Friday, June 24, 2016

G(reat) C(ardboard) R(ocks) L(ike) Nothing Else

Aloha, everybody, 

Have you ever had one of those posts that you start, and restart, and then restart yet again? You're reading one of those now. 

It doesn't have anything to do with writer's block, or not being inspired. It's nothing like that. In fact, I'm plenty inspired by the cards that I'll be showing off here. It's things outside of our hobby that are zooming around my brain and distracting me from the clarity that cardboard brings.

That's why I'm writing tonight. I'm seeking that which our hobby (almost) always delivers - serenity, order, enjoyment, and escape. So let's get to it. 

In the previous post, I showed off the cards that GCRL Jim sent to me, that chipped away at my vintage Dodgers wish lists. Tonight, we'll check out the modern cardboard that rounded out the goodies.

I'm a sucker for the "baseball" texture that they add to these Ovation sets, but this Raul Mondesi card leaves me wanting more. By more, I'm thinking, a photo that doesn't make Raul look like he's stepping into a mystery hole, and he's frustrated because he can't bring his bat along with him.

 This red-haired chia pet is one of the hottest Dodgers right now. He was in a horrendous slump through the first two months of the season, but he's been gangbusters for the past couple of weeks. So it was a real treat to get this one. 

A few posts back, I wrote a post about the legendary Duke of Flatbush. I showed off some of my favorite cards from the Duke, and then along came this baby. This one just joined that stack of faves. Who can resist those baby Dodger blue eyes? 

 If there's one thing I'm pretty sure Jim has, and I don't - it's a whole lotta Steve Garvey cards. This one mentions Garvey and the 1981 WS. So long ago the Dodgers used to semi-regularly be in the Fall Classic, and it sure doesn't look like they'll make it this year either. 

Here we go. A beautiful tribute card to Number 42, with a bonus lurking skipper, Walter Alston.

Believe it or not, these are my first American Pie cards. A very nice surprise. 

This group of four comes from the Greats of the Game set. I've got a few more of these in the Dodgers shoebox. It's time to put them all together and see where I stand on completion of the Dodgers. 

Here's another Raaaaaauuuuuuuuuul card with Mondesi blasting another monster home run. He's a member of the Power Players, but I'm not so sure how powerful that chalk art background is. Powerful backdrops or not, Raul Mondesi cardboard is always awesome. 

 I've been picking up these Cooperstown Collection cards here and there, and Jim dropped a great new addition on me here. 

Finally - the man. Mr. Koufax, on a tribute card that's right up my alley...

This card commemorates the 1965 World Series win over the Minnesota Twins. The series went seven games. Koufax pitched two shutouts and struck out ten to win Game 7.

These are all great additions to my collection. Thanks again, Jim. It's time for me to start putting together a pile for you, my friend. 



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dodgers From a Dodger Lover to Another Dodger Lover

Aloha, everybody,

I'm sure you all remember GCRL Jim. Did you know he can now be found at Frankendodger

Good ol' Jim is the master of dissecting Dodger cardboard. He'll tell you all about the sets they came on, the stories behind the photos, and the player, in glorious detail. 

I recently received a fistful of Dodger cards from Jim, and here are the highlights...

I usually start off these posts with modern cardboard, but when Dodgers fans/collectors/writers swap cardboard, I firmly believe it's the old cards - the vintage, that really gets our Dodger blue blood up and running. 

Jim took a swing at my Dodgers team set wish lists and hit them solidly. Every one of the cards in today's post knocked one more into my "Have it" list. 

How about 1962 Topps Dodgers...

 Pete Richert only pitched for the Dodgers for a couple of years. The young southpaw set a record by striking out the first six batters he faced, and by recording a four-strike out inning on his debut.

 Johnny Rosenoro is most famous for getting his hair parted by Giants pitcher Juan Marichal with a baseball bat. Roseboro took one to the noggin while trying to save Sandy Koufax from that bat in one of the most infamous moments in the Dodgers/Giants rivalry. 

Jim chipped one more from the '65 Topps list...

The '70 Topps list...

The 1971 Topps list...

The two cards below and the team card that led off for this post are all from the 1978 Topps set...

Finally today, "Happy" Hooten from 1979 Topps, which now drops me to only needing two more '79s for completion. 

This lineup of nine was a great leap forward in my hunt for vintage Dodgers cardboard. What a sweet lot. 

And those are just the first half of the package. In Part 2, we'll check out the modern stuff.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kenley Jansen is the Dodgers' Best Closer Ever. He may be Pitching for Your Team very Soon

Aloha, everybody,

Last night Kenley Jansen wrote his name into Dodgers history. He nailed down the 162nd save of his career, passing Eric Gagne to become the all-time saves leader for the Dodgers. 

This mini golden-framed beauty is limited 47/62. 

The man who's record Jansen broke is Monsieur Eric Gagne. 

Here's Gagne before his signature goggles and goatee.
 I'm torn over the legacy of Gagne. Torn because I witnessed - and cheered on - his incredible, super-human feat of 84 consecutive saves. Before Gagne, nobody had ever put together a string any bigger than 54. I loved the entire "Game Over" era at Chavez Ravine.

Goatee sans goggles.
 But here's the rub - Gagne admits to achieving his record numbers through substance enhancement. I didn't know it at the time, and perhaps my Dodger blue glasses just wouldn't allow me to see it.  I always figured it was guys on the other teams who cheated, it wasn't my beloved Dodger heroes! 

As a matter of fact, Gagne later estimated 80% of his teammates were juicing up with him. I'm thinking about expanding on that thought later, on the Dodgers site I write for, 

I suppose it should have been 85% of the team on the stuff, because if Gagne's allegations are true, 80% sure wasn't enough to win a World Series. 

Limited 17/40
 In the end, I fall on the side of Eric Gagne still being a helluva player, and I'll never forget the thrills I felt seeing those bullpen gates swing open to Guns n Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" every time Gagne sprinted to the mound. 

Besides all that, he's a great ex-Dodger, and participates in Dodgers festivities. He's throwing out the first pitch tonight. 

All of that said, Gagne is no longer the beholder of the Dodgers' saves record. Kenley Jansen is, and until I hear different, I'm believing Jansen earned the record juice-free. 

I mentioned Jansen may be coming to your team soon because the sabremetric boneheads who control the Dodgers' personnel decisions only gave Jansen a one-year contract. 

He'll be a free agent at the end of the season, and although I'm sure the Dodgers will want to sign him to a real contract then ( the dopes), he might go mercenary, run up the bidding, and jump teams. 

However, today is not for being cynical. Today Kenley Jansen stands atop Dodgers Mountain. All hail the Saves King! 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wha??? The Hated Ones, Here?? It's All For Dad

Aloha everybody, 

Happy Father's Day to all my fellow dads out there. Now, about these Giants...

My earliest memories of baseball are sitting with my father, watching the old-time Dodgers vs Giants games live from Candlestick Park on our black and white TV. 

The crazy thing was, my father was a gung-ho Giants fan. He hated the Dodgers. None of that Giants love trickled down to me, but there is plenty of nostalgia (and the great memories of dad) there. 

So, in honor of Father's Day, ATBATT is all about the Giants...

 The greatest Giant of all...but they say...not a nice person to the fans.

I don't recall ever seeing him pitch, but according to his career years, I'm sure I did. I was probably too busy booing. 
 I always respected Williams as a player, and hated to see him bat against the Dodgers.

 A shiny beauty from a set I'm casually chasing. 

 You're nobody if they don't name a cove after you.

 This one's a reprint, of course.

Happy Father's day, dad. Those were for you. 


Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Celebration of the Duke's Retired Number - and his Cardboard

Aloha, everybody,

Tonight the Dodgers celebrate and recall the career of the legendary Dodger - the Duke of Flatbush - Duke Snider. 

The Duke patrolled center field for Brooklyn's Boys of Summer. He shared New York CF stardom with Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, inspiring countless arguments over who among them was the best. 

This is a replica of the Duke's 1949 Bowman RC. It's not the real McCoy, but nevertheless, it's beautiful, reflective and shiny. 

Speaking of shiny tribute cards, here's a shiny gold reprint of his 1952 Topps issue, with an added 1952 World Series stamp...

Brooklyn didn't win in 1952, but the Duke hit four home runs and had seven RBI's against the Yankees.

Here's one of my few original Duke Snider cards, 1957 Bowman. A real beauty.

This card celebrates the Dodgers' move to LA, and on the back lists some of the Dukes multiple records...

Here are some of his World Series records...

 Most home runs by a NL player (11), most RBIs (26) by a NL player, tied for most total bases in one series (24), tied for most extra base hits (6). 

This original is one of my favorites from the "Baseball Thrills" subset (which I am still chasing)...

 Here's the rear...

One more original, his penultimate Dodgers card,1961 Topps...

 During the glory days of the 1950's, Snider hit 326 home runs and 1,031 RBIs, more than anyone else in the game. He remains the only player to hit four or more home runs in two different World Series (1952, 1955)

Numbered 78/99
 The Duke was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980. 

 And the Duke got the first hit in Dodger Stadium. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Zippy Zappings come in Vintage As Well

Aloha, everybody, 

Here's  the final installment of cards that came in the awesome package that Zippy Zappy sent to me.

When ZZ wrote his post about the cards I sent to him, he joked that I probably send him so many cards because I just want to keep him in cardboard debt to me. 

After this Zippy Zapping, I owe ZZ big time!

He chipped off another chunk from my chase for the 1974 Topps Dodgers...

The immortal Tommy John. Sure, half the pitchers on your team have had the surgery named after him, but I was lucky enough to grow up watching him pitch. Ol' TJ was probably my first favorite southpaw pitcher, as Sandy Koufax was before my time. 

Here's Billy Buck showing how to NOT field a grounder. Sloppy in Spring Training leads to sloppy in the World Series. Right, Bucky? 

I don't remember too much about Ken McMullen. I suspect not too many other people do, as well. 

Good ol' Fergie, who I used as a trivia question to stump Stu Nahan in a radio contest and win breakfast at home plate with Tommy Lasorda on Opening Day.

 Looks like Joshua is nursing a sore wrist. 

 Loving this Walter Alston card. He was the first Dodger manager in my life, and I can't have too many cards of the skipper. 

Speaking of skippers...

"Look ma, no toothpick."

 Here's one that Matt might appreciate...or dislike???

 I don't know how I missed adding the following card to the previous posts that featured younger players, but luckily I noticed it still sitting in my scans folder, and here it is, better late than never...

 2013 Bowman Sterling Prospect Chris Anderson Auto! 

Anderson is a two million dollar bonus baby, who is now pitching for my local Rancho Cucamonga branch in the Dodgers' minors. 

Finally, a card that traveled - apparently by accident - to ZZ when I put together my previous package for him.

Welcome home, Nomar. 

And THANKS for all these great cards, ZZ. I had a blast opening the package, and adding them to their various new places in binders and team sets. Now I'm in cardboard debt to you.