Sunday, December 22, 2013

#139 Luis Pujols, Astros

Card Front: Here we find Luis coming out of the box from what I assume is a Spring game in Florida against the Mets. It is strange to see both teams in their home whites. I know the Astros have been blasted for so many years for these duds, but I always love the look. I like that they did show them off and continue to hold some of the heritage in current looks.
Card Back: When you are a light hitting catcher that has two guys like Alan Ashby, and Bruce Bochy in front of you, you will spend a lot of time in the minors. Luis was not known for power or average, but made use of what he had. When I was a kid and saw Willie Keeler made his debut in 1892, I didn't know who he was until 2004 when Ichiro broke his single season hits record.
Six Degrees or less to Seattle: Luis would hang it up in 1985 as a Texas Ranger, but would team with Dwayne Henry. If you move to the shorter 1995 season, Dwayne was in Detroit with the Tigers with Chris Gomez. Mr. Gomez would go north of the border with the Blue Jays for the 2004 season with Guillermo Quiroz. Guillermo came to Seattle in 2006 for a short stop, only to come back for stints in 2009 and 2010 with Seattle only to bounce around amongst teams for the last three years.
Did you Know?: Luis was a coach under Felipe Alou in Montreal for seven years and would eventually manage the Tigers in their disastrous 2002 season, and would go back to coaching with Felipe in San Francisco and has managed in AA Corpus Christi for two years and was with Delmarva Shorebirds in 2013.
Next Card: #140 Don Gullett, Yankees

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#138 Mark Lee, Padres

Card Front: I still think this has to be one of the most iconic cards from the 1979 set. I think by now every collector know of guys like Mark and his stunning glasses. I think that they compliment the brown in his hat and his killer moustache quite well. I know they are vilified, but I still love the old Padres jerseys like this one. I guess we should say hello to Shea Stadium in the background.
Card Back: It is always fun to see a player's progression through the minor leagues. A partial season in A ball after being drafted, next brings a full season in AA Amarillo. After starting with a brief layover in Hawaii for the start of 1978, Mark went straight to the Padres and never looked back. Do you think the opposing team was afraid of Mel Ott to intentionally walk him five times in one game?
Six degrees or less to Seattle: After the 1979 season, Mark was sent to the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates. During his first season as a Bucco in 1980, Mark would pitch with John Candelaria. The Candy Man was a guy that seemed to last forever, and during the 1992 season, John was a Los Angeles Dodger along with Carlos Hernandez. If you fast forward six years to 1998, the San Diego Padres would be National League Champions with Carlos on the team, and another player for them was Andy Sheets. Andy had been in the M's system since 1992, and saw time in 1996 and 1997 before being drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, only to be traded to San Diego that same day.
Next Card: #139 Luis Pujols, Astros

Sunday, December 8, 2013

#137 Larry Wolfe, Twins


 Card Front: It is hard to believe that Larry is playing in the majors when he looks like he should still be in high school. I do admit that I really do like the old school white panel on the front of the batting helmet that the Twins and many teams had in the 70's and 80's. I know that the Twins still played outside in '77 and '78 but I doubt Topps sent a photographer to Minneapolis for Larry. I'm guessing somewhere in Florida during the spring.

Card Back: I can tell that the Twins weren't too sure with Larry. Two years each in Wisconsin Rapids and two in Orlando is either a lack of progress or slow seasoning of a young player. Obviously the Twins didn't think he had it sending him to Boston before the 1979 season. He spent 2 seasons in Beantown before a season in AAA and another in Japan. It is awesome to have your card include a trivia question about a HOF'er like Don Drysdale!

Six degrees or less to Seattle: After Larry had packed up and shipped off to the Red Sox in 1979, he would play with John Tudor. John, unlike Larry spent a long time in the big leagues including the 1990 season where he found himself in St. Louis as a Cardinal with Ken Hill. Ken decided he wanted to be out West and found that in 1999, he was meant to be an Anaheim Angel with Bengie Molina. Bengie was a fun loving teammate that didn't mind traveling to new places and during the 2010 season, he found that the Texas Rangers was the team to be on and eventually so did Mark Lowe. Mark was sent to Texas during that season with Cliff Lee after parts of 5 seasons in the Seattle bullpen.

Next Card: #138 Mark Lee, Padres

Sunday, December 1, 2013

#136 Jim Kaat, Phillies

Card Front: While it is probably not the greatest action shot known to man it is action. The burgundy pinstripes is a kind of classic look for the Phils. It reminds me of the 80's and their good players and playing in a World Series. I don't really remember Jim from playing, but I have watched him on television.
Card Back: Now this is a back full of stats that any baseball fan can dive into and enjoy. How can you not love seeing the Senators in 1959 and 1960? How many guys do you see with 20 seasons so far and over 600 games as a starter? Kind of amazing that Jim was still going strong at 40 years old. He was probably thought of as the original "Big Unit" at 6'5" in the 70's.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Jim's long run with the Minnesota Twins, Jim spent the 1969 season playing with Rick Dempsey.  The ever humorous Demspey would be winding down in 1991 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Another of those Brew Crew in 1991 was Darryl Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton was a bit of a traveling man, and was part of the 1999 New York Mets. One of the kings of travel is Octavio Dotel, and he would also be part of that 1999 Mets team. Octavio would eventually make a stop in Toronto as part of the 2011 Blue Jays. Another of the Maple Leaf 9 that year was Brandon Morrow. Brandon was foolishly drafted ahead of Tim Lincecum in 2006 by Seattle. He would come up in 2007, and from there through the 2009 season, he did the starter/bullpen shuffle. After the 2009 season he was traded to the Blue Jays for minor leaguer Johermyn Chavez and Brandon League.
Next Card: #137 Larry Wolfe, Twins