Wednesday, October 24, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 10:27 AM | Permalink
Willie McGee
Willie McGee, 1989 Topps Big

Debut: 5/10/82
Final Game: 10/3/99

Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Career Line: .295/.333/.396

This is a great card of Willie McGee, even if his left arm is missing. It perfectly highlights the famous pained facial expression that McGee seemed to wear through his entire career. Every aspect of his game, weather it was walking to the plate to bat, or roaming the outfield for the Cards, he made look painful. But he was a good ballplayer. He played on some very good Cardinals teams during his career, and was the 1985 National League MVP, when he posted a .353/.384/.503 line along with 26 2B's, 18 3B's and 56 stolen bases. He finished his 18 year career in 1999 with 2,254 hits.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 9:40 AM | Permalink
Dave Parker
Dave Parker, 1987 Topps

Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Career Line: .290/.339/.471

The 1987 Topps set is one of my all-time favorites. I love the "wood paneling" border. It reflects the style of the times, also seen on station wagons and rambler housing.

Dave Parker is a classic '80s player. Big beards, thin stirrups, tight pants. In the early part of his career, he won a World Series title with the '79 Pirates. Toward the end of his career he won again with the '89 A's. I found it interesting that he played with both Willie Stargell, and Mark McGuire. Two of the greatest hitters of their respective era's. Parker was a fine hitter himself. He finished in the top 5 of the MVP voting 5 times in his career, winning the award in 1978 with a .334/.394/.585 line, along with 30 HR's and 117 RBI's 32 2B's and 20 SB's.

His career numbers are close enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. But will today's inflated power numbers keep Dave Parker out? He finished his career with 339 home runs, 2, 712 hits and a career OPS+ of 121 and OPS of .810.

Monday, October 22, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 8:54 AM | Permalink
Bill Buckner
Bill Buckner, 1987 Sportflics

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Career Line: .289/.321/.408

This is one of those cards that when you change the angle you are looking at it, the picture changes. It doesn't scan too well. The cruel thing about this card is that it shows Bill Buckner in two poses, one in the follow through of his swing, and the other, at first base about to field a harmless grounder. Perhaps the picture choice isn't the cruel thing, but instead that Buckner will never live down his error in the 1986 World Series. The truth is, Buckner had a fantastic MLB career. He played 22 seasons in The Show, amassing 2,715 hits. He won the 1980 batting title with a .324 average. Weirdly, he was only chosen to play in the All-Star game one time in his career, in 1981.

Despite a stellar career, Buckner is immortalized for a ball that went through his legs, in the biggest game in Red Sox memory It might be the most famous play in baseball history. Perhaps though, 21 years later, the baseball gods are leveling the playing field, as the Mets this year accomplished the biggest regular season collapse in history, and the Sox are back in the World Series.

Friday, October 19, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 5:06 PM | Permalink
Jose Oquendo
Jose Oquendo, 1991 Fleer

Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Career line: .256/.346/.317

Jose Oquendo was one of my favorite players because the guy played every position on the field. I once saw a blooper video of him pitching to himself, he hits a grounder to himself at short, and then throws to himself at first. The out ends the inning and we see him running off the field in catcher's gear. All cut together from game footage. In 1989 he became the first player since 1918 to play all 9 positions during the same season.

He was nicknamed the "Secret Weapon", I think because he could play anywhere rather effectively. Although I don't know that you'd want him on the mound in an elimination game.

He played 12 Big League seasons, and today is the third base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 8:48 AM | Permalink
Todd Helton
Todd Helton, 2001 Upper Deck Victory, Big Play Makers

21 of 22. Welcome to the World Series, Colorado.
Monday, October 8, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 3:34 PM | Permalink
Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon, 2007 Upper Deck Goudey

ALDS Game 3: 3 for 4, 4 RBI, 1 R

Damon's 3-run homer put the Indians in a coma. Will they break out of it tonight? I hope so. I don't think I can take another Yankees/Red Sox series. The 68 times they played each other on national television this summer was enough.

The victory by the Yankees avoided all 4 playoff series ending in sweeps. In fact, the 4 run rally the Yankees put together last night was the first time any of the eliminated/trailing teams showed any real signs of life in these playoffs. I wonder what would happen right now if the Cubs played the Angles in a 5 game series. Game 1 might last 17 innings and end 1-0.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 8:00 PM | Permalink
Career Ending?
Roger Clemens, 1993 Donruss

Roger Clemens started for the Yankees tonight in Game 3 of the ALDS. He pitched just 2 1/3 innings before leaving with a tight hamstring. Was this the end for the Rocket? While I have never been a Rocket fan, I have never really disliked him either. Over the course of his career he has been continually dominant. How many 45 year old power pitchers are there in the Major Leagues?

I find myself hoping he gets another chance to pitch. Ending a 24 year career with a 2.1 inning, 4 hit 2 BB 3 ER outing is not a real poetic way to go. But I think chances of seeing the Rocket throw again in an MLB game are very slim.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2012 awaits...
Saturday, October 6, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 10:57 PM | Permalink
Your 2007 Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs, 2007 Topps

For some reason, in the late 80's and into the mid 90's I had WGN as part of my TV package. I did not live anywhere near Chicago. But because of that, during the summers in those years I was able to watch the Cubs almost daily. In my memory, the games were on all the time, Harry Caray calling the game in his distinct, quirky, and amazing way. The more I watched the Cubs, the more of a fan I became. Vance Law, one of my favorite players was on the team, and so was Ryne Sandberg, another one of my all-time favorites. Those were the years of Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, Joe Girardi, and Jerome Walton.

I am still a Cub's fan. I follow the team with a sort of distant loyalty. Quietly cringing over box scores and 4 inning outings by starting pitchers. This year though, I was given reason to hope, to think, that perhaps something special was going to happen in 2007. After all, sheer probabilities would be in favor of the Cubs right? What are the chances of a team going 100 years without winning the World Series?

Tonight the Cubs lost at home 5-1. Completing an unremarkable 0-3 bow out of the playoffs. Another year gone, another year of could-have-beens for Chicago fans, and another year ahead of "this is our year" hype and hope.

It is interesting to see that in the late 80's and early 90's the Cubs were not a great team. However, in 1989, after posting winning percentages of .438, .451, .369 the previous 3 seasons, the Cubs won 95 games and took the NL Central. The next 3 seasons they posted winning percentages of .478, .481, and .481.

My point?

Last year the Cubs went 66-96, and in 2005 they were 79-83. If history is any indicator, we can expect a string of 3 or 4 years of stinkage for the Chicago Cubs. The team history over the last 30 years reminds me of a humpback whale that spends most of its time in deep water, only occasionally coming up for air before plummeting back to the depths. The Cubs came up for air in 2007. It wasn't pretty, but they got the job done and landed back in the playoffs. They went from 30 games under .500 in 2006 to 8 games above in '07. That is an impressive turn-around. But will it last? Only time will tell.

And in the meantime...

There is always next year.
posted by Grizzly Adam at 2:41 PM | Permalink
Playoff Hero/Goat Day 3
Hero's... 2 games, 2 walk off hits. It doesn't get much better.

Manny Ramirez, 2006 Topps Opening Day

Travis Hafner, C.C. Sabathia, Topps 2006 Team Leaders
Friday, October 5, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 8:40 AM | Permalink
Playoff Hero/Goat: Day 2

Chien-Ming Wang, 2007 Upper Deck Goudy

Thursday, October 4, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 8:51 AM | Permalink
Playoff Hero/Goat: Day 1

Josh Beckett, 2004 Fleer Tradition

ALDS Game 1, Red Sox Vs. Angels
9.0IP 4H 0R 0ER 0BB 8K 0.00ERA
Red Sox 4, Angels 0
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 4:05 PM | Permalink
Jamey Carroll
Jamey Carroll. 2007 Topps

This happens to be a very cool baseball card. And today Jamey Carroll is a playoff hero. He came into the game as a defensive replacement, and in the bottom of the 13th inning hit a ball just deep enough for Matt Holiday to tag from third base. It was a fantastic, and somewhat controversial finish to a compelling 2007 season. When Matt Holiday receives the MVP trophy, he ought to remember to send something nice to Jamey Carroll.

Today Carroll perfectly exemplifies the "unconsidered hero". Yesterday he was a slightly above average player on a team nobody knew anything about. Today his sacrifice fly is being replayed on every sports highlight show in the country. Tomorrow? Tomorrow he will likely be just another mostly anonymous face on a team that plays in Denver.
Monday, October 1, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 3:49 PM | Permalink
Game 163
Jake Peavy, 2007 Upper Deck Goudy

Great Pitching


Great Hitting

Todd Helton. 2007 Upper Deck Goudy