Friday, January 31, 2014

Kyle sent me a bunch of stuff!

I had a pair of '50 Bowman cards kickin' around, and Kyle from Nolan's Dugout offered to take them and a Bowman Chrome HARPAR off my hands a week or so back. He sent me some dynamite stuff in return, to the point where I ended up bombing him out with want list stuff that wasn't part of the original deal after it got here because I was late sending my package out and I've told you too much. Anyway, look at some friggin' awesome cards!

I scanned every '74 he sent me, but look at 'em! Morgan, McCovey, Rose, Gibson! Etchebarren! Clean checklists and great leaders cards! Buddy Harrelson posing for a shampoo ad! Great stuff! (Also, this will probably be the only day in this site's history when you see the '74 Topps Dick Lange card posted twice.)

He sent me way more '76s than I could scan (79 cards, a HUGE chunk out of my remaining wants), but I went with 2 pages' worth. Eck rookie off my list, finally! Pops, Fisk, Fingers, The Kid and Torre round out the HOF class here. Manny Sanguillen looks a lot badder than the lot of us combined, and Al Oliver looks badder than Manny does! Wilbur Wood looks surprisingly close for being in that Chisox uni. Lotsa guys look really stoned! Darrell Porter looks like he's trying to scare Gorman Thomas! Just terrific stuff!

He didn't just help me with '70s stuff, though. '93 Donruss is DONE! Even Junior looks impressed.

Rod Carew wore his headband under his batting helmet? Who knew? That's pretty awesome. Kyle helped out a bunch with '83 Fleer...

This cat's always good to check off a checklist.

He took out the bulk of my '81 Fleer set wants, including a pair of Petes...

Hey, remember this guy? Sorry, but we can't use you for our other project. Come back in '15 when we do The Year Of Cocks!

He also took out a good chunk of my '10 Upper Deck wants, including Mo! Mo looks like he's thinking "I dunno...can you see the full logo?" in the '96 Topps-ish inset photo.

And, lastly, there were some other odds and ends. A few '10 Topps Chromes which none of you need to see. The last card I needed for '90 Donruss MVP, which none of you need to see. A few other inserts, including the grudge match of the century, within '89 Fleer All-Stars (which Kyle also finished for me)...seriously, Greenwell looks like he's gonna stone cold beat Jose for stealin' his MVP, as soon as he figures out where to get an 18 wheeler to do it with.

All in all, a great trade with Kyle, so thanks! Here's hoping that you enjoy the stuff I sent to you as much as I enjoyed mine!

The Year Of Dicks, Day 31!

We've made it through a month of Dicks, and 16 total Dicks as of this next one! Thanks to Kyle, we've got a Dick for Day 31! Here he is...

Dick's something of a man of mystery. He played for the Angels for 4 years in the '70s, but his Wikipedia entry is the most sparse of any Dick I've looked at so far. Given my proximity to a bunch of people who were actually around for '70s baseball, I've heard almost nothing about the guy over the years. Even his B-R Bullpen page, which I went with above, was pretty light on insight. He's still with us, out there somewhere...probably takin' er easy for all us sinners, watching over us...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Topps First Day (that's lasted 3 days) Wrap-Up

Well, it's out.

And it even has a Kolten Wong.

I actually debated whether or not I was going to buy packs of '14, because the set design's pretty uninspiring and because I think I'm buying a factory set in July, but I had a fairly rough couple of days and was driving home past Target on Monday night, so I grabbed a few packs and a rack pack. That actually may be all I get from Series One, in terms of packs. They're not terrible, but they're not great either, and I just think my money's better spent by not opening packs and not chasing insert sets (especially this year's, which are really lacking). That said, here's some of how I did...

Don't they use this picture of Altuve on every card of him? Oh, no, wait, they Photoshopped Trout into it because they think that's the only way people will care. Poor Astros fans. Not because of their team, but because of the way Topps treats them.

Finally! Glad I pulled one, even if I am getting a set. This is one of my favorites from the set so far, and it tells a story: the reason Billy Hamilton wasn't in '13 Update is because he was running too fast to be photographed before the print date! See?

The card Mo's fans were simultaneously waiting for and dreading. Glad I pulled this, too. There's also a really nice retirement card of Todd Helton in the set (which I don't have yet), whose farewell tour really got overshadowed by Mo's and, well, you know...

Worst. Throwback. Uniforms. Ever.

One last card of McCann on teh Barves for dayf to cry in his beer over. Topps just couldn't help themselves here, going for a play at the plate before they're OUTLAWED, and of course having Captain Old School do it. They kinda should've gone horizontal with the card, though. Like a few of the vertical cards with action (Wong, Altuve), it's pretty cramped.


I'm glad I got to see this kid pitch in person before he got Strasburged. He wasn't GREAT (of course, Wainwright has a way of making good pitchers not look quite as good), but he was pretty good. Here's hopin' he bounces back OK in '15!


Wait, there was a non-base card in there. You mean you wanna see those?


No, seriously. Someone at 1 Whitehall Street got paid to come up with "BOOGYA!". I mean, it's not uncommon for people in that part of lower Manhattan to be paid to come up with complete nonsense that's offensive to the sensibilities of, well, everyone, but...


Anyway, moving on to the next affront...

Elapsed time from re-introduction of Topps minis to Topps totally screwing them up: 2 years. Seriously, these things are terrible. What're you smilin' about, Trouty? (Yes, this card is available for trade. Please, get it out of here.)

Waiter! I need a Darryl Strawberry card to cleanse the palate from that last card! Darryl aside, the inserts in this set are really boring.

Seriously, '99 Topps called, it wants its insert sets back. (This card is also available for trade. Ugh.)





Actually, I can't decide how I feel about GREEN SAMARDZIJA. I either love the border color or I hate it. It's hard to love alternate border colors when 1. there are so many of them and 2. you and I will never, ever complete a set of them. (As for the other 3 border colors, Gose is mine, Belt 30/99 is up for grabs and Ryu is already promised to Night Owl.)

So, that was my PUIGLESS MONDAY, or Retail Day One, which I still think is some unfair bullshit to be pulling on the hobby stores, but like I said, I'd had a rough day on Monday so even with a trade package in the mail from Kyle D. of Nolan's Dugout that I'll get into in one of my next few posts (spoiler: his cards were better than these cards), I still needed a pick-me-up and didn't want to be all "ANTI-CAPITALISTA!".

Today (well, technically yesterday now because I've been scanning cards for an hour), I hit my local to catch up with Bob and see how Series One was workin' out for them. I did see a regular hit a Ricky Nolasco auto and a relic of someone, forget who, on consecutive jumbo packs, so there was that, and I picked up a few more cards, too (actually, a bunch more if you count all the non-'14 Topps cards, but I'm too tired to start scanning Islanders and it'll dork up the theme of this here post).

What's wrong with you, Topps? Don Mattingly was always great! Well, at least until he hurt his back, then it was kinda like The Passion Of The Donnie. He was great in this picture, though! I mean, look at that mustache!

Still don't like the design or the foil, but hey, Henry Aaron!

One of my other favorites from Series One. Look at that uniform!


Actually, I paid $.30 plus tax for this card. As I said on Twitter earlier, "What a difference a year makes".

So, that's Series One. Like I said, unless someone decides to dump mass quantities of the base set on me (which I'm not looking for), I'm probably just gonna grab a factory set in July to be done with it (and after that, I'll trade off the base cards I have), and spend my money and trade bait on other cards (Heritage, Donruss if I'm feeling weird, eventually Archives/Ginter/Finest/etc.) or other stuff that isn't cards (You guys, BARRY GIBB IS TOURING!). The base set design's ho-hum. There are a few nice cards within the base set but it's a real step down from '13, even. The inserts are pretty crap looking. And, of course, I'm just not in it for the mojo (and honestly, that's kind of the deal with the inserts; Topps seems to have pulled a Panini and designed all the inserts for auto/relic purposes). It leaves me even colder than expected, and I wasn't expecting much. Your mileage may vary, but that's where I'm at on this.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 27!

As will happen from time to time, I've been a bit pre-occupied, but I've been working behind the scenes to make sure you see a lot of Dicks this year, too! With that said, in the immortal word of Rocky Balboa...

Dick Drago made the rounds of the American League in his 13 seasons, pitching for KC, Boston (twice), California, Baltimore and Seattle. He had a great rookie season for the expansion Royals, was a dependable innings-eater with a ton of complete games through 1974 (including a rain-shortened one in '71 where he only faced 13 batters), then he switched over to mostly pitching in relief. He gave up home run #755 to Hank Aaron, finished up his MLB career in '81 with the Mariners, but came back with the Ft. Myers Sun Sox in the Senior League in '89. Here's an interview with the man that I found on his B-R Bullpen page. Dick's still with us (even has a LinkedIn page!), and is apparently active in youth baseball. A tip of the cap to you, Dick Drago!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 20!

Today, we break the rules for the first time...

...because how could we not for Dick Button?

I admittedly know next to nothing about figure skating, but this is a man who, just by glancing over his Wikipedia page (linked above), apparently devoted his entire, very long life to it (as a competitive athlete, a professional performer and a commentator) and was pretty much the Babe Ruth of figure skating during his short but impressive amateur career. His first Winter Olympics appearance was in 1948 (at the age of 18), and while I'm not sure if he's working Sochi yet, he did commentary for the 2010 Games. 62 years is a LONG time to be associated with a sport, and if he goes to Russia, that'd make it 66. Unbelievable.

Amazingly, though, it's not all he's done! He's also passed the bar exam, he's worked as an actor of stage and screen, and he's fought his way back from two separate traumatic brain injuries (in 1978 and 2000) to continue his commentary work (and became a spokesman for the Brain Injury Association of America in the process). As Dicks go, even without him being part of one of the Big 4 sports, Dick Button is an unbelievably impressive guy, and I salute him!

(Card submitted by Bo Rosny, by the way. What an incredible Dick to throw into a trade package!)

Sunday, January 19, 2014






Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 18!

Apologies for the layoff, folks! Was a bit under the weather, and I also wanted to finish compiling The Master List Of Pro Sports Dicks (huh-huh, "master") for the 4 majors before I went further (I'll be releasing this data at the end of the year, though it's readily available, if not as well-organized, elsewhere), so I could start tracking down pictures for customs, seeing which supposedly un-carded Dicks actually do have cardboard and so forth. That's done now, so... about a Lynn Dickey?

Lynn was an all-time great for the Packers during his decade with them (still holding a number of records for them, even after Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers had at the record books) and holds the NFL single-season record for highest average gain with 9.21 yards. Lynn also did 5 seasons mostly as a backup with the then-Houston Oilers to start his career, starting 10 games and winning 2, including Houston's only 1973 win. He's in the Kansas Sports Hall Of Fame and the Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame, and is working in public relations these days, after stints in the restaurant business and as a radio host. He's also the second Dickey of our Year Of Dicks (with R.A. proceeding him, no apparent relation).

All the best to you, Lynn Dickey!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 13!

No Dick yesterday, on Day 12. Sorry about that, folks, but sometimes I've gotta rest. Wrangling Dicks is exhausting work! Also: while I've got over 370 Dicks accounted for in the 4 major sports so far (I still have to fine-tooth football), there are only about 210 Dicks that have appeared on cards, and I haven't started making proper customs for the missing Dicks yet. I did do a test a while back, though. If you missed it on teh Twittahs...

That's not today's Dick (though it sure is funny), so let's get down to business!

Today's Dick is...

Dick Kokos, as lovingly painted by my late cartooning teacher Gerry Dvorak!

(And yes, Brownie the Elf freaks me out, too.)

Sadly, Dick's been gone since 1986. He was only around the big leagues full-time for a few years before spending 2 years in the Army, playing a partial season for the last Browns team, a few games for the first Orioles squad and another 2 seasons and change in the minors (with 5 different organizations). (Stats here.) He was an outfielder with a bit of power, but it seems like he couldn't get back to business or got hurt after his military time.

Information on Dick Kokos is in fairly short supply. He's very briefly mentioned in this Glenn Mickens interview, as he was part of a team Glenn played on during his service time (along with Don Newcombe, Gus Triandos and Bob Turley) at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. There's also a short Baseball Fever thread where people (including, allegedly, his grandson) sort of talk about him, but not in any great detail. Aside from that, not a ton of personal insight online about him. Nothing about his post-baseball life is in easy reach (beyond the fact that he apparently had kids and, thus, at least one grandson, who we may hear from if he sees this since he does seem to have an interest in connecting with folks who've heard of his grandfather). 
I don't have too much else for y'all, beyond that I'm glad I'll be able to say I featured at least one Dick from the St. Louis Browns this year! Godspeed to you, Dick Kokos!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 11!

It's time for the first color in the rainbow of Dicks!

Presenting Dick Green!

Dick was a slick-fielding 3-time World Champion with the Oakland A's, and an Athletics lifer (playing his entire Major League career with the team in Kansas City and Oakland). He primarily played 2nd base, but he's manned every position in the infield and even caught twice during his 12 year big league career. He got his 3rd ring and a Babe Ruth Award (solely for his fielding!) in '74, but the A's dropped him before the '75 season, (probably because Charlie O. didn't feel like actually paying him). That was it for Dick and baseball, but when you get dumped by your only team after a performance like his in the '74 Series (6 double plays!), who can blame you for quitting?

According to this site, after he left baseball, Dick co-owned a moving company in Rapid City for a bunch of years before selling his half and retiring. Hopefully Dick's enjoying retirement!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 10!

Hey, look! It's a Dick in Japan!

Folks, for our 10th Dick, here's Dick Davis!

I mostly remember seeing Dick on my Brewers cards (where he mostly served as a DH and bench guy), but here he is on the Kinetsu Buffaloes, via the awesome 1987 Play Ball Japan set! Dick had a pretty rock solid 4+ year run in Japan, before some off-the-field legal hassles ended his career there and in general. Dick is also the only guy ever to be traded for Wayne Nordhagen twice in the space of 10 days (!).

Alas, there isn't any easily spottable information about Dick's current whereabouts online, but we hope he's doing well!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 9!

Whoa! I almost forgot my Dick! Whew!

Folks, here's Dick Grapenthin!

Now, from what I can see of his search results, Dick seems to have primarily played under the name "Rick" (though ESPN calls him a Dick, as do his current employers, Mizuno), but he's a Dick here, and we love him for it. During his 6 game stint with the 1989 Columbus Clippers, as depicted here, he played with my favorite player, Bernie Williams, along with Deion Sanders, Kevin Maas, Hal Morris, Randy Velarde, Hensley Meulens and strangely, Ron Guidry at the very end of his career. He made it to the show with the Expos for parts of 1983-1985 (so he also played with Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Gary Carter, as well as eventual Hall of Famer Tim Raines, possibly longshot Hall of Famer Jeff Reardon, should-be-in-the-Hall of Fame-but-never-will-be Pete Rose and Warren Cromartie, who don't need no damn Hall of Fame), but he mostly assembled his body of work over a decade in the minor leagues. During that career, aside from making it to The Show, his stretch as closer for the 1984 Indianapolis Indians (in the Expos system) was probably his best on paper, though he also had a great, if shorter stretch for the 1982 Wichita Aeros (also Expos-affiliated) where he sported a 0.80 ERA.

As I mentioned earlier, Dick's at Mizuno these days as Vice President of Sourcing, so it sounds like he's doin' well for himself, and still involved in the sport he loves. Dick Grapenthin, we salute you!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Year Of Dicks, Day 8: Hall Of Fame Results Day Edition

In a show of solidarity with another surly-yet-spectacular player who got screwed by the BBWAA (for the 15th and final time) earlier this afternoon, today's Dick should be no surprise to you, even if his card doesn't actually say "Dick" on it.

And, in keeping with this post's surly-yet-spectacular nature, I'm going to leave the writing to the Wikipedia entry linked above, and just share one more thing...
Someday, Dick (and Jack). Someday. May you both be alive and well enough to enjoy it.