Posts Tagged ‘Upper Deck’

made in the USA: casey fossum

January 3, 2011

Casey Fossum is the second out of the chute in my presentation of autographed 2004 Upper Deck 25th Anniversary USA baseball cards, having earned that honor based on the fact that he will be celebrating his 33rd birthday this Thursday.

2004 Upper Deck USA Casey Fossum no. 59

After breaking into the majors in 2001, Casey spent time with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Devil Rays, Tigers and Mets. Interestingly, the left-handed signing Fossum racked up his personal season high win total (eight games) in 2005, the same season that he led the American League in hit batters, tying Jeff Weaver, the National League leader, with 18 plunkers each. I’m not sure if Fossum was pitching inside more in 2005, or if players were simply larger than he had been used to. The all-time single season high mark of 40 hit batsmen was set by Joe McGinnity in 1900 when he won 28 games for the Brooklyn Superbas.

There is a bizarro Facebook page set up for Fossum that may very well be sponsored by the Onion. I have no idea where Fossum will show up next, but understand that after having a decent season in Japan in 2010, his contract was not renewed by the Hanshin Tigers. If I had to guess, I would look for him at a Triple-A ballpark near you this summer. Possibly he will update his blog at some point.

– Kris

Advertisements

made in the USA: tommy lasorda

December 27, 2010

I can count on one hand, the number of Upper Deck products I actually like enough to collect. Furthermore, I would hazard a guess that I could suffer a tragic accident while making a guest appearance with Jimmy Smith’s S & S Aqua Logging crew on History.com’s Ax Men and still be able to make that claim. Granted, it would be more of a challenge to sort the cards with fewer fingers, but it wouldn’t make me like them any more.

One of my favorite Upper Deck products is their 25th Anniversary USA Baseball set that was released in 2004. When facing the challenge of deciding what card I would ask a player to autograph when I meet them, if they have a card in this set, it is ALWAYS my first choice. The one exception to this was when Milton Bradley refused to sign his card with my blue Sharpie, so I had him autograph a different card.

2004 Upper Deck USA Tommy Lasorda no. 109

I wrangled an autograph from Tommy Lasorda after spotting him wandering around an Albuquerque casino prior to the 2007 Triple-A All-Star game. The neat thing about featuring a Tommy Lasorda card is that he needs no introduction.

Technically, I did not collect this product, but rather picked up the entire 200-card set (less the three inserted autographed cards) on eBay for twelve bucks including shipping. You can still pick up the entire set for a low price. In fact, I’ve seen it selling for $28.99 on Amazon.com– you know… the “other” online baseball card shop.

At any rate, one of my goals for 2011 is to feature the cards that I have gotten autographed from this set on a semi-regular basis. Although I have gotten that majority signed in person, I am always willing to trade for cards from this set, as long as they have been signed in blue Sharpie.

– Kris

blame kanada

July 28, 2009

I want to begin this brief blog posting by stating that I have absolutely zero problems with Upper Deck’s 2009 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards. I like the design, the card stock and the size of the set. Since I have no intention of attempting to build the entire set, I don’t even mind the short prints or the parallel cards.

The simple truth of the matter is that there are other new and vintage cards available that I prefer to chase. With that in mind, I will be picking up cards of players from this set that I believe I will have the opportunity to get autographed in person.

wade_cory_2009_ud_opc_181

Cory Wade – 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee no. 181

Cory Wade signed this card for me Monday afternoon after pitching an inning in relief as part of a Major League rehab assignment with the Albuquerque Isotopes.

dewitt_blake_2009_ud_opc_382

Blake DeWitt – 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee no. 382

Less than an hour later, a cab pulled up and delivered Blake DeWitt and his equipment to the Isotopes clubhouse after he had been optioned back to Albuquerque for a few days. Blake has a fantastic attitude about his movements between the two clubs this season, and you can’t help but think that one of these times he gets called up will be the last time we see him around town.

While I won’t have any 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee baseball cards to trade, you shouldn’t let that keep you from checking out my ever-changing want list as you attempt to reduce the number of duplicates you have taking up storage space in your card room. I’m almost positive that I can find something to trade that you need, so drop me a line.

–  Kris

2002 upper deck vintage

May 12, 2009

If my memory serves me correctly, the only legitimate complaint I’ve ever had with 2002 Upper Deck Vintage baseball cards is that the 300-card base set was WAY too small. If ever a card design, be it original or rehashed, screamed “Use me to create a card for every player in Major League Baseball,” it was this one. Unfortunately, the brainiacs at Upper Deck failed to listen to their cards when they spoke to them. As a result, we are left with this underachiever of a set with so much potential, that even finding a decent storage solution was a bit of a hassle.

Of course I sidestepped that particular storage issue, and also completely freaked out my set-building friends, by alphabetizing the vast majority of my collection in an effort to increase efficiency in properly documenting players I meet in person.

I briefly considered pulling all of the 2002 Upper Deck Vintage baseball cards that I have gotten autographed to date, but realized that was simply another form of procrastination that was preventing me from blogging. Thus, I am including only scans of those cards that I have gotten signed in person this season.

weaver_jeff_2002_ud_vintage_90

I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to ask Jeff Weaver to sign his card before he was called up to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I am a sucker for horizontal cards!

milton_eric_2002_ud_vintage_102

Seemingly poised to join Weaver in the City of Angels in the near future, Eric Milton has taken full advantage of his temporary assignment to the Isotopes to rebuild his arm strength after sitting out more than a full season following Tommy John surgery. Obviously his trademark signature is already in mid-season form.

brown_dee_2002_ud_vintage_82

For those of you keeping track of the nicest players in professional baseball, Dee Brown is a MUST addition to your list! Don’t just take my word for it. Come out to the ballpark and meet him yourself. Furthermore, I challenge you to try to watch Brown at the plate without sliding to the edge of your seat with each pitch.

I did fail to get Tanyon Sturtze’s signature on his 2002 Upper Deck Vintage baseball card before he asked to be released from his contract with the Dodgers organization so he could pursue other options. That’s usually what happens when you start thinking “I’ll get him next homestand…”

–  Kris

tradition- and breaking away

April 23, 2009

I have been a fan of 2000 Fleer Tradition baseball cards since I purchased my first pack at the unlikeliest of places- (then) Bank One Ballpark in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. I do not recall how much they charged for packs of cards at the ballpark, but I would hazard a guess that they were priced comfortably between a $1 ticket and the cost of a beer.

It took me quite a while to pull this set together, which makes sense because it predated the existence of a wide-spread baseball card blogging community to trade with. I also wasn’t horribly motivated to complete the set since I spent the majority of my free time trying to gather together cards to get autographed during the next season of the Arizona Fall League. I really never envisioned finding many opportunities to get these cards autographed in person, let alone imagine having the chance to knock four of them out in less than a 24-hour period.

As it turned out, that chance randomly presented itself to me just last week. After the dust settled, I had only gotten three of them signed. And here they are…

estes_shawn_2000_fleer_tradition_296

milton_eric_2000_fleer_tradition_178

weaver_jeff_2000_fleer_tradition_219

Each of these three players began the 2009 season on the Albuquerque Isotopes roster, so I was fortunate enough to pick them off one at a time as they prepared to board the team bus for their first road trip of the year. Obviously, none of these Major League veterans “wants” to be playing in Triple-A, but they were nice enough to sign a card or two for this fan without displaying any attitude.

The fourth card from the set that I could have gotten signed in person, but didn’t, is the one that features Tony Gwynn.

gwynn_tony_2000_fleer_tradition_346

Sometimes you are presented with a tough decision when a ballplayer will sign only one autograph per fan, and you have to choose your personal favorite card from the ones you have with you. With that in mind, I opted to break from Tradition and have Tony Gwynn sign his 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition All-Star card (no. 97F) when I caught up with him while he was in town coaching the San Diego State Aztecs in a weekend series against the UNM Lobos. I had received the card from Tribe Cards a while back as a gift. Easily entertained, I absolutely love having players autograph cards that feature them signing cards or other memorabilia- regardless of whether the photographs are obviously posed, or the player was legitimately caught in the act of being generous.

gwynn_tony_1991_ud_final_97f

Ahhhh baseball, the most wonderful time of the year!

– Kris

seventy million dollar man

January 14, 2009

Growing up in west-central Illinois, in the rich watershed drained by the river that had helped make Edgar Lee Masters famous, it was expected that a baseball fan root for either the Cubs or the Cardinals. Given those options, I chose to follow the Orioles.

With few exceptions, my personal heroes can easily be classified as underdogs. Born eleven days after me, and a few hundred miles to the south, Steve Finley’s path was predetermined to cross with mine more than once as the years passed. While Steve’s future in baseball would be taking off with a bang, mine would be borfed with a wiffle.

After breaking into the majors with the Orioles at the age of 24, Steve went on to play for the Astros, Padres, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Angels, Giants and Rockies. Steve Finley played hard, solid baseball for each of the eight different teams he suited up for throughout his career.

bobble_finley_steve_1965_to

It isn’t a simple task to explain WHY Steve Finley was a unanimous, first-ballot inductee into my personal Wall of Fame given that typical baseball stats do not account for qualities such as spirit, ethics, enthusiasm, effort, dedication and charm. It seems as unnecessary to attempt to justify my fondness for the man, as it would be to try to describe why I enjoy listening to DEVO. Perhaps it all boils down to the fact that his on field attitude was capable of inspiring any fan that had the desire to see a player lay everything on the line day in and day out without getting caught up in the madness that was taking place along the sidelines.

A lifetime .271 hitter over 10,460 at bats, Finley probably won as many games with his glove as he did with his bat. Given an opportunity to pitch during the Arizona Diamondbacks magical season of 2001, Finley maintained a perfect ERA while walking only one batter and plunking another. Sure it was only for a single inning, but clearly Steve had the opposing batters mystified.

In spite of the fact that I saw Steve Finley play in hundreds of baseball games in Phoenix, and even lived next door to his teammate Travis Lee during the entire 1999 season, I wouldn’t actually get to meet Steve until the spring of 2006. While seemingly everyone in Scottsdale was shoving and elbowing in order to be the first person ignored by Barry Bonds, I was hanging out in the calm. Ultimately, I was rewarded by the opportunity to meet Steve in person as he was walking into the stadium from the parking lot. He did not “big league” me when I asked him to sign a card for my collection, but instead thanked me for coming out to the park. Class!

finley_steve_2004_ud_usa_58

Steve Finley’s signature has always been suspect at best!

I’ve recently been trading for Steve’s baseball cards with readers and other bloggers, without setting any unrealistic goals such as trying to accumulate one of each of his different cards. It has been quite entertaining to receive these cards in the mail, and easily more enjoyable than buying them online. That isn’t to say that I won’t pick up one here and there, but I think trading is the approach I will strive to employ for this particular aspect of my collection.

Here is a scan of Steve’s 1989 Bowman card (no. 15). Most noticeable is the complete lack of stats on the back. I received this card absolutely FREE under the condition that I give it a good home.

finley_steve_1989_bowman_15

One of my long time favorite Steve Finley baseball cards is his 1990 Topps card (no. 349). Given my strong attraction to the 75 and 72 Topps sets, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am a big fan of the 1990 Topps product.

finley_steve_1990_topps_349

I wasn’t collecting baseball cards in 1995. If I had been, I suspect that I may have been all over this Fleer issue. I believe that I like everything about it, except the foil. I am of the opinion that foil should be used only to wrap potatoes before baking, and possibly to cover rabbit-ear style antennae of portable television sets (although even that will prove to be an annoyance following the national conversion to digital only).

finley_steve_1995_fleer_459

This is one of the cards I got for FREE this Krismas from one of the more generous trading card bloggers on the circuit. I’m not naming names because I don’t want Santa Claus to have any reason to put out a contract on the guy. With that out of the way, I really like this card. This 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond Gold (no. 59) card is probably one I would have to put at the top of my pile in the event that I ever have the chance to get Steve to sign another autograph. The scan does not do the card justice.

finley_steve_2000_ud_black_diamond_gold_59

The 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set was easily my favorite product of the past decade until I stumbled over my first pack of Topps Allen & Ginter cards. Finley’s card in this set is number 275. The blurb on the card back attests to the fact that like the best racehorses, Steve has always been a strong finisher.

finley_steve_2002_ud_vintage_176

Finally, another Steve Finley card from an absolutely fantastic team set issued by Mother’s and given away to fans entering Bank One Ballpark before a game in 2001.

finley_steve_2001_mothers_8

I’m not sure exactly how much money Steve Finley earned during his 19 years of service in Major League Baseball, but I do know that the $70 million figure is a conservative estimate. At some point I will get around to providing a list of Steve Finley cards that I either have or need, depending on what makes the most sense at that time. In the meanwhile, feel free to contact me if you have duplicate or unique cards that you think I might be interested in. I probably will be!

– Kris

seddon-tary ways

May 22, 2008

After just missing hitting a homer the same evening I featured Andrew Beattie’s DAV card, the second baseman arrived at Isotopes Park the following afternoon ready to do a little yard work. One would be hard-pressed to find any fault with Andrew’s contribution, as he was perfect at the plate going 3 for 3 with a walk, his third home run of the season, scoring twice and adding a pair of RBIs to his totals. Oh yeah, and raising his batting average to .317 in the process.

Andrew shared the spotlight of the Albuquerque Isotopes 5-2 victory over the Round Rock Express (Houston Astros) with starting pitcher Frankie De la Cruz- who pitched a gem. De la Cruz went eight and two-thirds innings on an extremely windy evening yielding only five hits, a walk and two unearned runs en route to improving his season record to 6 and 2. The vast majority of the 24 batters who didn’t strike out ended up grounding out. The few pitches offered by De la Cruz that weren’t recorded as strikes didn’t miss by much.

Isotopes fans are hoping for a similar outing this evening from southpaw Chris Seddon. Over the course of eight starts this season, Seddon has amassed a record of 3-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.53 WHIP with 45 innings in the scorebook.

Seddon also signs a very nice signature complete with a sweeping “C” and a looping “S” that leaves this blogger wondering whether Chris studies art when he isn’t studying batters. Unfortunately this first series 2008 Upper Deck card (no. 292) fails to mention what Seddon’s hobbies are. I guess I’ll have to ask him myself- which is fine because he is a heck of a nice fella.

– Kris

national baseball card day 2008

March 28, 2008

Of course the well-educated readers of Cards in the Attic are all aware that TOMORROW Saturday, March 29 is National Baseball Card Day! If that isn’t something to cheer about, I don’t know what is.

You have probably already mapped out your route to hit your favorite trading card dealers so you can cash in on some FREEBIES while stocking up on fresh (or stale) boxes of wax to carry you through the true opening weekend of the 2008 Major League Baseball season.

This is just to serve as a reminder that you can also get FREE baseball cards simply by visiting MLB.com/cards and signing up online. That’s right…. FREE baseball cards while you are still wearing your jammies! According to the information available, “each pack will contain five base cards from Topps, five base cards from Upper Deck, one chase card from Topps, one chase card from Upper Deck, and one informational card.”

Don’t forget to tell them that Aardvark Trading Company sent ya!

– Kris

it’s a mistake

March 20, 2008

I admit that I have a soft spot for error cards. I should clarify that by “error cards,” I am speaking of the variety of errors that we all make every now and then… goof-ups, and not the intentional variety produced by card companies in an attempt to create a buzz.

One specific instance of an error card that I am particularly fond of is Rick Krivda’s 2000 Team USA Victory card (no. 443) produced by Upper Deck (surprise!). One might be tempted to think that the most difficult thing to get right on one of Rick’s cards is the correct spelling of his last name. (I briefly considered spelling it wrong here on purpose to make a point, but I’m afraid it would also have made me appear to be somewhat of a hypocrite.)

krivda-rick_auto_2000_team-usa_443.jpg

Whistle your favorite tune
We’ll send a card and flower
Saying…

It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake
It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake

– Colin James Hay, 1982

How would you feel if you spent a decade pitching in the minors, a season in the bigs, had a lukewarm cup of instant coffee in an independent league, and been part of the United States Olympic baseball team that struck gold- only to be rewarded by picking up one of your baseball cards and wondering where and when you started looking so much like Chris George? Try explaining that one to your mother and your grandmother!

I think it would be frustrating. Certainly it would be better to simply have your name misspelled.

george-chris_auto_2000_team-usa_458.jpg

I asked Chris George what he thought about the mix up last summer while he was autographing his card from the same set (no. 458). He just smiled (more like the smile he was sporting on the Krivda card than on his own for those of you scoring at home) and said that he thought it was unfortunate for Rick. Of course, being the gentleman that he is, Chris was more than happy to sign both cards for my collection.

Conspiracy theorists may suggest that Upper Deck is so on top of their game that the error was intentional, and they were, in fact, penalizing Krivda for having taken the only loss for Team USA as Cuba defeated them 6-1 during his only appearance in the 2000 Olympics. However, I believe it was a case of poor record keeping and shoddy editing. I suspect that the error was never corrected.

Errors sometimes beget errors. Apparently operating under the assuming that two wrongs make a Krivda, baseball-reference.com has this card posted on their website to help fans pick Rick out of a crowd in case they ever want to get his autograph. Grapher beware!!!

– Kris

caught in the act – act two

February 12, 2008

I thought I would take an opportunity to post a few scans of more baseball cards that tickle me to no end… those with photos of players in the act of signing autographs for lucky fans.

Since my first post on this topic was so well received after I led off with a Milton Bradley card, I thought it best to play it safe and do the same thing this time, but with a different card. This particular card is a 1999 Baseball America card- no. 16 in a 100 card set that was manufactured by Team Best. Bradley is sporting a dapper Cape Fear Crocs uniform.

bradley_milton_1999_baseball_america_16.jpg

It is worth noting that although the back doesn’t contain much in the way of stats, it does come with the warning that Milton “must control his emotions to reach his potential.” Not having spoken to Bradley in person in almost three years, I would venture to guess that he would claim he has made great strides toward doing just that. Again, I wouldn’t stand around and argue anything to the contrary.

Next up is a 1978 Topps card of Minnesota Twins pitcher Dave Goltz. (Try saying that name fast once.) A native of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, Goltz hurled a one-hit shutout against the Red Sox in August of 1977, in a season where he ended up tied for the most wins (20) in the American League with Jim Palmer and Dennis Leonard.

goltz_dave_1978_topps_249.jpg

It is difficult to tell for certain if Goltz is actually signing an autograph for a fan in this photo, or instead scribbling down an order for pizzas for his teammates in the dugout. This is also the only card in this posting where the player is not wearing a hat. So if that is why you stopped by, you may now move on to the next entry on your RSS feeder.

Oh wait… it appears that Mike Cameron is holding Goltz’s hat and using it as some sort of excuse for not being able to sign autographs for a mob of children before a Spring Training game at the Peoria Sports Complex. If you are planning to see a Spring Training game at the Peoria Sports Complex, it is VERY important that you go to the one in Arizona, NOT the one in Illinois. Otherwise you will end up being cold, lonely and very disappointed. However, you will not be disappointed if you decide to put together a set of these 2002 Upper Deck Vintage cards. This design is absolutely wonderful. I would suggest that really the only thing Upper Deck could have done better was to slip every card into a penny sleeve prior to packaging, as they are next to impossible to keep in pristine condition.

cameron_mike_2002_ud_vintage_51.jpg

In early May of 2002, this Midwestern boy combined with Bret Boone to put on a show that fans won’t soon forget as they pounded back-to-back homers TWICE in the same inning- against the team that drafted him out of high school. Three tears to any reader who knows without looking what team that was.

Moving right along, it makes sense to hop across town to see what sorts of events Upper Deck photographers at Wrigley Field have captured. At first glance, it seems that Cubs closer Ryan Dempster is looking to buy a t-shirt before a Santana concert. The reality of that situation is that all those people are thinking he is going to sign something for them. Madness! When crowds for autographs become that dense, you can usually find me making my way to a beer vendor.

dempster_ryan_2006_ud_102.jpg

I’m not overly impressed by the layout of the cards in Upper Deck’s 2006 set. I suppose they are trying to prevent piracy of their products, but I still believe that foil belongs on baked potatoes and can also be used to make funny hats. I just don’t like it on baseball cards. Similarly, I don’t have much to say about Dempster. However, if you happen to be a manager in one of my fantasy leagues, I recommend that you draft this fireballer as early as possible.

If you love the horizontal cards like me, are a die-hard Braves fan, or have a thing for giant balls… this card is where it is! The 235th card in the 2002 Topps set is worth several double takes. Whether he is keeping busy slugging home runs, diving to rob opposing players of well-deserved extra base hits, playing football, providing television commentary, or taking time out of his schedule to help a fan finish a crossword puzzle (pictured), one can’t help but wonder if there is anything that Brian Jordan can’t do. Ah…. But can he blog? Apparently so.

jordan_brian_2002_topps_235.jpg

I don’t have a Brian Jordan autograph, but if I ever get a chance to meet him, this is definitely the card I would ask him to sign. Perhaps he would recall if that kid on the far left edge of the card was extremely small, or if he was holding a softball.

It was only a matter of time before I got around to bringing up Tony Phillips, right? Check out this amazing card (no. 29) from the 1986 Topps set. The lighting and exposure used in this photo are flawless. In fact, it is such a great shot that I wish someone would produce a set of cards that would give camera settings on the back instead of player stats. (Nikon, Cannon, Kodak…. Are any of you paying attention here?) At any rate, it is a fantastic photo of Tony as he pauses in the middle of his inscription that probably read something along the lines of “Tony Phillips – 2 GW RBI 1985.”

phillips_tony_1986_topps_29.jpg

If this wonderful card has failed to capture your imagination you’ll want make sure you check into an interesting project over at Awesomely Bad Wax Packs where blogger Mike is going to attempt to collate an entire set of 1986 Topps from only two boxes of cards. He is predicting that he will accomplish his goal even without having to open approximately 14 percent of the packs. He hasn’t stated if he will be counting cards that are stained by gum or wax, but it should prove to be way more interesting than the next statement issued by Roger Clemens’ lawyers.

Finally, I realize that several readers are here to see autographs. Although I don’t have any autographed cards that fit into the overall theme of this post, I am moved to include one to make everyone happy. Inspired by the recent trend among a number of other baseball card blogs to tease a very nice trader/blogger who goes by the alias “Steve” at White Sox Cards, I thought I would join in on the fun. Unable to figure out “why” Steve had posted a particular card of Frank Thomas as part of a recent post, I decided to include a scan of the same card that I was fortunate enough to have gotten autographed in person at Phoenix Municipal Stadium a few springs ago.

thomas_frank_1990_topps_414.jpg

I’m pretty sure that no professional photographers were shooting the Big Hurt while he was signing his rookie card for my collection; so my dream of appearing on a baseball card will have to live on to see another season.

– Kris