After a hiatus of several months, the writer of one of the best blogs in the community, Dime Boxes, has picked up his digital pen and resumed writing his excellent content.
I, for one, missed him. But his return to the Cardsphere was accompanied by one of his magical trade packages, full of hand-picked cards just for me.
|2006 Upper Deck #204 Brad Ausmus|
Between Ausmus, Joe Girardi, Eric Wedge, and Danny Sheaffer, the Rockies had a real surplus of catchers their inaugural year. I'll note that three of those four went on to become managers.
The position tends to generate a lot of managers, including Joe Torre, Jim Leyland, Mike Matheny, Bob Brenly, and many others. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, or maybe Salvador Perez in that role within the next decade or so.
|2016 Donruss '82 #D82-21 Nolan Arenado|
Okay, it's 1982.
A few collectors out there go for these bat rack cards, and this card is almost enough to make you forget there are no MLB logos on it. But I do like seeing the 1982 design in a modern glossy finish. We'll be seeing a lot of Arenado in this post, but get ready for a few Blake Street Bombers.
|1999 Fleer Tradition #15 Dante Bichette|
|1998 Fleer Tradition #153 Ellis Burks|
|1995 Stadium Club Members Only 50 #18 Andres Galarraga|
Stadium Club in its early days was actually a "club" you could join via mail-order. Members Only parallels persist to this day, but this card was from a special 50-card set only for collectors that had joined the club. The entry fee was a bit steep for my eleven-year-old allowance, so I never joined. But I remember plenty of ads at hobby shops and in Beckett. I guess that's why I never saw this card before.
You could almost pass this off as a Draw Four card in Uno with those four colored panels. And if you flip it upside-down, it pretty well approximates the Microsoft Windows logo. Coincidentally, Windows 95 was released right around the same time as this card, and when you think of it that way, this card is positively prehistoric.
|2016 Diamond Kings Aficionado #A10 Nolan Arenado|
|2016 Topps Opening Day Heavy Hitters #HH-8 Nolan Arenado|
|2015 Topps Pro Debut #105 Jon Gray|
For 2015's Pro Debut set, Topps largely reused the 2015 base design, though they applied a matte finish to the background, leaving only the player's photo and the border glossy. As the trend seems to be toward photos with a shallow depth of field, that's as good a treatment as any to apply to the background.
|2014 Topps Saber Stars #SST-12 Michael Cuddyer|
I'm not opposed to Sabermetrics, but the one block I do have is just that it's usually not so apparent what a "good" statistical value is. For over a century, we've learned that a batting average over .300 is quite good. Over .400, legendary. But I don't really have any frame of reference on whether a .382 BABIP is anything to write home about. I'd assume so, otherwise Topps would just pick another guy for this 25-card insert set. But we'll need more time to wrap our heads around all these stats before they become second nature.
It's sort of like the metric system. I roughly know how fast 80 km/h is, or how warm 20 degrees Celcius is. But I always have to do a little mental math to convert it into something my brain can interpret better. Maybe that's a bit like learning a foreign language - you cognitively know it, but you're always translating it into a format that your deeper brain knows almost instinctively.
Fortunately, based on the back of the card, it turns out that .382 is quite respectable, as only two players in the league did better in 2013.
|2015 Finest #75 Carlos Gonzalez|
|2016 Donruss Elite Dominators #ED10 Nolan Arenado /999|
The dots are a bit bigger, but I'm reminded of Topps' 2013 Chasing The Dream insert set, back when Topps was "All Chase, All The Time." They seem to be easing up on the themes a bit, or at least aren't hitting us over the head with them at every turn.
|2011 Topps Update Cognac Diamond Anniversary #US82 Mark Ellis|
Ellis only spent half a season in Colorado, long enough to get a card in Topps Update, but not long enough for me to remember him. I will point out that he's wearing Andres Galarraga's number 14, a number that Josh Rutledge wore up until his trade to Anaheim.
As an aside, how do you properly say the city the Angels play in? Los Angeles of Anaheim? That makes even less sense than The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, everyone's favorite astrophysicist, notes that this translates to "The The Angels Angels". Of Anaheim.
And that's when you use an 8-year old boy's writing style and append, USA, North American continent, Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way, etc....
|2004 Leaf Certified Materials #43 Clint Barmes|
The embossed gold seal sticks out quite conspicuously, but I don't know what other color they could use. Silver would blend right into the background and barely be noticeable. It's a minimalist design, and I think they're going for a bit of baseball stitching with those groups of three parallelograms.
My geometry skills are getting a real workout with this trade package. Geometry was never my strong suit. I did a whole lot better in algebra and calculus. But I remember my shapes from Math 102, and don't intuitively get most of the Sabermetric stats. Go figure.
Pun not intended.
|2005 Leather and Lumber #LC-171 Ryan Speier (RC) (AU) /256|
I can't tell for sure, but that may be an strip of genuine leather he signed his name on. Say what you will about the various baseball card brands, but I think we can all agree that it beats a sticker autograph.
As usual, this was a great batch of cards from Nick. Great to see him back in the Cardsphere!