Thursday, May 21, 2020

What's to become of the leftovers?

When you collect track and field cards,  it's often easier (and cheaper) to buy the entire set rather than try to seek out individual cards piecemeal. That way you ensure you're getting exactly what you're looking for in one fell swoop at a fairly reasonable cost.

Such was the case, as I've bought a few sets to get the track and field cards I needed over the past few months. Among those sets were the 1979 Brooke Bond Olympic Greats, 1992 Brooke Bond Olympic Challenge, the 1984 M&M's Olympic Heroes, and 1996 Imperial Olympic Champions.

To get those particular track and field athletes in order to complete their set collection, I only needed 16 of the 44 M&M cards, 15 of the 40-card Olympic Greats set, and 21 of the 40 Olympic Challenge cards. I think I got the biggest bang for my buck when I purchased the Imperial set. Of the 48 cards, I needed a total of 31.

So now, the question is what do you do with the rest of these cards? While the M&M set boasts only American athletes, the other three sets feature some of the world's best in their sports, to include Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay), Mark Spitz, Olga Korbut, Nadia Comanichi, Vasily Alexeyev, and Teofilo Stevenson.

Unfortunately, if they're not track and field, I really have no real use for them right now. So like your average Thanksgiving dinner at the 'Toad household, there's plenty of leftovers.

If someone would be interested in taking these cards of my hands, I'd be more than happy to share the wealth. Of course, if you'd like to pass something along in return, a few cards that I can use for my collections, I certainly wouldn't say no.







1979 Brooke Bond Olympic Greats - 16. Vera Caslavaska (Gymnastics); 17. Larissa Latynina (Gymnastics); 18. Olga Korbut (Gymnastics); 19. Nadia Comaneci (Gymnastics); 20. Nikolay Andrianov (Gymnastics); 21. Muhammad Ali (Boxing); 22. Teofilo Stevenson (Boxing); 23. Vasily Alexeyev (Weightlifting); 24. Bob Braithwaite (Shooting); 25. Johnny Weissmueller (Swimming); 26. Mark Spitz (Swimming); 27. Pat McCormick (Diving); 28. Dawn Fraser (Swimming); 29. Shane Gould (Swimming); 30. Kornelia Ender (Swimming); 31 David Wilkie (Swimming); 32. Richard Meade (Equestrian); 33. Harry Llewellyn (Equestrian); 34. John B. Kelly (Rowing); 35. Rodney Pattisson (Yachting); 36. Robi Mittermaier (Skiing); 37. Jean-Claude Killy; 38. Sonja Henie (Figure Skating); 39. Irina Rodnina (Figure Skating); 40. John Curry (Figure Skating).




1992 Brooke Bond Olympic Challenge - 6. Franz Klammer (Skiing); 7. Eric Heiden (Speed Skaing); 8. John Curry (Figure Skating); 9. Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean (Figure Skating); 10. Matti Nykanen (Ski Jumping); 11. Muhammad Ali (Boxing); 22. Olga Korbut (Gymnastics); 23. Nadia Comaneci (Gymnastics); 24. Vasily Alexeyev (Weightlifting); 25; Alexander Dityatin (Gymnastics); 26. Mark Spitz (Swimming); 27. Shane Gould (Swimming); 28. David Wilkie (Swimming); 29. Greg Louganis (Diving); 30. Matt Biondi (Swimming); 31. Tracy Ruiz & Candy Costee (Synchronized Swimming); 32. Steffi Graf (Tennis); 33. Olympic Flame; 34. Barcelona Stadium.




1984  M&M's - 1. Shirley Babashoff (Swimming); 2. Phil Boggs (Diving); 3. Bill Bradley (Basketball); 4. Mike Bruner (Swimming); 5. Dick Button (Figure Skating);  6. Jennifer Chandler (Diving); 7. Cassius Clay (Boxing); 8. Barbara Cochran (Slalom); 9. Buster Crabbe (Swimming); 11. Donna de Varona (Swimming); 13. Mike Eruzione (Ice Hockey); 14. George Foreman (Boxing); 15. Joe Frazier (Boxing); 17. Bruce Furniss (Swimming); 18. Brian Goodell (Swimming); 19. Dorothy Hamil (Figure Skating); 20. Sonja Henie (Figure Skating); 22. Duke Kanamoku (Swimming); 23. Micki King (Diving); 26. Debbie Meyer (Swimming); 28. Jim Montgomery (Swimming); 29. Jim Naber (Swimming); 32 Lloyd Patterson (Boxing); 33. Oscar Robertson (Basketball); 35. Don Schollander (Swimming); 37. Billy Steinkraus (Equestrian); 42. Jerry West (Basketball); 44. Sheila Young (Speed Skating).








1996 Imperial Olympic Champions - 6. Dawn Fraser (Swimming); 7. Judy Grinham (Swimming); 9. Terry Spinks (Boxing); 10. Muhammad Ali (Boxing); 12. Gillian Green (Fencing); 15. Joe Frazier (Boxing); 18. Leonid Zhabotinsky (Weightlifting); 20. Chris Finnegan (Boxing); 24. Olga Korbut (Gymnastics); 27. Mark Spitz (Swimming); 32. Duncan Goodhew (Swimming); 36. Malcolm M. Cooper (Shooting); 38. Greg Louganis (Diving); 41. Steffi Graf (Tennis); 43. Andrew Holmessteven Redgrave (Rowing); 44. Adrian Moorhouse (Swimming); 45. Chris Boardman (Cycling).

Stay healthy and safe out there.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Are jerseys of old players ok to wear?

Many, many years ago, I remember seeing a post in the San Diego Tribune about San Diego fans who continue to wear jerseys of players who have since long departed "America's Finest City."  Apparently, their main gripe is the fact people continue to wear those jerseys long after the players have left San Diego and began careers with other teams.

Dave Winfield, Alonso Yonder, Andrew Cashner, readily come to mind for the Padres. Natrone Means, Kellen Winslow, and Drew Brees for the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers.

Of course, there are the exceptions - Namely, those players who've spent their entire career with a single team. Dan Fouts immediately comes to mind. In baseball, Tony Gwynn has been long known as "Mr. Padres," and I still proudly rock his Cooperstown brown and yellow jersey with the large "19" and his name on the back, last wearing it on his recent birthday.

On one hand, part of the issue is with player jerseys being so expensive, Who can afford to buy a new one every two or three years when an overpaid player jumps to a new team to earn more $$$$. On the other hand, there are also those player's whose team seeks to upgrade, or trim payroll, and then trades them for better/younger player(s) or to fill a position need, or for salary cap room.

My two Green Bay Packers jerseys are perfect examples of this category of player, with Aaron Kampman and the #30 of Ahman Green.

So what's a fan to do?

My wife more or less helped me circumvent that situation. We were AHL hockey season ticket holders for the first five years of the Iowa Wild's existence. For Christmas, a few years ago, she ordered me an Iowa jersey. Instead of getting it with a player's name and number on the back, she had it monogrammed with "McDuff" and the number "36."


I wore the number 36 when I used to race motocross back when I was young and stupid (of course, I'm not quite so young, now). McDuff, of course, is a play off my name. I can still support my favorite team, but this way, I'm now doing it on my own terms.

When she got my San Diego Padres Marine Corps camouflage jersey a few years ago, she did the same thing, as "McDuff" and "36" grace this one, as well.

The Padres have since come out with a new Navy camouflage jersey for their Sunday military appreciation games. Being ex-Navy, of course, I had to snag that one too. Howver, I'll have to get it  monogrammed elsewhere, as the Padres shop didn't offer it with this particular jersey.

In the meantime, I think I'll stick with a trio of San Diego Padres U.S.Marine Corps uniforms.


Top left is the 2017 Elite Extra Edition Dual Materials Luis Almanzar S/N 144/149 (#DM-LA), 2018 Donruss Diamond Collection Memorabilia Dinelson Lamet (#DC-DL), and a 2017 Major League Materials Wil Myers (#MLM-WM).

So, that's the particular way I've addressed the home team jersey dilemma. What's your opinion of wearing jerseys of players no longer connected with your particular team?

Stay healthy and safe out there.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Donruss Rack Pack Dash & Grab

I don't get out to the stores very often. But when I do (at least for now), I find it's about the only way for me to get a cardboard fix. Such was the case Saturday night, after we swung by Target to pick up a few items (while wearing masks and keeping our social distance), and picked up a 30-card rack pack of 2020 Donnruss.

This is the second pack of Donruss (Panini) I've grabbed, and I can't actually say I'm really blown away by this year's set. They don't have an official license, so they can only feature the city name on the cards. As for the cards themselves, to me, they seem just a little too busy for my taste, with the stripes and boxed lines breaking into both sides of the card. The lines coming up from the bottom of the card also seem a little out of place, and could have provided for a better, less cropped photo.

Despite all that, I do have to admit, however, I was rather happy with this particular pack.

I'll begin with the variation cards, of which there's a total of 38 different ones. When you look at the back of the base cards, if the Donruss logo is red, instead of black, you have yourself a variation. the variations can range from a different photo on the front, to having a different rendition of the team's name, i.e., Mike Trout's card reading "City of Angels," rather than "Los Angeles.


The variations I pulled in this pack were the Shohei Ohtani (#94) (pitching instead of batting); Javier Baez (#90) ("El Mago," instead of "Javier Baez"); Red Holo Eloy Jimenez (#121) ("The South Side," instead of Chicago); and Anthony Rizzo (#132) ("Chi-Town," instead of Chicago).



There were more pretty, shiney cards, as well as an autograph in this pack. The autograph was of the Los Angeles Angels' Matt Thaiss (#SS-MT); Holo Red Retro 1986 Paul Molitor (#235); Holo Red Anthony Rendon (#154); and an American Pride Justin Foscue (#AP15). Thaiss' auto is really lazy - I guess your initials pass as an autograph these days, when you're a first round pick. Another thing I can't quite figure out - On the Foscue card, they have him pictured on the front of the card, but yet on the back, they have another player's action photo, in this case, teammate Andrew Vaughn. Maybe they just want to give you a 2-for-1 card?


As for RCs, there's a Rated Rookie Kyle Lewis (#56) and Zac Gallen (#17); as well as RC Retro 1986 cards for Jake Fraley (#246); and Willi Castro (#236).
 

There were also four other Retro 1986 cards, one of which was also a variation - Barry Larkin (#211); Kirby Puckett (#217); Darryl Strawberry (#231); and Don Mattingly (#216). The variation card was the Puckett card, and the only way you could tell, was the baseball logo on the back of the card is printed black with white numbering, instead of the normal plain baseball, with black numbering).



Needless to say, this was the card I was most happiest about - a Diamond Kings Fernando Tatis, Jr. (#1). Hopefully, El Nino will stay healthy heading into his second season, while continuing to excite with ESPN highlight plays.

The rest of the pack included a Shane Bieber Diamond King (#18), and base cards of Max Fried, Joey Gallo, Sonny Gray, Mitch Hanger, Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols,  Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, Carlos Santana, Jean Segura, Justin Verlander, and Luke Weaver.

I think someone trying to put a set together would either go nuts, or broke, with all the parallels and variations in this set. I didn't pull any of the other parallels, such as Baby Shark, Emojis, Independence Day, but that's ok.

Would I buy more of this product? Maybe. I'd like to see more of what 2020 has to offer, but to be truthful, the selection has been rather limited at our local Target. Another reason it'll be nice to be able to move about the country again.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy out there.
.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Happy 60th Birthday to Tony Gwynn!

Today, May 9, 2020 would have been Tony Gwynn's 60th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, he passed away all too soon, at the age of 54, on June 16, 2014 (my wife's birthday).

My two sports heroes as a youth were Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi. However, it wasn't long during my early adult years, that Tony Gwynn would become my third sports hero, As I stated in an earlier post, my wife and I had always wanted to meet him, hoping to see him at San Diego State, where he coached baseball. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

In honor of his 60th birthday, MLB TV is recognizing Gwynn with day-long coverage, including a documentary and four games highlighting his prowress. The schedule includes:

11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT - "MLB Network Presents: Mr. Padre
Noon ET/ 9 a.m. PT - 1994 All-Star Game
3 p.m./Noon PT - San Francisco Giants. vs. San Diego Padres (Aug. 4, 1993 - 6-hit game)
6 p.m./3 p.m. PT - Padres vs. Montreal Expos (Aug. 6, 1999 - Gwynn's 3,000th hit)
10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT - Game 5 of the 1984 NLCS vs. the Chicago Cubs

I've seen the Mr. Padre feature before - it's really quite good. I recommend you take the time to watch it if you get the opportunity.

It starts out with Tony Gwynn Jr. in the AleSmith Brewing Company, which makes the San Diego Pale Ale .394 beer (Gwynn's highest batting average). The brewery even has a museum dedicated to Tony Gwynn.

It then goes on to document his career from playing basketball and baseball at San Diego State, to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame (with Cal Ripken), based upon his 97.6 percent of the voters, and his eventual passing and acolades from players.

What's there not to like about Tony Gwynn. For the stat-driven baseball fan, how can you overlook his .338 lifetime batting average,  15-time All-Star selection, eight National League batting titles, or three Gold Gloves?

For the baseball purist, he played all 20 of his professional baseball league seasons with San Diego. He was only three hits shy of hitting .400 during that strike-shortened season in 1994. He never batted below .309 in any one season, and only once, in his 20 seasons, did he ever strike out more than 35 times.

For the average fan, he was  humble, affable, always smiling, and had that booming voice and infectious laugh you'd recognize anywhere. 

For the San Diego Padre fan, he was simply "Mr. Padre" and symbolized the team and its city.

With more than 900 Gwynn cards in my collection, I can admit a cardboard affinity for Mr. Gwynn. As far as I can recall, this was one of  the first Tony Gwynn card I found when I was younger..

I received a bunch of food issue cards from a friend when I was younger, and this 1994 Post Cereal Gwynn (#13) was included.

My last Gwynn card find?


I pulled this 2020 Donruss Holo Red Retro Gwynn (#218) from a Rack Pack at our friendly neighborhood Target store. (And yes, I was masked and maintained a 6-foot perimeter).

As for my favorite Gwynn card, that's way too easy...


It would have to be his 1982 TCMA Hawaii Islanders card. He's not Tony Gwynn the All-Star yet, he's got his whole life ahead of him, without all the pressure of being Tony Gwynn.

I'm not afrraid to admit, I cry when I watch the end of Field of Dreams. Just like the Kevin Costner fil, I always get a lump in my throat when watching the end of MLB's Mr. Padre documentary. The show's final shot has Tony sitting in the dugout, facing the camera.

"Now I just want all you fans out there to know, coming from me, no script, no nothing, this is from the heart," he says, "It has been absolutely wonderful playing major league baseball for the last 20 years. Having the opportunity to  mingle and talk to you fans, I know I've enjoyed it, and I hope you have too.

"So with that," he says, "I say goodbye, and thank you."

He then stands up, turns to his left, and slowly walks away, as the film fades to black.

Happy Birthday, Tony and thank you for all those wonderful memories. 

Stay healthy and safe out there. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

1989 Denver Nuggets Safety Set

You can believe me when I tell you I am not a basketball fan. While I can tolerate the college game, I have absolutely no love for the pro game.

I have to confess, however, the only pro basketball I have attended were two Denver Nugget games at McNichols Arena, when I lived in Denver. The first, I was part of the military honor guard presenting the colors at that evening's game. It was snowing like crazy that night, so we stayed for one quarter and then left.

I brought my family for my second Nuggets game, since it was military night and Denver was offering cheap tickets to the military. It was Jan. 17, 1991. I remember it vividly, because that was the same night President George Bush announced U.S. forces had invaded Iraq, turning shock into awe, as Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm.

The game was delayed for more than a half hour as Bush's speech was broadcast over the Jumbotron. Once the game resumed, the Nuggets went on to beat the Charlotte Hornets, 111-104.

A few months later, I would be deployed as part of Desert Storm myself, but that's a whole different story.

Back to basketball.

During the 1989-90 season, the Nuggets, Pepsi, 7-11, and Denver's Children's Hospital joined forces to offer a 12-card safety set. The cards were 4 - 1/8" x 2 - 5/8," with a nice action shot of the player on the front, with their name and number listed vertically along the right edge, and logos of the Nuggets, Pepsi, and 7-11.





















Being a safety set, the backs featured a white background with blue lettering, which included a safety tip from that particular player, as well as a number to call for a free KidSmart! Safety Quiz and poster.

All you had to do was buy a drink or a Slurpee, and you received two cards.

I believe the promotion only ran for about a month, but it got me to thinking, "I wonder what they do with those cards when they're done with the promotion?"

 Again, while I'm not a pro basketball fan, I am a card collector first and foremost, so the pack rat side of me took over. After talking to the managers of four neighborhood stores, I received a case full of cards from each of them.

I ended up trading away three of the cases (one of them actually went for a Scottie Pippen Rookie card, which I then flipped for a very nice batch of Tony Gwynn cards


 Eddie Hughes, Alex English, Walter Davis, Fat Lever, Michael Adams and Todd Lichti. Adams was a quick little player and was a 3-point machine, able to put the ball up from anywhere. English, however, I feel was the most exciting player on the team.


T.R. Dunn, Bill Hanzlik, Dan Schayes, Jerome Lane, Blair Rasmussen, and Time Kempton.

Which leaves me with part of a case left of a sport I don't particularly care for. If anyone is interested in owning one of these safety sets, let me know and I'll postt an envelope into the USPS with your name on it.

Stay healthy and safe out there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

1990 Classic Baseball

In football and hockey, I believe Pro Set ranks at the top of the list of "junk" wax, with unlimited print runs. While the set produced a few interesting rookie cards, such as Barry Sanders, Michael Irvin, Marv Levy and Deion Sanders, overall, I thought the 1989 set was pretty unimaginiative.

While digging through the boxes of cards I still have piled up around the basement, I came across one of baseball's versions of Pro Set - Classic, published by Classic Games. 

Created as a sports trivia board game, cards consist of five questions on the back, each good for a base hit, or a homer. You spun a spinner to see which type of hit you could try for, and then consult the card for your trivia question. The bigger the hit, the harder the question.

Of the hundreds of different cards that were produced, the company actually made some "Automatic Grand Slam" cards, which, believe it or not, could allow you to "slug" a grand slam, with no one on base.

In 1990, Classic made a Yellow Travel set of 100 cards (actually 99, with one unnumbered card), a Blue set (150 cards), Classic Update (t0 cards) and a Classic Draft Picks (25). 

I think everyone has to have a few of these cards laying around, as it seemed as if the print runs were astronomical and you could find them almost anywhere back in the '90s. According to the information I've been able to find, the blue with pink cards were produced in approximately 200,000 sets.

But, let's start out with the Classic Yellow Travel edition (with the blue lines). If you were looking to complete a set, forget about it, as the #51 card of Willie Blair was never issued. The card without a number, which also has a blank, blue back, features picturres of  Frank Viola, the "Texas Heat" duo of Nolan Ryan and his son Reid, and then Don Mattingly and Chipper Jones. That Texas Heat picture is also featured on card #T91.



The only three San Diego Padres depicted on the 1990 Classic Yellow set are Fred Lynn (#T59), Shawn Abner (#T20), and Greg Harris (#T13). As for 1990, it would be the only year Lynn would play for the Friars.


There would be a total of seven Padres within the 1990 Classic Blue set, with Tony Gwynn (#17), Roberto Alomar (#61), Andy Benes (#120), and Bruce Hurst (#102).

And finally, here's the three Padres from the 1990 Classic Update Pink with Blue set - Benito Santiago (#T44), Jerald Clark (#T10), and Joe Carter (#T9),

At the very least, this was an interesting concept and I think I played the game once. If I remember right, I thought it was pretty boring - it kind of reminded of the old "Bible Baseball" game we played when we were younger.

Stay healthy and safe out there.






Saturday, April 25, 2020

The last pitcher of record to hit a walk-off homer to win the game?

If there's any team in baseball that's just chock-full of arcane bits of trivial information, it would have to be the San Diego Padres.

For example, did you know that up until August 15, 2015, the Padres and the Miami Marlins shared the distinction of being the only two teams in MLB history yet to have a player hit for the cycle.

While San Diego batters had been one hit shy of the cycle 361 times, with 258 of those falling a triple short, Matt Kemp was able to put it all together on that particular day. Considering the Padres have a 24-year head start on the Miami franchise, not having a player hit for the cycle until the team's 7,444th game, isn't a record you'd care to brag about.

Until June 1, 2012, the Padres were only one of two MLB teams yet to have a pitcher toss a no-hitter. On that day, Johan Santana, became the first New York Mets pitcher to throw a no-no after more than a half century and 8,020 Mets games. Even  more impressive, he did so against the defending World Series champs, St. Louis Cardinals.


By comparison, the Padres have thrown 30 one-hitters in their history and have carried no-hitters into the eighth inning of 19 games. If you want to look at it another way, San Diego has gone nearly 7,300 regular season games (as well as 34 postseason games) without having a no-hitter to their credit.

Jordan Lyles (7 1/3), Kirby Yates (1/3) and Brad Hand (1 1/3) were the latest Padres to fall victim, having a May 15, 2018 no-hitter broken up at Petco Park by Colorado's Trevor Story with a one-out, eighth-inning single off Lyles. However, as you may well know, close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.


By the same token, the Padres have been no-hit 10 games, with two of those courtesy of San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (2013, 2014).

And now, you can add another head-scratching trivia question to your vast vault of arcane baseball knowledge.

Who was the last pitcher of record to hit a walk-off homer to win the game?

The answer came courtesy of the New Orleans-based Junior Junkie, who writes the cool blog, The Junior Junkie: the Baseball Cards of Ken Griffey. Recently, I found a package of Padres cards he had sent me a few years ago.

This was my first trade with Junior and it was a great first package of Padres palyers. But one of those cards intrigued me, as it was a hand-signed, privately-printed card of San Diego pitcher Craig Lefferts, expressing his Christian faith.

 In researching this single card, I came across a really neat story of this German-born Padre.


More than 30 years ago, on April 25, 1986 (Happy Anniversary), Craig Lefferts, a Padres reliever, arrived at Jack Murphy Stadium with a 102-degree fever. Since he wasn't scheduled to pitch against the Giants that day, he hung out in the trainer's room hoping to keep cool, rested and hydrated.

Funny how things work out, though. In the top of the 9th, Goose Gossage blows a 7-5 Padres lead, allowing the Giants to tie the game. Lefferts, who was instructed to get ready in the seventh inning comes in to pitch the top of the 11th. He allows one hit and the game remains tied, 7-7.

The Giants' Greg Minton, who entered the game himself in the bottom of the 10th, continues the bottom of the 11th with another one-hit, no-run inning. Lefferts responds  in the top of the 12th by allowing a run on two hits by Jeffrey Leonard and Robby Thompson and trails 8-7.

Minton, who holds the record for the most consecutive innings pitched without allowing a home run (269.1 innings, June 1, 1979 through May 1, 1982), gives up a homer in the Padres' half of the 12th, to pinch-hitter Graig Nettles to start the inning. After inducing Garry Templeton into a groundout, Lefferts comes to bat, with the score knotted 8-8, with the bases empty and one out.

Minton goes ahead 0-2 on the count, throwing a pair of sinker balls, one for a strike, the second a foul ball. Lefferts then gets a slightly-hanging curve ball, which he then deposits into the stands for a 9-8 Padres win.

For Lefferts, it was his only home run among his 132 career MLB at bats - It was also the 10th time where a pitcher hit a walk-off homer for the win. (By the way, the first came may 30, 1957, when Detroit's Lou Sleater hit a homer off of Kansas City's Wally Burnette for the 6-5 win).

Happy Anniversary Craig.