Thursday, June 30, 2011

Don Kelly for AL Cy Young

The Tigers have been getting rocked by the Mets. What a terrible time to meet the Mets, when the bats are swinging and everyone's on fire. They scored a blurbillion runs against us in two games. It's just painful to watch them beating up on our pitchers. Well, not all of our pitchers.

This guy put a stop to those Mets:

Last night, Don Kelly exceeded his role as utility everything and emergency catcher by pitching. He lit up the radar at 86, I think, at one point. Not too bad, Donnie boy. He only faced one batter, and ended up popping him out to end the inning. The crowd went wild, heckling the ump for calling any balls on him. At least there was something to cheer about.

And I'd like to thank Donnie for paving the way for the win for Verlander today, ending the Mets hot streak.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Pair of Autos

I'm always looking for cheap autos at a card show. They make for good trade fodder, and who doesn't like an auto? I picked up a few a while back from one of my favorite dealer's blowout box. Here's the first one:

It seems like Gorkys was a big deal a few years ago. I think he's with the Indians now, still hammering away in AAA. But he was a Tiger first, so that was reason enough to pick up the card. Plus, these 2007 Triststar autos just look great, a card with a thick white matte, just begging for a signature. Gorkys is still a young fella, at 23, and he's still pulling a respectable batting average. He'll likely get his cup of coffee yet.

I found another one of these Tristar autos in the blowout box:

Well, here's a fella that's actually made it to the majors, a rookie of the year, at that. Chris has a lovely loopy signature. It seems only the loops matter, and I read here: Chi Gill. Chi Gill is also the name of a special kind of fish that gathers life force through his gills while holding the Mantis Pose. This Chi Gill might not be gathering enough Jedi power for an amazing offensive year with the Marlins, but he does have 20 doubles. And especially of note is his 1.000 fielding percentage. I don't follow the Marlins much, but Chris often seems to show up on the highlight reel. I won't say he's the best center fielder out there, because, you know, Austin Jackson and all. But he's OK, I guess.

I dig both of these cards, but if you dig them more and have something I might like, make me an offer.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Since Kirk Gibson is back by to visit Detroit, I thought the Vealtones should welcome him. I'm not happy about his Diamond Backs beating us last night, but at least it was a close game and some good damn baseball.

He's assembled quite the coaching staff, full of all-stars and award winners. Best of all, he kept Trammell with him. In fact his coaching staff would still make a good baseball team: Charles Nagy, Don Baylor, Eric Young, Matt Williams. You look at that roster and can imagine why Arizona is doing so well.

In honor of the Gibby, here's a few scraps of his jersey:

2 out of 4 scraps ain't bad. I picked this up at a card show for 2 bucks, and I couldn't be happier. These Legendary Cuts cards look great. Often, these relic cards make the player picture tiny, but the Gibson picture is just right here. A young Gibson, before the mullet and mustache, looking legendarily full of promise. Here's to a good season, Gibby. Now let us win tonight, and maybe we'll see you again in October.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nolan Ryan Rocks a Duster

I'm not necessarily a Nolan Ryan collector, yet who can turn down a Nolan Ryan card when they find one in the dime box? It's especially hard to turn one down when they're as garish as this:

I look at this card and think of the designer. You can just tell he thought this was the coolest card ever made. We have the sweet profile art of Nolan's stare. Standing on his shoulders are the angel and devil Nolans. The angel is all business, working into the windup, saying, OK, we have 300 wins. Now let's get back to work. And then there's the devil wearing his sweet duster and stetson hat, and he just wants to shoot some shit.

The "Nolan" font at the top screams early '90s radicalness. And the designer couldn't refrain from even making 300 cooler by putting some baseballs in the zeros.

Yep, it's a pretty terrible card, but terrible in a great way for those of us who stumbled upon collecting in the junk wax era.

The real reason I'm posting this card is that I can't figure out what the hell it is. There's nothing to reveal the maker on the front, and here's the back:

It lists some of Nolan's notable numbers, but nothing to reveal the year. From the stats, I'd guess 1991. But no copyright date, no brand markers. What the hell is this thing? I did a similar post about an odd promo Ripken card a while back, and Ryan over at This Card Is Cool responded in depth about the promo oddball craze of the early '90s. So maybe this is another one of those startup companies that never really existed. Anyone have any more info on this bad boy? Perhaps we can all just revel in the sweetness of mini devil Nolan in a duster.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bowman Heritage: Daisuke's Head in the Clouds

The only set I've really dedicated myself to finishing is the 2007 Bowman Heritage set. It was the last Bowman Heritage set, sadly, but with the last set, I think they really nailed it. Let's face it, 2006 Bowman Heritage was fugly. 

The design for '07, though, to me, is perfect. Simple, colorful, and it really has that heritage feel. One of the best design features is the backgrounds, and here's one of my favorite backgrounds and all-around card:

Besides the rookie card logo, this is a pretty perfect card. I'm not a huge fan of Daisuke, but '07 Heritage bought the hype by giving him the cloud background that makes him look like a towering god. The vintage Bowman cards often seemed to focus on creating a great contrast between player and background, and this card does just that. You also have to love the variety of backgrounds this set featured. A great background like this could have been used again and again until we were sick of it, but not in this set. This is the only cloud card, as far as I know. Just a killer design.

Is anyone else working on this set? I'm still looking for a few dozen more cards. Let me know if you have any to trade.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trade Post: BA Benny's Buffet of Pants

BA Benny recently contacted me after reading one of my trade bait posts. After some emails and a little banter about the best catcher of all-time (which is most certainly Ivan Rodriguez and not Mike Piazza), we got a trade going. What started out as a trade for a chunk of Shawn Green's bat for a scrap of Bonderman's pants turned into one of my best trades ever.

I'll start off with the Bonderman that initiated the trade:

I was happy to get this card, but the BA Benny Buffet had apparently had a smorgasbord of Bonderman pants.

Both great looking cards of a former Tigers pitcher. Bonderman lagged the last few years as a starter, so Leyland let him go and moved Coke over from relief, threw some Penny's at Mr. Penny, and now what's Bonderman doing? It looks like he's taking the year off. Apparently, he's been watching Tigers games longingly. It looks like he won't return to the Tigers, but I can't believe a team won't pick him up soon.

Back to the trade. As if two Bondermans weren't enough, I found this in the trade package:

A Tony the Tiger Clark on-card auto. Now this is a fantastic looking card. I love how the card leaves a massive amount of room for a signature, yet Tony relegates his inkredible ink to a tiny little corner. And I'm not sure what the background picture of the play at the plate has to do with Tony, since I think he mostly played first, but, hey, where doesn't a play at the plate look cool?

Perhaps the best card of the trade:

A Pudge jersey to boot. I'm always thrilled to pick up another one of these for the I-Rod player collection. Quite the gray theme going on with this card. I wish I had some Piazza pants to send BA Benny's way. I'll be looking.

BA Benny also did some work one my rookie collection:

I always liked Delgado, who I just realized was only 27 home runs shy of 500. And this is one of the less embarrassing looking pictures of a rookie from this set. Delgado opted for the uniform rather than the Hawaiian shirt or pleated khakis.

Here's a bit more of what Benny sent:

A bunch more Pudge cards for the player collection. He also sent some much-needed cards for the 2007 Bowman Heritage set list and much more, but I better stop here so I don't get carried away like in my Trade-o-rama post that was painful for readers and writer alike.

Thanks for the great trade, BA Benny. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mud Hens and I Storm Through Kentucky

I just got back from Kentucky, where I spent a week scoring a billion AP tests until my eyes bled. The best part of this job is always the kids who don't write anything and draw pictures instead. I'd describe these pictures, but the standardized testing behemoth that is ETS would hunt me down if I revealed anything. Seriously, scorers have been shipped off to gulags for spilling ETS secrets. I may have already said too much. Gulp...

Just take my word for it that some kids have a great sense of humor, even if they're throwing away college credit. Hey, college isn't for everybody.

But, yeah, this blog is for baseball cards and other such related business. So I thought I'd share the best part of my trip, which was going to a Louisville Bats game. I lucked out since they played the Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers' AAA team. The Mud Hens won, and I got plenty of dirty looks for cheering them on. Will Rhymes made some great plays at second and had a few nice hits. And guess who was batting cleanup.

Well, that's something I'd never see at a Tigers game. That's right, they had him swinging the big bat, and he was even DH-ing. Inge had a few nice hits, and seems to be rehabbing nicely from his bout with the kissing disease. We look forward to you coming home to third, little B.

I also got to see Ryan Perry pitch a beautiful ninth inning to earn the save.

Perry stuck around to sign after the game, but I didn't have a pen or cards. It was nice to see him mingling with the fans nonetheless.

Perhaps I could have picked up a few cards for him to buy since the stadium had a little stand that was selling cards. Basically, it was a square of glass cases full of Reds cards and a bunch of super over-priced high-end cards. Killebrew autos for hundreds, a Ripken rookie for $120, Bronson Arroyo commons for a buck a piece. I even saw a fella buy a base Drew Stubbs rookie for five bucks. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see cards selling for over Beckett price at a baseball stadium where a Bud Light costs six bucks. I didn't buy any beer, and I didn't buy any cards, but I saw a damn good game. And now I'm happy to be back in Michigan.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pluggin' Some Contests, Shamelessly

Just in case you missed the news, a great deluge of generosity has spilled across the blogosphere. There have been a ton of great contests lately, and here are two more excellent ones at:

This Card Is Cool

Buckeye State's Trading Post

What's on TV? Vintage Bowman!

I've been a fan of Bowman Heritage for a while, have been working on finishing up the '07 set. Since Topps ended Bowman Heritage I've had to find something better. And isn't vintage always better.

I picked up this pair from the woodgrain set off the ol' ebay for about a buck a piece shipped. 

Here's the first one:

Ned played fourteen seasons in the majors, five and a half of those with the Tigers. Sure, he's no hall-of-famer, but he had a very respectable 129 career wins and an All-Star game. Ned's action pose marks the classic vintage Bowman style, and of course he's a Tiger, so that makes this card a must-have.

The only bad thing is that we got Ned by trading for this dude:

Ned didn't pan out so great, but Vic came back for a double dip in 1961.

Vic wasn't the other card I got in this round; just a good excuse to show a great card again. Here's the second card I picked up in this deal:

Toby Atwell had a hell of a rookie year in 1952 and got an invite to the All-Star game, but he never lived up to that first year and retired after five seasons. So why did I pick up this card? I always like a good catcher card, especially one that features the full gear. Here, Toby's even reenacting an infield pop up. You gotta love the dramatics of these TV cards. It's something like taxidermy in the best way possible: obviously posed action, long-finished career-spans, all featured within a rustic wooden frame.

So the cards are in rough condition and certainly no hall-of-famers, but interesting and awesome nonetheless. It makes me miss Bowman Heritage a little less.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Trade-O-Rama: An Homage to Night Owl

Tonight's episode of Trade-O-Rama will be guest-hosted by Coot Veal and the Vealtones. The infamous Night Owl has given us the privilege and honor of playing the battle of the best card of the trade.

Well, let's get right into it. The Coot has a gig later at the Ice Pick, so let's get this show on the road.

Up first:

An intense contestant in Mr. Maybin painted by Dick. Some very nice artwork, as always, Mr. Perez.

The fine arts take on:

The Bestest Bowman. Magglio's locks contrast gloriously against faux refractor-ness. But, somehow, the refractor rainbows we love so well just don't mean as much when every card in the set shines the same.


Dick wins.

Next up:

A very shiny Peralta. Not very thrilling of a card, but an exciting action shot of his minimalist goatee. And Johnny's competition:

It's set versus set. Insert versus parallel. Shiny woodgrain versus woodgrain stained with Miggy's under-the-driver's-side-seat whiskey.

And the winner is:

Johnny flips over and shows us his gold-stamped numbers. Some bling to go with his shine edges win him the round.

Our next contestant:

Carlos fraternizing with the enemy. A dangerous move, but he hopes his golden bling will have the same effect as Peralta's. I'm numbered, too, he shouts through his high-five.

Cabrera warbles back onto the stage. The newsboy guides him by the elbow to his podium. Does he have a shot at redemption.


We can always give Cabrera another shot. And something happened on the day Cabrera was berfed into this world: Paul Revere began his ride. How splendidly patriotic of you, Miggy.

Next up:
Straight out of Night Owl's secret stash, the retro 1975 Topps comes on down. Fryman looks ready for anything here, even playing shortstop, even though he's a pitcher. Hm. Let's see his competition.

Wow, a very even match up here with the fruitiest color combo from the 1975 set: Brinkman framed in strawberry-grape. Brinkman's sweet glasses earn him some points.


Woodie's pose is more ridiculous, and he's sporting the same last name as Travis Fryman--a childhood hero of the judges. Woodie get the win.


It's chrome and it's a rookie and Boesch knows he's a favorite of the judges. The kid has a lot going for him, a bright future on this show and in the big show. Who could stand against him.

Bubba Trammell? What the what?! Interrobang?! It's the battle of the chrome rookies. Their cards are shiny, their careers full of potential frozen in time, concentration and grit smeared across their mugs. It's almost too close to call.

And then it isn't...

Because Bubba has a famous last name. His surname was shared by one half of the best double play duo of all time. Alan and Lou, we miss you.

And here's the man himself. Well, the man-boy here in his rookie card. He's all wrinkled up, his corners furry, and he's playing Jan to the Marcia, Marcia, Molitor in the top right corner.

Who would take advantage of a young, beat-up Trammell?

Ripken, how could you? We thought you were the most stand-up fella to ever play the game. Getting a little rough here, taking on an injured Trammell.

Does Trammell have a chance?

Indeed he does. Creases can't hold steal this win. Anyway, Cal got thrown out by your momma.

And the final pairing of the first round is:

Cal can't be kept down. He's back, wondering ponderously with bat squeezed at the unready. And he's up against:

Another Cal. It's Cal versus Cal. If he can't beat Alan he'll beat himself. Er, um.

Shiny running Cal edges ahead, but slow and steady contemplative Cal always wins in the long run.

Or does he...

Shiny Cal wins by an orange glove.

And that will do it for round one. Time to pay the bills: a note from our sponsor:


No Denny's!

We're back, folks. And apparently Denny's has bought a spot in round two:

Are we lazy and just couldn't come up with yet another pair of competitors? Certainly not. Are we sellouts catering to the corporate grease machine? No way. We love our Sland Grams as much as Cecil.

Who will face the Dennified Holographic Cecil Fielder in round two?

Dick returns. His brushstrokes are swirling and gray but does he have enough to take on high calorie junk wax?

Sorry, Dick. Even though we can hardly tell what the hell's going on in blurry Moons Over My Hammy hologram world, a Cecil will always trump a Maybin.

For the next matchup of round two:

Johnny P is back against:

Two strong Tigers bats, two beloved retro sets. It seems too close to call. It looks like it's going to come down to day's in history. Of course Miggy shares his berfday with Revere's Wild Ride. What about Johnny's special day? The British defeat the Argentines at the Battle of Goose Green on the same day that Peralta gurgles out his first infant cries. Well, despite your chrome-ness and blingy numbers, the judges are going with Revere, er Cabrera.


And we ride onward:

Wish-I-was-a-shortstop-Fryman returns to take on:

Angry-face Trammell.

Two great cards, twenty years apart. Bubba and Woodie--two great names.

And it all comes down to the name for the judges for this match...

Who would pick a Fryman over a Trammell? Sure, his name's not Alan, but it's enough to get him the round.

Who do we have next?

We were just talking about you, Alan. Have you met Bubba? Maybe later. Creasy Alan is looking tired. Will he be able to stand up to...

Brand new Wal-Mart Cal Ripken. Cal is crisp and shiny and smells like refractor. He has everything he needs to win this round.

What's this? A surprise cameo from Magnum PI! Well, with that kind of endorsement, there can be only one winner:

That does it for round two of Vealtones Trade-o-rama. But first Mr. Costello has a few words.

Our thrilling round three begins with Lenny's Ceecil.

That is, Denny's Cecil. Up against...

Revere's Miggy.

Cecil's card is full of muddled holographic action, while Cabrera's teaching us a thrilling bit of history, hustling through the streets of some picturesque colonial town. That's kind of 3D, right? Coot Veal nods yes, so Cabrera has it.

Next is a battle of the Trammells:

Bubba T and...

Alan T.

The same names, but we have all-star vintage here. Really, the judges can't believe the Bubb-ster has made it this far. And 1997 Bowman is the awkward gangly teenager of the Bowman designs. He's not sure what his body will do, what he wants to do with his life. Perhaps plastics. As Bubba and Bowman ponder...

Alan gets the win.

We want to get right on to our final round, but first, we must hear from wise Bip the baseball man.

It's the moment you've been anxiously waiting for. We understand your excitement, the tension running all the way from your white knuckles to your curled toes. The Vealtones are excited, too. Coot, however, is leaning coolly offstage, tapping his watch, because it's about time to get going to the next gig.

OK, Coot, we'll get on with it.

We see you, big guy. We love you in Detroit. And the blogosphere loves Allen & Ginter.

And the judges love '70s Brady Bunch rookies, especially ones featuring Alan Trammell and some guy named Paul Molitor. We all know the card is creased, worn as thin as a the lucky dollar Mickey Klutts stashed in the bottom of his cleats.

It's a tough decision. It's been a long night. I/you thought this post would never end, but, alas it must. So the winner is:

1978 extra-wrinkly Alan Trammell. The judges have been digging on those well-worn grooves this whole time. The wear actually rockets this 1978 back to a vintage feel of exactly 1949. It has actually become more vintage, and thus is the best Alan Trammell rookie card ever.

That does it for us.

Thanks to Night Owl for the great trade and for the inspiration to write this neverending post.