Friday, January 30, 2009

Chipper Jones - 5 Timer

I've got this sweet Chipper card I want to show everyone. It's a 2003 Diamond King. The back says that Chipper was a Diamond King in '97, '01, '02, and '03. So this year marked his induction into the prestigious 5 Timer's Club, joining Steve Martin, Paul Simon, and Alec Baldwin, among a few others. Not exactly lightweights.

Actually, the reason I'm showing you this card is to get a little help from Dayf. It isn't a regular card from the set. The picture is set in the card and the border is a white felt material. So, what kind of parallel is this?

Dayf, if you can help me out here, this card will be included in the pile of cards I'm accumulating to send you. If anyone else beats Dayf to the punch and ID's this card first...too bad, it's going to Dayf anyway. If nobody ID's it, it's still going to Dayf. Then it will be his problem. See?! I can't lose.

By the way, I'm on pace to get some packages out before the end of the year. Two years at the most. Probably

One last thing. The guy who painted these cards is named Dave Kramer. I have an uncle Dave. I don't think it's the same guy. It is cool that my name is signed on the card, though.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tribecards Cards: Part 5

One more installment of the cards that I got from David at Indians Baseball Cards. Always.

42. Sandy Alomar Jr – 1990 Classic Baseball or something.

This immediately became the absolute pinkest card in my entire collection. My God, it looks like I pasted a poster of Alomar onto my 8th grade girlfriend’s Trapper Keeper. At least, that’s the way it would have looked if I had a girlfriend in 8th grade. OK, let me rephrase. If there was a girl in 8th grade who would have agreed to be my girlfriend, I would have pasted Sandy Alomar Jr onto her Trapper Keeper and then turned it into a baseball card set. Then I would have made sure that the set was widely distributed in Arkansas. Then I would have just bided my time until 2008, when I would be sure to get one. I love it when a plan comes together.

“That doesn’t make any damn sense” you say? Well, maybe it makes so much sense I just blew your mind.

43. Joey Belle – 1990 Classic Baseball or something

OK here’s another one. Only this time it isn’t pink. Basically, I got the manly equivalent of my imaginary 8th grade girlfriend’s Tapper Keeper for myself and pasted a pre Albert photo of Belle onto it. The only flaw in this whole thing is that I was in 8th grade in 1988, not 1990. But, it’s not like anyone really gives a crap, am I right?

I just wanted to mention that this set has a blank space on the back of each card marked “Autograph”. I guess you’re supposed to stand outside the player’s parking lot after the games in order to get the players to sign in the space provided…on the back…right where everyone wants their autographs. I find this idea strangely awesome.

This means that at some point there was a meeting where they decided to put this space on the back. It was heralded as a great idea. It must have been pretty close to 5 o’clock on a Friday. I wonder how many enterprising young collectors had their 1990 Classic set ruined when a callous player signed on the front of the card instead of the clearly marked space provided?

44. Ken Suarez – 1969 Topps

“Hey Ladies, how you’all doin’ this evening?”

45. Dennis Martinez – 1996 Topps Finest

This is the second Finest card in the bunch and it also has some crazy clear protective coating that must be peeled off. Only it isn’t peeled off. There must be a reason. I break out in cold sweats thinking of all of the terrible things that could happen if peeled back this layer. Good God Man! What if it got a scratch?

Hell no, I’m not going to peel off that coating. In fact, I’m going to look into a way to apply a protective coating to all of my existing cards. And it sure as heck isn’t going to be clear either. It’s going to be all black to keep out the suns harmful rays. Seriously, what if I have a card that needs to be transported some day? What the heck do I do then. Just move it in a penny sleeve and possibly a top loader? What, are you out of your frickin’ mind?

I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep until I figure out a way to add a black protective coating to all of my cards. I could use post-it notes to keep track of what the cards actually are. Then they’d be safe.

There’s no telling how many 1988 Score cards I’ve ruined already. Somebody needs to do something.

46. Joe Charboneau – 1981 Topps

Super Joe Charboneau. The man, the myth, the legend. Rookie of the year for 1980. Rumor had it that Joe could open up bottles of beer with his eye socket. He has a larger than life hero to a city that really needed a hero at the time. I’m not sure what happened to him. Why he fell off. In any other city he probably goes on to become a great major leaguer. In Cleveland, he played for a few more years but never really was Super Joe any more. According to the back of the card, he was the subject of “Go Go Charboneau”. I don’t recall ever hearing this song.

47. Rocky Colavito – 1965 Topps

Is this for real? Did David really send me a Rocky Colavito card? This is significant. As far as Indians fans are concerned, Rocky Colavito is on the same plane as Mantle, Mays, and Ruth. Terry Pluto (a wonderful sports writer) wrote a book about the Tribe appropriately name “The Curse of Rocky Colavito. That’s right, we blame everything bad that’s happened to the Tribe on them stupidly trading one of the most popular players in franchise history (as he was about to enter his prime) to the Tigers.

So we trade Colavito, we had to get someone great, right? Try Harvey Kuenn on for size. That’s right, they traded one of the most popular (to this day) players in franchise history for some freakin’ slappy with no power AND no speed. Well, they hang on to the immortal Kuenn for one year and trade him for Johnny Antonelli and Willie Kirkland.

That’s right it turned out to be Colavito for Antonelli, Kirkland, and one year of Mark Grudzielanek’s step dad. Harvey Kuenn’s baseball reference page is still available for sponsorship, if anyone is interested.

The back of the card, like twisting a dagger, informs us that Rocky hit 4 HR’s in one game in 1959.

Go Tribe.
48. Horace Speed – 1979 Topps

With 4 career stolen bases in 3 part time years in the bigs, Horace Speed’s name is betrayed by the cold, hard, unforgiving numbers.

49. Al Fitzmorris – 1977 Topps

Al Fitzmorris had spent his entire 8 year career with the Royals before he was suddenly and rudely plucked from his obscure comfort by the Blue Jays in the 76 expansion draft. The Blue Jays got one look at Al and shipped him off to the Tribe before he ever appeared in one of their uniforms. Seems that a team that barely existed had little use for Al. The Tribe was happy to have him, though, as they sent 2 players for compensation.

My theory about this card is that they never told him who he was traded to. They just handed him a hat and then a mirror. The picture on this card was taken at the exact moment that Al Fitzmorris learned his major league fate. He didn’t last long after that.

Weep not for Al Fitzmorris. The back of my card tells me that Al threw a 2 hitter against the Twins in August of 1975. Seems that even though Al ended up in Cleveland, he had had his day in the sun.

50. Gorman Thomas – 1984 Topps

I had forgotten about the Gorman Thomas era in Cleveland. He was only in Cleveland for a little more than half a season (OPSing a stellar .726), but remnants of his glorious mustache live on to this very day.

In all reality, Mr Gorman’s greatest contribution was not on the field. OnJune 6 1983, Gorman was sent along with Jamie Easterly and one Ernie Camacho in exchange for the Tribe’s Rockin Ricks…Manning and Waits. Does this deal get done without Gorman Thomas? Better yet, does Cleveland welcome Big Ern into the wigwam if Gorman isn’t sporting a marmot on his upper lip? The world will never know.

What I do know is this; the Gods were smiling on Cleveland that magical June day.

51. Grady Sizemore – 2007 Topps Finest

Of course there were some Grady Sizemore cards in this lot. This is one of the best and seams like the a great card to end this review on. Ending a review on Sizemore is like leaving the ballpark on a warm night after you just saw your team sweep a double header from the Yankees. Life doesn’t get much better.

Thus ends the latest review of the great cards that David sent me, until I can somehow finagle my way into more free stuff.

Peace out Mofos.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dante Lavelli

Browns great Dante Lavelli died on Tuesday at the age of 85. A big part of the Brown’s football dynasty of the 1950’s, he was before my time. He was a part of the reason that Cleveland, first and foremost, is a Brown’s town and the fans here are some of the most loyal in the country despite decades of futility. Somehow, in our collective subconscious, we still see ourselves as that great city with those great teams, even though that era ended over 40 years ago. I guess our grandfathers told our fathers who told us that the Browns are a great team, a great franchise that is just going through a rough patch. We will, because we did before, and deserve to again be a force in professional football.

There aren’t many players left from those long ago teams that ruled the AAFL and were a force after the AAFL and NFL merged in 1946. There have been some things written about Lavelli in Cleveland, but I don’t think there has been much said on a national stage. I guess it would be hard for the passing of one of football’s all time greats to muscle in on ESPN’s coverage of Brady’s knee, Romo’s leadership, McGwire’s steroids, and the possibility of Stephon Marbury playing in Greece.

So, I take it upon myself to inform the privileged few who read this ridiculous blog, of the Great Dante Lavelli, who along with Otto Graham, Mac Speedie, Marion Motley, Lou Groza, and (of course) Paul Brown changed the course of the NFL and the way it was played. I’m not a sports writer. Others have written about Lavelli much better than I can. What I can do, however, is provide a list of factoids, accomplishments, and other interesting things that you may not have known about this great man.

The best thing you could do would be to skip my post and read this and this.

Lavelli was born in Hudson Ohio in 1923. The reason he ended up on the Browns was that he played at Ohio State for Paul Brown in 1941. He only played in 3 games before being injured.
  • He fought with the US Army in the Battle of the Bulge
  • He returned to Ohio State after his service and was chosen Ohio State Campus King. His Queen was Jean Peters.
    • Paul Brown said that Lavelli’s hands had a “liquid softness” and he had a reputation for catching every thing near him. His nickname was “gluefingers”. Basically, he was Bizarro Braylon, or the Anti-Edwards.
    • He was the starting right end for the Brown’s from their first season in 1946 until he retired in 1956. The Browns won 7 championships in those 11 seasons. All 4 AAFL championships and 3 more NFL championships after the NFL absorbed 3 teams starting in 1950. If only they had called the damn thing the Super Bowl back then, maybe we wouldn’t have such an inferiority complex now.
    • Lavelli figured prominently in the Brown’s winning 3 games in 1 week in 1948, still the only team to ever do so (of course I doubt many other teams have ever played 3 games in a week).

    • When the Brown’s beat the Rams to win the Championship in their first year in the NFL, Lavelli caught 11 passes for 128 yards.
    • Lavelli was induced into the Hall of Fame in 1975
    • Lavelli was one of the players who helped unionize in 1956 and the union’s first meeting took place in his house in Rocky River, a Cleveland suburb. The union’s goals were meal money on trips, minimum pay, a pension plan, and of course vigorous defense of and the filing of many grievances on the behalf of Pacman Jones and TO.
    • Lavelli shot his age in golf in his 70s. (Plaxico Burress shot his leg in a nightclub)

    • Lavelli is second in club history (to Ozzie Newsome) in receptions and receiving yards. He’s second in TD catches to Gary Collins.
    • Lavelli was NOT a fan of Art Modell.

    If you’ve finished this, maybe you know a little bit more about a great player who is worth knowing a little more about.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009



    Or Widespread Panic concert?

    Dayf, you're from Georgia. What do you think?

    Saturday, January 17, 2009

    Tribecards Cards: Part 4

    At the end of last summer, David at Indians Baseball Cards. Always. had a scratch off contest. To congratulate me for coming in last place, he sent me a boatload of cards. A few game used cards that I had "earned" and a bunch more Indians just for the heck of it. There were so many great cards that I took 3 posts to review a few of my favorites. (You can read those here, here, and here)

    Well, it wasn't long and David was at it again. Just a few weeks after I got up that long winded thank you I received another box full of Indians cards. I tried to come up with an explanation for my good fortune. I figure it must be either my winning personality, my rapist wit, of my undeniable good looks.

    Well, although devastatingly handsome, I don't think David has ever seen a picture of me, so that can't be it. I'm not sure what a rapist wit is. I only heard that term in Dumb and Dumber. SO, I can't really attribute it to that either. And, as far as a winning personality goes, way to many people have called me an asshole for seriously consider any other alternative.

    So, what could it be? What could I have done to deserve this? say right here on the box. "Just For Fun" That's right! Fun is what this is supposed to be about isn't it. And, I think David probably has more than just about everybody when it comes to his baseball cards. And It's infectious. I had a lot of fun with these cards too.

    Thank you very much David. Once again, this will take a few posts to get through.

    Here we go:

    34. Tris Speaker – 1991 Sporting News

    Tris Speaker is one of baseball’s all time greats. The 7th player to make the Hall Of Fame, he started in Boston from 1907-1915, moved to the Indians from 1916-1926, and finished up with Washington and Philly. The dude was a lifetime .344 hitter. That’s not too shabby.

    It makes very little sense to me that a guy already named Tris would need 2 nicknames, but Tris was also known as “the Grey Eagle” and “Spoke”. AS far as nicknames go, those two really kind of suck. I have no idea why they are promoted. I mean, seriously…”Spoke”? I guess someone somewhere thought it was clever.

    “Hey guys, I got a great nickname for Speaker! SPOKE! Hahahaha. Get it? Spoke Speaker! It’s great! An instant classic! I’m a genius!” I guess enough people agreed because it’s stuck for a century now. I guess it was a different time.

    I also notice that everywhere I turn, including this card, Tris’ height is listed as 5’11.5” That’s right. I’ll be damned if Tris is going to be cheated out of his half an inch. It seems to me that one of the greatest players of all time would get over not quite making it to 6 feet. That’s just me.

    35. Lou Boudreau – 1993 Ted Williams

    Did you know that there use to be (maybe there still is. I don’t know) a company called the Ted Williams company and they made baseball cards? I think I have one other of these but I forgot they exist. I’ll have to look them up to see what else they have and how long they made cards. This is a Nice card in what looks like a pretty cool set, especially for 1993.

    And Lou Boudreau is a Cleveland legend. Player manager at the age of 24. That would be like if the Brewers said “Screw it, let’s just put Fielder in charge”. And it worked. He turned out to be a hall of famer and a great manager. If they made it into a movie you wouldn’t believe it.

    34. Carmen Castillo – 1985 Donruss

    I’ll give you three guess what I like most about this card and the first 2 don’t count. It’s not his shirt (although the short sleeves are pretty sweet). It’s not the wristbands either. Nope, IT’S THE HAIR! Just look at it. It’s glorious. It the kind of hair that deserves it’s own infomercial with that oxyclean guy. Don’t you just want to try to run you hand through it to see how far you get and see if you can get it back out? OK, that was a little weird.

    On Sept 18, 1983, Castillo threw out 2 Yankees at home plate. In a less than spectacular career, even the averagest of average players can do something spectacular.

    35. Wayne Garland – 1982 Donruss

    In 1976 a 25 year old pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles came into his own. A 20 game winner, he hurled 14 complete games including 4 shutouts. Hell, he even threw in one save for good measure. He finished eighth in the Cy Young voting. Fresh off the high of a career year with no reason to think his good fortune wouldn’t continue, this young man singed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Indians. He has never heard from again.

    Legend has it that Wayne Garland grew a mustache and pitched for Cleveland for 5 seasons before finally disappearing into bolivian. We may never know for sure what actually happened.

    34. Travis Fryman – 1999 Topps

    Guys named Travis have been good to the Indians. Fryman was one of my favorite players while he was here. As of the printing of this card, Travis had at least 80 RBIs (yes, RBIs with an “s”. I know it’s technically wrong. I’m sticking with it anyway.) in 8 consecutive seasons. Here in 2008 my brain tries to tell me that that doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. I can’t help my initial reaction of “Wow, that’s impressive!” No matter how many times I beat myself about the head with my copy of Baseball Between The Numbers, I think I’ll always have a part of me that wants to rack up those RBIs.

    As a follow up to that, I’d have to check but I think that there was a point in this last season that Jhonny Peralta had 11HRs and 19RBIs. Think about that for a quick second. I wonder what the record for the most HRs with the fewest RBIs is?

    35. Omar Vizquel – 2002 Upper Deck Vintage

    By now you know what I think of Omar, so I won’t go over that again. This is an Upper Deck release so I’m not sure what set they are vintaging. The closest I can figure is they took 1971 Topps and flipped the picture to the top of the card instead of the bottom. Whatever they did, it’s a cool card.

    34. Jaret Wright – 1998 Topps Finest

    In the 1997 postseason, Jaret Wright, a 21 year old rookie went 3-0 and almost won the Indians their first World Series rings since 1948. His future was very bright. In Cleveland we thought he was the second coming of Bob Feller.

    I believe that the Indians were pushing hard for Pedro Martinez after the 1997 season. The Expos wanted Jaret Wright in return. The Indians basically responded with “Jaret Wright for Pedro? You must be joking. This kid will be the greatest pitcher to ever live. You can keep Pedro, he isn’t that good anyway.”

    Well, Montreal didn’t keep Pedro. Instead they sent him to Boston for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas. A few years later he was joined by Manny Ramirez. Please excuse me for a moment…I need to find some liquor.

    35. Brandon Phillips – 2003 Upper Deck Honor Roll

    Brandon Phillips, as I have written many times, (or at least once, I think) was actually the cornerstone of the trade that brought Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee to Cleveland. We gave up on him. Now we continue to search for a second baseman while Phillips continues to play all-star caliber ball for the Reds. If only Shapiro had looked at this card before he let Phillips go. He might have thought: “Hey, Upper Deck put Brandon Phillips on the Honor Roll. Maybe I aught to give him one more shot. After all…Honor Roll. He has to be good. Why would Upper Deck lie about something like that?”
    End of part 4
    I decide to just continue with part 4. I figure, if I play my cards right, David might just keep sending me stuff and eventually I'll have 100 parts to this thing with 1000 cards. that would be somethin', wouldn't it.

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Three Hours And A Cloud Of Dust

    I can’t believe how long I’ve been gone. I’ve kept up with a lot of blogs while I’m at work, I just can’t really post from there. The plan was to start posting again after all of the craziness of the holidays had subsided. Now, all of a sudden, it’s the middle of January.

    Actually, I have a really good excuse. I’ve been in a medically induced coma, brought on by a sort of commercial induced hysteria, since the 3rd quarter of the Fiesta Bowl. As a lot of you know, I’m a big fan of college football and the Ohio State Buckeyes in particular. This season I watched as many bowl games as possible. Sports is the best thing to watch with a new kid because you can enjoy them even while a baby is screaming in your ear for no apparent reason. So, I’m there watching the Fiesta Bowl toward the end of bowl season and somewhere in the middle of the 3rd quarter it all goes black.

    Apparently I started ranting and raving about having to immediately go out and buy a Dodge Ram truck. According to Dr Rosenrosen, it was some sort of primal urge over which I had no control. He’s treated 23 similar cases this bowl season. It’s as if I had been brainwashed, Zoolander style, by repeated viewings of testosterone fueled manly men in their new trucks (with the side compartment that conveniently stores fishing gear) driving through some sort of flaming post apocalyptic garbage dump while trying to avoid some other pickups of unknown make that are, for some reason, swinging back and forth on chains descended from huge cranes. It’s like some sort of nightmare from which there was no escape and was repeatedly beaten into my head after every change of possession for the entire bowl season.

    Well, eventually I snapped. Frankly I’m surprised that more people didn’t. I’ve been told that I kept yelling “AHHH YEAHHH!” and “THIS IS HOW I ROLL!!” because, you know, that’s what real men do. They drive Dodge Rams through garbage dumps and yell such things. (Actually, I’m just guessing it was a dump. It could just as easily have been Pittsburgh) Then I would blabber on about how someone needs to drop 2 tons of rocks from about 3-4 stories up into the bed of my new truck because if a truck can’t handle that, then who the hell needs it? Right? People do that type of thing with their trucks all of the time.

    Anyway, after about ten days of intense psychotherapy and hypnosis, my insurance coverage maxed out and Dr Rosenpenis assured me that I’m cured. Nobody will tell me who won the game, though.

    Another reason posting has been sparse is Grady.

    Basically, time has ceased to have any meaning. Life is now a sequence of never-ending 3 hour increments. Grady lives like Woody coaches. Put your head down, plow straight ahead, repeat.

    Born 3 months ago, Grady is now about 5 weeks corrected age. He’s finally over 7 pounds and doing well. He’s still hooked up to a home monitor that blares if he doesn’t breath for 20 seconds, or if he pulls one of the leads off. Unless you live in Australia, you may have heard it.

    I’m beginning to think that the kid is a bit of a narcissist. He cries when he wants to be picked up (which is always) and he demands to be fed every 3 hours (just like his old man). He has absolutely no regard for my baseball cards and blogging. In fact, he doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks about anything. This is leaving me very little time as of now, so those of you checking the blog hourly to see who the next player with the double ear flap will be may have to wait a little while longer. I am planning to post MUCH more frequently, though. I’m just not foolish enough to promise anything.

    I think he’s going to like baseball as he seems to like games in general. His two favorite games right now are:

    1. Feed me right now just kidding get that bottle out of my mouth no really feed me just kidding.

    2. Guess what I’m crying about now wrong again.

    At such a young age he’s already mastered both of these games. I play them with him every day and I don’t seem to be getting any better.

    So, this post is basically an update. After this I’ll continue on posting stupid things about baseball cards. Until then, I’ll leave you with a few stupid observations I made while watching TV the other day (specifically Independence Day and a commercial). They really have nothing to do with anything.

    1. OK, you’re making Independence Day and you have this huge budget and Will Smith is attached. You’ve storyboarded the big spaceships and the buildings blowing up. You’re pretty much guaranteed a blockbuster. So, as a goof, you make a list of who would be the worst, least convincing president possible. Bill Pullman makes that list, doesn’t he? The list is Carrot Top, Macauley Caulkin, Meatloaf, and Bill Pullman, right? And, truth be told, Pullman doesn’t get the call until Meatloaf turns it down. How does something like this happen?

    2. Now you have the 1st lady. She’s in a helicopter crash but survives. Miraculously she is saved by the woman who was the only one that decided to hide in a closet that was, for some reason, built into the side of the tunnel. So they’re talking and the single mom with the huge rack who lives in LA with her military boyfriend tells the 1st lady that she’s a dancer. 1st lady says “Ah, ballet”. Ballet? Are you freakin serious 1st lady? Who on the face of this earth immediately thinks “ballet”? Really, I’ll bet everyone reading this either knows a stripper or went to school with someone that became a stripper or something like that. How many of you have ever met a professional ballet dancer? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s a little like meeting someone who tells you that they are a musician and immediately jumping to the conclusion that they probably play base in a Molly Hatchet tribute band. It’s just so unlikely.

    3. OK, one more. This is already way too long and purposeless. What’s with the guys from the flomax commercial? Are these guys the worst friends ever? They’re out fishing and one of them lands a big one but nobody is willing to wait 1 minute for Larry to get out of the bathroom so he can be in the picture too? And they keep doing it. Everywhere they go they absolutely refuse to wait. Do these guys even like each other? Seriously, what a bunch of assholes. So, I guess they’re saying that if you use flomax on your geezer cross country road trip with your asshole buddies there is less chance of being left out of the picture.

    I guess that about does it for now. Future posts:
    1. Reviews of more cards from Tribecards
    2. Appreciation post for I Am Joe Collector and the brick of cards he sent me
    3. Post on the cards I got from White Sox Cards for winning a trivia contest
    4. A post about THE OSU that I promised Jeff a long time ago
    5. A new set I’m working on if I can figure out how to photoshop cards like Steve at Whitesox does.
    6. More random stupidity. Much, much more.

    I said good day.