RIP Duke Snider, 1926-2011

28 02 2011

Duke Snider passed away yesterday at the age of 84.  Growing up in Southern California, “the Duke” got his nickname from his father when he came back from a baseball game with a bit of a strut.  Snider was signed into the Dodgers minor league system right out of high school, and made his ML debut the same year as Jackie Robinson.  Along with Jackie, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella (all Hall of Famers) and Gil Hodges the Dodgers won 6 NL Pennants for Brooklyn during his tenure.

The “Duke of Flatbush” was known for playing stickball in the streets with kids in Brooklyn during his early days with the Dodgers. Throughout the early 50’s, New York had three historically great center fielders – the debate raged as to who was the best out of “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke”.  While Mays and Mantle are in the very upper pantheon with Ty Cobb as the greatest centerfielders of all-time, Duke is in certainly in the next tier with Joe DiMaggio, Tris Speaker and Ken Griffey Jr.

The Dodgers sadly moved out of Brooklyn after the 1957 season – though it was return to Los Angeles for Snider. There the Duke won one more World Series title in 1959. Snider went back to the New York in 1963 where he was briefly reunited with teammate Hodges, and finished his career with the Giants in 1964.

Snider has cards in a couple of insert sets in Topps Series 1.  He’s in the Topps 60 set and has a “Lost Cards” from 1953 Topps – that year he was only featured in the Bowman set.  The Topps 60 set has some relic and autograph versions as well.  Here’s hoping the Dodgers do some great things to honor “the Duke” this year.

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Trade with the SandLot

27 02 2011

I recently completed a trade with Joe over at the Sandlot. Joe had posted about  few current year Topps inserts I could use, and it turned out he also had a good chunk of 1987 Topps cards I needed. I got those cards in the mail the other day.  Joe is a Mets fan, and I sent him over some Mike Piazza and David Wright cards, as well as some various Mets cards from my Topps 1980’s pulls thus far.

Below are some highlights. A Topps 60 card of the all-time strikeout king. A 1952 Jackie Robinson re-print from the 60 Years of Topps set, and a diamond duo of 2 guys in the (negative) news this week – Pujols for not signing a deal and Cabrera for getting (another) DUI.  Some of the 87 Topps cards include another strikeout record holder – so getting the Rocket and the Ryan Express in the same package is a pretty good deal! Another Hall-of-Famer in Roberto Clemente, this is a solid card to have as well – it commemorates his 3,000th hit and his tragic death that followed. The Clark and the Dawson are good pictures.

Finally, the Lance Parrish has a little sentimental value and a good story to me. I remember when I opened what had to be one of my first packs of 1987 Topps – this was a card I pulled. “Lance Parrish” doesn’t sound all that different from “Roger Maris” – and, heck, he was an “All-Star”. So I started screaming for my Dad that I had just unexpectedly pulled the single season HR king, only to be informed that I was unfortunately mistaken. 2 years later I was much wiser, owned a Baseball Encyclopedia, and most certainly would not be making that type of mistake again!





Sparkly trade with Off the Wall Cards

25 02 2011

Last week I got 3 Diamond Platinum cards in a trade with Shane from Off the Wall Cards.  What did I send in return?  We swapped sparklies.  I sent Shane a Lester for the 3 diamonds below.  I’ll pick up the Lester again at some later date, right now giving up 1 to get 3 is certainly worthwhile.  And it’s good to add another person to my trade-counter on the side!

Thanks Shane!

I also bought a decent lot of diamond platinum cards from ebay – the seller was starting individual cards at 39 cents and combining shipping for however many you won at 2 bucks total. All told, I purchased around 40 for about 30 bucks including shipping – so a pretty good deal. I picked up 8 Reds cards in this purchase – here’s the best of the lot, including the best card in the whole set – Jay Bruce walking off with the NL Central Crown.





Swapping cards with Common (Card) Man

24 02 2011

I recently traded with Tony from the blog Common (Card) Man. Tony sent me a whole bunch of Upper Deck 2010 cards (the last UD baseball issue) – enough to really put a dent in to that set for me.  He also sent me some 2010 Topps cards I needed – I’m inching closer on that set as well.

I sent Tony 4 or 5 Griffey Jr’s he didn’t have, and also a bunch of Upper Deck base cards from that same 2010 that he needed.

Here’s the highlights of my receipts from our trade – thanks Tony!





1987 Topps Glossy sets

23 02 2011

Topps again issued multiple Glossy sets in conjunction with its base set in 1987.  This time, Topps added a third set to the fold – the Glossy Rookies set.

All-Star Glossy

Back for the 5th year, this 22-card set commemorating the 1986 All-Star game was inserted 1 per rack pack. The set depict the manager, 9 starters, and a 2nd pitcher, which replaces the team picture from the year before and the Honorary Captains from the years before that. Of note – Charlie Gehringer and Rusty Staub served as team captains in 1986.

11 Hall of Famers:     W. Herzog, R. Sandberg, M. Schmidt, O. Smith, T. Gwynn, G. Carter, W. Boggs, C. Ripken, R. Henderson, D. Winfield, K. Puckett (up from 10 from the previous year)

Glossy All-Stars and Hot Prospects

The send-in set was again 60-cards, called “All-Stars and Hot Prospects”. This time collectors could obtain it in 6 different 10-card portions by sending in 6 of the “Spring Fever Baseball Game” cards that came 1 per wax pack. The players were generally either previous years’ All-Stars and up-and-coming prospects who’d had break out 1986 campaigns.

11 Hall of Famers:     T. Gwynn, G. Carter, E. Murray, W. Boggs, R. Henderson, O. Smith, M. Schmidt, G. Brett, C. Ripken, R. Jackson, K. Puckett (down from 18 from the ’86 set)

Barry Bonds is another notable card from this set in the same year as his rookie card from the base set.

Pete Rose is the lone Big Red Machine member in this set, and Eric Davis represents for the 1990 Reds WS Champs. Dave Parker was the one other Red in the set.

Glossy Rookies

In its initial year, the Rookies 22-card set came 1 per 101-card jumbo pack.  The set depicts some of the best rookies from the 1986 season. All 11 members of the Topps All-Star rookie team are included in this set.  Jose Canseco is and was the headliner from this set, and college teammates Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro are also in this set.  Noticeably missing is Bonds, who was 6th in the 1986 rookie of the year voting and led NL rookies in home runs and stolen bases.

I bought all of these sets on eBay. The Rookies set was the hardest to find – I paid 10 bucks counting shipping for this set.  The other two sets cost me a couple bucks each plus shipping.





1987 Topps Traded

21 02 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in factory form 1987 in the same format as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132.  The set contains XRC’s of players who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, and new managers. The design is the same as the base set, and the cards were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock. It seems like the quality improvement was particular noticeable in this set – the quality of this set seems particularly better than the ’87 base set!

Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set again received a miniature Bronze Card. For the second year in a row, this bronze replica was of a historic Topps card – this time the 1953 Topps Willie Mays card. Topps again issued a limited Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front.

There are no Big Red Machiner players in this set.  There are 2 members of the 1990 Reds World Champion team in the set. Jeff Reed, backup catcher on the ’90 team, was traded from the Twins to the Expos as part of a deal that involved closer Jeff Reardon.  Next – Danny Jackson is included in this set. Was Danny Jackson a rookie in 1987? No – through 1986 he already had 14 and 11 win seasons under his belt. He had a postseason shutout and a complete game World Series victory for the winning 1985 Royals. Was Danny Jackson traded in 1987? No – he was still playing for those same Royals.  Jackson had actually had a Donruss card in 1984, and had both Fleer and Donruss cards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.  Yet he had no base Topps card in those years.  I’m not sure if there’s a story behind that – maybe he didn’t sign an individual contract with Topps until 1987?  I vote for a 1985 “The Lost Cards” inclusion of Danny Jackson in Topps 2011 series 2.

There are four Hall of Famers in the set – these are the last Topps cards for both Steve Carlton and Reggie Jackson:

  • Carlton had signed as an 1987 off-season free agent with the Indians after a brief stint with the White Sox in 1986. The tribe eventually traded him to the Twins, where he would end his career with the Twins, but he didn’t have a Topps card with the Twins or in 1988 (I believe he did have a Fleer card).
  • After 5 seasons and 2 playoff appearances with the Angels, Jackson returned to finish his career where it started, in Oakland in 1987.
  • Just before opening day, Dennis Eckersley joined Jackson in Oakland via a trade for 3 minor leaguers from the Cubs.  He switched to a reliever that year, having a nice season where he saved 16 games. He’d go on to become an MVP and a Hall-of-Fame closer in his time with Oakland.
  • After spending 11 seasons with the Expos, free agent and perennial all-star Andre Dawson wanted to move to a team that had natural grass. Playing his home games in Montreal had worn on his knees, and Dawson felt this was the best way to extend his career. However Dawson didn’t have any suitors, likely due to collusion by the owners. Dawson showed up in the Chicago Cubs’ camp in Arizona with a blank contract. He would go on to win the 1987 NL MVP with the Cubs, and his time in Chicago also catapulted a great career into a Hall-of-Fame one.

Though there was still some evidence of collusion by MLB owners in the 1987 offseason, though there were some other free agency moves. had been found to be colluding during the 85/86 offseason, and there were still some remnants so there are a few more free agents in addition to the Hall-of-Famers above. Dawson was hands down the biggest name to move that off-season, most of the bigger moves were younger guys who blossomed with their new teams. Doug Drabek would go on to win a Cy Young with the Pirates, and Andy Van Slyke would become part of the great trio with Bonds and Bonilla in the late 80’s early 90’s. Kevin Mitchell went to the World Series and won an NL MVP with the Giants.  Two guys who are relatives of Hall-0f-Famers are in this set – Joe Niekro and Cal Ripken Sr.  Also – I couldn’t have told you that Terry Francona was ever a Red.



The rookies from this set aren’t quite as impressive as the previous year – but the set does have the rookie card of Greg Maddux, who would go on to win more games than any other player since Warren Spahn. Matt Williams, Fred McGriff and Benito Santiago also had RC’s in this set. This is David Cone’s first Topps card, though he is also in here because of his trade from the Royals to the Mets. Cone had a card with the Royals in the 1987 Donruss set.





1987 Topps scans

20 02 2011

I’ve done scans of the All-Star Rookies, Future Stars and members of the Reds World Series, so I still need to do scans of the rest of the set. I’ll start off with some interesting cards.  I remember this Tracy Jones card from this set – Tracy has done the Reds post-game show for 700 WLW for a number of years now. This Tony Pena card is a great shot for a set that is kind of in the medium as far as photography goes.  And Billy Beane – I think this may be his RC (scratch that – subsequent research shows it’s his first Topps card at least). At one time Beane was a first round pick for the Mets, going in the same round for the same team as Darryl Strawberry.  I also threw in a few 3,000-hit club members – at varying stages in their career at this point. The Gwynn card is an example of some of the poorer photography in this set.

1987 Topps is known for some solid rookies – in particular, it’s known for rookie / early cards of these guys. What do they have in common? They all played in the 1990 MLB playoffs!  Haha!  The Reds own you! Feel the own-age! (shamelessly stolen from a PS3 commercial)

Mt. Rushmore of the Steroid Era

Mt. Rushmore of the Steroid Era

Here’s a couple other rookies – 2 guys whose first stop on the Hall of Fame ballot was a year ago.

I don’t yet have all the RC’s from this set – here’s a couple more. Clark’s “Thunder and Lightning” teammate from Mississippi State – Rafael Palmeiro (who could be the 5th card in the Rushmore scan above – but he didn’t appear in the 90 playoffs, so no dice!!!!) was in a previous post as a part of the Future Stars subset.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous post – this is the first card of a player still active last year. Supposedly Moyer is out for the year with an injury but hoping to return in 2012. I think if he played in 2013 he’d be a 50-year old playing MLB. In other words, I still have 20 years to get my act together.

Here’s some other notable cards. My standard Rickey Henderson post, his teammate Don Mattingly, and … drumroll … Henderson and Mattingly together on one card. After that, 2 Hall-of-Famers wrapping up their respective 300-win and 500-HR careers, while Nolan Ryan, well, he still had nearly a decade left in him at the time of this photo.

The Wills card is interesting because it isn’t a real 1962 Topps card. Wills was the National League and All-Star game MVP in 1962, after breaking Ty Cobb’s single season record for steals. And if you’d have told me that Yogi Berra coached for the Astros – I certainly wouldn’t have known that – but here is proof!

And, last but actually first – the #1 card of this set was the Rocket’s record-breaking performance, becoming the first pitcher to strike out 20 in a 9-inning game. I just got this card via trade, which I’ll post about early next week.