Thursday, October 29, 2009

Whoever Wins the World Series...

For the first time since 2005, Topps has the honor of producing the World Series set.

Since 2004, the winner of the World Series has been honored with a 55-card box set, which included players, managers, League Playoff highlights, and World Series highlights, and the eventual MVP's.
Topps made the 55-card sets for the 2004 Red Sox and the 2005 White Sox, with that other company producing sets for the 2006 Cardinals, 2007 Red Sox, and 2008 Phillies. This year's winner will get a 27-card set in the blister packs similar to the 15-card team sets that came out earlier this year. They look pretty good. Check out scans of what the Phillies and Yankees World Series sets are going to look like.




Remember, these are only preview scans. The losing team is not getting the set treatment (or are they???). The World Series set will retail at $9.99 and final checklists are still going to be determined.

May the best team win. Either way, collectors are going to have fun with this set. At a little over $10.00 with tax, I just hope these make it to Chicago.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

bdj610's End of Year MLB All-Star Teams: 1988 Edition

Last year, I gave a brief history as to why I create End of the Year All-Star teams. Basically it was because I was 13 years old, still new to baseball, new to baseball card collecting, and was fascinated by the 1989 Topps sticker backs. Growing up, I was familiar with collectible stickers and albums, and I somehow managed to get my hand on the 1989 Topps Sticker Album and a lot of the stickers. But I was intrigued by the players featured on the backs of the stickers. The players who appeared on the backs were All-Stars. The top three players at each position (1b, 2b, 3b, ss, 9 of, c, rhp, lhp, closer). And I would imagine games played by these All-Stars, acting the plays out with the cards on my bed (I had a checkered bedsheet, so it sort of resembled a baseball diamond). And fair warning, almost all of the players on the rosters below are from this set.

I say almost, only because while the 33 players on the American League team had players from all 14 teams, the National League side only had 11 teams represented. The one team missing was the Atlanta Braves. To offset this slight (because even then I believed that every team had to have a representative) I went to the Atlanta Braves page, and picked a player whos sticker I could use to cover one of my extra cards. It had to be a full sticker, not one of those half stickers. I thought that the two players with the full stickers represented the stars of the team. So my choices were Dale Murphy or Gerald Perry. Because Murphy had the better power statistics (24 HR's and 77 RBI's compared to Perry's 8 and 74) in 1988, I picked him over Perry. So Dale Murphy's sticker was placed over an extra card and included in my "set," and eventually, my All-Star team.

But this gave me another problem. I now had 34 players on the NL side, and 33 players on the AL side. What was I to do? The same thing. Pick a player who had a full sticker and add him to the set. But who? Because I lived in Chicago, I thought it should have to be a White Sox player. So onto the page with the White Sox team. The two "stars" were Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines. Now because Fisk already had a card in the set, I placed the Baines sticker onto the back of another card. Now my "teams" were complete.

Just like when I "created" my 1987 All-Star teams, I wasn't totally familiar with the best players in baseball (yet), so for me, this assembly of all-stars would have to do. Looking back now, I know I could do much better. But as before, I am not about to revise anything now, especially since I still have my notes from when I first wrote them down.

So without further ado, for the first time online, I am proud to introduce my 1988 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams (in alphabetical order by position):

(Lots of space here when I added the table. Don't know why...)











American League

First Basemen

  • George Brett, Royals*
  • Don Mattingly, Yankees
  • Mark McGwire, Athletics

Second Basemen

  • Julio Franco, Indians*
  • Harold Reynolds, Mariners
  • Lou Whitaker, Tigers

Third Basemen

  • Wade Boggs, Red Sox
  • Gary Gaetti, Twins*
  • Paul Molitor, Brewers*

Shortstops

  • Tony Fernandez, Blue Jays
  • Cal Ripken, Orioles
  • Alan Trammell, Tigers

Outfielders

  • Jose Canseco, Athletics
  • Joe Carter, Indians
  • Dwight Evans, Red Sox
  • Mike Greenwell, Red Sox*
  • Dave Henderson, Athletics*
  • Rickey Henderson, Yankees
  • Kirby Puckett, Twins
  • Dave Winfield, Yankees
  • Robin Yount, Brewers*

Catchers

  • Bob Boone, Angels*
  • Carlton Fisk, White Sox
  • Geno Petralli, Rangers*

Designated Hitter

  • Harold Baines, White Sox

Pitchers

  • Roger Clemens, Red Sox
  • Dennis Eckersley, Athletics*
  • Mark Gubicza, Royals*
  • Teddy Higuera, Brewers*
  • Bruce Hurst, Red Sox
  • Doug Jones, Indians*
  • Jeff Reardon, Twins*
  • Dave Stewart, Athletics*
  • Frank Viola, Twins*

Manager:

  • Tony LaRussa, Athletics

The Starters:

  • 1B: Mattingly
  • 2B: Franco
  • 3B: Boggs
  • SS: Trammell
  • OF: Canseco
  • OF: Greenwell
  • OF: Puckett
  • C: Boone
  • DH: Baines
  • P: Viola

*First-Time All-Star


National League

First Basemen

  • Will Clark, Giants*
  • Glenn Davis, Astros*
  • Andres Galarraga, Expos

Second Basemen

  • Juan Samuel, Phillies
  • Ryne Sandberg, Cubs
  • Steve Sax, Dodgers*

Third Basemen

  • Bobby Bonilla, Pirates*
  • Howard Johnson, Mets*
  • Vance Law, Cubs*

Shortstops

  • Shawon Dunston, Cubs
  • Barry Larkin, Reds*
  • Ozzie Smith, Cardinals

Outfielders

  • Barry Bonds, Pirates*
  • Eric Davis, Reds
  • Andre Dawson, Cubs
  • Kirk Gibson, Dodgers*
  • Tony Gwynn, Padres
  • Kevin McReynolds, Mets*
  • Rafael Palmeiro, Cubs*
  • Darryl Strawberry, Mets
  • Andy Van Slyke, Pirates*

Catchers

  • Gary Carter, Mets
  • Mike LaValliere, Pirates*
  • Benito Santiago, Padres*

Designated Hitter

  • Dale Murphy, Braves

Pitchers

  • Tom Browning, Reds*
  • David Cone, Mets*
  • Mark Davis, Padres*
  • John Franco, Reds
  • Dwight Gooden, Mets
  • Orel Hershiser, Dodgers
  • Danny Jackson, Reds*
  • Bob Knepper, Astros*
  • Randy Myers, Mets*

Manager:

  • Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers

The Starters:

  • 1B: Galarraga
  • 2B: Sandberg
  • 3B: Bonilla
  • SS: Smith
  • OF: Dawson
  • OF: Strawberry
  • OF: Van Slyke
  • C: Carter
  • DH: Murphy
  • P: Hershiser


For these teams, you will notice that there are only nine pitchers. This will be the only year that I will have nine pitchers on either team. The tenth pitcher spot was replaced by the designated hitter spot. And as we go on later through the years, you will notice that while the tenth pitcher's spot is on every year, the DH alternates every even year until 2007.

Thirty-six new players are first-time all-stars from the previous year's teams (16 for the American League, 20 for the Nationals). One-person teams on my 1988 rosters include the Angels (Boone), Blue Jays (Fernandez), Mariners (Reynolds), Orioles (Ripken), Rangers (Petralli), Braves (Murphy), Cardinals (Smith), Expos (Galarraga), Giants (Clark), and Phillies (Samuel). The Mets have seven representatives on the NL roster, leading both leagues. The Athletics, Red Sox, Cubs, and Reds each send five players to their respective squads.

Based on the ringing success of the 1987 All-Star Game simulations, I am going to do the same thing with these two rosters. Seven regular games (10,000 simulations each, six with the same starting pitchers, one where lineups and starting pitchers change), and one All-Star Game will be simulated during the course of the week. I hope to have the results of all the games by the end of the week.

Now it's time for me to create the .DAT files before getting the games set. This won't take long.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, October 26, 2009

2010 Topps Series 1 Sell Sheets are Live!!!

The sell sheets for the now highly anticipated 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 product is now live!!!













They are really selling the point of being MLB's exclusive baseball card manufacturer. And though the images were already shown last week, it's nice to see how it all fits on the sell sheets.

Product information can be found here:

The initial checklist (subject to change...) can be found here:

Product goes live the week of January 18th, 2009, until otherwise noted. I can't wait.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

bdj610's 1987 End of Year All-Star Teams Simulated Games Results

I've been slowly but surely learning how to play the SBS simulation game, using my 1987 End of Year All-Star Teams. I've figured that the best way to determine which team wins would be to simulate seven games (six series between starters and one series where the lineups, starting rotations changed on a daily basis), by playing each one 10,000 times. The simulations go really fast, and unless you get that dreaded "Error: Box Score 70," play goes well without a hitch.

The first six games I simulated used each starting pitcher on both sides at least once, and all position players started a minimum of two games each. Here are the results:


  • Game 1: AL vs. NL, Bret Saberhagen vs. Rick Sutcliffe. The AL wins 5,454 games out of 10,000 simulations.
  • Game 2: AL vs. NL, Roger Clemens vs. Dwight Gooden. The NL wins 5,219 games.
  • Game 3: NL vs. AL, Orel Hershiser vs. Mark Langston. The NL wins 5,358 games (using a DH).
  • Game 4: NL vs. AL, Mike Scott vs. Jack Morris. The NL wins 5,127 games (using a DH).
  • Game 5: NL vs. AL, Fernando Valenzuela vs. Bruce Hurst. The NL wins 5,535 games (using a DH).
  • Game 6: AL vs. NL, Mike Witt vs. Sid Fernandez. The NL wins 6,174 games.
  • Game 7: AL vs. NL, anything goes. The NL wins 5,257 games.
But what about an actual game where everyone gets in, just like a real (before 2002) All-Star Game? Well, after multiple attempts, I finally figured out how to set it up so that I can use the other starting pitchers in the bullpen (it involved removing the games started number from the other pitchers...don't worry, I backed everything up). For the official All-Star Game, I decided to just simulate one game and one game only. The starting pitchers were Saberhagen and Sutcliffe and I let them pitch two innings. The rest of the pitchers would get one inning each (unless they struggled badly). The position players were replaced every three innings. No pinch hitters here, (as in previous tries, the pinch hitter is taken out of the game...I couldn't figure out how to double switch here).

The starting lineups, first for the American League (I'm using 1988 Topps cards because these are the cards I used to imagine my All-Star teams. You will see going forward that I use the following years cards for the previous year's teams):



Now the National League starting lineup:


Here is the result:


The 1987 NL All-Stars beat the 1987 AL All-Stars by a final score of 2-1 on a ninth inning walk off home run by...Ozzie Virgil!!!

The box score is below (Just click on the picture to take a closer look.


The scoring plays were like this:

Top 1: Rick Sutcliffe pitching. Rickey Henderson doubles. Cal Ripken flies out to Dawson (9). Wade Boggs walks. Runners advance on wild pitch. George Bell walks, loading bases. Dave Winfield walks, Henderson scoring.

Bottom 5: Bruce Hurst pitching. Bo Diaz hits a home run.

Bottom 9: Jay Howell pitching. Ozzie Virgil hits a home run.

Diaz hits a game tying home run in the fifth, Virgil hits the walk-off in the ninth.

A very low scoring affair indeed. If this game actually existed, the MVP would have definitely been Virgil. The rest of the NL staff didn't even allow a hit after the second inning, and no AL batter reached base after the third inning. The NL batters on the other hand, had eight hits, but just couldn't get the runs home. Lee Smith takes the win. Jay Howell takes the loss, and the only players who didn't get in the game were relievers Dave Righetti & Tom Henke from the AL, and John Franco & Steve Bedrosian from the NL.

If you want to see the .DAT files that I used (I still don't know how to download these onto the blog , so please just take a look at the screen caps below). If anyone can e-mail me instructions, please do so at bdj610@hotmail.com. Below is the AL .DAT file, then the NL .DAT file:




Now that the 1987 All-Star Games are officially over, on Tuesday, I will introduce the 1988 End of Year All-Star teams. Simulations to come by Sunday night.

Hopefully by the end of next week, I'll have some U & H to break (or buy on the Bay...)

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Short Prints in 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights...Which Current Player was Paired with an SP???

Topps is honoring twenty-one legendary players in it's 2009 eponymous Updates and Highlights set with short-printed cards. All of the players selected are Hall of Famers (or in two cases, living legends...thanks PAB for setting me straight). And just like the SP's in series 1 and 2, the twenty-one legends are numbered as if they are part of the flagship set (as you will see below). The kicker is that four players will have two variation cards, and a pair of legends is sharing one card number. So, which active player is being paired up with the legend?

For those keeping score, here is the official 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights SP checklist:

  • #UH47 Carlos Beltran, #UH47b Duke Snider.
  • #UH48 Albert Pujols, #UH48b Roger Maris.
  • #UH52 Kyle Blanks, #UH52b Bo Jackson.
  • #UH65 Joe Mauer, #UH65b Paul Molitor
  • #UH71 Chase Utley, #UH71b Rogers Hornsby, #UH71c Ryne Sandberg.
  • #UH98 Hanley Ramirez, #UH98b Honus Wagner.
  • #UH103 Evan Longoria, #UH103b Wade Boggs.
  • #UH148 Jason Bay, #UH148b Tris Speaker.
  • #UH150 Raul Ibañez, #UH150b Ty Cobb.
  • #UH153 Ichiro Suzuki, #UH153b George Sisler.
  • #UH186 Zack Greinke, #UH186b Christy Mathewson.
  • #UH198 Roy Halladay, #UH198b Cy Young.
  • #UH232 Tim Lincecum, #UH232b Nolan Ryan CAL, #UH232c Nolan Ryan NYM.
  • #UH250 Mark Teixeira, #UH250b Johnny Mize NYY, #UH250c Johnny Mize NYG.
  • #UH253 Prince Fielder, #UH253b Reggie Jackson CAL, #UH253c Reggie Jackson OAK.
  • #UH260 Ryan Howard, #UH260b Willie McCovey.
  • #UH281 Kevin Youkilis, #UH281b Jimmie Fox.
  • #UH318 Carl Crawford, #UH318b Rickey Henderson.
  • #UH325 Torii Hunter, #UH325b Frank Robinson
  • #UH330 Ken Griffey, Jr., #UH330b Babe Ruth Braves, #UH330c Babe Ruth Red Sox.
Pictures of all 25 cards can be seen here. These cards look fantastic, but the chase is probably going to stretch into next year (at this rate). Nothing on eBay (yet) showing big-time gimmicks or unannounced SP cards (yet).

I am now looking for 30 SP cards, five from series 2 (you should all be able to rattle them off in your sleep, Ryan, Ripken, Frank Robinson, Marichal, Schmidt), and the 25 above. I keep telling myself, "Patience. You don't need to rush. Take your time." I don't know if I need to stop listening to myself or if I need therapy.

The chase is on.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

2009 Topps Updates & Highlights Target and Walmart Legends of the Game Checklists For Those Who Need Them

Topps is concluding both the Target and WalMart exclusive Legends of the Game Insert Sets with exclusive inserts found in packs of the new Updates and Highlights product. As many of the subjects did not appear in either series I or II, I don't think that these cards will add to the existing timelines in either series. And as before, Target has the gold set, Walmart has the Platinum set. Enclosed are the checklists for both exclusive sets:

Target
LLG21 Rickey Henderson
LLG22 Ozzie Smith
LLG23 Babe Ruth
LLG24 Roger Maris
LLG25 Nolan Ryan
LLG26 Reggie Jackson
LLG27 Frank Robinson
LLG28 Ryne Sandberg
LLG29 Steve Carlton
LLG30 Johnny Bench

Walmart
LLP21 Babe Ruth
LLP22 Rickey Henderson
LLP23 Roger Maris
LLP24 Nolan Ryan
LLP25 Reggie Jackson
LLP26 Steve Carlton
LLP27 Tony Gwynn
LLP28 Paul Molitor
LLP29 Brooks Robinson
LLP30 Wade Boggs

The Cereal Boxes also had Store Exclusive inserts in chrome form for series 1 and 2, and that is again the case here in Updates and Highlights. Here is what you can EXPECT to be in either set:

Target
GR21 Rickey Henderson
GR22 Ozzie Smith
GR23 Babe Ruth
GR24 Rober Maris
GR25 Nolan Ryan
GR26 Reggie Jackson
GR27 Frank Robinson
GR28 Ryne Sandberg
GR19 Steve Carlton
GR20 Johnny Bench

Walmart
PR21 Babe Ruth
PR12 Rogers Hornsby
PR13 Johnny Mize
PR14 Ty Cobb
PR15 Tris Speaker
PR16 Rickey Henderson
PR17 Ozzie Smith
PR18 Nolan Ryan
PR19 Reggie Jackson
PR20 Frank Robinson

The chase continues.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S.: Lists were taken from the number one source of the hobby. Until confirmed, the checklists are still subject to change. jba

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blogs Leaving the Sports Card Blogroll

With all of the good news today, with previews of what is to come in 2010, I forgot that today is the day I have to let go of some inactive blogs on the Sports Card Blogroll.

You know how this works...blogs that have not seen any activity in six months will be listed here for posterity before I remove them from the active roster. So, tonight, the Blogroll says farewell to:
If you have a blog, or would like to recommend one that you'd like to add to the Sports Card Blogroll, send me an e-mail at bdj610@hotmail.com and let me know. And if any of the above blogs are yours and you plan on starting it up again, let me know so I can add it back.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

2010 Topps The Cards Your Mother Threw Out = 2001 Topps Through the Years???

That friend of the blog tdlindgren really is something else. If there was a code to crack, he can figure it out. Or so it seems. Based on just wild speculation on his part, it actually makes sense. You know that new insert set called "Cards Your Mother Threw Out"? Well, he is guessing (and it's a pretty good guess) that this is going to be a reprint set (akin to 2001's Through the Years), but now including designs from the 21st century (2000-2009). If you don't click on the comment on the last post, take a gander at what he wrote:


"The cards and inserts look great! I'm interested in "The Cards Your Mother Threw Out" inserts. My guess is based on the picture (1960 Yaz) that they will be reprints. Looking at the intial checklist, I came up with the corresponding reprints. Seems to make sense to me. Of course subject to change!"

The Cards Your Mother Threw Out
MTO1 Mickey Mantle (1952)
MTO2 Jackie Robinson (1953)
MTO3 Ernie Banks (1954)
MTO4 Duke Snider (1955)
MTO5 Luis Aparicio (1956)
MTO6 Frank Robinson (1957)
MTO7 Orlando Cepeda (1958)
MTO8 Bob Gibson (1959)
MTO9 Carl Yastrzemski (1960)
MTO10 Roger Maris (1961)
MTO11 Mickey Mantle (1962)
MTO12 Stan Musial (1963)
MTO13 Brooks Robinson (1964)
MTO14 Juan Marichal (1965)
MTO15 Jim Palmer (1966)
MTO16 Willie McCovey (1967)
MTO17 Mickey Mantle (1968)
MTO18 Reggie Jackson (1969)
MTO19 Steve Carlton (1970)
MTO20 Thurman Munson (1971)
MTO21 Tom Seaver (1972)
MTO22 Johnny Bench (1973)
MTO23 Dave Winfield (1974)
MTO24 Robin Yount (1975)
MTO25 Mike Schmidt (1976)
MTO26 Reggie Jackson (1977)
MTO27 Nolan Ryan (1978)
MTO28 Ozzie Smith (1979)
MTO29 Rickey Henderson (1980)
MTO30 Eddie Murray (1981)
MTO31 Paul Molitor (1982)
MTO32 Ryne Sandberg (1983)
MTO33 Don Mattingly (1984)
MTO34 Dwight Gooden (1985)
MTO35 Tony Gwynn (1986)
MTO36 Bo Jackson (1987)
MTO37 Nolan Ryan (1988)
MTO38 Gary Sheffield (1989)
MTO39 Frank Thomas (1990)
MTO40 Chipper Jones (1991)
MTO41 Manny Ramirez (1992)
MTO42 Derek Jeter (1993)
MTO43 Tony Gwynn (1994)
MTO44 Mike Piazza (1995)
MTO45 Cal Ripken (1996)
MTO46 Pedro Martinez (1997)
MTO47 Alex Rodriguez (1998)
MTO48 Ivan Rodriguez (1999)
MTO49 Randy Johnson (2000)
MTO50 Ichiro (2001)
MTO51 Albert Pujols (2002)
MTO52 Kevin Youkilis (2003)
MTO53 Alfonso Soriano (2004)
MTO54 Ryan Howard (2005)
MTO55 Alex Gordon (2006)
MTO56 Dustin Pedroia (2007)
MTO57 Tim Lincecum (2008)
MTO58 Evan Longoria (2009)

If this is correct, look who's lined up to represent the classic 2006 Topps design??? I can't wait to see how Topps handles this one.


Also, on a totally unrelated note, and the point of me posting this in the first place. New information shows that there will be a new MLB Properties Rookie Card Logo that will appear on official Rookie Cards everywhere in 2010. And check out how it looks.

I'm loving this. If this doesn't get that other card company rattled...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Information for 2010 Topps Series 1 is Up!!!


The number one source in the hobby has images and initial checklists of the highly anticipated 2010 Topps Baseball Cards.

Series I will be a 330 card set filled with the usual players, rookies, league leaders, combo cards, and team cards makes a return in 2010. But it's the insert sets that I'm looking forward to as well. The insert themes are interesting to say the least.

As you probably all have read, Topps is buying back one million cards from the past 60 years worth of products and are reinserting them (or redemptions for the older, larger, and more expensive cards) into packs of 2010 Topps. Along with the buy backs, the following insert sets will be included in packs:


The Cards Your Mother Threw Out: Either these are reprints of cards from years gone by or they are similar to the Trading Card History series from 2008.

The History of the Game: Similar to the Legends of the Game series, but highlights historic events in baseball history (Ruth's sale to the Yankees, Jackie Robinson's debut, etc)

Tales of the Game: Another similar theme to HoG, but will discuss things like the invention of the DH, and the 1969 Mets for example.

Past and Present: Pairs legends of the game with today's superstars (don't they do this in Topps Heritage???) Autos and Relics will abound here.

When They Were Young: Features today's superstars in pictures of their youth (the Wright card utilizes the 1980 Topps design...draw your own conclusions as to how this set is going to look). This is similar to the "Boyhood Photos" from 1972.


Peak Performance: Showcasing players past and present, and highlighting something of significance. Again, Autos and Relics should be aplenty here.


Turkey Red: Makes a return as the continuity insert, but this time, the design used for 2007 Turkey Red will be used (the light colored wood picture frames used for the boxers in the original T3 set).


Logoman Patches: Topps first attempt at including the MLB logo (is this Harmon Killebrew?) in cards. The "Thumb in Nose" set to their competitors. Also will be used as a continuity program. How and why is anybody's guess.

The usual parallels make a comeback (gold, black, platinum, silk). ToppsTown cards, Sketch Cards, cut signatures, World Series relics, and even a 1961 Mantle Relic card is in the offering as well.

If you want the checklist (and remember, it's subject to change), the boys and girls at Beckett has it:

More information coming soon.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

bdj610's End of Year MLB All-Star Teams: 1987 Edition

So here I am, more than a year after I first said that I would do it, ready to show off the All-Star teams that I first created out of childhood fantasy, and turned it into something that I continue to do into my mid 30's. I'll be honest, when I was much younger, I didn't really know to research the best players as I do now. Back when I was 12 and 13, I just combined the players who made the All-Star Teams (both NL and AL), and then added players as needed to fill in the positions (which, if you didn't know by now, currently include 3 each for 1b, 2b, 3b, ss, c, 9 outfielders, 6 starters, 4 closers, 1 middle reliever, and 1 designated hitter).

The team I am presenting now was not the first team I created (that was for 1988). The only reason why I ever even decided to do one for 1987 was because I finally completed my 1988 Topps set, and thought that since I had an All-Star team using cards from 1989 Topps (for my 1988 All-Stars), it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was now 1990 (or was it 1991, I'm not sure), and back then there was no internet, so I couldn't just "look up stuff" online. To create the teams you will see below, I used the following information:
I just figured that combining these two lists would give me a good enough talent pool to create my 1987 rosters. Looking back now, I know I could have done much better. But I am not about to revise anything now, especially since I still have my notes from when I first wrote them down.

So without further ado, for the first time online, I am proud to introduce my 1987 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams (in alphabetical order by position):

(Lots of space here when I added the table. Don't know why...)









American League

First Basemen

  • Don Mattingly, Yankees
  • Larry Parrish, Rangers
  • Pat Tabler, Indians

Second Basemen

  • Willie Randolph, Yankees
  • Harold Reynolds, Mariners
  • Lou Whitaker, Tigers

Third Basemen

  • Wade Boggs, Red Sox
  • Mark McGwire, Athletics
  • Kevin Seitzer, Royals

Shortstops

  • Tony Fernandez, Blue Jays
  • Cal Ripken, Orioles
  • Alan Trammell, Tigers

Outfielders

  • Harold Baines, White Sox
  • Jesse Barfield, Blue Jays
  • George Bell, Blue Jays
  • Jose Canseco, Athletics
  • Joe Carter, Indians
  • Dwight Evans, Red Sox
  • Rickey Henderson, Yankees
  • Kirby Puckett, Twins
  • Dave Winfield, Yankees

Catchers

  • Carlton Fisk, White Sox
  • Terry Kennedy, Orioles
  • Matt Nokes, Tigers

Pitchers

  • Roger Clemens, Red Sox
  • Tom Henke, Blue Jays
  • Jay Howell, Athletics
  • Bruce Hurst, Red Sox
  • Mark Langston, Mariners
  • Jack Morris, Tigers
  • Dan Plesac, Brewers
  • Dave Righetti, Yankees
  • Bret Saberhagen, Royals
  • Mike Witt, Angels

Manager:

  • Sparky Anderson Tigers

The Starters:

  • 1B: Mattingly
  • 2B: Randolph
  • 3B: Boggs
  • SS: Ripken
  • OF: Bell
  • OF: Henderson
  • OF: Winfield
  • C: Kennedy
  • P: Saberhagen

National League

First Basemen

  • Jack Clark, Cardinals
  • Andres Galarraga, Expos
  • Keith Hernandez, Mets

Second Basemen

  • Tom Herr, Cardinals
  • Juan Samuel, Phillies
  • Ryne Sandberg, Cubs

Third Basemen

  • Terry Pendleton, Cardinals
  • Mike Schmidt, Phillies
  • Tim Wallach, Expos

Shortstops

  • Hubie Brooks, Expos
  • Shawon Dunston, Cubs
  • Ozzie Smith, Cardinals

Outfielders

  • Eric Davis, Reds
  • Andre Dawson, Cubs
  • Pedro Guerrero, Dodgers
  • Tony Gwynn, Padres
  • Jeffrey Leonard, Giants
  • Willie McGee, Cardinals
  • Dale Murphy, Braves
  • Tim Raines, Expos
  • Darryl Strawberry, Mets

Catchers

  • Gary Carter, Mets
  • Bo Diaz, Reds
  • Ozzie Virgil, Braves

Pitchers

  • Steve Bedrosian, Phillies
  • Mike Dunne, Pirates
  • Sid Fernandez, Mets
  • John Franco, Reds
  • Dwight Gooden, Mets
  • Orel Hershiser, Dodgers
  • Mike Scott, Astros
  • Lee Smith, Cubs
  • Rick Sutcliffe, Cubs
  • Fernando Valenzuela, Dodgers

Manager:

  • Bob Rodgers, Expos

The Starters:

  • 1B: Clark
  • 2B: Sandberg
  • 3B: Schmidt
  • SS: Smith
  • OF: Davis
  • OF: Dawson
  • OF: Strawberry
  • C: Carter
  • P: Sutcliffe


Allow me to defend some of my picks. The Pirates representative at the All-Star Game was Rick Reuschel. However, he was traded before the end of the year to the Giants. And since all the other spots were open, I could only fit in a pitcher. So I picked Mike Dunne. Why? He had the shiny looking trophy on his 1988 Topps card. Putting Dunne in the pitching staff gave me seven starters and three closers. A good pitching staff for an 80's All-Star team, but looking back, was not what I would have had in mind. I could have put in the Pirates closer, but to pick between Jim Gott and Don Robinson would have been stomach churning.

You will also notice that I have Mark McGwire listed as a third baseman. That's because with Larry Parrish of the Rangers was on the AL All-Star team. Primarily a DH, he was also a first baseman by trade. Fortunately, I was able to add McGwire and his 49 home runs because he was also listed on his 1988 Topps card as third baseman.

My previously mentioned Chicago bias played a role in getting Fisk on the American League team. Dunston is there because he was included in the 1988 Topps Sticker backs set. I would have included Jody Davis, but Diaz and Virgil actually made the All-Star team in 1987.

One thing you'll notice is that I also have managers on each roster. Now picking the managers has been a mainstay since the beginning. However, I've made it a rule that although players can get on to as many teams as they deserve, the managers get only one shot at being recognized. I still can't figure out why I've done it this way, probably so I could learn who manages the teams. But you will see as I go along that the managers I choose will only appear once, even though he may have had better seasons later on in his managerial career. This has forced me to pick newer managers later on, but it's part of the selection process. I'm not changing that either.

One-person teams on my 1987 rosters include the Angels (Witt), Brewers (Plesac), Rangers (Parrish), Astros (Scott), Giants (Leonard), Padres (Gwynn), and Pirates (Dunne). The Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs, and Mets each have five representatives on the rosters, and the Cardinals have all four of their starting infielders on the NL squad.

Now, regarding the simulated games. I am going to use SBS as I stated previously. However, I am still trying to figure out the best way to play the games. I just learned how to create a series DAT file and was able to apply it a number of times on test runs. However, I can't figure out how to switch lineups after every game. My starters (as you see above) wound up starting every game. That was not what I had in mind. Bryan, can you give me some tips??? I also was able to copy and paste the above rosters onto a team DAT file. Bryan Bollman, who was one of the people contributing to SBS, was wondering if I was going to put the files online. I'd like to, but don't know how. If somebody can show me, I'd be more than happy to do it. I will post the official game simulation results before the end of the week. Afterwards, I hope to be able put everything on one post.

That should do it for a start. Every Tuesday in the off-season, I'll introduce a new team. New players, new analysis, and you'll see, as time progresses, that I get better at picking these rosters.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, October 19, 2009

The 500 Club.

When I first started collecting Topps cards in 1988, I noticed something very interesting about the way the cards were numbered. This was during the time of the 792-card sets, and I think you know where I am going with this, so bare with me.

I noticed that most of the cards that had numbers that ended in "0" were cards of baseball's superstars. Whether they were that particular team's most recognizable player, or a player who appeared at the All-Star Game the year before, it was a name that many fans should already recognize. I also noticed that cards that ended in "5" were also of star players, but they would be the "lesser known" stars. They were very good players, many of them All-Star as well, but they just appeared to be on a lower tier than those players who had their cards end in "0." Now I'm not saying one player is better than the other, and this totally isn't the case in EVERY set and circumstance, but growing up, that's just how I thought.

As I got older, I started to understand the reasoning behind this way of numbering. As a set collector, I needed to have the cards organized so that I could put them in an album. I first thought of sorting the cards by teams, but then I'd have extra cards where there was more than one player, or it wouldn't fit with just one team. So the best option for me was so sort them by number. I believed that the reason why Topps didn't just randomly assign numbers for the cards was so that the product would evenly seed the "star" players within the set. Sure, every player on a team is important, but if the more known "name" players were interspersed every five cards or so between the managers, unproven rookies, and "common" players, that there wouldn't be a lack of interest in going over a page when looking through an album or flipping through numerically sorted cards in a box. There was always something to look forward to on every page, or at least a card that would jump out at you if quickly running through cards in a pile.

Back to the point.

So the cards that end numerically with a zero were of star players, the subject of the cards that had a number ending in "00," was usually was one of the most elite players in the game. The rare six players who were the "best of the best" that year. In 1988, the cards that ended in "00" (not including the #400 AS card of Kirby Puckett) were of players who either made a huge impact during the 1987 season, or were legendary players:

  • 100 Jack Clark (an All-Star, was 3rd in the NL MVP voting, had a powerful 1.055 OPS)
  • 200 Wade Boggs (led AL with .363 batting average)
  • 300 Don Mattingly (most popular Yankee in the 1980's)
  • 500 Andre Dawson (NL MVP, led NL with 49 home runs and 137 rbi's)
  • 600 Mike Schmidt (living legend, had hit his 500th home run in 1987)
  • 700 George Brett (All-Star and leader of the KC Royals)
All were big names, but none were bigger (to a Chicagoan) than Andre Dawson. The "Hawk" signed a blank contract with the Cubs for the 1987, and although the Cubs finished dead last that year, he was voted as the NL's Most Valuable Player. Leading the NL in homers and rbi's helps.

With 1989's set, I noticed the same thing with card number 500. That set had AL MVP Jose Canseco at the 500 position. The year before, he became the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in one season. The combination of power and speed, plus leading the Athletics to the 1988 postseason, earned him the MVP.

In 1990, card 500 was of NL MVP Kevin Mitchell of the Giants. He led the league in home runs and rbi's, the Giants to the World Series, and was named the NL MVP. Do you notice a pattern here???

The 1991 set had Will Clark, Mitchell's Giants teammate, was the subject of card 500. That may have snapped the MVP player streak associated with card 500, but it also meant that Clark was a big time superstar.

Lately, I've been thinking about that number 500. In baseball, it's has always been a very important number in terms of it's most powerful club...the 500 Home Runs club. But to me, the number 500 was significant because, more often than not, the player assigned that number by Topps was among the baseball's elite. So I'd like to honor the #500 cards by listing them here below. Now the first Topps #500 card did not appear until 1959. The player that year was Vic Wertz, first baseman for the Indians. Since then, here is the list of players who held the 500 position in Topps' eponymous set.

  • 1960 Johnny Temple
  • 1961 Harvey Kuenn
  • 1962 Duke Snider
  • 1963 Harmon Killebrew
  • 1964 Carmilo Pascual
  • 1965 Eddie Mathews
  • 1966 Hank Aaron
  • 1967 Juan Marichal
  • 1968 Frank Robinson
  • 1969 Mickey Mantle
  • 1970 Hank Aaron (first person to have this number twice)
  • 1971 Jim Perry
  • 1972 Joe Torre
  • 1973 Oakland A's Team Card (they won the World Series)
  • 1974 Lee May
  • 1975 Nolan Ryan
  • 1976 Reggie Jackson
  • 1977 Dave Kingman
  • 1978 George Foster
  • 1979 Ron Guidry
  • 1980 Tom Seaver
  • 1981 Jim Rice
  • 1982 Rod Carew
  • 1983 Reggie Jackson (again)
  • 1984 George Brett
  • 1985 Mike Schmidt
  • 1986 Rickey Henderson
  • 1987 Don Mattingly
  • 1988 Andre Dawson
  • 1989 Jose Canseco
  • 1990 Kevin Mitchell
  • 1991 Will Clark
  • 1992 Vince Coleman
  • 1993 Jose Canseco (again, this time as a Texas Ranger)
  • 1994 Bo Jackson
  • 1995 John Hudek (huh???)
  • 1998 Dustin Carr/Luis Cruz dual rookie card
  • 2001 Kent Mercker (did Topps start deviating from the formula here???)
  • 2002 Barry Bonds (nope, I guess not...)
  • 2003 Mike Piazza
  • 2004 Ivan Rodriguez
  • 2005 Barry Bonds (again)
  • 2006 Derek Jeter
  • 2007 Pedro Martinez (first time as a NY Met)
  • 2008 Chipper Jones
  • 2009 Ryan Howard
So with certain exceptions, card #500 was always of the best of the best. The MVP, superstars sluggers, the dominant pitchers of the time, these are the members of the Topps 500 club.

By now, you must be wondering why I've become suddenly obsessed with the number 500. Well, this is the 500th post on my humble little blog. And it's a milestone that when I first started I thought I'd never reach. But here I am, still writing away about the Hobby I love, and the Topps cards that keep me involved. Five hundred posts is a lot for a blog, and not too many reach this many posting milestone. Thank you very much for joining me on my journey within the Hobby. And here's looking forward to another 500 posts.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Simulation Programs I Will Be Using...

When I first announced that I wanted to simulate All-Star games using the rosters that I made up for the past 22 years, I wanted to wait until I able to fully utilize the sites that I was thinking of using before making the official announcement. I have found two perfectly good baseball simulation sites that I will be using when I announce my All-Star teams from the past. And the good news is that they are both FREE!!!


The first one is Pennant Chase. This website features full leagues, and you can either create your own players, or use players from MLB's history (all the way back to the 1880's if you wish). The only drawback is that it will only won't allow for you to scrap the DH in the simulations, which would have been very disadvantageous for me when trying to simulate early games when I didn't even pick a "Designated Hitter." Otherwise, it was easy to find the players I needed and I had no problems being able to pick and switch players from lineups when necessary.


The second one, which I will probably be using more, is the Strategic Baseball Simulator, or SBS. I actually got an e-mail from Bryan Bollman, one of the site's contributors, and said that he reads this blog and suggested that I give the site a try. Granted, I had to download the programs onto my computer (something I was a bit leery on at first), but after I did, and added all the extra rosters from past years, I found it ridiculously easy to create rosters using Notepad by copying and pasting the necessary information from the different rosters onto my All-Star rosters. After playing a few simulations with this one, I was totally impressed with how smoothly the simulations run. Bryan, you will be adding the 2009 rosters soon right???

So there you have it. I will be using the SBS game when I run the simulations for my All-Star Game rosters. The games will be played this way:
  • There will be six games utilizing each of the six starting pitchers on each roster. Each of the position players will get a chance to start two games each. These first six games will play out like a regular season game.
  • The seventh game will be the All-Star game, where I will actually try to insert as many players as I can into the games, just like the actual managers. Of course, there is the all-told possibility that not every player will get in this last game, but we'll see how that goes.
  • Three of the first six games will utilize the designated hitter. The seventh game, will have a DH depending on if I chose one that year.
  • As best as I can, if I can, I will try to link game results online after All Star Roster post, with the simulated MVP. I will also try to compile stats for the six regular games.
So thank you very much for the tips. I now definitely look forward to the off-season. And you will too. My 1987 All-Star Game rosters will be up on Tuesday, October 20. Join me then for the roster discussion and the game results. (There will be pictures of Topps cards...I promise).

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Comparing the Major League Debut Classes of 1989 and 2009.

1990 Topps Major League Debut 1989: Steve Finley, Ken Griffey, Jr., Omar Vizquel.

The year was 1990. Topps Magazine Issue #1 (Winter 1990, with Jose Canseco on the green-bordered 1990 Topps designed cover) was unleashed upon the masses. Before the Internet became mainstream, before blogging, during the time the number one source in the hobby was actually revered and the price guide mostly relevant, finally there was a magazine for those of us who loved Topps cards. I remember seeing this magazine for the first time at the Phar-Mor (they don't make them anymore in Chicago) and wanting to buy it right there and then. I was only immersed in the hobby for two years at this time, but something instinctively told me to buy it ($2.95 back then).

Anyway, in amongst the stories previewing the upcoming 1990 Topps Baseball set (and the rainbow colored borders pictured in the poster checklist), on page 8, in the "Topps in the Field" section, just above the article about the 1990 Topps George Bush card, was a story headlined "V.S.O.P" or Very Special One-Time Performance. It went on to say that (as of 1989) over 13,000 players have played in the Major Leagues. And whether this player played in one inning in one game in their ML career, or went on to a Hall of Fame career, each one of them had one thing in common, that major league debut. So with that in mind, Topps created a new baseball card set called "Major League Debut." The first edition utilized the brand new 1990 Topps design, (with an awesome shade of crimson), and each card in the 152 card set (including two checklists) honored the 150 rookies that made their major league debut in 1989.

Everyone from Ken Griffey, Jr. (who debuted on April 3, 1989 and was one of three players to make his debut that day) to Gary DiSarcina (who made his first appearance on September 23, 1989, the last player to debut that season) was included in this set. Twenty-three players would go on to become All-Stars at some point in their careers. We'd all get to know their names on a regular basis like Sammy Sosa, Albert Belle (known then as Joey), Larry Walker, Robin Ventura, Andy Benes, Juan Gonzalez, Greg Vaughn, and more were part of this set. Players who had high expectations, but eventually faded from the spotlight (Jerome Walton, Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens, Ben McDonald) were also here. This was the only set that would have Topps cards of Yankees pitcher Bob Davidson, and Joe Skalski of the Indians, Larry Arndt of the Athletics. And if you're asking who these last three guys are, let's just say that they are among the few players whose major league career lasted no more than two games (and in the case of Davidson, just one inning in one game).

Combined, the debutantes of 1989 (as of the end of the 2009 season), combined for 67 All-Star Game appearances, 6,497 home runs, 25,661 runs batted in, 3,319 stolen bases, and a batting average of about .266. Pitchers who debuted in 1989 have gone on to a combined record of 2068-2004, saved 931 games, completed 276 games, faced 154,862 batters, struck out 24,689 of them, gave up 3,687 home runs, and had a cumulative ERA of 4.20.

Regardless of how their careers turned out, all of them debuted in 1989.

It is now 2009. Four teams were formed since then. The Milwaukee Brewers, long a franchise in the American League, was now a National League team. At any given point during the season, there were 750 players on active rosters (not counting those on the disabled list). And in amongst the shuffling of talent, 204 baseball players, some who've toiled in the minors for a very long time, finally got to step onto the field of a major league stadium for the very first time and play at least one inning of major league baseball. Seventy-six of them were position players, the other 128 stepped onto the pitcher's mound for the very first time. Of the 204, one was born in 1989 (Madison Bumgarner), and the oldest player to debut was 40 years old (Ken Takahashi).

The 2009 debutantes combined for one All-Star Game appearance (Andrew Bailey), 183 home runs, 840 runs batted in, 188 stolen bases, and a cumulative .250 batting average. Pitchers went 264-301 with an ERA of 4.72, striking out 3,730 batters, and saved 33 games (26 by Bailey).

Just for fun, let's compare both classes:
  • Players making debut: 1989 = 150; 2009 = 204
  • Position Players/Pitchers: 1989 = 80/70; 2009 = 76/128
  • Earliest Debut: 1989 = Steve Finley, Ken Griffey Jr, Omar Vizquel (April 3, 1989); 2009 = Jordan Schafer (April 5, 2009)
  • Latest Debut: 1989 = Gary DiSarcina (September 23, 1989); 2009 = Matt Pagnozzi (September 29, 2009)
  • Youngest at time of Debut: 1989 = Wilson Alvarez (born March 24, 1970, or 19 years, 122 days old); 2009 = Madison Bumgarner (August 1, 1989, or 20 years, 38 days old)
  • Oldest at time of Debut: 1989 = Paul Wilmet (November 8, 1958, or 30 years, 259 days old); 2009 = Ken Takahashi (April 16, 1968, or 40 years, 16 days old)
  • Shortest Career (1 Game only): 1989 = Bob Davidson; 2009 = Fernando Rodriguez, Esmil Rogers, and Carlos Corporan each have only one MLB game under their belt.
  • Longest Career, Seasons: 1989 = Griffey Jr & Vizquel (21 seasons each as of 2009); 2009 = only time will tell.
Of the players from the debut class of 2009, just like in 1989, there could be some Hall of Fame candidates. Most may go on to All-Star caliber, or very long careers in the bigs. And for some, this may be their only year in the majors. But all of them can say that they achieved their dream of being a Major League Ballplayer.

And nothing can take that away from them.

I've clamored before about wanting to bring back the Major League Debut set. But I know in today's age of exclusive contracts and rookie card restrictions that a set of this type might never see the light of day again. And although I have a feeling that many collectors would not want to get a set that might have stars but plenty of "never will be's" amongst them, a set like this could contain the only card of a player who played in one inning of major league ball.

1990 Topps Major League Debut 1989: Bob Davidson.

At least Bob Davidson got a card in the 1989 set, his one inning of one game got him onto the 1989 set. Who knows what the future will bring for the 204 players who first appeared in 2009. Most might never play in the bigs again, disappearing in the obscurity of minor league baseball for the rest of their professional careers. A set like this would give them an albeit slim piece of cardboard immortality.

Oh well, I can dream, can't I???

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S. Don't forget to enter the contest to guess who makes the 2009 Topps All-Star Rookie team. Details are above the post and the poll. jba

Friday, October 16, 2009

2011 Topps Archives: Larry Walker

There is a saying that good things come in three's. In the course of major league history, one player definitely took that mantra to heart. In fact, it became an obsession with him. This guy:
  • sets his alarm for 33 minutes past the hour
  • took practice swings in multiples of three,
  • wore No. 33,
  • was married Nov. 3 at 3:33 p.m. (he has a very understanding wife, let me tell you, to allow this)
  • showers from the third nozzle (okay, that was way too much information)
Okay, it was a good thing that today's subject for the 2011 Topps Archives project was such an incredible player that he was able to get away with a lot regarding his number "3," otherwise I'm pretty sure his managers would have asked to put a top to it. If you haven't guessed by now, today's subject is a six-time all-star, seven-time Gold Glove winning outfielder, three-time Silver Slugger, and even an MVP winner (1997), who traded in his hockey stick for a baseball bat. Yes, today's subject is Larry Walker.

Larry signed with the Montréal Expos in 1984 and made his debut with the big club late in the 1989 season. In his first full year in the bigs, he hit 19 home runs, and drove in 51 runs batted in. Good enough for seventh in the NL Rookie of the Year. From there, he became one of the keys to the Expos success in the early 1990's, leading the team to a 74-40 record, a first place finish in the NL East, all this before the strike that shut down baseball and cancelled the World Series. That 1994 Expos team became one of baseball's greatest "What If's?" because who knows, maybe the Expos would still be in Montréal if it weren't for the strike. Regardless, in his six years with les Expos, Walker had a decent .281 batting average, to go with 99 homers and 384 rbi's. But his best was yet to come.

At the end of the 1994 season, Walker signed with the Colorado Rockies. And in the crisp Rocky Mountain air, Walker became an offensive powerhouse. In his decade of service with the Rockies, he led the majors three times in batting average, hitting well over .300 in seven of those seasons. He made it to four All-Star teams, and was in the running for the MVP award six times. In 1997, he hit career highs in home runs with 49 (this led the NL), drove home 130 RBI's, and had a batting average of .366, and on base, and slugging percentages of .452, and .720 respectively (giving him an OPS of 1.172). Those numbers, awarded Walker the NL MVP award in 1997.

Wanting to be play for a contender in 2004, Walker was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and even though the Redbirds lost the World Series that year, Walker still performed well, hitting .357 in four games, along with two home runs and five runs driven in. After the 2005 campaign, Walker, a veteran of 17 major league seasons, finally called it a career. His final numbers are worth of Hall of Fame consideration, with a final .313 average, not to mention 383 home runs, 1,311 runs batted in, 230 stolen bases, and an OPS of .965.

Currently, Walker helps the Cardinals out during spring training. Although he was offered a full-time position on the coaching staff, Walker decided it was best to be at home and spend time with his family.

Now, back to that "three" obsession. A couple of things I didn't mention earlier was that during his days with the Expos, Walker would buy tickets for 33 disadvantaged kids when he played in Montreal, to be seated in Section 333 at Olympic Stadium. And the final contract he signed with the Rockies called for a joint donation of $3,333,333 to children's organizations in both Colorado and his native British Columbia.

The 2011 Topps Archives set will officially have two cards of Larry Walker. But who's to say I can't include a bonus third card just for kicks. Here are Larry's cards going into the 2011 Topps Archives project:

First card: 1990 Topps #757. Last card: 2006 Topps #154.

And for a bonus, if we ever decide to do a "Best Year's Edition" (as someone had mentioned should be done), here is Walker's Archives card:

1997 Topps Larry Walker #461.

Three really is a magic number after all.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Think This Is Going to Work!!!

You know how I keep promising to introduce the All-Star Teams I created in the past (from 1987 to now)? Well, I think I have more motivation to do it.

You see, I've always wanted to know what would happen if the teams I created played in a series of games against each other. I've wanted to see what would happen if each of the six starters on both sides got to start one game in a regular game setting, and then have a seventh game using All-Star game rules (meaning everyone trying to get in the game). But I had not found a website that would allow me to run simulated games in the fashion that I've wanted.

Until now.

If all goes well, not only will I introduce my 1987 End of Year All Star Teams, I will also include game simulations of these two teams playing each other. This way, we ALL will know which of the two teams would win if ever they were to meet.

I am crossing my fingers. This is about to get interesting.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The SP Floodgates Have Now Opened!!!

Funny thing about that friend of the blog, and all around good guy, tdlindgren. I recently happened upon a comment he left a while back asking if this years Updates and Highlights would include more SP's of players already honored, but in different uniforms, like Babe Ruth in a Boston Braves uni or Ryne Sandberg in a Phillies uniform.

Well guess what??!

Another friend of the blog, The Drizz, commented that 2009 Topps U & H cards are showing up on eBay, especially the SP cards. So I took a look. Needless to say, and if you've been collecting these as I have, we have our work cut out for us.

Enclosed are some scans from an eBayer who must have opened tons and tons of product, as he has on auction almost every card imaginable, including 25 SP cards. Many subjects have already appeared in either series 1 or 2, and there are new players added to the mix. However, there are some players on the checklist below that might appear in more than one uniform, meaning that there could be more than one SP card for a player. What you are about to see below should be the final list:









In alphabetical order (because I don't have the official card numbers yet), and after perusing eBay's listings again, the checklist seems to be:

Wade Boggs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Ty Cobb, Philadelphia Athletics
Jimmie Foxx, Boston Red Sox
Rickey Henderson, New York Yankees
Rogers Hornsby, Chicago Cubs
Bo Jackson, Chicago White Sox
Reggie Jackson, Oakland A's
Reggie Jackson, California Angels
Roger Maris, St. Louis Cardinals
Christy Mathewson, Cincinnati Reds
Willie McCovey, San Diego Padres
Johnny Mize, New York Giants
Johnny Mize, New York Yankees
Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins
Frank Robinson, California Angels
Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox
Babe Ruth, Boston Braves
Nolan Ryan, New York Mets
Nolan Ryan, California Angels
Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies
George Sisler, Boston Braves
Duke Snider, New York Mets
Tris Speaker, Boston Red Sox
Honus Wagner, Louisville Colonels
Cy Young, Boston Rustlers

There is an auction on the bay right now for 24 of these cards (minus the Sisler) for the low Buy it Now price of $479.99 (regular bidding starts at $379.99). For those who can stomach the price, this one's for you.

For the rest of us who plan on going after this set one card at a time, you have your assignments...

Let's get to work. And remember, if you find any of these short printed cards, and would like to find them a good home, please e-mail bdj610@hotmail.com and let me know what you have. Thanks.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, October 12, 2009

This Can't Possibly Be A Good Sign If You're Still Looking for SP Cards...

Friend of the blog, and all around good guy, tdlindgren sent me an e-mail today (I've been out today for a family health day thing...), so I didn't get it until now. But it looks like the number 1 source in the hobby did a box break on the not yet released, but highly anticipated, 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights product.

I'm not going to post the video of what they got, but the image below is very, how do you say it, disturbing. As you know, I'm still looking for five more of the 2009 Topps Series II shortprints (Schmidt, Ryan, Ripken, Frank Robinson, and Marichal). If you have them, please let me know...ahem...

Take a look at one of the cards the boys at Beckett just happened to find in their box of goods. Close your eyes if you're ticked off that they even got stuff from the manufacturers...

2009 Topps Updates and Highlights Johnny Mize. Short print???

Wait, didn't Mize already have an SP card in series 1???

2009 Topps Johnny Mize #320. This is from Series 1.

I thought so. Why do I now get the feeling that the search for SP cards is continuing in Updates and Highlights? And why didn't Topps say anything about it??? Let the games continue!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2011 Topps Archives: Bill Russell

(Because I missed doing this on Friday, I'm running the 2011 Topps Archives article tonight. I will have another one for next Friday at 9:00 AM CST.)

No MLB team in the seventies, eighties, and nineties defined the words consistency and loyalty than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even in the advent of free agency, the Dodgers seemed to be able to hold onto their players and managers for long periods of time. Think of it this way. Before today's subject became manager of the Dodgers in the middle of the 1996 season, the Dodgers had only two managers from 1954 to 1995 (Hall of Famers Walter Alston for 23 seasons and Tommy Lasorda for about 20). And from 1973 to 1981, the both Dodgers skippers penciled into their lineup cards the same four guys to play in their infield. There is a well-written baseball card blog named after the four of them, but Dodgers fans everywhere who grew up during the 70's can probably recite their names in their sleep: first baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, third baseman Ron Cey, and the shortstop, our featured player today, Bill Russell.

Russell was a lifelong Dodger, who played in parts of 18 seasons for the team. During that time, he became a three-time all-star, named the starting SS for the 1980 team. He hit 46 career home runs in his 18 seasons, but power was not expected from the shortstop position in the seventies. He actually wasn't an outfielder when he first joined LA. He was an outfielder at first, but Alston found better use for Russell's arm at shortstop than in any of the outfield positions. He became the full time shortstop in 1972, and two years later, was part of an infield tandem that lasted eight seasons. There have been double play combinations that have lasted more than ten years (Trammell and Whitaker of the Tigers comes to mind), and here and there, you find teams with three guys in an infield that play two to five seasons at a time (Dunston to Sandberg to Grace was a mantra in Chicago during the late 80's and early 90's), but to find a full infield, four players, to stay together for even eight years is unprecedented, even under today's standards. And if you add the years that Steve Yeager was the Dodgers primary catcher (1974 to 1980), and you have the same five guys covering the infield AND home plate for an eight year stretch. That just doesn't happen anymore.

Russell finished his career with a good .263 batting average, 46 home runs, 627 rbi's, and 167 stolen bases. His Dodgers teams made it to the post season five times, winning the World Series in a strike shortened 1981 season. In the postseason, he drove home 19 runs and hit .294 in 209 plate appearances. As 1746 games as the shortstop, he was part of 909 double plays, had 5546 assists, and was responsible for 2536 putouts.

After his long career, he became one of Tommy Lasorda's coaches. He spent a couple of seasons as a manager in the Dodgers minor league system, and was seen as the heir apparent to Lasorda when the time came for Tommy to retire. When Lasorda had a mild heart attack in 1996, Russell was named the interim manager. He was named the permanent manager before the end of July that year. When News Corporation (under Rupert Murdoch) decided to clean house, Russell was one of the casualties, ending a thirty year association with the Dodgers. After working as a coach for the Devil Rays and even managing a couple of minor league teams, he now works for MLB's umpiring division.

Of the four long time infielders, only Bill Russell was not included in cards for any of the Archives or Fan Favorites sets that came out in 2001-2005. So now it is time to add the shortstop that held the infield together for all those years to our Archives set.

First card: 1970 Topps #304. Last card: 1987 Topps #116.

So here's to Bill Russell. A most welcome addition to the 2011 Topps Archives project.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

bdj610's 2009 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...The Final Rosters

After pouring over stats and arguing with myself as to who deserves to be on the team, I have finally finished completing my 36-man teams. I think I can say with confidence that the players who made my "All-Star Teams" were worthy of inclusion, not just because many of them are major superstars, but because the their statistics were high enough above their peers that made them stand out from the rest.

So, without further ado, here are the players who made my 2009 MLB End of Year All-Star Teams (in alphabetical order by position):

(Lots of space here when I added the table. Don't know why...)









American League

First Basemen

  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  • Carlos Peña, Rays
  • Mark Teixeira, Yankees

Second Basemen

  • Robinson Cano, Yankees
  • Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
  • Aaron Hill, Blue Jays

Third Basemen

  • Chone Figgins, Angels
  • Evan Longoria, Rays
  • Michael Young, Rangers

Shortstops

  • Jason Bartlett, Rays
  • Derek Jeter, Yankees
  • Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays

Outfielders

  • Bobby Abreu, Angels
  • Jason Bay, Red Sox
  • Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
  • Carl Crawford, Rays
  • Nelson Cruz, Rangers
  • Jack Cust, Athletics
  • Nick Markakis, Orioles
  • Magglio Ordoñez, Tigers
  • Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

Catchers

  • Victor Martinez, Red Sox
  • Joe Mauer, Twins
  • A. J. Pierzynski, White Sox

Designated Hitter

  • Adam Lind, Blue Jays

Pitchers

  • Josh Beckett, Red Sox
  • Brian Fuentes, Angels
  • Zack Grienke, Royals
  • Matt Guerrier, Twins
  • Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
  • Felix Hernandez, Mariners
  • Joe Nathan, Twins
  • Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees
  • CC Sabathia, Yankees
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers

National League

First Basemen

  • Ryan Howard, Phillies
  • Derrek Lee, Cubs
  • Albert Pujols, Cardinals

Second Basemen

  • Luis Castillo, Mets
  • Brandon Phillips, Reds
  • Chase Utley, Phillies

Third Basemen

  • Andy Laroche, Pirates
  • Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks
  • Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals

Shortstops

  • Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
  • Miguel Tejada, Astros
  • Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Outfielders

  • Ryan Braun, Brewers
  • Adam Dunn, Nationals
  • Brad Hawpe, Rockies
  • Raul Ibañez, Phillies
  • Matt Kemp, Dodgers
  • Carlos Lee, Astros
  • Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
  • Shane Victorino, Phillies
  • Jayson Werth, Phillies

Catchers

  • Brian McCann, Braves
  • Bengie Molina, Giants
  • Yadier Molina, Cardinals

Designated Hitter

  • Pablo Sandoval, Giants

Pitchers

  • Jeremy Affeldt, Giants
  • Heath Bell, Padres
  • Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
  • Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
  • Francisco Cordero, Reds
  • Ryan Franklin, Cardinals
  • Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
  • Josh Johnson, Marlins
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants
  • Javier Vasquez, Braves
  • Adam Wainwright, Cardinals


Most of the position players were chosen based on statistics comparing the top eight position players in each league (hits, runs, home runs, rbi's, walks, strikeouts, stolen bases, caught stealing, and batting average). In most cases, the players I had chosen earlier due to the one person per team rule made the top three (with the only exception of the second base position in the NL).

In previous years, I tended to show a little more bias to Chicago players (on both sides) in cases where if I thought I could choose them over another person, I would (hey, I'm from Chicago, what can I say). And when I introduce the teams from previous years (I swear I will do this during the off season...), you will see what I mean. But for the second year in a row, because I am presenting them to the world, I thought I'd try to be as open minded as I can and pick the proper deserving players. And for the first time in a long time, both Chicago teams have only one representative each (Lee for the NL, Pierzynski for the AL). Other one-person teams this year include the Athletics (Cust), Indians (Choo), Orioles (Markakis), Royals (Grienke), Brewers (Braun), Mets (Castillo), Padres (Bell), and Pirates (Laroche). The Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies each have five players representing them on both teams. This is also the first time that I can recall having an entire outfield trio from one team on one of my all-star teams (I have had in the past all four members of an infield on a team). And for the first time ever, two brothers make the same team at the same position (Yadier and Bengie are both catchers. Imagine if brother Jose played in the NL).

Are there snubs? You bet. Prince Fielder isn't on the NL side. Neither is Adrian Gonzalez. One glaring omission on the AL side would be Alex Rodriguez. There are (ahem) legitimate reasons why I didn't add them this year. For example, Michael Young had the highest batting average in the AL for third basemen this year (.322, along with an .892 OPS, 22 home runs, and 280 total bases). I just could not keep him off the team. Evan Longoria and Chone Figgins went 1 and 2 on my calculation scales, so in they went, leaving ARod (who was #3) on the outside. It was once said that it wouldn't matter how many times you expand an all-star roster, someone will always be left out.

So ends the presentation for my 2009 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams. Please feel free to comment, debate, tell me that I did a good job, or that I don't know what I'm talking about and should have put in this person for another (A commentor suggested that I should have picked Brian Roberts over Markakis).

Let the debates continue. Again, during the off-season, I'll be looking back at past teams that I made up in my spare time. It'll be an experience for me to look back and see where my mind was at the time. And it will give me something to do before the 2010 Topps cards come out.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

bdj610's 2009 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...Every Team Needs a Representative

With the pitching staffs set in our last All-Star Team post, the next step is to make sure that every team gets at least one representative. I believe in the All-Star rule that every team, no matter how well or how poorly they did, has at least one person they could tag as an All-Star, based on his performance on the field. If it means that another person gets snubbed, that's sadly the way it goes. It does not matter how many spots there are on an All-Star team, someone always manages to be left out.

Now the pitching staffs from both sides locked in one representative from eight of the NL teams and eight of the AL teams, pretty much half the teams in either league. So that means in this post, I am going to name eight position players in the NL, and six in the AL.

In the NL, the Braves, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Dodgers, Cardinals, Padres, and Giants have representatives. These eight players will ensure that the NL has all 16 teams represented:

  • 3B Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (.260, 44 HR's, 102 RBI's)
  • 1B Derrek Lee, Cubs (.306, 35 HR's, 111 RBI's)
  • SS Miguel Tejada, Astros (.313, 14 HR's, 86 RBI's)
  • OF Ryan Braun, Brewers (.320, 32 HR's, 114 RBI's)
  • 2B Luis Castillo, Mets (.302, 1 HR's, 40 RBI's)
  • 1B Ryan Howard, Phillies (.279, 45 HR's, 141 RBI's)
  • 3B Andy Laroche, Pirates (.258, 12 HR's, 64 RBI's)
  • OF Adam Dunn, Nationals (.267, 38 HR's, 105 RBI's)
Let me first say that filling out the corner infield spots for the NL is going to be the very challenging. Four of the six available slots are filled, and guys like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Adrian Gonzalez are still in the hunt for the final 1B spot while Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright, and Pablo Sandoval are in contention for the final 3B spot. Someone is going to be left out (and I'm going to be in big trouble by the time I'm finished...). What am I supposed to do, add an extra spot for each position? Not happening. But I can tell you this, one of the four players not chosen is going to wind up as the National League's "designated hitter," so your favorite player still has a shot at making the team.

On the American League side, the Red Sox, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Twins, Yankees, Mariners, and Blue Jays, have representatives. These six players will ensure that the AL has all 14 teams represented:

  • OF Nick Markakis, Orioles (.293, 18 HR's, 101 RBI's)
  • C A. J. Pierzynski, White Sox (.300, 13 HR's, 49 RBI's)
  • OF Shin-Soo Choo, Indians (.300, 20 HR's, 86 RBI's)
  • OF Jack Cust, Athletics (.240, 25 HR's, 70 RBI's, could wind up being the AL's DH)
  • 1B Carlos Peña, Rays (.227, 39 HR's, 100 RBI's)
  • OF Nelson Cruz, Rangers (.260, 33 HR's, 76 RBI's)
Because I have nine outfield spots on each side, I have noticed that many players who wind up being the only person on their team to make the list normally is an outfielder. And that might be the case here with these AL picks as now four of the slots are filled.

Now before you start to say, "Where's this guy?" or, "Why didn't my guy make the team?" Please keep in mind that I'm not done filling out the team. These 14 guys are only here so that all 30 teams have a player. The best (trust me) is still yet to come.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

bdj610's 2009 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...The Starting Pitchers

Yesterday, I named the bullpens for each of my End of the Year All-Star Teams. Now it's time to name the starters.

To recap, here is my National League relief corps:
  • Jeremy Affeldt, Giants
  • Heath Bell, Padres
  • Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
  • Francisco Cordero, Reds
  • Ryan Franklin, Cardinals

And the American Leauge bullpen:

  • Matt Guerrier, Twins
  • Brian Fuentes, Angels
  • Joe Nathan, Twins
  • Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees
So, who would they be relieving???

Starting with the National League six-man rotation, we have (in alphabetical order):
  • Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (17-4. 2.24 ERA, 144 K's)
  • Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (15-12, 3.47 ERA, 198 K's)
  • Josh Johnson, Marlins (15-5. 3.23 ERA, 191 K's)
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants (15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 K's)
  • Javier Vasquez, Braves, (15-10, 2.87 ERA, 238 K's)
  • Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (19-8, 2.63 ERA, 212 K's)
Honorable mentions go out to (meaning, if I had more space, I'd would have added) Matt Cain (14-8, 2.89, 171 K's), Dan Haren (14-10, 3.14, 223 K's), Jair Jurrjens (14-10, 2.60, 152 K's), Jorge De La Rosa (16-9, 4.38, 193 K's), and Ted Lilly (12-9, 3.10, 151 K's). While this rotation doesn't necessarily scream dominating, we have a balance of power pitchers and guys who ate up a lot of innings in 2009.

In the American League, my All-Star six man rotation includes:
  • Josh Beckett, Red Sox (17-6, 3.86 ERA, 199 K's)
  • Zack Greinke, Royals (16-8, 2.16 ERA, 242 K's, 6 complete games)
  • Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (17-10, 2.79 ERA, 208 K's, 9 complete games)
  • Felix Hernandez, Mariners (19-5, 2.49 ERA, 217 K's)
  • CC Sabathia, Yankees (19-8, 3.37 ERA, 197 K's)
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers (19-9, 3.45 ERA, 269 K's)

Honorable mentions go out to Scott Feldman (17-8, 113 K's, but 4.08 ERA stands out), Jeff Weaver (16-8, 3.75, 174), Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36, 160 K's), Mark Buehrle (13-10, 3.84, 105, one perfect game), and Edwin Jackson (13-9, 3.61, 162 K's). Imagine how powerful a team could be if they had all of these guys in one rotation. Unstoppable comes to mind.

So the pitching staffs are done. Next, we'll get to the position players. The first step is to ensure that every team has a representative, regardless of what position he plays. At this point, six AL teams and eight teams from the NL need to have a player. I have a few people in mind. Who will they be? Tune in some time tomorrow and find out.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Season Isn't Over...

Thanks to both the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals, the 2009 MLB regular season is not yet over.

While 21 teams are done for the year, and 7 teams are gearing up for the postseason, the Detroit Tigers, (70-61 on September 1, 16-15 since) , and the Minnesota Twins (67-65 on September 1, 19-11 since), will now have to play a 163rd game to decide who will win the division. This is the second year in a row that the AL Central has to be decided with game 163 (last year, if you recall, the White Sox had to play the Indians, Tigers, and Twins in succession to win the division).

As the Twins won the coin flip if this match up had to be made, the final regular season game at the HHH Metrodome was not today, but on Tuesday, October 6. Whoever wins gets to dubious task of facing the New York Yankees in the AL Divisional Playoffs.


Quick facts about the HHH Metrodome:

  • Named for Hubert H. Humphrey (Not the WWE's Hunter Hearst Helmsley if you're wondering...) a former US Senator and Vice President, was mayor of Minneapolis.
  • First home game, April 6, 1982 against the Seattle Mariners. The Twins lost to the M's 11-7.
  • Hosted the All-Star Game in 1985. The National League beat the American League 6-1.
  • Hosted two World Series, in 1987 and 1991. Both years, the Twins won the championship in seven games (against the Cardinals in '87, and the Braves in '91).
  • Gone through three kinds of artificial turf in it's lifetime (SporTurf from 1982-86, Astroturf from 1987-2003, FieldTurf 2004-2009).
  • Twins regular season record at home from 1982-2009 (not including Tuesday's game): 1213-1038.
So much is at stake here. The Tigers had a 3.5 game lead over the Twins heading into September, and had led the division for most of the year. To lose it now would be a blow to Detroit. The Twins, on the other hand, would like nothing more than to end the Tigers season and get back into the postseason for the first time since 2006.

May the best team win. Good luck to both.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

bdj610's 2009 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...The Relief Pitchers

As I have done every year for the last 21 years, I am going to compile lists of players for my 2009 End of the Year (or 2010 MLB) All-Star teams. If you want to know what the heck I'm talking about, please review last year's introduction and brief history (ahem...brief???) as to why I have done this every year for the past 21 years.

Quick rules on how I comprise the teams:

  • Two teams, one American League team, and one National League team
  • There are 36 spots on each team (three first basemen, three second basemen, three third basemen, three shortstops, nine outfielders, three catchers, six starting pitchers, four relief pitchers/closers, one relief pitcher/set-up, and one DH-the NL spot is taken by the player with the highest average who did not make the team at any position)
  • Every team gets a representative. No exceptions. If a player gets snubbed by a guy who is only there because a team needed a rep, then that's sadly the way it goes.
This is going to be a four-post process. Today, I will announce the bullpen staffs for each team.

Why start with the bullpens?

Because it's relatively simple. The top four guys with the most saves are automatically on the teams. Usually.

Last year, I started with the American League staff, this time, I'll begin the National League closers. On this year's team are:

  • Heath Bell, Padres (6-4, 2.71, 42 saves)
  • Francisco Cordero, Reds (2-6, 2.16, 39 saves)
  • Ryan Franklin, Cardinals (4-3, 1.92, 38 saves)
  • Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers (7-2, 2.61, 36 saves)
Now I know that Brian Wilson of the Giants and Trevor Hoffman of the Brewers have more saves than Broxton (38 and 37 respectively), and Hoffman had an ERA of 1.83. But Broxton found his way in 73 games this year, and it's hard to argue with 114 strikeouts in 76 innings of work.

The American League closers for the 2009 team are:

  • Brian Fuentes, Angels (1-5, 3.93, 48 saves)
  • Joe Nathan, Twins (2-2, 2.15, 47 saves, and he still could get in one more game on Tuesday)
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees (3-3, 1.76, 44 saves)
  • Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox (1-1, 1.85, 38 saves)
Papelbon beats, barely, David Aardsma of the Seattle Mariners because although both pitchers saved 38 games and Aardsma struck out four more batters than he does, Papelbon has a better ERA (1.85 to 2.82), and walked 10 less guys than Aardsma.

The NL Middle Reliever for the 2009 team will be the Jeremy Affeldt of the San Francisco Giants. He is the 2009 NL leader in holds with 33, had a 2-2 record, sports a dazzling 1.73 ERA, and struck out 55 batters.

The AL Middle Reliever for the 2009 team will be Matt Guerrier of the Twins. The AL leader in holds in 2009 with 33, Guerrier went 5-1 this year with a 2.26 ERA and 47 strikeouts (also saved a game).

So right now, we've named the bullpens for each team. Who will fill out the rest of the rosters?

On Tuesday, I will name the six starting pitchers that will round out the pitching staffs on each team.

By Wednesday, every team will get a representative as I announce just some of the players who will take spots on both leagues' rosters.

And finally on Thursday, I will round out the rest of the rosters and introduce the complete National and American League teams.

Wait and see. It's going to look good I promise.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama