Archive for April, 2013

Sandoval and Deliver

pablo_sandoval_4_30_2013Pitching from both the Giants and Diamondbacks dominated this game through the first seven and a half innings.  Then the Diamondbacks struck first with a Josh Wilson home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off of Giants reliever Santiago Casilla.  Trevor Cahill pitched a strong 8 innings and after allowing a single to Angel Pagan in the top of the ninth inning he was replaced by closer, J.J. Putz to try to secure the win.  After Marco Scutaro struck out it was Pablo Sandoval’s turn to try to tie the game with Angel Pagan now on second.  A single would do the trick but Sandoval decided a home run was better and took Putz over the wall in right center field for a 2-1 lead.  Sergio Romo closed out the bottom of the ninth for his 10th save and the Giants moved to 15-12 on the season.

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What A Weekend?!?!

I had a weekend free for the first time in weeks and had so much I wanted to get done around the house and in the garage.  Well it seems my body had other plans and was violently ill starting Friday night and it lasted until pretty much today as it was the first day I have been able to get around and do stuff.  My San Francisco Giants had an equally bad weekend, getting swept by division rivals, San Diego Padres.  We did sweep the Padres the weekend before so I guess they paid us back though!

brandon_belt_april_29_2013So onto Arizona and the Diamondbacks to try to end a 5-game losing streak.  Bruce Bochy made the decision to move First Baseman Brandon Belt down to 8th in the batting which was either a stroke of genius or just plain lucky, I prefer to think genius!  All Belt did was go 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs and a home run.  The home run came in the second inning and gave the Giants an early 3-0 lead.  Then in the top of the 8th with the score tied 4-4, he came to the plate with bases loaded and two outs.  With the count at 3 balls and 1 strike, he singled to center field scoring two runs and putting the Giants ahead for good.  The Giants won the game 6-4 and the losing streak was over!

In addition to writing about the cards I am collecting, acquiring, trading, finding (in my shed!) I though I would share my thoughts on how the Giants do throughout the season.  This is more for me as I enjoy writing but if even one person reads it and enjoys it just a little (or at least doesn’t hate it) then I am happy!

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Blog Look

I have designed and maintained a few websites the past few years and it seems every few months I get tired of the look and want to redesign them.  The same is happening here!  Uh-oh!  I came across a new (to me) blog yesterday, all the way to the backstop. . . and I love the use of the classic San Diego Padres colors.  I believe the colors are garish brown and gold.  The San Diego Padres throwback jerseys and old school logo are one of my favorites from the past but I might be in the minority.  Maybe it is just me and the blog creator, Marcus!  Check out the Cameron Maybin card for an example of the throwback jersey with the original logo underneath.

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So what does this mean for my Back In The Card Game?  Maybe next time you visit you will see a new design and some new colors . . . maybe Black, Orange and Cream?  GO GIANTS!

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Collecting The Set – 2013 Topps Series 1 (UPDATE)

After a few Blaster Boxes and numerous Jumbo Packs and a few trades sprinkled in I am just 5 cards short of the base set, not counting the SP versions.  Here are the elusive five!

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2013_topps_series_1_129_ike_davis

2013_topps_series_1_142_tony_cingrani

2013_topps_series_1_300_daniel_murphy

2013_topps_series_1_322_alex_gonzalez

I am sure it will be no time before I track these guys down! Can you help?

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Dime Box Delivery

I came home from work the other day to find a few packages in the mailbox.  One package contained a 2013 Topps Manufactured Commemorative Patch (#CP19) Will Clark I had won on eBay.  I bought three boxes of Topps Series 1 hoping to pull this card, ended up pulling a Mike Trout Commemorative Patch and (2) Yu Darvish Commemorative Rookie Patch so it was off to eBay to get it.  I paid $1.75 for the card plus $2.50 for shipping which I think is worth it!

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The second one was from Nick at Dime Boxes — The Low-End Baseball Collector’s Journey.  Here are some of the cards he sent for my 2013 Topps Series 1 base set.

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#85 Sean Doolittle

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#136 Tyler Clippard

There were a few more he sent but from the time I had give him my missing cards list to receiving them in the mail I had acquired a few.  Hopefully I can pass on the doubles to another collector who needs them!  As of this writing I am just 5 cards short of the base set.

Now onto the other cards, a mixture of San Francisco Giants!  Of course I was hoping to find some Will Clarks, and Nick didn’t disappoint.

The Will Clark Project

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1987 Sportsflics #95

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1988 Donruss DK #21

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1990 Topps All-Star #397

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2012 Topps Archives #209

Although all the cards are great and much appreciated I want to highlight a few here.

Bobby Thomson – Golden Moments

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2001 Topps Golden Moments #379

Baseball’s most celebrated comeback was capped by what may be the game’s most famous home run.  The Giants were 13 1/2 games behind the Dodgers on August 12, 1951, before going 39-8 down the stretch to finish in a tie.  Forced into a three-game playoff, the teams split the first two.  The Dodgers were up 4-1 in the ninth inning of Game 3 when the Giants rallied.  New York cut the lead by a run and had two men on when Thomson hit a home run to left field for the “shot heard ’round the world.”  (Information from back of card.)

Willie McCovey – 500 Home Runs

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2012 Topps Gold Standard GS-9

Four years after Hank Aaron broke the career home run record at the same venue, McCovey arrived at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1978 on teh brink of his own longball milestone.  He got it on the final day of June, in the opener of a four-game series.  Willie led off the second inning with the blast, becoming the 12th man to reach 500 rountrippers.  (Information from back of card.)

Since Willie McCovey became the 12th player to hit 500 home runs there have been 13 more players to join him – Reggie Jackson (September 17, 1984), Mike Schmidt (April 18, 1987), Eddie Murray (September 6, 1996), Mark McGwire (August 5, 1999), Barry Bonds (April 17, 2001), Sammy Sosa (April 4, 2003), Rafael Palmeiro (May 11, 2003), Ken Griffey Jr. (June 20, 2004), Frank Thomas (June 28, 2007), Alex Rodriguez (August 4, 2007), Jim Thome (September 16, 2007), Manny Ramirez (May 31, 2008), and Gary Sheffield (April 7, 2009).

There are a few players that will have a shot at 500 homeruns in the next few years if they can remain healthy and play – Albert Pujols (477/Age: 33), Jason Giambi (431/Age: 42), Paul Konerko (425/Age: 37), Adam Dunn (409/Age: 33), and David Ortiz (401/Age: 37).

Barry Zito Comes To San Francisco

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2007 Topps Trading Places – TP10

After coming to the Giants in 2008 it seemed Barry Zito was never going to his performance levels his Oakland Athletics days, including a season where he went 23-5.  Up until 2012 he had not won more then 11 games in a Giant uniform and never finished with more wins then losses.  In 2012, Zito returned to form going 15-8 for the World Series Champions.  This season he has started strong once again, going 3-1 in 4 starts with a 3.42 ERA.

So there are a few highlights of the cards sent by Nick with some information and history to go along with them.  Thanks Nick!

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Dollar Store Finds!

After reading a few stories out there about the occasional nice pull from a dollar store repack I thought I would try it for my self.  I happened to be driving by a Dollar Tree here in Cheyenne and popped in.  There were four repacks with 30 cards each sitting near the registers.  I was only gonna grab one and see what happens but I thought might as well grab all four.  Each front card (you could see through pack) was a Pacific Nolan Ryan.  The four were –

1992_pacific_ryan_texas_express_ii_142_nolan_ryan   1993_pacific_texas_express__225_nolan_ryan
1993_pacific_texas_express__226_nolan_ryan   1993_pacific_texas_express_248_nolan_ryan

Didn’t get anything real spectacular in terms of cards but there were some cool finds in the four packs.

The oldest card in the bunch was a 1978 Topps #299 Whitey Herzog manager card.

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As a player, Herzog played for the Washington Senators (1956-58), Kansas City Athletics (1958-60), Baltimore Orioles (1961-62), and Detroit Tiger (1963) . . . he had a career .257 batting average, 25 home runs and 172 runs batted in.  After his playing days were over he became a succesfull manager with the Texas Rangers (1973), California Angels (1974), Kansas City Royals (1975-79), and St. Louis Cardinals (1980-1990).  He enjoyed much of his managerial success with the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals.  He led the Royals to three straight American League Western division titles (1976, 1977, and 1978) and led the Cardinals to three National League Championships (1982, 1985, and 1987) and won the 1982 World Series against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Herzog was named Manager of the Year in 1985, had his #24 is retired by the Cardinals and was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Continuing with the Hall of Fame theme, I came across a 1984 Topps #400 All-Star Cal Ripken Jr.

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Ripken was selected as an All-Star for the first time in 1983, which started a streak of 19 straight (1983-2001) All-Star selections.  Although that is not his most impressive streak!  On September 6, 1995, he broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consectuive games played when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game.  The record had stood for 56 years and many baseball historians believed the record was unbreakable.  He extended the consective games streak record to 2,632 games, dare I say this record is UNBREAKABLE now?  His list of awards and accolades are extensive,  American League Rookie of the Year (1982), American League Most Valuable Player (1983 and 1991), Silver Slugger Award (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994), Gold Glove Award (1991 and 1992), Major League Baseball All-Star Game MVP (1991 and 2001), and Major League Baseball All-Century Team  just to name a few.  He had his #8 retired by the Baltimore Orioles and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007.  In his 21 year career he compiled 3,184 hits, 431 home runs and 1,695 runs batted in.

Next couple of cards are from players who could have been Hall of Famers had it not been for actual or accused use of steroids – 1987 Topps #634 Rafael Palmeiro, 1993 Score Select #79 of 90 Roger Clemens, and 1993 Fleer #709 Juan Gonzalez Round Trippers.

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Palmeiro played 19 seasons for the Chicago Cubs (1986-88), Texas Rangers (1989-93, 1999-03), Baltimore Orioles (1994-98, 2004-05), and Texas Rangers (1999-03).  He finished his career with a .288 batting average, 3,020 hits, 569 home runs and 1,835 runs batted in.  He was a 4x All-Star selection (1988, 1991, 1998, and 1999), 3x Gold Glove Winner (1997-99) and 2x Silver Slugger (1998-99).  As a member of the 500-homer and 3,000 hit-club he should have been a sure-fire first ballot inductee into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, but  a 2005 suspension for a positive steroid test pretty much ruined any chances of that.

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Clemens played 24 seasons for the Boston Red Sox (1984-96), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-98), New York Yankees (1999-03, 2007), and Houston Astros (2004-06).  He finished his career with a 354-184 win-loss record, 3.12 earned run average and 4,672 strikeouts.  His 354 wins rank 9th all-time and his 4,672 strikeouts are 3rd behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875).  Clemens won the Cy Young Award seven times (1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004), was an 11x All-Star (1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005), was the American League MVP in 1986 and was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.  All of these accolades would have meant entry into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame but he has been accused of steroid use by Jose Canseco in his book titled, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big as well as being named numerous times in the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball.  He testified before before a Congressional committee and swore under oath that he never took steroids.  He was later tried for lying to Congress and was fouund not guilty on all six charges he faced.
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Gonzalez played 17 seasons for the Texas Rangers (1989-99, 2002-03), Detroit Tigers (2000), Cleveland Indians (2001, 2005), and Kansas City Royals (2004).  He finished his career with a .295 batting average, 434 home runs and 1,404 runs batted in.  He was a 2x American League Most Valuable Player (1996 and 1998), 3x All-Star (1993, 1998 and 2001), 6x Sliver Slugger (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2001).  Gonzalez was named in Canseco’s book as well as the Mitchell Report for an incident in 2001 in which a piece of team luggage belonging to either him or his personal trainer was found to contain then legal (now illegal) drugs.  Wether it contained steroids was never proven.

Now onto a future Hall of Famer and one of the most dominating pitchers of the 1990s and 2000s, 193 Topps #460 Randy Johnson.

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Johnson played 22 seasons for the Montreal Expos (1988-89), Seattle Mariners (1989-1998), Houston Astros (1998 – REALLY?), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-04, 2007-08), New York Yankees (2005-06), and San Francisco Giants (2009).  He finished his career with a 303-166 win-loss record, 3.29 earned run average and 4,875 strikouts.  The only pitcher to have more strikouts then Johnson in the history of Major League Baseball is Nolan Ryan.  Johnson has a no-hitter (June 2, 1990) and a perfect game (May 18, 2004) on his resume as well as five Cy Young Awards (1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002), 10x All-Star selection (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004) and the Pitching Triple Crown (wins, strikouts, and earned run average) in 2002.

Now a few others that interested me for one reason or another.

1993_leaf_267_eric_davis

Eric Davis (1993 Leaf #267) was one of the players I collected as a teenager.  He played for 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (1984-91, 1996), Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-93), Detroit Tigers (1993-94), Baltimore Orioles (1997-98), St. Louis Cardinals (1999-00), and San Francisco Giants (2001).  When Davis debuted in the mid-1980’s he was what baseball scouts called a 5-tool player; somebody who hits for average, hits for power, has baserunning skills, throwing ability and fielding ability.  He was exciting to watch but also was injury prone and never played more then 135 games in any season.  He finished his career with a .269 batting average, 282 home runs and 934 runs batted in.  He was selected to two All-Star teams (1987 and 1989), a 3x Gold Glove Award winner (1987, 1988, and 1989) and a 2x Silver Slugger Award winner (1987 and 1989).  His best season was in 1987 when he hit .293, had 37 home runs, 100 runs batted in and stole 50 bases.  Although this card features him in a Dodger uniform and he played for a few teams Eric Davis will always be a Red!

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Growing up in Southern California in the 1970s-1980s Steve Sax (1989 Upper Deck #748) was one of my favorite players.  I have to admit I was a little bit of a Dodger fan when I was really young mainly because my grandparents were and I played Little League Baseball on the Dodgers.  Once I could think on my own I became a SF Giants fan, mainly thanks to Will Clark but that is a story for another day.  I liked to watch Steve Sax because he played second base and that was my primary position in Little League.  Sax was not a Superstar but he was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1982, a 5x All-Star (1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, and 1990) and won two World Series Championships with the Dodgers.  He played with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1982-88), New York Yankees (1989-91), Chicago White Sox (1992-93), and Oakland Athletics (1994) and finished his 14 year career with a 281 batting average, 1,941 hits, 54 home runs, 550 runs batted in and 444 stolen bases.

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So how does Glenn Braggs (1991 Upper Deck #631) make it into the same article as Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Juan Gonzalez, Randy Johnson, Eric Davis and even Steve Sax?  There is something special about him that no other player above can claim . . . his brother was my counselor when I was in Junior High School!!!  Braggs played seven seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers (1986-90) and Cincinnati Reds (1990-92) and finished his career a .257 batting average, 601 hits and 70 home runs.  He was teammates of Eric Davis in Cincinnati when the Reds won the 1990 World Series.

In the end I got 120 cards for $4.00 (.03 cents a card!!!) and although I got no relics, autographs or valuablue inserts it was fun to open the repacks from the dollar store and take a walk down memory lane.  Will definately be doing it again real soon!

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Look What Was In The Mailbox!

Received a package a few days ago from Jeff Wilk of www.2x3heroes.com with some of my missing 2013 Topps Series 1 set as well as a good sampling of various SF Giants cards for my collection.  This is my first package received from a fellow blogger so I was very excited to receive it!  Although all were great cards, here are some of the highlights for me –

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1993 Bowman Will Clark

Tucked away towards the back of the stack was this 1993 Bowman Will Clark.  It will be a nice addition to the collection.

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2004 Upper Deck Benito Santiago

Collected Santiago when I was younger when he was a Catcher with the San Diego Padres, where his best years were.  I can remember him on more then one occasion throwing out runners at second base without even getting up from the crouch.

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1996 Fleer Update Smooth Leather – Matt Williams

Matt Williams spent 10 seasons with the San Francisco Giants where he hit 247 homeruns.  Great defensive third baseman too!

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2003 Upper Deck Victory (Tier 3 Blue) J.T. Snow

Became a fan of J.T. Snow when he was a California Angel and bigger fan when he became a San Francisco Giant in 1996.  Plus you gotta like numbered cards right?

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2010 Topps Buster Posey (RC)

I was shocked to find a Posey RC in the mix but very appreciative.  Since I am just getting back into collecting I need to work on my Buster Posey collection and this was a great start.

2012_topps_archives_140_buster_posey

2012 Topps Archives Buster Posey

Another Buster Posey!  This is a very nice card design.  The 1980 Topps has always been on of my favorite designs of the past.

Some of the other players included were Giuseppe Chiaramonte (C), Rod Beck (P), Willie McGee (OF), Stan Javier (OF), Mark Portugal (P), Greg Litton (3B-2B), Jeff Leonard (OF), Aaron Rowand (OF), Jason Chmidt (P), Robby Thompson (2B), Shawn Estes (P), Livan Hernandez (P), San Francisco Giants Team Picture (2010 Topps Heritage), and Kenny Lofton (OF).

I can’t thank Jeff enough and am working on putting together some cards to send back!

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