Friday, January 12, 2018

ray boone turns two at third base?

a few months ago, i was standing next to brian from highly subjective, completely arbitrary at a card show digging through some '56 topps cards (congrats on finishing that set, brian!).  i have a few cards from that set in my collection - among them a complete dodger team set, the remnants of my sampler set, and some cards showing the double play turn.  while watching brian purchase the penultimate card for his set, i came across this ray boone card:
now, boone here is listed as a third baseman, although he is clearly not playing third base here, unless the yankee runner has fallen down in the basepaths well to the shortstop side of third base.  to me, it looked like a double play, but i knew that the tigers of the mid-1950's featured perennial all-star (and two-time sandy koufax no-hitter final batter) harvey kuenn locked up at short.  i had to know for sure, so i bought the card for $1 (or less) and brought it home.  a few days later, i took a trip to baseball reference.

according to what may well be my favorite website of all time, ray boone played in 135 games in 1955 - exclusively as a third baseman.  in 1954, his first full year in detroit, boone did appear in one game as a shortstop, but had zero fielding chances in those four innings.  before that, he spent half of the 1953 season in cleveland before being traded to the tigers.  i was beginning to think that the detroit player featured in the action image was not bob boone's dad, but rather kuenn or a random tiger whose face was obscured enough to pass for boone. i took a look at 1953 anyway, and found that there were three games in which boone played short after joining detroit - all of which came against the yankees in the bronx!

after beating the yankees in the opener of a four-game series in june of 1953, boone moved from third to short and into the leadoff spot for the final three games of the series, replacing kuenn both ways. in the fourth inning of the third game of the series, hal newhouser gave up a triple to mickey mantle, a single to yogi berra (berra out at second on the play), a single to gil mcdougald (who also has a double play card in the 1956 set), and then a walk to gene woodling.  newhouser was replaced by ray herbert who got the next batter, willy miranda, to hit a grounder to tigers' second baseman jerry priddy. priddy fed boone for the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and solve this mystery - aaron boone's grandpa is turning two in a play from 1953 that is featured on a card in 1956 - and  i welcome the rare thirdbaseman card into my double play collection!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

the answer was "one"

last june, in a post about matt kemp and my trip to colorado to see him play for the first time, i wondered how many home runs i would see cody bellinger hit during a series in washington dc that i was hoping to attend.

it turned out that i was only able to make it to the saturday game of the series, but i did get to see the roy hit his record-tying 38th home run of the season, for which topps created a card
it was a good game, and i got to say hello to old friends dusty baker and davey lopes.  and, even though bellinger went yard and the dodgers held on to win a close game against the team that i figured would be standing between them and a trip to the world series, a thumbs up from the second baseman of the team of my youth was the highlight of my day.  there's no topps now card for that, unfortunately.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

my favorite card of 2017

sure, a topps now card of the dodgers celebrating a world series championship would have been great, but i was very happy to pick up the card documenting their advancement to the fall classic.
i haven't had a card like this since 1978, thanks to topps not producing postseason cards (let alone cards documenting the nlcs) in 1979, 1982 or 1989.

and then there was this card
which featured a fantastic moment from the 2016 season when the dodgers saluted vin scully following his final home broadcast. it was an early leader for favorite card status, although its excellence was hindered somewhat by topps' inability to put scully on a card of his own.

still, i think my favorite card issued this past year is this one from topps update
that's the sandy koufax legends short print.  yes, it's a colorized black and white photo, but it features dodger stadium and the old right field scoreboard showing the futility of the giants on may 11, 1963.  this was koufax's second no-hitter. koufax allowed two walks - one each to ed bailey and pinch-hitter willie mccovey.  koufax also induced a double play, so he only faced one batter over the minimum.  the guy who faced koufax four times? that would be harvey kuenn who would strike out two years later to end koufax's perfect game against the cubs.

for the record, steve garvey did have a few cards issued by topps this year (although only the tribute autos were not buybacks of some sorts).  he also had this card included in the expansive san diego padres trader jack sga,
but i am not so blind in my devotion to garvey collecting that i would appreciate this card over an unexpected and fantastic koufax card.

thanks to p-town tom for hosting this contest again this year, and here's hoping that scully will make the 2018 topps first pitch insert set!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

secret santa statis: pro

thanks to matt from bob walk the plank for organizing the secret santa program again this year. i had fun picking out cards to send to my recipient - the daily dimwit - even if that meant looking for astros cards a few weeks after they beat the dodgers in the world series.  my secret santa was rob, who runs a few blogs (which i can appreciate) - 1988 topps, collecting 1982 topps, and statis pro 1984.

rob tied our collecting habits together by sending me copies of the infield's statis pro cards from the 1984 season.
a quick look at these and the wikipedia site for statis pro tells me that steve garvey is not likely to miss many games (his consecutive game streak ended in 1983, otherwise i assume his "inj" rating would be 0), ron cey is the only one likely to be hit by a pitch, bill russell is the better bunter, and davey lopes is the better base stealer.  at closer inspection, i also see that the garv would never walk in this game.  this is very realistic, as garvey didn't walk much.  in fact, i think that his inability to take a walk (he took the free, non-intentional pass only 366 times in his career) is one of the things keeping him out of the hall of fame.  172 more walks instead of outs (lay off that slider down and away, please) would have netted him a .300 career average and boosted his obp to .348.  that's just 10 more walks per season, on average. in the end, as much as i want to see garvey in the hall (and i think he should be in), he just made too many outs for him to be a more obvious choice to the people who matter. we'll see if anything changes in three years when he is eligible for consideration by the modern committee again.

rob included some real cards in the package - there were these two relic cards from 2002 upper deck world series heroes featuring davey lopes and bill russell
plus a 2005 upper deck classics ron cey relic card
thanks rob!

Monday, December 25, 2017

the duke of christmas present

though he was not my bob walk the plank secret santa, jon from a penny sleeve for your thoughts sent me a gift for christmas
it is difficult to see, but that is the christmas card version of duke snider's 2015 panini hall of fame induction parallel.  #/25 makes it the blue parallel, which is fitting for this dodger icon.

thanks jon! i put a couple of cards from your want lists in the mail (sorry, no buybacks this time). thank you and merry christmas to all!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


it's been 29 years.

29 years ago, that pennant begat a championship.

29 years before that, a dodger pennant begat a championship - their first in la.

i sense a pattern.

very happy right now.

Friday, August 4, 2017

so far in 2017, i've recollected, rediscovered, and paid tribute to my steve garvey collection

my first 2017 steve garvey card came from 1983.
that's a 2017 donruss recollection collection buyback autograph.  yay.  i think the only other donruss recollection collection card i have (from 2004 maybe?) of the garv is one of his padre cards, so this is nice.

garvey also had, at the very least, some of his 1987 topps cards stamped and inserted into topps series 1 packs as part of this year's rediscover topps buyback distribution.  i was able to pick up a bronze
and a silver
and a gold
parallel of the garv's final topps card.

1987 was the only garvey card i saw featured in series 1 buybacks, and so far, this 1984 gold parallel
is the only one of garvey's cards i've seen as a series 2 buyback.  lucky for me, this one was buried in a listing for a lot of 2017 inserts, so i got it on the cheap.

edit - i later saw another lot from 2017 topps heritage that included this bronze 1985 topps garvey record breaker
i made it mine.

topps has created some new cards of garvey this year, although they left him off of the checklist for the 'all-time all-stars' series 2 insert set.  these next cards are from 2017 topps tribute, and are 'generations of excellence' shadow box autos. the base version is numbered to 99
purple is /50
orange is /25
there is a red /10 version, and i've missed out on two or three opportunities to own one of those. the black 1/1 was listed on ebay when tribute first came out, but i didn't put a bid in for it.

there were no garvey cards in archives (but ron cey was featured!) or ginter (based on the checklist i've seen), so i doubt there will be any more new cards to chase this year.  i'll be sure to keep my eye out for more garvey buybacks in update, and in the meantime, i'm working on my 'living' steve garvey collection post and wantlist. thanks for your support of my collection!