Thursday, January 17, 2013

13 Days from the Release of 2013 Topps Baseball Cards - A Matt Kemp Preview

I am counting down the days.

The best thing about every new year is the knowledge that the Baseball card season will soon begin.  In 13 days I can go down to my local store and pick up a couple of packs to relive those memories of childhood.  Sure, the smell of Topps gum is no more, and packs no longer have that clear wax substance keeping it tightly sealed.  Still, the same joy exist.  I've already got a Dodgers team set (with inserts) coming to me, but make no mistake I'll be opening a few packs just for the giggles.

In anticipation of the 2013 season, Topps unveiled a bunch of preview pics on twitter; including Matt Kemp's base card.  See it below, and go here to Topps twitter page for more previews.
(pic link)

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 1/17/2013

Here is an updated photo of the construction work at Dodger Stadium, originally posted on Instagram by Yvonne Carrasco.
  • Bob Nightengale at USA Today writes of the good works being done by Clayton Kershaw.
  • BTW, check out the MLB Network on Friday evening at 6:00 PM.  Clayton Kershaw will be featured on MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now: Starting Pitchers.” MLB Network determined its rankings of the top 10 starting pitchers using “The Shredder,” which uses statistical analysis to measure performance. In addition, renowned author Bill James and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz both give their own personal lists of the top 10 starting pitchers in baseball.
Also, at 7:00 PM, Kenley Jansen will be featured on “Top 10 Right Now: Relief Pitchers.” Again, MLB Network determined its rankings of the top 10 relief pitchers using “The Shredder” and Bill James and John Smoltz also give their own lists of the top 10 relief pitchers
White was also honest and principled. When he and teammate Jack Rowe were sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1889, they refused to report unless they were paid additional money. Said White at the time: "We ain't worth it. Rowe's arm is gone. I'm over 40 and my fielding ain't so good, though I can still hit some. But I will say this. No man is going to sell my carcass unless I get half."
  • Mark Saxon at ESPN shares a great interview with Dodgers scout Bob Engle.  Below is an excerpt.
Q. Few Dodgers fans have any idea what to expect from Ryu. What should they expect to see in April?

A. He has a real good feel and an assortment of pitches and he can reach back when he’s in trouble. He’s a good competitor and it will be interesting and fun to watch. The [Korean Baseball League] is a good league. I don’t know what caliber of league you would compare it to in the States, but it’s solid. You see more power there than you see in Japan. 

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A Vintage Brooklyn Dodger Exhibit Card - A 1935 4-in-1

Here is another vintage Exhibit Brooklyn Dodgers card in my collection.  This time it is from 1935, and it features 4 different Dodgers on one card.  Called a Four-in-One Exhibit card, it features Van Lingle Mungo, Vincent (Al) Lopez, Danny Taylor, and Tony Cuccinello.  The reverse is blank.

This is one of the least valuable cards from the set, even as it includes a future Hall of Famer in Al Lopez.  I guess you can say that this card gets no respect, and I have always wondered why.  After all, as I said above it includes a future Hall of Fame catcher in Al Lopez during the early part of his career.  It even includes a colorfully combative Brooklyn player in Van Lingle Mungo.  Heck, he has one of the best names Baseball has ever had.  In fact, I'm humming that great Dave Frishberg song as I write this.  Tony Cuccinello was a very able second baseman, batting .292 in 1935, and Danny Taylor batted .290 while in the outfield.  Hilariously, the photo used for Cuccinello is not actually him.  It is of George Puccinelli, who has never played for the Brooklyn franchise.  Can't the copy editors see that he is wearing a Cardinals uniform?

Since I can't get that damn song out of my head, I though I would pass along an infamous story from his days as a Dodger playing in Cuba in the spring.  For some background, Mungo was known as a bit of a drinker and roughhousing carouser.  He also had a way with the ladies.  Anyway, on one spring evening he was caught red-handed fooling around with a married woman.  The husband confronted him, so Mungo naturally gave him a knuckle sandwich in the eye.  Undeterred, the husband reached for a butcher knife with the intention of exacting capital punishment.  Van fled, and hid out in the teams hotel.  As the story goes, the police where called to arrest him, and Mungo had to escape the country with the help of some teammates and Dodgers executive Babe Hamberger.  They crawled him out a window that was several flights up, and smuggled him in a laundry cart to a waiting seaplane.  Needless to say, his spring that year was over.  I often wonder, though how did he explain his early arrival home to his wife?

Below is the jazz classic by Dave Frishberg called Van Lingle Mungo below.

Video Link:

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Welcome to the Blue, Peter Moylan

As was announced yesterday, the Dodgers have signed former Atlanta Braves set-up man Peter Moylan to a minor league contract, via MLB Trade Rumors.  So, in celebration I decided to make a fantasy Baseball card of him.  I used a 1974 Topps design with a free agent signing bar at the bottom.  I also grabbed a unique photo from the All or Nothing Tattoo and Arts Studio online.  It features him showing off some wicked arm tats, and includes an interesting story on his body art.

Apparently, Moylan was teased about the slipshod tattoos that once graced his arms while a visiting relief pitcher in Philadelphia.  As Moylan said:
"Those guys are brutal in Philly, they do their research," Moylan says with a good-natured laugh. "They knew things about me that I didn't know about me."
So, Atlanta artist Brandon Bond went to work to do some "turd polishing".  As you can see, I think Brandon did an excellent job.  Go to the original link at All or Nothing Tattoo and Arts Studio for more of the story.  At bottom is a video showing the re-work being done.

On a side note, I find it funny how the deals that actually get done never seem to have rumors bandied about predicting it.  Strange, eh?

Video Link:

Here are Peter Moylan's career stats, via Baseball-Reference.

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