Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #68 Cooperstown Old Slugger Pale Ale

24 09 2016

Another Cooperstown Brewing Co for this Saturday’s post.  Still have quite a few more, but I’m going to do as many “Saturday Suds” as I’ve had from this brewery for the next few weeks.  Have about 3 or 4 more.  This is Cooperstown Brewing Company beer #4.  I posted about the brewery itself about 2 months ago.

CBC sign

Brewery:  Cooperstown Brewing in Milford, NY

Beer:  Old Slugger Pale Ale

CBC Old SluggerDescription:  “Our Flagship – first brewed in 1995. A light bodied English pale ale with only a slight inclination towards the Fuggle and Cascade hops.”

“The flagship beer of Cooperstown Brewing Co. Old Slugger was the first beer brewed at CBC in July of 1995. This English-style pale ale is brewed with four barley malts, including two-row English pale malt and crystal malt, balanced with Mt. Hood, Cascade and Fuggle hops, and fermented in open vessels by Ringwood yeast (150 year old yeast strain brought over from England).”

As mentioned, this is their flagship beer.  It’s technically an English Ale – not an American pale ale.  It’s more “malt forward” than hops, which is fine by me.  I love hops, but I think these guys have found a good niche by not just trying to make a bunch of different IPAs.  They have one regular IPA that’s good, one seasonal IPA that’s really good (for a later post), and in general all of their beers are all really solid.

Medium:  I bought it in a 12 ounce bottle.  You can also get it on tap at the brewery or a few other places.

How it’s related to baseball:  All of CBC’s beers are baseball themed; they’re built around the idea that a brewery around Cooperstown should focus on the baseball part of the town.  Since this is their flagship, they combine the idea of “old faithful” but throw in slugger instead. A good name to me, as this would be a great beer to bring to your local softball team’s game.  They sell it at the Binghamton Mets park, which is sponsored by CBC.

 





My favorite action photos from Topps in the 1990’s

19 09 2016

Getting back on track with my “completed decade” posts.  This listing goes completely on the photo itself – I’m trying to avoid letting the player impact it too much.  These are the “action” variety best of the decade.  I’m just going to do a top 5 of these.

Of course these are just my favorites – so let me know if you’ve got some others you’d include!

Honorable mention – 1994 Topps Kenny Lofton, 1994 Topps Roberto Alomar, 1992 Topps Darryl Strawberry, 1992 Topps Hubie Brooks, 1999 Topps Travis Fryman

5) 1995 Topps #23 – Mike Devereaux

1995 Topps Mike Devereaux

This card could be higher, I like the way it can look awkward or amazing depending on how your mood is going.

4) 1997 Topps #65 – Chuck Knoblauch

1997 Topps 65 Chuck Knoblauch best action shot

This Knoblauch card was the winner in a very good set of action cards.  I love when a card captures a lot of things – there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on, up to and including the jump throw by Knoblauch (who says Derek Jeter invented that!).

3) 1998 Topps #79 – Kevin Polcovich

1998 Topps Kevin Polcovich

Polcovich – whose career was far from memorable – is shown here levitating over a cloud of dust, after trying to turn a DP!  Kind of like the card below, but a slightly different angle.

2) 1993 Topps #50 – Roberto Alomar

1993 Topps best action Alomar

The top 2 separated – the difference between this card and #3 is pretty extreme, whereas I nearly picked this card as #1.  A lot going on.  That’s Carlos Baerga sliding into second to break up a potential double play. Alomar looking on after the throw, mid-air with his leg kicked up.  Mel Harder’s retired number in the background at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.  Dust kicking up.  Great card.

1) 1991 Topps #170 – Carlton Fisk

1991 Topps best action Fisk

I didn’t intend it this way – but Fisk won this “award” in both decades!  His 1982 In Action card was my pick fo the 1980’s, and this card is my favorite action shot of the 90’s.  It’s a great card from a great set; the card captures so much.  Cecil Fielder barreling down, Fisk waiting for the ball (and the potential collision), and the on deck hitter signalling “get down”!  This was a tough choice over the Alomar card above.





Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #67 Vermont Pub & Brewery Grand Slam Homerun Beer

17 09 2016

I’ve been trying to catch up on Cooperstown Brewing Company beers from my trip to the Hall of Fame back in July.  But I had two beers on that trip that weren’t from CBC.  The first was the .394 Ale from AleSmith (Tony Gwynn’s concoction).  This is the 2nd one.

Vermont Grand Slam Homerun Beer

Brewery:  Vermont Pub & Brewery, Burlington VT

Vermont Pub & Brewery Grand Slam Baseball BeerBeer:  Grand Slam Homerun Beer

Description:  “A light-bodied American pale ale dry-hopped with ALL Vermont Nugget hops. This was the brainchild of Greg Noonan. He had said, privately, that he felt that he had nailed the style for what he had planned and hoped for. Enjoy this light, summer ale while watching your favorite team play. It’s a homerun!”

So I need to digress a minute.  Greg Noonan is a brewing icon.  Maybe, for America, the brewing icon.  Here’s a good write-up.  He trained Jon Kimmich from Alchemist, who brewed (and continued to brew) the most important IPA in the business.  So going to a brewery that was founded by someone viewed as the founder of craft beer – it was pretty cool.  Considering this was a beer he thought hit the mark -that’s pretty cool.

It’s not a beer that I’d give 5 stars by any means.  I thought it was a solid pale ale that was worth drinking and I was happy it wasn’t too strong.  I drove 3 hours to Burlington and had 30 minutes to drive after that – so I needed to pick 2 light beers with my dinner.  This was a good one.  It’s not something they should bottle and mass produce, but it’s a tasty, smooth-drinking ale.

Medium:  I got in on draft at the Vermont Pub & Brewery.  I was driving from Cooperstown, heading to brew heaven in Stowe, VT (Alchemist).  As far as I know this is the only way to get this beer.

How it’s related to baseball:  It’s brewed by one of the founders of craft beer specifically to specifications to watch baseball.  And it’s called Grand Slam.  That’s all I need.

Vermont Pub Grand Slam Beer





The best Topps subset cards from the 1990’s

13 09 2016

Subset cards is the topic for my next category of “best of” awards for the 90’s decade.  I’m not treating Olympic, Draft Pick, Future Stars, Prospect or All-Star Rookie cards as subsets.  These are those players’ only cards in that set, which isn’t what I think of when I think “subset”.

I also decided against including tribute cards for Aaron, Ruth, Mantle, Robinson, Clemente, and Ryan.  Those probably are subsets, but they’re retired players and only 1 card per subset.  I could probably have been persuaded the other way, but I don’t consult anyone about posts on this blog🙂

Feel free to chime a comment in with any you would have included!

Here are the honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut:

  • 1991 #392 – Ken Griffey, Jr. AS
  • 1995 T #163T – Mike Piazza / Ivan Rodriguez AS
  • 1997 #464 – Hideo Nomo SH
  • 1997 Eddie Murray SH

10) 1990 Topps #7 – Rickey Henderson RB

1990 Topps Rickey RB

The Record Breakers subset was always one of my favorites. While there are only 3 such cards in the 1990 set, this card is for a pretty cool Rickey record – the most home runs leading off a game.  He broke the record of 35 held by Bobby Bonds in early 1989, but I find it interesting they actually talk about his last one of the season (his 40th) on the back of this card.  I guess at the time, that was the new record.  Kind of like McGwire’s 70th home run ball being more valuable than #62.  It’s a great photo of Rickey going deep.

9) 1998 Topps #479 – Ken Griffey Jr. / Mike Piazza INTP

1998 Topps INTP - front

This card became extra cool this year when Griffey and Piazza went into the Hall of Fame together this year.  I was there – and it seemed like Griffey and Piazza had great chemistry together.  I’ve been a huge Griffey fan for almost as long as I’ve been a sports fan, but I came away a Piazza fan after going to Cooperstown in July.

8) 1993 Topps #409 – Greg Maddux / Roger Clemens AS

1993 Topps best subset Clemens Maddux AS

This card captures 2 of the greatest pitchers of our lifetime.  Of course, you didn’t know at the time they would go on to win a combined 709 games and 11 Cy Young awards.  It’s cool they were both on this same card.

7) 1995 Topps Traded #124T – Hideo Nomo ROYC

1995-topps-traded-roy-contender-nomo

This is where I looked back at my posts and decided I had made a mistake.  I picked the card of Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez as the best subset.  But I didn’t give enough weight to Nomo-Mania!  So the Pudge/Piazza All-Star card didn’t crap the top 10, but this Nomo does.

6) 1999 Topps #461 – Sammy Sosa HR

1999 Topps series 2 box Sosa HR Parade

5) 1999 Topps #220 – Mark McGwire HR

1999 Topps McGwire HR 70

First and second of 3 cards from the 1999 set, which obviously did well as far as subsets go.  The Home Run Record was either the biggest or the 2nd biggest story of the decade – so you’ve got to have the 2 cards that Topps did in honor of that incredible summer of baseball.  These would be higher up if subsequent things weren’t learned about the methods used to reach those records.

4) 1992 #2 – Rickey Henderson RB

1992 Topps Rickey RB 939

This card is awesome, pure and simple; it’s definitely the best subset card in 1992 Topps.  It shows the actual moment (stealing 3rd base in Oakland on May 1 against the Yankees) for one of the coolest records out there.  Henderson has more than 1.5 times as many steals as the 2nd place thief, Lou Brock.  Truly an amazing record.

3) 1999 #452 – Jeter / Rodriguez / Garciaparra AT

1999 Topps All-Topps Jeter A-Rod Nomar

The 3 shortstops that looked to supplant Ripken or Wagner as the greatest of all time.  None of them did, but they sure were amazing when this card came out.

2) 1995 #388 – Ken Griffey Jr. / Barry Bonds AS

1995 Topps AS - front

The best players of the 90’s, on the only Topps base card to showcase both 2nd-generation stars.

1) 1996 #96 – Cal Ripken 2131

1996 Topps 96 Ripken best subset

This was a no-brainer.  When I think of baseball in the 90’s, a few things pop into my head.  The strike, the 1998 home run chase that seems tainted (and I don’t even have it out for steroid guys).  Maybe Griffey Jr.  But Ripken’s streak was the story that resonated the best with Americans, and it’s the one that has lasted.  This is the Topps card that pays homage.





The best Reds cards from Topps in the 1990’s

11 09 2016

The next few posts will be about the top cards from the 1990’s decade in Topps.  I’ll start with the best Reds cards of the decade.  When I do this, I’m considering it from a pure Reds fan standpoint.  Not necessarily what is the best Topps card that happens to be a Red – but the cards that are the coolest to me as a Reds fan.  I didn’t have a set number in mind when I did this for the 1980s, but I ended up doing 10, so I figure that’s a good number in this decade as well.

Before I get into the top 10 – here’s the 5 honorable mentions.  These were cards I considered but didn’t put into the top 10.  A bunch of good Reds cards here – if I were a team collector I would consider these a must!

1990s-topps-best-reds-honorable

10) 1998 Topps #1 – Pete Rose, Jr.

1998 Topps Pete Rose Jr

Pete Rose wasn’t allowed to have MLB licensed cards after 1989, when he was suspended for life from MLB. But there’s one Pete Rose Topps card in Topps in the 1990’s – Pete Rose Jr., who played in 11 games in the 1997 season – his only time in the Majors.

9) 1993 Topps #515 – Greg Swindell

1993 Topps best Red Swindell

Swindell had a good year with the Reds during his lone season in Cincinnati in 1992.  And this is a great photo.  Anytime you have a pitcher swinging a bat – it’s a win in my book.

8) 1991 Topps #92 – Danny Jackson

1991 Topps best Red D Jackson

I love this card because it shows Jackson’s unique leg kick and delivery.  And his head hanging over the internal border – that’s very cool.  1991 was a great set, though the Reds didn’t really get some of the better photos.  Especially since it was photos of the 1990 season when they won it all.

7) 1997 Topps #373 – Jose Rijo

1997 Topps Rijo

Rijo messing around in a janitor jumpsuit.  This was in the middle of a 5 year stretch where Rijo didn’t actually play a sanctioned professional game.

6) 1994 Topps #485 – Joe Oliver

1994-topps-joe-oliver

The only card in this top 10 I didn’t pick as “Reds card of the set”.

5) 1999 Topps #114 – Dmitri Young

1999 Topps Dmitri Young

Da Meat Hook barreling around 3rd base sticks out to me in a major way.  This was one of the only good Reds cards in the 1999 Set.

4) 1999 TT #T50 – Adam Dunn

1999-topps-traded-adam-dunn

Rookie card of a guy who hit about 450 homers – most with the Reds.  Dunn was my generation’s Dave Kingman.  Swing big or go home.  Actually, it may be that Dave Kingman is the Adam Dunn of a previous generation.  Dunn walked, struck out or homered in nearly half (49.92%) of his plate appearances.  I’d imagine that’s the most of any player – it’s more than McGwire (45.6%), Kingman (38.5%), Reggie Jackson (46%), Babe Ruth (38.6%) or Barry Bonds (38.5%).  Mark Reynolds is actually the closest I found – he strikes out so much his ratio is over 47%.

3) 1994 Topps #705 – Jose Rijo

1994 Topps Jose Rijo

Unlike 1991, the Reds got a lot of the better cards in 1994.  This was the only set that got 2 cards in my top 10, and Rijo was the only player who got 2 cards.  In addition to Rijo and the Oliver card above, there’s a Barry Larkin card where he’s going back on a fly ball.  I could honestly pick any of these top 3 as my favorite Reds cards from the decade.

The Super Soaker had just come out in 1992 and I remember all the kids getting them.  Rijo was apparently a big water gun enthusiast – there are at least 2 other cards I know of where he is shown with a water gun.

2) 1990 Topps #260 – Eric Davis

1990 Topps Eric Davis

In some aspects – this card means more to me personally than the card i’m calling “Card of the Decade”.  Eric Davis was my favorite Red when this set came out, and it it’s an awesome photo that fits well with the set.  Oh, and this is the year they went wire to wire and won the World Series!

1) 1995 Topps #350 – Barry Larkin

1995 Topps 90 Reds Larkin

I said this back on the 1995 complete set post – but I just don’t have to think twice about this card.  Us Reds fans know – we aren’t the Yankees.  We can’t overspend to give ourselves a better shot at a championship.  So when a player wins an NL MVP award, it makes him a local hero.  Like Pete Rose and Ken Griffey Jr., he was a local high school baseball who went on to win an MVP.  Unlike Griffey, he won his MVP with the Reds and went into the Hall of Fame wearing their cap.  He’s one of only 4 players to play their whole career for their hometown team and make the Hall of Fame.  The other 3 are Yankees (Ford, Rizzuto, Gehrig).  Larkin having a cool card the year he won the MVP?  That’s really special.  And it deserves the Reds card of the decade!





Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #66 Cooperstown Nine Man Ale

10 09 2016

Another Cooperstown Brewing Co for this Saturday’s post.  I’m going to do as many “Saturday Suds” as possible from this brewery when the appropriate day of the week comes around.  Have about 5 or 6 more.  This is Cooperstown Brewing Company beer #3.  I posted about the brewery itself about a month ago.

CBC 9 man 6 pack

Brewery:  Cooperstown Brewing in Milford, NY

img_2212Beer:  Nine Man Ale

Description:  “A classic English pub ale with a complex malt center brewed with Hallertau and Cascade hops.”

This is Cooperstown Brewing’s golden ale.  It’s a refreshing ale that is halfway between a pale ale and a lager.  I like the IPA spectrum better, so this is definitely not my favorite beer.  But it’s one that meets in the middle – halfway between an ale and lager.

My wife doesn’t really like my hop affliction, but she’ll drink this one gladly.  It’s very good on a hot summer day.  At a baseball game, or doing yard work…

CBC 9 man yard

Medium:  I bought it in a 16 ounce tall boy can.  You can also get it in 12 ounce bottles or on tap at the brewery.

How it’s related to baseball:  All of CBC’s beers are baseball themed; they’re built around the idea that a brewery around Cooperstown should focus on the baseball part of the town.  This beer focuses on the set up the game – 9 players to field a squad.  A good name to me, as this would be a great beer to bring to your local softball team’s game.  They also sell it at Citi Field from time to time, as well as at the Binghamton Mets park.

It’s also one of the 2 logos on their corn hole boards.

CBC 9 man ale





The most Topps cards in the 90’s – Bonds & Griffey

8 09 2016

Before I went and did the legwork on this – I would have guessed one of 3 players would have the most base Topps cards in the 1990’s.  Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds were the players of the decade depending on what source you looked at – they are obvious contenders.  Cal Ripken Jr. played the whole decade, won an MVP early on, and set a significant record halfway through – so he was an obvious contender.

I was right – on all 3 counts depending on how you look at it.  I include Topps, Topps Traded and Topps Debut in this.  From that perspective, Bonds and Griffey had the most cards, coming in at 22.

Barry Bonds (22)

  • 1990 (1) – base
  • 1991 (2) – base, AS
  • 1992 (2) – base, AS
  • 1993 (2) – base, AS
  • 1993 Traded (1) – base
  • 1994 (3) – base, AS, MOG
  • 1995 (2) – base, AS
  • 1995 Traded – ATB, AS
  • 1996 (2) – base, STP
  • 1997 (2) – base, SH
  • 1998 (1) – base
  • 1999 (2) – base, ATT

1990s-topps-bonds

1990s-topps-bonds-2

1990s-topps-bonds-3

1990s-topps-bonds-4

Ken Griffey Jr. (22)

  • 1990 (1) – base
  • 1990 Debut (1) – base
  • 1991 (2) – base, AS
  • 1992 (1) – base
  • 1993 (2) – base, AS
  • 1994 (3) – base, AS, MOG
  • 1995 (2) – base, AS
  • 1995 Traded (2) – ATB, AS
  • 1996 (2) – base, STP
  • 1997 (1) – base
  • 1998 (2) – base, IL
  • 1999 (3) – base, LL, ATT

1990s-topps-griffey

1990s-topps-griffey-2

1990s-topps-griffey-3

1990s-topps-griffey-4

If you don’t count Topps Debut – Bonds would have the most since he doesn’t have a Topps Debut card.  If you eliminate Topps Traded from this discussion, Bonds, Griffey and Ripken all have 19 cards.

Aside from Griffey and Bonds, 2 other players have over 20 cards in the decade:

  • Ripken – 21 cards
  • Frank Thomas – 20 cards

Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Matt Williams all have 18 cards.