Sunday, February 28, 2016

Meet the Brewers #20: John O'Donoghue

A major-league veteran who was once an all-star in the same season that he led the American League in losses, John O'Donoghue was the twentieth Brewer to play in 1970. He made his appearance in relief of Marty Pattin in the 8th inning of game two. O'Donoghue coaxed a fly ball out of Sandy Alomar, Sr., before Jim Fregosi singled and Bill Voss tripled to drive Fregosi in. 

O'Donoghue was yanked, and Voss scored on a single from Alex Johnson immediately thereafter. That left O'Donoghue's ERA at 54.00 after facing three batters and pitching one-third of an inning.

1970 McDonald's Brewers
John Eugene O'Donoghue was another short-timer in Milwaukee. O'Donoghue signed with the Kansas City Athletics in 1959 as a free agent out of the University of Missouri. Looking at his minor league record, it's a bit of a question as to how he actually made it to the major leagues, except, perhaps, that it took him a while to show he could pitch at all. His best minor league work -- in the Double-A Eastern League in 1963 -- led to him getting called up to the majors by the end of the year. 

He stayed in the major leagues in 1964 for the entire year, and results for him were not great, as he sported a 4.92 ERA in a league with an overall 3.63 ERA. Somehow and for some seemingly inexplicable reason, he served as Kansas City's (seemingly) sole All-Star representative despite first-half results of 4-12, 4.08 ERA, 30 walks and 36 strikeouts in 92-2/3 innings. By the end of the year, O'Donoghue had racked up 18 losses, good enough to lead the league.

Perhaps recognizing that he wasn't very good, the A's traded him in April of 1966 to the Cleveland Indians for Ralph Terry. After the 1967 season -- his best year to date at 8-9, 3.24 ERA (3.10 FIP), the Indians packaged him in a deal to Baltimore. One year after that, and in April of 1969, O'Donoghue joined the Island of Misfit Toys in Sicks Stadium in Seattle. He was cited by Jim Bouton in Ball Four as being the "chief kid-shooer" around the stadium, with Bouton claiming O'Donoghue enjoyed the work.

1994 Miller Milwaukee Brewers
He pitched very well in Seattle as a reliever. That success did not carry over to Milwaukee, as O'Donoghue was bombed to the tune of a 5.01 ERA (4.91 FIP) in 23-1/3 innings. The Brewers dumped him on the Montreal Expos on June 15, 1970 in exchange for a utility infielder (Jose Herrera) who never played in the majors for Milwaukee. O'Donoghue pitched for the Expos in 1970 and 1971, at which time his career came to an end at the age of 31. He coached a couple of years (at least) at Bowie in the Eastern League in 1993 and 1994.

Other than that, I have three other things about him. First, he participated in an "Elderhostel" vacation series in the Bradenton/Sarasota area several years ago, where 25 or so folks over 55 paid $569 for four game tickets in spring training with five nights of meals and lodging and the opportunity to meet former Negro Leaguer Leon Harris along with O'Donoghue. I don't know if he still does that.

Second, he can be seen here standing on second base for some infield drills with a coach that I can't hear.

Finally, his family is also pretty athletic. O'Donoghue's son, John Preston O'Donoghue, was an amateur free agent signed out of LSU by the Orioles. Against many of the odds, John Jr. made it to the major leagues in 1993 at the age of 24 and pitched 19-2/3 innings in his major league career. His grandson is Landon Archangelo, who is a quarterback on the football team at Shippensburg University. 

As best I can tell, there are a grand total of four cards/items showing him as a Brewer. He has two Mike Andersen Postcards from 1970 with two different photos along with the two cards I've got.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

#SuperTraders Box Break: So, What Did We Get???

I listed out the boxes that I bought to break up for the #SuperTraders group on Thursday. I titled the post "What are you THINKING Tony?" because I'm always complaining about how I hate the logoless Panini -- and then I go and get three Panini products to circulate around. 

Being an impatient sort, I literally ripped through all the unopened packs on Thursday night. Last night, I scanned the better cards and sorted most everything out. Today, I finished sorting and packaged up everything to go out in the mail. With it being 26 packages, I am leaving it to my wife's discretion as to whether all of them go out at once or whether they go out over a few weeks. 

After all, as anyone in a relationship knows, the best way to have a happy life is to make sure that your significant other is happy. Well, that, and making sure that you still indulge in those guilty pleasures like chocolate, baseball cards, and a good bottle of your favorite tipple.

That proves two things: first, that you can find a song for nearly every word imaginable and, second, there are still people paying money to hear Fiona Apple play music. 

Or, maybe that was a free show in Portland. I don't know.

Anyway, here's what the #SuperTraders got in our boxes of cards here at Off Hiatus Central:

1.  2012 Panini Cooperstown Blaster

This one did not have much to offer us. No parallels of any sort, no serial numbers, and barely any inserts. It was like a pack-searched blaster.  To be fair, this is a pretty cool set generally. If Panini didn't put out literally the same set every year with very few changes to the photos, it would be a better set.

Because I felt like I needed to scan something from the blaster, here's a card that helped me:

I mean, I own this card already, so it didn't help me *that* much.  Let's move on.

2. 2014 Donruss Baseball Factory Set

This could have been a much better set. It's been said before elsewhere, but this set is annoying. The first half -- the original release -- was pretty cool. A decent design with pretty good photos and a pretty good idea generally to bring back the Donruss name led to a more successful release than Panini expected, I'd guess. 

As a result, Panini tried to capitalize on that good feeling and released Series 2. Series 2 was a car crash in a flood caused by a tornado destroying a dam by pushing a bridge over onto the dam. Seriously, it's that bad. 

Why? Well, there are two Diamond Kings for each team. That never happened before. There are two sets of Rated Rookies, which may or may not have happened before, but it was unnecessary and not in keeping with the 1980s nostalgia part of the release. 

More to the point, Series 2 featured cards for a multiplicity of players who appeared in Series 1. If Series 1 had been, say, 800 cards, then I could see this being necessary. It was not -- it was like 150 to 200 cards. Why repeat players?  Also, there were a few random retired players thrown in -- such as two or three retired Cincinnati Reds and a couple of retired New York Yankees. But, not every team had a retired player in the set. And, what the hell are retired players doing in the set (unless they were a puzzle insert?)? 

It's just a nonsensical set generally.

There was one relic card in the factory box, just to keep up with modern collector needs:

Congratulations to Sam, the Daily Dimwit, who is the lucky recipient of a Rated Rookie Relic of George Springer serial numbered 14 of 99. It looks like this is a new addition to his Springer relic collection, so that's an awesome hit for him!

3.  2012 Topps Mini

This box promised one autograph or relic mini card. In addition, six packs had inserts and, in addition, there were five Gold parallels serial numbered to 61. Let's start with the inserts:

Yes, it's the return of Golden Moments, but in mini form. Also, my apologies go out to Jaybarkerfan, as you'll have to wait to get your Smoltz mini insert because it got buried under the Diamondbacks and I didn't find it until your envelope was sealed up. Don't worry -- you'll get it, though!

Next up: the gold parallels.

So far, so good. All but the Indians were claimed of these inserts and parallels. It's always cool to get a parallel that is numbered to less than 100 total, so hopefully these are good additions to the various collectors' collections.

Finally, this box featured one of the funkiest looking relics I have seen:

Is that relic made cooler by the writing, or is it that the Rays wrote the date and had an employee sign it -- and then Topps just cut that part up too and put it in the card?  I'd like to think it was Longoria himself writing that, but it's probably my wild-ass guess that is closer to the truth. Still, I do feel like this is a more interesting relic due to the writing.

4. 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee

So, I blew it on this one too -- I didn't cut up the box and insert the cards I was supposed to insert into the various envelopes. Sorry guys. Next package, I promise.

Anyway, I hate myself for my reaction to this box. I really like these cards -- they are attractive cards that are intentionally styled after the 1976 Topps set. My ugly reaction, though, was of disappointment for not getting any autographs or relics in the box. 

I've become a modern collector. Dammit.

What did we get?

Well, I got a Corey Hart black mini:

There were six of the "20th Anniversary" cards:

There were two "New York, New York" inserts that were thicker than the average card:

Looks about right. The Yankees get Jeter, the Mets get...Mike Pelfrey.

And, there were a few other random insert-type things:

So, it wasn't a bad box overall...well, other than the fact that I received only TWO base Milwaukee Brewers cards in the whole box. Maybe that's what's coloring my view.

5.  2015 Panini Contenders

As with all things Panini, I was ready to hate this product. There are some things that are not great about it. It's basically about three main sets thrown together with a bunch of random inserts. Set one is the "Season Ticket" set of current players -- some minor leaguers, some drafted last year, some current major leaguers, and some retired players -- in color photos from their college days.  Let's have John Elway (yeah, really) model this card:

The second set is the "School Colors" set. It's pretty similar to the Season Ticket set with the color photography and all, but it has no backgrounds other than the player's college colors. Here's Brewers' 2nd round draft pick (out for 2016 after TJS) Nathan Kirby from the university whose students refer to their school humbly as "The University":

So, I hate Kirby already for two reasons -- that he's out with a ligament transplant, and because he was the pitcher who closed out Vanderbilt in the 2015 College World Series. If I need a third, it's that his middle name is "Winston." Seriously. The guy should talk like Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island.

Finally, the third set within a set is the "Old School Colors" set. This is where it gets annoying, because I can't explain what the hell this set is about except being "School Colors" with black & white photos.

At least I can add that one to my player collection.

The upside to this box were the six autographs. 

Again, because of the random way that some of these cards are named, a few guys are shown with college logos and four are shown with their major league city. 

Probably the highlight -- at least for Mark Hoyle -- is the fact that the Red Sox's top prospect, Yoan Moncada, was one of our autographs. I wish the autograph were better, but I'm guessing Yoan signed this sticker in the middle of signing several thousand for Panini. Still, this autograph was going on eBay for somewhere around $50, so it doesn't suck!

The best autograph, of course, is the one going to Brett Cooper of Blake Perkins -- you have to appreciate a guy who actually took his time and signed the sticker well.

I hope y'all enjoy the cards you get from this break!

Friday, February 26, 2016

#SuperTrader Brett Cooper

For the most part, I am familiar with -- and have traded with -- the vast majority of the "SuperTraders" group that Jaybarkerfan has put together. One person I was not familiar with, though, was Brett. He is perhaps in the process of starting a blog, which I'm looking forward to seeing, but otherwise I don't know much about Brett. 

Still, he lives less than 3 hours away from me. I feel like we have a bond of sorts as a result. Actually, I know we do, because he sent me some great cards as part of the #SuperTraders!

Most of the package were prospects....

So let's see what we have:

I've talked about most of these guys recently, mainly because, well, the 2016 Brewers are Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, and a bunch of guys who have potential.

I haven't said much about Clint Coulter. Coulter was the Brewers first round pick in 2012 out of high school in Washington State. He's played some catcher and outfield in his time in the minors. He had a great 2014 in the Midwest League -- .287/.410/.520, 22 HR, 89 RBI. The Brewers moved him to the Florida State League last year, and his stat line doesn't impress initially -- .246/.329/.397 -- but that was done in a league that hit .248/.313/.337, so it's not too bad. Still, his defense was considered suspect such that he was not considered a realistic catcher prospect and is more of an outfielder.

The autograph from the Elite Extra Edition is Dan Meadows. He's not a prospect. He made it as high as Triple-A Nashville in 2012 -- a major leap for a kid who was a 49th round pick in 2008. He pitched in the independent Atlantic League the last two seasons at the ages of 26 and 27, and, last year, put up a 24-inning stint with an 0-4 record, an 8.25 ERA, and 6 homers allowed in 24 innings (and 36 hits). I hope he is doing well now.

Now, for the big leaguers:

These guys had a little power, or at least enough to be big leaguers. I liked the song, so there we go.

So, all of these guys other than Gennett had a good amount of power, and all but Gennett are no longer Brewers. I always get confused about these parallels as to whether I have them in my collection already. If I find them at a show, I find myself buying them no matter what. I've tried getting on top of these cards lately, though, and I hope to catch up on want lists.

All in all, this was a great package of card from Brett. To thank him, how about we go to the hardest working man in show business who is from the part of the world where Brett lives:

Thanks, Brett!