Posts Tagged ‘pocket schedules’

flight of the bumbry bee

March 24, 2009

I recently received a few autographed Al Bumbry baseball cards in the mail from the man himself. Interestingly, they arrived just in time for his Aardvark Attic of Appreciation induction ceremony. I figured that since I was going to go to the effort of scanning these cards for the blog, I might was well mix in scans of other cards that the “Bee” had signed for me TTM when I was a kid.

First up, Al Bumbry’s 1975 Topps baseball card (no. 358) for my binder. I love this set, and have been having a blast building and upgrading it. I still need several if you happen to have any duplicates to trade. As kool as the 1975 set is, the autographed cards easily outshine the unsigned ones. Al appears to have selected a fine-tipped black marker to answer his recent fan mail.


At some point during the winter of 1976-77, I sent duplicate cards to my favorite Orioles and asked for an autograph. Bumbry was the first to reply. In my mind, that only added to his mystique of being the fastest player in the club. I didn’t have an “extra” 1975 Topps card, so I settled on sending him his card from the 1976 Topps set (no. 307). As you can see, Al signed this card with a blue ink pen.


I remember that Bumbry also included a pocket schedule and an Orioles sticker in the envelopes when he mailed my cards back in official Orioles envelopes. I’ve collected pocket schedules ever since. I hadn’t really thought about it until right now, but I could purchase a whole pack of baseball cards for a dime in 1976, but a single first class postage stamp would have set me back 13 cents. That solves the mystery of why I didn’t write to more players back then.


I often hear and read that collectors don’t like the 1974 Topps baseball cards. Personally, I find them much more interesting than the product Topps put on the shelf in 1977. To be sure, I am glad that I have an autographed Al Bumbry 1977 Topps card (no. 626) in my collection, but this would likely be the last set from the seventies that I would ever rebuild.


If forced to name the single element that I like the most about Bumbry’s 1979 Topps card (no. 517), I would have to go with the view of the extended bat barrel. If allowed to name five elements that I enjoy about this card, I could do so without even flipping it over, in spite of the fact that the centering is as off as it can possibly be without completely ruining the card.


In 1980, Topps decided it was time to remind fans that Bumbry had been named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1973. It is completely true! You can read it yourself on the back of card no. 65 if you happen to have one in your collection. When he was elected to the American League All-Star team in 1980, the honor was actually Al’s second “star.” Bumbry had earned his first star, a bronze one, while serving as a platoon leader in Vietnam a decade before.


By 1983, the backs of Bumbry’s cards were starting to get pretty full with stats. Another season or two and the Topps typesetters were going to have to start reaching for a smaller font. If you must know, Bumbry’s card in the 1983 set is numbered 655.


I was out of collecting by the time Bumbry’s 1985 Topps card (no. 726) went to press. When I picked it up years later, I was happy to see that Al still frequented the batting cage trying to improve his swing.


Oh what a waste of paper some of these 1982 Fleer cards were! Bumbry’s card (no. 159) is simply tragic. Probably the only redeeming quality is that he took the time to sign his name on the front for a longtime fan.


One thing that impresses me about Al Bumbry more than 30 years after he granted my first TTM autograph request is the fact that he still includes an extra autographed photo or postcard when he sends your cards back. He even noticed that he had misspelled my name and made the extra effort to correct it.

Thanks a million Al!

– 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 mississippi braves team set review

June 29, 2008

2008 Mississippi Braves team set
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Retail price: $ 10.00

The Mississippi Braves are the Double-A Southern League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, and play their home games at Trustmark Park in Jackson, Mississippi. As of this posting, the Braves maintain a three-game lead in the Southern Division in the second half of the season- after finishing 10 games out in the first half. They may very well lead the league in “most players named J.C.” for all I know.

Checklist: 34 cards (neither printed nor included)

1 – [1] J.C. Holt (inf)
2 – [2] J.C. Boscan (c)
3 – [4] Carl Loadenthal (of)
4 – [5] Jordan Schafer (of)
5 – [6] Matt Young (of)
6 – [8] Van Pope (inf)
7 – [9] Paul Bennett (inf)
8 – [10] Jose Camarena (c)
9 – [12] Jason Perry (of)
10 – [13] Javier Guzman (inf)
11 – [16] Mark Jurich (of)
12 – [17] Nelson Payano (p)
13 – [18] Quentin Davis (of)
14 – [20] Kala Ka’Aihue (inf)
15 – [22] Franklin Stubbs (coach)
16 – [23] Kris Medlen (p)
17 – [24] James Parr (p)
18 – [25] Greg Creek (inf)
19 – [27] Derek Botelho (pitching coach)
20 – [29] Tommy Hanson (p)
21 – [30] Phillip Wellman (manager)
22 – [31] Sung Ki Jung (p)
23 – [32] Dustin Evans (p)
24 – [34] Todd Redmond (p)
25 – [36] Jerome Gamble (p)
26 – [37] Ray Serrano (c)
27 – [45] Luis Valdez (p)
28 – [47] Ryan Basner (p)
29 – [48] Brad Nelson (p)
30 – [50] Carlos Sencion (p)
31 – [51] Michael Nix (p)
32 – [52] Dan Smith (p)
33 – [na] Ricky Alcantara (trainer)
34 – [na] Trusty (mascot)

Cards are thin, but not flimsy. Both surfaces are semi-gloss that require no preparation prior to autographing- not that I’m suggesting that anyone needs to get the back sides of their cards autographed. Photos are credited to Ed Gardner and Tom Priddy. Bob Smith shot the photo of Jo-Jo Reyes used on the ‘08 Mississippi Braves pocket schedule.

I do like the card designs, with their random blue and red curved borders, team logo and player name in red text highlighted by white drop shadows. That said, these cards are probably only a single design element away from being declared “busy.” The curved blue and red border theme is continued on the back, but with player bios and stats printed in black over a mottled grey background.

First up is pitcher Luis Valdez. One of the darkest cards in the set, this one still works because the photo is sharp, and there is plenty of room for a signature across the lower third.

Yes, I believe I really like these cards. I wonder how they would look with a horizontal alignment.

Very nice! This is the ONLY card in the set in which a player steps in front of any border, and it really stands out. Matt Young leads the Braves with 19 stolen bases out of 27 attempts. Young also leads the Braves by having appeared in 79 games so far this season, and scoring 45 runs in the process.

Another good example of the horizontal alignment of several of the cards in this set is the card of Paul Bennett. This card refuses to be “complete” until it is signed with a blue Sharpie!

Did I mention how good the photography is in this card set? Check out this offering of Dan Smith. See what I mean?

The 2008 Mississippi Braves team set provides an even mixture of position players batting or playing defense. The J.C. Holt card illustrates the importance of not making cards of every player swinging a baseball bat.

Catcher Ray Serrano demonstrates the art of framing a pitch to help make sure the home plate umpire “sees” it correctly. This card won’t help you identify Serrano in a crowd, but that is also why the players where numbers on their jerseys. Please don’t ask me who the umpire is since there is no number 11 listed on the official Southern League Umpire roster, or am I simply not seeing things?

As you realize that you are nearing the end of my review, you may be starting to wonder if I am going to include a scan of Tommy Hanson’s card in light of the fact that he recently hurled the first no hitter in Mississippi Braves history. I am not. Instead, you should pick up a set for yourself while it is still an option. The 2008 Mississippi Braves team set is available for purchase directly from the Extra Innings team store for $10.00.

They also have the 2007 Mississippi Braves team set still available as well. Actually, those are a STEAL at only three bucks a pop! I look forward to an opportunity to review that set at some point in the future.

If you are heading to the ballpark to take in a Mississippi Braves game, just wait and pick up a few sets in person. These cards will be distributed FREE to the first 2,000 fans attending the July 6, 2008 game vs. the Chattanooga Lookouts. Want to sort your new cards in style? I suggest dropping another $500 and renting one of Trustmark Park’s luxury suites for an evening. You can invite up to fifteen of your best friends or favorite blog writers to join you. Post-game fireworks will help draw a large crowd to that game, so arrive early.

– Kris

08 detroit tigers pocket schedule

February 25, 2008

I wanted to take a moment of your time while I tip my cap to the Detroit Tigers for using the 2008 Topps baseball card style in the design of their pocket schedule.


I’ve collected baseball pocket schedules and ticket stubs for as long as I’ve followed baseball. Despite the fact that I have no interest in Gary Sheffield, this is easily one of my favorite schedule designs. It also makes me pause and wonder how many other teams have employed a baseball card design in the past.

If you know of any, please leave a comment or send an email.

– Kris