Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1971 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Here they are - the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, selected "by the Youth of America" following the 1971 season and featured in the 1972 Topps set. 

I have completed the run of these up through 2017 Series One, at least all regular issue cards that bear the All-Star Rookie Trophy. 

The whole team from 1971 got their trophy this year, but things are about to get crazy starting with next season!

Outfield - Angel Mangual
Angel Mangual was in the right place at the right time - on the bench in the bottom of the ninth. It was Game 4 of the 1972 World Series and Mangual's name was called to pinch hit for Rollie Fingers. Mangual delivered a walk-off single to drive in Gene Tenace. The year before that, Mangual was playing all over the A's outfield, appearing in 94 games and hit a career high .286. He finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting. He was on all three Oakland Athletic World Championship teams in the 1970s. He would lose playing time over the next few seasons, playing his final MLB game in June of 1976.

Left Handed Pitcher - Ross Grimsley
Ross Grimsley won over 100 games in his career, 20 in his lone All-Star season in 1978. For the Reds in 1971, Ross started 26 games and hurled 3 shutouts. He pitched well for Cincinnati in the playoffs as well, including winning Games 5 and 6 of the 1972 World Series, both in relief. He would go on to pitch for the Orioles, Expos, and Cleveland. His Final appearance came with Baltimore in 1982, in which he tossed two and third innings of scoreless relief.

Outfield - Bill Buckner
Buckner played a handful of games in 1969 and 1970 for the Dodgers, but his first full season came in 1971. He played in both corner outfield positions, as well as 11 games at first base. Buckner did not lack for power, though he hit more gap to gap for doubles than clearing the fences. He led the league in doubles twice, and was the NL batting champ in 1980. His lone All-Star Appearance came the following season with the Cubs. Despite suffering a serious ankle injury during the 1975 season that limited his mobility and speed for the rest of his career, Buckner played 22 seasons and racked up over 2200 career hits.

Here are the Backs!

First Baseman - Chris Chambliss
Chris was the 1971 AL Rookie of the Year, thanks to a .275 average, 20 doubles, and 9 homers. He is probably best remembered for his home run in the 1976 ALCS that gave the Yankees the win and propelled them to their first World Series of the decade. The pandemonium following his walk-off blast gave birth to a new rule in his name. The "Chris Chambliss" rule allows an umpire to award any base to a player that they cannot touch due to fans rushing the field. He finished his career in 1988, but went on to serve as a hitting coach for the Yankees and several other teams, and managed for a few minor league squads as well.  

Shortstop - Chris Speier
Speier was a three time All-Star with the Giants in the early 70s, His success as a rookie in 1971 prompted him to try switch hitting in 1972, which lasted all of of Spring Training, but just a few games into the season, he abandoned it to focus on hitting as a righty. He made the postseason with San Francisco in 1971, with Montreal in 1981, and then again with the Giants in 1987. He hit .400 for the Expos in the 1981 NLDS, but they were not able to overcome the Dodgers in the NLCS. By 1983, Speier shifted to a reserve role, but still had over 1750 career hits and scored over 750 runs.

Third Baseman - Steve Braun
A lifetime .271 hitter, Braun's best season came in 1975, when he compiled career highs in Hits, Home runs, and batting average. His rookie campaign showed promise, and he filled many different roles for the Twins. He played both corner outfield positions, third, short, and second base. He would earn a World Series ring in 1982 in a supporting role for the Saint Louis Cardinals.  

Right Handed Pitcher - Bill Parsons
Bill Parsons might have been the AL Rookie of the Year in 1971 if advanced stats were in vogue. His 13-17 record was unsightly, though he led all rookies by a wide margin with a 3.1 WAR. He finished second behind Chris Chambliss for the honor. Parsons threw 244 innings as a 22 year old, with a 3.20 ERA, which was just a bit better than league average. He threw 4 shutouts. However, he became fairly prone to give up the home run ball, surrendering 27 in his sophomore season. Like many promising pitchers of the era, injuries to Parsons' shoulder and back crept in and limited his effectiveness. When the injuries subsided, his mechanics that made him successful in the past no longer proved useful, and he was out of organized baseball at the age of 26.

Catcher - Earl Williams
"Big Money" was the National League Rookie of the Year, crushing 33 homers for the Braves as a catcher and corner infielder. That would be his career high, though he played well in 1972 and 1973, driving in at least 80 runs in each season. Having to catch Phil Niekro in 1972, Williams had 28 passed balls, though he had one homer for each dropped knuckleball. He was traded to Baltimore in the offseason, and continued to hit well for the Orioles. He was not a hit with his Baltimore teammates, however, and clashes with players, coaches, and manager Earl Weaver blunted his career. He was traded back to Atlanta, and went on to play until 1977.

Outfield - Willie Montanez
Finishing second to Earl Williams was Willie Montanez. In most years, his 30 homers and 99 runs batted in would have been enough to make him the Rookie of the Year, but Williams had slightly gaudier numbers, while playing the demanding position of catcher. Montanez played until 1982, had over 1600 hits, and drove in over 800 runs. He was an All-Star in 1977 with the Braves. From 1978 to 1982, he bounced around to 6 different teams.

Second Baseman - Doug Griffin
A Gold Glove winner in 1972, Griffin played with Boston from his rookie season until the end of his career in 1977. Griffin came to the BoSox at the expense of losing fan favorite Tony Conigliaro to the Angels. The other trade made that off-season brought Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio to play shortstop, and it was under Aparicio's tutelage that Griffin learned the finer points of fielding. A broken hand during his Gold Glove season carried over into 1973. In 1974, Griffin was beaned by a Nolan Ryan fastball and suffered a concussion. The effects of the hit by pitch lingered for some time, and he was never quite the same in the field or at the plate.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Non baseball Baseball cards- For Trade!

I've decided to put non-baseball Allen & Ginter up for grabs/dibs/trade. Claim as many as you like, send me something in return, don't worry about book value or anything like that, I haven't looked these up, I don't think there's anything Earth-shaking anyway.

Top 2 are inserts, the rest are base cards
Everything above is from the 2011 A&G set.

2013 for the first three, 2014 for the next four, 2014 Panini Golden Age William Carrier, the rest are all from the 2011 set.
Here are the backs of the minis - the two Phillies have the A&G backs.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Different 8 Men Out

Now that I'm down to single digits on my 1956 Topps Set build, finding singles in the wild is getting harder and harder. I did pick up one card last weekend, so now there are just "Eight Men Out." 

Billy Martin! This is coincidentally the first card I've acquired of Martin from his playing days. As is the custom with 1956 Topps, we're treated to a great action shot featuring Martin.

Here's the back - great cartoons.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Transatlantic Triple Break! 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter's

Kevin from The Card Papoy was in charge of the Triple Break, and chose the 2011 Allen & Ginter's set. My favorite kind of parallel, the framed mini, was the big hit for my portion of the break.
Chris Sale and Freddie Freeman were rookies in the set. I really like the look of the team logos and the brand nameplate.
Here's the back - they feature the familiar Allen & Ginter's design of using no numerals, just letters to spell out the stats.

A handful of interesting cards from the set. There were lots of non-baseball cards, Kevin split those up at random. I think I'm keeping Jake LaMotta, but I will probably put up another trade bait post next week for folks to call dibs on anything they might want for set building.

"Hometown Heroes" is the main baseball insert, nice to have a couple Twins in the set.
Speaking of Twins, Kevin also sent over some #SuperTrader material, with serial numbered goodness.
I've made it up to the letter M in sorting all my Twins, That letter has more cards than any other letter, especially with Mauer and Morneau cards being so plentiful in my collection.
Johan is wearing a Twins hat, and the swatch looks more like a Twins road blue than a Mets blue
(which is supposed to be the same blue as Brooklyn Dodger Blue - the Orange on Mets jerseys were borrowed from the NY Giants), so I count this as a Twins card.
Gorgeous Tyler Duffey Crome Autograph
Sick patch, bro.
And just in time for the holiday, Kevin included this "Memorial Day" Jersey swatch from ByungHo Park. The Twins did not play on Memorial Day 2016, so this swatch is probably from another day during the 2016 season, Park's only in the majors to date. He's battled a hamstring injury this season, and is hitting .228 with 3 homers in AAA.

Thanks again Kevin for another fantastic Triple Break! It'll be my turn to pick a box to break, and I'm eyeing some Topps Heritage from the late 2000s - more to come!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Day Thirty - 1987 Topps Kirby Puckett # 611

Day 30: Your Favorite Card in Your Collection

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the last of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I didn't necessarily post one every day, but I did do one for each card, tossed in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and I usually included an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - it's not the most glamorous card in my collection, but it's the first Kirby Puckett card I ever owned. I think I traded a Barry Larkin and a Reds pitcher to my cousin in Ohio for this card. I would have given him the whole pack that my dad bought for me.  

Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs? The 1987 Topps All-Star cards featured the league leaders in categories in which the main player excelled. The AL home run leaders from 1986 may seem like Puckett's year was not all that impressive. But consider that in 1984, Puckett did not hit a single homer in his rookie season. In 1985, he hit just 4. Puckett was mainly a singles hitter, competing with Wade Boggs and Carney Lansford for batting titles. But he went to work that off-season with Tony Oliva, then a roving instructor and hitting coach for the Twins, to re-tool his swing. He went from slapping and slashing down at the ball to a more familiar uppercut swing, along with a much more pronounced leg kick to generate power.

Honorable mentions? Check out the last 29 posts on the countdown, they all qualify! This was a really fun trip, thanks again to Tony for the idea to get things rolling. It has been great reading everyone else's posts as well

Friday, May 26, 2017

Day Twenty Nine - 1919-1921 W514 Gavvy "Cactus" Cravath

Day 29: A Favorite Card From Before 1950

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-ninth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick! Gavvy Cravath was the premier power hitter of the 1910s. People bring up "Home Run" Baker, but his nickname came from a single World Series homer, not from terrorizing pitchers all season long like Cactus Cravath. Cravath's first name is actually Clifford - he got the name Gavvy as a shortened version of Gaviota, a graceful Pacific Coast bird that he either resembled in the outfield, or that he killed with a hard hit ball. The "Cactus" nickname is also due to his origins in the Southwest United States. He led the league in homers 6 times in the 1910s, including an at the time unheard of 24 homers in 1915. He has a great quote about the joys of being a power hitter in an era of "Small Ball" -- he declared "I steal bases with my bat."
Since these are one card posts, why not share the backs? Maybe when there's nothing on the back, it's less interesting. The W514 set were originally sold in strips of 10 cards at a time, and features 7 of the "Eight Men Out," including Shoeless Joe Jackson. There are 120 cards total in the set, Cactus Cravath is the only one I have. He's listed as a member of the Philadelphia Quakers, which was another name for the Phillies franchise at the time. I've shared it before, but I recommend reading his SABR biography - written by Bill Swank.

Some Honorable Mentions-
It's like I'm a Gavvy Cravath supercollector! Here's his T206 card.

Gabby Street was a Catcher for the Washington Senators from 1908-1911. This is a 1911 S74 Silk "card" - his claim to fame (beyond being an accomplished defender behind the plate) was catching a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in DC.

Barely making the pre-1950 cut is this 1948 Leaf card of Johnny Vandermeer - the Cincinnati Reds hurler tossed two no-hitters in a row, a feat which I doubt will be matched. Pete Rose often said that it was this record that would never be broken, even safer than his hit record. He rightly points out the difficulty in matching it, but surpassing it would mean tossing three  no-hitters in a row in the major leagues. There's a High School pitcher in New Hampshire that has a streak of 4 no-hitters  going right now. The all-time record in High School is 6. Two different pitchers threw 6 consecutive no-hitters in High School. That's insane.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Day Twenty Eight - 2002 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Minnie Minoso #S-MMi

Day 28: A Favorite Relic / Manufactured Relic Card

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-eighth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick- in my opinion, a "relic" should be from a bygone era. The older, the more relic-y it is. Minoso played his last MLB game (the first time) back in 1964. Then in 1977. Then in 1980. He even suited up for the Minor League Saint Paul Saints as recently as 2003. He's the only player to play in the 21st Century that also played in the Negro Leagues. This card isn't a "sick patch" or laundry tag or a book with buttons or anything like that - just a simple design that features a relic of an all-time great.

Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs? If the back of the card is accurate, the relic is at least from 1959, if not older. Cleveland was the first team Minoso played for in the big leagues, back in 1949, and he returned for two more seasons in the late 50s. I miss Upper Deck baseball, I hope they get another chance to make some cards in the future.

Honorable mentions!
I like a clean design most of the time, but a little craziness can be welcome as well. I like to pretend that the relic on the Kirby Puckett card is from the bat he hit the home run with in Game 6.

Topps Lineage was fun as well- every pack had a fun insert- there were some pretty heavy hitters in there as well as relics. Kennys Vargas is an example of how Panini is able to stay competitive - if you can't show the logo, might as well have a swatch that features as much as you can get away with. Murray, Jackson, and Oliva are all cards that meet my personal criteria for a good relic. A retired player, an interesting design, and the relic itself is featured without overwhelming the card.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Day Twenty Seven - 2013 MCPA Joe Mauer #3 of 9

Day 27: A Favorite Oddball From the 1990s or later

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-seventh of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - The Minnesota Crime Prevention Association has a set that they release each year. In 2013, they decided to rip off the 1972 Topps design, and I think they did a very nice job of it! The set has varied in size over the years, but they always have a different tip on each card for kids to avoid a life of crime. There apparently wasn't a card about intellectual property / copyright in this year's set. There was a certain wry humor in having Mauer associated with medication safety, as this was the season that altered his career forever when he suffered a concussion that ended his catching career.

Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs? Fun Facts! Medication is not candy!

Some honorable mentions:
I'm a big fan of holograms, the minor leagues, and multi-sport athletes. These four cards fill in all those requirements.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day Twenty Six - 1987 Mother's Cookies Chili Davis #3

Day 26: A Favorite Oddball From the 1980s

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-sixth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - Mother's Cookies are a mostly West Coast phenomenon. I don't think I've ever had one of the cookies, and other than some Chuck Knoblauch Rookie of the Year inserts, I didn't see any of these cards in person as a kid. I found this awesome Chili Davis card while looking for cards to go in my "At the Bat Rack" mini collection. Chili brings the bat rack with him.  
Since these are basically one card posts, why not share the backs as well? I would love to get this card signed at some point - Davis might make a Twinsfest appearance some day, but he's the Red Sox hitting coach right now.

How about some honorable mentions?
Not really an oddball, but I am a fan of the All-Star inserts from 80s Rack Packs, as well as the Glossy Send-in All-Star set. The "Eight Men Out" set was a fun diversion, and I've shared my love of Box Bottom cards before (Dwight Gooden from 1985 Donruss), and this Eric Davis card is no exception.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Out of the Blue

Imagine my surprise to find a small mailer from Canada in my mailbox this week.

Douglas from Sportscards from the Dollarstore, sent a mix of new and recent Twins.

I opened a whole box Gypsy Queen, but I still needed the Dozier and Kepler cards.

Some 2013 Topps Pro Debut - All 6 of these guys have made it to the show - 4 of them are on the Twins roster today.

Big fan of these framed Gypsy Queen cards.

Kennys Vargas! He had a game tying 9th inning pinch hit homer.  The Harmon Killebrew Coin/Card was really heavy - probably bumped up the shipping fees a bit on its own! Thanks very much Douglas.