Saturday, October 3, 2015

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Being original is difficult. Taking ideas and putting new spins on them is pretty hard too. If either originality or redefining old ideas were easy, the advertising industry would never make the money it does -- and even then, many ad campaigns are immediately either forgettable, unintelligible, or stick around for way too long.


A card collector putting together a collection of all the players who ever played for their favorite team is probably a concept as old as baseball cards themselves. Whether it is being an OCD-team-collector or a Frankenset creator of a team's all-time roster (and I know I am missing many, many other blogs outside of Night Owl and Tony Burbs), again, creating a complete team collection in whatever form is nothing new.

And still, I think I want to do one myself.

My "Meet the Brewers" series is one that appeals to the amateur historian in me. I especially enjoy finding out more about the lesser lights who made it to the major leagues -- guys like George Lauzerique and his opinions as a scout about John Elway and Manny Ramirez, for example. 

To go along with that series, I had to do a little research. Because I want to present the Brewers in the order they appeared for the team, I had to use Baseball Reference's boxscore information to create that information. Of course, since this is a baseball card blog, I then turn to my own collection to cards for each player.

For the first twenty-five years of the team's history, the Brewers have made that part of my story easy by issuing books of cards featuring every player ever to play for the team in a four-book series sponsored by Miller Brewing. I recently bought a second set of these four books on eBay so I could start my new project.

The first two books are sponsored officially by Miller Lite, and the third and fourth books are sponsored by Miller Genuine Draft.  I bought these for a total of $24 with shipping included. 

What I did next was basically to disassemble all four books.  The cards are all perforated, so to create my "Brewers in Order" book, they had to be taken apart.

I have put 1970 through 1976 into a binder already.  As you might expect, 1970 had a ton of Brewers debuts -- 45 in all.  When everyone on the roster is new to the team, well, that's what happens.

So, now, it's moving forward with putting this set in order.  After that, the real trick is going to be finding cards for the debutantes after 1994. For at least most of the time -- I think through about 2012 or so -- the Brewers and the local police departments continued to issue safety sets with the cards being in the standard 2.5" x 3.5" size.  

The problem here, though, will be twofold.  First, police sets after about 1995 or so are tough to find. I've got a set from 2000, and I have one from 2012. But, otherwise, it's been rough sledding.  So, that will be one issue.

The second issue, of course, is finding cards for the lesser lights and one-offs. Sure, some of these lesser guys were fancied as prospects for five seconds or so. As a result, I might be able to find them in Bowman sets.  But, finding cards for, say, Neal Cotts or Brooks Conrad as Brewers may be difficult to impossible.

I'll probably end up adopting similar rules to what Tony Burbs at Wrigley Roster Jenga has, preferring cards for the player being active and shown as a Brewer over those from the post-career cards showing the guys as Brewers, etc.  Those rules and the order of precedence for such cards make sense to me.  

It will be a fun project for me, and it will give me something more to do with the nearly 12,000 Brewers duplicate cards that I have already.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Meet the Brewers #15: Sandy Valdespino

Dave Bristol needed a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning for Bob Meyer, who threw two less-than-stellar innings (2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K).  Bristol looked down his bench and chose Sandy Valdespino.  The 31-year-old Valdespino went up and promptly popped out to third base.

This is first truly short-time Brewer. Valdespino appeared in just eight games for the Brewers -- all in April of 1970.  He got to play in the field in left just once -- in the second game of the season after pinch hitting once again.  He came to bat 9 times in those eight games without recording a hit. He struck out four times and grounded into a double play.

1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers
As a story from the Milwaukee Journal mentioned on the twentieth anniversary of the first Milwaukee Brewer Opening Day, Valdespino owns the dubious distinction of being the first player from the Opening Day roster to leave the major league team.  He was sent down to Triple-A Portland to make room for Mike Hershberger when Hershberger came off the disabled list on April 22.

Valdespino was born in Cuba in 1939 and was signed as an 18-year-old by the Washington Senators in 1957.  His given name is Hilario, and he became known as Sandy because a minor-league manager said that Valdespino reminded him of Sandy Amoros.

Eight long years later and after winning the International League batting title in 1964 with the Atlanta Crackers, Valdespino made his major league debut as a member of the Minnesota Twins. That Twins team went to the World Series in 1965, only to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  That 1965 season, though, was the only time in his career that Valdespino appeared in more than 100 major league games in a season.

Valdespino spent three years in Minnesota -- the first with a .261/.319/.322 slash line, the next two combined being a nightmarish .171/.207/.239 line.  How's that OPS+ of 26, Sandy?  Apparently, Sandy felt like was good enough. During the 1966 season, the Twins tried to send Valdespino down to Triple-A Denver.  Valdespino refused to report.  Someone later reminded him how batting averages worked, and he showed up to enjoy the thin Denver air.

After that debacle and after two horrible major league seasons, the Twins removed Valdespino from their major league roster. That exposed him to the Rule 5 Draft, and the Atlanta Braves decided to take a shot.  Valdespino lasted with the Braves until December of 1968, when he was traded to the Astros for Paul Doyle. Houston found itself in a pennant race in 1969 -- at least for a while, as chronicled in Ball Four -- and so Valdespino became a way to get Tommy Davis.

1994 Miller Brewing Milwaukee Brewers
After Valdespino was sent to the minor leagues in early April, he never resurfaced with the Brewers. In July of 1970, the Brewers sold his contract to the Kansas City Royals. The Royals gave Valdespino his final 18 games of his major league career.

These days, the only information I have on Valdespino is that he was living in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2004.

As best I can tell, I have both of the Sandy Valdespino cards of him shown on the Brewers. Somehow, he was included in the 1970 McDonald's Brewers set and, per the definition of the set, he was also included in the 1994 25th anniversary set from Miller.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Meet the Brewers #14: Bob Meyer

After Ted Savage pinch-hit for George Lauzerique in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Brewers down 8-0 already to the Angels, manager Dave Bristol brought lefthander Bob Meyer into the game to pitch in the sixth inning of Brewers game Number 1. Perhaps due to how dire the Brewers were in that first game, Bristol used sixteen total players on Opening Day alone.  Meyer was just number 14.

1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers
Meyer was a carryover from the Seattle Pilots. Born, raised, and educated through college in Toledo, Ohio, he was signed out of the University of Toledo by the New York Yankees in 1960. Throughout his career, he struggled with control issues -- averaging 5.8 BB/9 innings over every level of competition at which he pitched.  He struck out plenty of guys too, though -- 6.4/9 in the majors -- so he sounds like one of those guys with "electric" stuff who have no idea where the ball is going. 

He didn't exactly light up the minor leagues -- a 62-80 record over 9 minor league seasons with a 3.92 ERA over 1211 innings in which he walked 784 and struck out 1065 (the strikeouts total is incomplete due to not having the total from his first trip to Single-A Binghamton in 1960).  

Still, he made it to the major leagues in 1964 with the Yankees.  After making 7 nondescript appearances (0-3, 4.91 ERA, 18-1/3 innings, 12 BB, 12 K), the Yankees sold his contract to the Los Angeles Angels on June 12, 1964. With the Angels, he made 6 appearances (5 starts) that were similarly nondescript (18 innings, 13 BB, 13 K, 1-1 record, 5.00 ERA). 

So, six weeks later on July 29, 1964, Meyer's contract was sold to the Kansas City Athletics.  He didn't embarrass himself totally in Kansas City, but he didn't exactly set the world on fire either: 1-4 record, 3.86 ERA, 7 starts, 42 innings, 33 BB, 30 K.  The A's -- both in KC and in Oakland -- were happy to park him at Triple-A in hopes of never having to use his skills in the major leagues.

1971 Topps
In 1968, Meyer had what probably was his baseball career highlight as a professional while pitching for Triple-A Vancouver. He pitched a no-hitter against the Hawaii Islanders, who had the infamous Bo Belinsky pitching for them that night.  

Perhaps management from the Seattle Pilots were in the area that evening, but for whatever reason, the Pilots decided in late 1969 to pick Meyer up from the Athletics with Pete Koegel in exchange for Fred Talbot.  Meyer pitched decently for the Pilots, or at least decently enough for the organization to keep him around for the 1970 season.

With the Brewers in 1970, though, Meyer struggled. He made 10 appearances all season -- all before the end of May.  He threw just 18-1/3 innings, allowing 24 hits, 12 walks, and 2 HR in racking up a 6.38 ERA.  But, there was a good reason for his struggles: an injury. He was placed on the 21-day disabled list on May 29, 1970 with tendonitis in his pitching arm.  

His final appearance for the Brewers on May 20 was also his final appearance in the major leagues. At least he made it a memorable one: he threw 3-1/3 innings in relief of Skip Lockwood, giving up 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts, but he also got just his second major league hit in his lone at-bat in the game -- a single off later Brewers pitching coach Chuck Dobson against his old team, the Oakland Athletics.

1994 Miller Brewing 25th Anniversary Commemorative Set
After his playing career, Meyer got married in 1971. In 1979, he founded and began publishing BarterNews, which calls itself the voice of the barter industry. Through the Barter News website, you can purchase the "Baseball Autographs" Package from Meyer. For your $50, you get a personalized note, a copy of his 1970 contract with Topps, a copy of an article from his days in spring training in 1964 with the Yankees, a copy of an article about a 1-hitter he threw in 1964, a copy of Sporting News coverage about his 1968 no-hitter, and autographs on all those articles.

My only question is this: if the guy is such a fan and proponent of bartering, why isn't there an option to barter for the Autographs package?

Meyer has six total cards/items featuring him as a Brewers player: the McDonald's card above, a 1970 Mike Andersen Postcard, a 1971 Dell Today's Team Stamp, his 1971 Topps and O-Pee-Chee cards, and the 1994 Miller Brewing card.  So, I have three of the six, and I am (of course) looking for the other three.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Certified Angus Cards

Back during my "War" with Jaybarkerfan, the final shot in the battle came from a foreign country. It wasn't quite like the shot that Bob Walk the Plank fired -- I mean, it's tough to top getting someone who is French involved in any war (sorry, Mr. Card Papoy, for the low blow). 

But I was lucky enough to enlist a volunteer from Canada named Angus to join in the battle.  Angus had sent me cards before that he is much more easily able to find -- in particular, the O-Pee-Chees that never get as far south at Atlanta -- and to JBF, he sent action figures of prime ministers.  You gotta love it.

Well, Angus finally became a blogger recently.  He's not a baseball card collector to any great extent, but rather, he's a football card collector.  Specifically, he collects the Cleveland Browns, and his blog name references the famous Dawg Pound -- it's Dawg Day Cards.  I'm proud and lucky enough to be one of six blogs currently on Angus's blog roll.  So, if you have extra Cleveland Browns cards, I'm sure you can entice Angus to take them off your hands.

Perhaps to celebrate his newly christened blog, Angus sent me a package of cards that he picked up at his local card show on the US side of the border.  I think to myself about what that must be like -- having to leave the country, clear customs, maybe even get a passport stamped -- and all just to get the mail (since Angus has a US mailing address for all of us to send him cards) and to go to a card show.

Anyway, whenever I hear the name Angus, I don't think about that movie from the 1990s with the fat Minnesota kid who is really smart and with George C. Scott ambling through it with his eye trained off screen at the check that the producer was holding in his hands to ensure that George would stay on set and not mumble, "I was Patton, dammit. And I know...I returned the Academy Award for that role, but Christ on a bike, I'm a real ACTOR!"

I think, instead, about AC/DC and Angus Young.  I'm sure that Angus of Dawg Day Cards has heard that one plenty, but tough -- it's time for AC/DC plus Brewers and Braves!

"Who Made Who"

I'm pretty old school when it comes to AC/DC.  I stopped listening when "Thunderstruck" made it big -- it was just nothing special to me...sorry to all you fans.  But I listened like crazy to the album "Who Made Who," which was actually the soundtrack to the movie "Maximum Overdrive."  So, let's start with the title track to that album:

For that song -- which is really underrated, in my opinion -- we get a group of oddballs that are underrated in my opinion too: Topps Stamps.

I dabbled in philately as a kid -- my grandmother was a notorious packrat who kept letters that she had received as a kid or that her parents had received when she was a kid...and she was born in 1909. So it made for a pretty decent collection.  But these 1961 Topps Baseball Stamps (more info here from the fantastic Net54 forum) eluded me until Angus's package arrived.

Man, I could get lost on that Net54 forum.  I love history stuff, especially history stuff about things like baseball and baseball cards that I really enjoy.

"Big Balls"

The song that every teenage guy thought was super funny due to the double entendre filling the song And, with lyrics like "I've got big balls/I've got big balls/And they're such big balls/Dirty big balls", it wasn't like it took a genius to figure out the joke.  So, I'd call it pretty juvenile, generally.

Kinda like the guy who posted the video who said, "This song is funny as hell!"  

Hello? Hell isn't funny, dude.  

Now, baseball cards on the back of a cereal box -- that's funny!

Especially when you get a card of a future manager of the Seattle Mariners (for all of 217 games, mind you).  But really, was Post hard up for players to put on the cards in 1961? Seriously, Cottier hit .227/.273/.301 in 254 plate appearances.  By the time this card came out, it was not Cottier's third season with the Braves, either -- he was traded in December of 1960 with Bill Bruton, Dick Brown, and Terry Fox to the Detroit Tigers for Frank Bolling and Neil Chrisley.  Then, two months into the 1961 season, Cottier was sent to the Washington Senators for Hal Woodeshick.  

No matter -- these cards are awesome...even if Al Spangler is trying to catch flies with his open mouth.


T.N.T. was always a favorite song of mine.  I love the introduction in particular -- great guitar riff, the chorus of "oi!" over and over, building to the first stanza of the song.  Just a fantastic song.

To go with it?  A fantastic card:

A 2005 Topps Finest Blue Refractor serial numbered out of 299, of course.  The blue refractor here is a very busy design, but it goes well with the Brewers blue jersey that Ben Sheets is wearing in this photo.  

"Chase the Ace"

A strange instrumental on the "Who Made Who" album.  It's not strange musically, to be fair, but it's just weird to have a band putting out a 3-minute-long instrumental.  Perhaps it was a song that they liked the guitar lick but couldn't come up with any lyrics for Brian Johnson to choke out for it.  Maybe it was just filler.  Who knows...

It's the way I feel about this card too:

The whole "Sample" card fad that Donruss in particular engaged in during the 1980s and 1990s -- ostensibly to promote their new releases to card shops but more likely just an excuse to get collectors thinking that there were really rare cards to chase.  This one, for instance, says "Promo/5000" on the back.  It's cool and all -- I'm glad to add it to my Molitor collection.  

It's just makes me scratch my head a little bit.  Then again, Angus warned me that he likes oddballs like I do, so I should have expected this, right?

"Back in Black"

If you're going to listen to AC/DC, you are going to hear "Back in Black." It's what they do, and it's the album that made them even more famous than before.  It also let the world know that all Aussie singers pretty much can scream equally as well when Brian Johnson replaced the deceased Bon Scott after Scott died from acute alcohol poisoning.  Mutt Lange produced the album, so there are plenty of hooks and catchy sounding songs.

If you're getting cards from Angus -- well, if I am getting cards from Angus -- I get a lot of O-Pee-Chee.  It's what I need.

I do love these O-Pee-Chees, even O-Pee-Chees might have been the second showing of Topps parallels (the Venezuelan cards are the first, I guess).  It's strange -- I don't mind the O-Pee-Chees (or the 1984 Nestle, even), but the rash of parallels in nearly every product these days can get a bit annoying to me.  It might be the serial numbered stuff -- I like to feel like I have a chance to get the cards, I suppose.

Still, who would turn away an O-Pee-Chee?

"You Shook Me All Night Long"

I am a total sucker for this song. Always have been.  From the first time I recall hearing it, I was hooked.  It's a Mutt Lange special -- catchy, plenty of guitar riffs and hooks that stick in your head, and generally a fun song.  

What cards am I a total sucker for?

Well, to be fair, I'm pretty much a total sucker for anything that pictures a Milwaukee Brewers player, but to be more specific, I love the Archives stuff.  Whether it's the "Fan Favorites" version of Paul Molitor here, or the more recent incarnations of Archives (about which my main beef is "Too many Yankees. Not enough Brewers."), I love the reuse of 1970s and 1980s (and early 1990s) designs.  That's because that is when I collected initially, of course -- it's the love of the familiar.  

Not unlike listening to AC/DC's songs from the early 1980s.  It makes me feel like a 16-year-old high school kid just a little bit.  And as I trudge loudly into my mid-40s, I rather enjoy that little bit of the Fountain of Youth.

Thanks, Angus!  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Meet the Brewers #13: Ted Savage

A programming note: I figured that I should compile the "Meet the Brewers" features in one place, so I've linked them on a page at the top. That way, I can go back and re-read them at my leisure in case that becomes something I want to do.

But, it's been a little while since we met a Brewer, so let's meet an interesting one.  This next player is Ted Savage.  Savage pinch hit in the bottom of the fifth inning in place of pitcher George Lauzerique, becoming the thirteenth player used in the game.  He popped out to third. 

1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers
Savage probably would have started Opening Day in Milwaukee had he been healthy -- and, perhaps, had he not just joined the team on the day before Opening Day.  But, as his SABR Biography notes, he suffered from leg injuries all April which limited his appearances during that month.

But who is Ted Savage? He was born in Venice, Illinois, and grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. From there, he went to college at Lincoln University before joining the army.  After his discharge in 1958, he finished up his degree.  He signed with Philadelphia in 1960 and tore it up at Triple-A Buffalo in 1961 -- .325/.427/.525 with 24 HRs and 31 SBs.  

The problem for Savage, though, is that he was with the racist Philadelphia Phillies.  Back when I had time to write more, I talked about how racist the Phillies were in the 1960s and early 1970s when discussing Larry Hisle and his criticism of the Phillies organization.  Savage did fairly well for a 25-year-old in 1962 -- .266/.345/.373, OPS+ of 96 -- but the Phillies decided to trade him to Pittsburgh for the 35-year-old Don Hoak, who was coming off a year of .241/.320/.350.  Savage wasn't alone in getting shipped out young -- it happened to Hisle, Grant Jackson, Richie Allen, and future Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins too.  

Sorry for the crappy scan
1971 Topps
The problem for Savage doubled when going to Pittsburgh, but there is was a playing time issue. Why would anyone play Savage ahead of Roberto Clemente, Bill Virdon, Bob Skinner, Manny Mota, Donn Clendenon, or Willie Stargell?  

In any event, Savage was traded or sold multiple times in the mid- and late-1960s.  In 1964, it was to the Cardinals in a trade.  Then, in 1967, the Cubs bought his contract.  In 1968, the Cubs traded Savage to the Dodgers for Jim Hickman and Phil Regan.  In 1969, he was sent to Cincinnati in a minor trade.  Then, in April 1970, Savage was sold to Milwaukee.

Getting decent, regular playing time in Milwaukee led to Savage's best season in the majors.  In 343 plate appearances, he hit 12 HRs, stole 6 bases, walked 57 times while striking out just 44 times, leading to a slash line of .279/.402/.482 and an OPS+ of 144.  Not too shabby.

Unfortunately, at the age of 34, Savage was merely an asset to help build a team.  The Brewers were pretty bad, after all, so they were looking to put together a younger core for the team to let it develop together.  It only took 7 more years for a winning season, so you can tell these early efforts did not bear fruit.  But these efforts led to Savage being traded yet again -- this time for the final time -- to the Kansas City Royals.

1994 Miller Commemorative Milwaukee Brewers
The 1971 season was Savage's last as a major leaguer. However, as is sometimes the case, his influence was far greater after his retirement.  During his time playing in the majors, Savage worked as a substitute teacher around St. Louis.  He eventually earned his Ph.D. in urban studies from St. Louis University and served for nine years as the athletic director at Harris-Stowe State University, an HBCU in St. Louis.

Then, in 1987, the St. Louis Cardinals hired Savage as a director for target marketing in the Cardinals Care and community relations department. Savage finally retired from that position in 2012.  In that role, he became the namesake of the Cardinals Care Golf Classic fundraiser and made many appearances for the Cards -- whether that meant talking to St. Louis news station KSDK about Jackie Robinson's debut or appearing with film stars and Hall of Famers to talk about their mutual love for baseball:

From left to right, that's Ozzie Smith, Kevin Costner, and Ted Savage.

In other words, Savage has impacted literally thousands of lives in a positive manner despite never getting a truly fair shake in terms of playing time during his career.  

Savage has two major release cards -- I don't have his O-Pee-Chee card from 1971.  He appears otherwise on the 1970 Mike Andersen Postcards (perhaps as a Cincinnati Red), the McDonald's set above, and the 1970 Brewers Picture Pack in 1970.  In 1971, he's on Topps and OPC, but due to his good stats, he also appears in the Dell Today's Team Stamps, Topps Coins, Topps Super, and Topps Tattoos.  I don't think I have anything other than the three cards I've shown here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cards from All Cardinals All the Time

Recently, an unexpected package arrived here in the north Atlanta suburbs from Ray at All Cardinals All the Time.  He is a Ray Lankford supercollector, and with those two Rays in my head, I immediately thought of this:

Huh?  Yeah.  When I was in college, I was a member of the Vanderbilt Marching Band.  One of our more notorious band members was a guy named Ray.  Everyone has a friend -- or knows someone like -- Ray.  Ray is that guy with the really loud voice who can be heard over everyone heckling the referees but who doesn't necessarily have the best grasp of the rules of the game.  So rather than yelling about something like whether a lineman is getting held on a pass rush, Ray would just yell one of two things: "Hey Ref, you need Gatorade because your calls are as weak as water" or "Hey Ref, You Suck!"

He was a real wordsmith.

Within the band, there was a group of guys who attended Belmont University (side note: yep, Vandy's Marching Band really was the marching band of Vandy, Belmont, David Lipscomb University and Trevecca Nazarene College...we wouldn't have had enough people otherwise, I think) who were a little bit older than most folks in the band. By that, I mean they were 23 or 24 and not 18 or 19.  They liked Ray a lot but enjoyed making fun of him as well. So, they appropriated MC Hammer's song "Pray" and turned it into "Ray!"  We need a Ray, just to make it today...

Anyway, long intro just to give you a frightening look into how my brain plays word association and turns it into the first chapter of "The Sound and the Fury" -- you know, the part of the book that was the tale told by an "idiot"?

So, getting back to why I have a blog, here are the highlights from the cards that Ray sent to me...highlighted by music, of course.

Jeromy Burnitz

According to this website, Jeromy Burnitz used the song "Blurry" by Puddle of Mudd as a walk-up song at least one time during the 2002 season.  Ray was kind enough to send me six Burnitz cards that I needed either for my player collection or my team collection:

Jeff Cirillo

"Got a Machine head, it's better than the rest, green to red, machine head."  Cirillo used this song, according to this list, during the 2008 season while employed by the Minnesota Twins. Maybe he used its first few lyrics to remind himself to "breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in...."

To be fair, I really liked this song when it first came out in 1995.  By 2008, though, I was a little bit tired of it.

I'm not tired of getting Cirillo's cards for my collection though, and Ray sent me this one that goes into my team collection:

Geoff Jenkins

Using that same list as the one from Cirillo, it appears that Geoff Jenkins really liked Jay-Z in 2008.  He used two songs as his walk-up music: "Dig A Hole" and "30 Something."  Can't really fault him for using either song, to be fair.  Jay-Z had his fastball then. He's good now, but he's more of a junkballer now, if you know what I mean.  

Before 2008 and according to a now-available-in-archives only page that used to be on ESPN's Page 3, Jenkins used Usher's "Yeah!"  So, Jay-Z was an upgrade.

Ray sent me two Jenkins cards from Jenkins's prime.

Dave Nilsson

I couldn't find anything talking about his walk-up music or any other music he likes.  So, here's what we get instead:

Because I like Cypress Hill and liked listening to them back in college too.  

Here's the Dave Nilsson card that Ray sent to me for my player collection:

Ben Sheets

According to this forum posting, Manny Parra and Ben Sheets both used "Welcome Home" by Coheed + Cambria as their intro music at various points in their respective careers. Personally, I never liked Coheed + Cambria. They sounds to me like a Rush tribute band using guitars instead of keyboards.  And, while I like Rush and all, I am hardly what you'd call a superfan of their music.

I am a superfan of getting cards like these, though:

Lots of great early 2000s Donruss there!

Jose Valentin

Finally, there's Jose Valentin.  These two songs came once again from the same list as the Geoff Jenkins music.  During his final seasons in the majors, Valentin played with the New York Mets.  During at least one of those years, he used either of these two songs by Don Omar -- "Salio El Sol" (the top video) and "Reggaeton Latino".  I'd not heard these songs before, but they are decent, I think.  

Just like Circa Thunder from 1998 is pretty decent. 

Actually, no, Circa Thunder is not decent. These colors on a card with that "Valentin" down the side is godawful terrible.  I really don't like the color orange -- every college team that wears orange (Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Virginia) are all evil in varying shades of evilness.  This card reminds me of why I don't like orange.

But, it shows a Brewers player so I have to have it.  And since it shows a guy in a player collection, I had to have two -- and now, thanks to Ray, I do.

Thanks a lot for the great cards!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

More Pursuit-worthy Items

As I mentioned yesterday, I still follow the English Premier League fairly closely.  Since Jack sent me several unopened packs of cards, I still have a few more cards I wanted to highlight from the association football/soccer world.  I'll pair those today, though, with Brewers cards.

A study in contrasting managerial styles.  Wenger always seems to be buying players for tomorrow. He invests in youth, and wants to build teams that play a wide-open game with panache and flair. Mourinho rarely stays in one place for more than three years, and that third year is always dodgy (note to Chelsea supporters: Jose is in year three of his second trip through Stamford Bridge).  He looks to buy for now, though that usually means buying guys in their mid-20s and nearly the apex of their career rather than buying teens like Arsene does.  Mourinho will probably bugger off sometime in December this year when he can't resurrect Chelsea from its moribund start.


A true superstar and, well, not so much.  If there is a financial market in which Sergio Aguero's value as a footballer is not even three times as high as Geoff Cameron's, I'll take three Agueros, please.  It's not that Cameron is a bad player; to the contrary, he is one of the U.S. team's best defenders, I think. It's that Sergio Aguero is worth much, much more than that.  

Okay, let's go back to a few current/former Man. Utd. guys.

I know that Javier Hernandez was hardly prolific in front of goal. In fact, the more appropriate word may have been profligate. But he's another striker that Louis van Gaal shipped out of town when having someone -- anyone -- as an additional option at striker might have been useful.  Sure, the team looked fluid yesterday, but the striker position seems razor thin.  

But once Chicharito missed the penalty against Bruges... knew he was on his way out.

On the way in during the summer was Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton.  He appears to be a true midfield spoiler in the tradition of Roy Keane (hopefully without the misanthropic angry side), and perhaps he is being groomed to be the next Carrick.  With Schweinsteiger coming in as well, hopefully all three will get sufficient playing time and rest to last the season healthy.

Finally, there's Fraizer Campbell.  Campbell was loaned to Tottenham in 2008 as part of the deal that brought the languid Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov, to Old Trafford. I really liked Berbatov when he was with United.  Campbell had been loaned out before, but that loan was the end of his United Career.  He's shown with Cardiff City on this autographed card -- yes, it's a sticker-graph -- but he's now plying his trade with Crystal Palace and has since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

But it's nice to have a former ManU guy be my first certified Premier League autograph.

Will I start collecting soccer cards? I'm not sure. I have to admit to being drawn to them somewhat. Perhaps I'll try being a type collector with soccer cards and go for one or two cards from every set related to soccer that I can find from around the world.  Now that would keep me busy -- just trying to identify the cards to get would be one hell of a chore.  


Another oddity that Jack sent my way was one pack of Doctor Who Attax cards.  I found one card in particular that I liked:

Because Oswin Oswald is hot.  Oswin was played by the quite fit Jenna Coleman, formerly of the British soap Emmerdale and who announced just today that she is quitting Doctor Who to play Queen Victoria (and sorry about the link to The Mirror).  Too bad that it appears she is now orange in skin tone -- at least the photo in The Mirror has her looking that way.

Now, what I am is definitely a Brewers collector.  Jack added in ton of great Brewers cards in the package.  Since he's breaking open packs regularly, he had quite an array of Brewers to send to me. Here's a sampler:

Some great 2012 Stickers, an MLB Showdown card (shockingly, Jose Hernandez is not listed as striking out 1 through 10!), a Topps Attax of Corey Hart, a Donruss Top of the Order of B.J. Surhoff -- gotta love all the attempts at games played with cards that companies have tried -- and my very first ever Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Signatures Baseball card -- one numbered 65 of 75 of Prince Fielder!

Jack really sent me a great group of eclectic cards, and now has me thinking about a new collection. I'd call that a very successful trade package.  Thanks, Jack!