thanks a ton for the cards Jeff. I'll see what kind of return I can come up with sometime soon.