Monday, July 25, 2016

The Trading Post #72: Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

This marks the second time that Tony at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards has sent me a trade (supertrade?), and based on what I got from him last time, he clearly has a fondness for Topps Minis.

2012 Topps Mini #219 Jordan Pacheco (RC)
I got a few 2013s in our previous trade, and now I get to add to my 2012 collection. Jordan Pacheco, one of the Rockies' homegrown players, was one of a crop of exciting young stars the Rockies had a few years ago. He was released in 2014 and is now with the Reds, but as Todd Helton's retirement neared, Pacheco and Josh Rutledge were both candidates to take over at first base.

The Rockies are on the road in this one. Possibly they're in San Francisco, based on the spot of orange on the fan's hat. But his runny eye black indicates this is later in the game on a hot day, and a good illustration of Pacheco's hustle.

2012 Topps Mini #154 Ty Wigginton
Ty Wigginton only spent a year with the Rockies, holding down the hot corner until Arenado could take over a couple years later. Wigginton was a journeyman, playing with eight teams in his twelve-year career. He played for Tampa Bay when they were still known as the Devil Rays in 2006 and 2007. A year after Wigginton's departure, they dropped the "Devil" and just became the Rays, launching themselves into the World Series that very same season. They lost to the Phillies, but it marked the second straight season in which an expansion team won their first and so far only pennant. Of course, the Rockies were the team do to it the year prior. But both the Rays and Rockies are still chasing their first championship.

Also, whenever I see "TBD" as the team abbreviation on Baseball Reference, I'm always thrown off for a second until I remember they're referring to the "Devil Rays," and not that his stats from a decade ago are "To Be Determined."

2012 Topps Mini #140 Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki is a common fixture around here, and he got a great Coors Field card in 2012 Topps, acrobatically turning two, and we even get a Mark Kotsay cameo, who was then on the Milwaukee Brewers. Like Pacheco, Tulowitzki is sporting some eye black, but his is in pristine shape.

I tried dating this card, likely to a four-game set just after the 2011 All-Star Break. But Mark Kotsay mostly came off the bench in that series, and the only possible candidate seems to be a weird fielder's choice on July 14th, 2011. The play doesn't seem to describe this photograph just right, but I can't find any other candidate play that places Mark Kotsay anywhere near second.

2012 Topps Mini Gold #431 Guillermo Moscoso /61
I have precisely zero recollection of Guillermo Moscoso. He was a Rockie for 2012 only, mostly in middle relief, though he did start three games. He was out of baseball a year later, but he was around long enough to get a card in a Topps base set, impressive for a Rockies pitcher with minimal name recognition.

Topps Mini parallels the main set, and that means he gets a gold parallel, numbered to just 61 copies in this fairly scarce set. This Venezuelan originally came up in the Tigers organization, but only appeared in the Majors for teams in either the AL West or NL West. He managed to get two hits in his career, both as a Rockie. One of them was even a double.

I guess he was inspired by Todd Helton.

2014 Donruss #55 Michael Cuddyer
That brings us to the second set included in this trade, 2014 Donruss. Former Twin Michael Cuddyer looks to be playing in San Francisco as well, judging again by the orange logo on a spectator's cap. Technically that's a logo, Panini. I guess it's so out of focus that it's not easily recognizable, or could potentially be confused with an Orioles cap.

Cuddyer spent three years as a Rockie from 2012-2014, before playing one final year as a Met. "Cuddy", as the Rockies TV guys liked to call him, had some of his best seasons as a Rockie, even winning the NL batting title in 2013, the same year he had his second of two All-Star appearances. I can't quite recall, but it's very likely that I sent my 35 votes his way that year.

2014 Donruss #29 Troy Tulowitzki DK
If it's Donruss, that means Diamond Kings are likely to be lurking nearby. The 2014 set pops up here on occasion, but this is the first time I've used a Rockie from that set for a post. Diamond Kings from 2014 are part of the base set, although they're short-printed. Perhaps no one really cares, since Panini's resurrection of Donruss doesn't seem to be high on anyone's favorite list, but they're common enough where I've gotten at least two via trade.

Two I've blogged about, that is. All these trades throughout my blogging career have just been going into a nearly-full 5,000-count box with little organization. There are probably more in there.

Today's Diamond Kings are a bit different from the overproduction era. Other than the short-print thing, they aren't painted anymore, though they still have sort of a painted look. Early Diamond King subsets were 26 cards at the beginning of the set (plus a checklist for card #27), but the subset has ballooned to 30 cards to coincide with two rounds of expansion.

I wouldn't be opposed to a couple more teams, perhaps to match the 32 teams in the NFL. The NHL and NBA, like Major League Baseball, also have 30 teams, albeit with a much different playoff and division structure.

Where else would such a team go? I can think of a few candidates. Maybe a booming tech hub like San Jose, Portland, or Austin. I wouldn't be opposed to Canada getting a team back. Maybe a return to Montreal, or even another team in the west in Vancouver. As diverse as baseball is, it might even make sense to expand into Latin America, such as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or even (gasp!) Cuba.

Wouldn't that be something?

2009 O-Pee-Chee #354 Manny Corpas
Panama, where Manny Corpas hails from (along with countryman Mariano Rivera), is probably a bit far away to be a realistic candidate for expansion. But players from all over the world come to play in the Majors, including this occasional closer, who is looking quite alone out there on the mound. Unlike Moscoso, I do remember Manny Corpas, who spent almost his whole career with the Rockies, other than a one-year stint with the Cubbies.

The Cubs bullpen is certainly in the news today, as they traded a handful of prospects to the Yankees for fire-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman's fastballs regularly push 105 mph, and MLB had to install a "Chapman Filter" on the fastest-pitches-of-the-season page just to be able to show anyone besides him on the list. Turning that filter on pretty much just displays pitches from a Braves rookie named Mauricio Cabrera, who has appeared in all of twelve games in the Majors.

Amazingly, Chapman has avoided Tommy John surgery, despite his superhuman fastball. And according to an interesting thought experiment, he could theoretically throw a baseball fourteen giraffes high.

Corpas never threw that hard, but he played at the right time to get a card in one of Upper Deck's final throwback efforts, the well-loved 2009 O-Pee-Chee.

2009 O-Pee-Chee Black #596 Dexter Fowler
So did Dexter Fowler, then a rookie, now a Cub who has a real shot at a World Series championship this year, especially with Mr. 105-mph now closing out games in the Windy City. This is a one-per-pack Black parallel, and I definitely prefer these to the white-bordered base cards.

The Black parallels have quite a history, as UD's original idea for the one-per-pack parallel was a card styled nearly identically to 1971 Topps. Topps didn't like that one bit, and successfully sued for an injunction. UD complied and just printed up these black parallels, still a nod to 1971 Topps, but not a direct copy. It was the beginning of the end for Upper Deck, who lost their MLB license the following year and ended up in more legal hot water.

It's an interesting set to get from Tony, who happens to be a lawyer. But he's also a SuperTrader, finding some sets you don't see every day.

I'll note that none of the players in this post are currently with the Rockies. Most are retired by now, but a few are still swinging bats around the league. They've cleared the way for the farm system, as longtime prospect David Dahl finally got the call-up tonight at Baltimore, getting a hit and scoring a run in his first Major League game. When you add that to Jon Gray, who settles down very well after the first inning, star rookie Trevor Story who currently leads the NL in home runs, and a talented prospect or two from the Tulowitzki trade, it looks like the Rockies have some promising years ahead.


  1. I'm glad you like the cards that you got!

  2. I really prefer the black border on the 2009 O-Pee-Chee as well.
    You're right, the Rockies have some talented young players!