Tag Archives: 1994

Discovering Hardball Passport (@sportspassport)

1994 Score #656

I recently discovered the fantastic Hardball Passport website which promises baseball fans the ability to track every major and minor league baseball game attended in person – for free.  For an added price, the website allows the ability to download a sortable database of hitting and pitching statistics for every game you’ve attended.  This is the Passport+ feature and for a $19.49 fee (due annually), I decided the price was worth being able to track these personal statistics.

While compiling my personal baseball journey, several items stuck out and I thought I’d share them here:

  • For fans who have logged their stadium visits within the database, I’m the current active leader in visits to both Citizens Bank Park (177) and Veterans Stadium (133).
  • I’m missing a ton of Phillies games in my profile.  I’ve only entered those games for which I have definitive proof of my attendance or ticket stubs which means there are quite a few games from the ’80s that I’m missing.  I only religiously saved ticket stubs beginning in the early ’90s.
  • My games per season chart shows that I attended zero games in 2000 and only 1 game in 1999.  This could be completely accurate, but I’ll never know.  These years represent my personal “dark times” and there could have been  a trove of ticket stubs from 1999 and 2000 that were dumped in the garbage years ago.
  • There are also some older minor league games I attended that I haven’t recorded since these games aren’t in the Hardball Passport database (yet).  I attended quite a few Winston-Salem Spirt/Warthogs and Durham Bulls games during my college years.
  • Spring training games and the Phillies On-Deck series games aren’t tracked.
  • There aren’t any surprises on my personal leaderboard.  Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels lead the way in most of the offensive and pitching categories in games I’ve attended.
  • I’ve seen 22 Hall of Famers play.  I know I’ve seen more than ten games with Mike Schmidt, but I’ve only entered those games for which I had a ticket stub.
  • The non-Phillies player I’ve seen the most is Chipper Jones with 20 games.  Jones hit 4 home runs and .359 in the 20 games I’ve attended, cementing him in my memory as a Phillie Killer.
  • I’ve visited 23 ballparks, and I need to visit 17 Major League ballparks to have visited all current Major League venues.
  • The Phillies are 181-134 in games I’ve attended and that record is going to take a severe hit over the next few years.

1994 Comic Images Blueprints of the Future

“Prophetic Visions From the Art of Vincent Di Fate”
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this pack out of a cheapie bin at a local card shop. The guy running the place threw it in for free with the other stuff I bought, so at least my curiosity didn’t cost me anything. As it turns out, these cards are in the style of 1970s sci-fi paperbacks, the type of which you might find in dozens in a shoebox at a rummage sale. That style of art isn’t exactly my favorite. In fact, to me it’s the stuff nightmares are made of. I’ll try to explain how each card gets under my skin.

Let’s tear in.

Top to Bottom:
26. Ringed Giant
The boredom of reading a story like this frightens me.
There’s not really enough going on in our solar system to excite anyone, so a trip to Saturn (stated so on the back) would likely put me to sleep.

60. The Mission to Heaven
The ideas behind this winged goddess frighten me.
The back of the card asks, “Can we one day visit the home of God?” If this maternal being packing a ray gun guards the entrance, I sure hope not. Babes like this in the sci-fi universe are more likely to rip your spine out than fulfill any carnal desires. And are we supposed to believe that that rocket can blast off without any surrounding space equipment?

43. Hyperspace
Space combat frightens me.

49. The Iron Claw
The sterlie, mechanical lovemaking of the future frightens me.
The exterminating machines are no match for human ingenuity, which will eventually expose their tripod design flaw. After the dust has settled, though, all Spaceman Spiff gets is an insertion into the G-valve and a few seconds of rigorous, pulsating pumping. No thank you.

50. Artifact
This card is in landscape format and didn’t make the scanner cut. Sure, I could scan it again, but why?

77. The Shape of Things Future
Unsustainable architecture frightens me.
The large, funnel-shaped mass can only be used to store waste. This means the 500-member colony lives in one of the upper rings in 75-square foot chambers. Claustrophobia is the rule, not the exception, of future housing.

69. The Veil
The specificity of basic cable expansion packages frightens me.
This satellite beams 30,000 channels into people’s entertainment quarters, 95% of programming being infomercials or on-the-job reality programming about the drudgery of being a southern janitor.

51. Mechanical men.
Jesus, this mechanical man frightens me.

12 Batwing
Technological anachronisms frighten me.
If we are going to be so advanced, why all the antennas? Is over-the-air media going to make a storming comeback?

34. The Red Giant
“Also Sprach Zarathustra” frightens me.
Most of the cards in this pack, and thus the set, are derivative of Kubrick’s 2001. New sensations have overtaken me while perusing this pack, chiefly among them the sound of Strauss’s symphony and the smell of musty paperbacks.

Excuse me while I head out to the grocery store for a slick, glossy, brightly colored celeb trash magazine to cleanse my suffering palate.

2011 Bowman’s Best #BB24 Ryan Howard

Phillies 7, Pirates 3
Game 59 – Sunday Afternoon, June 5th in Pittsburgh

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies averted the sweep behind Roy Halladay’s pitching and 14 hits from the offense, defeating the Pirates, 7-3.

What It Means:  The four-game losing streak is over and the Phillies escape Pittsburgh having gone 4-5 on their road trip.  They’ll open an 11-game home stand against the Dodgers, Cubs and Marlins tomorrow night.  The Phils are 35-24 and they lead the Marlins and Braves by three games in the East.

What Went Right:  Halladay (8-3) gave the Phillies seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out six.  The Phils took advantage of wildness from Pirates starter James McDonald, scoring in the fourth after McDonald had walked a few batters and then hit Carlos Ruiz to load the bases.  Raul Ibanez brought home Chase Utley with a sacrifice fly to get the Phillies on the board.  It was the 1,000th career RBI for Ibanez.

1994 Bowman’s Best #11

McDonald’s wildness helped the Phils again in the fifth when he walked the bases loaded.  Ryan Howard, following a 13-pitch at bat, tied the game up with a sacrifice fly and Ruiz was hit (again) to force in the go-ahead run.  Howard would finish the game with three RBIs.

Utley added three hits to the winning effort and made an amazing diving catch in the seventh to help preserve the lead for the Phils.

Featured Card:  Fortunately, the Phillies pulled out a victory and I didn’t have to resort to posting a Sil Campusano card.  This is one of the cooler inserts found within packs of 2011 Bowman.  There are three Phillies featured within the 2011 Bowman’s Best insert set – Howard, Halladay and Utley – and the set is modelled after the 1994 Bowman’s Best set.  Three Phillies appeared in the original version – Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra and Wayne Gomes.

Transaction:  John Mayberry, Jr. was optioned back down to Triple-A following the game and Ross Gload was re-instated from the paternity leave list.

1960-1969 Phillies

Similar to what I did after finishing up my posts on the 1951 to 1959 Topps Phillies cards, I wanted to bookend the 1960 to 1969 Topps Phillies series with one final post to summarize the tumultuous decade.

2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #15, 2001 Fleer Greats of the Game #66,
1986 TCMA All Time Phillies #10 and 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game #103

Decade MVPs
If I was going on longevity and the decade’s leaders in the main hitting and pitching statistical categories, Johnny Callison and Chris Short would be the decade MVPs for the Phillies.  However, it’s hard to overlook the  contributions made by a future Hall of Fame pitcher and one of the franchise’s most talented (and most frustrating) sluggers of all-time.

In his first stint with the team, Jim Bunning pitched with the Phillies between 1964 and 1967, appearing in 163 games and compiling a record of 74-46.  He struck out 992 batters while walking just 236 over 1,191 innings.  His 2.48 ERA is impressive even considering the pitcher’s era in which he pitched.  In his four seasons with the Phillies, he finished in the top ten in the National League in ERA, wins, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.  He was a two-time All-Star with the Phillies and he pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League history on Father’s Day, 1964.

The enigmatic Dick Allen made his Phillies debut in September 1963 and officially wore out his welcome at the tail-end of the 1969 season.  (Like Bunning, Allen would make a return cameo in the ’70s.)  In 866 games, Allen hit  an even .300 with 177 home runs and 544 RBIs.  He won the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year award and he was named to three All-Star teams.  During the decade, he finished in the top ten in the National League in home runs five times, batting average four times and RBIs twice.  His OPS led the league in both 1966 (1.027) and 1967 (.970).  Unfortunately, despite all his statistical accomplishments, it was his inability to toe the line with his managers and his scribblings in the dirt that most people remember.

2011 Topps Tribute #47, 2001Fleer Greats of the Game Retrospection #10,
1997 Fleer Million Dollar Moments #29 and 2004 Donruss Classics #160

Games – Callison (1432), Tony Taylor (1342), Tony Gonzalez (1118), Clay Dalrymple (1006), Cookie Rojas (880)
Average* – Allen (.300), Gonzalez (.295), Wes Covington (.284), Callison (.271), Rojas (.262)
Home Runs – Callison (185), Allen (177), Gonzalez (77), Don Demeter (71), Covington (61)
RBIs – Callison (666), Allen (544), Gonzalez (438), Taylor (368), Demeter (312)
Stolen Bases – Taylor (155), Gonzalez (68), Allen (64), Callison (60), Rojas (27), Johnny Briggs (27)

Games – Short (370), Jack Baldschun (333), Turk Farrell (214), Dallas Green (175), Art Mahaffey (173)
Wins – Short (96), Bunning (74), Mahaffey (58), Rick Wise (45), Ray Culp (43)
ERA** – Bunning (2.48), Farrell (3.09), Baldschun (3.19), Short (3.19), Grant Jackson (3.53)
Strikeouts – Short (1329), Bunning (992), Mahaffey (620), Culp (506), Wise (449)
Saves – Baldschun (59), Farrell (38), John Boozer (15), Gary Wagner (15), Ed Roebuck (15)

*At least 5 seasons with the Phillies, completely subjective
**At least 4 seasons with the Phillies, again completely subjective

1993 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #25

1960-1969 Topps
The Breakdown:  When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now, I may tackle the ambitious project of making a master baseball card set featuring each of the 160 players to have worn the Phillies uniform between opening day 1960 and the final game of the 1969 season.  Topps did a decent enough job during the decade, featuring 118 of those 160 players (74%) on Phillies baseball cards.

The 295 different Topps Phillies baseball cards released during the decade feature 118 different players, three of the team’s five managers, three coaches and just two players who didn’t suit up at all during the decade – Valmy Thomas and George “Sparky” Anderson.

Card Statistics
Most Featured:  Callison (13 cards), Allen (10 cards), Dalrymple (10 cards), Gonzalez (9 cards), Taylor (9 cards), Phillies Team Card (9 cards), Bunning (8 cards), Gene Mauch (8 cards), Rojas (7 cards), Mahaffey (7 cards)
Most Games (Batter), No Phillies Topps Card: Roberto Pena (138 games in 1968), Charley Smith (112 games in 1961), Harvey Kuenn (86 games in 1966), Gene Oliver (85 games in 1967) and Cal Neeman (78 games in 1960 and 1961)
Most Games (Pitcher), No Phillies Topps Card:  Darold Knowles (69 games in 1966), Al Raffo (45 games in 1969), Ken Lehman (41 games in 1961)

The Phillies Topps 60
Here are the next ten cards in the Phillies Topps 60, just in case Topps decides to go ahead with this insert set in a future release.  Did I miss any?  Do you agree with these choices?

11 – 1960 Topps #366 Dallas Green
12 – 1961 Topps #20 Robin Roberts
13 – 1962 Topps #77 Tony Taylor
14 – 1963 Topps #385 Art Mahaffey
15 – 1964 Topps #135 Johnny Callison
16 – 1964 Topps #243 Phillies Rookie Stars – Richie Allen/John Herrnstein
17 – 1965 Topps #20 Jim Bunning
18 – 1966 Topps #254 Phillies Rookie Stars – Ferguson Jenkins/Bill Sorrell
19 – 1967 Topps #309 Hurlers Beware – Johnny Callison/Richie Allen
20 – 1967 Topps #395 Chris Short

1993 Action Packed #146, 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #198,
2004 Fleer Greats of the Game #72 and 1986 TCMA All Time Phillies #6

Cards That Never Were Series
I came up with the first twenty cards in the series from the 1950’s, and I added another thirty cards for the 1960’s.  Honestly, Short should have had a Topps card for every year between 1960 and 1966, but I limited him to just two cards for this set.

Byrum Saam was a long-time and beloved Phillies announcer who was inducted into the broadcaster’s wing in Cooperstown in 1990.  He called Phillies games from 1938 through 1949 and again from 1955 through 1975.  He’s got a card in the series too.

21 – 1960 Topps Ruben Amaro
22 – 1960 Topps Tony Taylor
23 – 1960 Topps Tony Gonzalez
24 – 1960 Topps Cal Neeman
25 – 1961 Topps Charley Smith
26 – 1961 Topps Don Demeter
27 – 1961 Topps Wes Covington
28 – 1961 Topps Ken Lehman
29 – 1961 Topps Bob Lemon (Coach)
30 – 1962 Topps Bobby Wine
31 – 1962 Topps Dennis Bennett
32 – 1963 Topps Richie Allen
33 – 1964 Topps Chris Short
34 – 1964 Topps Vic Power
35 – 1964 Topps Bobby Shantz
36 – 1965 Topps Peanuts Lowrey (Coach)
37 – 1965 Topps By Saam (Announcer)
38 – 1966 Topps Dick Groat
39 – 1966 Topps Bob Uecker
40 – 1966 Topps Harvey Kuenn
41 – 1966 Topps Chris Short
42 – 1966 Topps Rick Wise
43 – 1966 Topps Darold Knowles
44 – 1967 Topps Turk Farrell
45 – 1967 Topps Gene Oliver
46 – 1968 Topps Roberto Pena
47 – 1969 Topps George Myatt (Manager)
48 – 1969 Topps Larry Hisle
49 – 1969 Topps Don Money
50 – 1969 Topps Al Raffo

Coming next . . . the 1970’s.  Far out.

1994 Signature Rookies Hiram Bocachica

Who is this? Former Montreal Expos prospect Hiram Bocachica
What is this? An autographed Signature Rookies insert card
Where’d I get it? I purchased it from a dealer at the local card show this month
How much did it cost? 50 cents

Why is this so special? This is the second Hiram Bochachica card I’ve posted this year. The first one, from the 2003 Topps Total set, is one that I got signed in person last season. His autograph has changed a lot since 1994.

Bocachica has been playing professional baseball since 1994. He spent parts of 8 seasons in the major leagues and two more in Japan. In 2008, Bocachica hit 20 home runs for the Saitama Seibu Lions and helped them to win the Japan Series.

Last year, he split the season between Bridgeport in the Atlantic League and the Broncos de Reynosa in Mexico. For the Bluefish, he batted .282 with 8 home runs and 32 RBI in 69 games.

1994 Signature Rookies Paul Spoljaric

Who is this? Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Paul Spoljaric
What is this? An autographed insert card from the 1994 Signature Rookies set
Where’d I get it? Purchased from a dealer at the local card show
How much did it cost? 50 cents.

Why is this so special? I admit I purchased Spoljaric’s card mostly because we share the same first name.

If I was paying more attention to baseball in the late 1990s, I might remember Spoljaric – he was a middle reliever for the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners, and made a few appearances for the Kansas City Royals and Philadelphia Phillies. In total, he appeared in 195 major league games between 1994 and 2000.

Spoljaric represented Canada in the 2004 Olympics.

I think it’s interesting that “Paul” is written so clearly, but Spoljaric’s last name sort of devolves into a condensed scribble. Again, I cannot imagine signing 8000+ cards.

1994 Signature Rookies Brook Fordyce

Who is this? former major league catcher Brook Fordyce
What is this? An autographed insert card from the 1994 Signature Rookies set
Where’d I get it? Purchased from a dealer at this month’s local card show
How much did it cost? 50 cents

Why is this so special? Brook Fordyce was a Mets prospect in the early 1990s, and at one point I hope that he would be the successor to Gary Carter. Fordyce did play in 4 games for the 1995 Mets, but he didn’t stick. Fordyce did have a nice career as a major league backup catcher, retiring after the 2004 season.

I have a few other Brook Fordyce autographs obtained later in his career – in those instances, he signed his full name. On every Signature Rookies card I’ve seen, he signed “Brook 4-Dyce.” I guess if I had to sign 8000+ cards, I would have been looking for ways to make the process faster or more interesting, too. :-)

1994 Signature Rookies Draft Picks Ramon Castro

Who is this? Chicago White Sox catcher Ramon Castro
What is this? An autographed insert card from the 1994 Signature Rookies Draft Picks set
Where’d I get it? card show purchase
How much did it cost? 50 cents

Why is this so special? Ramon Castro, who is two days younger than me, was drafted out of high school by the Houston Astros in 1994. He was the 17th overall pick in the nation.

I almost passed up the card because I didn’t realize that the guy who played for the Marlins and Mets began his career in the Astros’ organization that long ago. Castro spent five years in the Houston system, but he didn’t really distinguish himself and only rose to the AA level in 1998. That year, he was traded to the Florida Marlins. In 1999, Castro made his major league debut.

Castro developed into a solid backup catcher who provides a bit of power. He never became the star that the Astros were hoping for when they drafted him, but Castro has played in 544 more major league games than most people – and he’ll still be adding to that total in 2011.

Castro’s autograph was neater and more complete in 1994 than it is now – you can see a card I got signed through the mail in 2008 at RandomBaseballStuff.com.

1950-1959 Phillies

1988 Pacific Legends #8, 1998 Upper Deck Richie Ashburn #1,
2007 SP Legendary Cuts #70, 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game #6

Before moving along to the Topps sets from the 1960’s, I thought I’d take one last look back to the Phillies of the 1950’s and their Topps baseball cards.

Decade MVPs
Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts run away with the honors.  With the exception of home runs and RBIs, Ashburn led the Phillies in every major offensive statistical category for the ten seasons between 1950 and 1959 – games (1,523), batting average (.313) runs (952), hits (1,875), doubles (252), triples (82), stolen bases (158) and walks (828).  Ashburn’s 19 home runs were a little behind the top three home run hitters of the decade – Del Ennis (175), Willie Jones (159) and Stan Lopata (108).  And his 422 RBIs placed him fourth behind Ennis (765), Jones (657) and Granny Hamner (593).  Ashburn went to three All-Star Games during the decade and was the National League batting champ in 1955 and 1958.

Roberts led the team in every major pitching category – wins (199), complete games (237), shutouts (30), innings pitched (3,009.1), strikeouts (1,516) and ERA (3.32).  No other pitcher even came close to matching those numbers, although Curt Simmons, Bob Miller, Jim Konstanty and Russ Meyer show up in the top five of most of those categories.  Konstanty had the most saves during the decade with 45, but Roberts was actually fourth on the list with 19!

2010 Topps Tribute #33, 1992 Upper Deck Heroes Highlights #HI 7,
2004 eTopps Classic #ETC51, 2004 SP Legendary Cuts #100

1951-1959 Topps
The Breakdown:  141 baseball players wore the Phillies uniform between opening day in 1950 and the last game of the dreadful 1959 season.  Topps released 173 Phillies baseball cards in its main sets between 1951 and 1959, featuring 78 different players, 2 different manages, 2 coaches and 6 players who did not play a game for the Phillies during the decade.

Most Featured:  The following Phillies players (along with a team card) were represented the most in Topps’ sets from 1951 to 1959:

8 cards – Ashburn, Hamner, Jones
6 cards – Roberts
5 cards – Ted Kazanski, Bob Miller, Simmons
4 cards – Lopata, Jack Meyer, Team Card

1980 TCMA Whiz Kids #22, #21, #23, #5

The Phillies Topps 60
What if Topps released a set of the top sixty Phillies cards from 1951-2010?  It’s not likely, but I’ll pick ten cards from each decade just in case Topps is looking for my opinion for this set’s checklist.  You’ll notice the sets from the 1950’s with poor player selection or featuring a design I don’t care for aren’t represented – my set, my rules:

1 – 1951 Topps Blue Backs #8 Dick Sisler
2 – 1952 Topps #59 Robin Roberts
3 – 1952 Topps #357 Smoky Burgess
4 – 1953 Topps #88 Willie Jones
5 – 1953 Topps #146 Granville Hamner
6 – 1956 Topps #120 Richie Ashburn
7 – 1956 Topps #180 Robin Roberts
8 – 1956 Topps #220 Del Ennis
9 – 1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera ERR (no “a” on Herrara)
10 – 1959 Topps #338 George Anderson

Cards That Never Were Series
And what if Topps asked for my help in putting together a checklist for the Phillies cards that never were?  Of the 141 Phillies players from the 1950’s, 78 made it onto Topps baseball cards as Phillies, while 63 players were never represented wearing the red pinstripes. 

There are three players with over 500 at-bats with the Phillies during the decade who didn’t get a Topps Phillies card – first baseman Earl Torgeson, right fielder Mel Clark and second baseman Mike Goliat.  So they need Phillies cards, and they’re all in the set.  As is second baseman Putsy Caballero, just because he has one of the greatest baseball names of all-time.  Steve Ridzik (105 games, 311.1 innings pitched) and Bubba Church (71 games, 394 innings pitched) will also be represented.  And I’d like to see a card of long-time Phillies coach Maje McDonnell, who spent 57 years with the organization as a coach, scout, batting practice pitcher and Veterans Stadium tour guide. 

I decided not to limit this to just ten cards per decade.  If there’s a Phillies player, coach or manager who should have had a Topps baseball card in any given year, he’s in my set:

1 – 1951 Topps Blue Backs Putsy Caballero
2 – 1951 Topps Red Backs Bubba Church
3 – 1951 Topps Red Backs Mike Goliat
4 – 1953 Topps Richie Ashburn
5 – 1953 Topps Robin Roberts
6 – 1953 Topps Del Ennis
7 – 1953 Topps Mel Clark
8 – 1953 Topps Steve Ridzik
9 – 1954 Topps Robin Roberts
10 – 1954 Topps Earl Torgeson
11 – 1954 Topps Terry Moore MG
12 – 1955 Topps Richie Ashburn
13 – 1955 Topps Robin Roberts
14 – 1956 Topps Elmer Valo
15 – 1956 Topps Marv Blaylock
16 – 1956 Topps Harvey Haddix
17 – 1956 Topps Maje McDonnell CO
18 – 1958 Topps Ed Bouchee
19 – 1959 Topps Chris Short
20 – 1959 Topps Eddie Sawyer MG

Stay tuned for more Phillies Topps cards as we’re about to enter the 1960’s.  It will be groovy.

1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #32, 1986 TCMA All Time Phillies #7,
1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes #41, 1983 Cramer Baseball Legends #94

1994 Flair Darrin Jackson

Who is this? Chicago White Sox broadcaster Darrin Jackson
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Flair set
Where’d I get it? I purchased it from a dealer at an autograph show earlier this month.
How much did it cost? $4

Why is this so special? Jackson was a major league outfielder for 12 seasons, playing for seven different teams including the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He was known as a good defensive outfielder, but offense wasn’t his strong suit. Jackson’s best season was 1991 when he hit .262 with 21 home runs and 49 RBI for the Padres.

In addition to his time in major league baseball, Jackson played for the Seibu Lions in Japan in 1995 and 1996. After he retired, Jackson became a television broadcaster for the White Sox. Since 2009, he’s worked on the radio side.

Jackson’s autograph is very legible for a recent player.

Trade List > Baseball > 1994

The following cards are available for trade. If you see anything that interests you, please feel free to drop me an email.
Bowman: 8, 34, 76, 177 (2), 232, 252, 272, 300, 322, 325, 348, 361, 373, 411, 496, 512, 556, 626, 644
Bowman’s Best: Red: 52, Blue: 25, 33, 41, 90, Mirror: 99, 104
Brewers Police:
John Jaha (Milwaukee Police Department)
Cream of the Crop:
C5. Johnny Damon, Kansas City Royals
Collector’s Choice: 16, 20, 65, 117, 183, 197, 286 (9), 302, 310, 311, 314, 317, 318, 319, 400, 642, 647
Silver Signature:
5. Steve Dreyer, Texas Rangers
22. Wayne Gomes, Philadelphia Phillies
23. Jeff Granger, Kansas City Royals (2)
115. Tommy Greene, Philadelphia Phillies
156. David Justice, Atlanta Braves
199. Greg McMichael, Atlanta Braves
201. Brian McRae, Kansas City Royals
206. Blas Minor, Pittsburgh Pirates
243. Kevin Rogers, San Francisco Giants
284. Jose Vizcaino, Chicago Cubs
304. Eric Young, Colorado Rockies
306. John Burkett, San Francisco Giants/Tom Glavine, Atlanta Braves/Jack McDowell, Chicago White Sox
444. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
654. Tavo Alvarez, Montreal Expos
656. Joey Eischen, Montreal Expos
Donruss: 336, 351, 523, 577, 646
Diamond Kings
DK-26. Mike Mussina, Baltimore Orioles
3. Fred McGriff, Atlanta Braves/Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox/Jeff Bagwell, Houston Astros
4. Roberto Alomar, Toronto Blue Jays/Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians/Craig Biggio, Houston Astros
Special Edition:
2. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Moises Alou, Montreal Expos
14. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians (2)
42. Mo Vaughn, Boston Red Sox
54. Orlando Merced, Pittsburgh Pirates
56. Dave Winfield, Minnesota Twins
70. Delino DeShields, Montreal Expos
71. Albert Belle, Cleveland Indians
96. Ivan Rodriguez, Texas Rangers
Finest: 9, 66, 87, 213
Hot Numbers:
2. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
Outfield Power:
10. Dave Winfield, Minnesota Twins
Fleer: 96, 121, 197, 217, 223, 226, 251, 290, 313, 319, 334, 366, 396, 399, 477, 538, 554, 573, 646
All-Rookie Team:
Exchange Card
3. Albert Belle, Cleveland Indians (2)
42. David Justice, Atlanta Braves
43. Darryl Kile, Houston Astros
47. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
League Leader:
1. John Olerud, Toronto Blue Jays
2. Albert Belle, Cleveland Indians
10. Chuck Carr, Florida Marlins (2)
Lumber Company:
7. Fred McGriff, Atlanta Braves
Major League Prospects:
31. Scott Sanders, San Diego Padres
Pro Visions:
8. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
Rookie Sensations:
7. Cliff Floyd, Montreal Expos
Team Leaders:
5. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
15. David Justice, Atlanta Braves
16. Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs
23. Bobby Bonilla, New York Mets
26. Gregg Jefferies, St. Lousi Cardinals
28. Will Clark, San Francisco Giants
Tim Salmon:
1. Tim Salmon, California Angels
3. Tim Salmon, California Angels
Statistical Standouts:
4. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
O-Pee-Chee: 53
6. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
Pacific: 138, 165
Circle Prisms:
16. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
33. Lenny Dykstra, Philadelphia Phillies
Pinnacle: 4, 11, 26, 28, 312, 332
Museum Collection:
210. Dave Nilsson, Milwuakee Brewers
Post: 27
Score: 7, 312, 339, 407 (2), 465, 486, 495, 510, 538, 572, 585, 618, 628, 629, 631, 645 (2)
Gold Rush:
53. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
173. John Jaha, Milwaukee Brewers
577. Lou Frazier, Montreal Expos
585. Derrek Lee, San Diego Padres
Gold Stars:
38. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
The Cycle:
TC4. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
Score Rookie and Traded: 158
Select: 4, 30, 36, 72, 99, 140, 177, 181, 212, 242, 263, 332, 371 (2)
SP: 11, 88
Stadium Club: 4, 7, 13, 15, 18, 20, 24, 36, 39, 46, 50, 72, 75, 81, 103, 108, 109, 112, 113 (2), 127 (2), 137, 142, 152, 166, 168, 169, 173, 174 (2), 184, 186, 189, 202, 211, 212, 219, 220, 226, 227, 241, 243, 244, 247, 270, 285, 435, 515 (2)
2. Rick Wilkins, Chicago Cubs
4. Gary Sheffield, Florida Marlins
11. Luis Polonia, California Angels
36. Tim Salmon, California Angels
44. Rich Amaral, Seattle Mariners
72. Eric Young, Colorado Rockies
81. Felix Fermin, Cleveland Indians
144. Sandy Alomar, Cleveland Indians
146. Luis Alicea, St. Louis Cardinals
155. Danny Bautista, Detroit Tigers
156. Randy Velarde, New York Yankees
169. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
191. Rich Gossage, Oakland Athletics
203. Will Clark, San Francisco Giants
211. Chuck Finley, California Angels
214. Tony Fernandez, Toronto Blue Jays
224. Kent Hrbek, Minnesota Twins
241. Greg McMichael, Atlanta Braves
243. Tim Pugh, Cincinnati Reds
247. Kevin Baez, New York Mets
258. Albert Belle, Cleveland Indians “HR Club”
259. Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants “HR Club”
260. Ron Gant, Atlanta Braves”HR Club”
261. Juan Gonzalez, Texas Rangers “HR Club”
First Day Issue:
115. Phil Plantier, San Diego Padres
Dugout Dirt:
1. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers (4)
2. Dave Winfield, Minnesota Twins
6. Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants
Super Team Card:
15. Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore Orioles
Stadium Club Draft Picks: 84
Stadium Club Members Only: 45
Studio: 79, 80, 202
Ted Williams Company: 59, 64, 94, 102, 104, 110, 116, 147, 151, 154
LP1. Larry BirdIndiana State University
Brooks Robinson Collection:
BR9. Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles
Mike Schmidt:
MS5. Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies
MS9. Header Card
Topps: 78, 99, 132, 149, 177, 192, 223, 230 (2), 239, 259 (4), 272, 283 (2), 289, 298, 307, 311, 323, 337, 339, 359, 366, 373, 391 (2), 590, 627, 670, 741, 766, 784 (2), 789
86. Ricky Jordan, Philadelphia Phillies
305. Craig Biggio, Houston Astros
450. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
456. Pete Harnisch, Houston Astros
488. Eric Davis, Detroit Tigers
713. Todd Williams, Los Angeles Dodgers/Ron Watson, California Angels/Kirk Bullinger, St. Louis Cardinals/Mike Welch, New York Mets
Topps Traded: 112
Triple Play: 26, 44, 120, 131, 133, 195, 219, 250, 260
Ultra: 41, 218, 222, 227 (2), 233, 514
Award Winners:
16. Marquis Grissom, Montreal Expos (2)
17. Larry Walker, Montreal Expos (2)
25. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
Hitting Machines:
2. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians
9. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
Statistical Standouts:
6. Chuck Carr, Florida Marlins
Ultra-Pro: 2. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers
Upper Deck: 55, 237, 253, 285 (2), 295, 350, 351, 370 (7), 388, 390, 433, 525, 539 (2), 546 (2)
Electric Diamond:
49. Carlos Baerga, Cleveland Indians “The Future is Now”
155. Juan Gonzalez, Texas Rangers
211. Rich Amaral, Seattle Mariners
318. Pedro Martinez, Montreal Expos
358. Dennis Martinez, Cleveland Indians
389. Felix Fermin, Seattle Mariners
449. Charlie Hough, Florida Marlins
Upper Deck All-Time Heroes: 6, 28, 42, 78, 104, 124, 138, 163
Upper Deck Minor League: 125 (2), 252 (2)
Top Ten Prospect:
3. Johnny Damon, Kansas City Royals
Organizational Profiles:
OP-13. Johnny Damon, Kansas City Royals

1994 Topps Stadium Club John Doherty 1st Day Edition

Who is this? former Detroit Tigers pitcher John Doherty
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Stadium Club set

Where’d I get it? Nick of Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year. (Incidentally, Nick’s conducting a private signing with legendary Cuban Hall of Fame pitcher and former Pittsburgh Pirate, Gonzalo “Cholly” Naranjo – click over for details)

Why is this so special? If you were looking for an average 1990s major league pitcher, John Doherty fits the bill pretty well. In five seasons as a starter and reliever, he had a 32-31 record with a 4.87 ERA and an adjusted ERA+ of 91.

This is the only signed 1st Day Edition Stadium Club card in my collection – I’ve never gotten any of the others I own signed. For those who don’t remember collecting Stadium Club, the 1st Day Edition cards turned up at a rate of about one per box. Aside from the little rainbow foil stamp, there’s no difference between the 1st Day Edition cards and the regular ones. Yet I was fascinated by them in 1993 and 1994, and even now I will buy them when I run across them.

Though some might deduct points for the printed initials, I rather like Doherty’s autograph.

Origins of Baseball (1744-1899) Checklist


Last night I was asked if I had a checklist for the 1994 Origins of Baseball (1744-1899) set.  For all those collectors looking for one, here it is:

  • #1 Abner Doubleday
  • #2 Doubleday Field
  • #3 Rounders 1744
  • #4 Early Baseball 700 A.D.
  • #5 The Knickerbockers
  • #6 Alex Cartwright
  • #7 Baseball In The 1850’s
  • #8 Social Clubs
  • #9 Brooklyn Eckfords
  • #10 New England Baseball
  • #11 Henry Chadwick
  • #12 Brooklyn Excelsiors
  • #13 Abraham Lincoln
  • #14 Andrew Johnson
  • #15 First Enclosed Park
  • #16 Brooklyn Atlantics
  • #17 James Creighton
  • #18 Baseball In The 1860’s
  • #19 1869 Red Stockings
  • #20 Cincinnati Celebration
  • #21 Harry Wright
  • #22 Boston Ball Club 1872
  • #23 Arthur Cummings
  • #24 William Hulbert
  • #25 George Wright
  • #26 Albert Spalding
  • #27 Albert Bushong
  • #28 Bid McPhee
  • #29 James O’Rourke
  • #30 Pud Galvin
  • #31 Edwin Bligh
  • #32 William Purcell
  • #33 Roger Connor
  • #34 Cincinnati Ball Club 1882
  • #35 Peter Browning
  • #36 William Gleason
  • #37 Paul Hines
  • #38 Baseball In The 1880’s
  • #39 Robert Carruthers
  • #40 New York Metropolitans
  • #41 Saint George’s Field
  • #42 Charles Radbourne
  • #43 George Andrews
  • #44 William Hoy
  • #45 Chicago Ball Club 1886
  • #46 Cap Anson
  • #47 John Clarkson
  • #48 Mike Kelly
  • #49 Buffalo Bisons 1887
  • #50 Moses Walker
  • #51 Detroit Ball Club 1887
  • #52 Little League
  • #53 Louisville Ball Club 1888
  • #54 John Farrell
  • #55 Walter Latham
  • #56 Fred Dunlap
  • #57 Tim Keefe
  • #58 Cincinnati Ball Club 1888
  • #59 1889 World Tour
  • #60 Dan Brouthers
  • #61 John M. Ward
  • #62 Albert Spalding
  • #63 The Baseball Cap
  • #64 Tom Estherbrook
  • #65 Mark Baldwin
  • #66 Tony Mullane
  • #67 John Glasscock
  • #68 Amos Rusie
  • #69 Jake Beckley
  • #70 Jimmy Collins
  • #71 Charles Comiskey
  • #72 Tom Connelly
  • #73 Mickey Welch
  • #74 Ec Delahanty
  • #75 Hugh Duffy
  • #76 Buck Ewing
  • #77 Clark Griffith
  • #78 Kid Nichols
  • #79 Billy Hamilton
  • #80 Ban Johnson
  • #81 Willie Keeler
  • #82 Bobby Wallace
  • #83 Napoleon Lajoie
  • #84 Connie Mack
  • #85 Fred Clarke
  • #86 Tommy McCarthy
  • #87 John McGraw
  • #88 Jesse Burkett
  • #89 Frank Chance
  • #90 Mordecai Brown
  • #91 New York Nationals
  • #92 Jack Chesbro
  • #93 Sam Thompson
  • #94 Boston v. New York 1891
  • #95 Rube Waddell
  • #96 Joe Kelley
  • #97 Addie Joss
  • #98 The Boston Beaneaters
  • #99 Baltimore Baseball Club
  • #100 The Game In 1899

Filed under: Card Info

1954 Topps Phillies

1994 Topps 1954 Archives #24, #41, #45, #78

The battle between Topps and Bowman for players’ rights intensified in 1954, as player selection in both baseball card sets continued to suffer.

1954 Topps #247

The Set

Number of cards in the set:  There are 250 cards in the complete set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  For the first time, collectors got two photos on the front of the card – one color portrait-type shot of the player and another miniature black and white action shot.  I’ve always liked the use of the full color backgrounds too.  And I’m a sucker for baseball cards with the team logo featured on the front, especially since Topps started using the correct Phillies logo this year.
Notable competition:  Bowman issued its penultimate set in 1954, featuring 224 cards.
1954 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phils finished in 4th place with a record of 75-79.  A steady decline was beginning and the team wouldn’t finish above .500 again until 1962.
1954 Topps #247 (Back)

Key players:  The key player summary could begin and end with Robin Roberts.  The future Hall of Famer started the All-Star Game, pitched two one-hitters, went 23-15 with a 2.97 ERA, and led the league in wins, strikeouts (185), innings pitched (337) and complete games (29).  Richie Ashburn had another solid year, hitting .313.  Catcher Smoky Burgess (.368 average while splitting duties with Stan Lopata), left fielder Del Ennis (.261, 25 home runs and 119 RBIs) and second baseman Granny Hamner (.299, 13 home runs, 89 RBIs) were the top offensive performers for the club.

Key events:  New general manager Roy Hamey surprisingly fired manager Steve O’Neill in July when the Phils were in third place with a 40-37 record.  Terry Moore was hired to replace O’Neill and the team went 35-42 for the remainder of the season.  Moore was fired after the season ended.  Murry Dickson, acquired before the season from the Pirates, led the league with 20 losses.
1994 Topps 1954 Archives #127, #183, #236, #196

1954 Phillies in 1954 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 14 Phillies cards in the ’54 Topps set, bringing the cumulative 1951-1954 total to an even 50.
Who’s in:  Proving that Topps’ lackluster player selection is not a recent trend in its sets, here’s the break-down of the Phillies cards kids could expect to find in packs of ’54 Topps – Just three regulars (second baseman Hamner, third baseman Puddin’ Head Jones and center fielder Ashburn), one bench guy (shortstop Ted Kazanski), five guys who appeared in 13 games or less with the Phillies (Johnny Lindell, Mickey Micelotta, Stan Jok, Paul Penson and Thornton Kipper), two players who didn’t suit up with the team that year (Mike Sandlock and Tom Qualters), and a manager card for O’Neill and two coaches’ cards for Earle Combs and Eddie Mayo.  That’s lousy player selection.
Who’s out:  Pretty much everyone, but the notable omissions are catcher Burgess, first baseman Earl Torgeson, shortstop Bobby Morgan, outfielders Ennis and Johnny Wyrostek, pitchers Roberts, Curt Simmons, Dickson, Herm Wehmeier and Jim Konstanty.
Phillies on other teams:  Wehmeier was purchased from the Reds on June 12th and he’s featured on card #162 with his former team.
What’s he doing here:  The five guys appearing in 13 games or less, as listed above.  Stan Jok had 3 at-bats with the ’54 Phils, striking out twice.
Cards that never were candidates:  Roberts, Ennis, Burgess, Simmons and short-time manager Moore.
Favorite Phillies card:  Ashburn’s card, by default, and because I own a beat up copy of the original.
2000 Fleer Tradition #423, 2000 Fleer Tradition Update #U93
2003 Topps Heritage #127 and #190

Other Stuff

Recycled:  Topps reprinted the set in 1994, shrinking the cards and doing away with the full bleed tops, opting for a clean white border surrounding the entire card instead.  Fleer borrowed heavily from the design for its 2000 Fleer Tradition set, a set that pre-dated the 2003 Topps Heritage set by three years.  I liked both sets so much that I put together hand-collated sets of both back in the day.
Blogs/Websites:  Want to view the entire 1954 Topps set?  Head over to the Virtual Card Collection and enjoy.
Did You Know?:  Here are just a few “Inside Baseball” tidbits that can be found on the back of the Phillies’ cards:

  • Mickey is a rug-measurer during the off-season!  (#212 Mickey Micelotta)
  • When only 12, Steve worked in the coal mines at Scranton!  (#127 Steve O’Neill)
  • Richie broke into baseball as a catcher in 1945.  (#45 Richie Ashburn)
  • In high school, Tom dreamed of playing for the Phils!  (#174 Tom Qualters)

1994 Leaf Jim Eisenreich

Who is this? former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jim Eisenreich
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Leaf set
Where’d I get it? Nick from Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year.

Why is this so special? Eisenreich broke into Major League Baseball in 1982 with the Minnesota Twins. He played a handful of games over three seasons in Minnesota, but retired from baseball for two seasons while undergoing treatment for Tourette Syndrome.

In 1987, Eisenreich returned to baseball with the Kansas City Royals. He became a solid contributor during his six seasons in Kansas City. After the 1992 season, he became a free agent and signed with the Phillies.
He hit .318 with an Adjusted OPS+ of 117 for the National League pennant winners that year.

Eisenreich would later win a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins near the end of his career in 1997. The next year, he was traded to Los Angeles in the deal that brought Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins for a week. He retired for good at the end of the 1998 season.

I don’t exactly blame him due to the length of his name, but Eisenreich leaves out a lot of letters when signing autographs.

Flashback: 1994 Mets Shultz Chevrolet Spring Training set

Last week, when I wrote about getting Frank Seminara’s autograph on my other blog, I alluded to the 1994 Mets Shultz Chevrolet Spring Training set.

In 1994, the Mets’ spring training programs contained one of eight cardstock sheets. On the front were three “cards” and an add for Bill Shultz Chevrolet. The back listed the rosters for the Mets and their opponent of the day.

I learned of these “cards” from an article in Sports Collector’s Digest (or maybe it was Mets Inside Pitch… who knows?) I wrote to the St. Lucie Mets that spring and sent asked to buy a set of eight programs… and whoever got a hold of my request was nice enough to do so rather than sending me eight random programs.

The cards feature an interesting mix of old and new spring training portraits and major and minor league game action. For a few players, these are their only “cards” showing them in Met uniforms.

And here’s one of the roster backs. Check out #70 on the Yankees’ side.

Filed under: Baseball Cards, new york mets Tagged: 1994, Baseball, Baseball Cards, Bill Shultz Chevrolet, new york mets, spring training

1994 Pinnacle Tim Belcher

Who is this? former Detroit Tigers pitcher Tim Belcher
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Pinnacle set
Where’d I get it? In November, I wrote to Belcher and asked him to sign it.
How much did it cost? Postage, basically

Why is this so special? This is my second autograph of 2011, and I will always remember that it was signed during 1/11 since Belcher chose to add the month and year when he autographed it. He’s got a pretty good signature for a modern player, though he did drop some letters from his last name.

Belcher stamped the back of my envelope with this message “Thanks for being a fan of baseball! All the best, Tim.” That’s an unusual gesture, but kind of nice.
A major league pitcher for 14 season, Belcher retired with a 146-140 lifetime record. His best seasons came early in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a member of the starting rotation for the 1988 World Series champions and he led the National League in shutouts (with 8) in 1989.
Belcher also pitched well for the Royals, racking up double digit win totals in each of his three seasons in Kansas City. He only pitched for the Tigers for one season – 1994 – and it was arguably the worst year of his career. In a strike-shortened season, he led the American League with 15 losses. 
Keeping that in mind, I’m surprised he signed the card I sent – I would have picked a different one, but it was the only one I had.

1994 Signature Rookies James Mouton

Who is this? former Houston Astros outfielder James Mouton
What is this? An autograph insert card from the 1994 Signature Rookies set
Where’d I get it? I bought it from a dealer at the local baseball card show last year.
How much did it cost? $1

Why is this so special? While there had been some attempts at autographed insert cards before Signature Rookies came onto the scene in 1994, they took it to a new level. Every pack had an autograph of a prospect who you hoped would be the next Ken Griffey Jr.

James Mouton may not be a household name for most baseball fans, but he had a better career than many who signed cards for Signature Rookies. He spent parts of 8 seasons in the big leagues as a part-time outfielder, mostly for the Houston Astros. He stole 109 bases despite having only 386 hits during his major league career.

Mouton had a very legible autograph when he signed this card… though I wonder how it looked by the time he reached card #5,250.

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps #200 Cal Ripken

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, January 5, 2011:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps #200.
  • Player Name, position, team: Cal Ripken, shortstop, Baltimore Orioles.
    Major League Debut: August 10, 1981.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (Orioles): 162 G, 641 AB, 87 R, 165 H, 26 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR, 90 RBI, 1 SB, .420 SLG, 65 BB, 58 SO, .257 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Drafted by the Orioles, #2nd, June 1978. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 21. This is his second card.
  • Blurb on the back: “Cal needs 5 HR’s to break Ernie Banks’ record for HR’s by a SS.”
  • Commentary: Just to be clear: regular Topps Cards means the number of regular cards the player appears in that doesn’t include any subsets like Record Breakers, All-Stars, Super Veterans, or any other card that is not that player’s regular base card during his playing career (so short printed variation cards in 2009 do not count into the total). Exceptions would be if the player appeared in a multiple-player rookie or prospect card. Cal Ripken, Jr., appeared in 21 different Topps sets (1982-2001 Topps, 1982 Topps Traded), hence 21 regular Topps cards. If you were to count all of his appearances in Topps eponymous sets, during his playing career, you’d have 47 cards (which includes the five separate cards from 2000 Milestones). Still playing shortstop for the O’s, and only a couple of years away before becoming MLB’s Iron Man. Cal put up incredible numbers and had received so many accolades up to this point in his career that even without the “streak,” the man was destined for the Hall of Fame. He broke the mold of what a traditional shortstop (slick fielding, but not to heavy on the power) and set the standard for those who would come after him (specifically, guys who would become household names in the 90’s and deep into the 2000’s). The picture used for his 1994 card is perfect for the horizontal orientation. Look at his follow through and you can imagine what his wingspan would be like (if he had wings of course). The only drawback would probably be the home plate shaped frame that separates the picture from the name plate (the angle seems a bit off where at the bottom tip of home plate). But still, with the orange and gray color scheme used in the design elements, it is a beautiful card. Regarding the blurb, I’m pretty sure he broke that record in 1994.
  • Beckett value: $0.60-$1.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 117 cards.

Tomorrow’s card will be: Thursday: 1997 Topps #360. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.


JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps Traded #92T Charlie O’Brien

We reset the Topps Card Randomizer to come up with seven new cards to present for this week. Introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, January 3, 2011:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps Traded #92T.
  • Player Name, position, team: Charlie O’Brien, catcher, Atlanta Braves.
  • Major League Debut: June 2, 1985.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (Mets): 67 G, 188 AB, 15 R, 48 H, 11 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 0 SB, .378 SLG, 14 BB, 14 SO, .255 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by Athletics #5th, June 1982. Signed as a free agent with the Braves 11/27/1993. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 10. This is his eighth card.
  • Blurb on the back: “Because of his defensive genius, Charlie was hand-picked by the Braves as a back-up and mentor to super-rookie Javy Lopez.”
  • Commentary: Making his second appearance on the Randomizer, Charlie O’Brien, who never played more than 70 games up to this point in his career, was known more for his defense than he was for his bat. But it was what he brought to the game later on that revolutionized the catcher’s position. Inspired by the goalie masks that hockey players use, he created a mask for catchers that was, yes a bit larger, but provided more protection for the man behind home plate against foul balls, against bats against the back of the head, et al. And, the view was amazing. You didn’t even have to remove the mask to catch those pesky foul balls. And once it was approved by MLB to use in play, well, lets just say his mask added years to a catcher’s health. At this time, the Braves had a young superstar waiting in the wings to become their primary catcher. O’Brien’s signing guaranteed that a young Javy Lopez would learn from one of the better defensive catchers in the game.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 10 cards.

Tomorrow’s card will be: 1985 Topps #720. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. See you then.


JayBee Anama

1988 Donruss Greg Gagne

Who is this? former Minnesota Twins shortstop Greg Gagne
What is this? An autographed card from the 1988 Donruss set
Where’d I get it? Last year, I wrote to Gagne and asked him to sign it.
How much did it cost? Postage, basically

Why is this so special? Greg Gagne was the shortstop for two World Championship Minnesota Twins teams. He spent 15 seasons in the big leagues – 10 with the Twins, 3 with the Kansas City Royals and 2 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During that time, he appeared in 1,798 games and had 1,440 hits.

Last year, he was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.

It’s a bit difficult to read Gagne’s signature, but his initials seem recognizable enough. It looks like he may have included a Bible verse inscription, but I can’t quite make it out.

Here is a 1994 Pinnacle card picturing him with the Royals that he signed for me last year as well:

1991 Leaf Bobby Witt

Who is this? former Texas Rangers pitcher Bobby Witt
What is this? An autographed card from the 1991 Leaf set
Where’d I get it? I wrote to Witt last month and asked him to sign it; I got it back yesterday.
How much did it cost? Postage, basically

Why is this so special? Unless the mailman has something for me today, Bobby Witt’s autograph will be the last one I add to my collection in 2010. I didn’t keep a detailed count of the ones I got in person, through trades or purchases. However, my stats on SportsCollectors.Net tell me that I sent out 98 letters this year and got 62 responses, good for a 63% response rate. I’ll probably see a few more trickle in after New Years, if history is any indication.

Witt has my vote as the most frustrating pitcher of all time. He had great stuff – especially early in his career. In his first five seasons, Witt struck out between 148 and 221 batters per season. The problem: he led the American League in walks in three of those five seasons and had the most wild pitches in two of them. Needless to say, he didn’t pitch many fast games… but it was still fun to watch him rack up the strikeouts.

Though Witt spent the majority of his career with the Texas Rangers, he also pitched for six other teams during his 16 years in the big leagues. He won a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001, his final year in baseball. Witt retired with a 142-157 lifetime record, as well as 1955 strikeouts and 1375 walks.

His autograph is legible, which is more than I can say for many players today. Here’s an Oakland card that he signed for me as well:

Happy New Year everyone! May you add lots of signatures to your collections in 2011.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1994 Cardz – Muppets Take The Ice

Who doesn’t like the Muppets?  I’m not quite sure what Cardz was thinking when they decided to go through with this product.  Upper Deck’s Comic Ball sets didn’t do well, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to release something like this.  Either way they are entertaining to look at.  Each box contains 36 packs, and collectors can look for randomly inserted Tekchrome cards.  Whacka-Whacka-Whacka!!!


Filed under: Flashback Product of the Week

Flashback Product of the Week: 1994 Santa Claus – A Nostalgic Art Collection

Made by 21st Century Archives in 1994, Santa Claus – A Nostalgic Art Collection is another attempt at making an entire product based around Santa.  I’m not sure who would actually purchase a product like this.  Perhaps someone interested in busting something other than the traditional sports product.  Each box contains 36 packs, with 8 cards per pack.  Collectors can look for randomly inserted cartoon chase cards too.  Boxes can be found for $10.00 to $30.00.


Filed under: Flashback Product of the Week

Flashback Product of the Week: 1994 TCM Santa Around The World

Yes folks, its an entire product based on Santa.  Believe it or not, but its not the only one either.  This product contains images of Santa from all over the world.  Santa from England may differ from Santa in Switzerland.  Its a very festive box of cards, and quite educational.  Each box contains 36 packs with 8 cards per pack.  The set contains 72 cards, and collectors can look for foils and 22 carat gold certificates.  I’m sure the certificates have expired by now.  Boxes can be found ranging from $10.00 to $20.00.


Filed under: Flashback Product of the Week

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps #225 Greg Vaughn

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, October 13, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps #225.
  • Player Name, position, team: Greg Vaughn, outfielder, Milwaukee Brewers.
    Major League Debut: August 10, 1989.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1988 stats (Brewers): 154 G, 569 AB, 97 R, 152 H, 28 2B, 2 3B, 30 HR, 97 RBI, 10 SB, .482 SLG, 89 BB, 118 SO, .267 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Brewers #4th (Special) June, 1986. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Vaughn’s fifth regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only, not including his 1990 Topps ’89 MLB Debut card). When I first started following baseball, many card companies touted Vaughn as the next big slugger for the Brewers. He was a “Future Star” in Topps 1990 set and by the end of the 1993 season, he had just finished his first All-Star campaign, pacing the Brew Crew with his 30 home runs and 97 rbi’s while manning left field. It certainly wasn’t his fault that the team finished in 7th place that year. But he and teammate Darryl Hamilton gave the team some solid offense during future HOF Robin Yount’s final stand in Milwaukee. The back of his card includes a picture of Vaughn relaxed during warmups. And why not. The bio on the back reads “Brewers’ leading home run hitter each of the last three seasons, (Greg) set personal highs in batting average and roundtrippers in 1993.” Vaughn played for 8 seasons with the Brewers before being traded in mid 1996 to San Diego. He never missed a beat playing in southern California. He even hit 50 home runs in 1998, which in a normal year would have led the majors in that statistical category. However, in the National League of 1998, 50 homers was only good for fourth place. Ouch. Vaughn continued his career with All-Star career with the Reds, Devil Rays, and Rockies before calling retiring in 2003. He finished his career with 355 home runs, 1072 rbi’s, a batting average of .242, and an OPS of .807. That, along with 4 All-Star selections, a Silver Slugger, and consecutive fourth place finishes in the MVP race, makes for a great career.
  • Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 25 cards.

Tomorrow’s card will be: Thursday: 2003 Topps #59. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.


JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps #404 Jim Edmonds

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, October 6, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps #404.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jim Edmonds, outfielder, California Angels.
  • Major League Debut: September 9, 1993.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (Angels): 18 G, 61 AB, 5 R, 15 H, 4 2B, 1 EB, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, .344 SLG, 23 BB, 16 SO, .246 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Angels #7th June, 1988. Bats: left, Throws: left.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Edmonds’ second regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). Edmonds was the Angels’ “Coming Attraction” in the 1993 Topps set, and what a future he would have in the majors. But before the defensive highlights, the four All-Star Game appearances, eight gold gloves, and World Series championship, he was a future star who made his debut after spending the last two years in the Angels minor league system in Canada (playing for Edmonton and then Vancouver the following year). As he didn’t have many highlights in the majors during the 1993 campaign, Topps wrote about a couple of his minor league exploits. Topps writes that Jim “enjoyed some explosive games with Vancouver in 1993, including one with 6 hits and two with 5-one of which featured 8 RBI’s). Obviously he’d have many more highlights in the majors to come, and he was still at it in the 2010 season, helping the Reds win the 2010 NL Central title, the teams’ first since 1995.
  • Beckett value: $0.20-$0.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 53 cards.

Tomorrow’s card will be: Thursday: 1982 Topps #92. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.


JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps Traded #93T Omar Vizquel

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, October 1, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps Traded #93T
  • Name, position, team: Omar Vizquel, shortstop, Cleveland Indians.
  • Major League Debut: April 3, 1989.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (Mariners): 158 G, 560 AB, 68 R, 143 H, 14 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 31 RBI, 12 SB, .298 SLG, 50 BB, 71 SO, .255 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Mariners as a Free Agent 04/01/1984. Traded by the Mariners to the Indians 12/20/1993. Bats: both, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Vizquel’s seventh regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only, does not include his 1990 Topps MLB ’89 Debut card). One thing I will always remember about the 1994 Topps design is that the frames, whether it was for baseball, football, or basketball, were easily recognizable shapes (a home plate for baseball, an oval for football, and a circle for basketball). They all used the same font for the player’s name, as well as the team name and position below it. In a trade along the lines of Ozzie Smith – Gary Templeton, the Seattle Mariners sent Vizquel off to Cleveland in exchange for shortstop Felix Fermin. While Fermin was a short term fix for the M’s, they had this wonderkind in waiting, some kid named Alex Rodriguez, waiting in the wings. With the shortstop of the future preparing for his debut in the foreseeable future, it was no problem for the Mariners to let Vizquel go. And what a team to send him to. The Indians of the mid 1990’s were as dominant as you could get. With a roster that included (not necessarily all at the same time) Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jim Thome, Matt Williams, Eddie Murray, Roberto Alomar, et. al. Is it any wonder why this team made it to two World Series in a three-year span in the 90’s? Vizquel however was hurt for most of the year, and only managed to play in 69 games. But he wound winning the first of eight straight Gold Gloves at the shortstop position.
  • Beckett value: $0.10-$0.30.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 49 cards.

Tomorrow’s card will be: 1992 Topps #303. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

1994 Pinnacle Doug Henry

Who is this? Omaha Royals pitching coach Doug Henry
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Pinnacle set
Where’d I get it? Back during spring training 2008, I wrote to Henry and asked him to sign this card. It took over two years, but I finally got it back earlier this month.
How much did it cost? The card came from a junk wax box I got for $8-$10.

Why is this so special? Check out the retro uniform, the great smile and the mustache. For a portrait shot baseball card, you can’t ask for much more.

Henry spent 11 seasons in the majors, with the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals. Though he was a middle reliever for most of his career, Henry came up as a closer with the Milwaukee Brewers. He saved 15 games in his rookie year and finished 8th in the 1991 AL Rookie of the Year voting even though he didn’t come up to the big leagues until after the All-Star Break.

Henry’s autograph simplifies a lot of the letters in his name, but you’d probably be able puzzle it out on a team-signed baseball or other generic item if you had some clues.

1994 Target A’s Pogs Giveaway

Here’s another odd Rickey items that I was finally able to obtain. Back during the pog craze of the early- to mid-1990’s, the A’s decided they wanted to get in on the act.These sheets of 6 pogs (or Collector Kaps in this instance) were given away at three separate A’s home games (series I, II, and III), or so I thought. Since there were 20,000 given away at the first game, I always wondered why I

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps Traded #39T Brian Hunter

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, September 9, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps Traded #39T.
    Player Name, position, team: Brian R. Hunter, first baseman-outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates.
    Major League Debut: May 31, 1991.
    Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (Richmond-AAA): 30 G, 99 AB, 16 R, 24 H, 7 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 4 SB, .495 SLG, 10 BB, 21 SO, .242 AVG.
    Any special information about player: Drafted by the Braves #8th June, 1987. Traded by the Braves to the Pirates 11/17/1993. Bats: right, Throws: left.
    Any special information about this specific card: Hunter’s third regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only, not including his 1992 Topps MLB ’91 debut card). Was it a rainy day in Pittsburgh when this shot was taken? The infield looks a lot wetter than usual on this card. You have to like the yellow swooshes on the baseball cleats. Goes well with the Pirates’ colors. Sometimes, you need a change of scenery to become a better ball player. Maybe it’s because you’re not doing well in your home park, maybe it’s because you’re so far behind in the depth chart that you’re riding the bench more than you’re on the field. Maybe you’re too good for the minors, but there really is no place to play you. So why not accept a trade to a place that will let you play every day. Sounds good, right? So what if you were told that you were being traded from the Braves, the juggernaut-to-be in the NL, to the Pirates, the soon-to-be perennial doormats? Well, if you’re Brian Hunter, you make it work. The Braves, who now had superstar Fred McGriff manning first, and a crowded outfield, sent Hunter to Pittsburgh for a minor leaguer after the season ended. The bio on the back of his card continues this story. “Brian…quickly won an every-day job and led the Bucs in HR’s and RBI’s at the All-Star Break.” Which would mean that all was well in the world. However, Hunter’s stay in Pittsburgh would be short. Because before the trading deadline, the Pirates dealt him to Cincinnati. And so began his journey through the majors. His baseball odyssey would eventually take him to Seattle, a return trip to Atlanta, and then to the Phillies. In between big league stops, he played for the AAA teams in Indianapolis, Tacoma, Calgary, Richmond, Syracuse, and Durham.
  • Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 6 cards.

Tomorrow’s card will be: 1980 Topps #456. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.


JayBee Anama

1994 Signature Rookies Draft Picks Doug Jennings

Who is this? former Oakland Athletics outfielder Doug Jennings

What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Signature Rookies Draft Picks set

Where’d I get it? A baseball card show dealer’s dollar box

How much did it cost? $1

Why is this so special? I remember Doug Jennings best from the final days of his career, when he was a player/coach for the Long Island Ducks in 2005. He is actually one of the best players in the independent league team’s history, probably not a mark that he ever wanted to achieve.

Jennings seems an odd choice for a draft pick set from 1994; he was a second round pick by the California Angels in the 1984 draft. By the time this card came out, Jennings had finished his entire 189-game major league career – though I’m sure he didn’t realize it.

Before he hung up his spikes, Jennings played in over 1600 minor league and independent league games. He also spent three years in Japan playing for the Orix Blue Wave. It might not have been the career that Jennings dreamed of when he signed his first pro contract, but it wasn’t a bad one.

Jennings had a fairly legible signature in 1994, though if I recall correctly it was looking a bit sloppier towards the end of his career.