Monday, October 30, 2017

Gurriel's Curse Broken

     Baseball is a superstitious sport.  That's not new.  On Friday 10/27, the Astros were back at home for Game #3 after a travel day, and were on fire.  After going 1 for 7 in the first two WS games, Gurriel hit a solo HR off of Yu Darvish in the bottom of the 2nd inning to start a 4-run rally.  Players were rubbing their hands through Gurriel's hair for good luck after that, and ended up winning the game 5-3.

     In the evening after Game #3, the news reported Gurriel pulling his eyes slanted in mockery of Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish, which was obviously a racist gesture.  Even though I'm sure Gurriel is aware of the sensitivity of the racial controversy in existence in America these days,  I don't really think he realized that his gesture fell within that category, being from another country.  Reports came out that he really felt bad about it, and I certainly believe him.  I also think that the shame and embarrassment that he and his teammates felt led to their offense coming out like a deflated tire the next day for Game #4.  Instead of coming on to the field grabbing their crouch like they had the day before, the Astros seemed to come out onto the field with their tail tucked between their legs.  The Dodgers didn't even pitch very well at all, but the Astros couldn't do anything on offense.

     The Astros came into Game #5 deflated again, while the Dodgers took a 4-0 lead.  I had been telling the people I was watching the games with that the Astros were temporarily cursed because of Gurriel's shame, and that the only way they were going to start hitting again was if Gurriel broke that curse.  After going 12 scoreless innings since news came out of Gurriel's gesture, he finally came up to bat in the 4th inning of Game #5 and hit a 3-run HR.  The Astros and Dodgers have been back to their back and forth scoring tactics ever since.  It all seems real enough to me.

Update:  During his first plate appearance in the 1st inning of Game #7, Gurriel tipped his cap to Darvish in sincere apology. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

2018 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

     There are 43 names on the potential BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for 2018.  Here's the list in order by Baseball-Reference's Hall of Fame Career Standards (HOFS):
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, Jim Thome, Mike Mussina, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana, Carlos Lee, Andruw Jones, Chris Carpenter, Billy Wagner, Carlos Zambrano, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Aubrey Huff, Trevor Hoffman, Orlando Hudson, Livan Hernandez, Jack Wilson, Adam Kennedy, Scott Podsednik, Kerry Wood, Ben Sheets, Brad Lidge, Francisco Cordero, Brian Fuentes, Jeff Suppan, Jason Isringhausen, Guillermo Mota, Carl Pavano, Miguel Batista.

     Since I started using past HOF ballot results to help me make determinations on which players are commons, minor stars, semi-stars, and super stars, I've become a supporter of using up all 10 selections allowed.  Here's 9 of my selections (in order) for this year.  Of course, it only proves why I haven't been given the right to vote on the BBWAA ballot.

     The Modern Era Committee (1970-1987) will also meet for the first time this December, but I haven't seen that ballot yet.    

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pages from my Binders: 1993 Topps Yankees Rookies

     While searching through my 1016-card Topps baseball card set from 1993 (825 base + 132 traded + 48 black gold + 9 pre-production + 2 miscellaneous), I came across an interesting page from my binder that I wanted to share.  My collecting habits are not by the straight and narrow--by any means.  I integrate like cards such as base and traded sets, etc.  I also integrate 'cards that never were' as seen below with the '93T Derek Jeter variation card from the 2006 Topps Rookies of the Week insert set.  I've also included a 1993 Bowman Mariano Rivera card since I couldn't understand why didn't didn't already have one having been signed with the Yankees 2 years earlier, and being 6 years older than Derek Jeter.  The set is organized by team performance and then player age.   

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2017 ALCS Game #7: New York Yankees vs Houston Astros

     The question of who will be playing in the 2017 World Series will end today, with the Yankees and Astros getting ready to start game #7 in Houston at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.  A Yankees win would create a rematch of the 1981 World Series with the Dodgers.  An Astros win would create a rematch of the 1981 Northwest Division Playoff Series (before the creation of the NLDS in 1995 and the Astros moved to the A.L. in 2013).  Either way, the theme this year appears to be 1981.

Roadblock to Completing my 1968 Topps Set

     The only thing keeping me from claiming victory on the 1968 Topps baseball card set is a single rookie of a well-known player named Nolan Ryan.

     Although I stopped focusing on completing my sets in reverse chronological order where between the 1970-1972 sets due to cost inefficiencies, I still try to emphasize working backwards as much as I can when the price is right.

     Although I'm only 46 cards away from the '67T set and only 33 cards away from the '66T set, it's hard to feel like I'm really working on those sets since I'm still missing 1 card to complete the '68T set.

     What I do have is a 2003 Topps Shoebox Collection #40 Nolan Ryan RC reprint, which I'm using as a placeholder for now. 

          I also have a 2006 Topps Rookie of the Week #5 Nolan Ryan "card that never was" variation integrated with my set.  That's just something I like to do.  I've integrated Rookie of the Week, Fan Favorites, National Convention, Lost Cards, and other "cards that never were" variations into my vintage sets.  I actually have a 2007 National Convention "cards that never was" for a 1967 Topps Nolan Ryan XRC integrated into my '67T set. 

     I really hope to get a real Nolan Ryan RC soon.

Friday, October 20, 2017

1967 Topps Washington Senators Team Set

     In keeping along with the theme of sharing my completed team sets from the 1967 Topps set, here are all of the Washington Senators cards from the '67T set.   So far, I've only completed 3 teams from this set (Dodgers, Senators, and Giants).  I've already shared my Dodgers team, and I'll post my Giants team next.  There would probably be more interest for the Senators had the Nats not lost out to the Cubs in the NLDS, who in turn, lost out to the Dodgers yesterday.   

Dodgers back to World Series on Enrique Hernandez's 3 HR's

     Enrique Hernadez hit 3 HR's including a Grand Slam with 7 RBI's to tie the Major League record for a postseason game in both categories.

Kershaw only gave up 3 Hits, including a HR against K.Bryant in 6 innings pitched, with 5 strikeouts and a walk for a 2.45 ERA and another postseason win.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Top Stars from my 1986 Topps Set Upgrade

     I just finished upgrading my 1986 Topps set after purchasing 5 extra complete sets.  It really becomes a long and arduous process when you're upgrading with more than 1 extra set at a time--but it's finally done, and my '86T set looks great.  I took one of the extra sets, and broke it up into a pick-lot online.  All but 3 cards in this set fit within the framework on my pick-lots. 

     Here are the 3 most valuable cards from the 1986 Topps set.  They aren't actually very valuable at all, which seems a little unfair since it's difficult to find these cards in high-grade due to the black borders.  This set is much more difficult to find than the later '80s Topps sets, and typically sells for about twice the amount you'd expect to pay for the 1987-1992 sets.  Actually, the 1986 Topps set isn't selling for much cheaper than the 1984 and 1985 sets.  It might be time for Beckett to start taking another look at the $4, $2, and $2 cards that have been designated to lead off this set. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2017 Topps Factory All-Star Bonus Set #1-5

     For the 3rd consecutive year now, Topps has been releasing an All-Star Game factory set containing 5 variations bonus cards.  Before that, Topps released similar type factory sets in 2011 and 2007.  As a long-time factory set collector, I chase all of the factory bonus cards.  Until today, the only All-Star Game factory bonus cards that I've been able to obtain were the 2011 factory inserts.  Today, I've added the 2017 ASG bonus cards to my collection.  These cards will be inserted into my base set as an inseparable part of my 2017 collection.  The only other factory bonus cards currently included in my 2017 Topps set are the rookie variation bonus cards right now. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

2017 NLCS #2: Justin Turner Walk-Off HR

     Tonight, Justin Turner hit the Dodger's first postseason walk-off HR since Kirk Gibson did it on this same day in 1988, giving the Dodger's a 2-0 NLCS lead.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mourning the Tragic Death of Daniel Webb

Daniel Webb died suddenly after an ATV accident on Saturday, October 14th, 2017.  He pitched for the Chicago White Sox during parts of 4 seasons from 2013-2016, before undergoing Tommy John surgery.  Webb was only 28 years old.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

1967 Topps San Francisco Giants Team Set

Trudging through the murky swamp also known as the 1967 Topps 7th Series, I have to celebrate every victory I can get.  Even with only 46 card left to go before set completion, progress on the high-series '67 Topps remains very slow.  My typical strategy of paying only 15%-20% BV for late '60s cards doesn't work with truly scarce gems.  I found that 30%-50% BV is more realistic for even the lowest grade cards from the final series of 1967.  

Today, I received the highest-numbered card of the 1967 Giants, which also happens to be the oldest player on the team that year: Bill Henry's #579 .  Fortunately, today's acquisition completed my Giants team set for my 1967 Topps baseball set, so I can sit back for a few minutes and celebrate a minor victory.  The only other 7th Series card in the 1967 Giants team set is Joe Gibbon's #570, which I already had. 

The 1967 Topps Giants team set consists of 28 cards, which includes a team card, a manager card, a star duo card, a rookie duo card, and 24 other players.  There were 4 Hall-of-Famers in the 1967 Giants team set: Willie Mays, Willie McCovery, Gaylord Perry, and Juan Marichal.  Here are the four pages from my binder that make up the Giants team for 1967 Topps in order by date of birth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Let's go Nats!!!

    The Washington Nationals forced a game #5 tiebreaker with a 5-0 shutout win against the Chicago Cubs in game #4 of the NLDS today.  

     Strasburg finally stepped up, and claimed the start that he was expected to take.  I was there in 2012 during that silly fiasco where he was shutdown for the postseason, and we missed a perfect opportunity to advance in the postseason.  Also, kudos to Tanner Roark, who was ready to pitch game #4 for the Nats.  

     Trea Turner scored in the Top of the 3rd inning to give the Nats a 1-0 lead.

     Michael Taylor hit a Grand Slam in the Top of the 8th Inning to score Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, and Matt Weiters.  Score is 8-0

     The last full section in the back top-left of the following card is where I often sat between 2010-2014 when I still lived within 30 minutes from the ballpark. 

     Jayson Werth remains an important foundational anchor for the ballclub.  I hope they sign him for a 2-year contract after the season because Werth has already proven that he's ready, willing, and able to play.