Saturday, March 29, 2014

Complete: 1989 Bowman Toronto Blue Jays

Ernie Whitt (photo courtesy of eBay)
Well, I am not even close to done sorting out the 5000-card box that I recently received in trade, but I am making slow progress.  One thing that is done is my 1989 Bowman Toronto Blue Jays team set.  Of course this is kind of cheating.  Thanks to the non-standard height of these cards, I was able to easily pluck them out of one of the rows.  Turns out the entire team set was there, so the Jimmy Key and Tom Lawless that I already had are now available for trade.

This is an interesting set to me.  I've always liked the cards -- partially because of their non-standard size -- but always hesitated to try to collect them individually.  Entirely because of their non-standard size.  Once upon a time I owned a factory set, but never took it out of the box to put into binders because the only pages I'm aware of that can hold them would require every card to be sideways.  Of course now I'm going to have to do that anyway just to be able to "binder" this team set with the rest of my cards.  C'est la vie...

The photos in this set obviously don't have the gloss to compete with their Upper Deck counterpart, but I actually like the kinda 'flat' photos.  If you don't try to compare them and simply look at the photos for what's in them, they're quite good, in my opinion.  There's a decent variety of poses, but they are all very simple.  I mentioned in an earlier post, that I like cards that show an action shot with the fans and the field/stadium in the background.  This set has that going for it.  And while that stuff is visible in the photos, Bowman blurred them out to make sure the player on the card is what is in focus.  I think it works.  The signature on the bottom of each card is a design element that I don't think had been on a card since 1980 Topps; it doesn't do much for me, but it doesn't detract from the card either.  The white border is a standard element on Bowman again in 1990 and 1991 (not sure about 1992 without looking, to be honest, and am just too lazy to look.  Hell, I didn't even scan these images myself, I ripped 'em off of eBay!)

Fred McGriff (image courtesy eBay)
Something else great about this set is the representation of the power blues!  By today's standards, many probably consider those to be ugly jerseys, but I like them; probably largely for the nostalgic value.

Oh, and I almost forgot!  How do you talk about 1989 and not mention an AL East title?  The Blue Jays finished with a record of 89-73, only 2 games ahead of Baltimore.  What's especially cool about that is that the last two games of the Jays' season were at home against Baltimore.  The Jays won the first game 2-1 in 11 innings and took the second game 4-3 in 9 innings.  Incidentally, Tom Henke got the win in the first game and the save in the second, while Orioles' pitcher Mark Williamson took both losses.

Of course, the Jays would go on to lose the ALCS to the eventual World Series winning Oakland Athletics in 5 games in a series that might be better remembered for the massive earth quake that toppled the city than for the baseball.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My first trade post -- it'll take a while to top this!

More than once, I've heard that everything is bigger in Texas. And while I've never actually been there, now I believe it.

Before I started this blog, I made a trade with Texas native Rich Klein (yes, the Rich Klein of "Rich's Ramblings" fame; if you haven't already, you should check out his column on SportsCollectorsDaily.com).  The deal was simple.  I sent Rich some pre-war cards that didn't fit my collection and in return he put together a box of Blue Jays cards covering 1977-2014.

This was on my porch this morning
Based on our discussions, I figured the box would be a good for some entertainment; and add some cards to my collection.  Rich said it would take him some time to get together, and that was that.  I waited patiently.  I figured I'd be lucky and get 1600 mixed Jays cards to go through.  If I was really lucky, maybe I'd get 3200 of 'em.  When I got home this morning, I found an absolutely massive box on my porch.  Somehow I didn't even notice it at first.  I had parked on the road and was half-way up my (short) driveway when I saw it.  My first thought isn't safe for print; suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Here are a couple additional photos to give you an idea of just how many cards were actually in this box.  And as you may well have imagined, any plans I had of getting stuff done around the house today were basically shot.  I spent a solid couple of hours just looking through these cards.  Cataloging them will take me weeks, but I at least ripped through quickly and found the pre-1995 Topps and Upper Deck cards to update my posted wantlists.  But that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Had you asked me yesterday, I'd have said my collection was short on 1981-1988 Fleer, 1981-1987 Donruss and 1988-1990 Score.  I don't think I can say that today, though.  My challenge now is going to be to get through this monster and sort everything out.

As agreed upon with Rich, there is some duplication in this box specifically for trading.  If you have any particular Jays cards you're looking for (especially base sets), let me know!  I can almost guarantee that I can help with your wantlists, and maybe we can setup a trade.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Doc or Dave?

On December 9, 2013, Roy Halladay signed a one-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and then retired.  Many hailed the move as classy, by both Halladay and the Blue Jays organization.  When I first saw the headline that the Jays has re-signed him, I thought it was to actually play and began wondering about his health.  I'm glad he retired with the Blue Jays, but to be honest, he could have retired with whomever he wanted, I will always consider him a Blue Jay.  And one of the best, at that.

Whenever I think about Halladay's time in Toronto I also think about Dave Stieb's.  I've always wondered how their career numbers stack up.  And since the last chapter appears to have been written in Halladay's career, it's time to go head-to-head with Dave Stieb.

1.  Win-loss and ERA

1997 Bowman Best Roy Halladay
Baseball, like hockey and football are team sports.  Baseball, like hockey and football each have a dedicated position that is generally credited with the wins and blamed for the losses.  In that regard, pitchers share a certain spotlight with goalies and quarterbacks.  It's not always fair, but I guess if you get the glory of the win, you have to accept the risk of having a loss hung on you.

Over 16 years, Dave Stieb compiled a win-loss record of 176-137 which equates to a winning percentage of .562.  His earned run average during that span?  3.44.

Also over 16 years, Roy Halladay compiled a win-loss record of 203-105, which works out to .659 to go along with a career ERA of 3.38.

When considering just their tenures with the Blue Jays, both players are actually better than their career average.  Stieb's winning percentage improves to .566 (175 wins versus 133 losses) and Halladay's goes to .661 (148 wins over 76 losses).  Unlike Halladay, Stieb's ERA over that time also improves to 3.42; Halladay's dips to 3.43.

Based solely on the numbers, I have to give the edge to Halladay.
Moving forward, I'm just going to compare the career totals.

2. Strikeouts and Walks

Another key statistic for pitchers here.  I'm not sure I can get away with comparing these two guys without comparing these stats.  So here goes:

Stieb: 1669 Strikeouts, 1034 walks (36 intentional).
Halladay: 2117 Strikeouts, 592 walks (28 intentional).

Not even close.  Halladay, for the win.

3.  Complete Games and Innings Pitched

1980 Topps Dave Stieb
When it comes to pitching, I'm kind of old school.  I realize the modern game has evolved greatly in the last 90 years, but I like the idea of a pitcher finishing what they started.  These days, with so much money being paid to players, and invested in their development, I understand the business need to protect them and limit their hours.  I don't claim to agree with, or understand, the theories behind rest and limited activity, but it's not my money, so I don't have to.  But I like the workhorses.  The 200-plus inning guys, with complete games.  The guys that finish what they start.  So let's see how Halladay and Stieb compare.

Over his career, Halladay recorded a respectable 67 complete games and pitched 2749.1 innings.  In 8 of his 16 seasons, Halladay eclipsed the 200 inning mark.  Clearly Halladay earned his reputation as a workhorse.

Now consider this:  Stieb, over his career tallied 2895.1 innings accumulating 200-plus innings 9 times.  That alone would earn him the reputation as a workhorse.  But we're not done.  Over 16 seasons, Dave Stieb racked up 103 complete games!

There's not much else to say here.  This one goes to David Stieb, hands down.  Some other time, I'm going to have to head over to baseball-reference.com to see what some other modern guys complete game stats are (Jack Morris had 175!).

4. Hits and home runs allowed.

Okay, so I realize home runs are hits, but I can't compare hits and ignore home runs (embarassingly, I have to admit that I'm not sure if hits includes home runs; I assume it does).  I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was brought back to baseball by McGwire and Sosa's home run chase in 1998.  I still prefer a small ball style of play, but power is power.  Without getting into the drug discussion, watching McGwire hit bombs was entertaining.  Anyway...this is about pitchers.  Pretty sure they aren't as much of a fan as homers in this case.  On to the numbers.

Halladay: 2646 hits surrendered, 236 home runs.
Stieb: 2572 hits surrendered, 225 home runs.

Well, look at that.  Stieb has come back to tie it up.  What a coincidence.  This highly scientific comparison just happens to have one more category left.

5.  Rookie card

You had to know this was coming.  This is a baseball card blog, after all.  And, as I noted in my most recent post, I'm a sucker for rookie cards.  Based on what Beckett defines as a rookie card, I should add.  Now, I apologize for being such an inconsiderate blogger, but I already showed both rookie cards above, trying to break up this mountain of text.  I don't want to show them again, so you'll have to scroll.  While you're still reading, contemplating if you actually want to bother scrolling all of the way back to the top, I'm going to tell you that Stieb wins this category, hands down.  Here are the reasons why:

a.) It's a Topps base product.  I'm from the junk wax generation.  No matter how much cards evolve, I love base sets, and I have grown attached to the likes of Topps, Upper Deck and yes, even Donruss.  Bowman Best is not a base set.  Bowman is, despite their 34-year absence from the hobby, and to be perfectly honest, if I had Halladay's 1997 Bowman "base" card, we'd be comparing that instead.  I also prefer simple designs.

b.) It's an action shot.  Or at least a game shot.  I prefer those to portraits / posed photos every day of the week.  Especially when it's on the field like that and you can see a bit of the stadium and the fans.  Halladay's pose looks unnatural.  His left leg is cut-off, and his right is resting on who-knows-what.  It kind of looks like Halladay is resting is foot on his own name having wedged his toe in behind the 'y'.

c.) Stieb's card has history on its side.  When I sorted through my cards and found the team bag of 1980 Topps, I knew to immediately check for Stieb's card.  I've known it was his rookie for 25 years already.  I stumbled across the Halladay card sorting through ungrouped modern cards and didn't know it was a rookie card until I started ordering the cards by year and had to use Beckett to identify the thing.

6.  The Curve ball

So at this point, it looks like Dave Steib is the winner.  He wins 2 of 4 statistical categories and takes home the 'best rookie card' award, too.  But it's not that easy.  This is where the game turns into Killer Bunnies.  A little bit of game play, a small amount of strategy and logic and then it all boils down to a seemingly random decision to win the game.

Image courtesy of wikipedia.org
Halladay has one big advantage:  Timing.  Stieb had departed Toronto long before I was in a position to decide whether or not I was going to watch a Jays game live.  Halladay, however, awful rookie card and all, arrived at the right time.  I've watched Elroy pitch some entertaining-as-hell games.  In 2000, I saw him pitch his second game since being recalled from the minors (a win against the Mets), in 2006 I watched him pitch Opening Day against Johan Santana, another win and spectacular game, and in 2009, I was there to see the Halladay vs. Burnett showdown.  Again, spectacular.

So where does that leave us?  A tie.  It's a dead heat.  I can't chose.  Halladay has won every game I've ever watched him pitch live (there are more than those three, they were just the most memorable).  I never saw Steib pitch live.  Yet, Stieb has some stellar numbers and was the face of this franchise for years.  You can't turn your back on a guy with his pedigree.

In my opinion, the solution is simple:  Add Halladay to the Level of Excellence, let's call them equally awesome, and leave it at that.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reasons to love regionals #1: Earlier rookie cards

If you (or I, I guess) hang around this blog long enough, you'll eventually come to realize that I am a huge fan of regional issues.  This isn't just limited to regional Blue Jays issues, either.  When I was collecting vintage baseball (50's-70's to me) I chased stuff like Red Heart Dog Food and Berk Ross.  There were other sets I coveted (1954 NY Journal, Johnston Cookies, Dan Dee Potato Chips), but never went after them.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the mainstream issues.  But there's something about regionals that I especially enjoy.  It might be that the sets are usually smaller, that they a little more difficult to find or that in some cases, they're more affordable.  And maybe it's something else.

One great thing about regionals is that they allow you to see cards of players before the mainstream sets do.  See, I grew up in the 80's and 90's.  I'm a product of the junk wax generation.  That was a time when Beckett was king, and to add a rookie card to your collection was a big deal.  It seems I haven't grown out of it.  I'm thrilled to be able to flip open a binder and see Dave Stieb's 1980 Topps card, Cecil Fielder's 1986 Topps card, and Duane Ward's 1987 Donruss card.  But there are some I've never owned -- and always wanted.  Some day I'll flip open a binder and see a 1985 Fleer Kelly Gruber, a 1986 Fred McGriff or a 1988 Score Rob Ducey.  But until then, I have regionals!

The truth is, I didn't even realize Kelly Gruber was part of the 1984 Blue Jays Fire Safety set until I started to load it into a binder.  But there he is -- a full year before he appears on any of his mainstream rookie cards.  According to baseball-reference, Gruber appeared in 16 games in 1984 splitting his time between 3B (12 games), RF (2 games) and SS (1 game) recording a home run, for his only hit, and five strikeouts in 16 plate appearances.  In all likelihood, the card above of Gruber as an "infielder" was probably taken before any of those plate appearances were even recorded.


Also appearing in the 1984 Blue Jays Fire Safety set is Jimmy Key.  Now, obviously Key's mainstream rookie didn't wait a full year to show up, but as part of the Fleer Update issue, it obviously came out well after the card shown to the left.  And check out the number below Key's name.  That sure doesn't say 22.  Jimmy Key was with the Blue Jays from 1984 through 1992.  Once again, citing baseball-reference, Key wore 22 for his entire Jays career, save some portion of 1984.  When exactly he switched, and why, I have not figured out. I also didn't look that hard, if you want me to be completely honest.  But what I do know is this: had it not been for this regional card, I probably would have never picked up on the fact that Key didn't always wear 22.  Not a life-or-death stuff, I know, but I'm a baseball nerd.  I associate jersey number 22 to Jimmy Key.  To know that he wasn't always 22 is interesting to me.


Like Jimmy Key, Rob Ducey appeared on a card issued by the mainstream in the same year as his earliest Blue Jays Fire Safety card.  Unlike Rob Ducey, that mainstream card wasn't a rookie card.  It was a highlight card shared with Fred McGriff and Ernie Whitt.  So in a sense, Ducey's Fire Safety card did precede his mainstream "rookie card" (1988 Fleer/Score/Topps) by a full season.  Unlike Gruber and Key, I don't think Rob Ducey's jersey number(s) with the Jays are as recognizable.  This card shows him as jersey number 40, which he only wore for 1987 and 1988 (thanks again, baseball-reference), but I don't think a lot of people would be as surprised to know that he wore 40 before switching to 20.  If you found any of the 27-to-22 stuff interesting about Key, though, you might be interested to know that when Rob Ducey returned to Toronto for the 2000 season, he wore 22.  Of course, collecting regionals doesn't tell you that, being the aforementioned baseball nerd, does.

But even looking up that kind of stuff can be blamed on regionals.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Just how huge is 4000?

Robert over at $30 a week habit recently posted that he hit the 4000 card milestone with his Jays collection.  Tip of the cap, sir.  Nicely done.

As a fellow Jays collector, the significance of this milestone is not lost on me.  Over the past few weeks I have been sorting through my Jays cards trying to catalog them, weed out the duplicates and organize my wantlists.  It takes a lot more time than I expected.  And I'm dealing with less than 4000 total.  So to imagine more different cards than I even have total cards is intimidating at this point.  Now I hope to get there at some point, but it'll be a while.

Let's consider 4000 for a moment.

If $30 a week habit was a baseball player, it'd be third all-time on the MLB hits list.  Fourth, if you consider Ichiro's combined NPB/MLB totals.  Rose, Cobb, Ichiro, $30 a week habit.  That's some pretty serious company.  And that's coming into the season.  By the end of 2014 I'm guessing $30 a week habit will have passed Rose.

If $30 a week habit was actually a Blue Jay, that'd be more hits than current #1 and #2 on the Jays all-time list (Fernandez, 1583 and Wells, 1529).  Late this season, or maybe early next, $30 a week habit may have as many hits as Fernandez, Wells and Delgado (1413) combined. 

Just to make this even more ridiculous, consider this:

Earlier today I grabbed a stack of Jays cards covering all eras, brands, etc and measured them.  Based on some quick math (assuming quick = correct), the average thickness of each card is 0.015917603 inches.  That means that 4000 cards stacked in a pile would stand just over 5' 31/2".  That's only 21/2" shorter than David Eckstein, the shortest Jays player of record, I can find.  Surpassing Rose's hit total will result in a collection that is taller than David Eckstein!
 
And in case you haven't given up on this post yet, it'll take another thousand cards after surpassing Rose's hit total for the collection to be taller than Jon Rauch, the tallest player in both Blue Jays and  MLB history.

Once again, congratulations.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wanted: 2004 Topps Cracker Jack Blue Jays

If I haven't already mentioned it, most of my collecting effort over the last 10 years has been focused on pre-war baseball cards.  During that time I sporadically collected a lot of different things, having owned a decent range of types between 1908-1920.

As I'm getting myself reacquainted with the modern stuff, the designs of things like Topps Cracker Jacks, Topps Turkey Red and Topps 206 catch my eye.  As I was cataloging my cards, I was surprised to see how many of these "vintage" Topps issues I had.  Especially Cracker Jacks and Turkey Reds.  I'll talk about Turkey Reds in another post; let's talk about Cracker Jacks today.

These are great cards.  Seriously.  I have owned exactly 2 "original" Cracker Jacks in my life.  A 1914 Russ Ford and a 1915 Ted Cather.  The originals are very very thin and fragile.  But the design is awesome.  The bold red, the 'Cracker Jack' title, the unique photos.  When trying to simulate this issue Topps absolutely nailed it in my opinion.  They did their homework.  The design elements of the 2004 set match the originals almost perfectly.  Topps version is printed on significantly thicker stock, though, and the backs follow the 1914 version where they are not printed upside-down compared to the front.

My favour 2004 Topps Cracker Jack, I think, has to be this Roy Halladay, largely because of the pose:


To me, it's no coincidence the pose on Halladay's card so closely matches that of Christy Mathewson's 1914 card.  That Mathewson card is one of the toughest of the 1914 set, from what I understand.  Seeing these cards side-by-side leads me to wonder if any other 2004 poses were inspired by the 1914/15 set.  It would be interesting, to me, to see such a comparison.  In all honesty, I probably won't sit down and compare them myself for fear that I might get caught up in wanting to collect the set -- the 2004 version that is.  I already know I'd love to collect either the 1914 or 1915 set, but there's no way I have that kind of bank!

For now I'm quite content just to chase the 2004 Blue Jays anyway.  If you have any that are still on my wantlist, please drop me a line and maybe we can work out a deal.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Complete: 1993 Dempster's Bread Blue Jays

When it comes to modern collecting (and when I say modern, I basically mean anything since 1980), I am a big fan of oddball and regional issues.  Especially those that are team-centric (as opposed to something like Post cereal where you might only get 1-2 cards from any given team).

The 1993 Dempster's Bread issue is a perfect example of a regional issue that I'm a big fan of.  Though I did manage to get one of these cards in a loaf of bread in 1993 (Al Leiter, for the record), this is another set that I "built by buying".  I grabbed it on eBay a while ago from a Canadian seller for just a couple bucks.  It now sits protected in binder pages alongside some other oddball/regional issues (such as this one, another favourite of mine).
The design of these cards is pretty simple.  Horizontal blue bars, a colour player photo that overflows a white parallellogram.  Surrounding the photo area bunch of logos, a card number in a white baseball and the player's name and position.  Kind of a busy design when I describe it, but simple enough when I look at it.  Maybe it's just that I like blue...I don't know.  But I do like the design of these cards.

As far as player selection goes, I'd say it's pretty good.  I mean, you're drawing from a team that's in the midst of back-to-back World Series Championships, so there are going to be some good players in here...Alomar, Carter, Winfield, White, Olerud, etc.

I am intentionally not showing those guys though, since they'll be featured in future blog posts, I'm sure.  Instead, a few other guys that likely won't get as much attention as those listed, yet deserve it when you're talking about the 1992 or 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.  You can't talk about the 1992 Blue Jays and not mention Jack Morris, the clubs first 20-game winner.  The breadth of this guy's career is impressive, though I won't go into it.  Suffice it to say that Jack Morris did exactly what he was brought to Toronto to do: win games.

And if we're talking about guys doing their jobs, how about Pat Borders?  Here's a guy that didn't, and doesn't, attract the attention like the Alomars and Carters, but he got it done when it mattered.  A career .253 hitter during 17 big league seasons, but a career .315 in the playoffs?  At some point I'll get into the rest of his numbers and try to make some sense of them, but for now, he gets a bye because I was a fan of him and this card ;)

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Complete: 1991 OPC Premier Toronto Blue Jays

As I started to write this blog post today, two things occurred to me:

a.) The set I'm about to write about is 23 years old
b.) I am WAY behind in my collecting

Rather than just fold up my laptop and pretend none of this happened, though, we're going to muddle through.  After all, I already scanned some cards for this post ;)

So without any further adieu, let's take a look at 1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier.  I only vaguely remember this set from 1991.  I know I had a couple of these cards in my collection, but I don't actually remember opening any packs until many years later when I bought a wax box on eBay for six or seven bucks.  I managed to complete the set within the box, pulling the last card I needed -- Roberto Alomar -- out of pack number 36.

The great thing about this set, for me, is that 15 of the 132 cards are Toronto Blue Jays.  I believe 12 are Montreal Expos, meaning the bulk of the set is Canadian teams.  We're talking about O-Pee-Chee, though; what else would you expect?

Design-wise, the set is pretty simple.  A large photo, surrounded on three sides by a team-coloured gradient border, with a gold border across the team featuring the O-Pee-Chee and Premier logos.  All of that is surrounded by a white border, which also serves as the backdrop for the player's name, team and position (in French and English), which is situated below the photo.  In 1991, I'm sure this set was considered to be pretty cool.  Looking back at them, the photo quality is actually pretty unimpressive. 

Having said that, I do actually like this set -- partly due to the simplicity.  I also like this set because of the selection of Toronto Blue Jays.  For starters, they included Alomar, Carter and White, all of whom just joined the team in 1991.  They also included rookie cards of Mike Timlin and Denis Boucher (a Canadian, who is only featured on 5 total baseball cards with the Blue Jays) as well as second-year player, John Olerud.   You also get established Blue Jays like Gruber, Henke and Stieb.  That's a pretty good selection of players in my estimation.

So there you have it.  1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier is in the books.  I haven't made much of a dent in the 1992 set, so for those of you that don't wanna read about this kind of junk wax you get a little bit of reprieve.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Who doesn't like a contest?!

Am taking my morning stroll through the blog-o-sphere.  Just checking in on the usual suspects to see what they've added to their collections, or what cool sets they might alert me to to add to mine (not like I need more to collect of course).

Along the way, I stopped by Dawgbones, a Phillies Phan! only to find out that he's advertising a contest that Need More Coardboard is having.

You can check it out here.  If anyone asks, tell 'em TBJC sent you.

Cheers,

Richard.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The chase is over! 2002 Team Issue Limited Edition

Many years ago, I made a trade for a pile of Blue Jays cards.  I don't remember the details of the trade, but I remember receiving a bunch of stuff I'd never seen before.  Among other things, I got 15-20 cards from a set I couldn't identify.  Check out the Carlos Delgado pictured to the left.  I love the design.

The collector I made the deal with didn't know what they were, nor did he remember where he got them.  And Google searches showed up nothing (how do you search for a set you can't name?).  Some singles showed up on eBay but not at a price I was willing to pay.  I regretted not getting them for my set.

Fast forward 5-6 years.  By now I have figured out that the set is commonly referred to as '2002 Toronto Blue Jays Team Issue Limited Edition', but still nobody is selling it.  Until last week.

A random Google search using the new found name, and boo-ya.  Kijiji listing.  Full set, with box.  Five bucks.  So after a couple of emails and a very accommodating seller, I now have the complete set.  Indeed, I am happy with this find.

So not only does that mean that I now have that original group of 15 or 20 cards available for trade if anyone's looking, it means that I can post more scans!

Let's continue the photo sharing with Gil Patterson.  Who?  Gil Patterson.  Never heard of him?  Yeah, me either.  Admittedly I wasn't following much modern baseball in 2002.  But check out this card!  I've been in the pre-war game for most of the last 10 years, so maybe this is more common than I think, but the radar gun is awfully prominent in this card.  That's really why I had to share it.


Now back to Mr. Patterson.  According to www.baseball-reference.com, he was essentially a career minor leaguer except for 10 games he played for the Yankees in 1977.  And according to www.wikipedia.org, he has been actively involved in pitching from the coaching side (coordinator, bullpen coach, pitching coach) since 1997, including being the Jays Pitching coach from 2002-2004 after spending 2001 as their bullpen coach.

Sticking with the pitching theme, here's one of Roy Halladay, who has to be considered one of Patterson's star pupils.  In 2002 he managed 19 wins (1 more than his career total to that point) and in 2003, 22 wins on his way to a Cy Young Award.

And from one workhouse pitcher to another, I'd be remiss if I didn't post the Chris Carpenter card from this set.  Like Halladay, this guy was an absolute workhouse.  He had some great years with the Cardinals to say the least, picking up a Cy Young Award of his own in 2005 and a pair of World Series rings in 2006 and 2011.

Anyway, there you have it.  My 2002 Toronto Blue Jays Team Issue Limited Edition set is now complete.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Choices, choices, choices

Rickey Henderson rockin' a Jays uni!

The last set I remember pursuing from packs was 1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice.  I didn't even know it wasn't the only Upper Deck issue for that year.  Though I'm not sure it would have mattered.  I much prefer the Collector's Choice design over just plain old 1994 Upper Deck anyway.

Not only do I prefer the white borders to the "regular issue" full bleed, I find the photos are just so much brighter.


This set marks the first time parallel sets caught my eye, too.  I'm still a big fan of it.  One silver per pack, one gold per box.  Simple design, still clean, but just catchy enough to be interesting.  When I started to actually checklist how close to a complete Blue Jays team set I'd be, I thought for sure I had the complete base set.  I'm surprised to see that I'm still short 6 cards, given how much of this stuff I opened.  That's no complaint though, because it gives me something to chase.  This will be one of my primary focuses when I start acquiring cards.

Here's an example of the type of trio I'm looking to collect (gold image from eBay)
And since I'm only focusing on Blue Jays cards (and not the whole set), I'm gonna take a run at the silver and gold parallels as well.  I only have 3 silver sigs and no gold, so a ways to go.  If you have any that you're willing to part with, I'd love to hear from you to see if we can work out a trade!  My progress is posted on its own page, found here.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.