Card of the Week is of the Old Perfesser, Casey Stengel. I didn't realize it when I started this post, but Casey passed away on this day back in 1975. Casey was a pretty good outfielder for the Dodgers, Pirates, Giants and Braves. He's better known as the manager of the Yankees during their heyday in the 50's, and lead the team to 7 World Series Championships, including 5 straight from 1949-1953. He's best known for being a bit of a nut who ran circles around the brutal New York press with his "Stengelese" - baseball ramblings that straddled the line between genius and insane. He worked his magic with the press as manager of the Yankees and the expansion New York Mets. And oh Lord did the Stengelese come in handy as manager of the hapless '62 Mets. Casey both played for and managed the Braves, so the combination of team loyalty and my love for eccentric screwballs who mangle the language has made him one of my all time favorites. In fact, his 1940 Play Ball card where he is pictured as manager of the Braves is in my top 5 "Dream cards" list along with the '35 Goudey Ruth and '54 Topps Aaron cards. I don't have that card, but I do have this one:
There's the Perfesser in his Boston uniform! So what the heck is this, a reprint? Let's check the back:
1942 Play Ball? What the heck? Play Ball didn't release a baseball card set in '42 due to the war. But TCMA sure did in 1983... In fact between '83 and '84 they printed up sets of cards using the Play Ball design to fill in the war years of 1942 to 1946 when no major baseball card sets were released. The cards are standard sized, follow the 1940 design very closely and have different color ink for the borders on the front for each year. Like a lot of oddball issues from the '80s not a whole lot of collectors are familiar with them. You have to watch out for sellers trying to pawn them off for the same price as an original Play Ball card. The best option is just to buy a complete set, some of which can be found at Fritsch. There's also a second 1942 Play Ball set floating around out there too from independent manufacturer HRT/RES. " Independent manufacturer" being a nice way of saying a couple of card collectors in Philly who got together and printed up some of their own sets in the '70s. These aren't 'official' issues and as such are sort of on the fringe of collecting, but for pre-war enthusiasts without a whole lot of cash these kind of oddball sets along with reprint sets are a good value and a neat way to find some new cards for a team collection.
I already have a few legitimate vintage Stengel cards (although one of them I'm pretty sure is a fake, but that's a subject for another post) but none of them show him as a Brave. This one here isn't an original from the '40s, but it's from a set that was printed when I first started collecting, so it's original enough for me.
I hate expansion teams. There aren't a lot of sticker logo cards out there for them. To make things worse, the Rays ditched the fish this offseason and I can't even find ANYTHING card-related with the new logo on it. In these cases, I have to improvise.
2008 AL East Division Champions:
Tampa Bay Rays
I still can't believe my fingers are typing AL East Division Champion Tampa Bay... surreal.
The Red Sox are in the playoffs and the Yankees are not. That should ease the pain of losing Tom Brady for the year up in New England.
2008 American League Wild Card:
Boston Red Sox
Of course if the Yankees were in the Central division where the Twins and White Sox are currently playing a heated match of "I don't want it, you take it" they would probably win the division in a rout, so it might not be prudent to gloat.
Naaaaah. Go ahead and shout it loud Red Sox nation:
It's ridiculous, but this game doesn't give me the panicky terrors that the South Carolina game did. 'Bama is clearly better than the Gamecocks, and this is probably the toughest game we'll play all year other than Florida, but I'm sill calm and collected tonight. Maybe it's because I know that the Dawgs are solid and can win this game. Maybe because the game is between the hedges. It's probably because Alabama simply isn't that big a rival. You'd think that since they are right next door, the two teams would hate each other, but actually Auburn and Florida are much bigger rivals. And Tech. And Tennessee. And South Carolina. And Clemson when we play them. Georgia Southern's fun too. Alabama, just not that much hate left for them I guess. We really hate Auburn. Our mascot bit one of their players once for Larry's sake. See, there's one thing Georgia and Alabama have in common - WE FRICKIN HATE THE WAR EAGLE. So to spur on the Dawgs to victory, here's a shiny card of Vince Dooley:
Who played football where? That's right - AUBURN. Suck on it, Tide.
Also for no reason whatsoever, here's an old Bowman card of Chuck Bednarik.
Chuck decided he wanted no part of this debacle and bolted for another post.
Wow..... Glad I didn't get all stressed about this game, 'cause 'Bama's spanking us. We're in the black jerseys too. Yeeesh.
It gets worse and worse... If you want to follow along you can watch the Gamecenter on CBS, or through the magic of YouTube can see actual video highlights of the game!
Oy! They jest scored agin!
More game highlights:
But ya know what? Even though we got our asses handed to us by a team coached by the despicable Les Miles...
Last night the AL East was decided by a Red Sox loss against the Yankees. The Rays clinched a tie for the division with the Sox and won it due to the head to head record tiebreaker. So the Rays al AL East champs (did I really just type that??) And the Red Sox are the AL Wild Card. The only fight left in the American League is for the AL Central crown, and right now neither the Twins or the White Sox look like they want anything to do with it.
The NL has two races left, for the NL East and the wild card. Philly clinched at least a tie for the division with a win and a Mets loss yesterday. The Brewers were clutch last night against the hated Cubs and took a one game lead for the last playoff spot. With the win by Milwaukee, the Astros' hopes were ended, despite a 5-4 win over Atlanta with a walk off homer. Here are today's games that actually mean something.
Washington at Philadelphia
Win and Philly gets to pop the champagne. The Mets won already today so there's no scoreboard watching for the Phils.
Florida at New York Mets
This game was in the books before I even got out of bed. Johan pitched a three hitter to cut the Brewers' lead to half a game in the wild card race. Luckily for the Mets, Johan will pitch tomorrow on no days rest and hurl a no-hitter. That really puts some pressure on the Brew Crew.
Kansas City at Minnesota
The Twins got pwned yesterday on their own turf by lowly K.C. I win today puts some huge pressure on the White Sox, a loss gives them hope.
Cleveland at Chicago White Sox
The Sox have to stop the bleeding fast. Four game losing streaks at the end of the season in the nidst of a playoff chase is a good way to get people fired. They face the Tribe again tonight.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee
Milwaukee was clutch last night, but they need to do it again to stay ahead of the Mets. The Brewers control their own destiny, time will tell if that's a good or a bad thing.
It's the last weekend of the year and half the games tonight mean something for the playoffs. There are three division titles and both wild card spots on the line. Four teams in each league are fighting it out and of course, none of them are meeting head to head. Here's tonight's games in order of least desperate to most.
Tampa Bay at Detroit
Tampa has already clinched their first playoff spot and their best record in their brief and miserable existence. A division title over the high salaried Red Sox would be extra sweet. The Rays are in the drivers seat, any combination of two wins over the hapless Tigers and Sox losses give them the crown.
UPDATE: 7:35pm - The Tigers go up 2-0 on an Ordonez double when I wasn't looking. Oops, make that 3-0 as Sheff drives Maggs home. This is not how you win a division, Rays! UPDATE: 7:50pm - Benito Ramon Santiago two run jack. Tigers up by 5. These are the Rays I know! UPDATE: 8:03pm - Woooo! Tampa! Run in on a fielder's choice! UPDATE: After the debate - Detroit takes it, the scoring in the first two innings was enough.
New York Yankees at Boston
Boston is already in the playoffs as they have clinched a wild card berth if they cannot catch the Rays and you know the underachieving Yankees would love to play spoiler in Fenway. On the other hand, I doubt if the Sox are too concerned about going into the playoffs as the wildcard team. UPDATE: 7:24pm - Rain delay in Boston. The game should get going shortly though. UPDATE: 8:05pm - Still rainin'. UPDATE: 8:43pm - Underway, finally. UPDATE: 8:53pm - 1-1, don't care how it happened. UPDATE: After the debate - Wow, Yanks up by 8. Boston squandering an opportunity with a Rays loss.
Washington at Philadelphia
The Phillies control their own destiny, a sweep over the Nationals gives then a second straight NL East title. They might need to sweep too, as the Mets are hosting their last regular season games at Shea and needs every win they can get just to stay in wild card contention.
UPDATE: 7:22 pm - Ryan Howard three run jack in the bottom of the first. Mets fans picked the wrong week to quit smoking. UPDATE: 7:33pm - The Nats get a run back as Elijah Dukes scores on a single in the second. UPDATE: 7:48pm - Washington is rolling over just like Congress. Bases clearling double by Utley, followed by another double by Howard. 7-1 Philthies. UPDATE: 8:29pm - Washington scores boringly to cut the lead to 4. UPDATE: After the debate - Philly gets their 90th win with ease.
Florida at New York Mets
The Mets have two paths to the playoffs hope Philadelphia falters and take back the division, or beat out Houston and Milwaukee for the wild card slot. Both require winning as many games as they can and the Marlins aren't in any mood to lie down against their division rivals.
UPDATE: 7:13pm - Marlins draw first blood and drive in Hanley on a John Baker single in the top of the first. UPDATE: 7:19pm - Uggla knocks in another one on a ground out. Mets fans begin drinking heavily. UPDATE: 8:51pm - Willingham solo homer. Looks like Mets fans picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines. UPDATE: After the debate - Bad loss to the Fish at Shea. With the Phillies win, The best the Mets could hope for is a tie for the division. Looks like Mets fans picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
Kansas City at Minnesota
The Twins have taken back the division going into the last weekend and lead by a half game over the White Sox. They've got the home field advantage against the Royals but even if they sweep they need a Sox loss at some point.
UPDATE: 8:55pm - Too many games going on. I can't keep up. KC picks up three runs on a bunch of singles. UPDATE: After the debate - The twins sweep Chicago and are now getting spanked by KC at home. Terrible.
Cleveland at Chicago White Sox
Chicago was poised to take the division before getting swept in Minnesota. Now they are a half game behind and playing a dangerous team. If the Sox are either a half game up or behind the Twins on Monday, they will have to make up a postponed game against the Tigers and then might have to play a one game playoff. Gotta beat the Indians first though.
UPDATE: 8:18pm - Ben Francisco one run jack. David cheers, Steve weeps. UPDATE: 8:41pm - Konerko with a jack. The Indians scored while I wasn't looking though. 2-1 Tribe. UPDATE: 8:53pm - A.J. Peirzxlkniqwenwkni 2 run homer. David weeps, Steve cheers. UPDATE: After the debate - Chicago's down by 5 in the 7th. Nobody seems to want the Central title.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee
Milwaukee is tied with the Mets for the wild card lead, but they have to go through division rival and Central Champion Chicago to get there. The Cubs and Brewers hate each other every bit as much as New York and Boston so this will be a fierce fight.
UPDATE: 8:39pm - Jim Edmonds plays for the Cubs?? When did that happen? He just hit a solo shot in the 2nd. Sorry Thorzul. UPDATE: 8:56pm - Last update before I go do my Civic Duty. Pass the Maalox. Kendall doubles in Hart to tie the game. UPDATE: After the debate - Three run blast by Rickie Weeks in the 7th gives the Brew Crew a 4 run lead. A win here and they are a game up on the MEts for the wild card.
Atlanta at Houston
Houston is hanging by their fingernails right now after getting screwed over by hurricane relocation. They have to sweep the Braves, hope for the Mets and Brewers to both get swept and then beat the Cubs in a makeup game just to force a three team playoff! Which would be awesome, actually. I might have to root against the Braves this weekend. Naaaaah. They're toast.
UPDATE: 7:15pm - Chipper's out tonight at Houston. Chipper has the batting title locked up, but can pass the Mick for the highest average in a season for a switch hitter if he can raise it up to .366 this weekend. UPDATE: 8:20pm - Houston scored somehow when I was taking out the trash. I don't wanna know how they scored. UPDATE: 8:33pm - Ty Wigginton solo shot over a leaping Francoeur. 2-0 'Stros. UPDATE: 8:50pm - Michael Bourn has lasers for feet. Scored from second on a sac fly. Dammit Astros, let me hit post before you score again! Another run in. they're leading by 4. UPDATE: After the debate - Up 4-3 in the ninth, and an bad throw ties it up. A win by Milwaukee makes this game meaningless. UPDATE: Even later after the debate - Erstad hits a walk-off for the 'Stros. Milwaukee is one out away from ending their hopes.
I'll update the games throughout the night. I need something to distract me from that trainwreck in Mississippi tonight...
Here are the final results from the Jay Buhner rip card straw poll:
Rip the sucka - 37 votes (78%)
Keep it minty - 5 votes (10%)
Desecrate a Bonds card - 3 votes (6%)
Post something good ya slacker - 2 votes (4%)
In a landslide, rip it has been overwhelmingly approved. Two of you think I should quit wasting my time with '90s crap card stunts, I fully expect to see two comments on what you really want to see underneath this post. And don't be an anonymous coward either, fess up!
As for what everyone else wants to see, I shall be performing extraction surgery this weekend and will take plenty of pictures of the gruesome proceedings. Whether I can get the photos off the camera onto my computer remains to be seen, but I'll give it the old college try. No videos though, sorry 'bout that. I'll probably get committed to a nuthouse if I try to find someone to viddy an operation on a baseball card. Expect it to be posted sometime on Monday, maybe Tuesday if I have to resurrect the old computer that the digital camera actually worked on.
In the meantime, if you absolutely have to see some surgery this weekend, play this surprisingly addictive (and disgusting and NSFW) game from [adult swim] - ALAN PROBE: AMATEUR SURGEON. Warning - it is gross and puerile and disturbing and you will end up playing it for 8 straight hours, so be warned.
And we wouldn't want to be hasty now, hoom haroom?
I bought a hobby pack of Upper Deck X last week and soundly panned it. I thought the wrapper was deceitful, the base cards were drek and the machine that cuts out the little divots in the die cut cards was faulty. However there have been dissenting opinions on my verdict. Normally I would dismiss such nonsense with but a slash from my razor-sharp wit, but look at the dude's blog title image.
Now that is something that requires one to consider it seriously. I mean, just the font alone screams "this is serious business". Freakin' CASTRO's in there dude! So I reconsidered and decided to take the UDX retail challenge.
I bought two retail packs at Wally World while picking up milk and bread and caffeine and all that other useless stuff that takes money away from cards. (well, caffeine is not useless) For the record, two retail packs cost the same as one hobby pack but I suspect the odds of pulling a hit of some sort is diminished. Here's the results from the experiment:
Base cards: Jonathan Papelbon, Rafael Furcal, Rick Ankiel
Not bad. next...
Die cut: Corey Hart wears his sunglasses at night.
Xponential card: X-MO Magglio Ordonez
Well, this is different. Nice 'n shiny and you know I love the Red and Black. I still say these cards should have been the base cards for the set.
***LUCKY BASTARD ALERT***
UDX Signatures: JN Josh Newman
Only I could totally trash a product, then immediately pull an auto from retail. Again. This'll be up on Auto-Matic tonight or tomorrow. Aiight, if it happens again on the second pack, I'll know Upper Deck Spies are following me and planting hot packs for me to rip so they get good reviews.
Base cards: Cole Hamels, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano
Hey, got a Brave... I still don't like these cards though.
Die cuts: Trevor Hoffman, Ichiro gold parallel
The Quality control issues for three retail diecuts: Corey - one stuck divot. Trevor - two stuck divots. Ichiro - a big roller mark slashing right through his throat.
Xponential card: X2-DL Derrek Lee squared
I still don't like the base cards, they are way too busy and they feel like a one-off crap product from 2002. The Xponential cards totally kick ass. They look great, feel great, taste great and make sweet sweet love down by the fire. I doubt seriously that I will be building a set or anything, but if I find some sifting through a common box I won't hesitate to pick 'em up. I'm curious about the whole level thing now, I might have to do some research on that and share the knowledge. Despite the quality control problems the die cuts are ok and the set would probably be better off all die cut. I'd really like to get my hands on a base and a die cut from the same player to compare and see if there is actually a difference other than the missing bits. I'm curious about the gold parallel too... it's a shame I got Ichiro with a big scrape across it. I obviously haven't put a whole lot of thought into this product and am just going by what I pulled. Since the UD spies blessed me with an auto I can critique the thing. Pretty pedestrian design, but no one buys auto cards for the design. It's a sticker auto, but it is incorporated into the card very well. I might not have even noticed it was a sticker were it not for the Authentic hologram logo. I'm not sure who Josh Newman is, I'll have to do some digging on that.
Overall, not as bad as I first thought. Not a good set, mind you, but it's got some stuff going for it. I'll keep hammering this into the ground: the Xponential cards should have been the main set. Good, good stuff there. If I were to buy more of this (not likely, but possible) I'd go retail. I'm guessing the autos are plentiful on the Bay, and you just get more cards for your money with retail. Especially Xponential cards. You get two for 4 bucks in retail and only one in a hobby pack. But the hits! What about the hits! I got yer hits righthere buster! Don't buy packs for hits. Yeah, it's nice to pull one, but really, just save your cash and buy the one you want. Much easier and cheaper that way.
This post is once again late, which explains the large amount of teams I'm eulogizing and the slightly stale news reference. I can't let the death of a founding member of Pink Floyd pass unmentioned though. Shine on you crazy diamond. And so long to the baseball diamond for these unfortunate teams.
RIP 2008 Detroit Tigers
What the hell happened here?? I expected the Tigers to waltz into the playoffs, but they can't even frug to .500. No, I didn't say something dirty, frug is a dance. I know it's a pop culture reference that's older than I am, I can't help that I have way too much useless trivia rattling around in my skull. It's alliterative... Frug to Five hundred. That's a high falootin' writing technique right there, wasted on this awful team. I don't know any modern dances anyway. I also don't know what the hell happened to this team, that's why I'm blithering on about dances.
RIP 2008 Texas Rangers
I came this close to typing Longhorns instead of Rangers. I'll bet a good chunk of the Ranger fans have been typing Longhorns for a couple of months now. The Rangers haven't exactly had a bad season, it's just that the Angels clinched the division back in May. There's plenty of good things for Ranger fans to look back on this year. They've got a hell of a lineup, Josh Hamilton is one of the biggest stories of the year, the Ballpark in Arlington is a fantastic stadium, no one messes with them 'cause they're Texas and the pitching staff... well, the pitching staff... ok, so that's one of the not so good things. They might be a contender in '09 if they can get the staff ERA closer to 4.00 than 6.00. Should be easy to do if they just stop trading away stud pitchers.
RIP 2008 Cleveland Indians
Disregard the first four months of the season and this is actually a damn good team! They might be in the playoffs right now if they had let the Cavaliers play for a couple of months after they got bounced by the Celtics. On the bright side, they've got the 2008 AL Cy Young award winner. They got Matt LaPorta from Milwaukee in exchange for a Captain Cheeseburger rental. Fausto, Garko, Asdrubal, Jhonny and Shin-Soo Choo give them the All-name championship. They might actually end up the season at .500 after tanking this summer. And best of all, there's no possible way that lineup can stink any worse in 2009. Andy Marte? Franklin Gutierrez? David Dellucci? Phew.
RIP 2008 St. Louis Cardinals
A pretty meh year for for the Cards. They'll have a winning season, but not much else. Pujols has had a nice year, doubly so since his elbow has been in shreds all season. Ludwick was a nice surprise. So was Lohse. That still doesn't mean they'll do better than 4th in a brutal division.
RIP 2008 Florida Marlins
Look on the bright side. They have the best wins per dollar spent ratio in the majors this year. Hanley's a superstar who has joined the 30-30 club. They've got the best hitting infield around. They've got a bunch of good looking young pitchers, a commodity that is in short supply. They have at least two diehard fans. Maybe three. Get another starting pitcher and a big hitter in the outfield and they could contend next year. Of course management could look at how well they did with a limited payroll this season and slash salaries in half while doubling ticket prices. Triple for games when it rains. This is Florida we're talking about.
RIP 2008 Toronto Blue Jays
I used to like the Blue Jays. I bought a Blue Jays cap at the souvenir stand at a Braves game when I was a kid. I thought that bird logo was really cool. Dave Steib and Fred McGriff were Blue Jays. Heck, Bobby Cox was their manager for a while. And they were Canadian. Everybody loves Canada! And I liked the Blue Jays. Then the Braves played them in the 1992 World Series. And Robbie Fucking Spit Boy Rat Bastard Alomar did that mock tomahawk chop. Now I hate the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays who are stuck forever in the AL East. Along with New York and Boston and their trillion dollar payrolls. And now even the crappy Rays are beating their asses. SUFFER BLUE JAYS SUFFER! Sorry, the Cito Gaston hiring has opened up some old wounds.
RIP 2008 New York Yankees
This is all I have to say about the 2008 New York Yankees:
Atlanta Braves postseason streak: 1991-2005. 14 straight seasons.
New York Yankees postseason streak: 1995-2007. 13 straight seasons.
Ok, so you have more World Series Championships, and you beat our asses twice. So what, you're losers too now. There's one other thing the Yankees got that the rest of of us non-elite teams don't:
Plus half your roster will be 35 or over next year and your payroll is already massive. So good luck with that in '09.
Waiting for the Worms:
Houston Astros: Wild Card Elimination Number = 2 Arizona Diamondbacks: NL West Elimination Number = 3 Milwaukee Brewers: Wild Card Elimination Number = 5 Minnesota Twins: AL Central Elimination Number = 5
Continuing on with the mailbox bounty postings, here's some good stuff I received from Mario over at Wax Heaven. I'm not sure exactly what I sent his way to warrant this package, but there's been plenty of packages going back and forth between Georgia and Florida at any rate. My current Marlins pile is starting to get fat so there will have to be another one going south soon. Here's what came in a well protected package filled with lots of top loaders.
2001 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Chipper Jones Home Opener Souvenirs Base
Now this is a memorabilia card. Fluffy clouds, bunting, a future Hall of Famer and the card itself is thick as a brick. Seriously, the card is thicker than an entire pack of Bowman Chrome. The relic piece is from a base, which is kind of weird, but if you look at the back things get a little better.
There's not only a picture of the actual base, but they have listed the exact game where it was used. Not a good game unfortunately, as the Mets pounded the Braves in the home opener at Shea. It's still pretty unique and it's cool to see the exact game the relic was taken from. My Chipper collection just increased by one which is highly appreciated.
Some 2008 Bowman
There's a few Bowman cards in the package including a Quentin Davis prospect card that I don't think I had. Quentin just won a Southern League Championship with the Mississippi Braves, but he looks like he has a lot of work to do before he'll be called up to the bigs. Along with these two there's also a Bowman card of...
Ah, Mario understands that for a few players it doesn't matter what uniform they are wearing, they are always a Brave. Maddux is definitely one of those players. He's practically a Brave here anyway. Just take the R in Padres, move it after the P, add an extra bump to the P to make it a B, then mangle the D until it looks like a V and you've got Braves. There's four Maddux cards in here, including three from Chrome.
If I had unlimited money and time the Heritage Chrome set would be one I would chase down a card at a time. The Chrome cards really look good with the '59 design. I'm kind of worried about next year's set though, I love the 1960 design, but I remember seeing some Chrome Wrestling cards that also used the '60 design and they were not attractive. Might be the wrestling guys on 'em, or maybe they were just plain ugly. The jury's out on that one, we'll just have to wait and see. One card that looks absolutely awesome though is the...
Daaaaaaaamn these cards look nice! Even the photo with a stone faced Greg about to get caught in a storm at spring training looks good when it's blue refractorized. I want to go out and buy a box of Chrome now just for the blues. But wait, there's...
Even More Chrome
Here's a good chunk of the Braves team set for Chrome. I know I didn't have the Blanco RC yet, I'll have to double check on the rest. There's a nice Xfractor of Francoeur too, just in time for a good September for Frenchy. April through August? BARF. Don't be surprised if Jeff is sporting a Royals jersey next year. KC GM Dayton Moore was part of the Braves organization that drafted Jeff and there's talk that they might be willing to give up a starter like Greinke or Bannister for a shot at Francoeur's potential. After this terrible year, it might be worth it for the Bravos if they can get a solid starter. Lord knows erratic hitting outfielders are much easier to come by than arms nowadays.
A few Goudeys for good measure
I've got the whole Braves team set from 08 Goudey, but now I can work on all those slightly different shaded backs for another team set. Plus where there's Goudeys, there's...
Yeah! I love the Yesco mini and I really love A&G mini cards. Tex? Not so much. Black borders? Oh yass. Two more for the binder right there.
Thanks for the swag, Mario! You might see some Marlins coming your way before too long.
The Atlanta Braves have brought you a championship! A championship of the Tribe Cards Triple Play scratch off game tournament, but hey, a Championship is a Championship... I don't know how the heck I won, but win I did. I guess it was due to all the packs of that junk I opened back in the '90s that helped me out. To the victor go the spoils, and David sent me a 100 count box full of goodies as a reward for my masterful scratch off guessing. Here are the 10 prizes I received as Tournament Champion:
2007 SP Legendary Cuts Gaylord Perry Jersey
I'm a fan of Gaylord. He pitched for the Braves for about 15 minutes and I appreciate pitchers who make a successful career out of throwing junk. His junk had a little extra junk on them perhaps... but if ya ain't cheatin' ya ain't tryin'. This card has what appears to be a powder blue Rangers uni on it, but you never know... it could actually be a powder blue Braves uniform. The back is vague enough about the jersey's provenance that I can easily delude myself into thinking that.
2008 UD A Piece of History/Archives John Smoltz Timeless Moments #036/149
The card is nice enough, but the timeless moment is spectacular. "During a 8/19/07 game against the Diamondbacks, Smoltz passed Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro (2,913) to become the Braves all-time leader in career strikeouts." Love it.
2002 Upper Deck Andruw Jones Game Used Base
In the early days of memorabilia cards, the card companies would pretty much chop up anything and slap it on a card. This card of Andruw has a shred off of a base from the 2001 All Star Game at Safeco Field. A game where Jones did not appear.
2002 Topps Gold Wilson Betemit Class 1 Gold # 251/500
I always liked Wilson and I was pissed when the Braves traded him for magic beans the moment he started contributing to the team. He's languishing as a reserve for the Yankees right now, but I hold out hope that the prodigal son will return one day. This card is a Topps Gold parallel I've never seen before. It also scans a whole lot better than most Chrome cards, especially the gold foil. Hey Topps, whatever you did on this set, do it again.
2005 Bowman Andy Marte Futures Game Gear
Andy Marte and a clipping of his Futures game jersey adorn this card. Marte got the Braves two seasons of Edgar Renteria, who in turn got us hopefully many, many years of Jair Jurrjens, so Andy is just GREAT with me. I'm actually surprised that the Indians fan didn't decide to keep this card of their third base prospect. Oh wait, no I'm not.
2008 Allen & Ginter Carlos Zambrano jersey
I'm not a fan of the Cubs at all, but Z-man is a helluva pitcher. Nice blue jersey swatch too.
2005 Topps Updates and Highlights Dontrelle Willis All-Star Stitches
This card of Dontrelle looks like it got kicked by a donkey, but it's got a bright orange All-Star workout jersey piece on it. Also known as the jersey he wore while watching the Home Run Derby.
2002 Donruss Classics Steve Bechler autograph #417/500
This card makes me sad. I'll talk about it later.
2001 Upper Deck Evolution Billy Sylvester prospect #0255/2250
Billy was a balleyhooed pitching prospect for the Braves who never actually pitched an inning in the bigs. It's a short print for a largely forgotten set so it has that going for it I suppose.
2002 Topps Gold Label Roberto Alomar MLB Awards Ceremony bat
Not a fan of Roberto since his fake chop in the 1992 World Series. This is a neat card though, as it has Alomar's 1998 Topps card barely visible in the background to honor his '98 All Star MVP award. Also, the bat chunk appears to be held on with a piece of saran wrap. This is a very strange looking card.
In addition to these cards David also stuffed the box with 84 additional Braves cards from 1987 to 2008. It's a good mix of new, old, superstar and scrub. There's even two Tom Glavine rookies in there. Here's a top ten of these Bravos.
1991 Score Jimmy Kremers
'91 Score had some good photos...
2005 Topps Fan Favorites Zane Smith
Sorry Topps, but a 15 win season for a terrible club does not make one a Fan Favorite. Zane was actually a better pitcher for the Pirates, and won 16 for them in '91.
1992 Front Row Michael Warner
The card is from a lousy set, the picture on the front is awful and the guy topped out at Triple-A in a 12 year minor league career, but the back has a picture of him as a kid and that counts for something.
1994 Ultra Javy Lopez
Javy looks like he's eight feet tall in this picture.
2008 Bowman Josh Anderson RC
I thought back in spring training that the Braves should have just let the rookies fight it out to be the one to replace Andruw in centerfield, but they went out and got Kotsay anyway. Josh has looked pretty good once he finally started getting some playing time in the bigs, which just proves my theory. Heck, we could have finished in fourth with Josh playing all year, couldn't we?
1991 Score Oddibe McDowell
Two '91 Score cards in the top 10? Who'd a thunk it? Can't argue with this picture though.
2007 Upper Deck First Edition Brian McCann
Brian McCann is Samwise to Chipper's Frodo. Too bad we're all stuck in Mordor without asbestos underwear right now.
1991 Topps Mark Lemke
The one thing I am going to miss most when the Braves' season is over is Mark doing radio broadcasts with Pete Van Weiren. Man, I hope they bring Lemmer back next year. He's low man on the broadcasting totum pole though, so I'm scared they won't. I can't handle losing Skip, Larry and Lemmer from the broadcast booth all in the same year.
1993 Upper Deck Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones is King Arthur to Brian McCann's Sir Bedevere. Too bad the Phillies are farting in our general direction and waving their private parts at our aunties.
1988 Fleer Glenn Hubbard autograph
Wow, didn't expect that... I already have Hubbard's 1984 Fleer card autographed. Maybe I should try to get all his Fleer cards autographed? It would be an interesting collection at least.
Nice bunch of cards from David once again! Thanks man, great tournament, I look forward to the next one. Time to start adding to that Indians pile once again...