Tuesday, July 31, 2018

No Doz


No cards of the prospects yet, so you get "Four"sythe.


Monday, July 30, 2018

The 1974 Topps Rookie All-Star Team - Barry Foote

Here they are - the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, selected "by the Youth of America" following the 1974 season and featured in the 1975 Topps set. 

I have completed the run of these up through 2018 Series One, at least all regular issue cards that bear the All-Star Rookie Trophy. 

Topps decided to skip the Trophies on the 1974 Topps Set, but they made a triumphant return in 1975. I wanted to show my appreciation for this expression of good judgement, so for the 1974 Lineup, I will do a separate post for each player. This was a pretty good crop of players, so let's dive in! 
Catcher - Barry Foote

Foote was the #3 Overall Pick in the 1970 MLB draft, selected by the Montreal Expos. Foote made his debut 3 years later, and spent his rookie season as the primary catcher for the Expos. As a rookie, Foote led the National League in Sacrifice Flies, and in addition to a bit of power (11 Home Runs), he displayed a cannon for an arm. He threw out 42 would be base stealers, and was deemed by none other than Lou Brock as one of the toughest catchers to steal against.

He was playing on borrowed time in Montreal however, as a new Kid in town would start to siphon away playing time from Foote. Future Hall of Famer Gary Carter would supplant Foote as the Expos' primary receiver by the end of 1976. He did manage to lead the NL in double plays by a catcher in both 1975 and 76.

Foote was traded to Philadelphia in 1977, but he would see very little playing time for the Phils. He would catch in just 57 games and had just 16 hits.

Image From COMC.
In 1979, Foote was given a greater opportunity, and again he showed his strong throwing arm and capable bat. Now with the Cubs, Foote caught a career high 132 games and blasted a career high 16 home runs. The following season, his playing time was ceded to one of the only players with a more impressive moustache, Tim Blackwell. 

By 1981, Foote was moving on to New York. He was acquired to fill in for an injured Rick Cerone. By the time the player's strike ended, Cerone was healthy again, and Foote would have to wait. His final season in the majors found him sharing time with Cerone and Butch Wynegar. He signed a deal with the Yankees to become a scout, and also had a pair of championship seasons as a minor league manager.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Congrats to the Cooperstown Class of 2018

The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum held their annual induction ceremony today and inducted 6 players. Jim Thome was a long time rival, and a short term hero for Twins fans. His 612 career home runs rank 8th All-Time, and he had 17 more in Postseason play. His 1,699 Runs batted in ranks just ahead of Cal Ripken and just behind Reggie Jackson. His tape measure homers and gee whiz personality drew comparisons to Twins' legend Harmon Killebrew, which Thome would certainly say was special! He had the most Walk-Off home runs in MLB history.

Jack Morris had the most wins by a pitcher during the 1980s, and played on World Series Championship Teams in 1984, 1991, 1992, and 1993. The 5-time All-Star was best known for pitching a 10-inning Complete Game Shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, winning the Series for the Twins over the Atlanta Braves.

Chipper Jones was a Superstar beginning with his first full season in 1995. He was the NL MVP in 1999, and an 8-time All-Star. In his first decade with Atlanta, Chipper made the playoffs every season. He had 97 post-season hits in his career to go along with 2,726 in the regular season, which is 5th all-time among 3rd Basemen. The 1995 World Series Champion is also 3rd all time in Homers hit by a 3rd Baseman.

The 1984 WS MVP spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers. The 4X Gold Glove winner is one of the best fielding Short Stops of all time, and also was a prolific power hitter for a position that had traditionally not produced many big boppers. He, along with Cal Ripken, redefined what should be expected of the middle infielder. He's one of just three Tigers to play 20 Seasons for the team.

Trevor Hoffman is known for being the other guy with 600 career saves. He was very efficient getting to those saves, converting 89% of his opportunities throughout his career. He led the league in Saves twice - his 53 saves in 1998 helped lead the San Diego Padres to the post season. He converted 3 more saves in the NLDS and NLCS, taking the team to the World Series for the second time in franchise history. While the World Series didn't go the Padres way that year, much of their success can be traced to Hoffman's arm.

Perhaps the greatest bad-ball hitter of all time, Vladimir Guerrero heads to the Hall representing the Montreal Expos, likely the last member of the original franchise to be inducted. His 449 Homers are the most by any player from the Dominican Republic. He was known for his tremendous throwing arm as well, and registered double digit assists in 7 of his first 8 seasons. The 2004 AL MVP only appeared in one World Series, in 2010 with the Texas Rangers. Before injuries limited his mobility, he was a true 5-tool player. In 2002 with Montreal he had 39 homers and 40 stolen bases, and amassed 181 steals in his career.

Congrats to all the new inductees!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fogo de Ciao

It's never easy to lose a fan favorite in a trade. Eduardo Escobar, in the final year of his contract, leading all of baseball in doubles, versatile in the field, was a valuable trade piece for a Twins team well out of the playoff picture. The Twins get three Class-A prospects in return from Arizona, but what do they lose?

Escobar had no problem making himself the clubhouse glue, whether he was playing the role of AAAA bench guy, then fill in utility guy, then first man off the bench, and the last three seasons as the everyday Shortstop. His obsession with Fogo de Chao eventually led to his own dugout drink, #cagejuice, which is essentially water he liberated from the restaurant in the weeks following the team's trip to Puerto Rico, where he met with Nicholas Cage. Twins fans will miss Eddie's #Fogopower and his leadership on and off the field. I hope the Twins try to sign him again in the off-season.

The Twins also parted ways with lights-out reliever Ryan Pressly. He was originally a Rule V draftee from the Red Sox org., and after a year stashed at the back of the bullpen, he was sent to the minors. Similar to Escobar, Pressly worked very hard to move his way up the ladder to eventually become an anchor of the Twins bullpen. I was surprised to find this was the only Pressly card I owned, but middle relievers have a tough time making it onto cardboard. The Astros gave up two AA prospects, a pitcher and a Center Fielder, to get the hard throwing righty. Pressly's still under his first MLB contract, giving the Astros control for a full season beyond this one.

So the question is - Who is next? Brian Dozier, another Free Agent, has drawn interest from many clubs, most recently Cleveland and San Francisco. Gibson has been mentioned in lots of rumors, from New York to Milwaukee and several others. It would take an aggressive offer to get him. The new guys in the Twins' bullpen are likely all available, Duke, Rodney, Addison Reed might not raise eyebrows, but could help out contenders looking to shorten the games down the stretch.

Which Twin do you wish your team would trade for?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Allen & Gift-er - Trade bait for you

I still buy a pack or two of Allen & Ginter each year, just to get a sampling of it. To be honest, it's not my thing. That's ok though, and in fact, my bad taste works to your advantage! I don't collect cards that are not baseball cards (with a few documented exceptions). Everything that follows is up for "trade."

2007 Allen & Ginter's - I say "Trade" because I am willing to include any of these as throw ins to a larger blind trade. I still would love to downsize a bit, so give me a team or a set you collect, or perhaps a mini collection, or a specific player, and I'll send over a chunk of cards. Send back whatever you think is fair.

2009 Allen & Ginter's - The horse's name is Archie Bunker!

2011 Allen & Ginter's - These were from a Transatlantic Triple Break, and I was very happy to get them. I will be even more happy to send them to you!

2015 Allen & Ginter - Topps dropped the 's, and what's left are cards for you!

2017 A&G - The unisphere is a cool looking card, I just can't collect everything, y'all.

One more from 2018 - This guy is a comedian!

some horizontals too - from 2011, 2014, 2015 , and 2018

Minis available as well - these range from 2011 to 2017. The last 4 baseball subjects are for trade as well.

I snuck in a Panini as well. So, let me know in comments or in an email if you're interested, I'd love to send you these and a whole lot more!

Monday, July 23, 2018

The 1974 Topps Rookie All-Star Team - Bake McBride

Here they are - the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, selected "by the Youth of America" following the 1974 season and featured in the 1975 Topps set. 

I have completed the run of these up through 2018 Series One, at least all regular issue cards that bear the All-Star Rookie Trophy. 

Topps decided to skip the Trophies on the 1974 Topps Set, but they made a triumphant return in 1975. I wanted to show my appreciation for this expression of good judgement, so for the 1974 Lineup, I will do a separate post for each player. This was a pretty good crop of players, so let's dive in! 
Outfield - Bake McBride

The 1974 NL Rookie of the Year displayed tremendous speed in Saint Louis. Alongside Lou Brock, Bake McBride combined with the All-Time Great for 148 stolen bases in 1974, a record for most steals by a pair of teammates. The mark would be surpassed when Rickey Henderson stole 130 by himself in 1982 (Teammate Davey Lopes also had 28). Bake was known for an unusual stance at the plate, placing his weight on his front foot instead of his back foot.

While he did not break Lou Brock's record, he did have a unique game winnner in his rookie campaign. In the 25th inning of a marathon against the Mets, Bake took an aggressive lead off first base. The subsequent pick off throw from Hank Webb sailed into right field, which resulted in a runaway McBride! Bake wheeled around the bases and slid safely into home as Mets' catcher Ron Hodges mishandled the throw back in. Sonny Siebert pitched a clean final inning and Saint Louis prevailed 4-3.

McBride lone All-Star appearance came during an injury filled 1976 season. He had a great year while healthy, however, including a career high .335 batting average and 91 hits in just 72 games played. Despite the injuries to his knees and his shoulder, McBride continued to provide value with his speed on the bases. His 1977 season saw a career high in homers and stolen bases, though he did not mesh well with the new Cardinals' manager. McBride signed a 3 year contract with Saint Louis in May, but was traded to Philadelphia in June.

He was an instant hit in Philadelphia, taking over Right Field and serving as a catalyst for the Phils 1977 playoff run. He hit .338 down the stretch as the Phillies surged to the postseason. After two tough defeats at the hands of the Dodgers, McBride and the Phils would again make the playoffs in 1980 and he provided clutch hitting and a steady presence in the clubhouse. He would provide the spark in Game 1 of the 1980 World Series, hitting a 3 run shot leading the team to victory. They would go on to win the Series, with McBride hitting .305 with 5 runs batted in.

The injuries to McBride's legs over the years had taken their toll, but it was an eye infection from contact lenses that derailed his 1982 season. Cleveland had just traded for McBride that Februrary, and he hit well as the starting Right Fielder, now playing in more hospitable natural grass in Cleveland. He began to have issues related to his contact lenses in May, having worn them regularly since 1970 without any problems. He would return in 1983, but more injuries forced Cleveland's hand, and he was released at the end of the season.

He went on to coach in the Mets' minor league system and even found his way back onto the diamond in the Senior Professional Baseball League in Florida.

McBride finished his career with one World Series ring, one Rookie of the Year award, and one All-Star Appearance to go along with a lot of memories.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The King of Topps Traded - Rick Cerone

I spent a little time looking through the Topps Traded sets of the 80s, and there are many familiar faces like Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield, Rookies of guys like Bonds, Bo Jackson, Greg Maddux, Fred McGriff, etc. But I noticed one player that kept popping up - Catcher Rick Cerone. The Card above is not from the Traded set - though he had already been traded twice by 1982. Cerone was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, but was coveted by the expansion Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto gave up Rico Carty to Cleveland in exchange for making Cerone the Opening Day starting catcher for the first game in Blue Jays history. When Thurman Munson was tragically killed, the Yankees made the move to acquire Cerone to be their everyday starter behind the plate.

Cerone's best season came in 1980, his first with the Yankees. He even earned enough recognition to finish 7th in the MVP voting for the season (He was 3rd among Yankees behind Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage. He did get one writer's first place vote). After the 1980 season, his production declined and he gave way to Butch Wynegar. He continued as a back up for several years before being dealt to Atlanta in exchange for Rookie pitcher Brian Fisher.

Fisher had a few very good seasons for New York, but Rick would be on the move again after one season for the Braves, as Atlanta traded Cerone and two minor leaguers to Milwaukee for Ted Simmons. Cerone would once again play second fiddle, getting reps behind Charlie Moore in Milwaukee.

George Steinbrenner had his favorites, and among them was Rick Cerone. Following the '86 Season, Cerone was a free agent and the Yankees picked him up again, now to be the primary catcher in New York. He caught 113 games in 1987 for the Yankees and also appeared twice as a pitcher. He finished two games and gave up no runs, finishing his MLB pitching career with a 0.00 ERA.

During Spring Training of 1988, The Yankees decided that catching duties would be shared with Don Slaught and Joel Skinner, so Cerone was the odd man out. The Yankees released Cerone on April 4th, and the Red Sox picked him up about a week later to platoon with Rich Gedman in Boston. The Sox made the playoffs, though Cerone did not play in any of the ALCS games against Oakland.

"Italian Stallion" is quite the nickname for Rick, given to him by Phil Rizzuto of all people...

The 80s were busy for Cerone, and the 90s started out the same way. After 2 seasons in Boston, he would return a third time to New York, now sharing time with Bob Geren. He only appeared in 49 games in 1990, but had the highest batting average of his career, reaching a mark of .302 for the season. With Matt Nokes on the horizon, Cerone again found himself looking for a new job in the offseason.

He didn't have to travel far, as the Mets were looking for a back up behind Charlie O'Brien. He actually did the bulk of the work, appearing in 90 games for the Mets. This too, would end up as a temporary stop, and he would again head north of the border for work in 1992.

Cerone probably should have appeared in the 1992 Traded set, but he missed the cut. He played in just 33 games for Montreal, but was released in July. Gary Carter had returned to Montreal and Darrin Fletcher was taking up the slack as well. Cerone does appear on two cards as an Expo - the 1992 Leaf set and 1992 Topps Stadium Club.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Back to Back Triples!

A good idea is worth doing twice! Matt from Bob Walk the Plank also had a box of 2018 Diamond Kings for the Transatlantic Triple Break. I picked AL West and AL Central for Kevin's break (shown in yesterday's post) so this time I went with NL West and the AL East.

Past and Present was a new insert for me - I think Lynn is a good comp for Benintendi, not just because they both played for Boston.

Just like yesterday, it's the best of today and the best of yesteryear.

My personal faves from the batch - Catchers always get the most interesting cards in these sets.

The only Twin? The Killer in a 500 HR Club insert set.

I was also the lucky guy to get the hit this time - Clayton Kershaw! My Dodger luck continues, I pulled a Bellinger relic from Diamond Kings last year.

Matt included some extras as well! I had a fever, the only prescription was more KUBEL!

Buxton wound up on the Disabled list again, now in AAA, for a wrist strain. There was concern early on that he may have broken a bone in his hand, so a strain is much better news. Sano was promoted back to AAA tonight too, both guys will be knocking on the door soon.

Purple Eddie Murray! This is serial numbered to just 99.

Probably impossible to see the imprint, but this card is stamped on Larry's right arm with "2002 National" for the annual card convention.

The card was just one of five stamped and handed out at the card collector's convention.

Thanks again for the break Matt!