Tyler Anderson pitched a quality start, giving up only one run over seven innings. The Rockies took a two-run lead into the ninth, only to have it blown by then-closer Carlos Estevez. The Rockies lost 4-3, prompting me to leave a comment on this post at Texas Rangers Cards. Spiff, the longtime writer of that blog, offered to send a few Rockies to ease the pain of the Rockies losing three out of four games against the Rangers, in all of which they blew a late lead. They managed to rally in the fourth game, but not before going down by 2 in the 7th.
Anderson is one of those rare players on a Bowman card to actually show up in the majors, and he's gone 4-4 in his time as a Rockie so far. The facsimile signature on that Bowman card is about as thick as the card itself. And he's one of a promising batch of young pitchers the Rockies have, along with Jon Gray and top prospect Jeff Hoffman. Veteran Jorge de la Rosa remains an anchor of the pitching staff, which means the Rockies may have finally put together a solid rotation. The lineup has pretty much never been the weak link in the Rockies organization, so the last piece of the puzzle is the bullpen. Clearly, that needs a lot of work, but the Cubs didn't have a great bullpen until quite recently, and look how well they're doing now.
|2011 Topps Diamond Duos #DD-GT Carlos Gonzalez / Troy Tulowitzki|
This Diamond Duos Topps insert card shows the Rockies dangerous offense, but with CarGo benched, Tulowitzki up in Toronto, and his replacement out for the year after an incredible first half (he's still tied for 3rd in the NL this year), it seems that the Rockies' annual July implosion has surfaced in August.
Photos are always small on dual-player cards, but I see Todd Helton in the on-deck circle behind Tulo, and both players wearing a memorial "KSM" patch. That patch is a memorial to Keli McGregor, President of the Rockies who died in 2010. His initials can be found at Coors Field above the visitor's bullpen, right alongside Helton's and Jackie Robinson's retired numbers.
|2009 Upper Deck Goudey #145 Carlos Gonzalez|
|2006 Topps #189 Jose Mesa|
|1993 Topps #132 Preston Wilson (RC)|
The back of this card also says that he was the inaugural Baseball America High School Player of the Year, an award that has gone to Bryce Harper, Josh Hamilton, Joe Mauer, and Justin Upton.
|2014 Topps Update #US-5 Jair Jurrjens|
He did pretty well as a Brave, and I actually remember him being a Rockie, but I guess he was in the minors for most of his time with the organization. As a card from Topps Update, it's not one I was likely to run across on my own, so if the Rockies didn't blow that game last Monday, this might never have made it into my collection.
|2011 Bowman Chrome Throwbacks #BCT9 Tyler Matzek|
I probably couldn't describe the 2011 design at all (probably had a black border though); all I know is that it's not this. I do believe it's different from Anderson's card at the top, since the Draft Picks and Prospects cards have a different design than regular Bowman, further adding to the confusion. I guess that's why 2016 Stadium Club's similarity to 1997 Fleer doesn't bother me that much. Those are just two sets, but every Bowman set looks pretty much like every other.
|2010 Topps Heritage #301 Ryan Spilborghs|
1961 Topps isn't a set I know very well, which is the design used on 2010 Topps Heritage. The avocado green color on the back is definitely period-correct, though. And "Spilly" looks just like he does on TV!
|2005 Upper Deck #70 Shawn Estes|
Shawn Estes went a solid 15-8 for the Rockies in 2004, likely one of the better records in Rockies history. He only spent a year in Denver, so he wasn't able to follow up that performance. Even with that record, he still led the NL in Earned Runs.
This card is from 2005 Upper Deck, a set I don't recognize and may very well not have any cards from besides this and the rest of what Spiff sent. The color coding is quite nice, and Upper Deck went down the full-bleed path long, long ago, something Topps is finally on board with, continuing with the quasi-3D 2017 design, which was just announced.
|2010 Upper Deck #3 Eric Young Jr. (RC)|
|1993 Upper Deck #793 Armando Reynoso|
We can see evidence of that event on this card, as the Jackie Robinson MLB commemorative patch is visible on Neifi Perez' right sleeve. This UD Collector's Choice card has a lot going on, including Eric Young, Sr. behind the play, and Cubs fan favorite Ryne Sandberg likely out at second. Sandberg, a Hall of Famer and former manager of the Phillies, wore #23 as a Cub. That was a great number in Chicago, as this guy on the Bulls wore it too. Perhaps you've heard of Michael Jordan?
It must just be coincidence, but there must be other times when sports stars in the same city shared numbers across sports. Larry Walker and Patrick Roy both wore #33 while in Denver, for example. I'm not an expert on uniform numbers, so can you think of any others?
|1999 Upper Deck #90 Neifi Perez|
This was 1999, after all, and UD devoted quite a bit of space on the back to their website, encouraging collectors to "Get ONLINE" at www.upperdeck.com (back when browsers weren't quite smart enough to just add all that prefix stuff automatically). I wonder what visitors in 1999 would think of today's website? Would they be more amazed by the LeBron memorabilia for the Cleveland Cavaliers (also #23), by the fact that Officially Licensed NHL cards had top billing and baseball was nowhere to be found, by three of the six banners referencing Marvel Comics products, or maybe by newfangled digital e-Packs and social media links to Twitter and Facebook? It would all be a lot to take in during 1999. I don't think I'd even heard of the Cavaliers then.
|2010 Upper Deck Pure Heat #PH15 Troy Tulowitzki|
At first, I thought UD engaged in a bit of trickery and deliberately cut off the logo on the helmet to avoid running afoul of MLB's licensing rules, perhaps later in the release cycle when their legal troubles became apparent. The card number on the back is just a millimeter or so from the top edge, so it was clear that the upper portion of the card wasn't all here. Still, I couldn't figure out what that oddly-shaped die cut was supposed to represent.
After looking at similar listings on eBay, I realized I was reading too much into it. There is a better-centered die cut pattern on both the top and bottom of other cards, and the bottom doesn't angle back in like it does on mine. So maybe I just have an innocuous miscut. It's highly uncharacteristic of me to jump to conspiracy theory, but the way this one is cut doesn't violate the licensing rules they knew they were breaking.
|2011 Topps 60 #T60-93 Carlos Gonzalez|
|1992 Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball Team Logo Holograms #NNO Colorado Rockies|
Holograms are fascinating things. It was basically a UD trademark, and I think they should have done more with them during their early history. I think there were a few insert cards here and there, but mostly it was just team logo stickers. What if they made a set, even just a 100-card set or High Numbers or something in holograms? They might have advanced the hobby even further than they already did. I remember a few National Geographic covers that were holograms, and I spent maybe a bit too much time in one sitting staring into them, trying to see all the detail.
|1994 Ultra Hitting Machines #4 Andres Galarraga|
Galarraga gave us one of the many highlights of the inaugural 1993 season, winning the first batting title for the Rockies with an average of .370. Before his knee injury that sidelined him for about a month, there was talk of hitting that mythical .400 average. He didn't quite get there, and there was concern that he wouldn't have enough at bats to qualify.
It also gave me my first baseball research project. My dad bought a copy of the Baseball Weekly newspaper at the local Albertson's in late summer 1993 and had me pore over the NL batting statistics to find potential challengers to Galarraga's run at the batting title. I remember finding someone hitting .429 and alerted my dad immediately, until he pointed out that this particular batter was just hitting 3-for-7 on the season, and had no chance to qualify for the award. I have no idea who that batter was, but I can't imagine having something like Baseball Reference at that time instead of a newspaper that I couldn't do a Ctrl+F on.
|1993 Ultra #360 Jim Tatum (RC)|
But I have to consult Baseball Reference a lot.
There were a lot of 1993 Fleer Ultra cards in this trade package, and many of them have been in my collection for almost as long as there's been a collection. Vinny Castilla has one where he's facing to the left, reaching out for the ball with his left hand, the ball isn't quite in his glove, his mouth is open as though he's shouting at someone, and there's a little gold rookie logo in the upper left.
So the logo's in the upper right. Close enough.
But that Jim Tatum card is brand-new to me. And it might have the best view of a first baseman's mitt in my entire collection. A set you thought you knew can still surprise you even after all these years!