Trade – Daily Dimwit & Baseball Cards Rule

30 05 2011

I’ve been involved in a number of trades lately – I think this is primarily because I’ve been collecting Heritage and Gypsy Queen, so I’ve had immediate common interests with the bloggers out there.  I’m up to 25 “traders” in the links on the side – every time I finish up a trade with a new collector I add one there.  This trade is with Sam over at Daily Dimwit.

Sam and I swapped some Gypsies and a few Heritage.  Sam is collecting the Framed Paper set – which is a really great set.  I entertained the idea of collecting it myself; with only 100 cards it is a manageable parallel.  But then I decided, hey, it’s got 6 Reds, so I’ll just collect them.  I sent Sam the 11 Framed Paper cards I had that he needed.  He sent over some Heritage cards I needed, quite a few Gypsy inserts / SPs, and two Gypsy minis of my hometown Cincinnati Reds.  One of these is a photo variation of Scott Rolen – so that’s a good pickup.  I also sent over my David Ortiz photo variation – he’s not collecting those or anything, but Sam was basically kind enough to swap me one for the other and he can use that as trade bait.  Anyways, thanks Sam!

I also completed a trade with Ben from Baseball Cards Rule.  This was a trade that helps with my primary project – the base Topps sets.  I sent Ben some cards of players he collects; he sent me a bunch of ’83 Topps and a few ’80 Topps.  I’m now within 5 cards of completing the 1983 set – I’m really getting close on all of the 1980’s sets.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #7 – Owners

29 05 2011

I almost used Nolan Ryan along with CC Sabathia in my “workhorse” post about Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn.  I think I found a much more unique comparison for this post. Hope everyone likes these – they’ve been fun to put together; I’ll have about 10 or 11 total.


Let me start by saying I preferred to have Charles Comiskey as my highlighted 1887 card here.  Before becoming the infamous owner who was so cheap his players fixed the 1919 World Series,  Comiskey played for 13 seasons, as a First Baseman and manager for the St. Louis Browns of the American Association.  He amassed over 1500 hits and played in 4 of the early World’s Series as the Browns won 4 straight AA championships.  Everything I’ve seen says that he has a card in the Gypsy Queen set.  This would be most appropriate – a card of a future owner, just like Nolan Ryan.

But I couldn’t find a picture of it, so I went with a card of Comiskey’s owner during his days with the Browns.  Chris von der Ahe bought the Browns in 1882 and moved them to the newly formed American Association.  Like Comiskey and Bill Veeck after him, von der Ahe was the first owner who was as much the story as his players.  He was an innovator, setting ticket prices lower than the NL games, in hopes that he’d make up on beer and food sales.  When the Browns won the American Association for the first time, he decided to erect a statue outside Sportsman’s Park.  He didn’t pick a statue of one of his star players; instead he built one of himself.   Von der Ahe’s fall coincided with that of the American Association. After the Association folded in 1892, he signed on for the team to join the National League and changed their name to the Cardinals.  But his manager, Comiskey, had gone and the team was regularly in last place.  Around the turn of the century, mounting losses forced him to sell the team.

Nolan Ryan is the easy choice here – after 5700+ strikeouts and over 300 wins, he’s the one guy in this set who went on to be a team owner.  And, he’s pictured in uniform for the team he would buy.  Oh, and I did find a Comiskey card from the Old Judge Set.  The Gypsy Queen card he has is likely of the same picture.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #6 – Best Pitcher on a bad team

28 05 2011

Continuing with pitchers in this installment of the Gypsy Queen set comparison.  We’ve looked at a number of hitters, but last time looked at 2 great pitchers.  Here are two more hurlers with a penchant for pitching well despite not getting similar output from their team’s hitters.

Best Pitcher on a Losing team

Last post I looked at “Old Hoss” Radbourn – who had the best season of any pitcher in the 1800’s.  Radbourn had two unmatched seasons and was one of the best pitchers from the 19th century, but the best pitcher from a full career perspective was Pud Galvin.  He started his career with Buffalo of the International Association – and joined the National League when his team did a few years later.  He pitched for Buffalo and later Pittsburgh of the NL, and for the first 10 years of his career had an ERA under 3.00 all but one season.  Galvin was the first 300-game winner in baseball history; his 363 wins are tied for 6th behind only Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Pete Alexander.  This is particularly amazing considering the fact that he pitched 3 years for Buffalo before they joined the National League – at this time, the National League wasn’t undisputed as the only major league. So his actual win total could very possibly be around that of Johnson.  Plus, he never pitched for a great team – neither his Buffalo or Pittsburgh squads ever won a pennant.

Felix Hernandez for seattle jumps to mind here.  He may not be the best pitcher in the game – that has to be Roy Halladay – but he’s certainly in the top 5.  Halladay, Sabathia, Lincecum, and Cliff Lee are the other guys in that argument.  What do those 4 have in common?  They’ve all been significant keys to a deep postseason run, while Seattle has only had 2 winning seasons with Hernandez there; they’ve only once finished as high as 2nd.  He won last year’s Cy Young and has been the best AL pitcher, along with CC, over the past 2 years.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #5 – Workhorses

26 05 2011

I’ll move on to some pitchers in my next installment of the Gypsy Queen set comparison.

The Workhorse

Charles Radbourn.  Otherwise known as “Old Hoss”.  When I was young, my mom used to make my brother and I stay in for an hour every summer and read right after lunch.  It was to keep us intelligent, and probably to keep us from being in the sun in the middle of the day.  So what I often read was the baseball encyclopedia – and I was always enthralled by the season Old Hoss had in 1884, when he set the standard with some records that will clearly never be broken.  Radbourn started his career pitching for the Providence Grays in 1881.  The rules were different then – and teams generally went with a two-man rotation.  Often the better of the two pitchers would pitch back-to-back games.  Radbourn was becoming the best pitcher in baseball – and he started 70% of the Grays games in 1883.  That year he set a single-season record that year with 48 wins – but the Grays were beat out by teams that used their 2nd pitcher a bit more.  The next season Radbourn had a truly great year.  The Grays had signed and developed a young pitcher named Charles Sweeney, and began using him more at the start of the 1884 season.  Sweeney struck out 19 batters in one game early in the season, and was being used more frequently, taking some starts away from Radbourn.  However, Sweeney was kicked off the team for insubordination in the middle of the season, and Radbourn started almost every game from July on.  “Old Hoss” finished the season with 678 innings pitched – the 2nd most all-time.  But he didn’t just pitch a lot – he was almost un-hittable.  Over all those innings, he had an ERA of 1.38, winning 59 games and Completing 73 of the 75 games he started.  Some sources credited him with 60 wins due to differences in official scoring rules from the time.  The best-of-3 World Series was played at the Polo Grounds against the New York Metropolitans, champions of the American Association.  Radbourn won all 3 games (they played the 3rd game even though Providence had clinched) without giving up an earned run.  Radbourn pitched for 11 seasons, winning 209 games up against 194 losses, and was eventually elected to the Hall of Fame.

CC Sabathia best represents the “Workhorse” pitcher in today’s game.  Its nothing like Radbourn’s stats in a very different game – but CC has never pitched less than 180 innings, even in his 2001 Rookie Year.  He had 157 wins at the end of last season, and is well-known for pitching effectively on 3 days’ rest when needed.  In 2008 when he was traded to Milwaukee, CC basically pitched them into the playoffs doing this.  He is the only pitcher with double digits in complete games in any season since the start of the decade.  Since the start of his career in 2001, he is tied with Roy Halladay with 162 wins and has more innings than all but 2 pitchers.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #4 – The Up and Coming Star

25 05 2011

The first 3 parts of my comparisons between the 1887 and 2011 Gypsy Queen sets showcased the best players in baseball from the eras, a few all-time home run kings, and two great players just past their prime.  This one showcases “Stars of Tomorrow” from the two eras.

The Up and Coming Star

At the time of the release of the Gypsy Queen cards, Sam Thompson was still a young player by any baseball standards.  In 1886, Thompson played his first full season for the Detroit Wolverines of the National League (a team that would eventually disband).  “Big Sam” showed a lot of promise, hitting .310 and scoring over 100 runs.  His 1887 season was historic – he knocked over 200 hits, including 23 triples, while batting .372.  All those totals led the league, but his 166 RBI set an all-time single season record that lasted for 34 years before Babe Ruth broke it.  Thompson was the only player in the 19th century with over 150 RBI in a season, and he did it twice (165 in 1895 for Philadelphia).  He retired as the active leader in RBI and was 2nd all-time in home runs.  Thompson would certainly have been the National League MVP had the award existed in 1887 – just as Joey Votto earned the award for the Reds last year.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #3 – Highest Paid Player

24 05 2011

Continuing on with my comparison of the Gypsy Queen set from the 19th century and the one from the 21st.  I’ve previously looked at baseball’s best player from the 1880’s and today, then the Home Run Kings included in both Gypsy Queen set.  Now we move onto a duo of similarly famous players…

The Highest Paid and Most Controversial Stars

Next up is the most famous athlete of the era.  Mike “King” Kelly was a future hall-of-famer who had been the best player in baseball, but was a few years past his prime in 1886 and 1887.  He played a large part of his career for the Chicago White Stockings (the Cubs’ franchise), the “evil empire” of the National League in early baseball.  Kelly was the highest paid player in the game; he was sold from Chicago to Boston for an exorbitant sum, earning the nickname “$10,000 Kelly”. He wasn’t just a ballplayer, he was a celebrity.  After the deal to Boston, he had a brief career as an actor, he was the basis for the first pop song in American culture, “Slide Kelly Slide”, and is believed by some to be the subject for “Casey at the Bat”.  Finally, he was known for skipping second base when the lone umpire wasn’t looking.  Who is he most like in this set?  My wife actually guessed this one correctly!  The highest paid player in today’s game arrived in Pinstripes via a blockbuster deal.  He was once the best player in the game, but his best years are a little behind him.  After dating Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz, he’s become a little bit of a celebrity himself.  And finally, he has been known to cause a stir for skipping second base.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #2 – Home Run Kings

22 05 2011
On to the 2nd part in the series comparing the old Gypsy Queen to the new.  Previously, I looked at Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor, the best players of their respective Time Periods.  This time, we’ll look at 2 guys from each set – though none of them play in today’s game.
All-Time Home Run Kings

If Dan Brouthers (from my last post) wasn’t the best player in baseball, it was probably Roger Connor of the New York Giants.  Connor was the best slugger in pre-1900 baseball.  He retired with the career triples and home run record.  His 138 home runs would last as the career record until the end of the dead ball era, when another New York slugger obliterated his record.  That same New Yorker would change the game, start the success of a franchise that was unparalleled in American Sports.  Like Pujols and Brouthers from the first post, both Connor and Babe Ruth won all 3 “jewels” of the triple crown, but never in the same season.  Connor’s Giants featured a number of Hall of Famers, but for most of the 1880’s, they could never get past Chicago or Detroit in the National League.  They finally broke though, winning consecutive NL Pennants and the Dauvray Cup of the World’s Series in both 1888 and 1889.  Ruth came to the Yankees in 1920, but wasn’t able to secure a World Series title until 1923.

Ruth held the single season home run record for 42 years.  He hit 29 in 1919, then broke his own record 3 more times before finally setting the standard at the magical 60.  This record stood until 1961, when Roger Maris famously broke this record.  Maris’s Gypsy Queen card appears to capture the swing that smashed #61.  Back to Ruth’s 29 – this broke the record of 27 set by Ned Williamson in 1884.  Williamson had set the doubles record the year before – both records were primarily attributable to the short dimensions at Chicago’s Lakeshore Park, which was about 200 feet down the line.  Prior to 1884, balls hit over the wall were considered doubles, but for one season in 1884, they were counted as home runs.  Of Williamson’s 27 home runs, 25 were hit at home that year.  Before this year, only one National League player had ever hit over 10 home runs.  In 1883, future Hall of Famer Buck Ewing, the catcher and teammate of Brouthers on the New York Giants passed the double-digit barrier to lead the National League.  This was the only time Ewing ever reached double digits in Home Runs in his Hall of Fame career.

2011 vs. 1887 Gypsy Queen #1 – Baseball’s Best Player

21 05 2011

In the upcoming posts I’ll do a comparison of certain players from the current Gypsy Queen set to the tobacco set from 1887.  I did this for 2011 Heritage (all in one post), which lent itself to directly compare to the 1962 Topps set – most of the cards in the set correspond to a card in the 1962 set.  Gypsy Queen doesn’t lend itself in this way – it is a set from 1887 when trading cards were in their infancy.  The set wasn’t numbered, it came out before the American League even existed, and the only cards from the 2nd league at the time – the American Association (AA) – were those of the St. Louis Browns, who had won the 1886 World’s Series.  All that notwithstanding, I think I can do some comparisons here.

The Best Player in Baseball

In today’s game – hands down this is first baseman Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.  In the mid-late 1880’s, this could have been one of three players – Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor or Cap Anson.  Anson doesn’t have a Gypsy Queen card, and I’ll use Connor for another comparison.  Pujols just led his team to a disappointing 2nd place finish in 2011 – the Detroit team for which Brouthers played finished just out of first in the National League in 1886, though they would go on to win the pennant and take the World’s Series over the AA Champion in 1887.  Brouthers was a 5-time batting champion who won all 3 triple crown categories at various stages of his career – but never all at once.  He briefly held the career HR record.  Pujols has also won all 3 triple crown categories over his career, and he could very well hold the career HR record that was once that of Brouthers.  Of note: the St. Louis Browns club that won the 1886 World’s Series is the same Cardinals franchise that Pujols plays for today (well, at least for this season).

More Trades – Sports-N-More and #2 with reader Hugo

19 05 2011

I’ve got cards from two more trades.  One is a new trade with a fellow blogger, the other is a second trade with a reader of my blog.

First up is a trade with Steve from Sports ‘N More Trading Cards.  Steve had recently opened a case of 2010 Upper Deck blaster boxes – so he was able to send me almost all the cards I needed to complete that set, and a couple of Heroes insert cards.  He also sent me a couple 2011 Topps cards – I can’t believe my favorite player of all time, Ken Griffey, is one of the last 6 cards I’ve needed for the base Topps set.  What a cool card!  Finally, he also put a huge dent into my 1980 Topps wantlist.  It’s funny – I’ve spent the last month on Heritage and Gypsy Queen – but completing some of these trades has me excited to get back to the base set collecting.  It’ll still be a little while since Topps Series 2 is coming out soon, but I should be on to 1990 in mid-June.

Anyways, I sent Steve some 89 Upper Deck cards and some 08 SP Authentic.  Steve – I owe you whenever you want to update a wantlist for 2010/2011 Topps.  Thanks for the trade!

I also completed a trade with Hugo, a reader of my blog who I’ve traded with before.  Hugo sent me over some Heritage needs and a couple 2011 Topps inserts, and I’m sending some Heritage back to him.  Hugo sent a Scott Rolen relic (bat) – so that’s an awesome pick up via trade!  Thanks again, Hugo – I’ll get your cards out Saturday!

2011 Gypsy Queen – group break and retail packs

18 05 2011

I participated in a Group Break of 2 Gypsy Queen boxes run by Chris of Nachos Grande.  My two teams were the White Sox and Mariners – I didn’t get anything earth shattering, but overall it was fun to do the group break.  Below is the highlights of what I got.  Chris also sent me over one of the Gypsy inserts – which I think I will be collecting for reasons I can’t entirely explain.  This one looks more like a hippy than a Gypsy.  Maybe those aren’t necessarily two different things?

I also bought 4 retail packs from a local Target.  I had hoped to get one of the Jumbo packs so I could see what the Green Framed Paper inserts were like.  No luck – there were only retail loose packs, so I picked up a few of those.  I was hoping to get one of the retail-only inserts, but got some of the hobby ones.  I did get a black mini of Jon Lester.