Monday, December 2, 2019

1995 Topps All-Star Rookie Outfielder Garret Anderson

Topps had a host of talented rookie outfielders to choose from in 1995 for their All-Star Rookie Team. AL Rookie of the Year Marty Cordova may have had a better season, but runner-up Garret Anderson was building a resume towards a fantastic career.  The Sporting News did name Anderson as the Rookie of the Year for 1995.

Anderson played in 106 games that season, and finished the season with a hearty .321 batting average. That mark was fueled by a torrid month of July, in which Garret was not only the top rookie, but was named AL Player of the Month for the whole league. He knocked out 19 doubles and smashed 16 homers.

Garret was a 3-sport star in high school in Granada Hills, California - as a Junior he helped lead his team to a Los Angeles City Championship. He was drafted in the 4th Round in 1990 by the Angels, and he made quick work of the minor leagues, climbing a level each year. He was never considered a top prospect in the minors, finishing as the #93 overall prospect in his final minor league season.

Anderson made his MLB debut in July of 1994, going 2-4 against the Oakland A's, with his first MLB hit coming off Starting Pitcher Ron Darling. Anderson appeared in just 5 games for the Angels in 1994, spending the bulk of the season at AAA Vancouver.

Anderson would go on to become one of the Angels' All-Time greats, finishing his 15 year tenure for the Halos as their all-time hits, runs, RBI, and total bases leader. Anderson developed his power over the years, with big numbers in 2002 and 2003. He would win the Silver Slugger award both years, making the All-Star team both seasons as well. Anderson was a key piece of the Angels' Championship Run in 2002 as well.  The injury bug would strike starting in 2004, and Anderson would lose some home run power but continued to hit near the .300 mark for several more seasons.

Following the 2008 season, the Angels would let Anderson go to free agency. He would sign with Atlanta and had another typical season for the doubles happy hitter, though his batting average had dipped to just .268.

Anderson would return to Southern California for his final MLB season, playing 80 games for the Dodgers, primarily as a pinch hitter. He would officially retire as an Angel in 2011, and was inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame in 2016.

Anderson was a prolific hitter, and was historically unwilling to take a walk when a hit could be had instead. Anderson never drew more than 38 walks in a single season, despite being the Angels' all-time leader in plate appearances. In fact he had more homers than walks in both 2000 and 2001.

Do you have any good Garret Anderson stories?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Not-So-Arbitrary Arbitrary Collection - the 2000s

The legend continues! Seeing Hideo Nomo in a Detroit Tigers uniform is a little jarring, but for the most part these guys are in familiar places. The Pirates and the Giants appear two times apiece. The Jack Wilson card is a fantastic shot.

You'll notice that for the 2000s, I am pulling cards in the 200s from the checklist, rather than starting over with #1... Just making a different choice here on these. I was a fan of the backs in 2001 - 2003. The 2003 cards remind me a bit of the 1984 set, which had my favorite card backs of the 1980s. I think 2003 and 2004 have my favorite designs overall from this decade. How about you? What is your favorite design of the 2000s?

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday is NOT Card Show Day

I myself first realized that this was not a card show day when I arrived at the strip mall that hosts the monthly show and no one else was there... Oh well, always nice to take in the lovely weather. So, instead of showing more of my 1959 Topps set build (didn't add any new cards today), here are the other cards I added from the last couple shows.

Jerry Kindall knows a thing or two about Minnesota winter weather - he was a St. Paul kid and a University of MN standout. He hit for the cycle in the College World Series in 1956 and after his MLB career returned as the coach of the Golden Gophers in the 1970s. He was the first person to win the College World Series as a player and then win again as a manager.

Hey, Let's Add Two Cubs!

I don't like to show the price tags for the most part, but for this card is was an integral part of the story. I have said it enough times now that I'm not a big fan of the 1953 Topps set. I don't have any cards on my want list because I don't have any intention of adding any more to my collection. But here we are, talking about another new card added from the set. I am fairly certain I will not be able to afford a copy of Hoyt's 1952 Topps card, so when I found a copy of his 1953 card for just $10, I had to add it. If it was closer to the book value, I think I would have passed on it.

There you go - less tacky this way.

1952 Topps Horizontal cards, on the other hand, will always be on the list for me! This card has two good corners and two missing corners, which made the Hall of Famer an affordable addition!

Some more random finds included this Doc Gooden Leaf Rookie Card. The Gooden box bottom from the 1985 Donruss card is one of my favorite cards of the 80s, so it was fun to add this card as well.

Along with the French translation on the back, the Leaf card also has a "Rookie Of The Year" stamp over the stat block. When I first saw this, I thought someone added this after the fact, but looking at some other examples on COMC, it looks like it appears on all of them.

The rest of the haul included some more recent releases, There was a decent deal to be had buying all of these together from the same vendor.

The same vendor also had some relic and autographs for sale, and I picked up a pair of Adrian Beltre cards, who just has to wait a few more years before he can be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

This looks like a bat relic, but the disclaimer on the back doesn't use the word bat at all, and is keen to point out that this "game-used memorabilia" is not from any specific game, season, or event.... It could be from an Adrian Beltre bat, but I guess we'll never know for sure! 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Showing Some A-PWE-ciation

Hope everyone is having a safe and wonderful start to their holiday season! I was the recipient of a pair of plain white envelopes (or PWEs) this past week, thanks to Tom from Waiting 'Til Next Year and Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life.  Tom sent 3 cards,  I was surprised to find a Ryne Harper in the envelope! Tom has a formidable Sandberg player collection, I thought the new generation of "Rynes" might make it into his collection as well.

Harper and this Nelson Cruz insert were both featured in 2019 Topps Update and came in a ZZ Pack War post.

Also in that pack war was this promo card of former Twin Tsuyoshi Nishioka! The reverse side has a promo of a jersey swatch for Kyuji Fujikawa, former Cubs hurler. I might need to start a Chiba Lotte Marines collection between Nishioka and of course the great Kennys Vargas. I indirectly owe a thank you to ZZ as well for this cool card! Thanks for the PWE, Tom, I hope we aren't Waiting 'til Next Year to read a new post on your blog now that you are shifting your focus a bit. Best of luck with that wood-working project, sounds like fun!

Bo's PWE was laser focused on a pair of my collections - The Alou family, and the bat rack.

Moises' proud papa, Felipe featured here from his playing days.

A quartet of Manageri-alous! 

To round it out, Bo included this bat rack bunch. Thanks very much, Bo, these hit the spot!

Monday, November 25, 2019

1995 Topps All-Star Rookie First Baseman John Mabry

Though he was an outfielder coming up to the big leagues, John Mabry was named the Topps All-Star Rookie First Baseman for the 1995 season. This versatility would become a trademark of Mabry's career - playing all outfield positions, both corner infield positions, and even 2 MLB appearances on the pitching rubber. He would finish 4th in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.

Mabry hit over .300 for his rookie season, which would be a career high mark. The lanky lefty did not provide much on the bases, but apart from that he filled up the stat sheet with doubles and a very strong throwing arm.

Mabry was drafted by the Cardinals in the 6th Round in the 1991 draft, coming out of West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware and attended Bohemia Manor High School in Chesapeake City, MD. Mabry's outfield arm was considered among the strongest in the Cardinals' system, and his swing was compared to David Justice early on by Joe Torre. Mabry jumped up the minor league ranks quickly, having already played 3 years of college ball. He flashed some power in 1993 and 1994, and earned a call up at the end of that season.

Mabry would play for many different MLB teams in his career, but the Cardinals were always home. He had three different stints in St. Louis, and his post-playing days have also been spent in the St. Louis area. His most prolific MLB season came in his sophomore season. In 1996, he was the Cardinals' primary first baseman, and led the team in base hits. He was 4th in the NL in fielding pct among first baseman, and played 13 errorless games in the outfield. He even hit for the cycle against the Rockies in May of that season. The arrival of Mark McGwire in 1998 allowed Mabry to return to his original position in the outfield. He would go on to become a super utility guy and pinch hitting specialist.

In addition to Saint Louis, Mabry played for Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, Oakland, the Cubs, and the Rockies. He would finish his career with the 4th most hits in MLB history for Delaware-born players. He still ranks 3rd all-time in Doubles from Delaware, behind Delino Deshields and Paul Goldschmidt. Mabry would join Mike Matheny's coaching staff in St. Louis, and was the team's hitting coach throughout Matheny's tenure.

Got any fun John Mabry stories?  I'd love to hear 'em!