Saturday, May 31, 2014

State of the Redbirds

OK, let me say this straight off-I am not a fair weather fan but I do expect quality play, nay I am used to quality play. This year's version of the Birds isn't quality. Yeah sure they are over .500 (but barely) but their record doesn't reflect how bad they are. Let us review the year so far; can't hit home runs, can't hit with runners in scoring position, pitchers can't work smoothly through the later innings, Shelby Miller is over rated, Trevor and Carlos aren't relief pitchers, and Peter B can't hit a lick so to speak. They gave away the last game of the Yanks series, no way they should have won. They also gave away the first game of the Giants' series, again Giants shouldn't have won. The Birds are bringing up Oscar Taveras but I fear he can't save them. I am also starting to doubt that Mike can manage. For example, I can't for the life of me understand why he isn't having Peter B bunt for a hit every single at bat since again he can't hit for crap but is fast as a rabbit.

So today's game might be the last I watch for sometime, and the only reason I am watching is to see Oscar Taveras. In 2011 my wife and I stopped watching in early July 'cause they stunk. Who knows we may do the same thing this year.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

An interesting contest for all you college baseball fans

Autographed Cards is having a contest to pick college baseball teams for their World Series. I love this idea as it beats the March Madness pick 'ems. I didn't see any Missouri teams. Good Luck!

STL MLB Player of the Week #15

In honor of the Yankees interleague visit to STL the player of the week is Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra. Yogi was born in “The Hill” part of STL. Originally this area was where the Irish settled, then Spanish folks, and finally Italians. This is where Northern Italians immigrated to including Yogi’s Milanese parents. I am half Sicilian and Little Sicily was located in the area where the Rams play in the What Ever it is Now Called Dome. If you ever visit STL The Hill is great place to walk around eat canolli from Missouri Baking Co., shop for some salciccia (sausage) and salumi at Volpi (which I can buy here in CA which is nice), or sit down for a really good meal. Again, I digress so back to Yogi.  Oh wait a further digression; I went to college with one of his great nephews. The Berra family is prominent in STL.

Yogi began playing in the local American Legion league and it was during his time in this league he received his nickname from fellow player Bobby Hoffman who thought he looked like a Hindu Yogi because of the way he would sit with his legs crossed when he was waiting to bat or when his team lost.  In 1942 the Cardinals passed on Berra and signed his best friend Joe Garagiola. Yogi was signed by the Yankees soon after and then World War II happened. Yogi was in the Navy and was a gunner and was part of the D-Day invasion flotilla. Following WWII he played in the minors with the Newark Bears and played in seven games with the Yanks in 1946.

I can go on and on about Yogi but I will let his accomplishments speak for itself. During his playing career he was in 14 World Series (10 WS wins), hit the first pinch hit home run in a World Series (1947), 15 time All-Star, three time MVP (1951, 1954, and 1955), and he caught Don Larson’s perfect game in the 1956 WS. His career stats are as follows; he played in 2120 games, had 8359 plate appearances, scored 1175 runs, had 2150 hits, 358 home runs, 30 stolen bases, 704 walks, .285 batting average, .348 on base %, and a .830 OPS. He had a career .998 fielding %, caught 403 would be base stealers and allowed 426 stolen bases.


Yogi hung up his playing cleats following the 1963 World Series. Following this World Series he managed the Yanks in 1964 to the World Series but after losing to his hometown team he was fired. In 1965 he became a player manager for the Mets then after this he coached 8 more seasons with them. In 1972 following the sudden death of the Gil Hodges he was named the Mets’ Manager. He managed the Mets to a World Series in 1973 but the Mets blew 3 games to 2 lead and the A’s took home the title. In 1975 he was fired and his managerial career was over. With the Mets he had a record of 298-302. However he became the manager of the Yanks for the first 16 games of the 1985 season but "The Boss" fired him. He would later become a bench coach with the Astros. In 1972 he was elected the Baseball Hall of Fame. Montclair State University opened up the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center and the Yogi Berra Stadium which is home of the New Jersey Jackals and Montclair State University baseball teams in Upper Montclair, New Jersey in 1998 Yogi’s son Dale was a MLB player and his son Tim played with the Baltimore Colts. Yogi is still kicking and currently lives in New Jersey. Here are his 1948 Bowman rookie, his 1949, 1950, and 1951 Bowmans, and his 1982 Donruss. I guess if money wasn't an issue I would collect the Bowman sets which are so classic.




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Better than a Blaster #4

Description of lot from eBay.



“This is a huge lot of 500+ St. Louis Cardinals cards from 1976 to 2007. 30+ years of Cardinals with NO DUPLICATES!

The lot contains the following Hall of Famers:
Ozzie Smith, Whitey Herzog, Joe Torre, Red Schoendeist, Stan Musial, Joe Garagiola
It contains the following Superstars and future Hall of Famers:
Mark McGwire, Lee Smith, Chris Carpenter and more.
Please see scans. The cards in the scans are the actual cards you will receive, no stock photos here!
COULD NOT FIT ALL THE CARDS IN SCANS, THERE WAS JUST TOO MUCH GREAT STUFF!

This is a great lot for any Red Birds fan you know.”

Number of cards in lot: 517
Cost of lot with shipping: $15.95
Cost per card of unneeded cards (274): .06 cents per card.
Quality: 1.5 Blasters
Value: 1.5 Blasters
Expectations: 1 Blasters


I guess I am getting to the point where large card lots of Cardinals cards may not be the best way to obtain new cards unless the they are "cheap". I purchased this lot based on the assumption, as indicated by the description, it would include cards from the late ‘70s through 2007. With the exception of one card from 2007 (Fleer Jason Isringhausen) there were no cards 2000 or later. I believe the description was misleading. On the bright side I was able to add 274 cards to the collection but at 6 cents a pop for junk wax it was no bargain. Now granted if I needed all of the cards the price would have been 3 cents. So I have no issue with this because as I said before lots may not be the way to go for large numbers of Cardinals cards. However there were some highlights in the lot including:
1997 Circa #310

1996 Leaf Studio #96 Brian Jordan

1985 Topps AndyVan Slyke

1999 Studio Club Darren Oliver

I really like the mid to late '90s higher end cards for their beauty, their design, and their photography. I can't complain too much buying cards at a nickel per, but I can complain that I was expecting cards through the 2000s which I need more of. All in all this lot gets 1.3 blasters out of 3.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yadi card of the week #16

Hey readers I apologize for the highly (?) anticipated Yadi card of the week but I was recently promoted and the time I spend writing my weekly entries before I start has been reduced but I hope this gets less so in the future. So with out much ado here is the Yadi card of the week. This week’s card is the 2005 Bowman Draft #BDP17, which includes the chrome version as well.  This was one of the first cards we picked up for our collection. The photo is what I call of the mug shot variety. A Birds on the Bat on up shot of Yadi in the home whites framed in black with his name along the bottom in a silver box, the Bowman logo in the type left corner and Bowman Chrome in the bottom right corner. I really don’t care for this picture because it looks like it was taken in a closet. However the reverse of the card makes up for dial it in front. The rear has a background of brown and an action shot of Yadi in a small box to the right of some really good information on Yadi. His name in in the top left corner above the Bird of the Bat and his vitals to the right of this. At the bottom are his 2004 MLB stats. His 2004 stats are as follows he played in 51 games had 151 plate appearances, scored 12 runs, had 36 hits, 13 walks, 20 Ks, with a batting average of .267 and a an OPS of .684.  Defensively he caught 344 innings with a fielding % of .993, 9 stolen bases against, with 8 would be base stealers thrown out.



The draft issue comes in several parallels including gold (have), and white (have). Whole the chrome issue comes in gold, refractor, x-fractor (have), and blue refractor. A have seen a few blue versions on eBay but they are out of my price range. Also, late last year the 1/1 red version came up on the bay and went for over $100.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

A little Yadi beefcake

I came across this beefcake shot of Yadi when looking for images of this week's Yadi card and thought t would be a good way to start the day.

STL MLB Player of the Week #14

Our STL player of the week is the veteran hurler Mark Buehrle. Mark is a World Series champion and he is having a very good 2014 season. Technically he is not from STL but from nearby St. Charles. This would be San Carlos for our readers in CA. Any who St. Charles is a nice city to visit, as this was our first state capital and still retains many of the colonial French homes and other buildings in their historic downtown. Mark Alan Buehrle was born March 23, 1979. He grew up a huge Cardinals fan and attended Francis Howell North H.S where he was cut from his school’s baseball team his sophomore year. What? I wonder if he ever goes back and sticks his tongue out at ‘em. Following graduation he attend Jefferson Community College in Hillsboro, MO. Jeff CO as it is called, as always been a very good baseball school.  The Chicago White Sox eventually chose Mark in the 38th round of the 1998 draft. Mark started with Single-A Burlington Bees and had a record of 7-4 with an ERA of 4.10; in 2000 he was 8-4 with a 2.28 ERA with Double-A Birmingham Barons. As a result of this season he was named the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher.


Mark made his major league with the big club on July 16,2000 as a relief pitcher. He threw one inning against the Brewers and gave up one run. Mark joined the Sox rotation the following year going 16-8 with a 3.29 ERA. He threw three complete games and a one hitter against the Angels of wherever. Over the next five years he became one of the most consistent starters in baseball. In 2005 he would be named an American League All-Star and was the starting pitcher in the All-Star game after Roy Halladay couldn’t make the start. In the AS game he threw two innings, struck out three, and allowed no runs, which earned him the victory. The White Sox in 2005 would go one to win the World Series and during their post-season run Mark would pitch a complete game in the ACLS and a no decision in Game 2 of the World Series and his first career save in Game 3.

                                                             2000 Fleer Tradition RC

He would have his first losing season in 2006 and would throw a no-hitter against the Rangers on April 18, 2007. In 2009 he was chosen to represent the White Sox in the ASG where he threw a perfect third inning. Still in 2009 he would throw a perfect game on July 23, 2009 against the Rays. In 2010 he would win his second Gold Glove being the only pitcher in MLB history to throw multiple no hitters and win multiple Gold Gloves. On December 7, 2011 Mark signed a four-year deal with the Miami Marlins where he went 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA and 125 Ks in 2012. However, this would be his only season with the Fish as he was part of blockbuster trade to the Jays on November 19,2012. Along with Mark the Jays got Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, and Emilio Bonifacio. In return the Fish got among others Adeiny Hechavarria and Yunel Escobar. In 2013 he had a record of 12-10, had an ERA of 4.15, and 139 Ks. It looks like his 2014 will be even better as he carries a record of 8 and 1 in 10 games, 2.16 ERA, 40 Ks, and 18 walks, with only two homes runs given up.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Better than a Blaster #3

Better than a Blaster my childhood/teen edition

The eBay description: "A 105 card St Louis Cardinals Topps baseball card lot consisting of 11 1977. Including Gary Templeton rookie card.  13. 1978. 21 1979. And 34 1980 the 26 1981(3 Jim Kaat  bonds  2 Ted Simmons  near mint -mint inc Keith Hernandez  . The 1980 are near mint. Most of cards are nice."
Number of cards in lot: 106 minus double and ones we have gave us a total of 95
Cost of lot with shipping: $9.99
Cost per card of unduplicated cards: 8.4 cents per card.
Quality: 2.5 Blasters
Value: 3 Blasters
Expectations: 2.5 Blasters
Over All: 2.67 Blasters

OK, now I have some of these already but since I was 9 when the 1977 Topps came out these and a few subsequent years’ cards are in fairly bad shape from endlessly flipping through them. Having said that I decided to gamble on this lot of those cards I wore out. How was it? Well the lot did contain 106 cards; 14 1977, 13, 1978, 21 1979, 32, 1980, and 26 1981.  The description indicated near mint, well that was a stretch since they were nearly all bent as if they were in binder pages. All in all the cards were in very good condition, some had creases, and slight bends. However, they are an upgrade on what I have and filled in the checklist for these years.

What are some of the highlights?
                                           1977 Topps Gary Templeton rookie cup card.
                                               1977 Bake McBride (Gotta love the hair)
1978 Bob Forsch (Bob died around the time of the 2011 World Series, a loss for Cardinals’ Nation)
                                           1978 Jerry Mumphries (more hair goodness)
                                                  1979 Ted Simmons (should be in the HOF)
                                                              1980 Keith Hernandez
                                                      1980 Steve Swisher (Nick’s pops)
                                                     1981 Jim Kaat (Kitty Kaat rules!)
Besides reminding me of my youth gone by I am glad I picked up this lot but the only bummer is it reminded me how bad the Topps issues were in ’78 and ’79. I wish they were indeed in near mint this would have given it 3 blasters for fulfilling my expectations.