Sunday, May 31, 2015

I Know, I know

I get it. Posting cards of your fantasy players to some is the blogging equivalent of a co-worker showing you his pictures of the family trip to Branson, or the cute shot of her cat sleeping under the table. But I've got nothing else so you get to see what showed up in the mail on Saturday.

And besides, my team, Ted's Frozen Head, is rocking along in second place at the moment. This in a big money league in which I am the 'fish' to the other nine 'sharks'. Two huge weeks vaulted me from 7th to 2nd. So let me wallow in it while I can.

I added Jon Singleton to my team in a Not Active slot. I figure one of these days the 'Stros are going to get tired of Chris Carter's .000000078 batting average and bring this guy back up.

Carlos Frias was a nice addition to my staff...right up until he got shelled relentlessly earlier this week. (UPDATE..he pitched like a boss last nite!) I don't know who the other guy is. This is Frias' only card at the moment so I'm stuck using it.

Last Sunday my regular catchers, Brian McCann got dinged up during a long night game against the Red Sox. On Monday I figured "gimpy catcher, day game after night game" and I sat him for this other McCann. Of course Brian McCann hits a homer, scores twice, etc. The Tigers dude did squat (pun intended). Figures.

I already had a card of Melky Carbera. That means I have twice as many cards of his as days he spent on my roster. I can be very impatient.

That Cabrera replaces this Cabrera in my Ted's Frozen Head binder.

I like this card better but the new one has him on the Sox which is who he's playing for during the very brief moment I had him.

I know others play the 'Does it make the binder? game. I do, too. I like getting a new card of a guy and agonizing over whether or not it's 'cooler' than the one already in place. For example:

This was my JJ Hardy card.....

then I got this one from the Nachos Grande group break.....

Yes, Hardy's name is hard to read, and yes, I don't care much for baseball players wearing softball shirts but I like this card much more. So into the page slot it goes!

Go Ted's Head!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Group Break 'Winnings'

I broke down and bought an entry in Nachos Grande's group break awhile back. I do that maybe once a year because that's about how long it takes for me to forget that I swore to myself that my 'group break days' are behind me.

I snagged the Orioles and the sets in question were Bowman, a Panini set, Gypsy Queen, Topps Opening Day and Topps Museum. Chris opened and included some bonus packs as well.

That card up top is the fanciest card I 'pulled'. A mini chromey Bowman of Oriole minor leaguer Chance Sisco. I'll be the first to admit that I don't follow the Orioles minor leaguers very closely so it's no surprise that I don't know Sisco. But checking on him shows that he had a very hot ride through the lower levels of 'A' ball but has hit a snag this season, hardly playing and hardly hitting when he does play. Maybe he's hurt. I hope it's just a bump in the road.

The other Bowmans included these:

Currently injured Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey.

Daniel Alvarez, another up and comer.

JJ Hardy. I picked him up in my fantasy draft and waited for him to come off the DL. But when he did he didn't do enough fast enough so I let him go. Dropping one of your favorite players is the first sign you are taking fantasy baseball seriously.

Chris Davis. Over the last three days he's hit a homer about every twenty minutes. That's good.

Christian Walker. He's at AAA right now. And doesn't appear to be an immeriate threat to Chris Davis' job. Maybe some day.

The last of that group are cards of Carl Yastrzemski's grandson, Mike. I had a brief 'Hey, how ya doing?' encounter with him this spring in Ft. Meyers. Seemed like a nice enough kid. And he played in each of the Orioles games I saw down there. I hope he has a future in Charm City.

I received a trio of Panini Diamond Kings. Always good to add a Machado card.

Another Christian Walker card.

Topps Opening Day cards are next. I don't pretend to understand what the Opening Day set is all about but the 2015 design is sort of growing on me. I know a lot of folks love it so I figure I've been the odd guy out. But it's winning me over. I think seeing a bunch of Orioles in a row helps.


Tillman either gets better or the Orioles have no chance of winning even the AL East.

This one has chrome lettering. I guess that's special? But the fact that it's a card of Tommy Hughes makes it less special.

I also got a bunch of Gypsy Queens. I'm on the fence on this set, too. But they are Orioles so they are fine.

Two different Ripken minis.

Satchel Paige, posing in Yankee Stadium.

I got two sizes of Chris Davis. The mini represents his 2014 season, the other his 2013 season.


And someone I'd describe as a 'frenemy'.

And Chris tossed in some vintagy things.

The 2007 cards are from a year I wasn't collecting. In fact I was barely checking the Orioles. In 1991 I was following baseball but I'd gotten burned out on cards.

I was shut out on the Topps Museum box which was to be expected. Not many cards in a box I think.

So there you have it. Group Break 2015.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Reprise.... Eddie Grant (T-205 Gold Border)

NOTE: Today being Memorial Day I thought I would reprint the post I made in each of the previous couple of years showing Eddie Grant, the first major league player to die in combat in the service of the United States.

The first major league player to die in the service of his country was Eddie Grant. With a law degree from Harvard he was quite unlike most of his contemporaries. It was said that instead of the usual "I got it!" called out when a player has a bead on a pop-up, Grant would shout "I have it!"

A native of Franklin, Massachusetts, he played 9 seasons of baseball with four different clubs, most notably the Phillies for whom he held down the regular third base job for most of four seasons, 1907 through 1910. Although only a .249 career hitter Grant nonetheless was able to lead the NL in singles in 1909 and 1910 and in hits overall in '09. A better fielder than hitter he finished near the top of several defensive categories when he was a regular.

Grant appeared in the 1913 World Series with the New York Giants as a pinch hitter and pinch runner. He left the game after the 1915 season to open a law practice in Boston.

He enlisted when his country called as we entered World War I in 1917. Wikipedia summarizes his Army service and the details of his death on the battlefield in France in 1918:

Grant was one of the first men to enlist when the United States entered World War I in April 1917, and he served as a Captain in the 77th Infantry Division. During the fierce battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, all of Grant's superior officers were killed or wounded, and he took command of his troops on a four-day search for the "Lost Battalion." During the search, an exploding shell killed Grant on October 5, 1918. He was the first Major League Baseball player killed in action in World War I. He was buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Lorraine, France.

This New York Times article (opens as a .pdf file) from October 22, 1918 relates the story in full.

I have the Eddie Grant T205 Gold Border (shown above) as well as his T206. The Gold Border cards are just a wonderful set and Grant's is a great portrait I think. Here are a few more pics and details from the life of Captain Eddie Grant found around the 'Net:

Here is the plaque that was installed in the Polo Grounds by the New York Giants to honor him.

It's position in the stadium is visible in this famous shot of Willie Mays' catch in the 1954 World Series. It's on the left under the 483 distance marker.

And finally, Eddie Grant's grave marker in Lorraine, France. R.I.P. and Thanks for making the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, Capt. Grant.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

PWE from Mark Hoyle

Mark Hoyle's mail-outs are truly like Forrest Gump's 'box of chocolates'... you never know what you're gonna get. But it's always fun.

Mark delivers an eclectic mix of old and new and almost always includes at least one really neat oddball item. One of his packages arrived late in the week and as always it was fun to open. The 1969 Johnny Callison stamp fills a need in my Callison checklist. Callison was never a superstar but he was a solid pro and four time All Star for the Phillies back when they were 'my team' in the N.L.

Chico Salmon was a handyman for the Indians and Orioles in the 60s and early 70s. He played on the three AL pennant winning Orioles clubs of that era and got a hit in the 1970 Series. It was his only Seres at bat for the Birds and he will forever have a 1.000 World Series batting average. His SABR bio is a fun read.

This is his Milton Bradley game card from 1969. I posted some of my other cards from that game last year. This Salmon card is new. I have a signed Salmon postcard somewhere that I need to dig up.

Creepy Card Alert!!!

How about this Action Packed Alex Ochoa? These AP cards are embossed and scanning it makes it look like he's wearing eyeliner, doesn't it? Looks like Ru Paul with a ball glove.

This is the back of the card but it could just as easily be the front. And probably should have been!

Mark also sent along some newer Orioles, some vintage and semi-vintage Orioles and a nice hoops surprise!

'72 Cro Crowley. He was a better situational hitter than he was a hitting coach.

I like this Fleer set more than I probably should. At one point I had it in a binder. Yup, that guy was me. I cannibalized it to reuse the pages.

This is my favorite Adam Jones card. He's a throwback guy on a throwback card. He signed more autographs during the spring games I attended than any other player.

And here is the hoops card. A 1975-76 All Star Rick Barry. He was sort of a prickly guy but boy, could he play the game. In this season he led the NBA in FT percemtage for the fourth time. He did it six times in all. I remember trying to imitate his unique free throw technique in intramural hoops Didn't work as well for me as it did for him!

I believe that's Mike Riordan that he's guarding in that pic on the card. Funny, I recognize a rather obscure 70s Bullet player from the 70s but outside of the bearded Hardin guy on the Rockets and Lebron James I wouldn't know a current NBAer if I met one.

Anyway, a big thanks goes out to Mark for the cards. Always, always appreciated. And Mark, I'm still on the look out for a Galen Cisco Topps Giant!!

I almost is a shot of Barry's FT style, and as a bonus, a look at one of the greatest unis ever! Smooth!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TTM from Bobby Shantz

Yesterday I received my return envelope from Bobby Shantz. He signed three cards (more on that in a bit) and replied to my question. I'd heard he was a very good TTM signer and since I had seen him pitch and he was a favorite of my father I thought I'd send these off.

I actually didn't intend to send three cards. I normally would keep it to two. I often see that people send multiples of large numbers but to me (and this is not a criticism of anyone) one or two seems right.

I had the two Bowmans and the note in an envelope and ready to go a few weeks back after picking them up at a card show. But when the really sweet 1960 was available on COMC I bought it. I thought it would be cool to have a signed Shantz as part of my 1960 project. I had both Bowmans in one sleeve and intended to remove one but in my haste I just added the 1960 card to the envelope and off they went.

They came back in about a week. I've really happy with the sigs and how Bobby inscribed them. I had spent some time looking for a particular 8x10 of him in a Houston Colt .45s uni but ironically I couldn't find one that wasn't already signed and inscribed. But the cards and note will do just fine.

Bobby Shantz now joins Lindy McDaniel and Billy Pierce in my small but meaningful (to me) collection of sigs from players that connect me to my Dad.

Maybe I'll try a non-pitcher next!