Monday, January 07, 2013

Welcome to the Blue, JP Howell!

As was reported over this past weekend, JP Howell had signed with the Dodgers.  Well, now it's official.  He will be our lefty reliever out of the pen.  In celebration, I decided to make a fantasy card of him.  See it below.  It uses the vintage 1974 Topps design.  I even included a "Free Agent Signing" bar to accentuate the recent acquisition.

The Dodgers press release did not provide details about the 1-year contract, but CBS reporter Jon Heyman provided some on twitter.
(twitter link)
From the Dodgers press release:
“J.P. adds to our bullpen, especially from the left side,” said Colletti. “He provides Don with additional choices of someone who has pitched at a high level in very competitive situations.”

Howell, 29, went 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 55 appearances with Tampa Bay last season, holding opponents to a .223 batting average. He limited left-handed hitters to a .200 batting average (17-for-85) and held first batters to a .213 mark (10-for-47). Howell posted a streak of 27.1 consecutive scoreless innings in 24 appearances from June 14-Aug. 30, which was the fifth-lowest streak in the Majors in 2012 and also established a Tampa Bay club record.

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 1/7/2012 - Apply for the Baseball Hall of Fame Summer Internship Program

Orel Hershiser, Ramon Martinez, Kevin Gross, Pedro Astacio and Tom Candiotti - March 1994.  Photo by Jon SooHoo/©LA Dodgers.
  • Are you a student looking for an internship this summer?  Are you a huge Baseball fan?  Well, if you answered yes to those two questions then I suggest heading over to the Baseball Hall of Fame website to check out their summer internship program.  They are currently taking applications, due no later than January 31st.  Go here to check it out.
  • Read up on Day #5 in Zambia for Clayton Kershaw and friends in support of Hope's Home at Kershaw's Challenge.
  • Mark Saxon at ESPN interviews Don Mattingly about the Hall of Fame.
Q. Was there ever a time when you felt like you would be a Hall of Famer?
A. When I retired, I was 34. If I had kept playing another five years, I may have ended up with 3,000 hits and reached some other milestones and gotten in. I made the decision for my boys because I wanted to be around. When you do that type of thing, you know what you’re doing, you know you’re not going to make the Hall of Fame. If I was worried about making the Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t have retired. 
“I really like the trade because I’m a big fan of the talent they got back,” he said.

Epstein values the young arms of starters Ruby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, and also appreciated the Red Sox being able to unload salaries over a quarter of a billion dollars in the deal.

“The payroll they freed up was remarkable in its own right,” he said.
  • Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the career of Mike Piazza.
  • Yeah!  The NHL lockout is over!  Check out Luc Robitaille's official statement from the Kings, here.
  • So, this is what I miss by not living in snow.  Check out this colored ice igloo that was shared on reddit.  Thread is here.
  • The Outside Corner puts together their version of the Team USA Dream Team for the World Baseball Classic, and it includes one Dodger player.

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2012 Panini Golden Age Set - Dodgers Baseball Cards

With all of the hustle and bustle that came with the Dodgers flurry of free agent activity at the end of 2012, I just plain forgot about this set.  Panini introduced the 2012 Golden Age trading card set at the tail end of the year, and there are several notable Dodgers within it.

This new set focuses on the days that have long since passed us by.  It not only includes Baseball players from that Golden Age, but also includes stars from many other sports; such as basketball, car racing, boxing, and horse racing.  Heck, it even includes notable film stars and other famous historical faces.  See the entire checklist here.  Click any pic to embiggen.

Directly below are the Dodger base cards to the set.  There are also mini-parallel cards of each base card available.

#19 Burleigh Grimes

#35 Arky Vaughan

Here is a look at the reverse of what the cards look like.

#41 Jackie Robinson

#68 Duke Snider

The Pee Wee Reese base card is compared to the mini card in the pic below.

#69 Pee Wee Reese

#89 Frank Howard

#139 Steve Garvey

#140 Maury Wills

Along with the base cards, there are numerous Dodgers featured in insert sets.  My favorite is the below Batter-Up insert card.  It uses a vintage design first used by National Chicle brands in 1934.  These cards are die-cut, enabling collectors to fold the top of the card down so that it could stand upright on its own support.  Duke Snider is the only Dodger in this 25 card insert set.

#1 Duke Snider

Another great vintage styled insert are the Ferguson Bakery Felt Pennants.  In 1916 Ferguson Bakery gave away felt pennants as premiums with a purchase of their loaves of bread.  In this set they are randomly inserted into packs.  There are 2 different versions: Blue and Yellow felts.  Jackie Robinson is the only Dodger represented. I actually have a few of the vintage Ferguson pennants in my collection, but my felt pennants feature WWI and military heroes.  I'll have to pull those out and share them.

#23 Jackie Robinson

Below are Headlines Inserts.  See the Jackie Robinson Headline below.

#15 Jackie Robinson

Of course, no set would be complete without a few autographs.  Check out the Dodgers Historic Signatures Insert cards below.  There is a Steve Garvey autographed card, but I have yet to see one.  Also, a Duke Snider cut-signature is out there, but only 3 examples were made.

#23 Ralph Branca

#46 Maury Wills

These are called Museum Age Memorabilia Inserts.
#2 Burleigh Grimes

#6 Arky Vaughan

#40 Pee Wee Reese

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RIP: Richard McWilliam - co-Founder and Chairman of Upper Deck

The sports card hobby has lost a pioneer.  Upper Deck co-founder and chairman Richard McWilliam passed away this weekend.  He was 59 years old and leaves behind a wife and three children.

Suffice it to say, he was one of the most influential people in the trading card hobby.  In 1988, he along with other partners began an ambitious plan to produce a high quality Baseball card product for a market desperately seeking something different.  At the time, Topps, Donruss and Fleer produced cards, but they lacked the gloss and innovation found today.  Upper Deck soon filled that void.

I remember back in those days as a young teenage entrepreneur and Baseball card dealer seeing specs from Upper Deck officials.  They were a revelation.  Their cards had white stock cardboard that provided brilliant photographic images, and a hologram that gave a strong impression.  I was hooked on the new company, and so were many of my cohorts sitting on the dealer side of the table. 

Much has happened since Upper Deck's intial introduction to the market.  They introduced autographed insert cards, game jersey cards, holograms, and digital trading cards.  There was also a lot of controversy ranging from the loss of major sports licenses to scandals regarding the authenticity of game-used uniforms.  Nevertheless, McWilliam's impact on the hobby cannot be overemphasized.  He ushered in a new era in collecting, and all hobbyist should extend their hand to him as a thank you.

Richard McWilliam was found dead on Saturday from unknown causes.  He had a history of heart problems; including open heart surgery in 2008.  Check out the Sports Collectors Digest story on him here:
“Richard was a thought leader and visionary in the trading card industry. It grew from a hobby for some baseball fans into a multi-billion dollar industry because of the multiple innovations that Upper Deck introduced under his leadership,” Jason Masherah (Upper Deck's new President) said. “He built a company that has weathered difficult times for the entire industry and is well positioned for future success.”

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Vote For Matt Kemp - MLB13 The Show Video Game Cover Voting

With the new season quickly coming upon us, gamers throughout the world wait patiently for MLB13 to arrive in stores.  As a promotion, Sony is running a contest to allow fans to decide who should show up on the cover, and our very own Matt Kemp is in the running.  Go here to make your mark.  Voting officially starts today, January 7th, and ends on Friday, January 11th.

I voted earlier this morning, and according to the website Matt Kemp is currently in 6th place with 137 votes.  As a comparison, McCutchen has 2,222 votes.  Come on people!  Get to voting! Now

Check out Matt Kemp asking for your vote below.

Video Link:

A "Vote For Me" video.

Video Link:

Below is the most recent trailer of the game provided by PlayStation.

Video Link:

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