Wednesday, May 30, 2012

#76 Warren Cromartie, Expos

Card Front: A nice close up of Warren hanging out at the batting cage. I do remember the days of the satin jackets and always wishing I could own one as a kid. One thing I do miss about the Expos is the colorfulness of the uniforms. I loved the Red, White, and Blue caps, trying to decipher exactly what the logo was, and the classy powder blue road unis. Warren looks like he's contemplating where to go for dinner later...

Card Back: The beginnings of Warren's storied career. Did you know that the Expos were the fourth time he had been drafted from June of 1971 through January of 1973. Warren would stay in Montreal until the end of 1983 before doing the unheard of and signing with the Yomiuri Giants and spending 6 seasons in Japan. He was so good over there learning from manager Sadaharu Oh he would be the 1989 MVP. Warren would come back to be a Royal in 1991, but hung it up after the season.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: In Warren's first season North of the border in 1977, Warren had a big name teammate behind the plate in Gary Carter. Fifteen years later, in 1992 Gary would be back in Montreal with the Expos and play with Marquis Grissom. Marquis would move around quite a bit and be a member of the 2004 San Francisco Giants with pitcher David Aardsma. For the 2009 and 2010 seasons the DA was the closer for the M's. David had Tommy John surgery for 2011 and is in the Yankees system now.

Blog related to the team: I don't know if it is because they have left Montreal, played in Puerto Rico, and eventually became the Nationals, but where are all the Expos fans?? I have decided to try and tie and tie Nationals fans to the team because they are the history of the team. One blogger that I know of that is happy to pick up the shattered team from Montreal is Kirk. He has a couple blogs, but his that is dedicated to the modern day Expos is called Curly W Cards. I'm sure if you talk to Kirk he has a loving for the history of his now hometown team. Hook him up with some Expos love!

Next Card: #77 Dan Briggs, Indians

Monday, May 28, 2012

#75 Steve Yeager, Dodgers

Card Front: We can tell that it is Steve by his #7. Other than that I'm not really sure there is anything that distinguishes that it is Steve. While I appreciate an in game action shot, couldn't Topps of done a little better job on photo selection? Another thing that gets me and I know many have questioned it, why did the Dodgers get pink on their cards for many years?? If you are any kind of baseball fan, you have to love the beauty and simplicity that the Dodgers uniforms have held to through out the years.

Card Back: We see the beginnings of a long and steady career as the Dodgers backstop. I remember as a kid thinking Yeager was awesome because he was the catcher. Steve would spend nearly his entire career wearing Dodger Blue. Obviously it was a slow progression from being drafted in 1967 to spot duty for two tears to split time, to being the full time guy in 1975.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: As any Dodger fan knows, Steve tarnished his legacy as a Dodger lifer when he got traded to the Mariners. Steve would play in 50 forgettable games as a Mariner in 1986 before retiring. In Steve's last season in LA in 1985, he played with Mariano Duncan. Mr. Duncan would move to that other coast and play with the Bronx Bombers in 1996. Another of those Bombers would be Ruben Sierra. In all Ruben played for 9 teams including a stint as the Mariners left fielder and DH in 2002.

Blog related to the team: Oh Dem Bums! so many fans, so many bloggers that love them. One fan that has been out there for a while and keeps us wanting cards likes to steal home. He is the writer of All Trade Bait, All The Time. As the header on his blog says he is a "card collecting, die hard Dodgers fan." It is simple to give some love to a blogger who spells it out that plainly for us. Go check him out because he always has great stuff up for trade.

Next Card: #76 Warren Cromartie, Expos

Sunday, May 27, 2012

#74 Shane Rawley, Mariners

Card Front: Oh the beauty of the original Mariner uniforms. I really do like the look and the simplicity of those duds. Another of those pictures that was taken at Tempe's Diablo Stadium. The M's called it home through 1992 only to have it renovated to become the Angels current Spring home. I wonder if Shane has a ball in his hand, but I would bet he doesn't.

Card Back: You always have to love cards that have more minor league stats than big league ones. How can you not love Quebec City, Denver, and West Palm Beach. Shane would make the most of 1978 as he would spend 4 seasons with Seattle before being traded away. Shane played 12 seasons with the M's, Yankees, Phillies, and Twins. Could the A's manager not decide on a 2nd baseman using 6 in a 15 inning game??

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Obviously Shane was, and is shown as a Mariner. Let's tie Shane to a more recent Mariner though. As part of the 1988 Philadelphia Phillies, Shane played with Kevin Gross in the city of Brotherly Love. Kevin would be part of the 1995 version of the Texas Rangers with ageless wonder Darren Oliver. Darren is still around today as a part of the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays with former Mariner Brandon Morrow.

Blog related to the team: I sometimes think I bite off a lot more than I can keep up with. One blog that I try to update once in awhile but not quite often enough is about the history of Mariner baseball. One of my side projects is at Ride of the Ancient Mariner. Since I'm pumping it up, I guess I will need to get some posts on it more often than I do. Did you know Shane owns his own restaurant in Sarasota, FL called Shaner's Pizzeria which looks like a fun place to hang out.

Next Card: #75 Steve Yeager, Dodgers

Saturday, May 26, 2012

#73 Ken Henderson, Reds

Card Front: Ken is showing off his new duds as a Red in San Francisco in 1978. This must have been taken not long after Ken came to the Reds either in June or it could be from late September in 1978. Ken does not appear to be happy at all and just wants to get this over with. I remember how the Reds jerseys in those days didn't have much room for a long last name.

Card Back: It is hard to figure out Ken's playing time through the years. Some years he would play everyday, and some years were hit and miss. It looked as though he would stick with the Giants, but then bounced around to many teams. Ken would spend part of 1979 in Cincinnati before being traded to the Cubs only to be released and retire midway through the 1980 season.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Ken's first season in Cincinnati, another of those 1978 Reds was Dan Driessen. Dan would move to be part of the 1985 San Francisco Giants with a young Chili Davis. During Chili's time as a 1997 Kansas City Royal one of his teammates was Hector Carrasco. Hector would be part of the inaugural season of the 2005 Washington Nationals with Brad Wilkerson. Brad made it nearly a month as the Mariner DH in 2008 before being released.

Blog related tot he team: There are few fans of the Redlegs out there. I would think with their long rich history there would be more. One fan that is out there should be in a rock band. Doesn't his blog sound like a band with a name like Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes. Go over and show him some love, maybe you can work out a trade for some good stuff you both need.

Next Card: #74 Shane Rawley, Mariners

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#72 Steve Mingori, Royals

Card Front: Steve is giving us the classic I just threw a pitch off flat ground look. I've never seen a pitcher throw from right field towards the stands, but whatever works. I really do still love the classic Royals powder blue road uniforms. We do have to wonder was this taken in Oakland in 1978 or was it a recycled picture from Topps? I still think KC has one of the most awesome ballparks around.

Card Back: These would be the next to last stats for Steve. He would be released by the Royals after the 1979 season and never pitch again. Steve did spend some time as a minor league pitching coach in the Blue Jays system. It must have been a huge thrill to be traded to, and play for your hometown team. Could you imagine playing for 7 seasons in front of your family? Sadly, Steve passed away in 2008 at the age of 64 due to natural causes.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Steve's final season with the 1979 Royals, he would play with the great Frank White. Frank spent many years in KC including the 1990 season teaming with Jeff Conine. Jeff would move around to many teams, while making a stop in Cincinnati. Jeff would be a part of the 2007 Reds with some guy that was in Seattle for a bit named Ken Griffey Jr. I think he spent nearly 12 seasons in the Emerald City.

Blog related to the team: It always surprises me how many Royals bloggers there are out there. One of those bloggers isn't quite right because he is A Hair Off Square.  He has written for quite a while now and does pretty cool customs of his beloved Royals. If you want to see his handy work making cards head over and let him know I sent you.

Next Card: #73 Ken Henderson, Reds

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

#71 Brain Downing, Angels

 Card Front: Brian is showing us the classic down on one knee with a bat pose. You have to admire the awesomeness of the aviator glasses that really have no tint to them. I still love the classic look of the Angels uniforms back in the day with the Haloed A and the simplicity of the whole thing. I feel a kinship to this card being that the photo was taken when the Angels were in my hometown for spring training of Palm Springs, CA thank to owner Gene Autry.

Card Back: We see the beginnings of what would end up being a 20 year career. Brian could not get full playing time while in Chicago, and I'm sure was more than happy to be traded to his hometown Angels. It seems that the players the Angels gave up to get Brain along with Chris Knapp and Dave Frost worked to the Halos benefit. Brian spent 13 seasons in Anaheim and would eventually be inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 2009.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: While Brian would spend his last season as an Angel in 1990, he would team up with Dante Bichette. Dante would eventually move to be a part of the 2001 Boston Red Sox along side Manny Ramirez. Manny would find a short stint as a member of the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. One of Manny's fellow Rays was now 2012 Mariner John Jaso.

Blog related to the team: It is surprising that are so few fans of the Halos. Maybe it has something to do with that darn Rally Monkey. One blogger that went dormant for a long time but pops up every once in awhile is Lance of the Angels Master Set. Lance is a man after my own heart owning nearly every Angels card made, except I'm trying to do it with my lowly Mariners. Go over and check him out and let's see if we can get him back to the blog world full time for some Halos posts.

Next Card: #72 Steve Mingori, Royals

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#70 John Candelaria, Pirates

Card Front: John is showing one of the many uniform combinations that the Buccos would wear in the late 70's and 80's. While I never was a big fan of the Pirates pinstripes, sometimes it did look good. I'm not too sure about the mesh stove top hat though. It seems that something in the upper deck must have gotten the Candy Man's attention. Nice 'stache John.

Card Back: As you can see John was early in his career in 1979. He would end up playing for 8 different teams until the 1993 season. He would never spend more than 3 seasons with any of them except the Pirates which John spent a total of 12 seasons with. The Pirates didn't wait to make John go deep in games with 220 and 231 innings in his first two full seasons. I wonder what a $40,000 bonus equates to nowadays?

Six degrees or less to Seattle: While John would bounce around amongst teams, most of his career was in the Steel City raising the Jolly Roger. During the 1984 season with the Bucs, John would spend time with Mike Bielecki. Mike would move west and be a part of the 1993 Cleveland Indians with Reggie Jefferson. Reggie came to Seattle in one of the most one sided deals with Felix Fermin for Omar Vizquel and CASH! Dumb move on the M's part as Reggie was only here for the 1994 strike season.

Blog related to the team: I really like where the Pirates are headed as a team. I think that they are starting to get closer to respectability again. One of the new bloggers out there I think might be a Pirates fan. If not, he has a beautiful panoramic picture of PNC Park on his blog. Michael runs the new Six-4-Three DP blog. It seems like he does a bit of everything but he like us, loves baseball. Head over and tell him I sent you from the Emerald City.

Next Card: #71 Brian Downing, Angels

Saturday, May 19, 2012

#69 Elliott Maddox, Mets

Card Front: Elliott is showing us his stance or showing off to the ladies. He is shining that $10,000 smile looking so like a cool cat. It looks to me like this was at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The Mets only went there twice in 1978, playing on June 17th and 18th, and August 29th and 30th. I would assume it is probably June by the long sleeves, but it really was warm at the 'Stick. The size of the Mets patch on the sleeve looks so disproportional to everything else.

Card Back: I love when guys have that one random year with a team. After being part of an 8 player deal to leave Detroit, Elliott finished off Washington and went to Texas. The Yankees bought him, and eventually traded him to Baltimore. I guess he didn't like it there opting to move to the Big Apple. After being released by the Mets before 1981, Elliott spent the 1981 season in AAA Oklahoma City as a Phillie farmhand. I also know that a certain blogger will love the Virgil Trucks fact.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: In the same year as this card, Elliott played with a young man that was around forever in Jesse Orosco. In Jesse's travels he was a 1991 teammate of Alex Cole as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Alex would head East and be on the 1996 Boston Red Sox squad with a one time Mariner in Arquimedez Pozo. I mean ONE TIME: he came in to the September 12, 1995 game as a PH for Joey Cora in the 7th inning only to Popout to the 2nd Baseman. He would stay in as a defensive replacement and finish the game, but that was the only time we ever saw Arquimedez as a Mariner.

Blog related to the team: As we all know there are many Mets fans. They might not be as big in numbers or egos as Yankees fans( cheap Mariners fan shot for 1995). One guy that I really used to like to read his stuff has kind of disappeared on us. Mike is a big Mets fans living in New York. He runs two blogs, BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet, and BA Benny's Pack Rip Cafe. The Cafe hasn't seen a post in over a year, and the Buffet hasn't cooked since 9/11. If anybody knows if Mike is alright let's get him back in the family, and start up the grill at the Buffet or Cafe, because I'm hungry...

Next Card: #70 John Candelaria, Pirates

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

#68 Joe Niekro, Astros

Card Front: Joe is showing us his classic "tequila sunrise" Astros while at the old Spring Training facility in Cocoa Beach, FL. It looks as though somebody forgot to water the grass there, it's looking a little brown boys. I think it would have looked a lot more realistic if Joe actually had a ball in his hand instead of a fist. Joe unfortunately lost his life to a brain aneurysm on October 27, 2006.

Card Back: I love cards that have so many years of stats that there isn't room for much else. As of this card Joe hadn't even reach half of his career wins finishing with 221. I like how the only line of info is that he is the brother of Phil Niekro. Joe would eventually add two more teams to his resume ending  with 7 teams to his credit. He will always be remembered for trying to act like he didn't have a file in his back pocket to doctor balls with the Twins.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: As a member of the 1982 Astros, Joe was on the field with Denny Walling. Denny would move around and play on the 1990 version of the St. Louis Cardinals. One of fellow Redbirds was Omar Olivares. Omar would play on the 2001 Pittsburgh Pirates team along side Jack Wilson. Jack spent part of the 2009, all of 2010, and part of 2011 with the Mariners.

Blog related to the team: I know I recently saw a new blog out there is an Astros fan, but for the life of me I can't remember which one it was. One that I do know of but hasn't been active for awhile is Cam at The Bullpen Cardboard. I'm not sure if he has gotten busy with school or what but maybe we can bring him out of hibernation and get to blogging about the future AL West team.

Next Card: #69 Elliott Maddox, Mets

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#67 Jim Mason, Rangers

Card Front: Here is Jim with his tall Rangers hat on and acting like he is swinging his bat. It a nice look to have the ads from the wall at the Rangers old spring facility in Pompano Beach, FL. This is another card where Topps put together the next year's set before deals were made in the off season. Jim was traded on December 8, 1978 and spent 1979 with the Montreal Expos for his last season in the big leagues. As kids back then, we thought he was playing for the Rangers in 1979 since we didn't have the mighty Internet.

Card Back: So many cool things on the back. Research shows Jim played in the last official game of the 1971 Senators. The last game of the season was forfeited to the Yankees when fans stormed the field. Jim also made the very first game in Blue Jays history on April &, 1977 coming in to a snowy game at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto as a PH for Hector Torres in the 4th inning. Jim barely hit the Mendoza Line for his career at .203, and had 105 errors for a .958 career fielding percentage. Only one season saw him see more than 100 games in a season.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Jim saw only those three games at RFK before the Senators left Washington to move to Texas. One of his Senators teammates in 1971 was Larry Biitner. Larry would eventually find his way to the North side of Chicago as part of the 1980 Chicago Cubs squad. Larry would play with Lee Smith that year. Lee would move north and be part of the Montreal Expos for the 1997 season. Another player on the Expos in 1997 was Jose Vidro. Jose would come to Seattle to be our DH in 2007 and 2008 but fizzled out for the Mariners in those two years.

Blog related to the team: I'm still really surprised with their recent success and superstar players that there aren't more Rangers fans with blogs nowadays. One guy that's been around for awhile is BigD. He is a fan of all things Dallas and he does some great work on custom cards. He will even tell you Hey, That's Mine! Go over and give him a read. He also has gotten his kids into collecting, so maybe you can send something to them too.

Next Card: #68 Joe Niekro, Astros

Saturday, May 12, 2012

#66 Detroit Tigers, Les Moss

Card Front: Here are your 1978 Tigers at old Tiger Stadium in their classic home white uniforms. There is almost perfect uniformity amongst everyone with the navy blue long sleeves. A couple of the batboys and one other guy didn't get the memo. You even have trainers(?) wearing the classic satin jackets, and even a man in a suit in the team photo. It is sad to see what has become of the old stadium nowadays:

Card Back: Take note Topps. On this card you have a checklist for building a team set. You have 24 players and a prospects card. You pretty much get the whole team in there. It is not like now where some teams get all their guys in the main sets and some teams get squat. Nice, neat alphabetical order, positions, and uni #'s. I wax nostalgic, but I like the simplicity of it instead of all the flash and glamour of today's cards.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: The only player to be on the back to be a Mariner was Lance Parrish in 1992. Jim Slaton would be the Mariner bullpen coach from 2005-2007. Former Tiger Rusty Staub would move down south and be a Texas Ranger in the 1980 season playing with Nelson Norman. Nelson would go north of the border to be a Montreal Expo in 1987 and play with Andres Galaragga. The Big Cat would be a part of the 2001 Texas Rangers which featured a young R.A. Dickey. R. A.(the new author of a book) would spend the 2008 season in Seattle.

Blog related to the team: How could you not be a fan of the team that never changes their look much? As soon as you see that Old English D, you know it is the Detroit Tigers. There is a blogger who loves his Tigers new and old. Dhoff even named his blog after his beloved Tiger favorite. The man loves Coot Veal and the Vealtones. He always is showing off some good stuff and knows how to write a darn good blog post, so go over and give him your attention.

Next Card: #67 Jim Mason, Rangers

Sunday, May 6, 2012

#65 Mark Belanger, Orioles

Card Front: Here is Mark showing young kids what a proper batting stance looks like. For a skinny guy, Mark definitely has big hands, and those serious eyes, but all the while still smiling. I wonder if he could hear the footsteps of the next shortstop behind him? I am very happy to see the Orioles go back to uniforms very similar to these this year, I really missed the cartoon bird.

Card Back: These are the cards that grab at my sentimental side. I love the sight of one team over and over on a veteran player's card. Obviously, Mark would be there until the end of 1981 when #7 would give way to some hotshot #8 at shortstop. If only Mark would have hung it up after '81 and not been a Dodger he would have been another of those whole career with one team guys. I really don't understand the 445 foot throw from August 1, 1957 and its relevance.

Six Degrees or less to Seattle: Most all of Mark's teammates were Orioles at one time. As a member of the 1975 squad in Charm City, Mark played with a young Doug DeCinces. Doug would pack up his game and head out west to the California Angels. While playing third as an Angel in 1987, Doug played with Chuck Finley in Anaheim. Chuck would move to Cleveland and receive a beat down from his wife in 2002, but would also share the mound with a young Cliff Lee. Cliff would be in Seattle for half the 2010 season before being dealt to the Texas Rangers.

Blog related to the team: I know there are happy O's fans right now being ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox in the standings. I think it is great to see new teams at the top. One man that is a happy Birds fan is Ryan. Ryan writes and runs the aptly named O No!!! Another Orioles Blog. Not only is Ryan an Orioles fan, he is also a man who loves that #8 guy, somebody named Cal Ripken Jr but I've never heard of him. Go over and say hi to Ryan and the Birds.

Next Card: #66 Detroit Tigers Team Card

Friday, May 4, 2012

#64 Tom Underwood, Blue Jays

Card Front: I'm not too sure who was doing quality control when it came to this card. How could you think putting a player that far off center looks fine? The other distracting thing is all the blues in the background on the lower half of the card. Maybe a picture from North of the border in the home whites would have been better. I like that the Jays have gone back to near the original logo this year.

Card Back: Tom had a good first full year in 1975 going one game above .500, but it was all downhill from there. I guess the Jays saw something to make a trade to bring Tom in. Tom would leave Toronto after the '79 season moving to New York and would change a few more times through the 1984 season. Who knew there was any other Kokomo besides the one the Beach Boys sang about? Were they sing about Indiana???

Six degrees or less to Seattle: After 1979 Tom would move down to be part of the Yankees. One of his teammates in the Bronx in 1981 was George Frazier. George would move to the North side of Chicago to be on the 1984 squad of Cubbies. Another one of those 1984 Cubs was "Sarge" Gary Matthews. Gary would spend his last season in 1987 as the DH for the Mariners.

Blog related to the team: There are slowly becoming more fans of the Blue Jays in the card blogging world. One Jays fan that is out there is on a strict diet.. er budget. Some of you may have heard of Robert. He is a man that might some how be a long lost brother. He is also a hockey fan like me. He is working on a Lifetime Jays Project similar to my Super Set of Mariners. I like a man that has principles, and he sticks to his $30 a week habit. Check him out and maybe send some Canadian bird love his way.

Next Card: #65 Mark Belanger, Orioles

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

#63 Jack Brohamer, Red Sox

Card Front: Here is Jack showing off his prowess as a left handed bat at Fenway Park. I don't know if you can say a .243 hitter has much prowess, but it works for Jack. How can you not love the Pullover jerseys and the classic Sox hat in all it's red beauty. I like that the banner for the Red Sox team name was actually red.

Card Back: It seems that the only time Jack was a full time player was his first year in 1972. Only three other years would he see 100 games, most years seeing platoon duty in the infield. I guess the Indians thought Larvell Blanks was a better infielder than Jack here. It is nice to see the Indians take a home state kid in the 32nd round of the draft.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Jack would not have a long career in Boston with being purchased by the Indians in mid 1980. One of the players that would spend time with Jack as part of the 1980 Red Sox was Reid Nichols. Reid would change the color of his Sox and be part of the 1986 Chicago White Sox. One of Reid's teammates was Jack Perconte who would spend the 1984 and 1985 seasons as the Mariners second baseman.

Blog related to the team: We all know that there are many fans and blogs that love the Red Sox. One guy that will tell where to sit if you love the boys from Beantown is Ron. Ron is the sole provider of the great blog Section 36. Ron is always coming up with informative and great posts about his team. Head on over and take a seat in his section, and tell him I sent you.

Next Card: #64 Tom Underwood, Blue Jays