Thursday, June 30, 2016

frankendodger sheet 44 (cards 388-396) - night owl's favorite card makes the cut...

here's sheet number 44 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 388-396:
and the back:
these cards are:

388. 1998 donruss paul konerko
389. 1998 pacific online gary sheffield
390. 1975 topps ron cey
391. 2008 upper deck first edition blake dewitt
392. 2010 topps carlos monasterios
393. 1995 fleer ultra pedro astacio
394. 1989 topps orel hershiser
395. 1990 fleer alfredo griffin
396. 1998 upper deck collector's choice todd zeile

the "no brainer" of the day:

that would be the pacific online sheffield checklist.  i have foregone all of the other dodger cards in the online set because i knew i had doubles of this card and it is so "pacific". i like the big dodger logo right in the center of this card, too.

about the cards:

paul konerko makes his first (and only) appearance in the set via a card from 1998 donruss. spirit of the game was originally an insert set, but at some point donruss made it a subset of the regular set. konerko took his spirit to cincinnati at the 1998 all-star break before settling in with the white sox for a very productive career.

gary sheffield got front billing (and deservedly so) for the dodger team checklist in the 1998 pacific online set.  this was a great set, with 29 dodgers represented, including short-timers like thomas howard, matt luke, tom prince, and trenidad hubbard.  i never did check out any of the links when they were active - i wonder what they looked like.

next up is night owl's favorite card - the 1975 topps ron cey.  he has discussed the fantastic-ness of this card many times, so i won't try to tell you anything more about it. instead, i'll reiterate my opinion that the pants blake dewitt is wearing on his 2008 upper deck first edition card are the worst baseball pants of all time. i think they look terrible, and i am not a crabby old fart.  carlos monasterios is also wearing bad baseball pants on his 2010 topps card.  i prefer his 2010 bowman card
but it isn't numbered 392.

pedro astacio gets the call to represent 1995 fleer ultra, which is about two years before i would say the set actually became anything special.  my favorite thing about astacio is they way he used to wiggle his arm as it hung from his side while he was checking the signs.   i also "threw" a no-hitter with him on the old tony larussa baseball game for pc in the late 1990's.

there were a lot of orel hershiser cards issued in 1989, and this topps all-star card is one of them. hershiser was the nl rhp in the subset, and kirk gibson was the pinch hitter, as opposed to the dh for the american league. i thought that was a nice touch by topps.

alfredo griffin's 1990 fleer set is, like the rest of the set in my opinion, forgettable. griffin had a much better year in 1989 than he had in 1988 at the plate, but the ring is the thing, and by that account 1988 was a much better season.

last card of this page is the 1998 collector's choice todd zeile.  zeile looks like he might be boning his bat (that's something players did back in the day, with mark grace apparently preferring a cow femur).  i like most of all the fact that this card displays the jackie robinson patch that the dodgers wore in 1997, although it is not my favorite card to do so.

cards that didn't make the cut:

those that tried and failed include 2011 topps kenley jansen (with a lurking davey lopes as the phillies' first base coach)
at number 388, 1960 topps maury wills (luis swipes base)
at number 389, 1972 topps willie davis at number 390, 1973 topps lee lacy at number 391, 1996 topps stadium club tom candiotti at number 392, 1998 upper deck collector's choice jose vizcaino at number 393, 1992 bowman dave anderson at number 394, 1990 score willie randolph at number 395, and 1997 upper deck greg gagne (with future dodger rickey henderson!)
at number 396.

my favorite card on the page:

the red background on the todd zeile card, along with the jackie robinson patch, puts this one on top for me.  you know i like that card if i passed on the gagne card to get it in the set.

final thoughts:

seeing the gagne card reminds me that i wanted to get rickey into the set, but did not do so.  i took another look at his dodger cards, and i think i've found a spot for him.  i actually have 4 or 5 cards to replace, and i'll update all of the posts accordingly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

frankendodger sheet 43 (cards 379-387) - maury and manny side by side opens my eyes...

here's sheet number 43 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 379-387:
and the back:
these cards are:

379. 1969 topps ken boyer
380. 2007 topps jason schmidt
381. 2006 topps odalis perez
382. 2001 topps kirk gibson
383. 1996 pinnacle wilton guerrero
384. 2014 topps heritage andre ethier
385. 1971 topps maury wills
386. 1977 topps manny mota
387. 1959 topps don drysdale

the "no brainer" of the day:

ken boyer's 1969 topps card is the only one (if you don't count the o-pee-chee version which has the same number so the question is moot) of him from his active career as a dodger. it was going to be in the set.

about the cards:

that boyer card confused me quite a bit when it first found its way into my collection. the back is different from most other 1969 topps cards,
and certainly any other one that i had seen at that point. there is no topps logo or cartoon, and the text box doesn't include his name and height/weight etc, but rather his factoid. it still seems like a bit of an anomaly now, but at least i know that others like it exist, such as mickey mantle's final tribute.
anyway, boyer was a former nl mvp who joined the dodgers for the last two seasons of his career (1968 and 1969). he did not appear in the 1970 topps set, which is unfortunate.

i  bought a lot of 2007 topps, and it was the first set i put together by hand in a few years. i didn't care for it too much, but i put a want list up shortly after starting to blog, and several folks helped out.  i still bought a factory set as i had done since the mid 1990's.  anyway, jason schmidt is repping the set here, and he had some pretty good years with the giants before joining the dodgers for the 2007 season.  unfortunately, he was unable to stay healthy and only pitched in a handful of games for the dodgers in 2007 and 2009 combined (he missed all of 2008 due to injury). when he did pitch, he did much better on the road than in dodger stadium - he was 0-4 with an era of 10.83 in his four starts at chavez ravine in 2007 and 1-0 with an era of 0.82 in his two starts on the road that year. in 2009, the trend continued as he was 1-2 with an era of 8.49 in his three home starts and 1-0 with a 0.00 era in his lone road start that year.

2006 topps makes its first appearance in the frankenset today, thanks to odalis perez. perez was my last hope for the dodgers to see some return on the gary sheffield trade.  i was quite disappointed when fox traded mike piazza to the marlins, but they did get sheffield in return who put up some of the best offensive seasons the dodgers had ever seen.  the other parts of that trade (bobby bonilla, charles johnson, jim eisenreich) dead-ended, and perez was part of the package (along with brian jordan) that the dodgers when sheffield was dealt to the braves.  jordan left via free agency, and after a couple of decent seasons from perez that got my hopes up, he had some mediocre campaigns and the dodgers sent him to the royals for elmer dessens during the 2006 season.  still, i have a soft spot for perez because he gave me a ball at angel stadium on june 30, 2006 - about a month before he was traded.

i was happy to see that topps considered kirk gibson's 1988 world series home run to be a 'golden moment' for their 2001 subset along with hank aaron's 715th career home run, bill mazeroski's world series winning home run, and kerry wood's 20 strikeout game, among other events.  i was even more pleased to see topps finally recognize nomar's home run
in the 4+1 game this year.

there is a well known saying regarding player development in the dominican republic that "you don't walk your way off the island", and wilton guerrero is an example of that philosophy.  he had a bunch of rookie cards in 1996, including this 1996 pinnacle card, as he was in line with a wave of young talent that the dodgers debuted in the '90s, kind of similar to what we are seeing from the cubs today. guerrero had only a few at bats with the dodgers in 1996, but spent most of 1997 with the big club and hit .291 that year.  unfortunately, he walked only 8 times so his obp was just .305.  even his brother, vladimir (a notorious hacker), took a walk more often.  he was traded to the expos during the following season.

next we have andre ethier's 2014 topps heritage card. i read over the weekend that ethier's return to the dodgers is not certain for this season.  that is too bad on a couple of opposing fronts.  first, he is now a 10 and 5 player, and the dodgers have literally nothing to show for not trading him prior to his gaining that status this past off season. second, we have not been able to see ethier build on his comeback season last year. i am more disappointed in the latter.

the next two cards are somewhat tied together. i'll explain a bit more in the "final thoughts" below, but maury wills (shown on his 1971 topps card) and manny mota (shown on his 1977 topps card) were traded together by the expos to the dodgers in 1969.  it was wills' second time around with the team and he played well enough to reclaim the shortstop position for a couple of seasons.  in 1971, in fact, he finished 6th in the league mvp voting, right behind roberto clemente.  mota, on the other hand, was the dodgers' primary left fielder in 1970 (and an all-star in 1973), but gradually saw his playing time decrease to the point of him being a pinch-hitting specialist by the time this card was issued.  it's worth noting that mota is striking a very similar pose to wills on his card, and the photo might even be from the same stadium.

speaking of stadiums, the 1959 topps don drysdale card features a photo from inside the la memorial coliseum which was the home of the dodgers for four years before dodger stadium opened.  the back of the card notes that his nickname is 'airedale' but i only ever heard him referred to as 'big d'.  of course, he was finished pitching by the time i was born.

cards that didn't make the cut:

some other options that i considered but did not choose for this page include 1998 fleer tradition todd hollandsworth
at number 379, 1989 o-pee-chee orel hershiser (world series) at number 380, 1967 topps dick schofield
at number 381, 1994 topps mitch webster at number 382, 1963 topps pete richert at number 383, 1993 score select lenny harris
at number 384, 1993 upper deck eric karros at number 385, 1976 topps ed goodson at number 386, and 2009 upper deck 20th anniversary retrospective pedro martinez at number 387.

my favorite card on the page:

i think the scuffed up drysdale wins over the '77 mota.  i do like the 2001 gibson, but there are other cards depicting the impossible that i like better, such as the 1995 upper deck sp championship series card
even if it is the same photo.

final thoughts:

i don't think that i ever gave it much thought before, but seeing the 1971 topps card next to the 1977 topps card, i am made aware of how similar the designs are.  turn the black border to white, italicize the team name, capitalize the player name and position, but those are minor tweaks. the biggest change, of course, is the position in the pennant on the '77 card and i suppose that is why i never thought much about the similarities between the two.

i have considered the 1974 and 1980 designs as very similar, as well as the 1975 and 1986 (just without all of the different colors) designs (and the 1962 and 1987 sets are the most obvious), but i never associated the 1971 and 1977 sets this way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

frankendodger sheet 42 (cards 370-378) - batmen and robin...

here's sheet number 42 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 370-378:
and the back:
these cards are:

370. 1976 topps ron cey
371. 2002 topps chad kreuter
372. 1981 topps jay johnstone
373. 1979 topps lance rautzhan
374. 2013 topps heritage luis cruz
375. 1958 topps pee wee reese
376. 1975 o-pee-chee steve yeager
377. 2004 topps robin ventura
378. 1985 fleer tom niedenfuer

the "no brainer" of the day:

lance rauthzhan had just one solo card as a dodger, and as a member of the team of my youth, his 1979 topps card was guaranteed a spot in the set.

about the cards:

ron cey lets his hat hair shine on his 1976 topps card.  cey was the starting third baseman for the national league in the all-star game for the second year in a row, but the voters would give pete rose the nod in '76.  the dodger voting contingent showed up in 1977, however, and got cey his all-star recognition back in time for the 1978 topps set.

chad kreuter's 2002 topps card reminds me of the time when he went into the stands at wrigley field after a fan stole his hat off of his head.  that happened in 2000, kreuter's first year with the dodgers.

on the other hand, jay johnstone's 1981 topps card reminds me of the time that he hit a pinch-hit home run in game 4 of the 1981 world series to cut the yankees' lead in the game to one and get the dodgers on the path to victory.  johnstone was cut by the team the following may, but he's still a dodger world series hero.

speaking of the postseason, lance rautzhan was the winning pitcher in the 'black friday' game in the 1977 nlcs against the phillies.  i was looking forward to a solo rautzhan card in 1978 following his postseason appearances, but he received a four-in-one rookie card instead.  i was happy to find this card in the 1979 topps release, but by then i had turned my attention to finding a bob welch card instead.  rautzhan passed away earlier this year and i was flattered that jon weisman used the 1978 topps card that i created for his news release on dodgers insider.

luis cruz was part of the crew that tried to hold down third base for the dodgers in 2012.  cruz, coming back to the big leagues after some time in the mexican league, manned the hot corner for the dodgers that year along with adam kennedy and juan uribe, but he also spent time at shortstop.  he hit just under .300 with 20 doubles in a total of 78 games that season, but his 2013 was not as productive and he was released by the club in july. i prefer cruz's 2013 topps flagship card
to this heritage card, but only one of them is number 374.

so nice to have a dupe of a vintage pee wee reese card.  and, this 1958 topps card being his final card makes it even better. it's too bad it's not a true final tribute, but topps wasn't into that back then.  i think we can all rest assured that there will be plenty of david ortiz cards in 2017 product.  for now, let's just add a 1959 pee wee reese card to the long list of cards that should have been and hopefully will eventually be made by topps someday.

i had a double of steve yeager's 1975 topps card, but then discovered that i also had a dupe of his 1975 o-pee-chee card, so guess which one made the set? the canadian card even has a stain on the back, no doubt from some backbacon grease or perhaps condensation from an ice cold labbatt's.  i should point out that yeager is also proof that not all folks with 'wayne' as a middle name are bad people.

and now we've arrived at robin ventura's fantastic 2004 topps card. it is one of my favorites from the set, thanks to jeromy burnitz pointing at home plate in the background and the fact that it documents ventura's inside the park home run hit against the braves on august 3, 2003.  i started following ventura's career when he was at oklahoma state thanks to some common ties although i had been aware of him for a couple years before he left for college.  when he joined the dodgers in 2003, i was pleased, but had the distinct feeling that it was too little, too late.  you see, while the dodgers were trying to fill the hole at third base that they created by trading ron cey away earlier in the decade, they passed on ventura in the 1988 draft.  instead, they took bill bene with the 5th pick and let ventura fall to the white sox at 10.  for the record, the dodgers also passed on ed sprague who proved to be a serviceable third baseman for a few seasons and so were left to feature jeff hamilton, mike sharperson, lenny harris, dave hansen, tim wallach, mike blowers, and todd zeile (among others) at third before adrian beltre kind of settled things down.  when ventura made it to la, he wound up playing mostly first base, although he did get to pitch in a game with the dodgers (and i was really hoping for a 'pressed into service' card from topps in series 2 of this year's flagship release). maybe in update? please?

the last card here is tom niedenfuer's 1985 topps card, on which the dodger reliever does a fine job of suttoning.  1985 was not a good year for niedenfuer, at least as far as dodger fans remember, thanks to a couple of pitches in the nlcs, but he set career highs in saves, innings pitched, and strikeouts that season.  i'm not going to harp on niedenfuer for what happened against the cardinals in '85, because i can't really complain about the team winning two world series titles in the 1980's.  i will mention, however, that niedenfuer was only part of the 1981 team - in fact, he was the guy for whom jay johnstone pinch-hit in game 4 against the yankees.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1985 fleer pedro guerrero at number 370, 1998 topps roger cedeno at number 371, 1998 pacific online thomas howard
at number 372, 1999 fleer tradition carlos perez at number 373, 1993 o-pee-chee todd worrell
at number 374, 1978 topps tommy john
at number 375, 1991 bowman eddie murray at number 376, 1990 upper deck john wetteland at number 377, and 1989 score jay howell at number 378.

my favorite card on the page:

robin ventura's 2004 topps card wins today with its iphr action and lurking burnitz.

final thoughts:

so here's a case where a classic vintage card (reese) trumps a significant dodger card (john) from my favorite set ever.  on a side note, john probably makes the brady bunch page (although his shoulders are turned) in bobby's spot. or maybe mike brady's spot. it depends on whether john is checking out alice or jan.

Monday, June 27, 2016

frankendodger sheet 41 (cards 361-369) - with bill and ted and a not so excellent cartoon...

here's sheet number 41 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 361-369:
and the back:
these cards are:

361. 2000 fleer tradition todd hollandsworth
362. 1994 leaf todd worrell
363. 1992 topps john candelaria
364. 1966 topps nate oliver
365. 1967 topps john roseboro
366. 1977 topps ted sizemore
367. 1997 upper deck collector's choice chan ho park
368. 1973 topps bill buckner
369. 1970 topps alan foster

the "no brainer" of the day:

there is not really an obvious choice here, but the closest thing to a no brainer on this page would be the 1977 topps sizemore card, i think.  it's the only card we have of the 1969 rookie of the year from his second time around with the dodgers.

about the cards:

fleer kind of ripped off the 1954 topps design with their 2000 tradition release, and then they used the 1956 topps design the following year before realizing that they had some designs of their own they could use.  i'm not a big fan of this particular hollandsworth card - i think the green is too bright - but i had a double of it and it fit in the set.

the 1994 leaf card is todd worrell's first entry in the set. two todds in a row, and two rookies of the year in a row, too.  worrell was, to me, the first modern closer that the dodgers employed, and he was the one who broke jim brewer's team saves record (since surpassed by jeff shaw, eric gagne, and now kenley jansen).  just like the front of hollandsworth's card gives us mini holly and giant holly, the back of worrell's card gives us a giant worrell in dodger stadium.  i appreciate the use of chavez ravine as the background for the back of the card, but i don't need it to be obscured by a third picture of worrell.

the back of john candelaria's 1992 topps card should also have a picture of dodger stadium on it, but for the fact that the candy man has too many rows of stats.  this is partially due to the fact that topps gives a separate row to each team for which candelaria pitched each year, so there are a few seasons with a couple of rows.  i prefer this approach to stats on the back as opposed to combining stats for different teams, probably because this is the way topps did it (and still does).

with their 1966 topps and 1967 topps cards, respectively, nate oliver and john roseboro give us a look at the evoluton of topps design from one year to the next.  there aren't too many instances in this set where we go chronologically in order from one year to the next. for the record, i prefer the 1967 design to the 1966 design.

i mentioned above that the 1977 topps ted sizemore card is the only one produced showing him as a dodger following the trade between the dodgers and cardinals in march of 1976 that sent willie crawford to st. louis.  that trade occurred too late, i guess, for sizemore's sspc card to be changed or for a topps traded card to be made.  by the time this card was issued, however, sizemore was playing for the phillies.  he was on the field for the phils in game 3 of the 1977 nlcs (aka 'black friday'), and it was his 9th inning fielding error on greg luzinski's throw (the ball skipped away from sizemore) that allowed manny mota to go to third where he scored on davey lopes' infield single.  it's too bad, but i'm glad the dodgers won.

chan ho park shows off some spring training bullpen stuff on his 1996 upper deck collector's choice card.  it's the kind of photo that a fan might take while walking around dodgertown in the mid 1990's, and i like that.  i also like the dodger stadium background in the photo on the back.  no giant chan ho, either.

bill buckner is also at spring training on his 1973 topps card, but he's not posing for a fan.  billy buck is wearing a first baseman's glove as he was wes parker's heir apparent, but we all know now that he eventually moved to the outfield to make way for steve garvey.  the only bad thing about this card is the cartoon on the back:
buckner was born in the north bay - vallejo, to be exact - and attended high school in napa, so his fandom for the giants makes sense. still, i imagine the original owner of this card being disturbed by this fact and taking a red marker to the cartoon to express their disgust.

the last card on the page is alan foster's 1970 topps card.  the cartoon on the back of foster's card notes that he received a $100,000 bonus to sign with the dodgers in 1965. that's a better cartoon.

cards that didn't make the cut:

for whatever reason, some of the cards that i passed on for this page include 2001 upper deck vintage dodgers rookies (mike judd, hiram bocachica, and luke prokopec) at number 361, 1982 donruss terry forster at number 362, 1961 topps john roseboro at number 363, 1959 topps danny mcdevitt
at number 364, 1999 topps raul mondesi
at number 365, 1985 fleer dave anderson at number 366, 2014 topps brian wilson
at number 367, 1974 topps manny mota at number 368, and 1994 pinnacle brett butler at number 369.

my favorite card on the page:

chan ho park's 1996 collector's choice card is my favorite here.  something about the background and the design of the card.

final thoughts:

we are halfway through the set already.  this seems like a good spot to thank people for following along so far, and for reading, commenting, and continuing to trade cards with me.  it is much appreciated!

Friday, June 24, 2016

frankendodger sheet 40 (cards 352-360) - bookended by a pair of 31 hall of famers...

i've updated this page since the original post ran.

here's sheet number 40 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 352-360:
and the back:
here's what the page originally looked like:
these cards are:

352. 2001 topps archives hoyt wilhelm
353. 1992 classic best ken huckaby 1994 pinnacle ramon martinez
354. 2005 donruss diamond kings kazuhisa ishii
355. 1994 upper deck orel hershiser
356. 1989 score jesse orosco
357. 2012 topps aaron harang
358. 1962 topps tommy davis
359. 2003 topps chrome dave roberts
360. 1996 upper deck mike piazza

the "no brainer" of the day:

hoyt wilhelm has just one card from his playing days as a dodger, and it's his 1972 topps card.  this reprint of that card issued as part of the 2001 topps archives set was a no brainer to make the set.

about the cards:

another thing about the wilhelm card, his 1972 topps card was numbered 777 (as you can see in the above scan) which puts it outside the parameters of this set.  so, i was happy that the archives reprint numbered it at 352.  i won't blow up the back of the card to show you the number as i did with the 1952 jackie robinson reprint from the same set - you'll just have to trust me.  wilhelm made his debut in 1952 against the dodgers, facing pee wee reese, billy cox, roy campanella, jackie robinson, and duke snider in his initial inning of work, and finished his hall of fame career as a dodger 20 years later. in between, he appeared in a record 1,070 games as a pitcher. as implied by the title of this post, wilhelm wore number 31 during his stint as a dodger.

ken huckaby was a dodger catching prospect who was in the dodger organization through the 1997 season. he didn't make his big league debut until 2001, nine years after this 1992 classic best minor league card was issued.  he never suited up for the dodgers, but i like this card and the holman stadium seats in the background.  really, the only criteria for a card being eligible for this set is that its number is less than 727 and it be considered a dodger card.  huckaby's card meets both.

ken huckaby's 1992 classic best card has given way to ramon martinez's 1994 pinnacle card. aside from being a major league card of a player that actually played for the dodgers, it features a fairly unique photo of martinez studying a slide. it also makes the top two rows of the sheet an exclusively pitcher's zone.

kaz ishii was no longer with the dodgers when this 2005 diamond kings card came out, having been traded to the mets for jason phillips straight up.  ishii went 13-8 in 2004, his third season with the dodgers, but his era had jumped almost a full run to 4.71, and his k/9 ratio had gone from just under 9 to just over 5.  it was time to cut bait.

while ishii was banished to flushing meadows, the 1994 upper deck set banished players to the phantom zone with the skewed photo on the side bar.  bowman used a similar technique in their 1995 set, but upper deck does it better.  i liked this set a lot and it was the first upper deck set that i set out to complete.  it was also the smallest upper deck set to date.  anyway, i really like the hershiser card here because it features the old corrugated fiberglass walls of the dodger stadium bullpens that my brother and i used to stand above and watch the likes of don sutton, burt hooton, and (far too often) doug rau warm up before games.  i mean that it seemed like rau was the starting pitcher for a lot of the games we attended, not that he was used too often.

speaking of being used often, jesse orosco who appears here on a 1989 score card currently holds the record for most games pitched at 1,252.  he wasn't the one who broke wilhelm's record (that was dennis eckersley who pitched in 1,071 games), but he sure did pass it. the closest active pitcher is francisco rodriguez, who has appeared in 887 games.  aaron harang appeared in only 387 games during his career which may or may not have ended last season, and only 6 of those appearances were in relief.  we were given this 2012 topps card during his 10-10 season with the dodgers in 2011 (his only season with the dodgers).  in his second start for the club, harang set a dodger record by striking out 9 consecutive batters. he k'd 13 total that night, and dodger pitchers tied a team record for a ninie inning game by striking out their opponent 18 times.  of course, they almost lost the game.

tommy davis's 1962 topps card is one of my favorite dodgers from the set, due in large part to the way his pose fits the image space.  speaking of which, he's got the same pose as gino cimoli had on his 1958 topps card, but topps let davis keep his bat.  as an aside, i am ashamed to mention how long it took me to really look at the 1962 design and see that it was supposed to reflect a rectangular photo posted on a piece of wood (fence?). i had not noticed the curl as part of the image until the late 1990's.

the page's penultimate card features the current dodger manager not looking at his base coach while running on a 2003 topps chrome card.  that's ok because it looks like the play is in front of him, and we all know that dave roberts was ok on the basepaths.  the final card features one of this year's hall of fame inductees taking a cut on his 1996 upper deck card.  again, as the title of the post implies, mike piazza wore the same number as hoyt wilhelm, 31.  this is not the first time that two hall of famers wore the same number for the dodgers (both frank robinson and greg maddux wore number 36, for example), but the number still won't be retired by the club until joc pederson gets voted in to the hall.  hey, it could happen.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1983 topps mike scioscia at number 352, 1992 classic best ken huckaby
at number 353, 1996 upper deck ramon martinez at number 354, 2007 upper deck chad billingsley at number 355, 1991 upper deck jose offerman at number 356, 1991 score jim poole
at number 357, 1997 fleer roger cedeno at number 358, 2005 topps chrome jd drew at number 359, and 2005 upper deck jayson werth
at number 360.

my favorite card on the page:

the 1994 upper deck hershiser card wins for this page, thanks to the blue bullpen background and despite the phantom zone card design.

final thoughts:

looking at this sheet now, i am pretty sure that huckaby is not long for the set.  as i mentioned above, pretty much the only requisite to be eligible for this set is to be on a card that is considered a dodger card, and while the huckaby card fits that description as far as i am concerned, there will likely be a change. not that i am opposed to minor league sets - they are part of my dodger collection, after all - but that pinnacle martinez card is a pretty good one.

yep, so good that i've made the switch from huckaby to martinez.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

frankendodger sheet 39 (cards 343-351) - with my favorite card...

here's sheet number 39 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 343-351:
and the back:
these cards are:

343. 1985 topps bill russell
344. 1991 leaf alfredo griffin
345. 2007 upper deck nomar garciaparra
346. 1967 topps jim hickman
347. 1978 topps terry forster
348. 1996 topps stadium club ismael valdes
349. 1986 o-pee-chee ken howell
350. 1978 topps steve garvey
351. 2016 topps chase utley

the "no brainer" of the day:

that would be the 1978 topps steve garvey card. duh.

about the cards:

i am still not a fan of the 1985 topps design, but there is nothing to be done about it.  bill russell gets listed as a shortstop by topps, and that's fair; however, he was playing less and less time there and more in the outfield.  in '85, russell played almost as much outfield as he did short, and somewhat surprisingly, topps listed him as "ss-of" on his 1986 card.  credit where credit is due.

i don't think i bought any packs of 1990 or 1991 or even 1992 leaf in real time. i did buy a lot of '93 leaf, though.  anyway, this alfredo griffin card most likely didn't enter my collection until the mid-2000's or later. griffin is/was one in a long line of shortstops to try to fill russell's cleats.  he was able to join russell as a world champion dodger shortstop, which is a fairly exclusive club.

nomar garciaparra, somewhat surprisingly, did not play shortstop for the dodgers at all until his third and final season with the club.  his 2006 season was better than could have reasonably been expected, which made the next two tougher to take.  i remember watching some of his last at bats with the dodgers during the 2008 playoffs and cringing a bit.  still, i wish there were more nomar as a dodger cards, and i am happy that upper deck made two cards per player in their 2007 set.

jim hickman was only with the dodgers in 1967 as a result of a trade with the mets that occurred on november 22, 1966, so i am thankful that topps had hickman in a later series and was able to show him as a dodger. he had much greater success later in his career with the cubs (his 1970 season was pretty darn good - 32 homers, 115 rbi, .305 average), but perhaps the highlight of his career occurred while wearing dodger blue.  hickman, an outfielder by trade, played a bit in the infield as well, but was called upon to pitch the last 2 innings of a game against the giants in june of 1967.  he faced just 7 batters and allowed 2 hits (one batter singled but was thrown out at second going for a double).  one of those hits was a home run by willie mays.  i think that would be a pretty good story for the grandchildren.

like hickman, terry forster was acquired by the dodgers on november 22.  that was in 1977, however, and was also early enough in the card production process for forster's photo to be airbrushed and have his team affiliation switched from the pirates to the dodgers despite the lack of multiple card series.  i am guessing that the checklist was already set, however, as i see it as an anomaly for topps to put two cards featuring players from the same team so close together in the set back then.  my point being that forster's card was supposed to be a pirate card.  as far as i can tell, the cutoff point for team changes was december 3, 1977.  that was the day that ron schueler signed with the white sox - the team that he is affiliated with in the 1978 topps set - and two days before bobby bonds was traded by the angels (with whom bonds is affiliated in the set) to the white sox.  thank goodness for o-pee-chee!

it would have been nice of topps to crop the photo on ismael valdes' 1996 stadium club card just a little bit differently so that it would appear that he was striding over the stadium club logo as if it were lava.  ken howell's 1986 o-pee-chee card is pretty much a non-event. it looks like the photographer is standing between howell and wherever it is howell would rather be.

for my money, the 1978 topps steve garvey card is the greatest card ever made.  not objectively, but subjectively anyway.  i think it is the perfect baseball card. to pull this card from a pack in 1978 while living in dodger territory was just about the best thing i could hope for as a seven year old collector.

finally, chase utley represents 2016 topps in the set. i was surprised utley was re-signed by the dodgers for 2016, but he's played fairly well.  sooner or later, however, the dodgers will need to get second base figured out for the long term. this was the first 2016 card to be added to the set, and was later joined by the walter o'malley card from panini seen earlier on. i think i will probably add another. we'll see.

cards that didn't make the cut:

a couple of these cards had no chance to make the set, but they were still options:  1994 topps finest pedro astacio at number 343, 1961 topps sandy koufax at number 344, 1977 topps reggie smith
at number 345, 1993 o-pee-chee mike sharperson at number 346, 1979 topps doug rau
at number 347, 1962 topps larry burright
at number 348, 2000 upper deck victory eric gagne at number 349, 2015 topps yasiel puig at number 350, and 1979 o-pee-chee bill north at number 351.

my favorite card on the page:

that would be the 1978 topps steve garvey card, which is also my favorite card of all time.

final thoughts:

i am not completely comfortable with two 1978 topps cards on the same page, but that is what i chose when putting this thing together.  i want terry forster in the set; the 1978 topps dodgers pretty much get preference over other cards in the set; and there was no way that garvey's card wasn't making it.  i blame topps for putting two dodgers so close together on the checklist - even if one of the cards was certainly a pirate card when the checklist was being developed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

frankendodger sheet 38 (cards 334-342) - first card, last card...

here's sheet number 38 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 334-342:
and the back:
these cards are:

334. 2009 upper deck o-pee-chee russell martin
335. 1998 pacific crown collection otis nixon
336. 2004 topps eric gagne
337. 1986 donruss terry whitfield
338. 1982 topps davey lopes
339. 2003 upper deck vintage daryle ward
340. 2001 topps davey johnson
341. 1971 topps steve garvey
342. 1993 topps stadium club billy ashley

the "no brainer" of the day:

i suppose steve garvey's rookie card was always going to be number 341 in the set, but davey johnson's managerial card was also a sure thing. still, tough to be more of a no brainer than the '71 topps garvey.

about the cards:

i am pretty sure that the 2009 upper deck o-pee-chee set was supposed to use the 1977 topps/opc design.  the previews that they put out that year used the same design as what you see on the martin card above, but were referred to on checklists as "1977 o-pee-chee previews".  the backs sure looked like 1977 backs,
and you can see by the martin card that upper deck changed the backs before issuing the actual set.

otis nixon's 1998 pacific crown collection is a nice card - day game at dodger stadium is always a good choice for a card photo - and it reminds me of a story i heard a couple of weeks ago.  nixon played for the twins at one point in his career, and one of the local baseball scribes noted that in one of his first appearances for the team, the public address announcer called him amos otis by mistake. ok - the twins played the royals quite a bit back during the 14 years that amos otis was in the american league.  however, the announcer corrected himself by saying "i'm sorry - now batting, amos nixon".

next up is a 2004 topps card marking eric gagne's consecutive saves streak a 'season highlight'. i used to get a bick kick out of seeing dodgers on league leader and record breaker/highlight cards (i felt like it was a long time between when i started collecting in 1978 and manny mota's 1980 record breaker card), but now it's not quite as exciting for some reason.

terry whitfield was a giant when i started collecting in '78, but i do have one of his non-dodger cards in my dodger sets.  he was a yankee on the same 1976 topps rookie card that featured henry cruz.  anyway, whitfield was released by the dodgers early in the 1986 season - not too long after i found this card in a pack as i recall.

dave lopes was traded by the dodgers following the 1981 season, so i know he was gone by the time i found his 1982 topps all-star card in a pack.  still, it's one of his two dodger cards in the set, and one of his last dodger cards, period.  i did like steve sax, but i didn't like that he replaced dave lopes.  no cards of coaches over the last few seasons means that we likely lost the last opportunity for a current dodger card of lopes.  he's now the first base coach for his former dodger teammate dusty baker in washington dc.

daryle ward shows up on a card from upper deck's 2003 vintage release.  this was the second series or something, and didn't use the 1965 design that got me collecting the set in the first place.  i was confused when i saw these cards, to be honest.  i thought that maybe topps put a kabosh on the use of their designs, but then in 2008, upper deck had those 1969 style inserts and so i was really interested and then confused by the 2009 1977 previews.  i didn't think much about ward because he didn't do much as a dodger.

i was happy to see manager cards back in topps sets in 2001, especially since the dodgers had a new manager since the last time topps made cards for the skippers.  they had gone through a couple, in fact.  johnson was replaced by jim tracy following a 2nd place finish in the nl west in 2000, but at least we have this card to remember him by.

we saw one of the last dodger cards of an infielder earlier, and now we have the first of another.  steve garvey's 1971 topps rookie card was a jewel of my early collection.  it was pretty tough to find growing up in southern california, especially in my price range.  it is weird still to see him with a fielder's glove as opposed to a first baseman's mitt, and that black batting glove is so chic.

finally we have a 1993 stadium club card of billy ashley.  i honestly thought this was an eric karros card when i started writing this post.  it's a reasonable mistake, however, as ashley has the same sort of running hunch that karros displayed.

cards that didn't make the cut:

it was going to be tough to displace many of these cards no matter what other options existed, but some of the cards that weren't chosen include 1982 o-pee-chee fernando valenzuela at number 334, 2002 upper deck dave hansen at number 335, 1994 upper deck jim gott
at number 336, 1984 donruss joe beckwith at number 337, 1990 upper deck alfredo griffin
at number 338, 1994 pinnacle roger mcdowell at number 339, 1989 topps kirk gibson at number 340, 1970 topps bill sudakis
at number 341, and 2002 upper deck victory cesar izturis at number 342.

my favorite card on the page:

i really do like that topps captured the fist move that gagne demonstrated after each save, but there's no way that my favorite card on the page isn't going to be steve garvey's rookie card.

final thoughts:

i saw gagne pitch in person in 2002 and 2004, but not in 2003 at the height of "game over". in 2004, i was at a game at fenway where he was brought into a game in a non-save situation and struck out the side in order (david ortiz took strike 3 to end the game). not quite the same electricity that was to be experienced at dodger stadium, to be sure.  anyway, kenley jansen just passed gagne on the franchise's all-time saves leader board.  it's no surprise as the closer position has become so specialized, but for a long time, jim brewer was at the top of that list.  he was ultimately passed by todd worrell, who was passed by his replacement jeff shaw, who was passed by his replacement in eric gagne.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

frankendodger sheet 37 (cards 325-333) - now with more unibrow...

here's sheet number 37 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 325-333:
and the back:
these cards are:

325. 1961 topps wally moon
326. 2009 topps manny ramirez
327. 1969 topps willie crawford
328. 1996 upper deck collector's choice raul mondesi
329. 2011 topps update dee gordon
330. 1975 topps mike marshall
331. 2003 fleer tradition kevin brown
332. 2002 upper deck tom goodwin
333. 2003 topps shawn green

the "no brainer" of the day:

even if he is holding on to the ball, the 2011 topps update dee gordon card is fantastic, and it was going to be in this frankenset.

about the cards:

my blogging sense tells me that the wally moon card is the first 1961 topps card to make the frankenset which is surprising.  i had moon at number 5 in the set with his 1960 topps card before ultimately settling on a 1957 topps sal maglie instead.  both cards give us a good look at the trademark wally moon unibrow, but the 1961 card is, in my opinion, better.

the manny ramirez card here is a postseason highlights card that tells the tale of manny's 1.100 slugging percentage and 2 home runs hit against the cubs in the 2008 nlds.  manny also hit 2 home runs and slugged 1.067 against the phillies in the nlcs, but the dodgers came up short in that series.  manny didn't get to play in a world series with the dodgers, but he did appear in four fall classics - two with the indians and two with the red sox - and hit .243 in those series.  willie crawford's 1969 topps card tells us on the back that willie owned a .500 batting average in the world series at the time of the card's release.  of course, willie had appeared in only one world series at that time (1965), and was 1 for 2 in his plate appearances.  crawford did appear in the 1974 world series with the dodgers and hit .333 with a home run to drop his career fall classic average to .375.

like manny ramirez, raul mondesi hails from the domincan republic, although manny went to high school in new york.  mondesi's collector's choice card here mentions another caribbean ballplayer, roberto clemente, and notes that rauuuuuul was the first dodger to go 20/20 (20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season) since kirk gibson in 1988.  in 1997, mondesi would become the first dodger to join the 30/30 club.

remember when dee gordon was a shortstop? he came up to the dodgers in 2011 and hit .304 and stole 24 bases in 56 games and we got this great card from topps as part of their update set. it's a nice example of the shortstop avoiding a slide as part of a potential double play turn, even though gordon didn't throw the ball to first.  i still include it in my dp collection, and went after the various parallels of this card in earnest.

dr. mike marshall's 1975 topps card was an important one to me as i was completing my dodger team sets in the early 1980's.  it was his first card as a dodger in the sense that he was wearing a dodger uniform (unlike his 1974 topps traded card), and it listed his stats on the back with his all important 106 games pitched in 1974. marshall was featured on two other cards in the 1975 topps set - a record breaker and a league leader - but this card was the one i was most intent on acquiring as soon as i learned that a dodger held the record for most games pitched by a reliever in a single season.

vintage card designs were abundant in 2003 with topps heritage, upper deck vintage, and fleer tradition.  at least fleer used one of their designs (1963 fleer) instead of pulling an upper deck and ripping off the 1965 topps design.  anyway, this particular kevin brown card features a peek at the dodger stadium outfield wall with the 40th anniversary of dodger stadium murals.  i loved the murals.

tom goodwin's 2002 upper deck card may be the least interesting card on the page, but at least that is tom goodwin on the card and not adrian beltre.  shawn green's 2003 topps card here is a season highlights card that addresses his week in may of 2002 when he hit 9 home runs over 7 games.  in the midst of that run was a four-homer game in which he had 2 other hits (a single and a double) for 19 total bases - a major league record.  i've written a few times about the fact that i was there for green's four-homer game, so topps should know that it wasn't just brewer fans that were giving green a standing o after he hit his fourth home run.

cards that didn't make the cut:

there were still many options for these spots in the frankenset, and some of the runners-up include 1993 score select pedro astacio at number 325, 1993 donruss pedro martinez at number 326, 1982 donruss davey lopes
at number 327, 1998 pacific crown collection greg gagne at number 328, 1976 topps joe ferguson at number 329, 2013 topps update yasiel puig
at number 330, 2014 topps yasiel puig
at number 331, 1989 score mickey hatcher at number 332, and 1998 topps raul mondesi at number 333.

my favorite card on the page:

i would like the shawn green card more if it were specifically about the 4-home run game, so i'll stick with dee gordon as my favorite card on the page.

final thoughts:

i was also at the dodger/brewer game the night before green's four-homer game.  it was green's rbi triple in the third inning that produced that game's only run.  hideo nomo pitched well, and eric gagne closed things out on a throwback uniform night in which the brewers wore them but the dodgers did not.  i'm guessing that's because their road unis in 2002 were pretty close to what they wore in the early 1960's design wise, as you can tell by comparing the goodwin and moon cards above.

Monday, June 20, 2016

frankendodger sheet 36 (cards 316-324) - mccourt makes the set...

here's sheet number 36 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 316-324:
and the back:
these cards are:

316. 2001 topps archives jackie robinson
317. 1993 score select carlos hernandez
318. 1979 topps bob welch
319. 2013 topps allen & ginter's matt kemp
320. 1995 upper deck mike piazza
321. 1960 topps ron fairly
322. 1977 topps bill russell
323. 2010 topps jim thome
324. 1959 topps don demeter

the "no brainer" of the day:

there are some pretty key cards here, but i wanted to get a version of jackie's 1952 topps card into the set, so that one is the biggest no brainer of the bunch.

about the cards:

first things first - the 2001 archives jackie robinson card is numbered 312 on the back, but i have it at number 316.  that's because 312 was jackie's card number in the original 1952 topps set (the first of the high numbers).  you have to look really closely at the fine print on the back
to see that the card is numbered 316 out of 450 in the archives set.  jackie's original '52 topps card
is one of the highlights of my collection, and i am happy to have it represented in the frankenset.

the back of carlos hernandez's 1993 select card anoints him as the "heir apparent to mike scioscia" in the dodger catching lexicon, but unfortunately for carlos, there was another.  thankfully for us dodger fans, there was a bob welch card in 1979 to collect after the rookie struck out reggie jackson to end game 2 of the 1978 world series. that put the dodgers up 2 games to 0, but it would be the last dodger highlight of the season.  there is no mention of welch's world series experience on the back of the card, which was disappointing to me when i pulled my first copy of this card from a pack.  still, two years later, i was still able to use the "he struck out reggie" to pry welch cards away from the yankee fan across the street.

matt kemp's 2013 a&g card is here to remind me that he was once my favorite dodger, and the guy that i hoped would break eric karros's franchise home run record.  of course, i thought that the next guy on the sheet would have been the one to set the franchise home run record.  mike piazza is, of course, the catcher that blocked carlos hernandez from fulfilling the prophecy noted on the back of the select card earlier on the page.  i like his 1995 upper deck card because it focuses on piazza the catcher (at least on the front) instead of giving us another card of him standing at the plate.  both kemp and piazza (and steve garvey) wound up in san diego playing for the padres.  hopefully that trend doesn't continue.

ron fairly's 1960 topps card is cool because of the big ol' rookie cup/trophy.  1960 was the first year that topps had the rookie cup in their set, and i am still a bit upset that they took a few years off from putting the cup on cards - most notably 1974 when davey lopes would have had one and from 1982-1984 when fernando, saxy, and greg brock would have all been rocking the cup.

bill russell's 1977 topps card balances out the kemp and piazza cards in that it reminds me that it is (or at least was) possible for a player to stay with one club for a lengthy career.  of course, russell was unceremoniously dismissed by the team as its manager, and wound up wearing a tampa bay devil rays uniform as a coach and minor league manager.

jim thome's 2010 topps card was another card that i highly anticipated.  i was worried that topps would leave thome out until series 2 by when they would have photoshopped him into his twins uniform.  well, i got a thome dodger card in series one that i am pretty sure includes former dodger owner frank mccourt just to the right of thome's shinguard. thome was an odd pickup for the dodgers, as he was only available for pinch-hitting duty, but the dodgers are no strangers to carrying pinch-hitting specialists once the rosters expand.  the dodgers are the only team for which thome played that he did not hit a home run. for the record, his 2010 season in minnesota, the first year of target field, was fantastic. he was a huge fan favorite and had some big hits for the club.

lastly, we have don demeter's 1959 topps card.  not yellow like most of the other dodger cards in the set, this card is a welcome sight in my team binder even if the image shows demeter not acting natural, and is the same one that topps used for his 1958 card.

cards that didn't make the cut:

i passed over a few cards when putting this sheet together such as 1995 pinnacle raul mondesi at number 316, 2015 topps clayton kershaw at number 317, 1980 topps jerry reuss
at number 318, 2002 fleer tradition marquis grissom at number 319, 1996 score hideo nomo at number 320, 1997 topps eric karros
at number 321, 1972 topps jose pena at number 322, 1958 topps elmer valo
at number 323, and 1973 topps al downing at number 324.

my favorite card on the page:

oh the joy of having a bob welch card in 1979! it is easily my favorite card on the page.

final thoughts:

i am so glad that we aren't hearing anything about either of the mccourts these days.