Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Trading Post #78: Blog Reader Chris

As I write this, I am watching the Chicago Cubs play in a World Series game.

It's quite a momentous occasion. The last time that happened, I couldn't have used much beyond a typewriter to write that sentence.

This has been quite an interesting postseason. There have been lots of surprises, including both eventual pennant winners. And of course the San Francisco Giants had a little bit of even-year magic left in the tank, but not quite enough to keep that pattern alive. My blogging activity has been pretty quiet this month, but I've made a bit of a dent in some card organization projects. I even went to a card show a couple weekends ago.

And there are still trades coming in. Blog Reader Chris, who does not have a blog of his own to my knowledge, sent a few Rockies earlier this month, as well as a couple non-Rockies, which I'll get to later. Chris is a Cubs fan, so I figured that tonight would be an appropriate night to pen this post. In case you hadn't heard, it's the first time since 1945 they've played in a World Series, and while they still have four wins to go to break the truly long drought, a Cubs pennant is something very few of us have seen.

2006 Topps Update #UH173 Cory Sullivan SH
There's been very little of the Rockies in the news lately, besides who will take over for Walt Weiss as Manager. But I'm still a fan, and compared to the Cubs, it wasn't really that long ago when the Rockies last played in the Fall Classic. Cory Sullivan was a member of that team, which was his only trip to the Postseason. He's part of the Rockies TV crew now, along with his former teammate Ryan Spilborghs.

Sullivan pulled off an exceptionally rare feat in 2006, as shown on this Updates & Highlights card. You know, the set that used to be called Traded and is now called Update? Anyway, Sullivan made it to third base on his own batted ball twice in the 5th inning of an away game early in 2006, something that happened on occasion back in the 1880s. Sullivan was the first to do it in 80 years, and it was previously done in 1926. So it's a pretty rare feat.

Almost as rare as a Cubs pennant.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I am rooting for them!

2004 Topps Opening Day #12 Jay Payton
Opening Day used to look quite a bit different from the base set. The border color is different than the plain white that year, and there's even a bit of foil to be found. Compare that to now, where there's barely any foil even on the flagship set. Opening Day is having a hard time differentiating itself, except for the consistently great insert sets. 2004 is of course known for that tiny foil outline of the player in the lower left corner. It's a bit like 1973 Topps, just more meta since it matches the actual photograph. You can even see the tiny "24" in the corner, and I don't just mean the numerals to the left of the outline. The outline itself even has his uniform number that you can make out surprisingly well.

2007 Upper Deck First Edition Leading Off #LO-WT Willy Taveras
Willy Taveras, clearly pictured as an Astro here, had signed with the Rockies in 2007. Between the Astros and Rockies, the poor guy lost two World Series in three seasons, but at least he led the majors in Stolen Bases in 2008.

This 2007 UD card is from the Leading Off insert set, and there has been some good talent in that spot for the Rockies. Eric Young, Dexter Fowler (now a Cub), Charlie Blackmon, and Willy Taveras.

2007 Topps Update Red Back #UH143 Jeff Baker
This trade was a real throwback to that 2007 World Series, as many of those players didn't spend a ton of time in Denver. Jeff Baker played off the bench in the 2007 Postseason, and got an RBI hit in the NLDS against the Phillies. He looks quite chilly while playing the Mets in Shea Stadium, a few seasons before that park closed. Chris put this one in a penny sleeve, and that's because its a rare (though not necessarily sought-after) red back parallel. I've run across a few of these, but only in the first two series, if my memory serves.

2007 Topps Update Red Back #UH143 Jeff Baker (Reverse)
Baker was a young player at this time, and the card has his Minor League stats on it. It's a reminder of some of the past teams in the Rockies farm system, which changed just a couple seasons ago. Tulsa and Colorado Springs are affiliated with other clubs now, but Asheville remains the Single-A team. Also interesting to note is that Baker was born on a U.S. Military base in Germany.

2015 Topps #366 Jhoulys Chacin
A bit more recent in Rockies history is Jhoulys Chacin. He's officially the Rockie with a name more difficult to spell than LeMahieu. This card is from the recent 2015 Series Two base set, but by then he'd already been released by the Rockies in an effort to fix up their rotation. I found the move fairly surprising at the time, as Chacin had been a reasonably reliable Rockies starter. Topps incorrectly predicted that "he's likely to return to the heart of Colorado's rotation." He played for Los Angeles of Anaheim (I guess that's how you say it without the team name) this season, but other than his 2013 season, he usually ended up with a losing record.

It seems like a good move now that the Rockies have significantly improved their rotation, but I could conceivably see them bringing him back as a bullpen guy.

2006 Ultra RBI Kings #RBI12 Todd Helton
Fleer Ultra was looking pretty plain by the time Upper Deck took over the brand, a far cry from its gold-laden glory days of the early 1990s. This has the look of a relic card, and there could very well be relic versions of this card out there, but it doesn't scream "Ultra" to me.

They got the statistics right, though. A clean-shaven Helton had already become the Rockies career RBI leader with 915 at the time of printing, about 65 more than Larry Walker, and well on his way to his final tally of 1,406. The 147 pictured on the card refers to his 2000 season, in which he led the majors, edging out Edgar Martinez by two.

I'm sure I'll find a few Cubs in the duplicates box to send in return for all these Rockies. They always turn up when you do a big organization.

That wasn't quite it, though. Around the All-Star Break, I blogged about the 1988 Donruss Stan Musial puzzle. My mom found a few examples of the 15-piece mini puzzle, but the full 63-piece puzzle has eluded me.

1988 Donruss Stan Musial Puzzle #58 Musial Puzzle 58-60
Until now, that is. I put up the eight or nine puzzle cards I needed to finish the set on my new Wish List page (it needs work, I know), and Chris sent them over shortly thereafter. I did end up with a paper shower taking those pieces out of their standard-sized frames, as is common with those perforated puzzle cards, but they fit together just fine and are now in an 8.5"x"11" sheet protector, along with several other Donruss puzzles I've acquired over the years. This was the first time I assembled one piecemeal, though, and the colors and alignment aren't quite perfect. But that's just a reminder of the years-long "chase" I've been on to assemble the puzzle, and also of the great group of trading partners I've found, whether they have a blog or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment