Friday, July 29, 2016

frankendodger sheet 65 (cards 577-585) - the dodgers' first rated rookie...

here's sheet number 65 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 577-585:
and the back:
these cards are:

577. 1982 topps rick monday
578. 1991 upper deck mike morgan
579. 1983 donruss greg brock
580. 1968 topps bob bailey
581. 1985 donruss orel hershiser
582. 1989 topps mike marshall
583. 1992 score stan javier
584. 1996 upper deck collector's choice brett butler
585. 2010 upper deck clayton kershaw/matt kemp

the "no brainer" of the day:

that would be the hershiser card.

about the cards:

i remember opening packs of topps cards in 1982 hoping for a rick monday card highlighting his nlcs home run.  i was disappointed as this was the only card topps made of monday that year.  for whatever reason, topps took 1979 and 1980 off when it came to postseason cards, brought them back in 1981, and then dropped them from the checklist until, what - 1997?  i made my own 1982 topps nlcs monday card (two of them, actually),
along with other cards for the 1981 world series.

upper deck showed mike morgan on the basepaths in 1992, and the year prior, they had him ready for some bp.  he seems to be an odd choice for these sorts of cards as he hit .098 as a dodger, but they are better than another generic pitching motion card.  i do, however, appreciate the generic pitching motion photo on the back as it also includes part of the old field level scoreboard from dodger stadium.

one of the best things about the 1984 donruss set (my favorite donruss set, by the way) was the introduction of rated rookies. sid fernandez was a dodger in that set, and was included in the rated rookie subset that immediately followed the diamond kings subset at the beginning of the set, complete with the special banner on the front of the card.  however, donruss introduced the rated rookie concept in 1983, with greg brock being a part of those players chosen.  however, donruss decided to make the rated rookie designation known only on the back of the cards, so it didn't really capture the same level of interest.  still, brock is the dodgers' first rated rookie.

i like bob bailey's 1968 topps card a lot.  it has to do with the colors and the composition of the card (and the fact that bailey, who was acquired by the dodgers prior to the 1967 season in the maury wills deal, is not hatless). the burlap design works well with the dodger blue, the blue sky, the red circle, and the pop of red and white from the florida state flag in the upper left corner. throw in some green from the palm tree, and you've got a winner of a card.  i am curious to see how 2017 heritage plays out.

we already saw the leaf version of orel hershiser's rookie card, and now here is the donruss issue.  i found a double of the topps rookie, and i may go back and put it in the set (sorry 1987 topps tom lasorda), but then again, i may not.

mike marshall's 1989 topps card reminds me that i had too high of expectations for him coming out of the minors. the stats on the back show that he never drove in over 100 runs or hit over .300 with the dodgers despite some massive numbers in the pcl.

stan javier, seen here on his 1992 score card, was the guy the dodgers got from the a's in exchange for willie randolph back in 1990. he stayed with the club into their terrible 1992 season until he was traded to the phillies.

speaking of being traded, brett butler was dealt back to the dodgers by the mets after spending just part of the 1995 season in queens. when he returned, however, his number 22 was being worn by chad fonville, so butler went with 12 as seen on his 1996 collector's choice card. at some point, fonville switched to 3, and butler took 22 back, but i don't know if the photo on the back of the card (with butler sporting the 22 turtleneck and helmet) are from before or after his stint with the ny metropolitans.

last card on the sheet is from upper deck's 2010 swan song, and it features the duo of clayton kershaw and matt kemp - with visible logos! it's another team checklist card in the vein of topps sets circa 1982-1984.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1986 topps jerry reuss
at number 577, 1972 topps billy grabarkewitz at number 578, 1996 upper deck collector's choice greg gagne at number 579, 1991 upper deck jose vizcaino at number 580, 1988 topps tito landrum
at number 581, 1989 donruss ricky horton at number 582, 1983 topps terry forster
at number 583, 1976 topps stan wall at number 584, and 1990 topps kal daniels at number 585.

my favorite card on the page:

bob bailey edges out orel hershiser for the honor.

final thoughts:

thanks to the smaller set sizes and relative scarcity of cards from higher numbered series, the bailey card is the last of the 1968 set to make the frankenset, and the penultimate 1960's card, period.  it's not all junk wax era from here on out, but there are far fewer sets to choose from in these lofty numbers.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

frankendodger sheet 64 (cards 568-576) - 1990 target to the rescue...

here's sheet number 64 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 568-576:
and the back:
these cards are:

568. 1993 upper deck jody reed
569. 1973 topps walt alston and coaches
570. 1960 topps don drysdale
571. 2009 upper deck o-pee-chee scott elbert
572. 1990 target don newcombe
573. 1994 topps steve wilson
574. 2009 topps heritage national convention roy campanella
575. 1974 topps steve garvey
576. 1999 fleer tradition adrian beltre

the "no brainer" of the day:

there was literally no other option for number 572, but steve garvey's 1974 topps card was almost as certain to be in this set as his 1978 topps card.

about the cards:

jody reed spent just the 1993 season with the dodgers, and upper deck got him in the latter part of the set in dodger blue.  reed did ok at the plate, and he was pretty good in the field (i think he set a team record for fewest errors by a second baseman - insert steve sax joke here), but he chose to turn down the team's 3-year offer of over $7 million.  reed wound up making just $350,000 with the brewers in 1994 and fred claire tried to put an end to the revolving door at second base by acquiring delino deshields from the expos in exchange for pedro martinez.

1973 was tom lasorda's first year on manager walt alston's coaching staff (he replaced danny ozark who was hired to manage the phillies), and topps was able to get him on alston's card, perhaps only because this card was featured in one of the later series.  tommy, along with red adams, monty basgall, and jim gilliam, remained on alston's staff until smokey retired with a couple of games left in the 1976 season.  that's when tommy took over and kept the coaching staff intact, adding preston gomez to replace him as the third base coach.

more vintage don drysdale in the set, this time with his 1960 topps all-star card.  perhaps the best thing about this card is the cartoon on the back that actually uses the word 'moider' in full on cartoon tough guy-ese.  moider is actually a word all on its own, meaning to bother, but that's not what topps meant.

here's upper deck's o-pee-chee set from 2009 again, represented by scott elbert.  there is nothing o-pee-chee about this set, and when they changed the design to not resemble the 1977 cards they should have also changed the name of the set.  the only o-pee-chee thing about the release was the 1971 buybacks and one of the insert sets that used an old hockey set design.

and so it has finally come to this - i had to use a card from the 1990 target set to fill a spot on the sheet.  i'm glad that it's don newcombe breaking the seal on that set, and also glad that number 572 is not one of the numbers that was skipped in the set.

steve wilson is back, just a few pages after we saw his 1994 fleer card. this 1994 topps card shows the lefty in dodger stadium, so it is automatically better than that fleer card in my opinion.

the next card is somewhat of an oddball, which is rare for such a high numbered card.  it's a card produced by topps under their heritage brand for the 2009 national convention featuring roy campanella.  i find the card interesting because in 2009, topps heritage was using the 1960 design, and this is clearly a 1959 style card.  also interesting is that campy already had a card in the 1959 topps set (his symbol of courage card), and if topps wanted to make a campy card that should have been, they should have made a 1958 style card for his final tribute.  the card starts to make sense when you see that the text at the bottom notes that campy was named an honorary coach in january of 1959, but by then the dodgers were in los angeles, so why the brooklyn cap and brooklyn dodger team affiliation?  weird, but i like having it here in the frankenset.

i will try not to ramble on too much about steve garvey's 1974 topps card, but it is my second favorite garvey card just behind his 1978 topps card.
and, thanks to topps' throwback thursday sets, i will very soon have in my possession a card that features both the 1974 and 1978 cards.
this card is from last week's set featuring players who have won the all-star game mp award twice. i always thought that garvey was the first, but apparently willie mays accomplished the feat in the 1960's. others in the set are gary carter, cal ripken jr, and mike trout.  i only purchased the garvey.  as for the '74 card itself, i first saw it in 1979 when i started collecting dodger team sets back to 1970, and i was in awe.  it was horizontal, for one thing.  the only horizontal cards i had in my collection at that time were team checklists. league leaders, and manager cards. not actual player cards.  and then there was the composition of the photo - game action garvey with the out of focus fans in the background - which i found to be somewhat mesmerizing.  i didn't care too much that 1974 was also the year that he won the nl mvp award; for me it was just about the card.  i carried a version of this card in my wallet in the early 1990's through 2003 or so, and then i resurrected it last year.  it's not in my wallet right now (only because i went back to a valet style wallet), but it will probably work its way back in there at some point.

last card on the sheet is a 1999 fleer tradition adrian beltre card. beltre is proving fleer right by still going strong in 2016. he is just about 130 hits shy of 3,000 for his career and should reach that milestone sometime early next summer.  earlier this year, he collected his 950th hit as a ranger, which passed his hit total as a dodger.  when he goes into the hall of fame, my money is on him wearing a rangers hat.

cards that didn't make the cut:

2001 topps chrome eric gagne at number 569, 1975 topps jim wynn
at number 570, 1970 topps jim brewer at number 571, 1966 topps darrell griffith
at number 573, 1993 upper deck darryl strawberry
at number 575, and 2002 upper deck victory dave roberts at number 576.

my favorite card on the page:

garvey, of course.

final thoughts:

it was painful to not put the '75 wynn in here, but that drysdale all-star card beats just about anything. i also really like the '93 upper deck strawberry, but there was no way steve garvey's '74 topps card was going to be replaced.  it's too bad that neither one of those cards were number 572, although there are a lot worse cards in the target set than the newk.
like that one.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

frankendodger sheet 63 (cards 559-567) - do you prefer your fans blurry or out of focus?...

here's sheet number 63 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 559-567:
and the back:
these cards are:

559. 2004 upper deck brad penny
560. 1980 topps dave lopes
561. 1965 topps dodger rookies
562. 1978 topps glenn burke
563. 2008 topps ramon troncoso
564. 1997 fleer darren dreifort
565. 1981 topps burt hooton
566. 1976 topps ken mcmullen
567. 1995 score raul mondesi

the "no brainer" of the day:

there are a couple of spots on this sheet that were filled by the only card possible (outside of using the 1990 target set), but the 1978 topps glenn burke is not one of them. it is, however, the no brainer of the page.

about the cards:

the 2004 upper deck brad penny card is a curious one. after reading the book 'card sharks' about the origins of upper deck, i understood. upper deck had been sued by an umpire who had appeared on a card without compensation or permission. so, it stood to reason to me that these fans would be blurred out to avoid any of them suing upper deck. the problem there is that this blurring of fans on cards is inconsistent across upper deck's other releases, although it is done on other cards
in upper deck's second series (which includes this penny card).  topps clearly doesn't care, given all of the fans that are clearly visible on their cards featuring players reaching into the stands
to make catches.

the 1980 topps davey lopes card is the first card for lopes to include the all-star designation. lopes had made the 1978 all-star team as a reserve, but in 1979 he finally unseated joe morgan in the fan voting. in 1980, for the all-star game hosted by the dodgers (i think it's time for dodger stadium to host again, by the way), lopes was the leading vote getter in either league with over 3,000,000 votes - a couple of those were mine.

next up is jim lefebvre's 1965 topps rookie card. it features three other players - dennis daboll, mike kekich, and hector valle - but it was lefebvre who became the 1965 national league rookie of the year.  daboll was actually in the reds' organization when this card hit the streets, but never made it to the big leagues. kekich was 0-1 in his five appearances with the dodgers in '65, and he went on to be better known as one of the yankees who swapped wives in the early 70's.  for his part, valle appeared in just a handful of games that year (his only year in the majors) and hit .308. because of blogger's dumb 20 label rule, one of these guys is not going to be recognized with a label. i thought about just using a 'rookies' label, but no.  in the end, daboll gets left off of the label cloud since he didn't make it to the show.  blogger's rules, not mine.

glenn burke's 1978 topps card is a favorite of mine, since it is burke's only dodger card other than his 1990 target card.  if you haven't checked out the '30 for 30' piece on burke, i would encourage you to do so.  and, while you are at it, keep an eye out for the 1980 topps card that should have been that i created.
it makes an appearance in the documentary.

ramon troncoso's 2008 upper deck card fills the hole at number 563 and earns him a spot in the frankenset. troncoso pitched for the dodgers in parts of four seasons, including 3 scoreless appearances in the 2009 nlcs, before joining the white sox. he was back in the dodger organization last year, but didn't get the call up to the bigs.

you can see that darren dreifort's 1997 fleer card does bear a close resemblance to this year's stadium club release.
it makes one wonder how much attention is paid to previous sets when laying out card designs. was there noone at topps that recognized the similarities? doesn't upper deck own the fleer brand now? was this a dig at upper deck for using topps designs (they would say they used the o-pee-chee designs) in the past? the mind boggles.

burt hooton's 1981 topps card comes from the season that happy won the nlcs mvp for his 2-0 record against the expos.  hooton was actually good throughout the postseason that year - he was 1-0 against the astros in the nlds, pitching 7 innings and allowing just 3 hits and 1 run in the dodgers' must-win game 3, and then he went 1-1 against the yankees in the world series. he was the hard-luck loser in game 2 (the only run he allowed was unearned), but then picked up the win in the series clinching victory in game 6. in contrast to the brad penny card leading off the sheet, hooton's card comes with out of focus fans rather than blurry fans.

the 1976 topps ken mcmullen card is his last as a dodger as he would grace the '77 set as an oakland athletic. i'm somewhat surprised that mcmullen never surfaced in any of the fan favorite sets, nor was he included in the 2004 upper deck legends set as a member of the 1974 dodgers (even though i failed to mention that in the post) as he is a great ttm signer and would have been a great addition to any of those sets.  as for the card, i am not sure who number 72 is standing in the background. a minor leaguer/spring training invitee or coach? pretty likely to be the former, as the only coach i could think of that it might be is mark cresse, but he wore number 58.

last card of the sheet is the 1995 score raul mondesi hitter's inc. card.  mike piazza also has a card in this subset, but he doesn't look as angry as mondesi.  mondesi, meanwhile, is only the second most angry player in the set, behind albert belle
of course.

cards that didn't make the cut:

i don't believe there was any other option (aside from a card from the 1990 target dodgers set) at numbers 561 and 563, but other cards were considered to varying degrees were 1992 donruss darryl strawberry at number 559, 1989 score john tudor
at number 560, 1979 topps dusty baker
at number 562, 2004 topps total antonio perez at number 564, 1963 topps larry sherry at number 565, 1994 bowman orel hershiser at number 566, and 1971 topps walt alston
at number 567.

my favorite card on the page:

burke wins over penny and lopes.

final thoughts:

i linked above to the 1974 dodger team post over at timeless teams. i do fully intend to update that site with posts about the parallels and autos that the set featured, if for no other reason than to be completist about things.  look for those posts sometime this fall if you are so inclined. there might be a contest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

frankendodger sheet 62 (cards 550-558) - is the plural of martinez martini?...

here's sheet number 62 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 550-558:
and the back:
these cards are:

550. 1992 topps darryl strawberry
551. 2011 topps marcus thames
552. 2014 topps yasiel puig
553. 2007 topps ramon martinez
554. 1994 score pedro martinez
555. 2010 upper deck dodger stadium
556. 1989 score rick dempsey
557. 1981 donruss don stanhouse
558. 1977 topps elias sosa

the "no brainer" of the day:

the strawberry card came to mind before the dodger stadium card (it is one of my favorites, after all), so it qualifies as today's no brainer.

about the cards:

the sheet starts out with four straight running men.  darryl strawberry's 1992 topps card is pretty classic, with the straw rounding third at shea stadium.  next, short-time dodger marcus thames is running out of the batter's box on his 2011 topps card. thames was signed by the dodgers prior to the 2011 season, and lasted with the club just until the middle of july that season.  he returned to the yankees, but didn't make it back to the bigs after his stint in los angeles.

yasiel puig is running around the bases at dodger stadium on this 2014 topps card that doubles as a checklist. puig is honored for having the 2nd most hits in a debut month in history.  of course, the card doesn't tell you that the top spot on that list belongs to joe dimaggio, but that's why i'm here.

last running man is ramon martinez (but not that ramon martinez) on his 2007 topps card. ramon e. martinez played for the dodgers in both 2006 and 2007, and although their careers overlapped, this ramon never faced the other ramon.  the other ramon's brother, pedro, did face this ramon.  this ramon was 0 for 3 with a walk against the hall of famer who is the second martinez (martini?) to make this sheet courtesy of his 1994 score card.

next up is the dodger stadium card from 2010 upper deck. this card is not as bad as some of the other stadiums (the target field card is literally a photo taken from the street (7th street to be exact) during construction), and it offers up a view not previously seen on a card.  it's too bad that the photo was cropped so that we don't get to see the full eric gagne banner, but we still see the windows of the stadium club restaurant and the back of the right field pavilion, along with some palm trees.  no palm trees at target field, by the way.

rick dempsey's 1989 score card features the dodger backup catcher in away grays that almost blend into the background.  my favorite rick dempsey card is his 1989 upper deck card. will it be in the frankenset? maybe.

following dempsey is a former oriole teammate of his, don stanhouse.  stanhouse's 1981 donruss card is my favorite of his dodger cards - there are only three mainstream cards to choose from - due to its high school yearbook look.  it's kinda zany.  stanhouse was coming off of two good seasons as the orioles' closer (although he did not have a good postseason in 1979) when the dodgers signed him as a free agent for the 1980 season.  stan the man unusual gave up four runs in his first game as a dodger, and missed most of the summer due to injury.  he was released at the start of the 1981 season, which was way too late to keep him out of the topps, fleer, and donruss sets - thankfully.

last up is a 1977 topps elias sosa card.  sosa is probably best known for being one of the dodger pitchers (along with burt hooton and charlie hough) to give up a home run to reggie jackson in game 6 of the 1977 world series.  that was the last pitch sosa threw as a dodger.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1959 topps roy campanella
at number 550, 1974 topps von joshua at number 551, 1991 topps jeff hamilton at number 552, 1970 topps jim lefebvre
at number 553, 1991 topps stadium club greg smith at number 554, 1983 topps steve yeager
at number 555, 1995 topps stadium club hideo nomo at number 556, 1993 topps pedro martinez at number 557, and 1991 upper deck jay howell at number 558.

my favorite card on the page:

daaaaaaaaaaa-rryl!

final thoughts:

the dodgers have had two ramon martinezes (martini?) two mike marshalls, two mike ramseys, two reggie williamses and most recently two roberto hernandezes (including the one that once was known as fausto carmona) but if you go back far enough in franchise history, there have been two dick egans, two bill harts, two jim hickmans, two jim hughes, and two jack ryans as well.  this doesn't count the two dick schofields and two ivan dejesuses because those were father/son combos.

Monday, July 25, 2016

frankendodger sheet 61 (cards 541-549) - do you know the way to tatooine?...

here's sheet number 61 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 541-549:
and the back:
these cards are:

541. 2008 upper deck jason schmidt
542. 2005 topps milton bradley
543. 1996 donruss roberto kelly
544. 1980 topps rick sutcliffe
545. 2015 topps clayton kershaw
546. 1978 topps ted martinez
547. 1975 topps von joshua
548. 1981 topps dave goltz
549. 1986 topps bob welch

the "no brainer" of the day:

rick sutcliffe's rookie card was not to be denied entry into this set.

about the cards:

it seems like there have been a few jason schmidt cards pop up in the set lately.  this one is from 2008 upper deck, which is the year that schmidt missed entirely due to injury.

the next two cards - a 2005 topps milton bradley and a 1996 donruss roberto kelly - fall into my 'tatooine' minicollection as well as this frankenset.  as you probably know, i collect cards that feature photos with nothing but dirt in the background. this goes back to sometime in the late 1970's when my brother and i were in our local card and comic shop. there was a 1971 topps world series highlight card in the display case featuring brooks robinson and the infield dirt. being fans of star wars, we claimed that brooks was looking for droids on tatooine.  and now you know the rest of the story.

i was surprised when i (happily) pulled a rick sutcliffe card out of a pack of 1980 topps and saw that he had pitched in 1976.  i was aware of him being with the dodgers for a bit in 1978 and was well versed in his 1979 season in which he won the rookie of the year award, but i did not know he had made his debut way back in '76 even though i pored over those baseball handbooks endlessly in the late 1970's and early 1980's.  one highlight i recall from sutcliffe's '79 season was his first big league home run - it came in a game against the reds in which the dodgers hit seven home runs, all by different players.  sutcliffe went on to win the national league cy young award in 1984 (and finished 2nd in 1987). he was 4th in the mvp voting in 1984.

clayton kershaw, on the other hand, did not win the rookie of the year award, but did win the mvp in 2014 to go along with his three cy young awards. this 2015 topps card recognizes kershaw for being the league's mvp which is rare for a pitcher but sometimes cannot be denied.

ted martinez joined the dodgers for the 1977 season (and played enough to earn a card in the 1978 topps set) after spending 1976 in the reds' minor league system.  that means that he missed the reds' world series run that year, and even though he was with the dodgers in both '77 and '78, he appeared in neither postseason.  martinez debuted for the mets in 1970, the year following their first world series title, but did appear in the 1973 world series with the mets, and the 1975 alcs with the a's.  that means that during the decade of the 1970's, martinez's teams made the postseason 5 times. he was almost don baylor before don baylor.

i believe that this 1975 topps von joshua card is the only dodger card in the set to feature this color combination.  otherwise, it is similar to many dodger cards that feature spring training photos, and is especially similar to the preceding ted martinez card.  are those the same trees in the background?

looking ahead to the 1981 topps dave goltz card next to it, we see more spring training trees, but these are clearly not the same. these trees to goltz's right look to be coniferous, plus there is a parking lot in front of them (who's driving the yellow bug?).

last card of the page is bob welch's 1986 topps card.  1986 was a lost year for the dodgers, who finished 73-89 and in fifth place (and just 0.5 games ahead of the last place braves) in the nl west.  welch did his part with an era of 3.28 over 33 starts. he had 7 complete games and 3 shutouts, but his record was a dodger career worst (winning percentage wise) 7-13.  the following year (welch's last with the dodgers), he had a similar era (3.22) but was 15-9.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1981 donruss burt hooton at number 541, 2006 topps turkey red mark hendrickson
at number 542, 1994 donruss brett butler at number 543, 2003 topps dave roberts at number 544, 1982 topps reggie smith at number 545, this fantastically odd 1995 upper deck collector's choice roberto kelly card
at number 546, 1959 topps jim baxes
at number 547, 1976 topps manny mota at number 548, and 1971 topps jim brewer at number 549.

my favorite card on the page:

as is often the case, the no brainer is also my favorite card of the page.  rick sutcliffe's 1980 topps card was a key card in my collection that year because he had won the rookie of the year the previous season, and this was his first card. thirty-six years later, it's still a favorite.  although i still can't tell whether that is terry forster or someone else in the background.

final thoughts:

roberto kelly made the page, but with his 1996 donruss card rather than that '95 collector's choice card.  that's only because the udcc card is one of those redemption set cards and i don't have a dupe.  yes, 1978 topps and ted martinez would be kicked out of the set if i had another one of those kelly cards.  i don't understand it - upper deck had an image of kelly in dodger gear (real or photoshopped), used it, but still went with an expos photo, too. it is very weird and i like it.

Friday, July 22, 2016

frankendodger sheet 60 (cards 532-540) - in with the new...

here's sheet number 60 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 532-540:
and the back:
these cards are:

532. 1983 topps dave stewart
533. 1984 topps ken landreaux
534. 1993 bowman roger cedeno
535. 1970 topps andy kosco
536. 2016 topps alex wood
537. 1992 topps stadium club bob ojeda
538. 1994 bowman raul mondesi
539. 1978 topps vic davalillo
540. 2009 topps russell martin

the "no brainer" of the day:

the '78 vic davalillo card qualifies, but i added the wood card as soon as i pulled it from a series 2 pack a few weeks ago. it bumped a 1983 donruss tom niedenfuer in case you were wondering.  in with the new, out with the '83 donruss.  i guess it was a card i niedenfuer frankensets.

about the cards:

right off the bat we get to see the topps design progression from 1983 to 1984 thanks to dave stewart and ken landreaux.  the commonality of the smaller picture on the front - from porthole to picture in picture - is obvious, but i would have liked the '84 to play off of the 1964 design just as the '83 cards are somewhat related to the 1963 design.  i bought way more of 1983 topps than 1984 topps which had some to do with the designs, but also had to do with how much i liked 1984 donruss.

1993 bowman put roger cedeno in the bushes. the only fully green background i want to see on a baseball card is either the wrigley field ivy or the green monster in fenway. don't put players in the jungle.

the photo used for andy kosco's 1970 topps card was likely taken around the same time as billy grabarkewitz's and jeff torborg's, but without danny ozark in the background.

alex wood got a nice card in 2016 topps series 2. i am not the biggest fan of the card design, but the dodger bullpen in the background provides a nice contrast to the home whites. it's too bad he hasn't been able to stay healthy - it was just announced that he needs surgery and will be out for a couple of months.

bob ojeda's 1992 topps stadium club card is decent enough, and i like that topps put each player's rookie card on the back. it doesn't mean, as far as my collection goes, that this is a red sox card, however.

1994 bowman - two consecutive years of bowman represented here on the page - is pretty different from the previous year's design. i didn't know much about mondesi going into the 1994 season, but he had a decent consecutive game hitting streak in may of that year that got me interested, and he went on to win the rookie of the year in the strike-shortened season.

i would guess that the photo used for vic davalillo's 1978 topps card came from the same time as the photos for his 1974 topps card,
or maybe spring training of 1974.  the a's released davalillo in may of that year, and he was playing in the mexican league until the dodgers signed him during the 1977 campaign.  his 1979 topps card (and his 1981 fleer card!) shows him clean shaven, which is how i remember him as a dodger.

last card on the page is russell martin's 2009 topps card which shows him taking the brunt of a play at the plate. it's been well documented that martin has some great cards, and this is one of them.  however, it's not his best play at the plate card - that would be the 2008 stadium club card included in the link above.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1992 upper deck jose offerman at number 532, 1968 topps wes parker at number 533, 1991 donruss gary thomasson
at number 534, 1994 donruss cory snyder at number 535, 1983 donruss niedenfuer (the card at least makes this part of the post)
at number 536, 1963 topps ken mcmullen (as if i had a double)
at number 537, 1991 topps stadium club john candelaria
at number 538, 1995 donruss tim wallach at number 539, and 2008 upper deck andruw jones at number 540.

my favorite card on the page:

alex wood's card wins over russell martin's card. perhaps it's because martin has better cards, although that's not entirely fair. well, guess what. life isn't fair.

final thoughts:

i'm still not sure about my ken mcmullen rookie. i have to assume it's a reprint until i have it authenticated, even though it looks great when i compare it to other 1963 topps cards. i tested the guy i bought it from, and i am pretty sure that he believed it to be genuine. if it is, it wouldn't be worth the $130,000 that someone threw down on ebay this week, but it would be worth more than i paid for it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

frankendodger sheet 59 (cards 523-531) - diamondvision!...

here's sheet number 59 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 523-531:
and the back:
these cards are:

523. 1985 topps candy maldonado
524. 1994 upper deck collector's choice delino deshields
525. 1988 donruss jeff hamilton
526. 1993 topps mike sharperson
527. 1991 score pat perry
528. 1993 topps stadium club eric karros
529. 1994 fleer steve wilson
530. 2001 topps carlos perez
531. 2008 topps hiroki kuroda

the "no brainer" of the day:

i don't think i can stretch any of these cards into being any sort of a no brainer. sorry.

about the cards:

candy maldonado was one of the dodger prospects that i was really excited about in the early 1980's, along with mike marshall, greg brock, and even ted power.  unfortunately, maldonado didn't do as well at the big league level as i had hoped, and this 1985 topps card came from his last season as a dodger.  he did carve out a decent career, however, making it to the world series in 1989 with the giants and winning a ring with the 1992 blue jays.

delino deshields joined the dodgers in 1994 after he was traded by the expos for pedro martinez. by all accounts, deshields was shaken by the trade, and i could understand why given the talent on the expos at that time.  his time with the dodgers is often looked at with the benefit of hindsight, but i maintain that i was not upset by the trade. deshields was 25 with four full seasons behind him, including an all-star selection, when the dodgers traded for him. my hope was that he would stem the tide of stop-gap second basemen that the dodgers had employed following the departure of steve sax, and i really thought that deshields was the guy. if not for injuries and the incredible success of pedro (which had to be a burden on him), who knows what might have happened as deshields did have a couple of good seasons after leaving los angeles.

jeff hamilton's 1988 donruss card gives us a peek of the left field pavilion and the diamondvision screen that was installed in dodger stadium in 1980.  it was the first of its kind, and while the video element of the screen debuted at the all-star game, the dodgers tested still images on the screen throughout the first part of the season. i know this because a young gcrl was featured on the screen wearing a dodger helmet and steve garvey jersey during a game.  unfortunately, my dad couldn't get to his camera in time to capture the moment.

they also serve, those who sit and wait.  vin scully is good for that phrase once or twice a season, and it certainly applied to mike sharperson. i think his 1993 topps card is a good representation of the utlity player/pinch-hitter which was sharperson's role for most of his career.  when he did play regularly in 1992, he made the all-star team as the representative of the worst los angeles dodger team in history.

pat perry's 1991 score card features the blue border which works so well for dodger cards, but the cropping of the photo falls just short of the excellence displayed on tim crews' 1989 donruss card. we do get more palm tree trunk, however.

it was a cloudy day in vero beach when the photo for eric karros' 1993 topps stadium club card was taken. sometimes cloudy skies lend themselves to good lighting and dramatic photos. this was not one of those times.

steve wilson is wearing the same sort of pullover on his 1994 fleer card that sharperson has on his '93 topps card. wilson joined the dodgers during the 1991 season and pitched really well in his 11 games that followed - he did not give up a run, nor did he allow any of the 16 runners he inherited to score.  the dodgers kept him around for two more seasons which were his last in the bigs, meaning that this card is a final tribute.

you are probably well aware of how much i liked the murals that the dodgers put on their outfield wall during the late 1990's and early 2000's, and even more so how much i like when those murals show up on baseball cards.  the angels also put murals up in 2000, and this 2001 topps carlos perez card shows a bit of them in the background, along with the disney-fied fake rocks beyond the fence.  i'm not sure what the purpose of the murals were - it's not the team's hall of fame because bob boone is up there - but i think that the players in the background include nolan ryan and boone based on what appears on garret anderson's 2001 topps card.

today's final card is a 2008 topps hiroki kuroda. 2008 topps is not one of my favorite designs, but topps did issue a 55-card set of dodgers that year (a set that included coaches!), so i'll give it a pass.

cards that didn't make the cut:

some cards that came close to making the set include 1975 topps tom paciorek at number 523, 1991 upper deck orel hershiser
at number 524, 1988 fleer mike sharperson at number 525, 1979 topps dodger team/tom lasorda
at number 526, 1980 topps doug rau at number 527, 1993 pinnacle roger mcdowell at number 528, 1988 fleer bob welch at number 529, 1981 topps steve garvey (!)
at number 530, and 1994 upper deck todd hollandsworth at number 531.

my favorite card on the page:

it's not dodger stadium, but i do like the 2001 carlos perez card mostly because of the background.

final thoughts:

i neglected to mention that delino deshields is wearing a mask on his 1994 collector's choice card, following an accident in the batting cage during spring training that left him with a broken cheekbone.  i believe giancarlo stanton is the most recent big leaguer to wear some sort of facial protection, although i am pretty sure that jason heyward wears a helmet extension to cover his jaw, too.  i recall dave parker and ellis valentine wearing football style masks at the plate in the late 1970's, but i don't think any of them wore anything in the field like deshields is doing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

frankendodger sheet 58 (cards 514-522) - 22% canadian...

here's sheet number 58 of my dodger frankenset - cards numbered 514-522:
and the back:
these cards are:

514. 1967 topps john werhas
515. 1973 o-pee-chee andy messersmith
516. 1994 topps kevin gross
517. 2002 upper deck kazuhisa ishii
518. 1988 fleer orel hershiser
519. 1971 o-pee-chee willie crawford
520. 1994 upper deck chan ho park
521. 1980 topps ken brett
522. 1972 topps dodgers team

the "no brainer" of the day:

that would be george brett's older brother's card - the only dodger card of ken brett issued during his playing days.

about the cards:

this duplicate of john werhas's 1967 topps card has a big ol' crease running across it. that's ok - it is a frankenset, after all.  the card is from the 6th series, but for some reason does not list werhas as a member of the california angels - the team to which he was traded to in may of '67.

the first of two o-pee-chee cards on the page is andy messersmith's 1973 card. if you look closely at the back,
you will see that while bill remains bill, and mike remains mike, andy translates to "andy" in french.

kevin gross is up next with his 1994 topps card. i think 1994 topps is one of their better releases of that decade. i didn't think much of it at the time, but that had a lot to do with the excessive glossiness of the cards.  i think with a couple of tweaks (the card stock and the font of the players' names), the design could be pretty solid, and i do like the backs.

kaz ishii was supposed to be a lefty hideo nomo, but wound up being more like a lefty hideki irabu.  that's probably not entirely fair, but he did walk a bunch of people.  i like this 2002 upper deck card because it showcases dodger stadium, complete with the retired number outfield wall murals (that's tommy lasorda to ishii's left), in the background.

the red, white, and blue design of 2002 upper deck is not as gaudy as that of 1988 fleer.  putting cards of orel hershiser from 1988 into the set just feels right, regardless of the card design.

now here's the second canadian card of the page - a 1971 o-pee-chee willie crawford card.  it's a little rough, but it's a dupe, and i am a fan of the yellow backs and the starburst head shot that makes these cards different from their topps counterparts.  and, in case you are wondering, willie is just willie in french - no quotations marks.

this chan ho park card is from the 'diamond debuts' subset in 1994 upper deck.  i assumed that the silhouette on the front was just a generic pitcher, but comparing the photo of park on the back to it, i now believe it is actually park. that's a level of effort that upper deck stopped aspiring to in their last few years producing baseball cards.

and now we have ken brett's 1980 topps card.  he was a good hitter, and he actually hit for himself in a game for the white sox during the 1976 season, rather than give way to a designated hitter.  the chisox also used him as a pinch-hitter a number of times.  i always thought that tommy lasorda should have used terry forster as a pinch-hitter more often, but i guess he had a couple of pinch-hitting specialists (manny mota and vic davalillo) on the roster already.  at any rate, the dodgers did not use brett as a pinch-hitter at all, although he was 3 for 11 at the plate during his time with them in 1979.

one of the things that i like about the 1972 topps dodger team card is that the photo looks like it was taken from the top of the 3rd base dugout at dodger stadium. you can see the low right field railing giving way to the bullpen in the background, and the dirt in front of the dugout in the foreground. it also looks like the visiting team is on the field and taking batting practice. it all makes for a more interesting card than the other team cards that followed with the more organized or staged photos taken in the outfield.

cards that didn't make the cut:

1983 donruss mark belanger at number 514, 1976 topps steve yeager at number 515, 1991 topps stadium club ramon martinez at number 516, 1992 bowman orel hershiser at number 517, 2003 upper deck 40 man hideo nomo at number 518. 1984 donruss dave sax
at number 519, 1994 fleer mike piazza at number 520, 1961 topps brother battery (norm and larry sherry)
at number 521, and 1961 dick farrell
at number 522.

my favorite card on the page:

the card i keep going back to here is the kaz ishii card. i just really like seeing the dodger stadium outfield pavilions and murals on cardboard, i guess.

final thoughts:

did you notice how much better topps had become at airbrushing the interlocking la logo onto hats between 1973
and 1980?

that is great progress!