Card Draft II Countdown Part 2: 15-6

Hey y’all!  We’re jumping right back into the Card Draft Countdown, taking it down just shy of the top-5.  Light it up and go in hot.

#15

1974 Topps Traded Ron Santo..

1974 Topps Traded Ron Santo..

This one is a little bittersweet.  Your best friend only moved across town, but you still get the sense that it’s the beginning of the end of your friendship.  Everything changes and life goes on, but it’s sad in the moment.  And you know that career is coming to an end when the team they’ve been with for their whole career lets them go.  But still, you gotta remember the good times, and Ron Santo was great.  So this is a bittersweet keeper.

#14

1974 Topps Al Kaline..

1974 Topps Al Kaline..

Another late-career card of a Hall of Fame slugger.  It is beat to hell, which is why it’s so low on the countdown, but still a fine card nonetheless.  I’m willing to trade this one away though.  Not my team, not my town.

#13

1974 Topps JR Richard..

1974 Topps JR Richard..

And now for the “what could have been” I mentioned in the previous post.  JR Richard had the stuff to be an all-time great, but he flamed out probably not even halfway to immortality.  But the little we got was just crazy electric amazing.  This badass card is a keeper.  I’m working on a single page of him, and was able to score a couple more for the page in Card Draft III.

#12

Harold Baines RC..

Harold Baines RC..

A RC of the 2nd or 3rd best more-or-less pure DH of all time.  If Edgar Martinez is getting into the Hall one of these years, which seems like a very real possibility, then Harold Baines belongs there too.  Edgar has a better slashline .312/.418/.515 to .289/.356/.465.  But Harold has him in hits 2866-2247, 384-309 in home runs, and 1628-1261 in RBI, all of which Edgar would struggle to reach if given the extra 3+ seasons Harold played.  You would have to tack those years on at the beginning and/or end of his career, and he did all his best work from age 32-40 (dude never hit over 18 HR in season before that), so only the hits would maybe be in danger.  You can complain about accumulating all you want (and Harold Baines was unquestionably an accumulator), but if you put up 2866 hits, 384 home runs, and 1628 RBIs together, that’s Hall of Fame-worthy career, DH or not.

In other news, I completed a Harold Baines trifecta earlier this month thanks to landing this card in the draft.  I got the auto late last year, this in Card Draft II: The Search for Son of Curly’s Electric Boogaloo, and finally the relic courtesy of eBay.  Being that Harold Baines is probably my dad’s favorite player, all three are currently displayed on the parents’ entertainment center.

#11

'61 Moe Thacker..

’61 Moe Thacker..

An early ’60s Cub?  Of course I’m going to to take it.  I don’t really team collect anymore, but I have a binder for cool Cubs stuff I like that doesn’t fit into a specific player collection or set or single page.  There’s a place in it for vintage, rookies/prospects, inserts/parallels, hits, and certain oddballs and things.  So yeah, this be a keeper.

#10

1986 Topps 1000 Yard Club..

1986 Topps 1000 Yard Club..

What better way to jump into the top-10 than with the greatest running back of all-time?  I have several cards from Sweetness’ playing career (including his RC!), but nothing from about 1981-86, so this starts to close that sad gap in my collection a little bit.

#9

Dock In Action..

Dock In Action..

Another ’70s pitching great with a dedicated binder page the card drafts have started to fill up.  I only had a single Dock before this, from epic time suck that was the Diamond Giveaway.  It should’ve been two though, Topps.  Thanks for screwing me out of the ’75, the only card from his playing career that could top this card and the next on the countdown.

#8

'72 Dock: regular version..

Dock not in action..

My ordering might’ve gone off the rails in this part of the list, but that’s okay.  It’s hard to beat a ’72 for anyway.  This was early in the era where I argue Topps peaked (from 1971-1985, they simply didn’t make a bad looking set, and ’71, ’72, ’75, and ’83 are all-time greats), and while the design is way… oh, let’s say flouncier, than ’71, it still positively reeks of the same kind of class as the straight black ’71s.

#7

Upper Deck Ovation Future Forces Ray Allen..

Upper Deck Ovation Future Forces Ray Allen..

From the height of Topps powers to the height of Upper Deck’s, this is one of those scan doesn’t do the card justice types.  These days Ray is the most prolific 3-point shooter of all-time and a future Hall-of-Famer.  Amazing then that he might only be the fourth best player in his draft class!  Kobe, while kind of a douche, is unquestionably the best of the class, Allen Iverson is 6th in NBA history in points-per-game at 26.7 (from a guy not even legitimately 6’0″ tall!), and Steve Nash is a 2-time MVP and one of the greatest point guards in NBA history.

What a draft that 1996 class was.  4 Hall of Fame locks (the above mentioned Kobe, AI, Nash & Allen), 4 of the better all-star/Hall of Very Good journeymen ever (Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Peja Stojakovic) and several significant contributors and long-lasting role players (Kerry Kittles, Marcus Camby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Derek Fisher, Jermaine O’Neal).

Oh, and I guess this card is available, but only reluctantly.

#6

Aramis Ramirez BowChro Blue Refractor #'ed /250..

Aramis Ramirez 2012 BowChro Blue Refractor #’ed /250..

This card is so so pretty with that deep blue border and surprisingly decent for a Bowman product design (although 2013 is pretty decent too).  The only thing keeping it out of the top-5 is the Cubs’ next Hall of Famer having moved on to the Brew Crew after the 2011 season.  Usually I stop actively chasing players when that happens, but I finally officially went over 100 Aramis Ramirez cards early this year and am still going strong, if mostly focused on using my own money to get his autograph cards right now.  I figure when I get back into trading again, the lower-tier Aramis base cards and inserts will start filling out some more.

Well, there you go.  I might even be questioning my list myself, but those are my 15-6 from Card Draft II.  That’s all for this one, lonely souls.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambles and looking at my cards.  Check back next time for the top-5!

Next time, Gadget…

COMC Order #2

Vintage 2: Son of The Search for Curly’s Electric Boogaloo Returns

Yeah, let that sweet vintage goodness wash over you and cleanse your soul...

These are all Hall of Famers (except the card-sharing Downing and the Cobra, who is fairly close to Hall-worthy), and they are all keepers this time.

Is that ’72 not glorious?  1047 wins represented on that card!  And those two early-mid ’80s Carews probably don’t qualify as vintage yet, but they’re getting way too close for comfort.  That is depressing, because I will become vintage only one year later.  Not cool, man, not cool. 😦

On that disheartening note, the next post will be short, in more ways than one, as we somewhat seamlessly segue out of vintage and into the next section.

Oh, and Merry Christmas and Happy Universal Non-Denominational Holiday Celebration to all!

Now I have a machine gun.  Ho-ho-ho…

Miami Mega Powers?

This post is inspired by a tweet by Steve of White Sox Cards fame.


LeBron James


Dwyane Wade

Chris Bosh

The Miami Heat have gotten three of the top 10 players in the league together (and two of the top five), and a collection of inexpensive but pretty talented also-rans and young’uns to back them up.  The expectations are enormous, and there’s no reason to think they can’t run roughshod over the league once they manage get on the same page.  But this reminds me of another seemingly unstoppable force that got together back in the late ’80s.

The Mega Powers: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Miss Elizabeth

Yes, back in the latter half of 1987, when the Miami Heat franchise was just preparing to come into being, the two biggest stars in the World Wrestling Federation, Hulk Hogan and the “Macho Man” Randy Savage, along with Savage’s universally beloved valet, Miss Elizabeth, joined forces to become The Mega Powers.

For awhile, all was well.  Savage became World Heavyweight Champion with an assist from Hogan in the tournament final after the whole Andre/Million Dollar Man/evil twin Hebner referee shenanigans.  And they eventually beat the so-called Mega Bucks in tag team action to end the feud.  The alliance was an uneasy one, however, as one would expect with the egos and personalities involved.  Savage was always pretty unstable, and Hogan… well, he tended to be oblivious to his closest allies to extreme degree, making him come off as a pretty big jerk in some instances, and making his former friends look fairly sympathetic when they turned on him.

Such was the case here, with the Hulkster being a little too friendly with Savage’s lady, likely being too dumb to realize it, as well as accidentally knocking Savage out of the Royal Rumble.  It would take an unlikely tag team of misfit toys to ultimately bring down their house of cards though.  Enter: The Twin Towers…

The Twin Towers: The Big Bossman, "The Doctor of Style" Slick, and Akeem The African Dream (aka One Man Gang; don't ask)

So yeah, these three oddly mismatched guys would be the final straw that destroyed the greatest team up in the history of professional wrestling.  But what does all of this have to do with the Miami Heat?  Well, let’s break it down:

The Mega Powers, two of the biggest stars in the history of professional wrestling, as well as the most beloved valet/manager ever.  Let’s start with Hulk Hogan, who had proven almost invincible in the ring and was front & center in the whole Rock & Wrestling thing.  He had a reputation for being immature though.  Hulkster’s obliviousness caused Orndorff to turn on him, his kinda-sorta glory hounding making it easy for Heenan to get in Andre The Giant’s ear helped that turn along, and overstepping his bounds with Elizabeth caused Savage to turn on him.

Now on to Savage.  He was always the better worker (by a long shot), and every bit as charismatic, but never quite got the respect he deserved, and was in Hogan’s shadow his entire career, despite arguably being an overall better talent.

True, Hogan would have done something to make him flip out eventually anyway, but they wouldn’t have lasted a week without Miss Elizabeth keeping the peace, which is of hugely underrated importance.

And then there’s the Miami Heat, three of the brightest stars in the NBA, at least two of which are well on their way to becoming all-time greats, and third is not far behind.  LeBron James is embattled a bit now, but he was pretty well loved by the fans until this past summer, and his skill is unquestionable, like Scottie Pippen and Magic Johnson combined.  He too had a rep as being immature (and perhaps a little mentally soft) behind the scenes/under the radar, though it wasn’t until “The Decision” where it came to a head, and those who questioned him appeared to be right.

Dwyane Wade is arguably LeBron’s equal, for what he lacks in distribution skills, he makes up for in being a go-to guy late in the game, the one thing LeBron has proven not to be that great at.  As well, he is the guy that brought in James and Bosh to HIS team, but he is still overshadowed by LeBron, and likely will continue to be no matter what he does.  Wade seems to be a pretty humble guy, but how will that work out over the long haul?

Bosh is almost forgotten in all of this, but his success is essential to the team, being the only proven power forward or center that is still young enough to play serious minutes.

~~~~

Now let’s have a closer look at The Twin Towers.  They were comprised of former prison guard-turned pro wrestler The Big Bossman, a big random goof that never really got to do a whole lot in his time in the WWF in Akeem/One Man Gang, and Slick, their second-tier manager mostly known for being comedy relief of the stereotypical type.  Though OMG would have his moments, and Slick might have if he hung around the business past 1992, only Bossman would go on to be a significant mainstream star.

How is this important?  Well, there’s a certain team out east that has a very similar dynamic going for them on their team.  And that team is the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics.  On their second unit is a certain super-heavyweight reserve officer of the law by the name of Shaquille O’Neal, a megastar making one last run at glory.  He is flanked by a random big guy that’s been known to have his occasional moments in Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and tiny hilarious (though not stereotypically, unless we’re talking stereotypical college student or 3rd grader) prankster Nate Robinson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Davis_(basketball)

Shrekeem, The Bostonian Dream


The Shaq Bossman

“The Doctor of Style” Nate Robinson

Twin Towers 2.0?

So you had better get your act together, Miami.  Get everyone healthy and on the same page in a hurry, lest you repeat the unfortunate history of wrestling’s Mega Powers.  You never know when a mish-mashed team of 2nd-stringers will come along and brutally exploit the cracks in your seemingly indestructible juggernaut and tear all your grand plans asunder.

Then again, with all the money they’re making, maybe Miami’s Big 3 are really the Mega Bucks, which would make head coach Erik Spoelstra evil twin referee Earl Hebner and Pat Riley WWF President Jack Tunney!  Oww, my brain…

♫ Money Money Money Money Moneyyyyy ♫

I’ll shut up now…

All I Can Do is Smile…

For you see, someone out there has painstakingly taken all those little incomplete, fractured thoughts and misgivings that I can’t quite properly express or factually back up on my own, that gnaw at me when my mind comes to rest on the thought of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.  I have mentioned before that I’m “over it” as far as steroid/PED drama was concerned, and (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this).  Please check out the link I’m dropping at the end of this post (will also be permanently linked on the side of my blog), and maybe have your mind blown.

I will say that if your mind is so thoroughly made up against PEDs, rational thought may not be able to reach you.  Disappointing, but it happens.  Regardless of how deep your bias runs, I ask you this: Of all the anti-PED sentiment out there, what/who has actually backed up their rhetoric with anything more than hearsay and vague stories/claims/etc?  Who has ever presented scientifically-tested data and the words of noted experts to back up their often vitriolic anti-PED stances?

This is one of the key problems I have always had with this subject.  I just cannot seem to find more than, at best, anecdotal evidence to support the dangers of performance enhancers (in adults).  And as far as the moral and ethical reasons I’ve heard for how PEDs damage the credibility of the game, I don’t really buy into them all that much.  At the very least they are infinitely debatable, and it really ticks me off when writers and politicians and even common fans shout from their soapboxes like they have any kind moral highground here, when they can’t back it up with anything but a chorus of people saying the exact same thing, nobody providing a good reason for it.  It’s just a vicious cycle of BS, and to me it all rings hollow.  And that’s a real good way to turn me off of what your selling in a big way real fast.

So we find ourselves here today.  I happened upon this great lil website that has taken it upon itself to look at all the reasons performance enhancing drugs are being taken to task, and thoughtfully break every last one of them down into the quivering mass of lies, misconception, ignorance, and logical fallacies that ultimately rest at the heart of each issue.  And glory be, does it ever cite it’s sources, they really did their homework, quite ably discrediting the misconceptions and lies surrounding steroids and PEDs and their negative effect on baseball and a person’s physical wellbeing, not to mention giving some useful opinions from people who have the background to give said opinions real weight on the ethical quagmire that performance enhancers in sports create.

As an added bonus, it also nicely illustrates just how incredibly screwed up our society is. 🙂

So yeah, if you see me smiling a little more wryly than usual, I might be feeling a little validated right now.

With that all tediously (depending on where you fall on the issue and what you think of my writing) said, here’s the link: Steroids, Other “Drugs”, and Baseball

Note of caution, there is a TON of stuff to take in over there.

If you give it a fair shot (or even if you don’t), please let me know what you think.  I most definitely want to hear what y’all have to say about this.  Like I said, I was basically reading my own personal thoughts on the subject and getting the proof for my misgivings that I didn’t have within me to seek out on my own.  Agree or disagree, let’s get some intelligent discourse going.

You’re not going crazy, chum.  You’re going sane in a crazy world!

Another To-Do List

There is more trady business I need to be doin’.  This is The To-Do List, sponsored by Subway & Tristar (just kidding… someday I will get a consistent and large enough amount of hits per day to be sponsored by card companies & people who want stuff reviewed though).

• Send another SASE to Mario (never even got the first one sent, d’oh!) for three quite frankly (Get it, cuz Frank Gifford is one of ’em? Laugh with me!) awesome football relics from a recent box break.  This one goes on top because I’m on the clock here.  I’m going to send some extra top loaders too.  I think I’ve got somewhere around half a 60 ct. box of off-brand ones that I picked up at Toys ‘R Us when I was probably still in my teens that should work well for his shipping style.

• Get a replacement package together for JD’s Daddy.  Someone jacked most of my first trade somewhere between here & there.  Ya know, for my $7.62 (it was a pretty big package), you’d think I could rest easy knowing it’d make it in one piece with no trouble whatsoever.  Whatever mail piratin’ f***head stole it, I hope they get paper cuts from the cards.  I could’ve bought a pack of oh so misleadingly named Legendary Cuts for roughly the same price.  At least when I got screwed over that way, I’ll be getting a few cards, not losing well over 100.

Oh well, I can get rid of my Max Scherzers now at least. 😛

• Working on something with Brian for my Texas Rangers hits.

Wicked Ortega has some more Maybins & M. Cabreras & Manny bat card and probably a Greinke auto coming to him.

• I still owe Da Rook some ’08 & ’09 UDX and maybe some ’06 topps, and of course there will be Braves.

• I have a Kershaw to send Night Owl.

• Still gotta send Dayf some cards.

Shot Not Taken… I’ve got most of what I already had for you together.  I can send out what I’ve got and wait do the TNA cards later if you want.

Cardboard Problem~

Marie, you are officially getting the Pujols Ticket Stub for the Ramirez & Sandberg jerseys.  Also, did you ever get my email about the cards I have of the other guys you collect?

And for Sooz, I guess all that is left is for me to get around to finally coming to a final conclusion on which Ichiros I need from your list.  At most, I only have a half dozen I think (it was four last time I checked, but I think I may have pulled one or two more since then).

• I still have some ’09 A&G regular minis & mini SPs to send Nachos Grande for some clunkers & stuff.  I think I will just see that they are sent out in short order and mess with sending him some Reds later.

If I have missed anybody, and I’m sure I have, please let me know.  When I reach my 5000 hit anniversary, we’re gonna have my first real contest.  5000 hits is the uncirculated anniversary, you know. ;3

My unrelated notes for this post are as follows…

Did Braylon Edwards just have the ultimate falling up experience or what?  Beating up LeBron’s little buddy got him shipped off from the sucktastic Cleveland Browns to the quite possibly legitimate contender Jets?!?!  How is that punishment?  Granted, it sounds like there is a small chance of him getting suspended for a few weeks, but dude, UP-FREAKIN’-GRADE.

Also, what is up with the Eagles backups?  EVERY SINGLE TIME McNabb goes out with injury, his backups play like freakin’ superstars without exception.  It’s hard to have sympathy for a rich & famous QB with ridiculous athletic ability & lots of endorsment deals, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel bad for him.  Dude’s been nothing less than a great player and a class act, but fate seems to have been conspiring against him in Philly ever since he got drafted.

I’ve been stuck in that sick-but-not-quite-sick mode for the past couple of days.  It’s almost somehow worse than being full blown sick.  You don’t feel bad enough to be completely out of commission, but you don’t feel good enough to go about life like normal.  It kinda sucks.

That’s all for this one.  There is a sketch card project and sleep to catch up on.

Until our next…

The Least of the Best

Over at Wax Heaven, a question was posed: Which member of the 500 Home Run Club had the least impressive career?

Well, let’s find out… by looking at the statistics.  They say the numbers never lie, so Baseball-Reference will be our guide.

Notes before we begin:

I’m not taking performance enhancers into consideration.  We’re going purely by statistics.  Deal with it.

Everyone with 600+ Home Runs are exempt from least impressive debate due to the sheer number they hit.

Triples and stolen bases are pretty irrelevant unless in abnormally high amounts, and even then only stolen bases are worth considering.  Triples are too dependent on where most of a player’s games are played.  In other words, it’s hard to hit triples at Wrigley.

We’ll start at the bottom, and work our way up.

~Eddie Murray~

Stats: 504 HR, 3255 Hits, 560 2B, 35 3B, 1917 RBI, 1627 Runs, 110 SB, 1333 BB, 1516 K, .287 AVG, .359 OBP, .476 SLG, .836 OPS, 129 OPS+

Awards: 1977 Rookie of the Year, 8-time All-Star, 3 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, Top-5 in MVP voting 6 times, 0 MVPs

+ 3255 hits, 1917 RBIs, and 560 doubles are all legitimately legendary numbers; Highly decorated, even defensively

– .287 batting average, .836 OPS, and  129 OPS+ aren’t quite elite

Notes: Overall, Murray’s numbers indicate longevity more than out & out greatness, but still an outstanding and highly decorated career with some numbers that are much too big to ignore.  And hey, there’s nothing wrong with longevity.

He isn’t going to be the best of the bunch, but I highly doubt he’ll be the worst.

~Gary Sheffield (still active)~

Stats: 509 HR, 2683 Hits, 465 2B, 26 3B, 1674 RBI, 1634 Runs, 253 SB, 1471 BB, 1165 K, .292 AVG, .393 OBP, .514 SLG, .908 OPS, 140 OPS+

Awards: 9-time All-Star, 5 Silver Sluggers, Top-5 in MVP voting 3 times, 0 MVPs

+ Borderline-elite OBP, OPS, and OPS+; Considerably more walks than strikeouts; Highly decorated

– Hits are kinda low, but that’s due to missing a lot of time over the years

Notes: Sheff has actually played more seasons than Murray, but has more than 2000 less ABs.  That’s FOUR seasons he’s missing out on, compared to Murray.  Given the same number of at-bats, he’d likely be pushing 600 Home Runs with everything else at least being on par with Murray.

I have to put Gary Sheffield just below Eddie Murray, even if he does have a good excuse for his lesser numbers.  What say you?

Okay, this is going to be way more time-consuming than I thought, and I’m getting really tired, so I will post continue it tomorrow evening.  I WILL get this done though.  There is just too much good debate to not do the whole thing.