Monday, December 10, 2018

When more borderline HOF guys get their call

As a baseball fan, I'd probably be more of a big hall kind of guy - but I thought it was a joke when I found out through scrolling through a social media post that apparently Smith and Baines were elected to the Hall of Fame through the 2019 Today's Game Era Ballot.

Baines' election to the Hall of Fame will probably cause just about every numbers oriented analysts' heads to explode - I won't begrudge or bemoan his induction to the Hall since there are too many writers messing around with someone's actual accomplishments in the guise of being objective.

Personally, I consider Baines in the middle of the pack as far as a Hall of Very Good guy, but in a roundabout way - Baines probably got some extra consideration for the 134 hits he didn't get towards that 3,000th hit club he missed out on.

The last card I touched featuring Baines was his 1991 Upper Deck [#562] - it went in my awesome action collection as a game face card; I like the image of him on the on-deck circle, about to swing while doing his high leg kick.

As far as Smith, though he once held the all-time saves record, I've always thought of him as mostly a junk wax era journeyman reliever - however, with Trevor Hoffman getting into the Hall of Fame recently and with Mariano Rivera on the way, someone had to fit Smith in-between the two in order to have a little run of modern era closers.

Maybe an obvious non-Rivera candidate in the next several years will likely be Billy Wagner - depending on who is on the ballot.

My favorite Smith card was his 1996 Upper Deck card [#266] because while it obviously shows him with the Angels - it was also a seemingly more elaborate image setup compared to a typical baseball card picture.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Favorite card of 2018 - Topps Heritage Shohei Ohtani Action Image variation #17

This is in response to Tom's contest over at Waiting 'til Next Year.

Go figure that it would be another Ohtani as my favorite card of the year but the relatively healthy half of him lived up to the hype and I wanted to showcase my best rookie year card of his - the traditionalists who have collected Topps Heritage for years may not like these short print gimmicks because it gets in the way of completing their sets.

However, the Action Image variation cards picturing prominent rookie or second year stars have gotten popular to collect - even if it wasn't autographed, in my mind an Ohtani was a definitive card to have.

Monday, December 03, 2018

A farewell to Garrett Richards

As he has moved on and signed a two-year deal with the San Diego Padres, I don't know if I had any particular attachment to Richards as a pitcher on my local big league team - he'd pitched about 138 combined innings his last three seasons with the Angels, so arm injuries really robbed him of some prime years.

Richards was Mike Trout's best friend on the Angels and it might have been nice if he could have stayed healthier - now he looks to rehab and make a comeback from Tommy John Surgery sooner than never, even if it takes a couple of years to be back on the mound.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

1990 Upper Deck Randy McCament #657

Through another blogger's post, I stumbled upon a "Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card Contest at Baseball Every Night - without thinking about it too much, I was sure I could find at least one card in particular that stood out and this was the one I chose.

When I started getting interested in collecting as a kid just about 30 years ago, the last players I'd ever think about being interested in are rank and file guys like McCament - but not every card in an 800 count set could picture superstars like Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr., Will Clark, Don Mattingly, Bo Jackson or Jose Canseco.

It maybe no small feat that McCament actually pitched in parts of two big league seasons - but with the images used on this junk wax era 'gem,' it would be hard to convince anyone that McCament was any sort of professional athlete.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

2018 Topps Now Shohei Ohtani Topps MLB Rookie All-Star team #RC-7 and #RC-7J

I went ahead to see if I could pick up the Topps Now Shohei Ohtani cards I'd missed out on [these two cards and his Topps Now Rookie All-Star team card] - between the end of the season up through when he was honored as the American League Rookie of the Year a couple of weeks ago.

I’m still looking to build on my Ohtani Topps Now run through his rookie year but have held off picking up any one particular pack pulled card - the pitcher is out until 2020 and whenever Ohtani comes back in 2019, he'll be literally half a player at DH.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

1997 Bowman’s Best Adrian Beltre RC #117

I wanted a Beltre rookie card and grabbed this as an impulsive purchase to squirrel away - the 1997 Bowman Chrome RC #182 is the one to have, but maybe I’ll wait a little bit before seeking that one out.

This maybe a condition sensitive card as chrome cards from the 1990s tend to ‘hulk’ when exposed to the weather conditions - the copy of the card I picked up doesn’t appear to be discolored, though I have to account for when it happens.

Admittedly for the longest time, up through when the retiring Beltre was gunning for his 3,000th hit - I didn’t think much of him as having the numbers to merit any sort of serious consideration for the Hall of Fame.

I’ve always thought he was a minor star at best who lucked into a flukish season in 2004 - after collecting his 3,000 hits in 2017 and passing Rod Carew in 2018 as the all-time Latin American hits leader, Beltre's baseball playing accomplishments have the substance as he looks to become a first ballot Hall of Famer in five years.

Accounting for his all-world defense, the hitting numbers and the quirkiness he’s occasionally exhibited, Beltre has become a fan favorite to be goofed on in good fun - he didn't he like his head touched by his teammates and he had one of the most exaggerated follow throughs on his swing.

He and Texas Rangers teammate Elvis Andrus never get tired of messing around with each other - Andrus seems to be Beltre’s best friend on the field, but also his main antangonist.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Featured autograph - Odrisamer Despaigne

Despaigne wasn't ever going to be a star, but the Cuban righthander had a promising rookie season in 2014 with the San Diego Padres - after leaving the Padres, Despaigne has hung onto professional baseball as a journeyman and had an ugly 8-game stint with the Angels this past year.

In 18 2/3 innings pitched, Despaigne allowed 17 earned runs, walked 11 hitters and was battered around for 30 hits - he elected to be a free agent and will probably be pitching in Mexico, Japan or Korea sooner than never.

Whatever he does with the rest of his pro career, he'll always be an Angel to me and was nice enough to sign back in the day - at the very least, the autograph of his I already had on some sort of Padres game day scorecard, can be listed as part of my all-time Angels autograph collection.