Wednesday, April 18, 2018

the phillies wore a patch for dallas green, but what about jim bunning?

phillie reliever pat neshek is here to show the memorial patch that the phillies wore last season in honor of former manager and advisor dallas green who passed away just prior to the beginning of the 2017 season.  here's the patch on the right sleeve, where it was worn the majority of the time
and here it is on the left chest, where it was worn during the all-star game
green managed the phillies to their first world series title back in 1980, so the memorial patch is understandable.  however, the phillies lost another legend during the 2017 season - hall of famer jim bunning passed away in may - but did not add a patch that i am aware of.  perhaps they figured that the phillies "p" embedded in the "d" for dallas was enough of an homage to bunning.  it still seems strange given the phillies' penchant for memorials in recent years.

Monday, April 16, 2018

the dodgers are giving away cards in 2018!

i remember back in 1980, looking at the dodger schedule and seeing "baseball card day" listed as one of the promotions.  i convinced my dad to take us to that game, and my mom and i debated the meaning of "cards featuring dodger players". was it going to be a set of only dodger players? was it going to be packs of topps handed out at the gate? who knew? this was a new thing.  up until then, we had only received sga swag like ponchos, helmets, and batting gloves.  well, we soon discovered that "baseball card day" meant a set of cards sponsored by the lapd consisting solely of dodger players. i was thrilled, even though those first several years were awkward, oversized cards.

fast forward to a week ago when i was checking out the dodger instagram feed and saw an upcoming promotion for baseball cards!  the video showed some live action embedded in different topps card designs, and looking further online, i found a photo that showed the 1965 topps design with the dodgers' 60 years in la logo.  i quickly pre-ordered a set and it arrived just a couple of days after the game.
six players of today, along with one from the '50s and '60s
none of those photos were taken in los angeles, but still, these are the first topps dodger cards given away at dodger stadium, and they are great.  sponsored by longtime advertising partner 76, murph would be proud.

here is the header card
there will be several more of these this season, as the other decades will be celebrated.  the photo for the '70s set features don sutton on a 1977 card design, so i am guessing there won't be a garvey (or for goodness sakes, a card of the infield) in this set.  however, if the ratios of 6 active to 1 retired player holds up, there would be 36 active players featured, which would require some duplication.  will dave roberts get a card? the coaches?  it's going to be interesting to see how the future sets shake out!

there aren't any images of the other sets yet, but i'll surmise that if the 6:1 ratio continues, the '80s set will feature tommy lasorda, fernando or orel hershiser (although the instagram photo showed a steve howe image on the 1980 topps design), the '90s will have mike piazza, the '00s will be shawn green, and the '10s will be, who knows? maybe vin scully?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

quality is job one

matt at bob walk the plank sent fewer cards than usual as part of our most recent swap.  his note mentioned "quality over quantity", and he nailed the quality with one card in particular
that is a 2014 topps tribute jackie robinson relic card (the sepia version) and it is very nice.

this is the second jackie relic i've received as part of a trade (here's the other), and it doesn't get old.

thanks matt! i've loaded up for another round of trading, and i hope you'll see some quality in what i send!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

gene michael's armband

former dodger gene michael who was much more closely associated with the yankees, was honored by the bronx bombers with a memorial armband following his death on september 7, 2017 at the age of 79.  since it was later in the season, i figured that the easiest way to pick up a card featuring the armband was to purchase one of the seemingly millions of 2017 aaron judge topps now cards, and that is just what i did.
michael played for the pirates in 1966 before joining the dodgers as part of the maury wills trade. his contract was purchased by the yankees for the 1968 season, and he remained with the club through 1974. following his retirement as a player, michael returned to the yankees as a coach in 1976 before becoming their general manager in 1980.

working for george steinbrenner, he was a twice-hired, twice-fired field manager for the club, too - first in 1981 and then in 1982.  michael also managed the cubs during the 1980's, but returned to the yankees to reclaim the general manager spot in 1990 (while george was suspended from baseball).  even though michael was fired from that position in 1995, prior to the run of world series titles won by the yankees, he was instrumental in rebuilding their farm system and contributing to the talent on the field during that dynastic run.

Monday, April 9, 2018

dodger stadium is missing from what i had hoped would be a dodger stadium card

i was looking forward to seeing the dodgers' card in the opening day insert set from 2018 topps opening day. i had pulled the cards of the astros and cardinals, both of which featured nice photos of their respective stadiums on opening day 2017 (you can see the astros' card over at once a cubs' blog dedicated to this year's opening day release).  i hoped there would be a similar wide shot of chavez ravine with the pavilion roofs on display, and maybe even the san gabriel mountains in the background with tommy lasorda and wally moon throwing out the first pitches.

but no. that was not the case.
that is a pretty generic image - it really could be just about any stadium with the standard infield and enormously sized flag (whose display happens to be in violation of the flag code, and may well be a case of 'paid patriotism' to boot).  perhaps the only saving grace is that the color guard gets center billing on the card.

old friend eric stephen used a very similar looking image (if not the same one shot by sean m. haffey/getty images) in his post from last fall previewing the dodgers' 2018 schedule at truebluela.  had topps cropped things a bit differently, there could have at least been a sliver of the left field wall in the upper left. or, topps could have used a photo that haffey took moments later that was much more like what i was hoping for.

not all of the cards in this 20-card insert set (why some teams were left out is a head-scratcher, as all 30 teams have an opening day at home) depict panoramic stadium scenes, but of the 13 or so that do feature a scene similar to the one used on the card above, only the dodger card fails to feature any of the stadium architecture.

i guess i'll just have to get back to the stadium in person to see up close what i was hoping to see on cardboard.

ps - night owl, you'll be pleased to know that the brewers' card features the batting cage still in place and people just milling about!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

padrographs gave me the finger

my business travels have taken me all over the lower 48 in the last 15 years or so. i see it as a perk, so i don't mind it at all.  i get to see some different cities, and on a few occasions, i've been able to get to a new ballpark and meet some new people during my visits.  eighteen months ago or so, i was in portland and arranged an in person trade with gavin at baseball card breakdown.  he was the third blogger i had met in person (paul from carl crawford cards and brian from highly subjective completely arbitrary were the others).  fast forward to 2018, and i found that i would be travelling to portland again. i reached out to gavin, and he arranged a meet up featuring the two of us, plus kerry from cards on cards, ken from cardboard hogs, and rod from padrographs.  it was a blast.

rod was someone that i've traded with before, but it had been a while, so it was great to exchange cards in person.  one of the cards rod handed over was a 1981 fleer ron cey card (finger on back variation)
the "finger" (sometimes referred to as a "hand") is that mark in the lower right corner of the stat box.  it's some kind of scratch or other imperfection from the printing i assume, and there are a few cards in the set that have it.  although i was looking for the "craig" nettles error, i didn't bother with these back in 1981, and to be honest, i'm not entirely sure whether or not i have any in my complete set that i put together back then.  i did not have any in my dodger team collection, and so now with the cey in hand, i am looking for the davey lopes finger on back variation card to complete the set.

while rod didn't provide that davey lopes card, he did give me two great cards of the former infielder.  he had both the 2004 upper deck padres team set
and 2005 upper deck padres team set
lopes cards for me.  as fate would have it, a recent focus on my post-dodger collections of lopes and other members of the team of my youth meant that i had just purchased the 2004 card at the beckett marketplace a week or two earlier, but the 2005 card was new to me and much appreciated.

lopes just recently announced his retirement from baseball after a 45-year career in the game - quite a career! he played for the dodgers, a's, cubs, and astros, and coached for the rangers, orioles, and padres before managing the brewers.  after that, he returned to coaching for the padres, nationals, phillies, dodgers, and finally back to the nationals.  i am glad that i had the opportunity to tip my cap to him (and get a thumbs up from him) last fall in washington dc. by the way, that was a different work trip.

thanks rod! and thanks to gavin, ken, and kerry, too.  i'll show other cards i picked up at blogger con nw 2018 in future posts.