31 July 2010

1993 Columbus Clippers Cornucopia of Hensley Meulens

      After another impressive AAA season in 1992, but another disappointing trip to the Majors, 1993 would be the last year for Hensley Meulens to play in the Yankees organization.  The writing was on the wall even in January, as there were rumors of the Yankees dealing Meulens for some extra bullpen depth, and Meulens openly requesting a trade, alas the it wouldn't happen.  For whatever reason, the Yankees had protected Meulens in the 1992 expansion draft.  As a result, they lost Charlie Hayes, their regular man on the hot corner to Colorado.  A converted third basemen, Meulens had no where to play.  Dion James was filling in well in left and to make matters even worse for Meulens, never a smooth fielding third basemen to start with, the Yankees signed Wade Boggs to replace Hayes.

      Not able to secure a spot on the Yankees roster to start the season (not aided by a 5 strikeout performance in late March; four swinging, one looking with the bases loaded), Hensley would start the year in Columbus.  He would be recalled in late May, when Danny Tartabull went down with a bruised kidney after an outfield collision with Gerald Williams (somewhat ironically, Randy Velarde would join Tartabull on the DL, ten days later, with a fractured pelvis after an outfield collision with Meulens).  But getting into only 30 games over June & July, he would be sent back down to Columbus in early August, effectively killing his playing time for the year.

     However, as unsatisfying as the year was for the frustrated slugger, 1993 was a good baseball card year for the Columbus Clippers, and Meulens by association, with three sets being produced.  From the looks of them, all of the photos came from the same photo session.  The Columbus Police Department and Cracker Jack sponsored a set, once again; the 10th straight year of Police sets for Columbus.  For the second year in a row, the set features the players' vital stats and card number on the front of the card.

    There was also this set, produced for the team by Metro Media Marketing, Inc., and on much thinner stock than most sets:

    Finally, there was the big name, Fleer/ProCards checking in with their yearly team set:

     By November 27th, New York had finally run out of patience, and Meulens would get his wished-for release, being placed on waivers by the Yankees and signed by the Chiba Lotte Marines and head to Japan for the 1994 season.

27 July 2010

2000 Upper Deck Hitter's Club Autographs DW

     Major score on eBay last week and it finally hit the mailbox today. Thanks to a poorly labeled auction ("1967 NY YANKEES signed DAVE WINFIELD upper deck authent"; it was included in a scan with a 1967 Topps card that was a separate auction), I managed to snag this nugget for just under $5!

     As I've probably mentioned a time or two in the past, I'm not the world's biggest autograph hound, but even I couldn't pass this one up. And after missing several other autographed cards in the past week (I held to my $10 max, but some people still got really good deals thanks to my restraint) I was really surprised to win this one, even with the poorly chosen title. This is #805 in my collection out of the possible 1930 different Dave Winfield cards deemed worthy of recognition by Beckett.

     Oddly, the seller found it necessary to include his own certificate of  authenticity, as if that provided on the reverse of the card, printed there by the manufacturer, weren't assurance enough.  Though, considering the credibility of the gentleman who's name is found on the back of the card, perhaps it was warranted.  As the U-2 folks say, "In God We Trust.  All Others We Monitor." Thanks, Mr. Zippo!

     Once I build up enough credit in my CheckOutMyCards account, I'll pull the trigger to ship the 7 I have waiting in my account there, but until they're in my hands and in my Winfield binder, they're not officially part of my collection. So #806-812 are "to be announced" to quote TV Guide.

23 July 2010

2003 BBM Sluggers Tuffy Rhodes acquired!

Thanks to NPBCardGuy over at the Japanese Baseball Card Blog, I've been able to fill one more hole in Ye Olde Tuffy Collection, his 2003 BBM Sluggers card:

There is also a sepia tone parallel of this card that I've yet to see anywhere online.

I was finally able to put one of those cards I bought from Mr. Angeles to work and traded this 2001 BBM Century Best 9 insert of the legendary Hiromitsu Ochiai:

Surprisingly, that's the first trade I've made with another blogger. Most of my trades take place on TheBench. Hopefully this will be the start of a trend resulting in another dozen or so people with excess Tuffy Rhodes cards starting blogs about Japanese baseball cards!

21 July 2010

Why Were They Diamond Kings?

Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius: Show and Tell #54: They Were Diamond Kings?: "I received a bunch of Diamond Kings toward my project to collect all the DKs from 1982-1992 from Mike D. When I looked at some of the cards..."

Taking a cue from Matt, I thought it might be interesting to see how long it took Donruss to run through the "usual suspects" for each team when they were choosing Diamond Kings each year, and how many years it took them to repeat those star players when they ran out of ways to rationalize someone like Glenn Hubbard or John Cangelosi as a Diamond King. You know what I mean, every team in the 80s-90s had one or two players (rarely three) that you could point to as the franchise. But since the Diamond Kings weren't fan voted, you couldn't just have the same 26 guys in there every year like you could the All Star Game.

Take the Padres for instance. Now, the obvious player, of course, is Tony Gwynn. But since I'll just run thru all of San Diego's Diamond Kings from 1982-2001 and see what we get since they didn't tend to repeat guys in consecutive years.

1981 Dave Winfield (only in my imagination)
1982 Ozzie Smith (Top Padre gets the nod as he's walking out the door)
1983 Terry Kennedy (had a good 1982 season and Garvey had only just had a DK in 1982 for Los Angeles)
1984 Dave Dravecky (#3 starter but the best year on a lackluster staff, and Gwynn hadn't played a full season yet)
1985 Tony Gwynn (no surprise there)
1986 Goose Gossage (had a surprisingly good year, and they couldn't pick Tony again already)
1987 Kevin McReynolds (had a year good enough they didn't have to resort to Gwynn again, yet)
1988 Benito Santiago (1987 ROY!)
1989 Tony Gwynn (used up all their excuses and had to go with the team star)
1990 Ed Whitson (crap, we just used Tony, didn't we?)
1991 Roberto Alomar (despite having a below average year, but this actually could have gone to Joe Carter, Bip Roberts or even Ed Whitson again, who had a decent 1990)
1992 Fred McGriff
1993 Gary Sheffield
1994 Tony Gwynn (I guess they ran out of 1 year free agent signings, so it's back to Tony)
1995 Tony Gwynn (Well, he DID just hit .394 in an injury shortened season in '94, and it wasn't as if their pitching staff was setting the world on fire)
1996 Tony Gwynn (seriously? It could have been Ken Caminiti with a .302, 26HR, 94RBI season. This was just lazy)
1997 The set was cut to only 10 cards, and the Padres were out, despite Caminiti's 'roid fueled 40HR, 130RBI, .326BA season, he is snubbed for a second straight year.
1998 Tony Gwynn (seems any interest in spreading the love around is gone...Tony gets his 6th DK nod despite Trevor Hoffman's 37 saves, but in fairness, Tony hit .372 with 220 hits and 119 RBI)
1999-2000 I was out of the hobby at the time, but had no idea there were no Donruss sets in 1999 & 2000!
2001 Seems Donruss was making up for lost time and issued a couple of 1999-2000 retro sets, but the Padres didn't rate in either. However, Mr. Gwynn does make one more appearance in the 2001 set when the choice easily should have been Phil Nevin.

Overall, not the results I was expecting, and I'd forgotten how San Diego was picking up hired guns to fill the #4 hole every year for awhile there. Surprisied to see Joe Carter didn't pickup a Padre DK.

19 July 2010

"And they give ya cache, which is almost as good as money!"

Filled in a gap in the colección de cachet last week with this one:

As further testament to this being a wide open field for player collectors, with not a whole lot of competition, this went for a whopping $1.99 +$1.50s&h.  Though, at the same time, I missed two of the 1991 Gateway 400HR cachets due to my strict $10 or less bidding strategy for autographed stuff.  I'm hoping it exists unsigned as I don't really care much about autographs anymore.

Something that caught my eye, though, is that both the 1985 & 1987 Gold Glove cachets show Winnie at the plate or on the bases, yet his 1986 Z Silk 100 RBI's cover shows him fielding.  Go figure.  Though I suppose it's not too far out of kilter since Gold Glove awards almost always go to great hitters.  Outside Ozzie Smith, you never saw them awarded to all-field, no-hit players no matter how great a defender they were.

11 July 2010

Colorful, silky and with quite the cachet of "cool".

       Once in awhile a non-card item catches the eye of the ever vigilant player collector.  Whether it be a can of RC Cola,  embroidered patch, various and sundry idols and graven images or a stamped and cancelled commemorative silk cachet.  'Tis the latter that brings together two of the most prominent forces in the collectible universe, that of baseball and stamps.  Though first day covers featuring baseball players have been around since at least the late 1960s (and probably a bit earlier), the field was hollow and incomplete until 1979 when the Gateway Stamp Company, one of the most prominent issuers of said novelties did put forth the first featuring one Dave Winfield:

      Renata Galasso, who had issued several sets of baseball legends sets with TCMA, entered the arena, issuing covers for various players and occasions from 1982-1984.  One of those commemorated the American League batting race of 1984 that saw the lead decided on the very last game of the season:

      'Z' Silk, often featuring artwork by Susan Rini, produced silk cachets and similar pieces from at least 1984-1997.  With the high quality of Rini's paintings, one almost has to wonder why none of the baseball card manufacturers worked with her for the various Diamond King sets considering how spotty some of Dick Perez's work was in the 1980s (such as the beak he gave Dave Winfield on his 1987 Diamond King card).  There were a lot of covers issued for Freehold, NJ collectibles shows:

      They marked every All-Star Game from 1985-1988:

     Gold Gloves:

      Milestones such as his 300th career home run:

      200th home run as a Yankee:

       5th straight season of 100 or more RBI (if Rickey Henderson hadn't missed 1/3rd of the 1987 season for injuries, Winfield would have ended up with seven straight seasons from 1982-1988, he only missed it by 3 RBI in 1987):

      And even just an impressive 1987 Opening Day:

      Colorano, who had been issuing covers since the early 1970s, captured the event of Dave's 400th career home run (Gateway did as well, I just haven't found it yet):

      Photo File, Major League Baseball's primary photograph licensee, has dispensed with the silk and gone to printing the photos directly on the envelope paper for their Hall of Fame Induction Day covers.  I presume a cover was issued for each of Dave's teams, but thus far, I've only see them for San Diego, New York and Minnesota (though the Hometown Hero Station cover for Minnesota may be something completely unrelated):

       They've added a great extra bit of color to my Dave Winfield collection, and at what I would consider fairly reasonable prices.  Even including the signed 1979 cachet, I've managed not to pay more than $10 for any of them.

       For more ecstatic philatelic fun, be sure to visit these blogs and sites for a wider look at the world of baseball first day covers:
Rickey Henderson Collectibles
The Pete Rose Baseball Collection

Or check eBay, maybe there are a few of your favorite player or team.

Cachets and First Day Covers on eBay