Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wax Attack: 2005 Skybox Autographics

Here is my latest installment of my recent Target wax pack combo box purchase. Enclosed was one pack of 2005 Baseball Skybox Autographics.
This was a great pack to open up. There were only 5 cards, but I got 5 stars. On top of that, these cards are really great looking. They are the nicest cards I've gotten so far in this Christmas wax pack box. As you can see, I pulled out an Ichiro, Vernon Wells, Shawn Green, Curt Shilling and recently fingered Steroid user Eric Gagne.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Was Stan Conte One Of The Good Guys?

Some interesting stuff has been coming out about the Dodgers head trainer Stan Conte and his time as trainer with the San Francisco Giants. LA Dodger Talk has the full transcript taken directly from the Mitchell Report.
During spring training, Conte met with Giants general manager Brian Sabean to express his concerns about the presence of Anderson and Shields in the clubhouse, weight room, and other restricted areas. Conte felt strongly that personal trainers should not have such access, particularly where, as here, he viewed the trainers to be unqualified.

Sabean told Conte that if Conte objected to Anderson and Shields being in the clubhouse, Conte should order them out himself. Conte said he would do this if Sabean would support him when Bonds complained, which Conte believed would be the result of his actions. Sabean did not respond to this request for support, leading Conte to believe that Sabean would not do so if Bonds protested. Conte therefore decided to take no action to deny Anderson or Shields access to restricted areas.


Conte recalls that during this series (in August 2002 against Atlanta) a Giants player asked Conte about anabolic steroids. Conte refused to identify the player to us, citing athletic trainer privilege. According to Conte, the player told him that he was considering obtaining steroids from Greg Anderson and wanted to know the health issues associated with the use of steroids. In response, Conte explained at some length the health hazards of steroid use and lectured the player about the unfairness to other players posed by the illicit use of steroids. Conte believed that it was “a good lecture” and that he put considerable doubt in the player’s mind.

Conte stated that he reported the incident to general manager Brian Sabean within an hour of its occurrence. He told Sabean he was concerned that Anderson might be distributing steroids to Giants players. While he refused to identify the player who had approached him, Conte otherwise described the conversation to Sabean in detail. Sabean suggested Conte confront Anderson and Bonds about the matter, which Conte refused to do. In Conte’s view, it was not the responsibility of the athletic trainer to address such an issue.

A culture of corruption within the Giants management? As Mark with LA Dodger Talk says there appears to be no doubt why Conte left the team.

Pic Link:

Collection: Victorian Trade Cards- Tobin Lithographs

Below is one of the rarer and most sought after Baseball trade cards around. They are plainly named Tobin Lithographs after its manufacturer, and were produced in 1887. These cards feature cartoon like pictures of actual ballplayers from the period. This is one of the few trade card sets that actually refers to a specific player. Some of the greatest players from the 19th Century are represented. Players include Smiling Mickey Welch, Tim Keefe, Big Dan Brouthers, Mike King Kelly, Jack Glasscock, Cap Anson, Charlie Ferguson, Ed Andrews, Paul Hines and Jim McCormick.

Collection: Victorian Trade Cards- Baby Talk

19th Century Victorian trade cards with Baseball themes are my favorite type of memorabilia to collect. First of all, they can be very difficult to come across. So the challenge of completing a set is great. More importantly, though, is that these cards can have some of the most charming or slapstick hilarious pictures on them. I've seen cards where they show a team gang tackling an umpire to cartoons of a player getting hit in the face with a ball.
From my story I wrote in September 2006:
Trade Cards are one of the more interesting hobbies to crop up in American history. It originally started in the late 1870's and thrived throughout the rest of the century. It became one of America's early fads and collecting crazes. They started out as business/ advertising cards given away to customers. The name of the establishment would be printed on the front with a simple design around the edges. Soon the designs became more ornate and customers started collecting them to put into scrapbooks. This started the age of Victorian scrapbooking in America.
Baseball themed cards represent an infinitesimally small amount of total trade cards in existence.
The set I'm highlighting from my collection is called H804-1A Baby Talk Black Borders. This is one of three different sets that exist under the Baby Talk genre. It was produced in 1880's and is complete with a total of 10 cards. As the name of the set suggest the cards have titles on the bottom left of the cards that represent the spoken word of children. There are phrases like "Tum on, ets' p'ay ball!" and "No, I Didn' stike at dot!" Most collectors consider it complete at 9, but there is one card, that has no writing on it, (on the bottom right below) that I'm convinced belongs to this set.

Wax Attack: 2006 Topps 1952

This is a card set that uses a classic design with some modern touches. Over the past several years card manufacturers, like Topps, have been going through their archives to develop new sets based on designs from the past. This set below is based on Topps first Baseball set from 1952.

Since the '52 set is one of my favorites I knew I would immediately like the look of this modern set. Within my pack I received a refractor of future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine (below left), but didn't get much of anyone else. Not even a Dodger. The other cards I got include Willie Eyre, Anthony Lerew, Ramon Ramirez, Josh Kinney, Josh Johnson.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wax Attack: 2003 Fleer Tradition

Here is the second installment of my recent wax pack opening frenzy this holiday season. Again, this is a set I am not too familiar with. It is Fleer's 2003 Baseball set called Fleer Tradition. It's design is a homage to Fleer's very first Baseball card set from 1963. See Sandy Koufax's card from the '63 set above. I didn't get a lot out of this pack except for Soriano and Sheffield's All-Star cards. Fortunately, I did get one Dodger card (below) of once highly touted prospect Alfredo Gonzalez. At least that's what the card says on the back.
"At 3 minor league stops (in 2002), Alfredo posted a stunning 1.89 ERA in 76 relief innings."
Arm problems while in the minors slowed his rapid ascent. He recently signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers.
Other cards in the pack include Eric Bruntlett, journeyman Al Martin, hurler Mark Redman, Chipper Jones/ Hank Blalock Interleague Play card, Horacio Ramirez, Ryan Franklin and one of my favorites Dmitri Young.

One Of The Best- Stu Nahan

Sportscaster Stu Nahan died yesterday after a long bout with lymphoma. At last nights Kings game they held a moment of silence in his honor. This announcement before the game was a shock to me and I'm sure he'll be sorely missed by many.

Stu Nahan was once a professional hockey player in the Maple Leafs organization, having played for their minor league affiliate Los Angeles Monarchs until 1952.
"The real reason I quit was because I had a terrific sunburn on the back of my neck, which I got because the red light was on most of the time I was in the net," he would quip about the signal for a goal scored in hockey.
He was one of my favorite sports personalities. Who can forget his recurring roles in the "Rocky" films and his appearance in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

"Hey dude, nice jacket."

Woops. I guess the exact quote is, "Where'd you get that jacket!"

YouTube Link: ribbed4her:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wax Attack: Target Shopping

How many times have you walked past that section at Target with unopened packs from every sport imaginable. They are always tucked away in the corner near the farthest check-out lane. They are very easy to miss and always seem to be devoid of customers. I sometimes wonder if they ever sell anything from this section.

So this past weekend, while completing my Christmas shopping list I decided to stop at the card aisle to take a look. I reached around and checked out every different box and pack they had. I hadn't heard of half of the brands. Nevertheless, I figured, "why not!" It had easily been half a decade since I'd opened a pack of cards. So, I reached down and decided to buy a combo box of various different packs to wet my whistle. Unfortunately, the box had mostly older packs, so finding one of the Dodgers burgeoning stars would not be in the cards.
What I did find in my box, though, was a card set I had never seen before. It's called The Baseball Enquirer- Fun Stuff cards produced by CONFEX in 1992. I was an active card dealer back then so I'm amazed that I had never come across this in the past. It features comedic/ unflattering painted pictures of various Baseball stars, as well as, insulting interview style questions and answers on the back. Below is Lasorda's fake interview.
Man-O-Live, they don't pull their punches. Anyway, below are 2 of my other favorites.

Over the next several days I'll highlight cards from the other packs I opened from this box during the between-holiday lull.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dodgers Golden Anniversary Starts At The Rose Parade

In 2008 the Dodgers will be celebrating their Golden Anniversary in Los Angeles. The big 5-0 in LA.

They will open the year with a Rose Parade float featuring Dodger past and present greats. Furthermore, it includes 15 very dedicated Dodger employees. They represent a combined 225 year of Dodger service.
In honor of those unsung Dodger employees please be sure to cheer loudly for them if your in Pasadena for the parade. Heck, cheer loudly if your watching on the tube. They are:
  • Ray Alvarado of Arcadia , usher captain, 11 years of service
  • Cheryl Collins of Burbank, guest relations, 7 years of service
  • Diana Darr of Phillips Ranch, usher captain, 16 years of service
  • Earl Davidson of Canyon Country, usher captain, 15 years of service
  • Eddie Gonzalez of El Monte , assistant manager, 44 years of service
  • Raul Gutierrez of Santa Monica , security and assistant manager, 9 years of service
  • Sara Guzman of Los Angeles , usher captain, 13 years of service
  • Anthony Lopez of Whittier, usher captain, 29 years of service
  • Richard Montano of Pico Rivera , security lead, 26 years of service
  • Raul Rodriguez of Santa Monica , assistant manager, 19 years of service
  • Jim Terminal of West Covina , usher captain, 19 years of service
  • Al Garcia of West Covina , security, 2 years of service
  • John Northcott of Pasadena , security, 2 years of service
  • Danny Telford of Glendale , electrician with 10 years of service
  • Kevin Waters of Northridge, stadium utility with 25 years of service
If you've got some free time from now until New Years Day consider volunteering to work on the float.

Hat Tip:


It looks like Baltimore may be leaving their dilapidated Spring Training home in Ft. Lauderdale for Vero Beach in 2009.
A team source confirmed yesterday that the Orioles have been in serious negotiations with Indian River County about the Dodgertown facility, though a binding agreement hasn't been reached.

Story Link: Baltimore Sun:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lelands: The Babe, Gehrig and Chaps

Here is a great photo that recently sold in Lelands recent December auction of a less portly Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and some youthful fans during a 1928 barnstorming tour. Ruth's "Bustin' Babes" faced off again Gehrig's "Larrupin Lou's." The best part of the photo are those kids wearing the extremely furry chaps. They look as happy as can be, but Ruth can't sport a smile. I'm not sure what's on his mind. Maybe it's the silliness of the moment, or, maybe, he's envious of those chaps. On the other hand, maybe he lost that afternoons game to Lou. It sold for $442.88.

Lelands Auction Link: Babe and Lou:

Card Creation: Hazing Matt Kemp

Apparently I've got far too much time on my hands right now. Below I made my own very special Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball card featuring Matt Kemp being hazed last season. Print it out, paste onto cardboard and trade with your friends.

YouTube: Field Of Screams

This is a fun parody. Field of Dreams turned into a horror film.

YouTube Link: vedderthanyou2:


YouTube Link: Wallstrip:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yeager Is The New Coach Of The Armada

The team that brought you Michael Vick Jersey Bonfire Day and the longest team name in history (Long Beach Armada of Los Angeles of California of the United States of North America Including Barrow, Alaska) has now hired a new manager we all know and love. Steve Yeager is now the manager for the Long Beach team.
“It’s great to return to Long Beach and Blair Field. The city and fans are first class and it’s a fine ballpark. I had a wonderful experience the last go around and I’m looking forward to building a team that we can all be proud of,” said Yeager. “I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with young players, help them develop and succeed in professional baseball, and to help them attract the attention of major league organizations.”
In one way I'm happy that he'll be managing just a hop, skip and a jump away, but I think this ruins my hope that he would one day be the Dodger skipper.

Story Link:
Pic Link: CBSSportstore:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

eBay: 1918-1920 House Of David Uniform

The House Of David baseball club was one of the more famous barnstorming clubs in the nation. They hailed from a religious community in Benton Harbor, Michigan and proselytized while playing the nations pastime. If you've seen Ken Burns Baseball documentary then you are already somewhat familiar with them.

This morning on eBay a rare uniform from the 1918-1920 Baseball team was sold. It originally came from the estate of player Oscar Sussman and is probably one of the few old uniforms left that exist from the team. It sold for $4,550.00.

Hat Tip: VBCF:
eBay Auction Link: HOD Uniform:

Tiger Loves The Dodgers

There aren't many autographs he wants in return, but Woods recently got a prized possession -- a baseball signed by Sandy Koufax.

"How about that?" Woods said, breaking into a broad smile when asked about the autograph.


"I've been a Dodger fan my entire life, and Koufax is the man," he said. "For pitchers, you wouldn't think of any other player. During those five years (in the 1960s), nobody could touch him."

Story Link:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Furcal Is Ready To Play

This is very encouraging news.
Playing for the first time since hobbling off the field in Colorado three months ago with back and ankle problems, Furcal had four hits, two runs and stole a base in a Dominican winter league game in nearby San Francisco de Macoris.
"I feel like I'm getting back to my game. Steal a base, bunting, running," he says. "It's tough when you've got a bad injury and you can't even stand up at home plate. I felt so disappointed with myself."

Image Link: Gottohaveit:
Story Link: LA Times:

Salt In The Wound

Burning that bridge.
Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird isn’t happy with the schedule. He said he will look into the Dodgers’ plans more closely in the next few days to assure they are living up to their contract. The team will play the 10 home games required by the county, but Baird is concerned by the fact it won’t be a full team for four of those games.
Vero Beach Mayor Tom White said he’s disappointed, but not surprised by the spring training schedule. He would like to see the Dodgers leave as friends and family and not have a bad breakup with the community, but yet Baird should make sure the team is living lives up to their obligations to local fans.


“It is obvious they don’t have a commitment to our community, so we are pushing it (to get a date),” Baird said.

“It is like they are putting salt in the wound.”

The Dodgers last game at Dodgertown is schedule for March 17th and pretty much assures that I'll be passing on going to Florida this coming Spring. This sucks.

UPDATE: LA Dodger Talk finds within the LA Daily News a story indicating that this may not be the Dodgers last year at Vero Beach.

Story Link:

People Will Come Ray... People Will Most Definitely Come

With all of the hoopla surrounding the Mitchell Report and its' overall meaning to baseball I have just one answer.

People will come, Ray.
The one constant through all the years,
Ray, has been baseball.

America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.
It's been erased like a blackboard,
rebuilt, and erased again.

But baseball has marked the time.
This field, this game.
It's a part of our past, Ray.

It reminds us of all that once was good...
...and it could be again.

People will come, Ray.
People will most definitely come.

YouTube Link: DrvnMovies:
Field Of Dreams Script: Script-O-Rama:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Studying Up On Pitch Recognition

Even with the recent Mitchell Report I still remain very enthusiastic about the upcoming season. Since we are just a few months away I thought a little primer on identifying pitches while watching the game could help us all out. Check out this page for some helpful diagrams and explanations of 12 different pitches.

Hat Tip: Twins Nation:
Baseball Illustrated Pitches Link:

Welcome Our New Back-Up Catcher Gary Bennett

I'm sure you've been aching to discover who would be our back-up to Russell Martin. Well, the winner is Gary Bennett. Colletti had this to say about him.
“Gary provides us with a veteran catcher who can spell Russell from time to time,” said Colletti. “ He has been a member of some very good teams and the fact that he has spent his entire Major League career in the National League is also something we found to be beneficial.”
Not that I expect him to play very much, here is what the Dodger PR department sent me about his stats.
Last year, Bennett hit .314 following the All-Star break, including .400 (8-for-20) in the month of September and closed the season on a 7-for-11 tear (.636). The veteran also batted .313 with runners on base, .333 with runners in scoring position and two out and .383 from the seventh inning on.
Those are some pretty good numbers.

Photo Link: dksbaseballcards:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Memory Lane Auction: Christy Mathewson 1900 Rookie Player Contract

Christy Mathewson easily ranks as one of the 5 greatest pitchers in Baseball history. In 17 years he recorded 373 wins, 434 complete games, 79 shutouts and had an ERA of 2.13. Mathewson was so popular fans would scream, "Matty Matty Send For Matty." From the auction description:
No one American athlete, in any sport, has ever summed up the values of his era more than the pitcher Christy Mathewson. This "Greek God in flannels," as the publicists liked to call him, appeared on the major-league diamond, during the first years of the 20th century, as if in answer to the national yearning for a gentleman-hero. Baseball gloried in its rough-necked, hard-drinking, roustabout spirit when Mathewson first stepped upon its muddy fields. "He handed the game," wrote dean of sportswriters Grantland Rice, "a certain...indefinable lift in culture, brains, personality."
In our tumultuous times filled with steroids, gambling and drugs where is our gentleman-hero? Where is our Christy Mathewson?
This museum quality artifact came from the collection of Barry Halper and sold for an astounding $63,000.00Memory Lane Auction Link: Mathewson Contract:

Mastro Auctions: Swords, Trophies And Dresses... Oh My!

Some very unique items went up for sale during the recent Mastro December premier auction a few days ago, including this Civil War 1861 Eagle Base Ball Club Sword.
This rarefied artifact combines the genesis of the National Pastime with the rise of the internecine war that nearly sliced our country in half. It was the War Between the States, after all, that dispersed and popularized baseball, transforming it from a regional, little-known game to a bona fide national phenomenon. The new-fangled sport was enjoyed at encampments, on battlefields, and in prisons. It was a shining light of brotherhood and spirited competition for men whose lives were otherwise filled with bloodshed, rot and death.
This is one of only three swords known to exist.
It was formally presented to Union soldier Robert H. Ellis from the Eagle Base Ball Club of New York.
The Eagles had formed as a "town ball" team back in 1840—preceding even the origin of the now-hallowed Knickerbockers—and by 1852 had converted to playing the more formalized "base ball" with other organized clubs. In 1857, the Eagles met the Gothams in a formative championship at Hoboken's fabled Elysian Fields. Their great match was depicted in the publication Porter's Spirit of the Times as one of the first-ever woodcut engravings with a baseball theme.
It sold for $8,860.00.
Mastro Auction Link: Baseball Sword:

Below is a Puerto Rican Winter League trophy presented to the great Roy Campanella for leading the league in home runs in the 1939-40 season. This originally came from the Campy Estate and stands 13 1/2 inches tall. It sold for $3,616.00.
Mastro Auction Link: Campanella Homerun Trophy:

Baseball cabinet photos are very hard to come by. Especially in this condition. What makes these extra special is that all 3, 1902-1911 W600 Sporting Life Cabinet Photos, are of members of the Brooklyn Superbas (who would later become the Dodgers) - Charles Farrell, Frank Kitson, James Sheckard. They sold for $2,716.00.
Mastro Auction Link: Brooklyn Cabinets:

This comes from one of my favorite Baseball movies, A League of Their Own. Below is a Geena Davis 1992 Rockford Peaches uniform from the movie. It originally came
from the family of AAGPBL player Helen Filarski, who in all likelihood had visited the film set and received one of Davis' uniforms.
It sold for $7,985.00.
Mastro Auction Link: Peaches Uniform:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Russell Martin Wins Another Award

Russell Martin continues to fill up his trophy shelf and endear himself to Dodger Nation. He has been named the 2007 winner of the Tip O'Neil Award for being "judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball."
"I'm simply overwhelmed," said Martin in a release. "I'd trade this and my other individual awards for a few more wins and a trip to the postseason, but I do play hard and I play with passion, and obviously people appreciate that."
It is an award given out by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. BTW, Tip O'Neil was a 19th century Canadian ballplayer.

Story Link:

Cool Gadgets: The Disappearing Car Door

This is one of the greatest car innovations I've ever seen. When will this become standard?

YouTube: disappearingcardoor:
Hat Tip: Gizmodo:

Card Creations: My "Juice Era" Baseball Card

With all of the hoopla surrounding the Mitchell Report and the recent discovery of an Upper Deck asterisk insert Baseball card I thought I would have a little bit of fun and make my own card to represent the past decade of Baseball.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hiroki Kuroda

Tony Jackson is excited about the potential signing of Hiroki Kuroda (stats) as he lands in LA Friday morning. News might just be around the corner. With of all of the rumors surrounding him I thought I'd put up this YouTube video of Kuroda vs. Matsui in a 9 1/2 minute at-bat from 2002.
BTW, He is said to feature a mid-90s fastball, slider, forkball, and shuuto (also called a “reverse slider”, it’s a pitch similar to a screwball, but with less break).

YouTube Link: acekuroda:

Statement From McCourt About The Mitchell Report

I just got this from the Dodger media department.

“As the steward of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I am steadfast in the belief that performance-enhancing drugs have no place in baseball. The Dodgers have supported and fully cooperated with this investigation, initiated by the commissioner and conducted by Senator Mitchell. We wholeheartedly support Commissioner Selig’s efforts to rid the game of these substances and we commend Senator Mitchell on a thorough investigation. Our commitment to our fans during our stewardship has been and always will be to do everything in our power to maintain the game’s integrity.

“With that said, I have not had the chance to read the report in its entirety and once I am able to do so, I’ll be willing to share any further thoughts.”

The Dodger RoundUp

As you can imagine, a multitude of Dodger Blogs have voiced their thoughts about the Mitchell Report.

eBay: Upper Deck Is Making Fun Of Barry

What a perfect way to end the 2007 Baseball Collecting Season. Create a special insert card that perfectly captures one of the biggest stories of the year.
The current buzz is about a baseball card that doesn't even picture a player and was issued after the season had ended. You grab a swatch of cowhide and a magic marker. Draw an asterisk on it. Turn it into a baseball card and suddenly you have a controversial and expensive conversation piece.

So far only 3 cards have surfaced. The first card sold on eBay for $955.00. A second card was sold as a "Buy It Now" at $1,200.00. The third card is currently available along with another rare insert card at a current price of $1,076.00. Bidding ends in 2 days.

Hat Tip: Sports Collectors Daily:
eBay Link: Purchased for $1200.00:

Kent The Soothsayer

Jeff Kent is mentioned in the report, but not for steroid use. (page 12)

Plainly, Baseball needs to do more to address this problem. I have never met or talked to Jeff Kent of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he appears to have understood this when he said in September, as reported in several newspapers: "Major League Baseball is trying to investigate the past so they can fix the future."
I think that sums up the purpose of this report nicely. This should be a stepping stone to making Baseball better.

LoDuca News In Mitchell Report

The note above is from LoDuca to Radomski.

I've briefly gone through some of the report and came across a section I found very interesting. If you don't know already Paul LoDuca is named in the report. (page 257-258)
According to notes of an internal discussion among the Los Angeles Dodgers officials in October 2003 ... it was reportedly said of Paul LoDuca during the meetings:

Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade... Florida might have an interest... Got off the steroids... Took away a lot of hard line drives... Can get comparable value back would consider trading... If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That's his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for '05.
As you all remember, Pauly was traded less than a year later to the Florida Marlins. As Paul Harvey would say, "and now you know…the rest of the story."

Report Now Available

If you want to check out all 409 pages of the Mitchell Report go here.

Enjoying The Peep Show

As we all know by now George Mitchell is set to unleash a furor upon Baseball. Some 60 to 80 names of current and former major leaguers are expected to be fingered as steroid/ HGH users. Some of them are All-Stars, MVP's and potential Hall of Famers. Deadspin has a short list of names expected to be outed and they include several former and a current Dodger. Now keep in mind that this list is not official, so don't make any judgments yet, but, then again, some of the names make you say out loud, "no surprise."

Check out the list here.