Friday, October 31, 2008


What's better on Halloween than a few creepy, old-school goalie masks?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

1953 Topps Project - Post #32

#59 - Karl Drews - Philadelphia Phillies

In honor of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, today's 1953 Topps Project post features Karl Drews of the Fightin' Phillies. When Karl suited up for the Phils in 1953, he probably had no idea that it would be 27 years before his team would bring home a World Series championship (and another 28 years before they'd repeat).

Karl's 8 seasons in the big leagues were largely unspectacular. By 1953 his career was clearly on the downward slope, as he gave up a staggering 218 hits in 185 1/3 innings pitched.

Sadly, only ten years after this card was produced, Karl was killed in a tragic accident. He was hit by a drunk driver that he was trying to flag down after his own car had stalled near a construction site. His seventeen year old daughter witnessed the incident. The obituary, from the August 16th, 1963 issue of the New York Times, can be found here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Will Clark Card #2

1991 Fleer ProVisions - #2 of 12

I found this subset in a binder of cards that I recently discovered. I guess Will is supposed to be standing on a fiery hot planet somewhere else in the galaxy crushing the hell out of a ball.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Random Will Clark Card #1

1993 Flair - #140

There were two players I really focused on collecting as a kid, Will Clark and Nolan Ryan. Ironically, as most people are aware, Will Clark actually hit a home run off of Nolan Ryan in his first ever plate appearance in the majors. Anyway, in an attempt to bring my blog to new heights of boring, I've decided to show off some of my fine Will Clark cards. Sure, most of these cards are worth absolutely nothing, but they hold a lot of sentimental value to me.

First up is this 1993 Flair card. This is the first year for the Flair product line, and I remember card collectors went nuts over these super premium cards when they were first released. They were pretty expensive at the time, I think I was only fortunate enough to rip open one or two of the little black and gold boxes that contained the packs. There's not a lot of interest in them anymore though, and I recently picked up an un-opened wax box of this stuff for $25, which is where this card comes from. I think these cards look great, even by today's standards. They're super-thick, have simple design and high-quality photos, and best of all are borderless. I plan on doing a box review if I can ever find the time...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Card of the Month - October 2008

1952 Bowman - #169 - Walt Dropo

I love the fall, but it's a bit upsetting to see the baseball season come to an end every year, and it was especially tough to see the Red Sox go down the way they did this year, losing game 7 of the ALCS to the Tampa Bay Rays. I suppose I can't complain too much, considering I've been lucky enough to see the team I've rooted for since I was a kid win not one, but two championships this decade. Nonetheless, the end of the baseball season means the leaves will soon be falling off the trees, and I'll be subjected to another cold, dark, New England winter. At least I have cards and the Boston Bruins to get me through these tough times...
October's card of the month is another from the 1952 Bowman set. This set has always been a favorite of mine, as I explained when I used my graded Bob Feller as the card of the month back in July. So, when I saw this Walt Dropo card recently for $7, I had to pick it up. It's in pretty decent condition; it's slightly frayed edges and the small crease on the right above Walt's shoulder just give it character in my opinion.
It's funny, coming across a few graded cards on Ebay was what got me back into the hobby almost two years ago. I had never heard of the concept of grading in my first go around, and I loved the idea of picking up a little piece of cardboard history that was examined thoroughly by a grader at PSA, proven to be authentic, and then enshrined into a slab of plastic for all eternity.
As time goes on, you mature as a collector though. I've realized that graded cards can be great, and I still pick them up every once in a while, especially the 1953 Topps cards that I need for my graded set. However, I quickly realized that more often than not, graded cards are just a waste of money. Collecting the cards is what I care about, and while condition certainly holds importance, there's something I love about being able to hold a 50-plus-year-old card right in my hand, creases, dinged corners and all, without any plastic in the way. Graded cards are expensive too...I'd take 10 1952 Bowmans with wrinkles or creases over a single graded 1952 Bowman any day. So, while I'll still go for graded cards in certain areas of my collection, I've really become attracted to cards that show signs of wear from the passing of time.
Do you have any graded cards in your collection?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

1953 Topps Project - Post #31

#128 - Wilmer Mizell - St. Louis Cardinals

As dayf already noted in this A Pack A Day post, Wilmer Mizell had one of the best baseball nicknames of all time, "Vinegar Bend". The story behind the nickname isn't nearly as interesting as the nickname itself, it derives from the fact that he played baseball in Vinegar Bend, Alabama at one point in his career. Pretty exciting, I know...

Vinegar Bend was a fairly decent pitcher during his tenure in the majors, finishing with a respectable 90-88 record and with a 3.85 career ERA. He pitched an astounding 61 complete games, including 15 shutouts. In this day and age of coddling pitchers in the name of preserving arms, it's doubtful that any pitcher will ever even come close to 61 career complete games again.

As dayf also touched on, Wilmer went on to become a United States Congressman, serving for three terms. The Watergate scandal basically cost him his seat in Congress, but he would later serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development in the Ford administration, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Governmental and Public Affairs in the Reagan administration, and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration. Not a bad resume...

Vinegar Bend passed away in February of 1999 at the age of 68.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Game 5

There's still hope. Last night's game was without a doubt one of the best I've ever watched. A comeback like that could really turn the series around. If Josh Beckett can pitch a half-way decent game tomorrow night this could be a whole new series. I thought the debacle that was game 2 was going to decide the series, but after last night the Sox have all the momentum.
Best of all, the bats actually woke up. I hope the confidence of the Sox hitters travels with them down to Florida...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ridiculous Cards - Clint Malarchuk

1991 Upper Deck - #368

This...rare...and...extremely...valuable 1991 Upper Deck Clint Malarchuk card isn't really too ridiculous on its own. Sure, it's not every day that you see a goalie 10 feet out of his crease "going high" on an opposing player. But the real reason I've chosen this card has to do with an article I stumbled across today. It's a brief article, but all you really need is the opening sentence:

"Clint Malarchuk, the former NHL goalie best known for having his jugular vein slashed by a skate in a 1989 game with Buffalo, is recovering after accidentally shooting himself in the chin with a rifle".

That is easily the greatest sentence I've read in weeks. What did this guy's neck do to deserve this? Apparently this happened when he was out shooting rabbits, which must be quite a challenge. There's not much more to the article, but if you want to bother reading the other two paragraphs (or if you think I made this up) you can find them here.

Hockey is Here!

Tonight the NHL season kicks off and my local team, the Boston Bruins, open their season in Colorado taking on the Avalanche. I've always been a fan of the local team, but only begrudgingly so in this case, as the Bruins were the arch-nemesis of my favorite hockey team of all time, the Hartford Whalers, for years. I can't remember the last time I've been this excited for an NHL season to kick off, last year's Stanley Cup final was such a great matchup that I've been anxiously awaiting the start of this season all summer.

Will Patrice Bergeron be able to bounce back from the crushing hit and subsequent concussion that kept him off the ice for the better part of last year? Will the Bruins improve upon their admirable first round loss to the overpowering Montreal Canadiens last year? Will Joe Sakic, who's really getting up there at age 39, spark the Avs to a win?

By the way, how sweet is the photography on this Joe Sakic card? You gotta love Upper Deck...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

2008 ALDS Champions

Congratulations to the Red Sox, especially Jed Lowrie, who had about as clutch a hit as you can get last night, despite a less than stellar stretch run to end the regular season. I have to be honest, Tampa Bay scares the hell out of me though...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

1953 Topps Project - Post #30

#49 - Faye Throneberry - Boston Red Sox

Another month, another 1953 Topps project post. Today's subject is Faye Throneberry of the Boston Red Sox. I chose a Red Sox card in honor of the ALDS which kicks off tonight in California against the dreaded Angels. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans on the East Coast, the game won't be starting until 10 P.M. There are going to be a lot of tired 9 to 5 workers in the New England area tomorrow for sure...
Throneberry's career spanned 8 seasons, and he saw playing time with the Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators and wait...what's this?...the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. Nooooo!!! I couldn't have picked a worse card to feature today, if the Red Sox lose the series now I'll be convinced that I jinxed them with this damn post. Well, he appeared in only 24 games for the Angels that year and did not record a single home run, or even RBI, so I guess I feel a bit better.
Faye broke into the league in 1952 as a 20-year-old, but had a fairly uneventful career as you can see here. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 67. Hopefully his 1953 Topps card can bring some luck to the current Red Sox team. Go Sox!
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