Wednesday, August 17, 2011

...And Here Comes Albert

I know, long time no post. Since we last spoke, the Cardinals have fallen way back in the standings and it appears that their only hope is to leap over two teams and win the Wild Card. The Brewers are absolutely on fire and they are clearly the team to beat this year. In fact, if they make the playoffs, I hope they defeat the Phillies. That is, if someone hasn't done it already.

Since the Cardinals barely have a pulse at this point, my attention turns to Albert Pujols. Pujols is not my favorite player on the team but he is the one I start to watch this time of year if the team is faltering. I am always intrigued by the chase for his .300/30/100 line that he has achieved in all of his first ten seasons. It appeared early in the season that he may not get there. He looked horrible at the plate. Rolling over balls, swinging at bad pitches, etc. It wasn't until after the All-Star break did he start to hit well and not until the month of August that he has had a prolonged hot streak.

As of today he has his 30 home runs. He also has 76 RBI's. I think 24 in the last month and a half is very doable for him. His average is now at .288, his highest mark of the season. He could go on a 7 for 10 streak and be right up near .300. He also leads the league in runs with 82. He has only failed once to get 100 runs scored, and that was 2007 when he only had 99. It looks as if he will get there again.

Don't look now but he now leads the league in homers and runs, is seventh in RBI's, and has cracked the top 25 in average. I don't think he'll top either of the latter categories, but it's worth watching.

Friday, July 22, 2011

1953 Bowman Color Additions

God I love the photography in this set. I am just beginning and it will take a while since they are pretty pricey.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

He Said Wood...

I admit that, even at 36, I still sometimes have a Beavis and Butthead mentality. I have been working on a unique card collection of rather unique names. Most, if not all, sink into the mental realm of the above esteemed pair. Periodically, I will post one of the collection when I have nothing better to write about. Nothing like childish behavior for a fallback huh? Anyway, I present to you my first example.

I know it was the '60s, but you know he had to have taken all kinds of crap for his name. Even a preacher would have a chuckle. Mr. Held had a really long (huhuhuhuhuhuh) career actually. Over 14 seasons he had nearly 1000 hits, averaging 21 homers and 65 RBI's over a 162 game season. His career average was .240, and according to a short bio written on his Baseball Reference page, "At the plate, he swung hard in case he hit something". That pretty much tells you all you need to know.

He said "hard"...

Friday, July 15, 2011

A&G? No, I'll Take 1987 Fleer, Thank You.

So almost everyone is going ape sh*t over 2011 Allen & Ginter. I think it's a nice design and I will collect the Cardinals. I will not however fork over money to buy a pack or a box. Topps inserts way too many non-sport/sports nobody cares about cards in these packs. On top of that, they keep on with the abomination that is "game used". These things have completely run their course and should be put down like an injured horse. I don't want to go postal when my "hit" is a piece of cloth that was on the back of Tim Wakefield, no thank you. I saw yesterday on Collector's Crack that Topps is now using "Travel Day Memorabilia". What the hell? Yes, I want a piece of Prince Fielder's designer shirt. Topps has truly jumped the shark. So in conclusion, I am not giving Topps any of my money for A&G, but I will however buy or trade for Cardinals on the secondary market.

So anyway, I alluded to 1987 Fleer in the title. I was at my LCS yesterday and he just bought a bunch of junk wax from a former dealer. He had quite the variety - '82 Donruss, '84 Topps, '91 Stadium Club and '91 Upper Deck, among others. He had one box of '87 Fleer in the case so I decided to try my luck at...well, I don't know really. Most of the rookies in there aren't worth a whole lot except for Bonds and Bo. Call it nostalgia. I plunked down my $3 and these were the best two cards I got...

Neither are Hall of Famers but both were very good. I remember in my youth that '87 and '88 Fleer were hard to come by here in the Midwest. If you found them in a gas station or grocery store it was like Christmas. In my opinion, this was the best looking set that Fleer put out in the junk era. Like something else better? Leave me a comment and state your case.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

1968...A Year Of Turmoil And Ugly Cards

1968 Topps is probably my least favorite set of the '60s. The wood grain borders just don't do it for me. That and they are inconsistent; they look different from card to card. One cannot however complete a run of vintage Topps team sets without also collecting the "inferior" sets. So without further ado, here are three new pickups.

1968 Topps #497 Cardinals Team Card. I have already admitted that team cards don't do it for me, so combine that with an inferior set and you get...a card I actually like. Yes, I actually like the look of this card. Maybe it's because this features the 1967 Championship team.

1968 Topps #378 Bob Gibson A.S. - Of course 1968 was the year that Robert established the modern record with a 1.12 ERA. He lead the league with 13 shutouts. Simply dominant.

1968 Topps #372 Lou Brock AS - In 1968 Brock led the league with 46 doubles, 14 triples, and 62 stolen bases. The ultimate table setter.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Joy Of An Under Graded Card

I've seen a lot of over graded cards in the past and I've also seen some under graded ones. This one has to qualify as the latter.

Two 8's a 7 and a 3 equal 4.5? I'm thinking a 5.5 on this one. Beckett is not my first grading choice and they are notoriously tough, but I couldn't pass this one up. I need not post the credentials of Mr. Mays and Mr. Snider. Any baseball fan should know about their greatness already.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Post Card Show Pickups

I almost forgot to feature a couple of '67s that I picked up after the "card show" last week. I got them at my LCS. The owner allows me to keep a stack of vintage behind the counter and purchase what I can, when I can. It also makes it easy on him if my wife or other member of the family comes in looking for a gift. It sure beats dropping $20 on modern packs. Anyway, here they are:

1967 Topps Cardinals Team Card #173 - I'm not big on team cards, I admit it. Not enough detail for me. However one must have the team card to have a team set, so here it is. The Cardinals of course won the World Series in 1967 spurred on by the acquisition of Orlando Cepeda and Roger Maris during 1966.

1967 Topps Dave Ricketts #589 - Dave played six total seasons, five of those with the Cardinals. He was a backup catcher to Tim McCarver and a pinch hitter. He had one home run and 20 RBI's over his career. Interesting to note that 14 of those RBI's came in 1967. It's always nice when you can add a high number to your collection in this nice of shape. They get a little pricey; this one has a BV of $15.

Friday, July 01, 2011

My Top Three Most Underrated Pitchers, Based On Card Value

There is a huge discrepancy in baseball card values when it comes to starting pitchers. In my opinion, these three pitchers somehow fly under most collector's radars.

Justin Verlander. Rookie of the year. Has won 17 games in four (soon to be five) of seven seasons. Every season except for two (one being in his first season in which he pitched in two games) he has had a sub 4.00 ERA. Has led the league in strikeouts. Leads all A.L. pitchers with a .839 WHIP this season. All of that, and his rookie cards can be had for less than a buck and you'll find his base cards in the common bins.

David Price. 37-19 career record. 3.43 career ERA. Pitched very well in the post season as a rookie. Second in the Cy Young voting last season and an All Star. Like Verlander, you can find his rookie cards for well below a dollar. I've picked them up for a quarter before.

Dan Haren. Has won at least 14 games five times (soon to be six). Leads the league in strikeout to walk ratio. Three time All Star. A perennial 200 strikeout pitcher. Somehow the guy has played for four different teams over nine seasons, including my beloved Cardinals (that Mulder trade still haunts me). Like the previous two, you can get most of his rookie cards for under a buck and his base and insert cards are normally found in the common bin.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is The Old Chris Carpenter Back?

Is Chris Carpenter "back"? I think everyone will agree that he has not been himself over the first three months of the season. His last two starts have made me think that he may have gotten back into form. From what I saw last night, he was dominant. He had command. His fastball had life. His curve looked like it should. I've heard it said that he fell in love with the cutter and his curve suffered because of it. I can't argue with that. He and Wainwright have two of the best curve balls in the league. I'm not sure why he wasn't throwing it but I'm glad he is now. Over his last 16 innings, he has given up only 12 hits and two earned runs. On top of that, he has only walked two. There is some concern about the number of pitches he is throwing. I come from the school of thought that pitch counts are overrated. I'll trust LaDuncan on this one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1951 Bowman Additions

I find 1951 Bowman cards to be one of the most attractive sets ever produced. It's because of this that I recently added them to my want list of Cardinal team sets. Without further ado, here are the two newest additions, courtesy of of a trade with cptnemo on Beckett.

Peanuts Lowrey had a lifetime average of .273 while playing for the Cubs, Reds, Phillies, and Cardinals. He amassed 1177 hits over 13 seasons.

Al Brazle played all ten of his seasons with the Cardinals, amassing a record of 97-64 with a 3.31 ERA. According to, he led the league in saves in 1952 with 16 and 1953 with 18.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Addition...1952 Topps

Here is the latest addition to my vintage Cardinals collection, Cliff Chambers himself. Mr. Chambers pitched from 1948-1953, compiling a 48-53 record with a 4.29 career ERA. His best season was in 1949 with the Pirates when he was 13-7 with a 3.96 ERA.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Card Show Blues

I went to my first card show in a very long time over the weekend. What a disappointment. Four tables. Four whole tables. Everything was overpriced, especially Cardinal stuff. I expect the Cardinal stuff to carry a small premium but most of it was ridiculous. It seems that "dealers" have ignored the fact that we have this thing called the internet now. I can find just about anything I want in a few seconds and have it delivered to my door within days. Now, I know that these guys are banking on the "instant gratification" ideal. I do like to be able to handle a card before purchase and inspect it and that's what they are hoping for. I was at first very hesitant to do trades and purchases online but after over 500 transactions, only a handful have been an issue and they were minor.

I was at the show for less than an hour. I decided to head to my local card shop to talk to the owner and peruse his stacks of cardboard. The place was packed. I have never seen it that way. It seems that everyone that was disappointed with the show had wandered there for consolation.

I did pick up a few things at the show for my Cardinal collection. I couldn't leave empty handed. Behold...

Two 1975 Topps Cardinals. I now only need the team card to complete the team set. I may now pursue the minis and have a few already.

1978 Topps Ted Simmons. This man should be in the HOF. He compares very well with Fisk and Carter.

Two Keith Hernandez Kellogg's cards. I don't know why I like Kellogg's so much, but I am like a moth to a flame with them.

That was my haul. Yep, five whole cards that cost $2.50. At least admission was free.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Holliday's Appendectomy And Other Various Sundries...

So Matt Holliday is out for a while. I've had an appendectomy before and it's not fun to say the least. It took me a week before I was able to get around normally. Holliday plays a professional sport for a living and is in great shape, but there is no reason for him to push it too far, too fast. No, we don't have a replacement even close to Holliday's talent, but we do have two young guys who can admirably fill the role in his absence. Of course I am speaking of Allen Craig and Jon Jay. Both have talent (I particularly like Jay) and to be honest, I thought at least a one year platoon in right field was a better choice than spending $8 million on Berkman. I like Berkman but he is far past his prime. He can probably be a serviceable first baseman or dreaded DH at this point in his career but I think that we will find out that a right fielder he is not.

OK Skip Schumkaker, the dream is over. I think it's time to get one of the young bucks (Descalso, Greene) playing 2B and end this 2 year experiment with Skip. He just does not look comfortable out there. He's flubbed a couple of plays already. He needs to go back to playing a backup role. I'm not that impressed with Theriot at this point either. Another light hitting, average fielder is not what we needed. I would have taken the light hitting, great fielder we had in Brendan Ryan.

The pitching so far has been good, barring Westbrook's fiasco on Saturday. Westbrook is an average pitcher; we will get those kind of outings here and there. We will just have to live with it. Carpenter looked pretty good in his start and Garcia was lights out. I'm glad he figured out what was wrong in Spring Training. I'm anxious to see Kyle McClellan pitch after the spring he had. I've always thought he should have been a starter, and I even thought they should toss him into the rotation instead of picking up Westbrook. Of course, that was before Wainwright went down.

No need to panic yet. We're only three games into the season.