Friday, April 24, 2015

More cards from All Cardinals

Thanks for indulging my fatalistic swirlings on Wednesday regarding the state of the Milwaukee Brewers.  I know it's a long season, and it's only 16 games into the season -- less than 10% of the games have been played -- but it is shaping up statistically to be a long season.  Fangraphs puts the Brewers overall playoff odds at just 1%.  It's not the worst odds in baseball -- the Phillies and their 5-11 record project to having a 0.1% chance -- but it's not a warm and fuzzy feeling to see a 3-13 record at this point in the year.

But that's enough negativity for one week.  Today's post is about good things.  

Just a few weeks after the first envelope arrived from All Cardinals All the Time, a second one appeared.  This one had a lot fewer cards than the first envelope did, but the exceptional quality of the cards definitely made up for relatively lower numbers.

First, I feel the need to make a confession.  In the early 1990s, while I was in college, I joined a fantasy baseball league run by a friend of mine.  In that league's second season, the owners decided to go from an AL-only league to an NL-only league and start over.  That was a good thing for most of us because most of us had no clue what we were doing at the time.  

Anyway, that first NL season was 1992.  It was the first time I'd really followed the NL closely, and my team was good due to some great auction success -- a very cheap Greg Maddux and picking up Bob Tewksbury for $4 at the auction (season stats: 16-5, 2.16 ERA, 233 innings, 1.017 WHIP) will do that.  My offense, though, was generated by the mid-level stars of the day, and three of them were Cardinals outfielders:  Bernard Gilkey, Felix Jose, and Ray Lankford.  

Lankford in particular became a personal favorite fantasy guy of mine -- a guy I would get in most leagues for many years until about 2000.  I mention this because the proprietor of All Cardinals All the Time is a Lankford Supercollector.  His handle for blogging is CardinalsFan16 (Lankford's number with the Cards), his Blogger photo is Lankford, and even the site on which he keeps his want lists is emblazoned with the title "Ray Lankford Collector."

I still have a soft spot in my heart for Lankford for those years of great production in the 1990s.  Now, I have another reason to like Ray.

I still don't know what the shame about Ray was, though.

Here are the three Brewers cards that came my way in the envelope:

Big Ben McDonald lasted only two seasons in Milwaukee -- his age-28 and age-29 seasons. After that second season, he was done.  He went to Louisiana State University on a basketball scholarship (he is 6'7" tall, so...) despite being an all-District football player -- as a kicker and punter.  He left LSU's basketball team after two seasons and focused on baseball.  He started his junior season in baseball with 44-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, and the Baltimore Orioles made him the first overall pick in the 1989 draft. McDonald is now a broadcaster for the SEC Network.

Matt Mieske is one of the 10 best players ever in Western Michigan University's history.  In terms of year of major league service, his 8 seasons in the league tie him with current Ranger Adam Rosales for 8th all time, behind Charlie Maxwell (a two-time all-star with the Detroit Tigers in 1956 and 1957), John VanderWal, Phil Regan, Mike Squires, Stubby Overmire, Jim Bouton, and Wayne Terwilliger. He came to Milwaukee as part of the Gary Sheffield trade. His major league exploits saw him inducted into the Great Lakes Hardball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Scott Karl was the Brewers 6th Round pick in 1992 out of the University of Hawaii-Manoa. I'm guessing that Milwaukee scouts must have loved finding reasons to go to Hawaii in the mid-to-late 1980s.  The three guys with the move service time in the major leagues from Hawaii-Manoa are: (1) 8-year veteran (and former Brewer) Chuck Crim; (2) 7-year veteran (and former Brewer) Glenn Braggs, and (3) Karl (who tied with Mike Campbell with playing in 6 seasons, but who far outshined Campbell).

Hey, any excuse to get out of Wisconsin's weather to Hawaii, I suppose!

Now, those three cards are all nice, but they don't compare to the other two cards I received:

Gary Carter Game-Used Bat cards? Absolutely! These are fantastic relic cards from Upper Deck in 2001.  These two cards just blew me away.

Massive thanks go out to CardinalsFan16 -- both for the Lankford trip down memory lane and for these great cards!


  1. Love that Lemonheads album! The Carters and Mieske are cool too!

  2. I bet that fantasy outfield brought plenty of strikeouts too. Glad you enjoyed the cards.