Sunday, May 31, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #113: Scott Scudder

Scott Scudder

PHOTO: Wow, this is a great photo. The Reds cards in this set look really good due to the red color of the borders. But also this is a very nice closeup, compacting Scudder's entire frame into the photo. I also like the slight blurriness on his right foot, probably due to the fact that it's so much further back and therefore out of focus (or maybe because it was moving quickly during his follow-through.)

STAT: A pretty impressive list of power hitters had multiple homers off Scudder. The only one who doesn't belong is Mike Fitzgerald, who himself hit multiple homers off just 5 pitchers. Scudder is the least impressive of that list.

ANAGRAM: Scott Scudder, Reds = Odd crested crusts

CAREER: 3/10

Scudder was a slightly below-average pitcher who walked too many guys and didn't strike out enough. He did face 10 batters in the 1990 postseason and didn't allow any earned runs. He was also traded away with Jack Armstrong to give the Reds one good year of Greg Swindell.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #112: Dick Scott

Dick Scott

This guy was the 3rd Dick Scott to play in the big leagues, joining this guy and this guy.

PHOTO: This photo is pretty similar to the other A's photos in this set. But this one features a lady in the background stuffing her face with cotton candy! Jeez, at least wait until the game starts, fat-ass!

STAT: Scott appeared in 3 major league games but got only 2 plate appearances. He didn't get a hit but at least got an RBI.

ANAGRAM: Dick Scott, Athletics = Catch it - sold tickets

CAREER: 1/10

Just 3 games...

Friday, May 29, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #111: Mike Schwabe

Mike Schwabe

PHOTO: Here's another in the long line of posed Tiger Stadium shots in this set. They are all a bit out of focus, too.

STAT: Schwabe had one of the worst WHIPs for 1989, minimum 40 IP.

ANAGRAM: Mike Schwabe = We skim beach

CAREER: 1/10

48.1 career IP

1989 Topps Major League Debut #110: Jeff Schulz

Jeff Schulz

PHOTO: Ahh, the look of shock and awe on a rookie's face. Schulz appears to be watching several of the players having sex on the field during batting practice.

STAT: In just his 14th career plate appearance, Schulz hit a 2-run go-ahead triple off Roger Clemens. That game was Kevin Appier's 16th-career start and second career shutout.

ANAGRAM: Jeff Schulz, OF, Royals = Huffs jellos of crazy

CAREER: 1/10

Just 85 career major-league plate appearances.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just when is that Esteban German card?

Lots of bloggers have already commented on this fairly unusual Esteban German Topps Series II card:

(Image stolen without permission from Night Owl Cards)

I got curious about when this photo was taken. Let's see if we can figure it out from the scoreboard.

Looking at the top left game, the visiting team appears to end in "L", which can be STL, COL, ATL, MIL, or BAL. The bottom team ends in "R", which can TOR, TBR, or KCR. We can eliminate KCR, since that game wouldn't be shown on the outfield scoreboard since it's the game German is playing in. So we know that game is either a Blue Jays or Rays home game, 1-0 home team leading in the top of the 7th inning.

It took a lot of sleuthing, but I eventually figured out that this photo was taken on Sunday June 29th, 2008.

The game on the top left of the scoreboard is ATL visiting TOR. The game on the lower left of the scoreboard is MIL visiting MIN. On the upper right, we have ARI visiting FLA, which featured Dan Haren (#15) against Scott Olsen (then #34 with the Marlins.) On the lower right, we have NYY visiting NYM, which featured Darrell Rasner (#43) against Oliver Perez (#46.)

Another thing that helped narrow this down was that the Royals are wearing home whites. Also German is obviously playing LF. It so happens if you read the recap, German came in to take over for David DeJesus, who was injured in a play at the plate.

1989 Topps Major League Debut #109: Jeff Schaefer

Jeff Schaefer

PHOTO: On the last card, the bat was nearly invisible. On this one, it's totally absent. Schaefer looks like he's speed skating, perhaps.

STAT: Schaefer didn't hit much but did have one game with 7 total bases (although the Mariners still lost.)

ANAGRAM: Jeff Schaefer, SS, White Sox = Reject whiffs, fesses hoax

CAREER: 1/10

Schaefer appeared in the bigs for parts of 5 seasons but didn't reach even 400 PAs.

1989 Topps Major League Debut #108: Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders

PHOTO: I like the photo well enough, especially how the bat is almost end-on facing the camera. If you ignore the fact that Sanders is playing baseball, it almost looks like he's dropping a water balloon.

STAT: Sanders had 2 games with 3 extra-base hits, including one job with two triples.

CAREER: 3/10

It's tough to evaluate Sanders career because we need to look past all the hoopla around him being a 2-sport player. In the end, Sanders was like a lot of other fast guys: not too much extra-base pop and trouble getting on base. His career .319 OBP tells pretty much the whole story. His stolen base success rate of 75% was good enough and his speed allowed him to rack up a fair number of triples (though oddly a low number of doubles.) In the end, his career OPS+ was just 89 and he played only the equivalent of about 4 full seasons thanks to his football commitments.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shopped Cards #6

As always, first correct guess gets +1 for the Week 8 contest.


Shopped Cards #5

What card is this?

First correct answer in the comments below gets +1 added to your Week 8 baseball challenge score.

HINT: With images like this, sometimes it helps to stand far back from your monitor.


Spring training stats

Anybody know where I can get 2008 or 2009 spring training stats, meaning box scoures of specific games?

1989 Topps Major League Debut #107: Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez

PHOTO: Let's compare the photo above with Sanchez's 1988 O-Pee-Chee photo. In this one, his eyebrows, while still thick, are much less caterpillar-ish. However, he's damn near asleep.

STAT: You can go read that post I made about his 88 OPC card for details on his 4 major-league starts. The lone homer that Sanchez gave up in the majors was this 3-run job by Ellis Burks, coming in this game. After the homer, it was 5-0 Red Sox in the first inning and (if you read the play-by-play detail) the Blue Jays had only a 10% chance of winning the game at that point. Win they did, however, thanks in part to a grand slam by Ernie Whitt off Lee Smith in the 9th inning and a 2-run shot in the 12th inning by Junior Felix off Dennis Lamp.

ANAGRAM: Alex Sanchez = Can sex Hazel (Mae, of course.)

CAREER: 1/10

'nuff said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #106: Bobby Rose

Bobby Rose

PHOTO: He's got the Michael Jackson look going on.

STAT: Get this...Rose hit only 5 major league homers but TWO of them were pinch-hit jobs off the late Steve Howe. And two of his other jacks were off Randy Johnson and Jack McDowell. He should be proud of that resume, limited as it may be.

ANAGRAM: Bob Rose, Angels = Enlarges boobs

CAREER: 2/10

Rose, one of the few majors leagues with that surname who wasn't either a gutless cheat or terrible player, was nevertheless only average in bits of four seasons in the majors.

Traded Sets Baseball Challenge: Week 8

Something a bit new for this week. You pick three teams playing games on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of this week, and your final score is the total number of runs scored by those 3 teams in their games.

So here is a sample entry (this is not my own entry for the contest):

Tigers on Thursday May 28th (vs Orioles)
Dodgers on Saturday May 30th (vs Cubs)
Padres on Friday May 29th (vs Rockies)

So let's say the Tigers win 7-4, Dodgers lose 8-2, and Padres win 5-4. My final score would be 7 from the Tigers, 2 from the Dodgers, and 5 from the Padres, 7+2+5 = 14. It doesn't matter if the teams you pick win or lose, nor do you have to pick one game from each day.

  • You can pick the same team and game as someone else, but if you completely duplicate an earlier entry, you'll lose on the tiebreaker.
  • Ties are broken based on who posted their comment earlier.
  • You can enter any time between now when your games start. In other words, your entry cannot contain any games that have already started. So, you can enter on Friday or Saturday if you want, as long as you pick only games that start after your entry is posted. Otherwise, I'll ignore your entry.
  • MAKE SURE you put the right days for your games. If you forget or it's unclear, I'll ignore your entry.
Here are the games for Thursday May 28th
Here are the games for Friday May 29th
Here are the games for Saturday May30th

The winner gets a selection of cards.

Night Owl gets +1 because he guessed Shopped Card #4 correctly. You can still earn yourself a bonus point by guessing Shopped Card #1 (be sure to read all the hints in the comments.)

I am also making the jackpot easier to win this week. If you are the winner and one of your selected teams scored 12 or more runs, or your 3-team total is at least 30 runs, you win the jackpot.

Here's what's in the jackpot:
  • 1988 Score Rookies & Traded set
  • 2 packs 2009 Topps Heritage baseball
  • 6 packs 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 baseball
  • 9 packs 2008 Topps Series 1 baseball
  • 4 more packs of 2008 Topps Series 1 baseball
  • 3 packs of 2009 Upper Deck Artifacts: A Piece of History Baseball
  • 4 bonus insert T-205 design packs from Target Topps 2008 Series 1 Baseball blasters
  • NEW: 4 more packs of 2009 Upper Deck Artifacts: A Piece of History Baseball
That's 32 packs, folks. Somebody's gonna win the jackpot this week. Good luck!

Shopped Cards #4

Be the first to correctly identify this card and get +1 added to your total for the Week 8 challenge (to be posted later today.) Post a comment here with your guess.


RESULTS: Traded Sets Baseball Challenge: Week 7

So, the challenge from last week required us to pick the team that would score the most runs on Saturday May 23rd.

Checking the scores, that was the Rays, who posted a 10-spot on the Marlins.

So who picked the Rays? Oh yeah, it was ME. Beat you all again. (Third time I am a winner or co-winner of this contest.)

Another shopped card and another weekly challenge will be posted later today.

1989 Topps Major League Debut #105: Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

PHOTO: Not much to say about this photo, except that there appears to be a snow-covered log cabin behind Rogers on the left.

STAT: From 1989 to 2008, Rogers was 7th in baseball in wins, ahead of Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, and Jamie Moyer.

ANAGRAM: Kenny Rogers, P, Rangers = Angry sponger Ken errs...

CAREER: 6/10

Boy, it's tough to score Rogers. He's currently a free agent and his career is probably over, but he did a lot of good things. He is often maligned for his poor post-season performances with both the Yankees and Mets, especially given how well he pitched for the Tigers (including the playoffs) later in his career.

The fact of the matter is that this guy was a very good pitcher. He won 219 games with a .584 W-L% although he did benefit tremendously from playing for excellent offensive teams. (His neutralized pitching record is actually under .500, a remarkable drop.) Still, until his last season in 2008, ne never had a losing record in any full season with more than 22 starts.

Monday, May 25, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #104: Mike Roesler

Mike Roesler

PHOTO: Here's another Red...

STAT: Roesler allowed 5 homers and they were all interesting to some degree. One was a 3-run shot by Andre Dawson in the 12th inning. Three others came when he team was down but close in a game. And the other one was to the opposing pitcher, Don Robinson.

ANAGRAM: Mike Roesler = Irk me or else

CAREER: 2/10

Just 31 innings for this guy, although he pitched pretty nicely actually with a career ERA of 3.77 and WHIP of 1.23. He gets a 2 instead of a 1 because he was also included in the trade for Bill Hatcher. (see also Jeff Richardson.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #103: Rosario Rodriguez

Rosario Rodriguez

PHOTO: We have a significant string of Reds players starting with Jeff Richardson and continuing here with Ros-Rod. I guess they had a lot of players debut in 1989, and they mostly came from the end of the alphabet.

STAT: Rodriguez gave up four homers, all to very good players and all when his team was already behind.

ANAGRAM: This guy pitched a lot at home....Rosario Rodriguez = Road rigour is zero

CAREER: 1/10

Just 30 career innings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #102: Kevin Ritz

Kevin Ritz

It's amazing how many of the guys in this set were expansion picks, and Ritz is another, taken by the Rockies.

PHOTO: The photo is fine although that pea green color bugs me, as does the blurry Pirates logo in the background.

STAT: Ritz was the first pitcher to post more than 12 wins in a season for the Rockies when he won 17 in 1996. Of course, that year Ritz had the worst-ever ERA for a guy who won at least 17 games. (It's worth pointing out, though, that his ERA was just about league average when adjusted for playing in Coors Field.)

CAREER: 3/10

Ritz was a better player than his numbers indicate thanks to playing in Colorado, but still wasn't all that great and didn't stick around long due to injuries. Even though his numbers were deceptively decent in 1995 and 1996, his win totals were an important milestone for that franchise becoming competitive.

Contest notification

To be notified when new contests are posted to Traded Sets, email me at 88topps at gmail dot com & ask to be added to the contest list.

1989 Topps Major League Debut #101: Rob Richie

Rob Richie

After his baseball career, Rob Richie went on to a very successful music career. Oh wait, that was the other Rob Richie.

PHOTO: A ho-hum photo saved only by the fact that the man has a great smile.

STAT: Richie had a very short but very productive major-league career. Of his 13 career hits, he had 4 doubles, 2 triple, and 1 homer, as well as 3 hits that brought his team back from a deficit. He had a 132 OPS+ in his lone season (comprising only 55 PA.)

CAREER: 1/10

Richie barely played in the majors after jumping through the minors. He played well with the Tigers in 1989 and then never played professional ball again. I can't find any record of what happened to him but I assume he must have gotten injured. Does anybody know?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #100: Jeff Richardson

Jeff Richardson

PHOTO: Although Richardson doesn't look all that confident, this is a pretty awesome photo with all the red. It actually matches the card border.

STAT: This Jeff Richardson had a short career (see below) but there was another major leaguer named Jeff Richardson who had an even shorter career. The latter appeared in just one game for the Angels in 1990. (Interestingly, this second Ricahrdson was a pitcher and faced just two major league batters. The first one he allowed a bases-loaded triple to and the second he got on a groundout. Check out the box score. So he has a career ERA of 0.00 but did allow three inherited runners to score.)

ANAGRAM: Jeff Richardson = Franchise fjord

CAREER: 2/10

Richardson appeared in parts of 3 seasons, disappearing from the big leagues for a year in between each time. With only 171 major-league plate appearances, why does he get a score of 2? Because of this trade:

April 3, 1990: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Mike Roesler to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Billy Hatcher.

Hatcher had a decent year for the Reds in 1990 and then exploded in the post-season, including hitting 9-for-12 (.750) in their 4-game sweep of Oakland in the World Series.

1989 Topps Major League Debut #99: Rusty Richards

Rusty Richards

PHOTO: This photo is just plain weird, as the equipment on the field looks like it's attached to the front of his uniform. Odd. I do like the batting cage and tree in the background, and overall this card has a lot of nice colors.

STAT: Richards gave up 3 career homers, but all 3 were to catchers: one to Mackey Sasser and two to future HOFer Craig Biggio.

ANAGRAM: Rusty Richards = I crush dry rats

CAREER: 1/10

Richards only got into 3 major-league games.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #98: Marty Pevey

Marty Pevey

PHOTO: This guy is clearly a catcher. Nice batting practice Expos jersey on display.

STAT: Pevey had only 2 extra-base hits in his career, but at least he drove in a run and scored a run in both of those games. The Expos went 6-5 in the 11 games that Pevey started.

ANAGRAM: Marty Pevey = A very empty

CAREER: 1/10

Just 42 career plate appearances...

1989 Topps Major League Debut #97: Jeff Peterek

Jeff Peterek

PHOTO: Another overexposed, washed-out shot, but I like it anyway since that's probably Jim Gantner in the background. However, if it was this game, it might be Bill Bates. Or if it's this game, it might be Gul Polidor or even Paul Molitor.

STAT: A bit personal here. I happened to watch Peterek's major league debut on TV. I remember Bobby Mercer (broadcasting for the Yankees at that time) talking quite a bit about the correct pronunciation of Peterek's name, which if I recall correctly is "Pee-trek." In that game, Dave Righetti blew the save, costing Andy Hawkins a win.

ANAGRAM: Jeff Peterek, Brewers = Prefers jerk webfeet

CAREER: 1/10

Just 7 career games for Peterek, although he didn't pitch horribly. He finished with a 4.02 ERA, pretty close to average for 1989, but he walked 14 guys in 31 innings.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Traded Sets Baseball Challenge: Week 7

OK, time for something a little different this week.

All you need to do to win is guess which team will score the most runs in their game on Saturday May 23rd.

Check right here for a list of games and pitching matchups.

  • Put your guess in a comment on this post.
  • Once a team has been guessed, nobody else can guess the same team.
  • Only the regularly-scheduled games for Sat May 23rd count. Games added from earlier postponements do not count.
  • If a game gets suspended, it's my discretion whether to wait for it to be completed or made up.
  • Ties are broken by the earlier time of the comment.
  • Your guess must be made before all the games start on Saturday, even if the team you're picking hasn't started playing yet.
If you are the winner and your team scores 16 runs or more, you also win the jackpot. (This has happened 3 times so far this season already.)

Here's what's in the jackpot:
  • 1988 Score Rookies & Traded set
  • 2 packs 2009 Topps Heritage baseball
  • 6 packs 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 baseball
  • 9 packs 2008 Topps Series 1 baseball
  • 4 more packs of 2008 Topps Series 1 baseball
  • 3 packs of 2009 Upper Deck Artifacts
  • NEW 4 bonus insert T-205 design packs from Target Topps 2008 Series 1 Baseball blasters

All the teams are playing this Saturday, and with the exception of Cubs/Padres, all teams are playing an interleague matchup!

1989 Topps Major League Debut #96: Ramon Pena

Ramon Pena

PHOTO: Pena made only 8 appearances in the big leagues. His career ended prematurely after he got rolled up in that tarp coming up behind him in the photo.

STAT: This poor guy pitched in 8 career games and all were losses for his team. In fact, his team was already behind in every single game he entered.

ANAGRAM: Ramon Pena = A prone man

CAREER: 1/10

8 career games and a 6.00 ERA.

Shopped Cards #3

First commenter to correct identify the card gets +1 added to his team run total in the Week 7 challenge (which hasn't been posted yet.)



One year ago today, two things happened:

1) Jon Lester through a no-hitter

2) My daughter was born

I picked up a 2008 Topps Heritage card honoring Lester's no-hitter. Does anybody else have any other cards (such as this one) that mention the date 5/19/2008? I would be quite happy to trade for them.

Email me at 88topps at gmail dot com

1989 Topps Major League Debut #95: Dean Palmer

Dean Palmer

PHOTO: Here's another washed-out shot. Too bright.

Interesting that as a rookie he was allowed to wear #16, despite being a September call-up.

Nobody wore #16 for the Rangers in 1988 or 1990 (Palmer was in the minors in 1990.) But Mike Mason wore it in 1987 and Palmer had it again in 1991.

STAT: In the 9 seasons from 1992 to 2000, Palmer had the 4th-most strikeouts in baseball. The good news is that you've got to be fairly productive to get that many strikeouts. Over that same period, Palmer was 17th in homers and 29th in RBI. Fairly productive, at least.

: Dean Palmer = Re-napalmed = Alarmed pen

CAREER: 4/10

Palmer is another "what if" guy, meaning what if he hadn't gotten injured so much. He was "fairly productive" in most years, often posting an OPS+ between 105 and 120, which is very good. He posted 4 different 30-HR seasons but played in 100 games in a season only 7 times in his career. By age 33, he was finished.

Ordinarily, a guy with 275 career HR would get a higher score than 4, but he simply didn't play enough and didn't make enough All-Star teams to earn a higher score.

Monday, May 18, 2009

1989 Topps Major League Debut #94: John Orton

John Orton

PHOTO: I like that we can see that Orton is really using his own bat, judging by the matching #14s on the knob and on his back.

STAT: Orton had 4 career homers, and surprisingly half of them have cards in this set: Wilson Alvarez and Jaime Navarro. Of course, I've also posted cards for Tim Leary and Shawn Hillegas before.

ANAGRAM: John Orton = Jot on horn

CAREER: 2/10

Part of 5 seasons in the bigs totaling fewer than 500 plate appearances. I guess McKaskill was wrong (see card back below.)

RESULTS: Traded Sets Baseball Challenge: Week 6

So, wow, we had 29 entries (although one person repeated an earlier guess.)

RBI leaders for Saturday May 16th:

Teixeira 4
Mi Cabrera 4
Ibanez (Game 1) 4 (and 3 more in Game 2)
C Snyder 5

Nobody guessed Snyder, but the 3 other guys were all guessed. I can't give Ibanez his 2-game total of 7, but he's a co-winner with his 4-RBI performance in Game 1 of a double-header.

So our winners this week are:

gcrl AGAIN with Teixeira
RoofGod AGAIN with Miguel Cabrera
Raphy (one of my coauthors at the blog) with Ibanez

Raphy--I just need to get your mailing address. I know you want Yankees cards :) I have everybody else's info already.

That's 3 wins in 6 weeks for gcrl of Garvey Cey Russell Lopes. Come on guys...we can't let a Dodger fan keep on winning :)

1989 Topps Major League Debut #93: Greg Olson

Greg Olson

PHOTO: This guy is quote obviously a catcher, making it easy to differentiate him from Gregg Olson the pitcher. Catcher photos without the face mask or protective gear freak me out a little. Would you want a catch a 95 MPH fastball without a mask or chest protector?

STAT: Check out Tom Glavine's career numbers by catcher. The last column, tOPS+, breaks out Glavine's own offense-allowed numbers by catchers. Olson's figure of 88 means that batters did far less against Glavine when Olson was catching him as compared to the rest of the catchers. Javy Lopez also did well (but not as well as Olson) with a 93. Mike Piazza and Paul LoDuca were both over 100. Here's the same stuff for John Smoltz. Here, Olson was average with a 99. Smoltz did better with Lopez (90) but was generally quite close to 100 for most of the otehr guys (Berryhill 102 and Estrata 108 for example.)

ANAGRAM: Greg Olson = Loser gong (failed game show contestant)

CAREER: 3/10

Olson couldn't stick long in the majors thanks to arriving when he was already 28 and just not hitting much at all. He did hit pretty well in the 1991 playoffs includin the most important hit of this 1991 NLCS game.