Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trade with Johnny

As promised, I am finally getting caught up with the recent trades I've received - and generous ones, to say the least. What the cards lack in monetary value, they more than make up for in sentimental value - not to mention, quantity! I have 4 bricks of cards that need to be addressed.

Today I give you the cards I got from Johnny in Kentucky. As far as I know, he doesn't have a card blog of his own, but did stumble across mine at some point in time and needed to unload not only some Brewers cards, but some cards from my '87 Topps set wantlist. In fact, he graciously imparted upon me 189 of his '87 Topps doubles, singlehandedly putting me quite near completion on that set.

The Brewers cards he sent, though, take the cake. I now have all the '86 Topps team, as well as the rest of the '82 Fleer team sets. He sent some '85 Topps too, and I'll share with you the highlights of his generousity.

Robin Yount - '82 Fleer (#155), '85 Topps (#340) and '86 Topps (#780)

It's a well-known fact that Yount is my favorite Milwaukee player ever, and though I have these cards already they will always be worth sharing with others who may not look at them nearly as often as I do. The '82 Fleer is great, what the long flowing locks, and powder blue clothing. Look at his arms, though. Seriously, take a look! Though he'd never gain weight over his career (as we like to say in Wisconsin, "Prince oneself up") he never was as muscular as when he was a young player, here shown in already his 8th season in the bigs. I like the card design, too. Very simple, giving all the credit of the card (deserving or not) to the photo of the player. Honestly, the photos in this set aren't very good, but the simplicity I think is why I like them.

I love the '85 Topps set - but it can kiss my butt, only because they are more or less the first year (going back) where collecting a set starts to get expensive. Up until that set (including the preceeding '86) it's very easy to finance your own hand-collated set, or buy up loose lots on th'bay (to steal a phrase from a fellow blogger, you know, in the parlence of our times). After I finish the 5 or 6 sets I'm currently building, I will devote all of my time (and card funds) to said project. They will be mine - oh yes, they will be mine.

1982 Fleer Jamie Easterly (#139), Rickey Keeton (#146), and Jim Slaton (#153)

I think I've paid the '82 Fleer set its dues, so I'll focus on something even more important - how ugly the ballplayers used to be. And in particular, the change from players of that era to the players of today. This is especially evident when it comes to pitchers, which is why I chose these three cards to talk about. Look at them. Lean and trim, certainly. Huge bodies of muscle, perhaps. But handsome? I'm not sure that's a word that I'd use to describe these three men.

I guess it's the age we're in now, pop culture being what it is, and a baseball player becoming more than a player, becoming a pop icon or (unfortunately, in the case of current Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy and my wife) a sex symbol. Back then, it wasn't like that. They let their hair down (all of it), grew copious amounts of facial hair, and didn't care that nobody in human history has, does, or ever will look good in a Mizuno warmup jacket. Maybe I'm just jealous because I haven't had any hair to speak of in a few years now, but wouldn't that get hot in the late August day games, all that hair? Geez. And the poly uniforms that don't breath. Nice marmot, Jim.

1986 Topps Rick Waits (#614), '85 Topps Tom Tellman (#112), '86 Topps Pete Ladd (#163)

Here we have another three men who have more hair than they know what to do with. Especially Pete Ladd, whose story is a dandy. Here shown without his beard, the beard is most likely where he derived much of the power that, in 1982, led him to a second-place finish in the ALCS MVP voting. In '83 he saved 25 games for the Crew as he replaced the injured Rollie Fingers. In '84 he didn't fare as well, building up a 5.24 ERA, and in '85 he split time between Milwaukee and AAA. 1986 found him as a member of the Seattle Mariners, and that's it. A relatively short career, for the big guy. Still, a very powerful pitcher in his day.

The same goes for Tom Tellmann, who had an even shorter career. After pitching two years hin San Diego between '79-'80, he played in Milwaukee from '83-84 and performed as a great middle releiver, posting ERAs of 2.80 and 2.78. For some reason he was sent to Oakland the following hear, appeared in only 11 games. He posted a 5.06 ERA that summer in 11 appearances, maybe he was sent down from there and decided to part ways with baseball. Don't know, sorry. Limited info on him available on the interwebs.

Charlie Moore, 1982 Fleer (#150), 1986 Topps Brewers Leaders (#426)

Before Robin Yount was known as the workhorse of the organization, it was Mr. Charlie Moore. From 1973 to 1986 he played in 1,283 games for the Brewers, serving as catcher as well as a utility OF player and sometime DH - that's right, we used to be in the American League. Stupid sallies and their DH. The key to his longevity as a major league ballplayer? The hair.

Charlie Moore's best stat, by far, was his performance on October 1st, 1980, when he became only the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle. Not only did he hit for the cycle, but he did so while batting ninth in the lineup. It would be another 8 years until a Brewers player hit for the cycle again, and that would be a one Robin Yount.

1985 Topps Don Sutton (#10), 1982 Fleer Marshall Edwards (#140)

I don't think too many people see Don Sutton as a pitcher for the Brewers, but he did play in Milwaukee for just over 2 seasons, acquired from the Astros late in the '82 campaign as we were preparing for a post season run, and through the '83 and '84 seasons. In fact, Sutton's pitching in the final game of the '82 season (8 IP, 2 ER) sealed a victory over the Orioles and a division title for Milwaukee.

This card is great because it ties into my last post, "On Baseball and History", in which I mentioned the inaugural Hall of Fame class member Walter Johnson. In 1984, Don sutton became only the second player to pass Johnson's mark of consecutive 100-strikeout seasons, at 19.

And finally, I give you Marshall Edwards who, bearing a striking resemblance to current Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, puts in his bid for admittance to the Subhelmet Hat Alliance.

Thanks again to Johnny from Kentucky for these awesome, classic Brewers cards. They now occupy a cozy place in my Brewers collection, many of them needed to complete a couple team sets. Thanks again!

Monday, March 30, 2009

On Baseball and History

Being the offseason fanatics that we are, my wife and I have been delving into the nostalgic realm of Ken Burns' rather lengthy and thorough documentary "Baseball", which came out about 15 years ago on PBS. Devoting nearly 2 hours to each decade of the game, from the 1860's until modern-day play, it comments on the heroes, villains, changes, and impact of the game upon the people, and nation as a whole, throughout its history. If you haven't seen it, or parts of it, do give it a try. It puts FSN's "Baseball's Golden Age" to shame, just blows it out of the water.

During the first episode they talk about how A.G. Spalding went from being a pitcher, to club owner, to sporting goods magnate over the course of a decade and a half, and about the "Spalding's Guide to Baseball" that young boys and old men alike would read religiously during the formative years of the game. The 1895 edition of this publication was of special note, and I did a little digging and easily found it, in unabridged digital format thanks to Project Gutenberg, for my own reading.

To say the least, the entire human thought process was different in the late 19th century. Outlook on life, man's relation to fellow man, the love of language, and exhibiting professionalism in all aspects of one's life, set them apart from the relative cretins that prowl the earth today. This is transparently evident in the 1895 Spalding Guide to Baseball, and I wanted to share a few passages - for not only their writing, but their subject - are something that we just don't have anymore. The game was very different, and very dynamic during its early years, and although the "problems" don't translate to today's game, I'm sure you can appreciate the passages.

Some years ago, the swiftpitching--which had then about reached the highest point of speed--proved to be so costly in its wear and fear upon the catchers that clubs had to engage a corps of reserve catchers, in order to go through a season's campaign with any degree of success.

They go on to describe how the new invention of a catcher's "mitt" would help in limiting the "wear and tear" on the hands of the catchers. There was a pitcher by the name of Walter Johnson who pitched for the Washington Senators/Nationals, won 417 games from 1907-1927, and had it not been for the team's perrenial offensive struggles, most likely would have been a 30 game winner every year - for 20 years. So apparently this guy pitched faster than anyone else in history - literally, the only person who could hit the guy was Ty Cobb. His all-time strikeout record stood until 1983, when Nolan Ryan passed him. Anyhow, once an umpire as asked how he called balls and strikes for a guy nobody could see. The umpire said that it didn't bother him if the batters argued the calls (which didn't happen), because both he AND the batters had their eyes closed when Johnson was on the mound.

Then again they were told that "another very effective point instrategic pitching, is a thoroughly disguised change of pace indelivery.

Ah, yes. Enter the changeup. In a game dominated by tempers more than skill, the changeup was something a pitcher would be wise to add to his repertoire, were he a man wrought with enough temperance. But don't get too hasty, pitchers with a cool wit...

This is difficult of attainment, and as a general rule it canonly be played with effect on the careless class of batsmen.

Not all the batsmen you will face are subject to the trickery the changeup affords a hurler. Oh no, only those of the careless class.

But hitting, too, plays a large in a teams' ability to win more than they lose. Let's see what the folks at Spalding, and the National League office, say about the offensive side of things.

In fact, competent managers and captains of teams have learned in recent years, by costly experiment, that one of the most potent factors in winning pennants is the method of handling the ash known as good team-work at the bat - the very essence of which is devoting all the batsmen's efforts to forwarding runners by base hits, and not by each player's going to the bat simply to build up a high record of base hits without regard to forwarding runners on bases.

I guess small ball played a large role in the days of old, as it does today. Of course, it took these men to do the dirty work of "costly experimenting" for us, that we may reap the benefits of their labors. For surely, had they not found the most potent of ways to handle the ash, who knows how many decades would have passed before a team discovered small ball, or more precisely, was able to plate more runners than they put on base? They go on to caution against this...

Time and again were batsmen, last season, left on third base after opening the innings with a three-bagger, owing to the stupid work of the succeeding batsmen in trying to "line 'em out for a homer," instead of doing real team-work at the bat.

Remember kids, it's all about real team-work at the bat. Of course, different approaches were taken to the game back then, as things were still up in the air. Different schools of baseball thought were in play during the sport's childhood years, as we see here -

A great deal of bosh has been written--mostly by the admirers of "fungo"hitting--about sacrifice hitting being something that should not be in the game, just as these fungo-hitting-advocates try to write down"bunt hitting" the most difficult place hit known to the game.

The graceful art of bunt hitting was the brainchild of those who would write bosh of "sacrifice hitters", clearly. Who would write such bosh? Clearly, as a later example points out, the pennant-winning team in years past was most often the team who used more team work at the bat, vice the team who dealt mostly in homeruns, who would often find themselves near the bottom of the league standings.

Baserunning, too, plays a vital role in a team's success - as pointed out in the guide.

Any soft-brained heavy-weight can occasionally hit a ball for a home run, but it requires a shrewd, intelligent player, with his wits about him, to make a successful base runner.

Keep that in mind, all you soft-brained heavy-weights. Just you keep that in mind! So, who would make a good baserunner? What qualities would this man among boys have?

Presence of mind, prompt action on the spur of the moment;quickness of perception, and coolness and nerve are among the requisites of a successful base runner.

Good to know, eh? Ricky Hendersen surely was quick of perception, and cool of nerve, wasn't he? I think he was pretty fast, too. "Fleet of foot" as the saying goes. Speaking of which, what the hell is "footspeed"? Can anyone tell me that? How is that different from good old fashioned "speed"? Why do sports commentators feel the need to modify the term, or, perhaps designate it as it's own category? Just a question.

Back to this "catcher's mitt" you speak of. So, how has this affected the game? Well, fielding percentages, for one, have gone up. Thus batting averages have gone down, albeit marginally.

One reason for this was the introduction of the catcher's "big mitt" in the infield work--something that should not have been allowed. It was due to this fact that the batting scores were not larger the past season than they were in 1893, the big mitt on the hands of infielders enabling them to stop hard hit "bounders" and "daisy cutters" which, but for the use of the mitts, would have been clean earned base hits.

Yes, those daisy cutters surely had met their doom upon the introduction of the catcher's mitt, what with it's width and bredth and overall what have you.

My favorite part of the guide has to be it's dealing with "The Umpiring of 1894". Something we perhaps take for granted today, was more of a luxury back then. And by that I mean, safe, unbiased, and worry-free umpiring. Take a look.

There was one instance shown of the folly of condoning the offence of drinking, which should not have been allowed; a drunken umpire is worse than a drunken player, for no one will respect his decisions.

Surely, truer words have never been spoken. I don't trust a drunken police officer any more than I trust a drunken driver. Nor should you.

Also required of an umpire should be the quality of good character - so no one attached to prize-fighting should be allowed an umpiring position.

When it becomes anecessity to have to engage pugilists as umpires to control hoodlumplayers, then will professional ball playing cease to be worthy ofpublic patronage.

Baseball, during it's early ears, was exceptionally violent in nature. Players on the field, as well as unruly fans, not to mention players fighting with those unruly fans. Just ugly, really. Nothing like Pedro Martinez vs. Don Zimmer, but still pretty bad.

Being an umpire in late 19th century baseball was a dangerous gig, one I'm not too sure I'd volunteer for.

...from the time the umpire takes up his position behind the bat, from the beginning to the end of a game, he finds both the contesting teams regarding him as a common enemy, the losing side invariably blaming him as the primary cause of their losing the game.

Even today we aren't best friends with the umps, but he's no enemy. Nor, on the majority of ball game results today, would we find the Umpire as the reason for one team's winning or losing the game. I guess they really hated the man in the mask - a mask, might I add, the Umpires loudly called for to protect themselves, as it was not originally part of the man's uniform. But who else would wish the umpire harm?

Then, too, in addition to the contesting teams as his foes, there are the majority of the crowd of spectators to be added to the list, the rougher element of the assemblage, the latter of whom regard the umpire as an especial target for abuse in every instance in which the home team is defeated.

So you're telling me that the ump would get booed in New York if the Sox won the game? Well, maybe we've lost something in baseball, but surely this is not only a fan's right, but a fan's obligation? To boo and heckle the man behind the plate? Today, sure. But not back then. I wouldn't trust any of my loved ones in the company of the unruly mob lovingly referred to back then as "fans".

Any more enemies of the umpire?

Last on the list of the umpire's opponents are the betting class of reporters, who take delight in pitching into him whenever his decisions--no matter how impartially he acts--go against their pet club or the one they bet on.

Remember, this was back when there was no small brick wall topped by a 50-foot screen seperating the press and fans from homeplate and it's inhabitants. Reports were usually no more than 20 feet behind or to the side of the batsman, catcher, and umpire. And cursing them, spitting on them, and threatening them the whole time.

Come on now, folks. Let's give them a little slack. After all, it's a tough job calling games! Show a little sympathy, eh?

[they] never give a moment's thought to the ifficulties of the position he occupies, or to the arduous nature of he work he is called upon to perform. There he stands, close behind the atcher and batsman, where he is required to judge whether the wiftly-thrown ball from the pitcher, with its erratic "curves and shoots," darts in over the home base, or within the legal range of thebat.

Calling all bleeding-heart baseball spectators. Have a heart, would ya? It's a tough job, and somebody has to do it.

The startling fact is never considered that several umpires have been killed outright while occupying this dangerous position.

I ask again: surely, isn't there some other job you'd rather have? Shipright? Blacksmith? Farmer? Honestly, you don't have a trade? I even hear that the guy selling score cards at the ball game makes it home safely to his wife and kids.

In fact, the umpire stands there as he one defenseless man against thousands of pitiless foes. The wonderis that half the umpires in the arena are as successful in the discharge f their arduous duties as they are, and the still greater wonder isthat any self-respecting man can be induced to occupy a position whichis becoming year after year more objectionable.

Thank you! Even the league magnates understand this. What kind of man would be an umpire? Perhaps a criminal. Or perhaps a modern-day Cubs fan - they are used to self-inflicted pain and humiliation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Big Lebowski Set...last one for a while, I promise

I have a fever...and the only prescription, is more PAINT!

2009 Topps Heritage Black Mayo #15 Tony the Limo Driver

Ironic as life is, the guy who played Tony the Limo Driver (Dom Irrera) was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and later convicted, back in September of last year. The fine law enforcement officers that brought him in? You guessed it...the North Hollywood PD.

So I guess that's two counts of irony...pardon my pun...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Big Lebowski Set (my 3rd submission, man)

These days at work I find myself with a bit more time to waste, and an even bigger bit of time to waste on, as I explain to my coworkers, "Making fake Big Lebowski baseball cards from real baseball cards". "But 'Lebowski' was a movie, what does that have to do with baseball?"

Exactly. Here's round three of my cards.

1988 Topps #01 "Turn Back the Clock" Fawn Knudson

I think I have 20 of the Jim Rice cards like this, but the colors for the Nolan Ryan card were better to use. Here we see Fawn - aka Bunny Lebowski, aka Bunny Lajoya - as a cheerleader in her hometown of Moorehead, MN. Her parents have hired a private investigator to help track her down. She owes money all of over town, apparently...

1990 Topps #02 Malibu Police Chief

The police chief in the quiet beach community of Malibu, CA doesn't want The Dude suckin around or bothering the local citizens. Nor does he want his jerk-off face or behavior around his parts. Jerk off.

2008 Upper Deck Timelines #01 Autobahn Movie-used LP relic

Not only is this relic card of the actual LP from the movie, but it has a little bit of of the label sticker on it too, making it exremely rare. Translated from German to English, the album title means "Nail Bed", or more closely from the Swedish, "Nail Bite". Uli Kunkel's mucical career never really took off.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Century Mark...and a Blog Bat Around

Today marks an occasion that many have seen come and go, but for me something I didn't acually see myself reaching - this is Cheese & Beer's 100th post! And to mark the occasion, I'm going to throw my hat into the ring for the Fifth Blog Bat Around. This time around, we're asked to share a story about how we came to possess our favorite or most memorable card or piece of memorabilia. And so I give to you, folks - the story of how I came to own a baseball once belonging to Paul Molitor.

In the summer of 1987 I was just a young lad - coming into my own as a baseball fan. Of course, I had some guidance and following in my father's footsteps, I was to become a Milwaukee Brewers fan - like my father, and his father before - wait, before that they were Milwaukee Braves' fans. So I guess that doesn't work so well. Moving on...

So, it was the summer of 1987 and my father took took me to my first baseball game. I still remember the day, thanks to the lone photograph from that event. It's a picture of me with one of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome security bubbas - yep, something about kids and their affinity toward Police Officers and Firemen. I was no different, and so took my picture with him. As I recall (from memory, not from the photo in hand, it's buried in a box somewhere in my parent's basement in Wisconsin) this police officer had quite a substantial mustache - perhaps this is what I saw in the man, after all.

I remember walking up the stairs to the field level, the place was like the Roman Colliseum: pillars, throngs of people, wide open walkways. Here was the place I would urinate, for the first time, in a trough. Imagine that! Now my mind was opened like never before. Miles and miles of "Dome Dog" stands, and walls of neon Miller Lite signs - truly, a paradise, a "garden of eden" if ever there was one. Nothing would prepare me for the sight of the baseball field, though - complete with artificial turf and everything. The huge wide open space was what caught my breath, here the boys of summer made their magic. How truly blessed I was to be a part of that.

We sat about halfway up, on the third base side of the dome. We watched batting practice, and watched the guys play catch. Robin Yount. Jim Gantner. Dale Sveum. And the one and only, Paul Molitor. He was playing catch right down below us, we could read the letters on his uniform, see his stubble we were so close.

And then fate stepped in. With a loud, booming call of his voice, my father yelled "Hey, Paulie!" Immediately Molitor looked up, and saw my father and I waving to him. He reached into his glove, took the ball into his hand, and in one smooth motion sent that artifact toward two fans. My father caught the ball, looked at it, looked back down at the field toward Molitor, and yelled "Thanks! Thanks alot, Paulie!". Never in my life did I hold onto anything as tightly as I did that ball. For 2 1/2 hours, it was as if a growth had developed between my hands the shape of a baseball, complete with threads and all.

I don't remember how the game ended up, who won, how badly they beat the other guys, or how long the drive back home was. I couldn't wait to get home to tell my mom and my brother the events that had transpired that day. The ball would always occupy a place on (or in) my father's dresser - and the story became more and more grand each time it was told. It's quite possible the events that happened that fateful day in 1987 didn't go anything like I just explained. I do know, however, that I have a baseball that Paul Molitor threw to me and my dad.

You've seen the movie "The Sandlot", and how the main character himself met fate - in the form of a huge St. Bernard and a baseball that some old lady had signed for HIS father (father in law, but who's keeping track). Well, we too played games upon games of baseball as kids, and almost identical to the movie, we didn't hold jobs until high school and had no way of paying for new baseballs once they'd been hit too deep into the field behind our house. The only baseball we knew up in our house was the Molitor ball, and on more than one occasion it was used to decide epic battles out back between my brother and myself. It always found it's way back, though, my Dad's dresser before he got home from work. God forbid something should happen. I'm sure it wouldn't have been that big of a deal to him, Paul Molitor certainly was no Babe Ruth. Nor was it autographed by him. But to us, that thing was an idol. A small, quiet relic that belonged in a cathedral, let alone our house.

1987 and the Paul Molitor ball. It's still in my father's dresser I think. For safe keeping.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bar's over there!

Turns out, if you want a Caucasian, you have to fix it yourself.

That goes for blog posts, too. If you want to share your thoughts on baseball and the world, you have to sit down, research a post (or form some sort of stream-of-consciousness in your mind) and actually write away.

A certain "The Big Lebowski Card Fest" has gotten the best of my attention recently, along with a combination of college basketball, dinner parties with other couples "of like interest", and the return of Nascar after a week off. You can actually see the fruits of my only recent labors here, my most recent submissions for the Big Lebowski card set.

I promise, tomorrow I shall take some time and get back to postin' again. I have received gracious trades (literally, bricks of cards) from Johnny, Nightowlcards, and the one and only Motherscratcher (he's a good man, and thorough). I will be playing catchup for a while, but will get around to thanking everyone in a proper way by getting up some trade appreciation posts soon. For now, I'll leave you with a former member of the Brew Crew, a one Ray Searage. Perhaps he has a permit to carry a marmot on his face, perhaps not. At any rate, nice marmot.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

S-V-E-U-M, spoken "Swaim"

Last year he came up huge for Milwaukee. Not only was he the most agressive 3rd base coach in the entire National League (I'm sure that's not a defendable stat, but I think he was) but he also filled in as "interim manager" to finish out the season after Milwaukee management FINALLY fired Ned Yost.

This year Dale is still coaching with the Brewers, but taking on a different role. Instead of doing the "roundhouse" with his left arm (perhaps being the ONLY person alive who can get Prince Fielder to home plate all the way from first base) he'll be showing the Brewers players a more efficient way of hitting. Last year they collectively hit .253 as a team. I'm thinking, one can most likely only go up from there. And just in case you had no idea how poorly they hit last year, I'll indulge you a bit more - a total of 1,203 strikeouts as a team. That's nearly 7.5 strikouts per nine innings. Yuck.

Anyhow, hopefully Dale can help us turn that around. Thanks for the autos!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Big Lebowski Set (my second submission)

"Dude, I finally got the venue I wanted, I uh, I'm performing my dance quintet - you know, my cycle? - at Crane Jackson's Fountain Street Theater on Thursday night, and uh...I'd love it if you came and gave me notes."

"I'll be there, man."

"Uh, Dude, Uh - tomorrow's already the 10th."

"Far out."


"Oh, oh, alright. Okay."

"Just, uh, slip the rent under my door."

Wow. This is getting addictive, folks.

You know, the Video Artist

It started here.

Then it went here.

The third stop was here.

At the request of Motherscratcher, Here's my first entry. I guess I can't fight the temptation, either...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Get a Job, Sir!

Motherscratcher, this one's for you.

"Get a Job, Sir!" That's what a young, 16-year old's parents told him to do one fateful winter day in 1958. And so he did. He went out, worked hard, and finally got the job he had been yearning for. A starting spot on the Cleveland Indians roster.

Most people haven't heard of this guy. That's because he never broke any records. He never led the league in any statistical category. He never made the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, either. He just got up, went to work, and did his job. For 18 years.

Aftab Thurgood McGoo, or "Tabby" as he'd become to the younger players who sought his tutelage, had humble beginnings in major league baseball. Being a native of Ohio, he wanted to play for his childhood heroes, the Indians. Their farm system in the late 1950's and early 60's was a tough egg to crack, as he'd come to learn. For 5 long years he'd bounce around from club to club, playing mouth harp and running card games at bars just to pay bus fare. His glove was a hand-me-down from his great grandfather, Percival McGoo, who was in his own right a fair ballplayer for the Cincinatti Outlaw Reds of the old Union Association back in the late 19th century. His cleats were merely regular shoes - winnings from a card game between he and some horse jockeys from Dayton. But his bat was hand-carved from a tree growing in the front yard of his childhood home. Sound familiar? Well, this is the story the bat YOU'RE thinking of came from. That's right.

Back to the story. So 5 years passed, and Tabby still wasn't on a major league roster. But finally, on May 13th, 1963, the right person saw Aftab McGoo take a swing - that swing was all he needed. After the game (in which the now-folded Akron Bellymashers lost 16-0) a scout from the Indians big league club asked McGoo if he'd like to play 3rd base for the Indians - to which Tabby said "Boy, would I!" The rest is history.

McGoo would go on to play may years for the Indians, and would eventually end his major league career there in 1981. In 1982 and 1983, he played for a couple teams over in Japan, and went on to manage for 7 more years after that. He's now a sports writer for a newspaper in Hiroshima, performing the duties as beat writer for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. If you're over there, look him up. He'd love to spin yarns about his days playing for the Cleveland Indians.

I went digging through my boxes, and was able to come up with a few of his baseball cards from back during his early playing days. If you think some of the photos resemble cards of other Indians players from that same era, you're wrong. Absolutely wrong. Any resemlance to other 1960's baseball cards is likely a product of the card company's error, and nothing more. Yes, his appearance did change over the years, but show me a ball player whose face doesn't. What with years and years of summer sunshine, chewing tobacco, and sweat. But hey, that was Aftab McGoo.

If at this point you are totally lost, this post is in response to Motherscratcher's comment left on this post from earlier in the week. Aw, it all makes sense now.

*Editor's Note: You can see the very rare (more rare than a T206 Wagner) 60T Aftab McGoo rookie card here, compliments of punkrockpaint.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Calling All Readers!

I need your help! I've got a great idea for a new thread on the blog, but I need YOUR help. Here's the deal. I need some folks (I think 5 would do) to dig through their cards, or just find pictures online, of their 10 FAVORITE BASEBALL CARDS. These are your ALL-TIME favorites. Not necessarily the team or the player on the card, but the design, photo, writing, etc.

  • Step 1: Comment on this post, letting me know you're in!
  • Step 2: Pick out your 10 favorite cards
  • Step 3: Email me at eodnatfrat@hotmail.com with the list (including year, brand, player and #)
  • Step 4: Include photos for all ten cards (try to make them all the same size, about 250x350)
That's it! I think I keep in regular contact with with at least 5 folks off hand, so please get on blogger today, read this, and submit your list to me today. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. The sooner I get the entries in, the sooner I can get this new thread going. I might be slightly naive in saying this, but the first 5 entries will be used in the contest (assuming 5 people want to participate).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Always Read the Fine Print"

This school of thought applies to many aspects of life. Whether one is purchasing a new car, signing the paperwork for a new house, or even reading through their new life insurance policy. I now have first-hand knowledge that it applies, too, to baseball cards.

Sometimes (usually around payday) I give myself a little bit of leeway and try to take care of some more Robin Yount or Ryan Braun cards from my list via the wonderful world of eBay. Yes, the internet has truly made baseball card collecting much easier. I always think of the line from Cable Guy - "...or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam."

So back to the point - a few weeks ago I was picking out some more Ryan Braun cards to add to my collection, when I saw a listing for "2007 SP Rookie Edition #115 Ryan Braun". Sweet! With its $0.99 Buy-it-Now price, and free shipping, this card would be mine! Having already done about 10 or 12 purchases that session, my mind was just looking for pictures of cards that weren't in my binder, and I was clicking ont he purchase button.

This, my friends, is why one must always read the fine print...

I am now the PROUD owner of THREE 2007 SP Rookie Edition #115 Ryan Z. Braun cards. That's right - Ryan Z. Braun.

Apparently, there are two MLB players of the same name, so the pitcher for the Royals, the one nobody knows about was forced to use his middle initial. This method of self distinguishment never commands much respect. John Q. Adams was nothing like his father, John Adams. George W. Bush was nothing like his father, George Bush. Likely, none of George Foreman's children will be as much of a prize fighter as their father. And Ryan Z. Braun is nothing like THE Ryan Braun, 2007 Rookie of the Year and 2008 All-Star. Oh well.

Needless to say, I still need the 2007 SP Rookie Edition Ryan Braun card, #153, though, not #115. That pesky fine print.

Anybody want to trade for these beauties?

Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 Topps Heritage

After two weeks of searching all the usual outlets around town that provide me my fix (gotta chase the dragon, you know?) I finally was able to get my hands on 5 packs of some '09 Heritage cards. To celebrate the occasion (and my day off of work) here are all 65 cards from the five packs (minus the two Cubs cards, because nobody wants to see those. In case you care, they were Ryan Theriot, and the Team Checklist).






I am pretty pleased with the outcome of this 5-pack "Snatch-and-run". The Hardy and Parra cards went directly into my Brewers binder, the Mayo Pujols card should claim a bit of cash on the eBay, perhaps along with the Chrome K-Rod card. Perhaps the profits from those two cards will help subsidize my addiction to Yount and Braun cards.

Time to go, now -Big Ten Conference Tourney on ESPN...GO BADGERS!