Posts Tagged ‘Class A baseball’

2009 quad cities river bandits team set review

July 24, 2009

2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set

Official Score –  base-clearing DOUBLE

Manufacturer: Grandstand

Sponsors: Names Around Town Photography and Plaza Physical Therapy

Retail price: $ 8.00

What’s the name of that place in Iowa where the players walk out of a cornfield to play baseball and entertain adoring fans night after night? No, not THAT one. I’m talking about the ballpark whose right field skyline includes a monumental 70-year-old bridge that spans the Mississippi River. Yes, Modern Woodman Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits. The average fan visiting the facility from out of town would likely require a tour guide to inform them that the renovated stadium is actually 78 years old, making it one of the four oldest pro ballparks in use today.

Just between you and me, three-quarters of a century equals a LOT of baseball! Without a doubt, the Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois) fans have enjoyed many a fine ballgame in their backyard over the decades. The Quad Cities River Bandits are currently the Class A, Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set does not have an official checklist, so feel free to print out the one I’ve typed up and keep it with your cards.

Checklist: 30 cards

1 – Ace Adams (pitching coach)
2 – Jarred Bogany (of)
3 – Hector Cardenas (p)
4 – Dave Carpenter (p)
5 – Alex Castellanos (inf)
6 – Paul Cruz (of)
7 – Charlie Cutler (c)
8 – Gary Daley (p)
9 – Ramon Delgado (p)
10 – Steve Dillard (manager)
11 – Jon Edwards (of)
12 – Roberto Espinoza (c)
13 – Joe Kruzel (hitting coach)
14 – Brett Lilley (inf)
15 – Scott McGregor (p)
16 – Travis Mitchell (of)
17 – Osvaldo Morales (inf)
18 – Casey Mulligan (p)
19 – Arquimedes Nieto (p)
20 – Frederick Parejo (of)
21 – Andres Rosales (p)
22 – Chris Swauger (of)
23 – Miguel Tapia (p)
24 – Kevin Thomas (p)
25 – Guillermo Toribio (inf)
26 – Niko Vasquez (inf)
27 – Adam Veres (p)
28 – Brian Puchalski (trainor)
29 – Kevin Welch (strength & conditioning coach)
30 – Rascal (mascot)

I don’t think it is too big of a stretch for me to assume that Names Around Town Photography took all photos used in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set. The photos are for the most part very nice. The majority of the shots appear to have been thought out, and are unique throughout the set.

Divided into subsets, the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains 3 cards of the field staff, 11 pitchers, 2 catchers, 5 infielders, 6 outfielders, and 3 non-baseball player cards (that will not be discussed further in this review). Here is the card of manager Steve Dillard. Nice action shot, and an interesting background to boot.

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Each of the cards featuring the Quad Cities River Bandits coaching staff would have been fantastic if some sort of reflector or fill flash had been used while shooting the close-up of hitting coach Joe Kruzel. But such lighting was not used, which leaves us with a pretty nice photo of the River Bandits logo on the front of his cap.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains cards of eleven pitchers. This subset illustrates three different styles of River Bandits uniforms, contains a nice variety of different angles, in game photos, posed upper body shots and even the set’s first horizontally aligned card.

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This photo of Andres Rosales is perfect for use as a horizontal card. How about that grin folks? Sort of makes one wonder if Rosales is always in a great mood. Let’s check out the back of his card…

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Well, I guess this photo answers the question about whether or not Rosales is a constant ray of sunshine. A good team set will not only make you think of  questions, but will also answer them!

I’m including this scan of Arquimedes Nieto simply to increase this blog’s Google strength amongst web surfers hunting for the name “Arquimedes.” I do like the use of the outfield berm as the background, even though the result is that Arquimedes is a tad bit on the dark side. The photo is expertly cropped, allowing fans to see that Arquimedes is pitching while wearing a custom-made left shoe that looks exactly like the Quad Cities River Bandits logo. How wild is that?

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There are only two catchers included in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set, but the designer took full advantage of the opportunity to depict one catcher on defense and the other on offense. That is the equivalent of a one – two – three inning!

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The defensive-offensive ratio drops to 20/80 as you flip through the cards of the infielders. Even still, the different camera angles and backgrounds vary so much that each card is as refreshing as an ice cold Mountain Dew.

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Infielder Alex Castellanos appears to be watching a foul ball bounce off one of the five arches of Centennial Bridge and plop into the Mississippi River only to be eaten by a giant catfish rumored to lurk in that area.

For those readers scratching your heads wondering about this confounded bridge that I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, here it is in the background of Brett Lilley’s card. Obviously the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set provides you with a golden opportunity if you want to own a card of the all-time NCAA leader in hit-by-pitches.

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One-third of the cards of outfielders in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set show players in the field while the rest were shot in the act of hitting or running the base paths. As with the other subsets, the outfielders show a nice range of the different River Bandits uniforms and provides numerous views of the ballpark, helping make this set a pleasure to flip though. Is it just me, or do players seem happier on horizontal cards?

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Structural engineers world wide must be salivating by the fact that the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains more cards with images of a bridge than do the 2006-2009 Topps Allen & Ginter sets combined!

Card thinness is standard for a minor league set, and both sides have a semi-gloss finish. No surface preparation is necessary prior to obtaining autographs. The backs consist of four-color printing including typical stats, biographical data and very nice photos of players that are different from the photos on the front- a very classy touch that helps makes this team set a keeper in all leagues.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set is a must have for all St. Louis Cardinals fans who enjoy following the careers of young players as they navigate their way upstream through the Cardinals farm system.

The set is available online for those of you who do not expect to be traveling through the Midwest at any point in the near future. You get all 30 cards mentioned and/or pictured in this review for $8.00. Shipping is right around six bucks, and you may be hit with sales tax. Heck, you might as well have them toss one of their 2008 team sets in your shopping cart for only five dollars and no additional shipping costs. I haven’t reviewed that particular set only because I do not have it.

–  Kris

……….

On a side note, I would be completely remiss as a historian if I failed to take advantage of this opportunity to hook you up with a link to a bit of the past of the Modern Woodmen of America. If you’ve ever been to a cemetery of any age, you’ve probably seen a distinctive grave marker of one of the members of the fraternal society and wondered what it was all about.

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2003 lancaster jethawks team set review

December 9, 2008

2003 Lancaster Jethawks team set
Official Score – ground rule DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand Cards
Sponsor: Bubble Yum
Retail price: $6.00(ish)

The 2003 Lancaster Jethawks finished 4th in the California Southern League. The Baseball Cube indicates that Rick Rodriguez managed the team, yet this team set begs to differ. I wasn’t there, so I honestly couldn’t tell you who was in charge. It is interesting to note that some 148,194 fans stopped smelling the poppies long enough to file through the turnstiles at “the Hangar” (Clear Channel Stadium) to watch the Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball. (Today the Jethawks are affiliates of the Houston Astros.)

There is no printed checklist for this 30-card team set. The numbers on the backs of the cards correspond to the player jersey numbers. Pretty much the best way to tell if you have a complete team set is to compare your cards to this official team checklist sponsored by the Aardvark Trading Company.

1 – [25] Mike Aldrete (manager)
2 – [33] Scott Barber (p)
3 – [17] Billy Biggs (p)
4 – [20] Jason Bulger (p)
5 – [31] John Castellanos (p)
6 – [18] Lance Cormier (p)
7 – [36] Joey Cramblitt (p)
8 – [7] Mike DiRosa (c)
9 – [38] Jay Garthwaite (of)
10 – [26] Matt Henrie (p)
11 – [23] Jamie Jones (of)
12 – [21] Josh Kroeger (of)
13 – [11] Erick Macha (if)
14 – [30] Damon Mashore (hitting coach)
15 – [9] Kyle Nichols (1b)
16 – [4] Danny Richar (if)
17 – [14] Mayobanex Santana (if)
18 – [12] Sergio Santos (if)
19 – [16] Pete Sikaras (p)
20 – [29] Doug Slaten (p)
21 – [37] Chris Snyder (c)
22 – [24] Jeff Stanek (1b)
23 – [34] Mel Stottlemyre, Jr. (pitching coach)
24 – [19] Francisco Trejo (p)
25 – [8] Dan Uggla (if)
26 – [35] Justin Wechsler (p)
27 – [28] Carlton Wells (p)
28 – [22] Marland Williams (of)
29 – [‘03] Justin Jakubcin (strength coach)
30 – [‘03] Adam Weyer (trainer)

I like the design of these cards- a kittywampus layout of a full-bleed “baseball card” card superimposed over a warning track area of an outfield next to the foul line. However, I wouldn’t want to have like 20 of these sets from different teams to look at. The set also suffers a bit from the fact that only two cards (pitcher Matt Henrie and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.) have backgrounds that really differ from the rest. I’m not saying that all of the backgrounds are identical, but they are lacking in variation. Technically, the photography is very good, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to score the cards higher if the set had included some action shots.

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You’d have to think that with a name like Billy Biggs, a player was destined for the majors. That was not the case with this right-handed relief pitcher. Instead, it appears that Biggs hung up the glove after spending four seasons in the minors, logging 216 innings on the mound and racking up exactly ONE plate appearance. Billy’s entire professional baseball career was spent within the Diamondbacks organization- pretty uncommon in this day and age. Biggs’ total stats include a record of 11-16 with an ERA of 3.33 and a WHIP of 1.30- again, all in relief. Certainly players have hung around in the majors for much longer than four years while not performing as well. Billy failed to reach base in his only trip to the plate.

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Dan Uggla smashed 23 homers and stole 24 bases for the Lancaster Jethawks during the 2003 season. Any questions?

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Jason Bulger made his major league debut on August 26, 2005. He was traded to the Angels the following spring, and has yet to spend a full season with the parent club. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

While I would not argue that Jason bears a slight resemblance to the scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz, I am here to set the record straight by reminding you that the man who played that character was named Ray Bolger- not Bulger. In other words, if they are related, someone in that family tree has some spelling issues.

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Infielder Sergio Santos is still working toward his first call up to the majors. He has been in the Toronto Blue Jays organization since the end of 2005 when he was included in a deal with Troy Glaus for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista.

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Chris Snyder broke into the big leagues on August 21, 2004. Snyder has been cashing paychecks from the Diamondbacks organization his entire professional career. I’m fond of baseball cards that utilize photographs taken from this vantage point. It almost allows you to feel what it would be like to be a baseball.

Card thickness is typical for a minor league set. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that left the cards practically begging to be autographed. The backs consist of two-color (black and grey) printing over white matte, including name, typical player stats, minimal bios and a grayscale Bubble Yum logo.

I obtained this team set in trade from a blogless reader in exchange for a 2008 Albuquerque Isotopes team set. Although the Jethawks don’t have it listed on their online team shop, I was informed that they do still have this set available. So you probably have to call them if you want to order one for six bucks. I haven’t seen this entire team set available on the secondary market, but if you act fast, you can pick up just the Josh Kroeger card from a dealer on eBay for “only” $3.95 plus $1.50 shipping.

– Kris

2008 inland empire 66ers team set review

August 3, 2008

2008 Inland Empire 66ers team set
Official Score – 3-UNASSISTED (“hidden ball trick”)
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Retail price: $6.00

Participants in the California League, the Inland Empire 66ers are the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The sixty-sixers’ highway sign-inspired logo will make even the most sensible fan nostalgic for bygone days either experienced or imagined.

I recently reviewed another team set that used the same Grandstand template as the one chosen by the sixty-sixers. Do you recall what team that was for? I liked them then, and I like them still. How could you not?

These minor league-thin cards exhibit a semi gloss surface ready for immediate autographing. The backs consist of four-color printing of typical player stats in black and short bios in blue over a light image of a glove and some tattered baseballs. There is no printed checklist for this team set, so please allow me…

1 – [51] James Adkins (p)
2 – [26] Alberto Bastardo (p)
3 – [29] Josh Bell (inf)
4 – [11] Matt Berezay (of)
5 – [36] Henry Cruz (hitting coach)
6 – [50] Francisco Felix (p)
7 – [12] Justin Fuller (inf)
8 – [8] Tommy Giles (of)
9 – [9] Javy Guerra (p)
10 – [40] Gabriel Gutierrez (c)
11 – [49] Charlie Hough (pitching coach)
12 – [5] Bridger Hunt (utility)
13 – [38] Joe Jones (p)
14 – [62] Brent Leach (p)
15 – [7] Francisco Lizarraga (inf)
16 – [27] Drew Locke (of)
17 – [34] Paul Koss (p)
18 – [6] Jaime Pedroza (inf)
19 – [14] Eduardo Perez (inf)
20 – [54] David Pfeiffer (p)
21 – [22] Jordan Pratt (p)
22 – [21] Trayvon Robinson (of)
23 – [45] Ryan Rogowski (of)
24 – [59] Jesus Rodriguez (p)
25 – [41] Carlos Santana (c)
26 – [46] Tim Sexton (p)
27 – [13] John Valentin (manager)
28 – [15] Josh Wall (p)
29 – [35] Cody White (p)
30 – [61] Garrett White (p)
31 – [‘08] Steven Downey (strength coach)
32 – [‘08] “Possum” Nakajima (athletic trainer)
33 – [66] Bernie (mascot)

The sixty-sixers field staff includes three men with a wide range of big league experience. Were you aware that manager John Valentin is the only player in major league history to both hit for a cycle AND turn an unassisted triple play? I wasn’t… until I read it as part of his bio on the back of his card. As interesting as that is, Charlie Hough gets the nod to have his card featured here as he ponders blogger/collectors who are interested in bullpen telephones.

Fifteen of the cards in the 2008 Inland Empire 66ers team set depict pitchers. Only one in the bunch is a posed headshot, the remainder being mound action photos. Two of the cards are horizontal in orientation. Amazingly, the photos include a considerably wide variety of angles, backgrounds, jersey variations and day/night situations that serve to prevent these cards from appearing to be repetitive. I would tip my lens cap to the photographer(s), but no photo credits were included. Well, you know who you are…

I’m presenting this Tim Sexton card as an example of one of the pitchers. Not because it is the best photo- it isn’t. Instead, I’ve chosen this card due to the presence of the mountains in the background. I’ve never been to Inland Empire, but it would appear to be a fabulous venue to take in 9 to 12 innings while enjoying a dog and a couple of beers, and possibly even pulling in a foul ball.

Catchers? There are two. Half of them feature a horizontal orientation, which brings the count to three (so far) in this set. I was going to just describe them in general terms, then post a scan of the Carlos Santana card- but as I looked at the cards side by side I began wondering just what in the heck was going on.

At first glance, these photos would appear to have been shot during different days. Well sure, it isn’t impossible to expect to see two catchers in the same game. For example, one of the two may have pinch hit for another player at some point in the game. But wait… how many (non-All-Star) games have you seen where players from the same team wear different uniforms? So they must have been taken during different games. But wait again… wouldn’t you also agree that the faces in the crowd look somehow familiar?

Perhaps these shots were captured during a double header? Should I consult the 66ers schedule to see how many twin bills they’ve played at home this season? I don’t think so, and here’s the “why.” Some of these people are doing exactly the same thing in both photos. Granted, the guy screwing around with the cap (who is already wearing one) does seem like he would be the kind of person who would screw around with a new hat for two games straight. But how long do you expect that the kid in front of him, or the couple sitting behind him would maintain their exact same positions- especially in the presence of such a fidgety person?

Then I’m left wondering where all those other people to the right side came from, and why they aren’t in the other photo. I’m beginning to suspect that some kinky Photoshopping has been going on in Inland Empire. I’m not complaining, mind you… just curious.

You’ll get eleven cards of position players when you obtain your own 2008 Inland Empires 66ers team set. Six are variations of the classic batting stance. If you enjoyed the background people-looking aspect of the catcher subset, then you will also find these entertaining. Personally, I believe you can look to the remainder of the position player cards to find three worthy candidates for best overall card in the set.

Okay, so this card of Justin Fuller is a bit dark and unfocused, but the use of the wall ad as the background helps elevate this card above the majority.

I also really like this action photo of utility player Bridger Hunt hustling down the first base line.

Finally, this card of Josh Bell has absolutely nothing wrong with it other than that fact that it got a corner dinged during shipping. I should point out that a reader, and not the Inland Empire team shop submitted this set for review.

The 2008 Inland Empire 66ers team set is a bargain at only six bucks. In fact, the deal is so sweet; you may expect to hear the Dragnet theme playing immediately after placing your online order. I’m here to tell you that that probably will not happen. I’m kind of surprised that they don’t charge at least $6.60 for them to help stay with the theme.

The Inland Empire 66ers online team shop also has team sets from 2003 thru 2006 available. Possibly if you order more than one you will save a small amount of coin in shipping charges. Fans of the Mother Road would have a tough time if they could only order a single item from the sixty-sixers’ team shop. Fortunately, the only limit is between them and their credit card issuer.

If you are planning on just purchasing this team set on the secondary market, be sure to budget approximately double the price offered by the team.

– Kris

2007 modesto nuts team set review

June 30, 2008

2007 Modesto Nuts team set
Official Score – TWO-INNING SAVE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Sponsor: Krier’s Cards & Comics
Retail price: $ 10.00

I must confess that from the moment I first opened the envelope from the Modesto Nuts front office and began leisurely thumbing my way through this team set, I started wondering why it is exactly that I don’t have a Modesto Nuts jersey. What am I…. crazy?

The Modesto Nuts are the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. They do not play their home games against California League rivals in an almond orchard as you might suppose, but rather in John Thurman Field not far from the Tuolumne River in Modesto, California. Given that the ballpark was built by the Acme Construction company, it isn’t difficult to imagine giant cartoon anvils and pianos suspended overhead that can be dropped on unsuspecting umpires and bad 7th inning stretch singers at a moment’s notice.

Of course you didn’t come here for that! You are probably interested in finding out what players are in the set and what the cards look like. I’ve taken the time to type up a checklist since there isn’t one included in the team set.

Checklist: 31 cards (neither printed nor included)

1 – [2] Eric Young Jr. (inf)
2 – [3] Dave Hajek (hitting coach)
3 – [5] Neil Wilson (c)
4 – [7] Nick Haley (inf)
5 – [8] Chris Nelson (inf)
6 – [9] Jerry Weinstein (manager)
7 – [10] Phillip Cuadrado (inf)
8 – [11] Daniel Carte (of)
9 – [12] David Arnold (p)
10 – [13] Butch Hughes (pitching coach)
11 – [14] Kyle Blumenthal (c)
12 – [17] Travis Becktel (of)
13 – [20] Jeff Kindel (inf)
14 – [21] Nelson Robledo (c)
15 – [22] Brandon Hynick (p)
16 – [23] Brandon Durden (p)
17 – [24] Dexter Fowler (of)
18 – [25] Jonathan George (p)
19 – [27] Darric Merrell (p)
20 – [28] Alan Johnson (p)
21 – [29] Xavier Cedeno (p)
22 – [30] David Patton (p)
23 – [31] Cole Garner (p)
24 – [32] Edgar Huerta (p)
25 – [33] Justin Nelson (of)
26 – [34] Chaz Roe (p)
27 – [35] Jose Valdez (inf)
28 – [37] Lino Garcia (of)
29 – [41] Andrew Johnston (p)
30 – [43] Pedro Strop (p)
31 – [46] Tomas Santiago (p)

Ron Jackson is given photo credit for this shot of Eric Young Jr. In fact, he is given credit for every shot used in the team set. The result is consistent, quality photography and a nice looking set of cards.

The only two player cards that are not action photos belong to pitchers David Arnold and Jonathan George. I really like the spirit in which these cards were created, but am left with the nagging question of whether the background was Photoshopped in, or if the Nuts have a giant photo on a wall that they parade players past while snapping head shots. I would suspect the Photoshopping theory since George’s skin tone suggests that he may have been photographed while standing in front of a green screen.

You may have noticed that there is a Dexter Fowler card in this set. It isn’t particularly interesting. I suppose that Dexter cherishes those moments in baseball where he finds himself standing at the ready to swing a bat, as opposed to logistical nightmares that he sums up with, “That’s the grind of the Minor Leagues, but a priceless price to pay to get to the big leagues!” Trust me, Dexter Fowler’s MiLB player journal is far more interesting than is his card in this set.

It is next to impossible to create a decent team set without including at least one card with horizontal alignment. No, this isn’t a fact, but is my opinion. Jeff Kindell’s card represents the only such effort in this set, and I would categorize it as being in the top two or three overall.

At six-foot-three, this kid had to do some major stooping to squeeze into a space that measures only 2 inches high! This is a fantastic shot of a player anticipating a high hopper, but concentrating on keeping the glove low. Possibly it was shot between innings while the infielders warmed up, but it is a great photo even then.

Other contenders for strongest card in the set include this tight upper body shot of pitcher Alan Johnson…

catcher Neil Wilson on the move…

and Chaz Roe pitching with ripped pants…

Honorable mention goes to this Chris Nelson card. This card had potential to be the best in the set if not for what I suspect was the overzealous cropping efforts by a real go-getter in the Nuts organization.

Finally, I don’t know who this Jerry Weinstein cat is, but he looks like a guy who could tell you something about baseball that you didn’t already know in less time than it takes to drink a beer.

Card thinness is typical for a minor league set, and both sides have a semi-gloss finish. The backs consist of two-color (black and red) printing over white background that features a stylized image of grey baseball stitches. All you “figger filberts” will be jazzed over the short player bios and stats from the 2005 and 2006 seasons on the back.

Looking over the ’08 Modesto Nuts pocket schedule, I didn’t find any indication that they will be giving away team sets to fans before a home game this season. I did observe that Krier’s Cards & Comics, the sponsor on the ’07 Nuts team set, is sponsoring “Super Hero’s Night” on July 25, 2008 as the Nuts take on the San Jose Giants. Possibly there could be some sort of team set SGA that Friday evening? Either way, a heaping helping of fireworks will be served up for fans after the game.

The Modesto Nuts online team store has a kickin’ assortment of minor league baseball cards, including old Modesto A’s team sets, last year’s Carolina League All-Star set, a few different California League Prospects sets, and even the actual 2007 Modesto Nuts team set that you’ve just had the pleasure of reading about.

While you CAN pay $5.00 per single card for most of these guys on eBay, why on earth would you want to when you can order an entire set directly from the team for only ten bucks?

A word of warning… I will be jealous if I run into any of you readers wearing a Nuts jersey before I get one for myself!

– Kris

2008 hickory crawdads dav team set review

June 28, 2008

2008 Hickory Crawdads DAV team set
Official Score – GROUND RULE DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans*
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

This particular team set is a limited edition subset of the 2008 DAV minor league baseball set, organized almost entirely alphabetically and numbered 37-70. These cards were handed out to fans attending the Hickory Crawdads’ May 26, 2008 game vs. the Rome Braves at L.P Franz Stadium. (Note that the home team won the game by a score of six to five.) Who is L.P. Franz anyway?

* I don’t know who prints all the cards that the DAV distributes for free, but I really appreciate the effort.

According to the handy Crawdads pocket schedule, they have a second team set to give away to fans on Sunday, July 20th when they take on the Delmarva Shorebirds. If you happen to find yourself in the Hickory, North Carolina area, you won’t want to miss that evening as the fierce rivalry between two Northern Division teams heats up over bragging rights in the South Atlantic League. I presume this will be a set produced by the likes of MultiAd or Grandstand. If I can get my hands on the July set, I will gladly post a review of it as well.

Checklist: 34 cards (no printed checklist)

1 – [37] Victor Alvarez (inf)
2 – [38] Carlos Amaro (p)
3 – [39] Harrison Bishop (p)
4 – [40] Tom Boleska (p)
5 – [41] Danny Bomback (inf)
6 – [42] Bill Burgos (strength/conditioning)
7 – [43] Matt Cavagnaro (p)
8 – [44] Marcus Davis (of)
9 – [45] Jose De los Santos (inf)
10 – [46] Rafael De los Santos (p)
11 – [47] Jared Destro (trainer)
12 – [48] Miles Durham (inf)
13 – [49] Michael Felix (p)
14 – [50] Gary Green (manager)
15 – [51] Emilis Guerrero (p)
16 – [52] Tom Hagan (inf)
17 – [53] Eric Huber (of)
18 – [54] Jeff Johnson (pitching coach)
19 – [55] Chris Jones (c)
20 – [56] Austin McClune (of)
21 – [57] Matt McSwain (p)
22 – [58] Dustin Molleken (p)
23 – [59] Ronald Pena (c)
24 – [60] Rudy Pena (coach)
25 – [61] Silvio Pena (inf)
26 – [62] Moises Robles (p)
27 – [63] Diones Rodriguez (p)
28 – [64] Adam Simon (p)
29 – [65] Keanon Simon (of)
30 – [66] Bobby Spain (inf)
31 – [67] Ronald Uviedo (p)
32 – [68] Andrew Walker (c)
33 – [69] Duke Welker (p)
34 – [70] Bradley Ingels (veteran’s advocate – appears to work for “Armstrong Ford”)

Card thinness is present, yet the cards are reasonably firm. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that doesn’t require preparation prior to autographing. This is a slick product!

I rarely include scans of the backs of cards, but feel that these are unique enough that you may not be familiar with the format. Absent is any mention of anything from the front of the card- other than an explanation of the DAV logo. Just know if you are looking to purchase or make trades for cards like these in the future, you aren’t going to get any Hickory Crawdads player stats or bios.

This Emilis Guerrero card is the only one featuring a pitcher that I am going to show out of 13. Matt McSwain is the only card of the dozen remaining pitchers that has a different pose- that being a tight portrait. Don’t worry; if your stomach begins to become upset due to the fact that many of the hitters’ cards share common poses, the cards have a very soothing Pepto-Bismol glow about them. What follows then are a few representative cards from the set to give you an idea of the team uniforms and a few faces.

Miles Durham… seriously? A photo of a guy named “Miles” in the act of running? How could I pass on that?

Chris Jones… okay, THIS is how you shoot a photo of catcher wearing all his gear. Furthermore, if you are currently editing a team set, this is an outstanding lesson in how you select photos that have been taken of catchers wearing all of their gear.

Silvio Pena… this set has a few cards that suffer from hat shadowing, but this is probably worst case.

Bobby Spain… I wonder if he is related to Madrid. The look on his face suggests that this photo was taken while he was warming up in the on-deck circle before the bottom of the seventh inning when he overheard some fan butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Marcus Davis has a sort of puzzled look of surprise on his face as if questioning whether or not he actually just heard the umpire call that last pitch a strike, or has just made a mistake in his pre-at bat superstition routine.

Danny Bomback provides an interesting variation to the “approach to batting” theme, bringing the self-assured look to the plate.

The Hickory Crawdads are currently the Low A affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates. So there.

This is a fun, value-packed team set. If you follow the Pirates organization, or collect South Atlantic League cards, it would be worth your effort to attempt to track down this set for yourself. I would place a value of a complete set as at least $9.00 (the price of a box ticket), and would not be at all surprised to see them move on the secondary market for $15.00 or more.

Don’t forget to check the 2008 DAV baseball schedule and make a point of attending a ballgame specifically when they are in your area this summer!

– Kris