30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Defense Wins Championships

During the 70's, no MLB team had more wins than the Cincinnati Reds.  They made the playoffs six times, participated in the World Series four times, and won it twice.

1975 Topps #260

One of those seasons was 1975.

Anyone familiar with the Big Red Machine knows that Sparky's lineup was stacked with guys like Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, and Ken Griffey.  The starting rotation might have lacked notable names, but it did manage to have six starters with 10 or more wins.

1975 Topps #17

Part of their success on the mound has to do with having several guys around them who were defensive gems.  Manning the corners... Rose and Perez both finished within the Top 10 in regards to fielding percentage.  While up the middle... Bench, Morgan, Dave Concepcion, and César Gerónimo won Gold Glove Awards for the Reds that season.

Talk about defense winning championships.  Wait.  That's a football quote.

Well... I just so happen to have another pair of 1975 Topps cards for you that feature two gentlemen known for their defensive play on the gridiron:

1975 Topps #60

1975 Topps #525

Much like the Cincinnati Reds, the 1975 Los Angeles Rams were pretty solid in regards to defense.  They had five defensive players make it to the Pro Bowl that season.  Jack Youngblood and Merlin Olsen were two of them.

If you're wondering why I would try to compare apples to oranges with this post... it's because I love me a good old-fashioned Blog Bat-Around.  They're always fun and encourage interaction among fellow bloggers.  Plus they provides me with one less blog post idea to come up with.

Two weeks ago, Ryan over at Japanese Sumo Wrestling Cards and Menko kicked off a "Living" Blog Bat-Around.  The premise is simple, a PWE with two 1975 Topps football cards (see above) is passed around the blogosphere.   When you receive it, write a post incorporating the two cards, sign the Card Savers, then place the cards in a new PWE, and ship it off to the next participant.

Worried about postage?  Ryan has you covered.  He included a bunch of Forever stamps.  All you need to do is provide a new PWE and:

1Sign up on his blog.
2Wait until the cards are shipped to you.
3Write a post.

4Sign the Card Savers.
5.  Toss them into a new PWE and ship them out to the next blogger.

When everyone has had the opportunity to write their post, the last blogger will ship the cards and the signed Card Savers back to Ryan.  At that point, he'll summarize the BBA and has even tossed around the idea of auctioning off the cards and donating the proceeds to a charity.

So... who's interested?  I know Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts) and Adam (Infield Fly Rule) have both signed upLet me know who wants to be next and I'll ship them out this week.

The rest of you should head over to Ryan's blog and sign up by clicking here and leaving a comment on his post.

Well that's it for today.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

2019 Topps Chrome Refractor #46
2019 Topps Chrome Refractor #66

My original idea was to somehow compare Merlin Olsen and Jack Youngblood to Matt Chapman and Matt Olsen... but I trouble making the pieces fit.  However... I didn't want to waste these two scans from the year they both won Gold Glove Awards.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Passing Down Knowledge

Ted Williams might have been one of the greatest hitters of all-time, but his managerial career wasn't quite as stellar.  That being said... he definitely made an impact on his players.

1969 Topps #539

Mike Epstein entered the 1969 season with a career .229 batting average, but his first year under Williams tutelage, he hit a career high .278 and 30 home runs.

Another player that significantly improved was Frank Howard.  Last year I read a very interesting tidbit over on Horizontal Heroes about how Williams told him to lay off bad pitches which impacted his walks:strikeouts ratio.

Howard went from leading the league in strikeouts (in 1967) to leading the league in walks (in 1970).  Before The Commish's post, I was familiar with Howard's career... but hadn't heard his nicknameThe Capitol PunisherHow sweet is that?  It's definitely one of the coolest nicknames in baseball.

I loved it so much, after reading his post I immediately headed over to COMC and picked up this autograph:

2019 Topps Heritage High Number Real One Autographs #ROA-FH

The card back mentions that Howard broke Babe Ruth's record by hitting 10 home runs in one week during the 1968 season.

According to The Guinness Book of World Records, he still holds the record.

Like Epstein, Howard hit the most home runs of his career in 1969 and matched his career high in batting average as well.

1972 Topps #510

Why this post, right now?  Well... this past Sunday was the anniversary of Williams signing a five year contract to manage the Washington Senators.  He only fulfilled four of those five years before quitting at the end of the 1972 season.

1970 Topps #211

But he left behind a legacy as being the only Senators manager to have a winning season (1969).  That year, he won the AL Manager of the Year Award.  Unfortunately it's easy for this piece of hardware to get lost in the shuffle when it's sitting in the trophy case of one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

Today's question of the day:

Who do you think has the coolest nickname in MLB history?

In addition to The Capitol Punisher and The Splendid Splinter... I really love these nicknames:

The Human Rain Delay:

2019 Topps Archives Signature Series
1992 Topps #609

The Sultan of Swat:

1995 JSW All-Stars #3

Man of Steal:

2017 Topps Fire Monikers Blue Chip #M-4

The Chairman of the Board:

1977 TCMA Renata Galasso #25

But I think if I had to pick a personal favorite, it would be:

2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Nickname Greats #NG-AH

If you don't believe in mind over matter or the power of facial hair, then you're not familiar with Al Hrabosky.  This guy would psyche himself out and mentally become the biggest, baddest, beard yielding guy on the mound.

Well that wraps another post.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Back to School

Break is over.

1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase #VJ19

I truly miss the days of driving into work, greeting my students as they enter the classroom, and teaching the old school way.

Oh well... it's time to get back in front of the camera and hopefully impact the lives of my students in a positive manner as we begin to see a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel.

1993 Portfolio Endless Summer Promo #ES Promo 1

Only six more weeks until Spring Break... and sixteen weeks until summer.  Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

TWiB: The Real Sam Malone, Coins & Stamps, Another 80's Variation, and my 1st 2021 Card

The news about people being stuck at home, the loss of power, numerous traffic accidents, and the impact of freezing temperatures around the country was heartbreaking.  It honestly put a lot of things into perspective for me.  That's why I thought I'd start things off by stating that I hope all of you are able to stay safe and reasonably warm.

Hopefully some trading cards and blog posts will help distract some of you who were impacted by Mother Nature personally this week.  So let's dive into This Week in Blogging...

#1Let's Celebrate

1991 Stadium Club #1

Figured I'd try to start off with some happy news and wish Dime Box Nick a happy 29th birthday!  He celebrated his special day by ranking his Top 5 Dave Stewart cardsStewart shares the same birthday as him and happens to be one of my favorite 80's pitchers.  If you want to see which cards made his list, click here.

1999 Pokemon Fossil #58
1999 Pokemon Fossil 1st Edition #58
1997 Pokemon Fossil #NNO

This week also marks the 10th anniversary of This Card is Cool, which is a blog that focuses on everything from Japanese baseball cards to Pokemon cardsHappy anniversary Ryan!

By the way... if you're interested in Pokemon cards, please check out Matt's latest post on Cards Over Coffee, which covers the McDonald's Happy Meal cards.

1995-96 Fleer Flair Hardwood Leader #9

Oh and I almost forgot... Billy over at Cardboard History just celebrated 25 years of being an NBA fanCongratulations Billy!  He mentioned that 1995-96 Fleer Series 2 was the first pack of basketball cards he opened, so I dug into my binders and this was the first card from that set I found.  Although... technically these Hardcourt Leaders inserts were in the Series 1 packs.

#2Factory Team Sets

On Monday, The Shlabotnik Report featured a great post breaking down the 2012 Topps New York Mets factory team set, which offered player photo variations and unique numbering.

2017 Topps Yankees Factory Team Set #NYY-16

I've purchased a few of these Topps factory teams sets over the years, because I enjoy the rookie card variations that are sometimes offered.

#3The Real Sam Malone

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated Autograph Collection #NNO

On Monday, Matt over at Cards Over Coffee showed off the Ted Danson signed photo he recently acquired in a trade.  He talks about a few of the television shows and movies that Danson has appeared in over the years.  The one that stood out to me was Cheers, because it was one of those 80's television shows that I'd watch with my mom as a kid.

Sam Malone (Danson's character on Cheers) was inspired by a real MLB pitcher from the 60's and 70'sSam McDowell.  According to this article, McDowell struggled with alcoholism... but later turned things around and became a substance abuse counselor for a few MLB teams.

By the way... anyone else notice the error on the back of the McDowell card?  He never played for the Cincinnati Reds.  That being said... I've confused those old Cleveland hats with Cincinnati hats more than a few times myself.

#4Two Hobbies Unite

2003 Topps Gallery Currency Connection #CC-WM

In celebration of President's Day, Collecting Cutch showed off some fantastic coin cards on his blog.  I've always been fond of these collectibles that combine two popular hobbies into one.

2010 Panini Century Collection Souvenir Stamps #45

The same thing can be said for stamp cards.

#5The Big Hurt in Oakland

Peter K. Steinberg featured a sunset card of Frank Thomas over on Baseball Every Night earlier in the week.  I'm a huge fan of the guy and love it when I see him wearing Green & Gold.  Figured I'd share one of my cards as well:

2006 Flair Showcase Stitches #SS-FT

I'm always looking for an excuse to show off one of my Frank Thomas A's cards.

#6Check the Back

1987 Sportflics #31

If you own some 1987 Sportflics, you might want to flip them over and check out the copyright date.  If it says 1986, then you have a factory set version, while the ones with 1987 were pulled from packs.  Looks like the Gwynn sitting in my binder came from a pack:

By the way... I learned this little variation tidbit earlier in the week over at Kerry's blogCards on Cards.  

#7My 1st 2021 Gwynn

A lot of bloggers have written their 2021 Topps flagship reviews and check out my blaster posts.  I personally haven't seen or looked for any blasters myself, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I get my hands on some singles.

2021 Topps Blake Jamieson 1951 Topps #20

In the meantime, a post over on Wrigley Wax reminded me that I actually own a few 2021 Topps trading cards.  It's from the Blake Jamieson 1951 Topps online set that was released a few weeks ago.  I picked up the Week 2 box, because it included a bunch of players I collect including the Gwynn you see above.

#8Other Sports

As much as I enjoy collecting baseball cards, I actually enjoy reading non-baseball card related blog posts almost as much.

1996 SPx Tribute Autograph #T1

Paul over at Card Boarded  (a hockey card blog) announced earlier in the week that he's going to start collecting Jeff Gordon cards.

And Billy over at Cardboard History wrote a nice post about Jarome Iginla in honor of Black History Month.  He mentioned Iginla's interest in diabetes even though he doesn't suffer from it.

1994-95 SP #181

Anyways... seeing his name reminded me of the days of busting packs of 1994-95 SP searching for Sergei Samsonov rookie cards.  These packs also contained one of Iginla's rookie cards too.

#9Movie Mania

If you're into watching movies... then you should check out Elliptical Man's new blog seriesFilm Friday.  It's a series where he'll be giving his readers 100 movie recommendations.

Yesterday was the first post in the series and the topic was Books & Plays.

1991 Starline Hollywood Walk of Fame #143

It wasn't featured in his post, but the first movie that popped into my head was To Kill a Mockingbird which features Gregory Peck.

By the way, this week I opened up two boxes of 1991 Starline Hollywood Walk of Fame and combined with a stack of singles I purchased at the flea market... I was almost able to produce two starter sets.  I know this is a long shot, but if anyone has any singles from this product laying around here are the 35 cards I still need.  I have a ton of duplicates available for trade.  Collation was terrible.

That wraps up another This Week in Blogging post.  As much as I enjoy and appreciate the number of views each of these posts receive, I'm thinking about scaling them down.  Between the research, writing, and digging up cards from my collection... these posts end up taking up a large portion of my Saturdays.  And in this day and age... rest and relaxation is something my mind and body needs for mental health purposes.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!