Category Archives: Capewoods Collection

More Phillies cards from Dan

Here are some more Phillies cards I got from Dan of dansotherworld. Check out his blog.

1989 Topps Wax Box Cards #O Kent Tekulve

 I was collecting in the late 1980s and I remember that several manufacturers were featuring cards on box bottoms, but I don’t remember ever seeing one. In 1989, Topps had 16 cards in the set featuring players who reached some milestone. For some reason, they numbered them from A to P. Maybe so they wouldn’t get confused with the regular set. Dan sent me the two Phillies from the set, Tekulve and Greg Gross.

1989 Toys R Us Rookies #16

I didn’t have any cards from this set. There aren’t many card sets with yellow borders, and that may just as well. But I actually like cards with yellow borders, probably because they are rare.

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier #134 John Kruk

This was the first set that O-Pee-Chee released that didn’t use the same design as Topps. A pretty nice looking card.

1992 Stadium Club Dome #4 Ron Allen

You don’t see many cards featuring the player in his college uni. Dan sent me this and another Phillie from the set, Tyler Green. I already had the Kevin Stocker card. Only two to go, Kruk and Gene Schall.

1993 Fleer Atlantic #12 John Kruk

This is a nice odd-ball. It’s the same basic design as 1993 Fleer except it has a gold border on the front and a gold background on the back. The regular card is silver. It also features different photos than the regular Fleer card. These were available in 5-card packs at Atlantic gas stations with an 8-gallon purchase. By the way, gas was going for about a dollar a gallon in 1993.

1997 Metal Universe #205 Scott Rolen

A Fleer product, perhaps the weirdest set ever produced. With his power belt on, Rolen could hit home runs into the next galaxy.

2000 Red Barons Magnets Jimmy Rollins

I don’t really know what this is. I’m guessing it’s from 2000 since that’s the year Jimmy played with the Red Barons. It isn’t really a baseball card but a refrigerator magnet. I guess it was a ballpark giveaway. Need and MRI? Call 800-383-4MRI.

2001 Bowman Heritage #24 Nelson Figueroa

2001 Bowman Heritage pretty much passed me by. I may have bought one pack. My first Phillie from the set.

2003 Fleer Splendid Splinters #41 Bobby Abreu

 Another of the myriad Fleer sets from the 2000s.

Phillies cards from Dan

A few weeks ago, I came upon dansotherworld and saw that he was giving away baseball cards by MBL division. Since he still had the NL East available, I signed on hoping for some Phillies cards. After reading some more of his blog I realized he was a Phillies collector and figured I wouldn’t get many Phillies from him.  After an exchange of emails, and him checking my blog, he said he’d see if he could find some Phillies for me.

A big package arrived the other day with almost 400 cards. Rather more than I expected. Among them were about 100 Phillies cards, of which I needed about half. Pretty good ratio. I will be studying Dan’s want list and hoping I’ll be able to return the favor.  So here are some of the more interesting Phillies he sent.

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Relics Ryan Howard

This is pretty much the best card of the bunch. The funny thing about this card is that I had actually bought two of these, one with a white jersey, the other with a bat, back in 2009, but I gave them to a friend, and fellow Phillies fan, for his birthday.

2014 Topps Chrome X-fractors #37 Cliff Lee

I love the way the scans of these cards look. I only had one X-fractor from this set and it wasn’t a Phillie.

2010 Topps Tribute Roy Halladay

These are the kinds of cards I never buy, unless I go specifically looking for them on eBay. As it turns out I have one other Phillie from this set.

2008 Ultimate Collection Cole Hamels #10

I’ve never even seen one of these cards. The base cards are numbered to 350.

2007 Upper Deck Goudey #76 Chase Utley

I had the Red Back version of this card. It’s nice to get the base card.

2003 Bowman #243 Il Kim

Topps released four cards featuring Il Kim in 2003, this one, a Stadium Club, a Topps and a Topps Total. Each card features a photo taken in the same spot, with Kim either sitting on or leaning on a bench. These are all the major league cards he has. I only need the Topps Total for the set.

2002 Fleer Authentix #70 Fleer Authentix

Fleer used to produce so many different sets each year it was hard to keep up with. I used to stop at my local card shop (when I had a local card shop) and buy a couple of packs of whatever was new. I have some cards from this set but I didn’t have any of the Phillies.

2001 Upper Deck Victory #491 Kent Bottenfield

Something you don’t see on baseball cards every day, a pitcher batting. In the 3 three months that Bottenfield spent with the Phillies he had 17 plate appearances.

2001 Topps Archives #235 Robin Roberts

When I pulled this card from the box, I thought, this is a nice card but I already have it. In fact, I have the 2002 Topps Archives Robin Roberts, which is the same card only with the Topps Archives logo on the left side.

I’ll have some more cards tomorrow.

The Phillies Tony Gonzalez

1977 was the earliest year for which I could find baseball cards for Phillies minor league teams. I would have liked to buy the whole sets but I could only find individual cards on eBay and they were pretty pricy. So I settled for one for now.

1977 TCMA Spartensburg Phillies #15 Tony Gonzalez

Tony was a coach with the Spartensburg Phillies in 1977. I like how they managed to squeeze the entire season schedule on the back of the card.  It’s pretty much unreadable.

Tony was originally signed by the Reds and debuted with them in 1960. He was traded to the Phillies in June 1960 and played for the Phils through 1968. Tony was a popular player in Philadelphia. He hit .295 for the team while here with 77 home runs.

Here are some other Gonzalez cards I own.

1964 Topps Giants #14

1966 Topps #748

1968 Topps #245

1995 Dennis Martinez

There are a lot of things I like about collecting baseball cards but one of them is finding two cards, from different sets, which show the same play.  Look at these two Dennis Martinez cards from 1995.

1995 Select #130

1995 Pinnacle #374

I’ve seen cards which have different moments from the same fielding play but this card shows different moments from the same pitch, Dennis Martinez throwing a big looping curve ball to some poor left-handed batter.  The two photographs must have been taken by the same photographer with an auto-winder.

There are a number of players that I causally collect cards of. By causally, I mean, that I don’t go out of my way to find cards for these players but when I get a card, I save it from the commons box and put it in a binder with the rest of his cards.  Martinez is one of these players. Sometimes I can’t remember why I collect a particular player but collecting Martinez cards started with the perfect game he threw in 1991. There were a number of cards in 1992 celebrating that game. It was the 13th perfect game in MLB history and the first thrown by a Latin-American player.

Martinez had a 23-year career in which he compiled a 245-193 record, a career ERA of 3.70 with 2,149 Ks (60th on the all-time list). He also pitched 3,999.2 innings. He finished his career with the Braves in 1998. They couldn’t let him get one more out?

One thing I didn’t know about Martinez is that he broke Kirby Puckett’s jaw on September 28, 1995. It was Puckett’s last at-bat.

2015 Donruss Bat Kings

Back in March I wrote a post about the single 30-card retail pack of Donruss that I bought. The set was very much like last year’s set and very forgettable. So forgettable that I forgot I bought it and recently bought another pack. The best I can say about it is that at least I didn’t pull any duplicates and there was a relic card in the pack. Ya gotta love relics from retail packs.

2015 Donruss Bat Kings #19 Mark Teixeira

Book Club – May 2015 Reading List

I got a lot of books finished this month. There were some easy reads.

Black Oxen by Gertrude Atherton

This was the best selling novel in the US in 1923. I got it for free for my Kindle afrom Amazon. In the early 1920s some doctor was pushing a treatment (the Steinach treatment) for reducing the effects aging which involved heavy doses of radiation to the sexual organs. This book is about a 58-year-old woman (Mary) who took the treatment in Europe and reduced her apparent age to about 20. She returns to New York after a many years absence and everyone thinks she is her own daughter. The book has a lot to say about growing old (when you’re rich, as are all the characters in the book) and the irresponsibility of youth. Mary, who thought she was above such things, falls in love with a 30 something New York newspaper columnist. I thought the book was pretty good. It was made into a silent movie with a very young Clara Bow as one of the irresponsible youths. You can see it on YouTube if you want. The author apparently took the treatment and claimed it worked but Steinach and his treatment today, are barely a footnote in history.

The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson

A ‘near future’ novel which takes social networking a bit beyond FaceBook. A scientist discovers that people can be grouped into 12 categories, which he called Affinities. In order to join one you have to take a series of tests to determine which Affinity you belong to. If you get chosen, you find yourself aligned with a group of people who, while not exactly clones of you, are very much like you in ideas and how you feel about things,. Gradually the Affinities begin to mean more to the people in them than their own families or countries. It wasn’t too bad.

How We Got to Now: Six Inventions That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Pretty interesting. The six inventions are glass, clocks, refrigeration, sound reproduction, cleanliness and standardized time. He makes a lot of connections between what seem to be unrelated events. For example, he traces how the invention of the printing press lead to the discovery of the moons around Jupiter. The printing press lead to cheaper books being printed, which lead to more people reading, which lead to the improvement in eyeglass technology to help people to read better, which lead the the development of better lens making equipment, which lead to the development of telescopes.

The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy

My daughter, who is in charge of the graphic novels section of our local library, got me to read this. The premise is that there are giant sea monsters (sort of like large scale mermen) who periodically rise up out of the ocean and destroy civilization. The art work was pretty good but the story was almost impossible to follow.

Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Judd Trichter

Another ‘near future’ novel, maybe 75 years from now. Intellegent robots have just about taken over most jobs. Humans treat robots as slaves, paying them poorly, barely enough to buy the electricity they need to run themselves. The story concerns a guy (Eliot), a robot salesman, who falls in love with a female robot. Because she doesn’t have a steady employer, and mostly works freelance, she has even less legal protection than most robots. One day she is grabbed and broken up for parts. Eliot spends the rest of the book trying to find her parts and put her back together. Long before the end of the book I lost interest in Eliot’s quest but still read it to the end. It wasn’t worth the effort.

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

Gerritsen, who is a doctor, specializes in stories about women medical practitioners. This book is part of her Rizzoli & Isles series which was made into a TV show. I’d read a couple of them before but had forgotten about them. Rizolli is a woman detective in Boston and Isles is a medical examiner. She goes to a pathologist conference in Wyoming (sounds like a fun time), hooks up with an old college chum and his friends for a weekend ski trip after the conference. After stupidly taking some wrong turn on the way to the sky resort they break down on a back road during a blizzard (hence the title). The whole story is set up as some religious cult in the backwoods killing off it’s followers and in the last chapter or so turns into something else. It wasn’t a bad read (actually an audio CD) but the twist ending left me cold (so to speak).

The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack

This book, the Trichter book above and the next book, I read about on the science fiction website They sounded interesting and I even asked my library to buy a couple of them. All were disappointing. This started off interesting about a guy, a painter, who would get intensely detailed dreams about some past event and then paint beautiful pictures depicting the dreams. It turned into a preposterous book about reincarnation and four people who kept being born together over the past 10,000 years. Skip this one.

Impulse: Light Ship Chronicles Volume One by Dave Bara

 This looked like it would be a good military science fiction story. It wasn’t as good as I hoped. The world building was hard to follow. Since the motivation of most of the characters depended on understanding how the space spanning civilization got to be the way it was, the story got hard to follow. Also, some of the main characters, who are supposed to be officers in the space navy, acted more like teenagers on a school trip. Maybe this was supposed to be a YA book but it wasn’t identified as such. I don’t know how many more volumes there will in this series but I won’t be reading them.

I’m sure many of you know of I’ve known about it for years but only recently started to delve into it. Simply put, it’s an on-line database for trading cards of all kinds. Currently the site has 6,435,514 cards listed with images for 1,100,504. The images come from people uploading images to it. It seems to be pretty much a user-drive site, with checklists of new sets also being uploaded by members. Someone moderates the place. The more you upload the more privileges you get on the site. For example, when you first join, the first images you upload  have to be approved. But after awhile, your images just go right into the database.

I’m, of course, most interested in baseball cards, but the site has cards from all sports and a number of non-sports card sets as well.

You can also use it to catalog your own collection but I don’t plan to do that. I have a well ordered database of my own design I use and don’t see much point in duplicating it on-line.

The site has a number of interesting lists which I’m going to share on occasion. One of them is “The most common cards in member’s collections”. This is the baseball card list, which is heavily loaded with late 1980s Topps cards.

1987 Topps #648 Barry Larkin

I don’t know how many members the site has, but this card is held by 509 of them. By the way, there are many more baseball cards than any other. Even the 10th ranking on the baseball list is held by many more members than any other type of card.

1981 Topps #675 – Atlanta Braves Team Card

I had to crib this image from the site. It’s the only card on the list I don’t own. I not only own all the other cards but I already had scans of them.  This card is held by 391 members. The resolution of the images on the site is pretty good, but not as high as I typically scan at.

1987 Topps #735 Rickey Henderson

#3 on the list with holdings by 374 members

1988 Topps #102 Barry Larkin

#4. The second of three appearance by Larkin on this list, the only player to appear more than once. 363 members.

1987 Topps #773 Robin Yount

#5 with 358 members

1987 Topps #300 Reggie Jackson

#6 with 352 members

1989 Topps #515 Barry Larkin

#7 with 352 members. Who knew that Barry Larkin was so popular with collectors?

1987 Topps #386 Mark McGwire

#8 with 348 members.

1987 Topps #80 Wally Joyner

#9 with 347 members

1989 Topps #784 Steve Avery

#10, also with 347.

The inclusion of these Topps sets in this list may be more a function of the prodigious number of sets produced by Topps rather than their being particularly popular with collectors. Having said that, 1987 is one of my favorite sets.

To contrast the baseball card list with the basketball card list, the #1 basketball card is the 1990-91 Hoops #236 Jeff Hornacek with 198 members. All of the cards on the basketball list are from the same set.


Movie Review – Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)

You probably remember the TV show “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” which ran from 1964-1968. But before that there was a movie in 1961.

At book sale at our local library a couple of weeks ago I picked up Season 1 of the television show. Included was the ‘never before seen pilot’. Certainly I had never seen it. If you hadn’t seen the movie you would have to agree that the pilot pretty much set the tone for the entire series. But, in fact, the movie set the tone. Except for the lack of women in the TV show.

First of all, look who was in this movie!  Trivia – Michael Ansara (who later played a Klingon on Star Trek) was married to Barbara Eden while this movie was made.

Walter Pidgon is Admiral Nelson, the inventor of the fabulous nuclear submarine “Seaview”. The two distinguishing features of the Seaview are the giant windows in the front and the 1959 Cadillac fins on the back. In the movie, the sub as part of the US Navy but in the TV show, it was part of some marine study institute. The Seaview is on her maiden cruise carrying a few dignitaries, Dr. Susan Hiller (Joan Fontaine) and Congressman Llewellyn Parker (Howard McNear, mostly known as Floyd the barber from Mayberry). Dr. Hiller is there as part of a psychological study of the crewmen and Parker is with a congressional budget committee who always opposed the building of the Seaview and wants to see if the government got it’s moneys worth. He carries a notebook and a sharp pencil.

After a few practice dives at under the Arctic ice,  the Seaview gets bombarded underwater by sinking chunks of ice. Since ice usually floats this was a surprise. The Seaview surfaces and finds that the sky is on fire. Admiral Nelson learns from Naval command that a errant meteor has set the Van Allen Radiation Belt on fire! The Van Allen Belt had only just been discovered in 1958 so I guess it sounded plausible. The air temperature was already 130 degrees. Before they leave, they see a guy laying on a hunk of ice and rescue him and his dog. What he was doing there is never explained. This is Miguel Alvarez (Michael Ansara).

The crew hightails it to New York to meet with a UN expert panel of scientists. On the way, Nelson and Comm. Lucius Emery (Peter Lorre) concoct a scheme to launch a nuclear missile at the burning belt to blow out the fire. Emery’s role on the Seaview is unclear. He seems to spend much of his time studying the sharks that Seaview have in a giant tank on board. The missile has to be launched at some precise location in the Pacific Ocean at a precise time in order to work. By the time Nelson arrives at the UN, some crazy scientist on the panel had already convinced them that the fire would burn it self out at 173 degrees. By then of course everybody would be dead and the planet a cinder (which nobody mentions). Nelson, insisting that only his plan would work, storms out of the UN and takes off in the Seaview.

The TV pilot had a similar plot, only it was a earthquake that was going to occur in the Arctic which would send devastating tidal waves into the Atlantic and Pacific. Nelson blew up a nuke to stop the earthquake.

After many adventures, the Seaview gets to the launch point and saves the day.

Some charactor notes:

Admiral Nelson is pretty much a megalomaniac who is convinced he is right and doesn’t care what happens to anyone as long as he gets his way.  This character was toned way down for the TV show.

Captain Lee Crane (Robert Sterling) is played pretty straight as the boat’s commanding officer who gets increasing worried about his superior officer’s seeming increasing insanity. In the TV show, Crane is the solo real Naval officer on board.

In a surprising move for 1961, the Seaview has a woman officer, Lt Cathy Conners. Of course, she’s played by Barbara Eden, and is engaged to Lee Crane. She spends a lot of time hanging all over the captain and screaming.

Already mentioned is Comm. Lucius Emery (Peter Lorre). He mostly seems like a absent-minded professor.

Joan Fontaine as Dr. Heller is interesting. It’s not clear how long she was supposed to be aboard the Seaview but she is wearing a different outfit pretty much every time we see her. BTW, she and Barbara Eden wear high heels. On a submarine.  Her function seems to be to convince Crane that Nelson is crazy and will kill them all. Eventually, convinced of this herself, she goes into the reactor room and somehow sabotages it, getting a lethal does of radiation (shown by the badges everyone wears) in the process. But we don’t have to watch her slowly die as she falls into Emery’s shark tank and gets eaten alive. Really.

Miguel Alvarez (Michael Ansara), the mystery man from the Arctic, turns out to be some kind of religious zealot who spends his time trying to convince the crew that we are all helpless against God and if God wants to burn the world down, there’s nothing we can do about it. The movie comes down to a religious discussion between Alvares (who has a bomb he found conveniently laying around) and Nelson. While this is going on, Crane, goes outside the sub and somehow launches the missile by hand.

After the missile launches, the Seaview surfaces and everybody goes out on the deck so they can watch the nuke explode right over their heads.

OK, here’s a special treat, Frankie Avalon singing the love theme from “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”. I strongly recommend you don’t listen to more than 15 seconds of this.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Relics

Since I don’t buy anything more than a blaster or two of most products, my chances of getting a relic are slim. I figure it’s cheaper to buy individual relic cards on eBay. For one thing, a few loose relic cards are cheaper than a whole box and I don’t end up with a bunch of base cards I don’t want. Also, I can usually find a relic card I actually want, either a particular design or player.

Gypsy Queen has three size relic cards in this year’s set: mini, regular and jumbo.

I’m pretty sure that Topps started their practice of putting relics on mini cards and then encasing the card in a normal sized card covered with plastic. They leave an opening in the plastic so you can touch the relic, and I suppose, the player, at a remove. They’ve continued the practice with Allen and Ginter and Gypsy Queen.  here are a lot of these available on eBay so I decided to go with an Astro.

Singleton was drafted by the Phillies in 2009. The Astros got him in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011. In 95 games last year, Singleton hit 13 home runs but only batted .168. He’s back in AAA hitting .291 with 14 home runs in 42 games. The Astros are playing pretty well with the players they have so I don’t see Singleton coming up anytime soon unless somebody gets hurt.

There are also a lot of the regular sized relics. I couldn’t find an Astro or a Phillie at a price I wanted to pay but finally found this.

I figure I might as well go with a future Hall of Famer. Kershaw seems to be off to a rocky start in 2015. He’s 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA. This is coming off a 21-3 season with a 1.77 ERA.

There weren’t a lot of the jumbo relics available.

This is the gold parallel card, numbered to 25. I figure it’s worth the $9.99 (with free shipping) I paid.

Movie Review – The Age of Adaline

Last weekend my wife, my daughter and I went to see “Marvel’s The Age of Adaline”. I was pretty disappointed. Where was Iron Man and Captain America? Where were the great special effects?  Oh, what a minute. This was not that Marvel movie.

I told my wife and daughter that I was going to open my review this way and they didn’t think it was too funny. But it’s my blog so I’m going with it.

I hadn’t even heard of this movie until I saw Blake Lively, who plays Adaline, on a talk show. The concept sounded intriguing. The scene they showed had Harrison Ford in it. I’ll got to any movie with Harrison Ford. When I heard my wife and daughter planning to see it, I joined them.

It’s not a particularly original story. A person (Adaline) finds that she seems to be immortal, or at least long-lived. How does she face life when all about her grow old except her?

OK, so a familiar story but done pretty well. Adaline, born in 1908, seems like a normal girl. When she is 29 she’s in a horrific car accident, which through an improbably series of events, stops her from aging. She spends most of her life running from shadowy government types who want to study her and entanglements with other people, especially men.

The first 30 minutes or so details all this background and the story gets going in 2014. Her best friend is a blind woman who thinks Adaline is older than she looks. She has no other friends, except a daughter born before the accident who now looks more like Adaline’s grandmother than her daughter. She’s well on planning her next disappearance when she meets a guy and lets him open a crack into her life.

I’m not very familiar with Blake Lively’s work. The only thing I’ve seen her in was 2011’s “Green Lantern”. Than movie was so forgettable that I believe I’ve lost remembrance of 2-3 months of my life around when I saw it.

Lively is, of course, a beautiful woman and, if you’re a guy, you might see how someone could fall in love with her at first glance. But what really got to me was her voice. She’s a young woman, but she speaks with a feeling of experience well beyond her age. She is, after all, over 100 years old. Even as she starts to fall in love with this guy, you can hear in her voice that she’s not at all sure it’s a good idea.

She was entirely captivating in every scene she was in, both by how she looked and how she spoke.

If you’re a little tired of summer blockbuster fare (even though it’s only May), I’d strongly recommend this movie.

1976 Phillies SSPC cards

There’s an interesting history behind the 1976 SSPC cards which I’m not going to go into in detail because there’s a pretty good article about them here on Although these cards have a copyright date of 1975, they weren’t released until sometime in 1976 and are considered a 1976 set.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I wasn’t a big baseball fan as a kid. Sure, I liked baseball, and since I lived in Philadelphia, the Phillies were my favorite team. But it wasn’t until I was a young adult, around 1971, that I really became interested in baseball and the 1970’s Phillies were my team.

In 1972, the Phillies were pretty sad sack, finishing with a 59-97 record and 6th in the old NL East. But that was their nadir. By 1976, they finished with a 101-61 record. In 1980 they will win the World Series and remain a dominating team for several years after.  They did it with a core of players who were with the team through out much of the decade. To me, these guys are the Phillies.

Of, course, Michael Jack Schmidt was the main guy. He hit 38 home runs with 107 rbis. He walked 100 times and had 705 plate appearances, only Dave Cash, their lead-off guy with 727, had more.

The next main guy is Steve Carlton. He was 20-7 with a 3.13 ERA and 2 shutouts in 1976. Some of the photos in the set are weird. It looks like the photo was snapped as Carlton was walking by. Given his prickly nature, he was probably saying “No photos” as he went by.

With Bowa, it was always about the defense. Sure he was a dependable bat, but you came to see him play shortstop. He turned 90 double plays in 1976.

To Schmidt’s offense you can add 28 home runs, 95 rbis and a .304 batting average contributed by Luzinski.

for some reason, Garry Maddox is missing from this set, so I’m going to cheat and include his Topps cards. Where would the Phillies have been without the “Secretary of Defense”. Can’t you just hear Harry Kalas calling him that?

In 1976, Boone made his first of 3 appearances as a Phillie in the All-Star Game. There were 5 Phillies on that 1976 All-Star team, Dave Cash, Bob Boone, Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt.  The Nationals won 7-1.

Tug brought his “Ya Gotta Believe” attitude to the Phillies in 1975. Relief pitching was not as important to the game then as it is now. McGraw only had 11 saves in 1976, sharing the closer duty with Gene Garber (who also had 11). But what Phillie phan can forget Tug’s save of the last game of the 1980 World Series?

Another Old O-Pee-Chee Phillies Card

I posted a 1971 Phillies O-Pee-Chee card last week. This week I have a 1976 Phillies card.

The card is a little off center but otherwise in excellent shape. I can barely remember Schueler as a Phillie. He was with the team from 1974-1976, first as a starter then a reliever. He was 16-20 with 4 saves with the Phillies.

Here is his 1976 Topps card.

Other than the French and the lighter card stock, there’s no real differences in design. Unlike the 1971 O-Pee-Chee, this one does say OPC instead of TCG next to the “Printed in Canada”.

I like the funny little Hank Aaron trivia cartoon. I don’t have that many 1976 Topps cards but it looks like the cartoons had absolutely nothing to do with the player or team on the card.

Random Cards From My Collection #75

Card #39942
2003 Just Prospects #2 Josh Anderson

Comments on the card/player: These used to be pretty common in repacks and that’s where I got this card in 2013. Anderson was the Astros 4th round draft pick in 2003 and eventually had a 3-year career with the Astros, Braves, Tigers and Royals.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.04/card for a 100-card Fairmont repack in 2013.

Card #31660
1991 Donruss #536 Jose Canseco

Comments on the card/player: Canseco had his second highest home run total of his career in 1991, with 44.
How/When acquired: Don’t know.

Card #4963
2005 Classic Clippings MLB Game Worn Jersey Collection #31 Omar Vizquel

Comments on the card/player: Vizquel played for 24 years and won 11 Golden Gloves.
How/When acquired: From back in the days when nearly every blaster box came with a relic. Paid $0.32/card for blaster box of Classic Clippings on 5/1/05.

Card #5121
2004 Topps #344 Albert Pujols/Todd Helton/ Juan Pierre

 Comments on the card/player: I always liked the design of these leaders cards from 2004 Topps, especially the backs.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.26/card for a blaster of Topps in 2004.

Card #32008
2012 Topps Heritage #269 Justin Morneau

Comments on the card/player: From 2006 through 2009, Morneau averaged 117.5 rbis per season. He hasn’t had more than 84 in a season since.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.30/card for a blasters of Topps Heritage in March 2012.

Card #10323
2008 Topps Opening Day #9 Ken Griffey Jr.

Comments on the card/player: These cards were red, scarlet, vermillion, crimson, ruby, cherry, cerise, cardinal, carmine, wine, etc.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.16/card for a blaster in March 2008.

Card #4252
1998 Upper Deck #246 Kevin Brown

 Comments on the card/player: Commemorating the first no hitter of 1997. Brown was 16-8 for the Marlins in 1997, helping to lead them to the 1997 World Series win.
How/When acquired: Don’t know.

Card # 9254
1989 Topps Traded #54 Ken Howell

 Comments on the card/player: In early December 1988, the Dodgers traded Howell to the Orioles for Eddie Murray. A few days later, the O’s traded Howell to the Phillies for Phil Bradley. The Phillies then signed Howell to a 4-year, $4.7 million dollar contract. He was 20 and 19 in his first 2 years with the Phillies but injuries ended his career after the 1990 season.
How/When acquired: Don’t know.

Card #13884
2009 Topps 206 #284 Alexei Ramirez

 Comments on the card/player: The front of these cards were OK, but the set is ruined for me by the identical fake stain on the back of each card.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.44/card for a hobby box in December 2009.

Card #5613
2001 SP Legendary Cuts Game Jersey Tommy Holmes

 Comments on the card/player: I love this card. Holmes mostly played for the Boston Braves in the 1940’s. I love that this is a swatch from a woolen uniform.
How/When acquired: Paid $4.66 in May 2005 from eBay.

2015 Maikel Franco Topps Gypsy Auto

After hitting .355 with the AAA Iron Pigs, the Phillies brought Franco up to the bigs as the starting 3rd baseman last Friday. Is it a coincidence that the Phillies have won 2 straight since he came up (4 straight in all)? Certainly.

I just happened to get this on-card auto on eBay last week. This is my second Franco auto. I hope this guy is the next Mike Schmidt.

The former 3rd baseman, Cody Acshe, was sent back to AAA to learn how to play left field. I don’t know what that means for the Phillies current left fielder, Ben Revere, who’s had a disappointing season so far.

Movie Review – Mad Max Fury Road

We went to see this last night, the opening night. We got to the theater about an hour before show time because we thought it would be crowded. We were the fist into the theater. The theater eventually got to be about 1/3 full. I predict a bad opening weekend.

Of the 120 minutes of this movie, I’d easily say that 100 minutes of it were car chases and running battles. If this is what you like about the Mad Max movies (and really, what more is there), then you’ll love this movie. Is Tom Hardy a good replacement for Mel Gibson? Sure, it’s not like there is any actual acting in the movie.

The action scenes are very well done. The action is relentless, from the opening Warner Bros. logo to the end credits. The dialog in the movie would take up, maybe 10 double-spaced typewritten pages. And some of that is grunts. In fact, Tom Hardy hardly more than grunts through the first half of the movie.

There is a plot, sort of. Charlize Theron is Imperator Furiosa. I was never clear if this was her name or her title. She’s actually the main character in the movie. Max is just along for the ride. Fury is trying to escape The Citadel, where one crazy guy controls the water and the good looking women and the guns. Max, who is haunted by dreams and visions of those he couldn’t help in the past, ends up helping her. The eventual lesson of the movie, if you can call it that, is that there’s no place like home.

Do  you have questions like, how could civilizations degenerate so far since Max was a young man? In what appears to be a vast featureless desert, where do people find enough food and water to survive? Are there sufficient oil reserves in Australia to support this level of automotive activity? Where do all the bullets come from?  Forget all these questions, the chase is on!

The last real Mad Max movie, with Mel Gibson, was”Beyond Thunderdome”. It was released in 1985. Of the three people with me in the theater (2 of my kids and one of their friends) only one of them was alive then, and he was only 1 year old.

2015 Bowman – Full Review

I gave a sneak peak of Bowman the other day. I bought 2 blasters and value pack. This yielded 193 cards, of which only 8 were duplicates. Let’s review!

2015 Bowman #101 Greg Holland

This is possibly my favorite card of those I got. You hardly ever see cards featuring pitchers fielding and I don’t ever remember seeing such a pitcher defensive play before. What a great photo.  Anyway, this card shows the various features. Notice the full-bleed printing around most of the card. The left side has the block with the players name and white corners. Team colors are used as highlights in various spots (the player’s name block on the front an back, the lower corners on the back, even the card number).

Topps has apparently said that this would be a 2-series release although nothing on the packaging indicates this is a first series. The set is short, only 150 base cards, compared to 220 last year.

2015 Bowman #117 Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli with Cylon eye wear.

The last 30 cards in the set are labeled rookie cards.

2015 Bowman #149 Jake Lamb

As usual for Bowman there is the 150-card Prospects set.

2015 Bowman Prospects #20 Adrian Sampson

Note that they reversed the design for the Prospect cards. About half of the cards I got are labeled as “1st Bowman”.

There are an astonishing number of parallel sets.

2015 Bowman Silver #61 Starlin Castro

 Note that the upper and lower left corners are not white, and the rest of the border is tinted. I wouldn’t quite describe it as silver but that’s what it’s supposed to be. These are serial numbered to 499.

2015 Bowman Silver Ice #49 Jake Arrieta

I think this “Ice” holographic effect is pretty cool. The scan looks pretty cool as well but doesn’t really look much like the actual card.

2015 Bowman Prospects Yellow #93 Justin Nicolino

The yellow parallels are only available for the Prospect cards. These come in the 3-pack value packs and are not serial numbered.  Notice that the full-bleed portion of the border is tinted yellow.

2015 Bowman Chrome Purple Refractors #133 Trey Ball

As usual Bowman also includes the Chrome versions of the Prospects cards. I pulled one of these, numbered to 250. For some reason, the Purple cards borders are colored all the way around, and in two tones.

The other parallels are Black (numbered to 1), Blue (150), Gold (50), Green (99), Orange (25), Purple (250), Red (5), Red Ice (5), Purple Ice and White Ice (1). Good luck!

2015 Bowman Prospects Autographs Silver Alex Balog

I did manage to pull an auto, and not just an auto, but the Silver (numbered to 499) version. I don’t know who this guy is but I hope he’s the next Nolan Ryan. The autos are on stickers.

Let’s not forget the mini cards.

2015 Bowman The Farm’s Finest Minis Maikel Franco

I think they are calling this effect “shimmer refractor”. Every Phillies fan is all a-flutter waiting for this guy to be called up from the minors. Out of 193 cards this was 1 of only 3 Phillies cards. I got no Astros at all.

These come in several flavors. I pulled a green one, numbered to 99.

2015 Bowman The Farm’s Finest Minis Green Shimmer Refractor Clint Frazier

1971 O-Pee-Chee

I’m pretty familiar with O-Pee-Chee cards from the 1980s and early 1990s. If you don’t know, OPC was a Canadian company that produced Topps cards in Canada. The sets were generally the same as the Topps set each year, except that the OPC cards often had the O-Pee-Chee logo and English and French on the backs. I’m much less familiar with OPC in the 1970s.

I went looking for 1971 O-Pee-Chee Phillies cards on eBay. I was hoping to find a team set but the cards were being sold individually and some were pricey (more expensive than then equivalent Topps cards. I believe they are considerably rarer that Topps which would account for the higher price.  I decided to get one now and wait awhile for the rest.

1971 O-Pee-Chee #49 Don Money

As a comparison, here’s Money’s 1971 Topps card.

There is literally no difference between them, except for the centering

Here are the backs.

The backs are not the same. I’ve always liked 1971 because of the floating head in a box on the back. O-Pee-Chee puts the floating head in a star-burst in the center. I like that more. The O-Pee-Chee color is also more attractive. All the text from the Topps card is on the O-Pee-Chee in English on the right and French on the left.

I also acquired a 1976 Phillies O-Pee-Chee card which I’ll share a little later.  I’m gonna have to get some more of these.

What surprised me is that no where on the card does it reference “O-Pee-Chee” or “OPC”. The copyright line on the O-Pee-Chee card says T.C.G (Topps Chewing Gum) just like the Topps card does.

Random Cards From My Collection #72

Card #45759
2014 Bowman #115 Troy Tulowitzki

Comments on the card/player: I still haven’t decided if I like the weird roots or veins on this Bowman design.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.28/card for a couple of blasters from Walmart in May 2014.

Card #8824
1994 Stadium Club #503 Kim Batiste

Comments on the card/player: The front of this card could be used for a Christmas ornament.
How/When acquired: I don’t know but I probably got it new.

Card #43884
1990 Fleer #204 Dwight Gooden

Comments on the card/player: DID YOU KNOW? Only the ninth teenager to play for the Mets. According to he was 19.143 years old on his debut, just barely a teenager.
How/When acquired: I don’t know but I probably got it new.

Card #47229
2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #52

Comments on the card/player: Probably my least favorite year for Goodwin Champions. The Bus had a 10-year career as a running back starting in 1993. He was just elected to the Hall of Fame.
How/When acquired: Paid $.45/card for two blasters from Target in August 2014.

Card #11925
1987 Topps #21 Mark Davis

Comments on the card/player: Mark was the Phillies #1 draft pick in 1979. He played for the Phillies, Giants, Padres, Royals, Braves, Phillies again, Padres again and Brewers in his 15-year career.
How/When acquired: Don’t know

Card #43947
2006 Bowman Chrome Refractors #34 Kevin Youkilis

Comments on the card/player: Youk, not very popular in New York, signed a $12,000,000 with the Yankees for the 2013 season. Back surgery in June put him out for the season, which I’m sure made him even less popular. He signed a $4,000,000 contract to play in Japan for the 2014 season but only played 21 games before plantar fasciitis ended his season. He announced is retirement in October 2014.
How/When acquired: Paid $1 at a card show in December 2013.

Card #37613
1991 Upper Deck #508 Dave Gallagher

Comments on the card/player: The orientation of the back photo in this set sometimes yielded weird results.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.04 for 100-card Fairfield repack in March 2013.

Card #3831
1994 Triple Play Nicknames #7 Mark McGwire

Comments on the card/player: And now you know why the A’s sometimes use an elephant.
How/When acquired: Don’t know but I probably got it new. Yes, I was buying Triple Play in 1994.

Card #26671
2011 Topps Gypsy Queen #266 Daric Barton

Comments on the card/player: The debut year for Gypsy Queen. Topps should have made it a one-off.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.44/card for 4 rack packs of Topps Gypsy Queen in May 2011.

Card #3449
1992 Stadium Club Dome #181 Kevin Stocker

Comments on the card/player: Although copyrighted in 1991, this 100-card set came out well into 1992. It came packaged as a factory set in a plastic model of the Toronto SkyDome, now called the Rogers Stadium, where the 1991 All-Star game had been played. It was pretty rare. 
How/When acquired: Don’t know, but probably at a card shop or flea market later in the 1990s.

2015 Bowman – 1st Card from the Box

Since I generally like Bowman, especially the last few years, I bought two blasters and a value pack (to get the yellow parallel cards). Here’s the first card out of the first pack I opened.

2015 Bowman #108 Aramis Ramirez

Some changes this year compared to the past 3 years. The design has less of the organic flowing-curves. The player name has been moved to a horizontal panel in silver foil on background team color. The team logo is moved from the front center to the left edge, in silver foil. But the big change is in the borders. For most of the way around the card, the photograph extends beyond the inner border right to the edge of the card. The first full-bleed print card from Bowman since 1994. I think I like it.

The back is virtually unchanged from the past 3 years. Just some border changes.

More to come.

The case of the disappearing logo

I’ve posted some pairs of cards recently where the same play is depicted on different cards. Here’s what appears to be another such pair from 2000.

The first card is 2000 Topps. It shows Barry Larkin apparently on the first half of a double play. He’s leaped over the sliding runner and thrown the ball to first.

The second card is 2000 Topps Stadium Club. It looks like it’s an instant after the Topps photo. Larkin is descending and completing his follow through. The runner appears to be starting to sit up after his slide. I don’t know who the Giant player is but it’s clearly the same guy on both cards. The angle of both photos is nearly the same. If you look closely, Larkin appears to have dirt or mud caked on his right show in both photos.

So it this is the same play, what happened to the MLB logo on the center field fence?

Baseball Card Evolution – 1996 (Gregg Jefferies)

I didn’t buy much Bowman in 1996, even though it retrospect, it’s one of my favorite Bowman sets of the decade. I only had 2 players where I had a card for each set, both Phillies. Since I’m kind of tired of Lenny Dykstra, here’s Gregg Jefferies.

Bowman – Stage 6

Donruss – Stage 6

Being at Stage 6 doesn’t mean that your card is attractive. The placement of that foil box makes it look like Jefferies has run full tilt into an obstacle.

Fleer – Stage ?

1996 Fleer is hard to fit into my classification. It’s got all hallmarks of a Stage 6 card, white card stock, full bleed printing and foil, but it’s not got a glossy finish.  It’s a classy looking card however.

Score – Stage 4

There’s nothing terribly wrong with this design except it’s a bit complicated and a bit boring at the same time.

Topps – Stage 5

I always thought that the little insert was a bit weird.

Upper Deck – Stage 6

A little too much gold foil perhaps, but a nice design.

Book Club – April 2015 Reading List

Here’s what I read in April.

Originator by Joel Shepherd

This is the end of the second trilogy about Cassandra Kresnov (Sandy to her friends), the synthetic human. Good hard science fiction with a dose of future politics and real human interest. Sandy may be a hard assed cyborg, but she’s just Mom to the three kids she adopted. This series has evolved greatly from it’s early days when Sandy, built by The League for it’s war against the Federation, escaped from the League and sought asylum in the Federation. Now she’s a high ranking combat officer in the Federation security services facing problems of synthetic human emancipation, parenthood,  and threats from an alien race.  Pretty good series.

These Are The Voyages, Volume 1

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big Star Trek fan, especially of the original series. Using internal memos, shooting schedules and interviews, Cushman dissects each episode of season 1 of the original season.  It’s a great exploration of the creative process of a team of people putting a weekly television show on the air. I’m all ready reading Vol. 2.

Terminal World by Alistair Reynolds

The city of Spearpoint is the last human city on earth. The city is built on the threads of what appears to be a giant auger which dug itself out from the depths of the world. At the far highest point, pushing near the boundary of space, live the angels, humans evolved with wings, who have the highest technology. As you descend through the city, the technological level decreases until you reach the ground where not even steam powered machines work. There is a lot unexplained in this novel which reads like the first book of a series. According to Reynolds, however, he doesn’t intend to continue it. The plot was OK, but the book is filled with unpleasant characters whom it was hard to care about. Reynolds is one of my favorite SF writers but I didn’t really care for this one.

1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music by Andrew Grant Jackson

I was 13 years old in the summer of 1965 and the music discussed in this book was the soundtrack of my early teenage life. The book did a good job of tying together the music of the year to the historical events of the year and has great stories about how a lot of the songs came to be written. I liked it but I can’t imagine anyone under the age of about 55 really caring much.

The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the 6th (written in 2012) of the 44 Scotland Street novels and the 3rd I’ve read. It’s about the inhabitants of an apartment building in Edinburgh and their friends. One of the characters is precocious 6-year-old Bertie Pollack, who thinks that his life would be so much better if only he were seven. This is a pleasant “slice-of-life” series which in turns is funny and sad. I’ve been reading this on audio book and the reader has a delightful Scottish accent I could listen to all day.

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

It’s 150 years after a devastating global flu pandemic followed by a nuclear war. For all the people of St. Louis know, they are the last people on earth. The city survived because early in the pandemic the inhabitants were ruthless in keeping the flu out. And they had the luck that a bomb wasn’t dropped on them. Things are hard in St. Louis. It hardly ever rains and the merciless sun beats down through the tattered ozone layer. But then a woman shows up at the city gates with tales of Oregon and rain. An OK book but it has the same problem as “Terminal World”, the characters are unlikable.

Players in the Dugout

If you think about it, players spend a lot of time in the dugout. Even a regular player probably spends 40% of the game in the dugout. A bench warmer probably spends 90% of his time there. So it’s not surprising that there are lots of cards featuring players in the dugout. For one thing, it’s an easy place to find a player when he’s not moving around too much. How do players spend all that time?

2011 Topps Update #220 Adam Dunn

They can wave at the fans.

1985 Fleer #254 Al Holland

They can brag about something. I’m not sure what Holland is bragging about. Maybe it’s that he can hold 3 baseballs in one hand.

2014 Topps #625 Albert Pujols

They can glare at the photographer, and by extension, at us.

1994 Topps #700

They can hide in the shadows. Barry Bonds has nothing to hide, does he?

1993 Fun Pack #133 Ben McDonald

They can chart pitches.

1995 Topps #343 Craig Grebeck

They can work on their equipment.

1996 Score #153 Curt Schilling

They can worry.

1995 Score #209 Darryl Strawberry

They can sulk.

1984 Fleer #242 Dave Smith

They can let their hair down.

1992 Upper Deck #534 Eric Karros

They can have a good time.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen

Given a choice of spending money on Topps Gypsy Queen and Topps Allen and Ginter, I’ll spend more on A&G. That said, I gotta have some so I generally buy a blaster and a value pack (to get the white framed cards).

I was pretty disappointed in the card selection I got. Paying 45 cents/card I’d expect to see more big name players in the box. I’d have liked to have seem more cards like Bryce Harper and less like Mookie Betts. Also, there were no Phillies and only 1 Astro in the 54 base cards I got.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #155 Troy Tulowitzki

This is the 5th year for Gypsy Queen and there are some notable changes. The front borders which up to now have been a beige or light green color are dark brown this year. The photo cutout has a peculiar key-hole shape. The backs are a light gray same as last year. The first 4 years were some shade of yellow. The backs and fronts are a bit less ornate than last year. I’ve always sort of liked Gypsy Queen and sort of like this year as well.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #55 Robinson Cano

A big change this year is in the number of posed photographs. In past years I’ve seen 2-4 posed shots. this year, more than half of the cards feature posed photos.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #127 Dee Gordon

And many of these posed photos remind me of Topps Turkey Red cards.

There is the usually assortment of mini-cards, one per pack. I pulled on serial numbered mini.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Silver #119 Clayton Kershaw

The mini silver parallels are numbered to 199.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #324 Bruce Sutter

Cards numbered 301-350 are short prints inserted 1 in 8 packs. That should work out to one per blaster. 1 in 8 packs works out to 1 in 48 cards so the short print count must be about 2% of the normal print run.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed White #2 Hank Aaron

This is one of the white framed parallels. Only 100 cards from the set have the paper frames parallels (bronze, black or white). The white framed cards are only available in the retail 3-pack value packs. For some reason neither nor lists these cards as part of the set.

Of the numerous insert cards I got three.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Walk-Off Winners Alex Gordon

What’s more exciting than a walk-off home run?

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen The Queen’s Throwbacks Rougned Odor

Can you believe that this guy’s nickname is “Stinky”?

2015  Topps Gypsy Queen Pillars of the Community Yadier Molina

I have two problems with this card. For one thing, I don’t believe that the definition of “Pillar of the Community” is “he hit .300+ in four straight seasons”. Molina does have a charitable foundation which raises money for kinds with cancer in Puerto Rico. That’s an activity which leads to being a pillar of the community. A look at Molina’s stats shows that this isn’t even true. Molina has hit .300+ in 4 of his 12 years, 3 of those years in a row. There were two years of sub-.300 hitting between his 1st and 2nd year of performing this feat. Maybe they mean he has hit .300 in four seasons in a row while batting in St. Louis but that’s a pretty liberal reading of the back of the card.

Baseball Players and Technology

I’m getting into the home stretch of my evolution study so it’s time for another break.

The technology of baseball hasn’t changed much over the year. The basic ball-bat-glove has been with us forever, with improvements over the years.  But there’s more than just baseball technology around the ballpark.

1988 Topps #74 Tommy Lasorda

Golf carts, in one guise or another, are often used to bring in a relief pitcher. I’m guessing Tommy was used to be driven around in style at spring training.

1992 Upper Deck #78 Jim Abbott

Jim, while apparently visiting his old dorm room at the University of Michigan.

1993 Upper Deck #173 Doug Jones

Doug taking home movies at the ball park. I don’t think that’s the Astrodome however.

1994 Collector’s Choice #240 Cal Ripken, Jr.

Cal ordering pizza from the dugout with a giant cordless phone.

1994 Pinnacle #100 Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken was willing to show his 35mm vacation slides anywhere anytime.

1994 Pinnacle #157 Ryan Klesko

Ryan getting some tips in case his on-field career doesn’t last.

1995 Collector’s Choice Special Edition #38 Craig Biggio

Craig filling in while the cameraman takes a bathroom break.

1997 Donruss #191 Brett Butler

Another giant phone. People must have had bigger pockets then.

1997 Upper Deck #49 Charles Nagy

Charles getting in some work at spring training.

1998 Stadium Club #284 Sean Berry

One of the original Astro ‘Killer Bs”. I didn’t think bees could fly in the rain.

Baseball Card Evolution – 1995 (Jeff Bagwell)

See my post Capewood’s Theory of Baseball Card Evolution here.

Bowman – Stage 6

After 1994, Bowman abandoned full bleed printing.

Donruss – Stage 6

One of my favorite Donruss designs of the 1990s

Fleer – Stage 6

One of the most bizarre sets of the 1990s.

Score – Stage 4

Another odd looking set but I sort of like it.

Topps – Stage 5

I always liked the “Diamond Vision” photo on the back.

Upper Deck – Stage 6

Upper Deck’s peak design year.

1993 Select/Upper Deck photo sharing

Last week I featured a 1994 Bowman Ryan Klesko card which had a photo from the same play on the front and back of the card.

Here’s a 1993 Select Chuck Knoblauch card.

The front of the card shows who I believe is Lee Stevens of the Angels, sliding into second base. Knoblauch appears to have already made a tag, so this is probably a steal attempt. Stevens only made 5 steal attempts in 1992 (when he was with the Angels) and was successful only once. It looks like a steal attempt but is probably a force out.

The back of the card shows Mike Bordick of the Angels in what is probably a force out after a feet first slide into second. It also looks like a potential dislocated shoulder.

This card is clearly not another example of what I was showing on the 1994 Klesko card. This is even something better. Here’s Knowblauch’s 1993 Upper Deck card.

The front has the same play as the back of the Select card. The photos must have been taken within mere seconds of each other so two photographers had to be involved since the angles are different. The back is the same play as the front of the Select card, probably taken by the same photographer as the Select card. Does this photo make it look more likely that it was a steal attempt to you? It does to me.

Although I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen cards like this involving one play on two cards, but I think those were cards from the same manufacturer. I think it’s amazing that Pinnacle (the publisher of Select) and Upper Deck would pick photos from the same 2 plays for their Knoblauch cards.

Baseball Card Evolution – 1994

See my post Capewood’s Theory of Baseball Card Evolution here.

Bowman – Stage 6

 Bowman’s only year a full Stage 6. It’s got the back photo, the foil, the gloss and the full bleed printing.

Donruss – Stage 6

Donruss was also at Stage 6, but not as nice a card as Bowman. The name on the front is hard to read and there are not enough stats on the back.

Fleer – Stage 5

Fleer is another year from Stage 6, but this is a nice design with an uncluttered front.

Score – Stage 4

The fronts featured good photographs and the backs are nice but that horrid dark blue border on the front ruined this set.

Topps Stage 4

The front is a bit more cluttered than the Score but it’s much more colorful and bright. I always liked the backs of this set as well.

Upper Deck – Stage 6

Pretty good except for that goofy elongated insert photo on the front.

Since I seem to have most of the mainstream 1994 Eckersley cards, I’ll show the rest that I have. There were a lot of card issues in 1994. The Eckersley cards I’m missing are Bowman’s Best (7), Finest (7), Upper Deck Fun Pack (4), Leaf (6), Pacific (6), Select (6), SP (6), and Studio (6).

Collector’s Choice – Stage 4

This is the first year for Collector’s Choice. It looks very much like 1993 Upper Deck.

Flair – Stage 7

Fleer’s attempt at a super premium card like Topps Finest. Printed on thicker card stock, with full bleed printing, gold foil and super high gloss, all on the front and the back.

Pinnacle – Stage 6

Pinnacle, in their 3rd year, jumped right from Stage 3 to Stage 6 with this pretty good effort. This is their best Stage 6 card as future years would be heavily lathered with gold foil.

Stadium Club – Stadium Club

Stadium Club started in 1991 already at Stage 6. There were some design changes for 1994, most notably going from gold foil to red foil but it remained the great brand it had been.

Triple Play – Stage 6-

This Donruss product started in 1992 mainly trying to appeal to kids. It moved to full bleed printing in this, it’s final year of it’s original run, but didn’t incorporate foil. So it’s not quite Stage 6.

Ultra – Stage 6

Ultra, Fleer’s first attempt at a premium card, started in 1991 as a Stage 3 card, but jumped to Stage 6 in 1992. In these early days of Ultra, they always had 3 photos on the back. For some reason, the foil logo on this Eckersley card is sideways, as though this was a horizontal card rather than vertical.

1994 Bowman – Ryan Klesko

A quick break from all the evolution posts.

I always like when the photo on the back of the card is a continuation of the play on the front. Take this Ryan Klesko card for example.

That’s Darrin Fletcher of the Expos getting the worst of a collision with Ryan Klesko. Klesko’s batting helmet is flying. Someday I’m going to do a post just featuring flying hats and helmets.

In this case, the front photo is actually a continuation of the play from the back.

Klesko gets it in the kisser which is what knocked his helmet off. You can clearly see that Fletcher has the ball in his right hand. I wonder if he managed to get the tag. I’d guess not since he’s falling away from Klesko on the front photo. We can’t see where the plate is, so it’s tough to call from just these two photos.

Of course, today, I think this situation would be against the rules. Maybe that’s another post, great plate collisions. We won’t be seeing any more cards featuring such a thing.

Card Evolution 1990

It occurred to me while I was doing my series on card brand evolution in the 1990s, that I could have approached it in a different way by showing in each post, a card from each year from the 5 brands. So if you can stand to see some more 1990s cards, I’m going to do that. I’ll try to pick a card of the same player from each brand if I can. Let’s see how 1990 cards fall on the evolutionary scale.

Bowman – Stage 1

Donruss – Stage 2

Fleer – Stage 2

Score – Stage 3

Topps – Stage 1

Upper Deck – Stage 3

Baseball Card Evolution in the 1990s – Upper Deck

Here is the last of the 1990’s sets (Bowman, Donruss, Fleer, Score, Topps, Upper Deck)  I’m going to profile. Check Capewood’s Theory of Baseball Card Evolution.

Although Score did it first, putting a color photo on the back of the card in 1988, Upper Deck did it better in 1989. 1989 Upper Deck was printed on nicer card stock, had a full card length photo on the back and a holographic logo on the back to prevent counterfeiting. It was also packaged in a foil wrapper to prevent pack searching. And they had the luck to include Ken Griffey, Jr.

1990 Upper Deck #532 Edgar Martinez

 1990 Upper Deck was not much different than 1989. Still a very nice set but no real change, and still Stage 3 on the evolutionary scale.

1991 Upper Deck #132 Ryne Sandberg

If you’ve for a formula that works and nobody else is making cards as nice, why change it?

1992 Upper Deck #125 Eric Davis

1992 was still Stage 3 but with some design changes. They made more use of horizontal cards. I always like the drop shadow effect in the front.

1993 Upper Deck #364 Travis Fryman

Upper Deck moves to Stage 4 with the addition of gloss to the front and back of the cards. Upper Deck had always been known for great photography which continued this year. Of the 6 sets I’d been profiling in the series, 1993 Upper Deck may be the best set in the 1990s.

1994 Upper Deck #112 Wade Boggs

In 1994, Upper Deck jumps to their highest evolutionary level, Stage 6, by adding foil and full bleed printing, front and back. Bowman was the only other of the 6 sets to go to Stage 6, but they would abandon full bleed printing in 1995. Upper Deck will stick with it until the end. This is perhaps my second favorite Upper Deck set of the 1990s. The only reason it isn’t my favorite is that I never really liked the distorted b/w photo insert on the front.

1995 Upper Deck #142 Fernando Valenzuela

Upper Deck cleaned up the front and produced this classy Stage 6 set in 1995. The only real problem with it is it’s similarity to 1995 Topps Stadium Club.

1996 Upper Deck #85 Derek Bell

In the mid-1990s some sets started to get a bit foil-heavy (Pinnacle is the prime example). Of the 6 sets, Donruss and Upper Deck are the only ones at Stage 6. Upper Deck may have a little too much foil but it’s a much nicer set than 1996 Donruss.

1997 Upper Deck #48 Lee Smith

In 1997 Upper Deck will experiment with multiple colored foil on the front of the card but will never do it again. The design is otherwise similar to 1996 with a block of foil across the bottom. A nice feature that I don’t remember seeing again on any set, is the photograph date in the front. They also started to de-empathize the photo on the back, a trend that will continue until 2000 when the back featured just a small head shot which will remain the norm for Upper Deck until the end in 2010. In my opinion, 1997 was the last best year for Upper Deck.

1998 Upper Deck #224 Dennis Martinez

There is way too much stuff going on on the front of this card for me to ever really like it.

1999 Upper Deck #52 Nomar Garciaparra

This is just horrible, front and back. The color at the bottom of the front is transparent to allow more of the photo to show. It’s hard to see on this card, but on some cards the player’s feet show down there. The black box underneath the player photo on the back has always bugged me. Maybe they could have put the team, MLB and Players Union logos there and uncluttered the photo.