Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1998 Pacific Aurora Cubes

I have no idea how I acquired this particular item. If you are not familiar with it, it is a cube which comes pre-assembled. Yes, it is already put together (or the one I have was anyway), so it is impossible (or close enough to it) to store it with the other cards in my binders. I am going to have to buy something to keep it in, or use a card storage box to keep my card "box" in... Yeesh... On the plus side, though, it makes for a very cool conversation piece! It features several different poses of the player, a list of recent stats, bio info, a little player blurb, and the card number with copyright info. I know very little about the set, so I do not know if they came pre-assembled or if I am one of the "lucky" people who received a card that was put together then glued for the posterity of it all... I think it has a nice mix of action shots and posed stills. It is colorful with just enough foil to keep your attention without being too gaudy (close though).

If you collect and you don't have any of these, I recommend grabbing some from eBay or Beckett. Your collection will thank you! :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Let the stupid headlines begin...

Shall we start with the obvious: "Sox Rock Rockies" or "Sox Blow Socks Off the Rocks" maybe? Oh, I can see them now... Copy editors (or whoever chooses headlines) were chomping at the bit to see which "witty" headline they could spew forth before some other paper does the same. In fact, by the time this is posted, there will already be stupid headlines all over the place.

You would think, since the Indians are in the AL, that I would *want* the Botox Bosox to win. Uhh... No. Congratulations, Sox, I hope you get your butts kicked next year - by the Tribe or ANYONE else! :-)

2007 Goudey Game-Used

I got home the other day, and when I checked the mail, I had a padded envelope waiting on me... That's as close to Christmas and birthdays as it gets... :-) I had forgotten about even having cards out there that I had ordered, except for the McDowell mini-poster, and I knew enough time hadn't passed for that to arrive yet. So when I opened the envelope, I felt like Sid in "Toy Story:" "It Came! It finally came!" It was the 2007 Goudey Grady Sizemore Game-used card. I don't know why I was so jubilant about getting this card, other than it seems like I had paid for it some time ago, and here it was. As you are most likely aware by now (assuming you have been reading along), I love the Goudeys and to get a Triber such as Sizemore in a game-used version (green back) is very cool.

I think my only complaint about the card is the blurb on the back: "...on the front of this card is a piece of memorabilia ... used in an official (MLB) game." So, what's the complaint? It is generic. I could have a bat, a ball, a jersey, pants, or even a friggin jock strap on there for all I know. Come on, man, spend the few extra cents and make a custom back for each KIND of G-U material being featured, ya know? Oh well, I suppose that is one of the many reasons I do not (yet) head up a card company...

Friday, October 26, 2007

1981 Topps Scratch-offs

If memory serves, I've owned these cards since they came out in 1981. I am surprised that I never separated them at the perforations, and even more surprised that I didn't play the game on the cards! The idea behind these was like lottery tickets for kids (hmm, maybe I could sue Topps for my scratch-off ticket "hobby"). The cards were supposed to be broken apart at the perfs, then divided up into two teams. Nine players on each team from the AL would face off against nine players from the NL in a nine inning baseball game. As each team came to 'bat,' the collector would scratch off one spot. According to the rules on the back (paraphrasing), "Base runners advance one base on a ground out and single, two bases on a double, and three on a triple. There is no advancing on a fly out or strike out. There are no double or triple plays."

So, on the backs of the cards, you find place to write the line-up number of the player (Topps assumed that people would lose their place during a game, or perhaps in test marketing, people DID lose their places). The "top" card listed the rules of play. The "middle" card of the unbroken trio provided a scoreboard in which to record runs and hits. The "bottom" card contained various offers from Topps, like the plastic-shelved "Sports Card Locker" (which I owned at least two that I remember), or the "#445 Ball-Strike Indicator" - a perfect 'tool' for keeping up with you scratch-off game or when you were odd man out in a pick-up game and had to play ump... At least you could "look" official..

I find it funny that for all the explaining they do, as if we collectors don't know anything, no where on any card is it indicated whether the team is AL or NL. Now, I know, most people who collected would know that, but when the rules detail how to scratch off a circle, yet the card does not tell you which league the featured player is in, I really gotta wonder....

As for the photos themselves: I think some of these guys would have made great candidates for Thorzul's 1981 Topps competition (Which, Al Hrabosky won by the way). Cecil Cooper sports not only the 80's ultra-cool beard and 'stache, but he tops it off with those specs! Is it just me, or does Super Joe seem to be squinting in nearly every baseball card ever made of him? I'll have to do a study in a future post on that one.... Manning, on the other hand, has that usual, "Hey, I'm Rick Manning, and I am COOL" look.. LOL. Mike Hargrove has always looked like a manager/coach to me. Even in his rookie days, there is something about him that says, "I play, but my real dream is to manage..."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

1967 Topps Pin-ups

There are/were 32 5"x7" thin paper photos in the 1967 Topps Pin-ups set. Of those 32, Wagner and Sam McDowell were the only Indians. I do not have the McDowell in hand yet, but I've got one coming in the mail! :-) These 5x7's are on SERIOUSLY thin paper. It would not take much to have these things rip, especially along the factory-made creases. The one I have is in pretty good shape, considering. Wagner's pose makes it hard to tell if he is happy to be having this picture taken or not. He almost pulls off a "Mona Lisa" with that smirk. The VERY light blue facsimile autograph is hard to see with the green grass, but overall, I think it's a nice oversized item.

Just for the record, there is a Joe Torre version of the '67 Poster/Pin-up out there, for anyone who is interested... There is also supposedly a version of the Roberto Clemente 5x7 that is not only unnumbered, but is printed on heavier stock. I bet it has serious creasing issues....ouch!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not (quite) Tribe Time Now...

Okay, let me get this off my chest, and then it will be time to move on: It was, apparently, NOT Tribe Time Now. I watched as the Indians came close to tying the game (of COURSE Skinner should have sent Lofton home, DUH!) and continued to watch as the Red Sox put their collective foot on the gas pedal, burning rubber and leaving my beloved team in the dust.

The players and administrators of the Red Sox surprised me with their remarks, talking about how classy the Indians are, what a great TEAM they are, how hard a fight there was. Frankly, I was surprised. I expected trash-talkin' and gloating. Of course the Sox celebrated, but they did it while tipping their hats to the Tribe.

I wanted the Indians to win. It's been a long time since I watched as many games as I did this year, especially during the post season. Ryan Garko has a blog at MLB, and the comments left by the readers are touching and sometimes poignant. Yeah, there are some stupid people cussing and gloating or whatever, but for the most part, Indians fans and Red Sox fans congratulated Garko and the Tribe for an incredible ride this season. A couple people even admitted to crying after they knew it was over, even before the final out.

There is something special about being a fan, a true-blue fan, of a team - whether baseball, football, pro or semi or college. Even though you may not have any real bearing on the game or the players, you FEEL like you do. You feel as if those folks are a part of you, and when you see them with tears running down their cheeks after a tough loss or you see them dancing like maniacs after a victory, it is as if you are there with them, sharing in their pain or joy.

I have been a Cleveland Indians fan for many years, most of my life, really. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and though the Pirates have a special place in my heart, nothing compares to the attachment I have to the Tribe. After Game 4, I saw my team change. Something happened, and though they tried to get passed it, they never did. That is not to say our guys did not play hard. Not at all! They played their hearts out, but were ultimately unmatched. I have loved the Tribe though pretty rotten years (can anyone say 1980's?), and through some pretty great years. I will always be a fan of the Tribe. Get some rest, boys - let's get back here next year!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


It's Tribe Time Now!

Isn't that the mantra we've been spouting for at least a month and half now? We are Tribe fans, for crying out loud (which many of us are doing lately). It's Tribe time now. Perhaps the watch needs to be wound (a reference I fear may be lost on some), but I believe it IS that time. I tried to find a cute picture of a wagon with the wheels coming off, and being unsuccessful at that, opted to look for ANY picture of wheels coming off of ANYTHING, I decided that the few pictures I found were neither cute nor any good. I have decided that means the wheels AREN'T coming off the Tribe, and that they will return to playing ball following the extrusions of their craniums from their posterior orifices (yet another reference which may be lost on some).

As this IS a space about Indians baseball cards, tonight I offer up a few Lofton cards (though it wasn't until I had scanned them that I realized they were mostly UD.. Oh well..)

Batting: Showing us all that he does what he does. When I get a 200x card of him in Indians garb, I can easily add it here, and I hope it shows him in action. Not many players can play as well as he has, regardless of age.

Running: Even when the Tribe was down 4-1, or 10-1 for that matter, Lofton hustles - whether down the first base line or between the bases!

And, since the announcers can't seem to let go of Lofton's basketball "career," I offer you, the reader, this little gem:

Friday, October 19, 2007

1998 Indians Team Set Proofs

I purposely left this one in a 1024x768 format in case you wanted more detail than what I usually provide. So, if you click on it, you'll get the "big" version...

I found this while I was looking for something else, but once I saw it, I knew I had to add it to my collection. The main thing that drew me in was the players shown in the proof sheet. Though I love the Tribe dearly, I have often quipped that the Indians are the farm team of the MLB. I mean that most of the players that either are GOING to be superstars or who once WERE superstars (or even "commonstars" to borrow the term), seem to find their way through the Indians clubhouse at some point in their careers. Ramirez, Sexson, Shuey, Smiley, Thome, Vizquel, Wright. Heck, some would throw Wilson and Plunk in there as well. Sorry, but Villone's name and career escapes me (and a quick perusal of Wikipedia tells me why).

The photos themselves look like something from a Studio set, or maybe even a Wheaties rendition of the team's top players of the day.

I am assuming that "Need Ramirez Cover 1,2,3,4" refers to programs maybe, that is a pure guess (or better a W.A.G). Since I do not have the entire collection of these, I also assume that the command, "Don't Lose Rest of Pictures" means whoever is in charge of these should hang on to all the players' photos, even though Manny's is the only one specifically called out on this sheet. Then again, perhaps the person responsible for upkeep and organization of the photos already misplaced some, and this was a stern warning (emphasis on REST OF)! :-)

I love collecting things like this because, to me, it represents some of the "behind the scenes" goings-on that make our hobby the great thing that it is. In the future, I'll post some scans of a few Pacific slides of Kenny Lofton (I believe) that were once considered possible candidates for card photos... Very cool stuff! :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Caution: Sporadic Posts Ahead

I will be in Nashville, TN, dur the week of October 15. My posts will may be sporadic, not that they aren't as it is... :-)

2001 UD SP Legendary Cuts

The older I get, the more I have come to enjoy cards featuring the players that starred in the game before I was there to watch them. The 2001 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts are nice cards, though a bit heavy on the gold foil. Still, surrounding great players with gold is a nice tribute. The cards feature the SP logo in the upper left corner, a gold border all the way around the card, and an inset 'frame' of gold with the players in black-and-white. Below the player pictures, the name is in gold, as is the Cleveland "C" logo. In white, the years of MLB play are below the players names, and beneath the "C" is the position the player held. On the back, a grey "sunburst" effect with a blue inset area featuring the player's name, biographical stats, a paragraph about the player, and their lifetime MLB totals adorn the card. The top of the back of the card features the Indians logo, expect on Flick's card, which features the collegiate-style "C" of the day...

The writing on the back is full of alliteration: "Feller's Fastball" and "Fleet-Footed Flick." Of these three, Feller is one the one I am most familiar with, so it was fun learning more about the others.

These three have been a part of my vocabulary since I was about 5 or 6 years old. They are among some of the first Indians I knew about, despite the fact that I was 5 or 6 in about 1975. I had just started liking baseball, and was beginning my love for the Tribe. Throughout my youth, I had other teams that I liked a lot... Mets, Phillies back in the powder blue/maroon days, the Pirates (I was born and raised there after all, and we're talking about the time when they were the hot team, or becoming the hot team), and the A's. But, no matter what teams I liked, I always loved the Tribe as "my" team. I can remember grabbing onto Boureau's name because it sounded so foreign to a kid from the 'Burgh...

Satchel Paige. Not until I was older did I know about his being an older rookie in MLB. It's amazing that today (well, not exactly today!), he would be 101...

On another note, the Tribe got their butts handed to them in game 1 against the Red Sox. But, seeing as it *IS* "Tribe Time Now," they came up with an amazing (and record-setting) 7-run 11th inning that carried them on to tie the ALCS, and get them back home to Big Jake! I was really worried for a while there, and of course never expected a run-away inning like the 11th! Statistically, by the numbers, Boston looks much MUCH better than the Indians on paper (and in many ways on the field), but the Indians are doing a killer job of sticking in there. During one interview, I heard one of the Tribe say they were playing as a team, that they saw themselves as a team. In today's world of "me, me, me" free agency, it's refreshing to hear a player say that about the team he is on. Though, for the most part, I believe that's how the Indians have always seen themselves - as a team... Or maybe that's how I'VE always seen them, anyway....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

1974 Topps Stamps

I don't know where my fascination with stamps and stickers comes from. Perhaps I was denied such pleasures as a child, or maybe I was punished for peeling them and sticking them to walls of the house, who knows. Nonetheless, stamps (that is, baseball players done on stamps) have the same draw on me today as they did when I was a kid.

Gamble is ALL 70's - from the afro sticking out from every possible direction from under his hat, to his 'stache. Hendrick, on the other hand, takes the super-groomed, clean cut approach. Gaylord Perry has that, "Where is your mother?" look on his face. As long as I can remember, Perry always looked older than he was - maybe thew wisdom beyond his years....

Charlie Spikes fits somewhere between Gamble and Hendrick on the grooming scale - clean cut with the Elvis sideburns. Tidrow basically sports the same look a lot of players give when posing for their pictures. Bell seems a little confused, yet somehow confident. I was a huge Bell fan as a kid.

Chambliss looks like he is ready to take someone down, while Duffy has the classic Duffy look... I'm not sure what's going on with Duncan, though really, he is showing the classic "bigger white guy" look of the 70's...

Ellis is trying to look tough, but I don't think he quite pulls it off here.

I realize it sounds as if I am bad-mouthing my beloved team's players. I am trying to evaluate their pictures in relation to the era in which they were taken. Some players, like Gamble, Duffy, and Bell, maintained basically the same look for their entire career. Even before this picture was posted, had I said "Oscar Gamble," you would have most likely thought of the guy with the 'fro. Duffy? The guy in the glasses... and Bell is the toe-headed wonder of the Tribe.

I was about 5 or 6 when these stamps were issued, and so far as my memory serves, I never bought them or even saw them in the card store. These were added to my collection this past summer, during my quest to get my collection entered into a database. The program I use is "Card Collector 7," which comes pre-loaded with a ton of sets. As I entered my cards, I would browse the other editions of cards during that time or by that manufacturer and discover worlds of cards I had not seen before. That, of course led me to buying the ones I "needed" to fill my collection... It is a bittersweet addiction, this baseball card thing.... :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

2007 A&G Trot Nixon G-U Bat

When I checked the mail yesterday, the empty box reminded me it was Columbus Day on Monday. Whoop-dee-doo... So, when I opened the mailbox today (Tuesday), I was glad to see a familiar manilla padded envelope with my name on it. Of course, I couldn't remember what I had bought recently, so opening it was a lot like Christmas. Sure enough, I pull out a 2007 Allen and Ginter's Trot Nixon Game-Used bat card. Very nice, especially with the post-season play he has had so far! :-)

The card itself is in that weird floral and gold border that is too big for the mini card inside. I am not a fan of this design at all. Why did Topps leave "floating space" around the card? Are we supposed to keep the card in this "protector?" Well, I do, but mainly because it helps the card fit into my pocket pages better.. :-)

The bat itself is exposed through a window in the mini card which is (somewhat) aligned to a window in the framed protector. The bat is not glued or attached to the card at all, and slides freely in the provided space on the mini card.

I like that Nixon has the bat in his photo planted on his shoulders, running behind his head. That's a nice touch on a G-U bat card.

The back of the card is the obligatory "We certify this is a ... blah-blah..." Seriously. Can we not put stats or a bio or some little fact back there? I mean, really....

Oh well, aside from my few complaints about the A&G cards in general, I am very happy with my newest acquisition!

Monday, October 8, 2007

It's Tribe Time Now!


The Tribe takes out the Yankees in a ALDS Game 4 win, 6-4! Sizemore's 1st inning, 1st batter home run was awesome. Not in the "Man, did you see how far that thing went!?" sense of awesome, but rather in the, "Talk about setting the tone!" kind of way. I admit, by the third inning, I was switching between "Independence Day" and the game because it was dragging. I don't think I have seen such a slowly played ballgame in quite some time. Of course, it was worth the wait!

Part of the slow pace was due to Byrd's pitching, and it earned him the Chevy Player of the Game. Yeah, he gave up a couple runs, but he also pitched one helluva game!

Now, the question on all (okay, maybe just most) Tribe fans' minds is how well will the Tribe fare versus the Sox? It will not be easy. I'm not saying the Yanks were easy, but all-tolled, it was a pretty easy run for our guys. I think we had better bring a better game than we played during these last two, or we'll be gone before we get there.... Having said that, however, I whole-heartedly BELIEVE!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Flaming Balls

I have stacks (and stacks, and stacks, and stacks) of duplicate Tribe cards. Today, following the utter humiliation suffered after the loss to the Yankees on Sunday, I randomly picked up a small stack, cut the cards, and chose the card at the split. Fittingly, it is the 1991 Score Dream Team card of Doug Jones.

I want to know what was going through the heads of the various people involved here... Take a walk down imaginary lane, if you will....

Photographer: "Okay, Doug, we need you to stare at the ball. Pretend you're "The Thinker" and you're thinking about your next heater..."

Jones: "What? Couldn't I just sit here and pretend to be Alan Jackson?"

Photog: "Who?"

Jones: "You know, that country singer. I like his 'stache..."

Photog: "Whatever. We're going to airbrush a flame coming out the ball after we're done."

Caterer/Intern: "Oh-mah-gawsh! Like, you mean, he'll be holding a flaming ball!? Yummy!"

Jones: "What!? A flaming ball!? No friggin way!"

Photog: "Not like that, Doug. Like a super-hot fastball... A heater! (lowers voice) Shut up, Alejandro!"

Jones (to team attorney): "Is this really in my contract!?"

Attorney: "Well, you see, the thing is... it is not specifically NOT in your contract..."

Photog: "It'll be 'tastefully done' and we're using black & white film!"

Jones: "Good God! I'm holding a flaming ball AND it's in black & white!? There goes my career...."

On the other hand, the fact that the Indians went down in flames tonight (Sunday) and that I picked a card bearing a flame seems a little more than just a coincidence.....

Friday, October 5, 2007


I thought it appropriate that I received a pair of 2002 Fleer Jacobs Field cards yesterday in the mail! (Note, my card is not cut like the scan, my scanner did that) What follows is one of those "amazingly stupid coincidence" lists:
  • I received TWO of these (one is the Gold version),
  • The year on the card is TWO thousand TWO,
  • I couldn't post it last night, so I posted this after game TWO of the alds,
  • Indians won TWO to 1 tonight,
  • I should have ended this list with only TWO points!!

I like stadiums cards almost as much as I like team cards. I just think it is very cool to have a card-sized photo of the stadium where one's favorite team plays. I usually prefer that the checklist on the back actually reflect the team's stadium on the front, but oh well... :-) Since I live in Arkansas, I have not yet made the "pilgrimage" to The Jake, but I will one day!!