Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Trading Post #74: Cards on Cards

I have a ton of Rockies duplicates. When you're the representative for a team on the #SuperTraders list, it's likely that you'll end up with a few extras.

1992 Donruss #350 Ray Lankford
I can safely assume that's the case for my fellow trading partners, judging by the Cardinals extras used as packing material in a trade from Cards on Cards earlier this year. He sent me lots of, um, cards, and even though I've completed 1992 Donruss, a dugout shot of speedster Ray Lankford before I got to the Rockies nestled safely within the team bag is a nice bonus.

2007 Upper Deck #667 Byung-Hyun Kim
Byung-Hyun Kim was a Rockie for a couple seasons, primarily in 2006 and for a handful of games in 2007 before being traded to Florida. His sidearm delivery is pictured well on this 2007 Upper Deck card (one of the few later UD sets I can recognize on sight), and the card mentions his transition from closer to starter.

He always seemed to be on the wrong side of famous home runs, allowing the Yankees to nearly grab the 2001 World Series, and helping Derek Jeter get his "Mr. November" nickname. He also gave up #715 to Barry Bonds as a Rockie, on which Bonds passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list with only Hank Aaron ahead of him.

Amazing that Bonds hit that shot over ten years ago.

1997 Bowman #349 Shawn Chacon (RC)
That was the only one that Bonds got off Kim, but he did hit three off Shawn Chacon. Chacon, a native of Alaska, began pitching in the Rockies rotation a few seasons after his first Bowman card. He was picked for the All-Star team in 2003, one of the few Rockies pitchers to have that honor. But he went an abysmal 2-16 in his next two seasons for the Rockies, who traded him to the Yankees in 2005.

1997 Bowman #331 Todd Helton
Todd Helton appeared just a few cards prior in that same Bowman set, and 1997 was the exact year Helton kicked off his memorable career. This card was printed before that, so it doesn't have much to talk about beyond a scouting report, listing his success in the Minor Leagues, his "swing to die for", and his three starts at QB at the University of Tennessee.

Though the card doesn't mention it, Helton had to come out of the game in that third start, replaced by a now well-known NFL player named Peyton Manning. No one knew it at the time, but this card had a lot of Denver sports history ahead of it.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-22 Ubaldo Jimenez
Allen & Ginter gave Rockies Fans an insert card in 2011 commemorating the first, and so far only no-hitter in Rockies history. The back is sure to point out that this feat wasn't achieved at Coors Field, but he had untouchable stuff on April 17, 2010, even though he walked six batters.

April is a fun time to be a Rockies fan, let me tell you.

Surprisingly, six or more walks in a no-hitter isn't that uncommon. Dock Ellis walked eight in his LSD-fueled gem, A.J. Burnett walked nine earlier this century, and the record is ten in ten innings by Jim Maloney of the Reds in the mid-'60s, of course against the Cubs. Could it be that batters hold back in some of these games expecting to get a free pass?

2008 UD A Piece of History #115 Seth Smith (RC)
I've been sent a couple cards form 2008 A Piece of History via trade, which were printed right after the Rockies' magical 2007 season. this Rookie card, which looks more like a tombstone than 1972 Topps ever did, has Smith listed as a rookie on both the design itself and the logo in the upper right. He was a mid-September call-up in 2007, but did well enough that he got to be a part of the Rockies playoff run, getting a few clutch pinch hits and scoring or driving in some key runs.

You never know what can happen in September. Hopefully you keep yourselves in the pennant race long enough for some star rookie to help push you over the edge.

2016 Topps Spring Fever #SF-33 Jon Gray (RC)
I'm always surprised at how many Spring Fever cards I run across, given how limited their distribution is. I guess there are still a lot of card shops out there. This one has some great color-coding to match Jon Gray's jersey. I've seen him pitch a few times in his short career, including his fourth career start, in which he faced Bartolo Colon but got chased out of the game in the 2nd inning, partially by the first of Yoenis Cespedes' three home runs that day. He's settled down for the most part, but still tends to have a rough first inning.

2015 Topps Toys R Us Purple Border #540 Drew Stubbs
Even though Drew Stubbs isn't a Rockie anymore, he did get this Purple parallel in 2015 Topps, as perfect a colored border as ever there was one. These came from packs exclusively sold at Toys-R-Us, and while I haven't been to a Toys-R-Us in decades, most of my 1991 Score collection came from there.

This isn't just a colored border, there's actually some foil and shininess going on here. The three rows of dots at the bottom are printed in silver foil, as his Stubbs' name. I don't like it quite as much as 2013 Topps Emerald, but I'd love to find more of these.

2015 Topps Chrome Prism Refractors #58 Justin Morneau
Morneau isn't a Rockie any longer either. He's now on the White Sox, who a few days ago reached a 55-60 record after 110 games, precisely as they did in 2015 and 2014. This Chrome card looked like a base card to me at first glance, but it has a pattern in the background of some kind. There doesn't seem to be any sort of colored border, so I'll guess that this is the Prism Refractor. Under the right light, it's pretty striking.

2010 Topps Chrome #93 Carlos Gonzalez
This is definitely CarGo's Chrome base card from 2010, and happily, it's about the flattest 2010 Chrome card I've ever seen. The curl in that set was the worst I've ever seen, but this is a pretty good specimen. You tend not to see umpires on cards very often, but the home plate ump #41 is watching what looks like a walk-off hit by Gonzalez.

2015 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractors #77 Charlie Blackmon
Charlie Blackmon has continued to grow as a baseball player and as a beard-wearer. He hit three home runs in a game against the Phillies last week, though they were in vain in a 10-6 loss. His post-swing pose appears on this Topps Chrome Sepia parallel, one of the more common of the many varieties from that release. It's actually a pretty interesting juxtaposition of a photograph that looks like it could be a century old (especially with that beard) on a card with lots of shininess and gloss. Topps elected not to specify what variety this card is, or even that it's a refractor of any kind.

If they want to print up all these varieties, fine, but I'd find if extremely helpful if they told us which was which, even a little bit.

2015 Topps Update Tape Measure Blasts #TMB-2 Andres Galarraga
In a stack of Rockies this big, there are sure to be plenty of Blake Street Bombers. This is actually a pretty recent card, but fan favorite Andres Galarraga hit such a memorable grand slam one day in Miami that he got honored in this 15-card insert set from 2015 Update. It went halfway up an empty third deck, driving in four (yes, you get your own RBI on a home run), and cementing his place in Rockies highlight reels for years to come. Other players in this set come from the annals of baseball history, including Ted Williams, Josh Gibson, David Ortiz, and Reggie Jackson.

The Marlins had a tarp over the upper sections that day, one of which had the Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary logo on it. That logo patch appears on Galarraga's sleeve...

1998 Score #97 Vinny Castilla well as on a very cold Vinny Castilla's sleeve on this Score card. It's a Coors Field card, with the right-center wall just visible in the background. I don't know when this was taken, but it looks absolutely freezing out there. I don't envy whoever's at the plate. Hitting a ball in cold weather really does a number on your hands and wrists. It could be in April or even May, as wintry weather still tends to hang on a bit into spring around here.

As is common for a late-1990s card, there are a lot of fonts being used. The last name is in an easy-to-read stencil font, the team name in a basic serif font, and the letters of his first name each housed in their own little rounded cylinders, sort of like an old-time cash register. The color-coding is nice, though.

1994 Score Rookie/Traded #RT16 Walt Weiss
Score's Rookie and Traded sets tended to be a bit louder than the base sets, but the front of the card is relatively simple. It's almost like an evolved 1990 Donruss. There's a Pittsburgh Pirates cameo here alongside a young Walt Weiss, and it's fellow middle infielder Carlos Garcia.

When Weiss signed with the Rockies, triggering this late-series update, he became the first player to represent both the expansion Marlins and Rockies. He's currently managing the Rockies, but some question remains as to whether he'll continue that job in 2017 and beyond.

2016 Topps Heritage #166 Tom Murphy (RC) / Jon Gray (RC)
This year's Heritage set, using the 1967 design, has a few multi-player cards to be found in it. Both these rookies have reached the Majors, though Jon Gray seems to have more staying power. Tom Murphy does seem to show up on a lot of Topps cards, though. That same structure is behind Jon Gray as we saw on numerous Heritage cards last year. The back of the card mentions Gray's last Triple-A start before his call-up, where he struck out eight batters on the Salt Lake Bees.

More on why I know that Salt Lake's Triple-A team is called the Bees in an upcoming post.

2011 Topps Update #US2 Ty Wigginton
Ty Wigginton has been coming up a lot around here, previously on some Topps Minis I received from Tony L at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards. This one is from the 2011 Update set, a year before that 2012 card of his was printed for the main set.

Though he's listed as a third baseman, he's stretching with all his might to catch the ball at first before Rickie Weeks (another #23) beats it out. I'll guess this is from May 21st, 2011, a day when Wigginton started at first in place of Todd Helton. Hard to say which exact play it was, or whether Weeks made it to first safely. It's definitely a bang-bang play, and the lower banner mostly obscures what's occurring on the bag itself.

1993 Upper Deck Home Run Heroes #HR20 Ray Lankford
Seeing as these Rockies cards all came sandwiched in team bags between Cardinals, I figured it would be appropriate to do the same on this post. I'll pick another Ray Lankford card, and even though he was a leadoff center fielder, obviously a player you'd expect to have lots of speed, he still got a card in Upper Deck's Homerun Heroes insert set from 1993 UD by leading the Cardinals in home runs for 1992. He was only one behind Ozzie Smith on stolen bases, so Lankford was clearly a well-rounded player.

A fitting bookend to a well-rounded trade package.

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