Thursday, May 29, 2008

WV Spotlight: Charlie Manuel

I'm not too familiar with any part of WV farther south than Summersville, so I had no idea where Northfork was before I looked it up. It was consolidated with the town of Clark in 1948, so that should tell you how old Charlie Manuel really is.

I like Charlie because he was a player that later became a manager, and he also played in Japan, where he earned the nickname Aka Oni (Red Devil). When he played in Japan, he and a couple of his teammates got into a fight with the East German hockey team. (As you can imagine, he didn't fare too well.)

He didn't get too much playing time in the Majors (384 at-bats in 242 games over 6 years), but he's made up for it with his success as a coach and manager. The worst any of his clubs have finished in their division is 3rd (2002 Indians).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar

I've been playing guitar for 12 years, and even though I don't play as much as I should, it's still one of my favorite things to do. (Here's a pic of my guitar collection.) Surprisingly, quite a few baseball players also play guitar. The only card-related evidence I've seen of this is the 1991 Stadium Club card of Eric Show (photo courtesy of The Baseball Card Blog).

(Guitar geek note: I'm 99% sure that's a Gibson ES-175. It's a beautiful thing, isn't it?)

Other players that are known for playing guitar are Barry Zito, Bronson Arroyo, Ben Broussard, and Bernie Williams. (If I'm forgetting anyone, let me know.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is this legal?

I've been a fan of baseball for a while now, and I thought I'd seen every kind of pitch there was. I've seen curveballs so good that they make my knees buckle, even while I'm sitting down. I've seen knuckleballs that float like butterflies and (sometimes) get stung like bees. I've seen people just lob a ball to the plate, something I thought would be the pitcher's biggest folly. I've even seen exploding fastballs. I've never seen anything like this, though.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Top 10 Favorite Cards (#6-10)

I wasn't sure how much text I could cram into a post, so here's the last half of my list.

6.) 1980 Topps #479 Expos team checklist

The Expos had a pretty good year in 1979. They finished second in the NL East to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who ended up winning the World Series. (I consider myself a Pirates fan, which has lately been like saying you're a fan of the Titanic.) I like to think of this as the real rookie card of Tim Raines (#32). He was only used in baserunning situations in 1979, and wouldn't get his actual first card until 1981 Topps Traded.

7.) 1990 Donruss MVP #BC12 John Smoltz (both versions)

1990 Donruss is known for some pretty weird errors (like the Juan Gonzalez Rated Rookie reverse negative and 3 different versions of the Nolan Ryan King of Kings card), but I think this one takes the cake. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that John Smoltz and Tom Glavine don't look anything alike, but someone still got them screwed up. I think my favorite thing about this pair of cards is that they're both still pitching in Atlanta. (Smoltz has been there since 1988, while Glavine is back after a few years elsewhere.)

8.) 1999 UD Choice Mini Bobble Heads #3 Chipper Jones

More Braves! (This should make dayf happy. :-P ) I actually forgot I had this card until last night, when I was looking for cards to write about. If you fold it up right, you can make a little bobblehead out of it. I think it's a pretty neat idea for cards, but it also makes me wonder how many people actually folded them up as opposed to keeping them in one piece (like mine).

9.) 2006 Bowman Chrome Refractor #205 Matt Capps #1/150

Ooooh. Shiny rainbow cards. (The scan really doesn't do it justice.) This is the first refractor I ever pulled. I got it out of a 3 card pack of Bowman Chrome that I got in a $10 Walmart repack box (more on those later). I think it's neat that you can still pull cards serial numbered #1 out of whatever, two years after the product was released. This was the rarest card in my collection until I got...

10.) 2006 Topps Heritage Real Ones Autographs Red Ink #ROA-FR Frank Robinson #17/57

This is why I love those repack boxes. If I'm not mistaken, the box this was in sat on the shelves for months before I decided to get it. As soon as I saw this card, I knew it was special. I mean, Frank Robinson was one of the greatest players ever, AND he was the first black manager! I don't really pay attention to how much my cards are worth, but for some reason, I decided to look this one up.

It's worth 150 dollars.

When I saw that, I was shocked. Stunned. I still can't believe a card like that got thrown in a repack box, but I'm glad it did.

Top 10 Favorite Cards (#1-5)

Here are some of the coolest cards in my collection. I had intended on listing my top 10 favorite base cards and top 10 insert cards, but I couldn't think of any more cards in my collection that popped out like the ones I'm gonna talk about did. I'm gonna list them in chronological order.

1.) 1956 Topps #99 Don Zimmer

If you had told me when I started collecting that a guy that looks like this had played baseball before, I would've said you were crazy. Imagine my surprise when I found out that not only did he play baseball, but he was a middle infielder! I guess looks can be deceiving after all.

2.) 1959 Topps #338 George Anderson

I paid more for this card than any other in my collection. (I think I paid around $12 for it.) Those of you that don't really know baseball might wonder why I spent so much money on a card of a guy that only played one year in the majors. Here's why. I still think I got a good deal on it.

3.) 1966 Topps #74 Don Mossi

Oh, man. I knew this guy was ugly (some people have described him as looking like a cab driving down the street with its doors open). I've seen pictures of him online, particularly of this card. It wasn't until I actually held this card in my hands that I realized that the people that said those things weren't kidding. He was actually a pretty good pitcher back in the day. Sadly, this was his last card.

4.) 1968 Topps #562 Jim Bouton

Most people know this guy from writing "Ball Four" (an excellent read), but before he started throwing the knuckleball and writing books, he used to throw so hard that his hat would fall off. This is another "last card", which is weird because he went on to play a couple more years in the majors. I would've loved to see him on a 1979 Topps card in a Braves uniform.

5.) 1972 Topps #19 Billy Cowan

I don't know too much about this guy. From the looks of his stats, I don't think he got too much playing time. The picture on this card, however, is amazing! The guy that thought of taking it should've gotten a raise.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Not another baseball card blog!

Yep, another one. I've seen a bunch of good ones lately, and I thought I'd give it a shot. Before I tell you about some of the cool pieces of cardboard I have (almost 26,000 at last count), I should probably tell you a bit about myself.

My name's Billy, I'm 27, and I live in West Virginia (which you probably figured out already). I've been collecting cards since around 1989, although I clearly remember unsuccessfully begging my mom to buy me packs of 1988 Donruss before I actually bought my first pack of cards (it might've been 1989 Topps, but I can't remember). Both of those sets are among my sentimental favorites, and I FINALLY completed my '89 Topps set this year!

Lately, I've been collecting cards of players that later became managers, as well as trying to get one card from every year Topps made cards. (I'm only 7 years short.) Other sets I'm working on are 2008 Topps and 2008 Topps Heritage.

I'm gonna mainly talk about normal baseball card blog stuff on here, but I'll also talk about players that were born in West Virginia. There are some really good players on that list, as well as some that may surprise you.

I've gotta thank a few people before I forget. First, I've gotta thank my best friend Josh for doing such a good job on the logo. I've also gotta thank Ben Henry, dayf, and Kevin Brotzman for inspiring this whole thing. Keep up the good work, guys.

Anyways, enough about me. Let's talk about cards!