Saturday, August 29, 2015

Senators Saturday - Joe Coleman, 1970.

Joe Coleman's sporting the windbreaker under the jersey look on card 127 of the 1970 Topps set. He's also sporting an unusual look on his face. Is he disgusted with the pitch he just faked for the photographer or is he trying to look intimidating?

1970 was Coleman's fourth full season with the Senators and he came into the season looking to keep his spot in the starting rotation. For the most part he was successful in that endeavor.

Appearing in 39 games for Washington in 1970, Joe made 29 starts and pitched 218.2 innings (second most on the club). Coleman's 3.58 ERA was second best among regular Washington starters and but his 1.276 WHIP was a bit high. He whiffed a team best 152 opposing batters and walked 89 en route to a 8-12 record. One of those wins was a complete game shutout.

1970 was a mixed bag for Joe Coleman. He managed to keep his place in the Senators rotation and lower his WHIP a little. However, his ERA climbed and his number of strikeouts dropped. Coleman was a workhorse though and still had potential to build on.

Apparently the Detroit Tigers saw Joe's potential. They got him included in the disastrous Denny McLain trade in October of 1970 along with Jim Hannan, Ed Brinkman, and Aurelio Rodriguez. Washington got a washed up McLain along with Elliott Maddox, Norm McRae, and Don Wert. That trade helped keep the Tigers in contention and ensured the Senators would not be able to hang on in Washington.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Returns begin again.

A couple of weeks ago I posted I was getting back in the practice of requesting players' autographs through the mail. I sent out several batches of requests. Over the past several days a couple of them have returned with success.

Former Ranger outfielder George Wright returned two cards I sent him, both signed. That return came in on Monday. Two-time Ranger pitcher Bobby Witt also returned the two cards I sent him. Both this 1990 Topps and a second card were signed. Those cards arrived yesterday. Both Wright and Witt have signed for me in the past but it's always a thrill to open an envelope and see autographs inside. Many thanks to both gentlemen for their time in signing and returning the cards.

Looking forward to more returns in the coming days. I mixed things up a bit with the last batch of requests I sent out and added in some Senators along with past and current Rangers.. I usually don't have the extra cards to send to the guys who played in Washington but I did some checking and located a few. Decided I better send sooner rather than later since time is marching against them. Hope to see those cards, and some more Rangers, arriving home soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Colby Comes Through.

The Rangers were coming off a defeat last night as they faced off with the Tigers in Detroit. On Thursday night they got one-hit by Detroit starter Alfredo Simon. Last night the Tigers sent Justin Verlander to the hill to try for a second straight win.

Verlander did well, holding the Rangers to two runs (just one earned) on four hits over seven innings. The Tigers bullpen allowed just one hit and no runs over the remaining two innings.

Those two runs were all Colby Lewis, shown here on card 31 of the 2000 Bowman set, needed. Lewis has been a work horse for Texas this season and he didn't disappoint last night. Colby shut Detroit out as he scattered six hits over seven innings to out-duel Verlander. Keone Kela and Shawn Tolleson continued the shutout for the last two innings to ensure Lewis' 14th win of the season.

The win marks a career high for Colby and moves him into a three way tie for top in the American League this season. Nice to see things coming together for him after all he's been through since he was the prospect pictured on today's card. Extra nice to see his success coming in a Rangers uniform.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dutch's return.

Yesterday marked Derek Holland's return to the Rangers rotation. He had been on the disabled list prior to then with only one inning under his belt this season.

Holland, shown here on a signed 2009 Topps 206 bronze card, made good on his return. He went 6.1 innings and gave up just two runs against Seattle. Derek struck out six and walked none. Not too shabby. Good enough to get him his first win of the season.

Coming to Dutch's support, the Rangers scored seven runs off Mariners pitching. The game was 3-2 until the seventh, when Texas scored four runs to salt it away. Most of the uprising in the seventh was back-to-back-to-back long balls by Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli, and Elvis Andrus. Moreland's was a two-run shot so the home runs accounted for all the Ranger runs in that inning.

Nice to see the offense continuing the deliver. Going to need that if the team is looking to make a run at the post-season. Very nice to see Holland come back strong. He was lights out in his return last season but came back too late in the year to make any real impact. This year might be different. Dutch may have returned just in time to give Texas another big arm in the rotation when they really need it.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Made it out to the Rangers game yesterday. Got in line early enough to get the Adrian Beltre bobble head giveaway you see here. Also had time to stroll around the park and enjoy the atmosphere a bit before the game.

Sat in section 331 this time. I am getting to where I really enjoy the third deck along the baselines. Great view of the game and park, some shade, and a nice breeze most of the time.

Coming into the game yesterday the Rangers were leading the series with the Rays 2-0 and looking for the sweep. I have little confidence in Texas starter Yovanni Gallardo and my fears seemed to be borne out when the Rays struck first with a run in the first inning. It would have been more but Delino DeShields made a great diving catch in left center field to rob Asdrubal Cabrera of at least one, maybe two, RBI. Texas struck back in the bottom of the first with two runs on one hit. DeShields was in on the action again with a walk, stolen base, and run scored.

Gallardo gave up a lead-off triple to Desmond Jennings to start the second inning and Kevin Kiermaier knocked a double in the next at-bat to even the score. John Jaso came up next and singled to give the Rays a 3-2 lead. You can bet I was not saying pleasant things about Gallardo. Elvis Andrus led off the bottom of the second with a single but got knocked off at second on a Bobby Wilson fielder's choice to short. Recent call-up Ryan Strausborger rapped a two out single to move Wilson to second. That turned the lineup over and brought up DeShields again. He singled to bring in Wilson and tie things up. Shin-Soo Choo struck out to leave the knot intact.

Gallardo settled down in the third and allowed no more runs for the rest of his time in the ballgame. He was lifted in the sixth for Sam Freeman. Freeman, Keone Kela, Sam Dyson, and Shawn Tolleson kept the Rays off the board for the rest of the game. Dyson was helped by an outstanding play by Beltre in the eighth to get Jennings on a shot to third.

Beltre hammered a solo shot in the third to put the Rangers up for good. Ryan Strausborger added insurance with a solo homer of his own in the fourth. That ended the scoring. Final, 5-3 Texas. Sweep! Great game and a great day at the park. Always good to see the guys win, especially when they pick up a spot in the Wild Card standings.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Back in the game.

So, after taking a little over a year off from through the mail autograph requests, I'm back at it. I recently sent out two batches of requests to current and former Rangers players. Now comes the wait to see who responds and what comes back.

To celebrate getting back into the through the mail game I decided to post this 1990 Topps card of Steve Buechele. I mailed this card to Mr. Buechele on February 3, 2014. He's a busy man but he signed and returned it. I got it back on April 10, 2014. Not too bad a wait for a player as popular as Steve Buechele was in Texas.

Hopefully I will have some more recent successes to share with you in the near future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

1979 Topps - Bobby Thompson.

1979 Topps card number 336 is Bobby Thompson's only regular issue card. By the time it arrived in packs, Bobby's Major League career was over.

The Rangers drafted Thompson in the 19th round of the 1972 draft. He spent four years in Single A ball before beginning his ascent of the minor league ladder. By 1977 he was at Triple A. The Rangers must not have considered Thompson one of their best prospects since they lent him out to Cleveland and Atlanta so those teams could get a look at him in their farm systems. Neither club made the arrangement permanent and Thompson spent most of 1977 with the Triple A Tucson Torros. He batted .333 with the Torros and had on on-base percentage of .436. Those numbers were some of the best of his career and got him a shot at the Majors in 1978.

Bobby spent the entire 1978 season on the Rangers roster, serving as a backup outfielder to Juan Beniquez, Al Oliver, Richie Zisk, and Bobby Bonds. He appeared in 64 games and got 136 plate appearances. He was unable to replicate his Tucson numbers as his batting average reached just .225 and his on-base percentage .284. He hit three doubles, three triples, and two home runs. Disturbingly for a player with little power, he struck out 26 times while walking only nine times.  Thompson made 37 appearances in center field and nine each in left and right field.

Apparently unimpressed with Thompson's 1978 performance, the Rangers sold his contract to Seattle on December 6, 1978. He went to Spring Training with the Mariners but didn't make the team and they released him on March 28, 1979. He was able to catch on with the Maracaibo Petroleros de Zulia of the Inter-Amercan League for the 1979 season. In 1980 Bobby played for the Poza Rica Petroleros of the Mexican League. That would mark the end of his professional playing career.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Minor League Monday - David Lynch, 1990 CMC.

The Rangers drafted pitcher David Lynch in the 22nd round of the June, 1987 draft. He started his pro career the same year with the Gulf Coast Rangers in the Rookie League. By 1989 Lynch, shown here on card 154 of the 1990 CMC set, reached Double A Tulsa. He would split the 1989 season between Double and Triple A. That started a pattern that ran for several years.

David also split the 1990 season between the Double A Tulsa Drillers and the Triple A Oklahoma City 89ers. Since I don't know which stint came first I will start with his Double A performance.

Lynch appeared in 21 games for the Drillers, six of those appearances were starts. Over the 59 innings he pitched he put up a 3.81 ERA and a 1.373 WHIP. He struck out 37 opposing batters while issuing 21 unintentional free passes. Those numbers translated into a 4-4 record.

With Triple A OKC, David appeared 14 times and made two starts. He pitched 26.2 rough innings. Lynch posted a 5.74 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP. He allowed 14 free passes while whiffing just 20. Not surprisingly, he got four losses and zero wins.

Four years into his pro career David Lynch had made steady progress but was not blowing the doors off. The Rangers decided he was expendable. He was a left hander though and so likely to get more chances than the average 22nd round draft pick.

1991 would find Lynch in the Dodgers farm system. He split the season between Double and Triple A. He was a Reds farm hand in 1992 and split the season between Double and Triple A. Still with Cincinnati in 1993, he split the season between Double and Triple A for the fifth season in a row. That would be his final split season though. In 1994 and 1995 Lynch played at Triple A for the Indians. Following the 1995 season, at age 29, David Lynch hung up the spikes on his baseball career.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Senators Saturday - Cisco Carlos, 1970.

Francisco Manuel Carlos came to Washington in August of 1969 after the Senators purchased his contract from the White Sox. Not sure why he appears hatless in his ChiSox jersey on card 487 of the 1970 Topps set.

I'm also not exactly sure what was going on with Carlos in 1970 but he spent most of the season with the Triple A Denver Bears after spending all of 1968 and most of 1969 in the Majors. Primarily a starter, he made 28 starts in 32 appearances and pitched 204 innings for the Bears. Cisco put together a decent 3.40 ERA and a 1.343 WHIP en route to a 13-9 record. He also struck out 103 opposing batsmen while issuing just 62 free passes.

With decent pitching numbers, it's not surprising that Carlos spent some time with the Senators. A little time. Just a cup of coffee really. He appeared in five games, all in relief. Over six innings he posted an 1.50 ERA and an 1.167 WHIP. He did walk four while striking out just two.

Even with his limited time with Washington in 1970, one would expect to see Carlos get another shot in the Majors. It didn't happen though and he never appeared in another Major League game. He would play in the Senators/Rangers farm system through the end of 1972 and then in the Houston system in 1973 before hanging up the spikes for good.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back in the hunt.

I don't have any signed or game-used cards of Nick Martinez, Chris Gimenez, or any of the other guys who contributed to the Rangers win last night. Guess you'll have to settle for this signed 1997 Donruss Rusty Greer card. Of course, settling and Rusty Greer don't really go in the same sentence.

Anyway, glad to see the Rangers win last night. The victory completed a three game sweep of the first place Astros and puts the Rangers a game over .500. They are also five games out of first and still in the Wild Card hunt. Playoff hopes are not strong but they are not yet dead in Arlington.

What a crazy season. It's been a real roller coaster this year. One minute the team is streaking up and is hotter than anything. The next they are ice cold and tumbling towards the bottom of the heap. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when the switch flips. Just about the time things are looking good, the club falters. Just about the time they are written off, they come back to life and can't lose. It's better than last year but the ups and downs almost make Dramamine a necessity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cycling to victory.

Well, the last couple of days have been great ones for Rangers fans. After all, a win a day keeps the blues away.

Texas saw the Giants off on Sunday with a 2-1 win. Pitching was the story as Martin Perez turned in his best start since returning from the Disabled List. Perez went 8.1 innings and gave up just one run while allowing only two hits. The bullpen fooled around and loaded the bases in the ninth but got a double play to end the game. Josh Hamilton provided the margin of victory with a two run home run to give Perez all the support he needed.

As beautifully pitched as Sunday's game was, yesterday's was not. Rangers starter Colby Lewis battled through six innings but didn't have it as he gave up seven runs. Four of those were thanks to a grand slam. That was better than Houston starter Lance McCullers who gave up six earned runs in just a third of an inning of work and left for Triple A after the game. There were other pitchers involved but that gives you an idea of how things went.

On the other side of the ball, both teams had pretty big days. Shin-Soo Choo had a home run for Texas. He, Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, and Roughned Odor all had two RBI. The spotlight was reserved for Adrian Beltre though. Beltre, shown here on card 23 of the 2013 Allen and Ginter set, had a phenomenal night at the plate. He went 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored to lead the Rangers charge. Adrian got a triple in the first to start his night. His second at bat resulted in a double. Next came a single and, in the fifth inning he hammered a home right to left field. It was the third cycle of Beltre's career, the second in his time with Texas. Coupled with Choo's cycle a couple of weeks ago, it was the second of the year for the Rangers.

Thanks to some late-inning zeros put up by the Rangers revamped bullpen, and the offensive onslaught led by Beltre, the Rangers welcomed the Astros to Arlington with a 12-9 win. Nice way to open the series.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Finally winning at home.

So glad to have a reason to post a Rangers card on a Saturday. Not that I dislike posting Senators cards, I actually really enjoy the exercise. No, a post of a Rangers card on a Saturday means there's good news in the Rangers Republic.

Texas won their third straight last night as they topped the Giants 6-3. What's remarkable is not that they beat San Francisco, the first two wins came against the Yankees, or the length of the win streak. What's remarkable is that they won three in a row at home. The team with the worst home record in baseball might be waking up.

All of the Ranger runs scored in the first two innings as Texas jumped all over Giants' starter Madison Bumgarner (more on him later). Adrian Beltre, shown here on card 132 of the 2013 Bowman set, and Elvis Andrus both had two run homers to provide the bulk of the Rangers offense. Roughned Odor also went 3-for-3 in the game and scored a run. Meanwhile on the mound, Nick Martinez returned to his June form as he went 6.1 innings while striking out four and allowing just two runs. Newbie Jake Diekman took over from Martinez and made his Ranger debut with 1.2 innings of scoreless work. Jake handed off to Shawn Tolleson who allowed a Brandon Crawford home run before getting the game closed out. Very nice to see they club firing on all cylinders.

Tonight the team debuts new hurler Cole Hamels. A win to start off his time in Texas would be very nice indeed.

*** Do not read below this point if you are a Giants fan.***

By now my antipathy towards the Giants should be pretty well known to all. They rate right around the Yankees in my book and are doing their dead-level best to oust New York from the cellar. My dislike has little to nothing to do with the 2010 World Series (the Cards are still my NL team, even after 2011) and much to do with the behaviour of their management and players. Yesterday was another strike. I don't like to talk down on other teams but I have to say something here.

Starter Madison Bumgarner had a rough first couple of innings before settling down and shutting Texas down. That seemed to put him in a foul mood and he took further umbrage at a hard slide into second by Roughned Odor in the fourth inning. Why he would take personal offense at that is beyond me. Delino DeShields popped up to end the fourth. As DeShields trotted down the first base line waiting for the ball to be caught, he flipped his bat. No looks at Bumgarner, no lip, just a bat flip. Probably frustrated he popped out. Bumgarner didn't think so and began barking at him. Adrian Beltre popped out of the Texas dugout to defend the rookie from the unwarranted tongue lashing. Bumgarner and Beltre exchanged words and the benches cleared. There was no brawl and no ejections but the tension was high. There was no need for it.

One might chalk this up to Bumgarner having a bad day. Except he did the same thing against the Dodgers a few weeks back for the same reason. That seems to indicate there's a problem. When asked about his tantrum yesterday Bumgarner said, "I think it's pretty self-explanatory, don't you?" Yes, it is. The guy needs to get off his high horse and play ball. He's going to incite a serious brawl if he keep it up and guys could get hurt. Bumgarner's a phenomenal pitcher. He also appears to be a prima donna. Unfortunately, judging by other cases, that attitude is unlikely to be shed in San Francisco.